No Taxation with Artifaction

I thought the title was pretty clever  /pats self on back

I thought the title was pretty clever /pats self on back

Editor’s Note: This was actually supposed to go live yesterday but as you see, I was a little bit late.  Pretend it’s still Sunday!

This blog post technically contains Legion spoilers.  However, they pertain to the cost of switching specs, something that will undoubtedly change before the game is officially released.  There are no lore or class change or even artifact spoilers here.  But if you are avoiding everything Legion, read on at your own risk.

To start off, this post deals with a feature in the alpha, meaning there is a very high chance it will change before the game is launched.  I realize this.  However, alpha is also the very best time to offer feedback like this because the developers are looking to change the game.  Yes I understand this will change, I’m writing this because I think it will.  And now, without further adieu or preamble, the article!

Currently in the Legion alpha, you can play all of your classes’ specs.  There is no dual spec anymore.  Each class has access to every spec.  However, there is right now a 100 gold tax every time you switch specs.

First of all, this tax is entirely too high.

Lets say you swap your spec 3 times per hour.  Not an entirely unreasonable number, especially if you are raiding (changing per boss), trying out a new spec, or just running dungeons.  You play about 3 hours a night for about 5 days a week, meaning you play for 15 hours a week.  Again, not totally unreasonable. Now if you change your spec 3 times every hour, you change your spec about 45 times in a given week.  Which means, with the 100g cost, you pay about 4,500g gold a week, just to switch specs.

4,500g a week. Over the course of a normal month, that becomes 18,000g.  The course of a year? Almost a quarter of a million.   For some gold moguls, that’s nothing.  For me, that’s all of my gold after a few months.  I don’t think everyone is rolling in the dough, near gold cap.  So for a lot of people, that’s a lot of gold.  And this is isn’t even factoring in all the beginning of expansion gold draining.

The 100g spec change is entirely too high.  Even with all the gold people have amassed from the garrison, the spec change tax  is far too exorbitant.  And the greatest irony of it, a tax such as this would actually act to deter people from switching specs.  The expansion when we finally could play all three (or two or four) specs of our class and many people would opt with just one.

But making the 100g cost lower isn’t the issue.  Lower it a little and the barrier is still there.  Lower it a lot and then why even have the tax in the first place.

I advocate for the complete removal of the spec tax.

Not only is the tax expensive, it’s also double dipping.  Blizzard already has a barrier in place to keep people from changing specs willy-nilly and it’s called artifacts.

Artifacts are unique to each spec, meaning you can’t use your Holy Artifact in your Retribution spec.  You can work to upgrade your artifact, but this improvement does not carry over to your artifacts of your other specs.  So you might have a totally maxed out Holy paladin artifact and a basic Ashbringer.  Yes Blizzard has said there will be catch up mechanics, but the weapons won’t just flip for each spec.  We are going to have to invest time (and perhaps money) into each and every artifact.

So we already have a tax in place.  A time sink tax.  The 100g tax is an extra, and I would argue, arbitrary tax.  There is already an effective barrier that makes people think twice about changing specs and I think adding another one is silly.

In addition, this gold price tax would impact hybrid classes more so than pure classes. While both rogues and paladins switch specs, I would argue that a paladin switches specs more.   I go from Holy to Protection to go from Healing to Tanking.  Because I can fill multiple roles, I often switch to do so.  But while rogues might switch from Assassination to Combat (soon to be Outlaw) for a different playstyle, they are still filling the same role of DPS.  So in theory a rogue could stay the same spec all expansion whereas the paladin will have to change to fill different roles.  In essence, a hybrid tax.

I generally think that gold sinks are an important part of maintaining the WoW economy.  But up until this point, gold sinks have been mainly optional.  This proposed tax is a huge and constant gold drain and it is very likely to be mandatory (especially if you do any sort of group content).  Sure, if Blizzard needs some sort of gold investment with the spec system, make it a one time gold cost to unlock.  You could even make it cost something relatively high like 10,000 gold.  Just make it a one time cost.  I would much rather pay that upfront than be charged a little every single time.  Drain me once, don’t keep coming back.

This being alpha, I know everything will change.  The artifact system, the spec tax, everything is still up in the air.  And since everything can change, I’m arguing now as opposed to later to get rid of the 100g.  We already have a time sink barrier.  We don’t need a gold sink barrier as well.  And we don’t want any more hybrid taxes.

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Barreling through with Bearbottoms

Charging into... MY HEART

Charging into… MY HEART

You’ve already heard about Yotaan’s expansion lull project, now you get to hear about mine! Introducing…

BEARBOTTOMS!

She’s a druid, guardian to be specific, and I’m totally loving her.  I’ve been leveling her up through tanking dungeons and it’s the most fun I’ve had in ages.

