Amazon EC2 Load Balancer: Out of Service Message

Let’s say you’re setting up a load balancer for your instances in Amazon’s EC2. After you create your load balancer and assign it your instances, you may see on the Health Check tab “Out of Service”. The way you get rid of it is by clicking on the “Edit Health Check” link. Inside, you will see a Ping Path: input box. Here, you need to put a test page. Say test.html.

What Amazon does is pings this page. You cannot have redirects and it must return a 200 status code. Otherwise, Amazon will think that your service is down.

Diablo 3: How to Stay Engaged with the Game

With the recent patches as well as my boredom with World of Warcraft, I have become somewhat of a Diablo 3 fanatic. Now, for those who are slowing down, got turned off at some point (even early on) or are burnt out, I want to convey my enthusiasm in trying to reel you back into the game with some advice.

Currently, I’ve managed to get three level 60s who are in Inferno mode along with a monk sitting at level 51 and an upcoming witch doctor. Certainly, in a few days you can take a level 1 and push him/her all the way to 60. But as I mentioned in an earlier post, level 60 is where the game really starts.

For me in getting in hitting 60 on three different classes, I’ve set several goals for myself. One is that I’m dedicating my demon hunter as my primary class. I’ve invested a bit of money into him and he’s able to survive up to Monster Power 5. By putting some money into him, what I’ve effectively done is leveled the playing field for myself and can participate with my other friends who had previously surpassed me both in gear and levels. So now with him sitting reasonably geared, I can do a lot more and plan to drive him as far as I can in terms of farming for better gear, obtaining keys for the legendary ring and getting as many paragon levels as possible.

My next goal is to do what I’ve always done in games: create complimentary classes. I tend to use whatever class I can that’s necessary for the group. So by having a demon hunter, barbarian and wizard sitting at level 60 with decent gear, I can add value and join other parties. Need ranged? I’ll play demon hunter. Need CC and survivability? Go with a Critical Mass wizard. Want a farmer? Try the whirlwind barbarian.

For me it’s really just about experiencing as much of the game as possible. So part of the fun is trying different classes with different specs and play styles. For instance, I was using a DPS wizard build but recently decided to give the Critical Mass build a try after seeing a few Youtube videos on the subject. Turns out that the Critical Mass build is pretty fun. I’m only doing it on Monster Power 0 for Inferno at the moment, but everything has been extremely easy.

That got me thinking about what I could potentially do with the remaining 5 slots that are empty. I know a few friends use those slots as banker alts. One thing I’ve considered is after getting my guys to level 60, I could create mirrors of my characters, except maybe switch their sex for some character variety. But I would attempt different dedicated builds along with the challenge of gearing them without using the Real Money Auction House. In seeing a few of these budget gearing guides for Inferno along with the nerfed difficulty, I think it’s a fun challenge to start from scratch and have different characters for different purposes.

Why not just swap specs with the main character? Again, it’s just about challenging oneself and staying engaged in the game. I could try creating a hard core character but that’s really not my play style. I want to see what I can do with the resources that I have.

Maybe in the future, I’ll try a glass cannon wizard or maybe a tanking demon hunter or ranged barbarian. Again, these are just some possibilities. The whole idea is just figuring out ways to keep the game fun.

Of course, there’s the paragon leveling challenge along with seeing what Monster Power you can handle. I really view Paragon leveling and Monster Power as separate issues. One is more for preparing for Monster Power while the other is for getting better gear.

The other thing I’m kinda excited about is just being able to play with friends. Some are returning and I hope more will as well. But being able to group up and tackle harder Monster Power and getting better drops is quite fun. Just leveling by itself can be tiresome but having friends really makes me want to push myself harder.

For me, there’s just a lot of ways to play the game and still enjoy it. I suggest trying to challenge yourself not with just grinding gear and monster power to do something different with the classes. The permutations are quite amazing honestly.

Diablo 3: Conspiracy Thoughts

I was chatting with a friend the other night regarding Diablo 3 and had been watching quite a few Diablo 3 videos on Youtube recently. The experience made me think a bit about the evolution of Diablo 3 compared with the start. While I do not possess any direct insiders to Activision/Blizzard (at one time I did), I’m just posting some ideas on why they did what they did.

