Ever since Patch 4.0.1 went live, I’ve had this minor annoyance while playing my alts.

I’m gonna tell you what it is, and as soon as I start, you’re gonna slap your forehead and say, ‘Wow, what an idiot.’

But I’m gonna tell you anyway… because I was put on this Earth to amuse you, and to give you someone to feel superior to.

Here we go.

I’ve been playing these alts, like my Warrior and my Death Knight and my Mage…

… and I’ve been wondering why, all of a sudden, the tooltips that pop up when I mouseover spells are worthless, vague crap.

No specifics, no stats, just generic advice.

Like, oh… say, for example, the Warrior spell Charge.

When I mouse over the ability on my bar, the tooltip pops up, and it tells me that it’s Charge, it gives me the basic stats for when I can use it, and then gives advice on what it does.

Like so;

Now, seriously. Are you for real? This is what you consider a useful tooltip?

So sure, I’ve been going along like this, not really paying too much attention, because I figure I know what these things do from my own researches out of game.

But tonight, finally, I just kinda got a wild hair up my big ol’ Bear butt, and I decide I’m going to get to the bottom of this “can you vague that up for me” tooltip bullshit.

I hit Escape and pull open the Interface menu, and I start going hunting. Something changed somewhere, not even Blizzard would remove useful information like that, and if they did, I figure the howl of nerdrage could be heard through the vacuum of cold, hard space.

Low and behold, what should I find but some new options in the Help tab, options I sure don’t remember ever seeing before;

So, just for the sake of being a bold, brash adventurer into the unknown, I remove the checkmark next to “Beginner Tooltips”.

Now, this seems counter-intuitive to me. What do I know, right?

To me, if I was a beginner, what I’d want is an option to turn on tooltips for beginners like me, that would tell me clearly what the abilities do… exactly.

Like, in precise terms. So I KNOW.

Once I’m experienced, hell, I can turn em off altogether, or maybe just a little single sentence to remind me of ranges and such. Won’t need the whole big verbose thingie anymore.

But I remove the checkmark, and this is what I now see;

Wow. What a world of difference a single checkmark in an options menu can make, isn’t it?

Generates rage, huh? Stuns the enemy? Oh boy howdy, that’s pretty cool.

As a beginner, lord knows I wouldn’t need to know something like that.

I mean, seriously folks. W. T. F.???

Am I the only one to get hit by this as a new default?

48 Responses to “Okay, it’s official… I’m an idiot”
  1. Stuffslayer says:

    You’re not an idiot. At least not more of an idiot than I.
    I thought the tooltips were aggressively lame but i hadn’t discovered that checkbox. Thanks :)

    • bigbearbutt says:

      So it’s not just me? I swear, I was sure that a memo got passed around and I never got the damn thing.

      I mean sure, you use the ability, the mob stops dead and the swirly appears over his head, my rage bar goes up, it’s not rocket science what just happened. It doesn’t take Columbo to follow the clues.

      But you know… I looked at the tooltip, and I’m thinking, “This just can’t be right.”

  2. Fistcrank says:

    You are now the saviour of my entire guild!
    Everyone HATED those tips – I am sooooo glad I know now how to put it back THE WAY I HAD IT!

  3. LeadFalcon says:

    +1 to what stuffslayer said.

    Ever since 4.0.1 i have been dealing with these crap tooltips trying to figure out what the hell all my abilities actually do. Yes i realise that nourish is a slow but efficent heal, but what the hell, i want to see how much it actually heals for.

    I know when i get home what option ill be unticking

    <3 BBB

  4. Tesh says:

    I ran into that when I was leveling a quick character for the RftH event. I thought the tooltips were on the… uninformative side… but at the same time, I’ve played the game before. They may be a Good Thing for complete noobs. We’d have to find one to test on ‘em, but they are scarcer and scarcer these days.

    Still, to have them on by default is about as silly as having Sticky Targeting on and Autoloot off by default. Not a big deal, just… kinda dumb. Especially since it seemed to be a blanket thing, no matter whether you’re a veteran or a newbie. They patched the game, and the defaults changed across the board.

    That probably wasn’t the best idea… but from a production standpoint, I can kinda see why they might just do that instead of trying to remember what everyone had as their settings.

    • David says:

      They may be a Good Thing for complete noobs.

      Do you really think they are helpful? The option replaces the stun and rage-generation bits with a definition of the term “charge” you can as well look up in a dictionary. If that’s the intended effect, that’d suck for noobs, they probably won’t be able to figure out the missing pieces by themselves and might never consider using charge.

      • Tesh says:

        For people totally new to the game and/or new to MMOs, yes, I think they are useful. As veterans, sometimes we forget just how much data we’ve internalized about the game and the genre. They aren’t going to be good for long, perhaps, but they are good to start with.

