In case you’ve been hiding in a small hole where not even Jinx promotional emails can get to you, World of Warcraft’s Legion expansion launched over a month ago. It was a slow trickle of content release before that, since the class and system changes went live early August along with story content like demon invasions and scenarios where a bunch of main characters from the Warcraft lore had their battle-rez on cooldown when they died, and several people were /promoted. Finally, the deluge of Legion happened, and it was amazingly – and surprisingly – great. As in, one of the best expansions in any game ever.
Those of you who have followed me on here know that I haven’t been a World of Warcraft guy. I started playing last January, got a hunter to level 86, and quit to go back to SWTOR or TSW or one of my other standard plays.
Things were different for Legion for one reason and one reason only: Class Identity. This is a day-and-age where SWTOR is abandoning the thing that made it great, their class stories. It’s a time when games have come out that have had the ability to change class at will with the same character, like The Secret World and Firefall. And it is at this time, that Blizzard has not only embraced the class-specific content, it has doubled-down on it! Read more…
I’ve been playing MMO’s for 12 years now. I guess that answered the question in the title. You can leave now. Or you can stay to see why I feel like a noob.
Pets in WoW don’t act like Companions in SWTOR do. They don’t just hitch for a second and then teleport to your side if you jump down a cliff. Pets in WoW take the scenic route, scouring what seems like the ENTIRE DUNGEON pulling every conceivable mob, running up to their oblivious master, and plopping them at your feet like a happy golden retriever puppy with a dead bird.
Because their master dies.
Since I’ve spent most of my time leveling up either in Battlegrounds or in dungeons, I learned this wonderful fact pretty early on. Ever since, I’ve been careful to not pull the dungeon when jumping off a cliff.
Except for the other day. The other day I failed.
I pugged into a Blackrock Caverns at level 81, which is fun for me, since I play Hearthstone, and any references that have been made have been lost on me this whole time. So I am enjoying the references in the reverse direction from anyone else.
Halfway through the dungeon is a a drop that didn’t look like a drop because the terrain made it look like a ramp. Before I could do anything, my pet had gone off in the other direction, pulling a group just as the tank pulled the next boss. It didn’t end well.
Then, not 10 minutes later, I swing a bit wide in the same stupid dungeon, just not paying attention, and I face-pull another group. I’m surprised I didn’t get kicked right then and there. Could have been my profuse apologies. Or my begging for forgiveness. Or maybe they could sense how embarrassed I was.
Oh yeah, and I move a lot even when I do dungeons, because it is a twitchy habit I learned from PvPing. This caused me to die to a debuff that did more damage the more I moved. Lovely.
Looking like a noob aside, I really don’t like dying. I had to be rezzed three times. That is almost more than I’ve been rezzed in the entire time I’ve done dungeons in WoW put together. I think the tally before then was five times total.
Did I mention I was embarrassed?
So yeah, even though I feel like a old, wizened pro at this point, sometimes you can still have bad days and off moments.
What about you? Have you had any facepalm moments that made you question your noobiness? Let me know on Twitter or in the comments below!
I can’t even begin to describe how sick I am of leveling.
These days, I see the words “level-cap increase” and I want to run into a game dev’s office and take pliers to the number keys, so they can’t type 50, 60, 65, 70, 85, 90, or 100 ever again.
Then they’ll actually have to use creativity to come up with alternate progression schemes instead of relying on the same tired trope from D&D of using a number in an RP game to signify skill.
In fact, just get rid of levels altogether. Stop arbitrarily shutting off huge sections of the world to beginning players.
There aren’t many games besides SWTOR that do “leveling” well. Seriously, if you play SWTOR, you advance through a story that rivals the original trilogy at points for “Star Wars-ness.” Not all of it is that good, but a huge majority of players will agree with me that the story that Bioware crafted is truly a cinematic experience, and a good one at that.
Most other games I have played have levels there to keep you from burning out on raiding. Thanks, WoW, for making raiding so stupidly popular that I have to wade through 50 levels of crap in a new game to become viable in PvP and earn PvP gear.
I also hate gear, but that is a separate issue altogether.
In some games, the leveling experience is excruciatingly slow. In Wildstar, I couldn’t do it a second time. I honestly couldn’t. I had my level 50 that took about a month to level, and it was boring as all-get-out. The story was good in most places, but the story experiences were far to short to savor. They were punctuation marks on the long drawn-out paragraphs of “kill 30 of these rat-things” and “collect 15 of this thingamagummy” (and no, I am not kidding on those numbers). With far too little xp coming from PvP, and only two PvP battlegrounds at launch, it was a brutal and long climb.
In some games, I don’t really notice the leveling curve. Guild Wars 2 has a nice smooth curve that is more like a line, because it doesn’t really take longer to level from 79-80 than it does to go from 15-16. The first 10 are fast, but that is to be expected. The main reason why I don’t notice the leveling curve is because the PvP game opens up at level 2 and is gear-less. I love being able to jump in right away and start fighting other players.
Star Trek Online doesn’t have a large leveling curve until level 50, but it does a pretty effective job of hiding the levels behind secondary progression systems. The main “level” you see is your rank, and that increases every ten levels until level 40 (when it is every 5 levels after that). Not only that, but the secondary progression system of your Duty Officers gives a ton of XP, so much so that I didn’t even mean to level my engineer from 45 to 52; it just sort of happened.
