Archive for March, 2007

Hero classes coming?

I found this over on Tobold’s site, and it purports to be leaked information from a play-tester explaining exactly how Hero classes will work. The explanation is similar enough to how classes work now–and it’s kind of unimaginative and dull–for me to believe that this is how they will be, or at least very close to how they will be.

Here’s a snippet:

Firstly each of the nine base classes can branch out to exactly three hero classes. For example, Druids can branch out to Druid of the Talon (nuking), Druid of the Claw (feral), and Keeper of the Grove (healing), while Paladins can be Champion of the Light (healing), Mountain King (defense, and yes they twisted lore here), and Knight of the Silver Hand (offense). More details on specific hero classes later. As you can see, each of the three hero classes plays to the strengths of that classes’ three talent trees. However the main purpose of Hero Classes is to allow players to tangibly improve their characters at max-level through means other than gear. Since Hero Classes will be released after The Burning Crusade, they will be obtained at level 70. Surprisingly they’ll not only be available to every player, without a quest, but they’ll either be trainable for free at the corresponding class trainer, or require a simple and straightforward quest. Blizzard’s reasoning is that Hero Classes should be a natural progression and reward for all players who have achieved max-level, rather than a grind for only the “hardcore”.

There’s two catches though: 1) specializing in a Hero Class is like specializing in a profession – you’re stuck with it forever, and 2) you won?t immediately have access to all hero skills. Think of it as starting a new class – you start off with a couple of base abilities, you get a few more from class quests, and the rest come from your class trainer. The same applies to hero classes; picking a Hero Class will start you off with two new hero skills, and the rest will come from hero class training (called “hero talents”) and hero quests. Here’s the interesting part: hero talents uses Hero Points, rather than currency or regular talent points. Blizzard hasn’t finalized how Hero Points will be earned, but they will most likely be obtained through a combination of experience/honor, and unique items that give you one or more hero points when used. Most likely those items will be given as both quest rewards, and drops off legendary mobs like Illidan and outdoor raid bosses (emphasizing the “heroism”).

It sounds like it will lock you into one role pretty hard and also perpetuate the boring (to me at leats) Raid-or-Die paradigm. Yay? Click through to see the big list of what spec becomes which Hero class.

Interesting Post on Peer Pressure in WoW

The always thought-provoking Tobold has posted a follow-up to his Is the Burning Crusade reshuffling guilds? post, entitled Peer pressure.

This is something that I’ve written about before, and something that obviously has affected a lot of raiding guilds post-TBC. Whether your guild has survived or not, you’ve become aware of these issues. My long-term guild saw exactly this scenario, and I was part of a group who splintered off. (We’re doing just fine, thanks, and as of yesterday have enough people for two Karazhan runs. The guild is founded upon being nice to each other, we’re not going to split spouses who like to play together, we’re helping everyone get attuned, and we understand that life come first. So it’s not all bad.)

What do you think? Aside from the Burning Crusade clich├ęs of elitism and the A Team and B Team splits, have you experienced peer pressure to level faster, to get attuned, to keep up with the class? Or were you able to pick your own path?

Tales of a WoW n00b: Week 2

Well the best intentions for this recurring column/post series couldn’t keep life from getting in the way.

Today marks the 14th day of my 14-day trial and, while I’m going to pay for the full version and likely sign up long-term for monthly membership, I’m kind of sad that I didn’t blog more often about my newbie experience.

I’ll likely devote one last post after this one to the process of purchasing the full retail game and moving from n00b to full-fledged warcrack addict.

But this time around I wanted to mention community as the real “killer app” lurking in the bowels of Azeroth. Last week I posted a tongue-in-cheek link (sorry if that wasn’t clear, my internet irony senses are failing) about WoW being a detriment to relationships. In reality, I think nothing could be further from the truth.

In the comments to that post there are a multitude of folks who talk of playing with their significant other or meeting new friends playing WoW and I completely agree. Far from the flaming hordes and unwashed masses of folks too busy to chat or lend a hand directing you in a quest or helping you fight off an attack, I’ve found the opposite to be true.

WoW enables quick, ad hoc group generation for specialized tasks like playing simultaneously on a random Tuesday night, but it also allows for longer term guild-building and relationship formation. I actually became the charter member of a guild last week and I’ve taken great advantage of several raiding parties and small groups to help distribute the risk of leveling up and enjoying the hell out of it.

It’s great to see other character classes, weapons and abilities combine to defeat a knot of gnarlpines or harpies. Certainly nothing like Leeroy Jenkins, but I’ve got to aspire to something, right?

