No One Said Being Good Is Easy – Part 6

April 8, 2009

Surazc – Death Knight Tank

My highly-paid counter-snipers earned their bonuses so I return to conclude with this thought:

I Am Better than You

The dilemma of being better than most of your server

Fixing The Server’s Players

Specifically: Players who are bad

Do not try and be politically correct about this topic. If you do, you will find that you can’t say anything. There are players of this game that are (somehow) terrible at its game elements. Maybe they have a physical handicap that prevents them from playing at the same level as those of us fortunate enough to have not been crippled by an accident or born handicapped. Maybe they’re just terrible at the game.

No matter what the reason may be, address these people directly and with no bullshit. Ask them if they know what they’re doing (or did) wrong. Start off cordial, progress to educational, and then if they resist, to hostility. A good example follows:

You: “Terbad, do you know what you did wrong that fight?”
Terbad: “No, is there something I should know about the boss?”
You: *Facepalm* “Yes Terbad, you aren’t supposed to stand in the blue lightning that comes from the sky. It kills you rather quickly.”
Terbad: “Oh, I thought it was a ray of power which makes you stronger.”
You: “Nope, it just kills you, let’s try again and this time, stay out of it.”
*** Terbad fails again ***
You: “I thought I told you not to stand in the lightning!”
Terbad: “I didn’t stand in the lightning, but I couldn’t avoid the purple circle on the floor!”
You: “Yes you could have… you could have strafed left.”
Terbad: “How can you watch both our characters at the same time!?”
You: “I have my camera zoomed out as to have a better view of the battlefield.”
Terbad: “OH WOW, I CAN SEE MYSELF!”
*** Terbad is kicked from the group ***

That is a pretty solid recollection of my run-in with a rogue who thought that the blue drakes in Occulus 2nd boss healed you when they breathed their lightning on the platform as commanded by the boss you are trying to kill. Turns out he not only did not know anything about Occulus, but he also didn’t know anything about the game. He had actually bought his character on eBay — as the friend he invited to come with us on the run would later tell us.
The moral of the above story is that some people you can teach and some you can’t. The ones you can teach may be willing to learn. If they are, keep them around… they’ll figure it out and become average raiders. The ones you can’t… get rid of. Put them on ignore, get them out of your guild, get out of the way of their Failtrain. You don’t want to be anywhere near it when it crashes at LOLZ MPH into the wall.

/Rant

Thanks for reading! Please send all praise, constructive criticism, anger, and psychotic behavior in the form of comments to Surazc. Or money. Money is good too.

Part 5

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No One Said Being Good Is Easy – Part 5

April 7, 2009

Surazc – Death Knight Tank

Well, the cloning tanks are smashed, the death ray is on the fritz, and the Colombian Cartel’s shipment will be late, but at least I can still say:

I Am Better than You

The dilemma of being better than most of your server

You are in the same boat as I am, like it or not…

People like US

Admit it or not, you are in the same boat as me. Elite and Casual joined hand in hand ‘till death (or that little X in the top right of your screen) do us part. You are part of the Blizzard train until it either de-rails and kills us all, or comes to an all-stop and the conductor kicks us out on our asses.

I encourage each of you to look at your guild mates. Find the people that consistently do things wrong, or slow, and chew them out. “We are a friendly laid back guild,” is not an excuse to ask for AVERAGE game play or class action. You are a friendly laid back guild whose player population won’t get to see all the content in the game first, but you will see it when Blizzard nerfs it into the floor.

This can only happen if your guild plays at the MIDDLE OF THE CURVE between “Skilled/Devoted” and “Terrible/Idiotic.” If you have a couple of severely weak links in the guild chain, cut them out of the raids. Not the guild, just the raids. Believe me: you will make more progress if you’re carrying less dead weight through the hallways.

Assholes:

I am one, you do not have to be like me

You may be able to tell by the way I write that I am a complete asshole. I don’t care, it’s part of my personality… a flawed part, but part of who I am. Don’t bother contemplating the source of my being an asshole. It isn’t related to WoW.  I’m an ass in the game because I’m an ass in real life, and that’s all you need to know about it.

