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Timing is Everything: Awaiting Cataclysm

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

Blizzard has prided itself on being a company that doesn’t release a product until it’s ready.  I’ve always been respectful of that, and I think it has a lot to do with their success.  If you release a product on time but unfinished, you lose some credibility.

But have they taken simply too much time preparing for the release of Cataclysm?

I’ve been a pretty big fan of the Wrath of the Lich King philosophy of 10/25 mans and hard modes, a clever way to allow everyone a chance to see all of the story-driven content, while still giving the more hardcore players a chance to feel special.  I would have loved to be able to see all the content in The Burning Crusade, but that was not in the cards for someone with a relaxed play style like me.  Now I’ve been able to kill the Lich King, even if it was only with 9 other people on regular mode.  Unfortunately, a downside to this mechanism is that you don’t get the same epic feeling when killing an old boss in a new way.

I look back on my post about Anticipation for WotLK, and my view was almost completely the opposite.  I didn’t want Wrath to come out because The Burning Crusade was still keeping me quite occupied! Now, I feel like this expansion has let my interests wander.

It’s been so long since Icecrown Citadel was released that pretty much everyone who was going to kill the Lich King has killed the Lich King, in one way or another.  There are plenty of people who are still working on hard modes, but a lot of us have decided that instead of seeing the same old bosses several nights a week for 9 months straight, it’s a good time to play some other games.  And while there is no harm in that, the longer Blizzard leaves us to play other games, the less chance there is for us to be brought back in for Cataclysm.  By letting us realize, “Hey, there’s a whole other world out here!” and “Quitting WoW isn’t that bad, actually.” They’ve lost a lot of loyalty.  I have no doubt that a lot of people will return to the game for Cataclysm, but I think the longer Blizzard waits to release it, the less committed the players will be to sticking around.

I never had any intention of not playing World of Warcraft this summer, it just happened.  I’d realize I just hadn’t logged in in weeks; I’d actually forgotten about the game.  And in a way, that kind of “quitting” is much worse for Blizzard than a forced quit, when someone still wants to play but has to stop.  My list of other games to play is growing so much that I almost dread having to commit my gaming time to playing Cataclysm when it’s released.

What I’m trying to say is: Blizzard better knock this expansion out of the park if they hope to regain the devotion they had during the prime of Wrath of the Lich King.

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Blizzard Pet Store: A Cue for QQ?

Thursday, November 5th, 2009

So if you haven’t heard the news, Blizzard has added two extremely adorable non-combat pets to the Blizzard Store.  This was instantly controversial, with people calling Blizzard out for adding ‘microtransactions’ to the game, and being profiteers or some such.

They announced it yesterday.  I’m sure half the blogging world has a post on it by now, that’s what we bloggers do, you see.  We hear juicy topics of debate and our mouths start watering until we get to our keyboard.

Well, I had a whole post typed up about this and why I think this is nothing new.  That it’s no different from buying loot cards and is in fact better because there is no middle man.

But when I told the news to Gadgets, his reaction was that it was cheating.  After a lengthy conversation about why he thinks it’s cheating and how it’s different from buying loot cards, I was enlightened and found there are other ways to look at this than I initially did.

So instead, I’m going to outline our different outlooks, and how in the end, they seem to converge.

You see, Gadgets LOVES his achievements.  He’s about halfway through his last reputation to get The Insane.  Seriously, him and achievements should like… get married.  Or something.

If you don’t already know my take on achievements, I’m a fan of them.  But I rarely go out of my way for them unless it’s something I am passionate about or particularly interested in (see my Brewmaster, Chef and of Sen’jin titles).

Him and I have both been casually working towards the [Lil' Game Hunter] achievement (he’s at 73, I’m at 72).  But we’re working at them for different reasons.  Like I said, his epeen is measured in achievement points, and that’s fine.  Me?  I love cuddly little pets.  Why do you think I rolled a hunter in the first place?!  I had quite a collection of non-combat pets before the achievement system was even mentioned.  If you ever see me in-game without a non-combat pet trailing behind me, assume my account has been hacked and notify the authorities!

Anyway, here’s how we each looked at the situation:

Brajana: When I saw these new pets, I equated them to buying a t-shirt or the murloc plushie from the Blizzard store.  No one really needs them, but people want to buy them because they are cute, or because they want to show how much they like the game/their class/murlocs/cuddly things.  $10 for an in-game plushie-type thing?  Nothing wrong with that.  Have you seen Lil’ K.T.?  He’s adorable!  And what’s different from the card game?  Nothing. Except this is cheaper. And directly from Blizzard.

Gadgets: Of course, the first thing in his mind was the fact that $20 could get him from 73 to 75 for that tasty, tasty achievement.  But he wouldn’t do it, because it wasn’t a reward for something and it wasn’t something he earned in-game.  It’s like buying achievement points.  Spend $20 and you’ll have this achievement is what he saw.  Because he doesn’t run around town with a different pet each day.  He doesn’t bring out holiday-specific pets when it’s appropriate, he doesn’t raid with a non-combat pet by his side. As for the card game, Gadgets thought of the loot cards as a reward for being a player of the TCG.  Even if you sell it, you’re making money as a reward for playing.

