Eventbrite? Or Eventbust? Thoughts on BlizzCon 2014 Tickets

Eventbrite? Or Eventbust? Thoughts on BlizzCon 2014 Tickets

Bullsh*t.

Horrible.

Complete clusterf*ck.

Those are some of the words on Twitter used to describe the ticket purchasing process this year for BlizzCon 2014.

First of all, congratulations to everyone that managed to secure and score tickets for this year’s BlizzCon! I managed to get some for myself and Conquest will be returning in full force again with some new faces (and old).

What exactly was different about this year versus previous years?

The Old System

Historically, Blizzard has done a fairly good job managing ticket purchases. You had to keep refreshing the page, select your order, and you’d get thrown into a queue. There would be an indicator that showed you what place in line you were. If you were 1356th in line and there were 10000 tickets available, you knew you were locked in for a ticket. Once the indicator reached zero, that meant all the tickets were spoken for and had been sold. There were no more left in the system.

The New System

This year, Blizzard opted for something different. They decided to use Eventbrite instead. A few of my guildies had used Eventbrite before and mentioned that the system itself had crashed during smaller events and concerts (with a capacity of 2000 seats). BlizzCon hitting the 20000 ticket mark made me wonder if Eventbrite could even handle the expected load.

My guild has done this annually now. We had a thread set up to coordinate who was able to buy tickets, what their maximum purchasing capability was, and who needed tickets. We were all on Mumble when the tickets went live and I hit refresh, selected four, and was thrown into their waiting room. Some of my guildies were faster on the draw than I was and managed to proceed right to the checkout page. I had given up hope. I figured if I was in the waiting room, there was no way I’d be able to get tickets. But I had no visual indicator as to how many tickets were remaining so I stayed on there.

Minutes later, I was thrown out of the queue and informed that the event had sold out and that there were no more tickets available.

Ugh.

My first year of not getting my own BlizzCon ticket. There goes my streak.

Or so I thought.

Resigned and frustrated, I kept slamming my F5 key just because. Then I noticed my page had changed. The sold out notice was gone. Tickets were available again. Perplexed, I decided to go for it. Changed my ticket quantity to 3. Was told that it wasn’t available, but I could buy them in singles. Said screw it, selected 1 ticket and was thrown into the checkout page again. By this point, all but 4 people in guild had tickets that were spoken for. 3 of us managed to check out in time and get order confirmations on our tickets.

The last guy was still stuck and wasn’t able to get his either as it had thrown him another sold out error.

On a hunch, he was smart enough and decided to wait a few more minutes before trying again. Sure enough, 24 minutes after the first wave of tickets had been released, he managed to purchase a single ticket for himself. Everyone who had signed on and committed to a ticket managed to get one.

Weird right? What the heck happened?

Based on what I saw and my conversations with others, tickets were held on the checkout page by people purchasing them. If people did not finalize their purchase or if their check out process timed out after 8 minutes, those tickets would then be released back available for purchase.

However, the rest of us in line had been thrown out and we would not have known about it. Why would it tell us that tickets are sold out if they weren’t actually sold out?

I felt that was absolute ludicrosity. Way preferred the old system. At least I knew for sure that I had a chance. And at least I knew that once the supply bar was empty, it was literally empty. I understand that the system this year had the unintentional side effect where people could show up late and purchase a ticket 20 minutes later. Neat in a way, but not exactly fair for the people who started the F5 refresh spam on the dot.

How can this be solved?

Easy. Put in something that the previous BlizzCon pages had: A bar that shows how many tickets are remaining. Calculate it based on actual tickets confirmed and sold. I think that’d go a long way towards placating many interested players.

Oh and don’t actually throw people out of the queue.

Why They Switched

Good question. Why did Blizzard switch?

One reason why we’re using Eventbrite is because there is a quick and easy system to help us monitor purchases and be able to take tickets back from scalpers/bots.

