31 Mar 2009

Noobs, I Command You: Stay in WoW!

. 31 Mar 2009

Case in point: this guy posts that WoW tourists (people who briefly switch from WoW to another MMORPG and back) are bad for new online games (such as Darkfall, EVE Online etc.). Then, this guy says it actually is good because said tourists bring in $50M. To top it off, this other guy says it's actually bad because $50M isn't enough for allowing a vast mass of idiots into new games who cannot withstand such quantity of stupidity.

So, my fellow WoW noob: are you or are you not a menace to the feeble breed of new games just barely making a living at 100k subscribers now? Surely you must think you are pretty important if you are a danger to the industry. Actually, you are not.

It seems to me that all of the above illustrious bloggers forgot one thing: the industry can defend itself. Perhaps the developers and game designers and producers and all those presumably smart people (they do handle millions in development costs) could defend their creations against you... if they wanted to.

To take over Gevlon's (@Greedy Goblin) metaphor of a nice restaurant where no unwashed can ever set foot no matter how much he would pay (for he would upset so many the restaurant wouldn't make a profit by allowing him in), I have to say MMO's arent fine restaurants. MMO's do not have any rules about how to play them. They have rules on not swearing and being an absolute moron, but they do not require that you play the game well or dedicate yourself to it as much as some people may like.

The fine restaurant on the other hand is a place that a specific type of people claim as theirs and only theirs and enforce that right with property laws and armed policemen if needs be.

If anything (and this is the point lost on the above posters), a heavily pvp MMO is best protected against 'carebears' invasion. In a game with impact PvP

  • few inexperienced pvp'ers would even level or attain any 'false' symbol of status
  • few people can be carried on their shoulders by others
  • inexperience is more visible (than in pve), in the forms of just generally being dead and not playing or being almost always dead and not getting anything (gear, achievements, gold etc.)
So, if I were a pvp noob who would presume to take my business of pretending to be leet and trying to make it in Darkfall or similar, I think I would have a pretty hard time. On the other hand, it would take a particularly retarded experienced pvp'er to not notice how bad I suck at pvp (if that were the case). I would pay my subscription, be ganked, provide fun for the 'core' audience, quit in frustration and go back to WoW.

In this process, Darkfall would make $50 (or $50M if there are many like me) and the core non-retarded community of pvp'ers would suffer... oh wait: they wouldn't.

If the reverse happened, if a leet PvP'er somehow got into WoW (perhaps because he's not leet enough for Darkfall), then there would be a problem: he would start qq'ing non-stop about how WoW is not the game his mad skills require and how PvP doesn't get enough love from Blizzard. Good enough that doesn't happen too often.


27 Mar 2009


. 27 Mar 2009

Addons are third party software that can greatly enhance your World of Warcraft experience. The easiest way to install them is to go to wowmatrix and install their client software which will let you select pretty much any addon and install it for you. Then, you will sometimes need to configure the addon from WoW itself.

Some interesting addons and what they can do for you

  • omen - you are basically required to have this if you play in groups - it shows the threat table of the currently selected creature, enabling you to manage your threat
  • questhelper - greatly speeds up your leveling by showing you exactly where you need to go and what you need to do to complete quests (this addon is developed full time by the author and is based on donations; please donate if you like it)
  • cartographer - enhances your game map and lets questhelper show an arrow pointing you to where you need to go
  • xperl - you need to install it to see it; basically shows you, your target and your party in a more informative and more attractive way
  • prat 3 - greatly enhances the way your chat looks and behaves
  • auctioneer - helps you make money at the AH by logging prices and computing average market prices over time
  • spammenot - helps you eliminate in-game spam (it really works perfectly)
  • recount - shows your dps as well as other very informative battle statistics
  • autoprofit - lets you automatically sell all vendor trash at any selected vendor
There are many other addons that may come in handy for your specific class or play-style. You can browse on the internet, search the official forums or even look at the addon descriptions inside the wowmatrix client.

While addons are not allowed to automate the gameplay for you, they can do pretty much else. So if you feel like you are missing something, there is probably an addon out there doing just what you need it to.


Buying Gold


During your travels through Azeroth you will often come across the topic of gold buying, meaning buying WoW gold for real money.

What you really need to know is that there is no way to buy gold for real money that will not get you banned. So don't or if you already did and thoght it's legal, stop and don't tell anyone you ever did.

