The Diablo 3 Fallout and It’s Influence over World of Warcraft

I think many people knew this would happen. Once Diablo 3 launched, much of the World of Warcraft had vanished. Part of that was positive. For instance, more ore, herbs and other materials. Part of it was bad: less (good) people for LFR.

The first two days after D3, I noticed that the queue times for LFR had increased in size dramatically. Before the average queue times were between 6 minutes to 10 minutes. Now, the queue times can go up to 20+ minutes. Worse yet, the queue you get into might not necessarily be the section of LFR that you want. So you can easily spend an hour just waiting for LFR. On my warrior, it took me at least 3-4 hours to complete LFR part 2 one night. I was fortunate as she won all the major items she needed. However, the experience was excruciating because of the numerous wipes, bad groups and waiting involved.

Right now, I’ve noticed that LFR is left with mostly bad players. I’ve seen tanks wearing PVP gear and even hunter boots, healers who won’t do a thing, people AoEing tentacles despite being told numerous times to single target tentacles, etc. Not to mention the ninja pullers are far more frequent. But without good players to prevent wipes, you just have nothing more than trouble and hair pulling.

As a result, I contemplated about how all this played out and why D3 had such a major impact over WoW. Here’s some thoughts:

  • With the Annual Pass, everyone received D3 for free. Supposedly, the Annual Pass has a huge chunk of subscribers, so many people were diverted either to D3 or the Mists of Panderia Beta.
  • Most people are sick of farming LFR. Both D3 and MoP offer new content. The people who already farmed LFR content either moved onto normal or heroic raids or something else.
  • The remaining player base in WoW still doing LFR are those working on alts (hence low DPS, etc.), casuals who are completely clueless or low income people who cannot afford the Annual Pass or D3. In the case of low income people, I believe it’s those who are in school (mostly pre-college), especially pre-teens. Hence why you see ton of ninja pulls.
  • There will not be any new patches that introduce new content until MoP. As a result, there is almost no motivation to pursue LFR outside of gearing alts. Since the patch is now a few months old, it’s safe to assume that many people have been able to gear up at least one toon.

For myself, I decided to work on alts while the D3 buzz simmers. Not to mention I’ve been playing D3 too so I balance between both games. Just like others.

World of Warcraft: What to Do While Waiting for Instances

Queue times in the World of Warcraft are extremely painful. I know in the past I would just run around in a circle in Dalaran for a queue to pop. Since I no longer play on a PVP server, I’ve found other activities that are far more productive.

First, most people will say that while leveling, you should combine questing with dungeons. I absolutely agree. I’ve found instance grinding to be the fastest way to level. But depending on your level and the time you start a queue, things can take anywhere between 5-10+ minutes. So rather than just sitting in Orgrimmar looking pretty, you can hit up quests. I prefer to do quests that have higher XP and loot rewards. Also, I try to do things where I run lower risk of being attacked once I leave a queue. Make sure that you’re not in a place where some mobs will spawn right on top of you once your instance is finished.

Alternatively, you can go farming. For this activity, you can do it with any level toon. This is particularly effective once you hit 85. I tend to run around Twilight Highlands with my miners and herbalists while waiting for queues to pop. If I want to max out my Valor Points for the week on a single toon, I find myself spending maybe 1-2 hours while waiting for queues to pop. As a result, I can get up to 200-220+ worth of ore/herbs. With the ore, if I smelt and vender everything, I can easily gain between 300-900 gold.

For tailors and skinners, it’s a little tougher since you have to find a good farming spot. In the case of my tailor (an enhancement shaman), I hit up the little dwarf towns and just kill the mobs. I usually can take them down in 2-3 shots and the respawn rate in that zone is pretty high. For my skinner (a BM hunter), I’ll go to Tol Barad and kill spiders until a minute before my instance pops.

I like this strategy because I am able to procure a lot of materials and not feel bored just farming. Having the queues around gives me time in between instances to gradually gather up materials as opposed to being bored out of my mind doing each activity separately.

Arcane Mage Love

Right now, I noticed that the players remaining in the World of Warcraft are not so good. Lots of fails with LFR. I suspect that it’s all related to Diablo 3’s release. As a result, I decided to focus on my mage as she’s one of the few remaining non-85’s I have left on Saurfang. At first, I had her dual spec between Frost and Fire. But I decided to try out Arcane as Fire’s rotation seemed a little more advanced.

I know some of the more elite players may think I’m lame for saying this, but I like the arcane spec. It’s simple yet effective. From what I’ve read, the spec involves pressing one button more or less. You continuously throw arcane blast at foes until you run out of mana, for which you recover all your mana via Evocate in the next phase.

