Sign-up for double the games you play now

The Annual Subscription is a solid offering: WoW for a year which I’d be playing a moderate proportion of anyway, Diablo 3 for free, and a few in game trinkets – clever bundle. I don’t understand the hate over this offer, as it is an option you can really ignore, and the only slight advantage is the extra mount, which is just a cheesy option anyway.

I think its too early to say that Mists will be poor, or if it will be excellent. It will be very different to what WoW is now, that’s all I know. With that in mind, and my odd game time constraints, Diablo 3 is looking like a great option. Once I decided to give D3 a good solid play the choice of how I got it was easy too. I can play on my own schedule, and be a solo player, just like when I played D1 and D2.

So the annual sub suckered me in, I took it. I’ll play Warcraft for at least another 3 months, probably more like another 6 on and off. Then D3 will be worth a look, and it now that I’ve paid for it, I get the opportunity to play both Diablo and WoW as I choose.

My only reservation is GuildWars 2 and Star Wars TOR – both of which are an unknown quantity, but I’ll take a look if they have a free demo. Out of the two TOR looks to be very solid, and frankly I’m not afraid to come into another game a few months late if it happens to be brilliant. A good game will have a life of at least a year, and playing after they fix the initial bugs is better anyway.

If you’re going to play wow for a while longer, and will buy D3 – you should get this. If you’re not going to play D3 and don’t care about silly mounts, then don’t do it. Save your money for another game, a good bottle of wine, or whatever you happen to like that week.

Happy Gaming

Death Knight Tier 13 Armor Set

MMO Champion has datamined the Death Knight Tier 13 base model. Was it worth the wait? (huge version here).

tier 13 death knight armor

Given how long we waited for this – its good. Not fantastic, not game changing, but certainly a good model set. It is hard to know how this will look on the various character models, as that often makes or breaks the sets too. But yup, good stuff. I’ll be after the set for both the dps and model reasons.

A huge thank you to mmo-champion for mining this, its been too long a wait. Continue reading

MoP needs a Goal

I first thought that MoP was disturbing because it did not have a big bad enemy, but that is not it. It has no goal for the players – no draw-card, no massive call to action that creates an excitement and sense of impending challenge. The Pandas are ok, monks are cool – but not even close to the “You are not Prepared” trailer.

Think about it, you login, create your panda monk, level it and then…nothing. The announcement should have had a call to action. It is basic marketing to have a draw-card, and the audience for wow need more than this to get excited.

In an effort to post solutions as well as problems – We have no villain, but we can have goals.

  1. I like the idea that the war between the factions will heat up, that is good and makes perfect sense. They should be at each others throats and trying to kill each other – especially now that you’d think that resources are that much more scarce. That is a side plot, but does not make an expansion. It is a theme that WoW has had since inception, its not enough to blow up about with out further development.
    1. How about making the War have a tangible affect on the cities and realms?
    2. Use phasing to make the areas either under siege, at war, or victorious based upon the player participation.
    3. If each city has basically all the trainers and vendors duplicated, then allow a city to get locked out – in affect totally taken over by another faction for 1-2 days.
  2. Use the Emerald Dream, and hook the mystical side of the panda lore (they have mystics and seers I assume) into using the dream to repair the damage to the world from Cata.
    1. Instance to purge the remaining twilight enemies from a holy site, and have the instance change as the players succeed. A clean-up and purge can be as useful a goal as a big bad, if the setting is correct.
    2. Have the dream fight back against the changes, so that we see Dreaming Beasts, which are like the defense mechanism of the realm.
    3. Maybe they could add a message about the big-bad being partially us too, and we work to build and restore our world ourselves. Do we do this by raiding another place perhaps, another realm?
  3. The Burning Legion. We raid the lands burnt out by the Burning Legion, for resources – but find remnants and survivors. We may also find outposts of the Legion. That is a nice way to have a feeling of striking back, and could start the prep for taking the fight to their homeworld.
  4. What ever happened to fighting against the Old Gods? The creatures that corrupted Deathwing should be made to answer for what has happened, even if that answer was to permanently displace them into a dead world, rather than Azeroth.

Happy hunting.

Feelings on GM retirement

Part of the challenge to play wow well is at a basic level having enough time to make progress. There is a minimum amount of time needed to do any particular task, and of late my time available has been decreasing – this is especially true of any player who wishes to also have a controlling role in a guild structure. It takes a bit (or a lot) more time than just playing.

In future I expect it to get even harder to get a regular cycle of time each week, so (with much apprehension) I’ve retired as GM of the Insidious guild, returning the title to the old GM. In hindsight I have some thoughts on being a guildie, a GM, and a player that I thought might be interesting to others. Continue reading

A small weekend

I went away on the weekend, kept my nose away from the news, and enjoyed being unplugged. We went to a beach, a few wineries, and a charity dinner.

When I got back I discovered that the inmates are running the asylum, and we’re to get Warcraft – Mists of Pandas as the next expansion.

Now I asked for Monks in a few blog posts over the years, so I can say I’m pleased about that. And yup, they are Tank, Dps, heal modes just like I thought as it was kind of a no-brainer to guess. But the rest of it I’m not sure about, to the point of thinking of stopping wow until after its live so I can avoid the long drawn out release and change in modes. Pandas? Seriously? No. Not as Player characters.

