Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Death Knight - Speculation

Cross-posted from: Gathering Gamers

I'm a pretty frequent troll on the WoW forums. While I'm not online all that much outside of work and raids, I've picked up on a lot of rumors and tidbits on the upcoming WoW expansion, Wrath of the Lich King. By no means, however, should anyone consider my words the full truth. What lies herein is mostly pure speculation, sprinkled with Blizzard-based specks of information. Short version? Don't quote me on this.

When Blizzard first announced Hero classes, I got really excited. My initial understanding of the concept was similar to prestige classes in 3rd Edition Dungeons & Dragons. I liked the idea of specializing my character. I was even looking forward to it.

When Blizzard clarified that Hero classes were going to be an unlockable class which allowed you to roll a pre-leveled, separate character... Well, needless to say, it was an understatement to say I was disappointed.

Why call it a Hero Class and make it stand above all the rest when the only difference is that you get a 50+ level head start? Why give up a character you've played, leveled, and progressed with so you can play this new one? And while it supposedly fits the theme of the new Northrend area, why give the subjective "good guys" an inherently evil class?

Now, I know you all are just bursting with rebuttals, but give me a moment and I'm sure I'll get to your point.

Why, for instance, do they call it a Hero Class? The only thing that makes it different is that you put less work into it. Let me clarify- you put less work into the actual class. The reason I could never buy an account (other than terms of use violation, of course), or roll a non-paladin pre-made onto the PTR is because I *like* learning the ins and outs of my class from one to seventy. And to be honest, I prefer people making that slog of a journey because it weeds out a lot of bad players. Sure, not all of them. But a good amount.

Both Alliance and Horde experienced the influx of dumb players rolling a new race/class. I'm willing to bet both sides aren't eager to see that again.

Onto my next question, why give up a previous character for this? While in reality you keep your previous character, this kind of doesn't make any sense. The RPers are ticked because it ruins lore and confuses their storylines (Why, Sir Hunter, however did you seek the light and forsake it so quickly to attain this new form?) and the casual players like me are aggrivated that all the dumb players are going to go repopulate a class that could potentially be amazing, unique and cool, bitch and whine when it doesn't "work as intended" and redirect Blizzard's attention to a new class rather than fix the old ones! While I can't speak for the company, I highly doubt all the quirks of the current classes will be worked out at the rate and style of balancing things that's going on (*coughARENAScough*).

Finally, why give the good guys a "bad guy" class? I've heard all the arguments for this one. "We already have Warlocks, so it's okay." "The Forsaken turned away from the Scourge, so why can't Death Knights?" "They're cool, STFU!" I've got one answer for you.

It's repetitive.

If there is one thing I hate as a gamer, a writer, and an actor, it's repetition. When a story or theme repeats itself, it screams unoriginality. And all that does is disappoint me. When one abuses the "it worked before, it'll work again" formula, it doesn't come off as credible.

While I will remain excited and continue to anticipate the coming of WotLK, I'll remain tentative of Death Knights. Blizzard's going to have to pull some pretty amazing strings to change this paladin's mind.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Feelan Thehealin - To Those We've Lost

Cross-Posted from Gathering Gamers.

There are some things in the world that when I see them happening, I find myself crying out of the joy from knowing there are good, amazing people in the world.

On Sunday evening, as I was browsing the WoW Suggestion forums, I stumbled upon a very interesting thread. A very old guild called lost an incredibly powerful, kind, and good-hearted individual named Feelan back in December. I didn't know Feelan. I don't even know the guild, or play on their server. But the passionate and loving way the guild spoke out about their fallen comrade was so genuine I couldn't help but be touched.

Feelan died of a very rare cancer of the heart, so rare it gets little funding and there's not a lot of knowledge about it out there. He had been fighting it for years, and even so, did nothing more but bring smiles and laughter to his guild mates. That's an amazing individual, and the world is a slightly bleaker place without his presences. In the same right, the world is a better place for having had Feelan among us, whether or not we knew he was there.

I'd like everyone who sees this that has a World of Warcraft account to go to this thread and support his memory. You don't have to say anything more than /sign. Do this not just for Feelan or his guild mates, but for that loved one that *you* have lost, or for that guild mate who disappeared and you'll never know what happened to them.

What this is about is supporting in-game memorials. My personal suggestion is to have an instanced graveyard or memoriam. And hey, why not have Feelan standing there to greet those who come and thank them for taking the time to visit. Allow guilds to purchase lots for their lost companions. And make it just enough of a pain in the ass that it will keep the jerks from abusing it for stupid inappropriate commentary, but just easy enough for a guild to work together to complete it.

I know it's a lot to ask. But it would be a beautiful gesture on Blizzard's part, and with 9 million players, there are bound to be a lot of them who would appreciate this. I, for one, hope they hear us out.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

How is *that* Plate? - Gender in Armor Styles

Cross-posted from Gathering Gamers

Many people have joked and poked fun at it, so it was inevitable that I'd bring it up: Why the hell does one piece of armor look less effective on a woman than it does a man?

I'm not going to lie; this is just another reason I rolled a male character over a female. If I'm going to play a paladin, and uphold the light (or at least my race's moral code and protect others), I don't want to look like a skank while doing it! Some armor is passable. Some can look sexy and mold to a woman's curves while still looking badass.

