Category Archives: World of Warcraft

WoW Needs Expansion Badly – Subs Fall to 5.6 Million

Well now we know why Blizzard was keen to announce a new expansion the day after tomorrow, as subscription numbers are officially down to what was announced back in December of 2005, or 5.6 million.  That is a drop of 1.5 million subscribers from the 7.1 million number reported at the end of the first quarter, something of a rebuke to the long-term viability of the Warlords of Draenor garrison strategy, which saw subscribers peak at 10 million at launch.

Basically, 44% of WoW subscribers have walked away since the current expansion launched.

Chieftain Cheat Sheet

Chieftains lack the staying power of Pandas

So we have a day to indulge in “WoW is dying” hysteria before we are all swept off our collective feet and pledge ourselves anew to the promise of a fresh expansion in Azeroth.

The loss in subscribers was, once again, pinned largely on declines in Asia, purportedly driven by the popularity of Diablo III, which recently launched in China.  Diablo III has sold more than 30 million units world wide now, but is it really stealing from WoW? Blizzard refused to get pinned down on specifics despite direct questions on the investor call.

Still, given the actual financial numbers coming out of the Blizzard side of the house, which are at record highs, somebody is clearly spending money on their products.  The page for Blizzard from the presentation slide deck is as follows:

Blizzard Q2 2015 slide

Blizzard Q2 2015 slide

The slide deck and detailed financials can be found at the investor relations site.

The blurb at the top in blue is an attempt to say that monthly active users was up 50% over Q2 last year, which means that more people are playing Blizzard games than last year.

Hearthstone especially was mentioned multiple times during both the whole company overview and then again during the Blizzard specific segment of the call.  Once again though, its numbers are coyly lumped in with those of Destiny and Heroes of the Storm, for a combined lifetime total of $1.2 billion.

Still, even though I want to know how that really breaks out between the those games, it is a sizable amount of revenue for three titles.

Of course the big question now, beyond what the new expansion will contain, is when will it launch?  An expansion a year out, which is a pretty typical gap between announcement and launch for Blizzard, would no doubt see more subscriber losses as there is no new content planned for Warlords of Draenor.

And what do we even want out of the next expansion?  I am not sure I even know anymore.  Is there anything Blizz could do that wouldn’t annoy as many people as it pleased?

MMO Champion has a good subscriber chart embedded in their post if you want to see the subscriber line going up and down over the years.  I have all the numbers in a spreadsheet, but cannot make Excel behave the way they can.

And, finally, this is how the poll I put up last week fared.

174 respondents

174 respondents

I would call those who picked 5.5 million the “winners” I suppose.  The “other” response was 42.

July in Review

The Site

The site got its 25,000th comment back in June, which I mentioned on Twitter at the 24,999 mark, and then totally forgot to follow up on.

So now, a month later than anticipated (if only by me), I can declare that the 25,000th comment was left by Silverangel of Kitty Kitty Boom Boom who left a tangential comment about the size qualities of .gif files on a post about 64-bit gaming!

But that is the way blogging frequently is.  You can write 2,000+ words on a topic, include one sentence about a some unrelated item, and THAT sentence will be what gets a comment.  I find this phenomena hilarious, though I must also admit I am frequently that person as well, making the essentially off-topic comments on a post because something catches my eye.

Anyway, there is no prize for this, just a hastily created achievement unlocked graphic.

Because achievements!

Because achievements!

Of course I saved in .gif format.

One Year Ago

There was a site put up by eBay about game return on investment.  Unsurprisingly, it indicated that used games are a deal in that regard, so you should go buy some on eBay.

There was the passing of yet another Steam Summer Sale.

SOE forgot to pay their domain name registration.  Meanwhile, Landmark was available for a deep discount after the Steam Summer Sale, leading to speculation about its future.

SuperData Research was listing out the Top Subscription MMOs while not defining what they really meant by the term.

Anarchy Online introduced a PLEX-like currency, GRACE.

