Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Five Hidden Laws of WoW

Doesn't it feel like sometimes games claim to use one kind of rules but in reality they run by a hidden set of rules designed to mock and frustrate you? A lot of this comes from biased thinking, meaning that when something has started to annoy you is when you'll start noticing it and you'll think that it stands out. You rarely recognize when things go your way but more often when things go bad. I swear that some games just seem to know how to tease you though. I don't know how many times I've said I'll give up grinding for something in WoW only to have it drop the minute later (proving I did not quit grinding after all, but I would've! Eventually...).

Continuing on with another post based on some notes I found in an old notebook of mine, this one is about video game logic or lack thereof. These notes (this post and the previous one) were written closely together so clearly I was in something of a pissy mood, hateful about players in general and my game luck in particular when writing these. Remember that these are written tongue in cheek, are based on my experiences alone and you might not agree at all. Also I use words like "always" very loosely. At the time they were probably just an attempt to vent some anger from my side. After (at that time) five years of playing WoW I thought I had its tricks pinned down - I knew that it worked around hidden rules that were designed to lure us into trying just one more time. Fake instant gratification!

1. In a group, whoever plays the worst will always get the loot.
All the entries on this list are frustrating, but I wonder if this one is not the worst one. I was ok with people who played badly (aka did bad dps/healing/tanking and/or a lot of mistakes) to get some loot. In fact this "rule" even worked to my favor on occasion. I clearly remember bringing my lock to Vault of Archavon once, playing utter crap and being the one to win the loot out of at least a handful of rollers. Playing badly is one thing, it can happen to anyone. But the amount of times this seems to have worked in the favor of the jerkwad of the group, I can't even count. You know, that one person in the group who seems dead set on ruining the day for everyone unlucky enough to be grouped with them. Numerous times have I've had people like that in my group, seen something really cool drop (even random epics, mounts or the like) and 9 to 1 the Ruiner of Fun would win it. Just to write "Lol! Screw you guys!" and leave with a digital finger aimed at the rest of the group. Oh sorry, I mean "LOL!!!! SCRUW U GUYZ!!!!".

Every... time... -

2. Percentages are not what they say they are.
This might take some explaining so bare with me, but this is true as day. Imagine yourself fighting some kobolds in Elwynn Forest, chuckling at their cries of "No take candle!" and having a generally good time. Say, just hypothetically that you've got 100% hit chance and 10/10 swings are actually landing. Now imagine further that you somehow get a debuff that reads "10% reduced hit chance". "Ok" you might think. "So I'll only hit 9 out of my 10 swings, no biggie", shrug and move on to the next Kobold. The Kobold end up being the one laughing however as you stand there, wildly flailing your weapon at them, suddenly having a hit chance that seems closer to 1/10 than anything else. What am I trying to say? I always felt, nay unconsciously known, that debuffs that reduces stats had more than twice the actual impact than it claims to have.

It's like the game can't handle statistics and probability properly. I know this is how the human mind works (hence the existance of this list), meaning that we often think in either/or rather than in actual probabilities. But I thought a game, based on solid, programmed numbers would be better than that! As it is I often wonder if the game just runs by the commands "doesn't miss much" or "misses a lot", rather than actual percentages.

3. You always get dazed when you want it the least.
Which usually is always. But sometimes you're lucky and don't seem to get dazed much at all. You can bet your life (and it will be your life) that whenever you're being chased by a ganker you will get dazed by a mob. Or when you pull an elite. Or when you try to ride out of Zul'Farrak after having pulled half the instance.

4. If you run between mobs to avoid aggroing them you will pull both and their stealthed friend.
See point 3. on this list for what will happen next by the way. This is just classic irony or perhaps Murphy's Law. By trying to avoid to get into trouble, you'll actually end up in trouble, and a lot more of it than if you had just wo/manned up in the first place and dealt with it rather than trying to chicken your way through. But I just hate it when I am simply trying to get smoothly from point A to point B (which happens a lot in WoW), I'm not in the mood for any skull bashing and this Gnoll just knows he has to ruin my day. So he brings his friend. And where the hell did THAT guy come from?!

5. It doesn't matter which class you bring, stuff for your other class will always drop.
This one is for all you alters out there, you know my pain! At one point I was juggling quite many, and did some 10 VoA runs each week (day? Don't remember how often they reset). And I swear, the more alts I had the more it felt like I lost out on loot. Which you know, makes sense, because every loot that dropped was something I could've used on one of my other alts. And I guess the more alts I had the more I got the sense that loot dropped just to mock me. Ok, maybe I can scratch this one and just write it down to me being damn unlucky. Or probably averagely unlucky.

