Monthly Archives: October 2011

Post BlizzCon Thoughts on Pandaria

BlizzCon has come and gone.  The MMO news sites and blogs are full of information and analysis.  Even Yahoo put a new story on its front page about the costumes of BlizzCon.

In a way, I wish I had subscribed to BlizzCon on DirecTV.  Even though I was busy this past weekend and probably would be just now starting to watch the whole thing, there is a dramatic difference between reading bullet points and second hand analysis and actually hearing the devs in question talk about their product.

On Pandas and Reactions

One of the things I do not get is the people who have posted comments all over that they do not get the negative reactions to the whole Panda thing.  The responses I have read pretty much boil down to two talking points.

  • Pandaran were already in the lore
  • There are already talking cows in game, so how can you get mad about pandas?

The first covers the Kung Fu Panda similarities and, while technically correct, you would have a tough time convincing me that we would be talking about pandas in WoW if the original movie had bombed and never been heard from again.  No, nobody is going to let that connection go.  In fact, I am going to point out that Jack Black was the musical guest at BlizzCon 2010 AND is the voice of said panda of the Kung Fu, so it is obviously a conspiracy.  Blizzard got him drunk and he spilled all the Kung Fu Panda secrets.

So if you think you are going to make a point or hold the line against ignorance, you can go stand over in the corner with the Warhammer Online fans who are still saying, “No, Blizzard copied Warhammer,” and see how well that plan ends up.  Do you want to be those people?

The second point though comes across to me as an almost willfully obtuse denial of what people are really reacting to.   What these responses ignore is that on the scale of adorable cuteness, pandas are off the meter.  They are like nuclear bombs of cuteness.

Nobody looks at a tauren and goes, “Awww, how cute!”

The World Wildlife Fund did not pick the panda as its logo because pandas are the most endangered species ever, but because they knew people would put WWF stickers on their cars just because they have a cute panda on them.

Who is thinking of panda wrestling right now?

And it is that cuteness, that almost sickening saccharine level of adorableness that is putting people off.  Nils did not delete all his characters because Blizzard introduce another anthropomorphic animal race, but because the thought of playing in a world with happy, fat, martial arts pandas made him want to run away screaming.

It is Blizzard’s playing of the very obvious “cute card” that irks some.  Even I winced and the thought of pandas, and I play Pokemon.  Have you seen some of those Pokemon?  There are some that are clearly out of a genetic research lab looking to exploit some sort of cuteness gene.

But to top pandas in cuteness you would have to introduce a race of adorable fuzzy kittens that randomly spouted LOL Cat quotes.  I am not sure that current technology could correctly transmit that much cuteness and it might all become some sort of grotesque Terry Gilliam stop-motion animation… which would actually be pretty cool… hrmm.

Anyway, in the end, pandas do not really matter.  The Warcraft lore has been full of such silliness since day one.  A few people will gag on the idea and go away, but most players will get over it and feel equally happy with both the fact of pandas in the game and the reality that they cannot be druid.

Of Pokemon and Pet Battles

I am not sure where I stand on this one.

I think I will like this a lot, but only if it feels organic to the game.  Letting me use my already fabulous array of companion pets is a good start.  If I am going to be able to go out into Azeroth and hunt for new and different pets with my characters, so much the better.

My worry is that pet battles are going to going to end up feeling like Legends of Norrath, a completely different game that you happen to be able to play within WoW.  If I feel like Blizzard needs to develop a stand-alone pet battle application, it will have failed me.

Monk Class

A new class.  What is not to love?

Simplified Talent Trees

Here is where I am probably going against the grain, but I really do not like talent trees.

Talent trees… or AAs or traits or whatever your game of choice calls then… they either matter or they do not.

If they matter, then you are setting people up to fail, because the only way they can matter is if you set the content up to make them matter.

And I will point out that I have lived this whole success/fail thing based on spec.  The instance group, which was kind of throwing together its talents based on whim and what looked neat, ended up having a really tough time finishing off late Burning Crusade instances in WoW until somebody suggested we rethink our specs.

So we went out, did the research, found the “right” build for each of us.  After that, the only problems were whatever tricks a given instance had to try and trip people up.  If it wasn’t the “I win” button, getting the right spec was the path to easy mode, to speed runs, and doing three instances in a night.

