Updated Tue, Dec 08, 2009 by Xerin
theoverpull. has been kicked to the curb. I fought long and hard, the Sword of Truth in one hand and a motorcycle in the other (yes, I can dual wield), as I marched through 11 different dungeons seeking out the truth of how to defeat theoverpull. and it’s mockery of the new aol. I was soon overwhelmed, the sword broken and the motorcycle leaking oil, when it came to me in a vision. I must threaten to have a Chuck Norris joke of the week in order to bring about happiness in the world.
That, my friends, backfired. It backfired literally and not literally (if such a thing exists), as in it’s now known as “tehoverpull.” and the motorcycle I was wielding backfired and embarrassed me in front of my party of a devout wizard, a holy cleric, and the town drunk. Well, the stories of my epic adventures are not what you’re here for. You’re here for some awesome comics, the week in news, and the lore corner. Let’s get started shall we.
Here’s the lineup this week
By the time you’re reading this, 3.3 will probably have hit, and there is no bigger news than that. If that’s not true then I say that too is big news. My guild, having conquered heroic anub on 25man is now in a state of stasis and a patch is required to keep people happy. I can only imagine what it’s like for people stuck at a wall (heroic faction champs, perhaps) who are waiting so desperately for something new to bash their heads against. Let’s hope that 3.3 hits, shall we?
The battlecry mosaic is pretty awesome and so are the Onyxia pets and all that junk. I’m getting kind of tired of “has earned the WoW’s 5th blah blah” every time I log in though. Anyone with me out there?
There is a contest for following WoW’s twitter. WoW TTH has its own twitter called “wowtth”. It’s manned by a real human who posts a few times a week with important WoW TTH stuff and other WoW news. It’s good to follow if you’re someone who twitters. You can also send comments, questions, and more @wowtth and they may be featured in tehoverpull.
Ghostcrawler rambled on about healing and health pools. His latest plan is to have more health and less healing. What this accomplishes I don’t know, but theorycrafters will work out the min/max on anything they change.
Oh, speaking about social networks, Blizzard is on Facebook. We all need more spam on Facebook. When I log into Facebook I see a constant stream of FarmVille, Bejeweled, and SocialInterview posts followed by quizzes. It almost feels like I have a Livejournal again but everyone has agreed giving you the right to post too much would interfere with everyone else’s ability to spam you with their depressing stories or interesting quiz where they find out they’re most like Cloud Strife when they really feel it’s wrong and they’re more of a Tidus kind of person. Anyway, I’m getting off-topic. Subscribe today to see Blizzard promoting their Facebook on Twitter and their Twitter on Facebook! I’m not even kidding.
Are you an Overachiever? Are you kidding? Of course I am! It is depressing that there isn't a real good way to show off your achievement points. They don't appear next to your name or anything and having a lot of them causes unneeded stigma. Kind of like listening to Lady Gaga really loudly and enjoying it.
Our regularly scheduled comic contributer is sick, at the moment, but in the mean time I will draw you a stick figure with just text.
Urf indeed. Urf indeed.
This week’s question is: Have you ever played a table-top/pen & paper game?
That’s this week’s question; the following is an educational rant on the subject that may provide you with a cool and funny history lesson.
The reason I ask this is that recent conversations has brought about a realization to me that there seems to be a line drawn in the dirt between miniature collectors/D&D players and the majority of the WoW playerbase. The former wants a game like Everquest and the later wants a game like Fable where they press a button and faces melt. People into god games, simulators, and Civilization seem to really, really, be into Eve Online as well.
The Pen and Paper (PnP) crew want a game with rich depth, lots of statistics, and want to know what their THAC0 is and how many dice and how many faces as they swing their sword. The WoW generation wants to smash people and set them on fire and don’t care about the inner workings of WoW except to know what percentage their stats cap at.
As a side note, in my youth, I had my own MUD running with an almost rewritten Circle-MUD core (mostly around combat) and only knew THAC0 as its end result and not exactly what it meant. Go ignorance!
The PnP crew is looking to experience a level of detail that merges complexity with wizard’s hat. I mean, have you ever seen a character sheet? Take a look at just one from the WoW RPG! You’d probably spend an hour doodling what your character looks like before busting out the calculators and figuring out what your stats are. That’s even before the heated arguments over what you can and can’t do with the Dungeon Master. Then once you’ve done all of that you die to a trap, lose your resurrection roll, and realize that razzing the dungeon master for having a tattered wizard’s cap was not the best idea you could have had while slightly drunk on low alcoholic beer.
