Multitudes of Smoke

The thoughtful ramblings of a space goat and his alts.

I Like Being OP…Yeah You Know Me

Posted by Smokimus on April 21, 2011

I haven’t pugged a heroic since first hitting 85 and I don’t anticipate doing so at any point in the near future. I believe that the vast bulk of the community has the same sentiment and this is the major reason for the incoming tank bribery (aka – Call to Arms).

I don’t believe that the Call to Arms is going to have any long-term effect on que times, which is of course the reason for the bribe. Tanks are not going to line up for the rewards because they aren’t enough to compensate for the level of effort/trauma that is required to lead a pug. I know that, although I have a tank spec, I’m not up to the challenge as the dungeons are currently structured.

I do think that it was a noble experiment for Blizzard to try and ratchet up the difficulty of the Cataclysm dungeons. But as they say – “The path to hell is paved with good intentions.” The current majority of players (I count myself in this group) would rather steamroll content than to struggle with 2+ hour dungeon runs that they may or may not finish.

I have a limited amount of time each day. I might be able to squeeze in two hours in the evening, but that really starts to stretch it for me during the work week. I just don’t have the time or desire to beat my head against the wall and struggle with a group of complete strangers (some of whom are utter ass-hats) to finish a dungeon run. My time in game is supposed to be fun, not torture.

In my mind, the 20-30 minute heroic runs of Wrath were perfect and I don’t give one rats butt that some people thought this was too easy and allowed the (/sneer) casuals to get gear that they didn’t “earn”. Being OP is fun. Being under powered blows.

All of this is compounded by the growing frustration that many are feeling with the game. “If you don’t want to pug, then run with guild groups.” I would love to be able to do this. We had gotten very proficient with all of the current heroics; however, our members have stopped logging in. Many of them wanted to focus on their main characters in this expansion and did so quite effectively for the first couple of months, but we hit a wall. In Wrath, we had two 10 man groups in ICC and due to a variety of reasons those raiders have left the game or the guild. We could not consistently field one 10 man team and that was the end for many of the people that I’ve been playing with for more than two years.

I don’t think my guild experience is at all unique and I’m very concerned that this is happening all over the greater WoW community. I believe Blizzard is trying what they think is appropriate to start alleviating this problem, but I’m not sure that this is enough and I’m not sure that it is happing fast enough. I know too many people who are leaving and I don’t think many of them will ever come back.

That’s all fine and good Smoke, but how would you address the issue?

  • Bring Back That OP Feeling – Nerf the current heroic dungeons to the absolute floor. Can a well geared and coordinated group tear through them as they are now? Yes, but that isn’t the point. A group that consists of people with the minimum gear requirement to get in the dungeons and little/no communication (Nobody in their right mind is going to spend any significant time typing in directions into party chat. If it can’t be said in 10 words or less, it isn’t going to be said) can wipe on every other trash pull in some of these and that isn’t going to encourage them to do them again. Nerfing the dungeons speeds up the runs and increases my ability to tolerate the aforementioned ass-hats.
  • Speed Up Content Release – Blizzard, your community managers and developers indicated, when it was announced that patch 4.1 wasn’t going to have a new raid tier, that you were planning on doing more frequent and less bulky content patches. Well that was some time ago and we haven’t received that new content yet. I have to believe that Blizzard is seeing the subscription numbers drop and speeding up content release is one of the only ways to get people to continue their subscriptions. If you know that you are going to have to wait 2 months to see anything new, why would you pay for those 2 months? You could save $30 bucks and re-sub when the new content comes out.

What say you?

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Edumacation

Posted by Smokimus on January 28, 2011

Today, I was listening to the most recent Raid Warning podcast. In the show the hosts get into a discussion about how WoW is being used by some teachers/professors. This topic fascinates me.

