Blog Archives

WoW – We want a Sandbox and we get a Litterbox

Now the title may sound a bit hyperbolic but it really depends upon what you want to do in a game.  The title is a metaphor to some features in Warcraft over the past few expansions.  The players ask for a feature/capability and we eventually get it but have to shovel a bunch of shit so to speak first.  Which is interesting because other aspects of the game the shit has been removed from the path.

Given my past posts it is probably obvious that I am talking about Flight in World of Warcraft.  Now there are other “features” and such to mention but the impetus was Flight.

Now for the other features I may as well mention the 2 multi-ton elephants that are not in World of Warcraft but most of the other major MMOs that compete in the same market do have.

Guild and Player Housing

I think this really stems from a couple of reasons and they are ultimately just excuses.  The main point is WoW does not really have any system where the players can just go and make a small part of the world theirs.  Even if it was a shared instance space where 20-40 player housing plots were located would still combat the main excuse Blizzard gives for features like this.  They like to have a populated world not the empty world with everyone staying in their garrison like in Warlords.  But all of this issues then fall to 2 things, ease of access to useful things, Bank/AH/Mail/Repairs/other similar features and the time it takes to get to them from anywhere.  In Warlords you could always get to most of that quickly if you built your garrison with the right buildings by hearthing.  The cost was the travel time back where you previously were.   Most of the time you would wait until good stopping point and then hearth, and log off because you were at a stopping point.

When LotRO was more lively, especially around holidays, the player/guild housing instances were very active.  As the overall population dwindled so did the activity so yes it is not going to be a feature that keeps players in the game indefinitely.  However having these features can help maintain population numbers during content drought.  We have people running 1000s of runs for the Baron mount, don’t tell me would would not have similar for some rare decoration on the outside of a player house or Guild Hall.  I always want to make my post long but to do so I end up writing over .5-3 weeks for a post at odd times when I think of something.  So I will end here and may follow up if another vector crops up.

 

 

Posted in MMOs, Other Games, World of Warcraft


Fun Looking Kickstarter Game – Hexplore It

I do not normally advertise what Kickstarters I have followed or helped fund but since this one is currently still on going and near a few goals I figured I would attempt to give it a push here on my blog.  I like some of these co-op table top games and thought I would share this one.

Posted in Other Games, Uncategorized


The Legendary Problem in Legion

So for about the last month I have almost no interest in playing Legion.  I don’t hate WoW like I have in the past, I just have no interest in doing anything that is available to me.  The main reason for this is that everything is so fucking random that I just don’t know what I want to invest my play time in.  So I play other games, Overwatch, HoTS, Diablo 3 and many others on Steam.

Why? Simple in most of the games I know that if I do X, Y times I get Z.  If I do well it may take less Y.  With legendaries and crafting it all RNG, RNG, RNfuckinG.  On top of that Artifact Knowledge is character bound, at least Class/Account wide would be better when it should just be account wide.  Then Artifact Power is per character per spec.  I don’t mind it being per spec when spent but the power should be accrued by the character irrelevant of spec.

I have been thinking about this since one of Panzer’s Tradechat episodes in late November or early December.  The real problem is that we don’t really see anything getting better.  A few of the BoA AK items are a band-aid rather than the system actually being improved.  I have 6 110s and only 1 of my characters have 1 legendary.  Before I dropped off the face of the game last month I had a lot of playtime across my 6 characters and since the “fail and seriously fail in failsafe” for RNG protection is character scoped and then it is only certain content.  So if you don’t do that content but play 2-3 times a much “time” as others you will still be much farther behind with no hope of ever catching up.  So yay yet another system to screw over those that are not completely invested in 1 character.

Posted in MMOs, World of Warcraft


The Good, The Bad and The Random

First I must say as much as I want flight and am annoyed by it not being available, I am playing this expansion as much as I did Cataclysm.

The Good

World Quests

I like the World Quest system, I would love it more with flight but it currently has a MVP (Minimum Viable Product) not Most Valued P-something status.

