Blizzard are not making this a fair fight!

Aside

I’m going to resubscribe, but it was going to be at a time when it suited. Then I find out about the aussie servers, and later the same day I get an email giving away 7 days free game time.
Blizzard are making this too damn enticing.

So in a few days I’ll use that 7 day freebie to re-sub. They’ve probably won.

Aussie WoW servers at last

As of Tuesday maintenance the Oceanic realms will be moved to Australia. I ranted about wanting this half a decade ago! As reported by GamePlanet:

Blizzard announced the news tonight at a World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor pre-launch community event in Sydney.

 

For almost a decade, ANZ World of Warcraft players have played on US servers hosted in California. Select US servers were only categorised as Oceanic, and displayed Australian Eastern Time. The move to local hosting should significantly reduce lag for players in Australia and New Zealand.

The change-over will occur as a part of next week’s scheduled maintenance on Tuesday, October 28, local time. The Oceanic servers will be down for an extended window. When the servers come back online, they will be hosted in Australia.

 

Australian and New Zealand players with characters on other non-Oceanic US servers will be offered free character transfers to the Oceanic servers for a limited time.

Incredible that it is happening, but I have to say about time too. I’m excited by what that will mean for interactions where latency is an issue. The pvp improvements and impacts (assuredly) will be great. I’m thinking of the pve encounters where movement is needed quickly and accurately.

Heigan’s exploding slime floor in Naxx used to give people issue on poor connections, and there have been many fights since. I won’t blame Ultraxion as such, but it didn’t help.

Special thanks to UntamedHellCat for the Facebook PM with the news. So darn stoked.

Now where did I put my credit card and my two handed axe?

building the dark portal

Patch 6 around the corner

Aside

Well well, the new “shake it up and see how it flies” patch hits this week – and me still unsubscribed to WoW. Darn if home life isn’t getting in the way of a bit of fun. In previous expansions the pre-patch for the main event has always been fun. New special content for those still hanging around, and all new stats and powers to play with as combinations. I’m in no rush as yet, and even on release I think I’ll stroll rather than run into the world, take my time to have a look. Without the pressure of a raid team every game is entertainment in my preferred time. I like it. Somewhere in my Blizzard subscription is an unplayed D3 expansion too, perhaps I’ll smash a few Templar levels before deciding which character needs to be rushed to level 100.

I am looking forward to it though. A few nights a week of wow really sounds good at the moment.

What to play, what to play, what?

“What class do I play?” It is one of those questions you see on forums a lot. Through-out every game the class choice is important, and in mmo games it determines a lot of what you will do in game. Now that I’m contemplating a return to WoW and have access to a free level 90 character I’m asking myself the same question.

I fear asking in forums without pondering some basic questions, and here goes…

Mortigen, Raze, nagarj, Arkham, Aurac and Yeirah head shots

So, what do I like doing in WoW?

  • Leveling. Sometimes getting distracted by exploring. And I often read quest text and like to understand why what my character is doing is furthering an aspect of the story. I don’t roleplay in game.
  • Collecting Legendary items. Also sometimes collecting rare drops & mounts in a few old 5 mans. I don’t care if leveling takes ages, as I won’t be rushing to raid this time.
  • Often DPS in scenarios, 5 mans, and raids, but I won’t be raiding regularly at all in a “proper” team. Having a viable Dps spec & gear that I know how to play is important.
  • After all the Dps styles I’ve played over the years I think range dps have an overall advantage in fight mechanics, so I’m pondering a range dps capacity more than melee dps. Melee is great fun though, especially two weapon Frost for DKs.
  • Often Tanking in scenarios and 5-mans, more so because I’d prefer to not wait ages for the queue timer.
  • Sometimes Tanking in raids, less so in LFR because the experience is mostly horrible for Tanks.
  • I’ll be doing LFR and Dungeons, and whatever else is needed to gear up and to get the legendary item(s). Please Blizzard do not have a pvp quest in the middle of the quest line, as I think that sucked for everyone involved in those battlegrounds.
  • Never healing.
  • Almost never doing PvP.
  • I’m going to be a casual, and probably time poor. I doubt I’ll have a main and many alts, more likely it will be just one character for a very long time.
  • If a profession gives me a gear boost then I’ll complete it. If it only gives vanity items or quality of life junk, then I’ll do it very slowly.

What classes have I played? What are my options?

  • With a free level 90 anything is possible. I’ve a 90 DK, Warlock, Warrior, and Druid.
  • Death Knights still have some of the best lore and flavor in the game. Along with my Paladin and Warlock they are my three most played classes.
  • Then a Balance Druid and Priest as /played, then down to a Warrior.
  • Elemental Shaman are awesome, but I’ve never raided or end-gamed with one.
  • I have an 85 Hunter, but I only use him to mailbox dance. Great class to level, not sure how I like them at end game.
  • Never played a Rogue or Mage past level 50. I like how the Frost mages get a pet, as that makes leveling easier, but I’m yet to understand Mages enough to understand how they might vary from Warlocks at end game. Mages sure do get some nifty powers.
  • Never played a Monk past 20. I probably should.

What abilities and other odd things appeal?

