Friday, 25 July 2008

The Mage and WotLK Part 1.5

Well then. The improvement to the Arcane tree does look very good as I mentioned last night. Problems with fire and frost remain. Hopefully we will se improvements on these as well, so I'm going to back off from this topic until next week. I'm still not overly optimistic. We still only have one viable talent tree to work with here.

The Mage and WotLK

Beta is up and running and I don't have a key. Poor me! I really wanted a beta key but in the end it might be good for me that I didn't. I don't enjoy levelling all that much and investing a lot of time on it having to redo it all again later might not serve my psyche very well. This doesn’t mean I can’t join in on all the speculations about where the Mage as a class is heading in WotLK.

If you haven’t already read it I recommend that you take a look at this thread that was posted on the mage forums:
Hayzaboona did a really good job in getting this together. I think Christian Belt on wowInsider wrote a lot of it but that doesn’t really matter. Mages are broken. I'm not saying other classes like Paladins and Shamans isn't but this isn't about them. I agree to alot of what is being said in this post. I picked my mage to do damage. I knew I picked a fragile class and I knew I would have trouble staying alive if those melee grunts came up close. I was Ok with that. But things have happened. I went from beein to notch DPS to mediocre. If you don't play the mage you might say: "Maybe you should just l2p." As true as that might be, the class as pointed out lacks a real role. I believe this to be one of the biggest problems.

Looking at WotLK talents and spells I have very little to get excited about. We will probably be out DPSed by Warlocks, Hunters, Rogues, Shadow Priests and Fury Warriors. Perhaps even balance druids and death knights. I heard that Shamans will be pretty awesome too but to be fair... I don't know much about Shamans yet. So Mages won't be killing on any damage lists it seems. Are we there for utility then? Not really no. Polymorph can be replaced. Pretty much all classes have some sort of cc now, so that polymorph won't be needed in the same way anymore. Arcane Intellect? Sure. We can do that. Or you can bring your own scrolls from the inscription profession. They don't stack anyway so why bring us. Then we got that food table. That’s pretty neat. They could just buy their own food and drink. Does not really cost much. Last but not least. A big reason to bring a mage to a raid is of course the Mage portal. The ability to transfer an entire guild from an instance to a major city. Then again. How many still have a cooldown on his HS at the end of a raid.

So I'm not overly optimistic I guess. But ok lets disregard everything that makes other classes more useful and focus on the new talents. I must admit that the Arcane tree looks quite interesting. There are a lot of good must have talents to pick. They seem to have made some changes since I first looked at it. Magic Absorption again gives 1 point of resistance per level and the Missile Barrage talent no seems somewhat interesting. Arcane potency no longer require clearcasting but instead presence of mind. I find that abit odd since it needs clearcasting to actually work. Anyway. Some new exciting changes. I experimented some with the talent calculator. I ended up spending all my 71 talent points in the arcane tree. Probably needs some tweaking but I'll save that for later.

Since they seem to be mixing it up a bit tonight I'm going to continue this post tomorrow. Maybe they have done some changes to the fire and frost trees by then. Hopefully they do something decent with that living bomb joke!

Character Soul Part 2

Back again on this soul issue but I will keep it a bit shorter this time. I talked a lot today with some current and former guild members that I have had the pleasure to play with throughout the years and even though this is far from scientific it seems like some of my points are valid. For instance. An old guildie of mine with no less than six level 70 characters told me this: "Of course my first character is the one I hold closest to my heart but, I do feel that two of my alts has what you call a soul. They were both created pre TBC so they have been around for quite some time. The other three is more or less toys that I enjoy playing. They are a part of my quest to get a character to max level of all classes. Perhaps it's because I got somewhat sloppy and didn't pay much attention to what I was doing like the first few times around". So sure. Maybe I was wrong about the main to be the only character with soul but there might be something there still. Maybe TBC did come at the cost of the character soul. I went to talk to a fellow mage who started playing wow as late as August last year.

"Does my character have a soul you say? Are you alright man because it seems to me you got a screw loose. I have a soul and when I talk to you its me that’s talking and not my toon". I guess it kind of blew up in my face there. But I had faith that more people was on the same level as me. So I continue my interview spree and got back to another old school player.

"I can relate to what you are saying and I did feel that way also. When I was raiding SSC and TK with you I felt like my character had a soul as you put it. But then we did a server transfer and it felt like all that went away. Same character, new name. The cities looked the same but not the population. I recently transferred back to our old server and it was like I came home. My character got his soul back and I enjoy the game more now than what I did on that transfer. I don't have any alts but maybe that’s not the problem?"

