My Town

Ah, garrisons. I am so looking forward to seeing what you are all about. In the meantime however, I can always imagine what the perfect little town, er I mean garrison, would mean for me.

Let’s start with the architecture. Even though I play alliance almost exclusively, Silvermoon is probably my favorite faction capital aestically speaking. I love the oranges and yellows, the billowy curtains, the big plushy cushions sitting in the buildings, just inviting someone to sink into them. If I could, I would create a Sin’dorei style town. But if I had to stick with my faction, it would be a la Darnassus, possibly Gilneas, but only if it came complete with a Gilnean carriage. If Blizzard ever offered that carriage as an in store mount I would fork over money so fast my credit card would be smoking.

Next up: what exactly makes up a garrison, anyway? I would like to have an inn where I could set my hearthstone to, complete with butler to take care of my needs after a long hard day of questing. Profession buildings where I (or my townsfolk) can go to work crafting armor, spinning cloth, mixing up potions, etc. And crafting buildings wouldn’t be complete unless they had profession instructors there as well to help upgrade your skill. With all this manufacturing going on, a storeroom of sorts would be in order to store all the goodies that are being crafted, cooked, and disenchanted. I like the idea of having a garden set aside where herbs could be harvested, but the thought of having a slaughterhouse for the skinning disturbs me, so I’m going to choose to be able to have my townsfolk go outside of the garrison to get their herbs, leather and ore. I would also like for there to be a fashion district which would include a barbershop and transmog ethereal. ( I really just want an ethereal hanging out in my town )

What town would be complete without a city hall? The city hall could include portals to all major cities, bank and storage, even a work order board similar to what we had in the farm. And then last but not least every town needs a pub where the townsfolk can go to relax, complete with music. Imagine if you could choose your favorite music in the game to be playing in your pub?

Stables would be a nice addition where my hunter pets not in use could frolick about and my mount could be relaxing. Obviously all of them wouldn’t be able to be displayed since I have 175 mounts, but some of them would be nice.

Aside from the above mentioned desires, I would like the garrison to be customizable. I personally would want my inn to be as far away from the entrance as possible, and definitely not close to the stables. Eew, stinky! It might be that I would want to be able to plant various trees and flowers around town, perhaps even throw in some decorative boulders, who knows? The point is that my tastes might not be what the next player had envisioned, and if we’re going to be putting a lot of time and effort into building these garrisons, we should at least have a say so in how they end up.

White Raptor!

The end of an expansion is one of my favorite times of an expansion, as it allows me to play catch up on all of the “stuff” I missed or didn’t have time to do previously during the beginning and middle of an expansion. Such as obtaining 9,999 dinosaur bones for the white raptor as shown below.  I actually enjoy this kind of kind grind, as it allows me to grind at my own pace with a guaranteed mount reward at the end.  Since I have horrible luck with mount drops ( I think I’ve killed Midnight over a 100 times and still no horsey), knowing I was actually going to get a white raptor made killing hundreds of dinosaurs not too horrible. Not to mention that I nabbed around a dozen Direhorn Runts and another dozen Zandalari raptor pets and made a nice tidy profit from selling them. :)

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This time of the expansion also gives me time to level up my alts that have been falling by the wayside. I am slowly working my way towards having a max level character of every class. (my rogue is 89, and still need a DK, pally, mage, lock, warrior, druid…wow, I have a long way to go!) But with every expansion I get a little bit closer. :) I also like this time of an expansion because I don’t feel like I have to rush to do anything; I can take breaks here and there without worrying about being behind in the gear race.

With all that being said however, as much as I enjoy this time of an expansion, I hope it doesn’t last until next September. If WoD comes out around May, that will make me happy. :) I still won’t have all classes to max level, but hey, that’s what the end of WoD is for, right?

 

 

So Many Goodies…

This year was the first time in my few years of playing WoW that I actually participated in a BlizzCon, though it was via virtual ticket. I must confess, I only begged my  boyfriend to buy me the virtual ticket because of the Murkalot pet – omg that pet is so adorable and I had to have it. Still, even $40 for an adorable Murkalot pet was kind of indulgent and I figured I might as well enjoy some of the other features of the virtual ticket.

First and foremost what caught my eye out of all the new features being introduced were the garrisons. I have wanted player housing since about 6 months after I started playing and I loved getting all the little goodies for my farm in MoP. But for WoD we not only get a step closer to player housing, but we get to build up an entire town? That sounds like hours of time that I will gladly enjoy investing in. :) Now I have never played an RTS game, and have read comments that the player garrisons are very similar to that. I like the idea that you build up followers which then turn around and do tasks for you. One area of the farm that was very lacking was that your best friends never really ended up doing anything for you other than the initial gifts. I still wish to this day that I could have hired Chee Chee on to do my farming for me. I like the idea that you need to outfit your townsfolk, though I do have a concern that it could end up being overkill. For the casual player , it’s time consuming enough to outfit yourself in decent gear, let alone the half dozen or so for the garrison. I am also excited about the professions aspect of the garrison; it sounds very much like the profession workbench I championed for another community blog topic a few weeks past. The one downside to the garrisons is that at the moment, they are not account bound, and it seems like it will be enough of a time sink that most people will not want to do it on multiple toons.

