Second Magister’s Terrace run

Ran it for the sec­ond time with my guild, again on my heal­ing priest. This time I bet­ter appre­ci­at­ed its virtues, I think. It’s a fun, inter­est­ing, and relax­ing instance, per­fect in length. It runs like a great­est-hits ver­sion of Burn­ing Cru­sade boss-fight design.

Of course, both times I’ve healed it have been with a very tal­ent­ed pro­tec­tion pal­adin doing the tank­ing. Pro­tec­tion pal­ly tank­ing every­thing is easy-mode for every­thing but boss fights. I haven’t had to heal the group with a pro­tec­tion war­rior yet, which I’m guess­ing would be (cough) a bit hard­er due to the aoe encoun­ters. The sad state of war­rior tank­ing is well known. We had a mage, rogue, and hunter, which gave us ample crowd con­trol. The hunter was one of those love­ly peo­ple who like to put an ice trap in front of me instead of him. Just a nice run from start to fin­ish, and the rea­son I like the game. Group up with guildies, laugh through an enjoy­able instance togeth­er, where effec­tive team­work mat­ters.

I for­got that some­one gets a zomgepic just for com­plet­ing nor­mal mode. Last night that some­one was me, when I lucked into [Khar­maa’s Ring of Fate] off Kael’thas Sun­strid­er. The sock­et (on a ring, whee!) goes per­fect­ly with the quest reward gem ([Teardrop Crim­son Spinel]). I’m not sold on priest heal­ing with spell haste yet because priest heal­ing is a mix of instan­t/non-instant spells, but I’ll exper­i­ment to see if it’s bet­ter than my [Band of Halos]. Not that you can actu­al­ly tell most of the time. More on that lat­er.

An inter­est­ing heal­ing note is that in both wins on the Kael’thas, two dps’ers died. It actu­al­ly got much eas­i­er after that, when you have only three peo­ple to keep alive instead of five. Most of the time when some­one dies, that means that the full dam­age of that part of the encounter then turns to some­one else. This event has con­stant glob­al dam­age, so the group takes 100% dam­age with five peo­ple, 80% dam­age with four, and an easy-to-heal-through 60% with three. I’ll shoot for four team­mates alive at the end of the next run.

This is a very fun instance. I’m look­ing for­ward to try­ing this on hero­ic.

Hellgate London sucks

There was a time in the last six months when my wife and I need­ed a break from the World of War­craft. I keep up on the gam­ing inter­nets and came across news that a for­mer project leader (Bill Rop­er) had left Bliz­zard and went to found his own com­pa­ny (Flag­ship Stu­dios). This com­pa­ny’s first game is Hell­gate Lon­don (HGL), a top-tier online mul­ti­play­er game in the spir­it of Dia­blo, by the pro­duc­er of Dia­blo. It’s post-apoc­a­lyp­tic, mag­ic-using, gun-shoot­ing, demon-fight­ing. It’s lev­el­ing up and get­ting bet­ter gear. When I list it here, it STILL sounds like a no-lose prospect.

After try­ing the beta, we were skep­ti­cal due to the amount of bugs. We did­n’t have a lot of expe­ri­ence with beta ver­sions, so we believed the com­pa­ny’s con­stant reas­sur­ances that they were iron­ing those bugs out. We fig­ured this must be how it’s done. So my wife and I each got the Col­lec­tor’s Edi­tion of HGL, because the CE came with a minipet and we’re suck­ers for minipets. My best friend did, too. We’re all gamers, we were look­ing for­ward to dive into a new game that we could all play togeth­er.

Unfor­tu­nate­ly, HGL sucked.

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Cooperative multiplayer overview

My wife loves games as much as I do, and luck­i­ly we love play­ing games togeth­er. We laugh and cheer when we do well, we groan when we can’t get past a cer­tain point. Play­ing togeth­er is the most fun part of video games. It’s a great social thing that we can do.

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Raid Sizes and Design Inertia

When I was raid lead in vanil­la wow, I arranged and lead many many runs on Molten Core, a few on Black­wing Lair, and many in Zul’Gu­rub and AQ20. When news of The Burn­ing Cru­sade’s reduc­tion in raid size came out, that the new raids would be 25 and 10, I cheered. My guild thought I was being sar­cas­tic (a rea­son­able guess), but hon­est­ly I was thrilled. I still am. Larg­er raids are for masochists.

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SPHOs

So let’s say you have a guild. Some of the peo­ple are good friends, you’ve known them for a long time. You know what they do in their lives, you know a lit­tle of their fam­i­ly life. You know about their pets! They raid with you, quest with you, are­na with you.

Then there are oth­er peo­ple who have been in the guild for a long time, but nev­er make the list of peo­ple you think of when you want to explore new stuff. They don’t par­tic­u­lar­ly care about knock­ing over chal­lenges, but are glad to come along to raid or pvp as long as their real-life con­nec­tion is going to be there. These peo­ple are the oth­er half of a “pack­age deal”. They have played enough to get to the max lev­el, and they do like the sight of zomg epics. Who does­n’t? So they vol­un­teer to come with you, whether it’s for your new are­na team, or your raid. Some of these peo­ple evolve into actu­al gamers, peo­ple who get good at their role in a group, who under­stand the game and what they can do in it, and who social­ize with the oth­ers. The oth­ers become SPHOs: sub-per­form­ing hang­ers-on. (Pro­nounced how it looks, rhymes with show.)
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