New Class: Mercenary

I said I was disappointed that there was no new class announced for Shadowlands, that made me think what could they have added?

There are 12 classes. So looking at them (or how I see them anyway):

  • warriors are basic fighters, the footmen (plate) (tank, melee)
  • paladins are warriors + have the devotion to the holy light. The healing spec makes sense to me because in a battle, standing still (easy target) should be armoured up (plate) (tank, melee, heals)
  • death knights are warriors but they draw from death with the runic system etc. (Plate) (tank, melee)
  • shaman draw on the elements, have totems (mail) (melee, range, heals)
  • Hunter has a melee spec now I think? (Which is weird), marksman (all the shooting) and beast mastery (animal friend) so a lot more diverse. They have generally been marketed as being a nature type hunter, roaming the wilds (mail) (melee, range)
  • Demon hunters were elf warriors I guess originally and then studied the legion and got their powers from the fel (leather) (tank, melee)
  • Druids are literally shapeshifters getting their power from nature (leather) (tank, melee, range and heals)
  • Monks are martial artists with a love of beer (leather) (tank, melee, heals)
  • Rogues are the sneaky, backstabbing type wielding daggers and stealthing around picking locks (leather) (melee)
  • Priests have the devotion to the holy light but they also have the void in the shadow spec (cloth) (ranged, heals)
  • Mages throw magic around (cloth) (ranged)
  • Warlocks are like mages but they went to the dark side and have demons (cloth) (ranged)

So what are we missing? Well that depends on what angle we’re approaching the problem. Armor types split 3/2/4/3 with mail being the one trailing the pack. There are 6 tank options, 5 heals, 9 melee and 6 range. More important than the details there is the big question – what are we aesthetically missing? Continue reading

Picking Two Mains

So no secret I’ve been playing swtor again since they I learned they made medical probes baseline back in the summer. I think I also mentioned at some point…? I had a ton of cartel coins stocked up as I’ve been playing on/off again since launch so I got a couple of the boost to 70 (which was max level until last weeks Onslaught) because not having to worry about being the right level means I can just focus on what I wanted – the story.

As I think I said at the time I was 7/8 on class stories so I boosted a scoundrel smuggler (my missing one) and a mercenary bounty hunter as bounty hunter (powertech though) had been my first character and so it had been years since I had experienced the story and my memory is faded. My intent was to get 8/8 and then see what characters I enjoyed playing the most to then go forward and do the expansion stories as even though it’s been 8 years I’ve never progressed further than the base game. Not because I don’t like the game (I do!) but there’s been a perfect storm of reasons really.

I have now done that! So what was the result?

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Not good company to be in

I’ve been dwelling on the Shadowlands announcement trying to work out what was bothering me about it.

Is is the lack of clarity regarding levelling and the future of the game? Because as I said in my previous post if it’s Classic-BfA choose your poison, then Shadowlands, that’s cool with Shadowlands being the new thing BUT what about when the ninth expansion comes? Will it be Classic-BfA choice, then Shadowlands, then new thing? Isn’t that just restarting the cycle? Also people will be sick of Shadowlands and the levelling curve will be weird.

Is it the lack of clarity regarding levels and what they will do to the ability to solo old content and also what about flying? Because yes they have confirmed we should still be able to do everything we can currently re: farming old raids etc. BUT how exactly will that work? Also I currently can fly everywhere. So if I want to quest in Kul Tiras/Zandalar and level an alt flying around then I can. In Shadowlands when the BfA level range becomes 10-50, what about then? Are they going to take away what I can already do? I see the backlash riots from here.

Is it the lack of concrete information and conflicting statements on levelling? Because I did some quick and dirty math and Ion said that “getting a level every 15 minutes doesn’t feel epic” so I’m assuming they don’t want that BUT they have said levelling will be 60-70% faster and that 10-50 will allow completion of an expansion. The two don’t mesh together very well as using Mists as an example, when that was current it was approx a level per zone, which splitting 40 levels makes for 6.6 levels a zone. It did not take anywhere near 7 hours to do a zone, more like 2-3 which makes for a level every 25 minutes or so? Now I’m not bothered by this I like the whoosh sound, I just want confirmation it will be faster because it takes so long now I’m completely demotivated by it. (also I will not be levelling until Shadowlands).

