The Current State of the Community

Posted by darthkeller on January 22, 2013

For those who don’t know what the Internet Dickwad Theory is, here’s a link. It’s important that you understand that theory before you continue reading.

Now that you’re versed in that theory, I’d like to talk about the current state of the community. I know this is a WoW blog but this isn’t a WoW issue, this is a gaming issue. Any game that has a community will have this issue. Granted, it might not happen at first, but it will happen. Just give it time.

The issue is the “dickwad”, or the “asshole” or, in my terms, the “fucknut”, and how they have, are, or will, ruin the community of which you are a part.

Please don’t think this is only in gaming communities either, it’s a part of the internet. The anonymity of the internet can take that sweet little lady that you saw on the bus earlier turn into a raging fucknut in the time it takes her to load her favorite website. That anonymity, which great for us, the commenter, can lead us to say things that would (or rather, should) get our asses kicked if we ever said it to a “real” person. Here’s the problem, though: YOU’RE TALKING TO A REAL PERSON.

Now I have to bring this back to WoW because it’s the community I spend the majority of my time as a participant. Our community is, quite frankly, horrible.

Don’t believe me: Go to a major city and enter “trade chat” and listen to things said. You’ll hear racial jokes, sexist jokes, homosexual jokes, rape jokes (not kidding), you’ll hear people calling each other all sorts of names and vile epithets… And you’ll hear all this in the first five minutes.

Want to see another example. Go back to trade chat and ask them where you should quest at level 20. The answers you’ll hear will be astounding. And, not helpful in the least.

Go to the forums and you’ll see even worse than that. If you decide to quit WoW you’ll have to fill out a short survey. At the end of the survey it suggests that you write anything not covered by the questions. So, you’ll often see people go to the forums and write these very lengthy posts about the good times in WoW and how bad they think things have become… The first answer to these posts: “Can I have your stuff?”

Sure, you can say, “Darth, these are trolls. Don’t feed them and they go away.” That was true 15 years ago. Today, however, trolls feed other trolls. A second troll will come along quoting the first and add “You’ll be back. LOL!”

It’s gotten to the point where even trying to post a question or problem on the forums isn’t worth it. The issue of dailies in MoP has come up so many times it’s no longer countable. Each time we get the same responses: You don’t have to do them. Dailies are fine. Gear isn’t being gated, shut up.

Here’s the deal. We don’t have a direct line to Blizzard. We cannot pick up a phone and call Ghostcrawler and have a 15 minute conversation with him. So, what do we do? We use the forums. It’s the closest thing we have to a direct line. But each thread is quickly derailed by fucknuts who would rather be a… fucknut… than allow a thread to be looked at by the greater community.

In fact, I just remembered this, an epic post by a former Blizzard employee:

When you can understand how a group of belligerent and angry posters can drive away people from this game with an uncrafted and improvisational campaign of misery and spin-doctoring, then perhaps, you can understand the decisions I make. Until you face mobs of psychology, you will not see my side.

Until you see some bright-eyed player coming onto the forums wanting to know what they should spec as this class, and see them shat on and driven away by petty and selfish people who are simply leveraging for game buffs, you will not understand.

You will not understand until you have to see it daily, for years…

Until you understand that many people will trod over you to get where they’re going, or to get what they want.

Until you understand that so many people will agree, completely, 100% with a loud, vulgar and assertive individual, not because he is right, but because he is making a stand against “the Man”; to take no critical thought in what they say, but simply to hop on board.

Until you actually try to acknowledge those who do not speak on the forums, for whatever reason they have, you will not understand.

If you think an archaic business formula like “the customer is always right” works, you fail to understand customers, not a customer. It is a collective. No one person, even myself, is truly above the whole.

I simply have the unfortunate quality of being easily singled out.

There you have it. People come to the forums to get help: Nope, they get flamed and told that this game sucks and that’s easy to do whatever, and that should uninstall the game. People come to the forums to state an opinion: They get flamed and told that their opinion is stupid, and they don’t have to do the thing that is driving them nuts. People come to the forums to tell their friends goodbye: Nope, people just want their stuff and to tell the poster that they’ll be back, no matter what.

It really is a sad state of affairs right now.

I’ve run into this a few times lately. So, if you don’t know, in 5.1 Wrathion asks you to complete two battlegrounds for him. Now, let me tell you, I hate PVP. Take all the fucknuts from the forums and trade chat and put them together in a room, and you have your average BG team. No matter who’s doing what, it’s better than the other players and they are quite vocal about it. But, I was forced to join a BG, so I did.

I was in the new “Mines” BG (I don’t know the name, I don’t care to know the name) and here’s the layout: Three paths, one north, one south and one west, each with a cart moving from a central hub down one of the paths and to a scoring station. So, the game was close and I was guarding the north cart and my “buddies” left me to do something. I tell my team, “I’m alone at north.” The response: “So?”

“So?” Really? How about, “Hey, we could use the points, it’ll get us that much closer to a win.” Nope. Not this team. A few seconds later and I was killed by a rogue and they took the cart. We still won, but it was just a moment that perfectly illustrates what has happened.

A few seconds after I died I was told, “It’s more important to hold these two paths as they are shorter and therefore score more quickly.” Had they said that at the beginning I’d have said, “Cool, coming to you guys then.” But no, I get a fucknut speaking down to me.

So what can we do about it? Is it as easy as “don’t feed the trolls”?

No, it’s not. What needs to happen is simple, and it happens in two parts:

1) If you see a post that you agree with that has quickly been infected with trolls, create a new post with a similar theme. If that post is trolled, start a new one. Be careful, a lot of forum groups don’t want you creating the same post again and again, so if you have five points, maybe use a couple in one post, then another in a second, and so on.

If everyone takes this advice it will quickly get to the attention of the forum moderators and that is at least getting their attention.

2) When you see a troll, downvote them.

Now here’s where forums need a major upgrade. Take those ratings and make them USEFUL. In other words: Too many negative votes and you’ll be banned for a few hours. If that happens too many times in a given time frame, then you receive a longer ban. This continues until it’s obvious that you cannot be trusted with posting, and thus are perma-banned.

“But Darth, what if I then need help.” TOO FUCKING BAD!

