The sad truth about Warlords

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Warlords of Draenor had a rocky launch but part of the reason why it was so bad, was because it was a huge success. Blizz is back over 10 million subscribers according to the press release – that’s huge. It was something people didn’t think would happen.

Now obviously more players, and a huge success seems like a good thing and it is – to a point. You see given the huge success blizz have no reason to change anything. Why would they? They did what they wanted, and they didn’t just get away with it, they just got a great big huge thumbs up. They just got rewarded and so they think they did it right, but I don’t think they did.

Be fair warned this might sound like a rant. It isn’t really, just frustration because as The Grumpy Elf says, if he didn’t care then he wouldn’t complain. I like the game and there’s nothing wrong with wanting it to be better. I know the rider on that is better for whom? As obviously what I like and what others like are different things. For the purposes of this post I’ll just be talking about my perspective. However, I am well aware that it is just my perspective and one that a lot of people won’t share.

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MIA Achievements and More

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I love achievements, that’s pretty much why I play the game or at least what I spent most of my playtime working towards. I wrote in another post a long time ago, when blizz first brought out account wide achievements, that I thought they’d missed out on including some. Well it’s not just account wide achievements that are missing, there are other achievements that I think they could have added.

Blizz said in a blue post somewhere that they didn’t want to add achievements for the sake of having them, that they wanted achievements to mean something. Considering some of the achievements that are in game I’ll take that statement with a pinch of salt, or at least assume that we aren’t on the same page about what ‘means something’. Then again I love achievements, and I suppose they make the system for people that don’t care for them too.

Anyway, this is just a list of achievements that I think should be in game and that aren’t. Let me know if I’ve missed any.

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November NaNo Retrospective

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I’ve done NaNo seven times now, Camp NaNo a couple of times, you would think that whatever lessons there were to be learned, I would have learnt them by now. However, after each November I learn new things, or I relearn lessons that obviously didn’t stick the first time.

This November I set myself some stretch goals, as November was going to be the start of a brand new year. I wanted to do things better, to take a positive step towards a possible future. It was a lot of pressure to put on one month but as I’ve said before NaNo has ceased to be a challenge in some respects. I need to ask more of it, in order to continue to get the same out. It is definitely still my favourite time of year but that doesn’t mean the sense of accomplishment remains the same. I’ve reached 50k several times now and as I said I wanted more.

So how did it go?

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Thoughts on Garrisons

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When thinking about Garrisons the initial thought is one blizz really wouldn’t like – are they going to be accessible today? The game has been plagued with problems since it launched last week and Garrisons continue to be a problem. At peak times, or sometimes just randomly, the instance servers get overloaded. If you try and login to a character parked in their garrison then you are unable to login getting a “world server is down” error message. If you are in game, then you may get stuck mid-air in a flight path, return to the garrison and find a lot of other players are there as phasing fails, get kicked out repeatedly with “transfer aborted: instance not found” messages etc.

However, when they do work they provide a whole new angle for playing the game. When Pet Battles were introduced it was a full feature with pets everywhere to capture, trainers to beat and a whole slew of new achievements. In fact Pet Battles are now so integrated throughout the game that it’s hard to remember what it was like without them. Garrisons are similar, only rather than applying to the whole game like Pet Battles, they just integrate completely in Draenor.

So what about Garrisons?

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Notes on Warlords launch

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Obviously it’s November and I’m only halfway to my 100k target for the month. That has to be my priority but I wasn’t even going to try kidding myself. There was no way I was going to wait till December to login to Draenor, I wanted to dive into all the new content, I just wanted to play the game again.

I did manage to exercise enough self control to get my on pace target for the day. Just over 3,000 words and I hung up my writing pen and logged into Warcraft. I know I should have tried writing more but I’m only human, I can write more when it isn’t launch day and all the new content is there laying unseen and untried.

I played for probably about four hours Thursday afternoon. I got from Level 90 to halfway through level 91 before my playtime came to an abrupt end with a game breaking bug. I’m finishing off this blogpost with the game open on my other screen, waiting for my character to be rescued by support. As a lot of other people are stuck the same way, I thought I was in for a long wait. Relogging over and over eventually fixed it but damn that was annoying.

