I’m out for a week to chase other interests.
I “should” be back next Sunday, I’m sure the internet can do without me without major shifts in the Force.
I’m out for a week to chase other interests.
I “should” be back next Sunday, I’m sure the internet can do without me without major shifts in the Force.
Again on topic with the discussion on “Virtual Worlds”.
Quick exhange at F13:
I’ve been craving a GOOD virtual world for a while now, ever since SWG failed to provide it.
I fear you are an endangered species…
No, the endangered species is a GOOD virtual world.
That was already a good quote, but then someone ruined it:
Pfft. That isn’t an endagered species, that’s a mythological creature.
I don’t see often Walt Yarbrough releasing interviews but there’s a decent one on IGN that was able to draw my attention:
The landmass of the worlds of Camelot has grown throughout our many expansions. So much so that with Darkness Rising, we are consciously trying not to add additional hunting areas to the game, because it does not need much additional landmass at this time. Instead, we are striving to incorporate as much of Darkness Rising into the existing game area as we can, while telling the story of a mounting rebellion through the tasks that the players will complete.
I quote this as a coincidence. In the last hours I wrote endless posts on forums delving exactly on that concept. In particular to catch up the occasion for a confrontation of ideas with Brad McQuaid. The other thread is here.
So I definitely support and appreciate the idea of consolidating the content and finding a definite role for it, melting it with the fabric of the game instead of chasing a mudflated model that just makes a game progressively crumble. It’s the very first time I see DAoC not chasing EverQuest, and that’s good.
It can also be an occasion to revise and adjust the design of some zones or parts of them. DAoC has a lot of “space”, in particular in the older, dull zones. The expansion could be used as an occasion to join the work of the live and the expansion teams and carry over the result to the basic game.
Which is another point I touched in one of the threads I linked:
And about the development, it would be extremely useful to have both teams coordinated and sharing their achievements. So that a possible new technology for an expansion can then be integrated also with the rest of the game through the live team. Using the expansion team to feed up progressively even the rest of the game.
What worries me is that just after the quote I pasted above Walt said that the content will be instanced. Old zones? Instanced? I just hope we won’t finish with holes in the grass teleporting us in new dimensions…
This is just a quick note to pin down one of the design issues about my “dream mmorpg” that I was considering. So that I don’t forget about it.
The problem comes as a consequence of the skill system. If the game isn’t built on levels many useful structures simply vanish. In World of Warcraft the levels are extremely useful from many different perspectives. They are used to build zones bundling together the players around a similar level range. This isn’t a trivial feature and it’s instead tied to many core concepts. A zone has its own chat channels, its own offer of content, its own (temporary) sub-community. This allows to “chunk” these elements and the larger community into manageable units. If the players are put in an environment, sharing a similar status, they can also build groups and play together in order to reach the shared goals more easily. This builds the social aspects and allows at the same time to immerse the players in an environment that they can understand and begin to interact with.
But what happens if there is no direct and artificial separation between the players? From a side we solve a huge and consolidated complaint coming from those players that hate to get split from their friends and foreced out of the “accessibility” of the game. In fact we know that removing these “walls” is good. But from the other side we lose the depth of the system along with the whole RPG perspective. The content becomes all relative, all accessible, always, maybe even through insta-ports from everywhere in the world. And it would be extremely hard to recognize an experienced player from a newbie and this would ultimately frustrate the players and directly bring to closed communities that will never accept to open up their “friend list” (A big issue even if it doesn’t seem so at a first glance, the “who cares?” typical reaction).
To manage all these points my (rough) idea is to use the content to give some substance to the world and develop the characters. To an extent this happens already in Guild Wars. The players move and gain access to new zones by accomplishing missions more than just by levelling up. Even without the need of coding a strict level system, the content can still be used to bring along the players on their journey and mark this path in a significant way.
This brings the design back to a “world” model more than an artificial ruleset that strictly imposes its will. Your access to the various parts of the game isn’t anymore defined from external rules but defined instead by logical reasons coming from the game-world. The player will move on its own journey through the story-lines, developing its character and following logical purposes. I’d leave behind the extreme linearity of Guild Wars to open up choices. So instead moving from (A) to (B) and then (C), the player should chase down his interest and explore the game-world following logical ties and interactions (discovering, exploring, making choices as an active element of the system). Instead of a strict linear progression of the content the model is to mimic the complexity of a world, with more complex ties between the parts, more choices and persistent elements that do not systematically reset.
This idea is a compromise between the two approaches, in order to collect the qualities of both and minimize the limits. From a side the artificial walls (levels) between the players are removed, from the other the content is built in a logic, believable way to bring in a definite progression that can be recognized and used. At the same time moving away from an artificial linear progression of content (as seen in Guild Wars) to chase instead a model where the simulation of the “world” is consistent with what happens and where the progression from a point to another is subject to logic, self-consistent ties. Opening up choices and non-linear (but logic and natural) progress.
Reducing even more: from a side the artificial walls and boundaries are removed, from the other they are progressively rebuilt in order to recreate and respect the natural (complex) behaviour of a “world”.
Here below my ideas were questioned again, and I expected that. As I commented, the purpose of that article was to present my ideas, summarize some of the basic points and underline what there is different in them that is not directly present in the mmorpgs on the market. From my perspective each single point written comes from months and years of thoughts, discussions and further developments. Each one is an important point with a long “back story” behind and solid reasons why I believe it is important.
The fact is that the pattern is always the same, and I know it well. If I summarize one of my ideas in one line everyone tells me that it’s trivial. Everyone is able to write that a game must be “fun”, or have this and that, but the point is to figure out how. Find a way that actually works. So I agree and after the critics I write down various pages full of text where I finally explain how I plan to achieve that precise goal. To show that I didn’t simply put together a list of goals without delving but that, instead, each point was already planned carefully, in all the minimal aspects, anticipating all the problems and figuring out in detail how to fix them.
But the point is that everyone visiting a blog just offers it a very little span of his attention. If the blog is able then to tickle an interest the reader could even decide to dedicate to it some more time. Now… NOONE is interested in raving ideas that will never reach an actual implementation. If I put together a small list of goals, *maybe*, there will be something reading them and “nodding”. Sharing them. Maybe a discussion over those points will be encouraged, because as I said many times, ALL my ideas come from crucial points of the design that are common to ALL the mmorpg out there. So they are all actual. Fresh. So they can be considered interesting and this is why, in this case, I decided to put that post on the site instead of leaving it to the PM to Jon.
Now the fact is that I *hate* when someone agrees on my ideas and then doubts about them. Doubts that they are solid, they I thought about them for some time, working and delving in them. I hate this because I decide to spend some time to explain in detail those points that were vague or weak and then noone reads them. Or they are dodged in a similar way. The argument is dismissed. So it’s not that I’m not interested in a less superficial discussion, to write and analyze these core points in detail (because they are important not just for a “dream” mmorpg, but for each, *real* one out there). It’s simply that it’s not a possibility, that it’s often a dialogue between me and myself and because everyone else may be interested more in a short article listing a few, shareable goals, that can tickle the imagination and suggest what the genre may miss, than an endless design document hard to follow and understand.
