The Podcast and the Hearthstone Stream

We won’t be transferring servers after all. After a two-week process, I’ve come to terms with the leadership of another guild on our server and finalized an arrangement for a guild merger. This will be the third one for the guild and it’s infused fresh life into everyone. I’ll have more details about that later in the week with some behind the scenes stuff, thought processes, and all the various factors.

Merging guilds is another topic of discussing in an upcoming show of the Guildmaster’s Podcast, which will be set to debut on March 24. Wil and I have been recording our shows two weeks in advance. The third episode on low negativity and morale was released yesterday. Having that nice buffer in advance helps cushion for any unexpected events that can affect scheduling. So give us a listen!

Speaking of extra projects, in a bid to expand the streaming arsenal of Blizzard Watch, I’ll be on deck Friday nights to stream some Hearthstone game play! My first session went live last Friday and you can watch the recorded stream here. Watch that game with the warrior as it’s a doozy. No one can snatch defeat from the jaws of victory like I can!

Raid progression-wise, we’re now back in front of Blackhand. There’s been some internal discussion on the merits of targeting Blackhand versus returning to Highmaul and knocking out some of the mythic bosses there instead. It wouldn’t be something we do regularly, but it’d be nice having those kills under our belt. Plus the difficulty of Brackenspore and Tectus on Mythic has been likened to the difficulty of Blackhand on Heroic (Really?).

Have a terrific week!

Thoughts on the WoW Token: About Time!

No doubt by now you’ll have heard of the new WoW token that’s been introduced by Blizzard. In short, it’s an alternative way to pay for game time with in-game gold. For others like me, it’s an alternate way to acquire in-game gold by buying a token for actual USD and listing it in the Auction House. This was a possibility announced a few months ago during December. I will say though that if you have stock in gold farmers, you should sell and unload that right away. The fact that it’s a safe and secure way for people who wish to exchange is the key takeaway. Gold selling sites are around for a reason: Because there is a demand for in-game currency. There’s lots of players like myself out there who understand that making gold is easy but simply do not have the time or wish to put in the effort to do so and can afford to spend real money instead. Some people have good income and would rather put that hour’s worth of work into 50k gold instead.

Has the world ended? Nah.

Price setting

According to their FAQ:

Q: Why can’t players set their own prices for the WoW Token?
A: The WoW Token feature is designed to facilitate the exchange of gold and game time between players in as secure, convenient, and fair a way as possible, and without making players feel like they’re playing a game with their hard-earned money. Having a set current market price and a straightforward exchange system is the best way to achieve that—you don’t need to worry about whether your Token will sell or not due to being undercut or the market shifting, and everyone receives exactly the amount of gold they were quoted.

Great, so if at the point of sale I’m told the token sells for 50k, then when a buyer comes along, I’ll have received 50k. But does that mean it will actually sell for 50k?

Q: What happens if the price quoted to me is different from what the Token actually sells for?
A: You will always receive the gold amount quoted to you at the time you place a Token up for sale, regardless of what the current price is when the item actually sells.

The token gets listed for 50k but instead the price fluctuates and falls and Joe Highschool ends up buying it for 40k due to the extra supply. Joe pays 40k, but I still receive 50k.

On the other hand, it sounds like it could go the other way around. What if the price trends upward? Maybe there isn’t that much supply to begin with and Joe pays 60k but I get paid out the 50k. Not sure where that extra 10k goes. The nether? No, it looks like it’ll just get taken completely out of circulation. In theory, it should even out.

Blizzard will tell you exactly how much you get for your gold and it’s better this way. There would be severe price differences on various servers if it were unregulated. For example, you could end up paying 100k+ on a smaller server versus 40k+ on a larger realm. It’s preferred to have a set standard of how much gold it will cost for a month of game time regardless of what server you’re playing on. Remember, the price is set regionally (NA, EU, Asia, etc.) instead of by server.

In addition, it would account for the number of gold billionaires out there in existence who could outright control how much tokens cost.

Let’s not forget that tokens are also bind on pickup right after. You can’t buy a token at a low gold price and then turn around flipping it later in a few months when the price climbs. It means tokens cannot be used as investments. That’s the key here. Additionally, you can buy tokens anytime you want but you don’t have to list them right away.

