Wednesday, July 7, 2010

News Coverage of Blizzard Real ID Disaster

Blizzard is currently deleting each and every forum post attempting to express how bad of an idea the planned mandatory use of players real names on the World of Warcraft official forums is. At the moment, a thread mentioning Real ID is unlikely to survive more than thirty seconds and the mods' ban hammers are being wielded liberally. Some of those fallen posts contained links to news coverage of Blizzard's poor decision and I was quick enough on my feet to reproduce them here. Enjoy!

BBC News - World of Warcraft maker to end anonymous forum logins

USA Today - 'WoW' studio Blizzard to require real names on forums

ABC News - Bye-Bye Trolls? Blizzard Forums to Use Real Names

CVG - Fans rage over Blizzard forum plans

PCGamer (UK) - Why Blizzard’s new forum plan is an epic fail

The Register - Blizzard exposes real names on WoW forums - WoW Real ID: A Really Bad Idea

Ars Technica - Blizzard: post about StarCraft 2? Use your real name

Gamespy - Blizzard to Require Real Names on Official Forums

Kotaku - Blizzard Forums Will Soon Display Your Real Name

Kotaku - Blizzard's Real Name Forum Policy Has Fans In An Uproar

Joystiq - Your real name to appear on Blizzard's official forums

Inc Gamers - Blizzard Going Too Far With Real ID?

MTV Multiplayer - Blizzard Cracks Down On Anonymity In Official Forums - Blizzard forces users to show real names: Internet security they have heard of it

Product Reviews News - WoW Real ID System: Security Flaw Found

ITWorld - Blizzard to share your name with angry video game nerds

Voodoo Extreme - Is Blizzard's Real ID Safe, Or A Playground For Sexual Deviants?

Voodoo Extreme - Blizzard Forums To Require Use Of Real Name, Rage Ensues

Examiner National - World of Warcraft Players WoWed by Blizzard's REALID announcement

EuroGamer - Blizzard forums to require real names

GameFocus - Blizzard To Kill Anonymity On Forums

Strategy Informer - removes "veil of anonymity" on forums, real names used

HuskyStarcraft - Blizzard Forums: First and Last Names [VIDEO]

AusGamers - Blizzard Switching Forums to Real ID System

Australian Gamer - Blizzard decide to give out subscribers' real names

It doesn't exactly make for happy reading, but at least Blizzard now knows that not only the "small but vocal" population that uses the official forums thinks this is a bad idea.

Fight Back Against Real ID on Warcraft Forums

Yesterday morning, a bomb went off on the official World of Warcraft forums in the form of an announcement that the use of players real first and last names would become mandatory on the forums. Though a handful of players agreed with the change, a massive tide of hate has been flowing towards Blizzard since the reveal. Feel free to check out the official announcement and the well over one 21,000 posts which have followed it to see the outrage for yourself.

Many speclate that this is a first step towards making the use of real life first and last names, or Real ID, mandatory in game. As a parallel, started out as "optional" for World of Warcraft players, but now it is a prerequisite for play.

As players' frustration about the looming change grows many people are stuck as to what to do about it. Thankfully, there are a number of steps you can take to express your displeasure at Blizzard's decision about how to govern the use your personal information. First, consider lodging a complaint with the ESRB. All of Blizzard and Activision's major game related websites are Privacy Certified by the ESRB. If you feel the changes coming to the World of Warcraft forums run afoul of that certification, file a complaint using the ESRB's Online Complaint Form.

Second, voice your concerns on the official World of Warcraft forums. The change to using real first and last names has not happened yet and old posts will not be modified when the change occurs, so your personal information is not yet at risk should you post. The posts expressing outrage at Blizzard's proposal have likely already exceeded one hundred thousand, but each customer who posts makes it harder for Blizzard to argue that they listen to their subscribers and address their concerns.

Lastly, if you are incredibly passionate about the issue, you may need to vote with your wallet. I do not plan on canceling my subscription, I will simply forever forgo posting on the official forums. Should, however, Blizzard decide that my real first and last name ought to become a part of my actual game play, I will immediately walk away. I also will be forced to leave should my inability to post on the support forums prevent a technical issue from being timely resolved. You may feel more strongly than I do, however, and decide that either the decision itself or the direction it indicates Blizzard is taking is contrary to your preferences. I know a couple of my in game and online friends decided enough was enough and are in the process of cancelling their subscriptions. As a heads up, many of them have reported that the cancelation system is backlogged because of the announcement.

In light of the overwhelming criticism this decision has been buried with, it will be amusing to see if Blizzard cares enough about its forum community and player base to back pedal. I do not suspect they will. At this point, I can only hope that the mandatory use of players' real first and last names on the official forums will be the only terrible decision Blizzard makes in the near future.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Cataclysm Feral Tank Spec

This post is based on the old talent lay out, hop over to my updated Best Feral Tank Spec in Cataclysm for a current one!

Some people might call me crazy, but in my opinion it is never to early to start planning out your Cataclysm specs. Towards that end, I have decided to start laying out what I believe will be the "cookie-cutter" Druid specs when Cataclysm comes out. To start things out, here is my ideal Feral Tanking Spec for Cataclysm. (00/55/21)

In my design of the spec, I was looking both to maximize bear form survivability and threat generation. First, let's look at the Feral tree. In tier one Ferocity, goes a long way towards reducing rage consumption allowing a bear tank to utilize more abilities without running low on delicious rage juice. Well worth the full five points. Sharpened Claws is also a great pickup as it increases the damage done by two primary bear abilities, Maul and Mangle, by an astounding 20% for just two points. We can pass on Feral Aggression as your rotation will likely be busy enough that you don't need extra Faerie Fires available, though the talent could have a niche use on fights where a bear needs to rapidly pick up solo adds.

