This blog is going dormant for now

I’m not killing it and making it extinct.  Not yet.

But for now, you can find my game-related postings on my Tumblr Blog:

Strumpet’s Fun and Games

Where Will WoW and I Go From Here?

For a few months now, I have been wondering how to describe the feelings I have about World of Warcraft these days.

I don’t think it’s a surprise to anyone that I my feelings toward the game have changed.  After all, my last post here was called “The Aion Experiment”.

I have been playing WoW since ‘vanilla’ – since the days of 40-man Molten Core.  And I have loved it.  Seriously loved it.  What a totally immersive game (apparently, ‘immersive’ is not a word – which is a shame, let’s make it one).  Not only have I played it as hardcore, casual, casual hardcore, and altaholic, but I have met brilliant people through it. My whole family has played.  I have plushy murlocs sitting on my desk, I have Figureprints, and I have Pandarens.

But, like I said, in the past few months, since before Cataclysm’s release actually, I have started to feel … differently … about the game.  Without being able to accurately define that difference.

This morning, I woke up knowing what it was:

With each expansion, the game has begun to feel smaller.  The world of Azeroth actually feels smaller to me now than it did in Vanilla.

Counter-intuitive, huh?  But not really.  When I first started to play, there was soooooo much to learn and explore.  And it took forever to level.  And you had to work really hard to learn ‘everything’ there was to know about your class and professions.  And when you had exhausted it in one class, you could try another.

Well, now, I feel like leveling is super-fast, the professions don’t give me anything when I level, and you fly through content at lightning speed.   It does not feel like a game that could take you forever to master, but one that is merely a matter of weeks and a few very very quick levels to get to the ‘end’.

There are numerous reasons for this, and not all of them are Blizzard’s ‘fault’ or game design issues.  Some of the reasons are simply the result of me having played for years and years.  The fact that the game has kept my interest for this long alone is AMAZING.  But some of it is game design.  I really don’t think that with the release of Cataclysm they needed to speed up the leveling process to such an incredibly break-neck tempo.  Nor do I think we needed zones that you fly through.  I mean, I barely have time to pick herbs enough to level my skill as I level.

The World of Warcraft has, in effect, shrunk while expansions keep coming out.

Does this mean I now hate WoW and will cancel my account?  No.  Not yet.  A 6-year relationship is not given up that easily.  But it does mean that I am starting to learn to say ‘we might say goodbye’ and looking at other options.

I miss a game that I WANT to log into every day.  I log into WoW on weekends mostly.  Occasionally I will do a daily in the middle of the week, but not often.

So, I’m putting feelers out.  I tried Aion and I tried FFXIV, but I came back to WoW both times.

I’m going to try Rift.  It’s downloading right now.

But I have a feeling I will have to wait forever for Blizzard’s new top secret MMO to come out to really feel the immersion again.  Maybe I’m wrong.  Maybe The Secret World will be good?  Maybe Rift can do it?  Maybe they can fix Final Fantasy?

I don’t know, but I’m ready and waiting and willing.

So, for now, as you’ve probably guessed, I won’t be updating this WoW blog much.  I can still be found lots of places in the Meta.  @strumpet101,,, and a few other select places.  You can check for most of them.

See you in Azeroth sometimes -because there are times when it still is a LOT of fun – and I will always love the World … of Warcraft.

The Aion Experiment

A couple of weekends ago, I went out and bought Aion.  I am getting pretty close to done with WoW until Cataclysm comes out.  Not done with WoW period, just really need something new.  Ever since I got the game, I have been thinking that I should really try to write some sort of cohesive ‘review’ of the game, and not just tweet random thoughts.  So here goes.

The really good stuff:

1) Character customization – AWESOME character customization screen.  Seriously, I had so much fun creating first Vixxyne, a Mage: Spiritmaster, and then Mynx, a Scout: Assassin.

