Diving back into Landmark

I have a few posts in the pipeline. One on Marvel Heroes which just added achievements! Another on the reality of the Swtor 12x boost, one on Age of Ultron when I eventually manage to see the movie (I can’t wait!) but it’s the newest post in the pile that has my attention.

I never really should have signed up for the Landmark Alpha but I was too excited about the game to wait the year or so until release. I wanted to try it out for myself. However, with having to gather all the materials, then losing them in wipes, I never really got into the game. I know it’s beta and that’s the whole point but I am a very bad beta tester, I didn’t want to waste my time gathering only to lose everything.

Well the devs have said that’s the last wipe, that they will only do claim wipes from now on. Given the template system, all people have to do is login and pick their spot and they are in the same position. From this point on, aside from more bugs and missing features, there’s little difference in my opinion between this and the eventual ‘launch’.

Right so what’s different from the last time I played? What are my ‘first impressions’ when logging in this time?

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Marvel’s Phase Two

Avengers: Age of Ultron is now out in Europe, it’ll be released in America on my birthday, May 1st. My twitter feed has been filled with #It’sAllConnected tweets regarding Agents of Shield. Now I haven’t talked about that show on this blog since the beginning of the season, I never even blogged about Agent Carter.

It would seem I have some catching up to do.

ABC still haven’t announced whether Agents of Shield or Agent Carter are going to be renewed for another season. There are also rumors that there could be a spin-off from Agents of Shield, more Marvel TV shows to geek out on, sounds good to me. There might be spoilers under the cut.

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Wary but Excited

In my last post on Swtor, where I talked about why I resubbed and what I liked about the game, I mentioned the 12x experience boost that had been available for a limited time to purchasers of Shadow of Revan. I said part of me was sorry that I had missed it, as the class quests were the best part of the game. The other part of me was fine with it as the planetary quests were good too.

Well, on May 4th aka Star Wars Day, the 12x boost is back for subscribers. No definitive word on when it’ll be over but the date given is ‘in the fall’ so it’s going to be around for a couple of months.

When I read that announcement my immediate thought was “I’m going to be playing a lot of swtor this summer” and that’s likely still true. However, thinking about it beyond the initial excitement I’m wary for what it means for the longevity of the game.

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Why I unsubbed to Warcraft

I was talking with a friend the other day, a friend who started playing Warcraft not long after it launched. He unsubbed partway through Mists, was persuaded to try Warlords but didn’t even make it to level cap. He’s done with the game. He said that was the nature of MMO’s, they change, and the game Warcraft is now, isn’t the game he loved and played.

That made me think. I’ve said repeatedly, here and elsewhere, that I didn’t know what to do with Warcraft. I’d invested so much time, effort and money into the game, that just turning round to leave and never going back was hard to contemplate.

However, games are supposed to be fun. Rather than spend time in a game I no longer like, let alone love, wouldn’t it be better to leave? Let the memories of the good times remain, and accept that the game has changed and it’s no longer the game I loved and played.

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Using my Level 90 Boost: A 12th Class

This post isn’t complete, and I never will finish it now. However, in the previous Warcraft post I mentioned this and I figured I would get it out of my draft folder.

There are eleven classes in Warcraft right now. Three are complete hybrids which can tank, heal and dps (paladin, druid and monk), four are partial hybrids which can either tank and dps (death knight and warrior) or heal and dps (priest and shaman), then there are the four pure classes which can only dps (warlock, hunter, mage and rogue).

The game started with nine classes, eight of which were available to each side (paladins for Alliance, shamans for Horde) and two more have been added since release (death knight and monk) in Wrath of the Lich King and Mists of Pandaria respectively.

There is no hard and fast rule as to what blizz adds in each expansion box. TBC brought two new races and unlocked the ninth class for each faction, Wrath brought the death knight class, Cata brought two new races (goblin and worgen) and unlocked more class/race combinations. Mists had a new race (pandaren) which was available to both factions and a new class (monk) and Warlords brought nothing but new character models.

So what’s the class I have in mind?

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Why I resubbed to Swtor

My history with Swtor has been very up and down. I started this blog not long after I started playing the game, so the whole process has been chronicled.

I played for a while at launch, unsubbed after six months as I’d stopped playing, always choosing to play Warcraft when I had time to play games. A year later I tried to play some more but the f2p model annoyed me, and my computer was having issues. Six months later I tried playing f2p again, got annoyed and this time resubbed for a couple of months. Again I wasn’t playing enough to continue the sub. Just over a year later, and we’re back in present day, and I’ve resubbed once more.

The f2p model for Swtor is in some respects generous, as it does allow you to play most of the game for free, but in other respects it’s extremely annoying. I always resub if I’m going to be playing a fair bit as it’s worth it for the medical probes alone. They allow revival where you die, rather than having to revive at the nearest med center and then re-fight everything to get back to where you were when you died.

Everytime I play Swtor I enjoy it, so why my interest wanes and I stop playing is something of a mystery. I think it’s because of the way I play, purely questing for the class storylines. I don’t miss out on anything if I take a day, a week or months away. I’m not behind, I’ve just stayed standing still.

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Number Six – The Next Expansion

Warlords isn’t even half over and I’m already looking ahead. Part of that is because I’m not happy with Warlords direction, each expansion brings a shake-up and I’m hoping the next one will be good. Another part is because blizz have said there’s going to be two raid tiers this expansion, not three, which makes Hellfire Citadel the last raid of the expansion. That was announced last night, so the beginning of the end is upon us.

This post is going to be in two parts. I’m going to try and theorize what blizz might actually do, but then I have to allow myself some wishful thinking in what I hope they might do. November, in seven months, will be Blizzcon when they’ll announce expansion number six. Given that patch 6.2 has already hit the PTR, even though I don’t raid anymore, I hope very much that beta will hit soon after Blizzcon, and therefore the expansion release is early-mid 2016 to coincide with the release of the film.

