A wonderful little laser battle in deep space

Update – and it’s been announced that the giant space battle will be commemorated by wrecked ships being permanently added to the game at the spot. Freak-ishly cool!

Kudos to the folks playing EVE and participating in battles of this scale. You’re doing something that takes a massive amount of time and energy, organisation, and is something that I find darn fascinating to read about. The image below is apparently what a super-laser looks like when fired from the largest ships, a Titan class.

a Titan class ship firing a super-laser

image via Kotaku, a Titan class ship firing a super-laser, probably on another Titan.

The huge EVE battle recently had a few commenters (kotatu) in a flicker about how aspects of the game are like playing in a spreadsheet. Well duh!

The game’s ui pretty much is an overlay for spreadsheets, though. Remove the pretty space graphics, and what you have is a whole bunch of objects and their relative positions to each other.

I don’t know why Eve players get so defensive, many space strategy games come down to an overlay for spreadsheets but remain good.

For pity’s sake, almost every game is a graphic overlay over a heap of numbers, probably stored in a database of one sort or another.

Another odd comment was due to the slow-down in game time due to the very large amount of participants (a “time dilation”), which slowed the game to crawling time frames. It suggested that the maximum size of the battles be artificially capped so that the game still runs in reasonable speed. But that runs against what I thought was an the ethos within EVE – that the game itself has almost no rules and the players create the game environment. If the vendor starts assigning rules of battle they will be games, lied about, and all sorts of trouble.

I like that EVE is very unfriendly to the players. It is a key factor in why it is interesting that the game has survived for so long, and has such a passionate base of fans and players. It is a niche product.

The last comment I liked was one that was initially hidden by the moderators – which indicated that EVE wasn’t the game it once was because now three mega-corps control all the secured space. Well shit, that sounds like a wonderful reflection of how most of our culture would evolve too.

It seems that with no “game laws” from the game developers the community has organically created a dystopian model of the future where all the fun is controlled by three huge meag-corps. Think about that for a few minutes.

Again, kudos EVE, you’re a darn interesting experiment.

SoO LFR Raid part one was ok

Sunday daytime a few weeks ago I had an unexpected few hours to waste online and I finally got the queue to pop for SoO part one, after a 1 hour 10 minute wait.

I am so very late to be just doing LFR Siege of Orgrimar, that it is sort of scary to think about how “behind” I am. It was Jan 19th when the Part One achievement ping’ed on my main character.

It gets me thinking that the concept of behind is funny in MMO terms. The folk who are setting or breaking records were done with this patch in Hard mode content months and months ago. The guild (Insidous Nagrand-US) has been doing hard modes for ages, and with two darn healthy 10-man raiding teams they are kicking Garrosh and his cronies in the groin on a regular basis.

As a section it is OK. I didn’t have my socks blown off by the strats or by the difficulty. I saw a heap of people die to the HUGE BLACK SWIRLY BEAM in whats-his-name-in-the-middle. I guess it was too tricky that it can go in one of two directions VERY VERY SLOWLY. I kept my well-fed buff through the entire run, which means that I’ve kind of let the noob-DK team down.

Anyway, I don’t mind being behind. I’d like some magic wand to make the queue times less than one hour, but I also feel like an absolute troll for even saying that. A player who logs in during the odd blue moon doesn’t like waiting one hour for an LFR? Cry a river rookie-boy. As a wise-crack, but altogether wise guildie suggested – or roll a Tank and man up!

I think the last thing the “LFR community” needs is my DK strafe tanking a Boss as a noob. I’m almost certain that after my Tanking an LFR run for the Lei-Shen fight a few players left WoW  in disgust. I could almost taste their tears and hear the breaking keyboards.

I love tanking, it’s not that it’s not fun at all, it’s that others don’t seem to love watching me learn. Grin.

Happy raiding, you dedicated folks. Very jealous. I’ll see it all eventually.

What will be remembered about the Pandaren in the next expansion for WoW?

I expect that the Pandaren will become a side thought in the next expansion; as a race they do not have much to do with Draenor. Sure they will be present as adventurers at level 100, but I think they won’t dominate our screens at all. Orcs and Draenei will probably be the order of the day, with all sorts of new goodies for each race. I hope we see hooks for at least a few others races as well, as having a single race as the focus on each side of the faction war is thinner than I’d like. Lets see some lore based events.

