Retro-Server Concept for Blizzard

Set the time circuit for December 8, 2009.

Klepsacovic over at Troll Racials are Overpowered has a post up about Buying Classic Content.  The post is a continuation of a prior discussion dealing with idea that Blizzard could offer some way for players to experience older content with the original game system intact, instead of using Blizzard’s current model, where any older content (that has not already been removed from the game) may only be experienced via the current game system.

Klepsacovic’s musings as to the challenges of implementing such an approach, and the economic viability of doing so mirrored some of my recent thoughts with respect to WoW creating retro-servers.  Although Klepsacovic ultimately concludes that the challenges and economics make it highly unlikely that Blizzard would allow buying classic content, I am not sure that my idea for a retro-server suffers the same fate.

In order to be successful, I believe that a retro-server would need to have the following features:

  • Patch 3.3.0 game system.  Keeping a single version of the game operating at all times would limit the developer resources needed to keep the game running, at the cost of some authenticity in the experience.  Also critical for add-on support.  Patch 3.3.0 would incorporate all the advancements to the game through the opening of Icecrown Citadel.
  • One server only.  Community and player volume would be critical features for this type of server to work, so you would need to pack people in.  The server would probably be a PVP server.
  • No inbound server transfers; all toons start at level one.  Even playing field helps people build relationships since you won’t have a flush main sending you gold and supplies.
  • Original experience point progression.  Most of the people playing on such a server would be familiar with the old world, and aren’t playing to skip to level cap.
  • Level cap is 60 for first four months, 70 for 2nd four months, 80 for last four months.  Time pressure of content only being open for a short window before becoming obsolete keeps people engaged and moving through the game.
  • After 1 year, the server closes.  All good things must come to an end.
  • Static Pricing.  One time fee for the entire year of gameplay on that server: $100.

I think a retro-server with these features could be easy enough for Blizzard to maintain while providing players with the ability to relive what many consider to be the best years of WoW over the course of a single year.

Are there any features I missed?  Are there any major issues with the approach?  Will Blizzard pay me a percentage of each subscription for coming up with such a FTD idea?



Is it December 20, 2011 Yet?

As you may know, my WoW playing days ended back in February of this year for a large number of reasons having mostly to do with gameplay.  Given the information that has been released regarding the next Warcraft expansion, it seems highly likely that I will not set foot on Azeroth again.  (Unless Blizzard decides to implement BC and/or Wrath gameplay servers, in which case I probably would resub.)

Since my departure from WoW, I have dabbled with a few other games.  I played DCUO for a couple of weeks, but never was comfortable with the awful targeting system and confusing maps.  After that, I gave RIFT a try.  While I enjoyed RIFT quite a bit, my friends eventually abandoned the game, and I followed suit.

So now, the wait is on for Star Wars: The Old Republic.  And the release date for SW:ToR can’t get here soon enough in my opinion.

Although I have high hopes for the game, I think it will be enough if it can deliver a WoW-like experience without repeating the missteps that Blizzard has made over the past couple years.  Things like:

  • Redesigning the game system every two years;
  • Implementing cross server grouping tools that enable ass-hattery and destroy the community;
  • Eliminating the challenge in the game to encourage new subscriptions;
  • Phasing the majority of the game world which severely limits cooperative play;
  • Making quests follow a linear progression that removes any type of exploration from the game;
  • Streamlining the leveling process so that players immediately reach endgame;
  • Not separating PVE and PVP abilities when necessary to balance the game system;
  • Rewarding players for time spent playing instead of playing well; and
  • Forcibly congregating the entire playerbase in one location.

That may be a pretty tall order for any new MMO, but hope springs eternal as they say.

As the launch date for SW:ToR gets closer, I will be transitioning this blog from a WoW blog to a SW:ToR blog.

Until then, may the force be with you.


World of Warcraft Mists of Pandaria – Wherein Blizzard Declares War against Generation X

Just yesterday, Blizzard unveiled the details of their upcoming fourth expansion for World of Warcraft, entitled Mists of Pandaria.  You can view the trailer here.

In short, WoW 5.0 is going to be all about kung-fu pandas and Pokemon.

I am just at a complete loss as to how Blizzard thinks that this new content will be of interest to gamers from Generation X.

Kung-fu pandas and Pokemon are not going to keep the vast majority of WoW playing Gen X-ers subscribing, and they sure as hell aren’t going to entice ex-WoW playing Gen X-ers to resub after quitting in droves during Cataclysm.

I am not sure what those of us born between the years 1965 and 1980 did to offend, but I can’t help but feel that Blizzard’s decision to forsake this demographic will significantly hasten the demise of WoW.


A collection of opinions by other WoW bloggers can be found here.

Vesserion’s Wish for Cata

OK, listen the fcuk up Blizz, here is what I want in Cata:

BG scoreboards that reflect shield absorbs.

I could go on and on about other things I want to see change, or stay the way they are now, but make this one adjustment, and I will give you a pass on the rest.

I am so sick and tired of busting my ass on the front lines keeping my teammates alive only to see my healing done below other healers’ numbers when the scoreboard pops up. 

Yeah I’m looking at you, you frackin tree.  Double my healing done in furious gear.  Bullshit!

The scoreboard is supposed to give you an idea of how you compare to the other players in the battleground.  It’s not a perfect system, and as Cynwise points out it could be a hell of a lot better, but at a bare minimum it needs to be able to count healing numbers correctly.

Currently, shields are not counted as healing on the battleground scoreboard.  And for a Disc Priest, that means that a very significant portion of the effective healing done isn’t being recorded.

As a result, it is not possible to use the battleground scoreboard to compare a Disc Priest to any other healer in the same battleground, other than another Disc Priest.

I don’t heal for the glory, or for the meters, but I do like to look at the board at the end of a battleground and see a quantification of the contribution I made.