As far as “in-game” communication, you have the “Report” button. Report them. Keep reporting them. Don’t stop reporting them….

Eventually we can take back our community, but not without a lot of effort from the responsible members.

That’s all for this post. I’ll see you in Azeroth!

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Where I rank MoP… And why

Posted by darthkeller on January 16, 2013

5.2 is coming Soon(tm) and so it’s seems as good a time as any to talk about Mists of Pandaria and where it ranks in the WoW library.

Before I begin, I see an MMO as a collection of three things: 1) Story; 2) Dungeons/Questing; and 3) End-game. So, I’ll discuss each and how it fits in with the rest of the expansions. Now, I didn’t play Vanilla so I have no basis to judge the questing other than reports from other sites. I’ll use those and interpret them the way I see fit. If you don’t agree, leave a comment.


The story of Mists is a simple story. We (the Horde and the Alliance) were engaged in a naval battle. During that battle a few ships run aground on an uncharted island. Now, Garrosh wants to exploit that island for its resources and Varian wants to stop Garrosh. Simple.

The Jade Forest

Our time in the Jade Forest is two-fold. One, to set up a base of operations on this new island and two, to persuade the denizens of the island to aid “our” cause. For the Horde this means gaining the trust of the Hozen, and for the Alliance the Jinyu. Again, this is a fairly basic story. During our travels we’ll also encounter the Pandarens who are dead-set on remaining neutral in this conflict and give us our first warning of the Sha.

With our help a new Jade Serpent statue is erected, but at that same time the Alliance and Horde clash on the island. Immediately a Sha is released, a Sha that we must defeat.

After defeating the Sha it’s off to Valley of the Four Winds.

Valley of the Four Winds

In Valley we are greeted by Chen Stormstout and his young niece, Li-li. Our time in the Valley is spent helping farmers try to protect their crops from vermin, hozen, mogu, and culminates by visiting an old friend: Hemit Nesingwary. In Valley we also find Halfhill – the “farm” for players. Halfhill is full of merchants and farmers and we’ll eventually be asked to help them through a series of daily quests. We are also led to an area in the west of Valley that is being overrun by Mantid, an ancient race that have aligned themselves with an Old God. A series of quests will take you into the very heart of their invasion.

After helping Hemit, we’re headed south to Krasarang Wilds.

Krasarang Wilds

If you got a taste of the Sha in Jade Forest and Valley, you’ll get a nice helping of it in Krasarang. The Sha of Despair has been released from his prison in the Temple of the Red Crane and a grand lethargy has overtaken most of those living in Krasarang. Your first set of tasks will be helping them by releasing them from this despair.

After spending time at Zhu’s Watch the player will then head further into the Wilds to their respective quest lines: Incursion for the Alliance and Thunder Cleft for the Horde. There the player will aid the Pandaren in finding out what is going on in Krasarang, and what, if anything, can be done about it.

From their the two story-lines again meet at the Temple of the Red Crane where the player will take on a Sha. From there, it’s off to fight the Mogu, again in a split story.

Kun-Lai Summit

Almost all of Kun-Lai is spent fighting one group, the Yangoul. This nomadic race was driven from their homes in Townlong Steppes and are now reeking havoc all across the Summit. But, along the way you’ll also help the Jinyu at Inkgill Mere, you’ll fight the Zandalari, and of course, the Mogu and Sha.

Following the model of Krasarang, this story diverges from one story to two stories and back again several times.

During your time in Kun-Lai you’ll be told to go to the Temple of the White Tiger. There you must face a trial to prove that you are “worthy” to be given a great gift: The opening of the gates to the Vale of Eternal Blossoms. If you pass the test you are rewarded with a nice cut-scene showing the gates being opened by the August Celestials of Pandaria.

You’ll also run across the funniest group in the entire game: The Grummles. They have a lot of problems and you’ll spend a considerable amount of time helping them deliver their goods, find their “luckydos” and rescuing them from Yangoul.

The zone culminates with a battle against the Yangoul at the opening of the Serpent’s Spine that leads into the next zone: Townlong Steppes.

Townlong Steppes

Townlong Steppes is a very large zone with one theme: Help the Shado Pan fight off various groups. In this zone you’ll fight against the Yangoul, you’ll infiltrate Mantid areas, and you’ll do battle with another Sha.

The first area of Townlong Steppes is by far the most difficult. The Yangoul are trying their best to hold one last piece of land in Townlong and you’ll have to help the Shado Pan and their efforts to drive the Yangoul back into the zone.

After the first series is complete you’ll find a minor character group in the Mistlurkers. A short series of quests that have you fighting against the Yangoul even more before you’re sent on your way On Hatred’s Path.

On Hatred’s Path is a series of quests that will have the player fight directly against the Mantid (for the first time, but it will not be the last!) who have aligned themselves with the Sha of Hatred. A long series of quests in the Gao-Ran Battlefront await the player. From here the player will be introduced (briefly) to the next zone, the Dread Wastes. A small battle must be fought to keep the Mantid in the Dread Wastes and way from Townlong. From here the player will further aid the Shado Pan and take on the Sha of Hatred directly.

The final area for the player will be around the Shado Pan Garrison and the Temple of Nizao. A series of quests here will take the player under the Townlong Steppes and in the tunnels they will have to rescue Shado Pan and kill lesser sha.

Dread Wastes

The Dread Wastes is a long and tedious zone. The main story focuses on helping the Klaxxi, a group of Mantid that believe that their Empress has been corrupted by Sha. I’ll save you the details but the zone involves a lot of “awakening” the other Klaxxi and then helping them in their fight.

If you don’t like the Mantid, avoid this zone. Here, it’s all Mantid, all the time, except for a short series of quests in The Briny Muck, which involves Jinyu and Saurok, a lizard-like race created by the Mogu.

Vale of Eternal Blossoms

The quests in this area are restricted to level 90 players and take the form of dailies (with an occasional quest thrown in to introduce certain story lines). Your primary focus will be on helping the Shado Pan remove the Mogu from the Vale.