I know that behind every single point I listed there are pages and pages of reasons, consequences and more goals. I know because all that already passed through my mind, all passed through a careful study. I know that a “realistic inventory system” has strong purposes in the gameplay. It is the result of a design at a low level where the mechanics are all tied one to another. Planning caravans, planning the transport of the limited resources, planning the different types of terrains, planning the micro-management, considering how the players find always fun to manage things beside their character, managing complex and realistic inventory, managing their tools on the environment (think to the managment of harvesters in SWG), take care of pets, organize and prepare expeditions for a real “journey” and so on. Behind a little goal there is a whole world of intentions, of solid purposes that will require pages and pages to go in detail. Pages and pages that are somewhat requested (because people obviously doubt of my ideas) but then ignored (because noone is really interested if not to argue on a superficial level).
Because it’s about breaking a model. This is gameplay that has been completely cut away but it doesn’t mean that it cannot be fun.
In Guild Wars you have to select only eight skills even if your character has 20 available. This to develop a strategy. This idea is here applied to something different. It’s obvious that you cannot take WoW and remove all its bags and expect to have something more fun. Because there’s no gameplay aside “being able to carry stuff or not”.
The limited inventory is there to develop the “world”. On the wargame level you’ll have to move around resources. This is why caravans will have to travel between places and will need protection. If you raid a town you cannot simply pick up all you find in your way. You’ll have to organize an appropriate convoy (and have it exposed to further attacks/counterattacks) or leave the stuff where it is.
In general I want the equipment to have an use. No use = no equipment. In the current games this model doesn’t exist. You need space to accumulate junk to sell to vendors. This isn’t *equipment*. The junk has no value for the gameplay level if not being goods to transform into money (that you need).
The economy is probably the part of the game where my ideas are less defined in detail. It’s the part that I never wrapped up completely so these points about the “inventory” are strictly about the inventory and use of items themselves. No need of equipment slots to carry junk because I do not even plan to have junk in the game. At the same time I don’t want the players to loot stuff they do not need. It’s not like you’ll find a sword by killing a turtle. A realistic equipement system also means realistic loot tables.
So my idea should be seen from this point of view. You cannot carry around six swords because that limit is supposed to give a depth to the system. A choice that is required like in Guild Wars. No cookie cutter equipment. Instead choices and specializations (plus the “affinity” system will prevent you to be effective if you keep switching stuff at will). Carry an heavy armor and you’ll be slower in the combat. Use a light armor and you’ll be able to hold more bags. Drop the bags on the ground (and risk that other players steal them) and you’ll move even faster.
It’s obvious that “less inventory” alone isn’t fun. But if there’s gameplay depending on it, the situation changes.
I love to fiddle around with the equipment, move stuff between bags, organize them. It’s fun. It’s not something I wouldn’t try to cut from the game.
The same about the classes. There are years of “work” and discussions to at least acknowledge most of the problems in the current systems and try to move on a positive direction. There is so much that I wouldn’t be even able to put together all the reasons and goals that brought to my idea without leaving out a good part. Exactly because everything was being though on an arc of time, built progressively through my “experience” and different discussions. I know for example that a CORE problem that I have to face EVERY single time I log in EVERY mmorpg is the “healer problem” (“lack of” and “requirement of”). A problem that if it is so frequent must also deserve some consideration. Or not? So I gave it. To explain the whole process that brought to my idea I’d have again to write pages and pages, from the analysis of how the multi-purpose classes in WoW are way more fun than the strictly specialized versions in DAoC, how in the first game is way easier to build efficent groups (and ease the LFG problem) and so on (more != better). The solution I propose is to create dynamic roles. The class system is rather complex but the essence is to allow the players to fill temporary roles in the case they are missed (and required). Maybe you aren’t an healer, but you can temporarily fill that role in the case you cannot find a player already specialized doing that. And this without considering the ideas I have to not make the actual gameplay boring and dull for the healers, which is another *core* problem and not just a detail.
About the “conquest system”. It is complex. It has many different layers all interconnected. It is the main structure of the game, the main purpose, the “endgame”. Every other system is supposed to converge there because I always wanted a game with many different layers of complexity (and interactions) but without making all independent and unrelated. This is why it’s a “world”. All the elements have a purpose and are not there to be just “fluff”. Whatever you do in the game will finally arrive at that point.
I already vaguely explained some concepts about how I plan to keep the conquest possible without one side “winning” the game. The conquest is open to the whole world but the system isn’t based just on combat but on an “emergent” resource system built to add an RTS layer. So gathering and managing resources, moving them, defending them or steal them, building nodes, improve the power of the guards and structure defence and so on. The game is again not just combat, the combat is an aspect, the most direct, always available. But there are choices to deal with the rest, at least to manage the situation.
Conquering (adiacent) zones depends not only on the military power but also strongly on the resources. These zones (or better, the villages, outposts, castles and so on) need an upkeep. A maintenance cost. Some of the resources that a faction needs (three factions in the game hardcoded – Order, Chaos, Balance, plus player-made factions) can only be produced by the other faction and then transfered through commerce (mostly through the “balance” faction that works as a tie between the other two). The more one side expands its domain, the more the upkeep costs go up. If the other faction isn’t able to product anything the warehouse of resources in the prevailing faction will decrease, till the faction won’t be able to hold that type of expansion anymore. This is a first aspect that makes hard to maintain a control of the whole world.
The second aspect is that one type of the resources needed (mostly about the power of the defences, the possibilities of upgrades, guard costs and so on) is fixed. A fixed pool that cannot be changed in any way. Hardcoded. These resources can be spread around in order to support a high number of zones, or consolidated in a few in order to keep the defence at a very high level. So the more you expand your domain and the more you offer weaknesses, like the possibility for the other faction to attack you from the flank, in an undefended zone, where even a small strike-team can quickly conquer an outpost and force all the resources on that point. This would create a powerful node that the losing faction can use to disturb and progressively weaken the expansion process of the prevailing faction. So gameplay dynamics and tactics.
Finally, there’s a third system in place. There are three main hubs-cities (one for each faction) that cannot be conquered (and so managed and transformed as a property like it happens in the other cases). In this case you can think to the dynamics in WoW. The Alliance never held Orgrimmar for hours, not the Horde was able to do the something similar with Ironforge. These three hubs are strongly defended and while the mechanics won’t be based too much on continue respawns, it will be still extremely hard to maintain a presence in these places. The best you can do here is a permanent siege.
Now there’s a system applied even here. Think to the RvR dungeon in DAoC interconnecting the three realms. I carried over a similar concept. In the case the main hub of a faction is under constant siege, the players can still organize to use a system of tunnels to sneak behind the enemy lines and coordinate attacks to the supply lines of the opposite faction. As I wrote above they’ll need to move resources constantly in order to maintain the upkeep, so the players can organize attacks to these caravans in order to disrupt the supply lines and weaken progressively the defences of the other faction.
This guarantees that noone “wins”, that there’s still a huge role for the persistence and that there’s a space to develop tactics and interesting dynamics, involving even politics and diplomacy. That depth that I claim back and that is missing currently in other mmorpgs. The essential (philosophical) design is that the three factions are dependent on each other. One can decide to wipe the other but ultimately it will fail in the measure it needs the other in order to exist. So a balance (also impersonated by the appropriate faction) always exists as an inner need of the system. There will be strong shifts in the overall situation, but never definitive, never permanent. The ultimate risk here isn’t the possibility to “win” everything. It’s the opposite, the fact that through diplomacy and politics a realm could settle down and reach a perfect balance (which is definitely a new concept for a mmorpg and something I want to test to see if it can be interesting).
