Tag Archives: thoughts

Super Serious Search Studies: “TBC or Wrath”

Recently someone got to my blog via the search term “TBC or Wrath.”  As it turns out, these are the two expansions I played the most, and they are also perennial fan favorites.  The really interesting thing about these two expansions is that they kind of straddle a paradigm shift in the game.  Let me explain:

Login_screen_The_Burning_CrusadeAlthough at the time Burning Crusade was seen as a huge quality of life leap over vanilla World of Warcraft, looking back on it now, it was still very, well… vanilla.  Lest you forgot, here are some of the attributes of TBC:

  • A 1-60 leveling nerf did not happen until at least halfway through the life of the expansion.  To compare, it’s now fairly standard to get a nerf to experience rates through previous content with the release of a new expansion.
  • Mounts, mini pets, and so on were carried in your bag (or your bank).
  • Attunements.  Attuments everywhere.  At least at the beginning.
  • 60 minute long hearthstone cooldown.
  • You didn’t get your first mount until level 40 (a patch at the very end of TBC did reduce this down to 30.)
  • Not only was it normal that there were certain buffs only one class could provide… but there were certain buffs only one spec could provide.
  • There was no dungeon finder.  Finding a PuG dungeon meant sitting in the LFG channel for a long time.
  • There was of course no LFR and no real gear catchup mechanic aside from a little bit of badge gear so people were running the expansion’s first raid– Karazhan– until the night before WotLK’s release.  Literally.

And so on.  This was the most player-friendly MMO for its time, for sure, but it was still very much a retro, old-school type of experience.

Now then, we make the jump to WotLK.

Login_screen_Wrath_of_the_Lich_KingAs I said earlier, Wrath was very much a sort of paradigm shift for WoW.  The QoL improvements were just immense.  Off the top of my head, we got:

  • Shorter hearthstone cooldown
  • Mounts at level 20 and 40 (partway through the expac)
  • Dungeon Finder (about halfway through the expac)
  • Mounts and pets as spells rather than items (the bagspace, you guys!)
  • Buffs provided by more than one spec
  • Easier gear catchup for alts via a solid badge system that gave us new stuff every patch
  • Few to no attunements

And so forth.  This was definitely an expansion that established a new zeitgeist for WoW: one that was less focused on hardcore raiding and endgame (although raiding was still huge throughout Wrath) and was more focused on a streamlined experience.

So: TBC or Wrath?

That depends on what side of the MMO coin you preferred.

To use a silly analogy, TBC was to Vanilla what Pokemon LeafGreen/FireRed were to the original Pokemon games.  So if you prefer your MMOs more… unrefined, then TBC was probably the high point.

Wrath is a lot more like the newer expansions.  It was streamlined.  Why is it more popular, then, than basically all of the newer and even more streamlined expansions? For me, it was the atmosphere, the raids (which were very good, almost without exception,) and in the huge playerbase.  WoW was everywhere back in 2009, being played by basically everyone, and it was a fertile ground for fan creations and dumb pop culture references alike.  It was easy to love the game, because everyone loved it.

(I like this video because I recognize like all the gear in it)

So there you go.  That’s my absurdly long, 600-word essay about Wrath and TBC.

And no I’m not gonna choose.

Okay, fine, I’ll choose TBC.  Because of blood elves.

How My Approach to My WoW Sub Has Changed Over the Years

I remember, many years ago, thinking that if I quit WoW it would be a big deal.  It would be hanging up the hat.  It would be turning around and leaving without looking back. I figured that when I quit, it would be like Forrest Gump.  One day I’d think “I’ve played for three years, two months, fourteen days and sixteen hours” and then I’d stop, turn to my blog readers, and say “I’m pretty tired of playing.  I think I’ll do something else now.”  And that would be it.

forest-gump1To an extent, that’s kind of what happened.  One day back in late Wrath I woke up, realized I was kind of tired of running along the raid treadmill, and I hung up my hat.

What I didn’t anticipate, however, is that I would be back running again.  But this time, only bits at a time.

