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Weekly World of Warcraft #11 - Undead Events

By: Nick Arvites

Weekly World of Warcraft #23 - Goodbye to the Old Stomping Grounds
Will the new lands signal the end of the old?

Weekly World of Warcraft #22 - Burning Crusade First Impressions
Positive first impressions from our resident warlock.

Weekly World of Warcraft #21 - Thoughts from a Disgruntled Wyvern Windrider
Won't anyone think of the Windriders?

Weekly World of Warcraft #20 - New Year's Resolutions
Nick lays out some WoW-related goals for 2007.

Weekly World of Warcraft #19 - Calm Before the Storm
A look at the most-recent patch and Blizzard's next game.

Weekly World of Warcraft #18 - Casual Raiding Vol. 2
Another look at casual raiding from our brand new writer!

Weekly World of Warcraft #17 - South Park, Expansion Plans, and Updates
A look at the infamous South Park episode, and talk of the future.

Weekly World of Warcraft #16 - All Quiet on the Kalimdor Front
The calm before the Burning Crusade storm.

Weekly World of Warcraft #15 - How to Make a Crusade Burn
Burning Crusade will have a negative impact on raiding, but it should bring some good PvP changes.

Weekly World of Warcraft #14 - Should I Stay or Should I Go?
It's time to renew!

Weekly World of Warcraft - Raiding for the Rest of Us
Our first guest discusses how a casual player can raid successfully.

Weekly World of Warcraft #13 - I Still Hate the Baron: Clarifications & Responses
Clarification of last week's points after receiving a deluge of responses.

Weekly World of Warcraft #12 - Dungeon 2 Armor Complaints
I hate the Baron, and other .5 tier complaints.

Weekly World of Warcraft #11 - Undead Events
A deeper look at Patch 1.11 and the Scourge Invasion.

Weekly World of Warcraft #10 - Busiest Week Ever
You want more of this?! Patch 1.11, Diablo/Starcraft MMORPGs, and more!

Weekly World of Warcraft #9 - Mailbag Edition
9 out of 10 naked dancing dwarves agree: mailbags are good!

Weekly World of Warcraft #8 - Guild Woes
Guild improvements and raid interface changes discussed this week.

Weekly World of Warcraft #7 - PvBroken
What's wrong with PvP in today's World of Warcraft.

Weekly World of Warcraft #6 - Post E3 2006 Thoughts
We look at the addition of the Draenei, and various problems with Burning Crusade.

Weekly World of Warcraft #5 - Expansion Outlook: Pre-E3 Edition
Looking forward to next week's E3, and what the future holds for WoW.

Weekly World of Warcraft #4 - Class Warfare
Nick's perspective on playing the nerfed Rogue class.

Weekly World of Warcraft #3 - Over-Raided
The third in our series focuses on the lack of content for smaller groups.

Weekly World of Warcraft #2
The second in our series of weekly World of Warcraft rants focuses on crafting.

Weekly World of Warcraft #1
The first in our series of weekly World of Warcraft rants by our resident level 60 Rogue.

The views and opinions expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of VGGEN.com as a whole or any of its affiliates. This is simply one writer's opinion, and should be accepted as such. Weekly World of Warcraft is usually updated each Tuesday.

While I spent some time in last week’s column talking about my initial patching experiences, I decided to wait a week and fully experience the content before discussing the actual content of Patch 1.11. To sum it up, I am impressed by the Scourge Invasion event, and I am actually enjoying it extensively. While I am enjoying it, I naturally have found a few issues that irk me. Minor issues aside, I would have to give Blizzard a “B” rating on this event.

The first thing I noticed when I logged in after finally getting the patch installed was a giant floating Necropolis outside of Ironforge. Yes, true to the rumors, the Scourge is making its presence visible across the game world. Argent Dawn representatives are pointing players towards the Eastern Plaguelands, where the Argent Dawn base is suddenly populated, has a mailbox, and has a ton of Invasion quests. The quests, which range from killing Invasion bosses to gathering, all give players some form of reward. Some rewards, such as gloves that give bonuses against undead, are obtainable through simple turn-ins. Others, such as the epic weapons and armor, require a reputation-based turn-in of Insignias of the Dawn and Insignias of the Crusade. These are given as a reward for a few quests and for the Craftsman Writ quests, which can be found in the Auction House or by turning in an Argent Dawn Valor Token. The Craftsman Writ quests are often for higher-leveled items created by characters with trade skills. If you have the materials to make stacks of the required items at a time, it might be worth it to sell them in the Auction House for an inflated price.

