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Category: World of Warcraft

Drama-llama-ding-dong

thunderSo the past 3 weeks has been pretty bloody stressful, with guild drama upon guild drama meaning I quit Thunder.

The 2 weekends before last (one of which was even after I’d quit) were very difficult, and saw us bleed members for a short while.

A lot of drama caused by someone (an officer no less) who liked to bully and manipulate guild members but took offence at being punished for doing so!

On his way out he tried (and failed) to smear the remaining officer structure and sow mistrust in those left, in order to try and destroy the guild. So he was removed, but not before causing a huge amount of drama and taking a lot of his clique with him. But the whole drama also sadly caused some long term members of the guild to leave for other pastures as well. I’m still hopeful we can get some of these members to reconsider and return soon.

After I quit I received a tonne of forum PM’s, whispers, emails, Facebook messages & posts etc all asking me to reconsider my stepping away from the guild. Given how much the people still left there showed how much they care, I decided that I would come back. However this time things will be different.

For a start, we’ve re-instated the Guild Council, of which I am now a part. We have 5 people now back in charge of the guild, rather than it all resting on one person’s shoulders. Being sole GM of a guild like Thunder was too much stress, and it burnt out the 2 people to hold the role, so the council structure works best for us. We’ll be running with a smaller officer core as well, covering those roles not already covered by members of the GC. Our raid leaders, previously officers, will no longer be part of the officer structure, as skills required for one job (RL) didn’t necessarily automatically mean that the person was going to be a good officer. It worked for a while, but then people started thinking that they were untouchable and could treat others however they liked, no matter how badly.

So asses were handed, doors were shown, and we lost a fair few bodies.

However, Thunder survives. It has done for 9 years and will continue to do so. We resume raiding this week now that the dust has settled and we can begin again, as we do with every guild split that we’ve undergone during those 9 years. I’ve been in Thunder now for 6 of those 9 years, and I’ve been through this same situation about 7 or 8 times now, and each time we carry on, resolute. The same can’t be said of the majority of guilds birthed from Thunder, and no doubt, somewhere down the line, we’ll get some of those that left looking to come back. In fact we’ve already had a few return already

The people who stayed (and there are still plenty) are the core of what I consider makes Thunder the great guild it’s always been: Mature, relaxed, fun to be around, and not prone to drama!

So that’s why I’ve been quiet for the past few weeks. Dealing with drama llamas and the shit that they attempted to fling.

And in order to help me deal with the stress, I’ve moved my druid to Alliance on a PvP server, and joined a small guild there with some Thunder guildies and some new people. It’s a nice change, and the server seems pretty cool as well, fairly mature and not full of kids spewing bile like quite a lot of other PvP servers whose populations I’ve had dealings with. I’ll probably move my Alliance Hunter over there as well. Not that there’s a lot of world PvP happens (which is good for me, being the PvE Care Bear that I am), because the server population is split something ridiculously skewed like 1,000:1!

So I expect I’ll be splitting my time between Horde & Alliance now, especially more so as I level my druid (and probably the hunter too) up to 100 and begin gearing. Not that I’ll be raiding there, but it always helps when soloing old content and making gold

 

Anyhoo, drama over, stress relieved and time to return to the regularly scheduled programming!

6.1: Nearly 2 years with 1 content patch?

So 6.1 launches today if you’re in the US and tomorrow in the EU, and it’s bringing a few changes worthy of note.

Glyphs

First up, one of our previous mainstay glyphs, Glyph of the Alabaster Shield, which had been previously nerfed by 70%, has now been nerfed 100%, as in it’s gone! Blizzard have removed it completely from the game, mainly for the purposes of choice. When something becomes mandatory across all fights, Blizzard tend to dislike it and either nerf it, or, as the case is here, remove it completely.

The other glyph change is Glyph of Harsh Words is now no longer usable by Prot. This means no more trading up pure survivability for DPS.

Seals

Seal of Truth? Gone! Prot no longer has any access to use SoT in 6.1. Similar to the situation with Alabaster Shield, first it got nerfed, and now it’s been removed completely for us. Ret still have access to it, so it’s still in the game, but it’s specifically not accessible for Prot now.

Talents

As a result of the SoT removal, Empowered Seals is obviously impacted with only 2 seals to twist now. On top of that simplification, the remaining 2 seal buffs have, well, been buffed. Judging using Seal of Insight has seen an increase from regenerating 1% of your max health every 2 seconds for 20 seconds (0.5% per second) to 2% every 3 seconds for 21 seconds (0.66% per second).

