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Posts with tag challenges

511 characters per quest

One of the most interesting things we heard from Jeff Kaplan last week (besides that he agrees the Green Hills quest sucks; won't do that one again) was that quest designers are given only 511 characters (not words) to put their quest text in.

It's surprising to think that they've created all the backstory, throughout Azeroth, in just 511 characters at a time. But even Kaplan said the limit is a good thing: it means Blizzard has to show story to the player rather than tell it.

Still, doesn't seem easy to

Crap. Out of room -- that's 511 characters. Of course, they can fudge things a bit by having those "story quests" where characters can use multiple pages to build up their background, and the 511-character limit doesn't apply to all of the dialogue -- some of the later quests have pages and pages of dialogue as the quest goes on. But squeezing enough information to keep a player interested in just 511 characters is quite a feat.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Quests

Ulduar and Blizzard's "hard modes"

We're only a day into 2009, and we've already got an update on one of our predictions. Vaneras has appeared on the EU forums talking about Ulduar's difficulty level and he says that yes, it will make a PTR appearance, and yes, it will be hard, but probably not in the way that we'd expect. He says that Blizzard is pleased with the way the "Sartharion with no drakes" worked, so they're planning to expand on that idea in the upcoming raids, by including more "hard modes" and more achievements, with "an increase of reward level if successful."

So the odds are that we'll still see Ulduar's normal mode downed within days if not minutes on the live realms -- it won't actually be "hard" in the sense that the guilds with high level gear won't be able to plow right through it. But there will likely be multiple challenges within that are very hard, and achievements that will likely reward special gear or titles that will take guilds a while to do. This probably won't satisfy most of the really hardcore raiders, but we've been over this one -- Blizzard would rather have the majority of the playerbase play these raids, and since challenges and achievements don't take as much development time, that's what the minority of really hardcore players will get.

Of course, as with everything, we'll have to see how it works out -- Blizzard is clearly trying to make sure everyone coming to these raids finds what they're looking for in terms of a challenge. Ulduar itself might not be as hard as we predicted, but if Blizzard really ramps up the "hard modes" within the instance, it could be a while before we see anyone able to topple all of the challenges in there.

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

A vegan character, and other self-imposed boundaries

I really like Pinkywinky's idea that she posted over on the forums-- she's running her character as a vegan, which means no meat (she's a mage, so she only eats her own conjures), no killing of non-hostile animals, no leather wearing (again, as a clothie, no real problem with that), and no attacking anything that doesn't attack her. Of course, that doesn't fit the strict definition of vegan, but you get the idea-- she's giving herself her own boundaries inside the game world, and challenging herself to stay within them.

We've seen players do this before (the naked troll is probably the most well-known example), and it's fascinated me every time. WoW is not really a tough game, and so there's all kinds of ways you could make it harder or set up an interesting challenge, either for roleplaying reasons or just to keep it fun. I've always wanted to try play the game without ever talking to anyone at all-- that means no quests, no training, no groups (no talking to players either), no repairs (I'd have to just wear drops as I got them), and no professions. It would be really tough-- I'd probably have to make an exception on the training thing, no matter which class I chose, but I think it would be possible, and it would definitely give a new bent to the game.

Have you ever gone without in WoW, just to see if you could?

Breakfast Topic: Certain death

I think I have an addiction to dying. Especially on characters I don't really care about. I was recently playing on the test servers and decided to run my orc all the way to Stormwind (not so bad with an epic mount!), just to see how far I could get. Mage District, in case anyone's interested.

A week later, I was passing some time fishing in pleasant solitude -- just me and the rod -- when an orc ran past me. Again, this was in Stormwind, but this time I was playing as Alliance. I admired his guts, but then moonfired him to death after a guard had softened him up a little. It's karma.

Ever since these oddly similar orc incidents, I've tried to get my alts into strange and dubious places to die. Jumping off tall rocks -- check. Seeing how many fast-running mobs I could kite before they overwhelmed me -- check. PvP flagging in Hillsbrad -- check. The unnerving thing is that the deaths of all my alts combined are outweighed by the deaths of my main character -- PvP and raiding on a new boss all combine to make so much mincemeat of me.

Have you an addiction to death? Do you enjoy death, see it as an inconvenience, or try to avoid it altogether? Are you attached to the happy smiling face of your wisp or ghost more than your flesh-and-blood character?

Filed under: Odds and ends, PvP, Breakfast Topics

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