So far I haven’t had any mana issues. Most of my issues up until now have been dealing with the large amount of threat I generate primarily through AoE attacks. Other than that, I’ve managed to become accustomed to the spec but in solo and group mode. I think by the time I hit 85 and get enough gear to do patch 4.3’s heroic instances, I should be okay since I’ve learned most of the tricks for an arcane mage.

I mentioned that the elites probably feel that my propensity towards the arcane spec is mostly due to my laziness. That partly is true. But I think that in having a class that’s easy to play, it’ll make end game content less disputed, especially as I start the new instances without any gear. With other classes like my paladin, I found doing damage to be tougher since the rotations weren’t as clear initially. I think when you’re starting to gear up for LFR, you need to have a class that you’re fairly comfortable with because other players will most likely blame you for low DPS. There’s not much outside of knowing your class and the instance for improving your situation while you’re undergeared. But at least knowing your class should help out overall.

The other thing I worried about initially with the spec was soloing. However, I’m finding solo play to be very doable. The main aspect while you’re soloing as an arcane mage is that your Arcane Blast inflicts a slow spell on your target. Not only that, but Arcane Blast itself does a fair amount of burst damage. With my BoA gear, I’m seeing some excellent damage done against single target mobs. Rarely, do they have a chance for touching me because of the slow affect.

Although Fire is supposedly one of the best DPS specs at the moment, I do suggest trying Arcane if you’re finding the Fire rotation to be too difficult.

What is Yahoo: A Whore

The revolving door executive soap opera at Yahoo continues with their latest CEO already out for essentially fabricating his CS degree. Why no one at Yahoo (nor ebay/PayPal for that matter) didn’t do thorough due diligence is a mystery. Still, what’s left at Yahoo is quite sad as the one mighty tighten is nothing more than a brazen prostitute where top level names in the industry get in for a quick buck but leave the company in no better shape than the way America’s presidents in the past few decades have done.

Of course, part of the problem is that the company is too shareholder driven but with too many external forces attempting to drive the company. The company’s existence is exclusively to appease them rather than re-establish a sense of identity. As a result, the lack of focus has created a huge void in the potential of what Yahoo could still be while Google, Facebook and others speed merrily past the dimming horizons of a former giant.

For Yahoo to recover, it’s quite clear that the first step is to remove these external parties (i.e. shareholders) from attempting to control so many unfavorable decisions. Second, they need to pick someone who isn’t established. All the so-called established big names who stepped foot in the company did little to raise true value to the users (not shareholders), instead burgeoning their own pocketbooks with fat golden parachutes. If you examine the entire management and leadership team at Yahoo, you will notice how many “big wigs” infest the company at different levels. Yes, each of these people have impressive resumes just in terms of name dropping. But if you think about what they actually contribute, you have to realize that they’re nothing more than blood sucking leeches. That convinces me that just procuring another “big name, heavy hitter” won’t do the users of Yahoo any justice. They need someone hungry, at the bottom who understands what Yahoo can do and leverage the existence infrastructure, talent and data.

But that’s quite obvious. How can Yahoo move from a proverbial money whore as a company back towards a global leader? Just like mayor Bloomberg in NYC focused on a few key areas to improve the streets of NYC, Yahoo needs a similar strategy. My suggestion is to start on the following zones:

  • Get rid of email, chat and group message spam. I switched my personal email from Yahoo to gmail because I’ve encountered a ridiculous amount of spam. Occasionally, email from friends would be counted as a spam while a piece of spam gets through. This has cost me personally on numerous occasions. Because email, chat and groups are huge with Yahoo as part of a long standing business, getting rid of spam would help improve user trust back with the company.
  • Exposing media as software services without charging. Yahoo’s connection to various media allows them the privilege of having an enormous wealth of data. Unfortunately, a great deal of Yahoo’s web services are limited and virtually useless. Some are more focused than others. However, organizing information into something searchable is something that I don’t see as being unfeasible. For instance, given a movie, I want to find all related information to it (e.g. directors, actors/actresses, producers, release dates, movie connections). Similar with music, books, etc. I feel that this aspect of Yahoo is extremely underutilized and can provide the platform for many 3rd party developers to embrace and create better software that can scale without having to reinvent the wheel.
  • Do not charge for search. Google already exceeds on this category. However, I feel that search as a software service needs to be free to extract more information for 3rd party developers. Most other search services that are free lack the quality of a Google. However, Yahoo/Bing might provide a good alternative on this end.

These are just a few suggestions, but I think they’re worthy for a company that has the scale of a Yahoo. Hopefully, they’ll take my suggestion.