It's now 2006, a brand new year, full of endless posibilites, dozens of Blizzard promises, and the contiuation of that living being, known as the Online Game, World of Warcraft. Much has happened in a year and infact the game itself has only been out for a short while longer, but has already taken under it's influence 5, 000, 000 gamers around the world and has a well established in game economy. This "New Year's Resolution" Tentonhammer article will take a breif look at some of the many statements and promises made by the players in Azeroth that they will try and keep throught the next year, as well, how much things have changed over the passed year since the game's begining.
To start the New Year off, I jokingly took an online World of Warcraft Addiction Test thinking to myself, "well, why not?". The results were based on if a grade of 63% is achieved, you have a serious problem with your gaming addiction... I scored a 78%. (here is the Test if anyone at all would like to take it.) Personally, I have been playing the game since last Boxing Day, and owned the game since the original release day. It absolutely made Christmas and the New Year last year and have only very fond memories of leveling, instancing, no sleep, lots of caffine, the usual symptoms of a WOW gamer. To tell you the truth, I had never played a MMOG before in my life and never planned to, but this game blew me away when I watched one of my friends play his level 27 Undead Priest and go running around places like Ashenvale and Tarren Mill. It was the begining of the end for me! Over the last year, many things from my vantage point changed.
I leveled up my Forsaken Warrior Memnok to 60 and accomplished all I could without being in an end game guild (Collecting my full Valour set, collecting my 425 deffense plate set, a Halberd of Smiting and a full Fire Resist Suit so that one day my hopes of Molten Core may come true). Though as I look back, I regret several things. The first, I should have been a Tauren, the size difference and armour modeling alone... and I have found that people respond more to being given orders by larger tanks, whether they are better equiped or not in comparison than the smaller Orc and Undead types. As well, nobody had mentioned to me when I first started playing for the love of the game, how different it becomes, how it really turns into a completely different game (which I will touch on farther ahead). With so many Warriors in the Old World and very few Main Tank positions, and with the LARGE lack of healers, I realised something fast, that I had to make a alt, get out of the hopless, endless equipment grind of the Warrior, and play a healer to 60.
The creation of a New Years resolution alt. Thus, Darkbeastman, my restoration Druid was born. By the start of this year, he was at level 39 and I have not had a moment of regret playing it. Playing a non popular class, I have so much to look forward to as I level, for I was smart enough this time to join from the get go, a end game guild, which has a large need for 60 Druids. They usually have 1 per MC run and I have seen them get over 8 epics by default a night (tear). Most of all, looking forward with this new character for the expansion (but was terrified of it if I only played as my Warrior). I think about the 10's of thousands of experience I have wasted on my Warrior being 60 on quests and hand ins that COULD HAVE all gone to working to becoming 70. Now, I am smart enough to know that once my Druid hits 60, other than going to Molten Core, I will save up all of the quests to do for experience when the Expansion comes out.
The armour sets New Year's resolutions. These have been made by many, many people on my server and every other. People are very passionate when it comes to collecting their 1st rare set, or their teir 1 or 2 epic sets. Many spend all their time on one character just to try and acheive this, to gain all 8 peices, but what many dont realise, is that any of the items that they work so hard to get now, are going to be put and made next to useless by the level 60-70 rare and epic equipment coming out in the expansion. I myself found this out very early on playing a soley equipment based class. It is a very hard thing to deal with knowing that no matter how hard you try, how great equipment you think you have (in this case, your gear makes or breaks you as a warrior) you are still a bug to most of the guild's MT's. Colin Darcy brought up a very good point a while ago stating "Where do the worries begin? Simple. 10 Extra levels. What does this mean for us? Well to the average WoW player, it won't mean all that much. They will look forward to the extra experience and joy of capping a second time, the new quests and environments, as we all should. But for the people who have spent many hours unravelling the end game, it is quite a change. First, expect to see the dissolve of tier 1 55-60 rare sets (ie. Valour, Beaststalker, Shadowcraft, etc) and 2 epic 60 sets (Ie Cenarion, Wrath, Giantstalker etc). Why will people stop focusing on the items pray tell? There will be no need to collect them, for with the new content and cap, the 70's sets will outdate anything available to us now. People will not farm Strath, Scholo, UBRS, LBRS, to complete sets they replace with AH or quest items that are 60-70 req. This includes the "end game" instances we take part in now such as MC. As much fun as killing and working to Rag was, why do guilds like us go to MC several times a week? To farm the items to allow an easier time for newer members to take part in newer content that gets released. There will be no need to farm or run these anymore, for it will be replaced by the Outland content and the 70 Outland sets. How many of our toons 55-60 actually went to Strath and Scholo for xp? Not many and in fact would be frowned upon by 60's in the group. These players were designed for the specific purpose of getting us to make runs to collect the item sets. These instances will be next to worthless now, by being replaced by the (hopefully) 5-10 man 70 Outland instances, where we will farm to get our gear to hit the higher Outland 40 man raids. You may be equipped in epic proportions now, but you will be crap compared to a blue laden 70. Equipment by far will take the Worst blow." Take this with a grain of salt, but be warry, dont go spending huge amounts of gold on weapons and armour, for you will only end up replacing them soon enough.
