Firelands Release Date and the future of NSUI

When a PvP season ends, you can bet that a new season isn’t that far off. Traditionally, that has always coincided with new raid content release as there’s always new gear and weapons for players to work their way towards. PvP and PvE progression has generally moved  up together at the same time.

With the end of season 9 on June 21st, I fully expect a 4.2 release around that time period plus or minus a week. Derevka made a good point that Blizzard may not release anything early July due to the July 4th weekend that’s also coming up. June 28th might be when Firelands hits the servers.

On the one hand, I don’t think we’ll be able to challenge Sinestra until 4.2 is out at the rate we’re going. On the other hand, I’m tired of the same 13 bosses over and over. We’ve been raid content starved for a while and it’s almost been 7 months since new raid content’s been released. 

On a sidenote, No Stock UI was a project I started a couple of years ago. My original vision was for it to be a location where people could go to read up on addons, user interfaces, design and maybe a bit of programming. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to live up to those expectations I set myself. I have to focus on my responsibilities here, on WoW Insider, on Enjin and with my guild which meant something had to get cut. I do think the blog idea has merit. Across the WoW blogosphere, I see occasional posts about layouts and how to configure certain addons. I do think a blog focused exclusively on the ways players interact with the game would be beneficial.

That being said, if anyone wants to completely take it over, get in touch with me. Ideally, you’re already an established blogger who has the work ethic and understands the efforts required when it comes to blogging consistently.

Matticast Episode 21 – Guild Coups, Healing For Beginners, and Applications

On Episode 21 of The Matticast, BorskMattKatChase and Brian discuss:

– Fending of Guild Coups

– Getting started as a healer

– How (not) to deal with Guild Apps

– 10 Random WoW Resources (in no particular order!)

Don’t forget you can send us your questions or topics, visit the PlusHeal Forums, or tweet us with the hashtag #matticast

Subscribe to the show: iTunesRSS

 

WoW Premium services: Yes/no/murloc?

Over the course of a game’s lifetime, things change. Features are added, pricing models change, content evolves. Blizzard’s fantasy epic World of Warcraft is no different. The game has been around for over six years at this point, and in that time we’ve seen many things change.

Remember when the game was first released? There were PvE server and PvP servers. On PvE servers you could have toons of both factions no problem, but on PvP servers it simply wasn’t allowed. Over time that changed, and Blizzard allowed you to make toons of both factions on a PvP server. There was also a time when Blizzard said you wouldn’t be able to pay to transfer your toon to another server, that it was only for server stability / population control. Not too long after the service became available for a small fee, the birth of the WoW premium service. From there we’ve gotten to recustomize our characters look, the ability to race change or change factions and all for a small one time fee. Every time this has happened, people have drawn a line in the sand. Either they love it, or they love to hate it.

Recently we’ve seen more in the way of Micro-transactions and premium services being added into the game. In game mounts like the Sparkle-Pony or the Winged Lion coupled with numerous in-game mini pets are available for purchase with real money. Pets will run you $10, mounts will run you $25. When they are purchased they are made available for all of your characters that currently exist, and any that you will create from this point on. Permanently attaching the items to your Battle.net account. There are also other premium features, such as the remote auction house. For an additional $3 a month, you can set up and purchase auctions from your enabled mobile device, and as an added bonus you can talk to your guild mates using the application as well.

The most recent announcement was that the developers at Blizzard are working on a Cross-Realm Dungeon Feature. In case you missed it, or are reading this post from somewhere not Blizzard-site friendly here’s the blue post

With the continued popularity of the Dungeon Finder, many players have been asking for a way to group up with real-life friends who play on other realms to take on instances together. Today, we wanted to give you a heads up about a new feature currently in development that will allow players to invite Real ID friends ( http://us.battle.net/en/realid/ ) of the same faction to a party regardless of the realm they play on, and then queue up for a 5-player regular or Heroic dungeon.

