My Take Away from Warcraft Classic

Full Disclosure: I have not played Warcraft Classic, but I have been listening attentively to those playing it, trying to understand why they like about it.  It sound like there are two things about it that really get people excited, community, and difficulty.

Difficulty:  Leveling in Warcraft Classic requires you to be more alert, and talent points make levels feel more impactful.  The raids are much easier, because 15 years of honing players against ever increasing bosses has led to a situation where a group of not even level 60 characters in green armor can clear Molten Core in less than a week.

Everyone knows that leveling in World of Warcraft has gotten onerous and wonky. I’m excited to see how the Devs take the information gained from Classic and use it in the impending level squish.

A while ago, I posted this about incorporating the Ironman Challenge as a feature that would be selected at character creation, or built into a special class, but now having a custom challenge server seems like the obvious solution.  “Extremophile” servers where things like, permanent death, disabled quests, NPC damage and health are increased, could be done.  It would have the advantage of putting everyone together in the same boat.  Right now if you are running the Ironman Challenge, most likely no one around you is, but if it’s a dedicated server, literally every other character would be playing by the same rules.

Warmode was a great addition to Normal Servers, but it seems to have taken something away from PvP servers.  I think removing the PvP flag from those servers was a step in the wrong direction.  Even if nothing mechanically was changed at this point, those servers have a strong cultural difference from normal servers that should be acknowledged.

Community: “With the LFG and LFR tools removed, people have to talk to each other.” is what I keep hearing about what makes the Classic community better, but what seems to really excite people are drive by buffs.  Getting Powerword: Fortitude, and Mark of The Wild cast on you as someone runs by is genuinely a great feel I remember back from Vanilla WoW.  I would not be surprised if weak “handshake” buffs were added for each class in the next expansion, so that walking past another PC means getting a little buff to say “Hi”.

Like the difficulty issues, these community issues could be addressed with specialty servers.  Removing the servers from CRZ and the disabling the LFG/LFR would be easy.  What else could be done to promote community at the server level?  What if “Lone Wolf” servers were created, a server where the character max is 1.  If you can only have one character on the server, and the barbershop is disabled, everyone will quickly become recognizable.  This would mean that you only have 2 professions on that server, so no making an alt for each profession and mailing yourself materials.  No bank alts would mean that the cities would not be full of low level characters standing around ignoring everyone.

What would all this lead to?  I don’t think I’m too far outside the realm of possibility when I suggest Private Servers.  Not the illicit pirate servers that people create, but a monthly fee to Blizzard for a server that people can join by invite only.  This is how Minecraft has operated for years.  When you’re paying for the server, you could set any number of options, disable features, set character limits, permanent death, or whatever settings are deemed acceptable by Blizzard.  If Private Servers happened, I imagine they would mostly be used by streamers to create servers for just their fans, and very VERY large guilds. These servers would probably not contribute to account wide collections either.

What do you think?  What kinds of challenges would you like to see added to retail?  Would you be turned off if Private Servers became an option?  What are the best parts of classic that could be brought to retail?

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Another Reason to Get Hyped for BlizzCon

I really hope they announce Warcraft 3: Remastered at BlizzCon.  I’ve got a collectors edition of Warcraft 3 at home and have a ton of fond memories of playing it.

I’m hoping we hear something about it soon, and extra hope that Warcraft 1 and 2 missions and lore are incorporated (and updated). *Fingers Crossed*

Warcraft3Collectors

Should Casters Use Their Weapons in Casting Animations?

Back at Gamescom2017, Ion Hazzikostas, @WatcherDev was answering questions on twitter. One of which was, “Isn’t now the best chance to add animations using the staves for caster classes (at least optionally)? That would be so great.” -@AlexCC94

The answer from Ion was, “Spells in Warcraft have historically been conjured, not channeled through weapons.”

I’m going to show my age and point out that weapons were used for caster animation in Warcraft 3 and they looked cool.

 

 

Uhhh… ok, maybe not that troll one in the middle… but the others look good!  Most of them are even just weapon swings with a particle effect.  It would seem like something like that might be easy to accomplish with cosmetic glyphs or transmog options.

Weapons could be used to denote a difference in what is happening, such as casting a spell vs channeling a spell.  You could make any number of arguments for when weapons would and would not be best utilized in casting animations, but I think all it boils down to casters wanting to see their weapons used in any kind of way other than a stat stick that never moves from their back/hip.

No matter how epic and awesome looking your weapon is, it is diminished if you literally never use it.

 

Heroes of the Storm – Hero Announcements

Disclaimer:  This is not about Mekkatorque*.

Garrosh is imminent!  Back when he was announced, there were grumblings on Twitter from people saying “Oh no, not another orc.  Enough orcs already!”  It is something that I myself was guilty of.  There were also other voices, people who had been waiting on Garrosh for a LONG time.

The list below is from a video that was put up in 2011.  Now, if you are a player that is really excited about any of the names circled in red, you’ve been waiting for 6 years for the hero they teased to be released.  That sucks.  It would have been far better if none of these heroes had been teased.  Each one being a complete surprise.

Every hero announcement, no matter how cool it is, is immediately deflated by the fact that it’s not the one hero you wanted.  And while that’s a natural part of the cycle for Heroes of the Storm.  It extra sucks when they’ve teased the hero you want and they never seem to come.

It’s weird because when a hero from a franchise I don’t play get’s announced I’m indifferent, but when a hero from ‘my’ game gets released, that is when I get disappointed.  I know it’s a game, and more heroes are always coming.  I love HotS and enjoy playing it with the characters that are there, (Leper Chromie FTW).

Oh well, the genie is out of the bottle now.  I need to go update the list now.  Put a Check mark on Garrosh and I guess on Ghost Kerrigan as well?

