Wednesday, December 19, 2007

WOW went downhill from there...

I've heard that for many games...I don't remember exactly but it usually goes like this:

*Star Wars Galaxies went downhill after the combat revamp
*Everquest went downhill after the Planes of Knowledge

Everyone can predict what will happen in the future - predictions like opinions are free.

I predict, many many years from now, people will say after the introduction of Welfare Epics the World of Warcraft went downhill from there.

Making epics so easily available seems like a good idea, and while I do personally like an alternative to raiding at endgame, what carrots on sticks will that leave for us to chase after?

I'm not predicting gloom here, WOW has already lived a nice life and will continue to do so. The pushback of Warhammer seems to have knocked the only upcoming contender off the block before it even had a chance to compete.


More time to play!!!

What are you going to do in WoW during the holidays? Are you going to play at all?

I plan on participating in the BG weekends more than usual, and take advantage of the leveling changes (less xp required per level/more xp gained for quests and kills).

Thursday, December 6, 2007

How much "content" will ZA give us?

Our guild is able to field several 10-mans, and one of them has already cleared ZA. Others are still going at it, but are close.

That's much different than Karazhan. Karazhan took our fastest group a few months, if I recall correctly and our slower group finished up just a few months back.

Of course at the time there were no 25-man dungeons funneling better gear for us to wear.

I am guessing Black Temple and Hyjal guilds don't bother with ZA at all. Well maybe they take their alts in there, and I've heard its an "offspec" place. There is also one recipe, but it drops off arguably the easiest boss in there.

For many of us the loot is an upgrade, if not for our main gear but our off-duty gear. Going somewhere and not having to watch things get sharded is a thumbs up.

And I assume SSC/TK guilds are gunning for the chests. Chests only open up when you kill each boss within a certain time limit.

So far, I have no idea how we're supposed to beat all of the timers. But just like Karazhan the same time it might take to learn the first boss for some, others can do the whole place, I imagine outgearing the place will do it. But that is just a matter of going back and doing it over and over.

As far as new content goes, that's not really offering months and months of entertainment as I see it.

I'm so glad to be out of Karazhan and into some place new, its really hard for me to complain.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

I don't like the people I raid with...

Actually I do.

But I got this sentiment off the General Forums from the official WoW site.

Apparently raiders are upset that epics are so easy to get from PvP they are slowly running our of people to raid with. Someone bemoaned the fact that all the people who only raided for epics are gone because they could get their epeens enlarged elsewhere through arenas.

My question was do they really miss these people?

And then it dawned on me, people have been raiding with people they don't particularly like or care in the name of progress since raiding began. Of course. And that's why you have raiding guilds who won't put your Aunt Charlotte in that last dps spot.

The desire for epics have fueled the raiding machine for years. But people are refusing to pay the high cost of fuel in form of repairs and only a chance at an epic versus the guaranteed epics at the end of a few weeks or months of arenas and battlegrounds.

Someone else finally started another thread stating the problem isn't PvP "welfare epics", but raiding itself is what is turning raiders away. The randomness of drops, the trash and trash respawns, the repair and consumable costs.

With Patch 2.3 PvP rewards supposedly better than what you can get out of the hardest raid dungeons, I'm guessing it isn't just epeen chasers that are asking why am I bothering to raid.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Season 1 PvP Armor 4 Sale

I think today you can purchase the S1 Arena armor for honor points instead of arena.

Being able to do this makes more and more sense to me.

Those who are able to achieve the rating required to get the gear when it means the most are able to. Those who aren't are given the opportunity to do so 2 seasons later.

Those who couldn't kill bosses back at their original "hard setting" are able to once the bosses are nerfed. Once again, much later when it doesn't rank on some boss killer website.

I think the term elitist applies when you don't ever, ever, ever want someone to have what you had. This way of thinking fails when it comes to gaming, especially in a never-ending game.

I will be able to purchase something many players have long since sharded, sold, deleted, or stuffed in their bank. Why those people care, I have no idea.

Monday, November 19, 2007

It's a myth

Zero pressure raiding?

Yes ontherocks you're right, I can do better. But it was more of a bookmark for me, to come back to later.

And, here I am.

In that post I saw the history of raiding in the guild I'm in:

*Finding out if many in the guild want to go the direction of end-game raiding
*Discovering which ones really mean it - by always being prepared
*Discovering those who don't - by being late, no consumables
*The break down of the so-called "relaxed, friendly atmosphere"
*Having to choose certain class mixes, some tried and true members falling by the wayside
*Hearing comments of how the "guild has changed"
*For those who decide to stay and thrive, the camaraderie of working as a team
*For those who stay and struggle, watching from the sidelines

And where I've struggled personally
*Deciding "not being quite casual enough but succeeding at group content is better for most guilds than being too casual and failing."

Why I say its a myth? I just think you can't be casual, not really. What I've heard people call casual (imagine spending 3-4 hours a night, 3-5 nights a week bowling or softball or soccer) really isn't.

"Winning" with a stacked team

I play on a server where it was a while before any guild killed Illidan. The first, like many guilds, had recruited from off the server. Recruits were players who had already been to BT/Hyjal. When they listed who got drops, none of the names were recognizable. When giving out grats it was like cheering complete strangers on. A few weeks later guilds of server veterans downed Illidan too. We could actually give personal congratulations.

For PvP, players wanted to go where the action was, so many flocked to Battlegroup 9. A group of servers know known for having the best pvp teams. I guess we're lucky so many are confined to one battlegroup. And I feel sorry for any casual players, how often do they get owned?

Battlegroups made queues much, much shorter for alliance on servers like mine, and they did so by introducing names we had never seen before. Rivalries tried to form - "Our server is better than yours!" But without specific names to taunt, they fizzled as quickly as they arose. There are no pvp heroes anymore, because no one knows anything about the battles they have fought and won. When someone won the arena mount (for being in the top percent of arena players) they only way many of us knew was because the player themselves kept posting about it, not because any of us had fell at his hands on the battlefield.

When Karazhan was released there was mention of intra-guild friendly rivalry. Groups formed around cliques, families and schedules. As it happened, color me shocked, those with freer schedules and extra hours to spend, kept going at it until it was clear. There was no competition. The rest of the groups eventually cleared on their own timetables. Something I envy now. Yes I was in the first group.

Recently a few people were cherry picked from the normal groups that had done Karazhan for the past months, to form a "supergroup" to clear Zul'Aman. In the past when the guild accomplished first kills I felt some sense of guild pride. But what obstacles did this supergroup overcome?

It just seems the strategy for winning du jour is stacking teams. Not just in the best guilds where its expected, but for the mom-and-pop guilds who aren't supposed to care as much about progression.

With 25-mans, several guildmates were pushed aside for "better" players, with the intent of bringing them back in when we had a better handle on the new dungeons. Needless to many of those players decided not to come back. Is this how its supposed to be done?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Will ZA be a hit?

Tigole the lead designer in WoW has said "Karazhan has been a big success and I think a lot of players really dig the 10 man raiding size."

Will Zul'Aman continue with that success?

I say yes. Players like having that alternative to 25-man raiding. Aside from heroics, Karazhan and Zul'Aman are the only games in town.

It's also on a 3-day reset which will allow for more swapping in and out of people.

And so far, from what I've seen the trash is minimal. They seem to reward you for your efficiency of getting through trash.

But I think its going to be a bit bumpy. For one there is no attunement. While people cry about attunements, they forget what attunements are. They are a way of preparing you for what lies ahead. Some groups, like hardcore guilds don't really need attunements and they look at it as a speed bump to their progression. But on the other end, you have players who think if you can get inside an instance you should be able to do the instance - regardless of gear, preparation or organization.

With Karazhan you had to run a few instances to get keyed, by getting keyed you at least got some gear and practice with a few encounters that weren't just tank and spank. But with ZA you don't need any kind of key. I wonder how many fresh 70s will try to find a group for ZA, simply because they can, when it has already been said that ZA is Prince/Nightbane starting difficulty (meaning it gets harder from there).

I think tackling ZA in less than average gear is going to be met with some surprise. I hear that people are going in with blues - I'm interested to know how far they are getting.

In the chat channel, people were looking for more to pug ZA. Perhaps my view of pugs are a little bit low. But I wouldn't pug ZA with a 10-foot amani hex stick.

Our group first night in, one of the many groups our guild fostered, was decently geared for ZA (Kara and T4 mostly) and we made it through a few bosses. We kept ourselves to only spending a few hours there. So I look forward to experiencing the rest in the future.

As long as you don't go in expecting to fly through it and take it for what I think it is, I think players will like it. If you clear it under the timer the first night out, this content is not for you. Unless farming for badges counts for content.

It's a new area for those either done or pretty much done with Karazhan, yet perhaps not willing (due to scheduling) or able (due to guild size) to tackle all of 25-man SSC/TK.

The gear in ZA and from heroic badges (which drop from Kara and ZA now in addition to heroics) may also get you better geared up for SSC/TK battles if you're so inclined.

Remember I've only been through some of it, so this is speculation. My guess is it's a good fit.

