Walking away from Legion’s Loss of Control

I have been in a crummy mood for the last few weeks. Snapping, whining, venting, it’s been ugly. Part of it has been life, and part of it has been WoW. WoW’s become an increasing part of my life again and I think it’s been a bit detrimental.

I realized tonight that part of my issue with this expansion is that I have very little control over getting the things I want. Can I farm AP for the artifact traits I want? Yes, but it’s going to take either 2384289 mythic+ runs or waiting 5 days for more artifact knowledge.

I have no control over the drops I get. In previous expansions it was just a matter of ‘meh whatever, maybe next week’ but this expansion has warforged, titanforged, and most infamously – legendaries. None of which a player has any control over. You get what you get based on RNG.

The mounts I want are in the new caches from the extra rep and those are also random. I don’t want to grind for more rep so I figured I’d let it happen organically but knowing that the mounts I want are tied to more RNG on top of another rep grind really is not motivating.

I want flying too but that’s tied to another rep grind and achievements based on cycling events.

I want my new artifact appearance but it’s tied to a super buggy scenario that I wasted a lot of attempts on thanks to the feign death bug. That’s at least a matter of ‘when’ than ‘if’ but still.

Even things like the dungeon achievements are tied to random stuff – AKA which boss is going to be up in violet hold that week.

And relics? How bout those.

Plus I feel like BM hunters have been fighting to at least be relevant in content given all the bugs. And swapping specs/characters is not as easy nowadays what with, well, everything. But the pet AI, hati, etc. The legendaries. It just all remains the same.

I feel like I have very, very little control over the progression of my character this expansion. And that sucks, because I am all about working for things that I want. These two attitudes have come to a complete head and I think it was boiling under the surface and that’s what made me so nasty these last few weeks.

In order to continue to enjoy the game I think I need to let go of the idea of having any control over the progression of my character and getting the things I want. Which is a shame, but that’s the long and short of it. I have a feeling other folks have been wrestling with the same thoughts I have. If you couldn’t put it properly to words, I hope this blog entry helps.

Ultimately I love WoW but maybe a little TOO much right now and that’s bad. I do like the raids, and m+ are like my favorite thing ever. Plus pet battling is fun, even though the tamers fit the theme of the expansion and are on a completely random rotation.

I definitely understand the need for prolonged content, but I think this expansion’s treatment of it may have been taken a little too far. In the end it’s just kind of slowly pushing me away.

So this blog entry is just me saying my peace, pretty much. It reminds me of when I stopped hardcore raiding. I had to let go of the mentality of being ‘the best.’ And so I focused on more casual ways to progress my character. Now those casual options are also either really grindy or based more on RNG than effort put in so I’m at an impasse. The content itself is really neat. It’s just weird to have these shiny grapes hanging on a branch just out of your reach and every time you jump for it, it’s a 40% chance the branch will be pulled away by a racoon, a 20% chance the tree will be struck by lightning and fall on you, a 30% chance you’ll fall down and hurt yourself, and another 30% chance you might actually be able to grab them.

There is, of course, the matter of eventualities. Eventually you’ll have enough artifact knowledge to make a dent in more of your traits. Eventually you’ll get lucky with your gear. etc. etc. But sometimes having to wait for something means you lose interest in it by a certain point. Or you just get angry. So angry.

I feel sad but also a little relieved that I’ve realized this. I’m only ashamed it took me so long. Hopefully now I can change my attitude and start being more positive again.

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Beast Mastery Hunters: ‘Stuck in the Middle with You’ part 1

I’ve been threatening to do a write-up on the state of beast mastery hunters for a long time and now I’m finally making good on it. I hesitated for a long time because I’m a relative newcomer to the class, having just started playing a hunter and maining a DPS spec in Legion. (For all previous expansions with the exception of the second part of TBC and first part of WoTLK I played a healer.) Whenever this happens I feel like I need to back myself up by listing my long resume of raiding history including portions where I was a raid leader and officer in several guilds. I’ve been playing WoW and raiding in some capacity since around the time Blackwing Lair was considered ‘progression.’ I’ve always been a middle-of-the-road raiding player. Somewhere between ‘good’ and ‘we just needed a warm body for this’ depending on the weather and my attention-span that day.

I was also wary because the default attitude towards beast mastery hunters seems to be: “Oh they’re a 3-button faceroll class, they don’t deserve to do good DPS.”

I disagree. In fact, I challenge that view with the following assertion:

Beast Mastery hunters are a weird mix of a ranged and melee class. You might think I’m exaggerating here but I’m not. Consider that we have all the negatives of a ranged class (Generally expected to do more mechanics. Eat cake, target swap, soak pools, etc.) with all the negatives of having a melee class attached to us in the form of our pets. (As in, if it’s a target swapping fight like Cenarius, a good 80% of our DPS in in transit switching back and forth from adds the entire time.) There’s a lot more micromanagement required to play the spec well than people might think. Keyword being ‘well.’ Any class in this game can be played at an average level, it’s part of what makes the game great. But if you don’t know how to manage your pets well, you’re going to have a bad time as a BM hunter. (Especially since Hati is slower than a tire rolling uphill.)

I’ll give you an example of my analogy – the Krosus fight in Nighthold requires ranged to soak pools while the only mechanic melee need to worry about is running out of slams. When Krosus slams and breaks the bridge, any melee caught in it gets stunned or dies by falling into the water. This also applies to hunter pets. What this means is that BM hunters need to be keenly aware of his slam, a melee only mechanic, so that they can manually pull their pets away and prevent them from being stunned and unable to attack for a few precious seconds. Since hunter pets are by default agonizingly slow, this can generally only be accomplished by using dash and just ignoring Hati because he will never, ever make it out in time and just ends up stunned regardless.

Are you starting to catch my drift? Good. Now can we please get rid of the “lol faceroll u dont deserve good DPS” attitude? Good. With this long intro out of the way, I’m going to get into the true reason for this post: Feedback. What’s going right, and what’s going oh God so very wrong with BM hunters right now.

Let’s start with the uh, glowing blue wolf elephant in the room, okay? Hati.

This poor doggo is probably the most hated animal in the game right now. I can appreciate that they wanted to try something unique for hunters in Legion, but…poor Hati. It was an interesting idea in theory but in practice and function he is just subpar in almost every way. I think at this point I’d prefer an artifact ability that played this video on repeat every time it was used rather than having to deal with Hati.

Let’s just come out and say it, okay? Hati sucks. Consider this log from my heroic trilliax kill this week. (Pls 2 disregard other boss kills on heroic it was only my second week and I did terribly swap to normal for my big pen0r DPS numbers if that’s your thing.) Hati only just barely did more damage than my auto-shots. I realize his damage is also figured into the overall kill command damage, but that is just pathetically bad. He does marginally more damage than a good trinket or a neck enchant. This is our ARTIFACT ability here. I don’t think any other class has an artifact ability that is actually a liability to them the way Hati is. Not sure what I mean? Let me use another anecdote –

I’m in mythic+15 or whatever vault of the wardens and my group decides it wants to save time and sneak past the jailer mob that sits by the final elevator to the dark area. The rogue hits the entire group with AoE stealth and we start running. I’m stealthed, my regular pet is stealthed, hati is not. Hati pulls the mob. I commit seppuku on the elevator out of shame.

