TL;DR: DPSMetres Encourage Selfish Play

DPS metres!

Something I’ve gone back to really enjoying not having to deal with.

DPSmetres are… horrible things. Or well. A single factor that can turn slowly into a Horrible Thing. One of the glaring differences (and Recount was always one of the first addons I downloaded!) I’m seeing now in GW, after a month to see Cataclysm then going home is… what a horrible effect DPSmetres have on mindsets.

With DPSmetres, suddenly being good is doing more damage than everyone else, and damn the consequences. No! Can’t waste time CCing or anything, can’t buff anyone else, because that might take away time from my almighty DPSmetre score!

Yes, I’m exaggerating – but that DPSmetre stuff is also something that particularly struck me about WoW, and WoW’s entire combat architecture, when I was running Domain of Anguish with 2 friends in GW last night.

That is, even though WoW encourages team play on the surface, the very construction of the classes and builds encourage solo play. That is, everyone plays as an autonomous unit within the group, caring only for their own cooldowns and buffing their own roles. Tanks and healers too.

I’m not explaining this very well, I’m afraid. But it’s things like… how GW has a spell called ‘Splinter Weapon’ that when cast on a target, makes each of their physical attacks hit 4 other targets, for x number hits. And the damage/DPS boost is attributed to the target, not the caster. This sort of spell is VERY common in GW. And really, all you have to give up to bring it is one slot on your 8-skill skillbar.

In WoW, the only thing I can think of that comes readily/easily to mind, that buffs someone else, and gives them the benefit in terms of numbers, is Power Infusion. And you have to go pretty deep into the Disc tree to get that. Basically, (I don’t think) you would have that without being a Disco-preet.

I guess what I’m trying to say is one of the things I didn’t like about WoW was how, when it comes down to the actual nitty-gritty of it, team play is NOT built into the system and NOT encouraged on a truly fundamental level. (Bear in mind, I played WoW for 3 years – Vanilla to end of TBC – before moving to GW.) And it’s this very obsessive individuality built into the system that, paired with DPSmetres, encourages mindsets which are counterproductive to achieving team play and spirit.

This is something inherent in the architecture itself though, and there’s no point or purpose in railing against it. Either you can accept this kind of play, and enjoy it, or you can’t.

Hope this gave a slightly different perspective as to why DPSmetres can be da ooky. =)

TL;DR
DPSMetres tend to encourage selfish play.

*waddly nugget waddles off, leaving another crumbly battery wall of text in her wake*

Long spammy comment I wrote on the whole Social Responsibility of tanks and healers storm in a teacup that's been storming around in the MMO portion of the blogosphere recently.

I spammed up poor Spinks' place, then realised my readers might perhaps be interested in the perspective, too.

Why I Love ArenaNet

I think the fix that we had for syncing worked for what it was intended to do, it just brought to light greater issues with the problem. Why are people syncing? To get a team that they feel is guaranteed to win. Why is that so important? Because most people are playing for title points, not for fun - thus losing is seen as inefficient, and generates resentment to whoever is the "source" of your loss. So playing on truly random teams was fantastic for people that are either more casual, or just interested in playing for playings sake - it's like just joining in to a random TF2 server. You can go in, shoot some guys, help your team with your objectives, and probably have fun regardless of the outcome. Titles (and related things, like Fame) in GW have been a double edged sword: they're a terrific motivation for people to play, but as we've seen, sometimes they come with some consequences. So while we can implement the syncing fix, I don't think it's in our interests to do so until it's coming along with something that's part of fixing the bigger problem. Generally I'm not a fan of band-aid solutions unless there's no other choice, I like to get at the real problem where we can. And for what it's worth, bug fixes for old stuff do make it into the builds that we're putting out when we've got time for them. The unfortunate reality of the situation is that with the size of the team, we're only able to do so much, and new stuff has to be a priority. It's not our job to be making money first (although it is always a concern; we are a business after all, and we need to show that our team is valuable and worth keeping around) rather, it's to keep people excited for and engaged with the game. New content is always going to be more compelling in that regard - it gives people something to look forward to, speculate about, argue over, and eventually play (or play with, in the case of features.) I have to prioritize doing the things that buy us the most positive returns, and hope that we'll be able to work toward the resources to better include maintenance as well. John Stumme 18:40, 27 December 2010 (UTC)

GW Lead John Stumme gives a very detailed, thoughtful, and clear answer as to why reworking older content/fixing bugs/PvP syncing is on a lower priority than new content.

