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Thursday, April 28, 2016

(Someday?) Serving Pure Vanilla WOW


I'm watching the  War for Vanilla Servers and the blog posts about these "legacy" servers with interest.  One of the fascinating things to me is that there doesn't seem to be a standard for what Vanilla is. 

For me, all MMO experiences are shadows of my first online experience Star Wars Galaxies.  The changes there are precisely dated.    Released June 26, 2003.   April 27, 2005, the Combat Upgrade.   November 1, 2005 The New Game Experience.    Both brought devastating changes to the game, from which the game and its players never recovered.


World of Warcraft was released November 23, 2004.  The first expansion, The Burning Crusade wasn't released until January 16, 2007.   The expansion was well received.   I can't recall anyone ever saying anything negative about it, with the small exception of some who regret the addition of player flight to the game.



Is the Vanilla era from launch to the date of the Burning Crusade?  It seems to be the case. 

From Vanilla Gaming.org     What is VanillaGaming?

VanillaGaming is a 2009 founded World of Warcraft private server project and the oldest still existing classic server. With almost 5 years of experience we can offer you the feeling of the original World of Warcraft as it was back in the days of Patch 1.12. With the same main developer over all those years we have a huge knowledge about how to script (and sometimes even show so with new Wings :P )


From Vanilla WOW Wiki    

WoW patch news

World of Warcraft version — Final "vanilla" patch (1.12.1)
Patch 1.12.1 - Drums of War


The expansion did not bring devastating changes to the game, nor (except for many physical changes to the world in Cataclysm) have any of the changes to the game been abrupt.  From my perspective, having played mostly from 2008, onward, and not in the Vanilla era at all, it has been a reasonable series of developments over the course of a now 11 year old game.

Despite that, I do completely respect the desire of players to play the game as it originally was, before any large changes were made to the world.  Just as I never believed Sony when they said it was "technically impossible" to offer Pre-CU servers, I don't believe Blizzard when they say:

We explored options for developing classic servers and none could be executed without great difficulty. If we could push a button and all of this would be created, we would. However, there are tremendous operational challenges to integrating classic servers, not to mention the ongoing support of multiple live versions for every aspect of WoW.

Tell me there is no backup of previous versions.

You don't need to integrate classic servers, just fire them up.

You don't need to do "progression servers" just put up the "pristine", "classic" "pure vanilla" version whatever that may be.

To do so takes nothing away from the current game.
 
You don't need to patch and develop it, just say here it is.

Having it up there with old and new players trying it out could only be a positive thing, and maybe something can be learned from the original by all parties.


One other note – we’ve recently been in contact with some of the folks who operated Nostalrius. They obviously care deeply about the game, and we look forward to more conversations with them in the coming weeks.

This is encouraging to me.  Yeah, talk to these guys, bring em' on board, let them help you.  They understand every pixel of the old game and what it takes to bring that beloved older version to life.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Comfy Gaming

I purchased a new laptop recently. The primary requirement was that it would have to comfortably play World of Warcraft.  If I can only play one game, that's the one.

I didn't change any graphical settings, but it looks pretty good as is.



I find the ambient music to be more varied and pervasive on the laptop than on my gaming pic with its mongo speakers.  Anytime I'm playing a game and I find myself stopping and listening to the music, I love it.  Truthfully, there aren't many areas in WOW where I like the music.

It isn't like Lord Of The Rings Online or SWG where you're surrounded by really beautiful music at every turn.

I sent my Druid to Tanaan for a daily quest because she was out of oil.  The Daily went pretty well, but I almost died a couple of times due to lag? Or perhaps the keyboard isn't as familiar so I'm not hitting the keys I think I am.  I certainly won't be doing any dungeons on the laptop.  Can't have any distractions, or anything going awry for some technical reason.

It is really nice to do garrison chores during commercials.  

I also have characters gathering herbs and other materials mindlessly in various areas.  That is certainly doable while doing something else.

