Tag Archives: reads
Before I start, I wanna give a shout out to Hunter’s Insight. He made a post on betas a few days before me and it’s definitely worth a read over here: To Beta or Not to Beta?
Second, fellow blogess Kaae of Way Too Serious and commenter Winter both offered some great input, some of which I already had in my head for part two and other points that I’m going to borrow from, so I thank both of you for the awesome. Kaae also did a great reaction / reflective post on her more positive experience in betas and why she feels they are not gonna die out: Concerning betas.
(As an aside, I also don’t believe betas will die out. My multi-post write-ups usually include a lot devil’s advocate, apocalypse conspiracy theories in part I, and I adress the issues and solutions in the later posts. So I’m not that crazy, really!)
So now that we’ve laid out the issues with what betas are becoming currently, it’s time to set the mold for how to fix it. There are several steps in this process and like mending any relationship, it requires compromise, communication, and respect from both ends: developers and gamers. We need each other through this process. Gamers need to game like crack-heads need their fix, and developers know there are some aspects of the game that just need that massive player influx to fully test. So, on that note, let’s hold hands and make up.
Developers. From Alpha to Release: Don’t forget the Demos
The process of testing a game once it’s playable generally follows the A-B-D-R format: Alpha, Beta, Demo, Release. Then each step usually has all it’s little sub-steps to go with it. Internal Alpha (Developers), Friends and Family Alpha/Beta, Closed Beta (Invite-Only), Open Beta (Opt-ins, pre-orders or open weekends), Private Demo (events/media), Public Demo (downloadable/dics/weekend events), Release.
How many instances of each and how long they last really depends on the game, progress, and the company producing it. One common problem, though, is that game developers are skipping the Demo parts, or in some ways confusing the demo and the beta step, and that’s where a lot of the issues with the abuse of actual betas come from.
As Kaae put in her comment, not everybody scrambling to get into a beta is doing it for the fame and status: many non-testers are either just fans of the franchise or wanting to test the game before it comes out, since it will often be the only real chance to do so. I’d put myself in this category more often than not. When I’m in a beta, I try my best to report to the developers as I see things, but I’m not actively looking to test most of the time. I just want to try it out. If I knew the game would have an open demo even if it’s close to release, I’d rest easy and skip the beta all together.
Let’s face it: dropping 50/60 dollars on a game you might not enjoy is a big risk, and with consumers of all areas being more money-concious, it’s not unwise to be skeptical about buying a game you didn’t really try (I, for one, very much regret buying Aion).
If developers invested some time into releasing a public demo close to release date, they’d get rid of a decent population of beta-players who really just want to try the game to bypass the beta stage. It won’t be everybody, sure, but a lot of them would.
Demos are both simple and not to create. Technically if a game is ready to ship, a demo is possible, but there’s usually limits that have to be implemented. Perhaps a low level-cap (usually before the game gets super grindy, haha) or a limited time (weekends). ArenaNet’s open beta weekends for Guild Wars Factions and Nightfall were basically demos. At the point of release, the games were pretty much done, with just later content being added and last minute skill balances. Many demos are available through pre-ordering and offer bonus’ to players, like reserving names and characters or getting a head start when the game releases.
There are many instances where a company will call a beta such, when really it’s a demo. The game is close to complete and all they want to see is last minute bugs and stress tests. This isn’t truly a beta, not in the full sense, so in a lot of ways we -are- getting demos already, just under another name. Another common mistake is using an early beta as a marketing tool. In my honest opinion: game companies should never, ever market a beta for promotion. Gamers will take that as a serious representation of a game, and will be in that mindset when they play it. Mistakes, flaws, and bugs will be frowned upon.
If developers want the players to experience the game at an early stage as a promotion / marketing tool, they should borrow from ArenaNet’s practically flawless Guild Wars 2 demo platform: a limited, dumbed down version of the final product that showcases the best and most developed aspects of the game.
What we got at Pax and Gamescon was a small piece of the pie, but it was the yummiest, most deliciously filled icing slathered piece they could offer. Two races out of five, four professions out of eight, and 40 minutes of two different leveling tiers. What we saw represented only a fraction of what the final game will offer, but it gave us exactly what gamers want to see in a early preview : beautiful graphics, intuitive mechanical gameplay, and insight into the leveling experience.
