Here we are again, a day late thanks to some technical issues, but here regardless, to discuss, bash, praise and poop all over some stuff happening in the MMO world. Two come to the forefront this week. As you’ll recall from the past week, we’ve been dealing with Blizzard and their lack of follow-through on their Warcraft Twitter contest. There has been some updates and potential closure on that issue as well as some other things happening in Azeroth. Warhammer has fallen on tough times, it seems. I stated previously that I was going to hop into the game, and see what was what with the new patch and if it fixed the glaring issues destroying the core of the game. Read on after the break! Read On
So as I mentioned recently, I participated in and “won” the Battlecry contest hosted by Blizzard’s @Warcraft account on Twitter. Blizzard hosts at least 3 accounts, @Diablo, @Starcraft and @Warcraft. Around the date Blizzcon was about to go down, these three accounts started having little twitter contests. Naming items in Diablo, Starcraft memories and a faction specific Battlecry from Warcraft. All simple little things, all rewarded some prize. Or did they? I know the Starcraft account was giving out Starcraft 2 Beta keys for its contest winners. You can see all three contests listed, along with their premises on WoW.com and Blizzard’s own forums, so this isn’t something a few people hallucinated. Read On
Are we going backwards here, Blizzard? Are we going from the realm of excellent customer care and the industry standard business model, to the polar opposites in such a short order?
WoW, the 1989 edition!
This week’s post is going to be short and sweet, because I am none too pleased with Blizzard this week. Yes, me, who usually tows the Blizzard line even if the decisions are questionable. But these two gaffes are just too much for me to be quiet about. The first, people know about. The second is something they seem to be doing to a select few of us.
We all saw this coming. The next step in Blizzards’ plot to take over the world, or at least your salary. Blizzard micro-transactions using their new Battle.net platform. Today Blizzard has added 2 new items to their online store for World of Warcraft players. Two new in-game pets. A mini Kel’Thuzad and Pandaren Monk for $10 each.
Some people are acting like this micro-transaction thing is new to WoW when in fact, it’s not. It’s just presented in a different way. Instead of going through the official World of Warcraft site, it goes through Battle.net. Blizzard already has a bunch of paid for services like server transfer, name changing, sex changes, race changes and faction changes.
Are any of our readers planning on buying one or both of these new in-game pets? Or are you one of those than can resist these two new cute vanity items.
I know it may seem a bit strange to see Warhammer instead of Warcraft in the title of my post, but Dave and I got a chance to have a chat with and ask questions of Mythic Community Manager James Nichols at this past weekend’s GameX. So, I figured given those circumstance coupled with the lack of exciting things happening in WoW this week are a good enough reason for me to allow it to enter my life again. Temporarily.
A bit of history with myself and Warhammer. I’m not the Warhammer guy, Dave is, in our little group of friends. So when I heard about WH Online, to me it was an mad grab for the greedy Games Workshop to get into the MMORPG market while the path Blizzard cut was still clear. It took nearly all of their promises, gameplay trailers, cinematics and more than a few well written Warhammer fantasy books to even agree to get me to try the game. So I buckle, agree and sign up for the beta by pre-ordering the game.
About 1 week prior to the open beta, I *finally* got my damned beta key to work. I jumped into the game to find an average run of the mill riddled with bugs and badness MMORPG. However, I also saw in WH Online massive potential. The lore and classes grabbed me and held on tight. But at the same time, the broken mechanics and bastardization of the game itself pushed me hard back into the loving arms of Azeroth. I lasted from the time I started in beta until the release of Wrath of the Lich King, fairly hardcore. After that, I kept WH Online as a side game for about 7 more months before calling it quitsies. Lack of fixes for release bugs, insane class balance decisions, lack of real competition and the WORST battlegrounds I’ve played in any game yet (Too objective. Warhammer is about KILLING, not capturing flags. See below) ultimately led to my downfall.
Read. Follow. Repeat for hundreds of hours.
Now, what follows is the interview with James Nichols of Mythic.
Bill: For all the diehard Warhammer fans out there, this question must be asked. Are there any plans to include any of the other Chaos Gods in a greater capactiy?
James: No plans for that right now, other than the small things already in game. Simply wouldn’t fit with the game mechanics.
Bill: With such an established set of lore, so built upon by the company and fans, why was it decided to take Warhammer Online in a direction that felt more like DAoC 2?
James: Lots of things just naturally carried over from DAoC, ideas the developers just loved. Then again, a lot of prevalent things like relics did not carry over, making the game different from DAoC.
