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Posts with tag choice

Bashiok on choice and complexity

It's not a secret that a lot of change is coming to Warlords of Draenor and WoW, and not all of us are sanguine about all of it. Enter Bashiok, the man, the demonic evil tree avatar, with a forum post about the nature of choice and how it informs complexity in our gaming.

Bashiok's point about interesting choices vs. choices for the sake of having more choices is one that is worth discussing. There's complexity that comes from the interaction of options, and complexity that descends from an overwhelming variety of options. In the past, Blizzard has always tried to err on the side of lesser, more interesting choices as opposed to more choices that aren't necessarily choices at all. One need look no further than the change in Mists of Pandaria to our talent system. We lost talents that added things like 1/2/3% crit and gained decisions. Not everyone liked that change, but it's worthwhile to keep in mind when looking at future changes that happen.

There's a lot of complexity in modern WoW that evolved over time as new systems were introduced, but not all of this complexity is based on meaningful options and gameplay. As we get closer to Warlords of Draenor, we're going to lose some of this evolved complexity, in order to clear out some room for more choices that matter.

For the full text of Bashiok's post, click on through to the other side.

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Filed under: News items, Warlords of Draenor

Breakfast Topic: Talent chaos

mage talents
Choosing talents is a fun aspect of playing WoW. Many talents are situational, or work in concert with certain glyphs to produce unique effects. Some healers and tanks use their second spec not for a solo or questing DPS build, but as another healing or tank spec specifically tuned to certain encounters. Some people have a PvE and a PvP build, or a battleground build and an arena build. The bottom line is that talents add options and choices, leaving players to determine what they like and what works best for them.

New expansions and available levels bring us new spells and abilities, and with talents, we often get even more. I'll admit, I pretty quickly fall into the "overwhelmed by options" box. For me, the first question I ask myself when picking a new talent is, "Does this tier have a passive option?" I love passive options. I don't have to figure out where to keybind another button!

This doesn't mean that I'll always take the passive option, of course. Sometimes it's just really not a good idea. For example, as a resto druid, there was no way I was ever going to pick Soul of the Forest over Incarnation. But for my feral spec, I picked Dream of Cenarius (though I am considering switching to Heart of the Wild), and both specs get Feline Swiftness. Though I can justify those choices in other ways, I won't pretend that the fact that they are passive abilities wasn't also a huge draw. My kingdom for extra spaces on my bars!

How about you? Do you, like me, groan at the thought of having to rearrange your action bars yet again to make room for some new ability you can't pass up? Do viable passive options bring you inordinate glee? How do you deal with the glut of choice in this game?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Breakfast Topics

AddOn Spotlight: Community Choice 1


AddOn Spotlight focuses on the backbone of the WoW gameplay experience -- the user interface. Everything from bags to bars, buttons to DPS meters and beyond -- your AddOns folder will never be the same! This week, the community's voice has been heard and three awesome addons await your approval.

Last week, I propositioned you, the fine readers of AddOn Spotlight, to send in your favorite addons that you wanted to see on the Spotlight. You responded with a ton of suggestions, ranging from the absolutely awesome (the three we will be seeing today) and the absolutely AWESOME (stop suggesting IconHell). Without further adieu, I present you with AddOn Spotlight's first Community Choice! Here are three of your suggestions. Enjoy!

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Filed under: Add-Ons, AddOn Spotlight

Breakfast Topic: To re-customize or not

Paid customization has come to the game, and with it, some big decisions for a lot of players. We've asked for a long time to be able to change our gender or look in the game, and now that we can, we have to decide if we will or not.

Personally, I'm torn -- way back when I first started the game, I created a female Night Elf Hunter, thinking along the old classic lines of "if I'm going to stare at someone's backside for hours and hours, it might as well be a woman." But since then, I've gotten a lot of flak for being a dude playing a female character, and since I've played all male characters since then, I think I better identify with male characters anyway, even if the view isn't as good.

But on the other hand, I'm used to my Hunter now -- she's looked the same for almost 80 levels, and it would be weird to suddenly see a Night Elf guy on the screen in her place. So I'm torn -- change my character to a male and make being social in game much easier, or stay the same and keep my character familiar to me?

What do you all think? Are you facing the same situation or is the choice easier (or even harder) for you?

Filed under: Hunter, Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Breakfast Topics

Forced to choose

I think everyone who's run an instance and a raid has been in this situation -- you wait all night for a Karazhan run, it fills, so you decide to go run a heroic or some other five man, and then a few minutes in, you get a whisper: "Someone left, and we need a healer! Are you still in?"

Sigh. An embarrassment of riches. So now what do you do: ditch your newfound 5man group for the raid you originally wanted, or stick with the group you signed on with, passing up the original raid? Neither way is very smooth -- either you disappoint the folks you're with, and look like an elitist raider, or you tell the raiders that you're already in a group and run the risk that they won't ask you again. So awkward -- it's like choosing a social circle in high school all over again.

Usually, the best course of action I've found is to cover yourself before you leave either group -- jump into LFG or ping the guild for a replacement before you leave anybody behind. Short of finding someone to fill in for your fill in, the next best option is probably to explain yourself well and promise help next time -- hopefully the group you're with will understand that raiding is fun and/or the raiders will understand that you couldn't wait and keep you on the list for next time. Any other ideas for getting out of an instance pinch like this?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Virtual selves, Guilds, Odds and ends, Instances

Mass Murder 101: How to be a hero

It's a fact that the majority of what we do in World of Warcraft is kill things. Nearly all the supplementary activities we engage in, from shopping to crafting, are all basically to help us improve the effectiveness of our violent capabilities. Many players have noted that if WoW were at all real, then nearly every one of our characters would be considered a genocidal maniac for all the people and creatures we have killed, and yet we view ourselves as heroes.

The idea is, of course, that most of the lives we take are really evil anyway, so we're actually doing the real good guys a favor. We kill tons of demons, ghosts, zombies, dragonkin, giants, and rabid beasts -- even most of the humanoids we kill are bandits or wicked cultists of one sort or another. This way we do lots of killing, but still feel as though we are heroes.

There are some situations in the game, however, that turn things around for us, in which our character is not the hero. While there are some higher-level instances such as the Black Morass, or the new Caverns of Time: Stratholme, in which one could argue either way whether what we're doing is good or evil, most of situations in which you are clearly the bad guy, as far as I am aware, have to do with the undead, and to a lesser extent the blood elves as well. Of course, you can argue that in general, undead are just misunderstood, and the blood elves are just tragically misled, but as in the case of quests in Hillsbrad that ask you to go slaughter human farmers, or help develop a new plague, there's really no denying that your character is doing something "morally wrong."

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Filed under: Undead, Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Blood Elves, RP

Breakfast Topic: How did you pick your class?


I don't know about everyone else, but when I picked my first class, it was completely at random. I didn't know anything about what the different classes did, what their utility was in groups, or even the difference between energy and mana. I just went with what looked interesting and tried it out. Sure, I ran into a few classes I didn't enjoy, but I learned a bit about the game playing each one -- and, well, even today, I'm not sure I've really decided on a favorite. But now, if I'm talking to a new player making the same choice, the conversation is all about playstyle and end-game viability.

I'm not sure either way is right or wrong -- I know I had a good bit of fun trying everything in order to figure out what I enjoyed best, but if I were starting over, I'd want some advice. (What was I thinking leveling a rogue? All I ever do is sit in Orgrimmar or Shattrath and open lockboxes for people!) But now I'm asking you all -- how did you pick your first class? And if you were going to do it over again, would you pick differently?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Classes

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