Call me a fanboy if you wish, but I’m so tired of all the recent bullshit going around the blogs about WoW. Leading the way is of course Tobold, with yet another post consisting mostly of “back in my day, we fought raid bosses in EverQuest uphill in the snow” routine. Seriously, if you don’t like the game – just freaking stop playing it already.
Anyway, he linked to Dee’s post over at Lost in Azeroth today, spilling his wisdom again like some kind of a MMO Oracle or something similar. So while a) I already have two similar posts in my live writer that I’ve decided not to post, and b) I realize nobody actually cares if some random blogger from some random not even remotely popular blog is disagreeing with the Great Ora^W^W^WTobold, I’ll still post this one, because it bugs me.
Lets see then.
#1. Long-term planning. Apparently balancing the classes is wrong, because it makes one unable to “play a warlock and be the best DPS” or whatever. But that (and the accompanying topic of so called “State of DPS”) is not the point and the story at the end gets from me only a raised brow, because I raided a lot in Wrath and I certainly don’t remember warlocks rerolling enmasse.
“When I rolled my priest, I did so with a long-term plan to be the best healer possible, but over the years other classes were often better as healer”, says Tobold.
Over the years, maybe, Blizzard is known for not doing the best with class balance (remember spammable Circle of Heals in Zul’Aman?) But how about now? I can say only based on what I can observe from my raids – and I can’t say anymore that one of the healers is better because of the class. It’s all down to the player skills, as we all have similar healing abilities. Same thing goes with tanking – we’re done with “we have to have a warrior tank this to spell reflect things or else we’ll wipe”, now every class can tank every encounter in their own way.
So I can safely make a long-term plan to be the “best warrior tank” or “awesome druid healer” – rather than “the best tank at everything ever” or “best healer”. But if you set ridiculous expectations, you’ll gonna end up like that poor warlock from Tobold’s story.
#2. Short-term strategy. Tobold completely ignores half of the original point of Dee’s post and instead focuses on rotations. Why am I not surprised? Adaptability and awareness certainly belong to the short-term strategies and it’s certainly something that makes up a lot of player’s skill – especially if it’s a healer or a tank.
Strangely enough, on the WoW forums there are a lot of these questions and while some of them get directed towards a spreadsheet or EJ forum, you can find help as well – I know, I asked on this blog about healing Chimaeron and received a response.
#3. Resource management. Once again, skipping the important part of the post and focusing on details. Gold is important, but in the same post Dee talks about mana management for healers, and while it’s not an issue in heroics, you have to be good at it in raids. But Tobold doesn’t do raids, therefore the problem does not exist at all for him.
He also points out how mana management is only for the healers, let’s see. I guess the whole “Mana management” chapter of EJ’s Fire Mage Compendium doesn’t count, right? The whole arcane mage mastery and their DPS based on being as close to 100% mana as possible doesn’t count either? Or focus mechanic for hunters which is all about managing energy like rogues had to do all the time? How about a warrior tank that spent all his rage and can’t do anything useful? Or maybe having enough rage/energy for interrupts? I could go on, but I think it’s enough examples of resource management.
#4. People skills. I’ve been an active part of the Undergeared project, from almost the beginning to the very end of it. It’s true, I didn’t have to have any people skills to raid with Gevlon, I just needed to be good at healing (which I was – else I wouldn’t see the inside of Icecrown Citadel at that character at all). However, Undergeared was only a project, not the standard.
At the same time, I was raiding on my warrior, leading 10-man raids, and earlier helping to organize 25-mans, while it seems to me that Tobold never did. Why?
“People skills are at best secondary, most raid leaders would rather invite the less nice but better performing player than the other way around.”
Well, no, they wouldn’t. If a player is disruptive to your raid in any way – and you can replace them on the spot – you do so. With a warning preferably, but I’d rather have the less geared player and maybe wipe one or two times more, than have some hunter that proclaims that “you should all be thankful, this kill happened only because I was with you”, even if the hunter did the most dps of the whole raid. Insulting people was the clear and fast way out of my raid, and I had to do so a few times.
And yes, trade chat pugs have obviously different rules than guild raids, yet I’m willing to bet you’ll be still kicked if you show a total lack of people skills, same as you get kicked from LFD groups if you behave like an ass. Isn’t that what you oldtimers preach anyway? That back in your day you didn’t get far on your realm if you were an asshole?
And at last, raiding. Tobold still keeps going about “learning the dances” and how that sucks. See, the dances – the mechanics of the bosses – are important to know, but the raid encounter doesn’t end at them. There isn’t a way to learn any encounter to do it blindfolded (video link totally relevant, this one also). Random players will be damaged at any time, adds will come and have to be picked up, tanks don’t have perfect avoidance and might get hit hard few times in a row, things will pop up at the floor, randomly or not so much – these are just a few things but you have to be aware of all of them happening and react to them. Also, you have to remember that raiding is a team sport. People will react differently to mechanics, they may even *gasp* fail at something and then you have to scramble back to keep everyone alive. Is that included in the “dance strategy” you learn from Tankspot? I don’t think so.
You can’t make a machine that you’ll feed instructions on what keys it should press on your keyboard in order to successfully beat the boss – and you could definitely make one that would flawlessly complete any DDR song. Also, different classes will have different methods of dealing with the mechanics – a warrior might for example intervene someone to avoid an AoE and charge back at a boss, while the paladin would run to the side instead.
