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Theorycrafting and Class Discussion / Re: 8.0.x stuff
« Last post by Marco on October 11, 2018, 01:37:07 PM »
Two things I took out of the Q+A:

* While they previously acknowledged that M+ is under-rewarding in the Azerite gear department, it sounds like we should expect something to actually happen in this department (no specifics).  It probably won't be as simple as "Azerite gear can drop from the end chest" because that would make M+ too rewarding overall relative to raiding and PvP.

* Some of the less successful Azerite traits will be retired in 8.1.  I think BfA started out with too many Azerite traits and pieces; while the system will still be too broad (in my opinion) in 8.1, at least it won't get as much worse along that dimension.
Theorycrafting and Class Discussion / Re: 8.0.x stuff
« Last post by Piralyn on October 11, 2018, 12:24:00 PM »
A fun side note, though. Apparently some of the PvP hotfixes had unintended consequences (Battle for Azeroth: Unintended Consequences (tm)) and now Enhancement shamans below 120 actually have negative mana regen and their mana drains just for existing in PvP.

every bfa bug is hilarious in this very specific way i can't quite describe
I think the words you're looking for are in a way that shows "they were never tested via critical thinking or actually playing the thing."

Worth noting is that this pretty clearly isn't just perception. There's been a few interviews lately where it's clear that the "ready when it's ready" philosophy is no more and it's a "push out content as often as possible."

From the post-mortem Q&A with Ion via some person at

Newman: So why not act before release?

Hazzikostas: I came out in a couple months ago and said, "We know that there are elemental shamans, we know that there are shadow priests who have some concerns with the state of your current talent tree, the state of your class. But at this point those are going to have to wait for a major content update." That's just a question of us drawing a line at some point, because we could continue iterating forever. And it's not the same as saying those specs are unfinished, or we're shipping without them complete. Because the reality is they're never complete. That's the nature of World of Warcraft. Nothing is ever truly finished and even when we make those changes to, say, elemental shamans in an upcoming patch, are they done then? Does that mean there are no further changes to make to that specialization ever? Of course not.

Ultimately, steering the massive ship that is World of Warcraft towards a release date, and getting content into players' hands, we're always striking a balance between the core of the game, the quest content, the zone, the dungeons, the raids, the PVP systems and so forth. Those all need to be ready, we need to be happy with them and we're not gonna release those until all that is in place. We've tested it, we think they're fun. But at some point beyond that when it comes to polish, when it comes to iterating and tuning, we're not doing a good service to our player base as a whole if we say, "Okay, we're gonna hold back this entire expansion for millions of you just so that we can spend extra time responding to concerns with this one specialization." Concerns that may, in turn, lead to and require further iteration because we're not perfect and we're not gonna necessarily get it right on the first try.

Newman: What do you consider to be your top priorities at this point?
Hazzikostas: I would say the team's top priority overall is just continuing to keep the flow of content well-paced to match the example that we set in Legion: no major lulls or gaps in the story, more raids to take on, more stories to explore, more lands to explore. And that's probably the occupation of the majority of the team.

Emphasis mine. Clearly pace of content release is important--and that's a totally fair thing to focus on. I don't think anyone wants a WotLK or WoD 18 month content drought or whatever, but I think it would be pretty hard to argue that the dramatic swing to the other extreme has been a net positive for the gain. A lot of the more recent things are undoubtedly that they've been caught on their back foot trying to deal with the major hallmarks of this expansion being mostly loathed, so now they're just throwing hotfixes at the wall and hoping it makes things better--which means there's probably little to no testing and we get stuff like level 119 Enhancement Shamans mana draining themselves--but there's some larger pieces that it just seems unfathomable that they had to make such huge adjustments after release. How many traits/talents/things have been either buffed or nerfed by like 70-90%? That seems to me like something you should be able to eyeball. If you have to nerf some trait by 80% and buff some others by 50%, that's a crazy outlier.
Theorycrafting and Class Discussion / Re: 8.0.x stuff
« Last post by Piralyn on October 11, 2018, 12:04:29 PM »
Some minor notes from the Q&A that are new-ish

Tank balance is being looked at. Brewmaster/Blood maybe too good, Prot Warrior and Bear not so good. (STAY AWAY FROM BLOOD YOU SON OF A BITCH)
Alliance will start the new Warfront in the contribution/raid phase.
Theorycrafting and Class Discussion / Re: 8.0.x stuff
« Last post by Piralyn on October 11, 2018, 12:00:55 PM »
I think the words you're looking for are in a way that shows "they were never tested via critical thinking or actually playing the thing."
Theorycrafting and Class Discussion / Re: 8.0.x stuff
« Last post by Honorata on October 11, 2018, 11:42:21 AM »
A fun side note, though. Apparently some of the PvP hotfixes had unintended consequences (Battle for Azeroth: Unintended Consequences (tm)) and now Enhancement shamans below 120 actually have negative mana regen and their mana drains just for existing in PvP.

