Hate Cross-Realm Zones? There may be a refuge.

Just a quick mini-post to round off the week – if you’re one of the many people who hate WoW’s Cross-Realm Zones, there may be a refuge!

That’s right – as Olivia Grace at WoW Insider reports, it’s been discovered that several US realms are actually not connected to the Cross-Realm Zone system:

“The tweeter who tipped us off sent over a Game Master’s response to his ticket asking if there were any CRZ-free realms, confirming that The Venture Company and Ravenholdt are both exempt from the cross-realm zone system. A little research confirms that the Venture Company forums have various threads discussing the absence of CRZ on their realm, and welcoming what they call “CRZ refugees” with open arms.”

Read about it here

Read more →

WoW Roundup: WoW As Single Player, Druid Healing Woes, More…

Why do we like less-populated areas in WoW? Where should personal responsibility to a guild begin and end? And are druid healers just totally boned right now?

Read on, and all your questions shall be answered…

  • Bob at Altaclysmic defends preferring zones that are less crowded, rather than super-busy Cross-Realm Zone madness“I have made a decision that it is worth spending my limited time going to personally obtain the ore, but I need to be able to gather sufficient quantities in a certain timeframe for it to be worth the effort.”
  • Matticus ponders the question of where the line should be drawn between players having to provide their own resources or having those resources – flasks, food, etc – provided by the guild“I notice a strong correlation between player performance and their ability to provide their own character improvements. In other words, the players who farm for their own materials or purchase their own augments tend to not die as much and will consistently perform well in their roles.”
  • And Beruthiel updates us on the state of healing in MoP, including a stirring takedown of the ubiquitous “it’s not the class, it’s you” argument“In all of the back and forth and arguments happening, I saw the statement that if you are struggling to heal and perform as a druid “it’s not the class, it’s you” thrown about several times. It was enough to make my blood boil, because it is an inherently FALSE statement.”

If you’re in the US, enjoy your Thanksgiving weekend!

Read more →

WoW Roundup: PR, Healing, Faction Changes and more

So, what’s up in the world’s biggest MMO this week? Well, we’ve had the 8-year anniversary (complete with copy-paste email and underwhelming gift), and other topics include improving healing, surviving Tier 14 and the bugbear of Public Relations…

  • The Godmother writes two great posts on a shared topic – PR, unpopular features, and public relations blunderspost 2“Blizzard is clearly not the same entity it was when the game first debuted in the US in November 2004. An awful lot has been pumped into the business of PR since those early days”
  • Shy offers her thoughts on improving and fixing the state of healing in MoP – she’s got some unusual, interesting and controversial opinions“Healing should not be about carefully pre-planning the entire fight in your head. Holding back at times because you know if you don’t it will be a wipe at a later moment anyways due to mana shortage.”
  • And Beruthiel lays out how her raid group are coping with the onslaught of Tier 14 raid content“With those things in mind we made the decision, regardless of the disjointed feel of the released content, to progress just as we would have done should all of the content had been released at the same time. “

Enjoyed today’s posts? Please consider sharing them!

Read more →

WoW This Weekend: Social Hate, Execute Problems, Food Games and Fun Fail

WoW’s a little more active this weekend – although one post at least isn’t too happy. But that’s OK – we’ve also got some really interesting discussion of DPS class design, and a fun minigame for all the WoW-playing family…

  • Tobold just isn’t having fun in WoW – he’s quitting again. In fact, he’s quitting all MMORPGs, and explains why in an interesting, analytical post“And it isn’t much different if I changed from WoW to Guild Wars 2, Star Wars: The Old Republic, The Secret World, or most other major MMORPGs. Combat works the same in most of these games, and when developers think about innovation in MMORPG combat, they want to make it more twitchy and action-based, and even less tactical and decision-based.”
  • Gordon at We Fly Spitfires looks at the kerfuffle over Cross-Realm Zones, and asks if MMORPG players, or at least a lot of them, actually don’t want to be social“Isn’t there something wrong if we’re starting to treat other players as obstacles in our path to progression rather than as opportunities for friendship and camaraderie? “
  • Rades shares a charming little quirk and entertaining mini-minigame to play in raids, all at once“I have to admit, I like taking a few seconds to play this little minigame with myself, to see if I can work out the exact combination of mailed potions to grab, and to see if I planned properly and mailed myself a versatile variety of stacks, to end up with a perfect 20 or 40 sum. “
  • And Matthew Rossi talks about the Trouble With Execute in a fascinating look at DPS design that’s of interest to far more than just warrior players“Again, before players of other classes come along and say “What problem? Execute hits like a truck” that is, in fact, the problem. Execute hits like a truck, all right. In fact, Execute hits like a truck full of angry bees that have just seen you crossing the street in your Winnie the Pooh costume.”

