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Posts with tag game-discussion

Breakfast Topic: So Many Feelings

This is a spoiler free post about spoilers. And how those spoilers can make you feel. I'm warning you, even though I intend to spoil nothing at all, so you can avoid the post if you'd rather.

This has been the expansion beta test where I constantly find myself forgetting that the Horde storyline exists. I say this having played it. It's not that the orcs of Draenor aren't interesting or cool, it's that I simply just do not care because there's draenei lore to explore, draenei settlements to visit, draenei to watch being awesome in cinematics. If you watched the recent cinematics Blizzard released, you'll know what I mean. If you didn't, you'll have to take my word for it - there are some awesome draenei moments to be had. It's gotten me so pumped I resumed work on my draenei-themed transmog, which you can see above on the beta. Having watched the cinematics, I'm now incredibly ready for Warlords, but I have no idea if I'll even bother to play Horde. As cool as the Frostfire Ridge ending is, the Shadowmoon Valley one dwarfs it, and Talador? Talador actively made me upset, something that hasn't happened to me in World of Warcraft in a very long time.

This is the draenei expansion. The orcs? Well, they're here. They're villains for the most part. I'm not impressed. But the draenei? Oh yeah. Y'rel, just point the way. Let's go wreck the Iron Horde.


Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Breakfast Topics, Warlords of Draenor

Breakfast Topic: Did you watch the Warlords cinematics?

One of the bigger pieces of news to come out of last week was the release of several of Warlords of Draenor's key in-game cinematic pieces. Now, normally we kind of expect to see these things at some point during the beta's lifetime -- but usually it's one datamining website or another that manages to dig the cinematics up prior to the expansion's release. This time, in a completely different move, Blizzard released all of the cinematics on the official website, clearly labeled as spoiler content and requiring players to click through a very blatant spoiler warning before actually showing any content at all.

It's a new approach. I'm kind of a fan of this approach, because we all knew that material was going to surface at one point or another anyway -- this way, Blizzard has control of how it is released, and guarantees that it's labeled so as not to take anyone by surprise. You can't get much clearer about spoilers than Blizzard did in their official post, and although some might say they went overboard with the warnings, I think that was perfectly fine, given the nature of the material. And of course I watched them. I watched them all, because I like to write about these kinds of things on a weekly basis and I wanted to see what would happen, to give some context to what I'd already seen in the beta.

But I'm wondering how many of you watched the cinematics, as blatantly placed out and clearly labeled as they were. Did you appreciate all the spoiler warnings? If you're avoiding all spoilers, did the clear labels and official post make it easier to stick with your resolve, or did it just tempt you into really wanting to see? Obviously, since we're talking about the nature of spoilers, rather than the actual spoilers themselves, please keep the comments spoiler-free. Trust me, we'll have more than enough articles where you can talk about the spoiler content to your heart's content.

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Warlords of Draenor

Breakfast Topic: If WoW had romance options

One of the things I liked about the old Baldur's Gate games (especially BGII, my all-time favorite) and their modern-day successors the Mass Effect and Dragon Age series is their romance options. You don't have to play with romance in mind -- in fact, when I play Dragon Age, I absolutely don't romance anyone, it's just how I roll in the DA franchise - but it's a well-designed feature and something I enjoyed, especially as it got more inclusive. It's a good mechanic for letting players see a little of themselves and their personal existence in the larger game world without forcing everyone to see it, since it's easy enough to not pursue.

And now I think it's time for WoW to steal the heck out of that idea. For example, Yrel. Let us all date Yrel. Or Drek'thar, or Liadrin. Make certain awesome NPC's available in our garrisons and let us pursue completely fictional romances with them to help introduce story elements you can't get any other way. We could have special quests just from our significant other, chains that helped flesh out the world we're exploring.

Okay, I admit it, I just want to let rogues date Vanessa Van Cleef. She's had a rough life. Druids could maybe talk Fandral Staghelm or Leyara down?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: The future of tier sets

One of the things I love after getting a chance to pick up the Tier 17 pieces yesterday in the beta is the way the set bonuses switch between specializations. This is the greatest thing about the way gear has been changed in this expansion - one tier set effectively covers all three specializations. Now, there will always be set bonuses we like and set bonuses we hate, but it's indisputable that it's a relief not to have to farm up tokens twice for a DPS and tank or heal set (or three times, for a DPS, tank and heal set) and I'm down with the overall simplification of enchants if it means we can just plug and play more than on live.

So I'm sure I'm missing some huge negative of this change. Luckily, we have a comment section. What's wrong with the way tier works in Warlords that I'm missing?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: Machinima in Warlords

One of the things I've been surprised by is the lack of people hopping on the beta to test out the new character models (especially considering how much more expressive the faces are) for the purposes of making machinima. I realize it's a beta test, and furthermore, I realize a lot of people who make machinima don't do it in game - model viewer is a friend to many and all that. So I guess I'm curious - are the many changes to how the game is stored and visually processed helpful or harmful for those of us who aspire to or already do make movies with World of Warcraft?