I know, boo hoo, let the noobs suffer if they cannot find Elitist Jerks, but I resent the need to go out of game to get information required to succeed.  And I resent talent trees being an ever changing (for Blizzard at least) one right answer puzzle.  But most of all I resent Blizzard for tuning encounters to a spec, and then turning that back a notch so it didn’t feel like a challenge, just a dance routine to learn and repeat.

On the other hand, if you make a talent tree that does not matter then why waste my time?  If you make the content so that you can forget to spend your talent points and still succeed, which is how a lot of the re-done 1-60 Azeroth instances feel.  And, of course, by that point we were spending our talent points for the optimum build, so there was almost no challenge to them.

And all of this is also me feeling both a nostalgia for EQ and MUDs, where you picked a class and you got what that class was and nothing else, along with the MUD days of choosing stats up front that would forever rule the destiny of your character.  There was always going to be a stat that you were low on, the stat roller required that.  Choosing which stat you were forever going to be looking for on equipment was important and you couldn’t go back and re-spec.

So a simplified spec tree seems like a good deal to me, as long as they take the opportunity to weed out the bad choices.  My measure for success on this is if, when this goes live, there isn’t an immediate and obviously correct answer as to which mage spec sucks.  Because up to this point, one of the mage spec has always been the poor relation.  Fix that, and it will be a winner in my book.

Unless, of course, they fail to make the content fit the optimum spec.  And they will.

What Really Matters

When Mists of Pandaria comes out, I am sure I will buy it.  I am sure I will roll a panda monk like everybody else who plays.  I am sure I will fiddle with the pet battles and admire the new talent tree.

But pandas, pet battles, and talent trees can all get thrown under the bus and not kill this expansion for me.

What will kill it is not being fun.

The expansion had better be fun and engaging and funny and have stuff for me to do solo along with a hell of a lot more stuff for me and my pals to do as a group.

And I am not sure Blizzard can manage that, because to do that would require a re-think of a lot of the things that were changed in Cataclysm.

So sure, they can make a better 1-20 experience for the Pandarian, and a monk class that is a new experience, and some pet battles to entertain us at quiet moments.  But after level 20, it will still be the same post-Cataclysm Azeroth, with solo focused content and too-easy instances tuned to incompetent dungeon finder groups.

And the rest of they key new content will be 86-90.  As cool and as interesting as the 81-85 zones were in Cataclysm, I never hit level 85.  I got bored playing solo.  I never saw one of the instances.  At the time you had to find the instances before you could access them, and the quest lines never seemed to get me to one.

So there might be some nice new group content, but would I even have the wherewithal to get through Cataclysm just to find it and join in?

Which brings me back to wishing I had seen some of the BlizzCon panels.  I always find there is more to be taken away when you have heard people who are working on a project present it than by just reading the details as transcribed by someone else.  I might have a better feel for what is in the expansion for me if I had seen them speak.

As I said I will no doubt buy the expansion.  I will play.

But will I stay?

The New Games From SOE

I think we are seeing the continued evolution of Sony Online Entertainment as its PlayStation masters at Sony Computer Entertainment continue to mold SOE in their own image.

SOE has two new titles out this month that did not make the MMO news… because they are not MMOs… or even Facebook games.

We have Payday: The Heist.

Payday: The Heist

And Rochard.

Rochard - The Bad Pun

The links for each are to the reviews at Ars Technica because… that seemed to be the best source of information.

I am actually a bit surprised that Payday: The Heist is on the PC as well as the PlayStation 3.

But clearly SOE has commitments to meet for their console gaming masters.  Not that SOE hasn’t done non-MMO games before, but they have been pretty rare.  So to get two new ones in a single month seems like a clear change in focus somewhere.

Do you think this means PlayStation ports for PlanetSide 2 and EverQuest Next?  Does SOE’s new Forge Light engine, which will power these two titles, have cross platform capabilities?

Items from the Mail Bag – Whole Lotta Press Releases Edition

Once again we look into what has show up at the blog email address that didn’t warrant a post of its own, wasn’t a 419 Scam, or wasn’t an entry in the Azeroth Travel Poster contest.