Source

BlizzCon is notorious for having a huge number of people trying to sell and scalp tickets. Listings appeared on Ebay weeks before the actual BlizzCon ticket sale. I’m not sure about the countermeasures or the success rate of trying to stop and minimize the effect of scalpers, but I loaded up Ebay and decided to search it up:

blizzcon-ebay-2014

Maybe it’ll get shut down? Who knows?

The Edge: April Fool’s, Mythic Rosters, and Shaking up Dungeons

Several weeks ago, I joined BlizzPro’s The Edge videocast team as a third co-host on their show. I still receive questions from readers asking about the Matticast. This was one way for me to return to the casting circuit. We’ll be talking about news (at least, only the pertinent ones). Along the way, we’ll offer what we can about classes, skills, and raids.

In the last episode, we discussed cross-realm raiding and preparing your guild for Warlords. This week’s episode 14, the crew takes a closer look at the different factors that go into planning your roster for Mythic. Meanwhile, faux patch notes kept us entertained for the day with nods and inside jokes along with pop culture references. Sadly, I think I only got half the references.

  • 3:35: April Fool’s recap
  • 10:42: Mythic roster considerations
  • 21:00: Heroic dungeons

I’ll add some additional thoughts about building a Mythic roster in a future post. This is the first expansion where I’ve had to really whip out my whiteboard and really think ahead about the roles each player will have going into an expansion. I wasn’t in such a position when we transitioned from Vanilla Warcraft to Burning Crusade (and going from the 40 man to the 25 man). I can only imagine what it was like for GMs in those positions who had to make the tough call of picking 15 out of 40 players to release.

Sean wanted to take a page inspired from Diablo. Why not have loot drops completely randomized in a limited pool? But I don’t think anything can be done that can really entice me to jump back into heroic dungeons when I’m well already into raiding. Let’s face it, the first week or two of a new expansion, I’ll be dungeon diving repeatedly to get my priest at a level where he can adequately compete for raiding and then never going back again.

If there’s a system mechanic that increases character progression in addition to raiding, I’m going to be annoyed. Raids should be the ultimate way to progress a character’s power (excluding PvP). Dungeons just aren’t my thing and I hope we don’t have to run them to get some kind of currency or items that augment our gear. Just isn’t necessary. In my mind, you should be running heroic dungeons because:

  1. You want to get started for entry level raiding.
  2. Certain vanity rewards like pets or mounts (or challenge mode gear).
  3. An activity you enjoy with a smaller group of people.
  4. You need the 3000 valor points for the legendary cloak on your 4th alt.

Look, if you like dungeons and stuff, power to you. I’m just not a fan. I can’t think of anything they can do to really encourage me to go back in after I’ve had a taste of raids. There’s a finite amount of time I spend playing WoW per week and I don’t want to split up my time being forced to do something I don’t want to do for the sake of maximizing my character’s power.

They can’t exactly utilize the mechanics from Diablo’s adventure and bounty modes. You’re controlling a character with 6 abilities in that game. All areas of a map are randomly generated. All the loot stats and features are also randomly generated. In Warcraft, you’re playing your toon which has all these attacks and cooldowns. All the heroics are on a set layout. Lastly, each dungeon has it’s own set of loot rewards from each boss. Does WoW need anymore RNG? Right now, I know that if I wanted a weapon, I could run a certain boss in a specific heroic over and over again until I attained it. Chance says that if I do it enough times, eventually the dice roll will go in my favor*. At least I’d know what I can do increase the odds. With completely random loot tables, it wouldn’t matter what I did. I’d have a roughly equal chance no matter which boss I came to.

*In practice, I have the worst luck.

What about you? Are you a dungeon runner? What drives you to propel your characters through 5 mans? What would you like to see to improve your experience within them?

So Shadow Maybe

So Shadow Maybe

“Hey I just met you
And this is crazy
But Monks are OP
So Shadow maybe.”

 

The world is officially ending.

Seriously, this is the year. Volcanoes are erupting ash into the atmosphere. Earthquakes are shattering continents. Storms are tearing up landscapes.

Why? Because the two most unlikeliest things have occurred.

