The Great Nerf and Matt’s New League of Legends Blog

Hello nerfs!

As announced in the Firelands Raid Changes Incoming’ blog post, we’ll be making the below hotfixes which have gone into effect during today’s raid reset.

Normal difficulty

  • Shannox, Beth’tilac, Rhyolith – health and damage reduced by 15%.
  • Other bosses – health and damage reduced by 25%.
  • All adds’ health and damage have been reduced in the same proportions as bosses.
  • Hellhounds and Unstable Magma deal much less damage.
  • Alysrazor’s Fiery Tornados move slower.
  • The Wings of Flame buff duration on Alysrazor is now uniformly 30 seconds.
  • Alysrazor drops 1 additional feather for 10-player mode and 2 additional feathers for 25-player mode in all cycles.
  • Wrath of Ragnaros in Stage 1 now knocks targets up, but not back.

Heroic difficulty

  • Boss health and damage reduced by 15% (Heroic Ragnaros’ health has not been reduced.)
  • All adds’ health and damage have been reduced in the same proportions as bosses. However, Heroic Ragnaros adds have been reduced by 15%.
  • The Wings of Flame buff duration on Alysrazor is now uniformly 30 seconds.
  • Alysrazor drops 1 additional feather for 10-player mode and 2 additional feathers for 25-player mode in all cycles.

Source

We’ve had about 10 weeks in Firelands. During Tier 11, we had 6 months. Doesn’t 10 weeks seem a bit short to you? But I guess if they want to keep up with their expansion release cycle for one a year, it has to be this way. The next question to ask is how long are we going to have Firelands for before 4.3 comes out. I think we’re going to see clips of 4.3 stuff during BlizzCon (Late October) and then the patch itself will come out right after it. We’ll find out how nerfed everything is going to be now. I can’t help but look at the stark contrast between the amount of time we had to work on this content compared to tier 11. Some of us are lamenting because of the lack of time and others are ecstatic because it’ll free up more of the game for them.

I promise, I’m not getting burned out or anything. I just go through these phases where I hibernate for a bit. It gets difficult at times to come up with new blog topic ideas. Every time I come up with an idea, I realize that I’ve written about it last year, the year before or at some point on some different site. While I don’t mind revisiting certain topics every so often, the trick is to do so from a different angle or some way which adds additional value.

To avoid blogging burnout about WoW, I’ve turned to blogging about… League of Legends! Similar in vein to this blog, it’s aimed at helping newer players get into the game. I’ll also be detailing my experiences into going from a casual LoL player into a slightly more competitive one. I’m also giving away an Arctic Warfare Caitlyn skin.

Minion Spawn: League of Legends blog

Already have several posts created. For players that are new to the game, here’s a few highlights.

Back in Front of Ragnaros

Back in Front of Ragnaros

It took us a while, but we’re finally here! The first phase seems to be easy overall. My actual level of experience is goes to the final phase with around 40% left. The struggle for me now is to transfer the knowledge that myself and some of the other veterans to the players who are just seeing him for the first time. We’re able to get to the sons phase and it seems as though we can handle any of the hammerfalls that occur off center. But once the center hammer strikes, we have a 50/50 chance of busting through. I think it would help our efforts if we had an additional knock back as we only have one Balance Druid right now providing the positioning knockbacks we need. On a few attempts, I’ve jumped on my Elemental Shaman instead of my Priest to help provide the knockbacks. I’m not exactly in my element (get it? Element?) but at this point, my goal is for us to consistently get past the first transition sons phase and into the later ones so that the team is exposed to it more.

I’d like to shore up the sons phase a little more though overall. I was shown an interesting video on streamlining that process to the point where it’s considered trivial. I just hope we can pull it off.

Thanks for the emails and support guys. I’m not going anywhere. I’ve just been working on a side project for some time which has gotten me all fired up again. With an increasing number of guildies and friends getting into and trying out League of Legends, I decided to help consolidate my thoughts and advice into one central location.

You guessed it. A League of Legends blog.

lol-blog

From 10 Mans to 25 Mans. What Would You Do?

Hey everyone, I’m still in Seattle for the Labor Day long weekend. Needed to unplug and try to decompress myself for a bit. Got a great question in the email today.

