Get Your Fascinating WoW Dataz Right Here

Cynwise is back! That’s a cause for general jubliation, but in particular, I’m excited because he’s got his data analysis hat on, and he’s back looking at the State Of WoW Gaming.

This week, he’s got some preliminary statistics on WoW pre-Patch 5.2 – who’s playing what, when and why. So if you want a unique, fascinating insight into the state of the game, look no further:

“The reason I think Rogues aren’t in any new state of crisis is because of the data above. When you look at the class across all levels, they’re pretty solid (and don’t show any decline.) But as soon as you get past level 85, the numbers fall off precipitously. People haven’t wanted to level them – yet. Perhaps they leveled one so their guild could get the legendary daggers in Dragon Soul. Perhaps they saw how they were performing in PvP and switched (more on that later.) But they’re there – just not at the endgame.

There’s a different set of problems there, of course. Why is there this drop off? Why do people not want to level Rogues to 90 but do want to level Paladins or Shamans or Warriors instead? There are problems here, but they’re not as simple as the problems affecting Warlocks in Cata.”

Read The Rest Of Cynwise’s Analysis

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Killed By Facebook, Building Space and Unwritten Laws

From Facebook vs MMORPGs to Murphy’s Laws of MMOs, here’s the rest of the day’s fun links – plus, Cynwise announces a temporary retirement…

  • Yes, Cynwise, winner of the 2011 Piggies award for best blog post, is taking a break from blogging – but leaves us with a comprehensive index of all his best work“Since this weblog is pretty big – I write a lot, okay – I thought putting a map for new visitors up at the very top of the front page was the best way for me to leave the store unattended for a while.”
  • Spinks has been assembling a list of the unwritten rules of MMORPG play“Whining actually does help. The more you whine about not getting that rare drop you want or never being able to get a group to some location, the more likely it is that the thing you want will actually happen immediately afterwards, thus making you look like a miserable whiner with no grip on reality.”
  • Tobold ponders the question of whether MMORPGs are being killed by social networking“MMORPGs don’t make for a very stable social network. There are workarounds, for example I am in a multi-game guild, but even those rely on most people playing whatever game is in vogue at the moment. “
  • And Ardwulf writes an interesting piece pondering how to generate planets in a space-based MMO that are realistically large, but also interesting“I’m a big believer in procedural generation and think it ought to be used more widely than it is in MMOs. At the same time, though, it can give you a lot of empty places that look the same.”

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In which costumes are admired, digital items take up mental space, and Johnnie buys a pretty dress

Hugh is still on a break, touring exotic foreign cities and eating fancy food, so Johnnie is stirring the Pot once again.

Despite the fact that I’m a huge Tolkien geek, I’ve only ever really paddled around in the shallow end of Lord of the Rings Online. Recently, though, I’ve been playing a lot more, and I’m starting to get attached to my characters. One of the things I love about LOTRO is the costume system, which allows you to display one item whilst retaining the stats for another (similar to WoW’s transmogrification system, but better). The cosmetic appearance of my MMO characters is very important to me – it was only last week that I uttered the now-legendary phrase “Ooh! I can buy a pretty dress! I love this game!”, which caused Hugh and Rebecca no end of amusement – but I’m obviously not the only one. There are a lot of LOTRO blogs out there dedicated solely to cosmetic outfit design, and the best of them are really very good indeed. Take a look at LOTRO Savvy’s recent Scarlet Soldier design, for example. Absolutely top notch stuff.

The LOTRO Stylist has gone even further, and is actively redesigning her wardrobe during a raid :

As my Kin progressed through the different wings in Orthanc I often felt like my Rune-Keeper was not dressed appropriately. I usually switched between her casual dress outfit and her Draigoch armour. I personally don’t care too much for most of the Draigoch armour, especially the big emblems on the chest pieces. For Saruman, though, I finally put together a worthy battle ready outfit.

It might seem strange to attach so much importance to what is, after all, just a collection of pixels. For those of us who play MMOs and love our characters, though, it’s perfectly understandable. Perhaps Cynwise’s latest post goes some way to explaining why. Cyn’s trying to clean up some ‘digital detritus’, and has found some things harder to discard than they should be:

Characters weigh on my mind. Leveling characters, especially, but character in general. They take up mental space. They have … presence, even when they’re not doing things. I like having them around, I like having them available, I like trying out new things, but …

Digital things can take up space.

