Category Archives: WoW

The OTHER Emerald Dream

In World of Warcraft, I’ve played on a handful of regular PvE servers (Garona, Terenas, Runetotem) for short periods of time. The far greater amount of time has been spent on Roleplay servers: Feathermoon (first RP server), Steamwheedle Cartel (the one I’ve spent the most time on), The Scryers, Wyrmrest Accord and finally Emerald Dream. Steamwheedle Cartel (SwC) holds such fond memories for me – at the time it was a new, bustling server with an amazing roleplay community, tons of community events, and an active raiding and PvP scene. As it always does on RP realms, drama happened, and when Moon Guard and Wyrmrest Accord came online, most RPers gradually left for a new RP promised land. Over the past several years, SwC’s population has dwindled, with only maybe a handful of RPers left on the server. It’s a sad commentary on the WoW RP community that SwC and so many of the other RP realms are in the same situation – but then again I’m part of the problem.

Sometime during Cataclysm I transferred most of my characters to Wyrmrest Accord. Wyrmrest is GREAT for roleplay, but I found a weird problem there as well: there were SO MANY roleplay guilds, but very few casual, friendly, fun, RP-lite guilds that are my ideal atmosphere. It was almost too much roleplay, with a whole lot of strongly-themed guilds and little room for out-of-character banter. While it’s a great server if you’re a hardcore roleplayer, it just wasn’t a good fit in the long run for me.

Eventually I started researching realms again. I was tired of transferring between realms and drifting. I had a few requirements:

  • RP Server preferred.
  • Room for all playstyles: RP, World Events, Casual, Raiding, PvP.
  • At least a couple interesting looking guilds that I would want to look into joining.
  • POPULATED. I didn’t want to be on a dead server.
  • A good number of my preferred character names available.
  • A sense of community, whatever that was.
  • Active official forums & Facebook. I know, I know, it’s the OFFICIAL FORUMS. But still, that’s a pretty good indicator of population and community.

While researching, an option came up that I had never considered before:

Emerald Dream RP-PvP… PVP

I’m not really a PvPer, I fully admit it. While I have fond memories of running Alterac Valley and the old Southshore/Tarren Mill world PvP zerg battles, I considered PvP servers to be that place where those players go, where you can’t level because everybody is out to gank you and the e-peen reigns supreme. But other than that, it hit all the requirements. So I figured it wouldn’t hurt to roll a lowbie there and check it out. And of course, I got ganked in Elwynn Forest. 🙂

But I was pleased with what I saw. I contacted the awesome people in <Meddle> and spoke to them about what I was looking for and what it was like being on a PvP server. “Jump on in!” they said. “It’s not so bad, it can actually be fun!”. So I transferred one character over and I’ve been there happily ever since. I do get ganked pretty much every night, sometimes multiple times a night, but it’s important to have the right mindset for it. Just accept that it’s going to happen, and that if you get camped, you’ll just need to move to another area for a little bit. It’s no big deal really, it just adds to the Alliance vs. Horde atmosphere and yes, it does actually add to the immersion and roleplay.

So I’ve been a happy Dreamer ever since. ED like any PvP server has a reputation of being full of drama and rivalries, and it can be a volatile environment at times. But it’s incredibly active and full of life and fun times, and that’s all I really need.

Player Housing? Yes. No. Maybe.

I love player housing. Almost all of my favorite games include it in some form or fashion: Animal Crossing. Wurm Online. World of Warcraft. LotRO. Of course the World of Warcraft version right now is the garrison, but it just isn’t the same. When I think of player housing in a theme park MMO, I think of an actual “house” somewhere in the world, instanced if necessary. It should be customizable, with lots of decorations, exterior and interior options, and music. It’s a place to show off items from the gameplay that you’ve done, plus get a little creative. It’s NOT a place to send followers out on missions, do major crafting, farm profession materials, do defense missions, or sit around all day.

