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StarCraft vs. Warcraft: What is the WoW community missing? {WoW}

Jan 10th 2012 5:55PM I think another thing worth pointing out is that an RTS game like Starcraft is like football (American or restoftheworld), it's very easy to see and follow the action, even if you don't quite understand it. You can see that a single grounded siege tank blows up everything from far away, you can see forcefields and shields go up to protect units, you can see mutalisks fly in, kill a bunch of stuff, and run away all very easily just like you can see a big football player tackle or drive off a smaller one, and watch the ball move from person to person. On top of this, Mutalisks look nothing like colossi which look nothing like Thors, its easy to tell things apart and watch how they move and play.

WoW PvP, on the other hand, is an array of 6 different slightly different sized human silhouettes decked in shiny armor bouncing around eachother while other shiny things jump back and forth between them. To the unfamiliar, a priest, a warlock, and a mage look fundamentally the same, despite the fact they're radically different. I've been playing WoW for 4 years, I've got a handful of 85s and I pvp fairly regularly, and half the time I don't understand what the hell is going on in a professional PvP match, and if I didn't have people telling me that a cooldown was popped or a huge attack went down, I'd probably have no idea.

At the end of the day, my girlfriend, who has played roughly 4 Starcraft games in her life, can sit next to me and follow a professional game with some explanation from me, whereas I wouldn't have the slightest idea how to begin even explaining to her how to follow a WoW PvP battle. The fact that it is that easy brings people together, and it means even the generally uninformed can follow the game and be a part of the community.

The Queue: Catbed.jpg {WoW}

Jan 8th 2012 3:22PM @Rhüarc

While you make valid points, I would bet that the fact that Worgens and Goblins have very few class restrictions, combined with the fact that they are brand new and popular is more the reason they cannot be monks. Graphics update or not, the last thing Blizz (or anyone) really wants is more Worgens and Goblins.

I remember them saying at Blizzcon that all the old races will be getting new animations for the different stances and abilities the Monk has available (tanking, dpsing, healing or something like that), but that's it, unless there's something else I'm not aware of. I remember a lot of people thinking that a graphical update was coming with Cata, considering the overhaul to a lot of other core systems and the new 1-60 leveling experience.

Ready Check: What makes raiding fun? {WoW}

Jan 6th 2012 9:23PM The element of discovery is something that I think is missing from WoW in general, and is something I think Blizz really needs to be capitalizing on to retain the interest of an increasingly jaded playerbase in an 8 year old game.
Some of the most fun I had in Cata was flying around the opened up areas of the old world and Vashjir just exploring. I think it didn't help that everything is so focused on bouncing from quest hub to quest hub, often times things felt more like set pieces in a Final Fantasy game than a real "world" like Skyrim.

In terms of raiding I think the same principles apply, I actually really liked the sense of urgency and excitement in places like ICC, FL, and DS, where you've got a certain goal and you know exactly what you're in there to do, but they lose a lot of their effect when there isn't an Ulduar or Kara raid to just spend time exploring as contrast. There isn't anything inherently wrong with a "Deathwing is at the top of that tower and we need to go kill him", but I agree that when there isn't really another option it really muddles the effect.

I think the reason Ulduar is looked at so fondly is that it combined both "worlds", so to speak. You knew that Yogg was at the bottom of this and that he needed to be stopped, there was a sense of urgency that if this wasn't dealt with we'd all be in trouble. But you also got to detour from that and explore, and the whole secondary Algalon mystery was the icing on the cake.

2012 Predictions for Blizzard: Social features, pandas, and summertime {WoW}

Jan 6th 2012 3:18PM As someone who was at Blizzcon, let me just say that I was certainly someone who was hoping that the MoP leak was a comic book or Trading card game or something, and while I wasn't openly hostile to the announcement, I certainly wasn't thrilled.

That was until I played the demo.

