First Look: SimCity 5 March 13, 2013Posted by Stormy in Uncategorized.
…and now for something completely different.
I’ve been a Maxis fan since the days of SimAnt and SimIsle. When you’re a lonely kid with a fascination for pushing buttons, being put in charge of your own ant farm, island or entire city and being given carte blanche to run the place is pretty much the coolest thing ever. Strangely, I didn’t really pay a lot of attention to the hype surrounding the launch of SimCity 5…which is weird, because I actually played a fair bit of SimCity when I was a kid and really loved it. It never really dawned on me that the new SimCity was out until I started hearing the chorus of screaming from various Internet People who were just outraged…OUTRAGED, I TELL YOU that SimCity didn’t work perfectly well for the first week of its launch.
To those people I say clearly you’ve never been through a marquee game launch like a World of Warcraft expansion or the Great Diablo III Clusterfuck of 2012. Anyone who was expecting EA’s servers to work flawlessly on Day One of the biggest and most-anticipated game launch of 2013 needs their head examined, and anyone who has sworn off EA over this launch snafu is making a huge mistake.
I was once like you. Last week I went to the EA website and promptly lost my shit when I saw the sticker price of the game: $60 for the base game, and $80 for an expanded collector’s edition. I even went so far as to post a “You’ve got to be shitting me.” post about it on Facebook. There was NO WAY I was paying $60 for this game, no way no how nosirree bob. Except that my birthday is next week and I like shiny new things and I’m prone to moments of weakness and yeah…
Not Just SimCity 4 With Better Graphics
In this age of faster processors and GPUs, EA/Maxis could have just slapped better graphics on classic SimCity, polished a few bells and whistles and called it good, and the masses would have rejoiced and paid through the nose for it. Instead, they’ve rebuilt the game from the ground up and innovated in some pretty amazing ways.
Much hay has been made over the idea that SimCity is now a server-based always-online social game instead of the single-player game of yore. While there’s a good point to be made there about the reliability of EA’s servers, and while I’m sure somewhere some game reviewer has invoked the word “Orwellian” with respect to EA’s DRM capabilities, the fact is that moving the game to the cloud has allowed EA/Maxis to expand the game in some pretty cool ways.
Instead of one massive single-player city, players are thrust into a “region” with anywhere from three to sixteen individual little hamlets. The social aspect of the game works very similar to that of Diablo III: I can create a game, then invite two to fifteen of my Origin friends in to play around in my region with me, or I can leave my game public so that any random person with an internet connection can drop in and play with me.
But here’s where it gets interesting: each one of the little hamlets in the region is blessed with its own set of natural resources, and these resources can be traded openly with the other cities in the region. If my little town is rich in coal and ore, I can set up a pair of huge mines and a trade depot to sell these things to other cities. A friend running another city in the region can then specialize in, say, electronics manufacturing and buy my materials for use in his business. We can also share things like fire protection, hospitals, and police protection. Regions come pre-loaded with a highway between the cities and a basic railroad, so you could theoretically decide to make one of your little hamlets into a bedroom community and one into a manufacturing powerhouse.
I’ve already touched on this briefly, but it deserves explanation. New in SimCity 5 is the ability for your city to specialize in being a particular type of town: for example, a manufacturing town, a tourist town, or a gambling mecca. In my cities I’ve been maximizing the town’s tourism potential by opening a sports stadium and at least one or two other specialty tourist destinations. If you were playing with a friend, you could make one of the towns specialize in mining and trade, and another specialize in manufacturing.
But here’s the best part: adding a specialization to your city is very, very lucrative. Running a sporting event or rock concert in your city’s stadium can net you 50-100,000 Simoleons per day. Granted it’s because I’m older, smarter and a better gaming strategist than I ever was as a kid, but this is the first time I’ve ever run a city in SimCity with a positive cash flow.
Remember the old SimCity? Every two minutes, somebody in the town wanted something. The citizenry were unnaturally needy. Every two minutes the power plant was overloaded and needed to be upgraded, or your city planner was yelling at you about traffic, or the populace was whining about taxes. Everyone in your town constantly had a litany of problems you had to deal with. At times, playing the game felt less like being an all-powerful government magnate and more like being someone’s errand boy.
