Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Loot rewards

BoK has been discussing the PvP epics vs. regular epics discussion, and I thought I'd weigh in on it too...

Timesink. This game and virtually all other MMRPGs are unfortunately purely designed in this way, to waste as much time as possible to get as minimal a reward as possible. Part of the problem is the complete avoidance of the concept of character death - if you cannot lose your character in any way, shape or form, the rewards have to be slow and time-consuming, so that you cannot perfect yourself.

But they're really too slow.

People complain about being able to get PvP epics, but it isn't as though they're handed to you. I have 3 pieces from months of play from the arena, and the other 3 I earned from what can be asbolutely mind-numbing BG PUGs. I don't think there was any lack of effort on my part.

The difference is the staggering amount of time you comparatively have to spend in PvE efforts. Rep rewards, raiding time, all of these require ridiculous amounts of time put in. The only way to get everything out of the game is to sacrifice all of your other games and many other interests. At 10-15 hours a week I can never catch up to any of my goals, especially not with raiding in the schedule, and getting an epic flying mount is almost certainly never going to happen at this point.

Long story short, rewards take far too much time as it is. PvP rewards may be a bit too easy, but I believe the effort required to get PvE rewards is so severe that it makes PvP look a lot easier than it really is.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Set Bonuses and Gem Bonuses

Quick and dirty second post as I'm staring at a pile of invoices I need done before I leave tonight (groan), Firelight mentioned something in the CS comments that has bugged me for awhile - since Diablo 2, actually.... Blizzard is scared as hell of item bonuses.

They love the idea, which as I recall was originally to make people want to wear the entire set of a certain type of armor, so that characters looked more awesome. This was the plan going all the way back to D2. So they created the idea of set bonuses, to reward someone who took the time and effort to collect an entire set. One problem: the bonuses suck.

In mortal fear of breaking the almighty item value* laws, they minimize at all costs the actual utility of having an entire set. Bonuses are by and large weak and uninspiring. They're clearly afraid of making these items too valuable, and so most of the time they make it tepid and uninteresting. This of course makes people largely ignore the set bonuses (with a few exceptions) and they end up being willing to break a set the first chance they get. With socket bonuses, the situation has remained unchanged.

Take, for example, Tier 4 Holy. One of the set bonuses? Increased healing from JoL. Aside from the kinda maybe synergy that a Ret Paladin can have with it, by keeping it up FOR the Holy Pally, there's no way they make any real use of it, and it is pretty damn weak to begin with.

Or the fact that I don't have a single item bonus from any of my armor on my Prot Pally. Why bother? 12 sta gems will easily beat the +4 block value I'll get from utilising the far weaker red and yellow gems. +4 block value being one of the better possibilities on some of these sockets.

I'd like to see people utilizing real armor sets, and I'd like to see more sets in general. But to really push people to start wearing them, you have to give people a reason.

Anyways, the limited number of armor pieces in this game is kinda disappointing. I'd really like to have a lot of options, but it eventually gets to the point where I know what upgrade I need next and where I can get it, period.

* For the less experienced among us, each item is given a certain 'item level', which gives it a total amount of stat points it can have. In fact, I should probably make another whole post on this. Add it to the officially unofficial Retnoob planned updates.

WoW Web Stats

Dammit, now I'm on BRK's main page for links. Gee thanks BRK - way to make me feel like I need to update! I've got work too y'know. Grrr. Well, since someone is indirectly guilting me into an update, I'd like to lay down the posts I have planned coming up. That way, I'm forcing myself to actually get around to them.

1) Install WWS and use it to post some hard Ret numbers.

2) Post an e-mail requesting gear/playstyle advice

3) Post an e-mail from a heavy pvper requesting arena advice.

On a side note, I had an opportunity to put my prot pally to rest for a night and bring Modano back in for some good old fashioned fun. Unfortunately, very little of our DPS ends up being standard melee and so our enh. shaman drops down Wrath of Air instead of WF (damn hunters/druids/tanks!), and we rarely have warriors. Thus my numbers are never where they should be.

Ret Paladins are at their finest in 25-mans. Melee DPS is more dependent than anyone on buffs, and Ret Pallies/Arms Warriors may be the most dependent of them all, and not having a traditional 'melee' group that you would see in a 25-man (or 40-man back in the day) means not rolling with the buffs you're accustomed to. 10-mans play havoc with raid groups, since you can't really specialize your groups - you'll have a tank in the caster group, or a caster in the melee group, and nothing is really optimized in terms of organizing the buffs.

My numbers are anywhere from 600-1k+, depending on what buffs we're rolling with, what consumables I use, and the standard modifiers (dying, healing teammates, running around like an idiot to avoid AEs, etc).

So last night I had an enhancement shaman (no WF most of the time), feral druid, and MM hunter for my buffs. I know I should be posting a WWS for this, but hey, it's now in my brand new, official 'to do' list. My numbers for the run were 650-750 in our short-lived ZA attempt, and 580 against Nightbane, which of course isn't the best test of anything.

What could I have used? Well, against Nightbane, consumables - I was being a slacker and avoiding them there. I could have also used a living enhancement shaman. Nightbane turned to Icialis (the shaman) the second he landed and wasted him before our prot pally could pick NB up. Ouch. And after the first flight, Nightbane lands, turns to Icialis again and kaPOW, instant death. Again. I don't know if he was wearing evil shadow dragon pheremones, but Nightbane clearly was not his fan last night.

Also, me not dying in the first phase wouldn't have hurt. Nightbane decided to have a Paladin dessert to go with his 4-course shaman.

So I would say at the moment, with above average buffs and using consumables, 700 DPS is a comfortable amount for myself at the moment. I can add Rank 1 Consecrates for another 40-50, though I'm usually a little light on the mana to do that comfortably.

If I'm rolling with very weak buffs (Mark, BoM and Salv), staying at 600 by itself will be a challenge.

And if I'm rolling buffed to hell and back...watch out.

P.S. The link, of course, is much appreciated BRK, and I love ya for it. But it did in fact guilt me into this post. :P

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

The New Crusader Strike

So Blizzard is finally starting to move forward with the plan to reduce our itemization requirements, which leaves Retribution in a tiny bit of a bind.

What am I talking about? The 110% damage buff and simultaneous nerf (no 40% dmg coefficient) of Crusader Strike.

They discussed back at BlizzCon removing spell damage as a stat for Retribution, and this is certainly a start, but at the same time, a lot of our gear still has a lot of spell damage. While it doesn't scale nearly as well as AP, it had its use, and removing it from Crusader Strike stings our damage a little - one of our major skills now has a rather poor synergy with a lot of our gear stats and one of our raid staples, Judgment of the Crusader.

I can't decide whether or not this is a buff or a nerf. It's the start to something that needs to be done, but at the same time a fair amount of our skills and gear are oriented in some way towards spell damage, and removing that coefficient just took away the 450 spell damage or so we end up having with JotC up on a target.

As a class, we have seen more rapid and fundamental changes than perhaps anyone. We used warrior only gear back when SoC and Consecration were our only damage abilities, JoC being a useless debuff. Then we used gear with spell damage when they added JoC and revamped our coefficients. Then we started to revert to melee gear, but still keeping around a fair amount of int and spell damage. Now it looks like we're going full steam back to melee gear, but at the moment we're still loaded out on spell damage gear.

At the moment, the CS change is probably neutral, just a start towards something that's been needed for awhile now, but any further changes to our skills to reduce spell damage dependency cannot occur without a serious revamp of a lot of our gear.