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The Geek that Would Be a Prince

A blog primarily about G33KBoy J's adventures in online gaming, however not limited to this theme. But always g33ky. Don't be alarmed, the links take you to my official blog on Blogger.

Author: G33KBoy_J

G33KBoy J in Outer Space

Posted by G33KBoy_J Thursday June 10 2010 at 8:51AM
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Visit my Official Blog Page on Blogger:

http://gamesoffate.blogspot.com/2010/06/g33kboy-j-in-outer-space.html

 

 

 

I know that what I am about to say might expel me from the ranks of the true geek forever, but...
 
I'm not into Sci-Fi.  I never have been.  I've never dressed up in an Han Solo costume for any occasion and certainly not party.  I've only ever divided my fingers into two halves to form a "V" as a joke.  I certainly never camped outside of a movie theatre overnight for the premier of any Star Wars prequel film.  I've tried to watch the Sci-Fi channel, and most programs either bore me or the production quality is so incredibly cheesy that I can not pay attention to it for more than 10 minutes.  The most sincere display of Sci-Fi fandom that I can remember is when I was about 7 - 10 years old, my cousin and I would go to the bathroom together and have "light saber wars", where the objective was to continually, vigorously, cross streams and the victor was the one who held the "saber" that lasted the longest.
 
The ironic thing about this is that one of my main dreams (yes there were many and they changed often, but there were a constant few) growing up was to be an astronaut/rocket scientist.  I have always LOVED Space.  I love just going outside in the pitch of night and staring at the stars, wondering what all is up there.  I have always wanting to be up there.  Maybe not so much to live there, but to be able to freely visit.  I was very seriously expecting the Jetsons' world to be my world by now, I mean hey, it IS the 21st Century.
 
Sadly, as it stands, I am still grounded.  But luckily, I have found a relatively well-kept secret that can blast me deep into the far reaches of the future and outer space.  This gem is known by the name, EVE Online.  Now you may say, "Why would you call EVE a 'well-kept secret', I know EVE".  Well that's because compared to the 10-12 million subscribers in the World of Warcraft as well as large numbers put out by other popular games, the community of about 300 thousand that reside in New Eden is fairly small.
 
However, there is a twist to this community; while WoW has 200+ servers for its many subscribers to be divided upon, EVE has a WHOPPING...one.   Well to be technically correct, it has three.  There is one that serves China, due to EVE just recently being available there, and the game having different restrictions for the country's citizens.  And then there is another that serves the rest of the world.  The last is a test server.  Now think about that for a moment...if you are from the city of New Orleans, Louisiana, being in EVE would be like playing on a server that your entire hometown played on too; every last person.  All of the sudden, the EVE universe feels very large.
 
And it is.  With over 7500 solar systems, all filled with planets, asteroid belts, and space stations (NPC and player-owned); not to mention deadspace and wormholes, if you have ever wanted to get lost in space like Will Robinson but NASA never picked you up, then there is no reason you shouldn't be in New Eden.
 
This world is dangerous.  Each solar system has a rating between 1.0 and 0.0.  Any system that has a rating of 1.0 - 0.5 is relatively safe.  Notice I say relatively safe, not safe.  This is not some "Open World PvP" game with rules (therefore negating the term Open World PvP).  You are relatively safe in high security space because it is governed by CONCORD, the intergalactic New Eden Police.  They are big, bad, and I don't care how much ISK (mulah, dollars, green, scrillah, gold) you think you have, they have more.  I don't care how aggressive, invincible, or humongous you think your battleship is, theirs' are larger, scarier, and more omnipotent.  If you break the peace in their dominion and do not get the hell out of dodge, they will kill you.  And the higher the security level is in the system, the smaller amount of time you have to get out of it.  The problem for the law-abiding citizen however, is that CONCORD isn't Clark Kent, waiting to don their "S" embroidered suit when you scream because a pirate just unstealthed, warp-scrambled, and blew your sweet little behind to kingdom come.  No, their only concern is to enforce the law.  This means that you must always be aware in EVE because although it doesn't happen that often, you can and will get ganked in high security if you are in the mindset that you are "safe" there.  I found that out the hard way.
 
I was out mining in a 0.9 asteroid belt, minding my own business, listening to my music, checking my Facebook account...when all of the sudden my screen jarred.  I looked and noticed that another ship had run into me.  I didn't think much of it because mostly noobs flew in high sec. (or so I thought) and I knew that I had bumped into quite a few ships, trying to approach them.  So I was just about to go back to killing my rock when I heard the "Somebody is about to try to f*#@ you up sound,"  I looked around to see who was targeting me and found that it was the innocent, bumbling, noob!  Before I could recover from my shock and react properly, I was sitting in my pod (your life pod is what you pilot your ship from, if your ship gets destroyed but your pod doesn't, then you live to buy another ship, if your pod gets popped, then...well you're about to find out).  Then I almost had my warp activated when the next thing I knew, I was sitting in a station 22 jumps away from where I was mining.  Twenty-two jumps away means twenty-two solar systems people...a long way.  You never truly die in EVE, you are a demigod.  However, you certainly can lose your ship, all of the modules fitted to that ship (these are your shields, weapons...gear for you fantasy RPGers), and even the skills that you have learned up to that point.  And this brings us to our first big lesson in EVE.  Make sure your clone is insured for more skillpoints than you currently possess. Seriously...you will thank me later.
 
