Category Archives: World of Warcraft
There and Back Again … A Nomad’s Tale
I really can’t help but wonder why I do some of the things I do. There’s all kinds of examples, but one of the most thought provoking is that of returning to MMOs I said I would never play again. When I left WoW (a few times now) just before WotLK came out, I didn’t WANT to go back. I really didn’t. But then I saw the game and Arthas was the main bad guy and I REALLY like the story behind him, so to see all of the trials and tribulations of WC III and some of vanilla WoW culminate was beyond my ability to resist. Fair enough, right? Well ok, but now that I’m done with WotLK I told myself I’d be done again. But what do they do? Make me fall in love with Cataclysm.
See, Cataclysm has dragons (if you haven’t been living under a non-gaming rock, you’ll know this) and I LOVE dragons. The stories behind Deathwing and the Black Dragonflight are among my favorites in the game. And yes, BWL was and still is my favorite raid zone. Anyway, a few of the old greats are coming back for a spot in the story, including Nefarian and an undead Onyxia. I’m not sure exactly how they’ll pull off Ragnaros living in Hyjal in his new tower that no one saw them building, but I suppose we’ll see. Point to this is … story trumps my own visions of the game’s shortcomings. More on that later.
Now we skip to another game I so absolutely adore, but swore I’d never play again: Everquest 2. Why? Well I’m not a huge fan of companies doing something just to do it or just to emulate someone else. When I got wind that EQ2 was adding battlegrounds, it really pissed me off. Pissed me off to the point where I quit even though I had just gotten my mythical on my SK and was livin’ pretty large. I love my SK. I’ve had and played the concept of my SK since the first Everquest. I don’t roleplay nearly as much with him as I’d like to, but I also haven’t made much of an effort to so that falls on me.
Long story short: I picked up Sentinel’s Fate yesterday, installed and made a new character to check out Halas. WHY WOULD I DO THAT?! AGAIN!? Here’s the thing: I disliked Sony’s choice for the new expansion to be Odus. I REALLY wanted Velious as that was my favorite expansion for Everquest. All the ice stuff and whatnot really pointed to it being Velious too, but sadly, we got Odus. Well, imagine my surprise when I logged in, did a few quests in the new starting area and found … Coldain Dwarves! And not only them, but Ry’gorr orcs as well! Rejoice! For those of you not familiar with either of those two things, the Coldain were the dwarves who lived in Thurgadin, one of the first cities you actually come to once you get off the boat in Velious. They’re blue dwarves and have neat ice related names, but otherwise not entirely special. The Ry’gorr were the main orc clan surrounding the land mass of Velious and you dealt with them a lot.
Does this mean there’s a bit of a foreshadowing to going back and exploring Velious? *shrugs* Dunno, won’t speculate, but I’m hopeful. It made me really happy to see them and at that point I forgot all my past feelings of hatred for SOE for the PVP stuff.
Now, these two experiences have something very important linking them: story. I absolutely love the story behind a lot of what goes on in the World of Warcraft. I also am deeply in love with the lore that comes from Everquest and is evolved in Everquest 2. Story is what makes me come back, that and the fact that I am so deeply in love with the stories that I feel like part of the world. I have an invested interest in seeing what happens because of what I actually WANT to happen. For that, I will gladly hand over money to SOE and Blizzard.
People bitch about mechanics and balance and easiness of MMOs all the time, myself included. People get frustrated at other people, raid encounters, grouping and group finding mechanics and choices developers make all the time, myself included. But when you can go back to a time where playing the game meant you were doing it for yourself and the friends you play with, I really think you can find a new place in that game, one that makes you feel as happy as you were when you first picked it up. Of course, you’ll never have that same exact feeling again as you had when you played your first MMO (Mine was EQ), but you can be reminded of what it was like for you to be so immersed in a world and what it was like to learn all the stories as you went through, not caring whether or not you were in the best gear or at level cap.
Cataclysm seeks to do that for me with WoW as its focus is in the old world again, albeit a little messed up thanks to Deathwing 😛 Going back to all those places again and experiencing them in a new way, yet still being strangely familiar will do wonders, I think. That and A: playing the game from a different perspective since I’ll be making a Worgen character and have never leveled an Alliance character and B: resolving to raid 10 mans only with people I consider close friends.
