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Just not sure what to say anymore.

So it has been a while since I last published a blog post.  In the meantime several things have occurred.

Warlords of Draenor has technically launched.

I say technically here because as far a Blizzard is concerned the initial set of content was included at launch.  However IMO it is not a complete launch as all of the world map that is visible is not accessible.  Additionally all of the raid content that was promised in the first tier of raiding did not even become available until just recently.  BRF should have just been a completely new tier rather than a 1/2 tier higher and available 2.5+ months after launch.

The biggest complaint I have is the same one I had about WoD during all of its development and a major gripe about MoP.  It was the paradigm they decided upon for flight.  You know that one feature all of the development team can’t seem to design with it included and therefor hate the feature.  It was also one of the few discernible differences between World of Warcraft and many of its competitors over the years.

Many or all of the MMOs since WoW have had questing in one form or another with varying degrees of success.  Everyone has dungeons, many have some sort of Cosmetic feature for showing off gear.  Many now are implementing a place to call your own for either yourself or your guild, sometimes both.  Something that WoW lacks.  But with a few minor exceptions the one feature WoW had over all the others was flight and not only at level cap like in MoP.

MoP and WoD with all of the other improvements in many other facets of the game has been a major step backwards for Blizzard, unfortunately too many of WoW devs and or staff seem to be looking at the game through the eyes of 2004 (Vanilla) and not through the eyes of someone looking at the current market.

I remember at Blizzcon 2014, when I accompanied my Wife on a tour of Blizzard HQ, hearing about the really fun “Hang Gliding” quest/activity in Nagrand.  The designer of it was excitedly telling us about it.  I feel bad for them as I have not done a single one of them.  After looking at how to start and how to get to the gliders and the minor rewards/items obtainable from it, the ROI of my time was just not worth it.  I loved Nagrand from tBC it was my favorite zone followed by Netherstorm.  The Nagrand in WoD I despise.  I hate the layout, I hate the paths through the zone, I hate everything about it due to it being a pain in the ass to get anywhere without having a flying mount.

I recently let my second account lapse after reactivating it for a WoD launch and I was distracted with Garrison farming on both accounts but after doing daily cool-downs in the Garrison for 16 characters every day for 2.5 months I can’t stand them anymore.  Being stuck in World of Queuecraft and only able to reliably preform Garrison actions while waiting for the all important Queue to pop.  I am completely bored with this expansion.  I don’t enjoy jumping puzzles as the frustration for useless gear is not worth it.  I hate exploring when I have to go halfway across a zone just to get a path to go around the mountain at the start of it, i.e. where I enter the zone.

So as I was saying that I do not know what to say anymore is essentially for 2 reasons.  First in many ways WoD has improved WoW greatly in many aspects of the game so other than minor complaints there is not much to say.  Secondly the one major complaint I have with WoD, I know will fall on deaf ears as the Devs have major blinders on when it comes to flight.  The key concept that they just don’t get is flight like player housing and other things along both of these lines are about player choice and the ability to play the game in what ever way we the players feel like.

Now this rant on WoW, which I have said will fall on deaf ears was necessary because it leads to the second thing for me that has occurred since last posting.

 

Heavensward Trailer for FFXIV – 3.0

I saw the Heavensward trailer and have since reactivated my FFXIV account to start gathering resources and get back in the flow for the expansion.  It is strange after World of Warcraft the next set of games that I have spent the most time playing are all of the Final Fantasy games.  It was strange in that when I re-installed and starting playing again and logging in with the music it felt like returning home after a long time away.  Now it was like returning to my hometown as like with my IRL home town it has rapidly become a nice place to visit but remember all of the reasons I left in the first place.

So why am I going to through all of this pain with FFXIV when most of the other systems are better in WoW:WoD?  Simple 3.0 will be adding several very large new zones where flying will be available to players.  With content and zones designed with Flight in mind.  Something that WoW and Blizzard has not been able to do for over 8 years.  Having the freedom fly around a zone is an important feature to me as a player as it shows that while quest design may railroad me into a set path, how I follow that path in the map will be completely up to me once flight is unlocked.   Oh and by the way it looks like the quest to unlock flight will be something incorporated into questing in the new zones so should be a feature that is not for Level Cap only.

So FFXIV has Guild Housing, Player Housing, and soon flight.  Will I play long in the new expansion, who knows.  I find myself getting bored with games faster and faster anymore as they are all clones of the Same old Shit without iterating much on making them fun or interesting.  And as Wildstar found out, difficult/challenging leveling experience only appeals to a small percentage of the MMO Market and is not something you should aim a AAA MMO at.