“We think there will be buyers and there will be sellers. It’s not really possible or sensible to be both. When you purchase a token off the shop, there is literally only one thing you can do with it: You can list it on the auction house for sale,” he said. “You can’t use it yourself, you can’t mail it, you can’t give it to a friend, you can’t destroy it. When you buy it off the auction house, the only thing you can do is to consume it, to add 30 days of game time to your account.”

Botters would be crippled. Think they’re going to spend all their hard earned gold on game time that they can’t sell? Gold botting revolves around acquiring in game gold and then selling it for hard currency which people generally won’t buy because it can be legitimately attained from tokens.

Blizzard learned much from the Diablo 3 Real Money Auction House. That largely failed because players could simply cash out their gold into hard currency. That two-way transaction system allowed things like botting to be way more lucrative.

Watcher confirms that the monetary price of a token will never fall below a regular monthly subscription.

Comparison to PLEX and CREDD

Eve Online’s PLEX system operates a little differently:

  • The players set the price, not Blizzard
  • PLEX is tradable even after being sold to players
  • PLEX can be used to pay for several account services (Transfers, other products)
  • There is a dedicated line for people wishing to purchase packages greater than 300 PLEX.

I for one would be quite interested in having tokens be used as a way to pay for account services like server transfers or faction transfers.

Perhaps the best time to buy tokens for maximum return on gold? During the fall when students are slowly making their way back to school. Conversely, I suspect the gold price of tokens will drop during the late spring and summer months as people enjoy this… outside stuff and enjoy the weather.

A couple of years ago (2012), PLEX used to be worth around 600 million Isk (their in game currency). Now it’s sitting just below 800 million. Seems like a bubble just waiting to burst but who knows?

I wonder if PLEXes be used as a form of tax sheltering, heh.

One more thing I’ve found is that it seems the price of a regular subscription to EVE Online is cheaper than the same game time equivalent of PLEX. You’d think since both are for 30 days of game time that the prices would be the same, but it doesn’t appear to be the case.

Inactive accounts

Don’t worry, if your account is inactive you can reactivate it anytime as long as you have the sufficient gold. You can still login to the game but you’re restricted to low level characters and can’t interact with the auction house or trade chat since it’s restricted. But if you have the gold, you can purchase a token right from the character select screen.

The auction house impact

Yeah, you can it’ll have a huge impact for sure. A Spectral Tiger goes for around $450. Mythic BoEs can easily break 100k. Expect prices to fluctuate before leveling out over the first several weeks.

What’s neat is that this offers a great way to buy pets or other BoAs on other servers without you having to establish a presence. An Anubisath Idol might go for 65k on my server but end up being 30k on a different one. I can sell a token for the necessary capital to buy an Idol at 30k and circumvent buying the one on my home server.

On a side note, the auction does need an overhaul real soon. A unified regional auction house might do wonders but then does anyone really want to contend with thousands of pages of one Draenic Dust?

There’s been some concerns that this is another step closer to players being able to buy gear with hard currency. In a roundabout way, it’s possible. Here’s what Ion had to say about that:

“In Diablo III, gold and the items that were being transacted there were really very direct analogs for power. That’s what was changing hands. The very best items in Diablo were what was on the auction house,” Hazzikostas said.

“World of Warcraft … since day 1, one of the distinguishing features of our game and the game economy was that the best items in the game and the most powerful items are only obtainable through personal exploits, whether you are earning conquest points in arenas or rated battlegrounds, or whether you’re killing dragons in a raid and taking a flaming sword off the dragon’s corpse. You have to earn that yourself, gold won’t get you those things.”

Translation: BoEs aren’t the most powerful items in the game. Do expect a potential change to the Black Market Auction house. Seems like Blizzard has the foresight to consider that and increase the chance of items being sold to pets, mounts, and other cosmetic stuff.

In any case, those’re my thoughts on the topic. Quite excited for this. Patch 6.1.2!

Those of you with millions of gold: Do you really need 20 years of WoW game time?

Further reading

Venture Beat’s Interview with Watcher

Prismatic Reflections Need to be Banned

Prismatic Reflections Need to be Banned


That’s it.

I’m pissed.

The first few times were funny, I’ll admit it. It’s okay if someone wants to try my transmog and appearance on for size. I do look rather dashing.


But I’m not laughing anymore. That stupid Prismatic Reflection thing got me killed!

