Wow Class Halls: Guesses & Desires – Part 1

Meznir here – Telwyn’s hubby. I’m hijacking his blog again for some World of Warcraft speculation.

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I’m going to shoehorn Gilneas in here if it’s the last thing I do…

So we now know that the next Wow expansion will be “Legion” and the most interesting addition for me is the renewed focus on Classes and the return to old zones for Class Spec Artifacts and Class Halls. Today I’m going to have a bit of fun guessing at where/what the Class Halls could be and/or ideas for what they could have been. It’s also an excuse to dig around in my huge screenshot directory and take a few more :)

Some of the Class Authors over at BlizzardWatch have been making their own guesses (Death Knight, Priest, Mage, Druid, Warrior) and have some very cool ideas too.

class_recallsLet’s make a start with the three (sort-of four) classes that already have their own teleports to a class specific area: Death Knights, Druids, Monks and sort-of Shaman – which seems logical to me to be where their Class Halls most likely will be (bar the latter). Will the other classes get similar spells? Probably. Continue reading

Posted in Gaming, WoW | 2 Comments

My Quantic Foundry gamer profile

I noticed recently some other bloggers displaying their Quantic Foundry gamer profile charts. It’s similar to the old Bartle gamer profile, though expanded to six categories of gamer behaviour. The Gamer Motivation Profile questionnaire is available online here: https://apps.quanticfoundry.com/lab/10#

My score chart

My Quantic profile

My gaming motivation profile

When I fill these kinds of psychological tests out I often find it hard to resist the urge to ponder what each option might do to the end results. Over-thinking my answers would bias the results however so I’ve tried to answer everything based on gut instincts.

The results
The results show I’m big on immersion and creativity with a significant slice of social and mastery behind that. Each of these six elements is further subdivided in the analysis. For immersion, the results show me being interested both in story (65%) and fantasy (51%), pretty even.That tallies with my desire both for strong story-lines and something imaginative and unrecognisable from the real world. More recently I’ve felt drawn to The Secret World and Star Wars the Old Republic for that combination of stories and rich setting.

My high creativity score is biased towards what the designers call discovery (78%) versus design (only 40%). Although I certainly am curious about my character’s surroundings when I play, what little exposure I’ve had to true sandbox gaming left me feeling confused and lacking in goals – such a high discovery score is interesting if slightly unexpected. The lower design score makes sense, I haven’t the interest or patience to build and furnish a complex house in a game like Rift or EQ2.

For social the split is even more extreme: 82% community versus 8% competition. That’s very inline with my strong dislike of PVP and even non-combat competition such as racing for a harvesting node. Equally uneven was my mastery score sub-components: I had 66% for strategy but only 7% for challenge. I’ve been getting interested again in strategic gaming of late so I can understand that score being higher and given my apparent lack of patience with some of The Secret World’s more challenging missions I have to recognise the low challenge score is probably accurate!

My very low achievement and action scores are no surprise at all. I really could care less about tick-box exercises in MMORPGs and I’m over action MMOs as something to play as a contrast to the tab-target standard. Gaming should be about relaxation and enjoyment above all else in my book.

I’ve found it an interesting exercise regardless of the science behind the chart. The results seem pretty accurate to me in so far as such a short questionnaire could hope to accurately map my motivations for gaming.

Posted in EQ2, Gaming, Rift, TSW

MMO Regrets

Syp’s recent post on his Bio Break blog alerted me to a topic that’s doing the rounds apparently: MMO Regrets. Here’s my shortlist.

1) Slow to join the genre

Like Syp I missed out on some early online gaming experiences. Personally I wish I’d tried Dark Sun Online back in the late 1990s. The game started in 1996 but I wasn’t online till 1998 and had to pay per minute until 2000 by which time this short lived MMO had been shutdown. I was even later to the genre, I tried Mankind and SWG briefly at some point but it wasn’t until 2007 that WoW dragged me into the online gaming era.

2) Missing out on a game’s early/popular era

I wish I’d tried EQ2 early in its life, most MMOs are poor gaming experiences for a ‘latecomer’, but I especially feel EQ2 concentrates very heavily on endgame players only now.

Joining a small posse of adventurers

Joining a small posse of adventurers

3) Not reaching endgame

For a couple of MMOs I’ve invested a good amount of time in my main character but never reached the end game to see what the majority of the playerbase is actually doing. I loved much of the levelling I did in LOTRO but just got bored with the later direction of the story. Still it would have been nice during one expansion to have caught up. Same issue with Rift, being behind really hurt my enthusiasm for the game.

