Controversial? Opinion on WoW; and has the time come to switch to Linux?

By Paige Francis Posted Monday Jul 8, 2024

Filed under: Epilogue, Paige Writes 12 comments

I already mentioned I finished Galactic Season 6 in Star Wars: The Old Republic, and finished the storylines in the World of Warcraft expansions The Burning Crusade and Warlords of Draenor. This past week I worked on completing Burning Crusade Reputation grinds and achievements and also finally did the ending raid in Warlords of Draenor (which is the ACTUAL end of the expansion storyline.) I also tried starting multiple different characters in Wrath of the Lich King, which led to some interesting conclusions and a new, unexpected character. Lastly, given news from Microsoft-land, I decided the time had come to start moving to Linux. To that end, my actual IMPORTANT laptop, as opposed to the ones I have laying around for experiments and spares, is now running Garuda Linux. I will use that to test certain things that I would RATHER not lose. I’m not actually all that concerned about getting software to run at this point, but I do have one piece of hardware that isn’t even supported on WINDOWS anymore. I have come across ONE page that references specifically how to install and operate that device on Arch-Linux (of which Garuda is a distribution), and I will attempt that soon.

The big reward for Galactic Season 6 was a new stronghold. I haven’t really talked about Strongholds much. They were technically a content update between the original release of the game and the first expansion; Rise of the Hutt Cartel. Strongholds are player housing and are Legacy-bound. “Legacies” in SWToR exist between “account-bound” and “character-bound/bind-on-equip.” You can have one Legacy per server, and Legacies do not CROSS servers…so one AND ONLY ONE Legacy per server. The upshot of this is that you can have ONLY ONE of each “type” of Stronghold per server, rather than one Stronghold per character. Which is why they are called “Strongholds,” as that connotes use by more than one person rather than “housing” which would imply something each player can have. At least, I assume there was more thought put into it due to this arrangement, rather than just “‘Strongholds’ seems like a cool Star Wars name.” There were nine Strongholds before the new one was added, with players constantly begging for more. And the new one is Chiss-related, so it was a natural fit for my main, Rix’larril’an.

The Copero Villa on the planet Copero is derived from a storyline that ran from update 5.2 “The War for Iokath” through update 5.6 “A Traitor Among the Chiss!” I won’t talk about that storyline as I actually haven’t played it yet. The Villa unlocks in stages through Galactic Season rewards. This process is buggy and clumsy, but not in an non-correctable way. The rooms tend to be small and crowded, compared to other Strongholds. HOWEVER, the external views are amazing. You can also see in the pics that I finally gave in and switched Rix’larril’an to White and Red uniforms, and of course color-matched all my companions. This is all the fault of that stupid White/black/orange/brown armor I found for my bounty hunter, which triggered a ripple effect causing all my characters to change their color schemes.

Selarashari the Blood Elf Paladin is currently hanging out in The Caverns of Time gathering reputation for, if I remember correctly, the last reputation faction I *need* for a couple of achievements. There are actually three other reputation factions tied to The Burning Crusade that were added in the final TBC content update/patch: two can get you access to new flying mounts, something that was VERY HIGH DEMAND when they were released. Remember, flying was only introduced with The Burning Crusade. You didn’t even get access to flying until you were just about finished with the expansion…at least the original content. But as for me, I’ve already got access to all the flying mounts earn-able in TBC, as I have already maxxed reputation with those factions on another character. And as earning the rep again isn’t necessary for anything else, I don’t currently HAVE a reason to earn it again. I do, though, need to check the final reputation faction to see if some of the weapons and armor you can buy from them is usable for transmogrification. I know for a fact I’ve never maxxed rep with them before…I don’t even remember if I ever played ANY of their content.

The Caverns of Time is a location operated by the Bronze Dragonflight, one of two types of dragons with time powers. Various “dungeons” and “raids” are available to play. Most of these are events from the Warcraft RTS games, such as the original opening of The Black Portal by the possessed guardian Medivh that led to the original Horde invasion of Azeroth. There is also a series of dungeons that, while technically still time-traveling, are part of the Cataclysm expansion’s end game. For The Burning Crusade players, we can visit the aforementioned original opening The Black Portal, and event highly relevant to TBC; and the event that marked the beginning of the modern Horde of Azeroth: future Warchief Thrall’s escape from the concentration camp at Durnhold Keep. Tangentially, you can pick up a quest chain for a (now highly outdated) pair of equipable rings. The first task of the quest chain is to loot some specific items from Lady Vashj, the final boss of the Serpentshrine Cavern raid in Zangarmarsh and Kael’thas, the final boss of the Tempest Keep raid in Netherstorm (both of which I’ve already done several times, but these new items won’t drop until you take the quest.) This quest chain continues with a raid that recreates the event that ended the Third War (Warcraft III.) This raid also rewards reputation points for a NEW reputation faction. While the raid is agonizingly slow (you have to wait for timed multiple waves of enemies, each followed by a boss; MULTIPLE TIMES) solo-ing it means you’re killing everything yourself, and all of those hundreds of kills grants reputation gains. So even though you can only run a raid once per week, this one shouldn’t take too long.

