Monday, November 30, 2009

Fighting the Social in Social Gaming

The "DK" stands for Death Knight. Wonder what faction she is?

I don't like the Alliance.

When I think of the Alliance, I envision some hawtness lying atop a mountain of gold and clan in nothing but purple epics. So, they're like me... only with Blizzard's favor.

C'mon, we all know there's little nods throughout the game that gives the edge to the Alliance. Off the top of my head - the Lorekeeper achievement, for example, which had the Alliance needing fewer quests completed to get the title. The second most obvious fact has to be Alterac Valley. Really, the Horde get a log cabin fort while the Alliance gets a Keep with - wait for it - A BRIDGE THAT CAN BE DEFENDED?!

The most obvious fact, though, is that the Alliance is good-looking. You've got ruggedly handsome Dwarves, the sleek Night Elves with glowing eyes and a somersault jump, Humans (hey look, my toon looks just like me, no wonder they're the most popular!), and the cute-but-annoying Gnomes.

Oh yeah, and the Space Goats. Guess every family has that fugly relative.

Horde? You've got the green and angry Orcs, the Tauren-cows, Zombie-folk, and the Rasta/Dennis Rodman Trolls. The Blood Elves are the best-looking of the bunch (and the most widely played Horde race... coincidence?), but their personality leaves much to be desired.

Maybe that's why I prefer the Horde. They're always a bit of the underdog, fewer in numbers and less-preferred for more superficial reasons. Hell, even their leveling zones are dismal and ugly! People, carrying their vanity over from the Real World, want to play the cute characters. Any wonder the top three races played are Humans, Blood Elves, and Night Elves?

Screw you, Society. I spit on your lust for the pretty, and your disdain toward those who don't meet your eye-candy standards. Let's worship Megan Fox, flock to see her in sweat and grunt in Transformers, despite the fact that she can't act. The flop that was "Jennifer's Body" gives me a slight hope in humanity. Very slight.

All this leads me to a dilemma. I (me, the man behind the keyboard) have been offered a spot in a Guild on another server. They're a progressive raiding guild, smaller but a good bunch from what I've been told. I was invited by one of my wife's co-workers. Real Life contact. People, plain and smelly and wonderful. He told me they'd run me through some five-man content, get my feet wet, and go from there.

I'm currently a member of the biggest guild in North America. The guild has multiple raid teams. But it's easy to get lost in a crowd of five thousand, and for the most part I don't really care. I do my own thing, do guild runs when I'm able. If I were to disappear, I'm quite sure I wouldn't be noticed. That is, of course, until I submit my segment for the AIE Podcast (coming soon!)

However, I'm at the point where I've done pretty much all the solo content there is to do. Sure there's quests and such, grind out some achievements, but there's no point. It doesn't advance my game at all. Playing the auction house was a nice distraction, as was leveling up various professions. Rokk now has two pieces of Deadly Gladiator PVP gear, and with the gemming I've been doing I notice he's melting face like never before. It'd be nice to put all that power to better use than just killing the same daily mobs over and over again.

I have a Warrior that I might consider sending over, though. He's almost 80, and Rokk could gear him up so that he'd be less of a liability. Maybe run a few WG's to get some honor gear. He's a mighty Tauren slab of killing-meat, and I've grown quite attached to him.

The guild on the other server is Alliance.

Son. Of. A. Bitch.

Do I join the Beautiful People, in hope that I may break the anti-social cycle that is my solo WoW play? Or do I spite "The Man" and keep my Bull just the way he is, a solo engine of destruction?

Friday, November 20, 2009


Back on the net, back in the game. New motivation there, strides to be made.

For example, Rokk has been doing it big in Wintergrasp.

He's amassed enough enough of a bodycount to pick up an upgrade.

From there, he knocked off a couple of reputations: Exalted with Sons of Hodir and -

Gemmed some gear, shoulder enchant SoH, and put a new killing tool in Rokk's hand, made by Rokk's own hands.

All this in the past 24 hours. How was YOUR day?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Halls of Lightning

When you have multiple characters, you sometimes forget what they have and haven't done as far as progression. However, I do know that Rokk appears to have gotten into the swing of the PVP concept of Wintergrasp.

He's becoming quite the adept killer.

Now in the wee hours of the morning, when a call went out to run heroic Halls of Lightning, a still-blooddrunk Rokk answered the call.

With the band of merry guildies, Rokk went forth and began to lay waste to Loken's minions.

Eventually, after crushing bodies beneath his feet, Rokk finally heard the words of the treacherous and deceiving Loken.

The battle raged, the body fell, and Rokk's first heroic instance had been completed. What did he have to show for his efforts?

It wasn't all about achievements. He did get an upgrade for his tanking set.


Sunday, November 15, 2009

Where You At & What You Killin?

Rukgut! What have you been up to - uh, where's your shirt?

I have great abs. Felt like showing them off a little.

That's a lot of snow behind you. The cold doesn't bother you?

Mind over matter, friend. Mind over matter.

Well clearly you've lost your mind, so I guess it doesn't matter.

Got it in one.

I hear you've got a new pet that you're leveling up.

I'm trying a Survival spec, and thought I'd get a pet that'll hold my target down while I unload in its face.

