Archive for March, 2011

A Picture is Worth…

Posted in General, MMO, World of Warcraft on March 28, 2011 by Armada

Sometimes words just get in the way…

 

 

Our thanks to the The Daily Blink for today’s laugh

 

HFL Ranked Number 1 on Wyrmrest Accord

Posted in General, MMO, World of Warcraft on March 27, 2011 by Armada

A quick congrats to the members of the Horde for Life guild as we have maintained a server lead in both Guild Rank and Guild Achievement points for 5 months running. As you can see in the screen shot below from GuildOx.com; HFL is one of only 4 server guilds to have reached level 21 (we should be level 22 on March 28) and leads all guilds with 1270 achievement points.

Wyrmrest Accord is certainly not a world leader in terms of progression and HFL is anything but a militant raid guild. That said it is still nice to see our members rally around this little meta game and position ourselves as the number one guild on our server regardless of faction.

Well done HFL!

Horde for Lifes # 1 ranking

The Top 3 World of Warcraft Raid Instances

Posted in General, MMO, Raiding, World of Warcraft on March 26, 2011 by Armada

MMO raids offer not only some of the most engaging mechanics, but generally the best artwork and detail that the game has to offer. The World of Warcraft is no different, but among the many raids that are available to us in game, three stand out as the most exceptional. The following offer an experience that all players casual and hardcore alike, should experience.

3. The Sunwell

Really a tough call here at number three and I wanted to take the easy route and just call it a tie between The Black Temple and The Sunwell as they both offer examples of the best artwork and mechanics the developers of the time could put in game. While my heart and favorable experiences (read not wiping as much) want me to say BT, I have to acknowledge that Sunwell has better textures, better and certainly tougher encounters and unlike black temple, the final boss fight was nearly as much of a letdown. Points for Illidan’s Warglaives but Sunwell is the all around better raid instance.

 

Kil Jaeden

No wonder this raid curb stomped so many teams at launch... look at him!

 

2. Karazhan

My former favorite raid of all time, Kara stills offers some of the most original encounters in the game. You can really feel the developer teams soul in this raid and despite its age, is still engaging and incredibly fun. Karazhan is a text book example of how to make a raid about more than gear. The Opera Event with the Wizard of Oz, Romeo and Juliet or Little Red Riding hood is the most creative of encounters and should not be missed while the Morose and Curator dialogue and voice work are exceptional. The amount of trash while heavy at times was not terrible, especially in relation to the raids of that expansion and era. Simply a great raid that screams for an update, Karazhan will always hold a special place in my gaming heart.

 

Gives you that Van Helsing vibe... right?

 

1. Ulduar

If loot is your raid objective and/or you joined the game late in the Wraith expansion, then Ulduar probably fell under your raid radar. I am simply amazed at how many people are in game right now that have NEVER seen or experienced the best example of raid art and mechanics in game. Epic in scope, diverse in its story; Ulduar truly offers the best raid experience, design and visuals Azeroth has to offer. While Flame Leviathan, the raids first encounter can get stale, the remainder of the encounter is epic and increasingly fun ending with Yogg Saron and Algalon encounters that are infinitely more enjoyable than the Lich King fight in Ice Crown Citadel.

The only negative to Ulduar is that the developer team decided to cut the raid off at the knees by introducing Trial of the Crusader prematurely and thus killing interest in Ulduar LONG before its time. As a result, many raiders never experienced this incredible raid. However despite its fate as a short lived end game raid, Ulduar still offers an experience like no other. Where else can you fight dragons, a fire and ice giant, an enormouse robot with the voice of a 5 year old, enter the brain of an old god and if you are lucky fight a celestial being that looks like a constellation and gives you a fancy title?!

Exactly… put it on your guilds calendar today.

 

Every step you take in Ulduar feels epic

Bringing Some Law to the PvP Wasteland

Posted in HFL, MMO, PvP, World of Warcraft on March 17, 2011 by Armada

Tonight we look at the darker side of the World of Warcraft, the wasteland known as the PVP server. Player versus player experiences have over the years become much less about faction war and battles for objectives and pride and instead have devolved into simple “lowbie gank-fests” and “corpse camping” by cowardly players whose only goal is to grief and cyber-bully another player.

Rarely are these encounters fair as the “griefers” simply prey on the weak; killing unsuspecting low-level players who stand no chance of survival. Most of these types of players are actually mediocre in terms of skill level and do not even want a fair fight. They rely on a superior and overwhelming advantage in terms of level variance and the act of sizing up their opponent to ensure that they hold a decisive and no risk advantage is as simple as reading their victims character level as it’s displayed in the interface.

Many players have called for restrictions in open world PvP combat based on level ranges as a way to stem the griefing. However, despite my disdain for this type of behavior, I will fight for the right to do it. Why you might ask? Because to remove that ability would rip at the core integrity of the PvP rule set. This is likely the reason that some form of restriction has not been put into place, after all you are welcome to play on a non PvP server and avoid this frustration.