Well woop. Colour me excited.

A little more exciting is the buff from Seal of Righteousness: The haste buff it provides has been boosted from +15% haste for 20 seconds to +20% haste for 20 seconds.

With the removal of SoT we no longer get the attack power buff at all.

Models

Of course the other big news with 6.1 (for me and most Horde Paladins) is the new Belf models get released as well. Now, I’m pretty happy overall with the update, as the female Belf models look great. And the males look great now as well, although most of the males suffer inexplicably from duck face.

However, the face I used on most of my Female Belfs (#3 fact fans) has been replaced by some horrific smiling face that resembles my old character’s face in no way whatsoever.

So it’s either pick a new face (bleurgh) or go male Belf, which is a possibility, at least for a while. I don’t really like playing Taurens, as they’re too big and slow and clunky for me :/

Misc

The only other changes in this patch are minor things: Heirloom tab and Twitter integration.

The Heirloom tab is handy, as it will clean up bags a bit further still, and make them truly account wide, but it does mean having to re-enchant each new copy you make.

The twitter integration? On a par with the Selfie camera they’re introducing with a new garrison mission.

Aaaaaand, that’s it really.

6.1, AKA the I’m on a diet patch: Guaranteed 95% content free.

That means, remarkably we’ve had 1 (count em – the expac launch itself) content patch since September 2013.

Let me repeat that:

ONE CONTENT PATCH BETWEEN SEPTEMBER 2013 AND JULY 2015: NEARLY 2 FULL YEARS!

 

Reasoning: 6.2 is likely another 5 months away, so that means, unbelievably, that we will have gone nearly 2 years (22 months) with 1 patch that actually carried content: from just after the release of Siege of Orgrimmar through the launch of Warlords itself right up to 6.2 in July-ish.

That’s…..not good enough. In fact it’s downright awful.

Blizzard really seem to have gotten into this groove of producing one great expansion followed up by a terrible one. And right now, at this very moment, Cataclysm has a very strong contender for worst expansion pack ever. Especially if 6.2’s raid instance is the final tier of the expansion, then that would cement it.

Will the community abide such a horrific content drought? Especially after so many left during Siege, only to come back hopeful that WoD would re-invigorate the game?

I guess we’ll find out…

“Get Better Items”: Arguing for the return of reforging


[blizzardquote author=”Bashiok” source=”http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/16285109103?page=8#151″]

Itemization and Stats

Their original reason for removing Reforging was the fact that everyone was using it solely to maintain Hit and Expertise cap. with those two stats gone, I legitimately see no reason why Reforging cannot be brought back and used in the way it was originally designed for.

That was one part, but the bigger part was that it doesn’t actually improve the game experience. There are still soft caps for some stats, but ultimately Reforging just didn’t provide any engaging gameplay to get an item and then reforge it to whatever your best stat is based on a sim or recommendation from a website. That’s not creating engaging gameplay. If the desire for Reforging is based on “I’d like to make my items better by picking the stats I want more.” the simpler answer there, and the one that does create engaging gameplay and interaction with the game world and other players, is “Get better items.”[/blizzardquote]


The above post, quoted from the official forums, is indicative of Blizzard’s attitude when it comes to loot drops at the moment. To me it shows that they’re burying their heads in the sand when it comes to valid complaints about the current gear system in place in Warlords: LALALA I CAN’T HEAR YOU!

However, since the removal of reforging was announced with Warlords at Blizzcon 2013, I have always agreed with the original poster’s comment that with Hit & Expertise gone, Reforging was at that point freed up to serve its primary function – allow players to customise their current stats more to their own personal liking. As others in that thread later pointed out, players can go weeks, tiers, maybe even entire expansions not seeing a specific item or indeed items drop for them. Either via personal loot or the old boss drop method.

Case in point: Vial of Living Corruption, the tank cooldown trinket from Malkorok back in SoO? I raided SoO for over a full YEAR, and didn’t see this drop once, not until the final week of the expansion, prior to Warlord’s launch, did it actually drop for me.

Similarly this expansion, I’m still raiding and this coming reset heading into Heroic Blackrock Foundry, with a 645 weapon from a follower mission (no raid drops yet), but more heinously an iLevel 630 blue quality shield from heroic 5 mans, because again, no raid drops there.

Granted, reforging wouldn’t help with any of the above mentioned situations. Fair point.

But what it does do, is to re-inforce the point that sometimes it’s next to bloody impossible to “Get Better Items“. I find Bashiok’s response to the poster’s very valid question somewhat redundant and not a little bit disingenuous.

