Saturday, May 26, 2007


For reasons I can't quite comprehend, this video has been posted in dozens of threads over the past week. For some reason, this appealed to hundred of WoW players in some twister or ironic way, may both. Why Rick Astley? I haven't a clue.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

A recent photo album

I've been absent for a bit, but since no one actually reads this, I doubt anyone noticed. In any case, I've been doing a lot of questing with Snettles recently, and he's now about a third of the way through lvl 50. In the process I've entered the Un'Goro Crater for the first time (awesome zone, like questing in Jurassic Park, with roving elites to watch out for) and completed a few red quests there before deciding it wasn't worth the time at my level (47 at the time, tough for a mage in a level 50+ zone).

I respecced to Frost out of Fire, but kept most of my arcane talents (gotta love clearcasting). Frost is a very different playstyle, but so far I'm enjoying it, as it requires more movement than Fire and allows you to respond to adds in a variety of different ways.

(In Fire, it was Polymorph them and pray you don't get another one. As another parenthetical aside, I find I'm much more useful to groups as a Frost Mage. I did a bunch of ZF runs in which, though I wasn't the leader, I felt the like the quarterback out there, doing CC and AOE as needed. Best group I had was a Human Priest named Lavander--that's how she spells it, I think, another Frost Mage who kinda annoyed everyone but we kept the peace, a hunter, and a Prot Paladin tanking. Seriously.)

I did enjoy the seat-of-the-pants danger of being a Fire mage--survivability is one of Frost's halmarks--I'll admit it. But having more control over my mobs (not to mention the FPS-style movement requirements) has me hooked.

I also decided to finally enter the Searing Gorge and do some quests there. Bonemender and I teamed up with Blawton (might be "Brawton," I don't remember) and a couple other stragglers to do a few of the more difficult quests. Great zone with a lot of atmosphere and a lot of activity. I also went to the Blasted Lands for the first time, and did a quest up in the Western Plaguelands, which I'd discovered at like level 35 while exploring around the Arathi Highlands.

Tried to quest Hoskold with Moray (and his pet bear, "joebiden") once but his computer was not having it. Here's a photo album of the last couple weeks. Here's a first look at Hoskold and Moray right now:

Moray was experiencing connection problems right then. I like the composition of the shot, though, and it's in Duskwood, my favorite zone. Now here's me waiting for Bonemender in Darnassus. It's hard to tell, but almost everyone in the shot is dancing. Bonemender also joined in the dance party upon his arrival:

Click the pictures to see them full size. I'm especially fond of the chat text in the bottom left. Here's a chance of meeting of Snettles and Naughtiest in the Ironforge Auctionhouse. Again, great emote text. Naughtiest looks disturbingly like Nancy Pelosi:

A taste of Snettles' homeworld. Flying the Gryphon over the mountains of Dun Morogh:

I try to help a bunch of folks battle a dragon in the Blasted Lands. My wand was of no use, but they killed it anway:

Bonemender and myself--mounted up and ready to ride back to Gadgetstan in Tanaris after completing a quest. The Mechanostrider is a humble beast, if I'm being charitable:

And finally, I let the High Tinker have it right on his own perch in Tinkertown, blast his leadership and intelligence and give him a little of the ad hominem, to boot. Dammit, every time I hear him say "I love to tinker" I wanna say, "Tinker? Fuck you, man. How about you learn to love to lead, motherfucker? How about less tinkering and more dealing with the motherfucking problem without killing 80% of our motherfucking race, asshole?" Or something to that effect.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Rape in RPGs

