Tuesday, May 26, 2009


I got some time on my computer yesterday. At home I mean, at work I stare it too much already. What did I do?
* Check AH in WoW, make new auctions and purchase new items to sell - 1 hour
* Login and drive five races in Upshift Strikeracer : 55 minutes (including learning everything from zero)

I wonder which is more fun...

Ah, nevermind. That car racing with guns blazing brought so many memories from the tabletop gaming era, that there is no question about it. CarWars of the modern era, definitely. Even though I hate racing games (I seriously lack the ability to drive imaginary vehicles on screen) and resent PvP, this game is good, clean FUN! It's fast, furious and easy to learn, and one race takes only about 10 minutes minutes depeding on the group entering the race.

It's racing, it's PvP and it's tweaking the cars (later on). The best part is that it's free to play and seems to be stable enough to keep even the full track going. Ok, I have to admit that it's a bit shallow on the story side, and that the graphics are not quite en par with the latest console games, but it runs smoothly and is pleasing enough to keep me at least occupied every now and then. Even in the summer, as it's bound to rain every now and then!

What did I gain in WoW? Cashed some 200g profit only to make purchases with 170g. We'll see when I get the time to cash what I posted.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Summertime low downs


For myself, the summertime routines are starting: the weather gives more than amply the opportunities to exercise with the dogs and the gardening, the weekends are filled with competitions and trainings and all in all, everything points to the fact that my playing will get scarcer and farther apart. In addition to that, Gatheryn opened the pre-registration for it's Beta, something I've been waiting for sometime now and Earthrise is nearing the point, too. It's not that I'd be bored with WoW or anything, but these two open up genres which I haven't explored as of yet, except in pen and paper RPG's. Which is completely different.

Talking about boredom brings up this question in my mind: what will happen to WoW's subscriber count after the summer lowbies and already apparent WotLK burnouts put together? Summers have usually been pretty quiet in MMO's, with the 'high season' being around Christmas time, so the amount of active players will be considerably lower by nature. But this combined with the generic WotLK burnout and possible Ulduar specific burnouts, what will be the outcome of this low season to the overall subscriber count?

Remains to be seen. The playing field is slowly evening out in the sense of competition and genres in the MMO market. Now the free-to-play games are coming with even greater force, putting more emphasis on the quality and playability than former AAA-class games.

We're surely living interesting times.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Step back and take a new look

I haven't been playing lately: during the last week or so I've logged in only three times, only to check AH and guild bank development. Obviously the rest of the guild has done the same, as there are only few toons which have logged in within the last month or so.

What ever the case, I noticed a nice thing yesterday as my trader toon was standing at the Auctioneer in Darnassus: It seems that I'm paying more attention to the details in the scenery than I have since my first run through the big city. I wonder if this is true with other toons and other places in game.

So I'm bound to challenge you all: forget the mechanics, forget the excessively grinded quests and quest lines and especially forget the fact that you've seen it all a million times. Take a step back from the adventuring/levelling up grind you have succumbed into, and take a new look into the game: Look it in the eyes of a newcomer, taking nothing for granted.

I was surprised of what I saw and what I noticed. How come I had missed the slowly swinging bags of the Auctionhouse?! Or the changing colours of the leaves around the Sacred Grove?

Open your eyes and see WoW through the eyes of a newcomer, and you'll be surprised.

Oh, and this goes with all other games, too: just forget the mechanics and the grind, and the world the game is depicting will change completely. If not forever.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Coherently incoherent

I've had several brilliant ideas for blogposts for some days now, but I haven't taken to write them down. Now as I have some spare time, I don't have the slightest idea -or will- to write about those things.

Let's start with news, like Dechion with his Blogday (congrats again!) I have something to celebrate: This blog has just passed 3000 unique views, which I think calls for a note. There, it's done.

Sadly the most viewed posts have been either the ones I've really criticised WoW (several, won't link to them) or the meme I posted this week (which is a brilliant one, just the post before this one). Not the real posts I have made and tried to incite discussion with.

But that's how it goes: the ones you think are brilliant go neglected and the ones you rant as utter crap are considered worth commenting.

