Monthly Archives: July 2011

On Why I Left Google Plus

This morning I deleted my Google Plus account.

I’d seen a post or two of people using Google Plus and getting their accounts suspended, but this morning I woke up to this article which compliles a lot of them, and points out a disturbing trend – that if you try to obscure your personal information in G+, you can get banned for it.

And not just banned, but you can lose all Google services.

I didn’t really care about G+ – it was interesting, I enjoyed seeing what was going on there, even if it’s a little strange to me. (I do not use Facebook, though I have an account. An IRL account, not a Warcraft account.) But I do care about my gmail account, and my youtube channel – I don’t think I have all of the source files for those videos anymore, and I’d hate to lose them.

So, since pseudonyms seem to be a risk for one’s entire Google account, I deleted G+. 

In retrospect I shouldn’t have said “I’m leaving because I use a psuedonym and don’t want you shutting down my entire google account” in the “why are you leaving?” form, but … hey. I did. Whoops.

It’s pretty sad when you start feeling afraid of a company which promises to do no evil.

Am reconsidering my relationship with google now, which makes me a little sad. They’re a good company with some great products… but I don’t like companies who scare me with their policy decisions.

I’m not trying to lead a crusade against them. Lots of people will no doubt have no problems with staying on G+, and I’m really fine with that. But my separation of Cyn/not-Cyn needs to hold, and I’m not going to use it in public with my real name.

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On Prot Warrior Keybinds and the Lure of Level 70 Twinking

I need to start thinking about how to better use the Naga with my Prot warrior.

Ashwalker_-_prot_setup

Revenge! Shield Slam! Victory Rush! Charge!

(Defensive cooldowns are all on the Shift modifier.)

Also, is it bad that I’m thinking of twinking her at level 70 so I can tank BC Heroics at level? Is that bad? My druid is already xp-locked at 70, do I really need another?

Man. I should just get her to 85 and then start another alt. :-(

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On Thrall and Leaving Space for PCs

So I unexpectedly got an ebook of Thrall and read it last night. Good read, enjoyable enough if I didn’t think about it too much. It felt a bit like reading Forgotten Realms novels when I was younger – enjoyable romp through lands with familiar characters.

I really found myself wondering about how I fit into this world, though. The narrative of the player character is difficult to construct when the main storyline is always carried by the same few NPCs – an advantage of the FR books was that the world allowed for both, that no one clique of NPCs defined the world. They may have defined a part of it, especially those covered by a given author, but not the whole thing.

Azeroth feels smaller, somehow. Not in context of the stories, but in the space inbetween, the space where PCs live. I enjoyed reading about Thrall, but it’s hard for me to reconcile the events in book with events in game, with the adventures of Cynwise. It’s like the only way to participate with the meta story is to hang out with the cast of demigods.

And that thought triggers all sorts of Mary Sue alarms in my head. :(

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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.

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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. 

Rezzing.

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? 

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.

 

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On Being Good Enough to Get Away With Being a Jerk

Ashwalker_-_ab_scoreboard_-_fotm

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*.)

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On Naga Keybinding Planning (Destro PvP)

Photo

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

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