Monday, September 24, 2007

Now it's time for more introspective.

I was thinking, this weekend. So other than getting my Epic flying mount and my Netherdrake, both of which are works in progress (farming when I feel like it), I've done everything I can do solo or PUGged (well I still considering doing a few more Shadow Labs runs for Exalted with Lower City...) So basically, other than when I raid on Saturdays and Sundays... I'm done with WoW until the next patch or the next expansion. When 2.4 comes out with the Sun Well and at least one new 5-man, I'll definitely hit that up, but since I'm raiding I doubt it will be much good as far as upgrades go.

Now, I'm not the only one to reach this point. But there's a vast difference between what they do and what I'm do. Most of my other WoW friends, upon doing everything they want to do... roll an alt and level it up to 70 (or up to a predetermined level and twink it out and beat the crap out of people in BGs). So far I have found one class that I enjoyed enough to level it from 1 to 70, after I finished playing my Mage, and that was my Paladin. Which then became my main (in fact at the time I started leveling Alix I was planning on making him my main, got him to the 60s, changed my mind and stopped playing him, then changed my mind again, making him my main when I realized how much I liked tanking as a Paladin).

I'll occasionally try another class, but even then the highest I've gotten them to before I stop playing them is the 30s. Usually in the 20s (if even that far). I just end up back on my main working towards my goals there. Why? Because I'm a perfectionist. Look at the goals I had set for myself. They included insane things like getting exalted with Scryers and the Consortium. >.> Even I have to admit that's a bit nuts (despite having done it).

Now, I'll step away from WoW for a moment, and go to FFXI. For those that haven't played FFXI or read some of my other posts, FFXI's job system takes a cue from FFIII, FFV, FFT and FFTA. You begin by being able to play one of the six "classic" jobs from the original Final Fanatasy:
When you start out, you pick one job, and you can level it from 1 to 75. Also, you can go back to your Mog House (an instanced player housing) and you can change what job you are. Tired of playing a White Mage? Swap over to being a Warrior or a Monk. While you have to start over at level 1 for that job, you can play whatever you feel like playing, and can benefit from all the things you've done as that character.

Once you reach level 30, you'll have the option of getting other jobs unlocked. It requires completing quest or a questline, but in doing so you will gain access to as many as 12 (soon to be more) other jobs. Those are:
Also, in the coming expansion they are adding, at a minimum, two more jobs. One of them has been announced and it's the Dancer job (minimal details on this job so no link). Anyway, what all of this means is that once you roll your current character, you can do every quest, and mission, level every job, and crafting skill and do every type of endgame all from one character. Doing everything you want to do for that one character takes a long time, but it's doable.

Now, back to WoW. Maybe because FFXI was the first MMO I was able to play extensively, it shaped my views. Maybe, it's just that I'm something of a perfectionist. But either way, I pick my main and work towards making him the best character I can get him to be. Because of this, any alts I would create exist to benefit the main. But since in most cases the items gotten from alts are also available via my friends, it really devalues what I can get from this. At most it would be having two crafting skills on my main, while having a collecting skill on my alts. But even this isn't worth leveling a character from scratch. Thus I have no desire to level alts in WoW, which limits it's longevity.

I also think this is why, despite Final Fantasy XI being well over half a decade old, I'm still very much enthralled with it. I've been playing it since December of 2003, and I've only met a handful of my goals. It has enough content that I can do on my main character, either leveling jobs, doing quests, doing missions, etc (not even counting doing it's endgame options), and none of it becomes obsolete, so if I ever decide to go back and do it, it won't be something that will be done for a purpose, not just for the sake of reminiscing.

Monday, September 17, 2007

It's not what you do, it's why you do it.

This is a quasi-response to Galo's post, quoting Vanifae. I'll be honest, I'm not overly fond of Vanifae. While I certainly will admit that he's usually right, how he answers people's questions, in most cases, really bugs me. He gives very short, abrupt answers. Technically he's usually right in his answers, but he's not that helpful.

There's an old adage: "Give a man a fish, feed him for day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime." Vanifae gives people fishes. A lot of his answers are minimalistic and only give them the direct answer to the question they are asking.

What I think we should be doing is not only explaining what, but the actual whys behind it. Understanding the whys is what really separates the good players from the bad. It allows people to make decisions about what abilities to use on the fly, and makes people more flexible.