The community manager for LOTRO was busy telling raiders and PvMP players that they weren’t getting any new content because they added up to less than 10% of the player population.

I finished up Pokemon Y on the 3DS.

In my attempt at the loremaster achievement in WoW I ran through Desolace, Feralas, and Thousand Needles one week, Felwood and Un’goro Crater the next.  Then it was Winterspring, Swamp of Sorrows, and the Blasted Lands, the Cape of Stranglethorn, and the final bit of the Eastern Kingdoms.  I was on a roll.

in EVE Online we were commuting to Delve, where maybe there was going to be a war, and chasing Brave Newbies around (then getting pipe bombed) when there wasn’t anything going on.  That was back when we owned Delve.  Fights went on sporadically for a while and many a Rupture was sacrificed simply try a fresh doctrine.  So many Ruptures.  Apocs did better.

Meanwhile the Crius expansion hit New Eden, making industry better… it did get better, right?

In EverQuest, on the Fippy Darkpaw Time Locked Progression server, the vote to unlock the Underfoot expansion failed, making it the second expansion ever to get voted down, the first being Gates of Discord nearly two years before.

With that I was wondering what other MMOs might go for the retro nostalgia server thing.  Not WoW, that is for sure.

I was also on about housing in MMOs, what has really worked for me and what has fallen flat and why.  This included some projection as to what garrisons might end up being in WoW.

Our epic game of Civilization V saw expansionism and direct conflict with the Aztec empire.

Five Years Ago

The late Paul the octopus created the largest page view day ever in the history of the blog, later to be surpassed by Cats playing Patty Cake and Alamo.

I was told I write like Cory Doctorow… or maybe Ian Flemming.

My daughter was Banned from Club Penguin.  Tears were shed, lessons were learned.

EverQuest II Extended, the free to play EverQuest II, was announced.  I wondered whether trying to play it without paying at all would be a challenge in and of itself.  Meanwhile, there was some evidence that EQII accounts had value.  That stunning news no doubt got them going on the authenticator they announced at Fan Faire this year.

I completed 100 levels in The Agency: Covert Ops.  I was unemployed, what can I say?

StarCraft II launched.  I still haven’t bought a copy.  I’ll wait for the battle chest in a couple of years.  It isn’t like I am going to be very good at it this time around.  I was barely adequate at the original.

Hulkageddon III ended, and it even had a video wrap-up.  And then PLEX was made transportable in space.  I wonder if they waited for Hulkageddon to be over for that?

In another Summer hiatus season, the instance group started another run at LOTRO.  This time it was Bung who was out, having the dual issues of moving and having a new baby to care for.  Those of us in Middle-earth hung out with old friends.  That put off deciding who my main character was, by letting me roll another one!

Blizzard gave up on some of their RealID plans thanks to much public kvetching.  Shortly there after, the ESRB came out against Real ID as being bad for consumer security while proving they too were bad for consumer security.

Blizzard revamped Parental Controls again.  As much as I have griped about them, they are better than any comparable controls I have seen, even in games that offer that as a feature.

World of Warcraft Magazine issue #2 showed up.  Issue #4 would arrive 9 months later.  No word on issue #5 as of now.

And, finally, somebody was trying to make yet another flying car that failed to live up to our expectations.  Have none of these scientists ever seen The Jetsons?

New Linking Sites

The following blogs have linked this site in their blogrolls, for which they have my thanks.

Please take a moment to visit them in return.

