Apr 3rd 2012 6:52PM I think it's worth noting that the sensationalized body types in WoW generally cater to a more male-oriented world view. Yes, all the men are ripped beyond reason, but that's a male power fantasy - I don't actually know any girls who find Arnold Schwarzenegger more attractive than Ryan Gosling. The women, by and large, are male sex fantasies. That's not to say women can't find the ripped guys sexy or enjoy having their female characters look appealing, but both are the product of a male viewpoint.
Either way, though, I think switching body types to Homer Simpson instead of Wolverine is a good thing for male characters. I also appreciate that blizz is expanding the definition of "sexy" beyond Victoria's Secret models for female Panderan.
Apr 3rd 2012 6:18PM I have to admit that's an awfully strange dialogue change. As the article pointed out, the male version not only works just fine for females, but it works better. I'm not against calling a sexy lady sexy, but there are times and places for it. Do barber shop NPCs have much in the way of dialogue? 'cause they would be perfect for that for both men and women.
Properly written, all sorts of characters could get in on the beauty appreciation. I think Anduin Wrynn could pull it off appropriately. I imagine him being quite awkward about it since, you know, your character is likely either as old or older than his father. That and he's a teenage boy, so... yeah, definitely awkward. I can also totally see Zaela looking at some of the fine male heroes of the horde with an appraising eye. Having her say "You've got a strong look to you! I bet you're all the rage with the ladies!" is very different from Ji saying it. The key, again, is equality. Just because you can write it that way, doesn't mean you have to.
Apr 3rd 2012 5:38PM The changes in wrath and cata were cleaning up outdated gameplay mechanics. Having to strategically place your spriests in a group with your healers and organizing your shamans for optimal totem use wasn't fun, it was just time consuming. Having buffs belong to a single class or single spec wasn't fun, it just forced people into specs or onto alts they didn't enjoy as much (shaman stacking for Sunwell, anyone?). Healers having infinite mana wasn't fun, they just spammed whatever was their best heal. Tanks being insta-gibbed by crushing blows and by a lot of Wrath bosses wasn't fun, people want to feel like they at least have a chance to prevent their death. Who actually thinks those things made WoW better?
As for homogenization, well, bears have always been warrior clones. In vanilla we played differently in that druids just weren't viable tanks, but for BC and Wrath we were just lesser versions of warriors for most intents and purposes (25 man Sarth 3D being an exception). In cata we got to see some actual differences in playstyle, though. I'd actually argue the current bear is less homogenized than the bear of pre-2.4
Apr 3rd 2012 5:22PM What worries me about Savage Defense is that the parallels to Vanilla/BC Shield Block are a little too easy to make. We've already tried this design and it didn't work, so we dropped it in the systems overhaul of Wrath. There were some great things about Vanilla, but ignoring years of iterative game design seems like poor form.
I can't shake the feeling that bears are the abused little brothers of warriors. Our abilities were essentially carbon copies of a warrior's for years and even in Wrath it sometimes felt like the biggest difference was that Druids had more health and took more damage. In Cata I finally felt like I was moving away from being warrior-lite. Now, I'm looking at Mists thinking "not only am I going back to warrior-lite, I'm going back to warrior from 7 years ago." Even if this turns out to be a good gameplay mechanic, I don't like feeling like I'm being given abilities off of the warrior's reject pile.
Mar 30th 2012 8:45AM I've always associated "toon" with the toons in Ender's Game (a slang abbreviation of platoon). I still use it as short hand with people who refer to their characters as toons to keep things simple, though. I mostly refer to my characters by their class, adding extra descriptors as necessary if I have to specify my new pally over my old pally or whatever.
Of course, in my head I actually refer to them by their names or nicknames. All my characters have names lifted from somewhere and I still get a kick out of the references, even if I suspect few people get most of them and no one gets the full effect.
Mar 29th 2012 3:02AM It's worth mentioning that all this twinking doesn't mean you or your team will be invincible. I've been leveling a new hunter over the last few weeks primarily through bgs without any sort of support from an 85 (new server). I've fought more than perhaps my fair share of people who can 1- or 2-shot me and won by running away for a few secs until my teammates focus fire the dangerous people. I've also seen plenty of groups of twinks camp the spawn areas in wsg or AB and end up losing horribly as the rest of their team can't stop the flag carriers or people capping bases. I suppose they may not care about winning since they want to keep their XP down, but at the end of the day they still lost.
