Comic Mischief

"A game that keeps a smile on the player's face is a wonderful thing" – Shigeru Miyamoto, Nintendo

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World of Warcraft: It’s so over.

I’m done with WoW in nearly every way.

I certainly no longer want to blog about it, but I feel like capping things off with one final post.

It’s been 10 years, and I’ve only ever cancelled my subscription once. It was at the end of Wrath of the Lich King, and after a big guild falling apart, I lost interest.

Today, during Warlords of Draenor, my account is still active, but only because a few old friends have returned and I want to hang out with them. Meaning I log in once, maybe twice a week.

Yeah, I’m paying $15.00/month to play a boring game once a week for a few hours. That bothers me.

I’ve been trying to work out what went wrong this expansion. I’ve never been so completely disinterested in playing. Even levelling to 100 the first time was a chore. I was the slowest one in our group, and I forced myself to get there in the end.

I’ve narrowed it down, and I guess here’s what went wrong for me and World of Warcraft, a decade in:

1. Archeage*

* I’m going to make comments here that are subjective. They’re my opinion, not fact. Nothing like this can be “fact”.

But Archeage is simply a better game. The graphics blow WoW out of the water in every way imaginable, not that graphics are the most important thing in a game. But as someone who never had any problem whatsoever with WoW graphics, there’s no longer any denying it. After playing an MMO with beautiful graphics, it’s impossible to really appreciate the cartoon, over-bright world of Azeroth anymore.

The class and skill system is better. Even if you get to end level (50) and decide you want to play another class – you know what you do? You run over to the Nui (graveyard/skill trainer), pay a small in-game currency fee, and choose your new abilities. You do have to level each spec from 10-50, but there’s no painful rerolling an entire character. There’s no losing your bound items.

There are no outdated race/class restrictions. (Something I expect WoW to eventually get rid of, but at this point, still exist.) If I want to play an Archer style one day and a Warrior style the next, I can.

There are no Armor restrictions. A Mage isn’t forced absolutely to wear Cloth. It’s often better to, but it’s not a requirement. My caster character in Archeage runs around wearing a plate chest when she’s tending to solo stuff because it looks prettier.

The questing system is better. You can get extra progress or overachieve in many quests, meaning if you are asked to kill 10 demons, you might be able to cap out and get an “Overachieve!” for the quest at 15 demons. This nets you greater rewards in terms of XP, but is in no way a requirement.

You can submit quests early, for less of an XP reward. The system is flexible and smooth. There’s no forced tediously riding back to a quest spot because you accidentally didn’t loot one item. Unless you want to, of course. Then you’re free to run back and collect that last item.

The crafting system is massive. I mean massive. There are different proficiencies ranging from the ordinary kinds like Tailoring, to things like Handicrafts, Metalworking, Carpentry. Profiencies cap out at 90,000 skill points.

Levelling up your proficiencies is slightly different. You can make endless amounts of one item forever if you want, you’ll continue to get skill ups, although obviously the cheaper/easier an item is to craft, the smaller your skill up. Or you can work on creating the higher end items at each tier level. For example, I recently got 30,000 Tailoring and crafted a new tier of sash for a nice ~400 odd skill up points.

There are massive – and regular! – scheduled world PvP events, with a small handful of daily quests for Honor. Where the PvP really shines, though, is out in the open world, unplanned and often accidental. Sailing your trade packs across to the other continent? Watch your back and prepare for warfare.

The exploration is superior. This partly comes down to how much better the game looks, but you can also craft a multitude of ships – from small clippers to huge galleons – use your glider to float far away, or just adventure out in the open seas, looking for war or maybe just scenery.

The mount and combat pet system is so much cooler. In WoW you get a certain level, purchase your riding skill and mount from a vendor, and off you go. In Archeage, you receive a quest to escort a baby animal to an NPC. Once you arrive, you receive a quest to grow some food for the baby, then raise it as your own. To raise it, you have to feed it, wash it, play with it. Once grown, the baby becomes your mount. Not only that, you can name it, purchase/obtain armor for it (with actual stats!), and it gains experience while you level or with a certain amount of distance travelled. Combat pets are the same – they can be named, wear armor, level with you, and actually engage in the fight with you.

Not only is it freaking adorable, but the whole system is fun and adds another activity to do in-game.

The land system is far superior to anything available in WoW (yes, including the barracks), but this part will have its own point in a minute, where I’ll explain further.

 

2. Blizzard seem to have lost the plot slightly

I’m sure many people will disagree with me here, but I just feel like Blizzard have lost the plot lately. I normally pay little attention to class balance. I enjoy playing my class and that’s that. It’s okay if I’m not always going to be #1 at everything. It’s fun, so it doesn’t matter.

