The Beta

As I mentioned in one of my last posts, I had decided not to take part in the beta, but then I was offered a key, and … well, I took it.  I felt like I was opening my presents before Christmas, but I just couldn’t resist when given the opportunity.  So, I dove right in.  I got everything installed and patched, and immediately rolled my very first Death Knight.  I had to do so on the PvP server because neither PvE server was allowing new character creation.  (Must have been too crowded, I guess.)

First impressions?  It’s pretty cool.  I haven’t finished the whole DK starting area, but I like the new types of quests that are being offered, and the whole look and feel of the starting area is wonderfully dark.  The lag wasn’t bad, probably because it was the PvP server.  I did roll on one of the normal servers later, and the lag made it so frustrating, I didn’t even bother to finish the first quest.  I tried one of the PvE servers again more recently and it was fine, but If you find the PvE servers unplayable, do go check out the PvP one.  If you’re just doing that starting area, you won’t need to worry about the opposite faction.

I also copied my 70’s over so I could check out Northrend, and I explored there for just 30 minutes or so.  I’ve decided I’m not going to do any questing in Northrend because I’ll just have to do it all over again when the game officially releases.  Certainly being familiar with the zones could be an advantage when the expansion does come out, but 1) I still have plenty I want to do in the live game now and think my time would be better spent on that, and 2) I will not be rushing through Wrath.  I do not need to be the first person in my guild to 80, and will very likely plod along much the way I did from 1-70.  Actually, I’m sure I’ll be a little more focused because I will want to be able to run the new content with the guild, but it’s not going to be a mad race for me.  There will be plenty of time to pick up inscription and all that business, too.  I don’t need to do it the first day.

I think it’s interesting how people are responding to the beta and the expansion in general.  Some have expressed some ambivalence toward the coming content, with all its new changes.  I understand this. I’m looking forward to the new content, but in a way, I wish the expansion were a bit further off because I feel like I’ve only just arrived at the end game.  I finally have a pretty good handle on the classes I’m playing and I’ve begun to gear up my 70’s.  The expansion means learning new zones, figuring out how to play the classes with all their new skills and the changes to the old skills, and of course leveling again and regearing.  I got a small taste of all this when I first started with the DK.  I died and couldn’t figure out how to get from the graveyard back to my corpse.  For a moment, I pondered just starting a new DK because after about five minutes of running around, I didn’t seem to be any closer to my body.  It was frustrating.  I’m sure I’ll get my bearings soon enough, really, but it’s been a while since I’ve had that “where the hell am I?” feeling in the game.

I confess I have some reservations about the achievement system, too.  I understand why they’re adding them — it’s adding more quests without really adding more content.  I think many folks were good at coming up with their own achievements (grinding rep to get particular mount or recipe, fully exploring every area, etc), and now you will get to check these off a long list.  BRK denounced achievements in one of the WI podcasts as busywork, though you could say that of lots of things already in the game.  (My guess is that he’s already completed most of the currently available busywork and the issue is that he doesn’t want more.)  Honestly, I’m not looking forward to them because I’m going to feel as though I should do them (for the sake of completion!  Straight A Student Syndrome!) but I know I won’t have the patience or focus (or time).  I noticed in the beta that when you right click on another player’s portrait, in addition to trade and all the usual options, you can compare achievements.  Greeeeat.  So, some obnoxious kid on the zeppelin can tell me I suck because I haven’t done as many achievements as he has.  /ignore.  Although, to be fair, lots of folks were concerned about being bombarded by unsolicited “feedback” about their talent builds when those were first made viewable by others, too.  Outside of the first week after it was implemented, that has never happened to me.  I’m hoping the competitiveness with achievements won’t end up being as annoying as I fear it could be either.  (Between you and me, I hope this is as much the case with my guildmates as strangers on zeppelins. 😉 )

Despite all this, I’m really excited about the expansion, particularly since a lot of the folks in the guild seem to be off in the beta now.  Raiding guilds are certainly feeling the absence and disinterest of their raiders, but even our medium sized guild seems to have fewer folks around lately.   If you schedule something, people will show up, of course, but there are a lot fewer folks hanging around, leveling, or just randomly making themselves available for stuff in the evenings.  We rarely have the critical mass to run a regular instance, much less a heroic.  Wrath will certainly bring back the old regulars, and probably many folks we haven’t seen in a long time.  This is certainly one of the things I’m looking forward to the most.

