I read this post by the always awesome The Ancient Gaming Noob today and found myself nodding in agreement with him with every sentence. It’s refreshing to read his viewpoint because it so closely aligns with mine, while other bloggers that I love to read are basically “finished” with most of Mists of Pandaria and keep talking about the “end of expansion” era and even in some cases, their boredom. I understand why they’re in that situation — they’ve mostly been playing World of Warcraft steadily since MoP released and most of them have strong active guilds that enabled them to see most of the content. For players like myself and TAGN, we’re playing catchup in an expansion that has So Much Freaking Content that I’d have to give up any other hobby and social life if I wanted to see it all.
I’m currently in a state where I recently got my first level 90, Treetopsy. She completed Jade Forest, Valley of the Four Winds, and Krasarang Wilds, and that’s it. I did maybe 1/4 of the quests in Kun’Lai Summit before dinging 90, and haven’t been back. I have missed out on a ton of the questing and exploration content in all the other zones. I just discovered the Shrine with all the teleports to major cities after asking about it on Twitter. I still haven’t gone back to Halfhill to do any farming — I still don’t really understand the point (I haven’t looked into it though). I haven’t fished up all the achievements in Pandaria. I haven’t even STARTED to look at the various factions to see what kind of pets or mounts I could do. My highest level battle pets are only level 12-13, so I am missing out on tons of pet battling content. And just last night I went to the Timeless Isle for the first time, and if that isn’t overwhelming I don’t know WHAT is. I have also only done one of the MoP dungeons on normal, none of the heroics, no challenge modes, no scenarios. I don’t even know what the Brawler’s Guild is or why I’d want to do it, but it intrigues me as well. There are dailies all over the place on some Throne of Thunder zone that I’ve barely heard of. There are rares all over that beg me to kill them, but I haven’t even discovered the zones they’re in. Then there is LFR and the Siege of Orgrimmar stuff which sounds like lore-filled fun that I hope to get to do before Warlords of Draenor comes out. Oh, and I haven’t even mentioned the other distractions such as the upcoming Winter’s Veil holiday or the Darkmoon Faire or any of that fun content. See my predicament?
To make matters worse, I don’t really love playing a Boomkin and so much of this content requires a DPS class to really enjoy. I don’t have a feral set (yet) and don’t know the quickest way to get one so that I could switch over to questing and stuff while in kitty form. And my level 80 Disc Priest is just so damn fun to play that I want HER to be the level 90 that I do all this stuff on. But I still love healing as a Resto Druid, so I don’t want to abandon Treetopsy. Ugh.
So, like the Ancient Gaming Noob, every time I check an item off my to-do list, another 3 items appear on the list. This isn’t a bad problem to have, but it’s just fascinating to me how much content WoW has and how compelling it is even 9 years after the first time I installed the game on my hard drive. I’m watching other people get absolutely sucked in to the game even after they’d declared themselves moved on long ago. My husband is going to ding his first level 90 tonight, and he has several others in the 80s. My best friend came back to the game this go around with us, and she just got 80 last night on her Ret Pally as well. And we have a little guild with a few other friends who have returned and seem to have been bitten by the bug. Not to mention the bloggers who have been installing the game and getting back into it lately as well, like Belghast and Stargrace. I love reading their posts, because it seems like we’re all doing different things. That’s the magic of WoW and 9 years of content.
Some people hate treadmills, and I understand that. The treadmills are what keep me completely hooked though, the illusion of utmost choice. I know that no matter how much I play, I won’t ‘catch up’ or ‘beat the game’ because there is so much to do. It’s kind of ridiculous, in the best way possible.
I’m behind! Shoot. But I want to participate in the fun too!
Boy, I’ve been pretty absent over here at CuppyVille. Has it really already been a couple weeks? This year is just flying by….it’s already going to be December tomorrow! Don’t worry though, I haven’t drifted off from WoW again as I am known to do. I’ve actually been playing so much that I haven’t had a lot of time to blog about it! Sheesh. I’m just completely enamored again with the relaxation that I experience while playing. There are so many options and choices for what I want to do. Jiraa has been my main focus, and she’s almost level 80! She’s about halfway through 79 and I just completed the achievement for all the Sholazar Basin quests. I had thought I completed it YEARS ago, but apparently not.
Oh man, I have so much to update on. Do I even have the time?
