If Blizzard Made Me An NPC
PVP is no joke. Most people know this, given the amount of folks who actively avoid getting involved with it if at all possible. I dabble in the digital violence now and then, but I prefer to watch those skilled at it while they do their thing. Two such individuals are PVP icons Bajheera and Swifty. As recognition for their contribution to the World of Warcraft community, Blizzard will be giving them their own NPCs in Warlords of Draenor – Jackson Bajheera and John Swifty.
It made me consider the question – if Blizzard turned my character into an NPC for Warlords of Draenor, what kind of NPC would they make him – not what I would make him. The NPC would reflect the character’s in-game activity. Auction House vendor? Pet Battle Trainer?
I had a couple of thoughts. Maybe he could be a quest hub NPC, but that role is already taken.
There’s not really one thing I do in-game. I can’t pigeonhole my playstyle. I quest and PVP, I run dungeons and scenarios. I play the Auction House and pet battles. I do everything but raid, and that’s due to a mix of inexperience and having a computer that probably would drop a big poo as soon as the boss was pulled.
So my NPC would probably be a rare spawn mob. He’d walk alone, but he could show up anywhere. Silver dragon elite, and his drop table would be extensive and random. You’d loot “Rokk’s Box” and there could be anything in it – from gold (reflecting the AH and gold farming aspect) to dungeon/pvp gear (that would reflect the iLevel of the applicable unlocked dungeon given the level/zone he’s found in). He could also drop a rare battle pet which would be a miniature version of himself called Smackdown.
It’d definitely be a hoot to go one-on-one with the Main Monk in WoD. I think a therapist could clarify if that would make me suicidal or just “a little off.”
What kind of NPC do you think your character would be?
Shared Topic – Seven Deadly Sins
Noahdeer, over on Blog Azeroth, posted this Shared Topic:
We all know of the Seven deadly sins (Wrath, Greed, Sloth, Pride, Lust, Envy and Gluttony) and we all succumb to aspects of them at one time or another, but is there one particular sin that affects you more than the others when you play World of Warcraft? Are you a bit too prideful about your armor set? or Do you look upon someone with envy when they have a piece of armor that you don’t have yet?
I believe it was the great space western philosopher Malcolm Reynolds who, when asked what his own sin was, said “Ah Hell, I’m a fan of all seven. But right now, I’m gonna go with Wrath.”
Wrath – not just “of the Lich King” or “of Khan”, but something that keeps me warm at night.
World of Warcraft, as grand and all-encompassing as it may be, is just a video game. Blizzard wants more people playing their game, so they’ve tried to hammer out the dents in the learning curve to allow for ease of entry (Editor’s Note — deleted the “Like your Mom” joke because, come on, too easy.) Unfortunately, the more they simplified things for newer players, the more the existing player base ramped up the difficulty through social interaction.
And by “social interaction” I mean “being a raging shit-boner.” Thus begins my rage-bomb.
Nobody likes being made to feel stupid, or inferior, especially when they’re playing a video game. It takes time to learn how to play your class, or learn boss mechanics in dungeons. But once the basics are down, the World is your oyster. If sexy RP servers and WowIronman.com have taught me anything, it’s that there’s no wrong way to spend your time in-game.
But there are players who do not embrace that concept. Screw optimal rotations; if you’re not using your in-game time like they are (aka “the Right Way”), they will squat over your head and shat on your forehead. Y’know, people like:
1) Snobby Raiders. Raiding is a niche Blizzard developed, just like PVP, to engage more players once they’re level capped. Gotta keep ’em playing, keep ’em feeling like they’re progressing once players reach max level, right? Right. So Blizzard amped up encounter difficulty, let players throw crowds of characters at it, and reward the characters accordingly with pretty purple pixels. While I haven’t done any raiding since my Everquest days, I do know the thrill of the raid and the sweet satisfaction of downing a boss. It’s a pretty cool feeling, and can be a great bonding moment with your fellow players.
