Archive for the “Patch News” Category

The answers to Ask the Devs #9: Tankin’ went up this morning.

I’m gonna preface what follows by acknowledging that I am grateful that the developers take the time to tell us anything at all. In the early years of World of Warcraft, all we had were prognostications from tea leaf readers and drunk hoboes off the street as far as what the Devs were thinking, planning, or their reasons for changing things. I much prefer the amount of information they share with us now. I don’t want to go back.

On the other paw, when something like Ask the Devs comes along, and the membership is asked to submit their questions for consideration, this is an exciting moment.

The Developers are knee deep in the gore, they swim in the chum-slicked waters of “what is, what may, and what will never be” all week long. They are engaged in the active process of updating and improving the game all the time. They consider new ideas, revisit old ideas, continue forward progress and face obstacles all the time.

When you’re up to your ass in alligators, it can be real hard to remember that you were hired to drain the swamp, and a whole bunch of folks are waiting behind the construction fence, wondering how you’re doing getting their new swimming pool finished.

The players are enjoying the game they’ve got, but they can see your blueprint for the proposed structure, and they’re curious how things are going on the other side of that big fence. They can’t see the alligators the Devs are fighting, so it’s possible they have a different vision of where things are now, and might come up with surprising questions on what the pool will finally look like, and what features they hope to see.

Asking the players to submit questions is awesome, it gives an opportunity for the Devs to really see what people are thinking and wondering.

So, questions got asked. The Devs chose which to answer. 

In that context, question #2 and it’s answer pissed me off. Yes, I am a Grumpy Bear right now.

Q: Have you considered normalizing initial Rage for feral druid tanks? For example, when a warrior uses Charge, it generates 15 points of Rage, which lets them use another aggro generating ability quickly, something that Feral druids tend to be a bit short on. Why in Cataclysm was the bear bonus health pool was reduced, as well? Their survivability always depended on the amount of health since they don’t have parry or shield block. Do you have any plans to improve bear tanking in the future? At the moment, it’s considered to be the weakest tank. Have you considered giving druid tanks an additional tool to pull casters at range? It’s the only tank class that doesn’t have a talent or spell to help in those situations. – Pødêrøsø (LA), Вирко (EU-RU), Амелья (EU-RU), Condenacion (EU-ES), Whitewnd (KR)

A: Bears are getting a significant mitigation buff in 4.2 and we’re retuning their damage such that it’s a little easier to hold aggro at low gear levels, and a little harder at higher gear levels. While we definitely don’t expect the community to ever agree on anything, we’ve seen little evidence of a widespread concurrence that druids are “the weakest tank.” There are plenty of druid tanks out there, handling everything from Grim Batol to Sinestra. Tank balance overall is in a really good place. Players may focus on potential problems that could arise in the future but we also have ample time to address those problems should they occur. Gone are the days when we would just release a class into the wild and refuse to touch it again until the next expansion.

Oh, that irritates me so much.

First up, the question was a bad question to answer in one wall of text. That is not ONE question, there are four questions in one paragraph, each asking something different. But it was presented as one question, and so the answer was provided as one big rolling answer.

Let’s break that wall o’ questions down some and insert the applicable answers with my comments.

Q1. Have you considered normalizing initial Rage for feral druid tanks? For example, when a warrior uses Charge, it generates 15 points of Rage, which lets them use another aggro generating ability quickly, something that Feral druids tend to be a bit short on.

A2. (and) we’re retuning their damage such that it’s a little easier to hold aggro at low gear levels, and a little harder at higher gear levels.

This tells us there will be changes to how fast we initially build Threat, but the way it’s phrased implies that whatever they do will NOT be giving us normalized tools to build initial/instant Rage as was asked, but instead will be some kind of change to the threat generated by our instant cast abilities that start strong but don’t scale with AP on a 1 to 1.

Q2. Why in Cataclysm was the bear bonus health pool was reduced, as well? Their survivability always depended on the amount of health since they don’t have parry or shield block.