I’m not sure that the virtual world that is Wow has a great deal of relevance to the “real” world. However, there are certainly areas that I can see would be of interest when studying micro-environments. The WoW economy and the very basics of supply and demand (keeping in mind that it is a world of infinite supply), comes to mind. Social interaction and group dynamics would also seem to be an area ripe for study.

I think the major area where teachers can get help via WoW is as an example of getting people who otherwise aren’t interested in doing various tasks to do them and in some cases get very excited about doing them. Specifically, the reward systems inside the game that gets players to keep playing and paying their monthly subscription fee. What rewards?

  • Ding – Every time you reach a new level, a bright light effect surrounds your character and, now, you are informed of what new spell you can learn or that you have a new talent point. It is a noticeable effect for everyone around you and is frequently noted by other players around you with a “grats”. There are players who play for the “ding” and the social recognition of advancement.
  • Achievements – New with Wrath, the achievement system drove people to fish, cook, explore, quest, and many other activities that were previously too “dull” to bother with. These didn’t become any less boring, but they provided another means of demonstrating advancement in the game. More glue to keep you coming back.
  • Titles/Mounts/Pets – The system of rewarding you for a long grind whether it be for reputation, puging, raiding hard modes, heroic dungeon feats with a title, a mount, a pet or all of the above encouraged the entire community to go gaga for activities that many previously ignored/dreaded.

I’m sure there are more, but you get the point.

My oldest child did 500+ math (a subject she dislikes in the extreme) problems over the recent holiday break. She did this to get a special charm that she can display on her backpack and certificate from her teacher. Without this seemingly trivial inducement there is no way she would have done 10 problems without some serious consternation. Yet she did these problems eagerly.

The minor psychological rewards offered in WoW keep the players coming back for more. Similarly, minor rewards and public recognition can keep pupils engaged in subjects that they may otherwise disdain.

What happens when the frequency of rewards taper off? (See May – October 2010 in WoW)

What is it really appropriate to reward?

If you reward everything, do you really end up rewarding nothing?

What say you?

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Welcome Back

Posted by Smokimus on October 19, 2010

It’s been awhile. Hope all of you are doing well and have enjoyed your break from the game (if you took one). I know many of you are back. Dalaran is back to being officially the most lagtastic place in the World of Warcraft. We missed you and are glad that you have decided to join us again.

How has the pre-Cataclysm patch treated you and your class?

Do you feel like you are having to re-learn your class?

I haven’t written in sometime as I’ve been busy in RL. It happens as real life does.

I didn’t take a break from the game, just from writing about it.

I accomplished many of the in-game goals that I set out earlier in the year, as the pre-expansion blues descended upon the community.

  • Smoke completed “What a Long Strange Trip” and thanks to the patch all of my flying mounts are 310% speed. Woot.
  • Both Horde DKs are at 80.
  • Most of the professions I wanted to level to max have been. I haven’t leveled alchemy and jewelcrafting to max yet, as I have a baby mage and baby shaman that I’m doing these on as they level. (In hopes of keeping the gold cost down)
  • I haven’t yet finished leveling the Hunter. This has moved down my priority list as I’m enjoying leveling the mage and shaman more than the hunter. This may change when these characters get to Outland or Northrend, but for now, I’m enjoying them more than the hunter.

    Quick Thoughts

  • I really enjoy using the Dungeon Finder for the holiday bosses. I don’t care that it isn’t as immersive an experience as pulling together a group and flying off to the site of these encounters. It is fast and fun. These bosses are meant to be loot piñatas and that is what they are.
  • The new talent trees are fine by me. I like the fact that if you pay attention to what each talent says and you know what role you want to play, you don’t need to go to a website to tell you the “best” talents to take. Before the patch, I was tanking (say what?) in some regular Northrend dungeons and was with a 70 something DK that had his talent points spread equally in all 3 trees. I didn’t want to embarrass him, so I didn’t say anything. Stuff was dying and it didn’t make that much of a difference to me. Thankfully this can’t happen anymore and that is a good thing. I just hope he doesn’t pick the “Blood” tree and try to dps in it.
  • There must have been a ton of QQ on the Blizz forums after the patch. Melee dps was way down immediately after the patch and they seemed to hot fix this in a hurry. After some gem replacement and a little more comfort with the dps rotation, I was in about the same place I was on the damage meters in ICC before the patch.
  • The baby mage and baby shaman aren’t having any of the mana issues after the patch that they were having before the patch. They just don’t go OOM anymore.

