Saturday, June 28, 2008

Roots indoors?

Well, this sorta changes everything, doesn't it?

There were some details of class changes (sorry its incomplete, as I mentioned I missed the start of the presentation) but from what I recall:
Entangling roots will work indoors!
"Flourish" was mentioned but I didn't catch what that did ...

(emph mine)

Rawr: Dr00d gear optimization utility

While googling around to find a list of WoW enchants in XML, I stumbled over Rawr, an application that is designed to help optimize your gear. Here's the description from the site.

Rawr is a program for comparing and exploring gear for Bears, Cats, Moonkin, Warlocks, Mages, Retadins, ProtWarriors, and Healadins, in the MMORPG, World of Warcraft. It is currently in public beta testing, and is being developed by by Astrylian, of US-Eonar. Rawr has been designed from the start to be fun to use, and helpful in finding better combinations of gear, and what gear to find.

It's a Windows app, written in C# for .NET, and at least marginally works in OS X using the Mono project (and, therefore, I assume, Linux). I've played around with it a bit, but have yet to be particularly impressed with its "Moonkin model". The upgrades seem to be all about upping damage without any real consideration for anything else. They should call the model "Clothkin," because that's what you end up with for upgrades. Oh well.

Still, it remains in development, is open source, and I suppose I could get in there and write a Panzerkin model... Might be worth your checking it out, so I thought I'd pass it along!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Hello, hardware

WoW on my iBook doesn't look quite this good (see screenshots). I've retired my Windows tower in the interest of space and in the interest of stealing one stick of its RAM for the Mac Mini, but this kind of detail is making me think about firing it back up. I miss it. My Vostro (with a slightly upgraded video chip) is choppy at times for no good reason, which also stink0rz. Argh, I miss good hardware. It makes WoW a different game.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Attunements made you do your homework

Here's a longish quote from Part-time Druid (huh? Sounds familiar; luckily I think I predate the blog) called "Removing Attunements BAD!", posted in Feb, quite a while before I started ranting that the new, advancement-friendly WoW is a bad idea. Here, the Part Timer shows there are practical reasons to keep things as difficult to attain -- self-training.

So, Black Temple will be open for anyone who wants to enter come patch 2.4. Surely there are hardcore raiding guilds everywhere bemoaning this development, angry that basically anyone with an account can now tread on “their” turf. Well, I can’t evade that argument. It’s true. I can now get together with 24 other guildies and hit Black Temple. It should be fun for us when we wipe in about five seconds, and the fun will surely continue as we wipe over and over and over again. You see, the point of the attunements to these major league instances was twofold. One, it required a good deal of coordination and determination to complete the necessary steps. Two, the “hoops” you had to jump through FORCED you to prepare yourself for what was to come gear-wise.

One might find the same argument works even for new players who blast through the lower levels too quickly.

Friday, June 20, 2008

WoW Blog Itemizer

Pre-alpha USE AT YOUR OWN RISK software!!!!

Okay, here's a really ugly, pre-alpha, not ready for primetime application to help those of us who can't stop blogging about World of Warcraft. Right now, it's Mac-only, though any Mac that can play WoW should be able to run the WoW Blog Itemizer without any trouble at all. The benefit is that you can type a bracket "[" and the first few letters of an item and *poof*, up it pops. If you see the item you want, hit "return" and it'll fill in and you can keep typing. Once you're done with your blog, you'll be able to hit "Alt-D" or press the button at the bottom left to put it all in your clipboard, which you can then cut and paste into, say, Blogger's "Create Post" window. Instant WoWHead supplied mouse-over item information.

Things to remember...
* It doesn't save right now. Cut and paste and save into a text editor often if you write a long post.
* It doesn't update the item list, so items Blizzard adds that aren't in there won't show up until you manually update the item list file (btw, you *have* to keep itemlist.xml in the same folder as the application for now)
* It IS case sensitive.
* It *doesn't* get item color right (green, grey, purple, orange, blue).
* No spellcheck. No real amenities at all, actually.

That's enough for now. I'd be interested in hearing if you give it a shot. rufwork (at) gmail dot company. Enjoy.

Download it here.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Cheaping the WoW experience to entice new players?

I was reading WoW Insider today and was intrigued to hear that lowbies can get mounts at level 30 instead of 40 now.

This prompted a response from Zarhym [a Blizzard forum mod, iirc] 'Allowing players to purchase and ride mounts at level 30 does not at all diminish your prior accomplishments in my eye sockets, Ithnin' This was followed by a post explaining that new players may get their mounts ten levels sooner, but they have ten and soon twenty more levels to go through before they reach the endgame. The majority of responses in this thread are supportive of the change.

I'll disagree, as you might have guessed already from my Take the Nether off the AH post. It's easier to level with a mount. That's why we all buy them. The world contracts when you've got a way of getting places 60% or 100% more quickly, and that means it takes less time to to whatever it is your character needs to do.

To level a new character, you still, generally speaking, have to pass through the same content to get your experience as you did when WoW was first released. Now Duskwood, one of the more memorable zones in my leveling below 40, will have all sorts of folk riding through at breakneck speed. That makes Duskwood easier, and cheapens the time I spent there, and I was there a while.