A1. Bears are getting a significant mitigation buff in 4.2 

This does seem to be how they are answering Q2. I’m willing to believe this is meant to acknowledge that Bears need a little tweaking to improve mitigation, possibly because our health is normalized but we can’t Block or Parry. I do wish that the reason for the ‘significant mitigation buff’ was more clearly revealed. I don’t feel there is an issue, myself. If they feel Bears need some buffing, I’d love to know why or what the data says as a cause.

Q3. Do you have any plans to improve bear tanking in the future? At the moment, it’s considered to be the weakest tank.

A3. While we definitely don’t expect the community to ever agree on anything, we’ve seen little evidence of a widespread concurrence that druids are “the weakest tank.” There are plenty of druid tanks out there, handling everything from Grim Batol to Sinestra. Tank balance overall is in a really good place.

If they have seen “little” evidence, then I’m going to trust them. Anything I’ve seen personally would be anecdotal evidence unsupported by server-wide research. A solid, non-waffling answer.

Why non-waffling? Because for the little evidence they have seen, they have announced they are implementing significant mitigation buffs in 4.2 and a change to low level initial threat generation. So maybe there is a little evidence, but they’re doing something about it. Can’t ask for much more than that. I still haven’t seen problems. Only thing I heard people bitch about was the Swipe cooldown issue, and they fixed that. Matheo who raids as a Bear says it’s made a huge difference.

Q4. Have you considered giving druid tanks an additional tool to pull casters at range? It’s the only tank class that doesn’t have a talent or spell to help in those situations. 

A4. Players may focus on potential problems that could arise in the future but we also have ample time to address those problems should they occur. Gone are the days when we would just release a class into the wild and refuse to touch it again until the next expansion.

Oooo! Just, grrr! Do you see what I see here? How is that in any way an answer to Q4? “Potential problems that could arise in the future”? It’s a problem that exists NOW, insofar as it is a problem. Was there any real mention whatsoever to Bears getting a method to deal with ranged casters in a group pull like other classes have?

NO. Completely ignored.

And THAT is the source of my irritation and general feeling of pissyness. Sure, the questioners stuffed the box full, but the Devs chose this questionwall to answer, cherry picked which parts of it to address, and then completely ignored the only bit of it I would really want a direct answer to!

Devs, If you don’t want to answer the question, then don’t put it up there in the wall o’ text! If you put it up there like that, and then completely ignore it, it feels like you are intentionally dodging a question like some politician accused of being a weinie wagger.

That just pisses me off. It shows us you know we’re asking the question, and tells us you aren’t WILLING to answer it.

What are the options here?

Either you know there is an issue and don’t WANT to address it, or you know there is an issue and you don’t know HOW to address it, or you know there is an issue and you don’t consider it important enough TO address for the cost in development time, or you don’t agree there is an issue there at all.

None of those seem like a shameful secret that must be concealed. This ain’t a stiffy in your shorts you want to hide in class, it’s a question on group management tool planning for the development team, and who else would you ask about that but the Devs?

Why can’t you just pick one and tell us!

Comments 20 Comments »

Amazingly, I’ve been so busy DOING things, I haven’t really had much of a chance to process anything into a blog post. Sorry about that.

Since I feel bad, I’m going to bundle up the last week into the cheesiest of the cheese; a first impressions post.

Hey, I said I felt bad, I didn’t say I was going to give you a quality post to make up for it!

My first impression of the expansion is that this totally confirms my original suspicions;

Mages, possibly with the connivance of a turncoat Priests’ Mind Control, have gained extraordinary power over the developers.

I’ve warned you of their dark plans before. Many of you doubted me, I know. When I told you of their plans to form a Supreme Mage Hegemony, you laughed.

Some might have even jeered.

But now do you finally begin to see? 

If Kael’thas and Killrog trade chat is anything to go by, the removal of Dalaran and Shattrath portals are throwing the world into a tailspin of confusion.

The bleating of surprised players wondering where the portals went has STILL not ceased, and possibly never will.

We may be logging in next summer to find someone in Trade chat ask, “Where did the portals in Dalaran go?”, to be followed quickly with the reply, “They vanished when the Ice Stone had melted!”

