Archive for the ‘World of Warcraft’ category

Thoughts On WoW Complaints

June 21, 2011

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Haters gonna hate

I just wanted to talk a bit about some of the complaints that people level against WoW. I’m not currently playing the game, and I understand that most of the hate is just from burnout and not from actual dislike of the game, but it bugs me when people bash one of the greatest MMOs ever made in order to justify the fact that they’ve just grown tired of it after FIVE years or more.

It’s all about the loot!

First off I just want to say, yes it is. World of Warcraft is all about the loot, it’s the reason most gamers continue to play even though they have no social ties to the community. It’s the reason most players do dungeons, and it’s the reason most raiders raid. Sure, there are those who raid merely for the companionship but they are merely finding their own way to enjoy the content provided, not the reason provided by the developer.

So why do I think this argument is asinine if I am willing to admit that it’s true? Simply because it is stupid to assume that World of Warcraft would be anything BUT a loot based game. Are there MMOs out there that are not focused on loot? Yes. Are there MMOs out there that do not make gear obsolete as you get the next piece? Yes. But you don’t pick up a Tim Burton film expecting bright and cheerful environments and happy fun time feelings. On the same token you don’t pick up a Blizzard RPG, the makers of Diablo, a game whose sole draw was obtaining tons and tons of new loot, expecting a game with very little focus on gear. It’s just people liking MOST of the game, and wishing parts of it were different. That’s fine, but you can’t fault World of Warcraft for your unrealistic expectations.

You level too quickly. You can’t experience the content at the appropriate level.

This is one of those arguments I can almost agree with. Leveling in WoW post Cataclysm is so fast you can shoot through several zones without even noticing, especially if you que for Battlegrounds or Dungeons while running around questing. I can understand people being upset that, sure they can go back and do those quests but it’s going to be trivial and they aren’t going to enjoy the questing as much as they would.

So why do I think this argument is flawed? It’s simple really: You can turn off XP gain in World of Warcraft. There aren’t many MMOs I’ve played that give you the option of turning off XP gain, but WoW did it. Sure it was for another reason, namely PVPing and Twinking, but it’s there. The only problem with this is that you won’t be able to que for Battlegrounds while XP capped. Well, you can que, but you probably won’t be getting any pops as you’ll be que’d only against others with their XP turned off. Still, if you feel like you are nearing the end of a zones level range you can take a quick trip to Orgrimmar, cap your XP, then head back out and finish up the zone before restarting that XP bar and continuing on. Just because you are too lazy to utilize the options given to you doesn’t mean you should fault the game.

It’s a roller coaster, I can’t go anywhere and do anything like I can in games like DarkFall or Ultima Online. It feels like they’re holding my hand the entire time!

This is the worst argument I have ever heard against World of Warcraft. The belief is that, just because there ARE quests and quest paths through zones that you MUST obey them, or be subject to some unknown, but obviously horrific punishment. World of Warcraft in no way restricts your movement through MOST of the world, it is just as open and open ended as many games people usually reference here as being better.

How can I say that when the quests guide you through the easiest paths? Because nothing is making you follow the quests. In Ultima Online I can create a character and immediately go to almost anywhere in the game. I can do the exact same thing in WoW. I can already hear the arguments: “But in WoW there are levels that restrict you. Sure you could GO to Blasted Lands at level 1, but you’ll die almost instantly.” My counter? The same is true of Ultima Online, it’s just not as obvious. Can I go anywhere? Yes. Will I survive for more than a second against a mob that has far higher combat skills than me? No. Just because it’s not a level doesn’t mean it’s not a barrier to content. Same with the questing. Just because quests are in the game, doesn’t mean you have to do them. Go off the beaten path, explore and kill whatever you feel like killing on your way to the level cap. Feel the game is too easy? Try fighting mobs two or three levels higher than yourself and see how easy the game is.

The community is terribad!