Anyhow, I bought another ship, partially paid for by insurance, fitted it out and sadly started out on my long 22 jump journey back to my asteroid belt, very much the wiser.  You are not safe anywhere in outer space.  Always be aware.  Now although players are allowed to be pirates if they so choose from CCP's standpoint (the developers of EVE), piracy is illegal in the game.  That unfriendly "noob" that ganked me in high sec. probably did meet his demise at the hands of CONCORD after I was dead and gone and what certainly happened, is that his security rating was lowered (bad rep with the cops), he became notified as an outlaw, and I gained kill rights towards him; meaning that if I saw coasting right in front of the Captain-General of CONCORD himself, I could kill him on the spot, and the general would applaud me (not really, but you get the point, I hope).  The problem is that I don't get any type of boost or superpower against him or anything.  Which brings up lesson 2.  Kill rights mean just that...you have theright to kill.  However, if you do not have the ABILITY to kill the person, I suggest that you just count that encounter as a lesson learned and maybe log that person's name in the back of your head or notepad for a later time when you are stronger.  Even with kill rights, once you attack a player, they have the right to attack you as well.
 
That last situation brings up another very valuable lesson...  I was out in my brand new mining barge, once again killing rocks (Eh...I guess I like easy targets).  My butt was still (is still) tingling from where fire had gotten lit to it, so I was watching my overview to make sure no ships were getting anywhere close to me, while at the same time watching local chat.  I saw someone say that he was a psychology grad student working on his thesis.  He said that he had done well in EVE but was about to quit due to lack of time, and had decided to do his thesis on the EVE community.  He was studying trust.  What he offered was simple.  If you would trade any amount of ISK to him, he would give you double.  However, to keep test results pure, this would be a one time agreement per player.  He offered for you to have a conversation with him so that he could explain the test in detail, anything you needed to feel safe because he knew that most would think that he was trying to scam them.  In his character bio, he also went more into detail about what he was doing.
 
Now, I am proud to say that I did not look at this post and see green.  I'm not stupid.  However I did consider the possible sincerity of the post and if the person WAS sincere in his efforts, I wanted to help out.  So I entered a conversation with him, asked him a few questions, and felt mostly satisfied.  I say mostly because one thing bothered me...the player's grammar.  It was not horrible, but a little off, enough to make my gut think that he probably wasn't a psychology grad student, if maybe undergrad.  I asked my wife what she thought and she agreed with me that it was a risk, but could be real.  End the end, I made a calculated decision to gamble 5 million ISK.
 
It was a scam.
 
The sad/funny thing about it was that I entered a conversation with the player about 3 hours after I noticed I had not received 10 million ISK to my wallet, to ask him how/when I would get my return on investment, and he had absolutely no problem with telling me, "Oh, that's the thing.  You won't.  This is a very old, but still working, scam.  Good luck and fly safe. =D"  Moral of the story...if your gut is telling you something in New Eden, follow it.  Never gamble with what you can't afford to lose (ISK, ships, or otherwise), and if in doubt, live by the saying, "Trust No one".
 
If you are in low sec. space, 0.4 - 0.0, you are on your own.  Beware.  However, not everything is bad in low/null sec.  Actually quite the contrary.  As probably expected, the most rare asteroids, highly lucrative missions, and cool sights in space are in low/null sec.  So that is the place you want to be, just be prepared.  Null sec. is the equivalent of reaching max level in a fantasy MMORPG.  The cool thing about it though, is that you don't have to be a veteran to go there.  You may find life difficult and frustrating, but with perseverance, even as a noob, you could make a nice living for yourself in low sec. space.
 
One thing (or another thing, I should say) that sets EVE apart from the average MMORPG is the way your character advances.  There are no character levels.  Missions don't provide experience, that eventually lead to you leveling, and at some point in the grind, maxing you out.  Missions in EVE only provide reputation with the agent and his/her corporation, and ISK/items.  So how do you level up then, you might ask.  EVE is a skill based game, where you decide what skills you want to have based upon what it is you want to do in New Eden.  You place your skills in a queue and then start the queue.  Your character learns constantly no-matter whether you are on or offline.  And there are a MEGAton of skills.  I mean it.  Everything from Astrogeology, to help you get your mining business online, to Research and Development, so that you can meld that raw material into capital ships, to Capital Ships, so that you can pilot those ships, and Hacking and Covert Ops, so that you can pirate those pilots.  It's all in EVE and there is no one there telling you what you can/can not or have to do.  It's your life, it's your decision.  And that is what initially drew me into EVE.  It took a lot of time to get used to the controls, the action can be sporadic when you are new, I'm used to constant action in fantasy MMOs, and it was very hard for me to deal with having a space ship as my avatar.  But the sheer reality of this portrayal of a life in space clutched my attention.  When you are developing a module or ship, you have an invoice that shows how much you paid, what was taxes and fees, versus the flat price.  When you refine ore you are shown your net yield versus what was wasted, in percentages, so that you can know if your skills in Refining are up to par.  You find yourself not feeling like you are playing a space-based game, but that every time you log on, you are coming home to New Eden and your monitor is your eyes.
 