Not so with SimCity 5. Sure, you’ll deal with the occasional sewage overflow or brownout if you’re not careful, but I’ve never once had to delve into the boring minutiae of playing around with tax rates to lure in Sims. Sometimes this does go a little too far–last night there were a few times where I literally had nothing pressing to attend to and I was pretty much watching an animation of my city going about its daily business, but overall EA/Maxis has traded annoyances for depth and strategy.
I’ll be honest: you may have noticed that posts here on the Wall have been sporadic lately. My future in WoW is in doubt at this point, and I wouldn’t be surprised if I’m not actively subscribed to WoW in six months. But this SimCity game…I’ve messed around with RIFT, LOTRO, GW2, Civ 5 and a handful of other games on Steam, and nothing has sucked me in or held my interest nearly as well as SimCity 5. So where is my gaming future going? I have no idea…but if you need me, you can always add me as a friend on Origin.
A moment, please? January 25, 2013Posted by Ben in Uncategorized.
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I’ve noticed a disturbing new trend in dungeons while leveling over the past two weeks.
Attempting to take the entire dungeon as one continuous pull.
The other day I was in the Nexus, and there was an approximately lvl 74 tank/heals/dps guild triad that just started running down the hallway without communication. The other dps and I could hardly keep up, because we had stopped at the first big dragon and were fighting it for a few seconds before we realized the rest of the group had run off. When we caught up, he’d already pulled the entirety of the Horde forces and was working his way up the ramp towards the first boss. There were still a half-dozen alive when we engaged the boss, and I’m pretty sure most of the trash never got looted. She wasn’t quite dead before the tank was heading down the next hallway again. The next boss was at 30% health when the tank started moving on, and we had almost a dozen trash mobs around us as we engaged the third boss. At one point, I asked in the otherwise silent party channel “Are you late for something?” and got a snarky comment back from the dps. When Keristrasza died, the tank only said “too slow” before abruptly leaving the party with his cohorts. I think the entire experience took just over fifteen minutes.
I’m used to chain-pulling. I’ve done it myself when tanking. But it’s almost always included a brief pause to loot before running off to the next group or two. No one died, or even came close to it. No one played poorly (although I’m sure those three, would disagree). But I put the dps and tank on my ignore list, because if you’re going to attempt to “challenge mode” a dungeon, at least have the decency to inform the other members of the group so they’re aware of what’s about to happen.
Getting out of the rut January 24, 2013Posted by Ben in Uncategorized.
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(Insert comment about not blogging a while here)
Over the course of the Cataclysm, I leveled four alt characters to 85 in addition to the others I already had on my Horde realm. Leveling with a full complement of heirlooms, guild bonus and often fully rested is like seeing Azeroth at turbo speed. You can’t complete a single zone before you’ve surpassed the ideal range for the next zone. You have so many slots filled with heirlooms that dungeons don’t always have upgrades, and definitely not the kind that give your character a different appearance between level one and eighty. If your goal is getting to max level as quickly as possible, there is absolutely nothing wrong with this. It also means not having to worry about your gear trailing far behind your level (with the exception of trinkets which I’ve had dungeon-crawling characters not upgrade between Blackrock Mountain and Mount Hyjal)
But the alt bug bit me again two weeks ago. I already have a Pandaren Brewmaster Monk on my horde server that is leveling via dungeons (and sitting in the low 50s where that gets really annoying), but I decided to make another one. I only have one slot left on my Horde server, so I went back to my old Alliance server (where I have a level 90 Gnome Mage) and rolled a Night Elf Monk to level as a Windwalker. I’ll admit that I expected it to go like many other alts I’ve started without leveling perks. I’d play it for an afternoon, get into the 10-20 range and promptly forget about it.
Except that didn’t happen. I’ve only leveled two characters through the post-Cataclysm Alliance tales, so the stories are still fairly fresh. The monk Enlightenment buff (+50% experience from monsters and quests) keeps the experience bar moving at good pace, and adding in the dungeons that I enjoy along the way, I had a blast. In less than a week, I was heading to Outland, and in the back of my mind, I knew this was the end of this character.
Except (again) that didn’t happen. The ennui of another character in Hellfire Penninsula didn’t set in, and then it was off to Zangarmarsh and Nagrand, and I was off to Northrend. Surely this would be the end of this alt. After all, I have a couple alts stuck around level 71.
Except (again) that didn’t happen. I’m currently sitting at level 77. I’ve done dungeons along the way, and doing quests that I hadn’t done in years, and rediscovering how much better the Alliance story in Dragonblight is than the Horde’s.
