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An argument for permanent death

I'm all about good ideas to improve the game we all love. I've even been known to toss them out to you folks on occasion. This morning though, in my morning perousal of the internets, I found a blog entry that just about made my eyes pop out of my head.

Our good west-coast friend Cap'n Jack posted a couple of ideas yesterday that certainly had the benefit of being novel, if not extreme. While I don't think my head can completely wrap itself around his first PvP-themed suggestion, I'm really intrigued at his second idea: Permadeath.

That's right folks. The Cap'n is suggesting that once you die, you're dead. If you can't find a benevolent druid, shaman, priest, paladin, or an engineer with a set of jumper cables within thirty minutes of death you're toast. Game over. Thanks for playing. We'll see you at the character creation screen momentarily. Jack further proposes that if the grim reaper does defeat you, that you would be allowed to start the character over at Level 1 naked and without skills, but retaining your name, your race, your class, and -- most importantly -- your ignore list.

While even my wildest imagination cannot fathom the amount of hate comments I'm going to get over this article, I should state that I don't agree with 100% with John, I'm just presenting his idea for discussion. As a longtime MMOG player, I've seen the penalty for death gradually diminish from year to year and game to game. While I might not be entirely in John's corner on this issue I can agree that some more "serious" penalties for death might be refreshing. What are your thoughts? I'll be hiding in the WoW Insider bomb shelter. Let me know when the coast is clear.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Odds and ends

PTR character copier appears broken


During a spirited conversation with someone over the number of public test realms (that was rather reminiscent of the "I See Four Lights!" episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation), I decided to download the newest PTR client and take a look. At first I made a (new) gnome rogue and then quickly decided "to hell with this level one crap" and ran off to the character copy page to copy one of my Gnomeregan characters or maybe copy a premade character. My hopes were dashed as I discovered that somehow the character copier was broken. The video just handed to me (and linked above) by a trusted Blizzard source may provide illumination on what has transpired. (Humor intended.)

Blizzard poster Hortus informs us that they are aware of character copying issues and that the problem is being investigated. We have also received private assurances from our anonymous source that the platen glass in the PTR character copier will be reinforced to accommodate Taurens and other more "rubenesque" characters.

Filed under: Bugs, Expansions, Humor

Zul'Aman cleared on the PTRs

Warcry reports this morning that less than 24 hours after the launch of Zul'Aman on the test realms, that the Europeans have done it once again and the guilds Curse and Death Wish have cleared the instance all the way to Zul'Jin.

The article notes that the loot quality appears to fall between Karazhan and SSC, around level 132. Each boss reportedly drops two Badges of Justice while Zul'Jin drops three.

It certainly looks like there is "fresh meat" just around the corner for the raiding community. If you missed it, be sure to go back to check out the Zul'Aman preview so you can get ready for the latest ten-man instance when the next content patch goes live! With a high-level raid in such close proximity to (potentially) flagged lowbie blood elves, I can see Zul'Aman being a very popular Alliance destination!

Filed under: Odds and ends, Expansions

Another option for new content: factional class flipping?

Last week I talked about mid-level content and as expected, many of you expressed an opinion. One comment in particular from autumnbear got me thinking. Autumnbear writes:

"How about updating the overall lore for the game, and allowing more class choices for the current playable races. Still waiting for the Night Elves to teach my Human how to be a Druid, especially since he's Exalted with both Darnassus AND the Cenarion Circle."

Now that's something I can chew on. What about quests that will allow you to make race/class combinations that are not otherwise available in the game? I think this is a tremendous idea if the process is sufficiently difficult to prevent everybody and their uncle's cat from doing it. The original Everquest had epic quests that took some players months to complete. Everquest 2 had the betrayal quests which allowed you to change factions which took a really long time to complete.

Why shouldn't a human, in Autumnbear's case, who has earned significant faction with Darnassus not be able to learn the finer points of being a druid? Gnomes have no healing classes. Why not create a very difficult quest line for those gnomes who are exalted with Stormwind that would allow them to become a paladin or priest?

I know I'm going to get a billion comments about game balance. Admittedly this would likely not count as "mid-level" either, but I think that if it was properly implemented it could be a valid source of that new content that everybody is craving.

Filed under: Druid, Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Classes

The foot-moving thing? It happens. Want me to kill him again?

Sean Connery and Nicholas Cage fans will recognize my lame attempt to quote the line from The Rock (without digging out my copy.)

Gitr noted on his blog yesterday that after he killed Frostmaw recently, he noticed something strange. Much like the foot of the Marine in the aforementioned movie, it's hand was still moving -- clenching and unclenching his staff -- even though it was clearly dead. I don't know if this is something that can be duplicated every time, but it would sure freak me out.

About once or twice a month I get a somewhat more amusing graphical bug where the mob keeps "looking at me" even after it's dead, causing the body to spin on the ground if I run around it in circles.

While some bugs are annoying, some like these are amusing and even interesting. What silly in-game anomalies like this have you seen?

