Sunday, 23 March 2014

Dominance Offensive

   Yes, I know just how far behind I am to bring this patch up, but I admit that I had neglected it until now. When Patch 5.1 came out, I hadn't really gotten anywhere with the base factions so I didn't have much in the way of good gear. I hadn't run many dungeons (only 3, total) and so I didn't really have any gear there, either. I was hopeless. Still, I gave it a go when it came out.
   I struggled hugely to take down the first twin mogu set I came across in the Ruins of Ogudei, and when I saw how little rep I was getting from such a struggle, I gave up immediately. I had a similar problem with the Isle of Thunder, but I stuck that out, to a degree, and got to honoured before giving up.
   I decided to go back to the Dominance Offensive recently to get the mounts. I didn't expect the amazing story line that came with it.
   Like I said, I realise how far behind I am, but the story line from patch 5.1 is probably the most exciting thing I've experienced in WoW for some time. I love lore - yes, I prefer the historical lore more, but I've always been more interested in history than present day, both in games and in real life - and it was great to really feel like I'm a part of it again. I knew that the Sunreavers had been kicked out of Dalaran, and I had assumed that it was because of Jaina's personal position towards the Horde after the fall of Theramore. But when the huge questline took me to Darnassus, I found out otherwise.
   Due to the fact that it was the Sunreavers who had been responsible for the Divine Bell being stolen from Darnassus, Jaina saw fit to remove them since they were clearly no longer a neutral part of the Kirin Tor. But then the questline led you into Dalaran while the purge was taking place. It was so exciting!
   When I got there, I saw two water elementals but just assumed they were guards and thought no more of it. I went about the quests and eventually bumped into the elementals, who had changed position. And who was with them? Jaina. She attacked me and teleported me into the Violet Hold. I admit to being a little disappointed here, it would have been more interesting to have been at least teleported into the Violet Hold itself, and better still to be put into one of the cells and have to use some kind of charm given by Rommath to get out, but instead I was just teleported between the two doors at the front of the instance. Still, I was surprised to see Jaina there.


   I left the following - and, it turns out, final - quest of the Dominance Offensive until the next day because I had stuff I needed to do, and I admit to finding the last quest a little anti-climactic. Perhaps it's because, after everything in Dalaran, I had expected a little more from the end of everything, not to see the bell shatter and crush the little brat benevolent prince. If I had known, I wouldn't have waited.


   Still, I consider the whole questline to be the most exciting thing to happen since I reached 90 - this is, of course, coming from someone who never raids and has no friends to play with. I've not finished with the Isle of Thunder yet, and while I know I should be more interested in it, I'm not. It just feels repetative, and I'm not seeing as much of a storyline here now. But I'm a little more sure of the timeline. I haven't read Vol'jin yet, so I'm still missing some bits of info, but it's all slowly getting pieced together.


Saturday, 15 March 2014

Why No Flying in WOD Will Damage Exploration

   It is true that you've not been allowed to fly right away in expansions except from in Cataclysm; flying, otherwise, has always been allowed in the end. Sometimes it's a reward like with Burning Crusade and Mists of Pandaria when you hit max level, and other times it's a requirement at a certain point like in Wrath of the Lich King around level 77. And that was cool.
   The expansions that rewarded you with flying at the end were designed primarily for ground mounts, and while levelling (particularly in MoP, despite having been so used to flying everywhere in the previous expansion) I never saw the ground-mount-only condition to hinder game play. Because the expansions were designed around it. Warlords of Draenor will be much the same.

   However: while exploration was a huge part of MoP, and MoP was the first expansion in a while to completely limit flying to max level, when you could fly there was still so much to discover. There's all these hidden gems like Grohl Grohl around the outside of Kun-Lai Summit, the skeletons in the Vale of Eternal Blossoms surrounded by roses and so on. I can't help thinking, by 'playing it by ear' as they've put it, implies that a lot of the real exploration - the areas of the map you were never led to and were way off the beaten track - isn't going to be there anymore because, being the game developers themselves, they've probably already kind of decided that flying either definitely will or definitely won't be implimented.
   Some people complain that flying mounts take away from this that and the other - if it bothers these people, why do they use flying mounts? In Pandaria, because flying was end-game content, it's basically totally optional - you can get around everywhere without flying mounts, except where factions like the Order of the Cloud Serpents are concerned, because, surprise, that faction is based around flying. You can't fly at all in the Timeless Isle or the Isle of Thunder.