I’m getting real close to instilling guildmaster decree No. 49! No more Prismatic Reflections!

Oh, I’ll tell you why this thing has me all worked up. Imagine doing Operator Thogar in a pug and someone innocuously using that Reflection on you. Of course, I’m too busy doing my healing thing to notice and it looks like I’m positioned safely and correctly on the track. A quick eyeball glance shows my distinctively looking overalls and lumberjack shirt standing on the right side of the train track. You can see my look above. There’s no way you can miss it. Fat farmer panda is a pretty unique looking panda.


Sure enough, the train doors fly open and take me with it.

I saw someone else who swapped appearances with me and we were standing so close together that I mistook them for my character.

I’ve stared down dragon aspects, undead lich kings, and fierce demons. And all it takes is someone switching their appearance with mine before I get dismantled.

I hate this game.

What’s Going on with Mythic?

Indulge me in this observation.

It appears that a number of prominent guilds are starting to buckle and implode. These were once strong, proud guilds who had achieved success last tier during Siege of Orgrimmar. I can’t say for sure what the cause of breakups are, but it’s happening across the board.

Starting to wonder now if we’re walking in with too high expectations of ourselves and then getting hit with a huge dose of reality. Maybe it’s deliberate though since they want Blackrock Foundry to last a while before the next tier (which if history is any indication will be around during the summer or early fall).

Can’t even begin to surmise what’s going on here.

Is the extra difficulty level of Mythic simply too much?

Is it just due to the roster absences?

People getting tired and putting too much pressure on themselves?

I had a thought yesterday. All mythic guilds now were strong, heroic guilds last tier. But it does not appear that all heroic guilds can cut it as a mythic guild this tier.

We started the expansion strong with 27 players. Thank goodness for flex modes, because I feel lucky if I can even get 20 now. Trying to recruit and pickup raiders for a  guild seems insanely tough (and I still think transferring off might do the job).

Allow me to highlight two factors:

  • Too much competition: I’m not referring to other guilds. I’m referring to other difficulties. Between raid finder, normal, and heroic, players can now find the guild that’s raiding at the right pace and difficulty for them.
  • Too much accessibility: The group finder has been a huge blessing and a curse.

Take this nugget of logic below:

“Why bother going through an application and interview process in joining a guild when I can just take a few seconds to browse around on Group Finder or Open Raid and join a group at will?”

– Random Mage, 2015

Years ago, guilds were the only game in town if you wanted to defeat Arthas or tackle raids. No group finder meant if you wanted your moneys worth in the game, you had to join a guild. The only way to get picked up by a guild is by going through their process. The only way to stay in the guild is to not lose your edge and die to every third void zone on the ground. You had to be sharp, you had to be productive, and you had to be skilled otherwise you wouldn’t be able to see content.

The last bit above there ties into something else about individual performance. If you aren’t as skilled or astute with your character, there’s a raid difficulty just for you. During the old expansions, it was play and perform at X level or else don’t raid. Now it’s, why play at X level when I can play at Z level with reduced stress and pressure and still see the same bosses anyway?

Random Mage might be on to something there.

Maybe they’re the smart one. Because you’ve got GMs like me who are wracking their brain and desperately looking for ways to find and retain talent. Other GMs are closing up shop due to lack of resources, time, effort, interest, and so forth.

Take a look at this list:

  • Summit (6/7 Mythic, ceased raiding 1/27)
  • The Horsemen (US 25th during Siege of Orgrimmar for Heroic Garrosh, ceased competitive raiding during December)
  • Blood Runs Cold (6/7 Mythic in Highmaul, ceased raiding in January)
  • Vanlyfe (6/7 Mythic, ceased raiding in January)
  • Victory or Whatever (US 38th, 25 man, ceased raiding)

Admittedly a small sample size, but I’m sure they’re not the only ones that had high hopes and aspirations. But for whatever reason, they’ve stopped raiding. Maybe expectations or other life factors interfered here. Who knows? But something’s definitely going on here.

For the purposes of raiding, guilds are meaningless and may not mean anything significant in finding success in raids because you can still do the same thing via Group Finder.

Someone pointed me over to Stoove’s blog post on Mythic raiding and how it has impacted a 10 man scaling up. Mythic took the difficulties of heroic raids and amplified the difficulty immensely.