The story of the zones of Pandaria feel “disjointed”, almost as if they were thrown together. There is no “big bad” in MoP, but in 5.0 it was clear that Blizzard wanted to introduce the Sha as the “big bad” of the tier. However, because they have already said that Garrosh is the final boss in Mists, there was no way they could really make this expansion about the Sha, and making it about Garrosh would anger both sides, Horde and Alliance.

This leaves the entire story a mess. From one zone to the next you have no idea what you’re doing, nor why you’re really doing it. Sure, you might get a story about the Sha of Despair in Krasarang, but how menacing can the Sha really be when we kill one in Jade Forest, another in Krasarang, another in Townlong, and beat back the Sha of Fear’s army (the Mantid) in Dread Wastes?

Other expansions have done a better, or worse job at explaining their villain through the zone(s). The “big bad” of The Burning Crusade was Illidan (yes, I know there were two more tiers after him, but he was on the box, he’s the “big bad”), and yet only one zone really deals with him, Shadowmoon Valley. Hellfire Peninsula is all about the fel orcs and the Burning Legion, not really about Illidan. Zangarmarsh is about Lady Vashj. Terrokar Forest is about the arakkoa and the ethereals. Netherstorm is about Kael’thas… But at least each zone focused on one theme.

Wrath was all about Arthas. We knew it Day 1. We knew it the day Cataclysm was released. Each zone spoke to that fact. No matter where you went (MAYBE Storm Peaks, been a while) the touch of the Lich King was there. The two starting zones: yeah, his influence was there. Dragonblight, it was there. Grizzly Hills, it was there (though you didn’t know it at the time). Sholazar Basin’s entire “3rd act” was all about helping Freya against the Scourge. And Icecown…. Yeah. Granted, each zone also had side stories, but that’s what they were, SIDE STORIES. They were little things so that the entire game wasn’t about one guy.

Cataclysm seemed to miss that last point. EVERY ZONE was about the effect of Deathwing. Mount Hyjal was all about Deathwing and how he brought back Ragnaros to destroy the World Tree. Vashj’ir was all about Deathwing and his servants capturing Neptulon. Deepholm was all about putting the World Pillar back together, which was smashed by…. DEATHWING. Uldum was about helping the Ramkahen fight their brothers who had joined Al’Akir, who was brought into this conversation because of Deathwing. In Twilight Highlands we see a magnificent cut scene of a fight between Alexstrasza and Deathwing. No matter where you went Deathwing was present. He didn’t have to show up all the time (a problem with the Lich King), his presence was all over the game.

In each of these instances the story of a zone was consistent. It was fighting against a single force, and that gave you presence of mind to know what you were doing and why you were doing it. At one point on my trek to 90 I was in a zone and I was asked to help some Pandaren. I was so confused about who he was or why I needed to help him that I let him die. And it was satisfying. I didn’t know who he was, so what did I care?

Overall, I give the story of Mists a C-. Good at times, but for the most part it bordered on “bad” and “really bad”.


The quests in Mists of Pandaria are varied, greatly. Some of them are interesting, some of them are fun, but all-in-all, they were simply tedious. One problem the quests designers admitted to in Cataclysm was the quests were too linear in design. You were supposed to start at Point A which would lead you to Point B, and so on. So, they said that Mists would be different. You could pick up and quest just about anywhere in the zone.

That simply was not true. You’re forced to start questing in a single location in The Jade Forest. From there you’re given a breadcrumb to visit someone else. From there, another breadcrumb. Sure, you might be given two breadcrumbs at the same time, but that’s not “non-linear” design, that’s a poor attempt at non-linear design.

This has been a problem that has plagued WoW for a very long time. The Burning Crusade had this problem. Wrath had a bit of this problem (there were zones that were linear, there were others that weren’t). Cataclysm had this problem in a big way. But it didn’t get any better in Mists.

The one great thing about the quest design in Mists was the introduction of dungeons. Let’s say that you didn’t run a single dungeon on your way to 90. You would have at least seen Temple of the Jade Serpent, Stormstout Brewery, Shado-pan Monastery, and Gate of the Setting Sun. If you went to Vale a bit early, you would have seen Mogu’shan Vaults. Not only were you introduced to these dungeons, you did quests in and around them.

Honestly, without the LFD, would you have thought to go back to Blackrock Mountain to see if there was a dungeon in there? Probably not. Yes, in Lich King you quested around the dungeons, but you didn’t get to quest IN THEM. Again, in The Burning Crusade, you saw the dungeons, but you were never allowed in them, unless you were going to try to complete them.

This was a massive plus for the questing in MoP.

Let’s continue talking about dungeons. For the first time Blizzard had “non-normal-mode” dungeons, dungeons that you couldn’t enter until you hit 90 and had a sufficient item level. Was this a good thing? I don’t really think it mattered. The BAD thing, at level 89 you had FOUR dungeons that you could run. That’s it. No matter how much you may like a dungeon, if you queued for a dungeon, you had a 25% chance of getting the dungeon you liked, which means you probably weren’t going to get that one. And since two dungeons are considered “85″ dungeons, two considered “87″ dungeons, if you got one of the two 85 dungeons, any loot you win is useless since you’ve received better gear from quests.

Dungeon difficulty is another big problem. The normal modes are, well, easy. Fine. But the heroic modes are just as easy. Now, they have “challenge mode” for a “challenge”, but why go back to the Wrath model of “AOE pull” the entire place? In comparison, the dungeons in TBC were difficult, but not impossibly so. Wrath dungeons were a joke. Really, they were. And Cata dungeons were challenging as hell! Why not go back to the TBC days? No, instead we got somewhere between TBC and Wrath.

Overall – C (the dungeon introduction quests simply aren’t enough to make up for the god-awful quests that surround them)

End Game

Again, heroic dungeons (a part of end-game content) are too easy, and thus are very boring. As such, they are a difficult way to get your Valor for the week. At the start of Cata a dungeon would award you 140 (?) Valor Points, but only the first one every day. Blizzard realized this “forced” people to log in and do a dungeon every day, so they changed this model in 4.1 (I think) so that you could log in, do as many dungeons as you want, and each would give you 140 points until you hit the weekly cap.

