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Posts with tag Easy

Former WoW developer Mark Kern wonders if WoW is too easy

Former WoW developer Mark Kern wonders if WoW is too easy
Mark Kern, who left Blizzard way back in 2005 to found Red 5 Studios, is working on a new free to play, sci-fi MMO called Firefall -- and has some less than flattering things to say about the game WoW has become. His top complaint: that MMOs are now too easy. "When was the last time you died in a starter zone?" Kern muses. "Sometimes I look at WoW and think 'what have we done?' I think I know. I think we killed a genre."

The easier content, he argues, means both developers and players focus less on the content in the middle of the game and more on racing to get to the end game -- and by rushing through the game from level 1 to level 90, you miss out on a lot of the game itself. Of course Kern notes that his upcoming MMO has the mix just right -- and that by focusing on the journey instead of the destination, Firefall is a lot more fun.

While we are fans of new games -- and love the art style Firefall has going -- we're less convinced about dying in newbie zones as a gameplay necessity. Time will tell if Kern has the right of things -- Firefall's open beta is starting soon.

Filed under: News items

Exploring Azeroth with quest icons on the map

We've heard this argument before, and every time Blizzard makes a change to help players complete quests more quickly, it comes up again. And with the recent announcement that Blizzard will actually be adding quest targets to the ingame maps (again replicating another function of the popular Questhelper addon), players have again brought up the old argument: is the game too dumbed-down? Originally, when the game began (though I don't know anyone that didn't still use Wowhead to find quest coordinates even back then), you were sent "east" to find a tiny little brown backpack to click on, and in the next patch, not only will you see that brown backpack sparkling with flares as you get close, but you'll have it marked on your map the entire time.

Larisa waxes nostalgic over at the Pink Pigtail Inn, and says that this is just farther down a sliding slope that leads to a ravine where we all just have two spells and need to kill three boars to level to 100. Kinless Chronicles straight out says "Patch 3.2 will play for you" with some funny tongue-in-cheek analysis. But since I do it so much anyway, I'll play the Devil's advocate here: let's face it, we all used the addons and coordinates while leveling up alts, if not even while leveling mains. It's easy to be nostalgic, but I never did like hunting around for that little pixel of brown you had to click on to finish a quest, and if you really do want to stumble around in the dark the old way, just don't look at your map and/or close the minimap down. I've recently played two other console games, Fable 2 and Dead Space, that also offer glowing line navigation straight to your quest targets, and I did feel a sense of exploration in both -- if I wanted to wander off the path, I was welcome to (and usually rewarded for it), while if I just wanted to get to where I was going, I could do that, too.

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Filed under: Patches, Items, Analysis / Opinion, How-tos, Blizzard, Quests

Counterpoint: Yes, we should track raiding progression

There's been a lot of hemming and hawing lately about how Wrath is too easy. And there's no question that it is: Ensidia cut through the endgame like an epic dagger through the Vykrul, and any guild that steps into the endgame these days, even with low numbers or cheap gear, finds success. Adam suggested this morning that raiding is so easy these days that we shouldn't bother to track progression, and while Adam is a great writer and a terrific player, I'm here to disagree with his opinion: progression is exactly what the new endgame is all about.

While Karazhan was one of the (if not the) most successful instances ever, it had one big problem: it killed guilds. It murdered progression. It was a roadblock after a roadblock, so much so that it took some guilds months to conquer, if they survived at all. Ten man Naxx obviously doesn't have that problem -- anyone with a little raiding experience who wants to beat bosses in there can do so, and Obsidian Sanctum is just as easy. The problem now, however, is that guilds like Ensidia and guilds who pushed through to Sunwell in the old endgame, are finishing the content already, and wondering what's next? They were 80 two weeks ago, and now, barely a month after the expansion's release, they've toppled every dungeon they can find.

And what's wrong with that? Nothing.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Expansions, Raiding, Bosses, Wrath of the Lich King

Breakfast Topic: Should raid progression even be tracked anymore?

With the ease of Wrath of the Lich King raiding we're seeing guilds kill boss after boss at an alarming rate. And I'm not just talking about 5-man heroic bosses (those seem a bit hard, actually). I'm not even talking about 10-man bosses (easy cake). I'm talking about the big bad sorry excuse for a boss that is 25-man raiding.

Some guilds can roll their face over the keyboard and kill something.

Others just have their cat play with the mouse and keyboard for a couple hours.

Still others are hiring 25 monkeys to sit in a room together clapping their hands while throwing feces at the screen. The occasional flick of their tail hits the keyboard and presses any of the numerous iWin buttons currently in game that automatically kills a level 83 mob. While the monkeys are doing this and other disgusting acts, they're also writing Shakespearian dramas, fixing the economy, bailing out the auto industry and homeowners, and ending all wars through creating world peace.

This is what 25-man raiding has become. It's so easy a caveman monkey could do it!

Do boss kills even count for anything anymore? Not really, no.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Breakfast Topics, Humor

Is Wrath too easy?