I can’t deny this one at all. I can suggest that you find a more friendly guild, a group of players that’s in it for fun and friendship and not the ‘Epics’. They’re out there, but you need to actively look to find them. Sure you’re still going to have to deal with the rest of the WoW population, but I find getting into a good guild and then turning off trade and general chat goes a long way toward making me feel like I belong.

World of Warcraft has ruined MMOs. All MMOs coming out are trying to be like WoW and they suck because of it.

This is one of the dumbest arguments I have ever heard, and even the smallest amount of research or knowledge completely negates it. World of Warcraft was based off of the, at the time, most successful MMOs out there: Asheron’s Call and EverQuest. From the zone breakdown to the controls to the gear to the combat. Blizzard just made a streamlined, polished version, exactly as Trion World’s recently did with Rift. Due to it’s ties with Warcraft, it’s cartoony graphics, and it’s ease of play WoW gained a lot of players, more than any other MMO at the time. Then something happened, a force of nature that no one could predict or manufacture saw WoW gain Millions of subscribers. No one can really say why, it’s just one of those things. So what’s killing MMOs? Everquest actually.

At the time Everquest launched there was really only one other combatant: Ultima Online. In EQ you had everything we see in MMOs today: Obvious zone progression, large raids, massive grind and a leveling time that prevented any new players from even seeing their friends for years, if they ever made it. Over in UO we had a massive open world where, even as a total newb like my current character is, I can travel with my guild for all the end game raids and actually provide SOME help. UO had an amazing crafting system unlike anything I’ve seen yet, with dozens of crafting professions at launch and even more now. You can sculpt marble and stone to make decorations, or make furniture for your house, or kegs to store alchemy potions, or a thousand other things, and you could just decide one day that you want to do something different, and start working on lowering your swords and raising your magic skill with that very same character. Sadly the industry followed EverQuest, not due to it’s gameplay features, but due to it’s pretty 3D graphics. Ultima Online and games like it were left behind because your average gamer prefers graphics over substance, and that will never change.

I do however have one major complaint of my own.

WoW has been out for over five years now, it’s seen three expansions, and it has received almost nothing new. Sure, new zones and gear, but for a game that’s been out as long as it has to blatantly ignore the cries of it’s players is just sad. The following is a list of things that really should have been in the game by now:

Player Housing

Appearance Slots

More Classes

Dynamic Events

Useful crafting (Not only for end game but for leveling/decorating/fun)

New Player Skins (Seriously, after seeing the Goblins I can’t even look at the older races. They’re fugly at this point, while everything else has been improved.)

New Player Models (Not necessary with new skins, but good God the WoW characters are fugly now. Make it like EQII where you only see them if you check a box in the options, for the older computers out there).

More Secondary Professions (such as gardening, or raising your non-combat pets so they get bigger, maybe breeding mini-games for mounts or something).

Probably a lot more I haven’t thought of, or can’t think of off the top of my head now.

WoW Premium Content Dungeon Finder

May 19, 2011

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Mike Morhaime in the Blizzard offices.

This will be a relatively quick post. I just wanted to address the idea that Blizzard put out on their official forums, this premium content dungeon finder. In case you haven’t heard you would get the ability to invite Real ID friends to party with you, even if they are on another server. That way you and your friends can all go dungeon running together.

That’s a great idea, and something the forums have apparently been clamoring for. What’s the problem? Well it’s going to be premium. That means you will need to pay extra for the ability every month. You might think “well, $2 a month isn’t bad for something this great!” and you’d be sort of right. The problem is that Blizzard hasn’t announced the price yet and if they are willing to sell a sparkle pony for more than a monthly subscription fee, well you might be seeing an extra $10 charge a month if you want to play with your friends.

Still don’t think it’s THAT bad? Well, maybe you’re right, everyone needs to make money. I certainly don’t begrudge any company doing what it has to do to stay in business. So why don’t I like it? If Blizzard came out and said “Look guys, I know you think that we make a ton of money with this game, but in truth look at all these bills associated with running the game, and in the end we’re barely holding on, so we need something to make some extra money.” If that happened I’d be the first person to resub to WoW and pay the extra, just to help out a company that has given me countless hours of enjoyment over the last 10 years.