However all is not lost, there is hope. There is one small, simple change Blizzard could consider. A change that would have an immediate impact and go a long way to reducing this dishonorable type of behavior. This change would work to remove the tell-tale sign and a tool used mostly by these cowardly players and would go actually enhance open world PvP for all players.

And what is the best way to hinder these griefers? Remove level display from opposing factions.

You already cannot talk to the other faction, why is that we can see their level? Trust me when I tell you this WOULD with zero doubt reduce ganking. We can argue about how much it would reduce this behavior and I will concede that it surely would not remove it 100% of the time, but then again that’s not the goal. In actuality, I fully support even if I disagree on the morals of, a player on a PvP server attacking whomever he or she chooses regardless of level. It is a PvP server for a reason and I believe that some players would embrace the change and enjoy the challenge of the unknown.

But think about it for a moment; a cowardly level 85 ganker might think twice if they CANNOT BE 100% SURE that they are ganking someone 50 levels below them by looking right at their level. Let me also add that any player who complains about this change I am proposing, any player who would flood the forums and trade chat shouting about how unfair the change would be… right their names down because THEY are those VERY same cowardly gankers.

No quality PvP player, even those that role play pure evil and practice low level ganks would object to this change. But those cowards who generally have a delusional and inflated sense of self-worth and PvP ability would be the only ones hurt by such a change. Their definition of PvP is to prey upon the weak and this change would add a sense of the unknown and some risk to the attacker in the encounter as it should be.

Make the change blizzard… remove the level display from opposing factions at least on PvP servers… bringing just a little law to what is the PvP wasteland.

Agree? Disagree? Be heard… email us at hordeforlifepodcast@gmail.com

Game Barriers – All Are Not Created Equal

Posted in General, HFL, MMO, PvP, World of Warcraft on March 5, 2011 by Armada

As we discussed recently on episode 6 of the Horde For Life Podcast, most of us recognize and accept that game barriers, that is to say intentional developer placed barriers to a given players advancement, are simply a necessary evil in today’s online gaming world.

Until such time that technology advances to a point where a developmental team can create grind free dynamic content at a pace that equals or exceeds a player ability to consume it, we will be saddled with this methodology to control and throttle the pace at which we advance on the treadmill.

So while we can agree that game barriers are here to stay at least for the foreseeable future, existing and new development teams must realize as we prepare to enter generation 3 of online gaming that grinds and obstacles are a very different means to the same end.

Obstacles will and probably should exist, but grinds… grinds should be stricken from the developer tool bag and from the online gaming worlds lexicon. The very definition of the word grind; laborious, repeating and/or uninteresting work should clearly identify what a blight this often used developer mechanic and methodology is upon the online gaming, MMO world. Simply put anything that is laborious should not be part of any game.

So just how different are obstacles and grinds? Let me give you just a few examples. Accumulating rep with well over 50 factions by wearing a designated tabard and running a dungeon ad nauseam is a grind.  Being forced to kill hundreds of trash mobs to reach a few bosses in a dungeon or raid is a grind. Going to a specific zone, say Sholazar Basin in the World of Warcraft and flying around in a circle for endless hours to gather Saronite is a grind. And not to be outdone, my personal favorite; being forced to acquire a “tier” set of gear to be competitive in either PvE or PvP only to find that by the time the average player acquires said gear, it becomes irrelevant and obsolete because the next tier is announced.

You will notice that many discussions that include the word “grind” also include the word “forced”. Grinds and obstacles may be required at this stage of MMO evolution but if the mechanic is forced, then it will be met with disdain. A common example of a non forced grind would be the option the player has to level via farming level appropriate mobs, often called “grinding out levels”. This is much more acceptable, because it is just one of many options the player has to level, it is not forced.

Obstacles on the other hand are an understandable if not welcomed barrier to pace the player. Obstacles are tolerable tools that developers have at their disposal to throttle the player, something that hinders progress but is generally not forced. A good example of an obstacle would be tougher instances, tougher boss fights, harder quests that yield better rewards or rep or both.

Most players would rather spend their time wiping on a boss encounter, learning the strategy, even if it means a few more wipes, as opposed to spending hours clearing a room from trash mobs.

The good news is that some developers, Blizzard is particular seems to understand this and is enacting change. All it takes to see this work in progress is a trip to Molten Core, the first Warcraft raid created in 2004 or Stratholme a launch dungeon. You will immediately notice the seemingly endless trash mobs. Imagine tackling these encounters at level 60.

Now take a trip to Grim Batol one of the Cataclysm dungeons, here you will notice that the players are presented with a vehicle mechanic where you are set out on top of a set of drakes for a trash mob bombing run. The better job you do at blasting these grind mobs, the fewer of them you have to actually vanquish on the way to the boss encounters. It is not perfect by any means but your enjoyment of the mechanic is not important in the larger view. What is important is the fact that Blizzard “gets it”. Blizzard knows that trash mobs serve no player purpose and is at least exploring options to reduce at least one of the many grinds that are unwanted staples of the online gaming world.

Now if Blizzard would just realize that all the many benefits that adding a wardrobe feature or appearance tab would improve, specifically when discussing another grind; gearing by tiers. But we will save that discussion for another time.