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.

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"I don't *need* to play. I can quit anytime I want!"

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