However, many raiders have the attitude that if you are not doing 25-man content, 10-man content, or raiding at all, you are “doing it wrong.”
Seriously, go fuck your hat.
It pisses me off to no end when raiders make non-raiders feel like they’re somehow inferior because they’re not grouping with nine or twenty-four other people to kill things. We all, raiders and non-raiders alike, killed the same content to get to the end game. Just because some people choose to do other things once they’re level-capped doesn’t make them any worse than anyone else. Just like wearing raid loot or a raid title doesn’t make you better. Hell, you could be a complete half-wit who eats paint chips while you play, but saddle up with a team of non-mouth breathers and you can get through the content. That’s the thing about team play – really good can help make up for the less than good.
So congratulations. You and your buddies killed Deathwing. You’re no better than the gnome flying around picking herbs. You just chose to spend your time differently. Also, you’re a bit of a sucker for punishment.
2) Entitled Douchebags. If you want to party in Club World of Warcraft, fifteen dollars a month is the cover charge. What happens once you get past the velvet rope is up to you. There is no guarantee that hotties will be grinding up on you. There is no promise of cramped, sexy bathroom nookie. There’s a good time to be had, but sitting in the corner booth sipping your water won’t make it happen.
But there are WoW players out there who don’t understand. Y’know, the “bathroom nookie” part. (Editor’s Note — Maybe some of us prefer not to play where we poop.) There are also players who feel that they should be getting all the perks that other players have. They have the RIGHT to see all of the content. They DESERVE the same loot. I mean, it’s not their fault that they have lives and can only play a couple of hours a week! They should get the same purples as rep grinders, farmers, or raiders! They pay their fifteen bucks a month just like everyone else, dammit!
To all of that I say this: Go piss up a rope and suck the wet end. That taste in your mouth is the taste of failure. Also, urine.
You are “entitled” to two things in World of Warcraft – Jack and Shit. Pay your money to Blizzard, and Blizzard gives you a World (of Warcraft) to play in. You are entitled to the same opportunity everyone else has – to play the game. If you don’t have the time to put in, that’s not anyone else’s issue but your own. Others have had to sacrifice things to advance in the game and earn their shinies (like family time, personal hygiene, social skills, sunlight). If you’re not in a position to do the same, be happy with what you have.
You can’t always get what you want in a video game, or Real Life. Grow up.
I could go on and on (seriously, I have a list), but I feel that you, dear reader, are picking up what I’m putting down. There are millions of people playing World of Warcraft. Tens of thousands per server. Thousands per faction. If people would treat each other the same way they would if they were in the same room, I think more people would not only play, but they’d stick around. WoW is a reflection of our society. What parts it reflects is up to all of us.
Play nice. Don’t be an asshole.
Shared Topic – Flavours of WoW
It had been far too long since I took part in a Shared Topic over at Blog Azeroth, so I decided that I would write something on whatever the most recent topic was.
It would not be uncommon to hear about the initial release of World of Warcraft as Vanilla or Classic. In terms of ice cream or gelato (which is my preference), Vanilla was once considered the most popular flavour of it’s time. So if Vanilla represents Classic WoW, what flavours could represent the following expansions?
Ice cream. The gauntlet had been thrown down. Mostly because I don’t really eat ice cream anymore, and therefore have very few points of reference to draw on. But since when have I let my lack of knowledge of a subject prevent me from posting about it?
To the INTERNET!
Specifically to The Food Channel to find out some popular ice cream flavors and educate myself so I didn’t sound like a complete idiot. (Editor’s Note — You failed as soon as you started typing this post.)
Next, I re-read the suggested topic. I agree that the O.G. World of Warcraft is considered vanilla, but more along the lines of the Urban Dictionary’s definition of it – Unexciting, normal, conventional, boring. It was a building block that, while delicious, could be made to taste better if you added some chocolate syrup or sprinkles to it. So let’s look at those sprinkles, shall we?
