… but I really didn’t starve any of them to death on purpose, I swear! They already were like this when I found them!
I like Archaeology. It provides me with something to do while I’m waiting for heroics to pop up (and if I sign for them as a DPS, there is quite a lot of waiting to be done), and most of all – it’s a source of cool stuff. I’ve already got a skeletal raptor pet from it, and now I’m quite close to finishing the raptor mount.
At last I will have a raptor mount on Vrethir. I always wanted him to ride a raptor.
With all this running around and digging in the ground, I needed an easier way to see how many fragments of each artifact I’ve already got. Using the default Blizzard’s UI for this is extremely annoying and requires way to much clicking; and the existing addons weren’t exactly what I was looking for. I don’t want a frame that is always somewhere on my screen, and I don’t want to use a slash command to show it, that’s barely better than the default UI. I also don’t really care about silly arrows pointing me in the direction of the next digsite – this game features a map, you know, and I have no problems with using a map, and the sites are even marked on this weird and complicated map thing. Crazy, I know.
So, I wrote my own.
As it’s a very small addon, it doesn’t really do much. It’s not a problem, because I prefer my addons to be simple but useful. It will show you a tooltip, and in that tooltip there will be a list of the artifacts you’re currently working on. Each of them will have a simple progress counter that includes whatever keystones you have in your bags. Here’s a screenshot.
And that’s all it will do, at least for now. I have plans to extend it a little – like change that useless “Archaeology” text into something useful, and maybe to have a way of clicking the artifact name and going to the relevant artifact page to solve it (or maybe solving it without going there, not sure yet). But for now, it’s only an informational tooltip.
I’m doing the leveling thing again on Vaeria – to see the Horde side of things, and to visit Vashj’ir. What I’ve noticed recently is that there is now more variety in the quests. While most of them can be still categorized into the general types of Kill Ten Rats, Go There and Bring Me A Shrubbery (Or Twenty) – the developers at Blizzard somehow managed to make some of them cool and interesting. Some, because obviously there is a lot of generic “there are these creatures there that annoy me greatly, go kill 12 of them” quests, but I guess not every quest can be new and exciting.
I desire a thing, bring me it!
We all know that type of quest – kill creatures and bring X things from their corpses. Or loot Y of the things from the ground. Or go and click on Z things lying on the ground. Of course, all these quests are still very present in Cataclysm, but some are trying to escape the standard a bit. A minor example would be getting food for the dwarves in Twilight Highlands – the food items are not generic crates this time, but look like normal food lying around instead – and different types of food. It’s a small detail, but it definitely counts for a good impression.
A much better example would be rescuing the gryphons. When I got that quest I thought I’d have to fly around and use a provided item on 8 gryphons. Wrong! Some of the birds are trapped and you have to kill a trapper and destroy the trap itself. Others are wounded and you need to heal them (bandages work if your class can’t heal). And the rest of them is indeed flying around waiting for you to come and use your item on them.
It’s really a shame that this kind of thing isn’t more common, because that’s what I call a quest in an RPG done 100% right – if it would be introduced to most of the quests, that would provide the illusion of choice some people think the game lacks.
Kill that big one!
There was a lot of “boss fights” all over the place in the previous expansions. All tanks from Burning Crusade should remember killing Dimensius for [Dabiri’s Enigma], or getting the key to Shattered Halls and forging it in a Fel Reaver’s corpse; and the newer players should be familiar with killing Admiral Westwind for example. A culmination of a storyline – a boss fight.
Before Cataclysm, all of these quests would require a full group, tank and a healer included, to complete. While this isn’t completely bad in itself – we’re playing a MMO after all – I think it’s a little strange that I can’t see the ending of the storyline if I don’t get 4 other players involved. I can go through all the previous quests alone and then for some reason I can’t finish it. It’s just stupid.
Enter Cataclysm. The only group quest I’ve found so far when I was leveling Vrethir, and now Vaeria (all 80-85 quests cleared between the two of them) was the Twilight Highlands’ arena – the Crucible of Carnage. All other quests which definitely would be group quests before, are now possible to complete by yourself. The best example of this is probably killing Iso’rath at the Maw of Madness.
Iso’rath’s brain that you have to dispose of has 1.5 million hit points. Even at a level 85 or 84 that’s still a lot to burn down by yourself – it’s about the same amount that your average dungeon boss has on normal difficulty. The point is that you’re not alone – you’ve got a helping party of four NPC shamans to aid you. They will heal you (even by casting Earth Shield on you) and help to dps down the boss.
This is much better for me, who wants to see the stories behind this game. In TBC and Wrath I would either just do the quests myself anyway (prot warriors > 3-man group quests), or leave them in my quest log if they were 5-man ones and impossible to solo. Or if I couldn’t get a group for them I’d abandon them and go somewhere else. That’s not how a storyline should work.