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QoL Improvements and New Features

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Warlords of Draenor launches tonight at 11pm in the UK, which technically makes it the 12th rather than the 13th but that’s EU timezones for you. After the drought of the last few months which led to me unsubbing for the first time ever, there’s going to be a lot of new content to explore.

Even when I was raiding I basically played from an achievement/collector standpoint. I enjoyed raiding for the initial challenge. Once a boss went on farm it bored me. I liked gear for what it let me do but I didn’t care for it as a reward in of itself. Mists added feats of strengths for defeating the raids when it was current content. I liked these, and I was especially glad to get the Siege one as it rewarded a mount.

I’m not planning on raiding in Warlords. I can’t commit to a schedule like I did in Mists. That was way too much, far too intense and it sucked the joy out of the whole game. That means I have to accept that I might not complete the legendary quest. If there are rewards for the feat of strength raids then I might miss those. However, I missed out on all the challenge mode achievements and associated rewards in Mists. I have long resigned myself to never getting the PvP achievements as I suck at PvP. For a collector/completionist it’s never nice to realise you are locked out of something but it’s something I’ve had to learn to accept.

Anyway, this post isn’t about achievements exactly, or is it about Warlords of Draenor. It’s about some things I’ve noticed while playing recently. It’s things that I think either some addon maker, or blizz themselves, should eventually do something about.

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NaNo 2014: Day Ten Update

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It’s November which means it’s time for NaNoWriMo. Usually I post about it before the month, and then I do a post in December about how it went. In October I should have posted about what my goals for the month were. I will do that now with a look at the first ten days.

This year I decided that NaNo was going to be the start of a brand new year. 2014 sucked for a lot of real life reasons, it was a complete write-off in so many respects. I love NaNo, I’ve likened it to a holiday and it is without doubt my favourite time of year. Starting off a new year, or launching my new intentions in November rather than January just made sense.

NaNo’s official goal is to write 50k within November. I wanted to go beyond that this year, to use the magic of NaNo to get a jump start on my future plans. With that in mind I set myself some additional goals:
– 12.5k on Day One
– 25k by end of Day Three
– 50k by end of Day Seven
– 100k by the end of the month
– Two finished first drafts
– Write something, however little, every day to get into the habit of consistency.

This is how it went:

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Blizzcon 2014: Revelations or lack of them

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I didn’t like Diablo 2, I definitely didn’t like Diablo 3, I have never played Starcraft, I’m not in the Heroes of the Storm alpha and I find Hearthstone a bit meh. When I think of blizzard, I think of World of Warcraft, that is the game of theirs that I play.

Now, the next expansion Warlords of Draenor releases in less than a week. Announcing the expansion after it, before this one is even released, would have been an odd choice. However, they have said they want to release expansions faster, they are planning on only two raid tiers which means surely it has to be faster. The next expansion will be wanting to release not long after next years blizzcon, there has to be a beta cycle first, so it can’t wait that long for announcement. I thought it was about 50/50 as to whether they announced it and they opted not to. I’m assuming that the announcement will be made at gamescon or something similar.

However, what I was sure they would do is talk about future patches. What would be coming up in 6.1 or 6.2, more about the future of the patch, something that we haven’t heard before. There was a big Warcraft panel yesterday and all of it just reiterated either what was in the 6.0 patch notes, or what they had said a year ago during last blizzcon. When I read the recap I was so glad I hadn’t bought a virtual ticket this year. Not giving any new information? That’s just wrong and in my opinion quite disrespectful. That this is hot on the heels of the longest content drought since the game was launched and it doesn’t exactly give a good feeling.

I’ve seen a few other people express this opinion in comments on WoWInsider, they have been stomped on for being cynical trolls. Why is it a bad thing to be critical about something you care about? If I didn’t care then I wouldn’t say anything. Now it’s possible that something new will be said during today’s panels. I certainly hope something new is said as otherwise this con offered nothing for Warcraft game fans. There was of course the movie which finished shooting months ago and is set for release in 2016. Seriously? It’s kinda hard to get excited when it’s still that far away.