I don’t fight this possibility directly. The game is supposed to be fun and compelling *beside* the combat. This is my goal. A paceful realm is a possibility that I contemplate. Why not? There’s always space for politics. You can try to get what you need with your strength, so you can conquer a zone in order to reach a resource node that you absolutely need. Or settle down an agreement through the diplomacy and the commerce in order to “buy” or “exchange” those resources without fighting for them. For sure there will be “baits” in the game. Both at the personal and communal level. So there will be needs to satisfy that will require to get precious resources (RARE, but not as grindy-rare, just as gameplay-rare) that are deep in the land owned by the rival realm. And you’ll definitely need a way to get there.
There are all of these elements. Reasons for the conflict, alternate paths thorugh diplomacy and politics and interconnected systems to give the whole structure a depth. The real goal is again to “give back the world to the players”. The goal to finally develop a complex world where the players, together, have an impact, where they “care” about what happens and get entangled into an enriching system not “sterilized” in a pointless grind to transform the player in a robot hitting endlessly the same key. Where the actions have consequences and where the lore and the backstory exist at a radical level and not as useless, detached words on a website.
I want to give back importance to all those elements that are now being systematically removed from this genre. To not forget that it’s there the strength. And that we are losing all this to chase arid models.
This is a PM I wrote to Jon Carver where I tried to summarize the key points of my “dream mmorpg” project. It definitely needs a lot more iterations in order to become more complete (it misses most of the features like the factional system, the mechanics of PvP, the role of the artifacts, the geomancy nodes, the progression trees of magic items etc..) and more concise and precise.
I need to do a lot of work on the presentation and effectivity of what I write. At least this time it isn’t too long.
I need to do a lot of organization in order to build up some sort of clear and schematic plan as you did. For now there’s nearly an infinite list of features coming from direct needs, problems and discussions but all so bundled together that I often forget why I decided about something. Basically I’m really trying to address ALL the problems I see around in other projects since it’s a “dream mmorpg”.
A few points I gathered are (far away from covering everything):
– Problem of catering hardcore and casual players
– Problem of load balancing the server, cross-server travel, factional balance
– Problem of PvP and PvE clashing together (repositioning)
– Smaller, manageable communities – “There were a lot less of us back then, so it was easier to get to know most of the folks around you. Since there were so few players reletive to current community sizes, you become friends of friends of folks and a lot sooner you really end up knowing virtually everyone whos playing, or at least are familiar with guilds.”
The rest is about going back to a skill system that has also lot of depths for “achievers”. Realistic inventory system calculating precisely slots and weights (and the need to use horses, carts etc..). No strict classes nor min/maxed templates. All classes are respecced “on the fly” so that a player can cover a specific role dynamically (and adapt irtself to the need of a group) instead of being caged in a fixed model/spec/class.
Plus the separation of elements of PvE (In instanced “planes”, arenas and odd combinations of events) from PvP.
The main world is completely based on PvP and in the hands of the players. Everything works like in wargames so you can conquer the land, expanding to adiacent zones (and manage your resources). All the world is in the hands of the players, there is nothing with the pretense of being “static”, fixed, given.
The players cannot really build towns but can conquer everything that is already in the world (and update/upgrade it to an extent). From single houses to the biggest cities and castles.
The NPCs will then also be controled by the players. The players spawn them and “program” them with simple schedules. So they are used both for the crafting system and to pruduce resources that will then be used (and moved between towns through a commerce system) at the RTS level.
Ultimately the focus (of these PvP lands) will move from the combat to embrace new types of activites. All the interactions of a medieval world are supposed to be simulated to an extent. So we’ll have farms, mines, sawmills and so on. Similarly to a “Settler” game and with the goal of simulating a deeper environment that is supposed to involve more the players in its fabric and mechanics. Less obsessive about combat and infinite treadmills only affecting the single character. Providing communal goals and shared mechanics that should finally put back the focus in the community as the real “endgame” (and where the fun of a multiplayer environment is supposed to be).
That’s the shape. The implementation idea is to go back at the old 2D style of the early Ultimas (but with an advanced UI) in order to cut out directly the production values (graphic, content etc..) and focus exclusively on the accessibility and mechanics. No infinite text to read, just direct gameplay and feedback. To experiment dynamically with the pure design level and discover what is fun and what is not.
Basically the opposite of a MUD.
The guide is clear and well written for the most part and it adds more details to what I aleady knew or deduced from the obscure rules.
Here’s a few points of interest:
Battlegrounds objectives are intended to be a substantial part of your Honor for a week. Don’t ignore them if you want to attain a high Rank.
False. The BGs objectives are badly broken and do not give the supposed reward. There’s a thread on the official fourm spanning 45 pages and growing. This affects both Alterac and Warsong and has been clearly proven to be not just a display problem.
As kills in raids give fewer points to you personally but still count toward your subsequent kill ratio, try get some kills alone or in a small group earlier in the day / evening, then join a raid to collect more kills to meet the cut-off.
No comment here. It’s really THAT stupid and I already explained extensively my stance on these “diminished returns”.
There are 14 Ranks. Behind the Ranks is a hidden number scale, each Rank representing a range of points. These points are not your Honor points for the week, but something we’ll call Rank Points for the sake of this guide. The exact points and scale will not be revealed here.
The point here is: why? There are absolutely no practical reasons to keep these mechanics hidden since they would just help the players to understand how the system work and play with it (which is exactly what games are about). The only two real reasons I can imagine are:
(1) so that adjustements can be done behind the scenes without the players mounting a revolt
(2) so that the players cannot gather solid proofs about mistakes into the claculations that seem to happen quite often.
And finally the most important part, a better explanation of the rank calculations:
– Adjusting your Rank Points and thus your Rank.
# This is done by comparing your points for the week with your Rank Points. If the points for the week are higher than your current Rank Points, your Rank Points are adjusted upwards by a set percentage of the difference. If your points for the week are lower than your Rank Points, your Rank Points are adjusted downwards by a set percentage of the difference. The set percentage is higher for upward adjustments than downward adjustments.
Adding this to what I knew already I think it’s possible to finally figure out how the system works. There is no cumulative pool of points building up with the time. There is just two different “progression bars”. The first bar is the one you build up for the week and that is wiped to zero each week, so with no progression over time. Then there’s a “Permanent Rank” bar that actually determines the Rank threadmill that moves you from Rank 1 to 14.
As you gain your “weekly Honor” your weekly status (the first progression bar) is compared to your Permantent Rank (the second progression bar). If the first is greater than the second you gain an increase in percent over your second progression bar. Till the point where your weekly status is exactly equal to your permanent status (but this only happens in an artificial example where you gain the exact same amount of point each week).
So while the first progression bar is wiped weekly and goes sharply from zero point to whatever you are able to achieve in one week, the other is only moved in percent bonus and malus steps. As you gain up ranks these percent bonuses will become smaller and smaller till it will become mathematically impossible to gain one rank per week, no matter if you transform into a pure PvP grind entity.
That brings to more precise details about the rules:
# Gaining two new Ranks in a single week is possible, but only likely below rank 6.
# Rising in Rank every week is possible until about rank 11. Above that each rank is expected to take two weeks or more, each week with the same high performance as the last.
# Getting to rank 14 is expected to take about three months even for the most efficient and active players. Staying there is also quite a challenge.
# About 5% of the players participating in PvP are expected to have a Rank of 11 or above when the system settles itself after some months.
Which we knew already, even if not about the specifics.
This explains one of the most popular complaints about some players not gaining a rank even if they achieved a sensibly greater standing as opposed to one of their friend that still finished at a rank above. How it is possible to finish in a lower rank and not gain anything even if someone else had a way worst standing and still an higher rank?