Wrath of the Lich King has been out for a week. In that time, we've had the world's first level 80, the first complete and total clear of all raid encounters, and what seems like a billion "realm firsts." That didn't take long, did it? So, Tevri from Shandris dropped by the forums to question whether Wrath "is too easy."

Zarhym showed up, in his classic witty manner. He points out that the folks who're doing this immediate clearing are, in general, the same folks who've done every raid encounter in WoW for like . . . ever. In a sense, they're pretty high on the "pro" scale. (For the record, they are 25 people out of 11 million subscribers. Certainly, others have done the content by now, but it would take 110,000 people having completed the raid to say even 1% has "beat the game." ) Zarhym also cautions about relying on "truthiness" to judge the content -- which is to say, going with your intuition when the facts are still out.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Expansions, Forums

Kael'thas dropped with just 12 people

Personally, I think we've already seen proof of just how easy the endgame is now, but I've never done the Kael fight, so maybe this is even more of a feat. Dissonance on Alleria finished off Kael'thas Sunstrider (the 25-man version, not the 5-man fight in Magisters' Terrace) with just twelve people. Looks like kiting was a big technique, but otherwise, just seems like they were able to overpower everything else in the fight. They actually tried it with 10, they say (they dropped Al'ar, Void Reaver, and Solarian with 10 the week before), but the MCs in Phase 4 were a bit much, so they pulled in two more.

This is a Sunwell guild, so they've got pretty much the best gear you can walk around with in the game, and as we've said here before, these instances really got nerfed twice: once when Blizzard nerfed the actual bosses' HP and damage, and a second time when Blizz gave us all the 51-point talents before the expansion.

But it's definitely an achievement, toppling a 25-man boss with less than half the required group. Oh, how the mighty have fallen, sure, but don't fret, raiders seeking a real challenge -- we're sure Blizzard will make up the difficulty when we all step into the new endgame in Northrend.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Instances, Raiding, Bosses

Raiding has never been easier than in 3.0.2

Karazhan isn't exactly cutting edge content. It's had a few nerfs in its time. That being said, walking into Medivh's home-away-from-evil with a collection of random alts, sightseers, and new-to-raiders can sometimes prove interesting. And by interesting, I mean "repair bill" and "love of all that's Holy, just kill the dang flares!"

Last night was one of those nights. My Guild has spent the last few weeks helping folks prepare for 25-man raiding in Wrath. The gear from Karazhan won't be applicable in the expansion, sure, but the skills and habits you learn now will help you be successful in the future. We had some particularly green folks with us, and while we knew the changes from 3.0.2 would make it easier, we weren't quite aware how easy.

We were breezing along. Who doesn't breeze past Attumen, Maiden, and even Opera? When we hit Curator, we started to really feel the difference. The chap barely made it to his first Evocation. We skipped on past, slapped Aran around, and went up to Prince.

Prince got down two infernals before dying. Confused, I checked the raid's gear. Had our all-in-greens Rogue somehow been replaced with a Warglaive-wielding maniac? Did the new specs really make that much difference?

And then we recalled -- every raid mob in the Burning Crusade got nerfed. So, now, for the next few weeks, we have an odd nirvana in which to help folks learn to raid.

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Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Instances, Raiding

Breakfast Topic: Why is this hard?

I should be more specific: why is this hard for me? Because for lots of people, leveling a hunter is the easiest thing in the world, to hear them tell it. It's a super easy class that has high DPS and a tanking pet to keep it alive. I should be blowing through the levels.

Instead, I've just recently managed to get my draenei hunter, who I created back when TBC launched, to level twenty eight. In the time since I've created this character I leveled my original warrior to 70, created a new draenei warrior and leveled him to 70, and leveled a draenei shaman to 70, plus went back and leveled two horde (warrior and shaman) to 70 and created a BE paladin and got him to 65. I leveled a paladin to 65 faster than I could level a hunter to 28! What is this, bizarro world? My orc and night elf warriors both hit 70 and I created them more or less as alts to play with RL friends on different servers, which means they get played once a month at most, and yet, here is my hunter, a year into the expansion (over a year, in fact) and I am just now heading into the 30's. And to be honest the only reason I even cared enough to level him this much was because I wanted to get him a mount.

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Filed under: Hunter, Paladin, Warlock, Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, Breakfast Topics, The Burning Crusade

Breakfast Topic: Easy Mode

Roadkillowns of Aerie Peak posed the question on the official forums, what is the easiest class to level? Hunter came up most frequently as an easy class to level followed by Warlocks. They usually have very little downtime. Protection Warriors and Holy Priests were often quoted as the most difficult to level.

Having leveled a Shaman, Paladin, Hunter, Priest, and Druid to level seventy myself I have to say that as a solo character, the Hunter was hands-down the easiest for me. Between my pet carrying agro for me and the glorious Feign Death ability, I was always good to go.

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Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Leveling, Classes, Alts, Forums

Hardcore Casual finds himself "stuck in easy mode"

Hardcore Casual has a post up about how easy he says World of Warcraft really is -- just by learning your class, getting the right gear, and theorycrafting a bit, you can roll right through, and get to the point where even yellow or sometimes even red monsters don't give you trouble.