That all isn't true for 78-79 twinks, though. I've seen a single Blood DK camp the entire opposing team in WSG (while holding the flag so his own team couldn't end the match) and I've seen players 1-shot vehicles in SoTA and IoC and 2 man (1 twink heals, 1 twink tank spec) the AV bosses before any towers burn. Such a large discrepancy between twinks and non-twinks cannot possibly provide satisfying gameplay for non-twinks. That bracket is in dire need of fixing and with an ilvl crunch not coming, making cata greens require lvl 80 seems like the only solution.
Mar 19th 2012 7:50AM That's... not what I was hoping for. I was actually anticipating resurrecting my old account and transferring the toons over to my newer account (which I started because I had run out of slots to level more toons on the server my friends play on). I'm hardly the average WoW player, though, so I guess I get it.
I'd at least like BoAs to become BoA (not Bind on Server) so my future leveling endeavors won't be completely in a vacuum from my past ones.
Mar 16th 2012 4:05PM No, No, No That's Not How It Happened:
Use the Hourglass of Time to resurrect a fallen comrade in the Murozond encounter
Should Have Taken The Stairs:
Fall to your death on an elevator
Never Tell Me The Odds:
Die from an engineering item malfunction
Mar 16th 2012 12:37PM The problem with expensive cosmetic rewards are that they are 1 time purchases that ultimately make very little dent in the pockets of WoW's super wealthy. 300k is a lot easier to swallow if you have a few million gold. Even making it an item you can buy multiple times (one suggestion earlier in the comments was the Call to Arms satchels) are unlikely to really make a difference since most people I know who play the ah have a minimum amount of gold they want on hand at any given time (usually some value several times higher than your average WoW player has dreamed of). Moreover, this would encourage people with less gold to buy more from disreputable sources. I know people who bought gold for the Traveler's Tundra Mammoth in Wrath and that was only 16k - still quite possible to farm up if you put in some time. If a mount is so expensive that most people could never dream of earning that much it stops being a matter of dedicating yourself to earning the money and becomes an excuse to buy gold - "I wouldn't be able to get it legitimately anyway" sort of thing.
Even assuming only rich ah barons bought the cosmetic items and no one bought gold to get them (i.e. ideal circumstances) someone like Basil makes several times more in a day what most people make in a week. In his intro to "Fastest Way to Make 10k Gold" he said that for him, the fastest way was to log on and check his mail. There's just no feasible way for some cosmetic items to keep up with that.
Even more daring solutions like Blizz offering every mat in the game from a vendor for a certain cost would ultimately just devalue gathering professions. There would be a price ceiling set, but mat farmers would obviously have to sell for less than that ceiling, allowing ah gurus to still earn their profit margin from crafting.
Some sort of marginal income tax seems like the only practical solution, and even that has plenty of pitfalls and shortcomings. Moreover, I have no idea how blizz could introduce it in a way that's clearly understandable and accessible for your average player. Some sort of bar like we have for VP that fills up as you move towards your cap of untaxed income maybe? The limit would also have to be account-wide to prevent people from simply spreading their ah dealings out across a multitude of alts.
A 15%+ (number chosen for the sake of argument) tax on your ah earnings after a certain amount would probably push a lot of items into unprofitability, which would either cause ah kingpins to simply withhold their stock until next week or bump up the price so it's profitable again. Either way, the average WoW player is the one that suffers. You end up with supply chain issues getting a gem for your new upgrade or you have to pay 15% more for it. I think the end effect would probably lean towards lower overall sales volume - it's harder to set a 15% markup when there are hundreds of more casual players also crafting and not having to worry about taxation - though there would also be some price increase to make up for the lower volume. Also worth mentioning, high-end items like BoEs would likely just get that 15% increase straight up due to their high value potentially pushing people into taxation very quickly.
Taxation would likely slow the wealth accumulation of WoW's 1% relative to the 99% (slowed, not stopped), but I don't think blizz will risk causing problems for PvE/PvP for the sake of messing with people accumulating a virtual currency. This game is supposed to be about killing dragons and/or other players, and that's always been job #1 at blizz (hence why people need to make posts that boil down to "FIX THE AH UI GODDAMN IT").
Mar 13th 2012 8:51AM When I leveled my lock I had 3 heirlooms, so hardly a full set, but I vividly remember running stocks as affliction and doing only slightly more dps than the healer. I passed the tank on bosses, but I was useless for all the trash, which is like 95% of low level dungeons. That ramp up time is painful when you're leveling, particularly at low levels when most ranged classes can expect mobs to die before reaching them while questing and packs in dungeons don't even last long enough for you to get a full set of dots running on a single mob.
The thing that made me start playing my lock more actively was getting fed up killing one mob at a time in Nagrand and I started dotting up 3-4 mobs at a time and then pushing myself to 5-6 and popping cooldowns to stay alive.