It’s simple. The guy at the higher Rank that got a crappy standing position probably went backwards in his progression on the “Permanent Rank” but not enough to lose that rank (since you gain faster than what you lose over time). While the other player that started at the lower rank and had a better standing probably wasn’t able to gather enough of a bonus to jump to the next level. Even if he surely progressed toward that point.
Ultimately this means that the system (albeit still horrible in its gameplay) will remain fair over time. Since there isn’t any accumulation of points you can start to grind it years from now without being at a disadvantage. Roughly it seems that you’ll need at least three months at maximum catass performance to go from rank 0 to 14, and possibly around six more months of inactivity to go from rank 14 back to 0. This is the basic life-cycle of the system that should remain constant over the whole course of the game. So, while definitely and undoubtedly insane, it won’t get worst.
With a clear explanation of the mechanics in this FAQ and the upcoming tweaks to the UI, like the progression bar, one of the most radical problem of the system will be solved. So a significant step forward. The problem remains in the gameplay and in the overall design:
– The system still rewards a pure catass mode completely inaccessible to the casual players since it depends on “time” as the main variable (endless grind)
– It is still at the roots a “race”, so forcing the players in a min/maxing process in order to maximize their performance over time. Which requires directly a complete dedication that erodes the potential of the game instead of expanding its possibilities (scope) and appeal
– The reward is still based on “maintenance”, which is directly an unfun mechanic since it’s just a struggle to “catching-up” instead of “achieving”. You are always at loss, always fighting to not lose
– No guild ranking or involvement in the system
– No goals to accomplish outside the battlegrounds
– No public ranking system and ladders
– No dynamic rewards and mechanics (like suriviving many encounters, fast kills and so on)
My proposed Battle System (July 2004) still looks better than this.
And back to the principle I brought up many months ago:
“Designing a game which allows players not to HAVE to play regularly. A possibility, not an obligation.”
From “one of the best MMOG discussion sites on the internet” (and I agree), here are the leaked patch notes of World of Warcraft, planned to go live this week or the following.
> Blackwing Lair Released!
Nefarian’s sanctum, Blackwing Lair, can be found at the very height of Blackrock Spire. It is there in the dark recesses of the mountain’s peak that Nefarian has begun to unfold the final stages of his plan to destroy Ragnaros once and for all and lead his army to undisputed supremacy over all the races of Azeroth. Blackwing Lair is a max-level, 40-player raid dungeon, with many new encounters and tempting rewards awaiting the intrepid adventurer that dares enter its halls.
> Darkmoon Faire!
A gathering of the exotic from around the world and beyond, Silas Darkmoon has brought together the Darkmoon Faire as a celebration of the wondrous and mysterious found in Azeroth. While the Faire spends most of their time in parts unknown, they do stop from time to time in Mulgore and Elwynn forest. When the faire is on its way barkers will stop by Ogrimmar and Ironforge to announce its arrival.
There is a new way to enter the battleground queues. Battlemasters! Located in some of the cities, right-clicking on a battlemaster will allow your character to enter a battleground queue just like you normally would if you touched that battlegroundâ�?��?�s entrance portal. The functionality is exactly the same, so when itâ�?��?�s your characterâ�?��?�s time to enter the chosen battleground, you will be teleported directly in. Glordrum Steelbeard stands in the Hall of Arms in Ironforge, serving as the Alliance battlemaster for Alterac Valley. Aethalas of the Silverwing Sentinels stands ready in Darnassus, next to the warrior trainers, to send Alliance characters into Warsong Gulch. And in the Hall of the Brave, located in Orgrimmarâ�?��?�s Valley of Honor, Brakgul Deathbringer serves as the Hordeâ�?��?�s battlemaster for Warsong Gulch, while Kartra Bloodsnarl will send you to bring glory to the Horde in Alterac Valley. Guards in their respective cities can give you directions on how to find them.
– There is a new option upon the login screen. If you click the “Remember Name” checkbox on the left side of the screen, the game will automatically fill in your account name when it starts up.
– Will of the Forsaken (Undead Racial) – duration of the lasting immunity effect decreased to 5 seconds.
– Cannibalize (Undead Racial) – Regeneration increased to 35% of a character’s total health over 10 seconds.
– Stoneform (Dwarf Racial) can now be used to cancel self-inflicted poison effects.
– Fist Weapons will now have the normal chance to parry that all weapons use.
– It will no longer be possible to swap any equipment while stunned.
– Pets will now enter passive/follow mode when their masters mount.
– The Dazed effect caused by NPCs will now stack with all other movement slowing effects. Note that the movement slowing effects will not stack, but the debuff icons will remain to ensure the full duration of these effects persist.
– Damage caused by environmental effects will now cancel stealth (e.g. swimming in lava).
– Several creature spells that silenced players are now properly flagged as silence effects, which will allow talents such as Unbreakable Will to provide a higher chance to resist the effects.
– Spells that drain mana will now properly report the amount of mana gained in the combat log.
– Clarified the error message when no corpses are available for the Cannibalize ability.
– Clarified the error message when trying to attack while mounted.
– Resurrection spells should now check range properly when used on targets that have released their spirit.
– Spell reflection effects have greatly improved visuals and functionality.
– Knockback effects are now synchronized with any associated missile impacts.
– Special abilities which are parried will correctly activate abilities which are usable after parrying.
– Damage shield spells no longer damage you if you use spells that damage both you and your enemies.
– Fixed graphical anomalies when using channeled abilities in a group with a grounding totem.
– Fixed the duration of Frostbite on pets which are dismissed and then recalled.
– Fixed a bug where broken off-hand fist weapons would prevent main-hand dagger abilities from being usable.
– Health leech effects no longer give you health while you are a ghost.
– You no longer spout profanity when talking about sitting while drunk.
– Some optimizations for terrain loading and rendering were added for the Macintosh build.
– Enabled multisample support in the video options.
– Fixed an issue where inspecting crafted items on other users could potentially show attributes that those items did not have.
– Updated the Mac sound code to use memory more efficiently.
– There is now a progress bar on the Honor tab of your character window that displays how close you are to your next rank.
– The honor screen now displays a bar indicating how far along your current rank you are (Scout, Private, etc). This will let you know whether you are moving towards your next rank or falling back towards your previous rank. from week to week.
– There is a new “This Week” section of the Honor tab, which will display PvP accomplishments of the current week.
– The “This Session” section of the Honor tab has been changed to “Today”, and will now display the entirety of your accomplishments for the day instead of the most recent session.
– Players rank 11 or higher can now chat in the WorldDefense channel.
– The WorldDefense and LocalDefense channels will now display your rank as well as your name when chatting.
– Battleground scoreboards now display the time elapsed in a battleground.
– Warsong Gulch has new item rewards at the appropriate faction vendor near the entrances to the zone. These are available starting at Honored faction.
– Friendly flag carriers are now displayed on the overhead map in Warsong Gulch.
– Both the Warsong Outrider Supply Officer and the Silverwing Sentinel Supply Officer of Warsong Gulch now offer distinct tabards for purchase. Those heroes who are of Exalted status with one of these factions may purchase the tabard for 5 gold (discounts not included).
– Players now receive a faction bonus for completing the repeatable Warsong Gulch quests.
– Each team will now gain additional bonus honor if their towers are not destroyed by the end of the map. The more towers that remained intact, the more honor received.
– If you manage to keep your faction’s Captain alive for the duration of a battle, you will be granted extra points upon victory.
