Saturday, March 14, 2009

Still Not Playing

I am having a very difficult time getting back into the game. I do a lot of complaining. Everything I can't do solo is too hard. Everything I can do solo quickly is too easy. I can't be bothered to learn my class well enough to be comfortable with it. After almost three years of playing I still have to ask other players to tell me if an item is an upgrade or not. I can't be bothered to sit in LFG to do instance runs. I'm not confident enough to seek out a raid spot in a guild although I was competent enough when I was a raider in BC. My main is still only level 72 even after a few months of the Lich King release. Even if I could motivate myself enough to level off, the game is already at a point where getting groups for 5-mans (and the entry-level raid gear) is going to be a rough endeavor, and keeping a group together (or not getting kicked from one) is going to be tough while I relearn my class with all of the new changes between BC and Lich King and now the upcoming 3.1 patch.

I long for the more simpler days of Dungeons and Dragons or the likes of Baldur's Gate and Icewind Dale. The stats were simple and the gear was obvious.

Is World of Warcraft too hard or too easy for me? I really can't answer that. But right now I'm simply not enjoying myself. It seems that just because I wasn't part of the herd that consumed all the new expansion content in record time, now I get to play catch-up while all of my friends are raiding and epicced out. It depresses me.

So, I'm still not playing. Just reading blogs and World of Raids.

Maybe it's time for me to cancel my account.

3.1 Removes More Game

Current patch notes are a changing thing so I won't bother to link them here, tomorrow the link might be out-dated.

But, a discussion can be had.

First, Blizzard decided to remove ammo, though not happening for 3.1, it is still in the works. Now we are seeing the removal of some of the books that teach skills. The skills will instead be made available at trainers.

You can no longer fail while performing gathering skills.

Inscriptionists will now learn 3 research recipes when researching for the first time.

The time it takes to gather herbs and catch fish has been reduced.

Flint and tinder are no longer needed for campfires.

Do you see the pattern?

Amidst of cries that World of Warcraft is now too easy, Blizzard has decided to make things even easier still. I never considered myself a hardcore gamer, but maybe I some extent at least.

Oddly enough, some of the changes simply do not make sense. For instance, some books required to learn skills are being removed, but they added a book for first aid in Lich King that is a BOP drop. The other first aid books are at trainers/vendors...or something.

On a side note, the decision to allow mineral nodes to produce all of their loot in one attempt isn't fast or efficient enough for some people. Now they are leaving behind unwanted items which must be great fun for other miners who come up to a node only to find some stones. So now Blizzard has adjusted the despawn rate to ensure a new spawn appears sooner. That won't stop people from finding the partially looted nodes, but fewer will do so. I suspect that people often left stone before the strike change, but because mining generaly took longer to complete, it wasn't a big deal since the nodes would despawn before too many people found them. But now that mining is so much faster, more partial nodes began turning up. Whoops!

I do approve of the added graphics options. It's nice to know that World of Warcraft continues to be tweaked to take advantage of new technology.

Still, I can't help but feel the game is becoming less with each attempt to make it faster.

Tobold has pointed out that healing used to be a slow process that allowed time to make decisions, but now the player must mash the biggest and fastest heals that he can and not worry about over-healing or even wasting heals on a target that didn't actually need it. Just keep the green bars as full as possible and don't think about the process.

I'd rather have more micro game added than taken away. I might actually enjoy the new arena though, if it is a solo endeavor as someone pointed out to me. Would be nice to see those rewards spread throughout the game though istead of bunched up together, but then people might have a hard time finding oponents.

Maybe I just don't know what I want from World of Warcraft anymore.

Mount Colors are Serious Business

Just another "Whoopsi!" from the Blizzard crew.

In short: Blizzard decided to equalize the number of mounts for the horde and alliance because the alliance has more. They thought they had enough unused art models to make it work out but realized too late that the only available art for the undead mount was for a level 30, non-epic skin.

They had a choice: Either pull all of the new mounts and wait until there was art available, or at least provide the new QUANTITY of mounts so horde could stop pointing out that the mount achievements are easier to obtain than for horde.

I'm a little disappointed even though it doesn't effect me, it could have easily been a decision made for the alliance.

Someone in the discussion asks how hard is it to change the color in Photoshop? Of course, they forgot to add in the time it takes to test the change. Someone has to add it to the PTR and take notes then report their findings to someone else. At this point, there just isn't time to add more stuff for testing in the 3.1 patch.

Which begs the question, why wait and pack all this stuff into one gigantic patch anyway? Good grief! This patch is going to be HUGE! Yet, the only new playable content will be the arena and Ulduar. No new maps to explore, no new quest hubs, no old world face-lifts...

Honestly, when people are heckling the designers over the speed of a mount, I think it says something about the over-all state of the game. Something negative, that is.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Bad PUGs

I can handle a bad PUG, but these days people just won't finish a run for any number of reasons.

I didn't begin playing Lich King right away. But within a month of launch, and still at level 70, I joined a PUG for the first time on my prot warrior and after two wipes before the first boss the entire group bailed.