It might be time to take a hard look at the mirror and realistically figure out what kind of guild we really are.

The Next Generation Troll

As a way to help supplement our main raids, Conquest has started fielding weekend normal raids. Our focus during the week continues to be aimed at heroic Blackrock Foundry but we still want want to build as many tier sets as we can with the stuff out of normal mode.

Like most hybrid guild and pickup player compositions, the players you pick out of the group finder is completely random. Like any other queue into the dungeon finder, you don’t know which player you’re going to get.

Is it going to be the guy who remains completely unaware of his surroundings?

Is it the girl whose on her 4th alt but has an immense amount of experience that she can do the raids blindfolded even though her character isn’t the most geared?

Is it the player who gives zero crap at all about anything and expects to be carried through the whole instance?

The group finder can be such a pandora’s box. We stumbled out of the gate on Flamebender a little bit before we went on cruise control and demolished the other bosses of the instance (short of Blackhand).

But let me regal you with a story of a player with misplaced efforts. We had a player who had a hard time consistently staying alive. Even with their access to immunities, they would die to a Molten Torrent. They kept chasing one of my players around even though they were under the effect of Blazing Radiance. They just could not seem to handle stay alive and kiting the wolves. I was lenient at first and kept giving them opportunity after opportunity to step it up and prove me wrong but enough was enough and I delivered the bad news that I had to drop them in order to keep the raid moving on.

Oh of course they were pissed.

Most sane people would accept the fact that maybe they can’t just cut it in the current group and drop out to find another one to join or duck back into Highmaul and keep banging out more gear or practice.

This guy takes it a step further. A new level 1 alt is created on my server and instantly my chat box is flooded repeatedly with non-stop periods (as in “…” for the whole length of the chat field) in an attempt to cause disruption. Then they show up in Mumble trying to play music but it’s fairly soft and not really overpowering. Plus with Mumble open on a second screen, it takes under half a second to right click and suppress/ban the user.

I attribute that to years of practice with an AWP in Counterstrike and the quick scope.

Anyway, the chat disruption goes on for another 20 or so minutes but Warcraft Instant Messenger is busy picking it up and filtering it. The chat gets minimized, the sound notification gets suppressed, and we keep raiding anyway and taking down Flamebender within the next two pulls. Eventually, I grew wary and reported the player to Blizzard via the in-game ticket submission. I can’t seem to right click and report through the Instant Messenger window unfortunately. Just before the ignore, I receive a whisper saying “okay, going to get on my VPN now” but nothing materialized after that.

It’s amazing the effort and trouble people will put themselves through just to try to undermine and disrupt other people. This thirst for vengeance satisfaction is bizarre. If the individual placed this same level of effort on working on their awareness and general gameplay, they’d turn out to be a solid mage that any group would embrace.

Just wow. Mildly annoyed but oddly impressed.

If you get dropped from a group, try to figure out why. Maybe the reason is bull. Maybe their reason is sound. But does it really do you any good to go after someone on the internet for that? It’s a waste of your time that could be spent looking for another more accommodating group.

Remember when all trolls used to do was clog up trade chat and ask where Mankirk’s wife is?

I miss that.

Blizzard Watch and Blackrock Foundry Impressions

What a busy week! If you hadn’t had a chance yet, here’s the latest stuff written up on the Guildmasters:

Blizzard Watch

I’m back!

No doubt you’ve heard the news of WoW Insider being shuttered. Alex and Adam, the brains behind the operation, have a Patreon all funded.

Their targets were met within the day.

Blizzard Watch is a reality now with your help and support.

I’ll be on deck providing general day to day support for any Warcraft stuff and Hearthstone stuff. Once Overwatch kicks in to high gear, you’ll be able to see my contributions for that too. In fact, I just finished my first draft on a Paladin deck list that’s been making the rounds on the ladder so you can expect to see that sometime later in the week.

In other news, I’ll be temporarily stepping in as the Priest columnist dude. It’s interim for now until another can be found.

Why interim? If you haven’t yet, take an opportunity now to read Poneria’s thoughts on her own Warlock column.

I’m not Dawn.

I’m not Fox.