You want me to do WHAT?
And finally there are the random quests that are completely different. I was making a song with a dwarf, inventing a submarine bio-fuel by mixing different types of animal oil together to get the right proportions of ingredients… That fuel quest is an example of a completely awesome questline by the way – the goblin says the current submarine fuel is quite dangerous to the local wildlife, and we should be more environmentally conscious – so he sends you to kill some more specimens of the three local types of wildlife to get oil, and then make the fuel itself. From only two types of wildlife oil. I’m simply amazed.
There’s also a very simple RTS minigame in Uldum, where you have to click where your units need to go and issue commands via the vehicle command buttons. There’s a clone of Joust (another thing to read the Wowhead comments and laugh at all the RAGE) and shooting things from a cannon.
And, of course, Peaceblooms vs Ghouls. I honestly didn’t expect that you could force the WoW engine to do that. After all, it’s a completely different type of game, and unlike the addon-based Peggle or Bejeweled, it works completely ingame.
On the other hand, I found one typical escort quest – you know, you get a NPC and they start RUNNING, not stopping at all unless they’re directly attacked. Fortunately for us it’s a daily quest, so we won’t ever forget how painful type of quests the escort ones were.
So how it fits all together?
There was a paragraph here on generic things, but it started to become just as long as the rest of the post, and it’s going to be a separate post now. Soon.
After a lot of heated discussions the Polish EvE Online community have decided that we should all together help our Russian brothers by sending them some very much needed and critically important supplies. After all, they’ve just finished fighting off Northern Coalition’s forces and were starting to make the push into Geminate. So we scrapped together some funds, bought a Charon freighter and filled it with life-saving medical supplies and some extremely qualified medical staff. We would be their much needed Santa Claus, even if a bit late!
Unfortunately, our freighter pilot must’ve taken a wrong turn somewhere and for some reason unknown to us, he ended in the Vuorrassi solar system. Without enough time to change plans and relocate all the supplies and staff elsewhere, we decided to gather a support fleet of mostly battleships and battlecruisers, and make the push with our precious cargo through Northern Coalition’s territory. Our goal was to deliver our package to where it was needed the most – straight to the brave Russian soldiers on the front.
Our fleet was however intercepted by Northern Coalition forces about halfway through – there were a few small skirmishes on the way, but as we were moving through the NCGR-Q system to U54-1L, we were assaulted by a large battleship fleet supported by two Titan class ships. Unfortunately they appeared in the best moment for them – our fleet was split up into two groups. We managed to kill NC’s interdictors though, initiate the warp with our freighter and escape to U54-1L. However it was a costly escape, as most of our fleet didn’t make it out in time. My own Tempest battleship was lost shortly after helping to dispose of a heavy interdictor – the Northern fleet landed practically on me, and I just couldn’t burn out of range quick enough.
In U54-1L we decided to make one last stand with our precious cargo and the remains of our fleet. Alas, the forces of the North were too numerous, and our freighter exploded in a ball of flame after it’s pilot tried to ram down some of the enemy battleships.
Being in high spirits, we had hoped that our sacrifice was not in vain and the medical staff and supplies wouldn’t go to waste – or maybe the Northern Coalition would find them useful – but it was not in the cards tonight. One of their bloodthirsty pilots shot the wreck and destroyed it all, showing no respect for either the life-saving medical supplies or the extremely qualified medical personel, even though most of the latter died anyway in the freighter’s explosion. Barbarians, all of them.
And so, we all learned a very important lesson tonight – being a Santa Claus is not easy at all.
This was the Polish community’s 8th Gank Night – usually the event being your typical gank fest, a fleet of pilots flying in whatever they can find and killing whatever they can find and engage. This time, we’ve decided to do something really crazy – and escorting a freighter full of booze and ladies through hostile space is definitely a good way to show that indeed we’re not exactly sane. The freighter’s lossmail is a testament to this craziness.
NC’s attack came at a good moment for them – about 2/3rd of our fleet was already in warp to the destination gate, and initially there were only some battleships and a bit of logistics staying with the freighter. Without a full fleet we couldn’t do much against the about 200 of NC pilots. We managed to keep warp disruption bubbles out of the freighter and it warped out – at the cost of our battleships and logistics. When the rest of the fleet came back to help us, they’ve been lagging out quite badly and couldn’t do much – and all that with only about 250-300 people in the system. It doesn’t help when all your FC can see is a 1 frame per minute slideshow.
But of course we all knew that we were going to die anyway somewhere, so it’s all good. I’m just disappointed with all that wasted booze that got destroyed with the freighter’s wreckage, but overall it was definitely fun.
