So, I’ve been back into WoW for a bit now, and although the game has changed significantly since my TBC/Wrath days, a lot has stayed the same.

I didn’t pick the PUG life, the PUG life picked me

The first noticeable change for someone who has been out of the game for a while, is the continued trend towards easy grouping for current content. Not only can I queue up for dungeons and scenarious, but I can queue up for multiple raids, and I don’t lose my place in the queue while playing one of those raids. Often, immediately after leaving a raid, the queue for one of the other ones pops.¬† Getting groups is easy, and within a few weeks of gearing up, I downed the LFR version of the final raid, marking the first time I ever completed the final raid in the game (I beat every encounter in wrath EXCEPT the Lich King).

Another positive change is the “per-boss” individual lockout in LFR. I remember the frustration¬† of PUG groups in Wrath when it didn’t go well. If you cleared half the raid, you were pretty well screwed for that week, unless you could convince another raid to come in and complete it. Now, I can queue up for a raid, clear what bosses we can, and if we don’t complete it, I can queue for a different group later, only able to loot the bosses I have not killed yet.

The biggest negative at this point isn’t new, but it seems to have been exacerbated by the anonymity and random nature of the Raid Finder tool: Assholes.

It’s hard to determine which is more frustrating: The idiots who walk into a raid without knowing the encounter, do stupid things and cause wipes, then say “lol its just lfr no big deal haha,” or the jerks who will scream and throw fits at every minor mistake made by anyone. This is made worse by the fact that apparently there are a few non-English speaking realms in my battlegroup, which means at any given time there’s a possibility of queuing up and raiding with folks you can’t communicate with. And while LFR raids are not difficult per se, when a chunk of folks has no idea what to do, they quickly become exercises in futility.

Class Roles

When cataclysm came out, although I was nearly done with the game at that point, I welcomed the return of difficult heroics. I have no idea how it was toward the end of the expansion, but early on, they were a challenge. I was thrilled at the prospect of strategy behind trash pulls. Proper use of CC, the use of misdirect and feign death, dispelling things… I enjoyed these challenges. These things are not really present even in the raids in Pandaria. There also have been no new 5-mans, although I confess I have yet to participate in many heroic scenarios. There seems to be less to differentiate a “good” hunter nowadays except stellar DPS. And although topping the meters is satisfying, the ability to chain trap mobs, kite adds a’la Gluth, or other such tasks is a facet of playing that I miss.

As for difficulty, I can’t really intelligently comment here, as I’ve not made it out of LFR… however, the raids present little challenge to a decent group. I hope to soon have enough people in my guild to attempt tougher content, or perhaps oQueue is what I need to be doing to get into the higher difficulty raids.

The (Continued) Rise of the Casual

Going along with the LFR comments above, it seems to me the game has much more to offer the casual player now. Gearing is fairly easy to do solo, through the timeless isle, dailies on the Isle of Thunder for valor points, and a wealth of crafted epics. The addition of pet battles is a mini game which, although I’m not into it, is something a player can do solo in a limited amount of playtime.¬† Scenarios are a nice stand-in for 5 man content where roles are not as important. It’ll be interesting to see how Draenor furthers the casual POV, with things like garrisons (and the profession perks associated with them)

Looking Ahead to Draenor

Although I enjoy MoP’s storyline in general, I don’t feel like I’m as invested in it as I was during Wrath. Wrath (and cataclysm), gave us world-breaking baddies who were bent on destruction, and the villains in Wrath just don’t appeal to me as much. Although we don’t know much about Draenor yet, I really hope that we get back to the idea of a super-evil baddie with the real possibility of total destruction. Feelings as enemies just doesn’t have the epic appeal.

I’m going to log on a bit later and try to finish some more of Wrathion’s questline. If anyone reads this any more, my fledgling casual guild is recruiting. Stop in and say hi. Alliance side, Gilneas. Character name “Fitzh”

I have started a very casual guild on Gilneas. Hit me in game (Fitzh) for an invite.

The idea is that we raid casually. Mostly get drunk on vent and talk shit while downing bosses, probably just in normal modes.

docksandbrawls

Casually huntarding again. I recently got bored with a few other games, and decided to check out what Pandaria had to offer. I played it for a month at release, transferred my toons to a PVE server, and then shelved the game again. When I decided to fire it up again, I was totally … LOST. No idea what I was doing. The PaLOLadin got played first, but grouping up with him was difficult because A.) I suck at Pally DPS, and B.) No one wants a tank who doesn’t know the fights.

I fired up the hunter, and although I’m nowhere near the DPS of my better practiced brethren, I found it easy enough to re-learn to play. I’m playing as SV now, mostly because the last time I played this hunter, that’s what I was, and I found it familiar. I remember BM at Pandaria’s release irritated me.