State of Flux

Last week was a bit of a roller coaster…

I had some great moments with my Horde guild, running a bunch of instances, including trading some dungeon run-throughs of low level alts with a few of the new folks in the guild.  I also saw the inside of Zul’Aman for the first time, as the team going after Nalorakk was short a few DPS.  I’m still not quite ready for prime time ZA runs (still need about ten more badges for the chest upgrade to get my stats a little closer to the desired minimums), but I’m getting there.

On the downside, the Purple Poxers are no more.  It’s a bummer.  I knew that it would end someday, I just never guessed it would end so soon.  We were just getting ready to do ZF and begin moving on to some content that some of us hadn’t seen often (or at all — ST, Strat, Scholo, and the often-skipped stuff). Oh well.  We had a lot of great times, and I’ve got a backlog of screenshots I’ll be going through soon to put together a final wrap-up post on the Purples in the next week or so.  I suppose that’s that.

Things are already looking up again this week, however.  We have family staying with us, so I’d assumed we weren’t going to be playing WoW at all, but my “joke” about putting WoW on extra computers so we could all play together (and get them addicted) was actually taken as a good idea!  (Bwahahah!) So, Monday night, that is exactly what we did.  We installed the game on the laptop they brought, set up one of our old computers, and then both of them set up trial accounts and made characters.  Hee!  The four of us ran around the Orc/Troll starting area for a few hours before bedtime, and it was a great time.  My sister made a hunter, her husband created a priest, and Mr. Ess and I rolled a mage and a rogue to run around with them.  We’re trying to do more following than leading, since it really is fun to just run around and explore when you first get in the game.  No rush.  We certainly don’t want them to miss anything.  It’s been great fun so far.

Last night, we left the starting area and ventured out into Durotar.  It’s been so fun hearing them say “Whoa!” as we arrive at a new place or giggle as I show them a new emote.  We picked up the quests around Razor Hill and Sen’jin, and at the end of the night, we made the jaunt up to Orgrimmar so they could see the big city.  Each time we arrived at a new place, I stood on the edge and watched them run in, sort of like little kids released at a park… they’d circle around, explore everything, click on everything, talk to the NPC’s, find the trainers, look through what the vendors are selling, and read through the quests as they pick them up.  It’s so fun!  It’s reminding me of the “wow” I felt when I first started playing.  There’s no hurry to level, we’re just enjoying the place.  I’m not sure if they’ll play past their trial accounts this week, but I’m hopeful.

So, that’s the news from Lake Wobegon.  Work stuff is also in a bit of a state of flux, but you don’t really read this blog to hear about RL, do you?  😉

Blog Trends (and a little more Brain Dumping)

I’m still catching up on blogs!  For a while there, the trend seemed to be reflections on why people were bored/quitting WoW/looking for new diversions.  Now, the trend seems to be recruiting bloggers to write guest posts.  This is happening in blogs that I’d mentally categorized as personal WoW blogs, too.

There are also a lot of posts about the beta.  I like reading folks’ first impressions as they head into the new content, but I’m skipping all the stuff about the class talent changes. It’s not because I’m avoiding spoilers (I see that some blogs are also stating they are Wrath spoiler-free zones), it’s just that all that stuff is subject to major revision before release, so I’ll look into it later after release is closer, possibly not until I’ve got the expansion installed.  I don’t have the energy/interest to invest in it now.

