Monthly Archives: December 2011

#6 Be Mop’s Top Ten items on WoW player’s wish list for the new year.

Well it’s the end of the year and even though this blog is still in it’s infancy, I still think that I have an obligation to make a Top Ten list, David Lettermen Style. So without further ado here is:
Be Mop’s Top Ten items on  WoW player’s wish list for the new year.

  • 10 For Blizzard to implement an option to punch anyone through the internet for linking [Thunderfury, Blessed Blade of the Windseeker]  in tradechat
  • 9. For the darn Dance studio to go live.
  • 8. That Jania and Thrall’s love story to finally get started
  • 7. for the people of Stormwind to rebuild it’s park
  • 6. Tanking Legendary
  • 5. Bring back Will of the Forsaken
  • 4. For Raiding to go back to the difficulty of the expansion in which they started raiding in.
  • 3. Less Pandas
  • 2. More Pandas

And the number one thing on WoW player’s wish list for the new year is…

  • 1. For Ghoastcrawler to finally admit that the recent class nerfs was meant for you, personally, because you were going too good in their raid.

Have a great weekend and see you next year.

Be MOP focuses on the lead up to the next World of Warcraft expansion with my own reflections about the last dying moments of the Catalysm’s Twilight Hour as we look into the Mist of the new day.

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#5 The brief history of Blizzard’s talent trees, how I compare the newest build to a car.

One of the noticeable changes that Mist of Pandaria will be bringing to WoW is new take on the talents system. It’s official, gone are the days of just adding 10 more talent points to each of the three trees for each expansion. The problem that Wrath’s talent tress had -and what Cataclysm’s talent trees corrected- was that the trees were getting too big and bloated for the players to use, and it caused Blizzard headaches when trying to balance classes when when the talents would all effect each other.

There was a time where you could sink all of your talent points into the Arcane spec, and STILL not everything in there.

What Cataclysm did was to take the old talent trees and pruned them down a bit. Now the talents were more compact, and each talents did multiple things and was meant to be easier to manage for the players and the game developers.

The current mage talent tree

The talent trees where the right sizes, you could get everything you wanted within your chosen specs, simple. Cataclysm’s talent direction was great, the right size and it gave you a bit choice for what little added skill or ability your character, and they were created in such a way that you did not need to go out of the game to find the theory-crafted, mathematically best build to optimize your damage output. It was perfect…….unless you want to add more levels and talent points to the game’s next expansion.

So Blizzard went to work again, to craft another new talent system, and this is what they currently have in mind.

*subject to change

I, like many of the WoW players, greeted the new talent system with mixed feelings. For the longest time I did not know why I disliked it. I knew the reason Blizzard chose this route, they could not just add more talents to the current cata trees, because that would just cause trouble that they tried to fix.

But something was still off…..until, after a lot of thinking, I found the reason of my feelings. The new talents system does not make me believe that I’m improving my charters. The old way you saw the math behind your choice, “33% increase” “Every time you cast…” The Wrath and Cataclysm talent design gave me the impression that my charater was so good with casting that certain type of magic that he could master the spells and cast them better than a novice. I’m sure that Blizzard added these improvement into the spells themselves, but I still miss that feeling , the knowledge,  that I made my mage’s fireballs would crit 5% more than it normally would, I would compare the changes to driving an automatic after being in a Manuel. you still know that you are switching gears to go faster but you miss making the switch yourself.

Be MOP focuses on the lead up to the next World of Warcraft expansion with my own reflections about the last dying moments of the Catalysm’s Twilight Hour as we look into the Mist of the new day.

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#4 Why haven’t my Character slept yet? and why haven’t we experinced any other events that happened in the Warcraft novels?

Just recently I received a Kindle Fire and like the WoW Lore-geek that I am, I downloaded the entire Well of Eternity Trilogy.  Because if I am going to run the patch 4.3 heroics for the next few months I want to know the whole epic story behind the Well and the weapon used to bring Deathwing to Death’s door.

I just finished the first book, and highly recommend it to anyone who has not read it yet.