 
EVE is a very complicated game and this is probably one of the main reasons its population is relatively low compared to other major, successful MMORPGs.  The curve is high, but there is more than adequate information out there on forums and search engines to be found, not to mention the very thorough tutorial that the game itself offers (which is available at anytime), and quite a few different help chat channels in game as well, that with a little effort and patience, you will find yourself doing whatever it is you wish to do and raking in the ISK before you know it.
 
Remember last week when we talked about Blizzard and the love/hate relationship I have with them that is just now becoming more love than hate???  Well when it comes to CCP, it's all love baby.  Seriously, I can't say enough good things about this company. I have to admit that part of the reason I play and love EVE is because of how awesome I think CCP is.  CCP promised that they would release at least two expansions a year to the game; that in itself is impressive, but what amazes me more is that in the seven years this game has been running, CCP has never reneged on that promise.  To date, there have been thirteen major updates to New Eden and you know how many times I've had to shell out another $40 for an expansion?
 
Not a single one.
 
I think Blizzard needs to take some notes in the art of customer satisfaction.  Speaking of cost, EVE is an industry leader in quality budget gaming.  You can buy a virtual copy of the game for $19.99, the monthly subscription is the standard $14.99, and if you are low on your monthly cash, there is a legalplayer to player ISK for dollar system so that you can still get your spacecowboying fix.  Add all of that to the Council of Stellar Management, a player-voted congress of player representatives that actually get the honor of going to the CCP headquarters in Reykjavik, Iceland to voice the community's concerns and wants...what the hell is there not to love about this company?
 
I'm not into Sci-Fi, but I love this Sci-Fi game.  If you have ever wanted to go into outer space to see what is up there, come to New Eden.  And if you ever are here, look me up, Elyias Fatebringer, I'll try to help you "Straighten Up and Fly Right"- Nat King Cole.
 
 
I know that what I am about to say might expel me from the ranks of the true geek forever, but...
 
I'm not into Sci-Fi.  I never have been.  I've never dressed up in an Han Solo costume for any occasion and certainly not party.  I've only ever divided my fingers into two halves to form a "V" as a joke.  I certainly never camped outside of a movie theatre overnight for the premier of any Star Wars prequel film.  I've tried to watch the Sci-Fi channel, and most programs either bore me or the production quality is so incredibly cheesy that I can not pay attention to it for more than 10 minutes.  The most sincere display of Sci-Fi fandom that I can remember is when I was about 7 - 10 years old, my cousin and I would go to the bathroom together and have "light saber wars", where the objective was to continually, vigorously, cross streams and the victor was the one who held the "saber" that lasted the longest.
 
The ironic thing about this is that one of my main dreams (yes there were many and they changed often, but there were a constant few) growing up was to be an astronaut/rocket scientist.  I have always LOVED Space.  I love just going outside in the pitch of night and staring at the stars, wondering what all is up there.  I have always wanting to be up there.  Maybe not so much to live there, but to be able to freely visit.  I was very seriously expecting the Jetsons' world to be my world by now, I mean hey, it IS the 21st Century.
 
Sadly, as it stands, I am still grounded.  But luckily, I have found a relatively well-kept secret that can blast me deep into the far reaches of the future and outer space.  This gem is known by the name, EVE Online.  Now you may say, "Why would you call EVE a 'well-kept secret', I know EVE".  Well that's because compared to the 10-12 million subscribers in the World of Warcraft as well as large numbers put out by other popular games, the community of about 300 thousand that reside in New Eden is fairly small.
 
However, there is a twist to this community; while WoW has 200+ servers for its many subscribers to be divided upon, EVE has aWHOPPING...one.  Well to be technically correct, it has three.  There isone that serves China, due to EVE just recently being available there, and the game having different restrictions for the country's citizens.  And then there is another that serves the rest of the world.  The last is a test server.  Now think about that for a moment...if you are from the city of New Orleans, Louisiana, being in EVE would be like playing on a server that yourentirehometown played on too; every last person.  All of the sudden, the EVE universe feels very large.
 
And it is.  With over 7500 solar systems, all filled with planets, asteroid belts, and space stations (NPC and player-owned); not to mention deadspace and wormholes, if you have ever wanted to get lost in space like Will Robinson but NASA never picked you up, then there is no reason you shouldn't be in New Eden.
 
This world is dangerous.  Each solar system has a rating between 1.0 and 0.0.  Any system that has a rating of 1.0 - 0.5 is relatively safe.  Notice I sayrelativelysafe, not safe.  This is not some "Open World PvP" game withrules(therefore negating the term Open World PvP).  You arerelativelysafe in high security space because it is governed by CONCORD, the intergalactic New Eden Police.  They are big, bad, and I don't care how much ISK (mulah, dollars, green, scrillah, gold) you think you have, they have more.  I don't care how aggressive, invincible, or humongous youthinkyour battleship is, theirs' are larger, scarier, and more omnipotent.  If you break the peace in their dominion and do not get the hell out of dodge, theywillkill you.  And the higher the security level is in the system, the smaller amount of time you have to get out of it.  The problem for the law-abiding citizen however, is that CONCORD isn't Clark Kent, waiting to don their "S" embroidered suit when you scream because a pirate just unstealthed, warp-scrambled, and blew your sweet little behind to kingdom come.  No, their only concern is to enforce the law.  This means that you must always be aware in EVE because although it doesn't happen that often, you can and will get ganked in high security if you are in the mindset that you are "safe" there.  I found that out the hard way.
 
