Archive for May, 2009

31
May
09

The Sunday Cop-out, Wherein Dueg is a Filthy Liar

Pictured: My nemesis

Pictured: My nemesis / best friend

What?  Huh?  *peers around, blurry eyed*  Oh, that’s right, Sunday RP, like I promised yesterday before I went to the wedding.  The wedding with the open bar… that glorious, beautiful open bar where Jack Daniels waterfalls flow into rivers of Coca-cola, whispering to Dueg.  Telling him that it’s ok, one more drink will help him dance better.  See that disapproving look from Mrs Dueg?  It won’t look so disapproving through blurred vision.  Oh yes, it was quite a night… at least I think it was quite a night.

Point being that I am in no condition to be writing RP.  I’m hardly in any condition to be writing RP.  Plus I have to go to a birthday party for Mr.s Dueg’s sister and swing by my brother’s house to drop off my sister-in-law’s birthday present.  Busy day for Dueg.  Anyways, I’m going to try my absolute best to get an RP post this week in order to make up for the missing one this weekend.  Again, I apologize and trust me when I say that I’ve learned my lesson and will not be drinking the devil’s water again… says the filthy liar.

-Dueg

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30
May
09

The Saturday Cop-out, Wherein Dueg has a Wedding to Attend

FormalDueg

I'd rather be playing WoW

Heya everyone, sorry about this but there won’t be an RP post today because I have to attend a wedding this afternoon.  I had hoped to be able to write it up this morning, but between having to make breakfast, picking up the last part of the gift for the happy couple and still having to bathe my filthy self and get ready, my time is somewhat limited.  But worry not, faithful readers, all both of you, for I shall return tomorrow with the RP post, and it shall be glorious fantastic a post.

Anyways, I must run now as Mrs Dueg is yelling at me to get my butt in the car.  So until tomorrow, I hope everyone has a fantastic Saturday (I know it’s gorgeous on Long Island right now) and I’ll see everyone here tomorrow for a little RP action.  TTFN, Ta-Ta For Now.

-Dueg

29
May
09

Friday Strats – Assembly of Iron

With our powers combined...

With our powers combined...

Ah yes, the Assembly of Iron, or, as some people call them, the Iron Council.  These three baddies are a pretty cool little encounter in Ulduar where the difficulty actually scales depending on which order you kill them.  I’ve only ever done the fight on easy mode myself, which really isn’t that easy, but after doing some research, I’ll try my best to describe the varying degrees of difficulty based on the order.  So let’s get started and as always, we begin with…

The Prep

You’re going to need one tank for each of the mobs, which will all need to be spaced out through the room so that they’re nowhere near each other.  Whichever tank is assigned to Steelbreaker will need at least two dedicated healers and at least one dedicated dispeller (I’ll get to that in a bit), however, you may want to assign three if you’re having trouble keeping Steelbreaker’s tank alive.  The other two tanks will also need a dedicated healer and you’ll need at least one healer on raid healing as there will be constant ticking damage on the whole raid for as long as Steelbreaker is alive.  Once you’ve hashed out who goes where, simply buff up and have the tanks pull.

The Fight

I’m going to describe each individual bosses abilities and tactics separately, but first let me cover a few universal things dealing with them.  When one of the bosses is killed, they give a buff to other two which immediately heals them back to full and gives them a 25% damage buff.  It will also grant whomever is left an additional ability with the final one pretty much changing up your previous strats.  Also, as I said, you’ll need to separate them into three areas of the room, we usually pull Steelbreaker and Runemaster to the two opposite corners closest to the door while another tank will move the Stormcaller to the back of the room in order to tank him there.  Now we’ll look at each individual boss.

