Friday, August 29

How Reallife/Wow disappoints

I heal stuff!
In Wow : One of those wack-a-mole guys right? Well, i guess people like you are needed aswell. Amazing you can stand it.
In RL : So you are a Doctor, you must get payed pretty good... nice... So, ehm.. you're seeing anyone at the moment? /flirt

I protect stuff!
In Wow : You do? Got time for a quick Heroic? We got a good group seriously... all we need is a tank.
In RL : You're sort of a body guard? You're a pretty brave guy then, thats pretty awsome. Or one of those nightshift guys? At least you get payed to sleep right? ;)

I kill stuff!
In Wow : Ah so you are a damage dealer, cool. Whats your average dps?
In RL : What the Fuck? Are you a poucher or something? Or worse.. you.. you.. are a murderer!! Oh my god!! POLICE!

Maybe it's just my point of view but being a healer in real life seems alot more awesome then in game.
More ironcally a healer in real life is likely to see more blood then a tank or dps, unless perhaps you're a Manson i suppose....

Wednesday, August 27

I R Legend

It was a few years ago... before the universe i knew got destroyed and i had to start all over again... i'm not exactly sure what happened but when i opened my eyes again me and all my friends where stripped to the bone, every piece of equipment and item we had was gone.
A few of my friends were seasoned enough to have most of their gear magically restored, still left us standing in IF buttnaked.

Before that time i was 29 seasons young although i was tainted by battle, fighting the horde with whatever teammembers i got on one of the battlegrounds they needed me on. I had some pretty good gear, not the best but some more to stand out and be better then the average player. Sure, the Horde send a few of their best geared into battle often which i did my very best to give a hard time but we would lose the battle often anyway.
I had my share of victories.. moments of glory aswell where i managed to strike a blow, steal that lowely Horde's flag and humilate them like they often did us. At other times i stood my ground defending whatever area i assigned myself to and protected it with my life, again with my share of succeses.

I considered myself a lone rogue, a secret weapon in a battle long lost which could shift the balance. It wasn't just brute force ofcourse, where needed i listened to orders when it was better to the outcome or i even played the tactician myself if no other stepped up.
After a while i got people shouting my name when i entered the battlefield... people listened when i devised a plan.. not all of them but now and then enough. I slowly became a legend, i turned into a beacon of hope it seemed even though that wasn't what i considered myself at all.
I was just doing the best i could to help end this war, even it it cost my own life...

After all my battle gear had been taken from me i had withdrew myself from battle, what use would i be? I decided to use the little credit i had left and the few tokens that the robbers had left me and spend it at the quartermasters and get myself at least some gear. In time my friends gave me some spare gold and i was able to restore some other gear and minor enchants but some of the gear was forever lost.
Yesterday after a year or so i entered the battlefield again and how things had changed... people no longer knew my name and the Horde seemed to running around in the best possible gear, even clothies stood their ground to my daggerstabbing action.

I played back in the days where reputation was important, not just among players but also at the factions on the battlefield.. the higher the rep, the better rewards you would be able to buy. Tokens which you would get for entering the fights were just used for more reputation and some experience.
Now suddenly i was left with plenty of credits (honor) but no tokens, it seems it's going to take a long time to get back into this.
Perhaps i should ask one of my friends to run me through an instance for some extra experience so i can to season 38 and get some extra skills and wear some higher level gear. I'm no legend anymore (if i ever was) but i will fight for long lost glory!!!! (and blue gear)

Friday, August 22

Some Engi love

It seems the first Engineering love has hit the server... after i got slightly disappointed that the Hog might not be an Engineering mount only (still hope it will be), Blizzard has dropped a large number of Engi patterns on the Beta server.

There are quite a few with potential and i'm hoping for more but this baby caught my eye straight away:
Soooo simple, yet so very effective!
Sure it brings nothing new to the table but this will actually save alót of bagspace.. For me it will free up 3 slots as i don't need jumper cables (Shaman) but it also has Flint and Tinder implented, easier acces to fire suddenly.

