Sunday, January 23, 2011

"Bad" is a valid style of play

Leeroy Jenkins doesn't conform to arbitrary standards.

I play this game.  I pay the same $15 that everyone else does.  I don't see why I should be expected to play the game in a way that the developers and community have arbitrarily deemed to be "good."

I'd like to bring to the community's attention several mechanics that prevent me from enjoying Cataclysm.

1.  I don't like the idea that there is a spell rotation

I play a warlock.  I, and many other warlocks, have been wanting green fire since vanilla.  Maybe since before the game came out, we wanted to be wizards who could throw green fireballs.  Now, finally, we have Fel Flame, and it is green.  So the way I want to play is to only use Fel Flame, and to shoot green fireballs like a machine gun until things catch on green fire and green burn to death, screaming.  I think Fel Flame is lots of fun.

But Blizzard says I'm not supposed to shoot green machine gun fire; there is a "rotation," which is a special order I am supposed to push buttons in, or else I am "bad" and the group I am in will "fail."  Why is this the right order to push the buttons?  Nobody knows.  I feel like I am playing "Simon."

Anyway, in the last expansion, there was a different order I was supposed to push the buttons in.  In the last expansion, the bad affliction warlocks liked to cast Soul Fire.  In this expansion, the bad affliction warlocks are the ones who don't like to cast Soul Fire.  How am I supposed to keep up with this?  I heard about this site for jerks I am supposed to go to, but I am not going to do that.  I am pretty sure it is a keylogger.

2. Grinding is not fun

Also, maybe I don't want to gem and enchant my gear.  Grinding for those things isn't worth the incremental upgrades to me, and I don't want to spend time grinding for those expensive ornaments.  This game is supposed to be fun, and I don't see why I should have to do anything in it that I don't enjoy in order to be deemed "good" or successful.

Anyway, why should my character look like a cheap dandy, bedecked in jeweled bling-bling and body-glitter?  Don't gems and enchantments exist for the purpose of giving players choices?  Why not support the choice for players to abstain from gems and enchantments?

And if I am not going to gem, I am certainly not going to grind rep or do daily quests.  I mean, seriously, what's with making me wear special reputation tabards?  I have my own tabard with a pink rabbit on it, and I want to wear that.  I am not going to wear Therazane's tabard because she is unattractive, and I don't believe in the things she stands for.  

And don't even get me started on flasks.  Has anyone ever enjoyed pointlessly grinding herbs?  Blizzard should remove herbalism and alchemy from the game and just increase everyone's base stats by 300.

3.  People should not be punished for playing with me because I do not conform to arbitrary standards of "good play."

As soon as I zone into a heroic, people do an inspect on me, see my empty gem sockets, and immediately try to vote-kick me.  But they can't because there's a cooldown on vote-kick.  So they call me names and curse at me to try to get me to leave the party (what is the deal with this game's community?)

When I don't leave, they pull trash monsters.  I try to target the ones the rest of the party isn't paying attention to, so all of them die at the same time and we can finish the dungeon faster.  But they just yell at me again for casting nothing but Fel Flame.

Sometimes they'll ask me to use Fear on one of the enemies.  When I tell them I do not use fear as a weapon because I am not a terrorist, they get angry at me.  I think some of the people who play this game are not very patriotic.

Also, Mages seem to think it's funny to cast that spell that makes one of the monsters look like a penguin or a monkey.  It was maybe cute once, but I am sick of it.  That spell heals the thing they cast it on to full health.  Why do group leaders tolerate this, but not the things I do?  It is probably because they are all in the same guild and are rude to people they get from the dungeon-finder.  But I say, if mages want to play with cute critters, they should buy companion pets.

The point is, I am willing to put the same time into running the dungeons as anyone else, and I pay the same subscription fee, so I should get the same rewards.  But the game punishes me for not wanting to push buttons in an arbitrary, designated order, and, further, because I play this way, the game punishes other people for playing with me.

As a result, I am very lonely.

Maybe the game should automatically analyze the way I am playing, and stack a buff on the group that allows us to clear heroic dungeons no matter what buttons I press.  They could call the buff "Independent Thinking" or "Creative Use of the Game Space."

