Casual raid leader / guild leader in the World of Warcraft

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

4.3 Gear Resets and LFR

I am loving LFR.  It's great to see content from this perspective.  But, as I posted previously, it came with a gear reset.  Blizzard needs to not punish the work of past raids by not having gear resets.   So, how to fix this?

It took me a moment to figure it out, but each raid level should work like this:

LFR for current tier minus 1, New Heroic 5-mans for just below current tier.
Tokens for each tier.

Players must progress, but they have LFR to help them progress.

346 -> 353 -> 370 -> current content.

LFR not on current content so current content is still slow.

Raids: 359 -> 378 (LFR Here) -> 397.

Player is behind.... he can LFD up to 370 and LFR to 378.

No gear reset required.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Patch 4.3 and Another Gear Reset

Greedy posts about a topic dear to my heart in feeling what saps the fun from WoW.  The problem is, I don't know a good solution.

To me, gear resets are a bad simple solution to a complex problem.

There has to be some guiding princples to inspire people to play. This is outside the constructs of the mechanisms created (e.g. quests, 5-mans, pvp, raids, professions, etc.).

Principles of WoW:
  1. People like to feel like they are progressing forward (like leveling, getting skill points, honor points).
  2. People like to be rewarded for their "play" effort (complete task get item / point / gold). It is the incentive.
  3. The amount of "fun" one feels is a ratio to the amount of effort and skill required for the desired reward value (if I do X, I get Y).
  4. For the maximum enjoyment of customers, content should be tuned such that majority of players (the bell curve) can complete normal versions of content (including raids) given a reasonable amount of effort. That is, given X hours of trying, they succeed.

Gear Resets Are Bad Because:
  1. Deflating the reward, removes the incentive. I can just wait and they'll give it to me for no effort.
  2. Since it will just be given to me, I'm not really making progress, it's just being given to me.
  3. I'm not having fun because the amount of effort required for the value is also deflated. Deflating fun.
  4. No pride in the accomplishment because I will have it given to me regardless of my skill.

Where Blizzard Fails
  1. They use Gear Resets to push players forward artificially by having them out gear content and by nerfing content so that more players can succeed. However, the "fun" has been removed because there is no longer any value other than to see "sort of" how the fight used to look. The gear is obsolete.
  2. They use gear resets to help players "catch up" that are "new" but it punishes existing players by devaluing their effort -- it becomes wasted.
  3. They believe that just "seeing" content is all players want... yawn. Just show me a you tube video.

The problem in the system is that players are interdependent to play this game. One must not only play it, but find people at similar skill / effort / gear levels to achieve the goals. The gear reset is Blizzards effort to help us find those people by creating more of them ... giving content... at the same time, reducing the value of exiting player's rewards.

You have to deal with the noted issues of player "poaching" and having to "gear up" players to catch up. Playing with friends at different skill levels and thus inhibits ones ability to progress because many of the fights are single-mistake-wipe designs. "Your not making an effort" slows "my ability to make progress".

I agree that gear resets are bad because they punish existing players, but I don't think Blizzard has made enough effort in really fixing the problem which lies in the interdependency of multiple levels of skill and maintaining the individuals ability to progress and be rewarded for it in a game that requires collective work.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

What's with this new archeology.

Why is archeology so passive.  You have no control over the sites.  You have no control over the locations within a site.  You're only decision is which site so you barely can steer the process toward an item you'd hope to get.  Sure it passes time while you wait for a queue or arena, but honestly, it's so passive... even more than fishing... it's mind numbing!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

25 vs 10, 25 = 10 man, Oh Happy Day!

Okay, let the debate begin.  I know there are many 25-man players out there that will just QQ until the cows come home.

Sure a 25-man raid feels more epic when you have 25 people.  But from a balancing perspective, it isn't hard to imagine that raids can be balanced such that the difficulty is about equal.  From my experience, the hardest part of a 25-man vs. a 10-man had absolutely nothing to do with the raid content and everything to do with coordinating, shepherding and lots and lots of waiting for 24 other people.  It was not about how much better they are, but just how much more patient and how much time they have to play.

From a 10-man's perspective, 25-man guilds had their cake, our cake and all the cake.  They got better gear, equal and sometimes less difficult content and they could do 10-mans as well so they could farm both and gear twice as fast.  What specifically makes them worthy of that much advantage?  Harder content?  It isn't that much harder and in some cases is easier.   It's only about putting up with more people and more people's problems.  Sorry, but that just makes you a masochist not worthy of blessings.

Now, I do ponder if this will hurt 25-man guilds to harshly.  That, I can't know.  However, it will end the constant flow of 10-man players abandoning their guilds for 25-man loot because they thought of the epic wait and nausea of a 25-man is pretty hard to take.

