World of Warcraft: Nitpicks Revisited

By Shamus
on Dec 15, 2010
Filed under:
Game Reviews

Two and a half years ago I wrote up a list of grievances against World of Warcraft. Now the world has been re-worked for the Cataclysm, so I thought I’d revisit that list and see how things have changed.

1. Low drop rates for quest items

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Drop rates are now usually at 80% or better. Of course, this is possible mostly due to the fact that they’ve sped up the leveling curve. Blizzard doesn’t need you to kill 200 Murlocs to get from level 10 to 11, so when a quest giver asks you to bring him 20 Murloc heads, you don’t need to worry that 90% of the Murlocs in the world will be inexplicably headless when you loot them.

Conclusion: Fixed. And thank you.

2. Quest Locations are Vague

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You know, when I returned to the game this year I went and downloaded the popular Quest Helper plugin. I was never a huge fan of Quest Helper. It does a lot of hand-holding and routing, which is overkill for my needs. But I considered the game to be unplayable without it, because so much time was spent wandering aimlessly, trying to figure out where the heck I was supposed to be going. Then someone pointed out the built-in quest guide system, which had been added while I was away from the game and which I somehow hadn’t even noticed.

I turned off Quest Helper and there it was: The perfect quest guide system. It gives you specific enough map markers that you don’t run the risk of wildly misunderstanding the directions. It shows you which monsters you’re supposed to be killing. But it doesn’t do more than that.

Conclusion: I call this one fixed.

3. Bag space is outrageously limited

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This also includes #4, “The Needless proliferation of ingredients”, and #5, “The Needless proliferation of food types”. These three are generally the same complaint, and they’re pretty much fixed. The game is a little more generous with bag space at the start, so new players won’t be fumbling around at level 20 with a bunch of four and six slot bags. (And Hunters no longer have to waste a bag on ammo.)

On the other end, most recipes require just one or two ingredients, which removes the nightmare you’d get in Westfall where you’d have a whole sack full of animal parts but you wouldn’t be able to cook a single thing. Cooking is still costly in bag space, but it no longer requires that you have a bunch of large expensive bags at level 15.

In general, bag space feels just right. If you’re a new player without financial support, you should be able to maintain a couple of primary professions and still have just enough space for questing and a bit of cooking. And if you’ve got financial support (like, an established player can mail you a bunch of gold) then you can have enough space for all of your professions.

6. Arbitrary Level restrictions

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This wasn’t so much a dig at WoW as a dig at online games in general, and probably should have been left off the list of WoW-specific nitpicks. I don’t think much has changed. In truth, fixing this would require re-thinking how items work in online games. Although, the milk one still bothers me.

Conclusion: Not fixed. Not that I was expecting it.

7. The realtime day / night cycle

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Days are still 24 hours long, and it’s still boring. This is particularly silly since the player base follows a very predictable cycle. So the vast majority of players all see the world at the same time of day, every day. If you just play for an hour or two each night, then you might only see evening and never night, or day, or dawn.

I’m a fan of the two or three hour cycle of Lord of the Rings Online. A single session would let to see a bit of variety.

Conclusion: Not fixed.

8. Respawning monsters

Hmmm. I’m not sure how I should rate this one. It seems to be better nearly everywhere, except for a few spots where it’s far worse. One day (and this might have been during the beta) I had Kobolds appearing right on top of me and ganking me constantly, almost as fast as I could kill them. (And of course I was playing a squishy character.) But in general this has been very rare, far more rare now than when I played two years ago.

Conclusion: Fixed? I guess?

9. Heavy Drinking Mages

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This is fixed, I think. It’s certainly far less severe now. I don’t have any mages past their teens, so I can’t say for certain, but the days of having to sit and drink after every fight at level 12 are gone.

(I hated this. Veteran players would justify the drinking by pointing out that at level 50, mages could run around and nuke stuff to death instantly, so the drinking was there to slow them down to function more or less like the other classes. Fine, fine. But why am I being made to drink at level 12!?!?!)

10. Wandering Elites are Asinine

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Not fixed, and as asinine as ever. This weekend I finally made it to Outland. Took a quest. Rode out to where the monsters were. Looked around so I knew where all the foes were and where I should stand. About six minutes into the job I suddenly died without warning. Then a foot the size of a house filled my view. A wandering elite the size of Godzilla had “snuck” up on me. It was level ?? to me, which means it was far, far above every other creature in the area. This is actually a lot worse than the elites I’ve run into elsewhere in the game, where they were only a few levels above the local monster population.

This is stupid. I wasn’t even aware that such a monster existed. I hadn’t seen it on the flight in. It was just a pointless death. For the purposes of gameplay, it has about the same effect as having the game crash to desktop and needing to restart: I’m done playing for a couple of minutes until I can get going again. Whee.

Blizzard could have saved themselves the effort and replaced that monster with something else just as exciting and tension-building: Once an hour, I have a 1 in 40 chance of dropping dead from a heart attack.

Conclusion: Die in a fire.

11. Resurrection Sickness Sucks

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Still lame, although I encounter it less now because I know the game better.

The other day I was exploring and filling in the map when I was jumped by a level ?? guard. (Just outside the Blood Elf city.) Tried to run. Went the wrong way. Got caught on some scenery and he one-shotted me to death. My bad. It’s a hazard that comes with exploring unfamiliar areas in enemy territory.

Unfortunately, my body was too far into the town for me to respawn outside. Had no choice but to resurrect. I didn’t dare explore with all my stats reduced by 75%, and I was nearly done exploring this zone, so I went AFK until the sickness passed.

So, pretty good gameplay mechanic there. The “go AFK for a bit” feature. I still don’t see what it adds to the game, other than to make corpse-camping more fun for bullies on PvP servers. I understand that online games have always had severe punishments for death, and that the penalty in WoW is fairly gentle in comparison, but I still don’t see the point of it.

Although, this was only my second bout of resurrection since I returned to the game earlier this year. So I run into this less.

And now I want to add a new nitpick to the list:

12. Travel from the Outlands Sucks

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Since Cataclysm, they removed all of the fast-travel portals in Outlands. You know, just in time for me to reach that point in the game. If you’re in Shattrath City and you suddenly need to go to (say) Dalaran, then you need to take a long Gryphon flight to the dark portal. Then go through the portal loading screen. Then hike from the portal to Nethergarde Keep. Then take a really long gryphon flight to Stormwind. Then hike from one side of Stormwind to the other. Then wait for the boat. Then ride the boat through the loading screen. Then a (very short) walk into the city.

Yes, yes, I’m sure it was way worse in the past when you didn’t get your mount until level a hundred and you had to hike uphill through waves of epic mobs just to see your class trainer. But this is still a slog. It’s a lot of time, and since you keep changing modes of travel you can’t just begin a gryphon flight and go AFK. I understand if having portals to everywhere else in the game was perhaps too good, but this feels like an over-correction. At the very least, they should have added a gryphon at the Dark Portal, to save us the hike to the keep. And add an auction house to Shattrath. Crimey.

So, that’s seven of my original eleven nitpicks that have been fixed. Pretty good. The game is more fun than ever, and it’s holding my interest longer. Last time I got sick of the game and gave up in my mid-30’s. This time I’ve got a level 60, a level 28, and a smattering of teens. Still going, still not sick of it. The faster leveling curve is what is making the big difference.

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  1. Kdansky says:

    Outlands is the worst place to be at right now, as it is the oldest place, and therefore least polished. But adding an AH to Shat and Dalaran makes perfect sense. They didn’t have one to prevent 90% of the server to crowd the same three square feet, but now, nobody is there any more anyway.

  2. Silverminken says:

    Hi,

    You know, there is a portal from the gate in Outlands to Orgrimmar, and I guess also to Stormwind (and vice versa). This makes the Outlands travelling business a bit easier.

    For the Horde ;)

    • Boris Yakinstov says:

      Y’know, I was just thinking that myself as I read the travel description. Yes, there is indeed a portal to Stormwind just to the south of the Dark Portal’s Outland side. Would cut out the hike to Nethergarde, and the flight to Stormwind (and I suppose some of the walk, given that the portal tower is probably closer to the docks than the flight master.)

  3. steves says:

    Re: #10. You’re on about the fel reaver in hellfire, right? That thing isn’t ‘asinine’, it’s bloody iconic! Getting ganked by that is a rite of passage. I find it very hard to believe you missed it on the initial flythrough, and even harder to believe you didn’t hear that ominous metallic ringing sound as it got closer.

    Go google for ‘fel reaver warning sound’, set that as your phone ringtone and you’ll be able to immediately identify any WoW players in the general area when you get a call ’cause they will start looking around frantically and panicking;)

    They have added an auction house to Shattrath. And class trainers. Everything you need ’til you leave for Northrend and never come back. When you then switch home cities to Dalaran, where they have also added auctioneers & trainers.

    You don’t need the portals any more for levelling, there is no need. All the stupid continent-hopping quests from 1-60 are gone, and dungeon quests are now given out in the dungeons…which you can get teleported to!

    If you’re the sort of person who feels the need to randomly zip around all the obsolete old world content for achievements, exploring/whatever then level up your engineering skill and you get to make teleport devices that can help you get around.

    I suppose the lack of obvious transport options might also ’cause problems for someone who was, oh, I don’t know…maybe making some sort of comic series set in WoW or something, but as far as I can tell that’s all set in lowbie areas so far, and you seem to be doing ok;)

    Rez sickness & graveyard walks still suck donkey balls though, you’ll find no argument there!

    • Awetugiw says:

      I’m quite sure the Fel Reaver also still has the ground shake effect. However, the most effective defenses against it are the fact that you can see it from a very long distance (which might not work if you have your view distance set very low due to, say, a broken video card) and occasionally looking behind you (which is a habit people on PvP servers probably pick up more often than those one PvE servers).

    • Shamus says:

      They added an auction house? Cool. But they need to tell the town guards. I asked one, and “auction house” wasn’t listed in his locations.

    • Ming says:

      I do have to agree that you getting killed by the Fel Reaver is like the funniest thing. As a wandering elite, the Fel Reaver was deliberately designed for show as opposed for actually ganking players. It:

      1) is incredibly easy to spot, due to its size.
      2) telegraphs its presence with ground shaking and the “Fel Reaver sound.”
      3) has a deceptively small aggro range for its size.

      I mean, I got killed by it too, long time ago, but I admit, when I read the point “Wandering Elites” and then saw the picture, I laughed because I knew exactly what you were going to talk about.

      On the point of rez sickness, why didn’t you rez in town anyway the first time, get killed in a different location, and then hopefully rez again outside of town?

      • Shamus says:

        Re: The sounds and ground shaking… I was in a brand-new zone, fighting three meter tall demons, with fire spurting from the ground. I just attributed it to the general sound & fury around me.

