Posts Tagged ‘impression’

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Worgen woes

19.12.2010

Have you started your Worgen yet? Or, in case of Horde, your Goblin?

If no – but you still plan to – I advise you to wait another month or two. Or three. Not because of bugs in the starting area. Not because of balancing issues or whatnot. No, simply because of the novelty factor. See, I started my Worgen the day after release. And it was frustrating. Really. I came close to tears.

The story is simply fantastic. The zones, the phasing, the characters, all the perfect introduction to the new, modernised World of Warcraft. New players and old alike will get sucked deep into the story of the Cataclysm unfolding around them.

So where’s the frustration? In the other players. Gilneas was so overrun with players that it was near impossible to find the named mobs for a few quests. They had a lifespan of about .2 seconds. Gathering quests were equally frustrating. Stand right on top of one of the needed objects, fighting off three of the insanely fast-spawning mobs, and watch helplessly as someone else runs through you, gathers the object and then leaves you to die. All the while reading the Gilneas chat scrolling by, making the infamous Barrens chat look like a civil book-club discussion.

If that is what new players are presented with as normal behaviour, you no longer wonder about the behaviour in PUGs and battleground. Or that of high-level players finishing up low-level quest areas. Or pretty much anything, really.

And once you get out of Gilneas, it’s exactly the same, because all the Worgen you just witnessed trampling over one of the most tragic storylines written? They’re all there with you in Darkshore. Congratulations, welcome to Worgen hell. Or Goblin hell, I suspect.

No, if you truly want to play a Worgen not for the coolness, but for experiencing the unique flavour and backstory – wait. Please.

And a special, sincere thanks to the Worgen who grouped with me so we had at least a double chance of actually killing a quest target. You were the rare, singular, shining example of teamplay on that day. You made me stay with the story instead of giving up.

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Back to the future!

06.12.2010

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 ?

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Fort Livingston, I presume

01.12.2010

A week has passed since the Shattering, and coincidentally, I’m back from a week of much-needed vacation. So instead of blogging about every single change that I noticed, here is a collection of impressions from my shattered Azeroth.

 

Phased Zones

They said that they wanted to make heavy use of phasing, and they didn’t disappoint. I’ve only seen it now in the Plaguelands, but it is simply epic. Actually seeing a difference you make in the Battle for Andorhal, later the recapture of Tyr’s Hand – that is truly fantastic. The journey along Fiona’s Caravan isn’t too bad either, and serves quite well to keep the quests flowing.

It’s not quite on the level of interaction you get from single player game like the Fallouts, but it really keeps you immersed in the game.

 

Bugged Quests

Sadly, the new, phased zones seem to be plagued with a few bugs. Actually, the first quest bugs I’ve encountered so far.

One, the Battle for Darrowshire, seems to be now hotfixed – though I’ll have to try for myself later today.

Two, Into the Flames can be completed but not turned in – I’ve already opened a ticket and am awaiting a response.

Other than that, NPC’s in phased quests seem to behave strangely sometimes, especially when multiple players are doing the same quest.

 

Stormwind rebuilt

Deathwing almost destroyed Stormwind. But that’s okay, they rebuilt it, bigger and better than ever. Did you notice the subtly applied new textures? How the pavement changes between districts? The old park may be gone, but the new outskirts area is so much more open, and in my eye, even more beautiful than the old park.

Also,  the castle. It’s like the completely tore down the old one and build a new one instead. With a proper entrance and everything.

And if you were complaining about the lag in the marketplace and auction house – head on over to the Dwarven district – I like the bank and auction house there. Ideal for smelting and blacksmiths, and with almost nobody else there (yet).

 

Worgen now in!

Of course, with Worgen PCs coming in just a few short days, there are already Worgen NPCs around. And the nice touch: You can already gain Gilneas reputation! And don’t you just love the accent? Granted it’s a bit exaggerated, but which of the accents in the voice acting of WoW isn’t…

 

New music is kind of meh

Entering Stormwind the first thing you’ll notice is the changed music. But, sadly, like the old one, it gets annoying rather quickly. So listen to it once, then turn of in-game music and switch back to your favourite iTunes mix. But points for effort.

