The Ravings of a Casual WoW Player

I had a point... somwhere.

The Great Flying Debate

The Great Flying Debate

A great bone of contention has raised its head again: the developers lamenting the addition of flying in Warcraft and are looking at possibly not including it at all in Warlords. I can understand not allowing flying right away such as was done in Mists, and Wrath but I really disagree with the idea of not allowing flying ever in an expansion (unless of course the expansion was underwater, because that would be just silly and also because my head might explode if there was an entire xpac underwater).

Arguments for the lack of flying in Warlord’s have ranged from design/art issues to the lack of players in zones. I have yet to hear a really compelling reason as to “why” flying shouldn’t be included in the expansion. Design/art issues makes me as a consumer question the thoroughness and quality of the game I’m playing if those mountains I’m running around are actually cardboard cutouts or if that garrison in the distance actually has a roof. The lack of players in zones I don’t feel has any bearing on the flying issue – I’ve been leveling alts and there are other players in the zones I’m working through (especially with CRZ going strong) and given that it is the end of an xpac, more people are leveling alts and putting more people in the zones than say in the middle of the xpac.

Since the inclusion of flying in Warcraft, aside from using it at level cap as a faster mode of transportation, nothing has really been done with it. Now, I am not advocating for mounted combat or, god forbid, vehicle combat, but why are there not more flying mobs that will knock me off my flying mount? We have flocks of Plainshawks in the Valley of the Four Winds that could knocking us off our flying mounts. We have Alani, Subjugated Serpents and the cannons the mogu are shooting off in the Vale of Eternal Blossoms. In Burning Crusade, if you flew over an enemy faction town, there were archers, gunners and mounted enemies that shot you out of the sky unless you left in a hurry. This would essentially make the skies a less friendly place if I’m having to dodge mobs in the skies as well as the ground and I wouldn’t have to give up my flying in the new zones.

Don’t want me flying right away? Lock flying behind zone questing achievements. Have to do all the quests in a zone to be able to unlock the ability to fly there and throw some flying mobs up in the sky to hamper me. I don’t want to be grounded when the view from up above is just as nice as the one on the ground.

Warlords of the Dithering Doubt

Warlords of the Dithering Doubt

I have a confession: ever since Warlords was announced, I haven’t been completely sold on it. I mean, yay there will be new content, new dungeons, and raids, new content systems like garrisons and, hopefully, new pets, and mounts. However, there is no new race or class, and Blizzard is finally including updated character models. New character models sound awesome but they don’t really feel like something one would headline an expansion with. They feel more like a major content patch and part of game maintenance.

Its hard to pin point exactly what has me hesitating, though I will be getting the new expansion, I’m just not feeling the usual hype and excitement I have felt for the expansions previous. Could it be after playing WoW for nearly ten years, its lost its shine? I will admit there is the possibility that I will get some fire about the next expansion once there beta and some more information, models, etc starting pouring out but right now? Yeah, I’m feeling meh.

Hearthstone-steeded!

Hearthstone-steeded!

Hearthstone is finally out of beta and is having a fun cross promotion with Warcraft. Basically, win three games of Hearthstone in “Play” or “Arena” mode and you get a spiffy new Hearthsteed mount in WoW. Hearthstone is currently free to play with a cash shop where you can buy card packs to augment your play.

For anyone who has played any kind of TCG (trading card game), its pretty easy to pickup with a couple little tweaks. I used to play Pokemon and Magic the Gathering so I didn’t have too much trouble getting the basics and was able to get started fairly quickly. As with any game, there is a certain amount of luck involved as you can get some pretty horrendous draws and it will stall your game play. I had to play for about two hours in order to win three matches (they do not need to be in a row, they are cumulative) without having to buy card packs from the cash shop.

I can see myself occasionally playing for kicks as I am fond of playing cards but I don’t see myself really getting into it unless a mobile version comes available for my andriod tablet.

No matter what it is a very cute, very fun (and possibly frustrating) game to play!

