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Forced Digital Migrations


My MobileMe account has expired.  This bothers me, a lot.  I was paying for an online service and was content with the quality of the service I was receiving.  This transition isn’t happening because I decided to quit the service.  Apple (the service provider) decided to re-architect their services into the “iCloud” moniker, and make them be free.

I don’t want free.  I actually feel better paying for a service.  I was predominantly using MobileMe for the purposes of email.  It makes sense to me that I should have spam-free, ad-free email, and that such a service costs money.  I never wanted to move to a Gmail account for the simple reason that it’s free.  Google pays for server maintenance and upkeep and gains profit by automatically parsing your online data (emails, in this case) to deliver targeted advertisements to you.  I don’t want people reading my emails.  I don’t want code scanning my emails.  Since this seems like a higher quality of life than provided by the “free” situations, I’m happy to pay for that service.

I believe Apple’s new concept is that some portion of the profit of their hardware sales gets divided off to fund the iCloud data storage facilities.  This basically means that Apple will continue to make their own products obsolete rather quickly, and you’ll feel compelled to buy the new one because now they have your data, and if you don’t upgrade you’ll lose all of your email, calendars, contact information, and music collection.  While this is conjecture on my part, I can’t see how else they cover the costs and provide ad-free operation.  Since I’d rather avoid being pummeled with ads in the future, paying the subscription rate makes it seem more like a long-lasting agreement.

Also, paying for the MobileMe subscription made me feel like a customer, which means there should be some accessibility to customer support.  If I’m having problems with a free product or service, I don’t really expect there to be any support available.  When it comes to a fundamental communication system in this day and age, I want to feel secure that I can ask for help when something is going wrong.  Paying a subscription makes me feel like that’s the case.  With it being free, I now have to have the device(s) under AppleCare to think I’m going to get any customer service.

(copyright Blizzard Entertainment, Inc.)

How does this possibly relate to gaming?  Well, a while back Blizzard made me transition my WoW account to a Battle.Net account.  This was probably a smooth transition for you, if you went through this, because your account was probably active when the transition fell.

In my case, I quit WoW for a span of time.  That’s when Battle.Net dropped on everyone.  When I came back to restart my WoW account, I couldn’t do it until I had it as a Battle.Net account.  Well, I couldn’t access the WoW account because it was inactive.  This attempt to get back into the game was not an easy process, and there were certainly times where I thought, “I’m jumping through all of these hoops just so I can pay them money again?  Why am I doing this?”

SW:TOR’s forced server migrations affected one of my friends in a very similar fashion.  He had already quit SW:TOR in favor of Diablo 3.  He very conscientiously maintains a monthly gaming budget, so a game purchase means dropping subscription games for an equivalent amount of time.  Because SW:TOR was going to delete his non-active character once the server shut down, he renewed his subscription just to make sure the transition went smoothly.  At least he knew it was coming – Blizzard didn’t give me a heads-up.

During the SW:TOR server migration, my friends had multiple alts, and wanted to bring over all of their alts.  Totally understandable.  Except, they queued up their transfers.  Thanks to the unique name requirement in game, having all of these players on the same server means that sometimes, their name was taken.  Ok, that’s understandable.  A bit annoying, not the coolest thing ever, but I get it.  What went wrong, however, was that the names were attached to different toons after the migration. For example, two characters, Jed the Jedi Knight and Smug the Smuggler, are queued for transfer.  After the transfer, you get Jed the Smuggler and Smug the Jedi Knight.

They didn’t test this before they launched it?  Surely they must have thought people had alts!  I mean, the primary point of the game is the leveling experience, which means to see another experience you have to make an alt.

Apple’s recent forced migration wasn’t any better.  If anything, it was actually worse as it pertains to the iTunes store.  As the years go by, I’m already inevitably forced to migrate my email address, whether it’s a change of job, a change of ISP, whatever.  My email addresses don’t last forever.  I thought the address would last, but alas, they end-of-lifed that a while ago, when MobileMe replaced the @mac system.  At least the address was grandfathered in.  So, my iTunes account was under an email address that I was forced to abandon, but it was still the id on the store.  I was able to attach a functioning email address as the primary contact address, but I couldn’t change the ID.

