Changes in the Wind

“I attempted to fish in Scotland and I managed to hook a dog. It was a horrible moment but the dog turned out to be fine.”
Emily Blunt

Changes in the Wind

I’ve always liked it when directors in movies use the idea of “the winds of change”. We see it upfront in the Mary Poppins movie. It is the flipping point of the twin’s friendship in The Parent Trap. It is also in the El Nino scene of The Holiday. Every now and then, when I see it; it feels good to know that directors are still using old ideas to communicate.

Here in WoW, it isn’t so windy. This confession is that I’m losing track of what is hot fixed and what is data-mined for the next patch! I know that Resto-Druids will get a 4% buff to their spells; but when? I’m lost.

The news for today is good news. They are hot-fixing the amount you receive when you pick Anchor Weed at rank two and three. Will it be enough? The costs on the AH are super high because the weed is so rare. Our passive income is lower and there has to be a balancing of some kind. Let’s hope that Anchor Weed is very abundant.

New expansions are always fun. And part of the fun, for me, is seeing the balancing when live. Hot fixes roll in on classes and quests all of the time. I do worry that a hot fixed quest may be something that I’ve passed and now have missed how it goes.

The crux, pivot and challenge is: will the players be satisfied? We are customers. Will the meal be a good one or a great one? Will the house be comfy or will it creak in the wind? Will our fare be served up with class or will there be a thumb-print in mashed potatoes.


Holiday Blues

“What I find most disturbing about Valentine’s Day is, look, I get that you have to have a holiday of love, but in the height of flu season, it makes no sense.”
Lewis Black

Holiday Blues

No new toys for Brewfest. In Legion, we got the Sausage Hat and some Goggles.

I felt that Legion had it right, adding two new things to each holiday. Then you had both years to get it done, or, if you got it done the first year then you got a holiday from the holiday.

The increase in toys rolled over nicely from WoD to Legion. There was a lot of anticipation when Legion launched and collectors were delighted with how clever the designers can be.

Obviously we have not seen everything but, so far, the excitement isn’t there this time. Whether it was the designers or me, I don’t know.

If I Were Ion

“May Cenarius smile upon you.”
Archdruid Hamuul Runetotem

If I Were Ion

Wanting to say “how to fix Bfa” seemed pretentious and this one is certainly not King of the World. Still, while many think that this is the end of WoW and we hear that every expansion; this game remains very good and entertaining.

The biggest tuning that needs to be made is on trash mobs. Whether they are spiders before the boss or twelve wolves in the wild, they take too long to kill. We do not want “one shot, one kill”, simply dial it down.

Raid trash has too many mechanics; every time, all the time. It is tedious and forces us to do it when, between boss kills; we want to wind down, check or trade loot, look at meters and reflect on our kill. The trash mobs do need to be there for flavor but it is way (way) over-done.

World trash mobs need to be dialed down by 20%. Not a lot. I agree with Ion and it was a good change to make it a fight but the game can get tedious. There have to be other ways to slow us down.

Island Expeditions are the same. We are supposed to feel over-powered, after all, we are heroes. The math should be “drag ten littles to one big and you’ll die”. Kill the ten littles then kill the big and you’ll be okay. This should be a much faster play-style or it gets (one repeats) tedious.

Big Ones should always be tough like they are now. Whether it is a World Quest boss or Raid boss or kill ten plus one big.

Biased, I know, but Mark of the Wild should come back. Taking it away feels wrong, selective, gives out a bad suspicion of intention. Druids have had this as long as I’ve been playing; Burning Crusade.

Raid Buffs should not feel bad. Even the appearance of favoritism is ugly. Dismissing it as utility, “But druids have battle rez” does not change the feeling.

Our feasts, flasks, potions and runes should all feel meaningful. The designers want us to not need these things but the players will do anything to have any little boost. This is partially because of RNG and without a wanted loot drop, we always feel behind. As a player, you see others get loot when you don’t; even if you know it is all the same in the end, you feel behind.

Patch 8.1 will bring some changes:
Tooltips and spells for Coastal Healing Potion and Coastal Mana Potion recipes have been updated to reflect that they require fewer Siren’s Pollen and Riverbud respectively, and all Alchemy flasks now require fewer Anchor Weed for each rank. Rank 1 is decreased from 10 to 6, Rank 2 and 3 is decreased from 5 to 3, cutting mats required in half. Don’t forget your Rank 3s will be generating extra flasks when it procs, with an approximate rate of ~1.4.

The feasts and flasks should be stronger and make us feel empowered.

The man who designed the materials for Mythical Cauldron should be shot first and then fired from the job.

Azerite gear is a big issue. They are fast-tuning the gear but it remains confusing on which is the best to take. Stacking traits is pretty cool but it could be simplified to offense vs defense for clarity. A heavy defensive build might be great or a heavy offensive build might be great or a balanced build; our choices right now need simulators or we blow it off as unnecessary.

That the best azerite pieces come from raids creates some resentment from the M+ guys. Rightfully so. Having two sets of gear (raiding vs dungeon) sucks too, my best dungeon pieces fall behind quickly and get scrapped.

The economy.

As we play, we can see that doing simply that does not make a profit. The rewards from play via mission boards and WQs are very small. Our over-all economy will shift down and down again. The gold sinks for exalted mounts will be true choices.

In a video game with a long life-span, discovery is great but evolution sucks. Figuring out what the intention is behind scrapping, a new thing, is bewildering. If they are tinkering with our game play to encourage us to buy tokes with real money, I cry foul!