Steelbreaker

This boss is the key to whether or not you want easy or hard mode.  Because of his abilities and the fact that he hits extremely hard before he even gets the 25% bonus to damage, you’ll want to kill him first if you’re not attempting hard mode.  When all three bosses are up, he’ll only have two abilities: High Voltage, which is an aura that deals 2,500 nature damage every three seconds  to everyone in the room and Fusion Punch, which is a channeled cast that deals 100% weapon damage to the tank and leaves a DoT behind dealing an additional 17,000 nature damage every second.  This DoT is dispellable and must be removed immediately.  I suggest assigning a dedicated dispeller who simply spams their dispel as soon as this is ability is cast in order to remove it right away.

If Steelbreaker is still up after one boss dies, he immediately gains an effect called Static Disruption that he can cast on any random player not in melee range.  This is a 6 yard AoE effect that increases nature damage taken by 75% for twenty seconds, which means that they’ll begin taking about 4,250 or so nature damage every three seconds during that time (that’s fuzzy math, so don’t quote me on that).  The raid will need to spread out in order to avoid more than one person being affected by this ability at a time.  

If Steelbreaker is the last boss left alive, he gains an ability called Overwhelming Power which he will apply to the tank, increasing damage dealt by 200% but causing a Meltdown after 30 seconds, which will automatically kill your tank and deal up to 30,000 damage to anyone within 15 yards, most likely killing them as well.  If Steelbreaker is the last mob standing he will regain 15% health and a 25% damage damage buff whenever any member of the raid dies.  Since he will definitely be killing at least one member of the raid (the original MT) and his damage is already increased by 50% from the other two mobs dying, this means that this is an intense DPS race that will need a lot of heals, so it’s only suggested for the strongest of guilds.

Runemaster Molgeim

This is the middle height guy who will occasionally buff the other members of the Assembly.  He starts off with two abilities: rune of Power is a ground based AoE damage buff.  It is vitally important for your tanks to be aware of whether or not this is cast upon their targets and move them off it asap.  If Steelbreaker is allowed to stand in this rune, he’ll smash your tank’s face in very quickly and please note that Stormcaller must be silenced in order to get him to move if the rune pops under him.  Players can stand in these runes to gain the damage buff themselves.  He will also occasionally cast Shield of Runes which absorbs up to 50,000 damage and one it pops will buff Molgeim with a 50% damage increase.  This ability can be dispelled or stolen by mages.

If he’s alive after one boss dies, the Runemaster will gain the ability to cast Runes of Death which are going to be huge ground based AoE effects that deal 6,000 nature damage per second to anyone standing in them.  Your raid must be prepared to move very quickly if these appear in order to keep the strain on healers to a minimum.  If he’s that last boss standing, Molgeim will cast a Rune of Summoning which will begin to spawn untauntable lightning elementals who will randomly target raid members and begin chasing them.  

If they reach who they’re targeting, they’ll explode, dealing around 15,000 damage to all players in a 30 yard radius.  Each rune will spawn around 10 of them in about a 4 second time span, one right after the other.  You can snare them, so you’ll want totems or frost mages working overtime to keep them moving slow while your AoE works them down.  If one escapes from the AoE, whoever they’re targeting needs to book it while the ranged works on the mob.

Stormcaller Brundir

Considered the easiest mob and usually left till last, he’s also the most annoying since he’ll simply start casting ranged spells if you try to move him.  Like the other two bosses, he starts with two abilities: Chain Lightning, which is a straight damage spell that will arc to up to five players and is interruptible.  He also has an Overload ability which has a small cast time and will end with him dealing 30,000 nature damage to all enemies within 30 yards of him.  I’ve heard tell that tanks can eat this with proper cooldowns and whatnot, but I recommend they gtfo.

If still alive after the first boss dies, Brundir gains an ability called Lightning Whirl which looks like a whirlwind but instead will hit random raid members with lightning, dealing up to 7,400 nature damage.  This is a 5 second channeled ability and, like Chain Lightning, is interruptible.  If Brundir is the final boss alive, and he will be if you want to do it the easiest way, he will gain his final ability, called Lightning Tendrils.  This will cause him to rise up in the air and randomly target a raid member who he’ll start chasing.  All raid members within a 10 yard radius of the spot where he’s floating will be struck by lightning, taking 8,000 nature damage per second, so you must be prepared to move if he’s near you.  This ability is also a threat wipe when he lands, so make sure to allow your tank to pick it back up.