Eventually, Apple decided that didn’t make sense, and made some new requirements.  Every ID had to be an AppleID, and part of that requirement was that the ID is a valid email address.  That sort of makes sense, no reason to force people to continue to use an abandoned email address as a user ID.  There was one little catch to this whole process, you can’t convert to an existing AppleID, and every MobileMe and iCloud account counts as an AppleID.  This means that my primary, personal account can’t be used as my store account, and there was no way to merge my purchased assets to my existing AppleID accounts.

In order to get all this to work, I had to go to their competitor (Google) and get a free email address so I could have a valid email that wasn’t already an AppleID.  Way to go, guys!  That’s a lot like saying you can’t unlock your Battle.Net assets without an Origin ID.

Speaking of Battle.Net, I’m adding my BattleTag, Khuruuk#1578, to the about page.  I’ll accept any and all polite requests.

How could any of this be made easier?

  • Assume your customers like you.
    • They may already have the type of account you want them to have.
    • They are your customers, they’re probably paying you money or already have.  Treat them like that!
    • Be especially kind to returning customers.  They decided you weren’t good enough to keep paying, so they walked away.  Don’t make anything harder for them to give you their money again, they already walked out on you once.
  • Offer reimbursements for change of terms.
    • I agreed to pay for a service with the given terms.  Changing the terms means I should receive notification of those change of terms, with the option of opting out.  In the case of Apple, iCloud was available LONG before my MobileMe subscription ran out.  They didn’t give me that money back.  Instead, they kept the MobileMe service running for that span of time.  There was a free, equivalent system already in place, and because of the yearly billing cycle, I had already paid for an outdated system.
    • SW:TOR, to their credit, botched a patch release a while back and gave everyone affected a free day of service.  While I was still under my 30-day evaluation period, they even gave that day of service to me.  This was a really nice thing to do, certainly above and beyond Apple’s above treatment.

Thanks for reading!


Little Guy Run

Daddy made me wear this.

As a parent who plays games, sometimes I make mistakes.  It happens, and honestly I think every parent does something they wish they hadn’t done.  Where gaming and parenting collide, however, I think is usually too funny not to share.

I think the first time I heard my daughter say “Orgrimmar” at the dinner table I spat my food out.  I wasn’t expecting that one!

I try to not set a bad example, and tend to only play when the kids are either asleep or napping.  As a word of advice, when the kid is old enough to get out of their bed when nap is over, they will catch you playing.  Don’t play during their naps.  You will get caught.

When my daughter first caught me playing World of Warcraft, I showed her how you push the arrow keys and that makes the little guy run around.  I think I was just running dailies in Org, nothing spectacular, but she was having a great time watching, so I just let her sit with me for a bit.  From then on, she referred to the game as “Little Guy Run.”  And to be fair, that’s really what most of the game is:

Need to go somewhere?  Little guy runs.

Standing in poop in a fight?  Run, Little guy, run.

Mobs coming after you for digging up bones in their backyard?  BEAR KILLS ALL.  Yeah, that didn’t go over so well.  We returned to more peaceful activities.

She enjoyed touring through all my mounts, but mostly loved the Preserved Holly turning my time-dragon into a flying reindeer.

She loves all the non-combat pets, but I think Mr. Chilly holds a special place in her heart.  She’s pretty fond of most of the druid forms, although doesn’t really like to settle on any specific form.  “Turn into a cat.  No, the other cat.  Now turn into a bat.  Go back to a bear.  Now the other cat.”  I’m sure she’s going to love the new Glyph of Random Haircolor coming in Mists.

As for things to do in the game, she’s pretty happy watching the cooking dailies.  She likes a lot of the exploration, and I went on a few pet-purchasing trips with her (I was never going back to Netherstorm without some serious encouragement).  As you can probably guess, she’s caught me playing quite a few times now.