We’ve typed enough.

I’m enjoying the game but the above are my major points. And I’m still happily playing the game, seriously, these are not big changes.

Dirty Cauldrons

“Give me a child and I’ll shape him into anything.”
B. F. Skinner

Dirty Cauldrons

My brother could tell me because I always forget. There is the well-known term for a reward system that doesn’t always reward and makes you want to keep going. It rides on Pavlov who did stuff with chickens. The idea is that if the reward system is not always 1 to 1, then we are more likely to keep doing the task.

It would make total sense for the World of Warcraft to fold this into their systems to keep us happily playing. And they have. One might posit that they have gone too far and tried to make it every part of their game: from gear drops to plucking flowers to scrapping for expulsom.

During the Beta, the Wowhead economy guys wrote that it appeared, to them, that the profession designers and those who balance it all were not the same team. We see this in the extremes of the profession design in Battle for Azeroth.

A few days ago, a hotfix came down the pike so that Hydrocore could (might) drop from the last boss of a Heroic Dungeon. Yay, I thought. This is something that I can queue for and not go through the tedious process of acceptance from other players.

I got one! Now I can make the Mystical Cauldron for my raid team. I’m stoked. The cauldron also needs five expulsom. When I was questing in the zones, the rewards often offered things that would be scrapped and (maybe) I would earn an expulsom.

So, I made my cauldron and proudly placed it down for our raid.

Today, I need five more expulsom. The hydrocore can (maybe) be earned by running a quick Heroic. My zones have been quested out so I am relying on World Quests. This is really bad, I am going to kill mobs to get a piece of gear so that I can scrap it in the hopes of earning an expulsom.

Rank Two for this recipe “greatly reduces the amount of materials” which means fewer flasks but one still needs five expulsom.

That is a nasty grind. I find myself impatient with the long slow flight paths.

There are several players in my guild who: farm leather to make wrists to scrap and scrap and scrap to try to earn expuslom.

The answer is obvious: don’t do it. This is a shame, I like giving presents to my raid team.

This is a very dirty design. It is not well done or elegant or fun. Crappy design, crappy play.



Where is Coren Direbrew?

“Just because nobody complains doesn’t mean all parachutes are perfect.”
Benny Hill

Where is Coren Direbrew?

According to my in-game calendar, Brewfest should have started at 10am (my realm time). It has not. I expect around 3pm, maybe. We are all wondering what the ilevel will be for the trinket that he drops.

As I recall, the trinkets are simply drops and you can run it again and again or trade with fellow dungeoneers. So, lets hope for a 350 trinket!

The warfront took about forty minutes. I’d guess that when we learn what to do, it might be a lot less. The one-time reward is sweet. It is tempting to farm the warfront for 340 pieces that can war- and titan-forge up. No trinkets or rings but yes on weapons. So I’m told by my guildmates.

I was lost but enjoyed myself. I went once on my druid healer and once on my alchemist hunter. Its a fun thing to do.

So, we got some account-wide rep in our future patch. The neck rep (pardon), the transmog rep relief and the over-all total will be now counted. But, if recipes are locked behind reputation, you will still have to grind and grind.

The new patch looks fun. I like the idea of two different versions of a raid. We know that the greatest hurdle to content is the art work, if they can re-use assets in different and creative ways; we all win.

There is no reason why we can’t get the patch soon, like December, for the quality of life stuff and the raid releases much later.

Finally, I am very close to five million gold and I will buy the Dino mount for four million once I am exalted with P. Admiralty. The rep is a grind, I’ve cleared the zone. I’m doing WQs and hoping for an emissary or five!

They put parachutes on you for the big jump into the warfront.


Battle for Azerite

“Oh, don’t let’s ask for the moon. We’ve already got the stars.”
Bette Davis

Battle for Azerite

Few in my raid team knew about Reorigination Array. When you get a piece of Azerite Gear from Uldir, there are two traits to look for: Archive of the Titans and Lazer Matrix. Choose one. This will amp up your highest secondary stat while in Uldir. Every week that you kill three bosses in Uldir, it goes up by 75. So, on Tuesday, it should be up around 150 or 225. Sneaky Blizzard told no one.

Your progress is tracked even if you don’t have the gear piece yet. It works in the LFR up to Mythic and the stats are the same. So, we’ll get stronger passively but you want those traits. It is confusing, I know.

After Ion’s AMA run on Reddit, he is going on a Dev Q&A tomorrow. They are usually on Thursday but the next patch will be on the PTR soon and he needs to smooth the edges, I think.

It looks like an apology tour, he’s admitted that azerite traits and gear levels are a problem. He’s admitted that professions are frustrating. And he totally side-stepped the need for an Alt: the pressure is growing for account-wide rep but I doubt they will buckle.

I see the professions frustrations but the rest all seem to be working fine for me. I’m happy with the raid (we are 5/8 on normal), the zones and quests are all fantastic. I’m a happy player; if the traits suck, well that is the way that they are.

This player is having fun with the Suggestion Box.

I suggested Rank Four for Anchor Weed with a chance for an extra proc when picking other flowers. Same with the feasts. But I’ll write, “I need you to be an advocate for this” or “you can save the game!” or some other silly stuff to amuse the readers.

It is astonishing to me that the profession designers don’t want us grinding endlessly but we have quest turn-ins of recipes and mats, throwing away our grind for some rep. Something is wonky here.

Reset Day tomorrow! I love Reset Day.

Happy Hunting!