I have a Horde Priest at max level. Never thought I’d get a character that high and routinely doing stuff. My friends ask me why didn’t I try a different class. It’s because I don’t feel comfortable playing another class. I just have an affinity and love for playing a Priest. However, I did decide to take her Shadow instead though she’s still quite capable of healing.

That’s the first bit of news.

The second?

It’s been clear to me after the first few weeks of raids that Holy Priests just can’t seem to match the level of other healing classes right now – Well, either that, or I can’t match the level of the other healers. That’s potentially true. The officers in my guild asked me to give Shadow a try. Since I’ve been predominantly Shadow on my Horde priest, I’ve had some practice. They were curious to see how I’d do in raids. I wasn’t the greatest Shadow player in Cataclysm but that’s largely due to my inability to maintain uptimes on DoTs (among other things).

But the Mist changes have made it a little easier for a newer Shadow player like me.

It’s fun, but I still feel wary. After playing a healer for 8 years, you still have assorted muscle memory from healing for so long. I find myself not only watching my DoTs on bosses, my timers, and my cooldowns, but I’m constantly scanning my raid frames. Burning Mana Hymns when I spot healer mana fairly low. I’m not quite sure what I’m looking for. My Resto Druid has been giving me her Symbiosis for Tranquility (which is fairly weaksauce, but not meant to stand on it’s own as a true healing CD).

I don’t know if I’ll ever play at full DPS capacity because I’m worried that something bad is going to happen. 

It’s not that I don’t trust the team, but I can read the play and “see” what’s going on.

Anyway, I apparently passed my trial so I’ll be doubleshifting as Shadow and Holy.

Things I need to work on:

  • Lining up cooldowns
  • Maintaining DoTs
  • Decision making (on spells)
  • Acquiring additional shadow gear (because I really don’t want to touch my healing gear)
  • Figuring out how to properly burst down orbs on Elegon

Keeping 25s Alive

I was reading this post at Unwavering Sentinel with different ideas on how to keep 25 man raiding alive. It’s something I’ve been thinking on and off about both from the perspective of a GM and as a normal player.

At the heart of, we should first analyze what makes a 25s player want to raid 25s. 10s is easier to manage. It’s difficulty varies from 25 from encounter to encounter. And you’re not as likely to cancel raids because you can usually rock 10 players (although 25s is more forgiving in this regard since running shorthanded a player on 25s isn’t going to be crushing as down 1 on 10).

For me, more is fun. I love large scale engagements. I prefer working with the army as opposed to the special forces group. More macro than micro. Maybe I really like raiding with 24 friends because I don’t want to leave 15 people I know out in the dust.

I get that players like the closeness and intimacy that 10s offer. Personally, I’m not looking for nor am I really interested in that type of stuff. I figure if you get too close to someone and know them too well, you’ll get irritated or annoyed at something. More players means you don’t get personnel fatigue from being with the same select group of people over and over. But that’s not a raid size matter (it’s more leaning towards guild size anyway).

The developers have recognized that they haven’t done enough to inject enthusiasm for 25s. One of the solutions that have been implemented for Mists is that even though the loot between 10s and 25s will remain the same, 25s will gear out faster. Instead of 5 drops per boss, we’re getting 6. All things considered equal, a 25s group would theoretically have a decked out raid faster.

We’re going to examine the solutions presented by Zellviren.

Solution 1: Make 25-man have specific rewards

This is singlehandedly the absolute best solution to revitalize 25 man raiding bar none. By making 25s the main route for the best loot, those players motivated by the flashiest and most powerful gear would have no choice but to enlist in a 25s guild.

But we all know that’s not an option on the table. This was something that was done during Wrath. Separate item levels between 10 and 25.

Solution 2: Make 25-man have specific achievements.

One could take this a step further and maybe add a guild achievement for a clear on 25 in addition to a 10. Of course, the unfortunate part of this is that it wouldn’t be possible at all for a guild to obtain every guild achievement. Maybe make it an either/or thing. If you clear it on 10, you get the toast for a 10 man raid. If you clear it on 25, you get the 25 one instead. But once you get one, maybe have it set that it’s not possible to get the other.

