Yearly Archives: 2011

incentives for playing the game

So, when the new 5-man “call to arms” system was originally announced a few days ago, a lot of people got upset. Mostly, the upset people (at least on twitter) seemed to be DPS who couldn’t tank or heal. This leads me to believe that the “call to arms” will be a somewhat effective reward, since the rewards contained in the sachel are highly motivating (at least enough to upset people who can’t get it).

Add to this the more recent announcement that the rewards will be Bind on Account (BOA),  and you now have rewards that may drive people to play on their alt tank (to transfer rewards to their main) once their main no longer needs the gear from the instances (gear is still a stronger motivating reward than pets & mounts overall).

Blizzard uses incentives every day:

Video games are really designed using behavioral psychology principles, where people will work very hard for salient rewards even if they are rare. So, everything Blizzard does in designing WoW is to figure out what incentives they need to give us to play their game. These incentives come in the form of: gold, gear, tokens to redeem for gold & gear, vanity pets, mounts, experience that advances your character, etc. Then, they set up a guild system that allows you to bond socially with other people and thus you have player-created incentive systems to encourage their friends to keep playing (ie. why I like DKP point systems better than loot council or free-rolling for 25-man raiding).

Thus, giving the rewards to encourage people to play less-desired roles in 5-mans is actually a really awesome idea at a conceptual level. It should ideally have the result of increasing the number of people who sign up as tanks or healers. It makes me think more about wanting to level up my tanking alt so that I can tank for groups if needed. The entire point of BOA rewards is to get people to roll alts, or to play on their existing alts, to help bring down the queue times for the 5-man instances. In this regard, I think that Blizzard’s attempt at bringing incentives to playing less desired classes is a smart attempt to fix the problem, since Blizzard has never found other ways to fix the imbalance of roles (in raids, the social incentives work well for getting other players in your guild to change specs or roles, but that doesn’t work so well in a random dungeon world with no social rewards).

The problem Blizzard can’t solve:

Now, just because it’s an effective reward doesn’t mean it will make running random 5-mans more “fun”. The social rewards of playing the game with people we like and get along with is probably a stronger motivator than a low chance to get a mount. So, people who normally run with their guild have rewards that are more salient than the satchel (ie. they can just run the old instances with their friends for the mounts from their original drop locations in the first place).

These types of issues (and more) were brought up by R4HT’s blog post about why he didn’t think the LFD incentives would work. The problem is that Blizzard can’t add social motivating factors into the game (the “vote kick” system is really the closest proxy Blizzard could build, and it doesn’t seem to really have worked).

If people in the PUG groups keep being nasty to each other, then people will have a reason to want to avoid running those PUG 5-man instances. I’m not sure anyone can stop other players from being jerks, so long as those players aren’t actually doing things that blatantly break the rules. However, if we were all nicer to eachother in 5-man instances, and we changed the culture of the LFD system, then we could make those instances a better place for everyone involved. So, when you go into a 5-man instance, try to be nice to your tank & healer or other DPS players. Being mean to other people just makes the game less fun for everyone. Blizzard can’t change the social dynamic of instances, but we (as a playerbase) can make things more fun for ourselves.

When you go into a random instance, try starting with saying “hi everyone, nice to meet you,” like you would if you were meeting people for the first time in real life. A little kindness can go a long way in improving everyone’s day.

Posted in Druid - General, patch 4.1, Patches

Not dead yet & blogging opportunity!

I’m still here! I was out of town last week for a conference and didn’t end up having any time to write while I was gone. When I got back, I was going to write a blog post, but I couldn’t find anything pressing that I needed to write about and I was overwhelmed with playing catch-up with my research after being away from the lab for a while. The patch 4.1 info has slowed down overall (though I’m hoping for patch day “soon”!), and the more recent blue posts haven’t really been related to resto & moonkin druids all that much. I’m also incredibly overwhelmed by school work, and so the idea of writing blog posts is not necessarily always the type of thing I can prioritize some weeks.

I did want to let you  know that I am still alive, and that I made it back okay from my trip. Since the next couple months are going to be very, very hectic for me, I wanted to make a special announcement:

Restokin is recruiting for druid writers! I have a lot of interested people contacting me about guest writing, so I need some time to sort out e-mail replies.

2 types of opportunities:

  1. I am now looking for guest writers who want to get their feet wet in the blogging world (or for experienced bloggers that want to give me a hand in keeping this blog going). This could be potentially helpful for weeks when I am out of town traveling and such this summer. For guest writing spots, you don’t necessarily have to be very experienced, as I am open to posts written by new players who want to talk about their leveling experiences.
  2. I am also potentially looking for a more permanent part-time writer that could potentially write posts a couple times a month to help supplement my normal posting, and to bring another viewpoint into the mix. It would help if you had either a resto druid, moonkin druid, or knowledge/experience with both specs.

I want to assure you that I’m not leaving, I’m just looking for more collaborative ways to make this blog an even better resource (as the quality and quantity of my posting has declined the last few months as my PhD work has been eating more of my time).

I wanted to note that these are volunteer (unpaid) writing positions, as I don’t make money from this blog, and I’m on a graduate school budget (ie. poor, lol).

Also, while we didn’t record a podcast episode last week, we are planning to have one up for next week.

If you are interested in contributing to Restokin in the future, please e-mail me. Requests are now closed. Please let me process the MANY requests that have already come in. I’ll open this opportunity back up again in the future if needed.

Update: I’ve been getting some requests from people (yay!). Please give me some time to look through all the requests. I’m trying to figure out how to let everyone post something, but I have to organize it all first (since I didn’t think this part through in advance). At this point, I have reached 8 or 9 interested guest writers (thanks everyone), so I’m closing this down for now.