Is raiding with gimped stats because of sub-par itemisation and items what Blizzard really classifies as “engaging gameplay”? Is bashing your head against RNG, sometimes for over a year in the same bloody raid tier what Blizzard classifies as “engaging gameplay”?

I for one certainly don’t think it’s engaging in any way, shape or form. In fact it’s more likely to make me want to stop raiding if I’m constantly having to run with sub-par items because I can’t seem to get anything better. Doing so makes me feel like I’m running with gear that’s not up to the job, and that I’m potentially holding back my raid team because I’m not as optimised as I could be if Reforging were still in the game.

Not only to allow me to optimise my gear, but to actually help create the much vaunted “engaging gameplay” by optimising my gearset for the stats I find to be more fun and useful, like Haste & Crit. Certainly Mastery for Prot paladins is fine, but Multistrike and Versatility are no-one’s friends. And recently Blizzard have admitted that Versatility, one of the new stats they introduced in Warlords, is no-one’s best stat.

I wouldn’t expect it to survive the expansion’s end. Flowers to Mrs Versatility, a small family service is to be held later.

Hopefully, Blizzard will re-consider. Perhaps not within the lifetime of WoD, but will it see a return in the next expansion…?

We can but hope!

Mythic: Was it worth it?

thunder

Before I get talking about Mythic, I want to talk about our own progression in BRF. With Thunder doing our normal business of starting off nice and slow, and building up to a finish, we’ve begun in Blackrock Foundry in Normal Mode,  and so far we’ve got up to 9/10 down inside of the first 4 nights, and we’re going to be starting work on Blackhand next night out.

We intend to get cracking in Heroic next reset, so we’ve a full night on Blackhand to get him down in Normal mode before we move onto heroic. I’m hoping it’s not going to be a situation like Highmaul where we only kill the final boss a handful of times, but the main difference here is we’ve got BRF until the next full raid tier comes out in 6.2.

6.1 hasn’t even dropped yet, so it looks like we’ve got ourselves BRF for at least another 5/6 months.

Personally I think separating the instances like this was a mistake, as realistically no-one’s going to go back now to Highmaul, especially given the difference in gear levels; Normal mode BRF drops gear only 5 iLevels below Heroic Highmaul! Hardly something worth worrying about in all honesty, although no doubt the min-maxers amongst you would argue otherwise!

So effectively there’s content that’s already invalidated, 3 months into the expansion! 


Mythic: Was it worth it?

Anyhow, a world away from Thunder in the race for world first, Midwinter this very morning have leaped to the top of the rankings with their Mythic kill of Iron Maidens, bringing them up to 8/10, very shortly followed by Paragon.

3 days after the content opened on Mythic.

And here was me thinking that Mythic would’ve been harder than old pre-WoD Heroic mode.

Well it doesn’t look like it. In fact it looks as though it was just an excuse to get rid of the arguments about 10 vs 25 and who was really better. And instead, we’ve now got the majority of guilds locked out of doing the hardest level of content because they (and their server population) can’t support Mythic raiding for anything more than a handful of guilds.

Was it really worth ending those arguments, just to lock out the majority of guilds from even stepping foot inside the content? I don’t think it was to be honest, and Blizzard may look back on this change, a change working against the vast majority of the player base, and come to regret it eventually.

And with that said, did it settle any arguments? No, it didn’t. Because none of the teams that were previously World #1 chasers in either 10 or 25 are that far off the pace as it stands:

  1. Midwinter (8/10)
  2. Paragon (8/10)
  3. Method (7/10)
  4. Blood Legion (7/10)
  5. Ascension (7/10)

That’s the ranking of the top 5 guilds at the time of writing, and all of them were top guilds in the 10/25 races back in the pre-mythic days. So no, it hasn’t settled any arguments. Top guilds are top guilds, regardless of raid size, and will always challenge for the top spots.

Good luck to everyone for the final 2 bosses!

@Blizzardwatch – The New WoW Insider

A few weeks or so back, AOL made the decision to shutter Joystiq, which was a large website that had several popular websites under its umbrella, such as Massively the general MMO news website, and of course WoW Insider.

WI was a website I visited several times a day, usually first thing in the morning and last thing at night. The writers there were a great bunch, and even articles on classes I had no interest in playing (sorry rogues) were worth reading. However last year the writing was on the wall when WI were forced to shutter their Class Columns, which were one of the main draws for me to the site. AOL cut the budget available to WI and they had to effectively fire all the authors responsible for these columns, leaving a core group of writers such as Matthew Rossi, Anne Stickney, Olivia Grace, Alex Ziebart and so on.

