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Archive for August, 2010

Monster got nothin on these guys

Corporate Raider

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Lunchtime, queue’d up Rev’s baby paladin and my baby priest for a dungeon, got Razorfen Downs. Cool. Got a mage, druid, and rogue as our dps.

“oh I have Rez sickness” says the rogue as we zone in.

Reversion glances at him and not only does he have rez sickness, he has a full ten minutes of it. We pointed out it was pretty rude to come in with rez sickness. “I’m not useless!” the rogue insists as we start. He of course proceeds to be useless.

I’m throwing out an occasional Shadow Word: Pain or Holy Nova and doing about 7% of the damage right now. The rogue? 1%. Ouch. He continues to insist he’s not doing badly, to which we post damage meters. He then accuses us of being rude.

Yeah. The guy who is right now not just not contributing, but being an active mana-sink in that I have to keep him alive, is saying we’re rude.

After ten minutes of this idiocy, his debuff goes away. He actually counts it down in party chat.

Five minutes later he asks how he’s doing. We post the new numbers – Reversion reset and I didn’t – and he cheers. “Yay!”

“Dude, you’re only doing 8% of the damage. I’m doing 7%” I point out. “And I’m healing.”

“Lol boa and you’re higher level,” he says

True, I am wearing BoA gear and I am three levels higher than him. But – I’m healing, and Reversion is not in BoA gear and is only two levels higher and is creaming him so hard it’s not funny.

We continue on. Three trash pulls from the end, he says “oops lol”. Nothing more, but suddenly Rankwatch tells me he just used a finishing move that’s several levels out of date – he hasn’t trained. No big deal but… that was the first time it’s told me this and he didn’t just ding.

I check Recount. He has used finishing moves… 3 times. This whole instance.

This guy who said something about “you make me feel useless” and “it’s a game lol” earlier, hasn’t got the first clue how to play his class. It doesn’t get more basic for a rogue than “use finishing moves”. We point this out to him when the final boss dies. “I have over two level 80s”, he says. (What that exactly means… I don’t know)

Oh, and the totals?

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I call it the LFTranport

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Dearest Pug,

To the heirloomed out warrior in the Dead Mines,
Thank you for your critical analysis of my tanking ability. For future reference a lvl 16 paladin does not have many tools to work with. Also note that if you are in the next room spamming thunder clap while the tank and heals are both drinking there is a chance the tank will not be able to ‘hold aggro for sh**’ as you so helpfully put it. You might also note that you did a lot better job tanking for us in the second half. I respectfully submit this had more to do with your party including the formerly tanking paladin that switched to backup healing you… a lot. On the other hand the party I had to work with included all the same characters except in place of the paladin (me) I had a warrior running ahead and pulling things the whole time (you). In light of this I am doubtful the difference in outcomes was related to your tanking ability (non-existent). My healer informs me she spent the second half of the instance healing herself, a lot.

To the gogogo hunter in SM graveyard,

I appreciate your eagerness to take a very short instance and turn it into a slightly shorter one by running ahead and soloing things. I was flattered by the request to run another instance after that one. I am sorry if you did not understand my response of ‘not with you’ followed by dropping group. Allow me to clarify. Yes I was talking to you and I would rather solo the place than run anything you ever again. Hope that clears up any confusion.

To the party in SM library who I ran with over lunch,
I know I directed my ‘you suck’ before I dropped at the druid who was pulling 9.7% of the overall damage. To be fair you all sucked. Yes, even the Lock who was ‘topping the meters’ at 25% of the damage done. You were all agroing things I was not on, running away from the tank, pulling things while the healer and I were drinking and generally playing like idiots. My Shaman I know it is very impressive that you can climb the bookshelves there near the end. I respectfully submit your chain lightnings work just as well from the ground floor and you have time to get more of them off if you don’t climb things. Mister Lock I would like to suggest that calling out ‘heal my pet’ when it is around the corner in the next room and the healer is out of mana is probably not going to get much of a response. I noticed you changed pets to a voidwalker after that and it stopped dying. I also noticed you continued to target your pet for things I was clearly not attacking. Nice try but you fail. I hope you all don’t think me arrogant to say that as a tank specced paladin with no heirlooms and being the second to lowest level in the party I probably should not have been doing 48% of the damage. No mister druid, the final boss sheeping you twice did not explain your 9.7% of the overall damage.