Level 90 Boosts

Level 90 Boosts

Or how I learned to hold my tongue. Sort of.

Warlords of Draenor is up for pre-order and level 90 boosts are also available for purchase a la cart. One would think the world is ending. Sort of. Again. ‘Lo, it is not so, I promise – this is simply another paradigm shift in the Warcraft universe.

Way back in 2010, my account was hacked and the possibility of literally having to start over from scratch was a terrifying prospect. The level cap at the time was only 80 but no less daunting considering I had multiple toons and a couple raid geared toons in additions to all my mounts and pets. Several of these pets would not be replaceable such as the Spirit of Competition. I would have been weeks/months trying get back to where I was if I didn’t just go ahead quite at that point. I play WoW and  raid from a largely social stand point – I like to hang out and raid or dungeon with people (this is a problem I currently running into playing Final Fantasy XIV ARR, all the people I began playing with either don’t have the same schedule or don’t play at all anymore). So, I cannot in good faith condemn someone who would be just starting World of Warcraft to desire to skip the leveling content in order to join up with their friends.

However! If said people do not follow through and do research regarding their boosted character, then I am a bit annoyed. There are many resources available if a person just hits up Google in order to get a basic idea of what to do with specs, gear, gems, enchants, etc. I then wonder if the WoW player base is more annoyed at an influx of unmotivated characters who just want the phat loots – which is understandable. Is this behavior a cultural or societal problem in WoW?

Crazy Fishing (and Cooking)

Crazy Fishing (and Cooking)

I am horrible about leveling my secondary professions, the only reason I leveled fishing to cap in Wrath was to get all the crocolisk pets and the giant sewer rat because… well, I love pets. Again, in Cataclysm, I only fished to get the Sea Pony pet.

So when Patch 5.2 dropped, I went ahead and started fishing again for all the various pet carps. El’s Extreme Anglin’ has an awesome guide for how to go about finding the little fishies. I went the route of using the Fish of the Day pools since there was a very slight higher chance of fishing up the pets. In the interest of disclosure, I was gifted both the red carp and the green carp from guildies who knew of my fishing for ventures.

An interesting side effect from all the fishing was having over 2.5+ bank guild tabs full of fish and I was also lucky enough to get…

turtlemount

Now, with 2.5+ bank guild tabs full of fish, I really wanted that bank guild space back since I am going to be leveling more alts and leveling primary professions again soon where I will need to stash materials. I went ahead and leveled cooking. All five ways (six if you count brew) to cap and I still have tokens left over from turning all my excess fish into Iron Paw Tokens, and I have a crap ton of feasts for raid nights.

Its been a busy time.

Its been a busy time.

A lot of things have been going on for me on a personal front. Most recently due to some guild drama, I have migrated to another guild. Suffice it to say, no one should ever tell you how to play your game.

Purchaseable Transmog

Purchaseable Transmog

The purchaseable transmog headgear has gone live at this point at the price point of $15. Personally, any chance of picking up any of them for any of my characters has flown completely out the window. In theory, I feel that at $15, I should be getting a whole transmog outfit, not just a helm unless there was some kind of really killer visual proc. I understand that the Crown of Eternal Winter has an interesting proc but it just doesn’t appeal to me – whereas the visual procs from say the warlock tier with the demon wings or the rogue legendary daggers would definitely be something I might consider. For headgear alone, I might consider paying $5 but definitely not $15.

Hope Spring Eternal!

Hope Spring Eternal!

In one of the recent PTR patches, a new Corgi model was added! My obvious hope is that this is going to mean that there will be a new Corgi pet coming! I seem to recall at one point in, I think it was an interview that Warcraftpets did with Mumper that there were more canine pets coming. My fingers are crossed!

To Resume This Instance…

To Resume This Instance…

a.k.a. More Thoughts on the Cash Store

Blizzard just recently put out a preview of some very new items that will be added to the pet store (maybe they should just go ahead and call it the cash shop at this point, ya think?). These new items were 3 transmog helms, a new fun item – a see-saw and a temporary mount for your group/raid to charge into battle on.