No way I can fill their shoes. During Mists, I tried my hardest playing Shadow at various points and just couldn’t pull it off at the level required. I don’t have the intellectual capacity to theorycraft in Holy or Discipline, either. Oh sure, I contributed to the Priest section in the Warlords of Draenor strategy guide. However, the class columnist needs to be self sustaining through the good content heavy times and the dry spells of the expansion. It’s easy to whip out something to say after a patch, a nerf, or a new raid instance. Coming up with something during the lulls is much more difficult.

My problem is that I’ve written so much that I don’t know what to really write anymore. Ideas themselves aren’t a problem. But a class columnist has this level of expectation and pressure on it as Poneria illustrates. With the Priest being such an iconic class, it wouldn’t be possible for me to sustain the level of quality that I expect from myself over the long run.

It’s like being expected to hit a home run at least once per week.

Imagine a waste basket in front of you that’s filled to the brim of crumpled Post It notes and scribbles. In that waste basket are ideas that might be good enough for something else, but might not be up to the standard that Blizzard Watch readers expect and deserve.

Look, I absolutely love my Priest. Not once has any other class been considered as a main switch. But I lost my confidence in writing about it ages ago. You have WoWHead, Icy Veins, Noxxic, Ask Mr. Robot, and How to Priest as these wonderful resources for both new and veteran Priests to turn to. What the hell did I have to add anymore?

In the spare time I had before in the past, I’d periodically mentor new bloggers or columnists to the realm of Warcraft blogging. I’d tell them the day they start receiving comments that disagree with their content, it means they’ve officially reached the big time. As a blogger, our roles are to help educate and encourage discussion. Alternative viewpoints aren’t a bad thing. If everyone agreed with everything written in a post without a second perspective or anything else to add to the discussion, then I failed my job. But hey, this is the internet. People say things. People say really mean things. And I try to encourage the new writers not to give up, to not take it personally, and to not let it get under their skin. The moment it does, then the internet wins.

Confession: I let it get to me. I started second guessing myself. I second guessed every post I wrote and every idea that popped up. Before, the standard used for writing posts was “Would Matt read this?” and if the answer was yes, I’d start.

The blank document in front of me was like a huge giant slab of marble that was waiting desperately to be chiselled for the words, ideas, and entertainment to be unleashed upon the world.

Now, I don’t even know what my standard is. I’ve built up my own internal expectations to the point where I can never surpass them.

I forgot to add, Big Bear Butt’s recently called it a career from blogging too. He’s a veteran blogger and fellow WoW Insider colleague. There were times where I was depressed about writing and wanted to reach out to him because I felt that he could at least understand (I never did though as I just swallowed it, bit my tongue, and went back to grinding away at what I was working on). He and I started writing about Warcraft during the same time period around 2008 where we had legends like Phaelia, BRK, Ego, and so forth. I don’t think there’s anyone left that’s still active (even playing the game).

This is why I’m only filling in temporarily.

Anyway, I promise, I’ll keep the seat warm for you. Feel free to get in touch with me if you have any questions. Can’t say I’ll be able to answer all of them but I’ll try. If you’re interested, here’s the contact form.

Blackrock Foundry Impressions

Is Blackrock Foundry fun?

Yup, I’d sure say so. We’ll find out if the instance is just as fun and engaging in two months as it is now. The reaction to it appears incredibly positive. First few week’s often energetic as players are enthusiastic about the instance and the atmosphere.

We learned the hardway early on in Highmaul not to take anything for granted so we opened our week into normal mode to help shore up any remaining gear issues while getting everyone’s feet wet for heroics. Plus, let’s not forget the benefit of tier sets and bonuses.

Gruul – I daresay this guy is the Patchwerk boss of the instance. Burning Crusade veterans should have no problems as they ace through the Petrify and Shatter mechanics. We didn’t have the benefit of radial circles on the ground that informed us who would get hit by Petrify affected players. Oh yeah, everyone in raid was hit. None of this 8 players business. Anyone else’s lawn called? Something about getting off it? 🙂

Oregorger – The trick is to stay behind this guy. When phase 2 rolled around, we stacked the raid together and rolled around the chamber to activate Blackrock crates. You might have to time defensive raid cooldowns against the Acid Torrent.

Blast Furnace – Apparently, this was bugged during the first night or so. Thankfully, it was hot fixed a little later on. One of the toughest bosses in the instance even on normal. Ended up stacking sides during the first phase. Having a Priest with Mind Control will come in handy during the second part.

