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Posts with tag opinion

What is the meaning of gear?

What is the meaning of gear
The forums are a constant source of interest. I was browsing their pages this morning, and came across this gem, not the writing of the blue, but a quotation from elsewhere.

Draztal
Quote:

Looking at people with epic gear should be a motivator to get yourself into raiding, and if you don't have the time for it, then to bad for you. Get over it.

You can't control people's motivations. For many players out there, gear is not the objective, just the mean to an end (defeating more difficult foes).


This got me thinking about what gear means, simply because my attitude to it was so different to that of the person Draztal is quoting. I love things that generate different opinions within WoW, and it seemed fairly likely that this was one of those things.

The person who originally wrote this is quite feasibly someone who sets great store in the importance of raiding, probably at a high level, such as heroic raiding, and sees gear as a trophy which he or she has won from their exploits. It's a token of remembrance, almost, something to show the world that you have achieved great things. There are plenty of elements of WoW that cater to this view, such as achievements that award titles for long-gone feats of strength, or mounts, anything that says "I was there. I did this."

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Mists of Pandaria

Defining Playstyles: Beyond casual vs. hardcore

In a recent Totem Talk post, I made a loot list for enhancement shamans that have access to ICC but are not progression raiders, because they are either alts or they are -- drum roll, please -- casual. That's right: I used the c-word without context. Casual. There, I said it again without context. Excuse me while I duck from the rotten vegetables being thrown in my direction.

The use of that c-word in relation to an Icecrown Citadel loot list sparked a very interesting comment thread. Most comments were well thought-out, added value and furthered the discussion. Some were, to borrow Adam Savage's favorite term, vitriolic, because of my heinous misuse of the term "casual." I said it again without context. I'm just casually throwing around "casuals" here.

Given the reaction that post received, I started doing some research into what exactly "casual" and "hardcore" actually mean. What I found was not surprising at all: They mean completely different things to absolutely everyone. The MMO population of players, across all games, is estimated at over 61 million people. There are as many variations on play time and playstyle as there are players in the game. Do you really think we can divide this many people simply into two groups of just casuals and hardcores?

I think it's time we move beyond the polarizing definitions of casual and hardcore and come up with some definitions of our own.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Ventrilo vs. Mumble

"What's your Vent info?" is as ubiquitous as "What's your GearScore?" Voice chat programs are a fact of WoW life, and by all means Ventrilo dominates the market. After five years of using Ventrilo, I say it's time to change to something better.

One of the most common questions I get from the show Big Crits is "what's the mod that shows who's talking in Vent?" It's actually not a mod, and in fact it's not even Ventrilo. Big Crits uses Mumble, a low latency VOIP program for gaming. It's mostly unknown in WoW, as Ventrilo clearly dominates voice chat in our world. Mumble is perhaps better known in FPS circles, where the low latency really gives it a competitive advantage.

I started this article with every intention of making a pros-and-cons comparison between the two programs, but in truth, I had a hard time coming up with pros for Ventrilo. I'll run through features, but don't be surprised if you come out of this with a new perspective on voice chat options and a strong desire to switch to Mumble.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

WoW Magazine polls the community

WoW Magazine is looking for some new information, helpful hints, and feedback in the form of two polls just added on the official Warcraft forums. What's in it for you? The best responses they receive will be incorporated into the magazine's features as quotes, and people whose suggestions are used will have their character fully credited for the quote they provide.

The first is a request for tips, hints, and other useful information for the "Battlegrounds Back to Basics" feature, regarding Eye of the Storm in an upcoming issue:

Bashiok
The industrious gnomes and goblins at World of Warcraft Official Magazine are currently working on the next issue. One of its regular features is "Battlegrounds Back to Basics" - this time around covering Eye of the Storm

As part of that feature, we're looking for hints and tips from EotS veterans. Is that you? If so, please feel free to post your favorite one-line strategies, tactics and tricks that help give you the winning edge. They can either be team oriented, or even class specific. The best suggestions will be incorporated into the feature as quotes - and of course your character will be fully credited. Remember – these should be straightforward one-liners – we're not looking for long paragraphs packed with intricate details.

Thanks in advance to all!


The second involves the upcoming beta for Cataclysm, whether or not people are avoiding it and what those that are opting-in are looking forward to among other things. Is this a hint that we'll see the beta for Cataclysm before we see the next issue of Warcraft Magazine? Who knows -- but check out the post for more information on what kind of feedback they're looking for:

Bashiok
The gang at World of Warcraft Official Magazine would like to know if you plan on participating in the Cataclysm beta. What about it gets you excited? What should people know before opting-in and participating? Are you purposefully avoiding the beta and all information? Do you love to hunt down bugs, do you thrive in a world of the unknown, or do you despise the impermanence of a testing environment? Tell us about your best experiences from past tests, missed opportunities, your dos and don'ts, your beta hopes, and anything in-between! The best posts will be incorporated into the feature as quotes, and your character will be fully credited.

Thanks in advance to all!


Have an opinion about either of the two topics? Check them out on the official Warcraft forums and put your two cents in -- who knows, you may end up in Warcraft Magazine!

