Mike Morhaime – “It’s been gratifying to see the results of all of the work we put into this expansion and to hear all of the positive feedback from players so far.”
I’m pleased, as it reflects how good I think this expansion is. Congratulations. There were initial reports that sales were less than Cata and less than expected, and however true they were they were slanted toward the retail sales of boxes which ignored the digital sales. I purchased a digital version, and think it is the logical way to pay. Sorry stores, you do not have a compelling offering. I guess there is Blizzard spin there too. The 3 month figure will be telling, and the 6 month stats will be definitive. As a player we generally know how it is going in a broad sense anyway by who is online and what they are saying.
I’ve seen some players return to try out the game, but not a massive amount of the really “old” players who left with significant burn-out in place. Some folks have had enough of the game, and feel that the flavour of wow’s treadmill is not for them anymore – fair call. I respect that, just as I respect that a player can return and get a new lease on life too. We have to do what we enjoy above all else.
There are also some bloggers returning too, so we should see an increase in the general wow chatter through the internet. It is exciting.
It’s odd to think that games will cycle in this manner on first impression, but it really is logical. Something is new and entertaining, then it becomes old – the manufacturers make a cal of how long to keep content out there, and how fast they can release it. 1 year with an end boss is too long, and the anti-subs reflected that.
Here are a few thing I’ve noticed about how I level; apart of slowly.
Mists is doing a great job to present the lore of the situation into the player’s eyeballs. Some quests give blunt information, others are more subtle. At times this means that the task we are asked to do is not to the style of my character, but that is totally forgivable when the context it gives is useful. The lore as it stands now is very engaging and I am loving the new content.
I tend to read the quest text, but sometimes skim read if the task is obviously to kill X of Y and come back for more. Those quests might have a context of “create a potion”, “deliver this rare”, or whatever. The nature of WoW’s quests have not changed, and honestly I cannot see how it could in a theme-park style mmo. In fact it is a good thing, and something which mean of the community enjoy as well. There is always the question of how re-playable the content is, but I see that as moot for now.
Despite being in the first zone and still level 85 I have already maxed out Mining to 600 by chasing nodes over doing quests. It’s slower but the mats are too valuable to ignore, and I do not want to return to an area to back fill the skill, or find a node later that I cannot grab. The nodes also grant xp so its not a total waste.
I’m trying to stretch away from a totally linear quest series, as having a small degree of choice is empowering (have a read of Tobold’s post below for a view on linear quests). Essentially though the content must have some sort of pathway, and linked hubs make sense for 80% of players. Completing a quest hub is a must as while the gear is not an upgrade yet, often the next hub is unlocked by the last stage in the previous hub.
Silly aside – Why do we Fight? Why do the leaves fall?
I fight because I have to to get to the mining nodes and all the monsters get in the way. Sometimes other players too. The leaves fall because I keep bumping into the trees, monsters, rocks, and all the other terrain artwork and widgets. I abuse auto-run.
Update: Community feedback seems to dislike the scenario, I’m waiting to play it (obviously) but I thought this was interesting:
By a player: Theramore scenario completely underwhelming compared to other pre expansion events. It’s Meh. Blue Post: Was never meant to be a world event. It’s the first Scenario of the game. Tons more content coming next week!
So expect content in the launch, no real “expansion special event”.
I thought I had an extra few hours after the Tuesday maintenance, but Theramore’s Scenario is being released quickly. Go grab two mates and get smashing folks, as the first scenario it will be interesting to see just how these play and what they might indicate for regular activity for characters at level 90. It’s good that it is early as more folks will get to see it. You’ll need ilevel 353 to queue up.
I’m expecting a few “what a piss poor expac launch” comments – and it really remains to be seen. We also do not know what will “hit” when the expansion actually launches too. There is an argument to say that the expansion itself might not need a launch event if the content and play style is good enough in the quest zones. Interesting times.
Bashiok – For US servers it will be unlocked today in the afternoon.
Those cheeky fellows working in Blizzard have plonked an ad for Mists of Pandaria in the character screen you see after login.
It is not subtle or unreasonable, and after my initial reaction of “what the f?” I considered using that to purchase my upgrade.
It makes me ponder if we will see character customisation, race change, name change and such in that screen too. Heck it would even be handy to be able to buy month-by-month time as well. The user is logged in, so might benefit from it. All the special offers for pets and such could be there too.
I’m on a leveling mission: Get each of my toons to the highest level possible before the expansion.
I recently ding’ed 85 on my Warlock – Arkham, which is the second character I ever rolled in World of Warcraft. Now I move onto the remaining four: Priest, Mage, Rogue, and Shaman. For leveling I am using only dps style, and only infrequently doing the 5-man dungeons. As while I know the Dungeons are fantastic for gear and XP, I cannot commit to playing very long due to kiddlet interruptions. I don’t want to be that guy, who goes AFK for ages and needs to be kicked from the team.
As far as the Warlock goes the updates for the class in Mists of Pandaria look very appealing from a cosmetic perspective. It is tempting to fusk around and see if they still play as ruthlessly as they did in The Burning Crusade.
Next highest character is the Shadow Priest at level 81, which I created toward the end of TBC and has almost (a brief journey into Ulduar) always been an alt for Alchemy and Herbalism. Yeirah, you’re up. Get to the face-melting.
