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#4543923 ....legion? :'(

Posted stalebagel on 24 November 2015 - 04:07 AM

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#4540461 Lazylarry & Helio step their game up

Posted stalebagel on 17 November 2015 - 03:14 PM

helio tell avey i miss her

#4540158 Scripted PvP

Posted Bigmoran on 17 November 2015 - 02:20 AM

I was originally going to post this article on Skill-capped. After some deliberation, I decided it would be better suited for AJ. I needed something meaningful for my 1000th post on this website. Even if you don't read this entire post, try and think about what you REALLY value in PvP. Consider what makes you happy and what makes you feel rewarded. The future of WoW PvP rests in the ability not to create balance, but instead to make the game into a rewarding and enjoyable experience.

I've mentioned countless times in threads and on social media that WoD PvP feels scripted. My attitude is not uncommon. Plenty of other players have also expressed feelings of redundancy in gameplay. Overall, enjoyment of PvP seems to be at an all time low. While quantification of player satisfaction is often difficult to guage, the drop in sub numbers--down to a point in which Blizzard will no longer report them--suggests that less and less people are enjoying World of Warcraft. The goal of this article is to show how the scripted feeling of PvP and the lack of rewarding gameplay has contributed to the growing sentiment that PvP is not nearly as fun as it used to be.

What IS the Script?

I should first explain what I mean by 'scripted.' In order to do this, consider how a script works. A script is a series of relationships between conditional statements. A conditional statement is a simple if, then relationship. Here is an example of how this 'scripted' PvP paradigm might play out in an arena match:

-If the enemy Mage uses Polymorph, then I will use Counterspell
-If the enemy Mage is Counterspelled on Polymorph, then I will use Polymorph.

While this may not seem damaging at first, consider the fact that nearly all of the important decisions we make during an arena game revolve around this algorithmic way of thinking. For every enemy action, there is an optimal player reaction that is determined by the 'script' of PvP. For every matchup, there is one optimal strategy. This makes winning feel significantly less rewarding and meaningful. The script makes arena wins feel less like an experience full of ingenuity and creativity and more like persistent, monotonous labor. If you know exactly how a game will play out, your experience will ultimately suffer.

As an aside, there is one thing that we often shake our fists at in PvP. Although we tend to hate RNG, it is the only thing that interferes with the normal operations of the script. Consider an arena game where two teams perfectly matched. They have exactly the same gear, play on the same latency, and have the exact same strategy. Assume that either team will try its absolute best to score a kill while preventing deaths of its own teammates. Under these conditions, what would determine the outcome of the match? It would have to be RNG! If one team gets a series of critical strikes or multistrikes at the right time, it will allow the match to deviate from its harmonious scripted balance. I should add that RNG (and specifically critical strikes) actually contribute to our enjoyment of the game. Oftentimes players will suggest removing crits from the game. Doing so would be damaging to our enjoyment of gameplay. While it may seem meaningless, scoring critical strikes is one of the most intrinsically satisfying elements of gameplay. We love seeing the big numbers. We are enamored by our own ability to deal damage that lights up as slightly bigger font on our screen. I am not kidding. Big numbers feel better, and in a game we are wanting to feel good.

Holinka's Pacing Argument

Recently, PvP developer Brian Holinka posted on Twitter that the average length of games during the World Championships was five and a half minutes. Loosely veiled behind this metric is the idea that PvP is improving because the duration of tournament games is getting shorter. It is true that spectators want shorter games. During Cataclysm and especially during Mists of Pandaria, many players argued that tournament matches were exhausting to watch. It was quite common in MoP to see two wizard cleaves battle it out for 10-15 minutes in a series that could potentially last five games. All in all this provided for a very boring viewer experience.
The problem with this argument is that the pacing does not matter if the match itself is painfully predictable. If you carefully watch the final series between SK-Gaming and Skill-Capped, you can see just how repetitive the game is during its 5.5 minute average duration. Every 30 seconds, Skill-Capped's RMD does the following things:

-Uses either Bash or Cheapshot on SK's Warrior
-Cyclones SK's Warrior
-Kidney Shots SK's Shaman (the kill target)
-Deep Freezes SK's Druid
-Polymorphs SK's Druid

While there is some degree of variance to how this setup is executed, the fact remains that every 30 seconds the RMD is doing exactly the same thing. So in a five minute game, you can expect the same exact thing to happen over and over and over until SK-Gaming makes a mistake or Skill-Capped falls to the attrition of dampening. And by all means, I'm not blaming either team for playing the way they do. For the most part there is no flexibility with either team's strat. I had the opportunity to talk to Healingstat (Skill-Capped's Druid) and I asked him why they never tried to kill SK's Warrior despite him sitting in Battle Stance for the majority of the game, sometimes without a PvP trinket. His reply was that they had played thousands of games against each other and that the 30-second setup strat on the Shaman is the only strat the consistently works. In other words, deviating from the script of going Shaman is utterly futile. There is no point in playing creatively because it does not win games. (I should add that I also heard that Boetar raged at Joefernandes for intervening a Blind because he "didn't know what to trinket." If there is anything that grossly reinforces the script, this is certainly it.)

