Tuesday, January 22, 2013

a little social pressure please

I think Blizz is missing an opportunity with the way they're playing the LFR loot drops. There's fairly large amount of dissatisfaction over loot which I believe could be solved with a little visibility.

I don't raid now, but when I did raid I did so with a competitive 10-man guild. An extreme minority of items were loot councilled as we were a progression guild but everything else was rolled on and later we used a points system which tbh I never truly understood but seemed to do quite nicely from. On the nights where I didn't win any rolls or simply no loot for my bear dropped I was able to come to terms with the process as I could still see the loot dropping. I got a certain amount of vicarious pleasure from seeing loot drop for my guildies as well as the reinforcement that loot did in fact drop.

Now in the current system, as described by Ghostcrawler, they've worked hard to remove social pressure from the conglomeration of strangers that is LFR. That is no one will beg you to pass them to loot you've just won. The boss dies, each player rolls their small chance to get loot, if they win Blizz selects an appropriate piece for them and they walk away anonymously happy.

Outcome: sunshine, lollipops, rainbows.

Only what if no loot drops for you? Or more to the point as the plethora of forum posts have been shouting: what if you've been at this for a while and you've not seen "any" loot drop. Might I present a hypothetical case in point: consider a highly charismatic gnomish warlock who, for argument's sake, let's call... Shortgame. Shortgame has run through 16 Cata bosses and used 6 bonus rolls and got precicely zero loot. I'm not saying that this is unfair to poor Shortgame (... although it certainly feels unfair) but rather that this run of unfortunate chance highlights Blizzard's approach to this issue - they're treating LFR rules as a memoryless process which raid loot in fact never was. People would slowly built their gear over time and if you missed out you knew that you'd get it eventually as others in the raid already ‘had’ that piece. Your raid contained the social memory upon which you relied to get loot in a fair (and timely) manner.

How can we gain back the social memory that was lost as Blizzard dealt with their social pressure problem? Two ways:

Turn off the secrecy
Those who nurse conspiracies feel that the secrecy about drops is purely a Blizzard tool to stop players from seeing what the actual percentage on drops really is (the view being that a lower drop percentage = longer playing time and longer subscriptions). Not our hypothetical warlock of course, he trusts Blizzard and their assertion (could not verify this – only forum traffic available) that the drop chance is 15%.

I wouldn't argue for a reversion of the new process to pre-MoP LFR, the new process is good and it certainly minimises drama. What showing the drops does do is to lift the veil and folks who are putting their time into this pursuit can again see that items are dropping and though they personally are not having luck at least someone is.

Give the process some memory
Simple - provide to players a low percentage chance but raise it by 10% for each unsuccessful boss kill, using tokens progresses the percentage by 10% as well. Reset it when they get a drop. Under this process players know that in 10 boss kills they will certainly get a drop, five boss kills and they’re over 50%. It’s a very small carrot to toss but the forums are reporting people seeing 30+ bosses without a drop.

So while the easier process for Blizzard would be to simply turn off the secrecy my preferred approach would be to add a layer to the process and sequentially increase the drop chance. No more complaints could be levelled knowing that running two three-boss raids would put you over the 50% chance.

5.2 will see the existing raids have their percentages upped according to Blizzard. I’ll try LFR again then.

Stay liquid folks,


Friday, January 18, 2013

pets and raids

Olla folks,

Yes, I'm back from the holidays with news from WoW.

I've got back into Pets in a big way - I always had a thing for pets but still am surprised to tell you that I now have over 400 pets and have just steamed past 400 achievement points in pets (ahh tentacle, now you are mine... ) What can I say - Blizz got this right. I'm working on some dailies for items atm and on the way from here to there I'm levelling up a few pets as I go. It's fun, easy, and interesting and only very rarely feels like a grind, which is saying something in this game.

I've been moving on with my soloing of old world raids having recently got Vashj down in order to complete one of the best gnome warlock tier sets imo. You can see locks and other classes bringing her down on youtube and it does look a little tricky. In actuality I have to say I found it near impossible. Call it tenacity, call it RNG rage, call it sheer bloody mindedness but after getting to 1% somewhere around wipe seven or eight I finally screen shotted my warlock standing over a crumpled thing that smelt of old fish after 27 wipes. 27! After a wipe in the early 20s I crumpled myself and flew off to Area 52 to "buy" the honour helm only to find that it's colour was subtly different. Back to the grindstone. I am most pleased with the result though and now have a story to tell my grandchildren (who will likely assume it's the drugs talking).

Not too worried about these but I've had a few tries and it was enjoyable after a fashion; locks are well set-up for self preservation. Which is to say that I can mitigate PUG healers and know not stand in fire which equals surviving to the end of the fight. On the loot side though I think something is wrong. I recieved no loot after about 16 boss kills and 6 extra rolls... nada... niente! Forums suggest I'm not alone. I've heard that in 5.2 drops will be increased in order to get people ready for the newer raids. Maybe I'll have another look then.

Ha haa. What can I say spending comfortably and am still up around the 870K mark. Towards the end of this expansion I may have toons at cap with sufficiently levelled reps to get at some of the gated recipes. For now though I'm making a few things but mostly buy what I need. A part of me misses the thrill of opening a mailbox bulging with gold but the reward for effort is no longer sufficient to hold me to it... perhaps when I'm a little poorer. ; )

No thanks. I definitely have a 'main' this expansion and that's my lock. I'll get to the other classes eventually but at this stage over three months' since launch I can advise that I still haven't levelled a panda monk or that shammy or pally that I thought I'd be working my way through.

A slow down here. I know the next season is coming out and felt I'd gotten as far as I could without changing the way I played. I find it hard to schedule regular time so RBGs are out and am not interested in arena for any other reason apart from gear (which means I should steer clear). Also 1500 honour for a very minor upgrade to my existing pieces really annoyed me.  The next season should be up soon - when it arrives I'll likely BG until I have a full kit of gear then go back to soloing raids with my stat increase.

That's it for the moment folks. I'm still enjoying the game for the mindless challenges it provides me (= Mogul downtime after a day at work) and hope you are too.

: )