But of all the times we’ve done peaceful activities in Azeroth, the one piece that I feel sorta bad about is that I taught my four year old how to fish.  Not because she was really interested in it, but because I had to level fishing and I really hate fishing in this game.  So… I got a helper.  I’d cast, and she’d watch the bobber and then click if it moved.  I leveled way too much fishing from her doing all the work.  The real kicker there is that I was leveling it up so I could make Agi food for my feral.  Turns out I’m also a scribe – I could make Fortune Cookies the whole time.

So… what about you?  What’s the most embarrassing thing you’ve done with your child while playing Little Guy Run, or any MMO?

Glyph of Bunnies

(It’s the glyph on the left.)

It’s not exactly Glyph of Bunnies, but us Druids got an… odd… new glyph on the Mists of Panderia beta.  As you can see from the tooltip, it allows us to “befriend” a woodland creature which follows us around for an hour.  The idea is that you get a cute non-combat pet.  I’m pretty sure I can’t pet-battle it, but I’m not level 90 to double-check that.  If you’ve been reading anything around here, you can probably guess that this isn’t a glyph I’ll be packing once things go live.

As a bear/cat/feral/guardian, I’m pretty sure I’m not the kind of guy some sweet, innocent little doe is going to want to hang out with, even if I shoot them full of druidy friendliness.  I’m pretty sure devastating villages with a little white dove following me is only going to get applause from fans of Mission:Impossible 2.  No… I need to find little forest critters that are my kind of style.

There’s a really unique place northwest of Thunder Bluff in Mulgore.  If you haven’t been there before, you’re in for a real treat.  It’s way off the map, you’d never bother going there if no one told you about this bizarre occurrence out there.  My friends and I are still trying to piece together the reference that’s being made, to date the best I’ve got is it’s maybe a nod to an old pen-n-paper RPG named “Wabbit Wampage.”

Out here, the forest animals mutate into armed combatants that go kill each other.  Yes, I’m serious.  I love this place!  There are three tribes, rabbits, prairie dogs, and mice.  Sometimes none of them are mutated, sometimes the bunnies go killer, sometimes it’s the other guys.

With my fancy new glyph in hand, I thought I’d go see what kind of friends I could find, that may actually stick around for my typical behaviors.

Axe Bunny

First up:  a rabbit.  Not a great screenshot, and that’s one big rabbit.  For some reason they were especially sized up when I got there.  They come in a few colors, and the axe looks like it was stolen from an Orgrimmar caravan.  It’s blade has a lot of leading-edge spikes, and a painted, Thunder Bluff looking handle.  As you’d imagine, he hops around.

“I cut you.”

This cute little guy sports a single-spike helmet and wields a small knife.  He likes to wash his face a lot, which results in him rubbing the knife all over his face like a psychopath.  Looks like we’re stepping up in the world.  Sadly, I happen to know for fact that there’s one better, it just took me a while to catch him:

My new friend!

Yep.  He’s wearing a skull for a helmet, and the jaw’s cracked open.  He’s dual-weilding two double-barrel flintlock guns.  I think we have a winner!  He’s even very animated, pacing back and forth waving his guns wildly, and pausing to sniff the air.  This little guy is awesome.

Now, before you head off to Stonetalon Pass to grab your own, there’s a few things you need to know:

  1. Sometimes they change back to normal, tiny, cute form while you’re casting on them.
  2. You do have to select the critter, then cast the spell.
  3. Once they’re marked as your minion (see above screenshots), they follow you around, only if you’re on foot!
  4. Mounting makes them vanish.
  5. Swift flight form maybe didn’t make it vanish, but once I flew over the cliff I lost the critter.
  6. You can still make this enjoyable and show it off a bit, by walking him down into Thunder Bluff, and taking the zep back to Orgrimmar.  Since that zeppelin ride doesn’t phase-out and show the Indiana Jones dotted path on the map, you can bring your new friend all the way to Orgrimmar, even without mounting or flying, and it doesn’t take as long as walking.

