Thursday, May 27, 2010

Buggy

I haven’t posted in a while due to real life obligations but now I’m back. I have recently had to kill myself multiple times in order to reset Scourgelord Tyrannus, the last boss in the Pit of Saron due to a bug where if you attack or taunt him before he hits you he goes back up onto Rimfang and proceeds to fly around out of reach while shooting down ice form the sky. This got me thinking about other bugs I’ve experienced in WoW that, while less annoying than this one, are stranger and sometimes hilarious.

Once I was eagerly awaiting the servers to come back up after Tuesday maintenance by continuously attempting to log in. I kept getting stuck at the full loading bar, but after a few tries I was in. I logged into Stormwind, visited the bank, and then was running to the mailbox when without warning my camera started spinning out of control. It whirled around and around in a circle at a high speed. It was really quite nauseating. I tried to stop it by adjusting the camera with my mouse but it didn’t make any difference. I then attempted to ask in Trade chat if anyone else was experiencing this bug when I noticed that none of my keys were working. No matter what I pressed or clicked nothing happened except that my camera continued to spin at a dizzying pace. I ended up having to do a hard shut down of my computer to get out of WoW.

Another memorable bug happened one day at the Argent Tournament grounds. I had finished all that ridiculous jousting and used my hearthstone to send me back to Dalaran. Expect I did not end up in Dalaran. I ended up in the middle of the ocean somewhere and promptly died from exhaustion. I was then sent to the spirit healer in Westfall of all places. My guild had a good laugh over my unplanned adventure and the next time I hearthed I ended up in Dalaran like normal, but I thought that the bug was so bizarre that Blizzard should know about it so I sent in a ticket telling them what happened. I bet you can guess the reply I got back. Yep, the standard please disable your addons. Somehow I don’t think it was my addons that landed me in the middle of the ocean by Westfall.

The final bug of note I experienced quite recently. I logged in and my entire screen was covered with what appeared to be a two dimensional version of Dalaran. I freaked out. I thought my graphics card had broken or something. I couldn't see my character or move. None of my action bars or addons were showing. It was just a giant, flat, and very pink version of Dalaran. I tried logging out and back in, but no luck. However I logged into another character and everything was fine, but as soon as I went back to the warlock all I could see was 2D Dalaran again. Then I noticed that this 2D Dalaran looks an awful lot like a map. I logged out, disabled sexy map and, voila! Strangely once I enabled it again I didn't have anymore problems, but it was certainly a memorable and very alarming bug.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Alpha Drama

Since the Friends and Family Alpha began I have occasionally wandered over to MMO-champion to have a look at the slew of alpha pictures posted. Boubouille, the owner of the site, said that the Alpha was now "slightly less private" and so he would be posting information from the alpha. I had no idea what "slightly less private" means, but I assumed that he felt that Blizzard wouldn't do anything about the information he was posting or he wouldn't be posting it. That assumption was wrong. Yesterday Boubouille announced that he was removing all alpha content from the site at the request of Blizzard. In addition all forum posts discussing content still under NDA will be removed.

I have to say I am a bit shocked at this turn of events. It was my assumption, now obviously an erroneous assumption, that Blizzard was fully aware that leaks like this were going to occur in the Cataclysm alpha just as they did in Wrath. I thought that not only were they aware that leaks were going to happen, but that they didn't really care or even were happy about it despite the official company line. Please stay with me as I try to explain my thinking. When the Friends and Family alpha was announced myself and many others eagerly awaited the leaks we knew would come and sure enough they started to show up. No one, not even Blizzard themselves, can say they were surprised that the NDA was being violated. It would have been shocking if no information had leaked out. I thought that if Blizzard really wanted to keep the information from the general community they would have learned from previous alphas and either been much more stringent with who they let into the alpha and level real legal penalties on anyone who violated the NDA, or forgone the friends and family phase all together. In my mind it was going to be impossible to keep the alpha client under wraps and therefore Blizzard was not too put out about leaks. In fact I would argue that it helps to keep the Cataclysm hype going and is actually beneficial.

Obviously all these assumptions I made are dead wrong. Blizzard does seem to care about the NDA and is intent on enforcing it. That is perfectly within their right, but I have to say that I just don't understand why they feel that it is beneficial to keep the alpha out of the public eye. The only reason I can come up with is that they don't want people jumping to conclusions and starting to QQ about things that are only half done, but in my mind the hype benefits surrounded leaked information would out way the downsides.