4.  PvP needs a more level playing field

Since I have not been enjoying dungeons very much, some people suggested I should try PvP.  So I found a guy in Trade Chat who was willing to play with me, and we went into the arena.

People say it's easy to earn the weekly conquest cap, because you only have to win five games.  Win five games?  You might as well ask me to climb a mountain!  As soon as I zone into an arena match, the people on the other team kill me.  How is that fair?

Apparently, before I can get my "easy" five wins, I have to get special "pvp" gear in "battlegrounds," which will make me "resilient."  Why should that be?  Who says I'm not resilient enough already?  If I wasn't resilient, how could I have made it to level 85?  I died repeatedly to all the quests, which were grossly over-tuned, but then I found out I could get experience by doing archaeology in low level zones.  If that's not resilience and innovative problem-solving, I don't know what is!

Anyway, the battlegrounds are like another rep grind, except, apparently I don't have to actually be at the keyboard to do the grinding.  What is the point of this?  Instead of making me get this special gear, the game should compensate for the fact that I don't have "resilience" by giving me more health or making me do more damage.

Also, why do very high rated arena players get more conquest points than everyone else?  They're already killing everyone! Why do they need to have better gear than the rest of us on top of that?  If you ask me, you should get conquest points for losing games, and your cap should increase as the ratings get lower.  That way, it's like a built-in handicap to players who exploit overpowered mechanics, and a buff to players who play the game in the way that they enjoy.



Friday, January 7, 2011

World of Warcraft Lore, By Richard Knaak (Spoilers)

Rhonin woke up, had a bowl of Fruity Pebbles, half a grapefruit, two strips of bacon and a Red Bull. Then he went out to kick some ass.

Meanwhile, the government of Stormwind and the Defias masons disagreed over payment. Led by Van Cleef and manipulated by Onyxia, the Defias kidnapped Varian.

Rhonin went to Westfall, killed Van Cleef in the Deadmines, and then stopped by Gnomeregan to set Thermaplugg on fire and save the Gnomes.

Then he went to Theramore, pushed Varian out of the way, just as Onyxia was about to deep-breath him, and pwned her face off. Krasus tanked the whelps.

To celebrate, Rhonin and Jaina Proudmoore totally hooked up.

Then Rhonin went down to Blackrock Depths, killed Emperor Dagram Thaurissan, and fathered the heir to the throne of Ironforge with the extremely grateful Moira Bronzebeard. But he wasn't done yet; the Dark Iron Dwarves were doing the bidding of Ragnaros the Firelord, so Rhonin went down to Molten Core and beat the crap out of everybody.

"TOO SOON," bellowed Ragnaros.

But Rhonin was all: "It's never too soon to party, Rhonin-style."

And then he beat Ragnaros to death with his own hammer, because Rhonin is the only Mage who ever had the mad skillz to train two-handed maces.

On the way out of Blackrock Mountain, Rhonin went to the spire and pwned Nefarian. He saved Vaelestrasz the Red, and the two did a celebratory chest-bump.

Rhonin took a vacation to Zul'Gurub and strangled Hakkar the God of Blood with his bare hands. Now the trolls there worship Rhonin.

About this time, something started to stir behind the gate of shifting sands in Silithus, so Rhonin rolled into the Temple of Ahn'Qiraj, riding on a giant bug for some reason, and started pwning everything.

And C'thun was all: "I'm gonna eat you."

But Rhonin was like: "Nuh-uh."

And then all the raptors and devilsaurs in Un'Goro came and ate C'thun's face off, because they're friends with Rhonin.

Then the dark portal opened, and Rhonin was the only one who went through. He went to Shattrath and met A'dal, a being of pure light and infinite power. Rhonin and A'dal totally hooked up. Then Rhonin came back to Azeroth and went to Karazhan where he climbed to the top and met Prince Malchezzar of the Eredar.

And Malchezzar goes: "You face not Malchezzar alone, but the legions I command."

But Rhonin was all: "That's cool, Bro. I'll kick ur azz in front of all ur doods."

And he did.

Rhonin went back to Zangarmarsh, where the Naga were doing something in a lake. But they stopped when Lady Vashjj saw how hot Rhonin was looking in his purple Kirin Tor robe, with his flowing hair like crimson fire. So the two of them totally got it on.