The Burning Crusade was the first expansion to come out for World of Warcraft. According to many raiders, this was THE expansion. The content was difficult, it kicked much ass, and succeeding with these raids gave people bragging rights to impress the handful of people who were impressed by that sort of thing.
It also introduced two more races, more content in the form of an entirely new planet, and many more levels. BC was a solid building block, adding much flavour to the vanilla game. Not so much different, just more solid yummy goodness.
Therefore the flavour of the Burning Crusade is Chocolate.
I think I’m getting the hang of this.
Wrath of the Lich King brought the thunder in a big way, breaking all sorts of purchasing records right out of the gate. It introduced the continent of Northrend, the Heroic Class of Death Knights, and the Lich King himself kept popping up throughout your questing experience. It was a tasty expansion. Too tasty. People suffered burnout and unsubscribed from too much Wrath and not enough of anything else. They became sick of the content, and bored after doing the same things over and over again. Many players actually grew to resent Wrath for being too good, then too bad.
So what ice cream offers so much to many people, is very yummy, but will just make you sick if you eat too much of it? I didn’t need the Internet for this answer. I just drew on personal experience.
Therefore Wrath of the Lich King is a Banana Split. (Editor’s Note — I think you’re doing this wrong.)
Strange. I find myself getting hungry writing this article. Moving on.
Cataclysm was the third expansion to come out, but it didn’t bring as much to the table as the previous two expansions did. It took Vanilla content and stomped a mudhole in it, changing a great deal of the 1 – 60 leveling experience. Outland and Northrend were untouched, and five new zones were added for 80 -85 questing. Goblins and Worgen were introduced as well. Critics loved the game, and subscribers swelled to the twelve million mark. But those numbers started declining, and haven’t really stopped decreasing since 2011. Cata was good, but people were getting sick of ice cream by this point. They politely ate as much as they could, then pushed their bowl away and left the table. For many people, it was just too much.
For me, Cataclysm is a Chocolate Ice Cream Cake Roll – described as a thin, rich chocolate sponge cake spread with your favorite ice cream rolled up and frozen, then before serving it’s covered in a luscious chocolate ganache. (Editor’s Note — Ganache? Seriously? I give up.)
Well that’s my shared topic. If anyone needs me, I’ll be at Dairy Queen for the next week.
Shared Topic – Herculano The Love Fool
Let’s do this.
World Event – Love is in the Air
I think it was Brewfest of last year that got me on the road to What a Long, Strange Trip It’s Been. I’d been sitting on the Brewfest achievement for almost a year. All I had to do with drink the final Brewfest brew and the achievement was mine. Once that was done, I noticed the next World Event was almost completed as well. I’d done bits and pieces of various Events, but never bothered to put it all together. Eventually it became my mission to complete them for the Meta Achievement.
We are now getting into Crunch Time.
I had only three events left to complete: Love is in the Air, Noble Gardner, and For the Children. Piece of cake, until I realized that I was going to be on a week long vacation during Love is in the Air. I finished off as much as I could, and before I left on my vacation I only had to Pity three Fools and find some Flowers. However, I’d only have maybe a day to do it, and if Murphy’s Law had his way it wouldn’t be easy.
My vacation was exhausting – from Canada to Las Vegas, then Arizona, then California, then back to Vegas before flying home. It was a family affair with my parents, and if you follow me on Twitter you know why having my Mom there was such a big deal. But once the holiday wrapped, it was time to get some business taken care of.
First: Run the dailies, use the tokens to buy the three remaining Love Fools that I needed for the achievement.
Second: Coffee. Okay, this was actually first. I am only mostly a machine; I still have human frailties like sleepy and sore from days of walking more than I drove (and I drove over three States – you do the math).