That changed this expansion. At the start, Shaman were terrible. For the first time ever, it felt like I couldn’t do anything to improve. I was just stuck with crappy DPS and spent most groups terrified I’d be kicked. They gave us some minor buffs. Fine. It’s the start of an expansion, we’re still balancing, it’s all being worked out.

But then, why change something that was “unintended” but the change can only be a nerf? Your priority right now – especially given they acknowledged Shaman were underperforming – is to fix the underperformance, then tweak the insignificant unintended stuff. Unless it’s game breaking – it wasn’t – worry about it later.

They’re still tweaking us even now, with notes coming out recently indicating a small nerf to Fire Nova, but buffs to other stuff.

People were reporting the issues to Blizzard in beta, and yet here we were, start of the expansion and all those reports had gone pretty much ignored.

And just strange decisions, like let’s remove Reforging. You know, that shiny new feature everyone was so excited about. Let’s remove Hit and Expertise from gear. So we’re trying to make gearing “easier”, but then we’re going to implement things like crafted gear with completely randomised stats.

I just feel like the game is in this bizarre situation where they don’t know what direction they want to take it, and there are so many things that don’t make sense and are at odds with one another.

 

3. Celebrated features in WoW are lacking

The garrisons, for example. The way people talk about them, I was really expecting something a lot more. Instead I got a garrison in a forced location with all the building spots mapped out, no room for customisation beyond selecting from a list of buildings, and a follower system pretty much torn directly from another MMO that didn’t quite make the cut in popularity.

I just can’t get excited or even interested in garrisons. Not when you compare them to the land and customisation in a game like Archeage.

Seriously, there are more customisation options for my restaurant in Disney Magical World!

But it’s something WoW has done for a long time now, taken a popular feature out of one game and tried to implement it in their own style. Negative, anti-WoW me at present sees that as them taking a great idea and squishing it to fit into their game.

It’s not done well, but it’s there, and it’s a feature that gets celebrated by the community. I celebrated those features once too, but having wandered away from Azeroth and seen such features in their full, proper form, it’s hard to appreciate WoW’s watered down offerings.

I just can’t see the appeal of a dull work order or follower mission where I click a few buttons and come back to check it later. What’s the point? Why would I want to do that when I can check my farm and actually do tasks myself, and customise it?

 

At the end, the point of this entry is to say WoW and I have had a major falling out. If my friends were to stop playing, I’d cancel my subscription instantly, without a second’s hesitation.

I’m not going to try and find it interesting anymore. And I’m not going to try and wait to blog until I have something to say about WoW. It’s over.

What I am going to do, is start posting a lot of Archeage info and resources. That’s where my interest lies now, and there aren’t a lot of resources out there about it yet. So that’s what will be coming up.🙂

And yes, I’m aware a lot of this entry probably sounds like whining. It won’t happen again.😉

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The State of the Shaman.

The state of the Shaman class this expansion has been… Well, pretty disappointing. I did pretty well while levelling up to 100, with a mix of raid gear and new WoD questing/dungeon gear, but the minute I hit 100 and started queueing for level cap content, the party kind of ended.

I’m not really one to complain much about balance or my class anymore. I haven’t really been into that since probably Burning Crusade. Partly because I just love playing Enhance so much, but partly because I’ve realised a vast majority of complaining isn’t constructive or isn’t fair. Everybody wants their class to be #1.

That said, the current state of the Shaman is definitely disappointing. It was acknowledged, and we received a minor buff of 20% to two abilities.

Then not so long after, we received a nerf to Maelstrom Weapon.

This was the point that I really started having a problem with not only the spec, but the way Blizzard decided to handle it. When you acknowledge a spec – a whole class, in fact – is at the low end of damage output and needs tweaking, you don’t turn around and hand out a nerf. Even if that nerf needs to happen down the track, it’s just poor timing and terrible management to even consider doing it before fixing the problems the community has highlighted, and you have publicly acknowledged as being a concern.

A better and more obvious way to handle it would have been to simply note the nerf needed, tweak and balance the rest of the problems, and either do it all at once or fix the issues and then hand out the nerf.

It just seems obvious to me that the way they handled it is exactly what they should have not done.

  • Shamans need a bump, they’re on the low side at the moment.

This is the latest from Blizzard, so we’ll see. At the risk of sounding incredibly melodramatic, I don’t have a lot of enthusiasm for them or the game just at this moment.