Okay, Okay.. this not exactly the stuff of legends and not worth taking Engineering over but there seem to be a number of nice trinkets and headpieces again which could be good use for at least the first weeks/months after i hit 80.
Now just give me the Hog and make me able to drive my alts around it in Azeroth aswell and i'm totaly happy!

Back to work now... hardly get around to blogging, grmbll...

Friday, August 15

Increasing Wow performance

There are some simpel methods to improve your Wow performance, some will reduce your graphics a bit though but others won't or very minimal.
Now i can't guarantee each and everyone to work for you and you would be wise to backup any settings (or write them down at least) before you change them so you can revert to them later. I've tried a number of these settings aswell and i'm between 60 and 100FPS (frames per second) now depending on the zone (you would need at least 30fps to see things run smoothly), my goal is however to make a second Wow-client run smooth aswell so i'm overshooting on purpose.

Run Mediaplayer to increase FPS
For some people running Windows Media Player before starting Wow will reduce loading times, see here or here for more info on that.

Dual core owners edit config for FPS increase
Add SET timingMethod "2" to the file in your WTF folder, use Wordpad to edit (or something) and just add it to the end. This is supposed to have to do something with having a Dual core CPU so won't benefit people with single core most likely. You can also try out 1 (which should have the same effect as running WMP), the default is 0.
You can try this out ingame by using: /console timingmethod 1 or /console timingmethod 2

Change some Network adapter settings to reduce Latency
Apart from making sure Blizzard doesn't download the next patch while gaming you can also change some adapter settings to reduce latency, check out on how to do it.

Change ingame visual settings to increase FPS
Gamespot has some nice screens on the difference between various ingame visual settings. Some differences are minimal for worth mentioning performance. Check it out here and here.
I myself did the following (minimal graphic backset):
- Disabled Terrain highlights
- Disabled Full Screen Glow
- Disabled Vertical Sync (+15FPS for me)
On lower end systems reducing Terrain Distance (1 above minimum) helps alot aswell, i prefer it near max myself.

Change Videocard settings to increase FPS
If your card supports Anamorphic Filtering make sure this is NOT set to minimum as it will reduce graphics by alot. Us the ATI control panel to set Anamorphic Filtering, what this filter does is resample all of the graphics to keep them crisp. You can set it as high as 16x, I settled on 8x, but the difference wasn't drastic.

More tips

  • The following post on the offical forums contain more tips to try if you want to further try to improve:Offical Blizzard Performance guide.
    There are some helpfull tips in there on ATI/Nvidia settings, color depths when using multiple monitors aswell as some links to other testtools and further reads.
  • Running Windows in a Linux environment should help aswell, more info here.
  • Update your Video drivers: ATI and Nvidia
  • Some Video card settings:
    ATI Try turning off Catalyst A.I. in the Catalyst Control Center. If you use an older version, try turning off Overdrive.
    NVIDIA Try turning off Transparency Antialiasing in the NVIDIA Control Panel.
  • Update your Bios
  • Disable Windows defender, read more here (Do use some other Spyware blocker then though!)

Thursday, August 14

New Faces

You probably have it in your guild aswell now and then, perhaps even more at the moment, new people joining the guild.
For many raidguilds it's pretty common in this time that people are needed to fill spots in a raid due to Holidays or people just entirely quiting the game either for a long time or just till the expansion, or perhaps even guildquiters (got that rarely ourselves).
So people are recruited, if you're lucky you have some people to choose from or else you'll just have to be happy with what you can lay your greedy little hands on.

Now some of those people just say hi and thats about the last time you hear them say anything... some other people make you feel a shifting in the force.
Suddenly the chat is filled with this new persons chatter, not bad neccesarily but noticeable still. Annoying? Hmmm.. not yet at least.
You know there is a certain mood in the guild and you've grown to love it, the weirdness, the chats.. there is no doubt in what direction you are moving, straight ahead at a comfortable cruise speed on the highway. This new person gives you the feeling you're steering slightly to the left or the right as he/she is finding her/his own comfortable lane.
Instinctively you steer back, trying to get to the previous optimimal course... but is it still?

