Tuesday, 14 June 2011

World of Warcraft need to reconsider the Death Knight.

Back in the ye olde days, when flying was restricted to only those who had ridden hard, fought long drawn out battles, defended their realm in all the nooks, crannies, dungeons and holes in the ground the makers could imagine, back then, the best of the bunch were able to fly, to soar high on the wings of sweet well earned victory. There was room for a Hero Class, a player that could swing the tide and turn battles around, a player that could harness the very bones of the dead in defense of his realm, a player that using deaths own embrace, could swing an axe and strike at the heart of the opposition. Back then, there was room for a Death Knight, A rare and heroic breed capable of signalling the end of the long fight against the kings enemies.

In time gone by, it took a long time to get to level fifty five. A player learned his skills and understood his craft. A player knew his way around a sizeable portion of the map, knew where to stand, where to fish, he knew where to mine or make his weapons and armour. A player of level fifty five had many achievements and accomplishements under his belt. A player of level fifty five had proven he was no 'flash in the pan, a 'micro-nova', but a player who was capable of bringing value to any group. The ability for that player to create a Death Knight seemed a fair and proper thing to allow. Death knights in turn, had value as the players using them were often world-skilled and game-wise.

The game has changed, significantly, it is very much easier to level up. With refer-a-freind, you can make level fifty five in less than a week, With heirlooms you can race through dungeons as if they were some kind of solo Battleground, within days of paying for world of Warcraft, you can qualify to roll a death knight and begin the macabre and systematic destruction of players enjoyment on so many levels.

Death Knights no longer have any value, they bring nothing to the game, and far from being hero class, they are now the class most likely to be played by some one who neither cares for, nor understands the games mechanics. Death Knights are more than likely going to be the biggest single instrument in countless dungeon wipes. Characters playing new Death Knights seem more often than not, to display a total disregard for other players, total lack of understanding of dungeon mechanics and have no incentive to do better. They are in short, an abused and disposable class.

For some, it is great fun to create a DK on another server, destroy peoples dungeons for a weekend, and then, amid peals of laughter, destroy the deathknight and generate bragging rights for the first break at school on the next school day.

Some Death Knights are good players,they know how to play their character, and many of the characters they are teamed up with in the Dungeon Finder. Some Death Knights know how to be the 'tank' and execute the process extreemly well. I will wager, they are less than one percent of death knights though.

I propose some simple and basic changes to Death Knight creation, a series of simple concepts that will re-inject the 'hero class' into the Death Knights.

I suggest a player should have three or four level 85 or top level characters on a server, before that player can convert a player of level 55 or better into a death knight. Upon creation of the Death Knight, skills and abilities transfer over to the Death Knight, such as fishing, cooking , gathering skills and manufactiring skills, and the name of the character stays the same. A partial talent tree could be used to retain a small selection of the original characters abilities, so that Death Knights would no longer be simple mele characters, but characters that can deliver extreme dps using their original talents as a Mage, Priest, Shaman, Paladin, hunter etcetera. The racial talents should be removed and all death knights should be skeletal.

Remove 'Death Grip' totally. Its a mechanism that is abused beyond comprehension in dungeons. There are several 'taunts' used in World of Warcraft, the Death Knights Death Grip succeeds more often than not in bringing mobs into the party, often a sure-fire way of killing the healer, or the High DPS dealing mage. Death grip has outlived its value and could easily be replaced by a taunt of controllable and meaningful proportions.

Why not allow the Death Knight to gain health upon the succesful killing of a Mob, a life exchange if you like. The higher the value of dps contribution made by the death knight, the greater the healing effect on the mobs death. For fun, giggles if you will, the death of a Town Guard, quest giver, trainer or a player five levels or more below the death knight, will erode the death knights health proportionally to the effort of damage delivered. Take on a couple of quest givers and your toast...

Have the Death Knight Training Armour and Weapon, gifted during training, to have little or no armour quality after they Death Knight leaves the training levels. Simply, the DK will make or purchase or aquire Armour, and cladding and arming his DK in a manner that will lead to character survival.

Make Death Knights permanently PVP enabled. If you want to wear the suit, wear the responsibility.

Take away the Death Knights XP bar, let the iLevel of his gear determine whether or not he can enter a dungeon, or raid, or battle ground. (In fact, take away everyones XP bar and let their gear count serve as admission ticket regardless of level.)

On the plus side, the more honor he earns in raids, bg's, dungeons and the like, the better the gear he gets, the superior gear that can only be worn by DK's. Gear far better than any other class can get, because the DK, being a hero class character, should have hero quality equipment and weaponry.

Rant Over:

Friday, 10 June 2011

Did it suddenly get easier?

As I am part of a level 25 World of Warcraft Guild, I was able to buy two or three handy dandy BoA's, add another couple from the Honour Points system and I have a baby shaman running the dungeons, casting 'heals' where tanks, noobs and mages fear to tread.

Well, not exactly ' fear to tread', but surely splashing the healing mana on all who need it except for those who have decidely set about to piss me off.

My first character in World of Warcraft a few years ago, levelled up through questing, more questing and then some farming, and questing. Sometimes, the only way to be able to do questing was to find another area at your level, hop over there, log into a hearthstone home, and get on with yet more questing.

My Mage, I recall, spent level 56 to 58 farming in Western Plaguelands, then off to Honour Hold, failed, returned back to Eastern Plaguelands to farm another level or two.