It's so nice when things are explained sanely and clearly, without being patronising or mysterious.

There are many, many company representatives out there (not just games folk) who could take tips from how Stumme answers questions.

The fling is over, I'm going home.

*snuggles Rotty*

Cataclysm is beautiful, but it ultimately brought home to me how much I hate WoW's combat architecture, and how I disagree with almost all of Blizzard's game design choices. And so, in what was probably a foregone conclusion in the first place, I've cancelled my subscription again.

That being said - Cataclysm is truly polished work. If this had been the first expansion I'd played, rather than the Burning Crusade, I might never have left.

But now, it's time to catch up with Gwen and Keiran, and to get back to feeding toes to Rotty!

Welcome Back for One Month, Nugget! We're Sure Content Will WoW you! a.k.a. Hell is Other People - GIVE ME LIVIA BACK!

So I'm one of those people who's gone back to WoW for a month (at least, that's the plan), to poke around the new old world, then waddle off again. It's partly due to a good friend making HOOOOGE PUPPY EYES at me, Blizzard's US$20 deal for Vanilla, Burning Crusade, and Wrath of the Lich King, and some life in general happening. I didn't buy Cataclysm, I don't intend to stay, and I most certainly don't EVER want to raid again.

However, on with the story!

It's funny - I've read on other blogs that they find it a bit unnerving that Blizzard basically simply went - CUT!  

Five years later...

...because as a returning player, that's precisely it is! In my case, 2 years, not 5, but still.

The baby troll experience is much more streamlined now, and it's even entertaining, with a nice dash of variety.

The UI has improved vastly. I've only downloaded 2 addons (Omen, Recount), and don't feel the need to download anything else.

I'm running a Discipline smite-atonement healer build (similar but not identical to the link), and having fun with it after the initial readjustment needed to the pace of combat / style of combat of WoW, vs GW. As an example, in GW, a 2 second cast (unless you're an elementalist (mage)) is something you'd better have a damn good reason for casting, because that's so SLOW; in WoW, a 2 second cast is fast/normal. 

Azshara, though some silly part of me hates to say it, rivals Guild Wars: Eye of the North for beauty. I petulantly say to myself that well EotN was out YEARS ago! But still, I know I'm being silly. =)

But the main problem is culture shock.

Culture shock from coming from Guild Wars; culture shock from the WoW I left, which is not - 5/2 years later - the WoW I've come back to.

What culture shock, you ask? Well, even if you didn't, too bad!

Here's wall-of-text rant to a poor friend this morning:

like why mages don't make water anymore, don't decurse anymore (not that they ever really did but still), why no one knows how to LoS pull anymore, why no one moves out of green goo anymore, why tanks no longer seem to understand that tanking is more than standing there like a lump, (although more of them can now hold aggro), and that no one seems to realise even after a wipe that careful pulls are better than charging into the centre of the room and wiping.

I was healing in Scholomance last night.

I was the only one who remembered it, until a warlock at the end.

And we wiped in the first room. Of course.

'it wasn't my fault I was feared!' Well, Yes it was. Because you ran to the centre of the fucking room. XD

And stood there and fought. -_-

Scholo hasn't changed at all - well okay, it's gotten easier - but I think they moved it down so that it would be more like the old Vanilla days when it was challenging - it's level 40ish now.

The bright side is tanking (at low levels) seems piss easy now.

I've only had one tank who couldn't hold aggro - incompetanks used to be the bane of my existence.

