Category Archives: thoughts

Four Things I Want To See in the Warcraft Movie

So the Warcraft movie, which was first announced approximately 35867 years ago, is finally coming out next year.  Surprisingly we haven’t really seen any public teasers or anything for it yet, so what we know about it is still pretty limited. It looks like it takes place during the First War (contrary to what we were initially told), and… okay, that’s all I know.

Anyways, I dunno about you, but here is what I WANT TO SEE.  In all caps.

1. More Than Just “Orcs & Humans”

Look, I know it’s based off of the first Warcraft game which was literally titled “Orcs & Humans”.  But other stuff was certainly happening on the Eastern Kingdoms continent at the time of the First War.  The gnomes and dwarves weren’t directly involved with the conflict but obviously knew what was going on due to their close proximity to Stormwind.  Meanwhile, the Amani trolls and the high elves were up north dealing with their ongoing personal blood feud.  All of these races, at least, should have a shot at appearing in the movie.  Especially gnomes.

2. Cool lore stuff

Okay Warcraft movie, let’s really dig into the lore here and give us turbonerds more to talk about.  Not really much else to say about that point.  This does lead us nicely into point three:

3. Shoutouts to the fans (but not George Lucas style shoutouts)

Remember in the Star Wars prequel trilogy movies where every time George Lucas made some shoutout to the fans you could almost see him on screen winking slyly at the audience?  (Yes, I’m talking to you, R2-D2/C-3PO introduction and that one part later where Boba Fett looks slowly at the camera for no reason.)  I don’t want that.  I do want little blink-if-you-miss-it things that only the nerds are gonna get.  Wreck-It Ralph did a really good job of putting in references like this, I think.  Speaking of which:

4. Moroes needs to say “Mmm, unannounced visitors” or “How terribly clumsy of me” or something.

Moroes is in the movie and if he doesn’t quote his lines from Karazhan then I’m walking out of the theater damnit!

arghAlright, enough of me trying (and probably failing) to be entertaining.  What do YOU want to see in the Warcraft movie?

Okay Blizzard it’s time to revamp draenei and blood elves

I’m sure I’ll get some comments that disagree, but IMO draenei and blood elves have basically the best lore in the Warcraft universe.

But, of course, if you roll a new draenei you get the same old “OUR SHIP JUST CRASHED!!111!1″ quests we got eight years ago, and if you roll a new blood elf they’ll helpfully inform you that ~~Kael’thas is going to lead our people to Outland~~ even though that stopped being current lore, like… halfway through that same expac.

maroney_rect1-460x307_crop_northRevamp both starter zones already, Blizzard.  Make them flyable.  Make it so more of Silvermoon is rebuilt and not covered in statues of Kael’thas or fel crystals, because all of those stopped being relevant like seven years ago.  Seriously, Blizz.

While we’re at it, let’s revamp Outland.  I mean, as much of a nostalgia junkie as I am, I’m also a realist, and I accept that jumping from the Cata-revamp content to Burning feckin’ Crusade kind of hurts a little.

Actually, you know what?  To heck with it.  Let’s just get a draenei/belf expac.  This can be followed up an expac where Chromie teleports us millions of years into the past to watch the Titans and Old Gods fight because it would be awesome.

Anxiety, WoW, and Me

Hi, I’m Pike.

(Hi, Pike)

And I’m scared of dungeons.

[record scratch]

Wait, that Pike?

That Pike who threw herself into any dungeon or raid PUG that came her way during TBC?

That Pike who leveled a druid to max almost entirely through dungeons, mostly before Dungeon Finder even existed?

That Pike who would happily spend three hours in ToC on her hunter and then another three hours healing Ulduar with her druid immediately afterward?

Yes.  That Pike.

I think it started with Cataclysm.  Blizzard did two major things that affected the game for me: They made substantial changes to the way hunters work, and they also decided to make dungeons “hard”.  I think that I probably could have dealt with either of these on their own, but when they were together, it planted a little worm of doubt into my brain.

What if I’m not good at hunters or dungeons anymore?  What if I let everyone down?