It’s all about selling the Mage ports.

“Mage selling ports, will come to you for an extra fee, pst.”

At least this proves one thing; there are few things a Mage won’t do for money. 

I warned you, and now it’s too late.

Okay, before the Mages start taking me seriously, there is a flip side to this.

My poor level 66 Mage can’t move two steps in a capital city without getting whispers demanding Mage ports somewhere else.

Normally, I don’t mind a whisper here or there. I am a Mage after all.

I do expect a complete stranger that comes to ME begging for a port to offer a tip. I don’t ask for one, and I won’t get snotty without one, but if I don’t know you, and you’re not approaching me to hang out or get to know me but just straight out wanting to use my unadvertised services as “generic portal machine 1 each”,  then I expect the offer of reimbursement for my time and mats.

If you don’t offer anything at all, then I give you the portal and put you on ignore. One shot to be polite, you had it, bye.

I’ll probably refuse the tip when offered… the point ain’t the money, the point is that the person takes the time to show that they appreciate I’m helping them out at their request.

I do have one extra level of crankiness, though.

If the person whispering me literally mispells every single word in the request, then I’ll probably refuse.

I guess that makes me a spelling nazi, and if so, okay. But I’ve gotten whispers that look like “nead u 2 prt me 2 sw pl k”.

I wish I were joking.

If I see that come across my chat, I just add to ignore and move on.

I never did say I was a nice person, but sometimes life is just, ahem, “2 short”.

The whole situation does do exactly what I’d hoped it would. It’s made me appreciate my Mage that much more, and it’s encouraged me to think about how to travel around the world carefully and efficiently to get to where I want to go.  

As for the rest of it… hey, leveling on both Horde and Alliance sides seems wonderful. The smoothness of the transitions between quest areas and even zones is great. I’ve been having lots of fun.

And next week, it all gets turned up to 11!

Isn’t this the best of all worlds? The folks that love to both play on alts AND raid get two weeks to mess around in the new leveling content before the draw to hit the new levels of end game quests opens up. Pretty cool.

I wonder just how many actual hardcore raiding guilds are still out there burning with the desire to blast through to level 85 so they can start pushing for a world first raid clear?

I hope most folks are going to get the chance to take the amount of time they want to level before hitting 85, because that first time through the zones only comes around once… and it’ll be a long time until the next content patch.

Enjoy it while you can!

Comments 26 Comments »

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?

Comments 48 Comments »

I had a cranky post all set to go up, and then I really thought about it.

If you’re excited about WoW and you’re attending Blizzcon and you’re really feeling up and happy, the last thing you need is some schlub being pissy and dragging the room down with crankiness.

Hey, go, have fun, enjoy the weekend, meet people and see things and capture that feeling of excitement and fun.

I hope everyone has a really good time!

I’ll say this; Cassie played her Hunter, and trained a beautiful rare blue parrot as a combat pet, and it looks great. She’s very happy.

Even when I’m feeling in “write a really tired cranky post” mood, there is still something positive that we can find to think about.

So, even though there are still issues and irritations, go, have fun, enjoy the weekend, and accentuate all the positives the day (and the game) brings.

Time enough to be cranky when you’ve got the hangover on Monday. :)

Comments 4 Comments »

This is a very specific, focused blog post to address one specific issue.

I, like many others, do not like the default WoW user interface.

I prefer, no, scratch that, I LOVE the X-Perl UnitFrames UI addon.

The changes it implements, on the surface, seem relatively minor, but there is a ton of power lurking under the hood. I like minimalist designs that provide me with tons of tools, designs that leave the majority of the screen real estate for me to actually see the game. If I wanted to see a ton of text describing the action, I’d play Zork.

With the introduction of Patch 4.0.1, there is an existing known bug with Raid UnitFrames addons in general.

The problem is that if you try and right-click onto buffs to dispel them in your addon, it will introduce what is called a “Taint”, and that causes bad things.

In X-Perl UnitFrames, the ability to right-click to dispell buffs has been temporarily disabled to prevent “Taints” from occuring.

