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Weekly World of Warcraft #16 - All Quiet on the Kalimdor Front

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.

Well, summer’s over, the kiddies are back in school, the last patch is out, and we’re now waiting for the expansion pack to hit. Where does that leave us (and this column for that matter)? Well, that’s a good question. I’d be lying if I said I haven't written anything because I couldn’t think of anything. Let’s face it, I can ramble about anything. Like many other people though, real life can get the better of me, and as a result I haven’t kept this column up at all. I figured since it's been a while, I’ll at least touch on some of the events and happenings in the game since the last update.

Patch 1.12

Since I never had a chance to really touch on Patch 1.12, I’m going to spend some time discussing it. As the regular readers know (and like to laugh at), my main character is a Night Elf Rogue. This patch was a big event for myself and my rogue brethren because we finally got our talent review. I initially had mixed feelings when the details started to flow out, but I’m overall satisfied. Yeah, I’m actually not going to complain too much about this review. The talent tree was cleaned up, and most of the useless talents were stripped from the game. We got some new talents and improvements that have generally helped provide a sense of versatility in the Rogue builds.

Here’s my personal experience with the talents. Before the patch, I was using a standard Seal Fate/Vigor build (PvP and Raid versatility). I was happy, although roughly half of the Rogues that play use this build. Once the patch hit, I was able to convert to an interesting variant I created by screwing around with the talent calculators. I gave myself a Seal Fate/Imp. Sap build and ran a few instances with this. If I were still running the 5-man and 10-man runs constantly, I would have likely stayed with this build. It provided crowd control and enough damage output to pretty much top the damage charts (with a few exceptions).

My role in World of Warcraft, however, changed when my guild officially merged with a larger one and we started running 20-man content weekly. My current build is a variant on combat daggers, and I’m completely satisfied with this build at the moment. I’m not sure how well it will do in a PvP situation, but I’m generally outdealing everyone else in instances.

I think my biggest disappointment with the Rogue Talent review is that Expose Armor is still a useless ability. The original plan, as stated through the official forums, was to allow Expose Armor to stack with Sunder. Yet, this was inexplicably changed during the testing process, and the talent is STILL useless. Among a slew of changes, they managed to practically ignore an ability that would massively increase Rogue utility in groups and raids. What good is the talent if there’s absolutely no reason to use it in any sort of group format because it doesn’t stack with Sunder? The answer is that the talent still sucks.

Patch 1.12 also brought in Cross-realm battlegrounds and World PvP. While I certainly appreciate the opportunity to get into more PvP situations, the changes have caused me to stop PvPing until the honor system changes. Instead of competing with people who had to work around the same PvP hours as everyone else, I’m competing with people who can PvP for days at a time. The honor system is completely skewed to the point where it simply isn’t worth attempting in my opinion. I may pick it up again when PvP is improved for the expansion, and I may PvP every so often to get faction rep, but I simply can’t see myself competing in PVP's current form.

Calm Before the Storm

I think the worst part about World of Warcraft is the lull that’s fallen over the game before the expansion's release. Sure, people are working on progression with their characters and alts, and guilds are clearing the existing content. Maybe its because school started again, maybe its because there’s nothing on the burner for patch content, or maybe its because the expansion is still slated for some mystery date this fall. Who knows, although the good news is the expansion details are coming together.

The one thing we are still waiting on is Beta Test details. We do know there’s a “friends-and-family” alpha test going on, although Blizzard’s been pretty heavy-handed with getting the screenshots removed from various sites on the Internet. One would assume a public Beta will last at least a month (possibly two) before the expansion hits retail stores.

The good news is they’ve recently upgraded the servers to prepare for the expansion. Well, maybe good news is a stretch. Most servers went down for at least a day, and many players have reported an increase in server lag, instability, and other general problems. My server seems to have stabilized since the upgrades, so these effects may just be temporary.

The server upgrades at least show they’re getting closer to implementing the expansion pack. Electronics Boutique has the release date slated for November 28th, and this seems to fit with any sort of timeline estimates based on what we have so far. I think in the worst case scenario, Blizzard will get the expansion out before the end of the year and worry about fixing any major bugs with a patch. That’s the beauty of the MMORPG model, I suppose. Regardless, I expect to see some Beta news in the next few weeks.

Future expansions are the interesting picture here. There have been various comments from Vivendi and Blizzard that they’re aiming for multiple expansions a year. I’ll believe this when I see it. I don’t doubt that there are future expansions in the pipe, but Blizzard’s track record with releases seems to indicate that two expansions a year is a fantasy at best. The one situation where I could see this happening is if they decide to not introduce new content with major patches, and instead ship this new content bundled in the form of new expansion packs.

Another Call
Well, after people wrote in saying that I only present one side of the story, we here at VGGEN decided to set up a Guest Editorial box for reader submissions. Yet, I haven’t received a single entry since the first guest editorial. Come on people, I know you have opinions that you want to air out! If you think you can do a better job, send in your submissions to wowguest@vggen.com.

As usual, if you have any comments, complaints, concerns, or fan mail, send them to weeklywow@vggen.com. I’ll try to answer all E-mails personally, and you may wind up in a future mailbag column.

Posted: 09/23/2006