Even the mice in Org are mean.

Sadly, some other weird effect knocked him off of me shortly after this screen shot.  Some spell effect came flying out of nowhere and healed me, which in turn made my little bandito mouse vanish.

I hope you enjoy seeing what appropriate friends the new glyph has to offer, and maybe you won’t instantly dismiss it.

Please post a comment if there are more stylishly vile critters out there!

The Casuality of Time

Time is precious.  Time has been a bit of an issue for me over the past couple weeks, so it seems only fair to address it directly.  As you can tell by the blog’s name, I consider myself a casual player – but I want to take a minute and explain what I mean by that, so I’m not being misunderstood.  There are two categorizations of players, hardcore and casual.

  • Hardcore players:
    • Have nearly unlimited time to play.  They can withstand 8+ hour gaming sessions.
    • Spend what time they have outside of a game researching and theorycrafting about the game.
    • Are globally competitive in their play: seeking “world firsts,” tournament wins, etc.
    • Commit to multiple gaming sessions a week, usually with a guild, raid, arena, or battleground team.
  • Casual players:
    • Typically have very limited time to play.
    • Are playing the game to have fun, they’re not expecting to win any prizes.
    • Actually may also spend what free time they have outside of a game researching, if not theorycrafting, about the game.
    • Have so many other demands in their lives that gaming for multiple hours, multiple times a week, is very unlikely.

The lines blur between these, but the largest dividing factor is time.  I’ve frequently heard that hardcore players are “awesome” and casual players “suck” – and in all honesty I hope that’s the case because with that much practice time I certainly hope I could reach top-tier playing. However, we’re all playing the same games, and in most cases, it’s the money coming in from casuals that funds the development for hardcore content.  Prior to WoW introducing the Raid Finder feature, something like less than 5% of the 10+ million subscribers were raiders.  There are such things as casual raiders, but without even considering that, that means 95% of the subscribers were casual.  Sorry, folks, we make the virtual worlds go ’round.

As for me, I actually do spend a ridiculous amount of my non-game free time on game-related blogs, podcasts, and twitter feeds.  I’m trying not to turn into one of those smart-phone zombies that isn’t paying attention to what you’re saying in my face, because something just buzzed on my phone.  I’m trying, but it isn’t always working. This is where things start to fall apart for me – time.

I’m not going to go on and on about how I have a life and the hardcore players don’t.  I respect that they can manage their time more effectively than I can, and get what they want out of it.  I’m busy spending time with my young children and my pretty wife, trying to knock out life’s errands once the kids are in bed, and somehow trying to work on building things in my garage, and navigate a full-time career.  There’s a veritable ton of things to read, too – I just got an e-ink Kindle, those are really nice. I don’t get a chance to relax all that often, maybe twice a week, for somewhere between 1 and 3 hours.  That’s it.  I can’t realistically commit to a multi-night raid team, my life is too unpredictable.

This is how time comes into perspective for me.  It’s very expensive, it’s very cherished, and I want to enjoy it.  I don’t want this:

Yeah.  That’s an image from Star Wars: The Old Republic.  There’s something strange about the loading screens that makes them seemingly take all day (it genuinely is on the order of 3 to 4 minutes, no matter what your hardware specs are).  The problem I’m having with SW:TOR is simple: it takes too much time.  It takes about 4 minutes to load in.  It takes at least 2 minutes to scooter-ride to your questing destination, and by the time you’ve knocked out a few quests, or run an instance with a couple friends, you’ve spent nearly two and a half hours.

I realize SW:TOR’s big selling premise is that they focus on the story.  This is done through having voice-actors perform while you wait.  They blab on while you just sit there and dumbly stare at the monitor instead of participating.  Sure, you can turn on subtitles (I did) and press the spacebar (I do, frantically!), but this is really what you’re paying for in the game.  You’re supposed to like being read to, as it draws you into the game-world and should feel more immersive.