        • Ming says:

          Well, yes. But now you know. And knowing is half the battle.

          • Deoxy says:

            The other half is violence.

            This leads to a great and simple way to deal with idiots who think violence never solves anything – when they say, “Violence never solves anything,” you answer with, “Thanks, now I know, and knowing is half the battle… the other half is violence. Hmm.” So much fun.

            • Trix says:

              Relatedly, I think at least half of the playerbase who leveled through BC came back to hellfire at 80 to curb-stomp one of those things. Just out of spite. :)

          • Yar Kramer says:

            Speaking as someone who doesn’t play WoW, that still just says “‘telegraphing it’s presence’ with something you had no way of knowing in advance” to me. And then I think of I Wanna Be The Guy.

            • Awetugiw says:

              Yeah, the Fel Reaver will occasionally kill someone who wasn’t prepared for it, although it will very rarely do so twice. And I disagree with the people who say it’s a “rite of passage”, that’s just a label people put on annoying things when they themselves found out how to deal with it (or how to live with it). There is very little positive to say about a Fel Reaver killing someone, except that it is somewhat of a necessary evil.

              On a PvE server in WoW there is essentially nothing that can kill you most of the time. This results in a bit of a loss of tension. The Fel Reaver can kill you, and as such it brings some of that tension back. Of course, like in survival horror, you should ideally make the player afraid of dying without actually killing the character. The Fel Reaver seems to be an attempt to do this: it is in theory very dangerous but in practice quite easy to avoid. Of course this does mean that you occasionally have to kill a character that doesn’t pick up the warning signs, because there has to be some threat to keep people afraid.

              So the character that die to a Fel Reaver (or a Storm Giant, or a Whale Shark, et cetera) are essentially collateral damage of an attempt to keep everyone on their toes.

        • Dev Null says:

          Yeah, everybody gets done by it once. But call me a freak (you wont be the first) but I kinda liked the Fel Reavers after that. It added some tension back to the game, that you lose because no monster can see anything further than 20 feet away; suddenly you had to keep half an eye on the horizon, and watch for that ground shake.

          The Fel Reavers are the most egregious example of this that I know of. Some of the new high-level content has wandering elites, but you can fly/swim fast by then, so its not much of a worry*. And anyways whale sharks as big as a small destroyer are just cool.

          *EDIT: It just occurred to me that I primarily play a druid, and can pop into flight form on the run. Other classes may still find them annoying.

        • ngthagg says:

          Once I finished Hellfire Peninsula, I have to admit I missed the Fel Reaver. Yeah, he was a pain in the butt at first, but it gave the place a bit of an edge–I could never really relax.

          • skalpadda says:

            Let’s not forget that later you get a quest in Shadowmoon Valley to forge the key to Shattered Halls in the heart of a felreaver. It felt good to go back with a tanking buddy and get bloody revenge on one of those things.

            A warning to Shamus: There be storm giants in Howling Fjord!

            And of course the good old Devilsaurs in Un’goro Crater, although lower level characters are probably capable of handling one of those these days.

      • TheAngryMongoose says:

        As easy as it is to spot, just think about the devilsaurs. They have the same “Boom Boom Boom”, the same shaking effect, and yet they’ll sneak up on you like a bunch of bloody ninjas.

    • Jarenth says:

      Oh god, Fel Reaver.

      I got murdered by that thing so often when the Burning Crusade had just launched.

      You’d think it’d be impossible for such a large thing to sneak up on people, what with the shadow and the sounds and the size, but Fel Reaver merely exists in the game to prove you wrong.

      • Greg says:

        Fel Reaver is in fact THE master of stealth on WoW. He’s 100ft tall, has sirens, shakes the ground, etc and can still sneak up and stomp your face into the dirt without even trying.

        Quite agree on the “rite of passage” description steves gave. Used to be a lot of fun in TBC when guild chat would suddenly fill up with curses from the player ganked by the Fel Reaver. Unless it was you, then it was absolutely the worst thing in the world and all Blizzard devs should die in a fire.

        • Athan says:

          Not quite stealthy … but for the short-term you can now get caught ANYWHERE in Azeroth by Deathwing.

          You get about 30s warning to get out of the zone. Said warning is the sky/air turning red. I was questing in Uldum the other night with my gf, the sky did that, I muttered “I bet that’s Deathwing on his way”, and indeed about 30s later we died in a fire.

          Of course it does get you an achievement the first time….

    • Witteafval says:

      Everything about the fel reaver is true. I still remember my first time in Outland, when my wife and me were questing and her mage got stomped on by the fel reaver without warning. Or to be more precise, the ground shaking and the noise came at the same time when that level 70 elite foot came crashing down on us, and I barely escaped with my life.

      When my paladin reached level 80, the first thing I did to celebrate was go back to Outland to kill the fel reaver. I still don’t miss a chance to take things out on him whenever I’m in the zone to collect fel iron for my engineering alts.

    • Cthulhu says:

      I died to the Fel Reaver precisely once, because I deliberately tested its aggro radius the first time I saw it. After that, I always kept the proper distance.

  4. karln says:

    I’m a little surprised you didn’t note that they’ve gained a new problem: levelling is way faster than quest progression now. I can kind of see how this happened. Players like me wanted faster levelling, and we also wanted new content, and they’ve given us both. But now I can’t finish any non-starter zone (“finish” meaning, roughly, complete enough quests to get the achievement) without very quickly out-levelling the mobs I’m being sent to fight. Two-shotting green mobs may be fun for a few minutes, but it gets old very fast. I watch with longing as new skills and talents arrive, which would be very helpful and interesting if I couldn’t just push any two buttons on my action bar and watch my target drop dead.

    In the old days I might have just skipped on to the next zone once things started going green (if this had ever happened in the old days). But now they’ve also given each zone a fairly epic ongoing storyline with a big finish (and a blue item reward). This is great of course, but it also means that you have much more incentive to play an entire zone from beginning to end, which just doesn’t work with the levelling progression.

    Hopefully they’ll tweak this again soon, I guess. I know a lot of players do want to just get their alts to 85 as quickly as possible, so I’d ideally like to see an option to delay or turn off levelling at the player’s discretion. That or a sidekick/exemplar system à la City of Heroes. That way I can have my yellow boss fight at zone end, and the raiders can just powerlevel to the level cap.

    • lazlo says:

      You *can* turn off XP gains. It costs some gold (which is weird) and more to turn it back on (it’s made for twinks so they can sit at level 19 for eternity without fear of accidentally killing something that grants XP and leveling) But yeah, they’ve made a lot of ways for alts to accelerate leveling (heirlooms, xp gains from random dungeons, guild perks, and there are new guild heirlooms that give even more XP gains). All of those are easily avoidable (though if you want to be in your main’s guild, you can’t avoid the XP gain guild perks). You can also remember to never stay long in an inn, to avoid the “rested” bonus. But it would be kind of cool to have something like a “lore-seeker’s tabbard” which *reduced* XP gains.

      So Shamus, I see some people have already told you about the portals to major cities near the dark portal. Doesn’t necessarily help much if you’re Alliance trying to get to, say, Tanaris, but does help some. It would be nice if maybe they added portals to Darnassus and Undercity, so that a trip to anywhere consists of one flight, a couple minutes of running to another flight point at the transfer, and then a second flight. And having it near the dark portal (which has no inn) serves their purpose of discouraging people from always putting their hearth in one place.

      I like that there’s AH, bank and trainers wherever your local “hub” may be now. I don’t know *where* in Shatt the AH is, but I know it’s there. And I’m torn on the Fel Reaver. Yes, I’ve been stomped by it, and yes it’s kind of annoying. I like it as a mechanic, once you know about it, to keep you aware of your environment, listening, watching, etc. The problem is when you *don’t* know about it. But it’s hard to make people know about it. No matter what you do, some people will just blindly wander in. Maybe if they had a quest that you picked up immediately that was just “get killed by the Fel Reaver”. That way, if you actively went looking for that quest, you’d know he was around and what he looked like. And if you just ignored that quest, when you finally did get ganked, at least you’d get some XP out of it.

      I will agree with you that rez sickness sucks, and I don’t know what would be good to do about it other than get rid of it. And I’m not sure getting rid of it is the right answer either. Maybe if the “punishment” for spirit guide rezzing was durability + you get automatically hearthed? Because the main reasons to spirit rez are A) you can’t find your corpse, which might mean that you’ll have a tough time finding your way out of wherever you are anyhow, or B) your corpse is at the feet of some elite mob (or corpse-camping griefer) that’s going to one-shot you as soon as you rez. In both instances, auto-hearthing would be an improvement, and maybe even leave in rez sickness, but with maybe just a one or two minute duration. But I note that there *are* some incremental improvements. More graveyards, the marker for which way to get to your corpse is clearer, if you get hopelessly lost there’s the “return to spirit guide” button. And then in some areas of Northrend, you get a flying ghost mount, which is absolutely necessary there, but might be a good idea everywhere.

      But overall, it sounds like maybe Blizzard’s been reading your blog for tips. Cool. :) Now if they could just take my suggestion of making the stupidly expensive Kirin Tor rings BoE so I could have a nerdtastically awesome gift for my wife’s toon, I’d be set.

      • Ming says:

        They can’t really put portals at the Dark Portal to all the capital cities because recall that all capital cities have a portal to the Dark Portal. So then what would happen is people having near-instant portals between cities via Dark Portal. Now of course you might be going “what’s wrong with that?” and certainly there isn’t, but personally I think if Blizzard were wanting portal-travel between capital cities, they’d put them in the capital cities themselves.

        Also, mind, the flight from Thrallmar or Honor Hold (which do have inns) is free.

        • Ian says:

          In addition to encouraging people to actually travel again, I think that part of the reason that Blizzard took out fast travel to capital cities was to encourage people to actually use their hearthstones as they were intended to be used. It’s liberating not to feel as though it has to be set to Dalaran for convenience sake.

          The portals to Orgrimmar/Stormwind in the new zones are a welcome addition, though, as well as the ones by the Dark Portal.

      • Meredith says:

        or B) your corpse is at the feet of some elite mob (or corpse-camping griefer) that’s going to one-shot you as soon as you rez

        I once got lost and died right on the edge of a graveyard, where the wolf who killed me proceeded to stand on top of my corpse and kill me again and again everytime I got up. I actually died too close to the spirit healer for it to be useful. If not for rez sickness, I might have stood a chance at fighting him off and getting away. I can’t remember now how I did finally get away, just the frustration of it.

        Actually, this story fits with one of Shamus’ other points as well. I was pretty fresh out of the training area (playing a free trial) at this point and got hopelessly lost looking for a quest objective.