Next on my list of goody excitement has to be Draenor itself. I personally like the idea of a time travel expansion though I know this is more of a time bubble and not actual time travel. What little I saw of the zones look amazing. Shadowmoon Valley? In Outland I hated that place; the only zone aside from Hellfire I didn’t really enjoy. But now I can’t wait to adventure through there. I am excited at the opportunity to see Draenor as it was before it exploded. To me it would be like being able to go back and see the United States as it was before say, the Civil War. To know it as it is now, and to be able to see what it once was and how it became that way? Priceless.

The new character models weren’t originally something that I was frothing at the mouth for, but now that I’ve seen some of them I can’t wait! Female dwarf, anyone?

And lastly, I am ecstatic that hit and expertise are going the way of the Dodo. I main a hunter and by now I have their caps memorized, but when it comes to my plethora of other characters I always have to look it up. And I have never fully understood the deal with a regular hit cap and special attacks hit cap, if there even is one.

The above is just what comes to mind about the expansion that I did a mental cheer when I watched the unveiling of WoD. It’s pretty exciting to see all the changes coming our way; I just hope the expansion itself isn’t 12 months away.

Dungeon scaling possibilities

I always enjoy reading the WoW gaming tips on the loading screen, especially the one that states to take everything in moderation, including WoW. So every so often I take little breaks from the game, mostly days/weeks at a time, but occasionally longer chunks of time. During one of those larger breaks, I ventured into playing Guild Wars 2. There are a lot of aspects of that game I really enjoyed; the story quests, the questing in general, group events, etc. They had a system where a character’s level scaled down to match the zone/dungeon in which they were in. For that game, I thought that the level scaling worked really well. Their leveling experience is vastly different from WoW, and I actually wish that WoW could adapt some of their quest techniques.

Could level scaling work in WoW?

If Blizzard were to implement level scaling, they would have to make it optional. I like being able to solo old raids/dungeons for pets and transmog gear, and honestly, I am not a glutton for punishment. I’ve done heroic progression on raids, and while there is no denying the satisfaction a person gets from working together as a team to down a particularly difficult boss, I don’t particularly like doing that over and over and over. (which is partly why I don’t progression raid, anymore) I like being able to just pound on a boss and get ‘er done once the initial challenging test has been completed.

It is true that for those of us that like to quest and complete a zone, the quests turn green and sometimes grey before the zone is complete, especially if the character is in a level 25 guild and wearing full heirlooms. In my opinion, that is not enough of a reason to introduce level scaling, though. If I want to complete a zone’s quests, whether to get the achievement or just to see the full story play out, I am less interesting in gaining levels on my toon that in seeing the story, therefore, I could care less about whether I was getting 50K XP or 25K XP.

Now old dungeons/raids on the other hand, it would be nice to get more use out of them other than as just leveling tools. At level cap, more so in MoP than in previous expansions, there are a limited number of 5 man dungeons available for those that prefer to cap their valor in that manner. Why not use some of the old dungeons that a character might pass through a time or two on their way to 90, and have the dungeon scale to match the character? Imagine doing Sunken Temple at level 90, or Dire Maul, or….shudder….Blackrock Depths. Blizzard could either have the gear that drops scale up to current dungeon item levels, or the bosses could drop a token or something similar that players could exchange for valor/justice or perhaps profession mats? They already have leveling dungeons such as Scarlet Monastery, Deadmines, Shadowfang Keep that have a matching heroic 85 or 90 level version that essentially drops the same gear, just scaled up. Why not do that for all dungeons? Keep all the hard work that Blizzard did in creating those dungeons relevant and useful? The same could be applied to the old raids – Ulduar is a lot of people’s favorite raid; why not open that up for Flex and Raid Finder and scale the difficult level as needed?  It’s a shame to have all that art work and design go into those dungeons and raids to only be used for a few months or a year, and then have it be put away into the dark recesses of the Blizzard closet.

All this being said, however, I am more in favor of Blizzard spending the resources on developing new content instead of finding ways to reuse old content…but if making the dungeon/raid scale with a toggle feature isn’t that labor intensive, then why not go for it?

Should Professions be Account-Bound

I love the advent of account wide achievements and items in wow. Absolutely love it! To me, it makes no difference if you are going to spend 100 hours playing what character(s) you spend your time on. The only reason I finally got the Loremaster achievement was because of account bound achievements. I had completed a little over half of the quests on both continents on my first character, and after the Cataclysm occurred I could not bring myself to do those quests again on that character. It was so nice to be able to chip away at that achievement across multiple characters.