I’m going to say something here that might get me cast out of the MMO blogger community altogether, but here goes: I really don’t care for the EQ2/Rift/Wildstar format of player housing. I know, it’s incredibly customizable! You can build your own crazy thing! But something about that in a highly story-driven and thematic MMO just seems slightly off to me. You may be in a medieval world, but you can build the Starship Enterprise in your personal instance. Or you might be in a futuristic sci-fi game, but you can build a giant medieval castle. That doesn’t seem so crazy to me in a purely sandbox game such as Minecraft, which is for all intents and purposes a blank slate that can be medieval, sci-fi, futuristic, wild west, or any combination of the above, and tells no specific story line. But in a game like EQ2, or Rift, or Wildstar, or even WoW if they were to attempt it, it just seems out of place.

“I’m going to go over to Samurai Jack’s medieval castle and we’re going to play his asteroid platformer jumping puzzle”.

No. Please no.

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All The Things!

LotRO’s housing gets a lot of guff from the big boys because it’s not as customizable and comparatively there’s really not a lot going on there, but honestly, I like their housing model the best. It’s a house, themed by race, that you can decorate as you like and show off trophies and items that you’ve crafted, won in seasonal events, or gotten during raids, and it has a modest storage area. That’s about it. There’s no stables, no crafting facilities, no auction house… it’s basically just an extra milestone/hearth. I’m okay with that, because people in LotRO generally don’t hang out at their house all day long. They may stop by once a day to grab something from storage or update a decoration slot, but other than that they’re out in the world. The only thing I would add is the ability to see where your guildmate’s and friend’s housing is, and the ability to quick-port there to check it out.

If they were to implement this in WoW, I would be ecstatic. Instead of Garrisons, this is my concept:

  • Instanced housing zones for all the different races, plus a few neutral options.
  • House locations that you “buy” with weekly or monthly upkeep (gold).
  • The ability to change the color of the exterior walls, doors, and roofs, as well as interior walls, ceilings, and flooring by room.
  • The ability to place any trophy anywhere, interior or exterior. To reduce lag, a limit on how many items you can have in your instance… maybe 100? 200?
  • A jukebox so that you can change your housing theme music.
  • If you kill Onyxia, you get her head to place in your home or yard as you see fit. You could take a shard of Frostmourne from the Lich King, or Garrosh Hellscream’s tusk, or… well, the possibilities are endless.
  • Crafted decorations from each profession. Tailors make carpets, pillows, and drapes. Leatherworkers make nice chairs, rugs, and upholstered items. Smiths get to make candelabras and rod iron furniture. Scribes could make paintings for the walls. Alchemists can make paints and dyes for the interior/exterior. And so on.
  • The ability to have a little for-looks-only stable with some of your favorite mounts and pets.
  • Plaques that can be made from any achievement that you currently have. Did you get Insane in the Membrane in 2010 when it was super-hard? Make a plaque, hang it on your wall, and show it off.
  • The ability to set up “home tours”, basically a set of linked housing instances either between guildmates or friends. People could then go from house to house easily on a tour of sorts.

It honestly isn’t the biggest or most ambitious housing system, but I think it would scratch the player housing itch that so many players have, it wouldn’t be so high-maintenance and indispensable as garrisons are, and players would still be out in the world rather than rotting inside a private instance 24-7.

Be Still My Beating Heart…

This… this…

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I’m not planning on playing a Demon Hunter other than to see the starting experience, but I MUST have this little guy. I’m really hoping that he goes “mgrlrlrlrlglglrlrlr… not prepared…megrlrlrlrlrlglr” and shoots other pets with laserbeam eyes. LASERBEAMS. I also wasn’t planning on buying the Blizzcon Virtual ticket since you can get all the info for free afterwards, but yeah, I might shell out the $40 just for this little guy.

Yep, I’m a complete sucker.

Also, this…

pepeHalloween

How cute is THAT? It looks like Blizzard is revamping the festivals for the latter part of the year, which is a good move. After 10+ years, most of the festivals need updating and players need motivation to participate if they’ve already completed all the achievements. Interestingly, there is no update for Lunar Festival in February. I wonder if that was a natural stopping point because, oh, I don’t know, maybe there will be another major event around that time? Hm.

 

Criticism, Communication, and Call of Duty (not!)

