Monday, July 27, 2009

What's missing

Over at Keen and Graev's blog, Keen (or was it Graev) was reminiscing about playing MMORPG and what they are missing today. He mentioned enjoying leveling and not caring about endgame and how today it is all about the endgame.

Well I think its easy to understand how he feels since he's talking about Everquest. I'm not sure if EQ created endgame. But it is very easy not to care about an endgame if it doesn't even exist yet.

I know WoW was my first game I played that had an endgame, but at the time I was playing it I didn't know really what that meant. It was fun to spend a lot of time to level up your crafting and craft an item at level 20, or spend a ton of time doing a class quest that would give you a reward at level 40. But now, why bother when it will be so easily replaced? And the reason why it is easily replaced is because we're all in a hurry to level and the reason we're in a hurry to level is because the bulk of players aren't leveling any more. They are at endgame and we want to play with them. The most fun I had in recent memory was when at one point I decided not to participate in endgame. I wasn't in a rush to level, so everything I got was valued more because I knew it was going to last longer.

Over at CoX when new players hit max and ask "Now what?" forum vets say "well the game is the journey". Weird advice for someone who completed the journey. Are they saying go run the journey again?

What's missing can't be captured again for player who has been there and done that.

If a new game is created today would developers tell us in advance the game is in the journey? Would you play such a game?

AE has ruined CoX

AE (Architect Entertainment) is the ability for players to create their own missions in City of Heroes/Villains (CoX). As a result players have made relatively easy missions with great reward - i.e. easily grindable high level mobs.

And players are flocking to these missions. Well, veterans aren't or aren't admitting to it. Veterans are the players who have played a long time and accumulated a lot of badges. At least on the forums, they've taken to calling those who have leveled via AE as "AE babies".

Perhaps rightly so, they are saying AE has ruined the game because only AE is getting action now. I agree they should make the rest of the game as appealing as AE is. But they also say those who have leveled don't have a clue how to play.

I'm leveling mostly by AE myself. I leveled the old way when I played before and let me say I'm glad there is an option to level faster. So maybe I'm not the best example, because I did play the slower way before. But I have to admit there isn't much difference.

Veterans have said they will only team with other veterans. They are checking badges. I find it interesting that a game which is surviving but could benefit from new players, has old players so quick to shut others out. They are proud the game is surviving because of them, but it isn't thriving. That's the point they fail to see.

I agree leveling via AE doesn't expose you to the rest of the game. Also you don't learn things you should by normally leveling. But my argument is how stupid are these players that can't learn L2P after they've hit max level? I swear I've yet to see much difference in fighting level 2s vs level 50s as far as group mechanics. And they have something in the game now that allows you to go back and do old content anyway.

As I hinted to in my previous post, CoX isn't rocket science. You think WoW is easy? You haven't played CoX. There are complaints that players don't know how to reach X or Y. Is it that hard to tell them "go here, then here". When I join a team and there's been something new added do I really need to spend a year playing the game to understand I need to take this or that portal? Or can my teammate say, "you need to go through this way". Ta da! Now I know, and it didn't take me months of leveling to find out.


For the first time that I can remember in City of Heroes (CoX) I participated in a fight that required some semblance of strategy. I've played CoX off and on since it was released.

Many players I started with quit early on because there really isn't much to the game when it boils down to it. But for some what it does provide is enough. I like creating characters and getting new powers and testing them out. Once I have all the powers I get bored of the missions (same ol' maps with same ol' mobs), players that quit sooner got bored easier, those who have played non-stop for 5 years haven't. Everyone has different tastes of what they find fun.

Anyway, to put in perspective with how "easy" missions are compared to WoW instances...

I finally did a new Task Force (a string of missions that lead to above average reward if you complete the whole thing) over the weekend. The fights were like they normally are in CoX. Tank tanks, dps dpses, healers heal. No brainer. But finally there was a fight where you had (at least we had to) have a mob off-tanked while we took care of the main mob. And in the same fight we had to peel off adds. What a shock!

Its funny because something like this wouldn't be considered much of a fight in WoW, but our group had trouble at first figuring this out. And this is the very first time I've experienced this in CoX. And I've played to max level at least once.

I could just feel the difference going from the Task Force back to WoW and going into Ulduar. Speaking of Ulduar and strategy, I headed back in and our guild is still stuck on the same stuff, actually its taken a step back with us being unable to kill the things we have before.

Since we haven't progressed my gear is holding up well. Why would I need upgrades for what is now old content? There was nothing about the raid itself that makes me want to keep raiding.