That sounds dirty and wrong.

Says you.

Fair enough. What kind of pet did you get?

Got myself a nice blue crab.

You... you have blue crabs? That might not happen if you put your shirt on, and stopped tramping around with Tauren women with loose morals.

I have a gun, you know. A big one. Lots of bullets. And my crabs can be terminal.

Rokk, on the other hand, decided to take the plunge and get his PVP feet wet again. This time, he participated in the Big Boys version - Wintergrasp.

He actually did quite well for himself -

Might play with this for a bit, see what kind of gear he can get.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Don't Hate The Game, Hate The Player

Two posts in one day? Don't blame me, blame Blizzard.

Actually, blame the player-base who seems to be losing their minds over nothing. Again.

According to blogs and forums across the World of Warcraft landscape, Blizzard has gone and done the unthinkable. They've opened the Pet Store, which allows players to spend Real Life Money for In-Game Items!

I fire back with a resounding yawn. They did the same sort of thing with the Race Change service, and I think the Orc racial affects the gameplay a little more than watching Kung Fu Panda bust a move.

What about the Faction Change service? For lifetime Horde players, it gives them the chance to play an entire half of the game that they'd never seen before. Ditto for Alliance to Horde transfers. That affects your gameplay more than Lil' K.T. zapping critters while you fish, or whatever you people do when you have your vanity pets out.

In those particular cases, you don't GET an item for your money - the CHARACTER is the item. More importantly, those purchases will have an affect on how you play the game. It might not be on a large scale, but it certainly has a direct bearing on the game. A vanity pet, no matter how gosh darn cute you find them, will not. Ever. They're about as game-breaking as changing your Blood Elf's hairstyle.

The masses saw what the scheming Blizzard was trying to do and cried out in true Nerd Rage fashion. This is a slippery slope for Blizzard! How long until you can buy epics or gold! HOW LONG?!

According to the Pet Store FAQ:

Does this mean you'll be introducing more services like this in the future? Will you be introducing the ability to buy epic weapons/etc. in the future, for example?

As with the pets, mounts, and other items players can obtain through Loot cards from the World of Warcraft Trading Card Game, Pet Store pets are purely cosmetic and just for fun. Like other paid services we offer, such as Paid Name Changes, Race Changes, and Character Re-Customizations, the Pet Store service is entirely optional and intended to provide players another means to enjoy World of Warcraft in a way that isn't detrimental to the game and that doesn't detract from the gameplay experience for players who choose not to use the service.

Hey there, overly dramatic WoW-Player Base, choke on that. M'kay?

But... but Blizz said there'd never be Faction Changes either! Or PVE to PVP transfers! What about that? Blizzard can't be trusted!

Paranoia is fun. Don't look now, but the Black Helicopters are circling your domicile.

What? They are?

There was a market for every one of the services Blizzard offers today. That means there was a public demand for it. Public. So many Players requested/demanded/begged for these things, Blizzard decided to offer them at a price. If they were going to waste development time on these non-essential services, be it Faction Changes or Vanity Pets, there had to be a great number of people who wanted it.

Remember that when you want to blame Blizzard. The Player Base put things in motion. Blizzard simply greased the wheels. Good on them for making a buck off of people who "need" these non-essential services.

However, Blizzard also showed they money does not make them completely stupid. They realised that introducing those services would not affect the gameplay experience. Players might have lost their minds when "carebears" could level up on PVE servers and then come to where the "real" game was, but the game itself was essentially intact.

Raiding is hard! Instances are hard! The public demands epics! I wanna buy my epics!

Allowing the ability to buy epics would undermine gameplay in that it would take away any motivation for players to play the game at all. At max level, getting decked out in purples is (apparently) what it's all about. If you could just buy yourself a suit of epics, there would be no motivation to do the raids...

... or run the instances

... or get to max level

... or play World of Warcraft.

In answer to the Great Stupid Question - Blizzard will not let players buy epic gear or weapons. Ever.

However, there WILL be more micro-transactions coming, and I suspect they'll be alot more interesting than vanity pets.

Well, most vanity pets. Now where did I put my wallet?

Back to the Grind - Again

I'm bad at this blogging stuff.

Why? Yes, general lack of topics posted on here has much to do with it. What has caused this hiccup? The same thing I've complained about before, and that's progression. Once the level progression is finished, what's next? Professions? Capped. Gear then, yes?

That's the point Rokk & Rukgut are at right now - they don't NEED better gear. Hell, Rukgut tends to run dailies and general PVE nonsense without a chestpiece. I suspect he's a little on the crazy side, what with the whole "running around in the snow without a parka on" and such.

Raiding and Heroics is a good reason to get gear, but even when you're in a guild the size of Alea Iacta Est, it can be tricky to get a group. Raid groups, you're better off trying to put one of your own together, and frankly I don't have the time or energy to run anything like that.

I decided to go through my many toons and found one that I'd like to level up. Another hunter, this time, but one on the Alliance side. It's interesting that I've run two characters to 80 and have never seen Northrend from the Alliance side. Different server too, so it's Gold Farming as well as leveling. Professions are needed, so those need work as well.

It's like finding a whole new game.