Blizz managed to weather 14 months of the same patch remarkably well, and I have promised not to rant about it anymore, but I really hope to never see that again. In a subscription game it is really beyond a joke.

Right so expansion number six …

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General Update and Patch 6.2

This blog disappeared for a month. I took it down for a number of valid reasons but I regretted doing so, I missed being able to ramble about games and TV. The decision never felt right, putting it back up doesn’t feel right either but I have to still be me, fun can still be permitted.

With that in mind when I deleted it a month ago, I didn’t save my theme settings which is annoying. Time permitting I will likely fiddle with the look of the site. However, looks are always secondary to content. I have imported all the old posts and pages.

I debated about that, as it’s been three years since I started and I have said some very stupid contradictory things over the years. In the end I decided to leave it, as no-one really reads this and it’s what I thought at the time. The fact that I was wrong means at least I’ve learned something. I’ll probably shuffle and rewrite the pages but that’s about it, the posts and any idiocy contained will stay for now.

Right onto the point of this post – Warcraft and patch 6.2 which hit the PTR last night.

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Minipost – Why is different bad?

Apologies for the long absence, there was Christmas and moving house. Even though I had the time to write a blog post, I didn’t have the concentration or the focus on a topic. I also haven’t quite decided what to do with this place. When I created this blog it was because I wanted to talk about games, TV, movies etc. without being constrained to 140 characters. I still want to do that but whether that’s compatible with my ambitions to indie publish fiction I don’t know. I’ll have to think about it.

Anyway, today’s topic is courtesy of a reply I got to a comment I made on The Grumpy Elf’s blog. I basically said that I missed the way things had worked in Mists. I’d understood the stats, the process, professions, the gear grind etc. back then and I didn’t really understand why they had changed it all. In other words I didn’t like the changes that had been made and thought them unnecessary.

The reply from another commenter was that the problem wasn’t the new system – that it was me. I’m not raiding anymore, therefore I’m not putting in the same level of effort, that it wasn’t the system confusing me, it was that I clearly missed raiding and that’s why I was so lost. What is a tank without a raid?

My instinctive thought was to agree with him, as it’s true I don’t put in the same level of effort that I used to. However, I then thought about it some more and realised how wrong that was. The system shouldn’t be so complicated or confusing that it requires a lot of research, that it can’t just be figured out. What about the average player? Surely the game should be friendly to them as well, not just the raiders?

My complaint with Warcraft since Mists was released has been how it’s become very “raid or die”. In Mists that meant that I couldn’t play my alts, now in Warlords it makes any progression difficult and confusing. At least in Mists there wasn’t the element of randomness that Warlords has embraced with bells on. That I think is probably my biggest complaint about Warlords, that there’s too much randomness. The crafted gear is all random stat, you get random upgrades, it’s random if there’s a gem slot etc. I hate random, I really do, it makes it so hard to see the target and aim for it.

I know Cataclysm gets a lot of flack and I agree there was a lot that wasn’t great about it. However, in terms of casual play it was my favourite time in Warcraft. I loved being able to queue for dungeons, get a drop if I was lucky, collect points to buy gear otherwise. It made sense, it had targets I could aim at, the progress was slow but incremental and consistent, it was fun and meant that I could dip in and out of alts whenever I pleased with ease. I’ve always played my alts the way I imagined people who played casually (who didn’t raid), played their mains. Now I’m not raiding I’ve been proven right in regards to myself at least. The only problem is what game is there now for me to play?

The game for me in Warlords content is doing the weekly garrison mission, doing the daily apexis quest if I can be bothered, running through the mine and the herb garden and sending followers out on missions. The rest of my playtime is running through the list of old raids I have on farm, hunting for the pet or mount drop. I am making no new progress in what I can solo, as my gear progression is completely stuck.

The system I understood is gone, the gems, enchants and reforging process is gone. The stats have all been changed and even worse new ones have been added. Now I used to understand the game. What about the average player that never understood it or just understood it a little? Clearly this hasn’t hurt the games popularity as it’s enjoying a massive sub increase. Perhaps I’m just being very selfish in wishing things could be how I liked them, probably no perhaps about it. However, even if it is selfish I’m still entitled to how I feel. The blues said that the old system required people to go outside the game to find out what to do. How is this new one any better?

The point I’m trying to make is that a game like Warcraft should really support more than one playstyle. Someone shouldn’t have to raid in order to be able to progress and understand the game. There should be a more casual method that still allows people to feel like they accomplished something. I said in my comment that the game had removed any control I felt I had, I stand by that. The randomness, the lack of points gear and the complete change of profession and stat system, it’s not a good mix.

I guess I should go put in some research and try and figure it all out. There has to be some way I can play without having to raid.

The sad truth about Warlords

Warlords of Draenor had a rocky launch but part of the reason why it was so bad, was because it was a huge success. Blizz is back over 10 million subscribers according to the press release – that’s huge. It was something people didn’t think would happen.

Now obviously more players, and a huge success seems like a good thing and it is – to a point. You see given the huge success blizz have no reason to change anything. Why would they? They did what they wanted, and they didn’t just get away with it, they just got a great big huge thumbs up. They just got rewarded and so they think they did it right, but I don’t think they did.

Be fair warned this might sound like a rant. It isn’t really, just frustration because as The Grumpy Elf says, if he didn’t care then he wouldn’t complain. I like the game and there’s nothing wrong with wanting it to be better. I know the rider on that is better for whom? As obviously what I like and what others like are different things. For the purposes of this post I’ll just be talking about my perspective. However, I am well aware that it is just my perspective and one that a lot of people won’t share.

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