Well this is enough grumping for now.  I will post more much sooner next time I hope.

Posted in FFXIV, World of Warcraft

Warcraft Flight Survey

Following Lissanna’s lead on Druid Travel Forms and the new Combo button, I decided to make one about one of my pet issues in Warcraft and MMOs.  That topic is of course Flight, and when you should get it on your first character and alts.

[wpgform id=’1833′]

Posted in World of Warcraft

A Next Gen MMO Revisited

A “Next Gen” MMO like Blizzard “Titan” is a Duke Nukem Forever.  There are many empty promises for years and then those evaporate and when the game or product is finally released it can not stand up to the Hype that occurred about it over the years.

So now with that understood lets look at what promises and hopefully implemented features will be needed  or at least the hooks/stubs for them at launch.

1 – Sand-Park Play

What this means is some middle ground between the sandbox nature of EVE, Minecraft and Landmark and the highly controlled and IMO railroaded play that we have become use to in WoW, SWToR, Wildstar.  I guess that ESO may come close to this but has many other system issues and I can’t stand the play perspective in Bethesda games anymore so have not given the game any time.

2 – Infinite Replay-ability

This is a new one for me but I have come to see that I much prefer the infinite grind-ability of Diablo 3 and Borderlands than the process in most MMOs.  ArcheAge had an item upgrade system that at my basic understanding of how it works could also work better than the current gear and loot systems we find in most EQ/WoW clones.

3 – Player Driven Market and Crafting

This is one side of games that outside of ESO, ArcheAge and EVE is almost completely absent.  WoW use to have a more vibrant market but that was killed over 2 expansions where the Gear and BoE items were a joke.  Not to mention crafting locked behind the requirements of both leveling to near cap or cap and reputation grind fests.  Crafting Alts are a legitimate form of play for those that like to craft to get gear than play DDR with a Raid Boss.

4 – Many Factions for Players to Belong to and Participate In

WoW has 2 factions, and almost every other clone thereof has 2.  EVE starts with 4 but approaches infinity based upon Corporation and Alliance System.  I would say 3 as the minimum odd number required but I think 5 or 7 PVE factions to start with for the basic leveling process would be a good place to start.  Then in end game systems a Guild/Corp system with Alliances in certain Areas/Continents/Planets/Dimensions could greatly increase this area of the game’s complexity while also providing an initially safe leveling/learning area.

5 – Guild/Corporation Housing/Land and Eventually Player (Character/Account) Housing

More games are finally starting to get a hint and hopefully look as some of the research that has slowing come out about gaming and other social circles.  While graphics, features, ability to lord over other players may initially bring players to your game, the key to retaining those players is getting them involved in some social group.  The more stable that group the longer the members of said group will continue to play together and the game in a larger context.  Having some visible, virtually tangible goal to work toward as in Guild Housing is one of the greatest ways to do such.  Especially if guild/group achievements in other aspects of the game can be represented in the shared space.

6 – More on Markets, the Markets must be able to support both Buy and Sell orders.

I cannot stress enough how important this one is to goal 3 being viable.  Gathers current in many games must guess what is needed now, a week from now and next patch.  The demand and to what volume is a crap shoot but past predictors can be used to get a good guess.  However with both Buy and Sell orders all you have to do is look at the Buy orders do your farming run and sell those focused targets.  It is a win-win scenario while now it is a win-unknown scenario.

Other Comments

At this point in time I think the general MMO market has a reasonably good grasp on PvE and PvP needs in general.  The only thing I will say is that exclusive rewards to a particular form and make up of said content should be cosmetic only.  There should always be multiple ways to similar levels of power in gear even if it looks different.

 

Posted in MMOs

New Game Arche Age, Flying (Gliding) and WoW

So I found myself playing ArcheAge, an unlikely game for me given my standard views on PvP.  I don’t do much in EVE for similar Everyone versus Everyone PvP reasons.  However for some reason I found myself drawn to this game recently and decided to dive down the rabbit hole to see what could be seen.

What I have found is a game that is almost IMO a next generation MMO when compared to many of the other games on the market.  The main features that I find missing which I feel are  requirements to be a truely next generation MMO would be the following.

Faction-less Races: So that you can play any race regardless of which faction you end up playing.

More than 2 main factions:  There are 3 in game but that is only because the Pirate/Criminal Players are considered to be a faction of their own, so I don’t consider it a true 3rd faction.

