The Pleasant Surprise

In The Incredibles, Dash is the young son who can run and move very very fast, like the Flash. There's a scene where he's running away from some mercenary villains, through a jungle. So he's zipping between trees and jumping over logs, but his visibility ahead is limited because the jungle is so thick. Suddenly the forest ends and there's a tiny bit of beach before a large bay of water, with him barreling towards it far too fast for him to safely turn away. Dash clenches his eyes closed, expecting to wipe out spectacularly… and then opens them to learn that he can run across the water's surface. Surprise! He lets out this mischievous, joyous, relief-filled laugh, then zips away. It's a great scene. (Brad Bird for overlord)

In World of Warcraft, my wife and I have had that laugh many times.

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Maximum Performance Isn't Always Maximum Fun

This is a thought in progress. A little rambling.

My wife is a combat rogue. Always has been. When she joined the game she fell in love with being a rogue, and she asked what the highest damage version of rogue was. I went off to the internets, and came back with the answer: Combat Sword build. So that's what she chose. When we got to the endgame, she did the most damage in our 40-person raids, virtually every raid. She gave the other dps people fits. (although she never spammed damagemeters) She flourished in that role.

When TBC was released, the raiding game was suspended and everyone is back to the beautiful leveling game for a while. In TBC leveling, there are quest daggers given throughout the leveling process, with rogues in mind. She thought, "why not experiment?" and then rebuilt as Combat Daggers.

Guess what? Combat Daggers is simply more fun to play than combat swords. Managing position and Backstab is more fun than mashing Sinister Strike x1000. To non-rogues, I'm sure this sounds like a minor distinction. It sounded that way to me, and I told her so.

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Secret Design of WoW PvE: Your role in a PvE raid

The series: [Introduction, and a call for comments, Solo Difficulty vs Group Difficulty, PvE vs PvP, Variety vs Specialization, Solo Performer vs Group Utility, Your role in a PvE raid]

This is how every talent tree of every class fits into a pve raid.

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Secret Design of WoW PvE: Solo Performer vs Group Utility

The series: [Introduction, and a call for comments, Solo Difficulty vs Group Difficulty, PvE vs PvP, Variety vs Specialization, Solo Performer vs Group Utility, Your role in a PvE raid]

In grouping, not all classes are similar. Some provide simple and easily defined benefits, while others provide auxiliary benefits beyond their basic stated role that more than make up for an apparent lack of output in that role. That was wordy, let's talk examples.

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Secret Design of WoW PvE: Solo Difficulty vs Group Difficulty

The series: [Introduction, and a call for comments, Solo Difficulty vs Group Difficulty, PvE vs PvP, Variety vs Specialization, Solo Performer vs Group Utility, Your role in a PvE raid]

Your ability to solo partially determines the experience you'll have in groups. If you have an easy time in the leveling game, you are going to have a more difficult experience in the endgame/group game. The following list goes from easy-to-solo to hard-to-solo.

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