  • Anthony from Gamingo sent me a note asking if it was alright to put me on his press release distribution list.  Being surprised that somebody actually asked in advance, I said yes just to encourage such behavior.  Unfortunately, a lot of his press releases have a short shelf life, while I only do this once a month, so a number of items I received won’t get any mention.
  • Vizo over at Mediocre Gamer dropped me and a few other bloggers a line to tell me that he and some other people have started up a new blog called Mediocre gamer.  So there.  Probably more mention than he got out of anybody else on the list.
  • WXP Games sent me an offer to get a review copy of Xotic for myself and my editorial staff (i.e. myself).  I declined via an apathetic non-response.  I was a bit surprised (and annoyed) that they did not include any links with this email aside from the one to their Facebook page.  What if Facebook had finally gotten around to banning me?
  • Gamingo sent me a press release to tell me that their game Cultures, which sounds like a build, explore, conquer sort of browser game is popular in both Europe and Chine.  Not so much in North America I would guess then.
  • Beau sent out a message to the MMO Voices mailing list that he is facing the decision to either shut it down or transfer the ownership to another individual.
  • Serendipitously, Zynga sent me a message the same day asking me to come back and play CityVille.  If I read the message right, it suggests that if I build an arena, Enrique Iglesias might show up.  Euphoria?
  • Riot games wanted to inform me that my League of Legends account has been inactive for a long stretch.  If I do not log in before October 30th, they will free up my display name for use by other players.  So if you were aching to be known as Wilhelm IV, you chance approaches.
  • Club Penguin wants me to know that their Halloween related events are starting.  However, Club Penguin is still a bad word for somebody in our household who still harbors shame and resentment at the whole past affair with them.  There must be a gene for passing on grudge holding abilities.
  • And, as with last month, the final mail bag update is from Jason Scott, who sent out an email about how he is now within striking distance of his Kickstarter goal to fund his planned documentary three pack, with less than $5,000 of the $100K target left to raise.  That means I am going to have to play up soon, but that is okay. (Between the time when I wrote this and the time I posted it, Jason Scott passed the $100K mark.  So his three new documentaries should be under way… in fact, he was already doing interviews for one based on how well things were going.)

Running Civilization II on Windows 7 64-bit

When last we left my quest to play Civilization II on my Windows 7 64-bit system, I seemed to be pretty much out of luck.

The original version of the game was a 16-bit executable and simply would not run on Windows 7 64-bit.  No way, no how.

So I started to look around for a newer version of the game.  Eventually, over at Amazon.com, I came across a vendor in the Amazon Marketplace that was selling a copy of the later Civilization II Muliplayer Gold Edition for just $15.  It seemed like a deal to me, and when it showed up a couple of days later, it appeared to be the full package.

Box, manual, disc, and chart

That box is actually considerably bigger than what games ship in today.  And I haven’t seen a game manual that comprehensive in a decade at least.

Anway, that was the version I needed, as I had read over at Civilization Fanatics that somebody had created a patch for that version that would allow the game to run on 64-bit.  There is actually a thread in their forum with the patch.

At first I was not even sure I would need the patch.

The game installed, launched, and ran for a bit.  It wasn’t until I started my first city that the game terminated.  So I went and grabbed the patch, applied it, and gave it another go.

And, hey presto, I had a running game!

Exploring the World

Now to play a few games to decide where Civ II really belongs on my top Civilization games list.  The poll taken in the last post on the subject seemed to indicate that Civ II was pretty well regarded.  With 136 votes in, this was the list:


My own first impressions, having been away from the game for a couple of years, is how light and easy and uncluttered it is.  Relative to the later versions of the game, there is a simplicity to it.  That and how much I like that it was designed to run in a window, a popular design choice back in the mid 90s, so that it sized correctly to my monitor, which has about 4x the area that my monitor did back when the game first shipped.

Barbarian Uprising!

I pretty much fell right back into playing the game.  I started at the Warlord level for my warm up, which meant that I pretty much dominated from the start, even with the barbarians set to “raging hordes.”

Who's happy? I'm happy!

So now I have another retro gaming option on my system.

Meanwhile, if you are interested in a little Civilization retrospective about the original game, Tim and Jon at Van Console Time Murdering Hemlocks have a show up about the original Civilization.  Step back 20 years and hear how Civilization grabbed so many of us.

The Most Wiley WoW Phishing Attempt Yet…

Talking with my daughter about BlizzCon and Pandas and Pokemon companion pet battles naturally raised the level of interest in World of Warcraft around the house.

And, hey presto, what should show up in my mail box but an offer for seven free days of World of Warcraft!

Come play for free!

I mean, I get offers like this from games now and again.  I have even gotten such offers from Blizzard.  So no alarms went off in my head… not right away.

