Monthly Archives: December 2010

Cata Travel Part 3 – New travel methods added for Cata Content

Ok so I must say that the portals in Stormwind and Ogrimmar are nice to get the new content. The thing that would be nice would be if it were a little more consistent. What I refer to is the bi-directional portal in Twilight Highlands and Deepholm. The other zones need a portal back to Stormwind. Ya I know we can hearth but I like things that are consistent, especially for Uldum. If not that then at least put a portal from Stormwind to Dalaran so we can then take the portal to the Caverns of Time.

All in all travel in the new content is much better than it has been in previous levels of content. The thing is that travel between sections of content by level brackets for expansions leaves a bit to be desired. Travel from Outlands to Northrend sucks as it does not exist. Travel from 1-60 and Northrend is by boat only, so it sucks as well.

So all in all travel is good for current content and well is lacking for previous tiers of content, maybe when the redo Outlands and Northrend in future expansions we may see something interesting.

Posted in World of Warcraft

Guild XP Cap – (Good Intentions) * (Easy Implementation) = (Poor Outcome)

Ok after several days of the current Guild XP system it is evident that it is a complete waste of effort.  Blizzard has taken a concept that was cool and added nice flavor to the game for guilds and made it suck and suck big time.

Here is the xp chart for the guild xp system from WoWpedia.org

The major problem is the xp required is a very steady linear increase, hence why we need to have such a low XP Cap per day.  Otherwise even moderately active 10 and 25 man guilds would already be level 10-20 by now.  Now is when the bonuses form the guild system are the most needed and useful, in 4-5 months they will be nice to have but more of an “oh yay” rather than that is “@#$# Awesome”.  Way to piss on a new “Advertised” feature there Blizz.

The way to have a system that works for all guilds of all levels of activity is to have a Geometric/Exponential XP increase needed between levels of tiers of levels.

For example a better system would be to break it into 5 tiers.

Levels 1-5 are a linear growth like you have now except maybe a little steeper so the XP/Day can be increased by 300% or just removed.  Then each tier the next 5 levels are some multiple of XP per level of the previous teirs XP needed each level.

Below is a Chart using a progression similar to what I describe here.

[table id=4 /]

As can be seen using a multiple of 2 will require 3 times the amount of XP than the current system overall and a cap increase of at least 3 times the current would be required to keep the about the same progression.  However it front loads a few of the features more conducive to leveling and getting money into the guild bank while everyone is leveling and gearing up, which should have been though of before the stupid low cap was put in, or at least the 5% going to the guild bank should have been level 1 or 2 guild perk.

I was not in Beta but I know the guild xp was reset many times to try and find a happy medium. They were not able to so implemented a low xp cap per day to not give the 200+ member guilds an extreme advantage, more than they already have. Here is the thing, we the players are all gamers or a large percentage of us are and the rest follow our optimizations. Adapt to it and implement a fun system not something cool but so limited it is useless when we want to use it most.

Of course it is now too late. I wish there had been a more interactive discussion on the guild xp system but then again almost everyone is focused on end game raid balancing and class balancing so these secondary systems get shafted in the intellectual resource department. Even our smaller 25 man guild would be level 6+ if there were no caps so I think Blizzard really did the player base a major disservice by not building enough XP room into the guild leveling system. Here is the thing with large amounts of xp required between levels you hurt no one with out having a cap. By having small amounts of xp required per level and having a draconian XP/Day cap you hurt everyone except the very small social guilds. The small social guilds are likely to stay that way because of what they are and how they play.

I almost would have preferred see this system go the way of the Dance Studio than to have the broken system we have now.

Posted in World of Warcraft

Guild Perks G-Mail … Seriously?

So I was taking a closer look at some of the guild perks, and one of them stood out as something cool and yet annoying at the same time.

Over time to help fight gold buying/selling and such Blizzard imposed a delay on all mail transactions between World of Warcraft accounts, this was before the Battle.net merger so each wow account was and is completely separate. This is still technically true but now there is a relationship in common between the Battle.net account. As we know 1 Battle.net account can have many Blizzard game accounts associated to it, I think the limit is 10.

Now in Cataclysm we get a guild perk called G-Mail.

G-Mail
In-game mail sent between guild members now arrives instantly.

I think this is a cool change however it also annoys me a lot because those of us that do have multiple Warcraft Accounts tied to 1 Battle.net account have been asking for some of the “perks” shared between characters of 1 World of Warcraft account be translated to extend over all wow accounts within a Battle.net account.

I am not talking about paid for separate items like the mounts and Collector’s edition Pets, even though the Blizzcon perks this past year were on a Battle.net account basis so there is something to it already in place.

The 2 main issues would be instant mail between characters on the same Battle.net account on the same server since we don’t have inter-server game mail.  That is a battle for another time, even though it be needed.  The other would be sharing of BoA items be bound to the Battle.net Account.  Since Warcraft Accounts can not be removed from a Battle.net account.

Anyway just something that I found cool and annoying at the same time.  It is now shown that the time delay can be selectively lifted by joining another associated set of data.  Now it is time to take it where it logically should have gone first.

Oh and yes I know that if you have 2 characters in the same guild on different accounts they would now be able to mail one another instantly, which I do and will have access to that Guild Perk.  It is just something that should have already been possible and implemented and was not.