        …that said, it should be clear that they aren’t the *only* possible tooltip. I’m not sure newbies would know to dig into the options and turn off the Beginner Tips. As noted here, even veterans don’t always know do do that, even though they know full well that the tips aren’t as detailed as they expect.

  5. Rustafur says:

    You’re not the only one BBB. A co-working and I were talking about this exact same thing yesterday! “What the hell is up with the worthless, generic, tooltip information!?!” We spent all day trying to rationalize and figure out why Blizz would put such crappy tooltip information in the 4.0.1 patch.

    I can’t wait to share this WTF moment with him tomorrow. Geeeeeeeze.

  6. Mannyac says:

    BBB you’re no idiot, confused at times but not an idiot.

  7. Keeva says:

    *stifles a giggle*

    I like the tooltips on the role window when you’re forming a group, telling you what a tank is, what a healer is, what a damage dealing class does. Tip: if you don’t know what a tank even IS, please oh please do not choose tank! Go find out what it means first! That tooltip is not an adequate primer!

  8. Russ says:

    I noticed the option right after the patch came out and I had to go through and redo a bunch of my settings – one of which was that Sticky Targeting was selected, leaving my girlfriend and me wondering why the heck we couldn’t deselect NPCs and other targets for 20 mins or so… hehe. Anyway, I saw the “Beginner Tooltips” selected at that point and promptly deselected it, sort of dismissively. I had no idea that it dumbed down the tooltips so much! :)

  9. BlackDragon says:

    Dear BBB, if as per this post you are an idiot, please tell me where the line is to register. Because I too have missed this, and was wondering for the past couple of weeks “WTH how can I tell how hard this Mangle/Crusader Strike is gonna hit??” >.<

    Darn Blizz for pulling this stunt!

    /excuses self from work to go back home and reset WoW Interface

  10. Kaiddi says:

    I can also join the “Idiot Club”. The beginner tooltips caught me out too. I was vaguely amused by what looked like the WOW equivalent of the sticky notes in the Ned Flanders household (it wouldn’t make such a bad tooltip for a mage would it…”Fill me. With water.”) so it didn’t bug me too much.

    I just assumed this was Blizz dumbing down everything and if I’d been the ranting type I guess I’d have leaped on the forums and QQ’d a bit about how Blizz’s new tooltips devalue the time we spent back in vanilla actually reading stuff, and what’s this about epics? You make me sick! We got greens of the boar and liked them! And we walked uphill in the snow both ways because in those days the ice stone hadn’t melted, then trudged home to a dinner of warm gravel and by the way GET THE HELL OFF MY LAWN YOU MEDDLING KIDS… (etc etc).

    Then a guildie clued me in after I mentioned that I didn’t feel it was actually necessary to tell me to use starsurge every time it’s on cooldown. But I never got round to disabling the noobtips because they still continue to amuse me (I’m easily entertained).

    The sticky targeting on the other hand…that didn’t click until I read Russ’ post just now. /mildly shamefaced

  11. Jey says:

    Definitely was havng issues with that on my hunter. So i went and looked for an option and couldnt find anything. So then i looked on my druid and couldnt find anything. Then finaly i looked for a third time, again on my druid, and finally found the option to turn those off. So on the bright side at least you found it the first time. It was pissing me off for a week because i knew i could turn it off but couldnt find where.

    Oh and worse still is that sticky targetting. Worst. Idea. Ever.

  12. Rohan says:

    There are some good beginner tooltips. The best ones don’t tell you “what” the ability does, they hint at “how” you are supposed to use the ability.

    Personally, I think it’s a good idea. Sometimes we forget just how intimidating this game can be for the new player. I remember that I did not understand the concept of “threat” at all for the first 6 months I played. And I was a warrior, so you can imagine how well that worked.

    Just getting a few obvious hints can be of great help to someone new.

  13. Tsudrats says:

    Darn and here I was thinking that it must have been something that had come in with the changes to the talent trees and the way spells scale rather than ranked spells.

    • Tsudrats says:

      hmmm and thinking about it, on the optimistic belief of Blizz that they will pick up a bunch of new players with the expansion, having the novice settings as the default is not so stupid as I doubt as a new player I would have thought to do what you did and search the Interface going ‘there has got to be a better way … there has to be a way of getting simpler hints on how to play my class!’