And then, as I clicked on the button, I realized that I was not looking at the email inbox associated with my Blizzard Battle.net account.  This was the email account where I only every get PHISHING ATTEMPTS.

Fortunately, the site had already been flagged as a forgery.

Web Forgery Alert!

Sure enough, I went back to mouse over the “PLAY FREE NOW” button and the URL is directed me to was obviously bogus, something I would have normally noticed if I had not been in something of a BlizzCon state of mind.  They hit me at just the right moment.  The phishing attempt literally came in about 30 minutes before I opened up my email.  But I was saved from any potential trouble by the good people at Mozilla.

This is why I tell my wife and mother-in-law not to use Internet Explorer

Though it does make me wonder how much those good people at Mozilla know about my browsing habits, and that if they are watching, that site I was at the other night after my wife went to bed was a total accident.  I was looking up one of the works of W. Somerset Maugham and how I ended up on that other site is a complete mystery to me.

Anyway, be wary and look at those URLs before you click!

And Then I Told My Daughter About Pet Battles…

I mentioned the pet battles system coming with the Mists of Pandaria expansion to my daughter this morning.

Go Totodile!

Once she made the quick Pokemon connection in her head, she was back on the “When is this coming out?” and “We are totally getting this expansion!” train.

Clearly we have an indication of the target audience for this expansion.

Well, I guess I am interested to see how the pet game plays out as well.  I already have most of the companion pet achievements already and I am certainly no stranger to Pokemon.

I am wearing my Pokewalker even as I write this.

Panda Reactions at Our House…

I watched a bit of the live-blogging and Twitter coverage of BlizzCon today.

Of course, the big news was the announcement of the next World of Warcraft expansion, Mists of Pandaria.

Panda Express... In Your Face!

I told somebody who used to play WoW about the expansion and they thought I was pulling their leg.  Pandas?  Really?

Which about sums up my initial reaction.

Not that it was much of a surprise that pandas turned out to be the focus of the expansion.  The news about Blizzard registering the name “Mists of Pandaria” was out a while ago.  The surprise for me was that they weren’t just yanking our chain, registering a red herring name to throw us all off.

No, when Blizzard registers pandas, they mean to give us pandas.

And I honestly do not know what to think.

WoW is all but in the “nostalgia” category for me as of this moment, a game I may go back and visit when the urge strikes me, but one I somehow doubt will ever be my main game again.  And thanks to Cataclysm, nostalgia isn’t even a good excuse to go back, since most of the game only dates back to 2010 now.  Nothing pre-Burning Crusade exists in its original form.

But Blizzard is throwing in a lot of stuff.  A new race, a new class, a Pokemon-like pet battling system, scenarios, account-wide achievement tracking, scenarios, and a revamp and simplification of talent trees, all of which have some appeal.

And there is the whole “subscribe to WoW for a year and we’ll give you a special mount, Pandaria beta access, and a free copy of Diablo III” there to muddy the water.

I am going to, without a doubt, buy Diablo III.  And that is going to be $60 if it is a penny.  So, taking the best possible price plan to subscribe for a year, $156 by going for it in two 6 month increments, that means a year of WoW for ~99 dollars.

Which wouldn’t be a bad deal, if I was playing WoW.  But I am not.  And I might still consider it still if Pandaria was six months out.  But it is a year out if it is a day.  And while I would like the mount… I have a weakness on that front… the beta holds no attraction for me whatsoever.  Access to the Cataclysm beta took the edge off the game for me and probably shortened my interest in the expansion by a couple months.

When I got home from work, I told my daughter that the new expansion had been announced at BlizzCon.

She was immediately disappointed that I hadn’t subscribed to BlizzCon on DirecTV again this year, even though all she really wants to see is the dance and costume contest.  I told her we could catch that later on YouTube.

But when I told her that the new race was going to be pandas, she was very excited.  Pandas are a winner with pre-teen girls.

So we went over to her iMac and watched the Mists of Pandaria B-roll video in full screen HD via YouTube.

This got a mix of excited gasps and exclamations that Blizzard was totally ripping off the movie Kung Fu Panda.  We own the movie on DVD, and while I think we’ve only watched it twice, it apparently left an impression, as my daughter was pointing out what was ripped off from which scene or location in the movie.  I was impressed with the level of OCD detail.

