Monday, May 31, 2010

Oranges and Cherries

After a busy weekend I cannot but wonder how someone can even compare WoW and EVE: it's like comparing oranges and cherries. There are more differences in the overall philosophy of the environments and mechanics than there are similarities.

As I was wondering this it occurred to me that I can't compare my experiences in the games either. In WoW I have been most of the time in a guild in which the group activities are scarce and limited to small groups or I have been soloing alone in the world. In EVE I have been lucky enough to begin the game in a rookie corporation which is active in all aspects of the game and encourages the rookies to take active part in the group activities.

Totally different pots of porridge.

The more I play EVE, the more I wonder why there are no more similarities with fantasy MMO's. Granted, I don't know many as well as WoW, and the ones I've tried (except for Dawntide) have been very similar to that.

In EVE you can start being a valuable part of a corporation from the first day you join the game. The tutorial missions in the beginning build a very nice basic set of skills, with which you can fly and work in the high-sec areas. In the corporation I'm in, we have few days old rookies running in the level 4 missions with the veterans: of course they are not being the tanks nor the damage dealers, but being salvagers and staying out of  the harms way.

In WoW and other DIKU MUD based MMO's this is impossible. You cannot take your lv1 toon to the higher up instances, as they would die of sheer shock at the door. On the first boss latest, as that one is bound to have an AoE that swats the insects off the walls. PvP: don't even think about it, as the lv1 toon wouldn't even pinch the higher level toon, and would be gone before he was noticed even. Flying into null-sec in a killer cruiser could be compared to having a level 10 toon in lv80 Wintergrasp: about a snowball's chance in hell.

Like I stated earlier, my experiences in the games have different backgrounds. I'm extremely grateful for the rookie corporation I was invited when I began my initial trial in EVE because of the activity and possibilities it opened. On the other hand, I'm amazed how Blizzard among other fantasy based MMO publishers have so neglected the social engineering in their games, making them so much soloable and not so rewarding to group as they are.

And of course, EVE has come a long way from the brickwall steep learning curve by introducting the missions which teach the basics of the things you can do and give you a route to make a decent income in New Eden without belonging in any corporation. But a sandbox game is more about making the connections and working with people: it's something you learn soon enough, one way or another.

Now where have I put that draft about that Basic Roleplaying type skill system post...


Friday, May 28, 2010

Me and my mouth

First of all, I'm breaking my habit in posting on Friday. Which I try not to do because people do not read blog posts on Friday evenings. It's the lowest reader count day of the whole week, save weekend.

Second, I just stated how I turn into a zombie if I stay up late and wake up early. That was not preventing me from doing it again yesterday. Blame it on the Three Stooges, but I ran with my brothers through UK and UP normal. As trio, of course.

We checked all nooks and crannies in our search of secrets in both of them, and for some peculiar reason ended up killing Skadi and simultaneously resetting the encounter!? The second run went even smoother and resulted a clean kill.

All in all, UK and UP are a bit underrated, and IMO they are en par with the Hellfire Citadel's starter instance in many ways: linear, dragons, obnoxiously over-confident bosses and speedy completion even in a sight seeing tour.

If that wasn't enough, I had time to check my EVE account before entering WoW: Tyrannis installed without problems and everything was fine and spiffy. As I have reported, the corporation I'm in was in a war and now that war tagged corp is in alliance with us. During the war there was confident discussion how the enemies of our enemy would crush this corporation with us: now that discussion has turned into discussion on how can we survive the forthcoming assault of those enemies.

The interesting part of this is that the active part of the Corporation is already spiced up with the prospect of a new war: people are organising training for jammers, tacklers and support ship players, the resource gathering is on full force and there is a mission fleet running almost 24/7 as I write this.

Nothing makes you work more harder than an upcoming prospect of war.

But still, I blame WoW for the late night and my current state. Shame on you!

EDIT: Correction. I opened EVE-gate right after posting this, only to find corporate mail telling that the war has started already. Kind of abruptly and caught me with my pants on my knees. What an interesting weekend this spells!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

I give up on my aspirations

I made an experiment yesterday. And I will leave that as my last of sort.