Scared_Rainbow_Dash_S1E16

I did ultimately do some dungeons, but that little thought didn’t go away, so because endgame was now scary (and also because I wasn’t keen on Cataclysm), I unsubbed.

I gave it all another try for Mists of Pandaria.  After greatly enjoying the leveling process, I told myself that this time I’m going to do it.  I’m going to get back into endgame.  And I’m going to love it, just like before.

Unfortunately a couple of bad groups and douchecanoes had me convinced I was terrible at hunters and at dungeons, and because the only other real thing that MoP had to offer at the time was an endless stream of dailies I quietly left the game.  Again.

Sad_Twilight_D'aww_S2E3

And so here we are.  In WoD.  The itch, of course, is back, like it always is.  Oh, how I secretly long to spend the day in LFG doing endless heroics, or spend hours butting heads against a tough boss in a (real live!) raid.  But instead, I’m tip-toeing into normals maybe once a week when I summon up the courage, despite being overgeared and having a Gold in Proving Grounds and all that stuff.

“Why don’t you find nice people to play with, Pike?  A really nice guild or something?” I’m sure you’re asking.  And, you know, I’ve thought about it.  But because of my work schedule I’m tucking myself into bed right about when the rest of the United States is getting home from work and logging in.  I don’t think it would be impossible to find a nice guild that raids at 1:00pm.  But it might be a bit of a serious hunt.

So now what?

weird-al-yankovic-my-little-pony-friendship-is-magicWell, right now I’m determined not to let this beat me three expacs in a row.  How?  Well, uh, I’m not sure yet.  You see, there will be people involved.  And the possibility of failure.  And instances that I haven’t done before.  This is all very scary to me.  But you’ve gotta confront your fears head on, right?

Sorry for the break in pony pics.
Sorry for the break in pony pics.

So yeah.  That’s my confession for the day.  Embarrassing?  Maybe a little.  I’ve struggled with anxiety most of my life, and seeing it creep into video games – my favorite hobby – is never fun for me.  But maybe this post can help others who feel similarly – at least to know that they’re not alone!

It’s All In Me Head: Mental Roleplaying

Hi, I’m Pike, and I have a problem.

Specifically my problem is thus: I play on RP servers and come up with elaborate backstories for all my characters but I don’t actually RP them.  That’s… that’s not too weird, is it?

simba
“Yep, definitely weird.”

 

I’m not sure why I don’t roleplay.  I think because it’s just not my thing, and because it means socializing with people and socializing is hard work, dangit.

But I can go on and on about how Tawyn is a foul-mouthed, hard drinking kaldorei who prefers the company of dwarves and humans (and her pets) to the exclusion of just about anything else.

And I can go on and on about how Lunapike is actually a huge dork who gets excited about mundane things like herbalism and archaeology because IT’S JUST SO NEAT, LOOK STUFF IS COMING OUT OF THE GROUND, WHOA, HOW DOES THAT EVEN WORK.

And I can go on and on about how Althalor really just wants to stay in Quel’Thalas taking care of the hawkstriders and lynx cubs, but then when the Scourge stormed through and killed his Farstrider parents he had to reluctantly follow in their footsteps.

And I can tell you about how Ratchets is… okay, she’s a goblin, so basically she’s just a Ferengi.  How about that invisible hand, eh?

But the thought of actually trying to go roleplay my character with people freaks me out.

So yeah.  Mental roleplaying, I do it.  Actually I do it in basically every game, not just WoW.  (The Elder Scrolls, anyone?)

It’s… it’s not just me, right?  Other people do this too, right?

So Much To Do, So Little Time

I keep seeing people talking about WoD’s lack of content.

And all I can think is, “Man… I wish the expac I’m playing had this lack of content!”

