Theoretical DPS

Things I don’t miss about WOW:

  • Meters
  • Cookie cutter specs, where if you don’t use it, you FAIL
  • Highest theoretical DPS

Seriously, I may kick in the crotch the next person who talks about highest theoretical DPS.  This concept is ridiculous because it assumes we’re all automatons (or 22 year olds with the reflexes of a coked-out ferret) and will PERFECTLY execute whatever it is.  We will never have lag.  We will never miss a debuff dropping off.  We will never mismanage our mana/energy/photontorpedoes and run out at a crucial moment.  Nope.  PERFECT.

Well that’s just BULLSHIT.  I’m a person, not a theory.  And things just don’t work that way.  I’m not saying that I need an easier rotation and that I will automatically do better with that, because I’m incapable of the theoretical DPS perfection.  I’m saying that different people click with different specs and styles.  Something that is difficult for you might be easy for me, and vice versa.

Let me give you an example: in WoW, cat DPS is generally considered to be difficult.  There are bleeds to manage and energy and combo points and self-buffs and debuffs and… well you get the idea.  However, cat and I always clicked.  When I read my first cat raiding guide, upon hitting max level (I think it was 80 at the time), I was just like… oh, I’m already doing all those things, carry on.  To me, it seemed so natural.  My GM at the time called me a kitteh savant.

Now, shadow priesting?  Forget it.  In fact, forget anything where I have to string together casts.  Even if it’s a 3 button rotation, I will fuck it up.  I can’t shadow priest. I can’t boomkin.  I can’t elemental shaman.  Just terrible.

Enter SWTOR.  And as I’m twirling around through the levels with my Sentinel, it is known that Watchman DPS is the raiding spec.  Mmkay…  So I watchmanned and I was OK.  It wasn’t that hard to grasp, but at the same time, I didn’t feel any sort of love.

Due to a bug, I ended up respeccing Combat to try it and, holy shit, it was love.  It was like with cat – I didn’t have to really concentrate on where I was in my rotation, I just KNEW.  When something interrupted me or knocked me back, I got right back on track and didn’t flail around like LOLWUT?  And I kicked some major ass, much more than with Watchman.  Sure, watchman may have higher theoretical DPS, but in my hands, Combat has way higher dps than Watchman.

I was reminded of this phenomenon when I was trying (and failing) to do dailies with my smuggler.  I had specced scrapper and I was just SUCKING at it.  Dying all the time.  It felt like I was hitting the mobs with a wet napkin.  My companion tank was constantly whining that he was going to dieeeeee – and this was AFTER I re-geared both Corso and Bowdaar.  And I couldn’t use a non-tank companion because I needed to be behind whatever-it-is, so I needed a tank to take up the mob’s attention.  I always found myself out of buttons to press because it seemed like everything was on cooldown.  I just hated it.

So fuck it, I switched to Dirty Fighting.  Now, I know that dirty fighting is better for crowds, is more mobile, and doesn’t rely on positional attacks, so it’s already innately much more suited for dailies… but it wasn’t just that.  It felt right in a way that scrapper did not.  I was specced that way for about 5 minutes and I was already easily adapting to things like not having a gap closer or dealing with groups of various compositions.  It was easy.  There was no fumbling and pausing like “um, what do I do next?” Oh, and I didn’t die.  I pwned.

The point of my dumb story is that if you are sucking at something or you just hate it, ignore the guides and just damn well try something else.  It might work!

Anticipating, Planning, and Other GM Stuff

I’m not entirely sure how I got stuck with being a Co-GM, but um, I am.  And as such, the natural planner in me is getting quite the workout.  Take the last few weeks…

One of my main tanks (and one of my raid leaders) is leaving the game because the game isn’t doing it for him.  OK, we’ll miss him, but we’re ok, we have 2 full-time tanks left and a part-time tank/dps, and 1 raid leader.  Even so, I start thinking that’s not enough roster depth – or enough raid leaders.

Hey, Monkey (one of our raid leaders), how would you feel about being a tank?  Leveling one?  Ya know, just in case… Anyone else want to lead raids?  Oh OK, we got that covered… and then…

Then my Co-GM and her husband (a TANK!) decide to play with cuddly WoW Pandas.

Now I’m in freakout mode.  I have just gone from Co-GM to potentially the GM – at least until I find a replacement.  It also occurs to me that my Co-GM currently does raid rostering and recruiting, which now need to be done by someone (hint: not me).

Also, now we’re clearly short a tank!  Oh wait, that’s right, Monkey is leveling a tank for just such a predicament!  And because I was neurotic when our first tank quit, Monkey is already within spitting distance of 50!  Whew, crisis averted on that one.

