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Chatfield on Cataclysm
Scout
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November 5, 2010 - 7:18 pm
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Helmut posted an interesting TED lecture by Tom Chatfield over at Yapette's burgeoning Nehrim thread but it sort of got buried. Same guy (Chatfield not Helmut) has written an article on the new, shiny WOW expansion and why it is bestest than ever. Short story… compelling enviroment, less old school grinding. I'm still not a fan of the cartoony look but I liked the article.

Here's a taste:

What all this marks is an evolution towards something designed for
painless replay, exploration and social interaction, rather than
something throwing time-sucking obstacles in the way of players griding
their way towards the top. It's a profound shift for Massively
Multiplayer Online games, psychologically as much as anything else. And
one sign that Blizzard have got it right is the whining of old-school
hardcore players. Through most of their history, MMOs remained very much
in touch with their role-playing roots: games whose fundamental purpose
was to offer tens or even hundreds of hours of progression for a
character, allowing gamers of a certain mentality to grind their
increasingly masochistic way towards a final state of game-beating
power. If they were true masochists, they'd do it all over again; but
the style was aimed firmly at a certain kind of geek for whom few things
were more fun than near-endless skill-learning, re-learning,
statistical analysis and stat re-balancing.

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Yapette
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November 5, 2010 - 8:38 pm
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I'm telling you Scout, just try it. I have played, oh maybe 8+ online games (betas included). Nothing approaches WoW. Five minutes in WoW & I knew for me it was a "keeper." Easy to pick up & put down, to play across computers, to resume after years of neglect (without fretting over savegames).

 

Disclaimer: I am not addicted. Isn't that what they always say? [Image Can Not Be Found] It's true, I've played on & off for years, quitting has never been difficult.

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xtal
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November 6, 2010 - 2:30 pm
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That was a great read. I've played a bit recently and definitely noticed simplifications and the move away from grinding. It now takes my rogue about 3-4 swipes to vanquish an enemy, whereas before this latest patch it could take up to 10.

 

I've quit the game 4 times but I'll never shy away from admitting that it is one of the most well-executed games I've ever seen. That Blizzard seem to only continue shedding the "hardcore" aspects of the traditional MMORPG genre to embrace a friendlier, actual "fun" world where the end goal isn't, as Chatfield puts it, a never-ending cycle of masochism, shows their keen sense.

 

I didn't realize that they'd also done away with the old style of "use it to level it" skills; this is extremely pleasing, as that was nothing but a time sink. Hell, everything was a time sink. It's just delightful, if his article is as objective as it seems, that Blizzard finally know most of us don't come back for plus 1 to agility boots, but the virtual place itself.

 

The "hardcore" can lament these changes all they like and mock the casual folk about this being a "noob's game," but I say kudos to Blizzard for what seems like an incredibly bold expansion pack. The relevance of many virtual online worlds fade over time, and typically through a lack of interest. Blizzard are smart to give the old Azeroth a send-off while it is still beloved; they're simply saying goodbye to the old in a more literal sense than most would (or could have the luxury to do so).

If being wrong's a crime I'm serving forever

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Yapette
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November 6, 2010 - 3:18 pm
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Xtal, have you been to Barrens since Tuesday? Did a patch tear that area asunder? I think I read that had happened….a sort of pre-Cataclysm incremental change for everyone. I'm not subbed at the moment but if the world has changed, I might jump in for a month before Cataclysm is released (then back out again Dec. 7th when everyone & his brother return).

Edit: oops, did I read elsewhere you'd already gone on a WoW Holiday?

Finkbug
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November 7, 2010 - 12:53 am
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I've not re-upped but will--guildies are poking me--so I've not tried the most recent changes but while grinding certainly still exists the early solo game is now quite forgiving.

"know most of us don't come back for plus 1 to agility boots"

I'd disagree there. There's a limit to the content of their high quality that can be made. Gaining improvements is still an important draw for most players, myself included. There are still gear, skill, and time checks to see huge chunks. Eased but extant: level 1 to 20 in its myriad combinations is a lot of fun but it's not the playing the whole game. Many people get off exploring (I do) or playing the auction house (I do) or collecting cosmetic doodads and achievements (I don't) but getting that great gear drop from kicking the butt of the nasty boss monster with four, nine, or twenty-four others is amazing.

