Archive for August, 2008

Why I don’t gamble

August 22, 2008

I have terrible luck. Not in life, or anything along those lines. It’s just that when it comes down to the luck of the draw, spin of the wheel, anything purely chance-based – I will most likely (99.5% of the time) lose.

Therefore, I will never buy a lottery ticket, because even the ones that have been bought for me as presents haven’t even yielded a single cent in payoff. I will never go to casino because frankly, I like my money in my wallet where it belongs. When I ride the Racers at Kennywood, I buckle myself in knowing full well that I have brought the doom of failure to my entire coaster train.

And yet, I will run an instance five dozen times and still have some semblance of hope that the item I need will drop, and if it drops, I’d actually win it.

The best illustration of this would be the old Dungeon 1 set. I forced myself to learn how to kite pull Drak – and survive – purely to convince people to run UBRS with me. I invested in shadow resist to clear out Scholo until I could do the instance in my sleep. And still somehow I went months without winning my chestpiece or the headpiece. When the shaman helm dropped one day, I realized that its stats were better than the one I was wearing, so I took it and wore it all the way until Tchann set foot in Hellfire Peninsula.

So, I don’t really expect my entry in the WoWlympics to garner anything, and I wasn’t too surprised when my husband got his beta invite and my inbox stayed sadly empty. Luck isn’t on my side, and unfortunately there is quite a bit in WoW that requires luck – the biggest of which is loot.

And while I’ll whimper and whine and cry about how the game must hate me when my chestpiece never drops, or when the helm drops and the other hunter beat my loot roll by about 87, I know in the end that the cardinal rule of loot is always in effect:

Random loot is random.

Nothing I can possibly do will change which loot will drop. Nothing I can possibly do will change what I get on a /roll. The biggest misconception I see when it comes to loot is that ‘an xx% drop rate means it will drop xx times out of 100 kills’.

But what did I say above? Random loot is random.

When you flip a coin, it has a 50% chance to land heads up. Math/statistics then try to say that the next time you flip it, the chance of it landing heads two times in a row is reduced. Three times in a row sees the likelihood go down even more, and four times in a row decreases another amount. 100 times in a row would be seemingly impossible, right?

But when you flip the coin that second time, guess what the chance is: 50% to land heads up.
The third time: 50% to land heads up.
The fourth time: 50% to land heads up.

Sometimes, all we get are tails. And sometimes, hunters wear shammy hats when raiding.



And never, ever respond to the Green Text accusations.

August 18, 2008

While I have said it before, I will say it again: the Customer Service Forum is a near-invaluable resource for World of Warcraft players. It’s likely that any policy-related question you can think of has been asked and answered there, and if it hasn’t, the people who lurk there will know enough to give you a very educated response in lieu of a genuine Blue reply. Many of the ‘regulars’ have been there for a significant amount of time – I’ve been lurking since its inception two years ago.

Unfortunately, I’ve been saddened – almost sickened – lately by the attitude of several ‘regulars’ on the Customer Service Forum. Too many are eager to jump on an innocent question with guns a-blazing, attempting to strike down the poster in any way possible. It’s almost as if ad hominem has become the norm rather than the taboo, without even waiting for an argument before beginning to attack the poster. This new trend has led me to compile the following list of

NOT to be a Jerk on the CSF

1.) Read the original post thoroughly. Then, read it again. You might have missed something – it happens to everybody, even you. Especially if you’re refreshing the page every other minute for new posts. Make sure to consider all aspects of the post. It’s easy to single out one issue presented and focus on it alone, but if you can aid further, then do so. If you’re posting on the CSF, you’re posting to help. If you’re going to help, it’s best that you do as much as you possibly can.

2.) Read through all the responses posted so far. Obviously this doesn’t apply if it’s a new post with no replies, but if it’s a conversation in progress, then pay attention to what’s been said. If everything you were going to say has already been said, there’s not much point in responding yourself. Only post if you have something more – and on-topic – to say.

3.) Remember this rule: Do not make public accusations. Just like the CSF is not a method to bypass the ticketing system, or a place to call out players who are violating the rules, do not accuse the poster of doing anything against the Terms of Use. Yes, the story might be suspect, and maybe it sounds like he’s lying through his teeth, but it’s not our place to call him a liar and a cheat. Focus on the questions he asked and answer them as best you can without bias.

4.) When typing your post, remember the name of the forum: Customer Service. While it’s a misnomer, it does represent the correct attitude for assisting the other players. Visualize yourself as a customer service employee who’s there to help the patrons of their establishment. Write everything with the attitude of wanting to help. If what you’ve written sounds like something a person could call your manager over to complain about, it’s time to rewrite.

