Archive for the 'General' Category

03
Sep
14

Midnight Release Party?

I was at the midnight release at Gamestop for WotLK.  There were a lot of people there.  It was a very fun time.

I was at the Gamestop midnight release party for Cataclysm.  There were plenty of people there.

I was at the midnight release at Gamestop for Mists of Pandaria.  There were about a dozen people there, and some of them were for games other than WoW.  I won a stand-up Chen Stormstout store display.

Now I have to decide – do I preorder the WoD Collector’s Edition from Gamestop and go get it at a midnight release?  Or do I preorder it from Amazon.com and get it delivered on release day?

01
Sep
14

What Are You Excited About in Warlords of Draenor?

With the expansion a little over two months away, I’ll admit that I haven’t been caught up in excitement or hype yet.  I’ve played the beta a bit.  Other than some new uses of tech in the game, it still seems like the same WoW to me.  There are no new classes or races or professions to spice things up.  Quests are still quests.  I haven’t tried any group content in the beta.

Not that this is a bad thing – the same old WoW has kept me continuously subscribed for 8+ years.  I have no intention of quitting.

However, the Iron Horde story doesn’t enthrall me.  I am hoping there will be a plot twist along the way.

Garrisons seem fun, but that is solo fun.  The game already has a ton of solo play – too much if you ask me.

What I really want are more compelling small group options, and a reason to play them with a guild group rather than using the LFG tool.  They tried to do this with heroic scenarios in MoP, but that failed.

The updated models are a non-issue to me.  I’m much more interested in gameplay than in graphic detail.  I never really look at my own character’s face.  In fact, I worry that the higher graphics will edge some people out of the game when they cannot afford computer upgrades.

I still intend to play my rogue (one of the few left, it seems) in the expansion, but I may be steered into druid healing by guild needs.

 

I have said in the past that the social network in the game is what keeps me going.  I hope that the new expansion maintains that.

Is there anything in the game that has really captured your attention?

 

14
Aug
14

10 Years :: 10 Questions

Whoa – 4 months since my last post.  I’m not dead, I haven’t unsubscribed.  My playtime is drastically decreased.  The upcoming expansion has me a little excited.  My wife wants to pick up the game again, and perhaps playing together will provide that boost of fun that I need.

Anyway, here’s what dragged me back to the blog. This survey has been making the rounds of the blogosphere.  I figure I can add my stories, if there’s anyone still reading.

 

1. Why did you start playing Warcraft?

I have always been into both the fantasy genre and computer technology.  I remember when I was young, reading the Dream Park novels by Larry Niven, about a live-action RPG set in a virtual reality world, and wishing that such a thing were possible.  When Everquest came out in the late 90’s it seemed like we were getting close to my ideal game.  However, in the 90’s I had a young child and a new career, so I consciously opted not to start an MMO.  I did play Warcraft I and Starcraft avidly, and then some Warcraft II.

When World of Warcraft was announced, it seemed perfect – my kind of game in a favorite setting.  Still, I wasn’t sure if it fit into my life.  I ran the idea by my wife, and she agreed to allow me to play if we could play together.  Thus we both started at the same time, as did both of my brothers and my sister-in-law.  We started in March of 2006, so we haven’t quite been in the game for 10 years yet.  Out of that original group of five, I am the only one still active.

 

2. What was the first ever character you rolled?

It was Dinaer, my night elf rogue that is still my main to this day.

 

3. Which factors determined your faction choice in game?

That was all my wife.  Part of our agreement when we started the game together was that she got to pick our race.  She liked the night elves, and so we started with the Alliance.

If I had my choice, I still probably would have gone with Alliance.  At the time, I wanted to play the “good guys” in my games.

 

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

Too many to narrow it to one!

I distinctly remember being taken into my first raid – 10 man UBRS back in vanilla.  There was a rogue there named Devon who was whispering me tips and techniques on rogue play – stealthing, sapping, and attacking.  I can probably credit my success as a rogue to him.