Gold buying is considered not only by Blizzard but by many WoW players to be highly unfair and destructive for the game. Also, there is absolutely now reason to buy gold because

  • you can make gold in-game with relative ease once you understand how
  • making gold on your own will make you feel much better than spending money for it
That being said if you want more gold, you can look into more ways to make it on your own as it is very possible. First you will need to make some seed capital by questing and selling off the proceeds of your adventures at the AH. Then you can move on to more advanced strategies involving the AH alone, such as flipping items (buying low, selling high on the AH).

A very good site to look into for learning how to make more gold with the gold you already have, while spending very little time is Gevlon's Greedy Goblin. Go check it out.




In WoW, your character can pick up professions, theoretically to make money, but more often than not to lose it. Read on.

There are several types of professions in WoW: primary and secondary. You can only have two primary professions at any one time per character. Everyone can learn the secondary professions, even if they don't have primary ones.

Primary professions are sub-divided in two types: gathering and crafting. With crafting professions you make stuff. With gathering professions you gather stuff from the world that crafting professions need to make their stuff.

Gathering professions are mining and herbalism and skinning, allowing you to pick up ores and herbs respectively from the world and skins from dead animals. You can sell these at the AH for decent profits, especially if you spend enough time to gather full stacks of either of them. People pay you for the time it takes to search for resources, pick them up and list them at the AH. Nobody in their right mind would do this for free.

Crafting professions are different. Because people derive more pleasure and status from them, as well as because crafting doesn't require so much time, people often pay to level up their crafting professions, which creates an environment of harsh competition. You will very likely be completely unable to sell whatever you craft at a profit (for more than the cost of the materials required), no matter which crafting profession you choose. If you are just starting out and low on cash, do not pick a crafting profession, just pick two gathering.

The secondary professions are fishing and cooking. Cooking is more like a crafting profession in that it needs materials. Fishing is more like a gathering one, because you almost literally pick fishes from water.

All professions require you to visit a trainer regularly (especially to pick it up) and pay for training. Gathering professions are much cheaper to train but can take more time to level. Crafting professions can be leveled in a matter of hours but cost more to train and are generally not profitable.

You should also know that some crafting professions give your character stats bonuses (directly or by allowing you to create superior items that only you can wear) and are thus an investment for those wishing to boost their stats for a price.

To learn more in-depth about all professions, check out either wowwiki or google.


26 Mar 2009

What are Guilds?

. 26 Mar 2009

A WoW guild is like a club of players. There are many types of guilds, depending on what they aim for

  • social guilds - focus on socialising
  • leveling guilds - focus on helping each other level characters faster
  • national guilds - focus on various activities between players of the same non-British/non-US nationality
  • hardcore guilds - focus on helping each other get better and better gear, high expectations, for veteran players and characters at maximum level
  • other types
As a beginner, your experience will be greatly improved if you join a guild of the first three types. Fellow guildies can help you learn the ropes of the game better than any guide and can provide assistance with quests or dungeon runs. Plus you get a social feeling that makes the game what it is.

In order to find a guild, I do not recommend asking for one. When you are in a city you will often hear on general channel people advertising their guild, saying which type it is, what it is aiming for and what kind of players they are recruiting. That is the moment when you will need to whisper the person making the announcement, ask him a few questions about the guild and then, if you like the answers, ask for an invitation.

After joining, some things will change:

  • you will have access to the guild bank, which is like your regular character bank, just larger
  • your guild's name will appear below your character name
  • you will have access to the guild chat channel (by typing "/g" you can also say whatever you want in guild chat yourself)
  • if you buy a guild tabard and equip it, the guild's logo will be displayed on it for everyone to see.
The guild bank is a place where you can deposit items that you wish to donate to guild members who may need them more than you do. You can also deposit money, thus giving it for guild purposes. The guild can sometimes allow for your gear repairs to be paid from the guild bank deposits. You may also, subject to the rules of the guild master, get items out of the bank for your own use. It is very important that you do not forget to contribute yourself to the guild bank if you get things from it.

You can press 'o' at any time to see guild members (both online and offline) and to check on their notes (many put notes with their professions so that you know what they could help you with).

Guilds also have calendars that will alert you if someone creates an event at which you are expected to participate (such as a guild dungeon run). You can also check out those events and sign up for them if they are not invitation based.

What people do in their guilds varies greatly, but most likely you will have a strong support group in your guild, at least as getting advice goes.

If for any reason you do not like your guild and wish to join another, simply type "/gquit" (note: you do not get a confirmation message for this, you directly quit the guild if you type it) and you will leave the guild and be free to join another. If you leave your guild, it is usually decent to let the guild master or one of the veteran members know that you will do so and optionally say why.