Well this person had no trouble finding gear! -

Bonus entry!
6. If you get jumped by someone while questing and you're about to own him, a paladin will come out of nowhere and kill you when your opponent is at 5%.
I think the title speaks for itself and I think this just happened to me when I wrote this list.

Ever felt particularly out of favour with the WoW Gods? I'd love to hear about it in the comments!

Friday, August 29, 2014

10 Signs You Should Leave The Raid

One of the many very good things about playing WoW was what a good source of blog material it turned out to be. I literally had notebooks filled with ideas to write about, based on pretty much anything that happened to me in the game. I'm not saying that life in general can't be a good source to write about if you just think about it, but to me WoW always worked like a charm. The fact that I don't play it anymore is a small reason to why I write blog posts so rarely nowadays, but turns out I've got a load of WoW posts actually lying around. The other day I was checking through an old notebook I found and I read through some of the ideas I had that never made it into a proper blog post for whatever reason. Most often I am guessing I didn't think it was much enough of an idea to become a post but sometimes it might've just been lack of time. This post is one of the latter I am guessing, as it was basically done in my notebook and just needed to be written down digitally to be bloggified. Since I haven't played WoW for over a year now I don't know how much any of these hold up, all of them aren't exactly laugh out loud material either, but it might at least put a smile of recognition on your faces. So here it goes;

1. The hunter says he's a melee hunter

People have been making fun of hunters throughout the history of WoW for many reasons. From "everything is a hunter weapon" to the fact that you could just sic your pet on an enemy and roll your thumbs to profit. Fact is that really early on in the game I could swear that Blizzard at least thought about making melee hunters a viable choice, the same way they sort of tried shaman tanks. So maybe we can cut some confused hunters out there some slack. To someone well versed in what WoW is all about, the mere idea to play your hunter without a ranged weapon sounds just about as ludicrous as playing a melee boomkin. Yet there were some rebels out there that thought exactly that would be a good idea. At least there is kudos on them for trying to up the difficulty on the hunter class.

Even Blizzard agreed it had to stop -

2. Raid Leader only knows how to speak in /s

I encountered a lot of people who didn't seem to fully understand how to use the chat system properly, or more often how to turn off caps. In the early levels this is forgivable. But if you've made it all the way to raid level, it is time to learn. Especially if you hope to lead.

Or if this happens -

3. Main Tank says "mom says dinner is ready"

It's easy to make fun of young kids parents that don't understand that WoW isn't pausable and what tremendous issues it can cause a lot of other people when their kid has to come to dinner right that second. But maybe the kid is at fault for not warning the parents about their commitments and keeping a dialogue on game time vs dinner time.

4. People try to lose aggro by running away from the tank

I find this funny because it's such a rooted reflex in human behaviour. To get away from danger you need to run from danger. Unfortunately this means also running away from the person that could possibly save you and when raiding this can be especially troublesome. This got frustrating enough for Thoryana to write a pretty good song about it. Yet I've done this myself many, many times.

5. The Raid Leader isn't part of a guild

I don't know if this is still true, but there was a time while I played where being part of a guild was the way to check if someone was morally ok or not. If someone wasn't part of a guild they probably didn't care about people! And if they don't care about people they will greedily ninja everything they see! Also if they were part of a guild they could be punished by that guild when they did something wrong, so obviously the fancier the guild the more trustworthy you'd be. Obviously this system didn't work too well since it's easy to just create your own guild to be in all by your lonesome and I came across plenty of huge guilds where everyone was basically a douche (Ye Olde Goone Squad, I am looking at you!).

6. Main Tank/Healer uses the Jenkins title

When titles were introduced, one of the easiest to get was the Jenkins title. So of course, having it up came to symbolize someone who didn't try very hard and/or didn't know much about the game. Then came the people who used it "ironically". And then we stopped caring I think.

Just one step closer to getting his own game -

7. The paladin only uses minor blessings

Paladins have been changed so much I can't be completely sure what I meant when I wrote this one. It was probably when minor blessings were 5 minutes whereas major were 30 minutes. But then they changed it so that everyone of the same class shared major blessings which meant that some people needed to get minor once to get the right blessing, and that's totally legit of course. I have no idea how it works nowadays.

8. The Main Tank only uses BoA gear

I'm going to guess that LFR has become easy enough that this might not be much of an issue, but a couple of years ago or just after BoA had been introduced, you did not want to see any of that gear on the person who was going to take big hits from the big troll. This was especially true before BoA tank gear was even implemented.