  14. Nurowyn says:

    Trust me, it’s not just you! Don’t get me started on the new default options, heh. Every single one of my toons I have to remember to change the party settings, autoloot, and buff settings. Nooo, can’t set them for one and be done, each is now unlinked. >.<

  15. Eryius says:

    Haha, admittedly I have not figured this out either. I did notice that some settings had reset, cause for every character I had to redo the “autoloot” options.
    And I read somewhere that you can turn off tooltip average values. So I had an idea…

    But to be really honest, I had not even realised these changes to the tooltips you just showed.
    I had this nagging feeling things were different, but I couldn’t really tell why… Now I know! :)

    I know that I’m changing this first thing once I’m home :D

  16. Jinni says:

    I don’t mind the tooltips for some things, for example I was a pretty bad bear tank before and now that i’ve come back to the game and tried again, my tooltips inform me of what skills generate more threat or what skills should only be used as a rage dump. Since i’m a tank noob, this was really helpful, however most of the tooltips for other classes aren’t as helpful :P

  17. Helver says:

    Nice find, BBB. I actually thought it was a rather clever scheme concocted between Blizzard and WoWHead to drum up some more ad revenue for the latter by “encouraging” more folks to head to WoWHead to figure out exactly what all these skills do.

  18. Nirtxed says:

    Don’t worry BBB, it was actually checked for, as far as I can tell, every single account/character in the World(of Warcraft).

  19. Rebecca says:

    Ah, I hadn’t really noticed the tooltips but now you mention it… *goes to change ui options* Thanks for this!

    It seems to be another one of those things blizzard just flicked a switch on in interface options, along with auto sticky target and no auto looting. Which was really annoying, and confusing when I first logged on after the patch and none of my characters were auto looting and couldn’t de-target except for pressing escape. I thought one of my addons had been broken by the patch but nope – just blizzard changing the interface options for me. Yay.

  20. Kaethir says:

    I turned off all my tooltips – apparently it was causing crashes. Dunno if that’s been fixed, but I’ll look for this whenever I go to turn tooltips back on…

  21. Nimizar says:

    Obsessive blue tracker followers (*ahem*) got a heads up on this a while back (there were a number of threads complaining on the forums, and blues chimed in to tell people about the new option).

    GC also posted to explain that they deliberately made the new beginner tooltips for level 1-20 abilities the default.

    Generally, the difference between the two versions of the tooltip is that the beginner’s version tells you what the ability is for (but omits details), while the advanced tooltip just tells you what it does (including all the details) and lets you figure out how to use it.

    Abilities acquired after level 20 should only have advanced tooltips, and players rolling alts in the future will hopefully know how to turn beginner tooltips off. It’s only in this interim period where experienced players are lumbered with the beginner tooltips and no clear directions in the patch notes to turn it off that it is exceptionally annoying for a lot of people.

    The options change that got me was the fact they turned Sticky Targeting on by default, and (at the time) I couldn’t remember the name of the menu option to turn it off. Fortunately, a guildmate was able to point me in the right direction. I actually agree with their decision to make that the default (new players are less likely to accidentally turn off auto attack while experimenting with clicking on things), but it was rather annoying as a player thoroughly used to being able to click anywhere to clear my target :)

  22. Tiraslin says:

    Our guild’s main tank made it a couple weeks with the new “beginner” tooltips before he complained loudly in guild chat. It turned out that most of our guild was suffering through the same frustration silently. I was glad that the topic didn’t come up in vent, because I was laughing too hard to talk coherently.

    Not an idiot at all, it was a strange, hidden, and unobvious change. The only thing “beginner” about the new tooltips is the reading comprehension level required.

  23. Zelmaru says:

    Is it bad that I didn’t notice this because I don’t read the tooltips? I should check it out… although if you use an addon like tiptac maybe it overrides that dumb setting.

  24. Moonstalker says:

    D’OH!

    /smacks forehead

  25. Jack says:

    BBB its cool, I only recently found out how to turn those newbie tooltips off. Didn’t notice right away either…

    Good times.

  26. Herr Drache says:

    I don’t think that you can use Blizzard (quietly) resetting checkboxes as an indicator of you being an idiot or not. Or the amount of time needed to find said tiny checkbox – be it “Noobtips”, “Autoloot”, or “Sticky Targeting”. Maybe you are, maybe you aren’t you should ask your wife :)

    But yes, I did now and in the past get caught by option-resets. Sticky targeting! WHERE’D MY TARGET GO?!?!
    Where are the blue circles for Hodir and Sindragosa? Oh, I *DO* have “projected textures” on. Oh, I should also turn off “Emphasize own spell effects?!”

    I looked at some of the beginner tips, and putting myself back in time when I first started, I think I would have been much happier with a “makes the mob very mad at you” as opposed to a “generates X% threat plus sum(1,20) delta-T% divided by the GCD times # of mobs hit threat over T seconds”

    Now, I do like some of the new loading-screen tips. “Do not stand in the fire”. And I like the pop-ups when I level (look, a banker gets leveled?!?!?!) that tell me that I have a new talent point, that I should see a trainer because the following new abilites are available etc.