The first thing to note is that the game has progressively become easier. This has been a great thing as many players that had quit at one time are returning since the content has been nerfed. Before this part though, the game had been notoriously difficult, even impossible. In a few interviews, some of the leads admitted that even their own staff could not beat the game on Inferno mode.

If the game is made too frustrating, it’s quite obvious to anyone that the player base will gradually die down. Blizzard has a history of doing this too as we see the constant swapping of hard-to-easy-back-to-hard content with World of Warcraft. You would think that by now Blizzard would realize that they need to figure out the sweet spot of challenging players and making the game accessible for casuals.

So here’s where everything started to click for me. First, I think that Inferno mode, right now in patch 1.0.5 is the real “normal” mode, unless you add higher Monster Power levels. Normal, Nightmare and Hell modes are simply training grounds preparing you for Inferno difficulty. Just like how levels 60, 70, 80, 85 and 90 were the levels where the “real game” started for World of Warcraft (e.g. end game content of raiding, heroics and PVP), 60 is where the real game begins for Diablo 3.

You have access to all items (that are not class specific for the most part), the monsters full abilities come into play, you get Nephlam Valor points and have access to all of your class abilities. At this point, you can experiment with different class builds and gearing. Prior to this, you didn’t need to optimize as much. Like World of Warcraft, you can also see something like Bind-on-Account equipment with items such as the Horadric Hamburger or reduced level items. To me, these are to help players who have already leveled up and managed to collect enough money to speed run their alts to 60.

Initially, everyone had no problems with the first three difficulties. When they hit Inferno, unless you were a demon hunter or a wizard (i.e. ranged class) or played with a group, people would encounter a lot of issues with survival. I think Blizzard did this intentionally and coincided many of the later patches as well as the Real Money Auction House release.

So my theory is that the intention behind this was to award the hardcore players who could speed through content and have them build enough gear and gold in preparation for the Real Money Auction House. Once the RMAH was released, struggling players who had money and still wanted to play would end up forking over money to give it a second try. Note that the Real Money Auction House also made its debut during patch 1.0.3 on June 12 2012, where a significant reduction in difficulty had been done for monsters in Acts 2-4 on Inferno. Doing things in manner would award hardcore layers by allowing them to be the first to seed the Real Money Auction House.

Another theory I have is that when Diablo 3 was released, it actually was a Beta release, not a full release. Considering how much “improvements” have been released since then, my theory is that Blizzard used the pre-1.0.3 game as the real beta test to see how they could tune the game better, knowing full well that the game probably was impossible for all but the best players. However, I think if Blizzard had delayed the game any longer or admitted that what people were seeing was still Beta, they would lose a great deal of face (I still think they’ve been losing a lot of face, but that’s more because of the pressure stemming from Activision).

I believe most of the features we’re seeing coming out as patches were already built into the game such as Monster Power and Paragon Levels. Something like Paragon levels seems like a feature that should’ve been in the game from the start. But why weren’t these features introduced early on?

Again, I think that half of it was that Blizzard didn’t know just how hard it would be for casuals nor the repercussions of the difficulty level they set early on. Second, I think Blizzard tends to cater towards their hardcore fanbase far too much. It’s the same issue that pervades World of Warcraft and it stems from their limited insight into what their real audience is.

Most of their insight, outside of statistics gathered from the game, I think are from louder parts of the internet (e.g. Youtube), their dedicated following and their own community forums. Unfortunately, I think that a great deal of their player base ends up getting lost because they simply do not care enough about the game to really do much protesting. If the game becomes too difficult or boring, they’ll simply quit. At that point, the only feedback loop to Blizzard is the dying player base.

One other thing with regards to Paragon levels and Monster Power, I think that if they introduced those features early on, they wouldn’t have been able to receive the feedback on the difficulty to make adjustments accordingly. The problem in introducing Monster Power levels from the start is that they needed to figure out the sweet spot for Inferno mode. In my opinion, that later became the gradient that would define Monster Powers. Paragon levels would’ve exacerbated the time necessary to put the final tuning into place since hitting Paragon level 100 would throw the scale of Monster Power and Inferno difficulty into an extended two months of tuning.

