(Gnome) Tank for Life


WoW (sur)names
March 23, 2010, 14:29
Filed under: real-life, thought

The name’s Bond. James Bond.

At the risk of making my blog look like a wish list of features/functions that I’d like to see in WoW, this post questions why WoW still only features single-word names. No, there will be no quoting Shakespeare.

I recently read an article on wow.com which goes into the fine details of naming characters in WoW and it evoked a recurring thought: why Blizzard still didn’t implement surnames in WoW. Take a look at some other MMO’s, some of which even predate WoW (Everquest, Guild Wars, EVE Online, Anarchy Online, you name it)  where having a surname is mandatory. Not only does it effectively double the unique-ness of your avatar name but it allows for an exponentially greater number of names than currently. And a surname isn’t just for roleplayers either. Although there are addons for RP purposes such as flagRSP, which add a description to boot, these don’t really expand the range of variety when choosing a character name.

My main reasoning in giving surnames to players would be pretty simple: The game has been running for 5+ years with 5 million+ EU+US subscriptions and Heavens know how many millions of characters created all of which had to be uniquely named… there comes a point where we simply run out of unique, meaningful names.

My secondary reasoning follows directly – going by Blizzard’s own extensive naming policy and Support article, quote:

The bottom line is that we want World of Warcraft to be a fun and safe environment for all players. World of Warcraft is an MMORPG, and the key words are “Massively Multiplayer.” In playing this game, you will encounter thousands of other players who share different experiences and come from vastly different backgrounds. While a certain name may not be offensive to you, consider the fact that that same name may have a completely different effect on someone else.

one could be pretty damn hard pressed to find a name that is both unique, appealing to you, totally appropriate and unbeknownst to you, doesn’t contain some hidden cultural, national, scientific etc. meaning that people will read into it when they first see you in party or chat window.
although creative people will never have too much trouble with kuming up (ha ha-bad pun) with something (look no further than Tamarind and her masterfully named troll shaman 😉 ) But aside from purposely drawing on RL references, your name will always be at risk of sounding just like something else, something random that you never knew about but which exists in the world, just waiting for people to confuse it/associate with. For example, I lost count of how many times I’ve been asked in-game if I play hockey IRL. Huh? Yet no explanation was ever given, why? It wasn’t until the N-th time that I learned of Mats Sundin who was a swedish hockey player and since he’s been retired for some time, I guess SWE people just assumed that he just shuffled some characters around in his name and went by the name of Sudiin to play a gnome warrior in WoW in his free time, I dunno.

This isn’t a one-in-a-million coincidence, but perhaps could be avoided if I could properly name my gnome Sudiin Crimsonstone which is his surname in that hazy RP background I thought up for him.

Anyway, there were many was some discussion about this topic (and it has been brought up in another blog.. back in 2007) on the official forums and the answer was never a plain negative, so until Blizzard specifically states No (which they virtually never do, they always leave a door open) there is still some hope that this feature will make it into the next expansion or the one after that.



Is WoW & MMO’s one path of auto-evolution? Jane McGonigal@TED
March 17, 2010, 16:03
Filed under: gaming, philosophical, real-life, thought

“…it turns out, that by spending all this time playing games we’re actually changing what we are capable of as human beings, we’re evolving to be a more collaborative and hardy species.”

Celebrating the 1st double-post day with an awesome thought-inspiring talk @ TED, which was posted today on YouTube. The things she talks about are particularly interesting in relation to raiding…



Whiney Post Day: The Login Screen
March 17, 2010, 12:21
Filed under: philosophical, thought

“What is a Whiny Post?
It’s a post about your unjustified, unsupported, stupid complaints.”

Behold, in all it's glory!

In accordance with Klepsacovic’s call for what promises to be a very funny day of Whiney Posts, I intend to whine a little about something that has been troubling me for several years now, and hopefully do a decent job at it (while in reality will probably suck too much to be mistaken for real whining). Anyway, actually this has been a thorn in my side since TBC came out. Even before The Burning Crusade, I knew that someday some stupid expansion will come along and ruin everything. EVERYTHING!

I used to like logging into World of Warcraft. After starting up the game and listening to the classic heroic WoW theme, I used to sit around for minutes on end and enjoy the sheer beauty of the Portal, the ominous statues and the foreboding snake head, imagining the other side of that swirling portal which invited me to Enter the World, to see magical lands, experience adventures and fight epic battles. Maybe even watch the classic Game Intro just because. It was the Login Screen of my life… Then came TBC. My beloved shimmering, inviting portal was replaced with some ugly green goo-like swirls of foul Outlandish fel magic! The old music I enjoyed for years… gone! Just this stupid monstrous Dark Portal with these loosely hanging chain-things (what IS it with Blizzard and chains???) and a dumb-looking dragon head. Funky. Give me back my dangerous, menacing snake! Even the dark statues lost the evil red glow from their eyes, to be replaced with some green neon disco lights.