You see, my biggest gripes with WoW at the moment is the fact that I cannot raid. The guild I'm in is raiding at reasonable times for normal people, starting at 21.00 on server time. That means 22.00 on my time, which is fine for the most. But the sad fact is that I'm waking up at 5.30 in the morning, and for me a sleep of 4.5 hours during week is way too short. (Basis to this: raid starts 22.00, lasts 3 hours, results ending time 01.00)

Can't do that, I'm worse than a zombie for the next day.

Even if the time was a couple of hours earlier, real life puts it's finger on the reset button. You see, I come back home around 18.00 if I'm lucky. Family requires quality time for sure, so I'm tied till something around 20.00-21.00. Game time commences after that, which doesn't last for long.

"Surely there are raids on weekends, too", I hear from the back. True, but my excuse is my hobby with the dogs. Over the summertime I'm involved with activities which tie me up for the whole weekend, without set ending time on the day. One event may end so that I'm home at 18.00, other so that I come home at 23.00. I can't make a commitment I cannot keep, that just doesn't fit into my thinking.

So I'm calling quits on the whole aspiration to ever raid in WoW. Because of that I'm stuck in the heroics limbo with no light at the end of the tunnel.

You see, the experiment was to play till midnight and see how my old corpse body would do afterwards. It doesn't cope well with the strain, so I work below my level at the moment and I cannot accept that.

Rest safe, Lich King. There is at least one threat less to pester you.


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The war is over

The war is over for now for the Rookies Academy in EVE. Apparently the furious and blindly devoted fight of the 50 odd frigates against fully fitted battlecruisers caused some sort of admiration, as the final straw of the conflict was an alliance between the two warring corporations! In fact, Rookies Academy (RA) heard pretty amazed comments about the will to fight from the opposing players that it left -at least me- us amazed, too.

It's very different to fight for your existence than for some new purple loot. RA was defending our Player Owned Structure (POS), which made the war even more significant, and our Corporate CEO (Guild Master) had fitted the POS in such a way that the enemy couldn't even approach it without being hit severely. However, the most of the conflict was settled in fights around the local Stargate and nearby Station.

This reminds me of old posts I have written about a game I would like to see, where I mentioned that it would be great to have player owned dungeons which they could defend against the competing raids. Or camp in the dungeons for certain periods of time.

EVE has them both. The forementioned POS is exactly that dungeon which the Corporation was defending. I dare to say that the co-operation within the fleet was so intense that you can never experience that in WoW, not even in a new progression raid. Really, we had only one aim and one directive: to keep the foe from reaching our POS. The few older players tried to teach the disorganized pack of rookies how to jam, tackle and scram (and stay alive, which was the hardest part of it all) while trying to make strategic decisions on how and what to do.

The dungeons you can camp for a period of time are some of the valuable Wormholes you can find within the solar systems by actively searching them with core scanner pods. This searching is a minigame of it's own, something I think I will be aiming to one day.

For now I'm going to prepare for another war by running as many corp missions as possible. Maybe even with our newly acquired allies, who knows?

Another thing: the latest EVE update, Tyrannus, is launching today. It may well change the plans, if the planetary exploration promised in the patch details holds true.

We'll see. While WoW is dwindling in the inbetween-patches state, EVE is adding more content. I'm happy.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Both sides agree on one thing

I cannot help giggling while I think of the topic of this post. You see, it seems that both a blogger who loves WoW and a blogger who doesn't like WoW agree on one thing.

They both suggest that people quit playing WoW. (Yes, unless you have read the posts I suggest reading them now)

The lover, Larísa from the Pink Pigtail Inn suggest that the bloggers should cease blogging about WoW because of the fact that everyone and their granny is becoming burned out and bored with the WotLK content. In her words
However, we have now come to This Time of The Expansion Cycle when a lot of the links in our feedreaders and blogrolls suddenly turn into a nasty purple color. Yep. It’s the seasonal Curse of Boredom, Burn-out, Bitterness, Lost faith and Godknowswhat that strikes again, just as it did towards the end of TBC. It is remorseless, the victims are countless and unfortunately it isn’t as easy to click off as the in game-version.
And she suggests that:
There isn’t any quick cure from this, so you’d better treat it as a bad case of battle rez sickness. Rather than writing about what a miserable state the game is in, blaming your guild, Gearscore, Ghostcrawler, the Casuals, the Elitists, your ISP and your Wife, I would suggest you to take a break, not only from WoW, but from blogging and podcasting about it.

