A release date!
Remember when these friendly goblins were put into the game? The first “winner” on server won an enormous amount of platinum, over 3,000. Of course these days I hardly see anyone standing around the machines and with fast travel there’s no one waiting on any boats. The goblins could first be found at the end of various docks; Antonica, Commonlands, even Enchanted lands. Sure, it was a blatant money sink but these NPC seemed quite amusing and at the time a lot of players got excited over them. With the addition of guild hall amenities we’ve seen a return of our green friends and it becomes easier and easier to spend 10 silver here and there as we wait for groups and form up for raids. It’s not exactly the same as a top online casino, but it’s a great way to pass the time.
My question is have you ever known anyone to actually win this game or is it just as elusive as the real life versions? I’ve gotten a match of five before and that gives you 25 gold, but it always seems like that sixth number is just slightly out of reach.
These days the “big jackpot” is a mere 323 platinum (at the time of writing this) which doesn’t seem like that much. The previous winner walked away with 361 – have the chances of winning increased and thus much less money is put into the pot before being won? I wonder what the statistics are, how many people actually play. Too bad there’s no real way to tell.
EQ1 also had a type of gambling game where you would keep trying to win a golden ticket for some fantastic prizes that you could choose. World of Warcraft has their mysterious fortune cards where players have a chance at winning an in-game cash value by “scratching” the card and once their fortunes are revealed the card can be sold to vendor for as little as 1 silver and as much as 5,000 gold.
What do you think of this type of money sink in video games, where you can at least walk away with some sort of reward?
I’ve been spending a lot of time in world of warcraft since me and EQ2 have had a sort of falling out (it really began months ago but became more ‘steady’ these past two or three months). There are those who would laugh at me for choosing an ‘easy cartoon game’ (their words not mine) and who can not begin to understand what I find fascinating about the game – then there are others who can appreciate the fact that I am a nomadic gamer at heart and I do tend to bounce around playing whatever strikes my fancy.
One comment I hear more often than not is that World of Warcraft is not a ‘pretty’ game. That people don’t enjoy the ‘cartoon’ like art style. I actually enjoy the look of the game, it’s a nice respite from the ‘realism’ that I see in games like EQ2, and Lord of the Rings Online. I also think there are some amazingly designed zones with an incredible amount of detail, especially in Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King.
“The Storm Peaks have a mysterious history. Long ago, the titans lived here. They created Ulduar as their city, and it is from here that they conducted their experiments. It is said that the Storm Peaks are the origin of the storm giants, and perhaps the dwarves and troggs as well. When the titans disappeared, the races were left to fend for themselves. The dwarves moved south into warmer climates, but the storm giants remained and claimed Ulduar as their own. They developed crystalline golems to aid them in their research and as guards. Over time, the storm giants have dwindled in number and grown ever more reclusive. Now only a handful remain.
The storm giants make their home in the Storm Peaks. They are of an impressive size, more than 30 feet tall and powerfully built. The storm giants are capable of summoning small storms. They keep to themselves, hiding in their caves and tunnels below the surface, and avoid visitors. Myths say that the titans created the storm giants; perhaps dwarves have an origin in common to the storm giants. It is possible that the storm giants may know more about the dwarves’ past than the dwarves do themselves — however, they are not likely to tell anyone about it. The storm giants like their privacy, and their crystalline golems help maintain that. They are the same golems that reside in Crystalsong Forest, gathering crystals to bring back to their masters. In Crystalsong Forest, they are servants and couriers. In the Storm Peaks, they function as door wardens and bodyguards, making sure no intruder gains entrance to the storm giants’ lairs. Magnataur and wendigo are known to roam the area. The magnataur are solitary and easy to spot. [Wowwiki.com]“
I love the lore of the game, there are stories everywhere and while I may not spend very much time in game reading through my quest text – I DO spend a lot of time outside of game reading about the zones that I’ve been visiting. I love learning that everything has a story, a reason for being in the world to begin with. While I’m certainly no lore expert (I just enjoy the stories, not the technical aspects) I can appreciate the amount of work that goes into creating the universe that I’m playing in.