Actually the thing that EVE is lacking to be a Next Gen MMO would be a strong PVE side, otherwise it would be one.

So what are the main things that brought me to playing this game while I am completely bored with WoW, even though my accounts are active.  The main features of the game are what attracted me.  The game is a guided sandbox game.   I mean guided as there is a storyline and there is a strong leveling via questing aspect to the game.  However if you were lucky enough to get land during head start many crafting professions open up and the in-game AH/Market is almost completely player driven through crafting.

While all of this was interesting the other lesser feature that sold me on it was that the game does not try to force its interpretation of how you should quest upon you, unlike WoW.  From level 1 if you buy the items from the RM Market you can get a mount and glider.  A form of these items are acquired in game before level 7ish and 15ish of 50 so it is not like either feature is an endgame bonus.  Like WoW seems to think any conveniences  are only for endgame, where they are nice but not really a major benefit.
ScreenShot0015

 

The above screen shot was taken while I was heading back to the town on the horizon when coming back from one of the early instances.  Not it is gliding and not true flight like in WoW but it is 1000s of times better than how questing feels in MoP currently and WoD on the Beta Servers.   There is no replacement for being able to make the active choice to mostly avoid mobs when you just want to get to point B from point A if you so choose.   Now it does take some extra effort to do long runs on the glider as you need to find a high jump off point since there seems to be no updrafts that I have found and there is a longish cooldown to the only ability I have found that gives you some extra altitude which then lengthens your glide.

ScreenShot0006

ArcheAge is F2P with paid Patron level which confers some bonuses and is required if you want to actually own land or stake a claim for the in-game player housing.  This will definitely be a large distraction for me until WoD launches and potentially even after since the Gliding/Flight in this game makes it one more feature over what WoD offers.

Posted in MMOs, Other Games, World of Warcraft

10 Years :: 10 Questions

So after seeing a few of these on my feed reader list I figured I would give it a go as well.

Started Here

From my feed reader list, First and Second.

1. Why did you start playing Warcraft?

Had already took the dive on a subscription based game, EVE-Online, and decided to give WoW a try in Summer 2005. I had stayed away because I did not want to get sucked into a Pay to Play game.

2. What was the first ever character you rolled?

Malota – Female Forsaken Warrior on Earthen Ring US.  I started on Horde Earthen Ring as the friend that got me to join WoW was in a raiding guild there at the time.

3. Which factors determined your faction choice in game?

Friends, then switched to Alliance when another couple of friends and I started fresh on a new server at the a month or 2 later.  That was on Sentinels US a new RP server.

4. What has been your most memorable moment in Warcraft and why?

That would be to me when the small group of friends and a few others did 10-man Karazahn and took down Prince for the first time.  We did it with a couple of members from one of the good raiding guilds on the server and it took 12 minutes in total since Prince has a soft enrage mechanic as we were able to heal through everything with cheesy placement.  Also I was Bear tanking the fight at the time.

5. What is your favorite aspect of the game and has this always been the case?

Nothing really anymore to be completely honest.  I came back to play with friends and family since I have not found a better MMO and did try for about a year.  I use to enjoy Crafting and Leveling Alts but that ended with MoP.  It makes me sad to see that Blizzard has only partially learned from their mistakes with crafting but not with Alts.

6. Do you have an area in game that you always return to?

Alts and Crafting but have not done much with them even since I came back.  I can not stand leveling in MoP.

7. How long have you /played and has that been continuous?

I started to play in either June 2005, I had to look this up because it was during the Naxx 1.0 launch event and remember the scourge invading Undercity at the time.  I was continuous up until July 2013 when I let my primary account finally lapse.  I ran 2 accounts since early Burning Crusade through early MoP, with a 3rd account on an off depending upon scroll of resurrection rewards and or recruit a friend rewards.  Those were the reasons to get a second and 3rd account over time.  I would recruit myself.  This may sound like a lot but for about a 1.5 month period in EVE-Online I ran 6 accounts right after the launch of Planetary Interaction.

8. Admit it: do you read quest text or not?

About .05% of the time, I have done it but not very often and usually it was only when I first started playing the game.

9. Are there any regrets from your time in game?

Yes, I played MoP for too long before taking a complete break from the game.