Another example would be a place like court of stars. There are a lot of tight turns and corners in that dungeon that require precision movement. I have the aggro radius of a semi-truck because I have two pets, only one of which can stealth and they both stand on either side of me. This usually leads to me having to dismiss my pets and lag behind so that I’m not the one who pulled the extra sentry.

As a pet mechanic, Hati is impossible to control. He will not leash, he will not maintain attacks, and he does not aggro properly. If I lead with a multi-shot on a group of mobs, my main pet will blink over and start beast cleaving. Hati will sit next to me and beast cleave at the air.

haitbobati

Protecting me from harmful oxygen molecules

When he DOES aggro a mob, he never actually de-aggros no matter what you do. A classic case of this is when I was doing Emerald Nightmare raid achievements and we were on Nythendra. The goal of that achievement is to squash bugs during her swarm phase. The entire raid was over-geared so we opted to not damage her so that she didn’t accidentally die before we got all the bugs. I hit follow/passive and my main pet ran over and sat like a good boy. Hati just kept. running. back. to. the. big. nono. dragon. It got to a point where I had to use the ‘play dead’ ability which puts your pets into feign death to get him to stop. He also does this during the second boss of vault which stinks because he’s wasting valuable DPS time by running all over the place given his slow running speed.

So he comes with all the negative bugs that regular pets have right now while suffering additionally because he’s got the AI of a guardian rather than an actual controllable pet. (Think the difference between a mage water elemental and a shaman’s regular earth elemental or a DK’s army of the dead ghoul.)

So we have this artifact ability that while unique and super cute and you just wanna smooch him head – he sucks at damage and will cause your death more often than you’d care to realize. I mean, pets in general are super bugged out this expansion.

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Stuck in a cage

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Stuck on a cliff

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Stuck on a boat with a nautical themed pashmina afghan

But Hati is on a special level uniquely his own. He gets KOed more often than not on the courtesan mobs before Elisande in Nighthold for whatever reason (I can tell because I’ll get the “You let your dog die you terrible owner you” debuff) but I consider it a blessing.

How to fix Hati? Dear God, I do not know. He is almost broken beyond repair. The issue is that he has the AI of a guardian rather than a pet and as such his actual mechanics are very limited outside of ‘move’ and ‘do damage.’ A lot of hunters have been asking since launch for a way to just imbue Hati’s spirit into our regular pet to give it a flat damage buff equivalent to what we’d lose by Hati not being around. (So extra damage from his base damage and anything that would come along with it like way of the cobra which does more damage depending on the amount of pets/guardians you have out.)

Alternatively, pump up his damage and make spawning him a high DPS cooldown that lasts for 10-20 seconds the same way murder of crows does. I mean honestly, if his damage is this terrible already, there’s not really any reason not to turn him into a cooldown and just have that damage come as burst rather than crappily spread throughout a fight like old chalky butter.

Poor Hati though. He’s so cute. I feel terrible that he was dealt such a terrible hand and is now almost universally hated. 😦 A doggo should never be hated, only loved.

I don’t think Hati can, or should, be turned into another fully functioning pet. Our DPS doesn’t need to be split between 3 different functional entities anyway. (Hunter, pet, hati.) It adds more uncertainties and liabilities in fights and maintaining steady DPS expectations. Asking a person to control two characters in battle in one thing. Expecting them to manage 3 is a little excessive, ‘beast master’ or not.

The reason beast mastery hunters have been churning out mediocre DPS this expansion is not an issue of numbers, it’s an issue of mechanics. We fighting against poor pet control and when 80% of your damage rotation is buggy or slow, the numbers are going to show that. Where we really shine is in mythic+ because there’s usually very little movement and a lot of opportunity for our pets to stand still and beast cleave.

They’ve made obvious attempts to mitigate this by doing things like increasing cobra shot damage. That’s totally fair. But I think more effort can be made to tweak the pet pathing and work on the issue of Hati entirely in order to really start addressing the class’ weakness.

And I think that about wraps it up for part one. In the next part I’ll get a little more into the situation with beast mastery’s abilities and gearing as well as touch on PVP a bit. All this provided my attention span for this lasts. If you stuck with me and read through this, thank you. If you didn’t, leave a comment and raise your hand.

We’ve Come a Long Way!

BEWARE! THIS POST IS LONG! FAIRLY WARNED, BE YE!

So I’ve been talking a big game about making a post discussing my fitness efforts and it’s time for me to make good on my threats.

Before I get started I want to point out that this is going to be a deeply personal blog detailing my weightloss and fitness efforts over the last year. It comes directly from my mind and experiences, and with that comes the emotional highs and lows I have felt going through this journey. Everything I say in this post is directed solely at me and my experiences. In saying certain things about myself, I do not imply anything about the fitness/health of others. I hate to sound like Veruca Salt, but this is about me and my journey only. I don’t want anyone to read this and feel upset or down on anything because that is not my intention! I just wanted to say that going in, because I’m putting some harsh truths about myself in here that reflect solely on me, my mental health, and my own body. None of my comments are meant to pass judgment on anyone else’s body or their lifestyle. Live your life as fully as you want, be beautiful, feel amazing in your own skin no matter what!

So let me preface by explaining why I began this journey. I was very, very thin in high school. Probably to an unhealthy point. I wouldn’t really eat lunch, I’d grab a bag of chips and sprite from the vending machines and then walk all over the school with a heavy backpack. I’d eat dinner at home, but when I see pics of myself around that time I was mostly skin and bones.

Aaaand then I went to college and gained the freshman 15. Thankfully having to walk to my classes and all over campus kept that gain at 15-20lbs.

BUT THEN I STARTED MY CAREER AND EVERYTHING CHANGED WHEN THE SNACKS NATION ATTACKED! Suddenly my lifestyle was COMPLETELY sedentary. Working from home didn’t help the matter, as that dropped my average daily exercise to basically the amount of steps between my home office and my bed. Every now and then I’d go for walks or take the dogs out but beyond that, I was lifeless.

My eating habits went in the crapper as well. I didn’t realize how poorly I was eating at the time, because one doesn’t set out to eat an entire pizza or family size bag of doritos on their own – it just kind of happens. Whenever I went grocery shopping I’d grab all kinds of snacks like cheetos, oreos, etc. and then after bringing them home I’d graze on them all day. Walk past the kitchen to let the dogs out? Better grab 2 or 3 oreos on the way back! Because goddamnit, those things TASTE good. Same with takeout food like pizza or whatever else. Even now I struggle with cravings when I know better, that I shouldn’t be ordering a medium sized extra cheese pizza and breadsticks for ONE person.

The main point I’m trying to make here is that my weight gain happened slowly over the course of 5-8 years. A box of oreos here or there, some pizza on Friday night, ice cream from Dairy Queen when I was coming home from work, etc. I would buy whole bags of hershey’s miniatures and just eat them in a weekend WITH my other meals. ALL of them. An entire bag of chocolates. Coupled with little to no exercise and that means that as I got older, I was gaining more and more weight. But it was such a slow process that I didn’t even notice.