In World of Warcraft, the loading screens take under 2 minutes from launching the launcher to standing in-world.  From there, portals in your main city can take you to the zones where the quests are instantaneously, and then you’ll have to fly to finish getting to specific quests, at least in “end-game” content.  Otherwise, you can join a dungeon-finder group or a raid finder group, and be queued up to join other players.  While you’re essentially standing in line, you can continue doing whatever else interests you in-game, like daily quests or gathering/crafting.  A lot of the waiting portions of the game are spent doing other things, so the loss of time isn’t as noticeable.

Wow comes in more digestible chunks as well.  Questing dailies can take anywhere from a couple minutes, if you do the ones in your capital city, to perhaps an hour if you do all of the Molten Front dailies.  Dungeon runs take about 20 minutes these days, a huge improvement from the 2+ hour marathon they were back in The Burning Crusade expansion.  Raid Finder runs usually run about an hour, sometimes a bit more.  If you have time to dedicate to raiding, that long-time-sink still exists.  If you don’t, there’s still plenty of other things to do.  I can choose what I want to do in game based off of how much time I have to play.  Choices are very, very, good.

Diablo III, however, beats both of these games from a time perspective.  It takes seconds to dump my inventory trash and hop a portal to where I left off.  Getting to the action is extremely quick.  There’s no waiting in line.  There’s no journey-across-the-open-terrain requirement to make you think the world is big.  You stand on a teleporter pad, and POOF! you’re stabbing things.  Or, in my case, gently ushering your dimwitted frogs in the general direction of the bad guys.  They hop elsewhere.  Often.

If you’re playing with friends, you get their banners in your home city.  Click on their banner, and POOF! you’re right beside them in whatever dangerous spot they found.  There’s almost no time waiting around in this game.

Diablo comes in chunks of time that seem like they’re about 20 minutes.  That’s a perfectly great time slice.  If I don’t even have 20 minutes, I’m probably going to read a blog or check WoW Insider.  If I have an hour or so, I feel like I’m really getting somewhere, because I’ve knocked out at least 3 sections.  I can squeeze in a lot of killing in 60 minutes, since I’m not wasting time traveling, or senselessly checking my companions’ task lists to make sure they’re not freeloading off of my fly spaceship.  You heard me, Qyzen!

My poster-child for best use of time-saving elements, though, is Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean.  I know, it’s a bit dorky, but the time-saving elements were amazing.  You could teleport to any island you wanted.  If you got in your boat to sail to another island, you were out adventuring, blazing cannons at the ghost ships and EITC frigates.  The instances never felt like they were more than 15 minutes, you were in, out, and life was good.  On top of all of that, there was a very sparse amount of buttons (like in Diablo), so there wasn’t anything to learn, you just have fun.  I’m a huge sucker for that franchise, and I think they did a great job making a time-critical casual game.  I still consider renewing my subscription, but SW:TOR, WoW, WoW MoP Beta, and Diablo are all WAY more choices than I can handle these days.

One other thing that I noticed while playing PotCO, there are a lot of parent/gamers out there.  My guild on PotCO was almost exclusively parent/gamers, and so far, the blogs I’ve enjoyed the most are also written by parent/gamers themselves (more on that soon).  As parents, we completely understand that the monitor squealing in the background means you have to go, no questions asked.  We don’t want to waste our time on loading screens, or driving across the countryside.  We’re here to kill things, steal their stuff, and relieve some stress from the fact that a decent night’s sleep is now considered a bucket-list concept.

Sorry it took so long to get another post out – but time is precious.

A Bit About My Mane – er, Main!

Once again, Battle Chicken has thrown another challenge to the Newbie Blogger Initiative – tell me about your mane.  My mane is long, red, and a little unkempt.  I think it makes me look handsome and rakish.

While I’ve certainly played role-playing games in my life, I don’t view WoW as that sort of game, so I won’t be describing my main character in role-playing terms.  Sure, there are RP servers and perhaps some of them actually have RP moments, but I’m on a PvP server.  Not for any good reason, of course, other than some friends are PvPers and suggested I come over to their server.  Personally, I hate getting ganked, which seems to be the entire point of a PvP server.