Now while I play the game sporadically I hate most of my time in the game.  I have periods where I can be distracted and enjoy it but those are few and far between.  Every time I log into a character not at max level while in MoP I get pissed off at the game and usually go play D3 and slaughter hordes of demons.  I regret that MoP caused me to loose complete faith in Blizzards ability to produce a quality MMO that does not have a grueling and grinding PvE component if you don’t raid.  Hell even if you do raid it is painful.  This has not always been the case, tBC, Wrath and  Cata were much better in almost all regards.  Then again I like playing Alts and those were Alt friendly, MoP was only good if you had 1 character you were completely invested in and may 1 other character.  Which after tBC, Wrath and Cata almost no one had just 1 character or even 2, 3+ was much more common.

10. What effect has Warcraft had on your life outside gaming?

Short answer, it gave something for my now wife and I to talk about at length, after we first met IRL at a somewhat unrelated social event. I say somewhat, because it was at a SCA meeting and then event.

Posted in Other Games, World of Warcraft

The True WoW (World of Warcraft) Killer – Nostalgia

Most when they talk about Nostalgia and WoW refer to the player base’s nostalgia for Vanilla, tBC, or even Wrath. It is usually what ever expansion they started to play the game in. While this can be harmful to the player base community all in all it does not affect the game much overall.

When the nostalgia is of the developer persuasion that is when all hell breaks loose.  That is also where Warlords of Dreanor is looking to be heading.

From the outside looking in, by reading many of the interviews of various Blizzard developers, it seems they are all under the effects of 1 of the following problems potentially both.  First as mentioned Nostalgia for WoW’s heyday somewhere between the middle of Vanilla and Wrath, technically tBC but it is more of a spectrum than specific point.  Alternatively the other description I would call a mid-life crisis.  This is exemplified by all the marketing for WoD being reminiscent of an adolescent male’s gaming group.  All boys and no girls allowed to have any of the story or main character positions.

Anyway for WoW’s sake I hope that I am wrong and that WoD will be great.  I am not holding my breath, I am however gathering kindling, marshmallows and popcorn for the epic flame fest that will ensue when the first group of players reach 100 and can’t fly and are not of the type that constantly reads forums and news about the game they play.

Posted in MMOs, World of Warcraft

FFXIV:ARR vrs WoW:(MoP & WoD) The Title of Abbreviations

So what does that title mean?  For those that may not recognize all the abbreviations, in long form the tile is as follows.  Final Fantasy 14 : A Realm Reborn versus World of Warcraft Mists of Pandaria and World of Warcraft Warlords of Draenor.

Before getting into this quagmire of a topic sitting on top of a mine field, I first want to say this is not a post about which is the better game and which sucks or is awesome.  Also the information on WoD is still quite limited as there are no versions of WoD not sitting behind NDAs.  So all we have to go on is Blizzcon and the Water cooler posts by various developers. I am going to get into 2 main topics that are split into a total of 3 areas: Alts as Different Characters, Alts as different Roles, and Travel.

I was originally going to talk about the in-game markets/economy but changed my mind after really looking at them.  While the time for the market implosion is different in each game they both end up in the same place and are therefore remarkably similar.  The leads to the only game to contrast them with is EVE Online and that a topic worthy of a separate post so that will come later.

 

Alts as Different Characters

Both games support this in that it is possible to have multiple characters on a given server and play with the same group of people on either character.  In WoW it is trivial how quickly this can actually be done anymore.  With the various xp/level changes that have occurred each expansion, sometimes in the middle of the current one the time to reach max level has been greatly reduced over the years.

For example in earlier posts I mentioned that I had 10 max level characters in Wrath of the Lich King and 13 or so in Cataclysm.  Hell I could even make a 3 way versus: Wrath & Cata versus MoP & WoD versus FFXIV.

So in FFXIV:ARR each alt character has a bit of story line quests and dungeons that must be completed to unlock various aspects of the game and dungeons along the way.  This is fine if everyone is at about the same level but I have noticed as I fell farther and farther behind the “main” leveling curve those restrictions became more and more frustrating.

I am sure if it had not been for the great multi-game community I am a part of I would have quit by now.  I have since volunteered and recently became an Officer in the FFXIV guild.  I was in the same situation in WoW for different reasons, it was the social connections that kept me playing long past when I had become quite embittered with the game.

So in summary WoW is still the better game for Alt Characters, especially since some things have moved to the WoW Account level rather than Character level.  The leveling experience while more quest grind-y is much faster and the fact that you can access all systems through pure solo play is a nice feature set.