Fact is that more present people will change your guild but that isn't a bad thing, for them it's probably alot more to get used to then the other way around.
But when you've been playing Mariokart all the time, do you really want to try Crash Team Racing? It might be fun.. come join the dark side yound padawan. Things are likely to change with new people in your guild but it keeps it fresh that way, as long as those people have some common ground and do fit in a bit ofcourse.

When thinking back, we had someone join us half a year ago and we used to make a lot of anal sex jokes at that time (think we still do actually). We soon found out the guy that joined was gay, nothing wrong with that but it made us wonder if he would mind the jokes or not. It changed the way we talked in guildchat for awhile and it slowly evolved into something else, not less perferted though. ;)
So was it a bad thing? I don't think so, just something different which isn't bad in this case.

The trick is to look out for people with such a strong influence that they actually change the atmosphere in your guild all by themselves in a bad way.
Trying to get someone in who you think will fit in is very important because of that, if you love to talk about your fettishes.. don't recruit someone who sells bibles in his free time. Or perhaps if you want to pipe down the sicko's you dó take that guy in. ;)

Thursday, August 7

Making gold with a second account

You've spend your cash on a second account? So how do you make money? Have one toon on follow and do those dailies with two at a time? Do you mine/herb while raiding with your main? Let me tell you how i try to make my raidingmoney.

Dailies x2
Doing dailies isn't fun but at least if you do it with 1 toon on follow you get twice the cash for it for just a little effort more.
The Isle of Quel'Danas has quite a few dailies which can easily be done with a group; bombing quests, kill X belfs, freeing murlocs, getting ley lines but also a few gatherquests which are quickly done.

Grinding for Blues
If you got a good geared level 70 alt you could grind some instances for blue item drops which sell well on the Auction House. I'm going to share my little secret for this with you: Every 7 hours a boss spawns in the Arena outside Diremaul. While there is a risk you get ganked as you become attackable by everyone once you enter, the fight shouldn't take long for a good geared level 70.
I got my second account minimized with my toon parked just outside and an addon running which plays a L70ETC song as soon as a boss spawns. These drops are worth about 60g together but there is a chance something better drops which is worth around 800g.
If you don't got plans for your second account anyway, this might give it some use.

Playing AH
I got a low level alt which is busy selling the stuff i manage to loot aswell as buying stuff which is too cheap and reselling it.
There are guides for this but basicly i use the addon Auctioneer which you can use to scan all items and prices on the AH which will create a database for it. This takes a long while depending on the number of items on the AH (a scan easily takes 14mins on my server) and you need to keep scanning for a while to get accurate prices, aswell keep doing so to keep it accurate.
Auctioneer can also help you find which items are too cheap after a scan so you might be able to resell some.
It's not a glorious way to get rich and is quite boring aswell... profits are often very limited but now and then you might get lucky.
An other way is to dominate a certain market and buy out all the stuff and then put it back on for your own price but this is not my style anyway, takes even more time and has greater risk.

Camping the fair
This method can net you quite some money but it is very time intensive, my girlfriend does this alot. One week each month the Darkmoon fair shows up somewhere . It has various vendors but two of them have limited stock of items which are worth quite a bit on the Auction House, from gems, motes to valuable herbs. These items respawn frequently and you will need to spam the vendors to get to them before other campers do.
Not the most fun that can be had but if you have a toon on a second account standig arround Shatt anyway, might aswell park him at the fair instead.

All methods take up time and none are very fun, some with a better chance on a high outcome aswell.
Best is to try and do it while you do something fun on the other account, then it won't be such a pain... i fish alot on my other account while the raid is getting ready for example and sell dem fishies, won't make me rich but it's often enough to pay for a nights raid.
Don't be hesitant to share any other brilliant ideas with me btw.