I was just checking out trends in my own blog’s readership, and noted that Nat linked me from one of her recent WoW Insider articles.  Thanks for the linkage, and hi to those that have wandered over from there! I’ll get back to writing more cohesive posts soon (promise), but a little more brain dumping first…

/braindump

– I’m cooking up some documents for Pox Arcanum and a few of them are nearly done.  I’m hoping that if we can get more detailed guidelines (and a Mission Statement) posted, we won’t need much more in the way of administrative stuff with that guild (which is really not a traditional guild, so I wonder if I should stop calling it that).  I think the key will be clarifying the goal of the Pox– to offer a sandbox for static group play.  I think some people that joined in the months after Pox was first created missed this, and they’ve come in expecting to be able to do a lot of the stuff they do on their mains on other servers, things that don’t fall under the simple (and intentionally limited) category of “static group play.”  The point isn’t leveling or optimizing a character or building up a family of alts, and these goals/mindsets are difficult for some players to shake. In fact, you really don’t even need a guild set-up to do what we’re doing, so sometimes I wonder why I’m putting so much time into creating the documents.  I guess I enjoy doing that kind of thing, despite my lack of desire to run a guild.

– Does anyone know what happened to Apathy?

– In catching up on blog reading, I came across this interesting pair of posts, the first from Michael Zenke at MMOG Nation (among other places), which inspired additional thoughts from Syncaine at Hardcore CasualWherein I Learn Why They’re Called “Carebears” and Asshat or PvPer: Which will Warhammer Online have?.  Sounds like flagging up on a PvE server doesn’t exactly invite PvP as one might hope — it invites griefing.  On a PvP server, there can be retribution for behavior like that.  There can be retribution for other unsavory behavior on PvP servers, as well, like stealing kills, herbs, etc.  One’s reputation becomes much more critical, and I’m intrigued by the idea of playing in such an environment.  On average, I doubt there is less jerkiness or more honor amongst players on PvP servers compared to PvE servers, but at least you can exact your revenge.  Again, I don’t really need any more side projects, but … yes, I’m intrigued.  I do not think I’d be willing to go into it alone though.  Small static party would be fun.  Either that or I’d look for a guild first, and choose my server that way.  Maybe both.

– I just started using Control Freak, and I love it.  Dax also turned me onto Healbot, and it, too, rocks my socks.  I read Kestrel’s post about IHML today, and I’ll be downloading that soon.

Ok, I think my brain is empty now.  More cohesive posts coming soon!

Brain Dump

– I’m still catching up on the two weeks of blog reading that I missed.  So… much… to read! *gasp*

– I’ve seen several WoW-playing couples post that they bought two authenticators from Blizzard.  Maybe you wanted two, but you really only needed one — you can use a single authenticator for multiple accounts!  Too late for those that already bought two and I know they’re cheap anyway, but I just thought I’d throw that out there for those with multiple accounts in their household that haven’t made the purchase yet.  (We’ll be buying one when they’re available again.)

– Very cool post here from Tipa at West Karana: Innovation in RPGs: An Illustrated History.

– A friend in the guild last night suggested I start bringing my newly minted 70 to the lower kara runs, while still bringing my hunter to the upper Kara runs.  I think in the interest of helping the guild progress, I will still continue to run my hunter with both, in part because she still needs badges and in part because they’re hoping for a 1:1 vet:noob ratio in the lower Kara runs.  Focus will get my hunter geared for ZA more quickly, too.  I wonder if that’s one of the reasons we’ve been in Kara so long.  There aren’t enough people focused on gearing one character… most people’s efforts are spread out among alts.  Because the primary goal of the guild isn’t raiding anyway, there’d never be a mandate to force people to focus, of course.  Maybe focus is the real difference between hardcore and casual.

– I never hope for drama in my own guild, but I’m anticipating some as we begin to work toward (and through) ZA.  At the heart of it, I’m afraid, will be the Dunning-Kruger effect.  Also, Kara sign-ups are currently first come, first serve, but to facilitate forward progress, the ZA sign-ups are going to be handled a bit differently.  Player class and skill will be considered, as well as preparedness and patience and other things that are a bit harder to measure, and they’ve said straight up that there will be some “cherry-picking” from the lot that signs up.  We’re sort of a nerdy old bunch, so anything that feels like a schoolyard pick could put a strain on the guild.  I’m hoping that everyone who wants to will ultimately be able to give the raid a shot, but I also hope that those who are clearly not ready will step back on their own and not sign up again until they are.  I will certainly do this, if I find myself unprepared.  Beyond that, we just have to hope that no feelings are hurt.  Fingers crossed.

