Saturday, October 16, 2010

Random Nostalgia

When I leveled my second char – a feral druid at the end of classic WoW, I encountered some spiders in Stonetalon Mountains (~ level 25). They were lead by an elite spider. The second I saw it, I started to make a plan on how to beat it. I thought about my Tauren War Stomp in combination with healing up, hots, bear form, starting in cat form to place a dot. It took three attempts and an additional healing potion & bear stun to kill it. When I did, I felt great and I remember it today!! I love it when a plan comes together - everyone does.

Was killing it difficult? Not really. I mean, the plan is rather obvious if you think about it. Just use all your starting burst/healing/stuns and hope for a lucky crit. The point was not that it was challenging, but that I had to make a plan and to execute it.

At the end of classic WoW I would often go to Hearthglen with my mage and kill scarlet monastery elites over there. The (comparatively slow) power progression had made elite areas the only non-trivial areas. I could kill packs of up to three with my mage. I would just need to make sure they would not be in melee range for more than a second, because they could do some nasty special moves, like a crusader strike that reduced my chances drastically.

I would
  • Pyroblast the first at 41m range.
  • Start a fireball,
  • add my instant pyroblast.
  • Sheep the one with mana when he comes into range.
  • Start a fireball,
  • followed by fire blast.
  • Now the two elites would stand in front of me, one of them severely wounded.
  • Frost Nova both,
  • 8 seconds to gain distance and finish next spell. No more than 30m, counter spell distance.
  • Counter spell a healing spell from the one with mana.
  • Frost Bolt at the unhurt one to snare him,
  • fireball+fire blast to finish the other one of.
  • Run a bit until Frost Nova CD is up again – careful with pats!
  • Sheep, if necessary, evocation,
  • Drink mana up to full (20-30 seconds).

I remember it! But why did I do it? Well, firstly because I could. Secondly, because these elites had a (relatively) high chance to drop magical armor. Sometimes you would even get a blue item !!
(I only got one world epic ever in classic WoW. Sold it for 500G – with my personal inflation, that is about 20k gold nowadays.)
Add runecloth to that and a relatively high amount of silver per mob.

Was it challenging? Well … no. The above is quite obvious once you start thinking about it. And it is always the same. It could become more interesting if you tried to go into one of the houses, because space/kiting would be a problem. Every once in a while you would add and you needed to decide whether you could deal with the add or simply needed to run. Running was risky, too, due to circling pats, but it usually worked. Sometimes you would die – my fire mage would die in melee within 10 seconds (that was a short time back then).

If you read so far, you might ask why I tell nostalgic stories. One reason is homogeneity. I don't like it. Have you ever had a look at the amount of hp a level 80 WotLK mob has? 12600 – all of them! Sometimes a creature (e.g. bear) would have a 20% modifier, but usually all mobs are equal. In the old world all elites were removed. A level 60 mage in Hearthglen can aoe down any number of mobs. Is that fun? Yes – for 10 minutes.
There are very few pats in WotLK and if mobs can heal at all you can ignore it. There are almost no houses/caverns with dangerous mobs in them and if the mobs do a 'crusader strike' you couldn't care less.

Since mobs have the same amount of health – and since Blizzard allows us to see the exact number – all mobs seem like clones.

Now, there is one area in WotLK that I had high hopes for when it came out. Ice Crown. There are a lot of elites there – there are even some dangerous pats. Unfortunately, there is no reason at all to fight them.
  • The drops are worthless.
  • There is no reputation to be gained.

See, I would never have been in Hearthglen back in the time, if there had been no reason to. Usually I needed money and was hoping for a lucky drop.

The advantage of drop chances had been that you might have heard that somebody had made a fortune by farming at location X and now you did the same. But it did not feel very grindy, because you did not expect the next mob to have a blue item. In fact, you expected that you could farm the entire day and not gain one lucky drop. You were happy about the gold and simply playing your char – whenever you want.
Every once in a while, however, you would find a valuable blue item.