Log out from the WoW community, clear your brain from the fog, go do something else. You have NO obligation to anyone. Do not feel forced to rant about something you don't enjoy anymore.

And if you ever decide to come back, like for Cataclysm, I would dare say that you’ll be stocked up with rested energy, spitting out posts like never before.
Oh well. That sounds like some sort of censorship to me: what is better time to really look at the state of the game, the state of the community and the state of the whole state of things than the time just now? When the glamour and glitter has worn off (except from the sparkling pony farting stars) and the content has been seen by most of the players. Or the ones who have deemed the content as something not worth pursuing anymore or have seen it a couple of times too many have already left the game.

I cannot condone that kind of 'abandonment' of the blogging about the game. Sorry, I've been writing about the miserable experiences when others have been gloating with joy and glee, so why should I stop now? Because everyone is starting to feel like I have felt for so long?


Like I stated in the earlier posts this week, I feel even more that WoW is a lovely SPMMO, Single Player Massive Multiplayer game. You can be alone within the group of anonymous people, never chatting with anyone and still accomplishing whatever you seek to do within the game. Well, as long as you are as ruthless and selfish as the guy/gal behind the next toon, taking every opportunity to shine with your achievements and GearScore. And making use of the fact that people who really don't know jack from ass read the Gearscore like devil reads the bible rather than recognizing that the arbitrary score is supposed to be a tool telling you that the guy with gs of 4700 is as ready to the ICC10 as the guy with the gs over 5000. The main difference is whether the guy in 4700 does want to learn the fights beforehand or not: he may even be a better choice than the bored gs 6000 guy coming to the PUG.

Like Wolfshead, the one with not as rosy picture of WoW stated:
As long as is there are copious amounts of reward with almost no risk, as long as content remains static and non-dynamic, as long as players have no sense of ownership in their world, as long as players have no need of other players, as long as player freedoms keep getting curtailed, as long as extracting money from subscribers is the end all and be all of game design — you will have the disease that is World of Warcraft.
Anyhow, as Tipa of West Karana just wrote, WoW is the kind of entertainment someone might prefer: something you don't have to pay attention to play. At the lower levels the game really is such, as you can read from her post.

So while I do not approve the reasons Larísa stated for not blogging and playing WoW, I still agree with both Larísa and Wolfshead. That we should stop playing WoW till Cataclysm comes.

There is only one reason to that, and Wolfshead put it very nicely:
We need to stop playing the same unoriginal MMOs out there and cancel our accounts. We need to stop supporting lazy companies that refuse to innovate and reinvest adequate funds into their MMOs. We need to stop playing MMOs until something worthwhile comes out.
Well, to know if there is anything worthwhile out there is to take the money from the Crack of Warcraft and put it into something not-so-familiar. If you really need to play over the summer months, pick a genre or game you have not tried. Or have tried a long time ago. Or that is new or forgotten till now.

Shake off the mantle of your first (or longest in terms of time) MMO for a while!

In my trials and wanderings I've noticed one peculiar thing.

As long as I test, try and explore, it's always more fun to come back home. Even for a short visit.

I hope this post made at least a bit sense to you.


Monday, May 24, 2010

EVEning post

It shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone that I have given my finger to the devil and ran the EVE trial. Now the 14 day trial is a joke, and you really cannot say whether EVE is a hen, rooster or an egg, so I've taken the 30 day trial available in the dark recesses of Internet space (too bad, it seems that the site has just been taken off...)

Never the less, within the first 14 days trial I learned a lot of the newbie killer ganker griefer etc. game which should break the nerve of any sensible people there not wanting to kill or pvp at all.