So for companies to insure that the beta will provide quality testers and rest easy about pre-mature conclusions, there needs to be a specific divide between the demo and the beta. They can overlap, for sure. Demos can come before open betas if done right. But by making the clear distinction of purpose between the two, they will effectively split the community as well. Those interested in testing and tecnical groundwork will opt-in for betas. Those that just wanna give the game a test-drive will go for a demo. As long as the company makes it clear there will be both, the community will do the rest.
Coming up in Part 3: Gamers. Loose the ‘tude and become a part of your gaming experience.
Anti-Lurk Q&A: What other aspects from the development side do you guys think could be used to further encourage actual testing in beta tests? Do you think the beta vs demo model would work and is realistic? And of course any other thoughts and comments.
There are certain key words that have become natural triggers for people who are gamers: free, epic, loot, newb. But none have the lasting power or influence over our minds that that one, magical four letter word: Beta. Say it at convention and 20 heads will turn your way. Mention it online and your traffic boosts by 10%.
At PAX, I must have gotten 30 different invites and codes to sign up for them. But there is a huge loss that is hidden behind those enticing strings of digits. What has come lately is a huge shifting mindset regarding beta-testing from gamers, and more importantly, developers. Times have changed as gaming becomes more popular and mainstream. Infiltrated with twelve year old boys with tender egos and attention-whoring house wives, this sub-culture of the hardcore gaming comes with it’s own set of social rules, heirarchy, and bragging rights. Just like high-school all over again, everybody’s trying to be the cool-guy and forget the point of school is to learn. Well, once upon a time the point of betas was to test a game and improve on it. But that has been completely ruined: now betas are feared by developers and savagely sought by gamers, and for all the wrong, unfortunate reasons.
The issue is that Beta invitations have become a status symbol in recent years. As the popularity of PC gaming grows, so does the desire to be “in the know” and on the inside of exclusivity. Everybody’s blogging about it, posting about it, tweeting about it, and they are driven to be the one of the firsts to get their hands on it. And no matter who you are, if you’re an online gamer, you have definitely experienced that uncanny urge to Beta. I know I have. I am part of this pandemic. And so are you.
“So why is this a problem?” you ask. Because when status among peers becomes a driving force behind something, that something loses it’s “something”. See: teenage sex. See: iphones. They do it just to do it, they buy it just to buy it, because they want to be the cool guy and the object of envy from their peers. The real meaning and merit is lost in this struggle for status. We forget sex is supposed to be meaningful. We forget iphones are supposed to have utility in day-to-day life. That’s what betas have lost. The “testing” got dropped and hasn’t been able to find it’s way back, and it’s killing this important part of online gaming.
“So what’s this about developers being scared?” you ask.
The first issue is that gamers don’t respect NDAs. NDA Stands for Non-Disclosure Agreement: that’s a binding pact that during certain phases of testing, no information or media regarding said game is supposed to be coming out. You will always inevitably have that guy, or those guys, who ignore this and post screenshots, videos, and bits of information.
In small amounts this isn’t too big a deal. In fact, it’s even a good thing. Small leaks often keep the masses craving more. In droves, however, it becomes dangerous. It’s kind of like the density of water. It shrinks a bit before expanding. Likewise, for a small moment in time, leaked info is ok but then it becomes a problem that leads to the next big issue:
Gamers prematurely base their opinions on betas, and developers have become all too aware of this. How many times have I heard “Ugh, is that armor clipping?”, “How come these animations are so glitchy?” “WTF? LAG ON MY BETA SEVER? I’m not buying this game.” and I cringe every time. One of the biggest reasons Betas are postponed closer and closer to release is because people decide before it comes out whether or not it’s worth time based on glitchy, laggy, incomplete versions of the game. Sometimes they haven’t even tested it: they’ll make conclusions based on a screenshot and some angry guy’s blog post. Soon enough, if not already, having an open beta early in development will be marketing suicide and companies won’t be able to do it even if they wanted to. The suits will forbid it.
Gamers don’t fucking test in beta testing. Seriously. While I don’t have any official numbers, just from experience alone I can safety bet no less than 75% of players who get into betas haven’t contributed an ounce of useful information to the developers. All they do is cry in public chat. So basically there’s these droves of people posting screenshots and videos and running around wasting data and sever space just to say they can, will, and have.
That’s like having painters come over to work on your house and all they do is sit around, eat your food, order porn on your TV, and kick your dog. Wouldn’t you be pissed? Can you understand why developers are fed up?
Once upon a time, the point of a beta was to break a game. Testers purposefully pushed the client to it’s limits, and the developers wanted this. They wanted you to overload an area, they wanted you to walk through walls and fall through the world. And once upon a time, the bragging rights wasn’t about who was -in- the beta but rather who was able to find and report the weirdest bug and best exploit. It’s called beta testing after all, not beta leeching.
