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Monthly Archives: April 2012

How about “growing weapons” in WOW?

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I think I mentioned before that I do try to keep track with some ideas from other games. For example, just for old times sake, I recently revisited UO (might write more about that later on), and LOTRO.

There are two things that I really love in LOTRO which might be nice for WOW as well…or at least I think they might, that’s why I wanted to write about them.

1. Named weapons

When you craft a weapon in Lotro, at some point, you can start giving them names. You get the option to do that when your crafting “crits” and you get a purple-level wep. So you eg. make some bows, and suddenly, it crits, and you get a purple level bow with a special ability and higher damage.

You then are asked to give it a name. Sounds like nothing special, right?

Well, I dont think it’s only from a lore-standpoint that I find that cool… imagine you craft a weapon (they already have a name on it), and then you create one that is extra-special. You name it, and then sell it. Weeks later, you run into a guy in your PUG who wears the very same weapon you have made.

Sure, in WOW, crafted items can have names on them too, but I love the idea of naming a wep, I think it adds a tiny bit of character to it… you feel more… connected to it.

Sure, there are risks to it… people getting bored of the option, simply naming them “A”, “B” etc. Or, even worse, l33t names such as “n00bslayer”, “skrillmace”, “usuck” whatever.

Still, I like the idea of being able to assign a name to the weps you made, not only from a crafter’s standpoint…

2. Growing weapons

LOTRO introduced the principle of “legendary weapons” with Mines Of Moria, I believe. The basic idea? At some point, you loot a certain weapon, and the weapon then “grows”… for each kill you make, it gets a certain amount of XP, and it gets stronger…thats the idea in a nutshell.
Now imagine that for a sec… a weapon that levels with you!
Would it be boring to wield the same weapon for, say, a whole expansion (at some point, it would make sense to replace the wep, like for example when a new expansion hits and you get the good ol’ “replace heroic gear with quest greens from the new zones” cycle)?

I don’t know, because considering the success of transmogging, I think people wouldn’t mind wielding the same kind of gear, as long as the stats keep getting stronger… you have people who transmog each new sword with their favorite model (same for other weps and armour). So I don’t know whether people would be bored really, as they already use transmogs a lot.

Also, how about the looks would change, like they did on the legendary weps you can get in WOW… Tarecgosa comes to mind. It changed from a rather small staff to a huge one, looking more and more powerful.
Now imagine that, at lvl 60, you get your legendary, and it levels with you, and every 5 levels or so, it becomes bigger, or gets a new light-effect, a different skin, a bigger hilt or blade, whatever…

I know one reason that would speak against this: The raiding-incentive. Why would people keep running heroics or raids if they already have their weapon?

Now, hear me out… what would be if, in order to get your wep to grow from a certain point, you have to kill certain bosses… a little bit like in the old days, with the weapon quests for Quel Serrar, where you had to fight Onyxia in order to complete the sword.

I don’t see a difference between running a raid every week, hoping for a lucky drop and lucky roll, and fighting raid bosses in order to get xp for their sword, to make it stronger.

For people who do not raid, how about the sword gets XP in PVP or heroics, but at a much slower pace. Or differently, so it might get, say, more secondary stats and stuff, while, from killing a certain amount of raid bosses, it can get more primary stat, more DPS, or extra gem slots…or even a cool enchant (“Blood Of The random raid boss”- the sword now has a chance to apply a poison to whatever you fight).

There is a LOT to think about… I think it COULD be balanced, and I think it could be something useable for both hardcore raiders AND casual players.
I love the idea of finally finding the basic version of your weapon, and then making it develop, using it all the time for it to gain stats, become stronger, more imposing, whatever… what do you think?

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Posted by on April 24, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

A quick rant

…its totally not surprising that the media is all over Breivik being a former WOW-player, and I am sure it will be repeated again and again. It’s what usually happens in cases like this, as it’s always fun for the media to take potshots at easy targets or politicians to claim that heavy metal and “violent games” were the reason why someone ran amok.

As usual, ignoring the number of people who do play games like that or listen to that music, ignoring the fact that, unless I missed an important technological advance, no song and no game can turn you into a killer.

Also, considering how much time and effort he put into the preparations for his horrible deeds, it’s kinda sad to point at him also playing a game that 10 million other people play, and considering his statements about his motivations, the shrewd “philosophy” he has developed, it IMHO is even dangerous to just blame whatever he played as the reason.

I remember the whole controversy about song lyrics and hidden messages in music back in the 80s. Frank Zappa, back then, said (and I am paraphrasing) “There is no word that will make you go to hell. There has to be a tendency inside of you, and when that tendency is triggered into action, it can be ANYTHIGN that triggers it. maybe it’s a song, maybe it’s the red tie the guy next to you on the bus was wearing”.