 

Alts as Different Roles

Now this may seem to not make much sense why I am making distinction between Alts as different Characters and Alts as different Roles.  I did it because what 1 character can do in WoW versus FF(XI & XIV) is drastically different.  There is however similarity when you compare how some class types in WoW have the ability to perform different roles in the Holy Trinity of MMO encounter design.  The FF games are more like EVE Online than many of the other current MMOs on the market.

Specifically in WoW if you want to play a Tank and pick Druid you can do so.  Also because you are a Druid you can also with a re-specialization or alternative specialization: DPS (Ranged), DPS (Melee) or Heal.  However if you wanted to be a Warrior for Tanking, Rogue for Melee DPS, Mage for Ranged DPS and Priest for Heals, that requires you to have 4 characters all of equal gear level so tons of dungeon running, reputation grinding or what ever other mechanics for gear acquisition Blizzard puts into the game.

Final Fantasy games on the other hand allow one character to be any class with mechanics in place to switch between them while out of combat.  So if there are 11 classes like there are in WoW today you need 11 wow Characters to play any class or 1 character in Final Fantasy.  You still need to level up each class individually but you are not on a separate character with separate mail, bank, AH and other storage accesses.  It also means that when you get gear not suited for your current class which is BoP it does not get wasted like it does in WoW or almost any other MMO.  WoW could implement it by changing all or most BoP to BoA but I have been asking for that for years, so I am not holding my breath on that one.

Additionally another reason one can sometimes have many alts in wow is for crafting, back when crafting was actually worthwhile as a source for gear and making in game currency.  Since in WoW you can have 2 primary professions per character with about 10 different professions including gathering activities.  There are 3 gathering classes in FF and 7 or so crafting which again can all be learned and leveled on the same character.

So in the area of role/class flexibility Final Fantasy games are light years ahead of other MMOs when it comes to being able to focus all of your time on one character but not be gimped by class restrictions.

 

Travel

I have posted about travel a few times in the past and was planning on bringing it up again, however as I will sometimes take a few days writing these posts and I write bits and pieces here and there, one of the WoW developers gave an interview and due to their phrasing set off a firestorm.

The response from Blizzard to the firestorm boils down to “trust us”.  Well at least for me not anymore and by temperature in the echo chamber of the forums not many other do either.  The key from all of this is the consistency in which Blizzard is inconsistent.  Rather than stating a goal and vision and let the player-base be involved from the beginning they end up working on fixing issues 1-3 patches behind.

While I wish many of the players lost in MoP were due to flying restrictions and no implementation of a book of Pandarian flying like cold weather flying.  I know that is not the reason.  Additionally while many like to say it was the leveling speed accessibility in Cataclysm that drove players away due to boredom anyone with half a brain should know that is false as well.  The reason so many left in Cataclysm is due to 3 things.

  1. The implosion of the social network on servers and guild.  The raid changes at the end of ICC to implement the Cata model were disastrous.  It just took 6-9 months to see the full effect propagate throughout the player-base.  I have harped on it before and will leave it there.
  2. Competition from other games.  WoW is 10 years old, there have been many similar games that have come out during that time.  Some more successful than others.  Some catering to specific niches in the play model where WoW attempts to do them all.  It is refreshing playing in FFXIV:ARR and knowing that PvP is a side game, and that nerfs to abilities are applied as PvP only and do not really change the PvE game.
  3. The economy stupid.  MoP came out in 2012 and Cata came out in 2010, employment for the key game playing demographic 18-35 year olds has been underwhelming for 4+ years now…. Any excess savings anyone had prior to the economic issues in 2008 have well since been depleted for many around the world in that age bracket.  Games and culture that requires expendable income have all taking a header for several years now MMOs are not a special case.  I am being very careful hear because I don’t want to start an economics or political discussion, which are both buttons that can cause rambling rants.

Anyway I know Blizzard is doing the wrong thing with flying and travel in WoD for one very important reason.  My wife, Lissanna @restokin, and I agree on something in WoW.  I want flying all the time and think in many ways Cata crossed with ICC would be the best expansion paradigm possible.  She is willing to have flying at max level only, and I agree to that compromise with the caveat that there should be a BoA book for alts.  I can say one thing with certain, had there been a BoA book for my alts I most likely would not have canceled both of my accounts in WoW 6 months and 1 year ago for each account.  I may not have been happy today in MoP but I most likely would at least have 1 active subscription.

** Edit ** I dug up some of my old travel related aids for actually analyzing flight path design and placed the pages back under my Misc Items Section.

Posted in FFXIV, MMOs, World of Warcraft

Future Game Development Models

This topic has been on my mind a lot recently due to 2 games now under development.