The only company that can pretty much put out a beta whenever they want is Blizzard because if someone complains about something, they can basically say “Fuck you, it’s beta, if you don’t like it, there’s 3,000 other people willing to take your place.” Blizzard has a large enough following that by sheer numbers, there are enough reliable testers around to make it worth the 80% of others who do nothing but spout bullshit about low-res textures and nerfs to their class.
It’s a crying shame, too, because with technology and social networking being what it is, there has never been a better time to test out games and help developers dig up the sorts of bugs only players have the magic ability to find.
We’re likely to find in the next few years that game companies no longer release open betas at all. Instead, fans are likely to get a “demo” a few weeks, maybe a month or two, prior to release when the game is essentially done and simply needs the sort of en-masse testing for stress, servers, and population issues. And we only have ourselves to blame. Yes, our number-crunching, epeen evny-ing, status obsessed selves.
Anti-Lurk Q&A: Have you ever beta’d without testing (DO YOU FEEL GUILTY? J/K)? Do you think companies are right to worry? How do you feel about the impending Death of the Beta?
Cataclysm and World PVP
I would definitely be on board to say, as things are right now in WoW, ganking is not as bad a problem as people may think due to shear laziness. But it doesn’t change the fact that World PvP is fairly dead, and for a lot of reasons.
First and foremost, people’s insistence on ignoring each other while leveling is rather prevalent. Most players at this point have already been through the deal and have one or two 80′s. I’d feel confident saying that the vast majority of characters leveling right now are alts. Players just can’t be bothered and it’s saddening because fighting other leveling characters was, in my option, was what the nature of PvP servers was supposed to be about. Now you kill someone, and they immediately hop on their alt and threaten your life / naughty bits for it. Observe:
Part One | The Death of PvP Servers
-Defining PvP, How it Was, and What it’s Become.
-PvP servers in Cataclysm and Bringing Back world PvP
Part Three | What WoW Needs: A 3rd Faction.
-How a 3rd faction opposing the Horde / Alliance could work.
There was an interesting discussion going on in the Wyrmrest Accord forums about ‘honorable’ PvP (the thread got deleted, not sure why…). It caught my eye because I remember having a rather heated argument in IRC with fellows from my home server, Andorhal.
The overall discussion started in late summer right after all the revelations on Cataclysm came out and it was revealed that flying mounts would be allowed in classic Azeroth. At a panel, someone specifically asked if there were any plans to protect low level players on PvP servers from higher players and their flying mounts. The answer was, in short “No, that’s the nature of the beast on PvP servers.”
A zilliion years ago for BC I had made a post about online resources for WoW for all sorts of areas of the game. That was actually more like 3 years ago and the list had maybe six links. Since then, the game has obviously changed and many sites have phased out in favor of new ones..tons of new ones.
I’m going to try to re-compile the list and keep this one up to date (yeah, right). This one is going to be much more comprehensive and include alternatives, as well. Probably an ongoing WiP for all eternity, but that’s just how we like it.
For The Hardcore/Bored
For anybody who’s a ranger/completionist/charmable pet collector in Guild Wars, the holy grail takes the form of the Rainbow Pheonix.
The Rainbow Phoenix, as depicted by Arenanet and Maya
This feathery ball of shiny is arguably the rarest / hardest pet to obtain, although some may say the coveted Moss Spider is a close contender. It’s also considered one of the best looking (and it had better be, considering what you have to go through to get it.) Of course, I’m one of these people so I decided to do the (rough) math and figure out what would be the best / easiest / fastest way to get it. Or, in the words of Kellus Anasûrimbor, “What is the shortest path?”
There are three main several ways to get this guy, all of which are a righteous pain in the ass. I shall cover these and other tips on obtaining this beaut in order of plausible ridiculousness:
The pet shall be mine, for I am the right hand of Balthazar himself!
The Rainbow Phoenix, as depicted by Color by Numbers
Firstly, he can be unlocked in the Zaishen menagerie for 80,000 Balthazar faction. That’s a big number. But the hard part isn’t farming the points, but rather, farming the titles to be able to hold that much at one time. Let’s face it: you can’t put down monthly payments on the bird like you could on your Honda Civic. The Majority of all GW players can hold a max of 10,000 Balth faction at once. In order to up that cap, you need the “equivalent of 14 ranks in the Gladiator, Hero, Champion or Commander title tracks.”