There will be finger-pointing again, there will be media reports about how games, heavy metal music or certain movies turns everyone into a killer, and I am afraid a lot of people will ignore what actually happened there, a guy developing an incredible amount of hate and a totally shrewd view of the world, planning (for years) a horrible killing-spree, being totally convinced he was some kind of knight fighting for his race or religion or whatever.

And to blame that and the horrible things he did on whatever game he played or music he listened to totally distracts from what is going on here, and I don’t think it will help ONE BIT to prevent something like this in the future either, even though I am pretty sure some media-guy or politician will try to appear like a saviour, again asking for bans of certain types of media as if it would ever prevent an incredibly sad day like the one last July…

Watch what happens, it happens every single time, no matter what, and it’s sad, because its so predictable and the important point, how to keep things like this from happening, is again simplified to the point of “Well, why don’t we just ban the game he played or whatever book he read, then we are safe, right?” Yeah, right.

 
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Posted by on April 19, 2012 in Rants, Uncategorized

 

Mushrooms

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It seems to me that quite a lot of people are a bit unhappy about resto-druids getting “healing mushrooms” in MoP…basically, a healing version of the balance-AOE-mushrooms

Let me point out a few things:

1- Yes, they can be a bit “clunky” regarding positioning. Then again, I doubt they will be the centrepoint of our healing in the expansion, they will be more of a possible tool. Situational, yes, but: Imagine you place them before a boss-fight, and trigger them when the raid moves to their position (think, say, DS bosses). Even if you’re OOM, you can still trigger them. Situational? Sure. Still, it’s a new tool, which has its uses, and sure is more interesting then, say, yet another “normal” HoT or cast-time-heal

2. Think of balance druids. Yes, if they want to maximize their DPS, they will have to use the mushrooms even if they dislike the spec. Then again, the mushrooms are not a constant part of their rotation. I have seen balance druids place them on the Ultraxion-fight, before it started, and use them for a nice burst at the start. However, those druids didnt have to constantly recast them, and still did great DPS. I dont think the intention behind the shrooms is to give you aan ability that needs setup time to weave into your rotation, its something that is a tool which might be great in some situations.
An example? I HATE the water-boss in JT, because I think it’s annoying, a very uncreative boss-fight (if he would use his lawnsprinkling-thing in between, ok, but phase 2 being nothing but a boss spinning in a circle with that beam? Yawn)

Now, imagine you place the mushrooms close to him, at ANY point. The group has to run around the boss, while DPSing and while avoiding the beam (unless you wanna outheal the beam while the group stands with their backs to the wall… which will prolly be impossible in heroic difficulty, so why not do it “right” in normal, too?).
If the group is getting low in health, simply trigger the shrooms while the group is between them.Bam, free insta-AOE-heal.

The point is: its a TOOL, not your new main-spell that you use at all times. We still have all the old abilities, plus other new additions.

3. I do believe that, unless you are doing heroic raids, you should be able to heal without the shrooms. Moonkins use their shrooms to maximize DPS, but you see many of them do great DPS without using them at all, or maybe only sometimes, at the beginning of the boss fight. So I believe that, if you totally hate the idea behind them, oyu can prolly ust ignore them and still keep the group up unless you are in situatuins where you need to squeeze every bit of healz out of your char.

4. The mechanics have changed, I mentioned this before. Right now, I have the placement-tool of the shrooms macroed to be activated by one button of my naga in combination with a modifier. One button, click three spots to place them…done. Theyre ready to be triggered with another button. With some practice, you can do this while running, warriors do a similar thing with heroic leap a lot (aiming the targeting field while running).
Imagine a fight like Hagara…while running from the ice walls, you place the shrooms ahead of you and trigger it when the group arrives there. Or place it under Hagara and trigger it when the group gets back to her, or whenever.

5. Keep an open mind! This is not the be all end all, this is not the focus of our spec! Its a situational spell, a tool. You don’t need to use each and every tool in your spec to perform well. There are moonkins tht do killer dps without the shrooms in action constantly. There are warriors who do awesome DPS without ever using heroic leap. There are shaman who are not specced for Spirit Link totem and still keep their group up, or some that are not specced for Telluric Current and still make it through long fights.