But despite that, or perhaps because of that, her first question was, “When does it come out?”  And I had not even mentioned the pet battling system, which I am sure would also be a big hit with her.

When I said it was probably a year away, that got a frown.  A year is a huge chunk of a young girl’s lifetime.  Anything could happen in a year.

Still, she seemed undeterred, as her next question was, “Can I get in the beta then?”

And of course, there is a way I could make that happen.

So we have at least one strong fan of pandas at our house, as well as one undecided.

We shall see how things turn out.

One thing though… it is a shame that the World of Warcraft Magazine was closed down.  This would have given them at least six more issues of content.

Tobold Prediction – CCP Bankrupt in 2012

Hey, it is Friday and Tobold has made a prediction for the 2012 MMO market over in the comment thread over at Hardcore Casual:

I am quite willing to bet you that CCP goes bankrupt in 2012. You might want to interpret their “great success” how ever you like, but financial reports don’t lie.

Yes, there was the whole Incarna debacle and the recent layoffs that brought with them a return to focus on EVE Online at the expense of the planned World of Darkness MMO.  But it is a long jump from there to bankruptcy.  Or is it?

Tobold elaborates further with his thoughts on the subject here, while SynCaine has his own view.

What do you think will happen to CCP in 2012?

I enabled the “other” field if you have a different vision of the future.  And, of course, feel free to justify your point of view in the comment thread for this post.

BlizzCon Blues

The crowds are gathered in Anaheim.  The presentations are set.  Jay Mohr is probably reviewing his jokes.  The Foo Fighters are wandering around somewhere I am sure.

BlizzCon is coming.  It will be kicking off shortly.


But unlike past years, there is not much I am looking to get out of BlizzCon.  I have subscribed to it on DirecTV previously and watched it nearly end-to-end.  But not this year.

Part of that is because I am not really playing any Blizzard games.

Cataclysm took too much of the fun out of World of Warcraft for me.

The StarCraft II beta convinced me I had really lost my RTS skills.  I am more of a tower defense guy now.

Diablo III has been pushed out to next year.  I guess it would be nice to know the final release date, but since that will be somewhere past the SWTOR event horizon, it isn’t really a big deal to me at the moment.

There are bits of BlizzCon I wouldn’t mind seeing.

There are usually some good interviews and sessions.  I find watching the StarCraft II tournaments to be surprisingly interesting.  48 million Koreans can’t be wrong.  The dance and costume contests are always amusing, though this many years in a row the freshness has certainly worn off.

And the musical act… well, the Foo Fighters spark no interest from me.  But neither did Ozzy Osborne.  Tenacious D was okay last year, but that was more novelty I think.

But none of that really makes it worth paying to watch the event.

So I will watch other people reporting from BlizzCon this year.

And what dare I hope for from BlizzCon 2011?

Maybe they will announce the next WoW expansion.  Though to excite me, they better be able to explain how it will make up for Cataclysm. (And it better not be another 18 months away.)

Then there is the new MMO, the secret project called Titan, where all the real talent at Blizzard is alleged to be focused. (Judging from all the live team smack down comments people make.)  I would like to hear about that, though I doubt they will be able to tell me anything at all that will get me eager to play at this stage.  We know how the Blizzard release timeline goes.  If they are just giving us a glimpse over the next two days, they are at least two years away from launch.

And what else is there?

What news do you want to hear out of BlizzCon, if any?

What would get you amped up about Blizzard?

Marching in Freemarch, Chasing Rifts in Rift

The instance group isn’t set to get back together in full until this coming Saturday, but three of us still got together as part of our slow exploration of Rift.  We’re trying to get into the game without getting too far ahead, though I suspect a couple of us will want to roll new characters for the full group kick-off.

I was on ahead of the other two, so started tracking down some quests I had, including one I had that wanted me to talk to a guy all the way across the zone.

And had I taken the direct path to that guy, I would have wandered through at least another dozen quests, and doing them would have gotten me to the appropriate level for the guy.  But I had missed a quest turn in previously, so I went the long way around the zone, missing all those quests, and ending up in a bit over my head.

(Not that there is any place in Freemarch that is a “long way” from anything.  It is a surprisingly compact zone.  I think you could fit three Freemarches into West Karana in EQ.)