Honestly, I have no idea where Tobold (and mind you, I definitely don’t think he himself is stupid) got that awful and stupid image of raiding. Too much failing on Heigan maybe? But that’s seriously one fight out of a hundred or so in total, and we had to do it something about 2 or 3 years ago, just deal with it already will you.
Recently there’s a stream of very annoyed blog posts from almost every place I look. That’s quite normal, seeing there’s nothing bringing attention better than doomsaying. There are however some that either bug me greatly or are just straight crazy.
There is this one post from The Noisy Rogue, which at start sounded like I could potentially agree with it, but quite quickly descended into pure madness.
DPS find themselves in the situation where not only are their skills found in any other class, but with the introduction of dual specs many former tanks and healers are willing to jump in the queue as DPS when it suits them.
Now wait a moment. Is my dual spec a bad thing? How so?
Is me being able to switch from tanking to dps when needed – and believe me when I say that at each raid tier there are always fights that you only need one tank for – a bad thing? Should I be rather removed from a raid for that fight in favor of a real DPS (or have to teleport to the trainer, respec and be summoned for 10 minutes of a fight, then do it all over again to resume tanking trash leading to next boss – leading to extra 10 minutes break if I’m fast), or try to add my still quite awful prot damage as an unneeded offtank? I’ve already been in the offtank-in-a-one-tank-fight role in all my years of playing WoW far too many times and I’m very grateful that I can quickly switch my specs and do some real DPS instead. You just can’t imagine how much – probably even more so if all that you ever played is a pure DPS class.
Hell, if I could have one wish from Blizzard granted, it would be a third spec, so I wouldn’t have to spend around 200 gold every time I want to PvP successfully. Why 200? Because when you respec, you still have to change your prime and major glyphs and removing them costs 60 gold on top of the 33 or so gold price of the talent wipe itself. And I have to respec, because both my normal specs skip the PvP talents and are therefore useless for it. To be honest, the gold is mostly irrelevant here, however the time it takes to change is not.
Lastly, what bugs me the most – so me queuing as a DPS is a bad thing? Why? Because I have full tank gear, should I always queue as a tank? Because I have a tank spec, I shouldn’t take rightful place in the queue from the poor pure DPS classes?
As a consequence of antisocial behaviour, many players who play tanks in particular are now unwilling to tank a run for anyone but those already known to them or in their guild. As tanks in particular are easy to run through the LFG system, tanks can gear up quickly in comparison to other roles, thus giving them the quick option of opting out of the entire LFG system.
While it is a consequence of antisocial behaviour, it’s not a consequence of the LFG tool itself. We don’t blame gun manufacturers for wars and massacres, do we? It’s completely possible for a player to not be a dick towards the random people found by the system for your heroic dungeon run. Neither Blizzard nor the game tell you to be a dick at any point, it’s your bloody choice. However, we still get morons like the ones I wrote about in my last post. Is it Blizzard’s fault that a stupid melee dps with raid epics can’t run out of an AoE and dies in it? Is it Blizzard’s fault that ignorant morons try to push their failures on the tank or the healer?
One might argue that it is actually Blizzard’s fault, because they’ve implemented the LFD system and without it we wouldn’t have these problems. Really? You’ve never once encountered a bad player/ninja/jerk under the old system, while making a trade PuG? Unless you ran dungeons exclusively with people from your guild/friend’s list, I can bet that you probably did – after which they went on the ignore list and you never had to see them again. Exactly like now.
However, in the end it’s still the players that are jerks, not Blizzard employees or developers. It is the players fault if they piss off a tank or a healer to a point where he just doesn’t want to tank/heal anything for people he doesn’t know. If you want to change that, start trying to change the players thinking, to not be dicks to others. That’s all of incentive I want, to run a heroic and be told “good job healing/tanking” – if I do a good job at it of course. Too tank a heroic and not be kicked just before the last boss for no reason other than because someone didn’t like me.
Do we see it more often now that we have a larger pool of jerks to choose from? We do. But often enough in the LFD PuGs I run, I encounter good players, nice people and generally have fun in the dungeons I run. And it actually enables me to run them at all, because usually I’d do them late at night (or early in the morning if you prefer to call it that). The chance of me getting enough people in /trade at 4 in the morning to run a heroic? On a low to medium populated realm like Deathwing-EU is? Zero. The chance to get enough people in an entire battlegroup to do so? Much better, thanks to the LFD tool.
There is also a gem of madness in the comments to that post.
“Tanks all became copy pasted versions of each other with different colors and “themed” names to their skills.”, says one enlightened commenter that – coming from a quick read of his site – apparently doesn’t play a tank. I could be wrong, though, because one of his talent specs suggests he does (not that I have much idea about feral specs, mind you). Either way, seriously? Dude, have you ever seen other classes’ tank talents and abilities, and what they actually do?
So my warrior’s mobility, spell reflection, dispelling buffs and a ton of stuns and interrupts are apparently nothing else than different versions of other classes’ abilities. Is this guy even serious? Show me these on any other tank. You can’t, because – what a surprise! – all tanks are not blobs with lots of health and just different names and colors of their abilities.
Madness. I don’t really know where it’s coming from.