every bfa bug is hilarious in this very specific way i can't quite describe
Theorycrafting and Class Discussion / Re: 8.0.x stuff
« Last post by Piralyn on October 11, 2018, 11:27:20 AM »
Not sure that there was really anything new or noteworthy in the Q&A. Just the same stuff we've already heard for the most part re: class balance/azerite/etc

A fun side note, though. Apparently some of the PvP hotfixes had unintended consequences (Battle for Azeroth: Unintended Consequences (tm)) and now Enhancement shamans below 120 actually have negative mana regen and their mana drains just for existing in PvP.

Outside Azeroth - General Chatter / Re: Wicker Baskets of BALLS
« Last post by Honorata on October 11, 2018, 10:20:20 AM »
This is pretty old, but I just realized some of you may not have seen this Truly Great Internet Video. (SFW but warning for loudness)
Theorycrafting and Class Discussion / Mythic+ resources
« Last post by Marco on October 11, 2018, 08:59:36 AM »
I have been tanking a lot of mythic keystone dungeons lately.  Here are some resources I have found:

* - this is a one-page informational web site with a mix of facts and advice.  It has the table of loot rewards for each keystone level, information about affixes, pointers to additional resources, and a bunch more.

* - a reddit post with some quick tips for each dungeon.

* Angry Keystones addon - when you mouse over a mob, its tooltip will include how much it will contribute to the required trash percentage.  Also provides a timer display, and auto-places your keystone in the pedestal so you don't have to find it in your inventory (but still waits for you to confirm you want to start).

* Method Dungeon Tools addon - contains maps for each of the dungeons with icons for trash packs and patrols, and tools to put together routes through the trash.  Very fancy.

* - this is a very new web site for route-planning.  I find its interface confusing but perhaps it will improve.  I'm listing it here because I believe route-planning is better handled via web site than by addon, since routes can then be shared via links rather than export strings.

I think there is still room for a web site with in-depth dungeon-by-dungeon advice.  wowhead has some per-dungeon guides recommending trash routes but they aren't easy to read (they tend to use screenshots rather than maps).
Theorycrafting and Class Discussion / Re: 8.0.x stuff
« Last post by Piralyn on October 11, 2018, 06:32:03 AM »
Dev Q&A today, which I'm sure will go ABSOLUTELY FINE.
Outside Azeroth - General Chatter / Re: Finished playing...
« Last post by Winston on October 10, 2018, 02:56:05 PM »
Shroud of the Avatar

A word of explanation: For the past year or so the reviews I post here are copied-and-pasted from my blog. Everyone here knows, e.g., what an MMORPG is, but since someone might read my blog who isn't a gamer I have to define my terms. Rest assured I'm not trying to insult anyone's intelligence.

Sometimes you only have one chance to make a good first impression. Shroud of the Avatar makes a lousy first impression. After spending a few hours with the game, I feel no desire to continue playing it. I didnít even get out of the starting area.

Shroud of the Avatar (SotA) is a MMORPG (massively multiplayer on-line role-playing game). Thereís a blunt reality when you design a new MMORPG: World of Warcraft (WoW) is the 600-lb gorilla in this field. I canít help but compare SotA to WoW. I know that many millions of dollars have been poured into WoWís development, and perhaps itís an unfair comparison. But SotA has some significant game-play issues that discouraged me immediately.

I got into SotA by helping to Kickstart the game in 2014. Even though I was regular WoW player at the time (and still am), I was attracted to the concept of the new game because it was designed by Richard Garriott aka Lord British, the developer of one the favorite games from my childhood, Ultima III. After kickstarting the game, I received periodic emails about SotAís development, but I had no desire to play the beta version of the game.

Finally, after three years, I got the announcement of the gameís official release. On a Macintosh, Shroud of the Avatar is played via the Steam portal. I downloaded it, started itÖ and promptly got lost. The problem was, by default, SotA uses a different set of keys to navigate than WoW. It was hard for me to get around. It wasnít until the second time I tried the game that I realized I had to reconfigure the SotA keys to match WoW to be able to play it at all.

My second impression was how dull the game looked. Iím used to Steam games, and know they generally donít make the best use of a graphics card; I lowered my expectations accordingly. But here the color contrasts seemed flat and uninteresting. Again, I may be spoiled by WoW, which uses a bright and more cartoony color palette.