Bring Back Reward

Of all the things that threaten WoW's ability to remain the most successful MMO of all time, its the fact that the game itself feels unrewarding. While I feel like the script has definitely contributed to this, there are numerous other examples in which gameplay itself does not feel like a rewarding experience. One instance of this is the conversion of many abilities into passive perks and set bonuses. Nature's Grasp was removed from the game and instead turned into a set bonus connected with use of Barkskin and Ironbark. Cold Blood was also pruned and converted into the four piece set bonus for Assassination Rogues. The real damage of pruning is that it left many of its removed abilities into mechanics attached to other spells. Two abilities became one. Two globals became one. Passives are not fun in virtue of being passive. You do not actually perform them--they just happen. Mages don't look at their Flameglow reducing damage and say, "Man, this is awesome!"

Another gross example of unrewarding gameplay is the conversion of many hardcasted damaging spells into instant cast burst abilities. Ice Nova is an ability that not only removes 50% of your root control, but also tunnel visions gameplay into managing two charges of a boring spell. Casted spells always feel better than instant casts. Hard casting involves risk and should result in high payoff. While I do think the class has some deep seeded balance and design problems, Destruction Warlocks are a perfect example of well-balanced risk/reward. Chaos Bolt is a long cast time that deals large damage. When it successfully lands, the Warlock feels like they have done something that required diligent effort. Compare this with the feeling of using two Ice Novas. There is little to no risk (outside of breaking CC). The ability is pressed and the damage is dealt. End of story.

The Hybrid Problem

While this has been an important point of discussion for ages, something needs to be done to address the strength and role of hybrid DPS in matchups. Hybrid healing was gutted for Balance Druids, Shadow Priests, and Elemental Shamans but still remains a problem for Feral Druids, Enhancement Shamans, and Retribution Paladins (perhaps WW Monks to an extend as well). These physical DPS classes are able to provide instant cast heals to themselves and their partners and are able to maintain high damage AND healing throughput over the course of a 3v3 match. There is no good reason that an Enhancement Shaman should be able to do 20k DPS in a game while also doing 10k HPS.

Some Nostalgia

Although he is one of the most controversial posters on this site, Bilian's PvP video continues to be one of my favorite PvP videos of all time. The RMP clips remind me of a time where gameplay was creative and each player made unique contributions to scoring kills.

#4534812 WoW movie trailer was just shown

Posted Xonika on 06 November 2015 - 07:58 PM

when is the bob ross movie being released?

#4535274 Blizzcon

Posted Ventux on 07 November 2015 - 12:01 AM

Can we see footage from Vhell and his fiance in their hotel room inbetween games

#4535400 Blizzcon

Posted stalebagel on 07 November 2015 - 03:59 AM

View PostVentux, on 07 November 2015 - 12:01 AM, said:

Can we see footage from Vhell and his fiance in their hotel room inbetween games


#4532976 blizzcon championship thread

Posted Bootzx on 03 November 2015 - 04:21 AM

View Postflannelsoff, on 02 November 2015 - 03:44 AM, said:

ngl i watched that bob ross stream more than any wow stream in the past year lol

Fell asleep watching bob ross, woke up 4 am bob ross in my ear zzzzz

#4533018 blizzcon championship thread

Posted DrXoid on 03 November 2015 - 06:03 AM

View PostBootzx, on 03 November 2015 - 04:21 AM, said:

Fell asleep watching bob ross, woke up 4 am bob ross in my ear zzzzz

Hate it when the ghost of bob ross sneaks into my room, always starts painting shrubs on my naked body.

#4532241 EU vs. US leggo

Posted stalebagel on 01 November 2015 - 02:40 AM

tsm doublelift LMFAO

#4528656 TloT/Blizzcon/Blizzard/WoW Esport

Posted Elorxo on 27 October 2015 - 04:31 PM

View PostWixzy, on 27 October 2015 - 10:12 AM, said:

How old r u i cant wait till u die

gets 2.4 achievement for first time
instantly comes on aj and makes 5 million topics n posts
tells ppl he cant wait until they die all within 1 day

we have a new aj retard boys

#4528227 Good Bye

Posted stalebagel on 27 October 2015 - 04:22 AM

the monk champion is alot harder in league than it is in wow i can see why you would be discouraged balance

#4519785 [IRL] Official OT IRL Picture's

Posted Breadstick on 13 October 2015 - 05:37 AM

i'll always kinda be here if you guys need more selfies posted

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#4520301 Ban advertisements of boosting sites?

Posted ROKMODE on 13 October 2015 - 08:51 PM

haha take that you fucking retarded autistic downs virgin faggot

#4518624 Ban advertisements of boosting sites?

