Saturday, August 22, 2009

Cataclysm reaction

Ah, Cataclysm. As we already saw a bit from MuShU's comment on my last post, the biggest deal to me is that vanilla Old World WoW is going away. Sure, we've had a few changes in the old world, like Dalaran leaving (you know, I don't think I've gone back since LK), but nothing nearly so extreme. has a good video of the zone changes, and I'm a little embarrassed to say I was sad to see how Auberdine (and the rest of Darkshore and Ashenvale) are changing. Auberdine is where Jal usually logs off after some fishing to take a needed break (ie, when I suspend the account a few months). It's my resort town, dang it! (vacation snapshots from 2006, below)

But as far as the way the game operates, I was most interested in the worgen racial skills:

BlizzCon 2009: Live blogging the Cataclysm new starter zones:
Two Forms, instant, 1.5 sec cooldown, Turn into your currently inactive form.
Darkflight, instant, 3 min cooldown, activates your true form increasing movement speed by 70% for 10 sec
Viciousness, passive, increases all damage done by 1%.
Flayer, passive, skinning skill increased by 15 and allows you to skin faster.

This is a druid's dream slate of racials. With the elf, I get shadowmeld, which is nice, and was much nicer when I could eat and drink invisibly while mostly soloing my way up to 70. The tauren's stomp is useful, though perhaps more in PvP.

The worgen get dps, the ability to, I assume, cheetah away indoors twice per cooldown (once with cat form, another with racial), and I'm as envious as I could be about the faster skinning and built-in Finkle's Skinner and a half. Lissanna adds that they'll be able to use their claws to skin. Even more useful than the Gnomish Army Knife Jal's carrying. Seriously, how often do I cook on the road? (For those out of the know, the army knife includes a firestarter as well as a skinning knife, "Gyromatic Micro-Adjuster, Arclight Spanner, Blacksmithing Hammer, and Mining Pick", and takes up one more space in your pack than wogen claws.)

So so far, so good on the cataclysm. Interesting Old World reuse, a new, interesting druid race, and what appears to be an honest attempt to expand lore, rather than tack onto it. I'm looking forward to CC more than I was to BC and LK. I wonder if my nvidia Mac mini will still be up to the task.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Old World is New Again: Rumors, Rumors

I'm not sure why two blogs in my roll won't comment on the rumors about the next expansion. It's fun, yo.

So here we go: My favorite news from the World of Warcraft - Cataclysm rumors at MMO-Champion:

Classic Azeroth Revamp
A cataclysmic event caused by Deathwing and Azshara will change the face of Azeroth as we know it. Most of the new content for Cataclysm will take the form of a revamped Azeroth, taking advantage of newer additions to WoW such as phasing and daily quests.

If you've been reading a while, you might remember I mentioned criticizing the virtual ghettoizing in another blog, where you couldn't see nuttin' without the expansion, and asked (here on Panzerkin) for this style of Old World revamp to happen in LK (where we know it didn't happen). Here's a bit from those posts:

[From Curmudgeon Gamer]:
Blizzard needs to ensure that expansions are backwards compatible, not so much that expansionless folk like myself can go to the new lands, nor even that we should be provided access to the new trainers, etc, but players with expansions should continue to flow through old hotspots (possibly with new buildings in cities accessible only if you have the expansions, etc) so that the communities at least do not give the impression of being quite so perfectly cleaved.

[From Panzerkin]:
Instead, it created another system of virtual ghettos back in WoW's Old World. Endgames shifted. Years of development time for instances, etc, rendered worthless. Those new to WoW or who hadn't seen the OW end game had no real incentive to go back.

There were options. Create mobs that have a new attack type or one for which there was little resistance gear in the OW, kinda like fire resist was used in the original. Keep the progression of items natural, and ensure items (other than just epics) continue to have some important value in the future. Here, I'm thinking about something like the Illdari-Bane items -- perhaps there's a mob in the WotLK that can only be damaged by items that specifically harm demons by 150 or more points.

Glad to see that wasn't such a crazy idea after all. Looks like we might even get to fly in the Old World too.

This leads me to one question: What happens if you don't have the expansions? Can I still walk around the Old World? In fact, if, "Durotar is wrecked and apparently Orgrimmar could be destroyed. A new Orc city is rebuilt over the course of the expansion," and, assumedly, much of the 'make-up' content is hidden from newbies by flight, do I now actually have less available content in Azeroth than before the upcoming expansion? UO just recently got smart enough to give everyone access to every expansion for free. Let me tell you, when I played one month of UO two years after one month of UO, years after years of UO, one of the big reasons I didn't care to stick around even with the Kingdom Reborn interface is that I couldn't go anywhere new. I was still stuck on my Third Dawn era dungeons and content. Nice. Thanks for keeping me in the virtual ghetto.

But yeah, this sounds like fun. Assuming these rumors are true, IANAL, LMNOP, etc. ;^)

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Maybe they shoulda left in "of Nature's Wrath"

Druid Q&A for Moonkin � Tastes Like Battle Chicken:

Ultimately however the problem we are trying to solve is that Wrath and Starfire are just too similar. In PvP you get a little bit of interest out of the fact that they are in different schools, but in PvE by the time talents are factored in, the two spells just become fairly quick (but not instant) nukes and it’s easy to math out which one to use and which one to ignore.

You know, I felt there was a pretty good distinction between the two brewing in BC. There were elementals that couldn't be hurt by Nature, and you had to go to Arcane. The gear was also occasionally geared (no pun intended) to one or the other.

Why not bring back a little of the "of Nature's Wrath" and "Arcane spellpower" (iirc)? Removing the spell type specific bonuses was an oversimplification that caused the nondifferentiation we're seeing in the interview, above.