Deadmines Speed Run Contest! Saturday March 22nd, 7:00 Server Time!

March 14, 2008 at 11:15 pm (1)

Come one, come all to the greatest tournament in the history of Azeroth!

The Deadmines Speed Runs!

Here are the rules:

You are allowed up to a total level of 120 combined by all players.

You must kill all bosses.

In order to win you must be the first one out of the cave all the way.

The winning group will recieve:

100g to split amongst the group.
Each member will receive a free 16 slot bag

2nd place will receive:

70g to split amongst the group
Each member will receive a free 16 slot bag

3rd place will receive:

50g to split amongst the group
No bags for you!  You are in third place! 😛

Be there, or be square!

Boazar

P.S.  This will be based on honesty, since players can’t follow you in.  I will expect everyone to follow the rules.

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Initiative: What we need from everyone!

March 14, 2008 at 11:08 pm (1)

With more and more of us getting characters/alts to lvl 70 (or to Outlands at least) I’d like to ask for everyone’s help with a couple things.

Initiative.  If you are interested in setting up heroic nights, kara groups, or anything else that you think would be a fun activity for the guild, don’t hesitate to do so.  If you need direction from the officers, or general help on how to recruit, or what we are looking for in people, feel free to ask.

I know since the Kara 1 group has disappeared into the wind, there are those of you who feel left out of Kara.  The last thing we want to do is make you feel left out.  And that’s why we need you to take a step up and help re-form kara groups, or get instance runs going.  If we are missing key components, or simply need to help guildies get better gear, please let us know so we can help you.

Communication.  I can’t stress this one enough.  We, as officers, try and reach out as often as we can, offering help when we log in.  But if we don’t hear anything immediately, then we as players go off and try to do our own things.  We need you to communicate with us more.  Do we need more Dire Maul runs?  Do we need some Ramparts/Blood Furnace runs?  Do we need to setup groups to run people through the Kara key attunement?  Do you want to start up an arena team?  Let us know and we will make the time to accomodate those who need help.

Recruitment and Guild Rankings.  We have over 190 seperate accounts in our guild, which is a pretty decent amount.  However, it seems like of late the number of players on seems to dwindle much lower than it has previously.   So we are opening up for new recruitment.  But we don’t want any person who walks in the door.  If you come across someone who seems very friendly and portrays himself in a family-friendly way with a sly sense of humor, guide him to our conduct rules and try to recruit him/her.  We keep track of who “sponsors” guildies, and that comes into focus when we promote players inside the guild.

Speaking of which… It may seem like we never promote anyone.  This isn’t true.  We pick people we feel represent what our guild is all about.  If you are a quiet player who does their own thing all the time, chances are we won’t know much about you, and recruitment won’t happen as rapidly.  If you are friendly in guild chat, vocal about wanting to attend events, interested in leveling alts to help out with gaps in instances, come up with your own ideas for things, and generally promote yourself inside and out of the guild in a positive way, we do notice these things.  Just don’t over-promote:  that can make you look smug.  And we don’t like over-smugness 🙂

I hope this doesn’t sound like rubbish.  If anyone has any questions, please feel free to ask me, or any of the officers.

Boazar

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Spiffy Features

March 12, 2008 at 2:19 pm (1) (, , , , )

Today, I promised myself, I was going to craft a 100% positive blog post about MMOs.  So after digging around in my noggin for a bit, I rummaged up some fond memories of games past and present, and some of the spiffy features they offered that I experienced for the first time in a MMO:

Sidekicking (City of Heroes/Villains)

Anyone who plays MMOs know that one of the banes of the genre is staying in the same general level range as all your buddies so you can group up and play together.  If Todd is level 40 and I’m a mere 10, I can’t play in the areas he’s doing, and he gets no benefit beyond companionship to stoop down to where I’m playing.

City of Heroes sidestepped this whole issue by introducing the sidekick system (and later, the exemplar), where a lower level character could be “sidekicked” to a higher level character, temporarily boosting them to their friend’s level minus one.  So if their friend is level 40, they would become level 39 and their current powers boosted accordingly.  Instantly you have a game where the guy who plays three hours a week can log on and play with his 35-hour-a-week buddy!

Auction Houses (FFXI, EvE Online, WoW, LOTRO)

The only MMO I played without auction houses was Anarchy Online, which in truth might have had an auction house but the game was so darn confusing and dense that I probably wouldn’t have recognized it if I passed it on my way to die somewhere else.  In any case, auction houses take a static, fixed economy between the game and the players, and transforms it into a vibrant, real-world-style economy between players and players.  It’s a beautiful thing we take for granted, to be able to buy and sell to the entire server without having to spam a trade channel all day long.

