June 2010


Catalysmic events deserve great preperation, especially if you know it’s coming. You want to get out of harms way, obviously. You don’t want the kiddies being washed away, drowned in a river of lava or having to listen to any songs by Muse. So you go to high ground, stock up on the essentials, (prosecco, cheese, chilli salami and hot mustard), and prepare to wait it out. Or do you?

Getting to safe ground is the last thing I want to be doing the day before Cataclysm hits. What I’m thinking is parking myself at the bottom of Thousand Needles, or lying down in that dry river bed in The Barrens, or doing some sightseeing in the Blasted Lands. There are two issues at stake here:

1. Where to position yourself.
2. What will actually happen.

I think that Thousand Needles wins out here, but if anyone can think of somewhere better, please let us know. As regards to what will happen, I think it could go a few ways. Obviously the best result would be that you die a horrible death and find your toon floating face down at the bottom of a giant lake in Thousand Needles. However, as discussed on The Instance this week, a more probable outcome will that you will be automatically hearthed to a safe location, like a city or an outpost or a battleground. This of course would be disappointing on a scale of finding out that your date at the school ball has highly contagious scabies, but I’m steeling myself for disappointment here. Any other ideas on what might happen? Lets hope that it’s not something truly awful like being teleported to Outland.

Gordon has an interesting post today, where he talks about why immersion matters in an MMO. There’s a great quote from one of his readers on another post that he uses which I will throw in here for you people to lazy to click:

“…It is your sense of immersion in the game world that lets you believe that you’re killing things…That suspension of disbelief is what immersion brings, and when it ceases, you are just clicking buttons in a dark room while the sun shines outside.”

Larisa today pokes the irony stick with her WoW is dying post, but there are some interesting parts in there referring to Activisions bottom line and WoW subscription numbers. And that quote on Gordon’s blog made me sit back and think. I remembered when I started playing WoW. It could have been the most beautiful day in the history of the world, but I would have stayed inside because I was completely immersed in the content. Now it seems that Blizzard feels that the only way to keep us immersed is to give us shinies. But it is not just the rewards themselves but also the way in which you get them that counts in the long run. The content has been trivialised to such an extent that it has lost all meaning. This is what I wrote about the LFG system back in January:

“… The new LFG system is also killing the social aspect of the game. Leveling my mage on a new realm, I’m not meeting anyone. The only way to do an instance run with people on my own realm is to spam local chat channel. Which is useless, as everyone is using the LFG system. I don’t have a single person marked on my friends list from meeting running around. There is nobody running around at all, everyone is doing instance runs to level. If I pick up a quest that needs 2 or 3 players to do I just drop it immediately now. What’s the point? I’m never going to find anyone to help me with it.”

I think that this has held up. If running a 5 man means that you have to actively find some people yourself, utilising your social skills to bring your group together, and then journeying through the land to arrive at the instance entrance, then you have been immersed in the game, and your experience in the 5 man will be justly rewarded. You expended effort and you were rewarded with content. The shinies are a bonus.

As it stands now you simply click a button and wait. You do not know who the people are with you, so no immersion there. No social skills required either, which is why people behave so badly in these LFG groups. You are teleported directly to the instance with the only clue to where you might be as the loading screen. Sometimes I actually have a hard time figuring out where I am. The result once again is zero immersion. And the big consequence is that you run these heroics so often, (as a consequence of the LFG tool), that the content itself becomes completely trivialised. They have taken away the fun and immersion and social aspect in the game and replaced it with a grind for shinies.

I feel that the RealID system is somewhat ironic because with the LFG system you do not need to make friends in this game anymore. If it wasn’t for Gevlons projects, I don’t think I would have met many people in the game this year. One of the reasons that I dumped enchanting was that I honestly needed a new way of immersing myself in the game, and journeying around the world with my little mining pick has to an extent done that for me. But the sun is shining today, I have a few things to do, and perhaps this evening a few of my friends will drop around and we’ll sit on the balcony and drink a glass of prosecco and gaze over the mountains, and I’ll put off once again the desire to retreat inside by myself and push some buttons in the dark.

[Host]: Good evening everyone once again, and welcome to our continuing interviews featuring the background cast from World of Warcraft. Tonight our very special guest, direct from the Undercity, is Jeremiah Payson. Jeremiah, welcome to the show.

[Jeremiah]: Thanks Dale, nice to be here.

