Archive for the ‘Burning Crusade’ Category

Blizzard Wieghs in on WoW’s Difficulty

A lot of people have a bone to pick when it comes to the overall difficulty of World of Warcraft – many of them go right out and say that they think the game has become easier over time, that Wrath of the Lich King was probably a low-point in the simplicity of the game and the changes made during that period made the game so simple that you could play without paying attention. Those same people are generally grateful that Cataclysm has seen the pendulum swing back in favor of a more difficult game overall.

At the same time, there are plenty of people who think that the game was fine early on in Vanilla WoW, and hit a pretty broken and difficult period in The Burning Crusade. They’ll say that the balance and difficulty were adjusted in Wrath of the Lich King, and the game found its sweet spot during that expansion, and that the changes in Cataclysm to make the game more challenging were unwarranted and the game now has just too steep a learning curve to really be accessible to anyone but people who play all of the time.

I’m curious what you think, but before we get to that point, Bashiok – one of the blue posters at the official forums – had a few things to say on the matter, and they’re worth reading:

I understand and respect gaming masochism. But, I think that changing mechanics to be more reasonable and less punishing is an improvement, not a detriment, to games in general. Many of us Original Gamers pine for the days of D&D-based yore when games were seemingly intended to break us down into sobbing masses created by an uncaring necromancer of pain and suffering, or at least didn’t try to avoid it. Overcoming all of the obstacles (I CHOOSE NOT TO SHOOT HER WITH THE SILVER ARROW… NOOOOO) was a big part of what gaming (I HAVE 1 LIFE!?), and especially PC gaming (HOW DO I LOAD MOUSE DRIVERS?), were about. But, I feel we’re lucky to now be in an age where those ideals (intended or not) are giving way to actual fun, actual challenge, and not fabricating it through high-reach requirements (I NEED A FAIRY MONK WITH A MAGIC LOCKPICK?).

What we’ve always been trying to do, what WoW has always been about (and to which much of its success is due) is to make an accessible MMO. Anyone that looks back at the game at launch and wishes it was as challenging now as it was then is not aware of the painstaking effort put into making this game accessible as compared to its predecessors. Since release we’ve refined that intent, eventually evolving the very few masochistic designs WoW actually ever started with, but ideally still offering those same prestige goals that give that feeling of achieving something great if you’re able to pull it off. We’ve made a lot of progress toward striking that balance and continuing to evolve the game, but it’s not something we’re ever likely to perfect, and we’ll be constantly working to hit that elusive goal. Hopefully it’s to the benefit of everyone playing and enjoying the game, and they’ll continue to enjoy the journey that a living, breathing, persistent universe will take us on.

I have to hand it to Bashiok partially for slamming so many old school gaming references into such a tiny addition to the thread, but he has some good points too: there’s a sense of nostalgia among people who have been playing video games – especially PC games – for a long time and remember the days when games were still fun and exciting, but far more punishing and difficult. But he does pose the question: does difficulty and punishment for making the wrong decisions make a bad game? Does a strict game with rigid gameplay styles automatically equate a GOOD game, or does it just make it a game that some of the most dedicated and determined gamers will love but no one else will ever play?

It’s a difficult line to walk, I have to admit, and while I have no real complaints about the difficulty level in Cataclysm (while I will be one of the people to say things in Wrath of the Lich King were a little on the easy side, and I thought Burning Crusade was a good place, especially with some of the changes Blizzard made at the tail end) I can see how difficult it is for them to walk it. At the same time, I think it’s clear that Blizzard isn’t fooling themselves: they know they can’t make everyone happy, and they shouldn’t try to – stick to their principles and their guns, and the game will continue to be successful.

What do you think? Is Cataclysm just too damned hard, or are people complaining about nothing? Sound off in the comments!

What’s Your Favorite WoW Weapon?

