Thursday, 8 December 2011

Collected musings

I'm enjoying patch 4.3. It's great (and sadly slightly surprising) to enjoy the new instances. While they're still new - and people still have use for the drops - they're both interesting and challenging.

Wipes do happen, and while there is some whinging people mostly accept it and carry on. This will all change once people are overgeared and just running them for the badges.

It occurs to me that when that happens I can just stop, and PvP for JPs - even though the exchange rate is a bit painful. I'd rather be playing against real people than just going through the motions with a group of people who'd rather not be there. I do though first need to get the caster shield and mail shoulders drops - they're my lowest iLevel pieces, and only upgradable there or in raids (or the troll heroics) :(

Grulnak still doesn't "feel right" in some instances, like Shadowfang. Shank on the other hand fits right in. In my (possibly odd) mind, it's OK for an orc to be in a dwarf / orc dungeon (like Blackrock) or an "open air" one, but human instances like Shadowfang or Karazhan needs an undead.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Syl is totally right

Syl over at Raging Monkeys is totally right about MMORPG being a misnomer. I think the "massively" is more of a nuanced point, but the RPG bit definitely doesn't hold true. More's the pity.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Patch 4.3 goals

With the patch out my goals are:
  • Learn the new instances while they're still new
  • Take advantage of void storage and transmogrification and -
    • Complete my tier 1 set (I only saw it drop while on my priest in classic)
    • Complete an 'orc thug' set (big spiky shoulders and not much else, like the original loading screen orc)
    • Complete a Go'el-type shaman set
  • Level Grulgok some more (he's currently 82) while the 7th anniversary bonus is still in effect
Grulnak 4 - 1 Grulgok

Friday, 25 November 2011

A question of character

WoW generally operates on a Dungeons and Dragons level of depth and characterisation: we go into dungeons, kill creatures and take their stuff.

Our motivations are some mixture of curiosity, greed and desire for greater power. And perhaps if Alliance-side some view that we're the heroes and they're the bad guys. But from the Horde side that last one doesn't work for me - we'll smash you if you get in our way or threaten us, but otherwise we'll live and let live.

This has been bothering me for a while now, especially as I can't help seeing Grulnak as a bit of a hippy, into balance with the spirit world, ancestor veneration and the like. So I've been faced with a choice of some severe retcon on his character or finding a character who fits my in-game goals - raiding, gearing up for this and exploring raids I missed in classic WoW.

So I've been reviewing my alts - Grazznak the warlock; Eadwyn the Forsaken death knight (and hence faintly magical warrior); and Grulgok. The first two have excellent soloing prospects but, being both in their 60s, seem unlikely to ever get to 85. Logging into Grulgok, reviewing his gear accumulated in Wrath, and fitting him with a pair of two-handed axes gave me a real buzz. I can see him, with alchemy and enchanting to make up for his weaknesses in a magical world, and a cunning and ambitious nature sending him into dungeons for loot to enhance his power and standing.

But I die a little inside every time he has to run any great distance without ghost wolf, cross a significant body of water or wait for a heathstone on cooldown.

So, whether to make Grulgok my main, or to find a way to progress Grulnak without dungeon grinding?

Friday, 14 October 2011

Tanking at max level no longer fun

Since well geared max level characters have been able to get useful gear out of dungeons (i.e. from badge gear), tanking them has stopped being fun. The simple reason being impatience - at least some of the group just want to kill the boss asap and get out.

As a healer as long as I have enough mana I'm ready for the pull.

As a tank the process is more like -
  • Assess the kill order and mark
  • Chose a good time (i.e. are the mobs moving, is there a patrol nearby?)
  • Pull
  • Get to melee range
  • Get off an AoE move

Half way through step 1 a modern PUG is bored. If someone's not started dps before step 4 has started it's a miracle. And of course any deaths are the tank's fault.

Before max level the impatience isn't there. And in the original game well geared max level characters didn't go into dungeons, except perhaps to help a friend.

But this has now changed, and the fun has gone with it.

Friday, 17 June 2011

Too much metagaming

It occurred to me today that one of the reasons that WoW has lost its shine for me is my approach to the game - I'm metagaming, not roleplaying.

Shank is a third of the way through level 84, and fairly decently geared in mostly blues from instance drops. I'm aiming, not surprisingly, to get as geared as possible as quickly as possible, to speed my entry into heroics. So resources like Kadomi's shopping list and Vexryn's gear list are being consulted to fill the gaps. With the odd exception, such as avoiding the Schnottz quests (just too Nazi / pop-culture, sorry) and hence missing out on a shoulder upgrade, my next actions are governed by a researched optimal path rather than roleplaying considerations or just exploring the world. And so I've done a complete about-face from when I first set off into this game over 6 years ago. It also serves to highlight to me just how far behind current progression I am.

However, I think it's an inevitable part of playing a MMOG (and yes, I've deliberately dropped the 'RP' part). Ever since I first stepped in to Zul'Gurub at level 60, and found myself woefully ill equipped to tank my first raid, and later learned what raid preparation was really all about with Grulnak, the metagaming part of WoW has been on the ascendant for me. And in a MMOG I think this is correct - unless you're in a role playing guild on a roleplaying server you're otherwise letting your group down.

So my conclusion is to (1) accept how things are and not let it bother me so much and (2) find another outlet for my inner RPG nerd.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Back from hiatus

Having geared Grulnak up to heroic healer levels with some serious instance grinding shortly after he dinged 85, I then went on hiatus. I've felt for a while that orc shamans are just out of place in instances and raids (although not battlegrounds) - "I want to gear up so I can see the content" just isn't an RP reason for instancing!

So I've been pondering just what character I would feel comfortable raiding with, and played some Eve Online.

Eve I liked, and probably would still be playing if not for what was for me a deal-breaker: the lack of collision detection. Fair enough, it's a standard MMORPG thing, but in Eve just feels wrong. The two most significant example are (1) how, when in warp, you can fly right through planets / moons and (2) similarly if you're fighting near a structure in space you'll often fly right through it in pursuit of your target. It's a silly thing to put one off a game, but that's personal preference for you.

So back to WoW and some decisions - for race it has to be Orc or Forsaken, for role it has to be tank or healer. For raiding motivation the only Orcs I can see fitting the bill are warlocks / mages, as in a quest for knowledge / power. I've tried playing Grulgok before with mercenary as the justification, and it just felt wrong. So that brought me to the Forsaken and after first levelling Bekket to 80 and then changing my mind I've now decided to make Shank my PvE main. Time permitting Grulnak will still see a look in as an explorer and battleground PvPer.

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Grul - 85

Ding, 85, finally. Now the gear-up begins in earnest.