Now? Now we’re almost back to the “one dungeon a day” rule, because the first dungeon grants 80 Valor, each subsequent dungeon awards 40. At first, the raid bosses were awarding 20 points per kill (maybe 25), so that even if you killed all 16 bosses (which was impossible in the beginning) you’d only have 320 of your 1000 points. This would force players to continue to run dungeons, even if they were killing the entire tier.

This was done to force players to do one thing…. DAILIES! No matter how you want to say it, let me be clear: If you are serious about raiding you will do whatever you have to do to get any advantage you can get. If that means buying Valor gear, that’s what you’re going to do. If that means running LFR, that’s what you’re going to do. If that means grinding dungeons, you’ll do just that. It’s what raiders do. And we were told that dailies would be how we gained a majority of our valor points. There are some of you reading this and you’re thinking, “You don’t have to dailies to get valor,” and you’re correct. YOU HAVE TO DO DAILIES TO USE VALOR. So, dailies were mandatory for raiders at the start of Mists. This was considered “end-game” content, because you had to be 90 to do them.

This is simply NOT end-game content. This is filler content because designing other content wasn’t financially viable.

The other source of end-game content are scenarios. These are just like dungeons with two exceptions: 1) they take 3 people, not 5; and 2) you don’t need the “holy trinity” to complete them (that is, you don’t need a tank or a healer). There are several problems though:

  1. They didn’t give any gear, except for the Arena of Annihilation, and that was only after the first time
  2. While they don’t require a healer/tank, your group benefits greatly from having one or the other
  3. Their valor gain is abysmal (40 for the first of the day, 20 after)
  4. They are often just boring AOE fights and take too long to complete

This was a great attempt by Blizzard to try something new, and they should keep trying, but I don’t know a lot of raiders that really work on scenarios.

Challenge mode dungeons are another new idea that Blizzard released with MoP. When you enter a dungeon with a group you’re given an orb to click. If you click that orb you start the challenge mode. At this time your gear will be scaled DOWN (never up) to a certain gear level. Every pull is more difficult, every boss is more difficult, AND YOU HAVE A TIMER. These are not meant to be puggable (unless you have a really skilled server) because they will create tension quickly. I’ve not done any of these, but from what I understand, they are exactly what they are supposed to be: DIFFICULT!

When Mists launched we were given one raid: Mogu’shan Vaults. This first raid instance was set up so that raid groups could work on coordination, because it takes a lot to get through this raid. The first two bosses are “tank-centric” bosses, meaning if a tank messes up, it’s a wipe. The third boss is the first DPS check. The fourth boss is the first coordination check. And Elegon… How I hate you! Elegon is a dps check from HELL! But it also requires a great deal of tank coordination and raid awareness! The final boss, Will of the Emperor is a pretty simple fight, compared with the other bosses.

Heart of Fear and Terrace of Endless Spring were both released one month later and they are meant to truly challenge the raid team. One of the over arcing themes in these raids is this: You’re only as strong as your weakest link. Several times raid groups I was in were close to getting a kill but a single mistake threw the wheels of the bus and we crashed with less than 10% to go.

All in all, this tier has just about everything you could want. Tank checks? Yes. DPS checks? A LOT of them. Healer checks? Absolutely. Coordination checks? Yes. Awareness checks? Just about every fight!

Though I think the dungeons in Mists are bad (and the story of most dungeons is bad, there are a few that interest me), heroics are crap, I hate dailies, and I’ve not been in a challenge mode dungeon, Tier 14 has made up for a lot of other faults. I am really enjoying this tier of content. It is what it should be, a great introduction to the themes of raiding.

Overall score – A


Overall, looking at story, questing, dungeons and end-game content (I skipped Farmville and Pokemon, they’re both dumb!), this expansion is only “decent” at best. I’d given it a solid C+. The story is just horrible, the questing is awful (except for the dungeon introduction quests, I cannot say enough good about them!), the dungeons are too “Wrath-esque”, and non-raiding end-game boils down to “log in every day and run a dungeon, then do a lot of dailies!”. From a ranking standpoint, this expansion is last, in my opinion.

The dungeons and raids help TBC, the story helps Wrath and Cata. Wrath raids are iconic, Black Temple still brings chills to a lot of players, and the overall story design of Cata is amazing. While the raids in MoP are fun, I don’t see any of them being “iconic.” I don’t see us sitting around talking about how much fun we had going into MSV or Terrace. Not the way we still talk about Molten Core or Onyxia.

Some might be thinking I’m leaving Vanilla out of the mix. So, here’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to take my three criteria and rate the games based on those.


1) Cata
2) Wrath
3) TBC
4) Vanilla
5) MoP

Cata and Wrath are very very close, as are TBC and Vanilla. Vanilla is hard to talk about, though, because each zone was supposed to be a story unto itself. There was no “over arcing” story design yet. But Cata wins this because we had so many great lore personas involved in this expansion.


1) Vanilla
2) Cata
3) Wrath
4) TBC
5) MoP

Vanilla quests are still talked about today. There were simply some great quests. Yeah, it was a bit grindy back then, but MoP is VERY grindy today! Again, Cata and Wrath are close, because each zone flowed so well with the story. TBC gets a hit because each zone is somewhat disjointed from the others, but there were still some magnificent areas to quest in. Again, MoP fails the others…

End Game (dungeons)

1) Vanilla
2) Cata
3) TBC
4) Wrath
5) MoP

Vanilla simply had the best “end game” dungeons. You had Stratholme, UBRS, LBRS, and BRD. All these dungeons were meant to get you ready for Molten Core and Blackwing Lair. Though Cata heroics were hard, they were rewarding when you completed the dungeon. It was the closest a return to “vanilla hard” we’ve seen. And that’s says a lot.