As I was reading about the the first invasion of the Burning Legion on to Azeroth and the lead up to the creation of the Dragon Soul, I remembered a conversation (that would later be turned into a geeky gentleman’s argument) I had with one of my fellow WoW friends who asked “Why haven’t  Blizzard added the Warcraft novel’s stories into the game as quests and adventures?”

He’s argument was that there have been so much important events that have taken place, that a person who have just played the game would not have known about. He cited the Stormrage book where there was an epidemic of  “sleeping sickness” that effected the population of Azeroth, victims who fell asleep would be transported into the Emerald Dream and be trapped there unable to wake up. In the Thrall: Twilight of the Aspects novel, it explains why Wyrmrest Accord is currently under attack by Deathwing’s forces in the Dragon Soul raid, and it introduced a truly epic antagonist named Chromatus  who is  a five headed dragon monstrosity, with a head of each of the dragon’s colors, that have yet to be mentioned anywhere in the game.

Try NOT getting nightmares after staring into the cover art for a while.

As I thought about his argument I began to think of how Blizzard’s game developers would implimet these stories in a game that would be halfway into a current expansion cycle. For world changing stories like Twilight of the Aspects, and Well of Eternity, it would involve several quest chains and multiple phasing and cut scenes. These stories would need the time and effort of Blizzard workers, leaving less time for them to work on the next patch or expansion.But after another problem I saw with the idea to put Warcraft novels into the game is that it’s two different forms of media that are not known to blend. In the books, the story follows an important NPC going through a personal journey using their own skills and knowledge to defeat the threat, and resolve the conflict. That does not leave much room for you, the adventurer of  orc, human, elf or gnome decent to help the protagonist through the struggle. If you can not be the center of attention, you end up being the messenger boy for these protagonists. We saw this in the Cataclysm’s lead up quests, where our sole purpose was to deliver a stone tablet  to a more important drwaf , or talk to thrall who would have just started his shamanistic ways, and watch their stories unfold as members of the peanut gallery.But if you wanted to see what happens when we, the player, are not the main protagonist of the story then head over to Uldum and complete some of the quests in that area. Uldum’s main story is about Harrison Jones and his archaeological group exploring the newly revealed area, previously hidden by the Titans before the cataclysm broke the protective seal.  And what is your role in this series of events, you may ask? You, the player, end up being just a temp, a plus one to Harrison’s crew, and your job is to set the stage for Harrison to swoop in, discover the treasure, and save the day.

Welcome to your summer internship!

And I have a feeling that would be the game play the players would experience, if Blizzard tried to inject a book’s story into World of Warcraft, would be just the same. A bunch of quests of the player setting up the stage to allow a NPC to stride through and defeat the villain and take all the credit.

Be MOP focuses on the lead up to the next World of Warcraft expansion with my own reflections about the last dying moments of the Catalysm’s Twilight Hour as we look into the Mist of the new day.

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#3 The true cost to play wow with Blizzard’s annual pass.

I, like many other people, locked myself into the Blizzard annual pass for the year of WoW with a free Diablo III download, Tyrael’s Charger mount, and the Beta Key to Mist of Pandaria that was thrown in to sweeten the deal. One night I was curious and wondered, “With all the free stuff I’m getting how much am I truly spending for the WoW service?” So I booted up my handy dandy calculator program on my laptop to find the answer.

visual representation of the calculator program

So say for the sake for this math problem you paid the most expensive way you can, 15$ month per month for the year, bringing the highest possible cost for the annual pass to $180. With our price ceiling for the math problem, now we can start subtracting the value of the free merchandise.

First the Tryael’s Charger, or as I have called it: Sparkle Pony on Steroids. He was released to all the players when patch 4.3 went live and was given to every characters you ever created through a letter in your mailbox. Tryael’s Charger could be comparable to the other Blizzard Store mounts, so we could assume that he would cost 25$ (if he would ever be sold separately from the promotion). So that mount can be deducted that from the 180$, leaving us with 155$.

He traveled through time and space to be your steed, you better give him your respect.

Players who signed up for the pass also receives a free download of the Diablo III day the game is available to the public. Even though Blizzard has not released a price for this game, we can assume from the Starcraft II price that it will be about sixty dollars, bring the cost from 155$ to 95$.

I'll be talking about this bad boy a bit later down the road.