I was out mining in a 0.9 asteroid belt, minding my own business, listening to my music, checking my Facebook account...when all of the sudden my screen jarred.  I looked and noticed that another ship had run into me.  I didn't think much of it because mostly noobs flew in high sec. (or so I thought) and I knew that I had bumped into quite a few ships, trying to approach them.  So I was just about to go back to killing my rock when I heard the "Somebody is about to try to f*#@ you up sound,"  I looked around to see who was targeting me and found that it was the innocent, bumbling, noob!  Before I could recover from my shock and react properly, I was sitting in my pod (your life pod is what you pilot your ship from, if your ship gets destroyed but your pod doesn't, then you live to buy another ship, if your pod gets popped, then...well you're about to find out).  Then I almost had my warp activated when the next thing I knew, I was sitting in a station 22 jumps away from where I was mining.  Twenty-two jumps away means twenty-two solar systems people...a long way.  You never truly die in EVE, you are a demigod.  However, you certainly can lose your ship, all of the modules fitted to that ship (these are your shields, weapons...gear for you fantasy RPGers), and even the skills that you have learned up to that point.  And this brings us to our first big lesson in EVE.  Make sure your clone is insured formoreskillpoints than you currently possess. Seriously...you will thank me later.
 
Anyhow, I bought another ship, partially paid for by insurance, fitted it out and sadly started out on my long 22 jump journey back to my asteroid belt, very much the wiser.  You are not safeanywherein outer space.  Always be aware.  Now although players are allowed to be pirates if they so choose from CCP's standpoint (the developers of EVE), piracyisillegal in the game.  That unfriendly "noob" that ganked me in high sec. probablydidmeet his demise at the hands of CONCORD after I was dead and gone and what certainly happened, is that his security rating was lowered (bad rep with the cops), he became notified as an outlaw, and I gained kill rights towards him; meaning that if I saw coasting right in front of the Captain-General of CONCORD himself, I could kill him on the spot, and the general would applaud me (not really, but you get the point, I hope).  Theproblemis that I don't get any type of boost or superpower against him or anything.  Which brings up lesson 2.  Kill rights mean just that...you have therightto kill.  However, if you do not have the ABILITY to kill the person, I suggest that you just count that encounter as a lesson learned and maybe log that person's name in the back of your head or notepad for a later time when you are stronger.  Even with kill rights, once you attack a player, they have the right to attack you as well.
 
That last situation brings up another very valuable lesson...  I was out in my brand new mining barge, once again killing rocks (Eh...I guess I like easy targets).  My butt was still (is still) tingling from where fire had gotten lit to it, so I was watching my overview to make sure no ships were getting anywhere close to me, while at the same time watching local chat.  I saw someone say that he was a psychology grad student working on his thesis.  He said that he had done well in EVE but was about to quit due to lack of time, and had decided to do his thesis on the EVE community.  He was studying trust.  What he offered was simple.  If you would trade any amount of ISK to him, he would give you double.  However, to keep test results pure, this would be a one time agreement per player.  He offered for you to have a conversation with him so that he could explain the test in detail, anything you needed to feel safe because he knew that most would think that he was trying to scam them.  In his character bio, he also went more into detail about what he was doing.
 
Now, I am proud to say that I did not look at this post and see green.  I'm not stupid.  However I did consider the possible sincerity of the post and if the person WAS sincere in his efforts, I wanted to help out.  So I entered a conversation with him, asked him a few questions, and felt mostly satisfied.  I say mostly because one thing bothered me...the player's grammar.  It was not horrible, but a little off, enough to make my gut think that he probably wasn't a psychology grad student, if maybe undergrad.  I asked my wife what she thought and she agreed with me that it was a risk, butcouldbe real.  End the end, I made a calculated decision to gamble 5 million ISK.
 
It was a scam.
 
The sad/funny thing about it was that I entered a conversation with the player about 3 hours after I noticed I had not received 10 million ISK to my wallet, to ask him how/when I would get my return on investment, and he had absolutelynoproblem with telling me, "Oh, that's the thing.  You won't.  This is a very old, but still working, scam.  Good luck and fly safe. =D"  Moral of the story...if your gut is telling you something in New Eden, follow it.  Never gamble with what you can't afford to lose (ISK, ships, or otherwise), and if in doubt, live by the saying, "Trust No one".
 
If you are in low sec. space, 0.4 - 0.0, you are on your own.  Beware.  However, not everything is bad in low/null sec.  Actually quite the contrary.  As probably expected, the most rare asteroids, highly lucrative missions, and cool sights in space are in low/null sec.  So that is the place you want to be, just be prepared.  Null sec. is the equivalent of reaching max level in a fantasy MMORPG.  The cool thing about it though, is that you don't have to be a veteran to go there.  You may find life difficult and frustrating, but with perseverance, even as a noob, you could make a nice living for yourself in low sec. space.
 