Broadly covering the full experiences possible in gaming, WoW is the best ever made. Nothing comes close.

grooowrrrr! [menace menace] rrrrowwwr!

Scout
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November 7, 2010 - 6:35 pm
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I don't know Finkbug. The idea of spending hours running in a pack in WOW is about as appealing to me as laying on the floor of the Amazon basin sweating and swatting at bugs the size your big toe must be to you. I might check out the solo play sometime though.

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Yapette
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November 7, 2010 - 7:06 pm
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Scout, I don't group. Ever. Except that once many years ago with Ernest, Finkbug et al.

No guild either. Oh, my daughter & I created a dummy guild with a name, we belong to that. By joining our do-nothing, never meet, not even chat together guild, we're "affiliated" so no other players ask us to join their guilds.

Like mother, like daughter: two anti-socialites playing a multi-player game. Solo is [Image Can Not Be Found].

Finkbug
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November 7, 2010 - 7:35 pm
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I started like Yap and it's still my default inclination but...

Killing Prince Malchezaar after weeks of attempts was more gratifying by far than poking around the world solo. Eight of ten down, my mage pulling out every trick. Shouts of go-go-go on voice followed by noooo it's a wipe. Call it for the night. The healer was last standing and cast an offensive spell he'd normally never use to get the kill in the same second he died.

The resulting cheers were an experience normally reserved for winning the World Cup. That's kinda cool. It's happened with other fights in other guilds over the years.

grooowrrrr! [menace menace] rrrrowwwr!

Scout
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November 7, 2010 - 9:47 pm
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Ah, it's like a performance rush, Finkbug. The roar of the crowd. The love washing over you in waves. [Image Can Not Be Found]

Yapette, I might check it out Christmas time when I'm shuffling around at loose ends.

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Yapette
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November 7, 2010 - 11:28 pm
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Not with a dial up in the land of corn fields, you won't. Must have broadband.

Remember, Finkbug or me (if I'm subbed) or my husband can give you a 10 day free trial (we'd get free 30 days if you then subbed, but that's not why we'd do it). Or, it may be free 10 days for anyone (but know, free trials are gimped).

The basic lvl 1-60 game is like $19.99, more bang for a buck than even Spike's Fallout3. [Image Can Not Be Found]

As Fink implied, simply "playing" the auction house (cornering a market, buy low/sell high, deal in rares, etc) for profit is a game unto itself.

Last & only recommendation, play on an rpg server. You do not have to roleplay or speak in tongues! Merely that rpg servers tend to have fewer kids, stupid-heads in the chat channels, but not guaranteed.

P.S. Hunters (rangers, usually your first choice) are gosh awful fun and great to solo - your pet grabs aggro and/or pulls one from many so you can stay at a distance shooting arrows.

Scout
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November 8, 2010 - 12:52 am
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Not going back to the corn this Christmas (or ever again if I can help it). I just got back  from a visit and won't go back again till morel mushroom season in April. I might be in Mexico. Or not. I'm done with Christmas in the frozen brown wastelands.

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xtal
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November 8, 2010 - 12:50 pm
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Fink, indeed you're right; I didn't mean to say that people don't come back for the gear; that's obviously the purpose of 90% of guilds. I meant that the myriad incremental updates to gear is so dry that the game needs another aspect. And that other angle is obviously how welcoming the world is to casual players.

 

I do the same thing Yap does too– join a pointless do-nothing guild that has a couple friends in it, if only to avoid being pestered by other folk. I've tried every class in the game always looking for the best solo artist so I could live in my anti-social bubble and I find it's mostly remained the same 3, which are hunter, mage and rogue. All can do it efficiently if you attune your skills to it, but I find those are the best, and have put the most time (recently) into those classes.

 

And if I'm not mistaken, the server Moon Guard is widely considered the last bastion of actual role-playing, if there's any to be had, as well as a generally older and more mature crowd. Or at least a bit more subdued.

 

Oh, and Yap, I failed to cancel my subscription by the monthly deadline so I'm in for at least another month. I haven't been to the Barrens in a while but I'll check it out and let you know if anything's happened to it!

If being wrong's a crime I'm serving forever

Finkbug
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November 9, 2010 - 3:17 am
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Yap's right, for that price the amount of content is amazing. A tenth of WoW is more than the total of most games and it is done well.

