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Does Garrosh Hellscream deserve to die? {WoW}

Mar 23rd 2012 8:29PM @fudge

That's not really fair and you know it. You're speculating on something based on nothing but a few sentences that's three patches and a whole expansion away. I can play the baseless speculation game too:
The Alliance walk into Orgrimmar torn by civil war, civilians slaughtered in the crossfire and the majority of Horde forces in disarray (Garrosh has to have some forces loyal to him).
Perhaps Varian takes the moral high road (like that interview with Metzen suggests he will) and realizes that even his old enemies don't deserve this slaughter, and that it might actually be in his own interests to have someone in control of the Horde who isn't a raging warmonger willing to sacrifice his own people for personal glory and unnatural power.
Perhaps Thrall is racked with guilt and anger, seeing his own city destroyed by someone he put in power, perhaps Thrall is in need of rescue or serious help (he always was pretty trusting). Perhaps Thrall, when all is said and done, refuses to take the mantle of Warchief, guilt-ridden over what Garrosh has become, or furious with those who were loyal to him, or because his own family must now take precedent over a Horde that didn't much seem to mind that he was gone.
Perhaps Varian knows that the Horde won't follow a puppet leader and aids Voljin to becoming warchief, logically picking the much lesser of two necessary evils.
Perhaps the Alliance walks out proud, united, and morally justified, while the Horde has to sit back and wonder how the hell it dropped so low that the Alliance had to come in and save it.

Jaq is exactly right that the Alliance have room to complain after Cata, this can't possibly be argued. And then Blizzard came out roughly 100 times and said "we hear you, we understand your complaints, we recognize that you are right, and we're going to address this in MoP", and yet people still complain about content that doesn't exist yet.

The surreal concept of neutrality in Warcraft {WoW}

Mar 21st 2012 12:49PM I don't think its quite so black and white, tbh. Assuming no game-mechanics reasons for these neutral factions, the vast majority of them exist because there is (and always has been, really) some massive threat to all life on Azeroth and because there's consequences for picking sides.

Surely Malfurion has a strained relationship with Tyrande and the Night Elves, seeing as he's working with some of the very people destroying their forests, but at the same time Ragnaros backed by an army of Deathwing is knocking at the world tree's door. To reject the help of Horde members could mean defeat at the hands of Ragnaros, where the stakes are much higher than territorial battles in Ashenvale. If no leaders or factions were willing to put aside the current politics or disputes for the sake of a bigger cause, the World of Warcraft would have died out years and years ago.
Perhaps with the twilight (at least for now) of big world ending mega-threats we'll see these factions start to turn their attention to their own kin, though doing so has consequences and it leads me to my next point.

In terms of the Argent Crusade, they've set up camp surrounded at all sides by hostile forces, and then surrounded even further by Blood Elves and the Forsaken. The Alliance have strongholds in WP, but they're tied up losing in Anderhol, and the Forsaken are making strides all over the Northern half of the Eastern Kingdoms and create their own reinforcements from the corpses of their enemies.
I have no doubt that Tirion is aware and does not approve of what the Forsaken are doing, but what is he going to do? Throw his lot in with the Alliance, thereby losing any Horde support (inside and outside of his own ranks), and then watch as he has to face not only the Scourge but now the Forsaken, with little, if any, Alliance reinforcement nearby? Sure, there's nothing to say he wouldn't be perhaps be successful, but that's an awfully large risk he probably doesn't want to take (at least right now).

I agree that some neutral factions are better put together and designed than others, but I don't think its necessarily a surreal concept and that it doesn't make any sense.

Blue Posts: MoP account-wide achievements, phasing, authenticator troubles, Balance {WoW}

Feb 7th 2012 12:52AM I believe vehicle quests were a new innovation for Wrath, and that they actually toned them down significantly in Cata due to player backlash in places like Borean Tundra, Occulus, and EoE. I'm pretty sure there are more vehicle quests in Borean Tundra and Icecrown combined than there are in all of Kalimdor in Cata.

IIRC Icecrown was packed to the brim with phasing, especially when you added in the tournament. Icecrown even had like a dozen group quests that spanned all of those phases. Not every zone in Wrath had 25 phases, and Cata is the same way, there's simply more zones so it's much more apparent. Not every zone is a Silverpine or Hyjal, there are plenty with little or no phasing at all.

To be fair, there was really only one cutscene in Wrath, and that was the Wrathgate, so technically anything over one or two could be seen as a pretty drastic ramp up. That being said, I don't think its fair to look at places like Uldum where cutscenes were overused and unnecessary (and Blizz has public noted they went overboard there) without also looking at zones like the Badlands, where cutscenes dramatically improved the story and feel.