(And if memory serves (it might not), haven't the experience requirements for leveling already been cut considerably? Certainly attunement's been shut down, which stinks.)

But here's my main gripe: Blizzard had already found a way to make leveling easier for your alt characters. It's called starting your Death Knight at level 55. My highest level alt is level seven. I don't care much for the lower levels. I'll certainly be giving a Death Knight a shot, though, even though they sound like a moonkin-like hybrid (non-squishing magic using tankable) in many respects. A Death Knight is already going to be powerful enough to run the content I remember enjoying. Heck, if you just start me off strong enough to adventure in Duskwood, I'd probably play alts more.

Does the Death Knight cheapen the game? Arguably yes, but in a much different way than making mounts cheaper and more available or reducing XP needed to level. Now experienced players can create a special class of alt char that doesn't have to lowbie grind. We've solved the problem that Blizzard must have seen when BC came out. Sure, Blood Elves and Draenei are k3wl, but I didn't have much fun blasting mana eels or whatever they were for 7 hp a pop. The Blood Elf starting levels looked spectacular, but I couldn't leave them and quickly got tired of snarking around -- and heck, my main saw the same architecture in Outland. Many other veterans must have been similarly unimpressed with the new alt experience. Okay, Death Knight in and problem (hopefully) solved.

So the main reason to make lowbie leveling easier, imo, must be to get new players involved more quickly. This suggests that the endgame (and near endgame) content must be much more enjoyable than the lower level questing to new players. Is the motivation that if you can get players new to WoW to endgame quicker, they're more likely to stay and keep paying?

Instead of cheapening lower levels by playing god with leveling economics, why not do like you did with the Death Knight -- put in the development time and change the game. Put in instances for level 5 characters, perhaps. Have lowbie PvP battlegrounds. Allow people to level in PvP until level 30 or some such. Now traditional leveling is still an option, but you've got the flash that's needed to keep some of your new revenue stre... ur, players.

If you don't simply introduce new routes in the same vein for leveling lowbies but instead starkly change the lowbie game experience, you might find more veterans starting over too.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Take the Nether off the AH, blogging items, and Illdari-Bane

A belated, quick update... First, thanks to terroxian for the comments. I'm glad the Druidic Helmet of Second Sight panned out well. I'm annoyed that wearing it means you've got more pats and mobs to worry about in Shadowmoon Valley, but otherwise it's a nice headpiece for the short questing that's needed to bag it.

I'm still playing, and recently added a Windhawk Belt to my proverbial arsenal. It would seem the best pre-instance drop armor set a balance druid can pick up is the Wyrmhide reputation gear combined with the Windhawk set. There are five pieces to the Wyrmhide, but you gain both set bonuses with just four. This is good, because wearing the Windhawk Hauberk means I've got to drop my Wyrmhide Robe. Luckily, if I replace the Druidic Helmet of Second Sight with a Wyrmhide Helm, I'll keep the Wymhide's awesome Starfire proc.

I also found out that Primal Nether isn't BoP any more, and one can grab some at the AH for about 85g, iirc, on Proudmoore. I've got mixed feelings on that change, as it makes it very easy to built the Windhawk set without running instances. Take, for example, the Illidari-Bane Mageblade I just bagged. It's not a bad weapon against demons, and remains a good improvement over my Seeker's Gavel for those demon mobs, but it's really nothing insanely special. (Contrast this with the Atiesh, Greatstaff of the Guardian that I just "discovered". It's a very old world, level 60 item that still beats the pants off of what I'm carrying, including the Seeker's Gavel, Seer's Cane, and Braxxis' Staff of Slumber, all on their own respective turfs). Sure, it's an Old World epic, but you get the point... To get it, you had to run Naxx like mad, certainly a very time consuming and memorable experience. The reward -- an item that remains useful 10 levels later to a certain degree that has an especially impressive animation and some in-game procs, like a mob that comments that you're carrying it -- matches the work it took to earn it.)

But what makes the Illidari-Bane Mageblade special is the memorable quest chain that went with it. It's also a pretty k3wl looking weapon; the geekiestly impressive I've got. It's a good reward for those patient enough to wade through what's required to get it, which included four instance runs. I'd never run so many instances in so little time as I did for this one decent but not spectacular weapon. Enjoyable, memorable, fun.

Now that Primal Air isn't so difficult to get, it takes some of the memorableness from my pursuit of Windhawk.

Oh well.

One final bit -- the reason this post is so WoW Head item information floater heavy is that I wrote a quick app to make slapping items into posts a heck of a lot easier, promising myself I wouldn't post again until I had a rough version of the app done. I wasted waaaay too much time digging up item descriptions and numbers in past posts, time I could've been running dailies, right?! So here we go.

Right now it doesn't check on color, which explains why an epic item (Atiesh, Greatstaff of the Guardian) was blue, not orange, when I first posted. I'll hopefully be fixing that and adding a few more minor features down the road, like saving your files, posting directly to Google, spellcheck, etc. Still, so far, it's an enjoyable app to have. I'll clean it up a bit more and release a Mac version of what I'm using right now into the wild soon if this post works! My luck requires that I find out that someone has already created a better version of exactly this app soon after I post, however. ;^)