Monthly Archives: July 2010

Privacy matters for constructive posters, not trolls

Okay, so I waited a whole day before I started a blog post about the WoW forums changing to their Real ID (Your real name) instead of your character name.

So, now if I want to help people on the druid forums or the customer service forums, I have to put myself at risk by exposing my first and last name. After 5 years of making a division between my real life and my game persona, I’m suddenly being told that I’m not allowed to have that division anymore, OR I can just choose to not post on the forums where I’ve posted pretty much every day for the last 5 years.

People only recognize Lissanna because of the fact that I’ve made so many darn posts on those forums, two of which are now stickied on the druid forums. At this point, I’m pretty sure that if this change goes through, I’ll be forced to chose to stop posting on the forums – at least for a while. It might even be healthy for me to take a 6 month to a year break from the WOW forums when the change goes through.

Why I don’t want to give up my privacy:

  • Because telling people you meet in-game who you are in real life should be a CHOICE, not a requirement for participating in the WoW community.
  • Because I would have to associate a character (Lissanna) to my real name to be able to have any of the credibility I built over 5 years, and to be able to maintain guides.
  • Because I have an uncommon/unique name, where it would only take 2 seconds on a google search to find me.
  • Because I worked so hard to maintain my privacy over YEARS of being a semi-public figure, and I don’t even have a face book account because I think it is too invasive of people’s privacy.
  • Because people on the forums don’t always like me and make posts like this at least once a year. I’m not really sure I want to give my phone number, address, work information, and all my other personal information to every troll who decides to have a personal grudge against me.
  • Because trolls don’t really care if we know who they are, and they’ll just keep trolling – and the forum change is going to chase away a lot of the good people who I want to interact with. A this point, the druid community is trying to figure out how to move the feral and resto posters to an outside forum like the moonkin repository.
  • And most importantly, I don’t want to have to post on the WoW forums with my real name because I feel like I’m being punished after all these years of being a constructive, helpful poster by having my privacy stripped away. There is too much risk of a future possible employer, the other staff at my grad program, a random angry troll, people I kill in PvP, or a creepy stalker will find the info I post on the forums (or just the fact that I spend too much time doing WoW and not enough time doing actual real work) and use it against me. The entire point of Blizzard wanting to use names is so that there is real life consequences for what you post – whether or not what you are posting is good or bad. Those consequences will happen to some % of the playerbase (people will get fired, have stalkers show up at their doors, etc), and I’m not sure that as a public forum figure, I would want to put myself at an increased risk above and beyond the standard trolling posts that I receive on the forums and my blog. I’d rather have them trolling my armory than have them trolling my street address.

Instead of using everyone’s first & last names, I suggest that Blizzard change it to only show first name and last initial, linked to a character so that you have enough variations. You have the same sense of being a real person, but you don’t give away your address and phone number to every person who you kill in a battleground and wants to retaliate. If Blizzard thinks that no bad real life consequences will ever happen to people who post on their forums, then they’ve got their head in the sand, since people report on stalking problems on a regular basis right now, even with you having to tell people your name for them to find you. You could have last name as being optional (to show or not), for people to be able to make that decision about whether or not they care about their privacy.

So, I’m sorry to everyone that has loved having my guides on the WOW forums (the over 2 million page view leveling guide over 4 years), I’m just not ready to give up my privacy and put myself at risk of negative RL consequences just to not get paid to help you. I will, however, likely still be maintaining and updating my guides for Cataclysm on my blog, even if I choose to leave the forum community. If someone wants to be the person who takes the info from here (while giving me credit) and maintain it on the forums (with frequent updates and such), please let me know, because at this point, I plan on giving up my forum sickies and retreating to this blog as a safe-haven where I have a choice of how much I want to tell you about myself. I was in tears yesterday thinking about how to write this post and how to make this horrible decision, where whatever path I choose when the new forums come out, I’m going to be unhappy and I’ll disappoint people. I wish Blizzard wasn’t forcing their helpful posters to have to make this choice.