You remember me mentioning how Exarch Yrel and I started out the same size a month or so ago? Well, here we are at the final screen of the expansion atop alternate Draenor’s version of Hellfire Citadel. And this is AFTER I had taken a Potion of Giant Growth so I could be “big” like the hero NPC’s:

It’s just not fair. She’s about to become a kaiju. As with Selarashari, Mystilatre is working solely on collecting some mounts and transmog items. Most of the current slate is provided through leather-working. I have one more recipe to buy, which will take about a week to procure as the currency required can only be obtained one at a time, ONCE PER DAY. Raw supplies for any manufacturing shouldn’t be a problem. I was also working on getting auction house access in my garrison (part of obtaining the raw supplies I need to finish all this); there were two required components. Achieving “Exalted” reputation with one Warlords of Draenor faction, which as far as I have been able to research can only be done through grinding. Not a fan. But after researching the second component, I gave up. The quest to enable the auction access requires “building” several components from random drops. In the weeks that I have had the quest available, only two of about 16-20 items have dropped. The auction house in the faction capital confirms this rate: the components sell on the auction house for more gold than I currently have access to. As auction house access was purely for convenience, I dropped this as a goal. I also finally transmogged Mysti’s armor and gear:

I instinctively decided to move on to Wrath of the Lich King. After spending a week thinking about what story would be the most compelling for WotLK. The first attempt was a Death Knight. I have honestly never been comfortable playing a Death Knight. In 2024, however, the biggest problem is that the Death Knight starting area, which is unique for the class, just doesn’t hold up to the new starting area of Exile’s Reach. The questing is less compelling, the level progression feels wonky, the custom Death Knight equipment didn’t work right and was replaced within a couple of quests anyway, and the gameplay still doesn’t gel with me. The Death Knight story is a good one, but isn’t told as well here as newer expansions have shown to be capable of. Bottom line: I couldn’t finish the starter area. It was boring.

I then just created a Dwarf Priest, ran through Exile’s Reach, and moved on to Howling Fjord, the “second” or “alternate” starting area in Northrend, the home continent for Wrath of the Lich King. WotLK is a graphical upgrade to The Burning Crusade; not so much in capability but in careful level and object design that allowed the artists to maximize the appearance of Northrend. The expansion also has some fantastic music. *Almost* all of Northrend is highly atmospheric…in fact the worst zone in my opinion is the primary starting area, Borean Tundra. That was a big reason I wanted to start in Howling Fjord whether I was using a Horde or Alliance character. I arrived in Howling Fjord at level 11, and played until around level 17, if I remember correctly. As with the Death Knight area, the biggest problem was that I WAS BORED. I rarely played through more than one or two quests at a time, mostly because WotLK might be the epitome of another traditional WoW trait. Get a quest to venture into enemy territory to…find or do something. Could be any of the normal quest hooks. Complete the goal, return to the quest giver. They send you RIGHT BACK into the same area to kill the things you just had to kill to accomplish the previous quest. You do so. On return, the quest giver then sends you back into the same area to find a new thing; a thing that will be in a fairly precise location. You will invariably have to kill an elite or some form of boss IN ADDITION TO KILLING ALL THE RESPAWNED ENEMIES YOU HAVE ALREADY KILLED TWICE. Accomplish your goal. You return to the quest giver, only to be SENT RIGHT BACK TO KILL THE BOSS YOU JUST HAD TO KILL TO FINISH THE PREVIOUS QUEST, and of course KILL ALL THE SAME MOBS YOU HAVE ALREADY KILLED THREE TIMES NOW. Finish this quest chain, except keep in mind there are three or four quest givers basically following the same pattern, so I hope you talked to all of them before leaving the questing center. Although that won’t save you completely, because some of those quest givers have prerequisites unlocked by reaching a certain point with the original quest giver, so actually they end up being staggered and you are CONSTANTLY killing the same mobs in the same place over and over.