Everquest 2 seeks to do that for me with its little bit of lore pointing at Velious and has already done so with its Kunark expansion, which was my absolute favorite expansion from EQ since it gave us Iksar.
Sometimes you do need to step away from a game for a bit to gain some perspective or just to give another new game a shot. I’m sure some of my MMOs will fall to the wayside when The Old Republic comes out, but I’m pretty sure I’ll return to them over time.
As an aside, and since everyone else is doing it! Here’s some screenshots from my new Froglok Berserker in EQ2 with Shaders 3.0 turned on. EQ2’s graphic capabilities are amazing, but pretty weird in how they work sometimes. For example: I was trying to tweak my fiance’s graphics because she kept hitching in certain places. The more I tweaked, the less progress I was making, so I eventually just turned everything up to the max for her and … she stopped hitching and she stopped lagging. Logic would dictate that with everything turned on, she should lag horrendously (though she doesn’t have a slouch for a vid card, which was what was puzzling me), but no … smooth as butter now. Perhaps some of the graphics options are tuned to work with others at a higher level or even actually turned on … I dunno. Anyway, here’s the screens. I really like the detail in the armor and skin. Yes, some things end up being unrealistically shiny and overall there’s a darker tone to the game, but mostly that comes when it’s actually dark in the game. I.E. being outside during the daytime is actually pretty bright and acceptable for me, but overall I do like them.
FYI … I really thing my Froglok looks like one of the Orcs from the old animated Hobbit movie.
Hype and My Thoughts
Over the last few weeks I have discussed on the MMO Voices Podcast (sometimes briefly, other times not so much) the condition of hype with regards to new games coming out. Specifically I touched on the stream of content for SWTOR and yet also receiving the announcement of a possibly delayed release. Now I know this is old news but I have been churning around the idea of game companies creating desire and hype for their new products. I love to be informed about games coming out, but there is a tipping point on that scale where it begins to draw out negative and mouth foaming reactions from me.
SWTOR, in my personal opinion, has done a great job of letting the community know what is on the way. Yay! They have also teased me to the point that I feel like crying like a 6 year old denied dessert until after dinner. I missed out on the era of SWG and all the fun (and perhaps not so fun) players had with the universe. Star Wars has always been a huge passion for me. I mentioned on the podcast that I have in fact, destroyed two sets of VHS sets of the original trilogy with my compulsive desire to watch the oddly comforting story of the Rebellion’s struggle. Thankfully DVD’s hold up a bit longer. SWTOR is the first Star Wars game that I have looked at since KOTOR and thought, “There is a God.”
Since the announcement of SWTOR, I have followed the tid-bits of information with palpable anticipation. Unfortunately for me, this has led to just as much frustration as it has moments of glee. I’m a bit tired of hearing about a game that in reality is not something I will be playing anytime soon. The word soon is relative to the individual, but for me anything outside of six months might as well be an eternity. I have wanted to play the jedi or the scandalous bounty hunter since I was a small kid making weapons from sticks and air. (How I missed out on SWG is beyond me.) That’s roughly 20 some years of dreaming about the moment SWTOR is offering. It isn’t Bioware’s fault that I have waited this long, but now I am blaming them for making the last two years an emotional roller coaster for my Star Wars fantasies.
The irritation with early released previews isn’t solely dedicated to SWTOR. I have the same feelings about Guild Wars 2. I loved the first game. Although it has never been my primary MMO for any length of time, it has been my number 2 for the last five years. My emotions could be getting the best of my recollection, but I feel that the last two years I have been waiting for GW2 to make an appearance. Well, it has made an appearance but not in the manner I was hoping for. I wanted to play the game not read about it for another year. Games take time to develop, but I am a child on Christmas day ready for my parents to wake up and give me the goods!
One side of me loves that companies do give us these previews of what’s to come. The other side of me curses. Ive heard other gamers complain about how FFIX has been dipping on and off the radar for weeks, even months at a time. They grumble and moan and throw things wondering why they are not being given more info by Square Enix. Im jealous! I love it when game companies give me info that peaks my interest and then shut up for a few months. At least then I can forget about it and enjoy the games I am currently playing. It’s like an emotional time machine for my gaming. One day I am happy as a clam with new content, the next I am angry that the game is so far out, then I forget about it and 3 months zips by like nothing only to have my excitement rekindled by another preview and a closer deadline.