Posted in Uncategorized

(spoilers): Cataclysm pictures – Cats & more

So, from Beta testing, I have gotten a couple more pictures of the Worgen & Troll cat form, along with some of the scenery and quests from Cataclysm. If you don’t want spoilers, you should look away now!

First up are a couple more shots of the Worgen Cat forms in various colors.

Then, we have the orange-haired troll cat form, sitting on the highway rocket track that that the goblins built in Azshara.The new Azshara horde questing area is really super fun. Azshara ends up being a level 10 to 20 leveling zone, full of quests for the horde and a couple pretty neat quest hubs… with the rocket highway as a fast way to travel from hub to hub.

Then, we have 2 pictures of Desolace. There is a patch of life that has sprouted up in what was once a barren wasteland.  We have the blue troll cat infront of a new quest hub that popped up in Desolace, near the Ghost walker post. Right now, my troll can interact with the Night Elf NPCs. I’m not sure if that is intended yet or not.

The second Desolace picture is the Kodo Graveyard looking into Ghost Walker post.

Also, one of the quests from the goblin starting area has you build a shark with a “freakin’ laser beam” attached to it, to help you fight an even bigger shark. Who doesn’t love sharks with lasers?

You can click on the thumbnails to see the full-sized pictures. Enjoy!

Also, I now have FAQ’s for each of the druid talent specs on the Cataclysm information page! Keep an eye on the Cataclysm section of the side-bar on Restokin for even more information about druids in Cataclysm!

UPDATE: Looks like I’ve been invited back to the Twisted Nether Blogcast to talk about Cataclysm Beta tonight (Tuesday, July 6th), at 8:00 pm PST (which is 11:00 pm EST). You can find the TNB broadcast here at Ustream tonight! Hope to see you there!

Posted in Uncategorized

Cataclysm: Moonkin and Eclipse discussion

The good:

Having some control over when Eclipse procs is a good thing, so that we can try not to proc it right before we have to move or whatnot. We also have much better haste scaling, so that we’ll be less likely to easily cap haste (and all 3 of our primary “nuke” talents, along with our HOTs, will greatly benefit from the haste).

PvP moonkin have several more useful tools, which should help off-set the change in wrath’s cast time. Without having actually done pvp testing, it looks like moonkin PvP should be in much better shape in Cataclysm, if things like solar beam really work well. Obviously, moonkin PvP needs more testing, but it seems to be in good shape.

Eclipse – like a broken record:

On the Beta server right now, Eclipse feels pretty much like it does on Live. It really doesn’t have a different feal.

I would like to see the Eclipse buff changed to being charges instead of an amount of time. That way, if we needed to cast an arcane spell while the nature buff was active (ie. needing to moonfire spam on the run), we didn’t necessarily lose out on anything. You could make the number of charges substantially fewer than what it would take to re-proc Eclipse in a fair and balanced way, but it would allow us more freedom for movement without having to worry about “losing” out on the proc that we worked so hard to get. Eclipse would still need to buff nature & arcane damage with the charges, but charges would be much more movement forgiving, and would add more flexibility to our rotation.

Right now, we really don’t have a good movement mechanic for moonkin, and so moonkin are still going to be one of the least mobile DPS in Cataclysm (if not the absolute least mobile), since Eclipse still sucks for any fight that requires random moving (which is… every fight).

With so much of our DPS & rotation tied to Eclipse, if Eclipse isn’t designed right, we have a high chance of not being any better off in Cata than we are right now. Our rotation doesn’t feel any different at all, and we lost improved Insect Swarm, so we have even less interaction between our DOTs and direct damage abilities. We don’t really have a functional rotation – we have Eclipse and then some spells that interrupt our Eclipse cycle and delay the next Eclipse proc, and it really feels like Moonkin are just an Eclipse gimmick experiment.

