Tag Archives: Dalaran

Scoring My 2009 MMORPG Progdictionations

The time has come to account for my January 1st predictions.

The real problem with me and predictions is that I set out to make a series of outrageous and humorous stabs at the future, but part way into it I get all reasonable and conservative and start making predictions that sound likely… or reasonable.

Not that I am any more accurate when I get conservative and reasonable.

On January 1st I made 15 predictions for the MMORPG market for 2009.  Below are the results.  I am going to assign each prediction a possible score of 10 points, with partial credit available.  How many points out of 150 will I get?

I am not going to paste in all the original predictions as it would make the post very long, plus I have a cold which has not put me in the mood to perform any more work that I absolutely have to.  But they are all right here if you want to see them in their original glory.

1 – Private Citizen British

This one was fulfilled before I managed to post it.  He wants to get back into fantasy gaming, but nothing came of it in 2009.  He did not, however, use the word “vision.”  7 out of 10 points.

2 – Bartle’s Test

Dr. Bartle was on the money with this one by extolling the virtues of Stranglethorn Vale from the aspect of zone design.  As expected, more than a few disagreed on that, STV being one of the more complained about zones in the game.  Dr. Bartle stood his ground however; he meant what he said and he said what he meant.  Not a huge controversy, but enough for my needs.  8 out of 10 points.

3 – Age of Anarchy

Funcom did not, as I predicted, merge Anarchy Online and Age of Conan into a single game with two different front end clients.  More is the pity, since Age of Conan seems to need some sort of boost these days.  0 out of 10 points.

4 – EverQuesting

The 10 Year Anniversary of EverQuest was not as big of a deal as I thought it would be.  There was no return of the Living Legacy promotion, the expansion was not as sweeping as I thought it would be, it was called “Underfoot,” and did not include any of the features I speculated about.  And it was only available as a digital download.

On the other hand, one thing I did suggest was:

and at least one method of advancing your character while off-line.  Not experience, nor AAs, but maybe skills or some other new character attribute.  It will be very slow, but will only work while you are subscribed, showing that SOE is trying to tap some of that EVE Online training magic to keep subscriptions going.

That pretty much sounds like research assistants in EverQuest II.  I am going to give myself 2 points out of 10 on that alone.

5 – Call Your Agency

Of the three games Sony has been talking about, only Free Realms saw the light of day in 2009, which was one more than I thought would.  On the other hand, there is still no PS3 version of Free Realms.  So I am going to give myself partial credit on Free Realms, since I said that PS3 development would be holding up the launch and they decided to go without it.

We have not heard, officially or in rumors, that PS3 is what is holding up The Agency or DC Universe Online, so only partial credit there as well.  3 out of 10.

6 – Elves of the Burning Sea

Flying Lab Software did not attempt to boost their subscription rate by re-skinning Pirates of the Burning Sea with fantasy creatures, so 0 out of 10 points.  I should not let my own LEGO fantasies influence my predictions.

7 – LEGO Dalaran

Nobody built Dalaran out of LEGO bricks… yet, 0 out of 10 points.

8 – Station Cash Balance of Payments

I predicted that any game that did not get a Station Cash store was pretty much marked for closure.  The Matrix Online was the first to go.  Planetside is down to one server and Star Wars Galaxies isn’t making any headlines of late.  I am going to give myself 5 out of 10 on that one because I think Planetside will be gone when The Agency shows up.  And as for SWG…

9 – Star Wars Galaxies to Take A Bio

I predicted that we would find out this year that Lucas was only going to sanction one Star Wars themed MMORPG and that SWG was going to lose out of BioWare’s Star Wars: The Old Republic.  I still think this is going to happen, so maybe I’ll roll it into the 2010 predictions.  But for 2009, 0 out of 10.

10 – Dawn of Darkfall

Darkfall did ship, but did not ship with the full list of promised features intact.  They suffered through launch issues like most MMOs, with things like skill exploits being closed off as time went along.  And they do appear to be walking the tightrope between PvP and other activities well for the time being.  You can argue amongst yourselves as to whether it is the second coming of Ultima Online or EVE Online in plate armor, but I’m taking 8 out of 10 points.