So from the first three interviews I got one confirmation one maybe and one smack in the fece. Maybe not the best turnout thus far. I did a couple more interviews but could not really gather anymore useful information. Turns out that not all agree that characters even have a soul to begin with and some say that it all depends on who is behind that keyboard. I even got a few:
RP server is that way -->

Next time I take on this subject I think I'm going to try break new ground and ask these questions to people I DON'T know.

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Bad Timing?

I know that we still have a long wait until WotLK is released. Beta test is ongoing but we probably won't see the expansion in the next few months. I think Blizzard timed this expansion a lot worse than the Burning Crusade. Summer is here and that means a lot of players are taking some time off from the game enjoying the weather and taking some vacation time to even warmer locations. This reflect heavily on the raiding community A lot of raiding guilds are struggling to fill their raids trying to invite new (lesser?) players to fill their ranks. It's the same story as every summer. But it seems to me that this summer is even worse. I see a lot of people already making preparations for a new expansion. Be it creating lvl 1 alts to ensure they get the name they want for their Death Knight or leaving guilds creating small communities of friends to level with in Northrend. This happened pre TBC also but only when an actual date was set for release. That’s when all the guilds started to fall apart. If I'm right about this we are looking at pretty dull fall. I'm no PvP fan but I think that’s where we are heading. Casual guilds, casual PvP awaiting a new expansion. Less 25 man and more 10 man raids. Bear Mount anyone?

Character Soul

Earlier today I got a message on msn from one of my old guildies. We didn't really say much but we decided we were going to meet up in a few weeks. Grab a couple of beers and just hang out. Probably talk about the "good old times" we had playing together, raiding etc. It got me thinking.

My main is a lvl 70 UD Mage. I don't play much on it anymore for various reasons. The biggest reason is my job. I can't spend the same amount of time on it like I used to. This means that I can't raid on it like I want to. That’s why I these days play more casual with some IRL friends and my girlfriend. This also happens to be a Mage. What can I say? I like the class. Anyway. Me and my girlfriend rerolled on this PVE server. Can't say I enjoy the server much but, it allows me to be in a raiding guild despite of my work schedule. I still call this character my alt even though it clearly out gear my main these days and its the only character I play on as mentioned. So why do I still call this my alt?

You all remember when you first started playing WoW don't you? I sure do. Me and a friend had just bought the game. I moved my computer to his apartment that same day and we said that we would always play these characters together. I had been playing Dark Age of Camelot for two months prior to this, but this was the first "real" experience with an MMO. We picked our race and class. He, a nasty looking undead warlock. Me, an UD Mage called Himura. We were off! I'm not good with names. It's stolen from a popular anime series, so lets just leave it. Anyway. The race towards lvl 60 began.

I said race but it was nothing like it. It took me a good 4 months to get that character to 60. But the journey was worth it all. I had a lot of fun and made a lot of friends. Time went by. I and my mage were one. Looking back I feel that everything was more personal with the game before the burning crusade. I could be imagining things, suffering from some sort of "when I was young" syndrome. My point is that this first character I got to level 60 has something special. Something no character after that can copy. My character had a soul.

I don't feel the same way about the new Mage. Not even close. Perhaps it's the same for everyone. Is it weird that I don't get the feeling that my alt is missing a soul? Maybe its more weird that I think that my main has one. I don't know really. People tend to take this game far too serious at times and I KNOW that I was one of them a year back. I gave this game more attention than my real friends and I sometimes regret the time spent. Don't get me wrong here. I don't judge people who spend a lot of time playing WoW. I still play WoW quite abit. Though I probably read more about WoW and think about WoW more than actually playing. But maybe its the time spent levelling from 1 to 60 and then raiding MC, BWL, AQ and Naxx. Later on 60 to 70 raiding Karazhan, TK, SSC, MH and BT. Probably yeah. Not sure though.

When I think about it I believe the game changed a lot when TBC came. More than meets the eye. The old world no longer has any real meaning and Orgrimmar is not the centre of the Horde world anymore. Its populated for the AH but its not the same as before. Everything you did pre TBC was somehow connected to Orgrimmar. Orgrimmar was the centre of the world. Didn't really matter if you were levelling, if you were a raider or if you played pvp. Today I get the feeling that Orgrimmar is an empty shell. I get the feeling that there are more anonymous players roaming the cities today. It feels shallow. My alt and Orgrimmar seems to walk the same path. TBC was needed and I believe it to be a very good expansion. But perhaps it came at a cost. I'm going to try and tie up some lose ends here tomorrow...