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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One week with patch 2.4

I’ll start by say­ing that Mag­is­ter’s Ter­race (MrT) is won­der­ful from start to fin­ish. It’s beau­ti­ful to look at, the music is great, the boss­es are fun, and the gear poten­tial makes me want to bring all my char­ac­ters there. If it were none of those, it’d still be a new place to go with my guild­mates. But it’s great, so kudos to Bliz­zard.

(Also, the in-game cin­e­mat­ic should be some­thing that they do ALL THE TIME. Not just in instances, but quests. ALL THE TIME. When you cre­ate a soul­well, or a rit­u­al of refresh­ment. You should get an in-game cin­e­mat­ic when you click your hearth­stone. Just get that world of war­craft nar­ra­tor talk­ing, and you feel epic.)

The game mechan­ic cor­rec­tions and tweaks are all wel­come, as always. New craft­ing rewards are wel­come, new fac­tion, new zone. New com­bat log, new por­tals com­ing. New zomg epics. I was glad to see the excite­ment of my guild­mates as they pur­chased Nether Vor­tex­es (Vor­tices?) and upgrad­ed their craft­ed gear.

All good fun.

Maybe I’ve been fol­low­ing the game’s devel­op­ment too much, but I’m still under­whelmed. Not by what’s been giv­en, but by the long bar­ren months between here and the next expan­sion, which is pre­sum­ably six or more months away. The new 25-man raid instance is going to keep the high-end guilds hap­py for a while, but it means absolute­ly noth­ing to me and my wife, as well as our guild. I’m guess­ing that it took Bliz­zard a while to make.

The dailies? Well, they’re most­ly kill X quests. Yes, the quests even­tu­al­ly open up new parts of town, and it’s fun to progress as a serv­er and feel actu­al com­mu­ni­ty with all these peo­ple I’ve been bump­ing shoul­ders with for a cou­ple of years. But the Ogri­la quests them­selves were more fun: you have a rop­ing quest, a bomb­ing quest, a por­tal quest. Here, you have a bunch of kill quests and one bomb­ing quest. I’m just say­ing, we could have some sto­ry quests mixed in with the unlock­ing of phas­es.

Oh, a note on the Sun­well bomb­ing run: get a part­ner. Oth­er­wise I don’t see how you could do it in one pass (it’s tak­en me three tries every time when I’ve tried it solo). With my wife, we did it in one pass.

I’m real­ly look­ing for­ward to Wrath of the Lich King. It’s a long way away. In the mean­time, I’ll be doing the dailies and enjoy­ing Mag­is­ter’s Ter­race.