My most memorable guild-related moment was killing the first boss in Karazhan.  We were not a raiding guild when BC came out, and Karazhan was the most fun I have ever had in the game.  It took over a month of attempts before we could kill Attumen, and boy were we excited!

My most memorable rogue moment was evasion-tanking Prince Malchezzar in Kara and soloing his last 1% for our kill.  Nerf rogues.

 

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

This has changed a lot over the years.  At one time it was leveling.  Later it was professions.  Then it was the gold-making minigame. Now its the social aspect.  I’ve been in the same guild with the same core group since late vanilla/early BC.  If I didn’t have them, I’m not sure that I would still be playing.

 

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

Well, Stormwind is the easy answer.  Other than that, not really.  I like variety.  Each time I level and alt I try to hit different zones and follow a different path than the last time I leveled.

 

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

I have played for over 8 years, and I have never gone more than two weeks without logging on.

 

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

Every. Single. One.

In fact, it bugs me that Blizzard has made questing too easy.  The objectives are marked on the minimap, the quest items sparkle in the game.  The fact that you can complete quests without having any idea what you are doing is bothersome to me.

 

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

I regret some of the mistakes I made as guild leader.  To this day, I sometimes agonize over people who have left the guild over the way I mishandled their situation.  I can list all of their names, even though I have not seen nor heard from some of them for 5-6 years.

Also – not a regret, but a missed opportunity – I wish I had tried to join a hardcore guild at some point.  I’m a pretty good rogue, but I don’t think I’m a great rogue.  I would have liked a chance to run with the big boys and see if I could step up my game.  I never tried because of my unwavering loyalty to my own guild.

 

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

I hate to admit it, but I think it has made me a worse parent than I would have been otherwise.  Not that I ignore my kids, and I’m not a bad parent, but there are certainly weekends and evenings where our family stayed home because I had a raid scheduled.  That is a lot of missed chances for family time.

On the positive side, I have made some really great friends through the game.  Even though I’ll never meet most of them face-to-face, I consider them as close as any friends I have ever had.

04
Apr
14

Long time, no see

dusty bookIt has been a long time since I logged into WordPress and looked at my blog.  Just over three months, actually.

I tried the Twitter thing (@DinaerRogue).  I don’t mind the format, although I am somewhat verbose for 140 characters.  My problem is that I don’t have an instinct to post my thoughts in a stream-of-consciousness manner.  Successful twitter streams have frequent updates of small amounts of information.  I’m just not mentally connected enough with Twitter.

I’m still playing the game regularly.  My guild is uber-casual.  We’re working through Flex difficulty as our main raid mode.  With flex we get to bring different people every week, which means a lot of re-learning and re-re-learning fights.  We still haven’t killed Garrosh as a guild.  We’ve got time.

I’ve been healing quite a bit on my druid.  One of our main healers announced that he is switching to his warlock in Warlords, so I may have to step in and heal full-time.  I enjoy it, so its not a big deal.  Even the announced WoD healing changes don’t turn me off.

With raid healing as my current focus, I’ve been working on the legendary cloak for my healer alt.  It’s slow going.  As we know, the  boosted 90s have made LFR a real chore.  I’m almost done, though.  Just four more Titan Runestones, and then I’ll be in the home stretch of quests.

I have six characters at level 90.  I don’t play most of them – I leveled them for their professions.  I made sure my engineer was at 90 to make the Sky Golem, and that my jewelcrafter was at 90 to make the jade panther mounts.  The only characters I currently play are my rogue (of course), my resto druid, and my paladin, who I am gearing as a backup tank even though I haven’t tanked since Cataclysm.

I am still working the glyph and gem markets.  I got back into goldmaking when I decided to craft my panther mounts.  I’m not hardcore – I’m making about 10k gold per week and that’s good enough.

With the first WoD Alpha patch notes released, I was inspired to come back to the blog and say something, at least on the rogue parts.  Check for that post coming up (if anyone is still out there).

