Multitudes of Smoke

The thoughtful ramblings of a space goat and his alts.

Archive for the ‘World of Warcraft’ Category

Warlords of Draenor – My Thoughts

Posted by Smokimus on December 9, 2013

I will absolutely play “Warlords”, but the announcement left something to be desired. I can’t put my finger on exactly what it was that I’m missing. It feels as though the expansion is really set-up to be a large content patch as opposed to something we should spend $40 bucks buying into.

I know this is in no way a unique opinion, and I’m not claiming that it is.

I heard this view point most well put in the Azeroth Roundtable podcast (by Ben, I think). This whole expansion seems to be trying to “set-up” something else, possibly the next expansion, and I’m not sure that feels so great.

I will say, however, that I am intrigued by the Garrisons. This step to player housing sounds like a great idea and if anyone can pull it off successfully I believe that Blizzard can. The rest of the announcements at Blizzcon were kind of “meh” IMO.

As “Mists” winds down I hope they can continue to make good on their promise to deliver content more quickly. If Warlords isn’t in beta in the next couple of months (end of Jan/early Feb.) with a release in early summer, I think there will be an acceleration of subscription losses and there won’t be any amount of “neat” content that will bring those that leave back.


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Let’s Get Squishy

Posted by Smokimus on November 21, 2011

In a recent Developer Blog, Ghost Crawler discussed the issue of item/number inflation.  The problem being that, if things keep going the way they are, the numbers will very soon get to be so large that player stats will get to be ridiculous and particularly dps numbers will get to be so large as their display will take up a good chunk of our screen space.  They suggested two possible solutions “Mega Damage” and “Item Level Squish”.

I would prefer that they do the item level squish.  However, I would prefer they do it in a very specific way.

I want them to provide a steady upward sloping of ilevels in a manner that allows a character to be able to progress from expansion to expansion without the need to have heroic dungeon/raid gear.  By this, I mean that a character should be able to go from Northrend to Mount Hyjal/Vashj’ir as a fresh 80 without ilevel 270-280 gear.  They should be able to go to the new zone of the expansion in the quest gear from the prior expansion.  This flattens the gear curve (reducing the gear inflation from expansion), this makes having raid gear from the prior expansion last a good deal longer (IMO – if you are in full heroic raid gear from the past expansion, you should be able to run heroics at the “end game” of the current expansion.  If you are a heroic raider, you don’t want to trash the gear you worked hard for in the first zone of the new expansion.  Also, you aren’t likely leveling your toon because you enjoy the process.  You are leveling because you want to participate in the new expansion’s raids.  The gear from raiding should be meaningful for much longer than it is currently.), this allows alts that come up later in an expansion to effectively run current leveling content without being smashed in the first few levels while they are gearing up on quest greens.

What say you?

Posted in Cataclysm, Thoughts, World of Warcraft, WOW | Leave a Comment »

Taking The RPG Out Of MMORPG One Step At A Time

Posted by Smokimus on July 6, 2010

Or why the implementation of “Real ID” may be the most stupid thing ever done by Blizzard.

Don’t many people play an MMORPG to escape from real life?  Isn’t this type of game supposed to be a refuge from our real life drama?  Doesn’t having your real name pop up anywhere while in game remove whatever emersion there was?  Don’t most people, while in game, go by the name of their main character?

When “Real ID” was announced, I didn’t really pay much attention.  I figured that it would be nice to talk to friends or guildies when I was playing alts on different realms or other Blizzard games.  When it went live, I knew enough that I didn’t care to participate as I don’t see the point of everyone knowing my real name (I don’t use my real name in real life, so why would I want to use it in game) as I don’t interact with any of them outside of the game environment.  Also, isn’t one of the first “rules” of internet security to not give out your full name?  Not a big deal to me at the time, would have been nice, but not necessary.

I could choose not to participate.

I so chose and I believe that many/most people also chose not to participate.