And of course, the big thing in all of this was to make the Real Money Auction House succeed. That’s where Blizzard’s biggest bet in the game was, not initial sales but returning customers. I think by giving the impression that Inferno was impossible without the right gear early on, Blizzard had secretly hoped that the Real Money Auction House would catch on, even with the nerfs. That way people could feel overpowered just by contributing a few dollars, even if you could get away with playing the game using a budget character.

The one thing I think Blizzard might’ve overlooked or not taken enough into consideration was the proliferation of botting. According to various players, botting is currently hurting the Diablo 3 economy. While the increase in Legendaries has made the game more accessible for people, those that figured on making a partial living now face heavy competition from botters. Although Blizzard’s policy is to be against botting, they have been quite lackadaisical in handling this issue (besides each account is $60 and more than likely the botters are those that are Blizzard’s real source of income on the Real Money Auction House).

Nonetheless, I don’t think these things are coincidental. I’m damn certain they were planned for this purpose. Also, what about PVP? That’s been a very controversial subject and no one knows when or even if it’ll happen.

From my experience with World of Warcraft, I feel that PVP ends up causing more issues than it solves. Certainly, there’s a lot of people who are excited about the prospect of battling each other in Diablo 3. However, there’s a lot of questions that need to be asked. Will PVP have its own set of gear the way World of Warcraft does and their own stats? Will the top PVPers be those with large bank accounts who use the Real Money Auction House to climb their way to the top? Will PVP mechanics be considered separate from PVE the way specs had been handled in World of Warcraft?

The only thing we know thus far from Blizzard officially is that they are working on it. More than likely, they’re battling these very issues right now. They have stated that they do not want to make PVP in Diablo 3 an esport style affair. Unfortunately, I think no matter what Blizzard does, the game somehow will end up being an esport where people are extremely competitive. The only way Blizzard can get out of this situation is basically turning PVP into the equivalent of the implementation of Pet Battles in World of Warcraft.

I think that for PVP to be successful in Diablo 3, Blizzard must fully examine the path of hell they created for themselves in World of Warcraft. First, I think gear should have no place in PVP. People want to test raw skill and introducing anything beyond vanity gear into PVP will more than likely fuck up the rest of the game.

Second, Blizzard needs to divorce the idea of integrating the Real Money Auction House into PVP. Once non-vanity gear is introduced into the game, then everything will become a race to obtain it. But I think gear has caused so many problems in World of Warcraft when dividing PVE and PVP that Blizzard needs to just dismiss it. In World of Warcraft, there might be some limited justification for having gear in that it is a resource based world where two factions are battling.

However, from a role playing point of view, there’s nothing in Diablo 3 justifies using gear in a PVP setting. It’ll be nice for some players as a reward, but why not just give them a pretty color? With World of Warcraft, there have been so many issues with gear and max level toons. For instance, back in Wrath of the Lich King, your level 79 would not stand any chance against a PVP geared level 80. In fact, you could have several level 79s or 80s as well. If they had no PVP gear, that one PVP geared player would own them.

I think for PVP to be successful, they need to keep it simple and within the boundaries of existing character abilities. Even that might be far too complicated with the numerous combinations and stats that can turn the tide of one class and one type of game play. Look at the countless nerfs and QQers on forums in World of Warcraft. If you buff one ability, someone else is going to suffer. Then it affects PVE.

From my own point of view, keeping PVP out of the game completely would be ideal. Hopefully, if they do include PVP, it’ll be limited to battle grounds and arenas. I certainly do not want to see world based PVP.

At any rate, these are just some of my recent thoughts on Diablo 3. I’m curious outside of PVP what other additions to the game are in store before an expansion.

 

 

Diablo 3: Items that Sell on the Auction House

In writing on the items that do not sell well on the Auction House, I wanted to present a separate article based on my own experience of what can sell on the Auction House in Diablo 3. For myself, I do not have a great deal of magic find gear and only play on Monster Power 1 most of the time (since I’ve started to work on Inferno only recently). As a result, I lack the advantage that others who have been playing persistently since the inception have in terms of gold and items.

Obviously, ilvl 63 rares with great stats, set items and legendaries have higher chances of making you great gold on the Auction House. But most items from Inferno tend to perform poorly and are better left for salvaging or vendering. Even legendaries and set items can have poor stats. For instance, I’ve found a 2-handed legendary crossbow that had miserable DPS. Thus far, I cannot get it to sell and may end up just salvaging it.