Monday, August 4

Being an officer: Optimus style

I'm an officer in my guild and i am one because i feel i'm needed to, not because i want to. I became one because i was needed at that time and i still am because i feel i still contribute in my role. It's kind of the Optimus Prime kind of way i guess (nerd alert!) who filisofy was that a leader was there for his "followers" and not the other way around. (i know it's a fictional person but the idea still sounds good to me)

There are guilds out there with a Guildmaster (or even an council like we have) but where his every wish and idea is rule, it can be no other way.
Things in this guild are quite strict and constant and at times even dictator-like.
I've heared of guilds that even fell apart because of the way guildmasters like that bended the rules in their own favour.
Like i said, there are little benefits for our officers, what we do for our guild often comes out of our playtime but i do think most of our guildies understand that (still there are always a few rotten apples who like to give you a hard time if something doesn't go 100% as intented, we're only human afterall.. but that happens not too often luckily)

Now we don't have a guild like that, we are there for our members and i can't think of any benefit of being an officer besides having something more to read on the forums during the day. The proof of that is that we constantly adapt our rules... perhaps to a point where we have too many rules but in our vision it's the only way to keep things fair to all members with as little as gray-area as possible.
These new rules are actually new ideas how to handle things, most spawn out of something one of our members has said and evolves into something we can work with. Every couple of months there is a new revolutionary idea of which we manage to implent a few into our system.

A few examples of our non-basic rules:

DKP based on Contribution points
How to make a simple system more complex? Add an extra layer. Each raid we give people contribution points, these can be earned by showing on time, and attending at raids.
This system was added for various reasons of which i forgot most already but it did make farm content instances less dkp-friendly. Where in the past people willing to wipe all night on new bosses got less dkp then people just showing for farm content it is evened out now. Also being backup will give you a share of your CP now, we can actually reward people who stay available.
At the end of the week the CP's are translated into dkp giving each person a share of total dkp earned (1 CP can be worth less on a week with less activity, it all stays in balance)

Marks and Gems from the bank
Based on attendance (all tracked in our overcomplete dkp spreadsheet) you get a number of Marks and Epic gems at the end of each month.

Offspec for gold
At first our bank got flooded with Void Crystals till someone asked us why the hell we couldn't think of some way to buy offspec gear without spending that much dkp on it (offspec = 50% of normal dkp price), so this was created.
Basicly when an item drops people can whisper if they want to buy it for dkp (main-spec). If no one wants it people can roll for it for offspec (damage kit for a healer for example), the winner pays the dkpvalue in gold (T6 chest for 300g aint bad right?) unless someone rather spends dkp on it for offspec.
Now the beauty of this system is that people get their share of the money at the end of the month based on attendance, so it's not uncommon to get 90-120g in the mail suddenly.

Buy future pattern drops
Now this is still in the making and perhaps we can't get it fool-proof so it might not ever see the light of day but still it's an idea.
Anyway the idea is that people who buy a pattern from someone outside the guild with which they can craft theirselves a bop- mainspec- upgrade item with.. can have a chance to get (some of) their gold back. If the pattern later actually drops and no other crafter wants it for their mainspec, we will sell it and they will get a share of that in return of the set dkp-cost. The ammount of money they will get depends on the ammount we are able to sell it for.
That's roughly the idea, now to eliminate as many gray-area's as possible so people can't abuse the system or simply misinterpretate aswell as make it as fair as possible to everyone so people who buy the patterns don't get an advantage over non-crafters.

So as you can see we try to make sure the spoils of war don't end up in the guildbank but are fairly spread amongst the guildmembers.
I myself am getting away quite easy and my gametime lost is limited although on the other hand the behind-the-screens-activities cause me quite some frustration now and then which effects my play-fun ofcourse... but our raidleader got it worse.
He gets most of the drama while he is the one who does most for the guild, i don't even do a third of what he does for the guild.
In fact, he's the real Optimus Prime in our guild as he still goes on eventho i am sure at times he'd rather not log on at all. Still he keeps going as his guild needs him, the benefits (like i said, if any) of being an officer don't even come close to the burdens.