Oh, don't forget to pick up the quest to get a 20-slot bag.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Patch 2.3 & Zul'Aman

It was announced that, baring any unexpected issues, the next patch will be released next Tuesday. This includes the opening of the next 10-man instance Zul'Aman.

I have been looking forward to ZA since I first heard about it. I tried to spend time "casually" raiding 25-mans and even that is a chore. In order to be able to raid sometime, you pretty much have to be prepared to raid all the time. Which was more work than I realized I wanted to do.

Since 25-man raids exist and Zul'Aman is 10...there the whole matter who fitting square pegs into round holes again. Before I had the common goal of Karazhan just being a step toward 25. But this time around I'm treating 10-mans as my endgame.

What I foresee this meaning is me not being able to find a place to do 10-mans, if all the 25-man raiders group up. I never thought it would be an issue. But things change.

For the first time in a long while, I'm wondering should I find another guild. I just need something my speed, more conducive to WoW being less of a time commitment.

Its very easy to stay up late when everyone around you is doing the same. Its easy to think raiding for as many hours as I have in the past as being normal when everyone I play with pretty much does the same thing.

Lately, I thought about how I'm the same gamer, just the raiders in my guild are pushing to raid longer and more often. This...just when many raiding guilds have broken up or were merged into other guilds. I get the feeling our guild wants to play catch up more than just go at their own pace.

They don't really seem to care if I make that push with them, and maybe that's telling in itself. If Zul'Aman doesn't work out how I've been hoping it does - a more casual raiding opportunity - perhaps a change of surroundings is in order.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Legendary Randomness

I'm not inclined to seek out the numbers and crunch data...but I swear legendary weapons sure seem to drop more often than you'd expect.

The Burning Crusade was released in China back in September, yet one ambitious guild has downed Illidan already and guess what? A legendary dropped.

IIRC, the first Ashbringer dropped early on when one of the top guild's during the Naxxramas era.

And it didn't seem long after Blizzard added the druid epic flight form quest that players were coming away with the raven mount, I think the next day?

Now I'm not complaining, and WoW does have a lot of players, but I wouldn't put it past Blizzard to conveniently have a much looser loot table at the beginning of things, just as advertisement.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Welfare epics

Welfare epics describe the arena epics you can purchase. They are called welfare epics because of the presumed ease at which you can obtain them.

The biggest complaint is the fact that you only have to participate in, not win, the arenas matches to earn points. You can essentially have a losing season and still come away with rewards.

Of course, you gain less points this way and players tend to gloss over how long it takes with the 10 games a week method.

Players also complained about the Headless Horseman helm and epic rings. The helm may have been on the level of tier 4 or better and the rings were exactly like the ones you can buy with heroic badges.

As a result, these higher rated pvp teams and players who had ran heroics over and over felt their efforts were diminished.

Blizzard is changing the arena awarding system with patch 2.3, but there are no plans to change the HH event to make it harder or remove the epic drops.

To those who think casual, not-so-skilled, or whatever category these welfare epics are ascribed to shouldn't have a chance at what some take for granted I say this:

This is a carrot-chasing game. We keep the cart moving by trying to bit at the carrot. For some of us it takes weeks, others months. Why one donkey cares what the other donkey is doing I'll never know. But to stay in business they have to let us nibble on the carrot sometimes lest we lose sight of why we're playing and get a taste for apples.

Thursday, October 18, 2007


After the seemingly abrupt end to Brewfest, the Halloween events have started!

The Headless Horseman is a level 70 5-man (recommended) elite boss found in the Scarlet Monastery graveyard. He drops some great purple treats - epic ring of some type is guaranteed, as is a broom (of various speed levels). There are chances other epics will drop as well. The best one, gear-wise is the plate [Horseman's Helm].

But since we all have different tastes of what we think would be a great drop, arguably the best overall may be the non combat pet [Sinister Squashling] or the mount [Swift Magic Broom].

Always good to see they add to events instead of just rehashing old events!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

gg ret pallies?

After further discussion and testing we’ve decided to add threat reduction deep in the paladin's retribution tree. Fanaticism will now reduce threat caused by all actions by 6/12/18/24/30%, in addition to its current effect.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

I now return you to your regularly scheduled blog

Let me try to steer the blog away from my priest concerns, what a surprise they only come up when I'm spending time playing one!

Back to fun stuff like Brewfest!

Were you lucky enough to get the quest to head back into BRD before they disabled it? The reward is a glowing off-hand [Dark Iron Tankard]. It's not as detailed as the main hand [Yellow Brewfest Stein], but I'm sure most dwarves only care about what's inside their dual-wielded mugs.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Priests - The Utility Class?

I think I may have figured out what has been bothering me about the priest class.

We have moved away from healing as our #1 selling point and now our buffs (and debuffs in terms of shadow priests) have taken top slot.

Now, this isn't really a problem per se. I just have to get out of the mindset that the class I rolled for a specific purpose has a new role.

However the problem arises when the utility I can offer is already offered by another priest.

If BC is all about buffing damage output instead of healing damage input then they need to give us more ways to do so.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Jack of all healing

...master of none.

AKA today's mini-rant AKA spent time playing my priest main recently.

If you check WoW's official site for class descriptions, the first words that describe the priest class are as follows "Priests are the masters of healing". I, like I'm sure many others, took that to mean if you want to play a healer play a priest.

Times have changed for the career healer. In my limited experience the master of healing in BC is the paladin. With this in mind, I understand the hard feelings warriors have when tanking is usurped by paladins and druids. Or when mages feel pushed out by warlocks. You picked a class because it was tailored for it. Yet another class does your pigeonholed job just as well if not better.

It's hard to describe without it sounding like nothing but sour grapes. But I can bitter it up even more. A priest can do the grunt (no pun intended) work. But becoming Master of the 5-man when no one can find a paladin wasn't in the job description.

Thursday, October 4, 2007


Don't forget to participate in Brewfest.

There is a very easy quest you can do to get a wolpertinger aka what-the-heck-is-that aka jackalope. And several other quests that reward you with tickets. With the tickets you can purchase a Brewfest outfit, perfect for celebrating the imbibing of spirits! Of course I think dwarves will just look awesome in them! I hope the quests are something you don't have to be 70 to complete all of them.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Lasting guilds

I've found raiding wasn't the culprit for all the time I spent in the game. I wanted to pin it on something. But I still play as much as I ever have it seems.

I came across a guild website that recently disbanded. They were "the" guild when I first started playing. They had all the first tiers, back when I didn't even know what instance dropped what. I would get close enough to inspect them and sometimes ask "Where'd you get that?" questions I'm sure they were asked many times before. But then, when you stand on the AH bridge or in front of the bank steps what do you expect? ;)

Yet after the rough part (so I've heard) of Naxxramas, and the sever caused by changing 40-mans to 25, this guild that competed on a worldwide level is no more.

BC has its casualties. I was really wrong when I predicted the 25-man limit would be a boon for raiding guilds. Instead it seems, having to be on your toes for every single raid is draining for many. And not being able to sub in replacements without extensive re-learning is painful. PvP and crafting offers you armor and weapons on par with what raid instances offer. The top guilds are pulling players from other guilds. Guild "loyalty" is fleeting. Guilds built on players desiring raid progression can't be surprised when one of their own leaves for even better progression.

I'd rather raid with people who like to play with each other. Those that put guild cohesiveness above progression. But that also has its drawbacks as you get tired of wiping on the same bosses. Those guilds tend to have players who raid with other guilds. And sometimes those same players just end up leaving to join the more progressed guild just like the top raiding guilds experience attrition. Its made me a bit of a cynic as far as raiding goes.

The guild I am in has recruited lots of new people that I don't know. Since I don't raid anymore, I haven't bothered to get to know them. Especially when they've joined just to raid. Even though I did the exact thing when I joined almost 2 years ago. I don't worry too much about it, in the age of revolving door guilds.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Link Loot Test!

Thanks Ratshag for giving me info on how to link items in blogs. Even though he thinks all we night elves do is sing folk tunes in a coffee shop. We hold hands in a circle while singing songs in the woods thank you very much!

Here is my first test.
[Gyro-balanced Khorium Destroyer]

And now something less blammo
[Captured Firefly]

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Mouse over Loot?

Can anyone explain to me noob-style how to add loot to my blog so that when you mouse over it, it shows its stats? Like you can do in game with tooltips I guess?

Here's an example BRK did with the fiend slayer boots.

I'd like to add pictures too someday, but I don't want to get ahead of myself here!

Monday, September 3, 2007


I guess its official. I am no longer a full-time raider. I'm not even a part-time raider. I'm, well...I'm just a player. I quit raiding a while back, but in the back of my mind I still wanted to raid. In the back of my mind, I was trying to justify that all the things that pushed me away from raiding weren't really that bad.

I still do the occasional Karazhan run to hang with friends or help out. But that doesn't count as raiding.

I barely keep up with what my own guild is doing inside of instances anymore. I used to miss being in there wiping with them. Now I think "I'm glad I don't have to pay those repair bills!" and "That wipe could buy my alt a new breastplate".