I have yet to enter another PUG since then. I switched over to DPS and may not ever go prot again. With dual specs in the game, PUGs will expect warriors to have DPS and prot skills on hand. But I think I will choose not to utilize dual spec. I understand why Blizzard thinks they want it in the game, but I fully believe that it will quickly become one more thing expected of players in groups. Maybe Blizzard believe it will help alleviate the lack of tanks and healers in PUGs, but I doubt it will happen that way. If you didn't want to tank or heal a PUG before, would that really change just because it's easier switch specs?

PUGs will continue to go badly.

You can't improve with your new skills and specs without practice but people no longer have a tolerance to put up with anything less than instant success.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Gevlon Declares, "I Win!"

Gevlon has changed his tactics for current end game content.

Tobold pointed out some pros and cons of the "achievement".

The following began as a general comment on Tobold's blog but quickly grew into a post for myself.

I think the crux here is that Gevlon played the game his own way. A lot of people have pointed out between blogs that he chose to sit on the auction house while other people strove to experience raid content. Once he got bored with the auction house he showed us that a well-structured pug can clear Naxx (although most of us already knew this) but he did it in a very controlled way. Now he has shown us the fruit of all of his "labors" by warping to some of the best gear in the game. There is no longer an argument that his play style prevents him from experiencing the raid content. Instead, we are now arguing that he is not experiencing the raid content the "right" way.

It has been pointed out time and time again that one person's way of experiencing the game can be different than the next person's. Love him or hate him, Gevlon is now in a position to possibly join the best guilds on his server if he wants to, assuming his recount screenshots are not selective and he really is that skilled. But he does not like deal with guild structures.

Tobold pointed out that Gevlon's method relies on how many people do what he does. The thing is that apparently there are not enough other players interested in auction house gold to stop him. Gevlon has pointed out over and over that anyone could stop him at any time, but nobody did. Even when he announced the next server he wanted to take his challenge to and told everyone exactly what he was buying and selling, nobody bothered to stop him.

I think he has earned the right to say "I win!".

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Time To Play?

When did the World of Warcraft become a game that must be strictly scheduled with a time frame that must be met at all costs?

I've heard the stories about the people who apparently have no lives and can play the game seemingly 24/7, have all of the best epics and are the first to reach all of the goals within the game. The people who cannot or will not achieve these things are very bitter over the people who can or will.

"They only have that or achieved that because they have no life."

"I don't have time to dance with this group, I'm out of here."

"We have 30 minutes to clear this instance or I'm out."

"One bad pull and I'm jumping ship so you won't waste my time."

"I can't be bothered to help you become better, I don't have the time."

I don't know about you, but I hate being rushed. When I play World of Warcraft, I want to take my time. I want to enjoy the experience. Sometimes I might get caught up in the game and rush through some things, but that's because I can get excited and want to see the ending and get paid. But most of the time, I jump in the game and just want to relax. I'm not a fan of instance runs that take over an hour, but if there is any chance to finish a run, I will stick it out the best I can, though sometimes, I really do have to drop from a group. And you know what? Sometimes I may have to drop from a group just as it gets started, or only a few minutes in. That's called life. Not this stupid idea that I have to schedule this game around my real life needs and expect other players to fall in line with those needs.

See, I believe that sometimes I have a reason to only play for a few minutes while other times I believe I have a reason to play several hours. And sometimes my family gets all of my attention while other times they don't get enough. Some people might call that poor time management and I just don't care. Time management is for your job, or doctor appointments, or bank transactions. If you have to micro manage your entire life then I don't think that you are really experiencing it. The same goes for playing World of Warcraft.

There are people who feel the need to take their laptops with them on trips just so they can try to accomplish time-sensitive achievements. They have to lock themselves away from their family for a set period of time just to play the game. My family does not always need my attention so sometimes I have several hours free to play World of Warcraft or do something else. But they are in the same room with me, watching T.V. or playing on the floor, or reading. If my wife says "Let's go somewhere." I turn off the game and we go. If one of my kids say "Dad, I need help." I may ask them to wait a few mintutes then I give them my full attention. That is what real life is all about. Not this strange need to have a stop watch ticking away around your neck.

If you have time to play, then play. Maybe you get to finish all that you would like, and maybe you don't. I can't count the number of times when my game period has become a glorified chat room because a friend was chatting with me and I got caught up in the discussion and accomplished absolutely nothing for my character. And I don't even care.

Play the game or don't, but don't expect me to care when we wipe on the first boss and you start complaining about how the run is taking too long.

Oh, and remember this little phrase that you've regurgitated over and over?

"You can't have fun because the other 24 people in the raid might be inconvienenced."

Choke on it.

Once you've made your game time a scheduled appointment, you've sucked all the fun out of it already. Sure, it can be annoying when the hunter misdirects to a mage, but if you any sense of humour at all, then you've just been paid in spades for your precious time with a fun story to tell.

Before you sit down to play World of Warcraft, take off the stupid suit and the wrist watch.