Posted Malladon on 11 October 2015 - 01:27 PM

Quick thoughts on this whole mess. I haven't done boosts since early cata, which, when you're in college between skill capped vids and boosts, it was decent money to get through semesters (and beat the shit out of doing other stuff for money). By mid S8 even I stopped asking for money just because I wanted to play with people on a certain server (the game was actually that fun back then </3). And I can totally understand why someone would risk their account in those shoes given how not-strict blizzard was about it, and the potential you had to line your pockets. I never did anything aside from a few glad boosts and helped a few guys with when they couldn't play the rogue, but the truth is that when this all started to become a big thing is when we really had a hand in hurting the game/community in general.

Let me elaborate a bit... boosts have been around forever, we all know that. It didn't really become a huge thing until the end of wrath and then it totally ballooned out in cataclysm. The issue with boosting (for all you guys that have your head up in the clouds about how amazing you are) is that the majority of the arena population will never be as good as you. This isn't the spread from 2800 down to 1500, I'm talking about 2800 down to 2400, the peak of the ladder to the bottom edge of gladiator dipping into duelist territory.

This has been the truth even back when you could go into trade chat and in 15 minutes find 2 guys who could and would play a 20-30 game session at 2400+ just because it was fun. You know, that spooky era before Real ID when we actually found other people in WoW just by talking to them *perish the thought*. You used to be able to do that because before Real ID the WoW community was much more open to just playing with whoever (when's the last time you took your main and just LFG'd some people for 3s? that's basically the equivalent of trade chat partners these days). On top of that, there are legitimately  A LOT LESS people playing the game now. With arena already being a small sliver of the population playing the game, when the game itself shrinks, our population and the community takes a more noticeable hit. Even though we nominally lost less people than the PVE, Solo Dungeon/Question crowds, we had a lot less to start with, and it pushes our community below a threshold that maybe you would consider... active/thriving.

So while in the past boosting wasn't as huge of a deal because we all sort of vanished into the general population (not to mention the fact there was this huge buffer of gladiator/duelist ranked teams playing for the most part below you guys), this isn't the case anymore.

In shorter terms, there are a greater number of boosters active in the arena community now more than ever, and there are less people in the community now more than ever. The result is that boosted teams and toons take up a much larger percentage of the ladder. So to guys who consistently hit glad anyway, don't care about hitting glad, or are part of the of the R1 crew doing the boosts... to most of us it's just life as normal.

The people who we, by boosting, are FUCKING over, are those guys who used to fill that middle crowd, the duelist/gladiator border. Because let's face it, a community of the top .1% spread out over the top 3 ranks in the game (R1/glad/duelist) is a shit ton smaller, and a shit ton less fun than the top 3% of the community constantly fighting it out for a slot. The one thing that I really can't see being argued is that this game is so much more fun when it's hype, and there's no way to get that hype if you're giving the majority of the playerbase that much of a reason to not bother at all.

I could see countering this argument with saying, Well that's the best practice they're gonna get, and it'll help them improve, and for me that would be such a fun game to play against a R1 guy.

I agree to some extent, and when I was still one of the guys trying to break through to glad, I did enjoy playing against boosted teams because holy shit the games were great and they pushed me to be better. I liked playing against the main team so much more though. You know why? When I played against a boosted team I had all the intensity of a top tier match and reason to play my best, but I had the fucking stakes of a -24 because they were starting as some fresh 2k mmr shit. I'm a shitty enough player at the time, I don't need more pressure for me to make a mistake when I'm probably getting read and outpaced on every play already.

It wasn't as big of a deal for me also because I was in high school/college at that time, spending 4-5 hours q'ng arena wasn't a huge deal to me, and getting a good session in when the booster stopped playing was a pretty reasonable idea. For the rest of the world? Even me now that I'm into that horrible RL thing? I'm lucky if I get that much time to q in a week these days, between coordinating with partners, all our schedules lining up, etc. If I'm an on the edge player, and I've gotta risk 3-4 -20's every time I FINALLY get to log in and q up, it's gonna get fucking discouraging.

When I play against the main team the pressure is on them to not make a mistake. They actually had something to lose if they didn't pay attention to me. That not only levelled the playing fields, but also made it fun. On the flipside of that, I totally hated dropping 20 points to some 2400 shitter beastcleave because they targetted my squishy. GGWP

But the problem is those 2400 "shitters" are the majority of the "good" portion of the ladder in the grand scheme of things. The guys who are into the game, watch the streams, get into arena, and want to get better. Like it or not these guys are a big part of what keep the game alive. And personally I love nothing more than playing with guys who have potential, and who actually get into it. If you're discouraging these people from playing, you're encouraging our already shrinking community to shrink even moreso.

Which hey, you have every right to do, it's easy enough for me to stand on some moral high ground now that I have no reason to boost. Even back then I enjoyed making SC videos, doing 1 on 1 training with guys or even doing old school carries more than the boosts (too much paranoia, made it a lot less fun). But the truth is that if there's going to be any semblance of this game taken seriously, and if it's going to have any chance of being a thriving... scratch thriving, halfway enjoyable community as this game makes its inevitable decline, boosting has got to go.

And I would be 100% behind Blizzard taking a strict stance on boosting.

#4513059 what a joke joke joke of a company

Posted Zaephyr on 03 October 2015 - 04:26 PM

Just to lighten the mood

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