Anyway, enough about Warcraft for the moment. The big reveal of the con was the new IP Overwatch, an entirely new game, a team based shooter. The suspicious part of me is sure that this was part Titan, as somebody must have been working on this as it can’t just have come out of nowhere. I thought that the footage of the game world was very Pixar, I wondered if it was aimed at kids but that doesn’t seem to be the case. The gameplay footage looked relatively polished and the beta is at some point next year.

My problem with it? It’s a shooter. I can’t play first person as I get really badly motion sick. I have enjoyed in very small doses games like Sanctum but even in small doses I pay for it afterwards. Plus it just seems to be a team based game, so you always have to play with others and it looks like it will be all PvP, so playing against people not an AI. Even if I didn’t have the FPS issue I don’t have enough friends to play, and I don’t really like PvP as I suck at it.

The new game is obviously not for me but I actually feel bizarrely sad about that. I might have thought the animation was aimed at children but I enjoyed it anyway. I got a real superhero vibe from it and I love superheroes. I was hoping all the way through that the announced game would be an MMO RPG, so like Warcraft but this whole new universe as I would have played that in a heartbeat. The graphics looked fantastic, I loved the world and the settings, the powers looked good, it was light and bright and it was superheroes. I love Marvel Heroes but at the end of the day that game is about smashing stuff, it’s a dungeon crawler not an RPG, I want a superhero RPG.

However, it’s not an RPG, they don’t want to give themselves competition I guess. It’s a shooter and that makes me sad. I love shooters in theory, being the hero, taking down the bad guys, it being a lot more real and immediate. There’s no quests or raids in shooters, they aren’t that kind of game so it’s more immersive. I wish I could play, I want to play, I really really want to play. When I was a kid my cousin had a shooter game, and he had a plastic gun that connected to the console, I wanted one so badly but I can’t play shooters. I try and play shooters and I get physically ill, so all the wanting in the world can’t change that.

I think that’s what really makes me disappointed in Overwatch. That I would love to play it but something physically prevents me. I would much rather just hate the game itself and maybe the more we learn about it, the more it’ll suck. Who knows?

There’s still a day of blizzcon left. However, from what I remember of my virtual ticket last year all the news was dealt with on day one, there were just additional details on day two. I don’t expect anything earth shattering but I will read the reports anyway. Warlords of Draenor launches in five days, Mists of Pandaria you really outstayed your welcome.

Warcraft: Free Seven Days

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I haven’t played Warcraft since March, that’s at least six months, more like seven, so it’s been a long time anyway. You would think that I would have forgotten how to play but it seems my hands remember how to play a paladin. Yes that means I did take blizz up on their offer for the free week of playtime. I said I wouldn’t resub until just before Warlords and I’m keeping to that resolve.

This free week though meant a) I didn’t have to wait until next month to play the launch event, b) I didn’t have to do all the housecleaning in game next month. They introduced a new ToyBox collection, they turned all justice into gold (I got 10k just from opening mail), there’s a new reagent tab etc. so I logged into all of my characters to collect the gold and either learn the toys or delete the duplicates. I will do another pass to consolidate all my crafting materials and remember where I keep everything when I have more time another day.

The first thing I did was sort my addons out. Thankfully all of them updated and worked apart from HolyTrinity which tracked my HolyPower on my paladin. I found a replacement and dove right in. It was strange in a way, recount was still showing old records, all my old macros and everything were just there like I had never been away.

I did the quests in the Blasted Lands, got my pet and my title. These weren’t the worlds most exciting quests and I found all the map icons to be quite distracting as I wasn’t sure what they meant. I then ran the special level 90 version of UBRS and was disappointed to find there was no achievement yet for completing it. I assume (hope) that will appear when Warlords actually launches.

A quick word about that dungeon. The cannons on the trash at the start are sneaky, I sort of wiped the group by pulling too much and not noticing them as they didn’t come up on my threat bar. I say sort of wiped the group because I went through the dungeon without dying. I could keep myself up and kill things without any issue. I was prepared for it to be tough as I’d read of people going in, with raid gear, and just getting shredded. I don’t know if blizz has hotfixed that or if there was something else going on. I had no issues with my own survival, in fact it was really kind of easy, I was impressed with how much my hands remembered. I was popping CD’s and healing like I played just last week. In terms of the gungeon itself I’m not sure whether I killed people on the first boss, I jumped down to hit the reset and kept threat, but the boss might hit people near him. The trash before the second boss was a pain, it just kept healing and took ages, the boss lasted a while too but I didn’t miss any interrupts. Third boss was the easiest of the lot.

