Third 90 and more to come I suspect

My Druid ding’ed 90 in WoW last week, which makes a tally of three level ninety characters: a Death Knight, a Warrior, and a Druid.

Next will be my slowly leveling Shaman who is now level 71 (the toon in the top left if the image below) and a long time lost Shadow Priest who is level 82 (bottom left character).

In my character list I also have a handful of 85s and then each class smattered down to a lowbie Monk at level 13. I do not really want to repeat the 85-90 grind so many more times, but the leveling path in Pandaria is so fixed there is little choice. Perhaps I could level by only queuing in Dungeons and just farm my way through the Pandaria starting area for materials to sell. That will only be moderately dull as well but will ensure my lowbies have the ability to increase their professions.

The Wrath of the Lich King content on the baby Shaman is sensational by comparison to 4x more Pandaria zones and a Cataclysm story.

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

If I cannot raid regularly in 5.4 due to work & life, then I might as well start working on these alts. Getting through the levels is something I can do whilst also being interrupted, and it is not “hard” content to do. Continue reading

Burdens of Shaohao and Pandaren character models

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The video series “The Burdens of Shaohao” by Blizzard is darn excellent. I’ve not yet got back to watch it all but what I have seen so far is fantastic. Great tone in the story and beautiful animation.

It did highlight to me how much bolder and stronger looking the Emperor is in the animation vs how portly and cute the in-game character model is for the Pandaren male race. My Pandaren character makes me feel more like a silly bumbling sidekick character for comic relief instead of a powerful Monk. I think it all comes down to how portly and round they are, and it is a shame.

I think I’d prefer the Pandaren to be shaped with more upper body strength and a imposing presence then they have now. A more “Tauren” style model.

the_Burdens_of_Shaohao_titlescreen

Just a quick thought, TyphoonAndrew

Cute sig generator for WoW

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A nice snazzy sig generator is a handy thing, and today I found a good compact one. Especially good for folks who have HEAPS of alts. URL: sig.lanjelin.com

As a sample of one character, it is a nice column look.

A live example using my characters on the Nagrand-US server.

Hmm, no Gnomes or Dwarves. I might have to roll a Dwarf sometime.

Nifty WoW character badge

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A nifty WoW character badge creator, build by a member of the AIE community. It’s really good. Best Signatures WoW Character Image Auto-Updater.

Best of all it auto-updates, so that as you level, or change specs it will refresh. And it shows your gear and helmet preference.

What I really love is that the destination URL is not a script, it is an actual image, which means that it can be inserted easily on forums, blogs, etc.

Compelling talents, real choices, and diversity.

Stubborn at the Dead Good Tanking Guide posted a great response to the request for class feedback. What impressed me the most was the comment:

Compelling talent choices not on offer elsewhere, mobility other melee dream about and unique utility that can change the face of an encounter.

Oh hell, he said it so bloody well.

To me this mean keeping the play styles of the tanks different. Keep each tank type as different and we’ll see choices again. Those choices might might one class better than others for specific encounters, but overall we’ll have an interesting diversity. The same can be applied to Heals and Dps too. Choice empowers and supports class selection, where limiting controls prohibit it.

That does not mean that classes should not have some parity in abilities though. We do not want a scenario where a single Tank class is so much better (unless its the dks -joke!). Each tank class should have principally the same set of core controls, but the implementation of those controls can be different.

Think of it as the difference between a Requirement and and Solution. The Requirement is a statement of need, typically based upon on a set of broad goals. The solution is the specific method whereby that need will be satisfied.

In Stubborn’s example there is a goal to provide competitive dps, a requirement to allow Warriors to move through the battlefield efficiently, and a requirement to maintain the movement style of the Warrior class. The solution is to grant Warriors a set of abilities and talents that have them charge and leap amongst the melee. That is a key part of the feel of the Warrior way. Some other classes also have charge abilities, or leap abilities, but not all by a long way.

Paladins by example seem to call opponents to them. The Avengers Shield, Consecrate, and such play like a more stoic class. They might be “slower”, but that could also be seen as less “jittery” as well. Your mileage will vary.