   At the end of the day, it's totally their decision since they know where they want to take this game, but to say that it removes from the exploration is quite simply incorrect. People who aren't going to explore aren't going to do it, and people who are going to explore are going to do so whether flying mounts are implemented or not. Personally, as someone who loves to explore, I find not being able to fly a hinderance because I feel I can't go anywhere and explore without being knocked off of my mount by mobs, and that kinds of makes me not want to bother. And as I said before, if flying isn't implemented, then a lot of hidden stuff that a lot of players love, like myself and most bloggers I follow, isn't going to be there.
   Not flying won't hinder actual game play, unless you want to farm for herbs or ore, because the zones will have been designed around the quests and vice versa. We won't even notice that we're unable to fly - until we hit max level.

   Keeping flying away until the first patch is fine because at least we'll be getting it, even if it is after 5 months. But 'playing it by ear' and suggesting it may not be implemented at all is ridiculous. Flying may not be necessary to level or for some patches, but it's quite a basic thing that they've foolishly gotten us all too used to, and trying to take that away from us is like trying to take TV away from everyone - it isn't necessary, but just about all of us use one.
   They've said recently that we'll be able to use all mounts as ground mounts - so we're going to glide across the floor on a cloud serpent? Dragons and drakes with huge and powerful wings simply won't use them? It doesn't make sense. Not only that, but they've given us a flying mount with the collector's edition and digital duluxe edition again, a flying mount modelled off of an already existing ground mount. Either they're lost the plot, or flying will be implemented eventually.

   Sometimes it seems to me that developers, because they are forced to look at the game from a different view to us just-players (I am of course aware that most of the devs do also play the game as well as build it), are unable to see the game for its more basic level of simply playing because they know more about the building blocks of the game than we do, but sometimes that can only hinder them because they're looking at theories and almost forgetting about the practical side of it. They saying that flying takes away from exploration because they seem to think we all just fly over the tree tops until we hit the highlighted map area. In truth we do fly over tree tops to get to the highlighted area, but often take a detour to follow a "what's that?" or simply go off and explore the areas harder to reach than what you already came across while levelling. Exploration is great, but it seems like they want us to discover the same things with every character, but the exploration and the excitement is felt by us, the players, and it just isn't as exciting the second time around because we already know it's there.

   I realise I'm blathering; I've got a lot of opinions I'm struggling to get out. I'm writing it mostly for the benefit of the devs who aren't going to read it anyway, so at this point I'm wondering why I've bothered.
   Having to wait for it, in my opinion, isn't really a problem because at least it's coming, but the idea of not having it at all while they claim they want us to explore more is a bit stupid. How do you feel about the prospect of no flying at all? Or having to wait?

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Hearthsteed

   I mentioned before that my boyfriend and I used to play the World of Warcraft Trading Card Game, and that we really enjoyed it despite how hopeless I was at it. Seriously, I won about 10% of the games we played, quite literally. And yet I kept trying.
   I was kind of saddened when it ended and was replaced by Hearthstone. I loved the cards themselves, they were great fun to collect, and I loved the enormous variety of different heroes you could use. Hearthstone is a bit too simple in that regard, with only familiar faces like Jaina and Garrosh, and I don't like the voices so I play with the sound off. But I signed up for the beta anyway. And I have my fingers crossed for loot card equivalents in the future.

   I'm still hopeless at the game - the fact that it's become digital hasn't changed much about it except there are fewer cards and the heroes are boring familiar faces. It's still difficult, for me at least, trying to see every possible outcome is not something I'm good at, plus the game is based vaguely on luck (drawing the right cards at the right time) as well as a well-built deck.