As this is a fairly complex service to develop, we don’t have a release date to share quite yet. It’s important to note that as with some of the other convenience- and connectivity-oriented features we offer, certain elements of the cross-realm Real ID party system will be premium-based, though only the player sending the invitations will need to have access to the premium service. We’ll have more details to share with you as development progresses — in the meantime, you may begin to see elements of the feature appear on the World of Warcraft PTR.

So there it is, for a small fee, you will be able to invite your friends across servers into a group for 5-man dungeon running. This actually caused almost as much a stir as Real ID did when it was first announced. People either love, or hate the idea of having to pay to play with friends across different servers. Ignoring everything else, premium services or these additional cookies are luxuries. They don’t break the game, or give someone an unfair advantage. They are options, and love them or hate them they are very much real.

My personal opinion on this particular premium service is that I like it. I like the idea of being able to play my alts with friends from other servers for dungeon running. I recently moved servers and left a lot of my friends behind. I’m exactly the demographic that this premium service is aimed at. Is it for everyone? No, not even close. For some people though, they’ll gladly pay the extra cash for it.

Do premium services ruin the game? Are they a betrayal of the customer / supplier relationship we have with Blizzard Entertainment? I don’t think it does. These are all optional and don’t really have an impact on the overall game-play, they are just nice cookies for us to enjoy if we feel the price is right. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to pay for it. If it suits your needs, you can indulge in it. Our $15 a month has brought us many improvements over the years. New servers, higher population caps, improved development in characters, raids and the UI. The ability to talk with friends across servers anytime I want. I don’t think our free upgrades are done by a long shot, and if Blizzard wants to charge for additional services, that is their choice. While I can understand both sides of the coin, at the end of the day I see it as you’re paying your monthly fee to play the game, all the other stuff are just extra. The things they develop as premium services aren’t for every audience, so developing them for smaller groups, sure there may be a cost attached. I mean hey, just because you aren’t paying for mobile armory every month doesn’t mean you’re going to miss the chance to punch Deathwing in the face.

What do you think?

A Lesson in Guild Ultimatums

It’s been 2 and a half years since Conquest has been formed. We’ve had our shares of victories and defeat. I figured a situation like this would come one day. I never imagined it would come from a main tank. Least of all from a main tank. I knew he wasn’t having much enjoyment out of the raiding scene.

Let me be clear for a moment. The story I am about to tell is not one of vindication or shame. It is one of education so that my guild leading colleagues would be better prepared should a scenario like this arise. It would come in many forms, but the most common would be if I don’t get <this>, I’m leaving.

Threats never work. Even if the leadership allows the request to go through, you can be damned sure it’ll be done so reluctantly and not out of loyalty. If anything, such gains are only for the short term.

Right, let me resume my story. Our main tank had opted for retirement. Not having fun’s a perfectly valid excuse and one that appears to be echoed throughout the community by several players. I have absolutely zero desire to force someone to play a class or role that they don’t want to play. It’s just bad for business. So I accepted it and moved on. Every player that had a tank position in my raid group was bumped up 1 rank. The secondary tank became the primary tank. Tanks 2-4 frequently rotated depending on the encounter. I am blessed with having 6 players w ho are capable of tanking should that need arise.

I come back the next day and visit my forums. I discover that our retiree posted a message:

“If you don’t make me an officer, I’m going to quit the guild.”

Was that what this was all about? Power and recognition? My gut instinct was to flat out say no. Officers are selected based on certain qualifications. There are certain traits that make them special and dependable. However, what you may not know is that there are qualities which automatically discount a player from ever being an officer.

I’ll list some of them here.

Attendance

When a player takes a break from a game without mentioning anything, I might give them a bye for it if their reason is justified. When a player pulls that stunt multiple times without saying a word, that’s the line for me. I cannot have leaders who decide to come and go at their own whims without notice. It would do more harm than good. A leader needs to be available when they can and to say so when they cannot. If a raider does this, I cannot trust they won’t abandon their position when issued additional responsibility.

