Don’t Nerf My Fun

I’m really enjoying my two characters in World of Warcraft. I have a Rogue and a Shaman. They are both very fun for me. The last time I had this much fun with a character was the original Feral Intendant in Asheron’s Call 2. Turbine screwed them up. I really hope that Blizzard leaves my two favorites alone. Sure I can see some small changes, but if they redesign the way the class works like Turbine did to the FI, I’ll puke.

Level Cap Reached – Heros?

The level cap in World of Warcraft is currently set at 60. I have no idea if they intend to raise it any more, but they did raise it several times during beta if that is any indication.

Anyway, a few people have reached level 60 now. What is that, 2 or 3 weeks? It remains to be seen if that is good or bad for the game as far as retention goes.

For me, it is good as I know I will be able to progress in the game at my own slow pace. But I have to wonder if the “end game” is fun enough to keep people around. Talking to the people I know that have been at 60 during beta all say that it is more than fun enough.

Blizzard has been beating around the bush about something called Hero Levels. I assume that will start at 60 and may provide some alternate advancement. Memories of AC2 burn into my brain. We’ll see.

WoW Accounts Banned for Speed Hacking

Blizzard does good:

We wanted to take this time to make an announcement about a serious hacking violation in World of Warcraft, one for which we have zero tolerance. Certain individuals have been identified as using speed hacks to accelerate their characters. This goes against the theme of fair play that we have instituted for the game, and is in clear violation of the World of Warcraft Terms of Use.

Those individuals who were caught using the speed hack have been banned from the game and have had their accounts closed. We must stress once again that we are opposed to hacking and cheating of any kind and are dedicated to maintaining a fair environment in our games. This will serve as a final warning to others who are considering using the speed hack. If you are caught using it, you will be banned without question from World of Warcraft and your account will be revoked.

Some WoW Tips

Here are a few tips for World of Warcraft that I have found to be helpful and yet not so obvious:

1. “Num Lock” triggers autorun.
2. Quick looting: shift-right click to autoloot everything from a corpse.
3. Quick mining/harvesting: shift-right click to mine/harvest a node AND auto-loot it.
4. More info: hitting the “V” key will bring up names and health bars above all NPCs and mobs.
5. Bag management: shift-B opens up all bags for easy access.
6. Taking screenshots: alt-Z switches off the UI to make them look nice.
7. Managing stacks: shift-left click on a stack, enter the number, click on an open spot in your bag.
8. Check out the alternative interfaces available such as Cosmos and CTMod.

Oh, and let these take your breath away for a small moment in time.

WoW Continues To Dominate

Over the Thanksgiving weekend, players continued to buy World of Warcraft in record numbers, with a total of over 350,000 copies of the game selling through. Blizzard Entertainment and its retail partners expect the remaining supplies of World of Warcraft to sell out soon. Blizzard is currently evaluating its ability to ship additional games to retailers, given the unexpectedly high demand on the servers. The company continues to increase server capacity to accommodate the growing number of players connecting to the game. As the additional servers are brought online and proven stable, additional copies of World of Warcraft will be made available at retail. Blizzard will announce the availability of those additional games as soon as they are on shelves.

WoW Feature Spotlight #1

I am going to talk about some of my favorite features of World of Warcraft over the next few weeks or so, just because I can.

Up first: Sharing Quests

“You can share your quests with your entire party. In order to utilize this option, you need to open your quest log, select a quest, and press the “Share Quest” button. All members of your party will now be presented with the quest like you were the quest giver NPC.

Some restrictions:

1. You can only share with party members

2. Party members must be nearby when you share

3. Party members must meet the pre-requisites of the quest itself. For example, if you are on step 2 of a quest and your friend is still on step 1, you could not give him a “short-cut” to step 2.

4. Quests generated from items cannot be shared.”

OK, here is how this works: You get a quest to go get some gold dust that is dropped by creatures in a mine. You head out there. When you arrive at the mine, you spot 2 people getting ready to enter the mine. You ask them if they are doing the “gold dust” quest. They say they are doing a quest that requires they kill 10 miners, but they have not heard of the “gold dust” quest. They add you to the party. They can now share their “kill” quest with you and you accept it. You can share the “gold dust” quest with them and they accept it. Now instead of each of you having to kill 10 miners, you only need to kill 10 amongst your group. While looting them, you will all be able to retrieve gold dust as well. If there was a quest to kill an elite mob, you would all be able to loot the quest objective when you kill it as a group. You do not need to kill it once for each person.

No more waiting for one person to go “acquire” the quest. You can give it to them directly.

One More For Inhibit Regarding WoW

1) A death process similar to the one UO had (i.e. becoming a ghost), only… Weaker

I don’t know what UO had, but death in WoW means nothing. It’s harmless. In fact, I used the ghost form to travel through a dangerous area tonight.

