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  • Farthing
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Wrath Retrospective: What we learned from death knights, page 2 {WoW}

Jun 28th 2010 10:04PM "Hybrid tax" needs to be axed.

Blizzard has difficulty enough making balanced classes. Asking certain classes to come out behind adds a needless complication that is rather silly to the design process, and hurts both raid and pvp viability. Pure dps classes will always be SLIGHTLY less desirable than hybrids simply because the versatility of dual spec makes hybrids more useful.

At the end of the day, you still need half your 10 man raid composed of dps, and almost 2/3 of the raid in 25 man. Coupled with the fact that if you don't diversify your class base in the raid you are more likely to get wasted gear drops, there is no reason to worry about being a pure dps class. Asking for a hybrid task is only hurting a group's ability to do an encounter, or beat another team.

Wrath Retrospective: What we learned from death knights, page 2 {WoW}

Jun 28th 2010 9:43PM Reasons for Death Knight Hate Explained:

Death Knights, being new, received special treatment to work them into the game.
As a Death Knight, you are given everything at the start. Other classes have to work VERY hard to get these compared to Death Knights, even by todays LFG tool standards. If you work for months to earn enough money to buy you

Death Knights, are everyone's concern.
Because Death Knights are given so much at the start, they are FAR more attractive as a second character than ANY other class in the game in terms of effort required. Further, the power level they possessed at the beginning of Wrath was such that many people who weren't initally interested in the class flocked to it after seeing what it could do. Secondly, it had the novelty of being the first class added to the game, so everyone was focused on the Death Knight for almost the first half of the expansion.

Death Knights received more tweaking attention
How much of this is a result of the previous item is debatable, but because so much balancing was required for Death Knights, as all the abilities were untested, the entire class was repeatedly overhauled until everything was where Blizzard wanted it. Other classes did not receive this overhaul, largely because it wasn't needed, but like any first child watching a parent look after its younger sibling jealously takes over.

Death Knights are like Jedi.
Throughout most of the story in WCIII and even WoW, Death Knights have been almost invincible forces of power. If you saw a (NPC) Death Knight, something BIG was going on. Rivendare was probably the first most would take down, and he was at the VERY end of a challenging dungeon and was a HUGE challenge unto himself. Even in BC we run into Teron Gorefiend and he manipuates players and becomes a raid-boss. Death Knights were something that struck awe into players, so their abilities were designed to do the same. However, as many star wars games have learned, when you introduce a playable version of such a powerful iconic group, either everyone plays one, or something has to be lost.

Did you think we had forgotten? Did you think we had forgiven?
Some people like to hold grudges. The memory of being ludicrously overrun by ANY class especially when you feel you did your best is something that is hard to swallow (in PVE or PVP). People don't want to give up, so instead of blaming themselves, they will blame the balancing system. As any player that has been around long enough will tell you, many initial assumptions like this are wrong. However if there is even a small adjustment to a class that serves as a nerf, often people that have been beaten by that class will jump on the nerf and claim that it's not enough. First impressions last and Death Knights certainly made a big one.

Wrath Retrospective: Lore and the art of storytelling, page 2 {WoW}

Jun 10th 2010 7:39PM I strongly disagree with the comments about WotLK being the strongest part of WoW from a story-telling standpoint.

Cinematics add a nice visual/music/voice combination to the game, but overall the story is the same. They are great for emphasizing specific parts of the story, but don't make the story stronger overall.

Phasing was a great mechanic for certain quests (such as the Arthas vs. Illiden/lets raise a ton of undead quests), but for other Icecrown quests, it was more of a pain.

In Vanilla, each story was stand-alone, but with interesting interconnection, with quests taking you from one endgame dungeon to another, and requiring you to go to multiple different endgame raids to complete them. There were connections between Molten Core and every other endgame raid except Naxxramas, if only through quest items. AQ connected with Naxx, and Naxx was even connected to Outland via Corrupted Ashbringer.

In Wrath, withone exception, the ONLY stories that are well developed are those tied to the Lich King, and even then the Argent Tournament is shoddy at best in terms of story. Oracles/Frenzyheart while interesting, lacks a resolution, the Taunka and Kaluak quests drop off and don't really go anywhere, Malygos dies before we really even know why we killed him, and Gun'Drak/Drak'Tharon is poorly explained.

The only exception to this is Ulduar, which even without the intended connection to Icecrown still stands firmly on its feet.

This may seem strange, but gearing also affects story in an MMO. The fact that Malygos got outgeared so quickly de-emphasized his story into the twisting Nether, and similar things occured in Naxxramas. This is less the case with Ulduar because of the still-available and quite unique mounts/titles to collect. Unfortunately, TotC has not been de-emphasized as these have, and its story is even weaker than Malygos's.

