Tuesday, May 3, 2005

v4.3 - Viva l'assistance

Morning Folks,

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How is everyone doing this fine Tuesday morning? I trust you all slept well and blessings on your alley and all stuff. I actually slept OK last night. I woke around 5am and had time to actually shave this morning :) I had a good week growth of beard going there yesterday and looked quite ... scruffy yesterday at work.

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Had a somewhat frustrating evening last night. My kids, whom I love more than anything, have this "talent" for getting on my last nerve. Last night Katie had to work and I drove her there since her start time was so close to picking our son up from school. I arrived home and found my daughter fast asleep in the back seat and my son wide eyed and wanting to play WoW (yup, he''s hooked). I get them both out of the car and I carry my daughter into the house and lay her down on the couch for a little nap. The next 20 minutes were the best 20 minutes of my day yesterday :) My son and I start up a couple level 1 Troll Shamans on the Uldum server and we started playing. This is when things started to take a turn.

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I love my son, but the kid talks non-stop all the time. Top that off with the fact he has played the Horde side before and knew all the quests and mob locations. Myself, I like to explore areas and learn the game that way. If I went the wrong way or wasn''t following my group mate (my son), I heard about it immediately. This made for a pretty boring experience for me and I just wanted to throttle him and tell him to shut it. Well, I did tell him to shut it, but that never helps :) My son gets excited as a kid playing WoW sometimes. He loves this game and was the first person I know who actually hit the limit on the number of characters allowed per account (yes, there is a limit).

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We made it to level 6 with both of our Shamans and I turned to him and told him I NEEDED to take a break. Not from the game :) You see, my son has this thing when he gets excited. He tends to disregard the volume of his voice when he speaks (as most kids do). He picked up a shield (which Shamans can wear) and was so excited. He kept asking me if his was better and blah blah blah. I had to tell him to quiet down several hundred times just so I could concentrate on what was going on. By this time, of course, my daughter had woken up and was VERY cranky. Katie called me 2 times within this period and I was struggling to listen to what was going on in TeamSpeak. All this this seemingly hit me at once and I felt like I was going to just SNAP!

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I didn''t :) but man, that was a close one. I ended up logging that toon out and I logged in my main for a little while before switching over to my Druid trying to get at least one level on her. I didn''t. You see, it just so happens my son has a Hunter that is the same level as my druid. I decided to help him with the Delfias quests and we made it to the point where he needs to kill VC. I've already done that with my Druid, so I think I''ll login my Hunter and take my son and Katie''s Druid down there and finish that off for them.

Perhaps

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Anyway, that was pretty much my evening in 1000 words or less. When it was time to hit the bed, I almost ran upstairs so I could fall asleep and put that awful day behind me.

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So, as I mentioned yesterday, I wanted to talk to you all about something called Assistance Etiquette. Someone on Teamspeak was asking me about this last night and I wanted to clear up some misconceptions. For starters, what I''m about to talk about is is NO way directed at any one person(s). This is what I have compiled from my years of playing MMOGs and the HUGE differences with WoW vs DAoC and the other games. Some of the player names have been changed to protect their identities :)

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Lets start off by defining Assistance Etiquette (dictionary.com)

Assistance: The act of assisting.
Assisting: To give help or support to, especially as a subordinate or supplement; aid.
Etiquette: The practices and forms prescribed by social convention or by authority.

So basically, Social Etiquette is the act of giving aid to help or support a subordinate or supplement based on the the practices and forms prescribed by social convention or by authority.

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I''m going to talk about how to help someone in WoW vs how we used to do it in DAoC and show you the differences between the convention and authority. Sound deep? It isn''t, just big words :)

