Tobold's Blog
Sunday, October 24, 2010
 
WoW patch punishes button mashing

Due to the way I play World of Warcraft, I barely noticed the new ability queue system. I do not mash buttons, but press them when appropriate. In the new ability queue system, if you are on global cooldown or in the middle of an action, and press another hotkey, the game remembers that, and queues the ability, performing it after the first one is finished. If you play it right that is going to improve your ability output, because it gets around the problem of lag making you think you are still on cooldown, while in reality you are not.

But some people complain about the new ability queue, because they are apparently unable to hit a key just once. They are the button mashers, if they want some ability to go off, they hammer the key until it does. Only of course that with the new ability queue if you button mash, you will launch abilities twice which you only wanted once. WoW now actively punishes button mashing, and that is good. There is really no reason why a game should respond better if you hammer your keys instead of pressing them once.
Comments:
While I understand your opinion of a game (WoW or not) should not respond better if you hammer your keys instead of pressing them once, this queue system can be punishing for those who accidentally pressed the wrong key. Previously, you could just press the wrong key once and since it was on cool down, no harm done, and the player could continue with pressing the right key.

This can also be punishing for players who lagged. At times, players can press the same hotkey multiple times not because they're necessarily button mashers, but because lag could make it unclear on whether the command had been executed or not. Pressing the same key again (and again and again) until the command is executed was an easy solution to this problem.

So while this queue system punishes the button mashers, it could also punish innocent players who are just unfortunate.
 
hmm, this isn't an accurate assessment of what is going on in wow.

spamming keys as a DPSer has always been important to achieve your highest potential. it isn't elegant but it's the way it is. this is true for any DPS class (and tank) that is GCD-capped - this means basically anyone but rogues who are lmited by energy and rarely by GCD.

they fixed an exploit (that i'm not aware of) by making the spell queue system that has always been there only take the first spell it is told to use where it used to take the last one it was told - meaning that you could overwrite the queued spell if a proc happened (etc.).

when raiding in up-to-date gear casters are often looking at the minimum 1second GCD so if you're going to avail yourself of the spell queue system (vital to do competitive DPS) then you need to spam your keys but with such short cast times it is very easy to be a little later than intended when reacting to procs and the like.

now this barely effects output so this isn't blizzard punishing key mashers but it is an issue since it gives a real disconnect between what you're doing and how the game reacts. this has always been something WoW is very strong at while a game like LOTRO felt, for me, much more disconnected.

it just sounds like you've heard about the change and read into it what you wanted to >.<
 
@alf: it just sounds like you are a button masher and unable to press a key just once
 
@Alf: I don't see the disconnect in having a queue on your abilities. Especially since in LotRO, if I don't like the ability queued and need to suddenly make a change, then all I do is pick another before that one goes off. I don't see a disconnect, it's knowing how to adapt to the changes in the game.

Much as a real fighter might plan their next punch, but have to change according to what his opponent does this is all that is necessary here. To me, the previous WoW system was unrealistic.
 
Blue (GC) update on this subject: "We are working on an improvement where the most recent command will override the previous one. If for example you are spamming Hamstring, and then succeed in snaring someone, you can switch to Mortal Strike which will clear out the Hamstring queue instead of wasting more GCDs on Hamstring."

So they're working on 'unpunishing button mashing' now?

For a lot of classes, 'pressing buttons when appropriate', means pressing them too late. Try out some cast bar mods that show your latency in the cast bar, that is the time you are actually not casting anything (ie not doing dps). Key spamming is about the only way to counter this.

"... the problem of lag making you think you are still on cooldown, while in reality you are not."
This is exactly WHY we mash our buttons now, not because we are morons 'unable to press a key just once'. Therefore I resent your reply to alf.

The new queue system doesn't punish key spamming, it eliminates the NEED for key spamming to eliminate casting downtime caused by lag.
I remember coming from EQ2 to WoW and really missing the queue system EQ2 had, and I'm happy to hear WoW is getting it too, so I don't need to spam my keys anymore to do my optimal rotation.
 