With SWTOR and GW2 I don’t have this luxury. Perhaps it’s because I read and participate in the community more than I ever have before. Im seeing more articles about the games than when I was busy chasing ladies down at my local pub or off on some rock climbing mission. All and all the exposure is making me feel drained and less and less excited about the games I really want to be excited for. I miss the days when I would read about an awesome title and within a few months be able to enjoy it. Now it seems like anything new and exciting is more like being shown a plate of food just out of reach when I am starving. So close yet so far!
I guess I am just really ready for something new that pulls me into a fresh MMO with some of my friends. I’m loving WoW right now but its lacking what I really want: A polished new experience to explore in an IP I love.
Ranting and whining aside, how do you readers feel about the trend of early content previews? Do you like that exciting games are becoming more accessible during their creation phase? Or are you like me and feel like your being teased?
Maybe watching Star Wars in my Wookie PJ’s will comfort my woes.
Torn between worlds, every gamers growing problem!
Currently i have been having a difficult time deciding on which MMO to play, i am a die-hard Everquest 2 player and can be found on the Crushbone server every night until the wee-hours of the morning. But recently i have been getting that blah feeling, i have completed all the quest with in the last expansion that basically are solo or heroic, i have not done the raid content or the group instances just yet as i just don’t like grouping with just anyone or PUGs, i do have a great guild “The Knights of Marr” behind me that gets together and works on knocking out these types of Zones, instances and group quest. We are not big enough or at least we do not have the active numbers to do the raid content that i would like to do, but they are a great bunch of people that i can call family.
But enough of the mushy things, the main thing is i have grown bored with Eq2, i do not want to cancel my subscription or stop playing eq2 as i love what SOE has done and has evolved the game over the years, i do however want to find something that i can gain as much passion for as i have with eq2 over the years. I have tossed the idea of going back to World of Warcraft, i have seen some new screenshot of the upcoming expansion and things look awesome. i originally left WoW due it it being too cartoony and felt like there were more 12-15 year olds playing, and didn’t want to deal with all the drama that was happening on the server or in the chat, plus the folks i original started playing WoW with left the game and i didn’t have the companionship of my friends or a guild to fall into the players, so i went back to Eq2. As i mentioned before that i have recently seen new pictures of the upcoming expansion of WoW and wanted to jump back in, but i am torn between all the MMO’s and the time that i will need to direct towards playing as i still want to continue playing the current MMO’s that i am associated with.
I also have an account with Star Trek Online, which i think is a well rounded game for as far as i have progressed (Lt. Commander 2), i grew up with the original series or at least the re-runs and fell in love with the movies and different spin-offs of the series. When i heard that they were making a video game, i was excited and could not wait for it to be released, to me it was one of those must have games and i have not been disappointed so far.
So this is where it brings me now, my delimia per say, what to do, do i re-enter the world of Azeroth and work my way up to my current expansion “Wraith of the Lich King” or do i just wait till the expansion comes out and then re-enter this ever changing world or do i just scrap the idea in general until i can manage the time to play all the MMO’s that i want.
I guess only i can make that decision and i need to consider the pro’s and cons of my choices, i will still find the time to enter the world of Norrath and Deep Space for any exploration and adventure, it’s just the time issue since there is one of me and 4 games, if not more that i want to continue to play……..now where did i put the human replicating device……hmmmmmmmmm wonder what this button does…(click) AhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhEwwwwwwwwMmmmmmmmZzzzzzzz…………
Well until next time happy hunting in all the worlds that you may call home.
Recruit a Friend Mount – Built for Two
I had completely forgotten that I actually had two recruit a friend mounts to claim in WoW. I never bothered before because they require level 60 and I’ve never BEEN level 60 before. When I last remembered these mounts they were something resembling a horse creature and that’s what I was expecting when I went to redeem them. I was surprised when I did claim it and found out that it’s no longer the mount I thought it was, but instead it’s this flying rocket pictured above. Not exactly a fan of this one – but – one really neat feature is that TWO people can ride it (and it can fly). I’ve never seen a mount built for two before though if I recall the motorcycle mount also allows for two riders. Neat! I still wish it were something better then a rocket pained like a shark, but ah well I suppose I can’t really be too picky.