Most Viewed Posts in July

  1. The First EverQuest II Progression Server Polls and Some Details
  2. SOE Finally Gets a REAL Server Status Page
  3. A Call for Space Carebears
  4. Running Civilization II on Windows 7 64-bit
  5. Next WoW Expansion to be Announced August 6th, Just After Subscriber Numbers Get Released…
  6. Learning to do the Fozzie Sov Shuffle
  7. Quote of the Day – The Dreaded Rear Admiral
  8. Quote of the Day – Smart Money
  9. Ain’t No Cure for the Summertime MMO Ennui Blues
  10. EverQuest II Time Locked Expansion Servers Today
  11. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  12. Sheep Stole My Mining Cart

Search Terms of the Month

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[Don’t be that person]

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[I’d say you answered your own question]

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[I think that is one of those “pick two” situations]

empires and allies zynga scew up
[Yes indeed!]

eve online horrible
[Well, yes, but it is shared adversity experience]

EVE Online

Fozzie sov came and New Eden began to burn… or sizzle… or whatever it is that happens when you turn on an Entosis Link module.  Pulsating within a little green circle?  Anyway, there are a lot of systems in play according to Timer Board. (400+ as of the moment I am writing this.)

Reavers have been out hitting distant regions to test the new system while Pure Blind has been an ongoing fight due to the fact that almost nobody in The Imperium lives there.  Still not sure if the sov changes are better or are simply going to make more alliances collapse in exhaustion.

EverQuest II

The Time Locked Expansion servers opened up, and I rolled up on the PvE flavor, Stormhold.  So far, so good.  It isn’t the old days, but it is different enough from the Live servers to be an experience unto itself.  There is a lesson in this.

Anyway, I have a level 11 SK in Freeport, am having a good time, and am looking for a guild, since there is no way I am going to create one myself.

Minecraft

Minecraft remains a thing I have been playing.  There is, as I mentioned, a certain peacefulness to the game.  My daughter stopped playing and now only watches me over my should now and again, until it becomes too frustrating to bear, then she has to walk away.  I don’t do things the right way.  That is what it is like being 13.

War Thunder

This sort of slipped off of my rotation.  I think Minecraft and EverQuest II ate up the bit of time that I had been devoting to the game.  Also, I was motivate by the daily prize thing for a bit, as at Day 25 there was a possibility of getting something useful.  Instead I got a gambling token thing that was pretty much no value.  My gut response was a bit negative.

World of Warcraft

I haven’t logged in since the week that the 6.2 patch went live, so I should probably take WoW off of my “Games I Play” list and move it to “Games I Watch.”  There hasn’t been any frustration or a wave of “I’m so sick of this game!” or anything, just zero motivation to log in.

Coming Up

Activision-Blizzard results for Q2 2015 will be announced on August 4th, followed by the next WoW expansion on August 6th.  The subscription numbers they report will likely determine whether or not Blizzard felt they needed some immediate good news and/or a distraction in August rather than waiting for BlizzCon.

And it is a good thing that is coming, because next month is also Blagaust and we’ll need stuff to post about, and those two dates will be grist for the blogging mill!  We can’t count on Derek Smart to keep us entertained all the time!

Meanwhile, a friend at work has been talking about Diablo III, so I started poking my nose into that a bit.  We’ll see if it goes anywhere in August.

And then I have some new projects coming up at work, my daughter goes back to school in the middle of the month, and I have been summoned for Jury duty as well, so it might end up being a tough month for posts.

Next WoW Expansion to be Announced August 6th, Just After Subscriber Numbers Get Released…

Blizzard has announced that they will be doing a big reveal of the next expansion for World of Warcraft at Games at Gamescom on August 6th.

Mana for a slow news day...

Mana for a slow news day…

So maybe August won’t be such a slow news month after all.  That will give people plenty to talk about, analyze, and project their wishes and dreams upon.

The venue is a bit odd.  Not to dis Gamescom, but this sort of thing is usually reserved for a BlizzCon keynote speech, when all the faithful are focused on their game of choice and it can serve as a lead-in to a whole range of panels to dig deeper into the details.

But really, it isn’t the venue we should be thinking about, it is the date.  Aside from an unfortunate correlation with a 70th anniversary (who will complain that Blizzard is upstaging that on purpose?) and my parent’s wedding anniversary (go ahead and upstage that, please!), the date seems set to come in just after we get the Activision-Blizzard quarterly results for the second quarter of 2015 and, most importantly, the WoW subscription numbers that will come with it.  That hits on August 4th according to the investor relations site.