@ tobold, that's an unexpectedly confrontational thing to say. i was trying to explain the mechanics of the game and how they've changed.
i still enjoy the game and when things like this change i'll do whatever achieves the best DPS. if that's spamming keys then fine, if not then fine.

what i was saying about the disconnect is that WoW has always been somewhat unique among MMOs for the feeling that your character's actions are (or, perhaps more importantly, feel) incredibly closely linked to the buttons you press.

now essentially WoW has had for some years a system like LOTRO's queue (just that it isn't displayed any where) allowing you to line up the next spell but also allowing you to alter this at any point before the spell actually gets fired on the server side. the recent change is that the queued spell can't be changed.

blizzard representatives (kalgan specifically) have stated that this was something of an emergency measure to prevent a specific exploit and that it is far from ideal. they've also stated that they intend to fix the fix at some point in the future.
in the meantime the best way to achieve optimal output is still to mash your keys.

as i say, i don't have a personal stake in any of this so i don't really understand the slightly childish comment but i do think that there's been a change to one of the few things that made WoW stand out.

to be clear though, the best advice for casters is still to spam your keys. as i say, it isn't elegant but it ensures spells fire as soon as the server will allow which is inevitably earlier than your client thinks it is.
 
EQ2's spell/combat art system has had something like this for 6 years. It's a toggle, though, so if you press a key twice the spell comes off the queue. That works very well.

Are you saying that in the new WoW version, once queued the ability *has* to fire before it clears? That would be very annoying.
 
Tobold,

I haven't been following WoW in a long, long time, but a friend notified me of this. The reason they changed the current button mechanics is because someone was utilizing the previous version to cheat. They lowered their GCD cliënt side (Yes, cliënt side). You had warriors with 1.0 second GCD's instead of the 1.5 seconds. In PvP, this is HUGE. Especially for a warrior.

You can read the full story here: http://hydramist.net/blog/the-first-real-wow-cheat-how-wow-lost-its-clean-record/
 
I forgot an extra link. Here's 'proof': http://hydramist.net/blog/gcd-hack-what-to-look-out-for/
 
@ tobold, that's an unexpectedly confrontational thing to say

@alf: Hah, gotcha! You ended your comment with a phrase of the same structure. That works all the time, I mirror copy a phrase from some troll, and the troll complains about *me* being too confrontational.
 
For a lot of classes, 'pressing buttons when appropriate', means pressing them too late.

It took little effort to get used to the new queue system, but it really sucks if you want to do something unplanned, like interrupt or anything else not part of the normal rotation/priolist.
 
"@ tobold, that's an unexpectedly confrontational thing to say

@alf: Hah, gotcha! You ended your comment with a phrase of the same structure. That works all the time, I mirror copy a phrase from some troll, and the troll complains about *me* being too confrontational."


hmm, fair point. i certainly hadn't intended my last sentence in that post to be confrontational so apologies if that's how it read. i was just speculating as to why you might be reaching what i believe to be a erroneous conclusion.

to be fair though you make your position quite clear in your main blog post and i think that the dismissal of those who repeatedly press buttons isn't really fair to them (since it provides a marked difference to output) or actually an accurate interpretation of the change to WoW that you're reporting. that's my only point, no personal attack intended.
 
Yeah Tobold, let's punish all button mashers. They're really THE scum of society.

Seriously dude...

Next week we'll ban people who double click!
 
Echoing alf's comments, this is a temporary fix that will in its fuller implementation act exactly like the ability queue does now with option for the user to specify the window during which the queue will accept your next click (up to some maximum like the GCD and defaulting to your average latency).

As much as you might dislike this fact, WoW is a twitch based game. At the high end of the PvE and PvP games, if you can't think tactically while also keeping up a cadence of 200-300 clicks per minute, you will fall behind. Playing WoW well in those arenas has a small physical component that has only become more pronounced as the complexity of character abilities and raids have increased.

It doesn't have to for you though. If you don't care about heroic raids and gladiator titles, play more slowly. Set the ability queue in Cataclysm to its maximum and click a button every GCD, or less even. The game is broad enough to accommodate you even while offering another set of challenges for players that play at a quicker pace.
 
As a clicker, I resent the above discrimination against double clickers.
 
Several thoughts..

1) The 'button mashing' is nothing else than pushing a button very fast 2-4 times instead of just once. You can see that very well when watching videos of players who do it. The term 'button mashing' is therefore inappropriate, as it suggests something less focused / less smart. It also appears to be used as an insult.

2) WoW does have a command queue for some time. Therefore, it has been unnecessary to push a button more than once for some time now. The server acts as soon as your (G)CD allows you to act, if it has received your command in time.