Shirking responsibility

Conquest has an unspoken leadership ladder. As leaders are appointed by myself with the consent of the other leaders, there needs to be a way to evaluate their mettle and skills. Our loot system involves the use of loot council. The only way to ascend is to go through the process and sit on the council at some point. If a player refuses to handle loot council, then they may not be fit for command at all. If they’re not willing to handle important decisions like who they believe loot should go to, then I don’t know if the harder decisions can be handled (such as roster, player evaluations, and so forth).

Saying no the first time

When the boss asks a player if they want additional responsibility, the player shouldn’t just say no and then issue an ultimatum months later. If I asked someone and they said no the first time, that’s that. I wouldn’t approach them again because I figure there’s no interest in it. Onus is on the other player if they reconsider. I can’t chase people down and hound them repeatedly. I do that enough during raids calling stacks, spreads outs and debuffs. I generally don’t make offers more than once. But that’s a personal style.

Stability

This one actually just occurred to me. Leadership players need to be a rock (or at least, pretend to be one in front of everyone else). It’s okay to be pissed off and upset once in a while. But constant brooding does no good to anyone. A long time ago, I had a player who would crumble and fold when they were chastised for blowing an assignment. Officers have to be made of tougher stuff to withstand the criticism that’s bound to happen. Someone who sheds tears or anger every time something negative is said in their direction isn’t a player fit for command and I doubt such an individual would be able to garner the respect and loyalty of the players.

That being said, I learned a few things from this experience. Strong player depth is what allows guilds to keep going and to survive. The very day that ultimatum was issued, the player was flatly denied and practically laughed out of the guild. We went and took down Theralion and Valiona on heroic mode that same night. While tanks are a critical component for raiding guilds, an awesome tank does not a successful guild make. You still need the DPS and the healers to play at their best. One of my faults is not keeping a tighter finger on the pulse of the guild. It’s difficult to split time between work, raid and just general socializing. It’s also nigh impossible to know what goes on in the heads of others. But I have to make a better attempt somehow even if that means sacrificing my peace and quiet time.

The burden of command is not a light weight to carry at all. Anyone that tries to make such demands for it is just out of their mind.

Next time you’re annoyed about something, I’d suggest talking about it first and requesting it rather than trying to make a threat. Odds are good it won’t end well.

The Druid

This is a guest post from WoW Comedian Wistoovern, the same mind that brought us the Automated Healing Line and WoW, What If…! So you’ve bested the agents of Deathwing, and you eagerly await your turn to destroy the citadel of fire, but what do you do in the meantime? Well, you write poetry about WoW of course! This piece came across my desk and I couldn’t help but share it with you. It reminds me of my own WoW inspired poetry for Sentry Totem, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Once upon a server, seething while I wandered, PvPing
Searching for the Horde that ganked me the hour before
While I searched for rogues attacking, soon enough I heard a sapping
Sapping of a fellow Alliance, a night elf herbivore.
“Surely this is the sign of the scoundel that killed me before.
Time to pwn him to the floor.”

Yes, assuredly I could tell that this occurred during Winter Veil
and near the Darkmoon Faire as well not far from Stormwind (Coords 30,84)
The rascal was a doomed Undead, with eyes that summoned utter dread
But had no jaw within his head, this beast I do deplore.
His hair was stiff and bones did show down to their core
Through the leather armor that he wore.

Slowly I crept up behind with only one thing on my mind
Psychic Scream ’til he was blind and couldn’t take it anymore.
Then purple druid would morph to bear, with dead blood flying everywhere!
That this fool would think to dare the bravery of the Alliance, the boor!
I tiptoed close, his doom approaching like a pit demon of yore.
And soon enough, he’d be no more.

But for all my careful silence, stealthiness is a careful science
Requiring the strictest compliance of form – need I say more?
A twig snapped loud, my place revealing!  The forsaken spun, his quarry reeling,
Those undead eyes devoid of feeling!  He jumped back just before
I cast my Fear.  Too late; he knew what was next in store.
He Vanished and left us by the shore.