   So you can imagine my surprise when I won three games today.
   Oh yes. There are screen shots.




   The Hearthsteed mount is okay. Not the prettiest thing in the world and I don't really have a character that it would suit, so I expect it'll sit in my mount collection with a hundred others and never  be seen again. Still, free mount, and you never know, it could be of use in the future. I thought there was a red one, but perhaps that's reserved for some kind of ranked play achievement or something. Maybe something was even said about it, but I would have much preferred that one :( nevermind, beggars can't be choosers!

   Will you be going after it? Have you already tried? Have you already succeeded?


Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Grohl Grohl


   So I was flying about around the coast of Kun Lai the other day and about mid way up a green cliff, I saw a tiny little hozen doorway. I went up and had a look and who should be inside but Grohl Grohl the Drum Master. I love it when Blizzard includes little references like this! He's a Hozen that runs around banging on the drums in his secluded home, changing between drums every few seconds.

   And keeping with the musical note, why is there a chicken in Mistfall Village with a little guitar and what I can only assume is a tip jar?


Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Unrelated - Shop Excitement!

   I may or may not have mentioned that Lady Dinah's Cat Emporium in London was stocking a few of my necklaces. They got in touch about a month and a half ago about stocking some cat jar necklaces, which I didn't currently have in my shop because they didn't exist, aside from Leopards and Snow Leopard jars. Well, I made a small batch for them of general moggies and sent them off. They were to be a Lady Dinah's exclusive but were going to be put instore when they opened up, not on their website. Being that I sent these pieces on consignment, I was going to see any money for my work until they sold, but I had the utmost confidence in Lady Dinah's and their ability to shift them.
   They contacted me a few weeks ago and said that they'd been holding onto them for a while and wanted to put them onto the website because they didn't know when they'd be opening (it was all up to the licensing people and inspectors) and they figured I'd like to see something come of it. I agreed to it, and up on the website they went. About 5 sold in the first hour, and given that I'd only sent them 8 I was pretty chuffed! I'm working on a much larger batch now, and I'm in a hurry to get them out the door because Lady Dinah's was able to open theirs on the 1st of March and are seeing a massive success.
   I only really sell through my Etsy website, though there was a little shop in Tokyo that stocked my products for a while, but it was only for a short time because they move from one artist to another all the time. So Lady Dinah's is a pretty big deal for me.


   I have to admit that I'm not 100% satisfied with the cats from the original batch (above picture was taken from Lady Dinah's Instagram) so I've been working harder on these pieces.

   If any of you are wondering why I'm so excited about a cat shop, it's because of this: it isn't a cat shop. Lady Dinah's Cat Emporium is a café with live-in cats, just like so many in Japan, and is the first in the UK. They have I think about 13 cats, all healthy and spayed and neutered, everyone working there is qualified to work with animals, and all the cats have wonderful temperaments. They've had their inspections, they've got their license, they've got places for the cats to stay if they've had operations so they can get peace and quiet, and there are many hidey holes for the cats to hide in in the café itself. Everything has been adapted to be cat-friendly, but it still looks amazing. The bookcases have cat beds, there are cat steps and walkways along the walls - the place is made for cats. There's also a cornered off garden so they can get fresh air but can't get out of it. The whole place looks gorgeous, the furniture and decor is beautiful, and the whole place is cat-friendly.
   I really wish I could go, but my boyfriend is really allergic to cats, which sucks for him because he loves them and has two of them back home in The Netherlands, but if I can get him loaded up on benadryl maybe we can look through the window! Plus, to be honest, I am a dog person. I've got little trust for cats, though I do think they're sweet. I just don't quite trust them near me.
   You have to book in advance and it costs £5 to get in. You can't just turn up. This is to prevent the place getting too busy, especially at the beginning, to get the cats used to people and keep the place safe for everyone. Animals can be unpredictable, especially around lots of noise if they're not used to it.