I was wondering what else I would want available for quickie play.  

I'm unable to load my character tonight in WOW, so I'm writing this on my iPad while Guild Wars 2 is loading.

Those two are my mainstays now.

I'd like Galaxies, but the emu people are pretty strict about installations.

Rift would be nice.

LOTRO, I'm enjoying that again.


Better stick with WOW and GW2, right.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Can You Hear Me Now?

I'm finally getting a new gaming headset. 




My old one worked fine while I was playing LOTRO early on.  However, during a brief Galaxies Emu period where there were Talking Peeps, it worked mostly not at all. Either I could hear others and they couldn't hear me or vice versa.  So frustrating.

Now I'm hoping to play LOTRO again, and unless something has changed, groups almost always prefer voice for coordination.  

And...if WOW does add voice, I'll be dungeon chatting for sure.  (Insert winking smiley face).

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Female Armor Bingo

Via Facebook (where else would something so odd show up?), the perils of female armor:







Friday, March 18, 2016

Blizzard Voice Chat Alpha

Via MMO Champion, Blizzard is experimenting with voice chat for its games.  Ha!   Not that I talk to anyone, but I might need to get a new headset.  Just in case.


Tuesday, March 15, 2016

GW2: Deeply Tangled Roots

My Sylvari Ranger's Personal Story presented me with the first moral dilemma I've come across in this game.



After working to help a fellow Sylvari track down his kidnapped love, she refuses to be rescued.  She has fallen under the spell of The Nightmare Court and no longer wants to return home.

Her love Tiachren still believes in her, and wants to rescue her.  She is leading an assault on a small village.  

Your choice is to go and help the villagers defend against the Nightmare Court, or go with Tiachren to try once more to pry her from the grasp of evil.

You are warned by your mentor Caithe that no one escapes the Nightmare, and that Tiachren will only be drawn in.  She is so cold and unfeeling, though (luckily your character sees that and calls her on it) that she doesn't seem quite trustworthy.

I just tortured over this.  I had been fighting at Tiachren's side through several scenarios, and I liked and respected him.  Love conquers all, so I do generally believe.  My best instincts said go help him.  

I couldn't let a village of innocents die though, particularly if he also fell to the darkness, which seemed the most likely outcome given what I knew.

So I chose to help the village, and there he was, a being of darkness at his love's side and I had to defeat both of them.

As it turns out, there isn't a different end to the story whichever choice you make.  You're a hero and the "Pale Tree" is all proud of you.

I don't know if the game has things down the line that result differently from this, but I hope it does.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Yet Another Adventuring Weekly Roundup







World of Warcraft

I sent 22 characters through the Darkmoon Faire.  I usually only send my crafting characters but everyone moved forward a few inches this week.  



Getting back on the Pathfinder track, I did a garrison mission Assault on Darktide Roost.   I had tried one of these previously and just got pounded, but this one was really easy.   So many eggs, so little time.





Guild Wars 2



My Ranger got all the play time this week.




She has a skill that is much like the Wow Hunter skill Barrage  where she just fires arrows rat-a-tat-tat.   I love it on the Hunter and I love it for her.  Both can have the unfortunate effect of pulling in nearby foes, however.  There is a really long and wide spray effect.


I rather like the environment of the Caledon Forest, all deep green with wild shots of color.




Black Desert Online

I really don't have the time for another game at this time, but Black Desert Online has sounded so interesting by every account I've seen.  I liked what people were saying, that it is a very different and immersive world.   When they described the pure pleasure they were getting from playing, well, I haven't seen that in awhile so I purchased the Traveler's edition.

I think thirty dollars is very reasonable as a base price for a game.  You can try it out and get quite a bit of game play for your money.   I'm reading with interest the posts about the cash shop.   Unless the cash shop stops me cold from playing and advancing my characters, I'm not likely to pay any attention to it.  I never do.  I've yet to buy a single thing from one.