If you use X-Perl, it also currently prevents you from right-clicking buffs displayed by the normal UI.

For just a second, I’m going to quote a description of Taints, just so you know I’m not talking ’bout “Taint one thing nor the other”, ’cause I know my audience.

From a discussion on WoWwiki;

When WoW starts executing lua code, the execution starts off ‘secure’, and able to run protected functions. Execution remains secure until it encounters ‘taint’ – which is an indicator that a function or object came from an untrusted (AddOn or /script) source. The basic idea is that execution becomes ‘tainted’ as soon as it reads tainted data or executes tainted code, and any data written by a tainted execution is itself tainted. Protected functions refuse to operate when called from an execution path that is not secure.

When the UI first loads, all code and data from Blizzard signed FrameXML and AddOns (plus their saved variables) is secure, and all code and data from user provided AddOns (plus their saved variables) is tainted.

 Okay, so right now, if you love and want to run X-Perl UnitFrames but run into buffs you need to be able to click off, you have to either logout your character to disable your addon, use another addon that allows you to temporarily disable addons from within the game without logging out, (such as Addon Control Panel), or specifically cancel the buff by using a line item command such as “/cancelaura Buffname”.

Is this earth shattering? Of course not.

At least, not unless, oh, they did something like release a All Hallows Eve holiday event a week after the patch that includes Trick or Treating, and the tricks gave you buffs of costumes that last an hour… some of which prevent you from mounting. Or spellcasting. Buffs that… needs to be canceled. Right click style canceling.

Oh wait… Doh!

So, for you few peeps out there that love your X-Perl as much as I do, and want to keep using it, but are sick and tired of having to disable the addon in order to right click your Tricks to dispell them, here’s a solution that finally works.

First, make sure you have the very latest beta build of X-Perl. To do this, you have to visit the project page for X-Perl UnitFrames at WoWAce. They’re posting fresh builds constantly as they make corrections.

Second, with your current X-Perl UnitFrames Options open, go to the Player Tab. Within the Player Tab, look at the Player Buffs section and UNCHECK the “Hide Default Buffs” checkbox.

What this has done is display the default WoW UI buff panel, in addition to your X-Perl setup. Yes, a second set of buffs. For me, it’s worth it.

Now, this alone has not fixed the problem. There is one extra step you have to take.

Remember the description of a “Taint”, from above? It all comes from running code that isn’t “secure”. Code that is secure comes from Blizzard’s FrameXML data, then takes input from addons.

Well, as a purely short term fix, here is what you can do;

Go to the official Blizzard download site for the Interface Addon Kit, and download the appropriate version for your language. In my case, that’s US-English.

When you unzip that file, you copy the FrameXML folder, and you place it in your World of Warcraft game folder, at C:\Program Files\World of Warcraft\Interface (or whatever your destination folder may be, ending within the Interface folder).

This establishes the correct baseline FrameXML data for you to fall back on when right clicking those buffs on the default WoW UI buff bar.

Now, this is strictly a short term solution for JUST until there is a new patch.

The reason for this is, FrameXML is establishing a set of frame data specific to the game build it was created for. If a significant patch is released changing the frames (or actually fixing the core issue causing the bug in the first place), leaving this FrameXML in there will cause you lots of headaches.

BUT… for the pure short term, it will correct the problem. 

Can you believe the bug has annoyed me so much I went to these lengths to find a solution?

Wanna know what really annoys me? I start writing this, go to various websites looking up links to copy to send you to the right reference locations, and what do I find? A poster named Twintails over at WoWAce posted this solution already, just hours before I started the post.

I hereby proclaim this entire idea as belonging to Twintails, and I thank them very, very much for their helpfulness to the community. Especially since I don’t really know anything about addons, and I was only guessing at things to try and make it work, and clearly they actually knew what they were doing and went to the Interface Addon Kit intentionally.

I just wish I’da seen that before I started writing.

UPDATE: This post was correct as of X-Perl UnitFrames beta build r448, and the patch status as of 10/20/10.

Comments 18 Comments »

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