The dark side is they're used to seeing their tank friends pull the whole instance *while outgearing it*, but forgetting/not counting the top part. ~_o

Anyway it felt like old scholo, only at 40 I don't even have prayer of healing yet. Well okay, it was easier, because no one died even though some parts were REALLY CLOSE, and everything I said above happened.

When I started pulling the second room (summoner + skeleton room) sanely, one person ragequit.

'We're going too slow! I don't have time for this!' *quit*

And because the tank had no idea how to pull, had no idea what an los (Line-of-Sight) pull was - I was like, 'Look, STAY HERE. I will pull.' Group, 'Why don't you let the tank do his job.' Oh yes, because the first room went so well, oh yes. Because you know if you run into the centre of the library and fight and get feared and pull the whole room and we die, obviously it's not your fault, because you were feared, yeah! No, I didn't say that, but I sure was thinking it. XD

There's even less skill than I remembered, and that's impressive. XD

Tanks NEVER wait for healer mana anymore. I realise most people are heirloomed out the wazoo, but I am not (I started with a fresh PC version instead of upgrading my old mac one), and I don't want to be.

That scholo I drank 40 waters because they would never let me drink.

So it was, 4 seconds of drink, stand up chase the tank.

Who is of course pulling a whole room. Again. XD

It was nice seeing scholo again though.

Oh yeah they were all standing in the green, of course.

I stopped even trying to explain things, noone was interested in mechanics - they just wanted to make shiny lights and … lol.

The tank did listen to me on one thing though.

I was so fucking amazed!

On the boss who does the aoe knockback, I despairingly said as everyone poinged off in all directions, 'It's easier to tank that against the wall so you don't get knocked back.'

And god in heaven, he listened.

How shocking.

Well, at least he listened to that.

At least I taught one idiot something.

...this post isn't going to make me very popular with WoW players, is it? XD Oh wells! Soon I shall have lovely luscious Livia back. *Worships Livia* AI forever!

Clarification:
This build doesn't use Heal, ever. It uses Smite in place of Heal. Obviously, I'm still a baby, but I've heard reports of it working fine in heroics as well. It's in raids where it fails - the bosses are often fatter than 8 yards, alas for obese bosses!

Why? Couple of reasons:
1) With a full stack of Evangelism, Smite-Atonement costs just a little more than Heal, and casts faster.
2) Smite (with talents) can reduce the CD of Penance.
3) Unlike Heal - where you have to wait for the damage to hit, then heal it, with an additional 0.5s tacked on top of that - you are constantly smiting. Because you are constantly smiting, you're healing the damage the moment it happens. So far, I've found that Smite-Atonement healing can cover anything but Shit Has Hit the Fan (SHHtF) situations, where you go into overdrive. If you have time to cast Heal, you have more than enough time to heal with Smite-Atonement instead.
4) Evangelism is almost always up at 5 stacks. I have Archangel macroed to Penance, and I ONLY use Penance to heal. That means in SHHtF situations, my Penance packs a real punch, and so do my Flash Heals, and whatnot. I do not use Archangel for energy management - I find the constant cost reduction of Smite-Atonement for me to add up more than what I'd need to spend to rebuild 5 stacks.
5) Smite-Atonement is a 'smart heal'. It'll heal anything within 8 yards of your target with the lowest health. I've read complaints about not being able to 'direct' it, but the truth is, in a 5man (and that's all I'm interested in), you can. With a judicious Renew+PW:S, or, depending on the situation, just a Renew, you can more or less make certain that the person with the lowest health (even by a fraction), is the tank. This also makes it more interesting - to me, anyway.
6) Right now, at level 42, tanks are more or less in Non-SHHtF situations, taking almost exactly the amount of damage that Smite-Atonement heals. Obviously it differs a little between tanks, but the general rate has been amazingly reliable and constant.
7) It's just plain fun (to me), especially when it comes to making sure that Smite-Atonement hits the tank, just like you want it to.
8) It adds (acknowledgedly sad, but still existent!) DPS without any negative effects - always good.

