Exam in a few hours!
Reason for inactivity: Finishing up my thesis.
What’s it about? It’s a secret. If people knew, they would laugh.
What are you going to do afterwards? Freak out.
So, I hear there’s a lot of dailies?
I’m not yet 90 myself, I’ve been trying to follow this: An Underachiever’s Guide to 90 by Tome of the Ancient, but I keep failing at the one and only step to success:
“Yep, that’s it. Stop it, stop it, stop it with the pet battling already. Simple, easy. There’s my guide.“
Maybe it also has to do with the fact that I’m having main-character-doubts, I’m like a split personality victim these days – do I want to play the elemental shaman, the shadow priest or the new’ish hunter? So, yeah, I’ve been dabbling around pet battles (okay, more than dabbling, I’ve been ADDICTED), I’ve also been playing my new gnome monk, and I’ve been leveling the shaman and the hunter. I really need to gain some focus!
Anyways, back to the dailies! – There’s a lot of them! – Some people are unhappy! – So unhappy that a thread has become a hot topic on the forums, of course sporting an overly dramatic, punctuated and misspelled title, as we WoW players do it best!: “Dailies have destroyded the game.” I love it already!
The argumentation goes back and forth, there’s not exactly consensus, although the OP has been rated highly, but I think the discussion raises a few relevant topics.
- The line between work and play can be very blurry
Old time classic game theorist Roger Caillois included in his definition of play, that it had to be free and nonobligatory. The less we want to do the dailies, the more they feel like work to us, which makes us question why we even bother in the first place. It’s my impression that in the thread, this has been wrapped up as lazy players vs. Protestant work ethic players. I don’t see it as a matter of being lazy or not, but of play gradually feeling and looking like work to a lot of people.
- Dailies are in a way revealing the fact that the vast majority of activities in MMO’s are repetitious tasks consisting of simple click commands
Kill X mob Y number of times – Kill X mob to collect Y number of BWAINS! – Collect Y number of poops – Join Z instance and continuously press your AoE button. Of course, then, some clever guy realized that instead of coming up with new X, Y, Z’s they could just have us do the SAME stuff every day.
- Power gamers/achievers and the pressure of optimization
If you care about progression, doing dailies will be even less voluntary, especially if members of your raid team are all grinding away. I’m not an achiever player-type, and even I feel a stint of that pressure. It’s more comfortable, in many ways, to stick to the large bulk of the wave, as it sweeps over the new content. Soon the learning phase is over and knowledge is expected a priori – that’s mostly what has me feeling stressed.
- Are there ethical responsibilities in relation to designing games?
If we acknowledge that there is a pressure to optimize and touch that first row ceiling, does the designer have a responsibility to not ask too much of the player? Are players able to keep their heads cool under all the peer pressure? Do we trust players to be autonomous enough to manage and prioritize their own play time and activities under all circumstances?
How we lean on these subjects are influenced by what kind of player we are. I’ll usually fall in favour of an upper limit, like there used to be – 25/day, where as now it’s unlimited. But that’s probably also because I’m not very tolerant of long grinds, extremely low drop rates and camping spawns. I’d prefer they had kept the old 25/day limit in, which instead would have forced players to prioritize what factions they wanted exalted with first.
Two days ago I walked down to my local Blockbuster and reserved a physical copy of Mists of Pandaria. Beforehand I had checked several online services but decided it was more reliable to go myself and pick it up at midnight.
On the way back I was reminded of the release day of Wrath of the Lich King. I had done it the same way and remembered how it felt standing in line in the store, which was practically full of devoted WoW fans. (The only reason Cataclysm was different was because I was too busy on release day, so I bought it several days late)
I know a lot of people have bought the digital download, it’s easy and convenient, but I want the box too. Soon it’ll be like a souvenir to have all that old-fashioned wrapping, I’m sure. Maybe in the future the only way to get the “full package” is by buying collector’s edition.
In my world, there’s also another plus. The thrill of suspense as you stand in line, one by one the other WoW players leave the store with sparkly eyes. Soon you’re one of them.
I also get to sneak a peek at all the local players, people I have no idea who are, they live near me, we share the same hobby, but we are strangers. It’s an odd feeling, but standing in a room surrounded by them, I feel part of something bigger, I get a glimpse of a tiny slice of the online community as it appears when we all “play our human mains”. Or you could say that cross realm zones exist in the offline world too…
And then I will go home, log in to the new expansion and play while still high on that buzz.
Happy expansion day everyone!
Back in May when Diablo came out, I wrote a post bemoaning the lack of an "Invisible" feature on Battle Net. Well, today I arrive with good news: They are going to be implementing an invisible feature for Battle.Net!
I've still seen a certain amount of naysaying or people who seem unhappy that this is a feature they are going to implement.
And the rejoicing commences! Invisible option for Battle.Net is indeed good news! The fear that we would all hide under the offline mark rests on some weird premise that people are not inherently social, but rather in need of a nudge to connect and communicate with others. If that was the case, how is society as we know it even possible? I discussed earlier in relation to solo play how people used secret alts as a method to avoid burn out. Not having a show-as-offline function will not just mean that people do as they are told and stay online, it may also mean they don't log on at all. We all need a break now and then. With this change, I now feel as if I am being recognized as a whole person by Blizzard, not just as the excitable guild mate they wish I always was, but also someone who occasionally needs to play WoW alone on a secret alt.