Similar to gearing, instance setup also has an effect on story. With instances being sliced up into smaller pieces, each one has a more condensed and less effective story. Compare the amount of detail in Scholomance to the detail in Forge of Souls. Don't get me wrong, I love FoS, but as far as story goes it's only an obstacle in the way of HoR.

Lastly, I would like to state that in some ways Faction Leaders have also been over-exposed. In BC, Thrall appeared once. In Wrath, faction leaders are almost as prevalent as the Lich King, making their appearance less special and in some cases silly. Mages and Archers aren't typically frontline soldiers, and leaders espically so.

Breakfast Topic: A few of your favorite things {WoW}

Jun 7th 2010 6:30PM 1. Blizzard appears to be really slacking in the weapons dept. this expansion
2. Weapons this expansion, regardless of uniqueness are some of the most intricate and fantastic I've ever seen.
3. Don't knock "reskinned" models. Better textures can make a world of a difference in how cool an item appears, and often there's more added than you know.

Example: Festerguts model uses animations from the rotting ymirjar casters. look at the way he holds his arms, and his legs tremble. One could simply call it "reskinned" and yell at blizzard. HOWEVER this is clearly nothing like a ymirjar undead, and took a great deal of adding and modifying to make. Sometimes its just easier to base an item/enemy on something that has already been made.

It's silly to think that EVERY item and enemy should have a unique model. Without repitition, the unique models wouldn't have any status. Bryntoll is a good example of this. Most weapons in ICC share models, but Bryntoll is unique, which makes it much much cooler than the others. Blizzard has built up a HUGE base of weapon and enemy models, and I would in fact applaud them making greater use of this.

Another example outside WoW of what can be done with "reskinning". If you've ever seen a large number of Disney movies, take a look at the animated "Robin Hood" film. Its a top-notch Disney film. However, if you've watched other Disney films you might notice a few things.

1. The film intro is made almost entirely from scenes animated in the film, on a different backdrop
2.Several characters are re-used animation models of other characters in Disney films. This is most notable in the bear "Little John", who uses the same animations as "Baloo" from "The Jungle Book"

In short, I think Blizzard SHOULD re-use models, but not in the ways they have. They should be certain to use a wide variety of models in any given area, and make sure they are appropriate to the area's theme, unless meant to be intentionally different. New models should be special and used sparingly so as to keep them special.

Ready Check: I miss Karazhan {WoW}

Jun 4th 2010 6:37PM Kara also wasn't a one trick pony like so many raids today are. In ICC, the only really influential boss outside the raid, is Arthas. Kara had connections to the Warcraft rts through Medivh, Darkshire through the nobles in Moroes, and arguably Attumen, Outland through Malchezzar and the etherials, Dalaran (which at the time was much more mysterious) through the Violet Eye, and even a little bit of worgen thrown in there with the book buffs and Big Bad. ICC has connections, but not nearly as many. Kara is like an oak tree, ICC is like a pine. Both impressive, but one is a lot sturdier.

Enter to win an Ethereal Soul-Trader {WoW}

Jun 2nd 2010 2:16PM Might as well. Always wanted one.

Blood Sport: Dalaran Arena problems and possible solutions {WoW}

Mar 16th 2010 12:50PM I believe, regardless of any mis-typings, that what Daniel said was essentially this: losing to the waterfall is bad preparation, not bad luck. I think the real problem hear is the fact that a player often has trouble surviving more than 3-4 seconds when cut off from heals, particularly when the match is already underway and the player has been loaded up with dots. PvP survivability should be fixed before arenas are critiqued. Even Blizz has admitted that PvP is not functioning as they would like.

"Player vs. player should not be just that -- not player vs. environment. I hope that clarifies this last sentence." Is a bold, not entirely incorrect statement, but regardless of what you do, PvP always takes place in an environment and always has. That environment should have some effect on the play, otherwise why have it at all? I think the waterfall should stay as there is plenty of warning before the effects occur, and preparation for effects like this should be part of the Arena play.

That said there are some things that legitimately break gameplay, like the Org Arena fire. The damage was just too potent. Similarly, I think the proverbial nail was struck squarely on the head by stating that stairs need to be added to the box-corners of the Sewer arena. Most of the problems in the arena stem from the z-axis punishment. Fixing the stairs not only fixes the z-axis, but also fixes the boxes and softens the punishment of knockback abilities.

Totem Talk: The elusive shaman tank {WoW}

Dec 6th 2009 11:56AM While I'm far from an expert at Blizzard goings-on, Blizz can't seem to make up their mind as to whether they want all classes to be like DKs, where a spec determines more your style than your role, and mixing and matching specs below 51pts is extremely viable, or Hunters where the 51 pt talent is practically mandatory for raiding.