End Game (non raiding)

1) Wrath
2) Cata
3) TBC
4) MoP
5) Vanilla

Wrath had a lot for people who didn’t raid to do. Wintergrasp was released, giving them an entire zone dedicated to PVP. If that wasn’t your cup of tea, you could do rep grinds to get mounts with various factions. Cata continued this model but took away the idea of heroic instances, since those were geared towards serious players. TBC had very little to do, but it was still better than MoP with their FORCED dailies. And Vanilla? Yeah, there was no “non-raiding” end-game…

End Game (Raids)

1) TBC
2) Wrath
3) Vanilla
4) MoP
5) Cata

The difference between Wrath and TBC is small, but while Wrath has two iconic raids, Ulduar and ICC, TBC has several! Kara, Black Temple, ZA, and Sunwell are all still in the hearts and minds of players from that era. Vanilla is a close third to Wrath, each raid being an icon of old-style raiding. However, from a point of view of story, atmosphere, and bosses, Wrath wins. Ulduar is just fucking creepy! Seeing Sindragosa or Arthas for the first time… DAMN! I’m sure there were those moments in Vanilla as well, and it was close, but again, this is my list, not yours.

Honestly, Cata would have overtaken MoP, but Dragon Soul was just so bad. From a story telling point of view, it was horrible. From a mechanics point of view it was interesting at times, but players quickly started to outgear the fights and the nerfs came a bit too quick, and so the mechanics started to get ignored. And last, the bosses WERE NOT MEMORABLE, at all. I thought Tier 11 was great, and Tier 12, while very short, was very good. But Tier 13 just brings it down too far.

Overall Rating

1) Cata
2) Vanilla
3) Wrath
4) TBC
5) MoP

Cata’s story, it’s end game, and dungeons were all there. Their raiding wasn’t, but it wasn’t enough to pull it from the top of my list. Vanilla is the standard bearer. It was the first time we stepped foot in Azeroth, but that doesn’t diminish the fact the questing was good, the story was good, the raids were great, and there are aspects that are better than we’ll ever see again (server wide events!?)

Wrath suffers a bit because the dungeons were simply too easy. The stories in the dungeons were great, fantastic raids (well, two, at least), and a very popular story aren’t enough to overcome my opinions.

TBC gets hurt because it’s lack of an over arcing story. That, and the dungeons are a bit bland. Sure, we got heroics, but those aren’t enough to look past the fact that some of the story lines are just not interesting at all. From a raiding perspective, it doesn’t get any better. But you can only raid after you get to max level, and getting there was the problem.

MoP is just over matched at every point in this contest. Bad story, bad questing, bad dungeons, not even great raids can help. Sorry guys, but it’s last on my list.

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5.2 Impressions

Posted by darthkeller on January 14, 2013

With 5.2 on the PTR it’s only a matter of time before Tier 15 is released. I’m going through the patch notes as I’m typing this, so you’ll get my unedited impressions. Lucky you :)

New Daily Hub

OH GOODY! Honestly, I’m over the whole “dailies are evil” thing. What they did wrong in 5.0 wasn’t that there were a lot of dailies, it was that at 90 you were greeted by: HERE ARE YOUR DAILIES! HAVE FUN!

5.1 was great. There were only a few to do each day. They were relatively quick and painless. And every few days you got a new piece of story so that it wasn’t just “do dailies”. If they continue with that in 5.2 we’re in for a treat.

New Raid: Throne of Thunder

One thing I’m a bit confused about is a statement that was made about MoP. 5.0 would be a story. 5.1 would start a new story as the story in 5.0 would be contained to 5.0. 5.2 would continue that trend. I guess with 5.0 and 5.1 that’s true, but I count by raid tiers not patches, so it’s a slippery slope. But 5.2 we’re finishing a story we started in Kun-Lai Summit. Not exactly what they promised, but oh well. I’ve seen some of the artwork from 5.2 and it looks a bit ominous. That’s a very good thing!

12 bosses!? Honestly that’s a lot. Yeah, I know that Ulduar had 14 and ICC had 12, but that was the Wrath model: A tier would easily last 8-9 months. I’m hoping we don’t have to wait that long for Tier 16 (and presumably Garrosh!). If we do, that’s too long a wait. If we don’t, that’s too short a timeframe for a lot of guilds to clear this much content. Dangerous ground that Blizzard is on.

Legendary Quest

We’re not sure what this is going to be. We know that it will involve the new raid, and at first it was supposed to be a head enchant (BORING!), but Ghostcrawler has reneged on that idea (thank God!)

New World Bosses

I think what’s more important: FACTION TAGGING. Now, if I’m running around and I see the Horde attacking one of these bosses, I go up and hit him and I get to share their tag. This is great if you happen to arrive a few minutes after the fight starts. Yeah, there will be people who simply run up and hit the boss then hide in a corner. But I think that raid groups will still be the best way to handle these bosses and if you’re in a group you’re not going to want to disappoint those in the group with you.

Buy the Farm

I have to quote this:

Work orders will pour into the farm from factions across Pandaria, and completing a work order will earn a reputation boost with the issuing faction.

Ok, I now have to ask: WHO IS INTERESTED IN THIS!? I mean, the faction(s) that I wanted to get to exalted I have gotten to exalted (ok, so I’m a completionist, they’re all at exalted!). My alts have done very little with their farm, so this really isn’t beneficial to them.

If you want to buy a farm, go for it. But, to use this as a “selling point” is just bad.

Class Changes

For now I’m only going to cover DKs. Yeah, I’m biased like that… But it’s what I play.

1. Death Siphon now heals for 150% of the damage dealt (was 100%)

Another heal… This time on my Blood Rune. Actually, I like this change!

2. Conversion now costs 5 Runic Power plus 5 per second thereafter (was 10 Runic Power plus 10 per second).

I have always felt as though my RP was better used in Rune Strikes, but if I need a jolt of health, it’s good to know I have it. I’m starting to think they want DKs to be unkillable. Oh, wait.

3. The Bloodworms summoned by Blood Parasite now have 200% more health.

I’m sorry, but I’ve never really noticed my bloodworms. I mean, sure, I see them, but I don’t really think about them. When I’m questing they “taunt”, but I don’t care about that. On bosses they are just there. Not sure why the change, possibly a PVP thing.

4. Unholy

Ok, so Unholy just got a complete makeover. Summon Gargoyle no longer costs runic power… NICE! Reaping now applies Icy Touch. Ok? Gargoyle Strike now applies both shadow and nature damage – not sure why this is there, but I’ll assume it’ll increase DPS. And last, Ebon Plaguebringer now causes Plague Strike to apply BOTH Frost Fever and Blood Fever. That’s right, for a few runes you have “Outbreak” on command. For some reason I have a feeling this will get changed down the road. It just seems a little too strong.

