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Burning Crusade Impressions Roundup 62

With the Draenei out of the bag, the news sites have taken some time to reacquaint themselves with the new corners of Azeroth. From the Gamespot hands-on report: "To navigate these vast new areas, the expansion will add flying mounts, such as winged dragonlike characters that can run along the ground even more quickly than the fastest epic mounts in the game and also take to the air at any time and fly anywhere. Though you'll need to have a character at level 70 to get your own flying mount, you'll enjoy increased freedom of movement--and apparently, Blizzard's content team is also designing out-of-the-way pockets of content and monster camps to be discovered by adventurous players who don't mind exploring the new areas." More impressions below if you Read More.
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Burning Crusade Impressions Roundup

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  • by spun ( 1352 ) <loverevolutionary@@@yahoo...com> on Thursday May 11, 2006 @11:07AM (#15308467) Journal
    More impressions below if you Read More.
    I'm impressed with the lack of impressions below.
  • The new race will also possess new innate abilities, including a heal-over-time skill called Blessing of the Naaru, though it won't be overwhelmingly powerful ("it's on par with a renew or regrowth [spell]," explained the producer) but will scale up with your Draenei character's level and be useful enough for reducing downtime (the time required to sit and recover from wounds after battle). 1. There's downtime in World of Warcraft? Since when? 2. What person who'd give a tinker's damn for an upcoming MM
    • Hmmm. Renew and Regrowth are substantial at higher levels. Wonder what the casting time/cooldown is on it?

      Not that it matters that much. It annoys me when they release dribs and drabs of info, because it leads to tons of pointless speculation a la cable news.
      • Pointless speculation is what they want; it's free press and it keeps WoW in the gamer's mind.

        But personally, I disagree with their game design philosophy. Catering the bulk of endgame content to people who have no life and the patience of a saint is where they went wrong. After raiding for near 6 months solid, I cancelled my account a month ago and haven't wanted to play the stupid game since. I had hopes that the WoW design team was smart enough to come up with a game that didn't force large party content
        • I'm in it with a decent sized group of geographically-seperated friends, and I'm a pvp guy which helps as well, but, I admit, I get seriously tired of raid content.

          I think they could do a lot more with the faction stuff...too many factions are just a killing grind, and the ones that aren't a killing grind are a resource grind. They need some faction stuff that is long term and hardcore, that involves a bunch of quests, and provides decent rewards. Wouldn't mind them expanding crafting either.
          • Some Blizzard employee at E3 (I think it was the guy interviewed in the NYT article) said that they want to correct the need for faction in getting items from ZG and AQ - that the idea of getting rewards at a given faction level was good, and the idea of exchanging items for loot was good, but that the two combined was stupid and turned people off to raiding. Wow, I just won a phat purple - too bad it's going to sit in my bank for the next six months while I grind Zandalar rep. Overall, it's a good idea, be

            • Yea, faction + raid is ridiculous. I couldn't agree more. However, plain old faction is pretty cool for a lot of reasons. First off, if it's not raid faction, you can actually solo yourself up to Exalted. It'll take for-fricking-ever, but you can do it, and it'll give you access to stuff that other people will lust after.

              Faction is just a way to add something cool, open up new quest trees, and crafting abilities, all without forcing the player to have 20+ friends who are willing to help them along.
        • by Moraelin ( 679338 ) on Thursday May 11, 2006 @01:28PM (#15310082) Journal
          Believe it or not, Blizzard doesn't have infinite funds, nor infinite manpower. They can't _possibly_ provide an endless stream of new content, so your level 60 character can go through a dozen new quests per hour like you did at level 1 in Northshire Abbey. Even if they had 10 times the total content in WoW, you'd still run out of it in a couple of months at that rate. Then what?

          So they developped as much content they could afford, and messed with how much they give you at each level. If you plotted a graph with the time along X and the percent of content you've seen as Y, let's just say it would look like very much an asymptote. It starts by going up pretty quickly, but then it slows down, and it takes more and more time to get closer to that covetted 100% spot. By the end of it, huge amounts of time are required to make even the tiniest of progress.

          I fondly call it the "boiling a frog alive model". They say that if you put a frog in hot water, it will just jump out. But if you put it in cool water and slowly heat it up, it will stay in and get boiled alive. Now I don't know if that's true with frogs, but it's certainly true with about half the WoW players. Because that's what Blizzard does.

