Thursday, April 29, 2010

How to play if you have been Raised as an ally by your friendly neighbourhood Death knight


No need to panic, you failed.

You didn’t move out of the fire, you failed to look at your aggro-meter, you are now dead, and the boss your guild is fighting is not… Yet.

So you have let your fellow-raiders down, and the battleresses have been saved for tanks and healers. What should you do?
  1. Log out?
  2. Get coffee and bio?
  3. Sit like an idiot and yell at your healers for not covering for your mistakes?
  4. None of the above
The ansvare of course is, none of the above. You should /poke your friendly neighbourhood Death Knight for a “raise ally” 5 minutes of fun, and a very decent chunk of dps.

How does it work? 
Raise ally, is a spell unique to Death Knights. It allows the Death Knight to raise a party/raidemember as a mindfull ghoul capable of doing a lot of damage, both to single targets and to multiple targets (at least, once).
It works like a battleres, except it is instant-cast, and it lasts for 5 minutes, and you will not retain your old abilities.
In the very old days of Wrath of the Lich king, this spell shared cooldown with the Death Knights ability to raise dead. It does not any longer. So there are no more excuses for not using it. It is one global cooldown, and it gives upwards to 1500 dps for up to 5 minutes. But only if used correctly.

What to do when you are Raised.

If you play a paladin on an RP realm, right about now, seems to be a good time to whine and moan, but for everyone else: be happy, you get to contribute to your guild, and stop being dead weight!!

First thing that will happen when you are raised is this:
Your UI will change, technically being raised as a ghoul counts as jumping into a vehicle (think first boss in Ulduar, flame leviathan). This vehicle may seem strange new, and confusing. It is not.
If you play a rogue, doing dps will be insanely easy. If you have defeated Malygos while doing dps, this will seem like a breeze, and if you have done “aces high” (the daily) this will be very familiar.

Basically you will get 6 abilities. And 4 of them are not important in order to do single target dps. The abilites are as follows:
  1. Claw 
  2. Thrash
  3. Chew (or something)
  4. leap 
  5. Huddle
  6. Blowyourselfup, or corpse-explosion

Claw is a standard damage dealer, it also adds 1 frenzy point.

Thrash is a standard damage releaser, the more frenzy points you have, the more damage you do

Chew, starts attacking and stuns enemies for up to 3 seconds (this is for pvp)

Leap lets you jump like a feral Durid onto the targeted enemy and start beating on them

Huddle makes you take cover, and take less damage

Corpse-explo, blows yourself up, while doing lots of aoe damage.

This is the short short version of what you do:
Target whoever you want deadded, then hit 4 (leap), then hit 1 (claw), then let energy build up, then hit 1, then hit 1 then hit 2 (thrash) then hit 1, then hit 1, then hit 1, then hit 2… Want me to continue? Build up 3 Frenzy points, release them, build up 3 frenzy points again, then release them. Just like on Malygos drakes (I know a lot of people do 112 instead of 1112, but you do not need to save up energy to protect yourself here, and you do not need to build up a dot like on malygos).

When the boss is almost dead, you might want to switch it up to 121212 and if you are about to win, or getting swarmed by adds, then blow yourself up. Mostly because its fun!!

Remember to use huddle, when bosses do aoe damage. You might have a lot of health, but chances are you will not be very high on the healers priority list.

Thats it.
Here are some unproven untested tips:
if you are wearing a higher dps weapon, this will affect your dps output. So start with raising other melee’s before casters.

Use leap, it fun and fast.

Do not use Chew (or whatever its called) its a pvp ability, and won’t do all that much to anyone in a real fight. Unless you are leaping to adds what are killing your healers. Then you use it!

DK’s get a macro made that announces that you are raising someone, and whom. There are lots of people who stop playing or paying attention to the game after they get themselves killed.

Enjoy, it’s fun being the Death Knights ghoul. 

When you are a ghoul
4,1,1,1,2,1,1,1,2,1,1,1,2 ect ect

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Oh no, the sky is falling at a Cataclysmic rate!

It is not like I, myself, have not fallen for this. I was on that band-wagon too. I wrote long posts about our class changes, and how much the announcement sucked. I still believe they do, but note that what I was mostly bothered about was a) a little bit about how there where no hints at *where* death Knights where going in Cataclysm, and mostly b) the stumbling moronic way, the actual announcements themselves where handled.