Blanket Silence

This is gone. For those of you who don’t know what this means – If I interrupt your Fireball not only do you not to get to cast Fireball, but all fire spells are locked for 3 seconds. A “blanket silence” would do this: I interrupt your Fireball, you don’t get to cast ANYTHING for 3 seconds… I have to say, this is a good thing. Some classes will be affected by this more than others (Priests for example, all spells are either Holy or Shadow). Other classes or specs will get a nice reprieve (just about all other casters).

Warlock Green Fire

It’s coming, and all warlocks rejoice! To do the quest, however, you have to find a random drop. This will begin the quest. The area looks like a remapping of the Firelands daily area, whereas it was originally in Black Temple. We’ll have to wait and see how this turns out.


PVP trinkets will now not only free you from CC, but will free your pet as well. Hunters and warlocks rejoiced!


A few other changes are coming to Sunsong Ranch. First, “special” crops will yield more, thus making “farming” more on par with “farming”… Or something like that. Also you can plant four spots at a time instead of one. And the plow will plow through varments and reduce their health by 70% and stun them. Nice changes!

So, that’s it… If you want to see more, visit WoW PTR

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The latest “Sky is falling” event

Posted by darthkeller on January 11, 2013

So, a level 80 DK solo’d H 25-man Baleroc in Firelands. A few days later and an 80 paladin solo’d Stone Guard, Feng, and later, Elegon.

Of course this news was met with congratulations and a general sense of amazement about the skill of these players… Right?

Not so much. Instead we got post after post claiming that Blizzard had jumped the shark on difficulty of raids, that they were somehow complicit in these feats.

Here are some truths for you: First, these players saw an opportunity with the gear that’s dropped from random mobs to do some spectacular things. They took that gear and proved their point. Second, these players took the tools that were given to them by Blizzard and made them do some things that were unintended.

Instead of just saying “Hey, that’s cool” players every where complained and eventually got what they wanted, though they also got something I’m sure they didn’t… A nerf.

The crux of these fights is this: Vengeance. For those who don’t know, every time a boss swings at a tank there’s an amount of damage that’s possible. Whether the attack lands or not 2% of that damage is added to the Vengeance of the tank. Vengeance is nothing more than attack power. So, if a tank swap never occurs, the more damage a tank takes, the more damage he does. These players, with the way stat-scaling works (ie – 100 parry at level 80 is worth a lot more than 100 parry at 90), were able to dodge/parry almost every attack, but they were still stacking massive amounts of vengeance. In the DK vs Baleroc vid his vengeance was in the millions (if not more, I didn’t have time to really see how many digits there were), so even though Baleroc has hundreds of millions of HP, this tank’s vengeance eventually allowed him to start hitting for millions of damage each time he attacked.

Here’s where the nerf comes in… In 5.0 Vengeance would stack infinitely. This allowed a tank to continually hit harder as the fight progressed. NOW, vengeance only stacks to the players max hp.

Why is this a nerf? Tank DPS is about to plummet! Why is that important? There are enough fights in Tier 14 that require a lot of dps (Gara’jal and Elegon come to mind immediately, and that’s only in Mogu’shan Vaults), and even a tank’s dps is very important. Well, now that dps is about to drop considerably since they can no longer stack vengeance to “insane” levels.

Problem: Level 80s are solo’ing stuff that should kill them instantly.

Possible Solution: Fix the gear so that it doesn’t scale as well

Possible Solution: Fix the gear so that it can’t be equipped until 81

Possible Solution: Fix the instances so they can’t be entered by 80s


So, community, thanks. Thank you for nerfing all of us

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My guild history

Posted by darthkeller on January 11, 2013

So, I’ve not found anything too terribly interesting on the forums lately, so I decided I would give you a little more back story on me.

I start playing in October 2010, about 6 weeks before Cata was released. A friend told me to start a toon on the Quel’Dorei server and he’d hook me up with a guild. I didn’t know why one should join a guild (at the time there were no guild perks), but I decided “What the hell?” and joined a guild called The Train. One thing I hated was, they were all level 80, so they were off doing level 80 things, and here I was a lowbie, so I really didn’t feel like I was a part of that guild.

At 70 I left The Train and joined a new guild. I don’t remember their name. But I remember thinking, “hey, they’re 70s also! Cool, I’ll have people to play with!” A week later I was 80 and they were still…. 70.

Around 82 or 83 I joined a guild called My Darkness Within. I thought, “I’m almost 85, I’ll be able to raid soon, and here’s a raiding guild wanting me to join them!” So, that’s what I did. I hit 85 a few days later and quickly worked my way up to heroics. I remember one evening we decided to do heroics as a guild. It was BRU-TAL! The tank was not ready for heroics. The guild leader was a warlock rocking a gear score that was a good 7 points higher than mine, yet I was doing three times their DPS. After 2+ hours and only ONE BOSS KILLED, I decided that I would leave that guild. Little did I know I would soon leave that server.

A few days after applying I joined Arete, on the Bloodhoof server. This was my first taste of raiding, and one taste was all it took! We were an interesting guild. Our dps was not that good. But, we rarely took unnecessary damage. Any fight that had a “dps check” was trouble for us. Any fight that was purely execution was easy. To this day I still raid with that mentality: Don’t take extra damage!

Four months after joining Arete some trouble started brewing. Our hunter (and top dps) had a computer malfunction and was out for a couple of weeks to get the money to get it repaired. Shortly after that news our raid leader told us he and his wife (who made up 2/3 of our healing corp) would need to take a leave from the game to deal with real life issues. He handed over control to our main tank, and a few days after that, he announced that work would require him to be out for at least one month. It was too much for our guild to handle, and I left about a week later, with others shortly on my tail.

I joined an Alliance guild on the Khadgar server next: From Dusk til Dawn. This guild was… bad. Yeah, I said it, and I don’t give a shit if you don’t like it (sorry, the guild leader and I didn’t part on good terms). It wasn’t really that they were bad, it was that their raid team was inconsistent. Every night we had a different raid group than the previous night. Every night we had to teach someone a new fight. We were supposed to raid 3 nights a week, but because it took so much time to teach a new player a fight, progress was slow, and we would end up raiding 5 nights a week. This almost forced me to quit World of Warcraft. It was just too much. Three months was my limit, and I told them I was leaving. After a quick fight with the guild leader (who doesn’t know the difference between “bad” and “inconsistent”), I was happily a Horde once again.

