It’s a longstanding MMO tradition to wail, gnash one’s teeth and tear one’s hair at major game patches (I remember doing it in Asheron’s Call), but for the most part — brace yourselves, this might be a challenging concept — game designers actually know what they’re doing and game changes are almost always very sensible. More to the point, they’re based on a lot more data than single players (or even all players) can see.
So patch 6.0.2 came out this week, in preparation for Warlords of Draenor which launches in a little under a month. It includes — aside from probably the longest patch notes I have ever read — a great many changes, most of which I approve of heartily. One of them is the stat-squish, which was long overdue. Others include all sorts of class changes, which is probably what will occasion the worst of the above-mentioned wailing and gnashing. Me, I like them. I’ve played my hunter, my drood and my warlock so far and while they all feel a little different, it’s not BAD-different and it’s not all that different either. For the first time in two years it feels like my hunter might want to switch to marksmanship spec now and then. (For those who don’t know, I don’t dungeon much, if ever. I solo and I duo, I bimble around, I play alts. I’m not requesting comments on the playstyle, just letting newcomers know what it is.)
The new Reagents tab in the bank is the shiz, as expected, and crafting straight from the bank is even shizzier. Losing 95% of the market for large-ass crafting bags (which two of my characters can make) is less awesome, but not something I’m going to weep too hard over.
The new character models… On the whole, I like what I’ve seen. My hooms do look a little confused (as has been mentioned by others), the Nelf baby-fat faces are kinda fugly, and I haven’t really looked at any others yet (though the undead females other have posted look frankly adorable). My major gripe with the new models I’ve tried out is that there are only about 3 non-ridiculous models for each race, so we’re all going to end up looking the same anyway.
I’m starting to look forward to the expansion, which I quietly preordered a while ago. The only downside is that it drops 2 days after the EQ2 expansion goes live for us special folks (by which I mean the paying players), but having too many games to play is always a good thing.
I unintentionally ended up levelling the warlock in the last couple of days, and she raced from 77 to 86 in less time than it takes to say “greased lightning” — almost too fast. Hell, I’m two-thirds of the way to 87 already even though Pandaria is supposed to be a bit slower. (And it is, but it’s marginal.) Rest-XP is the greatest shiz of all, of course. Which means that when WoD hits, I’ll have several characters to choose from when it comes to levelling through the content the first time. Eh, who am I kidding? It’ll probably be the Hunter… or the Druid. Feral still rocks my socks.
I’ve been playing EQ2 again for a couple of months, and things sure have changed in the 4 years or so since I last played. Basically I seem to play 12-18 months every 3 or 4 years, which makes EQ2 probably my most-played game in the last 10 years alongside WoW.
Many, many things have changed since I last played EQ2. We now have access to tradeskill assistants, and with the recent Grandmaster spell patch thingy (which I haven’t really read but know is important) and the impending expansion, Altar of Malice, all my crafters — which is basically all my characters bar one — are busy coaching their assistants and making minor items for them. I thought they were supposed to assist me, but whatever.
They can’t be placed in guild halls (we haz one; two, actually, if you count the guild Feiruza — previously Fairuzax after the server merge and formerly known as Fairuza — is in, but I’m the only one logging in there at the moment and can’t afford the status cost on a weekly basis). But they CAN be placed in houses, and as I discovered it doesn’t even have to be your own house, just one you’re a trustee in.
So all my assistants are now in the prestige house I got for Toccata with the Station Cash I had left over from last time. It’s actually a prestige island, and I love it, even if I haven’t actually done anything with it other than plonk assistants down. The reason for moving them all to one location is that you can portal there straight from the guild hall, and portal straight back – which is handy for Feiruza who isn’t in the same guild.
I’m relearning the game, trying to get Feiruza to 280AA (currently at 237, I always did neglect AA) so that she can level past 90, and trying to get my new beastlord, Ysharros, to whatever crafting and adventuring levels I have time for. Most of the other alts are under level 40, but they’re all 95 in the class that matters, which is crafting. Currently I’m only missing a 95 sage (on my other account, which I haven’t resubbed, so she can’t go past 92) and a 95 jeweller (Ysharros is working on that).
