Archive for the “Relevant to my Interests” Category

Yesterday, the cinematic for Warlords of Draenor was released to much excitement.  At the end, was the release date for the game.  If you haven’t seen yet, I’ve thoughtfully provided it here.

It was a really well-done cinematic, but continues the trend of WoW cinematics becoming smaller and smaller in scope.  The cinematics for Vanilla and BC were broad, inclusive.  But then WotLK went small, focused on Arthas1. Cata broadened back out in one dimension, but we were notably missing. It might have gone big, but it was all about Deathwing.  The MoP cinematic focused on a single moment, by way of introducing kung-fu pandas.

And now, this one … again, we’re focused on a single moment in time.  An important moment, yes, but the scope is, well, small, and doesn’t have us anywhere in it.

This is perhaps the most complicated – or maybe the better term is convoluted – setup for an expansion to date. The problem is that while there is indeed one vector from the end of MoP – Garrosh’s escape and subsequent Marty McFly to Draenor of old – the rest of the setup requires knowledge of lore that has not been on our minds for over a decade.  And, because of this, because Blizz wants us to feel like we’re part of this, regardless, they’ve worked up a huge backstory.  We’ve gotten a comic. We’ve gotten history lessons. We’ve gotten a lot of build-up to the moment that is depicted in the trailer.

But it’s not enough. Because, even if we appreciate the enormity of what we see in this cinematic, we still can’t see ourselves in this trailer. We don’t see our place in this drama that is presented to us. For all the work put into this cinematic, the “intro” trailer of last year’s Blizzcon was actually a lot more exciting.  We’re going to Draenor!  See – there we are!

The scene being depicted in the trailer – as well as in the lead-in comic – is pivotal in Warcraft lore. The whispers around the electronic water fountains is that Blizz – as the 20th anniversary of Orcs vs Humans comes nigh – wants us all to appreciate where it All Came From.  They’re obviously missing the flavor of WOvH and want us all to experience that, to remember where we all came from.

But, as the trailer shows, that’s not going to happen.

Mannoroth has been put down. Gul’dan has been cowed; he’s considered an enemy of the state.  The Burning Legion will not be driving the Iron Horde, and that means that nothing that the Orcs did in the original Warcraft series will be part of this expansion. The invasion’s not even taking place in the same time-period – it’ll be in modern times, for some reason2 We’re not witnessing history here. The only part of that history that we get to see here is the players – on the Orcish side – themselves. There is no historical significance. There is only the cult of Orcish personality.

Orcs be savage and cool. Yo.

The only real history we can get from this is an appreciation of the significance of Grom dumping the cup of demon blood on the ground, the smugness of Garrosh as he mocks Gul’dan, and the beginning of an oddly-familiar3 portal structure.

And the only reason most of us ‘get’ that is because we were told so. Not by Blizzard, not via any of their story-telling mechanisms. Most of us weren’t paying that much attention when playing, or didn’t care, or – if you’re me – were busy playing other sorts of games. No, those of us that ‘get’ it probably ‘got’ it by reading up on it after the fact, and go, “Oh, that’s interesting” in the same way we noted that Churchill preferred a particular brand of cigar over others as he ordered the destruction of the French Navy.

Yeah, sure, that’s why we’re in Karazhan. Blah blah blah.  Pull, for Metzen’s sake, I’m not getting younger.

In the end, all I can say is this.  10 out 10 for execution, but 1 out of 1000 for relevancy.   And it answers none of the concerns many of us have on terms of relevancy and inclusiveness. The sorts of players that get into the back-slapping, chest-thumping, testosterone-driven culture depicted in that trailer just don’t give two shits about “lore”.

I’m starting to get a strong feeling that part of Blizz’s “getting back to the beginning” includes pushing away people that aren’t into this man-child power fantasy crap, and being okay with that.  I think a number of people that I know and respect have already picked up on that, and left the game for good because of it, which, again, Blizz is apparently okay with.

I may be slow to pick up on this, and I’m still on the fence, but it may be right there and I’m just not looking directly at it. Fortunately, one does not have to actually buy the expansion and play the expansion to figure this out for good. I may decide to wait to see, by proxy, how it’s playing out after release, and then decide whether to buy it or not. 