Posted in Uncategorized

A look at all the resto 4.1 changes

Since the patch for 4.1 has now been on the PTR for a month, that means it is possible it could go live at any time from this point. With their goal of having more “frequent” patches, this also means we need shorter PTR cycles. I’m going to start preparing now for the 4.1 patch, especially since I’m going to be out of town most of next week for a psychology research conference.

So, lets look at the overall set of resto changes for 4.1 & what they mean:

  • Cyclone was reduced from 6 to 5 seconds in the official patch notes, but mmo-champion is reporting this reversed back to 6 in their latest datamined set of notes. So, cyclone may or may not have been changed.
  • Lifebloom’s bloom has been reduced by 20% (note: no change to the mana cost). This will be a minor bummer for people who let their LB bloom often, but it should still be pretty strong.
  • You no longer need to use barkskin before tranquility, since tranquility will innately have pushback protection (meaning that getting hit with melee & spell attacks won’t shorten the duration).
  • Malfurion’s Gift talent: now reduces the cooldown on tranquility by 5 minutes at 2 ranks. This means that you will get to pop tranquility every 3 minutes (so, likely twice per fight).
  • Efflorescence has been changed. It is now smarter, and will heal the 3 most wounded players standing in the healing circle. It also now scales with haste. The benefit of the new version is that it will do substantial amounts of healing to wounded players, rather than wasting most of the heal by dividing it by up to 25 people. While the tooltip change is slightly confusing, the talent heals more than before, and heals more meaningfully than before. It will feel less wasted when used on a tank, and it will still do decent healing as an AOE heal.
  • Living seed has also been unlinked from Efflorescence, giving you more options & choice in making your talent builds. In some cases, tank healing resto druids will want to keep 1 or 2 points in living seed, and in other cases, you may skip it in favor of other healing talents (not that your other options are much better, however, as several of the lower tiered talents have very small/negligible effects on your overall healing).

The newest addition to our round of changes comes to Nature’s Swiftness, which needs further discussion below:

Nature’s Swiftness may be getting buffed. It is showing up in mmo-champion’s unofficial patch notes and WoWhead’s latest PTR info. The change would make Nature’s Swiftness increase the size of the heal by 50%, meaning that when you paired NS with Healing Touch, you’d get an even bigger HT. While this isn’t as helpful as a damage reduction attached to it, the change makes NS slightly more useful, and makes the talent slightly better (but still not “required”). While it won’t look great in your HPS according to WoL, sometimes that extra instant boost to save a tank may be worth investing in (because your job as a tank healer is to keep the tank alive, not to top meters).

If you are often assigned to tank healing, then I would recommend that you pick up the 4.1 version of Nature’s Swiftness along with the Healing Touch glyph. With the glyph, your healing touches on the tank will reduce the cooldown on nature’s swiftness and amplify the effects of this buff on keeping your tank alive. In this case, you would keep the rebirth glyph and then either drop the innervate or WG glyph from your set (drop innervate glyph if you only innervate yourself, or drop WG glyph if you do trade innervates). You may be able to shave a minute (or more!) off the NS cooldown timer with a normal tank healing rotation (given that you can’t just spam HT the whole fight). I wouldn’t recommend the HT glyph for people who AOE/raid healing primarily, since you may not cast enough HT for the glyph to be worth it compared to the benefits you get from the other glyphs.

Posted in patch 4.1, Patches, Restoration Healing Trees

Replacing Living Seed: Talents in 4.1

So, the 4.1 patch actually has some important changes that  may influence how you choose your restoration talents. Regardless of your role or size of raid, you will want the new version of Efflorescence in your talent spec – so, in some cases, the variability in talent specs may converge somewhat (with people wanting to avoid living seed but invest in efflorescence). However,  there will still be subtle differences in how you choose your talents:

My current spec (8/2/31) with living seed & Efflorescence.

If I drop living seed from my spec, I have to put 2 points in Tiers 1 thru 3, and 1 point I can move higher in the tree (for me, that point will go in GotEM). My options for T1 thru 3 talents are:

  • Living Seed (some people may still keep points here, but I don’t plan on keeping it)
  • Blessing of the Grove (people who raid heal a lot with rejuv will benefit more from this talent than living seed, but it’s still going to have a minor impact on healing at best)
  • Nature’s Swiftness (This is still unappealing to me. Swiftmend, with efflorescence procs, will do more for me than NS).
  • Perserverence (Decreasing the damage you take increases the probability that you will live, and while it doesn’t inflate meter numbers, dead healers can’t heal)
  • Fury of the Storm Rage (not recommended for PvE raiding specs)

With these options, I’m most likely going to pick up either Perseverance or Blessing of the Grove. I really like the idea of picking up a damage reduction talent. Since most of the damage done is magical damage, getting 4% reduced magic damage should help with keeping me alive, especially when working on “new” content.

The benefit of Blessing of the Grove on rejuv is actually pretty small (though sometimes preferable to living seed). If you are struggling with your output numbers and want to increase your healing done output, then you should invest here.

Tangedyn made a calculator for you to input some variables and get an estimate of how much living seed, blessing of the grove, or nature’s bounty would effect your healing output. In some cases, living seed is still coming out on top of these other 2 talents (which is why in some cases, I throw my hands up and pick the utility talent – perseverance instead).

There are, of course, other specs that don’t start with the template I highlighted here. When we hit patch day, I’ll post up a set of specs that are based on some of the other templates (such as specs that don’t invest in moonglow). I just wanted to get the discussion started.

How much does the un-linking of Living Seed from Efflorescence (along with the improvement of efflorescence) change your 4.1 healing talent spec plans?

Posted in patch 4.1, Patches, Restoration Healing Trees

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