Last night I was scrolling through Twitter and somebody mentioned that WoW fans should just shut up about Ravenholdt and let the WoW devs do what they want. While my last post wasn’t exactly criticism of the Ravenholdt vs. Sewers decision, I wanted to take a moment to address the role that criticism plays in our gaming, the way that we as fans interact with the developers of the games that we love so much, and how communication from developers can actually improve the situation.

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At the risk of being one of “those people”, I’m going to state this up front because I want you to understand where I’m coming from (not that it elevates my status above any other player AT ALL). I’ve played WoW off-and-on since beta, mostly constantly during Vanilla/TBC/Wrath, and in spurts through Cata/MoP/Warlords. I love Warcraft. I love the lore, I love the world, I love the stylized graphics and crazy colors juxtaposed over dark and gritty stories and quests. I had never played the original Warcraft RTS games before starting WoW, and I’m not really a RTS player, but if they released a Warcraft 4 RTS I’d play it just to see where the story goes. I have all the books, the old WoW magazines, some plushies, t-shirts, etc. Basically, I’m a FAN. I love this franchise, even if I take breaks to play other games. I think the cinematics teams and music teams are #1 in the industry, and the developers over the years have done an amazing job of creating fun game experiences for millions of people.

All of that said, I will not back down from criticism when I deem it necessary. Here’s the thing: criticism doesn’t necessarily mean that you hate whatever it is that you’re criticizing. On the contrary, it shows that you care for it so much that you don’t want it to suck. The real danger in the gaming world is apathy. I’m not a Call of Duty player, so if you come to me and tell me that Call of Duty is implementing rainbow guns and playable purple manatees, I’ll probably just shrug my shoulders and say “okay”. It’s not my thing, so I don’t really care what they do. But if I were a fan, I’d probably be VERY upset about rainbow guns and purple manatees, because I don’t want the game to suck.

So if the developers make a decision that I don’t like, yes, I will criticize that. It’s important to note here that criticism doesn’t mean NERDRAGE. Nerdrage does nothing but get your opinion thrown out the window immediately. You have to be able to communicate your criticism in a way that is calm, doesn’t insult other players or the developers, and preferably includes other better options. That’s the kind of feedback that helps developers in the long run. If you don’t like something, what don’t you like about it? Why don’t you like it? What are other viable alternatives that would accomplish the same goals that the developers are going for?

It goes both ways though. Just as fans need to be respectful to the developers, they should be respectful to us, and part of that is in how they communicate. After this past weekend’s Dev “Q&A”/Chat/whatever that was on Sunday, players were steamed (and rightly so)because it wasn’t exactly as advertised. After reading the comments from the devs and CMs afterwards, it sounds like there was confusion in what it was actually to be – basically the right hand didn’t know what the left hand was doing. If you’ve ever worked for a big corporation, you know that this isn’t all that unusual. It happens, and it’s an honest mistake. Blizzard apologized for the confusion and said they would try to do better in the future (yay! thank you!), but they also said that they are trying to avoid confusion and that in the future they will be tighter-lipped about their plans.

No. That’s not how you do it. Guys, if you want to establish good will among your customer base, this is all you need to do:

“So we think we have some really cool locations for these class halls. Lights Hope Chapel for paladins, a fel planet for warlocks, and the Dalaran sewers for rogues are all options that we are looking at, but we’re still investigating the options.”

“What we have planned for Legion is the launch raid tier followed by an additional raid tier with the first content patch. We’d also like to add flying into Legion with the first content patch if possible, but we’ll have to see how much time it takes to finish up the raiding and other content.”

“We are planning on revamping professions to implement new UIs, new craftable items, specializations for each craft, and recipes for cosmetics and artifact enhancements for each profession. We think it might be really cool for mini-pets to have a miniature artifact that they use during pet battles. It’s still a work in progress so things may change, but we hope to show more once we have that locked down.”

“No promises, but we will take a look at a moose mount.”

