Posts made in August, 2015

Time is Money (The Math Behind Character Boosting)

Posted by on Aug 26, 2015 in news

So we got a surprise today (well, at least I did, I’ve been kind of busy lately and haven’t been paying much attention to what’s been going on in World of Warcraft) in the form of pre-orders and character boosts.

A lot of people claim the $60 price tag for the level 90 character boost is too much, but is it really? Levelling takes a long time, especially if you don’t enjoy the process, and it could be well worth your time to make the purchase.
Lets do the math.
Effect June 1, 2014, the minimum wage in Ontario is going to be $11/hr. CAD, or ~$9.90/hr. US (I miss the days when the CAD was worth more than the USD). This means that if I were to take a minimum wage job, I’d need to work a mere six hours and four minutes to pay for the character boost. Lets call it 7 hours.
Now, I know there are a lot of speedy levellers out there, but I doubt anyone can do 1-90 in under 7 hours. So considering how much time you’d have to spend levelling a character, it’s probably not a bad deal.
Not to say that you’d be using the time you’d otherwise be spending levelling to work at minimum wage, but it’s a good baseline. Any increase in how you value your time, and any increase in how many play hours it takes you to level, will dramatically improve the paid character boost.
Lets look at this another way. Everyone has some instinctual idea of what their time is worth, and that changes depending on your needs. Some weeks doing absolutely nothing on a Saturday except talk to friends on Skype and watch TV is well worth the time even though you have a Finite Elements Method assignment due Tuesday, or you could be using that time to work. Or blog. Or clean your room.
I digress.
Lets use another example: gas. A lot of people (e.g. my dad) will go out of their way to get a good deal. According to some internet research, the Jeep my dad drives gets about 16 miles per gallon city, and 23 miles per gallon highway. Or about 14.7 L/100km city and 10.2 L/100km highway. My dad will sometimes drive 17 km (round trip) out of his way to get a “good deal” on gas.
According to the internet gas was about 130.9 cents per litre today. That 17 km round trip brings him to a gas station that is 1-1.5 cents per litre cheaper than normal. If he fills up 90 litres of gas, he saves about $1.35 on gas. Assuming an average driving speed of 80 km/h, he values his time at $4.61/hour if he gets highway mileage (given the route it’s pretty close to it).
Now he doesn’t do this when he has better things to be doing, but I figured it made for a good analogy. Plus, I’ve always wanted to do that math.
Now I’m not saying we should all just skip the levelling process entirely, and realistically we’re not going to spend all our new found free time working, but it does provide us with a baseline to say “yah, this could be worth it.”


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The Developers of WoW have made a slight change of how they proceed with the talking about new expansions

Posted by on Aug 26, 2015 in guides

That they don’t. Apparently, they said too much before WoD and players got disappointed when the things they were promised changed in the final product. I’m totally in agreement with that it’s better to hold things secret a little bit longer than promising stuff they can’t keep. It’s also good that the actual talking and promising is much closer to the launch, because otherwise we go mooning about the new stuff we want but can’t have for over half a year. So, good things all around.

It does however create a large mystery about what we should expect. We know they’ll be focusing on class identity and that most likely Mistweavers will see a lot of changes – but we don’t know what. We know that there’ll be artifacts (Sheilun, hello) and Order Halls – but we don’t know completely what and where. Not knowing create a lot of suspense. I’m gonna go ahead and let my imagination run wild here. What would I like to see in Legion regarding Mistweavers?

BoggleContrary to popular complaints (kind of), I really like the idea of having a Serpent stance and a Crane stance. It makes the spec complex and raises the skill cap. Mistweavers should be one of the harder healing specs, because that’s what makes it fun. The lore surrounding Crane stance has a few gaps though. Fistweaving has always been part of the spec, sure, but when and where did Chi-Ji enter the picture? I agree that it was a bit odd that there was one celestial missing from the Monk table, and I’m glad it was granted to the Mistweaver spec. But it also feels like we’re missing a story here! It would be awesome if we could delve a little deeper into Chi-Ji and Mistweaver’s relationship.

In conjunction with this, make the Crane spec a little bit more fun. I mean, Pool of Mists is the only thing that keeps the stance remotely interesting (checking multistrike procs to know when to spend stacks). But other than that, it’s rather lackluster. What I’d like is a spell or two that’s unique for the stance (and not a hand-me-down from Windwalkers) and if Blizzard gods be willing, a chance to actually make a spec out of Crane. A full fists blazing, dragons roaring, cranes screeching kind of a Crane spec. A spec that can make raid leaders gasp in wonder and fight for every Mistweavers available. Okay, now I’m dreaming but hey, the Blizzard gods might hear me!

