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Posts with tag tobold

Tobold cancels his account (until next expansion)

Tobold, MMO blogger-at-large, has posted that he has cancelled his World of Warcraft account.

Sign of the times or outraged for the wrong reason? That's for you to decide-- Tobold says his guild has moved on to Serpentshrine, and since he's not attuned yet, he probably never will be, which means there's no point to moving on. Apparently no one has told him about Vashj's attunement scrolls, which will let a guild that beats Vashj attune whoever they want to SSC. Of course, he'd have to wait until his guild actually beats Vashj, but hope is not lost yet.

Then again, maybe Tobold's just going with the flow. If you ask me, leaving because your guild has moved on is a terrible reason to leave-- not only is there lots to do out there, either on your own or with the people in your guild who don't happen to be running SSC, but I do believe there is more than one guild in the game. Surely someone else would be willing to take Tobold to Karazhan, right?

Either way, it's his choice. As he says, cancelling the account sends a clear message to Blizzard that he wants things to change. And if enough people send that message (for whatever reason), then you can't but agree that they will.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Expansions

"Stranglethorn Hole" and the doom of casual WoW?

Recent reports that the general population of WoW players may be going down for the first time cause some concern, enough to even have our post on the subject listed on the BBC for a while. Our readers gave lots of reasons why something was missing from The Burning Crusade, from problems with the new raids, new items, or even lack of anything actually "new" at all. Granted, it is too soon to say whether people are leaving WoW en masse or not, but the concerns raised here are still valid.

One of the main problems our readers cited was leveling boredom. The game before Outland is a bottleneck for casual players who want to explore other classes and playstyles but find that getting where they want to be with their new favorite alt would take more tedium and repetition than they're willing to tolerate. Some have the patience and dedication for it, but for others it feels like an impassible jungle.

Stranglethorn Vale, sometimes called the "Stranglethorn Hole" (coined by Tobold in reference to black holes, I think), has been the prime example of 1-60 leveling boredom, because at some point between levels 30 and 45, quests in most other areas just dry up, and you're left with little choice other than to help out the goblins in Booty Bay. The Gaming Fascist complains that he couldn't get any characters through the Vale without it feeling like "an affliction or a chore, something I don't really enjoy and fall back to when times get too boring." This was especially infuriating for him since he apparently chose a PvP server and he got ganked a lot there. Anyone tends to feel frustrated and hopeless when your goal is so far away that you have no reasonable means to achieve it.

We took a light-hearted look into the future a couple weeks ago, to see what solutions might present themselves in a few years as this problem gets increasingly severe. The fact is that has to be done for casuals who can't or don't want to go raiding, and if trying out new classes and isn't really a feasible option, then what's to prevent them from feeling stuck with nothing to do? More reputations to grind?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Leveling, Alts

Paying it forward in PUGs

How much, asks Tobold, do you owe a pickup group? He uses the example of Seaforium charges on locked chests-- they can "cost" up to 5g in mats, so is that too much for the engineer to contribute to a group of people he basically doesn't know? Potions are the other big question, but I'd expand it to include everything you bring to a pickup group: just how many times do you need to wipe in a pickup group before you're free to ditch them and move on?

I happen to be pretty much like Tobold. I'm not rich in the game or anything, but the money doesn't mean much to me (this is, after all, a videogame), so I'm more than willing to pass out potions at bosses, or stick with a PUG until my gear is red. I guess there are some things I wouldn't spend on a pickup group-- repair bots are just too expensive to use among people you don't know, and while I'm often willing to give lower level enchants away, the higher level enchants I usually save until there's a guildie around that I know can and will use it.

Tobold says, rightly, that groups are "worth" much less in WoW than earlier MMOs-- because you literally can solo all the way to 70, a lot of bad groups can be avoided, whereas in older games, you had to suffer through a lot of bad groups just to level, because there was no other way. But of course it is still just a game-- a good social experience is worth way more than a potion or two, and you never know if the Warrior you give an Onslaught Elixir to today might end up being your main tank tomorrow.

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

Blizzard's legal case against gold spammers

Here's a real interesting commentary about the recent lawsuit Blizzard brought again a fairly heinous gold seller (we haven't mentioned their name yet, and I don't plan to, but it's easy enough to find out who it is). Blizzard hasn't shared much about the case at all, except for the fact that it's filed in federal court, and that they want this one to serve as a precedent, not just for them, but for any MMO dealing with gold spammers.