Character Creation

I downloaded the game and then created a Ranger on the fly when I should have been getting dinner ready.  You know how that goes.   It didn't appear to me that some of the cosmetic choices made any  change to my character's appearance.   In a hurry or not, she ended up looking like she was twelve,  I didn't like the name I chose, and I really didn't like the family name.





The next day when I had some time I decided to just delete her and try again.  Good lord, it takes 24 hours??? to delete a character.

Reading ahead, I was expecting 5 character slots with the "base game" but I've only 4.

Because I was too impatient, I ended up creating a Sorceress with the unfortunate family name, but at least I liked the character and her name.  Yes, she does look like a vampiry Kristen Stewart.


While I was creating her, I noticed a clothing option.  How cool, there were all of these different outfits you could pick.  So I thought.   I get into the world and she's not wearing that outfit by a long shot.   Not the one I picked for sure. The feathery dead chicken thing on her right arm is really annoying.  Would not have selected dead chicken.



Create another Ranger finally, and was careful to look though the choices and pick one....












I carefully create my character and there she is in the world with the lace topped stocking outfit, obviously stock outfit number 1.



Why show all of those if you can't select one?  Am I supposed to buy one of the others in the cash shop?  Are those the $29.00 outfits I'm reading about?   How odd.  It would be better to let me have one of the cool ones, then if I wanted one of the others,  I'd perhaps buy one.   You have to give people something they want more of, you can't just dangle possibilities in front of us.  Particularly during character creation.    The Sorceress had some really great outfits  (in the creator), and I find it unusual that a game even offers such well designed armors.  We're all out there in mismatched "clown armor" for the longest time in many games.


Combat

I haven't taken my Sorceress out yet, but I got the first Ranger to level 7 easily fight imps and weasels.   I like that she can pull one mob at a time from a group.  I think it's odd that her melee moves seem to consist of leg kicks and hand chops.   Everything does go down quickly though.

There was this pop up message You're in a Combat Zone that had me worried. Was I vulnerable to PVP? No npcs or mobs seemed aggressive at all, but would they all suddenly attack here?  Apparently I'm safe till level 45 when my characters are cannon fodder for PVP so I guess I'll not worry for now.

Gathering

To pick up any loot from a body there is the longest animation I've ever seen.  Before I figured out I could just move forward to break the animation, I was crouched in the road getting run over by horses and wagons like mad.   Cone of shame city.


Movement

What is it with that weird stuck in place thing after interacting with someone?   I know I read somewhere a solution to it or comment on it but can't find it again.  Maddening.



The Black Cloud

The brief intro to the game has an ancient artifact wiping out a trade city with a black cloud. The whole place and everyone in it disappears.  Poof.

Once you land in the world, who doth mock you but your own personal screeching little black cloud!   Am I supposed to be alarmed?  Like I trust this little shrieker.  In fact, I hate him.  I just hate him.  I hope he goes away after the tutorial parts.


Saturday, March 5, 2016

Adventuring Weekly Roundup


When I had a Wordpress game blog, amidst all of the "improve your SEO" spam, someone told me they hated my weekly roundup icon.  It was a lasso and said weekly roundup.  Somehow it torked this person off.  Wah wah.  Gloriously, here's a shiny non-lasso icon for weeks when I do a roundup of fascinating activities.


World of Warcraft

I'm closing in on Draenor Pathfinder, I really am.  I just need the Reputations and the Assault-ons and see me swoop in and around the Tanaan Jungle.

I have a level 3 Shipyard, I'm not so impressed so far, but we shall see. 

Working a mage and a rogue towards 100.

Sending my Warlock into the jungle.  Gack, she's so undergeared she's getting smooshed painfully.


Guild Wars 2

Something clicked, and I think it was working finally on crafting--and I'm now leveling all four of my characters through the world and am trying to get the finer points of the game.