Basically, the most intense healing phase of this fight is going to be while Steelbreaker is up as he will test single target heals with his high melee damage and raid healing with his nature damage aura.  The healer assigned to Brundir’s tank will need to be aware of Overload and make sure to be standing at close to max range in order to avoid getting one shotted by it.  Other than that, the fight’s not too difficult if done in the “easy” order.  As I’ve said, I can’t comment on the harder versions of the fight just yet, but it sounds like leaving Steelbreaker up will truly make healers weep and gnash their teeth.

The Loot

10 Man

Lady Maye’s Sapphire Ring – This is an attractive ring for both holy and shadow, especially with the higher spirit total on it.  Disc definitely has better options elsewhere.

Runetouch Handwraps – These are probably going to be best served on the wrists of a shadow priest, and even then they are definitely replaceable.  There’s better for holy and disc priests out there.

Stormtip – This is better served in the hands of a resto druid or a shadow priest, but healery types should look elsewhere.

Watchful Eye – Drops from hard mode, this neck slot item is not as attractive for holy priests as it is the other two varieties, though the gem slot does add versatility to it.

25 Man

Overload Legwraps – With hit rating, haste and SP out the wazoo, these leggings are going to be a shadow priest’s best friend for quite a while, I’m sure.

Radiant Seal – This has more of a Disc or Shadow feel to it to me, but Holy should jump on it if they get a chance and need the upgrade.

Raiments of the Iron Council – More suited for shadow with the haste rating, I’d still pick these up if you’re a healer thanks to the flexibility of the gem slots.

Rapture – Not just for looking pretty, this staff will be the second BiS for all three specs until your raid can down Hodir in hard mode.  Please note how awesome my banner looks because of this staff… and that I’m a total whore for loot.

Unblinking Eye – This is a fantastic neck piece for both shadow and holy.  Disc will find better options from a couple of different sources.

Sapphire Amulet of Renewal – I find this neck piece to be somewhat of a disappointment for a hard mode drop.  That being said, it’s still a very nice item for shadow, not so much for holy.  There are better hard mode neck pieces for Disc, but don’t let that stop you from picking this up if you need it.

And that’s it for the Assembly of Iron.  This fight is fun and chaotic at the same time, so be sure your group is ready for whichever order you decide to do it in.  Next week we’ll finish up the Antechamber of Ulduar with the crazy cat lady, Auriaya.

-Dueg

28
May
09

Horde v Alliance, Let’s Get This Party Started

That looks about right

That looks about right

Yesterday I was sifting through my google reader when this little gem popped up from WoW.com.  In it, Allison Robert (who’s writing style I love, btw) makes a spectacular argument for why Varian Wrynn isn’t just an unfit leader and total jerkface, but also why he’s a fool and how his actions are actually serving to further damage the Alliance rather than help it.  She points out how he’s allowing personal vendettas and his understandably unbalanced emotions to dictate Alliance policy, further fracturing the tenuous peace in place with the Horde.  If you haven’t read it already, I suggest you go read it right now, but be prepared as it’s a long one.

One thing about this article is how it highlights the fact that more and more lately, these two political superpowers are on a collision course to full scale war against each other again.  With Wrynn baying for blood and Garrosh’s growing influence over Horde policies and it’s military, it’s only a matter of time until a small spark sets off the powder keg that is the Horde-Alliance diplomatic relationship.  And on that day, Dueg will stand upon the ramparts, looking down at the milling armies of his enemies, and say, “It’s about fucking time”.

Yes, I’m a warmonger.  I identify with my Blood Elf priest much more than I ever did with my dwarf (or my night elf, or my human) priest and I can say that I’ve grown tired of Varian Wrynn being all emo and whiny.  “Oh, the horde killed my parents, the horde enslaved me and threw me in an arena which made me the totally awesome fighter I am today, boo hoo, woe is me”.  Barf.  Look, the fact is that it’s almost universally accepted that Wrynn, though slightly justified, is a total ass who wants only war.  So c’mon Wrynn, shit or get off the pot.