Anyway, there I was, keen to go into this burning town, only the mobs I had to fight were levels 16-18, and I was level 15.  Level 16s I could take, even if I got an add.  17s were a little tougher.  But level 18s… well, I couldn’t lay a blade on them.  I learned that the hard way.

So I tried to avoid the level 18s, which was possible, except that one stood astride a quest item I needed.  I ended up using the old hunter trick of sacrificing my pet (glad I chose beast master) while I grabbed the quest item and then ran and stood some place where it was safe to revive after the mob in question tracked me down and killed me.

We do what we must.

Two rounds of quests and 9 deaths later, the Potshots showed up.  We grouped up, they rode on out to me, having the same cross-zone “talk to a guy” quest, though they were level 16 so had obviously done some in between quests, and we went through the same set of quests I had just finished.

Which wasn’t really a bad thing.

I was able to be a bit of a guide, the three of us together could take on any number of adds, and Rift seems very good so far at sharing quest updates across a group.  I hold this up in comparison to the disaster in New Halas where the sheer bloody minded refusal of the starter zone to be group friendly pretty much killed EverQuest II for the instance group forever.  Individuals have stated that they will never play EQII again, so it is dead to the group.

Rift won’t have the same result it seems, at least not because of that.

That set of quests done, we decided to head out and help defend Freemarch from invasion.  There was some sort of “Angela’s Ashes of History” world event of some sort going on, and we were instructed to find a quest giver in our capital, but none of us managed to find this quest giver.

Either Meridian isn’t our capital, a possibility, it being merely the first city we’ve seen, or we were too low level to participate.  Because I would guess that the the quest giver for an important, we’ve announced it everywhere, world event would be put in an easy to find location, and not in the back room of the third cave to the left in the side annex of the city, right?

So we went riding off to attack the more mundane invasions.

We all got the collector's edition

We started in on footholds.

Footholds through me for a minor loop when I first encountered one, as they pop up and shoo away the quest givers.  That was before I discovered that the enemy NPCs guarding footholds are pretty flimsy and not very observant.  You can pull them off one by one.  But if you get the whole group, it isn’t a disaster, as they tend to be manageable solo as a whole.

So we knocked out a foothold, destroying their “blue thing” and cheering for the restoration of our “red thing.”  (We were not up on the terminology in our fellowship… erm.. group.)

Foothold Defeated!

And then we ran on to the next foothold, and defeated that.

Foothold Defeated As Well!

We ran along and killed a couple more, then consulted the map.

The map showed a foothold back at the first two spots we had just cleared.  So we apparently either missed something (I think I saw a roving group of invaders previously) or the who dynamic thing isn’t really as dynamic as they would like you to believe.

Tired of footholds, we moved on to a nearby Rift.

The first one we encountered was already in progress, somebody having defeated the first couple of rounds before they wandered off.  We closed that one up, but failed to make the timer on the bonus round, mostly because nobody noticed the timer until it was down to 00:04, at which point we were not going to make it.

The next one we found was a fresh rift.  We went after that with a vengeance, now a bit more aware of what was expected.  We were successful, beat the timed round, and the bonus round with the boss.  Full victory with a group of three.

A Rift No More

Riding around looking for more trouble, we spotted a rift forming.

Coming Soon To This Location - A Fire Rift

We used our special “get this rift going already” ability and a rift with fire based bad guys popped into being.  We had been mostly fighting water footholds and rifts up to this point, but what did that really mean?  How about a little fire, scarecrow!

This rift, flagged as level 13, was actually lower level that the last couple we took on, which put up level 15 bosses which we defeated without much issue, so when we got past the timed bonus and went to the boss round, we were pretty confident.  We were level 17 by this point, and what chance did a level 13 boss have against us?  Bring on the so-called Beast of Flame!

How Do You Do? Now You're Gonna Die!

And then, of course, he kick out collective asses.

Did I Mention He Was A Beast? A Beast of Flame!

After three rounds of that, we decided the Beast of Flame could keep the stinking little farm he was occupying.  It was getting late and our mothers were calling.

So we rode off.

But it was getting late, so we headed back to Meridian, where I still failed to find any world even quest giver, which doesn’t mean the quest giver isn’t there.  I probably just missed the giant sign with the arrow pointing at him or something.

Anyway, the hope is that we will have a group of five this coming weekend and will start sorting out into specific roles within the group, so when we next run into the Beast of Flame, we’ll have somebody spec’d for healing and for tanking as opposed to set of people all spec’d to solo.