I swore and cursed, the night unheeding, then healed the Night Elf of his bleeding
And waited for the slow receding of the debuffs that he bore.
Soon enough, the saps had faded; his eyes grew firm, like the jaded
Windows of a soul berated, but his nod said little more.
I thought perhaps to introduce myself and find his name before
I took my thanks and trekked to Mulgore.

“You’re lucky I was nearby, friend; that rogue did very nearly send
Your spirit  to Elune and end your life forevermore!”
I spoke as thus, not sure if saying words in or out of good roleplaying
Could possibly somehow be betraying his gameplay wishes dujour.
“Perhaps it would be best if we did travel from this shore
And send you back to Kalimdor.”

And yet my friend made no reply, the green light shining in his eye
And dour angry face decried that I should say no more.
But mana full and armor repaired, I stood my ground ‘gainst him and stared
My own exasperation bared at his quiet anger moored
He said no word, and sought to offer no accord
And thus I spoke, in quiet roar.

“Perhaps in thanks, you could at least address the man that stopped that beast.
Through my acts alone, his attack had ceased, otherwise you’d be done for.
A blessing that I did intrude, but surely you would see it rude
To show no sign of gratitude; be calm, I do implore!
I ask for naught but thanks, but perhaps you would not abhor
To share your name as good rapport.”

Still the druid stared unceasing, the leather of his tunic creasing
As if the silence somehow pleasing my freed prisoner of war.
Soon it was his hands were glowing; his ears did shrink and skin stopped showing;
In moments there were feathers growing, a night elf moments before
Now an owl, which to branches in a nearby tree did soar.
He turned to face me and said, “Read your lore.”

I stopped and stared, but soon was grinning; the foolish night elf was beginning
To show the depths of prideful sinning.  “Think you this is a chore?
For I have listed among my goals to read the documents and scrolls
And tomes that ancient knowledge polls in libraries of ancient score!”
But the druid seemed to yawn as if he was suddenly bored.
Quoth the druid, “Read your lore.”

At that, I felt a bolt of danger from this rude and sullen stranger.
“Perhaps a friend of noble Ranger, come to Eastern Kingdoms from distant days of yore?
Maybe, then, you spent your summers training with the bold Windrunners?
Noble Vereesa (quite a stunner) that found her husband amongst the Kirin Tor?”
Could you be friend of hers, you man of war?”
Quoth the druid, “Read your lore.”

“Perhaps true fighter you could be, though it surely seemed to me
You needed help assuredly ‘gainst that recent undead sore.
Though I saved your from disaster; it could be you’re a battlemaster
Traveling these lands much faster than with the dangers from broken Draenor.
Could you be the Warsong Gulch general Lylandor?”
Quoth the druid, “Read your lore.”

“You came to herb among the trees before you came upon that sleaze
It still could be that from far overseas you tread upon this distant alien shore.
By skills assumed and then displayed, I think my patience is repaid!
From peaceful dell of quiet Moonglade you journey onward evermore.
Could be you the wise artisan herbalism trainer Malvor?”
Quoth the druid, “Read your lore.”

Sweat was beading upon my brow as I addressed the bird on bough
And sought to find the answer.  How could my honor be restored?
In silence my mighty mind did race through every tale that I could place
I knew that only by the grace of the Light could I even the score.
“Could it be that you are one of the mighty Defenders of Malorne?”
Quoth the druid, “Read your lore.”

From that point on, I filled the hours praying up to all the powers
To find the name that scours the darkness clean from darkened door.
I pressed him there with names unending, each defeating denial sending
My hopes to shatter and my spirit rending its pride upon the floor.
“Be you that slow Darnassian wanderer, quiet and fierce Crildor?”
Quoth the druid, “Read your lore.”

And thus the druid still is perched, while in Stormwind Library I have researched
And since that day tirelessly searched for the name that I would adore.
Donyal Tovald helps me in my quest, and as Harrison Jones himself attests,
I labor long against protests, seeking the name unknown heretofore.
Who knows what ancient mysteries I shall find as I explore?
Perhaps I shall leave here…nevermore!