Why do I feel this deserves its own post? Well I first started blogging in part to talk about raid issues that were leading to burnout and me wanting to cut back. So, it took me almost a year to leave it behind.

It deserves its own post because raiding in WoW turned out to be a huge part of the game for me. I honestly thought I would be so bored without raiding that I would quit if I didn't raid. So I'm surprised to find myself having fun with the game, even without having it revolve around raiding.


I wonder how Blizzard will handle future expansions in regards to alts.

My friend did a successful raid spot switch from one main to the a new one recently. Anyone who has raided on one character for a while knows its not always easy to switch to a new character - especially if the old role was one of those abundant healer or tank roles and the new role is the scarce dps roles. But he did so, and is having fun. However he's finding having to re-grind reputation a bit of a pain.

I had a easy time of it on my first 70 because everyone was running everything. Getting different reps - Aldor, Scryer, Heroic, Sha'tar, etc - came rather easily as a part of leveling and doing quests and helping others.

But on my subsequent alts I can't bring myself to run various instances that I've done so many times already I'm exalted.

One player on the general forum (really wish I still had the quote) said something about how having to stick with one character, build upon it and make permanent choices is really what RPGs are all about. There were comments that the alt-friendliness that is counter to sticking to one character is what made WoW successful and gave it staying power. You can't raid at end-game? Roll an alt!

Leveling gets stale, but is still doable. However the things Burning Crusade introduced have made alt playing at endgame slow down, from my limited view. I know of 3 people who play multiple characters at that level and they don't have jobs.

What does this mean for the future of WoW? If anything? I think they'll need to ease up on the endgame requirements. Or maybe that's just my wishful thinking.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Still playing alts...

And alts are an experience of rehashing everything you've done before. So I really don't have much to blog about.

Maybe they'll release Zul'Aman soon.

Thursday, August 9, 2007


I've picked up a case of altoholism. I hardly log on to my main anymore, instead opting to enjoy the quick rewards of lowbie alt leveling.

Everything you do pretty much gives you immediate improvement at low levels. You can hear a ding in one night's play. You get new spells quickly. And as a friend said, players seem more likely to help each other.

I guess at higher levels we all get more self-sufficient. But at low levels killing a boar (think Bellygrub) can be a hard task. Riding or flying by someone is easier to keep going and forget you even saw them. Running by someone you're more apt to swing an axe to help them out, or throw a heal their way.

Soon I'll hit the point where the levels don't come as fast and the upgrades are few and far between. Traveling on foot from one inn to the next quest and back will start to get farther and farther apart as well (think STV). When the time comes, I'll just jump onto another alt.

Phear my merry band of under level 30 alts!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007


How long will it take to get used to typing that?


Yeah, maybe I'll just use LK.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Wrath of the Lich King

Apparently is the name of the next WoW expansion.

Speculations abound, so I can't promise all or any of this is true.
A level cap of
80, a new profession called Inscription and the introduction of a Hero class and PvP with siege weapons.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

What is a grind?

In a comment to a previous post Verilazic said "
Reading the article by the guy who doesn't like end game didn't make a lot of sense to me. I guess I just don't see how 1-70 isn't a grind, but 70 is. I find both a grind in the same areas (namely killing the same things over and over, regardless of quests), and not a grind in the same areas (namely pvp and most instances, particularly when running with friends).

What's the difference between lvling and, well, repping/raiding/farming? Speed? the lack of anything but gear as a reward? I actually find 70 more fun than lvling to 70, just because I can pvp now with my friends who reached 70 ahead of me."

It got me to thinking what is a grind exactly. How does the saying go? "I can't describe it but I know it when I see it!" Or in this case "when I feel it!"

For instance:

Leveling for the first time to 70. Not a grind.
Leveling for the second time. A grind.

But that's my opinion and it's all perception. I could ask this blogger if she thinks leveling alts are a grind. She'd probably say no.

Just about everything we do in the game are repeated actions. Maybe once we start doing things for the sake of doing them and not for fun does the feeling of "grind" come creeping in?

Friday, July 27, 2007

Settling in at 70

Although I reached 70 a while back, I've only recently felt I've reached a plateau. No, not Elemental Plateau! I'm just at a place where there's nothing big to look forward to in my near future. Just like how 60 was when the expansion seemed to be but a twinkle in a developer's eye.

While seeing the inside of the Black Temple or experiencing the Battle of Mt. Hyjal is no longer as far-fetched as it seemed when they first introduced it. We're far from setting foot in either. I have acquired decent crafted items and drops so that at the level and frequency I raid will last me a long time. And I've done what is probably the biggest grind at 70 - the epic flying skill. I've even leveled another character to 70.

Am I bored with the game like I was after being 60 for a while? Not really, and I think I have to attribute it in part to being a raider. There's also pvp - but I only do enough to get a few items I want. Unless you are a non-raider, who hit 70 did all the solo/group quests they could do and find the current end game unappealing - or a hardcore raider, like the players in Death & Taxes who completed all of Black Temple and Mt. Hyjal and are now bored of farming the new content you still find raiding keeping you busy.

But like I mentioned, our guild, with only a few bosses downed in Serpentshrine Cavern and The Eye combined, there is still plenty for us to do. Only thing is bosses don't fall quickly, so gear will be a while coming as well. It's just like we were with AQ40 and Naxxramas. That feeling that we are cycling a little in place. For me it is a bit of a breather. I'm not bored, but I'm also not feeling strained playing level/gear catchup. I'm just at a plateau...settling in for a while. Blizzard won't use me to write a blurb to sell their game, but they aren't losing me as a customer either.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Hap of Azeroth

Speaking of Winterspring Frostsaber owners: A photo biography of a cheerful, mailbox dancing gnome named Hap.

At least I think he's still cheerful, last I heard he has a nervous twitch.

Netherwing Mount

Since I made it a priority to do daily quests every day for gold I hit exalted with both Sha'tari Skyguard and Netherwing recently.

I didn't bother getting the Nether Ray since I'd look weird - like a troll riding one, rather than adorable - like a gnome riding one. I did however get the majestic Netherdrake. The last sequence of quests to get your Netherwing mount are neat, I won't spoil them for anyone.

I have to thank Blizzard for adding cool things to the game that (almost) everyone can get.

When first announcing the Netherdrake Blue said "The (unarmored) nether drake ... a reward that all players can work towards, but it will still be difficult to obtain." I imagined it would be on the order of grinding for Wintersaber rep, a rep so godawful it had its own support group (amazingly still going strong even after BC. I guess its even easier to grind it now that there's probably hardly any competition.)

Now that I've done the Netherwing grind, looking back the initial epic riding skill was the real hurdle. Getting the rep was relatively easy. What made it nice was you started with only a few quests you could do, but at each level of rep more quests were opened to you. Which unlike other reputation grinds ended up making things easier the closer you got, not harder.

See you in the skies!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Riding the bench

Since I no longer want to commit to a raiding schedule, I have - justifiably so - been relegated to backup status.

What this means is if someone doesn't show up (and I am of the class needed to fill the spot) I'll get to raid. But for the most part I won't. This is fine because I understand consistency and reliability is the key component of raid progression, but takes some getting used to.

For instance a while back I read up on the strategies for a boss we were planning on attempting, I watched some movies from different points of view and as usual I spent time getting consumables ready. I logged on early and made my way to the instance. I jumped into vent and waited. After 30-45 minutes the raid was set and I wasn't in it. No huge surprise but now what?

I could leave my character parked at the instance, while listening in to vent on the chance they need me to sub in and as a reward for my time get dkp for leaving myself available. I was free to play an alt in the meantime.

After listening in as some new bosses were killed and I'm genuinely happy for the guild. But doing this a few times and not actually being a part of it quickly loses the scant bit of enthusiasm that exists in the first place. With each passing raid, to prepare and then end up storing away the unused preparations...I've started to feel like I'm working myself up for something only to be let down each time.

I've already lost interest in reading up on the next boss strategy. I'm not sure I'm going to make a good benchwarmer.


--Zul'Aman will be a 10-person raid zone
--Zul'Aman will be on a quicker reset than 7 days (some might call this "casual")
--Zul'Aman will be MORE difficult than Karazhan and drop better loot (some might call this hardcore)
--Zul'Aman will feature 6 bosses and it's our goal that you can kill them all in one night -- perhaps 2-3 hour clear times (some might call this casual)
--Zul'Aman will not have a key requirement. Nor will it have an attunement quest\ (some might call this casual)
--Zul'Aman will have a VERY challenging timed quest for those who choose to participate in it. This *will be* hardcore and will be very rewarding. Players do not have to engage in the timed run (very similar to the Baron run in Stratholme)
--We're tuning the first boss in Zul'Aman to require less raid coordination than some other raid bosses. He will still hit very hard so you'll need to be geared properly but it won't take 15 minutes to explain the fight. It will be a simple yet challenging fight. The other boss fights get more complex and challenging from there. If players want a basis of comparison, imagine the tuning of ZA started around Nightbane/Prince difficulty and ramped up from there.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Heal the raid*

*I am a shadow priest now, but that doesn't mean I don't care about issues of the entire priest class. I have also never played a paladin, so this is based on observation. I'm not sure how to write this post without sounding so opinionated. Hopefully, no paladins were hurt in the writing of this post, fortunately they wear plate.