I come from this angle because being good doesn’t mean that you have to take an aggressive attitude about being good. This is something that I do quite frequently, and it doesn’t exactly make for the best first impressions. It does, however, get my points across more frequently than being nice about them. It is far easier to defend a point (or to take one down) if you adopt the aggressive attitude and not the passive one.

To put it another way, if you want to carry groups through instances then be my guest… I will do no such thing.

Come back for the conclusion of Surazc’s rant saga in Part 6: “Fixing the Server’s Players.” Hopefully, he doesn’t mean with chemical weapons.

Part 4


No One Said Being Good Is Easy – Part 4

April 6, 2009

Surazc – Death Knight Tank

How should I begin today? How about:

I Am Better than You

The dilemma of being better than most of your server

True Champions

You know, people like me

This whole blog post is NOT about me waving my gigantic, floppy E-Dick in your face and screaming profanities. As much as it might seem that way, I promise you it isn’t. I’m trying to get across my frustration at the reduction in difficulty to game elements and how it has stupefied the player base of the game.

I am what you would classify as a “hardcore” gamer. I play around 5 different MMOs at any given time and dominate my class in whatever sphere of game play or role I have chosen to master. I have more time than you do to devote to games and I’m not ashamed of my lifestyle. Some call it tragic, I call it awesome.

The mentality I have here though is not the “hardcore elitist fuckwit” attitude; but rather the, “How did we get here?” attitude. Forgive what will seem like a racist statement: If MLK were to rise from his grave and take a look at the black culture of today he would smack the shit out of all the rappers and hip-hop artists running around promoting a cultural image of avarice and greed. I am to WoW what MLK would be to the black community: A wake up call.

Look backwards people. Look at the way things used to be. Do you remember back when UBRS was HARD? Blizzard made tactical use of sight blocking and knockbacks, they made casters intelligent with their roots and fears, they made the game genuinely challenging and fun. Remember when MC had its debut? I do. I remember wiping in MC for hours on end against Domo and then finally rallying together the raid to go see big daddy Ragnaros for the first time. I remember the joys and shouts of elation when we finally killed big papa Rag’.

Why were we so happy when we finally killed him, did it have to do with the fact that we got loot? No. Did it have to do with the idea that we just killed the hardest boss in the game at the time? Nope.

What about the idea that forty people all came together and worked up a plan that was executed with flawless precision to achieve a common goal? Yeah, that sounds like it.

Then we had Onyxia, Razorgore the Guild Annihilator and Vaelestraz the GQuit Machine. I remember walking into BWL for the first time after its release once we had all been attuned to the instance and dying for DAYS straight until finally we figured out how to coordinate and get the boss fights done. Don’t even think of forgetting Nefarion’s fight and how epic that landing sequence is. It’s like being right in the middle of the greatest action movie ever made.

Killing those bosses back then MEANT something. What does it mean that you’ve killed every boss in Wrath? That you can find a PuG sponsored by one of the better guilds on the server? Grats, you got lucky… take your achievement and GTFO.

If the villagers with pitchforks and torches haven’t broken through the portcullis of Surazc’s secret lair, we’ll have Part 5: “People like us, and assholes.”

Part 3


No One Said Being Good Is Easy – Part 3

April 5, 2009

Surazc – Death Knight Tank

Heading straight on in:

I Am Better than You

The dilemma of being better than most of your server

What happens when you make everyone feel like a champion?

The biggest problem that exists with WoW

As suggested in the subtitle, the biggest problem that exists in the game is not an element of game play or a class issue, it is a semantic argument on the word “Champion.” For all those who read my rant on PvP and wanted to argue the semantics of what “Hero” means, I will cut this debate off at the head with a definition, compliments of dictionary.com:

Champion – Noun: “a person who has defeated all opponents in a competition or series of competitions, so as to hold first place;” or “a person who fights for or defends any person or cause.”

When I use the word champion here I am utilizing the first context as when you kill a raid boss or members of the opposing faction, you are defeating your opponents as to declare your supremacy over them (your now defeated foes).

Well… to answer my own question (bad form, I don’t care): If you lived in Greece long ago, you would have an Olympic competition to determine the true champion of any given event. The nature of the word implies that there can be only ONE champion of anything at any given time as he has defeated all opponents. There can be more than one hero… there can be only one champion.

