Saturday, October 22, 2011

PvP "Hybrids"

The thing that I do find most intriguing is the concept of the kinda-sorta PvEish version of BGs.  Imagine the PvPish zones in Grizzly Hills, and instead of a loosely connected set of dailies, convert them into an "event", and that's what you'll get in this new PvP hybrid.

In practice, I'm not sure how well this will work, and whether phasing will do the job as needed.  Think of Tol Barad, and how that has dropped off like a rock.

I was thinking about this, and how the smarter thing that Blizz could do would be to create a PvP option where --if selected-- you'd buff up the non-Boss NPCs in Alterac Valley and add NPCs as needed in the other moderate to large BGs.  That way the NPCs wouldn't be a pushover, and you could theoretically turn AV back into the epic battle of old.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Mists of Pandaria = PvP Land and Other Musings

The title is my first opinion in a nutshell.

If you don't like PvP, I suspect that you're not going to like this upcoming expansion quite so much.  PvP has been carrying the Alliance v. Horde conflict for quite a while now, and I don't expect that to change.

When the stated goal of an expansion is the conflict with the opposing faction, PvP will become more important, and possibly more important than raids.
The racials of a Pandaren are very interesting from a PvP standpoint too:
  • Bouncy: reduces fall damage by half.
  • Inner peace: double rested XP.
  • Gourmond: +15 to cooking.
  • Epicurean: double stats to food buffs.
  • Quaking Palm (from the live stream): Puts a target to sleep for three seconds.
Quaking Palm is very PvP oriented, as is Inner Peace.  (Just wait around the Capital City and queue for BGs.  Watch the XP rack up!)  Bouncy is kind of meh, and Gourmond and Epicurean equally favor PvE and PvP content.


If we complained about Outland being out of date before, I guess we ain't seen nothing yet.

Outland will now be more out of date than the Old World would have been when Cata dropped.  Northrend almost as bad, and the Old World will be filled with Deathwing references.


In case nobody was noticing, Inner Peace means that Pandaren will rocket through the leveling system.  Add a few heirlooms, guild perks, and....


My previous post about "quests-on-rails" and the effect of making the leveling secondary is going to be even more pronounced in the upcoming expansion.  When Blizz explicitly mentions that they're focusing more on max-level content for this expansion, then you know that leveling has taken a back seat to the WoW experience.


WoW Pokemon?  Are you kidding me?

Is Blizzard losing subs to Wizard 101 or something?

If there's something that's going to land on the cutting room floor before the game goes gold, I expect this will be the one to get the axe.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A Changing Quest Design Philosophy

As I've previously documented, I've played around with a few other MMOs in addition to WoW.  Certainly WoW takes up the majority of my time, but I do like to putz around when the mood takes me.  While I've tinkered a little bit with Rift, my experiences are primarily with Lord of the Rings Online and Age of Conan.  Those two and WoW form the bulk of my MMO experience, and what I've noticed is that the quest emphasis on WoW has evolved in a direction that seems, well, more Diablo-like than anything else.

I've read on several occasions that you'll be able to finish Diablo III playing solo.  Yes, you can bring your friends along for the ride, but on the normal setting you should be able to beat the game all by your lonesome.  Now, take a look at how WoW's quest lines changed from pre to post Cata.  Sure, there was a lot --a lot!-- of meandering quest lines that got cleaned up, but think about what also changed:  any requirements for teaming up.

The last vestiges of group quests are found in the Outland and Northrend zones (including the BC racial starting areas).  The new post-Cata quest chains are all on rails, too: you have to do them in sequence, no exceptions.  This means you zip right along, heading straight up to L60.  Things get a wee bit diverted in Outland and Northrend with the lack of updates to those areas, but the L85 Express kicks right back into gear once you hit the Cata zones.