The Artificial Ape a.k.a. Once You Start Seeing Parallels in Virtual Environments, You Can't Stop

There may, in fact, be a choice to be made. Although Robin Torrence is right to contrast the flexible responses of people in resource-rich, unpredictable environments with the highly logistical survival routines of those in high-latitude, harsh environments, the correlation is only general. As the archaeologist Everett Bassett has pointed out, the farther north or south you get, the more risk-reduction strategies are forced to diverge. The orthodox strategy is to become ever more specialized, going big on sleds, kayaks, harpoons, fall-traps, summer gear, winter gear, big-game gear, small trapping gear, and so on. As things become harder to find and hunt, water and wind get colder, and light and dark shift from a twenty-four-hour cycle to a twelve-month alternation. Investment in the insulating, adaptive technology is attractive. This is the "life-pod" approach, where getting food and staying warm are guaranteed by technological fixes at every point. The alternative strategy is a dramatic opposite and involves extreme opportunism. It is unorthodox, because in such demanding environments you need to be really good, divesting yourself of every encumbrance for maximum flexibility, weighing energy costs with potential risks at every moment. In the orthodox case it can be fatal if the gear fails, in the unorthodox case, if you do.

[...]

Perhaps this explains the expedient technology of the Tasmanians. Instead of sitting down for a long time to make a complex tool that you might lose or damage, you hardly break stride to knap a sandstone blade edge and deal with that seal. The Tasmanians were highly skilled land hunters, yet they used neither spear thrower nor stone-tipped projectiles. They did not have ground stone tools because grinding stone is very laborious, whereas efficient knapping can be a matter of a few highly skilled strikes. Everything was quick, and replicable. If a blade was lost, you made another one, or picked up an old one and refreshed the edge. Being without clothes reduced your other possessions, so that what you owned was yourself. Entailment was minimized. This was Hermann Buhl's logic on Nanga Parbat: not naked, but with an absolute minimum of gear. It could be described as reverse entailment.

The Artificial Ape
Timothy Taylor

The basic premise of The Artificial Ape is that technology has evolved us, as much as we've evolved it. The technologies we've come up with present a third force, together with environmental/natural selection, and culture, that are even now changing how humans evolve. We're smaller and weaker than our ancestors, simply because with the technologies we have at hand now, we don't need to be larger, or stronger, or even the same as they were. It's a fascinating book, and very persuasively argued.

However, as nuggets are wont to do, this is where I tangent off from what Taylor talks about. Reading the two quoted paragraphs above, I couldn't help but feel as if he were describing World of Warcraft (orthodox) and Guild Wars (unorthodox) in anthropological terms, with going big on specialised technologies being the veritable smorgasboard of add-ons available for WoW, vs GW's very, very minimalist, pared-down system. The statement, 'In the orthodox case it can be fatal if the gear fails, in the unorthodox case, if you do.' was the nail in the coffin - or the icing on the cake, if you prefer.

The second paragraph also rings very true for me when juxtaposing these two MMOs. Many's the WoW-player I've heard lament in GW that 'there's nothing to DO at 20!' There is - but it's all about yourself. What you own is... yourself. There's no sense of, 'Oh I should be raiding now, I need more stuff so I can get more stuff...' GW gives you an immense amount of freedom in terms of deciding what you want your endgame to be about - and it's that exact freedom that can lead to people not knowing what to do, just like how it's easier to create a project if you're told the goal and purpose, rather than being just told to go and do whatever you like.

I'm not trying to say that one type of design is necessarily better than the other - just that they're different, and work along different lines.

I hope ArenaNet remembers that, while they develop Guild Wars 2.

Guild Wars: Hearts of the North or Oh How I Hate Playing With Monster Skillbars

Hate being a Junundu?

Loathe the Bonus Mission Pack because it's mindbogglingly boring with the exception of Gwen's story?

Then you'll dislike the first two quests in Hearts of the North.

Just like a nugget.

*sigh* I hope the whole questline isn't like this...

[Edit: It appears the entire Keiran part of the questline is like this. Luckily, there's only 5 of them. -_- After the 5 quests, he's going to marry Gwen, and surely players won't have to help him with that. I hope. O.o]