Third: Start Pitying some Fools. I thought the Gurubashi Arena was going to be tough since the odd time or two I’d been there before, I’d been jumped by an Alliance Rogue who had no business being out there other than to be some special flavor of dick. Luckily there were no such hiccups this time. Culling of Stratholme was cake, leaving only Naxxramas for the win. Despite being part of the largest guild in North America, I felt like I should be able to get into the raid instance without asking for help. This is called being anti-social, kids. Don’t be this. It’s something I’m working on.
Protip: Until you get over being socially inept, create a FREE starter account and level a character up to 10. This is the minimum level that a character can be to get into a raid instance. Once you have your raid toonie, have you main invite him and form a raid. You can then get into the raid zone.
I asked for help and actually got a couple of offers. Who knew that interacting with people could be so beneficial! I zoned into Naxx, dropped my Fool, /pitied the bastard and got the achievement.
Fourth: More coffee because.
Fifth: For the Bouquet of Red Roses, I hit regular Blackrock Caverns. The second boss dropped the flowers, so if I didn’t win them I could quickly drop the group and re-queue. Nothing like running through a zone that you over-gear and over-level. That suited me fine since I hadn’t run a 5-man in months, and had never run Blackrock Caverns. So we burned through the instance, killed the boss, and I rolled /need on the flowers.
Bam. Herculano the Love Fool. One step closer to my purple proto-drake.
Shared Topic – Love is in the Air
At Blog Azeroth, Effraeti posed the following as a Shared Topic:
With the in-game World Event “Love is in the Air” and its correlation with IRL Valentine’s Day next week, I have been thinking about character love interests (and also because I am a hopeless romantic).
Who is your main character’s love interest? Are they involved with someone, do they pine for someone?
Many bloggers lately have been discussing playing with IRL couples who raid together. How would this transfer to the characters they play? Why would their characters slay dragons together?
I am curious on everyone else’s thoughts! I will post a response to this over the weekend, in time for Valentine’s Day, and link it when it is live.
Love interest? Well, maybe once upon a time…
The ground had disappeared far below him, hidden by clouds and distance, and still Herculano urged his Netherdrake even higher into the sky. The air was thin, cold. Every breath was like struggling to inhale molten steel, scorching every inch of his throat and lungs. But that was merely physical pain, and physical pain he could deal with. It was the deeper pain that pushed him beyond his limits, time and again, much to the dismay of anyone around him. Today, that included a mighty Netherdrake. The beast could finally take no more, and the Orc felt the muscles in his mount’s back tighten and twitch. They were as high above everything as they could be, but for Herculano it wasn’t high enough.
It wasn’t high enough to reach beyond. Reach where She was.
Staring across the vast blue emptiness, he couldn’t remember exactly when he’d lost her. Perhaps a part of him didn’t want to remember it. He was a mighty warrior, slayer of Gods and Dragons, yet there were still some doors he could not bring himself to re-open. On rare occasions he would allow himself to think back to a time when She was with him. They had grand adventures and faced down many a foe. At night they would lay together in the cold and their love, their fire, would keep them warm.
And just like that, in that brief moment of happiness, he would remember that She was gone.
And just like that, he would destroy whatever was in front of him. With blade. With fist. With teeth.
Demons feared his rage.
Dragons feared his destruction.
All because She was gone.
Herculano watched the sun slowly sink into the clouds, and embraced the pain of the icy chill stabbing into his flesh. The light was giving way to darkness, just as his mount’s strength was beginning to give way to fatigue. Grudgingly he jabbed his heels into the Netherdrake’s hide, signalling for it to begin its descent. As he watched the clouds gently rise to greet him, he knew there would be no love to keep him warm on this or any night. It was that knowledge which fuelled his ever-burning rage, an inferno that would never be extinguished.
Until She was with him again.
Shared Topic – What Is Your Best Grind?
On Blog Azeroth, Dangfool proposed this shared topic:
Normally the words “Best” and “Grind” are not found this close together and there are plenty of grinds to hate. However, I’m interested in the flip side:
Was there something that required sustained and prolonged effort that you found interesting or rewarding? Was there something that was not just a chore to work on?