Solajin is my main these days.  He’s a troll druid, with a habit of shapeshifting so often I rarely remember what his troll form looks like.  The guild Fire Trolls was started back in Vanilla, on Runetotem, as a collection of red mohawk trolls.  We had two shammies, a warrior, a priest, and a rogue that were all identical in appearance – at least face, hair, skin color, etc.  That’s clearly easier these days with the barber shop, but we actually rolled them and leveled them up as a team.  It was a group of real life friends, which is why we resurrected the guild on the PvP server of Dark Iron.  I’m still a Fire Troll, but swapped the mohawk for some dreadlocks.

I predominantly go cat if I’m soloing.  I’ll happily go bear, though, if I feel like I’m getting outnumbered, or a random Ally tries to gank me.  I really enjoy bear-tanking through the 5-mans (in Cata, I haven’t done much beta yet), and stay cat for LFR simply because it’s the easiest way to get through.  Besides, have you seen the queue the tanks have to stand in for LFR?  It wraps around the amusement park about eight times!

I hate fishing.  By the way, it makes no sense that a druid’s seal form can’t fish.  Actually, a bear should be able to fish as well, even the cat.  Why do I have to stand around in troll form for that?  When I was leveling fishing, I popped Leyara’s Locket and sat down on my mushroom chair for a while.  Now if only I could summon a cooler of beers, I might have more patience for it.

Early on while playing cat, I realized I was missing some of the rogue’s toolkit.  Particularly, Vanish.  A rogue can get out of trouble pretty quickly by vanishing and running off.  As a cat, if you start to get overwhelmed beyond your survivability cooldown, you can only shapeshift into bear.  That’s a lot like yelling, “Oh yeah?  I brought a bazooka!” in a spitball fight.

Being the type that enjoys escalating a fight, this makes me very, very, happy.  Once I discovered going bear was intentionally 50% of my feral spec, I was in heaven.  Now I had two full characters to learn, and a good deal of flavor change between them so that nothing really ever gets boring.  Toss in a secondary specialization (I sometimes try Boomkin), and now Solajin’s a very diverse character with a lot of choices in playstyle.

Beyond that, being a druid means I get to roll on just about everything that drops.  “Oh, you don’t have a use for that?  I’ll take it off your hands.”  As a casual player, the ability to gear up quicker is a very nice upgrade.  I’m very worried about Solajin’s quality of life when Monks hit the level 90 scene.  The joy of all-the-gear-is-mine is probably going to vanish.  Oh well, it was a good expansion to be a druid!

The hybrid playstyle is really fun, as there is little penalty for swapping across forms during combat.  This is changing in MoP, however, and as one of the bearcats of the world, I’m very sad to see it go.  The current Tier 6 talent options are not exactly enough to fill the gap in my killing spree the way the mechanics of Cata let me do it.  Hopefully it will work out.

Why did I pick a troll, after the Fire Trolls?  Well, as noted in another post, I really enjoyed the time I spent in Jamaica, so the accent makes me smile.  I also trained in capoeira for a couple years – which is how the trolls dance.  I’ve had three troll mains so far, and now I’m currently running a multitude of shaggy red manes regularly: cat, bear, cheetah, bat…

Still haven’t gotten that hat to drop!

Initial Diablo 3 Reactions

Hi, I’m Doctor Solajin, how may I help you?

So… I only put in about 30 minutes on Diablo 3 so far – but I wanted to post some initial reactions, and is down anyway.  As you can see, I picked a witch doctor.

I saw all 5 class intros during the pre-game release hype.  Blizzard handled that really well, it kept me checking my twitter feed for new information, and on the lookout for the class sigil rewards.  Most companies would have just put up a single, monochrome countdown timer on their front page and called it a day.  Having the small teasers and video interviews slowly leaked out prior to the launch was a really classy, well-executed method that really cashed in on social media interest.