– Several Alterac Valley vendor items are now bind on acquire.
– The respawn time for tower guards (assuming the tower has not been destroyed) has been greatly increased.
– Korrak the Bloodrager has gained immunities to many different spell and ability effects.
– The minimum reputation needed to send a cavalry charge has been reduced to Honored.
– Players of Revered or higher reputation may now call offensive air strikes if they have managed to rescue their respective Wing Commanders.
– Alterac Valley’s guard spawn is now controlled via a more intuitive mechanism. Please check the Officer Supply vendors for your faction to read up on the changes.
– Fixed a bug that sometimes prevented the Alliance team from receiving honor for destroying towers.
– Fixed a bug that was not awarding Horde credit for owning a mine at the end of a game.
– Dispel Magic can no longer be used on players participating in a duel unless the caster is in the duel.
– You are considered in combat for the entire duration of a duel.
– You canâ�?��?�t assist players which are engaged in free-for-all PvP unless you are also in free-for-all PvP.
– If you have PvP combat toggled on, it will no longer be cleared when taking a flight.
– Hunter traps work properly in duels if the target is flagged for PvP and the hunter is not.
– Removing an insignia in PvP no longer marks both players as being in combat.
– Shapeshifting will now counteract the slowing effects of frost-based spells (Frostbolt, Frost Shock, Cone of Cold, etc.).
– Feral Charge – Targets that are immune to immobilizing effects will no longer be affected by Feral Charge’s immobilizing effect. The interrupt will still affect the target.
– Shadowmeld (Night Elf Racial) – Now reports the correct error message when attempted in shapeshift form.
– Druid shapeshift form buttons are no longer dimmed while under the effects of Polymorph.
– Counterattack – Will now cause damage to targets immune to immobilizing effects.
– Wing Clip – Will now cause damage to targets immune to immobilizing effects.
– Explosive Trap – Fixed a bug where the trap’s effects suffered inappropriate damage reduction against high level targets. In addition, damage caused by this trap should no longer kill opponents in duels.
– Aspect of the Cheetah/Pack – Non-damaging spells and abilities will no longer cause the dazed effect. In addition, when switching between Pack and Cheetah, you should no longer receive the “A more powerful spell is already active” error message.
– Beast Lore – Will no longer flag you for PvP or cause guard retaliation when used on an enemy faction target.
– Frostbolt – Targets that are immune to movement slowing effects will no longer be affected by Frostbolt’s movement slowing effect. Damage will still be caused.
– Frost Nova – Will now cause damage to targets immune to immobilizing effects.
– Blast Wave – Will now cause damage to targets immune to immobilizing effects.
– Cone of Cold – Targets that are immune to movement slowing effects will no longer be affected by Cone of Cold’s movement slowing effect. Damage will still be caused.
– Detect Magic – will no longer cause guard retaliation in Goblin towns.
– Ignite – Can now be dispelled by any effect that dispels magic effects.
– Frost Armor/Ice Armor – Targets that are immune to movement slowing effects will no longer be affected by the Chill’s movement slowing effect. Targets will still have their melee attack speed reduced.
– Arcane Instability – Fixed a bug where rank 3 of this talent was not increasing the periodic damage of various spells by the correct amount (was increasing by 2% and should now properly increase by 3%).
– Blessing of Freedom – Will now counter the movement impairing effects of Frostbolt, Cone of Cold, Frost Shock. It will no longer prevent the damage taken by Frost Nova, Hamstring, Wing Clip, Mind Flay, Counterattack, or Blast Wave or the melee and ranged attack speed slowing effects of Cripple.
– Consecration – No longer resets weapon timer when cast.
– Improved Seal of Justice – Tooltip updated to be more clear.
– Seal of Command – Should now correctly report damage in the overhead display and the combat log.
– Summon Charger – New icon.
– Fixed a bug where the Paladin did not always die when using the Divine Intervention spell.
– Mind Flay – Will now cause damage to targets immune to movement slowing effects.
– Shadowform – Changed so all spells except Holy can be cast rather than only Shadow and Discipline spells. Tooltip updated. This fixes several bugs that prevented various actions (creating tradeskill items, mining, summoning a mount, using a hearthstone and many more).
– Spirit of Redemption – Tooltip updated to be more clear.
– Touch of Weakness – Stronger versions of this effect on enemy targets will no longer be replaced by weaker versions.
– Riposte – Targets immune to disarm effects will now take damage from Riposte.
– Disarming an enemy faction hunter’s trap will now flag the rogue for PvP.
– Ghostly Strike no longer deals damage to you when you use it.
– Premeditation – Fixed a bug where the combo points gained using the ability were not properly removed after the duration expired. Also increased range and duration.
– The UI now properly shows that Preparation does not clear a Cold Blood setup.
– Frost Shock – Targets that are immune to movement slowing effects will no longer be affected by Frost Shock’s movement slowing effect. Damage will still be caused.
– Reincarnation will no longer be an option on death when a Soulstone effect is active on the Shaman. The Soulstone will be used as the higher priority effect.
– Frostbrand Weapon – Targets that are immune to movement slowing effects will no longer be affected by Frostbrand Weapon’s movement slowing effect. Damage will still be caused.
– Call of Flame – Fixed a bug where the damage bonus did not always increase various totems.
– Chain spells cast on PvP targets by an unflagged Shaman will now properly bounce to other PvP targets.
– The tooltip for Fire Nova Totem now correctly reflects the damage the totems deal.
– Due to significant talent changes, Warlocks will have all talent points refunded and can be respent.
– Cripple (Doomguard) – Targets that are immune to movement slowing effects will no longer be affected by Cripple’s movement slowing effect. Melee and ranged attack speed slowing effects will still affect these targets.
– Demon Skin/Demon Armor – Now increases health regeneration at all times, as was always intended. Previously, the health regeneration only occurred out of combat. Tooltips updated.
– Demonic Sacrifice – The sacrifice effects for the Voidwalker and Felhunter have changed. The Voidwalker will now regenerate 3% of your total health every 4 seconds. The Felhunter will now regenerate 2% of your total mana every 4 seconds.
– Demonic Sacrifice now works properly on banished summons.
– Summon Dreadsteed – New icon.
– Dark Pact – Fixed a bug where the combat log was reporting an incorrect value of mana gained by the caster when there wasn’t enough mana to drain from the pet.
– Phase Shift (Imp) – While phase shifted, the imp is now targetable but will remain an invalid target for all spells and attacks except self-cast spells.
– Improved Healthstone – The increased effect from this talent should now properly apply to other players that use the Warlock’s Healthstones.
– Ritual of Summoning – Fixed a bug where players could be summoned from outside the same instance as the warlock in some cases.
– Unholy Power – No longer requires the Fel Stamina talent. Is now a tier 4 talent and is a prerequisite for the new Master Demonologist talent.
– Master Conjuror – Talent replaced with a new talent called Master Demonlogist.
– New Talent (Demonology): Master Demonologist – Grants both the Warlock and the summoned demon an effect as long as that demon is active. The effect granted depends on the type of demon summoned.
– Unholy Power – No longer requires the Fel Stamina talent. It now requires the Master Demonologist talent.
– Ritual of Doom – Should now display the cooldown.
– Due to significant talent changes, Warriors will have all talent points refunded and can be respent.
– Hamstring – Will now cause damage to targets immune to movement slowing effects. Movement slowing effect improved.
– Improved Hamstring – Design changed. No longer improves the movement slowing effect. It is now a 3 point talent that gives a 5/10/15% chance to immobilize the target for 5 seconds.
