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Making the World of Warcraft more trivial, one post at a time…

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I've just finished reading the pre-Cataclysm novel, The Shattering. And, on the whole, I enjoyed it. In fact, I'll go into what I thought of it in depth in another post. But first, I want to take a little time to rant, because there's something in it that annoys me beyond all reason. It's not the fault of the book or Christine Golden, its author, in any way. In fact, its roots lie in the previous book, Stormrage.

250px-Stormrage_Cover I bought and read Stormrage. I didn't enjoy it a huge amount, as I'm one of those people who just can't warm to Richard Knaak's writing style. His prose is just too over-worked for my tastes, and his characters feel like plot ciphers rather than real people. YMM, of course, V. But I enjoyed seeing what's happening with the druids, and getting a feel for the druid-y world in Cataclysm. And that's all cool.

The thing that annoyed me, though, was a single event that dominates the last part of the book, and which is referred back to in The Shattering: The War Against The Nightmare. Now, I don't want to go all spoilertastic here, but suffice it to say that this is a major event, whose effects are felt throughout Azeroth during the days it happens. The denizens of the world cannot miss its occurrence: everyone is affected.

Unless, of course, they're a World of Warcraft player character.

For, as far as I can tell, this major lore event, which tidies up many dangling plotlines we've been exploring since vanilla, is not going to be reflected at all in-game. The War Against The Nightmare will only happen in the book. Here's the thing: I don't mind them doing some elements of plot "off-screen". Personal events, like the return of Varian Wyrnn and the handing over of power from Thrall to Garrosh make more sense in books or comics. As long as you can get the basic story somewhere within the game, all is good. The spin-off media became an enhancement to your game experience. But to have an entire event, an invasion of sorts, happen to everyone but the players? That just sucks, in my humble opinion. That's shifting the balance far too far away from the primary medium – the game – to the spin-offs. If the events had been small and personal – Tyrande and others rescuing Malfurion and defeating the Nightmare, fine. I can deal with such events happening where Leafshine is not. But this is explicitly set up as a major world event. Which doesn't happen in the World of Warcraft. Madness.

Now, I could be ranting prematurely. These events may crop up in the weeks prior to The Cataclysm. But it doesn't feel like that's the case, from the hints from the beta of 4.0x. And that's a shoddy way to treat your players.

Sometimes, I think the random number generator is just being mean. Look at this, my reward from this morning's Headless Horseman kill:

Hhloot1 Hhloot2
Pretty cool, huh? Except – I had every single item in the bag already. Except for the sword. Which I can't use.

Grrr.

(I also don't want to think about how many people who've been waiting years for one of the items in there are now going "nooooooooooo…")

We sold more than a million boxes, and only had 300k subs a month later. Going down every since. It’s “stable” now, but guess what? Even Dark Age and Ultima have more subs than we have. How great is that? Games almost a decade make more money than our biggest project.

via ealouse.wordpress.com

A frightening tale of what may have gone wrong with Warhammer Online. Now, take it with a pinch of salt, as it comes from an anonymous employee who clearly has a grudge or two – but the comments about the Old Republic game are worrying…

Features a big, bad dragon and lots of things blowing up:

 

It's great to see so many familiar parts of Azeroth being rendered (and then blown up) and like the Wrath cinematic, the World of Wacraft: Cataclysm cinematic features the main plot points of the expansion's threats (world changed, Deathwing up and having breakfast).

Somehow, though, I preferred the Wrath one. This is a touch too abstract. Arthas was front and centre in the earlier cinematic, and he's a character you could get more of a grip on. Deathwing is more of a beastie, more alien to the human mind, and thus less engaging. 

In reverse order of importance:

  1. Oooooh. The water's so pretty.
  2. What have they done to paladins? OMG! Actually… it kinda makes me want to play my baby pallie more. Just one judgement? Fancy pants new spells? This looks like a laugh…
  3. Usuri Brightcoin makes me laugh:
    UsuriUsuri? Usury? Geddit?
  4. Wow. They've really given Moonkin some oomph. Laser chickens are fun! Fun! Fun! Pike was right…
  5. So, wait. Resto druids get no new spells. All the old spells now do something different. We have to worry about a brand new cooldown. And we don't get to be trees anymore. Uh, exactly what is my incentive for completely relearning my class? Can't I just go and play a more fun class?

Early days…

Cynwise’s demons are part of her, part of her character.  Her relationship with each one of them is complicated and unique.  Part of the story that I’ve spun as I’ve played this crazy game has been around those demons; lesser characters, but characters in their own rights.  They make each warlock unique; no matter how you try to replicate them, the demons distinguish them from each other.

But now, without warning, that part of my character is gone.

via cynwise.wordpress.com

Great post from Cyn, that strikes at the heart of what worries me about this patch. Intentionally or otherwise, Blizzard has swept away things that gave people an emotional bond with the game, from tree form to warlock pet names.

Their behaviour suggests to me that they're losing sight of what makes people love the game, rather than simply enjoying its mechanics. And if they keep doing that, WoW 5.01 might see a much reduced population.