Filed under: Odds and ends

Life after Warcraft for one of its most venerable podcasts

There are a lot of good World of Warcraft podcasts out there, including our own. There are a few though that are really considered pioneers, and I think Taverncast is probably one of them. Despite their extremely erratic production schedule, they've been around longer than most and the quality of their production has always been top-shelf.

Yesterday, they released their final "exclusively" WoW-themed podcast. Eloy explains in his blog that several changes in the lives of the cast have brought about this change, most notably that only one of them still plays the game on a regular basis.

The podcast will continue though, it will just be less WoW-centric. As one of their long-time fans, I know they will continue to rock with whatever content they choose to focus on.

Finally, on a personal note to Infernal Bill, Cromley, Eloy, and Kirnkaterre... I hope you enjoyed the voicemail I left for you. It comes with love from one of your Canadian fans. (You'll have to listen to TC32 to understand the Canadian connection.)

Filed under: Odds and ends, News items

Players want more mid-level content!

I was intrigued to read the results of the poll over at Kinless' Chronicles. Before they moved from their old blog hosting provider they started a poll asking what people wanted the most in World of Warcraft.

Of all the poll results, I was most interested by the fact that 64% of respondents wanted more level 20-60 content and only 15% wanted more end-game content. Also of note is that only 12% wanted more races in the game. So in other words, people don't want new "starter areas", they want alternatives to the "grinding content" that they've run so many times they can do it in their sleep.

I pretty much agree with all the poll results and wonder why Blizzard seems to have turned a blind eye to the obvious. I think it's fair to say that most of us have one or two high or maxed-level characters, and a handful of lower level characters we "mess around with" trying to find something we like. So why don't they develop new mid-range content?

What format do you see new mid-level content content being packaged in? New zones? New quests? New instances? What about just new items? Personally, when I played The Sims, I always loved the "item packs" that gave me new items to play with in-game. They weren't a content expansion, they were pretty inexpensive, but they offered some new items to spice up gameplay. I think this could be a cheap way for Blizzard to throw the mid-level people a proverbial bone without spending a lot of development time.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items, Expansions

Brewfest starts at midnight server time!

Trouble is brewing in the forums. Sorry. Couldn't resist.

Apparently there has been some miscommunication about the in-game Brewfest event. Even the oft-infallible WoW Insider team has been an accessory to this crime, and for that we humbly apologize. There's been more than a little bit of chatter about it on the forums as well, and Drysc dutifully stepped to the plate and addressed the angry alcohol-deprived mob. (Thankfully, he survived a lynching. This time.)

In my opinion Drysc took more of the blame on Blizzard's behalf than he needed to. The misunderstanding, from my perspective, has all been about verbage. The promotional material I've seen indicated that Brewfest would "go live" today, it didn't say the festival would actually start today. Like the Darkmoon Faire, Blizzard has opted to put a day of setup and teardown at each end of the event to add to roleplay realism. Personally, I think it's a nice touch.

The good news is that the festival actually starts tonight at midnight server time. Be sure to check out Dan's guide to Brewfest festivities and make your way to your faction's Brewfest location!

Filed under: Events, Odds and ends, News items

AOL plans WoW social network at wow.com

Those of us who have ever tried to buy a domain know what I'm about to talk about. All those really great, short, three-to-five letter domain names are taken. You may think you've thought of something nobody else would use, but as soon as you run to your web host of choice and type it into the search box your dreams are shattered as you discover it's already registered to someone else.

Over the course of it's many corporate acquisitions over the years, AOL has obviously picked up the ownership of a premium domain name or two. One of them -- wow.com -- was acquired when they took ownership of the remaining assets of Compuserve many years ago. In its article posted this morning, Techcrunch.com reveals that AOL has decided to pull wow.com out of mothballs and use it as a social networking site for World of Warcraft players.

I guess this is one instance of patience paying off. They've owned this domain for what appears to be a very long time, and now they've found a great use for it. All I know is that if America Online has decided to take this on, they will do a fantastic job. I'm looking forward to seeing how they execute this plan.

Oh. And I should probably take a moment to "do the voice" of that guy who reads the fine print really fast at the end of the car commercials and say "WoW Insider is a part of the Weblogs Inc. blogging network which is owned by America Online."

Filed under: Odds and ends, News items

One of the best (and funniest) PVP articles I've ever read



I'm not a PvP guy. People on the staff think I'm a PvP guy but I'm not. Why do people always assume rogues are PvP freaks? I don't know. Anyway. It's not to say I don't like a little bit of world PvP once in a while, but compared to some of the peeps who have more arena points than they have Air Miles, I am for all intents and purposes, a PvP noob.

Having said that though, I've been clutching my stomach for a good ten minutes and wiping away the tears of laughter after reading this epic post from Relmstein entitled Lessons Learned From Levelling On A PvP Server. While some of it is side-splittingly funny (yes I know I just invented a word), like all good comedy, it's funny because it's true!

If you're considering rolling on a PvP server (something I've tried and failed many times), you may want to print out this article and stick it on your wall. It could save your life!

Filed under: Odds and ends, Humor, Guides