I’ve also got some ideas for the coming war, which I call Wrynn’s War (you can use that, Blizzard, you’re welcome), such as how to start it and various things that can be done in game.  First off, though I’m loathe to say this as he’s one of my favorite video game characters of all time, Thrall’s got to go.  He’s too wishy-washy and always hemming and hawing when it comes to decisive military action.  It’s noble to want peace, but when it’s time for war you must put away the diplomat’s pen and I just don’t think Thrall can do that.

So I think that the best way to get the war started, and Jezriyah will have to forgive me for this, is the assassination of Thrall by Varian’s agents followed by a surprise attack on one of the major Horde cities.  However, if the Alliance makes the first move, then Wrynn will have an uphill battle trying to convince the other leaders within his faction to go along with it, especially the haughty Night Elves and spiritual Draenei.  So the answer is to have an assassination within the Alliance upper echelons orchestrated by Wrynn in order to make it look like a retaliation instead of an offensive.  The perfect target?  Jaina Proudmoore.  Get her and Thrall out of the way and the two loudest voices for peace are gone.  

You could even spare Thrall and simply have Jaina assassinated by Wrynn who would then begin an offensive by blaming it on the Horde, but I believe this would lead to a power struggle between Garrosh and Thrall.  Thrall will, of course, want peace and most likely try to fight a defensive war while trying to expose Wrynn for the maniac that he is and Garrosh will want to go on the offensive, reveling in the bloodshed like the orc he is.  However, that would weaken the Horde in the face of the oncoming enemy, making defeat and annihilation much more like.  And we certainly can’t have the Horde losing, now can we?

However it gets going though, an all out war between the two factions would mean a plethora of new ideas and mechanics that would be possible within the game.  One idea that I sorely want implemented and would only make sense during war time: Faction specific instances.  Think about it, an instance, raid or five man, where the Horde zone in and all the enemies are Alliance or vice versa.  You must then fight your way to the end in order to bring down an experimental weapon or kill a top army commander.  Raids on cities should also become impossible for the time being as it wouldn’t make much sense for 40 people to stop a war by simply killing the faction leaders.  Maybe extra guards or beef them up so all the guards have boss stats, I dunno.

Fact is, this war’s been a long time coming.  Wrynn’s begging for it and I for one say we should give it to him, bring him down a notch, beat the tar out of him, and all sorts of other colloquial sayings.  What makes me so certain that the Horde would win?  Because if there was a war, the Horde would have to win.  Wrynn won’t be satisfied until every orc and anyone who stands with them is exterminated to the last man, woman and child.  The orcs, who are synonymous with the Horde, only want a place to live, somewhere that they can call home.  Garrosh doesn’t want to destroy his enemies, he wants to humiliate them, prove them his lesser and put them in their places.  Once that’s done, he’ll return home, satisfied that through might he has made an everlasting peace dictated by the orcs. 

So let’s get this show on the road!  The time has come to stop pussyfooting around and finally put sword to bone.  Blizzard’s done so much to promote animosity between the leadership of the factions lately that anything less than total war would be a let down.  Hell’s bells, I think they should devote a full expansion cycle to Wrynn’s War (again, you’re welcome, Blizzard), with war instances and maybe a couple of new Wintergrasp type zones in the middle of both continents from the old world.  The only trick would be to make it so that it’s not simply a venue for PvP but also a way for PvEers to get their war on for their factions.  No matter what happens though, for Dueg it comes down to three little words:

For the Horde.

-Dueg

27
May
09

Are You Ready for Ulduar?

He was not ready

Not ready

So last night I was chit chatting with a friend who mentioned that their last guild was still struggling on Saphirron, wiping four times before finally downing him.  The first thing I said after reading that sentence, without even thinking, was “They’re not ready for Ulduar”.  But what exactly is “ready for Ulduar”?  What makes a guild worthy of the purps that flow like honeyed wine from Ulduar’s vaulted chambers?  The question is more complicated than it first appears.

