Saturday, February 19, 2011

Hotfix Rodeo: Two Nineteen Eleven

It's time for another edition of Hotfix Rodeo! Unfortunately I've been so busy with RL stuff, playing WoW, and making Gordrin's posts all pretty that I haven't had much a chance to even write in my own blog! T'is sad, really. /excuse. ANYWAY I was thumbing through my RSS reader this afternoon, checking out the last few days worth of gaming news when I stumbled upon a post about some recent hotfixes. Now, after patch 406 most of the hotfixes are hardly anything to post about, mainly fixing small issues that arose as a result of the patch "that killed bear tanking LAWLZ". There are just a few items from the last week that I would like to cover and in my usual fashion I'll expand upon those.

In totally unrelated news I finally got my camel mount from Ramkahen. That faction was very low on my exalted priority list (only the mount was even of interest to me) so it took me this long. I personally think the mount looks great; they handled model scaling very well and the mount looks regal as hell.

The first thing I want to cover are the changes to the dungeon finder and specifically the vote kick feature. Even in it's earliest inception, the vote kick feature seemed like a necessary function that wielded unimaginable power (well for dps only thought, tanks / healers were like lawlz insta-queue) for the players involved. I have some serious issues with the vote kick feature as a whole, however for the sake of addressing the hotfixes I'll operate under the impression that it's here to stay. You do have to admit, just deleting vote kick would remove the need to hotfix it. Now it's also important to remember that these dungeon finder hotfixes are in place but some require a server restart before we'll see them in action.

Players who are outside a dungeon for more than a few minutes are now immediately able to be kicked. This change seems to be an overall positive one. There really isn't a need to be outside the instance for any extended period of time and being able to vote kick those people who AFK is one of the positives of the vote kick feature. I'm sure people will complain "well I had to repair and my hearth was on cooldown blah blah blah". Get real. I assume if that is the case you can (gasp!) communicate that with your group. This is geared more toward phantom AFKer's and I like the change.

If queuing as a group with a tank or healer, and the tank or healer drops group (or is kicked) soon after joining, those that queued with them will also be removed from the dungeon. This hotfix is confusing to me. The only situation where I can see this would happen is when someone queues as a tank to speed up his groupmates queues, the drops leaving a full group minus one and a significantly shorter wait time. Ideally it's a great work around (if you have an alt that can eat a Deserter buff) but in the practical sense I don't think I've ever noticed this. I have noticed a tank drop right away but I always just assumed it was because it was SFK or Stonecore. This fix has the potential for some serious issues if not implemented correctly. By correctly, I mean taking the term "soon after joining" and really doing some research on it. I'm in a huge guild, with over 600 toons and I often group with people I don't know that well. It's a great way to get to know them and get a sense of their abilities. There are times when people have to leave, for whatever reason, and to punish other people in that group is hardly a fair thing to do. If "soon after joining" means 2 minutes or less, I think this is a reasonable change. If "soon after joining" means 20 minutes or less, Blizzard and I are gonna go "rounin' roun to re ro".

If three or more players group queue with each other it will require an additional vote for them to kick anyone they did not group queue with. It's story time with Papa Titleist. I was recently in a random dungeon on my shaman (who was enhancement) when I was vote kicked. Was I being an asshole? Was I phantom AFKing? Was I harassing other players? No, I was helping out. I was using some of my Maelstrom procs to drop greater healing waves and healing rains on the group during a stonecore run. I mentioned to the group that I'm willing to CC and help heal when I could. The healer immediately said "well maybe you should just STFU" and the tank chimed in with something as equally intelligent. At this point I take the trollbait (in retrospect perhaps not the best idea) and asked why the rudeness when I was merely trying to be helpful. They launched into a long winded wall of text about how I should "STFU up and do my job (which I must remind you as a hybrid does include helping heal) and that the healer didn't need help". This was far from the truth but I proceeded to put my head down and focus on the task at hand. No sooner had the pull ended when the vote kick box pops up, titled NUB. I figured the other two DPS were aware of the situation and wouldn't vote kick me however the vote passed and they lost their top DPS. Why did the vote pass? It was simple, the tank, healer and one dps were all in the same guild. Now will this keep that from happening? Probably not, and if you are unlucky enough to get into a group with the battlegroup's finest assholes you are probably just generally out of luck. I'm sure that 4th odd man out would rather keep the group together (and just replace me) than to be back at square one. What's my call on this one? The jury is still out. It might be super beneficial in practice or it might mean exactly nothing.