Moving to tier two, I would suggest taking everything. Thick Hide is a potent mitigation talent that no bear should miss. Feral Instincts is also a solid recommendation because although AoE tanking will be limited in Cataclysm, whenever it does come up you will be loving the 30% extra Swipe damage. Additionally, it is possible (though unlikely) that Swipe will still have a place in the bear form rotation as a rage dump in Cataclysm. Lastly in tier two, Shredding Attacks will reduce your Lacerate rage cost which should be handy considering you will need to constantly rebuild stacks after Pulverize.

Tier three is a solid place to plant five points. First, two points in Feral Swiftness nets you a solid 4% dodge. Next, you will want to pick up Feral Charge to stay mobile. Lastly, Improved Feral Charge gives you a whopping 30% melee haste for eight seconds every single time you charge. Talk about a threat lead gold mine! Stay away from Predatory Instincts as, despite what the initial tool-tip says, it currently only applies to Cat Form.

Tier four should also eat five of your talent points. Fury Swipes is an interesting new talent that seems to function like Warriors' Sword Specialization. Free auto-attacks can do nothing but help your threat. Primal Fury is also a strong selection as it turns your critical strikes into delicious rage. Avoid Nurturing Instinct as you shouldn't be in Cat Form or healing while tanking.

In tier five, we pick up our first talented ability: Survival Instincts. It is a great panic button that any good bear uses liberally. You will also want to place five points in Heart of the Wild both to open Leader of the Pack and to net a respectable 10% stamina boost. Brutal Impact has some PvE utility, but is primarily a PvP talent and can be glossed over. Should you find yourself using Bash liberally, feel free to swap some points to it. Predatory Strikes is exclusively for Cats and should be skipped.

Tier six let's us boost our dodge by another 6% and even grants us rage on every dodge. Not a bad use of three talent points. Survival of the Fittest is also a mandatory tanking talent. Without Survival of the Fittest, bear tanks can fall victim to critical hits. That can't happen. The extra armor is just icing on the cake that is this truly necessary talent. Endless Carnage is a take it or leave it talent. I personally would leave it alone, but it might be worth subbing the two points I placed in Improved Mangle here or to Brutal Impact depending on your preference and play-style.

For tier seven, I recommend picking up Leader of the Pack and Improved Leader of the Pack. Tanks are designed to be in groups so passing up on such a solid group buff is almost criminal. Considering how huge a Bear Form Druid's health can get, the 8% heal every six seconds from Improved Leader of the Pack is also well worth the investment. Primal Tenacity is a Feral PvP talent; skip it. You can skip King of the Jungle too as you really should not be using Enrage while in combat once you lose your tier ten bonus because of the armor penalty.

Fill out tier eight. Primal Tenacity is a direct boost to both your threat and mitigation while Infected Wounds helps significantly reduce incoming damage and keeps mobs more easily under your control. Take them both.

At tier nine we finally pick up Mangle and have the option of reducing its cooldown with Improved Mangle. Obviously, you need to take Mangle, but whether or not your take Improved Mangle is really a matter of personal preference, though I would only spend two points here simply because the third point can be better spent elsewhere. See how your rotation works with and without it and don't be afraid to move those two points around. Primal Madness isn't a bad talent, but it isn't worth the five points in King of the Jungle to get to it.

In tier ten, Nom Nom Nom is an awesome talent, but only for Feral dps, so skip it. Do, however, pick up Rend and Tear as it will substantially increase your threat generation. Also, be sure to get the new ability Pulverize which will dramatically change how bears tank and will forever alter how you look at Lacerate stacks.

Lastly, top off the Feral tree by picking up Berserk. Not only is it a great snap threat generation cool-down (especially when holding three targets), but it is also our only reasonable way of breaking nasty fears. Take it and use it often.

Having buried a whopping fifty five points in the Feral Tree, we have another twenty one to carry elsewhere. Since Balance has absolutely nothing to offer a Feral tank, to the Restoration Tree we go!

First, plop five points in Furor. Do you really need five points there? No, but you need to get to the lower tiers and there is really nowhere else productive to spend your initial five. Then it is time to scoop up five points of Perseverance. Bear tanks have always had a bit of a weakness to magical damage. This new talent says no more! Also, place three points in Natural Shapeshifter if just to open up Master Shapeshifter below it.

Moving to tier three of the Restoration Tree, spend all of your remaining talent points here. Naturalist will increase your Bear Form Damage by 10% while Master Shapeshifter adds another 4%. Lastly, Omen of Clarity will land you some delightfully rage free attacks.

In summary, I believe this spec will get you the most bang for your buck in terms of feral tanking. If you want points to play with, the two in Improved Mangle are ripe for the picking. You could also can Omen of Clarity is you so desire, though I personally enjoy the talent. Obviously, the Cataclysm talents are still subject to change, but at the time being I think this is the best any feral tank can hope to do.

Would you do things differently? Let me know in the comments.

This post is based on the old talent lay out, hop over to my updated Best Feral Tank Spec in Cataclysm for a current one!