Perhaps Sylvanas will emerge as an arm of the Horde with powerful and undesirable solutions to the fight against Garrosh’s “true horde”. She has provided a rather brutal solution to problems of her faction’s dwindling numbers and as a leader she has a lot of presence to draw from. The trolls must be pleased that they now have a strong presence in VolJin.

The humans get to watch our leading lady Mage rant and rave with the King, all the while the other Alliance races twiddle their thumbs and do very little in the main story. Where are the Gnomes, Dwarves, and Night Elves in all this? Did anyone even invite the Worgen to the party? The Tauren and Trolls had the guts to speak up and then usurp their leader after he made a screamingly evil set of choices, but the sub-races in the alliance just coast along.

Another thought I had was that the Pandaren might not keep to their faction choice. They’ve now seen far more about both the Alliance and the Horde than they did initially when their first choices were made, there could be stories about Pandaren soldiers switching between both sides based upon the outcome of the last expansion. The Vale was left in ruins and their culture has been shaken at it’s foundation, and a great leader lost. It has to leave some scars.

We (as the second class heroes in WoW) will need to deal with which ever agent allowed Garrosh to slip into time in the first place. And I’m not buying that the Black Prince is a good guy at all, and hopefully we get to see that little black whelp spread his wings. He’s made it really clear that he wanted one or other faction totally destroyed and we didn’t do his bidding well enough.

I also cannot imagine the Half Hill farm will be visited again by a level 100 player. The garrison is replacement and expansion on that concept. Good, there needs to be a more visceral hook from our characters into the game world. Traveling back in time is already enough of a step sideways in immersion, and anything which makes the character feel like it as a presence in the game world is a great addition.

a pandaren brewmaster holding the Keg

Fun and games to come.

What will be the Legendary in Warlords of Draenor?

Update: It is a Ring

I’m curious what will be the Legendary in Warlords of Draenor. Not if there will be one, but what item. I’ve already seen rumours that there might be two items up for grabs, and much discussion – perhaps one which will be like the People’s Cloak of Everybody is LeetSauce, and another as a much harder to get item, or an item which requires dedicated effort in Heroic or better raids.

Lets just push the us vs them, casuals vs hardcore, its not fair, and waste of dev hours discussions to the side for this post and enjoy some speculation. I’ve bloged some snarks about the Legendary before, but I’m holding that as an aside now. This is about what will work going forward.

The opinions of the Mists of Pandaria legendary quest chain has mostly been positive, and those who liked it tended to really like it. With that in mind I think the designers will again seek to tell a lore heavy story as the background to a Legendary item and achievement. I’m all in favour of that. It worked for me as a roleplayer and as a gamer.

Please make it link to both the history of the realm and the current story which is unfolding. Add some hooks which are quasi-role specific, like altering the challenges for the roles the characters might take (dos vs tank vs heals doing different things). And despite the fact I hated it the link into repeat raids and grinding drops is something that I think needs to stay too.

Konachan.com---100777-blue_eyes-blue_hair-elf-green_hair-long_hair-short_hair-weapon-world_of_warcraft-yao_renIn terms of gear slot the Necklaces, Rings, and Trinkets look to me to be an obvious next step, but any slot really could be used given that there were many versions of the final legendary in MoP to suit every spec. I think a trinket could be something really special. The lore aspects of many other games in having an uber-powerful-widget that enhances the characters matches a trinket very well. Say the a Ever-burning-vial-of-demon-blood which was going to be the thing which corrupted the Orcs, but instead is re-purposed into a trinket for our hero to use against the Warlords.

I saw a suggestion for a Helm but matching a helm to look right to all the other armour styles will be a bitch, and I cannot see that happening.

Another suggestion was for a Shield and as it would be useless for all the non-shield users I think that gets shot down quickly. Likewise I don’t think we will see another range weapon as it is too class specific. I’d love to see a weapon again, but I agree with many folks who have said that we have had many weapons before.

Happy hunting, and may all your legendary grinds be quick and uneventful.

(A few previous posts on mine on the Legendary items)

cropped-watcher-on-ice.jpg

Who changed the graphics? Impressed.

A few days ago I updated the graphics driver on my (old-ish) laptop, and last night I logged into to WoW. The change was immense. Where the old display was set for speed, the new one seems to be be set back to a max setting.

Translucent water and particle effects look wild, and the animations are so much more … fluid. Who knew the game had grass!

I had no idea the game could look so darn good. The bad (because there is always a bad…) is that now I want a new laptop. Time to start doing more overtime at work I guess.

Happy Killing, TyphoonAndrew