    • Robyrt says:

      I just started WOW with the Cataclysm changes, and I didn’t really have this problem once I started avoiding non-quest monsters instead of indiscriminately slaughtering them. What feels really weird to me is how the game really wants me (at level 40ish) to play dungeons, but doesn’t tell me anything about where they are or what to do once I’m in there. (Fortunately, I happened upon the dual spec option and the tabard vendor accidentally and bought myself a healer so I don’t have to know what’s going on, I just have to play Whack-a-Mole with buttons 1 thru 4.)

      • Trix says:

        The questing experience is balance now to avoid killing anything non-quest related, although you are free to do so anyways.

        Dungeons are simply accessed through the Looking for Dungeon interface now, making it fairly easy to queue up for a group for them. Most of the ones below 60 are easy enough you don’t need to actually learn the encounters.

        My problem is that I want to do as many of the new zones as I can on my worgen, since I did most of them before Cata, to see the changes. However, I find that if I run anything I end up getting a bit ahead. Heirlooms don’t help :P

    • Rallion says:

      I’m glad to see I’m not the only one bothered by this. I made a new Troll, and just did quests, no off-quest grinding. By the time I finished Azshara (now a 10-20 Horde zone) I was level 26. I did stick with it though, and I was glad I did. The story was worth experiencing.

      To be fair, I did do a lot of mining, which grants XP now, and I probably got about a whole level just from that. I even ran through three dungeons, which might have been close to two levels right there, but those are things that I think should probably be considered in the leveling curve.

      An XP-reducing tabard would be a cool idea. Maybe it could just cut off XP for anything lower-level than you are, or drastically reduce it (more than it already is)? That would be nice, because it would be self-adjusting.

      • Khizan says:

        Part of the problem with counting mining/instancing into the leveling curve is that not everybody takes those professions or keeps up with them, and it also assumes that everybody manages to complete those dungeons. I can easily see how a level appropriate group might wipe repeatedly in Deadmines and have the player just give up at it. Similiarly, back in the old world with slower leveling, I often outleveled mining/herbalism at about L20’s.

    • Veloxyll says:

      I think part of it is that herbing and mining give XP, so you tend to get more XP than they anticipated. Add instancing into the mix too, and yeah. What sucks even more is, as you keep getting more XP, you start the NEXT zone in your story with green quests and green mobs.

      Which reminds me, I need to play my hunter more to get to the new Plaguelands >.>

  5. Sumanai - a grouchy ball of bile and cynicism says:

    Shouldn’t “Respawning Monsters” be “not fixed” since problem still exists, even if it has been improved on?

    It was amusing to read the original complain post about it and realize that Star Trek Online didn’t have that problem nearly as badly as WoW. At least at the levels I was. Of course it’s because STO used instancing most of the time so respawning isn’t really necessary therefore avoiding the issue. But it’s still amusing.

    Note: Spawning however was still annoying. Having enemies pop-up from nothing because of hitting a script trigger never sits right. Granted, it was occasionally mentioned that a new ship appeared in orbit and beamed them out or they were cloaked and so on, but still.

    • Jarenth says:

      The spawn-rate problem is pronounced now because the expansion just launched; as such, most (quest-related) monster spawn rates have been increased. Had they not, each and every zone would be a veritable quest-monster graveyard, the ground littered with fresh kills from the numberless new players this expansion has drawn in.

      When the new-player horde dies down a little, the spawn rates will probably be adjusted downwards a little.

      EDIT: As has been pointed out in the comment right below this one. Derp derp.

      • Sumanai - a grouchy ball of bile and cynicism says:

        Indeed it is, but I’ll still responds to yours because it’s associated with my comment.

        Then it should be “have to check later”. Although I suppose “Fixed? I guess?” implies it.

        Oh god. Now I’m feeling the urge to complain about the level restrictions. Have to. Press “Post Comment”. And. Close the tab. Before. It is too. Late.

  6. Mazinja says:

    I seem to recall that when previous expansions came out, they upped the respawning of monsters for a while so that the players didn’t have to make huge lines to kill ’em. They normalized after a little bit.

    And regarding wandering elites.. haha. That felguard brings back memories. It is, however, not really the nastiest out there. THAT one, despite its high level, has basically 0 aggro range (meaning it has to be basically stepping on you before it attacks) and is really obvious. The NASTY ones are the ones that have a big aggro range and that you can’t tell they are an elite until they are caving your face in. So yeah, I do feel your pain.

    Also, regarding bags… earning Revered reputation with a city lets you buy a 16-slot bag for 1G and change at their quartermaster! Seeing how its REALLY easy to earn Revered with your home city (I was Exalted by level 20 or so with mine). Since you can buy city Tabards to earn rep while doing dungeons, city rep earning also becomes much easier.

    • Hitch says:

      WoW has a dynamically adjustable spawn rate. When there are a lot of players in an area killing mobs, they re-spawn faster to keep up with demand. At the beginning of an expansion in the new ares (and with this one really encouraging re-rolls, throughout the game) mobs in general, and quest mobs especially, have insane re-spawn rates. Several times I’ve got stuck chain killing the same mob over and over again faster than I could loot it just to avoid dying. That will automatically settle down with time, but right now it’s just part of the new expansion fun and excitement.

      Other people have pointed out the mitigating factors about Outland travel and the Fel Reaver (I still say he’s got nothing on the Un’goro Crater Ninjasaur), but I’ll comment on Rez Sickness. Yes, it is a bit annoying, but it’s a lot less punishing than other similar games. There’s no go back and re-earn the last half a level’s worth of XP or similar nonsense. Without Rez Sickness there would be no penalty at all for ignoring the ground shaking and the extremely loud mechanical roar that tells you to look around and run at right angles to the path of the 50 foot tall monster about to stomp you.

      • Hitch says:

        Oh, and I don’t pay enough attention to Twitter. Re. Level 80 Worgen: Paid Race Change made it possible to be a level 80 Worgen within an hour of Cataclysm going live. They leveled to 80 as something else before the expansion then just inexplicably became a completely different race.

        • kmc says:

          My excuse for race-changing my warlock to a worgen was that she started out as a human, so she just got bit. Pretty easy to figure that out, especially since she’s a warlock, so I figure she was up to something shady and bit off (ha ha) more than she could chew. What I have the hardest time with are worgen death knights…

      • Sumanai - a grouchy ball of bile and cynicism says:

        You mean no penalty like having to do a corpse run? No penalty like missing the time and effort to bring down whatever you were fighting unless you managed to kill and loot it (if you need loot for the quest)? No penalty like getting back there (if a corpse run is a no-go) to fight more of the enemies to finish the quest? No penalty like the shame/annoyance that most players feel whenever they feel they’ve screwed up, a feeling usually brought out by their character dying?

        Why do people insist that there’s no penalty, when it’s just less than what they’ve used to? When you die and lose XP, your penalty is time because you have to earn that XP back. When you die and lose equipment durability, your penalty is time because you have to earn the money to repair it back. When you die and practically lose ability to fight for 10 minutes, your penalty is time. When you die and are teleported to another place, the penalty is time because you have to get back there.

        The difference is severity and how you spend your punishment. The second to last one is in a way worst, because you can’t really do anything but mingle in towns/safe havens. And there’s no way to get it over with faster, but that’s most likely why it’s used. After all, the real purpose of it is to prevent abusing the system for free teleports. But surely there has to be a better or more fun way.

        • decius says:

          Having played EverQuest, I can state that none of those are penalties those things are consequences.

          I, personally, would prefer a MMO where the penalty for dying was character death. Roll a new toon and find your old corpse, if you can before anyone else. At higher levels, throw in a mechanic that stops death. Land of Devastation (BBS door game) handled it rather well: You could get a ‘warper’, which would teleport you out of combat when activated, and an upgrade that activated it automatically when you would otherwise die. Warpers were uncommon, but not rare, and could be found on several mid-level monsters.

          • Robyrt says:

            Why would you want new players to have a harsher death penalty than experienced ones? They are, after all, the most likely to die and the least likely to want to roll a new character when they bite the dust fighting level 2 diseased rats. Unless you want the player base to be composed solely of the top 200 players, riding on their elder dragon mounts and ganking dead level 1 characters for the lulz.

            Not to mention the enormous overpopulation at levels 1-5 that would create on the server. Or the tendency of everyone to play super cautiously, slowing the game down dramatically as they stopped to recharge health and mana after every battle.

            Yeah, there’s a reason perma-death didn’t take off as a mechanic.

            • Sumanai - a grouchy ball of bile and cynicism says:

              Also there’s the fact that higher leveled players should be better at situational judgement and therefore should be expected more.

              Severe death penalties also jam play tactics. Players don’t dare to take any sort of risks with tactics or at most very small or rarely because the cost is just too high. Also if you make a single mistake in a raid it’s more likely you won’t get in any group ever, because no-one is ready to take the risk of dying because of you.

              So, decius, if you find a game like the one you described, have fun increasing your blood pressure from the stress that comes from knowing that not only can you completely destroy hours upon hours of game time, but you could get blacklisted from all groups permanently for a small mistake just because other’s felt is was enough to risk the raid.

          • Sumanai - a grouchy ball of bile and cynicism says:

            The way I see it, if a designer has put it in and it’s a negative consequence for something, it’s a penalty. When you jump into a lava, the consequence is that you die. The penalty is that you have to repair your equipment or wait for a certain time. Or have to perform something in order to be resurrected. All that matters that it’s supposed to penalize you for doing something.

            Edit: By the way, don’t MUDs have permanent death? I don’t think anyone can loot your corpse, but I don’t think you can either so it doesn’t really help you.

        • Trix says:

          Runbacks are easy, especially now (and you run faster while dead anyways). Durability loss is just money, which you should have plenty for with just money drops (barring quests, vendor trash, etc).

          After you’ve played the game for a while, especially considering other MMOs, you realize that death in WoW really isn’t all that bad (disappointing, but easily recoverable).

          Rez sickness sucks, but shouldn’t be encountered much at all (heck, can’t even remember the last time I had rez sickness in the last few years). You can still do other things with it up, like crafting and exploring.

          • Sumanai - a grouchy ball of bile and cynicism says:

            As I mentioned, it’s about severity. What if you didn’t run faster while dead, but in fact slower? What if repairing items costs 10 or 100 times as much or even more if the damage is caused by death/resurrection? Also, it’s still a penalty even if it feels negligible. Problem is, that the point of “too little” and “too much” varies wildly between people.

            I’d feel disappointed even in a game that would just spawn me in a designated point without penalties, because I don’t like dying in games. And surprisingly I’m not a statistical anomaly, but a majority. Assuming that the game doesn’t make dying feel cheap. As in “unjust” or “random”. At that point people either stop playing or start belittling death. Former usually if the penalty feels too strong for something they feel isn’t their fault, and the latter when the penalty feels small enough to tolerate even though they don’t feel it’s their fault.