To start with, I just think that my priest looks awesome right now. Maybe not very ‘priesty’ but her dark gray and gold get-up is oh-so-sexy. She feels like a “dark priest” which might be a silly concept but whatever.
I finally did all the dungeons in Outland. Another achievement I *swear* I had already done, but apparently not. Blast from the past, I guess. I’m really not a huge fan of the Outland dungeons — we got bored of them all pretty quick so these were rather painful levels to obtain. I also got the Northrend Dungeonmaster achievement but I guess I forgot to take a screenshot. Oh well, you’ll have to take my word for it.
Like many other bloggers, I too bought the package with the Enchanted Fey Dragon and the Alterac Brew Pup. How could I resist a flying mount that changes colors while I fly, with those big adorable cuddly eyes?!! It’s my new favorite mount. :)
On Treetopsy I’ve been working on doing the Pilgrim’s Bounty achievements, and I only have one left. The dreaded one, where I have to turn a Rogue of every race into a turkey. This might be the death of me. I can’t find an Orc Rogue for anything! But I’m sure I’ll get it, so I can get my title and my mount and be done with it all. I had fun doing the Pilgrim’s Peril achievement where you have to go to the opposite faction’s capital cities and sit at their Thanksgiving tables. I actually had never traveled to Exodar before as Horde, so that was a new experience. Thanks to the people of Wyrmrest Accord for not killing me, though I was PvP flagged for most of it.
I had fun posing in BRD. I’m sure everyone’s taken this screenshot at least once.
Now my husband is yelling at me from the other room saying “that doesn’t look like you’re leveling!”. You see, he got level 80 yesterday so now I’m just totally behind and need to catch up. *eyeroll* Anyway, I hope everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving. See you in Azeroth!
There’s this common thing that I see on many blogs, particularly ones that cover multiple MMOs. It goes like this, for example:
“I’m a bit embarrassed to admit it, but I’m back in WoW again.”
Sometimes, this is rephrased to say the opposite but still giving the same effect:
“I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m excited about the WoW expansion.”
It’s popular to consider World of Warcraft to be the MMO that only the most un-cool of gamers enjoy. The new hotness is fashionable, and it’s totally cool to be playing FFXIV or Rift or Guild Wars 2. But if you happen to be playing WoW, the game that 7+ million people are still subscribed to, you have to use a disclaimer before talking about it. Why is that? It’s *still* the most successful MMORPG ever. It’s still the biggest and most popular. It’s right up there with EQ2 in terms of having the largest world and most content to play. It’s almost like people view WoW as a sick addiction. ”I’m back in that game again, despite my best efforts to resist the temptation.” Why resist? WoW is a pretty freaking awesome game even to this day.
Maybe everyone else is a bunch of MMO hipsters who have to be playing the obscure underdogs, and we’re just too mainstream for them.
Blizzcon has begun, and with it a whole slew of information about exciting tidbits to expect in the coming months. Warlords of Draenor was confirmed, complete with 10 more levels, new zones, player-housing, new raids, zones, and the ability to make one of your existing or new characters instantly level 90 with a handy boost.
I feel mixed about this. On one hand, some players really love having an instant max level character. It makes sense, when you have friends to play with that you want the quickest way to connect with them and be able to catch up easily without burdening your friends. Letting someone have a level 90 character without requiring the 1-90 leveling process is probably the most simplest solution to this problem. But generally, Blizzard don’t choose the easiest of solutions. I think that’s why I’m feeling a bit disappointed with this.
In EverQuest II, I received my instant level 85 and immediately didn’t want to play it. Without any context about the journey that got me there, without any real history to that character, I really have no attachment to it and therefore no desire to play it. MMORPGs for me aren’t just about playing with friends. There is an even more important part of them for me that involves my character’s journey, growing and learning as I go. Even if I’ve played the game to max level dozens of times before, I don’t want to start right at the end. I find the leveling process to be enjoyable, even if I say things like “I need to hurry up and level so I can get to level 90 as fast as possible!”. When I did Recruit-A-Friend and got a free level 80(?) character, I never even played it. I already knew how to play a Druid, so it wasn’t that I didn’t understand how to play. I just didn’t have any connection to her and didn’t think it was important to continue her story at all.
