Greedy Goblin

Monday, November 30, 2009

The ability to act

Miss Medicina suggested to try to solo something with a non-pet class. Since I already had a lvl19 priest twink (add BoA chest, shoulder, staff, trinket), I thought I go to RFC first.

I killed one (1) boss, Oggleflint and left. Not because I couldn't go forward. Because it was terribly boring and slow. But the strange thing happened after I looked at the damage meter:

You see, 27DPS on average. When I was soloing the first half of Deadmines, I had 29 + 10 from the VW. -25% is not a big deal. RFC is very short instance, it's much-much slower to solo WC or Deadmines with 39 DPS than RFC with 29. The difference is not speed.

When we figured the duo-solo idea out, the lvl19 bear twink of my my girlfriend was an obvious choice. Self-healing tank + CC DPS. After our first duo in WC, my girlfriend said she hated it, since she "couldn't do anything". After the priest soloing I can fully understand what she meant.

The optimal cast priority is obvious:
  1. Psychic scream when not on CD
  2. Renew if not on me
  3. Heal if HP is below 25%
  4. Inner fire if not on me
  5. SW:P if not on one of the monsters
  6. Wand-shoot on the lowest HP monster
Rinse and repeat without any thinking. I had no cooldowns (beyond potion and recombulator), no interrupts, no CC. I couldn't use other spells as their damage/mana was so low that I would go OOM before the monsters dead (unless I overpowered them). There was no place for decisions. If I could write a bot that does the above protocol, it could do the same. It could solo RFC on 19.

With a warlock, there are so many options:
  • Shall I tank it myself and burn it, while the VW tanks the other or shall he tank both?
  • If I'm tanking, shall I keep CoA+Corr up on the VW target or use every GCD on the monster on me? If yes, the fight ends faster. If no, the first one dies faster, stopping killing me.
  • Shall I shoot Sbolts for higher DPS or Wand-shoot for mana conservation?
  • Shall I fear (2 sec cast every 10-12 secs) it or tank it?
  • Shall I wait one more GCD to put one more DoT up or start funnel now? DoT kills faster but the monster might kill the VW.
  • When to use Arcane torrent?
  • Shall I use Drain Life? If no, faster kill but might run out of HP (= mana for warlocks)
  • Shall I put DoT on him when he has 150HP left? If yes, waste of mana. If no, he might run out of LoS and get some buddies (dot ticks out of LoS).
I did not see any challenge in priest-soloing. The problem can be completely modeled by mathematics, like a Patchwerk fight. I have enough mana to keep up my DoT+HoT until he dies or not? With warlock, it's all about intelligent choices.

I think this is the line between "hard grind" and challenge. Hard grind is grind as repetitive, non-intelligent, and "hard" as need perfect execution. Pressing one wrong button can mean OOM. I cannot "win", I can only "not lose". The outcomes can be "done without error", "I messed it up" and "mathematically impossible". If I'd be replaced by a bot, the second outcome would be removed.

While I had no sparkling screenshots from RFC, I left with a valued loot: I much more understand what's "fun" for me. Simply the task being hard is not enough. It must challenge my brain, not just my concentration. After all, that's why we have computers: to do what's hard but does not require intelligence.


Mittchel said...

You're up early! Again, interesting to read.

I can figure why your girlfriend finds it boring haha:P


Nick S. said...

You more or less summarized why I don't like leveling a Priest.

Jormundgard said...

My current attempts to solo Moroes are fun because I still don't know which, how many, and how often my cooldowns are needed, and I don't always win. But at some point, I can see that it will become automatic and "obvious" what I need. I think it's where all these things challenges end up anyway.

Anonymous said...

I think you should try rogue/mage 80 pvp. Challenge and making decisions was the first thing, which I liked in wow. Sadly, warlock pvp became old very soon, but rogue one was fun and still is.

Christian said...

Honestly, the warlock soloing can be expressed in a series of relatively simple instructions as well.

Sure, there may be the illusion of choice, but when the choice is "Do this or fail," there is no more choice then in the shadow priest equasion.

After all, for all fights, it is true that...

If (player damage done)>(mob healing done) and (player healing done)>(mob damage done) then victory.

Okrane S. said...

The new talents and gear available clearly made low level chars overpowered in respect to those instances.

Remember the time when you had to spend 5 talent points for corruption to become instant cast?

These are sadly just glitch fights... not too much of a challenge imo, simply because they are not tuned to be one... even when soloing.

Strutt @ Kil' Jaeden said...

What Okrane S. said, Plus your using Twinks to dou- or solo and instance... Thats makes it even less of a challenge. Do something difficult like using a Hunter Pet to tank Hodir Hardmode :)

Miss Medicina said...