One thing (or another thing, I should say) that sets EVE apart from the average MMORPG is the way your character advances.  There are no character levels.  Missions don't provide experience, that eventually lead to you leveling, and at some point in the grind, maxing you out.  Missions in EVE only provide reputation with the agent and his/her corporation, and ISK/items.  So how do you level up then, you might ask.  EVE is a skill based game, where you decide what skills you want to have based upon what it isyouwant to do in New Eden.  You place your skills in a queue and then start the queue.  Your character learns constantly no-matter whether you are on or offline.  And there are a MEGAton of skills.  I mean it.  Everything from Astrogeology, to help you get your mining business online, to Research and Development, so that you can meld that raw material into capital ships, to Capital Ships, so that you can pilot those ships, and Hacking and Covert Ops, so that you can pirate those pilots.  It's all in EVE and there is no one there telling you what you can/can not or have to do.  It's your life, it's your decision.  And that is what initially drew me into EVE.  It took a lot of time to get used to the controls, the action can be sporadic when you are new, I'm used to constant action in fantasy MMOs, and it wasveryhard for me to deal with having a space ship as my avatar.  But the sheer reality of this portrayal of a life in space clutched my attention.  When you are developing a module or ship, you have an invoice that shows how much you paid, what was taxes and fees, versus the flat price.  When you refine ore you are shown your net yield versus what was wasted, in percentages, so that you can know if your skills in Refining are up to par.  You find yourself not feeling like you are playing a space-based game, but that every time you log on, you are coming home to New Eden and your monitor is your eyes.
 
 
EVE is a very complicated game and this is probably one of the main reasons its population is relatively low compared to other major, successful MMORPGs.  The curve is high, but there is more than adequate information out there on forums and search engines to be found, not to mention the very thorough tutorial that the game itself offers (which is available at anytime), and quite a few different help chat channels in game as well, that with a little effort and patience, you will find yourself doing whatever it is you wish to do and raking in the ISK before you know it.
 
Remember last week when we talked about Blizzard and the love/hate relationship I have with them that is justnowbecoming more love than hate???  Well when it comes to CCP, it's all love baby.  Seriously, I can't say enough good things about this company. I have to admit that part of the reason I play and love EVE is because of how awesome I think CCP is.  CCP promised that they would release at least two expansions a year to the game; that in itself is impressive, but what amazes me more is that in the seven years this game has been running, CCP has never reneged on that promise.  To date, there have been thirteen major updates to New Eden and you know how many times I've had to shell out another $40 for an expansion?
 
Not a single one.
 
I think Blizzard needs to take some notes in the art of customer satisfaction.  Speaking of cost, EVE is an industry leader in quality budget gaming.  You can buy a virtual copy of the game for $19.99, the monthly subscription is the standard $14.99, and if you are low on your monthly cash, there is alegalplayer to player ISK for dollar system so that you can still get your spacecowboying fix.  Add all of that to the Council of Stellar Management, a player-voted congress ofplayerrepresentatives that actually get the honor of going to the CCP headquarters in Reykjavik, Iceland to voice the community's concerns and wants...what the hell is there not to love about this company?
 
I'm not into Sci-Fi, but I love this Sci-Fi game.  If you have ever wanted to go into outer space to see what is up there, come to New Eden.  And if you ever are here, look me up, Elyias Fatebringer, I'll try to help you "Straighten Up andFly Right"- Nat King Cole.
 

Cataclysmic Woes and Other Cold Things

Posted by G33KBoy_J Thursday June 10 2010 at 8:49AM
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Visit my Official Blog Page on Blogger:

http://gamesoffate.blogspot.com/2010/05/cataclysmic-woes-and-other-cold-things.html

 

I promise you that we'll get off of WoW and talk about something else some time soon, but as WoW is the number 1 MMO in the world and my primary game of choice right now, there's a lot to say about it. Today however, I want to jack out of the game and take a look at the giant pulling the strings of the puppet...Blizzard.

I have been playing WoW off and on for the past 5 years and I can tell you that for the majority of my time playing the game, I have had a very distinct hate for Blizzard Entertainment. I've quit the game out of sheer principle more times than I can remember, vowing to never come back; always at some point, finding myself fitting my Night Elf feet back into my boots. What Blizzard has created is more addictive than Coke when they were putting cocaine in it. These days however, I've made my peace with Blizz. Patch 3.3.0 did it for me. The Random Dungeon Finder...wow, this was an awesome and much needed addition to the game and a huge first step to making changes to the game that actually mattered to the players. Now whether you are one of those hardcore players that feel like this and other changes put the game too far into "Easy Mode", or a happy happy hippo like me, you use and love the RDF.

Good job Blizz, but what's next? Well, they answered with the next big update, 3.3.5. A new raid AND most importantly an absolutely overhauled chat system with finally, CROSS-SERVER chat! How many times have you met an awesome person (especially with the RDF) and was elated to find out that they play WoW just like you, but then totally let down when you found out they played on a different server...if you were using the RDF when you found them then you guys can just queue up for another instance, but eventually, you'll have to let them go. So sad; but soon, with RealID, the new chat system powered by Battle.net, you'll be able to add friends and talk to them cross-server, cross faction, and even across game platforms (WoW to Starcaft for example). Blizzard is on a roll and I'm loving them. I don't know if someone got fired and someone else got hired, or if the execs just decided to remove the wool from their heads but some good things are being done these days.

But then...

