Archive for the “Cataclysm” Category

I’ve been quiet about WoW lately, because most of the stuff I used to find fun… isn’t.

I used to enjoy;

  • Playing end game instances/raids with others
  • Leveling/questing/exploring in the world
  • Playing cooperatively while leveling with my wife

I’m not going to write some massive bearwall. It would be too long, and undoubtedly boring.

What I will say is, I didn’t enjoy the way Wrath made every 10 person guild a potential progression raiding guild, with that inevitable awareness in the back of everyone’s head that you could possibly see everything in the game… if you started raiding more often. And started taking it a little more seriously. I did enjoy the tempo and design of instances in Wrath, though. Say what you will about them, I enjoyed being able to get a group and burn through an instance at a fast pace. It was pretty cool. I’m not talking about the difficulty level or lack thereof, I’m talking about how long the bloody things took. With Cataclysm, we have the same 10 and 25 person raid progression go go go, but with Burning Crusade style instances requiring teamwork, coordination and cooperation.

I love the new heroic instances as a concept, and I applaud Blizzard for combining the carrot of leveled guild rewards with the stick of heroic instances that are hell on pugs. I think Blizzard sat down and did some serious thinking on how to deal with the endless bitching and complaining about asshats in PUGs. From out of these meetings came the realization that if they could just get the players to form larger guilds, and make them WANT to play in runs as guilds instead of PUGs, then the asshats they end up hating will be in their own guild… and all that bile and hatred would be turned on guild leaders and officers to deal with the asshats rather than on Blizzard.

A guild you can level with great in-game rewards, mounts, pets, Heirlooms and stuffs? Where having more people doing things levels you faster? And to level the guild you have to do things together that you used to PUG? Well played, Blizzard. Well played. I hope that your customer service complaints have been reduced in the percentages expected.

I’m not enjoying exploring the world, because all of Azeroth has changed, and the instancing means that my max level characters can’t just go out there and check things out 100%, learn it. Oh no, if I want to see the zone the way it’s supposed to be… I have to do all the quests in the zone, damn near. On everyone.

And hey, it sure would be nice to go hang out with a lower level friend, maybe help out… oh wait, I’m in the wrong phase. Oh well, guess you’re on your own. Sorry!

And I’m mostly not enjoying playing cooperatively with  the love of my life and best friend, whom I happen to be married to. You see, even if you’re grouped together, and playing together, and leveling together and staying in perfect sync XP to XP… a lot of this phasing takes you out of the game world into your own little custom zone, for you to address the serious stuff.

Boy, that’s just great when you were doing the quests together, and one of you is the Tank while the other is DPS/Healing. “Where the hell were you when I had to kill the bad guy? Sucker tried to eat me?” “Sorry, I think I slipped into an alternate universe there for a second. My bad.”

Blech.

On a side note, a digression, a sidebar if you will…. Blizzard, it takes a special kind of genius to design a game that has as its sole end game focus GROUPING… to work hard to emphasize grouping, to drive people to bigger guilds, and to design content requiring teamwork and cooperation and coordination, just as I said before… but to make sure that while leveling up while questing, that you CAN’T COMPLETE THE LEVELING QUESTS AS A COOPERATIVE GROUP.

Boy, with all of that, you might think that I’m a whisker’s breadth away from quitting, right?

Damn near, my friends. Damn near.

What is keeping me from that is one main thing.

I CAN play cooperatively while questing with the woman I love. I just have to do it in Outlands or Northrend, that’s all. And then, once we finish in Northrend… well, I guess we’re done, because the new content is another clusterfu&^ for leveling while grouped.

So I’m playing my Frost Mage while Cassie tanks as a Bear. She dinged 68 last night while I’m still at 67, in Shadowmoon Valley.

It’s so much fun… sad to say, my biggest hope now is that Blizzard doesn’t “improve” the old content, it’s the only stuff we can still play together as a team.

I am also contemplating trying something wacky with folks on some other server somewhere, doing Elune only knows what. There’s a really fun-sounding concept guild called “Twits and Giggles” that the Disciplinary Priest started over on Fizzcrank-US, Alliance side. It’s Death Knights only, and as the title implies, it’s just for fun. I could try that. I’ve been leveling a DK on my server, but wtf, I could do another one, right?

It’s either that, or see if I can find someone somewhere that can use a Bear tank once in a while, but who can’t commit to playing that often. Yeah, put THAT in your application and see how far you get, huh?

Comments 30 Comments »

In no particular order, here are some of the things I love about the game these days, whether small change or large.

1) Mount speed scales with skill – so if you really like that striped orange kitty cat from Darnassus, you can still ride it as your max speed mount. Likewise if you love the clean purity of the Snowy Gryphon, but always felt forced to use a mount that had a faster speed.

I really like that change. I’ve always thought what a shame it is, once you’d earned those higher level skills, that you were retiring a once-beloved mount because of stats.

2) Professions matter – It’s nice, this early into the expansion, that if you’ve got a crafting profession, it is worth your time early on to level it and make gear. The Blacksmiths, Leatherworkers and Tailors can craft some mighty fine gear that is equippable at a nice, low entry level. It’s also interesting that the Plate tanking sets made by Blacksmiths are equippable at slightly lower levels overall then the DPS equivalents… subtly encouraging tanks to be better geared early on than DPS, maybe?

On the same subject, it’s nice that Engineers can now make Bows as well as Guns, for those that like the feel of an item as much as it’s stats, and Jewelcrafters can actually make Fist Weapons of decent potency, equippable at a low character level as compared to their item level, making them quite handy for those of us with Rogues or Enhancement Shamen.