2) The general GORGEOUSNESS of the game.  It really is beautiful.  Check out the detail and art of this mau (a sort of cat-man) that I had to kill:

3) Related to the beautiful graphics are the amazing spell and ability animations.  I’ve included an example of Vixxyne casting spells, and Mynx dual wielding (a skill you get as a level 5 scout):

4) Again, graphics related: the crafting animations are really cool.  You’re not just rubbing your hands together, but actually using tools you’d use in the craft.  Here’s an alchemy example:

5) Travel: Awesome travel options.  Basically, you can teleport between regions, and take a flight within those regions.  Even if you haven’t been there before! No more running, on foot, for an hour to get to a new flight path.  And no 15 minute flights – you teleport those ones.  Kind of like portaling in and out of Dalaran or Shattrath.  Also, the signposts on the road indicate how FAR it is to that place, so you can decide if it’s worth it to run or go back and take a flight.  Although you may want to choose the flight for the sheer beauty of it:

6) Finding your way around: This is such a simple thing, but just genius.  You toggle a key to pull up this amazing see-through map with quest-giver markers, mailbox markers, etc.  And it shows you moving on the map – so you can check if you are headed in the right direction or not.  The mini map indicates the presence of hostiles and other creatures with little dots – red for hostile.  So you never run into a bunch of mobs with no warning.

7) Getting wings: Yes, having angel wings (black ones in my case) is really really cool.  You get them at level 10.  But see the bad stuff below for a caveat.

8) If you are out of range when trying to cast a spell or use an ability, you will move INTO range.  I totally loved this feature.  Totally wish Blizzard would implement it.

The Bad Stuff

1). You can only craft in your main city.  This is really kind of a pain.  And becomes more of a pain as you go.  Various ingredients and stuff start clogging up your ‘cube’ where you keep all your stuff.  And you have to keep track of how much crafting material you have collected so that you don’t go all the way back to Pandaemonium to craft and discover that you are one leather short.

2) Speaking of Pandaemonium – the main city has so much LAG!!!! Especially on weekends.  I didn’t have very many problems apart from slight one second hang-ups while running around during the week.  But on Saturday afternoon and Sunday evening, it was awful.  Once, I actually lagged out, and on Sunday night, I just logged out.  It was way too frustrating trying to get around.  My system has absolutely NO ISSUES, meaning it runs totally smoothly, in highly populated areas of Dalaran or in raids.  I find this unacceptable – especially when you must go there to craft.  And crafting was such a good thing int he game too :(

3) Personally, I did not like the pet mechanics for my pet as a Spiritmaster.  I know this isn’t WoW, but I really missed the auto-attack skills for my pet.  Having to cast my pet’s spells and my own spells separately was a little annoying.  And I missed growl, defensive, and aggressive options for my pet.  This is something WoW does well, and I found it so annoying it was lacking in Aion that I switched to a melee class.

4) Flight.  OK, having wings is cool.  But I can only use them for a minute at a time?  Not cool.  Not cool at all really.

5) No whispering before level 10.  Gold seller check, of course.  But annoying.

6) You have to pick up your money from sales through the broker AT the broker.  No getting the money in the mail.  I have found brokers outside Pandaemonium, but I am not sure how many there are.

6) This criticism is actually from my son, who has also been playing. Lack of soloing ability for so many classes.  As a cleric or a templar there is just about ZERO chance of soloing after level 14 or so.  He also had a lot of trouble soloing as a sorcerer if he got overwhelmed by mobs.  I know it’s an MMO, and you are supposed to group, but really, you should be able to do stuff on your own as well.

General observations:

1) The opening zone was fun and the quests were fun.  I like the division of ‘personal story’ quests and other quests.  Everyone tells me wait till you get to the grind, when there is a total lack of quests.  I haven’t hit it yet, but it seems to be just about a universal thing that everyone brings up.  The son is level 18 on his sorcerer, and he hasn’t complained about that aspect yet either.  Maybe it will come.

2) The classes are cool.  I like the specialization format and how it works.  And the cut scenes?  AMAZING.  Really really cool.

3) I got a TON of new abilities at level 10 – especially as I specialized to Assassin on Mynx.  Almost to the point of ridiculousness I thought.  I feel like I could just knuckle mash my keyboard and win every fight.  I didn’t actually put this in my ‘negative’ section though, because my son pointed out, rightly, that I probably felt that way when I started playing WoW 5 years ago too.  It takes time to finesse and choose your abilities to maximize dps.  This could just be a noob factor, that I would definitely learn to get past.

4) You can enchant items no matter WHAT your profession.  You buy an extractor to extract the good stuff from greens you are either discarding or have picked up, then you use that material to enchant your new stuff.  I found this AWESOME – but also FRUSTRATING – because sometimes you fail.  And I can’t figure out why you fail sometimes, and why you don’t at others.  You can also socket your items yourself, which I also find cool.