Two components to this - First off, I think part of why it is more fun as a warlock is specifically because you DO have a pet - therefore you are focusing on controlling two different sets of abilities in a way.

Secondly, it looks like you're trying to run your priest shadow. At level 19, it is better to be running as Holy IMO. That's part of why it's so boring. I imagine you're focusing on Mind Blast and Shadow Word: Pain. Really the best way to do it is to focus on Holy Fire + Smite.

However, even if you fixed the second problem, I think you'd still be bored due to the first.

Sidhe said...

I completely agree with today's post.

People often say that Vanilla WoW was "a real challenge" and "everything is too easy now".
But the truth is Vanilla WoW was not "hard" as in brain-challenging. It was just an eternal grind. A "hard" grind.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, Gevlon's on to something. He's discovered that tests of optimal performance can (and often are) terribly boring events (anyone want to take an arithmetic test?). He has started to realize that challenges that involve puzzles and non-predetermined optimal (or even non-optimal) solutions.

Wonder when expand this to look at society... probably never... /sigh

Ateve said...

typo: Optimal cast order has a "Physic Scream"

Think this only works with gnome priests.

Ateve said...

I think the other problem is you really don't have enough abilities at low level.

You only have 6 abilies and you can only do one at a time, this leads to being able to set a firm priorety list.

You're rotation reminds me of BC raiding lock, watch for dots to come off and reapply according to priorety list, spam while waiting.

The lock with the pet means more stuff to watch out for, more things that can be done at once and therefore more brainpower needed to manage it.

Anonymous said...

My world is better than your world. The message carried by this talk sums it quite nicely:

and does explain the clash happening here and the definition of fun and all. What is a challenge in my world might not be a challenge in your world.

Anonymous said...

noob question: what dps add on are you using?



Ismaris said...

Expand this soloing business to the 30-60 level bracket and you'll find a much more enjoyable experience.

Markco said...

Try to get gladiator. You need to be smart, good at improvising, and capable of working well with a team.

You know not be a moron writing about the challenges of solo'ing RFC in twink gear with a pet class.

Strutt @ Kil'Jaeden said...

Working well with a team would be social/MS Marcko... DUH! j/k

Anonymous said...

Interesting post as usual, Gevlon. You've set my mental gears whirring.

There are cases where the winning course of action in game is fixed. Do this and win, with no options. Those situations are less-than-interesting. Far more fun is to be had where one has the ability to display one's own prowess by not merely winning, but by winning in a particularly interesting, masterful, or clever way.

Anonymous said...


Current raiding lock's not a whole lot different then BC. Just easier. I found most afflic warlocks were people who really weren't good at their class. Clipping/leaving DoTs off a lot, not timing stuff. A lot of people just went Destro (and still do) because they lack the ability/capacity to play afflic well.

I find priest leveling is a lot more boring then warlock leveling. Which is why my main is a warlock, and the highest level my priest ever got was 10.

Wooly said...

No class at 19 has a decent set of abilities and therefor is boring. A rogue can't stunlock, a mage can't blink/aoe down groups, a priest can't mindcontrol (not even mindflay for crying out loud), etc. You can't compare any class to a pet class that low.

What's reason for twinks? They're there because they can be played by people that don't want to, or simply can't handle more then 3 or 4 abilities. Twinks are about gear, not so much about abilities & skill, which is more reserved for fully leveled characters. So, they're by definition boring.

Warlocks get a good deal at a low level (throughout the whole game actually, except for threat). They've got a big set of their main abilities already, which only gets evened out with other classes a bit later on.

So, if the goal is to get more challenge out of a char, more decision making, then at least level them to a point where they've got their signature abilities before drawing a conclusion upon it.

ATM, I'm playing a shaman, and I love the possibilities. I can kite with frostshock, or earthbind totem. I can use pets, stoneclaw totem to distract, I can tank and heal myself, I can even use elementals now. I've soloed all quest related elites in hellfire without much problems between 60-62. I've soloed the first boss, and killed one of the 2 rogues that follow in the ring of blood at 67 (couldn't get past them though, but will try again later on).

To conclude, what I don't understand is why you want more abilities to chose from to make things an interesting challenge, but then stick with a low level chars, which just don't have much. That's seems like a big contradiction to me.

Remember the people that solod onyxia @ 70? the druid, the paladin, probably more later. Now those are challenges.

Strutt said...

They're there because they can be played by people that don't want to, or simply can't handle more then 3 or 4 abilities....?

Really. There arent just lvl 19 twinks, 19,29,39...... Also getting gear for twinks (especially lower level) is alot harder to get than your lvl 80. Its also about squeezing every last bit you can from a lower lvl toon and ALOT about skill. Though I think twinks are retarded, your explaination is way off about them