I'm finding working on a build to be a bit confusing.   I can tell I'm not building wisely but am too twitchy to try to figure it out.  Maybe later when I'm Ms. Insta-dead I'll look it all up.

There was a skill box glowing/throbbing for attention but the interface wouldn't let me add a skill.  Grrr.

Inventory management is so annoying.  I have all these bogus boosts and gifts and weaponry clogging my inventory.  Merchants won't buy used/looted weapons and stuff from me.  They don't even see it.  So I'm in a fight and my inventory is full and I have to use up a bunch of boosts and just toss things that I should be able to vendor trash for coinage but inexplicably no.

I do like the fact that everyone can gather every resource type and it is in a shared storage.

Not liking that bank inventory space is 28 slots shared by all  for all non crafting things and you have to buy more space with real monies.

Although she looks creepy, my Sylvari Ranger is now a favorite class/character.  Plink plink and they're dead.

Monday, February 29, 2016

GW2 Elementalist: My Personal Story

Between Wow runs in the Tanaan Jungle, I've been inching my GW2 Elementalist along and finally am at level 10, and gain "My Personal Story".

http://wiki.guildwars2.com/wiki/Personal_story

The personal story is the unique campaign of each character which, along with dynamic events and map completion, makes up much of PvE gameplay. The personal story is independent from random world events and is always available to follow through the game world and the events which occur there. The personal story is told through character specific instances and is personalized by decisions made before and during gameplay.  

I don't remember the personal stories of the other characters I've gotten to level 10, but I like this one so far.

 

I'm sent back to Divinity's Reach, the main city in Queensdale to see an old friend who runs a tavern with her father.  Some local ne'er-do-wells cause trouble and I have to take them all down.  Unfortunately, dear old dad was injured in the fight.  He needs medical supplies which bizarrely are not available in this, the largest city I have ever seen in a game.



Off I go to an encampment near where I started my character.  Bandits/robbers/boneheads have stolen the supplies and are holed up in a nearby cave.  I must go in to get the supplies back.   It was late when I did the opening of this series so I haven't gone cave crawling yet.  I'm expecting bunches of baddies and a boss.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

From Deep in the Archives: Blizzard's Brave New World

As everyone sort of mourns Blizzard putting World of Warcraft on the back burner, I came across an article I'd copied from Computer Gaming World.  I don't have the date on my copies, unfortunately.

The headline "Is World of Warcraft the breakout online game everyone's been waiting for? Blizzard's Brave New World" is so much fun, and reminds us the game was once all shiny and new, with an uncertain future in a crowded market.

 

The article is written by Jeff Green and Thierry Nguyen (two writers I miss!).  Here's some of what they liked:

"...the game world is beautiful.  Blizzard has truly realized it's goals with the game's graphics; it really feels like you're inside the WarCraft strategy games.  The landscape and architecture boast Blizzard's distinctive painterly, slightly surreal perspective--not quite realistic, but not overly cartoony either."

"...World of Warcraft opens almost as if it's a single player RPG--giving you very specific goals, cool rewards, and an easy, gradual introduction to the world around you."

"World of Warcraft takes its quest interface almost straight from WarCraft III.  NPCs with quests to offer appear in the world with large yellow exclamation points above their heads, just like in the strategy game."

"Before we started playing, Blizzard told us that one of its goals was to achieve what it did in Diablo II--make World of Warcraft so fun that "level ups" come as a surprise.  We'll be darned if that didn't happen a number of times throughout our two days of playing."

"World of Warcraft, more than any other MMORPG we've tried, plays much more like a single-player RPG--something Blizzard designed on purpose."


"...it's that fun, it was everything that made Diablo and the WarCraft games so addictive, and more."

"The biggest worry all along might have been that Blizzard would be out of its depth here, in a tough genre in which it has no experience.  Instead, Blizzard has taken genre and done the best thing it could possibly have done: made a Blizzard game."