            Also there’s the fact that I find traveling in most games to be a boring chore so just getting back where I was feels like a punishment of unjust proportions even if I did feel it was my fault.

            Away from me and back to the point. It doesn’t matter if other games are worse if it’s still bad. Actually, if you can’t remember when you last had rez sickness, how much do you think that it would affect your gameplay if it was just removed completely? I’m not suggesting that is a good solution, but just think about it.

            To clarify: I would only consider it to be a “no penalty” death if I’d be resurrected right on the spot I died, continuing the combat like nothing happened. Clearly I’m nitpicking, but even irrelevant seeming penalties can be enough to encourage players to keep their characters alive. So considering all of them as penalties just sits better to me.

            I had some other thoughts, but I forgot them. Oh well.

            • Michael says:

              Though it failed on the enough aspect, STO did do a nice job of splitting the death penalty around a bit… once they finally implemented it. The individual player controlled how extreme the penalty was. Every time you died you’d have a chance of incurring an injury (in ground combat) or (if you were on your ship) damage. These varied in duration from 5 minutes (I think) up to permanent. You could take them off with a variety (expensive-ish) of consumables. Or for free back at one of the major hubs.

              The chance on the easiest setting for one of these to occur was 0.

              • Sumanai - a grouchy ball of cynicism and venting says:

                The problem, at least in the low levels, first month and especially in the beta, was that death didn’t really feel like the player’s fault. It felt rather random. Could be that the game lacked a proper tutorial, so there could’ve been better ways to play, but it wasn’t really obvious*. So a serious death penalty wouldn’t have done much more than irritate players.

                * I don’t think I’m the only one on this, since when there were talks about allowing auto-fire for all weapons some kept insisting that allowing it would “make STO even less tactical” or something. While I think that’s nonsense, it does imply they thought STO wasn’t tactical enough. So while there were many who demanded serious death penalties, all it would’ve done was drive away most players.

                But, as you said, the penalty system itself seemed rather nice. You think a bigger penalty is acceptable, raise the difficulty and collect more loot. Don’t want it, get less loot.

  7. Aaron says:

    Great post as usual, one bit of info for you:

    The auction house(s) in Shatt are in a side room in the Aldor/Scryer bank/quartermasters areas (if I remember correctly from my 10 mins of being there after Cata went live).

  8. Hal says:

    1) I would say “better, but not 100%.”
    3) This is better (when I’ve started characters, they seem to have bags dropping like candy from a piñata), but still painful from time to time. You can buy 16 slot bags from the city quartermasters, but you have to be honored (or maybe revered) with that city first. This could take a while, depending on how you jaunt around while leveling.
    4/5) Just wait ’till you get further into Outland (and then Northrend).
    6) Hey, I think mastering the legendary ability to eat Pine Nut Bread is a fine reward for killing the Lich King.
    8) I think they bumped this up a bit because with new expansions come a flood of players all hanging out in the same place. It’ll settle down in a few months, but if you’re playing during a server lull, you can find yourself deluged by monsters (happens to me frequently).
    10) Do you play without sound? I think that guy is supposed to make a lot of noise. Not that he’s the only one in the game anymore, just saying.

    My only major nitpick at this point is that the gathering/crafting professions are scaling oddly with level still. You’re questing, you’re grabbing every herb/ore/leather you can, and you craft your stuff with it. Sometimes the stuff you can make that is level appropriate (“Requires level X”) requires materials that you can’t get for another 5 levels. Or maybe you gathered in your last zone until everything was green/gray. Then you show up in the next appropriate zone (as directed by the game) and all the gathering stuff is red. I’d just hoped they would have smoothed this stuff out by now, but it still happens.

    /shrug

  9. poiumty says:

    Shamus, they fixed the “asinine elites” thing a long time ago. You can see the Fel Reaver for miles now, it’s probably your graphics options set too low?

    • Shamus says:

      My back was to the road, and I was near town. It came up behind me.

      • Jarenth says:

        I’m fairly certain Fel Reaver has been designed with this exact goal in mind.

      • Steve C says:

        I know you don’t like wandering elites but I love them. I think they are good for the game. It forces situational awareness. Situational awareness becomes more and more important as time goes on. Doubly so in instances.

        But yeah. We’ve all cursed the Fel Reaver after being squished.

        As for connections to Outland… ya. Kinda sucks now. But a level appropriate casual player in Outlands simply has no reason to want to go to Azeroth anymore. Everything you might want is in Shat’rath. AH, and trainers have been added. There’s a portal to Caverns of Time in the bar and if you want to go to SW you just fly to the Dark Portal and take the mage portal within sight of the flight path directly to SW.

        • pinchy says:

          I must admit the fel reavers pissed me off enormously when BC first came out- these days though I like them. Taking my warlock and dk through hellfire I didn’t die to them once. Admittedly I did know the paths on which they patrolled but still they were never that hard to avoid if one had their sound on and was paying attention.

    • Sumanai - a grouchy ball of bile and cynicism says:

      I think someone has made mistake when the graphics options have a setting that means “get yourself reamed by the Fel Reaver” and don’t clearly warn about it.

      • Jarenth says:

        Little sidestory: In the Naxxramas raid-instance, there is one boss called Grobbulus. The key mechanic for fighting him is that he often inject players with poison, which (after a few seconds) causes them to drop large poison clouds on the floor. Those clouds linger for quite a while, and deal tremendous damage to anyone who’s walking through or standing in them.

        Those clouds are classified as ‘spell effects’. One of the advanced graphic options in WoW is to tone done the intensity of spell effects, to the point of many of them disappearing from the game entirely.

        I’m sure you can guess where this story is going.

        • Trix says:

          Any raider worth his/her salt should have spell effects maximized in a raid, even at the cost of other settings. Too many things require seeing some effect graphic easily.

          Could be less an issue nowadays, but still important.

          • Jarenth says:

            Last night in Throne of the Tides, we died twice on Lady Naz’jar because our tank literally could not see the Water Spout spell that the boss casted right under her.

            Good times.

          • Sumanai - a grouchy ball of bile and cynicism says:

            That’s still bad game design. Minimum hardware* should be able to play the game without loss of playability (outside of the obvious uglification of visuals or similiar).

            * Naturally I mean “minimum hardware that the game is supposed to run on without slowdown”. So for example setting everything on minimum on graphics should still allow a player to be as efficient in a raid as others.

  10. Florin-Vlad says:

    Rez sickness and graveyard walks are there for a reason. If they used the same system as Everquest used for example: you are rezed at the graveyard and have to get back to your corpse to loot it back, and all your loot is free-for-all in the mean time you would be bitching because some random guy got your loot.

    10 minutes of low stats and a little gold loss is nothing compared to loosing every item you own.

    There has to be a penalty for death otherwise you wouldn’t care at all, not that anyone cares now…

    • Duffy says:

      Well no. The original reason was to prevent zerging outdoor bosses and pvp fights. However, those don’t really exist anymore.

    • Shamus says:

      “Rez sickness and graveyard walks are there for a reason.”

      Which is…?

      As for “making you care”. I think the break in flow, the run to your corpse, the repair expense, and the time healing and re-buffing is a good deterrent. I’m never cavalier about death, even when I’m under level 10.

      I see no reason for a ten minute ban on playing the game.

      • Florin-Vlad says:

        well the graveyard run, besides what Duffy said, which is valid, it gives you the chance to run back and get your corpse without having to fight all those creeps all over again.

        For the rez sickness I can’t really speculate because I run all the time, but it does give you 10 minutes to rethink your strategy for approaching the monster(s) or checking on your auctions. Besides, that timer keeps on ticking even if you are not online.

      • Hitch says:

        Would you rather spend 20 or 30 minutes grinding mobs to earn back the XP you lost like City of X?

        I realize, “yeah, but other games are worse” is a weak argument, but at least WoW takes small steps towards making the play experience better.

        • Adeon says:

          I’m guessing you haven’t played CoX in a while. XP Debt (and it’s reduced XP Gain, NOT XP Loss) is basically a joke now. On a team it’s pretty common to burn off your XP Debt before you even have time to rez. Even solo you tend to burn it off after a couple of spawns.

      • Steve C says:

        The 10 min rez sickness is to prevent “Graveyard zerging”. That’s where you throw yourself against something you know will kill you but you make some headway. Then you rush back there and do it again. Blizzard doesn’t want you to be able to appear at that exact same location at full power so quickly.

        Your options are to walk then rez at 50% in a dangerous area, or rez at 50% in a safe area and remain at 50% for 10mins. They don’t want you to have the option to rez in a safe area, heal to 100% then quickly return to the dangerous place you died.

        I’m not defending it, just explaining it. Is it a good policy? I don’t know. Is it a good mechanic given all options? I don’t know. Are there worst solutions in other games? =YES=.

        • Sumanai - a grouchy ball of bile and cynicism says:

          But don’t the mobs regenerate health at an increased rate outside of combat? And even if not, why 10 minutes? Even if it was 2 minutes it would mean:

          Cause damage, die. Get close, rez, wait 2 minutes, cause damage die. Rinse and repeat.

          If anyone defeats a hard enemy like that, then he deserves what he gets. This attitude of “you didn’t earn your victory because you didn’t do it he way we intended/did it” really needs to stop. If someone wants to rez grind something just let him. Either he’s only ruining his own fun or you really need to form a better group.

          • Sheer_falacy says:

            There’s confusion here – there are two (actually more) different resurrection methods. One is to run back, In ghost form, to where you died. The only penalty this way is time and money – no debuff. On the other hand, you can avoid the run back by accepting 10 minutes of res sickness and a higher cost. Generally you use this if you can’t get back to your body.

            And either way, most enemies regenerate their health instantly when out of combat. There are sometimes protections against groups of players “graveyard zerging” tough enemies but this isn’t related to that.

            • Duffy says:

              If you want an example see if you can find any information on the Dragons of Nightmare world bosses. Some of them had abilities to discourage even running back to your corpse and rezzing.

              What groups would do with some of the early world bosses (Kazzak and Azuregos were the originals) would be focus all healing on keeping the tanks alive and let the dps die and corpse run back to the fight until the boss was dead. This defeated the idea of your group engaging in the encounter, so they generally added abilities that would one shot newly rezzed players or any player deaths made the boss stronger. But to insure you couldn’t graveyard rez and zerg that way they instituted rez sickness from the graveyard.

              While it doesn’t serve a real purpose on the individual level, it made sense for these specific encounters. But as of Cata the only remaining world bosses are in Outland, I would not be surprised if rez sickness disappeared in the near future.

              • Sheer_Falacy says:

                No, rez sickness had nothing to do with world bosses. World boss mechanics didn’t care where you rezzed. When you died to Kazzak, he would heal for a lot and it didn’t matter what you did after you died. When you died to those dragons, you got a debuff that killed you if you got near them and it didn’t matter how you rezzed once again.