Now that I got the disclaimer out of the way....

Heal the raid has always been a secondary role. The main tanks and off tanks are primary. Most fights healing the raid has always been secondary in urgency and priority. Many of the classes are able to move themselves away from damage, bandage themselves, etc.

So when I see the plan for my guild's upcoming boss fight listed with paladins and shaman to be the tank healers and priests to raid heal, I felt a twinge of demotion of the priest class' job.

Now without going into the details of the fight, I do understand certain fights require certain strategies. But this still stood out for me, because at least in my guild, you always placed your strongest healers on the tanks.

In some top performing guilds they don't even bring priests along to heal. So I guess our guild's priests could count themselves lucky.

As paladins became stronger healers in BC, you couldn't say anything about it as a priest or you'd be labeled as a crying for nerfs. As the now defunct Paladin Suck said "I just find it sickening that Priests are focusing on nerfing Holy Paladins..."

I for one never asked for one single paladin to be nerfed. But I supported priests that asked for holy priest buffs. In the end, paladins were nerfed but still retained their healing power and priests remained unchanged.

So now we're left, as described by a Blue on the Europe WoW forums "In my opinion Priest are still the best healers in the game, when that has been said however I think that it is harder to heal efficiently as a Priest than healing as a Paladin."

Huh? Since when has a raid thought it best to bring an inefficient healer?

My whole priest vs. paladin gripe has been that for the majority of my life as a priest I've had to work at being efficient. Priests spend time NOT healing, which seems bizzare when you really think about it. Then BC comes along and paladins just spam Flash of Light. And suddenly the one thing I thought was skill less and frowned upon (spamming a heal of any kind until you're out of mana - ask for an innervate and start spamming again) becomes the ultimate in raid healing.

I can't find the exact quote now, but as a paladin said before "take all your many varied heals priests, I'll still outheal you with my one heal". Priests and other players keep insisting that all healers heal equally well and we each have our strengths. But I'm slowly not seeing that pan out in my own guild.

The saving grace for our guild's priests is they are dwarves. They can always play their fear ward card. And we still have fortitude. Yeah.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Thar's Gold in Them Thar Hills

I was about to post about how easy it is to get gold now that I have several daily quests I can do. I can fly over to Netherwing Ledge, I can fly over the jagged rock that surrounds Ogri'la and I can fly up the hill to Skettis. There's much gold to be found in doing daily quests and I don't feel like I'm farming. What more could you ask for? Then I remembered I have an epic flying mount which cost 5,200 gold to begin with.

The Sha'tari Skyguard/Ogri'la quests require a flying mount and the Netherwing quests require an epic flying mount, so unfortunately unless you have either you can't get access to these quests. I'm guessing if you managed to acquire the gold for an epic mount, making money isn't that much of an issue for you.

Still, while the epic mount is your biggest money sink, after you're flying high and fast there are still things to spend your hard earned gold on. And being able to make 120 gold from the quests alone, not including the coin and drops from the mobs you have to kill means if you decide to spend 300 gold on a rare smithing plan or something, you won't be broke for very long.

You'd think everyone would like ways to make gold outside of buying it from gold farmers, but no. Someone posted at length on the WoW forums that they should remove the gold reward from the quests and just give rep. Since I'm sure I fell asleep in Econ 101...I didn't follow all of the post either. But here is a snippet of it:

Hyperinflation is clearly a problem. Left unchecked, it can bring an economy crashing down very quickly, as money loses its function as a store of value and medium of exchange, it rapidly becomes worthless, and economies can devolve into a barter state.

As gold creation continues unabated through these daily quests, the threat of hyper-inflation is worrisome, though I should add it could have some benefits. As gold becomes less and less valuable, it should hurt the gold farmers (unless they are leading the way in new gold creation through these daily quests). But using hyper-inflation to combat the gold farmers is akin to shooting yourself in the foot to get rid of a fly that’s landed there. Sure, you hurt, and probably kill the fly, but you do a lot more damage to yourself to get rid of the pest.

Other side benefits (from a consumption standpoint) are that the fixed cost things within the game can and will become trivial. Purchasing mount skills or vendor items, or repairs will become trivial expenses within the game as gold is continually pumped into the economy. But the downside is that you can expect items on the auction houses to spiral upwards in terms of price with no end in sight.

Given all of this, I make a simple request, for the good of the game economies, and long term benefit to the players: Remove the gold rewards or greatly diminish them for the daily quests. Players will still complete them for faction rewards without the gold. And stopping the rapid influx of new gold into the economies will help stabilize the burgeoning inflation we are beginning to experience. Economic stability is good for everyone.

I hope they don't remove the gold rewards. I like knowing by investing a small amount of time I can put some extra coin in my pocket. But will there come a time when that gold means nothing on the AH? I can't say. I'm taking advantage of it while I can, and while I'm not bored to tears with doing so.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Raiding carrot

The removal of attunements opened up The Eye of Tempest Keep to our guild. We managed to kill the "easy" boss - Void Reaver and I think it gave our guild a little boost.

We had reached the point where we had the first boss in Serpentshrine Cavern causing us trouble, and beating your head against a boss lowers morale after a while. So it was good timing that VR was made available to us recently.

When we defeated VR there wasn't that feeling of "YES! We finally got him!" because it really didn't take long, but bosses like that help raiding I think.

Having easy bosses are just like quests and rewards and new levels - carrots that keep you playing. Or as some call them loot pinatas. Gives you just enough motivation to go beat your head against other bosses again.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

How would you log out for the last time

As WOW Insider spotlighted, another prolific WoW blogger at Paladins Suck has said goodbye to the game. He chose a picture with his character in front of Uther's statue.

One visitor said he quit in a crypt under Stormwind Cathedral. That got me to thinking how and where would I say that final goodbye?

The first time I "quit" I just logged out wherever I was. I didn't really have plans on coming back but I did (big surprise!). This time, if I ever do permanently quit (That time has to come eventually right?) I thought of doing it how I saw in one priest video (he eventually came back to the game too and I guess he removed he video) of traveling from (at the time end game) Ahn'Qiraj, returning back to his starter area (Deathknell), remove all the shiny epics, cross his arms over his chest and log out.

Yet, although I am a night elf, I've never really spent much time in Teldrassil enough to want to end my days there. I've always been fond of the landscapes in the game. I'll probably choose one as a backdrop, sit there and watch it until it fades away.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

MULTI player

I felt guilty as I gave one reason I think the removal of attunements is a good thing - you no longer have to help others run their trials.

But isn't that what guilds are about? Isn't that what playing a multiplayer game means? Grouping with others? Them helping you out, you helping them out?

The pang of guilt came from knowing someone is saying "If you can't help your guild get all their trials done, you don't deserve to raid SSC/TK!"

Yes, but sometimes, many times - after you've done a thing - you simply do not want to do it again. And with a game like WoW its more like sometimes, after you've done a thing 50 times, you don't want to do it the 51st time.

But a friend of a friend of a friend just started playing and it would be great if you could run them through Deadmines or Scarlet Monastery or Sunken Temple. Or your raid leader wants to get his alt keyed for Molten Core, or more current day, you finally got your spouse re-subbed and you want to get them attuned for Karazhan. Or you are horde and need a paladin (or alliance and need a shaman) and you need to help them level from 0-70 fast.

I like to call this The Overhead of Social Gaming: a phrase coined in this post by a Everquest player (I posted his "Why I Play Everquest" back when I first started my own blog).

This overhead, explained as "difficulty of coordination, scheduling, training, skill, and group balance" is what led to the burnout I posted so frequently about in my blog's beginnings. Not really wanting to heal, but knowing my guild needed a healer. Not really wanted to raid on Wed, but Priest X had baseball on Wed. Not really having fun raiding, but knowing my guild was having trouble building the raid. Being tired of raiding, but knowing we were just *that* close to killing a boss.

I had a feeling it would become that way with trials. They take a while to do, even more so with a less than optimal set up. And you start noticing certain people always being asked, because they either have the gear, skill, seemingly free time (although just because someone is logged on doesn't mean they want to heal your instance).

So as Loral said, "that strength [of working with a team of other players] can also be a detriment."

Our guild wants to raid, now a small number of us will no longer have to feel like we are shirking responsibilities when we don't schedule a weekend to get more of our guild attuned.

We can still play together, but we won't have to feel strained to do so.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

No more attunement needed for SSC/Eye

"After a lot of thought and deliberation, we’ve decided to remove the attunement requirements to enter Serpentshrine Cavern and Tempest Keep: The Eye. While many of our attunements in the Burning Crusade have been good progression checks, a few of the attunements have turned out to cause unnecessary stress on guilds either doing the content or attempting to do the content. With Black Temple and Battle for Mount Hyjal thriving, we want to encourage (rather than prevent) new guilds and raid groups to attempt Serpentshrine and TK.