Now, I have always had a mental image of myself that is, well, my concept of a perfect me physically. She’s beautiful, intelligent, and has a traditional hourglass figure. When I imagine myself doing things or whatever else, that is the “me” that I think of. It has always been this way, from when I was a little girl until now. I like to laugh about sexual dimorphism and overtly sexualized women in games, but the truth is that this mental image of myself is just as leggy, busty, and sensual as any leather-clad leading lady in a comic book movie or fantasy novel cover.

What does that make me? I don’t know. It’s not something I’ve ever seen as “wrong” about myself. I don’t think I have any kind of body dismorphia, I just think I have an over-idealized version of me bouncing around in my head so I can feel good when I imagine myself taking over the world during my daydreams.

So here’s where it all comes to a head. I went to my endocrinologist as I have a thyroid issue. Hashimoto’s, it’s an autoimmune disorder that cause hypothyroidism. (At this point when I went to my endo, it had been under control and treated for at least a couple years by that point so no, it wasn’t the main source of my weight gain.) I got on their scale and it read almost 200 lbs. That was, according to the BMI scale on their wall, clinically obese. The endo sat me down and told me that since I already had an autoimmune disorder and my weight was increasing, I was going to be at an increased risk of type 2 diabetes. My general practitioner had expressed concern about this and my weight as well, as had an orthopedist I had seen for a hip issue. All of this genuine concern from medical professionals plus actually seeing my weight right there in big bold letters on the scale caused that beautiful mental image of myself in the mirror to crack and shatter.

I went home and for the first time I looked at myself and saw how much weight I had gained and I saw that perfect image of myself in my brain compared to how I looked and felt and I just cried. Literally cried myself to sleep that night.

Now, not every woman holds weight the same way, we have some seriously diverse body types! Some women hold weight more in their chest, thighs, and butt. I was not so lucky. All of my weight gain was centered on my stomach and abdomen which, in terms of health, is one of the WORST places you can carry it. All your organs are located in those areas which means the fat is more likely to collect around them and cause things like heart issues, liver disease, etc. Plus, I looked like I was pregnant or smuggling a beachball under my shirt. I had resorted to wearing unflattering tops that fluffed out at the bottom in the hopes of hiding it. I actually had a cashier at a restaurant once ask me when I was due. I just gave her a sad smile, a quiet laugh, and replied, “I’m not, I’m just fat.” and she turned almost scarlet and was silent the rest of the transaction.

Now please understand, I’m not pulling any punches here in terms of myself and these comments/opinions are only directed AT myself, nobody else. I was very unhappy with how I looked and felt. On top of being depressed about my appearance, I started having pain in various parts of my body. My shoulders, neck, hips, and knees would shift between dull aches to just throbbing pain depending on how I slept or moved during the day. Surprisingly, my elbows even started hurting after a certain point because of my posture.

And so, after crying, I fell into a bit of a slump about the whole thing. My ideal image of myself was in ruins, and I no longer felt cute, powerful, or whatever else. To me, I was just a walking lump with a big mouth.

Now, I could go on and on about this aspect of my growth but I won’t, because it’s uncomfortable. I kept the feelings bottled up and for a time, I got worse. Food was comfort for me, and I sought it out as much as possible which just made it a self-fulfilling prophecy. And before this, I had looked on things like calorie counting and whatnot as tedious, pointless, and just making life complicated for the sake of being complicated. Who wants to count their calories for EVERY meal of the day? I certainly didn’t. And you know why I didn’t? Because it would have made me responsible for everything I was putting in my mouth.

So now that all that nastiness is out of the way…how about when things turned around?

The first part of my weight loss came solely from the kitchen. Or rather, came from things I kicked OUT of my kitchen.

In June of last year, I went on a trip to visit my family. I spent a bit with them and saw how they lived their lives. They were all very active, ate healthy, and just were overall much, much happier than I was at the time. THAT was my turning point. I saw how they lived, and I knew I wanted the same kind of life for myself. So after coming back home I knew I had to make a change. I went through my kitchen and threw out all the junk. Buh-bye cookies, buh-bye super sugary cereal, buh-bye candy, buh-bye buh-bye. I also bought a scale to FORCE myself to accept the reality of my own weight from then on.

Then I went shopping and I shopped specifically for my new lifestyle. I got skim milk, greek yogurt, fiber based cereals, veggies, healthier bread, etc. etc. I have a “no snack” rule in this house and I stick to it. I wish I could say that I had the restraint other people do with snacks, but I don’t. To me, there is no such thing as one reeses from the package and saving the other for later. No. Both are going in my mouth. I know this aspect of myself, and I accept it. In accepting it, I set these boundaries for myself knowing it was the only way I’d be able to stick with it.

I learned very early on not to drink my calories. Thankfully I don’t like coffees or teas, so that just left soda and fruit juice. Fruit juice is meh, I don’t usually buy it at the grocery store so cutting that out wasn’t hard. Soda I just had to force myself to quit cold turkey. I tried switching to diet, but for some reason any time I drank the diet sodas I would retain water like a sumumabish. So I’d wake up the next morning, get on the scale, and freak out! Thus, diet sodas have become relegated to a “once in a while” thing. I will NOT drink them when I go out to a restaurant. I find that in a restaurant setting I will gulp down my drink like gangbusters. If that drink is soda, that’s baaAAAdddd. So water it is.

I went into this lifestyle change hating water, to be honest, but I have learned to love it. Now the only drinks in my fridge are my skim lactaid milk and a pitcher of filtered water. My body is MADE of water, so I wanted to learn to like it. And I did. I’ll still get sodas, but usually just a regular can or bottle of diet as part of a Thai takeout meal or whatever else. That way it’s a limited amount as a treat.

The change with food came down to one thing: counting my calories. As much as I groaned and eye-rolled at it before, I realized I needed to learn to do it. I downloaded the Lose It! app on my phone and started tracking as was utterly surprised at the type of things I was eating in a day.

The important thing with calorie counting is that, outside of water, you are tracking EVERYTHING you put into your mouth. So you’re having a bagel and add the bagel in? Great. But did you add the cream cheese too? They’re both going in your mouth, both are going to be converted into energy for your body, so you NEED to keep track of it. This was the hardest, and most eye-opening part for me. Suddenly I was learning what was actually sabotaging my weightloss efforts. Salads with dressings? Wow. Soups? Can be tricky. Pasta? loooooooooooooooooool. Do you know just how many restaurants will add things like sugar, butter, and mayo to meals that otherwise don’t need it at all to increase the “flavor”? It’s more than you’d think, and it might be worth taking a second look at certain chain restaurant menus to see their calorie counts before you go out to dinner.

But then here’s the thing. Those foods I listed above? THEY ARE GODDAMNED DELICIOUS. How can I LIVE without cake?! I’ll tell you – I don’t. I have cravings, they are very real and they are very persistent. I don’t think I will ever get rid of them, especially given my previous eating habits. The key with food is balance. If I want cake, I will have cake, but I will budget the rest of my day so that I’m not overconsuming calories because of the cake. So maybe instead of a bigger lunch I’ll just have a salad with a balsamic dressing. Then, at dinner, I will shove my face squarely in the biggest, chocolatiest piece of cake I can find for myself.