EverQuest Next Landmark (EQNL)

Star Citizen (SC)

Per my earlier post I am currently in the closed Alpha for EQNL and it has devoured my gaming time.  I get in and start building something and will spend several hours on something and decide that I just don’t like it and start over again.  Not to mention the current grind required to gather some resources to improve your tools and extra pre-made models that you can craft.

Star Citizen was a Kick Starter wonder and the company continued a similar model after completing many times over their initial funding drive.  Now every couple of Million raised by pre-selling ships and in and out of game items and features they add new expansion based content or new ships.

I mentioned this to Lissanna last night while making food and we both agreed could you Imagine what the result would have been if Blizzard had released a tool set pre-cataclysm saying we want to redo the world here are the tools and let 1K if not 100K people building their own versions of different zones and continents, then all Blizzard needed to do was pick the best from those and meld them together into 1 world?

Well that is what SOE is doing with EverQuest Next via Landmark.  It is like the Star Craft 2 tools but for an MMO and not a RTS.  I did tweet about this concept as far at the limits of Twitter will allow but the limits of what game studios could do in the long term is staggering if they could successfully harness the power of their respective fan-bases.  We know old world WoW has already been modeled in MineCraft to a limited extend.

Just a post for future thought, given current Alpha and eventual Beta stages of EQNL, I am sure I will have more posts about it in the future.

By the way if you like the looks of Landmark at all I suggest at least spending the $20-ish bucks to get into the Alpha or Beta and help refine it as well.

Posted in System Mechanics

Games I am Playing – Feb 2014

Final Fantasy XIV(14) : A Realm Reborn

I have enjoyed playing FFXIV, and I am now at a crossroad as to what I want to do in the game.  I have Arcanist (Summoner/Scholar) to level 50 but have not completed the main storyline yet as I am not sure what I want to do in the game other than I know I have no interest in raiding.  I like running dungeons but also have no interest in running Extreme or Hard Mode encounters as some of the normal encounters are hard enough IMO.

So most of the time I am leveling other classes on my “main” character or leveling the 2 alt I have on my main account while waiting for a 3rd retainer or some account wide storage to start and move resources between characters without asking for help from fellow FC members.

 

EverQuest Next Landmark (Alpha)

This game has consumed my weekends and evenings for the past week+ since the start of Alpha testing.  I am keeping most of my opinions to the game forums and arguing with troglodytes that want to make every game as long, hard and grueling a grind as possible because that is the only sense of accomplishment they seem to get in life.  While myself and others just want the damn build tools at the start since that is how the games was advertised.  The grind and progression can come through other methods and hopefully will and this is just an alpha anomaly.

Also if you are in Alpha here are 2 pictures that could be of use.

This first is where my claim is located on the Serenity Server, Isle name is in the image.  (T3 Island)

My Claim on Serenity Server

This second is of someone else’s claim on a T1 Isle that has the most advanced crafting tools available in the open near the central portal. So is a very good place to go to get tools and items without progressing your own forge first.

Useful Tool Location on Serenity Server

 

Hearthstone (Closed/Open Beta)

While I have enjoyed the game since Closed Beta, I am not really playing much of it at the moment. I am only play to complete the daily quests and I am tired of the current Meta game so have not been playing much. If I could complete any quest by taking on the AI while testing deck builds I would probably play more. If I am going to have a 70-80% loss ratio while refining a deck against other players I would rather just not play. Don’t get me wrong I think it like all Blizzard games is a good and well polished game even while in Open Beta. I also just realize that I am not the target audience to any Blizzard game anymore if I ever was.
EVE Online

Well I spun up my primary account in EVE so that it is active on the March 1st deadline.  The deadline being for all active accounts on that day, the highest skill point character name will be recorded and listed on a 10 Year anniversary monument that CCP is building to commemorate 10 Years of EVE Online.

 

Other Games

Also just to list a few of the other games I have logged into for a brief amount of time lately.
Played In the past couple of months.

  • Assassins Creed 4
  • Diablo 3
  • Neverwinter Nights
  • Guild Wars 2
  • Star Craft 2
  • A few other games off of Steam
Posted in Other Games

A History of my WoW Experience Summary into WoD

Hopefully this will be the last post on this thread for a while.  I will continue to post about WoW as an outsider as I know many people that continue to play that game.  Even when I talk about other games like EVE Online and Final Fantasy 14 : A Realm Reborn because World of Warcraft is an MMO that I played for 7+ years and where I really started to dig into MMO terminology so it is like English is to me when learning a foreign language.