Why is this alt successful where so many others have failed? I’ve got a few ideas.
- Enlightenment – For one hour I get 50% extra experience, and I hate to waste things like this, so I’ve tried to use it strategically. Taking a groups of quests at mad dash, avoiding things that involve more travel than necessary. Holding off on profession training or vendor visits unless absolutely necessary. Pre-level 60, I could squeeze at least two levels out of each hour-long buff. And the extra buffs at each tenth level were strategically received after completing tasks like going ALL THE WAY BACK TO DARNASSUS FROM THOUSAND NEEDLES for riding training.
- Dungeons My Way – I almost never used the “random” feature, choosing instead to select from the list of available options. Because I didn’t have any heirlooms, the world was suddenly full of upgrades, plus there are some dungeons that I just don’t enjoy. And the experience bonus of “random” isn’t worth it to me to get stuck in yet another run of Dire Maul after I’ve out-leveled it. And the [Satchel of Useless Crap]? Yeah…
- The class is genuinely fun to play. Roll, Flying Serpent Kick, Spinning Crane Kick, Spinning Fire Blossom, Rising Tiger Kick.
But leveling without heirlooms, a guild, or gold-rich characters on the same realm has reminded me how much better in small ways this game has gotten better over the course of eight years.
- From level 1-59, the gear you receive has your two main stats and maybe one secondary stat. Then from 60-79 where suddenly all bets are off. A weapon who’s only stats are +Hit and +Attack Power? A cloak with only +Stamina and +Critical Strike? Thank goodness, Blizz has settled on more consistent itemization.
- It’s more than possible to make enough gold to afford most anything you need. I only had to delay the purchase of epic flying a few levels (because there wasn’t much of a market for Outland herbs on this server that week). Quest rewards eliminate for shopping the auction house almost entirely.
- Battle.net makes it much less lonely. Just because I’m on a different server, doesn’t mean I’m isolated, and if I hadn’t been gaining levels at such a clip, I could have run a couple dungeons with Stormy’s late-50s healer on yet another server. (Maybe at level 90, we’ll try to team up)
In a way, it’s a bit like rediscovering the game. Since the launch of Mists, I’ve almost exclusively played in the range from 85-90, and breaking out for two weeks has been just what I needed.
No. January 16, 2013Posted by Stormy in Uncategorized.
I’m just warning you: in this post I am going to commit pretty much every blogging sin I can possibly think of. I’m angry to the point of wanting to cancel my subscription, and I should never blog when I’m angry. Contrary to popular belief, I don’t like writing ranty posts. I don’t like sitting in front of the computer when I’m angry and spouting off a bunch of unhinged screeching, and I don’t like being labeled as That Guy Who Hates Everything and Complains About Everything.
…but sometimes a guy’s gotta do what a guy’s gotta do.
For the first few months of Mists, the word on everyone’s lips (to the point where it’s largely become a dirty word) was “dailies.” Mists of Pandaria contains no less than six mandatory* faction grinds, the bulk of which must be ground out by doing multiple daily quests each day. Somewhere, someone at Blizzard got it into their head that preparing for raiding should be a long, arduous slog and gave us faction dailies gated behind other faction dailies, then decided to only give us 165 rep per quest. But enough about this. It’s painful. You know it, I know it, and I really thought there was no point in spilling more ink over their awful design decisions.
(*Yes, they’re mandatory if you want to be even remotely prepared for raiding. There is no argument here. If you’re in a raiding guild and you’re not doing the most you can to maximize your gear, enchants, valor points, etc., you are not pulling your weight. You can call them “optional” all you want, but if you’re a raider and you’re not doing them, you’re bad and you should feel bad.)
Then the Dominance Offensive/Operation: Shieldwall patch hit, and Blizzard once again proved that it had learned nothing from IQD, the Tourney, and the Molten Front. Well, they claim they did. They claim that people are doing the dailies (and they are–I can see that as I do them myself). But what their research doesn’t show is that people are doing these dailies because they *have* to to stay competitive, not because they’re fun and enjoyable. (I will admit that I enjoyed the Cloud Serpent grind…the first time. The prospect of doing it on at least three more Horde toons and one more Alliance toon makes me want to vomit.)
