Hotfixes - INC!

Well we've been through our first week of the Cataclysm and many of us have been quite busy with our professions. Blizzard has been quite busy too with a slew of hotfixes coming out every day or two. I'm actaully a bit disappointed because many of these items were reported in the Beta.

There are times when I think the secretive nature of Blizzard's communication with us is actually detrimental. Transmute: Living Elements is an excellent example of this. Who knew that you could do the transmute in specific locations to control the results? This would have been very useful to know in the Beta - I could have tested this and made sure it was working. Elune knows I was using it often enough! However, because that tidbit was not shared with the community, the recipe went out buggy. The hotfix post also claims that this recipe is affected by transmute procs, but I never saw evidence of such in Beta. Had I known it was supposed to proc, I would have reported my lack of them. I think I did submit a comment on it, but I would have tested that more rigorously than I did.

They also fixed the infamous Lavascale Minestrone recipe. I know we debated the crazy skill points quite a bit here. Clearly it was "not intended", which we knew. Luckily this recipe didn't end up being as pivotal to Realm First cooking, since the daily quest went live before the cap was raised. I still find it interesting how many profession-related problems were corrected post-launch, as opposed to being dealt with pre-launch.

There were also a number of random epic recipes that seemed out of sync with the materials required. The missing cocoa beans have been added to the token vendor in SW/Org. Enchanters should be able to get more dust from disenchanting armor. The new Runescroll recipe for Scribes wasn't giving skill points - I know they didn't appreciate that!

Kaliope actually looted two different Jewelcrafting recipes last week, but they were BoP and she couldn't use them. It looks like the BoP recipes have been changed to BoE, I've been seeing these on the AH the last few days. The prices are a bit steep to my mind, I'd be tempted to wait a couple of weeks and see if they drop to a more reasonable level.

At this stage I'm finding the green gems to be of limited utility. There's not a lot of leveling gear with sockets, so the demand for Cata gems seems lower. I'm sure this will change as more people start raiding. Right now the ability to cut blue gems is being throttled by the daily quest, so blue gems will take a while to trickle into the marketplace. I think all these green gems will end up serving as placeholders for the blue versions during this transition period. Meanwhile I encourage all you jewelcrafters out there to be strategic about the recipes you buy! This could have a huge impact on your profits if you end up with the same blue cuts everyone else is getting.

Mining is still a challenge for most people. I think we expected obsidium to be a problem, but elementium can also be hard to collect if you're farming during peak hours. I'm even having issues during my normal off-peak hours, which I suspect is some form of spill-over effect. I would expect this situation to continue for a while because phasing is interfering with normal farming routines.

These are just some of my observations from the last week, feel free to contribute your own in the Comments :)

15 comments:

  1. I noticed upon login today, there was a change to the Jewelcrafting Daily. Instead of typing it out, here's the scoop!
    Jewelcrafter's Daily Has Been Nerfed

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  2. Frankly, it's been depressing to watch as a sequence of paniced fixed are deployed to address issues we've known about for months.

    I accept that WoW is complex software, and inevitably some glitches will remain. But it was apparent that there was no serious QA work done on professions. No basic checks like: Are the recipes to level cooking still in the game? Do we have still have fishing nodes called "(TESTING) Placeholder [DND]"? And there's a lot more less obvious stuff, that would have been picked up by anyone that had looked carefully.

    I guess what made me angry was when Blizzard started banning people over the cross-boundary fishing/cooking quest crate thing: The issue was apparently important enough for Blizzard staff to go through the time-consuming process of investigating vast numbers of individual offenders, yet not important enough for them to read and act on a warning about this issue posted on their own forums before the content went live. And I didn't even mention the garbled communication of "the fix" (which left half the players thinkings it was a pre-order bonus, and the other half thinking it was an exploit), nor the fact it took 2 fixes to get right (pro-tip: before publicising "an exploit" in blue, ensure it genuinely is fixed).

    There are a couple of statistics that worry me about the process:

    1. Ujumqin's closing statement that "over 700 unique bugs" were found by public beta testers. That might sound a large number, but is pathetic given the number of people testing and the amount of broken content to be found: The implication is that public feedback was largely ignored.