This game has forgotten that. WoW has tweaked its content so far down easy street that champions are a dime a dozen. Heroes are apparently whatever Blizzard wants to call them. Tier Sets used to be a status symbol; however, now they are nothing more than a joke.

Being so far removed from anything closely resembling difficult, a majority of the players in this game have developed what I call “Garriot Syndrome” aptly named after Richard Garriot, creator of the Ultima Online series of games. Garriot Syndrome is a degenerative mental condition in which you believe that no matter what you are faced with, no matter the challenge put before you, that you will triumph because you are the hero.

While this was true circa 1950s movies, it is not true in practice. People wipe and die on content all the time, why should you be any different? Oh yeah, I know why. Maybe it’s because Blizzard has brought the difficulty of their content down to such a manageable level that the only way it is hard for anyone of mediocre intelligence is if they make it harder on themselves by imposing a goal or handicap. The achievement system is merely a distraction from the fact that WotLK has about 40% of the content that BC contained.

Yep. 40% of the content, and you paid just as much for Wrath as you did for Crusade. Genius move Blizzard.

Surazc soldiers on in Part 4: True Champions or, “people like me.” So don’t touch that dial because… well, he boobytrapped it.

Part 2


No One Said Being Good Is Easy – Part 2

April 4, 2009

Surazc – Death Knight Tank

Let’s see. Where was I?

Oh yes.

I Am Better than You

The dilemma of being better than most of your server

Do You Ever…

Join a PuG Heroic and…

Find yourself in the middle of ineptitude? I do. Frequently I will walk into a group as the tank and inspect my healer and find that they are wearing 3/5 Valorous with some heroic badge gear and almost always will have their 4 pc. bonus because of the 2 Hero’s pieces they are wearing to complete their Tier set. I look at their healing numbers after I die… 980 HPS max. How is this possible?

On one occassion I asked my shaman healer Marrianna why I was getting <1000 HPS.  She told me that she didn’t use keybindings. I wanted to kill myself IRL. On another raid, the priest said he would rather “Play with my cat, she is more interesting than the damage you are taking.”

At first I wanted to attribute this to the fact that I am an awesome tank, probably one of the best DK tanks on the server in skill alone (I solo’d the second boss of Heroic Occulus when my PuG group died to lightning) and I take damage pretty sparingly. When I do take it, I’ll either Death Strike some of it back expecting a heal to come or scramble for a healing potion, trinket, or Dark Pact.  However, the more I ran with PuG healers the more I discovered that the average healer on my server simply doesn’t understand the concept of a good tank.

Think, “I could do better than that!” I do. It doesn’t matter what aspect of the game we’re talking about. DPS, Healing, Tanking, or CC. I run across at most 10 players a day who know their class better than I do and I would feel confident letting them do their job without interference from me. The sad part is that most of them are in my guild, Damage Networks, or Templar Knights (all considered to be the “elite” of the server). I find this to be no great coincidence.

Join a 10 man raid and…

Die more than usual? While this doesn’t happen to me on my Death Knight (being my main, I’m not allowed to be saved to PuG Raids) it does happen to me about 60% of the time playing any other level 80 character (not all my own, some are my friends’ characters). Why is this? It seems that no matter what I do or what role I play, this 60% more than usual death figure doesn’t change.

I did a little math to search for the answer. As a healer I try to keep everyone alive but put priority on the tank. When 70% of the raid doesn’t move out of “fire” and either die or take massive damage, it makes it very hard to keep them alive AND keep the tank up. This problem is further exacerbated when the TANK stands in “fire.”

Usually I will run out of mana, can’t heal, and everyone dies. When I’m DPS, everyone else dies to fire because our healers suck. As a Tank, the same is true as my DPS example.

Find people with the achievement, but don’t know the fights? Seems to be the norm actually… It’s possible to engage the boss, die in the first two seconds, have the other 24 people kill the boss, and STILL get the achievement.

Want to slaughter the innocent? No… damn, thought that maybe I’d have a little bit of a connection with my audience there.