– Booming Voice – In addition to increasing duration, this talent will now increase the area of effect of Battle Shout and Demoralizing Shout by 10/20/30/40/50%.
– Battle Shout – Tooltip updated to display area of effect (in yards).
– Demoralizing Shout – Tooltip updated to display area of effect (in yards).
– Improved Berserker Rage – No longer increases the duration of the effect. The talent will now generate 5/10 rage when Berserker Rage is used.
– Improved Demoralizing Shout – Effectiveness increase from talent increased to 8/16/24/32/40%.
– Piercing Howl – No longer has a prerequisite (Improved Demoralizing Shout).
– Deathwish – Is now usable while under a Fear effect, which will also remove the Fear effect.
– Bloodthirst – Design changed. Bloodthirst is now an instant melee attack that causes damage equal to 30% of the warrior’s attack power. In addition, the next 5 successful melee attacks will restore health.
– Concussion Blow – No longer requires purchase of the Improved Revenge talent.
– Shield Discipline – Removed and replaced by the new talent Shield Slam.
– New Talent: Shield Slam – Slam the target with your shield, causing damage and has a 50% chance to dispel 1 magic effect on the target. Also causes a moderate amount of threat. Requires the purchase of the Concussion Blow talent.
– Heroic Strike/Sunder Armor/Revenge/Mocking Blow – Tooltips updated to indicate the additional threat caused by these abilities. There have been no changes to the amount of threat caused.
– Felheart, Cenarion, Giantstalker’s and Earthfury item sets now have updated art. The Felheart Skullcap is now also called something more appropriate to the new art.
– Grand Marshal and High Warlord PvP Honor rewards have been updated with improved statistics and new unique art.
– The Alliance Mail and Horde Leather and Mail Epic PvP Honor reward armor sets have received art updates.
– The stealth detection bonus on the Druid PvP set gloves has been changed to work in all forms, including caster form.
– The set bonus for The Champion’s Earthshaker has a revised tooltip to more clearly state that all Shock spells have an increased spell critical chance.
– The 8 piece set bonus for Dreadmist will now appropriately affect shadow spells.
– The tooltip for the improved feint effectiveness set bonus of the Bloodfang armor set has been corrected to show the actual percentage increase.
– When worn by female characters, the Beaststalker’s Tunic had a missing texture piece last patch. This has been corrected.
– Set items which are broken no longer contribute to set bonus listings in the item tooltips.
– The Horde and Alliance PvP Battle Standards may now only be used inside PvP Battlegrounds, but the cooldown has been reduced to 10 minutes.
– The Rank 3 Stormpike Insignia now has the correct health regeneration effect.
– You can now only have one Flask affecting you at a time.
– The Seal of the Dawn trinket now counts as though you were also wearing an Argent Dawn Commission trinket.
– The Goblin Sapper Charge can now be used while moving.
– Dark Iron Bomb tooltip text and stun effect radius has been corrected to be the appropriate 5 yards.
– Librams are now considered to be Books when searching for these items in the Auction House.
– The Discombobulator Ray’s effect has been changed: it now reduces movement speed to 80% of normal and reduces the target’s damage with both spells and melee by 40. The range is now 20 yards.
– Snowblind Shoes are now properly marked as an Epic item.
– Band of Sulfuras is now unique.
– Fireguard Shoulders now have a graphic.
– Flask of Forest Mojo can now be sold.
– The Bloodseeker crossbow’s firing animation has been corrected.
– The damage from Smokey’s Lighter will now show up appropriately in the combat log.
– The water breathing ability of the Hydrocane will now continue to work if the player is shapeshifted.
– Both helpful and harmful effects from the Deviate Fish will remain after logging out.
– Dark Iron Bracers have been changed to Bind on Equip.
– Set bonus for Stormshroud armor improved. It should be more compelling for rogues and druids now.
– Winterâ�?��?�s Might recipe now displays the correct +7 to spell damage instead of +5.
– Fixed a typo in the item tooltip for the Alliance’s Rune of Recall.
– Several lootable items in Alterac Valley have had their stack limit changed.
– Thorium Brotherhood now offers several new recipes. Additionally, several of the old recipes now have different faction requirements.
– Additional Smithing/Leatherworking/Tailoring/Enchanting Recipes added to Timbermaw at Honored Reputation
– Additional Smithing/Leatherworking/Tailoring/Enchanting Recipes added to Argent Dawn at Honored and Revered Reputation. – Also new First Aid recipe added to Argent Dawn at Honored.
– Lokhtos Darkbargainer in Blackrock Depths now has many additional recipes that can be learned at Honored, Revered and Exalted reputation. Recipes are available for Enchanting, Tailoring, Leatherworking (all three specialty types), Blacksmithing (Armorsmithing, and Weaponsmithing (all three specialty types).
– There is now an access quest to gain entry to Blackwing Lair. Happy Hunting!
– Shadow Priest Vandis at the Bulwark should now properly buff players who complete any step of the “Return to the Bulwark” quest in Western Plaguelands.
– Fixed a typo in the Horde version of the quest “Reclaimed Treasures”.
– Imps during the Warlock Mount Ritual in Dire Maul will no longer get stuck at their spawn-in portals.
– Using the Collectronic Module on frozen rookery eggs for the quest “Egg Collection” will correctly consume them.
– Obtaining a set of Thievesâ�?��?� Tools in the quest “Tools of the Trade” no longer flags you for PvP.
Raids and Dungeons
– Several spawns removed from Scholomance. This should make for a more enjoyable 5 player experience.
– Several spawns removed from Stratholme. This should make for a more enjoyable 5 player experience. Also, you will now be able to make additional attempts at Ramstein and/or Baron Rivendare should your initial attempt fail.
– The trapped chests in Stratholme will now show up for Detect Traps and can be disarmed. In addition, the number of creatures that come out of the trapped chests has been reduced.
– Many creatures in Stratholme have gained Detect Invisibility/Stealth.
– The loot tables in Molten Core have been revised slightly.
– Characters that die and release in the Molten Core will now receive a minimap corpse marker and arrow that will lead them to the window next to Lothos Riftwaker in Blackrock Mountain.
– Phase shifted imps are no longer hit by Magmadarâ�?��?�s Lava Bomb.
– Damage and resist messages from Magmadarâ�?��?�s Lava Bomb shows up in the combat log.
– Fixed a bug that was causing the Cache of the Firelord (Majordomo Loot chest), the Chest of the Seven (Blackrock Depths seven dwarves chest) and the Gordok Tribute Chest (Dire Maul) from despawning too soon.
– The chance for an Epic quest item dropping from the Majordomo’s chest has been increased to 100%.
– The Corrupted Forces of Nature in Maraudon will now pursue correctly.
– Dire Maul has had several spawn locations changed and a slight increase in population.
– Crystal Fang, the rare spawn in Blackrock Spire, will now potentially appear.
– Raid UI has been significantly improved. You can now open the raid UI and drag the name of a class to your gamefield to have a listing of all players of that class be displayed on the game field. Likewise you can drag a group name to your playfield to have the players in that group displayed on your gamefield. In either case the display will show the health, mana and limited buffs or debuffs on each player in the group or class and you can click on a player listed this way to target that player. You can then right-click on the class or group UI element to make some modifications to how the UI displays or to remove the UI element.