Solution 3: Creating “guild alliances”

I don’t know about this method. From a technical stand point, it wouldn’t be difficult to modify at all. But as a GM, it can be politically difficult to entertain the idea of cross raiding with a different guild. Who gets to quarterback the raid? How is loot going to be handled? If all hell breaks loose, it’s not uncommon for fingers to start pointing at each other on blame. It’s a solid idea but my guess is that human nature would work against it.

On the other hand, I’m a cynic.

Solution 4: The 25-man raiding “pool”.

A queue of raiders presents an interesting tool for GMs and raid leaders. It helps resolve calling raids based on attendance. In addition, it gives free agents out there a chance to throw themselves out in the world and see what else is out there. Maybe their server has limited progression or there aren’t many large guilds around. It’s like a match making service that’s one grade higher than LFR. However, I feel that this is more of a bandaid solution than one that would truly revitalize 25s.

What about removing the lockout?

One thing I want to propose with regards to lockouts is to remove them entirely. Instead, use the raid finder style of loot lockouts to limit gear acquisition.

Give players the ability to run as many bosses as they want in whatever raid size they want, but limit item rewards to their first kill of that week.

Say I’m on a weekend 10 man group. We clear out all of heroic Dragon Soul. The 25s group runs during the weekday and Monday rolls around. They find out that Peter Lafleur, one of the healing priests in that group, has national dodgeball championships that Monday and isn’t able to come in. Instead of resorting to a pug or a possibly undergeared alt, I can offer up my main priest instead. I’ve cleared out all of the bosses in Dragon Soul rendering me completely ineligible for any loot but that’s okay because I can still help out my fellow guild members.

Actually, some additional icing on the cake would be to allow gold drops to keep recurring. I wouldn’t mind raiding and farming bosses as an income stream.

The possible counterpoint to this is how would achievements be handled? The achievement with the 4 platforms on Deathwing normally takes guilds 4 weeks to get. Being able to reset and re-engage Deathwing anytime means they’d be able to nail that achievement inside a day. I’m not sure how to reconcile something like that because it gives raid groups the ability to re-attempt achievements anytime they want instead of waiting out a week for everything to reset.

If the idea of unlimited lockouts is too extreme, perhaps the moderate idea of one 10 man and one 25 man would suffice. During Wrath, we ran both 10s and 25s to maximize gear drops for our characters. But if it’s restricted to only one chance on obtaining loot, we’d be able to pick and choose a raid size at our discretion.

It’s just something to think about. For you who raid 25s, what is it that motivates you to do that? Why do you think you haven’t switched or would never consider shifting down a size to 10?

Player’s Choice Raid: Your 5 Picks?

Player’s Choice Raid: Your 5 Picks?

Let’s fast forward a few years. The 10th anniversary of World of Warcraft is about to hit. To celebrate 10 years of WoW, Blizzard has decided to create an instance filled with 5 bosses of your choice that have their stats and levels modified to whatever the current levels are. It’s a Trial of the Crusader style of an instance. You’re locked in a large arena with no way out.

It’s you, your friends, and your wits.

You get to pick any 5 bosses from any raid instance or outdoor raid boss in the history of the game.

My picks (Trial of the Insane)

  1. Mimiron
  2. Archimonde
  3. Nefarian 1.0
  4. Professor Putricide
  5. Kil’Jaeden

Mimiron’s been a favourite of mine. It’s like 3 mini bosses in one who then Voltron into a combined beast at the end.

Archie’s a huge headache. It took me a long time to get him down and is one of the most satisfactory kills I’ve ever picked up as a raider.

I’m interested in seeing what a post MoP Nef 1.0 encounter would look like. He gets a refresh and picks out abilities based on class (and maybe spec) during his phase 2. In a way, you get to pick your poison against him based on the lineup your raid brings.