5.) If the OP admits to breaking a facet of the Terms of Use, even without realizing, answer his questions first before politely informing him of his blunder. For example, if he wants to know how he can find out if his unwarranted temporary ban for foul language is up, let him know how to do so first. At the end of the post is where you can respectfully – and briefly – educate him on the policies.

6.) Smilies help. 🙂  ( Don’t 🙂 go 🙂 overboard 🙂 though. 🙂 🙂 ) If you treat the poster politely, they are more likely to respond in kind, making for a much more pleasant discussion – even on the most volitile of issues.

7.) Read over what you write before you post it. Then, after you’ve posted it, reread the post within the context of the conversation. Now is the best time to notice any mistakes and edit your post before most other people will see it.

8.) Watch the thread for responses. If you ended up being the only person willing to help the OP, and then went on vacation for a week, they might never get an answer to their followup question.

9.) See rule number 3.

10.) Always keep in mind that the Blue response will trump yours. If you think the Blue answer is wrong, only call them on it if you have documented evidence (other Blue forum posts count, something a GM told you a year ago in game does not) to show. This is out of courtesy for the real Blizzard employees, but also to help clarify a confusing issue. If a policy has changed, this is when you’ll find out about it.

In the end, you know you’ve done it right when you see your post quoted with Blue text underneath saying, “Quoted for Truth”. ^.^

If you really wanted my approval, you should’ve made it a unicorn.

August 6, 2008

If you’ve visited the WoW main page within the last day, you should already know about the new recruit-a-friend incentives. The old one was pretty nice: refer a new account, and get a free month when that account buys their first month of subscription time. Pretty sweet within itself, kind of like the bonus we’d get at our old apartment complex for referring a new tenant.

But now there are new products bribes bonuses!

For each person you refer who upgrades to a retail version of World of Warcraft and purchases two months of game time, you will be able to give a character on the account you sent the invitation from an exclusive in-game zhevra mount.

If your friend goes above and beyond the one month requirement for the original incentive, then you get a shiny new zhevra mount! Not my thing, but I can see people scrambling for this one. At any rate, not a bad offer. As much as I like the cute freebies Blizzard throws out there, they’re always random stuff with no *real* impact on the game, so I don’t feel like I’m missing out because I didn’t spend the money (i.e., Blizzcon giftbag, WWI treats, TCG loots).

But wait, what’s this?

What in-game benefits do we get while the accounts we play are linked?

1. Characters on both accounts can summon each other once per hour.

Okay, I can stand behind this. Especially since the article goes on to mention that a character can only summon another that is the same level or lower, which keeps level 5 priests from summoning their 70 friend to help them kill pigs in Durotar. Actually, this would be fantastic for pranking your buddy as well. Summoning a level 5 friend into the middle of Netherstorm has the potential for hilarity.

Looking at this from another angle, let’s take this the town portal way: two friends out questing together, one makes a town run on their hearthstone. When finished, he’s summoned back by the other. With two summons per hour, that’s a lot of run time to and from town that’s significantly cut down on.

2. While adventuring with your linked friend/family member, you will each gain triple experience.

Triple experience? Apparently rested double-experience wasn’t enough. It appears that rested experience will just sit and accumulate while the triple experience buff is in place, too. Is this really necessary? For three months (the length of the linking), two accounts can quest together and never need to stop to rest. While this is great for two friends playing together, they’d have to be careful not to outlevel each other, for then only the littlest character gets the buff.

What this will really affect are two classes of players: dual-boxers (who are perfectly legit and I have no ill will against) and botters. Triple experience, no down-time, 90 days – how many 70’s could two accounts grind up? Four apiece? Perhaps even more. But that’s what Blizzard’s willing to dish out in exchange for more active accounts, apparently.

3. For every two levels the new player earns, the new player can grant one free level-up to a lower-level character played by the veteran player.


This is where it goes too far, Blizzard. Buy another account/subscription for a free mount? Okay, fine. Get more xp for it as well? That’s starting to push it, but I’m willing to let it slide. Give out free levels to the veteran account? Watch your step, Blizzard, you’re teetering dangerously close to business practices I refuse to support.

World of Warcraft may have only been my second subscription MMORPG, but I’ve played in numerous free ones before I started in Azeroth. Beta and free-to-play games dotted my hard drive for years, and I found that the ones I despised the most were the ones that offered in-game amenities at an out-of-game cost. When the company sells advantages to its players, the playing field is suddenly as level as my chest. Fair play goes out the window for quick cash, and the players don’t take long to follow.

Something I’ve always loved about WoW is how it was fair. Blizzard condemns gold-buying, gold-selling, cheating, hacking, botting, the works. They want it to be fair. But these ‘incentives’ are just one step away from official gold selling, and one step away from me cancelling my account.