Vrethir is finally 85 as of yesterday. I’ve done it by fully finishing quests in just three of the five new zones (Hyjal, Deepholm and Uldum) and doing a few of the dungeons plus some quests in Twilight Highlands. I thought it would take more time to get there, but somehow even the last level went quite fast.
Now to find some decent guild – I already have one in my sights, they even have some of my old guildies which is definitely a plus.
The road so far
After finishing the Mount Hyjal zone I was thinking that the quests and all the cutscenes there were epic. Now I have to admit that I was kind of wrong – Uldum is even better. From the starting cutscene with the caravan right to the ending with Brann Bronzebeard, it was just like being in a Warcraft version of Indiana Jones movie, with all kinds of stuff included – explosions, rope slinging, even a fricking cool plane chase.
A plane chase, in my World of Warcraft?!
I love it. It’s my new favourite zone to quest in. And I don’t really care that all the cutscenes and phasing is making it more of a singleplayer game than a MMO, not when the result is something that awesome. And questing was always mostly a singleplayer thing anyway – now it’s even more like that as they’ve done away with all the group quests.
One thing that annoys me though is that all the phasing sometimes likes to mess with spawning of ore nodes – quite too often I’d see some elementium vein and fly over just to change into another subzone and phase the vein out. Annoying.
Another thing I’m a bit disappointed about is fishing. I still remember blue posters on forums going “ooh we’re making fishing fun” and what do we get? Skillups from the fishing daily and a new cursor… and I’m not sure if the cursor wasn’t added in Wrath at some point. Not really what I was expecting… At least the Archeology is somewhat fun.
I will have to level Vaeria, my tauren kitty, or else my friends are going to seriously harm me if I don’t. Fortunately that’s going to be another week or so once I’ll finally get her out of Northrend. Then there are all kinds of random alts here and there…
Also I’ve logged onto Misaka a few days ago just to see a frozen guild with a motd saying something like “we be doing undergeared stuff in The Pug, come join there”. Too bad, as I don’t really like the idea of The Pug and having to do AH to get gold to pay for gear. I have no problems playing the AH game and getting money out of it, but it’s not what I’m after. I have no doubt that it’s good for the goblin-minded individuals and it definitely works, but still it’s just a bit annoying.
I was thinking about making a worgen priest there only for doing the Undergeared stuff and PvP. Getting some blue gear shouldn’t be that much of a problem. Or maybe I’ll make that priest there and just level it when I’m bored and we’ll see what happens when I’m 85. Definitely not going to transfer Misaka there, though. For now I think I’ll leave her with her Wrath blues and achievements as I’m having enough fun on my warrior.
Done all the quests in Mount Hyjal yesterday, something like 1/4th of Deepholme and Vrethir is at 70% of level 83. So far it’s going much faster than I’ve expected – and it’s even more amusing when you think about the fact that I’m leveling him in protection spec. I do have Arms for my secondary one, but I haven’t really used it yet.
Haven’t tried tanking anything either, at least not yet. Maybe I should check out the Blackrock instance soon, from the videos it sounds like it could be fun. And I’m kind of missing groups and tanking in general. I’m still running without a guild, though, as I haven’t found anything interesting yet – there were two of them recruiting in trade chat, but I couldn’t find anything on the internet about them, and didn’t find any familiar names in the guild’s rosters on armory, so I’ve skipped them for now.
Oh, and Mount Hyjal was an awesome zone to level in. Quite epic and all the transition and ingame cutscenes were really adding to the experience. Not to mention the final battle, which felt like good old times with Sartharion.
I’m totally hooked, again. Hook, line, sinker, fishing pole and even the poor bloody fisherman. I have to admit I was getting really bored at the end of Wrath, but with the new expansion I have tons of stuff to do again. Now, I’ve been a really good boy for a whole year, how about somebody make me a Christmas present and change the days to have 48 hours instead of 24?
So I’ve downloaded some parts of the game and figured out I’ll play a bit before going to sleep. Pretty nice thing, that new downloader – streaming the game was quite fluid and I didn’t have to wait more than a few seconds for the new stuff in Easter Kingdoms to load. I’ll probably have it downloaded fully before I wake up, though.
So far, I’ve logged onto Vrethir and ran around a bit on him. Bought the new flying skill, figured out some kind of a weird protection spec that might work for leveling (he’s not poor, so it’s not a problem if it doesn’t), found Harrison Jones and learned the new profession. Now I’m bloody hooked and I’m not really sure who’s to blame.
It’s strange, really. Two hours after putting in the Cataclysm cd-key into the website and what am I doing? Fishing stuff up in Elwynn Forest for the daily fishing quest I’ve found in Stormwind. After that I’ve spent about two hours leveling Archeology, which is surprisingly fun – at least until I’ll start doing it on other characters as well.