11 – Hero’s Slumber

Darkfall’s launch handed the MMORPG vaporware crown to Hero’s Journey which did not, as I predicted, ship in 2009.  That fact, however, was not the source of that much snarkiness that I could see, so 8 out of 10 points.

12 – Blizzard is Smarter Than You

I predict for Blizzard in 2009:

  • WoW Content patches – check
  • No WoW expansion – check
  • StarCraft II shipping – nope
  • StarCraft II and Diablo III news that will lead to whining – check
  • Info about their next MMO – nope

6 out of 10 points.

13 – The New Guys

Red 5 Studios, Carbine Studios, and 38 Studios provided practically no details about what they are working on.

On the other hand, I also said that nothing they announced would set the MMORPG market on fire.  Certainly saying little or nothing qualifies.  A point for that.

And MetaPlace looks unlikely to become a talent incubator for the next generation at this point.

1 out of 10 points.

14 – Heroes and Champions

This was a silly and complex set of predictions, all built in parody of NCSoft West President David Reid saying last year that Tabula Rasa was here to stay shortly before they announced it was being shut down.

Key predictions –

  • City of Heroes will shut down after David Reid announces things are going well – nope
  • Champions Online will launch in the Fall of 2009 – check (okay, Sept. 1 isn’t quite fall, but close)
  • David Reid will lose his job at NCSoft – check

6 out of 10 points.

15 – Tobolderized

No Toboldipedia or Toboldwiki created this year.  I blame Tobold’s summer break.

0 out of 10 points.

Results

The final count gives me 46 points out of 150, or 30.67% which, while abysmal, still beats last year’s 22%.

I think the Tobold predictions are dragging me down.  I may have to jettison him for 2010… or come up with something more plausible.

Now I just have to come up with some predictions for 2010!  Though right now, what I really want to predict is an over-the-counter decongestant that really works.  Stupid cold.

The 10 Year Anniversary of EverQuest was not as big of a deal as I thought it would be.  There was no return of the Living Legacy promotion, the expansion was not as sweeping as I thought it would be, it was called “Seeds of Destruction,” and did not include any of t

he features I speculated about.

On the other hand, one thing I did suggest was:

and at least one method of advancing your character while off-line.  Not experience, nor AAs, but maybe skills or some other new character attribute.  It will be very slow, but will only work while you are subscribed, showing that SOE is trying to tap some of that EVE Online training magic to keep subscriptions going.

That pretty much sounds like research assistants in EverQuest II.  I am going to give myself 3 points out of 10 on that alone.

My Daughter in Dalaran

My daughter shouted “I got a mage portal to Dalaran!” from across the room.

I said something agreeable then stopped to think for a second.

“Which character is now in Dalaran?” I asked.

It was her level 16 blood elf.

I thought about this some more.

“That character is on your account right?  You’re not using my account are you?”

This was her account.

Her account does not have Wrath of the Lich King enabled on it.  It only has The Burning Crusade, and the only reason it has that is because she really, really wanted to make a blood elf.

I went to go look over her shoulder, to be sure she really was in Dalaran.  She was.

The iMac has Lich King installed on it because I sometimes play on that machine, especially when I want to do something in Dalaran.  It is laggy, but it does not crash on me at least.  WoW has this quirk where you cannot play on a machine unless it has all the expansions on it to which you are entitled.  It you have Lich King enabled on your account, you can’t play on a machine with only the base game or Burning Crusade.

She got fed up with Dalaran pretty quickly, it being extra laggy on a weekend evening.

I guided her to the flight point.  An investment in the future.  Should she ever get that character to Northrend, having that flight point will be a help.

After that I showed her where the portals to other towns were.  I had to figure that one out myself, never having been on the horde side of town, but it wasn’t a huge mystery.

From there she wanted to go to Shattrath.

I left her wandering around there for a while, but when I checked back she was in Orgimmar.  Shattrath is only fun if you have a flying mount it seems.

I told her she should have set her hearth stone in Shattrath, then she could recall and use the portal to any of the major cities.  She liked the sound of that, but not so much as to regret leaving Shattrath before she had done it.  She can do that later, she said.  After all, she’s only level 16 on this character.