But no self-respecting warrior is going to charge into combat with large vulnerable areas of the body out in the open just because "Tee hee, don't I look cute?"

I understand that because WoW is a male dominated game that it's likely just designed that way to get their attention and give them something to look at. In the same right, what do women have to look at? Big clunky armor, and in the case of Paladins, big PINK AND PURPLE clunky armor.

Granted, culturally speaking, a knight in shining armor is supposed to be attractive. And sure, I can buy into that. However, dressing my sexy male Blood Elf in a power ranger-esque suit isn't going to do it.

I'm all for cosmetic armor and making things look *good,* and maybe sometimes sexy. But for crying out loud, why can't women enjoy the perks too without walking around Orgrimmar or Stormwind naked?

I'm looking forward to seeing more customization with my character. The coming of dances and haircuts that have been rumoured about for Wrath of the Lich King really makes me excited. I hope that with the new choices, it brings a little more diversity to everyone's characters. I'll leave the wish of practicality as just that, though; a wish. After all, since when has anything in World of Warcraft ever been practical?

Friday, January 18, 2008

Battleground's Holy Warriors

Cross-Posted from Gathering Gamers.

So naturally, as soon as I say I'm going to do something, I get sick and don't touch a computer for a few days. Naturally. Now that I'm feeling better though, I'll put up what I intended to have on Tuesday. So here we go.

You've heard everyone else say it before: Protection is not a PvP spec. And to an extent, I agree. In arenas, we have no competitive place. But in Battlegrounds, a whole other beast, there's a time to take up your shield and laugh in the face of your enemies.

Let's start with Warsong Gulch. There are three roles any player can take: Offense, Defense, and Flag Running. As a Protection Paladin, you can fulfill two of these three roles.

As Defense, while your damage is sub-par, you have a few good tools to keep a flag runner slowed down enough to have your teammates clean up. Avenger's Shield will slow their movement speed, Judgement of Justice will halt their speed boosts, and of course Hammer of Justice will stop them in their tracks. In addition, standing atop the flag and keeping a Rank 1 Consecration down will alert you to any stealthers trying to snag the flag without wasting much mana.

As a flag-runner, while you're not going to have a speed boost from your class (unless you've taken Pursuit of Justice in the Retribution tree), your Cleanse and Blessing of Freedom will almost guarantee you won't be stopped or slowed down. Even if you're being chased down by half of the opposing team, if you have a competent healer following you, you'll be fine. Sheer hit points and a high amount of armor means they have a lot to plow through before you go down.

Next, we have Arathi Basin. Admittedly, this is my least favorite battleground (when once upon a time, it was my favorite), mostly because it seems to be the most frequently pre-rolled. There are only two roles for an individual to fulfill here: Offense and Defense. A tankadin really can only act on one of these.

Naturally, this would be defense. Down-ranking Consecration again proves useful to keep people from snatching nodes, and even if you have 4 or 5 people on you, you'll have enough survivability to hold them off until reinforcements arrive.

As for the other role, the best you'll likely provide in offense is a huge annoyance or a good distraction. Toss some heals around; if the enemy's on you and not on the actual healers or damage dealers, then you're being effective. Just never expect a lot of killing blows when all is said and done.

Next is everyone's old favorite, Alterac Valley. For a long time, I had no experience with this battleground, as I never had a character of level. And yet, once Prettyboi could participate, leveling up to seventy was so much more important. Once the battleground dailies came about, I finally had a reason to explore it. I found that this is, hands down, the best place for a Protection Paladin.

While you could play the defense card like in the other battlegrounds (and be just as effective as in those places), there are other things you could be doing on the offensive where you will prove the most useful. Whether it's consecrating points and holding off the guards while someone else captures it, or tanking the commander NPC's, you are *needed* on the front lines. And it's wonderfully refreshing! AV, dare I say, has the most situations for a Paladin tank to shine. Not just any tank, either; having many patrols of 3-4 NPCs roaming around should be hint enough.

Finally, we have Eye of the Storm. As a hybrid of Warsong Gulch and Arathi Basin, you'll find all the same jobs here. Flag carrying, node guarding, flag guarding... Though by far, the most unique (and personally satisfying) experience is sniping with Avenger's Shield at the Blood Elf Tower. No, really. Try it sometime. It's hilarious.

While people will argue (and generally accurately) that Protection is not a PvP spec, that does not mean we lack a place within the PvP realms. As I said when I talked about Arenas, no, you're not going to be some PvP all-star, and don't expect that. However, don't let people tell you that you're useless, either.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Return Post Tomorrow

Hey guys!

Sorry for the long hiatus, but it's my last quarter in college and I needed to get things settled in and organized for my upcoming graduation. I still don't have things fully fleshed out for school, so things will be rough and I'll probably be having relatively short posts, but I'll try to keep up.

I have some stuff fleshed out and will begin my usual Tues/Sat posting schedule again starting tomorrow.

I apologize again for the lengthy delay, but please know I'm not giving up; I've just had life slap me around a little lately.

Thanks again, I know you're all very understanding people. =)