What advice would you give a GM and their leaders who wants to make the jump from 10 man raiding to 25 man raiding?

I’ll add my thoughts to this in a later post. I’ve personally never had to engineer that type of jump before since I have mostly been in a 25 man raiding environment.

Just Some Thoughts on the Game

Just Some Thoughts on the Game

Good friend and fellow Matticast host Borsk has called it a career. Whether or not he’ll Brett Favre his way back in after another WoW expansion, who knows? After reading his thoughts on the game and his guild plans, I reflected a bit on my guild and what it’s long term plans are. I’ve recently made the transition to go from a “simple” WoW guild to a multi-gaming organization.

Let’s be real. These days, players aren’t confined to just one game anymore. Might as well harness that and set up a base that encompasses the interests of other players within reason. The community site’s being slowly revamped to include sections for WoW, League of Legends and The Old Republic. I am debating of getting into Battlefield 3. I know I’ll be snapping up Counterstrike: GO (and most likely investing in a public server for it because I love pub servers).

There’s something about Conquest where people that have quit the game or explored other guild options years ago decide that they want to come back. Even now, I’m sitting on several applications from former players who were part of our roster during Ulduar and Trial of the Crusader. I’m not the best or the greatest when it comes to this stuff. But you can damn well bet I’m the most motivated. The drive to keep working and keep going with all this management stuff hasn’t gone out despite the efforts of individuals who continually try to get me to throw in the towel (Sorry kids).

Be careful with your relationships in WoW to other players. Guys who I had known for years would just leave without even a courtesy goodbye. Of the things that upset me the most, that ranks the highest. It’s a chilling reminder that people who you treated as friends and brothers will just as quickly abandon you.

Recruiting

There is an extremely limited recruiting window during content cycles. It is during this window when the amount of players looking for guilds are the highest. This is a time frame between a new content patch date and 2 or so weeks after a new content patch is updated. Your guild has that narrow window where there are a plethora of players searching for guilds. You have players who are unsatisfied with their raids or maybe their guilds broke up due to boredom or something. Everyone out there looking for a guild is posturing and deciding which organization looks the most promising to join.

So what happens after that week is up? Recruiting dries up again. The best way to secure a stream of players applying is to take down the end bosses. Sooner you do that, the sooner you are more appealing to others.

On GMing

I completely echo Borsk’s sentiments. Thinking about forming a raiding guild? Don’t do it. The typical chain of command has the GM on top of a pyramid (you have your officers, then your raiders and then friends and family or something).

I’d actually argue differently.

I’d say it’s the reverse with the leader being on the bottom of the food chain. Why? Because crap flows down. Everything is the GM’s fault.

Not enough recruits: My fault for not being able to bring an influx of players in.

Crappy play: My fault for not being punishing enough or having enough players to immediately replace the crappy players or for bad players not being able to do what they need.

Hurricane Irene: My fault for not having more players replace the ones affected by bad weather.

Progression: My fault for not being able to lift the play of everyone else around me and getting us further.

Depending on who you ask, some of these will be true and others not so. Either way, if you’re not prepared for the onslaught, it’s not for you. It’s one of the contributing factors as to why there aren’t as many 25 man raiding guilds today simply because the administrative headache of 10 mans is considerably less so than 25. The rewards of 25 man raiding with the additional gold, the loot, and valor points clearly does not appear to be enough to offset the efforts.

On the Dwindling WoW Population

Chalk it to boredom. Chalk it to the atmosphere. Blame the lack of friends. There’s a large variety of reasons as to why players are suspending their WoW accounts. I can’t say for certain there’s any one factor. There is a segment of the population that I’m happy to see go. It’s the players who had difficulty transitioning to Cataclysm. You know, the ones that had a hard time with healing or tanking or other mechanics. They’re the players that you dread finding in the dungeon finder. I suspect some of those players have also decided to quit playing.

To me, that’s a good thing. As much as I’m all for trying to help players improve and get better, I know it’s not the case for everyone. World of Warcraft isn’t meant for everyone. To not have to deal with such players in the game in pug raids and other areas is a blessing for me personally.