Universal Feats (AO, CoH)

In their first expansion, Shadowlands, Anarchy Online offered characters a new feat every ten levels, which they could draw from a universal pool of feats available to any class.  City of Heroes also offered universal pool powers that could be accessed by all classes.  I love this idea and wish more games had it – that you have both unique, class-driven skills, yet could also dip into skills beyond your class.

Talent Trees (WoW)

While WoW didn’t have a monopoly on talent trees when it came out, it certainly utilized them to a degree not seen in MMOs before.  It solved the problem of players both wanting fixed, defined class roles, and a desire to differentiate themselves into unique niches.  Without talent trees, WoW has nine classes; with them, it has 27 (or more!) sub-classes at your fingertips.  Now, if only they’d make respeccing cheaper…

Deed Logs (LOTRO, WAR, Mythos)

I’m a huge proponent of alternative paths to character development past the “gather xp, gain levels” grind that’s been present ever since MMOs first began.  We’re just recently starting to see MMOs come out with variations on a deed log (LOTRO) or tome of knowledge (WAR) or accomplishments (Mythos), where you can independently pursue specific goals to gain unique rewards, such as titles, skills or attribute bumps.  Even City of Heroes introduced collectible badges that could earn you new powers or abilities. 

Flight (CoH, WoW)

Being land-locked is often necessary for developers to create an immersive experience that isn’t broken, but when a game can incorporate flight (or super-jumping) smoothly, it suddenly opens the doors to a new dimension in travel that is surprisingly liberating to the player.  Hitting level 14 in CoH to gain your first travel power, or dinging 70 to gain access to flying mounts in WoW is pleasure beyond description.  Flight allows the player to be an explorer all over again.

Collectable Skills (Guild Wars)

Oddly enough, I’d like to credit Guild Wars with taking a slightly different approach to leveling, where, instead of buying your skills from a trainer, you have to go out and find them, whether they be from quests, unique mobs or certain milestones.  Having to work for my skills makes me appreciate them more.

What are some features that you look back on fondly?

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Random Thoughts

March 11, 2008 at 6:50 pm (1)

I just wanted to dump a bunch of random, non-linked thoughts that have been bubbling through my mind about WoW and MMOs in general:

1. Massively has a blog-crush on Second Life, and The Common Sense Gamer finally called them out on it. Hilariously, Massively posted numerous comments to the effect of “nuh-UH!” and “It’s what the readers want!” Yeah, because nobody wants to hear about those pesky “games” like Warhammer Online, Mythos and the like. Give us more virtual furry perverts and their playground!

I posted a couple comments on that blog post, including this: “Just because a program has many users is not a good reason to cover it, nor to give it disproportionate coverage. If that’s your argument, then why isn’t Massively giving 10+ posts a day on Lineage, Lineage II, Maple Story, Runescape or any other “large subscriber/player/user” program? What about Kingdom of Loathing?

2. Blizzard’s ever-increasing focus on Arenas and e-Sports (shudder) is scaring a lot more people than just me. Blizz has admitted that many of the recent class nerfs (and, lest we forget, a WATER NERF) are due to the imbalance of Arena (not battleground) PvP. Nerfs and class-hating aside, for those of us who love the PvE portion of the game, how are we supposed to take this shift in focus other than the discomforting notion that PvE isn’t “as good” as PvP any more? If PvP offers easier and better gear for the casual or hardcore than PvE, than what incentive is there for me to continue on in the PvE game when I hit 70 instead of dedicating 100% of my time to Arena combat?

3. The Tournament Realm is a huge mistake. WoW PvP combat isn’t fun to watch, Blizzard is throwing out time and effort to substitute with cold, hard (additional) cash, and this will only place a heavier emphasis on class “balance” (and the subsequent nerfs).

4. What am I most excited about in Path 2.4? Among the goodies, I’ll have to pick Magister’s Terrace, the first new non-box 5-man instance added to the game since (I think) Dire Maul. Or Mauradon. In any case, 5-mans are some of the most fun runs of this game, and the new MT offers great loot: badges, a phoenix pet, 20-slot bags, and so on.

5. I was huge into City of Heroes before playing WoW, and I still hold it as the best, most fun combat I’ve played in any MMO. Therefore, I am all a-tingle with the news that Cryptic Studios (the team that made CoH) is hard at work on a new superhero MMO, Champions Online. In addition to many of the great gameplay elements of CoH, Champions Online includes: creating a personal super-nemesis at character creation who will be battling you through your entire career, facial expressions that change, various stances/walking animations, choosing strengths and weaknesses, cross-class skill purchasing (for a higher cost), and play areas across the entire world, instead of just a city. I’m psyched!

6. The lesson we’ve learned from big-name projects such as Ultima Online 2, Mythic, Gods & Heroes and Star Trek Online is this: don’t ever get your hopes up too high for a MMO game, particularly if it’s in the beginning stages of development. If it’s release day plus 60 and the game seems to be doing well, then you may commence with hope.

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