Hans and Franz – These guys are hans down my favourite boss of the instance. If your guild ever needed an idiot and movement check, this one would be it. If you haven’t referred to the abilities as pop tarts and stamps yet, you should start.

Flamebender – Conquest spent a few wipes here as we attempted to shoot for the Steel Has Been Brought achievement. It largely worked with us just tanking Steelbringer to the side while he jumped around the raid. If you’re planning on obtaining this for your guild, pull him way into a corner. He does knock backs which are insanely annoying especially if you get affected by the Molten Torrent ability and can’t jump into range of melee fast enough.

Kromog – Kolagarn 2.0! Nothing can get more random than this. Stack up your range and healers. Establish defensive raid cooldowns on breaths as needed. I used at least one per breath. Paladins and Mages can easily ignore the rune and hand mechanic. If someone gets caught out, a Paladin Hand of Protection will save them.

Beastlord – This is another quick test of your raiders and how swiftly they can dodge the spears being thrown. Your healers will be pushed during Ironcrusher phase with the Stampede.

Operator Thogar – The other movement heavy fight in the instance is Thogar and his toy trains. Set defensive cooldowns against the Iron Bellow from the Man-at-Arms. The Cauterizing Bolt from the Firemender is key as it deals 20% damage to the ads then healing up to 35% of their health over 10 seconds. Time your Mass Dispel against it. Make sure you download Thogar Assist.

Iron Maidens – Can’t say I’ve participated in an encounter this long since my first go at Illidan or Kil’jaeden. You’ve got time to theoretically use Heroism twice. But you should really save it for 20% when the fight really starts.

Blackhand – This is a really satisfying end boss to an instance. It has three phases, none of this intermission junk. The changes they made to phase 2 with the bombs and the spear throwing is handy and makes things easier as long as the fixated players know how to drive the tanks around. I’d advise referring them to something else other than tanks lest your actual tanks get confused. Phase 3 is the biggest individual awareness check ever. Stand at the wrong spot or angle to the impact of the Massive Smash and you’ll go flying off the ledge — Just like your chances of beating this guy. Heroism here.

I can feel the pain of having no Resto Druids in raid. If you happen to be a Resto Druid, a Balance Druid, or a Shadow Priest, check our guild out. We could use your talents.

I’ll Never Forget the Fond Memories at WoW Insider

You might have seen some of the alleged rumors and news going around yesterday about Joystiq’s demise. How does this affect WoW Insider? Well, WoW Insider is under the arm of Joystiq which is also owned by AOL (along with Massively). Heck, #SaveJoystiq was trending all day earlier. I’m sure the support from many of the readers was well received by the writers. If anything happens to Joystiq, the sister sites would feel the effects. I’m sure if there were anything official to announce, it would happen soon. Until then, I’m going to take a moment and be all sappy. I’m almost never sappy.

Matt? Show emotion? Please. But indulge me just this one time on a trip throughout the years and the awesome writers that I am proud to have worked with (and played alongside).

WoW Insider was my first big break. During the Spring of 2008, then editor Liz Harper signed me to write a weekly Priest column. I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t have any formal training or a post secondary degree completed yet since I was still in university. All I had was this blog as my portfolio. The Warcraft blogosphere then was completely different. There wasn’t an Icy Veins yet and WoW Head was still in it’s infancy as just a database. WoW Progress didn’t exist until 2008 and on. Elitist Jerks was the place to go for class discussion and theorycrafting. All these community sites and forums for classes never existed and MMO Champion had one of the more horrendous looks at the time (but at least it was organized and neat). I can’t say for certain what the oldest Warcraft fansite is, but WoW Insider would definitely be up there. I never did find out how the idea and the initial production of the site began.

WoW Insider wasn’t the first place to go if you wanted patch notes, raid guides, or blue posts. MMO Champion and WoWHead both filled that quite handily. If those two were the head and brains of Warcraft fan sites, then WoW Insider would’ve been the heart and soul. There are easily hundreds of opinions and editorial pieces published over the years that highlighted initiatives by players, challenged designer decisions, and offered advice on all sorts of topics. Yeah, some of it was fluff but I can’t deny the impact or the community aspect and the way it brought people together.

I’ll never forget that chance Liz gave me.