The storyline of this area is actually very interesting, but it drags out over such a long period that I had trouble staying focused on why I was doing what I was doing at any given time. Wrath of the Lich King is arguably, all things considered, WoW’s best story. I think that’s LESS true these days, with some really amazing content to compare it to, but there is a reason WotLK is remembered so fondly. The story, taken by itself, certainly still holds up…but the gameplay of the whole expansion lets it down compared to modern WoW. Really, even, I enjoyed playing The Burning Crusade more than Wrath of the Lich King. I can’t, as of right now, swear I’m going to try sending another character to Northrend anytime soon.

Since my Dwarf Priest didn’t make the cut, I went back to the drawing board. As is my wont when I am not really sure what to do, I just loaded the character creator and checked out the default auto-generated character to see what clicked. In WoW, every time you launch the character creator TWO designs are created for each race (at least all of the ones I currently have available): a “male” design and a “female” design. So after previewing each race, if nothing stood out, I quit and tried again later. I eventually found this:

This is Dianni. I am apparently in my “Draenei” phase. After running Dianni through Exile’s Reach, I set her spec to Shadow Priest, which I haven’t played in years and decided to send her back to the Draenei race starting area. Draenei and Blood Elves, both introduced in The Burning Crusade, also received a protected starter area (something not ALL original classes had yet), their own race capital, a starting zone attached to the race capital, and an “advanced” starting zone to continue leveling before joining the already-existing parts of Azeroth. Blizzard really nailed the Blood Elf and Draenei areas in a way I’m not sure they ever achieved again. As I’m sure you’ve picked up from the lore I have already related, the Blood Elves and Draenei are deeply tied to the ancient lore (not that ANY species on Azeroth ISN’T, although I guess you could claim humans are kind of a special case.) But, while touching on the ancient connections, most of the zone lore in this areas is about recent events. For the Blood Elves, the zones tell the story of their response to The Lich King’s Scourge and their alliance with the Horde (after they were kicked out of the Alliance in Warcraft III.) The Draenei story is about the crash of the Exodar and the fallout of that event, and of course their connection with the Alliance through the Night Elves.

Lastly, I am starting to move everything to Linux. Microsoft has made it clear they will continue to make the Windows platform more restrictive. They are also doing some really questionable things with personal data access and control. My main laptop, a Dell Inspiron 7000 2-in-1, is currently running Garuda Linux with Garuda’s customized Gnome desktop. All Garuda releases seem to look identical, but use different underlying technology for the desktop environment. I initially tried Cinnamon, but installed the Gnome version after having some trouble. Unfortunately, I had the exact same problems under Gnome, so right now I’m guessing the problems I am having are more universal. I have not tried gaming yet; this laptop is minimally capable of gaming but it’s not a good sample to experiment with, IMO. I have one practically-necessary piece of hardware that I need to try installing and using, though: a Logitech G13 gameboard. Logitech doesn’t even support this on WINDOWS anymore, despite its legendary status and desirability. Those of us who use it, and we’re not a small community, have been looking for a follow-up or alternative for over a decade. I have found drivers and a procedure for Arch-Linux…so I’ll give that a try this week. I will likely have to test installing and running an MMO to test it, as well. So there’s two things to do this week, that I haven’t done yet.

I have encountered one minor problem that I have been told is solvable by using CERTAIN desktop environments. The Inspiron 7000 2-in-1 I have is the 13 inch screen version. 1920×1080 fullHD on 13″ results in some TINY text and icons. On Windows, I usually scale my interface to 125%. This isn’t currently FULLY supported in either Cinnamon or Gnome, although again, I am told SOME desktop environments do have this feature. Gnome and Cinnamon both have an experimental version than can be enabled, but it causes my mouse cursor to SHRINK…so it’s not very useful.

NOTE: HI. THIS IS ME FROM THE FUTURE. Everything I wrote in the previous two paragraphs about Gnome/Cinnamon MAY BE WRONG. Because as I was writing it, a few little questions about things like, where a USB memory stick was at which time, and why, led me to question my procedure when I installed the Gnome environment distribution over the Cinnamon environment distribution. I went and checked my system info and…sure enough…I had reinstalled the same distribution. I just re-installed Cinnamon; I didn’t install Gnome. So. I’m gonna finish this up, and then we will REVISIT this topic NEXT WEEK and hopefully I won’t forget to take a USB stick out of my USB hub this time.