          In the beginning you're not up against any major challenge, farming or grinding is entirely unnecessary, travel times are 1-2 minutes, and you get to do new quests and see new content all the time. And you're as happy as a frog in a pool of cool water. (Some people may whine that it's cooking pot shaped, but you're sure it's only whiners/fanboys/whatever.)

          It's a _great_ game at that level. And it had to be like that, because that's what gets people addicted.

          But unfortunately they can't afford to keep it like that for ever. They just don't have the funds, the manpower or the infrastructure for the insane quantities of content that would be required.

          So from there it goes slowly downhill, and more and more time-sinks are worked in. Gradually you need more time spent travelling, more time farming for your next weapon or recipe, more time waiting for a good group for that instance, etc. But still, you work your way slowly towards that 100% point.

          Until eventually there are only 2-3 instances left total, and that's it. That's all that separates you from finishing the game, getting bored, and cancelling your account. You've consumed everything else already. So all they can do to keep you busy (and paying the monthly fee) is to make you do those over and over again for months.

          That's, in a nutshell, why it becomes repetitive.

          Why does it require large groups too? Well, for various reasons. Among others, because:

          - it's viral marketting. It's a way to make people beg their friends to keep playing. In other games it was just the thought of "oh man, but all my online 'friends' are in this game" that kept you playing. But in this one said friends _need_ you. They start sending you tells or even emails that you're _needed_ for that 1000'th MC raid. You may even feel like you've failed your friends if you can't log on for that raid. It can make it very hard for some people to cancel their account, even long after they stopped having any fun in WoW.

          - to further dillute the rewards. Even if you hit that 1% jackpot and the boss drops that item you were after, too bad, you're one of maybe 8-12 people rolling for it. (Or even more fun, you may know from the start that you're not going to get it, because your guild implemented some "contribution points" system. So you can know from the start that although you've played for 8 hours a day, someone else who's played 16 hours a day is ahead of you, and you'll only get that item if they don't want it.) Time to do it again next week.

          Or maybe that boss doesn't even drop anything you need, but you're helping someone else get it. So hopefully they'll reciprocate and help you get yours. Well, that's even better. That's some hours for each of you which didn't get you any closer to your own goal. You're still as far from th
          • "So from there it goes slowly downhill, and more and more time-sinks are worked in. Gradually you need more time spent travelling, more time farming for your next weapon or recipe, more time waiting for a good group for that instance, etc. But still, you work your way slowly towards that 100% point."

            I wouldn't say it goes slowly downhill. While yes it takes a lot longer to get from level 49-50 than it does to get from 19-20 the game still moves along at a pretty quick pace. Once you get into the mid 50s you
            • "Sure it's easy to say "Blizzard can't make infinite content" but other MMOs have a lot more quests and things to do than WoW."

              Having actually played other MMOs too, I'd actually challenge that.

              E.g., COH/COV? COH launched with a _much_ smaller world than WoW, and it's still smaller. And it _still_ doesn't really have that many different quests. Sure, it has a lot of them, but they're all variation of the same dozen or so mission templates, and all inside maps are made of the same large building blocks arran
              • EQ1 at its peak had 400,000 concurrent members online ... not sure how man subscribers total. Regardless WoW has ecliped EQ1. Doesn't really matter and as an EQ fanatic I've come to terms with it. :P EQ1 caters to hardcore gamers whereas WoW caters to the casual gamer.

                The only one which might give WoW a run for its money is EQ1 with all the expansion packs. But then it took how many years to get all that content?

                I'd argue about 2 years into it that EQ had at least double the landmass of WoW - by that p
                • Nope, it was 400,000 subscriptions. The peak number of concurrent users was about 1/10 that.

                  The general rule of thumb is around that 10:1 ratio, so if EQ1 ever had 400,000 concurrent users, we'd have heard about it big time. Until WoW it was doubtful that the whole MMO market is 1 million people, so any game reaching 4 million subscribers would have made _headlines_ in a major way. (Like WoW did.)