Ideally, I wanted mentoring to be announced today. I want my friends to be able to change their level to any lower level that they want, so they can do content with me. This would unlock people playing together, more use of old world content, the ability for ‘progression guilds’ to exist more easily. This was the true solution that I was hoping for. And maybe it’s still coming in the future — I really hope so. Until then, I still feel a bit disappointed with this.
Will I make a level 90 instantly in WoD? Of course I will. But I can’t imagine myself actually playing it long-term. I reserve the right to change my mind about this later, but for right now I’m not interested in it.
I logged in last night and was excited to see that my Blizzcon (digital pass) pet was delivered to my mailbox! Murkalot is absolutely adorable — he’s a little murloc with a set of armor and a shield. I basically love him. He has all sorts of cute animations too, so I pretty much want to keep him forever and ever.
I also managed to ding 67 by heading out to Blade’s Edge Mountains to do a bit of questing. I kill things so fast on my priest, it’s just impressive! Even in a healing spec (Disc) I feel like a tear through mobs way faster than my Resto Druid ever did. It’s refreshing. I’ve been working on leveling up my tailoring and enchanting as well, and I’m almost 350 in both of them. I’ve also been working on my Darkmoon Faire dailies, though I haven’t really made more than a mental list of what things I want to buy with the tickets anyway. I was thinking maybe some of the pets, but the replica gear is nice too, as are the mounts. Argh, decisions!
Syl at MMOGypsy wrote a post today declaring her hate for achievements in MMOs. I have to give her kudos, her post was well-written and clearly thought out, and it did a good job of showing her thought processes and backing up her opinion. I found myself being filled with annoyance while reading it though, and had to tell myself that this was definitely HER specific opinion, and not a representation about how all players feel about achievements. But then I secretly thanked the stars that she’s not working on any of my favorite current or upcoming MMOs.
I’m an achievement hunter and a completionist. Not to the extent of some truly dedicated players, but they definitely do serve as a motivation for me while playing. It wasn’t always this way. I too, like many others, started out my MMO career with EverQuest where literally nothing was spelled out for me and everything was ‘an adventure’. I did ‘explore’ quite a bit, which looking back I feel fond about but while playing a remember swearing about while running in circles, getting killed and losing my body, going the wrong way and getting lost, getting frustrated and left behind, etc. It wasn’t all rosy. In fact, I spent just as much time going to Allakhazam and Casters Realm, printing out guides and putting them in my 3-ring binder so that I could actually figure out how to do my epic quest without having to drop out of high school. So immersive, looking down at my Trapper Keeper instead of staring at the screen.
Nowadays, achievements are what allow me to play casually yet still have an objective when I log in. Most nights, I frankly don’t have time to have to figure out what to do, then figure out how to get there, then figure out whether the reward is worth it (or waste my time if it isn’t) and then figure out if I even have time to do it. Achievements do things like say – hey, did you know that there is a Goblin Raceway in Azshara, and you can ride it? Honestly, the 5 or 10 achievement points I get for doing it isn’t the reason that I do it. I *am* an explorer and I want to see as much as possible while still maintaining a healthy balance between gaming and real life. Achievements are a handy check-off list that give me a objective every time I play.
Who would wish to complete a world? Completionism, pre-defined paths and goals, extrinsic motivators – none of these go with my personal sense of exploration.
I look back on my 5 years of playing EverQuest, and I know I didn’t see it all. I spent so many years in that game, but because so much of it was either hidden to the player’s eye without research or locked off to players who weren’t a certain level or play-style, I didn’t see even half of it. I stand around now in groups of nostalgic game developers talking about the ‘good ole days’ and half the time I can’t even share in their experiences because I didn’t discover the things they were talking about. Speaking completely honestly, the chance of a player sticking with a single MMO for 5+ years nowadays is rather slim. Players wax and wane, dip in and out of their favorite games, moving on to the Next Big Thing when they’re bored with their current experience. So in this brave new world, is it better to want to complete a world while you’re there, or dip in for a few months to some world you will never experience even 10% of the game because of time and the obtuse hidden world?