I think perhaps we (as gamers) are too quick to judge a “game by its cover”. Taking the community of WoW to represent the game itself. After playing for a few months now I can certainly say that the community is probably one of the worst that I’ve ever experienced in any game. If it were not for the fact that I am in a relatively friendly guild, I probably would have moved on long ago. Being in a guild and running dungeons as a guild as opposed to constantly running PUGS (pick up groups) has allowed me to ignore a vast majority of the community and focus on what I enjoy most – the game. When it comes right down to it, World of Warcraft is just as ‘pretty’ as any other game out there I’ve played. Even if it does have a ‘cartoon’ feel to it. The style may not appeal to everyone but I like to think I can appreciate those differences.
I have to admit on my ipod one of the apps that I use the most is the World of Warcraft Armory. This was even before they came out with the new remote auction house which I will get into details about in a minute. I used this app because it’s faster then browsing from the web site, and it’s also exceptionally handy for a player like myself who hasn’t done things a billion times before. I love their ‘find an upgrade’ feature where you can select a piece of gear you own, and search for something that may be useful to you. Right away the app was a big hit. I love browsing stats, achievements, and all the rest. Being able to do it from outside of game is great (I enjoy the eq2 players web site for the same reason, and really wish it would be made into an app).
Then came along the beta version of the remote auction house. For now everyone has access, 25 transactions a day. Once it goes live you’ll be charged an extra monthly fee to use it. I haven’t decided if I’m going to do that yet, but I have been playing with the beta quite a bit.
I love it. I love being able to control my sales from outside of game. In fact it gives me one more reason not to log into game all the time, which I love even more. I don’t need to pop in to check my sales or empty my mailbox I can do it from the ipod. Typically I’m in EVE or EQ2, and browsing the WoW auction house on the ipod and checking my sales. On any day I have 100-200 items for sale per character (mains, I have three of them basically) and I love checking the progress of the sales. I love being able to see the price range that everyone else has listed theirs for, and just playing the auction house game (ie: marketing).
Do I think it will break the market? No. There’s nothing the app does that you can’t already do if you log into the game. I think it will make the game (this particular aspect of it) more accessible to people, and accessibility is never a bad thing. I don’t typically buy anything off of the auction house, but I do use it to sell, often.
I love how it works, the clean interface, and just being able to do everything from purchasing, selling, and re-listing, as well as cleaning out mail. Keeping track of sales, and all the rest.
This isn’t the only game-related app I have either. I’ve been eagerly waiting for the Fallen Earth one to release, I have the Champions Online app, as well as the Wizard101 app and an EVE Online app. Each one is unique and different in its own way (wizard101 is basically just a game where you can win prizes to claim in game, and the Champions Online one is basically a character viewer) and I think that we need to see more of them. I’m actually very surprised that SOE hasn’t come out with their own yet, but I guess they’ve always been a little behind the rest in terms of that sort of thing.
Now, if they’d just add remote crafting..
I really can’t help but wonder why I do some of the things I do. There’s all kinds of examples, but one of the most thought provoking is that of returning to MMOs I said I would never play again. When I left WoW (a few times now) just before WotLK came out, I didn’t WANT to go back. I really didn’t. But then I saw the game and Arthas was the main bad guy and I REALLY like the story behind him, so to see all of the trials and tribulations of WC III and some of vanilla WoW culminate was beyond my ability to resist. Fair enough, right? Well ok, but now that I’m done with WotLK I told myself I’d be done again. But what do they do? Make me fall in love with Cataclysm.
See, Cataclysm has dragons (if you haven’t been living under a non-gaming rock, you’ll know this) and I LOVE dragons. The stories behind Deathwing and the Black Dragonflight are among my favorites in the game. And yes, BWL was and still is my favorite raid zone. Anyway, a few of the old greats are coming back for a spot in the story, including Nefarian and an undead Onyxia. I’m not sure exactly how they’ll pull off Ragnaros living in Hyjal in his new tower that no one saw them building, but I suppose we’ll see. Point to this is … story trumps my own visions of the game’s shortcomings. More on that later.
Now we skip to another game I so absolutely adore, but swore I’d never play again: Everquest 2. Why? Well I’m not a huge fan of companies doing something just to do it or just to emulate someone else. When I got wind that EQ2 was adding battlegrounds, it really pissed me off. Pissed me off to the point where I quit even though I had just gotten my mythical on my SK and was livin’ pretty large. I love my SK. I’ve had and played the concept of my SK since the first Everquest. I don’t roleplay nearly as much with him as I’d like to, but I also haven’t made much of an effort to so that falls on me.
