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Disclaimer: I am not going to talk about specifics. The only thing I’m going to say about the trailer is: Amazing! What I am going to talk about is my feel for what we learned at Blizzcon. If you don’t want this kind of spoilers, then move on to the next post or blog, this one is not for you.
Spoiler Free Version: Lots of things look amazing. There are several significant quality of life improvements. There are several good ways to feel social again. It really looks like the devs took a lot of time and thought through the mistakes of past expansions, trying to take the good of these things and center the game on the character again. I even think this expansion will be more alt-friendly than WoD.
On to the Juicy Details
Wait, that wasn’t nearly excited enough.
OMG!! OMG!! OMG!!!
Girls Gone WoW did a nifty little contest for their 200th episode, which I participated in. And I was the lucky winner of this:
It’s huge! And Beautiful! And I don’t think I would want to make it mad. Look at those cunning eyes!
Thank you, EJ and Raven!
I’ve been asked to a Round Table discussion of all things Legion, Twisted Nether style. Come join me on Friday, Sep 18th at 10pm central time. I’m sure you’ll get to hear some of my early planning for the dwarves…
Note: While no names are being used in this piece, some people may be able to guess who I am talking about. If you can guess, it’s because you were involved, or heard something from someone who was involved. Some of what is posted here is conjecture based on events I witnessed or conversations I have had with one or more individuals. If I get something wrong, it’s probably because I made an incorrect assumption. Consider it an exercise in the telephone game.
No matter how much I try to avoid it, drama happens. It’s a given that players have different goals in a game as vast as World of Warcraft. In this particular case, I believe the drama happened because of a couple of things that could have been easily solved. But I was not directly privy to the problems until a breaking point, and things happened well outside of my control.
While I’m talking about a particular situation that many of my readers already potentially know more than I do about motivations, I am writing this in part to get it out of my system.
I have been raiding with an awesome group of individuals, many of whom I call friend. I will not say that we are Leet, though I would say that several of these players are or could be in the right environment. This was one of the problems that manifested.
Another problem is that the leader of our merry band was hearing from squeaky wheels. Whether rightly or not, I do not know, because this leader kept that information relatively close to the chest. Perhaps to spare the feelings of others – even me. So this leader was doing all the work of leading both a guild and a raiding team.
Which leads to a third problem. Leaders need to delegate, which was not happening, putting a lot of pressure all on one person. Who probably has some personal stuff going on as well, as noted by comments made casually.
We had a bad raid night. We struggled with bosses we were doing well on, we fell apart on bosses we were already struggling with. We didn’t even get to the boss we were actively working on. And to add to it, some of our raiders were getting further with another group of people.
This created a chasm, and filling that chasm were a number of difficult feelings. Resentment from those who chose to/could/wanted to raid into the wee hours of the morning and throughout the week. Irritation from those who chose not to/couldn’t pick up extra raid times throughout the week to get practice and gear. All of it veiled under a layer of camaraderie. I do not think this layer was false, merely hiding the problems that were beginning to show under the surface.
This bad raid night turned out to be a snapping point. The following day’s raids were cancelled at the last minute. A few people were able to pick up into raids or do some LFR; but there were a lot of people who were quite confused by the whole thing.
The next week rolled around, and communication was sketchy about whether raids would happen. Something was put together with another guild, and we were able to get some raid time in. The next night, however, we logged in to no guild. No official communication was made. A few people talked to the former guild leader, and from conversations I’ve had with those people, I have made some additional conjectures which have already been presented.
When we raided that night, I realized a number of things, not the least of which was that I had felt a lot of pressure to perform, and while I had a great time, I always felt a little bit carried. Perhaps those feelings went the other way as well, and people felt as though they were carrying me. I couldn’t say, because no one told me in so many words.
Many of us have now joined that guild that we raided with during that week, and raids are continuing. The new group is beginning to gel, though there is clearly history around raiding in that group as well, which I hope can be resolved without too much trouble to everyone.
On a more personal note, and to end this happily, my new computer is built, and it has a fancy new video card. These two things have significantly fixed many of my lag issues, giving me two things: better ability to react to mechanics, and also a significant DPS boost. I don’t feel so carried any more. And I’m still melee in a raiding world that gives advantage to ranged DPS.
Plaidelf and I were talking the other night about our garrisons, and in particular, about how the garrison buildings are very human/orc centric. Apparently, the Horde get to have at least a little bit of a feel from the other races, but since I don’t play Horde much at all, I’ll leave that discussion to her more capable hands.