I'm not particularly familiar with this blog, but it appears to be about the old offline brick-and-mortar style RPGs (like D&D)—the kind that conjure images of kids with mullets and "Slayer" T-shirts sitting around a table in the back room of the comic book store. I have no idea how anyone would "rape" somebody else in WoW, and have never seen anything resembling that (but I don't play on an RP server). Regardless, until I saw this blog, I'd never thought of this before:
If you're like me, you may be wondering why I'm even bothering to write this article. "Of course no one is going to rape someone's character without being absolutely, positively sure it's okay with them," you may be thinking. "Right?" Wrong. Throughout my years of gaming experience I've heard continual stories of players' characters being raped when it really, really wasn't even remotely okay at all — I've even been there for a couple such incidents — and I think it's an important enough issue that it ought to be addressed in clear, certain terms. I also think there are a lot of peripheral issues that aren't immediately considered when we discuss rape in gaming, and I'm going to try to address all of them here.
Go read the whole thing. It was thought-provoking, to say the least.

UPDATE: Get this. Blizzard "bleeps out" the word "rape" on their forums. I'm trying to decide how fucked up that is right now.

UPDATE II: I cross-posted some of this on the WoW forums, and Loteno responded with this:

Actually, there was something ressembling that in the WoW beta.

Back when Undead could understand common, a neat little "game" surfaced on some PvP servers. It was called "Strip or Die". I'm sure you can figure out the rules. Of course, they'd pick on the lowbies - and corpse-camped them for good measure if they refused, too. Naturally, lude comments were made if someone did strip.

This led to forum debates about whether or not it was possible to "take advantage" of someone online. There was a lovely, and oh-so-creepy article about what some called the first internet (well, that word will get censored anyway, so...) that happened in a MUD, through the use of some kind of "voodoo doll" program that you could use to make actions under a different person's name.

The whole "Strip or Die" thing was really, really creepy, really, really sad, really, really disturbing, and really, really didn't belong in the game.

Yup - and that's why the Undead can't speak common. It wasn't just "trash talking" - oh no.

Hilarious Al Gore post


Favorite post: "al gore pwns joo." Reply: "*sigh* I know."

Troubling Gossip

In light of the post below, I stumbled upon this bit of gossip on the forums this morning. So I'm memorializing it here before it gets deleted:
I should preface this post by stating that I have absolutely no insider information of any kind about their corporate workings...only an eye for the obvious.

When Vivendi bought Blizzard, much of Blizzard's developing talent left. Some of these were Diablo and Starcraft developers. They went to various other projects, including Hellgate: London and Arenanet. It's unclear whether they were fired, or merely quit.

Now let's look at Blizzard's remaining talent pool. To call this leftover talent pool "shallow as a kiddie wader" wouldn't be an understatement. I'll focus on their most notorious developers: Rob Pardo ("Enoyis"), Jeff Kaplan ("Tigole Bitties"), and Alex Afrasiabi ("Furor Planedefiler"). These guys were hardcore Everquest guild leaders, the sort of people who thought 24 hour raids should be the next olympic sport. Between them is zero prior MMORPG design experience.

Furor and Tigole hated hybrid classes. Their anti-hybrid stance was notorious in Everquest. Furor was an obnoxious baby who organized server crash protests because Paladins out-tanked him in the EQ Planes of Power expansion. He was a loudmouthed brat who didn't care a lick about taking all the fun out of the game for other people.

Tigole was his best friend.

With several of the original WoW developers gone, these two geniuses were suddenly in positions of influence, in a game with three hybrid classes. Two guys who crashed servers because, for whatever petty and childish reason, they saw red whenever someone with a mana bar out-tanked Furor's pwecious warrior.
Lithose took issue with the OP, though, in the same thread:

Tigole and Furor have been working on wow since early beta, they have influenced every aspect of the game. Padro has been the VP of blizz since before WoW came out, and for the most part has been their "Lead" in making excellent games.

Tig/Fur also didn't hate hybrid classes..They simply hated seeing certain non-hybrid classes die out. You see, in EQ, paladins and shadow knights (Anti paladins), by PoP (And expac) and beyond, gained the ability to tank better then any other class, heal and, because of "knight only" weapons and certain agro abilities, produced much more agro then a warrior.