There is one viewpoint here (and it's not one that I necessarily espouse) that HC is just falling into the old "hardcore/casual" trap that Penny Arcade put so well this week -- he thinks that he's casual, when actually, if you're running higher-level-than-you're-meant-to five man instances with your friends (and theorycrafting a bit), you're actually what Blizzard would consider a hardcore player, and thus of course the game is easy for you. But while I think there's a little bit of that going on here, I don't think we need to go that far: the fact is that WoW is an easy game. That's how it's garnered such a big audience. And anyone who has ever beaten Diablo is going to find that yes, if you read a guide or two, run the right instances at the right times, and put some thought into your specs, you'll have an easy time.

So what HC asks for is the difficulty to scale -- instead of just Normal and Heroic, have three or four modes that players can choose to set their own experience. A few games have done this already, and indeed, Blizzard may decide that that's called for in future instances (though it seems unlikely that they'll do this on older content, considering how they've abandoned it so far). But for now, WoW is an easy game, and that's the way Blizzard wants it. After all, you don't get a 10 million subscriber base by beating players up.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Instances, Leveling

Onyxia: Bugged at 70

I don't get it. I'm 70, have lots of nice purples, know the game well enough, and have even done Onyxia dozens upon dozens upon dozens of times back in the pre-BC days. But why then does she inevitably present a problem for me and my friends?

It's probably because she is bugged. And not just bugged, REALLY bugged.

Two groups have now gone in and tried to defeat her. Each time the first attempt was a failure as people relearned not to stand too close to each other (Forsythe run to the center!), run to the side when the rains fire down (<-- 2N, 2N - 1 -->), and all those other small tidbits that make the fight what it is. However when it reached the second attempt, she started acting strange. First, she wouldn't target anyone or let anyone tank her – she just walked around her lair and jerked around a bit. We could still damage her, but that was it. And really it was only the ranged and my crossbow that were able to do any damage (more dots!).

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Bugs, Raiding

What if WoW had Easy Mode and Hard Mode?

I was just casually wandering about the Internet yesterday, when I stumbled upon one of those random new MMORPG advertisements that you see popping up on a number of the WoW-related websites nowadays. It's for a game called Shaiya, which (like all the others), I'll probably never play, but a quick glance through it's game features revealed an interesting design choice. Without splitting up the playerbase, they've nonetheless created different "modes" to the game, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. There's an "Easy Mode," which lets you advance more quickly, but also limits you a great deal. There's also a "Normal Mode," a "Hard Mode," and even an "Ultimate Mode" for the most hardcore of players. It got me thinking about how such a system might work if transplanted into WoW:

Easy Mode: This is basically just a tutorial. Not many experience points are needed to advance from level to level, but you can only reach a maximum of level 30. You cannot create or join a guild, and you get no access to any Talent points. You also are limited to Common and Uncommon items -- you cannot use any Rare, Epic, or Legendary items.

Normal Mode: This is where most players will start off. You need an average amount of experience points to advance (something like what we have today). You can create and join guilds normally, and you also get Talent points. In addition, you also get access to Rare items.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Leveling

Easy macro for getting your coordinates

Here's an awesome tip from amib over on WoW LJ. Sometimes, we all could use a little location check from time to time. While I usually am OK with finding quest coordinates, every once in a while, I'd just kind of like to know where I am. So here's amib's tip-- a macro that will easily and simply tell you (no addons required) where you are in game.

/script px,py=GetPlayerMapPosition("player")
AddMessage(format("( %s ) %i,%i",
GetZoneText(),px *100,py *100));

(As commenters have noted, the formatting is weird here on the blog-- it's meant to be two lines, both starting with script. The other line breaks will need to be taken out.)

Just put that on a button, call it "Where am I?" or something like that, and then click it to get your current ingame coordinates in the chat channel. Considering how poor my addon-updating abilities are, that's perfect.

Of course, there are lots and lots of addons floating around that will do this even better-- showing your coordinates and cursor coordinates in the window, and all kinds of other ways. But if you only use coordinates every once in a while, and never remember to update your addons, this little macro could be pretty useful to have.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, How-tos, Odds and ends, Add-Ons

Finally, no more loot click hunting

There's one little mostly unseen note in the 2.1 patch notes that has quietly been making players' lives easier for the past few weeks. Hidden way down inside the "User Interface" section, we find this: "Active corpses or objects (ones with loot on them) now can be selected and looted, even if they are underneath another corpse that does not have loot on it."

We've all been in that situation before 2.1, where we were fighting, and had to deal with adds that died in almost exactly the same place, and then had to slowly move your looting cursor over the whole area, looking for that tiny little section in which it went from black and white to color, just so you could look that few silver and bit of trash from it. Nowadays, in these enlightened 2.1 times, we can simply loot at will, and life is good.

Of course, it's not perfect-- I still can't target anything through walls, and that's a known bug. But it is very nice to see that one simple sentence in the patch notes, and know that I never again have to hunt around for a tiny point of contact just to loot a piece of junk.

Filed under: Patches, Items, Analysis / Opinion

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