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Posts with tag gameplay

Warlords of Draenor gameplay impressions

Warlords of Draenor gameplay impressions
Of course, one of the best bits of attending BlizzCon in person, apart from getting to hang out with so many awesome people, is that you get to play the games on the floor. And, of course, I had to maximize that resource to bring you all some information on the new expansion, and how it was from a player perspective. As luck would have it, I was sitting with someone to my left who played a tank, so the first thing I did was to grab 3 DPS and forge ahead into Bloodmaul Slag Mines.

Squished

At first, setting up bars, gear and abilities in a hurry, I didn't actually notice the item squish. As we were pulling mobs, health bars were moving just as I'd expect them to, everything was taking damage and everyone was being healed in the manner to which I was accustomed. It was only when I glanced at my character sheet after noticing that my mana regen was good that I noticed: I'd been squished.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Breakfast Topic: Is it the world or the gameplay that keeps you hooked?

This Breakfast Topic has been brought to you by Seed, the Aol guest writer program that brings your words to WoW Insider's pages.

When I first started playing WoW, I read every quest. I was a newbie who didn't know where anything was and didn't even know of the existence of addons to help me in my questing. So I often searched the quest text for clues about where to find mobs and items. As my game savvy increased, I read the quests less and less, until finally I didn't read them at all but rather clicked on my map to see where I needed to go and what I needed to kill.

Now, I find myself slowing down again. The lore is interesting to me, and more and more, I realize how expansive the world is and how fun it is to participate in that world. I am not an RPer by any account, but I find myself wanting WoW to be a world and not just a game.

Out of a desire to understand and enjoy the lore, some players have read Arthas: Rise of the Lich King, The Shattering, and other WoW / Warcraft-related books. Other players have absolutely no desire to know the lore and view WoW as a game that they enjoy playing -- not a live-action fantasy novel.

Are you the sort of player who loves the lore? Or do you just play for the game action?

What's the biggest draw of WoW and Azeroth for you?
I love the persistent virtual world -- the lore, the community and social interaction, developing my characters ...7839 (68.4%)
I'm in it for the gameplay.2227 (19.4%)
-delete-1391 (12.1%)

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Breakfast Topic: Sorry, not happening!


This Breakfast Topic is brought to you by WoW.com's guest blogger program. Want to participate in a future call for guest posts? Read up on how to contribute, and keep an eye on the site for program announcements.

To put it bluntly, I love this game. Since its inception I have logged countless hours of my free time playing World of Warcraft. Yes I've dabbled in other MMO's but I've always been drawn back to WoW mainly due to its freedom. Freedom in the sense that you are free to choose what you want to do for the most part. There's honestly a ton of content in this game. World of Warcraft is full of stuff. There is stuff everywhere. Stuff to see, stuff to do, stuff to kill, stuff to talk to and well, you get the point.

But when you have so many things to do, it's only natural to dislike, or even flat out despise, some of these activities. I think it's pretty safe to assume everybody reading this can think of one or two things that they really cannot stand in World of Warcraft. Whether it's questing, running battlegrounds, world PvP or whatever else, there's always something that will make a guild member say, "No way dude, [insert event here] sucks." Personally I flat out refuse to run Isle of Conquest. Period. I cannot stand that battleground and no amount of gold can get me to run it (okay that's not actually true, but it would have to be a lot of gold).

But how about all of you? What event, action, spec, class, play style, NPC, zone, area, mechanic, raid, dungeon, faction, race, spell, talent, boss do you downright refuse to take any part in?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Survey says 15% of overall gameplay time is in an MMO

Our friends at Joystiq reported on this fascinating survey by GamesIndustry.com that broke down responses from 13,000 US and EU citizens about how they spend their gaming time. While they don't have specific numbers for World of Warcraft, the survey says [PDF link] that overall, 15% of gaming time is spent playing MMOs. US players spend about 14% of their gaming time on MMOs, while EU players range from 8% to 16% by country. In the EU, 14% of all players have played an MMO, and in the US, 21% of everyone playing games has played a massively multiplayer online game.