This is based off of my limited experience, mind you, but it seems that the hardcore nerds don’t consider WoW hardcore enough for them. This is evidenced when Vanguard was coming out and was heralded as the return of Everquest and “hard” MMOGs. Then again, VG failed into the ground, much like every other MMOG does these days that doesn’t instantly win over 10 million players in a day.
So why is this? Well, let’s take a history lesson. Don’t worry; I’ll try to make it interesting.
In the 1950s miniature collecting and war games became quite popular as a hobby. This was expanded on over time, but the basic principle was you would pit armies against one another and would use a rule book to make sure everyone played fair by a standardized ruleset for the game.
In 1974ish, a miniature war game book author known as Gary Gygax with his partner Dave Arneson had an idea that instead of armies you should fight it out as characters. The rulebook would contain adventures into dungeons where you were the hero and combat would be you vs. the forces of evil or whatever the DM thought up. This created Dungeons & Dragons and his company, Tactical Studios Rules Inc. would continue to publish these books into the 90s when Wizards of the Coast bought them out.
In 1976 the now famous game Adventure came out and was later expanded on in 1977. It borrowed heavily from D&D as sort of an adventure game where you take on the role as the hero and work your way to victory. Although, it wasn’t a very good example, I would say Zork in 1978 (GRUES GRUES GRUES) is a better example of a text based adventure game. Anyway, in 1979 Essex University began worked on the first multi-user dungeon. This became ESSEX MUD or MUD1. In the 80s the idea of MUDs became popular, even involving Mark Jacobs, that guy who used to be the CEO of Mythic Entertainment.
MUDs were essentially online ports of D&D and the D&D ruleset combined into an easy to play text based format (like Zork and Adventure) but were also like Rogue in that they combined the dungeon crawling aspects into it too. Roguelikes, another form of games, are also heavily based on the D&D ruleset more often than not. They allowed a group of players to join together and play online. This did a few things; first it introduced us to internet relationships in gaming and second skipped the angry dungeon masters who didn’t like what you were saying behind their backs.
In the start of the 2000s MUDs began to give way to something called a “graphics card”. Graphical games like Everquest came out. Everquest was essentially a D&D rulebook mixed together with a MUD and given a graphical user interface (GUI). Things were being done now with SCIENCE and GRAPHICS. EQ borrowed heavily from D&D and a lot of D&D players heralded it in as a way to finally play online games without having to learn how to type.
Instead of rolling the dice and doing the math the game now did it for you and with graphics. You swing your sword, the dice would roll to determine your ability to hit and your damage, and you’d be given the end result. Flavor was added in by roleplayers and those who didn’t want the flavor skipped on it, for you impatient types.
Eventually WoW comes out and we see a big change from this D&D attitude. A lot of the “D&D” aspects inherent in RPG games are hidden behind a pretty GUI and percentages and magic. The game is a lot simpler. Pick up a quest, melt faces, and return for a reward. There isn’t any “hardcore” farming, battling, or math required and whatever math there is saved for raiders and even that is rather simplistic. XP comes fast and the majority of the playerbase, not everyone, but a lot of people seek that instant gratification. They’re looking for that quick leap up in XP or that shiny new purp that increases their DPS by a larger percentage.
What they’re not looking for is waiting hours to get a group, hours to see a small percentage of XP, or anything to do with a wizard hat. Those that want to do that can pick up the WoW RPG game, but in all honesty it’s mostly used as a source for lore since all WoW products have to be 100% canon. The table top version of the game, with miniatures, is mostly used as a hardcore nerd’s table decoration, while the trading card game is in the same leagues as people who play Pokemon professionally. Think about that one for a moment.
Let us digress on that point for a moment. White Wolf made a Warcraft RPG rulebook. White Wolf makes something known as “Vampire: The Masquerade” which is really funny to me, because for some reason everyone who becomes my friend is usually intricately familiar with either the PC game, the PnP game, or BOTH. It has gotten to the point I can almost expect someone to mention Ventrue or Tremeres shortly after befriending me. Ok, I’m digressing too far. The point is the RPG rulebooks have a small following and are used mostly by fans as a major source of the background lore because Christ Metzan demands all Blizzard licensed products to be canon. The communities for the game itself are small or nonexistent, but the books are still being published (the last one in 2008). Well, technically, White Wolf no longer holds publishing rights to the series and there isn’t anything planned in the future for it. I would say it’s probably due to its low success.