The upshot is that the cinematic – and thus far, none of the comics – have done nothing to assuage my concerns, or make me want to buy it, or assure me that if I buy it, I’m not contributing to funding a bunch of genetic throwbacks that should be working at a circus instead of a software company. The trailer, while “interesting” and “well executed”, is also … impenetrable.

If I were commissioning a trailer for a product that so many people had expressed doubts – or outright dislike – about, I’d ask that the trailer convey the kind of imagery that would bring those people back.  Instead, they presented one that actually reinforces the doubts and concerns that people have expressed.

I am convinced, at the end of the day, that the Blizzard public relations department is manned by drunken wombats that live in a bubble universe where information flows out, but never in.


  1. To be fair, that’s what the whole expansion was about, the ultimate Vanity Project if your name was Arthas. []
  2. Timey-wimey. []
  3. I say oddly, since I have no logical reason why two completely different parties are building the Dark Portal to look exactly the same way, especially given the Orcish fondless for spikes on everything including their breakfast cereal. []

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I normally don’t let a false sense of obligation drive my behavior. If I follow you on Twitter, I don’t expect you to reciprocate. Likewise, if you follow me, I don’t feel obligated to return the favor. I’ll have a look, but if it’s mostly Pokemon tweets, I won’t be following your stream, and you should be fine with that. It’s not a contest.

But there is one segment of our community1 that I do feel a bit of guilt towards, because I don’t generally follow them, ever.  That segment is our fine collection of WoW podcasters.

It isn’t that I don’t want to.  I don’t have a thing about this.  But what I DO have is a very bad case of ADHD.  Example: I can listen to someone talk in a podcast, and give it its proper level of attention. Or I can do my work, and do it right.  But not both.  And the only time I have to listen to things on my headphonaPod is when I’m sitting in front of a keyboard, writing software or hacking server configs or writing blog articles and so forth. 

So my moments of opportunity are nil.

The only time I generally listen to a podcast all the way through is (a) when it’s a music podcast (i.e. the "Above and Beyond" podcasts) or when I’m there to listen and nothing else.

Such was the case this past Sunday, as I sat myself down and listened to the Twisted Nether podcast with Alas.  Hey, she was there for me when they were hard up enough to ask me on, so I was going to return the favor.  And while I was there I chatted along with the peeps there, and had a great time!  The fact that I was up until 2AM is irrelevant. It was a blast.

I’ll be doing it again this weekend since they’re having Godmother on, someone that I have great respect and affection for. The poor lady’s going to be up at (mumble mumble add add add) something in between 5 AM and 7AM to do this, there’s just no way I’m not going to show a friendly face after that kind of effort on her part.

But in general, I don’t do podcasts, and it’s nothing personal.  And since I would only recommend something I knew something about, I generally don’t endorse and/or retweet or whatever for podcasters, and that’s again not because I hate the podcasts, but because I’ll never recommend something I know nothing about.  As my author friends will attest, I won’t even recommend their book until I read it!

So there’s my secret podcasty guilt, for all to see. I hope you will understand!


  1. He used that WORD! :-O []

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Every now and then it happens.

I’ll be tending my auctions in Darnassus when the cry goes out: Darnassus is under attack!

Usually I ignore it so as to not disrupt the flow of my auction-tending, but occasionally it takes place while I’m in between tasks, and, for whatever reason, I wander off to see what’s what.

This time of year, of course, all the little scrubs come dribbling in from the portal and make a beeline for Tyrande.  Usually. On one or two occasions it’s been a coordinated raid, which it’s wise to stay out of the way of unless they make nuisances of themselves.  But the little solo raiding divas … well, that’s another matter.

Especially if they’re dicks.

Yesterday, for example, some douche canoe Shaman decided to camp the flight master.  He wasn’t’ looking to bounce Tyrande. He was just sitting there, waiting for the flight master to respawn, then killing him again, rinse repeat, /spit.

This sort of scumbag gets my dander up, so I’ll often give them a pop or three, regardless of whether they pwn my priestly butt or not.  But more often than not, at least lately, I’ve noticed that I’ve had a better than expected success rate, and that gets me thinking about putting together a moderate crafted PvP set (I’m a tailor after all).  This is Probably A Bad Idea.