And yeah, part of me wishes that Gnomechewer would be so moved by the new models that he'd come back to WoW long enough to make a few machinima as good or better than Gilnean Like Me. Have you guys got a machinima you'd like to see visually updated with new models?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: Beta is beta

You hear it all the time. Never count the beta as done until the beta is done. Never assume things are what you think they're going to be until we're told they're in the final stages. And even then, things can change. It's actually one of the things I like most about World of Warcraft's beta tests, the idea that you get to experience and test and report on things, and see those reports take life and actually have an impact on the game's design.

Yes, I know I used a warrior specific example. But other classes have seen design changes like this over the years, and it's interesting to see whenever it happens. Whole zones have been redesigned suddenly from time to time, like when Jade Forest got taken down and completely redesigned during the Mists of Pandaria beta. It just goes to show that you can never be sure the beta is actually what you'll get in the live game.

So now for those of you who've played in betas from the Burning Crusade to now, I ask you, what's been the biggest surprise change you can remember?


Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: Losing track

So I spent several hours farming Battle for Mount Hyjal and Black Temple for the above transmog. You're thinking so you succeeded, well done but no - I didn't get the pieces I wanted. It just so happens that the character I was on (one of my many warriors) already had all of those pieces. That's because I completely forgot what this character had on him (or indeed, any of my characters at this point) - partially exacerbated by the fact that one of my characters has so much transmog gear that he has maybe two bag slots open.

It really doesn't help that even when I'm not playing a warrior, I'm on a death knight nowadays, and he has a lot of these same pieces of gear. Worse, I can't figure out what quests which character has or hasn't done, what reputations they have. I was surprised while farming because I hit exalted with the Ashtongue Deathsworn - a clue that I probably should have remembered I'd been there at least a few times already on this particular character.

So, if you play a lot of alts, how do you keep it all straight?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: How many raid tiers?

Thinking about how many raid tiers Warlords may have based on this interview with Tom Chilton, and one of the things that interests me there is the comparison to other expansions. To put it in perspective, Burning Crusade saw four distinct raiding tiers (although there was some muddling with 10 and 25 man raid sizes), Wrath of the Lich King had four as well (the Naxx/Sarth/Maly tier, the Ulduar tier, Trial of the Crusader and ICC/Ruby Sanctum) and Cataclysm saw three (BWD/Bastion, Firelands, Dragon Soul) as did Mists (Mogu'shan/Heart of Fear/Terrace, Throne of Thunder, and Siege). So going with a two raid structure will either mean a shorter expansion this time around, or it will mean more time spent in each raid overall.

In some cases this could be to the good - I still feel that Ulduar didn't get the chance to really breathe as a raid. It's also true that fewer raid tiers doesn't necessarily mean fewer raids as a whole - lately the opening raid tier has two or three raids to start off. If that was continued for the second raid tier, we could have six raids by the end of the expansion, just not over as many tiers. Still, it's an interesting statement. Why would we only have two raid tiers? Is it because of the barber shop allowing faces to be changed?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Warlords of Draenor

Breakfast Topic: Well-Known

By the time we get to max level it feels like we're fairly well known. I'm not saying we're celebrities in Azeroth. Potentialy the average person has no idea who we are. But if you've been playing for a while, you've probably accomplished some pretty impressive things. By now I've:
  • Killed two Old Gods
  • Defeated the Firelord Ragnaros twice, the Lich King, Deathwing himself
  • Liberated Westfall twice and defeated the Defias Brotherhood in both original and new flavors
  • Assaulted Orgrimmar and defeated Garrosh Hellscream
And quest text would seem to bear that out. Kings and Warchiefs know us on sight. We're routinely tasked with the most dangerous missions imaginable. So what I wonder is this - are we celebrities? Does the average person know who these people are when we come by town? When I land on a massive dragon in the middle of Redridge because I'm on my way to Blackrock Mountain and I'm getting a friend the flight point, do people just think oh, it's that guy on his dragon or is it a big deal?

I guess I'm just wondering how jaded the average person is about all this. What are your thoughts?


Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: I could buy Westfall

Been messing around on a lowbie alt recently when I hit Westfall, and started doing the quests. I soon noticed that people would kill each other for a few copper pieces there, and then it occurred to me that my lowly level 16 character had something like fifty gold on her. And then I realized that, if a human life was worth a few copper pieces, my fifty gold made me an economic titan in Westfall. If not for the game not allowing it, I could easily completely sabotage the Defias by simply offering a silver piece to every able bodied adult I met in tne entirety of Westfall.

And then I remembered my main, who is toting around tens of thousands of gold. (And heck, that's nothing, we all know people who are actually gold capped) and it occurred to me that if said character came to Westfall and gave every single NPC who isn't hostile to him a gold piece, he'd still have most of his vast forture, and every single one of those people would be wealthy by Westfall's standards. Of course, they'd all probably immediately get robbed by the Defias. And that led me to consider - why can't I just buy Westfall? Fix up Sentinel Hill garrison style, put everyone to work on civic improvements and irrigation systems, offer every able bodied recruit a job in the militia hunting down the Defias. It would probably cost me less than a thousand gold to completely fix up the place.