And so we found our point of convergence on the topic:

Buying non-combat pets from Blizzard for the non-combat pet:  Dandy.

Buying non-combat pets from Blizzard for achievement points: Stupid.

It’s a very small distinction.

Let me go back to my “Blizzard Merchandise” theory.  If I bought the Murloc plushie because it’s amazingly cute and cuddly and I’d love to have it sitting on my desk greeting me every morning, fine!

But if I was buying the Murloc plushie because I have a plushie fetish and I’d just shove him in my box labeled “Plushies”, that’s just dumb.

But of course… this is purely an opinion.

The fact is that Blizzard is doing nothing wrong here.  And I will continue to believe that until the day they start selling things that have a major effect on the game (i.e. gold, emblems or gear).

So what do you think?

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The Interface Blizzard Forgot: Character Management Screens

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

Blizzard has a done a lot throughout the years to improve the look and feel of the game.  They’ve incorporated lots of addons into the core game, and it’s almost a whole new feeling compared to the ‘original’.

But you know what they haven’t done anything with?  The character management screens.  The screen you see when you’re selecting your character, or creating a new one.  They could really use some sprucing up, and I have a few ideas I’d like to suggest!

Character Selection Screen

WoWScrnShot_092809_222601

Addon Presets: The idea here is that you’d define addon groups, and be able to load a specific subset of your addons depending on what you’re doing.  For me, I’d like to have things like:

  • Raiding addons
  • Gathering/Auctioning addons
  • Leveling addons

I don’t need to have Auctioneer or Quest Helper running when I’m going to a raid, and I don’t need Omen or Recount when I’m leveling an alt or soloing.  But it’s too much trouble, and too easy to forget to check/uncheck those little boxes before each time I log in.  I’d like to say “Switch me to Raiding mode!” and off I go.

Character List Sorting: When I switch my characters over to my new account, I created my new bank alt before transferring Brajana.  Now and forever more, my bank alt is first on my list of characters.  I’d like to be able to manually switch the order they are displayed, or at least sort them by level or something.

Character Creation Screen

WoWScrnShot_092809_223825

Check Name: I’d like to just check if a name is available.  I don’t want to have to create a character and delete it every time I find an available name.  Just a little button beside the name field would do, thanks.

More camera views: Right now, you can only spin the model of the character you’re creating.  What if you want to know what it will look like from another angle?  What about if you want to zoom in and see it close up?  Sorry, you can’t do that here.

Well, that isn’t too difficult, is it?  Just a few little changes and the front-end of the game will be as up-to-date as the rest.  Get on it, Blizz!

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How to QQ: A Fill-in-the-blanks Guide!

Tuesday, September 1st, 2009

new_topicThere’s a good reason I don’t often visit the official forums.  The whining can be quite overwhelming sometimes.  And usually, it’s not very original.

However, I do appreciate all the hard work the QQers put into each and every post.  So, if you are one of those who likes to spend time on the forums “expressing yourself”, I’ve created a template to help you more efficiently spout your nonsense, improving your QQPS!

Simply fill in the underlined fields with your current grievance, and off you go. 

Feel free to add your own style by removing punctuation and adding spelling errors and caps lock!

Post title: Blizzard Hates (class/profession)!  (BLUE PLZ!)

I can’t believe the change they made to (class/profession) in (upcoming patch)!  First they take away (mechanic/talent/spell/recipe) and now this?! Meanwhile, (some other class/profession) gets a buff pretty much every patch.

I can’t even keep track of the vagaries of Blizzard, each patch is so full of random changes no one wants or expects.  If the devs even play this game, obviously they are all playing (some other class/profession) because they are always getting the best stuff while us (class/profession) get nothing but crap and nerfs.

I know for a fact that Ghostcrawler said we would get (better itemization/new talents/new bonuses/buffed/a pony) this time, so he really needs to get fired because he’s full of it!

I am sick of Blizzard always catering to the (arenas/PvEers/hardcores/casuals).  No one cares!!  If you don’t (raid/do arenas/have a life/raid all the time) then this game is not for you and you should just (GTFO/DIAF).

If this change seriously makes it off the PTR I am quitting this game and never coming back, because (class/profession) will be SO BROKEN.

(GG/WTG/WTF) Blizz!

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We’re going to BLIZZCON!!

Saturday, May 16th, 2009

*huff huff huff*

Thanks to my lightning F5 fingers, I didn’t even see the queue, I went straight in.  Two tickets purchased, attendee info filled out… we’re going to Blizzcon!

There’s still another day for those who didn’t successfully get tickets this time… some of the people I’m looking forward to seeing haven’t been able to get through, I sure hope they do next time!

At least the system is working a lot better than last year!

Hope to see you there!!