It’s no secret that I’m a fan of dwarves, and so it is nice to have the dwarven bunker actually look like maybe a dwarf designed it. But there are other buildings that I am confused by. The Engineering works is run by humans, not gnomes, and while it has a few essential components of an engineer’s arsenal, there aren’t nearly enough gears attached to the building itself. I could see one of the little Gnome buildings with a contraption stuck to the top of it here. Likewise, there are no Draenei in the Gem Boutique, which I don’t think I’d call a “Boutique”. Where is my domed building with crystals floating about?
It gets a little trickier after this point associating buildings with races, but a few good picks have come to mind:
The barn should absolutely be run by Worgen. I’m good with keeping the stables in the Wildhammer clan. I would think the in would be best kept by the most friendly race, so it goes to the Pandaren – besides, they brew too. The herb garden is cultivated by a Nightelf, so maybe a little moonwell and the traditional arch at the entrance?
Gnomes should also obviously have the Gnomish Gearworks building, and the humans can keep the barracks styling. Let’s give the Pandaren the Alchemy Lab. Beer is alchemy, right? The Enchanter’s Study can remain Human.
The Fishing Shack is actually up for a bit of debate. On the one hand, there’s Nat Pagle, who is human. But there’s also a nod to the most amazing Azerothing Angler out there, El. So we could go gnomish with that one, as well. I’ll lean toward human for now.
The Gladiator’s Sanctum I would give a Worgen feel, something more feral looking, not the Gilnean look so much. Lumber Mill can remain human, since I think all of them out in the world are in human settlements.
Another one that needs a major overhaul is the Lunarfall Excavation. If you have the backing of all seven races, why on Azeroth wouldn’t you let the Dwarves build your mine? We build whole cities underground. Those little tunnels? Up in two hours…
I think making the Mage Tower Gilnean would be a lot of fun, and look to the other side of the Worgen coin, as well. But let’s switch the Menagerie to one of those little Draenei camp numbers.
The salvage yard is another one that could go a lot of directions, but I think it could be a lot of fun to make it all gnomish extraction device looking. The night elves haven’t gotten much love yet, so they could certainly take on the Scribe’s quarters and tailoring emporium.
The Forge will clearly go to dwarven hands, while the Tannery could go just about anywhere. Maybe another one for a little Draenei backdrop. Since we don’t have any goblins handy, the Trading post will stay in the hands of diplomatic humans.
And I think that covers it, besides the Town Hall, which it would be nice if we could pick it based on which faction we’re representing, but if not, Baros can keep his Keep.
For those who are curious, that’s 2 for the Pandaren and Worgen; 3 each for Gnomes, Night Elves, and Draenei; 4 for the Dwarves, and the Humans still get to keep 5. This does not include the Town Hall, which I would really like to see as something you either pick when you first set your plot, or change with your faction banners.
I couldn’t be happier with the timing of the release of Warlords of Draenor. I was worried, you see. I don’t have any unscheduled vacation left, and thoughts that the release would fall at the beginning of November (to give players time to reach level cap in time for the planned Anniversary events) had me worried that I would be left in the dust while I’m on my honeymoon for the first several days of the month. Earlier would mean figuring out how to either shorten my honeymoon vacation time (not optimal), or only taking one day, the only other available vacation time I have remaining.
But, I return home just in time to get set for returning to work, then plopping myself in front of my computer for a marathon of leveling. There’s even enough time for me to potentially reach level cap if I’m lucky. My wife is wonderfully supportive, and willing to put up with loosing my attention for the remainder of our vacation time – but I suspect she understands that she would have trouble whether she was supportive or not, because new expansions and learning what needs to be done takes over my brain pretty thoroughly anyway.
This will be the first expansion we haven’t started together, too, which is a little bittersweet. But she is interested in story, and the story of Warlords doesn’t hold a ton of appeal for her. Unfortunately, MMOs are not the best conveyor of stories, and it has become clear over the past decade that Blizzard designs quests for the release of a new expansion, but after that, everything revolves around group content in some way or another. Additionally, there’s rarely any closure on the main story line if you don’t raid and/or do dungeons. Changing that would bring less meaning for the endgame content, so I don’t really have a good solution to that problem. It’s just one that is out there.
The only down side to all of this is that I have a few things I want to accomplish before the expansion drops, and I’m starting to feel the time crunch. Everything has to be ready before we leave, and there’s a lot to do for the wedding/honeymoon as well.
The Inn seems quite full today, but I’m sure you’ll be able to find a seat. Good ale might be a bit more difficult, as there is quite a large gathering of dwarves at the big table right in the middle of the room. One sees you come in, and smiles widely, gesturing for you to take up a spot at their table. “You like stories?” she asks, as the barmaid puts down two mugs, one in front of her, the other in front of you. You nod. Her smile gets wider, “Then drink with us, and hear our tales!”