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“A Love Letter from Krothar” or “What Makes MMOs Special”

January 4, 2011 7 comments

A Love Letter from Krothar

It has been less than 3 hours since I posted my top seven games for 2010, listing WoW as one of them, and claiming how I had quit the game, but maybe something will provoke me to go back to it.

An hour after I put that up, I got the following mail from my friend Krothar (yes that is his toon’s name, who would name their kid ‘Krother’? Sheesh!), fellow dwarf paladin and one of the best damn paladin healers I have ever had the pleasure of playing with.

Some of the boys and I have been running 5 mans together… we talk about you often and make fun of you even more often.  But only because you miss your fatty dwarf.
Happy new year from the boys who remember the good old days.
– Krothar and the CoV vanilla crew.
P.S.: Milamber wants you to post this on your blog because he wants to be famous.

He also attached this (he’s the very gay-sounding “Krowe” in the screenshot below – hey what’s what the stupid name man?):
Click to enlarge, and read the chat.

What Makes MMOs Special

This is where the MMO genre shines. Where other genres are remembered by the gameplay experiences you had or what systems they had in place, or the awesome graphics, or the epic storylines, MMOs are defined, in addition to the above and more importantly, by their communities, the relationships you forge along the way, and the friends that you make. I have played with nearly everyone in the screenshot above for nearly five years, and no amount of high end graphics (hello Crysis), epic lore (hello Dragon Age), storyline (hello Mass Effect), quirky mechanics (hello Plants and Zombies), atmospheric design (hello Metro 2033) or stellar questing/mission structure (hello Starcraft II) can replace the feeling of going up against a tough battle with the same tried and tested crew that you know won’t fail.

And even if it will fail, it will still be a helluva lotta fun!

Goddamn it guys! Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in!

“Why I Love Pete” or “Getting the WoW Faithful in a Tizzy”

December 21, 2010 Leave a comment

“But y’know, I haven’t gotten the WoW Faithful all in a tizzy by saying something bad about their beloved game, so I figured I’d shoot out a post anyway.

The Worgen quest line has possibly been even more hand-holdy than the Night Elf quest line is! There are some quests that literally task you to click on a vehicle. Once you do, your character jumps in, goes on a canned ride where you have no control, then jumps out in front of a quest NPC that you have to click on to finish the quest. SUCCESS! You’re an awesome wolfie, you pulled it off! It’s like an MMO for pre-schoolers.”

Pete, WoW update; time to rile up the natives, Dragonchasers

“Read My Mind” or “Gosh You’re Perceptive Anjin!”

December 14, 2010 2 comments

“If you are not a WoW player, the sudden flood of Cataclysm posts must be overwhelming. Many blogs that cover a wide range of topics are suddenly dominated by this one game. And if you don’t care about WoW, your interaction with the community will be dropping considerably.”

Anjin, Random Shots: You Are Not Required To Play WoW, Bullet Points

“The Race to Level-Cap” or “Skipping the Best to Get to the Rest”

December 13, 2010 8 comments

Why do we rush through new content if we are always so starved for it?

An interesting dichotomy exists in MMOs, especially those that are subscription-based. Players, generally speaking, get very antsy when new content isn’t available and they are farming the same old (conquered) content for months. The clamor for more content reaches deafening proportions, with the truly hardcore claiming their monthly subscriptions deserve additional content. Then the developer creates the new content, populates the world with thousands of new NPCs, mobs, quests, encounters and events, and releases it.

A week later, the top players have killed the toughest boss in the game, effectively wrapping up all endgame PvE content for the time being. Sure you could argue that:

  • It is only the 10-man Nefarian kill, the 25-man remains to be killed: OK first, Blizzard said 10-man and 25-man and are alike in difficulty, so nah nah na-na-naaaah! Second, let us also not forget that the toughest encounter during the initial days of WotLK was the 10-man Sartharion. And third, the 25-man version was bugged out, and even if it wasn’t, how long before that bastard is killed as well?
  • There is a ton of new content for starting players and those who want to re-roll: Sure, but we are talking about the players who were anxious for new content. This effectively implies they were already playing. And second, because they were already playing the game, re-rolling was clearly a option they had considered and either exhausted or ignored. The new races might cause a few players to test out the new starting zones, but by-and-large, the player who cried for new content is looking for content at and/or above his level.
  • There is Archeology: Yup, and if you would take Tobold’s word for it, it is also quite entertaining. But how long will Archeology keep you happy, or leveling new professions, or freaking fishing?

