Friday, August 31, 2007

Arena Update

2v2 - 1688
I've turned my 2v2 team into a point gather / intro-to-arenas team. I currently have my brother on it, and he already mastered arenas, but he can't find a good 3v3 / 5v5, so he relies on the points from this team some weeks. I also have a Druid friend that just hit 70 and is learning arenas, and he already shows good potential. He hasn't dropped below a 50% win ratio yet.

3v3 - 1725
Our 3v3 team has dwindled down to just the starters, we don't have any backups. I like this because we can focus on our play-styles and cohesion. We're running an MS Warrior, Holy Pally, and Frost Mage (me). This setup works well, and I think the team has potential.

5v5 - 1782
This is where the majority of my arena points come from, and I think this team has serious potential. We have some backup players, but we focus on 2x Holy Pally, Hunter, Warrior, Mage. We've been going 7-3 the past few weeks, and I'd like to see us break 1800 soon.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Eye of the Storm

Every weekend a certain battleground is featured to attract interest. There's additional honor gains for playing a battleground during it's "holiday" weekend. This last weekend was for EoTS, so I thought I'd post our premade strat that easily went undefeated this weekend against pugs, and even other premades.

I was the leader, so I set up the groups as fast as possible when we enter the BG. As soon as the groups are set I will make an announcement so people can start their group buffs and take note of their group number. I then spam the macro that says the strat, which consist of...
/bg Group 1 = Draenei Ruins
/bg Group 2 = Mage Tower (Floats between FR / DR incs)
/bg Group 3 = Fel Reaver Ruins (Rush at start, do not stop on bridge!)

I usually call for a couple from group 2 to assist in the Fel Reaver push since it can get hairy if most of the Horde have stationed themselves there. If it looks like we're overwhelming them, then I'll call for group 1 to push Blood Elf Tower, and group 2 to push middle to Fel Reaver.

I'll make sure to leave 1 person from group 2 at Mage Tower / Draenei ruins to avoid the ninja.

By this time we usually have them pushed back to their graveyard, or just heavy defense at Blood Elf Tower. In any case, our strat *never* involve running the flag. We either hold 3 tower until we win, or we 4 cap. In rare instances I'll have 1 person running flags to speed the game up on a 4 cap, but it's never the means to an end.

On a side note, I would recommend getting the Cartographer map mod for the simple reason it shows when a player in in combat on the map. This helps since not all players are skilled at calling incoming. I also have macros set for "/bg Inc ". If you are the caller it is vital that you pay more attention to the map and direct traffic than it is to stay in combat and keep on the move.

As the caller, I usually leave myself at the Mage Tower and just direct traffic over vent while watching the map the whole time for players in combat.

These are just the tactics we use in our guild premades, and I'm sure there are other successful strats, and I would love to hear them! If you're looking for general EoTS advice, then head over to Out of Mana to check out one of Megs latest post...

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Collision Detection = Better PvP!

I've been playing graphical MMOs since Ultima Online's release in 1997, and the one feature I miss the most, other than housing, is the collision detection.

If you've never heard the term, or don't know what it means, let me quote Wikipedia...

"In physical simulations, video games and computational geometry, collision detection involves algorithms for checking for collision, i.e. intersection, of two given solids. Simulating what happens once a collision is detected is sometimes referred to as "collision response", for which see physics engine and ragdoll physics. Collision detection algorithms are a basic component of 3D video games. Without them, characters could go through walls and other obstacles."

The collision that I'm referring to from Ultima Online is between two players. If you've ever played WoW, or a similar MMO, then you know when two characters collide they walked through each other. This is great in a candy-coated world of non-realism, but the strategy & tactics available in PvP from this feature are endless!
The melee characters would be given new roles, landscapes could be put to use, no longer would you be able to train DPS on a healer before killing his tank standing in the doorway blocking your path.
I remember my first strategical PvP encounter in Ultima Online that revolved around collision detection. A couple of friends and I were getting mauled by more experienced players outside of the Britania Bank. I decided to barricade the room inside the bank with our Mace / Shield user blocking the door and the other two of us, archers, would stand behind him and cross heal with bandages. We held our ground firm and were unable to be killed. We even took a few people out, and it wasn't until we broke formation to go loot that we all died.

This is just an example of how landscape, formation, and strategy can add a whole new level to PvP. It's because of this that rooftop camping should not have been banned, instead they should have made rooftops easier to access for guards and other players!

Now before the comment is placed, I'll address the main concern now. I'm sure you're wondering about the grieving nature of not being able to walk through players. What if you get pinned in? Well there would be spells, abilities, and items to get out of that situation, but they would only take you so far, so there would still be occasional case of getting circled.

Would you like to see something of this nature in WoW, and if so, which zone in do you think would make the most use out of collision detection in PvP?

Monday, August 20, 2007

VoIP - Voice Chat for WoW

The word on the street says voice chat will be implemented in an upcoming patch. This is good news for the alliance, as I see this helping them in BGs more than the already organized Horde players. I'm wondering what options, if any, will we have with the new voice chat system.

The first thing that comes to mind is people not wanting to use it because their IRL voice might not be representative of their in-game persona, or their voice just doesn't command the same amount of respect. That Tauren tank you would have never thought to second guess just turned out to be a prepubescent, and while this shouldn't change your association with the said Tauren, sometimes it's hard to avoid.

I'd like to see an option to disguise ones voice in different tones. The tones would have to be realistic or they would be abused - I for one would pick an alien voice over my own any day! I believe a voice disguiser would allow minors & women a comfortable feel in the world of voice chat. This way their judgment would be on their play-style and not the sound of their voice.

Some other nice-to-have options might include a mute option for that person who continuously curses, a parental control for non-voice chat with people not on a friends / approved list of players. I would also like to see various broadcast options, such as party, raid, & guild so that you can broadcast different messages to different groups without leaving / entering a different channel.