Or is it simply the feeling of dread about lack of a real key feature?

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Blizzard isn’t taking enough risks

Shadowlands Editoral on BlizzardWatch
My Response:

You hit the nail on the head with exactly what I was thinking watching the panel last night. I hadn’t expected they would take risks so it wasn’t unexpected I was just disappointed anyway. I felt like they’d missed a big opportunity. This is Warcraft’s big year with the 25th and 15th anniversary. When Vanilla launched it kinda set the blueprint a lot of MMO’s have followed since, I mean up until Wrath – the group-finder, it was a big deal and MMO’s don’t launch without one now. I felt like blizz could have been innovative this year.

I also feel like they aren’t thinking about what happens next. I know it’s ridiculous to talk next next expansion when they just announced the next one yesterday but seriously what happens post-Shadowlands? Will levelling be 1-50 of pre-Shadowlands content, then 50-60 of Shadowlands and then 60-70 of what comes next? Isn’t that just basically just setting the scene for trouble down the road again? Plus what is the levelling curve going to be like? If 1-50 is the length of a single expansion that is much faster than it is currently. Going forward 1-50 and then 50-60 is going to be feel really unbalanced.

Also I do wonder what will happen with allied race heritage armor which currently requires manual levelling up to 110/120. Plus I know it’s just a number but I have spent a lot of time levelling up characters and to have them all wiped down makes me a little sad. I hope there’s at least feats of strength saying that they were once known as 120/110 etc.

Looking on the Shadowlands website there is a * saying that “you can still crush old bosses for transmong if that’s your thing” which phew relief as for me farming old content is a big part of my playtime BUT how? Is the power jump from 50-60 going to be Legion sized? Ensuring we can wreck everything below us. Isn’t that then a problem come next expansion as Ion already said that “feeling like you are levelling up and getting weaker is bad”? I mean power creep is always an issue hence why we’ve had at least two ilevel squishes but this goes with my previous point. When I login on pre-patch at level 50 will everything crush me? Or will I be able to go and solo Dragon Soul and ICC as normal? Those are the lowest of what I farm, I mean obviously I do run Legion stuff too.

I’m not negative btw I’m thinking. I did like a lot of what was said. I LOVED the talk of 4 narrative arcs as my favourite thing is story. Legion class halls were my fondest dream for Warcraft realised, I’m just sad that was a one-expansion only deal but I digress. The tower thing working for solo people is also great. I’m not knocking the expansion so much as just wondering about the future, and also agreeing that I’m not seeing an expansion defining feature. A new race wouldn’t have done the trick imo as we’ve had so many allied races. I think a new class could have worked but I get the balance headache. Personally I would have thought this would have been prime time to announce player housing. That could have supported professions as well by making unique models for things available to crafters. It would also fit the player agency/customising theme they are going with.

Anyway I’m going to shut up but honestly I have to laugh at myself. For half a second when they started talking about all the hundreds of hours of content in the game I thought they were going to bring to life my second fondest dream – heroic world missions. Alas not to be, I don’t think they will ever leverage the immense wealth of content they have, it’ll always be the new shiny zones and then move on.

Edited to Add:

I forgot a couple of things so I’m just going to bolt them on here.

1) is the announcement that the decision Horde players made to choose Saurfang or Sylvanas no longer matters, not even a little nod. Given the ‘player agency’ theme I find this again another missed opportunity because player agency is choice and having choices be meaningful and just having everything wiped away expansion after expansion sucks a little bit. I get new players shouldn’t have to go through everything and that if some people haven’t made a choice then it gets weird. Still I feel like a $variable with yes/no/didn’t choose to influence a line of dialogue wouldn’t have been tough and would have been an unexpected delight.