Dungeon & Raid Scaling

I think this may be the first expansion with the content scaling in difficulty has actually be a smooth line without any major cliffs/spikes/crazy WTFs.  After about 3 weeks of clearing normal EN our raiding in Heroic for the bosses we can get down now feel like normal mode was 2 weeks ago.  This is also the first expansion since Wrath of the Lich King where I felt the normal & heroic 5-man dungeons were properly tuned.  Mythic starts to get a little out of hand but it was most likely a gear thing.  So there is a bit of a hiccup in the scaling between Heroic5s and Mythic5s.

Flight Masters Whistle

Honestly without this time saver the World Quest end game content would become a major pain in the ass faster than they are at the moment.  However IMO the time frame where WQs become not worth the time without flying mounts enabled is somewhere between 3 and 8 weeks.  Essentially the hard deadline would be the New Year, and not the Chinese New Year either.

The Bad & Random

Craft Skill-ups and Patterns

I usually enjoy crafting but this expansion so far has been a royal pain in the ass when it comes to crafting.  What was very annoying well let us count the ways.

  1. Patterns only really acquirable from quests.
  2. Pattern Quests are level restricted.
  3. Upgrade patterns are also level/quest bound.
  4. Further upgrade patterns are also only available through either random drops/World Quests/Boss Drops/Exalted Rep Grind
  5. Materials are very scarce because gathering upgrades are extremely random as well.

How could this be improved.

  1. All 1 star patterns are vendor (no rep required) or trainable from a crafting trainer.
  2. All 2 and 3 star pattern quests are available from a known location, I actually am ok with the 3-star being Exalted locked but 2 should be easily found and either require a quest like now in some cases or no more than friendly rep locked.
  3. All 1 star gathering quests are acquired after the first pick/mine/skin of said resource.
  4. All 2 star gathering quests are from the trainer with the requirement of the first quest completed, maybe a level restriction of 106.
  5. All 3 star gathering should come from random like now but also have a quest item available from all factions at revered.

Legendary Items

So while having Legendary Items drop and having interesting bonus mechanics that can change up how some of your normal abilities work, the system for acquiring them leaves a bit to be desired.  On top of this the catch up or RNG Protection system had a bug and actually gave those that were lucky enough to get one actually had a higher chance than normal to get a second and or 3rd before the hot fix was implemented to fix the mistake.  This could have been avoided if the catch up mechanic was not a convoluted probability manipulation with your chance of getting a Legendary Drop, but instead a static fail-safe system like a separate currency or quest progression.  The additional advantage would be that it would allow for those that got a drop but not one that uses abilities or mechanics that they enjoy using and acquire one using things they enjoy, or get one that is more suitable to the content they wish to partake.

 

Posted in MMOs, World of Warcraft


Still Here and Ready for Legion

So since my last post I have played a bit in the Beta and hit 110 there on my Warrior.  I also leveled a few characters to 104ish just to get a feel for a couple of the other classes.  While the non-raiding endgame may not be what I would ultimately like, there were enough travel concessions made once daily world quests were unlocked to make it tolerable.

I still want flight because I enjoy flight and the 500 or so Goblin Gliders I have stockpiled will be useful but do not replace a flying mount.  It is late here while waiting for the expansion to launch so I will end this post here.

Posted in MMOs, World of Warcraft


Legion Testing – some thoughts

So I got into the Alpha/Beta before it took a break over the holidays and have been playing around ~ testing a bit in it.

Things I really like so far:

  • Graphics, it is glorious how the in game world looks with the graphics improvements they have implemented this expansion.
  • Ability pruning: I know many hate it but in all honesty if you need more than 10 keybinds to handle the abilities you are going to use all the time including a few special case abilities you are designing the game wrong.  Diablo, GW2, among other games have taught us that you don’t need tons and tons of abilities to bind all at the same time to make interesting game play.  There is actual better game play if you have a situation where it is pick X abilities out of at least 2X abilities.
  • The stories and quests around obtaining the artifact and class halls.