Without a doubt this will be a welcomed change by many. The guild I'm in has been coming up short because people haven't been able to get attuned.

Its a relief for those of us who get asked over and over again to help to the point of burnout (healers and tanks know what I'm talking about).

My only reservation is, the type of player who doesn't do any work gearing up his character but instead wants the instance itself to gear him up. And the players who don't show up for wipes but show up for farmed content. The attunement kept this type of player out, but then again they existed before BC so it won't really be any different.

We are going to leave the current attunement quests in the game so that players can still engage in the challenge and the lore of those quests should they choose to."

Now this will be interesting because the casual player has always said they want to do things for the challenge and lore. I wonder how many of those players will actually go back and do these trials now that they don't have to. I'm guessing not many.

"At a later point, we are considering adding a final reward step to those quests as well (that way those who have already completed them would not miss out on a *new* reward).

We’re listening to feedback from you guys constantly and your opinions are important to us. We want this game to be the best possible MMO experience for our players.

Enjoy Serpentshrine and Tempest Keep =)"

Blizzard is trying to keep its playerbase happy. Its hard to do for what...over 9 million now? But they are trying.

Monday, June 11, 2007

And to continue with my BT/Illidan string of posts

Check out this blogs new theme. Love the banner, I'm pretty sure I've seen that artwork before but not that particular picture. Good stuff!

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Illidan down

Apparently the world's without-a-doubt top raiding guild downed Illidan today (the last boss in the Black Temple instance). It happened faster than I expected. But of course a guild flying through an entire instance within weeks of its release has got to be faster than anyone expected even if it was the cream of the crop.

Sincere grats to them, I just hope the speed at which this was done doesn't trickle down to casual guilds to start pushing at an abnormal rate. Because things had just started getting to the point where casual raiding may be possible and plausible again.

Random Thought

Lord of the Rings Online was NOT the WoW-killer. Discuss.

The one thing that is consistent... change.

On the right side of my blog is a list of links to other blogs. Recently I've had someone (in the comments sections of my posts) request that I link to their blog. But actually I don't put links there at requests from others. I put links there because those are blogs I either like the content or look of. Links that I like to check out either daily or weekly.

The list changes now and again. Most recently I removed Adventures of Aeigelus because while I like the look of the blog and enjoyed keeping up with what Aeigelus had been up to, it hadn't been updated in several months. Some other blogs I check out on a regular basis haven't been updated in a while either - sometimes the gamers have just been really busy raiding or with Real Life and eventually come back.

After periodically checking on Inner Fire I finally moved it to my "priest" section, because the blogger has long since quit playing WoW, moved on to other things and no longer posts about it and doesn't appear as if she'll ever come back. Still a nice blog but the focus of the content has be redirected. The same goes for the popular Tobold's MMORPG Blog where Tobold has moved from playing WoW to LOTRO and based on some comments many of his readers are unhappy about. He still writes about MMORPGs and in his defense I don't think it was ever called Tobold's WoW Blog. But I also find myself only skimming over the stuff about LOTRO. Now I can see why anyone who doesn't play WoW would be bored with my blog!!!

My blog will go the way of the Dodo some day too. Because just as my blog is no longer about Life in Azeroth as it is Life in Outland, on day it will be my Life in Warhammer Online or some other game. And it would probably be simpler to just start a new blog than to have someone link to me and wonder why I'm not posting about WoW or why I'm not posting at all.

Illidan : The Betrayer

Someone did a great job of putting together a series of game and video clips of the story of Illidan's transformation and rise to power.

Can we get prepared?

You don't hear it anymore, but the catchphrase for the Burning Crusade was Illidan Stormrage saying "You are not prepared!" for those entering Outland through the Dark Portal.

Casual players, a relative term, complained that they would never see the Black Temple (the place where Illidan resides).

But with the top guilds blowing through most of the Black Temple in a matter of weeks, is it possible that casual guilds may get a shot at seeing Illidan one day? Apparently some of these same guilds are almost finished with the Battle of Mt. Hyjal too.

Our guild hasn't seen the inside of Serpentshrine Cavern, let alone the Eye. Perhaps our chances at fighting Archimonde and Illidan are very slim.

Alot of it depends on how much players are willing to "prepare". Run various 5-mans to get the necessary rep. Use that rep to run heroics (consisting of trials that require a certain amount of skill and gear). Kill some bosses which is no small feat (last boss in 10-man Karazhan, last boss in 25-man Gruul's Lair), only boss in 25-man Magtheridon's Lair.) After enough people get that done, you need to kill the last boss in SSC and the Eye. AND THEN and only then can you get into the Battle and BT.

Sound like alot to do? Yeah it is. Can we get prepared? Blizzards seems to have made the instances easier, so maybe with enough time, we can.

Edit: I didn't take in to account the fact that many top guilds had been learning the BoMH and BT for maybe months now in unbuffed pre patch 2.1 gear. It makes sense that they are able to go rather fast through content they already know wearing better gear. So, it is probably a bad idea to use their success as a gauge.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Raiding again?

With all the changes that came with the patch: Nerfed encounters, consumables that don't stack with each other (so you don't have to farm so many) - in the form of guardian elixirs and battle elixirs , potions dropping in instances more frequently that you can use just for those instances, herbs needed for certain potions changed to make them cheaper, and consumables you can buy fairly cheaply once you have a certain faction rep; it seems like raiding may be a bit easier.

But I wonder how much that will really affect raiding, will it make it so others can raid casually?

There has been mention in guild and out about hardcore players raiding with each other exclusively. Maybe the new changes will enable the more casual players to take part in raids but not if the guilds head the opposite direction.

But even if guilds tried to keep a hardcore-casual mix? Would it be enough for me to come back to raiding? I still don't think so. As much as I liked having a plan each evening of what I was going to be doing, I now like to log on and off whenever I want to. I still play a lot, but I'm more apt to play less because no one is relying on me to stay logged in.

But if the changes will let me participate every now and then, just to see the insides of the dungeons - that would be fun.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Leaving LOTRO

I mentioned a few posts earliers about canceling my Lord of the Rings Online subscription. When you cancel they warn you your characters may not exist if you decide to come back.

Not a big deal since all my characters only had a few levels on them, but what if WoW told you that?

Learning to be a slacker

If you've read my blog to any extent, you know I've struggled with cutting back my time spent in Azeroth and Outland. I have gotten to the point that anything I think is worth having takes a ton of time to get. I guess at 70 anything left to get takes a ton of time to get. But I want to embrace a new way of thinking. As the creator of the Simpsons says I want to be a “Underachiever---and proud of it, man!”

Several people in my guild are grinding for the Netherwing faction for the new flying mount. One of them said, "I started doing it for an hour, then two, now I'm up to 5 hours". I don't know if that is going to be per day, but think about that. 5 hours just to grind rep. That doesn't include raiding time or pvp, etc.

I think someone in the 8.5 million (or is it more now?) players already has the mount. That is within a week of release of the ability to do so.

I hear or see these players with mounts, and epics and titles and I remember tying to be just like them. But at what cost? The hours seem to go so fast in the game, and even when you spend all those hours, when you look ahead there is still so much left. For the new alt I'm leveling I want to learn to be happy with the regular ground mount it has, the greens it wears and no title before its name and try to be like the players who go outside every once in a while - you know the type, those slackers.

Monday, May 28, 2007

And the winner is...

WoW...for now. At one point I had 3 subscriptions - World of Warcraft, Everquest 2 and Lord of the Rings Online. EQ2 fell by the wayside again and recently I all but forgot I had a LOTRO subscription!

Picking one game is a good thing. By playing alts again, I've found myself with more than enough stuff to do. To the point I'm going to have to set some limits, as always it is easy to get caught up in all there is you can do. I know a guildmate who has a notebook to keep track of things. My and a friend were discussing how it would be nice to have a mod that reminded you of all the things you need to keep track of. I have fun with many of the things I have to do, but some of it is so much busy work. Either way there is not, and should not, be enough hours in the day for WoW and 2 other games.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Transparent to the user

You know those type of programming changes that are required but aren't supposed to affect you in any way that you'd notice? Those changes you'd make and not tell anyone except you have to take their system down but you reassure them that everything will work as usual? I remember those from other jobs I've had. And I'm reminded of them with the recent patch (2.1.0) to WoW

For the brief time I played on my hunter that's how the patch was for me. Granted I didn't go looking for any of the new content, I continued questing as I always have. Except for mend pet being instant instead of channeled I didn't notice anything new but as Tobold said for such a huge patch, "these changes will be forgotten and taken for granted very soon."

The thing is, this was a patch. Not another expansion. Blizzard added some new quests and a new dungeon and maybe those were supposed to be included with the original expansion pack, but they've released them now and that is a good thing. And I think if you aren't happy or satisfied about it, you probably aren't satisfied with the game in general. Just like you start to find everything wrong with your significant other when you fall out of love with them, there is nothing they can do right in your eyes. And the nitpicking begins.