So with these items doing poorly, how can you make any money in the game? The answer may not be romantic and ideal but it is practical. I’ve found that lower level items from under 35 or so do fairly well. Now, we’re not looking at millions of gold (unless it’s something special like Leoric’s Signet), but I’m talking about rares with 4-6 reasonable stats. I’ve been able to sell those from 7500-25000+ on average. Usually, the items I sell are older items that I found while leveling up my toons and no longer have any use for them.

The reason why these items sell so well, imo, is that people with higher level toons and are leveling their alts more than likely will have a ridiculous amount of gold. So 10-25+k won’t matter a lot to them. They don’t want to spend the time farming low level items so 10-25k here and there doesn’t hurt. This is the same reason why Leoric’s Signet goes for a huge amount of gold (just go back to the World of Warcraft goblin saying of “Time is money, friend”).

Here’s another thing I’ve noticed about selling low level items for this range: they tend to sell really fast. I’ve had more difficulty trying to sell legendaries, 60s, set items, etc. compared to selling low level items. I always try to keep the maximum number of auctions up at all times. However, most items tend to just sit there. But lower level items priced in this manner tend to go reasonably quick.

Now, I’m not advocating farming normal mode for people with 60’s. What I’m saying is that it’s a viable option of making money and these tend to perform quite well. Now, here’s another thing to think about if you decide to go this route. Some people are farming for Leoric’s Signet. So why not pick up the rares along the way?

At any rate, I haven’t really tried farming using my Demon Hunter to see if I could make significant money using this method. One idea would be to set your Monster Power level to 10, try to grab 5 stacks of Nephlam Valor and use all Magic Find gear (except maybe a weapon) to see how much you can max out your Magic Find. Then go farm for Leoric’s Signet and grab rares, legendaries and set items along the way.

Overall, I think this might become a semi-viable method if one could do the time calculation. Certainly with a level 60 using pure Magic Find gear, set on Monster Power 10 and having Nephlam Valor can clear quite a bit of normal mode quickly. The question becomes how much gold can they make from doing these runs using the Auction House? And are all the drops of good quality in attempting to max out their Magic Find?

Diablo 3: Why ilvl 42-59 Items Do Not Sell on the Auction House

I think most people who play the Auction House in Diablo 3 are focused on high end items. Apparently, a lot of botting is hurting the economy on top of that and Blizzard has done little to handle that issue. One thing I have noticed that I’m not certain is a direct correlation to the rise of botting in the game is that items with ilvl 43-59 (and arguably 60-61) do very poorly in the Auction House. I believe this is occurring because of the level reduction items in the game.

Most level reduction items start from around level 42 and go up to, of course, 59. For gaining the level reduction stat though, you will receive items that can be used by level 60 characters. Obviously, that provides a huge advantage while leveling up (and I do think this is intentional). In World of Warcraft terms, these items are similar to Bind-on-Account leveling items such as weapons and the experience gaining armor.

Naturally, if you manage to secure enough funding, then these items are eventually the way to go as you finish off your last few levels before hitting 60 (after all, who doesn’t want to power through the game and be in Inferno mode?) Items like weapons are pretty much worthless as the DPS is too insignificant compared to something that can potentially do 1k+ DPS and possibly get you started in the intro for Inferno mode.

That said, I do think there are a few items that can sell within this ilvl range. Namely, follower items, rings and amulets. I haven’t seen thus far any items that might be reduced in this regard, but I’d have to double check. So if you need to use the Auction House to make some spare change, I would suggest selling these. Otherwise, you’re better off just vendering any rares or salvaging them for parts.

Diablo 3: Monster Power vs Paragon Leveling vs Item Farming

I’ve watched a few videos on using Monster Power for leveling. The mathematics essentially demonstrate the efficiency of using say MP1 as opposed to MP4 in terms of XP/hour. The justification is that higher monsters have greatly increased health, which takes longer to kill as opposed to the calculated amount of experience.

So my theory is that if you’re at a lower Paragon level and/or have poor gear, it’s probably best to stick with MP0 or MP1 at most for chasing after Paragon levels.