That however is not what is happening. What is happening is Activision-Blizzard making more money than any ten people could count in a month. WoW alone makes them enough money to probably give their entire staff a million dollar bonus every year and still be rolling in it. So what’s going on? Well they know you’ll pay for it, and greed has always run capitalism. They’re making trillions, and they’d like to make trillions plus $10, just to add to that profit margin, and that’s disgusting and greedy.

I know some people will defend it by saying that it’s just how businesses are, and that every business wants to make as much money as possible. To them I have one thing to say: WHY IS THAT AN ACCEPTABLE ANSWER? I don’t want to live in a world where my life and the lives of my children are meaningless to our faceless corporate masters, and neither should you. Now is Blizzard going to create a dystopia? No. But is it ok to just accept outright greed and the obvious hatred big corporations have for their customers just because “that’s how it is”? No. I for one am glad I have unsubscribed from WoW, and I don’t think I’ll ever be going back.

See you all in whatever game I happen to be playing at the time! (As of this writing I am currently enjoying the MMOs: Vanguard, Rift and Champions Online).

Pity Party at Bloodline Champion’s House!

January 13, 2011

Manifest Pixel. It’s weird to think that I’ve had this blog running for almost a year. My previous best was three days on a Warhammer Online blog I made to run with my wife. By the time we finished creating a layout, uploading it, getting a domain name etc, we got tired of the game.

On a personal note, after having just left the Navy a little more than a year ago, and a current college student and married man, I don’t have a lot of time to find and make new friends. I still talk, rarely, to some of my Navy friends over Steam and Raptr, but for the most part my poor wife has to deal with my angry rantings on video games, or my geeking out over a new expansion announcement. To be fair, she is an avid gamer and doesn’t have a problem with it, but still.

Manifest Pixel has allowed me to rant, scream, role play and just talk about all kinds of gaming stuff. It’s really given me a great outlet and I love it. Does that mean it’s all good? Not exactly.

The truth is that running this blog can actually cause a lot of stress. Am I putting up enough stories? What should I blog about today? Why did I only have 3 visitors this week? That kind of thing. In truth it can be a little disheartening for me, especially when I am left out of “top blogger” lists. Does it really matter? Not a lick. Heck, this is a pretty new blog and I’m not the best writer in the blogosphere, but still, do I feel like I’m not doing well enough when I don’t make these lists? Yeah, ridiculous as that is.

Most recently it was The Pink Pigtail Inn’s community generated list that sent me into a spiral of self hate and flagellation. Do I think her list is actually pretty accurate and good? Yes, I think, like the Massively list before it, that it’s a pretty accurate representation of the gaming Blogosphere. That doesn’t mean I don’t kick myself for not being good enough for it.

What does all this mean? Not a damn thing really. It has made me update the blog a little more, so I guess that’s a good thing. But enough of this pity party stuff, let’s get on with today’s news!

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Bloodline Champions – Let’s PVP

Bloodline Champions is finally out of beta with it’s official launch today! I played for a bit in beta, but never as much as I wanted to. For those that don’t know, the game plays less like DOTA and more like WoW’s arenas. You pick on of several “classes”, and it pairs you with two other people. You must cooperate with your team to destroy the enemy in two of three matches.

I’m pretty excited about this, and I’m downloading the launch client as we speak. This is a free to play game, and they are using a cash shop, but I don’t know what they are selling yet. I’ll keep you all updated once I get in game, and there’ll be more this weekend.

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WoW is…hard again?

I remember less than two months ago. People all over the blogosphere, and on every WoW related forum, were bashing the game for being far too easy. To a degree they were right, but I still think that was more because of the amount of mods people use to cheat the system, such as Deadly Boss Mods. Still, Blizzard listened and they tuned Cataclysm heroics to be harder. Not as hard as some Burning Crusade heroics, but unlike in Burning Crusade they don’t require you to play the dungeon a ton of times before you can buy the guy to unlock Heroics. This leads to people having NO idea what they are supposed to do in groups.