Then Rhonin invented flying weapons and beat up Kael'Thas with them.

But Kael'Thas was like: "Ha! This was only a setback."

And Rhonin was all: "Why don't you setback that narrow ass over here, and get freaky on my junk?"

And then Rhonin and Kael'Thas totally hooked up. Some people have said that Kael'Thas is actually a d00d. But they don't let Rhonin hear them say that.

Anyway, around that time, Illidan showed up, and Maiev was all like: "It is my charge to stop him."

But Rhonin goes: "Chill, Baby, I taught this guy everything he knows."

"The student has become the master," said Illidan. "You are not prepared."

"Yes I am," Rhonin said. And he punched his fist straight through Illidan's chest.

"I taught you everything you know, but I didn't teach you everything I know," Rhonin said, putting on a pair of totally awesome sunglasses.

Illidan watched helplessly as Rhonin ate his still-beating heart like an apple.

Then Rhonin and Maiev hooked up.

On the way to Northrend, Rhonin shoved KilJaeden back into the Sunwell, and was named King of the Blood Elves.

When Rhonin got to Borean Tundra, Malygos was there, and he said "I am very angry because you're way better than me at magic. So I brought all my blue dragons to beat you up."

"Oh yeah?" Rhonin said. "Well, I am going to bring all my bros from the city of Dalaran, because the Kirin Tor totally has my back." And the whole city came because everybody loves Rhonin. And Rhonin made it fly, because that is how Rhonin rolls.

But he beat up Malygos all by himself anyway.

Then he had an arm wrestling contest with Kel-Thuzad, and won.

After that, Rhonin was kind of bored, so he went to Ulduar and hooked up with Auriaya and Freya at the same time. He also got the world-first Yogg+0 achievement.

And Algalon said: "I was going to destroy the entire world, but now I won't because you are so awesome, Rhonin."

And the two did a chest bump.

Then Rhonin decided it would be fun to build a coliseum. He let Tirion Fordring help him with it, but Tirion did a crappy job and the floor collapsed, so Rhonin fired Tirion. He took the Ashbringer, because Rhonin is the only mage with the mad skillz to train 2h swords, and he marched on to Icecrown Citadel.

And the Lich King was all: "Mwa ha ha. You'll never get in here. We have limited attempts."

But Rhonin was like: "It's cool, I've got six identical alts."

And then Rhonin and his six identical alts did a group thing with Blood Queen Lana'Thel. But mostly, the blood queen just watched.

After that, Rhonin climbed to the top of the spire.

And the Lich King was all: "Ha! This was my plan all along."

And he swung the mighty Frostmourne at Rhonin, but the sword smashed against Rhonin's face.

And Rhonin said: "Did that plan involve me kickin' ur azz, Bro?"

And then Rhonin punched the Lich King in the balls so hard that the Lich King's helmet popped off.

"WTF?" said the Lich King, and then he died.

"It is done," said Tirion.

"I know it's done," Rhonin said. "I'm the d00d that did it."

"But without a lich king to chain it, the scourge will rampage across Azeroth, destroying all life," Tirion said, picking up the helmet. "I am the only one who can bear this solemn burden."

"Because you did such a good job with the coliseum?" Rhonin asked. "I thought I fired your ass. Why are you even here?"

"Stop," said a loud booming voice. And Rhonin turned around to see it was Bolvar Fordragon, but he was all burned up and shit. He took the helm from Tirion. "I can take no comfort anymore, in the world of the living, for Arthas has burned my genitals off. I shall bear the burden. I shall be the jailer of the damned."

But Rhonin took the helmet from Bolvar, and crushed it in one hand. "You guys are totally emo," he said.

"There must always be a lich king," Tirion explained. "The scourge must be controlled."

"There is no more scourge," Rhonin said. "I killed them all."

Tirion's jaw dropped open. "How can that be possible?"

And Rhonin did his special /flex emote. "Don't you know by now? I'm Rhonin, bitches!"

And Bolvar was all: "Ur so awesome."

But Rhonin was just, like: "Maybe you should go to a hospital or something."

Anyway, now there's a big statue of Rhonin in the Dalaran fountain.  


Deathwing woke up one morning and ate a banana and a bowl of Total cereal, which his doctor recommended for his colon. Then he tore the goddamn world in half.

