Trion being Trion: Server rollbacks are technically impossible

November 17, 2014

(Inside reader note: The title should be read while thinking back to the time Blizzard told us open-world PvP without instancing was technically impossible and that’s why Wintergrasp was made, likely the same week some 2000 or whatever EVE battle happened.)

Two things related to this Massively story.

First, the exploit with the cash shop has been around since day one. It’s news now because everyone is aware of it. If you were one of those idiots stating “exploiting isn’t that rampant” a few weeks back, hi. This is how shit works kids. Fools who get caught and make news aren’t the ones you worry about, because if you are dumb enough to get caught by Trion, you were never a factor to begin with. Instead what you should have worried about are the organized “play to win” guilds who know about all this stuff and exploit it quietly right under Trion’s nose. (That said, in a way Trion fixed the problem; with AA being such a dumpster due to their mismanagement, if you are playing AA still you aren’t really ‘winning’ anything).

Second, the fact that Trion refuses to do rollbacks leads me to believe they can’t. Like they technically don’t have the ability because they are Trion. I fully expect a “We have to ask XLGames about that” statement if demand for rollbacks continues, because that is always Trion’s PR ‘get out of our own mess’ card with AA (Which they showed is 100% bull when they finally got somewhat of a handle on the in-game chat spam).

Keep doing you Trion, please please keep doing you.

New PC configuration

November 14, 2014

Here is the configuration I have from Digital Storm. Config code is 1074730 if you want to look at it yourself over at their site.

Chassis Model: Digital Storm Coridium

Processor: Intel Core i5 4690K 3.50 GHz (Codename Devils Canyon) (Unlocked CPU) (Quad Core)

Motherboard: ASUS Z97-P (Intel Z97 Chipset) (No SLI Support)

System Memory: 16GB DDR3 1866MHz Digital Storm Certified Performance Series

Power Supply: 750W EVGA SuperNOVA

Optical Drive: DVD-R/RW/CD-R/RW (DVD Writer 24x / CD-Writer 48x)

Storage Set 1: 1x SSD (500GB Samsung 840 EVO)

Graphics Card(s): 1x NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 4GB (Includes PhysX)

Sound Card: Integrated Motherboard Audio

Extreme Cooling: H20: Stage 2: Digital Storm Vortex 120mm Radiator Liquid CPU Cooler (High-Performance Edition)

CPU Boost: Stage 1: Overclock CPU 4.0GHz to 4.4GHz

Windows OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium (64-Bit Edition)

Hearthstone: New Blizzard vs Old Blizzard

November 13, 2014

TL:DR – Hearthstone is the perfect example of New Blizzard, and the perfect example of why I miss Old Blizzard so much.

It’s still Blizzard, so they still have the whole polish thing going. For a great example of this, open up Trion’s Glyph, then open up Blizzard’s They both do the same thing (try to be Steam), but it’s immediately obvious that one is well-crafted while the other is a clownshow.

Hearthstone has that polish. As a mobile game its well done and ‘works’ as you would expect a game to work. It has a ton of nice touches like bringing back classic Warcraft sound bites and themes, and there is just well-executed detail all over the place. The PC port of Hearthstone isn’t bad, but it’s bare-bones and very minimal; it’s very clear Hearthstone is intended to be a mobile game that also happens to run on your PC.

Hearthstone also has Blizzard’s easy of entry design. It gets you in and playing quickly, and ramps you up well. This again is critical in the mobile space given the amount of competition, and the expected patience/time the average player will have.

Where New Blizzard steps in is the depth and longevity aspects. Hearthstone is a very, very dumbed down version of Magic the Gathering. The number of difficult decisions you need to make in an average game is rather minimal (a scary number of games don’t even require one), and even deck building is heavily neutered compared to MtG.

For example, in MtG you have colors, which Hearthstone replaces with classes. Only classes lock you into one set of cards. No mixing. You then fill out the rest of your deck from a ‘open to everyone’ stack. This alone cuts heavily into deck building, and ultimately deck variety and strategy.

Another example; deck size is 30 cards with a max of two of the same card (one for legendary super-power cards). MtG (perhaps back in the day, its been a while) had a deck limit of 60, with a max of four of the same card (max 2 for certain cards in tourney format). On the surface this might look like it comes out to the same thing, yet it’s not. Plenty of decks benefited by having just one copy of a card, but still using that max of 60 as an advantage. All of those decisions are gone in Hearthstone.

The fact that you can’t trade cards in Hearthstone is a giant removal of ‘gameplay’, and it’s replacement (crafting) is a math-tax test of idiocy.

There are likely hundreds of other examples, but at the end of the day Hearthstone is just a much simpler, much easier card game, and that poor and short-sighted design kills its longevity as mastery comes rather quickly.

Now some might argue that because Hearthstone is a mobile game, it has to be simple and shallow. “That’s what works in mobile SynCaine!”. Except that’s not actually true. The most popular and profitable mobile game out (for years now) is Clash of Clans. CoC has Blizzard-level polish and easy of entry, but it also has Old Blizzard design in terms of depth. If you want to just pick the game up and derp around, you can do that. If you want to dive into the deep end, the game has one. Hearthstone doesn’t, as was made embarrassingly clear at the world championships.