For the first quarter of 2015 the subscription numbers were down to 7.1 million.  Now there is a rush to get the next expansion announced early in August, a slow news month, well before BlizzCon, and just after the quarterly report?

I love me a good conspiracy theory, and this one has all the makings of such.

Is Blizzard trying to drum up some good news and sugarplum visions of the future to offset bad news on subscriber front?  Is this Blizzard in a panic or not?

What do you think the subscription numbers will come in at?  Stable at 7 million?  6.5 million?  6 million?  5 million?  Less?  More?  Here, have a poll!

[Added after the post went live.]

I guess we know what the WoW panels at BlizzCon will be focused on at least.

Ain’t No Cure for the Summertime MMO Ennui Blues

Theoretically, this should be an exciting time for MMOs for me.

Blizzard finally gave us the WoW 6.2 patch, bringing us a new zone and opening up flying in Draenor.  Daybreak has the EverQuest time locked progression server thing running, and it is more popular than ever.  They are also warming up an EverQuest II version of the same, which could be interesting.  There is a new update dropping for EVE Online next week and then the final round of Fozzie Sov changes the following week, which should liven things up.

And yet, I am not really feeling it right now.

The 6.2 patch in WoW, far from bringing me back into the game, seemed to tip the balance the other way.  I had been in something of a garrison and pet battle holding pattern for ages, and then 6.2 hit and I stopped logging in altogether.

There was the momentary shock of the Master Plan addon breaking.  Really, doing garrison missions without that makes the whole thing such a chore that I didn’t bother trying.  And even when the addon was fixed a day later I didn’t bother.  Garrisons kept me going for a bit, but they are also my undoing in the end.  (The death of the easy-money gray trash from the salvage yard didn’t help either.)

I think, perhaps, that the two year straight run with WoW might mean it is time for a break.  Blizz has said that 6.2 is it for the expansion, so the whole game will be in something of a holding pattern until BlizzCon, at which point they will likely announce the next expansion.  We’ll see if Blizz can wait that long.  I suspect that the Q2 2015 results, which ought to be announced in August, will show another sharp decline in subscribers.

On the EverQuest side of things, I am just not feeling it.  For all the nostalgia I feel for the game, I might not be in the right state of mind for another round of bandit camping in West Karana, undead in Unrest, and whatever else.  I am glad it is going on, I am enjoying watching from the sidelines, but I just don’t log in.

I fear the same might be true for the EverQuest II nostalgia servers.  I am not entirely happy with the name choices.

Deathtoll seems just a bit too cute for the PvP server.  And, while Stormhold would have been my first choice for the PvE server had Isle of Refuge not been on the list, I am somewhat shocked that Isle of Refuge didn’t win.  It was the runaway favorite in the nominations.  I don’t want to go all Daybreak vote rigging conspiracy theory on this, but I seriously thought Isle of Refuge winning was pretty much a given.  But, Stormhold it is I guess.

Stormhold, in Antonica

Stormhold, in Antonica

There is the promise of more polls to come for the EverQuest II time locked expansion server, along with a beta promised for next week, though I have to wonder how Daybreak is feeling about polls now given the seeming “ain’t nobody happy” compromise around the Ruins of Kunark unlock vote.

And then there is EVE Online.  I suppose that EVE doesn’t really count, as boredom and finding it difficult to log in is the normal state of affairs for me with the game.  Then something will happen… a war, a deployment, a new fleet doctrine… that will lead to the moments of excitement that make the hours or boredom worthwhile.

All of which has added up to me mostly playing Minecraft every evening when I have some time.  So you can probably expect more “letters from those late to the party” posts about the game going forward.