In the end, hybrids eclipsed all other classes, and just like in WoW, it needed to be balanced, these two simply voiced their opinion, but thye were "far" from hating hybrids, thats just an idiotic statement.
Mezmo offered a more balanced observation:

Basically true.

But what the chumps on this board here don't realize is that those two are responsible for FAR more fun parts of the game than you give them credit for. Also they have NOTHING to do with class design.

So to all the nubs above me, and all of those sure to follow below... cry more.
And Elendil, after carefully examining the credits listed WoW game manuals at various times, observes:
i am not sure of their level of involvement in beta, but tigole and kalgan did not become lead devs until after release, at least according to the credits in the owners manual that came with the game.

furor's involvement has always been rather vague.

of the original lead devs, rob pardo was the only one still listed in the credits for TBC.

allen adham and mark kern were lsted as the lead devs in addition to pardo in the original wow, and they are both gone

As for myself, I'd add that Tigole reportedly designed Duskwood, my favorite zone in the game (thus far).

The upshot of all this is that powerful guilds clearly have an influence over game development, though the degree of that influence is debateable and certainly varies from game to game. Moreover, it's going to be important for MMO vendors to start publicizing their philosophy of their game in order to retain their player base over the long haul. (I'd also note that this is something the developers of Darkfall appear to be doing.)

In other words, it's entirely unclear whether the original WoW developers spent any time developing a Philosophy around it—a concept of what the game should be like that would remain constant despite staff turnovers. Instead, what appears to have happened is: as lead developers and designers left, underlings with their own agendas and philosophies took over and imposed their will, not considering that the established playerbase was counting on the continuity of the game's philosophy.

I'm not saying that this is definitely the case, but that is the public's perception, and Blizzard should probably do what it can to address it.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Getting it right about content

Legatus on the forums writes this ditty:

I thought they were going in the right direction finally with limited raiding and more content for everyone to experience.

I was wrong. We're heading down the exact the same road the ruined endgame of 60 was and why people left and returned (including me) to see the burning crusade. Probably raid patch after raid patch.

Looks like it's back to their old tricks. More patches for 10% of the WoW population. Everquest reborn =(
I've posted countless topics there begging for more world events. One of the reasons Duskwood is such a compelling zone for lvls 20-30 is because of mobs like Mor'Ladin and Stitches (lvl 35 elites, if I'm not mistaken) wandering around long paths, forcing you to constantly be on your toes while farming the other mobs for quests. I've returned to Duskwood a couple times to level up my mining and have taken great pleasure in being able to save the lowbies from Mor'Ladim as well (and it's fun to watch them try to get in on the action when the tables are turned).

Blizzard's marketing literature promised lots of new content at regular intervals, including small armies of undead or other demonic invasions. Hell, one of the most legendary WoW "events" was actually unintended. A "Blood Plague" from a high-level dungeon was bugged and started affecting players outside the instance. Whole towns of lowbies were wiped out. But instead of QQing about it, the realm denizens loved it! The unique danger thrilled players rather than pissing them off.

Let's face it: most WoW players are casual gamers like me. I'm taking my time getting to level 70 and will probably raid very rarely, if at all, once I do, simply because I don't have the time to do so with the current raiding climate. So, for me, and countless others like me, 1-70 content is king. Maybe Blizzard will someday make good on their marketing promises.

Thursday, May 3, 2007


I soloed the Dunemaul compound at level 45, going up against the level 48 and 49 nasties.

Nice challenge with a mage (even a mob 2-3 levels higher can throw three or four resists in a row), considering I was regularly pitting level 23 Hoskold against level 28 mobs and surviving with ease. I was very close to death at the end of this battle, though. Check out my remaining health:

Mana Shield totally saved me.

Nice Shorts

I ran into this level 6 Druid while waiting for the boat from Teldrassil to Auberdine. When he said he was on his way to Goldshire, I ported him to Stormwind for free. Woulda been a long-ass walk.