So I log on, play my hunter, and realize I wouldn't have known there even WAS a patch if I didn't follow these type of things. But I'm fine with that, I'm not going to nitpick that I can't see the Black Temple or may never get a netherdrake mount. And I can admit that while I'm not out of love with WoW yet, the honeymoon feeling has long since been over. Its like a couple comfortable with each other sitting on a bench, no real spark, no real surprises, but its good and that's okay. (Just don't let someone hot walk by *wink*)

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Patch 2.1.0 and Raiding

It's a big one.

With the arrival of the Black Temple, there are rumblings in our guild about not being able to, eventually, take part in it.

Its a valid complaint, starting with Blackwing Lair, Blizzard has released content at a pace only the most progressed PvE guilds manage to experience it all.

If you are trying to get through MC, by the time you made it to BWL, AQ40 was out. And if you were trying to make it through BWL, Naxxramas was out. And then BC comes and hardly anyone does those any more - for good reason.

So unless you hit existing content hard and fast you are left with instances undone and unseen, because no one wants to spend anytime on things that are old news.

Monday, May 21, 2007

New link on the side

I've added another link under Cautionary Tales titled "Recovering from World of Warcraft" here's a snippet from it:

"I’ve always intellectually known about the time sink concept. I’ve always understood the grinding. Each new MMO has a honeymoon period where you ignore this. New scenery, new places to explore, new characters to get skills with. It doesn’t get repetitive for awhile. And WoW’s rich quest system, at least initially, made the game seem more like Final Fantasy than it did Everquest. But there is a finite limit to this. You run out of quests. You cap out. And like any curve approaching infinity, you get to a point where you work and work for minimal improvement. But work you do, because everyone else is, and you want to stay ahead. You get so caught up in it you don’t stop to realize how crazy everyone is. And the sole sane person surrounded by crazy people is the one who looks crazy."

Here's a link by the same person on time sinks. Written over a year ago its like looking back in time yet having the same experiences as now.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Looking for a new guild?

Some players think nothing of jumping from guild to guild. I don't move around alot, and even so I've been in 4 guilds with my main character. But the majority of my time has been spent in one guild.

Things are fine in the guild I'm in, but it is a raiding guild and I don't raid anymore. Raiding is not a requirement, so I'm free to stay. However when everyone around you is raiding and you're not, it tends to be a bit isolating.

Now that I'm playing alts again, I think a new guild may breathe some fresh air into my gaming. Being involved in chat that isn't centered around the next raid boss may be more interesting and on what are normal raid nights, not so barren.

Even if i decided to leave, I don't know if I can find another guild at this point. Most of the guilds I've been in I found through playing with a random person while leveling up alone.

I have a few alts that are unguilded. Maybe I can join some different guilds on each of them and see if I find a good fit.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

2...count 'em 2!

After posting about having 3 online subscription games, I noticed Tobold asking if 2 is too much.

I haven't been playing LOTRO like I expected I would. I like the game, but it doesn't have that "WOW!" factor. And now that I'm embracing my WoW alts again, I find myself enjoying WoW more.

It probably wouldn't hurt if I dropped LOTRO. I don't have much invested in it- play or social wise, so it would be easy to cancel - unlike my WoW subscription.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Armory forum game

On the WoW forums someone asked why they haven't added a post count. The answer was "We don't want people attempting to grind their post count to max level".

Gamers have a way of making a game out of anything. Remember the guild that did musical chairs around the banquet table in Moroes room?

The Armory among other things, allows you to look at your character as it was when you last logged off. It shows what armor you had equipped also tabs that list your reputation, talent spec, skills, arena teams (if any) and guild (if any). Something like this was already available in the form of CTProfiles and RPGOutfitter but the armory has the added bonus of being Blizzard's and you can link to it by clicking on the name under your forum avatar.

And this is where the game comes in. Class forums have taken to making threads where someone posts and then the next person to reply rates the spec and gear of the poster before them.

Over on the hunter thread, which at last check this is the 14th thread of its type, has (I assume) helpful comments
: "As marks your AP lacks a bit, and under 20% crit hurts a lot as well". And several posters offer beforehand reasons why their gear is crappy, "I cannot get that effin chest piece to drop."

I wonder how many players post just waiting for someone to say "Look at all those shiny epics!"

Posters like giving advice, but I'm sure most of them rate for the same reason I would. As someone posted
after giving sincere suggestions for the previous poster "but, i'm mostly interested what you guys have to say about me".

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

3 MMORPGs, count 'em 3!

I never would have guessed that one day I would have 3 active accounts on 3 separate games.

It won't be for long, as my EQ2 account closes in a week. I have to say this for SOE, they made it easy to re-subscribe after first cancelling 2 years ago, unfortunately it wasn't fun enough for me to stay the second time either.

So now I'm down to 2 games, WoW and LOTRO.

I still play WoW the most, especially now that I've have renewed interest through leveling an alt in BC. Everything is an upgrade and playing a dps class I can actually feel myself getting stronger.

For LOTRO, I'm playing each character a few levels a piece. I've stuck to my vow about not creating a healer-type. I figure by leveling up several all at once, I could really get a feel for which one I might enjoy more. By approaching it this way I haven't gotten many levels at all, but I like the feel of the Captain and Hunter. I also like how the Loremaster uses her staff (in WoW staves just hang on your back, unless for some reason you melee - which hardly ever happens). It really is too soon to tell which one I'd play the most, none of them stand above the others yet.

With WoW, everything has become calculated. Which quest should I do, which mobs should I farm. With LOTRO, I just do whatever (except pick a healer), and although choices I make now may be bad down the road, I think that's where I am with MMORPGs now. I don't want my games to heavily penalize me for choosing the wrong class, the wrong tradeskill, the wrong server. If significant research is what is required then perhaps me and the genre have come to a fork in the road. Because I have to face it, my decision making trait is in the negative.

Time and money budget-wise I wish I could at least pick on game and stick with it and it alone. But hey, at least I'm down to 2 from 3. That's a start.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Expansion=3 months

I was wondering how long Blizzard spent on developing the Burning Crusade expansion.

I'm just imagining that it took them a year (wild guess), and yet many of us consumed it all within 3 months (if you exclude raiding content).

I think BC was well done, and if WoW consisted of players who only spent a few hours a week playing it would have lasted a long time. But WoW consists more of players who play several hours per day and as a result I would wager the average player has made it to 70 by now.

Maybe my view is skewed, extremely skewed perhaps. Because I am surrounded by guildmates some who have leveled draenei from 1 to 70, and others who have multiple 70s, exalted with various factions, flying epics mounts and working on getting more.

None of them mention being bored with WoW, I'm sure this is because they are focused on the upcoming raid content. But for those of us (I'm new to the club) who don't care about raiding what is really left for us?

We'll find out soon how long the next patch content will last us.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Newbie isle?

In EQ 2 they start you on an island and give you quests that get you started with your character. You can choose to leave the island immediately by boat. But if you're new to the game it is always nice to go through all the quests and get a feel for the game. I think this is what they offer as a free trial as well. Once you leave the island you can't go back.

And I think that is what happened to me in LOTRO. After spending time in Archet (the man/hobbit starting area) I was given a quest that told me to "make sure you finished all your quests because once you do this one you can't finish them". I wasn't entirely sure what that meant, but I took the time to run around and do a few more quests that I had. In an instant text quest world, some players may miss this.

I won't spoil the quest, but I think it was a very nice touch before pushing me out of newbie town into the unknown that awaits me. I'll just say this, I enjoy having some impact on the world.

Monday, April 30, 2007

My last priest whine post

I promise! This time 2 for 1.


Someone on the official WoW forums suggested free or cheaper respecs. Not only did a Blue say the answer was no (which I guess ends this before it started), many other players agreed it was a bad idea. The latter is what I just don't get.

Supporters said the following:
  • Free/cheaper respecs allows scarce players like tanks and healers the option to swap to dps specs and enjoy other areas of the game besides instance grouping

The opposition included the following comments
  • It is easy to earn gold in BC you don't need to respec
  • Making a decision to spec a certain way should be a heavy one, and one not taken lightly by offering free respecs
  • You get raid spots so you should have it hard when you solo and pvp
What is odd is it is easy to earn gold WHEN YOU ARE ABLE TO FARM WITH YOUR DPS SPEC.

Making a decision that few players do to tank and heal and only be able to do that isn't taken lightly. Yet if you split grouping, pvp and farming into 3. Tanks and healers really only enjoy or do well 1/3 of the game. If anyone is taking anything lightly its the players who take a easy spec that can joy all of the game and not just part of it.

And lastly when I last checked every raid includes healer, tanks and dps. People complain about getting raid spots, but besides the main tank, everyone has a shot at raiding if they are reliable, self-sufficient with consumables and good at what they do.

My problem is how little dps knows how it is to be a tank-healing class in a dps world. I'm tired of them not caring.

#2) I heard they are nerfing the shadoweave set.

Supposedly it was making shadow priests overpowered in raids.

After playing a healer for so long, I was looking forward to being uber. But it was taking me a long time to craft the set. Turns out the set will more than likely be nerfed before I ever get to make it and use it.

Life in Azeroth and the Outlands as a priest is all its cut out to be.