On skill and feedback

Heard of the Dunning-Kruger effect?

The Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which unskilled people make poor decisions and reach erroneous conclusions, but their incompetence denies them the metacognitive ability to recognize their mistakes.[1]The unskilled therefore suffer from illusory superiority, rating their ability as above average, much higher than it actually is, while the highly skilled underrate their own abilities, suffering from illusory inferiority. Actual competence may weaken self-confidence, as competent individuals may falsely assume that others have an equivalent understanding. As Kruger and Dunning conclude, “the miscalibration of the incompetent stems from an error about the self, whereas the miscalibration of the highly competent stems from an error about others” (p. 1127).

I did not realize there was a psychological term for this. However, this effect does not appear to be applicable in certain areas of the world. No where is this more prevalent in games like League of Legends. It’s baffling when you have an AD carry grab AP boosting items and then complain about how everyone else on the team is bad when their score is 1/16/4 (that’s 1 kill, 16 deaths and 4 assists). When trying to point out flaws in their build or the ability to play, an immediate defensive reaction occurs. Even some pointers and tips get blatantly shot down.

(To translate for WoW players, it’s the equivalent of a hunter gemming all Intellect and Stamina)

I’ve encountered many WoW players who also behave the same way and because of this, does not lead to any growth or improvement for them (and consequently, their guild). But what can you do? Nothing other than cut and recruit.

However, the effect does not appear to affect all cultures.

Regardless of how pervasive the phenomenon is, it is clear from Dunning’s and others’ work that many Americans, at least sometimes and under some conditions, have a tendency to inflate their worth. It is interesting, therefore, to see the phenomenon’s mirror opposite in another culture. In research comparing North American and East Asian self-assessments, Heine of the University of British Columbia finds that East Asians tend to underestimate their abilities, with an aim toward improving the self and getting along with others.

Clearly the solution is to recruit all Asians, right?

I’m sorry to see Borsk go. He’ll still be on the Matticast once we get back and going. By the way Borsk, I’ll be happy to take in any players of yours looking for a raiding guild *grin*.

How to Come out of Raiding Retirement

It took about two years. It’s nice to be acknowledged finally though. I don’t hold any ill feelings towards the WoW Magazine or Blizzard.

Picture this. You’ve retired from raiding. You have a nice, quiet home in the interior. Maybe there’s a river or a stream nearby. Everyday, you sit back on your Pyrium reinforced lawnchair with your fishing pole provided graciously by the Kalu’ak when you helped them out in Northrend those years ago. Some days you get a bite, some days you whiff and get nothing. It’s a peaceful life where you do nothing else but fish and drink beer everyday.

But you’re tired of it, aren’t you? You want to Brett Favre your way back into the raiding scene. Maybe Michael Jordan your way into the guild again. There’s a right way and then there’s a not-as-right way.

Go back in time for a moment when you explained to your leaders that you wanted to stop raiding. At the time, you probably figured it was a permanent thing. You had a new job, new spouse, or maybe you were just sick of the game. Whatever it was, you couldn’t commit anymore and your leaders understood, they wished you the best and said you could keep your characters there.

But then you said something like this:

“I’m going to quit raiding but let me know if you need me to pitch in for a day or something.”

Saying that doesn’t work for me. It’s nice of players to offer their services like that on a part time manner. The reality is that leaders have a hard time planning for unexpected contingencies. It’s not always possible to provide any kind of reasonable notice. If you happen to be online and the guild is desperate for a spot, sure you got lucky.

As a leader though, I don’t like being placed in that situation of having to depend on a person who has said they wanted to step back from raiding. Once I hear the plug pull, that’s it for me. I’ll still be friends with them easily and there will be no hard feelings. In my eyes though, when a player quits, they quit. There’s no inbetween. I’d rather pull in a new recruit and trial them in the raid. I would only pull in a retired player after every avenue was exhausted. I can tell you right now that no leader wants to rely on someone who said that they were quitting raiding.

Leaders prefer the safety and security of knowing that players will do their best to attend raids regularly. Having a question mark over the head of someone who decides to raid at their own whim doesn’t help the rest of the group.

So you want to come back

Then say so.