I tend to agree with Liore on this one. I am rather tired of hearing the phrase “but…my immersion!” when any discussion about player behavior comes about. Immersion has a time and place. If MMO players want an experience closer to immersion, why aren’t more of them playing Second Life? After all, there you can actually hold a job and work 8 hours a day for ‘income’, have utmost freedom in creation, have very few objectives to actually take you away from your exploration path, and can literally be whomever you want. If the concept of ‘immersion’ holds the genre back from innovating and providing quality-of-life mechanics such as faster travel, connecting players with friends new and old through social features, and other accessibility features than I’d rather have none of it at all. I say this as a player who does like to get lost in my characters, lost in worlds. My favorite fantasy games are the ones with huge worlds and persistent avatars with RPG-style storylines and motivations. That doesn’t mean I want to be archaic all the time. You can *always* use the ‘immersion’ argument, and it goes both ways. Bloggers are always toting how immersive the world of LotRO is, but the last time I logged in I was standing there listening to a bard play “Will You Hold It Against Me?” by Britney Spears in an inn on his lute. Looking back on EverQuest, sure I ran around a lot and died and there was risk and scary things around every corner and I had no fucking clue what I was doing half the time (immersion!) – but the other half I was standing on a table in Plane of Fire for 12 hours, hitting my Complete Heal hotkey over and over again, trying to hold that camp so no other groups would ‘steal it’, and talking with my group members about the trials and tribulations of being a high school kid. How immersive was that? In MMOs, we like our worlds to feel immersive and themed, but in reality – the gameplay itself is anything but. And that’s fine.
I think Syl’s argument that achievements nullify the journey and put the focus on the reward is false, at least in my experience. Sure, it feels good to see the shiny popup telling me that I made an accomplishment, but what I remember later isn’t the moment that happened, but what I accomplished that MADE that happen. Even taking a recent example, of fishing for dozens of hours to try to get a particular Mr. Pinchy pet. I fished because I wanted the achievement, which I wanted because I desire a specific title that shows everyone what I’ve done. That kind of social reinforcement is the exact same thing as wanting my full set of Insert Name Here gear in EverQuest and then feeling proud to wear it around Plane of Knowledge and show my accomplishments to others. In EQ, it wasn’t “hey look everybody, I got this gear!” it was way more nuanced than that. It was “hey everyone, I worked really hard to get into the number one guild on my server, showed up and raided in dedicated fashion for months on end until finally my group of friends and companions killed the Rathe Council and got a server first and I ended up with this sexy breastplate because I earned enough DKP.” It’s no different to me than wearing the Salty title on my head so that everyone knows “not only am I a max-level fisherwoman, I also spent a ton of time trying to get this elusive Mr. Pinchy pet and finally I got him despite the fact that 6 other people were fishing from the same lake as I was, and I also completed all of the other meta-achievements and have truly spent a great deal of my life fishing in WoW and I am proud of what I’ve done.” I’m not proud of the pet in specificity, I’m proud of all of the time I spent.
The achievement is not the prize. The achievement is the reinforcement. It’s what lead me to the experience, showed me it could be done, and challenged me to do it, then allowed me to show it off. And now I have a handy list of things that I’ve done in the game. I can go back at any time and remember what I did. I wish I had such a thing in EverQuest, so I could take that drop down nostalgia lane and see everything I did many years ago.
You know what I think when I see this? I don’t think “Cool, 10 points, I remember getting that achievement.” I think to myself of how wonderful that day was, over 5 years ago, when my guild got together and had a drunken fun time in Molten Core. I think about how that finally was the run that let me complete my Benediction/Anathema. I remember that particular guild fondly, and how I flew out to Los Angeles to hang out with them at Universal Studios. I remember how I was the one who would always fuck up during the boss who put a bomb on a player, and I’d run and blow up the raid. I remember the particular character I was playing, Cuppycake, and how she was my first-ever character and was a Priest. I remember the guild drama when someone ninjaed an item on that run.
So if you think achievements are all about the ding, the points, and that they disregard the journey — then I’d argue that your relationship with achievements is quite different from mine, and from other MMO players who absolutely fell in love with them. Just because I got a notification at the end, and a lasting check mark in my achievement window, doesn’t mean that I’ve forgotten the journey, or that the journey didn’t matter. The developers make these experiences fun, and they are still enjoyable regardless if I got an achievement at the end.
And finally, Syl says:
I don’t need to be told I achieved something in shrill and flashing colors. I should be able to feel it and to judge it was a worthy cause. That’s when you may reward me with items, sometimes, so I may carry them with me to tell the world about my adventures.