Again, these numbers aren't specifically for World of Warcraft (and because the survey went down to age 8 and up, they do include the vast virtual worlds aimed at children, like Club Penguin and Disney's Toontown, which probably throw the numbers off quite a bit), but they do show the effect that WoW has had on the gaming population over the last five years. Five years ago, MMOs were definitely a niche -- some hardcore gamers played them, but most people didn't have the Internet connections to play an online game, much less pay a subscription for one. Nowadays, MMOs represent over one out of every ten minutes of overall playtime, and those numbers are only going to go up.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items, Quests, Leveling

Blizzard announces official YouTube channel


To go along with their recently created Twitter accounts, Blizzard has now started up an official YouTube channel as well. Right now, the channel just contains animations and cinematics that we've mostly seen before (not that we mind watching that Burning Crusade cinematic for the umpteenth time), but we presume that in the future, we might see newly released videos, including possibly interviews with Blizzard staff, and maybe even some (gasp!) gameplay videos as well.

Whoever's in charge of social media over at Blizzard has really been working it lately -- we can't wait to see their Last.fm account (Most Played: the artists formerly known as Level 80 Elite Tauren Chieftain) or their OkCupid account (Adam Holisky & Alex Ziebart would be at least 87% friends with Ghostcrawler, no question). Definitely fun to see Blizzard, historically a very closed-door company, opening up a little bit to the various outlets where they can correspond with fans.

Filed under: Machinima, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blizzard, The Burning Crusade

Razer announces the Naga MMO mouse


BlizzCon isn't the only big gaming convention happening this week (though you'd never known it from reading our site -- we're a bit obsessive, no?). Gamescom is going on in Germany, and gaming equipment manufacturer Razer has announced there that they're releasing a new mouse, specifically designed for MMO games. They put it together in conjunction with MMO players (they say the folks at Curse had a hand in it), and while it isn't officially tied to Blizzard as far as we can tell (Steelseries already has that market cornered), there is one interesting connection. They decided to call this new mouse the "Naga."

Technically the word is Sanskrit for "snake," and especially since most of Razer's mice are already named after scaly reptiles, we suppose it works. But given that the mouse is supposed to be designed for MMO gameplay (it has a twelve button thumb grid, supposedly to keep your hands off of spell buttons and on movement buttons where they belong), it's probably a happy coincidence that the name of the product is reminiscent of well-known villians in one very famous MMO. Good show, Razer.

They also have a new "mousing surface" (back when I was a kid, we just called them mousepads) called the Megasoma. Both are available right now, and they ain't cheap: $80 for the mouse, and $50 for the pad. But if you want to go high-end on a mouse, and the Naga strikes your fancy, there you go.

Filed under: Items, Hardware

The making of the World of Warcraft

Eurogamer has a nice long look at the early days of World of Warcraft, way before Northrend and Outland and even Molten Core, back when the question wasn't just how big the game would get, but whether Blizzard, a company known for their polish rather than their size, could pull off an entry in this new MMO genre. They've interviewed some of Blizzard's luminaries, and the piece offers a really good look at what it was like at Blizzard even before WoW's release, when they were hashing out some of the ideas and mechanics that have now set the bar with World of Warcraft: the stylistic Warcraft look, and questing as storytelling (originally, they thought they'd only do quests through the starting levels, and then have the game move to a grinding, monster-killing stage towards the end, but players said the game was boring without quests).

There are all kinds of great little tidbits in here: originally, Warcraft III was planned with the over-the-shoulder look that WoW now has, and that's one of the reasons they wanted to create a more straightforward RPG game. Tom Chilton showed up on the team about a year before WoW's release, and to his surprise, the game was almost completely unfinished -- the level cap was only 15, the talent system wasn't implemented, the AH or mail systems weren't in, PvP wasn't in at all (of course, even at release it was pretty barebones), and endgame raiding was nonexistent. Most of the things we think of as intrinsic to the World of Warcraft -- even things like the Horde and Alliance not speaking to each other -- were debated and almost not in at all as they moved towards release.

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

Find in-game friends on Livejournal's WoW Friending meme

The WoW Livejournal communities are really some of the best citizens in the WoW community at large -- they always have interesting discussions and insights going on over there, and if you ever need a question answered or just want an opinion on something in-game, they're always ready with some insight. That's why I think this WoW Friending meme that spirdirslayer has going on is such a good idea -- basically, if you're over on Livejournal and are looking to meet a few players on your realm, you can head over to the page, find your server, and then enter your information along with a few survey questions and check out who else is playing with you in-game.