This just in! They decided to not nerf the set after all. The joke being passed around is, since priests and warlocks share the same set, that Blizzard didn't want to nerf their precious warlocks!

Friday, April 27, 2007

YANE the Wary

You know why starting something from scratch, something new is fun besides the obvious reasons?

Because your improvements come quicker. For me to improve upon something as a level 70 in WoW, it will take me several hours, if not weeks.

Lately when I was logging off from WoW, I would say "Well I'm one turn-in closer to my goal", "I'm one primal closer to my crafted item", "I'm one hundred gold closer to my epic mount". Which felt good to say I guess, but was a bit of a let down and sometimes made (and still makes) it hard to even want to log on. Everyone says anything worth something involves work, effort and time. But darn it, sometimes I want my game to involve play, less effort and time!

And that's what new games provide. In my very first sitting of LOTRO, I was able to achieve a title. Actually you can choose a title from the start, sharing your place of origin with everyone. But by reaching level 5 without dying I attained the title "the Wary".

I thought that was pretty neat, titles are something that City of Heroes already has, but compare this to WoW's pvp titles which pver's don't care about and the scarcer titles Scarab Lord (already in game) and Justicar (to be added in the next patch):

In order to get "Scarab Lord" you had to finish a long quest line (including quest objectives that could only be finished with a 40-man raid) which involved banging the gong to open the Ahn'Qiraj gates, a one-time event. In other words, if you don't have it already, you probably won't get it. I think on my realm - one of the most heavily populated - we have 2 or 3 I think. On new realms there is hardly a reason to join the war effort, let alone have a guild who wants to raid old instances to propel you through the quest line.

And the easier to obtain "Justicar" title just involves being exalted with Alterac Valley, Arathi Basin and Warsong Gulch factions. Yeah, easy. There will be many players able to have this title, since it doesn't involve raiding. But there will be even more without it.

While it is very cool for only certain people to have certain things (cool for them I guess) in the MMORPGs we play, it goes a long way to have things that everyone can obtain reasonably. Does it water down the meaning? Would it mean less if everyone that was able to make it to the opening of the gates got the title of Scarab Lord? Well only the players who finished the quest line were able to choose from some epic rewards that were the best in the game before BC. I don't see why not handing out some more titles would have hurt.

Titles don't affect gameplay, I'm not stronger as a result of obtaining a title. But just being able to bring up a list and choose a new title put a smile on my face. I didn't have to spend a few months for a title that someday someone will ask "what's a AQ?" Instead, now I wonder will I get a title for making it to 10 without dying? All I know is I'm going to play a bit more carefully now just in case! And that's the difference, it gives me something to look forward to, instead of looking at something I'll never get.

A old new world

I have become one of the denizens of Middle-Earth. I'll share a few things.

I spent some time, as I usually do, at the character creation screen playing around with the looks of my human, elf and hobbit. I lean toward female characters, so I made one of each (there are no female dwarves.) However choice-wise, the men seem to have the most...well character. I guess its the facial hair!

I kept thinking my human male looked like Lance Armstrong, which while not a bad thing - I knew I wouldn't be able to find bikes in Middle-Earth - so I gave him some red full hair.

My first female hobbit looked too much like a precocious child, and while extremely cute - once again not a bad thing - also not something I wanted to portray.

I ended up playing my human female first. I played a small bit of beta, so what I've done so far was familiar.

Once I reached archet (I assume the starter area for man and hobbit) what are the first names I see?

Ferealz and Nickxx

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

What is happening?

I believe I missed the release of LOTRO.

Tonight I was thinking I could order it, got all the way to the "place order" button and couldn't bring myself to click it.

In the back of my mind I'm thinking its like WoW and I'm tired of WoW, so that has it going against it.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Small update

Well its been a few weeks since I quit raiding regularly. I have gone on a few raids on the weekends, but I'm almost to the point I don't want to do that either. Guess that's a good thing, if I'm wanting to cut back my time in WoW. Especially if raiding had become something done out of habit and not out of actual enjoyment. Yet its hard to say goodbye to something you've been involved with on almost a daily basis for so long.

Maybe that's why I want something to fill its space, why I'm playing EQ2, so I won't have that void.

But I've already cancelled my EQ2 subscription (again, this time I've got about a month left to play). As I've probably mentioned before I can't pinpoint what's wrong with EQ2. Well I shouldn't say wrong, just...something isn't right about it for me. And that's disappointing because players in the chat channels are very helpful. There is actual roleplaying occuring and I haven't seen much rudeness. Some players have gone out of their way to help and that's something you won't find often in WoW, not from strangers.

EQ2 is a game I want to like, unfortunately I don't. I wish I could figure out why.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Someone said it better....

"The game is designed in such a way that, after an initial phase, the entertainment it provides is exponentially related to the amount of time you put into it." (I've added the blog link to the side bar under "Farewell, Azeroth")

The curve is too steep for me now.

Slowly walking away

I still have my subscription to WoW. But I'm entertaining the idea of canceling.

I'm playing EQ2 but its not going to be a permanent replacement. I feel like I'm not truly enjoying the game. Instead its like I'm playing something something.

And maybe that's why I haven't flat out canceled my account. Because maybe one day, just to play something I want to have WoW as option. But in the back of my mind, I know WoW isn't doing it for me anymore. And eventually that reason isn't going to be enough to justify paying the monthly fee.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Nerf - PTR 2.1

PTR 2.1 is out. And as you can imagine when there are any changes to a class good (the class is happy, other classes are mad) or bad (the class is unhappy, the other classes don't care) someone is upset.

Well its not that maybe they don't care, they are probably focused on their own class and little world...of warcraft.

Take me for example, I hardly ever know what is going on with rogues. But I knew there was a problem, because (unlike many rogues say) I try to heal them.

I hardly know what is going on with druids. But for a while after release I knew my friend who played a druid was very happy.

And I never knew exactly what changed from 60 to 70 for paladins to make them the new uber healers. But I knew that they were. And they seemed to do it without the mana conservation restraints that priests are placed under.

On the WoW forums, people would tell priests they needed to L2P (as usual). As if suddenly all the priests who had been healing for the past 2 years suddenly forgot how to. And all paladins had become more skilled at what they do.

Luckily for some priests, like my goodbye-holy-hello-dark-side self, shadow priests worked extremely well with paladins. We became "mana batteries".

On one end, shadow priests were now not only viable but actually sought after. On the other end, there were murmurings of holy priests being pushed aside for paladins. I thought that was unfair, but heck I didn't want to heal anymore anyway. (I still did, but that's for another post.)

DPSing priests, Healing paladins and just after BC release, tanking druids. Word was they were all overwhelmingly good.

But anything that seems to be overwhelmingly good is always prime for a nerf.

Sad thing is, it seems like our time in the sun was cut short.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Just when I thought I was out

they pull me back in.

Well maybe. I've been slowly drifting away from WoW. Even been dabbling in EQ2 while trying to get into LOTRO.

And then comes news that more content is on the horizon. Things of note for the casual, non-raider:

The patch is also introducing a great deal of new solo and 5-person content, with new rewards, factions, outdoor bosses, and items.

*Players in good standing with the Consortium will be tasked to deal with the most recent activities of the nefarious Ethereum. With new quests, items, and content for the solo and small-group level 70 player, the Ethereum Prison will be the proving grounds for many aspiring to greatness.

*The Skyguard, Sha’tari warriors specializing in their command of the skies above Shattrath, have taken the offensive directly to the Arakkoa capital city, Skettis. Perched high in the mountains of Terrokar, and only accessible with use of a flying mount, Skettis holds new and exciting content for the solo or small-group level 70 player. All new quests, 5-person bosses, rare and epic items, and a new type of flying mount await those willing to lend their sword or stave to the battle.

*The Netherwing faction and quest line continues and the long awaited Nether Drake becomes available. The Nether Drake is a special 280% speed epic flying mount that is obtainable through solo and small-group play. The quest to obtain one will be difficult, but the reward will surely show your dedication to the Netherwing cause as you soar through the skies of Outland on your very own ethereal drake. (Okay not so casual...)

*The Ogre plateau of enlightenment opens to those who prove their worth in Blade’s Edge Mountains. Level 70 players will be able to help the Ogres of Ogri’la battle invading forces and engage in new and exciting quests, such as a repeatable and ever popular bombing-run, this time using your own flying mount but with a dangerous twist! Featuring tons of new quests, the Ogri’la faction, 5-person bosses, and rare and epic items, Ogri’la is a place we’re hoping all will aspire to enter.

Good stuff, and I'm surprised to hear it, I wasn't expecting more content (except Zul'Aman) until a new expansion.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Lost in Norrath

I tried several times to get into LOTRO over the weekend. The servers were closed. I don't know if its because I'm not a founder (players who preordered lifetime subscriptions) or if the servers were down, or if the servers were full.

WoW has me kinda just running around aimlessly at the moment, so I logged into EQ2. It has been a long time since I played, and I felt like I had started a brand new game. I tried playing my original character which had made it to what I recall as Antonica, but felt so lost that I ended up creating new characters and just staying on "newbie island".