I’ll admit that the first reason that I said that without even thinking was that I truly believe that any guild ready for Ulduar should simply not be wiping on any fight in Naxx.  I’m not saying that only those with the immortal title are truly ready, but keep in mind that even the easiest fight in Ulduar is more complicated and difficult than anything you’ll see in Naxx.  Even Kel’Thuzad is somewhat precious in comparison to what you’ll face in Blizzard’s newest raid instance, though he’s not exactly a cupcake or anything.

Beyond simply not wiping, the fact is that Naxx, as the introductory raid for Wrath, should be somewhat of a litmus test for your guild.  You can’t declare yourself ready for the most difficult content before you are ready for the easiest, plain and simple.  The mechanics you learn are the equivalent of placing a bunch of cut outs of feet on the ground in order to learn a complicated dance.  They show you how to move and where to place yourself when the time comes for the real thing, making you better at what you do.

It’s also not just the average ilevel of your gear which will give you an indicator of whether or not you’re ready to face down the bosses of Ulduar.  Good gear only makes your abilities stronger and more capable of handing damage, but it doesn’t improve you.  Even if you’re wearing BiS in every gear slot, it won’t mean anything if you die within ten seconds of a boss pull.  If you don’t know where to stand and when to move, you might as well sit the raid out because you’re worse than useless at that point, no matter how awesome your staff looks.

Your achievements and/or previous boss kills are also not a good barometer for whether or not you’re ready for the next tier of content.  So what if you have A Poke in the Eye or Sarth 3D under your belt?  If you got those achievements while lying on the floor because you couldn’t be bothered to learn where to stand during certain phases, then you’re not ready.  Experience is a good thing, and any raider should want to experience all the end game content.  But it’s not everything, it won’t make you into a better raider unless you’re willing to learn from it.

So what does make you ready?  What is the benchmark?  Well, there are certain signs to look out for, but for the most part it has to be done on an individual evaluation of each of your raiders.  A guild where the top healer in Naxx can’t seem to stop casting when Ignis’ flame jets go off, wiping his raid because of a school lock, is not going to go very far at all.  If a majority of your DPS can’t learn when to stop attacking one target and quickly move to another will also generally go down in flames.  Your raiders have to know how to raid in Ulduar, you can’t just go through the motions.

Good leadership is also infinitely important during those first few forays into the new raid instance.  Weak leadership who is unwilling to call out raiders for stupid, easily avoided mistakes will see those mistakes over and over again.  They have to be willing to single people out, point out to the rest of the guild what is and is not acceptable and in extreme cases, even sit people.  They can’t be concerned with whether or not the guild likes them or wants to be their buddy, especially not if the guild is looking to progress beyond 3.0 raids.  

For example, the other night we had a player who came to raid without a flask, unable to min/max like we require from our raiders.  When called out, he admitted it and was told that since he wasn’t ready to raid, he had to leave because we had others waiting who were ready.  Now this guy is an OG, one of the guild originals and very good friends with the leadership.  But still, rules are rules and he was punished just like any other member of our raiding team would be.  He didn’t throw a fit or anything, simply said “ok” and left the raid.

So you see, it’s not about gear or experience or any of that, it’s about you, the player, and whether or not you are mentally prepared to be a raider.  A person in all blues who’s never done a raid before in his life but survives through to the end of every boss fight is going to be ten times more useful than a player in full epics who dies halfway through those same fights.  Naxx and OS with no drakes are very forgiving on those who don’t care about proper positioning and raiders can certainly play around in there.  But when it comes time to put your serious face on, you better be serious and you better be for the reals and prepared to dance the dance of boss fights.  If not, then you’re simply not ready for Ulduar.

