Google+ ALT : ernative: 08/09/2009 - 08/16/2009

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Saturday, August 15, 2009

./waves

Off on Holiday tomorrow. It's gonna get silly in the next week, considering the datamined information I've seen emerging from the PTR... new race combos. I'm scared and excited, all at once.

However I need to go to bed now.

I'll leave you however with this:

Frostmourne.

So, does it drop in Icecrown?

:D

Friday, August 14, 2009

No Surprises...

Blue Comments on Draconic for Dummies:
Does this mean the Scepter of the Shifting Sands questline won't be doable anymore?

We haven't made a decision on what we will do with the chapter of Draconic for Dummies, that Onyxia currently drops for this quest.
So, they haven't considered it. Hmmm.

Someone had a bright idea for the 5th Birthday celebrations, revamp the old dragon we removed the questline for when we needed Bolvar Forddragon in Northrend. Relive a great fight, but get phat lewts you can use. I'd really like to see someone say 'yes we knew there were quests people are still doing and we considered this carefully beforehand...' Instead, there's no decision ^^

I stand by my initial comment re: Instant Gratification.

Defense, your witness.

It's NOT a Race!

There's a lot of speculation going on currently as to the classes that Goblins and Worgen will get a crack at come the next expansion. Blizzard are sticklers for Balance (not Druids, obviously, or else it would all be leather caster lewts) and they do like to watch numbers very closely. With two new races comes the possibility however for something new, and with the well-publicised Faction changes in the works... I had a thought.

What if Blizzard would allow you to pick your race, class AND faction come Cataclysm?

It should not be hard for both Goblin and Worgen to have both Horde and Alliance starting areas. It would make logical sense to have the races on both sides of the fence, considering the Goblin's proliferation in Horde territories. The Worgen could easily have pro and anti-Allance sympathies. The only real work would be at 1-25 for both races, in terms of quests and objectives, but as we've noted before most people will be busy steaming towards 80 (or 90, we assume) anyway.

Failing that, how hard would it be to make 1-25 faction free? That would do away with the need for double starting areas, and if at 25 you had a quest that allowed you to decide your path... is it really that hard to do? How about a Battle for the Undercity-style quest chain to allow you to visit both capitals and see what both factions could offer you.

This would be the ULTIMATE way of giving players the thing they ask for the most: flexibility.

If Blizzard are worried about balance, simply limit the number of faction-choices each person gets to one per server to begin with, just like they did with the DK's. This way I'd get a chance to roll TWO new races at startup ( 2 accounts ftw) and be able to have them both as Alliance, Horde, or one of each. An Alliance Goblin frankly would be rather ace.

If Blizzard are going to allow Allliance to become Horde and vice versa, wouldn't having two races who were interchangeable at startup simply be a logical extension of that?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

A Cautionary Tale

Once upon a time, there was a hugely successful MMORPG. It was bigger than the biggest thing EVAH (and then some) yet everyone could play it the way they wanted. Roleplayers happily co-existed with hardcore PvP-ers, pet collectors happily quaffed Bottles of Pinot Noir with the Ancients, who would sit with a mug of Rhapsody Malt and reminisce about the Old Days, when the best XP came from 5 mans and resistance gear was relevant.

One day the word was spread; the Ultimate Old World encounter was being revamped. The Ancient players shook their heads, remembering What Happened to Naxx, and returned to their Old World farming, muttering about recycling gone mad. The Newbies, glistening in their Coliseum Epics and frantically writing their Guild Applications for the Server First institutions, didn't really care either: as long as there was a Hard Mode they would be happy. Everyone else raised a glass of their beverage of choice to the Game Makers, coveted the 310% flying mount, and joined LFG in anticipation.

The encounter was a huge success: lots of new shiny epics for the vast majority, the mount to show off for the chosen few, and Achievements for all. But the seeds of discontent were already germinating: the Raiders were unhappy that they weren't getting new models of gear, that the fights they'd long since learnt were being altered and somehow degraded, as if doing them the first time had no importance any more. The Ancients had lost another chance to travel the Old World and indulge in nostalgia, to play out the Epic battles of old, to collect trophies that although old and outdated still had an importance for them. The Newbies were frustrated not simply at the multiple rejections they got from the Server First guilds, but that these new encounters were simply rehashes of old ones. They craved more new shiny things, more new experiences.

The Pet Collectors were annoyed the Whelp didn't come in seven colours.