I don't like pvp in the original sense of fighting against another player. Really, I hate it mainly because I'm so darn bad at it. But in honesty's sake, you cannot say that EVE is a PvP game at all. It's a ship versus ship, and the one with a ship that's better fitted for PvP will win. Most likely in the firs few seconds to begin with.

I was lucky (?) enough to be asked to join a rookie (newbie in the game) corporation (guild) within the first few days: I had only a couple of starter missions under me, I had just started to get the hang of the game and I was 'ordered' to fly over to another part of the world. Exciting and adventurous!

Now, to gain the first few million ISK's (gold) in the game aren't too hard to come by: just by completing the rookie missions (quests), you'll be netting some couple of million ISK's and few nice - and later on handy - starter ships. But by joining a carebear corporation you can be netting some 12-25 million ISKs a mission, as they will be most likely running level 4 mission to which you have absolutely no chance of getting before arduous grinding on the lower level missions.

So when the 14 days was over I was sitting on about 25 million ISK's with six reasonably fitted ships and a character with about 700k skillpoints. On the skill side the toon was a real rookie, just barely able to do anything really, but what really helped was the rookie corporation (Rookies Academy) which helped us newcomers to learn the basics, some neat features you won't find on your own (or understand they are even there before someone tells you about them!) and given us a base to run those missions in a team.

I deleted the toon after being scammed in the local market (Auction house): I tried to transfer my money to the 30 days account by putting up a trade of one scrap metal at an obscene high price, and somehow someone posted exactly the same priced item while I was changing toons... Result was, that I bought obscenely expensive piece of scrap metal and lost the money. 


Now the 30 days toon is about 9 days old now, and it has been in a war for the last 4-5 days. Here comes my point why Tobold's assertation about the PvP was very much wrong: Rookies Academy consists mostly of rookies whose characters (accounts) are around 2-20 days old, and the oldest couple of characters are about 1-2 years. The aggressor consists of 11 war hardened pilots whose accounts are anything between 2-4 years old. Guess what?

The Rookies kicked their butt for over a day, killing four ships within one day at a local station. The aggressor killed our ships whenever they could reach us, but when there were enough Rookies around the scales were tipped. 

Want to know why?

Because the 50 odd rookies work as a team, full of spirit and knowledge that it will hurt the aggressors pride to lose even one ship to the less than month old rookies in their light frigates and missile boats!

What I love in EVE the most is the voice chat. The integrated voice chat beats that of WoW day in day out anytime, and rivals Ventrilo and TS (that I remember of) easily. I would be so bold to say it surpasses them. So the 50 odd pilots are on the same Fleet (raid) channel, giving hints, guidance and information about the war going on, rejoicing over the victories and successes as well as sharing the pain of someone getting podded (killed after their ship is blown to smithereens).

The beginning of the 30 days with the war and concentrated effort of the Rookies Academy has shown to me that the MMO's should be more about the social team work (which is imperative for success in the harsh EVE kind of environment unless you are a veteran pilot knowing the nooks and crannies) and co-operative effort.

I think I might activate this account after the trial is over.

PS. I still do play WoW though. One of my last weekend's highlights was a few hours run with my RP-toon, Rurvi, who finally got that cursed Arra'chea down and got the blessing of High Chief. This run, however, reminded me how WoW is a Massive Single Player game in the core, with the Multi-Player being so much optional now a days. Think about it: you get the quest to Ragefire Chasm in Thunderbluff at level 10, but you can use the dungeon finder from lv15 on?! And Ragefire Chasm is in Orgrimmar, beyond the Barrens, where your toon will almost certainly be beaten to pulp at least once if you are not extremely lucky or careful. Oh, yes, and there were only 1 character in Mulgore during the whole time.

That being my Rurvi. Talk about MMO...

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Random of the day

Why cannot I pay my WoW from in game gold, at least for some part? EVE has PLEX, which can be traded within the game for pretty achievable amount of in game ISK, and it's a monthly sub game, too.

So why not WoW?

The one thing I can come up with is the fact that the gold spammers would get crazy over this, and Blizzard would be obliged to do something about that problem. For real.