So now we just have to see what we have and what we need to recruit.  I have heard rumblings about people maybe changing roles, so I want to nail that down before deciding what we need to add to the roster.  In the meantime I’ll remove the “we are not accepting applications at all!” notices from the guild website, but not make an announcement soliciting applications until we know exactly what roles we need.

But wait!  F2P comes along.  Is everyone going to be still subscribing?  Um, dunno.  Let’s give them a few days to sort that out before figuring out recruiting needs.  And of course there’s still a chance that the pandas will kidnap a few more guildies.

About a day later it dawns on me that my Co-GM also has the mumble server.  Oh right, mumble.  We need that.

At this point, I have a few gdocs going for planning purposes.  One is aptly named “GM Shit” and I take perverse pleasure in doing a strikethrough of the shit I’ve already completed.  And all sorts of other checklists.  I may be losing my mind.

How did I get stuck with Co-GM-ship?

Armormech Heavy Armor (Republic) Boot and Glove Mismatch

Remember when I first discovered the boot mismatch for orange armormech recipes (heavy armor, republic)?  I didn’t have all the recipes at the time and hypothesized that some boots got “swapped” and went with the wrong sets.

So now that I have all the boots, all the gloves, and most of the belts, I can say with certainty:

  • In a given set, the boots, gloves, and belt will match each other.
  • There are situations where there is NO match.  Not mixed up, just none exists.
  • I’m ignoring bracers, because they are pretty much under gloves, and I don’t have enough of them to figure out what matches what.

Here, let me show you the sets, you’ll see.  Keep in mind that I don’t have all the belts so if the belt doesn’t match, it’s probably the wrong one.  But hey, we’re focused on boots and gloves, right?

Electrum Onslaught. Just, no.  Why are the pants and chest dark green and the gloves, boots, belt ORANGE?  I can’t find a suitably matching set of greenish boots.  Seriously. You’ll see.

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Free To Play, Because Everyone Else Is Talking About It And What The Hell Else Should I Talk About?

Um, crap.  Free to play.  Hrm.

So far, I don’t know much.  I am clearly keeping my subscription because Raids – I mean Ops, totally ops – are on the subscription model, and HELL NO, I am not giving up my raiding.  And, since the guild is built around raiding, probably the rest of them are gonna keep subscribing too.

But… still… I have some concerns.  Or annoyances.  Whatever.

  • Is it going to be a real pain in the ass when you have a subscription and someone else in your group does not?  Like “sorry, would love to help you, but…”
  • Will this increase the immature asshattery in general chat by a ZILLION percent?
  • Will people who raid right now choose to forego raiding instead of paying for it?  (Argh! Will I have to recruit?!)
  • Am I going to be spending more money on this damn game because I’ll need to spend weird-ass coins at the e-store in addition to my subscriber fee?  They say the coins buy things that are just cosmetic, but I live for just cosmetic!

Therefore I have a list of totally reasonable demands for Bioware.  That they’ll never read.  Oh well.

  • New Hairdos.  Immediately.  The choices for Zabraks are pathetic.
  • A barber shop.  So we can implement these new hairdos.  DUH.
  • More character slots.  I’m paying.  Would 4 extra slots kill you?
  • Can we wear sith clothes already?  COME ON!  I’m sure some of the sith would also like to wear republic clothes – haha no, I lied.
  • Oh right and one more thing: FFS FIX THE BUGS!  Paying for a buggy game is so “Star Wars Galaxies.”

How are y’all dealing with F2P?

Good Will Always Triumph Because Evil Is Starved

OK, evil needs a cookie.  Seriously.

Let’s check out the romanceable female companions for sith side:

  • Mako – body type 1
  • Kaliyo – body type 1
  • Vette – body type 1
  • Azshara – body type 2 (well, all of the tortugas are)
  • Raina Temple – body type 2
  • Jaesa Wilsaam – body type 2

Now republic side…

  • Kira – body type 2
  • Nadia – body type 2
  • Elara – body type 2
  • Risha – body type 2
  • Akaavi – body type 3

First, we notice there are no petite Republic chicks.  Second, 3 of the first 4 companions on the sithie side are petite ladies (and the 4th is that scary-ass Khem Val).

I think Bioware is trying to send a message, namely that the dark side does NOT in fact have cookies.  It’s ok, we on the Republic side will share our cookies.  We’re nice like that.

Of course, I’m pretty sure that all the romanceable males on both sides are body type 2.  Maybe you can hook up with Lt Pierce (body 3).  And I only WISH we could BSOCK Scourge…

Note: I don’t have anything against body type 1!  My main is body type 1 (she wasn’t intended to be my main at the start, but I digress).

Schematic Gathering

As you know, I’m a crazy person, and have been gathering orange fashion schematics like a maniac since 1.3 dropped.  I have definitely hit the halfway point in the new recipes where my spreadsheet is more green than red, so to speak.