I feel our guild has reached its peak. It's not the core of the guild's fault. It is summer time and people take off for a variety of reasons (boredom being mine). But having to pull in new players and having to wipe again on the same stuff is demoralizing. I think the only way it will progress now is for the bosses left to be nerfed more. I don't think it will be nerfed until the new content comes out, and then of course I imagine we'll leave Ulduar behind. I admit I'd rather quit raiding now until Icecrown is released.

Raiding is losing its allure. I can play for hours but being committed to playing for hours is becoming anathema to me. If playing a game that requires little strategy is what I have to resort to, so be it.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Mission architect a quick look back

I had what I think is a funny idea for a mission in CoX (City of Heroes/Villians). But I haven't even bothered trying to create it because I realize the odds of anyone playing it will be low.

I still may put time in to doing it, just cuz. But the number of missions players are running from AE is very low compared to the number that exist. This is my guess just based on my own experience.

The most run missions are the ones that came out right when the Architect edition did that were pegged to be "good" missions by the developers. They are the first ones to show up in the search. So those are the ones people play. Even more popular are the "farming" missions. Those are missions where you get a bunch of mobs that are very easy to wipe out with a group and you fight these mobs over and over again. The missions have no story other than "Hi. Go kill stuff".

So my reason for purchasing CoX to make missions has been fulfilled. Little did I know that I'd would care that players would actually play them. But I realize I do care and the fact that I might get 1 or 2 people max to play through them doesn't entice me to bother.


Badges are to City of Heroes as Achievements are to WoW.

You can get badges for killing a certain amount of mobs, exploring areas, completing strings of missions, participating in events, etc. The other evening I got 4 badges at one time, just by running a mission with a group. Even after reading the description I'm not sure what they were for.

I am not going out of my way to earn any badges in CoH. (Also apparently CoH is now called CoX to incorporate City of Heroes AND City of Villians into one entity. So I'll try to call it that.)

I've already heard Champion's Online is coming out in September and if it turns out to be enjoyable, I'll set CoX aside to play it for awhile.

Not sure if this is accurate but apparently there are 687 badges attainable and one player says they have 674. He's missing the most from ones involving spending a number of days logged out in certain locations and another from owning the game for a number of months. In other words, all he needs to do is pay to play longer.

And that's one of the reasons I'm not going to bother trying very hard to get more badges. I think even though I spent years playing WoW I'm not going to stick with any other game anymore for a long period of time. And it is commitment to a game that allows you to gain all of those badges and achievements points and deeds and whatever else an MMO decides to call them.

I was comparing my hero creation from City of Villains and the booster packs and it simply looks better than the original City of Heroes. And Champions Online (I'm not in beta) looks better than CoX. I haven't even played CO (?) and I feel like CoX may lose some customers. The players it won't lose are those who have spent years accumulating these badges. Then again I felt like I had a decent amount of achievements and I haven't looked back...yet.

(Speaking of achievements by the time I read about Zoltan reaching 10,000 achievement points in WoW he had already passed the threshold.)

By choosing not to chase after badges, I'm able to stick to doing what is fun and not into some time sink within a time sink within a time sink.

I have some ideas of what I want to do in CoX and once I'm done I hope CO or some other game out there will be a better alternative than obtaining 687 badges or 10,000 achievement points.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Another weekend

Another weekend has gone by where I haven't played WoW. I've promised a friend that I will play next weekend. I'll let you know how it goes.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Imagine This Part 3 : The End

City of Heroes removed the mission I was referring to in a recent unscheduled patch. Well they removed what WoW would call mobs you could play in missions who could be killed but wouldn't fight back.

Overall I think it was a good move. We have to be herded into doing the right thing because given the path of least resistance guess which fork in the road we'll take?

For me personally it was a bad move but I'll get used to it I'm sure. Contrary to what a CoH veterans might tell ya, CoH is kinda dead outside of Architect Entertainment missions. Well dead compared to WoW I guess which is always an unfair comparison. Being able to find groups via AE was much easier than anywhere else in the game.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Imagine this Part 2

Yesterday I tried to describe the type of instance in WoW that would compare to AE farm missions in City of Heroes.

AE (Architect Entertainment) farm missions are basically player-made instances set up to be easily cleared out for lots of xp and influence (money in the CoH world).

As someone commented this would be boring. And it tends to get boring! However the payout is so good I find it hard to skip a farming group if I can get on one.

I admit to being part of the problem. It is harder to find groups (or "teams" in CoH) to do anything else when you can go into a farming mission on auto-pilot and get the same reward only quicker.