I almost wish Blizzard did more social networking stuff like this -- through the Armory, we can find out everything we need to know about each others' characters these days, but there's not much we can learn about the people behind those characters. Our own profiles here on WoW.com help with some of that as well, but it would be nice to have it all integrated in the game somehow: examine a character and find out that their player is living in the same town you are. Completely optional, of course -- not everyone wants to socialize to that extent. But for those interested, it seems like it would be a lot of fun.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves

The opposite of Heroics

Reader Malos on Nagrand sent me an interesting idea that I thought was worth some discussion. For a long time now, I've been a big fan of the idea of turning the old instances into Heroic versions -- I think it would be really fun to play Deadmines as a level 80, or roll through Scarlet Monastery for badges. But obviously the problem there is that Blizzard already has enough to do -- they're focused on creating new content, not revamping old instances that people have already played.

So Malos has a solution: instead of tweaking the instances to us, how about tweaking us to the instances? He suggests a set of gear, much like the Heirloom gear, that matches your character to whatever instance you happen to step into -- if you enter Deadmines, it powers down your level 80 character to an appropriate power and level for the instance. That way, all Blizzard has to do is make one set of gear per class (that could even scale upwards, so they never have to make it again), and boom, every instance could be played at the standard difficulty by any character any time.

Will it happen? Probably not. But I really like the idea of tweaking the players, not the instances, and I think there's a lot of possibility there for Blizzard. They've had such a tough time trying to balance out content for all kinds of players (including all of the hard modes and extra gameplay in Ulduar), that it might be interesting to try and measure the difficulty by going the other way -- balancing players out for all kinds of content.

Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, News items, Instances

Ten things WoW players should know from E3


Blizzard, as you probably already know, was not at E3 this year (officially, anyway -- they did have at least a few folks wandering the exhibit halls). But that doesn't mean there wasn't anything for you WoW fans: both Elizabeth Harper and I were there from WoW.com working with our sister sites Joystiq and Massively, and as WoW fans, we saw plenty of awesome games and demos that you should know about.

So even if you haven't been paying attention to E3 information on other sites, here's a quick wrapup of ten different things you should know from last week's big convention if you're a WoW player. There were no big expansion announcements or hints at future Blizzard releases -- they're saving all of that for BlizzCon this year. But there were a few games to watch, a few booths to marvel at, and a few trends to notice that you'll want to be aware of even if you're spending most or all of your gaming time in Azeroth. Hit the break for the first four.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Events, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blizzard

Studying WoWcology, where psychology and WoW meet

I've been meaning to write about this WoWcology blog for a few days now, but there's just so much there -- reader Skeuk is guilded up with a PhD in Psychology, who's writing not only about the guild's day to day battles, but also about how the deeper tenets of psychology can be seen in our Azerothian gameplay. This post about group dynamics is extremely interesting -- if you've ever suffered through some bad PuGs in your time, you can see the different stages of group development, and you can probably even figure out where your PuG fizzled out in the "storming" stage or made it all the way through to the "performing" part of the cycle. Fascinating stuff, for sure.

Unfortunately, posts aren't coming too often, and it seems like Dr. Amalea -- who for some reason refers to himself in the third person at times -- understandably has other things to do besides keeping a blog about World of Warcraft and psychology. But maybe if we send them a little traffic, we can convince him to keep it up regularly, as what's there now makes for some really interesting reading. It's really interesting that a lot of the stuff we're dealing with the game now -- forming PuGs, guild drama, even loot distribution, has all been studied by psychologists for years and years before World of Warcraft ever existed.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Instances, Raiding

GC: If you're OOM, tell your guildies to get out of the fire

Ghostcrawler did battle with the forumites this weekend, and the topic of discussion was the recent mana changes. Players are saying that the changes (including the BoW and Mana Spring change last week) are basically forcing them to bring more healers along to larger raids, and GC in return expounds on the raid balance that Blizzard is aiming for lately. Interestingly, it's not the 5 healers / 5 tanks / 15 DPS that you might think it would be -- Ghostcrawler says that if they aimed for that makeup, bringing more healers would often make the fights inconsequential.

