Massively OP’s latest Daily Grind community discussion column is “What would it take to get you back into WoW?”. It’s a simple enough question and one that I’ve been contemplating since the announcement of Battle for Azeroth.
At present I’m less likely to be jumping on-board with the expansion than with previous expansions. The Alliance vs Horde angle really bores me, even if it’s only one of the storylines for the expansion (the Void being another likely major plot point). The apparent destruction of Teldrassil is a pretty extreme step to take also, we’ll see just why that happens and how it’s handled I guess when the expansion launches. Darkshore is already such a depressing zone post-Cataclysm, I can’t see how this won’t turn almost all the Night Elf zones into one big refugee camp!
But there are non-story reasons why I’m just not excited about World of Warcraft anymore. One aspect of the scant details we have so far does sound positive – the re-introduction of class buffs. Not that I’m so obsessed with “drive-by buffing” that it’s a make or break feature, mind, but it does indicate that the class homogenisation project that has been underway in the game for years now may be finally stopping. Dare I even hope the devs will stick their collective neck out and risk classes being more distinct this expansion? A lot of sins have been committed in the name of class balance over the years in WoW, robbing classes of their uniqueness and a lot of fun but less combat-oriented features.
I’ve watched from the wings before during a WoW expansion’s launch, picking a time right for me to jump in after the fact. I did this for Pandaria and Warlords in fact. Joining at launch is argued as being important so you can be part of the excitement, but to be honest I’m over that experience – although competition for quest items or kills has been reduced in WoW these-days, you do end up having a lot of story moments spoiled by other players just ahead of you triggering events or completing fights just as you arrive (the same issues happen in Elder Scrolls Online mind, it’s not just WoW). If you follow the launch zerg around an expansion it’s guaranteed to happen again and again.
So I plan to wait until after launch, till I’ve observed vicariously how the game has changed and to see if there’s life in the expansion beyond Red vs Blue. The one thing that would really tempt me back sooner would be the restoration of shamans to some semblance of their former glory – you know with a range of totems that last more than a few seconds and regardless of spec…
Posted in ESO, Gaming, WoW
So I read on Twitter that next Tuesday an update will bring in the tradeskill quest line for the Planes of Prophecy expansion.
The timing is pretty good as only a few days ago I was fancying working on my level 30-odd provisioner (i.e. cook), when I remembered that I hadn’t as yet capped any crafting profession since the level cap was raised to 110. So I’ll be waiting to get on with those quests once they’re in-game, although first on my woodworker. Once he’s at the cap I can then come back to provisioner.
On a related note Husband and I have been playing a good amount of Guild Wars 2 together, and the lack of progress made on crafting on various characters has also been increasingly tempting me to spend time on that. We’re even tempted to have a go at ascended crafting if we manage to reach a high enough level of crafting and if, after we finally get our Griffon mounts (currently at 225 of 250 gold), we have enough resources to make something.
Playing some Elder Scrolls Online I was pondering where skills or abilities that in some games are specific class abilities are made gameplay features across all characters. Specifically in ESO all characters can sneak around even if the Rogue-like Nightblade do it best.
I’ve never been that huge a fan of Rogue characters in MMORPGs, so stealth gameplay isn’t something I’m that used to (although I have dabbled in it more recently). In ESO any character can do this so it’d be kind of silly not to at least be aware that I can sneak around the odd group of creatures to speed up a quest. Other standard Rogue actions like picking the lock on a locked chest are also standard gameplay features in ESO.
Another example I could think of is the tendency in action MMORPGs to have an in-built dodge mechanic – movement abilities like this are normal gameplay in games like ESO, Wildstar or Neverwinter. In older MMORPGs though, movement abilities tend to be specialised to certain classes – the Mage’s blink or Hunter’s disengage in World of Warcraft comes to mind.
Gathering abilities can be designed as chosen abilities versus a standard gameplay feature as well. In Guild Wars 2 any character can gather any node so long as you have the right tool equipped. In World of Warcraft you have to choose which gathering profession (if any) to progress and are limited in the total number of crafting and gathering professions a given character can develop.
I think it’s good that characters have to specialise to some extent. ESOs very open character customisation still imposes some restrictions as you can only develop so many skill lines at a given time. and the class choice also impacts a character’s choices to some extent. Having some features like stealth be open to all does give more gameplay variety for any character. I’m a big fan of having a dodge mechanic even if combat isn’t strictly of the action-MMORPG style – big boss fights in WoW are so avoidance focused these days I’d argue a dodge mechanic should be introduced for all classes. As for non-combat features like gathering I haven’t that strong an opinion; being able to gather all materials on any character can be nice – for example if you spot something rare that an alt could use there’s no need to quickly swap to that alt to grab it.
For games that have mounts, and with Guild Wars 2 adding them last year most of the games I play do have them, I often find myself subconsciously or actively selecting mounts for different characters and I rarely vary from that choice. It’s akin to a form of character customisation for me, a part of the characters developing style and personality.