That’s for a number of reasons, not just the Shaman thing. The Shaman thing will hopefully be fixed, after they finish bumbling around and further messing it up.

It’s been a rough launch for Warlords of Draenor. The garrison feature, a primary feature of the entire expansion, still isn’t even working properly and disconnects or inability to even access it are regular.

So, watch this space. I’ll be keeping my eye on what’s happening with my beloved class and no doubt rambling about it here.

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ArcheAge Downtime Compensation!

ArcheAge has had some downtime problems just recently, and there were whispers of compensation of some kind from Trion.

As it turns out, they’ve delivered, and they’ve delivered big time!

Patrons will be able to claim the following compensation packs:

  • 5 Bonus Days of Patron Time
  • 15 Superior Worker’s Compensation Potions (500 LP each)
  • 30 Loyalty Tokens to use at the Loyalty Store on the rewards of your choice
  • 3 Greedy Goblin Gummies (+10% Loot Drop Rate)
  • 3 Frankenflavor Jawbreakers (+10% XP)
  • 3 Marshmallow Sugar Pumpkins (+3% Move Speed)

Non-Patrons will be able to claim a slightly different compensation pack:

  • 10 Superior Worker’s Compensation Potions (500 LP each)
  • 15 Loyalty Tokens to use at the Loyalty Store on the rewards of your choice
  • 3 Greedy Goblin Gummies (+10% Loot Drop Rate)
  • 3 Frankenflavor Jawbreakers (+10% XP)
  • 3 Marshmallow Sugar Pumpkins (+3% Move Speed)

They’re applying the packs over the next day or so, and once complete, everyone will receive an e-mail to let them know they’re able to claim them.

I’m really happy with this compensation pack, it’s a nice gesture and it’s a mix of really useful items (Labor Pots, Patron time, Loyalty Tokens) and items more in the flavour/fun direction with the candies.

Downtime happens, and I haven’t been bothered by this recent few days of problems. I love the game and while it’s disappointing not being able to play, it’s greatly appreciated that Trion have decided to grant us these cool packs. I just hope I get mine in time for the weekend so I can get some bonus Labor to use!😀

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ArcheAge: My Own Personal WoW Destroyer

So many games have come and gone over the years, entering the fray as a bright new competitor for World of Warcraft – maybe even the slayer of WoW – and silently accepted their handful of players after the dust settles and the majority of their interested new playerbase flocks back to WoW.

Some didn’t even make it that far, and closed their servers for good.

I’ve tried most of them over the past decade. Lured in by promises, shiny stuff, and just sometimes feeling like a break. All paths have eventually led me back to WoW. Most other games barely held my interest for even a few days.

They probably weren’t bad games. More that they weren’t enough to drag me away from the shiny, perfected package that WoW has become. Because for all its faults, all the things we complain about, overall the package is very much polished. It’s a complete experience. There are endless hours worth of things to do.

For most of Mists of Pandaria, I’ve been the only one of my friends who has stayed subscribed the entire time, and actively playing to boot. I’ve pugged my way to a respectable RBG rating, I entered Flex difficulty, I went back and got a ton of achievements I wanted. I levelled some alts.

It would be dishonest to say my playtime didn’t dip at all, though. Mists (and specifically the SoO patch) has felt like it has been going forever. A lot of my “in game” time was spent alt tabbed reading or watching stuff.

It was just before headstart weekend that Mr PJ called me and mentioned a new game he’d found. He said he’d played it for a few levels and gotten to a certain quest and said to himself, “I need to stop playing this right now, because PJ is going to love this.”

He told me a bit of info about it, not that either of us knew much about it at that point. It was a Korean MMO called Archeage that Trion planned to release for an English speaking playerbase. It was about a week before headstart, and once I got home from my trip, we logged on and played. And played.

And played.

When open beta drew to a close, we logged off kind of sadly. We knew we had a few days to wait before headstart launched. Hell, we were that excited we even bought the most expensive “starter’s” pack each.

Headstart rolled around – finally! – and we even took some time off work to play. We’re still playing religiously.

I haven’t had anywhere near this level of dedication in any MMO except WoW… Well, ever, actually. This is nearing on vanilla WoW levels of interest and fun.

AA has PvP, dungeons, crafting (OMG so much crafting!), costumes, sailing, building, driving, farming…

That’s where I’ve been. So busy and having so much fun in AA I’ve been doing very little else in my spare time. I’ve logged into WoW maybe once a week since I started playing, mostly to say hi to people (who are starting to return with WoD coming out soon) and check on guild stuff.

I’ll flood this blog with AA stuff shortly, because it’s just too much fun not to (finally) talk about!