                Rez sickness existed before the world bosses and it will exist after them. It’s an option that most people will never take, given the cost in time and gold, but it’s there in case your body is somewhere really weird (example: trying to cross the ocean and failing).

            • Sumanai - a grouchy ball of bile and cynicism says:

              No confusion, brain malfunction. I knew the 10 minute debuff doesn’t happen if you do a corpse run, but for some reason it dropped from my mind completely. Though the point stands, ten minute debuff to avoid graveyard zerging is a silly solution. And as I mentioned above, I think it’s to discourage graveyard teleporting (or whatever it’s called).

      • pinchy says:

        The thing is that there is pretty much never any reason to actually get rez sickness- if you die run back to your corpse and start playing again. I haven’t suffered rez sickness in years- there is almmost always somewhere nearby that you can respawn safely if you are in an area remotely appropriate for your level (and even if there isn’t you can move your corpse into a safe area by dying and rezzing again).

        Really there are two reasons to use rez sickness-

        You can’t find where your corpse was (yes it’s on the map but sometimes it can be hard working out how to get to it in 3D zones or cave systems and so forth)

        You are about to take a break anyway and you simply can’t be arsed running back and fighting your way out of a cave or something so you just take the hit (particularly at low levels where the gold cost is either absolutely trivial if you have a higher level character or where you will replace your gear before it breaks anyway so there’s no point even repairing it).

    • Sumanai - a grouchy ball of bile and cynicism says:

      Players actually care about dying, unless the game has jaded them to it. Which usually only happens if PC die too often or the player feels that it was arbitrary/not their fault.

      And if it has a cost, it is a penalty. If you were somewhere doing a quest and get killed you have to get back there to continue the quest. If it takes just two minutes to get back there, it’s still two minutes lost with no real gain. More if you were in the course of killing something for the quest, because now you most likely have to start beating it to death from full health.

    • Mewse says:

      It’s interesting to note that when it first came out, World of Warcraft’s method of handling death was the kindest one anyone had ever considered. No XP loss. No (highly likely) loss of your hard-won items. No permanent penalties. The thought that a small “time” penalty could be just as effective as those more concrete penalties was revolutionary, when it was new.

      But now fast forward to today, and WoW’s handling of death is now considered to be almost an anachronism; some weird vestige of the Good/Bad Old Days when games actually had penalties for failure (depending upon which side of that fence you personally stand on).

      I think it’s pretty awesome to see how fast the trends in gaming have changed, and how something which was incredibly forward-thinking and considerate to the player nine years ago now looks backwards, pointless, and borderline-cruel to our modern eyes. :)

      • Sumanai - a grouchy ball of bile and cynicism says:

        As I considered back when Everquest or whatever fanboys were raging about WoW having “no penalty for death”, the death system is only revolutionary if you’re a moron*. To me it was a sensible solution to a minor problem. Especially since it wasn’t like dying in a single player game changed your saves to contain a weaker character, possibly with an item loss. What Everquest did sounded to me like the designers were griefing the players.

        In comparison what WoW was going to do sounded like a step forward to a world where online games might not turn into huge sources of stress and work-like strain. Instead they’d be fun and you wouldn’t get nailed to a tree for screwing up in a raid or something. Ah, the naive idealism of youth. Good riddance.

        * I’d apologise to anyone who though so and feel insulted, but you know that just wouldn’t be sincere fitting for my alignment. (Grouchy Douchebag. I think. RL alignment grid is confusing and incredibly complicated. And the DM is hogging my character sheet.)

        • Mazinja says:

          So, an EQ anexdote as told by a friend

          An EQ player has to go AFK for some reason. Unfortunately, he chooses to do so really close to the spawn point of some monsters. He gets killed. Take in mind: EQ death penalty was EXP loss.

          However, he has been bound to the place. Bound meaning that he will pop up there again after a while (assuming he’s doing nothing about his Death problem). When he does… he gets killed again. And again.

          When he comes back, he has lost several levels.

          So, you know? I’ll take having to run back as a ghost to my corpse or just telling the nice ghost lady to rez me, despite that particular harsh penalty.

          • Sumanai - a grouchy ball of bile and cynicism says:

            I think that story supports my picture of the EQ designers as a bunch of idiots or griefers. Why on earth would you have player characters rez automatically without any input? Seriously, just a prompt after you die would be enough.

            “That particular harsh penalty” being the 10 minute debuff? In which case I get the feeling you’ve misunderstood. That is, I think you think that I think that- uh. What was I about? Anyway, I don’t think it’s incredibly harsh, just bad enough that it should be fixed.

            I also think, or get the feeling that, the debuff is right now being supported by similiar people as the ones who were supporting the EQ’s penalties. That is, people who’ve gotten used to the current state of things and think that it works fine because they haven’t had personally problems with it. And worry that lessening it will have a detrimental effect on the game, without any real reason to believe so.

            Except that people are deep down always conservative, preferring for things to stay the same for the sake of familiarity and a fear of change. Forgetting that change is the spice of life, and that nothing can get any better if status quo is god, and trying to affect it is a taboo.

            • Sumanai - a grouchy ball of bile and cynicism says:

              Actually, I think I’ve misunderstood. See, I’ve gotten so used to being countered by others that I find it almost impossible that anyone would not disagree with me. It’s so unthinkable that I think I must have just missed the counterpoint and have to look for it harder. Imagining one if need be, just so the world feels familiar and safe just as dangerous as I’ve accustomed to as before.

              I fear what will happen to my poor psyche if I ever meet someone who manages to convince me that they genuinely like me. ~shiver~

  11. GreyDuck says:

    So, I’m still glad that I’ve never had much inclination to start in on WoW, then? Excellent.

    (I never thought there’d be a game which doesn’t use an accelerated day/night cycle. Maybe I need to get out and try more different MMOs.)

    (Nah. I barely have time for City Of Rogues as it is.)

  12. Mark says:

    Re: #12
    Blizzard overcorrecting? I’m shocked!

  13. Peter H. Coffin says:

    Sounds like they got Delta to design the routing for Outlands. I was half expecting to see “Change gryphons at ATL” as part of the list….

    • Jarenth says:

      Amusingly, this used to be a part of every long-distance flight. Until Blizzard wisened up, decided it was nonsense, and took it out.

      • Rallion says:

        Wow, I had forgotten that it was ever like that. Thanks to your comment, I just remembered the incredible joy I felt the first time my ride just flew straight over an in-between flight point.

        • kmc says:

          God, I know! Not to be too much of an old-timer type, but I love knowing that I can walk away while I’m on a long flight, or better yet–if I’m flying over Southshore (before it was destroyed, that is), I could _keep_ flying over even though the flight master was almost guaranteed to be dead.

          • Not the Face says:

            I still use Flights Points on my 310% mount. (Very affordable at 85)
            Usually when I want to go AFK.

            Anyone else remember trying to get to Sithillus? As alliance your options where:
            Fly from Darnassus. Make a sandwich on route.
            Fly to Wetlands. Take boat. Fly from Dustwallow. Interrupt sandwich prep to get on and off boat.
            Fly to Booty Bay. Take boat to Ratchet. Fly from Ratchet.
            This was still true with the Dalaran and Shattrah portals. As I said in another comment that SW > Uldum portal is so sweet. Pity you need to be 83 (?) to get it. At least the SW> Hyjal gives quick access to upper kalimdor.

            • Trix says:

              My first long flight experience was Darnassus to Theramore in vanilla. Although the views were pretty amazing along the way, it took at least 20 minutes.

              Still, easy afk time and it gives you a sense of “bigness” for the world.

  14. Jarenth says:

    So, Shamus, any thought on the new additions to the game? Like the new location-specific quests, or the quests you get from killing random (up-until-that-non-quest) monsters? Or how about the new starting zones and zone-related quest lines, referred to earlier, that actually try to make you feel like you’re doing something?

    Or Archeology?

    I’m glad to see you feel Cataclysm is an improvement over old WoW, but I’m interested in hearing how you think the new expansion stuff stacks up on its own right.

    • Zukhramm says:

      After pieceing together some voodoo doll and fossil I can say that archeology seems like it’s the most fun of the professions in the game. The stuff you get are mostly useless (I think) but it’s definetely more fun that picking flowers and watching a casting bar move.

  15. Tizzy says:

    Not a WOW player, but if I had to take a guess to explain the resurrection sickness, I’d say it’s self-preservation on Blizzard’s part: they need to get their players AFK every so often or they’ll forget to eat!

  16. Kotenku says:

    The BEST thing about the Fel Reaver is coming back at level 80 and soloing it with a Shadowpriest.

  17. Sheer_falacy says:

    You’re never expected to get Rez sickness – it’s a way to fix things if you died really really badly, but You shouldn’t ever need it. Exploring an enemy capital city is actually probably the beat time to get it because you don’t need your stats to explore.

    And they removed the portals because they didn’t want people sitting around in dal or shatt after they went to all the effort of revamping sw and org. I can’t imagine why you would want to go to dal anyway, and if you’re desperate you could always get a Mage port.

  18. Not the Face says:

    I think the kind of tension wandering elites adds is quite fun. It initially sucks to get killed the first time. You bitch, you feel a bit better, and you learn. So now we have a “Mistake”. Not making the same “mistake” is hugely fun.
    The next time you have a Fel Reaver nearby you realize it. You get out of the way. You pat yourself on the back for noticing and not getting squished. You laugh at the other guy that did.
    Then down the road when you are a higher level. It’s time for revenge. The shoe is on the other foot Fel Reaver. You track that SOB down and you MURDER HIS FACE! Now that tension has become fun.
    The Fel Reaver specifically was used in a quest line, but otherwise he didn’t drop anything useful. Maybe a bit of silver and your normal random drops for non-elites. But you have some people that make a point of killing them on principle.

    Getting ganked by a Fel Reaver puts a personal connection to the mob. One that can come up later when you realize, suddenly, he isn’t a danger to you. He further promotes many good player behaviors and breaks up the normal grind.

    Also you will see some more of these. In the new zones the only truely random one I can think of is the Whale Shark. There are many Whale Shark. I didn’t die to them once since it’s fairly easy to avoid them. (Just don’t leave yourself afk in “midair” in the zone) You may kill one despite, or because of the fact it doesn’t drop loot.
    http://www.wowhead.com/achievement=4975
    This may require a raid. But who cares! REVENGE!

    ((Mana+Health regeneration 1-20 was increased greatly. Every caster is intended to be able to nuke at these levels. It tapers off at 20, but by then you have some talents and other things mitigating it a bit. You may still need to get some water but it isn’t so bad. Also Mages Arcane Missiles likely reduces their leveling mana consumptions rate.