3) Due to (2) you can/could play WoW at high end without any double/triple/.. clicking at all. In the past it didn't make a difference. Since the patch you cannot take back any given command. Therefore double/triple/.. is counterproductive.

4) @ Alf: If something you say can be interpreted as a personal insult, on this blog it will. You will also be called 'troll' then and whatever else you say/have said will be treated accordingly.
 
"Due to (2) you can/could play WoW at high end without any double/triple/.. clicking at all. In the past it didn't make a difference."

Sure, but there is a reason why 1) has been the status quo among high end players. No one's latency is perfectly consistent and therefore it is hard to know when exactly the server will start accepting commands to be queued. I've linked this video by Kripparian, GM of one top raiding guilds, before and I think it that it is pertinent to this discussion: http://www.youtube.com/user/Kripparrian#p/u/24/VgDjG_0ecTI

The most important section of the above video for the purposes of this post is the first four and a half minutes, but I think the whole thing is enlightening for those who do not play WoW or who do not play it at a high level.
 
@nils, regarding 4)
that would be disappointing.

a better explanation of the pre4.0.1 system can be found in this video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VgDjG_0ecTI) made by kripparian - a relatively well-known player in the guild "exodus".
it certainly describes the benefits of key spamming better than i could type it out here.
 
@sean, that's an eerie coincidence! ^_^

(we both linked the same video. the part of particular relevance starts at around 2min 10secs)
 
Here is the original topic in the WoW Cata beta forums (should be readable by anyone):
http://forums.worldofwarcraft.com/thread.html?topicId=26859116137

It's funny how fast 2-3 trolls jumped all over place early in the discussion (their posts might have been moderated now, it has been a while).
 
That is a truly remarkable video for two reasons:

1) You are right. If you care about the very last 0.1% of dps, spamming an ability during GCD made sense pre-patch. Actually Blizzard created a very nice experiment here. Since spamming is not possible right now, the top dps should be slightly reduced across the board. Have you checked any logs ?

For a bit more theoretical insight, have a look at this to determine your typical ping jitter. On most connections it is very small. But on some it can be considerable. For me it is about 15ms. If you want, calculate the amount of bad luck that would need to come together to even miss a single spell due to ping jitter ..


2) This video shows something that is very wrong with WotLK: The craving for top dps numbers.

There are no encounters in WoW that require the raid to do the theoretically possible dps. 99% of all wipes - also on heroic difficulty - are due to players dieing preemptively, not due to hard enrage timers. And in the 1% of the cases where a hard enrage timer is responsible other, much more terrible, mistakes have been made.

I wrote about that some months ago. I think it is still very valid.
 
there's nothing wrong with people wanting to do the best they possibly can at the job they've chosen. and a 1% increase from every member of a 25man team is significant - like a single poor gemming choice barely matters but when you make the same choices across all your gemming you will be making a considerable dent in your potential.

personally i'm not particularly interested in a discussion of whether it was/is healthy for the game (or any game) i just hoped to get some of the details right.
 
I wish they wouldn't let people click their action bars in raid combat.
 
"@ tobold, that's an unexpectedly confrontational thing to say

@alf: Hah, gotcha! You ended your comment with a phrase of the same structure. That works all the time, I mirror copy a phrase from some troll, and the troll complains about *me* being too confrontational.
# posted by Blogger Tobold : 24/10/10 14:57"


This works all the time, I carjack a car from some speeder, and the driver complains about *me* breaking the law.

Yep, Tobold and me are both career criminals, I proved it by mirroring his sentence structure.

Hmm, maybe playing a game of replacing verbs and nouns with other verbs and nouns is more more suited for comical joke books for little kids than for discussion among adults :/
 
Apparently it's an emergency fix to stop an exploit. Fine, sometimes you do what you have to do.

I'm not sure why you think it's good to punish "button mashers" though. You're correct that the game should not respond better to multiple key press, but why should it respond worse?

It (was) a valid way to trigger abilities, and some people have the muscle memory or the instinct to do it. Rendering a previously valid control scheme invalid is reducing usability: a bad thing.
 
I welcome this change. It serves to narrow the gap between the GCD-optimizing button mashers and the people who use a mouse to activate their abilities. The mouse involves a little bit of latency to shift the cursor and click the button. Using the queue means a smart mouse clicker can operate a little in advance and be just as effective as fingers hovering over a hotkey.