And that is it. That was the key. Balance. Balancing my meals, balancing my lifestyle. There is no such thing as a successful diet. There is only changing your lifestyle and learning how to eat properly. I can still have junk when I want it, just in moderation. This moderation, this balance, and this knowledge and acceptance of my own flaws and cravings is what has kept me successful with changing my eating habits.

Changing what I ate was how I lost most of my weight.

Are you still with me? I told you this was going to get long!

Around the end of October of last year I was very happy with my progress but I had hit a plateau. Plateaus are the ugly part of weightloss where you get stuck and can’t seem to budge the scale. At that point my mental image of myself was coming back into focus and I could see her in reach again. I decided that I wanted to be healthy, not just thinner, so I opted to add some exercise to my new lifestyle.

There’s a small, 24-hour gym local to me that I love. The ladies that run it are very kind and encouraging, and I had gone there in the past. My first foray into gym life from a couple years ago was a mess. I’d walk slowly on the treadmill for 30 minutes and consider myself good to go, but couldn’t understand why I wasn’t losing weight. This time when I went back to the gym I was DETERMINED to make that $30 monthly subscription worth it. I told myself that if I wasn’t sweating or if I had time to be watching a TV show on my phone, I wasn’t doing it right and needed to work harder.

I started my cardio slow with the elliptical and recumbent bike. The first few weeks were filled with me wheezing, sweating, and just plain miserable and out of breath. But over time, as I went, I realized that each day it got a little easier. I could stay on the machines for a little longer…push the resistance up a little higher. Even though I couldn’t really “see” a difference and my weight was still stalled, I FELT the progress. I FELT myself getting healthier, more in shape. There is no greater feeling in the world than knowing your body is turning into the well-oiled machine it was always meant to be.

Suddenly those aches and pains in my neck, shoulders, legs, etc. were disappearing. My muscles were firming up, and my body was able to support itself better. I equated my body to a machine in the last paragraph, and that’s true. Have you ever heard the old adage that cars like to be driven? That’s how our bodies are too. They LIKE to be used, made to work hard. I’ll be the first to admit that cardio can be boring as HELL, but afterwards I could feel my body and mind completely invigorated. PLUS I got the added bonus of that dopamine release you get when you tell yourself you need to do something and then you actually accomplish it.

By this time, I was starting to feel good. That mental image of myself was in clear view and SO close. I started losing weight again, but at a much slower pace. And that was okay. By then I had hit what is considered a healthy weight on the BMI scale. I still had my goal in mind, but at this point I’ve stopped using weight as the measurement and started using visual assessments to see if my body is where I want it to me. I still step on a scale, but I get a better idea of whether I’m on track to my goals just by looking at myself in the mirror. I can see what needs to be firmed up or worked on, and I can see how far I’ve really come.

SO! I stuck to doing cardio at the gym because I thought, y’know, that’s what women are supposed to do at the gym, right? WELL. One thing they never tell you about weightloss is that it the weight does not drop evenly. I was losing weight from all the areas I wanted to keep it while my tummy was still a freakin’ disaster. I didn’t want to lose my butt, thighs, and hips, darnit! But, that’s kinda what cardio does, right? You lose weight, but you lose it indiscriminately. You can’t wave a magic wand and ONLY lose tummy weight. Your body is just gonna be like, “AAYYYY WE NEED ENERGY, TAKE THE FAT STORES FROM THE CHEST AND THE BUTT, AND THEN MAYBE THE FACE???”

But this…this mental image of myself. She’s got the hourglass, she’s got the thighs and hips, she’s got the boobs and the toned arms! What am I gonna do if I l have the body of a potato?

Ohoho. Here’s a fun secret that they don’t market to women. They don’t market it to women because if you tell us women that you can essentially build your own body, that means that the fad diet and fad cardio exercise home workouts won’t sell. The secret is…wait for it…weight lifting. Weight lifting is specifically designed to target muscle groups on your body so that you can literally build the body you want by toning certain areas. Women seem to have this mistaken impression that if you do a few squats or bench presses, you’re going to break out in GIGANTIC veiny muscle patches and just, no. It doesn’t work like that. And I’m not saying this to be controversial. I mean, just talk to random people and the general idea is that weights and SICK GAINZ are for men while cardio is for women. I SPIT ON THIS STEREOTYPE! PETH PTHH! SPIT! BOTH ARE FOR BOTH!

Cardio and your diet are for losing weight. Weight training is for gaining it back IN THE AREAS YOU WANT IT.

So, to me, I wanted my killer thighs and toned arms. I’m not as big on abs, I just want a flat stomach. (That is still a work in progress.) So I took the dive. I got some help from the gym trainers and just, y’know, went for it. I sat down at the weight machines and…I did the reps. I started with the vertical bench press for my arms, and leg presses for my legs. (As a note, if you aren’t sure what these machines are, google it! You can find some great diagrams that explain them.) I was sore, but I took that soreness with a sense of pride because I knew it meant it was working. And the results were fairly immediate, I could see them after a couple of weeks. One day I was bending over in the shower to reach my body wash and I saw the gentle slope of my upper thigh and I saw it. I saw that mental image of myself reflected in the actual physical sense. I was becoming the person I had always dreamed about.

Oh gosh, I’m tearing up as I write this but it’s true.

Over time I’ve added more machines to my routine. At this point I’m doing bicep curls and using a machine that specifically targets the outer thighs on top of my other stuff. As I’ve started toning up I’ve realized that the toned areas look great, and I want more of them. So I totally get why people spend hours doing weights at the gym every day.

But to me, having an amazon body is pointless if I can’t walk for more than a block without getting winded. So my usual gym routine is 30 minutes of cardio followed by my circuit on the weight machines. I usually go 3-5 times a week and keep rest days in between for the days I really push myself by upping the weight limit or adding more reps. To me, this is balance.

The important thing is that I am still a work in progress, physically and mentally. But I feel better now than I have in the last 5 or 6 years, and I don’t see myself stopping any time soon. If anything, this whole experience has taught me that if I really put my mind to it and WORK for something, I can DO IT. It’s HARD and downright unpleasant at times, but it is doable.

As for my current progress, well, here’s a collection of pics I took to celebrate my new pair of leggings:

leggingssylvanas

Like I said, I still have work to do. But the point is, I’m doing the work. And I’m getting SO close to that mental image of the amazon in my head. Even better, that mental image is changing as my journey continues. She’s changing…well…into me. Actual me. And that just feels pretty damned good.

Thank you to everyone who read this far. And thank you to all my friends, family, etc. online and offline that have supported and encouraged me throughout this journey. You guys have been an invaluable resource, and I hope I’ve made some of you proud. :’)

An Idea, Just a Small One

Hi, it’s me, Gloria. I’m the author of such silly idea threads as “add a class difficulty rating” and “long, wordy, too many comparisons battlepet post” A, B and C as well as “add a battle pet that is an artifact.