The first few times you level up to L85, that's not a big issue.  You can quest, you can run instances, you can run BGs.  You can even heavily incorporate herb gathering and mining into your leveling experience if you feel like it.  But after a while, you start to get tired of seeing the same zone in the same order again and again and again.  Yes, the phasing is cool, and you do have a visible impact on the world.  And yes, the quests-on-rails is a consequence of that design decision.  However, a side effect of it is the lack of group play when you're out questing in Azeroth.

Let's think about this for a moment.
  • A design that emphasizes --and encourages-- solo play until you get to max level.
  • Due to the speed of leveling, the emphasis isn't simply on playability, but on how quick you can get to max level.
  • The quests-on-rails environment is all about telling the story --the same story-- which is completely locked in to this expansion.  This means that if Blizz were to create another expansion that had an impact in the two main continents of Azeroth, this entire environment would have to be redone, the story rewritten.
Doesn't this all mean that the "new" Old World is set up to simply get players to max level as quickly as possible?  It sure feels like it.

I'll give Blizz the benefit of the doubt in that I'm sure they wanted to tell a good story that couldn't be told without a complete revamp of the Old World, but the law of unintended consequences has re-emphasized that all the action is at max level.  Being out in the field is a solo affair, and unless you play in a PvP realm, there's not a lot of interaction going on in Azeroth.

Now look, I know quite well you can turn off XP and goof around as much as you want.  But I have tried to slow down advancement on a few of my toons while still collecting XP, and unless you spend your time in zones far below your class, it's almost impossible to not level up while questing.  And fairly rapidly, at that.

A side effect of Blizz's current quest design philosophy is that it is so jarring to move from Azeroth to Outland and Northrend, where the quest-on-rails simply doesn't exist.  That's why the upcoming adjustments in leveling in Northrend became so necessary: they were the brake on the L85 Express.

However, never has this design philosophy been so evident as when you leave WoW and enter another MMO.

LOTRO is a lot like 'old style WoW':  there are mostly solo quests out there, and you can do them in any order you want (within reason, naturally).  You're not locked in all the time.  LOTRO also doesn't have a bunch of small quests as part of a large chain, either; it's all one long quest, but it's broken into sections without having to subdivide into mini-quests.  There are some group quests as well:  people hook up for those quests, and they're done ala pre-Cata WoW.  The leveling is at a more sedate pace, which matches the tone of the MMO.  Sure, people will want to play WoW because they loved the story found in the books and Warcraft I-III, but not as many as you might think.  In LOTRO, however, the story is the primary draw, and Turbine knows it.  If you spread out the pace of leveling you can immerse yourself more fully into Middle Earth, and you can be more social with friends.  End level raiding isn't their primary design emphasis.

Now Age of Conan...  That is a horse of a different color.

AoC does have a neat little trick called offline leveling that allows you to level more rapidly once you're past L30, which is perfect for those who choose to accelerate their movement to max level.  But if you choose to level using questing, you're in for a surprise.

Once you get past the Tortage starter area, the number of group quests really goes up.  Sure, you have a lot of individual quests to work on, but AoC practically pushes you into group cooperation with the way the zones are designed.  The Cimmerian area Connall's Valley has the Vanir deployed more like an instance than anything else, and their movements are a lot more detailed than I've seen in WoW.  As I've commented before on the AI, enemies are far more sensitive to nearby attacks and use real tactics to give themselves the best possible advantage.  For some quests it becomes absolutely necessary to work in a group, even if the quest itself isn't flagged as a group quest.

With AoC the focus is not only on creating a more demanding quest line, but one that encourages group cooperation.  AoC shares a similarity with LOTRO in that the journey is important enough to encourage immersion, but the approach to get people involved in the journey is different.  The net result, however, is that both MMOs slow down leveling; their devs don't focus the MMOs to getting the player to max level as quickly as possible.