If that’s the case, where does higher level Monster Powers play an effective role in the game? In my estimate, gear farming is where high MP shines. Since Monster Power can exceed the normal Magic Finding cap (along the Nephlam Valor), you will want to employ higher Monster Power levels for gearing to really maximize your findings. I think the idea is that (unless you’re an exceptionally skilled player), you want to focus on surviving higher MP levels over itemizing your gear for Magic Find. Of course, if you are skilled and are able to swap gear on the fly, you’ll get even more out of this method.

Another interesting thing I’ve read is how many players have had little luck in finding good drops (namely legendaries and set gear). I’ve managed to find a couple of pieces on occasion that was a result of using higher Monster Power. My natural Magic Find is quite low without Nephlam Valor stacks so typically I find garbage. Being at Paragon level 11 at the moment helps only a bit. However, I think the sweet spot where people start finding better stuff is around Paragon level 33, where you gain a natural 100% to Magic Find in combination with Monster Power and Nephlam Stacks. So it might be worth focusing for a while on leveling to around the mid to upper 20s before trying to tackle gear farming on higher monster power levels.

Of course, this is all subjective and depends on your goals in the game. The way I look at it is just the course of building up to the point where you can eventually make a grab for the best game items. Perhaps an interesting strategy is to break down MP by every 10 Paragon levels. You don’t have to do it this way, but it’s one way to look at handling Monster Power if you don’t have the budget to get better gear initially.

World of Warcraft: Change Dailies to Weeklies

I made a suggestion on the forums that World of Warcraft should change the vast majority of key dailies into weekly quests. I felt that the problem at the moment is that you lose too much by not completing every single daily if you do not login for a day. For a lot of casual players (like myself), it’s a very punishing system. Some people have suggested that people can switch to alternative methods for gearing like doing heroics, but even those aren’t worth doing with the risk of playing with bad PUG groups. So if you’re attempting to max out your VP, then dailies are the way to go.

My theory is that certain quest hubs need to splintered from the daily routine into weeklies. Those are the Golden Lotus, Shado-Pan, CAs (or whatever) and Klaxxi. The other groups like Tillers, Anglers and mount group really are fine as is because there’s no reward outside of some vanity or professional reward. Also, those quest hubs are pretty small so you don’t feel as overwhelmed compared to the main ones.

The way I would change the main ones is get rid of the VP reward per quest and move them into the end of the quest chain for the week. But also I would boost that reward a bit so that completing all the factions can get you to 500 when maxed out.

However, the key in this design is that people can choose when to do these quests. So you can do part of the quest line on say Monday, skip a few days, then resume them on say a Friday. Kinda like the way VP was designed in Cataclysm, which I thought worked out pretty well.

It feels that the problem is in the math that Blizzard has done. Part of it feels as though they’re attempting to prolong content by doing constant grinds. Others have mentioned that this forces people into the world and gets them so involved that it prohibits them from playing other games. I think these are tragic design flaws. If the main intent are the first two, then my idea still works. You still get people into the world and Blizzard can calculate the length of time by having progression done on a weekly basis.

Prohibiting players from doing other games is just silly. Why not just prohibit them from being alive at that point? I mean, you’re going to be paying $15/month regardless of one spending one minute or every second in the game. So that’s just stupid (both as a possible design and theory).

The other side effect is just better resource management. The dailies add a huge irritation factor in the competitive resource aspect. Too many kill stealing, resource grabbing, etc. Even if the spawn rate increases, it’s just horribly frustrating. That prolongs finishing already annoying quests. And add the respawn of ninja mobs that have high hit points just makes dailies a huge turn off in my book.

But moving that to weeklies would probably get most of the hard core players to do them all at the beginning of the week. That should free up resource based quests so that there isn’t as many ninja grabs.

What about grouping? My design sounds like it doesn’t enforce the grouping idea because there will be less people questing with less quests being abundant. Honestly, I’ve grouped up twice, once with a friend and once through an invite. The only time I ever group up is whenever the Sha of Anger is around. I think most people prefer doing quests solo anyway.

Overall, I think my idea is very good, it seems like a simple change with a lot of positives that are a win for everyone. Blizzard should really consider this game design change immediately because I think that too many people are very unhappy with the daily design. I know one of my friends who is more hard core than me is planning to play another game once he finishes gearing his main. But he’s definitely going to stop progressing on dailies.