I’m assuming most grinds are for Reputation, but maybe you have a novel definition?
* * * * *
Zin’rokh, Destroyer of Worlds is one big-assed sword. It’s huge, it’s nasty, it looks cool, and it is not easy to get. Which makes having it all that much sweeter.
I’d scanned my roster of characters to decide who would best make use of this Final Fantasy-looking blade. It boiled down to my dwarven death knight (having recently become my new main focus of interest at that time) who was going to be the lucky owner of this sword.
All he had to do was level up Archaeology.
I know. I’d heard the stories too. Read about how Archaeology was about as much fun to level as watching paint dry. But Zin’rokh called to me with its epic coolness, and so my mind was made up.
Besides, it’s not like there weren’t other upsides to leveling the profession. There were excellent Archaeology addons I could use to help simplify the procedure. I could get not one, but two titles out of the deal. Along the way there were plenty of companion pets I could get, as well as a slick mount or two. Oh yeah, and blah blah lore something something. But I had to admit, it sure looked like there’d be quite a bit of upside to leveling Archaeology.
I also had a strategy. I would only grind the Eastern Kingdom, since it had the most Troll digsites and I’d need a metric shit ton of Troll fragments and keystones to improve my chances at Zin’rokh. Using a DK also made the process easier – I’d use Death Gate to start off at Ebon Hold, then simply fly south and hit every digsite along the way. Once I reached the southern tip of Stranglethorn, I’d hit Death Gate, port back to Ebon Hold, and start the procecure all over again.
Armed with a plan, and motivation, my DK began the leveling process.
The process was… painful. I’ve leveling fishing to max level before, and that was easier to do than skilling up Archaeology. It wore me down like nothing, and I’ve done my fair share of mindless rep grinds. I’ve even done fishing to skill cap. The difference between those grinds and this one is for Archaeology, you have to pay attention. You have to know where to fly, and once you arrive at your digsite you still have to scamper around and repeatedly drop your spyglass thingie before you dig up your first of three finds per site. Fishing you could just click, cast, pay attention somewhere else until you heard the splash, then focus back on your floater. That’s what made Archaeology so different – it kept you more aware of what you were doing, and what you were doing was mind-numbingly BORING!
I saw achievements pop up and I didn’t care. Blues and purples formed in my bags and I ignored them. I felt like a mental marathon runner, willing myself to make it just a little further, just to the next checkpoint, the next mile. I just had to hit 450, then start solving the Troll fragments and hope to unlock Zin’rohk. That became my mantra, my goal – reach 450 in Archaeology.
And I did. I got to 450 and started solving Troll artifacts. Two things happened after that –
1) I reached 525 in Archaeology.
2) Zin’rohk was not mine.
To say I felt like I’d been kicked in the balls is a disservice to actually being kicked in the balls. There are time sinks in World of Warcraft, and then there’s the pit of time quicksand that is Archaeology. It was like having teeth pulled with pliers, and being very aware of every second of it – the pressure on your gums as the metal bites down on the tooth, the pressure of the roots being dislodged, and then the pain. It was like all of that, but without the sucker the dentist/butcher would give you for being a good boy and not spitting blood all over.
I don’t log on with that DK very much anymore.
Now you might be thinking that this little rant had very little to do with the Shared Topic question. In fact, it sounds like the opposite of what was being asked. But to that I say this: Archaeology became the bar that every grind would be measured against. Thanks to the Archaeology grind, I had no problem with my Netherdrake rep grind, or the Fireland Daily grind. In a way, my Archaeology grind made everything else better.
In case you’re wondering, I don’t miss not having Zin’rokh. At least I didn’t, until Blizzard introduced Transmogrification in Patch 4.3. Can you imagine a Fury Warrior dual weilding Zin’rohk? Sadly, I can.