What did all this lead to? It led to the blogosphere and WoW related forums exploding with complaints of difficulty. What does this tell me? Gamers have no idea what they want. Often they scream for the good old days of EverQuest and Ultima Online. Oh how those games were SO much better than todays games. Bullshit. If that was true they’d still be playing those games. The truth is that most people want what they knew. If someone came into the MMO scene with World of Warcraft, they are ALWAYS going to crave that new WoW player experience. For those of us brought up on Ultima Online we will always crave those glory days.

The truth of the matter though is a lot like it is with cartoons. You might talk about how cartoons were much better when you were a kid, but if you go back and watch them, most cartoons from when we were kids are near unwatchable now.

What was Blizzards response to all this QQing? Nothing less than this epic post. It has been nice having a World of Warcraft blog run by the developers, and Ghostcrawler makes some great points with this blog, addressing the complaining on the forums and around the net. What do you think about all this? Leave me a comment.

Rift Beta 4: The Likes

January 11, 2011

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The day Telara exploded.

Last time I talked about Rift it was the negatives and things I was worried about due to Beta 4. At the end of that I said I was still going to buy the game, but I didn’t get into any detail as to why. The following should clear that up and I hope will help push a few more readers to pick up this great game.

First of all let’s get the “it’s generic” argument out of the way. It’s true the game has very few “signature moves” so to speak. They aren’t touting something new to MMOs and that’s led a lot of people to write the game off without bothering to see more. But let’s look at some of the amazing games that have brought something new to the genre recently.

Warhammer Online – WAR brought the idea, as far as I know, of public quest. Quests that are zone wide and you don’t need to talk to anyone to accept the quest or help out.

Age of Conan – Amazing new melee combat with finishing moves that give Mortal Kombat a run for it’s money as far as blood goes.

Tabula Rasa – A more shooter oriented control scheme and a drastically different setting, making it a space aged shooter instead of a fantasy world. Perhaps not the first but one of the most high profile.

Auto Assault – A new setting of apocalyptic cars or whatever. You controlled a Twisted Metal meets Mad Max style monstrosity in a never ending destruction derby.

Matrix Online – It’s combat system was one of the more interesting things I’ve seen in any MMO in years. It was also, again, not fantasy.

Lego Universe – With it’s focus on building instead of questing Lego Universe might be the most unique MMO I’ve ever had the pleasure of seeing in action.

Now, there are many more MMOs that have come out recently touting one or more things that make them unique, and while a few on this list haven’t failed, and Lego Universe is too young to pass judgment on, can we honestly say that having something new and unique made these games amazing? Are we all still impressed with Public Quests? Hell, most of us were tired of PQs by the end of the beta. Did Age of Conan’s blood and interesting melee combat matter when you got to mid game and realized they didn’t have time to implement quests or sieges? How are Tabula Rasa, Auto Assault and Matrix Online doing with their unique bits?

The point here is that originality doesn’t make for a good game. In fact, some of the best games in other genres have focused more on polish than on innovation. Bioshock had nothing in it that wasn’t in other shooters, but it did everything just right. Same with Starcraft II and the RTS genre, or Uncharted II and the third person platformer/shooter genre. What about New Vegas? That was basically Fallout 3, and yet it was done so well, and with just a simple change of location, that the game was amazing.

So no, Rift isn’t unique, and it doesn’t have a “gimmick” like other MMOs that have come out or are coming out. Instead Rift has focused on making a good game, on perfected what they took from other games in the genre. What they’ve come up with, even in BETA, is one of the more fun MMOs I’ve played in a few years. Rift may or may not hold me through it’s end game, but it’ll definitely be enough to get me to end game.