Then “Official forum changes, real life names to be displayed”.  Are you frick’n kidding me?  So, in order to post on the official forums, the hub of the game’s community, you will have to display your real name when Cataclysm comes out.  Apparently, they are out to destroy the usefulness of the forums under the guise of eliminating the trolls.

Many may believe that the forums are useless as they currently are, but I would disagree.  When I started playing, the forums were the first and in many cases the only place where I went to look for information on how to progress my character.  This was very noobish. I know, but I still think for information on leveling the various professions, it was the best place to start as there were some great guides put out by some very dedicated community members.  In cataclysm what will the incentive be to do this?  So that some asshat can go all nerdrage over some advice freely given and start to cyber stalk the person outside of game?  No thanks.

The law of unintended consequences cannot be violated.  What happens when some freak gets hung up with someone in game and proceeds to track that person down as a result of the information they were able to get from Real ID?  What happens when that freak gets violent?

As stupid as it may sound, I think this (unless changed) may be the beginning of the end of WOW as we have known it.  Much more than the pets or the sparkle pony, the whole of Real ID strikes me as some very poor implementation and design of something that could have been great and expanded the WOW community, but will instead shrink the community and be a very large negative to the game.

The problems of Real ID are correctable (allow for aliases, invisible settings, character specific opt-in), but it doesn’t seem as if Blizzard has any concern for these and is going to go full bore ahead with whatever their plans are.

What say you?

Posted in MMO, Thoughts, World of Warcraft, WOW | 2 Comments »

Bone Stormed

Posted by Smokimus on April 26, 2010

I take a break for a couple of weeks to attend to real life issues (like work and kids) and come back to find that it’s the end of the world as we know it.  Apparently we’ve been Bone Stormed.

The Class Change Preview Hullaballoo –

OMG <fill in the blank> is going to be OP.  I’m gonna quit.” Or “OMG my class is getting beat with the nerf bat.  I’m gonna quit.” These seem to be the predominate items that I see being spewed as a result of the Cataclysm Class Change Previews.  To which, I respond with “slow your roll.”  As I understand it, many of the changes that were contemplated for Wrath were not implemented in the end and those that were implemented were somewhat different than those changes that were initially discussed.

My only real observation from the whole exercise is that many of the changes are being made for the purposes of changing/balancing PVP.  I don’t PVP beyond the occasional battleground. This concerns me from the perspective of the effects PVP changes have on the PVE game that I play.  When taken in light of the recent PVP related changes to various classes, I think this is an area of legitimate concern.  However, I will take a wait and see attitude. My roll is officially slowed.

My Pretty Pony –

It’s only a matter of time before they start selling levels and Tier 11 gear.  I’m gonna quit.”Or “Isn’t it so cute.”

When the pet store first came out, Blizzard said they it would include pets and MOUNTS.  I don’t think they were referring to activities that occur in the Deep Run Tram when they said this.  I’m fairly certain that they were talking about in-game pets and vehicles your toons can ride in game.  It wasn’t the end of the world when they announced it then and it’s not the end of the world now.  They are no closer to selling levels (see Refer A Friend) or game changing items (see Race Change) beyond what they currently do.  They are doing what they said they were going to do.  If I were in their position, I would do the same thing.  They are in the business to make money and the pets and mounts appear to be doing so very well,  thank you.

As a result of Blizzard selling these items and appearing to do well with them, Is there the possibility that they won’t raise the subscription fee or in other ways make the game more real money expensive?  They haven’t raised the subscription fee in 5 years, even in a low inflationary environment this seems to be exceptional as certainly their hardware, development, and maintenance costs have increased.

Were you forced to buy any of the items currently on the store?  Did the fact that others did buy the items negatively impact your game? Outside of the annoying noises the new pet made (and you no longer have to hear), I believe the answer to these questions is no.  When you are denied a raid slot because you don’t have a Spectral Flying Cockroach, I will then believe that it is the end of the World of Warcraft.