I guess my point is that anytime you ramp up a fairly new concept (like phasing or transmog or story-driven questing), you always run the risk of being hit and miss in certain places. That being said, I saw more hits than misses in Cata and I expect it to get better with more refining in MoP.

Third faction or logistical nightmare? {WoW}

Feb 3rd 2012 3:17PM I've said it before and I'll say it again, I simply don't buy the defectors argument as being feasible or realistic.

The Draenei don't have much beef with any of the Horde races yes, but that doesn't mean that orcs, trolls, tauren, undead, blood elves, and goblins haven't been killing Draenei and humans/night elves/ etc. equally in places like Eye of the Storm. It's not like Velen or Sylvannas or Greymane didn't know what they were signing up for when they chose to ally with one side or the other. Picking a side makes you a belligerent, which makes you fair game. Not everyone is as "forgiving" of past transgressions as people like Thrall or Tirion, I simply can't see why Baine, despite how he may feel about the Horde, would abandon all Horde support in hopes of trying to ally with the people who've just spent the last 3 expansions killing his people.

Yes, I could see how some of the less "let's all kill eachother" races like Tauren and Draenei could band together, but that doesn't mean that The Horde and Alliance (the more powerful, warlike races) wouldn't both go straight for their throats. Garrosh would lay waste to Mulgore in roughly 17 seconds if the Tauren ever attempted to defect or withdraw from the Horde, and I can't image Varian would be okay with the Draenei just quietly backing out. That's not to even mention that it would be a long shot for any of these new allies to trust eachother, and breaking away from the Alliance or Horde is a pretty big decision that ought not to be made lightly.

The sides have been drawn here, guys, you may not like the faction you're in but that doesn't mean the other side is exactly going to welcome you. If we want to discuss a third "naga/ogre/furbolg" faction that's fine, but I simply don't see a third faction being created out of pre-existing races, it simply doesn't make sense.

7 wishes for guilds in Mists of Pandaria {WoW}

Jan 23rd 2012 4:01PM Perhaps I'm the only one, but I've never really understood the cry for Guild Housing (much, I guess, in the same way I don't understand why people still want the dance studio).

I don't think Blizzard's issue about it drawing people away from cities has gotten any less valid, and putting something like portals or vendors only makes it worse. If we follow Scott's idea of making them ridiculously hard to access, then it further gives benefits to the mega-guilds who have the manpower to complete such a quest, and even then I'd have to wonder why Blizzard would spend a ton of time and resources on something that would only benefit literally a couple thousand people out of 10 million.
You're stuck with something being either so rare that you can't really justify its creation or something so commonplace that it drastically draws away people from cities. And even then, where would you put them? Imagine the strain on instance servers if you had 75 people all hanging out for hours on end in their own little instance that is specialized to them and never goes away.

I also think making legendaries guild-bound causes just as many problems as it fixes, I can only imagine the in-raid squabbles over which mage needs the legendary most in this fight. This, along with the housing, is also very subject to GL abuse and gives even more reasons for players to flock to their nearest max level guild despite the conditions.

I see a lot of people complaining how the Guild leveling and perks have made things worse, yet they're still looking to increase those very incentives that cause those same problems. I'm a longtime reader, Scott, and I absolutely agree with better achievements, recruitment systems, reputation systems, and tabards, but I think we all ought to be thinking twice about giving (big) guilds more perks.

The Queue: Research like it's 1995 {WoW}

Jan 18th 2012 11:30AM No offense, but I think you may be missing the point.

Patch 4.3 is the last of Cataclysm, Dave Kosak confirms {WoW}

Jan 17th 2012 6:13PM All this "Cata was a failure, Blizz lost huge sub numbers, best they can do is kill it as fast as possible" nonsense is driving me crazy.

With the exception of the 2 BC race starting zones and the DK starting zone, the vast, vast majority of all new content released in every WoW expansion pre-Cata focused around endgame, as did all the content patches as well. Blizzard is not stupid, they had to have known that releasing an expansion that was over 50% non-endgame content was going to result in a hit. Especially for players who pay by the minute, the majority of them are not going to spend their precious time flying around the new Barrens or leveling their 2nd mage for funzies.

As far as I'm concerned, Cata is no more or less flawed than Wrath or BC, it was just stuck with tidying up a 7 year old game instead of just being able to build upon it. I know plenty of people who used Cata as a chance to start playing/return, and they're loving it and wondering why everyone seems to think it's such a failure.