But that’s not all folks, for the annual pass also gives the players who signs up a free Beta key to the next expansion. (This is how I am able to cover the expansion’s build up on this blog) This one is more difficult, since there is no ‘official’ price on a beta key. So lets say the price it between 20-40$ on the black market and spilt the difference at 30$.

關鍵*
*The image that comes to mind when I think of Mist of Pandaria Beta Key

After subtracting the value of all the free items and services that you receive with the annual pass the difference of the price is 65$. To put that in context, the 6 month pass for WoW is 72$. That means that there are some players who are playing a year of World of Warcraft for less than half the of the value of someone who did not sign up the annual pass. So if you meet a person who disagrees with the idea of locking yourself in with one of Blizzard’s games at the price of 180$, you can direct them to this blog post and show them the math that would make the biggest penny pincher be proud of you .

Be MOP focuses on the lead up to the next World of Warcraft expansion with my own reflections about the last dying moments of the Catalysm’s Twilight Hour as we look into the Mist of the new day.

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#2 Trying to decipher Blizzard’s troll fetish

I have a good suspicion that Blizzard has an unwritten rule that every addition of World of Warcraft must have a troll story line. You might laugh, but I’m not joking, every. single. expansion. that that we played  had some interaction and story development of the troll’s previously broken empire. Below is a map that highlights all the instances and raids that is in WoW that is just focused on trolls.
The tan circles shows the Zul’Farrak and Zul’Grub areas in vanilla WoW. Zul’Aman (green)
was added in Burning Crusade, Wrath had the two 5-mans that takes place in trolls temples, Drak’tharon Keep and Gundrak (blue), and Catalysm gave us the revamped Zul’Grub and Zul’Aman. (red) That’s seven separate times in WoW’s life that the players had to go to a troll’s stronghold and stop them from trying to take over the world.As Mist of Pandaria is in the production stage I have this one wish. Not for the game developers to scrap the idea of another troll instance, because  as we saw at  BLIZZ-CON  the concept art of the island of Pandaria, it had the drawing of Zandalari Isle is in there .There is no way around this next troll installment.

 

No, what I want from the next expansion is for Blizzard to finally, FINALLY put an end to the troll’s story arc. It’s obvious that the next troll land mass is going to be the last head quarters of the great troll empire. So when we enter this raid (because anything less than a raid would be an insult) I want the game designers to go all out with the area and the encounters. I want to see the trolliest of the  trolls hanging out in there, I want to see skulls and serpents littering the ground we stand on, and when we fight our way to the grand-supreme emperor of all the trolls, I want him to make a huge monologue to the raiders, recapping every blow that we dealt to him and his kind.

And when we fight all of the priests and headhunters and get to the last big bad troll , I want to be done with the trolls. Forever. No more troll instances after this raid, and no more quests about them regrouping to take the world back. If you haven’t noticed I do not like trolls and the sooner we finish this 7 year long legacy, the better.

Side-note: If his name does not have at-least two apostrophes I will be extremely disappointed.

Be MOP focuses on the lead up to the next World of Warcraft expansion with my own reflections about the last dying moments of the Catalysm’s Twilight Hour as we look into the Mist of the new day.

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First!

Hello, I’m Spencer and I have decided to start a new blog. (my previous blog was based on chickens, their eggs and the search for a family dishwasher) Be M.O.P (a play on words with BEta key of Mist Of Pandaria) is going to focus mostly about the lead up to the next World of Warcraft expansion and other news from Blizzard.

Some of the topics that will will *hopefully* cover in the blog:

  • Patch 5.0 class talents, and the changes that will happen to them from now till release date.
  • The lore and story of the Pandarens
  • Class changes, and the new Monk class
  • The Diablo 3 and StarcraftII expansion games
  • Future Battlenet changes
  • MoP news/ my adventures into the beta.
  • New 5 man Instances
  • Trolls
  • and the Pax East 2012 coverage.

These blog posts are going to be up on every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. And will be covering the game from now to the expansion’s beta testing and beyond.


Be MOP focuses on the lead up to the next World of Warcraft expansion with my own reflections about the last dying moments of the Catalysm’s Twilight Hour as we look into the Mist of the new day.

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