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Heart of the Aspects video and giveaway {WoW}

Feb 15th 2012 1:45PM Weeee shiny dragons!

A vision of Mists of Pandaria's Pet Battles {WoW}

Feb 6th 2012 2:23PM You know, after playing a bit of Everquest a few months ago, I got to thinking: what if WoW had an alternate advancement system? Some kind of system where you get to customize your character beyond just the talents you choose, and you get to advance over time even after you've hit max level. Then I remembered that WoW is the most min/maxed MMO out there and that any sort of advancement system Blizzard introduced would immediately be boiled down and condensed to just another set of "here's a bunch of options but only one path is optimal." It would end up being just another grind for players to go through.

This, I think, is why Blizzard is going the exact opposite direction with Pandaland. Instead of adding complexity, they're removing it to attempt to give the player some kind of real choice. It's kind of a futile endeavor, since everything will always be min/maxed and optimized and number-crunched so that meter-whores can be at the top, but assuming they execute their vision correctly one may actually be rewarded for taking a "non-optimal" path with additional utility.

Honestly, though, I think Blizzard should replace the current glyph system with Path of the Titans. Glyphs are incredibly important as it is and sometimes make huge differences to how a character plays. They too have been min/maxed, but at least you usually get a couple of slots to do with as you will. Turning glyphs into a form of advancement solves two problems: 1) players that can't afford/don't buy/don't know about glyphs until max level could instead be instructed through in-game tutorials on how to advance; 2) players are given meaningful choices as they advance without having to pay gold for them. We're already one step there now that you remember the glyph forever once you "learn it". Now all we need to do is separate the cost aspect and replace it with an advancement system.

Of course, this will never happen since Blizzard tied glyphs into an entire profession that a lot of people have. Still, it would create a form of alternate advancement besides leveling up and getting to pick between your three choices every 15 levels. A form of alternate advancement is going to become more and more necessary if Blizz keeps the Pandaria talent system for a while, because it seems like it will kind of suck only getting to customize your character once every 15 levels.

How to level up using the Dungeon Finder {WoW}

Dec 29th 2011 3:25PM Another thing to mention: not every class has a reasonable or useful AoE utility at low levels. If you get stuck with a bunch of single-target-only DPSers it's going to be hard to manage large pulls of half the dungeon without running out of cooldowns or running the healer out of mana.

Also, in the case of new players, it can be hard to make them understand when to use their AoE and when to stick to single-target attacks. I can't tell you how many times I've seen mages pelt two mobs with Blizzard; conversely, I've also seen mages and warlocks nuke a single target when the tank is sitting there tanking 10 non-elites. Some classes (like mage and warlock) get useful AoE abilities really early on and it's important to use them if you have a tank that likes to pull 10 mobs at a time. It's also important for a good tank to take a quick glance at what kind of DPS are in the group and pull accordingly.

How to level up using the Dungeon Finder {WoW}

Dec 29th 2011 3:18PM Something you should have addressed that I feel is extremely important when going over a "how-to" for leveling using the Dungeon Finder: class balance. Blizzard does not bother balancing the classes for lower levels, and sometimes you can be doing your very best and still pull bottom DPS because you simply don't have some of your core DPS tools yet, or because fights don't last long enough (even on boss fights) for your DPS to truly flourish.

I've been in my fair share of randoms as a lowbie where the tank was doing triple the DPS of every other group member and I couldn't figure out what any of us were doing wrong. Especially at really low levels (levels 15-30 or so) there's just no real balance to the classes and tanks seem to have the most tools (and therefore the most damage-generating abilities).

It's also important to note to tanks that bitching about it doesn't do any good. I hate when tanks queue up, get their instant queue, do triple the arcane mage's DPS, and then post recount and complain because the "noobs can't keep up, lrn2play". Mana regen is out of whack too (poor lowbie Shadow Priests) -- calm down once in a while and let the mana-users drink. I haven't had to wand as a DPS caster since BC, except as a lowbie Shadow Priest when the tank would not stop to let me drink after a few pulls.

On the flip side of things, sometimes it can be exciting to just rampage through everything and never stop moving. I did a Scarlet Monastery: Graveyard run last night where the tank never stopped moving until we got to the final boss. We were still DPSing down mobs that we had aggro'd outside and had trained with us up to the boss, but we survived without much trouble and ended up running Gnomeregan the same way afterwards. (We had to stop more often in Gnomeregan just to let people catch up after jumps and such, but it was still pretty hectic.)

Your first Battlegrounds as a PvP healer {WoW}

Dec 22nd 2011 4:37PM At least in the latter situation, it doesn't take long to go from a have-not to a have.

The return of raid stacking? {WoW}

Nov 30th 2011 12:31PM I'm actually more worried about a class getting shafted. If 7 classes have amazing utility talents and the others are mediocre, no one will bring those other classes.

Enter to win a World of Warcraft iPhone clip case {WoW}

Nov 25th 2011 3:31PM FOR THE HORDE!

GameStop will honor Duke Nukem Forever pre-orders from simpler times {Joystiq}

May 30th 2011 5:23PM @Arsenic13 I kept my receipt from when I preordered it back in 2001, but I kept it in my wallet. By 2002 it was a blank white piece of paper.

Joyswag: Dreamcast Collection, soundtrack vinyl and 'Still Thinking' hoodie {Joystiq}

Mar 21st 2011 10:24PM Skies of Arcadia. That was an awesome, under-appreciated game that deserved way more publicity than it got.

Ghostcrawler responds to heroic dungeon difficulty complaints {WoW}

Jan 12th 2011 5:59PM Really? You want to wipe 60% of the time even if you know the fights, are over-geared, and well-prepared? The only way to make that happen would be to make the fights stupidly random and unfair.

Surely you were joking. Otherwise, you need to quit right now before Blizzard gets any ideas from you.