– Despite all the talk of staying focused, I’ve been thinking about resurrecting the Year of the PuG.  Hmm…

– I didn’t enter my account for consideration for the WotLK beta, and have no plans to, but I’m greatly enjoying reading the impressions of it from folks that have already gotten in — check out Gloria’s Onward to Northrend article over at Girls Don’t Game.

– I picked up Portal recently, and so far it has not disappointed.  Great fun… I’m through the first 9 or 10 levels so far.  It’s been a long time since I’ve played a game that isn’t WoW, so it’s a little weird not to have a million options of what to do next.  It’s almost a relief!

Me and Diablo III

I have fallen in love with (and become hopelessly addicted to) many games over the years. We had an Atari when we were kids, and even had a console specifically for playing Pong that was bought before I was born, but was still functional when I was old enough to start playing games. My oldest brother also had a series of gaming set-ups in the years that followed. He had a ColecoVision with Donkey Kong on it (woo!), an Amiga, and perhaps my favorite, the C64. We spent a fair amount of time watching our brothers game, but my younger sister and I also played quite a lot together. I actually started to list our favorite C64 games here, but it is a rather long list, so I’ll cut it down to the top three I remember. We were masters of Impossible Mission, we loved Hitchhiker’s Guide (imagine how much more we loved it after we finally read the books!), and then there was Hacker. This game was like a project for us. I remember parking our sleeping bags on the floor in front of the basement tv, with our sharpened pencils poised over fresh pads of paper to keep track of our progress through the game, determined that that night was the night we’d finally beat the damn thing. We never did, but it was always fun trying.

Our dad worked at IBM so we always had PCs around the house as well. The first PC game that I remember really diving into was called “Castle,” and sadly, I can’t find a link anywhere about it. It was an adventure game with very simple graphics. (Look out for that letter S! It’s a snake!) I also have really fond memories of Wishbringer. Oh my god, did we love this game. It was a text adventure, and because we’d gotten our copy of it from a friend, we didn’t have all the maps and other stuff that came in the box. So, we we drew the maps ourselves as we imagined them (we did this with later games, too, even if we did have the real maps). In this game, you were ordered by the postmaster to deliver a letter to a woman who lived in a magic shop at the other side of town. You had to use various tricks to navigate past the obstacles in town (go to the graveyard first to find a bone that you can use to distract a mean dog later, and also pick up a broom, though I don’t remember what that was for), and it had all the usual frustrations of a text adventure. You had to enter the commands precisely, and sometimes even obvious word substitutions were unacceptable. We never made it through the whole game until many years later (after finding a walkthrough on the budding internet) — we had always gotten bogged down at a particular part, because we couldn’t come up with the right phrase to get the game to let us continue. (I don’t remember what it was, ultimately, except that it was amazingly simple, and we were sure we’d typed the phrase in before.) We still had a great time playing the game though, and never minded starting over when we got stuck. It really sparked our imaginations.

We got a Nintendo system shortly after they came out, followed by the Super Nintendo, and my younger sister and I also played with these endlessly. I remember summers where she and I would come home from a long day at the pool, sit in front of the tv, and play the Mario and Zelda games for hours on end, usually while listening to Phantom of the Opera. (Hee.)

I was away at grad school when my sister bought the N64, and I didn’t own a console myself for quite some time. I still continued to follow her leads on computer games though, and the first PC game I bought for myself after I moved away from home was Creatures. The day I got it, I stayed up until 4am playing it and had to force myself to go to bed so that I would make it to work at a reasonable time the next day. I also remember buying 7th Guest, which had some good creepy stuff in it. I never got particularly addicted to it, but I liked the puzzles and it had a cool atmosphere. I never finished it either. Similar games that followed (Myst, etc) intrigued me, but I never pursued them.

