Tuesday, April 14, 2015

An Open Letter to Blizzard

  Dear Blizzard,

  Your support of GaymerX is in conflict with your Core Values of Play Nice; Play Fair, Every Voice Matters, and Lead Responsibly. 

  Ostensibly, GaymerX is made for everyone and everyone is welcome. They even shortened their nickname to GX, "to make it clear that everyone is welcome... We really mean everybody."(emphasis in original)(1) 

  At least that's what I read on their website. On Twitter, all I see is this: "You are blocked from following @GaymerX and viewing @GaymerX's Tweets." This is because GaymerX uses the Orwellian-named Good Game AutoBlocker, originally named GooberGabber AutoBlocker.(2) The intro to the Nov. 5th 2014 readme.md best explains the purpose of the blockbot:

  "Takes a list of the 5 major idiots of GG, looks at their follower lists. Generates a list of sheeple following more than one account, as well as a list of your followers that might be questionable.
This does not rank users. It doesn't look at bios, it doesn't look at hashtags. But GamerGate appears to be completely useless at figuring out github when it's not just a wiki explaining how to be shitheads, so they'll probably never read this README and figure that part out."

  Your own Matt Schnee suggested using the GG AutoBlocker list as an employment blacklist, called the people on it GoatGrabbers, and encouraged others to use it.(3) This suggestion was unfortunately taken seriously by others.(4) This isn't just unethical. It's illegal.

  It is not my goal to convince you that any given political position associated with the hashtag is correct. I certainly won't ask you to support GamerGate. I simply wish to point out how your company's core values are in conflict with supporting GaymerX so long as they use the GG AutoBlocker.

  It is not playing nice or fair to label tens of thousands of people "harassers" or "sheeple" based solely on who they follow on Twitter. It is certainly not fair to create an industry blacklist.

  Clearly not every voice matters to GaymerX. The use of a blockbot is completely antithetical the the idea that every voice matters.

  You have the opportunity to lead responsibly in this matter. I simply ask you to either reconsider your association with GaymerX, or encourage them to stop using blockbots.

Operation Angry Unicorn

So this is a thing:

  I sent one tweet to @GaymerX last October:

  The result:

  The context:

  "I can't just dismiss people who want to go to GX3 and also support GG for their own reasons. As I can't dismiss you."

  "I can't associate the bad behavior of many of the gg-ers with everyone person that uses the hashtag."

  "We don't support GG. We never will. We support queer gamers, though, some of them happen to have different ideas than we do."

  If only it were so.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Gladiator's Viability

  I've been reading forum posts, reddit comments and trade chat, and the general consensus is that Gladiator DPS is good enough, and you can play whatever you want until you get to mythic. Alternatively, if you spec it you're a scrub, get out of the raid, you can't DPS as tank.

  Both are wrong.

  First off, a Warrior in Gladiator Stance is not a tank. While some of the survivability of Prot is retained, it isn't significantly greater than Fury or Arms. Shield Charge replaces Shield Block, and Shield Barrier is very weak without Resolve, so Prot's active mitigation is absent in Gladiator Stance. Gladiator does still have Demoralizing Shout, Shield Wall and Last Stand (as well as much higher armor and the ability to block), so they're able to take some hits, but not for long.

  So Gladiator is not a proper tank, but is it a proper DPS? Let's see what the sims say:

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Random Ramblings: WoW Notes, Roll Call, Unemployed

WoW Notes

I like to keep a WordPad of notes handy for WoW. A recent addition is this macro I found on wowhead:

/run if(true)then local q={"The Thunderlord Sage","Explosive Discoveries","Amulet of Rukhmar","Gutrek's Cleaver","The Infected Orc","The Artificer"};for i= 1,6,1 do local a,b,c=GetAchievementCriteriaInfo(9825,i);print(q[i],": ",a," = ",c)end;end

This checks to see what Harrison Jones quests a character has done.