I’m going to have to figure out how she got into Dalaran.

Dalaran, Violet Hold, and The Amphitheater

Saturday night and we were all in Dalaran making our way to Violet Hold.

Actually, only four of us were in Dalaran.  I was waiting somewhere else.  WoW still crashes on my machine when ever I get too close to Dalaran despite having installed a variety of drivers, swapped video cards, shut down every extraneous system process I could find, updated the BIOS on the motherboard, tinkered with the clock settings on the video card (turning them down seemed to give me an extra minute or two at one point, but it may have just been situational), and installed WoW again fresh.  And the more people in Dalaran, the quicker the crash happens, so prime time on a Saturday night is Dalaran crash central time for me.

So the other four went into Dalaran, got the quest for the Violet Hold key, picked up the key, and then got an instance for us.  I had already gotten the key and the quest lined up on our iMac earlier in the day.  Once they were in the instance and set I used my hearthstone to recall to A Hero’s Welcome, one of the Inns, and attempted the run  roughly a quarter of the way across the city to the instance.

And I crashed in about 30 steps.  Bugger.

And when my system crashes in Dalaran I have to reboot.  Something… the video card, the drivers, the OS… something in the system needs to be refreshed after one of my Dalaran crashes.

After the reboot I managed to make it the rest of the way and into the instance.  I asked to be added to the Skype conference call (no point in asking before I got safely into the instance) and we got ourselves ready.  Our group was:

75 Warrior – Earlthecat
76 Priest – Skronk
76 Warlock – Bungholio
77 Mage – Ula
77 Paladin – Vikund

As is usual, and despite some warnings in past comments, we went into Violet Hold without any research into the instance.  All I really knew was what what people mentioned in comments along with the warnings to read up on the instance in advance.

We were there, and it seemed a bit busy even as we arrived.  There was a bit of an NPC battle going on right there on the steps in front of us.

We join the action in progress...

We join the action in progress...

A Lieutenant Sinclari was standing there facing us.  Ula went to talk to her.  She went a little too far in the dialog and suddenly the good Lieutenant (not Harvey Keitel) was announcing in a yell that her team was pulling out.  I read her yell aloud over Skype, “We’re pulling out….”

Ula Heard me and thought we were leaving the room so trotted along after Sinclari and her team just in time to be on the other side of the doors when they closed and sealed.  A familiar counter popped up on the screen.

Violet Hold Counter

Yes, just like last week in Black Morass.

A portal opened up with a portal guardian standing at it.  Mobs began showing up from the portal to attack us at the top of the stairs before the door.  We killed them while trying to figure out what to do about Ula.  Bung tried to summon her to us which took him off of offense.  Meanwhile another portal opened.  Then another.  Soon we were swamped and slain.  Oops.

Round 1 to the bad guys.

Fortunately, running through Dalaran as a ghost does not seem to bother my video card.  We ran back to the instance, got to the locked door at just about the time the bad guys broke through.  Seeing a mass of them running straight at us I thought we were in for another wipe.  As they hit Vikund let off a consecrate hoping to take some down, but they just ran past us.

The encounter reset.  Lieutenant Sinclari was waiting for us again. We decided to read up a little about the encounter.

Slightly more informed, though we had already guessed a good portion of the basics of the event, we spoke to Lieutenant Sinclari, this time with everybody on the correct side of the door.  When her team pulled out, we moved to the middle of the main floor and waited for a portal to open.  One did to the immediate right of the stairs, behind us as we stood.

We turned to face it and when the portal guardian showed up, Earl hit him with such a mighty charge that he disappeared.  I thought perhaps Earl had knocked him back into the portal.

Instead the guardian actually fell through the floor.  We were able to coax him up a bit so that he was visible, but he was bugged at that point.

Invincible Portal Guardian

Invincible Portal Guardian

We could hit him once in a while, but then he would start evading and reset.  Meanwhile his portal kept spewing mobs and other portals opened while we tried to get him unstuck.  Again we fell under a sea of hostile forces.

Dead All Over

Dead All Over

Round 2 to the bad guys.