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4) Regretting level boosts

Although this kind of contradicts my last regret a little I actually think boosting a character too many levels just makes me feel disconnected from the lore and the character also. I boosted a Shadowknight in EQ2 but ultimately feel more of a connection with my old Inquisitor that’s half his level!

Half-forgotten inquisitor

Half-forgotten inquisitor

Levelling alts was a big focus of my years of WoW gaming, so skipping levelling in any significant scale is probably not a good idea for me personally. Upon hearing the WoW: Legion announcement my first thought was: “great a free level 100 so I can skip Draenor”. Thinking it through more though I think that would be a mistake; if I return to Azeroth in time for Legion it should be to a cherished and much played character not some newly-made insta 100. Even boosting an established character 10 or 15 levels might be too far as they’ll have missed a significant segment of the journey that leads to the new content.

Posted in EQ2, Gaming, LotRO, Rift, WoW

Funcom is looking for a buyer?

I spotted the news from yesterday via the PCGamesN news website that Funcom is looking at options for the troubled development studio’s future:

surrounding a possible investment, acquisition, merger, or any other available options.

It’s hardly a surprise to anyone who follows MMORPG news. Games in this genre are increasingly competing for player’s gaming time both against direct competitors and against games from similar genres like MOBAs or online card games (e.g. Hearthstone’s runaway success).

My personal interest in this story is the future development of The Secret World, a buy-out or merger of the studio could mean more money available to beef up the development schedule or it could equally mean a decline in the very high standard of content the game has thus far maintained.

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All data from The Secret World Wiki: http://wiki.crygaia.com/view/Updates_%28Patch_Notes%29

The pace of patches (called issues by Funcom) would seem to have slowed down somewhat since the conversion of the game to Buy to Play (subscription optional) – the chart above shows the number of days wait for each of the post launch patches – the mandatory subscription was dropped on the 12th December a week or so before issue 1.6.

If something does happen with this action I’ll be hoping for a positive outcome for the playerbase; new funding might see a faster development cycle which for the game’s current business model is pretty important as Issues are a major revenue stream.

Posted in Gaming, TSW

FFXIV: time, dungeons and the expansion

We’ve hit a bit of a rut with Final Fantasy 14 of late. The game was very enjoyable to duo up until the last few quests of the 2.0 content. We’ve played a couple of sessions since but something isn’t right. Our log is full of “repeat dungeon” runs as part of the early end-game gearing process. Meanwhile the longer term players are all having fun flying and exploring new zones. Syl’s recent post about her dislike of expansions struck a chord as I was discussing FFXIV with my husband. Expansions are great if your ready for them, not so much if you’re left in the dust.

Spot the only two characters not level-synced...

Spot the only two characters not level-synced…

There’s so much juicy questing content still for us to do before we even enter the Heavensward zones; the Moogle quests, the beast tribe quests and the main scenario quests for instance. This isn’t an issue of growing bored or lacking new things to do.

Moogle quests!

Moogle quests!

The problem rather is I feel the disconnect from the bulk of the playerbase, perhaps in FFXIV it’s not quite as extreme as in WoW or LOTRO where the new zones are the only zones with much activity. In FFXIV you’ll usually find players levelling alt classes up in the popular FATE zones. But our busy and lively guild for the months we were there before the expansion was all about the endgame stuff. Since the expansion’s arrival guild activity is (naturally enough) all about the new zones and new raids. I’ve lived this before, I went through it in LOTRO and SWTOR and Tera. Weirdly this isn’t about a need to power-level our characters as it was in other MMORPGs, this is a multi dungeon-run locked quest chain that stops our level 50 characters from transitioning to the new level 50-60 content of Heavensward.

Perhaps the biggest problems are time and other priorities. We’ve been playing a lot of The Secret World of late plus we’ve now started on Shadowrun Chronicles. Those two leave little time for a time-hungry game like FFXIV. So, perhaps, this game is going to be on pause soon until we can actually dedicate enough time to enjoy it and to justify the monthly subscription.

Posted in FFXIV, Gaming | 3 Comments

Strategic gaming options: Shadowrun Chronicles

This blog and my gaming tastes encompass a variety of games. I play one or two main MMORPGs at a given time, currently TSW and FFXIV. But beyond such story-heavy MMORPG sessions I also like to have other games of a different nature to dip into. Last year was the year of action games – I played a lot of Neverwinter and a chunk of Tera too. Since I’ve been ‘maining’ TSW though I’m less inclined to have an action MMO on the side.