HotS2011

*Mekkatorque is in the category of heroes I am discussing, but the reasoning applies to all of them.

What Gnomes Want

I put up this poll the other day.  I am afraid I phrased it very poorly due to the limitations of Twitter.

History of the race was clear enough.  We have deep history stories about elves and dwarves, but not much about gnomes.

When I say Gnomeregan’s Status, I feel like that was a lot more narrow than what it could have been.  What gnomes really want to see is a normal functioning gnome society.  All the gnome outposts, including New Tinkertown are places that have been throw together in a hurry by refugees.  We want to see what gnomes look like at their best, when they’ve had time to apply themselves and build a stable society.

Gnome adventures means gnome heroes.  We need more gnomes that gnome player can comfortably emulate.  An example of what a paragon of gnomish-ness looks like when filter through the lens of class, spec, or any profession OTHER THAN engineering.  Gnomes that remind us that even though we don’t have a city, we do still fit in on Azeroth.

Jastor Gallywix for Heroes of the Storm*

Goblin Alchemist in Warcraft 2Goblin Alchemy in Warcraft is somewhat underdeveloped.  This is strange because from the very beginning goblins were alchemist.  In Warcraft 2 when goblins were introduced, their units were produced at, or dependant on, the Goblin Alchemist building.  This tradition was continued in Warcraft 3 with the Goblin Alchemist hero. Goblins even get a bonus to alchemy in World of Warcraft from their racial trait, Better Living Through Chemistry.  So where are the goblin alchemist characters and heroes?

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Gallywix could offer an opportunity to take goblins back to these roots. There are many firmly established goblin engineers, most notably Gazlowe. Having a strong goblin alchemist hero would diversify the gobin kit and differentiate them from gnomes more. Putting the Bildgewater Cartel and Undercitry in competition could create some interesting tension in the Horde as the two faction both try to corner the market. Expanding into this industry would even be the natural next step and goblins. They already hold a strong monopoly on engineering, but that market is split between Bildgewater and Steamweedle.  Gallywix knows enough to diversify his portfolio of investments.

GallywixGoblinAlchemist2First things first, Gallywix needs to ditch the gnome spidertank.  If he is going to be cast as an alchemist, he should have a mount created through alchemy, such as a hobgoblin.  The entire hobgoblin race is created by chemical alteration and would be a good first step in taking his character that direction.  Seeing Jastor being carried around in a sedan chair by a hobgoblin would really set him apart visually and emphasize the tone for his character. There is also a goblin that rides a hobgoblin in World of Warcraft, Helix Gearbreaker.  Helix would be a great source of inspiration for Gallywix’s move set, especially the jumping on heads bit.  He would be like a reverse Abathur, jump onto enemies from head to head leaving debuffs and explosives in his wake.  It’s mentioned that Jastor used to be a street fighter when he was younger, and he’s even seen doing the head jumping move in the short story, “The Blank Scroll“.

I there is a lot of room in the alchemist kit for healing, buffs, debuffs, splash damage and more.  having Trade Prince Gallywix come to the Nexus in the form of a goblin alchemist would be a welcome addition.

*As soon as he gets his s#!+ together in World of Warcraft.

 

Should the Ironman Challenge Become an Option in WoW?

Iron Man Challenged is so popular, I hope Blizzard adds it as an official option when rolling a character one day.  It seems like it would be an easy thing to add, just tick a box and you can’t equip uncommon armor, enter instances or BG or learn professions…  Oh and when you die your character is dead forever.  Official integration would lead to a few ‘convenience’ features, like an official leader-board, and the ability to mail all your gold from your dead character to one of your living toons.  Heck, it could be as simple as having the title “Iron <name>” on all new toons that is then lost the first time you die or equip an uncommon/rare/epic item.

The best time to have added a leveling challenge would have been right after Cataclysm.  New leveling content and an incentive to run it in a new way.  Perhaps if they rework the level content again (unlikely) they will add it.  I think they are close to making boosting level at the beginning of an expansion so cheap and easy as to make leveling in the old world irrelevant.

wowchallcrestI was checking out the leader boards they have at wowchallenges.com. Their other challenges are really interesting too.  Along with variable levels of the Ironman (such as Tinman) They have a Pacifist and Blood Thirsty challenges.

Pacifist has gotten a lot of attention from Polygon’s series “World of Peacecraft” staring the gnome rogue Raandyy, and before that the extreme efforts of the pandaren shaman Doubleagent.  In the past, I’ve said that Pacifist should be a separate ‘class’.  I say that because I think it’s the easiest way to make a character that does not have the ability to attack.  As a class they could get a low level sprint and some kind of aggro reducing ability.  Lorewise they could be cast as Merchants, leading to them being unfriendly/neutral with the opposing faction.

Blood Thirsty is challenging (all grinding mobs, no quests), but it feels like it’s missing something.  If Blizzard added something akin to Blood Thirsty, I think they would have to amp it up. They could make it starkly the opposite of pacifist and put you are at war with BOTH Alliance and Horde.  Those characters would need to have their own starting zone.  Story wise, they could lump all those characters together, like remnants of the Twilight’s Hammer, or make them unique per race, like Leper Gnomes and Grimtotem Tauren.  Something that puts them on the outside of society story wise.  There are certain places that tweaks would need to be made so that these characters could get around the world, like up to Northrend.

The biggest challenge I see with making these philosophically, is that they can not join groups or guilds.  Not being able to party up puts some of these characters at odds with the social nature of the MMO.  That being said, I don’t think anyone would play a challenge mode as their main.  I would love to see some new ways to play baked in as an official option.

WoW Challenges can be found on their website at wowchallenges.com and on Twitter: @WoWChallenges