June in Review

The Site

Well, WordPress.com finally decided to impose their new stats page on us.  I am not a fan, to say the least.  While they did fix the problem where the first three years of my stats were missing, which I complained about previously, the format leaves me cold.  They have added a few more informational tidbits to the mix:

That is 18:00 UTC, probably when Bhagpuss gets home from work

That is 18:00 UTC, probably about when Bhagpuss gets home from work

But they have removed all the summary charts that I really, really like.  Fortunately, for the time being, you can still access the previous version of the stats page at the URL:

https://wordpress.com/my-stats/

You can also find the even older version of the stats page for your WordPress.com blog if you modify this URL to add in your blog’s domain:

https:// <blog name e.g. tagn> .wordpress.com/wp-admin/index.php?page=stats

You do have to log in and have permissions for any given blog, so you cannot modify that URL to see the stats of others.

Meanwhile, WordPress.com and Automattic, its parent company, are coming up on their 10th anniversary in August of letting people in to blog for free.  It seems odd that I have been around and blogging on WordPress.com for almost 9 of those 10 years.

One Year Ago

I toasted the Newbie Blogger Initiative class of 2014.  Long may they post.

WildStar launched… and started its journey to F2P.  Still alive though.

SOE finally broke its ties with the ill-fated and ill-conceived ProSiebenSat.1 deal.

Derek Smart was telling us why to charge for beta.  Lord British was getting serious with virtual real estate.

It was summer and the short lived strategy group was looking to the Steam Summer Sale for a new game.  Meanwhile we were still playing our epic game of Civilization V.

We heard about how CCP handled/mishandled World of Darkness.

CCP launched the last of its expansions with a six month lead-time.  Kronos was the end of the line for twice yearly expansions.  I set off on the training plan to be a wing/fleet booster in EVE Online.

In Azereoth, my attempt at the Loremaster achievement had me in Darkshore and then on to Ashenvale and the Stonetalon Mountains .

Meanwhile the Warlords of Draenor alpha was starting, so I had to avert my eyes.  So I started pondering things like how Blizzard should change the starter edition of WoW.

The instance group, heading towards its regular summer hiatus, was hitting the Mogu-shan Palace.

I took a look at a long history of gear obsession.

And I was wondering if authenticators were still a thing.

Five Years Ago

Warhammer Online, whose game tips I previously mocked, was out soliciting user written game tips with the most boring video game related video ever.  Really, I was embarrassed for them.

Meanwhile, there were comical tips to be found in another game.

CCP was telling people that the steep learning curve in EVE Online was just part of the game, and Hulkageddon III was on the way.

FrontierVille came along, evoking the whole Oregon Trail thing… for which they recently were sued.  And a good thing to, as they are a bunch of lying bastards there at Zynga.  They never sent me my FarmVille magnet.

There was the big news from Turbine with Lord of the Rings Online going Free to Play.  I wondered is Lifetime Subscribers like myself would get the shaft in this transition.  But Turbine made me a perm VIP instead and put out one of those charts that seems to accompany these multi-level subscription scams structures.  But I was winning LOTRO lotteries, so I was happy for the moment.

In Pokemon SoulSilver I had beat all the gym leaders, but we were having Pokewalker problems.

Then there was Blizzard.  Where to start?  They were to the Summer of 2010 what CCP is becoming to the Summer of 2011.

They were selling WoW Gold straight from the main page.  Really.  It just isn’t what you think.

They screwed up the parental controls interface… in my opinion… along with compromising the security of it.

The whole RealID thing was just getting warmed up.

One of the accounts in our guild was compromised and the guild bank was looted.  That has happened a couple times since and is barely news any more.

And during all this, the instance group was working its way through The Burning Crusade content with our Horde alts, but we weren’t really feeling it.

Ennui had set in and our only hope was Cataclysm.  And there were plenty of offers to get us into the beta.

New Linking Sites

The following blogs have linked this site in their blogrolls, for which they have my thanks.

Please take a moment to visit them in return.