With he changes to badges, dungeons and some small blues on various class previews some players have gone the way of Helen Lovejoy 
 Point is; have you played with these changes? Have you read or seen all of the announced changes?


Oh so are you, in fact, just taking one change, and ignoring everything else, then applying that 1 change into the *current* system, and see how your world crashes?

Maybe its time, we took a step back and acknowledged, that the new people in charge of WoW are good at some things.

The strengths of the game today
I know there is a lot of whining and moaning, now more so, than probably ever, over how various classes are unplayable, or unbalanced beyond reason.
They really are not.
Sure the mages playing in paragon where not there, on the guilds first LK heroic kill, but that was because the mages in Paragon are not very good players.

The only “imbalance” I see in the game today, is the huge numbers of paladins and Druids playing. But that is because players like to have options. If one player likes to heal and dps, he can roll priest, paladin or shaman or druid, if he likes to tank and dps he can roll, paladin, druid, warrior or Death knight, if she likes to tank and heal, she can roll druid or paladin. That gives us 3 paladins, 3 druids, and 1 of everything else.
So it is not imbalance, it is players liking to have choices, and paladins and druids gives the most choices. (this also explains the miniscule rogues, locks hunters and mage numbers).
The reason why we can chose any class, is due to the great changes the new WoW kids (lovingly named the Blizzard B team), have made.
When I started playing, you could heal, tank or dps. That meant you could play a priest, a warrior or a rogue/mage. Rest where just there for their buffs.
In our 40 manned raid group only one paladin came close to the top 5 healing done spot. And that was because a) she is an incredible healer, and b) she was geared like a mofo and c) some of our priests (myself included) where not very well geared.

That all changed with The burning crusade, and was perfected in Wrath. When looking at tanks and healers, the only real issue nowadays is to make sure that you have more than one class doing it. Which of the classes you have does not really matter all that much (maybe paladin/disc priest is not optimal for your 10 manned group, but it can still work fine), at least not even a fraction what it used to.

Where am I going with this?
Point is, that when you see a class, change, think of it as an class opportunity. They are not fundamentally changing how any class works. Apart from hunters, and hunters are liking this change, as far as I can read. So what are people complaining about:

-  Rage-normalisation? Well that is only because you got screwed over at lower item-levels, on the last one, so it has a bad ring to it. But really, the changes so far just seems to make your class, mechanic… a mechanic again, instead of a “must hit heroic strike also” issue.  

- Rune changes for Death knights? It is a big change, but it is not a change that fundamentally changes the way we work. Our core class mechanic stays the same, we just get a bit of breathing room in our rotation and a bit of choices. If anyone has played frost dps, they will know what I am talking about. 0.5 of a sec to get your diseases refreshed, and if you do not hit that timing just right, then your dps will suffer greatly as a result. I am thankful for this change. Remember, we will not be left behind in the dps race, the goal of this change is to give us some options instead of a locked rotations waiting for proccs. There will be time to either raise a skeleton, throw in a horn, restart your rotation or throw a bomb. At least that is how I read the proposed mechanics.

Same with tree-druids: Are your aoe spell getting a cooldown? So what? You will not get screwed over. See above, you will get more breathing room.

Are 25 raids dead? Really? A re the 50 million whine threads from people who mourn 25s and saying that now none will do 25 because all you get now is more drops, equal hardness and more badges?
“But who cares about badges?” You will.

Same mistakes all over again
There you go and put one change for Cataclysm into the setting of wrath. Do not do that. Badges will be highly sought after again. Please try and remember, that you cannot get 50 badges every week from 10 manned no more.
Speaking of 10 manned. Why do you think that will become the place to rock?
Are you aware that the only reason why 10 mans are getting completed this much faster, is because the people clearing it overgear it!
Lich king heroic: 9 guilds have cleared it on 25. 0 (that is ZERO) 10 manned strict guild have downed him.

10 manned raids are only easy because you outgear them. You will not outgear them, anymore than you will in 25.

And people are clearing 25 manned content. Those raiders will get a shock once they enter the new 10 manned (Unless of course they remember the old Karazhan), and the trash uses them for mops.

10 manned raiding is hard and demanding, unless you outgear it. In fact, 10 manned raiding is *harder* unless you outgear it.
Look at the statistics.
Look at Sarth 3d.