Moar DOTS:

In addition, moonfire can’t decide if it wants to be a DOT or if it wants to be a direct damage ability, so it’s losing the battle altogether (it’s neither good as a DOT or a direct damage ability). Insect swarm lost its’ miss chance debuff, and is now just a high-damage DOT with nothing else that it does – which I suppose is okay, but doesn’t feel purposeful or meaningful, especially since insect swarm is basically not effected by talents much at all. There should be something that ties in abilities like insect swarm and wild mushrooms into our rotation. We’ll have to spam moonfire on the run, so it seemingly has a purpose for that, but nothing at this point is really feeling cohesive.

Not feeling very talented:

– Genesis is a resto druid talent that doesn’t benefit balance druids much at all.

– We have pushback protection split between multiple talents still (celestial focus, nature’s focus, and owlkin frenzy).  Celestial focus lost the haste bonus, and now only gives the pushback protection. Owlkin frenzy could be useful for PvP, but it almost never procs in PvE anymore. Nature’s focus is really not a talent moonkin should invest in.

– Brambles looks like a “fun” talent, but it has very little (if any) real PvE usefulness, due to how little of an overall DPS boost it is (and the utility daze not having a purpose in PvE).

– Lunar Justice has very little usefulness in either PvP or PvE (it’s worse than Priest’s lightwell, since we likely have to land the killing blow to proc it).

-Too many talents tied to making Eclipse proc faster (Lunar guidance, Euphoria, & Improved Eclipse). What other clas/spec has to spend 8 talent points to make their Mastery stat work better?

– Moonfire’s direct damage is too low so that the 7 talent points that do nothing but prop up moonfire’s direct damage actually have very little impact on our overall DPS.

– Imp moonkin form is just a group buff with no personal buff, making it potentially unnecessary to spec into if you have someone else who can provide the buff.

Conclusions:

The Eclipse change feels cosmetic, and moonkin feel really incomplete, due to not having a PvE rotation that will be functional in a PvE world where encounters have a lot of movement.

Our talents feel like filler designed to have something to invest in that won’t actually do a whole lot other than make Eclipse more and more of a focus of what we do (essentially encouraging 3-button spamming), without any sort of real movement-friendly mechanic at all (other than making moonfire less useful as a DOT). We need a lot of work to get a functional PvE rotation, and most of the changes will have to come in the form of changes to Eclipse.

Now, it’s still very early in Beta, and I’ve said a lot of these points already on the Beta forums. However, moonkin went live without feeling cohesive for either PvP or PvE in Wrath of the Lich King, and we only have a short amount of time to get moonkin feeling like we aren’t always an expansion behind everyone else.

I also have this posted on the Live damage dealing forums to get a discussion started over there.

Posted in Cataclysm, Moonkin Balance DPS

Cataclysm: New druid healing model

So, the druid class’ biggest concern seems to be about how the healing model will work in Cataclysm.

Here is what I’ve been able to gather about resto druids’ HOT Topics:

  • Why Blizzard wants all healing specs to have the same 3 heals (some homogenization isn’t evil)

So, Blizzard’s plan is to have mana be a problem for classes in Cataclysm. The easiest way for Blizzard to do that was to have efficient and not efficient heals. In their process of trying to do this, they realized that having 3 equivalent spells across the healing classes would make it better for them to be able to balance the other unique & signature heals around a solid base.

These 3 heals ended up being: A short cast, inefficient “flash” heal; a long-cast, mana expensive big nuke-heal; and a low mana long-cast heal that doesn’t hit as hard as the inefficient big nuke-heal.

Equal starting points gave Blizzard more flexibility for designing encounters and “bring the player not the class”. The biggest problem through all of WoW’s history is that healers never has equal starting points, and so we were never, ever balanced. Just because all melee classes have a chunk of their damage come from auto-attacks doesn’t mean that all melee classes are the same. The 3 single-target equivalent heals still leave open a lot of room for differences in how the classes heal.

