Thursday, April 19, 2012

Random Ramblings: A Rant I Dreamed, Stonedrake, Playing Shadow

  It was a really weird dream, and I have no idea what triggered it. Of course, have lived with and worked with some big time rubes (haven't we all), but I don't often call them out on it. What I was going on about was the false assertion that people are becoming dumber with each successive generation.

  As far as I can recall, my central point was that calculus, which was developed by Issac Newton to explain planetary motion, is now taught in high schools as a subject worth knowing just for the sake of knowing. I also went on about how the very secrets of life, like DNA and genetics, and General Relativity, are taught to all children. Even seemingly mundane subjects, like History and Geography provide children with the opportunity to know so much about the world around us. Even optional courses like Drama and Debate establish a great variety to education. The generations past beyond living memory wouldn't be able to conceive of knowledge that we now consider "Elective". The world it's self didn't change. We changed it. We got smarter, faster, stronger, can travel with ease, can live twice as long, and have a greater resistance to disease. We entertain ourselves in previously unimaginable ways. We're better than ever.

  I could go on, but I'd rather segway into how this relates to Warcraft, so... uh... here's how it relates to Warcraft.

  Just as we build upon the knowledge, experience, and wisdom of previous generations in real life, generations of Warcraft players transmit lessons learned, and further establish an enormous base of knowledge. The game itself becomes more complicated and nuanced, and the way we play it adapts, but retains certain principles.

  For example, when the game first started, Hunters had a rather simple rotation. We used Multi-Shot and a casted Aimed Shot inbetween autoshots, and were sometimes allowed to use Serpent Sting (8/16 dot caps anyone?). We used potions every 2 minutes and feigned death to exit combat and drink. If we had to move, we did the ol' stutter step. AOE was one crappy Volly now and then and a crappy trap. Pets were usually  a red smear. That's about it. Talents were similar to what Rift is like now, I think.

  I didn't play in BC, but I hear it wasn't much more complicated, maybe even easier.

  In Wrath, things got a bit more complicated. I'll stick with Marks here, for brevity. The autoshot change removed the shot timing issue, so there was a simplification there, but movement still had to be done artfully. A proper shot prioritiy emerged, Serpent Sting>Kill Shot>Chimera Shot>Aimed Shot>Arcane Shot(at first)>Steady Shot. AOE was a Volly spam and a trap, so a little better. Pets brought a neat ability or self buff and did decent DPS, so were now worth keeping alive. Aspect of the Viper replaced mana potions and water, so there was a burst-regen model in place. Overall, it was more complicated, but in a good way (except lousy ArPen). The talent tree got huge, but still mostly uninteresting choices. The only real option was the regular build or ArPen build (in which case Arcane Shot was dropped). One last thing, Serpent Sting could now be continually refreshed on two targets if done right. That was the coolest.

  With the change to Focus, the burst-regen model was shortened into a rotation. Honestly, I think it's the best change Hunters have received. The shot priorities changed up a lot. There is the Arcane focus dump rotation that is more movement friendly, and then there is the Aimed focus dump that usually does higher DPS. The first 20%, now 10% of the fight is an Aimed, Steady spam, with a few different ways to deal with Chimera and Serpent Sting refreshing. Maintaining that damn ISS while keeping Chimera on c/d and using Aimed procs quickly is tedious, and the principle of careful movement (a new kind of stutter stepping) is maintained. AOE is rather easier now, with Multi-Shot refunding partial focus and proccing Wild Quiver. The talent overhaul was kinda meh, but that's been debated ad nauseum. Overall, I'd say it's much more complicated, but in a rewarding way.

  Now I'm really rambling, and probably remembering something wrong. What I'm getting at is that the game changes, and becomes a bit more complicated with each change. More importantly, we players changed it. The developers responded to our actions and continually adapted the system to a better form. A greater variety of experiences is very rewarding, though, and the average player now has to excel to a higher standard than in past expansions.

  Now the word change sounds weird inside my head. Change. Change. Yeah, it's weird now.

  In other news:

  What can I say? I like to treat myself sometimes.

  I also tweaked my Priest's Shadow set transmogging. It's mostly Silver-Threaded, but I changed the chest to Warpthread Vest, and the boots to Bristlepine Sandals. They look much better that the Black Mageweave pieces I was using. The belt is Historian's Sash, oddly enough.

  I'm only doing about 17k DPS in 5mans as Shadow, but more distressingly, I'm not entirely sure what I'm doing, right or wrong. I've read and practiced the EJ Shadow Priest guide, but there's nuances to figure out that only more experience will solve.

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