If Blizzard would take Turbine's lead and introduce a slider to speed up the rate of keyboard turning (or even add a bindable shortcut for "turn 180 degrees"), we might finally see the end of the days in which mouse-moving button spammers claim snooty superiority in the PvE game over keyboard-moving mouse clickers.

I beat the freaking Lich King (as a tank, no less) while keyboard moving and mouse clicking. Blizzard clearly intends for their game to be playable this way. I hope they go the distance and erase some of the performance gaps between the two styles of play.
 
I began to mash the buttons as fast as I could because it enabled me to fire off a shot as soon as it came off cool-down. It virtually eliminated the lag caused by me having to watch for the shot to go off cool-down and then trying to hit the button as soon as possible after that in order to maximize my DPS.

Spamming also allowed me to focus on other things happening around me (like fire or other nasty stuff appearing under my feet), rather than staring at the button bar watching for cool-downs. If I knew about when the cool-down was up, I could spam the button knowing I would get the shot off as soon as possible without have to watch it.

I'm not sure what you see wrong with the above. I don't think spamming the button under those conditions made me bad and worthy of punishment.

I'm a Hunter. Now because of the queue, I have to watch the button cool downs since I can't (shouldn't) spam anymore, AND watch my stupid focus bar, AND try to watch whats going on around me while attempting to keep up enough DPS to carry my weight.

Think that's enough punishment?
 
Two people linking the same video, and nobody UNDERSTANDING what Kripparrian is saying in it. He clearly states that button mashing is a solution to a problem of latency and reaction time. The GOAL is to avoid any delay between spells. The ability queue avoids that delay with a single keypress, and makes button mashing obsolete.

The intelligent raider wanting to maximize his dps should use the control scheme which is fastest. Not the one that "used to be fastest". Learn2Play, people!
 
Now I know where all those Lightning bolt casts that I really didn't want came from.

While I applaud the skill queue and the fact that it reduces button mashing, They could have done more to publicise it.

Seriously, I read a reasonable number of wow blogs and websites on a daily basis and I missed this change completely.

As a result, it has been driving me nuts. I'm used to having to spam the LB button whenever I get a Maelstrom Weapon 5-stack in order to make sure It goes off as soon as the GCD from the previous ability is finished.
Not knowing about the queuing (for whatever reason) means that I now get the instant cast, and then a full length cast right after it, during which, my autoattack is paused.

At least I can do something about it now.
 
There's a difference between making single-push equivalent to mashing (which is a good change), and actively punishing button mashers, which apparently happens now by causing unintended spellcasts.

Having a mandatory queue system in a new game may be reasonable, but this is screwing up the controls for existing players in an existing game. This isn't something that should be done lightly.

If this were just a control improvement, there should have been a switch or similar. The fact that it's an exploit fix makes it tricker, but it certainly would have been better if they didn't force a sizable number of players to relearn their muscle memory.
 
Tobold: "Two people linking the same video, and nobody UNDERSTANDING what Kripparrian is saying in it. He clearly states that button mashing is a solution to a problem of latency and reaction time. The GOAL is to avoid any delay between spells. The ability queue avoids that delay with a single keypress, and makes button mashing obsolete."

see, that's what i took out of that video as well.

coming from LOTR, where action queueing and the abilityto remove actions from the queue/ overwrite them is a basic state in the game, i'm actually schocked that the MMO behemoth *doesn't* have this.

if you *cant* stack actions, of course you have to button mash - but action stacking is a far better solution.
 
tolbold: "Two people linking the same video, and nobody UNDERSTANDING what Kripparrian is saying in it."
[...]
"Not the one that "used to be fastest". Learn2Play, people!
"

me (earlier): "a better explanation of the pre4.0.1 system can be found in this video"

i'm really disheartened by Tobold's activity in this post and comments. this isn't the blog i thought it was.
i'm doing my best to word my opinion here in a way that won't lead Tobold to make a cheap joke, call me a troll and avoid the points raised but i fear i may not be successful.

The reason for Kripparian's video being linked was to demonstrate that in 3.3.5 "button mashing" (as Tobold calls it) was widely agreed to be the best way to play. Tobold disliked it and that would be worth some discussion but he also made it clear that it gave him a lower opinion of those that did it.

my point is/was that i am basically willing to play however it is best to play (within reason). if button spamming causes lower DPS now then i will certainly stop doing it. if it still provides a benefit then i will continue to do it and if that means that people like Tobold have a lower opinion of me then that could barely be less of a concern.

tl;dr - how did this become personal? why is this framed as a discussion about the players being bad and not the game mechanic that led to the behaviour?
 