Basically, I come up with weird ideas on the regular. I don’t know what it is about WoW that makes me think this stuff up, especially since, like, look at me? I work customer service day-to-day, what makes me think I know more than the developers a massive hit of an MMO? I guess it’s a good outlet, since most people know suggesting things at work can be pretty hit or miss. At least I got them to replace the random generic stock photo person on our website with an actual employee though, hah. But I could be brainstorming to improve my own life, or building ships in a bottle or something! Instead I sit here like, “But…what would make the experience better for newbies in the game?” because WoW is so ingrained in me after 10 years and I want to see it succeed.

That said, I was thinking the other day about why I see so many of the people in my community (which is mostly friends on twitter) so rapidly abandoning the raiding lifestyle. I do still have friends that raid regularly and even do mythic. (Bear Retirement Home is recruiting, btw, great group of people. Search them up on twitter.) But a lot of us…a LOT OF US have just given up for various reasons.

Raiding retirement reasons include:

-Not wanting to commit to a weekly schedule anymore.
-Not wanting to sit at a comp for hours at a time to prepare for a raid or do the raid.
-Not wanting to focus on wiping, recovering, and doing it all over again.
-Not wanting to have to actually maintain a raid group. Scheduling, raid leading, and hoping people show up, and recruiting can be incredible draining.

Now, I don’t have the data Blizzard has. This is all data taken anecdotally from conversations I’ve had among friends. But it seems that, by and large, an aging playerbase is slowly growing out of the raiding mentality. Because you have to admit, the points made above are…kinda what raiding is all about? It used to be that there was plenty of new blood to replace retiring raiders, but with how newbie unfriendly WoW has become I’m not so sure that’s the case right now. But again, anecdotal. I’m sure Blizzard has meetings with data to go over trends and whatnot.

But anyway, I was thinking the other day about how the idea of raiding is going out of style. Do people want to feel like they have to sit at a computer for 3+ hours to accomplish anything? The current popularity of MOBAs and FPS games says that no, no they do not. Also, note that I said “feel like” because we all know some MOBA matches can take longer than 40 minutes. But the illusion of, “Oh I can just sit here for 20 minutes and get a game in” is there. And that’s what appeals. With raiding, unless you’re doing LFR, you know that’s probably going to be an hour+ long commitment going in. Is that what people are turning their noses up at? Hmm.

So I was trying to think of a way that kind of content could be adapted to WoW. And I says to myself, I says, “What if people could jump into a progression raid with a guild and automatically have their ilvl boosted to the average of the rest of the raid?”

Okay wait. WAAAIT. Before you freak out at the idea, let me explain.

I find myself constantly wishing I could jump into my friends’ raids to help out every once in a while without making a commitment. But my character’s ilvl would be a hindrance, especially on my horde character that is a late-to-the-expansion alt. Now I can farm to get my ilvl up, and I do, but it would be nice to be able to jump into a raid once in a while to help heal when they’re down a person and still be able to actually HELP.

This would serve two purposes:

  1. I get to do raid content without having to commit, and suddenly you see that bite-sized MOBA style influence coming in here and it appeals. Oh does it appeal.
  2. If my friends’ guilds are ever down a person, it’s easier for them to fill that spot without fretting about backup raiders not being available.

Eh? Eeeh? Seeing my picture now?

Obviously there would have to be some serious limitations on the system. You shouldn’t be able to just join a random raid group where the leader has an ilvl of 6 billion and automatically have yours boosted to that level. That would trivialize like, everything ever. But if you are joining a guild group that clearly has 10-15 people all with the same guild tag and general ilvl, that’s when yours would be boosted up to the average.

LFR is controversial because people see it as sightseeing content. And let’s be real, it is. You can blow on the bosses and knock them over, and there are some people that like it that way. That’s fine, it’s whatever. I think a lot of people that run LFR don’t run it because it’s fun, they run it because it’s bite-sized content they can enjoy in an hour of playtime. So let’s bring that concept to another area of the game and help the now retired/casual raiders to sometimes have a little challenging raiding back in their lives on their own and also help guilds that may be struggling to recruit on their servers or whatever have a bit of a backup plan.

And who knows? Maybe the retired raiders will fall back in love with it and start to revive the system a little, alongside newer players coming in Legion.

There’s also the fact that a lot of people want to introduce friends/family members to the game and outside of dungeon content, well, you can’t really bring your undergeared brother to your heroic raid, even though you might really want him to be able to see just how freakin’ cool it is. So your option is to run with him through LFR.

….ehhh.

This would allow you to have him tag along.

I mean they already do this with dropping ilvls to make Timewalking dungeons relevant again. I don’t see why it couldn’t be applied in what is essentially the opposite direction. We have the technology! I mean, sort of. We sort of have the technology. They really need to work on stuff like trinket proc percentages and whatnot because in Timewalking those are BAaaaAAAad but…we have MOST of the technology!

Though to be perfectly honest, I would be shocked if the developers hadn’t already considered an idea like this. I’m sure it’s come up in a meeting at some point. So there must be a reason why it hasn’t been done yet. And I’m sure players can think of dozens of reasons why it’s terrible. Trust me, I get it, lots of my ideas are bad. But hey, gotta get them out there even if I’m shouting into a void!

So you know, food for thought.

The Content Sweet Spot

I haven’t written in this blog in a while and I won’t lie, it’s because I’m mostly out of ideas. Every now and then something will pop into my head and I’ll think to myself, “I should blog about that.” but unfortunately I’m likely in the line at the grocery store or at the bank and immediately forget. It’s very hard for me to focus on what kinds of paninis I want and video games at the same time, apparently.

Plus there are bloggers who are more cleverer than I am and post with some form of regularity. So I’ll be browsing, see something and go: “OH MY GOD. That person took my idea! From…inside my head…where it was a nebulous unformed thought in haiku form, occupying space between panini cravings and tax calculations.” Then I realize how dumb I am and how much better the idea sounds coming from someone else.

So MMO games are in a distinct and somewhat unique position where they must consistently update their content to maintain their playerbase. Compared to a console game that may have one or two DLCs or a sequel, an MMO has to release regularly to draw people in and keep them there. You’re not gonna keep going in for that bosomy hug from your auntie MMO unless she keeps candy in her house to incentive visiting. And not that crappy licorice candy. The good stuff! Otherwise the unpleasantness of sitting on the couch listening to stories about Gladys down at the church is just not worth it.

MMOs tend to struggle with the “how much content is the right amount” paradox. Too little content is bad, and too much content is bad. Too little content is obviously bad, but not for the reasons you’d expect. And how can too much content be bad? Let me put it in the form of a real-life analogy.

Raise your hand if you have, or have had a job for a long period of time.

Ha ha. I got you to raise your hand. You’re sitting at a computer desk, fool.

Anyway, so you’ve worked a job. A career, perhaps. Either way, you know what it is to experience the daily grind at work.

