Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Improving heroic PUG quality

I know I'm probably late to the discussion, but since the Call to Arms was announced (and I think everybody agrees this won't solve anything) I've been thinking on how to improve the quality of PUGs in heroic mode without reverting to the Wrath style (AoE whacking). It's not easy since the problem is not located in the instance per se, but the players running it. Most people still steps into dungeons (even in normal mode) with the Wrath mentality: tank should grab half the instance and dps burn them down with AoE.
Let's face it: it's very easy for a frehsly dinged 85 to reach the 329 gear level required for the heroic modes. Using quest blues (ilevel 325 and 333), rep gear (333 and 346) and crafted gear (339, it's pvp gear) you can reach the magic number. I'm betting most of annoying players haven't set up foot in a normal dungeon before going for the heroics "for phat lewt". So here're some ideas that would help getting more prepared players:
- You can't run an heroic unless you've completed it in normal mode. This will teach you at least the basics of the instance: pulls, cc, strats... you can even further strengthen this requeriment: if you're healer you need to complete the normal one as healer, if you're tank you must complete it first as tank. This will avoid dps people signing up as tanks to speed up queues. And you can even restrict it more, by demanding running it a certain amount of times in normal mode so you really catch it. Lesser instances (like BRC or TotT) would require to be completed 3 times while higher ones (like GB) 5 times. This will also benefit players in the way of more chances for getting loot, more reputation and more justice points to spend.
- More craftable gear. This was proposed by Tobold. And I think it's only viable if you apply the previous rule, otherwise you'll have the same problem as now: clueless people in heroics. Also more gear means tanks would require less runs to gear up and queues would grow even more. So the idea is to provide key gear at certain ilevel without "trampling" the gear you can get in normal runs (that ranges from ilevel 308 to 333 iirc). Craftable gear should sit at ilevel 325 and be PVE gear, not the ilevel 339 PVP gear we can craft right now. While this helps PVP players not to die in a battleground when an opposing player sneezes, it causes a lot of trouble in PVE, since it helps people reach the 329 gear level easily and then you get players with a lot of stamina but lacking other key stats. While reforging can help a bit, you can't reforge resilience to turn it into something useful for your class.
- Change gear level requeriment and make it progressive. Why ask for 329 to run any heroic when a place like Grim Batol is harder than Black Rock Caverns? Start with 329 or even a bit more for the easiest ones and require 340 for the harder ones.
- Improve the LFD algorhythm so you get some dps class with proper cc. Running an heroic with limited cc may be doable, but not good for the healer's mental health.
These ideas wouldn't only help improve the quality of players in heroics. It would reduce queue times too since all the unprepared people queueing for heroics would be gone, forced to queue for normals. Yet still we need a way to motivate tanks into running PUGs, specially normal , otherwise we could have a tank shortage in normal queues only, as they progress into heroics. And tanking isn't that hard, as pointed out by several of you. The problem is leading, as Calli nailed it. And again, leading isn't difficult, but very frustrating if the people is not willing to follow you.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Holy $#&@!!!

After seeing this video, you take a look at the current PUG issues and you can only cry in a corner and think about leaving WoW and dedicate your free time to a simpler game.

Hats off to Raegwyn.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Warlock pets with sex: really necessary?

I've been trying to write for some days something about the current Call to Arms discussion, but so far I haven't got any valid proposal to increase the number of tanks specially in PUG runs, when I saw this announce.
While it says it's something set in the long run, is it really worth dedicating resources to a cosmetic issue when there's a big nasty problem right now in WoW and the proposed solution is clearly not fixing anything?
Well, with a company the size of Blizzard it's doable without hurting other more important developments, but why not dedicate efforts to other cosmetic issues (after all, the gender of a demon pet it's only a cosmetic issue) that would affect all classes and not only warlocks? Several come to my mind:
- Update graphic motor to a newer one, allowing better performance or more details. The new water and sunshafts look great, but WoW appearance feels still the same as 6 years before
- Update old character models (read neither worgen nor goblins) to higher polygon count, making them more detailed
- Update textures to higher definition ones (as an example, check how Elementium Girdle of Pain looks on your character selection screen. It's really a pain of big square pixels)
- Allow models for some height and weight customization, so not every race looks the same
- Allow crafter gear to use different colours (I'm tired of the old Green Iron Shoulders, I want a red or a black version)
- Add the frequently asked Appearance Outfit, so you can have any look (ie, the T3 armour set) while wearing your current gear

Things like that would benefit all players, not just a part. But I must say I'm intrigued how a female voidwalker will look like (a blue blob with boobs? or maybe same model as current but pink coloured?), or a female Infernal (something like Therazane?).
The only things I ever wanted to change in warlock pets are the Felhound (these extra upper arms/tentacles look horrible) and the Felguard (they should equip different weapons and not always the same boring Arcanite Reaper plus also get different colour versions of the demon, they're already ingame).