I don't think many people object to the existence of a spell queue.

The problem is that this was badly implemented.

As it is, I can't see which spells are in the queue or change them. If I press a button before the GCD ends, my ability might queue or might not, based on latency.

So the result is that a lot of us feel that we have lost control of our characters.
 
Actually this isn't so bad for those of us who learned to time pushing the button just before gcd ended to get abilities off faster as button mashing was less optimal then single key presses at the last possible moment.
 
I button mash.

I dislike the new queue. I feel the principle is wrong. Blizz is saying.. instead of doing what you want, we will control what you can have.
 
Blizz needs to release a custom keyboard for WoW that that tasers the user if they mash a second key before the GCD. That'll teach em.
 
why is this framed as a discussion about the players being bad and not the game mechanic that led to the behaviour?

I think you are missing the earlier part of the discussion where the button-mashers told the keyboard-turners to Learn2Play. This is just the boomerang.

A PERFECT game which actually offers several different possible control schemes would have each of them being equally viable.
 
I prefer games that queue the next ability but you do need to be able to change what that next ability is. The most recently selected action needs to be the one that fires next. That is how Aion works as well, it is not hard to get used to. But not being able to change what you have queue up is ridiculous. They need to fix it ASAP.
 
I'm a keyboard turner and a button masher (gasp!). Sue me. Please.

What I find really interesting, though, is that the degree of mashing differs between the different classes. I've come to feel that it's almost a RP thing. My warrior and bear (basically, my two lowest Intellect toons) mash a lot. Spam Heroic Strike or whatever. It's very... physical, for lack of a better word. Quite suitable for melee fighting. Then I switch to cat, and some of the mashing goes away. Paladin; slightly more refined. Ranged dps is up next, with the... intellectually challenged hunter a mit more mash-y than the 'lock and mage. And least mashy of them all are the shaman and priest healers. Beyond reproach, they are, ethereal beings in the back, casting their healing spells of wonderfulness in a detached state of grace.

It all sort of served to make me feel connected to the class, in a way. I realise I'm probably alone with that feeling, but I still enjoyed that.
 
I don't think the post or most of the comments accurately reflect the change Blizzard has temporarily made or how it will be implemented in Cataclysm. Some developer posts:

The initial post

We had to change the ability queue system you are describing to fix an exploit that was threatening to become pretty widespread. It is unfortunately one of those cases where a few bad apples ruin things for everyone. :(

We are working on an improvement where the most recent command will override the previous one. If for example you are spamming Hamstring, and then succeed in snaring someone, you can switch to Mortal Strike which will clear out the Hamstring queue instead of wasting more GCDs on Hamstring.


Update

As an update to this, the next beta build will include a slider bar (labeled "Custom Latency Tolerance") that lets you tune how sensitive the ability queue is (including sliding it all the way to zero if you choose). This value allows you to control (in milliseconds) how long before the GCD finishes the client will let you queue your next ability.

The optimal setting will probably be right around what your ping time is. So, if your ping is 100 for example, you'd probably want to set it at 100 or slightly higher.


And lastly
Does that mean that the plans to add in the ability to replace a previous command is out? or is that still a possibility?
That's still in too. It's just that while overriding is helpful it can still fail if your override gets to the server a little too late and your previously queued ability goes off anyways.

For those with CS backgrounds, I think the way they have temporarily implemented the ability queue is a per GCD queue (ie FIFO order) that starts accepting commands at roughly .4 seconds before the end of the GCD based on my testing and further developer comments. The way the queue is implemented in the beta is just as it now, with a per GCD stack (ie Last In First Out ordering) of abilities that will accept commands during a period of up to .4 seconds and defaulting to your ping.

Your entire post is based on the admittedly flawed and temporary implementation of the spell queue system. The only change in Cataclysm is that the window during which the spell queue will accept commands is user configurable to a small degree. That's it.

Inconsistent latency and proc based effects will still making mashing an ability repeatedly during the queue window optimal as your effective queue window will vary every GCD based on lag.
 
The problem here is that this system allows a person to "queue" a mistake.

Now if you make a mistake in real-time, you have immediate feedback about that mistake. Which means you can react and correct it as your next action.

But if a mistake is "queued" then you don't get delayed feedback.