When I first quit WoW, I had been continuously subbed for about, oh, two and a half years, I think.  Since then I have occasionally returned to WoW, but it’s never been with a subscription.  For a while it was with game cards, because that way I could play for a few months and then quit for a year (or two).  Now that WoW Tokens are a thing, I’m using those instead.  My days of a long-lasting subscription are, I think, over.  As are my days of focusing on one game for years on end.  Instead, I play WoW here and there, sometimes for a few months, but rarely exclusively, and usually with frequent breaks.  According to Blizzard, most people play that way now, which is supposedly one of the reasons for the great subscription number decline of ’15.

So now here I am, just paying month by month, and pretty happy about it.

AmtzGq9What about you guys?  Do you still go the subscription route?

Still Waiting For Account-Wide Tabards

Titles are account-wide.  Pets and mounts are account-wide.  Toys and heirlooms are account-wide.

But you know what I REALLY want to be account-wide?

Tabards.

Tabards.

Because as is I have two characters with Tabard of the Argent Dawn but my current main doesn’t have it.  Just my luck, right?  But yeah, I would LOVE to be reunited with it.  I’ve already been reunited with my Vampiric Batling and Spirit of Competition.  Tabards next?  Please Blizzard?

Has Anyone Ever Successfully Managed to Navigate the Exodar?

I mean, seriously.

EXODARPic related, it’s an actual map of the Exodar.

Okay, seriously, I have never, in the eight years it’s been since Burning Crusade, been able to navigate this thing.  Ever.  It used to be I’d have to hearthstone to get out.  Recently I ran in as a Horde character with for the Midsummer achivement and guess what, I had to hearth out.  After spending like ten minutes trying to find the stupid bonfire to begin with.

The Exodar and me just don’t get along.  We just don’t.  It’s probably because it knows that I’m actually a blood elf in real life and is doing this just to spite me.

Is it just me?  Please tell me it’s not just me.

Forget Demon Hunters, You Know What Class I Want to See?

Spellbreakers.

fanart-1243-fullSpellbreakers.  Do you guys see this?  You know what these guys do?  They’re warrior-mages and they interrupt and steal spells.  What if you could be, like… a mail-wearing melee mage who steals spells off of other people and then turns those spells against others?

That’s what I want to be.  That is 100% a class I would play.

Oh sure, I’ll probably make a Demon Hunter, the same way I made a Death Knight (that I stopped playing at level 58) and the same way I made a monk (that I stopped playing at level 7 or something).

But spellbreakers, guys.

Just… spellbreakers.

SpellbreakerWC3Oh and P.S. they also have the best quotes in Warcraft 3.  “Reincarnate.. man!  That’ll get you life!

I HAVE SOME CONCERNS, aka Screw It, I’ll Play My Mage

There are a lot of things about the impending expansion that I’m not really sold on.  I don’t want to say they’ve turned me off of the game, because obviously we’ve only been aware of this stuff for 24 hours.  There’s a lot that can change between now and, you know, whenever this actually releases in the future.

But, okay.  Like.  Artifact weapons.  They are tied to your spec.  If I want the really cool phoenix bow with the really cool elf lore, I have to be Marksmanship.  But Marksmanship is confirmed for not having a pet in the expansion (similarly, Survival is confirmed for being a melee spec) and that does not appeal to me in the slightest.

So… wat do?

CLEARLY the answer is to play my mage.  At least he’s gonna get Felo’melorn, which I plan on nerding out over in a different post very soon.

Besides, once you start porting everywhere, you can’t go back.

World of Warcraft: Legion AKA World of Warcraft: Pike Likes Pretty Elves

So the new expansion has been announced!  Turns out my Council of Glaves guess earlier was wrong, but hey, I kind of sort of called Demon Hunter, right?  Granted I was off on the specifics, but you know, details.

What am I hyped about?  Well I’ll tell you what I’m hyped about BIG HUNKY TOPLESS ELF MEN.  That’s what I’m talkin’ about.

I saved this picture as CAN WE TALK ABOUT THIS.jpg
I saved this picture as CAN WE TALK ABOUT THIS.jpg

I’m also hyped about some of these weapons we’re getting.  Felo’melorn for my Fire Mage?  Some super awesome looking phoenix bow for Althalor?  Yes.  Sign me up.  SIGN ME UP.

Also Alleria Windrunner?  Only the return of the best Windrunner sister?  I am here for this.