If we move past Hearthstone and look big-picture, since when is Blizzard the studio that produces middle-of-the-road titles? Because that’s exactly what Hearthstone is; it’s a good-enough mobile game, but it looks like an SOE product compared to top mobile games like CoC. Heroes of the Storm, the upcoming MOBA title, sounds like a good-enough game that again won’t really compare/compete with League of Legends (another game with Old Blizzard levels of quality/design). Overwatch turnout out to be a good-enough TF2 clone won’t be a surprise. WoW going from vanilla/TBC to Cata/MoP? Old Blizzard vs New, and the sub numbers reflect that.

For whatever reason (talent drain, resting on past success, the Activision merger) Blizzard isn’t the company putting out instant classics like Warcraft, StarCraft, and Diablo 1-2 anymore. Instead we have been getting decent/meh titles and WoW updates, which is what’s most disappointing. I miss Old Blizzard.

WoW: They don’t make em like this anymore

November 13, 2014
Original model

Original model

Hello good looking

New model

I’ve officially quit WoW again

November 12, 2014

Title of the post is just to continue things for folks who apparently only read titles and go directly to comment.

There was a lot of nostalgia when my old raiding character, an orc warrior in full T2 wielding the original Quel-Serrar, first loaded in near the bank in Ogrimmar. That nostalgia was pushed further when, about 5 minutes in, I had a few people whisper me about my gear. Some things never change.

Looking over his bank content was like viewing a trophy room of past accomplishments. Items from MC, BWL, AQ40, Nax40, PvP tiers, and others. In his bags I still had the server-first Spinal Reaper that I crafted, though sadly it no longer has the text of who crafted it (thanks Blizzard). I got a chuckle out of all the flasks in his inventory, and the two full bank bags of gems and other crafting materials. Even little Diablo, the original collector box pet, came out to say hello.

Nostalgia aside however, WoW does nothing for me at this point. The game looks beyond dated now, with the graphics long since having move from ‘stylized’ to just plain ugly. In 2014 EVE looks like a 2014 game. In 2014 WoW looks like a 2004 game. Then there was everyone else around me; the dozen or so ridiculous mounts that would make the most asian of MMOs blush, the drab yet at the same time silly looking gear, the stupid-even-by-WoW-standards pets. While even in vanilla WoW had some ‘immersion breaking’ stuff, today it’s just full-on clowncar nonsense.

The UI is also something that looks like it has a few (dozen) too many mods going for it. Just stuff all over the place, which I’m sure once you get use to makes sense, but is EVE-level of shocking when first glanced at. I’m almost tempted to get my wife to give returning a shot, only to see how she would react to the UI, especially as we are playing FFXIV (which, now more so than ever, I fully believe is just a better version of what made WoW great in 2004, brought up to 2014 standards)

And so SynCaine the orc warrior went back into retirement in the same spot he did so many years ago. The world around him has changed, but he won’t be tarnished by it.

CoC: Supreme Cream! vs ZoooWalanD SUG 11/09/2014

November 11, 2014

(Editor note: Stats and writeup provided by Delpez as always. Also while we are currently at the cap of 50 players in the clan, a few spots are alts so if you would like to join us, please drop me a note here or via email and we can make room. Any level/experience welcome, just need to be active and willing to learn.)

Supreme Cream! vs ZoooWalanD SUG

Supreme Cream


Average TH Level






Total Attacks Used



Total 3 Star Attacks



Total 3 Star %



3 Stars Against Same Level



3 Star % Against Same Level



3 Stars Against Lower Level



3 Star % Against Lower Level



TH4,5&6 3 Stars



TH4,5&6 3 Star %



TH7 3 Stars



TH7 3 Stars %



TH7 3 Stars (same level)



TH7 3 Stars % (same level)



TH8 3 Stars



TH8 3 Star %



TH8 3 Stars (same level)



TH8 3 Star % (same level)



TH8 Ave Stars / Attack (same level)



TH9&10 3 Stars



TH9&10 2 Star %



TH9&10 3 Stars (same level)



TH9&10 2 Star % (same level)



TH9&10 Ave Stars / Attack (same level)



This was a tense war, which we unfortunately lost by a slim margin. However, one can learn more from these close defeats than from any number of easy wins. So what do the stats say?

Purely based on TH level, our opponents were a lot stronger than us. The difference equates to 15 TH’s, meaning if we line up the clans by TH level, 15 of their guys could attack down. Activity was similar; we had four inactive players and a number of our clan did not use their second attack. I don’t think it would have made a difference though, since there were very few easy bases left to hit. Their victory was based upon a superior 3-star percentage (52% vs. 43%). Numbers are very similar for same level bases, but they scored many more 3-stars against lower level bases (19 vs. 3). This once again reflects the fact that they had more high level bases.