Long story short: I picked up Sentinel’s Fate yesterday, installed and made a new character to check out Halas. WHY WOULD I DO THAT?! AGAIN!? Here’s the thing: I disliked Sony’s choice for the new expansion to be Odus. I REALLY wanted Velious as that was my favorite expansion for Everquest. All the ice stuff and whatnot really pointed to it being Velious too, but sadly, we got Odus. Well, imagine my surprise when I logged in, did a few quests in the new starting area and found … Coldain Dwarves! And not only them, but Ry’gorr orcs as well! Rejoice! For those of you not familiar with either of those two things, the Coldain were the dwarves who lived in Thurgadin, one of the first cities you actually come to once you get off the boat in Velious. They’re blue dwarves and have neat ice related names, but otherwise not entirely special. The Ry’gorr were the main orc clan surrounding the land mass of Velious and you dealt with them a lot.
Does this mean there’s a bit of a foreshadowing to going back and exploring Velious? *shrugs* Dunno, won’t speculate, but I’m hopeful. It made me really happy to see them and at that point I forgot all my past feelings of hatred for SOE for the PVP stuff.
Now, these two experiences have something very important linking them: story. I absolutely love the story behind a lot of what goes on in the World of Warcraft. I also am deeply in love with the lore that comes from Everquest and is evolved in Everquest 2. Story is what makes me come back, that and the fact that I am so deeply in love with the stories that I feel like part of the world. I have an invested interest in seeing what happens because of what I actually WANT to happen. For that, I will gladly hand over money to SOE and Blizzard.
People bitch about mechanics and balance and easiness of MMOs all the time, myself included. People get frustrated at other people, raid encounters, grouping and group finding mechanics and choices developers make all the time, myself included. But when you can go back to a time where playing the game meant you were doing it for yourself and the friends you play with, I really think you can find a new place in that game, one that makes you feel as happy as you were when you first picked it up. Of course, you’ll never have that same exact feeling again as you had when you played your first MMO (Mine was EQ), but you can be reminded of what it was like for you to be so immersed in a world and what it was like to learn all the stories as you went through, not caring whether or not you were in the best gear or at level cap.
Cataclysm seeks to do that for me with WoW as its focus is in the old world again, albeit a little messed up thanks to Deathwing Going back to all those places again and experiencing them in a new way, yet still being strangely familiar will do wonders, I think. That and A: playing the game from a different perspective since I’ll be making a Worgen character and have never leveled an Alliance character and B: resolving to raid 10 mans only with people I consider close friends.
Everquest 2 seeks to do that for me with its little bit of lore pointing at Velious and has already done so with its Kunark expansion, which was my absolute favorite expansion from EQ since it gave us Iksar.
Sometimes you do need to step away from a game for a bit to gain some perspective or just to give another new game a shot. I’m sure some of my MMOs will fall to the wayside when The Old Republic comes out, but I’m pretty sure I’ll return to them over time.
As an aside, and since everyone else is doing it! Here’s some screenshots from my new Froglok Berserker in EQ2 with Shaders 3.0 turned on. EQ2′s graphic capabilities are amazing, but pretty weird in how they work sometimes. For example: I was trying to tweak my fiance’s graphics because she kept hitching in certain places. The more I tweaked, the less progress I was making, so I eventually just turned everything up to the max for her and … she stopped hitching and she stopped lagging. Logic would dictate that with everything turned on, she should lag horrendously (though she doesn’t have a slouch for a vid card, which was what was puzzling me), but no … smooth as butter now. Perhaps some of the graphics options are tuned to work with others at a higher level or even actually turned on … I dunno. Anyway, here’s the screens. I really like the detail in the armor and skin. Yes, some things end up being unrealistically shiny and overall there’s a darker tone to the game, but mostly that comes when it’s actually dark in the game. I.E. being outside during the daytime is actually pretty bright and acceptable for me, but overall I do like them.
FYI … I really thing my Froglok looks like one of the Orcs from the old animated Hobbit movie.