    Oh and I have no idea why you stopped exploring just because of Rez sickness. It’s really not as big a deal as you think. If you greatly outlevel the mobs you will still kill them. In fact, if you are wandering around the Blood Elf first zone for exploration there is nothing that will suddenly kill you for having it. And the stuff that will would have done it anyway!))

    Edit addition:
    Ah PS: They replaced the portals with class trainers and an AH for both Shattrah and Dalaran. The intention is that while you are leveling through outland and northrend you never need to go back to EK/Kalimdor capitals. Further travel at 85 after you unlock the portals from SW to the new zones is quite a bit better. The SW > Uldum portal specifically lets you access an area of the world notorious for being laborious to reach as Alliance. So it does get better.

    • Shamus says:

      “You laugh at the other guy that did.”

      Certainly not. I am sad that so many people think it’s funny when other people stop having fun.

      • Jarenth says:

        It’s less about mocking other people and more about reflecting on your own past through rose-tinted goggles.

        “Ah, someone just got squished by Fel Reaver. I remember the first time he got me… good times, good times.”

        Your Mileage May Vary, I guess.

        • Sumanai - a grouchy ball of bile and cynicism says:

          Not really rose-tinted glassess necessarily. Laughter and humour is, if I’ve understood correctly, a reaction for a lot of things in an attempt to deal with. Stress, trauma, horror etc.

          For example, if you know a person who keeps cracking jokes during horror movies, he’s quite possibly scared and the jokes are his way of dealing with it. Or he finds it to be hilariously crappy.

          Somehow I don’t find it difficult to imagine long term WoW players as a group of people traumatized by various parts of WoW to such a degree they’ve started forming a sort of Stockholm syndrome towards WoW/Blizzard. Finding humour in non-humorous places because it’s their way of dealing with horror they feel in it. Explaining problems away because that’s their way of justifying why they don’t leave.

          “No, she loves me! See, when she beats me the pain from my sores subsides.”

          “She only stuffs me in a closet and locks it when I make the bed with Midnight Blue sheets as opposed to Electric Blue ones when she asks me to make the bed with blue sheets.”

          “And she asks me to do it, she doesn’t order me to. I couldn’t stand a woman who would order me around. She’ll make me sleep on the floor if I don’t, but that’s just because she wants me to learn and be strong.”

          “She smears dirt on my clothes if I dare defy her punishment and sleep on the couch, but she only does that because I’m undermining her authority. And that hurts her, and because I love her it hurts me. Especially when she makes me wear them in public.”

      • TheAngryMongoose says:

        I think the game would be missing something without the wondering giant elites. LK has them with the storm giants and Thrym (who has an obvious path he follows). And Vashj’ir now has that weird wind serpent thing and, ofcourse, the whale sharks. That zone would lose half its charm if there were no whale sharks.

  19. krellen says:

    You know, City of Heroes recently had a new expansion too. And they’ve made numerous changes and improvements to gameplay since you last played.

    I’m just sayin’.

    • Jarenth says:

      It’s also still one of the only games that never forces you to look like a clown for the sake of killing things.

      You’re still free to choose to do so, obviously.

      • Amarsir says:

        Starting in CoH ruined me forever for WoW I think. Here was my list about what I didn’t like, specifically because CoH did it better:

        1. Out-of-thin-air spawns (Shamus’ #8). It annoyed me no end that I could be walking through an empty field and then *poof*, surrounded and killed. CoH worked hard to never do this, and would specifically spawn ambushes around a corner. (Sadly they’ve gotten worse where apparently WoW has gotten better?)

        2. Sllooowww travel. 80mph Super Speed at level 14 made me incapable of appreciating a 40% faster mount at level 46 or whatever it was. Again though, WoW did improve.

        3. Arrows through walls. Man did this bother me once I figured out it was happening. I tried to pull a guard by shooting him and running behind a tree. When I died I realized he didn’t move at all and instead just kept shooting me through the 20′ thick trunk. Lack of collisions between mobs seemed cheap but acceptable. A world without physical properties was not. I have no idea if this was ever addressed.

        4. Attack toggles as a way of life. Nowhere near as bad as other games like SW:G or EVE where I could go make a sandwich mid-combat without any noticeable effect, but a horrible way to design combat. Give me targeting and attack chains so there’s some play to my play, please. I figure special attacks must be more important at 80 than they were at my 28, but considering the next issue…

        4a. 1-v-1 or Group-v-1 combat. WoW seemed balanced to have a good but advantageous fight against a single non-elite enemy at a time, at even or slightly + levels. Get two and you can survive with skill. Get three and you’d better run and try again. Or come back when they’re -3s (which I never liked). And while it’s not bad to build in pulling as a strategy, consider the dynamics of 1v1 combat vs fighting 3 weaker enemies at a time.

        More simultaneous enemies would means more skill in target management to keep positioning, prioritize damage, use control effects, etc. It’s a more active, involved, and fun combat. If there’s just one enemy and I sap him then I’m back to sandwich time. Two enemies and sapping one just means I divert my attention.

        Plus, I feel like it would allow for more self-regulation in difficulty. Not only can you come back for content earlier or later, but if you’re balanced for 3 but feeling overwhelmed, take 2 at a time. If you’re balanced for 1 and feeling overwhelmed, all you can do is go away.

        Can’t imagine this changed, it’s pretty built-in. CoH has gotten better difficulty while reigning in the original 500-at-a-time blasts that were a little silly.

        5. Difficulty in getting pick-up teams. Oh I know they have a bad rep. And I don’t mind that some content requires teams. But guilds have expectations while pick-ups don’t care if you don’t log on for 3 weeks. No one even knows you, and I like that. CoH was the best in the industry, though they’ve mostly sat on their hands for 6 years while WoW did improve.

        lastly …

        6. Similarity of alts. WoW has always paid good attention to their balance, to the point that a 2% improvement in something is a significant difference. They deserve credit for that. But at the same time, it meant classes that were different didn’t feel different. All get some kind of armor, all get ranged attacks, all have some crowd control … OK so A is better dps than B. It’s not 500% better. And so playing them, at least through the teens/20s (which took longer back then) didn’t really feel like I was doing much different.

        I think that’s really the biggest advantage CoH had becasue they never had an endgame until like 10 minutes ago (if that) but I’ve got 40 alts and no 2 play the same. Well, maybe a pair of the tanks do.

        • Jarenth says:

          I find your point #4 very amusing because if you try to play WoW at higher levels by just toggeling auto-attack on, you’re going to lose pretty badly. Conversely, City of Heroes lets you turn any skill into a self-repeating toggle.

          I’ll agree that Super Jump has spoiled me for any other form of MMO travel, though.

          • Amarsir says:

            Everyone always responds about the ctrl-click as if it’s remotely the same thing. That wouldn’t be a reasonable strategy at any level and it’s hardly SOP. Meanwhile I can’t speak for WoW beyond say 28, but at what point do you stop using that toggle? Or you use it but it’s irrelevant because you’re constantly chaining specials?

            I know special attacks are important but I never got a sense of action beyond “Let the hacking go while waiting for cooldown… oh look I get to do something again!” Again I’ve seen games that were worse, but this was below my threshold. The closest analogue for CoH would be MMs who let their pets do all the work, but that’s just their own fault, really.

            • theNater says:

              The problem I ran into in CoH(way back when) was that there would be periods in combat when my character wasn’t doing anything, either because all of my abilities were on cooldown(early on) or because I had run myself out of energy(later on). I find WoW’s autoattacks preferable to the 2-3 second periods of character inactivity in CoH.

              Also, I’d like to ask what class or classes you got to 28. Some classes rely on autoattack much more than others. For example, rogues use autoattack so much that one of their top priorities is keeping a boost to autoattack active, while mages generally only use autoattack as a last resort.

        • Blackbird71 says:

          On point #4, one of the things I liked the most about the original version of SW:G was the ability to queue up a few attacks in a row. Why? Because it meant that your hands were free for a short while, and you could actually carry on full conversations with people. It made the game much more of a social experience for me than WoW ever was, all because going into combat didn’t mean you had to stop typing messages to people.

  20. theNater says:

    I’m starting to wonder if resurrection sickness isn’t there to encourage you to take the corpse run instead, even if it means dying a few more times.

    Consider: if you die then use the Spirit Healer to recover, you’re out 35% durability and 10 minutes. On the other hand, if you die, run to your corpse, die again, run back again, die a third time and run back yet again, you’re out 30% durability and the time depends on how far you are from the graveyard. And you’re at least active all the time, even if not engaged in your preferred activity.

    It seems like it would be very unusual for someone to get deep enough into enemy territory before the first death that they can’t get out with two more deaths.

  21. Oleyo says:

    I have to disagree and say the Fel Reaver is awesome, since it only takes one splat to learn and then you pretty much never get hit again because that sound and rumble just make you panic and run!

    I say kudos when the game developer can kill you once and then just scare you all the time without constantly ganking you. I’d say it is pretty anti-DIAS.

    PS Also, the first time you get powerful enough to go back and take down a Fel Reaver alone is priceless….REVENGE! I don’t think I am the only one who goes back just for that purpose :)

  22. Oleyo says:

    Also, I think res sickness is there so people don’t die just to avoid running back when the spirit healer is closer to your goal.

    In Cataclysm they removed res sickness for 1-10 to take it easy on new players and I used it for just that effect when I found out…

  23. Sydney says:

    The best handling of death in an MMO that I’ve met is the way it’s done in Materia Magica, a relatively popular MUD. This will be semi-long, but hopefully interesting:

    When killed, you appear in the Ethereal Plane (if non-faerie) and the Faerie Plane (if faerie) as a shade. You don’t have your items on you, but it doesn’t matter since you aren’t to be fighting anyway.

    Non-faeries appear with three vials of “drink it and teleport literally anywhere, at random”. So you use your shade time to explore the world, get to know some exotic locales, and have something to look at. Faeries are restricted to exploring the faerie plane, but that is an exotic locale; it’ll take a lot of shade time to explore the place fully, and by the time you’ve explored it all, you’re probably savvy enough to die less anyway.

    You’ll resurrect on a timer: 7 minutes, flat, no matter your level. But there are many ways to speed this up:

    Non-faeries may explore the Ethereal Plane itself and find the hermit, who’ll resurrect you immediately; faeries do the same, but find the King (if Sidhe) or Queen (if Fey). So if you want, you can bypass the exploration by tracking down your revival NPC, which gets easier as you learn your way around the Ethereal/Faerie Plane.

    Second way of speeding it up is joining an alliance which has a resurrection bonus for holding a lot of terrain. A powerful alliance may have a resurrect timer of only 90 seconds, and then you’re back in business. Third way is having a friend cast Resurrect on you; it’ll be semi-expensive and you’ll probably either owe them a res or be asked to pay them back, but if you died during, say, a dungeon crawl, it might be the best option.