This upcoming week, we'll hear about the new WoW expansion from Blizzcon --and if you don't think we'll hear something, I've got a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you-- and I wonder what Blizz will do to counteract the heavily story-laden Star Wars: The Old Republic juggernaut.  Will they orient themselves even more toward end-game raiding, or will they go off the quests-on-rails and change their quest focus again?  I guess we'll find out soon.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Dancing With Myself

The inspiration for this post came from my perusal of the Badlands this morning, when I came across a Worgen Warrior off in a corner near Lethlor Canyon (not to be confused with the other Worgen who was doing the same Rhea's Egg questline as I was). 

This particular Warrior simply decided to start dancing.  Just for the hell of it.

I've been playing for a little over two years and I've seen some strange things, but this isn't what you'd expect to find at 5 AM.

Then again, is there ever a good time to be seeing strange stuff in WoW?

Like the guy who had his attacks set up via a macro so that he starts by yelling "Go go Power Rangers go go!"  (I've come across him twice via LFD back when I was on Stormscale.)

Or the Goblin with the name of Snookie --yes, in honor of that Snookie-- that would shout every minute or so: "Where's the beach?"

Compared to this stuff, I'm kind of an ol' fuddy duddy.  (And get offa my lawn, too!)  But you know, one of these days...

Like maybe I'll create a Hunter with a pet named Scooby just so I can yell in the Halls of Reflection "Zoinks!!!  Run, Scoob!!" 

Or maybe that Hunter will go around with a gun, saying "Say hello to my little friend!"

Or I'll level a Rogue so I can quote lines from the Barenaked Ladies' song "The Ninjas" in a BG.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Not Exactly Feeling the Love

I've been watching the class changes in the 4.3 PTR, and I'm less than thrilled.  The three class/specs that I play --Ret Pally, Frost Mage, and Affliction Warlock-- have either got a big ol' batch of nothing (Frost and Aff) or a slight mix of buffs and nerfs, ending up in an overall nerf (Ret).  (Druids have been hit by a nerf bat too, now that I think about it.)

What's enjoying the spotlight these days?  Holy Spec Pallys, for one.  Fire Mages, for another.  Destro Warlocks.  Warriors.  Shamans.  Holy and Disco Priests.  Hunters and DKs got a smattering of love, too.

It's still way early, but it's not looking so good at the moment.

Well, at least Rogues don't have anything new.

EtA:  OH!  The most important thing (at least for me) in the PTR is that the Alterac Blitz achievement will no longer be needed to get the Master of Alterac Valley meta-achievement.  I just don't see how one team can get the Blitz if you've got two groups of 40, especially since it takes a couple of minutes to go from one end of the BG to the other.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Guardian Cubs and Gaming the System

Given the imminent release of the Guardian Cub in the Blizz store, does that mean that the Guardian Mount (aka the glowing sheepdog) wasn't so annoying as the Sparkle Pony?  After all, you'd think that there would be a market for the Blizzard version of My Little Pony as a pet.

I've seen enough of the brouhaha concerning the saleability of the pet on the AH, I have to ask just what the big deal is.  It's just a pet; it's not raid tier gear.  Having one won't imbalance the game any more than someone paying for a faction change just to sell pets cross faction.  Either way, the money will indirectly go for gold.  Why don't you hear a hue and cry over that?

Yes, I do get the slippery slope argument, and how blatant the "money for gold" aspect is.  (And so is selling a copy of the Collectors' Edition of the game on eBay just to access the exclusive pet, but I digress.)  But as minor as this is, gaming the system is nothing new to WoW.

There are always methods to game a system.  The WoW gold farmers are one method; faction changes are another.  Automated auction software that has more in common with day trader software is a third.  Automated leveling software, which sells prospective buyers on "the game only really starts at max level", is another.

But in the end, what all these methods do is to get a player to a point in time, whether it's with a pet, or gold, or gear.  A pet is strictly vanity, but gold and gear are a different matter.  Whether they obtain it by cheating or not, the player is then expected to actually do something with their gear.  Or their gold.  Or their newly minted L85.  Just amassing the stuff doesn't mean a lot in WoW terms, because flashing bling and a few silver will get you an apple from the fruit vendor in Shattrath's Lower City.

