Monthly Archives: July 2011

On Zen and the Art of Rogue PvP

I’m going to pull a section out of Dusk’s manual for this one.

It’s a video game, calm down and look at what you’re typing. What are you getting so upset over? It’s a video game.

It’s not worth it, whatever it is, whatever he said, whatever he did, who cares? Do you care? Stop for a moment here, please, take a very deep breath and ask yourself “why do i care?”

Watching the blowup between MMOMeltingPot and WoW Insider over the latest Rogue column has been interesting. I’ve often maintained that comments say more about the commenter than the post which is being commented upon, and this is no exception.

No matter what your opinion is of that piece, why do you care what Chase wrote?

Is it because it’s on a high profile website?

So what? Most of the player base doesn’t read WoW Insider.

Is it because he’s getting paid to do it?

So what? His information is accurate and well-typed. There are even pretty pictures. Don’t like it? Don’t advertise on the site.

Is it because Chase is giving advice that most rogues in PvP already know?

Why do you care? This isn’t handing a loaded gun to an infant; this is pointing out features of the terrain in a new questing area and how they can be used for PvP to players of level 85 characters who are making the choice to be there. No one is forcing people to do the Molten Front dailies. No matter what pressure you may have put on yourself to do these dailies, you don’t have to do them.

Is it because he says Rogues should target the weak?

Rogues always target the weak. They don’t go after plate/shield classes because they have Armor. Armor reduces physical damage. They go after clothies because they wear magical toilet paper.

Is it because he advocates irritating people and delaying them? Of causing inefficiencies in the daily routine?

You’re PvP flagged. You haven’t been tricked into it (or if you have, you wait 5 minutes for the flag to drop.) Whether by choice on a PvE/RP realm, or because you’re playing on a PvP/RP-PvP realm, you’re PvP flagged.

You’re both 85, for crying out loud. You’re there of your own volition. Nothing prevents you from wearing PvP gear while doing your dailies. Fight back!

Is it because you don’t like PvP but are playing on a PvP realm?

Why are you doing that to yourself? Is it because of friends? “Friends don’t make friends play on PvP realms.” Face up to this blunt fact, which has nothing at all to do with Warcraft; if they are really your friend, they won’t ask you to do something that makes you uncomfortable. If they insist on it, then … you have to evaluate that friendship. Seriously.

(If you’re there because of your spouse or SO, you have no excuse. Talk to them about why it makes you uncomfortable, and work out a compromise. If someone cares about someone else, they won’t force them to endure something like staying on a PvP server if it’s that upsetting.)

Is it because of your guild? Perhaps you joined to progress in PvE, but they’re on a PvP server. That’s your choice for progression. No one forced you to move to a PvP server – you did it for something you felt was more important.

Is it because you didn’t know any better? You got to level 85 on a PvP and you didn’t realize Rogues would attack you out in the world? Especially in a shared quest hub? Seriously?

You are accountable for your actions, and you are on a PvP server or PvP flagged through your own decisions. You may stay because you don’t like the alternatives – but you’re there because you made a choice to be there. And you continue to make that choice.

Is it because he’s teaching people to not fight fair?

I teach people to not fight fair all the time. Why would you want to fight fair? Pursue every advantage you have, hit the enemy with everything you got. There’s no kill like overkill. Outgear them. Outnumber them. Outplay them. They send one of yours to the hospital, you send 10 of theirs to the morgue.

This isn’t about abuse, or torture, or griefing. This isn’t about following a target around for weeks at a time, whispering them from alts constantly, of spamming them, of sending them pornographic images. It’s not about degrading them as a human being. It’s about killing someone’s avatar in a video game, in an environment where such behavior is allowed by the developers.

It’s about Rogues acting like Rogues. They pick the weakest target and go after them. They harry their opponents into making mistakes. They use psychological fear to intimidate other players. This is what Rogues do.

Why do you care?

Someone wrote something on the internet about how to play a class in a video game. That class revolves around harassing other players, not front line combat, not healing. It excels at being sneaky, and the writer advocated being sneaky.

Is this because you don’t think daily quest areas should be PvP areas?

Dailies are bad enough, but adding PvP into them is worse, eh? If this is the case, how is Chase responsible for this situation? All he’s doing is explaining how the area works. Take this up with Blizzard.