I resisted Shieldwall as long as I could, then the sadness of my current trinkets forced me to suck it up and start them. They are, without a doubt, the most awful dailies I’ve ever done. They’re repetitive and painfully over-tuned, even in raiding gear (I did them once on my not-at-all-geared Horde priest and threw up my hands). But most of all, they’ve turned the focus of World of Warcraft completely back to player-versus-player.
I don’t PvP. At all. I hate it. I hate it with every fiber of my being. I’m horrendously bad at it, and I absolutely hate the community that’s sprung up around PvP. Spending my non-working hours surrounded by 12-year-olds and people who act like 12-year-olds screaming and swearing and insulting each other is pretty much the worst way I can think of to spend an evening. Battlegrounds are a cesspool of humanity, and Blizzard Entertainment should be downright ashamed that they let that kind of behavior happen on their servers. I begrudgingly did School of Hard Knocks because I had help, and I did the 50 HK’s achievement for Winter Veil because hey, 50 HKs isn’t bad, but every time I leave a BG I feel like I need a shower. Until recently this behavior been confined to BGs and arenas, areas I can avoid, and I’ve been content with it.
Not so with Mists of Pandaria.
First of all, we’re saddled with this cross-realm zone nonsense, which carries a litany of negative effects (increased competition for resources, a slower questing experience, and increased opportunity for griefing, mainly). CRZ, as it’s been dubbed by the community, carries all of the negatives of being on a crowded, high-population server, and none of the benefits. For the most part you cannot talk to the people around you from other servers, and when you leave the cross-realm zone you’re back in Orgrimmar on your deserted server, where there are tumbleweeds growing in the auction houses and recruiting for a raiding or RBG group is futile. The only “silver lining” in the CRZ debacle is that it provides greater opportunities for so-called world PvP. You call it world PvP, I call it griefing*. Tomato, tomahto. It’s as if Blizzard is screaming “You will PvP AND YOU WILL LIKE IT.”
(*If you are level 90 and you are in a low-level zone getting your rocks off by one-shotting lowbies, you are not some noble hero of the Horde/Alliance “playing the game as it was intended” and “glorifying the Horde/Alliance.” You are an *asshole*. You are not engaging in “world PvP,” you are *griefing people*. You should not be lauded for your efforts to aid your faction, you should be *permanently banned from the game for being a dick*.)
When this fracas first started, the chorus of twits defending the “world PvP” compared notes and came up with one solution, which they now parrot like politicians at a press conference: “don’t play on a PvP server!” I don’t. My Horde toons are on Garrosh and my Alliance toons are on Azuremyst, both PvE servers. And yet, four times while completing Shieldwall dailies I’ve had dipshits literally go out and sit on top of the mobs I’m trying to kill, in the hopes that I’ll be stupid enough to cast an AoE spell and accidentally hit them, thus flagging myself and subjecting myself to “world PvP.” To them I say, a) I don’t think it’s physically possible to do what you’re trying to get me to do, and b) if you want to “world PvP,” go to a PvP server.
Then the legendary quest line came out. I’ve never had a legendary before, and I think they’re cool, and I think Wrathion is an interesting character, so I jumped into it with both feet. Then it was announced that in order to complete the legendary quest line you must win each of the new MoP battlegrounds. The chorus of “YOU WILL PvP AND YOU WILL LIKE IT.” grows ever louder.
But…trinkets! Pretty trinkets! K-kaw! k-kaw! I want my pretty trinkets, so I suffer through a half hour or so of Shieldwall dailies every day. Again, I do these things because as a raider I *have* to do them, not because I want to. I had made peace with it because the reward at the end is something I need. And then today it was announced that the new IQD/Tourney/MF analog in 5.2 will be a no-fly zone specifically for the purpose of encouraging “world PvP”. YOU WILL PvP AND YOU WILL LIKE IT.
No. I won’t. I will not PvP and you absolutely cannot, will not make me.
World of Warcraft should be a game, not a homework assignment.
Class, Lore and Killing Peasants November 29, 2012Posted by Ben in Uncategorized.
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When I leveled my paladin through Pandaria, I felt an emotional reaction to the destruction of the serpent statue in the Jade Forest and was troubled by the enlistment of the Pandaren into our small army after the disaster we caused with the Forest Hozen. While my character tried to clean up messes caused by our arrival on these long-hidden shores, it seemed that my Horde (NPC) compatriots were determined to cause as much trouble as possible. I don’t set out to actively role-play my characters, but a little bit of the class lore tends to bleed into my feelings as I play.