The penalty for using the Vote Kick feature too often is not issued to a player who kicks someone with whom they queued for a dungeon (i.e. the party member being selected for removal is not a player randomly selected via the Dungeon Finder). So this makes me wonder about that other part of this hotfix. It says if you vote kick a tank or healer you queue with soon after joining, the whole queued group is removed. How is it possible to be removed but not penalized for doing so? Blizzard is getting too technical in their attempt to help us understand the intricacies system of vote kick. I can't see the back end system of the game and nor do I care. In it's current inception the ONLY penalty is being removed from the group, so to say you can be removed but not penalized is consolation at best. If they had some king of rating system (like Arena rating) that was assigned for running instances it would be possible to separate the idea of removal and penalty but that seems unduly complicated.

Shaman: Purification (Restoration passive) now grants a 25% bonus to healing effects, up from 10%. This seems like a pretty big buff to me. Purification buffs all healing spells and buffing this 15% is undoubtedly huge. I feel like this change was needed due in part to the whole paradigm shift in healing. For shaman, chain heal used to be king boss and was the only reason they could stay competetive with other healers. Sure, there were some shaman who played around with Lesser Healing Wave compositions but that was a one-hit wonder. With the cost of chain heal going up (and it's effectiveness going down) what did they expect would happen to shaman output? To be in a position where you must buff a class 15% across the board, someone dropped the ball. To say "we are going to give X class a small 3% buff to bring them inline with the other healing classes" is on thing, having to buff a class 15% is totally another. I must say I'm a bit frustrated with healing at the moment. I used to love healing, especially shaman healing. I understand why they needed a change and I see why some people enjoy the new style, but I just can't get into it. Being a healer I like having some sibilance of control over people living and dying. With the new paradigm no matter how good you are, the other people can do things to ensure they die. I know what people say "but Titleist, tell them they need to avoid that damage or else..." - are you kidding me? If the paradigm of people blaming the healer for deaths would have shifted alongside the new healing model it might work. Also pigs can fly.

Players who are exalted with 40 factions are again awarded The Exalted title. Note that the associated achievement does not state that this title will be awarded when it's earned. This will be corrected in a future patch. Way to drop the ball Blizzard. They must have known it was going to cause a huge ruckus when they stripped away such a prestigious title, right? It sure doesn't seem like today. While politics and MMO's don't mix for the most part, one less Blizzard Entertainment can learn from capital hill is that the public hates HATES flip floppers. This is no exception here and this latest flip flop makes them look weak and disorganized. /taps foot - Now reverse the BM hunter nerfs from like 3 years ago, damn it!

Mangle (Bear) and Maul (Bear) damage has been increased by approximately 10%. Wait, what was I saying about flip flopping? Oh yeah, DON'T DO IT! So let me get this right, bear damage (not threat, but damage) is too high so you nerf it 20%. Then bear threat (with no glyphs or talents that increase expertise) is too low so you give us back 10%? Seriously. Stop. Run the numbers, test it out, then drop a patch. You are making yourself looks awful, simply awful.

Well that about sums up what mattered most to me in the recent (and we're talking like daily here) slue of hotfixes. I know there are a ton more (include some obvious changes to Paladins and Priests) but I'm not an expert on those classes and how the changes will effect them overall. Until next time remember: follow your kill order, don't drop your CC, and hug your tanks!

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