Is it because you believe that Chase is promoting griefing? Not ganking, which is unbalanced PvP combat, but griefing – “a player ruining another’s player experience.”

I read his article. I said it before, I’ll say it again: it read like a guide to Rogue PvP to me.

  • Pick your targets carefully.
    • Plate wearers, especially with shields, are not good. (Amor = damage mitigation against rogue attacks. Simple mechanics.)
    • Clothies are nice. They’re wearing magic toilet paper. You have a knife. You know what to do.
    • Targets who are engaged with other mobs, at low health, have used CDs, are easier targets than those who are fully buffed and standing around.
  • Strike with intent to kill while the target can’t retaliate (during stunlock, preferably).
  • Don’t stand your ground – run away, strike from the shadows, run away again.
  • Harassing tactics are effective.

Chase wasn’t describing how to trick players into flagging, or exploiting Seritha’s Roost NPCs to get people to unwittingly flag – he was describing how to play a Rogue, in world PvP.

Yet, the most commonly cited quotes in protest to his article are:

As I mentioned earlier, it’s not always about slaying your opponents. Your goal here is to disrupt the flow and to make them waste as much time as possible, and you can do that without killing anyone. …

Every minute that they’re delayed is another minute you’ve stolen of their time.

Combine with the solid advice on how to play a Rogue in PvP, does this constitute griefing and abuse?

It’s slowing down players of the opposing faction. If you’re in competition with this faction – say in PvE progression – how is this a bad thing? You’re making it hard for your opponents to progress. You are making it easier for your faction’s guilds to get server firsts by delaying progression.

But even if it was griefing, why do you care? Open a ticket and see what Blizzard says, they’re the arbiters of it.

Remember Psynister’s most excellent guide to Rogue Twinking?

The Harasser covers multiple play styles, but their purpose remains the same. Harassers are there to make people mad so that they make stupid mistakes. You can do this a few different ways. Graveyard campers are a great example of a harasser. Rogue who prey on players with small health pools are also harassers, as are those who simply Sap you, multiple durations worth, every time they see you.

By doing things like this you end up getting a lot of players upset. It’s mean and it really screws with someone else’s “fun time”, but it’s PvP and it’s all part of the game. You know you’ve succeeded in being a quality Harasser when people ignore your flag carrier strictly to have a shot at killing you. Once you have successfully made the enemy hate you, your play style switches between harassment and bait. Luring people away from your flag carrier is just as good, and sometimes even better than killing them.

Rogues are often associated with their ability to kill people, so many players just rush out there and jump into combat every chance they get. How you play is up to you, but there is so very much more to this deadly class than that.

This is how you play a rogue in PvP. You strike from the shadows. You irritate people. You make them afraid.

People who are afraid make mistakes.


Let’s look at this another way.

I advocate the following, on a regular basis, for Warlock PvP.

  • You should pursue every advantage of terrain against your opponents. Get melee to jump down a hill after you, then teleport back to the top of it.
  • Maintain range at all times against melee. RUN AWAY. They will fuck you up if they catch you, so RUN AWAY.
  • Maintain range – except against a Hunter. Get right up in that Hunter’s face and stay on them. Take away their ability to shoot you.
  • Ruthlessly control your opponents through Fear & Spell Lock. You have the best PvP CC in the game, USE IT. (Don’t follow fear with a nuke, wtf is wrong with you?)
  • Target their healers first and make their lives hell. Do everything in your power to distract their healers, pressure them, and make them waste their time dealing with you. Every second they are dealing with you is a second they’re not healing their teammates.

I advocate the following for general PvP.

  • Gear and enchants don’t replace skill, but they sure do help. Overwhelming your opponents with gear is just fine.
  • If you spot someone in PvE gear in a battleground, blow them up. They can do a lot of damage, but can’t take it.
  • Focus on creating imbalanced fights in a battleground. Get more people to critical locations. Get better people to critical locations. Don’t ever make it a fair fight.

Am I encouraging griefing, or good PvP? I’m saying: actively use every advantage the game allows, play your class to its strengths, counter your opponent’s advantages.

Remember my series on level 10 PvP, Sabotaging the Enemy: the Ethics of Gear?