I have followed Oakstout's recent posts with great interest, because he has delved in the same (cess)pools as I with the utter disbelief in the way Blizzard has been treating WoW lately... well, ever since The Burning Crusade came out and the levelling was speeded up. The most recent pos t was a kind of an eye opener again, even though I have seen and understood the situation quite well myself. But the example Oakstout gives about his friend really shows what has happened to the game which initially was revered for the questing: the quests are just stepping stones which don't give the player anything about the world anymore. I must apologise, but I read another blog (which I have forgotten) saying that WoW turned this blogger off because of the vast lore and history which was self-evident to the people who had played the RTS' but not to anyone else. And the quests at current rate do not help in this sense, as they really are not revealing anything of the lore in any coherent way.

Now that the level capped people are given the chance to earn the hereditary items for their levelling toons, gear that severely outperforms the gear achievable from the lower levels, the speeded up levelling for these players comes even faster and easier. The less the quests are needed, not only because the players have already grinded through Deadmines, Shadowfang Keep and others with their intriquing and intertwining questlines.

The speed levelling is for them to get into the level cap with yet another toon just to begin the next one while raiding with the toons at the cap, hitting their heads on the raid instance walls time and again.

This in combination to the fact that Blizzard has announced yet again and with more direct way that their next MMO is based on their unique IP means that WoW will be dying: the core has died already, the living lore and questlines have been sacrificed to the arcade style raiding and instance boss grinds.

Could Blizz be a man about it and cut the good old Azeroth off and let the raiding commence for all?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Something completely different!

Found this one from a forum I frequent and thought to tease all people with Yet Another Meme.

1 - Go to "wikipedia." Hit “random... Read More”
or click
The first random wikipedia article you get is the name of your band.

2 - Go to "Random quotations"
or click
The last four or five words of the very last quote of the page is the title of your first album.

3 - Go to flickr and click on “explore the last seven days”
or click
Third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.

4 - Use photoshop or similar to put it all together. I did mine with MS Paint.

My result is:

So, to be true to the meme-theme, I'd like to see what the following MMO-bloggers get out of this. 
1. Sotthistle : just for the heck of it.
2. Stargrace : your photo's are so great and this comes to the 'creativity' part we Twittered about sometime ago
3. Dechion : put this into either of your great blogs: it's a great filler!

In the end of the day, pass this to three bloggers of renown and challenge their creativity!

Monday, May 11, 2009

WoW-less weekend

I've had the first weekend without WoW for a long, long time. In a way I feel a bit uneasy, because I haven't blogged about anything for some time now, especially after the great discussion we had some weeks ago about the current status of roleplaying and my views of perfect game.

But then again, considering we had the lure coursing season start last weekend, I cannot feel bad about it. First of all, our two main dogs won the Finnish Cup 2009 competition (male won, bitch was second), which is an invitation only competition for the last season's best dogs. Secondly, our newcomer who ran her first competition won on Sunday, even though she didn't finish the final trial. What makes these wins even more sweet is the fact that our dogs, all four of them, had a severe case of kennel cough in the beginning of this year, taking three months and as many antibiotic strains to kill. Our male was closer to dying than we even want to think about.

And now they are already in the striking condition even though we think they are just recovering.

I have to add something about WoW to this post, too, because otherwise I'm fooling myself and you, dear readers. I truly believe that this 'hiatus' is going to do some good to my playing whenever the weather doesn't permit lengthy walks in the woods. Then again, if the weathers turn out good, I will be spending even less at the computer: my main obligation is with the family and the dogs, especially now that they have shown to be capable to be trained for the next European Championship later this summer.

Azariel commented my earlier post by asking if it would be viable to limit the speed at which the players advance in the content. I've thought about this for the last week or so, and IMHO there are several things in WoW which have been decreased in effect and lessened in impact to the players: levelling experience is one, the dumbing down the quests is another and most certainly, the effect of rested bonus is another, too. When I first started, I didn't pay any attention to the rested bonus. None at all. In fact, I even wondered why my exp bar was of different color from time to time, until I found about the resting.

Still, the effect of rested bonus, or in fact, the lack of penalty for not resting, is alarmingly low. You can blast through the current content in a few days of /played without paying any attention to the rested bonus. It's a nice bonus if you stay away from the game enough to gain it, but lack of rest doesn't affect the toon at all.