Don’t talk to any of the students in Scholomance – they will aggro the entire room!
Since Scholomance has undergone a complete revamp with patch 5.0.4, I thought this old myth would be a good one to pull up next. It’s important to note that most of the information in this article will therefore not correspond to what you can find in the game currently.
In the part of Scholomance called The Viewing Room there were several groups of students standing in groups of about 3-5 around a small campfire. They came in different races, even the old high elf model, as seen to the right, which I’m not even sure exists in the game anymore. They were elite and had substantial health pools for their level, but they were all neutral to you.
Near the entrance to the room, an elevated scene was situated. Here stood two bosses. One of them, Marduk Blackpool, was an undead death knight. The other a skeletal necromancy trainer named Vectus. These two were also neutral to you.
So what happened if you spoke to the students, or for that matter the teachers? Did the entire room turn against you? – actually not.
- If you spoke to Marduk, he would be brief and say something like: “Your future is clouded. Concentrate, and ask again.” and “You don’t look like a student…“.
- If you spoke to Vectus, he would also note your lack of proper clothing and say “What, may I ask, are you doing here? Put on your student’s attire, and study!” and “Be silent! Do you think our plagued dragons will hatch and train themselves?”.
- And finally, if you spoke to any of the students, they would say things like: “Did you forget your student’s attire? Do you think fashion is more vital than the Scourge’s domination?” and ““Be silent! I cannot afford to miss even a moment of this lecture!”. Or you might run into one of the less obsessive students: “Did you finish yesterday’s assignment? If so, then sit by me!“.
Even though some of them would try and correct your fashion style (hey, the high elf robe up above does look pretty good!), or that Marduk can sense that something is wrong, you’re free to walk around and chat all day if you want. You can, for example, listen in on Vectus’ lecture:
“When preparing the dragon’s meal, be sure to torture the prisoner in view of the dragon. It responds well to pre-meal entertainment.” and “From yesterday’s field trip, Marduk showed us that the dragons will tolerate the meat of recently killed humanoids, but only if they died slowly and painfully.“
But if you can talk to everyone and no one will attack because of it, how did this myth come to be then?
Well, the encounter was unusual in that everyone was neutral and if you did attack either Marduk or Vectus, all the students would come to their rescue. So it was possible to aggro the entire room, just not by being a chatterbox. However, there are some conflicting stories on Wowhead about turning Vectus hostile from talking to him three times. Someone else said that three times didn’t cut it, but if you kept at it eventually he would become hostile. The Wowpedia article on The Viewing Room claims that all these versions are false.
The reason everyone was so careful not pull the entire room, was because the students were quite hard, people reported they were capable of killing a lvl 80 as a group. It was possible to clear the room a few students at a time in order to then kill the bosses, but it would take a while.
You could also clear the room in an alternative way. It involved a consumable item called Alexi’s Gambit, which you gained access to after completing a long quest-line (did I mention this was Vanilla content?). This item allowed you to turn all the students into weaker non-elite skeletons that made clearing the room a lot easier as people could just AoE them down. When the gambit was activated, everyone would also turn hostile to you. Here’s a short Xfire video by nobodymk2 showing the effect of the gambit on the students.
The myth may have arisen over confusion about how to tackle this encounter, or it may have been dungeons masters who didn’t want to risk anyone pulling the bosses prematurely, and so instructed the party to not click any mobs. For whatever reason this must have turned into a dogma no one wanted to challenge, because testing it was at the risk of wiping the group.
With the change to Scholomance, the viewing room was also implemented in the new version, but it now looks substantially different. The students are now being lectured in alchemy by Professor Slate, the Potions Master, in a new and fancy auditorium. Despite the better surroundings for learning, the students are not as excited about Slate as they were about Marduk and Vectus – here all of them are bored.
This time around, they are not foolish enough to mistake any of us as one of them, so they are all hostile right off the bat. They are still standing around in study groups and will attack together, however, initiating one of them does not aggro the whole room.
Also, Contrary to old Scholomance, these students do not care if you kill Professor Slate. Whether that’s because they are half asleep and not paying attention or because they secretly wish he was dead, we will not know.
Neither the bored students nor their teacher Professor Slate will talk to you, so this old myth has become history with the old version of this dungeon.
Finally to commemorate old Scholomance, I found this nice video by Razhork, which gives a short glimpse of how it used to be.
- Minipost: How to get the Plague Scientist Disguise (orcisharmyknife.com)
- Know Your Lore: Scholomance revisited (joystiq.com)
With the Mogolympics over, it was time to start posting my "Things my Characters Wear" series. I thought about doing one a day, then decided to do them in groups so that they'd all be up before the Theramore event begins next week.
Here's the complete list, in case you missed any in the flurry:
Kamalia (et Alia!) has shared with us her impressive wardrobe spread across an equally impressive list of alts. For all the mage-fans, Kamalia certainly has you covered - her mage-alts spanning all races! ... well, except tauren.