I showed up and was better geared than the opposition. Much better geared. It wasn’t about skill – I pressed a few buttons and people died. Because I was better geared, I had to press fewer buttons, that’s all.

I brought a gun to a knife fight and people died. Bad people, people with red over their heads, died. I did the job I was supposed to do in the battleground superbly well.

Advocating success in PvP is not the same as advocating griefing.


Why do I care?

I’ve said on many occasions that PvP is a highly introspective activity. You have to deal with your own expectations, your feelings about yourself. How do you deal with success? How do you deal with failure? How do you deal with your anger, your hate, your pride?

This is no different. Chase wrote something about Rogue PvP on the Molten Front. People reacted.

I write about PvP all the time. I advocate killing the healers first, of making their lives hell. I advocate proper use of your classes’ abilities to shut down opponents. I actually go further than Chase, encouraging the use of tactics that Blizzard GMs frown upon.

Whatever you are accusing Chase of, you’re accusing me of. If you equate excellence in playing your class in PvP with griefing and abuse, then I’m guilty of it.

You’re also accusing Psynister of it. You’re also accusing Gnomeaggedon of it. You’re accusing a lot of people of advocating things that they just aren’t.

If you think that because I twink I’m a horrible person who likes to beat up others, well, I’ve been told that many times before, in probably more vicious terms than you can manage.

If you think that because I PvP at endgame I enjoy ganking, griefing, and ruining the enjoyment of other players – I’ve heard that before, too.

It’s okay. It’s a video game. It rolls off my back.

But you should be aware of what you’re saying.


Filed under Cynwise's Field Notes

On Tol Barad’s Failure to be as Cool as Wintergrasp

Ran some PvP on my level 69 Warrior tonight – EotS twice, had a lot of fun. One decisive win, one close loss. Flipped over to Cynwise, EotS again, 3-1 victory, okay. Experimented with different places to put her circle around MT, there’s probably a post in there somewhere.

Started to get a little late, Tol Barad was about to pop, figured I’d queue up for it and maybe eke out a nice chunk of honor.

In the words of the immortal sage of Star Wars, whassa meesa thinking?

ICG. Fight, rout the Horde, move to Slags. Entire Horde team is at Slags. Get killed, try to draw them out, get killed again. Move on to the East Spire, watch a demo take out the spire. 

Getting more tired. Go to WV, I like WV. Good places to put your circle in WV. (Also, not 20 Horde to 1 Alliance.) Take WV. Yay WV! Lose ICG. Boo ICG!

Take ICG back. Lose WV. Yawn a few times.

Poke at Slags. Get a few Horde to follow me out. Kill a few, get killed by the rest.

Rez at ICG. God damn, this is boring. West Spire down. 40 Honor, but now there’s more time on this clock. Damn clock. Wintergrasp was never like this.

Go to WV. Die defending WV from a massive inc. No chance. Infernal bought some nice time, but I couldn’t take out the healers because their rogues were protecting them. WHAT WHAT you heard me right. 


Why is this so boring? Thoughts wandering. Wintergrasp wasn’t this boring.

Why is this so boring? I can’t shake that thought. I buff up, but don’t move. Why?

TB Attackers have one task, to be repeated in three locations. Take this base, this base, or this base. They’re all the same layout, with some minor variations of internal layout. Three people can go get demos and knock down towers, but that’s it.

TB Defenders have one task, to be repeated in three locations. Ride, stay, fight, repeat.

Wintergrasp gave you several choices right off the bat. 

Attackers: take workshops, kill npcs, assault the walls on foot, defend south towers, defend south workshops, build vehicles, assault walls. That’s just deciding what you want to do in the first two minutes.

Defenders: man the walls, or go south for the towers? Ride out to stop siege massing at SR/BT? Get in a cannon on the walls? 

If you wanted individual PvP, go south to the towers. Or go to the workshops. Less comfortable with it? Stick with the groups in the courtyards.

Choices. Lots of choices. Different activities. Keep, workshops, or towers? 


WG towers mattered. If you got them down you could WIN. Not give you a chance to win, you could end the game with a victory by taking all the time off the clock. Defending the towers could give you time to win, and failure to do so meant you could actively lose.

