Sunday, 21 December 2008

Second Impressions

I'm still pretty positive about WoTLK after having played on and off for another month. I seem to be about the slackest person I know since Megeara is still only level 73. I'm basically a Bartle-type explorer, and there's been lots of fun stuff to see.

In particular I've enjoyed being a forsaken alchemist, since Northrend seems to be filled with evil alchemists spreading the plague over the hapless inhabitants. There are purple-hued enclaves clouded with drifting poisons, and cackling forsaken hacking up bodies to create hideous undead monstrosities. It speaks to something deep in my undead soul.


Friday, 14 November 2008

First Impressions

I played around in Northrend for a while and was reasonably happy. It feels more like a real place (if you know what I mean) than the Outlands which always felt like an asteroid floating in space. That was good fun to jump off though. Dropped about 200 gold in the first 2 minutes buying up all the grand master skills, though.

The initial quests actually seemed very reminiscent of the starter quests for levels 1-5, I thought. Vengeance Landing feels like a noob zone despite the war going on. I suppose it's for everyone whose got out of the habit of levelling. Speaking of which, I noticed that there were level 74 death knights running around 18 hours after the release. Way to go guys. There's a feeling in some quarters that Blizzard really ought to have an 'I Have No Life' achievement for the first person to hit the level cap, but I think that first anything is actually pretty cool.

One difference that I noticed was that the levelling truce that seemed to be in force in the early days of the Burning Crusade was off. We got ganked and corpse camped by the allies whilst looking around Utgard Keep. Ah well, onward and upward.

Arthas is my bitch

I went to the UK launch party for Wrath at HMV and previously at the Ice bar in London. A friend blagged me a press pass, so I got to hang around with the journo's. Free drinks and nibbles abounded. Good fun, and by the time I was introduced to the guy from Toxic Gamer it had become well weapon. Although the goodie bags were a bit sparse, I got a free copy of the game. Sucking up to the press FTW!

Anyway I took a few piccys, just to prove we were there!

Saturday, 29 March 2008

Test ten rats

Relmstein has a post up offering a solution to the problem of useless loot dropping in instances due to the random nature of drops. He's essentially suggesting that items be deeply customisable via the gem socket bonuses, which I guess could work.

Where we part company is whether randomness is in fact desirable. At first glance, probably not. Players find it annoying to have to repeatedly run instances just on the remote hope that the Axe of Ultimate Leetness will drop for them. They like to be able to work towards a goal, getting tokens and knowing that each run is getting them closer to their prize. A nice predictable progression as we have in pvp, where I can calculate with a mathematical certainty how many AB's I need to lose to get my Vindicator's Dreadweave Belt.

Blizzard seems to take this view, with the Badges of Justice dropping from instance bosses. But I think that people have it wrong. WoW is essentially a Skinner Box, dishing out purple goodness to the player for pressing the lever enough times. The eponymous Skinner tried out many different reinforcement schedules on his rats, and found was that the very best way to keep them pressing the levers was to give them random rewards at random intervals.

And lest you think that games players and Skinner's rats have little in common, just step into a casino or play a slot machine. Random rewards at random intervals is how most gambling works. Regular, predictable, rewards just don't work as well.

I think that one of the reasons why WoW has been so phenomenally successful is that it taps into the primitive reward centres in our brains better than any other MMORPG. Blizzard shareholders should probably be opposing any moves towards greater predictability in WoW.

Friday, 28 March 2008

These boots are made for walking

So I've hit the battlegrounds, especially Eye of the Storm, with a vengeance. And yay, I have my first Welfare Epic: Vindicator's Dreadweave Stalkers, a nice pair of boots that no-one can actually see on my paperdoll. I wondered whether I should get myself a pvp trinket instead, but decided that since the battlegrounds are mostly a means to an end, I'd go for the pretty boots.

I'm no longer the world's worst pvp'er, though I'm still only about half-way up the damage board (despite being told that I was the 'worst warlock ever', and 'no help at all' by some 'tard in EOTS). Battlegrounds really do bring out the most juvenile behaviour in people. Or maybe it's the juveniles who like battlegrounds.

I think that's enough pvp for a few days. Time to grind a few quests and primals for my flying mount, I think.

Friday, 22 February 2008

this character may be improved

I found this character auditor for my warlock Megeara. Pretty isn't she, for a walking corpse? Sadly she is not very imba at the moment. The site recommends that I stick to Karazhan and 5-man heroics. Hurrah! I'm ready for Kara.

However there's a problem.

I find instances tricky because I don't generally get more than about an hour undisturbed by the drudgery of work and family life. By the time we've got a group together I'm off cooking dinner or whatnot. Plus my guild is down to about 35 people after a change of leadership, which makes getting groups together a bit tricky at the moment.

Tobold has an interesting piece on why PVP rulez, which I basically agree with. The thust of his argument is that its easier for casuals like me to get their epic gear through Battlegrounds and Arena's than from raiding, purely because of the time constraints. So, despite the fact that I'm the world's worst PVP'er, it's off to the Battlemaster for me.

Welfare epixx FTW!

Saturday, 12 January 2008

l337 Epixx

l337 epixx, for those who don't speak leet means 'Elite Epics'. If you still don't know what this means then you obviously don't play WoW!

This is going to be an occasional blog on the subject of MMORPG's, including but not limited to WoW, Eve Online, RMT and anything else I fancy.