A little transparency and humility would make a MAJOR difference in how the Blizzard devs are perceived and treated by the WoW community. Back before SoE became Daybreak, the communication from Dave Georgeson to the Landmark beta community was astounding. Every single day, and multiple times a day, he would post updates on what bugs were being fixed and what the team was working on. I’m not saying that Blizzard should do daily updates, but quick Producer’s Letters every couple of months wouldn’t hurt. The community managers shouldn’t be afraid to respond to player questions either, even if it’s a “I don’t yet have an answer, but I’ll see what I can find out.”

Increase the communication about the development process without making “promises”, and you’ll build player trust. Build player trust, and the tone of player communication will change over time to something far less toxic than it is currently.

On Ravenholdt

I have to admit that I’m fascinated about all the drama surrounding the Rogue Class Hall in Legion. The devs at Gamescom, while building up the idea of class halls being in these really cool iconic locations, made a couple of off-hand remarks about placing the rogue hall in the Dalaran Sewers.

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Of course rogues went ballistic, since Ravenholdt is THE iconic rogue location, where rogues have been going for class quests and the like for years, and well, nobody wants to hang out in a sewer. Unless you’re a goblin. 😉

So #RavenholdtOrRiot was born and after much wailing and gnashing of teeth on Twitter and Reddit and the official forums, the devs of course said they would discuss it at the office, but what if they could make the Dalaran Underground (notice the name change here) WAY COOLER than Ravenholdt?

ravenholdt

Either location they go with is going to need some artistic reworking done to make it cool. The thing about Ravenholdt currently is that it burned down in the legendary dagger quest. So it would need to be rebuilt, which means new art anyway. Hmm…

I’m thinking an old, stately yet mysterious stone mansion… something in between Human and Forsaken architecture, so that it’s evenly balanced between Horde and Alliance.

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Once you step inside, it should be clear that these rogues don’t do sewers. They may be loners and n’er-do-wells, but they make bank from all that pickpocketing, with grand staircases and fine furniture.

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victorian-gothic-living-rooms-ideas

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Each race could have a wing… a la the Harry Potter “houses”. There could even be a cool purple-and-green gothic wing for the Forsaken rogues.

gothic-living-rooms-design

Maybe a little Karazhan music for kicks and giggles?

Trap doors, secret entrances, levers on the walls leading to secret corridors, a poisons laboratory, and a weapon arsenal (as a location for customizing those artifacts) are a MUST. And of course, rogues have to practice their lockpicking abilities. How about a dungeon in the basement?

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I dunno… Ravenholdt is looking pretty cool now. I’d be curious to see how much better the Dalaran Underground would be. 😉

Blaugust Update and Stuff

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Blaugust: I can’t believe that I’ve posted something 9 days in a row now. I won’t lie, it’s been a little harder that I expected. I was doing pretty well for a while at writing my blog post the night before and queueing it up to publish the next day, but I took one night off and I’m off schedule. This post is actually being written on the 8th and will be published on the 9th to try to get back on track. Once Blaugust is done, if I can keep up this pace I may also try this on other good habits that I am working on… exercise being one of them. 31 days…. just 31 days…

I’ve failed utterly at commenting on other posts – I think I did that for the first couple of days and then fell short. That’s okay, I’ll keep pushing forward. Know though that I AM reading the other Blaugust blogs and so far I am really liking what I’m seeing and all the support for each other out there. Keep at it y’all!

RAH RAH GOOOOO BLAUGUST TEAM!!

2 – 4 – 6 – 8! Those Blaugust posts just can’t wait! GOOOO TEAM!!

Gaming: It’s no surprise that I’ve been playing WoW lately. The paladin alt that I’ve been working on-and-off for about 3 years now is level 92, and I’m pushing her to level 100 as quickly as I can. After I level cap her I want to get all her professions capped, start running some older instances for mounts and cosmetics, and focus on pet battles and goldmaking.