To the other 5 parties I played with in the last 24 hours,
Thanks. You killed things, mostly were not jerks, and generally played like you had a couple brain cells. Thanks.

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Moar DinoTam

So Alas finished her DinoTam poetry contest. I am reposting my entry here because I can. I apparently cannot follow directions. Instead of an ode, I wrote code

//Recommend using DinoBob, DinoFred, or DinoBarneyThePurple classes instead
public static Dinosaur::DinoTam
{

bool isHungry = true;
bool isAsleep = false;

//Note: the “edible” check is unreliable. Anyone interfacing with the “DinoTam” class
//is responsible for ensuring that inputs to this method are acceptable

public void doEat(object Prey)
{

if(Prey == edible)
{

nomnom(Prey);

isHungry = false;

//some sort of bug in this method. Won’t compile without this next line
isHungry = true;

}

}

//Intern hasn’t finished this function, contains no “wake” triggers
public string doSleep(Rock Rock)
{
string returnvalue;

if(Rock.isSunny == true)

{
returnvalue = “zzzzz”;
DinoTam.isAsleep = true;

} else
{
returnvalue = “DinoTam only likes sunny rocks, what what.”
}

return returnvalue;

}

//undocumented bug causes this method to trigger randomly
//probably user error
private void doMoisturize(object lotion)
{
if(lotion.isSmoothAndMoist)
{
lotion.apply(DinoTam.skin);
DinoTam.ContentedPurrGrowl();
}

}

//users keep complaining about this behavior. Assure them it is their own fault
//and DinoTam code is working as specified
public void responseToAlasOrders(object Orders)
{
DinoTam.DoNothing();
DinoTam.GiveAlasTheEye();
DinoTam.doEat(Orders);

}

//!!Remember to take this out before public release!!
public void doButtSecks(object victim)
{

if(victim.DoesNotSuspect && (checkRelativePosition(victim, DinoTam) == true)
{
DinoTam.Yell(“Surprise Buttsecks!!!”);
victim.assault();
}

}

private bool CheckRelativePosition(object victim, Dinosaur DinoTam)

{
if(victim.IsInFrontOf(DinoTam)) return true;
else return false;

}

}

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I am going to do more of a series on various pulls. They will be short, and very specific. I will get right to it.

This is about the bear version of ‘charge’; not the cat or warrior versions. ‘Feral Charge – Bear’ is a ability that makes you dash in toward the opponent. It also interrupts spell casting and roots the target for 4 seconds. It can be useful in a fight for interrupting a cast when your ‘Bash’. I will cover that in a bit but the real focus here is on pulling with it.

When you get this:

You get this ability 20 talent points into the feral tree. Sadly this means you don’t have it until lvl 30. (Does anyone know if they are changing this in cata?)

Range:

The range on Feral Charge is 25 yards. It also has an 8 yard minimum range. The minimum does not matter if you are using it to pull but is a factor if you are trying to use it as a spell interrupt.

Additional effects:

Bear charge applies a 4 second ‘root’ and a 4 second spell casting lockout. Not that these add up to be similar to the ‘stun’ that a warrior charge applies but they are NOT the same.

Application:

The main use of this is of course, to pull. The goal of a pull is to round up all of a pack and get it on you. A charge is useful for that in two ways. One it gets you into the fight slightly ahead of your DPS and heals so you have a moment to build up some agro (maybe). Two it lets you get in close on the pack before they spread out. Spreading out happens when the melee ones run at you and the caster/ranged ones stand back to shoot at you. It happens because the targets spot you and ‘agro’ when you are still well out of melee range. By arriving fast you don’t give them time to spread. This means that ideally you use charge just inside of 25 yards but well outside of their ‘minimum agro radius’. I often do this by spamming the charge key as I am getting near the 25 yard point. Not that if you are doing content that is over your level the min agro range might be greater than 25 yards!