And that, my friends, is no easy feat.
Of course, i’m going on the assumtion that the majority of GW players haven’t even stepped foot into Heroes Ascent. And let me tell you, unless you’ve got a good guild/alliance backing you up, getting your foot in the door in this highly competitive PvP arena is nearly impossible as a pug, let alone WIN anything.
For the .0045% of GW who are/were lucky enough to already have the capacity, though, getting 80,000 faction is just a matter of having the patience to spend a week or two farming it, and with ranks that high, I’m going to assume they’re half decent at PvP and can win enough.
The pet shall be mine, for I am a glutton for punishment and get off on masochistic tendencies!
The Rainbow Phoenix, as depicted by Vikings after a night of pillage and rape.
The second, and more traditional means, is by meeting a set of requirements that will cause the Phoenix to spawn in your hall of monuments. The straightforward requirement is having rank 2 of the “Big Deal” title, which is obtained by having at least 10 maxed out titles. This can be a bit difficult to achieve, but many regular or semi-regular players of the game will probably find that they already have a few, or are close to obtaining them.
Furthermore, discussion amongst several communities are showing that with rank 1 of the Big Deal title (5 maxed titles), and a certain amount of filled monuments are also spawning the phoenix, which could mean it’s a lot easier to get him than previously thought. The exact math of it is still hotly debated but the consensus seems to be that having each monument filled to display capacity along with Rank 1 of big deal could be another way of getting him. That’s about 5 achievement statues, 5 heroes/pets, 5 sets of elite gear and something like ~5-8 of the destroyer weapons and ~15-20 dedicated minipets. It’s been claimed by a handful of people that they do not have minipets/destroyer weapons maxed by are somehow spawning the turkey.
Depending on each player’s individual progress, which way is easier varies.
For me, personally, i’m already close to filling my displays, so i’m eager to test out whether or not I can get him earlier than I had planned. The destroyer weapons will be the hardest to obtain, but I’ve got some gold to blow, so we’ll see.
Either way, you need at least 5 max titles, so what should you be going for? Protector of Elona/Tyria/Cantha (which is successfully completely all missions and bonus objectives from each campaign) on normal mode is simple enough, especially with guildies/friends. That’s 3 titles right there. Guardian is the hard-mode equivalent (and considerably more difficult) and completing all six will yield a 7th title, Legendary Guardian.
Legendary survivor is simple but time consuming.
For farmers, reputation titles for Kurzick/Luxon, Sunspears, Lightbringer, Asura, Norn, Vangaurd, etc. can be easy to get, especially with the introduction of the Dungeon Master books that keep track of your progress (these can be turned in for ridiculous amounts of rep). More often than not you can double farming rep with vanquishing.
All the other crap is much more elusive/annoying but it’s best to check what progress you have already and aim to completing those first.
The pet shall be mine, for I am the incredible hulk.
The Rainbow Phoenix, bringer of the Impotence, as depicted by ancient Mayans
Lastly, and what I’ve decided is the easiest/most casual friendly method is by unlocking him via Zaishen coins.
The Zaishen challenges are essentially dailies that you can do on your PvE characters. There’s a Mission, Bounty, and Combat challenge each day, and they all vary in difficulty, and the rewards scale with that.
So, here come the numbers.
Completing all 3 objectives (including the bonus’ which are in hard-mode) will yield an average of 450 copper coins per day. The phoenix requires 15 gold zaishen coins, which boils down to 7,500 copper coins, plus some pocket change. With my trusty Windows Calculator, one can conclude it would take about 15-18 days of completing each objective to get the coins to unlock him, which is under a month consecutively.
But don’t get TOO excited, there are a few, likely account-wide requirements that you as a player/person have to have before being able to successfully do these.
~Owning the appropriate campaigns: You can’t do the missions/bounties in games you don’t own. You need to have Factions in order to do a good chunk of the PvP challenges, as well.
~Progressed though PvE. Obviously, you can’t do Bounties/Missions in areas you’ve yet to visit.
~Furthermore, hard-mode can only be unlocked once successfully beating a game in normal mode, and only for THAT compaign. And it’s the hard-mode bonus’ for each challenge that yields the most coins.
~Time/Patience to deal with it. Cause let me tell you, the harder missions/bounties can be a pain to do in hard-mode. And I doubt everybody wants to dedicate 3 hours every day to
Logically speaking, most of us can’t do this.