However, in recent weeks my Forsaken hunter has been my primary character, and I’ll admit that the shift from noble knight to ruthless killing machine has shifted my view of the in-game events surrounding me. From an objective view, I watch the invading Horde and Alliance armies and think what devastation we are about to unleash on these lands. But when my hunter was sent to cause trouble at Lion’s Landing today and thin their numbers, I noticed something in my emotions.
I was enjoying it.
Before me was a beach filled with Alliance footmen and cannoneers waiting to be felled by my bow and arrow. I killed more than my fair share of soldiers as I made my way on foot into the town to place the spy wards, and I found myself taking particular joy in the mass slaughter of the defenseless peasants.
I don’t know if these feelings will be the same if/when I work through the story with a different, more noble character. But I can’t wait to go back tomorrow and see what new trouble I can cause for that damned Alliance.
Quick Pic Post: Why is this here? October 31, 2012Posted by Ben in Uncategorized.
This room underneath Kor’Vess in the Dread Wastes baffles me. There’s all of one quest, discovering the fate of a Stormstout, and involves navigating around these rather pointless beams of yellow stuff. They cause heavy damage and a significant knockback. The room is also a bit packed with stationary and patrolling NPCs that are more than a little sensitive to your presence. All to rescue a damned panda who’s already dead.
This room is the WoW equivalent of those strange underbelly of the ship passageways in sci-fi movies. Tons of hazards that seem to serve no practical purpose.
Why, Blizz? Why?
Things October 17, 2012Posted by Stormy in Uncategorized.
Many random, discursive thoughts! Handle it!
I finished the available content in Cataclysm months ago, as soon as I had finished the three new Hour of Twilight randoms and Dragon Soul LFR. There just wasn’t any more content to see. I spent the next few months in Outland and Northrend, getting Loremaster, grinding rep with the Oracles, Sha’tari Skyguard, Cenarion Expedition, etc. I was done with the current expansion’s content, so I went back and did content from the previous two expansions. I expected my playtime to significantly increase with the release of MoP, and I was beyond excited to have new quests to do, new rep to grind, new dungeons…a whole new universe to explore. My playtime in MoP has actually been about half what it was in Cataclysm. I had today off, and I had the best of intentions to spend most of the day online getting my Horde main to 90, and yet I’ve logged in just long enough to turn over my crops and pick up some auction proceeds. The things I want to do are locked behind such an insurmountable wall of things I *have* to do that WoW is really starting to feel like homework. Instead of sitting here writing this post I *should* be online getting a few more heroic gear drops for my Alliance raiding main. I *should* be online getting my Horde main to 90 so I can engage in dungeon/scenario shenanigans with Ben and Suz. I *should* be doing Golden Lotus and Klaxxi dailies. I’ve actually resorted to blogposts as a way of procrastinating.
Kun-Lai Summit is the most depressing place on Azeroth. I hate everything about it, save the Yak Wash. Townlong Steppes isn’t much better, and the Vale of Eternal Blossoms isn’t either. You’re introduced to Pandaria in the Jade Forest, a verdant, lush landscape full of life, where you meet peaceful, jovial Pandaren who love a good beer and a good story. Then for the rest of your Pandaria experience you’re thrust into a landscape more boring than pre-Cataclysm Aszhara, where it’s cold, rocky, snowy, and…brown. Just…brown.
I’m not going to waste a lot of pixel ink bitching about dailies. It’s been said before, by people smarter than me. Most of the problem with dailies comes from a disconnect between the way Blizzard intended the dailies to be run, and the unbreakable mentality among the raiding set that all the faction reps and all the raids MUST BE DONE RIGHT NAO NAO NAO. It’s a year’s worth of content, and yet there’s a mentality that you’re some kind of subhuman slacker if you’re not exalted with the Golden Lotus, Klaxxi, Order of the Cloud Serpent and the Anglers right now, three weeks in. The one point I *haven’t* seen anyone make is that for most of the other rep grinds in the game, completing a daily gives 250, 350 or 550 faction rep. Golden Lotus dailies–with the guild perk–give 110. What. the. ever-living. fuck?