The game makers however saw a golden opportunity to extend their MMORPG's life with very little effort on their part. They'd seen the Ancients in Ironforge showing of their old tier sets, the looks of admiration they'd get from others. This way they could recycle ALL the old content by simply changing it's colour and sticking some more stats on it. By adding a mount and a rare pet drop, the whole of Azeroth could be re-invented as 'new' and the vast majority of people would never notice... but there was a problem. Many of the Ancients, those who wore their Loremaster colours with pride, knew all the connections between the areas and the instances and the quests, would notice that the game makers were quietly removing key strands of lore and explorative questing that they started their online lives with. Maybe if they took the time to explain all this, that the old content was being 'streamlined' and 'augmented' the Ancients would understand. After all, they were as important a part of the player base as the Casual Raiders and the Hardcore and the Collectors.

However, it was just easier to remove the content and ignore the whiners. It worked well for everything else.

As each new patch was introduced, Old Content mysteriously disappeared. Continents were subtly redrawn, quests quietly removed. The majority still drank in the Inns and didn't really care: as long as the loot was Epic, the mounts were fast and blocked up entrances to Instances, and the rare items were coveted, they were happy. One by one however the Ancients began to vanish too, and the original history of the MMORPG became diluted and distorted. Webpages remained with hints of what had once been, but people forgot the URL's, too busy to refresh as they were joining LFG for 25 man Blackrock Depths.

==

I hope this isn't what's about to happen, but it could be. I'd like to think the game I first joined (and that will be 5 years old this year) is not deliberately destroying it's own heritage for the sake of instant gratification.

I'd really like to think I'm going to be proved wrong, but I can't help thinking I won't be :(

Hello Boys! Did you Miss Me?


Onyxia Returns!

This is the moment that I should go back and dig out the blue post I KNOW I read that states quite categorically Blizz would be leaving the old world content alone. I understand what they're doing here though: Ony is the iconic first encounter from Vanilla WoW. Updating it gives a whole generation a chance to experience it. However, removing her in her present form will cause a problem.

I hope whoever's doing this isn't the same person who for Paltress' memories decided to whack an old-world skin on a generic 83 boss, because there's still a great deal of content attached to this old girl that people can still pick up and take part in. Let us look at some examples:
  • Blizzard will need to remove a certain Epic Sword from the game, or at least ensure that Ony's breath will forge it as intended. Yes, I know people who still farm for the book in Dire Maul.
  • They'll need to make sure that the Black Dragon Sinew still drops so people wanting to do the Epic Bow quest can still complete it.
  • Plus, if they remove the AQ40 aspect from her... well, I'm going to have done several months worth of work for nothing... *sigh*
If, as they did the with the Bolvar Onyxia Questline and just remove all this stuff, I'm not sure that's actually the answer either. I understand that 'cleaning up' the Lore is helpful when trying to streamline the gaming experience... but AQ was MASSIVE. Onyxia was a KEY part of that. I'd be pretty dissapointed if as a result Blizzard just swept it under the carpet and pretended it never happened.

I do appreciate as well just how happy this is going to make the vast majority of people, before you think I've engaged QQ Mode. I have to believe that me thinking this has already been covered in a meeting somewhere, that Ghostcrawler's gonna pop up in the next few days and post a 'for those of you who have concerns...' Blue but I am aware also that I may be an ever dwindling percentage of WoW's population. I know this is like remaking my favourite movies twenty-five years on. I understand this is like rebranding old stuff and pretending it's brand new. The fact remains however that if they are going to do it, it needs to be done properly.

As we have seen with 3.2, Blizzard don't have a problem cutting corners. I REALLY hope they've done their homework on this. If not, I will be dissapointed, because they have the opportunity to show ALL their player base they are capable of keeping the content relevant while at the same time allowing people to continue to play the game they enjoy, and that they wish to.

Blizzard, you have been warned. Do this right, or there WILL be consequences.

[EDIT 14/08: Bornakk Responds to the Issue of The Epic Sword. The sword remains, but the book will depart, which says to me no more reforging. Am looking forward to seeing a definitive response of this...]

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Southsea Shakedown!


We really should have gotten our first hint when the Underwater Mount popped up in game. After the cold frozen North Blizzard's heading south for the next Expansion, to the swirling Maelstrom on your map. After (allegedly) 31 bosses in Icecrown, I reckon we'll all need a holiday.

There's a lot of nerdish muttering on the back of yesterday's leak, most of which centres around how Blizzard will be inserting Goblins into the Lore, how towns like Everlook and Gadgetzan will survive, and how Bloodsail Admirals could be royally shafted. Frankly, I think it would serve them right for all that senseless Goblin slaughter, but this does raise a totally legitimate point: how will Blizzard present two new races into a game where they've nerfed 1-60 pretty much to the ground (baby!) Most people want to spend as little time as possible in the starting areas any more, they want to be at 80 doing Endgame and moaning about how pointless jousting is.