Now that I’ve had my rant on originality, let’ get to the bullet point style list:

Rifts, while I am worried about them late in the games life, can be extremely fun and addictive. Are they an interesting way to get players to grind? Of course, that’s what any quest is, but that doesn’t make it not fun. In fact, on Sunday when Trion did the MASSIVE fire invasion, where the entire zone exploded in fire rifts and everyone had to run around closing rifts, fighting off invasions, and finally tracking down and murdering a high ranking Fire general, well that was the most fun I’ve had in any MMO since trying to sell fish stakes in front of the Brittania bank.

Another thing both me and my wife loved were the artifacts. Much like EverQuest II’s collectibles, even copying the “ball of golden light on the ground” look of them, Rift’s collectibles are something we both really enjoy. Neither of us plays EQII anymore, so having this feature in a game we do play is going to be a blast, whether you get anything for it or not, it gives the player something to do other than just fight.

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Some of the spell effects are just badass.

Having your character not look like a retarded moose through most of the game is also a huge plus. This is due to the fact that, like Warhammer Online, you seem to have certain “looks” for certain level ranges, and while sometimes you’ll get something drastically different, for the most part you look pretty good. Add to this the fact that there are dyes in the game and, assuming they don’t suddenly open a cash shop and charge for black dye, your character can look as cool as you want. Does it dye the entire armor piece? No, just certain parts depending on the armor, which I couldn’t be happier about. There’s nothing worse for breaking immersion that running across GROGNAK TEH DESTRAWER in a flood fill bright pink plate outfit.

The PVP, while they did screw up by making it ten levels per bracket, was extremely fun. The battles were quick, which was nice, but still intense. There was a variation on Warhammer Online’s Murder Ball, but it was made much more fun by the quickness with which it kills the carrier, the turnover rate, and the fact that you got more points the farther you carried the ‘ball’ away from your base.

The leveling experience, from 1-20 at least, is just a blast if you like Theme Park MMOs. The questlines carry you through the zone, keeping you in appropriate levels and making sure you have a good time. Feeling bored of that? Head off the beaten path to get some more crafting materials or to look for artifacts. Better yet, go close some of those Rifts you see on the map. Tired of questing and rifting? Que up for some Warfronts. Is any of Rift truly unique other than the setting, which is still fantasy based? Nope. Is Rift one of the MMOs I am most excited to play? You bet. Sadly Beta 4 is over, and unless the never few betas are 30-40 or end game I doubt I’ll be playing more. Why? Rift only has two starting zones, and unless you have the option of going through many different zones for each level range after level twenty then I don’t want to burn myself out on the content before I start the character that really matters.

All I can say though is that if Rift wants to keep me for more than a year they better add a new starting zone in the first expansion. Heck, while they are doing that it might as well be for a third faction entirely. Maybe the death dragon faction? Who’d turn down a three way faction Warfront? Not me that’s for sure. Oh, but that has been done before, so I guess they shouldn’t worry about it.

Leave a comment and let me know what you think.

Goblins–Best Race, Worst Starting Area?

December 24, 2010

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Cool Goblin’s don’t look at explosions.

I’ve had a chance to play through the goblin starting area three times now and my opinion of it has changed quite a bit. At first I thought that the zone was interesting but nothing special. By the third playthrough I realized it might be one of the worst starting zones in World of Warcraft, which is pretty sad seeing as how it’s one of the newest.

Bet let’s talk about the Goblin race in general first. Before Cataclysm dropped I was pretty sad that the Horde was getting shafted with Goblins, while the Alliance got a werewolf race. What? How does that seem fair? Especially after the Horde got shafted with Blood Elves and the Alliance got good natured demons in Burning Crusade!

Fortunately, after playing through the starting areas with both the Worgen and the Goblins, I’ve realized that the Horde actually made out better race wise than the Alliance. First of all they didn’t take the opportunity to change the human model for the Worgen. I understand not changing the normal human models because some people would get upset, but why reuse the same terrible models for the Worgen human form? Still, I guess you can just stay in Worgen form all the time and look feral and awesome. Unless you’re playing a female Worgen. As my wife pointed out, the male Worgen get glowing eyes, wolf like manes, and just look really feral. The female Worgen look more like a good natured Anubis, with big eyes and more curves than fur. It’s like they were trying to make them attractive instead of feral, so I guess score one for the furry lovers out there.