But let's say that the 30 day subscription would cost like 30.000g. It would be achievable by most of the players, but not all (and definitely not by the casual, average Joe/Jane, who is already paying for the much more playing hard core raiders content anyhow). Introduction of this kind of 'trade goods' might even spice the AH up because everyone would know that the money could be of real use to you.

In EVE, as far as I understand, it's possible to play for free by 'grinding' enough ISK to stay on PLEX all the time. Still only part of the population is doing so, as can be seen from the fact that CPP Games, EVE's Blizzard, is alive and kicking, and obviously not doing badly.

Granted, PLEX is a player purchased thing, which they sell in game. This means that someone has to pay for the PLEX to begin with, so people are in a way selling their game cards for the money to sustain their extraordinary crafting costs for their extremely expensive ships or stations. There are no such money sinks in WoW, and I'd say that all gear and enchants are very readily available to everyone who wants to have them.

Damn it. I just answered my own question. WoW can't have a in game purchaseable subscription option, because there is no real money sink to put the in game money to.

Can it be so simple? What do you think?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Rise of the second rate raiders

Wrath of the Lich King has matured to the stage where the hard core raiders are starting to get bored with mister Lich King himself and are bailing out of the raiding mouse wheel. Here and there in the blogosphere you can see posts describing this in a way or another.

The more stable and steady guilds are replacing their A and B teams the rate they can to keep the raiding rolling. It's the rise of the second rate raiders in the sense that the people who earlier had a snowball's chance in Hell to roll into the raiding core of the progression guilds are now asked for the raiding just to keep the progression of alts and preparation for the Cataclysm going.

If you didn't have any chance to be included into the raids earlier, now it's time to start grinding the Icecrown 5-mans and Weekly Raids for that shining, spiffy ICC level gear.

In a way this also will be reflected on the PUG announcements for ICC, because there will not be enough people to fulfil the obscene Gearscore and Achievement requirements, and even PUG's must yield to the lesser experienced players attending.

All casuals, now it's time to rise and join the constant onslaught of the Lich King! Forget Cataclysm, the end is neigh!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Random on Monday

After reading Spinks' post this morning, a thought just popped into my mind...

Will the coming guild experience system make the guilds recruit more new players for tutoring up or will it cause the current members to create more alts which the guild will help to level?

I fear for the worse, but hope for the best. Then again, if dual-boxing is as normal as they (and some others, too) claim, it can be even worse than the worse. After all, this is the golden chance for the developers to guide the old players towards a new kind of social gaming aspect...

Friday, May 14, 2010

Thought of the day

I would much rather be a nobody capable of doing extraordinary deeds than a somebody succumbed to trivialities.

Goes both in RL as in MMO.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Kind of sad revelation

Had a short chat with Azariell just sometime ago, where he told how he had dipped his toes in the deep end again: he joined his guild's progression raids and got a few guild firsts under his belt. As I was about to congratulate him he stated how the achievement of a first kill felt kind of empty and instead of feeling great about it he thought he had failed the encounter: as a warlock he was supposed to deliver dps, but instead he was stuck low in the dps meter and that made him feel like a failure.

In a way this reminded me the weekly raid I accompanied, in which our guild took down Marrowgar. I was in there for the first time, we ran it like 4 times before the kill and for me it was a kind of anti-climatic experience. Like I wasn't contributing to the whole at all, like I was depending on others to do their job better while doing mine as well as I then could. The same happened to me with Onyxia and Sartharion, even though we ran Sarth with only 9 for the achievement: hollow, empty feeling, almost stating that I was glad it was over.

The more I think of it, the challenge just isn't as tangible as it should be. There is no risk involved, only severe repetition to overcome the bosses. Gear makes the effort easier, but doesn't remove any risks.

Risk of losing something valuable makes the challenge more... how do you say it... rewarding in a way, as you know that you have not only survived but overcome the opposition. FPS' are epitome of this perceived challenge without fear of losing anything: they stay interesting for just so long until you notice that there is nothing to lose and nothing to gain except your name on the rankings. WoW and other current day MMOs have the same, except that the gained 'rewards' are in form of gear, achievements or titles, which are not even unique, but common and unrecogniseable to most. I couldn't make a difference between two players in WoW with different titles, really, as the titles do not mean a flies poop to me. Especially if the player acts like a jerk.

