Wrath Emblem Design Revealed

Hidden in an otherwise bland post on the next season of pvp rewards, game designer Kalgan let slip how emblem progression is going to go for the rest of Wrath! Here's the relevant quote:

it won't be quite as easy to get deadly items via emblems of conquest as hateful items currently are via emblems of valor

Well, that's interesting. So what have we learned? Continue reading Wrath Emblem Design Revealed

If, If, Wait, Wait

My 10-month-old daughter is sick, coughing, congested. Confused. She doesn't understand why my wife and I don't just fix it. It's impossible to explain that we would use this awesome congestion power on anyone but her. So, lots of soothing, lots of grumpy diaper changes, lots of naps interrupted by vicious choking on mucus. She finally goes to real sleep late in the evening.

Parent freedom time! However, said parents are absolutely exhausted. Need to do something before sleep, though. We're not parent-bots.

"Hey, you know what would be great?"

"No, what's that?"

"Want to do some dailies? Just to relax for a few minutes. Get you closer to that rep sword."

"That sounds good!"

Ok then! Let's log on for fifteen minutes or so and do some dailies.

Position in queue: 429
Estimated time: Calculating...

The calculated time ended up being twenty-four minutes.

Back in the days when we were sitting down for a three or four hour block, a twenty-four-minute delay was just a minor irritation. But now, we're (trying to) log on for a half-hour or even ten-minute session. A twenty-four minute wait? It's the whole thing.

This got me thinking.

Continue reading If, If, Wait, Wait

Ghostcrawler is Awesome

In reference to Adam Holisky's recent WoW Insider's post The Ghostcrawler Experiment, where the questions are:

  1. Is the GE (Ghostcrawler era) of WoW better than the BGE?
  2. Does Ghostcrawler do a good job?

I just wanted to post something quick in response. I've written about Ghostcrawler before, although I perhaps wasn't as blunt as I could have been. So, I will speak more plainly now: Yes, and I can't believe that we're even talking about this.

Continue reading Ghostcrawler is Awesome

WQ: Grizzly Hills Stink

I recently wrote some gushing praise on Wrath questing–about how Blizzard finally has it figured out, how it's great fun, blah blah blah. All that was before my wife and I moved into the Grizzly Hills.

Now, I'm eating my words.

What a massive comedown this zone is after Dragonblight!

Let's run down really quickly the change in tone and content from the previous zone to this one:

Dragonblight

  • ride siege machines
  • rescue villagers from an undead-ridden city on a snow gryphon
  • fight dragons from dragonback
  • subvert the lieutenants of Naxxramas
  • pal around with the leader of the Emerald Dream
  • invade a horde city alongside your faction leaders

Grizzly Hills

  • grind elk meats with a horrible drop rate
  • grind bear flanks with a horrible drop rate
  • grind wolves
  • grind troll mojo with a horrible drop rate, do it five times in a row, with only the location of the troll camp changing each time
  • grind some herbs because some random npc stubbed his foot and needs foot balm
  • grind the same wolves again for someone else
  • travel all over the zone by horseback because there are only two flight points (poorly located)
  • double back constantly because different quest hubs target the same areas

Basically, everything I said in my previous post on quest quality was undone in this zone.

Admittedly, I'm not interested at all in the pvp quests, so maybe I'm missing the point. Are those quests any good? More importantly, are they so good that they redeem the rest of the zone?

I'm so glad to be moving on to Zul'Drak. I'm going to skip the Grizzly Hills entirely on my alts.

WQ: Better Questing!

The bread-and-butter of leveling, questing, is better than ever in Wrath. Questing is more fun from both from a narrative and mechanical perspective.

The narratives are stronger. A scourge-ravaged village where many people have been lost, where you ultimately rally the people to flush the zombies out. Some animal activists work against overzealous animal hunters, you start off helping trapped animals, learning about the hunters, and eventually leading an attack to stop their operation. A gnome encampment trying to learn what happened to their lost people and how the missing are connected to the growing pollution. They're like short stories that you play out in the WoW universe. In original and TBC, you'd have a mix of good story progression with ones that seemed tangential or designed to be filler. A much higher proportion of the quests are tied to these short stories. There's setup, there's a cycle of activity and continuation of story, and finally a conclusion with perhaps a leader to the next chapter. And this story usually ties into the overall theme of the zone, or the neighboring quests.

The mechanics of actually doing a quest are the same–there are collection quests, delivery quests, smack enemies quests, and some others. It's the conditions surrounding these quests that has improved. Most quest hubs have neighboring regions where those quests are performed, and now a quest chain logically progresses within that region with little random leaps to other parts of the world. No more wondering if you're going to be back in the same location for a different quest. My wife and I used to tour the entire zone upon entry, picking up absolutely every quest in the fear that two seemingly unrelated hubs were going to ask us to perform a task in the same location; it's not fun when the Smelly Yeti Extinction Society ask you to kill ten smelly yeti and then two sessions later, the Aromatic Leather Craftymakers ask you to collect ten smelly yeti hides. No more of that, from what I've seen. Now we just come upon a quest hub and do what we like.

Both of these points are subtle, but clearly Blizzard has put a lot of effort into improving the quality of quests. I'm really enjoying them.