Playing the MoP demo was right next to the GSL finals and the Foo Fighters as the highlight of the trip. The Monk was fantastic, the art style was literally jaw-dropping, and the zone was at the very least as "silly" as running over people in a Goblin hot-rod, if not notably more serious. As far as I'm concerned, if you're okay with talking/fighting cows and talking/fighting space goats, there's no reason why you can't be okay with talking/fighting Pandas, and I think the MoP Beta is really going to change people's minds.

I think Blizz took a lot of flak for releasing Cata as late as they did, and while Cata was certainly a much larger and more ambitious project, I think they've learned their lesson and I think we will see MoP sometime this summer.

The Queue: My heat still isn't fixed {WoW}

Jan 6th 2012 11:51AM The problem I have with the OP's argument is that yes, Deathwing was, at heart, just a really really big pawn, however that doesn't change the fact that he just about blew up the world a couple different times.
That doesn't change the fact that he was backing Ragnaros in his attempt to destroy the world tree, or the fact that he was backing AlAkir's attempt to kill everything, or the fact that he tried to destroy the Wrymrest Temple with Thrall and all the Aspects on it.

Sure, he wasn't the grand puppet master, but he was still a very real, direct, and powerful threat to every race and faction on the planet.

That being said, those very same puppet masters don't just show up willy-nilly ready to be killed for loot. What were Thrall and the aspects going to do after killing Deathwing to get at N'zoth? Hire some Goblins to start digging somewhere and hope you find him? We've technically killed two Old Gods at this point, only because they surfaced somewhere we could find them and even then it's hinted multiple times they're not actually dead (if they can even die at all). You may know there's a sea monster somewhere under your boat, but its a big ocean and you're not going to sit there firing harpoons randomly into the ocean because you could possibly hit him.

TL/DR: Deathwing ripped the world in half and almost succeeded in wiping all life off the planet like 3 different times, and going after Old Gods isn't feasible, reasonable, or practical, so everyone's going to settle with the world not getting cracked in half.

The OverAchiever: How archaeology could get a lot worse (and why we hope it won't) {WoW}

Jan 5th 2012 9:12PM I was actually thinking they could do something more or less one step further, and instead of making digsites weekly lockouts, why not make race-specific weekly quests that play out like old Tintin or Indiana Jones adventures and guarantee a shiner reward?

I personally liked the whole "traversing the continent looking for artifacts" bit, though I certainly agree with a lot of the complaints brought up in the article.

However, I think a more fun and interesting way of allowing you to focus on the race/item you actually want than just making digsites with more fragments is by putting in a handful of weekly questlines for each race that can tell a story (like the tragedy in 3 acts). Instead of picking an Orc super-special digsite for the week, you'd opt to investigate an artifact or mission related to the Orcish race.

Not only is following a story (even if its not super long or detailed) more involving than digging everywhere, but getting a tip from an drunken orc in Orgrimmar, then piecing together an old scroll held by a shaman in Stonard, followed by digging through old archives in Nagrand, and finally facing off against a massive guardian water-spirit makes you feel like you actually earned and deserved something as cool as the first shaman's headdress, as opposed to having dug it up next to a village.

It gives the profession a much more active feel, allows you to focus on the races you want, and lets you choose between spending your time digging for a transmog piece or questing for a vanity item or sword or whatever. You may not know exactly what your reward will be at the end, but you'll at least know its not going to be another fossilized jawbone when you wanted the mount or pet.

The weekly quests would open up as you progressed through the skill, tied to the races you have access to, and could theoretically be done at just about any level, solving the also big issue of there being no discernible difference between a level 50 archeologist and a maxed out one.

What might Mists of Pandaria mean for healing? {WoW}

Jan 3rd 2012 10:25PM Both shamans and priests have an active "damage to healing/mana regen" ability (those are the only two healing classes I play, so forgive my ignorance), and you don't see raids or five mans stacking them because of it (if I recall, Paragon's world first Sinestra had no shamans at all). Granted, Monks may be doing something similar on a larger scale, but I think it's clear that this model isn't somehow game-breaking or ridiculously OP.