These are just some ideas for the implementation of voice chat; can anyone else think of some other options they'd like to see with the new voice chat?

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Varsity Arena Teams?

With football season upon us, I was wondering if separate tiers of arena teams would be something of value to the game. The way it is now there's a single tier separated by rating, but this rating can leave wide gaps in balance since it scales so far.

What if they had a tier 1 arena season that allowed fresh level 70's a fair amount of competition with their green / blue gear. After the tier 1 season was completed with a certain rating and/or achievement of all the available gear, you could then progress to the next tier - this would give everyone a chance to eventually progress. There could even be a 3rd tier to place the pro players that have ranked top 5% in the first & second arena tiers.

The gear rewards would have to be relative to the current tier you're playing so you couldn't out-gear your current season. Once you've accomplished a high rating, or achieved all the gear from that arena tier, you would then start the next season in the next tier. The rating system would stay in place, but you would be rated in comparison to your current tier.

I think this would allow for a better progression through the arena system, much like the raid progression currently in game. This idea came to me because I have friends that just hit 70 and started arenas, but they can't even win one game with their current green / blue gear makeup. They don't mind losing, but never winning a battle is a depressing situation.

The idea of separate tiers of play is found within all majors sports; e.g., High School Football, College, and Professional all exist. This arena tier idea would incorporate different levels of play as such. You might never be a 2400 rated player in today's system, but wouldn't it feel good to dominate tier 1 and enter tier 2 with the sense of accomplishment raiders find when moving to the next instance?

Monday, August 13, 2007

Focus Macros are for EVERYONE!

I've been going over the various uses of focus targets and macros with my arena team. I've come to the conclusion that it doesn't matter which class you are, there are going to be spells / abilities in your arsenal that you are saving for an off-target, aka the "focus".

I'll use our Warrior's newly added focus macro, but you can cater this to your class. I helped our Warrior set up a macro to help stop a healer from casting in an extreme situation, e.g. Counterspell is on cooldown. The macro is a simple one that will intercept your focus target while keeping the DPS target on your screen.

/cast [target=focus] Intercept

We rarely use this macro since I'm pretty spiffy with my Counterspells, but it has come in handy on occasion. If CS is on cooldown, and the healer is casting, then we'll have our Warrior hit this macro (without untargeting his DPS) to immediately intercept the healer and stop his cast, therefore allowing me to burst DPS the target to his death. This is a last resort since we also have the Paladin's HoJ stun.

I know there must be other uses for the ability to cast on a focus target, but as I mainly play a Mage, I can't elaborate on other uses. I'd like to see others' ideas for focus macros - for example, what is an ability that you reserve for an off-DPS target, such as a healer?

Friday, August 10, 2007

Enchants & Arena Team Names - Oh My!

I've been so busy that I haven't been able to put together a good list of enchants; however, I did throw the resource I use for my enchanting needs on the link list to the right. The link is named "Enchantments by Slot" because that's what it is - a list of all enchants you can get on certain slots, like wrist, for example.

I'd like to throw out a topic of humorous arena names. I've been seeing some pretty ridiculous names lately, and I thought I'd like to see if others out there have had similar experiences with goofy team names. I think my all-time favorite was "ten games kthnx bye" - that one made me laugh!

What's the most outrageous arena team name you've seen?

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Arena Update

I joined a 3v3 team awhile back with a Holy Paladin, MS Warrior, & me, a Frost Mage. We've been hovering in the 1700-1750 bracket for awhile now and haven't made it into the 1800's yet. The three of us are serious about gearing up and all are good pvpers, so we should go far - especially with this matrix.

I've been getting more interested in 5v5 since it seems to have more tactics & points involved. We run various groups, but they always include an MS Warrior / Holy Paladin. This team is also hovering in the 1700-1750 bracket and I forsee 1800's soon. We cycle DPS depending on who is online. This is good because it ensures games, but it means different strats depending on who is playing, and I don't like that. We cycle in a Hunter, Druid, Mage, Warlock depending on who is online. The Warlocks have different specs, which I'm not fond of, I would rather them both be affliction, but I'm not a Warlock, so what do I know.

I've given up on 2v2 almost since it's such a game of class match-up it almost doesn't matter your gear or skill. We run two Frost Mages, which is a pretty sick combo, but there's just too many combos that we can't take out. We're almost guaranteed a 60/40 win ratio, which is nice, but it's not point reliable. I'm still going to run 2v2 so I can PvP with my brother and some friends, but I'm not going to sit down and write strats and look up opponents like I do for 5v5.

Alright enough rambling, hopefully my next post will involve some content - I'm planning on writing a PvP enchant guide since I've been getting a lot of questions on the subject in-game.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Mazzle UI

I downloaded the Mazzle UI Compilation a few nights ago and I'd like to give some thoughts on it. I like that it was easy to install, setup, & configure; however, I do not like the positioning of the health bars and the colors accompanying the new health bars. Let me explain...

Your health bar is placed at the bottom left of the screen in a horizontal manor with a pastel shade of blue for your health & mana. Not only is the positioning of the bar hard to get used to, the colors do NOT jump out at you like the standard green bar for health.

Also, your party members and your targets all have their bars displayed in an equaling unappealing color. These bars are displayed in a vertical manor, so while your bar is from left to right, every other health bar is from top to bottom(why!?!?!)

The UI / Mod Compilation is not that bad, it's actually quite nice. The package comes with a plethora of Ace2 addons that I found very user friendly. If you'd like to check it out then head over to and search for Mazzle. I myself have uninstalled the interface, but I kept some of the Ace2 mods that came with the package, for example, "Spellbinder" is a wonderful mod.