But, before you cry emo tears of sadness, there are even more factors to consider before committing digital suicide.
~Coins are account-wide. So assuming you have at least ONE character who’s beaten every game, you can do hard-mode on any other of your characters as well. Obvious answer, to up your daily copper intake, complete the challenges on as many toons as you can.
~You can hold up to 3 quests at a time, so if you can’t do them every day, don’t fret. Collect them over time and save them all for one idle Tuesday.
~PvP quests are repeatable, which is good news for anybody who enjoys a good face pounding. It’s also helpful to turn it in once, and then grab it again to work on the bonus (which will usually be something like winning 9 games overall) and work on it over time.
~PvP quests from the Battle Isles are available to any PvE character you have, and the faction missions (AB/JQ/FA) are open to PvE characters who have advanced that far, making them highly worth getting even ANY of your toons and do them over time.
The Rainbow Phoenix, as depicted by a night of photoshop and cocaine.
So while I did rank these in order of ‘difficulty”, if you do want to eventually get this pet, which method you choose is really up to you. You have to consider what you enjoy most and what you already have completed so far. That will likely have a huge impact on what direction to go.
I’ll leave this off with a “quick guide” of sorts to figure out which meathod is best for you.
If you solely/mostly PvP…
…the best option would be to work on your hero titles and grind out the 80,000 balth faction.
If you solely/mostly PvE …
…with one advanced character, you’re best bet is to go for the five titles and fill your monument, or go for the ten max titles. Chances are you’re close to getting there.
…with several characters, none of which have progressed too far, you might do well by unlocking hard-mode on at least one and working on collecting zaishen coins accross your account.
So as good friend and fellow blogger Kaae heartfully recounted in her blog, Blizzard’s recent faction change service has, in the opinion of many, caused more problems than it has solved. And, I hate to say it, I’d have to strongly agree. The issue has been mentioned several times on popular wow-podcast, The Instance, and discussed on forums, blogs, and sites across the net.
So the issue, what exactly has happened? Why? And how can we fix this?
As an aside, this is going to be a wordy, generally humor-less entry, a bit of a detour from my usual posts. But since I feel this is a serious issue, I’m dedicated a lot of time and research on this.
Hopefully anyone who reads this fully will appreciate it!
Part One: Predictions
It bothered me from the start when they lifted the faction restriction on PvP servers, as it was something they had said from the beginning they would NEVER do, to upkeep the integrity of the game. But WoW has become such a huge cash-cow, it seems as though Blizz is throwing a lot of their previous ‘morals’ to please the masses, or make an extra buck.
I predicated a lot of trade spam and “gtfo my alt” bullshit, and most of my doubts centered around the immaturity of world PvP and ganking. Kaae, however, predicted a more pressing issue since before the service went live: it was going to create a huge population imbalance that would severely alter the play experience for the Alliance on our server. Many scoffed at the thought, or at least doubted the severity of her claims.
Low and behold, the lift happens and many of our Alliance’s top players, or more popular social players, wound up re-rolling horde alts. Soon a good chunk of these players leveled to 80, and began spending more time on their horde toons. This was the first major sign that Kaae had been right.
A few weeks later the actual faction transfer goes live, and the the final twist of the dagger has taken place gradually over time since then. Entire guilds have faction switched. Those who didn’t found themselves losing key players to the horde, either on our server or others. Kaae found her guild jumping to the #1 spot quickly, as all her fellow highly ranked guilds either left or fell apart.
The general morale on the Alliance has fallen dramatically, as well. People are giving up and leaving themselves, so it’s been a giant chain-reaction.
As as much as we’ve felt the change, this is not by far the worst faring server out there.
Part Two: What’s the problem and why did it happen?
Information can be browsed via WoW-Census, a database site dedicated to displaying ratios between factions, races, and classes on any given server. While the accuracy and reliability of this site is generally taken with a grain of salt, it’s still a good overall glimpse at how things have changed since faction transfers went live.
Now, as mentioned before, the topic has been covered on and off on the Instance several times, and one server, Cho’Gall, was used as an example of the extremity of these changes.
The server, previously about 2:3 ratio Alliance/Horde, now finds itself at 1:8, which is actually down from its 1:15 ratio at its worse. Alternatively, Alleria, a PvE server, has a 4:1 alliance to horde imbalance, a number made worse since the faction changes.
So why does this happen?