I was reading my July/August edition of Massive Online Gamer. If you are looking for a magazine that does more than just mention a couple of MMOs then goes right back to whatreally matters, console games, and haven't found one then I highly suggest you check out MOG. It's a magazine devoted to online games and gamers. It has it's flaws, mostly having to do with focusing on the same select few games each month, but if you play one of the main 5 P2P games, I'm sure that the magazine covers yours. Okay, back to the point; I was reading my MOG, this edition featuring a spread on the upcoming expansion, Cataclysm, and I almost slapped myself in the face.

I have come to the realization that Blizzard has a very difficult time figuring out what is worth charging 12 million people $39.99 + tax and what should be put into an update. Looking at the cycle created by the past two expansions, you could figure out that this is a "new race" turn and I don't even have a problem with the races that are being offered. I actually think they are kinda cool. Mainly because of the worgen. Being Team Jacob, this is my chance to be a werewolf too! But the implementation is not right. First of all, if you take a look at the goblin racials vs the worgen's it will make you say, "Really?" As a matter of fact, let's take a look at them now.




 Worgen:

  • Darkflight- Allows the worgen to temporarily increase its movement speed by 70%; can be used every 3 minutes.
  • Aberration- Reduced duration from the effects of curses and diseases.
  • Flayer- Bonus to skinning, as well as the ability to skin faster and not use a skinning knife.
  • Viciousness- 1% bonus to damage


 Goblin:
  • Rocket Belt- Allows the player to activate one of two rocket abilities every 2 minutes.
  1. Jump up to 20 yards
  2. Shoot rockets at an enemy within 30 yards
  • Hobgoblin- Summon a pack hobgoblin once every 30 minutes, which will act as a personal servant and grant bank access.
  • Bonus to Alchemy skill and should the player decide to become an alchemist, there will be an increased benefit from drinking health and mana potions
  • Haste- Permanent 1% increase to attack and casting speed
  • Diplomacy- Because of their knack for mercantile affairs, goblins will always receive the best possible gold discount, regardless of reputation

Now just counting the bullet-points, one race has a clear advantage, 4 vs 6, but when you actually read what the talents are, there is no comparison. Based on racials alone, I want to be a goblin, hands down. I'll take not having to use my hearth and then waste 10 minutes flying back to where I was, every thirty minutes over not having to buy a 39 copper skinning knife (IF I'm a skinner) any day. I'll take a 40 or more gold discount on all items over a reduced duration of diseases and curses. And I'll take a championship belt that can either blast my opponent in the face or give me a leap and bound of escape every two minutes over simply running faster for a few seconds every three.

The racial mounts:

Worgen:




Goblin:




Now I know those images may be a little hard to make out, but this is what it comes down to. Goblin, roadster (and we're not even going to discuss the possible submarine the goblins may be getting); worgen, boar...Really? A wolf riding on a pig? Marissa Monera, writer of the article covering the expansion in MOG, excused Blizzard for this huge deficit by saying, "Hey, they have to provide some incentive for players to create what could be the most annoying characters in the game." However, I beg to differ. Players have been asking for a playable goblin race for years, and that's besides the fact that many Horde players consider themselves too "mature" to play a pretty character. Why else would people be willing to play trolls? All that besides, I personally think the goblins look pretty cool and am probably going to roll one at some point.

But given this excuse, if the worgen is supposed to be the race with the cool factor, which I can't say that it isn't...make it cool Blizz. The talent Flayer; this could be a decent talent if you made it worth our while. The idea is right, werewolves should be able to skin without a skinning knife and fast, but don't leave it there, making our gain an one time saving of 39 c. Why shouldn't ALL worgen, regardless of profession, be able to skin? Now that's cool. Whoever heard of a werewolf needing to ride any mount? Let them train to get on all fours at level 20, 40, and 60, and run like the wind! Now THAT'S cool. Which brings up another point. If you've seen the videos, currently the worgen talent, Darkflight, looks the same as a rogue activating Sprint. That's not cool, werewolves are not supposed to be humans dressed up for Halloween. They are supposed to be humans transformed, eating all the people at the Halloween party. If I'm a werewolf and I'm going to dash, it needs to be on all fours.

MOG goes on in the article to list the Race/Class Combination changes as such:



  • Blood Elf- Warrior
  • Dwarf- Shaman, Mage
  • Gnome- Priest
  • Human- Hunter
  • Night Elf- Mage
  • Orc- Mage
  • Tauren Paladin, Priest
  • Troll- Druid
  • Undead- Hunter
  • Goblin- Everything but Paladin and Druid
  • Worgen- Everything but Shaman and Paladin

Now those combinations don't look too bad, some of the new combos are ones I've heard asked for in my five years of playing the game. However, someone tell me how it makes sense that a werewolf can be a Druid and transform into a cat, bear, bird, and moonchicken thing (sounds more like a vampire), but CAN NOT be a Shaman, who transforms into a wolf and (depending on the spec) can summon lupine companions.

The reason these imbalances bother me so much is because of the seemingly omnipresent imbalance between the factions, Horde and Alliance. Since I've been playing WoW, the Horde have always been the hardcore raiders, getting through content and stomping face in PvP...basically the adults that play the game, and the Alliance has always consisted of those who played the game to socialize and look at themselves, thinking of how pretty they are...the "children" of the game. Now this is a stereotype, I know, but as with all, there is certainly some truth to that claim. I remember when Burning Crusade was coming out, I, as an Alliance player was elated, because I was thinking that the whole lot of immature players were going to head on over to the Horde to make Blood Elves and then maybe we could actually start to win some in PvP. I remember that obviously the Horde feared this as well as there were a lot of guilds thatbanned Blood Elves from joining their ranks.