From then on I hated logging in, preferably not even looking at my screen to click Login, just pressing Enter after my password and hoping that Connecting and Authentication would be done with it as fast as possible. And I despised WoW devs for messing with the sacred Login Screen.

But it was not the end of the torture, the senseless disenfranchisement of the very essence, the very thing that WoW starts with, every day, for everyone. For when the next expansion got released, the already twisted and wicked Login Screen that was only a shadow of its former magnificent self was again replaced by this… blue, white, bright, snowing, ugly.. something. Just compare the dominant colours of the classic Login Screen and this.. abomination – warm, welcoming and friendly colours in contrast to a white, blue, cold and alienating palette.

I understand that WOTLK is played out in Northrend. I understand that Northrend has stuff like Icecrown and snow. And chains, damn them. I understand that the Lich King has a frostwyrm that invades and totally destroys your less-than tranquil Login music every minute with a horrendous BAAARFF sound. I understand that there is no portal in WOTLK that invites you through to the wonderous land of the Warcraft Universe. And wrongly so, if anything there should be a door you step through when logging in. I understand that few if any MMOs has had the original Login Screen through its lifetime and it’s natural for MMO’s to evolve and their Login Screens updated to reflect advancement and time moving on and whatnot. It’s not like I’m just nostalgic for Vanilla WoW. Or that it wouldn’t take Blizzard a huuuuge amount of dedicated developer time to make a small check box that sets your Login Screen to your preferred style.

Bah, I just want my white swirling portal back! Go away, dragon…



3.3.3 Prot buffs recap
March 11, 2010, 13:53
Filed under: buff, prot, tanking

Unless they really shuffle things around, these look like the final changes to hit warriors either next week or the week after that.  Let us gape in awe at the rarely seen combination of  ‘warrior’ and ‘buff’ in one same paragraph of the soon-to-be finalized patch notes.

Abilities

  • Thunderclap: This ability now counts as a ranged attack, granting it double damage on critical strikes instead of 150% and ranged miss chance, and still cannot be dodged or parried.
  • Revenge: Damage done by this ability (base and scaling) increased by 50%.

Talents

  • Improved Revenge: Increases damage of your Revenge ability by 30/60% (up from 10/20%), can no longer trigger a stun, and instead causes Revenge to strike an additional target for 50/100% of Revenge’s damage.
  • Vitality: Now boosts Stamina by 3/6/9%, up from 2/4/6%.

Thunderclap
Bah, soon warriors will be left without a single ability classified as spell! Outrageous!! And to think this skill actually dealt Nature damage back when it started out; TC will never be the same again. What can I say… YES! FINALLY!

This is a badly needed fix that corrects a flaw that’s been plaguing the warrior collective since the days of Vanilla WoW.  This change will:
A
) no longer prevent using TC while silenced (Leveling warriors will absolutely love the ability to Thunderclap in low-level instances with silencing mobs, Maraudon comes to mind)
B) apply 2x damage modification (as melee) to all criticals instead of 1.5x (as a spell) – all the more excuse for us to pull even more packs!
C) allow the game to calculate miss chance based on your Melee +Hit percentage
so if you are hit-capped you shouldn’t ever have to worry about missing targets with TC. This isn’t a huge buff in terms of AOE Threat but it’s a damage —> threat buff nonetheless, especially coupled with the changes in:

Revenge
A staple warrior ability redeemed and revitalized by this straightforward damage boost and talent change, Revenge is an old friend of ours since level 14 and me having always loved it, it’s nice to see Blizzard putting it back to where it belongs: in our rotation! How it will fit in exactly remains to be seen after the patch goes live, but I’m pretty sure that it will be back up top, possibly on par with SS but certainly not below Devastate (ie. off our rotation) like it’s been since its last nerf. According to some EJ calculations, Revenge is looking to beat Devastate for both rage/GCD cost. Add the pretty option to talent into Improved Revenge again for 100% splash damage on a secondary target and it becomes clear that Revenge will shine as bright as a star in both single target/AOE Threat situations and also provide fans of the UA spec something new to play with. I for one am also happy to herald the loss of the random stun component which was more of an inconvenience in heroics and a plain wasted effect in raids. I definately will not miss seeing the Stun effect reported as  >Immune< every time I Revenge a Boss.
Thank you Blizzard for fixing a melee-attack-not-working-as-intended-as-spell-ability-mechanic and 2 formerly half-useless talent points, even if it came 4 years late! Let’s hope WoW:Cat deals with Taunt and demo shout as well!

Vitality
A slight modification to our health multiplier which brings us a little closer and even with DK/Pally health values. Prot warrs with around 3k sta will likely see a ~1000 health increase which is nothing to sneeze at (yay! I always wanted to use this phrase somewhere). More effective health is always good.

Conclusion: 3.3.3 and mainly the changes to Revenge is the best thing to happen to prot warriors since we got rage on avoidance!