Archive for July, 2011

Can we make fights complicated for DPS only? (and other stuff in my life)

July 3, 2011 Leave a comment

I’m the sort of gamer that very much enjoys achieving a goal as a group. I always prefer playing with a team of humans verses computer players or other humans rather than a 1 on 1 scenario. I like First person shooters where two teams go up against eachother, I love 5-mans, raiding and organised pre-made pvp in MMO’s. And of course, because of this, I absolutely loved the 700+ ship fleets and 1600 ship battles that we regularly formed in EvE Online when I played that.

My current game of choice is WoW again. I played back in vanilla back in the day and quit about a week before patch 1.11 (the mage revamp if I remember correctly). back then I was very hard core. I joined a raiding guild early and got my first epic drop from MC when I was lvl 59. Fast forward 5 years and I come back from the UK after having spent an absolutely fantastic year playing EvE Online and I return to my mage which is sitting at lvl 60. I quickly level it up to 80, just in time for Cataclysm to hit and then get to 85. At this point, I make a concious decision not to join a raiding guild. There is too much going on with my life to be able to schedule nights raiding. and so I’m left with 5 man dungeons and the occasional PUG raid.

However I’m very dissatisfied with playing a mage. For those that havn’t seen it, here is basically what an arcane mage does these days. While pumping out huge numbers, there’s really nothing special to it.

(I don’t know where this came from originally so I can’t give attribution – a friend emailed it to me)

Now, to be a good mage, or even just a good player, there’s obviously more to it. Is there a mob that needs to be CC’d? is the healer tanking agro -> CC the mob, or frost nova the mob so the healer can move out of the way, or in last resort take agro on that mob so healer is free. etc. but really, for me, the boring rotation, combined with the 15 min DPS queues for random dungeons and the fact that I absolutely hate questing (it’s an MMO for crying out loud, why would I want to kill things by myself?) caused me to roll a healer just after 4.1 came allong.

and so Elenova was born. a Resto Shammy. I instantly fell in love with healing – here was something that was a challenge, almost regardless of which instance was being done. if the healing was easy, I tried to out-dps the lowest dps class. I set mini challenges like minimising the amount of over healing I did, or trying to anticipate big incomming damage from particular bosses with a heal dropping a fraction of a second after a slam etc. I loved the fact that I always knew what was going on with every party member. I knew everyone’s roles and had the added challenge of having to look after myself, stand where I should as well as be aware of everyone else at the same time.

This was fun!

When I eventually got into ZA and ZG, though, I realised something. Initially I had trouble with some bosses. A lot of the mechanics require being constantly moving around or being aware more acutely of what the boss is going to do next. This is fine – it’s great – I still have the challenge that I wanted and as long as everyone does what they should, then it works.

What occured to me though was on about the 4th or 5th time wiping on the first boss of ZG (Venoxis). Now, this guy has (what seems to me) excessively complicated mechanics. I have not been in a group that can get him down first time yet and I have not been in a group where there hasn’t been at least 2 people dead by the end of it (sometimes myself). It occured to me that while a healer has a critical job, there are some instances where the tank has a hard job and some where the healer has a hard job, but there are none that I know of where the DPS have something difficult to do other than standing in the right place.

my question really is: Is there a way to increase complexity for DPS only? if you make it so that there is a maze of poison on the ground and poison beams chasing you around the maze, then this is complicated, but it’s also complicated for the healer, who has to avoid the beams and the maze and also keep everyone who doesn’t do this perfectly alive! anything that complicates the fight for DPS, complicates it for the healer.

Anyway, I got a bit frustrated at that point and rolled a tank, which I’m very much enjoying. It’s the first Melee character I’ve ever played and I absolutely love it. it is currently lvl 52 so we’ll see how it goes when I get to 85.

Other things that have gone on with my life (why I havn’t been blogging):

I did the Oxfam Trailwalk:
This is a 100km hike in 48hrs through a National Park in Brisbane. My main excuse for not blogging is that every weekend since March we’ve been out training.

My team only made it to 41km unfortunately. the reason being that at about 30km, in pitch black at about 6pm, a lady came running back down the track yelling “does anyone know CPR!!?!?”. One of their team had collapsed. Our team performed mouth-to-mouth and CPR until the ambulance came. The event was very well organised: every 100m or so, there was a numbered marker, so if you got in trouble, you could let them know exactly which marker you were at and despite the fact you would be right in the middle of bushland, they would know exactly where you are. It was because of this, that the ambulance got there within 11 minutes of the initial call.

But the guy unfortunately didn’t make it. We are pretty sure that he was dead by the time we got there, but you have to try CPR, you can’t not.

So we walked the last 10km in silence. This took us 3hrs to do because of the steep hills around that area and the others in the team didn’t realy have the heart to continue after that. We also found out that one particular part where we would have had to cross some streams, the water had risen 1m. so where in training we were able to cross these streams by stepping on rocks and branches, we would have had to wade through thigh height water at 3am in the morning in the middle of winter followed by another 50km of hiking to the finish….. and so we all gave a collective “bugger that” and pulled out.

It’s interesting analysing my feelings about the incident on the trail. I’m not generally an emotional sort of person, and at the time I was completely clear headed and so were the others in my team. they got in there and did what they needed to do, I helped clear the area of hiking packs and poles so the ambulence could have some room. it wasn’t until a couple of days afterwards that I found myself getting pissed off at the world in general for no reason at all. everyone responds differently to death and I responded by getting angry and frustrated. in some shallow superficial way, it’s not unlike the feeling that one would get after spending a lot of time preparing for a raid in WoW, the fight goes very well except something out of your control happens at the last minute and you wipe. Except this time you can’t just get up and try it again. That was your only chance.

Could we have run faster to get to him? could we have realised he wasn’t actually breathing sooner? should we have started CPR before trying to see if he had a pulse? I don’t know… why the heck did he have to die anyway, he was only 40 years old and that was the 5th Trail walk event that he had participated in.

anyway, these are the thoughts that went through my head the past couple of weeks.

In other news:

I’ve read “the use of weapons” and “the player of games” by Iain M Banks. “the use of weapons” in particular was extremely good! I’ve never finished a book and literally said “Wow!” in a stunned “omg….. O…M….G..” manner at the end because of the ending. this book did that for me.
I’ve attempted to start “game of thrones” by George RR martin, but I just can’t get into it.

also in other news:
My wife came up to me on wednesday night and looked like she was about to cry.. “what’s wrong!” I said. and she pointed to her belly. 🙂 and so Initial reports indicate there may be a mini-Evemonkey on the way. This is good, our guild needs a hunter 🙂

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