After my husband and I started dating, I started playing games more regularly. He introduced me to Civ II (which I also played like crazy), and when he picked up the Blizzard battle chest to get Starcraft, and he gave me the copies of Warcraft II and Diablo that came with it. (Awesome battle chest, eh?) I didn’t get much into Warcraft II, though I did play through a couple of the scenarios. I knew from watching him play Starcraft and Command & Conquer that those types of games at higher levels required more tactical thinking than I was interested in, so I naturally gravitated toward Diablo. It really appealed to me from the start. I loved the mood, and sometimes would play at night, with my room dark and headphones on to totally immerse myself in it. I’ll admit I didn’t replay Diablo at all though. I played through the whole game once on one character and then put it away. My roommate showed me Roller Coaster Tycoon, and that became my game of choice for quite some time.

And then along came Diablo II and its expansion.

Of all the games I’d played up until that point, Diablo II was by far the most consuming. We played it for years. I think the main reason for this was that it was not just my husband and I that were into it, we had a couple of local friends that also played, plus my husband’s brother, and a couple of my siblings also dipped into it a bit briefly. Initially we all just played solo, but once we figured out how to use battle.net to play online, things really took off… we started playing a lot.

We came up with all kinds of crazy ideas for experimental characters and groups in Diablo II, just like we now do in WoW, and it always kept the game fresh for us. I recently stumbled upon an old e-mail exchange between four of us outlining a plan to get through to Nightmare difficulty (or maybe it was Hell — I can’t remember now), and start over in this more hardcore version of the game naked and untwinked. We’d always be partied when we played, and fight through the challenge of being terribly undergeared as a group. As I recall, it was a very short experiment because we totally got our butts kicked.

I didn’t get too much into the gear collecting aspect of the game, but my husband did. Nothing was soulbound in Diablo II, so you could pass even the best gear between characters. My husband and one of our friends were each trying to collect all the uniques, and had loads of gear stored across many characters on several different accounts. They would farm bosses (ask my husband how many times he killed Mephisto!) trying to get some of the drops. I did a bit of that, but what I remember more is farming chipped gems. I could put them into the Horadric cube with my sword to try and get the really awesome “cruel” stat set on it. I remember trying to collect all the runes as well.

When we weren’t playing the game, we were usually talking about it. There were lots of e-mail exchanges, like the one I mentioned before, and we had to be careful when we went to parties not to chat about it constantly. We’d make plans for new ways to play, talk about stuff that had happened in game, what had dropped, etc… sound familiar? 🙂 Our friend’s girlfriend (now wife) was one of the few in the group that didn’t play, and she said it was like we were speaking a different language.

If I recall correctly, I was the first to quit. I think I was a bit burnt out anyway, but the final straw was getting tradehacked by someone. It was horrible. I left the game just for a month at first, but I didn’t stay with it long after my return. It just wasn’t the same. I’d seen all the content, and given that the economy was polluted with duped items and eBayed stuff, I had no interest in collecting gear or runes anymore either. Other hobbies took over my free time, and I moved on.

I heard about WoW when it came out, but I didn’t rush out to get it since I hadn’t been a huge fan the other Warcraft games. I’d also heard WoW had similarities to Everquest, which I’d specifically avoided as it was often referred to as Evercrack. After finally taking the plunge into WoW last year, I reported to our old Diablo II friends about the game, told them how amazing and fun it was, and how Blizzard had built upon and refined much of what they’d offered in Diablo II (summed up very well in this post by Renata). My husband started playing a few months after I did, but our local gamer friends (some no longer local) decided not to get into WoW. The sticking point with them was (and is) that it is a subscription-based game. They say it’s too much money to pour into a game, though we’ve rationalized that part in the usual ways to them. (Even playing just once a week will make each play session cost less than the price of a movie ticket, one month of WoW is cheaper than an evening out for beers, etc, etc.) We acknowledge that the real cost of the game is time, and it is probably true that neither of them has as much free time as before, so we’ve pretty much given up on the idea of the band getting back together to play WoW. But, upon mentioning the prospect Diablo III to them in the past (and again in the last few days), they sounded like they might actually cave in for this one… it is, after all, Diablo.

So, in getting a hint that it could be Diablo III on the horizon, even if it’s only an announcement and it would be three years before I’m subscribed and looking at its login screen, I’m getting very excited and hopeful. I see people all over the place say, “but what would they do differently? would it just be WoW in the Diablo universe? wouldn’t another MMO compete with WoW?” Of course I would want it to be a great game, but I’m caring a bit less now about how exactly the game is different or what it accomplishes. Instead, I’m enjoying the intense nostalgia for a game I loved and the anticipation of playing with my old friends again. I’ll be doing my best to rope my younger sister into it this time, too.