TB towers prolong the game. They give you more time to win, more chances to flip the bases, but they don’t actively win the game. They don’t matter. Why do defenders ignore them? They don’t really matter.

Why is Tol Barad boring, while Wintergrasp was exciting?

Because doing the same thing over and over again in different locations is boring.

Doing different things in different locations is not.

Choices. That’s why Wintergrasp was so cool – it offered choices.


Final spire goes down. Total time on clock jumps up to 14 minutes. We’d lost WV but gotten ICG back.

I logged off. I didn’t need to see any more.



Filed under Cynwise's Field Notes

On Being Good Enough to Get Away With Being a Jerk


I was in an Arathi Basin tonight on my level 68 Warrior when this mage started chewing people out for not calling incomings. Really nasty stuff, actually, and when I say that you have to remember how much /bg chat I see.

Yet, every single criticism was correct. People weren’t calling out incs. He didn’t need to be insulting about it, but they weren’t doing it. I think I was still fighting at BS when an inc finally came out from LM. The Mage was all THAT’S WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT and the battle really got underway.

I fought with this guy at a few nodes. He was all over the place, running laps between LM-BS (slowfall) to FM and back to LM. He had great control and burst. He didn’t die until nearly the end of the BG, and had a 41 KB / 0 Deaths record at one point.

But he never stopped yelling at people, calling then names, really digging at them. I reported him after about 5 minutes of this, but I could see he was still talking by the responses in /bg.

I checked out his armory after the match, and was a little surprised by what I saw. This is a PvP achievement toon, working very seriously towards Battlemaster. He’s got Spell Penetration (which makes me weep for joy when I see it in the lower brackets), the right amount of hit, good gear choices, and no XP-boosting heirlooms. He’s there to spend as much time as possible in the leveling BGs, and it shows. 30k HKs by level 69? Huh.

On the one hand, I have to say that this guy was good at Warcraft. Great at Mage PvP, even.

But on the other hand, no matter how right he was, that never excuses being a jerk to your fellow players.

I hope he comes to realize this someday.

(For the record, the only thing he said to me, or about me, was to compliment my inc calls, and then berate other people for not doing it too. *sigh*.)


Filed under Cynwise's Field Notes

On Naga Keybinding Planning (Destro PvP)


Destro is honestly simpler to map out than Affliction. I’m still waffling on the Shift modifier page.

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On the Thirty Pieces of Silver

Then one of the Twelve—the one called Judas Iscariot—went to the chief priests and asked, “What are you willing to give me if I deliver him over to you?” So they counted out for him thirty pieces of silver. From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand him over.

Matthew 26:14-16


Let’s talk about 4000 Honor Points as compensation for folks who ground out entire sets of i365 Vicious gear.

An entire set, by the way, is roughly 26k. So this is about 15% of the total kit.

Let’s say you bought a car for $30k, and it was a lemon. You returned it immediately. The dealership paid you $4615.38 when you brought it back. You’re out $25,384. How would you feel?

Let’s say you bought a book for $19.99, realized it wasn’t right, and brought it back. The bookstore took the book back and gave you $3. How would you feel.

Let’s say it took you 40 hours to grind out that Honor – about 650/hour, which based on what I’m seeing in 4.2 seems a reasonable average with a 50% win rate. (I’m getting 125-175 for losses). Of those 40 hours, only 6 have had value. 34 hours of your time have been wasted.

(This is the extreme case, of having purchased the entire Vicious kit that week, of course.)

So let’s say that the PvP developers chose this option because it was the easiest to implement, which I think is a reasonable assumption. They have to prep a code release, identify affected players, test their code, then work it into a production maintenance.

And it only goes to half of the affected player base.

So now, they have to do a hotfix, which means you have to pull them back off their projects, identify those players who were missed, prep their code, QA the fix, and pass it off to production support for deployment. The servers have to come down again. There are real costs to this.

So the cheap solution ends up costing more than originally estimated.

The sub-optimal solution for customer service was chosen because it was the lowest cost to implement. And then the implementers screw it up.

It’s one thing to give substandard compensation and then consider the matter closed. That’s bad. It’s another thing to give that payoff and screw it up.

There’s a business lesson in here, which I’ll leave as an exercise to the reader.

Let me get back to the 30 pieces of silver.