Let your leaders know that circumstances have changed. Maybe your scheduling is different or your living arrangements allowed you to raid again (or you sacrificed something important to your significant other for the ability to raid). You need to explicitly sit down with the officers and tell it to them instead of constantly saying “Hey, I’m around in case you can’t find anyone.” That just doesn’t work and it leads to a bunch of misunderstanding especially if the raid leader’s trying to respect your wishes and not have to resort to you, the retired player, all the time.

I never really understood it. Either you can (and want to) raid or you’re not able to. Just being in between seems to be detrimental to the raid at best. Maybe one of you readers can shed some light if you’re in such a situation?

I Almost Forgot

My blog is 4 years old today!

Thanks to all of you turkeys, clowns, gnomes and gators that have subscribed and put up with my insanity. Work must be that boring, eh? Hat tip to all the guest posters, the team and the supporters that have continued to give me the fortitude to continue writing.

So a quick informal survey. What’re you interested in seeing more of topics wise (or anything in general)? There are some days where I come up with a blog post idea and then realize I wrote about that back in 2009. Not that there’s anything wrong with revisiting old topics for discussion as long as I add a fresh perspective to it, of course.

Monocle smile.

EDIT: By the way guys? Your GMs called. They asked me to ask you to stop putting Amani Hex Sticks in the bank!

Upcoming Patch 4.3 Glimpses

Hot out of Gamescom is the announcement of things we’ll see in patch 4.3

  • Deathwing’s raid and a set of 5-man dungeons
  • Transmogrification: Ability to customize look of armor
  • Armor closet
  • Raid finder

Sources: Kotaku, WoW Insider, Battle.Net

This means the thrilling conclusion to Cataclysm is approaching. What an incredibly short expansion cycle. I’m quite curious as to what type of bosses we’ll be seeing in Deathwing’s raid. Perhaps some elementals? Other black dragons? Select minions that we stomped out in Deepholm?

On Transmogrification

Who knows how many typos are going to be made? Transmogrify, not transmorgify. I’ll need to remember this. On the feature itself, I am really pissed. Why? Because it means I have to go on the tier 2 hunt all over again! For me, it’s either going to be tier 2, tier 5 or tier 6. I disenchanted all of my old gear as we went from expansion to expansion because I simply ran out of room. I believe both tier 2 and tier 6 had the entire outfit (all 8 main pieces). Thankfully, I kept all my weapons (Val’anyr and Benediction).

This means I’ll need to set up raiding expeditions into:

  • Serpentshrine Cavern
  • Tempest Keep
  • Blackwing Lair
  • Black Temple
  • Sunwell
  • Caverns of Time: Mount Hyjal

Damnit.

On Raid Finder

Finally, Chilton explained a new feature coming with the patch called “Raid Finder”. The Raid Finder essentially operates like a dungeon finder, automating the search for fellow players on the hunt for a good raiding party. It will be built into the game’s updated user interface when the patch hits, they said.

The current iteration of the LF raid tool isn’t the greatest. I daresay a majority of the community doesn’t know it exists and relies on trade chat to fill up their players. For me, when I’m on an alt randomly doing stuff in the city, I’m not actively scouting for a raid group to join. But when I see someone that advertises LFM 25 man BoT, need DPS/healers, I’ll whisper that guy and try to get in on the group. Now with the addition of the raid finder though, that’s going to automate the process entirely. I’m really anxious to see what it looks like. The possibility exists where the system can be “gamed” like the current dungeon finder where it’ll organize and invite players according to gear levels. As a raid leader, I can foresee using these for older raids (or at least, raids that are a tier behind us or so). I don’t know how desperate I would be to use it for current raid or progression content.

It’s not explicitly stated that the raid finder is going to be cross realm so we don’t know yet. If I were to hazard a guess, that’s a probable yes. It might give us the capability to raid with people we know from other servers.

Bonus: If it does go the route of cross realm raiding, that means the ability to raid with Real ID friends won’t be far behind. Pretty soon raid leaders can offer tryouts to players without the risk of server or faction transfer costs.

Would love it if this feature would be enabled for all previously discovered raids. Sometimes it can be hard to fill up older raids.