Also I want to add to the players who think that 25 manned raids are dead: If there are this many people wanting to raid 25 manned, I will bet you that there will be planty of people raiding 25 manned. 

Will your current guild continue 25 manned?
If your raid-leaders are like most raid-leaders, then yes, Because raidleaders want to lead big groups into large scale combat. I am not judging, I would do the same, if I where a raid-leader. They want to go into the biggest group content they can find, and lead it.
If not, they would be running 5 manned dungeons. And if your raid-leader wants to run the big dungeons, your guild *will* run the big dungeons.

What you should be worried about
The only real concern I have (and both my concern and my answer is directly stolen from my guild-forum) is the rotated guys. Will rotations skip a whole lockout period at a time instead of by a single raid? Will you have to be able to raid the whole week or not at all? If you cannot do any raids on your main due to being rotated, wouldn’t it be better if you could then use that lockout in a 10 manned group, thus preventing yourself from entering that 25 raid that week again?

The answer comes from The Lord of the rings. Where you will not be locked to an raid ID, but instead to a certain amount of bosses killed in raid. That would mean that if a dungeon has 7 bosses, and my raid has killed the first 4 on the night I am rotated, I can go into a pug, or an alt raid and kill up to-but not higher than 4 bosses in any raid-size group.

That would work wonders. And that would guarantee that the 10 manned raids, that most 25 manned raiders already do, will not die out.
Because there are a real threat that 10 manned will suffer from this, imo (yes, now I am claiming that that sky is falling). If your raidleader has to chose between his 10 manned group and his 25 manned group, what will he chose? 25.
If your 10 manned group has no raid-leader, what will happen to it? It’ll die.
Or, at best, it will become the alt-raid.

I highly doubt that 10 manned dungeons will ever see Legendary items, so that is another incentive for keep going to 25 manned raids, and once people figure out how important badges will be (again), 10 manned will once again suffer.

Everyone is stupid!
So I guess that I am saying that everyone elses concerns are stupid, but my concerns are valid?

Relax, I am not a greedy bruiser, what I am saying is, that Blizzard will go 1 of two ways on these changes:
  1. They have thought hard about this, they know stuff about their game, that we do not. Relax, Blizz has it covered.
  2. They will quickly realise their mistake(s) and revert them. They are good at reverting mistakes these days.
Think of it this way. Despite the gating system, ICC was and is the best raid instance ever produced. It really is. Every boss has something to offer. And even though Arthas lacks, the jaw-dropping powers of Ragnaros or Kil’jaden, that is only because he is human, and you have gotten way too used to raiding anyways. 

Monday, April 26, 2010

Your connection to the server has been terminated (pt. 2)

Welcome to Hell, party of one?

Yes please, could I get to sit close in the 'helplessness and agonizing' section please?

Right this way

Twenty minutes before my raid started on Sunday, I got a connection. I logged in, and prepped and went to the raid. I was happy. I had already mentally scrapped my (pt 1) of this two part series, in order to just make a "look what I got" -post.
But alas. I should learn to never take my joys beforehand.

It started great

Raid logged in, people started gathering, some where still not online. One of them that was not online, is someone who is rather... Known for being late.
She’s been playing WoW for five years and has never been at a raid on time in her life. Since the beginning of recorded statistics she’s been summoned into instances over 1000 times and always after raid start time. This distinctly female concept of time extends to her understanding of what exactly a five minute raid break means. To you and me it means five minutes. To her it means however long it takes to powder her nose, make tea, see what’s on TV and call her mother. Civilisations have risen and fallen in the time it takes her to answer a /readycheck.

So that was alright :)
She did not, however, turn up. Luckily one of our raid-leaders (same guy who stepped in to take my place when I dc'ed on Saturday) was online, just in case I'd get the same problems again. So he took her place. His alt, could not heal though, so we where on two healers only. That excluded a lot of hardmodes, but since it was not hardmodes I needed in order to get my mount, I was not too bothered. And we quickly started to chip away at the last needed achievements in the group.

Before long all I needed was the Lich Kings achievement.

Things got hectic

Before long, however we reach a standstill. Sindragosa. Two healers and her on hardmode, does not match, and one of the people needing that Achievement was the Paladin that was mia, still.