"What the fuck is happening?" asked Rhonin. "I didn't authorize this."

And it was on.

About the same time, one Naga got the idea that it would be awesome if they had a Kraken like in "Pirates of the Caribbean." The other Nagas thought that was a good idea, so they went out and found a Kraken.

The Naga sent the Kraken to eat a bunch of Horde and Alliance ships, which wasn't as good an idea as it seemed initially, because it turns out that the Horde and Alliance dudes can breathe underwater and ride around on giant seahorses fucking shit up. Also, the Gnomes had a submarine. A lot of Naga died.

Then Neptulon the Tidehunter showed up, and he was like: "No way. I'm not cool with any of this."

"We don't care what you think," said the Naga. "We don't have to listen to you anymore, because our Kraken is part Cthulhu." And then they sent it to eat Neptulon's face off.

With Neptulon powerless, the Naga plan would have been successful, but Rhonin was in the mood for calamari. By this point you should know how that turned out.

Then Rhonin went to Uldum. There are sphinx guys there, which are basically lions the size of rhinos with man-arms that can hold guns. So, of course they needed Rhonin to save them. Rhonin teamed up with Indiana Jones and the two of them basically just beat the shit out of everything in that zone.

Then, at last, it was time to confront Deathwing.

"We don't like the way you run things, Rhonin, so we are taking over. For I am Neltharion the Earthwarder, turned Deathwing the Destroyer." Deathwing said this because it takes a really long time to write a book, and Richard A. Knaak is very busy, so it helps to pad things out if the characters spend a lot of time introducing themselves to each other.

"I've got Ragnaros the elemental lord of fire on my side, and Cho'Gall who is a huge freaky-ass ogre. And Al-Akir, who is king of the genies or some shit like that. Together, I am pretty sure we can take you on."

"Oh yeah?" said Rhonin. "Well, I've got Reginald Whipplebottom the Fourth, here." As he said this, he brandished his right fist. "And I've got Agamemnon W. Jackson, as well," he said, indicating his left fist. "And they brought their buddy, Peter T. Thickness, the Piston of Devastation." As he said this, he did a pelvic thrust, in case it wasn't clear that he was talking about his penis.

Fear flickered for a moment in the dragon's blood-red eyes. "Well, I also have my resurrected children, Onyxia and Nefarian."

"I don't care how many dead babies you brought," Rhonin said. "Your whole posse looks like Tier 1 content to me, and I already learned their moves in Beta. You're all going down."


Sunday, January 2, 2011

Varian Wrynn Has A Strategy

Player: So, it seems Van Cleef had a daughter, and she's rebuilt the Defias in the Deadmines


Player: What is the whole thing with the Defias even about, anyway?


Player: I don't think I read the quest text closely enough. Aren't they architects and builders you owe a bunch of money to?


Player: You know, it's funny how you stiffed your builders, and now there's a giant smoking hole in the city, and the front gate has been on fire for the last month.


Player: All I'm saying is you should deal square with the construction dudes because your city is always exploding. Is there anyone who will work for you now?


Player: I used to like the Park. It had a moonwell in it.


Player: Well, anyway, Van Cleef's daughter is down in the Deadmines with a new super-Defias and an enormous cache of explosives.


Player: That seems like a a lot of work. Why can't you just pay them?

Varian: IN TEH JUNK.

Player: It's funny; the only thing that has been built here lately is a huge statue of you in front of Stormwind Keep.


Player: How is that necessary?


Player: No, you didn't. I did, and I guess Tirion Fordring did. You weren't even there.

Varian: LIES.

Player: You showed up after that airship battle that you weren't in, and you backed down from a fight with Saurfang.


Player: Anyway, about Vanessa Van Cleef.


Player: She has 5 million hitpoints, and she can dodge spells and hit for like 20,000 damage.


Player: Well, it's just that her abilities are very impressive compared to the Alliance forces.


Player: Most of the Alliance rogues don't know to stand behind a mob unless there's fire there for them to die in.


Player: Well, it's just that there's a huge cyborg dragon out destroying the world with the help of the Cthulhu cult, and she could be an asset in our fight against him. But you want me to kill her because you're too cheap to pay the money you owe.


Player: Consider her sword-punched.