Emblem Strategy for the Super-Casual

Update! This article is well-intended but the truth has been revealed, and I guessed wrong. More information in the article "Wrath Emblem Design Revealed".

However, it kills me to delete text, so I'll leave it here anyway. Also as a reminder to myself that design is opaque.


Only raid or instance once a week? Wondering what to do with those 25 or 30 emblems you've finally accumulated? Like real-life money, don't let those shiny tokens burn a hole in your pocket.

"But, but, but how can I wait? Zomgepics!"

I know, I know. The siren call of zomgepics beckon us all.

The emblem gear will (in all likelihood) be refreshed when a higher tier of content comes out, just like the Badge of Justice system did in the Burning Crusade. This means that your Emblems will (in all likelihood) appreciate in value.

Continue reading Emblem Strategy for the Super-Casual

Overview of Loot Systems

Zomgepics! The joy, the sorrow. The absolute headache for anyone running a guild. This is a followup article to The Most Successful Loot Systems.

Any system that involves large teams and limited loot (for example, PvE raiding in World of Warcraft) requires a system to sort that loot out. If your 25-person group takes down a raid boss, and that boss drops 4 items, how do you determine who gets those items? It takes time and effort to raid, and someone has to get gear before someone else.

There are many, many kinds of loot systems. However, all of the ones I'm aware of fall into three broad categories: earn and spend, higher authority, and random. Continue reading Overview of Loot Systems

Game Terms Overcome

I saw the following title on my gmail homepage:

Wired: Awesomely Bad Defense Trinkets, Part II

…and thought, "A WoW theorycraft article in Wired?! Is this a parody or…?"

It's funny, because of course the word trinket existed before WoW. However, in the last three years, I haven't seen that word once outside of a WoW context, while of course I've heard it many times in WoW.

Thus, trinket has been completely co-opted in my mind, and I will now have to translate back to normal English every time I see it. Grats to Blizzard on successfully hacking my basic language skills and pointing them back to their subscription game.

And so, my submission to the imaginary version of the above article: Direbrew Hops. It's zomgepic, but it won't help you tank anything.

Historicity and WoW

In his excellent book "Man in the High Castle", Philip K. Dick talks about items and historicity:

She said, 'what is "historicity"?'

'When a thing has history in it. Listen. One of those two Zippo lighters was in Franklin D. Roosevelt's pocket when he was assassinated. And one wasn't. One has historicity, a hell of a lot of it. As much as any object ever had. And one has nothing …. You can't tell which is which. There's no "mystical plasmic presence", no "aura" around it.

[The Man in the High Castle, pages 65-66]

Why can't our World of Warcraft items have that aura?

Continue reading Historicity and WoW

Geeky Game Design and Automated Character Audits

My guild fell in love with be.imba and wowheroes a while back. Look, they have gear scores! Trumpets played throughout the geeky core of the guild: "Finally! A way to grade and communicate to people their relative progress in the endgame!" For example: "Hey, you're not ready for X because you don't have Y score. Go hit some instances and heroics."

Unfortunately, some time cuddled up to these tools have exposed why they can't be used for this reason.

Continue reading Geeky Game Design and Automated Character Audits