I don’t do well in high-pressure personal confrontations like world PvP.  I can’t explain that in any way other than the adrenaline kicks in, I get jittery and shaky, and my heart rate ratchets up by an order of magnitude. Battlegrounds and Arenas are a different matter, mentally, for some reason.  That world PvP just … pushes a button, I guess.  So it’s overall an unpleasant experience.

Still, I do it. And while it is small potatoes to most PvPers, getting [That Takes Class] on the Shammy is gratifying.

(Forgetting about his self-rez … not so much)

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Welp, we enter the week leading up to Blizzcon 2013, and everybody in the twitterverse is all excite. There has been a lot of speculation about what we might see at this fabled gathering this year. Allow me to contribute my hysterical speculations.

What we know

  • 5.4.0 is the final content patch for Mists. What we’re looking at is pretty much as far as this goes for this expansion – it’s the ICC of Pandaria.  Which more or less leaves us to our own devices until the next expansion, which has not been announced at this time. Yes, there is a 5.4.1, for which you have already received a patch (though it doesn’t do much yet). That’s a far cry from more real content though.
  • Ergo if there are any "content" patches beyond 5.4.0, we can probably expect more time-killing activities ala land-of-the-endless-dailies or Timeless Isle (this is more opinion than fact).
  • We also have this roadmap, posted in 2007 and allegedly from 2003 which has proven to be extremely accurate in general terms. You can see all the pieces here, though sometimes they arrive in different order than originally planned. For example, Pandaria was originally going to be a part of a far larger expansion, from the looks of it, which would have included bits of the Cata expansion as well.  I guess what I’m saying here is that looking here for direction is not entirely out of line, based on past experience, but it requires a heavy amount of interpretation.
  • If one goes by that roadmap, we have one major piece not yet addressed – The Burning Legion.

 

Now we Speculate

What follows is a series of thoughts based on what we have seen out in the wider internets. I’m not claiming to know what’s going to happen, but I do reserve the right to crow just a little for each item I get right. :)

There will be an expansion announced

That’s probably obvious to most, but it should be noted that Blizz has not stated that there will be. Reasonably, the announcement will take place on the first day.  What we see is "World of Warcraft: What’s Next" and World of Warcraft: The Adventure Continues" when we look at the Blizzcon schedule.

What we do NOT see is availability of the expansion for playtesting, as we had with MoP.  I do NOT recall if that was actually part of the schedule last time.  It would be helpful to be able to remember.

Given all the above, however, one thing we do know is that we’re done with MoP.  If they don’t announce here, it’ll be at some smaller trade show later on, and I don’t think they’re going to do that to their flagship product.

Ergo, now is the time.

The expansion will involve the Burning Legion.

We don’t have a lot to go on here except for that fabled road map.  Considering its accuracy, I’m inclined to look to it for inspiration.

There is also the fact that many, many of the in-game and out-of-game lore pieces have been very strongly focused on the Legion and things around it.  The adventures of Anduin, for example, as well as Wrathion.  We KNOW the Legion is going to be a huge part of WoW at some point, it’s a confrontation that is being teased in lore and legend and prophesy. Between them and the Old Gods, we’re looking at 80% of what threatens Azeroth. Maybe more.

The expansion will be called "Warlords of Draenor"

I admit this may be premature, in that the trademark was applied for outside the US and only a week before the Con.  However, it does fit in with the story arc we’ve been uncovering.

An alternate, The Dark Below, does have some bearing on the Old Gods thread, but if I remember correctly, that was discredited not long after it appeared in trademark sites.

One should also remember that the same trademark sites have been used for the Warlords title, and take both with a grain of salt.

The expansion will involve a new, "lost" continent of Draenor.

One should remember that Outland was not Draenor, but simply a part of it, one continent on a larger world. Given Blizz’s penchant for pulling entire lost continents out of their electronic butts, doing so on a world about which we know SO LITTLE makes a certain amount of sense.