    2. J. Allen Brack's (I think - I'm struggling to source it) comment that they had a hundred people working on QA for Cataclysm. One wonders what they were all doing?

    3. But hey, it sold 3.3 million copies on day 1. So maybe quality isn't important? And that's the most dangerous statistic of all, because it leads to a mentality of "why try harder?"

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  3. I had received a proc in SW two nights ago, a stack of fire and another of earth.

    I'm a little annoyed that the ability to choose the element is STILL not mentioned in the game. Tonight's patchnotes only say "The Alchemy skill Transmute: Living Elements now functions correctly in Deepholm and Uldum."

    The tooltip actually says the exact result is not known beforehand, which seems to imply you can't know beforehand what you'll get.

    The only way for a player to know about the ability to select is to read a random blue post, or visit a site like this one.

    From Wowhead, the zones are:
    Mount Hyjal: Volatile Fire
    Vashj'ir: Volatile Water
    Deepholm: Volatile Earth
    Uldum: Volatile Air

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  4. > Jewelcrafter's Daily Has Been Nerfed

    You were never supposed to be able to do the quest just using store-bought Solid Zephrites, that's why they required you to make 3 as well as turn in 3 gems. If you could do the quest without actually crafting, it was clearly a bug or an exploit. They used the same language in the Harvest festival "cook 5 and turnin" quests.

    What they fixed was the annoyance when you made 3, but one was perfect so it wouldn't count as a turnin, requiring you to then buy one or make an additional one.

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  5. El: I feel your pain, it was hard for me to read the patch notes this week and count the sheer number of hotfixes for items I had identified and reported in Beta. The Runescroll was something I had submitted multiple times (ie: new patch, still not working) and a required recipe for leveling. As for bans, I can only assume that it's cheaper to use support staff on a problem than developers, sadly.

    I had the same reaction you did to the "700 bugs" stat, that seems like a small number to me based on the size of this expansion. I'm sure I submitted at least 100 just in tradeskills. As for the 100 folks working in QA - they can't fix bugs. With all the free testing from users + 100 paid testers, clearly the missing link was staff who could act on the reports.

    Neil: The problem with the Perfect gems not counting toward the quest was also reported in Beta, so they knew about it and let it ship anyway. There was a whole thread about it on the Beta forums. I don't consider the change to the JC daily a nerf, that's a bug fix. Just like the Lavascale Minestrone, some players were able to exploit the bug to their benefit. It doesn't change the fact that it was a bug and no one should have expected it to last.

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  6. I will have to change that title to a bug fix instead of a nerf then. I wasn't aware there was a difference between the two till now....See, there's a reason I call it "The Worst WoW Blog Ever". =)

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  7. In the last hot fix notes it said they were reducing the drop rate of pristine hide. I basically have already capped my Skinning on the Third day and have skinned thousands of mobs since and I still haven't had a single one drop. So how common are they really?

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  8. Alto: No worries, sometimes a bug is in the eye of the beholder. I call it a bug because the daily wasn't functioning correctly according to my previous experience with crafting quests. In your view it was working in an acceptable fashion, therefore it was a nerf to you :)

    Wolf: I also skinned many critters this past week, enough to get my LW to 525, purchase 5 of the vendor recipes and craft at least a dozen of the level 85 PVP pieces. I only got 5 pristine hides in that time. I would say the drop rate was unimpressive to start with and not in need of nerfing. I hope it's just a specific mob they're nerfing and not the global drop rate.

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  9. I got bit by the transmute bug in Uldum on my transmute master. ugh.

    The JC "fix" seems like an inelegant solution to the problem.

    Vial of the sands is no longer BoP? I could understand it being BoP; I can understand it not being BoP. But being BoP for a week shows a complete lack of process and planning in the game design.

    Getting told dozens of times per hour that my guild rep was maximum was the most depressing problem. It should at least also told me that the ice stone has melted. My comment was "is there anything so bad that you would get you fired from Blizzard quality assurrance?"