Each week over at The Blog Azeroth Forums, the community comes together around a shared blog topic – interested WoW bloggers can pick up the topic and make posts on their own sites to respond to it, and all of the responses are collected and linked at “What Is Your Favorite Weapon?” is this week’s topic!

This week’s shared topic over at Blog Azeroth was a particularly fun one to think about. Kallixta asked the group:

I was comparing a new upgrade to my older item when it struck me how much I liked my old item. Like is wonderfully subjective and I hope others will explain their measure.

Is your favorite weapon something with strong memories for you? Is it something that just works well for RP purposes? Or maybe the balance of abilities meshes better than normal to your spec and play style?

Admittedly, I don’t do much RP, and I’m not exactly an endgame high-end raider who doesn’t have time to think about the looks and story behind a weapon because he’s too busy min/maxing to care, so I think I’m right there in the middle with those players who have fallen in love enough with a couple of his items that they simply won’t ever leave the bank. Here are a couple of them.


Gnomeregan News Network


This one’s a little old since the content is pre-Wrath and from when Burning Crusade was new stuff, but it’s still hilarious, especially if you’ve played through BC and enjoyed it. I particularly like the gnome who gives the environmental report. He clearly has better things to do with his time, and uh…I guess I don’t blame him.

Why the Hate for Vanilla WoW?


Over at the venerable WoW Insider, Senior Editor Mike Schramm stirred up quite a controversy by pointing out something that’s been rumbling in the WoW community for a while now: should Blizzard get rid of/bolster and rework Vanilla WoW?

Now by “Vanilla WoW,” we mean all of the original level 1-60 content that launched with the game. You remember that stuff, don’t you? Onxyia and her whelps, Tier 1 gear, Deadmines and the Defias, Tauren fighting the Centaur in Mulgore, and of course, who can forget Barrens chat?

Silliness aside, there are two very diametrically opposed camps here; some people out there want Blizzard to open “Vanilla Servers,” where the level cap is still 60 and all of the content ends with the content released before Burning Crusade – a place where people can still wrap themselves in the original content without the treadmill rush to level to 70 and then 80, rushing through Outlands and then Northrend. On the other side of the argument are the people who want to essentially sunset 1-60 entirely, and make all characters like Death Knights: as long as you have an 80 somewhere you can roll a new character starting at level 55 anywhere. Some of those people even say you can limit it to a server – if you have an 80 on that server, you should be able to start any class at 55 on that server.

I can see both sides of this debate: there are those of us looking to gear, level, and armor up to assist our guilds with raids and instances, and for those of us who are looking to do that the original content from 1-60 is little more than a path to that, and at worst it’s an obstacle in the way there. At the same time, for those of us who really enjoy the original old world content for its rich story, lore, interesting NPCs and gameplay, the thought of removing it or otherwise toning it down or isolating it from the higher-level game content is abhorrent.


Breathing New Life Into An Old Game

BlizzBlues got you down? Dreading the login before another farming run on SSC, Mt. Hiyal, or Black Temple? Stuck in Karazhan and no idea why it seems so hard to get 24 of your best friends (to quote Brutalus) to come to Vashj? Seems I am not the only one feeling the BlizzBlues when I am on my main. Sure, there’s Sunwell and with 25 daily quests at hand I could go back and wrangle some more Aether Rays or fly in circles looking for Nethercite. But, all in all, it’s been done zillions of times before, between three alts and a main close to a thousand times, I reckon.

Not quite ready to give up fully, I first got it into my head to get Conqueror on a character rolled after the Burning Crusade came out. Which, given there’s no AB and WSG rep for tokens anymore, amounts to an average 8,000 Warson Gulch games. Even at twelve a day, which is unlikely given the wait times in my Battlegroup, that’s 666 days (and the number is fascinatingly fitting).

So I decided to try my hand at speedrunning. Hunter to 70 in four days six minutes /played, Warlock in four days, nine hours, twelve minutes, Shaman in about ten (it’s what passes for “balance” these days). Three speed runners later and I am sick of that stuff, too … and have barely passed the fourth week into the BlizzBlues.