30
Nov
13

on Flying in Warlords of Draenor

Yesterday I took one of my alts out for a spin.  Its a level 90 ret paladin in a mix of Timeless Isle gear and level 85 quest rewards.  I never play him.  He was leveled to 90 without even leaving Jade Forest, by running instances and scenarios.

He is my engineering character, so I needed to go out and kill things to get the world drop recipe for the daily engineering cooldown.  This involved me actually killing things by myself for the first time since I was level 85.

I quickly found that I had no memory of how to play the character.  I didn’t recall what any of the buttons did.  I figured out about four or five through trial and error.  I was able to take on a single level 90-91 foe in the Vale of Eternal Blossoms.  If I accidentally pulled two, then I was in trouble.  I really, really sucked.  I must have died 6 times just fighting random mogu in the northern Vale.

So, I flew.

I hopped on my flying mount and hovered around.  I would drop in when I could find a single mob.  I’d fight it, loot it, then hop back on my mount.  If I saw a mining node in the middle of a mogu camp, I’d wait until the mogu had pathed away, drop down, mine the node and zip back into the sky.

This is not new.  Its been the way of things at the level cap since flying mounts were introduced.  People like it.

I’d claim that it is terrible game design.

They put those mining nodes behind the mogu camps for a reason.  The idea is that they are not easy to get to.  They are guarded.  Let me be clear – if I had to fight my way to them I would not have been able to.  I am currently awful on my ret paladin.  Therefore, the flying mount is simply letting me – the completely unskilled paladin – bypass the game mechanics to get the mining node.

I can’t tell who is complaining more about this- the “elitists” or the “casuals” (as vague as those terms are).  Elitists could fight their way through the mogu to the mining node with ease.  The lack of flying would just be a time sink for them.  The casuals don’t want to be bothered fighting.  They want their mining node with a minimum of hassle.

I don’t think either of these is a particularly compelling argument, and they both smack of entitlement.

The main complaint seems to boil down to the concept that questing and running around are no longer part of the game at the level cap.  Once you hit the level cap, all of the things that you used to deal with are now an inconvenience.  You should be above all of that – literally – by flying over it.

Look at the Dread Wastes.  That was a complete zone that was essentially designed to be played at the level cap.  Most of us dinged 90 either in Townlong Steppes or in the first few quests in Dread Wastes.  Then, we’d play through the rest of the zone to get pre-raid gear, or for reputation.  I point this out to reinforce that Blizzard does create non-raid content for players at the level cap, and flying above it would negate that content.

I’m hoping that we find in WoD that there are vast amounts of things to do other than raid once we hit level 100.  If that is the case, then keeping us grounded is the right thing to do.  Let us play through that content the way it was intended by the developers.  If it takes an extra month before we can fly, then so be it.  We’ll have plenty of time in Draenor left once we get our wings.

29
Nov
13

on Ghostcrawler

The big news lately – Ghostcrawler (Lead Systems Designer Greg Street) is leaving Blizzard.

First thing is – good for him.  Anyone who has the ability and the bravery to move on to something bigger (and hopefully better) has my admiration.

In reading the various forums, I have found quite a bit of venom spewed at Ghostcrawler.  He doesn’t deserve any of this, and the people who use their internet anonymity to spew this crap are, for the most part, vile, small-minded sheep.

Greg Street became the face of Blizzard by making himself accessible, whether by posting in forums or, more recently, through Twitter.  He held conversations with players on their likes and dislikes in the game.  More often, it was the dislikes since the people who like the game rarely take the time to go on Twitter and say so.

Because he made himself so available, he became the symbol that people focused on.  Players who overestimate their intellect would throw their thoughts up on Twitter and expect Greg Street to simply agree with them or bow to their unbreakable logic.  Of course, this rarely happened, which led to great gnashing of teeth as people felt ignored.