In the end, I think the real reason Wow or any other MMOG survives is because of the MMO and not necessarily the G. The fact that we have millions of people all over the world playing at once using the internet is really the amazing innovation and wonder here. Sure, it doesn’t hurt that the world is immersive and beautiful and meticulously-planned, but if everyone playing were an egomaniacal asshole, I’d have left the first day.

So this isn’t the end of my n00b-ness, I have much left to learn. And this isn’t my last post in this series, either, since I’d love to stay on as an author after my column is done.

It is, however, the end of this particular diatribe. Good night, and thanks for helping me out or playing along with me, internet. I’ve enjoyed it.

Like A Virgin

It’s great to find something that makes the game exciting in a different way, that makes you anxious to log in, that makes it all brand new. For me recently, that has been playing my baby Draenei priest. I’ve never played a healing class before, as I’m used to ranged and caster DPS classes. This has been a lot of fun…and do you know what? I wouldn’t mind making her my main someday.

I’ve sat and read books in between bouts of button-mashing in Naxx on my lock, enjoying the experience of raiding with my guild, but not nervous or challenged in any way. And then, this weekend I sat with pulse racing while trying to keep a party alive. The instance? Stockades. :)

What have you found recently that makes it all new and shiny for you? Was it discovering roleplaying, or PvP? Playing a new class? Playing Horde for a change, or Alliance?

Now, if I could just remember to heal the darned pets…

WoW != Romantic Relationships

So says Digg (or at least a commenter).

For what it’s worth, my wife respects my burgeoning WoW habit so long as it doesn’t infringe on our Lost and Grey’s Anatomy-watching (yes, I went there).

Also, actually playing the game for hours on end has delayed the next installment of Tales of a Wow n00b. Stay tuned.

[Via Joystiq]

Alts: When Is Enough, Enough?

During the past couple of weeks, I’ve been in a kind of lull where I’m just not as excited about playing. Both my main characters are 70, I left a guild that I’d been in for a long time, helped form a new one, and we’re getting new members attuned for raiding. I’m a bit burned out on questing and grinding, so I’ve been turning away from the computer on nights when I would normally have played. And then I went back to my baby Draenei priest.

I do enjoy playing her. I’m looking forward to playing a healing class in instances, since that will be a totally new experience. I love the way she looks, with her chunky hooves, pigtails and vaguely Eastern-European accent. And yet…the thought of taking another character all the way to 70, through all of the old content, through all of that grinding, just makes me tired.

When do you say enough is enough?
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Messing with Gold Farmers for Fun and Profit…

So, we’ve all gotten those lame-ass spam mails in our in-game mailbox with a 100g COD for something like a plain letter. They suck. They really trick people now and again, and it’s really lame. So, this happens to someone on the WOW Community on LJ, and he got his sweet, sweet revenge, complete with GMs laughing at the farmer for getting rooked by his own scam. The rooking? Netted the guy enough to buy his epic flying mount riding skill.

Brilliant. Just brilliant. Go read for all the laughs.

Tales of a Wow n00b: Day 3

I should really have titled this post “General Asshattery” but I have a little more self respect than that, but only slightly.

First, I want to thank all the gracious and kind commenters on yesterday’s post. Your suggestions and advice were invaluable. As a true Wow n00b and someone who has logged next to zero hours in this or any other MMOG in the last few hours, the few simple tricks have been the most helpful.

Keep reading for my small realizations that have been a huge help.
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Tales of a Wow n00b: Day 2

After the horribly entertaining (read: deathly dull) events of Day 1, I actually decided to give logging on, character creation and playing a shot. Go figure.

First off, 4 more software patches and updates, I shit you not. I realize this is a hugely popular game, but for a first-timer I was prepared to chuck it if I had to sit through another update prior to actually playing.

That said, my first login went really smoothly and I chose Nordrassil (side effects include nausea, vomiting and shortness of breath) as my realm.

Read on for the tyranny of choice and indecision that is character creation.
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Tales of a Wow n00b: Day 1

A little over a month ago I had this grand idea: spend the $1.95 burning a hole in my pocket on a 14-day trial of World of Warcraft and blog my exploits. Simple, right?

Tonight I’m posting the first in what I hope is a regular series of posts tackling World of Warcraft from a wholly outsider’s perspective. I suppose this would be “journalism” – whatever that means – and a good excuse to write off future discretionary purchases as “research”. ;-)
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