Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Garrosh is Stupid

Warcraft doesn't have a story, it has "lore".

This is perhaps its biggest failing as a game; while it is interactive, it misses out on the biggest promise of gaming: telling a story through a new medium. Really good games integrate the story and gameplay into a coherent whole, with the two reinforcing each other. Bioshock, Silent Hill 2, and Portal all do this marvelously, and we rightly remember them as real gems. WoW needs to get a clue.

Take Garrosh, the new poster boy of the Horde. In BC, he was a whinny pansy who we all knew and hated for said whining. Now he's a balls-to-the-wall warrior and general. That's a fair character transition, and good growth fundamentally, but as players we saw NONE OF IT. It just happened, as if 3.0 patch notes included a 50% Garrosh ballsiness buff, with a 40% chance to proc retarded. In their rush to characterize Garrosh, they made him an idiot, not being able to see past RAWR ALLIANCE SUX, even when it's pointed out to him directly. So we went from a wimp (albeit well characterized through quests) to a parody of the Horde. Sweet.

Nessingwary is one of the coolest characters in WoW, by contrast, because he was developed as a character in WoW. With his strange, tongue-in-cheak big game hunting lust and now the excellently done DHETA quests, he is a playerbase favorite, maybe a bit like Barney in Half Life. Yet Blizzard only seems willing to develop characters like this if they're totally ancillary. The big movers and shakers, by and large, get their character development through novels, comic books, or aren't even developed at all besides totally un-spoken changes. Apparently Garrosh is badass now, OK, whatever. Show me how that happened, don't just say it did in a blue post and leave it there.

God I hate Garrosh now; I can only hope his crazy tyranny over the Horde that's coming in Cataclysm doesn't all take place in the hour I download patch 4.0.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Dropping Group Snobbery

Let me paint a picture. A few days ago, I did Horseman on my 75 DK, along with a fury warrior, a tree, a 'lock and an SPriest. Our tank was the fury warrior; some of you may gasp at the thought of that until you remember it's just horseman. Our PuG'd healer is fuming and always makes a comment about needing a real tank after each HH kill. After the priest died on the third (successful) engagement due to pulling aggro and not getting heals or hitting fade for 6 seconds, she hearthed and forsook us. After seeing the loot drop, of course. At first I thought she was cheating us by saving her summon and getting another pug group, but later surveys revealed she had used hers already. If greed wasn't the motive for the group drop, what was?

This is an especially pronounced reaction to something we all do; not running with less-than-ideal groups. I hate pugging, but if I have a tank I know and I'm healing, I know the fail can be minimized and we'll get through it. But the seasonal bosses introduce a new kind of easy beyond even the melted-butter-hardness of heroics, and so they're an opportunity for normally insane compositions. 1 tank 4 dps, 1 healer 4 dps, that kind of thing; it's awesome and rugged manly.

Horseman is supposed to be easy, even for 5 fresh 80s, but the healer snubbed us, just as a food critic might snub a burger, when he usually eats steak. It's not the best, it's not what you'd have chosen, and damned if another bite of this "beneath you" food is going in your mouth, even though this is your lunch hour and you don't get another one until you go home. That was a labored analogy, but the point is, if putting up with wacky composition that takes the fight into the realm of marginal difficulty gets you loot, it's idiotic to snub it. Especially when you can't get into a new group easily.

If it works, it works; don't sit on your laurels and hold everyone (often everyone but yourself) up to high standards. Horseman sure doesn't.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The On Cooldown Mentality

This is a blog about World of Warcraft. Not that a million other people haven't done the same thing, so that in itself isn't impressive. But this is a different kind of blog, or is at least trying to be, so bear with me and I think you'll find continued readership to bear great fruit.

There's a lot of resources out there for how to play a class, talent builds, how to gear/gem, and all the mathematical parts of playing the game; I can't compete with big communities like EJ or WowWiki, you can go there if you want that kinda thing. The same goes for making money; there are spectacular blogs written by people much, MUCH better and more experienced at the AH game and farming spots than I am, so they can keep doing that, and I am grateful. There are also a lot of blogs that detail personal experiences in WoW, and I'll probably dabble in that, but for rhetorical or illustrative purposes, rather than narrative.

On Cooldown will look at this game as no one else seems to: WoW as a video game. No one really approaches WoW like any other game, deconstructing the atmosphere, pacing, difficulty curve, player mentality, flow, and other less concrete parts of the game.

There's also been precious little written about the social aspects beyond stories of weird pugs or frustrating raids or hilarious AH morons. I want to take those things, how people play and how guilds run, and look at them closer, look to their advantages and disadvantages and underlying motivations. And I want to get the reader thinking too, about why he does things, or why his guild run certain ways.

Lastly, On Cooldown is about mentality. The mentality that if you, the player, try very hard, you can be a great WoW player. That great players are not born, but forged as products of their own ambition and effort. And that we all have something to learn left.

May all your fires be fought, friends.
- Zarat