Posted in Uncategorized

Cata Travel Part 2 – Further Contemplations

While getting all of my characters that are 80 out of Dalaran and back to Ironforge or Stormwind in preparation for the release I saw MMO-Champion’s Compilation Post, and while looking through all of the information we already knew it dawned on me another “reason” for the removal of the portals in Dalaran and Shattrath.  One word sums up the reason, Archeology.

Honestly if it is Portals or a new Profession that gives BoA Epics of quality 359 I would chose the Portals any day of the week.  Items can and will be replaced.  Quick Travel from point A to point B is priceless.  So to be able to “justify” to all of the hardcore raiders that have contempt for casual players everyone now has to suffer increased travel times just so the Time/Investment to Reward ratio is higher and will somehow equalize it a little between the different playing groups.

So in the end there is no good justification to the removal of the portals.  It sure as hell will not reduce lag, well maybe in Dalaran and Shattrath but it will become 10-100 times worse in Stormwind and Ogrimmar.  Why is this well that is what I will get into below as we look at why Dalaran and Shattrath were lag fests to begin with.

Lag and Blizzard’s Failure Dealing with It

In my Incentives and Planning post I made in May(09) last year I throw around some theoretical numbers dealing with bandwidth limits at the server end, not to mention processing requirements.  Then if everything is working well at the network layer you still have graphic lag which is usually what everyone experiences.  This previous post dealt with some of the changes that at the time had either just occurred or were going to occur to Wintergrasp.

So in that post one of the issues I mentioned was that Wintergrasp was over incentivized which was lending to some of the really bad lag spikes and in some cases were lending to server stability problems.

This is exactly the same issue that occurred previously with Dalaran and Shattrath in addition to the Graphics upgrade each of these cites were used to showcase in both expansions.  Now we are seeing and will see worse examples of this in Stormwind and Ogrimmar and unlike the previous 2 examples this will not just effect level cap characters, but characters of all levels while leveling through the new Azeroth.

How to fix the Problem

When this is deemed an issue, I hope/bet sometime between now and 4.1 what can be done to solve it or at least alleviate it some.  There are several things that will need to be done in no particular order.

  • Duplicate 2 Auction Houses and Banks in each Capital city, Dalaran and Shattrath can be kept at one now that it is better than none.
  • Instant/Portal travel between Capitols of each Faction, either fully connected or single pass through, preferably fully connected.  Portals can be level restricted but should be available no matter what by 58 same as the short cut to the Dark Portal from each of the Capital cities.
  • Fishing/Cooking and all other profession dailies that are now in Stormwind have equivalents that are not repeatable between cites per day in all of the other capitols.

These last 2 are the keys to spreading the pain and minimizing some of the geometric communication and graphical lag that occurs when you have many many players in one place.  Let the players do what they want/need to do but allow it to be done from many locations and the players will selectively spread themselves out.  If there is fast travel it encourages players to be more mobile and then you don’t have the entire player base setting their heart in one location to travel.  If there are more places with reasons to be there and fast travel to and from those locations, the players will spread themselves out.  If a player is then having issues you can just say go somewhere else because there is some place.  At the moment and with the design of the last 2 capitols in each expansion respectively this was not the case.

You see this happen in LotRO as well.  The city of Man Bree, is a central transportation Hub and has links to many of the far flung zones.  Also since travel is even more of a pain in the ass than it is in WoW you have many players grouping up around the Skirmish vendors for gear because it is the most time/cost effective way to level and get gear.  Skirmishes become extremely repetitive and boring but if it is the best/fastest way to effectively level and get gear that is what the players will do.  The goal/job of the designers which both Turbine and Blizzard have failed to varying degrees over time is creating multiple nearly equivalent ways to progress, it is a bitch but it is necessary otherwise you become a 1 trick pony for content.

Posted in Uncategorized

New PVP Brackets

I saw this in MMO-Champion’s Blue Tracker which points to the official post here

Here is part of the blue post, well most of it, but all in all it was a short post anyway.


The clash between the factions has also never been so hotly contested:  Battleground brackets now match up teams more evenly.  The new brackets span five levels each, except the final bracket composed of level 85 players:

10-14               30-34               50-54               70-74

15-19               35-39               55-59               75-79

20-24               40-44               60-64               80-84

25-29               45-49               65-69               85

Fighters can also join the battle in Arathi Basin, Eye of the Storm, and Alterac Valley at an earlier level than ever before:

Level 10 – Arathi Basin and Warsong Gulch
Level 35 – Eye of the Storm
Level 45 – Alterac Valley
Level 65 – Strand of the Ancients
Level 75 – Isle of Conquest
Level 85 – Battle for Gilneas and Twin Peaks

This has been a long time coming.  With the new enhancements coming with cross battle-group queuing the more focused brackets should not have super long wait times.  Also this breaks the old X9 twinking to a certain extend because there are now more brackets with which to focus and stop XP.

I want to say I have posted an idea like this somewhere before but I can’t find reference to it, so it must have been in one of my various complaining rants to a random player about how the PvP system works now.   Also I think when I was fuming about it I was thinking about a more complicated system that would eliminate the ability to twink by making dynamic brackets and grouping people in queue with others +/- (2-3) levels of one another.  But that would be rough to implement.

All in all this looks like a really really good change to the leveling via PvP option, for when you get sick of all of the current content.

Posted in Uncategorized

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