It’s My Raid and I’ll Cry If I Want Too.

Here is an area that I will proclaim utter noobitude.  I think there should be additional reward for being able to successfully put  and keep together a 25 person raiding group over doing the same for a 10 person group.  From my understanding, that will continue to be the case.  It just may not be as large a distinction as it currently is, but the distinction will be there.

The guild I’m in has attempted to put together 25 person guild raids in the past, but it has not been effective for a variety of reasons. It seems that getting 25 people together on a consistent basis is very hard except for the most elite guilds that are able to recruit people from all over the community/world and basically enforce the necessary discipline on their members with the threat of being able to replace their position at the drop of a hat.  Even with notoriety and recognized accomplishments, many top guilds have issues with this as well.  For a many (most?) casual guilds, maintaining the necessary “dedication” among its members to consistently run 25s is not a legitimate possibility.

It seems to me that Blizz is seeing this trend.  They’ve made the content much more accessible and so much more of the community is able to see the “end game” content.  My guess is that they are noticing the bulk of the new people are seeing the content in 10s versus 25s.  As a result, they are attempting to continue a system that will support most of the people who want to see the content, yet the system that they propose will allow those “hardcore” guilds to see it sooner and “gear up” more quickly.  I don’t have a problem with that, but what do I know.

It may be the end of the world, but I feel fine.

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Why SWTOR Won’t “Kill” WOW

Posted by Smokimus on March 19, 2010

I’m an MMO noob, but I don’t believe that the Star Wars: The Old Republic will come at all close to meeting the projections the developers have laid out for it.

I like light sabers as much as the next person. I’m a Star Wars fan from the beginning. I saw it 8-9 times in the theater when it was released (1977) and I saw the next two movies 4-6 times each in the theater as well as had every action figure and vehicle that I could get my hands on. (Episodes IV – VI, were great.  Episodes I – III, blew in almost every conceivable way).  When I heard that there was going to be a Star Wars MMO, I instantly thought that that would be awesome (I didn’t know about Star Wars Galaxies and that is probably a good thing).  My opinion regarding this is changing drastically.

As I’ve said before, I’m new to WOW and MMOs in general (1.5 years), but there are clearly some things that WOW is doing very well, regardless of what the QQing trolls say.  You don’t have millions of people paying $15/month if you don’t.  Many of these things are going to be difficult for SWTOR to do in a manner that is sufficiently different from WOW to pull the player base away for any length of time.

One word may say it all – Variety.   In WOW there are 2 factions, 10 races, 10 classes with 3 specs each that can be put together in a multitude of ways.  Most players have multiple toons with different combinations of all of those variables.  Additionally, there are three very different roles that are available for group play: Tank, Heals, DPS.  SWTOR doesn’t seem to have near this amount of variation.  In fact, SWTOR seems to be very binary.  You are going to be a Jedi or a Sith.  I’m sorry.  I don’t believe that anyone is out there chomping at the bit to be a Bounty Hunter or any of the secondary classes that will be available.  You are going to play the Star Wars MMO to be a light saber wielding force using bad ass. (full stop) That is the appeal of the whole Star Wars universe.  This seems analogous to WOW if the only choice was being Horde or Alliance Death Knight and that would be very boring after making it through the starting zone on your first character.

I’m sure that SWTOR will have better graphics and better sound and some wonderful bells and whistles as compared to WOW.  However at the end of the day, what keeps people coming back is a variety of things to do and ways to play.  I believe that much of the QQ in WOW is the result of people feeling that the variety is diminishing and that everything is becoming too similar.  That may be the case. I’m not in a position to be able to judge that effectively. I do know that I have 11 different toons in WOW and not one of them seems the same as another one and any one of them could be my main.  I don’t think that is going to be possible in SWTOR, at least from what I’ve seen thus far.