And now, time to get some sleep. Hopefully. And then find some new quests in Hyjal, and finnally log on other characters.
Argh. I’ve always suspected that my friends hate me, but buying me Cataclysm and a time card and calling it a “present” might be too obvious. ;)
So, grumbling aside, I’m back. There will be blogging and site makeover and other stuff when I finally get to it… For now I’m running on my warrior around totally empty Dalaran. Still feeling a bit overwhelmed, and I haven’t even killed anything yet.
So, first things first – I’m off to find some cool protection warrior spec for levelling, and then to do the same for every other character. Aaaaargh.
Well, this is a bit of an old news, considering that the blue post was out about a week ago. With my posting “schedule”, a week here or there will not stop me from linking it anyway. So, here you go.
What’s in it? Well, apparently Blizzard reads the feedback we provide (however unprobable it may sound), so they’re going to make it possible to opt-out of the ingame friends of friends feature. Personally I’m not really bothered about it, but I’ve seen a lot of people that do. Well, you folks just won! Or will win when it will be done. Whatever. Good for you, anyway, right?
There’s also a bunch of stuff about Starcraft’s “integration” with Facebook, (which I don’t care about), explanation of the character code used on SC2 forums, and unfortunately, a mention of why they don’t want to use nicknames with RealID. Oh well, maybe sometime in the future.
What really bugs me with this is not the blue post itself, though. It’s the reaction from all the people that were so bloody serious when Blizzard announced their plans the forum change. Different kind of reactions for that one quickly spread all over the web, on every news site and blog – mine included. This? This got almost nothing – one mention on wow.com, some mentions on all the fansites that copy all the blue posts as their news material, one post on Tankspot (with a whole 4 comments – compare that to 348 that the Ciderhelm’s earlier post has)… and the blog posts? I’ve found a whole ONE, and I’ve spent a good half an hour looking. Seriously.
And even that one post is still full of “yeah they say that here but I don’t believe them anyway” type of crap. Even the one good announcement about FoF opt-out is deemed irrelevant there, because RealID will still use names, not nicknames.
And so, the whole RealID privacy issue ends after a few days of waiting (and gamers generating literally tons of feedback – the original thread on the US forums is just shy of a fifty thousand posts, that’s something I believe never happened before) with another announcement. I was hoping Blizzard would back off from their crazy plans (or at least alter them somewhat), and they indeed did so.
For SC2, the names are to be replaced by character name and character code, which I think is unique, but I’m not really sure. I’d try it out in the beta, but the EU servers are still not working, so it’ll have to wait until tomorrow. For WoW, they haven’t really said anything other than not using our real names, but I believe they’ll do something similar to SC2 part – probably depending on how that will work in practice.
Some of the bloggers are still not completely convinced of being safe though, mostly because of some strange wording in part of Mike Morhaime’s letter – “we’ve decided at this time that real names will not be required”. I don’t think this is a sign of it being only a temporary thing, as the “at this time” part is in a wrong part of the sentence for that – at least that’s what my fairly limited knowledge of English tells me anyway. And I simply refuse to be completely paranoid and make some sort of a conspiracy out of it.
While on this topic, I’d like to point out an awesome comment of Pangoria Fallstar on Larisa’s blog. This comment really deserves reading, so go and read it.
The other upgrades to the forums are still to be implemented. Highlighting, ratings, improved search, possibly the blue tracker that the EU forums are missing. This is all good and needed, however I don’t really believe in the ratings – I’ve seen them in action on wow.com and while usually the downrated comments are indeed the trollish ones, it also happens that people will downrate something valuable, just because they don’t like it. It’s a system that’s supposed to average itself up, but sometimes it doesn’t.
Then there’s a part about evolving the ingame RealID system, and I’m not really sure what they mean by that. Obviously, there have been reports of incoming Facebook integration, and theoretically, inviting all my friends from Facebook that might be playing SC2/WoW/D3 with one click might be indeed called “exciting” – if I had any friends on Facebook, that is. Or at least an account there, which I don’t.
I like the cross-server and cross-game (will be testing that part when the EU SC2 beta servers will go up) feature, but it could really use some improvements – like an invisible status for example, or more privacy options to decide if I want my name showing up on friends of friends lists. I hope these will be a part of the new and exciting stuff.
Oh, and you know what would be really, really awesome? An external application to talk to my Battle.net friends while out of game (possibly not only an iphone version, win/mac also). Yeah, I know, they’re my friends and I can phone them or send them a message on other IM systems, but sometimes they play on fullscreen and logging onto WoW is the only way to reach them. Blame my friends for this idea. ;)