Why We Blog

I’ve been thinking lately about my blogging style, the other WoW bloggers I know and read, why we all blog, and why I read what I read. My feed reader overfloweth, but much of it just gets marked as read after a quick scan of the post titles. I can see patterns in who I preferentially read based on the kind of blogging they do, and why they seem to blog.

To write.

We all like to write, otherwise, why would we bother blogging? I do sense different motivations for writing, several of them described below, but on the whole, I’ll bet if we weren’t all writing about WoW, we would all be writing or blogging about something else. This is certainly the case for me.

To provide a resource.

I often hear “I started playing a [class] and there weren’t many resources, so I started a blog to help others looking for information.” These are great blogs, don’t get me wrong, but I confess I don’t often read them. I bookmark their suggestions for leveling builds and gear lists, but most of my toons aren’t advanced enough that the subtleties of builds and theorycrafting are going to make a difference in my game play. Kudos to you guys that do the math and write these blogs, however.

Some of these folks also appear to want to use blogging as a launchpad to something else, perhaps professional blogging or journalism (perhaps about gaming, perhaps not). With these bloggers, there is a lot of emphasis on proper blogging style, and the “right way” to present things and do things (inside and outside the game). If there is something considered news about WoW or Blizzard, they always post about it. They will weigh in on all controversies, and recap/repost all patch notes. I don’t read this stuff either.

My blog is not intended to be a resource. I may accidentally make suggestions with my various etiquette and wasn’t-that-guy-a-jerkface posts, but I doubt I’m bookmarked anywhere for the usefulness of the content of my blog.

To keep a record.

My blog falls into this category. I have kept blogs for lots of my hobbies because much later, after I’ve moved on to other interests, I like to go back and read about what I did, my opinions of what was going on, remember the people I met, and the funny things that happened. (The blog from my Scrabble days still makes me laugh.) I remember the main points of events, but it’s the details that I enjoy when I go back and read something I wrote. I look for these same details in others’ writings, the little things that seemed important enough to preserve at the time.

I’m a nostalgic person. One of my favorite things to do is exchange stories with friends about things we did when we were kids, stuff we got in trouble for at school, first heartbreaks, worst dates, trips to the emergency room, and most embarrassing moments. Love. It. Tell me a story. (With details.)

To confess.

I know this isn’t just me… you do something really dumb, accidentally ninja something, embarrass yourself in front of your guild, or discover something you feel like you should have known a long time ago. Then you confess all these sins, publicly, in your blog. I do a fair amount of this, I realize, and I love reading other people’s confessions as well. It’s like we’re keeping ourselves honest, reminding ourselves that we’re human.

To vent.

Sometimes, I see bloggers apologize for letting off steam in their posts, and I say, don’t worry about it. It’s you’re blog, and you can vent if you want to. Seethe about that annoying person in your guild or that same faction jackass that stole the ore while you’re clearing the mobs from around it. Even if it’s a story I’ve heard over and over, it can be the most engaging writing that a person produces because there’s so much emotion behind it. It’s great stuff!

To connect with people.

Some write blogs because they want to be part of the blogging community. It has been a great way to meet other folks who also like writing/thinking about WoW, and although I have had some non-blogging folks consistently leave comments, most of the comments I get come from other bloggers. I’ve met some really cool people through the WoW blogs, some that I’ve actually gotten the chance to play with now, and I look forward to many years of gaming/writing with them, with WoW and whatever comes after. These bloggers that I “know” are the ones that I read every day. Doesn’t matter what they write — when I see their blogs come up on the feed reader, I click right away and read the posts in full.

And on that subject, I’ve noticed myself become less anonymous in the last several months. (Usually my blogs are almost completely anonymous.) I post all the time now about playing with Pox Arcanum and Sidhe Devils folks, and I happily chat away on vent with all these folks. I’m still choosing to remain secretive about my main guild, however, as having some amount of anonymity makes me less self-conscious about what I write. Maybe that will gradually dissipate, too, though.

