Comic Mischief

"A game that keeps a smile on the player's face is a wonderful thing" – Shigeru Miyamoto, Nintendo


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Guild members and offensive character names

I don’t like rude, immature, offensive character names. When I’m just a regular player, I see these names and largely ignore them. In nearly a decade of playing World of Warcraft, I’ve seen hundreds of these offensive names and only reported two.

The first was because it was so purposefully and unashamedly offensive and incredibly sexist.

The second was because the guy was same-faction griefing me while on a quest in the Burning Crusade. I asked him to stop a few times, he wouldn’t, he had a dumb offensive name and so I mentioned that in my report, then added him to friends. Sure enough he very quickly no longer had said offensive name. (I have a real problem with same faction griefing).

Aside from that, I ignore them. If someone wants to run around with a stupid name, that’s their decision.

When it’s a member of my guild, though, that’s when I have a problem with it. I’ve had my own level 25 guild for most of this expansion and not really done anything with it. I’ve housed my own characters and my friend’s characters and everyone has come and gone as they’ve pleased – no problems. I’ve just recently started thinking about doing more with this guild – like maybe establishing a flex team to run on weekends. Which of course involves recruiting some more people and putting us out there under the public eye.

I logged on yesterday and someone had invited a low level with a stupid, offensive (and sexist) name. I thought they were a random player, and I booted them. Because I hated the name, and because I have other women and also some kids that are either in the guild, or can read guild chat at various times. Further because if I do run a flex team, I want to attract like minded players – people who are somewhat mature, who won’t cause drama, who just want to make a few friends and kill a few bosses each week. No stress, no fuss.

As it turns out, unfortunately this guy was the friend of a long-term member. He told me the name isn’t meant to be offensive, it’s just a joke. We talked about it for quite a while, and I repeated myself a lot. In the end, I didn’t invite the guy back. I felt bad about it, because he’s a member’s friend, and I still feel a bit uncomfortable about it, but I stuck to it.

Possibly the first time in this little casual guild I’ve ever had to put my GM hat on. I’m curious, though, do other GMs/Officers take issue with offensive character names, or do you just let them slide?


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Again… Can we please stop removing content?

I have a friend who has been purchasing Challenge Mode Gold 9/9 carries for his characters, and talking about it with him recently has got me thinking once again about Blizzard’s insistence on removing content.

Their announcement specifically on the removal of Pandaria’s Challenge Mode:

“…the difficulty of Mists of Pandaria’s dungeons will no longer be tuned the same as they were. In the spirit of fair play, when the aforementioned patch is released a little while before the new expansion launches, the current slate of Challenge Mode dungeons will no longer be available, and the achievements they award will be converted to Feats of Strength.”

While I understand they’re supposed to be difficult and supposed to be an eventually rare reward, removing the content just seems a little backwards to me.

I can see that people worked their butts off to get these achievements and probably feel they deserve some recognition for it. If I held the reins, though, I’d make their recognition the Feats of Strength and maybe an exclusive recolour of the CM gear sets.

For everyone else, I’d still let them get 9/9 Gold once it’s no longer relevant content. Reward them with a “normal” achievement for doing so and a recolour (an intentionally crappier one, just like LFR gear) of the gear sets.

It just seems odd to me, to put the effort into designing the content, achievements, and rewards and then pull them away to keep things “fair”. Especially in a game that people are clearing content faster all the time and constantly asking for “more to do”.

Additionally, every time Blizzard remove something, it has that air of “But it will be back soon!”. Even Tier 3 gear, from the original Naxxramas, has made a reappearance in game on the Black Market Auction House. Imagine having had “exclusive” gear for years, and then having them reintroduce it for people to simply purchase with gold. I had my Swift Zhevra mount since Burning Crusade, and never saw anybody on it. Just recently they decided to reintroduce it as a RAF reward and suddenly they’re everywhere.

I think what’s the most frustrating about this is the inconsistency. Either retire things for good, or keep them in/bring them back. Don’t leave us wondering if they’ll eventually end up reused, or for sale on the Black Market.

Given that players can purchase the achievements and all that come with it (mounts, titles, gear), it also just seems ridiculous to remove it to be fair. People who view that as fair are probably already bothered by those purchasing it.

How does someone paying X amount of gold deserve these “prestigious” items any more or less than someone coming in and clearing them at level 100?

Let’s use normal achievements vs. Feats of Strengths properly, and keep more content in the game.

(Before anyone asks, no, I’m not just butthurt because I haven’t got the achievements or items. I too had the opportunity to purchase them. I don’t particularly like my class’ gear set, I wouldn’t use the mounts or the title, etc.)