Most Viewed Posts in June

  1. Fine, You Can Fly in Draenor, But Only AFTER You Hit an Arbitrary Content Threshold!
  2. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  3. The Search for the Summer Game
  4. Introducing Carnyx the Magnificent
  5. Entosis Link Modules in Action in Querious
  6. Travel Advisory – Conflict in Amarr
  7. Quote of the Day – F2P Insight
  8. Play On: Guild Name Generator
  9. What Future for Turbine after Infinite Crisis?
  10. The Revenant Kill in JU-0WQ
  11. A Bit of Ancient History that Still Sticks With Me…
  12. On to 64-Bit Gaming

Search Terms of the Month

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[That isn’t the hardware info I need to help you]

aggronauts myspace
[I’m pretty sure Belghast gave up on MySpace]

is turbine developing a new mmo?
[If they are, they haven’t shared it with me]

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[Good luck with that]

why does server emulation take so long to do
[It probably takes less time than the original]

Spam Comment of the Month

So, sum up the advantages of belonging to the pre-war, animal husbandry, which is the top 30% inhibition, can play a little more aggressive, make good use of the hammer then fear storm control, and no brain start to play shield + disperse oppressive force play. Danelaw went to the former and Wessex to the latter with each side taking half of Mercia.
* Fast Poison.

EVE Online

After the Reavers left Querious things slowed down a bit for me in New Eden.  We ran a couple of ops to Fountain to assist Brave Newbies, making us the rare exception to the “let’s go to Fountain and farm!” trend.  And there was Burn Amarr.  But the last week or so has been more about settling in and finding a home in Tribute.

EverQuest

I have probably been playing this for some definitions of “playing,” but even so I have not made much progress.  I made a few characters to claim the storage box that was given to those who joined the beta, which gave me a pile of alts to work on.  So now I have a pile of low level alts.  None of them are even level 10 yet.  It is just like 1999 again.

EverQuest II

I have been keeping an eye on EverQuest II because of the plans for their own nostalgia server.  I am interested to see how this will turn out.  I suspect it will be successful for reasons different than the EverQuest side of the house.

Minecraft

Since Father’s Day I have put in quite a few hours in the low-res world of Minecraft.  It certainly has a charm of its own, even if I am a few years late to the party.  But then, that just means that they have fixed all the bugs by now, right?

War Thunder

I have been putting in a bit of time with War Thunder over the last month.  I am still horrendously bad at it.  If I was better I might spend some money on it.  But I have a whole post on that and how the usual trend in F2P is manifesting itself in the game.

World of Warcraft

This has been in something like maintenance mode for most of the month.  I log in to tend my garrison.  I totally fail to show up for group nights.  I don’t do much else.  Then came the 6.2 patch last week.  Well, I am sure I will have a post about that.  I am just not sure what to say at this point.

Coming Up

July is the start of the summer silly season, when news dries up and we all start fixating on things like prognosticating octopi and the like.  Then we’ll head into August, the barren wasteland of new content and game launches, where memes and questionnaires will be all to sustain us as we entertain bizarro world ideas, like turning Pong into an MMO or imagining Star Citizen delivering on all its promises or taking crazy ravings on the internet seriously.  I will no doubt be digging deep into my drafts folder looking for something to write about then.

It is enough to make a body want to just take the summer off.

Still, there are a couple of things on the horizon.  Daybreak will be doing whatever it is they plan to do with EverQuest II and their nostalgia server.  There is supposed to be a beta starting as soon as the week of July 7th.

CCP has another expansion coming up on July 7th, to be followed a week later with the final transition to Fozzie Sov, at which point we’ll get to see first hand just how many loopholes and exploits there are in the plan.  I expect at least two sov holding alliances to fail cascade in simple frustration at dealing with the mechanics.  Could be interesting times, and doubly so since SniggWaffe (Pandemic Legion Junior) and some pals look like they came along and kicked J4LP out of half of Cloud Ring, so we’ll have them on our doorstep.  That should make for some excitement.

What else is coming up in July?

Fine, You Can Fly in Draenor, But Only AFTER You Hit an Arbitrary Content Threshold!