What say you?

 

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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?

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Jumble O Thoughts

Posted by Smokimus on June 17, 2010

Wouldn’t that be a great character name?

There has been a lot going on around here. Real life happens. I guess.

Raid Changes

I don’t think the additional rewards conferred upon the 25 man raids in Wrath have been warranted. There I said it. I got that out of the way. Now you know where I’m coming from.

It is certainly the case that it is harder to get 25 people together than it is 10 people. However, it is only harder for 1 person, the raid leader and it is only marginally harder at that. It is not 250% harder. For the 24 other raiders, there is no difference between what they have to do to get ready and what their 10 man raiding counterparts are doing. Everyone still needs to be repaired and have pots and buff food. They need to know not to stand in the goo or to stand in the goo (depending). They need to know how to DPS, heal, or tank depending on their role. These skills don’t change because one group is larger than the other. Sorry, I just don’t think that it is so much more difficult to run in a 25 man raid that it justifies giving such significantly greater rewards to those who do. If 10 mans are at all easier, it is because many people are running them with 25 man gear and are able to brute force their way through them with the higher stats. Thankfully, this is scheduled to change in Cataclysm.

Summer Doldrums

It is abundantly clear that people are slowing down their in-game time. It’s harder to get raiders to show up; RDF queues are getting longer; and some traditionally heavily trafficked farming spots are much less populated than previously. In game, we are experiencing the double whammy of Summer Doldrums and Pre-Expansion Malaise. People just aren’t that in to it right now.

This is completely understandable and I don’t think it represents a failure on the part of any party (Blizzard or the Players). It just is.

Unless you want to level a bunch of alts up to 80 or reach the gold cap or some other character goal, there really isn’t much left to do. We’ve been there and done that. No amount of filler content (see Ruby Sanctum) is going to get people to spend any more time in game at this point. We know that whatever gear or doodads we get now will be obsolete when the expansion comes.

I think Blizzard intended to have Cataclysm done some time ago, clearly however that didn’t happen and it appears as though there is a long way to go before it will come out. While this is a problem, I don’t think it is a failure on their part. A game this big that has been around as long as it has is an incredibly complicated enterprise and every adjustment has an impact on everything else. You are not going to have a bigger change than what is happening to WOW in Cataclysm. The stakes for WOW are incredibly high. If they don’t get it “right” a lot of people will leave and they will leave in a hurry never to come back. Blizzard knows this, so there is going to be an extensive testing period for the expansion and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a release come after Blizzcon. I think Blizz is willing to sacrifice a few months of subscription fees (from some) in order to make Cataclysm better, so that you will want to buy the expansion and re-up your subscription for another year or two when it does come out. I truly hope this is the case and I understand that to some this will seem like wishful thinking.

Have you seen this SWTOR trailer? It looks awesome. I do hope to get into the beta for this when it comes out. A trailer is not a game, however. We’ll see what develops between now and Beta/Release.

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Decompression

Posted by Smokimus on May 7, 2010

Continuing the conversation around the potential upcoming changes, here are my observations about some of what I’m hearing/seeing in the community.

Burnout

Many people have been playing this game, maybe not steadily, but for the better part of 5 years.  It might be time to take a break.  The beauty of this game is you can stop your subscription at anytime and your account will not be deleted, you won’t lose any of the progress on your characters, and you can come back anytime you want. None of what is occurring with the game is worth the emotional distress that seems to come out sometimes.  It might be possible that like in many relationships, you need to have a little vacation in order to come back fresh and reenergized. Most of your friends will be here when you get back and we will welcome you back with open arms.  We will miss you, but we will understand completely.  If we don’t, then we are not that good of friends are we?