I haven’t enjoyed WoW endgame this much since WotLK.  Nor have I been so busy.  Here’s a little look at what I’m busy doing:

  • Pet battles and pet leveling
  • Archaeology leveling
  • Fishing leveling
  • Garrison upgrades
  • Follower upgrades
  • Messing around on the auction house
  • Mount farming
  • Pet farming
  • Apexis Crystal farming
  • Loremaster achievements
  • Reputation achievements
  • Various other achievements (like the SELFIE one)
  • Getting all the music scrolls
  • Dungeons
  • Daily quests
  • Darkmoon Faire/holiday stuff
  • PvP (when I’m feeling masochistic)
  • Probably raids, eventually, when I feel comfortable with my gear

There is not nearly enough time in the day for all the crap I wanna do.  Every night I log out sadly because I want to keep playing.

So yeah, I’ll trade all you “no content” folks!  Seriously!  I want to have time for other video games again!

Edit: I do want to clarify that I do understand where the complaints are coming from.  I’m lucky in that I play WoW because it’s a great “alt-tab” game between bouts of writing.  But if I was big into raiding again I’d probably play another MMO.

Garrisons are an interesting study.

IMO, Garrisons are, by and large, absolutely fantastic.  It’s basically player housing except that you’re the quest giver handing out quests to your underlings, and it’s just really, really fun.

And that’s weird.

Because those of us who have been gaming for just about any length of time can recognize the way Blizzard has gamified the entire process of, well… work.  Mobile and Facebook games have the art of “waiting” and “upgrading” down to a science, and garrisons are no different.  It’s all just Farmville with a fancier skin.  And yet, it’s something I can live with.  Why?

Because my garrison feels like home.

That sounds cheesy but it’s true.  You can customize it (to a degree – of course we’d all love to see more customization), it’s got your pets walking around, and it’s got NPCs and friends that you met along your journey hanging out.  It’s your own little place – when you’re tired of dealing with people out in the world, you can go to your garrison and just chill.

WoWScrnShot_030115_121811

And so, once again, I’ve let Blizzard sucker me into something.  My mind says “No, Pike, this is just Farmville,” but my heart… my heart sais “No, Pike.  This is home.”

In Which Pike Returns to Make One Post and Then Disappear Again

I feel that it has become a hallowed, if somewhat pathetic, Aspect of the Hare tradition that for every new expansion Pike resubs for a month or two and then unsubs until the next expansion.  This time around I’m a little behind because I don’t technically own Warlords of Draenor yet.  I do, however, currently have one month of subscription time thanks to a generous gift from a Twitter friend.

Logging in for the first time in several years was initially very disorienting, perhaps like returning to a building or town where you once spent a lot of time but then moved away from.  I kept my sessions short and to the point until I managed to acclimate to the new game after a few days.  And now I’m plinking around and doing Loremaster achievements and running old raids because there’s little else to do without the expac.

I will, in time, get the expac.  I will, in time, level up to 100 and I’m sure I will enjoy the journey.  And yet, somehow, I highly doubt that I will stay after that.

I can already hear you asking how I may know this.

I guess you could call it a hunch.

In many ways, I feel like I identify a lot with Scotty in the Star Trek TNG episode “Relics”.  In this episode Scott, the brilliant engineer from the Original Series, is revived in TNG’s future after being in stasis for 75 years.  He is eager to jump back into things and put his engineering prowess back to good use, but it turns out that too much has changed and that the skills he was once such a master at were now no longer needed.

He retreats to a recreation of the original Enterprise – “No bloody A, B, C, or D.” – in the holodeck, where he tells Captain Picard “There comes a time when a man finds he can’t fall in love again. He knows it’s time to stop. I don’t belong on your ship. I belong on this one. This was my home. This was where I had a purpose…”

Hunters have changed drastically and it no longer feels like the class I once knew and loved.  Any sense of rotation timing or finesse is simply no longer there for me.  It all feels like frantic button-spamming – just spamming Arcane Shot and then waiting for the next glowy yellow light to pop up and tell me what to press next.  It’s difficult for me to find that “zen” that I once had while playing the class.  And after many attempts and false starts through the years, I don’t think I can find it again.