So we posponed that desicion and took a break. After that break, we realised there was still no sign of her, so we decided messed around with the achievement for a couple of tries, and ended up killing the big bad Dragon on normal.
And I swear to God, we had just finished looting Sindragosa and had taken the teleport to the Lich King, when she came back online.

Thing is, if we had stayed cool and not downed the dragon, or her on call duty had ended sooner, we would have killed that dragon for achievement, and next week we could start working on LK hardmode.
You see, you need to have killed the 3 endbosses in each wing on hard mode, in the same raid-lock *before* you can engage LK in hardmode.
So that dreadded day (it looks insane) will have to be postponed.
Anyway, she came online, got the summon, we started killing The Lich King for my final achievement.

Before we get to that

Lets rewind to the break we had earlier. In that break, I started lagging. I used a bit of my break to browse blogs, and suddenly I could not open Pinkpigtailinn. Panic.
I switched back to the game, and lo and behold, I was running but not moving. Then TS said something

Your connection to the server has been Terminated

Mrs Dwism got involved. At least she got awoken from my cries of agony. I may have awoken the little boy living in the apartment upstairs from us too.
I may have cussed a bit too.
Resetting my router did nothing, but after 5 minutes I got a connection and logged back in. And I had no problems in the Sindragosa fight.

Guess what happens next

Back to the fight. We engage the Lich king and start nuking. Diseases get counted up, and at excactly 30, we move to transition phase. p2 goes off without a hitch and we smoothly move into the second transition phase. This transistion is handled the best we've done yet. Hardly any raging spirits are left alive. I run in, taunt Arthas and move him into position for the first "vile spirits"
Everything seems to be going smoothly. Our other tank takes him after a bit and I run headfirst into the vile spirits and take a hit from them (so those standing in the back in their sissy robes don't have to), I hear the RL over teamspeak "Redux taunt at next soul reaper that is comming in 5" I change target to LK.... Then don't move.
"Redux taunt NOW"
"Shieldwalling, Ill need extra attention"
At this time I'm yelling over TS that my screen has frozen, but I can still hear them. They do not, however, hear me.
WoW goes back into the log-in screen.
I make the best impression of XT-002's tantrum

NO... no no no no no

And tell my pc that it is a bad toy, and I'm done playing with it now.
I can still hear TS however.

"Redux is offline... and is standing in the next defile"
- Craptastic.
"Okay that vile, got really big, can we avoid it?"

At this time I am franticly trying to log back in, and failing. Then I hear two sentences over Teamspeak, the first make me very happy, the second, scares me:

Okay he is down, don't release now [hahahaha]
Allright, taking bets, will the achievement count for Redux if he dies before the lazy dwarf gets back in?

Holy crap!
A wipe, I could handle, we would do it again, but if the raid kills him... dammit.

Just hold damage on him...Your connection to the server has been terminated

TS dies again. I log out of the game. I try and get TS up.

Years and years later
(or what feels like it)

I get a connection again. I log in, I get on TS, they are still taking bets, but have stopped damage on 3%.
While the loading screen is loading I hear over TS

Okay nuke

And I get in, see my dead body, see Lk on 2% and then... my screen freezes again.

I am about to lose the last bit of sanity left in me, untill I realise its the kill-movie that has started.
I did it. We got the achievement and I got my mount!


And a bit of lore too:

My first 310% mount, and its a beaut. Even if some looser human lost an arm taming it!!

So not only did we beat the Lich King, but I also beat my internet connection. At least for one raid.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Your connection to the server has been terminated (pt. 1)

As I am typing this, it is now Sunday morning.
 In two hours my raid-group will meet up and clear ICC 10 and the second half of my group will get their new mounts.

In other words, everyone in my group will get their mounts, except me. As the title of this post may indicate, I've not had a great weekend. My internet connection has died out on me two times.
The first time, it died this weekend was Saturday morning; On the first pull of the last trash before Mr. "Boooonestoooorm". Like I told a guildie last night:
That meant I got to spend 3 hours calling my internet provider trying to get something out of them, while repeatedly resetting my router and trying to sell my soul off to the first bidder, that would provide me a stable connection. 
One hour and 50 minutes after my dc my internet provider had a phone message instead of a
"no-one is at work to answer your call at this time, last status reported no known issues".