For myself, I’m just going to protest by not doing them. I refuse. And with patch 5.1 releasing more dailies, I’m just going to continue sticking with Diablo 3 and the occasional LFR run until the daily thing is completely ironed out.

Why the Switch to Diablo 3

I mentioned that I switched from playing World of Warcraft to Diablo 3. The main thing obviously is that I got serious burn out from the dailies. I absolutely hate dailies. Logging into World of Warcraft and thinking about accepting a daily quest literally makes me want to puke.

So I still needed to get a gaming high, which is why I’ve been playing Diablo 3. The recent changes to the game have made doing Inferno mode pretty easy. That isn’t to say there’s absolutely no challenge doing normal mode Inferno (hey, there’s an oxymoron for ya!) But compared to the first release period, Diablo 3 has become playable…and in fact fun.

First, sadly enough more of my friends play Diablo 3 than World of Warcraft. That gives me a huge incentive to play Diablo 3. Second, they actually will play with me from time-to-time. That’s another big bonus.

But the real thing is that I’m having fun in Diablo 3. I started leveling up all my alts and getting them gear. Once my Demon Hunter hit level 60, I did a shameless thing and started buying him gear on the RMAH. Yes, I paid quite a bit of $$$ to gear him. Why? Because I hate farming. I make enough money where the time and effort to gear him just isn’t worth repetitively doing the same stuff and getting slain. I don’t like being frustrated so I had no qualms in near maximizing him out with a few bucks. What I get out of it is more joy in being able to play with friends who have hit Inferno and can tag along for fun now.

Also, leveling up my alts, I found some really cool items on the AH that essentially let them kick some major ass from level 30 and up. That made the tedious grind from the bottom more bearable. At the moment, besides my Demon Hunter, three of my alts are in Hell mode act 1, each hovering at the level 50+ mark.

Why do this when I have a Demon Hunter sitting at Paragon level 7? I just really want to enjoy the game. I look at it as having purchased a game and wanting to experience as much as possible to really maximize my dollar value from it. I don’t buy games often these days so I really want to push how much I can get out of something.

Also, I like the idea of having each class maxed out so that I can some day go in with my friends and switch whenever I want and need to. It’s the same reason why I loved playing so many different classes in World of Warcraft. I think any game which allows you to choose different classes, you should experience them as much as possible.

With regards to my Demon Hunter, I have no desire to be competitive. My gear is quite good despite, similar to a lot of top demon hunters in the world (I tried to model it after those people). My whole goal was to see how far I could go. But it’s all for myself. I have no desire to be top ranked. All I want is just to make more gold, get more Paragon levels, get more gear for my guys and just have as much fun as possible with my friends.

World of Warcraft: How Dailies Burnt Me Out

For the past two weeks, I’ve neglected to do my dailies in World of Warcraft. In fact, I’ve barely logged on to do anything. The most I’ll do is LFR and the Sha of Anger. Outside of that, I’ve found the game to have become really boring because the content and progression have primarily become dictated by daily quests.

Molten Front was an interesting idea alternative to gearing up in Cataclysm. It presented an opportunity for non-raiders to get some decent gear by progressing through a month long quest line that slowly opened. Once you completed the quest line though, you pretty much would only do it a few more times for rep on alts.

In MoP, you’re pretty much forced into doing dailies. Blizzard will deny it but the player base by large has recognized this as a huge issue. For myself, I found the repetitive nature to be banal and dreary. Honestly, outside of reputation and tiny amounts of valor, you really get nothing out of doing dailies. Worse yet, there’s just too many. And you have to think about alts as well.

Supposedly, in the next patch, reputation will be earned quicker. But that doesn’t stop this horrible content wall of dailies.

The thing for me is that these dailies are really time consuming and competitive. A lot of kill stealing, phasing issues and too much travel. I think completing all dailies probably can take a few hours at minimal. Don’t let these people on forums fool you into thinking that they only take 30 minutes. They don’t. They need to really time themselves and demonstrate an average.

Compare that to say patch 4.3 where I think they had a decent formula. The dungeons were reasonably tuned and LFR wasn’t too bad (except the last fight and Ultraxion…but that mostly was due to ninja pullers/griefers). I hated Cataclysm for the most part but I dealt with it by leveling tons of alts from 1-85. Once patch 4.3 came out, I felt that Blizzard recognized the error of their ways and redeemed themselves through creating content that was fast and more or less fun with decent rewards.