3) Quest designs encourage more pew pew, less vroom vroom. It’s not used all the time, but it’s nice that sometimes when you’re sent out on a quest chain, the quest completion and assignment of a new quest happens out in the field, without calling you all the way back. I’ve come to enjoy those moments when I complete a quest’s objectives, only to have the turn in appear on my active window, and the next step of the quest be given to me right there whle I’m still where I need to be to keep going. There is a lot more gating on quests, where you have to finish every single quest available before anything new will be offered, but at least some effort has been made to let you keep on chugging forward with fewer pit stops back at base.

4) Zones feel like they have a story that builds up to a satisfying conclusion. Now more than ever, in playing through the redesigned zones, more of them feel as if there is a cohesive main story, and as you play through the quests, things build up nicely, ending in some major confrontation – with commensurate rewards. The first time I played through the revamped Redridge Mountains on Alliance side, I was amazed at how different it all was.

As a side note, I love how the Redridge Mountains quests on Alliance side seem to insinuate that what they did there is why you get those quests in the field later. In Redridge Mountains, you are sent to go pick up a gnomish field communicator, and once you’ve got it and it’s repaired, that is how ‘base’ contacts you for quest updates and follow ups.

Later on, in Vashj’ir or any other zone where you get those same style follow ups, with someone back at ‘base’ magically knowing you finished a quest and telling you what they want you to do next… is it assumed you still have the communicator, and everyone you meet has a sending unit and knows your code? Good thing it didn’t break when your ship got sunk, huh? Is there a way to turn it off, or are you transmitting what you’re doing all the time?

Can I turn it off when I go to the bathroom? Some things I’d rather not have the quest givers know. It’s nice that we’re chatting and everything, but let’s keep just a little mystery to the relationship, whattaya say?

Comments 12 Comments »

This is a request for a bit of guidance.

There are Vash’jir “flight points” internal to the zone.

What I don’t have is an understanding… how do you link Vash’jir to Kalimdor or Eastern Kingdoms? How do you move into and out of the zone itself?

Whether through flight paths, boats or portals, I’m just still a little in the dark on this one.

Can someone help me out on the repeatable methods you can use at level 80/81 to get into and out of Vash’jir when you want to?

Thank you in advance for your insight.

Comments 18 Comments »

I got the Cataclysm as a digital download… and went to sleep at my normal time.

However, I took the day off from work!

No, not to play. I’ve got an appointment this afternoon. It is pure coincidence that this ALSO just happened to let me log in this morning!

No, really. It’s coincidence.

So, I logged in and created my new Goblin Warlock, “Fryingbacon”. The starter zone looks kinda cluttered and mechanized, and I wasn’t really feeling it. I’m sure that I’ll get into it if I have some time to come back to it, but after a night long session of listening to Loreena McKennitt, I wasn’t up for mechanized. I’m up for pretty flowers and romantic highwaymen and ladies from shallott.

That means… time for a Worgen!

I hadn’t even intended to create a Worgen, but at the last minute I really started liking the idea of a Priest. So, female Worgen Priest “Supervixen” was born.

I like Gilneas much more. It certainly fit the mood. Very cool. And a lot more crowded with new Worgen than the Goblin starter area!

But ah, the allure of the shiny… can’t you fly in Azeroth now? What’s that like?

Off to Bigbearbutt, to learn how to fly easier than Pink Floyd ever dreamed.

The view over Stormwind City from on high is incredible. Even more so when you realize that a lot of it is still unchanged from the original design, which you never really got to enjoy from the air before. The Mage Quarter, in particular, when seen from the air is gorgeously landscaped.

Logging into my level 80 Druid, however, brought one unexpected bonus.

A popup appeared offering me a quest to go visit the Earthen Ring in Stormwind.

“Ahh”, I think, “Here is where you get offered new quests.”

I go check it out, and they want me to use a scrying pool to see something in a far off distant land.

I use it… and… cinematic?

omigod… THRALL!

There is some hooyah about saving the world from this, or fighting off Deathwing, or some such, but I wasn’t really paying attention.

You had me at Thrall.

Damnit, I guess I’m going to have to go quest now.

For those of you that cannot get into the game just yet, I promise you it will still be here later. In the meantime, just rest easy knowing that it’s live, it’s working, and it just might be almost as cool as all the hype made it out to be.

Comments 16 Comments »

The actual expansion is almost here, and I’m really curious as to what YOU, the folks that come to visit, are actually planning on doing FIRST.

You’re going to install and/or activate the expansion and then log in. Then there might be some minor shuffling around, addon updates, that kind of thing.

But with the new content and options available, what are you planning on digging into first?

Are you going to make and play a new Worgen or Goblin?

Are you going to learn and delve into the newest Profession, Archeaology, and search the world for something cool to dig up?

Are you planning on tearing straight into the new leveling/questing content on one of your level 80 characters?

Are you going to race change one of your existing high level characters to Worgen or Goblin right out of the gate?

Are you going to train Azeroth flight and go for a spin to see things for the first time when NOT on a flight route?

Are you maybe planning on training a new Profession level, and being the first to hit max on a crafting Profession?

Are you going to train a gather Profession and be the first to corner the herb, skin or ore market?

What, exactly, are you really planning on doing the first time you get into Cataclysm?

Me, I honestly don’t know. I feel the allure of leveling Professions. I might train old world flying, upgrade Professions, and then go do some Mining or Herbing.

It’s so close, you can almost squeee!

Comments 55 Comments »

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