Friday, August 1

Raidbalance aint fun

When the Burning Crusade expansion was released we said goodbye to 40man raids as Blizzard implented 10 and 25man raids.
The logic behind this? 25 people are easier to get together then 40, so far this is the truth... but for what reason?
You'd think that it's all part of their master plan of world domi... eh, to make raiding more accesseable to smaller guilds, groups of friends and casual members. In my oppinion they kind of failed at this at least partially.

First when looking at 10 and 25 man raids... a 25man raid is 2,5 times a 10 man raid (Holy Mathishan Batman!). Remember back in Vanilla Wow where we had 20 and 40 man raids? At least you could simply split up your 40man raidforce but nowadays you either need to have 3 10man raids or 1 25man raid, either way 5 people are likely to be disappointed.
Not completely true ofcourse as i'm actually getting to the actuall problem in our current raids: Raidbalance.

Let's say you have 3 Karazhan raidgroups (each 10man+2 backup) with which you will do 25man (with 6 backup then) raids aswell.
Karazhan requires 2 tanks or at least 1 MT and 1 OT so you would have a total of 6 tanks or if you are lucky 3 tanks and 3 dpswarriors/ferals.
Any idea how many tanks an average raidboss needs? Well in SSC and TK you aint that bad off, most bosses actually require 3 tanks, a fourth even now and then. If you are lucky you can give most of the OT's a spot aswell as regular dps.. so far so good.
When does it go wrong then? Why am i making all the hassle? Well, because of the Black Temple i guess.
First boss requires 1 tank, so you likely have to ditch 2 prot tanks for dps or healers while you needed them on the trash. "Thanks for the help guys! Just wait outside till we're done here ok?"
This whole instance requires to constantly switch out tanks as bosses require between 1 and 3 tanks. Sure some bosses require more healers then others but when you need 9 healers at one and 7 at the next the odds of staying in are still alot better then 1 on 3.
Is it just me or is the way Blizzard has designed bosses totaly retarded? This was drama bound to happen the moment they designed it.
If Blizzard is indeed gonna buff the prot tank's dps they are at least a valid contribution to the raid when not needed to tank, let's pray they will implent this properly in Wrath of the Lich King.

But back to the 40man raids versus the 25man raids. Will this allow more casual players to get a raidspot? I think often it's exactly the contrary!
1 person not performing at his or her fullest is hardly noticed in a 40man raid, this person has almost twice the impact in a 25man raid... let alone in a 10man raid. The result? To get to the better stuff you need to be better yourself aswell, which is likely gonna cost you your raidspot if you can't get to that level or simply don't have the time for it.
So more people raid yeah, good job Blizzard... but most are stuck in the lower raidinstances and the few people in those raids who have the potential are likely quite frustrated and quit the game or try to get in the better raiding guilds, thus setting back the guilds working the lower raid instances again.

If you want balance in your guild you will need some extra people of each class and often switch them throughout a raidnight.
And actually you will need more people unless you have a very very fanatic guild in which everyone is available each and every raidnight, no holidays allowed.. no break when your girlfriend's dog has died, just raid when you got a fever close to boiling point.
In our case that results in one night having the perfect raid with a bunch sitting on the bench picking their nose while the next we have to bring alts in get the required classes. Okay, okay... it's summer and some people have a pre-expansion depression but still.
Forcing raidbalance this way is really ticking people off and mostly the tanks who are being pushed around like ragdolls.
It's easy to point the finger at the Raidleader but it's not his fault ofcourse, if he/she wouldn't balance the guild chances to take down a boss are lower and he might get the blamegun pointed at him anyway.. a thankless job but thats a different subject.

Let's just pray that Blizzard manages to create boss encounters which don't require constantly swapping raidmembers and still keep it interesting, quite a challenge but that's what we are paying for i guess.