A few of my crazy habits.  Don’t try this at home.

  • When I find a good deal on a schematic, I cackle and say “YOINK” out loud as I buy it.  The husband looks at me like I’m a nutball.
  • One time, I bought something at an awesome price, and when I went to my mail, it returned my bid because someone else had bought the damn thing a second before I had.  So now if I see a really good deal, I don’t check to see if I already have it.  I snap it up.  I can just turn around and resell it for a profit if it turns out I already have it.
  • I check the GTN each time I play before I start gaming for realsies, and again before I log for the night.
  • If I can’t sleep, I check the GTN.  If I have extra time in the morning (unlikely), I check the GTN.
  • My budget varies depending on the item.  I am not willing to spend as much money on sith-only recipes, and I’m much more likely to spend serious cash on a medium armor recipe because both my 50’s wear medium armor.
  • My budget for a schematic has gradually increased as I near the end of my gathering.  I figure if I’ve been checking obsessively and I haven’t seen it by NOW, it’s probably very rare and damn well worth the steep price.
  • The most I’ve paid for a schematic is 120k credits.
  • The least I’ve paid for a schematic is 5 credits.  Multiple times.  Suckers.
  • I refuse to pay 300k for the belt that I don’t have that is right now listed on the GTN.1
  • I was so obsessed with a specific pair of gloves for my own outfit that I sent the minions on Tier 2 Underworld Trading missions nonstop until I got it.  It took about 2 days.2
  • I have no earthly clue what Underworld Trading missions are more likely to proc a schematic, so I just send out the minions on random ones of the appropriate level (or of multiple levels).  By the time the idiots come back, I forget which mission I sent them on.  And I’m not industrious enough to actually keep a record or spreadsheet.3
  • For some reason, I’m much closer to finishing out my armormech schematics than my synthweaving schematics.  And I know that there are more synthweaving schematics than armormech schematics, but I’m talking percentages here.  The armormech spreadsheet is greener.
  1. I may cave if it is marked down to 200k.
  2. Guys, the sentinel boots and gloves are strappy and hawt.
  3. C2 has won a special place in my heart for his UT crit rate, thanks to the legacy doodad I bought him.

Crafting Becoming Self-Supporting

When I first started crafting, it was a HUGE money sink.  In fact, until very recently, it was still a huge money sink.  I had to run dailies just to fund my crafting.  When the new recipes came out in 1.3, it was a struggle to snap them up on the GTN and still have money left over for other things (like raiding repairs and augmenting my raid gear).  With the average new recipe going for upwards of 25k, and I have to get oh… 200 of them, well that’s ugly.

The rarity of the recipes, however, is the reason why I’m actually able to make money right now.  I did manage to snap up some good recipes (some of them cheaply!) by checking the GTN obsessively and running a scattershot of underworld trading missions.

Now I’m able to support myself by making the new gloves, boots, bracers, and belts and putting them up for sale on the GTN.  They’re actually selling like hotcakes.  Sometimes they come back to me unsold.  If they come back more than a few times, I mark them down and they still sell for well over the cost of materials.

So I have some tips for those of you who are tired of doing dailies and want to be self-supporting with crafting.

Variety.  I can’t stress this enough.  Someone looking for the perfect belt to complete their outfit wants to have a selection of belts.  It may be tempting to just crank out 10 of the same thing, if it’s popular, but I’ve found that in any given 24 hour GTN-cycle, there are not 10 people who want the exact same fashion item, regardless of price.

Also, if you have a scattershot variety, you can’t be undersold on every item.  If you make 10 of the most popular item, there will be some other jackass who decides to severely undercut you on that one item, and that’s that.

Price To Move.  Don’t undersell yourself but don’t get greedy!  If it takes more than a few days to sell something, you’re pricing it too high.  Better to sell a higher volume at a lower profit margin than to wait for that one big sale.  It will never happen.

Happy Crafting!

Preparing for Casual Raiding. I Mean Ops. Totally Ops.

If you’re a casual player like me…

Ok, let me stop right there.  “Casual” can be interpreted in many ways, a lot of them negative.  Such as “unwilling to put in effort”, “wanting a free ride”, “noobish about all the things”, you get the idea.  But that’s not what I mean here.  What I mean by “casual” is “do not have lots of time.”  You have other shit that comes first.  If you can clear your schedule for 2 hours on an evening, it means 2 hours, not “lol after dinner and whatever.”  OK carry on.

If you’re a casual player like me, getting ready for raiding seems pretty daunting.  You just hit 50 and there’s so much shit to do.  It seems like you’ll never ever get it all done.  It’s tempting to just give up.