2) A death penalty that allows –negative– XP….

Hmm. There is no XP penalty for dying in WoW so I’m not sure what you mean here.

3) Having to go find your corpse…

Yeah, you are a ghost that runs really fast, your corpse is on the map and you only need to get close to it to resurrect. Hell, you can run over water even. When you appear as a ghost, you are at the nearest cemetary as well. Hardly a pain.

4) Item decay

No affect on anything other than a little money drain now and then. I click one extra button when I sell stuff to a merchant once every so often. Big deal. Your items are always repairable, they do not ever disappear.

5) Level-based game (any game that is not skill-based is inferior IMHO)

Yeah, it is sort of a combo. As you use skills, they go up as well.

6) Patch Method. Peer-to-Peer for patching. Stupid. Blindingly stupid.

Not so sure this is the case now that we are in retail, but I’ll wait to see. During beta is was no big deal to me.

7) Segregated game play. Race/Faction… Something that I dislike in AO even.

Well yes, the Horde and the Alliance cannot play together, but I have yet to find this an issue. You can still go to all their areas and hunt all of their mobs. It is World of WARcraft after all. The whole point of the game is to fight the bad guys eventually. Even on PvE servers you will have the option, and it is quite elegant how they handle it.

I Can Login To “Meh” But Should I?

This goes out to my good friend Inhibit who would rather play Meh because “he can login” than play WoW because … well I guess because it might have some launch issues or something, who really knows. Well, bud, if you really are enjoying that game I guess you can keep savoring it’s bland, tasteless, ordinary dullsville. But really, there are no good reasons not to partake in the amazing bounty that is World of Warcraft. It’s done, it’s polished, it was made with love, it has a great sense of humor, it works, it’s all about questing. It’s made to solo (any class) but you can and will group on occasion because it is fun and easy to do. It looks great, it’s full of lore, it has like 2,550 quests. Seriously. You don’t do any of them twice either.

Yeah sure, it has a few teething problems. What game wouldn’t if 100,000 people all wanted to play it at the exact same time? Fact is, I do not recall a better launch success of any MMOG short of CoH (which did many things right but gameplay was not one of them). And your precious game had one of the worst launches ever, if not #1. One of the many reasons I left that game was because I had problems logging into the game when I wanted to play well over a year after the launch. That and the bugs and shitty CS.

Truth of the matter is, I have been able to play WoW 98% of the time I wanted to. Only once did I have the situation like last night and I fully expect it to be the last time. After all, the game has been live all of 4 days or so.

So anyway, I’m having steak and lobster over here boy. How’s that cheese sandwich?

It’s Not All Roses In Azeroth

Had some free time tonight to play a little WoW. I log in and up comes the “Retrieving Characters” box and then … nothing. 15 minutes later, nothing. Hit the forums (something I loathe to do in any MMOG) and find out they are having some problems with some of the servers, they are not sure what is going on, so they are rebooting some of them. They project that they will be back online in 45 minutes or so. An hour later, still down.

Fine, I figure I’ll log into some of the pacific servers which always have low population. Change region and pick a different server and click ok. “Connecting…” and then nothing. Try another server. Nothing. Great.

I had been relatively unaffected by the occasional server issues they have been having, but it seems like it has been getting worse, not better. I just hope it doesn’t get too much worse before it starts getting better. At least they are extending the “free” month for the problems we are having.

Gaming Goodness

I spent more time playing World of Warcraft in the past 3 days then I have ever played an MMOG in 3 days. I have been having a blast. Other than 2 times getting into a queue (maximum wait 10 minutes) I have been able to log straight in and this is on one of the most popular servers according to the sign in page.

I am playing an Undead Mage now, putting my Rogue on the back burner. I decided that after all the time playing a Rogue in beta (both in Alliance and Horde), I needed a little change of pace. So I created an Undead Mage and I have never played a Mage before in any MMOG. As soon as I reached level 6 (about 2 hours) I made the run to the Orc/Troll lands to do those quests. I had not done any Orc/Troll area quests so this is like playing the game for the first time and I am having a blast. Got to level 9 last night, almost 10.

That is one of the best things about this game, there are 4 different newbie areas to experience and they are all different. You could play 4 different characters in this game and never do the same quest, well at least the first 20 levels or so. After that it narrows down into Alliance and Horde so you will see some quests eventually. But still, 2 characters without EVER seeing the same quest twice. Lots of replay value.

Needless to say, Blizzard is blowing them all away. EQ is dead, long live the new champion: World of Warcraft!

One more thing. World of Warcraft is up to 88 servers now. Yeah, 88. Unreal.