Passion

I do hope, however, that someone at Blizzard is noting the passion that so many people are expressing.  This passion is a great thing whether it is positive or negative because the worst thing that can happen to any enterprise is the on-set of apathy.  Passion means that you care.  I believe that if Blizzard is smart they can utilize that passion to improve its games and insure its continued profitable existence.

Blizzard is allowing for player developed content in StarCraft II.  Is there a way they could allow some members of the community to develop content (dungeons/raids) for WOW?  Would players be interested in this? Would there be a way to do this without it looking like Blizzard was getting off the hook for content development?

What about community focused controls on the game environment?  By this I mean, are there community wide solutions that could be put in place for the players to effectively police the game other than hitting the report button (for which we get no feedback that something actually happened) when we notice behavior that is detrimental to our experience? (Solutions that wouldn’t lead to player on player abuse)

These seem to me like ideas that would/could capitalize on the passion that many have for the game.  What other ideas are out there to constructively use the passion the game generates?

Other Peoples’ Money

It is easy to tell other people how to spend their money, but in general it is not the best practice.  Frequently, we hear about how much money Blizzard is making off of WOW, but I think most of us are confusing “Gross” with “Net”.  We may be able to make a semi-educated guess as to the amount of money WOW Generates (Gross) in a month/year. (I think you should immediately cut you estimate in half, if you start with 11 million x $15/month for a variety of reasons) We do not know what their expenses are and we don’t consider what other development WOW is funding inside of Blizzard (see – StarCraft II, Diablo III, and the new MMO).

“They’re making $100 million a month and we should be seeing more”.  I think you should reconsider this line of thinking.  It may be more constructive to consider if you are getting your $15/month of value from the game (IMO), because this is the only area you have control over.  If you don’t think you are getting $15 worth of value there is a logical solution.  If you are getting $15/month worth of value, but something coming down the line might change that, I think trying to get into the PTR and the Cataclysm Beta would be a perfect opportunity for you to express your concerns to the developers, as in both area’s they are seeking your input and would be more inclined to listen to you, while on the community forums they are more inclined to ignore you unless you are particularly articulate.  This is not to say that if you have another forum (blog/podcast) for venting your frustration you shouldn’t do so.  It’s yours and that is what it is for, but don’t be upset if some of us respond to your frustrations by trying to explain how our perspective differs from yours.  We like you and don’t want you to leave the community or else we wouldn’t listen or read.

Currently, I get more entertainment value per dollar via WOW than any other avenue.  When you consider that I could go out with friends for one night and spend the following – $15/local hamburger joint to build “base” for the evening, $25/handshake with bartender to ensure that I have the opportunity to pay $15/cocktail (x5or6) in a timely manner during the evening, $15/late night dive to make sure that I have enough grease in the system (grease is very important by the way) before making my way back home with a $25/cab ride.  That totals more than $150 for about 5/6 hours of “fun”. I didn’t include the wonderful hangover that I would have the next day, as how can you really price that?  (Yes I am a light weight – only 5 or 6 drinks) Value is a personal thing and where you find value depends on your situation.  I think when you start saying somebody else is making too much money or they should spend their resources in a different manner, you are creating a situation that will ultimately be very frustrating to you as you have no control over them and they are likely to do things differently than you would want them to.  Spending more time focusing on what you have control over will ultimately lead to greater satisfaction in general.

How many of you still pay for a home phone, but 99.99% of your telephonic communications are via your mobile phone?  How many of you pay $40 – $100/month on cable/satellite television when there are only a couple of shows you really care to watch?

I would like this to be an opening of a larger conversation.  If you happened upon this, please leave a comment and let me know what you think.