I would guess that Blizz is well-aware of this going into it, and I'd wait until we see some action in the Beta before making judgement.

What might Mists of Pandaria mean for healing? {WoW}

Jan 3rd 2012 10:14PM I think that's kind of an unfair assessment. Firstly, the article didn't say "all healers should take up active healing models like the brand new entirely untested class", it said that elements of a more active healing model could be added into the older classes.

I think it's hard to argue that the mass-spamming flash heal every second or the tank dies model of Wrath wasn't in need of some work. It was boring, mind-numbing, more-or-less trivialized a handful of stats, and heaven forbid you lagged/DCd/stepped out of range for 2 seconds. While the hefty change certainly took time to get used to, I think the increased difficulty curve of Cata's heroics and raids led to a lot more healer frustration than having to learn a new system, seeing as a lot of tanks and dps (neither of whom suffered similar overhauls) voiced a fair amount of frustration as well.

Yeah, the first Cata heroic guild run our healer had no fun. He was consistently frustrated, felt he was the source of every wipe (which he wasn't, let's not forget that the room for error for every player was often ridiculously small), and he cursed and spat at Blizz for putting him through this. Two weeks and a handful of gear upgrades later, we were all having fun and more-or-less enjoying ourselves, and the healer was having a blast actually working on spell rotations and reforging and worrying about mana.

I agree that healers and tanks could use a "training room" so to speak to test out new mechanics before putting them into practice, and I certainly don't think that Blizz handled the Cata changes as well as they could have. That being said, you don't keep an 8 year old game fresh by refusing to change anything in the fear of players falling out of their comfort zones a little. All three roles have changed drastically over the last 8 years (anyone remember parry haste?), and at the end of the day every change has met some kind of resistance, however that doesn't necessarily make them bad changes.

Know Your Lore: Top 10 lore developments of 2011, part 1 {WoW}

Jan 1st 2012 8:44PM I find it interesting that everyone seems to feel that Thrall's role in Cata was overdone (and there are some fair arguments for it), but that his place wasn't all that different than Tirion Fordring in Wrath, and yet I don't recall seeing such a backlash. There's actually quite a few similarities. He's a neutral hero with a long history fighting against everyone's common enemy, he's wicked powerful and wields a legendary weapon, more than half of questing in Icecrown revolved around him, he had a whole faction associated with him, and he was really the star good-guy of 3.2 and 3.3. IMO, all the complaints about Thrall could easily have been levied at Tirion Fordring not a year and a half ago.

My point is, from Blizzard's perspective everyone seemed to like putting an Alliance character into the neutral spotlight to be the grand opposition to the bad guy, and attempted to do something similar with Thrall. I guess I just don't understand why TF's near-ridiculous exposure in Wrath was all that different from Thrall in Cata. Malfurion received a similar treatment.

As for Tyrande, I agree that she needs more love, though I have to say I can't stand her new voice. I don't ever recall complaining about voice acting before in WoW (or any video game, I wiped for months on Sindy and it never bothered me), but the voice and the character just don't seem to align for me.

The Queue: No cats, but still furry feet {WoW}

Dec 29th 2011 12:44PM I think its also worth noting that it is much, much, much easier to tell a coherent story in an RTS game with a single campaign than it is an MMO, where you've multiple different factions, races, zones, and therefore stories one has to tell.

If you never stepped foot in Uldum, you'd be missing a piece of the Algalon/Titans story from Wrath, as well as any story about the Tol'Vir, as well as a pretty crutial element of the Deathwing destroying the world (with the aid of Al'Akir) story. You could have skipped all 3 DS 5mans, and have no idea how Thrall and the Dragon Soul got to the Wyrmrest Temple or why its suddenly covered in Old Gods.

In an RTS game, you get to tell a coherent story that everyone experiences exactly the same way, something you simply can't do (though SWTOR is certainly trying) in an MMO, at least not in the same way. There's a reason Metzen loves the books and comics so much, because its simply a much better medium for telling a story than an MMO is.