In conclusion:

I have really enjoyed my time in this game – the visuals are stunning.  It’s fun.  and apart from the HIGHLY frustrating lag, I was really enjoying it.  More than Age of Conan, which was kind of ruined for me because of it’s lack of an auto-attack.  There are a lot of my positives above that I really wish Blizzard would implement in WoW.

To tell you the truth, I have more of a desire to play Aion at the moment than World of Warcraft – until Cataclysm comes out of course.  But, I got a pre-order of Final Fantasy from my youngest for my birthday, so I will most likely be joining my friends who have been playing the beta on Wednesday :)  My son is totally loving it though – he is definitely playing it until Cataclysm.

Decisions, Decisions

So – what to do while I wait???

Waiting for Cataclysm – it seems to be a common problem these days :)

The biggest problem, of course, is what do you do while you wait?

I’m determined to get some serious playtime in this weekend, but I’m a little stuck considering what to do.  The three most appealing options seem to be:

1) Level Helvete the undead priest to 80.  As healer?  I think so.

2) Level the pally tank, who is in her mid-40′s.

3) Level the gnome warlock.

Hmmmmm ….

Tanking and General Abuse

So, I know that tanks in general should love being pounded on.  But generally we like to be pounded on by monsters and other baddies.  Not our group members.   This weekend, I have done a fair amount of tanking on my baby Pally, Vixxyne.  She’s gone from 25 or so to 33 since Friday.  She’s Protection spec’ed.  She uses a shield.  She remembers to buff.  She has righteous fury on.  And, she goes at what I consider a fairly reasonable, steady pace.

In EVERY single PUG she has been in, someone has bitched and moaned.  “Please don’t go so quickly, I run out of mana.”  -  “Dude, you’re going way too slow.”  “Pull everything.”  -  “Skip all these.”  Invariably, the last two are in Graveyard.

Invariably, it is a mage who thinks you are going too slowly, so they decide to pull more mobs.  With Consecrate and Righteous Fury, they know I’m going to pick up the aggro whether I want to or not.  I would prefer to let them die, but I can’t UNconsecrate.  If the healer thinks you are going to quickly, they leave the group, telling you to heal yourself. Which I can.  But not if the impatient assholes decide to pull giant groups and assume that I a) have mana to deal with those mobs, or b) am not busy sneezing, dying from coughing, or poisoned by a spider that turned me into stone form.

Now, I have absolutely no trouble getting a group as a tank.  If I select random dungeon, I am shocked and stunned if I have to wait more than 30 seconds before I’m in.  So I don’t HAVE to stay with jerks.  I usually do, because there will just be more jerks in the next group.

But seriously, people, tanks are a shortage right?  If you get in a group with one that’s not wearing a robe, and can hold a shield, surely you should be happy?  Instead, tanks get abuse.  Abuse from their own group members.  Even when they are doing things correctly, someone is not pleased.

Is it any WONDER people have trouble finding a tank?  Who the Hell wants to be abused all day?  By their party members, that is.

Paladin tank

Paladin tank

Originally uploaded by Strumpet101

Yes, I have a new toon. As you can see, she must be related to all my other horde characters. Lots of sisters in this family of blood elves I think.

Have decided to give tanking a go. Myinx, the mage, is nearing the Epic achievement, but running randoms all day casting Blizzard needs a change once in a while.

So, I’m leveling Protection. I know, I know, you’re not supposed to change to Protection till level 30 or so, but when have I ever done what you ‘should’ do? I really prefer learning a talent tree from the beginning. I feel like I learn the play-style of the class and tree better that way.

Besides, with that Crusader enchant on my weapon, I do the most dps in the group anyway!

So, meet the new Paladin Tank … in QUITE the getup — I swear every piece of armor she has at level 18 is a different color!

So Epic

So Epic

Originally uploaded by Strumpet101

This weekend had two very important occasions in it: Myinx turned 80 (the BE mage), and my family gave me the Best Mother’s Day Present Ever.

The kids and the hubbie pooled some gold together and bought me the Battered Hilt!. This was exciting — not just because the chain leads to SUCH an epic weapon!

Since I don’t raid, I would never have a chance of getting a weapon as good as Quel’Delar, Lens of the Mind without this quest item.

And the chain was SO much fun! It had a bit of something to peak every interest: deception, lore, pew pew, and a good bit of humor.

What a perfect way to spend my Mother’s Day. Myinx celebrated the acquisition with a haircut :)