You Must Prioritize Raiding.  If time is a limited resource, you have to make hard choices.  If you spend a ton of credits on that awesome speeder, you will not have that money available for raiding necessities, like consumables or augments.  (And remember, money and time are interchangeable resources, since you need to spend time to make money.)

It’s not to say that you can ONLY do raiding and not do ANYTHING else in game.  If you like to craft, you may very well have time to be raid-ready AND craft.  But raid-ready AND craft AND pvp AND collect pets AND collect mounts?  Probably not.

Baby Steps.  When you hit 50, suddenly you realize that you must find 14 pieces of gear, 14 augment kits, and 14 augments.  BLARGH!  That’s a lot of time and money and, with few credits to your name, it seems RIDICULOUS.

Don’t give up.  Set reasonable goals. When 1.3 hit and I was looking at having to augment at least 9 pieces, it seemed like a hell of a lot of resources.  I even did the math and it was frightening.  But I calmed myself down and set a goal of 2 augments a week.  That kept me on pace without running me ragged.  And even with that small set of goals, I ended up being one of the first people fully augmented.

Don’t freak the fuck out.  Just do a little at a time and it will get done.

You Are Never Done.  Once you’ve done the initial push and gotten all raid ready and start raiding, you may be tempted to wander off after all that hard work and just show up on raid nights.  WRONG!  True, you will have to put in less time maintaining your raid-readiness than initially getting raid ready at 50, but it’s still a time commitment.

Basic maintenance includes:

  • reading all the patch notes and make sure you don’t have to make any changes to your spec, rotation, or gearing strategy
  • working toward obtainable upgrades (dailies)
  • studying boss strategies before attempting a new boss
  • obtaining consumables every week
  • practicing (dailies, the dummy, or flashpoints) so that you don’t lose muscle memory
  • augmenting any new gear you obtain from the last raid before you go into the next raid

There’s no golden ratio of busywork-to-raiding.  Some people say 1 hour of prep for each hour of raiding, but it really varies.

If you notice on the list above, there’s a lot of prep that you can (and should) do while you’re not in-game.  I tend to watch boss strat videos on my phone right before bed.  Some people have admitted to doing the same whilst on the can.  I can also read patch notes while I’m sitting on my couch keeping my daughter company while she watches Dora the Explorer.  If I need something crafted, I try to coordinate with guildies on the forums so I don’t have to hang around online waiting for the appropriate crafter to log in.  Yes it does take a lot of time, but you grab the time when you can get it, and it doesn’t HAVE to take a huge conventional gaming-chunk-of-evening.

Now go forth and pwn the face off a robot or something.

Gear Auditing the Minions

Has this ever happened to you?

Dailies Buddy: Oh hey, I have my healer out, why don’t you bring a DPS.

Me: Um, hrm. I’ve been running with Doc for 15 levels now, my DPS are in like lvl 30 gear.  Both of them.

Dailies Buddy: Oh… yeah… same.  My only geared companion is my healer.

So yeah, all the time.  Usually, you find the companion your toon needs, and then you stick with that companion forever and ever… unless you’re in a mini group.

No longer will I be embarrassed by Rusk’s pathetic starter Hoth gear!  This weekend, I went on a massive companion-gearup, and it was pretty damn cheap.

Your Resources

  • Things You Greed (remember what your companions wear so you can snap up any unwanted gear in raids/instances)
  • Your Trade Skills
  • Your Leftover Commendations (Voss & Corellia, mostly, if you’ve already outgeared that stuff)
  • The GTN (sometimes you get lucky)

All this you can do without pestering any of your guildmates.  I’d recommend figuring out the easiest path and prioritizing.  For example, don’t actually GRIND commendations.  If you don’t have em, then you don’t use em.  If you are rolling in mats, great, craft some things.  If you have to send out the idiots and wait for them to come back every time, never mind.

You don’t need anything spectacular.  Greens and blues of the appropriate level should do the trick for daily quest purposes.

Also, you don’t have to gear ALL the companions!

  • Do you really need a geared melee dps and a geared ranged dps?  Probably not.  You can safely pick one – and pick the one that is easier to gear!
  • If you’re a tank, don’t gear either of your tanks (duh) unless you routinely run around in a DPS offspec.
  • Finally, consider which idiots have a great crafting or gathering bonus.  An idiot with a fantastic bonus should probably not be geared because that idiot should ALWAYS be busy with crafting or gathering.  Pick the other idiot of the same role to gear, if possible (except you only get 1 healer, doh).

I was feeling ambitious, so I geared all the idiots.  They still all look mismatched and ridiculous.  I contemplated giving Doc the Belsavis Prisoner shock collar to zap him when he looks at other women, but I decided that was a little too kinky for a straight-laced jedi knight…