The actual BIG problem I am having is that watching YouTube videos causes my system to freeze hard every few hours. I’m using Firefox, which until recently was by far the most utilized and recommended web browser on Linux. This is convenient because I use Firefox on everything else already. There are a few POSSIBLE solutions; I say POSSIBLE because very few of the threads about THIS EXACT COMPLAINT ended with “That solution worked, Mr. Bilbouseslinuxeveryday111332, and now I have NO MORE PROBLEMS with YouTube freezing my system.” The first solution is to disable Hardware Acceleration in FireFox. This didn’t fix it, although I DID notice a slight hit in performance. The second solution is to install actual, specific, AMD drivers for my integrated AMD Radeon graphics because my install probably installed the generic open source ones. I check that, and I’m already using the AMD drivers. As far as I can tell. There is some discussion I don’t yet follow thoroughly about which part is generic open source and which part is AMD specific and you can’t tell for sure so do this anyway…and…I hope I don’t have to do that. The third solution is, Dell’s implementation of sound and graphics on these laptops just sucks (good reason to believe this is true) and you can’t make it work right and have to deal with what you’ve got. Huh.

So. That’s where things are, and where we will pick it up next week. I’ll still be on Linux one way or another…I’m not doing Microsoft anymore. But I may try a different distribution on my laptop.



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12 thoughts on “Controversial? Opinion on WoW; and has the time come to switch to Linux?

  1. Tuck says:

    Can you please use bold or italics for emphasis rather than all caps? It feels like you’re randomly shouting at me in the middle of a conversation. :)

    (of course, if your intention is to make it seem like you’re shouting at me, carry on)

    1. I used to use bold, but for some reason I’ve been using all caps a lot more over the past year. Don’t know why. I promise I will see what I can do to change up the formatting style. For what it’s worth, it’s more of “shouting into the void,” not shouting *at* the reader.

  2. Zaxares says:

    In WoW, does the increased size of NPCs have any in-game or lore effects? Or is it just a design decision to make said NPCs/enemies easier to spot in a massive horde of players all running around and shooting off spell effects and other VFX? XD

    1. I would not be surprised if there are specific events, fights, or scenarios where that could be said to be true, but in daily play, it’s purely cosmetic. The size signifies hero characters. From what I remember, this was much less common in early WoW, except for major bosses, like at the end of Dungeons and Raids. They would frequently, but not always, be bigger than the player characters.

      But important NPC’s being oversized in general I think started in the final updates to Burning Crusade. The three non-monster raid bosses were all oversized, although the dungeon bosses were in-line with what you would see in the normal, PvE content. I noticed while playing the the Battle for Mount Hyjal/Hyjal Summit raid, which was a final patch update IIRC, that the Alliance-section leader Jaina Proudmore was much larger. Oddly, Thrall is the leader of the Horde-section and seemed normal-sized. Additionally the final Night Elf area is led by Tyrande Whisperwind, who also seemed normal-sized, at least for a Night Elf. That’s the earliest content I can PROVE an oversized non-boss is present…but I don’t know everything.

      Raid bosses being oversized makes sense, from a purpose point-of-view. When first published, these raids had to be grouped, usually 25 people with larger raids added for higher difficulty. You can’t have 25 people all grouped around one normal-sized boss, so the bosses all had to be super-sized. Much larger than even the giant-sized Yrel I was standing next to.

      There is actually an…dedicated to measuring things in World of Warcraft that I know only a little about. Might be something good to discuss in the future.

  3. M says:

    I had a G13 keyboard, but I broke some of the keycaps. You can’t replace those, as Logitech doesn’t sell replacements, and they are custom to Logitech.

    Bought a different keyboard after getting really annoyed. The new one costs rather less, and the keycaps are replaceable. As far as I can tell, it’s the same feel as well.

    Current keyboard is a HyperX Alloy Origins.

    1. I had a Logitech gaming keyboard in my last “professional” job; it was a hand-me-down from my boss who always had at least nominative gaming gear. It was some of Logitech’s earlier wireless stuff before they went to the “it all uses this one usb key that you could accidentally swallow” and a single AAA battery. Super-chunky; the mouse was rechargable in it’s own proprietary base. I didn’t actually like the keyboard much, but it *was* big. I’ve been using a Razer Black Widow keyboard for I think 8 years now…it has lasted incredibly well. And it should, for how expensive it was. I used to use Razer Naga mice, but the first one and second one both started failing in about a year, so I found a cheaper gaming mouse that was clearly copying the Naga on Amazon, a Utech. I am now on my third one of those…I get about two years before the left mouse button starts having contact problems. The microswitch deforms; it’s a known problem.

  4. Philadelphus says:

    Good luck with the Linux transition. I switched from Windows 7 back in 2014 and have been using Cinnamon (on Debian) ever since. At the risk of offering unsolicited advice, if the problem with scaling the display to 125% is that the cursor shrinks, there’s an option to scale the cursor size under Preferences -> Mouse and Touchpad. (If you’ve already tried that and it isn’t useful, my apologies.)