Also, discovery of this continent leads us to …

Alleria and Turalyon will return

turalalleriaTheory: they found their way onto the lost continent and were either detained or could not find the way back.  After many years of research and hard work, they’ve opened a portal that leads back to the dormant one in Zangarmarsh.  Or maybe Blizz invents some new sort of Twisted Nether transport vehicle similar to a cross between an airship and a sailboat  (The AD&D Astral plane was full of such vehicles, and they were super cool).  After many years and with the assistance of a stranded colony of Ethereals, they have returned in style.

It should be noted that these two have been teased for at least two expansions in the "hints and tips" pane of the loading screen – which is one reason I leave that feature turned on.

EtherealThe Ethereals are a new player race

I’m not sure if they’ll be a new player race similar to the Pandas or not (bi-factional) or if they’ll belong to one faction and some other race fill in for the other.  If the latter, I have no idea who it would be.

It’s all weaksauce regardless. I am basing this on the merest whiff of a hint dropped here and there.

But if they are a new player race, I bet the starting zone is associated with where Alleria and Turalyon were stranded.

Outland will not get a revamp

There was a lot of joyful / hysterical speculation in Twitter especially that Outland would at last get its remodel and quest streamlining.  I doubt this myself because (a) the Cata remodel of Azeroth was not a cracking success and (b) they hate going back to old stuff.

There was the Twitter sub-thread that Outland would be revamped and be NEW content for the new expansion.  I doubt this because then they’d have to fill in the 60-70 leveling gap from bits of Azeroth and/or Northrend, and I doubt they want to do something so complicated.   HOWEVER, I do consider this to be more likely than revamping it "just because". 

The new level cap will be 100

The most blatant clue about this is that several BoA items drop from Garrosh that "require level 90 to 100", which is an odd thing for the tooltip to say if the next expansion is good for only five levels, I think you’d agree.

The less obvious clues are back in that roadmap.  It’s fairly clear from looking at it that bits of Wrath, Cata, and MoP were meant to come together as one large expansion.  For example, Worgen were possibly supposed to be part of the same expansion as Pandarens. And, thus, the remaining pieces do seem to come together as a whole expansion, rather than a mini-expansion such as what we’ve been getting.

There are no indications of any new class

That’s not entirely true.  Consider the Pandaren.  Outside of the roadmap doc, the only reference to Pandaren in game terms was as a practical joke or two. Blizz insisted that there could be no possible way that they’d ever make it into the game as a serious race.

What class has also been likewise the source of jokes and amusement?  Why, the Bard, of course!  So there’s that.

More likely, though, I think we might see another attempt at a Hero Class, this time with less problems than the DK rollout.  Possible candidates: that have been hinted at here and there: Archdruid (from Druid, possibly from Stormrage himself), Archmage (from Mage, possibly from Jaina), Necromancer (Warlock, possibly related to the Green Fire quest line), Ranger (from Hunter, possibly via Alleria), and Vindicator (from Paladin, possibly related to Turalyon)

Since this is such an empty bucket, anything that fills it will be no particular surprise.

Release will be in the Holiday timeframe, 2014

I know, someone once asked me, "surely you can’t expect people to wait 14 months for an expansion?"  This’ll be closer to 12, which is a reasonable cycle but one that is largely devoid of content, nonetheless.

Expect beta testing to be over the summer, with the final polish going on around August.

Will they announce that this is the schedule. Well, they never have before, so I’m doubtful.

YOU FACE JARAXXUS

Crap. Not again.

Seriously, we need the Dance Studio for this one. Obviously.

Anything else?

Probably. I could hope to see things like ink-derived armor dye, but there is no indication. We’ll probably see at least one more trade skill streamlined as Blacksmithing has. But most people will focus on the Big Picture, and who can blame them?

Bottom line is, I have a suspicion about where things will go, but no hard facts to back it up.  Clues are not facts.

I do, however, think this particular story line would be very, very cool.

I’ll be watching this as much as anyone else.  Excite!

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Last week I killed myself.  I enjoyed it.  I had served my purpose, but it was time for me to go, to make room for myself.

Let me essplain.

Way back in the mists of time, around 2010-2011 timeframe, you may recall I abandoned my longtime guild on Alleria to seek out a more amicable raiding environment. 

