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Shifting Perspectives: The joy of panic {WoW}

Apr 3rd 2012 9:00PM I play as a warrior, not a bear, but it appears that we share the same problems with rage as a resource system. If a possible solution is a dual resource system, I could imagine it looking a little like the Demon Hunter from D3: hatred (let's call it rage) and discipline. Just thinking out loud here.

Say discipline is something that replenishes best out of combat, and just as rage in the beta, we get rage by spending discipline. Building up rage, we can then use it to generate some amount of discipline. And round and round she goes.

Know Your Lore: The curious dissonance of Alliance leveling {WoW}

Apr 2nd 2012 3:47PM I'd like to advise you against suggesting that any story, in any medium, is rich and satisfying when it's filled with constant crisis and never ending loss. I say that because I'd prefer you not get laughed out of the building. Here we are comparing such a story to a hypothetical one that could contain moments of crisis and loss alongside moments of unity and triumph. You can not seriously claim that the former would be a richer, more satisfying story than the latter.

Think of it in terms as juxtaposition in a symbolic action movie. If you spend hours staring at constant explosions, destruction, maiming, and shaky-cam gore, you're likely to get really bored. That's because all the otherwise exciting action is diluted in itself without scenes in order to compare calmness to the excitement. Similarly, the crisis and loss of the Alliance story becomes boring because it dilutes itself. We have nothing to compare it to, pop culture references notwithstanding. Just as the presence of the calm in an action movie makes both types of scene worth more, so too would the presence of victory make both the victory and the loss worth more to the story.

Elsewhere in the comments, it is suggested that a theme to the Horde's quests is "winning, but at what cost?" and I think that's both true and telling. When you are faced with a story theme of that, you can read into it whatever you like, either that you are winning or that you are giving up something more precious to win. Good next to bad. Victory next to loss. That's a quality story right there because it keeps you thinking after it's done. Alliance are left with little more than "Everything is coming apart at the seams." There's no way to reinterpret that, so there's no point thinking about it after it's done.

Saying that the Alliance wants its story to be nothing but rainbows and sparkle funtime (i.e. Horde whining/counterwhining) oversimplifies the whole conversation just as much as when people scream about the Alliance not having a victory since WC 2(i.e. Alliance whining).

Know Your Lore: The curious dissonance of Alliance leveling {WoW}

Apr 1st 2012 10:07PM I'm not sure I'd want to be the one to make it, but there might be an argument to be made that Alliance story telling (post shattering) is objectively worse than the Horde's because of the absence of an essential part of the narrative. The characters that are ostensibly our faction's main characters just aren't there. Sure, if you actually added up the number of times that Horde faction leaders showed up out in the field, it might not be very many. But one is infinitely more than zero. It'd be like writing a book where the hero/heroine stays back to have a bath or a nap or something, and since you can't write an epic story about them trimming their toenails, you just have to go outside and describe how the world around them is getting wrecked. Sure, the description could be exquisitely written, but would that book sell right next to your last, equally well written book about people out doing things?

My personal favorite horrible moment in Alliance leveling is Andorhal. You spend a number of quests making moves against the Forsaken, adding weight bit by bit to a scale of conflict. Things are going absolute gangbusters when out of nowhere, the hand of contrivance comes in and presses down on the other side of the scale. Quest after quest says "You're winning, get ready for the climactic battle" then suddenly, "LOL Valkyrs, Forsaken win. Go cry to your king, loser."

One concept I've seen insulted a lot over all this is the idea of "faction pride." Mostly it's just people reminding others that this is a video game we're talking about. Really, I think faction pride is just a contextual name for the sort of emotional interaction between audience and narrative that this article talks about. It's because this is a video game, a persistent world and story, that faction pride has to be a way to show that Blizzard is doing their job.

You go through a "world" of story and conflict where one of the few things you can be sure of from place to place is that we are us and they are them. You have zones like Hilsbrad for the Horde where after it's done, whether you're really aware of it or not, you can feel like, "This is what it's like to be Horde. I work and prepare for one final blow that will destroy my enemies. That's pretty awesome." On the other hand, you have zones like the aforementioned Andorhal where you can feel like, "This is what it's like to be Alliance. I work and prepare and it doesn't matter at all."

And the fact is that Alliance leveling simply doesn't have enough of those pride inducing moments to not make me sit by the canals in SW, considering blowing my character's brains out. It's not a question of bias. Blizz doesn't have to be biased in order to balls this up, they just did.

Know Your Lore: The curious dissonance of Alliance leveling {WoW}

Apr 1st 2012 9:22PM @Gryffyd

Apologies, but unless I'm mistaken, a perceived feeling is at the heart of quality storytelling. A good, well presented story is defined in part by its ability to emotionally involve its audience. If readers etc. can become emotionally invested in the characters or events, then they can be led down a path to the end, a major goal in narratives, especially the commercial sorts. Even if you are able to appreciate a story where that emotional investment includes you feeling defeated and powerless, I don't think anyone should apologize for wanting more than that.