So as much as I adore account bound stuff, do I wish that a single character could max out all professions? Unfortunately this topic lies in a murky grey area for me. My hunters original professions were skinning and leather working, not because of the nifty bonus of being able to make your own clothes, but because the skinning trainer was the first profession trainer I came across in the nelf starting area. I ended up maxing both professions (this was during Wrath) and then one day while running Outland dungeons with guildies I saw someone riding a flying carpet, and was like OMG, I have to have one of those. I saw one on the auction house and diligently squirreled away my gold for a week before I could afford it. I was so excited when I plucked it out if my mailbox only to discover that I had to be a tailor to use it. Either skinning or leather working had to go! I decided upon skinning and spent a few hours skinning as many mobs in Sholozar as possible to stockpile any leather I might need and switched over to tailoring and have never looked back. Even when I was scoffed at and derided for choosing tailoring as a hunter, the carpet was well worth it. I also eventually ended up switching leather working for inscription, and I remember being a tad bit annoyed that Blizzard only allowed us two professions, and that all the hard work I’d put into leveling my first two was gone forever with no hope of getting it back should I choose to switch again.

On the other hand, one of my favorite things to do when creating a new character is to choose those professions I haven’t maxed out on yet. And if everyone were to take the time and effort to max out all professions in their main, what would that do to server economies? Granted, how many people would actually do that?

I suppose I would be more in favor of a work bench idea as proposed. It would be nice to create an enchant right then and there instead of logging onto your enchanter just to mail it and log back onto the character that needs the enchant. The manager in me feels that process is very inefficient. A workbench could also be implemented with player housing. Player housing could house an account-bound bank that functions like a guild bank, and a workbench in which one character could make use of any of the professions learned within the account. I know I have read a lot of complaints about how the game is becoming too simplified, but I think there’s a big difference between making something more efficient and simplying it into non-existance.

LK all the way!

Obviously from the title of this post, Wrath is my favorite expansion simply because it is when I started playing the game. Sentimentality carries a heavy weight with me. It’s the expansion in which I met my significant other, so it will always hold a special place with me.

Grizzly Hills is hands down my favorite zone in this game. The landscape was so different from the other zones and the music is absolutely perfect. It was the first zone I intentionally sought out to do all the quests for the achievement even though I was 2 levels past that zone by the time I did so.

I may be one of the few that actually enjoyed Trial of the Crusader, but then again I was so new to raiding that I didn’t even really understand what was going on. ICC I loved even though I spent so much time on Professor Pukie (as I called him) that I felt we were related. I didn’t get to kill the LK until Cata came out but it’s such an awesome fight no matter what level you are. What I don’t like about that expansion is the gear design. I didn’t realize how much I didn’t like it until I started running old raids and dungeons for transmog gear. Most of the design and colors are so blah to me. BC on the other hand was awesome for that, and even though I didn’t play during that expansion, I love it for the gear.

If I were to look at expansions without my sentimental glasses on, I would have to say MoP is the best expansion that I’ve been a part of. Granted the dailies weren’t quite what I’d hoped they would be, but the overall experience has been great. Farming, pet battles, brawlers club, account wide achievements, LFR for every tier, Timeless Isle, scenarios….whew that’s a lot of stuff. And whether a person likes most of that stuff, they can’t deny that there’s a lot more stuff to do than before aside from raiding. Now I liked raiding, but I don’t have the time commitment for it anymore, and if I can’t give my group at least 90% of my toon, then I shouldn’t be doing it. One of these days I’ll try flex, though LFR works fine for me at the moment.

And in closing, I’ll even toss a bone to Cata. The zones needed to be revamped, and I loved that they made each zone have its own questing achievement. Being a huge Indiana Jones fan, I enjoyed Uldum, though I agree there were a few too many cut scenes. Vashjir was beautiful and unique, and though I have a tough time with flying or swimming in this game, I could appreciate the zone for what is was. Being able to play as a naga for that quest line was great. I wasn’t a huge fan of BoT but thought BWD was a good raid, in particular the Atramedes fight. Dragon Soul was the first raid I ever did heroic progression on and killing heroic Deathwing was A moment for me, but DW never seemed like the big bad to me that the LK was.

Ever-changing world

There’s something to be said for a virtual world that changes around you; a world that makes you feel like you directly affected it. I have no game design experience whatsoever, so I’m not sure how difficult it would be to have a constant changing world, but I’m in favor of it. Sure, it’d suck to miss out on certain events because they occurred before you started playing or while you were taking a break from the game, but that’s just the nature of life. The world doesn’t stand still waiting for us to catch up.
Putting aside all the pain in the arse moments related to game phasing, I actually enjoy phasing. One part of the molten front dailies I enjoyed was helping out the various people enough so that trees started to grow out of the ash. All those daily quests actually had a visual effect for me in the game. The Tillers farm is another; helping out all those farmers rewarded me with new plots, animals, and my very own hut. Loved it!
It bothers me a bit that we run around the world doing all those tasks, and nothing visually changes. Ashenvale is still burning, Fordragon hold still has people screaming in pain though its been a few years now, Silithus is still god awful. And now we have the Vale. I think it’s brilliant that it was ruined, that our actions caused a beautiful place to turn ugly. I sincerely hope that before the next expansion occurs we have a chance to start healing it, but lets face it; that’s going to take quite a bit of time before its back to where it was. And truthfully, can the Vale even be healed?