This is frustrating in the same way that lag is frustrating.

For example, we all know how frustrating it is to backspace and correct a typo that we didn't see "immediately" because of some typing lag.

To me, this is the crux of the issue. It's just a bad practice to let players queue up mistakes without any method to correct them in real time.

The worst of the worst of these situations is where you need a snap reaction because the GAME demands it.

For example, let's say you see that you need to interrupt a spell. So you snap out an interrupt. But you were on GCD. Then the GCD ends and the interrupt (which was queued) happens. Except now the spell you wanted to block has already been cast and the interrupt was wasted. Not only are you punished with another GCD, but you also have to wait on the interrupt cooldown.

The key difference is that you made the mistake while it was on GCD. Under the old method, you wouldn't have been punished for that mistake when the GCD wore off.

That's not a button masher situation at all. It's a snap reaction thing where the person makes a mistake.
 
Your entire post is based on the admittedly flawed and temporary implementation of the spell queue system.

Your comment is based on the flawed concept that I shouldn't write about how a game is NOW as long as some developer promised improvements. If I would follow that concept through, I couldn't even say that World of Warcraft has no player housing, because you'd quote the developer saying that Blizzard is working on player housing. Since 2004.
 
Your comment is based on the flawed concept that I shouldn't write about how a game is NOW as long as some developer promised improvements. If I would follow that concept through, I couldn't even say that World of Warcraft has no player housing, because you'd quote the developer saying that Blizzard is working on player housing. Since 2004.

If promised improvements also includes how the system is implemented right now on the live beta servers, then point taken. I am trying to point how your post is much ado about nothing, how if you had researched this at all you would have recognized the new ability queue implementation for what it is (a stopgap for the beta/Cataclysm implementation), and how the previous undercuts your conclusion that the developers are penalizing button mashing.

Even without that context, your original post is incorrect in crucial detail, such as "Only of course that with the new ability queue if you button mash, you will launch abilities twice which you only wanted once." The window that the queue will accept new commands is about .4 seconds before the end of the GCD. Once the GCD is over, if an ability is queued, then that ability is activated and the GCD starts again. The same queue does not carry over and so you could have issued a hundred commands during the previous window to no avail; you will only cast the ability once if you don't issue a new command during the ability queue window of the next GCD.

I get your preference for more methodical gameplay, but don't mistake that for an obvious argument against twitchier game mechanics, and their implementation, particularly when said argument starts from a flawed premise.
 
So you are choosing to completely ignore my core point that any control system which requires hammering keys is bad, and prefer to go off on an irrelevant tangent about how the system isn't final? You managed to write so many words without saying ONCE whether hammering keys is a good control system or a bad one.
 
Does the current system punish button-mashers? Yes. Is it meant to? No. It's intended to make non-button-mashers and button-mashers equal. When the final implementation hits live servers, the button-mashers' DPS is the same, and non-button-mashers' DPS increases. That is only "punishing" if you consider WoW to be a zero-sum game, where any buff to one group of players is an implicit nerf on others.
 
So you are choosing to completely ignore the core point that any control system which forces you into an ability you chose half a second before you got a proc and now have no way to cancel the old choice is bad?

Ok, missing a sec of a proc is just a marginal dps/threat decrease. But not beeing able to interrupt is kind of a problem.

I don't say hammering keys was good. But this (in that incomplete state it is now) is worse.
 
@alf: I don't know, but a system where you are just mashing buttons in hopes that it will come off, even if you change the button you are mashing, sounds like the very definition of "facerolling."
 
@Ian - I also like the button queue in EQ2. For me at least, that game often lags like crazy. I also think their implementation of combat animations is visually disruptive is large group combat. I can hardly see what the heck is going on. Combined with lag, combat is difficult at best.

However, I know what my class is supposed to be doing as an Illusionists. I do it - press the keys slowly, knowing that they will queue and then adjust my approach as my game catches up. I remember missing this in WAR where lag was on a level I'd never encountered.
 
@Tobold
Your core point consisted of two sentences one of which was not true, the other of which was a generalization you seem to take as obvious and don't support. Forgive me if I thought it relevant to point out that your post's title is false. I'm not trying to be confrontational in this, just informative to anyone who might read your post and take it literally.