 

New flightpaths are sometimes overkill

In some zones, like the Wetlands, it’s nice to have a few more flightpaths scattered around. In other zones, it seems like overkill. If you can’t stomach a short 40 second ride (or shorter depending on your riding skill), maybe questing isn’t for you? But then, I probably shouldn’t talk – I’m lazy as hell myself and yes, if there is a flightpath, I take it. I may immediately smack my forehead for wasting 20 copper (25 years of living in Swabia will do that to you), but I ride the taxi nevertheless.

 

Zone specific quest achievements

Not much of a change for those of you coming from Northrend, but the new achievements mean a lot less bookkeeping for potential loremasters. They also provide some sort of progress bar when questing through a zone. I’m German. I like statistics and forecasts and whatnot. So yay for a more detailed breakdown of questing achievements.

 

New questlines – epic!

Really. I don’t think anything else needs to be said. The new, remade questlines are well written, gripping and generally much more involved and character driven than the old ones. Instead of the old “Kill ten Defias thugs”, followed inevitably by “You’re back? Oh well… go and kill ten Defias muggers, then.” you get to know the questgivers, the reference you to others who then have already heard of your exploits and maybe you can help with this much more pressing problem they’ve got.

 

A new leveling experience

This is a combination of the phased zones and redone questlines, really. But leveling feels much smoother, much less grindy, much more story-oriented than previously. It also feels a lot faster, which in some ways I regret. I’m a big fan of the “there are much more powerful enemies and dangerous areas out there” feeling. The smaller zones mean that in many cases the mobs are more tailored to your level – changing it up sometimes with a couple of rare but powerful mobs would be nice.

Of course, most of the time you’re so deep in the storylines that it doesn’t matter. Questing through the Plaguelands was the first time that I didn’t want to stop playing not because of “just a couple more mobs and maybe I get a cool quest reward” but “I won’t stop playing until I know what happens to this character”.

I just hope that when I outlevel Azeroth and move on to Outland and later Northrend that the quests there hold up to the new standard.

 

 

The world lies in shambles. But what a world it is!

Well done, Blizzard!

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Of glass cannons

11.11.2010

Glass cannons are glass cannons. However, it appears that there are considerably differences in calibre and sturdiness.

 

My only previous experience with PvP were battlegrounds playing my rogue in the 20-29 bracket. I’d regard my combat rogue as not particularly designed for PvP, but it was a lot of fun – capping some flags in Arathi Basin, occasionally sneaking into the enemy base in Warsong Gulch and generally surprising the hell out of careless mages and warriors. Since WoW doesn’t offer a sniper class (I’m a dedicated sniper in all FPS games), this was as close as I could get. Instead of hanging back, sneak invisibly and essentially take an enemy out of the fight with a single hit.

 

Now I tried the same with my mage, this time in the 30-39 bracket. And boy, was that a shock. Sure, interrupting and silencing enemy spellcasters is fun, but everybody, and I mean everybody makes a beeline for the mage in the background. And my spells don’t seem to do any significant damage at all. I don’t even want to get into the ratio HK/Deaths, it’s just too depressing.

 

I fully admit that I’m currently not very PvP oriented. It’s just a nice diversion from killing Trolls in Stranglethorn – not that troll-killing ever gets old. But is this really such a difference between those two classes? Especially how enemy players react? Now that I think about it, as rogue, I also was always picking mages as my target while the heavies clashed in the middle of the field. Maybe I’m just too used to having a nice layer of human ablatives in front of me while staring through my crosshairs while crouched somewhere out of reach on a church tower.

 

What is your experience? Is it really the class that is much different? Or does level bracket play a larger role in regards to available specs and gear?

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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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Through the looking glasses

23.08.2010

Last week’s Shared Topic was about how I imagine my class is treated by NPCs. I have a small problem with that. I don’t play a single class. I’m also not very good at this sort of RP posts, which is why I originally wanted to skip last week. However, to get some blogging rhythm back, I’ll use that shared topic as a starting point.

My version of it: How do I see the world of Azeroth, depending on which class (and character) I’m playing?

Two classes are missing: Priest (waiting for a Worgen priest in Cataclysm) and Deathknight (highest character level is 36 so far).

Mage

The world is a stage, filled to the brim with an audience expecting a spectacle. It’s not only about killing mobs. It’s about doing it and looking good. Looking great. Impressive, even. Sure, you could go for a quick and efficient kill, but there are still four spells available on cooldown, better use them! Freeze, Blink, Blizzard, Evocation, Blast, Arcane Barrage and for the finale, Teleport and leave them standing in awe and envy.