Where is the Matticast?

Just a quick update on the podcast. Originally, we were planning a two week hiatus because of summer and all the different events that we individually had to deal with and such.

But then an update was released which affected some of the behind the scenes technological wizardry we had going on. As such, we’re going to be out of action for a brief while until that fix gets resolved. We have explored alternative options but nothing has really been appealing. I promise we’ll be back as soon as we can. Besides, it’s a great time for us to regenerate, recharge and revitalize our creative energies.

Penny Arcade Expo

Anyone hitting PAX next week? I’ll be at the convention myself and I’d love to meet and greet any fellow gamers/blog readers in the area. Games I’m looking forward to playing the most:

  • League of Legends: Dominion
  • Counterstrike: Global Offensive
  • Guild Wars 2

There’s probably more that I’m missing. I’m not much into the table top stuff so I’ll be hanging near the PCs and console stuff. Any suggestions for other titles to check out? I’m primarily into shooters and RTS games.

Common Recruiting Terms

Hey everyone! The other day, I gave you a quick method on narrowing down the collossal amount of search results you’d get from recruiting and compiling a neat, orderly list to work with. Today we’re going to hit up the actual recruiting forums and pick out some common jargon for new recruiters who are confused with the terms or have difficulty reading between the lines. Some of these are serious and some are rather tongue and cheek. I’ll let you decide which is which!

“We are exceptional <class> looking for…”

What they really mean: They think they’re really, really good and clearly there is no one in the entire 11+ million pool of players who are better than them. Not just some average Joe Raider. It’s just no one wants to take a chance on them on their server. Like seriously, it seems that half the recruiting ads I see are from players who believe they’re really exceptional. But if everyone says they’re exceptional, how can they all be exceptional? Unless they were the exception to the exceptionism.

E X C E P T I O N

“US Top 100 only”

What they really mean: They’ve been around since beta. They’ve seen it all and done it all. They’ve got lots of time to spare for progression. Whatever needs to be done, I can do. Looking for the best guilds only! These types mean business. Either that or they’ll wash out when they realize the raid leader really can remove them from the raid and they’re not the center of the universe.

“Progressed realm”

What they really mean: Clear desire to get off their low population, backwater server. They need a life line and they need it fast. Thinks they have what it takes to raid at a higher level but have trouble finding other like minded people.

“No less than 5/7 Firelands”

What they really mean:  Clearly they took a break at the end of tier 11 and missed the first few weeks of Firelands. Probably just started Firelands for the first time and got trounced. Wants to get back into the thick of things again. Probably stonewalled on one specific boss for a long time and cannot seem to muster the man power or skill to power through.

“25 man only”

What they really mean: Possibly prone to screwing up. Likes to hide along the relative anonymity of other players. Has a 4% chance of being blamed for a wipe on 25 man instead of 10% on a 10 man. Hates the closeness of 10 mans. My kind of player.

“LF adult guild!!111”

What they really mean: Likes to make lots of sex jokes. Possible cybering involved. Use caution.

“Immediate core position for <class>”

What they really mean: Wants to feel like that special snowflake. You know, like the only Shaman or Boomkin in the guild. Wants to feel really unique and indispensible. Yeah. That guy. Works great until you discover they can’t sustain their Molten Feather stacks or circumvent tornadoes properly :(.

“Must be able to accept all 3 of us”

What they really mean: Will quit if even one person is deemed not good enough. Must accept all or accept none. Strong desire to stay together.

“Professional environment”

What they really mean: Likes to raid with really loud music. Doesn’t want Mumble chatter to impede what they’re listening on iTunes or what they’re watching on Netflix. He’s the guy who constantly blasts top 40 music whenever he speaks.

“No female officers“

What they really mean: Deemed “sexist douchebags”, according to one player. I’ve actually seen a recruiting post once that specifically stated no female officers. May have suffered some type of traumatic experience earlier in their gaming career and doesn’t want to go through it again. If I remember right, the reasoning behind the original poster involved something about cattiness and snark because the applicant was also female as well. Maybe Kat would know more about this than I would. All the female officers I’ve ever interacted with in my own guild or other guilds seemed pleasant enough.