The Goblins on the other hand aren’t the terrible Goblin model we’ve seen since the launch of Vanilla. I was really worried before Cataclysm launched that it would be the same model. Thankfully it’s a beautiful redo that brings a short race to the Horde without getting cute. The only downside for the race that I’ve found, other than the starting zone which we will get to, is that after looking at the beautiful textures of the Goblin skins, when I look at any of my other characters I cringe. They look God awful comparatively, and it’s about time Blizzard added some new, high res skins for every race and gives us one free redo, while leaving the old skins for those who actually like them, or have really poor machines. I don’t want an EQII styles “replace or not” scheme, just add some new good skins.

The Starting Zone

Let’s get into the worst aspect of the Goblin race, their terrible starting area and lore. Is it unique? Absolutely. Is it beautiful? Very, especially the island you go to after you leave the starting city. So what’s the problem? Well the first problem is that I have absolutely no investment in the Goblins yet. When I play through the new Troll starting area, or the Forsaken areas, I can see the amazing changes they’ve made to the lore, and feel like a badass when Sylvanas calls me her personal murder machine. With the Goblins you get none of that, even when *SPOILER HERE! IF YOU HAVEN’T BEAT THE GOBLIN STARTING AREA YOU SHOULD GO TO THE NEXT PARAGRAPH* your capital city is destroyed by Deathwing I felt nothing for the millions of Goblins murdered or anything else that happened, if Undercity had been wiped out I would have been jumping up and down screaming.

Another problem is that, while you are supposed to be this important Goblin in your society, enough to rival the big cheese and about to become a friggin Trade Prince you’re entire time spent in the city is either doing meaningless events like picking up your friends or serving drinks at a party, instead of making you feel like a hero like the other starting areas. Sure they try and rectify this in the second island, but with all of these people who used to be your servants moments ago rising to a position of authority it just feels like your failing miserably the entire time. I never felt like I was a rising star, more like I’d just gone supernova and it was time to end it all.

This is getting a bit long, and I have many other complaints, but the biggest one is the simplest one. Your faction leader is a tool. The entire Goblin starting area pushing you to hate him and feel like he’s a tool, a chump, a piece of stinkin offal that you need to scrape from the boot of your society. Then *SPOILER AGAIN* Thrall just comes up and appoints him, not you who rivaled him and helped Thrall not be tortured to death, to leader of the Bildgewater Cartel Goblins. I have sometimes not cared much about my faction leader, such as the Night Elf chick who is meaningless past her involvment with the Stormrage brothers, and sometimes I have loves my faction leaders and thought of them as total badasses, such as Thrall or Sylvanas. Never have I thought of my faction leader as a pussy who by all rights should be dead under my boot if not for the intervention of Thrall. What happens later when they use him in lore like they did with Sylvanas and the Halls of Reflection, or Thrall and Wrynn destroying stuff in the Undercity? I’ll just remember what an asshat he was and that I should be in charge.

I’ll talk more about Cataclysm’s Faction Leader Fail later. Have a merry Christmas if you do that thing, or a happy whatever if you don’t.

Lowbie vs. Main–The Cataclysm Experience

December 17, 2010

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That’s my hunter in the front there, looking cooler than any level 40 has a right to.

To be fair I haven’t made it out of Vashj’ir or whatever the level 80-82 underwater area is called, so keep that in mind as we move forward. So far I’ve enjoyed Vashj’ir except for a few serious problems. The main one is that the respawn timer for several mob types seems broken. Mobs will respawn as you kill them, and while that’s not exactly a problem, when you combine it with the fact that you’ll probably pull more mobs than usual due to mobs not only being on your plane, but above and below you as well. To limit this I try to ‘walk’ on the sea floor as much as possible, and it helps to a limited extent.