    And as to my “idiot of the patch” situation: I spent about 30+ minutes trying to find “Mocking Blow” on my prot warrior. Visited various trainers and re-read my spellbook over and over. *cough*. I must’ve missed the footnote that one of my tanking abilities got completely removed from the game! *cough*

    • thebitterfig says:

      I had my sticky-targeting moment in reverse… I was extremely annoyed that I was unable to get rid of my target and cursing at Warcraft for what I presumed was some sort of glitch with my unit frames mod…

  27. Sol says:

    I can see how some of the beginner tooltips would be nice for new players in that they explain how an ability is meant to be used. I wish, though, that enabling the “big kid” tooltips would be a more intuitive process.

    Maybe have toons below level 20 default to beginner tooltips, and toons above 20 default to regular tooltips?

    • Jey says:

      Or just not default every level 80 to beginner TTs because chances are if you have made it to 80 you know how to read a TT and interpret it.

  28. Mohnster says:

    Thanks, BBB – I was getting worried the simplified tool tips were to accomodate the reading/comprehension skills of the 2-year-olds who could be a whole new marked for Blizzard.

  29. Ole says:

    i went and fixed interface issue first thing. before i even specced. i logged in to a sea of green floating text, and was like, ok no, this has to go now. esp since most add-ons didn’t work right after the patch. but thank you very much for letting me know what checking that would do… lol. and yeah those newb tooltips seem like they are ment for kids like mohnster said. well i know the comprehension skill of the general public is declining, at least in some nations. but jeez. really. that works for my kid who is playing a low level alt on my account (with all channels and other types of chat turned off of course). but anyone with some common sence or reason should need more then that to really learn their character. Now i am reallllyy curious how dumbed down mine are..

  30. geekor@blag.com says:

    mailt0:bigbearbutt
    contents:cupcakes

  31. Shwigetty says:

    Yeah don’t feel bad pretty sure it happened to a lot of us . Luckily for me I was bitching about it in vent the week of the patch and a guild member mentioned the solution.

  32. Shane says:

    I was thinking I might have something over BBB, then I read further and I started thinking “oh bugger, I must be an idiot too!”.

    Thanks BBB you made me feel bad and then good in the one post… Im on my way to flick that tick off… lol

    PS> I thought it was a new thing that was here to stay and you had to check your spell book for the details which is what i was doing

  33. Caliea says:

    Wow – I think I’m with the overwhelming majority here that is thinking “I wondered WTF happened!”

    Thanks for clearing this up. I was laughing to myself about those tooltips, thinking… “Well, Blizz finally got sick and tired of everyone complaining about how formulas didn’t match up exactly, and everyone theorycrafting them to death, so they just took out the details” :)

    Thanks for educating me – and apparently many others! Now I can go back to my guild and look amazingly-awesome when I tell them how to ‘fix’ it.

  34. Caliea says:

    Wait… in that screenshot, you can choose both ‘beginner tooltips’ and ‘enhanced tooltips’…? Doesn’t that create some sort of wyrmhole that makes the universe explode? O.o

  35. D says:

    I don’t mind the beginner descriptions, I know when I started playing I cared far less about how much damage something does and wondered when I should be using it. I should go check out the frost Nova tooltip. I think it took me 4 levels to work out I could trap mobs with it and run away. My poor mage dies a lot <.< I have found it to be annoying on my raiding toons as I'm trying to check the new changes to healing spells and got told it's a fast efficent spell. Yay. And?

    I figured they could be changed but hadn't bothered to look. The most annoying default ui change I've found was a while back – the officer chat tick box was unchecked in the chat settings. You were in the channel, you could type to the channel, but you couldn't see it. It took me most of a 3 hour raid to notice it. It was off for every single toon with officer rank. Much confusion for a while.

  36. thebitterfig says:

    Well, even in non-beginner tooltips, Heroic Strike still has the line “Good for moments of high rage.” tacked onto the end and it still bugs me.

    Then again, the changes to the mechanics Heroic Strike and Cleave annoy me excessively…

  37. Feralan says:

    Consider me another “idiot” then, who is VERY grateful for this post since it told me how to fix the sodding useless tooltips. What really threw me was that not all tooltips were borked, but about half across all my characters. If I was still a new player, you bet your big bear butt that I would want USEFUL tooltips and not self-evident silliness like “does damage” (no really?) or “heals for a large amount”.

  38. Grayzzur says:

    Nice. I knew they had basic and advanced tooltips, but for the life of me, I couldn’t find the option in the interface to get the non-basic tips. I looked under Controls, Display, Status Text, etc. I didn’t think to look under “Help.” Thanks again, BBB!

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