Saturday, 22 November 2008

A tale of two rogues

I played a couple of sessions on my rogue Grulnika recently which turned out very differently.

The first was for a bit of a breather after playing Grulgok my warrior, which proved to be a mistake. I was being fairly blase about attacking mobs, relying on my superior damage to take them down, and tackling some quest mobs which were orange to me. As a result I needed to use escape moves such as Sprint and Vanish much too often, and was still dying occasionally when these didn't rescue the situation. Then as I prepared to log out I realised that I hadn't even been using poison on my weapons.

The second session was far more rogue-like in objectives and playstyle. I did the quest to kill Captain Ironhill in Dun Garok using lots of stealth and distract to mainly only kill the mobs that were in my way, and tracked down the Captain in what I think is an alternative spawn point for him. Either that or I'm getting the various dwarf fortresses mixed up. Anyway it was a far more satisfying experience and felt far more right for the character.

At the end of this though I'm still left with an underlying problem in that I don't really have a feel for rogue combat and just don't enjoy it. So while I'd love to have Grulnika able to open any lock in the game, or sneak around Ironforge, a normal instance run will never be fun with her.

Friday, 14 November 2008

Expansion? Not yet...

My pre-order didn't arrive in time, so no Northrend for me.

Instead I spent yesterday evening getting the last quarter of a level on my warrior and then doing a bit of fishing on my shaman while listening enviously to my guild's discussions of the new zones.

On the plus side the launch, or at least the servers, seem more stable that with the Burning Crusade. No midnight crash this time!

On the fishing front, it was painfully slow getting from 325 to 327 skill. I'm not sure whether I'll bother with this profession in the expansion. However, it was good to be able to fish up the Lurker, or to sit and fish while waiting for a Kara or SSC raid to form up.

The pause while waiting for the expansion has given me time to consider which characters to level. My current plan is to level my shaman first, then get my rogue to 60 using Refer a Friend, then my warrior to 80 while occasionally spending some time on my Alliance druid.

My shaman will be my main raid character, so I want to get him levelled and geared before my guild get too many first kills without him.

While it may make more sense to have my level 60 hunter as my dps character, and they are better as a soloing character because of the pet and the ability to kite, I think that a rogue will be more fun in that she can sneak around. I also quite fancy getting some rep with Ravenholdt - that whole side-plot has always appealled to me dispite the way that Blizzard has kind of left the story hanging with no real point to it. Ideally I'll get her levelled before the 90 day link on the Refer a Friend account expires.

I'm still not sure about the druid, although that's my most likely Alliance character at the moment. I don't like feral dps, so levelling a class that I don't like a quarter of is inherently questionable. However as long as balance continues to seem viable as a levelling spec then he has a good chance - and in two levels he gets Innervate. I like his overall look, and the various coolness aspects of the class such as aquatic and flight form (one day!), and sneaking around as a cat. And support classes just suit my play style. If male humans looked a bit less, well, odd, then human paladin might well be my main, and druids are a good second choice.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

WoW dead end and the Gnomeregan Problem

My levelling experience on a PvP server was undoubtedly made less painful by the fact that Azeroth is empty at the moment, and hence ganking was rare. This was fine for me as an experienced player, but I'd really hate to start WoW for the first time at this stage.

As players inevitably get bored and leave the game, if there's a barrier to entry to new players then that ultimately spells a problem for the game. New players will still get hooked on the easily and polished introductory experience, but probably at about level 20 they'll realise that most of the game is at the end game which is 60 (and presumably later 70 and 80) levels away. Some will be happy to level slowly and enjoy the journey, but not all.

I'm wondering how Blizzard is planning to tackle this - will all characters soon start at level 55, with an introductory process to teach them how to play their class? Or does WoW just have a built-in expiry date?

There's also the Gnomeregan Problem, in that for years the vast majority of players have been able to reclaim the gnome's homeland solo, but they're still exiled, and even more so for the Darkspear trolls. More bothering to me is that Ragneros - a god - is now a pushover at 70, and presumably will be trivial at 80. Although there are upsides to this - our guild ran Blackwing Lair after the 3.0.2 nerf and so I got to see a zone I'd wanted to see for a long time - it also damages the feel of the game. It's traditional in computer games for the player to overcome challenges that should be impossible, but you just can't see LotRO ever letting the player slay a major figure in this way.