And yes, Blizzard lost subscribers and didn't manage to reach the same peak they did in Wrath. However, that still puts them many millions of subscribers above their competition, none of the 25 "WoW-killers" have successfully "killed WoW", and I think if subscribers had taken as serious a hit as people seem to be implying, it would be pretty obvious.
I don't doubt there are plenty of people who watch for subscription trends at Blizzard, I don't think its the quest design team, and I don't think an exceptionally large bump or decline means someone storms into the design team's office and demands they scrap everything because they just lost X subscribers.

Know Your Lore: Top 10 lore developments of 2011, part 3, page 2 {WoW}

Jan 15th 2012 7:36PM People are forgetting one giant gaping problem that comes with redoing Outland and Northrend: it drastically lengthens the leveling process.

If you all will recall, they've upped the amount of exp given by Outland and Northrend quests multiple times (and used big increases, like 10 or 20%), so much so that you can entirely outlevel each continent in 2-3 zones (if not less).

Even if they kept the pace and resdesigned the questing flow to accompany it, you're going to be looking at a lot of dead space in certain zones to fill, and it's worth remembering that 10 levels at level 58 is not the same amount of content, quests, and exp as 10 levels at level 18. Plus half of the fun of the old world redesign is that everything looked different, like time had passed. Try to imagine what Shadowmoon looks like without all/most of Illidan's demons. Or Howling Fjord without hostile/any vrykul. Or Icecrown without Arthas and a pacified Scourge. Just dragging and dropping new quests and stories on the old zones would seem half-assed and frankly wouldn't make any sense.

If you're Blizz, you're not going to spend a ton of time, money, and man-hours to re-design 17 zones when people only need to use a combined 5-6. Also consider that all reputations, mats, crafted gear, and most quest drops are useless in an old continent because you know the green quest drops from the next continent will make most of your expensive stuff useless. Slowing down the leveling process, however, means a longer wait to endgame (where the vast majority of the new content is). We're soon to be approaching 90 levels, thats a looooooong slog, especially for a new player who wants to be raiding with his friends.

Blizzard's battle in South Korea over the real money auction house {WoW}

Jan 13th 2012 1:59PM I remember friends who could sell max level, decked-out characters for enough money to buy a whole new cd key (and hence a whole new account to make another max level decked out character to sell) and still have a fair amount of money on the side. It certainly wasn't a livable amount of money, but it was enough over time to pay for some nice computer upgrades.

However, its worth noting that this was well into Diablo's life-cycle, where you could both sell characters (not possible in D3) and people had found a pretty standard rate for characters and items.

Ultimately I'd say it's pretty unreasonable to a make a living wage off selling stuff, but I'd imagine the first couple weeks or months with the game being popular, fresh, and with PvP just getting started, there's certainly a lot of money to be made.

The Queue: It's now cold outside. In Fargo. In the winter. {WoW}

Jan 12th 2012 11:58AM I think people may be overthinking the whole both-sides Pandaren thing here.

Put yourselves in the developer's shoes, you want your new expansion to be about Pandaria and want to include Pandaren as a new race.
Imagine the uproar if the legenedary Pandaren went to one faction or the other, and then what race would you give the other faction (for argument's sake lets say we give them to the Alliance)? You can't give one faction legendary, fairly established Pandaren and the other a just revealed, no precedent or lore at all race. Despite some retcons and shakiness in lore, every playable race has some established background and lore behind them, it wouldn't do Blizzard any favors to give the Alliance epic, well-known Pandaren and the Horde Jinyu. If the expansion is supposed to be about Pandaria, then it would be a pretty large stretch to give the Horde ogres or furbolgs and call them somehow relevant to a continent they've never been to (think Death Knights in Outland).

The only reasonable conclusion, if you still want Pandaren to be playable, want the expansion to focus on Pandaria, and want to avoid a massive shitshow from one faction not getting Pandaren, is to make a long-time neutral race pick sides on a player-to-player basis.

That being said, while I think it would be cool (and reasonable on some level) to see some turncoats, I doubt it will ever happen because it doesn't make sense in a story context. You may be willing to defect, but it doesn't mean you'll be welcomed by the other side. The Horde (and their allies) have razed capital cities to the ground, they've brought the end of Alliance kingdoms, they freaking killed a Night Elf demi-god. If you're an average human, you're not going to forget that, no matter how much this Tauren claims he despises Garrosh. As for the Horde side, you really think Garrosh or Sylvannas is going to accept the aid of turncoats once they've outlived their usefulness? Sylvannas killed a dreadlord, something much more powerful than a lvl 20 dwarf, when she found him no longer needed, I'm sorry I just don't buy it. You may not like the faction you're in, but its a hell of a lot safer there than it is taking your chances trying to switch over.