The Karazhan Mistake?

Foton has taken a look on Blizzard's comments and argues that Karazhan is popular because the shift to 25-mans is too hard.

I've touched upon the subject myself and there's a discussion about raiding on my realm's forums. Although the approaches are different, the identified problem is the same: It's too hard to move on from Karazhan. WoW Jutsu's statistics confirm this. 66% have cleared Karazhan, but the popularity of the instances drops very rapidly after that. It's not that Karazhan is popular, it's the only choice for too many.


Ni Hao

There's a new WoW music video maker in town, and the first track is out. No wonder that Nyhm likes it enough to make a guest appearance.


Anyone who stops people grinding through constant killing is corpse camping!

This comment and other gems are available at the latest trainwreck in action, courtesy of the Defias Brotherhood forums.

This story is as old as the PvP servers themselves, but it deserves retelling. A boy meets a girl. The boy and the girl go and blackmail people. They gank someone. The gankee refuses to pay up, fight back or leave. They gank him again. The gankee posts on the forums. The feeding frenzy begins


Ghost towns?

Kill Ten Rats is wondering about ghost towns in WoW and Asheron's Call. To me, there are two factors that decide whether a city becomes a ghost town or not. And geography is not one of them.

Geography only matters when your only means of transportation are your legs or your mount. WoW has many other forms of transport. You can fly, ride a zeppelin or a boat or teleport. The reason why Silvermoon, Darnassus and Exodar are empty is that they're dead-ends. The contrast becomes obvious when you look at Orgrimmar or Ironforge. Orgrimmar has numerous flight paths to almost every Horde outpost in Kalimdor, and has two zeppelin routes to Eastern Kingdoms. Ratchet is just a short flight away, and provides yet another path to Eastern Kingdoms. Conversely, Ironforge is only a short flight away from Menethil and has ample access to most Alliance outposts in Eastern Kingdoms. In other words, Orgrimmar and Ironforge are travel hubs, while Silvermoon, Darnassus and Exodar are not. The contrast becomes even more obvious when you compare these cities to the current de-facto capital, Shattrath. Not only does this cross-faction city provide flight path access to all Outland zones (the only zones that matter to the majority of players), it also provides portals to every other capital. It is a travel hub on steroids. Even if you didn't have anything to do in Shattrath itself, you most likely travel through it.

So, if you wouldn't want to go to ghost towns to travel past them, why would you go there? Auction houses? Every capital except Shattrath has one. Class trainers? Nope. Stormwind has a shaman trainer and Undercity has a paladin trainer. Profession trainers? At pre-60, that is the only valid reason for a jewelcrafter to go to Silvermoon or Exodar, but that doesn't help Darnassus. After level 60 you can do your business in Thrallmar, Honor Hold and/or Shattrath. That leaves other players. But nobody goes to Silvermoon, Darnassus or Exodar because.. nobody goes there.

Unless the designers can provide a compelling reason to go there, the three cities will remain ghost towns. One such compelling reason would be new boat paths. The two boat paths to Theramore and Menethil at Auberdine should be moved to Teldrassil or Azuremyst, and there are two unused harbors at the outskirts of Silvermoon. If these harbors would be the only link to Northrend, the population of these ghost towns would change overnight. Flight paths should also be enabled, although this would require "de-instancing" the Draenei and Blood Elf zones.


Flying in Northrend

To be frank, I was somewhat disappointed when Blizzard said that flying mounts would not be usable in Northrend until level 78. In my opinion, flying in Northrend at low levels should be hazardous, not impossible.
Blizzard's primary motive in disabling flying mounts is to prevent players from skipping content. One should not be able to just take off at the starting zones and fly straight off to Icecrown Glacier. But banning flying mounts altogether is throwing out the baby with the bathwater. Just like having T6/T7/Arena gear will give you an advantage while leveling, so should a flying mount give you some benefit, especially the epic ones.

Fortunately, there are ways to limit the advantage gained from flying mounts without banning them altogether. Here's a few suggestions:

  • Liberal amounts of air defense, especially around points of interest. Just like in Warcraft 3, flying over a fortified Scourge base alone should be fatal. Some sort of homing attacks that could only be avoided by flying behind obstacles would be ideal. Such as.. ziggurats' energy blasts. The bases should also have gargoyle patrols. This would encourage the players to land some distance away from the base and fight their way in.
  • Winds. The usual counter to air defense is to fly beyond it's reach. Winds are a way to prevent players from skipping content by flying over everything. If you rise above the air defense, your mount should slow down and get a fatigue meter for struggling against the freezing winds. Eventually, your mount would lose conciousness and fall. Of course, a skilled player should be able to wake up their mount and regain control before crashing into the ground. Afterwards, your mount would be too weak to fly unless you let it rest for x minutes. For added realism, the strength of the winds should be related to your distance to Icecrown Glacier. The closer you get, the stronger the winds become. And when you finally reach level 78, you can acquire your 375 riding skill and ride the winds unencumbered.
  • Air superiority zones. In some zones the airspace should be swarmed with hostile airborne units. For example, the Dragonblight could initially be heavily patrolled by blue dragons. Those developers who designed the Netherwing Ledge races, you know what to do. You would be better off just moving along the ground to avoid attention. Later on you would so some quests for Dalaran to cull the numbers of dragons and gain temporary air superiority. Or smack some sense into Malygos to turn blue dragons neutral.


Learn From the Masters

Bask your eyes in the ultimate in raid specs.


WoW is the new Everquest?

Those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it. What makes this funny (in a sad way) is that Tigole and Furor were active (and vocal) Everquest players..