There’s this scene in Robin Hood – the one with Kevin Costner, don’t judge – where Friar Tuck goes and shoves all this crap into the Archbishop’s arms, getting him ready for his journey. Finally, he gives him a purse of coins, shoves it in the bishops mouth, and yells, “and here’s your thirty pieces of silver, to pay the devil when you see him in hell!”

Friar Tuck then defenestrates the evil Archbishop.

It’s a good movie. Even if Costner switches back to an American accent in the middle of it.


Filed under Cynwise's Field Notes

On Playing Piano like a Guitar Player

So I’m trying to teach myself how to move with the keyboard again, and … well, it’s painful.

I move with my mouse. Back when I used a trackball, I moved really fluidly and could spin for HOURS on my Chopper. Even with the Naga, I am still pretty mobile, but it shifts abilities onto my right hand, which means my left needs to handle movement. So, keyboard moving boot camp.

I play guitar, or I used to. (I should play more now.) But I play it adequately well, and it helped me with my manual dexterity. My left hand fingers have reach and are used to hitting odd positions. My right have rhythm, and are used to placement. They have different jobs to do.

When I play piano, I’m not very good. My spouse says I play like a string player – instead of my hands acting in unison, they work separately. Left hand! You have the bass line! Right hand, take the melody! It’s a style more suited to keyboards than piano, to be honest.

I play Warcraft in a similar fashion. My left hand handles casting abilities, my right moves me around. I strafe with mouse buttons, push both mouse buttons to move forward, all while tapping out spellcasts on my left hand.

Targeting is the first problem with this approach. This model either requires me to tab target, or focus target, or set macros to get different Arena combatants. I can cast on the run, but I struggle with target switching. Mouseover macros are also nonintuitive, because Mice is 4 moving.


Healing is the next one. I struggle with using Vuhdo while moving, because I’m clicking on green boxes with my movement hand. Casting with clicks – while standing – is great in a 5man, but it sucks in pvp. Even more than unfamiliarity with a healing class, inability to move and click things hampers my performance.

So I’m trying two things.

First, on a few of my lowbies I’m trying to cast only with the mouse and move with the keys. Turning with the mouse is strange in this model, and I’m still trying to get my right thumb used to the idea that he’s driving the casts. My left hand is like, IM HERE TWITCHING PLEASE CAST FASTER.


The other thing I’m trying is on Cynwise, where I’m learning to cast with the full naga keyboard, but not disturbing any of my other keys. It’s taking some adjustment for that simple shift. I tend to flip back in the middle of combat to the old way.

Golfers have to periodically adjust their swing, and I think that this will make me a better player – eventually.

But for now, I’m a string player on a piano, trying to get my hands to work in concert.


Filed under Cynwise's Field Notes

On Priorities, Elephants, and Desire

Let’s talk about the white elephant in Cyn’s room.

On July 4th, I walked away from Warcraft, my blog, my twitter account. I vanished with a single note: Unplugging and taking a break. Back in a bit. /afk. No notice, no warning, no signs of trouble. I uninstalled my Twitter and blogging apps off my phone, disabled Cynwise’s email accounts, and pulled Warcraft off my Dock.

And I walked away.

Contemplating a future without Cyn, laying aside the mask and leaving it behind, was scary. Over the last two years Warcraft has become a big part of my life – not just the game, but the community around it, around the blogs, around Twitter. I’ve made a lot of friends, some of whom are good friends, through this hobby. I’ve found writing about WoW to be very personally rewarding, of making me a better writer, a more flexible debater, a better teacher.

But I walked away.

I didn’t walk away because I was unhappy with Warcraft. It wasn’t dissatisfaction with the state of the Warlock, or PvP gear fiascos, or anything.

I walked away because my hobby made my spouse cry.

That is probably the most personal detail you’re ever going to get out of me.

More so than how much I love my kids and my wife, more so than where I live, or even my name and face, now you know this. My somewhat measured, careful relationship with Warcraft is straining my relationship with my spouse. I was okay with my kids, but not the one who I’ve chosen to spend my life with. It takes me away from her for hours at a time, the only hours she has to have adult contact.

I will not forget her, crying, yelling at me that she couldn’t even ask me to stop because then I would resent her for it. And I knew she was right.