I also keep some paper notes on my desk, one of which I used for almost a year:

Rik and Skeer cannot be tanked by the same tank due to debuffs, same with Kil and Xaril. Rik and Korv should be different tanks because Korv will stun while Rik applies a debuff. Karoz and Iyyuk are switched from their initial priority. I usually started on Skeer, so I underlined Korv, Iyyuk and Kilruk because those are my taunt targets.

Tank 1 starts on Rik, Tank 2 on Skeer. DPS kills Rik then Skeer, then Korv, with Tank 2 taunting Korv and facing him away from others. DPS kills Hisek, then Xaril, with Tank 1 taunting Xaril. DPS kills Kaz then Iyyuk, with Tank 2 taunting Iyyuk. Finally, DPS kills Karoz, then Kilruk, with Tank 2 taunting Kilruk.

Between my 5 tanks, I have done this 31 times. It's ugly, but it worked.

Roll Call

I never did finish the Alt Appreciation project. I got to Paladin and got distracted, which is too bad, because my Priest is one of my favorite alts. I'm going to do this again, but I'm calling it Roll Call. I'm going to go through my characters in order of time /played and do one big post on that character, their history and stats, my thoughts on the class, and generally anything that come up when I think about that character.

I've got one of each class above 90 and they're in 3 groups:

On Ally-Proudmoore I have my DK, Priest and Mage, each with fully developed garrisons and professions. My DK and Priest are raid ready (671 and 654 ilevel), and my Mage has dipped into a bit of PvP. This is where most of my gold is as well, about 278k.

On Ally-Durotan I have my Hunter, Shaman, Rogue and Warrior, with my Warrior at 100 and 645 ilevel. I also have professions and garrisons developing and about 30k gold.

On Horde-Proudmoore I have my Paladin, Monk, Warlock and Druid, each at level 91 with garrison resources and professions slowly building up. I don't have much gold between them, (about 1k), since I'm heavily invested in speculation, so supplying daily cooldowns is a thrifty endeavor. I also have various bank alts that post glyphs, transmogs and crafted items.

It can seem overwhelming to have 11 garrisons to manage, but the important thing is to remember that it's all optional. Sometimes all I do on my DK, Priest and Mage is profession cooldowns, dwarven bunker daily, JC or Alch daily, and emptying/restocking the mine cache (since I have an abundance of Draenic Stone). The herb garden and mine are just a convenient form of gathering. It might seem like easy gold left ungathered, but so is all the ore and herbs out in Draenor. It's OK to not do everything everyday. There's certainly a large initial time investment, but once followers are leveled and geared and buildings are upgraded, it's easy to maintain.


I've been unemployed for a month now, while not being able to afford it for a week. The people at my apartment office have been more than gracious giving me time to catch up on rent, but other bills are piling up and I'm getting turned down for flipping burgers. What makes it worse is that over the last 6 months, a series of roommates all bailed on me after they got behind on bills, about $1,500 altogether. It wasn't all craigslist roommates either, but co-workers, and even fellow veterans. Some even stole from me when they left. I got caught up on bills each time they did, but now I don't know what to do.

I don't usually like to drag real life worries into WoW, but this one is a potential WoW-killer for me. I might go homeless at the end of this month. It feels kind of strange playing while knowing that soon I might not log back in for a while, if ever. I've stopped using mailbox storage and adjusted my AH posting habits so that I can quickly clear mailboxes if I have to. I'm not on a raid team mostly because I'm marking full availability on job applications, but also because I don't know when my power will get cut off.

I have so much time to play now, but I feel kind of guilty about playing at all while unemployed. It just doesn't seem right, even though it's not a detriment, but even a motivating factor towards getting stabilized. If I want to keep playing, I have to get caught up. It might seem weird that continuing to play WoW is a more real motivator to me than maybe sleeping under a bridge, but I've been through worse.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Bloody Stats: Haste vs Multistrike

Death Strike is the Blood Death Knight's bread and butter, so maximizing the number of Death Strikes during a fight greatly increases survivability. In order to maintain a sense of perspective, I'd like to preface this article by saying that skillful play will contribute far more towards this goal than stat optimization. If a DK frequently allows runic power, rune pairs or Blood Tap charges to cap, then the most effective way to increase survivability is to play better.