I also really like to be able to tell the bg chat ranters to check the board and see who is at the top for healing done before they start criticising the heals.  (On the rare occasions that someone actually criticises the bg healers.)

Healers win bgs, and healing is often a thankless job.  The last thing that PVP Disc Priests need is for the scoreboard to misrepresent their contribution.

Fix this Blizz.


Battleground Statistics Part 1: AV, AB and EotS

I was tooling around the interwebs the other day, and came across someone posting on Arena Junkies that the Alliance on Nightfall were absolutely abysmal at battlegrounds.


Nightfall has always been a fairly balanced battelgroup to me.  Although I feel like the Horde win some BGs slightly more often than the Alliance do, I felt the OP’s estimate of a 70-80% win ratio for the Horde was complete nonsense. 

Several people who play Alliance on Nightfall disputed this claim, which I would also have done had I the privilege of posting there, but it got me thinking about how the difference between how succesful we are, and our perception of how successful we are.

So I decide to record my perception of each BG, and then compare that perception to the actual performance numbers for Vesserion, Bhender and Sparrowset from the armory.  (Virtually all of the BGs were played in the Nightfall Battlegroup, and the records only reflect data captured by the armory.) Read more »

Seriously? (Wanted Priest Edition)

When you write a series like this, it’s only a matter of time until you yourself do something dumb enough to earn an entry.  This week, I managed to do just that.

It all started with a For The Horde raid that was forming up.  I whispered the Raid Leader for a slot, since I have never actually killed the four Alliance leaders on Vess, but they apparently were full.  Having nothing better to do at the time, I decided to tag along with the raid, in case a slot opened (someone is always afk or offline).  I also thought that it was possible to get credit for the kill even though I wasn’t in the raid, by dpsing the bosses.

I am sure some of you can see where this is going, but I will continue. Read more »

Beta Build 12539 Disc Talent Tree Changes

The talent trees have been updated again, and the Discipline tree has a few changes for us to discuss.

Let’s start with the good news: Power Infusion is back.  Well it wasn’t really completely gone in the first Cata talent tree, as Aspiration still reduced its cooldown by 20%, but the actual talent was either missing or hidden.  Apparently Blizz likes PI so much, that they decided to make it both a third and fourth tier talent in the most recent tree.  (The fourth tier talent with three ranks that currently sports the PI description should probably be Borrowed Time.  Nice typo Blizz.)

And now for the bad news:

Absent from the new tree is our old friend: Renewed Hope.  You remember Renewed Hope, it was the talent that improved your crit rating by up to 4% when healing a target with the Weakened Soul debuff.  (It also provided 3% raid-wide damage reduction, but that feature had been stripped from the talent in the first Cata build.) Read more »

First Impressions of the Cataclysm Disc Talent Tree for PVP

The new 31 point talent trees have been released (well, some of them anyways) so I decided to take a look at what the gurus at Blizz have done to the most awesome class and spec in the game: Disc. 

Here is my first attempt at a PVP build under the new system:  CATA Disc PVP Build***UPDATE – With the new Beta build 12539 release July 21, 2010, the link above does not work.  I am going to leave the description of the build up, however, as a reference point to discuss future changes to the talent trees.

All this is subject to change since we are only in Beta, yadda yadda yadda.  Also note that somehow Blizz misplaced my Beta invite, so I am just working off of publicly available information, and not first had experience.  (psst, Blizz, call me if you are reading this.)

My general impression of the talent tree revamp is that it removes a lot of choice and individuality from the process of selecting your talents.  

Under the current system, you have the ability to tailor your talent tree to your particular playstyle.  (More so for Disc PVP than for Disc PVE.)  If you primarily play dispel cleave, your spec will look very different than if you focus on the 2s bracket with a rogue partner.  Likewise if you are a raid healer vs. a tank healer.

There is so much potential for customization in the current system, in fact, that you will rarely find two PVP Disc Priests that are running the exact same build.  That goes for Shadow PVP as well.  (And we all know that no one plays Holy PVP.)

With the slimmed down 31 point talent tree, however, there is very little room for customizing your build to suit your playstyle.  Welcome to World of Cookie Cutter. 

/makes saving throw vs. rant

So lets look at the tiers shall we. Read more »

Let’s Get Back in the Game Maverick!

Do you think your name will be on that plaque?

What a difference a battlegroup can make. 

In three months on the Retaliation Battlegroup, I managed to pick up a little over 3,000 honorable kills. 

In one week back on the Nightfall Battlegroup, I picked up 2,000 honorable kills.

My PVP spree this week saw me cross the 30,000 HK threshhold, and earn the following PVP achievements:

Me and the Cappin’ Makin’ it Happen;

Territorial Dominance;

City Defender; and

Not Even a Scratch.

This week also marked my best friend Chris’ return to the game after a month-long hiatus.  (Although Karinthanis and Wrathien haven’t made the jump from Retaliation back to Nightfall just yet, Chris still has a few level 80s on Undermine that he can play.) Read more »

Wanted Priest Killed By Vodka

That was the headline from my Eye of the Storm match last night, when I had the privilege of facing off against several members of one of the top raiding guilds in the world: Vodka of Alterac Mountains-US.

And damn are those guys good!

I think four of them (Grafarion, Kalanii, and two others whose names I missed) managed to hold off almost half of our team at the Fel Reaver ruins for close to 5 minutes.  (It took 4 minutes for me to explain, and my teammates to comprehend, that they needed to go after the Resto Shaman and the Holy Paladin hanging in the back, and not try to kill the Warrior up front that was leveling everything in sight.)  ((I think my teammates figured it out after I asked them to watch which player on our team got targeted and killed first everytime we rezed.  Hint: it starts with V and ends with esserion.)) Read more »