WoW is a bit too much of a positive sum instant gratification passtime, really. It's nice, lovely looking and kind of fluffy cream cake with some crunchy bits in it. Sweet and compelling but pretty hollow in the mechanics.
It's funny but I see the same problems in my other hobby, too. The lure-coursing is actually a test for the working dogs to see whether they could perform their original work as intended. Instead of recognizing it as such and revering with the information that their dog has passed the trial, the owners have had to make it a competition. Instead of being happy with passed trial and healthy dog, people are disappointed for not winning!

In WoW the similar thing is with the whole game, actually: as a MMO it's not a game which you can win, it's more a passtime. Instead of enjoying the scenery, quests and lore, people are trying to beat the game and put extreme emphasis on beating the mechanics instead of the story. The whole end game thing is a culmination of this: people play the game to win it and the designer are doing their best to come up with 'challenges' for the same people to bang their heads against.

I was about to write a blogpost about how Gevlon actually hit the nail sometime ago, when he noted that everyone in WoW thinks s/he is a hero, as the game greets everyone as a hero. Instead of being a hero (among heroes), everyone is the same and everyone expects to get the same experience. There are no heroes in WoW besides those of the lore, and most of them are dead for good.

This is flawed: in hellenic stories, the hero usually dies. Saves the day, but sacrifies his life for others. There is only one hero and several henchmen.

I can see why EVE is more on the right route in this. The beginning pilot is one of millions of beginning pilots (ok, thousands), and has no way in hell to even greet the ones who rule their corporations. If this pilot sets her/his objectives right and has the stamina to stick to his/her dream, s/he may well become the hero in the corporation. But there will be only few pilots who's name will stay in the lore.

Will Cataclysm remember the name of the player who was the first to kill the Lich King? Does anyone even know who was the hero who ended Illidan's reign?

I doubt WoW will ever have that kind of depth to it. Still, I still play it and like the parts I like, but for me the end game part with the repetition and no connection to the lore is dead. Dead even before I ever tried it for good. 

Isn't that sad?

Monday, May 10, 2010

Over the weekend

I don't have any stamina to write about anything right now. Spent about 12 hours on Sunday in a dog event (outside! horrible!) and when I came back two of the kids started throwing up.

No games, only sickness for the poor Copra.

I had a grand idea for a post sometime during the weekend, involving a post from Gevlon, dying in WoW and risk/reward again. Now if I only could get my brain working on that, I might have a post for you during this week.

Sorry, thank you and goodbye.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Lack of fear

After reading the posts and comments on both Tobold's and Syncaine's posts about sandbox thinking around EVE online, I started thinking a bit further. I mean, I have enjoyed immensely the WoW's lore, world and all, but something has seemed to be lacking in there. Especially at the level cap where the whole thing is around getting badges to get better gear to get to 'tougher' bosses.

It seems to me that WoW really is the easy mode due to the fact that death is not penalized at all. Sure, you get a slight repair issue with your gear, in PvP not even that, but otherwise there is no real 'danger' to your character. Death is only an annoyance, loss of time.

This makes the challenge to overcome the opposition a lot lighter and - IMO - a lot less satisfying than working on a real threat to your characters - or accounts - existence.

In the early days the computer games didn't even have a save points, so you tried to play as carefully as possible and as you overcame the opposition, the victories felt exceptionally fine. Currently we have been given the possibility to save each and every game at whatever point we want to and thus we do not risk the progress in the game whatever happens.

Has this made us gamers more lazier and more prone to whining that the games or bosses or puzzles are too easy? On the other hand, has our level of acceptable challenge lowered due to the same fact?

As far as I know, there is no achievement in WoW for completing the levelling without dying at all, and the achievements for completing dungeons without any deaths are scarce as such. The designers have taken the stand that dying is ok and just an annoyance, too, and are in fact stating that  you can gain everything without any fear of losing anything.

