Cataclysm Screenshots

Thought I’d post some screens of the Cataclysm starting zones. I have to say, each expansion makes it more difficult to go back to older ones and play them. Leveling has been so well smoothed in Cataclysm that heading back to WoW has been painful. In the meantime, enjoy!

This is why I’ll never be a game designer

This is how smart you should be

This is how smart this idea is.

I saw this article today, and my first thought was “Wow. That is fucking genius. Why hasn’t anyone ever thought of that before?” A collection quest that guarantees you’ll eventually complete it. I guess that was always something I didn’t enjoy in my adventures through Kingdom of Loathing. You are able to collect a daily “bounty” from a number of choices, and each of them are supposed to, on average, take around 40 adventures to complete. So one that asks for 40 of an item means that that area will ALWAYS drop the item each adventure, while one that needs 4 of an item will have a much lower chance of running into that enemy. But what if, as you approach the 40 adventure mark, the chance of finding that monster were to increase? I’m not saying hit 100%, because then you have a hard cap on the number of adventures it can take, and we want the game to still depend on randomness, but why not at least give us a better chance of finding those monsters the longer we spend on it. It’s genius!

I guess I’m sort of shocked that no other game (at least none that I’m aware of) has ever implemented this sort of system for collection quests. It’s brilliant. Collection quests suck, not because they’re boring or anything, but because there’s that element of randomness. When I’m grabbing a bunch of quests, I do all the kill quests first, because I know there’s a set amount I’ll have to do, and the collection quests only if I have to after that, because there’s too much uncertainty involved. Killing 20 boars is simple, collecting 10 boar hooves could take 50 kills. It could take 10 kills. It could take 1000. You just don’t know. But progressive drops? You will eventually get the drops, and you know it. That makes me very happy.

A Treatise on WoW PvP

Having hit the trial level cap last night, I decided to engage in a bit of PvP in World of Warcraft. Since everything is tiered, I could play at level 19 and be the top in my tier, so hopefully things wouldn’t go so badly. I had heard people say that WoW’s PvP is pretty weak, but I was willing to give it a shot. And wow. It was actually painful.

Here are some of the problems with the PvP design, in my opinion. I’m well aware I’m not a designer, but these are things that would cause me to come back to PvP and try it again. Firstly, the existence of “twinks” (i.e. players who are at the top level of a tier and have geared themselves to the brim with the best possible stuff so that you don’t stand a chance against them) proves that you have bad design. PvP is KILLED the instant you are brutally slaughtered by a twink. It just completely loses the fun aspect of it. I don’t want to play against them. How do you solve that? Well, I think the easiest way is to start granting XP for kills in PvP. This allows an alternate (hopefully more fun) way to grind levels, and it eventually forces those twinks out of their element. The reason I liked PvP in Warhammer Online was that I felt like I was making progress, it wasn’t a side distraction. I could PvP or I could quest, and both would help me get to the next level. In WoW, it IS a distraction, and you gain nothing but honor points/marks to trade in at a later point.

My next issue with the PvP was that it was simply too long. I know those hardcore MMO players out there love long bouts at the computer, but for more casual players, it’s so much better if you can jump in, play a round, and jump out. Put a time limit on the match. Make the objectives shorter. Change up the rules as the match takes longer. Do something so that the match doesn’t take 2 hours. Last night, the second battleground we played did literally take two hours. We were in a perpetual stalemate, where we had their flag and they had ours, and we were point sitting at opposite sides of the map. Nothing was happening. Players on my own team started begging our flag carrier to just drop it and end the map. Seriously. If that doesn’t scream bad design, I don’t know what does.

Those were my two major complaints with the system. It’s something that I feel could use some attention from the developers, and if it is made better, it could become a huge part of the game. Although I’m seriously enjoying my time in WoW finally, I think WAR captured the essence of PvP so much better than Blizzard’s Behemoth.