Think back to days where it’s slow, and you have next to nothing to do. No calls or orders are coming in so you’re sitting in the kitchen flinging tomatoes into the sink. Or you’re in an office just lazily browsing the internet. Or maybe you’re a real go-getter and begging your boss for something to do. Either way, you don’t have much to do. You’re bored.

So now a call comes in. It’s part of your job to take calls, but by now you’re so used to doing nothing that day that this one, single call after 3 hours of silence annoys you. It almost doesn’t seem worth your time to answer. You’re right in the middle of a killer minesweeper game that ABSOLUTELY cannot wait. Or you’re in the kitchen and someone finally comes in to have a late lunch and now you have to get off your panini and help. What a pain, right? You’re so  used to being bored and not doing work that now you don’t want to do what you came there to do. What you normally do every other day, even. So you flip the phone to work or make yourself look busy cutting onions so nobody makes you do it. Whereas any other day you would have just done the work because it’s your job and what you know you’re supposed to do.

doldrums

How does this apply to MMOs? Well, if there’s so little to do that you’re bored – when a small amount of content is added you fall into that same issue that you did at work and start making up excuses not to do it.

“It’s just ONE customer. I don’t want to get up for that.”

or rather: “It’s just ONE new reputation to grind. I don’t want to log in for that.”

Part of it is laziness. Part of it is being so used to not doing anything that having to log in and put effort towards something that seems so small just does not seem worth the time. Even though it’s content you might have enjoyed otherwise!

So that’s the danger of small content releases. Are players really going to think it’s worth getting off their duff to log in and fuss with a new hair style for their character? Especially now that they’ve spent months not playing? Boredom breeds boredom breeds BOREDOM. And it’s hard to break people out of those doldrums unless you have something really impressive to give them. One “customer” patch release isn’t going to do it. But if you suddenly have a line of “customers” around the block, people are going to be motivated to get back in there and work again.

So now the other issue – TOO MUCH content. What could POSSIBLY be bad about too much content?

Well, let’s go back to our work analogy. You’re at work today and it is just a humdinger of a day. Customers are walking in or calling constantly. Your email is blowing up and you think you just heard one of your coworkers crack under the pressure and run screaming from the building.

There is SO much work to do that there is no possible way you are going to get it done that day. Even if you work overtime, there are only so many hours in a day. Some of your coworkers are cool with letting it pile up and just working on it throughout the week – but you have just GOT to get it done so that you don’t get behind. My God, another email just came in. IT’S JUST TOO MUCH! You haven’t peed in like, 12 hours, because you are just so darned FOCUSED on getting to EVERYTHING.

Now you’re stressed. Every new customer, call, or email is another drop to an already overflowing glass and that annoys you because you want to do it all immediately. Oh, what’s that? Management wants to have a 3 hour meeting today too? SON OF A-

At the end of the day you go to bed unfulfilled. You know you tried your hardest to get it all done, but the nagging neurotic part of your brain just keeps whispering, “Yoooou’re beeeehiiiind.” until you fall into a dreamless sleep 10 minutes before your alarm goes off.

No amount of budgeting your time prepares you for these overload days. All you can do is ride it out until things get back into their more even pace.

In relation to MMOs – this is the HELLA ENORMOUS CONTENT PATCH or perhaps the BRAND NEW SHINY EXPANSION that drops. There is SO MUCH TO DO. You want to do ALL of it! But…now there’s just so much! You want to raid and you want to do achievements but you also want to do this outdoor content with your guild but DAILIES AND REPUTATION WON’T WAIT  and oh my God where are you going to find the time for this? And oh no, they just released ANOTHER content patch and there’s even more?! BUT YOU’RE SO BEHIND NOW. And what about your alts?!

Now you have stuff to do and you’re logging in, but it’s just too much to take in while it’s current. Nobody wants to feel like they’re being left behind because they’re not able to put in 4-6 hours of work a day.

So this. This is the conundrum. When is it too much, or too little content for an MMO playerbase to handle? You don’t want people feeling like they’re under pressure to put in too much effort but you also don’t want to leave people bored.

For example: remember the original dailies when Mists of Pandaria launched? That is a prime example of “too much.” You can tell your players to sloooow doooown and not gobble up the content, but that’s like yelling “NO STOP!” at a tornado. There are always going to be some people who want to do as much as they can or they will feel like they are being left behind. Also, telling players to essentially slow down with PLAYING a game is a terrible idea. It’s a GAME. They are SUPPOSED to be playing it. There is no such thing as consuming content too quickly because they’re still PLAYING the content. But there is such a thing as overloading the content to make both playing more and playing less not as appealing. That’s bad.

Now the latest Tanaan patch in WoW is a prime example of “too little.” Raid instances aside. (As they’ve always kind of existed on their own plane of content.) Tanaan jungle as a content zone had very little actual meat to it. You are asking your already bored players who have had nothing to do to log in and do maybe 20 minutes worth of new stuff a few times a week. Are they going to put down what they’ve been doing to relieve boredom in the meantime, or are they just going to feel annoyed at the idea of logging in to do next to nothing? My twitter feed gives me a pretty sound answer to that. And the answer is FFXIV.

So where is the content sweet spot? In this Gloria’s opinion, it’s in steady medium content releases at a regular, expected schedule. Preferably two to three months apart. Releases that players can set their watch to and that have enough meat to make playing worth it. But not so much that it becomes overwhelming.

The problem is that it’s much easier for me to sit and type up a blog entry about releases than it is for companies to actually make and schedule them. So far, no MMOs have really hit on that sweet spot that would generate a more reliable subscription or playerbase. And it’s understandable – it’s a hard thing to do. So for now, the sweet spot remains a fleeting dream in the eyes of a weary MMO world.

Mobile Games: The Good, The Bad, and the Worst

In the last few years mobile gaming has become a phenomena and it’s not hard to see why. With mobile giant Supercell – makers of Clash of Clans, Boom Beach, and HayDay – making over 1.55b in revenue in 2014, (Factoring in conversion rates!) most developers would have to be dummies not to want a slice of that juicy, juicy pie.

The reason for the success of mobile games is painfully simple. Almost EVERYONE on the planet has a mobile device at this point. That is an ENORMOUS potential customerbase. And with every device having one of two operating systems and the same basic specs, it is super easy to design simple games for such a small platform variety. Add into that the cost factor. If you make your game free with in app purchases, people are going to think, “FREE!” and go for it. On the other hand, if you set up a $1-2 price tag, most people are going to think, “That’s not too bad, it’s only a dollar.” and buy it. It seems small at first but when millions of people share that logic, suddenly you’re swimming in RIVERS OF MONEY. Flappybird is/was a really good example of this. In summary, the effort to reward ratio for mobile games is staggeringly good.

Nowadays it seems like most people are developing an app or mobile game. Programming or developing a game with as simple a mechanic as: “jump on a platform, now jump on a higher platform” as a hobby can potentially net someone a few extra dollars if 1,000 people download it a month. And honestly, outside of certain issues with the app store, mobile game development is probably one of the most fair and direct developer to consumer markets in the world. You don’t need an agent, you don’t need a CEO. You have an idea, you make it, you list it, you earn money. If you’re ridiculously lucky the game goes viral and you make enough money to fill a swimming pool with chocolate coins and swim around in it Scrooge McDuck style.