I ended up on Azuremyst, raiding with the excellent guild Eff the Ineffable, lead by the dopest of all the GMs, Alas the ever-bubbly and yet fearsomest.  We didn’t do too bad and actually managed to drop the endgame boss for Cata while it was still a thing.

Alas and many others – our core raiding team, really – went off to play with lightsabres, and the new management was unable to hold things together and we stalled out on Elegon.

There was talk at that point of joining Alas and a couple of our other former Effers on another server1 and maybe contributing to the raiding there.  But my broken bandwidth and an outflux of players in the new guild resulted not only in no raids but also in Alas and others leaving the game completely.

An empty guild that has nothing but strangers is no fun, and as a result, Grimmtooth hasn’t been in play hardly at all.  Until today.

killing grimmtooth

Grimmtooth Jr has been holding my spot on Alleria since that day that I moved off to AZ. Every saturday, he runs one quest, to ensure he didn’t get marked idle. He started his own guild, he got a bank, he’d been helping to stash and warehouse stuff for the team, but his services are no longer required.  So I killed him.

And now I’m back where it all began, on Alleria.  I don’t expect I’ll get much raiding done – Jasra’s too much in demand – but I don’t really mind at this point. It’s just nice to be back among friendly faces.  Our little social guild may not be a realm-firster, or even raiding current content with success, but every night you can see at least a handful of people hanging out, doing their thing and having a good time.

It’s good to be home.


  1. I’m deliberately not saying which. []

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So, as posted on the EU community website, Cosmetic helms are now for sale in the cash shop Blizzard Store. And if you’re into gaudy, they’re not bad.

First of all: 15 US dollars1 is not a microtransaction. I don’t care what your favorite omnibus WoW website says, I don’t care what your favorite MMO forum site says.  The cost of a month’s game time is not a microtransaction. So don’t call it that, and we’ll get along fine.2

Next item: will it affect the game at all?  I can’t really see how, other than consuming precious frame rate.  Seriously, what would a 25-man raid look like with these on everyone?  Will a new Alliance battleground strat involve wearing these and lagging the Horde out?  Considering that it’s gotten zero beta time, these are actually kinda relevant questions. But I’m SURE they’ve gotten EXTENSIVE testing in-house3.

Item the third: when will this hit the US?  Days? Hours? Before this post goes up4Update:  I found out at 2 PM (two hours after publish) that they’re now available in the US.

Item the fourth: what next?  Will we see matching robes, shoulders, cloaks? And sidebar: will the WoW punditry also insist on calling those other items "microtransactions" if they cost 15 bucks5?

The big one: how long until we see pay-to-win items?  And does this indeed signal the final death rattle of WoW6?

that escalated quickly

Oops, sorry, accidentally plugged in to a forum.

The personal one: I’d almost buy the Firelord helm for Flora if she was into gaudy baubles. But in general none of this stuff speaks to my nature.  I seriously doubt that they’ll ever introduce a mog set that says "I work for a living" rather than "I’d like to think that I raid stuff you can’t even imagine."

The thoughtful one: It’s not just this stuff.  So much WoW raiding tier and its predecessor gear looks so hideous to me.  It’s covered with horns, and glitter, and flanges, and glitter, and orbs, and glitter, and ropey things, and glitter, and then they add glitter. SOME of the old vanilla tier stuff is okay7 but for the most part, Blizz is in love with its art department, and its art department all apparently majored in "Ming the Merciless’ Court Trappings".

You thought I was joking

But the thing is, they wouldn’t keep getting more ridiculous with every tier if it weren’t for the users wanting, or at least encouraging it. Those of us that want a more functional approach to awesomeness are not as vocal or as profitable.

I am very much of the opinion that awesomeness is not a function of frills and special effects.  The most iconic weapons are often very much, shall we say, to the point.

Anduril, Flame of the West

Rather than …

I blame Cloud

Maybe Ming wasn’t at fault after all. :)

If you can’t please everyone, the best you can do is give them choices, and that’s where mogging came in in the first place. You may recall my own mogging preferences are somewhat more functional than what my armor actually looks like8. And there are others that go the other way – well, I can certainly see the attraction of some Ulduar and Icecrown gear.