Yesterday, Apple Cider Mage posted an insightful post about sexism and rape culture in Mists. Really, this surprises you at this point? Blizzard has been coddling rape culture from day one, and they’re not about to stop now. I cringed and nearly lost my lunch the day the female Pandaren model was released–she’s a submissive, giggly geisha with vacant eyes and human breasts. She’s a celebration of a culture that objectifies and subjugates women. This isn’t some subtle nod to a tiny subset of the playerbase. It’s an extension of a culture that Blizzard has created and nurtured all along. If you can get through a random battleground pug without hearing the word “rape” at least five times, I’ll give you $100. Posters on the WoW subreddit are celebrated for having PvP “rape” macros. It’s not new, it’s not a secret, it’s not a small subset of the playerbase, and it’s not going away.
And so I sit on my quiet little farm in the Valley and reminisce about the good old days with my friend Farmer Yoon. I hope he gets the votes he needs to be a Tiller. Occasionally I’ll go take a whack at Darkmaster Gandling (I *love love love* the remodel of Scholomance and Scarlet Monastery) for loots. Until I can summon the energy to get my Horde main to 90, everything else is just homework.
Patience October 15, 2012Posted by Ben in Uncategorized.
I decided yesterday that it was time to jump into Heroic 5-mans. Since I only do “progression” dailies twice a week, this is going to be my primary means of getting better gear right now.
On the first spin of the wheel, I got Scarlet Halls. I’d done the level 30 version with my monk already, so I knew the basics of the fights, and this dungeon went fairly smoothly. At an avg item level of 446, I’m a bit squishy of a tank, but liberal use of Sacred Shield and Word of Glory along with a patient healer and we made it through. (Except for when I made a stupid mistake on New Herod and got caught in his Whirlwind, but he was almost dead anyway)
Feeling confident, I queued again. And got Shado-Pan Monastery.
I’ll admit that while doing ‘normals’ this was my least favorite of the dungeons. Trash mobs without loot tables and not readily obvious mechanics (like the cast-time invoking clicking of the dead panda being required to kill the associated mobs) made this dungeon often more frustrating than it was worth (especially once I’d reached level 90).
But we’d downed the first two bosses with little trouble. Then I committed Grave Tank Error #1. “Thou shalt be aware of your healer’s mana bar.” So we wiped on the second sha trash pack immediately following Master Snowdrift. The wipe was caused by caused by me committing Grave Tank Error #2 on the previous pull. “Don’t stand in the bad shit.” It turns out that something I didn’t learn on normal is that one of the sha trash mobs breath out this swirly black death that hurts pretty bad on heroic mode. And I was taking it right in the face and not moving out of the way. So my healer had to exhaust his mana to keep me alive, and then I took off for the next pack.
Wiping on trash is a pretty embarrassing thing for a tank. Or at least it is for me, so after we’d run back and rebuffed and then proceeded to wipe again on the same trash pack, I fully expected to watch the group fall apart. One of the DPS did leave, but after the healer asked my gear level, he continued to soldier on. I moved out of the bad and we continued on.
The Sha of Violence is fairly straightforward as a tank. Or so I thought. Hold aggro in the center of the room, and get it back quickly after Disorienting Smash. I also try to throw the occasional Judgment or Avenger’s Shield at the little shas to help kill them.
First attempt: Only one dpser was killing the little shas (my wonderful partner Suz) and the healer was swarmed. Other dpsers weren’t moving from the spikes. Wipe.
Second attempt: I tried to put more focus on killing little shas, but repeat of previous attempt.
Third attempt: Success. Mostly. The healer and one dps were dead on the floor, but so was the boss, so we collected the loot and moved on.
The rest of the dungeon went fairly smoothly, except for my rapidly fluctuating health bar. And please people, for the love of all that his holy (or whatever your healing spec might be called) stop standing on Taran’s the purple ring of death!
All this is a long, round about way of me figuring out that I need to invest the Spirits of Harmony into buying the Blacksmithing patterns for the ilvl 450 gear, and to thank the kind Monk Healer who was so patient and willing to stick with the group through five wipes.
Thank you, Taifu of whatever realm you came from.
Expectations September 19, 2012Posted by Ben in Uncategorized.
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Expectations are killer. Especially when you have trouble meeting them.
The in-game event for the launch of Burning Crusade lasted…one week. The Dark Portal broke open and demons were flooding through. We had to try to hold the line. However, with that many players in one spot and a limited number of npcs, completing the quest was a matter of who had the best and luckiest AoE.