I went with the witch doctor, for the simple reason that it looked like maybe I saw him stealth out during the class intro video.  As I remember it, he went a little golden and see-through after casting either a mass confusion or fear, and as you know, that’s probably all that needed to happen to get my interest.  In WoW, I almost universally play trolls.  After vacationing in Jamaica, I can’t hear that accent without smiling a bit.  Having my main talk like that just makes me happy.  In Diablo 3, this is the only guy with an islander accent.  He even dresses like a troll.  While he doesn’t have those signature three-feet-long tusks, he does have some pretty impressive piercings.

The graphics are great.  Between this and SW:TOR, I’m definitely wanting better graphics in MoP, but I’m pretty sure that’s not going to happen, judging from the Beta.  In regards to WoW graphics, I’m forced to be reminded of that old They Might Be Giants lyric, “Triangle Man, Triangle Man, doing the things that a triangle can…”  So, it’s time to take a bit of a break from what triangles can do.

In Diablo 3, this twisted, malnourished (check out that bloated belly!) dealer of the dark arts is busy throwing destruction in every direction.  I already have zombie dogs, hands that spring out of the earth, giant urns I hurl out of my loincloth that are filled with short-lived spiders, and I can even belch out fire bats like I just ate habenero salsa.  I’m level 5, maybe.  I’m at level 5 in WoW, I wasn’t even allowed to tie my own shoelaces.

The mouse-oriented gameplay is pretty odd, and while typical of the franchise, it makes my Logitech G13 a little lonely.   I still push that little joystick to move him, and end up getting my skills pop-up dialog.  Oh well, I’ll eventually learn.

The bad guys are just lovely.  Big-and-Tall undead that fall in half when you hit them, then chase after you without their legs, “mothers” (wondering what word was left off?) that literally vomit out more undead goons.

But my absolute favorite part so far?  I genuinely started out practically naked, with a pea-shooter.  Okay, it’s supposed to be a poison dart, but c’mon… I’m blowing through a straw, and a green thing shoots out.  And from that I got to this in less than 20 minutes:

The Doctor is in.

There’s a really great feeling of forward motion, with little amount of time invested.  While this sub-topic merits its own post later, I do want to point out that the gameplay’s timing is excellent.  The chunks of being out in the field are easily digestible, and the opportunity to return to town presents itself about when you’d want it to.  This may change further into the game, but so far the time put in against the amount of forward progress has been highly rewarding.

Overall, I really liked what I saw so far, and am very happy with the doctor.  Now if the server stability would improve, I could stop checking for Bashiok updates and get back to rending through zombies.



Why I Stealth

Cutting the Kings

I stealth…

  • so they don’t know what hit them.
  • so I can get my objectives done with a minimum of fuss.
  • so that Fel Reaver doesn’t think I’m a snack.
  • because one more holiday achievement means I have to hang out in Stormwind again.
  • because telegraphing your next move is for idiots.
  • because the tension of possibly being caught is exciting.  Yes, I realize this makes me sound like I have a criminal bent.
  • because there are just too many mobs some days.
  • because even if I’m under-level for the content,  I can usually get through.
  • because I couldn’t give a rat’s ass to make the Timbermaw Furbolgs happy.
  • because the sound effect in WoW feels like a warm, cozy blanket of they-won’t-kill-me-first.
  • because sometimes I just need to get to an inn without devastating the countryside to get there.

But most of all, I stealth because it is purely fun.  I like that it slows the pace of the game down, that it converts a fast-paced kill-them-all environment to a quiet, strategic maneuver.  I love things that exploit changes in dynamic range like that (loud/soft, quick/slow, bear/cat), it’s a single button press that alters how you experience the game.

Any class, on any game, which provides stealth gets my attention first.  That’s become my most favorite aspect of MMOs.  As a father of two, I have limited time to dedicate to gaming, so I want to get in and out and do what  I need without committing multiple hours to the game.  Stealthing allows me to play in a manner that fits with my life.