As to your core point, your first sentence is:
WoW now actively punishes button mashing, and that is good.
The first conjunct is false as I demonstrated before and so the whole statement evaluates to false as well.
Your second sentence:
There is really no reason why a game should respond better if you hammer your keys instead of pressing them once.
If we confine our discussion to the question of whether one input per intended action is optimal, then I agree. A game shouldn't respond better to multiple inputs per intended action unless the action in question is part of a gameplay mechanic like a QTE.

WoW doesn't. It never has. WoW and Blizzard games in general are often held up in the industry as having implemented responsive, natural feeling controls. People in this thread have spoken to feeling especially connected to WoW's combat and that is no accident.

Yet WoW is still an MMO and each of its players are playing with interface devices that are hundreds of miles from the game's servers. Moreover, there is additional overhead involved in sending/receiving messages in a client/server architecture that doesn't exist in a console or local PC environment.

When I and some of the others commenting have talked of the benefits of mashing keys, it is only to mitigate the inherent and unpredictable nature of internet latency. WoW has almost always(I do not know when it was first implemented but it has existed all of Wrath) had an ability queue to help dampen the effects of latency and messaging overhead and the only thing that has changed in 4.01 is that it is temporarily implemented as a stack rather than a queue (and the server now strictly enforces the total length of the GCD to prevent certain exploits).

So I agree with your core point as a statement of intention but I also recognize that it is impossible to implement with current technology that wouldn't break the sense of connectedness WoW is known for. Mashing keys will over the long run still lead to better, more consistent results, though not because the game treats multiple inputs any differently than one, correctly timed one. Lastly, if you're not a high end raider or PvPer for which eking out an extra 2% uptime of a DoT or extra ability cast/minute is a going concern, by all means ignore this and play at your own pace with like minded peers.
 
I'm actually going to go out on a limb and say that "button mashing" is better than pressing your keys once. In my experience the players who seem to mash get a better result than players who click or "press keys timely".

Some of this may be technical limitations, but that just means everyone should've been "mashing" before and some chose not to in exchange for being weaker players. But besides that, I find people who you derisively call "mashers" seem to be paying more attention to the game and respond more 'timely' to the game's situations.

Someone earlier essentially said that mashing = faceroll, which is completely false. Faceroll means it's so easy you don't have to think about it. Some who presses their keys quickly is paying a lot more attention to what's going on, and their playstyle will also mean they move to press the next ability more rapidly than someone sitting there, waiting.
 
I used an addon where I saw a red "press next key when cast is in this range." on my cast bar so that hopefully if I pressed then I would neither clip my channeled spell or have any delay. I was always worried that the calculated red section varied quite a bit from night to night or encounter - say 50-300ms ? - which seemed like a bigger number than what upgrading my haste by upgrading my ilevel by 20. I.e., the variation in my time window was much larger than say the haste improvements in by adding a few epic haste gems.

So any sort of queue seems like an improvement, but I hope they get the dynamic system implemented soon.

I do think if there is a queue I would like to see some indication that something is queued. Feedback to help the button mashers know that there are items in the queue so as to avoid it.
 
Tangential: What if the UI included a visual representation of what was in your command queue (reading it client side, of course, so lag doesn't kill that, too)? Would that make it clear enough what will happen that it would illustrate that keyspam wouldn't be necessary? Seems to me there's a problem with UI feedback on actions.
 
Wouldn't you be the first one to say that players should not be rewarded for pushing the wrong button? If the optimum sequence of button presses is 1-2-3, then players shouldn't do 3-2-1, and you'd call anyone a noob who did it. So how is that different from the wrong sequence of 11111111-222222222-333333333? It's still pressing the wrong button, and that shouldn't result in the optimum effect, because if it doesn't matter which button you press or how often you press it, then it's really just facerolling.
 
How it used to be, was that optimum play was to press 111111 - 22222 - 11111 instead of 1 - wait - 2 - wait - 1. It's not facerolling at all - you mash the buttons, but it had to be the correct buttons at the correct time.

Now, you can argue that looking down on somebody for doing the 'wrong' thing in a video game is silly, but isn't that exactly what you're doing now with all the "button mashing" and "faceroller" accusations? Only, you're looking down on them for doing what actually was the more optimal way because you didn't like that way of doing things.
 
No, I'm looking down on them because AFTER the control scheme changed they are still button mashing IN SPITE of that being the wrong approach now. And instead of adjusting to a better control scheme, they complain and say that they can't stop their muscle memory from hammering keys. That's all there is to that sort of playing: Muscle memory, no brain involved.
 