[Host]: So you sell cockroaches as pets.

[Jeremiah]: Yeah.

[Host]: Well, my first question is, how did you fall into this line of work?

[Jeremiah]: You have to understand something here first. Us undead don’t need a job, cause we don’t need to eat or sleep. It’s kind of pointless having a job, kind of pointless the whole fucking thing really, so I thought I’d take the most stupid fucking job I could just so I could act all depressed and shit and talk crap to morons who come and bother me. So I decided to sell cockraoches, just to see if I could, you know?

[Host]: Go on.

[Jeremiah]: And the crazy thing is, people buy them. Can you believe that? I mean, they’re fucking cockroaches for fucks sake and apart from that, they’re everywhere in Undercity. It’s like the place is built on them. I don’t have them trained or anything. Someone asks me for a cockraoch and I bend over and pick one of ‘em up and give it to this dipshit and then they pay me. And you know what the really depressing thing about all of this is?

[Host]: Tell us.

[Jeremiah]: I’m making more money now than I ever did when I was alive. And I had a farm and stuff and we worked hard. What I should have done was just sit down and sell fucking cockraoches.

[Host]: So business is good?

[Jeremiah]: I’ve got a big place up on Facedrool Avenue. Got a jaccuzzi and a great view. Got a bunch of servents and stuff. And all from cockraoches. Or all from morons maybe.

[Host]: What about people who buy your cockroaches just to put them up on the Auction House for much larger sums of money?

[Jeremiah]: I don’t know what you’re talking about.

[Host]: OK, moving right along … you’re well known for being depressed and people try to cheer you up a lot.

[Jeremiah]: Have you ever had a bad day?

[Host]: of course.

[Jeremiah]: And have you ever had someone try and ‘cheer you up’?

[Host]: I suppose so.

[Jeremiah]: It fucking sucks. There’s nothing worse than being depressed and having some drunk imbicile come up and try and give you flowers and kiss you for the love of god just to make you feel better. I tell you, every time I’m starting to feel just a little bit better, some moron comes along and it starts all over again.

[Host]: Do you have any cockroaches on you now?

[Jeremiah]: Yeah, I got a couple here.

[Host]: Lets have a look. Yeah, they’re not bad. How much for them?

[Jeremiah]: 50 silver.

[Host]: I’ll take a couple. One for my mum as well.

[Jeremiah]: There you go.

[Host]: Jeremiah, thanks very much for stopping by.

Dear Mr Hacker,

thenoisyrogue@hotmail.com

That is my contact email address for this site. It’s up there under the tab called ‘contact me’. I use it to not respond to people a lot. So when I went to log into that email address this morning, I was quite surprised to see that I was unable to do so. Hotmail was telling me that due to the absurdly high number of unsuccessful attempts to log into that email account, I would have to go through a barrage of trials by fire, water and very small and tiny letters and numbers to type into a bunch of boxes. Which tells me that someone had run some hacking programmes to get into my email account. The only reason I can deduce for doing this is that they presumed that I would be so silly to have a published email address as the one I use on my battlenet account. And perhaps also that I would use a really stupid password.

Well, it looks like my password held up to your attacks. But it’s still lucky that I don’t have my battlenet password out there for all the world to see. Better be getting me some of that real ID network happening now!

Not.

It sounds a bit kinky, doesn’t it – warriors in leather. Like we’re going to dominate you and then lop off your head at the shoulders. But it needs to be asked as it pertains to the rogue class now in WoW. Are we just warriors in leather?

Spinks wrote a post the other day about the problem of stealth in MMO’s. What gave her the idea for the post was her experience in LOTRO with her burglar and how stealth is great if you’re doing stuff alone but in a group, not so much. It made me think back to the Burning Crusade. When I ran 5 mans in BC I used stealth a lot, because I used crowd control a lot. I also used it in raids as well. I remember being sent to scount ahead in Karazhan before Monroes, to see when to pull the nasty mobs through the ballroom dancers. I don’t use stealth in raids now. There is no point as a combat rogue to do so in fights, so you sure don’t open from stealth. I just run in and start hacking away. Which sounds kind of warrior in leather when you think of it.

To maybe show how trivial the whole stealth thing has become just think of those traps at the very beginning of ICC. When ICC was released the rogue world went briefly nuts with delight at those traps.
“Yey! I can use stealth again! I can be usefull!”
Which is kind of pathetic when you think about it and it just goes to show how far stealth has fallen when a couple of traps make you feel all warm and fuzzy.