Understanding Your Character


Your WoW character is like a toy that you play with. Like any toy it's got the equivalent of buttons that you can press to get some effects (actually those are the buttons on your action bar in WoW).

There are several basic concepts you need to grasp about your character to further your understanding of it on your own.

You need to know all the abilities of your class and their effects. First place for that is their tooltip in-game. Read it carefully. Secondly, you may wish to ask some friends or guild mates about what your class is all about, what are its strengths and weaknesses, how to play it better according to circumstance etc. You will never be done understanding your class, it's a process.

You may have noticed that after level 10 you get some stuff in your character sheet called 'Talents'. Those are a very important way to customise your character for specific roles. Each class gets three trees of talents that point into different specialisation directions and corresponding play styles.

Given that you can spend only one talent point per level and there are more talents than levels you can never take all talents, but you get the final talent from one tree and then spend a few points in a different one.

Your choice of talents is also called a 'build' or a 'spec'. The 'spec' term more often refers to the dominant talent tree you have chosen your talents from. Your spec dictates what you can do reasonably well and what others expect you to do in group situations.

For instance, if you picked most of your talents from the Holy tree as a paladin, you will be called a 'Holy paladin' and be expected to heal. You will not be allowed to assume a dps or tank role, as your talent choice has made you completely ill-suited for either of those and particularly adept at healing.

At any moment you can, for an increasing price, erase all your talents and re-distribute them. This is called 'respeccing'. If you are a 'Holy paladin' and you do not like healing, respec to a talent build more appropriate for dps-ing or tanking. This goes with modifications for all classes, although some of the have all three tree dedicated to dps-ing (pure dps classes).

You also need to know that some talent builds are considered vastly superior to others for group play and you may be kicked out of groups or criticised for choosing anything else. Talent builds are something that must be carefully chosen in order to avoid ridicule and exclusion, especially after level 70. It's not all such a bad thing however, as a good talent build will benefit you as well as others quite a lot.

Everything your charcter does is goverened by stats. The better stats you have the better you do what you do. For instance the more spellpower (an example stat) you have the more damage your fireball spell will do (if you are a mage).

For each class, different stats are important, because each stat governs one or more abilities, influencing their effectiveness and efficiency. For example a warrior's strength influences how much damage he does with his weapon. More strength is more damage, which is good.

Some stats you get from just being you, more if you are higher level, less for lower levels. But at any level, a majority of stats come from the equipment (gear) you wear. If you look at their tooltips you will see what stats each of your armor pieces, weapon, trinkets, necklace and rings gives. You absolute need to make sure that those stats are the ones that your class needs and as high as possible (by getting better and better gear).

Your image will suffer much less if your stats are low (although not ridiculously low) than if your stats are the wrong ones for your class. You need to learn which stats are needed for you and stick to those and only those. If you pick a piece of gear that has some stats for you and some that you make no use of, many will think you did that out of stupidity and ridicule or exclude you from the groups they form.

Some stats that are important for several classes:

  • Stamina (stam, sta) - this affects your health. Generally, you get 10hp for each point of stamina
  • Intellect (int) - this affects how much mana you have (which is required to cast spells). Generally you get 10mana for each point of intellect.
  • Strength - generally affects how much damage you do with your weapon (not with spells)
  • Agility - helps you dodge enemy weapon swings and others
  • Spellpower - helps you heal more with healing spells and do more damage with offensive spells
  • Haste - helps you do everything you do (except walking/running) faster
  • Critical Strike Rating - increases your chance to critically strike with your abilities (meaning drastically more damage or healing done)
  • Hit Rating - increases your chance to hit monsters with your abilities (the opposite is that you miss them and deal no damage).
To get a good idea what stats you need, go check the Blizzard class forums or Elitist Jerks forums. Read until you understand. If you spend a day and still don't get it, ask in the Blizzard forum.

Almost all your gear can be enchanted to increase their stats. The enchants are usually costly and justified only if you will keep a particular item for a longer time (such as two weeks or a month). While leveling enchants are not needed or expected, but at higher levels or at max level you are expected to enhance your stats as much as you can with enchants.

You can either buy enchants at the AH or ask an enchanter to put them on your gear for a price (usually lower).

If you need advice as to what enchants are good for your class and spec, go at wow-heroes and search for your character. They will make pertinent recommendations for each piece of gear you have equipped.

Some gear has slots in which you can put gems. Unlike enchants, you are expected to always put gems into your equipment, or else it will have sub-par stats. Gems come in various qualities and if you are strapped with cash, green gems are a good price/quality compromise.