I've played through some of the Horde experience, but not all. Still, I don't have to claim that the other side has it better in order to say that my side has it bad.

Is it time to kill daily quests? {WoW}

Mar 15th 2012 10:03PM Personally, I enjoy dailies, but even I have felt the cold shower of tedium. First, even thinking that anything should be like Archaeology's RNG withing RNG should be reason to wash your mouth out with soap. Next, I cannot imagine that doing the same quest seven times consecutively would be any less tedious than once a day.

Let it not be said that I cannot be constructive. It seems to me, then, that the problems are in the quests themselves. Perhaps their requirements, perhaps their rewards, perhaps both are just too repetitive. The best setup I can think of is to extend the phasing that came with the molten front zone to its quests.

Say, for example, there is the first tier of dailies in the first area, the quests are worth 1 token and 10g. There are four quests and you can only do four in the zone per day. Once you open up the next area, the new tier of four dailies are each worth 2 tokens and 5g, while the first tier quests are now worth 0 tokens and 15g.

The idea is that the best rep farming would be on the newest tier of dailies, but the lower tiers would be worth more gold. If you care about rep, you'd stick to the cutting edge, if you no longer care about rep, you now have more options (across two or three "lower tier" sets of quests) for which dailies to do for just monetary rewards. Either way, it doesn't change the number of quests you have to do per day.

Obviously, doing whatever could be done to vary up the content of the quests would help a lot. Now excuse me while I go think up flaws in my own idea.

Spiritual Guidance: The Mists of Pandaria and the fate of DoTs {WoW}

Feb 29th 2012 3:55PM True, this is only a gut feeling, but I think it's more likely that it simply isn't in the list yet (at least more likely than 10% :P) Add to that the possibility that they will attempt to redesign it but are not satisfied so they just say, "Balls to it."

Also, just a small thing: your modified tooltip keeps the limitation of affecting one target at a time. If the damage is instant, that's kind of moot, isn't it? Do you mean the HoT can only be triggered every 24 seconds?

Know Your Lore: Story development and why Theramore should burn {WoW}

Nov 20th 2011 9:57PM You might be surprised how little the fact that Theramore will be burnt has to do with the total outrage. You were right to make an article about narrative, because that is what is being called out: the narrative. The argument is about the fact that the Alliance, those characters we are to be emotionally invested in, got almost no development during Cataclysm. Meanwhile, the Horde is characterizing itself all over the place, and more often than not through an Alliance killing spree.

People are just upset that the story isn't having the Alliance fight back (or indeed do much of anything) after suffering so many losses. They are upset when they are told that Theramore is the first move in a war that has in all but name already begun. They are upset that it is going to take one of the biggest possible military losses the Alliance could suffer in order for the narrative to permit them to do anything.

And anyone who uses the phrase "This isn't World of Peacecraft" thinking that they are being clever or persuasive or...really anything positive...needs to have a long time-out and think about what they've done.

Is it time to kill the global cooldown? {WoW}

Nov 16th 2011 1:43AM I somehow got the feeling that this wasn't so much dissatisfaction with the concept of the GCD as it is with the rage system for warriors.

Breakfast Topic: Could there be more than two factions? {WoW}

Nov 6th 2011 12:03PM Blizzard has had difficulties balancing out two factions. Adding a third would make things worse for everyone. Worse for developers who have to design three different tracks of quests. Worse for players of all three factions because their content is edited down due to constraints on the devs.

So yeah, while a third (or forth!) faction may be a fun thing to muse over, and it may happen eventually, it would be a colossal pain in the rear.

Pandaria to eschew capital cities for scattered vendors, separate faction hubs {WoW}

Oct 27th 2011 11:20PM I...am...screwed...

I do not like pvp. I am horrible at pvp. I resent my friends for playing on a pvp server, making me choose a pvp server before I knew what that meant. And what it meant was getting murdered...a lot. Well, since I can't change servers and Blizz (rightfully) can't cater to me, that just means you fine people on the internet get to see me whine about it.

This whole thing makes me see a pattern of overcompensation on Blizz's part. Just examples I can think of, of course but: BC there were complaints over the multi-color armor, so in WotLK we got monotone, one modeled armor throughout, a choice they had to come back from with Cata. WotLK had complaints about the heroics being too easy, so in Cataclysm we got some really challenging ones (opinions, I know), and with MoP they said they thought the Cata heroics were too hard. With Cata, complaints about never needing to leave the city and that world pvp was dead. Now we get our backs exposed to rogue cheap shots all the time and the useful vendors are spread out across the continent.

Personally, I don't mind the vendor thing, but I'm going to bet it's seven days from the time someone hits 90 before someone complains about having to travel so much just to visit vendors. You guys want the over or the under?

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