Filed under: News items, Cataclysm

Balancing class strength and flavor

One of the things I hear a lot from other tanks (especially paladin tanks) is how much they envy Charge, and especially being able to Charge in combat. "Man, I'd give up X for Charge." Usually what they want to give up is their shield throw, or their AoE taunt, which of course is not a terribly compelling idea: warriors have parallels for these abilities and charge isn't one of them. Heroic Throw is our weaker form of Avenger's Shield and Challenging Shout is our stronger but longer cooldown AoE taunt. As soon as they gave up Righteous Defense (which rocks on the Lich King fight, btw) they'd just say "Man, I'd give up X for Challenging Shout" anyway. If warriors actually managed to give up Shockwave for Consecration they'd want it back in a week.

What it ultimately comes down to is the difference between a necessary ability and one that is useful but not necessary. You also need to take iconic roles into account. I doubt many would support giving warriors Blessing of Kings, Blessing of Sanctuary, Lay on Hands, the paladin system of Auras, or what have you. The ability to die without taking equipment damage via Divine Intervention? How much, exactly, is Charge worth and if it's so pivotal to tanking why are you rolling a paladin to tank instead of a warrior? How do we keep classes compelling and interesting while giving them the tools to do the same job?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Breakfast Topic: Which Warcraft moment would make a great cutscene?


Earlier this month, an interview was conducted with Jeff Kaplan by Phil Kollar of Game Informer where they talked shop about World of Warcraft. One of the items that piqued my interest was that a new cutscene was being included in patch 3.3. I'm sure we can guess that it has something to do with Icecrown Citadel (and Arthas).

I know the Wrathgate cinematic itself was a big hit. Blizzard is certainly no stranger to creating movies. There's the Ulduar trailer, the Call of the Crusade trailer, and the Fall of the Lich king trailer.

Remember the Sunwell Plateau? That one is my favorite out of them all.

I'm sure there will be new cinematics to come. But if you could pick a moment in the game, what would you like to see in cinematic form?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Two pieces celebrating the 5th anniversary

Blizzard's onslaught of fifth anniversary press continues. As we said on the podcast last week, Turpster and I both are kind of "meh" about the whole thing at this point -- just how much can you read/hear about how the game has changed over the last five years? But just in case you're still interested, here's two good pieces from two big publications about WoW's 5th birthday. First up, Prospect magazine has a piece by Tom Chatfield about "the world's most famous computer game" -- he plays with his wife, and says that the game represents quite a few things he's enjoyed. It's diverse, all-encompassing, lets you act out (or show off) your fantasy self, and constantly rewards rather than punishes. It's this brilliant game, he says, which has allowed gaming a "bridgehead" into the mainstream. Interesting.

Even moreso, here's another article from The Guardian that tags on to the whole "video games equal art" argument, using Blizzard's MMO as exhibit A. Writer Sam Leith compares the game to a cathedral, not only for the fact that the art and look of Azeroth will match up against any stained glass, but also because, like an old European cathedral, the game has so many functions and purposes. It's a social space, full of ritual and traditions. It's full of stories and emotion. And it's the creation of many over a long period of time. You might not think you'd ever have heard an MMO compared to the cathedral at Chartres, but the comparison is apt. When you think about it that way, it's no surprise that Blizzard is expecting many more years out of this game.

Thanks to everyone who sent these in!

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

Breakfast Topic: Is Blizzard wasting their time?

Hometownkid confronts the QQ over on the forums, and wants to know why people think Blizzard is "wasting their time" when they do things like upgrade the Druid art and creating things like the Ulduar bosstiary when they could be making more quests or new PvP areas. Personally, you've never heard that argument from me -- like Hometownkid, I'm pretty sure there are different teams working on different things within the game, and it's hard to believe that one new piece of art would otherwise be a new form of quest. While Blizzard does take their sweet time, I still trust they're making new content as fast as they can.

But there is an argument there -- if Blizzard were a different company and didn't do things like make Failocalypse, would we all be level 100 by now? They've always said that they would update the graphics incrementally, but certainly other companies have revamped the whole game all at one time before. I guess the question here is: would you trade Blizzard's well-worn ways for the promise of more content?

I don't think Blizzard has been completely out of line, but sure, you could argue that because of the way they do things, they're slower on releases than other companies might be. But would you?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Breakfast Topics

Give Bloodlust to Rogues

The idea behind "Bring the player, not the class" is that raid stacking shouldn't be as big of a deal as it was during, oh, say, Sunwell. For each buff and debuff, we have a few different classes that can provide it, so raid leaders don't have to go too far out of their way to get good coverage.

However, what single buff was the biggest factor causing guilds to stack a particular class in Sunwell? Ten points if you said "Bloodlust/Heroism." And that is, irritatingly enough, one of the few remaining buffs that no other class has; if you want Bloodlust, you need a shaman, period.