  • Cap Jewelcrafting
  • Cap Mining
  • Cap Fishing
  • Cap First Aid
  • Cap Cooking
  • Get the Ashes of A’lar Mount
  • Start Pet Battles
  • Grind reps with interesting tabards/mounts/cosmetics
  • Play the AH (my favorite mini-game)

I do think that she is going to be my main going forward. I’ve been having a lot of fun being a paladin and I’m looking forward to the paladin class halls coming up in Legion. Plus, it feels homey being a dwarf again. 🙂

Warcraft, Lore, and You

Now that we have an idea where WoW:Legion is going to be taking us, it’s a good chance to sit back and think about the lore involved. We’re at an interesting place in the history of the franchise because it feels like Legion will be hitting a lot of plotlines involving various aspects of Warcraft lore, we’re coming off of a weird time-travel/alternate universe expansion, and probably the big horned-and-winged elephant in the room is Illidan returning after having been killed years ago in The Burning Crusade. Let me be clear: I have zero problems with Illidan returning. Sure, he was dead, and when TBC was over, I doubt that they intended on bringing him back. But time marches on, the story develops, the game must continue, so as the creative team continues to weave interesting stories, sometimes changing what happened before makes things better.

The original Warcraft RTS game released in 1994, and that story was fairly straightforward. Orcs were on Draenor, orc warlocks found a rift to another world, they came through and basically fought the humans on a grand scale. It was a hit so as Warcraft II and Warcraft III came out, more lore was added, with the opus of the series in Warcraft III with the introduction of the Arthas storyline. Then came World of Warcraft, which really opened up the lore of the game. We finally got to see the main two continents in their entirety, and a ton of lore was written specifically for World of Warcraft. My point? Warcraft lore has been a work in progress for YEARS. It’s all been created out of nothing, based upon what was needed for the next title in the series, and it has constantly evolved with each game, sometimes revising old details and flipping the script as needed to make current games make sense.

This is not unique to Warcraft. Even the great-granddaddy of the Fantasy genre, J.R.R. Tolkien, did the same as he wrote the stories of Middle-Earth. When you’re creating a living world with histories, races, cultures, and hundreds of stories of how the inhabitants have interacted over the years, it is going to happen. Things will be retconned. A great example is the original version of Riddles in the Dark, the chapter of The Hobbit where Bilbo and Gollum meet for the first time in Goblintown and have that fateful game of riddles. In the original version, Gollum was not as evil, wasn’t upset about giving away the ring, and was upset when he lost not because he lost the ring itself, but because he couldn’t give it to Bilbo.

Later of course, as the professor kept writing about Arda and developing what would become the Lord of the Rings trilogy, the nature of the ring needed to change. So the ring became evil and took hold of Gollum, which changed that entire chapter of The Hobbit. In Lord of the Rings we read that Bilbo originally lied about the nature of that exchange in his diary, but make no mistake: this was a retcon on Tolkien’s part to make the story more interesting. It’s not that the first version was bad – it made sense in the story he was telling at the time. But creators of all sorts – writers, musicians, painters, handcrafters – often iterate and reiterate on what they’ve done in the past, shaping and tweaking and perfecting their work, especially if it is a work in development over a number of years.

The Riddle Game

The Riddle Game

Warcraft is no different. Perhaps the most infamous retcon in Warcraft is the story of Sargeras’ corruption. Originally he was corrupted by the eredar before his encounter with the Nathrezim, but when the Burning Crusade was in development, Blizzard decided that they wanted the eredar/draenei as a playable race. Well, that wouldn’t work if they were so evil that they corrupted Sargeras, so Blizzard flipped the script: now Sargeras was already corrupted, and that he in turn recruited Archimonde and Kil’jaeden to the Burning Legion, while Velen and his group of eredar refused. While this was a plausible explanation that ultimately made the story better and enabled playable draenei, if you played between vanilla and TBC, there were many, many tears shed over this change.

Now we have Illidan somehow coming back, even after the players “killed” him in TBC. This happens all the time in the comic book/superhero genre as well… Anybody remember the year that Superman died?

I do, it was 1992. I think this issue is still at my mom's house.

I do, it was 1992. I think this issue is still at my mom’s house.

So while I get that some players are upset that Illidan is coming back…

“We killed him already!”

“This is lazy writing!”

“Nobody is ever really dead anymore!”