Still disagreeing on the gear upgrades being so dry. The increased casual/newbie friendliness (mostly great) does undercut the thrill because advancement is so much easier. My first purple was exciting even though I bought it. While obviously not the prime driver for many, even a wander-around-low-level soloer can get a thrill from some super rare item popping out of the candy machine. They may not know how rare and valuable some of those are but the regret stories are part of the fun.

Moon Guard does have rep as the strongest role-playing server but as someone who loves role-playing I gave up on that idea damn quickly. The game is not a good environment for it and even at its best it's dire. Scripted set-pieces and/or flocks of half-vampire one-eyed crapheads who want to cyber and write fanfic about it. [Image Can Not Be Found]I strongly recommend not playing on an RP server. Little or nothing  gained and if you do get hooked and want to move on to higher end play, those servers tend to be weak on progression and guilds.

Best solo class is a moving target. Hunter and warlock are always forgiving. I can blow through levels with a mage but I'd not recommend it for a new player for soloing. Different classes hit overdrive at different levels but where those are will've changed with the new talent trees. Enhancement shamans used to be godawful to play until level 30. Gain windfury and the switch was thrown: mow all comers into corn stubble. Smack something and it is sucked into a mini-tornado for an insta-kill. They kicked in again later with their wolves. Do I want to summon critters which do damage, haste me, heal me, and stun enemies? Yes please! Best. damn. talent. ever.

I've always forsaken pure progression for guilds of fun people which is why I'd hoped to play with you all even if we soloed. Assholes to advance is not a trade I'll make. It's tough to find the good folk to hang with, and tougher to find good folk and progression. It is doable. I've made good friends.

grooowrrrr! [menace menace] rrrrowwwr!

Scout
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November 9, 2010 - 3:47 pm
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I'd play with you guys once December rolls around. I just have a phobia of large online groups of humans though frankly I've never met any real assholes online. Of course I was usually in the capable hands of Finkbug.

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Yapette
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November 9, 2010 - 4:45 pm
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'Cept "you guys" (xtal, Fink & me) are on different servers.

One solution is rolling new alts & Fink bankrolls all our needs* with his Uber Leets (assuming we played on his server).

Scout, a major caveat, forewarning, portent of things to come: Cataclysm releases Dec. 7. At 12:00:01 infinite former players will be resubbing to play the expansion & two new races, and check out the world's physical changes (it's being torn assunder: the Cataclysm of the title). Quite possibly there will be login queues for weeks. My plan was to wait six or so months before resubbing although nothing hard & fast. Could be persuaded.

* Primary needs being bags.

Scout
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November 9, 2010 - 11:19 pm
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Winter is when I get time devote lots of time to video games. Summer, not so much. Actually, hardly at all.

No biggie. If it works it works. I don't want to make it like a job. [Image Can Not Be Found]

Finkbug
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November 10, 2010 - 1:50 am
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Bags I can cover! I'm no longer rich on either server, having slacked on my money making long ago, but that'd be easy. I'd prefer to do Horde on Trollbane (PvE) as I've not touched my Alliance Shadow Council (RP-PvE) characters in a year or two but that'd be fine as well. Or we can all roll wherever. Doesn't matter much for general slackidazy romping. I've got baby mages scattered all over from when I truly wanted to play where no one knows my name and have no tug of obligation.

grooowrrrr! [menace menace] rrrrowwwr!

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Helmut
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November 10, 2010 - 2:25 am
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And hey! I've got some frothsmirthings that we can share. I've got some firehydrants of the eternal spray (MvW) and several thousand hoses of the shining, erm.. shiny stuff strewn all over every server known!

Gad I love WoWspeak and wish I could share your enthusiasm and joy despite not having the first notion of what you're talking about. Long live the familyhood of T-R WoWlings!

My Dark Souls single player sensibilities are protected by a +10 GfWL Firewall of Ineptitude

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xtal
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November 10, 2010 - 11:14 am
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I can always re-roll anywhere the wind blows. My two highest level characters are a 60 and 35 which I haven't touched since about 2006 when my account was hacked and my gear stolen. Since then I've played various "alts" and have nothing above 32, so no obligations. I could surpass any existing characters I have in a matter of hours.

 

Just tell me where to go, you beautiful people!  [Image Can Not Be Found]

If being wrong's a crime I'm serving forever

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