Hysteria was the guild I joined. A 25-man. A heroic guild. I had hit the big time! Unfortunately, my computer wasn’t ready for it. I cannot tell you the number of lags, DCs, and just general “bull shit” my computer put me through those first two weeks. So, I spoke with the guild leader and asked him if I could stay in the guild until I could get a new machine. At that time I would “re-apply” to the guild for a new trial. He agreed.

Two months later I had a new job and a nice pay raise. I was able to buy a new computer and I did ask to raid again. My new machine never blinked from the requirements of 25-man raiding. My dps was much better, my awareness was much better. Overall things were going great. However, there were problems that I was not aware of. Apparently there was drama that I was coming back to and that drama quickly spilled over into the raid team.

Only two months of actual raiding (I think 4 months in the guild) and I saw that it was time to go. The leadership of that guild has some serious nepotism issues, and I don’t play that game very well.

But where too? Ah, back to Quel’Dorei. But this, I wasn’t going to join a guild. This time I was going to start a guild! And thus, Horde Empire was born!

There were a few problems, though. 1) I didn’t know anyone on the server. My friend quit the game, so I couldn’t even get him to help me out. 2) I SUCK AT TALKING TO PEOPLE! Hard to get people to join you when you can’t talk to them. But one day fate smiled on me. I spoke with a person who joined my guild. I cannot remember her name, but I do know that she quickly started recruiting people. By the end of the week my small one-man guild had turned into 60 characters! Slowly some started to leave. Then more. And finally I was left with 5 people. Me, a very cheerful priest (yeah, I still remember you :) ), and three real-life friends. Most times I was on by myself, so I did what I could do alone. I PVP’d, I did dailies, I leveled alts. But finally that raiding bug started to bite again.

In December 2011 I saw a request in trade chat: LF1M DPS DS Fresh. I asked if I could join and I was invited. I don’t know what it was, but something about this group made me feel at home. We had a great time working through several of the bosses and I was invited to come back on Sunday to finish the raid. Sunday evening I was on and things continued to get better.

After speaking with the raid leader, I decided that I could join Unchained. I gave over control of the guild to a one of the three amigos and I joined this new group.

I wasn’t on their main raid team. I was an alt. I would go on their Thursday night alt runs. But hey, I was raiding, so I didn’t care. As the main team quickly progressed through DS our group slowly progressed a bit each week. Before long I had my 333 gems and I was off to the next collection quest. They had several rogue alts in the guild and each of them allowed me to get my daggers before them because my rogue was my main.

Two weeks before I would have all my gems Diablo III was released. I needed 12 gems. I pugged one week, killing 5 bosses, and thus receiving 5 gems. The next week I BEGGED my guild to join me, which they did and I was able to get my daggers. This was the last time I would see any of them for over a month.

In July some of my guild members started coming back. During that time I had pugged I don’t know how many DS runs (I have a LOT of characters!!!) and I was starting to get to know some of the other guilds on the server. Finally one of the members and I started talking about usurping guild control since our guild leader hadn’t logged on in over two months.

Around the first of August I logged in and found the guild leader logged in. I laughed a bit. Damn, he must have known what was going on. He told me that he logged in to do one thing. A few seconds later and I was the new guild leader. Um… yeah. I was shocked too!

I quickly asked a few people to be officers and we started to create a new culture for our raid team. We’d had some structure, we’d have rules, an actual loot system. The whole nine yards. We finished 5/8 H DS, and I KNEW we were a better guild than that! I was going to prove it.

During this time we were told that our main tank was leaving the game and I decided I would replace him. So, I switched my main from my rogue to my DK (DarthDecay).

Tier 14 is rough. And it was very rough on Mutiny (we changed our name, as a means of proving that we were going to be a different guild!). It took us a lot to get a kill each week. Then we ran into Elegon. Damn I hate that fight! After a few weeks of hitting that wall we went to Heart of Fear and got a few kills.

It was time to go back to Elegon! We quickly went through each boss that night, and when we got to Elegon we discussed a slightly different strategy. Our first pull it seemed to work, so great. However, a little rust and we wiped to a simple mechanic. Attempt number 2 was a little better, getting to phase 4, but not much further.

During our third attempt of the night we realized the strategy I put forth was wrong and in the middle of the fight abandoned it. It wouldn’t matter. We were on auto-pilot. It was getting late, we were getting tired, but everything seemed to click. A few minutes later and Elegon lay dead at our feet.

The next day 6 members of Mutiny left Quel’Dorei to join a 25-man guild. I saw that they’re getting kills, and I couldn’t be happier for them!

I took part in a merger between Mutiny and The Council, but I didn’t feel comfortable on the server anymore. Mutiny was my home, and it was gone, so I decided I would leave too.

The Zul’jin server is the home of Evocati, a great group of raiders. I have been honored to play alongside these guys for the last three or so weeks. I’m currently learning more and more about my class and how to play at their level (and that is a feat all its own!)

I’m not sure what will happen next. For now, I’m here. Tomorrow, who knows?

So, there it is. A history of my guild life.

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Is it time to end the LFR?

Posted by darthkeller on December 17, 2012

When the LFR was first introduced in the PTR notes for 4.3 I have to admit, I was very skeptical. I mean, the LFD is generally considered one of the most convenient, but worst, additions to the game.

Allow me to take you back in time.

Before the LFD was introduced in patch 3.3 players would huddle in Orgrimmar and Ironforge spamming trade chat looking for people to join them in their next dungeon run. During this time one key idea was both born and raised: Community. You see, you couldn’t possibly act like a jack ass because you wouldn’t be invited to go on dungeon runs again. You built a reputation, and we, the community, policed our game very well.

You were a ninja? You’re getting kicked and probably not invited again. You afk every 5 seconds, kicked. Just plain bad at your class? Most likely a kick, though the punishment was less severe, as people would eventually get better through repetition.