It also enables Blizzard to tell the story that they want to tell in this expansion. I think we would all do well to step back and realize that this is fantasy, and that nobody is ever truly DEAD as long as the story is still being written. Unless you want to incoporate perma-death into our gameplay, which I think we can all agree would be terrible, a few masochists not withstanding.

Now, I will fully admit that the time-travel/alternate universe plot makes my head hurt. The Caverns of Time were time-travel done right, IMO. The Bronze Dragonflight had us go back to stop one specific thing from happening at one specific point in time because the Infinites were screwing with the timeline. I’m sure that there’s some kind of paradox or butterfly effect possible there, but we had the bronze dragons there guiding us, and we came right back. I can suspend disbelief long enough to find that plausible.

Time-travel back to Draenor would have been much more risky as far as paradoxes go, so we time-traveled to an ALTERNATE UNIVERSE to remove all those headaches. Again, this is done frequently in the comics genre. I’m not particularly a fan though for two reasons: it removes the risk of paradox (which makes things interesting) and it really kills our motivation for being there. The story really hasn’t affected the main timeline that much, except for serving as a mechanism to bring Gul’dan back and kicking off the story for Legion. I still hold to the theory that Draenor was originally supposed to be the expansion that launched at the same time as the movie, but then the movie got pushed back and threw the schedule off, which left Blizz holding the bag with a light expansion and having to change the storyline at the last minute to transition to Legion. There’s probably even more to it than that, but it’s not likely that we’ll ever know exactly what happened.

Now that we know the basic direction of Legion, it seems like we will be wrapping up a lot of loose ends in Warcraft lore. Maybe. It may be less “wrapping up” and more further development of those plotlines so that there is more story for future expansions. At first it seems insane that we’re going to be taking on the Legion, Azshara, Titans, and the Emerald Dream all at once, but it sounds like the Azshara, Emerald Dream, and Titan plotlines will merely be development for a future expansion. And let’s be honest here. No matter who the final boss is or what happens during this expansion:

This will not be the last time that we take on the Legion.

Thoughts on Legion

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Just a few random things that I’ve been thinking about yesterday:

  • What happens if you play dual-spec? Say if I play retribution in PvE but play Holy in PvP. I’m assuming that we only get to pick one artifact, so will there be other weapons that we can use for the alternate spec?
  • I LOVE that they are splitting up PvE and PvP talents, I think that should be a given in any MMO. But what about World PvP? Do the PvP talents kick in if you’re flagged? Do world PvP kills count towards Prestige? I play on a RP-PvP server, and World PvP is HUGE there. It’s a major component of the server culture and I’d hate to see that harmed.
  • The announcement trailer showed Khadgar in the form of a crow hanging out at Karazhan. Wait, what? That was Medivh’s schtick. While I’m sure that Khadgar has the ability to be a crow and go wherever he wants, and he did used to live at Kara, that seems a bit off to me. It also makes me wonder if we’ll see Kara as a revamped dungeon in the future.
  • I’m really excited about Dalaran being the city hub for this expansion. I would be perfectly fine if Dalaran was the city hub for any expansion based on Azeroth/Northrend/Pandaria/Broken Isles. It flies, so just fly it around wherever it needs to go. I think at some point in future (not this expansion) we’ll see it get destroyed though. Nothing lasts forever.
  • I LOVE all the different themes they are throwing into this expansion. The Legion, the valkyr, the night elves, druidism, the Emerald Dream, Azshara and the naga, Titans, etc. I’m really hoping that some themes only get a nod though, and that this will just be set up for future stories… Azshara and the Naga really should have their own expansion, and the Emerald Dream could use it’s own expansion as well.
  • If the artifact weapons are from characters that have lost their lives or “lost hope”, will we see a huge culling of major characters during the pre-expansion events? Afrasiabi said that we would all be shocked and surprised and he would get some twitter hate. How better to do that than to kill off Thrall, Tirion Fordring, and other major characters?

All in all – I am hyped BUT tempering that with cautious optimism. IF everything that they mentioned makes it into the game, and the dungeons are given more relevancy, and crafting is good, and the class halls don’t turn into Queue Lobbies 2.0, I’ll be VERY happy with this expansion.

