Tag Archives: WoW

Liebster Award – Kamalia’s 11 Questions and my 11 Answers

liebster2

The badge of pride

I have been nominated for the Liebster Award by Kamalia et Alia. I read her questions and thought they were brilliant, so this post is me answering them. It got a bit wordy, so I’ll have to fulfill the rest of the rules in another post (11 personal facts + 11 questions for 11 new people).

Below are the Liebster Award rules:

Liebster-award-rules I

The six Liebster Award rules

.

Kamalia’s 11 Questions and my 11 Answers


 

  • tangled1) Tell me about a game or games — video or table or both! — that you are really enjoying right now.

I have really been enjoying this little mobile game, which is quite simple and has worked wonders in terms of reducing stress for me.

It’s called Tangled (found on Google Play) and the screenshot to the right was how it used to look before it was patched. Now it crashes on my phone whenever I try to play it.

The goal is to make the red line as long as possible, by turning hexagonal tiles to create a path. I loved playing this game when it actually worked on my phone!

  • 2) What classes, races, or roles do you find yourself most drawn to in RPGs, whether in D&D, a single-player video game, or an MMO? + 3) When you make your first character in a new game, do you try to make a character that is in some way an avatar of your RL self, or do you make someone entirely different?

I prefer hybrid classes and I think this has to do with the fact that I like to keep a few doors open at a time. Originally I was drawn to elves, anything beautiful and aesthetically pleasing. Now that I’ve tried creating characters that are not a projection of an ideal self, but instead have their own story and motivations, it added another and very interesting dimension to me. In the future, I see myself going further down that road.

draenei female character revamp april fools 2014

Hey, look at this gal! Not your standard beauty, but still good material for an interesting character. No, I’m serious!

In fact, I take great pleasure in toying with character creation modes. I don’t even care what game it is or if I’m going to play it any further – I love character creation modes! Usually I will first make a character that inspires me and looks cool. Then I will make the most hideous thing you can imagine, really getting all the sliders off to the extremes, scars, pinprick eyes, bad hair and probably also bad breath! I crashed The Sims 3 recently when making the most perfect evil-looking witch-sim you can imagine!

  • 4) Describe a typical session of playing your current favorite video/computer game.

I’m in my bed, about to sleep, with my beloved smart phone and playing a mobile game, often a puzzle. Also, I’m playing one match a day of this mobile game called Robotek (found on Google Play). It’s a small strategic game, you vs. the AI. You win when you burn down the health points of the opponent using various attacks and small bots. It had a bit of a learning curve, yet I’d still recommend it.

Robotek mobile game

Here’s me losing in Robotek.

  • 5) What was the very first computer/video game you ever played? How old were you?
Early hand held game

My first “beep beep game” was about moving a basketball player back and forth on the screen to keep a continuous number of balls from falling to the ground.

I must have been 6-7 years old when I played these really early hand-held games. We called them “beep beep games” based on sounds they made. They were extremely simple compared to today’s standards, inexpensive and had only one game mode. Attempting to beat your own high score, was all you could do.

Later my parents purchased a used computer from my mom’s coworker, who came and set it up for us. It booted in DOS and had an early version of Windows on it. This was when I started to play computer games on a PC.MS-DOS

The thing was, the computer did have games installed and a few games on 3,5″ floppy disks, but most of them were demos! As a kid, I didn’t know what a demo was (I was playing beep beep games!), and thus believed that Wolfenstein 3D, was actually called “Wolfenstein Demo”. I believed that the reason I couldn’t make the elevator go to the next floor, was the game being bugged.

wolfenstein 2d Back then, I was too creeped out to play it on my own. When I look at the screenshots today, it’s so much more pixelated than I remember.

So I only played this with a friend. One of us would control the arrow keys for movement, and the other space bar for shooting. Of course this resulted in panicked screams whenever an enemy appeared. Even worse, somewhere along the line, I must have messed up the key binds, because we couldn’t get the main character to turn right anymore. So to shoot and hit the soldiers, we would have to spin left, often several times, until the gun pointed in the right direction again. That keyboard sure took a beating. In short – it was a mess!

  • 6) Do you have more than one blog? If so, what is/are your other blog(s) about?

Yes, I have a Tumblr, but it functions as my inspiration log. It will probably be uninteresting to most people. There’s also WoW Roleplay Gear, although I don’t consider it a blog per se.

  • 7) Name three non-WoW/game-related websites that you visit frequently.

