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Posts with tag spinksville

What effect does the Dungeon Finder have on smaller servers?

For a few days now, I've been mulling over a point raised by Spinksville in a blog post concerning the Dungeon Finder's impact on smaller servers. It was her contention that, although the Dungeon Finder makes getting 5-man runs faster and easier for people on underpopulated realms, the new tool was contributing (or likely to contribute) to the depopulation of realms without a lot of options for raiding. It's never been easier to gear up a character, she observed, and someone with a geared character is increasingly likely to want that toon raiding. However, smaller servers rarely field the array and depth of PuG raiding opportunities offered by larger realms. Her conclusion? "Being on a smaller server has never been less attractive for a casual player."

While I go back and forth on that point -- lots of people will just gear a toon for its own sake without necessarily planning to raid on it -- I don't think she's entirely wrong, and I also think the larger point concerning the Dungeon Finder's potential impact on server communities is probably accurate.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Instances

It takes two to duo content

Spinksville has a great post up about the great benefits and joy of duoing in MMOs, or playing alongside one other person as you level your way up. I haven't been able to duo in a while, but I have done one character with a good friend -- he played a Priest and I tanked on my Warrior, and we shot up through to max level (even before the leveling changes) just because not only did our characters compliment each other, but we knew each others' play styles and were able to take on lots of big mobs and quests without a problem. I agree with Spinks: playing the game alongside someone you know well is the perfect mix of a singleplayer and MMO game.

There are certainly issues -- if one of you plays more than the other and pulls ahead or falls behind, it's not quite as fun for either of you. But especially if you're both playing alts and you've got good, regular amounts of time to play together, it can be really fun. In fact, it's kind of surprising that Blizzard and other MMO companies haven't gone in for more of the very-small group play -- singleplayer instances got a pass, but then again, phasing has changed things since then, and the LFG system has improved, so maybe it's time for Blizzard to put some two-player content in the mix.

It would definitely be great to see some official support for two-player content -- not everyone has a partner to play with all the time, but I think you'll find way more two-player groups in the game than you will find full raids of 25 people, and that group certainly gets their share of things to do. Spinks makes some great suggestions about duo content, and it's definitely a realm of gameplay that a lot of MMOs haven't yet officially explored.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Instances, Quests, Raiding, Bosses

The best zone of Wrath


Spinksville, following up to an earlier post concerning a great lore moment in Vengeance Landing, concludes that as a Horde player, Howling Fjord has emerged as the single best overall zone in Wrath. The more I consider it, the more I'm inclined to agree with her. The Fjord has a mostly unified questline that slowly splits off into sub-plots concerning the Kalu'ak and Taunka, and the farther you get, the more you realize the impact your previous actions have had on that little slice of the world (and most of it's not good). As Spinks observes, it's a very immersive experience that does a great job of conveying both the moral ambiguity of the Forsaken's position, and the fact that Northrend's a continent without a lot of good options. "Forced to choose between the lesser evil and the greater evil," she writes, "... you had better hope that the greater evil is very bad indeed because it is the only way to justify the things you have had to do."

That said, I have to admit that Icecrown is also pretty tough to beat lore-wise (with the Matthias Lehner quests being a particularly good touch, and please don't click that link if you haven't run into him yet). I haven't yet played an Alliance toon through Northrend, and Spinks is also a Horde player, so I'd like to get some input from Alliance-side players too. Is the Fjord as good for Alliance as it is for Horde, or are your best questlines elsewhere? If you're Horde, do you agree that the Fjord was your best questing experience?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore

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