The Suspense is Terrible

Well folks, today is the day that we have all been waiting for! In a few hours Blizzard will release the details (including a cinematic!) of the new expansion. Some of us will be giddy with excitement, others will roll their eyes, but we’re all going to have our eyes glued to see what Blizz will do. I’m still throwing my lot in with the Azshara/naga/trolls theory, and instead of garrisons I think we’ll get our own ships with follo… er, a piratey crew!

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Somebody (or several somebodies) said something on Twitter yesterday that started me thinking. Why are older PvP zones like Wintergrasp and Tol Barad no longer relevant? Why couldn’t those zones be carried forward for PvP purposes? They’ve been far more popular than Ashran ever was. Part of the main issue with this expansion has been that Ashran was generally considered a failure, but if the other PvP zones were queueable and the PvP community made the decision to move there instead, they would have at least had a viable alternative.

Are You Not Entertained?

I picture the Blizzard Gamescom announcement starting off something like that.

And the answer is: No. No, Blizz, we were not entertained. Sure we were entertained for a while. The questing in Warlords of Draenor was the high point of the expansion, and everybody thought that it was a foreshadowing of things to come. The raiding too, from what I hear, was excellent and was also a high point of the game. But Blizz, let’s talk about what happened after that…

WARNING: Rant incoming in 3… 2… 1…

Garrisons: These were EPIC fail. Excellent examples of player housing already exist within the MMO market. Rift, Wildstar, EverQuest 2 are perfect examples. Players wanted a blank slate, a place to decorate or better yet, CREATE our housing. A place to express ourselves, to show off awesome items that dropped from raids, legendary quests, crafting, archaeology. This wasn’t rocket science. But instead the WoW devs scoffed at the idea and said that nobody wanted to play the Sims, that they had better ideas. And so they gave us all the exact same pre-made playfort, with minimal choices that we could make to make it our own. Our standard issue playforts did come with chores though. So. Many. Chores.

Sorry guys, I love you, but Garrisons and their failure were the tangible result of your arrogance and disconnection from the playerbase. It wasn’t that the playerbase asked for something they didn’t really want. It was that you didn’t understand what players were asking for, and you didn’t want to.

PvP: I don’t have a lot to say on this subject as I really haven’t gotten into PvP this expansion. But my PvP buddies are all in agreement; Ashran is bad.

6.1: A.K.A the S.E.L.F.I.E. patch. I wasn’t even playing WoW at the time but I remember thinking… a selfie camera? How much more gimmicky can we get? Thing is, yes I have one. Yes I use it. Yes it’s cute, and I’m glad it’s in the game. But it is not a major focus of a major content patch. That’s like saying “Hey kids! Update 1.1 is coming out! You will all be able to get… wait for it… wait for it… THE MALLET OF ZUL’FARRAK. YAY!!!

Missing Content: Faralohn. C’mon guys. Faralohn! This would have made a huge difference had it been in the game. Why was Tanaan Jungle not introduced until 6.2? What happened to the Ogre island to the SW of Draenor? Why did you cut the Alliance and Horde capital cities?

6.2: The last content update for this expansion – what happened Blizz? You cannot honestly stand there, look in my eyes, and tell me that only having two updates was planned.

Orc-Fatigue: Having two orc-centric expansions in a row is a terrible idea. I know they are a favorite at Blizzard, but it’s getting to the point that if I have to deal with yet more orcs in the next expansion, I might turn fel green myself. We cannot take more orcs.

I just have massive, massive disappointment with Warlords of Draenor. That said – Blizzard absolutely CAN GET THE SHIP BACK ON COURSE. But they only have one shot at it, and that one shot is based on whatever they reveal at GamesCom. I doubt we’ll ever see 10 million subs again, but we absolutely could see 3 million come back with this next expansion. Blizzard is going to have to work to keep them though, and they’re going to have to deliver fresh, compelling content based on the best feature sets that WoW has had in the past, and they’ll have to deliver this content at a nice lively clip to keep players involved.

Let’s see just how much they want to entertain us.