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Filed under: Rogue, Shaman, Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, Buffs

25-man gear should not be better than 10-man gear

10-man ilvl 25-man
Naxx 200
KT, EoE 213 Naxx
Ulduar 219
Ulduar hard 226 Ulduar, KT/EoE
232 Ulduar weapons
239 Ulduar hard
Once upon a time, the only raiding in WoW was 40-man raiding, and we did it uphill, both ways, and flasks went away when you died. And we liked it. Later on in Classic WoW, some 20-man raids were introduced in the form of Zul'gurub and Ruins of Ahn'Qiraj, and they were generally seen as successful.

So successful, in fact, that when Burning Crusade came along, there were no more 40-man raids - only 10 and 25. At the beginning, the only 10-man was BC's entry-level raid, Karazhan. Everything else, from the small T4 raids (Gruul, Magtheridon) on up through T6, was exclusively 25-man. Notably, Gruul and Mags returned the same quality of rewards as KZ. Eventually a second 10-man raid (Zul'Aman) was introduced, with roughly a T5 level of difficulty, and of rewards.

Blizzard noticed that people really liked these 10-man raids. And so it came to pass that in the current expansion, Wrath of the Lich King, every raid instance is available in both 10- and 25-man versions. However, in a departure from all previous tradition, the 10- and 25-man instances at the same tier (which is to say, T7, at the moment) reward different levels of gear: Naxx-10 gives you ilvl 200 epics, whereas Naxx-25 rewards you with ilvl 213.

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Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, Raiding

A plea against vehicle combat

Earlier today Blizzard posted a preview of Ulduar, the tier 8 raid coming up in patch 3.1 (which they promise will be on the PTRs "very soon"). Most of it looks really cool - 14 bosses, massive rooms, hard modes. However, there is one topic that Blizzard enthused about that really worries me: vehicle combat.

We've already seen some vehicle-based boss fights in Eregos (the final boss of the Oculus) and on the third phase of the Malygos fight. But Ulduar is, apparently, going to take it one step farther: there will be a vehicle-combat gauntlet leading up to the first boss, Flame Leviathan, and that boss itself will also be a vehicle fight, with players picking among three vehicles (Chopper, Demolisher, and Siege Engine) to command.

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Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Raiding

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

What Blizzard did right (and wrong) with the world event


I've been waiting to do some breakdown analysis of the Wrath world event until it actually ended, and since we're now swarming over Northrend and exploring Arthas' domain, I think the time has come to determine a verdict on whether or not Blizzard's world event delivered.

The short answer? I think it did, but not without a few bumps along the way. This was certainly the most ambitious world event Blizzard has attempted yet, both reusing some of their old techniques (the Scourge invasion), some newer tricks (a special boss with extra loot, which they learned from the Horseman last year), and even some tricks they picked up from players. But there were certain issues -- the timing was just plain bad, and the event really fizzled out rather than finished with a bang.

After the break, we run through what Blizzard did right and wrong with the world event, and what we can expect in the future.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Events, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Instances, Bosses, Wrath of the Lich King

Ask WoW Insider: An early disappointment?

With all the Wrath news dropping, there's been a ton of hype around the next World of Warcraft expansion. Lots of players are very excited (including yours truly), but Charles S isn't so much. He actually stopped playing the game in March of this past year (before that, he raided as a Warlock), and he is using today's Ask WoW Insider column to ask you, our readers, if anyone else isn't so hot on what they've seen so far:

I've been reading your site and the news about the expansion and my question is, is it too early to be disappointed in what I am seeing for this expansion?


Unfortunately he doesn't expound much more beyond that, and I'd like to know what else he wants to see from the expansion -- we're going to get Death Knights, siege vehicles, and we're going to get to meet the Lich freakin' King, more than once. I don't know what more a Warcraft fan would want. But maybe you do -- think it's too early for Charles to be disappointed, or should he wait and see if Wrath will bring him back to the game?

And if you have a question you want to ask our readers, feel free to send it along to ask@wow.com, and you might see it up here next week for everyone else to answer.

Previously on Ask WoW Insider...

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Expansions, Ask WoW Insider, Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King, Battlegrounds

Is Blizzard stealing ideas from WAR?

Waaagh! is a blog about Warhammer Online (there are a few of them springing up lately, and our sister site Massively is doing a great job of covering news about the upcoming MMO), and Syp, who writes over there, says his blood pressure rose just a little bit when reading the news that achievements might be coming to the World of Warcraft. When news first broke about WAR, which is made by a company called Mythic (the original creators of Dark Age of Camelot, now working with EA), they got a lot of flak for making a game that looked a lot like WoW. But now that details are coming out about Warhammer, including this really interesting achievements-style feature called the Tome of Knowledge (which basically tracks what your character does around the game and gives you rewards for what you do), the allegations of imitation are going the other way. Is Blizzard ripping off Warhammer now?

In point of fact, yes. Blizzard didn't start from scratch with World of Warcraft (in fact, many of their designers were actually players of other games, including Everquest and Dark Age of Camelot) -- instead, they (as they've always done with their games) took a formula and tweaked it close to perfection. And of course, since Warhammer is (if you listen to the hype) supposed to be WoW's biggest competitor going forward, it's not surprising at all that the ideas coming out of WAR are also making waves around the Blizzard offices.

That said, give WAR a chance.

Read more →

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Blizzard, News items, Leveling, Wrath of the Lich King

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