Bears have a range of abilities that imitate many of the Warrior abilities, although they have a sub-set that is slightly better suited to AoE. Death Knights are again different, and that is excellent. I’d hate to see Warriors get a Death Grip style ability, and likewise it would not make sense.

Now that my third Tank is level 85 I’m seeing enforcement of my previous opinion that each is totally viable and very different. They all have taunts, AoE capacity, facing issues, movement considerations, cooldowns, resource shortages, and special tricks. Each is pretty darn good at a base level, yet diverse.

I’d like to see an expansion in the diversity, so that the choice of what to do and play remains (or returns to) a valid and powerful choice.

Happy gaming.

More creative and consistent names

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Update: As this was published I noticed that the patch 4.3 name rules have changed too:

North American realms (excluding Brazilian, Latin American, and Oceanic realms) no longer permit letters with accents in character or guild names. Existing character and guild names with special characters will be unaffected by this change.

How many times have you seen these type of names?

Ãrthás, Ægigbird, ìcemage, lololas, undeaddeath, or ikillsunow. Iamatank (who is dps), pvpggodd, or any darn name which uses a keyboard crushing special character. It is a short step to bigtool7 as a character name, and most of the examples above are from actual toons.

Moons ago I wrote a small blogpost about naming a Death Knight, as at the time the Wrath expansion was announced but not released, and players were creating and reserving names left and right. It was done as a PSA type post so that (I hoped) the wow population would have less silly and unpronounceable names.

How’d that go? I saw no direct affect; but then didn’t really expect to see a major shift. I was more just standing on my soapbox yelling at the world (now we have twitter for that, and bloggers have multiple avenues to shout about the things that frustrate them)…and shitty names still frustrate me.

The characters like “Bloodelfdk” are still happily jumping around in WoW, and it seems that players are keen to use every special keyboard character they can when re-using names. I guess that won’t change much either.

It would be interesting to see an MMO which prohibited these type of names more, and if that rule had a significant affect on the player base. Would a restriction such as that hinder the growth of the game?

Take the SW-ToR game coming in December – can I create a character called DarthVedar? Hanssolo? Chewiebacka? Aaanakin?

These names are just as silly as Arthaaas and all the rest based on the Warcraft lore, and as ToR is based on story arcs and events, it seems something they might wish to consider – especially if the NPCs will be using the character names in some way:

Npc: The elderly noble rises from his ornate throne and says “We hail PrincisLayher, you efforts to force back the Imperial troops were a boon to my people. What would you ask of me as reward?”

Player: “dude epix, lol”

Npc: …{shakes head}

It breaks the story, and makes me a little sick just thinking of it.

OK what to do:

  1. Valid Random Names – The random name generator in the character creation screen should not show you names that are in use. It frustrates me that a name is shown, might actually be useful, but is not available. As an armchair programmer this does not seem to be a huge issue, the list could be updated on batch, and then re-checked every day to ensure the error rate would be low.
  2. Prohibit special characters – I know this affects some legit European names, but then you’re not playing yourself in Second Life, you’re playing Warcraft. Names like Redhand are far more lore worthy than Phîlll. And yup, it would wreck a huge amount of current character names, but hey – I hate those names so on this point I’m going to be inconsiderate of those players.

My class of Choice

Back in 2008 I wrote a post about My class of Choice. At the time I was an alt-a-holic, with 3 characters who were regularly played in Warcraft, and many more who were used as profession mules.

Fast forward to now and my warcraft time is as different as my life is, then from now. The Paladin, Warlock, and Druid has been replaced by Mortigen, the Death Knight. Wrath saw this class released upon the game, and I’ve never looked back.

The Death Knight was my first character to level 85, and the first I wanted to take to raids. I also now have a Hunter and Druid at 85, and the Paladin, Warlock, and Priest are stuck at 80, with a shamble of Shamans and others throughout the 30s to 70s. In 2008 I said I’d not ever have a Hunter and now its 85 – the game changes you.

Lifestyle wise in 2008 I was living in another city, where my partner (now wife) was regularly working away from home or doing long hours. This facilitated a huge amount of time where i could do as I pleased. The Alts came out in force, and the content was getting smashed left and right.

It is funny to ponder how wow and life changes. Happy Killing.