The current patch is just unbearable. Trying to get one toon to hit the minimum for LFR is a nightmare. Then the stupid loot rules prevents people from sharing loot if they want to be generous. The gear is all hidden behind reputation walls sealed through the daily grind. Factor in the high cost of gear which is again put behind another wall of valor points. And they also made justice points practically worthless.

Seriously, who the fuck designed this shit? Did anyone bother looking at how the numbers would come out on paper? Or maybe they just looked at their accounting statements?

Here’s the thing with dailies for me. I think leveling up via questing is fine. That’s where you learn your new abilities as a soloist. Once you hit your level cap you want to start maximizing what you’ve learned. But you don’t want to be put through more questing. And if you are, then definitely not through mandatory dailies. You want action. Dailies isn’t “action” to me. They’re just mindless busy work, kinda like when your fail school goes on strike and the remaining staff have no idea what to do with you.

Quite frankly, I’ve found this expansion to be complete shit. It’s really boring and the only thing I’ve liked thus far have been the pet battles. But I’m utterly bored doing the same damn thing over and over. Which is why I quit doing dailies and switched to Diablo 3.

However, I’m thinking of taking this a step further and just cancelling my account. I don’t find the game to be fun anymore. Most of my friends have quit and my guild sucks. I don’t want to join a new guild after all the effort I’ve already put into it. At the same time, I don’t see any point of playing when no one is on and that I have no one to play with.

For a social game, I don’t see a lot left that’s really social. It feels anti-social and anti-climatic to what looked like a great run. But I don’t want to play a game that’s so time consuming but with little to look forward to.

I hope Blizzard fixes this issue with an upcoming patch. It seems that they always make the first few patches to be pretty shitty once you max your level out. Maybe they should put more effort into thinking how that content can be repeatable and fun. Boring tank and spank fights are definitely a lot better than this daily shit.

Diablo 3 Expansion Announced

Since I’ve been playing Diablo 3 far more than World of Warcraft lately, the breaking news of Diablo 3 caught my attention. I’ve read a few reactions online, but I want to take a moment to offer some suggestions based on my experience in Diablo 3.

The current progression in patches for Diablo 3 seem like the right move. Nerfing Inferno, introducing Paragon levels and monster power I think have made the game worth playing. Of course, PVP is still up in the air and many are anticipating that patch down the line.

That all said, I’m very curious about how Diablo 3’s first expansion will be treated. How will it integrate into the current game? What will happen to people who have worked long and hard, maximizing gear and hitting level 10 Paragon? What will happen to people who never made it beyond normal mode yet want to give the expansion a try?

My whole thought process is that Blizzard needs to immediately examine its past mistakes and realize that the first priority should always be not just making a fun game, but, more importantly, not pissing off its customer base. This is such a critical idea because of how World of Warcraft and Diablo 2 have devolved into these farming games and have ultimately turned a lot of players off. With that in mind, how can Blizzard avoid inevitably angering its player base?

I think that Blizzard needs to look at how Burning Crusade fucked over a lot of raiders when green gear far exceeded epics that took people months of earning. I have a sneaky feeling that Blizzard can be real assholes in this regard, essentially making the hard labor of people meaningless almost instantly. As a result, it’s important that they value the current progression of players in the game in taking into consideration how the expansion should work.

I feel that the expansion should add more levels. Of course, the question becomes how will that inter-operate with Paragon levels? Or how will it work with those who barely finished normal mode but stopped on nightmare?

I think what should happen is that there probably should be around 10-20 more levels introduced in the game as the cap before going back to Paragon leveling at Inferno. Perhaps for every 5 Paragon levels, someone will gain an additional level after 60 until a cap of say 80 is reached. But the expansion should start from level 30 on normal mode.  After that, nightmare will begin around 60, hell at 70 and inferno at 80.