There was now a squeaky male voice saying
All of our customers are without internet due to a critical error. 
That kid could not have been more than 15. And seeing that whoever else had been at work, on a Saturday, had deemed him the one with the voice that had the most authority, things did not look all too bright.

So I waited. I got annoyed, I got *annoying*. I got told to go outside for a walk.
 Now, this is not because I am addicted (isn't the first step towards getting rid of an addiction, but admit you have a problem?), but remember this: I do not play 25 manned raids any longer, my week-nights are usually too crowded with stuff, for me to be a regular big boy raider. All I have in terms of raids, is this group. I am so blessed that they are the coolest sweetest and all around great guys and gals, that I am actually looking forward to my weekends, I am looking forward to raid, with them.
And then I get pissed if my internet gets in my way of something I had planned on doing, and was looking forward to do? ADDICT!!!

Sorry I had to get that out of the way. The last time I wrote about being annoyed at not playing, I got told in no uncertain terms, that I was behaving like a child, and clearly had an addiction.

1 minute after raid has ended
I get a connection again. Lovingly and jokingly (God I hope it was ;) ) I get told by whoever is online that "You suck!!". I then log in on my shammy (Mcdreamy) and get called "mcDc". 'Yea, I didn't have a great Saturday either guys.'
And this is the important bit: My raid-leader informs me, that they got a replacement, but saved plaguewing and Sindragosa for me. Why is this important?
Because I am two achievements away from getting myself the ICC mount. One from tanking oozes and one from the Lich king.
The sucky part is, that we DID do the Lich king one, last week. However Blizzard programming sometimes has these little bugs in them, that means that certain achievements will not count as completed if you do them right.
"been waiting a long time for this" is one of them. There seems to be a known issue with the stacks of this. (you need to wait for 30 stacks of the bad stuff to build up), that if you get a jump of two stacks, which is what happened to us, so that you jump from 29 to 31, you do not get it completed. A nice chat with a GM did nothing to fix this.

So I am missing those two achievements, and they saved them for me!
My hope was renewed! There was still time this week for me to get the achievement, I could get the mount, and we could start focusing on hard mode LK next week. Everything was looking up, I was happy.

So happy that I even tried my very best to help out our "daddies group" on Saturday night, on the LK on my very dusty healer. When I say tried my very best, I do mean I tried my very best. But I was definitely not the guy boosting the rest through it.
I am a rusty healer. But it was fun. 10 minutes before their last try of the night (having gotten very cleanly into p2 at the end), my connection wobbles. I get to spend 30 seconds tryuing to apply a shield. Then I time out. Then I dc, then my internet dies out, then my teamspeak. Then I use every ounce of willpower not to yell at my monitor and waking up Mrs Dwism.
I get back in, but my connection is not stable enough for me to accept a res, and I log out. I try and open some sites, and 5 reloads later wowhead pops up. This is not looking great. I go to bed.

And here I am, on a Sunday morning, there is two hours before Sundays raid and I have no connection. In two hours my raid-group will meet up and clear ICC 10 and the second half of my group will get their new mounts. Everyone in my group will get their mounts, except me.
I know from before, that my (soon to be old) provider does not have anyone at work after 7 pm on weekdays, and only between noon and 3 on Saturdays, and none on Sundays.
So yes, I am having a marvelous weekend, thank you for asking.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Star wars 'Combat' video, and why pve is how to sell a game

This video was released, teasing about how combat will feel like

Darthhater took that video and dissected the abilities shown in it

Lots of awsome there, I want to add two comments to this:
Yes I know that it seems like I've stopped with WoW news, but its the playoffs where I come from, and my team is playing in the finals, so im kindda occupied atm. But this weekend will -hopefully- bring WoW related stories from me.
two: The first video taught me more than just what combat abilities to look forward to, and that is the following.

I better learn how to pvp
It seems this game will be all about AoE'ing mobs and pvp'ing.
They say this at the very start:
There is nothing heroic about a bunch of players beating up one guy [...] but a single hero beating impossible odd, now thats heroic.
AKA: Bossfights? Forget about it.

Obviously that is very disheartening for a PvE endgame player like myself. But i'll learn to cope. Maybe ill treat this like any Bioware game: Play through for the story, kicking and screaming (btw, bossfights in ME2 are also still very sucky), to see the story to the end.
Or maybe I'll learn to love pvp. I did do some arena, back when that was a new thing. And I did have fun in 2v2, so maybe there is a pvp'er hidden somewhere in me. Deep deep down.