Here’s the problem with this. What’s fun to some people isn’t fun to others. What Syl considered a “worthy cause” might not be worth a crap to me at all. For example, a 5 minute quest line where I managed to save an entire tribe of Taunka people is pretty important to me, because I am a Tauren and I feel a responsibility for my kind. I’d hope that it would be considered a big deal and that I would get something for helping out a tribe in peril. Meanwhile, a hardcore Blood Elf raider might do this questline and not give one ounce of care or respect for the lore or the story and simply want their XP so they can move on to the next quest. Meanwhile, I’m not a raider right now so I couldn’t care less if you followed a guide on Icy Veins and managed to down the end boss of the end raid. So are you proposing here that each player be able to wander the world and judge every objective for themselves, choosing when the experience was ‘worthy’ of a reward and only accepting an item or reinforcement if they personally felt it was warranted? That sounds like a pretty dismal experience to me. And for me, it’s not that the achievement is ‘telling me’ I achieved something. I already knew I achieved something when I watched Ragnaros fall for the first time and felt that surge of pride. Seeing achievements as nothing more than an informative popup is a rather shallow way of looking at it.
Syp’s right, the journey is the reward. All of the experiences behind all of my achievements (only 22% of them, right now haha) were a fantastic journey. I’m happy I can look back on my achievements list and smile or frown at the memories. After all, the gear itself that I earned is long obsolete at this point, and the friends I made have long drifted away. All I have left is the memories, and I’m thankful to have a whole achievement list of them.
I remember fondly back in the day when leveling was slow enough where you could quest through all the zones PLUS do each dungeon multiple times. Now, I’m just basically running the dungeons 1-3 times per unique Burning Crusade dungeon and I’m leveling so fast that I can’t even THINK about questing. It’s a strange world indeed. I’ve been hearing writers and commenters on WoW Insider talking about wanting faster leveling for alts, but I’m pretty damn casual and Jiraa is already 65 and rarely does anything but queue for dungeons with my friends. Maybe on my next character I’ll be complaining too I already have plans for my little Panda Shaman, and a future Hunter (race undetermined as of yet).
I was pretty excited to get the robe I’ve been wanting, the Raiments of Divine Authority which is a recolor of the Priest Devout set. I’m hoping for the Collar of Command and the Pauldrons of Suffering as well, since they’re so matchy-matchy. :)
I’m a bit bummed out that I didn’t buy Blizzcon passes this year, though we did pick up a Digital Pass so we can watch and enjoy the action from the comfort of our own home. I’m particularly excited for news about the next WoW expansion, and I want to watch the Hearthstone tournament. I haven’t played Hearthstone in awhile, but it’s an excellent game that definitely will have a place in my gaming rotation for the months to come. I’m going to have to live vicariously through all the awesome bloggers who are attending, so make sure to liveblog all the action!
Yeah, somehow this just totally happened last night. I saw a named in Kun-Lai Summit (Nalak?) and decided to kill it. It took forever, being that I’m a slow lumbering Boomkin. But it awarded me almost 300,000 XP and ended up being the last bit I needed to get my FIRST EVER LEVEL 90 CHARACTER! I know, I’m slow and behind the times and this is not exciting news to anyone else. To be honest, I’m not 100% sure what I’m even going to do with this character now. I found this amazing guide that tells you how to gear up after level 90, but to be honest I’m not finding playing my Druid to be terribly fun. I have never really enjoyed the Boomkin spec, and I don’t really have gear sufficient to go Feral for soloing. What I really love doing on my Druid is healing, but I can’t really solo effectively as a Resto Druid. And I’m afraid to jump into dungeons with people I don’t know, and all my guildies are still in the early 60′s.
I figure I will check out the Timeless Isle and see what that’s all about as I hear there are some goodies that will be helpful to a fresh level 90. I only did one dungeon in MoP, so I have a lot of normals I could do to just get familiar with being Resto again while I wait for my friends to catch up to me. But the fact of the matter is, I have a ton of fun playing my Disc Priest. It’s awesome that in one spec I can solo fast and also heal dungeons with ease. I almost think I should just table my level 90 adventures on Treetopsy and just wait until Jiraa is level 90 to really dive into the end game content. Decisions, decisions….
Kun-Lai Summit is gorgeous. Have some screenshots.