  • Death Knight’s survivability in Blood spec, same for Prot Paladins, Bear Druids, and Prot Warriors. I like to survive and like to pull a few mobs at a time.
  • I love the aesthetic of a Priest’s Shadow form, but do not want to ever heal. I think this means not playing a Priest regularly.
  • Balance Druid’s Moonkin form appeals to me, but I really hate Cat form. It is the same reason I find combo-points on Rogues to be hellish and frustrating.
  • Warrior’s charge and leap are great.
  • Warlock’s funky flavor all round is appealing.
  • Sometimes I miss classes with an overtly simple rotation, because less thinking is sometimes enjoyable. Back in tBC the Warlock used Shadowbolt almost all the time and I was ok with that.
  • If one of my previously played classes was going to have a special focus in this expansion that might help decide that. I’ve not seen another Rogue dagger quest – kinda thing suggested yet.

What Role and Class combo do you like best?

  • Tank: DK and Warrior.
  • Melee Dps: DK
  • Range Dps: I can’t pick between Elemental Shaman, Balance Druid, Warlock, Shadow Priest. Each is way cool.
  • Healing: Nope (I think I used a wool bandage in Gruul’s Lair on the poor Warrior tank at the time, but didn’t like it).

So the winner is?

Well I’m open to suggestions, but I think a Druid might be the way to go. Bear + Boomkin gives me range Dps and Tanking, plus the option to stealth when I need it. It is a pitty my Druid’s professions are skinning and leatherworking, because as professions they’ve always been a little meh to me. I’ll have to start reading the EJ forums to see how Balance rotation is stacking up in terms of complexity and rotation…

Arrrg, still not sure.

Aside – I found it again recently and while it was a little mean, I don’t regret it. I really hope the beggars are not around as much anymore.

Another idiot named Hartlessq on Nagrand begs for gold. What did he think would happen?

 

WoD’s great cinematic

Aside

The WoD cinematic is really good. As a semi-retired lore nerd I love seeing this stuff, just as much as I love seeing the Mage cast a Sheep spell in the first trailer, or Arthas summon an undead dragon. The MoP trailer did what it had to do (show us the Pandaren) and did it in a way which was fun. It certainly makes me think this is Orcs vs Humans … of Warcraft.

Non-serious aside – It does feel like a story set to make us like killing Orcs, and as an Alliance player I don’t really care if that is the wrong view. Orcs have proven themselves weak willed, power hungry, and generally the bad guys in the lore. Guldan gets his historic plans thrown asunder, but we’re still facing Orcs as the foes. These Warlords just reenforce the point. Thrall was the exception, and only that because some silly human made an effort to civilize him instead of kill him.

Now wonder he liked Jana. I’m happy to kill orcs, wargs, goblins, any sort of green or brown skinned filth.

(edit: truthfully that trailer makes the idea of playing an orc seem very appealing)

Is it as good as the others in terms of placing the players “in the world” and throwing down a challenge? Probably not, but then the excitement from an expansion is only partly attributed to the pretty non-gameplay video. There is not much that would top “you are not prepared“. As a video to continue the hype and announce a release date it was fine; great in fact.

Bring on more cinematic media for players, add more online comics, give us preview pages, lore updates, stat blocks to drool over. Complete the character models (I know, I know) and a few decent armor sets and it’s finished isn’t it? All of it. Build the hype with many strings of your bow Blizzard.

Should mmo have difficulty settings?

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Single player games tend to give players the choice of a difficulty setting, which they can do because the impact of that choice isn’t shared amongst anyone else. D3 on easy is darn easy, and I think there is nothing wrong with playing a game for silly easy fun. We don’t always need to be raiding Hard modes, just like you can’t eat pizza every night. In an MMO all the players tend to be in the same “game” so the game’s difficulty tends to be controlled in strictly controlled ways. Instances, special quests, achievements, collections, and special creatures are around for the folks who like a challenge, but generally speaking most players are playing the same game.

If you can kill 3x monsters in the starter zone at the same time without dying then you are at a certain level of game skill. If you need help, or get *repeatedly unlucky* then you become very accustom to running back to your corpse.

What if the game had a difficulty slider, which changed some options?

  • Rewards could be recognised (achievements) at different levels. We have this in raid modes, why not elsewhere?
  • Instances wouldn’t need to change, but perhaps a player using the lower setting is forgiven more in terms of damage taken, dps, healing, so that the other players don’t suffer because somebody is playing on easy.
  • A lazy player might always play on Easy mode, because they value easy fun over challenges. Perhaps they get slightly less rewards? Less cash to a casual probably isn’t an issue.
  • A dedicated player might be rewarded with more gold or increased special drop rates because of doing it the hard way.
  • The UI slider could apply for different reasons, so that even XP reward, death penalties, gold loss, and such are all configurable by the player. Perhaps even cofigurable per character and changeable in UI at anytime.
  • It would make Ironman style challenges supported as part of the game backbone.
  • It would add more bragging rights, which isn’t always a good thing, but depends on how it is used (gearscore & achievement linking?).
  • It might help farmers of special stuff.
  • Let learners learn. Let kids be kids.

Overall I’m not sure, but perhaps there is room for this.

* Repeatedly unlucky – ahem, meaning a fire stander? I used to rant in a furious way when folks said they were unlucky.

Just amid you are less skilled and get on with playing for fun. I did. The freedom of a noob is worth something.