Option 1:

Generally tanks target the closest target in a pack. The idea is as I said above, to get in close before they even spot you. The technique is simple. Move in until your ‘charge’ hotkey lights up (it is gray when you are out of range) and then fire it off. You have to have a target selected for your button to indicate range so don’t forget to click one. Right click it so you will auto attack the instant you are close enough.

Follow up:

Now you are in the fight. You next step is still to round up the rest of the pack. This technique leaves most or all of the pack in front of you which is a good way to start the fight.

This works but is not always optimal.

Option 2:

It makes a lot of sense to instead charge a caster in on the pack and let the melee come to you. Since bears lack a ranged silence or any other ability to ‘move’ caster mobs around it makes sense to locate the fight where they are standing. Unless a caster is in the front of the pack you will probably have to charge through the pack to get to them. This means you probably agro them by your proximity before you even trigger your charge. Depending on the group you might even have time to hit one target in the front with a melee hit and then charge for the caster in the back.

This is a more tricky pull.

First of all it puts you in the back of the pack and it puts some of the pack behind you as you finish your charge. There are two big risks here. One, your dps has probably targeted someone in the ‘front’ of the pack and is not agroing them off of you. And two, as those melee come up behind you (if your party did not pull them off) they will be behind you. As all tanks should know (but often don’t) you take a TON more damage when targets are behind you. This is because you can’t dodge, parry, or block any blow coming at you from your aft 180 degree arc. Bears only dodge and don’t care about block or parry but this is still a big deal. Just the other day I was healing my brother-in-law as he tanked an instance and I had to point it out to him. You take a LOT more damage if you are surrounded. Don’t be.

Follow up:

Your follow up has to be maneuvering so you are no longer surrounded and also checking on those targets you passed and getting plenty of threat on them if the DPS are ‘primarying’ them. This will involve a lot of moving, turning and AOE threat with swipe.

When thinking about this ‘option 2’ pull mentally include how you are going to maneuver immediately after the pull. One of the easiest options is to, while your charge target is rooted and interrupted, move ‘through’ it and then turn around on the other side. Now the whole pack should be in front of you. Also if you lost one of the ones you passed you will need to be ready with a taunt and/or a feral feary fire.

Other use of Charge:

As I said you can use it as a spell interrupt. For that you have to run away when they start a cast and then turn back and charge when you get outside of 8 yards.

You can also ‘chain charge’ and use it to zip back and forth between members of a pack that you just can’t get to bunch up. This works well but carries the same risks as the ‘option 2’ pull.

Macros and combos:

Feral charge does not have much you want to directly macro it with. You can put ‘enrage’ in a macro with it but that damage debuff is annoying. You might macro it up to remove the debuff also. You can also macro tanking cooldowns to it. This is particularly good if you are charging out of range of your heals.

Risks and drawbacks:

The big risk to charging is getting out of range of your heals. Particularly new healers are often not ready for you to charge and are left out of range. If you are a fast moving tank it is nearly certain that you will have no healing for a few seconds after you charge. Don’t be surprised by it and don’t blame the healer if it gets you in trouble. You can counter this risk by waiting for your party to catch up before charging, or popping tanking cooldowns as you pull.

In other news, bear charge and cat charge share a cooldown so ‘power shifting’ to get a second charge does not work L

Other ticks:

Charge can be done while jumping or falling. Charge can go around corners and in some strange paths, provided there IS a path. While in the middle of your charge, if you are fast, you can change targets and fire ‘feral faery fire’ at some other target for a little extra threat. In a multi group pull you can shoot that at one group and charge another.

Because you can use this in combat don’t spare it. Any time you are more than 8 yards from something you want to “RWR!OMNOMNOM” just fire it off. The instant you save getting there can save your party.

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There’s been a bit of chatter in the WoW blogosphere lately about women and WoW, whether WoW players or the game itself are misogynistic, whether women are as good at this game as men, etc, etc. I was reading Larisa’s excellent post over at http://www.pinkpigtailinn.com/2010/08/how-to-conquer-azeroth-go-fight-for-it.html and I wrote a long response over there to her comment that

And it hasn’t got to stop there. There are other areas to conquer. A certain headquarter in Irvine, California. How many times haven’t you heard about the guy who dreams about getting a job at Blizzard. But what about women? Isn’t it about time that we break into this business, aiming for the design team rather than the customer support? I know it takes more than being a passionate gamer to get a foot in there. It takes education and a willingness to work crazy hard for almost no money. But don’t let this stop you.