Back to my main point which is that WoW players don’t want to play table top games or pen and paper games or anything else. They want WoW. They want to log in and press as few buttons as possible to melt some faces. Older players, stuck in the past, want more. They want character sheet levels of detail and they want a slow grind where they can feel accomplished and satisfied. Sadly, that’s not why WoW has so many players.
I personally think it boils down to patience. Take another look at the WoW character sheet. See how detailed it is? Do you think you, as a WoW player, could sit down and fill that out (using a book to figure out what everything means) or would you rather log into WoW and have WoW fill it out for you and hide anything that would take a book to explain behind the scenes? Would you rather spend hours at a table smashing your fist into it wearing a black bed sheet for some robes or login and gather some herbs for a few moments and log back out? Would you rather grind for ages endlessly or would you rather grind quests and feel good?
I think, really that brings about the difference between your typical PnP/miniature/table top/whatever player and your typical WoW player. Now, realize I said typical, there are exceptions to everything. In my experience though, I haven’t found many people who do these sorts of things or have this sort of experience with all of those things and also enjoy WoW fully with no complaints.
Of course, that’s my opinion and my opinions are often wild and wacky.
What are your thoughts? Please, please, do not show up at my front door dual wielding a wizard’s staff and magical swords. I only have an inflatable Frostmourne to fight you off with and I’m not sure if that would work. I do have a wizard’s hat. It doesn’t grant me magical powers though unless I cut up some construction paper to throw it and pretend it’s magic.
Oh gosh, isn’t that larp? That, my friends, is another can of worms for another day for another site.
This week, by a small number of requests, I will ramble for your amusement and information about Pandas. The Giant Panda, or technically Ailuropoda melanoleuca, is a mammal who is native to China and part of the bear family. They’re an endangered species but also very cute and ador- gotcha! Did I almost have you fooled? No, well alright.
Pandarens are a mystery, because they’re “part” of the WarCraft universe, have an extensive lore background, and are really cool but are not “part” of WoW. I’m using quotations because I think that’s how Dr. Evil would handle this conversation. First, let’s talk about who they are, and then we can talk about why they’re not part of WoW.
Pandarens used to have a kingdom in what’s now known as Kalimdor, before the Sundering. They were best friends with the Night Elves but their addiction to magic began to scare them. So they packed up and moved to a remote island which is now known as Pandaria. It’s ruled by the Pandaren Empire, one of the few neutral kingdoms that swears fealty to neither the Horde nor the Alliance. After the Sundering, they began to explore the world little by little. More have begun to explore the world after the Third War, but again that’s just fluff.
They have an obsession with booze, because booze is awesome. Brew is the center of their structure which leads them to be pretty tight with the Ironforge Dwarves. They’re not Alliance exclusive though, since they are independent of everyone else.
They’re heavy on Chinese and Japanese themes, although they were changed in WC3 from wearing Samurai armor to the current armor they wear in the game. They even have their own classes. There are the Pikemen, Shodo-pan (their emperor/strongest warrior), Geomancers, and Wardancers. Where does all of this come from? Well, the RPG game. Because that’s where a lot of the lore comes from.
Pandarans are pretty cool and I wish their empire was actually added to the game. Why? Because they have a lot of lore, a lot of fun things, some awesome classes, and I would love if in Cataclysm they had their own questing zone. Say you take a boat to their island and get five levels brewing beer and fighting off some random invaders who are trying to breach their capital city. The loot there could be Asian themed and give us some awesome katanas to level up with.
Why aren’t they in the game though? Well, there are a few reasons. Pandas are sacred in China and dishonoring them is a no no, but that’s never been confirmed why. Another reason is that brewing beer and whisky is their number one thing. Well, that’s the number one thing of Dwarves too. They were also in Warcraft 3 as a neutral hero AND as part of the story (you fight an entire army of Pandas sent by Garithos). So what gives?
Personally, I think it’s because it might be a little too silly for WoW players to “get” and enjoy and blend in with the current WoW game. I mean, after all, it’s more of a “joke” race turned serious. I love them though and I really wish we got to see some more Asian themes to the game other than the Night Elves.
That’s the lore corner this week and concludes The Overpull. Stay tuned next week for more awesome news, funny stories, lore, and questions rolled together in your ultimate WoW newsletter.
-David "Xerin" Piner