Mr. Street was a great asset to Blizzard as he could stay level-headed in the torrent of inanity and vomit spewed at him.  I personally could not bear to read most of the Twitter feed because much of what I read often made me ashamed of the human race (or at least the gaming part of it).  I would not have lasted a week in Mr. Street’s position without going postal.

Those who blame all of the game’s woes on Mr. Street are simply not thinking through the vast complexity of game design.  However, in him they found a scapegoat.  Thus, the herd of internet cattle have banded together to take their final shots at his back as he rides off into the sunset.

Here’s to you, Greg.  Thanks for everything you have done.  The fact that I still play for hours every week and give my $15 a month like clockwork is all the evidence needed to show how the game has succeeded.  The fact that the haters pay their subscription fees too is even greater validation.

11
Nov
13

Can WoW ever recapture that old feeling?

Blizzcon came and went this weekend.  As far as I know, I’m the only person in my guild (there might be one other) who bought the virtual ticket.  In guild chat Friday and Saturday night, no one was chatting about the new revelations unless I brought it up, and then there were only a few quick replies.  There was no excitement.  No buzz.

I don’t blame Blizzard for this.  They are doing all they can.  Coming up with new ideas for games within the game, taking us down lore paths that are fascinating and interesting, and streamlining the game experience.

I think much of the problem lies with the time between WoW and the old RTS games, Warcraft I, II, and III.

When WoW first came out, a significant percentage of players were drawn to it from their love of the RTS games.  I know I was.  Seeing your favorite Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness scenes and zones brought to life was a wonderful experience.  This is in addition to the EQ players that came over to WoW because it was the next Big Thing.

When Burning Crusade came out, I remember so much buzz being about the role that the old RTS games played.  The Dark Portal, Karazhan, Outland, and others were all prominent in Warcraft II.  Many players geeked out over this, even though Warcraft II was over 10 years old at the time of the Burning Crusade expansion.  The excitement was infectious, and others were prompted to look up the lore or read the novels to join in on the geekfest.

Similarly, when Wrath came out the characters and settings were taken from the Warcraft III RTS.  The Arthas storyline was a favorite, and dedicated fans of the RTS series couldn’t wait to face him.  The story was much fresher this time around – there was only six years between Warcraft III and the Wrath of the Lich King expansion to WoW.

For the Cataclysm expansion, the developers went with other figures from Warcraft lore – Deathwing and the Aspects.  However, this expansion, while steeped in lore, brought less connection to the RTS game series.  It still pulled characters from the classic stories as told in the novels.  However, in this expansion we see Blizzard drawing their lore very much from novels rather than their own prior games.

with Mists of Pandaria, it seems almost like the writers ran out of lore.  They created the continent of Pandaria out of thin air based only on presence of some peripheral characters in the RTS games.  At this point, they are making things up as they go, and the veteran players can sense it.  Gone are the familiar settings and characters.  Gone is the connection to the RTS experiences of the past.

Think about it – why is it that at every Blizzcon, players cry for the return of Alleria and Turalyon?  Why is there so much interest in fighting the Burning Legion again?  These are the heroes and villains that we are familiar with.

With that in mind, Warlords of Draenor is a good idea.  Bring back some of those classic names.  Go back to the days of Ner’zhul and Durotan as played out in Warcraft II.  Try to recapture that old feeling.

But, Warcraft II was twenty years ago, now.  Most WoW players haven’t played it.  In fact, the RTS games won’t even run on modern computers.  Even though a return to those settings is good in principle, I think we have lost a critical mass of the RTS players, and its getting hard to generate that excitement.




Armory

Dinaer - 90 Assassination Rogue (US - Sen'Jin)
Derence - 90 Prot/Ret Paladin (US - Sen'Jin)
Metius - 90 Shadow Priest (US - Sen'Jin)
Liebnitz - 90 Arcane Mage (US - Sen'Jin)
Fastad - 90 Subtlety Rogue (US - Sen'Jin)
Darishin - 90 Resto/Balance Druid (US - Sen'Jin)
September 2014
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