Enjoyed today’s posts? Please consider sharing them!

Read more →

Controversy Watch – Cross-Realm Zones, Theramore, and GW2 Jumping

Cross-Realm Zones are attracting accolades and anger in equal measure, the aftermath of the Theramore scenario’s still rumbling, and Guild Wars 2 has its fair share of controversy thanks to its (overly hard?) jumping puzzles – the MMO world’s not quiet right now! So, here’s our weekly update on what’s getting everyone talking:

Cross-Realm Failings

Theramore, Garrosh, and the Tides of War

  • Rades writes a fascinating post explaining what he thinks is going on with Garrosh Hellscream’s sudden out-of-character personality shift“The Garrosh we see in Tides of War…is a very different Garrosh from who we’ve seen before. And not just in a “oh, he’s in a bad mood today” sort of different. He’s a completely different person.”
  • Erinys takes a stab at explaining how she would have designed a much better Theramore scenario“An event as momentous as the destruction of Theramore should be available to more than just those players at the level cap, therefore I would have made the first stages available to everyone of a level high enough to play in Dustwallow Marsh.”
  • And Saxsy looks further at the ways that the massive impact of Theramore’s fall is completely failing to be felt in the gameworld“When NPCs within the game do not react to those events, when they in effect collectively yawn at what is happening, what does that say to a player? It tells me that I’m an idiot for caring.”

Guild Wars 2’s jumping puzzles

  • Ocho defends Guild Wars 2’s jumping puzzles against their critics“So, wait, sometimes these games we play have a difficulty attached to them and need a little skill or hand-eye coordination to complete? Welcome to the gaming world! “

Any thoughts?

Read more →

Messages, Competition, and Cross-Realm Zones

And we close out today, once again, with discussion of various MMOs – WoW, for once, relegated to a minor role in today’s posts. How will things change with Mists of Pandaria, I wonder?

  • Lono asks us to consider what kind of message we send if we call for MMORPG innovation, but don’t support innovative MMOs like The Secret World“We’re saying: Guys! Don’t bother innovating too much or giving us anything other than swords, elves and dragons. Don’t change too much the formula either. We want our ability bars, our kill ten rats quests and our raids. “
  • The Grumpy Elf goes a fair way past grumpy and into steamingly furious about the effect Cross-Realm Zones are having on his gameplay“Don’t give up on blizzard. We pay for the right to play. Do not let them force cross realm zones on us. Keep putting in tickets so we can get back on to our nice stable servers.”
  • And Clockwork discusses competition in various games’ crafting markets, and the question of whether competition is really fun“When a gaming market has competition it involves a great deal of undercutting, taunting, buyouts-and-repostings…all to push the item towards its actual value as opposed to an artificial value mainly created by a lack of firms/actors participating in that market.”

Enjoyed today’s posts? Please consider sharing them!

Read more →

What Does Mists of Pandaria Need? (And Not Need)

What should be coming alongside Mists of Pandaria? And what shouldn’t be?

