Posts Tagged ‘casual’


News from the grave


Well. This was unexpected.

I haven’t fallen off the face of the earth, nor have I quit WoW – it’s just that I’ve been pretty occupied lately. However, in order to not abandon this blog, here’s a quick roundup of what I’m playing at the moment.


L.A. Noire

Started. I like it a lot, sadly, I can’t find enough uninterrupted time to seriously advance in the story.


Dragon Age Saga

Bought all expansions to the original as well as Dragon Age II. Can’t find enough uninterrupted time to seriously continue.


World of Warcraft

Tried to level my Paladin out of Outland. Good times, but unfortunately, I currently can’t find enough uninterrupted time to… recognise a pattern yet?



Bought it, love it. Don’t need much uninterrupted time, so that’s probably my most played game at the moment.


TES: Oblivion

Yep, good ol’ Oblivion. Purchased the German GotY version for my girlfriend, then felt the itch myself, re-purchased the English Deluxe GotY version for myself. Spent lots of uninterrupted time-slots on getting a good combination of mods to work with the Steam install, testing a new kind of modloader for a friend.


I’ll probably get back more into WoW once my girlfriend buys another gametime (or maybe I should gift her one) – but currently it’s a bit of a hiatus. What free time I have I tend to spend outside on my bike – still far behind my season schedule, or going out.

Since I’d rather post something instead of nothing for another two months, this blog might get slightly off-topic WoW, but still focus on casual gaming. After all, one of the hallmarks of a casual gamer is not being restricted on a single game.

There’ll probably be a few posts coming up about my observation of casual game styles, as for the first time I have another person beside me playing the same games. It’s quite fascinating and actually explains a lot about a few aspects in WoW (and other games) that completely baffled me before.


Kong – king of casual UI mods


A while ago I came across a post on WoWInsider highlighting an add-on called ‘Kong‘. Back then, it didn’t seem worth the trouble of setting up. But since I’ve started doing to Stormwind cooking and fishing dailies, I also started thinking: “Do I really need all this useless UI elements when I’m sitting on a bench on the shore of Olivias Pond?”

The answer, of course, is “No, I don’t”. But then, Alt-Z’ing the UI hides some information I do want. Like, how many more fish do I need to catch? Alright, so the sounds of QuestGuru help with that, but still. Or a glimpse of the minimap would be nice – the least intrusive UI element there is.

So, I finally headed back to Kong and installed and configured it. Really, a video would be best to explain how it works, but instead, I made a few screenshots showing it in action.

Click to enlarge!



Travel mode - most of the UI is hidden




Mouseover the QuestGuru frames




Casting mode - Unit frames unhidden and action bars partially visible




Combat mode - all bars and frames visible




Back to travel mode - note that all popups open with 100% alpha



One thing to note is that you have to set it up completely yourself, but it’s very easy to do so. All you need is the frames you want to edit open on your screen – the rest is done with a few clicks.


Back in the saddle


What, I ask you, is always the greatest difference when switching from a high level alt to a low level one? The gear? The abilities? The gold? Access to reputation gear or crafting recipes?

Travel speed?

Yes, definitely that last one. It already hit me back when I started out on going from a character that had riding back to one travelling by foot. More recently, from 100% ground speed back to a paltry 60%. And now, from a level 70 flying Paladin back to a level 43 Hunter.

The interesting thing is, though, I miss flying. No wait, that’s not surprising. It’s that most of the time I don’t miss flying. Except when I want to get to an auction house. Or to a class trainer. Or go do the fishing dailies in Stormwind. See, I’m questing in Thousand Needles (a completely revamped zone that’s well worth a visit, by the way). Before that I was in Feralas. Have a look at the flight path connection to, oh, Darnassus. Okay, you say, you don’t have to go to Darnassus, the dailies are in Stormwind anyway. That ship sails off at Ruth’eran Village. See? That’s two minutes less travel time!

Of course, you could also go to Theramore, cross to Menethil Harbour, then Ironforge – and if you want the dailies, take the tram to Stormwind. Or Ratchet, Booty Bay, Stormwind. Common to all these travel plans is that the flight paths take extreme detours – getting from the Speedbarge to Theramore by taxi takes approximately five times longer than necessary, simply because you travel via Feralas.

So yes, I bloody do miss flying. When I just want to sell stuff at the auction house, get training or do dailies. Or dig up old stuff.

But during questing? Riding is so much more immersive. No more “get quest, take off, land at the precise spot, kill NPC, take off, land, turn in”. That kind of thing really was a bit of an immersion breaker. A time saver, yes, but it wasn’t so much fun any more. Now, riding, figuring out if I can sneak by those mobs or if I should fight them, trying to find my way to a hard to reach spot or resource node – that’s fun.

Granted, learning the flying skill is a huge milestone, even more so artisan flying and beyond. It’s a symbol for the career of the character. But even so, my ground mounts won’t rot forgotten in the stable.


Back to the future!


Right. So I’ve joined the millions of players in 2007. That is, I’ve finally moved to Outland – with one character. There are quite a few pictures attached, so I’ll ask you to join me after the break – your feed reader will thank you for it later.

Read the rest of this entry ?


Thanks for all the fish!


I spend some time yesterday updating my statistics page. Nothing fancy or surprising there. I’m a bit short on gold, but I went on several Glyph shopping-sprees that drained my account.

What is surprising, or interesting at least, are some of the derived statistics from my more detailed spreadsheet. For example: On average, I need two hours (1h 58m) to level up. The quickest is my druid at just 48 minutes per level – clearly, I simply don’t enjoy playing him and want it done as soon as possible. The slowest would be my warlock at two hours, 23 minutes. Granted, soloing instances that give no experience by the time but take a lot of time plays a role in that, but I just enjoy playing the ‘lock.

For the new level cap in Cataclysm – and it’s a very, very safe bet to say I won’t reach the old level cap before that – I still have 419 levels to go for all eight characters. That would mean another 829 hours of play, assuming levelling doesn’t gradually become quicker over the board. To bring just my currently leading character to level 85, I’m missing 43 levels or roughly 85 hours of playtime.

Of course, I want to start two new characters, a death-knight and a priest – so add another 227 hours for 115 levels to that. Or, total, 1056 hours. Which, conversely, is four and a half days ‘/played’ per character. Probably. And stated like that, I think I’m actually a bit faster than the current average for a casual, non-guilded player.

Another forecast based on that values is that with an average time spent playing WoW each week of 25 hours (over the course of a year – there are weeks with considerably less time and weekends when I play a lot more), it will take me 42 weeks. With any luck, that means level cap before the next expansion is released.

And any prediction with a value of ’42’ is just too cool to ignore.


Fun in 4.0.1


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)