Druid

Seriously? I’ve got no clue. If I knew, maybe my druid wouldn’t play the role of the unwanted stepchild.

Paladin

When all you’ve got is a hammer and a Seal, the world starts looking like a giant nail. You’re still killing mobs, but you’re doing it with a purpose. You want to make Azeroth a better, safer place. You might even start to feel some regret, but never fear, because you are on the only true righteous path! Bless and heal passersby, then proceed to smite infidels with holy might.

Hunter

The world is full of creatures. Always be on the lookout for a new pet to tame, a companion drop or a rare elite mob that you can add to your trophy board. And do I wish there was an in-game UI for tracking your rare kills, I have to do it manually. Also, practice your jump-shots! Show them off whenever you get a chance, to show you actually have some skills instead of facerolling the keyboard. Keep your pet on a very short leash – it’s not a bludgeoning sledgehammer, it’s a fine rapier to be used exactly the way you want. It’s much more impressive if you use your pet as an extension of your traps and skills than if you just let it loose on an unsuspecting world.

Shaman

The world is my castle. See that spawn camp over there? Well, I’ll make camp over here, set up a dozen totems and then instigate the monsters into attacking. Yes, a Shaman is an offensive force, but their true strengths lie in defence. An aggressive turtle, so to speak.

Rogue

A giant playground, full of challenges. And if there aren’t any, set some for yourself! Sure, you could just kill any mob standing between you and the target NPC, but see how far you can get unnoticed. See how many of them you can pickpocket. See if you can kill just the target, then Vanish and be amazed that the entire camp is up in arms and down one leader. Find new and creative uses for Sap, Disarm, Rupture, Gouge and Vanish. Leave your victim shaking their head, wondering what the hell just happened.

Warlock

The world better bow down if they see you coming. Even if only because you’re a Gnome. But never mind! They bow down, they crawl at your feet. You are the master, they are the slave. And if you ever team up with another warlock, the world will tremble in fear. Rightly so. You don’t care about flash. You care about brutal efficiency, making the kill hurt. Pain makes stronger, yes, but it’s the other‘s pain that makes you stronger.

Warrior

Besides the age-old question over two-handed, dual-wield or sword and shield, it’s pretty much about pushing yourself. How strong a mob can you take? How many mobs at once? How much damage can you deal in a single hit? How much a head start on damage can you give a mob and still win the fight? It’s not about winning, it’s about conquering insurmountable odds.

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Stranger things have happened

21.08.2010

When I’m stressed out or bored, I do strange things.

I’m very stressed out due to an unfortunate incident at the office. I’m also bored out of my mind when at home.

And to demonstrate that A && B := C, I clicked ‘join battle’ today and had a go at Arathi Basin. The first time was pretty much what I expected, complete and utter chaos, confusion and generally not knowing what to do. Of course I’ve read about Battlegrounds, chuckled about anecdotes and memorised basic guidelines. It all goes to hell, though, when instead of my normal ‘me vs. the World’ battles there are 20 characters running, jumping, casting, slashing and hacking away. Incidentally, we lost.

So I re-queued immediately. This time, our team was better organised, some people even using /bg chat. I went defence after capping the mill (see, I’ve still got the lingo down from years after years of team-oriented FPS gaming) and camped there for the remainder of the match, calling out incoming Horde and successfully defending the flag. I even had enough time to set up WIM to intercept battleground chat, which I hadn’t bothered with before.

The whole affair reminded me very much of playing on public servers in Counterstrike or Battlefield. I never liked the latter, but mostly because I’m a simulator fan and seeing tanks and planes so misrepresented caused physical pain. In this fantasy setting though, capturing a place like the mill or the blacksmith or the mine, seeing it actually come to live with people suddenly working there – it suddenly all makes sense. And it doesn’t feel like playing WoW, it feels like I’m playing my character playing a game. Which is strange. And fun. And this sort of controlled PvP is exactly what I like. Nothing I could do all day, but as a brief respite from questing, bring it on!

So I think whenever I’m too pressed for time to do serious questing, or don’t have any quests coming up that I like, I’ll go and stomp some Horde in the battlegrounds. Some honour-gear also looks like upgrades to my mostly green-blue quest gear, so that works out as well. I just wish there was a central honour-based vendor, instead of having to fly and sail all over Azeroth to get the particular piece of equipment I’m after.