Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Removing the cap... a long reply

This is in response to Tobold's post on removing limit on the amount of people in raids.

If you raid for better gear then bringing fewer people ensures a higher chance of getting an upgrade as you have less competition for items.

If you raid for just the “challenge” of it bringing fewer people allows for a challenge.

If you raid for bragging rights then achievements for beating raids in a specific amount of time with a specific amount of people should allow you to show off your leetness. (could add titles for them too so you don’t have to link achievements) This sets you apart from the zerging n00bs.

In my opinion the only reason someone would vehemently oppose this is because they value their epics based on the fact that others don’t have them. The reason people refer to envy and the green eyed monster as a bad thing is the manner in which you try to level the playing field. Being envious of someone else or their possessions can motivate you to work harder and acquire them, this is a good thing and something we should encourage. However when your envy turns and makes you want to take those possessions from someone else in order to make you equal that is where the green eyed monster comes into play. That is where envy is bad.

We had unlimited raid spots in EverQuest. That was over 10 years ago and we were still able to develop an elite/noob cultural structure with in the game. You brought just enough people to beat any given encounter. If I’m going to be perfectly honest I believe the WoW raiding system, and everyone since its launch, is much more unfair than what EverQuest had.

In EQ no one was ever asked to sit. If you were in a raid guild and there was a raid going on you could come, in most cases you were required to come. We never had to say; “Oh sorry we already have two warriors maybe next week”. No one had to sit and so it permitted for a much deeper and happier “second string”. Right now in WoW if you aren’t on the A Team you are often asked to sit out of raids. If there were no limit you could bring those extra subs that would normally only fill spots a few days a month when someone was absent.

We still had a limited number of “elite” guilds. Sure this was in part due to the fact that all raid encounters were open world (only one version) but by the time Shadow of Luclin launched the sheer amount of possible raid targets meant most up and coming guilds could try and take down something. The gear was often times still good even if it was from 2 expansions in the past. Most guilds simply didn’t try because they didn’t want to.

There were however a few guilds that “zerged”. Guess what, they got the reputation as zerging guilds too. In a lot of ways they were ostracized from the server community but the funniest part is that they weren’t as successful as the small organized raiding guilds. Imagine some encounters in WoW were you are required to space out, avoid aoe’s on the ground, or other encounters of that nature. Now go ahead and triple the amount of people in there. How much HARDER would those specific encounters actually be.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Hola Blogger, come esta?

Blogger hates me. Unless I’m logged in it defaults to Spanish. I’ve checked my settings, cleared my cookies, deleted my temporary files, and I can’t get it to go back to English. I’m sort of use to it at this point and I know how to log in via the Spanish interface but it still is kind of annoying.

Thursday, May 19, 2011


I’ve played a lot of MMOs and in nearly every one I’m a caster, therefore casting animations are kind of a near and dear thing to me. Some games have wowed me, EverQuest, and others have let me down, World of Warcraft. To be fair the only reason EQ really wowed me is I had nothing to compare it to, every spell was really just an explosion of different colors that resembled a cheap Tijuana firework, but I loved it though. WoW’s spells never seemed special to me though. They didn’t utilize my character or my items and my weapon typically rested on my hips or back.

Rift has won me with their casting animations. I play a cleric and was excited to realize my primary weapon would be a mace or war hammer; I just love the idea of war hammers as some holy smiting badass. I had severely hoped for some caster shields for my off hand but I was let down and ended up with Tomes… but now I love tomes. I run a Purifier spec which essentially has me lighting people on fire in order to heal them, it’s kind of sadistic but I enjoy it. It took me a few days to really notice the cast animation of my primary healing ability.

Now the majority of my time my Tome is closed, just gingerly held in my off hand. However when I feel the need to light one of my fellow allies a blaze my character looks down at the Tome and flips it open. WOW! Cool he is going to read the spell!? He then begins to wave his primary hand around, which holds a mace in a kind of old school Sorcerers’ Apprentice sort of way. It gets better though. As the spell builds the Tome lights on fire, I’m reading a frigging flaming book of life! As the spell completes I swing the Mace down in some final mocking gesture at the irony of setting my friend’s expensive clothes on fire, close my flaming book, and look up. It’s truly a beautiful sight.

I haven’t seen all of Rift’s casting animations and I doubt they will all move me in this way. However the fact that Trion put that much effort into one spell animation screams a lot about this game. I’ve complained for years that items for a caster are worthless; they are merely stat sticks we never use. Trion incorporates them into the casting animation and I love it.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Indiana Epiny and the Artifacts of Doom

I hit a wall recently where I wanted to quit Rift. Luckily for me I only have a limited number of games installed on my computer at the moment because I bought a new hard drive and I am in the process of transferring them all to it. So I logged onto Starcraft 2 for a few hours and that pretty much cured my desire to play another game. I love Starcraft and I’m fully capable of reaching Diamond league I’m just not willing to put in the time that would require. So it’s either I play a lot of Starcraft or none, I choose none.

Back to Rift I went! I hit level 50 about a week and a half ago now. Any time I hit max level in a MMO, regardless of the type of end game that develops past that point, I always feel as those a huge weight is lifted off my shoulder. I didn’t HAVE to exp every night. I could craft, explore, PvP, dungeon, rift, whatever I felt like now and not worry about how it affected my overall level. I know I shouldn’t feel this way when leveling but I had two friends already at 50 and I wanted to play with them, in content that challenged all of us, rather than them helping me quest.

Since hitting 50 I’ve done a lot, and found a new love for Rift. If you are willing to consider certain activities worthwhile then the game becomes very fun. Artifacts are a key to making Rift’s world feel alive. I will go out of my way to places that look seldom traveled in the hopes of finding rare artifacts. This task has allowed me to see much more of the nooks and crannies of Rift and I must say, it looks pretty good. I will take the less efficient path to a destination with the goal of finding artifacts on my way. It’s the first time in a long time on a MMO where I felt as though traveling around the world was equally fun and rewarding.

I want to throw this in real fast, because it amazes me. I love the cast animations in Rift on my Cleric healer. I think it deserves and entire blog post, and I hope to write it this week.

Monday, May 16, 2011

The WoW Tourist Phenomenon

I think I have an idea as to what causes the WoW Tourist Phenomenon.

People aren’t willing to stick through a lull in a new MMO when they can simply return to WoW with their preexisting characters and often times relationships. All new MMOs have some sort of growing pains; combine that with the fact that everyone has to level up a new character again and you open up a lot of possibilities for situations that feel grindy, not fun, or just unappealing when you compare them to your previous MMO. WoW has gone through its growing pains, the game runs very well and it’s a testament to Blizzard’s dedication to the game.

When people hit a bump in the road on a new MMO they immediately question their motives for playing. Is it worth it? Will it last? These questions ring loudest in people’s heads as they run into adversities in new MMOs; be those intentional hardships or technical ones. No MMO regardless of the amount of quality, polish, or effort put into it can overcome this long term draw that WoW creates.

I said this on Keen’s blog and he took it as some philosophical paradox; however I don’t think that even WoW could unseat it’s self at this point. MMO gamers want a new MMO, but they seem to be too impatient to suffer through any hardship or growing pains. Until a MMO can sustain a LARGE player base in order to make improvements the way WoW’s player base has allowed it to nothing is going to compete.

Blizzard has essentially created a market where no gamer is willing to move on and no developer can afford to improve their MMO past launch because they can’t sustain sub numbers.