The Cheap One: What I would love to see with this sort of throwaway mog fodder is for it to (also) be sold for in-game currency of some sort, especially near the end of an expansion when people have piles of tokens and nothing to blow them on.  It would be a great JP dump, or Greater Tokens, or Halfhill Tokens, or what have you.

An even better approach would be to (a) make the items purchasable for a new special token type, (b) make it so you could buy that token in the cash shop (e.g.Neverwinter Zen), and (3) then also make that token purchasable for varying amounts of other in-game tokens, such as JP, Darkmoon tokens, etc.  That way, if one particular faction grind was "your thang", then you could, oh, I dunno, enjoy yourself while playing a game.

Because here’s the bottom line for me: they could make the perfect Hunter garb of all time available, and I’d not buy it for cash, not ever. I’m paying that much a month already.  I’m not even sure I’d pay for it if it was F2P.   Virtual items are pretty much gone as soon as you stop playing the game.  Game time, for all its ephemeral nature, gives you a month’s worth of enjoyment, whereas a hat isn’t even usable unless you pay more money.

But I might grind for it.

The Final One: The Godmother over at Alt:ernative had an interesting thought (or a dozen) about the cash shop9, one which was the sale of armor dyes.  I do want armor dyes.  I especially want one like the one in Diablo III that makes your shoulder pieces go away. But I categorically do not want them to be part of the cash shop.  Special colors? Possible.  In general?  Not.  It might be close to a deal-breaker for me, a last sign of cynical money-grubbing from a company that swore up and down that Activision wouldn’t do that to it.  I can only swallow so much hypocrisy, and that would probably mark the high water10 line.

Doing so would also eliminate one of the potential fun elements in-game: making of dyes.  I personally think this would be a great product for Scribes to make11 since they already have all sorts of dyes in the bank.  I think it would be great if they managed to exploit ALL of the herbs from Peacebloom to Golden Lotus to make different armor dyes.  They could just keep adding different shades of dye as new herbs came into being.  Heck, Ghost Mushrooms would be perfect for making armor invisible!12

I kind of doubt that will happen, though. I could be wrong, but they seem to be pushing down hard on the crafting game, and it’s starting to look like there is either a paradigm shift about to happen, or they’re starting to dismantle crafting as an mainstream part of the game. Certainly, it has problems.

It’ll be interesting to see where this goes.  At least the potential cash mounts will give us more people to admire as they preen on the bank steps and RP walk around Stormwind.

swaggah


Or something.


  1. That’s 12 Euro on this date. []
  2. We are straying dangerously into pet peeve territory, yes? []
  3. Kaff kaff /points at Theramore []
  4. Looks like: "no". []
  5. My money is on "yes". []
  6. I’m out of sarcasm tags, so use your "imagination". []
  7. Though that Rogue helm that looks like a respirator mask is just stupid. []
  8. I mean, if I was wearing my tier gear, you wouldn’t be able to see my head, even with the helm hidden! []
  9. She’s on a roll, folks. []
  10. Well, it looks like water from a distance. []
  11. I know, I know, just throw more money at them. []
  12. If they do this, seriously, I want a quarter for every game they sell. []

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When I get ranty, I tend to pound out around 2000-3000 words of pure snark and outrage, then spend several days tweaking and adjusting and, yes, most definitely, deleting. Because even though a good rant is a thing of beauty, my rants tend to lean in a hurtful direction initially, and I have to go back and trim out the potentially offensive stuff (well, if it’s not deserved …).

I mention this not to emphasize the fact that I have trollish tendencies, but to illustrate why, so many times, these sort of things get posted so late in the rant cycle. In fact, I’d say a good 60% or more never get posted at all, simply because I can’t de-toxify them fast enough to keep them relevant.

As it turns out, yesterday’s rant came in just under the wire, though I had no idea at the time that that would be the case.  As a rant, it stands on its own, but as a meaningful comment on the current state of the Hunter, it’s already obsolete.

Late in the night last night, Lore posted a few changes to the class that directly address concerns in the post I lined in MMO-C.

Regarding Stampede: We’re happy with the damage it’s currently putting out in PvP. For PvE, we’re planning to buff its damage pretty heavily, so it becomes a substantially more potent DPS cooldown. We don’t want to give it any more utility than it has now, for reasons we’ve explained at length already.