With the MMOsphere going increasingly quiet for the summer period, our thoughts are turning to the future. Today we’ve got three bloggers looking to the future of WoW, in particular, and offering lengthy, considered opinions on the ways that Azeroth needs to change in the Age of Pandaren:

  • Matthew Rossi thinks that, above all, the world of Azeroth needs villains, embedded in both the Alliance and Horde – and offers some suggestions for possible candidates“We’ve moved past the age of good guys and bad guys, but we can still make use of the idea that each side believes in good vs. evil, and very few armies in history have ever thought they were the bad guys. We need someone who will casually, cynically use this certainty to manipulate events to serve her or his ends”
  • The Grumpy Elf discusses the Black Market AH, changes to Valor Points, cross-server zones and the removal of Have Group Will Travel in Mists, and explains why he believes each of them could be disastrous“And how do they plan to handle spawns? What if terror spinner had spawned on server B 20 minutes ago and server B is the server you throw me on when it was due to spawn on my server in a few minutes? “
  • And Zellviren at Unwavering Sentinel considers the design of the Warrior class from the ground up, in a really interesting consideration of just how the class could be restored for Mists“Reining rage in hasn’t worked. Now, it’s time to embrace it and balance warriors around a different type of resource management that assumes rage is coming in extremely fast. Basically speaking, we want a rage system that doesn’t change a lot from tier to tier, retains the build and spend nature of the resource, and is fun to use; “feast or famine” has got to go.”

I must admit, whilst I’m still on the fence about much of Mists, I’m a little concerned about the Valor Point changes. Having no choice but to wait for random drops seems like a retrograde game design step, all the way back to Vanilla – and personally, I’ve never been a fan of the drop lottery, even less so if LFR drops become mandatory. Meanwhile, the “VPs as upgrades” model also seems likely to lead to even more social tension and conflict in the LF* tools, as experienced raiders are forced to run LFR for upgrade VPs.

What do you think? What does Mists still need – or need removed?

Read more →

Join The Discussion on Cross-Realm Zones and The WoW Black Market

Are you starting to get whiplash from all the no-warning announcements of how WoW is changing? Read on to get some context!

I’ll say this for Blizzard – they can do PR like no other MMO company. And they’re particularly good at the “They announced WHAT?” no-warning press release.

Over the last week, they’ve dropped two bombs on us – first, the news that Mists of Pandaria will feature levelling zones that are shared between realms, eliminating empty questing zones, and secondly, that MoP will also feature a “Black Market” selling limited numbers of items no longer available in the game.

Read on, and join us as we all try to figure out what it all means…

Cross-Realm Zones

  • Rapid Fire makes a case that these cross-realm zones won’t, in fact, benefit low population servers as much as Blizzard’s claiming“First off, if cities are exempt from this then my realm will still feel deserted because rarely are there more than 10-30 people in Stormwind (and I hear there’s even less people in Orgrimmar). This also means there’s literally 0 people in the other cities and in most zones and that that the Auction House feels a lot like the Neutral auction house, as in, pretty empty.”
  • And Big Bear Butt wonders just what the hidden purpose behind introducing this new technology really is“The idea is, you can have tons of space, but don’t open it up until the place is really jammed to capacity. People getting crunched in is better for overall business than a few people upset that they feel overcrowded. That’s why I think that this came mainly from think-tank discussions on how to entice and retain new players, not from a discussion on how to improve the game for the existing playerbase as a whole.”

The Black Market

  • Erinys at Harpy’s Nest addresses several issues around the new feature, including gold sinks and the memories that these items hold“Take Spike, my Iron-bound protodrake and favoured mount of Erinys. I got him when Ulduar was hard and every day I see people in trade chat making PuGs to go and do the achievements but that doesn’t take away from my experiences.”
  • And The Godmother of ALT:ernative considers the economic implications of the Market“I REALLY REALLY HOPE that everything you will buy on this AH will be soulbound. If it is, then I can see a lot of money moving out of the economy, and a move towards more competitive farming to obtain gold. I can also see a distinct increase in AH prices, and a need to farm pre-Expansion for gold as well as raw materials.”

And Finally

  • In an insightful post, Mushan asks just what the hell we’re going to call the new talent builds, anyway?“How will Larry tell Jim what his build is? Will he say, “Yeah man, I’m running with an ‘Evasive / Silence / Iron / Ready / Trans / Bind’ build for PvP, because it gives me a good amount of (whatever)?” I doubt it. That’s a lot to try to roll off the tongue.”

What do you think of these new features?

Read more →