Another thing that both Guild Wars 2 and Star Trek Online do effectively as well is having horizontal progression systems in place at level cap (it is more of a recent thing with STO).
GW2 has a reward track system for PvP that you can earn points in to get gear and other loot. They will also be incorporating that into their profession system soon, and you will earn points towards a new specialization (kinda like a subclass), or towards gliders, or towards crafting, etc.
STO has their specialization system as well, which gives a spec point for each level past level 50 (so ten when you reach level 60), then you can earn more spec points by filling up the XP bar again and again, or by doing special events that give you more spec points. There is a cap on the power of the specialization, but there is a lot of customization that can come from it. Choices are permanent in the spec trees, but they allow you to earn all of the spec’s options, given enough time.
But regardless of how good the story and secondary systems in GW2 and STO are, they still have the same problem of locking off content until you reach a certain level. At least in the case of STO and SWTOR, it is locked off for story reasons. It doesn’t make much sense to be fighting Iconians if they haven’t attacked Qo’nos yet). It doesn’t make sense to be going against Revan in a raid if you haven’t yet released him from the Maelstrom prison. That at least makes sense.
And then you have games like Firefall that had the right idea at first (it was level-less in beta), but they blew it in primetime, because they cowed to the masses and turned it into a grindy, pointless mess. Oh yeah, and they eliminated PvP.*
I am just really happy that Crowfall and other games that are coming out soon are going to be attempting a level-less system. That is the next step in MMO evolution, in my opinion. You can’t have a good PvP game if you make people PvE the whole time to stay relevant, which is essentially what leveling is. Bring me your tired, huddled masses, yearning to breathe free and enjoy their content without arbitrary gates, and I will point them in the direction of upcoming PvP content that will satisfy their bloodlust.
*Firefall is finally going to be bringing back arena-based PvP under the watchful eye of the awesome Kevin Lee (formerly of Carbine studios and Wildstar). Also, I will be resuming playing Firefall when this does happen.
Recently, Star Wars: The Old Republic announced their new expansion, Galactic Starfighter! Many opinions have arisen on the tiny bits of information we have been given, but one prevalent question is whether the expansion is actually an expansion. Today, I want to tackle this topic, and I want to determine once and for all whether Galactic Starfighter is or is not an expansion. Read more…
Idiots are everywhere. Politics (both sides), grocery stores, toll-booths, police cars (sometimes in the front, sometimes in the back), movie theaters, and at the Rockettes Christmas Special in the seat right next to me whistling with the music (whistling? REALLY?!?). The last place I want to see idiots is in a group with me when I am in a Warzone.
Unfortunately, I like to play for the Republic.
You see, on the Imperial side, I think there are people that really love PvP. They spend a good amount of time there, they focus, and they use strategy. They learn the playing field. I think I’ve seen more Imps go straight for a health pickup than I have Lightsiders. They use teamwork and determination to excel at whatever Warzone they are in.
More on point, last night Chipchops and I were playing with our smugglers in an Alderaan Civil War. We haven’t played together before, but we are both pretty experienced in PvP. When we started off, we had a fairly decent plan: take left and right turrets and hold them. Simple, easy to remember. The middle turret is too difficult to take and hold, due to its proximity to the respawn areas. Chipchops and I go secure the left turret, and where is everyone else? In the middle, getting their butts handed to them by the sorcerers. When asked why they weren’t going for the right side, they responded with some interesting quotes.
- Me: “If we get our act together, we can still win, but we only need two at the left turret. Everyone should be taking right side at this moment.”
- Some guy in response, let’s call him LazyGuy: “I’m just here for the XP, I don’t really care if we win or lost. [sic]”
- Me: “I would like to win, and we can, if everyone heads right. Mid is too hard to hold.”
- Another person, lets call them Stereotyper: “We should just have fun. That is a Wowist attitude. This is just a game, no need to be mean.”
So let me get this straight. I played WoW for about 3 months about 8 years ago. And because I want to win…at PvP…I’m a WoW player…
I think they MIGHT just have been trying to insult me.
So LazyGuy starts emoting at people at the left turret, and I get fed up with holding it, like a good sniper should. I decide to go get my piece of the action because the Imps are comfy just killing the one or two stragglers that aren’t at the left turret. I died several times, but I still got up to the turret and was in the process of using it when I got mobbed. A little backup and we probably could’ve taken it. But it was too late anyway.
Some more choice quotes:
- LazyGuy: “Party at left!”
- LazyGuy: “Bring the cards, we’ll play Texas Hold ‘Em.”
- LazyGuy: “7k xp for a loss is enough for me.”
One, I would clean their clocks at Texas Hold ‘Em.
Two, I feel that by queuing up for a Warzone, you are signing a contract saying “I will fight for the Republic.” By doing nothing, you are making it impossible to win for those that want to win. Yeah, it is just a game, but a Warzone has an inherent competitive factor to it. You want XP? Go level. Don’t PvP.
I don’t think it is unreasonable to expect my teammates to try to win in a competitive game. I come from LOTRO; we play nice there, but we still expect people to pull their weight in a group. If you don’t want to play by the rules, why are you playing?
The solution: today’s patch
There was a patch released today that had the following in it:
- Rewards for winning Warzones have been increased.
- Warzone completion rewards have been decreased.
Maybe this will solve the “I don’t have to try to get good rewards” syndrome with which we on the Republic side seem to be plagued. One can only hope.