The issue appears to be predominant although not limited to lower population servers, especially PvP. My guess is this is for a few reasons:
~Previously on PvP servers, there was always a bit of a mystery regarding the other faction. What’s their economy like? How are their pugs? What’s their trade-chat like? Outside of progression which is monitored on threads and 3rd party websites, there was little insight to the rest, and ultimately, majority of what goes on.
~For many people, the ability to re-roll and eventually xfer to the other side is less daunting than simply re-rolling and xfering to another server, because you’re on the same “home” and are able to see familiar names and guilds. Furthermore, you can xfer items and money from your main characters VIA neautral AH, as starting fresh on a new server often means being broke-ass poor, a big change from the comfort of being supported by your mains.
~Taunting people who’ve killed you or whom you’ve killed is always fun. Furthermore, making a DK alt to camp your friends/enemies is also very appealing.
~Lower pop servers often give the illusion that one side has better players/progression, often leading to a desire to switch.
Why is this a problem?
At face value, it’s not. World PvP is dead, and Battlegroups generally contain even helpings of different server types allowing for a general balance in instanced BG’s. The issues lie deeply in player experience, the majority of which I mentioned in the intro.
WG is another issue, as I’ve find on Andorhal that horde now owns it 80% of the time, and when we win, it’s usually by a landslide.
There’s no competition for guilds to progress from one side to the other. Current alliance players who can’t afford or simply don’t want to xfer are stuck with a dying pool of people to play with. And really, what is the fun of having nobody on the other side?
Part Three: How can this be fixed?
The obvious answer, and it’s been mentioned plenty of times, is to offer free faction xfers to problem servers/factions.
~Would this work?
Hells to the yes. I know, with my 3 80′s and countless alts, I’d be more than happy to send one or two to the other side to try and balance things, especially PvP alts who aren’t bound by a raiding guild. And, entire guilds could find themselves switching to the other side, or start satellite guilds to help out. And I know i’m far from the only one who feels that way.
~Would Blizz do it?
Up in the air. Blues have already stated this as one of the major options they are considering. They’ve done free server xfers to specific factions to adjust population imbalances before. It wouldn’t be much different other than allowing cross faction to do it as well. The main concern on their end, of course, is the loss of revenue from allowing this to happen. I don’t feel that would be that big of an issue, though, considering that they’ll probably limit the offer to extreme cases, like Cho’Gall, and most servers wouldn’t be seeing this offered any time soon.
Another option: Force server balance by locking down xfers/creations on one side.
~Would this work?
Iffy. The differences between the horde and the alliance are extreme enough that people aren’t going to choose a side based on a server. They’d choose a server based on a side. This wouldn’t do much to help correct existing balance issues or encourage re-rolls on the other side. It would simply prevent switches from making them more severe.
~Would Blizz do it?
Highly unlikely. PvP centric games like Aion put a similar lockdown on servers that dip too heavily to one side. For an established game like WoW, though, this would probably cause a lot of unrest amongst players. Many xfers and re-rolls are to join friends on other servers. Being unable to do so seems like a major let-down, and would likely not fly with most. It would also limit the ability for people to roll alts, unless a rule for an existing toon with a certain level is used.
Suggestion: Offer more detailed information when choosing severs.
This should include faction ratios right off the bat.
~Would it work?
It would help tremendously, yes. People who are rolling for the first time are probably not going to know how to or bother wanting to do research on the server they choose. It’s likely going to be based solely on overall population and type. Being able to see that the server you’re about to pick, is heavy on one side to the other could definitely help deter people from joining one that’s heavily imbalanced.
Xfers wanting to leave an unsatisfying server are more likely to do their own research based on their goal: pve or pvp, what guilds are available and how the server does over all in their area of interest.
Xfers leaving to go TO a specific server for a reason, IE a friend or guild they’ve previously made arrangements with, already have their minds set, though, so it would do little on their end.
~Would blizz do it?
Maybe. It seems to me like a minimal amount of coding to alleviate a big problem.
Part 4: Teh Conclusion
It appears as though the developers and think-tank behind World of Warcraft continue to try and lift the limitations previously placed to help the game grow. I personally feel like these changes that are being made, along with Catacylsm as a whole, are more or less an overhaul of WoW to keep the game up-to-date. Essentially, instead of having to eventually make “WoW2″, it would seem they’re simply trying to get the current game in shape to become retroactive in itself so that there will never be a full need to create a sequel.
How this pans out overtime is really up in the air. Making big changes to a game that’s been around for five years is not an easy task. The extra revenue they’re making from all these services seems to be like too much of a bonus to just say “nay, we were wrong” to either.