I read several Danish news sites. I also read Sociological Images, I like how the comments often continue the debate and offer more facets to the article. People are mostly civil, which I appreciate. I don’t comment there myself though. If I want to pass time, I browse Thought Catalog. There’s a lot of trashy articles there, with the occasional gem. I avoid places like 9gag, who are notorious with omitting references and links to the creators, whose creative content they use.

  • 8) What was/is your favorite animal to see at the zoo?

Anything feline. I’ve also had a laugh triggering monkeys to mimic my facial expressions. Do a wide open mouth (no teeth) and wide open eyes really quickly a few times, and they will do it too. Warning: other people (and monkeys), might find you a tad weird.

  • 9) Cake or Pie? What is your favorite flavor of your preferred dessert?

All of it! I don’t like it too nutty, but fruity or chocolate, I’m a sugar junkie!

  • 10) What toppings do you like on a pizza? on an ice-cream sundae?

The pizza here is notoriously bad! They put layers upon layers of meat on them. And I don’t mean, “ah lots of nice beef on my pizza” – no I mean, all kinds of meat: Shrimp, chicken, bacon and kebab on the same pizza (and a bit of horse, I’m sure). I prefer mozzarella, pesto, spinach, salad, smoked ham, that kind of stuff.

  • 11) What is your favorite writing instrument?

I have kept a diary since ’95, and I use pens in all colors, even glitter pens – yay! Anything finely pointed will do.


The remaining 11 personal facts about me and 11 questions for 11 new bloggers are in the making and will be published in another post!

Beasts of Fable and Pandaren Spirits Map

I needed a map to get an overview of the locations of the Pandaren Spirits and all of the Fable Beasts, but since I couldn’t find one, I decided to make it myself.

I made two version depicting the same thing:

  • This one has numbered dots on the map and lists on the side
Pandaria Fable Beasts and Pandaren Spirits Map v2

Click for big version – 2004 x 1336

  • This one has the names of the spirits/beasts and mini pictures at the specific location
Pandaria Fable Beasts and Pandaren Spirits Map

Click for big version – 2004 x 1336

Credit to MikeLive for the original composite map.

I’m Not Here to Scream “IT’S JUST A GAME” at You

Why do I sometimes feel guilty when playing WoW?

It’s not because I play too much, or have other duties that I neglect, it’s far more understated than that.

It’s because of some of the things I do inside the game … I know this may sound like I’m coming out as a severely brutal griefer or corpse camper right now, but don’t worry, I’m not here to scream “IT’S JUST A GAME” at you. In fact, I’m trying to convince myself of exactly that.

Oondasta

Oondasta, the world boss

I, and circa a hundred other players, were fighting Oondasta yesterday. I was not in a raid and took care of my own healing the best I could, it’s still a wipe fest really, healing or not. But he finally went down and I got my loot – “A Shiny Pile of Refuse”. Unexpectedly, it contained a white kitten carrier and since I already had a white kitten, I thought I’d just sell it on the auction house.

UNTIL Noelani pointed out the tragedy of finding a small kitten in a huge pile of dinosaur poo AND then choosing to just sell it. If that is not cruel, then I don’t know what is!

… You know, I actually do.

It’s even more cruel to force this little pooey “white” kitten into pet battles, where I can choose to force it to fight for me. It may even die because of my evil blood sport hobby of pet collecting and battling.

I think Noelani knew this too because he offered to take the kitten and take good care of it, even though he already has one. After I’m done writing this post, I’ll log in and the fate of the kitten will be sealed. I hope no one bought the pooey kitten (maybe for their own sake too).

In relevance, consider the case of the guy below, Huggalon the Heart Watcher.

JJJ

I don’t remember there being a dead pandaren female to the left of Huggalon the Heart Watcher when I took this screenshot … It’s so haunting, I don’t think I will be able to sleep tonight.

We ran into him when leveling a couple of alts and we couldn’t decide whether to kill him or not. He isn’t a clear cut case as so many other bosses and elites otherwise are. What to do?

Kill him because:

  • He’s there to be killed, right? (or is he there to force us to have horrible ethical dilemmas ABOUT killing him?)
  • He’s got a mean look on his face, he’s probably evil
  • Look at all the skeletal remains under his huge boots
  • He looks like he might appreciate being put out of his misery
  • He drops a B.B.F. Necklace
It will give a targeted player a buff called "B.F.F"

It will give a targeted player a buff called “Best Friends Forever”, which lasts for a day (instead of, well, forever)

Don’t kill him because:

  • He’s sitting there looking like a lost abandoned child (which is pretty accurate since he is the missing fifth watcher from the Vault of Archavon and Captain Planet reference)
  • His name is Huggalon the Heart Watcher
  • He has a huge bow in his hair
  • He is not hostile, but neutral
  • There is no real gain from killing him, only the necklace, which you then STEAL from him, and that is creepy. Who steals B.F.F. necklaces?