Cmdrslack (who's a gamer and a lawyer) says there's three ways Blizzard could be handling the case. First, they could be filing under CAN-SPAM law, claiming that even though the in-game mail is never actually leaving Blizzard's servers, it's still illegal spam email (first of all because it doesn't identify itself as advertisement). The second possibility is an much older tort called "trespass to chattels," which means that Blizzard could be saying the gold seller is unduly using their servers, bandwidth, and game properties to advertise their own business. That, says cmdrslack, seems most likely, because there's precedent for it, and Blizzard can easily prove that the spammer has been working on their servers for a while.

Finally, Blizzard could also simply say the spammer is violating the EULA, which they definitely are. More likely, as cmdrslack says, they're using a mix of all three cases to show the spammer is wrongly interfering with their business. (Strangely enough, says Tobold, the one thing Blizzard isn't suing the gold sellers for... is gold selling.) But cmdrslack closes with the same question I will: Seeing as the spammer is based in China, and Blizzard is an American company filing in US Federal Court, just how are they going to enforce the ruling when they win?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items, Economy

WoW Future-Vision: Express train to the level cap

The year is 2012. WoW fans are excitedly awaiting the game's 5th expansion, Revenge of the Gnomes, which brings two new races to the game (Sporeggar and Goblins, at last!), as well as a new class (the Tinker), and a slew of other features. As everyone knows, this is the expansion where the gnomes finally take back Gnomeregan from the troggs, pushing them back all the way into the "Undergloom," a vast and ancient network of caverns beneath Azeroth. Of course, the gnomes also accidentally stumble upon the long-buried prison of the Old Gods and unleash unbridled havoc on the World of Warcraft, but that's where the fun is, right?

I could go on and on about the new features included in Revenge of the Gnomes, but I'm sure you've heard about most of them already (like the subterranean hovercraft group-mounts and blue-pill, red-pill potions for alchemy). Suffice it to say that the feature everyone is most excited about is that the level cap is once again being raised another 10 levels, to a grand total of 110.

Like everyone else, you're probably wondering how in the world (of Warcraft) are you going to level your new Goblin Tinker character all the way through those tedious levels of 1 to 100? Everyone wants to try out the new content, but no one wants to slave away through Stranglethorn Vale for the 48th time. To complicate things further, Blizzard still doesn't want to add any more 1-60 quests in the lower-level zones (not to mention any of the Outland, Northrend, Emerald Dream, or Great Sea Expansion zones)!

Fortunately, though, Blizzard's got what you need! Are you prepared for the "/level" command?

Read more →

Filed under: Gnomes, Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Expansions, Humor, Alts

Duplicate recipes create ingame scam

Tobold has found a strange little ingame scam that high level alchemists might fall into if they're not careful. Before the expansion came out, the recipe for Flask of Distilled Wisdom was an extremely rare drop from the last boss of Live Strat. Because it was so rare, the recipe could sell for hundreds of gold on the AH. Tobold thought he was getting one for a bargain at 150g, until he actually tried to learn it.

Turns out he got the Recipe: Flask of Distilled Wisdom instead, which is exactly the same thing (produces exactly the same potion), but is available for a mere 4 gold from the Cenarion Expedition quartermaster in Zangarmarsh. The only catch is that while both are BoE (which means they can both be sold on the AH), the Cenarion version requires that you be exalted with the Expedition to learn it. Which isn't super hard, but the fact is that players who are exalted can buy this recipe for 4g, and sell it on the AH to unsuspecting alchemists for hundreds of gold.

Of course, this scam has an expiration date, because as soon as word gets out that a) it's a scam, and b) the recipe is available for 4g in Zangarmarsh as long as you're exalted, the AH price will likely drop anyway. As Tobold says, Blizz could fix it by simply making the Zangarmarsh recipe BoP, but Blizzard probably thought they were doing players a favor by turning a rare drop into a rep reward. Anyway, if you happen to be shopping around for high level flask recipes, buyer beware.

Filed under: Alchemy, Items, Tricks, Economy

April Fools Alert #3: Blizzard gets rid of gold farmers

Gold barsTobold reports that in patch 2.1.0 Blizzard is planning on getting rid of gold farmers in just three simple steps. So in patch 2.1.0, you should expect the following:
  • The ability to send items, gold, or CoD packages via mail will be removed. You will only be able to send letters via the in-game mail system.
  • The ability to freely set prices in the auction house will be removed. Since players could transfer gold by putting up a worthless item for a high-price buyout, the minimum bid and buyout amounts will now be set automatically.
  • The ability to transfer gold via the trade window will be removed. However, to allow people to market tradeskills, the trade window will be transformed into a tradeskill window -- allowing the crafter to select a recipe and the buyer to insert materials, for a pre-set fee. When the buyer provides materials and the money, the crafted item winds up directly in the buyer's pack after crafting.
With no ways to transfer gold to potential buyers, the gold farming industry will quickly go out of business. Huzzah to Blizzard for finally solving this problem!