A lot of people have very high hopes with PVP resolutions for New Years. They spend and put in a lot of time and effort to try and achieve Feild Marshall or High Warlord and is a goal easily obtained... or is it? From personal experience, the game's PVP aspect has changed the most since it's original release. Back then, you saw entire Armies of Horde and alliance, hundreds of toons fighting eachother, their cities, developing tactics, strategies, all large scale. Now it is a controlled, precise equation that Blizzard has put its stamp on. What most players dont realise, is that Blizzard uses a very different way to place PVP ranks. Unless you can play on average, 55-70 hours a week farming kills, you will not be able to achieve higher levels of rank. The people who do, do this, endager their own health and outside lives. Grantham on the forums put it best by saying "There are many achievement oriented people that play MMORPGs, and that is precisely who the Honor system is attempting to hook into participating. Just as the game itself is potentially psychologically addicting (just like a gamblers addiction, which is very real), the Honor system is even more so. The need to get to that next hurdle or accomplishment to prove to oneself that one is progressing can be extremely strong. This type of compulsion will not show up in everyone, but that is simply due to the fact that every person is different. What affects one person mentally is not guaranteed to work on another. This can lead to decisions that adversely affect the self, just like a gambling addict that sells his car for money to take to a casino. The Honor system is not something that is either healthy or constructive. Blizzard has created a system that people can abuse themselves with, and should make changes to it so that the intensive, consecutive time requirements currently in the system are no longer the case. This would be both to show care for their PVP oriented populace, and to retain the customers that often quit after either finishing or no longer wishing to participate in the system. Compete at your own risk."
As for the small things that have changed in the WOW world since the begining, many are noticeable, and many go unseen by the players who are too new to notice. I remember a time when the biggest struggle was to somehow collect 10 gold to buy a tabard design, and that was with an entire guild funding and pooling! These days, no one would ever have that feeling. There was a lot more helping eachother, ESPECIALLY in the lower level quests and instances, now, people couldnt care less about you unless you are a leveling Priest, or level 60. Personalities and End Game Hardcore guilds have formed and act like corporations, many of which stole and destroyed in the begining the essence of family guilds by luring the higher levels away with inncentives. An in game economy has risen greatly and now is well established.
One huge change, that many thought Blizzard would adress in the New Year, (And Did!) was the game experience after hitting the level cap of 60. Community Manager Tseric wrote a large response to over 800 posts and 650,000 views on different end game progression and casual raid threads. Here is a bit of what he announced " We have been watching, reading, discussing and compiling a great deal of information regarding the discussion of character advancement at level 60. To be sure, all of you have had a great deal to say and many have contributed to this broad discussion who may not have before, and we thank you for your dedication to being heard and making your personal views known on the subject. We have seen this discussed between players, ourselves and the development team. From this we would like to convey a few ideas which we feel the player base should bear in mind in this discussion. First, we are certainly aware of how you, in general, feel about this topic. If you feel you are being ignored or disregarded, it is simply not the case. To individually acknowledge every submission to this debate is not nearly as possible as reading every submission. We opt for the latter rather than the former. In addition, not only are we aware of your concerns, the development team is aware of your concerns. We have engaged in more than one meeting where this has been a topic, if not the topic of discussion. They read these boards as well and are not out of ear-shot of your voice. The development of the casual end-game is a continuing process with us. You may not be completely satisfied with what we have at this point in time, but we are not done with developing this game. What is currently being developed and which we plan to address (and we do mean before release of expansion) are elements and content which touch on the areas in which some players feel the game is lacking."
It looks to be a Great New Year! With the Expansion, The Gates of Ahan Qiraj opening and many other exciting Blizz events, I wish you all the best of luck in keeping your Resolutions and wish you all a Happy New Year!!!!!
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