He goes on to say that the way the fights are designed, you aren't supposed to run out of mana, as long as you're dodging the AoE and are geared up correctly. Making mistakes in gameplay digs into your mana reserves, and so when Blizzard nerfs mana regen, they aren't just trying to make things harder, they're trying to take away that extra breathing room that you get around errors. They don't want healers just healing through damage -- they want people trying to avoid it in the first place.

And, if guildies won't get out of the fire, and your healers keep running out of mana because of it, it's time to weed out the ranks a bit. Finally, GC adds what we've heard before: those looking for a tough battle in Ulduar likely won't find it right away -- the instance is designed to be only a little harder than Naxx. But the hard modes are where the difficulty will really ramp up. If short, says GC, if you don't have enough mana on the easy modes, it's not Blizzard's design: it's the way you and your guildies are geared and playing.

Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Instances, Raiding, Classes

Watch live Wrath of the Lich King installation and gameplay on WoW Insider this evening

I'm heading out to our midnight launch in Chicago here in a bit, but as soon as I get my game and get back, I'll be streaming the installation and my first few hours of gameplay live on our WoW Insider Ustream page. We've also placed a copy of the stream after the break on this post, so come on back here just after midnight central time to watch us take the first few steps into Wrath.

We'll also be chatting live in the chat channel, and I'll be broadcasting audio as well, so we'll be able to talk live about how the launch went and how everyone is doing in Wrath so far. Whether you weren't able to get the game this evening (or just want to watch along with us as you play), definitely tune in. The stream will start up right around 12:30am Central time, and it'll go until I hit level 80 or until I pass out from lack of sleep, whichever comes first.

Everybody have a great time at the launches -- here's hoping for a smooth transition from Outland to Northrend.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Podcasting, Fan stuff, Walkthroughs, Blizzard, Expansions, Wrath of the Lich King

BlizzCon 2008: The Retro Arcade


Diablo III, Rock 'n' Roll Racing, and The Lost Vikings 2. What do all of these things have in common? They're all made by Blizzard, and they're all playable on the floor of BlizzCon 2008. The last two, however, are hidden in the Retro Arcade area, where Blizzard has set up all of the old games from their past for visitors to experience and play. It's not a complete display (no Starcraft 64, and Justice League Task Force would have been fun to play), but there are a lot of great titles in there anyway. It's too bad I've got to play Starcraft II for a hands-on later today -- I'd kind of rather go play the original again. But that's not a bad problem to have.

Check out our gallery of the retro arcade, and revisit some old Blizzard favorites.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Events, Fan stuff, WoW Social Conventions, Blizzard, Humor, Screenshots, Galleries, BlizzCon

Tips for using the new Shadowmeld wisely

One of the topics we talked about indepth on last Saturday's WoW Insider Show was the racial ability revamp that Blizzard did in the latest beta patch -- I said that I wasn't even under the impression that racial tweaks were on the table, but apparently Blizzard still doesn't think they're done, and it looks like they're using those abilities to build in a lot of baseline things like threat reduction and resilience against movement-impairing effects.

After all the dust settled (there was one more revision in the works, and there may be more so far before the patch goes live), it looks like Shadowmeld is going to be getting one of the aforementioned threat reduction tweaks: Night Elves will be able to kick in Shadowmeld instantly and even while in combat every three minutes, and it will drop (though not wipe) threat, cancelled on moving. This adds, as Phaelia notes, a few new wrinkles to Night Elf gameplay -- not only will NE Priests have a new aggro "pause" (since the aggro doesn't actually disappear, all that will happen is that they'll have to wait for the tank to grab enough aggro to get focus back), but soloing Night Elves will have a new way to dodge a pull gone bad, and Druids who happen to be pulling in raids will be able to end a bad pull early, hopefully without wiping the entire group.

Pretty slick for just a racial ability. As always, this may change before the beta ends (originally, this was a Human ability called The Fall of Humanity, though Blizzard wisely decided it didn't work too well as that), but this extra functionality might give NEs an extra panic button when they need to switch threat around fast.

Filed under: Night Elves, Druid, Hunter, Priest, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, PvP, Raiding, Wrath of the Lich King

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