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Quests aside, the Scourge Invasion events happen constantly, with various zones falling under siege several times a day. While a zone is under siege, the Scourge has camps set up through the map. A crystal is in the center of the camp, and it summons various enemies for you to fight through. By killing a Scourge, you damage the crystal and eventually fight a boss. Clearing out the camps is fun, although it can get stale after a while. The interesting thing is that Blizzard, to my knowledge, has not put a limit on how many victories is required to end the Invasion or how/when/if the Invasion will end. This brings me directly to a minor problem I have with the Invasion: there really is no goal to clearing the camps. Sure, I get the runes which can be turned in for a tabard, gloves, and potions, but those aren’t exactly a great thing to begin with. After getting the tabard and the gloves, I’m finding myself sitting on about 50 soulbound runes that I really have no use for. The good rewards from the Argent Dawn only come from Insignia turn-ins, which you do not get from the camps. Instead, these are picked up from a quirky craftsman quest (you need the specific writ to do a turn-in, unlike the War Effort world event) or various gathering quests. Now, if the enemies in the gathering quests were part of the Scourge camps, I could see the point. However, they’re found in normal areas and dungeons. Even then, one could easily question if the loot is worth the trouble. The insignia cost reduces itself significantly with a higher reputation, putting those at Exalted at a distinct advantage over those at lower reputations.

The Invasion event may also confuse the Lore junkies. The Scarlet Crusade—yes, the same group you’ve been slaughtering the entire game—has joined up with the Argent Dawn to give out quests. While they do not have a separate reputation bar (since mine would look worse than my Bloodsail Buccaneer’s bar), they are still giving out quests with more or less open arms to the same players that spent hours upon hours slaughtering their group in the Scarlet Monestary and the Live wing of Stratholme. The only real explanation for this is the old theory “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” Regardless, this would only bother an extremely small minority of the player base and really, lore junkies can only get frustrated in MMORPGs.

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I think the biggest problem with the invasion can be summed up with this conversation I had with a low-level guild member who doesn’t have any level 60 characters yet:

Him: Hey, there’s a level ?? Stitches (ed: the creature that rampages Duskwood periodically) in Stormwind, what do I do?
Me: Run.
Him: He killed me in one hit lol

While Blizzard has stated they did add in new bosses into a slew of instances, lower-leveled players play little to no part in the invasion. The Scourge camps are made up of enemies roughly between 50 and 60, while all of the quests are in the Eastern Plaguelands, one of the last areas players go to in the game. A player under 50 wouldn’t even be able to make it to the base to get the flight path without assistance, and even then would only find quests that he couldn’t do. This is the big problem with World Events: how do you encompass your entire player-base and make them feel like they’re actually accomplishing something? Really though, with as much criticism as Blizzard gets for ignoring lower leveled players in favor of new raid dungeons, you think they would have thrown lower-leveled players a bone by giving them at least a few more quests for some interesting reward.

Yet, even through the problems, live events are fun. They keep the game fresh, and more importantly they keep players engaged enough to prevent them from canceling their subscriptions. If anything, there should be more live events in the game. Patches that don’t have live events or new content that can be used by everyone tend to be quite boring and uneventful. Now, I’m not expecting something similar to what The Matrix Online tried to accomplish (actors playing NPCs, living cutscenes, etc.), but things like the Invasion add another dimension to the game world. While there could certainly be more depth or even more rewards, I would ultimately have to say that Blizzard does understand the live event model and they’ve put together one that I would give a B rating to.