I nearly did a spit-take when I saw this announcement.

Blizzard has responded… or changed its mind… or caved in to the mob… or stuck to its principles… or screwed over one group for another… or completely failed to understand the issue at hand… pick whichever option fits your personal narrative… and announced that players will be allowed to fly in Draenor after all.

This all started a couple weeks back when Blizzard announced that they were not going to enable flying in Draenor.  The top level reasoning was:

Having looked at how flying has played out in the old world in the last couple of expansions, we realized that while we were doing it out of this ingrained habit after we introduced flying in The Burning Crusade, it actually detracted from gameplay in a whole lot of ways

Basically, flying meant that people ended up not playing the game the way Blizzard wanted.

Flying lets you bypass all our hard work! How can you not see that?

Flying lets you bypass all our hard work! How can you not see that? Look at this terrain!

You can put whatever other spin you want on it, but that really seems to me to be the essential point.  They designed all this content assuming you’d be on the ground, but when you can fly, you can bypass it all.

I love when I can fly by the form hasn't drawn yet...

Sometimes I bypass having a flying mount or flight form altogether and just fly!

For me, the great unanswered question in all of this remains how much control over their game should a developer be allowed, whether or not the dev’s view of how their game should be played should trump the player’s view, whether MMO studios be dictating a “right way” to play and should players accept that or not?  Maybe that should be a question for Blaugust, when we’re all struggling to post for 31 days straight.

Anyway, that aside, Blizzard has come up with what feels to me very much like a “have your cake and eat it” solution to the rage about flying.  Or maybe it is a good compromise.  It is hard for me to tell at this point.  However yeah, you’ll be able to fly in Draenor, but first these things you must achieve, ‘ere the freedom of the sky ye see!

When you have achieved…

…and collected 100 treasures in Draenor, AND raised three Tanaan Jungle (a new area coming with the 6.2 update) reputations to Revered (I bet it was exalted in the first pass), then and only then will you be granted the Draenor Pathfinder meta achievement which will reward the Soaring Skyterror mount and unlock flying in Draenor on your account for all your characters at or above level 90… once they patch that in.

The money quote for this:

We believe this strikes the right balance between ensuring ground-based content lives up to its full potential, while providing players who’ve already fully experienced Draenor’s outdoor world extra freedom to “break the rules.” This also provides a general blueprint going forward for content to come. Players will explore new and undiscovered lands from the ground, and then once they’ve fully mastered those environments—a notion that continues to evolve with each new expansion—they can take to the skies and experience the world from a new vantage point.

And I can guess the results of this now.  A large group will be quietly happy and we’ll never hear from them again.  But they were probably quiet this whole time anyway.

Meanwhile, those who very much oppose flying will feel betrayed because content bypassing and dropping in on mobs from above and all the other complaints will be enabled on alts the moment they hit Draenor.  At least back in Pandaria every character had to hit level cap before getting to fly.

And those who have been demanding the ability to fly… well, it would be hard not get the sense that they want to fly so they can do all the things now required to get flying by… well… just flying.  If you’ve already done all that, flying doesn’t help you out as much.  I cannot imagine that unbridled happiness will ensue as this group expected the Pandaria deal, just get to level cap and part with some gold and let me fly dammit!

But somehow the world will keep spinning and the sun will still come up tomorrow.

At least that is how I see it… and I don’t even have any of those achievements.  That would require me to leave my garrison… or log in, which has been getting harder of late.

But others are talking about the great flying compromise of 2015 as well.

The Search for the Summer Game

My daughter came to me last week and declared that she was bored with World of Warcraft.

This is not an unusual thing.

She is, after all, 13 years old.  Being bored with things is pretty much part of the job description, coming on the list right after being embarrassed by your parents.

An making sweeping declarations about Azeroth being boring are not new.  That comes up from time to time and she finds something else to do with her allotted computer time for a while before heading back to the game.