Another problem with Vashj’ir isn’t so much with the zone, but with the number of people playing in it. The mobs respawn crazy fast so that’s not a problem, but when you swim up to an area that is supposed to be swarming with the mobs you need, and all you see is thirty players AOEing like mad in hopes of tagging one of the mobs when it spawns, it gets annoying fast. Compared to the lower level quests Vashj’ir also seems a little lacking in story. There are hundreds of quests it seems, but only a few that continue the main story. Sure most of the random side quests tie into the main story somehow, but until I got to the Battlemaiden quests I wasn’t really enjoying the story at all.

That leads me into what I think of the lowbie zones I’ve done. The first thing I want to comment on is the amazing storyline that runs you through zones at the perfect pace, revealing story bits along the way. One thing I wish the developers had included would be some of the path quests. Quests that didn’t matter in the grand scheme of things, but had little self contained stories that you would only find if you went off the main quest path and just went exploring.

Some people have expressed concern that the lowbie levels are too linear, and that it doesn’t feel as social as an MMO should. The first thing I have to say is that, unless you are playing specifically with friends, most people level solo in WoW, and have for most of it’s existence. If I’m going to be leveling mostly solo anyway, why not give me a really great single player type story? Should I just go play a single player game then? No, because I can enjoy this single player story in a duo with my wife, or if I want to do a dungeon I can gather some friends, or use the LFD tool. Besides, if you are not enjoying the single player story style of Cataclysm, you might as well cancel your pre-order for The Old Republic, because that game looks to be even more story oriented.

One of the great things about the new lowbie experience is that you don’t really have to look like a total idiot until you get to Northrend anymore. It used to be that you had mismatched gear from level 5 to level 68, when you get Northrend and got the muted brown gear that matched. Now though, if you rely completely on quest gear, you can look pretty cool as you level up. Every ten or twenty levels your quest gear will change it’s look, and you’ll be slightly mismatched for a few levels until you get the rest of your gear. Overall it’s nice to look cool early on, something I really missed from Warhammer Online.

The major drawback to the new low level experience is the old high level experience. Sure, Northrend isn’t bad really, and it’s got a few REALLY cool questlines, but in between awesome old world content and good Northrend content is the dreaded eight to ten levels of shitty Outland content. When it first came out the quests weren’t terrible, though most didn’t like Hellfire from the start, but they weren’t great either. Now, after WotLK and Cataclysm, I am seriously dreading going to Outland. It sits there, taunting me, letting me know that I may be having fun now, but the Dark Portal awaits. I don’t even care that the storyline isn’t going to flow naturally, just that there really isn’t much of a story at all in Outland. There are one or two quests per zone that might be considered part of an overall story, but until you get into raid quests it really doesn’t come together.

All in all I’m excited to tank my first Cataclysm instance still, but that’s on the back burner while I level up my Undead Hunter and my Goblin Warrior. I’m really excited for the Warrior too, as I’d love to compare his tanking ability at 85 to my Druid and Paladin when I finally get them those five levels.

The next post won’t be Cataclysm or WoW related, but until then enjoy whatever you are playing!

Two Factions, 5 Levels, Blogger Dropped

December 15, 2010

WarhammerCataclysm

As I work on finals and find time to play Cataclysm and other games that I am behind on, I’ve also been working on reading through my blog roll. There were nearly 400 posts that I had missed in my month of writing and I’ve been working slowly at it for around 14 days now. This has led to several topics that I want to cover:

The first topic is Warhammer 40k Onlines two factions. Many around the net have cried for it to be at least three factions, and many of them want even more than that. Would it be pretty cool to have three factions? Sure, it could be cool. Would it be cool to have more? Not even a little bit. The game could be amazing, but based on how the industry has been going it’s not going to see WoW numbers. The more factions you have in a game, the fewer people playing each of those factions. That means longer wait times for dungeons, pvp, less player interaction and an abandoned looking world.