I still like their focus on making the non-force-classes cool, that part seems to be working. I just cannot get over the fact that they so blatantly dismiss pve. A long time ago, I wrote about why I think that WoW made it so big, and it is still my opinion that this is due to WoW being the greatest pve game ever made. Dungeons and raids and bosses, are not done better anywhere else.
Sure I hate the way the implement it with gating and forced easy mode before you can get to limited tries hardmode. But I cannot think of any other mmo that has presented more various, fun interesting and great bosses, than WoW.
This is why this game does not have 200'000 players, but 12 million, not because of Arena, battlegrounds or world pvp, but because of the world bosses (rip) and the instances. People like to play socially, people like working together, players like teaming up to beat content that they could not take on alone.

Weird isn't it? People play massive multiplayer games to be playing with other people...

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Worried about Star Wars the Old Republic

Like many others, I am looking extremely much forward to the upcoming mmo from Bioware; Star Wars: The old Republic (swtor). Especially ever since *that* video hit the internet, I’ve been impatiently waiting for this game. 
Seeing this video again, I am rememinded of what one of my friends said when I first linked him the trailer.
“You see? You see how fucking cool Star wars can be when George Lucas leaves it the Fuck alone”

And I am inclined to agree with him. This is the absolutely best way to kick of the hype-gasm on a new game.


And what a game it looks to turn out to be. Bioware, one of my old time favourite developers, combined with the vast resources of EA (and I might add, an EA that backs of and just feeds them cash), seems to be the wining combo of the decade.
However, I am still worried about this game.
And the reason I am worried, is the same reason I am so excited about it. This game is created by Bioware.
Yes the same Kotor, masse effect, MDK2 (I’d forgotten they made that), neverwinter nights, Dragons age, Baldurs Frikking gate, - Bioware.
The kings of everlasting stories, and incredible solid rosters of games - Bioware.
The March Mayhem runner up for two years straight (both years beating Blizzard) –Bioware.

*The* Bioware. How can you not get Goosebumps knowing that they will go back into their Old Republic –series? (Seriously, if there is anyone out there who has not completed this game, go play now… Yes I am glancing at you little Miss Pink pigtail).
So how come that worries me?

When is a game not an mmo?

When it is not balanced, has a good gameplay, when it lacks consistency, when it is not clear what path you should go gown or why, and when you cannot reverse your decisions once you have chosen your path.
Bioware, are a lot of things, but good *gamedesigners* are not one of them.
They make fantastic games, they are just not very well designed.

Example time:
- In mass effect, how many enjoyed the parts of the game where you had to drive your mako?
- In *any* bioware, wheel-chat function game, how many chose the wrong option on their pc? (scrolling with your mouse over that wheel to get the right chat-option, was hell)
- In dragons age, how many where aware of just how much easier the game was if you picked a magic using class, and learned to heal?
- In *any* bioware wheel-chat function game, how many chose one chat option, thinking it would lead in a whole different direction than it did?

That last one probably demands an case-in-point: In Dragons age Origins, I played as a happy go-lucky elf, I enjoyed my country and was loyal to my country. In every option throughout the game, that is what I chose, and I had fun. Then I got into a chat with the lord of a castle. He said something along the lines of “the blight may not be all bad” And I would beg to differ, I chose a wheel that said something along the lines of… Well I can’t remember, but it was the only option where I was disagreeing with him. Turned out my character interpreted my choice to say “yo elf, kill that mo-fo” And so he started attacking after calling the Lords mum a cheap prostitute.
That was not really what I meant.

It was a while since I played the game, so my memory is a little fuzzy on the exact event, but the gist of it was, that many times I would save the game, before engaging in conversation. So that when me and the elf I played, would disagree to what a chat option meant, I could reload.
I was not the only one, many bloggers wrote about how they saved multiple times to see where a conversation would lead them. That is not how I play, but I’m not one to judge… Much.
Point is, that totally killed any resemblance of immersion. And a storydriven game, like Biowares, that lives only on story and the players being immersed, that is a horrible no-no to have.