    I was looking for some #s for disenchanting, to try to figure out what the buy and d/e breakeven point was but have not. And now Bliz changed the d/e, so new tests need to be run. Which site do you think will have some accurate numbers up first?

    What is up with ogre eyes in TH? I have checked there a few dozen times, including off hours with nobody around and never seen any limited avail items except the bag. Yet they are in the AH for less than a 20g markup, which tells me they are not that rare. I also thought I saw the Deathwing scale avail in stormwind for unlimited availability before 4.0.3.

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  10. Hagu: I agree about the JC fix, taking away the "perfect" proc for the gems needed by the quest feels clunky. In fact, it seems like it would take roughly the same amount of code to create a special case for perfect gems as it would to modify the quest logic so it can recognize the perfect version. Not that I know how their code is done, I just mean in generic terms.

    Actually, I'm not sure I like the Vial of the Sands being BOE. That means non-Alchemists can farm it and charge insane prices. I would have preferred to see it go BOA like the other Archaeology epics - that would enable it to change toons without becoming gold-farming fodder.

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  11. They're not just fixing bugs, they're also tinkering with the market. The fact they took nodes out of Deepholm one day and added some back a few days later makes it appear that they're just stumbling through this, as was the sweeping changes to the disenchanting tables. There was no shortage of Volatile Liges on the AH, but they raised the drop rate anyway.

    We went through this at the start of WotLK with major changes to formulas and prices, and it seems that their process hasn't improved much since then. We can look at a list of recipes and highlight all the broken ones in a matter of minutes, so why can't their design staff do the same?

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  12. I think it's important to remember that although they had bugs reported they only have so many resources to fix them pre-launch. They have a triage list. "Show stoppers" are anything that could hold up the release and these are worked on first, and it goes down from there. So these things get fixed when they get to their level of importance in the big scheme of things. Keep report problems...they'll get to them eventually.

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  13. Thyme: You're absolutely right, if they can't fix everything they have to prioritize. I think what strikes me as odd is the large number of profession bugs that got pushed past release and then magically time was found to deal with them within the first week. From the outside it almost feels like professions were assigned a low priority compared with other tasks, but once they were out and wreaking havoc they were hastily bumped up the food chain. Obviously none of us like when our favorite part of the game is left floundering, but the scramble that's going on now would seem to indicate that we were right to be worried about the lack of attention to professions.

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  14. Wolflore: I only used my skinner briefly, didn't lvl him, just got him a seahorse and took him to where people were killing water snakes (forgot the proper name, but one of the first quests) and skinned for a while. I'm pretty sure I got bored within less than an hour, but I found 3 pristine hides

    1) I might have just been lucky

    2) Some monsters may have had too high a drop rate

    3) It might have been adjusted because some people were skinning 720-1800 monsters an hour (2 to 5 sec per.)


    Kaliope: They did the same thing in WotLK at least with engineering. Non-gnomes had a murderous time lvling, and even gnomes had trouble.

    I knew a human who made BoP helmets using the rarest mats and VENDORED them because that was the best way to get the last 10 points.

    Within a few days they adjusted it all. It must have been reported by someone earlier during the beta; it had been pretty obvious just from looking at wowhead without being in the beta.

    The release caught me by surprise with hundreds of near worthless epic gems, because I was watching the professions to get an idea about how far along they were in debugging/balancing.

    My Wild Guesswork: I suspect they don't regard the economy of the beta server to be indicative of how things will turn out on live servers, and the economy determines part of how easy/hard it is to level a profession. So they have decided not to bother fine tuning it in the beta.

    Alternately, the prices of everything will be in such tumult for the first week, that they feel they can wrench things around without hurting anybody.

    Finally I think they have a tendency to make things harder than they have to be at the beginning so that a few people can get there first, and then adjust it (sometimes overcompensating wildly) towards where it sensibly aught to have been all along. Remember when they changed the droprate of the pygmy sucker fishes from around 5% to around 70% ? They went from as rare as hen's teeth, to people destroying them for bag space.

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  15. With these tiny "Post a Comment" windows, I had no idea how much bilge I typed until I posted it.

    I need to spend more time talking to people in RL.

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