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The sky is falling! – WoW down to 7.6 million active subs

Blizzard have just released their Q1 2014 earnings, and the result is WoW now has 7.6 million active subscribers. To put that in perspective, here’s a chart I borrowed from MMO-Champion:

Shows a peak around 2011

Shows a peak around 2011

I’ve only glanced briefly at the community at large’s comments, but the “sky is falling” mentality was hand in hand with the strange glee people seem to take when Blizzard or World of Warcraft take any kind of hit.

Putting my own perspective on it – 7.6 million active players in a hell of a lot. Even without considering all the facts, it’s a lot. When you consider WoW has been around for ~10 years and it’s still going that strong, it’s frankly jawdropping.

When you consider those numbers will undoubtedly surge again with the release of the next expansion, that’s even more impressive.

The sky has been falling since pre-BC when we were all running around still getting 60 and wiping in Molten Core (or having random server crashes and having full trash resets!). Rift was going to kill WoW. So was Star Wars, Warhammer, watching paint dry on a wall, you name it – and it’s been touted as the newest “Wow Killer”.

What I do find interesting about this graph is that according to its data, WoW was at its peak sometime in 2011, which would have been right in the middle of the Cataclysm expansion (which was released in December 2010).

Yes, the numbers have dipped by roughly another 200,000 – but on the tail end of Pandaria, that’s not the disaster some players are claiming it to be, nor is it a sign that the end is near.

Sometimes when I log in, I pause and think “Am I really still enjoying this game?” and the answer is a resounding Yes.

I know I’m not alone there – and that fact, by itself, is incredible. What an achievement.

(In before I get called a Blizzard white knight or whatever people with something positive to say are being called nowadays.)


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Why can’t we be friends?

One of the biggest elements of an MMO is, well, the other people. The community.

Over the years with World of Warcraft, I’ve seen the community change dramatically. Vanilla WoW (pre-BC) was, without a doubt, the golden age of the WoW community*.

I expect I’ll cop some disagreement there, and shouts of “You’re just being nostalgic!”

My personal experience with the community over the years has only confirmed my stance on this: the vanilla community was the strongest.

Anyway, this post isn’t about a trip down memory lane. This post is to a couple of kinds of players I have encountered recently.

To the player over the weekend who criticised my healing in a battleground: A 15-man battleground, maybe 5 minutes into the match. This player started calling me out for “sh?t healing”.

(I’d just watched him run away from a base, for no reason, and leave it completely undefended, mind you.)

As loudmouths tend to do, he garnered support from another player instantly: “Agreed, sh?tty healer”.

I checked the scoreboard and the group make-up. Not only was I the only healer Horde side (therefore making it actually physically impossible for everyone to get heals at all times on a 15 man match with 4 bases spread out over the map), but I was top of the healing done – by a considerable margin. The Alliance had healers, but I was outhealing them.

Instead of just playing nice, I talked back. Something along the lines of, “How about you worry less about my healing, which is fine, and more about defending the base you just left?”

<Insert some random trash talk about what a terrible healer I am, I honestly can’t remember what he said other than that it continued to be rude.>

Him and his buddy (or supporter, or whatever) continued being rude, trash talking, name calling.

Well, that was it. I told them that it was unfortunate they were such jerks, because not using any AOE healing was going to be a real pain in the butt, but I can’t use it now because I don’t want them putting up with any of my sh?tty heals.

And I did exactly that. I single target healed the rest of the battleground. We won in the end and I was still top of the healing scoreboard across both factions.

Of course, I did the utterly childish thing and /point and /laugh at both of those players as they died next to me while I healed everyone else around us.

Just before we won the final points, my friends and I let them know in battleground chat that not only were they being incredibly rude, but I was top healing and we’d secured a victory, so what was the point of their rudeness?

They’d stopped saying anything at all by this point.

I thought it was hilarious at the time, but after writing it out, I know it was all around pretty childish of me. Then again, what do people expect? I’m tolerant of every mistake under the sun that players might make. I make mistakes myself, we all do.

But one thing I absolutely cannot stand is the rudeness. I personally am not offended or upset by it – I looked logically at the situation and realised they were bitching about not getting heals from the complete other side of the map, mere minutes into the match! They also knew enough to know I was the lone healer on our side, because they specifically called me out for it.

So while their rude nonsense didn’t bother me on a personal level, it sure as hell bothered me on a different level. What if it was a new healer trying out a BG? What if it was someone who isn’t sure they’re capable of healing stuff?