Personally, I'd prefer talents taking a note from the original DK trees. Each has abilities that clearly go toward tanking or dps, but they are neither mutually exclusive, nor mandatory. And by mixing trees below 51 pts, you can often end up with a still viable, if inoptimal spec that does some fun things. They made it less interesting (read Overpowered) when they moved Howling Blast in the frost tree...

I hope that the DK tree style is what they have in mind for Cataclysm.

Yeah, and Resilience is still a viable way to crit cap. I wish they'd make it PvE effective again.

The Queue: Picking favorites {WoW}

Dec 1st 2009 9:20PM The problems with Draenei:
1. There were other viable Alliance races. Worgen were perfectly viable then as now. The entire town of pyrewood is a bunch of cursed humans, just like Gilneas. Pandarans may have been ruled out for ambiguous reasons (too silly? *cough*gnomes*cough*), but that still left the Furbolgs, having been mentioned as friendly to the alliance already. Fandral Staghelm has even noticed that a certain other race has been called friendly for some time, but never capitalized upon.

2. The story change was confusing. The only Draenei that actually appeared in Warcraft were changed into Lost Ones, the Broken were added to the game without real necessity when the Lost Ones could have filled their roles easily, and no consistent explanation is ever given as to what causes the mutations to occur, nor why they are avoided afterward. The mentioned explanation is that Fel energies cause this mutation, but that only leaves more questions regarding the Eredar that will likely have unsatisfactory answers. There is also little explanation as to how the Draenei lost the Shamanistic arts and why the Broken and Lost Ones did not.

3. The Draenei are Jerks. Lets accept what the story is so far. So, most of the "real" Draenei race is slaughtered by Orcs, and half of the remaining fifth goes into hiding in barely shown locations across Outland, while they the other half stay behind to mask their retreat and fight a war against the Orcs. Then they get mutated by "Fel Energies" (ignoring the effect it had on the Eredar). Reduced in strength and horribly disfigured, the Light- worshiping, ever benevolent Draenai (now consisting mostly of those to weak to fight if the number cutting was that drastic) led by a guy who spends so much time with the light he could probably out-Ashbringer Tirion Fordring, turns these self sacrificing heroes into a lower class and/or outcast population, bereft of any civil status.

3.Draenei are woefully inconsistent jerks. Okay so once again, lets accept the plot so far. So Draenei are extremely paranoid now, not even offering to welcome back partially or wholly mutated versions of their only remaining kin. Their friends the Naaru come back and explain that not every race is a friend of the Burning Legion, and that they should come for a ride in their Tempest Keep. Around this time, Blood elves, crazy for fel/arcane/void energies, or just some LCD if they can get it, storm TK, take most of its satellites, and sabotage the Draenei luxury suite so when they try to run away, they end up on a new planet,turn over a new leaf and are willing to help everyone except the horde ( but thats ok no problems plotwise there) and...oh right, they STILL distrust the Broken!

4. The Draenei tech looks like it's from Starcraft. Don't misunderstand me here. I love Starcraft. Looking forward to Starcraft II. The problem is, WoW had a VERY strong fantasy feel to it. I will put my neck on the headsman's block and say it was perfect. It had everything it needed. It even had a Cow Level(http://www.wowwiki.com/Thunder_Bluff). The thing it didn't need was Protoss cruisers dropping out of the sky. I know some of you are screaming about gnomes right now. Gnomish tech at least meshes with Dwarven tech. Draenei tech meshes well with a Mon-Calamari cruiser.

5. The Draenei are faultless. So lets assume they still have a good reason for talking about the Broken and Lost Ones only slightly better than they do Kil'jaeden. They are the last remnants of a noble race. Together they stand against all that is evil! The end. Draenai CAN'T be evil. Every other race has a dark side, a problem. If not one then more. This gives them compelling places in the plot for the future. There's not even a hint of a betrayer, a bad egg, or even their supposed wished for vengeance on the Horde. I hope and pray that this changes in Cataclysm. They missed so many opportunities in BC to do this, and more now in Wrath, but I still have hope for Cataclysm.

6. Plenty of other races could have been added to the Alliance with less plot twisting than was used for the Draenei, and would have fit better with the fantasy setting. Ogres, Centaurs, Dryads/Keepers, High Elves, Giants, even the Arrakoa.

I could list more missed opportunities and plotholes, but I'm long winded enough, and much of it is just nitpicking. Sadly all of this is moot, as it's unlikely Blizzard would ever do anything to replace them. Which makes it more Draenei-inducedmdepression than Draenei-induced hate. Can't wait for Dwarf Shamans.

Ready Check: How to coach your raid members {WoW}

Nov 6th 2009 11:00AM WoW raiding has a great similarity to team sports. While in the case of raiding it isn't against other players, everything still applies. Raiders need to communicate, coordinate, and know where to be when. If one player doesn't pull their weight, the team suffers. That doesn't mean that a good guild only accepts the best players though. A good guild needs to be able to make them.