The point is that there may be a ton of new features in the new expansion, but the feature we are most interested in, new storyline content, we zip through at breakneck speed.

I looked around in the blogosphere, and at the time of writing this post (Saturday):

The list can go on and on. Did I mention it hasn’t been a full week since Cataclysm hit? I am not saying I am any different, hell I’d probably be in my first raid instance by this time. But the fact of the matter remains: MMO expansions are one of the few things in life where the destination matters a lot more than the journey. Perhaps we are genetically coded to get to the finish line ahead of the competition, and much like a 100-meter dash, completely ignore the periphery, the surroundings and the length of track that you sprinted on to get to the end.

I just find it baffling that guilds like Exorsus and Paragon have already cleared all endgame content, and will not be trapped in an endless cycle of repitition till the next content patch. Where is the fun in that? Again, I am not saying I am above all that. No, not at all. I am very much a part of this MMO community, and possess the same mindset for getting there first, beating the competition, but at least I am increasingly aware of how much I am missing on the way.

I’m quite certain that realm first achievements don’t particularly help either.

Quote of the Day: “Archeology = Awesome” or “Loving a Complete Waste of Time”

December 10, 2010 Leave a comment

“Archeology is a complete waste of time. I love it!”

Tobold, Archeology and other Cataclysm thoughts, Tobold’s MMORPG Blog

“Avoiding the Cataclysm” or “Off the Beaten Path”

December 6, 2010 10 comments

I have played WoW for a long time.

I remember the day I went to get it in snowy Ithaca, NY. Best Buy had already run out of copies by the time I got to the store. The clerk told me they will get more copies within the week and that he was sorry. I left the mall quite upset, it was Thanksgiving break, I wasn’t going home, and I had nine days of vacations with a few other international students in the dorms. As I sat at Pyramid Mall’s entrance, waiting for the local TCAT (Tompkins County Area Transit) bus, I looked to my left and realized they had opened a new target store in the area. The bus wouldn’t be here for another 15 minutes, so I just decided to meander around inside, get a little warmer.

Lo and behold, as I traversed Target’s empty aisles, I came across the game section and to my surprise, there sat nearly 20 unsold copies of World of Warcraft, all new and shiny, waiting for their new (soon-to-be-addict) owners to take them home. I picked up a copy, giddy with excitement and rushed home as quickly as I could. I opened the wrapping, and inserted the first of four discs to start the installation process. the installation took nearly a half hour, but that gave me enough time to go over the game’s gorgeous manual (yes, there used to be manuals kids, and yes, we used to read them).

I leveled a Hunter to level 20. Then I switched servers and leveled a paladin to level 60. I took over a guild. I raided Molten Core and Blackwing Lair. I conquered Ahn’Qiraj and sat on C’Thun’s throne. I wandered the hallways of Naxxaramas. I was there when infernals fell from the skies in the Burning Crusade. I was there when the Lich King emerged in Northrend. I was there through all of it, raiding, PvP’ing, fishing, farming and manipulating the Auction House to damn near gold-cap a character.

Now it is time for Cataclysm, and although initially I was very excited about the expansion, I find now, a day from launch, that I am OK with not playing it on launch day. I am OK with not playing it a month from now. Actually I am OK with not playing it at all. This isn’t because I don’t enjoy WoW, or because I am sick of it. I just think after six years of a love-hate (primarily love) relationship, it is time for a clean break. It is time to find something else to occupy my time with in the long-term. It is time, put simply, to move on. And although I am half-tempted to follow the 10 things to do before you quit WoW list by Elitist Jerks to the letter, I think it’s better to make a quiet exit.

There is the new EVE Corp by Massively’s Brendan Drain. There is the Perpetuum’s free month, courtesy of Chris Cavelle. There is Rift’s beta. SW:TOR, The Secret World, the free-to-play version of Champions Online and Jumpgate Evolution are being crafted as I write this. There is so much to look at now, and so much to look forward to. And as much as I love WoW, there are 12 million others who can band together to take down Deathwing. I will be over here, off of the beaten path, trying out something new.