Lore wise … a big ocean battle discovers an island race of monks who wished to remain hidden. Now that they are discovered they don’t hide, or just open a slow trade, or ask to be left alone – they join both sides of an expanding war. WTF. That is like the Dali Lama using an assault rifle.

The mini-pet-combat seems a distraction that is not worth it to me, and it stinks to think they a re-vamp to the gear award system is half-hitched, but we’ll see mini-pet combat. That is misguided. And I can’t think that the new talent system will actually feel ok, but then they’ve got more experience doing this.

Overall – I’ll wait and see what this expansion planning looks like in March or June next year. For now, I’m more scared than excited.

Blog Azeroth has a shared topic for this too, some interesting thoughts.

The Cub is almost irrelevant

There is banter abroad about the USD $10 in game pet that can be traded between players, and yes, its a variation on what was happening before. The card game prizes and all sorts of other items could be traded between characters before, and this adds another way, which is admittedly far more obvious and direct. Tabards, mounts, special toys, flags, and a huge array of other junk are already available for purchase via ebay. It has not wrecked anything. This is another item with no actual impact on gameplay being sold.

Overall though the people this will impact the most is the people who are buying and selling gold – and if you’re doing that you really need to be quiet and sit down.

Take these scenarios:

  1. Player who wants the pet, and buys it from Blizzard. Cost $10, with no impact to game.
  2. Player who want the pet, and buys it from the AH using gold. Cost: a sack of gold depending on the market. and still no real impact to the rest of the community.
  3. Player who buys the pet to sell on the AH for gold. They give their money to Blizzard instead of a illegitimate company, and get the sack of gold. they’ll be looking to sell it on servers where the cub is rare, and hoping to clean-up. Tools like the Undermine Journal will be great resources to see where it is best to sell this little kitten.
  4. The gold buying player who previously used an illegal service, will now consider what the likely value of the Cub will be, and decide to either buy gold, or buy the cub. I’d like to think that this will mean less gold purchases overall, but I am not sure. It will certainly change the price that gold sellers will charge.

It could be argued that the impact to other players is the value of that sack of gold. As if their is a flood of buying and selling, the overall value of gold will change. Yup, dead right – it will. It’s been changing since day one, and will continue to change. An end game BoE used to be a few hundred gold, which was a huge amount of gold. A player with 1000g was amazingly rich in the old game. Now players have huge amounts (probably between 20k-200k gold) and we have entire sub-sets of the community focusing on gold generation as their core gameplay.

I’d stagger a guess though that the value of the sack will still not be a game changer. A game changer would be just letting a player buy a sack for money direct from the vendor.

This is not real money transactions, and I can’t see how it will affect my game-play at all..

You’re an idiot if you think that BoEs were not being traded for real money before (I know that calling potential readers idiots is a bad thing, but really c’mon) via indirect methods, and this change makes it more likely for the buyer and seller to use the Cub as a form of conversion.I know for a fact that it used to happen because an ex-guildie offered me real money for a nice blue helm once, and I was very tempted.

This is not breaking the bank, and is only going to hurt those who were dodgy to begin with.To my mind this only makes the gold sellers job more difficult, as the players can now circumvent a large part of their offering.

Bad for the bad sellers, good for the developer, and good for the player who was previously buying gold as they get gold from a legitimate source.

+100 Need rolls in Raid Finder

The Raid Finder will give Need rolls a +100 modifier if your Role in the instance matches the item. This is excellent. In fact, put that in the LFG system too please.

How do they tell what is a Tank item vs a Dps item?

Well they’d either classify each item which would take ages or they have an algorithm (a previous post about exactly that type of algorithm in April). Its like they’re reading the blog.

Hallow’s eve arriving soon

The wonderfully macabre Halloween holiday event of Hallow’s End is set to start on the 18 October. Like previous years it will probably contain a set of quests based around the Headless Horseman attack, putting out fires, and vanquishing him in the graveyard of Scarlet Monastery. I suspecty Wowhead’s guide will be updated shortly.

For people who are chasing gear the event typically offers some role based upgrades at current Raid level. I’d bet we will not see patch 4.3 before the 18th of October, so that means the rewards are probably going to be around ilevel 365 items, as per the Brewfest and Molten Front level items.

Enough to get you into a Firelands normal run, but not de-value the current raid rewards (does it really de-value?…another time for that discussion).

What can you expect?

Some great Rings for most raid roles (melee dps, caster dps, and healing last year) which you can get a lot faster than the Daily quests in the Molten Front, a one-handed Sword (Agi based), and a Plate Dps Helm. Good stuff for almost all classes, although some specs don’t get love there at all. Continue reading

Its too quiet on the 4.3 PTR for DKs

I’m not sure I like how quiet the news on Death Knights has been. The PTR built has seen chatter and changes for most of the other classes, set bonuses, and some spell affects, the odd tweak and change; but the DKs seem to be silent. The initial batch of information on changes was OK, and while I think the t13 bonuses were lackluster, they were posted.

Now if I was a Paladin (getting reworked) I might be happier if it was quiet, as it could be a good thing. Perhaps DKs are functioning on PTR as intended, and we’re just pending the best art design ever for the T13 Death Knight armor model (a guy can hope).

No updates, no t13 armor graphic models, no extra notes; it just feels too quiet for us at the moment. I hate waiting.