First of all, we have her name.  Its just… perfect! See, I have this thing where almost every single one of my toons has the word ‘pants’ somewhere in the name.  The other part of their name has to relate to the toon in some way, either by class  or by race or by spec.  This means I have toons like Yogapants the monk and Stancepants the warrior.  So when I sat down to come up with the name for the druid, I had to keep the moniker.  The only problem was, there wasn’t any good play on words I could think of involving druids and the word ‘pants’.

So with the help of my guildies, I thought a little outside of the box.  What other types of pants are there? Well, there are jeans and shorts and bell-bottoms and…. Bell-bottoms! Bearbottoms! It was perfect.

So now that I had my name all set, I had to pick a race.  I’m no so very keen on night elves and I already had a night elf druid on another realm so I needed to pick another race.  Worgen can be druids, can’t they? I got over my dislike of the female worgen models and we were all set.

The very first thing I noticed about leveling Bearbottoms was how ridiculously tuned heirlooms were.  It had been a while since I’d leveled a toon and I was not prepared for the scope of my OPness.  I was killing things with one moonfire.  I was dinging every other quest.  By the time I got out of the Gilnean pocket dimension starting zone, I was already level 15 and ready to run some dungeons.

First, a little background on how I tank dungeons.

While I might not be the most comfortable max level tank, I’m awesome at tanking leveling dungeons… provided you can keep up.  I know a lot of tanks complain about dps pulling, well, I pull so fast the dps can’t even keep up.  I clear most dungeons in under ten minutes.  Right now you must be thinking “Wow, she’s one of those“.  Well, in reality I am.  But I’d like to think I’m a touch better than all those agressively LoSing speed demons.

For one, I always wait to pull bosses until everyone is there.  I might tear half way across the instance with all the trash tailing me, but when we get to a boss, I’m waiting until everyone is in that room.  For another, I never activate quest items until everyone who’s gotten it needs it.  So you know that famous quest in Escape from Durnholde where you’ve gotta talk to Thrall but you never can because the tank activates him before you can complete the quest? I always make sure I wait to click him until everyone is all set.

The last thing I always do is because of my healer background.  I know firsthand how annoying it is to be trying to heal someone and they LoS you.  And then inevitably blame you when they die. When I tank, I might run out of LoS but I always make sure I’ve got the self heals and mitigation to survive.  And if for whatever reason I don’t, I own up to the mistake right away.  It’s my decision to pull like a crazy person anyways, there’s no reason to blame the healer.

Back to tanking on Bearbottoms.  This was my first experience tanking on a druid, but the experience was very similar to low level warrior.  Charge in (I took that talent), Thrash, Thrash, Thrash, Thrash, Savage Defense, Cat Form and move on to the next pack.  If I’m getting low and the healer is far behind, quickly shapeshift and Rejuvenate.  But what was different from my warrior was my ability to survive.  I could pull the entire instance and survive without a healer anywhere. It’s almost unfair how over powered I am.

And on top of this, I’m still leveling extremely fast.  I can ding two level on average per dungeon if I do the quests, meaning I’m leveling up about every 5 minutes.  It’s totally crazy! Probably broken as well, but I’m going to enjoy it for what it.

I’m most likely going to take Boomkin as my offspec because the legion artifacts for Balance druids are super awesome.  Also, moonfiring things to death is kinda awesome.  I’m playing this druid entirely to have a good time, so I’m not going to worry about min maxing and ‘optimal playstyles’.  And I have to say, that in itself is a nice break from Heroic raiding min max all things mode.  Bearbottoms is my messing around toon.

So this is my little project for the expansion lull.  Will I get to 100 on her? Probably.  Am I worried about that? Not really.  I just want to maul some faces and stare at a pixelated bear butt as it flies through instances.

What are your guy’s expansion lull projects?

 

(Addendum: the amount of bear related puns I’ve created thus far is staggering.  I mean, look at the title.  Look at it.  It’s glorious!)

Happy Valentine’s Day!

You should be hearing Ride of the Valkyries right about now

You should be hearing Ride of the Valkyries right about now

So… there was a post.  It was a pretty great post about leveling and new toons and all that jazz.  But then the universe decided that post was not to be.  And unfortunately, I have a bad habit of forgetting to save my documents until I finish them.  Which meant when my computer blue-screened three quarters of the way through my post, I lost it all.  The moral of this story- save your work!

Since it’s too late to rewrite the post tonight, I’ll just end this with a little message.  Happy Valentines Day! Whether you are spending it with a significant other, family, friends, or even by yourself, remember that you are loved.  In our crazy busy world, it’s often easy to forget this fact.  But right now, I want to remind you.  You matter to someone  ❤

Soapbox Speech: The Truth about Leadership

Soapbox/cast Soap Box

I have been an officer for a little over a year now.  My guild has both the blessing and the curse of being over 900 strong.  It’s a highly active group of people who play the game in a variety of different ways.  Me and my fellow officers have the momentous responsibility and privilege  to  watch over this guild, from the day to day runnings of the guild, to planning out events days, weeks, and even months in advance.