Even three factions is pushing it. Sure, Dark Age of Camelot did it and by all accounts it was fun, but could that success be seen again? You might say “of course!” but look at WoW and it’s clones. Just because a game emulates the features of something that came before it and succeeded, doesn’t mean it’s going to succeed on it’s own. That’s not to say it couldn’t, but I’m personally glad that they went with two factions. I already play games that friends play but I’m unable to play with them because of two factions, or servers, or whatever. Not to mention the more I’ve played games designed for a PVP crowd the more I realize it’s the PVE that drives them, if they succeed at all. I think designing a game, a AAA game, for PVP is a folly that will only end in pain and layoffs. Smaller budgeted games can get away with it better I think. I mean, it probably cost Adventurine a few hundred thousand to design the art assets for DarkFall, and another $50 to program the actual ‘content’ like all six quests. (Of course I’m being silly here, there are plenty of good points about DarkFall, this just feeds into my next subject.)

Next I was going to comment on several on Syncaine’s posts, mainly those bashing World of Warcraft and it’s Cataclysm expansion, but honestly I don’t see the point. Here is an entire post from Syncaine:

For some, it will take longer to download an expansion than to reach it’s level cap.

That is most impressive for 25 months, hundreds of devs, and millions of dollars later.

Lowering the bar (of accessibility!) yet again.

That’s not the only post he made about Cataclysm, and most of them are as ignorant and angry as this one. It’s gotten to the point that I finally just removed him from my blog roll. While I enjoy his unique incites into DarkFall, he rants about WoW like a spoilt child, or a drunken scorned lover who’s just found his ex’s MySpace page. He spews hate for something he truly doesn’t understand just because he personally didn’t like what the game used to be, or what he assumes it is based on conjecture and what people around him tell him about it. That’s all I have to say about Syncaine at this point, I just won’t pay any attention anymore, it’s not worth it.

The last thing I wanted to talk about was Cataclysm and some of the interesting things I’ve noted so far. First of all I’d like to say that anyone looking at Cataclysm like it’s only 5 levels of content is in a sad state. That’s not to say that they are playing the game wrong, just that I feel sorry for them. I paid $40 for the expansion and so far I’ve logged around 15 hours just getting two different races to level 20. I experienced in that time moments that really made me gasp out loud, moments with plot twists that got me excited to see what would happen. I’ve done quests that I think surpass anything found in an MMO up until that point. Some of that is because I am a lore nut, and with all the changes I can’t seem to stop stumbling across massive updates that shock me. Anyway, even if I stopped here I;’m still getting far more for my dollar than those who bought Call of Duty: Black Ops for $60 and a 5 hour campaign.

I’ve got one character to level 40 so far. An Undead Hunter who is just finishing Western Plaguelands, which need a new name. One of the changes I am really happy with is the updated low level armor skins. Now you no longer look like a court jester as you level if you just use quest gear. If you count on drops and purchased AH items you’re still going to look silly I imagine.

On the other end of a spectrum I have a character who is almost level 81. The levels aren’t taking as long as I would have liked, but it’s not so fast that I feel like it’s cheap. Sadly the area I am questing in is entirely underwater, and while they’ve done a much better job of underwater levels than some other games (I hate you Ninja Turtles!) it’s still not very fun to relearn the game, having to now pay attention to a full 360 degree circle. Add onto that the fact that their spawning seems to be off, as I’ll kill a mob and immediately have it and it’s friend spawn ontop of the body. It can be really frustrating.

I’m looking forward to getting in some of the harder dungeons though. As a tank I’m excited to see CC make a resurgence, and having my wife play a healer means that if a DPS doesn’t want to CC, he’s getting the boot and we’ll instantly have another. I’m also looking forward to some level 85 PVP and getting my first set of Cataclysm gear which will probably be the introduction PVP set, assuming there is one this go round.

See you all around, whether it be in World of Warcraft or one of the twenty other MMOs I’ve been checking out.