  • I’m feeling Hot Hot Hot (what makes resto druids special in Cata)

While everyone wants to cry “OMG homogenization”, having equal starting points for our main-tank direct healing doesn’t mean that all healing is going to be exactly the same. We all still have our unique tools & flavor. They didn’t homogenize raid healing, and they left some unique tank healing tools, as well. Our HOTs are still going to be meaningful (Nourish still retains it’s interaction with HOTs, making HOTs important tank healing tools for our efficient heal to actually heal enough to be worthwhile).

Only being able to maintain lifebloom on one target is fine, since HOTs are going to have less overheal in a world where everyone isn’t always topped off. Triage-style healing doesn’t work when you have one class that sucks at triage healing… you need everyone capable of filling a triage-style healing role, and then “flavor” comes from having enough unique tools to have their own style of how they use their whole toolset.

  • The AOE healing problem – why resto druids’ AOE healing tools could be either insufficient or totally overpowered.

The biggest problem for druids in Cataclysm is not having good raid multi-target heals. In a world where triage-healing is the rule, we don’t have the direct healing multi-target spells. Instead, we have to still do preemptive raid healing, which could be seriously problematic if we run ourselves OOM trying to HOT a raid. In a world where tank healing is equal, it may be raid healing abilities where classes are judged.

However, in a world where HOTs overheal less often (because people aren’t instantly topped off), HOT AOE healing could potentially come out as a strong contender, since people will have lots of time for the HOTs to tick away before the person would die. So, the changes to health pools and raid/healing mechanics could either be very good for resto healers or very bad. Hopefully, our unexplored mastery (increased HOT healing on low targets) will fill that much needed strength in raid healing. If things don’t work out with HOT AOE healing, I wouldn’t be surprised if we got a chain-heal type ability in 4.1.

  • Why tree got the axe – and why the cooldown version is better for the class

Blizzard ran into the problem where they had to strip a lot of passive bonuses from the talent trees. When I first saw the new version of moonkin form (where we get basically nothing from the talent it’s self, and have to invest in a lot of other talents to get useful bonuses), I can see why tree form got the axe – because it was going to be a totally wasted talent point that didn’t fit in their “healers can do damage, too” philosophy. Either tree form was purely cosemtic, or it had to get changed to something new & different.

At this point, tree form is always going to be a cooldown for Cataclysm. However, this is good, since our starting point out of tree form is going to be balanced with other classes, and our tree shift gets to be super powerful ontop of that. It’s actually a buff in terms of the balance of resto druids versus other classes – because we’re going to be balanced out of tree form and we were going to lose all those secondary bonuses anyway.

So, my focus at this point is making the “sometimes shift” more worthwhile. First, the speed debuff needs to go (or be significantly reduced). In addition, the secondary effects need to be re-evaluated (ie. the lifebloom one sucks because adding another lifebloom application won’t help if we’re already maintaining a 3 rolling stack, and should be something more useful now that you can only have lifebloom on one target).

  • Conclusions (or why the sky isn’t falling)

So, while things look bad now, we still have a lot of time for changes and improvements that are going to help druid healing for the better. Focusing on things that won’t change (such as tree form becoming a cooldown, having 3 standardized nuke heals) is really not going to be helpful at this point in testing. Instead, focus on things that are likely to change (such as trying to make tree form’s cooldown more useful, improving our AOE healing toolset to stay AOE healing viable). If we focus on things we CAN change over things we can’t change, then resto druids have a much more hopeful outlook in Cataclysm.

Keep in mind that right now, HOTs are mostly overheal (stomped on by other heals). Under the Cataclysm healing model, everyone won’t necessarily sit at full health all the time – instead, Cataclysm is potentially a world with less overhealing, and that could be really awesome for our HOTs to shine.

Posted in Cataclysm, Restoration Healing Trees

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