Ready for Part 3?  Surazc reveals, “The biggest problem that exists with WoW,” while he attempts to find his misplaced flamethrower.

Part 1


On MMOs in General

March 16, 2009

Surazc – Death Knight Tank

One of the biggest challenges that exist for MMO games is the fact that your Box sales (copies of the game) will never make you as much money as would your monthly subscriptions.

Blizzard has overcome this problem by producing a record number of 14+ MILLION subscriptions to the game worldwide. At the average rate of $14.99 per month Blizzard is making $209,860,000 A MONTH. That’s revenue of approximately $2,518,320,000 every year. Two and a half BILLION dollars a year.

Blizzard is not hurting for money, and the costs on keeping servers stable and running (which they don’t do a very good job of) is sub $10 million a year.

So why is the game taking a turn for the worse? Why are the classes losing their distinctions and more of the “devoted” fans leaving the game and yet blizzard is turning a blind eye? It’s the money!

You see, when you make a $2.5B yearly gross revenue for doing basically nothing, you are disinclined to change the game in a way that would cause people to be either frustrated or confused. As only 5-10% of the game’s population actually cares about the way their class works and not just the numbers they put out, Blizzard is free to do whatever they want with their game as long as it maintains mass appeal and is easy enough for anyone to feel like they are a champion.

Add to these facts the idea that Blizzard is primed to release Diablo 3… they want you to stop playing. They want you to go and buy D3 and forget about your monthly recurring subscription for a while. Re-read that last sentence real quick: Blizzard wants you to stop playing WoW and buy Diablo 3. It means more money for them if you forget to cancel and let your recurring subscription run for 2 months without playing.

After all that is said and done, Starcraft 2 comes out… a release for which they want the exact same effect.

Then you have the second generation WoW… You see where this is going I hope.

This is the problem with a game studio that has other active franchises developing an MMORPG. They, the studio, do not want you to stop playing their other games because this leads to people in that company who have domain over the IP (intellectual property) leaving and forming their own company. This, in turn, removes potential revenue from the big studio. To justify keeping those people from going out and stealing all that money they have to keep them onboard to develop their franchise, and for THAT to happen, people MUST play those games.

I think Blizzard is screwing up their game on purpose. I think this is a marketing strategy designed to keep us all from walking out the door and leaving blizzard with a mere shell of a $2.5B/Year gross income.


A Quick Rant on PvP in WoW

March 15, 2009

Surazc – Death Knight Tank

A long time ago a video was made and posted on youtube that was just over 30 seconds long. It made a simplistic depiction of WoW PvP combat using the analogy of Rock, Paper, Scissors. If you haven’t seen it, you should… right now. Go watch.

Or watch it here:

The reference I make here is to the traditional mechanic of balancing something in a game. The reason that PvP is currently (in this author’s opinion) unenjoyable is that Rogues are capable of beating every class in the game without much effort at all (except for possibly other rogues or mages). I’ve heard people attempt to argue this point with me by saying, “Trinket out of the kidney shot and you’ll be fine.”

The truth is that you WON’T be fine because a smart rogue will just blind you and resume his rotation. You die and you didn’t once get to play your character.

I would like to make it clear that Blizzard has fucked up pretty bad with the DK changes for this patch. Not because there are a lot of class nerfs, or changes to skills that cause us to lose damage, or little things changing like the duration on diseases… no. Blizzard fucked up this patch because they forgot that Death Knights are a hero class.

In an earlier post I made a reference to Star Wars Galaxies and how Jedi were what a hero class is supposed to be: difficult to obtain and beyond the scope of balance. Death Knights are NOT that class. We have been homogenized down to work exactly the same as every other melee DPS class. We have had defining talents removed from our trees. We have been changed to such an extent that now there is no such thing as an Unholy DK tank (unless he has > 59% avoidance unbuffed) any more, and Blood is almost to the same state (a 30 second Last Stand w/ bonus healing on a 1 minute CD is too good to invalidate blood as a tanking spec).

If Blizzard doesn’t get their act straight in the next 4 months, I quit. I’m making that publically known right now. I will most likely change all my account info and sell, or give away, my account. This is utterly ridiculous.

-Surazc Out