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.
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.
This has been covered by others already, but fortunately for me I never claimed to be a scoop-hound (I’m far too
lazy busy with work). I’ve let it sit in my mental microwave for the last few days, and when it finally went ping I decided that yes, I’m probably going to try out AC2.
I remember the AC2 beta and how froth-botheringly excited the community was, because AC1 players got priority for beta testing – at least that’s how I remember it. It was a long time ago. Hell, it was THAT long ago that the spousal unit and I actually got CDs through the mail to install the beta client. No, really. People used to send CDs all the time. Then again I’m old enough to remember floppies. Wait, does that sound bad?
Anyway, froth-bothering excitement gave way to puzzlement (wtf is this? it’s not AC1!) to interest (okay, but it’s actually a pretty cool character system) to frustration (oh look, another play-stopping bug!). And before someone berates me for complaining about bugs when I was beta-testing, I know. I know. I know. I like beta-testing and I’m aware bugs are the whole point and hell, I do it professionally now, so don’t teach your internet grandma to suck eggs. Every beta-tester has a point at which they transition from “Hey, this is kind of a cool bug, let’s make that cow’s head explode again” to “Ohhhh Goddddd, not another one… Now I can’t move. Now I can’t talk. Hey, what happened to my inventory?”
I reached that point with AC2 after a few weeks of testing which, coupled with a machine that was only barely able to run the game, kind of put paid to both my testing and my interest in the game. I didn’t buy it at release, though a number of my AC guildies, The Knights Who Say Ni, did.
AC2 had quite a few issues in beta, which is what you’d expect. Chat, as I recall, was pretty gruesome (and the Elder Game post referred-to above explains why), but then chat had issues in more than one game back in 2002 or 2003. Star Wars Galaxies was fickle as a drunken debutante when it came to letting you chat or not, at least for the first few months – setting up one of the first cities was quite the experience without guild chat, especially since this was before anyone much used voice-chat.
So yes, my guildies played it and enjoyed it, though it never got as much momentum within the guild as AC1 did. Nothing’s ever the same as your first… Also, SWG came fairly hot on the heels of AC2 and we ALL wanted to try out a Star Wars game (though again, not many of us played it for more than a few months). Actually, that was more or less the time when the MMO market sort of exploded – after SWG came City of Heroes, then later that year both EQ2 and WoW, and on and on…
I didn’t play AC2 at release, I was probably a little unfair about it for various reasons, and now I’m a jaded old hag – or hack – with nostalgic leanings and I’m going to check it out again. It didn’t take me but a couple of minutes to recover my Turbine account info, and there’s my AC1 account all ready to be activated to grant me access to what’s old is new AC2 (although it’s not my original AC1 account – I didn’t migrate it soon enough back in the Microsoft/Turbine migration or I just plain forgot the details, either way my original chars are lost somewhere in v-space).
We’ll see, right?
Prescriptum: I was going to write this at the end of the post, but as usual I’m rambling far too much and I’m adding pictures and this post is going to be a mile long before I’m done. So: I’d like to thank the folks who have been mailing me in support of this blog. I’m eternally surprised that people read this not just out of bloggerly solidarity but out of – apparently – interest and for entertainment. Personally, I think my post quality has gone down the drain in the last couple of years, but I’m hoping the doldrums will pass and at some point I won’t mind revisiting some of the more interesting discussions & themes out there. In the meantime, thanks for reading and most of all thanks for writing to let me know you’re reading – it’s not essential, but it’s very nice to receive.
TL;DR - No time to play, waah. Pandaclysm kinda cool. Where’s my hatchling? Dailies dailies everywhere and not a drop to drink. Move along now.
My gaming time has been somewhat limited these last few months – okay, for most of this year actually – with the occasional glutton-day interspersed with weeks of not logging into anything much. Which is a shame, because there are several games out there I could, would, should and want to enjoy. Two of them are even “free”, more or less – TSW and GW2 – but when there’s no time, there’s just no time. Read more…