“Titanic Leaks” or “That was a Double Entendre”

December 2, 2010 2 comments

MMO-Champion yesterday revealed a leaked document from Blizzard detailing their release schedule through 2015. At the risk of re-iterating something which has already been summarized quite nicely by Boubouille, allow me to list the highlights (just listing the main IPs and their expansion):

Starcraft

  • Q4, 2011 – Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm
  • Q4, 2011 – Pheonix (no idea what this is)
  • Q1, 2013 – Starcraft II: Legacy of the Void

Diablo

  • Q4, 2011 – Diablo III
  • Q2, 2013 – Diablo III: First Expansion
  • Q4, 2014 – Diablo III: Second Expansion

World of Warcraft

  • Q4, 2010 – Third Expansion: Cataclysm
  • Q2, 2012 – Fourth Expansion
  • Q4, 2013 – Fifth Expansion

Titan

  • Q4, 2013 – Possible New IP

Chronologically we will get:

  • Q4, 2010 – Third Expansion: Cataclysm
  • Q4, 2011 – Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm
  • Q4, 2011 – Diablo III
  • Q4, 2011 – Pheonix
  • Q2, 2012 – Fourth Expansion
  • Q1, 2013 – Starcraft II: Legacy of the Void
  • Q2, 2013 – Diablo III: First Expansion
  • Q4, 2013 – Fifth Expansion
  • Q4, 2014 – Diablo III: Second Expansion
  • Q4, 2013 – Titan

We’ve known for a while that Blizzard is hard at work on a new MMO, one that has nothing to do with any of their primary, and existing IPs. The Q4, 2013 date is approximately three years away. So it makes sense that in the next three years the game will be teased, announced, trailer’d, beta’d and launched. Knowing Blizzard’s normal release schedules I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if this was actually pushed into 2014 or even 2015, but my point is that it is entirely possible. According to this schedule, the next few years are going to be quite exciting for people who have played and loved all three of Blizzard’s flagship IPs, and may, in fact, be able to get their hands on the brand new MMO.

Three possibilities exist.

1. It is this a clever ploy by Blizzard. Why? Well, to generate some buzz for Titan, or perhaps to save themselves from the perpetually asked “when will it get released” question for the next five years. Possible, but unlikely. One thing Blizzard is notorious for, is remaining tight-lipped about information, and releasing it in the smallest possible morsels, just enough to salivate the fans, but not to be their salvation. So why start now?

2. It is an actual leak. That is more likely, but they haven’t had such a major leak in, well, actually I can’t remember if they’ve ever really had a leak! So how did they slip up now? Additionally, it seems, at least to me, that it is highly unlikely that someone would create a document of this nature and freely float it with in the organization.

3. It is a fake. Most likely scenario. Someone is pulling our leg, peppering the document it with near-authentic information to make it seem like it is real. For example, the Q4 release date for Cataclysm (that’s accurate), and the Q4, 2011 release date for  Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm. Here is a statement released on October 24, 2010:

“According to Blizzard’s Chris Sigaty, the second chapter int he SC2 trilogy “probably” won’t be ready until 2012.”

Starcraft 2: Heart Of The Swarm a 2012 release – Blizzard, CVG.com

This is just after Q4, 2011, and since the document itself is 8 months old, it can be argued that initially they were aiming for Q4, 2011, but since then they have revised the dates. Heart of the Swarm “probably won’t be ready before 2012 now”.

Then again, the same evidence and argument could be made for the document being authentic. Geekyleaks indeed!

On to Titan though. Blizzard has the futuristic genre covered, the fantasy and goth horror genre covered, so where/when will “Titan” be set? Some rumors indicate it will be an MMOFPS, which might imply the game is set in modern times, or at least in the ballpark. Blizzard is working hard at it, and I honestly, sincerely doubt we will get any additional information any time soon, but as ScaryBooster says, one way or another, we’ll know soon enough. Till then, salivate your Titan hunger with this tiniest morsel of rumored and in-all-likelihood-completely-fake information!

Edit: Did you know there already is a Titan Online?

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