Archive for October, 2011


Panda-monium

So now we know – the race that was most requested is to be implemented, and now half the player-base seem to have changed their minds. It does make you realise how difficult a game designer’s job must be! Admittedly, forum posters are a very vocal minority of players, but the extremes of reaction have made for entertaining reading.

I have no problem with pandaren as a playable race, and the new monk class sounds interesting. My main concern is the rather ‘Disney-ish’ nature of the scenery and architecture – to me it looks rather cartoony and could do to be somehow hardened up and aged, as befits an ancient civilisation.

I have mixed feelings about the ‘Pokemon’ – type plans for companion pets; I am a pet collector and I can see the benefit of this type of mini-game, but I am undecided about it. And, of course, there is always the possibility that, along with other announced changes, it won’t be seen in the final game – something which does not seem to occur to the more rabid forum lurkers.

I welcome most of the other changes – PVE scenarios, a reworking of talents to allow more choice (in theory), the shifting of focus to the Horde v. Alliance conflict, challenge mode for dungeons etc. And the best news of all, a possible and long-overdue upgrade to older character models.

Yes, WoW is catering to a different audience now, and there will be a proportion of players who dislike any change to a game in which they have invested inordinate amounts of time and effort. But I very much doubt that this will be ‘the death of Wow’ as foretold by some. I hope that in fact the opposite is true – that those who left because of boredom and frustration in Cata will be tempted back by the new expansion of the world.

I just wish people would remember that Asia, pandas, and kungfu existed long before ‘that movie’, and give Blizzard the benefit of the doubt until we see the final product.

Going for Gold

Well, I’m back after a turbulent few weeks.  There has been guild drama, raid successes, a new website to set up, and some of the best weather for the time of year since records began – all of which pushed my digital scribblings onto the back burner.

I won’t bore you with the details of the guild stuff – let it suffice to say that an un-bridgeable chasm opened up between the GL & most of the active membership, leading to a mass exodus with the result that I am still playing with the same group of people, just under a different banner.

We have had some small successes – To4W & Shannox, and we are continuing to progress at our usual relaxed pace and have lots of fun in the process.

There has been a flood of information about patch 4.3, but the bombshell this week was the announcement of the tradable pet.  There are reams of comments on this topic elsewhere, and having read some of it, the general opinion seems to be that the actual pet is not the issue – after an initial surge, it could become as rarely seen as the sparkle horse.  What saddens me is the feeling I get of an erosion of trust in Blizzard as a company which will ‘do the right thing’.  There seems to be an air of resigned inevitability about the whole thing – a sense that this is the way the world works now, and we might as well get used to it.

Whether one cute pet will be a harbinger of doom or a one-off  experiment, I have no idea. But I have a bad feeling about it, nevertheless.

Now, a confession.  I have been wasting time on a free-to-play game called Gardens of Time. It’s mildly addictive, basically pointless and I feel slightly ashamed of myself for getting sucked into it.  But I have to admire the designers for their blatant string-pulling to keep players online: hourly tournaments, daily bonuses, presents from ‘friends’ – I have never felt quite so manipulated.  But hey, its a change from my snail-like progress towards Loremaster.