I would make sure that the expansion between 30-60 is tuned such that leveling can occur fast if there isn’t a great deal of content (I’m thinking of Diablo 2 where we only got to see just one last act). At the same time, a toon going through normal mode shouldn’t be overwhelmed while those who have been in nightmare and hell can blast through the early phase until they reach the expansion’s version of nightmare

Where would that leave people who made it to Inferno and even hit the upper part of Paragon? First, I don’t think they should be forced to start at normal despite not finishing the first difficulty. I think they should be given an option if they meet a level criteria to skip into the next content zone and start from that point. That way they aren’t simply bored rushing through 3 parts of the same content over and over.

Next comes gear. This is a pretty sensitive issue, perhaps even more sensitive than leveling since real money probably is involved. I think devaluing the power of gear the way that World of Warcraft has done is a horrible idea. Those who have spent countless hours either farming or buying gear should be continuously rewarded for their effort. In this manner, I would suggest that the gear should last people up until Inferno at the very least. If not at least be given some boost in power so it scales for a bit into Inferno.

Of course, many people would also like to find items that can replace high level gear. That’s fine but I really don’t want to see a blues that exceed high end legendaries and set pieces for a while. That would imply that the hit points and damage done by mobs would have to be lower so that people who are well geared in Inferno can still make use of their items. You definitely don’t want a repeat of the entry point of Diablo 3 where Inferno was impossible except for the most hardcore players and cause the rest of the population to drop off after a week or two of futility.

Something else we’ll see are probably more mechanics for elites and champion packs. I heard that some of the problems initially were vortex + fire chains which would annoy the hell out of players along with the impossibility of kiting elites and champions on melee classes (btw whoever made that initial decision hopefully lost their job).

Content-wise, I hope we do not see the same bosses from Diablo 2’s extension. That won’t be fun. I think it was nice to have an ultimate enemy outside of Diablo himself. But it would be good to have multiple bosses and acts. I felt that Diablo 3 was underplayed with the last act being far too short and underwhelming.

What about new classes? I suppose that partly will impinge upon how PVP comes along (if it ever does). We saw the assassin and druid make their way into the D2 expansion, but then we lost other classes like the necromancer and paladin. Also, what will this mean for talents? Certainly, in an expansion you want to provide more abilities as characters level up. If not that then some other mechanism that allows one to boost their character. Honestly, I haven’t given much thought at this point in adding features for high level characters outside of providing more talents (and more spaces on the hotbar).

Regardless, I don’t know what type of classes should be added. I do feel that everything is pretty much covered at this point. It feels as though Diablo 3 had taken the WoW classes and integrated them together a bit (e.g. hunters being rogues + hunters, witch doctors as shamans + warlocks, monks being druids + paladins) So what can be left?

It really depends on the game play and the visual effects that can add, imo, that will make adding more classes worth the effort. One thing they could do is put more emphasis on a healer type of role. Unfortunately, I would hate to see Diablo 3 turn into a World of Warcraft in that regard. I’ve always felt that dedicated healer classes were probably one of the worst decisions a game could implement. Yes, you need healing in general, but I dislike the idea of depending on a sole class/role. This is a major issue in WoW at the moment, especially with group oriented situations.

In WoW, I think the issue has been attitude firstly. Too many healers who have huge egos or some personality problem because they know the importance of their role with regards to the entire group. Next, I hate the idea of emphasizing a role where the entire time someone is just waiting to react to cast a spell. I did hear that they improved the model for healing in WoW, but I still think it’s far from perfect.

I’m more of a fan of the archmage role from Bard’s Tale or the Bishop in Wizardry 6-7. In those situations, you had a class that could do decent damage and heal. However, they were relegated to either role and knew how to react at the right moment for the party. I guess Barbarian and Monk have something like that but it just feels odd. Either way, it is a non-existent role at the moment.

Beyond that I can’t think of any really solid class that isn’t somewhat covered. You can’t add utility classes to a game like this because they would get slaughtered. Of course, you could try reviving classic classes such as paladins, necromancers, druids, assassins, etc. But I can’t really see them adding much to the game, except maybe the necromancer. But I see the necromancer as just a wizard and witch doctor type with their summoning capabilities.

At any rate, I’m looking forward to seeing what the expansion brings us. Hopefully, they’ve learned a lot from the early failure of the design and make it so that progress is fun rather than a pointless grind tied to their piss poor accounting practices.

Also, let’s all pray that the lawyers and accountants have ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH THE GAME THIS TIME.