What I get for Googling "boa" -

9. The Moonkin hasn't specced moonkin form

In line with the melee hunter, it always fascinated me how some people could misunderstand their class and their talents so tremendously (eventhough I've been there myself!). I'm not talking about nitpicky stat optimizing, but somehow not looking at your fellow players and seeing they are all doing it one way and you're not. Doesn't that make you wonder? I'm all for trying new things (and did occasionally), but unfortunately that is rarely rewarded in WoW.

A good reason not to spec moonkin -

10. Tank Healer says "I have really bad lags"

This is just one of those famous last words kind of phrase that probably doesn't need much more explanation.

I knew it! -

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Baby & Game

Whenever me and the bf have some free time, we pretty much use it to game. We do watch the occasional series or in my case write a bit (reading has unfortunately been put on the back burner for now) but for the most part we try to get some game time in. It's funny how we try to maximally utilize the baby sleep time by pretty much cutting out anything remotely irrelevant and cram in more game time. Make tea? No time. Go to the bathroom? Not now! God forbid he falls asleep while we're out. Run home and maybe there is still time for some minutes of gaming! This is not the actions of addicts, but of gaming deprived individuals (that's what I'm sticking with at least).

Which is why I don't play sim-games -

It's inevitable however that we go bold enough to try and do something gaming related while the little guy is awake. As much as I love playing "spin the shiny thing", "rattle the plastic thing" or "bang the hard thing", every now and then you need a break from those thrilling games and do something mommy wants to do. This is when the hunt for baby entertainment begins. And I've made some nice discoveries.

Growing up owning a Nintendo 64, I was one of the people who never liked it when other people said that Nintendo only made "kids games" like it was a bad thing. They didn't get it all wrong however. The N64 games are perfectly suited for infants and toddlers!

Watching a Let's Play of Banjo & Kazooie, a game I always liked but found way too difficult for myself to ever finish, I noticed how my little son (currently 8 months old) loved to watch it with me. And not just Banjo & Kazooie, but pretty much anything with big, colorful sprites/figures and not too quick movements. The whole mid-90's segment of video gaming is filled with games that fill that criteria - games like Croc, Spyro, Tiny Toon Adventures: Buster Busts Loose and Lester the Unlikely. These are examples of games at least my kid thinks are absolutely hilarious to watch, often having him even laugh out loud at the funny sound effects and animations (or whatever it is that amuses him, I don't actually know!).

Giant carrots are hilarious to a baby -

My bf who is a massive Sonic fan was also happy to notice that our son loves to watch him play Sonic. At least Green Hill Zone and definitely the bonus stage - especially in Sonic & Knuckles (I guess he likes the "booap booap" sound effect the balloons do). He snaps his head towards any direction he hears the Sonic tune from, his entire face turning expectant, hoping to see some Sonic action.

In non-gaming but still baby-related news we've also managed to identify at least two songs he enjoys listening to, not counting all the actually-designed-for-children-but-nauseating-for-adult-tunes he likes;
Psy - Gentleman, which almost always silences him when he's cranky and
James Blunt - You're Beautiful, maybe that is mostly because of how horribly highpitched the bf tries to sing along.

Me and the bf have discussed how we want to introduce video gaming to our son, when the day comes that he actually wants to play some himself. He is already curiously investigating our controllers (admittedly he is curiously investigating pretty much anything at the moment) and it's not too far off before he hopefully wants to give gaming a try. We both feel that starting out on the older consoles could be a good thing, as the games often are straight forward and designed with small children in mind - Sonic again as an example. Really older games, talking about NES here, might be a bit too unforgiving and difficult for a really small child to enjoy (or maybe that's just my impatient ass who thinks that, the kids back in the 80'd didn't complain!), but the SNES/Mega Drive era could be perfect for a small kid to start with (although in all honesty a lot of those games are pretty tricky as well).

This is where anger is born -

Maybe the most important thing I hope to teach him is a respect for where gaming is coming from and different styles of designs - a time when instant satisfaction and reward wasn't as prevalent as it is today. Just looking at my own gaming experiences I can see how the instant gratification system has affected me. I don't want to be one of those people who needs a game to be super fun the first 10 min or throw it out, and I don't want my son to be like that either. It's always easy to think you'll do things one way of course, but we'll see how easy it is to put into practice once we get there. Most likely it is something that'll come naturally. Either he will show an interest for the old consoles or he won't. I just hope I can fill his head with some classics before he gets to the age where he feels the need to play whatever his friends are playing. I have really fond memories of watching my mom play games and I hope I can share the same thing with my son.

It'll be very interesting to see what kind of games he eventually enjoys playing, as me and the bf are quite different in tastes. He likes the late 80's-early 90's console platforming games the best and I prefer the late 90's-early 00's pc games the best. It'd be funny if he decided to fill out some genres currently unrepresented in our household - racing and sports games. Time will tell.