I love this change.  I can't wait to see how it works out for 25-man guilds.  Blizzard will have to toss them a bone, but it is my hope they do so only in such a way that 10-man players will say... that's nice, but not nice enough.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

It Hurts When They Leave

Maybe it's an insane anal internal struggle, but for me, a little part of me feels pain when someone decides to move on from my WoW Guild.  I know there are so many reasons under the sun that have nothing to do with me for moving on, quitting the game, or whatever the case may be, but you can't help think that perhaps it was a personal failure on your part when someone decides the guild isn't for them.  Did you not raid enough?  Did you raid too much?  Was it someone else that annoyed them and you didn't respond quickly enough.

Well, what do you do? If you are a "social" as the Greedy Goblin would call you, then you want to be liked.  I think this is totally the wrong approach.  You have to be somewhat detached and remember these are all perfect strangers and they will all do whatever is in their own best interest.  This game encourages selfishness....
"what have you done for me lately"?

So, yes, you have a job as guild leader and that is to provide them the thing that makes them stay so long as it fits within the confines of your definition of how the guild should work.  It may seem to you that I am trying to convince myself of these philosophy and you'd be half right.

As much as you logically know this is how things are and how they should be, you can't help being human and having feelings.

It hurts.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

You Wanna Join My Guild

What's the real criteria for letting someone in the guild?

So, I have taken in the habit of chatting with someone a good long time to feel them out.  I will banter a little and see how they take my jokes, what kind of jokes they make, their age, their family make configuration, etc.  I make it seem like idle conversation, but in reality I wanna test their fiber.

There are a few obvious things, but many of these you can't see from just chatting.
  • Doesn't cause drama - Problem is, this kind of stuff may not show up until they feel comfortable being a pain.  You know, first dates rarely show cracks in the facade.  You can't really know this unless they are a pain from the get go.  You also have no idea that some people build drama roles as they feel their importance to the guild grows.  That is, I am "all that" now so I can be a primadonna.
  • Flexible - Able to go with the changes as they happen.  That is, sometimes you have to play your alt-spec, alt-character or whatever is needed to make the raid happen.  Sometimes, as raid leader, we can't just take whatever the player wants to take.  We have to take what makes it work.
  • Thick Skinned - Yes, sometimes people say things that piss you off.   You have to be ready to roll with it, comically or off your back like rain.  If it is really a problem, a good raid leader will nip it when it reaches the "too far" point.
  • Fit the group - Don't just take people because of a certain class or spec, though that helps.  You really want personalities that mesh.  Age and gender CAN play into this.  Play schedule is critical here as well.  If someone works nightshift and plays all day and you guys do the opposite and yet raid time is still compatible is still NOT a good fit.  Why?  You won't see them except at raid time.  You need the off-raid time to get to be friends.
Can you think of other need to haves?

    Monday, April 5, 2010

    Epic Raid "Fail" Leadership

    So, I "fell" into a 25-man raid with another guild last Saturday.  As a raid leader, it's hard not to back-seat raid lead.   I tried my best to not be "that guy" giving instructions.  You know "that guy" that is always making commentary on the voice server while everyone else is silent or chatting away in "raid" chat.

    The problem we had, however, was that the raid leader didn't raid lead.  Essentially, he just gathered people into a group and said, "go".  Unfortunately, it's hard to spot this early on because people have farmed the early part of ICC so much now it's second-hand, so you wouldn't expect instruction until Marrowgar, minimally.   This is barely functional at best unless you have a group that is blowing through the content without effort as ToC-10/25 is becoming.

    So, here I was, up to Marrowgar and the raid leader was essentially silent, didn't say anything, didn't give any instructions.  The most we got was, "everybody knows the fight?".  That's like the old joke about foreplay where they guy considers saying "brace yourself", as enough.

    Marrowgar doesn't present too much difficulty since it is almost the same as 10-man.  However, Lady Deathwhisperer is not the same.  Obviously, wipes ensue.  But with most PuGs it doesn't take many until finger-pointing and bailing occur.   PuG-25's are a crap shoot like this.

    This points directly at one of the tips I mentioned about raid leading.   Raid leaders, please, stay on top.  Even if you don't know the boss fight be clear and honest.  TALK!
    "I don't know this fight, but here is how I want to set it up and try it because that is what I read.  I will take comments for 3-5 minutes before we proceed if anyone here has more experience."
    The last thing to do is be silent, not give instructions.  AND, during the battles, it is YOUR JOB to keep people on target.  I know when I DPS my mind wanders.  Give instructions and presume that there are people out there not on the same page of the script as you are thinking.

    In this raid, I saw it coming.  He was going to just say, "have at it" on Deathwhisperer until I spoke up.  YES, I ended up being "that guy" after all.  I said, "whoa, wait! we can't just say go on this fight."  Then, I proceeded to explain at least how I have been in raids that did it and how.   It didn't help, but at least it wasn't total chaos.

    Sadly, it devolved into finger pointing and crap and the raid leader didn't nip it!  He let people bitch and then HE bailed.   Please don't be that guy.   If you raid-lead a 25-man, please LEAD.

    /end rant.