Unfortunately the shift never panned out. The kids found out that Draenei women were pretty too and the Horde numbers only solidified, holding on to any of their members that would have eventually left due to the lack of attractive Horde toons. Wrath of the Lich King brought no prospects of shift in the scales of power due to Death Knights being available to both factions. And today, on most servers, I'd say it is difficult being an Alliance raider/PvPer. On my server, there are very few good raiding guilds, those having limited or no slots available for new recruits, and absolutely no PvP ones. I wanted to try to get some honor while I was leveling my shaman and consistently ran into, Alliance 5 players to Horde 10 players, situations. I just gave up. Alliance players wanting to do Wintergrasp have it only a little better, being guaranteed one win (because players show up) at 7:00 PM on Tuesday evening.

The faction truly needs a boost, and I was hoping/thinking being awarded the worgen race would be it. But given the vast advantage to goblins in racial talents, I fear that I'll be singing the same sad song for the Alliance.

Cataclysm is also going to introduce (surprisingly) a new profession, Archaeology, which I currently do not really get the gist of how it works. An overhaul to the talent tree system is on the way, a new way to grind after grinding to max level, Path of the Titans, and a dumbing down of the item stat system, with some major changes to how a couple of classes work. The new level cap will be 85...Really? Five levels? Either those levels are going to fly by, or they are going to be far too tedious and long to obtain.

Two exciting things that Cataclysm are bringing are going to be the ability to fly anywhere in Azeroth and a resurfacing of much of the Old World. I am interested to see how far they will go to make the "cataclysm" a real change to Azeroth.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that these updates to the game are not good ones or even in some cases, needed ones. What I am saying is that the majority of the changes could be implemented in a patch or a major update. To me, RealID, coming out in Patch 3.3.5 revolutionizes the game much more than adding two more races to it. Cross-server chat is expansion content, talent tree changes is patch/update content.

My problem with Blizzard is that they are acquiesced with mediocrity. The World of Warcraft has the the talent behind it, fan base, and resources to be truly the greatest MMO ever created. But Blizzard is fine with half-stepping. They go just far enough to make sure their subscribers are going to buy what they ship out, but never work hard enough to be really great. Why do we players have to wait two years for an expansion to come out and get either two new races that change nothing about the game, or one new class, that gives you no options on what new you want to try? Even two new races and two new classes in an expansion would be a big enough update to satisfy me. Why is it that even WoW F2P (free to play) lookalike, Runes of Magic, has player housing yet we don't and it's not being offered in an expansion? Why is it that other major games (Lord of the Rings Online, City of Heroes/Villians, EvE Online), some having, I daresay,far less resources than WoW does, can release huge updates that change the face of the game forfree, yet we are expected to pay $40 for cosmetic changes? Blizzard announced that Cataclysm would be WoW's last "expansion", this was their time/opportunity to do something really phenomenal.

WoW is a great game, one that changed the face of online gaming forever; and as a consumer, I don't mind paying for the work that is put in to keep the game running. Compared to other hobbies' start-up and maintenance costs, gaming is dirt cheap. However, if a company expects me to pay almost the same amount as I paid for the game in the first place, in the way of an expansion, I expect a product in return that truly expands the game.

WoW...Guilds

Posted by G33KBoy_J Thursday June 10 2010 at 8:48AM
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Hey everyone! So I was thinking to myself, "Man, I haven't been writing lately," and then I thought, "Meh...only 3 people are actually looking at my blog," but then I realized that it doesn't matter if it's 3 people or 1000! There's someone out there who actually wants to know what's going on in this head of mine! Therefore, it's my responsibility to keep on keeping on and I will! See, something you must understand about me is that I'm a quitter. I don't mean to be, I really don't, but it's my nature. I have these wonderful ideas that get me excited and I jump to go do them, (like starting a blog) but then the excitement wears off, as in all things, it does, and I usually lack the fortitude within myself to keep going. So you will be my accountability. The little faces at the bottom of my screen representing people out there listening will be my gas to keep the car driving and we'll see how far we go.

With all that being said, Guilds...WoW guilds. Last week, I was leveling my shaman, Etherael, and was looking for a nice, comfortable guild with people who would be fun to hang out with, yet skilled and disciplined enough to raid effectively. Trade chat was buzzing with the usual fast food garbage sprinkled with a dash of guild recruitment spam...yum right? While questing I was keeping my eye out for the random chance of a interesting recruitment post coming through; and it came. A guild named Treewardens was recruiting. A guild that advertised itself to be enriched with kind, mature, and helpful adults; people that loved lore, and even some light RP. They were recruiting for their Icecrown Citadel team. Hmm, not too bad, being a player who's favorite classes in games are the druid/shaman archetypes, the name was alluring, sounded like the kind of people I wanted, and I had always wanted to do some role-playing.

