Not more Phasing!!!

There are plans for a new daily quest hub in Mount Hyjal to be released in conjunction with the Firelands raid. We’re planning to make it phase and unlock more content as players progress, very similar to Isle of Quel’Danas. One downside of the phasing and unlocking of new buildings/quests there though, was that you had to be participating during the world event to actually see the change take place. We’d like to make the Mount Hyjal hub phase per player so that your personal progress unlocks new content for you, rather than for your whole realm.

We’ll have more details about that a little later though. ;)

From:
http://www.mmo-champion.com/content/2201-Season-10-Armor-Models-Art-Gallery-Update-Comics
http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/2179758985?page=5#85

Phasing is a great technology for telling a story however there are several fatal flaws with how it currently working in World of Warcraft.

  1. No way to sync player phase states.  So if 2 players in the same group get to different points in the quest line they can no longer interact while in the phased area.
  2. Resource nodes still show up on the map even if they are in a different phase while flying around and then disappear when you slowdown/land to gather them.
  3. Rare resource nodes when re-spawning will appear in one phase and then not be available to other phases until someone in the “right” phase gathers it.  This is an extension of the item 2, but in this case I want to note that this also covers fishing pool spawn locations.

I really don’t know what to say about these other than something needs to be done before more Phasing is thrown into the game.  Get the current technology working first.  It was very very annoying back in WotLK when we wanted to summon someone to ICC before the Warlock showed up and the raiders had to fly to the 5-man summoning stone because the Raid summoning stone was in a phased area of the zone and you had to play guess who was in the same phase.  This is complete bullshit, no other way to really describe it.  So many other games out there that do different phase/shard layers have a way to sync up or switch state, hell I remember this being implemented in Guild Wars before I started to play WoW.  So seriously WTF?

I was going to try and not do any Rift comparisons in this post but I all I will say is that Rift has drawn a new line in the sand for the baseline features of new MMO content.  The user interface has many features that we WoW players have been asking for years to have baseline in the user UI.  I love add-ons but I think they have made Blizzard lazy in the UI department.  There are other Quality of Life issues with the UI and game that just work in Rift and feel really kludgey in WoW now.  I was forming up in a raid last night waiting for a few people and forgot that I could not do any quests because hell it just works in Rift, they don’t care if people group up to get stuff done faster, they actually encourage player interaction and group effort.

Honestly it is time for Blizzard to sit down and have a real internal discussion at the very least on what the baseline experience of WoW is like compared to new games of a similar genre.  I would love to use the default interface for most things but in WoW that is not going to happen.  LotRO was close but there were still some things find a PITA to use.  The default RIFT interface fixes those.

***** Update *****

Found: http://thebigbearbutt.com/2011/03/09/wow-sorta-kinda-maybe/

Big Bear Butt has some similar complaints on phasing while talking about a few other things.

Market Chaos: BoP + Poor Itemization = Market Hell

Lately I have been having conversations with various players concerning the AH.  One thing we noticed is that the value of raw resources: ores, bars, herbs, gems are deflating at an accelerated value in comparison to previous expansions.  On a somewhat related noted at least with our guild and I imagine many other guilds out there we have noticed that it is strange this early in an expansion cycle to just have player log on for raid and that is about all they log in.

It feels like the end of an expansion cycle not one that is only 3 months old.

I say this because of several factors:

  1. Raid Attrition – In not just our guild but it seems every where guilds and raid groups are having problems fielding a consistent group.
  2. AH Prices – Prices are tanking for several raw resources, the recover but I think this is more from some with very deep pockets hedging the loss and stockpiling a bunch of resources hoping that the next content patch will cause more stability to return.
  3. When raids are not happening there does not seem to be anyone on.  Again I don’t think this is a my guild only issue.  I do not really remember seeing this occur until Trial of the Crusader level of content in Wrath and Hyjal/Black Temple in Burning Crusade.

I think all of this stems from one main issue with Cataclysm after how the game changed in Wrath.

There is no place to go once you hit level cap.

Your options as always is to run normal mode dungeons until you are in an average of 329 but really need about an average of 333+ before you really should get into heroics.  To then run the same bosses a little differently to get gear that is 346 and is a torturous process until you average about 340+ item level.  This process has been made a little less painful with the random buff if you have PuG in your group and now there are enough geared raiders supporting an average of 350+ that you can start to flub some of the most painful aspects of the whole heroic endeavor.

The overlap of item slots and overall poor itemization from all vendors of 333+ gear.  For some armor/stat combinations there is maybe 1 epic 359 from reputation vendors that is not counting the shared item slots of Neck/Rings.

I have said it before and I will say it again, heads should roll in what ever department decides what gear goes on what vendors.  The itemization has not gotten better through tBC/Wrath/Cata if anything it has gotten a lot worse and we even had stat consolidation that should have made it possible to have more gear that is usable to more players.

Healers got not only the biggest bitch slap when the expansion launched they also got passed over in the itemization availability department in favor the LoL DPS specs that everyone would rather play because there is next to no responsibility when playing in comparison to a tank or healer.