                  So, yes, WoW eclipses it by more than a member of magnitude. Even if you don't count China, since EQ1 didn't exi
      • The screenshot I saw said it was a 1.5 second cast with a 2 (or was it 3?) minute cooldown. The character was in the mid single digits, and the ability claimed to heal 50 health over 15 seconds. Seems like a pretty powerful ability, especially for classes that can't normally heal. Personally i'm thinking a Draeni warrior is gonna be scary in PVP... then again, the idea of a Blood Elf rogue scares me too. :P
    • Yes there's downtime. The Draenei will get their own login servers and be able to log in at 11am on patch day.
    • So it's basically the same as the Undead's Cannibalize, but with no nearby corpse needed?
  • by joejor ( 578266 ) on Thursday May 11, 2006 @11:18AM (#15308576)
    This New York Times interview [google.com] is very informative. You get the impression that
    1. the interviewer knows enough about the topic to ask intelligent questions, and
    2. the interviewee enjoys the topic and has intelligent answers
  • Now the more pressing question is.....When is the release date???
  • by ZombieRoboNinja ( 905329 ) on Thursday May 11, 2006 @11:40AM (#15308810)
    According to the NYT interview, Jeff Kaplan thinks that about 25% of WoW players with level 60 characters have killed Ragnaros, and 15% have killed Nefarion.

    I can sort of buy the first statistic... sort of. Ragnaros is regularly downed by pickup groups now, so I can see a fair amount of people getting a shot at him.

    But Nefarion? 15%? To propogate a meme, ORLY?

    For those with actual social lives, Nefarion is the last boss of Blackwing Lair, currently the second-hardest dungeon in the game. You have to kill seven bosses before you get to Nef, and each of them can take weeks for a new guild to learn to defeat for the first time. And since the dungeon resets every Tuesday, you have to clear your way through all of them EVERY WEEK to even get a shot at learning how to kill Nef - a process that takes months for some guilds.

    In other words, Kaplan is estimating, from his "gut feeling," that 15% of the people who've gotten to level 60 will ALSO have spent 15+ hours a week for several months in BWL. Either the WoW playerbase (of 5-6 million) is even more fanatical than I would have guessed, or this is a big overestimate, and possibly an attempt to justify the fact that for about a year now the WoW development team has focused almost exclusively on new content for the high-end raiders who make up a small proportion of the fan base. (I guess I shouldn't be complaining, since I'm a raider myself, but hey.)
    • we consider that 15% of level 60 characters have killed Nef? That is more likely than 15% of the players with level 60 characters. Many of the guilds I have been in had players with multiple level 60 characters. Some even had them simply to fill gaps in such quests. Need a mage, let me log in Magechar, oh, meatshield? I'll pull in WarriorChar.

      Then again there is always the fact that game creators/managers/designers believe more of their content is being used than really is. After all they made it so p
    • I'm not saying that 15% is necessarily accurate, but you're making faulty assumptions in the other direction. Not everyone who's killed Nefarion has been on all the learning runs. Once a big guild gets good at BWL, some of the regulars start slacking off, and they start taking new 60s in the guild, or friends of the guild, or whatnot. I've never been in a BWL-capable guild, but there were people in my old guild who would sometimes run it with a bigger guild when they needed a fill-in.

      Basically, what I'm say
    • About stats (Score:3, Interesting)

      by beldraen ( 94534 )
      Einstein once commented that the tools necessary to discover a problem are not the same tools necessary to solve it. Humans are notoriously horrible at recognition of statistical patterns; however, when we are good at solving problems, we often over-estimate our ability when his or her skills cannot be used for a purpose, like statistics. In this case, Keplan obviously knows very little about statistics. The first rule of statistics is humans are very poor at recognizing statistical patterns. Human br
      • Look away from the textbooks and consider the real world for a moment. Consider the GP's "According to the NYT interview, Jeff Kaplan thinks that about 25% of WoW players with level 60 characters have killed Ragnaros, and 15% have killed Nefarion.". Data analysis from Excel or SPSS is not needed. 99%(*) of your statistics textbook is not needed. The key thing that I believe you are missing is that sampling is not required. Given that this is an on-line only game that only plays from company servers means th
    • In other words, Kaplan is estimating, from his "gut feeling," that 15% of the people who've gotten to level 60 will ALSO have spent 15+ hours a week for several months in BWL. Either the WoW playerbase (of 5-6 million) is even more fanatical than I would have guessed, or this is a big overestimate, and possibly an attempt to justify the fact that for about a year now the WoW development team has focused almost exclusively on new content for the high-end raiders who make up a small proportion of the fan base
    • This estimate is ridiculously high. The WoW team is killing the game with this type of thinking; they seem to believe that WoW is supported by people who treat WoW as a lifestyle more than just WoW as a game.