My priest inched her way to level 63, once again doing dungeons with the LFD tool. The first instance went pretty smooth, back to The Blood Furnace. I was hoping a robe I wanted would drop, but my luck has always been pretty horrible. A nice belt upgrade dropped but I lost to a warlock. Ah well! I did another run through The Blood Furnace with a friend, and one person died by stepping on a mine and then angrily said in group that dungeons were horrible and it was messing up their number of times killed count. Er, why would you go on a PUG dungeon if you were afraid of dying. That entire comment just didn’t make sense to me. We filled the slot, and continued on without any problems.
To end the evening I decided to try a dungeon on my lower level hunter, 43 to be exact. The instance was horrible and even though we had a paladin healing us we wiped numerous times and failed the zone. I just kept quiet and did my DPS thing, because – well. Because if you let every single PUG group get to you, you’re going to find yourself not enjoying the game, plain and simple.
Finished off the evening doing a few instances on the Deathknight to farm materials for crafting and to gear up alts. It wasn’t all bad, and I’m still really enjoying my time back.
My Own Return to World of Warcraft
Ever the nomadic gamer, I decided that with the excitement building around Cataclysm I would re-sub to World of Warcraft. For those who are not aware, I’ve played this game off and on since release, just as long as I’ve been playing EQ2. However, the game always lacks ‘staying’ power for me. I can never seem to find a community to entice me to play longer then a month or two at a time before wandering off to greener pastures. I play on the Ravenholdt server, so if anyone knows of a good community there, don’t hesitate to let me know. On that same note even though I have been playing for years now my highest character (until last night) was level 60. A few LFDungeon episodes later, and I managed to reach level 62.
It was a lot of fun. Part of that comes from playing with a friend (a member of Torrent Knights, my guild on Antonia Bayle in EQ2) which really helps a lot. I play a priest, they play a warrior. This ensures that LFD is never more then a few seconds wait, and at least while I can not control the actions of the other three group members, I can have a little sway over the two main roles. Trusting my tank is a huge deal when it comes to healing.
I ended up exploring two new (to me) dungeons, Hellfire Ramparts, and The Blood Furnace. In Hellfire Ramparts I managed to win a very nice 2h staff for the priest, as well as my very first piece of gear that allows for ‘socket’ gems. I’d seen these pieces of gear before on those far more better geared then myself, but had never actually come across any. I was incredibly excited. After doing Hellfire Ramparts three times, and The Blood Furnace once, I walked away with quite a few upgrades and felt a little better about my return to the game. Healing is basically the same no matter where you find yourself. In LotRO I play a minstrel and spend my time constantly watching the health of my group mates. The same happens in EQ2, and WoW. It’s second nature to me to play that way. The down side is that I rarely have a chance to look at what is happening in the instance around me, because I am so focused on those health bars and curing detrimentals.
I enjoy the LFD tool, but it’s not without its faults. Like those druids and priests who sign up as DPS but roll on healer gear. I understand that technically they can USE the gear, but if you sign up for a particular role, perhaps allow people who are actually playing that role in that dungeon to get the gear they need. While most of the groups actually went fairly well (which I was surprised at because I had JUST returned to the game) there was one that didn’t go quite as planned right away. My first trip into The Blood Furnace resulted in one wipe due to everyone stepping on mines. After that one wipe two people left group right away, which I found odd but I suppose I shouldn’t have been so surprised. We filled the rest of the slots and continued on our way without too much issue. That zone is stressful to heal when every single group at this level that I sign up for seems to include myself (priest) warrior (tank) and three DK or a paladin and two DK or a DPS druid and two DK. Keeping one tank alive is a fairly straightforward job and I pride myself on that rather well. In fact the instances where we did only have one player attempting to tank went wonderfully.
The problem comes when everyone charges off, thinking that they’re a tank class and thus they can just run about all crazy like. Sure, I have a group heal but concentrating on keeping everyone alive all at once when they’re taking damage from their own pulls is frustrating as a healer. Tested my skills which was nice but still frustrating.
It was nice to get back into the swing of things. I have some grandeur goal of perhaps inching my way towards 80 before the next expansion comes out, seeing as I have NEVER been ‘end game’ in WoW despite the many years I’ve been playing, but I don’t have the faintest idea if that is even realistic of me. We shall just have to see.
In the mean time, happy gaming, no matter where you find yourself.