Glyphs are like enchants, but not for your gear, but for your spells. Glyphs can enhance the funtionality of some spells, but they do not add more stats. Instead, they modify a spell in such a way as to make it more useful in a circumstance and less useful in another. For each class and spec there are glyphs which are considered must-have. Learn which they are, buy them and put them in your spell book. (You need to be near a lexicon of power to 'equip' a glyph - you can ask a guard in any major city where the inscription trainer is and go there, he will have a lexicon of power nearby).


Group Dynamics (Tank, Healer, Dps)


This is the most complex point you will need to understand in WoW, but one that will make your life much easier and your grouping experience much more enjoyable.

Threat - in order to understand what each person does in a group, you need to understand 'threat'
Threat is a measure of how much a creature is 'threatened' by a player. Each creature, while engaged in combat has a list in its head with each player it is fighting and their corresponding threat level.

The creature computes the threat level of each player it is currently engaged with based on its own judgment of how dangerous to itself are various spells and abilities those players are using. Generally, the more damage a player does to a monster, the more threat that will translate into, because, by default 1 point of damage done to the monster equals one point added to the player's threat value for that monster.

The importance of threat comes from the fact that the monster pretty much always attack the player with the highest threat. Some players are more resistant to damage than others, so it is essential for a group to make sure that the most resistant player is at the top of the threat list and thus attacked. (This player is usually called the 'tank'.)

Classes who can tank are not only more resistant to damage, but have abilities to boost the threat they generate, so that one point of damage they do translates to more than one point of threat (such as 1.5 or 2 points of threat). This is to insure that those players can get to - and stay on the top of the threat list, as they are supposed to. The player at the top of the threat list is said to have or hold 'aggro'. It is crucial that the tank manages to hold aggro for the whole duration of the fight, otherwise members of the party that are much less resistant will be targeted by the engaged creature and possibly killed instantly.

Let's move on to analyse each of the party roles.

The tank is the person who should be holding aggro. They are usually warriors, paladins or druids with gear that enhances their resistance to damage. They should have the highest hp value of all members in the group.

The tank's roles it to

  • 'pull' - meaning to attack first a monster or group of monsters
  • to get sufficient aggro - establish sufficient threat so that other members of the group cannot accidentally get more threat than the tank
  • to hold aggro - by doing damage to the monster, as well as by using aggro-enhancing abilities they have (must do!) continuously
  • if other members of the group accidentally get aggro the tank must move immediately to re-gain aggro (either by using abilities that get aggro instantly - 'taunt' abilities' - or by damaging the monster)
Because the party may simultaneously engage several monster at the same time (this often is inevitable), the tank must also 'mark' these monsters before engagement and communicate in which order they will be killed. Killing monsters one by one (as opposed to just hitting them randomly) has the advantage that it reduces the time when all monsters are alive and all are dealing damage to the tank.

The healer's primary task it to heal the tank when he loses health from monsters' attacks and keep him alive. The secondary task is to keep himself and the rest of the group alive. Monsters sometimes do damage to other party members than the tank, even if the tank is on the top of the threat list. This is usually called group damage or aoe (area-of-effect) damage and cannot always be avoided: that's why the healers need to keep an eye on all party members, not just the tank.

DPS comes from damage per second. I know doesn't make much sense. DPS actually means those group members who are not a tank and not a healer. They are focused on dealing as much damage as possible to the current group target, while managing their threat.

Managing one's threat is an art form, but the simple version is this: do not get aggro by doing so much damage that you get to the top of the threat list, despite the tank's effort to stay there himself.

Sometimes you may be a higher level of better equipped than the tank and doing your maximum damage will certainly get you aggro no matter how much the tank is trying to hold it. Sometimes the tank is less skilled than you and doesn't know how to hold aggro. In all such situations you are better off if you do less damage, but do not get aggro.

Also, some dps, such as plate-armour-wearing paladins are more resistant to direct damage from monsters than other dps such as cloth-wearing mages. If you are such a paladin and you see the mage in your group getting aggro it is sometimes good to taunt the monster to yourself if the tank doesn't do it reasonably fast (1-5s tops). This way, there's a better chance that no party member will die as a result of the tank's or mage's error in managing their threat.

Knowing how to perform your role is much more than just the above, but that is the absolute basics you are expected to know if you want to not be considered a noob. Performing your role has a lot to do with your chosen class and talent-build and you will need to look into your specific class mechanics to learn how exactly you are supposed to play in group situations.

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