An example of this could be gear. There are a bunch of lists of good pre-Karazhan tanking gear. You can even find one here on my blog. And while that list is certainly good (over 11,000 health, uncrushability, and over 250 spell damage), what happens when you start hitting up Karazhan and get certain gear pieces.

While most of the direct upgrades from blues to their purple Karazhan counterparts are actually upgrades, what about if you already have a purple and are moving to another purple.Two examples that come to mind are moving from Iron Gauntlets of the Maiden to the Paladin T4 Gauntlets and going from the Boots of Elusion to Battlescar Boots. The Paladin T4 gloves are a huge step down in the avoidance department, and if you aren't careful they could easily push you into crushability range. As for the boots, I got the Boots of Elusion early on (very lucky on that mark) and while the Battlescar Boots are one of the last pieces of tanking gear you can get in Karazhan (assuming you do it in normal order after Curator and don't jump straight to the Chess Event like we did. *cough*) they are a huge step down, almost a full percent lower dodge chance, not to mention, generally speaking, lower stamina (can be gemmed higher but then lacking in other areas).

By understanding what value a piece of gear gives instead of "Hey, this is what you should get." you can better understand what's actually an upgrade. You don't need to go searching for information on whether item X will be worse than item Y with all your current gear. You can figure it out pretty quickly off the top of your head.

The same applies more generally to everything you do. It's one thing to know what spell cycle you should do. But if you know why you should do it in a certain order, if you need to change it, you know what to change and you can weigh the options yourself.

This is why I spend so much time thinking and digging for details and theorycrafting. If I know the why, I can figure out the best what on my own, and make myself the best player I can be.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Annnnd... we're back!

And I'm back from my travel-born hiatus.

This weekend I waded back into Karazhan, and despite having a low showing both nights (only 10 people as opposed to the normal 12ish).

On Saturday we got through to Maiden, and while we could have continued to the Opera Event, two of the folks were feeling sick so I called it then. Got the belt from Moroes, and after a bit of regemming (swapping out +spell damage/STA gems for +AGI/STA gems for more dodge), I am uncrushable with full raid buffs (this includes Flask of Fort...). I have another two percent or so to get to be uncrushable w/o buffs, but hey, at least I made it to uncrushable in the first place.

Sunday we went back in, got Romulo and Julianne for the Opera Event (still no Big Bad Wolf yet), then went on and one shotted the Curator. WOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! Seriously, so happy with my guild taking him down first try tonight (and on the second try overall). We got the Forest Wind Shoulderpads and the Gloves of the Fallen Defender (T4 token for Warriors, Priests and Druids). We followed that up by running up and doing the Chess Event, which netted us the Battlescar Boots (went to the Ret Paladin) and the Ring of Recurrance.

A very good weekend overall! Also, I dusted off my Mage, and respecced him (previously a raid/5-man Arcane-Frost spec, respecced to a solo/5-man Frost-Arcane Shatter spec) and sent him to slaughter elementals for Motes of Fire in SMV. Decently profitable, and a nice change of pace from riding around Nagrand (despite it being so beautiful there still *_*). I like to keep mixing things up when I'm out farming.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

News is gonna be slim.

Didn't post at all in the last few days, due to being away at Dragon*Con. It's one of the biggest multi-genre conventions (aka geek cons) out there, and this was my first year. I left on Friday and got back on Monday. I met up with a bunch of my MMO friends, meeting a lot of them for the first time, and seeing a few I met quite a few years back. Sunday night was a riot as we played a 3-4 hour game of Zombies!!! But being that 4 of the 12 usual raiders, along with 2 of the 3 tanks, were out of town meant no raid this weekend.

Next weekend is going to be similar, but just me. I'm traveling down to FL to take care of some family business. I'm flying out on Saturday, and not flying back until Tuesday. Since I don't have a laptop, that means no raiding.

I might still update with some theory crafting posts, but actual updates will be pretty slim.

About all I have to report on the MMO front is that I played a good bit of FFXI. Leveled my White Mage to 37, the last bit I needed to use it as a Subjob, for meriting. This was followed by getting a roving Meripo party. Now, I would have had no issues with this if said party had a secondary MP battery, such as a Corsair or a Bard for the entire time. But it didn't. And people didn't slow down when I had no MP. So they died. Later on we got a Bard, which mostly removed the issue of people dying except for when one person had to go AFK, and he wasn't there to provoke. Beyond that it went pretty well and I got three merit points. Two of them went to Parry and Evasion skillups, and saving the third to be used in one of my other skills. Probably Sword or Shield again.