Wednesday, March 27, 2013

World of Warcraft ..

I subscribed to WoW for a month.

But first some blog management. I published several comments which where automatically blocked because the post they commented on was a month old or older. Sorry for the delay.

Now, on WoW. Why did I pay for a month? Because I am curious and because I have some spare time. And because, well, "Because WoW is what I did when I was young (=studying, not working) and thus playing WoW makes me feel young .." And because I don't have the nerves (time) to get into another MMO to a point that I feel that I can enjoy it.

This is also where my usual criticism starts: Is that really WoW?

Compared to the pre-Pandaria WoW that I knew, this seems to be a 50% new game. Now, fortunately I have some time and felt like it, because initially there was a good chance that 50% was just too much.

The style .. the style. I dislike Pandas. I dislike Pandaria !! I just don't understand what they where thinking - but then, I didn't understand what Blizzard was thinking for a long time already. Adding Pandas is one thing, but to create an expansion where Pandas and Panda lore hits you at every step is just ridiculous.

Now, on to more interesting stuff: The transition towards meta gaming continues. In the beginning we had 'strength' and 'stamina', nowadays we have 'pvp power'. Soon Blizzard will tell us that 'strength' was too hard to understand for new players and they now call it 'dps stat'. (Which is, of course, not catering to new players, but catering to the hardcore..)

By the way, one thing I actually liked in Pandaria was the mob variety. Leveling up 85-90 was at times enjoyable: there were two differently powerful mobs to overcome, so I didn't always have to mash the same two buttons. Some short cooldowns (like frostnova) are only available every second or third mob: This requires some flexibility on my part; very good. What would be even better would be more than two kinds of mobs at each level and maybe even randomized HP numbers. I feel like in a bad movie when every lvl90 creature has exactly the same number of hit points. This is especially a problem because I can see the exact number of hit points.

What was also ok was the difficulty. If I added more than one mob I had to be careful and if I added three or more the situation was potentially dangerous. Only that it wasn't because, my mage has a quadrillion ways to escape, including vanish (improved invisibility) on a short cooldown. Anyway, it was much more enjoyable than leveling 1-80 in the open world (I queued that in the dungeon finder. The open world is unbearable unless you like one-hitting mobs and canceling quest lines).

In the past, what I usually did when I played WoW was BGs and farming. Since farming was mostly made meaningless many expansions ago, BGs it was. And BGs aren't all that much fun right now, I think. There are several reasons. First, all characters have too much crowd control. Second, I am seriously underequipped which is a massive problem for a mage unless you're extremely well skilled - which I am not .. anymore :)
The problem here, by the way, is not that I die fast; that's ok, I also respawn fast. The problem is that the people I shoot at don't care ...

My by far biggest problem, however, is that everything is just too fast. I miss classic WoW with my mage. Even though I sometimes died in a few global cool downs, the action itself was way slower. My fireballs took 3 seconds or even 3.5s. I could watch the battle while I played. I even read the numbers that my fireballs produced on my screen (good feedback=fun)! And when a fireball hit it meant something.
Now I have to watch my hotbars .. and, yes, I know, it does take more skill, and, yes it might fit the 'easy to learn, hard to master' idea. But it's just not as much fun in my opinion. Or, to put it differently, I don't think I will ever master playing a mage in lvl90 PvP.

Maybe this is just the result of me being out of shape, but I remember thinking the same thing when Cataclysm hit. And I found the level 20-40 BGs with that mage actually more fun! Even though they are totally unbalanced!

Oh, I tried to explain how to play my lvl90 mage to my girlfriend (who has almost no PC gaming background) .. it was hopeless. The amount of skills to explain was just too much. It took too long.

What else.. mmh .. scenarios, well those where I can just kill stuff using my character's abilities: fun, but a bit too short and superfluous, I can just as well do quests, can I not? Those where I have to do anything with beer: silly, hilarious, boring. Generally: I have not the slightest idea about the lore. This makes everything a bit .. hollow.

So, apart from the style (Pandas!) which I abhor, my main problem with WoW right now is that it is too fast in BG PvP, too many numbers on my screen all the time, too much CC, too many relevant abilities, too much meta gaming.

My diagnosis: WoW is still well on it's way towards becoming even more meta, faster, and hardcore. I think I'll have some fun in the coming days (there's little Pandaria in most BGs and I want to test the raid finder) but, right now, I don't think I will stay.


  1. Welcome back to blogging and WoW even if it's a temporary thing. I jumped back in after a year away from the game mainly due to the desire to play with my partner and certain friends again. If you're not totally against questing these days I'd recommend checking out the "Shieldwall" series (auto appears in your log when you ding level 90 I think), it's focused on older lore although Pandaria does of course feature Pandas are not the main thread.

    I agree with the meta feeling of the game, and the rediculous stat inflation. Combat for me, especially raiding now feels too 'frantic'. There's little room for tactics beyond instinctive reacting to hotbar buttons lighting up or fire appearing to dodge out of. Somehow it feels more like playing a platform game than a MMO half the time.

  2. I'm actually really curious about your explaining how to play a mage to someone with no experience with PC gaming. Surely, "click the enemy, then press this key to cast fireballs" is all the start a player really needs now..? Then you can gradually build more knowledge on top of that as situations arise to use different abilities or systems.

    What was the trickiest point for you to convey?

    1. Just firing Fireballs is not enough at 86-90 in green equipment.. You need to explain proccs, DoTs, debuffs, pull range and defensive measures.

      Why pull with Pyroblast, why use living bomb early, what to do if the first crit procc happens, why you can still finish the current spell (if any), why to freeze, how to freeze, ..

      I'm not saying that it is impossible. I am just saying that it was too much and absolutely not interesting enough.