Then the LFD was introduced. All of the sudden your community didn’t matter. I could click a button and voi la, I was in a dungeon with 4 people I’ve never met and would likely never see again. I ninja’d something? So, I’ll never see these people again. Since it takes 30+ minutes for DPS to get a dungeon while taking a tank/healer less than 2 minutes, the tanks and healers could hold the group hostage by going afk whenever they wanted. What were you going to do, kick them? Then you’re waiting for another several minutes. The tank is bad? So, can’t kick them if you want to continue playing.

To make a long story short, the LFD has all but destroyed the community that World of Warcraft was supposed to offer, it has created a caste system where the tanks and healers stand on top throwing around their queue times like Zeus hurls lightning, it has created an environment where there are no repercussions for bad behavior, only a ticket to a GM which may or may not be read.

Now we come to 4.3 and the LFR system. “Hey, the LFD system has been a HUGE success that everyone loves, let’s add 20 more people to that equation!” Seriously, whatever developer thought this up should be kicked in the balls, HARD!

As I said, when I first read about the LFR system my first thought was “This is going to be ugly!!!” And, to my pleasant surprise, I was wrong. Dragon Soul LFRs were a breeze to get through, people generally wanted to get in and get back out. But it wasn’t all sunshine and kittens.

“LTT” – Looking to Trade. “Let’s make a deal.” Those are the words best used to describe the LFR system in Cataclysm. Why? I’m a rogue. Therefore I roll on the Vanquisher token. So, I talk to all my druid, mage and DK friends and together we run the LFR. Now, I have 10 people rolling for me, versus your single roll. They trade me the item and then later in the run I say, “LTT Shoulder Token for < insert weapon here >“. Hey, if they want that token, I already have it, and I’ll take either. Or, I roll on every item in the run just in case I win one and I’m able to trade it to someone else.

It didn’t take long for the LFR system to devolve into chaos. People would roll on everything, the idea of “Need vs Greed” was out! It was “NEED! I NEED IT ALL!”

When they announced the loot change to the LFR that was coming in 5.0, I jumped for joy! I had made a post on the forums that simply said, “Make the items in LFR NON-tradeable.” I knew that would stop people from rolling on everything they could. Instead of just taking my advice, Blizzard went a step further. You can’t even roll now. The game does it all for you behind the scenes. Damn I love that!

However, this has created a new problem. “I never win anything, so why should I try?” I have run into more bots in the last few runs than I ever saw in Cataclysm. Hey, their chance of winning is about 1/6, which is about 15%, so why should they give more than 15% effort? This has created an all new problem, one that I predicted some time ago: LFRs are failing at an alarming rate.

In the last week I’ve seen more wipes to simple things than I ever saw in Cataclysm. I have seen more bots, which of course healers can’t distinguish when they’re looking at a bar (not a knock on healers), so they “steal” mana from the rest of the group because all the healer sees is Someone in Trouble. They don’t have a way to see This is a Bot, DO NOT HEAL! This past weekend alone I was a part of 10+ wipes on Tsulong. Tanks that don’t know what they’re doing pointing the dragon at the raid group, people standing in the “light” instead of simply moving, adds getting to the boss, dispels not getting cast.

Why should anyone try? They have a 15% chance of getting a piece of gear, their chance of getting a piece they can use might be even less (take my 15% chance of getting gear, factor in the boss’ table has 3 pieces for me, I have two of them already leaving only a 33% chance of getting something I can use, IF my 15% comes up….).

So that’s my question: Has the LFR run its course? If all it’s going to be is a waste of time, why do it? This weekend it took me over an hour to get into an LFR. Immediately the tank said he didn’t want to run the entire place and left, meaning another 15 or so minute wait for a replacement. For what? To wipe on Tsulong….


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Posted by darthkeller on December 11, 2012

So, I guess this where I should start, with an introduction.

My name is Darth. Just Darth. I have 11 characters, 9 of which are “Darth____”, my guild knows me as Darth, I often call myself Darth (which has a lot to do with hating my given name).

I started playing video games in the 80s with an Atari of some sort (I was around 5 at the time, so BACK OFF!). I remember playing Pitfall and ET, and I remember loving that damn joystick.

For Christmas one year we received a Nintendo Entertainment System and our minds were blown! The graphics were freaking amazing!!!!

I could keep going, but I’ll spare you. Suffice it to say, I’ve played video games my whole life. And during that time, one genre of game continued to bring me back time and time again…. RPGs. I loved the idea of taking a character from “How do I use a sword?” to “Here, let me stab you 1000 times before you can hit me once.” It was a blast to watch my character transform before my eyes. Some of my favorites have to be The Legend of Zelda series and the Final Fantasy series. Yeah, “big brand stuff”, don’t care. It’s what I like. These aren’t the only RPGs I’ve played, just the ones that I liked the most.

I put off World of Warcraft because I thought the game was for “nerds” and “losers,” however, in 2010 I realized something – I was bashing a game that I never played. I decided that I would install the trial.

That was it. That was all it took. WoW is evidently coded with heroin, because one time was all it took and I knew I wanted to play more.

I got my first character (a rogue named Darthkeller) to 85 in January 2011, about 3 months after I installed the game. In February of that year I joined my first raiding guild and realized what I wanted to do: RAID! In fact, that was all I wanted to do!

This did bring about a realization for me, though. I was raiding a few nights a week, but what do I do during my downtime? At this point I started my alt-farm. From my first character until the end of Cataclysm I had leveled 9 characters to 85, had each of them running the LFR, and took several through Dragon Soul.

In MoP I saw a need in our guild. We had lost a tank so I leveled my DK (Darthdecay) instead of my rogue and I’ve been tanking this entire expansion (honestly, I fucking love tanking!!!!). My rogue has been leveled, sure, but he was #3 this time around, since I needed mats for various professions, and since my only farmer is my druid, he was number 2.

So, what’s up with this blog? I hope to make this blog a place where I can vent, where I can come to explain my point of view of the issues of the day in Azeroth, and even talk about other games from time to time (when I take the time to play another game).

For now, I think this will work for an introduction to who I am and what I’m about…. If not, I’m sorry. I promise to continue to disappoint in the future.

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