I will not forget.

So I walked away. She didn’t ask. She didn’t have to.

Here’s the thing, internet. In a battle between you and her, you have to lose. There shouldn’t be any question about that. I can’t even joke about this, because there are plenty of people who don’t make that choice, who choose the wrong answer, and who pay the price.

I didn’t even tell her I’d did it until mid-week, but she’d already noticed. I did other things to keep busy. I played some games on my iPhone. I cleaned up some things around the house, and on the network. I set up my Kindle and read a few books. I went to bed early. I said it was only for a week, but after a few days, I started thinking maybe not.

Holy crap, going to bed early when you have a 6AM child-induced wakeup call feels great.

She didn’t ask. She never asked. I had to remember that a lot, she never asked. I did it because it was the right thing to do. Without Warcraft in my head all the time, I was more focused at work, more engaged with the kids, more present for her.

It was good.

But here I am, typing at you from behind the mask again, internet. I picked it back up again. How can I justify that?

Two things happened.

During that week, I closed down a weblog which had been going for 5 years. Five years! It had spluttered to a stop a year or two ago, but once upon a time it was central to my identity on the internet. I hung my hat as its proprietor. It wasn’t big, but it was me.

And I hated it.

It was a failure, not commercially – it paid for a lot of Warcraft art! – but personally. I looked over its archives and looked at it with a critical eye.

  • How did this website help people?
  • What did I teach anyone with it?
  • Why did I think people cared if I added no value?
  • Did this website have a positive impact at all?

That website was an aesthetically pleasing complete waste of fucking time and bytes.

Then I looked at CBM, and the differences couldn’t be starker. I am really fucking proud of Cynwise’s Battlefield Manual. You know why? I’ll give you a hint: it’s not the pageviews.

I keep an early email in my inbox from a reader to remind me why. It’s about my Children’s Week Posts.

Then I ran across your post, and was amazed.  (I also enjoyed both of the ‘Proposal’ entries)  So complete, well-written, and enjoyable.  Your attitude and strategy helped me to screw my head on straight and realize both how silly it was to get so bent out shape, and how to have fun while trying for the achieve.

I helped someone get their head on straight, get perspective and a good attitude, and make it work. That’s pretty good.

I have been thinking about how much your post changed not only my enjoyment of WoW, but my attitude in general.  Just wanted to say thanks, and to let you know that you convinced me of the joys of battlegrounds. Thanks agin, I hope I get to heal you sometime!

I get a lot of comments like this now. “Thanks for explaining things.” “Thanks for helping me out, I get it now.” “Thanks for showing me how to have fun, this is a blast!”

I don’t know about you, but I don’t get that kind of feedback from my work often enough.

I talked with my spouse about this a lot that night I shut down the other site. She was right – she couldn’t ask me to give it up. I would resent her for giving up the good parts of all of this. I would resent walking away from something that was personally fulfilling – not the video game, but the weblog. The mask.

The other thing that happened was that, after a fantastically productive week at work, I realized that I’d burned out at work. I had done 2x the normal volume of work on a busy week and was burned out again. My job isn’t that interesting. It’s kinda lonely working remote, and the WoW community is very social and fun.

I missed y’all!

So I picked up Twitter again, gingerly, like hey, sorry I was gone, I didn’t mean to cause worry, but I needed to go away. It was really nice coming back to friends.

Things were good. Spouse was happy. Cyn was happy. Had gotten my own head on straight.

And then I checked in on the WoW news, and was like… what? are you kidding me? They did what to PvP gear? I busted my butt to get a complete Conquest set last season and now it’s not even worth the same as Honor gear? I have to grind it all over again?

I very nearly quit that night. It was interesting, writing a post on CBM, trying to get a conclusion, when it came out – were it not for my son wanting to see how Gilneas ended, I would have quit on the spot. It came out, in a public forum, something I never thought I’d say.

I find it interesting that I walked away from WoW for reasons that had nothing to do with the content of the game, but as I was gingerly coming back to it I got slapped in the face with an unexpected gear grind, and that’s what made me really want to quit.

It’s not that the changes made me want to quit, but the changes might keep me from coming back. Looking around at my free time made me value it more, and spending it playing WoW doesn’t always appeal. I can find other things to do now, which surprises me.