I’m not here to put on nostalgia goggles or knock WoW, because Blizzard has in fact made a lot of good quality of life changes throughout the game.  Pet battles are fun.  Battletag was a good idea.  Putting toys into a toy box was a great idea.  Letting hunters have a ton of pet slots now is a blast.

But as Scotty said, “When I was here, I could tell ya the speed that we were travelin’ by the feel of the deck plates.” And I can no longer do that.  And I think Blizzard took a way a lot of the class mechanics that allowed me to do just that.

I could, of course, roll up a new class and start fresh.  See if I could fall in love with something brand new.  I’ve thought about it, and decided not to do it for a few reasons.  Firstly, I’ve been a hunter for so long that the thought of playing something else just feels weird.  Secondly, do I really want to fall in love again, and risk everything changing again the next time an expansion is released?

No – Scotty was right.  There comes a time when a Pike finds she can’t fall in love again.

And so, this will probably be my only blog post here for another two years or until Blizzard makes a new expansion.  Tawyn, Tux, Lunapike, Althalor, Tamaryn and all the others will get into a shuttlecraft and fly out into the great unknown.  Maybe someday they’ll be back in full battle regalia – but probably not.

To everyone who still enjoys the game and the class – I am genuinely happy for you, and I hope you continue to enjoy it.

To Blizzard – make it so gnomes can be hunters already.  Also, please offer legacy servers.

To the four or five people who still have me on their blog reader for some reason – I’m basically always on Twitter or Steam if you want to chat.

Live long and prosper!

Rep Grinds Aren’t the End of the World

Rep grinds can be a pain, sure, I understand! But I don’t get that people are quitting over them.

Do you remember back in Burning Crusade when you had to be Revered with a faction just to run that faction’s heroic? Yeah. Later they changed it to Honored, but still!

Remember Scryers/Aldors/Isle of Quel’Danas? That Isle of Quel’Danas got you all sorts of fancy purples. Scryers/Aldors was where you got certain inscriptions– shoulders if my memory serves me right. Other factions gave out other inscriptions based on rep.

Remember Sons of Hodir in Wrath? Man, those guys were a pain in the butt too.

Now here we are in MoP. You can get all of those inscriptions off of the Auction House– no rep needed. Instead we have a bunch of dailies/rep for gear. Now, there are two things that I think Blizzard could have done better here. First of all, there should be more turn-ins for rep. Think Sunfury Signets/whatever those Hodir things were called. I know Klaxxi has got something but those have a horrific drop rate.

Secondly I don’t think there should be a weekly cap on badges. I no longer play WoW for challenge (more on this later), but there are people who do, and they should be allowed to get as many badges as they want.

Other than those two gripes, I don’t have a problem with the current system. There are a ton of daily hubs, yes, but the alternative was that Blizz introduced one new daily hub each patch or something and then people would be crying about not having enough content at one time. It took me like a week and a half or something to get to Revered with Golden Lotus. That’s not bad. Personally I think that’s a perfectly reasonable rate of reputation gain.

So whilst I feel that the current system could use some improvements, I still don’t think it’s the end of the world as millions of posts on the official forums seem to be saying on a daily (LOL GET IT??) basis.

Cute cat picture to break up the wall of text. Move along.

Now I’m going to go back to the idea of challenge in WoW because it might make me biased on this whole dailies/rep grind situation, so I want to clear it up right now and admit that I’m coming at this from a different angle than everyone else is. I approach WoW as an inherently casual game. Yep. And no, that’s not an insult. It’s just the way I view things. If I want a really tough challenging video game I go play X-Com or Master of Orion 2 or something. Now that crap is unforgiving. That stuff will make you feel godly for making any sort of minor progress.

WoW is where I go to relax. It’s where I go to make cute blood elf boys look fancy with transmog and where I go to do farming and Tillers stuff and archeology. I am in no rush. I feel proud when I do a good job in an instance or solo some particularly tricky old raid boss or something but ultimately the game is a very forgiving one overall.