So this emphasizes what GC was saying about the intended purpose of Stampede1 in the first place – it’s intended as a DPS cooldown, not a utility cooldown, and thus they’re upping the damage to make it “worth your while”  My opinion, of course, is that any insta-cast ability that bring even a sliver of additional damage is worthwhile anyway. But more is always welcome.

Readiness is still under heavy discussion, and we haven’t made a final decision on what we’re going to do with it in 5.4. At the moment, we’re leaning towards just removing the ability entirely and giving the affected abilities shorter cooldowns or charges to compensate. If we end up taking that route, we will buff Hunter damage (most likely across the board, not just specific abilities), but as I mentioned, we’re still discussing.

I’m good with removing it, as it reduces the clutter of my startup anyway, and it never worked across the board for all abilities in a consistent way (e.g. Stampede). However, adding “charges” to abilities looks fraught with possibilities, mostly negative. There’s the potential for bugs that don’t get caught on the PTR2, and there’s the potential for complicating an already complicated rotation.

Demonology warlocks, for example,  will already know one of these pitfalls with Hand of Gul’dan; it has two charges, both available initially, and both with separate cooldown timers. Do you put both down immediately?3  Do you stagger them, and if so, how much? And so forth.

Ponder-worthy as we move forward.

Murder of Crows vs Blink strike is also still under heavy discussion. Our goal (with all talents) is that active abilities used properly will outperform passive ones. We haven’t decided yet what adjustments we’ll make to achieve that in 5.4.

Generally speaking, an explicit action when compared to a passive ability usually involves some sort of cast time, which is where a passive becomes so attractive for classes with very crowded rotations. In this case, there is no cast time involved, so the passive is actually less attractive if it doesn’t bring damage commensurate with the active ability.  I think here they need to shoot for parity rather than supremacy.

I also like the phrase, “talents used properly.”  That has to be a dig at someone – who, we may never know.

Scatter/Silencing Shot: We don’t consider interrupts to be mandatory in PvE.4

Thank you.

Now, to clarify, what I am pretty sure Lore means here is that they don’t consider interrupts to be mandatory for hunters.  Anyone that’s raided anything at all knows that interrupts of some sort are absolutely, positively, without any doubt, mandatory for the raid.

If a Hunter would rather not take the Glyph of Scattered Thoughts, there are plenty of other players in the raid who could take on the responsibility.

Thank you.

We like Silencing Shot as a Marksman perk overall, but we’re still discussing things. We may end up making a baseline Interrupting Shot that gets upgraded to Silencing Shot if you spec Marksman.

In fact, this has already shown up on the PTR – it’s called Counter Shot.  Currently an NPC ability, but available to a PTR Hunter near you starting immediately.

Speaking of spec differences, we agree that Hunter rotations feel cooler when your signature shots do a lot more damage than other shots, and we’ll discuss that some more. That’s part of the reasoning behind the Arcane Shot changes – our hope is that saving up more Focus for a bigger hit will feel better than firing off smaller shots more regularly.

This seems strangely disconnected from my experience as a Hunter, in that I rarely need to “save up” focus for anything, and I rarely lack focus to use my signature shot, thanks to appropriate use of Cobra Shot to keep focus above a certain point5.

Besides, reducing the cost of Arcane Shot seems to be counter to encouraging the preferential use of OTHER abilities.  Unless they mean that by reducing the cost here, they’re making focus available for other shots so that they get used more often.  Again, I hardly ever delay the cast of my signature ability over focus costs, so I’m not sure where this is coming from.

What I WILL say is that I feel like “Arcane Shot” is a bizarre ability for Hunters, period, now that we don’t use mana.

As to overall Hunter performance and utility, we don’t think the issues are with the Hunter class specifically. Instead, we think that certain other classes are overperforming (in both) at the moment. Fixing those outliers will, in turn, make a good Hunter more attractive for their raid spot. You may have seen some (but not all) changes along those lines on the PTR already.

OH JUST PUT A “KICK ME” SIGN ON OUR BACKS.

Realize that every nerf from now on out will be blamed on Hunters.


