Friday, February 24, 2012

A post about a game I have never played

Sometimes I wonder whether I would have enjoyed Everquest.

I guess I should start by saying that I'm basing this soley on what other people have said about it, but my understanding of that game is that it was a lot like WoW, but difficult to solo; had not very much structure in terms of directed goals or quests; and had a lot of travel time, forced downtime and other "inconveniences."

I also understand that all of that did a few things: forced players to band together thus placing an enormous emphasis on social connections, encouraged players to seek out or create their own gameplay rather than relying on the game to tell them where to go and what to do, and placed a high priority on preserving the world as something big and unforgiving and meaningful.

WoW has been moving strongly in the opposite direction for more than a few years now: everything in the world is soloable, even in group content you never need to so much as speak to another player if you don't want to, the game is very careful never to let a player fall out of the structured progression path, and the player is less a part of the world than an unstoppable juggernaut, conquering all he comes across.

As a game, WoW is the best it ever has been. But as new players have skewed the demographics of the playerbase from people who like RPGs to people who are playing this game because their friends told them it was awesome, the immersive elements that RPG players value have been gradually eroded to be replaced with the structure that so many people need to avoid having to think for themselves or interact with other players. The world was shrunk because people valued the convenience, and so now though it is a fantastic game, it's a lot less of a world than it once was.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

A Zarhym quote

"In Mists we're attempting to...have the world react to the players, and not just have the players react to the world. It gives the game a dynamic, 'alive' feeling which is very much needed in a persistent-world game."

I think he could have gone a bit further in explaining this with: "Because god knows our actually alive players don't do that any more."

Friday, February 3, 2012

Priesting 4.3

I remember posting about playing my Priest a year or two ago, but haven't really touched her since then, ending up raid healing in Cataclysm mostly on my Paladin.

Last week I realised if I got 50 Elder coins on horde-side toon I could grab a very valuable pet to sell Alliance-side, so I with my priest being my highest-level Horde toon, I logged on, and somehow got distracted and instead ended up playing the game for a while, levelling from 78 to 82 as of last night.

I always enjoy learning a new class-- working out what skills are transferrable from Paladin [and to a lesser extent, Shaman] healing and what mechanics I would need to learn from scratch, and set up my bindings in the most brain-cohesive way possible.

Penance is on my Holy Shock key as the "use on CD" heal. Power Word: Shield is on my Word of Glory key as the semi-situational instant heal [but mostly this is a "learn from scratch" spell]. Prayer of Mending macroed to cast on the tank is on my pre-4.3 Judgement key as it requires little thought to use on CD whenever there is any kind of group damage going out.

The rest follow standard spell archetypes: Heal, Greater Heal, Flash Heal, Prayer of Healing, Pain Suppression-- all map precisely to Holy Light, Divine Light, Flash of Light, Holy Radiance, Hand of Sacrifice.

At this point I would like to pause to sigh anew about Holy Radiance being changed from a unique and in my opinion really fun Paladin mechanic to a bog standard casted AoE heal. Now it and Prayer of Healing [and for that matter Chain Heal and Wild Growth ] are practically identical in useage.

I'm really enjoying learning Discipline healing. Priests remind me a lot of Paladins in the sheer number of support abilities they have but rarely find themselves in a situation to use. Atonement healing is a really well-designed mechanic: Smite heal in periods of light damage with the ability at any point to switch modes to heavy healing and get a powerful buff out of it.

I feel like I have yet to fully master using PW:S efficiently, but that might just be my own ridiculous standards. I'm still just not really sure if I should be using it on the tank on Rapture CD for mana efficiency or keeping it to use as an emergency save. I suppose that's what Blizzard calls an "interesting choice." Therefore: gameplay! But I'd love to have a chat with the Priest healer in my raid to see how he handles this kind of stuff.

Assuming I don't get bored in the next few levels [and I might, with Shadow being the most boring solo spec ever and only a finite number of levelling instances to heal] I think I would really enjoy tackling some Heroic dungeons as an undergeared healer again. I just need to remember to bring plenty to drink. And if I eventually get bored with that, I can always respec Holy.