2) I didn’t explain what I meant by heroic missions. I meant they have phasing on Darkshore for example with max level world quests. It would have so cool to have a $variable test to see if a person’s account had the achievement for completing a zone and if yes that opens up this max level quest hub which continues that zones story a little bit. Alts could redo the zone to refresh memories or not bother. If there were say a dozen of these spread all across the different continents/expansions, each day 1-2 was available. Now the big thing I would have done was to put a cap on grinding. Having a new emissary everyday and letting it stack to three but no more is a good model imo. So people can do more than one a day/stacked three but they don’t get a chance at gear/combat related progression, they get gold or chance at non-combat stuff – not mandatory in other words.

I’ve always wanted this because it would open up Azeroth more rather than just making everyone congregate in the same new zones. Then the new expansion drops and we abandon those for the new ones – rinse and repeat. It’s a big world, we should get to play in all of it.

ETA 2:

I totally forgot to say and want to put somewhere so I can point later if I’m right…

I think the jailer is either Gorak Tul (Drust guy) or it’s whatever spawned him as the silhouette and the blue eyes is really similar. I know we supposedly killed Gorak Tul in Thros when we rescued Jaina hence why it might be his father type deal. Sylvanas has definitely been powered up to be able to do what she did. I mean wasn’t Waycrest all about Gorak Tul finding a way back to Azeroth? So perhaps he needed Sylvanas to break a hole in the world so he could escape The Maw.

Also calling it now, the new zone we get in 8.2 is going to be Dragon Isle. Oh and don’t think I didn’t notice about the 4 covenants, and there being 4 dragonflights – there’s some kind of echo going on there. I just hope it ties into the actual lore of Azeroth being a corrupted baby titan (do we even know how we heal Azeroth yet? I’m presuming we do) and they made too much of the Void vs Sylvanas and also what happened with Vol’jin not to follow up.

I also hope Talia gets to meet her father, as painful as that will be :/

Swtor and future fear

I have thoughts about the impermanency of the world and how hard it is to let go. For instance I googled about the future of Swtor as I’m getting back into the game. I like to avoid the doom and gloom brigade but someone stating simply about the licence being up in 2023 and how Disney was unlikely to renew it – that gave me pause. It wasn’t some frothing rant about the state of the game, just a fact and given that Disney did that to Marvel Heroes and now that game is gone… well lets just say I have already experienced the bitterness that brings.

So with this in mind I had a leaden feeling in my gut because the games days might well be numbered and then I thought “2023 is four years from now” and then I thought about technology. Without emulators games days are always numbered even if you buy them and have them on disk because technology evolves. The Lego games I am liking so much through Steam might not work in ten years or so (which is the timeframe for upgrading my PC) because the games of my childhood no longer work on the machine I have now.

I have issues letting things go because if I like something then I want to keep it forever and I do find it an unsettling prospect that something which I like, and work on, can disappear. But it happened with Marvel Heroes, I had invested a good amount of time (and admittedly money) into that game and there is nothing but memories left. I still miss it and I’m looking for something to fill the same itch. The Lego games are good (I just got to the point in Superheroes when I’m at the X-Mansion) but the Lego games are designed by nature to be comedy so it’s not quite the same. I’m hoping the Ultimate Alliance will help should I ever manage to get my hands on a Switch.

But anyway nothing in life is permanent, not online games or offline games because technology evolves – that’s the takeaway. It’s sad but at the same time due to that evolution there is new stuff to play. Games improve over time as well and with nostalgia culture, emulators and then graphical improvements sometimes old games can get a new lease of life.

So I think I have to be ok with the fact that there is a clock on Swtor. There might not be if the rumours of a Knights of the Old Republic movie is true because the game might get a resurgence. I mean there’s a reason why they bring out video games with new movies. I certainly get that itch after seeing it on the big screen to dive inside the world and play with it myself. Anyway that brings me to my point about the future being uncertain. Swtor might be doomed or might have another fourteen years – nobody knows.

I guess we just make the most of what we have when we have it. There is nothing more we can do because like so much of life we individually have no control over the outcome. EA/Disney will only keep the game running if it makes enough money and that requires hundreds of thousands of players – one voice is nothing. I try not to think about that powerlessness as it applies to far more serious things than just a game and it’s not a nice feeling.