I don’t think we’ll see a solid shift in the thinking patterns and a breakdown of the outdated stereotypes until we have several women in positions that today are hold by people like Ghostcrawler or Morheim.

I honestly don’t know how we’ll get there. But I think that if more women become as passionate, competative and confident as the male players, it will help a bit.

And I wanted to expound on that here.  I have heard several times that if there were more women on the design team, you wouldn’t see X or Y. Back during the RealID fiasco this was a common meme – that only white male developers would fail to see the problem with having to use a real name on the forum.

But there are reasons why there aren’t [many? any?] women working on the top design teams at Blizzard, and it’s not because Blizz doesn’t want them; any American company would jump at the chance to get a female applicant for any position who is the most qualified because it looks really, really good for them when they have to justify their hiring practices to Equal Employment Opportunity Commission folks. Heck a lot of engineering firms have to find ways to count their secretary pool and their engineers in the same numbers so they don’t have problems… but that’s beside the point.

No, the reason there aren’t women on the design team is because they aren’t applying. The reasons stretch back many many years. To prove I know what I’m talking about I need to give a couple relevant personal details: I’m a woman, obviously. I was homeschooled. I went to college for computer science. Three colleges, actually; a junior college for two years where I got a very technical education, a liberal arts school for three (I went part time and worked in the field) where I learned more abstract stuff, and then a state university for two where I got my masters’ degree. Then I got a job doing software application design and coding. I currently work contracts out of my home (and if any readers just happen to be looking for a contract worker who is awesome with C# and Java and has designed specialized industry multimillion dollar applications, let me know…)

Anyhow I suspect it starts in public schools, but I don’t know because I never went there, but by the time they apply to colleges it’s too late; men outnumber women in computer science departments 9 to 1. Literally. I never had a class with more than three women in it. Colleges throw money at women who want to study computer science, especially in grad school. For computer science the rule of thumb is no American should ever be paying to go to grad school here, if they don’t pay you they don’t really want you. But women get above and beyond. My gal pals and I compared notes and we all got the exact same “extra” fellowship that none of our male cohorts got…

Once you are in a computer science program, though, you have the twin hazards of Business and Babies to watch out for. Business seduces away a lot of female comp sci folks. They go study databases and get a minor in Business and five years later they’re running teams of programmers, not programming themselves. Success stories? Yes, but not in ways that will really impact game development.

And Babies: most women want them. Most women want to take some time out of their career, or slow down, to have babies. And most women have babies at the same time that they might be having the most successful years of their careers as computer scientists. It gets really hard to pull the all nighters after your thirties, and you have a choice; spend them at work fueled up on Diet Coke meeting that coding deadline, or spend them at home changing the baby’s diaper. Even women who don’t take time off will choose a lower-key career, something that doesn’t require 80 hour weeks and multiple all-nighters right before release.

More subjectively, there’s the drive. Anecdotal evidence I’m sure but in grad school, we girls went hiking in the mountains on weekends or did housework or relaxed as well as our school assignments. We’d come in on Monday and the guys had been in the lab all weekend, writing compilers to make their code 3% more efficient because they just had to have the highest score in the class. That is what Blizzard is looking for, that sort of dedication and drive, and frankly most of us women seemed to be more interested in having a balanced work and life. If we applied at Blizzard we’d see it as a job, not a life.

Again, that’s generalized. Not every guy is like that. But say 1 in 5 of all comp sci folks have that drive. Well, if 90% of all comp sci folks are men then most of those driven ones are men too.

I knew a very talented woman who applied to Google. They turned her down because they could tell she wasn’t the sort to spend 80 hours a week at work. Most CS jobs are salaried, not overtime, so to a manager there’s nothing but upside to getting someone who has no life other than to work. Companies like Google and Blizzard – change-the-paradigm cutting edge companies – need those folks to make it work.

If a trained, driven, dedicated woman who loved computer games applied for an opening at Blizzard and was as good or better than the male applicants, they’d take her. That she isn’t on the team is not Blizzard’s fault. They just haven’t found the right woman yet.

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