– If you cycle through targets with the Tab key, manually select a different target using another method, then quickly hit Tab again, your last Tab-selected target will be re-selected and you can continue Tab-selecting where you left off. Clearing your target will restart the Tab selection process.
– Items on the action bar now remain there even after they are consumed.
– If you shift-click on an item link while you are entering chat text, the item link will now be pasted into your text.
– Mail recipient auto-completion will now use names from your guild as well as your friends list.
– Hitting Escape will now cancel ranged weapon auto-shots.
– The pet UI will now be greyed out while you are mounted to reflect the fact that you can’t command your pet.
– NPCs which give dishonorable kills have the rank of Civilian and show up with a white title background in the targeting frame.
– The effect of damage resistance and vulnerability is now displayed in the combat log.
– Combat abilities which are fully blocked show up correctly in the combat log.
– Crushing and glancing blows show more information in the combat log.
– Damage from poisons and curses now shows up in the UI after the caster has been killed.
– Players now receive an error message if they try to join a meeting stone queue and are in a raid or are not the party leader.
– TargetUnitsPet() is obsolete and has been removed from the scripting system.
– Added UnitInRaid(), TargetLastTarget() and TargetNearestRaidMember() to the scripting system.
– The GetPlayerMapPosition() script function will only work for you, your party and raid.
– Fixed an issue where chat window positions may not be restored to the correct positions when re-entering the world.
– Fixed occasional crash when speech bubbles are enabled around NPCs that talk a lot.
– Fixed occasional crash when listing a chat channel with a large numbers of players.
– Fixed temporary lockup experienced by spell casting players when they are kicked.
– Added a Wind Rider Master to Camp Taurajo in The Barrens.
New Horde Flight Paths
Camp Taurajo in The Barrens <-> Crossroads in The Barrens
Camp Taurajo in The Barrens <-> Thunder Bluff in Mulgore
Camp Taurajo in The Barrens <-> Freewind Post in Thousand Needles
– Fixed several problems with the flight path from Undercity to Hammerfall while passing through the Ruins of Andorhal.
– Fixed some problems with the Ironforge to Stormwind flight path.
– The Darkshire <-> Booty Bay flight paths no longer fly over the Gurubashi Arena in Stranglethorn Vale, and therefore no longer flag fliers as being in Free-for-All PvP. Also, they should no longer fly through the zeppelins coming in and out of the Grom’gol Base Camp.
– Feralas, Durotar, Mulgore, Darnassus, Tirisfal Glades (excluding the Bulwark graveyard), Elwynn Forest & the Eastern Plaguelands have now all been converted over to the new graveyard system. The system will place your character’s spirit at the closest allowed graveyard in the zone. For example, an Alliance character dying closer to the new Darnassus graveyard, detailed below, will use that graveyard rather than the one located at Dolanaar. Starting area graveyards are still reserved exclusively for characters of similar faction that die within their confines. For example, the spirit of a Horde character dying right outside of Deathknell will not use Deathknell graveyard, but will instead go to the next closest Tirisfal Glades graveyard.
– A Horde-only graveyard has been added in the northern section of Durotar, just to the south of Orgrimmar. In addition to serving northern Durotar, Horde characters dying in Orgrimmar, The Hall of Legends and Ragefire Chasm will use this new graveyard. Alliance characters dying in Durotar will continue to only use the Razor Hill graveyard.
– A Horde-only graveyard has been placed at the northern base of Thunder Bluff in Mulgore. Horde characters dying in Thunder Bluff will also use this new graveyard. Alliance characters dying in Mulgore will continue to only use the graveyard at Bloodhoof Village.
– An Alliance-only graveyard has been added at the eastern end of Darnassus. Alliance characters dying in Darnassus will use this new graveyard. Horde characters dying on Teldrassil will still only be able to use the graveyard at Dolanaar.
– An Alliance-only graveyard has been added just outside of Ironforge, around the side of the mountain. It is only for use by Alliance characters that die inside Ironforge and in the Gates of Ironforge sub-area of Dun Morogh. Horde characters dying therein will continue to only use the Kharanos graveyard.
– The Ruins of Lordaeron above Undercity now has a Horde-only graveyard. Horde characters dying inside the Undercity will use this new graveyard. Alliance characters will continue to solely use the Faol’s Rest graveyard.
– A neutral graveyard has been added at the Eastvale Logging Camp in Elwynn Forest. The graveyard at Goldshire is now for use by the Alliance exclusively. Horde characters dying in Elwynn Forest and its sub-areas, as well as in Stormwind, The Stockade and the Deeprun Tram, will have their spirits travel to the new graveyard at the Eastvale Logging Camp.
– A neutral graveyard has been added on the island of Caer Darrow in Western Plaguelands. It will serve characters who die on Caer Darrow and in Scholomance.
– A neutral graveyard has been added in the Eastern Plaguelands near the northwestern shore of Blackwood Lake. Characters that die in The Fungal Vale will continue to use the Darrowshire graveyard due to the mountains between it and the new graveyard. Additionally, characters dying in Stratholme will now use the new Blackwood Lake graveyard.
– A neutral graveyard has been added in Feralas, just to the southwest of Dire Maul. Characters dying in Dire Maul will use this new graveyard.
– Darkmoon Cards have been seen dropping from high level Humanoids around the world. Collect a set of them and bring them to the Darkmoon Faire when it is in town!
– The “Human, Theramore” faction is now the “Theramore” faction. This faction is allied with the Alliance and is at war with the Horde.
– High Elves now have their own distinct faction â�?��?? “Silvermoon Remnant”. This faction is allied with the Alliance and is at war with the Horde. Not all High Elves are a part of this faction.
– Several NPCs around the world are now associated with the proper faction.
– Dimetradons in Un’Goro Crater should be found more regularly now.
– Fire Elementals in Searing Gorge should be easier to find.
– The pair of gryphons guarding the entrance to the Hinterlands have finally decided to stop staring at one another and will now wander around the entrance to the pass.
– Rashona Straglash was moved to be with other cloth-centric citizens in Orgrimmar.
– Several NPCs that were not marked as Civilians are now correctly labeled.
– Dark Strand Cultist and Enforcers are now correctly labeled Humanoid.
– Morbent Felâ�?��?�s level was slightly reduced to better fit the level range of Duskwood.
– Brinna Valanaar in Azshara now sells higher level arrows.
– Hadoken Swiftstrider of Camp Mojache, Feralas and Dinita Stonemantle in Ironforge received promotions; they are now significantly tougher than before.
– Certain floating herbs, minerals, and chests should now be more down to earth.
– The Barrens should now feel more alive.
– Sickly Gazelles now have a sickly look to them.
– Jarven Thunderbrew in Kharanos warns players in Common now, and not in Dwarvish.
– The Wastewander Scufflaw of Tanaris now spells his own name correctly.
– Swift Green Raptor has been renamed to Swift Olive Raptor for clarity.
– An icon has been added at the Kalimdor continent map level for Revantusk Village.
– Revantusk Village will now have an arrow pointing in its direction on the mini-map when you get close enough to it.
– Fixed some typos in Gilnid’s text in The Deadmines.
– Fixed some typos in Supervisor Raelen’s text in Elwynn Forest.
Saved in the case the censorship reaches again the FoH forums (which went directly down, how fun).
Btw, after having read carefully everything I can say that at least the Warrior changes (the only class I know well) are really smart and outstanding. Kalgan may suck greatly at developing interesting PvP models but he is really that good when planning classes. With a few minor tweaks here and there he addressed a bunch of problems at a radical level that seemed just too complex to solve without breaking everything else. Impressive.