I love my guild, I really do, but I also think there are a few things that they just don’t understand about officers and what we do.  And this sort of thing applies to more than just my guild.  I won’t claim that what I say here applies to every leadership situation everywhere, but I do think much of what I write today is relevant.  Whether we are talking about your boss, your teacher, your guild master, or the developers of the game you play, here are a few things I think everyone should understand about leadership*.
*Note: What I write here pertains to good leaders.  Bad leaders are another issue entirely that I am not touching in this article.

THERE IS NOTHING EASY ABOUT LEADING
This is one of those that I think people are aware of, but they don’t realize the extent.  Leading isn’t easy.  It’s not a one and done thing. Leadership requires constant monitoring.  Things that have been going smoothly for a while can suddenly break down, and leaders have to be right there to fix it.  As an officer, I’ve spent countless hours working on stuff for the guild.  Things like writing up information posts, leading guild events, or even just talking to members of the guild.  Events that take an hour or two can have up to three months worth of prep work.   I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to drop whatever else I was doing to jump in and help with something.

Now I’m not saying all this because I want sympathy or a pat on the back.  In fact, that’s not what I want at all.  If I’ve really done my job right, no one will realize how much work I put into it at all.  They will just see the end product and enjoy it for what it is.  I’m simply telling you this so that you realize. While you might not see it right away, leaders are constantly working.

Alongside with this, the choices a leader makes are not always easy ones.  You know that phrase, stuck between a rock and a hard place?  That is probably the most factual statement ever made in regards to leading.  Sometimes decisions are easy and its great and everyone is happy.  But more often than not, there are no win win situations.  Many a times, they are lose lose situations.  One of the hardest things about leading is picking the best of bad options.  Do you split the raid teams or make people sit? Do you remove this person from guild for behavior or give them another shot? Do you give this person responsibility over this issue or do you need to step in and handle it yourself?

So if you ever find yourself questioning a leader’s decision, look at what their other choice was.  Often times, a seemingly odd decision was far better than the alternate.  Leaders have to choose what is best for the group and many a times there is not a good option.  This also brings me to my next point.

Guild EventTHE NEEDS OF THE MANY OUTWEIGH THE NEEDS OF THE FEW
Or the one.  Your leaders, officers, developers, and bosses have the bigger picture in their minds at all time.  Their choices reflect what will benefit the largest amount of people.
On paper this looks all fine and dandy, but in practice this can be much harder to see.  Why is this leader purposefully screwing me over?? I thought they were supposed to look out for me! I am just as much a member of this guild as everyone else!! I’ve heard all of this (sometimes in nicer terms, sometimes not).
The fact of the matter is, I’m going to try to please the most I can.  Emphasis on most.  Because, I can’t please everyone.  If I were to try to make everyone happy, then no one would be happy.  Often times, people in the same group will want opposite things. This is why most of the world is run by some sort of democracy- when you can’t  get unanimous, you get a majority.  I might not be able to please you this time, and I’m really sorry about that.  Truly.  But one person’s unhappiness won’t change my decision to make 100 people happy.

FEEDBACK IS A LEADER’S BEST FRIEND
You know how I spend the last paragraph talking about how leaders are looking at the big picture? Well, think of it like an artist painting a  picture from very far away.  The artist can see what the picture will look like in broad shapes and colors but they can’t see some of the smaller details.  That’s where feedback comes in.  Leaders rely on this info to get an idea of what their decisions look like to the ‘every day person’.  We know in broad strokes what is going on but we can lose some of the smaller aspects.  We need people to tell us what is going on because sometimes we are too far removed (or too wrapped up in it) to see.

And once leaders know where something isn’t quite right, they can go in and fix it.  Feedback not only lets leaders know what is wrong, it lets us know what to fix.  We can actively improve when we are told what needs improving.

I am not in the camp that holds a leader knows best.  I know there are plenty of people who are, and I don’t think they are wrong for having that belief, but I simply don’t share it.  Instead, I think leadership is the art of knowing when to act and knowing when to ask.  When we are acting, try to see it from the bigger picture.  And when we are asking, tell us what is actually going on.  Don’t sugar coat it or talk around the issue.  Don’t insult us or ridicule our decisions.  Simply tell us.  “Hey, this isn’t working because A, B, and C” or “Hey, I’m unhappy because D, E, and F”.

Because leaders care.  They care so much it hurts sometimes.  They don’t want to make people upset, they want to make people happy.  And we are trying, in the best way we know how.

So this is my message to you.  Help a leader.  Whether it be your guild master, a Warcraft developer, or an authority figure in any other part of your life, just help them.  Think about the bigger picture before you lodge complaints.  And if you do lodge complaints, do it constructively.  Tell them directly.  Be blunt.  Be truthful.  And be honest. And be aware that the answer you receive might not be the one you want to hear.  But by providing feedback, you’ve helped to make the situation even just a little bit better.

/end soap box