I have to stop myself from creating a healer-type. I still see other players at low health and want to cast a heal on them, or wish I had a buff to give them as they run by. I've been trying out the mage-types - Illusionist, Necromancer and Conjurer. I guess its too soon to tell what the differences are. I wish I had some other pet besides a beetle (Conj) and a bat (Necro).

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Zone loading screens

I decided to take advantage of a 7-day trial offered by EQ2. Its for the expansion Echoes of Faudwer, where you are given the option to play a faerie in addition to the other characters. I think this expansion was first released back in September. I wasn't actively looking for something else to play besides WoW then.

I played the original EQ2 (funny to see software only a few years old being sold as EQ II Classic, and hearing people call Azeroth "vanilla WoW") right before WoW was first released. I had a decent computer back then, but not good enough to play EQ2 without the graphics set low. Well I could set them high but at the risk of performance. I would join groups for instances - thus causing more lag and I had to set my settings so low, I couldn't see my way around in caves.

I remember thinking, what's the purpose of having such wonderful graphics if your players can't enjoy them. I read that EQ2's graphics were made to be years ahead and playing it now 2 years later on a newer computer I see that it was true.

I spent some time making a Fae and I spent some time making a high elf. Since I had played before, the part I've done so far I've already experienced. But the graphics looked better so I spent a little time appreciating that.

I was surprised to see others in the starter area. Perhaps that's as a result of the free trial, but it was nice that it wasn't empty. I did a search and about 10-15 people were listed, I came across about 5-6.

I still like collecting things and I decided to try out a mage class instead of sticking to the healer class I have a love/hate relationship with. I figure the chance of me grouping would be slim, so I might as well pick a class that solos better. I tried to read up on what classes would be best, but mostly read things like "all classes can solo". "Soloing with determination" isn't my idea of fun anymore - one of the reason's I won't level up a WoW paladin.

One little thing that I noticed that bugged me is the delay in messages. When I finished killing something or gathering something there was a long enough delay to think I hadn't met the quest objective or been successful. When I mouse over a spell, it would take a few seconds to display. You think a few seconds wouldn't matter but it was enough to annoy me. I don't know if that's how the game is, or my computer performance.

What I sadly remembered from the last time I played 2 years ago, were the zone loading screens. I made the mistake of zoning out of the tradeskill area, then logging out and the 2 combined took long enough for me to have time to think "yeah this will get old fast".

Like all MMORPGs, EQ2 has lots of things to do. But I can organize my dvd collection (very small) if I want something to do. I want something fun to do. Something that compels me to continue. I did have that when first playing EQ2 and I had it for a very long time playing WoW. I'm jonesing for that feeling again.


Tobold's comment in this post:
"Fortunately these complaints have come from the top raiding guilds, which are the only customers Blizzard is listening to."

made me think about all the comments I've seen about Blizzard focusing on raiding. Here are a few I came across with a quick search:

"95% of the work at Blizzard is probably about fine tuning all these en

"The game is going downhill. They've done the exact same thing that EQ did in catering to the top 1% in order to reduce subscription cancellation due to boredom by those 1%."

catering to Raiders and refusing to have a viable end game for Non-Raiders was the single most idiotic move Blizzard made, and yes it cost them many subscribers, they came back because Blizzard changed end game focus."

And that made me think about Naxxramas. A lot of focus is on the end-game because Blizzard wants its players to keep playing of course. Do they really put that much focus on raiding? I tend to disagree, but it does seem counter-productive to focus on an instance the majority of the players would never step foot in.

Due to the current complaints about Serpentshrine Cavern trash, and its buggy encounters, many players are lamenting the bygone days of Naxxramas. It is being mentioned as the best designed instance in the raiding game.

Unfortunately, and this is where it seems I support Tobold's statement, I only got the chance to see a small part of it at the right level. I could go back now, but as a guild officer told me "it doesn't matter now".

I remember saving crafting materials so I could help those in my guild make their T3 pieces, in the end only about 4 or 5 people actually got one piece of T3. I remember thinking we would have to get busy working on our frost resistance, sadly we got no where near Sapphiron. I remember the only way I would see loot from Naxx was on the backs of other players on the battleground after they installed cross-realm pvp.

Although my burnout on raiding leaves me without the most positive attitude about it, I wish I had experienced what many are saying how raid instances should be designed (without the required pot consumption I assume!)

Now the only chance I'll have to do Naxx, is as a level 70 (the tuning requirements are too steep for my level 60 alt to bother) with the challenge toned down and the loot too easily replaced. Naxxramas diminished to the category of Deadmines. That's a shame.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Something new?

I found myself searching for a new game last night. I did a few quests in WoW, but I felt like I was just doing them out of habit.

There was some talk about LOTRO in guild chat, a few are trying it out. I tried to log in and found that its closed to only those who pre-ordered. I think it opens back up to everyone else on the 6th.

Giving LOTRO a go is appealing at the moment. Instead of gathering 2,000 basilisk eyes, sinking 15 hours of raiding or spending 3 weeks of farming - I like the idea of starting something new, where getting an upgrade is only 5 wolf paws away or a quick visit to the farmer down the road.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

If that isn't hardcore, what is?

Either more players are reaching a ripe raiding age (groups needing fill-in players) or more raiders are quitting (groups needing replacement players) because I've seen several raid recruitment threads lately, at least on my realm. And not just for healers are usual, this time every class is sought after.

One I came across said "we're not hardcore", but later said "we raid weekdays seven to midnight".
I've never considered myself hardcore, although I raided more hours than I'm willing to admit here.

I'm starting to think we raiders have a very skewed idea of time invested.

I have no idea how much time some of the top raiding guilds in the world put in per day. But when I think of hardcore I think of them - the raiders who have cleared Karazhan, Gruul's Lair, Magtheridon, Serpentshrine Cavern, etc. When I compare myself to them, I'm not "hardcore" at all. Yet for the past year, I've put more time into raiding than probably anything else besides my job.

If that isn't hardcore, what is?

Monday, April 2, 2007

Helping your guild

Someone mentioned to me how sick they are of no one helping them in our guild.

We were talking about heroics at the time. You have to get revered with a faction in order to obtain a key to run a given heroic (heroic is a dungeon difficulty mode where the mobs and bosses are harder than your regular mode.)

For example, you have to hit revered with Honor Hold before you can purchase the key to enter heroic Hellfire Citadel instances.

I found myself empathizing and not sympathizing. I know exactly how it feels to ask for help and get no answer. I know how it feels to see the guild progress while I lag (hahah pun) behind. But what is the guild supposed to do exactly? Form a run for them each night until they hit revered? There are like 5 of them - not to mention any personal rep goals like Consortium some players may have. And after we do that, what about the next person who levels up, what about the person who levels up a month from now? 2 months from now? Who's job is it to make sure they have a group to hit revered with the Sha'tar?

It would be great if everyone would help one another with whatever is needed, but it is that type of attitude that led me to despise places like UBRS. That type of attitude led me to create alts that no one knew about just so I could play and not be asked to heal a Baron run.

Most of the guild is already like that when it comes to Black Morass, people want to be attuned for Karazhan, yes - but anyone who did it a month or more ago has run it so many times its just not that appealing to run again. When someone mentions it, all you hear are crickets chirping and see tumbleweeds rolling by in guild chat.

Everyone has their own agenda when they play. It helps that the your agenda matches others so that what you do benefits both. And that's what I think is the problem, the so-called "stragglers" are asking other to do things that don't necessarily benefit them so they are reluctant to help. I'm exalted with Shadow Labyrinth, sorry you need Murmur for a shoulder piece, I don't want to go back to that place (I'm not btw this is just an example.)

I don't know what the solution is. I'm not entirely fond of my own stance on the situation but it is one I live by - ask the guild for help, if they help you great, if they don't pug it. But don't sulk about it. Everyone has to get the same amount of rep (except those darn humans!), so its not like you have to do extra work, it will just take you a bit longer.

YANE note: I was reluctant to post this, because I think it comes off sounding selfish. But all the more reason to mention it.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Mistakes I've made

Last month, I pondered how you're supposed to know what class/race combo will be the best in the future when you first create it.

I've made mistakes, or to put it more nicely, not made the best of choices. Choosing a priest without fear ward was one of them.

Lately, I've felt choosing a priest period was a mistake. The very thing I chose it for - to be a healer and play a support role has become the bane of my existence. I can heal, so I have to heal.

Its weird because playing a priest is fun enough sometimes to keep me holding on to it. I almost prefer it to be totally lousy so I could leave her behind without regret. (I'm recalling the player that at the announcement of some paladin changes way-back-when, made an announcement to the guild that this was B.S., promptly deleted all of their characters and quit playing the game altogether. I wonder would they be happy with how paladins are now?)

Other mistakes I've made include:
*rolling on a pvp server
*raiding at the extent I have
*taking up enchanting - utter gold sink
*rolling on a west coast server

So according to this list, I would have been better off playing a non-raiding human warlock on a normal east coast server with mining and herbalism as my profession.

But hindsight is always 20/20.

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