Level 80 was an achievement of merit. We know the attrition for levelling characters is high, so to get to Dalaran at about 78, use the portal to get in for the first time was a genuine feel good moment.

A few months ago, I decided to run a character up using dungeons, and questing, it was easier, a lot easier. My partner watched and decided to create a human mage, drop a few 'looms' onto her and see if she could level up only using dungeons once she got past level 20. She reached level 20 in the first playing day, about 12 hours, now a week later she is well into level 70 killing critters with 'Arcane Blast', some Missiles and 'Presence of Mind', with a sprinkling of other spells so the keyboard doesnt get jammed up through lack of use.

I, on the other hand, am slowly raising a Draenei Shaman through the ranks and am sitting at level 52 with a 'played time' of 2 Days, 10 Hours and 7 Minutes. Not a record, but not slacking either. My biggest boost comes from realising that running Random Dungeons means that for the better percentage of my runs, they are going to be in dungeons that give me anything but the best xp (Experience Points), so I select only the top dungeons to run in. I don't get the bag of goodies, nor do I get any gold as reward, I do get huge amounts of bonus XP with each mob kill, so that so far, each dungeon run has netted me another level up in Blizzard's World of Warcraft.

Has it got easier, hell yes, way easier. Dumbed down dungeons, bloated xp returns, enhanced xp for BoA gear, extra XP and Rep for being in a good guild all combine to rocket me through the levels. Is it more fun, well, its different, there are no puzzles to solve, so no sence of accompliment. But if the object is to get the character to 85 and then teach it a craft, then yes, it is so easy.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Guild Elitists in World of Warcraft

Most adults can, within a few moments of talking to another person, establish whether or not there is mutual harmony on the horizon if they were to become friends. Friendship can, in some social cases in this day and age, be acquired by the click of a face book page, or the happy sitting together in a railway train carriage.

To have to apply through a complicated on-line 'question and answer' document is uncomfortable, intrusive, and missing the whole point of become a friend. Guilds, in the on-line MMORPG, rather rely on everyone in the guild being 'nice' or 'grown up' to each other. Not everyone can spare the time to turn an on-line game into some kind of macho high pressure sporting fixture and so for many of us, guilds are about a bunch of friends hacking at monsters as and when they all get on line together. But if you are the only one on line, you are expected to be able to look after yourself for a few hours should the need arise.

In this current season, being a member of a guild enables you to draw on 'perks' simply not available to solo players. Perks such as extra hit shore, faster cool downs, improved benefits, stronger equipment all allow the guild based player to level up faster, earn more gold quicker, and achieve success where teams are needed to defeat some of the quest challenges.

It is a two-way street, the guild benefits financially and socially from having an active membership, and the members benefit from having a powerful guild supporting them.
I understand a great many players are still young enough to have not worked out the social niceties of making friends with real adults in the real world, and the behaviour of a good many guild players leaves you with the belief that they are looking forward to their thirteenth birthday, or have discovered the word 'anal' or are so dim they cannot function unless someone is holding their hand.

An abundance of these players can bring a guild down with petty innuendo, lies, thefts, mistrust and a general childishness of silly arguments over the guild public channel. We say, 'We can do without the drama queens', and understand that all guilds will have some childish players, or even children, but a good many grown up children to balance the ratio and to keep the guild in good trim.

To have to apply by a complicated on line document, giving age, location, times of play, interests, gender, server likes and dislikes strikes me too much of applying for a job, not a social agreement to work together. I was looking for a group of like minded people to share 'guild perks' with while I help earn that guild more perks, and for me, it needs to be a fun thing, a warm social interchange, where I can be allowed to play as I wish to, but join in with group activities from time to time.

The need to fill out a long form turns me off and makes me cold to that group. If they have lost the ability to communicate as adults with other adults and use that 'built-in' ability to assess another player, then maybe that is not a group for me. They can keep their silly forms and childish approach to game playing. I'm going to play alongside other intelligent, articulate, grown up children.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

World of Warcraft needs a Dragon

It is good that some entities, like Blizzard, the Company that owns World of Warcraft, considers it important to raise money for relief aid to Japan. For any reason you care to choose, helping others is always good. Though sometimes, a little incentive is needed to get their customers to part with their hard earned cash so that it can be forwarded to the Japan Relief Fund.

Sadly, if a scheme is only half baked, then a full loaf is never returned, and by that I mean, Blizzard, for example, could have gained terrific leverage on the inherent need for many of their gamers to own something worthwhile.

Blizzard are giving a small pet away as a way of saying 'thank you' for making a donation. Sadly, most players have more pets than they can use in any given session, with so many pets given away as incentives, a pet shortage in World of Warcraft is something there is not.
I applaud their desire to help Japan, but I feel they could have raised tons of cash instead of the great dollop they have. And they had the mechanism at their disposal, in plain sight and not being used effectively.

Now the players can fly just about anywhere on almost any mount, the race is on to get bigger, harder to get, more colourful mounts, so gigantic dragons, breathing blue flames, and whose frame is all bones is the most wanted flying mount.

If Blizzard had released a huge colourful very fast flying mount, something unique, and made it account bound, and charged the player something easy to obtain, like twenty Euros or twenty Dollars, then I bet I would have purchased it for my characters. I bet a lot of people would have bought it. Once one player has it, others demand to know how they can get one and do not want to be left out.

Imagine a couple million players each pumping twenty dollars into the system, Blizzard could have made a significant donation to the Japan Relief Fund.