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Sartharion Goes Down, Down, Down

Posted by Smokimus on March 10, 2010

Another really good raiding night.  In VoA, the IceWatcher went down.  The first 3 bosses in ICC went down.  We were able to stop early because we had accomplished all of the goals for the evening and…Sartharion went down, down, down,  3D style.  So another smok’n title was added to the roster – of the Nightfall.

While I would like to see all of the changes that will be coming with the next expansion of WoW, as I think they will be very interesting, I’m very glad not to be one of those players that has rushed through the content only to be 6+ months away from the new stuff and become disenchanted with the game.  There is a lot left for my multitude of characters to do between now and the expansion.

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Top of Mind

Posted by Smokimus on March 9, 2010

I listen to several (too many) WoW podcasts and recently there has been a lot of QQ from some quarters about the catering to the casual. It is becoming tiresome. The “I’ve been playing for 5 years and I can ‘t believe how easy they are making this game” crowd needs to wake up and realize that their pixelated avatar won’t be a special snowflake in of itself.  The unique aspect of anyone’s character is going to be the person playing it behind the keyboard.

I’ve only been playing for a year and a half, I will never be a ‘leet player.  I try to play as well as I can, but I’m not (don’t want too) going to raid 5 days a week for 4 hours a night and beat my head against bleeding edge content.  I can’t imagine something more boring. However, I can run dungeons and raids and I can at times be a better player than most (= >50%).  I don’t feel like I’m being handed the shiny bling.  I’m earning it.

For the vast majority of players, end game raiding isn’t “easy”.  Getting gear via running heroics and badge farming does nothing but get the typical player the opportunity to begin seeing end game content.  A less experienced player is still going to stand in the goo, get hit by the flame walls, not move to get the needed burr/de-buff regardless of gear level.  Everyone has to learn these skills and the only way for them to learn them is to practice.

I think Blizz understood that running Black Temple, Molten Core, Sunwell (or any of the end game raids of the era) week after week after week waiting for that one piece of gear to drop that would allow the player to move to the next piece of content was not attractive to most of the playing community.  Therefore, most (90+%) never saw endgame content. That content took a lot of development time to make.  They implemented this current system to change that stat and I think that is a great thing.  Could it improve? Absolutely.  Is it better than it was? Absolutely.

Posted in Thoughts, World of Warcraft | Tagged: , | 4 Comments »

Jana Is One Big Woman

Posted by Smokimus on February 26, 2010

I finally added some recent screenshots to the picture bar on the right. I need to cull some of them, but wanted to get them up, as I promised.

If you look through them, you will notice a couple of pix of Jana Proudmore and Smoki. If “Mt. Hyjal” Jana isn’t recruited for the Stormwind basketball team, then General Manager Varian Wrynn needs to be fired. I’m just say’n. I think somebody has been spiking Jana’s Wheaties with something or she has a thyroid condition that needs to be corrected.

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Elder Smokimus

Posted by Smokimus on February 25, 2010

If you look to your right, you will notice that Smok is now – “Elder Smokimus”.  Thanks to Iwasreported (aka Boss), Prana (aka The Real Boss), Kwiken (aka The Kraken), and Bromas (aka the person I want to be when I grow up), all of whom ran me through the dungeon Elders.

Please put your seat-backs and tray tables in the up-right position, as this flight will land in about two months when Children’s Week comes around.

For your viewing enjoyment –

Posted in Achievements, Fun, Holidays, World of Warcraft, WOW | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Been Busy…

Posted by Smokimus on February 24, 2010

I like the “…” thing.  Don’t know why, just do.

Been busy trying to get the most appropriate title in game for me – “Elder”.  I’m almost done.  Then I’ve got one last achievement before I get a Violet Proto-Drake . It’s the PvP achievement with Children’s Week and I’m not really looking forward to it.  I must have that mount.

Posted pictures on the side of the page. I will add some recent screenshots shortly.  (I promise.)

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