Thursday, March 14, 2013

World of Warcraft patch 5.2

World of Warcraft patch 5.2 brings back "missing" old-school vibe, says Blizzard

12th Mar 2013 | 21:11
World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria Thunder King patch
Last week, the massive Thunder King update stormed across Pandaria and the World of Warcraft servers, bringing a new raid, daily quests, gear, and a questing island area using a server-wide content unlocking system. The patch marks the 16th major update for the reigning champ of the MMO genre and its nearly eight years of activity. After a prolonged focus on balances and the endless content churn, Blizzard Lead Systems Designer Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street feels (via IGN) the patch is a return to the sense of wonder and danger of Azeroth's early years.
"Since Cataclysm, we felt like we’d lost our way a little bit," he says. "We had some really epic quests and we've told some great stories, but the second-to-second combat out in the field wasn't as interesting. So we made an effort with the launch of Pandaria and we redoubled it with this most recent patch to make a lot of cool stuff for players to do out in the world. We still have great dungeons and other instance content, but we also just have fun things to do out in the world with your friends."
The new questing zone, the Isle of Thunder, recalls the faction-wide events of old—such as the gate-opening ceremony for the Temple of Ahn'Qiraj—by unlocking one time as the Horde or Alliance progresses deeper into the island after establishing a beachhead. It's ripe for hotspots of open-world PVP—another pined-for memory from classic Warcraft—especially because of the zone's interesting no-fly restriction.
Street explains it's all an intentional throwback to the game's roots. "Somewhere along the way, we’d lost the sense that being outdoors in the world was kind of a dangerous thing," he says. "Walking around and fighting mobs is basically the heart of World of Warcraft, and we had lost a little bit of that and wanted to make it fun again."
"It’s great to give ex-players a reason to come back and try it again, and appealing to their nostalgia is a good way of doing that," he adds.
For those enjoying the Thunder King's good graces, what do you think of the new island? Is it a valid return to the Warcraft of yore?

Saturday, December 17, 2011

What kind of character should I play?

There are two main factions in "World of Warcraft" -- the Horde and the Alliance. These two factions come from the game's predecessors, the "Warcraft" series of real-time strategy games. In the first two "Warcraft" games you could play through campaigns as humans or as orcs. Generally speaking, the humans were the good guys, and the orcs, known also as the Horde, were the bad guys. In "Warcraft III," though, that changed a little. "Warcraft III" presented both orcs and humans as sympathetic, fallible characters. Each side made its own mistakes, and both put aside their differences to unite against a common enemy in the end.
In "World of Warcraft" the orcs and humans are again at war with one another, and after the events of "Warcraft III," it's difficult to pick a "right" side. Instead, most players choose a faction based on where their friends play or which race they happen to like best. There's also a perception that Horde players are more aggressive and serious about the game. The factions are:
  • Alliance: Humans, dwarves, gnomes, night elves, dranei
  • Horde: Orcs, trolls, tauren, undead, blood elves
Characters can see the other factions' players, but can't speak to them except in universal gestures called emotes, performed by typing / followed by the action you wish to perform, such as /dance or /sleep. Emotes make it possible to do everything from showing your disdain to thanking a player from the opposite faction for saving your life.
Your character's race affects your starting attributes, or stats, like stamina and intellect. When it comes to specific skills and abilities, this can give you a slight advantage or disadvantage compared to members of other races. Characters also have racial abilities that characters of other races can't learn. For example, night elves can shadowmeld, or virtually disappear from the game world, and blood elves have extra resistance to magic.
Your character's race also affects what class you can play. Here are the classes that are currently in the game:
  • Warriors are heavily-armed fighters who can learn to be tanks, or characters that absorb lots of damage and protect weaker players in groups.
  • Paladins are warriors that serve the Light. They are a hybrid class -- they can learn to be tanks, healers or damage-dealers.
  • Druids are shape-shifters who can take on a number of animal forms. Like paladins, they are a hybrid class.
  • Shamans are the third hybrid class. They can create totems to help themselves and their party.
  • Mages do lots of damage with spells, but they can't withstand a lot of damage. They can also summon, or magically create, food and water for other players.
  • Warlocks, like mages, do damage with spells. They can also summon demon pets to help them in combat.
  • Hunters are very effective with ranged weapons, like guns and bows. They can train wild animals to be their pets -- as with a warlock's demons, these pets can help the hunter in combat.
  • Rogues are melee fighters. They have a number of thieving abilities, including stealth, lock picking and pickpocketing.
  • Priests tend to be healers, but some act as damage dealers.
  • Death knights are hybrids that can be any race and start out at level 55 instead of level 1.
You can customize your character with a system of talents. Starting at level 10, you can spend points in one of three talent trees -- these talents affect your character's strengths and abilities. In the case of hybrid classes, talents can have a big impact on game play. For example, a paladin who chooses holy talents becomes a healer, while a paladin who chooses protection talents can become a tank. Or, a paladin can choose retribution talents to do more damage during combat.
See Blizzard's class information page for more details on classes and talents.
Once you create a character, you can enter the game world -- but what do you do when you get there?