So I suppose this is a wait-and-see scenerio!
So I was browsing around the interwebs, and came across one of about 3000 articles tackling the subject of women in gaming, and how we are perceived as a consumers.
It actually didn’t make me want to kill myself:
This is always kind of a touchy subject, but it also sparks some interesting thoughts. I really like the way this writer explained her neutral view on things: why do companies think making games “female friendly” means having to cover them up more?
Don’t get me wrong, I think sometimes we have some extreme ridiculousness when it comes to female game characters.
Among some quick thoughts:
In retrospect, these girls make Lara Croft look saintly.
But is it that much different when Kratos runs around in a loin-cloth?
A lot of the places we see of the over-sexualizing of female characters in games also happens to be from our favorite nerd country, Japan. And while I don’t want to be the target of fanboy terrorism, cause I know some gamers hold Japanese games in high regard, but it’s also a reflexion of culture. Women in Japan are not as liberalized and independent as Americans are. And the way the Japanese deal with sexuality is a completely different story. Obviously, those cultural aspects are going to leak their way into their games.
I feel like American gaming definitely has come a long way. In fact, I feel like we never really had the issue with exploitation as badly as the Japanese have. Still, we do have to keep in mind that up until fairly recently the market was always geared to your 18-35 fan base. The companies have caught on that we ladies like games, too. But gearing games towards women doesn’t necessarily mean dumbing down the eye candy (it’s not like we don’t have our share of topless dudes to stare at), but more an education of the masses. Girls like games, we like the stuff in games that guys like. We like the bloodshed, kicking ass in combat, explosions and shooting zombies.
The issue is lots of people don’t realize that, and sometimes the guys expect or assume that we don’t. In return, a lot of the casual girl gamers themselves may not realize they would most likely also enjoy what makes a game tick, cause advertisements suggest it’s for guys. Sometimes, they don’t want to be open about it for fear of being poked fun at.
In retrospect, I also feel like guy gamers should take a step back and think “Is this really how I want the companies to feel about me?” The fact that catering to male fan base is assumed to be successful with lots of cleavage and bouncing boobs. I personally would feel super offended if game companies thought posting up a Brad Pitt clone with swords was supposed to make me want to buy a game. That could just be me, though, and it’s not JUST a gaming issue. Being in Graphic Design and dealing with advertisement, I would know. Sex sells.
I’ve always been open about being a chick online and in games, and I would defend myself to say it’s not for attention, but more a wake-up call to the people that, hey, girls play games, it’s not that big a deal. I hate special treatment, or comments in vent. Is it really that surprising? Really?
Helping boosts sales for the females is simply a matter of waiting it out and not making stupid assumptions. A growing up of the community is needed, but it’s already happening, so I think with time, that balance will come.
Out of guilt for ignoring my rogue, I hopped on to Elitist Jerks, who’ve always been PvE centric in their discussion. My love for raiding on my rogue just kind of exploded back into gear. And in the long run, I feel I’m just naturally better at this class than Lock(for PvE at least).
Who to level first…? I’m still torn.
Now, there’s an interesting discussion starting out on page 125/126 of the EJ Wrath Rogue thread about professions. Right now it’s mostly just speculation based on the new built-in prof buffs that we’re getting, which lends itself to some interesting theories.
In BC, the use of drums and ability to craft your own BoP items made LW pretty ideal up until t5. BoP learned spells were already under the gear I was getting from raiding, and the BoE recipes I got from Hyjal and BT were… well, BoE. I still had to pay for the matts, the only advantage was being able to make them myself. I felt, for the most part, the useful BoP LW recipes were for druids, not rogues.
Chanting was one that persisted to be good, since everybody needs chants and you got the bonus ring buffs. Engineering provided the best craftable headslot in the game for rogues, replaced pretty late in raiding. Everything else was good, but not as good.
For Lich King / 3.x, professions are getting some added “passives” which contribute to the diversifying of game play. Gathering professions offer stat bonuses and crafting professions are getting some self-buff additions.
>>> So for rogues, what will be the ideal combo?
Leatherworking is offering several self-only bracer buffs, AP of which is definitely up there. This is extremely powerful given the current state of Shiv/Instant Poison (IP will be scaling based on AP). There are also several LW only leg armors (which I found a little curious, tbh, given previous ability to offer kits to others). Also factoring in the inevitable starter epic BoP sets at max, this continues to be a solid prof for rogues.
