The ups and downs of the 4.1 announcement

Well MMO Champion has some new information up and I’m pretty excited I must say.

Zul’Gurub and Zul’Aman are back
Both in heroic-5 man form.  The trend started with Deadmines and Shadowfang Keep looks set to continue in that neither dungeon will have a normal mode.  Both will drop epic 353 level gear.  And rare mounts, of course.  I am glad these are heroics and not raids.

Zul’Aman will be the first time one of the areas I have ‘done’ is reinvented within the game.  I never did Naxxramas the first time around, nor ZG.  So Zul’Aman will be my first experience with seeing content I loved reinvented.  I had been in Deadmines and Shadowfang Keep, but low level dungeons never inspire the kind of regular visits a raid does.  I’m interested to see how I will feel about it once its here.  I liked ZA as a raid the first time around.  It provided a good amount of challenge – when it first came out it was hard, as you farmed gear it got easier.  I never managed the timed run, but I did clear it.

Moar pets
There are achievements for 100 and 125 in game pets.  I have the current 75 pet achievement and I’ll be looking to see what I need to add to get to 100 and 125 respectively.  A great excuse to buy that mini Ragnaros pet I couldn’t justify to myself before when I purchased the Moonkin Hatchling.  The Moonkin Hatchling being justified as follows:

  1. Mini moonkin
  2. Mini moonkin … dancing
  3. I’m pregnant and I want it (I was 8.5 months at the time and my husband wisely agreed with anything I might ever say)

Flavour items and heirlooms
There seem to be some other new odd things.  I was quite interested by:

War Party Hitching Post
Binds when picked up
Use: Right Click to build a War Party Hitching Post.
Up to 25 party or raid members may use the post to summon a Hitch Horse mount. (30 Min Cooldown)

Not sure what thats about yet.  And also this:

Renowned Guild Tabard
Binds to account
Tabard
Equip: You champion the causes of your guild. All guild reputation gains are increased by 100%.

Since this item is BoA I assume the point is to allow your alts to gain guild reputation faster.  I like this idea.

Word of Glory Nerf
Obviously I’m not excited about the addition of a 20s cooldown to Word of Glory for Ret and Prot.  But I can’t bring myself to feel its unjustified.  When the 4.0.6 changes came in WoG became overpowered (if it wasn’t before).  Sure my Holy Power ramps up to three slower now, but the disco lights come on waaaay more often.  And every time the disco lights come on, I can use them to heal my arena team.  Word of Glory isn’t a huge heal, but in arena it can keep your teammates alive just long enough.  Especially if you can hit it several times in a row which is entirely possible when my disco lights come on several times in a row.  Blizzards intention was never that I could heal my teammates up to full faster than a healer and at will without using any mana, I’m sure.

LFG … where G stands for guild
Its a good idea.  My first thought on reading the blue post was ‘hmmm what a good idea’.  The forums are a lousy place to recruit in my opinion.

My first thought on seeing the window that MMO Champion have pulled out of the data files?  Not so good.  And I can clearly state why.  Basically you get to describe what you are looking for in three ways:

  1. Guild Playstyle: tick one of Casual, Moderate, Hardcore.
  2. Availability: Weekends, Weekdays.
  3. Role: Healer, Tank, DPS.

Now 2 and 3 are reasonable but suffer from a lack of depth.  Availability could be useful if it had all the days of the week on it.  As it stands it suffers from bad question design, in that people can answer both yes and no to each option.  I might be available Sunday but not Saturday.  So what do I tick for weekends?  I’m not generally one to criticise Blizzard because generally I understand the difference between me not liking something and it being bad.  But that kind of question design is just LAZY.

Role also lacks depth.  No matter how many times Blizzard say ‘bring the player, not the class’ its not entirely true.  Where it fails is where you have too many of one class.  Even if (and I don’t believe this) you accept that healers and tanks are interchangable (actually I think it doesn’t matter which classes you have as long as you have some variety for the most part – if all your healers are the same class then it tends to go badly) then the ‘DPS’ option fails.  Blizzard have NOT designed a game where an all melee team is EVER viable.  Therefore ‘DPS’ is flawed.  Personally I think that option should list classes and specs.  Then a hardcore guild can accept only a fire mage because their dps is like way better and a more moderate guild can accept a mage because it already has 5 hunters wanting slots in its 10 man team and another really wouldn’t be useful.

But the biggest bad on this screen is definitely point 1.  Casual, Moderate or Hardcore what?  Basically Blizzard are assuming there are three types of guild – Casual ‘we don’t organise anything’ guilds, Moderate Raiding Guilds and Hardcore Raiding Guilds.  What about PvP guilds?  How do I apply for guilds that are only looking for PvP players because thats all I’m interested in?  I know these died a complete death in WotLK (or they did on my server) but in Cataclysm with Rated BGs they’ve made a huge come back.  Also, please define Casual/Moderate/Hardcore?  Personally I would describe Dreamstate as a Moderate Raiding Guild.  But that all depends on your interpretation of those terms.  We could easily be described as Casual because of our very relaxed attitude.  On the other hand there are people who consider any guild that uses applications and asks people to flask, watch tactics, etc. as Hardcore.  It all depends how you interpret those things.  In reality most guilds will call themselves Moderate.  Going back to survey design you should always have an even number of options in any scale.  If you have an odd number, people will pick the middle one.  So guilds who raid 5 nights a week with strict attendance requirements (I would call these Hardcore, but they would look at the likes of Ensidia and think they are not as Hardcore as them) and guilds who just raid randomly without planning (after all there are guilds that don’t raid at all and they are not as Casual as them) will describe themselves as Moderate.

From a recruitment point of view it would be more useful to have the following options:

  1. Play type: Raiding 10 man, Raiding 25 man, PvP, General content (where you can choose more than one option)
  2. Availability: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, No regular times
  3. Class & Spec

It will be interesting to see what the guild can post.

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