The issues with color palette became particularly obvious when night fell within the game. Both WoW and SotA have day/night cycles. In WoW, even when itís night, it just means the sky and shading become different; you can still see to get around. In SotA, without a torch you canít see much of anything. SotAís approach is more realistic, but it means that half the time itís more difficult to travel from place to place because you canít see where youíre going.

This might not have been a problem, except that SotA in its starting zones borrowed a trick from WoWís later expansions: crinkly terrain. In WoWís starting zones, you can generally travel from one point to another by going in a straight line. In SotAís starting zones, the terrain blocks straight-line paths between the initial quests and their destinations, so your avatar has to do a lot of walking. In the gameís daytime, this is annoying enough; at night you just get lost.

Iíve got one more visual complaint: In the starting zones, everyone looks the same. Every character starts off with the same gear. You can customize your avatarís appearance and gender, but those differences arenít obvious. All my fellow characters were wearing the same shirt, pants, and hat. Visually it looked like a bunch of clones wandering around.

The same thing would happen in WoW, except that WoW has distinct character classes: warriors, warlocks, mages, and so forth. While every starting avatar of a given class has the same gear, the differences between the starting gear of the various classes avoids SotAís problem. Also, in WoW you start to acquire new gear within a few minutes of playing the game. In SotA, I didnít get any new gear during the few hours I played, at least none that affected my avatarís appearance.

As you may have gathered from the previous paragraph, in SotA there arenít character classes common to many role-playing games. Your character starts with points in some initial skills based on a set of questions youíre asked during character generation, but in the long run you can put skill points in any of the skills available in the game.

In general, I like systems in which your ultimate abilities arenít restricted when you create your character (anyone whoís ever created a character in my tabletop RPG Argothald can attest to this). The problem I found with SotA is that youíre deluged with skills and itís not clear what to pick or how to use the skills. There are two different skill bars on the screen, and I couldnít figure out how into which bar a skill or item should go; this was important because it appeared that one bar was supposed to be used in combat and the other not.

I also learned, when going through some web sites in preparation for this review, that you should set up an allocation pattern for how your experience points (XP) are shared between the skills you develop. By default, your XP are evenly shared between all the attributes and skills your character possesses. If you donít know about the reallocation (there was nothing about this in the interminable tutorial panels thrust on your screen), then your warrior could be wasting XP into their intellect instead of putting all the points into strength.

Crafting also starts immediately, with craft materials being the first thing you find in the landscape or dropped by enemies. What do you do with them? Which are useful to anything you might do? I never knew, because I never was able to craft any items and/or get any recipes. In WoW, crafting is introduced gradually; in SotA I had no idea if I should save the items in my limited inventory space (in SotA the limit is by weight rather than WoWís bag slots) or sell them.

Even basic world interactions could be confusing. At one point I saw a fellow player character whose health bar wasnít full. I thought I should do a good deed and use my healing spell on him. I clicked on his avatar, clicked the icon for my healing spellÖ and healed my character, not his. How do you cast beneficial spells on other characters in SotA? I never learned, but itís not the simple method thatís used in WoW.

Another example: I was in a camp of humans, and clicked on one of the non-player soldiers to see if he had any dialog. Instead, that click was interpreted as an attack and the soldier started hacking at my character. There was no change in the mouse shape or any form of reaction indicators (as there is in WoW) to let me know that the soldier was hostile. Since he was five levels higher than I was, I would have been killed except that a fellow player decided to help me. It was a near thing, but we defeated the soldier.

Afterwards, I tried to thank that other player. I couldnít, because even as simple a thing as a ďsayĒ command wasnít obvious.

Even combat in the game wasnít obvious. My memory is getting hazy, but there didnít seem to be any ďauto-attackĒ and you had to keep pressing a key to swing your weapon. Spells had long cooldowns (at least for my low-level character). I typically won each combat, but it took a long time.

All of these interface issues and other game elements are explained in various SotA web sites and forums, and I looked at some of them. As I noted above, it was a lot of information to absorb just to start a character. I like the open-ended skill sets and the potential for crafting, but the complexity of the initial decisions and limited carrying capacity at the start of the game was off-putting.

In WoW, you can create a character with a few keypresses, watch a short lore intro, and start questing within five minutes. The initial quests teach you the basics: how to sell useless items, for example. You donít have to make any decisions about developing your character until youíve reached tenth level, by which time youíve been exposed to enough that youíll know if youíll like playing the game.

I know that SotA is much, much bigger than just the starting area. Promotional material talks about cities, dungeons, great events, customized housing, and so forth. But I have no desire to see any of it.

Lord British, if you want me to play Shroud of the Avatar, you have to start out stronger than this.
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