-Dueg

26
May
09

Power Word: Useless

That shit is hilarious

That shit is hilarious

So anyone who was following me over the holiday weekend knows that our guild finally got a disc priest to join our regular team of healing hawtness.  With pew pews here and laserz there, she wielded the light like a pro and we were finally able to down Mimi 25 as a guild (suck it, you mechano-chump).  However, before the raid, I, being the diligent raider that I am, did some research into what to expect as a holy priest when running with one of our more throughput challenged cousins.

Throughout my research, one major point kept popping up over and over again, hammering home a tip that it seems disc priests are desperate for holy priests to know: Don’t bubble people.  This tip makes sense to me.  Disc priests are the undisputed masters of damage mitigation and PW:S is a bread and butter spell for them.  It also leaves behind a debuff that prevents the person from being re-bubbled for 15 seconds, regardless of who cast the original bubble.  This can cause issues.

You see, if someone has a choice of which shield they’re going to take, they want the one that’s going to mitigate upwards of 6,000 damage (as some disc priest bubbles are known to do).  A holy priest’s shield, on the other hand, has no talent boosts and is a fairly minimal mitigator for damage, usually gone from half a single melee hit of even the trash mobs.  A disc priest also relies heavily on their shield being destroyed in order to regen mana during fights thanks to some talent retooling for 3.1.  So the basic rule of thumb is that holy should only bubble themselves in emergencies and leave the mitigation to the pros.

However, all this sort of highlighted a point for me that, though I sort of realized it beforehand, it had never really been brought home until I started doing this little side research.  Fact is, even before we had a disc priest, I almost never cast my PW:S anyways.  As holy, especially in Ulduar, the spell is almost useless and at best will buy you less than half a second’s worth of time.  It used to be that you could rely on PW:S to hold off damage during emergencies if you had no instant spells ready and the tank just needed that extra couple of seconds for a big heal to land.

But not anymore, really.  With even the trash in Ulduar being fr srs, our shield is gone almost before we even cast it with minimal benefit to whoever receives it.  This fact relegates it to almost being a non-spell for us and with the rise of other spells in an arsenal, such as Prayer of Healing, our version of shield has lost even more capital than it had, which wasn’t much to begin with.  Though the spell is still sitting on my hotbar, I don’t think I’ve purposefully cast it more than once or twice since 3.1 landed, even with the lack of disc goodness that we now have.  It simply wasn’t worth the time or effort to do so.

Nowadays, Holy spec is all about healing muscle, pumping out those big heals and dropping AoE bombs like it ain’t no thang.  On the other hand, Discipline spec is more sleek and aerodynamic, designed to stave off damage and keep people alive as long as humanly possible.  When you look at the purpose of the two specs, you can see why holy would leave their shield out in the rain more often.  You see, when confronted with raid wide damage, our concern is not how to slow it, but how to reverse it.  We want to see big green blobs of number pop up over the raid, not shiny bubbles popping up left and right.  We don’t care how much damage you take as long as it’s not one or two shotting you.

Now don’t get me wrong, PW:S is a real whizz-bang of a spell in it’s own right.  On the extremely rare occasions where I run five mans, I do actually use the spell a lot more regularly as it has it’s places in those sort of instances.  I also do use it in emergency situations, popping it on myself when I need to worry about other raiders and need a quick stop-gag for damage.  But for the most part, the spell sits on my hotbar, collecting dust and looking at me forlornly while asking in a high-pitched, chipmunk voice why I don’t love it anymore.  It’s not you, shield, it’s me.  I’m just no good for you, anymore.  I’ve been ruined by Circle of Healing’s siren song.  But don’t worry, shield, because someone loves you, and that someone is a disc priest.

-Dueg

25
May
09

Is WoW too Low Brow?

Pictured: WoW?

Pictured: WoW?

Let me start this post with an admission.  I’ve strayed.  Look, it’s not that I don’t find WoW sexy anymore or think that it’s gotten too old or anything.  WoW’s the same vibrant, sexy game that I have and will always cherish deep in my heart, it’s true.  But still, lately I’ve found myself in the arms of a different game, one that could satisfy needs that WoW simply never could.  Yes, lately my boots have been under the bed of Elder Scrolls IV.