I’ll never forget the lore debates between Mike Sacco, Matt Rossi, Anne Stickney, and Daniel Whitcomb late at night.

I’ll never forget Alex and Daniel’s constant back and forth regarding each Mass Effect game, the characters, and the choices.

I’ll never forget Dan’s numerous lolcat pictures where he seemingly had one for every possible situation.

I’ll never forget Mike Grey and his calming influence or the lessons he taught about the business side of things.

I’ll never forget Adam’s liberal use of facepalm Picard pictures.

I’ll never forget when Anne introduced me to the mimosa nor all the new Starbucks drinks she came up for me to try.

I’ll never forget how I managed to rope Joe into being one of the Shaman writers.

I’ll never forget Lisa who was like the English teacher you wanted that did not use a red pen whenever you screwed something up.

I’ll never forget Fox because seriously, how can you forget Fox?

I’ll never forget Allison Robert when she won the informal headlines contest for page views hands down with “Naked Women Playing Cataclysm Alpha”.

I’ll never forget Olivia who literally showed me what tenacity and hard work looked like if they chugged energy drinks.

I’ll never forget Robin’s encouragement in making an appearance during WoW Insider guild events (I was a shy fellow).

I’ll never forget Dawn and her relationship with Ruthers, the Yak. She was always the better Priest.

I’ll never forget Sally or Kristin and the perspectives they brought to the discussions which made me re-examine my own.

I’ll never forget Chase Christian and our hilarious exchanges about how bad the other’s healer class was.

I’ll never forget Christian Belt and his nigh-legendary rivalry with about every Warlock columnist who ever tried to wage a war of words.

I’ll never forget the revolving door of Warlock columnists until one Megan managed to break the curse.

I’ll never forget the sleepless nights leading up to patch or expansion drops and the work we put in to ensure all the basics were covered.

I’ll never forget the readers (and the email comments which can never see the light of day).

I’ll never forget the fun and planning that went into Hello Kitty Insider.

There were numerous other individuals who were there. I feel like there are going to be a few others that I have forgotten. Amanda, Liz W., Big Red Kitty, Big Bear Butt, Basil, Frostheim, Chase H., Scott, Josh, Matt W., Kelly, Stacey, Lissanna, other writers, and then there were the support teams operating behind the scenes who helped ensure the site was running. One of the best editorial teams I had the pleasure of working with.

The Hypothetical

If you follow editors Adam or Alex on Twitter, they’ve both been posting hypothetical questions.

I am going to emphasize that it’s all hypothetical.

It would be nice if this was the 24th century and money wasn’t a thing anymore. But writers have to pay the bills, put a roof over their head, and put food on the table. For some, freelance writing is a part time gig. For others, it’s a full time career and profession. I think there’s a few things that the corporate overseers could’ve done better and should’ve evolved with the changing internet. If a game can make over 50 million dollars from crowdfunding alone, then that needs to be examined as potential revenue stream.

Here’s a few options I can think of that seem to work well for the sites below:

There’s the Starcity Games model where they have a nice collection of accessible articles and a premium selection of written content. However, It could be spun so that premium content would be available later for free (and that those interested in supporting the site would get a first crack and view premium content first).

Another model is to follow in the footsteps of the TotalFark and Reddit Gold programs that allow users to provide a modest monthly subscription donation which includes optional ads, special site-wide perks, and awesome deals with select partners.

The last one I can think of is New York Times and Wall Street Journal model which places everything behind a paywall (and this would be the least likely route since the hypothetical site wouldn’t last very long here).

Whatever ends up happening, this is all research into hypothetical situation that might not occur. Either way, I encourage you to let them know directly (or you can respond here).

Time to Change Servers?

Recruiting’s just abysmal these days. After we joined the Mythic 2/7 club the other night, we started work on Brackenspore. Three starting healers have decided to leave the game or explore other opportunities elsewhere. Haven’t called a day off yet outside of the holidays.

Every week it’s a struggle where for every gain or sign of progress we make, a player calls it a career.

Wasn’t this expansion supposed to rejuvenate and regenerate the player base and bring back players?

Wasn’t Warlords hailed as the best all-time expansion the World of Warcraft received?

Is it the healing game and systems in general that have turned off healers completely?