All that being said, I am what game marketers and developers refer to as “The Unicorn.” I am an adult with disposable income and a credit card that is willing to purchase whatever I want. I am not prone to the impulse purchases that cause other consumers to get frustrated and turn brand assassin – rather I space my purchases out over time and end up being a repeat customer. Through this I spend a lot of money in a sustained way. I do not have a specific genre of game, I will buy anything that catches my eye. If your game has an interesting hook, I will play it and I have bought currency in almost every free to play mobile game I have played for more than a month.

I realize that last line risks bringing the ire of people who think freemium games are the devil. I respectfully disagree. I think freemium games have their niche and are fine just the way they are. To me there is a difference between freemium and pay to win:

Freemium – The base game is free, and all components are accessible for free. You can spend real money for in game currency to get small advantages such as a shorter build time on a building or more pulls for a slot machine. But these are things all other players have access to as part of the base game. Examples of this would be Clash of Clans, Puzzle and Dragons, or even the dreaded…Farmville!

Pay to Win – MOST of the game is free. Accessing certain portions of it costs money. Acquiring gear, new characters, or items costs money. If you attempt to play the game without spending money, you will likely lag continually further behind and be stomped by other players that have spent money. Examples of this would likely be a metric fluffton of free to play grinder MMOs that sell weapon upgrades in their cash shops or mobile trivia games that charge you for extra turns to boost your worldwide score. I don’t consider these games worth my time and will uninstall them immediately when I get a whiff of something shifty.

Free to play mobile games also have three basic systems in common:

Stamina – Stamina is what it sounds like. You burn your stamina bar to do things like run dungeons or do gameplay. Stamina slowly returns over a set period of time, like 1 stamina every 2 to 3 minutes. Usually you can pay premium currency to have your stamina refilled immediately.

Gachapon/Slot System – The game has a slot system which is commonly referred to as a “gacha” which is short for “Gachapon.” In Japan, Gachapons are little slot vending machines where you put money in and get a capsule toy in exchange. The capsule toys usually come from a line of toys, like characters from a popular game or anime series. Certain toys in the pack are rarer than others, and you end up spinning the gacha more and more in hopes of getting the rare toy you want. This translates into almost exactly the same thing in games. You pull the slot, usually using premium currency, in the hopes of getting something rare to use. Gacha systems are primarily used in non-PVP games, which I find perfectly fair because you’re not screwing up someone else’s good time with your level 3940933492 super rare monster.

Time – It’s as basic as it sounds. “Time is money, friend.” isn’t just a silly quote. So now you’ve upgraded your base, but you have 2-3 hours before it’s done. You can certainly wait, but you want to play NOW! And for $5, you can! Other players, however, are fine with that upgrade taking 2 hours because they can go do other stuff in the meantime.

Most games use one of these systems, or even a combination of two or three of them. It’s how they usually make the big bucks.

Now, here is my logic with freemium mobile games: If I have played and enjoyed your game for over two months without spending a dime and I can clearly see I am making progress, the door is open for me to spend real money. I find this logic has served me EXTREMELY well in avoiding impulse purchases and also allows me to reward myself with a treat from a game I clearly enjoy. The other added benefit is that it allows me to avoid the dreaded “buyer’s remorse” when it comes to my purchases. Anyone who has spontaneously dropped $30 on a game only to say, “That really wasn’t worth it.” knows what I am talking about and a lot of the time those people stop playing the game to avoid making the same mistake in the future.

As an example, I have played Clash of Clans since October of last year. I don’t usually enjoy PVP style games but Supercell sucked me in with the clan war mechanic and I really enjoy playing with my friends and coworkers, so I’ve stuck around. I’ve purchased their cash currency, gems, a couple of times. Once to add an extra builder for productivity, and a second time to get my barbarian king hero character. I could have gotten both of these things had I waited a bit, but I chose to bypass that and reward the developers with money while getting something for myself along the way.

I also play…or played…Puzzle and Dragons. It’s a monster collection game with RPG elements and a matching game as its base gameplay mechanic. I was SUPER into it for a while. This game has a gacha system, and the developers are EXTREMELY GENEROUS with handing out the premium currency required to pull the gacha. They also regularly adjust and increase drop rates during festivals, insuring players usually have a better experience. Again, I applied my mobile game purchase logic and eventually spent money to get some extra gacha spins. I wasn’t disappointed. Sometimes you don’t get what you want, but you still usually get something decent with the odds increased.

‘Well with systems like that, how could a company go wrong?”

I’m so glad you asked, imaginary person! I just happen to have an example!

Final Fantasy: Record Keeper is the new “it” game right now. And it deserves to be, it’s an amazing game. It hits on the key elements of fun gameplay and is a love letter to 20-30somes everywhere who grew up on the Final Fantasy series. All the nostalgia is there in the form of the characters, music, and dungeons. Sounds like a game I’ll be shelling tons of money out on, right?

Nope!

The game uses a gacha system in the same way as Puzzle and Dragons. You spend currency (either mythril earned in game or premium paid gems) for a spin at their relic gacha. This awards you a potentially rare item. However, the developer team made the mistake of having most of the drop rates pretty baseline or even rarer. What this means is that unlike Puzzle and Dragons where I can pay to spin and the increased drop rates means I’m MORE likely to get something good, I can spend $30 for 11 relic pulls in FF:RK and end up with all mediocre items. There is always some luck involved with a gacha system, but setting the baseline to “good” stuff rather than “generic things you can get in the easy dungeons” tips the scales in the player’s favor and makes them likely to be repeat customers.

I admit, the idea of me spending money on these games is purely selfish. I want something good, and the plus is that the developers are rewarded with money. If you don’t offer your users something good, they’re not going to spend money anymore. There are tons of posts about FF:RK all over the net from people dissatisfied that they spent $30 and only got “meh” items. How much do you want to bet that those people aren’t going to be repeat customers? And it also encourages other customers like me to stay the heck away. Sure, the company is going to get that initial money boom from the impulse buyers, but the sustained model just isn’t there and eventually the profits will drop off a cliff.

So ultimately I think properly designed mobile games have their place in an ever-expanding market. As long as you have a good hook and don’t screw up your mechanics or cash shop, there is a good probability you will end up with some money. You don’t even necessarily need to be from a huge publisher to rake it in, either. And that’s fantastic. I LOVE this market because its scope is absolutely enormous and potentially infinite. I think this and indie games in general are the breath of fresh air the gaming subculture needs because it allows a lot of homegrown developers to take the reigns and create things that go directly into the hands of players without being bogged down by company politics. To those that think mobile games are a dumb or casual market, I’d say consider the benefits to indie gaming developers as a whole and don’t knock it til you’ve tried it.

***************Also something something Hearthstone something something.I know someone is going to ask me why it wasn’t mentioned so here you go. HEARTHSTONE HEARTHSTONE HEARTHY STONEY STONE! It’s free and has cards that MOVE sometimes!*****************

The Perfect Raid Boss

So there’s been a lot of talk about raid mechanics lately thanks to Blackrock Foundry being released. Some say it’s the most fun raid in years, and others say that overkill mechanics on the final boss, Blackhand, are destroying guilds left and right. You’ve also got Hans and Franz – a fight that apparently requires more dramamine than being on a Carnival cruise while sitting in a moving car and reading a book.