Our lower level bases scored eight 3-stars at the same percentage as our opponents, which is a good return. I’d like to highlight a very innovative attack by Kobea Thris on a TH7 (second attack of the war). As a TH6 he basically used balloons, giants and wizards (no healers) to 3-star a TH7 base. It was a flawed base to be sure, but he saw the flaw and was not afraid to use innovative tactics to exploit it. Well worth watching! At TH7 their 3-star percentage was a lot higher than ours, but against same level bases it was basically the same. Once again, this was because we had to attack up (especially towards the end of the war) while they attacked down.

TH8 is where they hit us really hard, both in number of 3-stars and 3-star percentages. Most of their 3-stars were against lower level bases (16 of their 25), but they also had a higher 3-star percentage against same level bases. This was because a number of their TH8’s were very advanced, while a lot of our TH8’s are newly promoted. Also, a clear learning from this war is that a dragon army struggles to 3-star a maxed TH8 base. We had some good attacks against their top TH8’s, but the result was usually a 2-star.

Our TH9&10 bases did quite well, but we don’t have enough of these bases (yet) to swing the war if we’re losing against the lower bases.

Some lessons and points for discussion:

Dragons have served us well for a while now, but they seem to struggle against maxed TH8 bases. However, I’m not sure if there are many other options before TH9. A decent dragon attack against a strong TH8 is still a safe 2-star, which is a good result against a powerful base. For example, our opponents couldn’t manage any 3-stars against our top six TH8’s. If 3-stars are critical (like towards the end of this war), mass Hog Riders might become an option. From reading up a bit it sounds like they can smash a high TH8 base, but their chance for a blow-out is also higher (Giant Bomb).

Having said that, mass dragons are probably still the safest bet for TH7&8’s. Tactics can vary, depending on the defending base. Personally I’ve found ten dragons, three rage spells and balloons in the clan castle to be the best setup to take out tougher bases, but opinions may vary. However, it is NOT a good idea to drop all the dragons in one spot. Firstly, it increases the chance of all the dragons flying around the perimeter, and secondly high level wizards can murder them when clumped together (just see this war for some examples). It’s better to drop half the dragons in a line; when they’ve taken out the perimeter the outside dragons may start skirting around the base, but the centre dragons will core inwards. Now the rest of the dragon can be dropped behind those dragons that are inside the base.

Something I’d also like to bring up is our choice of defensive clan castle troops. The Valkyrie is awesome against ground attacks, but most of the effective TH7&8 attacks come through the air. Also, most TH7&8 bases should be able to defend against ground attacks in any case (from same level bases). Is it not an option to stock max wizards in our TH7&8 bases? In this war they were sometimes very effective against our dragons, and they’re not useless against ground attacks either.

Finally, we seem to run into supply issues with our attacking clan troops. This is understandable, since most people want max balloons, dragons or healers and we only have a small number of players (three or four?) able to supply those. I also imagine that it puts a lot of pressure on the likes of Dot and Syc to fill all those war orders. Isn’t it an option to only ask for max troops when planning to attack a tough base? For example, attacking a TH7 base with dragons surely don’t require a max dragon (or balloons) in the clan castle? Even asking for one level below max (5* loons, 3* dragon, 3* healer etc.) allows a lot more people to contribute towards the war effort. Why is this an issue? Because people sometimes miss their attacks while waiting for troops, or by the time they get the troops they’re out of profitable bases to hit. Obviously this will become less of an issue as we get more players to TH9&10.

In any case, lots of numbers and random ideas – I’d love to hear your comments!

I’m officially back in WoW!

November 10, 2014

Little note: If you are going to smash your face into the keyboard over and over again in blind rage, at some point you need to move past believing in clickbait and actually answer why financial numbers submitted to regulatory authorities don’t line up with what you want to believe. The conversation is cute in that ‘debate on the internet’ kind of way, but once it reaches “because that’s god’s will” logic, I’m out.

Speaking of Blizzard, and recent surprises from customer service following my Comcast interaction, over the weekend I reached out to them to get my ancient account back (rolling my face across Hearthstone as we speak, and we seriously need a new term than dumbed down, because yikes!). The account is so old WoW was never linked to it, and I went into the whole thing 50/50, part of me thinking the account with the associated email was lost forever.

My first attempt was through email, but that ticket was rather quickly closed with the advice to do this over the phone. Bad start, but on some level it made sense, plus filling out a form with your phone number isn’t all that painful; it’s not like you are sitting on hold waiting.

In the 15-20 minute estimate that was given, someone called me. They spoke English and sounded human, so we were already off to a very promising start. After some basic info was provided, the agent found my old account. Success. He then tracked down my long-since hacked WoW account to link together. The funny thing about that? Even though the account was hacked and linked to some random account, it wasn’t looted since I didn’t have enough ‘stuff’ for the hacker to bother adding time to loot it. WoW inflation helping me out, who knew. As a final nice (I think?) gesture, my old WoW account has 15 days on it, so I can check out all the recent (since TBC) changes. I guess I should?

By contrast, my ticket with SquareEnix for my FFXIV account still sitting in limbo days later. (I recently reformatted, tried to reinstall FFXIV, used the Steam key, and the game says the Steam key has already been used (by me, duh) Any ideas?).


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