Thursday, February 17, 2011


I do apologize for the lack of posts. I’ve been really busy lately and blogging is always the first thing I let slip. I found out last week I’m due to deploy again sometime in the next 12 months. Dates are not getting spoken here. In that time I have a few goals, one of those is to learn C+ basic programming. I love scripts and it seems only logical to start learning it.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Stuns are bad for PvP

I hate PvP. I remember why I never played anything other than a healer in PvP in WoW. Stun locks and CC in general is just stupid. Any ability which prevents you from controlling any part of your character in PvP is a bad ability. People want to have options. You can have abilities which limit our options, but to have NO options is just bad game design. I’m specifically talking about stun locks here, though some other forms of CC apply.

With a stun lock I can lose the ability to move or use any ability. My enemy can continue to do damage to me and the stun effect does not break. I have no way of controlling my character short of using the PvP trinket, assuming it isn’t on cool down. This was something WAR did right. They said you should never lose complete control of your character. The player needs to be able to do something, or it isn’t fun.

I believe the two best kinds of CC in WoW are Sheep/Hex and Root (assuming root breaks the first time you take damage). It removes a player from combat and yes in Sheep/Hex case prevents them from doing anything; however they are immune to damage. Any time they take damage they are now back in the fight. With root they can still cast spells or if someone gets close enough to them they can hit them from melee range.

All of this is magnified as a DPS class trying to get in range to kill someone. I always heal in PvP because I can hide behind the fight and be useful. I can find some bush and hide in it and most times my healing spells won’t give away my position. I was going to try and make Balance my off spec but if I want to do any sort of PvP it looks like I’m going back to healing…

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Blizzcon 2011

I’m going to Blizzcon again this year. Last year my trip was cut short because my manager was on vacation and the other managers didn’t have confirmation that I had requested the time off. So instead of flying home on Monday with the people I came with I had to bum a ride off some other friends driving back on Sunday. This year I’m staying for 4 days. I’m requesting the time off right now.

If I have a good laptop by then I’ll update the blog from LA… unlikely though.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

85... yeah I'm slow

Yogi finally hit 85. Leveling has been slow and painful. Some of the Cataclysm quests have been fun, I wont deny that. The problem isn’t that some were fun the problem is that amount of quests I’ve done over the last 6 months… dear god I’ve been back for 6 months. The week before Blizzcon of last year I decided to roll a Draeni Shaman. I played her primarily in dungeons but I quested a fair bit. At the time I had every intention of making the Shaman my new main and retiring my 80 Priest who was my first WoW character.

Cataclysm launched. I wanted to play through the Worgen starter zone and I wanted to try a Druid, so the night that Cata went live I made my druid. The problem was after I completed the Worgen starter area I didn’t log off my Druid… or atleast I didn’t want to. I wanted to play the 80-85 content now so instead of leveling my Shaman I hopped on my Priest. After a few levels I remembered why I hate Shadow, it’s just boring to me. So back to the Druid.

The long road is complete. Tonight I get to start tanking normal dungeons. I was going to dungeon grind 84 to 85 but everyone in my guild said I needed the quest items more than the dungeon items. Ironically they were right. I looked at my item level before logging last night and I’m 8 points away from being able to queue for Heroics. So having only ever ran 3 dungeons from 80-85 and wearing almost all quest rewards I will be able to queue for Heroics by tomorrow night. I just need to get one or two drops from the 85 normal dungeons. That seems… somehow wrong to me. I didn’t play Wrath much but what I remember of TBC was weeks of regular dungeon grinding before I could attempt a Heroic. I don’t think I like this new way but we will see.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

What I need from Bioware

I’ve been thinking about Star Wars the Old Republic more and more. The more I think about it the less I really know about the game. Yeah I’ve read all the Bioware/EA press releases like everyone else. I’ve avoided the official forums though in order to not get sucked into the fanboy hype. I want facts, solid opinions from people who have played the game. Not a bunch of forum jockeys who only hope for the best and preach it as gospel. What does Bioware/EA need to do to win me over? I actually think it’s pretty easy. At E3 this year I want Bioware to have 3 versions of Star Wars the Old Republic set up.

The first version needs to be a solo player demo. Give approximately 10 minutes to players to experience one or two quests with your companion. Cut out all the narration and cut scenes. You don’t want this to be a show of how the quests are presented; you want this to be a show of how the quests are accomplished. Bioware needs to shine the light on the game play behind solo play and how you work with your companion.

The second version is a group based PvE demo in a dungeon. Again I think approximately 10 minutes would allow for players to experience the game play and classes enough to make a fair judgment. Putting fans in control of the classes and allowing them to play the game without cut scenes or voice over’s will truly focus on what is going to matter 6 months after launch, the game. The heart and soul of every MMO is how fun it is to control your character and do things. The gamers need to get a hands experience with this.

The last version, and arguably not needed, I would like to see is some group based PvP. Set up a battleground, warfront, whatever Bioware is calling them and let people beat each other’s heads in. Silence the ignorance about TOR PvP, show us exactly what you have in mind.

It’s time Bioware showed its hand with regards to TOR game play. Let everyone, not just the privileged press pass people play Star Wars and judge its merit. If this lack of information from actual gamers about TOR continues everyone is going to start assuming that it means the game is bad. Bloggers and gamers alike will draw the conclusion that the lack of information is because Bioware is scared of the potential bad press. The old phrase “no news is good news” doesn’t apply to MMOs. Silence is a sign of weakness and guild in this genre. Show us your cards or fold.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Star Wars and Vision

I’m not going to lie; I haven’t been following Star Wars the Old Republic very closely. The game just doesn’t seem to strike that MMO fanboy nerve in me. That being said I’m not ignorant of its existence and I’m aware of some of its more widely publicized and criticized features. Today I’m going to look at one of the pitfalls Bioware/EA can avoid that led games such as Warhammer Online, Age of Conan, and so many other MMOs off the “chosen one” course.

Vision seems to get tossed around more and more these days with regards to MMOs. I think vision is a good word for describing something else. That something else is “what do we, as developers, want our game to do and be”, a goal if you will. Once you decide what this vision for your game is you need to remember it, and stick to it. When making any design decision from here on out ask yourself, “Does this help us achieve our vision?”, if your answer is yes then go forward with it. However if your answer is no then you have a new question, “does it hurt us in achieving our vision?” If your answer is yes, stop where you are and scrape that idea. If your answer is no then you need to consider the importance of this decision, can we live without it, think of another way of doing it, etc.

Warhammer Online lost sight of its vision early on. The developers at Mythic made excuse after excuse for adding features that were clearly counterproductive to the game vision they had set out to achieve. This was a major reason for WAR’s failure, the developers got lost in the woods. Age of Conan suffered from an equally catastrophic issue with regards to vision, it simply had none. Many of the contradicting design decisions Mythic employed during WAR would have made the Chaos gods themselves confused.

Star Wars needs to set a vision for their team to focus on. Every step of the way they need to look back at their vision and continually ask themselves, “does this help or hinder or vision?” The moment they lose sight of this and wander from the trail is the moment they too will get lost in the woods. As long as Bioware/EA stick to their vision they will be in a very good place. The MMO community may not feel that Star Wars The old Republic is a true MMO, but at least by sticking to their path they will create a solid game. Lack of vision is the first pitfall many developers stumble into.