And now you too can navigate the murky waters of recruiting! In any case, good luck to you young recruiters out there and may all your apps last long term!

Maximizing your Recruiting Time

Managed to take down Shannox, Beth’tilac, Lord Rhyolith and Baleroc in one night. The kills are a little rough around the edges at times, but every week shows a marked improvement. Learning Alysrazor once was a pain. Relearning it again is a trial by fire to be sure!

Also for all you budding young hunters out there. Never have growl turned on in a raid setting under any circumstances. The rest of the raid will be eternally grateful (and not want to injure you).

For recruiters, looking for players often cause anxiety because you never know if you’re going to find the right players to help you. There is a whole plethora of players still looking for the right guild. I’m not sure what the ratio of 10 man guilds to 25 man guilds are but no doubt there are way more 10s than 25s. There are players looking for PvP guilds, progression, casual, hard mode, RP and others!

We’re going to focus more on raiding guilds. When I’m out shopping for players, I generally shoot for overall experience as the biggest indicator. Gear is a secondary concern. If a player has taken down the first six bosses in Firelands, that tells me a lot more than his 370 item level. Players looking for guilds typically state what number of bosses they’ve killed in the current tier.

Example

6/7 Priest LF progression guild weekdays
2/7 Mage LF raiding guild weekends
7/7 Rogue LF hard mode guild only

With so many players looking for guilds, you could take the shotgun approach and reply to every single “LFG” forum thread. But that’s too tedious especially with the one post per minute limitation. Your time is precious and you can’t possibly visit every thread, track down every player in game, or add every individual on real ID. You need to manage your time better and maximize your returns! Naturally you’re not going to shoot for classes that you’re already stacked to the brim of. Nor are you going to go after people who can’t make your raid times or days.

There is one more indicator you can use.

Try bracketing

Experience matters a lot. You don’t want to pick up a player who is too far behind you. On the other hand, you don’t want to shoot for a player who is beyond your progression unless they explicitly state what they’re looking for in their ad. The first step is to determine how low you’re willing to go.

  • A guild that is 6/7 Firelands might be willing to go for a player who is 3/7 or they could aim for a player who is 1 hard mode boss in.
  • A guild that is 2/7+ Firelands (+ meaning hard mode kills) might go for a player with a low end of 6/7 normal modes and a top end of 4/7+.
  • A guild that is 3/7 Firelands is okay with taking chances on new players who haven’t stepped foot into Firelands or players working on 5/7 or 6/7.

For your own sanity, do not waste the other player’s time. Don’t waste your own either. Don’t aim too high and don’t aim too low.

So what should the experience spread be?

Personally, I like to use a 4 boss spread. That is, I will actively pursue players who are either 2 bosses ahead of where I’m at or 2 bosses behind. If they don’t have kills, that’s okay. As long as they can demonstrate that they were working on some of those bosses and wiping to them, I’ll count that as experience. Obviously that spread is going to vary wildly depending on where you are on the progression path. It also depends on your guild’s current state of raiding. I think 2 is a nice number because if they’re 2 bosses behind, we can accelerate their learning a bit. Chances are they’re familiar with the unkilled bosses anyway and they ran out of time for it. If they’re 2 bosses ahead, they can offer some insight or little tricks to help your raid group get there.

If you’re having trouble with attendance and filling up raids, you might need to expand.

If your roster is stacked as is, you can tighten up the restrictions to a 1 boss spread (or even stating that you’re not going to pursue players with experience below what you’re working on).

One more thing

Make sure you scan LFG posts. Look for keywords such as their availability, preferred loot system and progression. Note raid sizes. In some cases, they’ll indicate rankings. Some players will even indicate specifically what guilds they’re looking for.

Here’s a few examples:

  • US Top 100 only
  • Must be active in PvP and raiding
  • No less than 5/7 Firelands
  • 25 man only
  • Immediate core position for <class>
  • Must be able to accept all 3 of us
  • Professional environment
  • No female officers*

* Not making this one up. Actually saw it in an LFG post on the official WoW forums. 

Not sure what any of that means? Don’t worry! In an upcoming post, I’ll help you interpret the subtle needs that players say they’re looking for but what they really mean.