I’m not 100% sold on the overall aesthetic of the expansion yet.  I feel like we’ve been fighting the Burning Legion for approximately 1295862345 years, and I’m not really into this dusky magical night elf stuff (give me more of my lovely blood elves every day).  But hey, I’m sure we’ll be getting more details in the future.  For now I’m sort of cautiously hyped more than super hyped.  Thanks to WoW Token I feel like I can sort of fund my sub indefinitely so hey, might as well play a new expansion, right?

What are you guys thinkin’?

Do You Min/Max Your Fantasy Races?

Discussion of racials and their effect on PvP is all the rage right now if MMO-Champion is any indication.  This brings me to my topic of the day: when you roll up your fantastical fictional race (or normal human, if you swing that way), do you take things like racials into consideration?

Because I don’t.  Not in the slightest.

In World of Warcraft, I tend to be drawn to races that I like for various personal reasons.  My love for gnomes and goblins comes from my love of technology, robots, and SCIENCE! in general.  My love for the tauren is because Mulgore reminds me of where I live, and the way they exist in harmony with their homeland is very appealing to me.  And blood elves, well… let’s face it, they’ve got the best lore in the entire Warcraft universe.  I’ve felt that way basically since Kael’thas become a major player in WC III: The Frozen Throne.

Oh, also, blood elves are pretty.

The prettiest, in fact.

Especially the guys.

CLbcPDNVEAASL9v.jpg largeSo yeah.  Orc hunters may min/max out at a slightly higher DPS but if there’s no /flourish then there’s no deal, to be honest!

What about you guys?

What If… There Was A New Class That Was “Almost” Hunters?

We’re getting a new expansion announcement in a week and, of course, the rumors are flying.  One rumor that I’ve seen in more than one place is the idea of a new class that uses ranged weapons but is not a hunter.  Demon hunter?  Ranger?  Scout?  Who knows?

Let’s talk about this idea, though.  A non-hunter hunter.  What would that be like?  I imagine they probably wouldn’t have pets, and I feel like a new ranged weapon class would focus more on magic than on physical damage to further differentiate themselves.  Maybe a sort of… gun-wielding spell slinger.  That sounds pretty cool, right?

Even more interesting would be if this class came with a tank or healing spec (or both).  Blizzard has not introduced a pure DPS class since Vanilla and I honestly I don’t see them introducing another one since DPS queue times for things like LFR are currently through the roof.  Healing with a gun?  Tanking with a gun?

spock_fascinatingHow do YOU GUYS think something like this would play out?

P.S. Kind of unrelated but I wrote a Warcraft fanfic and then tossed it on AO3.  If you want to read about elves doing elf things, check it out.

Apparently Blizzard Trademarked a New Thing. Let’s Take a Look.

DISCLAIMER: This could all be fake.  But it looks real to me so for now let’s roll with it.  I can’t think of anything else to write about today anyway.

So yeah, apparently Blizzard trademarked a new thing.  It’s called “Council of Glades” and it’s being trademarked as computer game software, i.e. not a book.

The million dollar question relevant to WoW players is, of course, is it Warcraft related?  My money is on yes, and here’s why:

  • The Council of Tirisfal is a thing in lore.  Tirisfal Glades is a thing in game.  Thus, Council of Glades.
  • StarCraft 2 is already getting its (final, I think) expansion.
  • It doesn’t really sound Diablo related to me.  Councils exist, but I’m not so sure about glades.   But who knows, I guess?

This brings us to four possibilities: A WoW expansion, a Hearthstone expansion, something involving HotS, or something entirely new.  Hearthstone just got a new thing and I don’t really see Blizzard doing anything completely new with the Warcraft universe, since Hearthstone is still pretty young.  It might be HotS, but that’s not nearly as exciting as wild speculation.  (Although I would sell a kidney for a Medivh hero.)

So, let’s see here:

  • Medivh was (is?) in the Council of Tirisfal
  • Medivh is connected to Khadgar
  • We were just reintroduced to Khadgar
  • It’s about time for a WoW expac announcement
  • “Council of Glades”

…….

20110218040846KHADGAR/MEDIVH THEMED EXPANSION WITH KARAZHAN INVOLVED.

MAKE IT HAPPEN, BLIZZARD!