    The point is, Materia Magica hits the two goalposts I think are important for MMO death: You can still play productively (exploring the normal world, to learn to die less; exploring the afterlife world, to learn to res faster), and there are ways to make the res timer shorter that involve player and character skill.

  24. Zukhramm says:

    My biggest problem with WoW (and most MMOs, I guess) is that it’s still boring. The game rarely manages to motivate me to do something with anything other than the item or XP rewards.

    • Duffy says:

      I’m not trying to be argumentative, but I like getting people’s views on this topic.

      Why do you find it different from any other game? Do you find it varies by genre? Or maybe specific presentation?

      • Mark says:

        Speaking personally, and I admit my experience is six years out of date:
        -The combat consisted of using the same pattern of abilities on every enemy without regard for positioning or the enemy’s attributes. Occasionally you’d get a new power which means you’ll be using a new power for the next few levels.
        -The quests were mostly busywork, assigning you an arbitrary number of objectives undistinguished from each other and functionally very similar to all the other quests. No story can be interesting enough to make me go through that kind of quest more than a few times in a week.
        -Death and other setbacks were most effectively overcome by waiting.
        -The sole, faint hope of any kind of remedy to this tedium lied in relying on cooperation with illiterate strangers. (Never play multiplayer unless you have personally vetted at least half the participants including the server administrator)
        -And after fifty (seventy-five, now) more levels of this bullshit, you get to do it whenever it’s convenient for thirty-nine other people!

        I’ve heard that they made the leveling process faster, which seems to me like an admission that the content is boring. If it were entertaining, people would want to spend more time doing it, right?

        • Shamus says:

          I love this summary. :)

          • Mark says:

            I mean, don’t get me wrong, I acknowledge what World of Warcraft has done very well. It nailed the “good MMO” part pretty much right out of the gate, and rumor has it that Cataclysm is a significant step towards achieving the “good RPG” part. I just despaired of seeing the worthy bits often enough to justify paying fifteen bucks every month. (Also, I guess the addiction hooks didn’t catch me.)

            • Sumanai - a grouchy ball of bile and cynicism says:

              First I’d like to say I love the summary as well. If I’d show it to my friends they’d probably assume it was mine, except that it’s not ranty enough.

              I have the same “problem” about addiction hooks. Some of the Skinner Box -things just don’t work on me. For an example, random drops (for quest or significant items) just make me think “annoying and pointless waste of time” since they force repetition of actions simply because the Random Number God decided I wasn’t worthy. But for a lot of people using them is much more addictive than having reliable drops.

              Although, when a game manages to hit the skinner box -spots I don’t have an immunity or resistance for, it feels all the weirder. When you’ve gone for years barely finishing a single game because they get tiring or something after a while, it’s really strange and worrying to notice you’ve just finished a game you didn’t like while playing it. And when you actually stopped to think about it, you hated the game. It was awful, repetitive, poorly written and the best parts reached “mediocre” status barely. And you should’ve quit halfway through, uninstalled it, deleted what was left and vowed never to touch it again. But no, you just trucked on like a zombie to the finish. What the fuck was wrong with you?

              I can’t even remember what type of a game it was beyond “bad”. First person shooter? Third person? Platformer? Was it a game at all? Seriously, how can something so forgettable leave such a permanent memory? Or, rather, how can something that leaves such a permanent memory be so forgettable?

        • SatansBestBuddy says:

          I recently got a trail, and can kind of agree on some points…

          But then I remember that quest that had me put on a bush, sneak through a village, and toss a potion at a wolf meeting with some toads so that the toads would turn against him.

          Or that one time when some Evil Dwarves invaded the Good Dwarves home city, which is the end of the starting quest for the Dwarves now; you get it all, from sneaking through enemy encampments to bombing platoons from an airplane, even arresting the Dwarf responsible for it all at the end.

          Twas quite awesome, but still, I can understand not wanting to playing the other 80% of a game to get to the 20% that’s actually fun.

      • Zukhramm says:

        The majority of the quests are “Gather X items” or “Kill Y monsters”, combined with very simple combat (same tactics work for alla enemies) and mostly boring stories as excuses for doing the quests and I just have a hard time staying interested.

        • For me the fun of WoW came in when you were doing co-op with a small group of friends. The large group work is just frustrating and chaos. I loved moving through a dungeon with 3-6 other people and talking out how to handle each section. Executing the plan and succeeding. I can tolerate the “grind” aspects of the game. I however have NEVER found one quest line story that was remotely interesting. The WoW story lines are poorly thought through, and not worth the time to read. When i first started playing i read them. It was around level 25 i realized “these stories are dumb” I would read stories every so often hoping they would get better as i got deeper into the game. Alas no such luck

  25. Brandon says:

    It sounds like a lot of people who read this blog are WoW players.. I wonder, are there any of you out there who are like me, and end up playing WoW solo a lot? I was thinking it might be nice to get a bunch of 20 Sided readers onto a single server and faction.

    I do enjoy the game, but my friends keep quitting on me every couple of months. Cataclysm has failed to hook them back.

  26. Sake says:

    One new change that has really ticked my off, is the monster xp cut off. Now once you hit lv 60, all old world monsters (even the level 60 ones) have their xp cut by 90% to “encourage” players to move on to the next expansion area. Because, god forbid, a level 60 character decides to hit the newly updated Winterspring or Slithus to level, rather than go through the dark portal to the Worst @#$%@ Zone In The Game.

    The same same thing happens at lv70 and 80 as well, but it’s slightly less noticible since those are both outdated areas you’d want to get the hell out of anyway.

    • Sumanai - a grouchy ball of bile and cynicism says:

      Those sort of things, along with level requirements for items, really rile me up in games. I understand discouraging from killing the same damn kobolds from level 5 to 80, but what’s so bloody wrong letting players play the way they want?

      And why would you need level requirements for restorative items anyway? They can only bring you back to your max. Announcing an “item level” for those could still be used to hint that it might be best saved for later levels, but just let the player waste it if he feels like it.

  27. ngthagg says:

    A couple of comments on Nitpick #1: The pop up text on monsters will now tell if they are part of a quest or not, and what item they will drop (for drop quests). They also fixed a nitpick you didn’t have that I did: kill quests used to require that you kill 8 warriors, 8 mages, and 3 shaman, or some other mix of enemy types. And the first two would be easy to find, but the last one was always a pain. Now most of the quests just want you kill X number of enemies, of whatever kind. Much preferred on my part.

    • Khizan says:

      A big thing with those quests was that things shared spawns.

      Let’s say forest X has 20 creature spawns, which can be of types A and B. Thing is, the quest only wants you to kill type A. So nobody kills the B mobs, so each mob that respawns has a chance of coming back as an B instead of an A. Eventually, you have an area that’s 90% B, and it will stay that way as long as nobody kills the B’s.

  28. Danath says:

    Amusingly in WOTLK there’s these big guys that stomp around like that… I ran into one with a group of friends, big huge level ??? elite, and we said “fuck that noise” and started fighting it. It took us over 10 minutes, but we killed it, we GM ticketed it and screenshotted, we felt oh so proud. Kiting, potion popping, using our 3-5 miinute CD’s multiple times, good times good times.

    We were level 69-70, game was still new and nobody knew what they were, but it felt good to actually kill it, unlike the Fel Reaver that stomped us in outlands.

  29. Vekni says:

    “Beam me up, Scotty!”

    That was a feature I really liked about Tabula Rasa-rather than just fading into view as respawned, enemies were dropped off by transport ships or literally beamed in Star Trek style. Gave it some flavor.

  30. Another Scott says:

    Perhaps one solution for level restrictions on items (particularly on consumables) is to scale the effect of using them in accordance to the character’s level/stats.

    So for example a glass of milk (or something) at level 1 could heal 50hp, and at level 10 it heal 250hp and gives 10% frost resistance; the items not get any better after the intended cut-off, thus encouraging higher level players to quest for the “egg-nog of power” instead of farming those pushover-mobs “santa-elves” who drop glasses of milk.

    If the item is hard to come by, but finds it’s way into an fledgelings character’s hands anyways, it can still be useful, but not AS useful as it would be for those who were meant to use it.

    EDIT: egg nog… santa’s elves… huh, I guess I’m feeling festive.

    • MogTM says:

      I actually really like this idea. It would get rid of the silly, while maintaining game balance and making the world feel more lived-in because not all level 10 characters would be drinking milk (or whatever.)

      Unfortunately, switching WoW to this system would be hard; people are pretty darn used to the idea that their items don’t suddenly change when the level up. But, just so you know, if I ever make an MMO, I’m stealing your idea.

    • Sumanai - a grouchy ball of bile and cynicism says:

      I don’t really see how just not restricting it would screw up balance. Well, enough to matter. You’ve still got your maximum HP/MP and percentage based resistances don’t really screw anything up. After all if, say, reindeers, a low level mob, caused 20 frost damage, cutting off 2 doesn’t mean much. But if an elite, Rudolf, causes 200. Now that’s 20 and it’s going to matter.

  31. Nick says:

    Why don’t they just make it a 23 hour day, the day/night cycle would be almost the same, but people who play at regular times would gradually experience the whole cycle.

    • Sumanai - a grouchy ball of bile and cynicism says:

      That’s an interesting idea. In a way it could give people who always play at the same time an illusion of a single day passing during several sessions.

      Yes, I do believe I like it. Hopefully it’ll end up in WoW or elsewhere.

  32. Although, the milk one still bothers me.

    Not if you think of it as magical ice cold milk, rather than normal milk, the kind that doesn’t affect your mana at all. But if they put “mana infused” in front of every title, it would get redundant.

    I like the real time day/night cycle. Agree with others that wandering elites improve the flavor of the game, though getting killed by them sucks.

    Back in the day, resurrection sickness was one minute the first death, two the second up to a cap of 10. Now it is a flat 10, regardless of how many prior deaths, which really kind of felt cheap, since I studiously avoided it to save that one minute down time for when it was needed.

    I think that without any penalty, death becomes too cheap, I like the balance.

    Others have already caught that Outlands has portals, just next to the great doorway, not at Shattarath. The real place travel to and from sucks is in Northend, though other that getting the capital city dailies, you don’t really need to travel in and out.

    All in all there is a reason it remains number one.

    Good essay, though, all in all.

    • Sumanai - a grouchy ball of bile and cynicism says:

      But you only get the 10 minute debuff when you don’t do a corpse run, how would removing it completely cheapen death noticeably? Or making it a two minute debuff? To me the debuff itself feels cheap and kinda griefy from the designers.

      That’s even aside the fact that removing it doesn’t remove all penalties, regardless of how trivial they might feel. But I’ve made comments about that above. Although I will note that the most effective way of making death feel cheap is to make the player feel his character’s death was unfair or random. In other words, not the player’s fault.