To get attention.

Blogging is an exhibitionist thing. If we didn’t want attention, we would write our thoughts and keep them on our hard drives never to see the light of the internet.

Honestly, I admit I do like the attention. And don’t you? Isn’t it exciting when someone discovers your blog and links you? Isn’t it cool when a blogger you admire, maybe even someone famous in the WoW blogosphere like BRK, links to your blog or mentions one of your posts? When my blog was recently mentioned on one of the MMO podcasts I listen to, I sat around all afternoon with stars in my eyes, not believing (yet basking in the idea) that these people had read and enjoyed what I had written enough to mention it on their show. Frickin’ cool. I don’t think I’d personally go so far as to write something specifically to get attention (I do steer clear of the controversial stuff, for the most part), but to feel a little bit famous, even within a small circle on the internet, is nifty. As bloggers, we want an audience, and to feel that we’ve got one (even a small one!) is gratifying. This is what keeps us writing.

Temptation

As much as I love WoW, this has been slightly tempting lately. And this has been a little more tempting than that. Then, yesterday I saw this. I might succumb. (Actually, AoC is the most tempting because I see a lot of people starting to play it now, but EQII would be free.)

It’s not that I don’t enjoy WoW — I do still enjoy the cheese they have to offer. I just like to try lots of different kinds of cheese. Even within WoW, I flit from alt to alt, activity to activity. I like it that I can have lots of toons and play with several guilds. On the weekends, I’ll romp all morning in the BGs, and then work on my crafting professions all afternoon. Given all I want to accomplish in WoW, I’m not sure I have time to give much attention to another game, but I do feel the lure. The people I’ve met through the blogs and in game are what will keep me in WoW for the long term, I’m sure, but I can’t help but wonder what other games have to offer.

I think part of it is all the non-WoW MMO stuff I’ve been reading and listening to lately. I’ve played lots of games over the years, but WoW is my first MMO, and I find it interesting to hear how the others compare. It’s cool to hear about other crafting systems, other combat systems, and the way that the classes are designed in these new games for solo and group play. I love about how players play the games to make them more immersive, and what they find appealing about different kinds of quests or PvP systems. I find game design fascinating, and while there are so many things WoW does right, I am interested in the criticisms of the game by those more experienced with MMOs.

Another part of it is that I know I’m a joiner. If you’re looking to try some new set of experimental alts? Sign me up — I’m all over it. I see some bloggers putting together new guilds in some of these new games, and that’s an additional layer of temptation. Trying another game at this point would be as much about being social with new groups of people as about seeing new games and new content.

Hm… 🙂

(Stay on target!)

Friday Five

1. Amen, sister. Seriously, great article.

2. I am working on a post about Pox Arcanum, more reflecting on the whole experiment than describing what we’ve been doing lately. So, briefly, what we’ve been doing lately: we’ve just passed level 30 and will take on the Scarlet Monastery Library next week. It will be our second assault, as we didn’t get much past Loksey the first try. Last week, we did some general quest clean-up (including class quests) and have all trained in our level 30 skills, so I think we’ll get much further this time. 🙂

3. Horde side, I’ve been spending time leveling my Blood Elf frost mage, and farming a lot of thorium to level up her jewelcrafting. Over the last week, it’s gone from 210 to 278, so I’m making good progress! I’ve been feeling more mage-y than hunter-y lately, so my level 70 hunter hasn’t gotten much attention this past week. I did take her out for a few quests one night though and got her revered with Cenarion Expedition. She now has the Glyph of Ferocity, just in time for a Kara run this weekend!

4. Alliance side, my Sidhe Devils fire mage has hit level 30. I’m still feeling slightly lost over there. Horde side, I know the drill, I know where all the instance quests are, and my battle plan for proceeding through them is set and well-practiced. She’s been through Deadmines and Stockades, but I haven’t really spent much time looking up the set of quests for Gnomer… instead, I’m just leveling. I would like to get her to 70 so I can play with the cool kids. (Oh, and BBB. 😉 )

5. I’ve been feeling a bit more focused in the game lately, less inclined to play lots of alts, though I create them. I want to gear up my hunter a bit, and run Kara with the guild. I want to get my frost mage to 70, and will likely make her my main when Wrath arrives (if not before). My priest still sits at 50, but she’s the only other horde side alt I suspect I’ll be putting effort into. Alliance side, I really am enjoying the fire mage. And that’s pretty much all I’m playing at the moment (and I don’t think the priest really counts). Believe it or not, this is pretty focused for me!