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Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

Posted by Smokimus on May 3, 2010

Change of any sort is almost always met with cries of impending doom.  The potential changes to raiding in Cataclysm appear to be no different.

In case you’ve been under a rock, Blizzard is seriously considering the homogenization of 10 and 25 person raids for Cataclysm to the point where the only noticeable difference between them is the number of people in the parties (i.e. 10 or 25 people).  They are even likely to have the raids share the same lock-out.  I think these changes are very positive, but I’m selfish that way (I raid 10s and don’t have the real possibility of raiding end-game 25s).

From various vocal quarters around the WOW community, this homogenization is being met with much indignation.  Many seem resigned to the fact that guilds will break-up over this change.  This may be so. However, what gets confusing is these people will say that they don’t play for the shiny loot.  They just want to play with their friends.  While this is admirable and all, it is confusing because the announced changes aren’t doing anything to prevent them from playing with their friends.  Blizzard isn’t removing 25s, like they did to 40s between Vanilla and BC. Blizzard is just making 10s more equal to 25s.  The complainers, in my mind, while indicating that they don’t play for loot are considering changing their preferred play style as the result of loot changes.  25s aren’t going to be considered “special” any more and they aren’t going to do them because they aren’t “special”.  What about the friends they so desperately want to play with?  How good of friends are they if you don’t want to play with them because you aren’t going to have access to the elite super special pixels of shiny WOW loot?

It seems to me that many who are complaining have some degree of misunderstanding about the situation they are in at this time.  I would argue that the “friends” they have wouldn’t be around now except for the opportunity to get loot, and that they may want to reconsider their definition of friend.  I believe their concern/agitation at this proposed change is the direct result of a light being shown on the truth of their situation.  In their heart of hearts, they know this to be the case.  Those players that they’ve been thinking of as friends are just people who want the shiny special pixels and when those aren’t exclusively available through their elite raiding guild they will go elsewhere without a second thought.  Maybe they recognize this, hence the consternation, but I think they should attempt some introspection about the situation before proclaiming the sky is falling.

The best post I’ve seen on this is from Ava @ Tales of a Priest.  She is in a high-end/elite raiding guild (Dark Nemesis) and is willing to take a wait and see approach.  She’s been there and done that and I think she has a good deal of credibility in this area.

Are 25s harder to organize and keep together? No doubt.  Logistics aside, are 25s harder to complete than the corresponding 10s? No.  I think in many cases it is much harder to consistently achieve in 10s because missing one person from your regular group in 10s is significantly harder to make-up for than missing  one, two or even three  people from a 25s group.  For this reason, I think it is perfectly reasonable to have 10s and 25s share the same loot.

I know your waiting with baited breath, because this post hasn’t gone on long enough, but I will make a future post about what I think Blizzard is hoping to accomplish with this.

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

(turn and face the strain)

Ch-ch-changes

Don’t want to be a richer man

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

(turn and face the strain)

Ch-ch-changes

Just gonna have to be a different man

Time may change me

But I can’t trace time

(David Bowie)

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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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What Are You Going To Do Between Now And Cataclysm?

Posted by Smokimus on March 12, 2010

As I’ve mentioned before, I have a number of alts on 3 different servers.  My second toon is getting ready to ding 80 (My Ally DK) and will be gearing up through heroics and the occasional alt-raid-run.  I have a pretty sizable to-do list for my characters between now and when Cataclysm drops.

  • Ally Warlock to 80
  • Ally Hunter to 80
  • 2 Horde DKs to 80
  • Level – Herbalism, Skinning, Alchemy, Tailoring, Inscription, Engineering, and JewelCrafting to maximum on Alliance side toons
  • Finish “Long Strange Trip” on Smoki
  • As many titles and achievements on alts as I can stand.

There is a lot to do in game, from my perspective.  I know that some people will be trying out different games and exploring things in the real world.  I’ll be doing some of that as well.  (I’ve got to get in more rounds of golf this year)

What are you going to do?

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