There are some games that make this less clearcut, Guild Wars 2 requires you to use all the mounts just to explore the expansion zones. Where I have a choice though my Mesmer rides a bunnyroo as much as possible, whereas my Charr necromancer seems to be favouring a raptor by default.
Mesmer + bunnyroo
Other examples abound, I’ve gone back to my highest level character in Elder Scrolls Online just to make some progress on leveling – this Argonian rides a guar and will accept nothing less dignified, horses have too many legs!
Finally my Everquest 2 characters have some lovely mounts, my Inquisitor has the glorious (or should I say nefarious) shadowy Opegaz Horde Bane. He’s used other mounts over the years but will I’m sure be using this pegasus for many years to come.
Do you stick to the same mount long-term on characters or do you change them often?
As some predicted, at yesterday’s Q&A, Blizzard announced that pre-orders for Battle for Azeroth are open and that four Allied Races (Void Elf, Lightforged Dreanei, Nightborne and Highmountain Tauren) are available in game NOW for anyone who buys the pre-order.
Battlenet Balance can be used to buy pre-orders – thus the price of the Wowtoken (Wow’s gold to “real” money exchange mechanism) has shot up to 403,000 gold in the EU! I’m very glad I stocked up on tokens before the announcement – it was nice to buy the expansion without spending any cash!
So if you have a max level character and have completed the associated unlocks for each Allied Race (usually being exalted with the faction and having completed their zone’s questlines), you can immediately play through the unlock quests with your high level character and then create your new alts. These unlock quests will also give you new racial mounts that may be ridden by any characters of the same faction.
Some important notes: The four extra character slots per server are not avaialble yet – but should be hotfixed in the next couple of days and will be available even to people who haven’t bought BfA. Also, if you want the Heritage Armor transmog sets for each Allied Race, then you have to level them from 20 to 110 without using an insta-ding token.
Time to level that Void Elf Warlock!
I’ve found myself playing mostly action MMORPGs again, we’ve been back in Guild Wars 2 for some time now, and after Christmas I really got back into a groove solo’ing in Elder Scrolls Online again. In both games it’s easy to get caught up in events happening around your character.
Several times when we’ve logged into GW2 we’ve found our characters stood near a major zone event (a ‘meta’) as it’s building steam. It’s hard not to jump onboard of this, it’s a good way to fill your bags with loot if the mass of semi-organised players manages to pull a successful completion.
Follow that zerg
After several sessions of racing around the newer Istan zones in the Path of Fire expansion, we finally decided to get to work on some alts – picking up our Charr Necromancer and Guardian pair. The aim at the moment is to unlock more masteries in Heart of Thorns and the elite specialisations for both classes. We barely started the second zone of that expansion before Path of Fire launched last Autumn, so there’s a lot left to do progression-wise. But no sooner did we enter Auric Basin for the second time, we were swept up in the Octovine meta-event, not once but two times when we logged back into the game.
The events are fun for sure, but I do sometimes want to play at a slower pace. If it’s been a tiring day at work I’m not necessarily in the mood for smorgasbords of dodge mechanics. To a lesser degree it can be the same in Elder Scrolls Online. I’m mostly questing in that game, when I can move more than 5 yards without gathering something that is. However, the temptation to jump on every Dark Anchor event is there, that clarion call is hard to ignore and they’re fun if sometimes a bit of a messy fight.
‘reaches for mount key’
It’s easy for me to end a session realising I’ve done very little questing at all, however, because I was too busy doing ‘just one more anchor’. ESO more than any MMORPG that I’ve played really rewards you to ‘slow down’ and absorb the lavish detail in front of you.
Reading books and public events do not mix
The news of a Prime server in Rift is doing the rounds at the moment: a server that will have progression through the vanilla content, and the expansions at an accelerated release pace. A detail that caught my attention is the temporary nature of this server, it’ll be merged into another server at some point (presumably when the population naturally declines to an unsustainable level).
Rift isn’t the first game to do this, I read via Reddit that Archeage had already done this, progression servers are also a thing in the Everquests. Likewise the idea of rerolling a new character regularly is pretty common in the wider online gaming genre – action RPGs like Diablo 3 and Path of Exile do this with ‘seasons‘.
That got me thinking about character permanence: it’s a core feature of MMORPGs in general, something that I take for granted in my online gaming. The characters that I create and play will be there (barring a game shutdown) whenever I come back to them, there is permanence and progression ready to return to. The concept of creating a temporary character for a season, leveling them over a fixed time period and then abandoning them, is anathema to me.
I’ve not found playing on Everquest 2’s progression servers to be that appealing either – I haven’t played enough of the content for nostalgic references to work on me and I wasn’t around at the game’s launch to have that comparison with how the game is today. In Rift, I’ve not done any of the last two expansions so there’s no lack of content for me to be playing on the live servers – I suppose the nostalgia factor might actually be more of a pull to Rift as I played at the original launch and remember how much fun zone events were before the big nerf.
Invasion forces stop work in the Manufactory
Is character permanence important?
Posted in EQ2, Gaming, Rift