The Reluctant Raider certainly agrees with that assessment. She’s recently made the transition to a new server – a process which was surprisingly traumatic. Cynwise’s post hit home :

So. Now I’m in a new place, with new people. I’m hopeful and I’m generally happy. I miss people but that is normal. There will be new people. I need to remind myself that I don’t have a set number of people I can be friends with. I can be friends with more. It’s not like Blizz’s ignore list. I can befriend more then 50 people!

I spent some time reading Cynwise’s lastest post. And I loved it. This is exactly it. Cynwise GETS it. … My brain is filled with my characters. Each of them are unique and I feel different when I play them. My druid is the most comfortable but if I’m feeling sassy, I log my priest on. Who I’m playing says a lot about my mental space. It is like a canary in a mine. You can look at it and be ‘ah, she’s feeling alone or sad or anxious or happy or sexy’. I love that.

How do you identify with your characters? Do you have a particular item you just can’t bear to get rid of? Leave a comment and let us know.

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Gold-making mishaps competition: The results

A little while ago, Rebecca asked you for your most amusing gold-making mishap. In return for humbling yourself (or your fellow auctioneers) on the internetz, we offered you the chance to win a free copy of Zoxy’s new ebook Gold Making The Basics.

There were some excellent (painful) stories submitted, but in the end we’ve chosen a definite winner … and that winner is Cynwise!

Buying out all the First Mate’s Hats when Cataclysm dropped at 2 grand each, thinking I’d be getting a deal, without checking that the drop rates had been increased? Well, I didn’t need all that gold, I guess.

I feel that pain. I still have a bank mule with bags full of things I thought would sell at the start of Cataclysm. I had a list of about a dozen items which I’d carefully prepared, using market prices and expected demand and maths. I had to figure out how to do standard deviation in my spreadsheet application: this was serious number-crunching. I was convinced I was onto a goldmine. What I’d failed to take into account, of course, was the fact that I’m an idiot. Ah well. Maybe they’ll all sell at the start of the next expansion.

Congratulations Cynwise! We’ll be in touch very soon to give you your prize. Hope it goes some way towards numbing the pain of all that gold dropped on overpriced headgear. Thanks to everyone who shared gold-making woes with us … and remember, it’s not always bad. I once sold a mining pick for 150g. If you don’t play WoW, take it from me – that’s quite a mark-up.

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Cynwise: Not Having Enough Time Is The Best Thing

Cynwise has an insightful entry in her Battlefield Manual about how limits are wonderful things. Specifically time limitations. Not got enough time to do everything you want to before the world turns into something that doesn’t have that achievement, that quest line, that dungeon you want to do? Death knell sounded across the land?

Good, says Cynwise. It’ll make you focus on what you really find interesting and want to get done. Rather than, y’know, everything you think you should maybe get done, given enough faerie dust.

Here it is, the biggest constraint of all: the world you’re playing in is doomed. It’s like we’re players in a Greek tragedy, and the Chorus is telling us that our fate is coming to meet us … On top of having to find time to play amidst real life, of finding people who are interested in doing the things you’re interested in too, comes an unalterable deadline: Soon this will all be gone. It’s not the time to panic. Now is the time to get to work.

She says that she’s got a sudden sense that Cataclysm’s imminent and it made her focus on what she really wanting to do. And she whittled it down to two fairly hefty but admirable goals. One of them’s very different to your normal achievement grind, and a really good idea.

But Cynwise’s point is that given enough sense of impending doom, or lack of time, we can all come up with projects like that which will really grab us and make the last few months of Wrath worth while.

What about you – do you have any ideas for crazy last minute projects?

_Edit: Over the weekend Cynwise posted here to say that she’s achieved one of her big goals. Congrats to Cynwise, who now has a level 19 toon with the Ambassador title!_

_Quote taken directly from Cynwise’s post

You can find Cynwise’s Battlefield Manual’s homepage here_

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