The race to 90 (one assumes we have to do another 10 levels) is going to be very interesting if you're starting from scratch. With the introduction of heirlooms they'll be the dedicated few who will have + 20% to XP standing by from the off, already giving them a sprint start. As I can't see Blizzard reverting back to Vanilla levelling figures (and I can also see them shortening the 60-70 curve when Cataclysm is relased) would it be possible I wonder to do it in 36 hours, or perhaps even less? After the mad rush of Draenai and Blood Elves from last time, I have to believe they'll be people determined to get to the South Seas from L1 as quickly as Gobliney possible. Of course we should also have a new profession to look forward to (go Woodworking!!!) but if Blizz don't go that route... would it be possible that we might see a new Class?

Last time around we got Belf Pallies along with the Draenai Shaman to balance the smiting and the conduiting across the Factions. This time, I am wondering if Blizz might not stick another Class in that is only available to the two new starting races. If so, what would it be? Here's a few thoughts:
  • Bard: The Singer of Songs, the giver of a range of party buffs depending on what hit he's thrashing out on his pipe (made by Goblin Woodworkers, sits in relic slot) or possibly his Banjo (a Worgen Woodworking speciality) He can also heal with the power of song, or kill people with a well placed High C. Would automatically add a huge +spi buff to any party due to his sheer coolness. Would /dance like Elvis (thankyewverrymuch) Would also spend huge amounts of time in the Inn (claiming to be gathering rested bonus) when he's just hoping to be talent spotted.
  • Entrepreneur: Where Goblin Engineering and financial know-how collide. The ultimate in business acumen, the Entrepreneur's three talent trees have it all: Corporate, Company and Self-Employed. They fight tooth and nail with a rogue's tenacity using a range of office equipment skillfully converted to weaponry: phear the Goblin-Powered Stapler Gun! They bring buffs to boost players Expertise in filing, photocopying and standing around the mailbox in IF gossiping about last week's raid. Worgen Entrepreneurs will be created with a starting level camel hair coat and trilby, and a Non-Combat pet called Rodney. They'll be able to buy a 3 wheeled cart as transport at L20.
  • Fashionista: the first class only available to female toons, and a radical ploy by Blizzard to pull more 16-25 females into the game. Able to crit with the power of a well-chosen ensemble and with shoes that give +25 to the new stat of Style... All Fashionistas however start with a -40 int penalty. Well really, if they're dumb enough to fall for this pile of rubbish, they deserve the nerf.
But seriously... we know all about the races now, do we REALLY have to wait to find out the new profession we'll be learning???? Why can't someone just tell us NOW!!!!!!!!!!!

./wonders off muttering about NDA's and how life is so unfair...

[EDIT: Yes, I KNOW I spelt Maelstrom wrong. Well done for actually reading and noticing :D]

Monday, August 10, 2009

Told You So!

I was right about the two new races in the Expansion.

What makes me sad is we won't see the head honcho of MMO dancing naked in the streets of Paris.

That alone would have been worth being wrong... :D

Achieving made Simple


So I'm betting that a large number of people have achievement screens not unlike the Hunter's from over the weekend. I'm aware of at least one Guildie who ran literally EVERY heroic instance over the weekend, several times. There were competitions for speed completion too, and late last night I healed a 4 Man VH that took less than 25 minutes. Needless to say it's abundantly clear that people are already outgearing Heroics to the point of them being academic exercises. One assumes that as soon as people have all the available Conquest upgrades they'll just go back to doing the Daily Heroic Quest for the two Emblems of Triumph, or in my case start again on an alt. Gonna make Ulduar a heck of a lot easier, and should facilitate a push into 25 man pretty soon...

What this is doing for the Druid is making very successful use of her Offspec healing abilities. I've been acting as healer #3 in Ulduar 10 for a couple of months now but I've not really done much 5 man work. This weekend I learnt a fair deal about what I can and can't do with a Tree. Don't tell anyone, but I really enjoyed it as well...


The other benefit from all this time out across several characters is the Stone Keeper's Shards I'm racking up. As I'd like to send my mini-rogue through PvP for XP I suspect they may be very well kitted out in the Land of Heirlooms...

The other unsung benefit from all this instancing has been cash and items. This has led to some impulse buys... and got me 4 pets away from the 75 pet achievement late last night. In return for the large pile of Khorium I gave my husband (so he could complete his Jeeves) he rewarded me with the last 2 Alliance Tournament pets I didn't have. A quick rummage around his bankalts also unearthed a Green Winter Helper which got me to 74.... and then it was grind for one more or go to the AH. The simple solution won.


See, I didn't even move from the mailbox... ^^ I suspect with the new slew of Dailies it will take me less than a week to make back the money I spent.

Maybe I'm not as frustrated with the new patch as I first made out...