The state of raiding is in a flux now with the extra difficulty level added which helped further separate raids into different tiers. It seems now though that players are settling at the tier they’re at with little to no desire to advance up. There’s the rare number who do want to make that push for themselves and try to move up to the more difficult content in the game. Others are content or just don’t care. Nothing wrong with that, of course. But it doesn’t make it easy at all.

There’s a feeling of apprehension that GMs keep in the back of their minds. No one’s going to discuss it though. It’s a sinking pit in their stomach. It’s the fear that their guild crumbles. I’m vulnerable to that too. Sometimes I can’t help but wonder if other GMs look ahead to see and wonder if their guild will be around next week.

With the player recruiting drought though, nothing is ever off the table. It means I’m considering server moves and faction transfers. Yes, even Horde. Right now, it’s all spitballing. Get a red team to poke holes into the idea and get a blue team to find every reason to make that move. Ner’zhul is a PvP server and I’ve heard applicants change their mind at the last minute simply because they were afraid to transfer to a PvP server and get ganked all the time.

I don’t know where that fear comes from because while you may suffer the periodic ganking or two, it isn’t that widespread or common. Most people just want to get from point A to point B and get their farming done or what have you. In the extremely unlikely event you do get camped, you can always change activities or switch to an alt and come back later.

Anyway, enough of that. Mythic Brackenspore is on deck. The difficulty curve on this encounter relative to Twins is amazing.

Welcome 2015!

Welcome 2015!

I know I’m a few days late, but Happy New Year everyone!

Warcraft underwent huge changes for 2014. We were stuck in Siege of Orgrimmar for most of us. I ended up getting pretty sick of the instance the same way I was annoyed with Icecrown Citadel and Dragon Soul. 2014 ended with a new expansion, scalable raid sizes, and a new mythic difficulty.

After acquiring the Master of Apexis achievement the other week, I am so done with that. If you had to farm Apexis dailies on three different toons, you’d be sick of it as well. My garrison responsibilities have dropped significantly. With my barracks at level 3, and a full arsenal of followers armed with 650+ ilevel and being all epic’d out, there isn’t much else for me to do. I still deploy them on level 100 missions for the sake of hoping for lucky drops out of my Salvage Yard, but it hasn’t paid out yet (again, multiply that by three toons).

Speaking of Mythic, the crew knocked out Kargath last week. That boss seems easier compared to Heroic Imperator. Anyone else get that feeling? Now, it’s onwards to Twin Ogronn. Seems to me the difficulty from Kargath to the Twins is a slight jump before it escalates severely to Brackenspore or Tectus.

Anyway, aside from that, have you made any resolutions for this year?

Game Time for Gold? Yes Please!

Have you seen the news about game time for gold? It broke earlier today in a forum post from Bash. Aside from the standard looking ahead to patch 6.1 content stuff like flight master paths, garrison stuff, and that Pepe (which is a separate blog post altogether because frankly, I just don’t understand the appeal), they dropped this bomb:

We’re exploring the possibility of giving players a way to buy tradable game-time tokens for the purpose of exchanging them in-game with other players for gold. Our current thought on this is that it would give players a way to use their surplus gold to cover some of their subscription cost, while giving players who might have less play time an option for acquiring gold from other players through a legit and secure system. A few other online games offer a similar option, and players have suggested that they’d be interested in seeing something along those lines in WoW. We agree it could be a good fit for the game, and we look forward to any feedback you have as we continue to look into this feature.

You’ll recall that this was one of the main hyped features for Wildstar around the use of CREDD. EVE uses a similar currency called PLEX.

I’m in favor of it. I think it’s a great idea. It gives players like me with limited time (or limited energy) another way to pick up gold. And it gives players who don’t has much access to funds another avenue to keep their game time going.

But isn’t this kind of thing going to mess with the server economy? I want to say this is a method that will certainly put a dent into the illicit gold selling community. What’s going to do a better job than Blizzard legalizing that itself? I just don’t want to see this feature backfire upon itself the way they introduced real money trading into Diablo. I’d go out and suggest that this would ruin the game, but the examples with PLEX and CREDD have me wondering. It’d for sure upset the balance and prices of BOEs now. I could buy a BoE trinket for $20 and not bat an eye but 45000 gold would make me pause.

Are you a fan of the currency trading idea? It’s not set in stone yet but they did say they were exploring the possibility.

Now the question remains, what would you call this new currency? Needs to be short and catchy.