Also, this only applies to this gear level (673) with this talent setup (not Breath of Sindragosa).

Kaldahar Sim March 21 XML

This is the Result 1 info for the next post:

Monday, March 16, 2015

Item Level Spread Visualized, T14 through T16

The 5 ilevel boost to all gear from BRF goes live tomorrow, and it seems most everyone is OK with this. The most obvious effect will be the effective nerf of all content.

I think that people making good progress through BRF on any level of difficulty will be boosted significantly, while others who have not progressed much are likely to still be using more HM gear, and so will see less immediate benefit. However, I think that in 2 weeks, the new ilevels will be the new normal.

Some are saying that this ilevel boost makes BRF a separate tier from HM, but I disagree. Consider the following graph of MoP ilevels:

As you can see, MSV is in the same tier as HoF and ToeS, but at a slightly lower ilevel. The overlap is significant. Between each tier, however, only heroic and LFR overlap. The tiers are distinct, and all gear from old content is clearly obsolete for a progression raid team.

T17 is more complicated, largely due to there being 4 raiding difficulties. Each one needs to be a clear upgrade from the previous, so the spread is wider. I have added a predicted T18 spread with T18 LFR halfway between heroic and mythic T17, based on the similar pattern in MoP.

Now, the argument that HM and BRF are separate tiers seems to be based on the full replacement of HM gear with BRF gear, at whatever difficulty level a given raid team is progressing at. I argue, however, that this is expected, as the same occurred in T14.

Also, HM remains relevant for many raiders if they were to increase the difficulty of HM. Suppose a raid ream has cleared 6/10 normal BRF after clearing 6/7 normal HM, and a few heroic HM. They would likely be at 665 ilevel, so heroic HM still drops upgrades that are now only equal to normal BRF, not 5 ilevels above. This is a mild nerf to HM gear, but it is not made clearly obsolete.

Another point of contention is that Imperator is now obsolete, and I'm inclined to agree, but only to a degree. Considering the same raid team example, downing normal Imperator to complete that progression does not yield upgrades, expect perhaps a few BiS items where a lower ilevel outperforms a higher one. However, this is a niche example.

All in all, I think that in 2 weeks none of these complaints will be an issue. The ilevel boost is justified on it's own merits.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Equal Opportunity in Gaming

I mentioned in my last post that my political opinions have been a source of conflict between myself and "LGBT-friendly" guilds. I've even been blocked by @GaymerX, even though the only tweet I've sent them is the following:

Many other people on twitter are making the same complaint. 

This is happening because certain ideas are not allowed to be criticized within this community. Feminism is mandatory. So-called social justice is mandatory. Any disagreement means unwelcome. Now, what is meant by feminism and social justice varies depending on who one asks.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Sad Quit

Wow, that was a long hiatus. Unfortunately the recap of these last few months won't be pleasant. I started Warlords of Draenor by licking my wounds, so to speak, and reassessing what's important to me in the World of Warcraft.

I like raiding. More specifically, I like progression, but the endless treadmill of gear and raid tiers is just a catalyst for what I'm really after, which is being a member of a good team.

Until recently, I was a member of <Stonewall Senior Guard>. I was with them for almost a year, and I thought it was different from every other "LGBT-friendly" guild. For one, it's age 30+, so I expected a fair amount less drama than other guilds, particularly where it comes to disagreements in game or in real life. Well, I couldn't be more wrong.