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For starters, DAoC was one of those MMOGs where the experience was capped per level. So a level 1 player could reach a cap in their experience and could never gain any more than that. I may be mistaken, but I believe the experience cap was roughly the same experience for killing a red con mob solo. In World of Warcraft, there is also an experience cap, but it based on the highest level mob you can kill. For example, if you get a chance to drop by my screenshot gallery, click on the album in the WoW Misc section entitled Dragons. You will see some screenshots of me fighting Dragons in there. One of the screenshots shows me fighting a level 44 Elite dragon getting over 1000 experience for the kill. Another screenshot shows me killing a level 45 Elite dragon getting less than half that experience. Why? I have no idea, but I assume it was due to the fact I was only level 44 at the time and I wasn''t supposed to be able to kill a level 45 Elite Dragonkin? Who knows :)
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When I started playing this game, I found out very early how easy it was to solo. In fact, I spent a lot of time soloing when my wife was at work and as a result I am now the highest level toon in our guild. People call me a hammer head, but in reality it was all due to the soloing. For every person you group with you in this situation, your experience is split down the middle. So if you were soloing a mob and gaining 500 exp each kill and you invited another person into your group, YOU would get 250exp and the other person would get lower or higher depending on their level. Let''s use the same example and lets say you invited a 2 level lower toon into your group. Now, a mob that was worth 500exp to solo is now only worth around 450exp total for the two of you. That is because the experience has been halved and then lowered for the lower level toon. This mechanism was put in place to prevent power leveling. So now Player A is making 250exp per kill and and player B i! s making 200exp per kill. Where did the other 50exp go? Lala Land my friends, Lala land. I''ve done quite a bit of testing with this and made a huge mistake early in the game when I was assisting a friend get some levels. We played for the better part of a day before we finally realized he wasn''t gaining nearly enough experience. I ran some tests and jotted down some numbers and found we were losing about 200-300exp per kill while he was in the group. We tried heading to a higher level zone to do some killing and found mobs aggroing from as far away as I could see them. This lead to some deaths and difficult battles.

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Bottom line folks, you CAN''T powerlevel toons in WoW. The best and easiest way to help someone level in WoW is to help them with their quests. The best way to do this is to be outside of their group and help them kill a boss or gain access to an area. If that person is solo, he/she will gain the maximum amount of experience since it won''t be halved by you being in the group. Let the guy get the first few hits on the mob and then help them finish it off from outside the group. I haven''t played with the level gaps much so I''m not certain where grouping becomes unbeneficial for both players. The only time the above solution will NOT work is when the quest takes place within an instance dungeon or area. In some cases, if you are really high level, the lower member(s) in the group will appreciate getting the quest done and not care much about the exp along the way. Unfortunately folks, if you''re doing the quests properly, 90% of the experience should be gained through the ! mobs and the other 10% is the quest reward. Don''t believe me? Check it out sometime when doing a dungeon quest or something of that nature. Keep track of all the experience you gained while fighting your way down there and then add it all up at the end. It should be about 9+ times higher than the reward experience.

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So what happens when you get a high level toon into a lower level group doing quests? Their experience starts to hurt. Yes, you are helping them complete a quest, but you are also hurting their experience gains. This is why things become unbeneficial when higher levels group with lower levels. Some people don''t understand this and I''ve been blind invited into so many lowbie groups who think they are going to get some sweet sweet exp with me in their group.

Sorry, it doesn't work that way in this game.

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You also need to be careful when assisting outside of the group. There is this little 30% rule I heard about (haven''t tested yet) which dictates how much experience the player will get if you assist outside of group in killing the mob. If the player who has the mob tagged doesn''t do at least 30% of the damage, they only get a fraction of the exp vs the full pop. Again, I haven''t tested this so I don''t know if it is true or not. Yes, I heard it was so, but I like to test this shit out vs taking someones word for it. Remember, people can (and usually are) wrong most of the time. Just like I expect you all to go out and test the things I''ve mentioned above. Knowledge is your reward and knowing as much about the game and the mechanics by which we play, will not only make you a better player, but it will enable you to help those who don''t understand. You''ll be forever held up as a hero in the eyes of noobs everywhere :)

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Ok, so keeping everything above in mind, you can understand why people get a little upset at higher levels when they don''t group with lower level players. Some people just don''t understand the hindrance when there is a level gap. Of course, this doesn''t mean I will never group with lower level players. I just need to make sure they understand what kind of hindrance I will be to their group. I don''t like to hold people back and I like to see people advance quickly in this game. Unfortunately, it is like standing on the sidelines at a sporting game. There isn''t a lot a person can do to change the outcome of the game, they can just stand there cheering or booing.

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Anyway, I''ll leave that for now. Keep in mind folks that I''m a very helpful person by nature. There are, however, some things that I've learned since I started playing this game. I will NEVER make a deal or promise to help level another toon ever again. I would have to say that is the most painful experience a person has to go through in this game and there is nothing that will make it worth it. I could have saved myself a lot of headaches and frustrations had I done my homework in the first place prior to committing to anything. Never again. Don''t get caught in that web and only provide assistance when you are feeling up to it. It is pretty much a thankless task to most people and really makes the game frustrating.

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Well folks, I''m going to cut out and get some work done. I booked off a week of Holidays this month and I''m looking forward to about 10 days in a row away from this place. During that time I may still send out the odd musing, but I''m not going to promise anything :)

Take care gang and we''ll see you out there on the battle field!!

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Cheers,

Al