  1. Tooltip reflects current 5.3 damage. []
  2. Always happens. []
  3. They stack. []
  4. The second response after Lore’s post immediately disagreed with him on this. []
  5. 40 for Kill Command, for example. []

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Maybe you heard.  Them busy datamining gnomes done went and found something interesting.

If what they found is to be believed, in 5.4 or at some point in the not too distant future, you will be able to buy a potion that will double your XP from killing mobs and doing quests.

Two things come to mind.

  1. If it costs a significant portion of your subscription fee (or more!) then it is not a microtransaction. Just stop calling $25 companions and mounts a "microtransaction", for Light’s sake. You just look like you have no idea what you’re talking about1.
  2. Blizzard still has issues coming to grips with the problem.

That second thing needs a bit of explaining.

The entire goal of things like this supposed elixir are to bypass the leveling game.  Other devices like the Scroll of Resurrection and so forth do this as well – by increasing your XP gain rate, they shorten the amount of time you spend leveling.  They’ve also beefed up the XP gain rate for the content of entire expansions in order to achieve the same thing.  Entire zones have been revamped to make it easier to level through them, more efficiently.

So what’s wrong with this is that there are plenty of people that like the leveling game.  There is the original game and four expansions’ worth of content that can’t all be experienced organically by one character.  Things like these potions don’t really impact it, but any time Blizz does something to marginalize an entire zone, it DOES impact people that enjoy the older / earlier zones.

But as long as Blizzard fails to acknowledge and act on the ultimate problem, they’ll keep doing this.  It’s wasteful and annoying.

What they need to do is just sell pre-made level 90 characters.

Things like this elixir have that in mind, they just don’t go far enough.

What they’ll tell you is that they want to make things easier on people that want to bring a new class to raiding.  Fair enough.  So just short circuit the whole leveling game and give them a 90.  Charge 25 bucks and the leetsauce raiders will just lap it up.

So, no, I don’t have a problem with you if you want to ignore 95% of the game content on your frantic climb to 90.  I’d just prefer they spend fewer resources getting you there.

Leave the old zones alone. Stop selling elixirs.  Stop treating the leveling game like it’s such a chore, and just give people what they want.  You’ll be happier, I’ll be happier, and we’ll all have somebody new to lump in with "e-bayers".


  1. No, not going there. []

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One of the benefits of having multiple max level toons on the team is that each contributes in his or her own special way.  I make flasks and potions, and do transmutes for sale.  Illume makes glyphs for sale and our own use.  Jas runs the auctions and provides bags.  Each of us provide armor and weapons as we can make them.

Illume has some pretty sweet items in her bag of tricks -  the fan is already mine, but the staff requires Spirits of Harmony, an item you can’t just go buy or mail to an alt. 

So, what to do other than start grinding with the mage and get her inventory full of Spirits.  The goal is to get her to 90, then get her grinding the Tillers so she can plant songbells. This will keep things moving along for future stuff as well.

The point of this is to get my iLevel up to where I can queue for things like daily heroic scenarios and stuff. I’ve been grinding the Darkspear weekly when it makes sense, but weapons are not part of the rewards, alas.

It’s kinda weird going at it from two fronts like that, but whatever works, works.

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I don’t usually shill or endorse for any organizations, I figure you’re marginally less interested in reading that sort of stuff than, say, my warlock’s mogging choices.  But sometimes I make an exception.

If you are not familiar with the charity Child’s Play, let me summarize. No. It is too much. Let me sum up.  Child’s Play is a charity founded by the Penny Arcade gang for purposes of turning the rabid gaming masses into a source of comfort for sick children.  I lost count, but last I looked the organization is responsible for over ten million dollars’ worth of toys and games going to children’s hospitals. Gamers are just awesome like that.

One of the WoW arms of this effort is Iron Man Mode, a comedy site that uses the "iron man" gaming method (i.e. if you die, even once, you’re done) to entertain you and obtain fundage for Child’s Play.  Last year they raised over $1000, this year they’re aiming to double it.

So if you were looking for a way to enrich somebody’s life, and consider sick kids a worthy beneficiary, why not go through Iron Man’s site to do it, and make even more people happy?

Okay, end of sales pitch. I return you now to my epic series, "what my alt found in her belly button lint, and how it means that Blizzard is doomed."

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