Failed pugs and raids are littered with people who didn't know how to play their class in that environment.*  If you gamed the system to get into Firelands raiding, your (lack of) skill will be on display for all to see.  I've been in too many 5-mans wherein poor undergeared me out DPSed toons with the latest gear found on the AH for me to think that gear = skill, and I'm sure I'm not alone.

Besides, who really cares when you flaunt your dubiously obtained gear?*  After all, vanity gear is just around the corner, and people aren't going to care if you've got T20 gear on you because people will be too busy outfitting themselves in T2 gear instead.  I mean, there will be people who will raid wearing a wedding dress, I can guarantee it.

If after all that you're expecting me to say some platitude about how someone who games the system is only hurting themselves, well, I'm not.  Because that's not true.  People get their accounts hacked in the name of keeping gold farmers' coffers full.  Raids, BGs, and 5-mans fail because of these shenanigans.  Just because you can game the system doesn't mean you should.

But in the end, the Guardian Cub controversy is a tempest in a teapot which is distracting from the more insidious methods of gaming the system.  Stop worrying about the Cub, because that's not where the action will be.

*This is different from people who leveled their way to L85 and then tried to get into instances/raids/BGs.  For starters, they know a bit about the mechanics, just not how to play a toon in a group format.  The person who let a leveling service take care of their toon from 1-85 missed out on a lot of critical lessons on how a toon's abilities work.  And believe me, it shows; we all can spot the DPS who keeps Righteous Fury on when playing.

**Remember people showing off their e-peen and their proto drakes perched on the Dal fountain?  Do you remember their names?  I sure don't, and I doubt no more than a few people do.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Is there an Adult in the House?

When you reach that magical mark of L45, the grind through BGs suddenly becomes worth it.

I clicked to join the queue, waited a few minutes, and the pic of a Frostwolf Orc and Stormpike Guard Dwarf filled my screen.

"Ah...." I sighed in content.  "Alterac Valley.  The best BG in the game."

Then my Lock ported into the loading tunnel and was greeted by farts, belches, nose pickings, and some guy yelling "I'm running around naaaked!!!"

I was playing Alterac Valley with 39 teenagers.  Yay me.

(I mentioned this to Vidyala from Manalicious, who happened to be logged in at the time, and she said "Did you see that strip from The Oatmeal about that?  Oh wait, you posted that, didn't you?"  Art imitates life, I'm afraid.)


For my money, AV is a great learning Battleground, and probably the best starter BG for someone who has never tried BGs before but wanted to test them out.