So I messaged the recruiter, a player by the name of Rainulf, and told him that I would be interested in joining the Wardens and he told me the Wardens would be interested in having me, so I joined. Now, we talked briefly about first impressions a few days ago, they are important. And my first impression of any guild I join is always generated first, by the welcome that I receive. This one was so so; a couple of people paused a moment while grinding long enough to say hello or welcome. At one time, that would have been an absolute turn-off for me, but after having been in guilds where no one even stops the conversation that they are having in guild chat to welcome you, a couple of people saying hi is pretty decent.

Now let me back up and give you some history so you can see where this is going and why. Rewinding 3 months back, I was an active raider in the number 9 or 10 (at that time) Alliance guild on this server called RoA Nightmare Co. We were progressing quite decently in ICC, and I was getting my death knight geared up, but I didn't feel too connected to any of the people in the guild, save my wife. That's a problem for me. See, gaming is more than just a hobby that takes up 97% of my free time. Gaming is my primary social outlet, so playing with people that I don't care about or even like, is not acceptable for me. It absolutely defeats the purpose of playing an MMORPG as a matter of fact.

Considering all of this, I may a bold decision. I had always wanted a shaman but never really sat down and made one because the first 15 levels at least (I had gotten that far quite a few times) are boring beyond belief. In addition to that, having played this game for 5 years, I am no longer a fan of questing. That day though, something in me said, "Quit wishing to have a shaman, go make one," and I listened. Now initially, this was supposed to be a project in my spare time, while I wasn't raiding, but the very next raid night, I told my wife I didn't really feel like going and she didn't either, so we skipped it and I kept on leveling Etherael. Then the next night got skipped and the next. Before I knew it, I realized that I cared much more about getting my shaman to 80 and finding a guild that really fit me than raiding and getting gear.

Okay, back to the Treewardens. During my stay as a gamer, I have been in some casual guilds; and one thing they all seem to have in common is very nice people. People who are cheerful and helpful and just make you feel like you have a second home with them. Another thing they have in common is very unskilled players...usually the two sets are in actuality, one in the same. After time though, you come to know and expect for this to be the case. You join a casual guild guild for the community, not the skill. However, I am bullheaded enough to believe that somewhere out there, there is a casual raiding guild that truly is filled with kind, helpful, skilled, reliable, players.

To my utter surprise, Treewardens was not this fabled guild. Each day for the approximate 4 days I was in the guild, I would say hello to the guild when I logged on and more often than not, no one spoke at all. If anyone spoke, it was my recruiter. So kindness...uncheck. No one even addressed each other by their full character name, let alone, "My lord/lady" or any other role-playish title. RP...uncheck. The day before my fated departure from the Wardens, Rainulf invited me to come farm an instance that his girlfriend wanted gear out of, Trial of the Champion. I was close to 80 and in past experiences, enjoyed the instance, so I agreed to go. As soon as we got to there, someone disconnected and seeing that 2 of the would be 5 players were under 80, it would have made sense for us to wait on the other player to reconnect, but Rainulf insisted that we would be fine by ourselves.

Everything that could possibly go wrong in this instance, happened that evening. The tank (Rainulf) could not hold aggro, the healer (his girlfriend) could not keep the other players grabbing aggro alive, the muscle (the level 80 shaman) was doing less DPS than the low-level DPS (myself). We wiped...and wiped, and wiped, and wiped again. Somewhere in the middle of these failed attempts, I suggested we try to get another player but Rainulf was convinced that he just needed to bring his stronger tanking character to turn this whole thing around. Two of those wipes were after he switched. The level 80 shaman was geared wrong for his spec and repeatedly stated that maybe he should go get some other character he actually knew how to play, yet never changed characters.

Eventually, Rainulf did recruit in guild chat and we got a level 80 hunter with us from the guild who did fairly decent DPS, but died within the first few seconds of engaging the boss. Yet somehow, after around 7 wipes, we pulled through. The loot was sweet for me, my first epic, a chestpiece...but the level 80 enhancement shaman rolled on my elemental chestpiece against me and (typical) won. Now to the credit of the shaman, after I asked him why he rolled on the piece, he ended up giving it to me, but seeing that he rolled on it in the first place, explained to me why he was doing less DPS than me. He didn't know his class. Skill...uncheck.

I gave it some thought, but basically, I had joined a guild that was nothing like what they advertised themselves to be. It was inevitable for me to leave. I waited until the next day when there were not many people online, I'm not one for causing drama in a guild, messaged my recruiter, Rainulf, and simply told him that the guild was not what I was looking for, but I thanked him for the invitation and wished them good luck. After I left the guild, he messaged me and asked me what I was looking for. Now, having been in relationships where I broke up with the other person, I should have known to not even respond; this was a plea to get me back and I knew I was done. Yet I (dumbly) replied back that I initially thought I wanted a casual guild because I was tired of raiding with people I didn't really know or like, but in actuality, at my core, I'm a raider. This response was my try at diplomacy, keeping away from telling him that his guild was a fraud because it wasn't all that kind and welcoming of a guild and his players were unskilled louts. The message I got back was from a place of personal injury caused by any person leaving his guild. It intoned that I was a selfish person that wanted a guild to carry him through raids to get "welfare purples" and I belonged in a raiding guild with that attitude instead his...good riddance. That's what I get for saying that his guild wasn't what I was looking for? Mature adults...uncheck.

Wow...guilds.

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