When I logged in and saw the new character models I took my paladin to the barbers but I couldn’t find anything that was right, so I turned the new models off. I then turned them back on later because they are new and I should find a way to accept them. Plus I noticed that I really liked how my rogue looked. I took a screenshot of my rogue and tried to find that face in the barbers, a new face and a slight hair style change and now my pally looks more like herself. It’s still an adjustment, I will miss the old models and if I hadn’t had to face shift I would have turned them back on occasionally. I think the new models took a lot of resources and from a personal standpoint I wish they hadn’t been done. However, people like them so I guess it’s ok, the game is for everyone after all, not just me.

Another quick note about protection paladins, the patch notes weren’t kidding when they said not much had changed. My hands remembered the rotation and nothing was different. I guess it proves what I always said – we were already perfect. True wings has gone but I used to pretty much always pop that in tandem with Holy Avenger. I will miss the animation for it but that’s it. I haven’t tried ret yet.

The squish is a big thing about this patch and I have to say from the content I have done, which is basically only the new stuff, I can’t see any difference in my power. I quested as protection and didn’t have any trouble with kill time, but then those mobs would be tuned for the boosted 90’s and not former raiders. I will go and try to solo some stuff I’ve done before for a better idea but so far so good. In this respect blizz good job, I was worried about the squish but first impressions are good.

Over the next week I will:
– Consolidate all my account stuff e.g. reagents, heirlooms, account gear etc. in one place or at least reacquaint myself with what I have and where. I have two guild banks now, plus the new reagent tab, so I should free up a lot of bank space.
– Fill up the second void storage tab on my main, make more room for transmog gear as I seem to accumulate enough to fill my bags 10x over. I really need more space on Tai even with the extra space they’ve given us.
– Clean up my bags ready for Warlords, the two steps above will do most of it.
– Solo an old instance or two to see how it feels.
– Check out the ret spec as it is what I will level with it.

Hallow’s End is still technically happening and there are new pets and that Arthas disguise. I might look into getting something from it if I have the time and feel like it. However, I’m not going to stress myself about anything. I see there’s so much in the ToyBox that I haven’t collected, and when I start playing for real again then that is what I would like to start with. I already have a ton of mounts and pets so while it’s cool, it’s not as fun as filling up an empty journal.

Nearly forgot to mention that loading screen. I didn’t play in Burning Crusade and I recognised it, extremely iconic and nicely done. Oh and those characters which had disappeared from the armory, I logged into them and then they reappeared so nothing nefarious had gone on, which is a relief, didn’t want to misplace two paladins.

As returns after a long break go, I have to say it’s been damn smooth. My friends going to tease me about this on Tuesday. So just for him, if it makes you feel any better the new graphics card highlighted something I’d never noticed before. I turned up my settings as the card could do more and for the first time the graphics looked really bad. Maybe if they are blurred they look better. I’m writing this looking at Stormwind though, it’s one of the oldest areas of the game which I’m sure doesn’t help.

Avengers: Age of Ultron Trailer

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This was supposed to premiere during Agents of Shield next Tuesday but some ******** leaked it early. Now you’d think given how much I love the Avengers, and how eager I have been to see the trailer, that I would be pleased to get it early. However, I’m mad as hell in a way because it has completely taken the wind out of the sails of the promo for Agents of Shield.

Marvel were telling everyone to tune in next Tuesday to see the trailer for the first time. It was a good strategy, get people back into watching AoS, as they see it once/or again and think it’s awesome, then tune in every week after that. Now, there’s no hook to get all kinds of new people to tune in. I just really think that AoS could have done with that shot in the arm for ratings, it’s an amazing show and I want to see it go on for years but if it doesn’t meet the magic numbers then it won’t. It’s only the beginning of season two, so unless they announce cancellation early, then I have until next May to worry about renewal.

Coulson lives! I just hope AoS continues too as well. Back to the trailer … there will of course be spoilers for it under the cut.

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