My main problem with WoW today is that I don't know what to do when logged in.
  • Dungeons are not fun anymore.
    • they don't last long enough,
    • they are a pushover,
    • they are about aoe and aoe only,
    • they are highly anonymous,
    • there is no social interaction,
    • they don't even have a remote chance to improve your char.
  • Raids
    • are PuG-only for me. That may be my fault. But there is no reason for a raiding guild – I can get all the stuff I ever need with PuGs and a flexible schedule.
    • are about one instance only for months.
    • are too much about aoe on trash. I get a headache from watching.
    • are highly scripted.
    • are about doing your rotation as flawless as possible to be #1 on dps meter.
    • are about boring gear
      • you gain upgrades all the time. Do you know the name of your items nowadays? I do not. The only thing I can say is: “I got the item-level 264 variation of the caster-haste chest”.
      • all players of your class look the same.
    • Are mostly about boss mobs that I have never heard before and will never hear about again. They are “just a boss mob”.
  • Battlegrounds
    • have a very long queue compared to the time you are actually in the BG.
    • are very anonymous.
    • PvP suffers from too much burst. Something that wasn't a problem during classic WoW, because the vast majority of players didn't raid much – if at all. The occasional elite raider would be focused by the (server) community that would actually communicate in the chat.
  • Arena
    • has been boring and frustrating from the start.
    • even more so with WotLK.
    • has all the PvP-related problems.
  • There is nothing in the open world that makes me play my char.
    • no reputation to gain by playing my char (only 'innovative' dailies).
    • no rare random drops that are worthwhile.
    • no worthwhile drops at all!
    • a total pushover – even the elites in Icecrown.

During classic WoW I could log-in and farm some mobs or do BGs in the organised server groups that were aiming for the High-Warlord title. Sometimes I could get a dungeon group together. This has always been a nice variation. Every once in a while I made it into a raid.

During TBC I could do BGs and raid. Sometimes I could get a dungeon group together.

During WotLK I did daily dungeons *vomit* and .. raid.

Today, if I log in during a boring Saturday morning there is just nothing to do. That is the reason I blog instead. But I would prefer to play *sigh*.

  • I consider small random chances for loot a very valuable tool. It feels much less grindy than predictable 'points'. I don't necessarily like the carrot to dangle in front of my eyes all the time.
  • I consider variation in mob power very important! Homogenization is to be avoided when possible.
  • I don't care much about challenge, but I love to make plans and see them come together.
  • I consider playing my char in the open world an important part of the game – especially at max level!
  • I consider interesting environments important (e.g. Hearthglen).
  • The more things I can do when I log in at a boring Saturday morning the better. 
  • Raiding is not the strongest part of WoW. World of Warcraft grew the fastest while only an insignificant minority of players raided.


  1. Do you know the name of your items nowadays? I do not.

    You know, I never thought about that but it's very true. I can just about remember the name of my character's weapons, but that's it. Probably because weapons are one of the few things that you still can't buy from a vendor. Kind of sad.

    I consider small random chances for loot a very valuable tool. It feels much less grindy than predictable 'points'. I don't necessarily like the carrot to dangle in front of my eyes all the time.

    I agree with this too. I remember when bages were first introduced they were meant as a sort of "consolation prize" so you didn't feel like you got shafted if you were consistently unlucky with loot drops and could at least buy something else with them. Nowadays nobody cares about the drops but instead almost all gear is bought with emblems... why did this happen?

  2. My rogue, but a wee lvl 74, has just managed to sneak her way thru Sholazzar Basin (no big deal), up the Avalanche there (edge of the seat stealthing), and up into Icecrown.

    She's slowly making her way to the Tournament Grounds ... a lvl 74 sneaking past lvl 80 mobs, where even stealth is next to worthless.

    Haven't died yet but came within 5% before I managed to hit vanish etc.

    I totally agree that Icecrown was a squandered opportunity.

  3. The cost of the Battered Hilt finally came down enough for me to grab one off the AH the other day (5.5K). I'm stoked about starting this quest, and plan to do it very slowly and savor every word of the questgivers.

    This item has undoubtedly been a rousing success in WotLK.

    How about more drops like that for soloing elites? Icecrown would have been a great place for that. maybe an achievement for soloing all the different IC elites would give you a new questline.

    And these kind of things can be released slowly over an expansion to maintain interest.