      About the milk, your explanation doesn’t make it anymore sensible. I guess that magical milk being “too potent” would mean that a person should be more powerful to use it safely, but seriously. I can’t be the only one who hates arbitrary “it’s magic! It just works that way!”-bullshit. What harm would there be if stuff like milk (drinks and foodstuffs at least) wouldn’t have level requirements?

      • Ming says:

        It’s a little late to the discussion, and you might never read this, but I feel you’ve misunderstood how the level requirements on foodstuffs work.

        It is not that you have to stop using a certain drink at a certain level, it is that you cannot use a certain drink until you’ve reached that level. In the case of Ice Cold Milk, if you’re under level 5 you cannot drink it, but as soon as you reach level 5, you can drink Ice Cold Milk whenever you want.

        There is no mechanic to force people to upgrade in foods and drinks; this is because people will do it naturally, as previous foods and drinks become inadequate. There is no reason I cannot use Ice Cold Milk to restore my mana at level 80, but Ice Cold Milk only restores about 500 mana over 30 seconds and my mana pool is currently over 30,000 mana.

        The reason there is a level requirement to use drinks and foodstuffs is because you don’t want lower-level characters to get an advantage for buying more expansive drinks and food. The level 80 drink, Honeymint Tea gives about 20,000 mana over 30 seconds, which is about 600 mana a second. In other words, someone with a mana pool of 500 mana who is drinking Ice Cold Milk would have to wait 30 seconds to fill up, while someone drinking Honeymint Tea would only need to wait a second. Apart from PvP ramifications, I’m sure that another reason why you don’t want this occurring is because Honeymint Tea is not priced to be used by level 5s.

        • Sumanai - a grouchy ball of bile and cynicism says:

          No, I understood perfectly. And your justification for the requirements is inadequate to me. You can only use them outside combat and your character has to sit down to use them. As long as the sitting animation takes a second and you start getting mana/health after you’ve sat down, you can’t just go “bam, maxed” since something can interrupt you while you’re doing it.

          If it genuinely unbalances PvP, then I think this issue is a perfect example of having a different game for PvP and PvE. Actually, couldn’t they just change the lvl req.s for foodstuffs into item lvls and then make it so that in PvP the item level needs to be same or lower than yours for you to use it?

          And even if it would actually screw things up, why not just make them percentage based? Having all, or at least all normal RL, foods and drinks to heal/fill mana to 100% (or something) over 30s would only negate the point of expensive foodstuffs. But I don’t really see the problem with that. Why should, theoretically, a 10 lvl warrior spend as much of his money (percentage wise) as a lvl 80 warrior?

          I understand it could hurt the cooking skill, but you could also allow the skill to make more interesting stuff. After all, if it has genuine magical effects, and would be made from non-RL herbs, you could actually argue about it being dangerous for low level characters due to toxicity or something (something similiar to the Witcher in other words). Or if the skill would allow point based regeneration, but only with exotic materials and it would be a made up dish, therefore making the lvl req feel more believable.

          Or just something. People keep defending so many games, movies and whatever by saying you have to suspend your disbelief, but the makers need to come halfway. Not just stand there with their hands crossed relying on their fans to explain/defend them. Which brings me to Nintendo, but I’ll rant about that some other time. Anyway, the same thing applies to the game mechanics. If I’m supposed to take the world seriously, the mechanics need to work in tandem with the fluff. And if the game wants to be taken seriously, it needs to behave like it’s not just taking the piss.

  33. Reach says:

    I think the Rez sickness thing is supposed to be a kind of last resort, like if you’re stuck in an area that’s just too high for you, not a common option. The problem is people dying just to get back to their quest hub, and having too much apathy towards dying. Is it a huge overkill and easily the most obnoxious idea ever? yes, but at least you know it was a conscious and deliberate decision made by Blizzard.

    Also, it doesn’t deplete when you’re offline, so you won’t ever decide that it would be best to quit for the night after a rage-inducing gank. Wasn’t that nice of them?

    • Sumanai - a grouchy ball of bile and cynicism says:

      Thinking it as a conscious and deliberate decision to apply an obnoxious overkill idea for countering death traveling on the part of Blizzard really helps. Me anyway, since it makes me feel better about deciding years ago that WoW wasn’t worth the money. And it helps me to push back giving it a third chance (through trials) to a later date so the starting areas won’t be flooded.

      Hell, it adds up as one more reason for not giving WoW any more chances and just spending my time more productively. Like cleaning my flat. Or picking my nose.

    • PBNJSandwedge says:

      Yeah, I remember people did something in, I think, FFXI?, called “blood porting” where a character sought to die just to move back to their home town. If graveyard rezzing had no major ramifications, people would do the same thing in WoW.

      • Sumanai - a grouchy ball of bile and cynicism says:

        Or not make returning such a hassle. Seriously, traveling in WoW is really tiresome. Nice that it’s giving a sense of scale, but still.

  34. Andrew says:

    Interesting, Shamus- your gripes with the game seem to have relatively little overlap with mine.

    I *like* vague (within reason) quest locations, and find the built-in quest-helper nowadays mildly irritating. It’s immersion-breaking. Far better would be to tidy up the worst offending quests to have the givers provide you with more reasonable directions.

    3,4 and 5 are only very minor issues for me- I wouldn’t put any of them on a list of complaints. Same is somewhat true of low drop-rates for quest items, actually, though I’m closer to agreement with you there. I *do* object to ridiculously low drop rates of some crafting materials- I remember finding that the best available drop-rate for some dragonscales I was trying to find for leatherworking was less than 5%. And I needed 10 of them. Ugh. It doesn’t even make sense- how can a dragon not have any scales 19 times in 20?

    6 I definitely agree with. It’s actually part of my biggest complaint with the game overall, and I think it’s actually got *worse* lately, not better. You now need certain levels of *gear* (not just character level) to enter some instances, and have to be certain character levels to enter specific zones. This is absurd.

    It’s part of a larger problem, and to my mind the main reason people find levelling boring, that the game won’t let you play it at the skill level you want to. Fight monsters way below you, and you gain no xp, negligible gold for your level, and worthless items. Try to fight monsters way above your level, and you get slammed with stupidly high aggro radii, arbitrary “miss” and “crushing blow” chances, quest givers that won’t give you quests, item drops you can’t use, and now an actual hard-restriction in case you were still actually trying despite all that.

    Personally, I usually find levelling too easy, and want to face enemies 4-5 levels above me (bear in mind we’re talking 20-50 content here). Most of the time, anyway- sometimes I fancy a slightly more relaxing experience. A well-designed game ought to allow you to pick your challenges.

    The realtime day-night cycle doesn’t bother me at all. Sorry. I prefer it hugely to something silly like Oblivion’s 20-minute absurdity.

    Respawning monsters is again a minor nuisance. What I really hate is not monsters spawning near to me, but quest-monsters I just killed and took the head of respawning within a minute or two, while I’m still in the area. Immersion-breaking again.

    And I’m afraid your last three points are all things I consider *good* about the game. Wandering Elites in particular are great- the take the dull predictability of the zones away somewhat. Drinking to restore mana, for me at least, is immersive, and lets me enjoy the scenery. Ressurection sickness is an actual penalty for dying, which I feel is necessary.

    Mind you, I haven’t found it nearly as debilitating as you seem to. You indicate that it stops you effectively participating in combat at all. This really hasn’t been my experience, though I suspect it depends a lot on your level, somewhat on your class, and a lot on what you’re doing. I, as a hunter, more than once ended up in the peculiar situation of having ressurection sickness make killing monsters *easier*, since I seemed to pull aggro from my pet less. Of course, they took longer to die.

    • Sumanai - a grouchy ball of cynicism and venting says:

      “…Far better would be to tidy up the worst offending quests to have the givers provide you with more reasonable directions.”

      Can’t comment on the “immersion breaking”, but how is what is in the game not a logical follow up for the way the floating exclamation marks start? I agree that better directions would’ve been better, but that’s because I prefer that developers fix things, not circumvent the problem.

      “…I wouldn’t put any of them on a list of complaints.”
      But they’re in a list of nitpicks. I would’ve put the lot of them in a list of complaints, but I’m extra whiny, so I doubt I count. The 5% drop rate is mind boggling, if Blizzard wants you to kill on average 200 dragons for crafting, why not just demand more scales?

      Your 6 is pretty much what I’ve been wondering. People want to play differently, why not allow it?

      “The realtime day-night cycle doesn’t bother me at all. Sorry. I prefer it hugely to something silly like Oblivion’s 20-minute absurdity.”

      There are middlepoints between the extremes. You don’t need to go as far as give a full day cycle per session to players. For example Nick pointed out above having 23 hour days, and I think that would work because over the RL year people would end up seeing different times of day in-game despite playing at the same time in RL. Still a slow cycle, but fast enough to give variance. 25 hour days might work as well, since that would cause cycling also, even if the effect might be strange. Even 23h 55min days would cause some cycling, so it could be enough.

      And I also prefer 24h days over the 20min ones. But I think that 23h days would work better in an online game.

      • Andrew says:

        > And I also prefer 24h days over the 20min ones. But I think that 23h days would work better in an online game.

        I agree, actually. It’s just that other things bother me a great deal more, so it barely ranks as a nitpick for me.

  35. PBNJSandwedge says:

    It is sooo funny to see someone complaining about getting Fel Reaver’d because he hates pointless deaths. Meanwhile, on PvP servers, every play session includes at least 2 or 3 pointless deaths, and people frequently seek to camp you until you log off.

    As someone who initially played on a PvE server, but rerolled on a PvP server to be with friends, I miss the days where the only thing that would gank you would be a random elite mob. I would transfer back in a heartbeat if not for my awesome guild and friends on my current PvP server.

    You have a very refreshingly naive perception of WoW. I like to read these posts.

    • Sumanai - a grouchy ball of cynicism and venting says:

      I started originally on a PvP server, because all of my friends had characters there (in turn, because all of their friends had characters there). Really helped contribute to quitting, since at the time Blizzard seemed to have difficulty grasping the level of griefing people are ready to go. The whole Real ID -thing actually implies they still don’t.

      I made druid and was sent to a neutral area for a quest at level… 7? 8? Anyway, it was very low and there I was running for a quest in a neutral area, which means I can get ganked by other players. And then, near to the end of the run I got blasted with a DoT power by a ?? lvl player. First thought: “Douche”, but then I realized I can survive it if I heal myself. So I figured it was more of a nudge, not actual attempt to grief. Until the DoT ran out, the player ran back and blasted again. Seriously, wtf? He wasn’t getting anything out of it outside of personal kicks, and he ran back to kill me? Is everyone on a PvP server sociopathic or what? And how could Blizzard not get that something like it will happen and send every low level druid into a neutral zone?

      Yeah, fuck PvP servers.

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