Don’t scream bloody murder because you are given a situational tool which, in some cases might absolutely shine, but will not be mandatory to use. Chill =)

I am not the biggest fan of the spell, but I have used it in Cata on my moonkin, and have tried it a bit in the beta, practicing using a macro, placing them while I run etc. Also, healing while not using them at all, and it worked. But I can imagine that it can even be fun to use them in some cases, and I dont think that, with new abilities like Force Of Nature (heal version), Cenarion Ward and Ironbark, you should say “druid healing will suck” just because you now get a situational spell moonkins are using.

 
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Posted by on April 19, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

A quick test of some new shaman talents

I decided to test two of the new shaman abilities while questing, in this case Ancestral Guidance and Astral Shift. Check out the video. These are nice CDs that can help the healer in your group a little bit for sure.

While Astral Shift is a classic “lower inc damage on yourself for a few secs” talent, Ancestral Guidance is right down the “heal while doing dmg” alley that Blizz seems to head into more and more.

Sure, we had stuff like disc priests and their smites, or Vampiric Touch, for quite some time in game, but think about it…the monk is based on “healing by doing damage”, and so it does not surprise me that a talent like Ancestral Guidance comes up.

While active, it reminds me a bit of VT… small numbers, but lots of them. It’s only a very temporary effect, but imagine a raid boss-fight, popping this ability when you have lots of raid-buffs or even encounter-buffs like the one during the Madness of DW-fight… for a short time, this ability can actually contribute some very useful extra-heals.

I have to play around more with the talents.. the shammy ones are interesting, but still, the druid ones seem to be the most exciting ones for me right now. We will see how things will change, this is, after all, still early beta.

 
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Posted by on April 13, 2012 in Classes, Healing, Mists Of Pandaria

 

Two beta-observations

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1. The language barrier

In every WOW-beta, you see the “language barrier”. People apparently are used to their own servers and the fact that those apparently are reserved for a certain country and language, so in the beta (remember, it’s one EU-server), people speak their native language, instead of trying to find and use a language that would guarantee most people understanding them (I guess English would be a good choice).

I didn’t take a screenshot, but I saw one conversation while questing, where someone asked (nicely, actually) whether it’d be possible if people could try to speak English in general chat, so everyone (or maybe, the majority of people) could understand.

What followed were a lot of rude comments (in German) by some of the German players (my mom was German, so I do understand the language), going on about how English wasnt the most used language, and that, if the guy wanted to understand them, he’d have to learn German, it was their problem.

One guy even went so far as to say “Yeah, its because we are still the evil Krauts”.

I think that that is not the problem. Yes, the EU-server has no language-rule or anything, of course. Yet, if you do ask questions in General Chat, you will probably get more answers if you ask in English, as I do believe that English is the language that is most commonly taught in schools all over Europe. I might be wrong there, but that’s what I think to be the truth.

It has NOTHING to do with ill feelings towards Germans or any other nationality… I just think that a) General chat is cluttered already, and if about half of the messages there are in a language one doesn’t speak, it becomes even more hard to follow anything and b) imagine yourself in a room where a lot of people talk, and some speak a language you don’t know… it is a strange feeling, and it might even make you feel uncomfortable.

I remember a few PUGs I was in where everyone spoke a scandinavian language. I ofc did not understand it, and at some point, from the few pieces I picked out (there are some words that can be understood if you do speak English or German), it was obvious they also were talking about me, which was not a nice feeling. Also, even if that hadn’t been the case, doing a 30 min instance with 4 people who talk in a foreign language doesn’t make you feel very… involved.

Please understand that this has nothing to do with being elitist or not liking certain countries or whatever. The reason why I think that some people ask people in General chat to try to speak English is simply to make it possible for everyone to understand what is being said… and those who ask questions will get something out of it as well, as there are more people who understand the question and can reply.

To immediately yell out “Ah, you just don’t like my country” is a rather exaggerated response, uncalled for, and not really helpful at all, and even though I do understand at least the German chat-contributions, I totally understand why some people ask to stick to English when the general chat is filled with many different languages.

So again, please don’t take this as an elitist “You HAVE to speak English” type post, I am just trying to maybe look at this from another perspective, and was a bit saddened to see the rude and disrespectful replies (which he ofc couldnt even understand) to the guy who asked…

I dunno, just some rambling, I guess

Observation #2

Healing without addons after using them for so long takes time to get used to. Call me a “newb”, and yes, I am aware that there are healers who heal without any addons at all, or can easily switch forth and back between healing with and without them, but after using Grid&Clique for so long, it’s weird for me to go back to switching with the F-keys, even though I of course can still use my Naga.