After seeing someone typing a diatribe into guild chat about "dumbing down the game", I challenged it. I even provided specific examples of how the game now is more complex than in BC. I did not curse or name-call, and I even used as much placating language as I could, but the response was being called a douche and put on ignore. An officer intervened and warned me not to argue in guild chat. From this, I got the clear message to not voice my opinions if they're different than this other guildmate's opinions. That's a problem for a guild I was in for the social aspect.

I stayed anyway and kept my oh so scary opinion that I actually like this game to myself, but I should have seen the writing on the wall. This guild is a hugbox. No one will tell you that you're wrong.

Unless, of course, your political opinions are unacceptable. Now, why do political opinions matter in this game? Well, it is a social game, and people, especially casual players, are going to chat. Invariably the news comes up, or something like that, and I'm asked "What do you think of that?" I know my political opinions are unpopular amongst the "LGBT community", which I am ostensibly a part of, so I hedged my replies. I never lied outright, but I certainly withheld a lot of truth. I used to withhold a lot of truths while I was in the Army, serving under Don't Ask, Don't Tell. Now, not being allowed to speak freely in this particular guild's chat is certainly not as bad as that, but it's bad in the same way. To risk social ostracization for honestly answering direct questions is a problem. It's the same problem I had in <Taint> and every other "LGBT-friendly" guild I've been in.

Yet still I stayed, against my better judgement, because I had been making friends there. I did end up quitting, though, after being voluntold to be the raid leader. I was asked if I was interested in either being the raid leader and/or a mentor (specifically a tank mentor) and I was very clear that I cannot commit to the raid lead position, but I was very happy to mentor anyone wanting to learn how to tank. I was later asked to be the "liaison" between us and another guild, relaying information to their forums, and somehow this was interpreted as volunteering to be the raid leader. I told the GM that he needed to recruit and put Normal Highmaul on the calendar if we wanted to make it happen, but no recruitment was done, and Siege of Orgrimmar was put on the calendar.

That's why I quit, ultimately, though I'd be remiss to not say that the previous problems weren't a factor. First and foremost, though, I was not being listened to. A raid leader probably shouldn't be a reluctant one, and I was very reluctant. I don't know how to lead a hugbox. Additionally, recruitment has to be done, and it needs done by officers who know the guild culture. Current content has to be at least attempted if anyone is to be attracted to the opportunity to raid.

I left while I was the only one online, dropped Btags, got one non-committal note in the mail, and haven't heard from anyone there since. I guess we weren't friends after all.

I was raiding the past few weeks with <Elysiums Gate>, and the trouble there started when my co-tank/raid leader/guild leader did not know that Bonus Armor gives tanks Attack Power, which is why I was not pre-potting when he pulled. He doesn't start with a taunt, so if I go all out I would rip threat off him, even when I was undergeared. Now, this could be an OK thing for someone "progressing" through Normal modes to not know, I think. It's the first raid tier of the expansion, and people will make mistakes. The real test is how a player deals with mistakes.

The major warning sign for me was when he made a bad call on Operator Thogar and caused a wipe. The silence on vent said it all. He would not accept responsibility. 2 people /gquit on the spot, since they'd been arguing with him over stuff all night and it was just too much, but I decided to give this group another chance.

Last Tuesday, we had a fairly normal night, right up until one of the two pugs asked why a tier piece didn't go to the highest roll. I was already logged out of Mumble, but still in raid chat, so I scrolled back and sure enough, a tier piece had been given to a guildmate instead of the one who rolled highest. This was a clear cut ninja. More importantly, by doing this, the guild leader was showing that a piece of loot is more important than the guild's reputation. I /gquit and when asked why, I said I won't be associated with that.

So now I'm at 665 ilevel on a server full of guilds that are "LGBT-friendly", i.e. unfriendly to me, and I'm looking at my options. A transfer is out of the question, since I can't afford it. My alts on Durotan (Hunter, Shaman, Rogue, Warrior) are an option, though I don't relish the idea of starting from level 90 this late in the raid tier.

This is probably the closest I've come since WotLK to quitting the game.