Live in the moment. Good advice and not just when it comes to Swtor.

While I was sleeping Swtor became a pretty great game… or maybe it was me that changed?

I’ve played Swtor on and off since it launched, a month here and a month there, I said this when I posted last week about medical probes becoming standard for all levels of players (not just for subs).

Back in the day I made a post at the height of my Swtor enthusiasm saying why it was worth subbing to both Swtor and Warcraft. A few months later I made a post explaining why I was unsubbing from Swtor, the primary reason being I was burning out of Warcraft and the mechanics of Swtor were too similar to be a change. That is true enough as they are both MMORPG’s but there was also another truth and I can’t remember if I acknowledged it or not – familiarity.

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How would you canonically revamp old world content?

First off I was against removal of the old zones to begin with. I hate removing content and also it made for a wonky levelling timeline. Blizz obviously didn’t care then so I doubt it would be a priority for them now but I wish they would fix it, it bothers me.

So if I was in charge I would probably massively expand scaling and have an opening scenario for every new character (skippable for old hands) which culminated in a tour of the portal room. In this opening scenario I would have the timeline explained, saying that the heroes journey began with the assault on the dark portal and journey to Outland, and then Northrend happened, and then Deathwing wrecked the world and there was chaos over all of Azeroth, then Pandaria, then Draenor, then Broken Isles, then Kul Tiras/Zandalar etc.

Everything below current content would scale because from a story standpoint with the content that’s in the game players should start in Outland. If people want to level from a story standpoint then cool, if they want to hit up their favourite zones also cool, if they want to do it one way with this char, another route with another char etc. also cool.

I think I’m on record as saying I almost wish there wasn’t an expansion with new zones, and instead old dangling story threads (like a lot of Cata zones) got resolved. So I would be really pleased if they added a couple of small new zones for current content but then most of it sent players all over Azeroth. I really love it when they do that, like with the class hall campaigns for instance, as it makes the world feel more alive. They could either phase these updates (or as the number of phased zones is getting to be a lot) they could utilise the caverns of time.

TLDR: I would update old zones by using them for current content and I would take the opportunity to fix the levelling timeline with a scenario/cinematic explaining it. So probably not all zones at once, similar to what they have done with Darkshore etc. I guess in that there are world quests and it’s very much part of the endgame.

Operation Mechagon

I resubbed again. It was inevitable really because I never wanted to unsub this time. I took a couple of months off because I didn’t have the moolah but an unexpected tip from a work client gave me the option.

So two days into patch 8.2 I hit the new zones of Mechagon and Nazjatar. I instantly figured that the latter would be better with flying because the up and down multi-level mess was very annoying but Mechagon, oh Mechagon 🙂 🙂 🙂 I said that night it might be my favourite zone in the entire game and a couple of weeks on I haven’t changed my mind.

It is bright, reasonably open, it has gnomes, the aesthetic with all the cogwheels and machines is awesome. It is a visual treat as well as being enjoyable to play. (I confess I took a break from questing there everyday once I got flying because obtaining that made me feel like I could relax and not feel compelled to do anything in particular, instead just do what I feel but I digress). The opening quest to get there with the vault and everything was super cool too. I want one of those Expedition planes as a mount, that definitely needs to happen, why aren’t they in game already?

But there’s more to Mechagon than a crazy cool aesthetic, fun quests, a zone that I didn’t mind running around in repeatedly etc. – there’s a mythic only dungeon Operation: Mechagon.

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The Endgame Series: General Thoughts

(I wrote so much about Avengers: Endgame I’m splitting it into a series of posts)

Standardised beginning because I don’t care if the spoiler ban has been officially lifted. This was THE movie, the movie that ended the journey we started ten years ago and I would literally die if I accidentally spoiled anyone.

SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS!

I’m going to put everything under the cut but in case it doesn’t work for some reason. Seriously don’t read beyond this point if you haven’t seen the movie. Anyway now that’s established let’s dive in 🙂

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