When I get bored, I go do a different mission by myself. But then I want a new level, thus access to new superpowers, and farming missions is the fastest way to get it.

But the specific type of farming mission I was trying to describe in WoW terms, is actually considered an exploit by many. And I see their point. What you have to kill for xp doesn't fight back. It doesn't do anything but let you wale on it until you kill it. You don't have to worry about having a healer or tank, the main complaint is usually there isn't enough damage to finish the missions faster!

It does make me think when they remove the "exploit" will I be satisfied with doing things the slower way again?

It would probably take another post to reach this conclusion, but I wonder if that's why people are complaining about stuff in WoW being too easy. If things get so easy to a point you start wondering about why you're doing it at all.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Imagine this

Imagine an instance you could access from Kharanos, Goldshire or Teldrassil.

The mobs have zero aggro range, no attacks and only the ability to heal themselves a little.

They are clothie and clustered together throughout the instance.

The mobs wouldn't drop any greens/blues/epics but they would drop money.

The XP would rival that of any quests you could do.

Would you run that instance over and over again? Or would you do quests and other instances?

Nail #2?

I totally forgot about raiding this week. It actually slipped my mind!

I was getting in the car and for some reason thought to myself "OMG I'm supposed to be raiding right now!"

Well I hadn't actually signed up, so it wasn't like they were expecting me to be there.

I drove off and forgot about it again until now.

I think totally forgetting about WoW and then not even caring once you do remember qualifies as another nail in the coffin for me.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Blogs, forums and Jerks : Oh My!

In a suprise announcement Tobold is taking a break from blogging for 3 weeks. After the 3 weeks is over he'll decide if he wants to continue blogging again.

Hopefully I'm paraphrasing correctly when I say he's taking a break because of the rude tangents some commenters take on his blog. His main reason for blogging is to have discussion about topics he's interested in, not spend time moderating, filtering through garbage of other commenters agendas.

I'm reminded of one of Tseric's (an ex-WoW forum Community Manager) last posts before he left to do other things:

"When you can understand how a group of belligerent and angry posters can drive away people from this game with an uncrafted and improvisational campaign of misery and spin-doctoring, then perhaps, you can understand the decisions I make. Until you face mobs of psychology, you will not see my side.

Until you see some bright-eyed player coming onto the forums wanting to know what they should spec as this class, and see them shat on and driven away by petty and selfish people who are simply leveraging for game buffs, you will not understand.

You will not understand until you have to see it daily, for years...

Until you understand that many people will trod over you to get where they're going, or to get what they want.

Until you understand that so many people will agree, completely, 100% with a loud, vulgar and assertive individual, not because he is right, but because he is making a stand against "the Man"; to take no critical thought in what they say, but simply to hop on board."

Now while I read Tobold's blog with some regularity, I don't usually keep up with all the comments to his posts. I can't say exactly if Tseric's experience is what Tobold is going through but it sure sounds like it.

I've posted genuine questions on WoW forums, hoping for advice, comments, suggestions or some form of discourse by the people who supposedly love the game and instead have been met with negativity. I take it in stride of course. The suggestion is usually to go to Elitist Jerks if you want better conversation, but even that forum has been invaded by garbage you have to sift through to get anything of real use.

Like a commenter said, this is a result of "e-fame". Tobold is popular and WoW is popular and Elitist Jerks is popular and with the larger audiences you risk being exposed to a larger amount of...jerks.

I made a post previously about how EJ seems to no longer be able to keep up with the amount of unhelpful posts that make it to their forums. It is expected on WoW forums, but EJ expounds it is a "site dedicated to intelligent discussion".

I think EJ should take a cue from Tobold. I realize shutting down may not be an option, but they should revoke everyone's access. Perhaps only allow certain people to post, everyone can search and read of course, but you should have some sort of credibility before you are allowed to post. Hmm that's starts veering into free speech and the like...

(I realize this post ends abruptly, sorry for now!)

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Player-made content: City of Heroes

I purchased City of Heroes so I could try out the architect edition.


* Easy to create a mission. It's easy to create a plain mission. This gets your feet wet. This kinda leads to a con, its also easy to create a crappy mission with mispellings, omissions and the like.

* Takes time to create unique mission. It takes a bit longer to create a mission using your own custom characters. But that has always been the fun of CoH.


* The maps are limited. Unless I'm missing something you only a few basic choices - cave, warehouse, cargo hold, bank and a few more. It is really hard to get truly creative when you're stuck to the basic maps. I did come across unique maps, but they were just modifications of the basic ones. If they somehow allow more creativity to user made maps that would be a plus.