I think tBC was the best itemized as far a dungeons go because you had dungeon sets.  If you were to take the dungeon set idea and fully tokenize it or point reward it you would have a very good progression system for dungeons.  The problem is Blizzards reliance on the One-Armed-Bandit loot system for entry level and gear baselines per tier, both in PvE and PvP.

Totalbiscuit’s League based PvP system, which I think is now lost in the aether was one of the best PvP systems for Arena and could be adapted to Rated Battlegrounds as well if you really wanted to make a competitive e-sport out of PvP.  I posted a summary of it on the old suggestions forum ages ago.

BoP resources are too much of a lame assed gating mechanic this early in an expansion.

I speak of Chaos Orbs and Dreamcloth.

Because these items were BoP the people that wanted the gear could not farm or buy all of the mats to get the gear they wanted made.  The instead had to rely on the crafter to decide to buy the pattern and think they could sell it on the AH.  These items right here are the major reason that the AH is in the shitty position it is in.  Well that and the piss poor guild achievement requirements and alchemy material requirements.  The overhead cost of raiding is 10 times more expensive 3 months in than it was at anytime during Wrath with the exception of the very brief time when Epic Gems hit the market.

When people look at how much time they have to farm, gold/gear/materials just to get into the first tier of content on one character let alone 2, most are deciding it is just not worth the hassle.

So those that don’t just buckle down and deal with it like our guild and some of the player base that still raids the rest do one of the following.

  1. Run Dailies to farm gold and raid occasionally
  2. PvP in Battlegrounds
  3. PvP  in Arena or Rated Battlegrounds (former raid groups doing a more cost/time effective endeavorer for now)
  4. Farm Herbs/Ore
  5. Bot Farm Herb/Ore

I am pretty sure there are more of #5 than any other time in WoW’s history for 2 reasons.

  1. Those left raiding need a metric fuck ton of herbs to get the raid buffs Blizzard now expects us to have and tuned accordingly.
  2. To make as much gold as possible to either raid after a certain point.
  3. To make as much gold as possible as a gold seller.
  4. Because WoW Glider is dead there may be more than 1 main program now used for botting and Blizzard has to track down many different programs than the main one the casual botter use to use.

Don’t get me wrong I am not supporting WoWGlider or botting in general.  I also think in the end they are a necessary evil for an in-game economy to be dynamic and function but that is an argument for another time.  They unfortunately inflate the amount of gold while deflate the value of any good because of it but at the same time the secondary and tertiary by products of the raw materials are kept from inflating to  stratospheric levels at the same time.

Because of all of these inter-related cause and effect events we now have an in game economy that looks like something near the end of an expansion than a lively one near the beginning of an expansion.

I realize I went on a tangent there so what does this all have to do with BoP crafting resources?

Simple if the resources were not BoP the ore and gem markets would not be in a major downward spiral due to an over abundance of raw resources on the AH because the crafter would be able to crank out the 346 and 359 crafted gear which would remove the resources from the game as a new item.  I will get into the “resource traders” being behind a level 84 quest line and how that also has added to an over abundance of base level resources because there are not enough alt-crafters eating up the patterns, resources and cranking out the gear for other alts.

So I fell through a Rift

So after reading some of the late Beta reviews about Rift from people on my blogroll I decide to try out Rift.  I did one of the Digital Pre-orders with the CE package so I could get the expanded base bag and mount.  Honestly I don’t think I would like the game as much as I do if it was not for the mount in the collector’s edition.  The 4 extra bag slots so early in the game are also very very nice.

For some expanded reviews and more information I will point out the blogs I have checked out the most.

Player Versus Developer - http://playervsdeveloper.blogspot.com/

Epic Slant - http://www.epicslant.com/

Psynister’s - http://psynister.wordpress.com/

Currently I am having many Grass is Greener moments as I level my characters in Rift.  My highest level character is my Mage at level 20.  Next is my warrior at level 14.  I don’t want to just spout off about how great the dynamic world is with the Rift events.   All I will say at this point is Cataclysm raised the bar on questing and how to integrate story with what you are doing while leveling.  Rift raised the bar on how to have a dynamic world that rewards players for working together to get something done with out the artificial guild/instance/raid mechanics we have all become so use to.  There are other ways of doing things and honestly Trion has set a new baseline on what is to be expected at launch of an MMO.

The fatalist in me says that there is no way that World of Warcraft will be able keep up, and honestly it does not need to.  The thing that I hope Blizzard is taking notes on is for their unnamed MMO for when it launches in 2+ years.  Trion and Rift has done to the MMO market what WoW did when in launched.  Rift is much more an evolutionary MMO to all of it’s predecessors as WoW was to EQ.  The other attempts by WAR, AoC, Aion, and several others the past few years all failed to live up to their potential because they set their sights on WoW and did not just perfect their own game.

After I have had more played time and hopefully there are some reference DBs created on the web for stuff in Rift I will start to write some more in-depth comparisons between the games and give my opinion on where both could improve or make it more interesting/fun.

Also I will most likely be changing the theme of this site to coincide with my more in depth focus on WoW and Rift.  I have played other MMOs: EVE and LotRO mostly and they have not begun to grab my attention like Rift has and WoW did when I first started playing.