Things I find as troubling trends so far:

  • Terrain and getting around the zones – Travel and getting from point A to point B has always been a sticking point for me in MMOs.  While the scenery is beautiful as I mentioned a little above with the graphics, getting around Highmountain and Stormheim at the moment is really annoying.  It is especially annoying if you stop/end play session/crash out when in the middle of a quest and or quest line and then have to run all around the various hills to to get back to where you left off.  I will not even start on the Water Strider Changes that came with the latest patch as I will talk about that in another post.
  • Level scaling of the zones – I am of mixed opinion on this.  While leveling I think it will be a good thing.  When at level cap I think it will rapidly grow to be a pain in the ass (PITA), especially since Blizzard is once again being assholes about flight, as in not available at level cap.  It will be at some point they at least say this time but MoP was a kick in the groin after Cataclysm and Wrath flight paradigms.   Then WoD was a follow up kick or 2 while down by not even saying they would re-enable flight in WoD.  This until the play-base went berserk and had at least 4 max post capped threads bitching about it within a few days.  This expansion with the mobs leveling up with us everywhere will either be the paramedics coming or help or the assholes that delivered the first kick will help the player-base up and then knee them in the gut and followup with a knee to the face.
  • Crafting reagent quantities required for initial patterns.  After the resource utopia that was the Garrisons in WoD, 20 ore and 20 scale seems a bit steep for the first pattern you can get in the Blacksmith profession.  It is still a little too early to tell how that goes so will return to this topic at a later point.
Posted in MMOs, World of Warcraft


Blizzcon 2015 Legion Thoughts

So we have had all of the panels, including the staged Q&A where the unofficial one was at a different area not broadcast….

I said to my wife Lissanna of Restokin last night over the phone since I did not go to Blizzcon and she did that I was remaining hesitantly hopeful about Legion.  I was right to be hesitant.  I honestly love the idea of all the systems they highlighted today and yesterday about Legion, with one exception.  They are doubling down on the flight paradigm they went with in WoD which was a worst implementation of the MoP design.  The only up side is that the achievement will be in game at launch, just not able to be completed until a later patch….  I have 2 words in reply.

FUCK THAT

I say this because I really like flight in WoW, it is one of the major distinguishing features that WoW had over almost every other MMO.  FFXIV Heavensward has flight as well in the expansion areas, and they implement it zone by zone while you level.

I hated and I mean hated leveling in MoP after the first time due to flight only available for gold at level cap.  I hated even more in WoD that it was locked behind an achievement that was not even in game at launch because you did not know when the suffering was ever going to end.  The only saving grace and reason I was able to level 5 characters before saying fuck it in WoD was because the Garrison supplied everything I needed.  I did not need to go out into the world unless to quest and the bonus areas made that a little more tolerable.  However the same assholes that hate flight, devs and players, hated the garrisons as well and the convenience they provided so they are gone in Legion as well.  So there will not be the slight escape from the pain that garrisons provided in WoD.

To be clear:

  • Every time I was knocked off a mount by a mob when I needed to get across the zone I was in for my next quest, I was missing flight, and pissed that it was not in the game.
  • Every time I had to run halfway through a zone to get to the path to go up a mountain that weaved all over the place to get to an objective, I was missing flight, and pissed that is was not in the game.
  • Every time I wanted help or was willing to help others and saw they were on the other side of the map, I was missing flight or Guild Perk “Have Group Will Travel” and was irate the neither were in the game.

Honestly which ever DEV said Travel was content and needed to be meaningful really does not need to be a dev anymore, I really hate to say that since I am a programmer myself and would not want any of my users thinking the same of me, but seriously someone at Blizzard in power has their head shoved up some nether region and seriously needs to get it extracted.

I would really rather be happy with the scaling leveling zones, or the Artifact Weapons, or Class Halls, or finally Alliance Lore without Orc focus (but I know they will screw that up), or the profession redesign, but all of these activities will be affected by Travel and therefor if I hate the travel part I will despise all of this other content.

Posted in MMOs, System Mechanics, World of Warcraft


Flight World War 2

Well while I wait to rein my anger and disappointment with some of the Legion news before giving my full opinion on the expansion I wanted to post an image I made based off of a movie poster one of the guild members of Undying Resolution posted across twitter.  Here is a link to the tweet, https://twitter.com/AmoHeals/status/630846586600488960 

 

Flight_WorldWar2_Medium

Posted in Uncategorized


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


Categories