Blacksmithing is adding extra sockets, which means extra gems. Very awesome. Again there’s the question of what weapons will be craftable. This prof is geared more towards plate wearers, but any class who can use “Metal” weapons will probably benefit, at least early on / leveling.
Enchanting is enchanting. Not much to be said. Great overall, you get a special self-bonus, and the added ability to sell enchants on AH offers the possibly for profit.
Last major consideration here is alchemy, specifically the “Mixology” passive which offers +50% effective bonus and double the buff duration.
>>>For the start of end-game raiding / casual 10 man raiding, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that LW / Alchemy will be a top combo for rogues (or other melee DPS classes), offering the most useful utility for raids. Drums becoming raid-wide is a major plus, but beingn-chainable is kind of lame.
A close 2nd would be Enchant/LW.
Once more serious end game raiding starts, Blacksmithing may become more beneficial, especially once epic gems become readily available. Depending, of course, on exactly how much added AP you get from gems, plus socket bonuses. It’s going to be a close call here. I get the feeling that epic AP gems may eventually outweigh the LW bonuses, but it really depends on which Leg / Wrist enhancements you wind up getting from LW, or if an Enchantment may be better for bracers than LW (unlikely). Chances are BoP craftible items from LW will eventually be surpassed by raid drops / tier gear as it was in BC. Blacksmithing weapons, still not sure about.
As far as a partner to BS for end-game, I still feel strongly that the Mixology buff will continue to prove a huge advantage (especially money-saving) during raids. BS/Alch may be the top choice for higher tier end-game raiding. BS/LW is a close 2nd. As always, Enchanting also makes for a top contender as well.
For PvP rogues, BS/Ench I feel would be the most beneficial all around. Added resil/crit gems may prove to be game-breaking in highly competitive PvP. I imagine most people aren’t going to use pots/elixirs for bg’s or world pvp, and they can’t be used in arena. I’m aware ‘chemists are getting arena-pots, but as far as I know they’re not going to benefit much from Mixology (definitely room to be wrong here, though, I haven’t looked much into exactly what the arena-pots do). There aren’t many other combos I can think that would benefit PvP Rogues (or most PvP players) than BS/Ench.
Other general thoughts on professions:
Inscription is still up in the air for me right now. The only self buffing mechanic in this profession is the Rune system, which I’ve yet to see fleshed in beta or PTR. As such, I’ve left it out for now. However, once more information about this becomes available, it’s quite possible it will be a big contender as a desirable end-game profession.
Engineering is for the most part as it’s always been: a fun profession that offers random and sometimes helpful buffs. Hunters, however, may find the +40 range crit enhancement useful, depending on it’s rival enchantments.
Interesting to note, however, a lot of the item enhancements added in Wrath could prove useful in Battlegroundsl/World PvP, making Ench/Engin a possible contender for desirable profs. Specifically, being able to turn a cloak into a parachute, an alleged unending-until-canceled speed buff to boots, a belt clip that stuns mechanicals (EXTREMELY useful in witnergrasp/strand of the ancients, assuming this applies to siege weapons as well), among other things.
Whether or not it would be useful in Arena depends on the likely event they are not even useable in there.
Jewelcrafting is a big money maker, and doing it yourself is a money saver. But as far as I know, it doesn’t offer much else in the way self-buffing that would provide any bonuses.
>> In conclusion, it’s still pretty early to really decide on what profs will be the best for rogues. A huge factor weigh in will be once a more composite list of what high-level epic recipes start dropping and offer as far as gear / weapons.
Definitely fun to think about.
I think these are practical / fair:
A) Re-organizable Character Logon List: Would be nice, since right now it’s bank / alt / main / alt / alt. I’d like my main to be on top, for srsly.
B) Invisible Mode: Ability to have invisible mode so you can farm / quest / grind without being harassed. Ideally, it would have Invisible to All, Visible to Friends, Visible to Guild as options. I’d be ok with just on or off, though.
C) Guild Networks/Alliances: Blatantly stolen from GW, but a good idea none-the-less. Having a Guild Network which would allow communication and certain shared features (Like /alliance chat) would be pretty awesome. This would solve more d-rama issues than cause, I honestly think, and more importantly allow close knit guilds remain somewhat private while having an extended network for higher level content, and a larger pool of players to group up for other stuff.
D) Player Housing: ’nuff said. Even if it’s only Guild-wise, there are huge advantages to having player housing. A place to store and “display” old armor sets, tabbards, pets, etc. yes please?
More coming when I think of them.
also, CUTEST. SCREENSHOT. EVER