Initial thoughts on WoW patch 5

Here are a few thoughts from the first hours of playing Wow in post-patch-5 times.

  • I’ve logged in and respec’ed my Death Knight. It was easy. Simple in fact. I feel it might actually be too simple, but do not wish to be negative about an idea which I think has huge merit. Having talents which were default selection is no choice. I’m not decided if the current style has too little impact on gameplay.This is almost the D3 model for spec trees, and I hope that we are not seeing a merge into a single game philosophy (yes, that is drawing a long bow).
  • Some of the choices for DKs are still clearly for certain activities (pvp or tank, or…) and therefore we have defaults again. One or two talents are things that I’ll never take. Time will tell us if that is because the talents are shitty, or if I’m a grumpy belligerent old bastard.
  • If you liked the multi-tree specs from wow version of yore there are still a huge amount of games using that model.
  • I’ve seen that minor glyphs have basically almost no mechanical effect, or are totally cosmetic. Major ones do less than the Primes used to, but one or two are bloody fantastic. Overall the glyphs need work – I’m a bit underwhelmed by glyphs and talents because somebody could still perform their role fine in a 5 man without picking any talents or glyphs. That seems wrong.
  • I’ve seen the new collector’s edition mount and pet, and watched people fanark around on their many mounts. Its a good change.
  • I’ve watched people login an alt and get the ding! of shared achievements. I don’t care at all for achievements, but like that almost everyone else likes them and therefore its a nice change.
  • I’ve not yet seen group looting, but am excited by that due to a propensity to farm old instances.
  • After running three instances I can say that Unholy Death Knights are essentially the same as before. Thank god. I’ll get around to testing Blood and Frost at some stage, but they look the same on paper too. Given Blood DKs already had a form of active mitigation it is the other Tank classes that have to learn what that means more than DKs.
  • Overall the complexity in the game is reduced, and it was the complexity in places where it was not feeding 90% of the player base.
  • I don’t care to train, test, or watch a pet battle. This patch just shares all my pets, and its unsurprising that I have hardly any at all. If I could unbind them and sell them I would.
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Play for free, Up to level 13

A few weeks ago Blizzard announced that D3 was going to have a free play option for low level characters (FAQ here). I’m not sure why I missed this initially, but perhaps the silly work and wow cycle was as much eye candy as I could take in.

Regardless, this is offering which I think is a benchmark for game distribution in today’s market: give the player an opportunity to see if they like your work. Do not expect that people will pay to test if the game sucks. They won’t. If they trail it, then they can pay for the full thing when it makes them happy, if not then they get caps and limits that might keep them interested periodically. That demo might be a week’s grace, or a level limit, or whatever style is suitable. Either way you get players who wish to play, not players who are angry about getting some of the money’s worth.

A long time ago I played and loved Master of Orion 1 and 2. When MoO3 was released I pre-purchased that game and regretted it straight away. It was a poor imitation of the old game, with bright and shiny graphics which did nothing to distract from the shitty actual play. A total waste. Since then I’ve been a mad and angry purchaser of any game product. Temple of Elemental Evil was a similar experience as while the game was technically playable the crash rate and list of things that when SNAP! was too large.

So now I rant about free to play capped options with furvor and wrath.

For Diablo 3’s free play option they chose a max level number like unlucky 13 for the free players. That is just too much fun. Well done guys, it made me smile.

The demonically-besieged world of Sanctuary needs heroes. Now you can join in the apocalyptic battle for FREE via the all-new Diablo®  III Starter Edition.  Available exclusively via Battle.net®, the Starter Edition allows you to fight your way up to the Skeleton King boss in Act I, and advance all the way to level 13, without having to purchase a copy of Diablo III.

Diablo 3 is enough of a game that I think I would have purchased it away way, especially as it has no ongoing subscription; but I might have avoided it early on if I hadn’t had a Blizzard annual pass. I feel the same way about trialing GuildWars2 – play it if its free to see if its good, but otherwise I’m not interested in paying box price to evaluate software anymore.

I generally assume that most games released are not worth it until I read staggeringly good reviews from multiple sources, and a friend says its good, and it is released. A little while ago I said “I’m planning a short return plunge into WoW briefly before playing Diablo 3, and possibly SWToR. I’ll wait till Panda-randa is released, then decide if I pick it up.” Now that more details are about I’ll probably buy MoP in advance. It is good enough and close enough that it is a low risk.

I still don’t like Pandas though. Perhaps that means I’m looking forward to killing a few.