Also good the changes to the instances (and the integration of the indispensable CT_RaidAssist). I just wonder, if new creatures detecting invisibility/stealth were added to Strat, why nothing is being done to LBRS? That raid has been DESTROYED thanks to groups sneaking in and bypassing the whole instance just to farm the boss mobs. It’s just impossible to find druids and rogues to join a raid, which makes the whole thing really annoying since the healers are rare even in normal conditions.
Isn’t that issue serious enough to get solved?
And finally the possibility to access the BGs from the capitals. Noooo, I didn’t see this coming from miles away. Quoting myself:
Who wants to bet that the next step will be the possibility to enter the BGs no matter where you are?
And the longer comment where I explain why this decision is just the result of a big flaw in the game:
WoW’s battlegrounds are the manifestation of this process. The game needs insta-ports because the principles on which the game was being built have been eroded to a point that they became completely unexcused. I need to fly from Ironforge to Ashenvale but …why? At the end I’m going into a portal and join a specific instance completely cut-out from the game-world. I do not care what happens in other instances, what I do in mine doesn’t affect the world outside, I do not care who is going to win. The key here is “I do not care”. Everything is contingent, the space is negated, the purpose doesn’t exist. The player isn’t anymore put in a context, he is outside that context, he makes the context and uses it. He makes it up, he hallucinates himself. And, outside, nothing exists, nothing has consequences and nothing “breathes”.
What is left of a mmorpg? The time I spend flying from Ironforge to Ashenvale and vice-versa. What is left of a mmorpg is an unexcused burden that will be ultimately removed. Even in WoW (you’ll see).
I was right again.
Again from Dave Rickey’s interview:
The big news is going to continue to be EQ clones. Fantasy themed clones will get ever more insane budgets and continue to be the biggest games. We’ll see more variation of setting, like we already have seen a little of, EQ with guns, EQ in space, EQ in giant robots, and those games will dominate the middle third of the market, running a step behind the fantasy games on budgets. The bottom of the market will run the whole rest of the range down, and is where we’ll see the real innovation.
There are so *many* possible MMO’s to make, and I really believe that in the long run the current run of ever-bigger EQ clones will burn itself out. Once every potential player has already played one to the point of burnout, we’ll need to do something else.
To which Anyuzer brought his attack that I slightly “time warp” here:
But, in my defense though, there is something interesting about the whole thing. The first is the future of the ‘EQ-Clones’. I mean, personally, I’m getting sick of the terminology.
EQ Clone? Why is it an EQ clone? Because it’s an Online RPG that works on fairly logical progressional elements? C’mon people, wake up and stop bitching. EverQuest was not the devil, it was simply a game that had enough psychological hooks in its design to keep players going. ALL VIDEO GAMES WORK ON THE SAME PRINCIPLES.
And the next big MMOs that come out (Vanguard, DDO, LoTR, Imperator, etc) will simply either be very good at this (in which case they will do ‘decently’) or they’ll be the best at this (in which case they will eclipse even WoW) or they’ll totally ignore these basics of human nature, and fail miserably (woooo Horizons!)
Which brings me back to Rickey’s comments. He is spot on in pointing out that ‘EQ-Clones’ are going to be the future of the industry. But what the hell is he thinking when claiming that players will get burnt out, and look for some innovative indy game? A more realistic comment would’ve been throwing away the retarded: “EQ Clone” label and pointing out the fact that the way the industry is likely to evolve, is being better at placing the progressional hooks, and being innovative in the design of those hooks.
I already commented those points on his forum but let’s give this topic another twist:
OF COURSE there is going to be a burnout. And not because I’m here predicting the future for all of you but simply because it is happening already. Just open your eyes and look around with some critical ability. Let’s put aside for a second the considerations about the design and focus instead on what is relevant about this argument. The fact is that this bunch of games like EQ, EQ2, DAoC, FFXI, WoW and all the minor ones… all aim to the same audience. They aren’t just “EQ-Clones” because of superficial classifications. They are, at their core, products aiming to get slices of the exact same pie.
Despite the numbers are hiding what is happening, the fact is that the release of WoW is strongly impacting the subscriptions of other games. Noone can expect the players to support and play all these games at the same time, so what happens is that there is going to be a choice. A choice that in this case is about comparing IDENTIC products. So an obvious, objective choice that is moving away from being a personal, subjective choice. There is no subjectivity when you can choose just between identic products. There is absolutely no differentiation between the largest commercial mmorpgs and the result of this is that the best product is going to stand out “objectively” and conquer the whole market. It’s exactly when there is ZERO differentiation that you can compare the products head to head and right now, honestly, WoW is the best game out there with a relevant advantage. It is successful because the game was able to improve the design we already know under a good number of important aspects, so the players moved over and liked, for the most part, what they found. At the same time the other games, while suffering the impact, were still able to hold because of (1) strong communities built wilth the time, (2) time investment from the players that do not want to throw everything away and (3) specific aspects of the game that remain unique and valuable for those with a deep knowledge of the game.
This is the real “burnout”. The players are getting tired of looking at a bunch of identic games all trying to compete on the same goals. Is really this genre so narrow in scope and possibilities (from a commercial point of view)? I know a good numbers of players that already left the previous incarnations of this same-game that have now absolutely no interest in WoW. This is the burnout. It’s the common “been there, done that”. When you keep finding the same thing, slightly improved, you get tired, because the novetly vanished long ago and you have no interest to commit to it again. It’s a perspective that hasn’t anything anymore to offer.
The point here is that there will be always just one, two at maximum, juggernauts out there. And they’ll crush everything in the market because all these games just overlap trying to conquer the same audience. And the audience will choose that one product that does the thing better. In this case the new, better mmorpgs “mudflate” the old mmorpgs that weren’t able to manage the progress and solve their own quirks. WoW capitalized on the design mistakes of other games, on those problems that the devs didn’t care to acknowledge. So it used those weaknesses as an hold to throw the new competitors out of the path. It is possible for an old game, with a consolidated community to hold for a long time even after being cut out of the relevant market, but this isn’t a possibility for the new projects that do not have the resources to go against the juggernaut but that still pretend to do so.
In the future the communities will become more and more “portable”. They’ll move naturally to the “next big thing” exactly because it will be easy to recognize. What we know is that the success never comes from the same source. All these game worlds reach a peak when they are able to observe the situation from outside, consider what works and what doesn’t to then enter the market and bring in some innovations. Mythic was successful because of this, Blizzard was successful because of this. They capitalize on the mistakes of others but then they become themselves gears of the same wheel and just freeze (“thick as a brick”), unable to understand their own errors just to become fresh preys for the next big thing that is going to backfire the process against them.
You cannot expect to sell the exact same food, at the exact same price but of a less overall quality and hope to survive the market. It simply doesn’t make sense. So this is why the focus should be about delivering something that the super-large company of the moment cannot afford. Yes, because those companies have also serious weaknesses that can be exploited. There is a space for interesting products which can afford a more aggressive and creative development and exactly because the largest projects will finally become juggernauts impossible to move. So you “win” the disadvantage by competing on an agility that those other projects cannot afford.
There are spaces, this genre is wide and accepts all sort of things you can imagine. What is important is to not chase the trend of the moment in order to survive with the crumbs left by the big one ahead of you. That will just get you stomped on. Use some wit, be able to understand where the market is going and anticipate it. Compensate the lack of money and resource with some creativity and passion. Just take the challenge for what it is and have some fun already in the development process.