It’s started already – my new header image is a female Firran (my chosen gender and race) from AA!

🙂

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Guild members and offensive character names

I don’t like rude, immature, offensive character names. When I’m just a regular player, I see these names and largely ignore them. In nearly a decade of playing World of Warcraft, I’ve seen hundreds of these offensive names and only reported two.

The first was because it was so purposefully and unashamedly offensive and incredibly sexist.

The second was because the guy was same-faction griefing me while on a quest in the Burning Crusade. I asked him to stop a few times, he wouldn’t, he had a dumb offensive name and so I mentioned that in my report, then added him to friends. Sure enough he very quickly no longer had said offensive name. (I have a real problem with same faction griefing).

Aside from that, I ignore them. If someone wants to run around with a stupid name, that’s their decision.

When it’s a member of my guild, though, that’s when I have a problem with it. I’ve had my own level 25 guild for most of this expansion and not really done anything with it. I’ve housed my own characters and my friend’s characters and everyone has come and gone as they’ve pleased – no problems. I’ve just recently started thinking about doing more with this guild – like maybe establishing a flex team to run on weekends. Which of course involves recruiting some more people and putting us out there under the public eye.

I logged on yesterday and someone had invited a low level with a stupid, offensive (and sexist) name. I thought they were a random player, and I booted them. Because I hated the name, and because I have other women and also some kids that are either in the guild, or can read guild chat at various times. Further because if I do run a flex team, I want to attract like minded players – people who are somewhat mature, who won’t cause drama, who just want to make a few friends and kill a few bosses each week. No stress, no fuss.

As it turns out, unfortunately this guy was the friend of a long-term member. He told me the name isn’t meant to be offensive, it’s just a joke. We talked about it for quite a while, and I repeated myself a lot. In the end, I didn’t invite the guy back. I felt bad about it, because he’s a member’s friend, and I still feel a bit uncomfortable about it, but I stuck to it.

Possibly the first time in this little casual guild I’ve ever had to put my GM hat on. I’m curious, though, do other GMs/Officers take issue with offensive character names, or do you just let them slide?

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Again… Can we please stop removing content?

I have a friend who has been purchasing Challenge Mode Gold 9/9 carries for his characters, and talking about it with him recently has got me thinking once again about Blizzard’s insistence on removing content.

Their announcement specifically on the removal of Pandaria’s Challenge Mode:

“…the difficulty of Mists of Pandaria’s dungeons will no longer be tuned the same as they were. In the spirit of fair play, when the aforementioned patch is released a little while before the new expansion launches, the current slate of Challenge Mode dungeons will no longer be available, and the achievements they award will be converted to Feats of Strength.”

While I understand they’re supposed to be difficult and supposed to be an eventually rare reward, removing the content just seems a little backwards to me.

I can see that people worked their butts off to get these achievements and probably feel they deserve some recognition for it. If I held the reins, though, I’d make their recognition the Feats of Strength and maybe an exclusive recolour of the CM gear sets.

For everyone else, I’d still let them get 9/9 Gold once it’s no longer relevant content. Reward them with a “normal” achievement for doing so and a recolour (an intentionally crappier one, just like LFR gear) of the gear sets.

It just seems odd to me, to put the effort into designing the content, achievements, and rewards and then pull them away to keep things “fair”. Especially in a game that people are clearing content faster all the time and constantly asking for “more to do”.

Additionally, every time Blizzard remove something, it has that air of “But it will be back soon!”. Even Tier 3 gear, from the original Naxxramas, has made a reappearance in game on the Black Market Auction House. Imagine having had “exclusive” gear for years, and then having them reintroduce it for people to simply purchase with gold. I had my Swift Zhevra mount since Burning Crusade, and never saw anybody on it. Just recently they decided to reintroduce it as a RAF reward and suddenly they’re everywhere.

I think what’s the most frustrating about this is the inconsistency. Either retire things for good, or keep them in/bring them back. Don’t leave us wondering if they’ll eventually end up reused, or for sale on the Black Market.

Given that players can purchase the achievements and all that come with it (mounts, titles, gear), it also just seems ridiculous to remove it to be fair. People who view that as fair are probably already bothered by those purchasing it.

How does someone paying X amount of gold deserve these “prestigious” items any more or less than someone coming in and clearing them at level 100?

Let’s use normal achievements vs. Feats of Strengths properly, and keep more content in the game.

(Before anyone asks, no, I’m not just butthurt because I haven’t got the achievements or items. I too had the opportunity to purchase them. I don’t particularly like my class’ gear set, I wouldn’t use the mounts or the title, etc.)

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