If you go and read any of the EVE blogs where the players tell about their feelings in the game, you will soon notice the difference. The mere survival in the environment is really felt by the player, and not taken for granted. Every success in the harsh environment is met with real life emotional response.

I don't see any problem in having this kind of approach in a themepark MMO at all. There should be the feeling of excitement, fear and danger of loss involved, of which WoW has lost its touch in the latter case at least. At least for me the feeling of danger is long gone, there is absolutely no fear of loss, death is an annoyment at best and there is always another try... or tenth, after the repair bills are paid.

Thankfully, there is a full world with full lore around to be explored. If I wasn't so opposed to PvP as whole, I might have the temptation to try my wings in EVE...

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

As high up, so down below

Once upon a time there was a little night elf druid. He was a banker and the propriator of a three player guild. He was content, though he was thinking whether the life of an adventurer might have been more full of successes, challenges and epic failures than the daily grind of checking the mailbox, checking the auction house and listing new auctions for the next day.

One day he made the decision: onwards with the adventure.

Thanks to Dechion, I took my banker druid and launched him into the levelling game again. From level 25 it's all only upwards, so it was pretty easy a decision. To my annoyance, I had for some reason or another specced this toon as a moonkin from the beginning. Annoyance because at this low level the balance tree holds only supporting talents, nothing to really boost the damage to the level to be effective. Anyhow, I started flying to the area where the quests continued (far away in Ashenvale) and popped in to the LFD as dps.

To my surprise, I was summoned almost right away. To the Stormwind Barracks.

The group... well, was a rag-tag bunch of different type players. Two toons had visible heirlooms on them, and that showed in their play style: the warrior blasted through the mobs in succession and the mage kept pounding damage out without a stop. The shaman, however, seemed to be out of place, as he was out of mana even faster than I was, which - let me assure you - was very fast. And he left after the first call to heal from the warrior.

Then there was four. The paladin took up on healing while dealing, something paladins generally do pretty well. But that wasn't enough, so in mid run the mage asked if I could heal. Sure, but there was only one problem. In my great inspiration I had left the sanctuary of Darnassus without any potions and drinks, so when I ran out of mana, I stayed out of mana pretty much the rest of the time. The mage generously made me some water and off we went.

The warrior didn't have anything else in mind than to kill the main boss. At the same time he went down, the dungeon finder selection screen popped up and...

I found out that we had gone to Blackfathom Deeps.

Where the same happened: straight to the final boss, screw the rest of the content.

There were two things which started to annoy me immensely. The first was the way the warrior started calling the paladin on names for using the Hand of Righteousness (I think), as the paladin was taunting the mobs off of the warrior. Which the paladin didn't even realize doing. The communication contained such words as "retard", "gay", "idiot", "loser" and so on, in no particular order. But the main point was the fact that the one playing the paladin hadn't played for long. He made all sorts of 'newbie' comments on the way and was certainly doing his best.

The situation was almost as bad as in a heroic run with a newly dinged lv80, who is trying his best but just cannot deliver.

The other issue I had with these runs was the singleminded approach: go for the end boss to get the Satchet of Helpfull Goods and take another. Knowing the BFD, there are a couple of nice side bosses who grant nice drops and a nice side quest, too. All forgotten.

A newcomer must get a very one sided view of the old dungeons this way. Especially when you take into the account how much the dungeons have been nerfed for "accessibility" nowadays.(Ok, we were a bit on the high end being mainly lv22-25)

Then again, I didn't remember how fun it was running these lowbie ones! As a druid, even as I was mis-specced, I found myself doing ranged dps, melee dps, tanking and healing in one run. And no-one had nothing against it! At levels below 40 it really doesn't matter how you spec, you can deliver all this, more or less. I had also forgotten how good instance BFD really is: the challenge really grows up to the end, even though the end boss is a bit of a let down: the hall before that one is more a climax of the dungeon.

And it's beautiful, really.

So... does this mean I'm rather going to run a druid for a change? Maybe.

It just was so pure, good clean fun on it's own right.