Initial Thoughts on WoW:WoD

Now a few months after announcement.

New Character Models: Cool I am ok with new models they are needed for the original races and we have been asking for them for several expansions now.

Level 90 Character Upgrade: Highly needed with the level cap now 90 and soon 100 with the expansion.  When the announcement first came out I was already planning which character I would use it on from the 8-10 characters that were not already 90 that I had left at 87 or lower.

Garrisons: Cool another feature that is something similar to what players have been asking for since Vanilla, Player Housing.  It will end up being more of a mini game like the farm was in MoP but a step in the right direction and needed for expansions now.

Journey to a Mythic Time: While I like Time travel and I don’t have a problem with it in this case as I understand how the time lines fit into the multiverse, I do think the Orcish Bro-fest that was given as our introduction to the game left a bit to be desired.  As an alliance player I was like great more horde plot.

Dungeon and Raiding Improvements and UI Improvements:  I was excited about these changes and thought they brought a lot to the game in large.

With all of these features, I thought I would be spinning up my WoW accounts again even months before the expansion to build up resources for the expansion.

The the news came in one of the further panels that not only was the leveling experience going to be similar to Mists of Pandaria, which as I mentioned previous post ended up making me hate the game, it was going to be even more restrictive and not allow flying in content while it is current, so flight would be locked until the first content patch.

FUCK THAT.

So not only were we not going to get the books of flying like in Wrath which should have been implemented in MoP but it was locked behind and “Epic” i.e. “Pain in the Ass” quest line which would only become available at level cap after the first content patch.  In very few cases in my life have I had a complete and total change of heart on a subject than I did concerning WoW and starting up my accounts again to play in Warlords of Draenor.

Warcraft Missed Opportunities

FFXIV:ARR Guild Housing, Raids and System Changes

I mention FFXIV:ARR here because I realized recently that Warcraft missed a great opportunity with Cataclysm and the remaking of Azeroth.  In Cataclysm they easily could have made the world larger and had a few instanced zones that were not accessible otherwise to accommodate player housing.

If you watch how much time is spent on Facebook games where you have your own space or other tablet simple games where you can collect items to improve your trophy room or house, I think this one feature could have prevented much of the player loss since Wrath if it had been promised and implemented during Cataclysm.

I remember Lissanna playing Lord of the Rings Online and running quests and playing for hours during holidays just to collect a furniture or cosmetic item for her house in the game. In MoP players would spend similar amounts of time doing various reputation grinds just to unlock the Dog on their farm.   So much so that it is asked that the Dog be allowed/added to Garrisons so it can travel with you.

I hate to say it but whichever executives in charge of steering WoW need to have their heads examined as to why they let this type of feature set be passed on for all these years.  There is casual and hardcore gamer gold here and it was completely written off as not worth our time.

This is not even mentioning an even more important feature that is similiar and that is Guild Housing and spaces for groups to claim as their own.  The ability to have a place of your own and build a community around it is extremely important for MMOs and social games.

FFXIV implemented their Guild Housing and eventual player housing after having a Cataclysm of their own.  The similarities between the end of FFXIV version 1.0 and FFXIV:ARR or 2.0 and WoW pre/post Cataclysm is startling in the story connections.  In simple terms both have a big dragon coming back and wrecking the world.

It was that similarity in how the world was completely reshaped that made me see some of the possibilities that WoW completely missed, which is a shame.

Brawlers Guild
Another time and feature that I was really excited about until I heard how it was implemented, let alone how to get an invite.  It should have been an instanced area so it could have been load balanced better and so that more than 1 person per CRZ could actually do the damned thing.

The Farm
In many ways this was a success, but it could have been so much more.  This of course ties into the player housing subject.  I have beat that to death so I will leave this alone as well since they are so similar.

Mists of Pandaria & Warlord of Draenor Feature Confusion

One of the things that has annoyed me most since Wrath is the inconsistent way Blizzard has dealt with 2 main functions, Flying and Catch-up.

Flying and Flying mounts were a FEATURE in Burning Crusade because that is when it was added to the game.  That is when Jewel Crafting was a FEATURE as a new Crafting Profession.

In Wrath the first expansion after the flying feature was added, they decided that they did not want to design questing with flying in mind and so just locked it out.  This is after players had already spent between 1K and 6K for it in Burning crusade and not only restrict it but put another price tag on it of 1k gold at time and 500 currently.