* I didn't think about it until I was ready to create my very first mission that since EVERYONE is creating missions the odds anyone will bother to play yours is low. Yes the fun is in creating the mission, but at least for me, satisfaction is from finding out whether anyone enjoyed your creation. Now do you see why Blizzard may have wanted more than 1% of their player base to experience the original Naxxramas?

* I doubt the most creative missions are the most used. You can farm levels in CoH and the missions that allow for that are popular.

* The most popular missions are...the most popular missions. Yes it is great that the missions rated well can be filtered to the top. But guess which missions you're most likely to choose. One from the first page vs one on the 101st page. I'm sure the most popular missions are that way for a reason. But I'm sure that leaves some nuggets unearthed. No I'm not saying *my* mission is a gold nugget!

* The quickest path is a straight line. I think they did the game a diservice by allowing all of the player made creations to have a common portal. And easily accessible one at that. It is great that I have access to all of the player made missions from one access point. It is great that I can reach this access point with a short trip. I won't bother explaining why these 2 great things are horrible for the game.

How long with architect edition keep me occupied? Not long. After playing around with it to figure out how to create something I'm already a bit bored with it. Now it is just a matter of doing it all over again for another mission. That won't stay fun for long.

Essentially the boredom with creating the missions is due to the boredom of playing City of Heroes to being with. There's just not much to it. But since I don't want to play any game much anyway right now it's actually perfect.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Short visit

I didn't keep count, but I think I logged about 6-7 hours in the past 2 weeks. And the majority of that was raiding. It still sounds like a lot for someone who is "quitting".

I logged on just in time to get Flame Warden. That leaves me with one seasonal event - Brewfest - to complete for "It's been a long, strange trip."

I don't *need* the mount, since I already have a 310% one. I want to get the "achievement" because I think it sums up my period of playing WoW. I've mentioned before I wish there was a way to complete a never-ending game. And I think this may be it. It will be a long, strange trip I'll be able to say I've finished.

The way I've felt lately I may not make it to Brewfest, will I be so over WoW by this fall I won't even log back on? Or will something new pull me back in and have me playing as much as I ever did? Time will tell...

I also raided recently. Even with all the nerfs our guild has ran into a wall. I read Blizzard is going to add the option to lengthen raid periods. This would work wonders for our raid if we are willing to give up a week of easy epics.

I'm all for it. I noticed at our last raid, several key members weren't even there, we had 3-4 who had never done some of the fights on 25 and some of the normal raiders were on their alts. In other words we're done with all we can accomplish in our current incarnation.

My favorite times raiding have always been when we're making progress. Even if it wasn't killing the boss, but just making improvements on how far we've gotten in the phases. My least favorite times are farming, and especially farming simply because its the best the raid can do. We don't have the people we need - let's go kill Razorscale - again. No thanks.

I don't have an alt to take, and even if I did, I don't enjoy raiding that much anymore to make an excuse to keep going back. If we don't take the extended raid to start making progress on some of the rest of the bosses in Ulduar it will be my next nail.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Another nail in the coffin

I realize I'll never be one of those players that just up and quit. It's going to be a gradual thing and I'll be able to blog about it. Just as I've blogged about whatever else I'm doing in WoW. I'm warning you up front it may sound depressing, because it does have me a little sad. But I'm going to quit apologizing for the tone of my blog, because it's just reflecting how I feel.

Most blogs you'll just notice someone isn't posting as much anymore. Some eventually post again to say they've quit the game and the blog. Or they've quit the game and their blog is going in a new direction. I imagine if (hopefully when!) I quit I'll quit the blog too. I won't be too sad about it though, because unlike Resto 4 Life I wasn't providing a community service about druid gear/skills/etc.

But back to the title of the post. I'm putting nails in the coffin that is WoW (don't think too deep about that metaphor). My recent nail was as I traveled extinguishing fires and honoring flames I thought to myself "I don't want to do this." I even was playing with a friend which is usually a lot of fun, and I was just going through the motions. I've logged of with a bit of it still left undone. This is coming from someone who in the past tried to get all of the seasonal events completed within the first few days.

I've actually logged on, found myself running around in circles a bit wondering what I want to do, realizing nothing in game, and logging off. It's not because there is nothing to do, its because all of a sudden nothing interests me.

I honestly am curious how this happened. How did I go from racing around the world doing quests for Loremaster to not being able to log on and stay logged in more than 5 minutes?

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

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