Good news everyone! You get to pass plague around all over again in the level 100 version of the raid against Professor Putricide! Is your raid organized enough to automatically divvy themselves up based on which colour debuff they receive? Do they know who is dirty and who is clean?

Lastly, Kil’Jaeden. The boss I’ve worked on the longest in my entire raiding career. Heroic Zon’ozz was close but came up short. Learning to utilize the pet dragon, the positioning, handling all the incoming abilities was like a symphony coming together and making pitch perfect music.

What about you? Which 5 bosses would make it on your Player’s Choice list?

Help! Need Your Resources and Links!

I’ve been asked by my overlords to compile a large list of resources and links for WoW players. The internet is just too damn large. There’s new blogs starting everyday and sites being abandoned or taken down almost weekly. It’s a little bit much even for me.

So I’m requesting reinforcements!

Blogs.  These are typically sorted by class. But I know there’s a few that write about more than one class. For example, although Restokin closely identifies with druids of the resto and balance variety, there’s some advice on other classes. The stipulation though is that the blog must continue to be active and predominantly about WoW. Last updated 2011 doesn’t count. I won’t care if there’s stuff about the occasional League of Legends frustrations but it’s meant to be list of WoW resources. Even non-class specific stuff for gold and transmog would be welcome as I don’t know much about those either.

Strategy sites. Sites like Learn 2 Raid, Icy Veins, and Tankspot would fit nicely here. I’m sure there’s others out there.

Podcasts. I don’t listen to any podcasts at all. I’ve never gotten used to that medium. I like being able to read, scan, and skim. Can’t really do that with podcasts and I find that I have to listen to a bunch of stuff I have no interest in (such as hunter changes) before we get to the good stuff (raid and healing). However, if you have any favourites, please send them my way.

General news. This one’s more or less locked down. MMO Champion, WoWHead news, and Curse are the big ones.

Others. Character development tools are cool (WoW Reforge, Ask Mr Robot). General recruiting sites or forums. Guild tools. Basically anything that’s WoW related that might not fit other sections. I can create a second category for them.

Anyway, I’d greatly appreciate any resources you can provide. Feel free to comment below or email me as well.

[VIDEO] Mists Beta: Videos from the Vault of Mysteries

[VIDEO] Mists Beta: Videos from the Vault of Mysteries

Managed to queue into the second half of Mogu’shan Vaults on beta this week really late at night. I figured while these attempts were still fresh on my mine, I could at least get some pointers and notes down along with the recorded video. Apologies for the 720p. I found out that my bottleneck’s my video card (GTX 460, looking to get a 670 later on).

Didn’t actually take down Will of the Emperor. Got to within 2% left before the raid buckled. It’s fairly repetitive and you get the idea of what’s going on. I’ll keep making notes and additions with any changes or insights I get later on as we get into the expansion itself.

My favourite encounter by far is the Spirit Kings. Just so much going on with both covering the raid and making sure you don’t get screwed by specific player abilities. Elegon’s a visual beauty, too.

I’ll get the first half of Mogu’shan Vaults up in a few days. If you can’t wait, you can see them on my Youtube channel.

5 Year Blogiversary (And beta keys for you)

5 Year Blogiversary (And beta keys for you)

EDIT: Sorry folks, keys have been distributed out. Thanks for your feedback and thoughts!

Technically, the 5th year anniversary of the blog is tomorrow. In previous years, I’ve always wanted to offer something back to the community as a way of saying thanks for sticking around and your support. This year, I actually do have something I can hand out.

10 Mists of Pandaria beta keys

I know it’s late, but that’s why I wanted to get this post out a little early to maximize time. If you’re interested in a key, drop me a comment here or email me (Contact form at the top).

Tell me what part of the expansion you’re looking forward to and what topics you’re interested in reading about from Joe or myself.

Do me a favour, and double check your email. If you’re on Twitter, put your username there so I can reach you that way as well. I’ll pick get in touch with winners sometime tomorrow morning.

After you’re done with your response, I highly recommend you visit TwizzCast and give my buddy Twizz’s podcast a listen. A public thank you from me to him is in order as without him, I wouldn’t have any keys to give away.