Former WoW developer Xelnath has been posting a series of blog entries about boss encounters he designed. They are definitely worth a read to get a peek into what goes on when it comes to raid boss development. If you don’t want to read it (Shame on you!) and want to know what goes into the process – the short answer is: “A whole lotta.” A whole lot of what? Just a whole lotta. Not half a lotta. A whole lotta. Tons of factors go into the design process including breakpoints, damage calculations, strategery required, etc.

Raid design certainly isn’t easy but I’ve got good news for all the MMO developers out there! I’ve developed what I believe to be the PERFECT raid boss fight. It’s chock-full of mechanics that I know everyone loves. I talked about my ideas on twitter and a bunch of people chimed in with their mechanic ideas as well, so credit goes to those folk too.

So let me introduce you to my raid boss. Blorglbloog! Its full name is Blorglbloogastraszagosa’chimonde’jaeden-garRande. (Accent on the “e.”)  As we all well know – long, hard to pronounce names are an absolute must so raid leaders and folks in mumble struggle as much as possible to announce the boss during the fight.

BLARGL

You’ll notice that I created his design with a purpose in mind. He has an incredibly generic shape and a tiny face so it’s next to impossible for melee attackers to tell if they’re actually hitting his backside. It also ensures that his frontal cone breath attack will hit at least 60% of the raid at any given time because the tanks won’t be sure which side they need to run to in order to turn it away.

I chose light blue as a color so that he sticks out in his lime-green dayglo boss room. My hope is that by doing this, the raid is induced to vomiting within 5 attempts. People want a raiding challenge – and there’s nothing more challenging than fighting human biological issues.

As for mechanics? I picked the best possible repertoire for my little Blorglbloog.

Now, it’s a 32 minute fight with approximately 16 phases. There’s also some RP cutscenes in the beginning, middle, 3/4ths of the way, and at the last 1%. These cutscenes are 15 minutes long, mandatory, and are guaranteed to crash your main healer’s WoW client. However, I must warn everyone that the only part of the fight that actually matters is the last 2%. This is when Blorgl will berserk and do every single one of his mechanics with a 75% damage modifier. There’s a hard-enrage at 45 minutes because I wanted to make sure that the fight didn’t drag on too long.

After the raid chips away at 2% of his HP, he’ll use one of his first zone mechanics. Blorgl will spit out four types of colored acid spots on the floor.  The raid will need to stand in the “good” acid spot in order to avoid an enormous raid-wide AoE pulse that happens every .2 seconds. I’ve made a handy chart to demonstrate which color is the right one to stand in:

STAND HERE

After 15 seconds the “bad” zones will melt away, revealing what I personally think is the best possible mechanic in a raid – an elevator. Random raid members will be teleported on to the elevators and have to wait for it to move back up to the top floor in order to rejoin the battle. Sometimes the elevator won’t load properly and they’ll plummet to their deaths, but that’s what they get for having a crappy internet connection lol.

If enough people stand in the “good” zone, the buff they receive will transform their character that specifically chose to play because they know and are experienced at using it into a “boogerling.” These boogerlings are considered vehicles and have their own action bars which may or may not require a UI reload depending on the player’s addons. Boogerlings have 7 unique abilities which the raid won’t have time to read, but one of them is a CRITICAL DoT that must be applied on the boss every 3 seconds or the boss will enrage and it will be an auto-wipe. This transformation happens to healers and tanks as well as DPS because I firmly feel that if you rolled a healer, you secretly want to learn an entirely new DPS mechanic on the fly so here’s your chance!

After the boogerling phase, gigantic ice walls will erupt from the floor. These icewalls provide a line-of-sight barrier around the room. The boss will teleport itself and the two tanks behind a random set of barriers which will leave the healers and DPS to try and figure out where the Hell they need to stand in order to keep the raid going. The walls reset to new positions every 13 seconds so the raid must constantly be on the move. This ensures that ranged DPS will never get to attack due to LOS, and also ensures that melee DPS will never get to attack since the boss is constantly moving.

go dis way

At 50%, the room will flood with a goolike, watery substance and the underwater phase will begin! The raid will be forced to operate on both the X and Y axis while trying to maintain their rotations. After a minute or so, a portion of the water will drain and the raid can hop on to small pieces of floating debris. The collision detection on this debris will purposely be poor so that it adds an extra layer of challenge to the fight! This way everyone can laugh in enjoyment as they can’t navigate the ridiculous jumping angle to get on to stable ground. If more than 1 person is in the goo after 2 minutes, the goo explodes and kills everyone.

At 20% the REAL fun begins as a curse is applied to a new raid member every 15 seconds.This curse MUST NOT be dispelled or it will blow up and automatically kill the tanks from a distance. So tell your healers to uninstall their debuff tracking addons or they’re gonna be in trouble! The curse will last until the end of the fight, so I hope your healers have plenty of mana left 10 minutes in!

Once you whittle Blorglbloog down to 15%, he will begin using his tank mind control mechanic. This is a channeled spell will target both tanks and cause a complete threat wipe. The mind controlled tanks will enrage and gain a 75% damage buff. They will also be specifically programmed to target the healers in the raid. Every time a healer is killed, Blorgl will heal up to 40% of his HP.

So now the raid is in the homestretch at 10%! Along with his other mechanics, Blorgl will begin the “council” phase of the fight. He will summon his 8 most trusted advisers that will rush into the fray! Each adviser has a different ability ranging from a cleave that AT LEAST 15 people must stack in to mitigate raid damage to a timestop spell. The only visual difference between Blorgl and his council of sub-bosses is a very small mustache/goatee combo on the clones.

NYEHEHE

Now we’re down to 5%! The real DPS race is on as Blorgl begins a countdown to self-destruct. The raid must chip off his remaining 284 million HP within 1 minute or Blorgl will permanently explode for the week, preventing any further attempts and destroying any loot he may have had on his body.

At 2%, Blorgl enrages and uses each of his abilities at a 50% increased rate. Wait, this is the final minute of the fight? Oh, did I say 50%? I mean 150%! If any of his clones are left alive at this point, they will merge back to Blorgl and heal him for 300% of his HP.

DOESN’T THAT JUST SOUND LIKE AN ABSOLUTE BLAST? I think I have developed what is, quite possibly, the must fun raid boss in the history of gaming. Look at all those AMAZING mechanics.

And wait, I’m not finished. Because you face not one, but TWO BLORGLBLOOGMUNGMAWS!

In all seriousness, it’s easy for me to sit in my non-developer chair and criticize raid mechanics. I have the luxury of not being in the industry and knowing how complicated the process really is. As a player I can sit here and demand that they add in a mechanic that causes skittles to spew out of my CD drive as a reward for downing a raid boss without realizing how complicated it may be or if it’s even feasible. Raid development is a lot of work. Blorglbloog agrees!

YAAAAYYYY