Despite the closure of what was a large part of the site, readers kept visiting, and the community that had built up around the site remained strong, with each and any article usually attracting hundreds of comments, particularly their daily Q&A column, The Queue.

So AOL, classy as ever, revealed that they were closing Joystiq, and by extension firing all the WI & Massively staff in a TechCrunch article before actually telling their employees directly. Yeah, really classy there AOL. Rumours were flying around for days beforehand however, so when the news finally did drop, the writers at WI made plans to move on after the closure of WI, only a few days afterwards.

Alex Ziebart made the decision to go down the Patreon based crowd-funding route, as WI had thousands of readers, most of whom were passionate about the site and its continued existence. And thus Blizzard Watch was born from the ashes of WoW Insider.

And I of course contributed (and will still do, as it’s a monthly sub more or less) as Patreon #24, before the Patreon campaign had even been officially launched 🙂

If you were a regular reader of WI, and you’re now a regular reader of BW (which, as its name would suggest, is aiming to cover all the Blizzard games, not just WoW), I’d urge you to help out. Even $1 a month will help out in some way, as the writers there deserve our continued support and patreonage 😉

CMS Musings and Future Website & Content Direction

website

You may well by now have noticed that I’m no longer using WordPress as my site software.

This is in the main due to the amount of hassle and grief I had with the previous installations of WP covering both this site and my guild’s main front page. Admittedly I loved using WordPress; it was functional, easy, popular, loads of templates & themes, and handled media such as embedding YouTube videos with aplomb. All reasons why it’s used on over 72 million websites globally.

However what is its greatest strength, its popularity, is also its downfall. Because it’s so damned popular, it’s also rife with hacks, DDoS attacks and malware attacking out of date code hosted on the server because of theme files being used that haven’t been updated in a while.

That’s what led me to seek an alternative solution, so after looking for one for a few months, and after trying numerous different solutions (Drupal, Joomla, NibbleBlog etc), I finally settled on B2Evolution.

It’s ok, as far as blogging software goes, but it’s severely limited in theming options. This one was probably the best of a mediocre lot, so I’ll probably look into the skinning engine it uses to see if I can code a better theme, custom to this site. I’m still getting used to the slightly more complex back-end of B2Evo, but I’m getting there, so if you notice any temporary oddities over the coming weeks, pay them no heed 🙂

I really will miss WordPress and how easy and user-friendly it was, but alas it’s a poison chalice, and I’ve learnt my lesson the hard way over the past several months.

I’ll also be trying to get more textual with you guys as well, and post more on here, rather than relying on videos being the only format of content I throw out there and use this site as little more than a different front-end for my YouTube content. So expect a bit more from this website than previously given 😉

As mentioned in my last video, I’m also going to start branching out into other games as well, as I work through both my mind-bogglingly ginormous Steam back catalogue and through levelling in Guild Wars 2, which I bought recently and have only just begun playing. I did promise other content way back when in the mists of time with my channel trailer (below), and I think it’s about time I started making good on that promise 

Welcome to Sar Gaming!

Welcome to the new website!

I’ve had a LOT of downtime recently due to nefarious activity on the webspace, and various attacks and shut-downs by my webhost, but we’re back up and running now, with a fresh new website and a different CMS solution (WordPress security sucks ass)!

 

So, the below video is where we left off…

 

As for WoW, well Warlords has certainly been a mixed bag so far. An excellent levelling experience, followed by some of the dullest and most boring end-game I’ve ever seen. I’ve played through 4 expansions now, and tbh WoD’s level 100 experience is very very barren. Beyond Garrison duties and raiding, at the moment, there’s not a hell of a lot to do.

It’s expounded by the fact that with everyone in their garrisons, capital cities are barren wastelands, and the game feels very empty as a result.

At a time when the game has hit back over 10m subs, for it to feel as empty as it does right now is very weird. And unsettling.

Anyway, I’ll be throwing a video up later today of our recent Heroic Imperator/Impregnator kill (many weeks, much grrrs, such /facepalm), so I’ll fire it up in a new post here when I get it up 

 

IRL: I’ve begun work on my degree, which is going to keep me busy over the next 6 years, so see ya all in 2021! 

Just kidding, seriously though, I’ve begun an Honours Degree in Computing & IT with Applied Psychology as a 2nd subject. My workplace is very kindly paying for it for me, so it’s up to me to make sure I justify their expense and trust in me to do the business!

I’ve already submitted an assignment and got 100% for it, so off to a good start