And one of those things is, surprisingly, blogging a lot more.

I enjoy writing about Warcraft. I have a lot of things that I want to write about. This site is one of those things. I have a map of changes to CBM that I can’t wait to get started on. I have stories that I want to write. There’s a lot of positive things still to do, and I want to do them.

Blogging isn’t something that takes me away from her for hours at a time.

Hopefully I’m done with the negative posts about the PvP gear debacle. I say hopefully, because I don’t know what Blizzard is going to fuck up next. Maybe they’ll get it all straightened out, but I have a feeling it will just take time to blow over. I’m done covering it. I’d like to get back to posts that help people have fun. I got my own shit to do.

I’m not going anywhere. I’m playing very casually right now, and that’s been an interesting transition for me. Instead of 4-5 hours a night, it’s down to 0-2. I’m not logging on some days at all. It’s strange to revise your goals from “Arena 2200 or bust” to “fiddle with my UI and play a BG to test it.” I’m still blogging, and if today is any indication, I’m blogging a lot.

I’m slowing down with actually playing Warcraft, and I’m okay with that.

There are some things you cannot forget.


Filed under Cynwise's Field Notes

On Brand Loyalty and Addiction


Listen. I don’t have a problem. I can quit using them ANY TIME I want to. They’re just REALLY GOOD NOTEBOOKS, okay?!


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On Why I Smell Social Engineering

Related to the last post.

In PvE, you can cap all of your raiding gear needs through running last tier’s content in a solo fashion. (Not that you solo Zulroics, but you can queue for them solo if necessary.) If you have a raid team, it can be done with only part of your raid team, or you can queue for it and take your chances with the LFD too.

In PvP, you can only cap through running content in the largest group environment possible, requiring the most coordination of any PvP activity. Not only can you not do it solo, you can’t even do it though your normal group if you prefer Arenas.

There are two very different philosophies at work here.

“I smell social engineering” is a phrase I picked up maybe 10 years ago from JWZ, who was talking about linux development of some ilk. Both of these point systems are directing players towards very specific content – Zulroics for PvE, Rated Battlegrounds for PvP – that have been introduced in Cataclysm, at the expense of other content that players seem to prefer.

Why? Is it to justify the development dollars in those projects? They have to amass so many hours of player time before an activity is justified?

The current system is a mess, and it’s a mess because the rewards programs are trying to drive specific behavior that is counter to what the player base wants to do.

Good times.


Filed under Cynwise's Field Notes

On Visible Weekly Caps and Filling the Bar

Theory: it’s not just the source of Valor Points which is causing problems with PvE right now, it’s also the way in which the VP cap itself is expressed.

In Wrath, there was a weekly cap – the total number of Frost Badges you could earn. The better you raided, the more you got. You could supplement with Daily Heroics, but if you missed a day or two of heroics – any heroic, mind you – you were still within 90% of your total cap (based on raid success.)

Now, the total points available to earn is greater – much greater – than the weekly cap. So the expectation is changed that you should be able to fill up your bar to 100% of your weekly cap, because of the entire pool of Valor Points available to you, you’re only being asked to get a portion of them.

Also, the cap is expressly described as such – it has gone from being invisible to visible, a set of expectations to a progress bar. This is a big shift for PvE. In PvP, we’re used to the caps, to the idea that you have to fill up a bar. But this is new. There’s a bar, now. Progress bars induce guilt. Did I get it this week? Just one more, I’m almost capped out and then I can stop.

I spent a lot of nights hammering away at that last win in the Arenas during Season 9, just to fill up a bar. It got me shiny purples, but… it was to fill up a bar.

The other part that I wonder about is that the percentage of the overall pool of VP is now so diluted. I remember reading that only 14% of the total Frosties per week could come from daily Heroics, which sounds about right. Now, depending on your raid team, 35-40% of your potential VP pool is Zulroics.

What the hell?

Never before has the gear grind seemed so naked, so calculated, as it does when you look at that damn weekly cap. You will log in, on a regular basis… or you will fall behind.

I think I liked them better when the caps were invisible.

(Number of weeks in Season 10 Cyn has capped Conquest Points: 0.)


Filed under Cynwise's Field Notes