Back again in time to wave at the ravening pack as they broke down the door and ran past us and into nothing.  We joined Lieutenant Sinclari at the top of the steps yet again.

This time around we started the event and were a bit careful about pulling portal guardians.  No more charges.  Call it paranoia.

And, paranoid or not, we went through the first five portal groups just fine and hit the sixth, which meant the first boss fight.

We drew Xevozz.

Xevoxx Cometh

Xevozz Cometh

We fought him like we would fight any boss the first time around, straight up tank and spank and don’t spare the DPS.  He ate us alive.

Round 3 to the bad guys.

Back again with the ever patient Lieutenant Sinclari, we read up a bit on Xevozz, just in case we drew him again, then started the encounter up for another run.

Again, we got through the first five portals just fine and when the sixth came up it was Xevozz!  The recommend tactic with him was to kite him around to keep him away from his ethereal spheres.  If he stays by them they rev up his damage and a wipe ensures.  We managed to keep him in motion, though line of sight issues plagued Skronk as he tried to keep everybody alive.  Still we managed.  One boss down and a short break.

Xevozz was good enough to drop the Riot Shield which turned out to be a big upgrade for Earl, so we all passed and he strapped on that barn door.

Second verse, same as the first; we tore through the next five portals and got to the next boss, Lavanthor, and enormous core hound.

Lavanthor must mean "big" in some language

Lavanthor must mean "big" in some language

Vikund put up the his fire resist aura and we went after him, bringing him down without much drama.  Lavanthor left us the Prison Warden’s Shotgun as a drop, another upgrade for Earl, being the only gun user in the group, and making a nice companion for the Riot Shield.

Which left just five more portals and then the main event, Cyanigosa!

Cyanigosa appeared to be a pretty standard dragon fight with the expected breath and tail sweep action.  We lost Bung part way into the fight on a random shot, which caused a bit of anxiety, but we managed to power through and bring her down.

VHachi

She ended up dying in a rather awkward position, head buried in the allegedly solid floor.

Cyanigosa face plant!

Cyanigosa face plant!

And, as a drop, we got the Plate Claws of the Dragon which went to Earl, giving him a trifecta.  But in a group like this, when the tank wins, we all win.

As we left, Lieutenant Sinclari gave us a pat on the head and told us her team would be able to take over.

VHsinclari
Wow, thanks!  Don’t get your uniform dirty or anything!

And so we finished up in Violet Hold.  We didn’t get any of the additional achievements, but the run is short enough that we might go back for another try.  There are other bosses to play with.

Maybe next time Moragg...

Maybe next time Moragg...

The run was short enough, in fact, that we decided to run out and give the Amphitheater of Anguish a try. (I think I saw The Ramones play there back in ’84.)

Running around Dalaran to the flight point caused my video to lock up again, but only after I got on the bird out to Zul’Drak.  The funny thing is, the game is quite clearly still going.  I could hear the wings of the bird flapping and the sound of coins when we passed flight points, but to see anything I had to reboot.

Once back, we found the Amphitheater, stopping along the way to hit the Midsummer quest points for alliance and horde.

There was a horde group already doing the Amphitheater when we arrived, so we got to watch a couple of the battles.  We couldn’t communicate with them, but when they had a wipe (druid tank, not much healing) we jumped in to try it out, then alternated with them.  Or tried to, in any case.  They tagged one of our bosses before we did at one point, but I couldn’t tell if they were trying to help, trying to hurry us along, or just trying to be annoying.

We got through the six battles, though not without a caster casualty now and again.  We lost Ula and Bung on one fight.  But in the end we got to collect on each victory, which amounted to a decent pile of experience, 19-20 gold, and, for the last fight, a nice weapon.  Vikund picked up the De-Raged Waraxe as his new main weapon.

After that I called it a night, thinking that my wife would be in bed.  The rest of the group went off looking for some more experience while I logged off.  Then I found that scrapbook and martini night was still going on with my wife and a couple of her friends sitting out in our back yard still chatting.  A late night for that group, but it was still hot out and we had no plans for Sunday.

The next instance on the list is Gundrak, but this coming Saturday is Independence Day, so I am not sure if we will have a full group, or any group for that matter.  We shall see.