Alas, it is not to be. Westfall languishes forever in the grip of the Cataclysm revamp. Still, I wish I could build a garrison anywhere in Azeroth and fix it up. How about you? Would you stick a garrison near Razor Hill? Somewhere in Azshara? Out in the Blasted Lands?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: It's kind of like the Expendables

I can't be the only one who looks at the ragtag band of lore characters Khadgar has running around Tanaan Jungle and thinks 'wow, it's like Azeroth's version of a action movie and I'm Jason Statham' can I? Because seriously that's the vibe I get.It's not that it's not fun or anything - I've done the Tanaan mission a lot and I'll do it this weekend for the stress test. But man, it's weird to feel so transparently blockbusterish about the whole thing.

Maybe it's a holdover from when I saw the parachute cinematic in Dragon Soul and thought we're Point Breaking onto Deathwing's back and it totally ripped me out of the moment. There's just something weird about so many lore figures in one place for me. Some of them, I'm cool with, but man I could do without any more Thrall for a while.

But there he is, big, green and beads around his neck. How about you? Are all these extra people around during a moment in game welcome to you, or does it feel crowded?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: Draenei sans culottes

You never know what you're going to get.

A few years back we had the orc shoulder bug. It was a huge (well, in a way) bug for a lot of players, since their characters now suddenly had teeny tiny shoulders. This is not to be confused with tauren shrinkage, which was deliberate and not a bug. Now, up until yesterday's patch, we had draenei suddenly running around with no pants... and no legs, either. So not as exciting as one might have thought. Come on, I know you all want to see draenei without pants on.

Anyway, this is just me remembering bugs great and small from across beta and live. Got anything you remember fondly, or chuckle at derisively?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: Finally boosted

So I finally spent my level 90 boost on my death knight. He was just sitting there in Hellfire anyway, gathering moss. So I hit him with the boost (yay, max level professions!) and send him my heirloom Garrosh axe and as many Timeless Isle tokens as I could find, mogged him within the limits of his limited gold, and am now planning out how to casually play WoW on a DK. I admit that I chose a DK because I wanted a second tank, and so far Blood seems like a lot of fun - I'm pretty happy with my choice. If I ever boost again, I think my hunter will be the next up.

So, if you've boosted, what did you pick? And if not, are you waiting for anything in particular, or have you just not found anything you like yet?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: What do you want to know?

Playing the beta and witnessing an expansion in progress has been a pretty interesting experience -- each expansion is always a little different in terms of how much is complete when the beta is opened, and how many changes we see over the course of the beta. I have to say, however, that I think Warlords currently holds the record for the most flat-out changes I've seen in beta content. That's not a bad thing at all -- it just means that close attention is being paid to feedback from beta testers, and the devs are quietly working away at tweaking and polishing content in response to that feedback.

The latest Developer Q&A addressed several questions players had regarding the upcoming expansion -- I was pleased that my question regarding professions made it to the list of those asked. And they certainly did their best to answer that question and clarify the purpose of professions in Warlords, which I appreciated as well. But I can't help feeling, even as someone who is currently playing on the beta, that I am still missing the big picture when it comes to professions. We haven't really seen any developer blogs on the topic, and I'm still wondering how being able to access multiple professions outside your own is going to impact server economies and general trading of goods on the auction house. Maybe that's just something I'm going to have to wait and witness once the expansion goes live.

What about you guys? What kinds of Warlords questions do you have? What have you been wanting to hear more about? What features are you really interested in seeing once the game has been released? Is there anything about the new expansion that you're still unclear about? What kind of Warlords information would you like to know?


Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Warlords of Draenor

Breakfast Topic: How do you feel about Grommash Hellscream?

The second part of Lords of War was released yesterday, this time featuring a brief glimpse into the history of Garrosh's dear old dad Grommash. I really love these animated shorts -- I love the art style, I love the not-quite-full-on animation, the artistic choices, it's just gorgeous to watch. But more importantly, I was really looking forward to seeing Grommash's history explained just a little more, particularly in the years before Garrosh came to Draenor.

And while I appreciated the glimpse we did get into Grom's story, there were parts that we didn't see that I was sort of hoping would be addressed. One of the big question marks in Rise of the Horde surrounded Grom Hellscream's rise to chieftain of the Warsong. He didn't claim the spot via bloodline, and there were dark rumors surrounding the former chieftain's death before Grom took over. I realize this is an alternate universe kind of situation, but I was still hoping we might see something about it. I'm almost willing to overlook that solely based on the ogre shown in the film, because that ogre was an amazing, beautifully rendered and thoroughly chilling reminder that the ogres we're seeing on Draenor are nothing like the ogres on Azeroth. This is the ogre empire before it hit the bottom of its slow decline.

But even though the ogre is cool, I'm still on the fence about Grommash Hellscream. Part of me says oh yes, he is most definitely a villain. But part of me looks at that orc from the trailer, the one screaming that he and his kind would never be slaves, and can't help but kind of like the guy despite his raw brutality. What do you guys think? Is Grom a villain worth contending with? Do you like him? Do you hate him? Do you think his story was well told in Lords of War, or do you wish there had been more information in the short?


Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Warlords of Draenor

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