Gameplay, or lack thereof

Because gameplay in most Bioware games is close to non-existing, I complete Bioware games despite their gameplay, not because of it. Some I do not complete at all, Mass effect 1, for example.
I bought that game both for the PC and later for my Xbox. Whenever I played it on my Xbox, in our living room, Mrs Dwism has to either leave the room or hit me in order to make me not yell (loudly) at the screen. Why? Because that games story is amazing, so I keep playing a game I hate in order to get more of the storyline. The AI of my fellow group-members is that of a suicidal Lemming. The controls are floppy, at best. And Boss fights… Don’t get me started on Boss fights, they are just awful.

Imagine a company like that making an mmo: the story is great, but gameplay is horrible, the various classes are not at all balanced, and Boss fights are too horribly made, to even talk about.

So why am I still excited about this?

Because they have shown signs of learning from their mistakes. Mass Effect 2, is infinetly better than the first one, in all the areas that I had problems with. They seem to be very much aware of balancing classes out, and especially about the fact that everyone wants to play jedi/sith, so they are doing an incredible job at making the non-force using classes interesting.
They even succeeded so much in achieving interesting class options, that their first class to be publicly tested (The Trooper) was so well received, that Blizzard changed their hunters to match them.

That shows a lot of promise if you ask me.

Will I be playing a non-force user, once the game hits? I very much doubt it, but I applaud them for having focus on it. (if you are curious I’ve got my eyes set dead on the Sith Warrior).

So there we are, a lot of reasons to not play this game, and some reasons to *do* play it. I will be playing it, I am looking forward to it, and I hope that Blizzard will launch Cataclysm soon, because if these two come out at the same time, I do not know what to do.

I think that what I am trying to say here, is that I am very much into the hype of any game, I’m a firm believer in the saying that “There is no greater pleasure than the joy of anticipation” (dunno how well that translates), but I am not blindly going into it either. I know Biowares history, I know their faults, but I do believe they will correct them this time.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Fan Merchandise


Celestial steed now for sale

Ever since Blizzard announced that they would be selling virtual goods for in-game use, via their webshop, I’ve had a sinking feeling in my guts. I’ve tried to put this feeling of uncomftability into words before.

Everything about trying to squeeze extra money out of the fans, just rubs me the wrong way, like standing in line to get your favourite actors autograph and he demands 10£ for it.
I know I am not the only one, lots of people have talked about slippery slides, and “where is this all heading”. Even my guild-leader took offense

 ‘Not keen on this direction, stinks of Activision more than Blizzard.’ 

Maybe that was it? Ever since Blizzard had sold their firstborns and souls, to be engulfed by the gaming company that embodies evil in the gaming world, fans and commenter have been looking for tell tell signs that the big corporate evil would soon crack into our world… of warcraft.
And that is hard to argue against. At least if you grew up watching the X-files, like I did.

Growing up

And maybe that is where the answer lies, maybe Blizzard went from a (semi-large) gaming company in the 90’s that made fun great games, then came WoW, and walls where blown down. Records shattered, buildings collapsed and the world of gaming changed forever. Maybe Blizzard feared that they could not handle their newfound success. Maybe Blizzard felt they needed the big guys supporting them, maybe they where afraid to end up like bullfrog. Maybe they thought it was time to grow up, just like their game had. Regardless, Vivendi blizzard and activision merged into the Death star of gaming.

 “he's always felt like more of a rebel on board the Millennium Falcon.

And yet, "suddenly I wake up and I'm on board the Death Star

Is it all bad?

Gamers and commenters seems convinced that it is the big bad influence of WoW as of late, is the excecutives, the top guys, the people who announced things like “quartly reports”, and not firmly but jokingly states that their games will be shipped when they are done.
All of a sudden there are stockholders who demands to know when there will be more money made, and even Blizzard has to have dates set –more or less- in stone as to when to release new content to have the bottom line look good.
I have a vision of the programmer who had to create the celestial steed, would have felt like he was whoring himself out to one of those text-services that offer to tell you whether or not your partner is cheating on you, by texting your name and theirs to a 20£ a call software that replies with random statistics.
I imagine him sitting there, wondering what he did with his life. He joined Blizzard because he wanted to make games that moved people, that made them feel like he did, when he played ‘Orcs and humans’, and now he is supplying 200’000 of his companies worst addicts with their weekly supply of dope.

Or so I imagine.