Do you ever pickpocket much? Pick a lock on a door? Disarm a trap? Use sap on a mob? I don’t much in the PvE world, and in PvP I only use sap out of those abilities. And now in Cataclysm our stun locking abilties are to be nerfed with Cheap Shot and Kidney Shot going on the same cooldown, which means you’ll have to use vanish to have the same effect as you do now and it will still be shorter. It’s kind of crazy when a paladins Hammer of Justice stuns for longer than a rogues 3 abilties lined up one after the other.

I’m beginning to understand why we have improved leather in the talent tree now. Because when it’s all said and done, we’re really looking like warriors in leather.

I have two phones. I have email. I have Facebook because it is the only way for me to effectively stay in touch with all the people I know around the world. I have call waiting. I have skype. I live a 1 minute drive from my bar and the rafting base. I have 2 old sisters as neighbors who ask me to help them cut their huge lawn, (but they give me awesome sun ripened tomatoes).

And then I have WoW. And more to the point I have WoW in a guild where I can come and go as I want with no guilt trips or forced friendships. So I can escape, because that is what WoW is for me, an escape. I don’t pretend that I am actually Elizzà the hottie night elf who seduces hordies to their death. But the fact is that in game people call me Elizzà. I am Elizzà. They don’t call me Adam, and that is fine by me. Because WoW is an escape from reality and such a good one that I’m still playing it after all these years. Some of my friends play golf. When they play golf they leave their phones in the car. They walk around outside and hit a ball and concentrate on that and immerse themselves in their golfy world. That is their escape.

Real ID is the antithesis of this. It is now another way for people to contact me in real life. They want to bring real life into my game which is my escape from real life. So I will just not turn it on, right? It’s entirely optional for us to use. Well, the battlenet account was optional too at one point if I remember correctly. The first micro-transaction pet was a one-off as well. The Real ID is in the game now, they have spent a lot of money to set it up so they are going to want us to use it. They did not put this in out of the love of their hearts so teenagers can communicate more. They did it for purely finacial reasons, some of which perhaps are not that clear. Right now it is optional. We’ll see about the future.

So for all those people like The Stoppable Force telling us that we are just little cry babies for not liking this, you can go and sit on my fat finger.

Oh, and they may as well drop the bullshit and do away with not being able to communicate with the other faction in game, seeing as you can do it anyway with the Real ID network.

A comment yesterday on my post on loot for the Ruby Sanctum:

“… got ribspreader off of rotface after a few runs but lungbreaker took me like 2 – 2 1/2 months to get to drop, which i won and got last week but blizz definately needs to increase the drop rate of daggers in their raids …”

Does Blizzard really need to increase the drop rate of weapons or do they need to think about putting a few more in game? I did a little checking on the wowhead database this morning for rogue drops for items from ilvl 251 to 277. Here are the numbers for you:

Chest pieces: 8.
Feet: 4
Hands: 6
Head: 5
Legs: 7
Shoulders: 7
Waist: 4
Wrist: 4

The first thing that pricks my attention there is that if you’re running in a GDKP run you don’t want to be spending too much cash on chest, leg or shoulder pieces as compared to the others, simply because there are a lot more of them to go around. Why so many chest pieces to choose from? Do we really care that much about our chest piece? The one that sticks out the most are the feet though as there are no badge feet pieces available. And if you’re in a 10 man raid you can only get a feet drop from one boss, Prince Valanar. Is this purposely done so that leatherworkers will feel like they have a point in life so as to make their Footpads of inpending death and cost us all a tidy fortune for them?

How many daggers do we have? Well, if you run in a 10 man group you have a grand total of 2 daggers to choose from. That’s it. There is another one on the Lich King but considering such a low percentage of guilds have got him down I don’t know if it’s that fair to include it as a regular drop. 25 mans can include two ilvl 258 daggers from Trail of the Crusader, so their total is 4, or 5 if you include the Lich King drop.

But compared to the numbers for other items, in particular chest, shoulder and leg pieces, (which are also available from badge vendors), these numbers are pathetic. Thankfully in Cataclysm the loot lists between 10 and 25 man runs are the same. But still, if they have the same number of weapons to other items it is still going to be a long slow crawl to finally get the pieces that you need.

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