Before anyone points out the value of creating an alt just to try Warsong Gulch at L10, yes, I'm aware of that as an option.  That method of getting your toes wet in BGs does have advantages, namely that you start to learn the PvP capabilities of your class at the beginner level, and your skill will grow over time as you gain in abilities.  However, starting at whatever level your toon is at (presumably max level or at least L45) and queuing for Alterac Valley has advantages too:
  • You are one of 40 players on your side.  If you screw up, odds are good that you're not going to drag down your team much at all.  With WSG (and to a lesser extent Arathi Basin and Eye of the Storm), one player's mistakes are far more costly to your side.  What this means is that in AV, you have a little bit of license to try things out and not worry about messing up too much.
  • In a large BG such as Alterac Valley, there will always be someone more poorly geared than you are.  From quest greens through the latest Ruthless Gladiator set, all types can find a home in AV.
  • AV has pretty standard strategies (zerg and turtle being the most common), so you don't have to know the intricacies of the BG to contribute.
  • There is always someone attempting to complete the external AV quests, particularly at the lower levels.  This kind of ties into my first point in that AV is forgiving enough that one or two people will wander off and not impact their team so much.  Now, I'm not talking about the in-BG quests you find to go and bring back gear to quest givers at each base --I haven't seen anyone do that in a long while-- but the "Capture a mine" and "Defend a tower" quests.  While this isn't a big deal in today's WoW, back in Vanilla it was a moderately big deal to get the trinkets from the Frostwolf or Stormpike factions, and completing the quests helped get some of that rep.  Besides, if you play Arathi Basin and you complete that starter quest, you're probably thinking "oh yeah, these BG quests aren't a problem."  Until you head into gnoll caverns and have to fight your way through against monsters 4 levels higher than you, that is.
  • When in doubt, help to capture a tower.  Graveyards are a bit trickier, because there are times when it makes more sense to not capture one, but towers are always ripe for picking.
  • The natural tendency of a newbie PvPer is to travel in a pack, and that is perfect for a big BG such as Alterac Valley.  Stick with the pack as much as you can, and you lessen the chance of getting jumped from behind.  For clothies, I can't stress this enough.  Rogues and Hunters love clothies, particularly stragglers.
  • If you're really lucky --or unlucky, based on how quickly you want to play the game-- you can witness the elemental summoning.  I haven't seen it myself, but it does happen from time to time, and there's nothing like having a raid level boss on your side.
  • Honor per game is better than almost all of the other BGs.  Since there are no vehicles to worry about ala Isle of Conquest or Strand of the Ancients, Alterac Valley is a big ol' backyard brawl.  The honor will add up very quickly, particularly in a series of quickly resolved zerg games.  And yes, that means that even if you lose you'll get some decent honor so that you can buy PvP gear more quickly.  (And yes, I meant quickly.  I did say it three times, no?)


Back in AV, I ignored the excesses of the hormone driven crowd and followed along until Snowfall Graveyard, when I peeled off to cap it.  A feral druid pulled in next to me and asked if I wanted to stay with him to defend it.

"No," I said.  "There's no need.  It's a disadvantage for the Horde to take this; we're better off going to Tower Point instead."

"Okay.  You lead."

We reached TP to find that the rest of the group had pushed on ahead, so we darted up the ramp and waited.  A priest arrived for support just as "the Horde have captured Snowfall Graveyard" scrolled on screen.

"They actually took the bait," I said.

"Yeah," the priest replied, "you know they're going to lose when they can't resist taking it from us."

A swarm of Hordies came charging up the ramps, and all we had to do was hold out for 20 seconds.  I was spamming every fear ability I had while the priest got knocked off the ramp.  The druid got two on him and I feared one away.  My succubus disabled one and Howl of Terror procced again.

10 seconds.

I got hit and stunned and quickly used my trinket in combo with Death Coil.  The feral had two more on him, and a Tauren Sunwalker came barreling in.

5 seconds.

I cast Fear.  The cast bar crawled across the screen.

"Come on....  Come on...."

The Sunwalker turned to the Feral just as I feared him.  He ran out the room.


The feral died.


Howl of Terror procced just as the two on the Feral turned to me.  I mashed the button so hard I was sure I broke the key.


A Judgement hammer struck me and left me with around 50 health left.

Boom!  Flames exploded around the tower, and I whooped as the Sunwalker finished me off.

"GJ on TP!" the designated tank hollered.

Ah, Alterac Valley.  Such fun indeed.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

We Don't Make the Class You Play... We Make the Class You Play Better*

 It's been said by quite a few internet pundits that the Paladin is the easiest of the WoW classes to play.  While I don't know whether that's the case --I could make a good argument for Arcane Mages taking that slot-- Ret Paladins are certainly one of the least "button heavy" classes to play.

One of the big knocks about Ret Paladins in Wrath was the lack of any real rotation.  The "rotation" a Ret Pally had was the equivalent of a giant game of Whack-a-Mole: whatever ability was off CD was the button you used.  Sure, there were a few choices here and there, but in this case perception was indeed reality.  Cata actually introduced a rotation (of sorts) to Ret, which boiled down to

Crusader Strike -> filler -> Crusader Strike -> filler -> Crusader Strike -> Templars Verdict

with a few items such as Inquisition, Zealotry, and Avenging Wrath inserted as needed.