Bill: Any chance of 3 factions or a free for all PvP server, since WH:O is already so similar? Those being 2 of most people’s favorite mechanics from DAoC.
James: 3 factions would destroy the mechanics of the game, as they’re built now. No plans for free for all PvP either, as it would not draw a suficient amount of people to it.
Bill: At release, many broken mechanics and missing features caused an early mass exodus of players from the game. As of the time I quit, most of those things still existed. Are they fixed?
James: Patch 1.3.2 addressed almost all of the problems plagueing game play, technical and lag issues. AOE and CC power issues have also been addressed, to make the mechanics feel less dominating and much more situational.
Bill: Also, the 6 capital cities promised at launch are still 4 shy of that total. Any chance of seeing the other 4 cities soon?
James: No plans as of right now. Time constraints at release killed the hopes for all 6, as each city took 9 months for a team to build.
Bill: Warhammer had a huge surge of players at release, but lost most of them. So to all the people out there that have an account rotting, give them one reason to come back and try the game again.
James: With almost all bugs having been fixed and many other class issues ironed out, Warhammer Online offers the best PvP experience in MMORPGs right now. Play Warhammer if PvP is your main goal.
That’s that, folks. James and the other Warhammer devs present at GameX were great guys, very fun to talk to. I spent a few hours at their booth and even some time at the after parties gabbing it up with them. Very good people who I think truly want to put out a good game. Still, I felt a bit of a corporate line being towed during the answering of the questions. All said, I will be signing up for another month of Warhammer, if nothing more than to see if they delivered on any promises yet. Keep your eyes open in the next week or two for a follow-up!
Arthas approaches… Well, more like we approach him, I guess. With a goodly portion of the Icecrown bosses either having already been tested or about to be tested on the PTR, it is fairly safe to say patch 3.3 is not too far off in the distance.
So patch 3.3 approaches. Icecrown awaits. It is more than likely the final content patch of Wrath of the Lich King, if history holds true. While this expansion was the best content Blizzard has released to date and probably the best expansion any MMORPG has ever seen, I can’t help but get the same, predictable end-of-expansion blues I’ve not yet managed to dodge in all of my years in this genre. EverQuest, DAoC, WoW… When each of these games approaches an expansion, I am at once thrilled by the promise of new, amazing content and yet standing in one spot, sporting my now outdated Tier 8.5 set going “So wait, WTF am I doing this for, now?” I have an answer, I think.
I’m a day late writing this, but sometime life just slaps you in the face. But I have recovered, and boy do we have some exciting stuff on the way! Most things I write here are WoW-centric and there WILL be a WoW project in here, but the meat of this week is the VGXpo that I will be attending this weekend.
This is a weekly column in which I will examine issues and questions in regard to the world’s most popular (and best) MMORPG, World of WarCraft. I’ll handle everything from issues that affect newer players or folks rolling alts, such as class and race selection, to problems or stories affecting end game players. Hell, you’ll even find the occasional rant or reader Q&A in here, I’m sure.
Let’s start with the basics, shall we? What does a new player or returning vet from days of old want and need to do, in order to get the most out of their playing experience? I’ll provide a few quick tips in this first week for these people, or perhaps even for the curious Geek who has never tried an MMORPG at all.
Once you have the game purchased and installed, and your account created, the first choice you will be prompted with upon your first log-in is to choose a server. WoW currently has 4 server types. Choose which one best suits your playstyle.
How cool are you?
Normal – “PvE” ruleset (Players vs Environment). On this type, you will not be flagged for player vs player combat in contested zones. Perhaps the best server type for easily frustrated or new players.
PvP - “PvP” ruleset (Player vs Player). All the same rules as a PvE server save one very important one. Whenever you’re in a contested or neutral zone, you will be flagged for PvP combat at ALL times.
RP – “Roleplay” ruleset. These servers are the same as PvE, only with enforced naming rules and in-game chat enforcement. Lots of dorks.
RPPvP – A combination of RP and PvP rulesets. These servers are for those who aren’t quite as dorky as RP servers. Meaning thye MAY have seen a real boob or two.
Select your server and you’re on to one of the most important decisions OF YOUR LIFE! What character to create. Horde or Alliance. We all know Horde is the best, but some people still roll Alliance. Why? We’re not sure. An accident, perhaps. A misclick. Maybe they think better eDating on Alliance? Who knows. But this is where you will you will choose which character to make. Race is not much of an issue, these days. Pick whichever you like to look at most. If you pick Gnome, uninstall the game. Any other race, you proceed to class selection! Read On