Enter Achim, my trusty sidekick, former HWL grinding partner, crazy Ice Cream parlor owner, and avid reader of bad 60s tuppence romance novels. Under his guidance and continued pushing we assembled the team (“we’re getting the band back together,” he proclaims on Vent and is seriously miffed that only half of those in attendance get the reference), and re-rolled.

Building a new guild, a new social structure, a new way of thinking and leveling, while setting new goals and thinking about progression in terms of experience, not bosses, prove to be a daunting task. But somehow we did it. We formed and leveled an Alliance guild on a server none of us had ever played on. We suffered, again, through the indignities of low level pugging in Deathmines, Scarlet Monastery, and Stockades. We filled our guild pool with gold extracted from those of us who accidentally clicked Horde Flight Masters and got two-shot by those enraged wyvverns we formerly rode into the sunset of Tanaris, and we experienced, for the first time in years, Wailing Caverns as a challenging instance (In 2005 WC put the L into L2P, to quote Eyonix). At 60 we entered Molten Core, we slew bosses and trash in Zul’Gurub, we wiped on Nefarian and the trash before the Four Horsemen. The game was fun again.

Thusly invigorated, actually looking forward to log into the game and play for an hour or two, we decided to mash it up once more. This time we’d take everything we’d learned from leveling Alliance and make a Horde guild. There was some apprehension at first, not the least in yours truly. My Horde characters and the new Alliance toons had grown familiar and become attached. That epic flight form was hard work, so was the Paladin’s Cenarion Gryphon. But, in the end, we all agreed – nothing would be lost and much could be gained.

Beating the BlizzBlues takes a few simple rules. Here they are, in case you’re interested in trying our adventure for yourself. And if, for some reason, you feel like trying it with us – we just started and will wait up for you (see Rule #1), join us in our next adventure.

  1. Create “stop points”. We suspended leveling at all “nines” (19,29,39,49, and 59), waiting up for those who came a little behind. PvP and tradeskill leveling are good things to do during those breaks. Thanks to the 2.3 leveling speed changes this was never more than two days or less, but it helped us to stay together and experience content as a community, not as individuals.
  2. Re-focus on what’s important in the game. Getting to 70 as fast as possible and farming Illidan might be some people’s idea of the games’ only true purpose, but alas taking a handful lowbies at the lower end of the level requirements into Wailing Caverns or Blackrock Depths can be more exciting and rewarding than farming Lootreaver for weeks.
  3. Observe the story.Your first character might have been a little bit too occupied with getting the hang of the game while subsequent ones tried to level quickly to catch up to the guild. Stop every once in a while to actually take in the story, it’s what you pay your monthly fee for, might as well enjoy it. Do the long but fun chains such as the Tirion Fordring chain, they’re worth it in terms of entertainment.
  4. Play the polar opposite of your current main. I went from a Druid tank to a caster class (my formative roots).
  5. Play without compromise with people you totally, completely, and absolutely, trust, respect, and call “friend”. If this means waiting another two weeks to enter Karazhan instead of recruiting someone whose attitude is just “OK” but who could tank/heal/DPS today, wait the two weeks.
  6. Don’t make the re-roll your new job. You have a main somewhere else, play it. Take time off from the game, as well. As long as everyone in the team observes this simple rule no one will be stuck too far behind.

The best place to find re-roll guilds is in your current circle of friends. Chances are, some are as burned out as you are and can trade the (understandeable) attachment to their mains for a few hours of refreshingly fun adventures a week on an alt. Or that guy/gal you became best friend with, in game, when both of you were already 70? Wouldn’t it be fun to level with him or her from scratch?

I know I will enjoy our next foray into pre-TBC leveling and playing with a new and old set of friends I never had a chance to level or play with. This time the goal is lofty – Kara cleared by May, but we’re confident we can do it. After all, time and levels fly if you’re having fun.