MoP will bring players a huge range of mounts, and while that is somewhat expected (being that an expansion should add a ton of new mounts, pets, monster models, etc) – when wowhead gathered them into a single area to preview it really makes an impression. Two favourites – the tiger and the disc mounts. The disc means the toons can fly around like they are those irritating mobs in the Eye of Eternity.
There are many blog posts at the moment about attunement; love it or hate it.
Like all things there is a benefit, and a cost to that choice – which changes as your playstyle and perspective changes. I like attunement as I can know that the player has at the very least done some content.
I dislike attunement as it means I cannot gracefully skip content to the stage my alt was/is at. There is no right answer, which is probably why attunements were removed. Too much of a grey area led to angst, which then absorbed far too much time.
Overall I like attunements more than I dislike them, and think that they could have a valuable place in world of warcraft.
While I agree that creating very large attunement paths is a barrier which is difficult for some, and could even be problematic for raiders who switch characters (or whatever) there was something great in the story aspects of the attunements.
eg. Getting the Karazhan key was interesting from a story perspective. It took a small amount of additional time and effort, but it was entertaining and interesting.
If the attunements were part of the general story, in content which was not repeat-gated (eg. one after another) then they could return with my support. Perhaps the attunement is for the 5man to raid step, rather than for each raid step?
Perhaps also start the stories and the attunement chains as the leveling experience (e.g. the Marshal Windsor UBRS key), and therefore the story plays through the experience, which leads into the raids.
Make it so that the players would be foolish not to take the opportunity (Wrath Gate questline, or the Battered Hilt quests) and you’ll see more game lovers than haters.
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.
A note in an mmo champion post indicates that patch 4.4 will a prep patch for the next expansion. It has some confirmations from the rumours of the patch 4.3 Deathwing events, including the next 5 mans – but really the idea that 4.4 is a prep for the next expansion is the bigger news.
Patch 4.4 will bring a world event before the next expansion. The next expansion should be released with a “meaningful difference” in the release timeline compared to previous expansions.
Now if it takes ages to appear then its kind of a moot point, however I think this indicates that Blizzard are far closer to the next expansion that they would normally be.
I expect them to compete in some way with Star Was because of the number of folks who have declared that they will be leaving or have already left. Makes me ponder though – perhaps they would be better waiting 1-2 months after the SWToR release, so that the people know that the new expansion is coming, and those who are not happy with SWToR will return.
It has been quiet of late in the Eye of the Storm.
My primary reason for this is because I’ve been very busy in real life will all sorts of distractions, and both blog time and game time have been greatly reduced. But that is not the full story.
The deeper truth is that nothing in the recent month or so has been worth commenting on in detail. Frankly it’s been better to play far more casually when I can easily fit it in and just wait for stability and consistency in the game, than get in and try to adapt to or work around all the changes and updates. A recent patch tweaks some of the classes, but the pre-level 81 wait is entertaining but not critical.
All the balance issues, strange affects, bugs, and outright rip-off prices of items will change in time, so there is no real point stressing about it now. Stepping back for a time now was a darn good call, and I am looking forward to the new game.
In a few days we’ll have rounds of patches, mod updates, and all sorts of malarky (my new favourite word), so I plan to relax and laugh through it.
So in brief:
Choice of main: I’ve all but deciuded that my Death Knight will go forward first as into the Cataclysm expansion. It was a hard choice, but the class is still the most entertaining of my current 5 level 80 characters.
The system requirements for Cata are not altogether restrictive, and I’m darn pleased that my current system will run the game. I suspect that if you’re playing v4.0 now then Cata will run the same. Huzzah!
I’m doing a bank clean-up now, keeping the odd stuff and quest items that might be handy later, but otherwise.
The dragon trailer is excellent, good stuff. I liked it, glad it was created, and look forward to the game even more because of it.
Not being there I can only reflect on the information that has been posted since; and it was underwhelming. Now I’m not surprised that it was a very dull Blizzcon in terms of revelations and changes, because frankly we’ve had a huge amount of information released already, and it is so close to the release of Cataclysm.
I think it is also OK that the event was not a Warcraft event, and that it has a focus across all the Blizzard games, rather than just their golden goose.
Patch 4.0, 4.0.3a, then patch 220.127.116.11.0.b…etc
The Cog Wheel of Death, which freezes the pc is just plainly unacceptable. I don’t like it, and it makes the game harder to play. A bad bug which was made far worse by the Headless Horseman which was released at basically the same time. Glad they fixed it, but that was trash.
Gear reset, was good in the end and a blip in terms of the classes I play regularly. Reforging is an excellent addition to the game, and something that I think will be copied into almost every other MMO in the future. Its game changing in a balanced and good way.
Class reset, I guess Paladins got a good work over, and that always happens in each expansion, and Hunters have been majorly adjusted to be less like casters which feel right to me. Stay tuned for more class tuning.
My guild is asking all the tough questions about what we do for Cata raiding and teams. An expansion is the perfect time to throw all the previous structures and plans to the wind and re-build. Even when the process is painful, I like that it is happening.
If your guild is not doing this, then you might want to either ask if it needs to, or consider another guild – I say this because I think the overall affect on guilds is huge in Cataclysm.
We’re also seeing some drama through this, but nothing that won’t be resolved soon, and a storm in a teacup in a month or so.
I’ll be posting and raving at a normal pace soon, when we have all sorts of new leveling junk to ponder.
Happy killing, have a great silly season, and I hope Deathwing kills you in glorious fire.