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!

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Achievement Unlocked!

I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’m not a typical gamer. A lot of the most popular games ever created just don’t interest me very much. I bought Oblivion and returned it the next day, because I got too bored too quickly with it. Fallout 3 fared a little better, but it’s still sitting on my shelf and I’ve barely played a few hours of it. Still haven’t beaten Half Life 2 (though I’m working my way through it, I swear!) And don’t get me started on WoW. I try that game again every few months, and at some point I get bored and logout. But recently, I’ve learned what it is I play games for: achievements.

I love and hate achievements. They’re evil little tools to squeeze extra replay value out of a game, but that arbitrary number that is my Gamerscore has become this ridiculous thing in my head. I NEED 20 more points! I need that one last achievement! When Beatles: Rock Band came out (best music game ever, for the record), I started playing, and refused to stop until I finished it because of the damn “beat the game in 24 hours” achievement. I would’ve gotten at least 2-3 more hours of sleep that night if that stupid achievement wasn’t there. But noooooo. I needed to prove to the world that I was enough of a loser to stay up all night and defeat a game in 24 hours.

Achievements are important for our ADD generation, I’ve decided. I can’t play a game and see that I’m 30% through and push forward. What I want is a small reward for playing another 2% of the game. Most single player games are good at that these days. Bioshock, Modern Warfare, Fallout 3, are a few obvious examples. Get a reward for beating the next level, for beating the next boss, etc. I bet I’d have a level 80 character in WoW right now if there were more achievements to earn while leveling. All I have are the every-10-level achievements to look forward to, and that’s definitely not close enough to keep me going. Doing all the instances as I level is good, because I get achievements for them, but there’s really no sense of major accomplishment until you actually choose an achievement and work towards it. I don’t want that. I want to play the game the way I want to play it, and get rewarded every 5 minutes for it.

I know I’m being demanding, and I know I’m being childish and stupid. But it’s just the kind of gamer I am, for some reason. Achievements have ruined my ability to enjoy a game for its story. I’ve been having trouble recently picking up Wii games again, because I feel like I won’t be able to show off my accomplishments to anyone. I love Okami so much, and I still need to finish it, but my stupid brain won’t allow me to boot it up because there are no points to be gained. How ridiculous is that?!

Champions has perks in it. Awesome. I wouldn’t even be able to play my own damn game if it didn’t have those small perks to keep me going. I hate what this world has done to me.

Oh, and yeah. I’m back. I like talking out loud, what can I say?

A Minor Update and a Question

Well, the question first. This isn’t meant to sound snarky at all, but it’s a very serious question. When a big MMO goes about banning gold farmers, does it ever cross their mind the amount of money they’re making off of the farmers? I was reading an article about how farmers for WoW purchase the game, both expansions, and game time cards. Each time they do that, it costs them about $100. That’s $100 for Blizzard. Do they ever worry about the money they’re losing by banning these people? Or, well, I guess they might not be losing anything, since those people will go out and buy more copies, right? Well, I guess that’s my question answered before I even asked it. Sorry you had to listen to that.

In other news, I don’t have much to share at the moment. There’s some interesting stuff going on, but nothing I can share at the moment. I know, secretive stuff, right? Sort of exciting, having secrets and all. I’ll definitely post stuff up here once I can, but it’s all exciting and new! Be excited for me!

Television Update:
Lost is awesome.
Eli Stone is cancelled.
Better Off Ted is sorta funny.
Scrubs will be sorely missed when it is gone.
Castle is very enjoyable.
Dollhouse is FINALLY awesome. Well, last week’s was. Hopefully the trend will continue.
I gave up on Heroes, and Desperate Housewives. I think it’s very stupid that DH is advertising the rest of its season like “One of the Housewives WILL DIE. Who will it be? You’ll never guess!” No, I would never ever imagine it could be the one woman who didn’t renew her contract. Man, I’ll be completely shocked if it turns out to be her.

You know when I’m getting sarcastic that it’s time to sign off. Till we meet again!

Democracy Patch Day!

All you MMO players will have a good laugh. All the others may or may not.

Ding 30!

I really really dislike posting about World of Warcraft. Firstly because I didn’t intend for this blog to be about games specifically. But also because…it’s WoW. The truth is that I’m really enjoying my time in it, and so it’s what I’m spending my spare time doing over break.

I hit 30 today, and that’s a pretty big occasion in the game. It’s the halfway point to the original level cap, and there’s lots of stuff you get at 30. So that was kinda exciting. Because I’m leveling so fast (due to Recruit-a-Friend bonuses), I’m having trouble gathering enough gold to purchase skills and goods at each level, but luckily my friend is happy to supply me with the gold I need. But I think the bonuses would be better offset with a 3x gold earning as well when grinding. Just a thought.

In other news, Hanukkah and my birthday are coming up fast. (Well, it IS Hanukkah right now, actually) If all goes well, I’ll be getting Mirror’s Edge. I know the reviews for it have been fairly negative, but I really think that the points in the game that are awesome will make up for the points that aren’t so good. I had so much fun in the demo that I have to have more. I’ll report back on that as it happens.

Also, I may be able to get more of the Strongbad games for the Wii. The first one was awesome, and I hear they keep getting better. I love Telltale. Their Sam & Max games were amazing, and Strongbad’s shaping up to be fantastic as well. Well done!

Okay, enough boring gaming stuff. I promise I’ll have more varied things to talk about next time. Maybe.

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.

Don’t Hurt Me

I’ve finally decided to give World of Warcraft a fair shot. I know, I know. I’m a loser. But hear me out. Back in the early days of WoW, I played through a free trial, and thought it was kinda cool, but the concept of paying monthly for a game didn’t really excited me. So I let it go. A year or two later, I tried another free trial. It was still kinda fun, but I still didn’t want to pay for it. Then, the summer I worked for CompUSA, the employee discount on WoW made it cost $10 to purchase, plus $15 for a 60-day time card. So I gave in. And after a few days of playing, I got bored. I was lonely in the game. There was no incentive to stay other than to gain levels, which to me wasn’t exciting enough to keep me going. So I dropped it, and I think I actually gave away the time card.

Time passed, and I played a few more trials. Each time I got bored with it before the 10 days were up. And then one of my friends asked me to play with him, and so he send me a Recruit-a-friend invite this week, and we spend most of yesterday playing. And now I realized what I was missing. The social aspect! The game is awesome when you’re with someone else, because you have someone to talk to, someone to help you out, and someone to teach you. That’s why the game sucked for me, because I was all alone in this huge world. So, I’m going to continue this trial, then I actually purchased a new copy of WoW and TBC (the two were for sale on Amazon yesterday for $25 total, with two strategy guides thrown in too), and I’ll play over break. Wish me luck.