    1. Yeah….guess what doesn’t work? That *specific* function. I tried Garuda, which is a distribution of Arch Linux in three flavors on my laptop: Cinnamon, Gnome (for real the second time), and XFCE. I never got around to testing the scaling and cursor size in anything other than Cinnamon, though. Once I found the inability to reliably play YouTube that became the primary function I was testing for. All versions had the same problem, although I DID narrow it down to FULLSCREEN video being the problem, not simply playing YouTube videos.

      I still have not found a solution. It seems to be a known problem in *several* distributions; I have come across “fullscreen YouTube videos cause entire system to freeze” reported in Mint, Ubuntu, Garuda, and Arch in general. What I *have not* tested yet, given that information, is anything based on Fedora. I have just installed Pop! OS, but as that is based on Ubuntu which is based on Debian, I am starting to suspect that if there is *simple* solution, it will lie in Fedora.

  5. Pun Pundit says:

    I’ve been installing a bunch of Linux distributions over the last few weeks, and they all differ slightly in what hardware is supported well / seamlessly, what apps come with them, etc. With enough work you can wrangle any distro to behave like any other distro in this way, but it can be a lot of work – so distro-hopping is definitely a valid solution.

    MX Linux and Fedora have very recent last releases, so they come with some newer software that other distros have not yet included as standard. Both (and Linux Mint 21.3) supported my GoXLR Mini automatically out of the box, although I am experiencing a little audio lag which is annoying. I’m searching my storage room for my old SoundBlaster external card as sound lag really annoys me and I don’t currently need the balanced microphone input that I bought the GoXLR Mini for in the first place.

    I am using Chrome (in a Flatpak) for Youtube and Youtube only, using Firefox for all my other web browsing needs. This is because Google has been making YT perform worse on other browsers lately, and I am sufficiently addicted to YT videos to be paying for YT premium. Thus, I don’t need an adblocker that will work around all of Google’s bullshit – even though all that bullshit is making me want to stop paying them any money.

    Valve’s performed some real magic with Proton making gaming on Linux much better. Keep in mind here that graphic drivers matter a lot these days, and most distros will install the open source nVidia or AMD drivers first (this is less of a problem with AMD cards in general). Mint comes with a neat “driver manager” for nVidia drivers that lets you easily swap between the open source and the official drivers on a reboot, which helps because there are games that work best with either right now. Hopefully the open source driver will catch up, now that it’s beating the closed source one in some aspects maybe nVidia will release the source code for theirs. I can only hope.

    There’s a little more work involved getting games to run well that aren’t bought through Steam, but Heroic Games Launcher does a lot of the job for you if you have games from the Epic store or GOG (most of my games are from GOG). Swapping the wine version to “Proton experimental” while having an active Steam instance (while Heroic Games Launcher is installed as a package, not as a Flatpak or Snap) helps a lot for the games that gave me trouble.

    1. Hm. Maybe using Chrome only for YouTube will be a solution. I have used Opera before, so that’s on the list as well. I used Pop! OS all yesterday, which is based on Debian–>Ubuntu. It *almost* made it to approved status, but just as I was going to bed last night I clicked a link in YouTube and got a system freeze. It had run for hours before that. I have spent the morning trying to get a Fedora distribution to install. Up first was Nobara…it wouldn’t install. I was able to quickly determine that this is a known Fedora issue on some computers, you have to go into advanced in the live boot and tell it to use the basic or reduced graphics mode. This got the live boot going, but at the completion of the install apparently there was some kind of hang shutting down. After a while I powered down, and on starting back up found I had no bootable device. The second try was a Fedora “Spin” with Plasma KDE. I am just now completing that and will try Firefox first.

  6. Scerro says:

    As much as I’d love to make the switch to Linux, it’s still an ease of use thing. I have plenty of games that are Windows only and have anti-cheat measures that can’t be easily bypassed without risk of bans, and/or constantly swapping back to Windows, which defeats the whole point.

    Throw in an 7950X3D processor that really only can get additional features using Windows Xbox app (AFAIK), and I’m still stuck on Windows.

    Steam has done a ton for Linux though with Proton, I really hope that more and more companies target Proton compatibility. Truly I think gaming is the last bastion Microsoft has, because how much that trickles into the workplace. If PC gaming can ever completely decouple from Windows, I think Windows will have a hard time being the de facto PC OS.

    1. I am quite fortunate in that just about everything I ever revist to play is available (and mostly already owned) on one of the major launchers already, which Linux seem to support fairly well. Although, as demonstrated, I spend most of my gaming time in MMORPGS. And keeping with that, my main computer is still using a pair of Radeon R9 270’s.

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