Same Faction Ganking?

My husband’s Alliance bank alt was in Stormwind this morning, when he was unexpectedly killed by someone in his own faction. He wasn’t flagged, he hadn’t agreed to a duel. He was just puttering about in the AH and the next thing he knew, he was being asked if he wanted to release his spirit. (A level 70 Gnome warrior standing by said “bwahaha,” so at first he thought he was responsible, but it may be that he was laughing because he survived the blast.) As it turns out, there is an exploit, typically used by shamans with their fire totems, that allows you to kill someone in your own faction. Because of the way it’s done (and I will not post that here), it will only kill them if they are a low level toon because it requires that they be killed in a single blast from the totem.

This is clearly not something Blizzard intended to allow and it’s been reported in several places, including a few threads in the official forums. I did some searches this morning (carefully, because if you put “exploit” in the search terms, you get some rather shady-looking, potentially keylogger-laden hits), and it seems that as often as people are reporting that they got ganked by someone in their own faction, there are others begging for it not to be reported because they like to use the trick to kill goldspammers. You know, it’s funny… I did notice quite a few dead goldspammers on the ground in Ironforge this weekend, and I thought for a moment that maybe a GM actually did something to zap their characters or accounts. For as many times as I report those bastards, I’ve never seen their corpses around, so these caught my eye. But now it makes a bit more sense… I’ll bet they were killed by other players.

I’m sure this exploit will be fixed, just like the similar ones that came before it (snake traps, infernals, etc). Each time such an exploit is found and fixed, some of the player base interprets it as Blizzard’s support of goldspammers. I disagree. I think it’s Blizzard instead protecting the legitimate player who would be targeted by a bored shaman while their lowbie bank alt is checking the price of leather in the AH. Some players have not only asked that this exploit remain in the game, but that there be more options given to players so that they can take the law into their own hands and gank the goldspammers and botters. Again, while it would be great to be able to buy a nice “Shut Up Balm” (or “Bomb” maybe) to apply to a goldspammer so he can’t say anything else, I just don’t think Blizzard can trust its players to target only “the bad guys.”

The one thing I can’t decide now is whether I’d report someone if my bank alt was caught in the blast. I’ve read that players can be banned for using this exploit. (Just a 3 hour ban, but a ban nonetheless, and a flag on their account.) I think I would, but maybe it would depend on how many goldspammers they managed to take out. 😉 Maybe I should get some better armor for my bank alt?

EDIT: From what we’ve heard and read since I first posted this, it seems very unlikely that the Gnome warrior who killed him. Instead, it was probably a shaman that had logged out, so I massaged the text above to remove blame from the Gnome.

An update of sorts

I’m still sorting through the pile of screenshots I took from Saturday’s Running of the Bulls for Sharvan, and will hopefully have those posted soon…

Posting here may slow down a bit over the next couple weeks, because I’m realizing how much of my work day it’s actually taking up. I get a few work-related things going (sometimes), make myself a cup of coffee, and start hammering out a blog entry, occasionally pausing to read other blogs or look for podcast updates. Of course I tab away when someone comes to chat with me or ask me something, but I do almost no work until the blog entry is done. Sometimes, given all the distractions and interruptions, this is as late as noon. The rest of the day flies by, and next thing I know, the whole week is gone. One could argue that the game itself also interferes with certain things getting done in the evenings, but the more urgent situation at the moment seems to be the way the blogging and reading about WoW during the day is interfering with my getting work done.

So, I’m going to cut back on all this a bit. I’ll still be posting a couple times a week, as things occur to me. My blog is intended more as a record of progress and events than a resource to the community anyway, so in the end I suppose it will really only be my loss. 🙂

Ok, time to get to work.  Back later!