June 21, 2007

Reputation grinding

I said I would blog more but with Work occupying my time recently, I haven't had much of a chance to sink my teeth into a blog post. Seeing as how I've finished my latest exercise though, and now I'm waiting for some feedback, I thought I'd write something new up on Gaming.

I haven't said much about my exploits on World of Warcraft except to skim over them and say that I'm having fun. I'm not sure I *am* still having fun but I continue to plod my way through the game.

Currently, I'm trying to hit Exalted reputation with the Netherwing faction so I can get a Netherdrake to fly around on...

...I suppose some explanation is required, for those reading who have no idea what the hell I'm talking about.

In World of Warcraft, in order to achieve certain items or goals, players have to obtain an amount of reputation by doing quests for certain factions. For example, if you want to go through the Timbermaw Hold from Felwood into Moonglade/Winterspring, you either need to become neutral/friendly with the Timbermaws or run really fast. Since running really isn't an option, you have to do the quests instead, which isn't too bad. The quests themselves are repeatable and can be handed in over and over, each reward amounting to a certain amount of reputation points. Before long, you can get past the Timbermaws and carry your journey on. For those who want more though, you can continue to gain reputation past neutral/friendly/honoured/revered to exalted for special items that will only be purchasable once you gain that reputation rank.

Of course, that example is from the Old World (a term to denote the game before The Burning Crusade expansion arrived). With the Netherdrake, the pre-requisite is to have purchased the epic riding skill, costing 5000g and be mounted, costing another 200g. This pre-requisite is actually hard to achieve although not as difficult as many make out. I spent around 2 weeks of gaming farming materials (oh dear, another explanation?) so I could sell things to make the money to buy the skill and the mount.

Once you have the skill and the mount, you can set off to do the Netherwing quests. Which quite frankly, suck.

There has been a lot of recent murmurings about the issue of World of Warcraft, and it seems finally the bubble has burst. For the first time since the game launched, subscription rates are not going up. In fact, they appear to be slowly dropping.

One of the big issues that has been uttered over and over again is that of The Burning Crusade expansion. It's clearly not doing what it's supposed to be doing - actually driving away the people it was supposed to be retaining.

The expansion was supposed to allow players huge amounts of solo content over a lengthier period of time. This means that players who don't wish to play with other players can go off and do their own thing. If you want to play in dungeons with groups though, the expansion also introduced "instances" where you could meet up. And finally, if you wanted to raid together against huge opposition, you could do that too.

The problem, though, is that the expansion took something away from the original game. For example, the end game that you reach eventually has changed. Instead of gearing up with mates and raiding, you have to handpick your raid mates instead. Essentially, the original game catered for "casual" players, those who weren't essential to your victory but kept your morale up for the 3+ hours that the raid required. Bards, for want of a better word (in the Dungeons & Dragons game, bards were a cross between mages and thieves but didn't really offer much else). So for Molten Core, a 40-player raid dungeon, 25 players were heavily involved, 10 players were semi-required and 5 players were just there for the hell of it.

In The Burning Crusade expansion though, the 40 and 20 man dungeons have dropped to 25 and 10 so the "casual" characters aren't being taken any more. This reasoning, although brilliant on paper, has destroyed whole guilds in their efforts to get ready for the raids (Swords of Justice, the guild I'm in is no different).

All of this is slowly making me want to try out City of Heroes once more. I just can't wait for Stargate Worlds to come out...

EDIT: Blizzard recently announced that they were changing the requirements for raiding in World of Warcraft. No longer will players have to become "attuned" to various dungeons in sequence. Essentially, this suggests that Blizzard's number crunchers have realised that subscription rates are slipping considerably and have pushed for a change. I'm not entirely sure, though, that this is enough.


Javaira said...

You should definately take a look at Warhammer Age of Reckoning (WAR) when it comes out at the start of next year.

I have restarted my WOW account and I am having fun, but still the game just doesn't hook me. I am just doing it to spend some time with a friend.

Crucifer said...

I will definitely spend some time in WAR but not much - WAR is PvP based as is Age of Conan, and I'm not that great a PvP'er. I much more enjoy co-op games than one-up-manship.