Cataclysm is well on the way, with the class change previews showing up around the internet last week. From complete class overhauls to little design tweaks; every class has had something to fill their time with. Yet there is a pattern showing, a pattern that has been forming through out every expansion. Blizzards ‘Flavour of the Expansion’.

During The Burning Crusade, Blizzard showed off their skill at making everything sparkle, glow or float. It was pretty cool to start, but wore thin when every armour set had something crackling off of it or little rocks orbiting it. When Wrath of the Lich King hit our game we were barraged with vehicles. Battlegrounds using siege vehicles, dailies on annoying ponies (damn those ponies) and even raid encounters using this technique. It’s like the designers found something new and wanted to see just how many times they could plug it into the expansion. Sure did get old quick didn’t it?

And now what is on the horizon? Water, water, water. It appears that the developers found a box containing ‘New Water Effects’ and want to show off their shiny sparkly new toy. Flooding Thousand Needles, opening up zones to the coast and making a whole underwater zone. What better way to flaunt the new look of…. water. But wait, there’s more!

Hunters; along with a complete overhaul, get an interesting new ability. Camouflage! Making the caster immune to ranged attack and giving them a ‘predator style’ cloaked look using the… wait for it… new water ripple effects! Ok Blizzard we get it, you have learned how to make water look cool. Do you have to see just how many places you can put it to show off your skill?

Not only is the suffocation on the new water look a bit overwhelming already, but they seem to have found a new way to do spells. Shaman’s get a new AoE heal, expect unlike current AoE heals, it works more like Blizzard or Rain of Fire do. Drop the spell on an area and anyone who is in the area, or walks through the area gets healed. Cool a new mechanic, but will we see an influx of this new spell type? Only time will tell.

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Why do we game?

April 18, 2010

Gaming; a part of the lives of just about everyone in some way, shape or form. Whether it be playing MMORPGs for years, or Farmville on Facebook; gaming takes up a huge portion of the world’s time. But what is our obsession with the virtual world? With billions of dollars being funneled into this form of entertainment, it would pay to understand just why we play.

The gaming craze has swept the world; more so in the last decade. It has affected everybody in someway. Myself; I have played video games since around the time I could walk and played MMORPGs for roughly half my life (Ultima Online, Everquest and World of Warcraft). But why do we immerse ourselves in these make believe worlds?

I have gone through many stages during this time, using different reasons to try and find purpose to the hours and hours per week that have been devoted to pixels in a virtual world. A release from the real world, a way to de-stress (although this doesn’t always work out), a way to socialise with people around the globe and even just something to kill time. Yet it all boils down to the main reason I see behind it all. You can be whoever, whatever you want to be. No longer held back by the constraints of the ‘real you’; it becomes possible to take up any persona you wish. Want to feel powerful and important?¬† Start a guild, clan or whatever it may be called in the specific game you’re playing. Take a position of power and flex those pixel muscles of yours. Always wanted to be female? Well instead of getting a sex change you can just play a female character online, no one will ever know!

The ability to be as anonymous as you wish to be whilst playing brings in people from all walks of life. Who cares if in real life you are 32 and living with your Mother? In-game you’re the main tank who is never late for a raid! Think of that next time you invite someone into your group, try and see if you can pick who they really are.

World of Warcrack

November 20, 2009

Just about everyone in the world either plays or knows someone who plays World of Warcraft.

But what does this game have that no other MMORPG can seem to pull of quite right in order to dethrone Blizzard from top spot. Is it the vast amount of lore the game is built upon? The customer service keeping players playing, through out bugs and account hacks?

I have been playing World of Warcraft myself since the 23rd of July 2005, a long while if you ask me. In this time I’ve hit all 3 level caps, across 3 different characters (not including dozens of low level alts). I’ve entered every instance at least once, and completed a fair percentage of the quests available. You’d think after all of this time, it’d get boring, wouldn’t you?

Sure there have been the breaks from the game, the brief escapes back into reality, lasting between a couple of weeks and several months. But it seems that in the end it draws me back. For me, it seems to be the feeling of knowing everything that I need to know; being ahead of the proverbial¬† learning curve, that keeps me interested, that and the fact that along the way I have met and kept contact with some really good friends. After all, it is a social game isn’t it?