This time though… this time it was a bit different.  After the usual declarations, she started asking about what other games there are out there.  And she even asked me to turn off her account so we wouldn’t be wasting money paying for something she wasn’t using.

Shit just got serious!

So we talked a little bit about what else was out there… something complicated by the fact that her computer is an iMac.  She has the biggest, best looking screen in the house, but Mac OS doesn’t get anywhere as many games as Windows.

We talked a bit about that, then she went off to go revisit WebKinz, the first online game she ever tried, way back in 2007.  It seems that she gets video game nostalgia too, just like me.  I used to be pretty firmly on the “nurture” side of the whole “nurture vs. nature” thing, and then I became a parent and decided that nature is not to be dismissed lightly.  I’m not saying that The Bad Seed should be classified as a documentary, I just mean that I see my daughter exhibiting the same behaviors as I did as a child at times, but it wasn’t like she was around to pick those behaviors up directly.

Anyway, she went off to WebKinz, got her old account restored (which took a few days) then began complaining about how things had changed.  Again, just like pop.  You need a Deluxe Membership to do a lot of things, while the whole physical pet aspect… it is still there I guess, but it seems to be de-emphasized compared to the new cash shop.  I didn’t check if they had added lock boxes, but it wouldn’t surprise me.

Meanwhile, this got me to reflect on my own feelings about World of Warcraft at the moment.

I have been in something of a holding pattern.  I haven’t made instance groups nights for a while now, letting down the team.  I log into the game daily, but I generally just do some garrison tasks and a couple of daily pet battles before I log off again.

Vikund in his garrison

Vikund in his garrison

I have an alt sitting at close to level 92, largely due to pet battles, that I haven’t bothered to bring to Draenor yet, in part because the thought of yet another garrison to tend does not excite me in the least.

So I just tend my garrisons, increase my wealth… I could go buy that Grand Expedition Yak now if I so desired… and not much else.  I haven’t even rushed into Darkmoon Faire this month, and I am usually pretty religions on that every month. Though, on reflection, I mostly did that to collect heirlooms, and you can simply buy those with gold now.  So aside from the pets and mounts… and I have all of those already… and the minimal trade skill boosts, there suddenly isn’t as much to Darkmoon Faire for me as there once was.

So it might be time for a break from WoW for both of us.  We have been back and subscribed and playing WoW for nearly two years straight at this point.  A vacation from Azeroth might be in order.

But where to go?

Yes, things are happening in EVE Online, Fozzie Sov is coming.  But for me EVE is always the game I play along with some other game.  It cannot be relied upon to provide fun and engagement on demand.

In the past, summer destinations have included Lord of the Rings Online and EverQuest II.  There is certainly a lot more of Middle-earth to see on the far side of Moria, or I could continue my climb to somewhere closer to the level cap in post-cataclysm Norrath.

There is also the current progression server thing going on with EverQuest, though I am falling behind on that one, lacking a regular group… or much free time.  And unless Daybreak continues to publicize it the low level areas will dry up soon.

Then there are other MMORPGs I own or which are free… or free-ish.  I’ve been into Guild Wars 2 in the past and took a run a Star Wars: The Old Republic for a bit.  Along with those there is World of Tanks, War Thunder, and World of Warships, all of which I recently installed, though those tend to be short play session titles for me.  I could also add in some MMO-ish games to the list of possibilities, like Diablo III or Elite: Dangerous.

Then there is my Steam library.  Steam Left indicates that I have some play time left in that.

74 days would get me through the summer...

74 days would get me through this summer… and the next

And that number seems unlikely to get smaller given that the annual Steam Summer Sale commences tomorrow.  I know that something will be too cheap to resist… I have more than a couple games that were $3.74… adding on at least a few more hours.

So there I sit, needing a break from WoW but not sure where to head, and my daughter as well.  If I play with her, that complicates things due to the whole Mac OS limitation, though I might not need to account for her as she seems to have piled up some summer reading and has been more focused on art than video games on her computer of late.