I’m also playing around with tiles and stairs and generally making a mess of the alts guild hall, which still had Frostfell decorations up from 2009 until I took them down a few days ago…
If you’re in EQ2 and fancy a chat, my primaries are Feiruza, Toccata and Ysharros, all on Crushbone now (Lucan d’Lere as was…). I play mostly US-Mountain daytime, because my evenings are spent in an adapting-to-new-medications haze. Apparently getting lots of sleep is good for you – which is just as well, I’m getting 8-10 hours a night. I should be stunningly gorgeous real soon now!
I used to get annoyed at druids in PvP in WoW, because the little buggers are unkillable, sort of like paladins only more moonkinny. Then again, I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with droods. I made one early on and never really played her. Made another and never really played her either – and so on. Each time I’ve come back to WoW I’ve made another druid (to start fresh or some such smart reason) and never played her.
Last year, however, I finally made one as a hermit char and played her up to 60, which took about 17.4 seconds with the new levelling and a couple of heirloom xp items. (For those who don’t know: a hermit character is one nobody else knows about so you can play them when you’re not feeling sociable. Of course, the whole e-mailfriends WoW thing, whatever it’s called, puts the kibosh on that because they can see you’re online no matter who you’re playing, but that’s okay; I’ve only got 2 of those and we don’t bug each other a whole lot.) And then she sat there for a few months, gathering rest xp and dust, until I brushed her off again during the Xmas break.
Now, while I don’t particularly want to gush… OMGWTFBBQOPSMASHRIPRIP! Druids are fun, especially feral druids when it comes to my own playstyle. Sneak around when you need to, claw-shred-rip the crap out of stuff when you want, heal when required, claw-shred-rip some more, rinse repeat. I’ll grant you it doesn’t require a whole lot of keys and it’s not all that varied, but none of that matters in the face of shredding the opposition before they even know what’s hit them.
So my little druid is now 70 and claw-shred-ripping her way through the aptly-named Northrend. I don’t want to like her more than my hunter, who is my day 1 character (hell, Eloise is a remake of my beta character so she’s like a million years old in MMO years), but… well… who needs a pet when you can be your own pet? And flight form rocks, especially the faster purple flight form.
I’ve also been indulging in pet battles. I’m still shocked at how addictive those are if you let them be, especially when you get complacent about how good your main team is (mechanical gnome, nexus wyrm, flayer hatchling) and then one of the battle masters hands you your ass; not once, but three times. After the third time I realised it was time to a) level my guys a little and b) find some team members who weren’t going to be insta-roasted by the Shadowmoon guy’s horrible little flame elemental.
There’s something for me about WoW that other people report finding in GW2, which is uncomplicated fun. I’ve logged in to TSW a few times and though I still love the game, it just demands too much thought from me at the moment. So I’m dabbling in TSW for brief, cogitation-laden sessions and then going back to WoW to relax. I’m just glad I have several games I can hop around in and only one I need to be paying for.
Today I logged back into TSW for the first time in, uh, some months, and it made me wish I hadn’t neglected it so. After some pretty strong disorientation, that is. I always get that going back to games – what’s this skill? How do I do that? Oh crap, the B button isn’t Bags, it’s Browser here (something I remapped immediately). How do I walk and talk, let alone chew gum or kill things?!
Still, it was fun. I instantly spent a bunch of freebie lifetime member points on a snazzy new outfit, then I went off in chase of the End of the World quest, which I’m still working on since walking and talking was proving to be such a challenge. Oh, and because I decided to work on a Blade/AR build I’d been pondering months ago before I stopped playing.
Anyway, it was a day without work, which has been pretty rare of late and thus makes it great and fun by definition. Also it’s Christmas Eve, which rocks, since that’s traditionally when presents are opened in France. One’s Christmas expectations seem to be formed in childhood, so I’ve never really got used to the whole wait-for-Christmas-Day business. Fortunately the spousal unit appears to endorse any option that means opening presents earlier.
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Joyful Oh-The-World-Didn’t-End – whatever it is you celebrate or don’t, be nice, be kind, and have fun.