This is a clever thing in a game where the crafting and trade skills are more or less button clicking annoyance. In others, where trade skills can be considered worthy -or at least entertaining- like EQ2 this wouldn't be so clever as the players would be skipping the crafting minigame in search of levels and fame.

The moral of the story: simple small changes in the game's ruleset at any stage will change the whole game in the long run. Just look what has happened to WoW from TBC to WotLK and you'll notice.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Random thoughts

I leafed through several blog posts around the blogosphere, and noticed that people are writing more or less about the same problems with WoW content as I am: the Old World being neglected and is needing a face lift, Old World content could be wiped (which Blizzard denies to even think about), changes needed in the questing, character interaction and so on, and so on. The list could go on.

I'm going to continue on the same alley. WoW has been our friend and foe for about four and half years now. By being an 'open ended' game, it could go on and on: instead it has gotten stuck into the set, persistent world in which nothing changes. The bosses have been killed millions of times, the invading centaurs and factions have been harvested to extinction as often as the bosses and this all has been repeated in the Outlands, too. So why wouldn't the world change over all this heroic onslaught?

Instead of expanding the game from the original background and surroundings, it has been easier to expand it outwards and away from the set stage. It's easier to fire and forget than develop the content in a meaningful way. But then again, we have to remember that this is business for Blizzard and the business is to make people pay for longer to get to the juicy parts, where they can 'enjoy' the most recent content and forget the older content all together.

If WoW was built and run by people doing it for a hobby, trying to enjoy and develop the game, I think we would have seen something else in the major cities. The villages would have developed, the buildings both build and broken and so on.

The more I think of this current situation, the more I like my view of having a MMO which has set lifetime of 3-5 years, each year having a pre-planned chapter to move the world's story onwards, aiming to a grand finale. 5 years timescale would be enough to keep the players interested and if each chapter had distinctly different basic plot, the new players would be easy to get into the game. True, they would have different history with the game, but so do we playing WoW: some from the early beta's, some from the beginning of WotLK.

Now, how hard would it be to generate a MMO with a few years of basic plot, on which to build the whole story for the players to see?

Monday, May 4, 2009

Lost week

Yeah, that's not a typo: last week was truly a lost week for me: first a three day work trip which ended up being four days, then the holidays during which the weather was so great I just couldn't sit by the computer.

I did, however, have a nice email conversation with Tipa who directed me to a very intriguing side path from this regular WoW-whining of mine. I'm trekking that path whenever I can, rest assured I'll come up with something about that!

The few minutes I got to be in the game (make that two hours during the whole weekend...) resulted the following notions:
- The price of glyphs is rising again, and for many the price is stabilizing to correspond the cost of materials. Gone are the days of outrageous prices, both high and low.
- I made some decent wins with Nexus Vortexes, which I purchased some weeks ago. I purchased quite a lot of them and due to the fact that the AH deposits are enormous on these emblem vendored goods, I was pretty reluctant to sell them cheap. Now I made some 3-4 times the purchase price with them, and I'm certainly looking for more as soon as there are some for sale.
- 76-80 blues are appearing in very low prices, even though they sell for very nice profits. I'm not objecting, just wondering why people are throwing away all that gold: if there is demand, utilize it, right?
- Made Laiskajaakko Exalted in Darnassus and Exodar: Gnomeregan still waiting and then the main factions in the Old World have been conquered. Which makes me wonder, though: why do the toons who have passed lv60 and gone through the Dark Portal have to grind for their faction's reputation? They surely are world class heroes and should be considered equal to King Varian and other miscreants by that time. Really, which of the Old World heroes do you see fighting the monsters and demons of the Nether? Huh?
- And while going through the Drenai starting areas with my heavily over levelled protection warrior, I noticed that I really enjoy the storylines and stories which are obscured into the quests. I really want to make sure the Blood Elves' portal to Outlands (Sun Portal) isn't opened into Bloodmyst, and that's only because the story is scripted so well into the quests in there!

That's all for now. There have been a couple of very good discussions in the earlier posts, which I urge you all to read -and possibly even comment!- if you have spare time.