The in-game event for the launch of Wrath of the Lich King lasted about a month. It slowly ramped up from a few suspicious crates to a full-blown Zombie Apocalypse. It was disruptive to normal game play (which despite whining of some players, was kind of the point) and a hell of a good time to role play either trying to fend off the attack or to spread the plague. Add to that ziggurats assaulting high-level zones, the discovery of a cure in Shattrath and the full assault on Stormwind and Orgrimmar by the Lich King, and you have the standard by which all other events are measured.
By comparison, the Cataclysm was a yawn. Most of it happened while the servers were down for the patch. We didn’t get to see places destroyed, they just were. There were elemental invasions in places that didn’t ultimately change that much. And then there was a week of special boss fights that were pretty cool, but forgettable. I’d hoped that we’d see the gradual change of the world in a few weeks before the expansion began. Maybe we could have tried to stop the flooding of Thousand Needles and/or try to rescue the survivors
And now we have the Theramore scenario. It’s fun, but not particularly impactful. From the Horde side you see the bomb drop, but not the aftermath. And there is absolutely no story introduction. But I can’t help but wonder if the disappointment so many express has as much to do with wanting a bigger catalyst for the new expansion than what they’ve been given. And maybe we’d been waiting so long for something new to do, that we had set up expectations that weren’t realistic.
Goodbye Deathwing, Hello Pandas September 18, 2012Posted by Stormy in Uncategorized.
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It’s Tuesday, September 18. The long-awaited Mists of Pandaria launch is a week away, so I figured it was time to really, truly put Cataclysm to bed and start thinking about what’s going to happen when Happy Funtime Panda Adventure Island opens next week. I’m done with Cataclysm. Like…so done. I’ve been done for months. I’ve actually spent most of the last few months finishing Loremaster and hanging out in Outland working on BC reps and titles, and I am so ready for something new to play with next week.
One of the cool things about the WoW blogger/Twitter community is the sense of closeness and connectedness we’ve been able to foster, and I think as WoW in general moves away from being just a video game to being a social network with a video game glued on top, this sense of community is really going to pay off. I’ve been thinking a lot about how I’m going to position myself and my playtime in preparation for Pandyland, and last Friday I asked my friend Nymphy if her guild would be willing to take on a stray shadow priest (okay that’s a lie–I was drawn in by the recruiting tentacle), and they said yes. I put in for the transfer, and three minutes after I logged into my new home-away-from-home on Azuremyst I was being dragged into Dragon Soul. A little over two hours later I had my Destroyer’s End title. Deathwing is dead by my hand now, and I can say I have finished out the story of Cataclysm.
Last night, my friend Tikari mentioned on Twitter that he was planning on pushing through some Cataclysm randoms to level a couple toons and he was looking for help. I piped up, and last night Tikari, Jasyla, Netraven and I grouped up to do a last tour of the Cataclysm dungeons. We facerolled Throne of the Tides and groused about the jellyfish elevator, steamrolled Blackrock Caverns and said goodbye to Corla, and just generally reminisced about the last two years of our WoW lives, and I had the most fun I’ve had in WoW in a while. After we finished our randoms, Tikari and Jasyla and I grouped up to do the new Theramore’s Fall scenario. I’ll spare you my thoughts on it, but Tzufit pretty much speaks for me on this.
Pushing through solo content by yourself is fun and gratifying to an extent, but WoW is a social activity meant to be enjoyed in groups, and I’ve immensely enjoyed these two opportunities to get together with other people and kill some dragons. With the advent of BattleTags and cross-server grouping I hope I’m going to see more and more of this throughout Mists, and I’m even leveling a couple of Alliance toons in preparation for some possible shenanigans with Alliance friends. Let’s be honest: Cataclysm was largely a swing-and-a-miss for Blizzard, but very little of that matters when you’re hanging out in Mumble with a bunch of people you really like.
So long, Deathwing. Goodbye, Twilight’s Hammer. Arrivederci, Cho’gall. Bye-bye, Asira Dawnslayer. The Cataclysm is over. Azeroth is changed forever, and I suppose I am too. I got a little giddy the other day as I was flying around Stormwind and saw that there’s a pagoda and a bunch of turtles over by the Eastern Earthshrine. New adventures await us in Pandaria, and I’m all kinds of excited.