I was surprised to discover that there has been no new 5 man content since the release of Pandaria. I guess now that LFR exists, there’s not much need for it, and there are a metric TON of scenarios as well.

I DO need your help. Look up top, see the raptor? Can anyone remember what model that was and where to tame it? I miss having a raptor.

Anyway, not sure what will come of this, but I’m considering starting up a casual guild a’la how AUO used to be. Get together, drink, raid content, etc. Thanks to the Timeless Isle on the paladin, and also on the hunter, my hunter dinged 90 with 3 pieces of the timeless gear, then got several more. I got the “Legendary” quest’s first stage done through LFR, which has mostly been painless, although LFR has none of the social aspect of a good guild run or in-server PuG like in the wrath days, where you’d often pug with the same people frequently.

Cheers!

Fitzh

Please, please, PLEASE stop sucking so bad. These heroics cannot be facerolled like the old ones, but they are NOT HARD. If you pay attention, they’re easy.

Also, stop ninjaquitting after one wipe. Some of us have a 45 minute queue and you REALLY waste it.

OK… What the fuck is this all about!?

I’ve killed Ragnaros, stormed Karazhan, taken down giant demons…

Killed Kelthuzad and his minions, battled to represent the alliance and defeated Anub’arak.

Then, I laid the smack down to a bunch of evildoers in Icecrown.

Now I’m suddenly a private? DIAF, “Captain” Glovaal. From the looks of your outfit, you bought your uniform from a Village People convention and “fabulous’ed” your way into the Alliance Navy.

Ingrates, I tell ya.

I love it. Immersive and story-driven, clever use of phasing.

Here’s some shots.

Note the description for the hot rod in the upper right corner… LOL

So, here I am, with my Cataclysm Collector’s edition. I have made no effort to learn about the new zones, quests, or dungeons. Have no boss strats. I’m going in mostly blind. I think I’m gonna level BM… cuz it’s levelling, and therefore not serious business. I am sure people will be like “LOLFROSTHEIM SAID THAT MM WAS GUD 4 LEVELINGLOLOLOL” But you know what? I don’t care. I have a Spirit Beast and Goddamn it, I’m gonna use him.

Currently, I’m in the queue. 18 minutes left, 205 people as of 5:43PM Eastern time.

Update 5:45: YAY! only 6 minutes left!

Update 5:53: 18 people left, < minute!

I’m on. Expected more destruction from Stormwind. I’m in Rutheran Village now, attempting to fly to the top of teldrassil.

Yep… you can fly to the top. Neato.

On a flight path to Moonglade now to check out the new Mt Hyjal zone. Graphics engine is different… the water effects are amazing, everything is a little better. I love being able to fly in the old world for the first time, and I suspect that the amount of effort it took to convert the old content to real 3d models instead of facades was staggering.

6:39 – Darkshore is totally fucked up. Nice. Deathwing destroyed the hell outta that place. Heading into hyjal now

ZOMG DEATHWING!
ZOMG! RAGNAROS!

Horde are still assholes. I’m giving serious thought to switching servers. There were only like 5 people online from AUO, so the old “But my guild is here” argument isn’t really valid anymore. Anyone have any server suggestions?

Queue to get back in, so I’m on steemwheedle, no queue. Starting a Worgen :-)

Queue is huge on my realm, none on Khadgar (my old realm), and it’s PVE.

Goodbye, bleeding hollow. Go to fucking hell. Transferring my main tonight.

I have a new computer, new web host, and I’m ready to hit cataclysm running. I’ve been playing Star Trek Online a bit lately, and I wanted to do a comparison post from what I’ve seen so far, which is admittedly not much.

First of all, it’s not WoW. It’s a very different game, with a very different focus. It is more flexible, I think, and more casual friendly.

The first thing I noticed was the differences between Perpetual’s plan for the game (the original developers) and the actual product. The ship was originally intended to be an environment where other players could go, and you were supposed to be able to recruit player crews, etc. This did not happen, and I’m not sure it would have worked anyways.

Your ship, rather, is another avatar for your character. Think of a mount with special skills. The lore reasons for you getting your own ship as a fresh Starfleet officer are shaky at best, but whatever.

This is a game for casuals. You can pilot any ship with any class, and even if it’s not optimal, it can work. Talent specs are much more flexible.

It’s also way easier than WoW, I think. But I think that may change at higher levels, and it’s good from a casual standpoint. The game has made me appreciate WoW in some respects, but in other respects its a better game for me.

When Cataclysm comes out, I’ll probably shelve it. But now that I have a PC and not a Mac, I figured I owed it a try.

See you on the flip side