So because I am approaching the game from this standpoint, I am possibly biased when it comes to this sort of thing. Maybe I don’t understand raiders anymore. Maybe I don’t understand what it means to be “hardcore” in WoW anymore because I straight up quit raiding in WotLK. Maybe I’m not seeing it the way everyone else is seeing it. Who knows!

As far as I’m concerned, though, MoP is probably WoW’s best expac so far and, whilst dailies are a pain because they have always been a pain, I don’t think that MoP’s dailies are a particularly special case here. The expac is gonna be out for two years; spending a couple of weeks rep grinding just doesn’t bug me.

Okay! Time to go check on my farm! Stay chilly, free willies.

Why All the Talk of Brutally Hard Heroics is Bittersweet for Me

So if Twitter is any indication, 90% of the WoW-playing world is happy about the return of CC and “hard heroics” that went the way of the Dodo in Wrath of the Lich King.

But I gotta admit, I’m not entirely with you hallelujah-singers.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I loved the heck out of Burning Crusade heroics. I loved chain trapping. I loved long, careful pulls with the raid icons on everything. I loved heroics that took like an hour to do. I loved when asking people to get on Vent for heroics was considered a reasonable request. I loved having to claw your way up the ladder of normal instances and then having to get keyed for Heroics and then failing on mini-bosses in said heroics. I loved going nuts over blues. Oh gosh, I loved it all. I look back on it fondly.

But see, here’s the thing. My life has changed. A lot. And I don’t have time for that anymore.

I am sure you all know about the IRL problems that have been plaguing me lately, so I won’t recount them any more here. It’s why I quit raiding; I don’t have the time or dedication to be able to put a lot of energy into that sort of thing anymore. Doesn’t mean I don’t like raiding. I love raiding. Just means it’s pretty low on the priority totem pole at the moment.

Same deal goes for heroics. If it takes longer to do heroics– if heroics are like mini-raids– then they are no longer something I can do if I have a spare twenty minutes. You know?

Wrath of the Lich King was nice for me because it happened to “turn casual” right when I needed it to. Unfortunately, I’m not ready for it to go back on that difficulty upswing again.

I’m not crying or asking for the game to change to fit my needs; that would be silly. A lot of people have been asking for a return to BC-esque Heroics for a long time, and I know where you guys are coming from. I hope you guys enjoy it all. I hope all the WotLK-babies out there get to see a nice glimpse of one of the things I loved so much about Burning Crusade.

But me, well, I’ll be playing low-level alts. I haven’t even stepped foot in the new level 80+ zones yet. Why rush to something I may not really be able to properly participate in?

I am in the opposite of a hurry. I’ll wait until I have time again.

Hey, hey guys, question.

Am I the only person who has never, ever been bothered by the roaring log-in screen dragon? I mean really. It’s not that loud. (At least it’s not on my computer.) And it’s kind of cool.

…I mean, I know I’m also the weirdo that is too lazy to turn on Instant Quest Text, and who had the profanity filter on for like three years because… well, for the same reason. The lazy thing. (Besides, when I talk, it’s usually like Napoleon Dynamite. Gosh. And when other people talk you can figure out what they’re actually saying through context, it’s not that difficult.)

Heck, let’s make a list.

TOP THREE THINGS IN WOW THAT ANNOY EVERYONE ELSE BUT DON’T ANNOY ME:

1.) Log-in Screen Dragon

2.) Slow Quest Text
3.) Profanity Filter

…and for good measure, let’s toss in

TOP THREE THINGS IN WOW THAT ANNOY ME BUT PROBABLY NOT ANYONE ELSE:

1.) Not having at least one point in Improved Mend Pet because having debuffs on my pet make me go ASDGIHWEIOATJSKGH *panicflail*
2.) Tiger mounts, because they still remind me of Lisa Frank stickers and three-ring binders.
3.) Logging out with unused healthstones. I just feel bad because the warlock went through all that trouble to make healthstones and then you just forget about it. Seriously, I NEVER REMEMBER to use the stupid healthstone. Sometimes, before logging out, I’ll go hurl myself off of a cliff somewhere so I can take damage just so I can use the healthstone. Hey, I never said I made sense.