Friday, 16 November 2012

World of Warcraft Alt value

World of Warcraft, a multi-player, on-line role playing game. More than one player, on line and connected to the same environment while playing a game. Each player has a unique play style, in one way or another. I have several characters, with one or two being my primary. These two I have ramped up their skills and abilities and they are the characters that get the most play-time. As it is a social environment as well, being on line in my own name enables friends and followers to find me, talk or interact with me.

Sometime we all need a little 'quiet' time while we concentrate and do things we want to do. Alternative characters enable a player to be online and yet be separate from the established social circle, so to that end, I have an alt who's name for the most part is not connected to my main. My banking alt is obviously a banking  alt, a character used primarily for interacting with the bank and the auction house, yet though if a player knew who I was, there would be no obvious link to my main account. Ah, such is the wonderful anonymity a banking alt garners.

I have other alts, born from the frustration of paying high prices for goods and services my mains need while levelling their games. Each player is limited to two primary skills, such as Mining and Blacksmithing. Skilling alts up to be able to process the materials needed for top level objects is relatively simple. Levelling them with no trade whatsoever means a much faster levelling process, then, when you reach 85 or 90, teach your alt the trade and within a few days you have a workable proficiency.

With Mists of  Pandaria, the latest expansion by Blizzard for the game World of Warcraft, crafting alts need materials only found when killing Non Player Characters, NPC's. A player needs to play the alt characters if they want to use the crafting skills. Previously, the rare crafting materials were available by farming ores or herbs or even in the auction house. As I have enough alternative characters to cover all the trades I need, I find my daily workload ballooning.

Maybe those players using robots to automatically farm, are turning to 'bots' capable of harvesting NPC's in order to gain the needed crafting materials, or do they reduce the number of alts they use and farm the auction house to generate gold and thereby purchase the needed items from other players. An interesting conundrum,

I predict several 'bots' will greatly improve their 'AI' as they  tackle this problem. Gold Sellers seem to be dropping off the daily chat logs, possibly because the  rare materials cannot be easily harvested from simple 'bots' endlessly farming the ores and herbs from dawn until dawn the next day. Goes to show, if you solve a problem, you create a new challenge for someone else. Good job Blizzard making players work for the rare items, but it will be interesting to see how things turn out once the undetectable payer bots are introduced into the mix.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Too many dailies and not enough time

Blizzard have written into the game of World of Warcraft, significant changes to how the game is played. Many changes are fantastic if you know the earlier version, with new concepts, new storylines, new weapons and spells, and newer, simpler ways of doing things.

One game construct I feel a burden, is the linearity of the quest chains. You need to run through each quest, one after the other in order to gain the endgame goals. To make the end game harder to reach, repetitive tasks have been introduced into the quest lines, with a needed requirement to complete one chain, before you can start on the next line.

If you fail to enjoy one section of the game, you will find yourself excluded from a lot of later game content, this I find, a little unfair and would like to point out other games in the world of MMO RPG's enable multiple paths to reach end game content, and one, Eve-Online, No path, you can choose how you play to reach an end game you decide upon.

Right now, a lot of things are shared with my other characters on the same account, account sharing is a good thing as it means that I don't have to run the same content over and over to have , say a special flying mount. Sadly, Blizzard have chosen to not include some content from being account bound, so if I want to ride my new mount with a second character, that character will have to run through the same long winded dailies until they have enough rep with the Flying Serpents to be able to buy the licence to fly.

I would love to see a small satchel in the bank, accessible only to my account so that I could share heirlooms with characters on other servers. After all, my pets, mounts and achievements are considered shared across all my account characters, so why not heirlooms.
I find myself limiting the number of characters I am progressing to level 90, there is so much end content to work on, well, read, 'daily grind', that with a screen full of characters, twelve to sixteen hours a day online playing a game is disturbing in the reality of things.
One can simply have too much World of Warcraft in their days timeline.