What about you? Got any prescriptions for the BlizzBlues for those of us who still want to spend time playing?

Of QQ, pew pew and the design of the different classes

So far I have two main toons, Dreadmoon and Slimme, both 70, both belonging to a “this is the most nerfed class on the game” category: Druid and Hunter.

Of course, if they were anything else, they will still belong to the same category. After all, our class is hugely underpowered compared to any other class around… right?

As part of my “learning the class” experience I tend to visit the Class forums in the official World of Warcraft site. And let me tell you, that is a trip…

Leeroy Jenkins is Level 70

Though I find it hard to believe he’s Exalted with anyone.

Ok I admit it the Armory is fun.

One Month After the Release

It has been a little over a month since the release of Burning Crusade. Were you one the few who took that week off work and lived on Red Bull and Dominos to be the first on your server to level to 70, or did you take your time and enjoy the scenery while leveling?

For me I was right about in the middle leveling speed. I had my late nights on the weekends and some weeknights especially while I was nearing the 70 mark, but I tried not to let if affect my day schedule. I hit 70 two weeks after the release. I was thrilled at first, but now I wish that I would have spent a few more days working the faction reputation while leveling. My faction from Cenarion Expedition and Honor Hold is still a mere friendly, while my Aldor and Lower City (to name a few) are at least at revered. I will eventually have to go back to lower level factions and get at least revered to get all my heroic keys.

Race? What Race?

So, raise your hand if members of your guild were racing to be the first to 70. If you were the first one to 70, go stand in the corner, because you missed a hell of a great game. Just kidding…seriously, how have you approached it? Did you want to get to the new end-game instances, flying mounts, and Heroic Mode as soon as you could? Or were you not really bothered by how long it took, within reason? Did you level more than one character? Or did you focus on a brand new Draenei or Blood Elf?

I am in the middle ground. I don’t want to be left behind and lose a place in future raids, but I am so thoroughly enjoying the content that I’m absolutely not going to race through it. We have quite a few 69-70s in the guild now, but it doesn’t bother me. My hunter is almost 65, and my warlock main is half-way to 64. I did get some rather pointed questions about was I switching my main to the hunter, but the hunter is both more fun and easier to level, so she goes first. Ravven will come second, and level faster with a knowledge of where everything is. My Draenei? Unfortunately abandoned for the moment at level 17, since I simply can’t do three.

My main ambition right now? A cobalt talbuk mount. :)

Thrall Returns Home

It was late afternoon on the plains of Nagrand as I stood before Hemet Nesingwary. I held in my hands the heart of a giant elekk queen, and we were discussing my reward when the drums of a thousand war kodos came up over our conversation and smothered it. The thunderous sound of all those war drums, lead by the howls of the Frostwolves of Orgrimmar, was one I felt deep in my chest as they ran by.

Much to my surprise, I recognized their livery, that of Thrall’s own honor guard! Was the warchief truly here in the Outland? He was. He, and Drek’Thar, ran by on their wolves, headed for Garadar. Finishing up with Nesingwary, I mounted my war raptor and headed into Garadar to see the warchief’s arrival. As he approached the city limits, his honor guard lined the road, the wolves howling their salute to the chief as he paced in on his mount. Dismounting at the gate, and carrying his fabled Doomhammer, he walked to the center of Garadar to see Garrosh Hellscream, chief of the Mag’har, as well as the Greatmother herself, now dying in the hospice in Garadar.

Their reunion was one I shall never forget. The joy of reunion, the sadness of the Greatmother’s condition, the relief and pride of Garrosh Hellscream at learning the true fate of his father. Without question, one of the finest moments in the Outland, thus far.

Terms of use | Privacy Policy | Content: Creative Commons | Site and Design © 2009 | Metroblogging ® and Metblogs ® are registered trademarks of Bode Media, Inc.