      My clan runs BWL a few times a week, and a high level raid every night, HOWEVER, the same players go to every raid. Every 40 man raid is compiled from the same pool of about 55 players that do raids. The rest of the guild rarely, if ever, takes part in these long extravaganzas. In fact, most peopl

    • That 15% number is absurd on a high population server, I can't even guess what it would be on low population server. And I would buy the %25 number only if it applied to people who play more than 10 hours a week.

      If they want to fix this game, they need to focus on the diminishing returns for the time spent playing it. Harder bosses requiring more farming and more practice are not the way to keep people interested.
    • The amazing thing to me is that they could figure this kind of stuff out *for sure* using simple queries on their own databases, and I suspect they are *out of their minds*.

      1) Our raiding group regularly kills Nefarian -- I'd call the fight trivial -- but only half of our members have gotten to participate in that fight. So that's about 50% of a group of NON pickup high-end raiders.

      2) Since they patched him, we can't kill Hakkar.

      3) The changes they've made to the easier instances, such as Stratholme, appear
      • Oh, and we're on one of the original servers.

        Half of the folks playing WoW have been playing for less than a year and are on servers with a far sparser population of folks with good gear and raiding experience. I'd ballpark the number of folks who've killed Nefarian on *our* server to be less than 25%, and that's an original server with a large hardcore population. (It was one of the first ten servers to open up the AQ zones; I think it was fifth or so but not sure.)
      • "It seems to me that the only people who can complete the 45-minute Baron runs to get Tier 0.5 gear are people with Tier 1-2 gear -- which is the same deranged logic that drives instances such as ZG and AQ20. The only people who can clear those zone don't need to."

        Truer words were never spoken. I quite back in February mostly due to boredom and technical problems such as server stability and the login queue. I had 6/8 tier 0 items after more than 50 instance runs. Let's just say Strath had long since stoppe
    • Most folks debate whether the 25% number is inflated or not. They say "No way 25%, it's probably more like 15%!"

      That shouldn't even be the point of the argument. If ONLY 25% of level 60s have downed the boss of the easist raid dungeon in the game, why the hell do they keep making more raid dungeons?
      • "why the hell do they keep making more raid dungeons?"

        You wouldn't want the .1% of the players that have AQ40 on farm status to get bored now would you?
      • Take a lot of time to design (the size of dire maul doens't seem to be any smaller then BWL) and they get conquered in 2 days.
        • Maybe they get conquered in 2 days because everyone can do them? The guilds with 400 people, the guilds with 20 people, the guilds with 5 people, and lo', even pick up groups!

          Imagine that. The non raiders who pay the same $15 a month everyone else does can actually access the content!

          The other issue is... so what? Isn't that what the content is there for? To be experienced, and to be beaten?
    • Ragnaros is regularly downed by pickup groups now

      What server are you ON?! O.O
    • When doing the sceptor quest to open the AQ gates, my guild did a full BWL clear, including one wipe on Nef, in under 3 hours.

      15 hours per week is not a realistic figure here. Even when we were starting out we didn't spend that long in this dungeon each week. Though we did spend several months wiping to Razergore before starting to make progress in here.

  • PLEASE (Score:5, Funny)

    by GmAz ( 916505 ) on Thursday May 11, 2006 @01:45PM (#15310286) Journal
    Oh please tell me you can poop on peoples heads as you fly by on my flying mount??? That would be the ultimate PWN towards the opposing race.
  • Is this a 'free' upgrade or are you going to have to buy an install disk?
  • The flying mounts will ONLY be usable within Outland, one of the new zones to be added in the expansion.
  • "Blizzard's content team is also designing out-of-the-way pockets of content and monster camps to be discovered by adventurous players who don't mind exploring the new areas"

    I don't know about you guys, but Blizzard has a policy of banning people from going to places they aren't supposed to go. So, now they are adding content that you have to work hard to get to via exploring. And while Blizzard has said that they mark spots you aren't supposed to get to clearly, I know they would get mad at people going
    • I believe that the reason people were getting banned on the current game world is because the game was not designed with a free z-axis movement in mind. The art design of the environments use several tricks to reduce load times and give the player that "loadless" world. The new expansion world was designed with z-axis movement in mind, which is why they are able to do this and players should not have any fear of being banned for exploring. From what I understand, there will not be as many "off-limits" ar
  • sucks (Score:2, Interesting)

    I have been playing ying for a year, i have 3 60's and have never cleared MC,ZG,BWl.

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