MMO Expansions and Sequels

I recent­ly read a post at Tobold’s about the nature of Bliz­zard expan­sions, and it got me thinking.

I keep ref­er­enc­ing World of War­craft 2 in my posts (“Maybe Bliz­zard will change this in WoW2”). But it dawned on me that there’s real­ly no real dif­fer­ence between sequel and expan­sion with MMOs. We’re already play­ing World of War­craft 2. Bliz­zard is about to release World of War­craft 3.

Con­tin­ue read­ing MMO Expan­sions and Sequels

Maximum Performance Isn’t Always Maximum Fun

This is a thought in progress. A lit­tle rambling.

My wife is a com­bat rogue. Always has been. When she joined the game she fell in love with being a rogue, and she asked what the high­est dam­age ver­sion of rogue was. I went off to the inter­nets, and came back with the answer: Com­bat Sword build. So that’s what she chose. When we got to the endgame, she did the most dam­age in our 40-per­son raids, vir­tu­al­ly every raid. She gave the oth­er dps peo­ple fits. (although she nev­er spammed dam­ageme­ters) She flour­ished in that role.

When TBC was released, the raid­ing game was sus­pend­ed and every­one is back to the beau­ti­ful lev­el­ing game for a while. In TBC lev­el­ing, there are quest dag­gers giv­en through­out the lev­el­ing process, with rogues in mind. She thought, “why not exper­i­ment?” and then rebuilt as Com­bat Daggers.

Guess what? Com­bat Dag­gers is sim­ply more fun to play than com­bat swords. Man­ag­ing posi­tion and Back­stab is more fun than mash­ing Sin­is­ter Strike x1000. To non-rogues, I’m sure this sounds like a minor dis­tinc­tion. It sound­ed that way to me, and I told her so.

Con­tin­ue read­ing Max­i­mum Per­for­mance Isn’t Always Max­i­mum Fun

Raiding does not mean Skilled

(Relat­ed post: Max lev­el does not mean Skilled.)

There’s a class of play­er who feels that their sta­tus in the raid­ing game means that they’re Right. They label oth­er peo­ple noobs, and the sil­ly thing is that peo­ple believe them. “I have this awe­some item, you don’t, there­fore I know what I’m talk­ing about and you don’t.” This frus­trates me a great deal.

My guild recent­ly brought in a new recruit. Her main is a holy priest, just like me! I’ll call her Mary. She was very per­son­able, online a lot. She had raid­ed a lot in the orig­i­nal WoW, all the way through AQ40, which I’ve nev­er seen. She had tak­en over a year off from the game, and in her return was look­ing for a more relaxed play­time require­ment while still play­ing at a high lev­el. A per­fect fit!

Con­tin­ue read­ing Raid­ing does not mean Skilled

The Downside of Endgame Guilds

I’ve been read­ing Tobold and Pot­shot late­ly. They’re talk­ing about loot and game design as it relates to endgame guilds, specif­i­cal­ly guild hop­ping and pro­gres­sion prob­lems due to it. I haven’t seen a decent expla­na­tion of the prob­lem, but as a guild officer/leader I’ve seen it in action twice now, once with the orig­i­nal WoW endgame and now with the TBC endgame. I don’t have a solu­tion, but I can frame the problem.

For me, the most fun time in WoW is right after an expan­sion hits, when there’s lim­it­ed col­lec­tive endgame explo­ration. All the con­tent is new and fresh, then I find myself group­ing with not just my long-term guild friends, but also my friends who left to get on the pro­gres­sion roller coast­er. It’s glo­ri­ous! This is what the first two months of TBC was like.

Then, endgame progress starts to hap­pen, and a tiered sys­tem begins to form.

Con­tin­ue read­ing The Down­side of Endgame Guilds

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.