Five years. That’s a long time. That’s 5 years of me keeping you occupied during your coffee breaks at work (or just your work in general). I feel bad for slowing down your productivity :(. But really, thank you to everyone for reading the posts here, sharing your perspectives, and being awesome in general.

I deem you all honorary bros.

P.S., If you haven’t stopped by my Youtube channel recently, I’ve uploaded 3 MoP raiding videos from Mogu’shan Vaults in LFR if you’re interested in seeing what you’ll be up against. You’ll be able to see examples of me standing in bad stuff while wrestling with text messages from one of my Resto Druids Disappointed smile. Not intentional, I promise.

Question: Guild A or Guild B?

Question: Guild A or Guild B?

I am a terrible blogger and lost the link to this self post on r/wow. But, I thought it was a good question since there’s bound to have been other players in similar situations.

So I have been faced with a problem and thought I should ask for some advice.

Since the start of cataclysm I have raided with a guild that was fairly progression drived (downing final bosses in a raid before next patch and even working on progression). When DS hit, we hit the ground running. After 4 months or so of raiding we got our rogue his legendarys and then the group kinda fell apart. I wasn’t ready to be done with raiding just yet so I pugged a lot for 8 weeks or so and got my tauren holy pally well geared. Enough so that I found a new guild that was still doing heroic progression and joined them. Now after 3 weeks in this new guild, my old guild decided to start running again. I plan on raiding with them come MoP, so they want me to bring my pally back and continue progression. But I don’t want to leave the guild I just joined without a healer. I have a disc priest in the old guild that I have been healing with, but it makes our comp less than optimal. Any suggestions on what I should do?

My initial thinking is to analyze why the first group ceased running. Depending on the reasoning, it could happen again and you might find yourself hung out to try. If it’s due to players losing interest or the leadership losing interest, you’d better be careful because there’s a chance that it’ll happen. One common trend I notice about certain players is that their interest level is up there when it comes to raiding content, but once they hit a progression wall (or if they’ve beaten the progression wall), they’ll stop showing up and lose interest until the next content patch. Repeat that for the next tier.

I personally hate people like that.

You end up equipping them so that they become an asset and then they take their leave costing you time to train up and gear a replacement. Call ‘em yo-yo players.

But I’m digressing.

If you don’t think  they’re going to lose interest or anything like that, then by all means resume progression since it seems like you’ve had the most fun. If you can’t say for certain that they’re not going to bail out on you, then I’d stick with the second group since it seems that they’re a little more stable and established.

Secret option C? You could double dip and play both your Priest and your Paladin, but you might find yourself burning out twice as fast and reducing your overall effectiveness to both groups. But, that largely depends on your gaming stamina and interest levels anyway.

Have any of you been in a situation akin to this fine fellow? What did you end up doing and how did it turn out? What would you suggest that this person do?

Lodur on Twisted Nether

Well folks, looks like this Saturday I’ll be joining the folks over at Twisted Nether for fun and shenanigans. You should make sure you free up some time and come join us, I know I would appreciate it. Taken right from their website

 

  • When is it?: This live show is scheduled for Saturday, April 14th at 8pm PT (11pm ET). Not sure what time that is for you? Use this handy-dandy time converter!
  • Where do I go? To participate on the live show, you will need to go to the TNB Live Show page to connect with the stream. See, totally easy. If you are having issues then go to the Ustream page. Don’t forget to register/login to UStream so you can chat with us!
  • Some general ground rules:
    1. Be nice. If you say very inappropriate things be aware you will be kicked from the room. We are doing this to have a great time, come with a beer, come during a raid, come how you wish, just don’t come to cause trouble.
    2. You may ask questions to the participants during the show, but we reserve the right to use them if and when we can. We will be monitoring the chat room and if we can we will use the comments during the show. We love that you are with us, but we will have to weave them in. Even if it isn’t asked, we all appreciate your questions!

So be sure to stop by and spend some time with us!