Pool of Mist must be baseline. End of story. I cannot live without three stacks on Renewing Mist and Rising Sun Kick anymore. It doesn’t matter what’s else on the talent tier, Pool of Mist is the only thing that counts. And that is despite that I actually love Chi Explosion and Breath of the Serpent. But if Blizzard tried to take my three stacks away from me, I would be like a drug addict on withdrawal. It. can’t. be. done.

Then there’s the great or the tragic story of Mana Tea, depending on who you ask. I know many want it gone entirely, but I’m more in the I-want-it-modified camp. The upside of Mana Tea is the fun meta game around it, which I believe greatly affects how we think about our rotation and timing. It also gives a lot of meaning to Crane stance. The downsides are the extremely wonky scaling with gear (either you don’t have mana, or you’re up to your ears with mana) and the amount of time you have to spend channeling. I don’t know if there’s an easy solution, but I hope that the developers at least take a look at the problem. It needs some fixing.

Wait, wait. Before I continue, *I* need to fix something. Oh okay, here we go; a hot cup of elderberry tea. Strangely, I can never hear the word elderberry without thinking about monty python and the holy grail “Your mother was a hamster and your father smelled of elderberries!”.

But now I digress. With a cup of tea in hand, let’s continue.

ContemplateI would say that the Blizzard folk seem like a competent group of people that do their best with an oversized yet beautifully complex game. As long as they hold true to the Mistweaver nature, or the core idea of what a Mistweaver is, they can’t be too off the mark with the new changes. The conundrum lies in what exactly is the core of Mistweavers. The idea of a Mistweaver probably differs from person to person, but I’d like to give my view of the spec.

When I think of Mistweavers the first word that pops into my mind is Mysterious. A healer that doesn’t rely on goodness and holy light to heal, but on the secret arts of manipulating Chi flows and weaving the mists to aid them. On herbs, brew and tea, and the wisdom of the Jade Serpent. On the gameplay side, I think of a very different and versatile healer with high skill cap. The skill cap is not as high as it was before (for those who didn’t play at the time, it required a mastery to reach the cap of 15 Renewing Mists active at the same time). But the Mistweaver spec is still one of the odd healers.

If Blizzard manages to reshape the Mistweaver spec to fully reflect these values, while at the same time making the gameplay fun and engaging, they have succeeded in my eyes. Somehow, they must also make the Crane stance work more harmoniously with the Serpent healing, both gameplay-wise and lore-wise.

As you might notice, I’m nursing my inner RPGer here. But I’ve always been a sucker for good stories and concepts. I can listen to the music, especially the Way of the Monk, and just get totally swept away by the whole fantasy of that it is to be a Mistweaver. And I want that to happen in Legion. I want to fall in love with my spec all over again. Everything else they achieve with the expansion is just a side dish compared to that. But I must say, the makeover of the transmog and profession system has been long coming. Quality of life that is.


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Halo Wars 2 coming to PC, Creative Assembly involved

Posted by on Aug 20, 2015 in guides

Microsoft squeaked in a last minute announcement of Halo Wars 2 right at the end of their Games shindig, and added that it’s coming to the PC as well.

Actually, they said coming to ‘Windows 10’; but as they’d been using Windows 10 interchangeably with PC throughout the whole event it’s hard to say if that really means “Windows 10 only.”

The sequel to the original RTS Halo spin-off is coming in Fall 2016. Not a whole lot else was said about Halo Wars 2, but the advertised involvement of Creative Assembly (shown at the end of the non-gameplay trailer below) is kind of interesting.


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Dark Souls 3 gameplay trailer shows environments, bosses, fading flame

Posted by on Aug 20, 2015 in news

Just as at E3, Microsoft’s press event at Games had some surprise Dark Souls 3 footage. This time, it’s actual in-game stuff, including very quick looks at what are undoubtedly some bosses.

Needless to say, if you want to go into Dark Souls 3 in 2016 completely blind, then this trailer should be avoided.

It starts with a bit more lovely lore, alluding to the ‘fading flame’ and a pilgrimage of some sort. I’ve an idea what the first part is referring to (one of those Souls cycles of light/dark,) but not so much the latter. Judging by the state of the environments shown so far, this installment will focus even more heavily on a sense of decay.

There’s a touch of the Bloodborne to some of the quicker moves shown in this footage as well, and at least one of the new attack moves (a wide, sweeping slash) is presented as well. But there’s also plenty of familiar Dark Souls stuff involving shields and backstabs.

Oh yes, and a giant looming skeleton face, some kind of armoured mole/rat(?) boss, a spindly guy who seems keen on slamming players into the dirt, and an angry dragon. Plenty of horrifying creations.


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