Finally in regards to MMO-champion and sites like it, I do not support personally violating the NDA. If by some miracle I was in the Friends and Family Alpha I would honor my legal agreement and not disclose anything. I have no idea how Boubouille got his information. If he was a part of the alpha and extracted the information himself I don't support that kind of behavior but I am not surprised by it. However if he got the information from others who leaked it and he himself is not under NDA he has every right to post it in my mind. If he personally did not violate the NDA I would support him if he refused Blizzard's request to take the content down, but I also respect his discussion to honor Blizzard's request. The one thing I can say for sure about this whole situation is that I hope the Beta arrives soon to satisfy my lust for Cataclysm information.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Ding!

I haven't posted in awhile because I've been busy gearing my brand new 80 restoration druid. Even though I have two other 80s, one of which raids ICC, this is the first time I actually made a concerted effort to gear a character quickly and methodically. When I hit 80 I found that I had to purchase a few blue pieces on the auction house to even be able to queue for random heroics, although this was probably because the heirlooms I was wearing count as item level 1. So with my brand new gear equipped I hit that random button and off I went to Old Kingdom. And guess what...nobody died! I was very proud but, I quickly found that my heals were disturbingly weak in heroics as compared to regulars. At 80 I got the new spell Nourish which I had been eagerly anticipating, I glyphed it like I am supposed to and I was expecting big things from it. Not so much. It seems like it heals for less than my direct heal from Regrowth even when I have 3 HoTs rolling on the target. I'm going to chalk that up to my terrible gear though, hopefully soon I'll have more throughput. The next two dungeons I did the tank didn't die, but I did. Remembering to heal my squishy self has so far been the hardest part. I haven't been vote kicked yet, which is a nice surprise considering my dismal 2K something gear score. I even got a nice whisper at the end of a random saying I did a good job healing by someone who obviously noticed my noobish state. That made me smile. I did quit on one group after we wiped on the first boss of Violet Hold. Nub healer + tank under defense cap = fail.

So far I have 3 piece tier 9 and and a few ilevel 200 pieces from heroic drops. I've also been hitting up the regular toc 5 man to fill in some of the gaps in my gear. In the next week or so I hope to be geared enough to participate in the 2nd ICC ten man my guild runs. I have to say that it has been an adventure being just geared enough for heroics. Even though I am frequently healing over geared tanks it can get very dicey sometimes. Its such a different experience from running heroics with my uber geared warlock, but so far I'm really enjoying it.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Ode to Sholazar

I've just finished leveling my third character, a night elf druid, through Sholazar Basin. Of all the new zones in Wrath Sholazar isn't the most epic, doesn't have the best quests, run ins with the Lich King, or any of that fancy phasing technology, but it is my favorite zone in the expansion. I remember when Wrath first came out and people liked to knock Sholazar, saying that it was just a new version of Stranglethorn Vale or Un'Goro Crater. Hey, I like those zones, they are some of my favorite old world zones. Sholazar has all the elements for a perfect atmosphere that makes it just plain fun to quest through.

First of all I love the music. All of the zone music in Wrath is great, but Sholazar has great replay value that I never tire of. The look and feel of the zone is also amazing. It's not unique or breathtaking, but its pretty and inviting. Every once in a while its nice to take a break from the frozen tundra of Northrend. I especially love the River's Heart area. The layout of the zone is one of the reasons that I think I enjoy questing in Sholazar so much. The other zones in Wrath have many different quest hubs and the zones themselves are huge, which are great features in their own right, but Sholazar just feels more intimate.

While I all of Wrath's questing experience was greatly improved and other zones housed the more famous chains of Wrath, my absolute favorite quest line is in Sholazar. By speaking to the Avatar of Freya you learn that Sholazar was the lab of the Titans, where they experimented with different life forms. The chain leads you to activate switches in the Maker's Terraces and eventually through a Waygate into Un'Goro Crater of all places to retrieve a guardian that you control to wipe out the encroaching Scourge. I also love the Hemet Nesingwary quest line and the quests to save the Oracles of Mosswalker village are heartbreaking. Of course the Oracle/Frenzy heart quests are also favorites and are laugh out loud funny. Even though my main is already exalted with the Oracles I sometimes go back to do the dailies just to laugh at their flavor text sayings.

On the practical side, Sholazar is a great place for a leveling or new 80 character to make some easy gold. Its a great zone to farm herbs, skins, or ore. Pro tip: killing all of the beasts for experience or skinning will also net you stacks upon stacks of chilled meat and rhino meat which are used for the cooking dailies and usually sell very well. In addition to the great farming potential you can hit up the dailies in the zone and net yourself a nice chunk of change.