Filed under: Fan stuff, Humor

More on making the old instances new again

Yesterday, I suggested a few ways that Blizzard could make the "old" instances (Scholo, Strat, UBRS, MC, and on up) relevant to players again, and from that conversation came a few good points that I figured were worth mentioning. The problem isn't that the old instances aren't fun (they are still fun, and I've heard that some guilds are still planning to run them, even if they don't need the equipment from them). But the problem is that if you want your character to have the best gear in the least time, the "old" instances are a waste of time. At 58 you should be in Outland, doing 15 minute quests for better-than-tier 1 items.

Tobold agrees with me-- it's very likely that players who reach 60 after expansion release will never run Molten Core or the other instances the way they've been run in the past. Either Blizzard will change the levels on them, or players will go back to them for fun with a mix of 60s and 70s. Both of those are very different experiences than the one of learning as a guild, week after week, how to run MC. I don't mean to be depressing (the idea is a little bit softened by the fact that the same thing will be happening at 70 now, only in smaller, easier to manage groups), but it's true. Goodbye, MC.

There is one more idea, however, that came out of yesterday's thread that I thought was pretty good. Reader Skew came up with an idea that seems so ingenious, I wish I'd thought of it. What if Blizzard turned all the pre-Outland instance gear into BOE? That would create a demand for someone to constantly run them, not just for the gear, but for the enchanting mats and so on. Yes, it means that with enough money, you could come by a set of tier 2 without ever going to BWL, but also remember that tier 2 isn't that valuable anymore-- the stuff in Outland is what we really want. I doubt Blizzard will go for such a "giving" solution, but you gotta admit: it solves a lot of problems with a pretty simple change to the code.

Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, Instances, Quests, Raiding, Bosses

WoW Blog Roundup: Holiday edition



What brings holiday cheer all year round? How about the WoW community? For sure!
  • The Escapist brings us an excellent article by Michael Zenke in which he describes his disappointment upon returning to World of Warcraft for the holidays. His sad tale is complete with a lack of holiday spirit as well as a guild that has been blown to pieces. Merry Christmas!
  • Mommy, what is that tiger doing to that reindeer? Maybe you don't want to know. AgentMichi from WoW_Ladies has some amusing screenshots of some great World of Warcraft graphical bugs.
  • Not Addicted has some shopping tips for those of us looking for a last-second present. No, not from Target or Macy's, rather, from the fine stores inside Azeroth. How about some goggles for dear Aunt Trudy?
  • Finally, Tobold gives us an early gift with his outlook on World of Warcraft in 2007. Not really so much from a gameplay standpoint, but rather from a business and subscriber point of view. As usual, Tobold makes some good points, and contends that 2007 will be WoW's peak year, and while it will still be millions of members strong, 2007 might be the summit of Warcraft's popularity.
If you see an interesting blog post, let us know!

Filed under: Features

WoW Blog Roundup: 2.0.1 Edition

The patch came out yesterday and as you'd imagine, we have some opinions from around the WoW blogging community...

  • Paladin Sucks checks in with an interesting piece regarding 2.0.1 pally specs (go figure) and why they like the talent system. Paladin Sucks likes something? Wow!
If you happen to read a good blog entry, or you write one yourself, let us know!

Filed under: Paladin, Patches, Humor

The Future of World of Warcraft?

Where do you think World of Warcraft will be in the year 2015? Tobold brightens up our Friday by giving us this humorous look at what Azeroth might be like in another nine years -- with regular expansions raising the level cap and adding new continents, of course! However, on a more serious note, this article does make me rather curious to discover how Blizzard might keep things interesting for the long haul. (Though looking at the long-term popularity of their other games, perhaps it's not a matter of great concern...!)

Filed under: Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Blizzard

World Of Warcraft Needs A Game Over Screen

If you haven't checked out Tobold's MMORPG Blog, you probably should. He isn't exactly hardcore, but he surely isn't casual either, making him an awful lot like the average player . His latest entry deals with whether WoW needs a game over screen. Yes, it is a MMORPG, which in theory should be an endless experience, but Tobold argues that even a game like WoW does come to an end.

I tend to agree with this. It might take thousands of hours, but at some point, pre-raid, you will have done every single quest, leveled every single class and seen everything there is to see. This, in my mind, is Game Over. We aren't forced to spend $15 a month , and if we don't like the raiding endgame, we should probably just stop playing, wait for the expansion and find something else to do. Or, we could go to the message boards and start endless threads about the bad endgame content for casuals! Either way really. If I ever reach my personal Game Over screen, I will be investigating this wild rumor going around that I have a wife and a dog living somewhere in this house with me. Yes sir. That's my plan.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items

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