Random events have led me to two different strategic games of late, I’ll cover one in this post and the other in a post next week. I’m sure there are plenty of other strategic games I could be playing, but these two games fit my current desire for immersive and familiar settings.

Shadowrun Chronicles
This new coop strategy RPG came to my attention through articles on the old Massively website. I’d heard of the plans for the game (né Shadowrun Online) but that was back before it even beta’d and it was filed away on the “try eventually” list.

I’m currently playing through the game’s Boston Lockdown campaign with a friend as a duo, the game is based around four-player missions. You can recruit other players in the shared hub chatroom, but you can also go with fewer and fill slots from a variable roster of available NPC Shadowrunners. The NPC henchmen are numerous and characterful but they’re (deliberately I guess) weaker than player run characters, it remains to be seen how far into the campaign we can get without a full party of four PCs.

Party of four; here, two players and two NPC henchmen

Party of four; here, two players and two NPC henchmen

We play with voice chat via Skype, this makes the game’s turn-based combat even more strategic as we plot moves and even the specific order of character’s moves to get best benefit from the available selection of abilities and items. Little details like the timely application of Haste to allow a character to double move and still attack can make quite a difference. Honestly I don’t know how much I’d play the game solo, it’s just so much more fun playing it with a friend or three.

Cursor with shield bottom left; I can't reach this far but the shield shows that spot by the doorway would offer cover...

Cursor with shield bottom left; I can’t reach this far but the shield shows that spot by the doorway would offer cover…

The game lacks that true MMORPG immersive feeling of “lots of players” as all missions are instanced but the hub area is shared, in this sense it’s rather like Dungeons and Dragons Online or Vindictus. In a strategy focused game though I welcome this; I don’t miss competitively racing other players for mobs or the various item-reward nodes in missions areas!

Bear fight!

Root top bear fight!

There are a few MMO basics missing such as item trading between characters – I hope they’ll add this eventually as we’ve both received items we can’t use but that would be a good upgrade for the other’s character. Also the lack of a guide range for summons can be annoying. [Tip: I’ve found out since writing this that F12 takes screenshots and F11 hides/unhides the UI]

Regardless of my wishes for such system improvements, the game oozes plenty of Shadowrun-authentic flavour and story. That alone is enough to keep me wanting to play this for some time to come. It’s the perfect drop-in game since the load time is so fast, a fraction of even the fastest MMO clients, and taking a mission and jumping into it with friends is equally fast and painless. As we reach the end of The Secret World’s available content this game could also be an alternative for our trio gaming sessions as well. Although I love the depth and complexity of MMORPGs, sometimes something simpler and more accessible (time-wise) can scratch that same gaming itch.

A new trio of Shadowrunners

A new trio of Shadowrunners back near the campaign start

Posted in Gaming, SR Chronicles

World of Warcraft: Legion announced

The big reveal yesterday at Gamescom was the next expansion for World of Warcraft, called Legion. Lots of coverage on other sites, Massively OP had a live blog going on and a good summary of the main features. There’s also the teaser trailer from Youtube:

The presentation had some highlights for me as an ex-player of the game:

  • The admission that Blizzard screwed-up by making 5-man dungeons throw-away content – they should be present and meaningful throughout the leveling experience.
  • The idea of artifact weapons was interesting, more character customisation is always a good thing.
  • The lore is a real mish-mash but some bits interest me, in particular the Titan and Vrykul references.
  • Finally the chance for druids to customise their appearance, but will Balance druids be ignored yet again or will they too get the cool new skins?

My thoughts after watching the reveal stream were along these lines:

  • The continued orcs (Guldan) & demons theme doesn’t excite me, it feels like Warlords of Draenor part II.
  • Demonhunters will be using a rage-style mechanic, I really dislike that mechanic in WoW.
  • The class hall is Garrisons version 2.0, no details as to whether they’ve learned any lessons from the impact Garrisons had on the Draenor era of the game.

For the moment I’m left ambivalent, I’m not that tempted to jump back into the game based on this reveal alone. Maybe when I see more details I’ll consider it. I’d need a free boost to level 100 though as I’m not buying Draenor and grinding through 10 levels just to get to content I want to play. I watched my husband play through the storylines on his computer so I really don’t need to see it myself.

Let’s hope the artifact weapon grind won’t have too heavy an emphasis on super-directive play – previous legendary item grinds felt like Blizzard forcing me to do content I wouldn’t normally touch (PVP, LFR etc). If there are options as to how you develop the weapon then I’d be much more interested to give this expansion a go.

Posted in Gaming, WoW | 8 Comments