This is not very button heavy.  (Stop laughing, Arcane!)

With Ret, once I took care of some basic keybindings and a few macros, there wasn't much to do.  Since I don't raid, I'm not too concerned about squeezing every last bit of DPS that I can out of my rotation.  I know the spec, so as long as I can work it well enough I'm fine.  Even a Frost Mage isn't that button heavy, particularly once the keybindings and macros are settled into place.  In PvP, it's all about CC and driving the other side batty.**

But when I started leveling that Warlock, my laissez-faire attitude hit a brick wall.

With Adelwulf, there were not only a lot of buttons, but you get them all launched at you in quick leveling succession.

By L20, I knew my old button system was in trouble.

By L30, it was just about untenable.  My fingers ached, and I knew that if I didn't overhaul my keys I'd get a serious case of carpal tunnel syndrome, not to mention being completely incompetent.

Of course, that meant that my old keybinding setup had to be thrown out the window, which is why I balked at the task for so long.  Muscle memory was going to be a bitch and a half while I settled into something reasonable. 

My first attempts went poorly.  Oh, I knew what I wanted from a Warlock angle so that was easy enough, but I didn't expect how much trouble it would be to reorganize my Ret keybindings into something I could use effectively.  In my first run after keybindings 2.00, I ran Q through AV.  Or rather, Q bubbled his way through AV.  I'd placed Divine Shield too close to a button I hit more often, and I was accidentally spamming DS the entire run.  Iteration 2.01 didn't go so well either, as every time Art of War procced I hit the wrong key and had to look away from the screen to figure out what I was doing wrong.

Not good.

Iterations 2.02 through 2.17 were incremental improvements until I finally got to the layout I liked.  Main attacks on top, debuff removal and cc stuff below that, and rarely used spells on the bottom.  There were individual quirks about my setup, like having Exorcism and Hammer of Justice use the same finger as before --but keys on different rows-- kept me from accidentally blowing a CD on something I wanted later.  (Trust me, it all makes sense in my mind.)

Turning to Neve, I balked.  PvP and PvE spell emphasis on a Frost Mage are different enough that I really didn't want to work on it.  Like ever.  But when you can't even find your main spells once you login, you have to do something.  And I'll be honest:  I haven't really finished the job of reorganizing Neve's keys into something that feels natural, even after iteration 2.13. 

Even that half baked key setup, however, is much easier on my hands.  My fingers don't ache after a couple of games of WSG like they used to.  And when I remember where everything is, I can hit the keys more quickly.

If it weren't for trying out that Warlock, I'd probably never have reworked all of this stuff.  Amazing how something good can come out of a class that wallows in its use of evil.

I do have one side effect of all this work, however:  my left pinkie has a disturbing tendency to accidentally hit the "Sleep" button on my keyboard***.  Talk about Imps and their tricks.  /grumble

*This is a wordplay on an old series of commercials for the chemical company BASF, whose tagline was "We don't make a lot of the products you buy, we make a lot the products you buy... better."  Here's a link to a 14 year old commercial via YouTube:  1997 BASF Ad

**If I've got at least three Alliance trying to DPS down Neve in WSG, I consider that I've done my job.  When 1/3 of your team is chasing after one person who isn't a FC, then the rest of your team is freed up to do the dirty work.

***Which, naturally, won't stay disabled.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Permanent Death and Other Musings

Okay, question time:  Was there ever a time when you cared about player death, and if so, when did you stop worrying about it?

I've been thinking about this question ever since I've started GMing a Savage Worlds campaign for my kids.  When I laid out the ground rules for the pulp-style campaign, one of them asked what happens if their character dies.  I told them that if a character dies, the character isn't coming back.  They'll have to start with a new character with an appropriate amount of experience for the group.