These guys would have called them out – rudely! – and probably completely ruined their experience. Called them sh?t for no reason. Made them feel like they weren’t capable.

And that. That bothers me.

There are a plethora of different ways to ask for more/better/focused healing, and being rude isn’t one of them, especially in circumstances that are beyond the healer’s control.

So, yes. If you’re going to be so directly and unjustifiably rude, I’ve stopped just letting it slide. I will retort in kind.

Raging and swearing at someone because you have an opinion is just uncool. These guys were dropping ‘sh?t’ this and ‘sh?t’ that and ‘f#cking’ this, ‘f#ck you’, etc. Ridiculous.

Had they just said, “Help LM, we need some heals” or something – totally different matter. I would have gone as soon as possible and healed my butt off.

* I would like to point out here I’m not making any comment on game-play, balance, anything except the community.


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WoW – an end of an era?

I feel as though I may have reached the end of an era.

I’ve played World of Warcraft for hours on end since a few months after its initial launch. I’ve made and lost friends, conquered dragons, explored every hidden cave Azeroth has to offer.

I spent hours reading and following up on in-game clues about Ashbringer… Only to ultimately have it lead nowhere. I watched my beloved Azeroth be ravaged by the fury of Deathwing, never to be the same again. I crossed plains and wandered deserts – first on little Gnome feet, then graceful Night Elf feet.

I journeyed into the Outland as a Blood Elf Paladin, who fought wars and healed every battle in every tier right up until mid Icecrown Citadel in Wrath. I made the fateful decision to try my hand at a Draenei Enhancement Shaman, simply after thinking one “looked cool”. Once Blizzard introduced Goblin Shaman, I was able to rejoin my faction of choice – the Horde – and the Enhance Shaman has been my main character ever since.

I don’t harbor any negativity or hatred toward WoW.

It seems a common thing, when you quit World of Warcraft, to criticise the game and berate anyone who still plays.

I have no interest in doing that. It is a wonderful game that I got years of enjoyment out of. That enjoyment lately, however, has been few and far between. The last probably 6-12 months of WoW, for me, have simply been because it’s something easy and relaxed that I can do while I watch a movie. (Obviously I’m no longer a serious raider.)

I love RBGs and get a real kick out of competing in them, but I’m not willing to join a guild and participate a set number of times/hours per week. That’s not a fault or problem with the game – if I want to play with the best, I need to be willing to put the hours in, and I’m not.

I earned my Vicious Saddle (40 RBG wins) and my Conquest achievement this season. I’m wearing full Grievous. It was as though as soon as I equipped my last piece of gear and got those achievements, my desire to play was over. I’ve tried a few times since then, but the magic just isn’t there.

The main problem for me and WoW, I think, is I want something it is not really designed to give. I want the ability to “pick up & play” but I also want some challenge/engagement. Joining a guild and signing on to raid rosters is not compatible with “pick up & play”, and BGs or LFR just aren’t challenging, except maybe a challenge of patience.

Will I still check out Warlords of Draenor? Of course. WoW has given me so many hours of enjoyment – and real friendships – that I still want to see it continue to succeed. And frankly, new expansions are always fresh and fun. But at this point I haven’t even logged in since a week and a half ago, and even that was simply to say hello to an old friend.

I think I’ll be cancelling my subscription when I get home tonight – not out of anger or dissatisfaction. Simply out of incompatibility and needing a change.

 


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Blizzard In-Game Store – Quick WoW Preview

I haven’t been logging into WoW as regularly as I normally do, so today was my first look at the in-game store introduced by Blizzard a few weeks ago. Personally, I have no issues with them introducing a store, but I refuse to even consider looking into what the community thinks of it…

The interface itself is pretty cool – really fits in well with the look and feel of the rest of the game:

Featured item - Enchanted Fey Dragon $27.50

Featured item – Enchanted Fey Dragon $27.50

As I already own a Fey Dragon, I get the following alert when I click “Buy Now”:

Store_Already_Owned

There was definitely room for an option to Gift the item to a Battle.net friend here, but for whatever reason, there isn’t one (yet). Hitting ‘Okay’ simply takes you back to the store. Additionally, the green tick – as seen in my first screenshot above – is an indicator of whether or not you own the item.

Lastly, pets and mounts can be previewed by pressing the magnifying glass on each of their portraits:

Store_Cinder Kitten_Preview

While the in-game shop was probably not a necessary addition, it does no harm and if anything adds a tiny convenience to anyone wanting to browse items without going to Battle.net directly. An option to gift items you already own would be excellent, and I hope this is implemented in future.