More Patch Concerns

That growing rumble of discontent that you’ve been hearing since Patch 1.11 is coming from the Shaman. Whenever I think the Rogues have it bad, I just remember that the Shaman have it worse. Sure, they’ve often been criticized as a “Superclass” and have constantly been somewhere in any “NERF ___!” argument. There was noticeable concern when their review was pushed up and tacked onto 1.11 (except from me…I’ll admit it: I thought “better them than me”). Instead of getting a full review, they got an afterthought to the mage review.

Now, as to the actual problems with the Shaman class review, I honestly don’t know. Simply put, I’ve never played a Shaman and never really understood why people whined about them so much. Sure, they’re obnoxious when they’re healing themselves, but so are Paladins. The biggest problem here is they were essentially told they don’t matter enough to warrant a full review by themselves, and are now getting “more improvements” in 1.12 in addition to those in 1.11. If Blizzard was going to do class reviews like this, they should have started with the first major patch. As it stands, the Rogue class won’t be reviewed until a month or two before the two-year launch anniversary.

soaring

To further annoy the Shaman class, the blue posters in the forums essentially ignored them. Yes, it sounds petty, but as a Rogue, I can testify to how annoying it is to not have any feedback on your class other than the rare poster who cannot relate and really doesn’t know much about your class. This, combined with the half-assed class review, has led to posters to send death-threats to the community moderator in the Shaman forum. While that is of course completely unacceptable, what exactly does Blizzard expect when they make class changes without discussing it with the players like they have in numerous other classes? This behavior is almost natural, especially when coming from a class that is obviously frustrated with the lack of support and the feeling that the company does not view them as important enough to warrant a full review.

Rogues, start to get concerned for 1.12. The Shaman class is a prime example of a class that Blizzard feels “is far from broken.” Yet, like the Rogues, the Shaman has numerous issues that have been in place since the game was released. Every class has issues, regardless of what the warlock you owned in the battlegrounds thinks. Yet, Blizzard’s attitude is one that reeks of arrogance towards certain classes. Sure, Rogues and Shaman may have been the least-flawed classes out there, but they still have numerous and idiotic flaws. Just look at the Rogue talent tree. There are numerous wasted slots that NOBODY ever uses. Don’t believe me? Here’s the list: Improved Garrote (actually reduces damage), Improved Expose Armor (useless since it doesn’t stack with Rend), Fist Weapon Specialization (no good fist weapons, can’t backstab/ambush with them), Throwing Weapon Specialization (nobody uses these past level 15), Improved Vanish (since vanish already has problems), and Improved Distract (rarely used, waste of a talent point). I could also add in the poison talents, although those can serve some sort of use. The thing is, there are also other talents that almost every build has (particularly Master of Deception).

Even then, Rogues are only truly effective when they aren’t cooling down. If they have a few talents on cool down, they’re essentially dead in PvP and likely dead in PvE. I’m not asking for extremely short cool downs, but there are a few that need to be examined. Particularly, Vanish and Evasion need to have their cool downs reduced. The key point of a rogue is being able to escape combat through Vanish, yet the ability has a five-minute cool down. This simply doesn’t make sense, especially in light of numerous other classes having shorter cool downs for much more beneficial abilities. Evasion’s cool down is simply criminal. Evasion is one of the unsung talents of the rogue’s arsenal, yet it can only be used every five minutes. I can understand sprint being used every five minutes (though looking at mages blink everywhere starts to change my mind), but Evasion should be on a much shorter cool down so I don’t have to stay out of combat for five minutes at a time. If I’m going to have to wear leather armor while dealing a ton of damage and drawing aggro, I should have some defense against getting hit.

Rogues are already panicking over the impending class review. After getting the shaft for so long, it may be the community just overreacting to the upcoming changes. Yet, Rogues do have a reason to be concerned. The Blue posts in the forums have either not happened (see the rogue forums) or have displayed some sort of disgusting, longwinded “LURN2PLAY” nonsense when someone dares question the notion of Rogues. Yeah, and the Blues wonder why the Rogues are concerned. Between the Shamans being ignored while having their review botched and the Blue posters displaying a gross ignorance of the Rogue class, Rogues have every right to be concerned. Time will tell if the concerns are warranted or not, but they are in the present and should be expressed as much as possible.

Posted: 06/28/2006