The comments on Wowhead suggest I’m not the only one with this dilemma. People say that all Huggalon ever wanted was a nice big hug and some feel really bad after they killed him. Why are we feeling bad? It’s just a game, there’s no denying that, the only consequence is that he respawns 20 minutes later for someone else to mull over this dilemma.

So, do you think I killed him?

And, would you be able to kill him yourself, and not feel just a little bit guilty about it?

 

Sometimes You Meet a Player in WoW, who is a Complete Enigma

Screenshot by Jayrei (via Wowhead.com)

Horde druid travel form, stag version. Screenshot by Jayrei (via Wowhead.com)

Sometimes you meet a player in WoW, who is a complete enigma – I met one such player a few days ago.

Here’s the story of the stag-druid.

Noelani and I were questing in Krasarang Wilds in this area where you have to release Alliance slaves, kill a number of enemies and pick up relics on the ground – a classic combination of quest types.

A druid appears in stag form, he is standing slightly behind us watching while we kill several mogu. We wonder if he is waiting for us to clear the area so he can release the Horde slaves. A little cheeky really, so we sit down and pretend to eat.

The stag-druid then wiggles around on the spot – also known as key-turning. After a minute of idling, he finally decides to attack an enemy and thus he proceeds to walk right up to it and spam wrath – in his natural tauren form.

Odd.

We also see him auto-attacking in bear form and melee hitting with his staff. Stag-druid practically has no modus operandi and seems to prefer standing around in stag form in between combat. After he has killed a few mobs slooowly in these multitude of ways, he gets attacked while again observing us as a stag. He wiggles and wiggles, but ends up dying. We then help him kill a couple of mogu a few times, but he never appears to be looting anything nor actually progressing on his quests.

It becomes clear this person is not waiting specifically for us to clear the area, in fact we have no clue what he is doing. We find him later in Valley of the Four Winds brutally beating a fox to death with the staff again. I know it was a Nesingwary quest, but still.

Valley of Four Winds by Ner1 (via Wowhead.com)

Valley of the Four Winds by Ner1 (via Wowhead.com)

Maybe stag-druid had gained some confidence at this point, because we then see him fighting four mushan beasts at the same time. Stag-druid struggles and of course one of those stealthy foxes comes out and attacks him. Maybe it was karmic, maybe it was just bad luck or maybe stag-druid has always been a tree-hugger and not a killer beast!

Clearly overwhelmed, he backs closer and closer to the edge of the lake nearby and falls down the hill and dies on the bank on top of a turtle. We don’t know whether to laugh or cry. Again stag-druid appears to be a mystery – he was popping cooldowns so he couldn’t be completely clueless. He also used bear form, which is the logical thing to do in this situation, but he would also go out of it to cast wrath and stick fight…

Noelani logs a Horde character and travels to his location, entering a scene where stag-druid is actually about to die again. Noelani tries to strike up a conversation with the intention of offering assistance, but stag-druid stops replying after thanking Noelani for saving him.

We take a look at his armory. It shows him as being mono specced resto and geared accordingly (no respecs), but having only done 15 dungeon ever (never raided). He likes pet battles and has maxed professions. He has waved eight times, hugged twice, but never cheered or laughed – aw! The armory also reveals he has his own guild with 35 members, eight of which are his own, including two level 90 dual-specced characters, which look straight-forward and conventional, though not impeccable.

It’s strange seeing how the armory can be used as a tool for drawing out a whole player-profile. Thinking about this, I’ve often felt like the armory was able to tell people a lot of things about me, that I actually didn’t think were any of their business. Anyways…

It was in the middle of the night on a Saturday, so it could be anyone. I like to imagine this extremely committed, yet young and inexperienced player. Someone who doesn’t have their own account, but they know their relative’s password and they snuck out of bed after everyone was asleep, turned on the computer and beat a fox to death with a stick!

In a way, I admire it. Even though playing is so hard, every mob is a challenge, dying over and over, the guy kept going – like an ironman!

“Dailies have destroyded the game.”

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!

When you go to see the Master Pet Tamer Zoltan (the smug blood elf in Felwood), don’t look his kneeling cultists straight in the eye – or maybe don’t look at them at all…

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.

Midnight Release

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!

Myths and Urban Legends in WoW – “Don’t Talk to the Students”

  • 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!.

    An actual screenshot of a student from old Scholomance. Image is from Wowhead.

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 which gives a short glimpse of how it used to be.