Archive for October, 2010

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Ding!

27.10.2010

Yesterday – well, technically today – I dinged 40 on my warlock. She’s the first alt to reach that level, so it was an occasion for much celebration. You may smile or laugh, but that is actually a huge step for me.

  • Level 40 achievement
  • New mounts, including the Dreadsteed
  • Dual Spec, not that I need it, but what the hell, gold isn’t worth anything if you don’t spend it

And, most importantly: It took me essentially one weekend and a bit to level my warlock from 30 to 40. Compare that to the time it took for me druid to get from 20 to 30, it’s a world apart. And it was a blast. The Felguard I got from the new talent trees helped a lot, sometimes I was amazed at the masses of mobs that we survived when a pull went wrong.

Seriously, I think I’ll keep playing my druid, just so my other characters will be even more fun when I get back to them.

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All hail the RNG!

26.10.2010

Sometimes, just sometimes, I hit a stroke of luck.

Take the Hallows End seasonal event for example. I like it – fairly easy initial achievements, some fairly amusing quests (seeing Goldshire burn is totally worth it), it encourages you to get the last few missing flightpaths for the candy bucket quest and there is a pet that you can get through sheer luck instead of obnoxiously arduous questing.

One problem I have is, however, that I only do seasonal events with the character I’m playing at the moment. But since there is a pet possible as random reward, I decided to switch to my dedicated pet-collector just for a quick trick or treat.

On the very first try, the Sinister Squashling dropped.

Sometimes, the RNG loves me, it really does.

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Fun in 4.0.1

19.10.2010

I got to finally enjoy the new patch. And since I haven’t had a screenshot post in a long time, here it is – minigames in 4.0.1!

There is a Gnome warlock in this picture. Really, there is. Big hat, glowing staff and all.


(click to zoom)

 

And here we have a main road. Honestly.

(click to zoom)
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In sickness and in health

16.10.2010

Just my usual luck: The week the big 4.0.1 hits, I’m completely ill with a high fever. Nevertheless, I managed to get about an hour of playtime in with my Druid yesterday, and here are the cliff-notes:

30 is the new 20

Yes, I finally did it. My druid took a whole month to get from 20 to 30, but I think he’s starting to be more fun now so that future levels will be a bit more, well, fun to play. It also means I switch characters again, but that’s more than okay, as I need to adjust to the new talents in the patch anyway. Probably my warlock will go first, since she now also got a new demon (Felguard) to play with.

Crash and burn

Not all, not even most but a few critical addons. QuestGuru was broken, but got fixed pretty fast. For a few other addons I’m still holding my breath, but in general there were fewer errors than I thought. Auctioneer seems broken, though, which is a major setback.

Visuals

Gorgeous. And still pretty easy on the hardware. On my five year old PC, I still turn everything up to ‘ultra’ except shadows – and that only because I like the graphics on ‘high’ better. The additional ground-clutter alone makes a huge difference. Add to that a bit more view-distance and you got a whole new game, right now. Also fantastic are the water reflections. I urge you, turn liquids up to ‘ultra’ and go to, say, Ru’theran Village when it’s raining. It is simply beautiful.

Talents

Well, Talented doesn’t work, but the new talent trees are just as good – my main complaint was that I couldn’t see all of it at one glance. Now I can. They seem to read my blog, because the Druid changes are exactly what I wanted to make it more fun playing one. The tree themselves seem a bit more condensed, but I’ll wait and see how it works out in the long run. So far, though, I’m quite happy.

The verdict

If this patch is any indication for Cataclysm performance on your hardware (and I think it is), you can all relax. My ancient rig still manages 60 FPS in most scenes – and with ENBseries doing it’s magic, I’m still well over 30 FTP. That is enough for an MMO. In fact, I’d say performance has increased after the patch.

Visuals are good, I can’t wait to see what the actual Cataclysm will bring. Talent and class changes so far also seem to hit the spot, although I can only speak for the solo and questing faction.

Ready for Cataclysm? I think we are!

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Now with 100% less advertising!

08.10.2010

WordPress.com is an interesting thing. As long as you view blogs while logged in to a WordPress account, you don’t see ads. Yesterday, I tried for the first time accessing the blog from my iPod, to see how the mobile theme works. Good news: It works perfectly. Bad news: Not logged in, I get ads.

Now, I have nothing against google adsense in general. However, seeing ads for WoW goldselling services on my blog was harsh. At first I even thought the account had been compromised somehow. After a bit of reading, though, I found the above fact – I usually post and proof my posts while logged in.

So I bit the bullet and bought the no-ads upgrade. 25 € for peace of mind. But I hope this will improve the experience for my readers, if only by reducing load-times alone.

If anyone still sees ads, please give me a shout.

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The GearScore fallacy

01.10.2010

Vacation time means catching up with one thing. Gaming, and sleeping. Two things. Vacation time means catching up with two things: Gaming, sleeping and blogging. Three. Three things…

Before this ventures too far into the surreal world of Monty Python, something completely different.

I read Gevlon’s blog. Most of the time I don’t agree with him, for the simple reason that I don’t think he ‘gets’ why people play games and his poor understanding of what ‘being social’ means. But that is not the point at hand. Occasionally, I come across a post that I do agree with. In this case, a rather old post, titled GearScore Failure.

He proposes that, in a casual environment (pugging, in his example), GearScore is actually inversely proportional to player skill. The reasoning – in my own words – is thus.

Acquiring gear is mostly a function of time spent. While time spent also equals experience (as a player) gained, this ratio varies wildly. A skilled player is someone with a high ratio of time spent to skill gained. An unskilled, carried player is someone whose ratio nears zero. Both type of player, though, acquire roughly the same amount of gear.

Now for context. In a casual environment, what type of player is more likely to apply for a pug? A skilled player that is himself more likely to be in an actual raiding guild? Or a player whose applications get turned down again and again because of a lack of actual playing skill? You can’t see the skill. But you can see the GearScore. And since time spent equals gear, skill equals time spent to skill gain and skill gain means higher probability of raiding guild membership – high GearScore in pugs means probably not much playing skill.

Probably. Of course there are a ton of exceptions. It also depends on how high you set the bar for being a skilled player. Or an okay player at the least. But factoring in other outside elements, such as character name and general demeanour in chat, you should be quickly able to discern into which category the player falls.

Why am I posting about this, anyway?

Enter the casual player.

Time spent means gear. Or rather, time spent raiding means gear. Time spent questing means less gear. But time spent no matter what means skill gained. Granted, the ratio is potentially higher when raiding, but still. Skill gained, in this case means nothing at all for guild membership. To get that gear, though, a casual has to spend more time questing and soloing instances. Whether soloing instances is still casual is open for debate, I say yes. More time spent means a higher potential skill gain. Soloing can be quite stressful, and a good training ground for improvisation and quickly adapting to new situations.

So, since a skilled raiding player won’t apply to pugs (he will, but for the sake of argument, he’ll be the exception), we have two players applying for the pug run: One with a high GearScore and dubious guild membership and one with a medium to low GearScore and no guild membership. Unless both have the same dismal outside factors in chat, the low-GearScore casual is not only much more pleasant to run with, but also probably more skilled. Go with the casual. You’re doing yourself and everybody else a big favour.