In an MMO such as WoW that concept of permanent character death goes against one of the core tenets of the game.  The entire point of raiding is to attempt, wipe, and attempt again until you manage to down the boss.  The raids, instances, and group quests are designed with that in mind.  If you're appropriately geared for one of these scenarios, there is a great likelihood of your toon dying at least once.  And don't get me started about PvP, given that the entire point of a lot of PvPing is to "gank before you are ganked."

However, trying to switch gears and play a pencil-and-paper RPG can be a bit jarring.  Even for my kids, who play Wizard 101 and the LEGO family of video games, your toon always came back.  To say that it doesn't, and you'll just have to live with it, took some getting used to.

(Or even trying to play an older CRPG such as Baldur's Gate I/II, where you learned to save right before each battle because if you lost your main character, it was game over.)

Coming from the "permanent death" background, it took me a good long while to get over my toons periodically dying.  Conservative play?  Ha!  I played at so glacial a pace that I didn't move into the Ghostlands from Eversong Forest until my toon was high enough level that all of the enemies were green in difficulty.  Obviously, I got over this playstyle  once I started getting ganked with regularity in (pre-Cata) Tarren Mill, but vestiges of the "take it very slow and don't ever ever ever rush in" style remain.

If I were a WoW player first, I'm not sure if I would ever make that leap to pencil-and-paper RPGs.  Not because of the technology, to be honest, but the fact that my (essentially) immortal toon created unrealistic expectations about what PNP gameplay was like.  However, I would also have expectations that the Big Bads in a PNP campaign would require specific capabilities to be used at specific times, and that my party members would be required to maintain a certain level of damage output.  That's a ludicrous expectation, but if you look at WoW or LOTRO or Rift or any of the other MMOs out there, this is the design reality.


In a pencil and paper RPG, story matters.

Sure, you've got your hack and slash campaign nuts out there --"You enter the door to the room and inside you find three red dragons!"-- but to the majority of people who play PNP RPGs, campaign plots as well as the interaction between PCs, NPCs, and the game world are a big part of why they play RPGs.

I'm sure there are plenty of other lore nuts out there playing WoW (Hi, Rades!), but I've known far more people who play WoW who really don't care too much about the story at all.  Just give them something to kill, and they're happy.  Raids?  BGs?  It's just a 2011 version of Wizard of Wor or Super Mario.

"Hey, so this is where Millhouse Manastorm got to!" I exclaimed when I found him in Deepholm on Neve.

"Who?" a guildie asked.

"The Gnome you ran into at the end of the Arcatraz, the one whom the Sha'tar sent you to rescue."

"lol Q, I don't care.  I just want to push buttons and kill things."

In a PNP RPG, however, it does matter because your party has to figure things out and decide what to do.  There's always a different way to skin a cat in a FTF RPG, while the technical limitations of an MMO dictate that you can't deviate from a specific quest goal.


Heard around Azeroth:


(Two clothies and Quintalan (me) reached the Alliance flag.  I'm the only plate wearer and we all have about the same Resilience, so I grabbed it.  We hit the tunnel just as a Prot Warrior made it to us.)

Warrior: Give it to the mage.

Mage: No!  Don't give it to me!  You take it!

I tried to drop the flag, but because I'd been screwing around with my key bindings --and let's face it, I rarely carry the flag in WSG at all-- I'd deleted that button by accident, and popping a bubble was on CD.

Warrior:  Come on, drop it!

Me:  I'm trying, my bindings are screwed up!

Mage:  Fuck it, just go!

We headed straight out the door and blasted our way through the first wave of Alliance players.  The second wave consisted of two Holy Pallies and two Rogues.  The Resto Druid with us did his best to keep me up, but I eventually died.  However, just as I died the Censure DoTs killed off the Rogue that was on me.  The Prot Warrior scooped up the flag and raced up our tunnel to cap it.

Me (from the graveyard): Well, that's one way to drop the flag.

Warrior:  Hey, it worked.