You've repeated this or its equivalent several times:

No, I'm looking down on them because AFTER the control scheme changed

The control scheme has not changed in the main. Your comments suggest that you think the ability queue is a new addition. It's not. The only relevant, and temporary, change is that only the first ability queued will be cast instead of the last (as it was pre-4.01 and is/will be in 4.03/Cataclysm).

The optimal way to use abilities is still to mash the associated keybind in the ~.4 seconds prior to the end of the current GCD/ability cast for all the same reasons that you would do so prior to 4.01. The frustrating caveat to this is if your class/spec mechanics are based around responding to procs, the effective window during which you should queue your next ability is compressed. If you queue your ability too early, you risk missing a proc that you could have otherwise exploited.

No one in these comments, save you Tobold, have been making value judgments about how people play. My intent has been to point out how the system is implemented, and some of the rationale behind how players interested in optimizing their performance approach these basic player procedures. If you're unwilling to stop conflating your stated preference for more methodical gameplay with broadly ethical judgements of certain types of players and how they play, so be it. I have no interest in continuing that line of discussion and I hope anyone reading this will at least have a better understanding of what you alluded to in your initial post.
 
I can respect two sorts of game skills: One where something happens, and you have to make a correct decision on which button to press in response. The other where something happens and the skill lies in hitting the button FAST. The first measures decision making skill, the second reaction time.

What skill exactly is involved in hammering the same button over and over? I am very happy that currently there is a possibility for negative consequences of this. And don't tell me this isn't true, because if there were no negative consequences, the button mashers wouldn't be howling so loudly. I hope that whatever future changes Blizzard makes to this, they will stay with the principle that hitting a button repeatedly should give a WORSE result than hitting it once at the right time.
 
Here's a good link.
 
What skill exactly is involved in hammering the same button over and over?
There is none, it's a lag countermeasure. Should people also be punished for having better computers and faster Internet connections?

they will stay with the principle that hitting a button repeatedly should give a WORSE result than hitting it once at the right time.
And here's the crux of the problem. You've succumbed to confirmation bias. It has happened to me as well. You're assuming that there is any principle involved. Despite your wishes, Blizzard's not making any value judgments here. They're fixing a bug, as you can see from Ghostcrawler's post quoted by Ian.
 
You don't understand. The ability queue allowing you to press a button 0.4 seconds BEFORE the global cooldown ends eliminates the lag problem (unless you have over 400 ms lag, which is unlikely) and thus eliminates the need to hammer keys. That is a DELIBERATE attempt to eliminate button mashing, even if the current implementation isn't final.
 
That is a DELIBERATE attempt to eliminate button mashing, even if the current implementation isn't final.

It is a deliberate attempt to eliminate the NEED for button mashing.

In fact, Blizzard has announced to 'fix' the game in a way that button mashing will be a possibility again - without being a necessity.

Just trying to get the facts straight. I've never mashed my buttons and don't intend to ;)
 
[i]No, I'm looking down on them because AFTER the control scheme changed they are still button mashing IN SPITE of that being the wrong approach now. And instead of adjusting to a better control scheme, they complain and say that they can't stop their muscle memory from hammering keys. That's all there is to that sort of playing: Muscle memory, no brain involved.[/i]

@Tobold: Have you ever tried unlearning something you've put into muscle memory? It's very annoying, and takes some time. No wonder people are pissed.

Also, you're doing the same thing you're accusing the "skill=twitch" people of doing, you're reducing "skill" to a single factor: decision making. Muscle memory is a skill. Decision making is a skill. Playing at the highest level requires you to [b]both[/b] make the correct decisions [b]and[/b] get the timing right: the right ability at the right time.

Wow isn't a purely mental activity. It's not purely reacting either, it's both. Claiming that either of them is the only thing that matters is equally invalid.
 
I actually quite enjoy beating the everliving snot out of my keyb. It is an important part of the game.
 
The biggest problem with the current, incomplete, system is that current implementation punishes people with good decision making skills and good reaction time because they are queued into abilities they can't easily see or cancel. I am all for not having to button mash anymore but that's really not the primary complaint right now.

In the future once Blizzard put in the option to configure the length of queue window both action queuers and button smashers can play it their way. Although button smashing will still be the way to achieve optimal output, this will be due to technical limitation instead of a lack of skill.
 
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