Right now, all addons are inactive on the beta (to make sure any problem encountered is caused by the game itself, not a combination of addons), so I hope that will change soon. Of course, once the expansion is out, people will use their favorite addons again, and so, to test healing changes better, I wish I could still use my addons. Again, call me a “n00b” if you want to, but I have been successfully healing heroics and raids for a long time now, and have gotten used to using addons. It’s not only the convenience they bring, it’s also that the whole “mechanic” of healing is different with mouseovers etc.

We will see! =)

 
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Posted by on April 13, 2012 in Misc stuff, Mists Of Pandaria, Rants

 

Gaming hardware

I figured I should mention some of the gaming hardware I use. Keep in mind I am not a hardcore raider, but since I DO raid, and also play a lot in general (if I do have the time), I have slowly but surely gotten into gaming hardware, starting with a Razer Diamondback that I bought in 2006, and have used for more than 4 years, before switching to the…

Naga

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This mouse has changed my gaming a lot, and the problem is that I have issues playing WITHOUT it by now. I started using it in early 2010, and haven’t looked back yet.
It takes a little while to get used to the keypad on the left side, but by now, I trigger all my spells using that, so my left hand (on the keyboard) is being used only for movement and modifiers (to access even more spells).
Whether it’s healing or DPS, being able to trigger 12 spells/abilities just with the thumb really is awesome.

There is a problem though: Even though the Diamondback I used lasted 5 years with NO issue (and still is in use by my girlfriend at work), it seems to me that the quality of Razer-products has gone down a lot.
The Naga seems to be sturdy, but there is a very common problem: The little pins under the left and right button that touch the actual contact (thereby transferring your clicks to the internal click-trigger) are made of plastic. When you use the mouse a lot, that plastic wears down, and it becomes hard to use those two buttons – they become unresponsive (which, obviously, is incredibly annoying)
You can fix it with hot glue etc, but all those are just temporary fixes. My first Naga had that problem after about a year and a half. My girlfriend wanted to take it, and she is still using it. Every 4 weeks, she opens the mouse and uses hot glue to “extend” those plastic pins, in order to keep the mouse useable.
Putting a small piece of metal over the ends of those pins would easily fix the problem, especially since it’s a well-known issue, but as of yet, Razer hasn’t changed anything.

I bought my second Naga, the one you see above, last summer, and so far, had no issues with it.

This mouse really has become a big part of my WOW-playing, and I can’t imagine playing without it anymore, it’s that convenient.

Regarding Razer: My negative opinion about the current quality of Razer-products is not only based on the Naga-problem. I also bought a Razer Lycosa gaming-keyboard, and had nothing BUT issues with it… such as keys becoming unresponsive or me suddenly being stuck running…which is NOT fun in a raid or heroic, especially since the only way to fix that is to unplug the keyboard temporarily.
Considering it cost me about 100$ and gave me so much trouble, it was a total waste of money. I heard that only a certain run of the Lycosa had this issue, but that is bad enough, and no driver-download or anything could fix it… it was a hardware problem, just like the Naga-thing.

Since the Naga has become so convenient to me, I am willing to accept its flaw, but after the Lycosa, I am not interested in any other Razer product OTHER than the Naga.

Keyboard

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The gaming keyboard I use is a SteelSeries Merc Stealth. I did some research after the whole Razer-catastrophy, and ended up with this one…and again, never looked back, as I am absolutely happy with it.

What I DO like is the weight (there apparently is a steel-plate inside, to make it heavier, so you don’t accidentially move it even in stressful raids =)), and the extra-pad on the left side.
You have: 11 numbered buttons for spell-triggering (which is obsolete considering I use the Naga, but should I ever stop using that, I have the option to use there), above a six button movement pad (forward, backward, left, right, strafe left, strafe right). The buttons of the movement pad are rather big, and its easy to get used to moving that way.

Around that pad, you have keys for running/walking, a space key for jumpinh, and several small buttons you can use for whatever you like. Here are the default keybindings from the keyboard-driver:

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As you can see, you have an additional shift-key (for example to use it as a modifier), can open the map, switch targets etc.

It does take time to get into extra controls such as the Naga-pad or the merc-extra-keys, but after a few hours of playing, I was totally used to it, and can focus entirely ont he game while being able to do whatever I wanna do conveniently with those two pieces of equipment.

 
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Posted by on April 13, 2012 in Misc stuff, Rants

 

Feeling heroic

The track in the video above is from the Wandering Isle zone music, and plays while you quest sometimes as well.
I love this tune a lot, it really does make you feel heroic, makes you wanna run out and blast something with fire, ice, huge maces or nature energy =)

Some people have asked me what music is playing in the “druid healing” video I posted on Saturday… this is the one.

 
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Posted by on April 10, 2012 in Mists Of Pandaria