In reality there where probably more than one guy making it, and their department got a nice bonus for each sold unit, and had a great weekend due to the sales of said steed.

Like a concert

Kurnak of the many many Urnaks came with another point of view on this:
And that is a very good question.

Every concert I’ve ever been to, I’ve tried and leave with a T-shirt. Was that so I could lord it in the face of everyone else who didn’t get to go? So I could show up on Monday and show my co-workers that “Yes I had the time, the money and the tickets to not only see the band you wanted to, but also buy their t-shirt, because unlike you, I am a more loyal and better fan”.
On some levels, I think that ‘yes’, this is why. On another level I think that we buy those shirts, because shirts with a band-name can more easily explain to the world who I am as a person.
Nothing says more about a total stranger, than me a 190 cm guy, bald and with tattoos, walking around in a “spice-girls will return” shirt.
I only wore that shirt once, usually its springsteen and Tool, and Tom waits. Don’t you feel like you know me a little better already?

Been there, got the shirt

At home in my house, I have 5 big books. Well I have about a hundred books, but these ones are important in this discussion, because they are Warcraft and Diablo themed books. I’ve read em with great pleasure, even if some of them where of dubious quality (Richard A. Knaak, you need to write only 10% of what you are doing now, and spend 90% time on what you are writing, because… ugh), I still enjoyed them. I love the Warcraft and Diablo universe. My kids will get “Alliance baby-fan” baby tees, I am in many senses of the word, a fanboi.
I love that everything surrounding the game can (or will be) made to purchase. I enjoyed spending my summer holiday in Paris for the WoW-invitational. I loved standing with the huge crowd of people screaming “WOOOOO” when the guitar strings started playing announcing the launch of Diablo 3.
I loved even more the confused look on the teens and the ‘dragged-along-girlfriend/boyfriends’ who didn’t know what that guitar solo meant.
I did love that I am a bigger fan and know more about what I love, than most other wannabees. In that aspect I am very much an elitist-fanboi. I spend time, and dedication getting what I have, knowing what I know.
And in a weird way, I am proud of this.

So whats the problem then?

The problem is that, for me, WoW is a team sport. Imagine all players in wow played a big tournament of volleyball. Some played the rather silly but crowdpleasing beach version (PVP), while others engaged in the more fun, advanced but not so crowdpleasing (PVE).

When you where good at playing you got into good teams. Barcelona, or Ensidia or whomever. You also got pretty shoes and fancy balls. And trophies.
So far spectators have gotten a chance to buy team-shirts or better seats, that is fine with me. This equals mugs, mouses, books and other fan-merchandise.
 But now, players are starting to be able to buy themselves into better trophies.
“so what” some might say, “everyone knows these trophies are bought, who cares?”
Well, to me, as soon as the players on field can buy themselves better fancier stuff, how far off are we until they can buy new shoes, or better nets or faster mounts?
To me, we are getting closer and closer to this edge every time Blizzard releases new stuff for their shops.
And frankly this scares me. Or at least tells me, that soon it might be time for me to find another sport to play. 

I used to play a holy priest

Our guild is 5 years old this month. I was not a part of the guild for all those 5 years, but I've been there for too long to think about it. With the 5 year anniversary comes a contest.  The contest consists of having the best guild-related screen shot, still intact.
Allready our forums are filled with people moaning about how their perfect shots from back in the day where lost due to more and more elaborate computer crashes.
Mine are not gone.
So in tribute to one of my oldest game-friends and all around good guy Calli of pew-pew lazors I'll post one of my old screens.
This one did not enter the official contest, this one is just for you. Because this is me proving you right about a certain prejudice of yours about priests.
"He’s actually a pretty good healer but like all Holy Priests, he dies a lot because he suffers from an advanced case of Chronic Martyr Syndrome. This will manifest itself in various ways, but the most common is death by Standing In The Fire because he was “too busy saving the dumbass dps to notice”.

 This is from his incredibly funny raid anatomy 101-series.

Here is my screen shot, it is of our first Kil'jaden kill back in The burning Crusade. It would have been a smooth kill, but I was too busy saving and healing dumb dps to stay alive myself.

I am not 100% sure this can be read, but I count at least one more dead healing priest in this pic

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Stumbled your way here?

Hello dear internet and internet reader.
Welcome to

If you have no idea how you wound up here, I suggest you go and read my old blog: