Tag Archives: complaining for the sake of complaining

A Barrier to My Eventual Return to Azeroth

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, what I am playing is driven as much by what I am in the mood for as anything.  No amount of “I should be playing…”  will get me to launch a game.

And moods come and go.  Today I am playing a lot of Pokemon.  Next week I might tire of that and move on to something else.

But mood alone can only go so far.  Mood gets me to log in, sets up the scenario.  Then I need a task, a direction, a place to go.  I can be very task oriented, so I need a plan or a goal to work towards.  I was in the mood for EverQuest II back in December, but the plan for progress never solidified and I walked away.

All of which brought my thoughts to World or Warcraft.  I am not playing it currently, but I expect that I will eventually.  Curse has been keeping my addons up to date.  The Legion expansion lost my interest after running through all the zones and finishing up the quest lines.  Beyond that and hitting the level cap I ran out of goals there.

But the 7.2 update introduced both new content and a good goal.

now running in Azeroth

Unlocking flying in the Legion expansion is the sort of task I could see myself coming back to the game to run down.  It requires a lot of work, but the tasks themselves are not insurmountable on their own… they were even reduced in scope… and knocking them out as I went would provide a feeling or progress.  Progress feeds the soul of the MMORPG achiever.

The problem is that Blizzard threw a monkey wrench in the gears for me with the 7.2 patch.

The new feature where mobs scale to your item level seems bizarro world bad.

Yes, I know they cut it back a bit.

And I even understand the problem they are trying to solve, a problem I have bitched about myself, the trivialization of content.

You can see that issue just by starting a new character in WoW and running up to level 30 or so.  If you insist on running all the quests… which is to say, you want to consume the actual content and see the various zone story lines through to their conclusion… you will soon find you have out leveled the quests as they go gray on you while any foes are now so weak in comparison that Blizzard actually made a piece of gear that was effectively the “false swipe” move from Pokemon that would not kill mobs so you wouldn’t sneeze and slay an NPC you needed alive. (I think it was the toy foam sword, though I could be wrong.)

So there is an issue there.  This was addressed to a certain extent in the Legion expansion at launch by making the initial set of zones auto-scale to your level.  After you were done there, everything else would be at level cap.

You still had to keep up with gear progress.  But that wasn’t so bad, and gear progression is one of the things in WoW that makes you feel good, especially in the case of weapons.  Few things make you feel like you’ve grown stronger than being able to smite down a foe more easily than before.

But now when that hot new piece of gear drops and your item level count goes up, your foes get tougher as well.  That effectively kills the good feeling you get with gear progression, at least out in the open world.  If you’re running instance or raids it is a different story.  And, as somebody with a strong achiever streak in them, this rains on my achiever parade.

In an attempt to solve what I will cop to as a legitimate problem it feels like they have just made a new one.  It reminds me of the tale where a guy gets cats to chase away the troublesome mice, then dogs to chase the troublesome cats, and so on until he ends up with elephants and has to get the mice back to rid himself of the pachyderms that are literally knocking his house down; it feels like a solution that just changes the problem rather than solving it.

Of course, I haven’t actually resubscribed and logged back into WoW to give it a try, but the feeling that this may suck makes that less likely to happen.  And all the more so since I haven’t seen much about the topic of late.  Maybe it wasn’t that bad.  Maybe people quit and left over it.

So how bad is it, or is it that bad at all?

Impressions of Diablo in the Age of World of Warcraft

The headline hints at my initial impression of Diablo III.

It is certainly, from my perspective, a mix of good and ill.

The first two installments of the Diablo series pre-date World of Warcraft by a few years and did, in fact, influence the design of Blizzard’s first MMO.  Certainly not in lore nor in the graphic style, but the mechanics of the game show Diablo’s hand clearly if you care to look close enough.

Oh hey, a quest!

More than a decade later, the shoe is clearly on the other foot.  WoW dominates Blizzard as sure as the sun dominates our solar system.  There is no escaping it.  It intrudes everywhere.

Like everything else, this can be viewed as good or bad depending on your own baggage.  I tend to like WoW, but I still find some of the intrusions annoying.

Anyway, in order to put some structure around my first night impressions, I will divide them, like Gaul, into three parts, which, because they are long and meandering, you will find below the cut.

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Searching for World of Warcraft Magazine Issue 5…

Judging from my search engine traffic, people are beginning to wonder when the next issue of the “quarterly” World of Warcraft Magazine is going to appear.  So I get to dredge up an old topic and complain about World of Warcraft, The Official Magazine again. (If you have read my past gripes on the topic, you are excused.)

Quarterly is in quotes above because you would think, under the normal rules of publishing, that a quarterly magazine that delivered its first issue in December 2009 would be rev’ing up to send out their 7th issue, not their 5th.  That is more than implied in their subscription form.


But then, one might expect that an MMORPG that will enter its seventh year this Fall might have shipped more than three expansions.  The Magazine truly reflects the game, though I’ve been down that road before.

The official site for the magazine (which was having a certificate issue earlier, something that always instills confidence!) is still pushing issue 4, which came out back at the beginning of April.

Mid-August and the site still shows this...

Issue 4  seemed to have wrapped up their coverage of the Cataclysm expansion.  Since Cataclysm has been the meat of the magazine so far, I suspect they might be at a loss as to what else they might cover.

So much happens with WoW in time frames that make a quarterly (or longer) schedule look positively geologic in duration that one wonders what they will be able to grab onto and cover in the 148 ad-free pages they put our every… well… whenever they get around to it.

Anyway, if you’ve arrived here because you are looking for information on issue 5 of the magazine, the publisher, Future US, hasn’t given any sign about when it might show up.

You might consider dropping them a note to ask about it.

In the mean time, I am beginning to regret resubscribing way back when issue 3 shipped.

Addendum: As soon as I posted this, I found the WoW Magazine Facebook page, where they were swearing just a month ago that they would be shipping issue 5 “soon.”

Addendum: And now I have been told that there will be no issue 6 ever.