So now the second expansion after flying was implemented we don’t have to buy anything new and it is available in all zones right off the bat.  This was the best time to level characters as with flying implemented and xp now gained by gathering nodes it opened up mining and herbing as an alternative way to gain xp.

I actually enjoyed leveling in Cataclysm because of this, it is also why by the time MoP launched I had 13 level 85s.

MoP and WoD see my previous rant in this and earlier posts about leveling and no flying in these.

One statement I have made multiple times to Lissanna and others when complaining and talking about WoW is this, “If I don’t have a reason to play the launch of an expansion why the hell would I play it later at a future patch?”.

With how insane Item Levels have gotten and the resultant power spread an expansion is the global reset and allows most/all players to be on almost an equal footing once again.  Unfortunately it does not sound like they are going to fix this problem long term and only doing an item squish in such a way as to be a band-aid for another 2 expansions before we get back to lunacy again.  The problem is that the developers feel that they need a full 13 item levels between tiers of content.  With how War Forged and VP upgrades have worked I think a 4-8 iLevel between tiers of content at most would be acceptable.  Heroic/Mythic geared characters have no reason to be doing 4 times the dps of an entry level geared raider by the middle/end of an expansion.  If each raid tier can be completely contained in 20ish iLevels rather than the 50+ we have now the current item squish may be able to last until Titan Launches which would be a miracle.

So how did that grump about item levels related to my statement about reasons to play at launch of an expansion?  Well it really gets to the catch-up method aspect that I mentioned earlier.  The catch-up mechanism refers to how do you get fresh level cap characters into current content in a reasonable time after the launch of an expansion?  Blizzards current method is to generate a metric fuck ton of content for the launch and then be playing catch up the rest of the expansion given the speed of which some and the most vocal of players consume said content.  A much better approach I am learning while playing FFXIV:ARR is to List everything you want to do in an expansion/major content segment and then be open and honest about how each of the features are coming along.  Then when you hit a cut off point say what you are going to include in the next patch and what is not ready for release and why.   I know Blizzard got burned with this method with the Dance Studio that never released which I why they most likely don’t do it anymore but it really is a much better method.  It also allows for more timely patch and expansion releases as you can early on realize that something is going to take much more time than initially thought and can be moved to a later development cycle.  The key is to be open about the change in the cycle if it was a previously mentioned feature so that it is not a surprise when it hits the PTR, and especially if it was on the PTR and removed for said reasons.

The other big gripe I have about WoW and have for a very long time is how they screw with crafting materials and the as a result the Auction House.  I swear Blizzard is afraid of having an actual functioning AH and Player Driven market in the game most likely due to gold trading concerns which would be mostly wiped out if they would just use the solution CCP proved would mostly work years ago in EVE Online.  That would be to release an in game item that provides Account Game time and is trade-able/sell-able on the AH which is purchased by a player from Blizzard through the Blizzard Store.  Then legal “Gold Selling” could be done where Blizzard is the seller of it via a proxy item which is traded in-game.

Now what would allow for a real market to grow in the game?  It requires 2 ingredients.  The first is craft-able gear that is useful as an alternative gearing/progression path for both the crafter and others who can buy it directly or through the AH.  The second is the lack of BoP crafting materials.  The raw material must always be able to be traded and any BoP crafting material should be a product that is created by the crafter so it is not a BoP item from a world or boss drop.  Additionally the BoP item must not be restricted by a cooldown.  If there is to be a gated cooldown for server balance then it must be on an earlier intermediate crafting material that is not bound and allows for economic transactions to occur.

A final modification to really get the WoW economy and crafting going again is that no pattern can be BoP and any pattern that can be learned via discovery randomly must also be available by normal patterns somewhere else so as not to be completely at the mercy of the RNG gods.

Well I think that wraps up my WoW retrospective from my POV.  WoW was a really good game for a longtime but is no longer a good game for me.  It is a shame and I feel a little bitter about all of the time and effort and thought that I have put into it over the years.  I know it is still a good game for many out there that say they continue to enjoy the game, part of me wonders is it the game or the social group they enjoy but that is another matter.  I hope to see news about future WoW changes and features that will get me interested again but now I know it will not be WoD and what ever new would have to be meteoric in magnitude to get me to start an expansion after launch, so I will have to wait for the expansion after WoD at a minimum.  Also while if it is the expansion after WoD that I get interested in I may re-subscribe while technically WoD is the current expansion but it would only be to prepare for the expansion after it and not the current content.

 

Posted in World of Warcraft

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