I don’t know how it happened!  There I was in Best Buy, minding my own business in the video game section as I’m want to do when I go to the ol’ double B, when our eyes just locked.  I couldn’t resist her in that cute little game of the year box, with the original game and both expansions included for only twenty bucks.  We tried to play it coy, but before I even knew what was happening, her cellophane was strewn across my floor and, well, let’s just say that I’ve had quite a few late nights lately, if you know what I mean.

However, during my infidelity there was one stark contrast between the games that made me begin to wonder.  You see, super nerds such as myself have usually grown up with their noses deep into the fantasy genre, drinking deeply from the font of the likes of J.R.R. Tolkein, R.A. Salvatore and Robert Jordan.  The thing about writers of this magnitude, however, is that they often write what is commonly considered “high fantasy.”

For those of you not familiar with high fantasy, the best example is Lord of the Rings and the whole Middle-Earth mythos that Tolkien built from scratch.  High fantasy builds on itself, creating lore heavy backgrounds and trying it’s best to not just give you a view of an alternate world, but to submerse you in a wholly fantastic realm.  There’s nothing there other than human beings to remind you of the real world, because fantasy is supposed to be separate from reality.

Now anyone who’s played Elder Scrolls IV knows that this is the type of world you find yourself in when playing that game.  I was thrown into a completely new world, made to explore and find out the rich background and side stories of this digital reality.  It felt like what a fantasy realm should feel like with unbelievable mysteries and intrepid adventuring left and right, allowing me to become Frellen, the Dark Elf Spellsword who closed the Gates of Oblivion and saved Cyrodiil from certain destruction.  Yeah, it was pretty awesome.

But then I come back to WoW.  Now don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I’m saying that WoW is the equivalent of a dirty redneck in overalls shaking hands with the president or anything like that.  WoW does have it’s own rich lore and is constantly compounding it through quests and side material for the game.  However, when compared to other games or fantasy stories, you find something lacking in WoW’s make up.  It doesn’t feel the same.  It’s just not high fantasy.

For one, there’s a lot of real world references, somewhat breaking the fourth wall.  Though fun and often chuckle-worthy, these sort of things do serve to highlight that this is a game world, an unreality.  Real life intrudes upon the setting you’ve placed yourself in and reminds you that it is only a game, just a fantasy, something not real.  Though reminders of real life are important for an MMO, by admitting your falsehood through references such as that, you break the fantasy and take something away from the experience.

Then there’s the cartoonish appearance of the characters and world in general.  With large, over exaggerated, almost caricature like architecture, you occasionally feel as though you may have accidently wandered onto a Saturday morning cartoon.  And though it’s not like the characters bear any sort of resemblance to Mickey Mouse or anything, they definitely do not look real.  Even the humans have what I consider a slight, almost anime-ish sort of quality about them.  This only serves to further separate you from the fantasy of WoW, making you feel less connected with the world of Azeroth than you could.

Some might argue that these are part of WoW’s appeal to the masses at large and I one hundred percent agree to that.  Real world references and subtle reminders that this is just a game and not meant to be looked at seriously as most high fantasy works are does add likability to the game.  11.5 million people can’t be all wrong, after all.  But WoW also loses something off the other end, a feeling of submersion and true fantasy that a lot of us nerds, obviously WoW’s base, yearn for at times.  I don’t believe that the game is losing subscribers by the boatload because of this, but I wander at times whether or not WoW could benefit from a little more fantasy at times.

Either way, though I may spend a few weeks in throes of nerdy passion with this other game, I know that it truly doesn’t mean anything at all.  WoW is still the one for me, the one I’ll always come home to.  Eventually, my Elder Scrolls disk will sit on my CD spindle with Neverwinter Nights, Dawn of War II and all the other games that I have had fleeting trysts with.  In the end, there’s only WoW, patient and understanding of my trifling ways.  

Chicken Butt.

-Dueg




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