Now all of these items are strictly cosmetic or are fun toys with no real impact on game play, these types of items were previously only found as part of the WoW TCG. I would not be surprised if part of the impetus of these items were to cut in (a small portion anyway) to some of the money that is spent by players on “fun” items as can be seen on eBay. In theory, there is no real reason to purchase these items unless, y’know, you want to. Personally, I would only really be interested in the flaming set of horns, the others are simply not to my taste, but I don’t have any real raging desire to procure any of them. My game play will not be impacted either way by having purchased them or not purchasing a flaming set of horns.

A thought did occur to me as these items appear to be of better graphical quality than much of what is available in game and how much did the creation of these items take away from the rest of the development of the game as a whole. Part of me thinks that it could not have been too much as development of these kinds of items is something may have been done between project or given to junior members of the development team. As a creative professional, there are times when I need to do something completely different from my normal routine and simply create. The result is some times a simple art piece or something can be used in my normal routine, whether as inspiration or as a basis for a new or continuing project. I can’t imagine the developers not doing something similar. I think my unease may stem from the idea that what happens if the cash shop becomes a very successful part of the game and Blizzard shifts much of its focus to the cash shop. Visions of approaching a new instance and finding out I cannot participate until I had deposited a quarter in the money meter are very real in my head.

Money, honey!

Money, honey!

Damn, I love the Jag, the jet
and the mansion! That’s money, honey!

So the latest hub-bub among other things is the possibility of WoW getting an in-game store that will possibly feature items for purchase requiring real money (in this case, the only thing that has been marked for this possible store is an experience boost). Of course this has brought about a whole lot of dialogue regarding how this will affect WoW.

Back when I started WoW (back in Vanilla), I was introduced via my brother and some of his friends. They were already level 60, running high level dungeons and beginning to raid. While the game was new and shiny for me, I felt that my great goal at the time was to level as quickly as possibly in order to join them. Had there been an exp-boost of some kind available (aside from rested exp), I would have been all over that like white on rice. Questing as I leveled was fun and quirky, even though it was a lot of go here, do that, collect this and kill ten boars; I was no stranger to this having played EQ and iRO. The big goal, again, for me was to catch up and play with friends. So for new players with friends already in the game, I can see where something like an exp-boost that can be purchased would be very attractive.

Elixir of Enduring Wisdom

Speaking as a current player with a whole stable full of alts, the idea of an in-game store that may offer an exp-boost doesn’t really scare me. In some ways, I am excited – I still have a few lower level toons that I would like to level at some point and having an exp-boost would be handy. These are the same low level toons that I have decked out in BoA gear and if I really wanted to, I could farm the exp-boost potion off of Krol the Blade in Dread Wastes. By the same token, I still have several level 85+ character that I can see where an exp-boost would benefit me, but I can also see Blizzard not allowing the exp-boost to work past level 85 so that people can experience the current questing/zone content.

I know there are lot of people who feel that something like an exp-boost cheapens the WoW experience, by letting people choose to out level previous content quickly. Personally, I think it depends on the player. What is their playstyle? Dare I say, what is their “WoWstyle”? After I leveled my first 60 toon and began raiding, I made an alt and I used that to experience levels 1-60 at a much slower pace because at that point, I felt like it was ok to take the leveling experience slower, read the quests, explore and look around more. If my friends wanted to run a high level dungeon while I was on my lowbie, I was able to switch back to my level 60 and participate/socialize with them thus eliminating a lot of the times that I felt left out due to still leveling my first character. For those whose WoWstyle is all about the leveling, I don’t see how this purchasable exp-boost will affect them, the quest won’t be any different and I fail to see how someone else’s experience cheapens mine. I feel its a bit like making a sandwich and then being unhappy that someone else made a sandwich like mine but with maybe different bread or contents. Is my sandwich any less delicious?

(Forgive the butchered Lady Gaga lyrics)