This Week at a Glance

Crazy week of 14 hour work days and trying to get a few projects off the group for my little startup project I’m doing. Starting a business is a lot of work. Let’s play catch up.

Chronicles of Elyria

Several of you emailed me or commented about Chronicles of Elyria with a “Check this out, Keen!” or “Hey have you seen this?” Yep, I see it. I think there’s a lot of really, really baseless hype right now. I can’t get excited for Kickstarter projects anymore. I’ve been pretty vocal about my dislike for the crowdfunding model for video games. While it has worked wonderfully for some games, I think it’s been the death sentence for twice as many more.

Don’t get me wrong here. I think the game has plenty of awesome ideas. In fact, I’m hyped myself at the thought of how some of these ideas can translate into a more dynamic and “living” world (sandbox?) rather than a themepark.

  • Characters age and die
  • Characters can permanently die
  • Characters stay in the world and if merchants they will be turned into NPCs (really cool concept?)
  • No in-game maps
  • Game enforced palyer contracts (also really cool)

What I can already say I dislike immediately are the ideas of players being Kings and a less than super simple business model. I have never seen the promise of player Kings or rulers or mayors or whatever they may be actually pan out into something that makes ANY sort of sense. So that idea already throws a red flag for me. And the concept of having pre-launch currency, in-game currency earned by playing, yada yada, all makes me frown and wish they’d just charge $14.99 a month.

Chronicles of Elyria is on my radar for sure. Let’s hope Kickstarter works, they actually make the game, and it’s what they promised the world.

Overwatch Open Beta

I’m enjoying Overwatch Open Beta significantly more than the Alpha I played a few months ago. However, the game still suffers from immense balance issues. Some characters are just worthless due to team composition needs. Some characters are still ridiculously powerful unless hard-countered by a specific character. I like Overwatch, but end up feeling frustrated 50% of the time I play, but that’s shooters in general.

World of Warcraft – Ding 100

My Monk reached level 100 and I was able to start my Tanaan dailies. In just 3 days of dailies I now have a full set of gear for my healing spec. I’m up to like 650 iLvl or something. Half my items are 675-680 epics. I’m planning to start dungeons soon, and farming raids for cash.

Redefining WoW’s Endgame

WoW World Quests

Yesterday I mentioned how WoW’s zones will scale in the Legion expansion. Utilizing such a feature, Blizzard plans to do away with Daily Quest Hubs and replace them with ‘events’ that will rotate in and out. These events seem to operate similarly — from what little information I have — to those “public quests” (wrong analogy but they are open to everyone to open their map and go to) used in other games, with the exception being many seem to be geared toward solo players.

The “World Quests” are designed to offer more of a guide or structure to endgame play sessions rather than act compulsively on players as a “you must do these quests in this order every day” type of mentality. As someone who has never liked dailies, and currently stuck doing them in Tanaan on my Monk, I am definitely looking forward to a system that presents me with opportunities rather than forcing me to feel compelled to “do my dailies.”

“World Quests will show you quests, rare elite spawns, rare spawns, pet battles, outdoor PvP activities, world bosses, special dungeon activities, profession activities, and more. Want to know what there is to do in Azeroth today? Just open your map!” – Muffinus, WoW Designer

As I alluded to in the beginning, I think this will work nicely with the zone scaling. Players will have reasons to go everyone in The Broken Isles rather than all congregating in one final zone. We’ll be able to choose what types of activities we want to do each day when we log in. Some of these quests will be daily, weekly, or even hourly events.

There will still be rep grinds. There will still be a legitimate argument to be made about semantics. In a way, these are still “dailies.” You’re still logging in each day and doing activities, otherwise you’ll miss out on potential progression. Blizzard is simply expanding the scope of the definition to include more play styles and a slightly more forgiving presentation.

Despite the semantics, this is a step in the right direction. I like choices. I like logging in and being able to think, “What would I like to do today?” Any step away from “go to this hub, take these 10 blue exclamation points, and come back tomorrow” sounds good to me.

Legion Zones Scale

The Broken Isles Zone Scaling

This isn’t new at all, but if you haven’t been following every Legion detail (like me) then you may find this to be some welcome information: World of Warcraft’s Legion expansion will feature zones that scale to your level. Monster levels, quests, and rewards will all scale based on the level you are in the zone.

This essentially means that instead of everyone progressing down one linear path throughout the entire expansion, players will be allowed to choose when they go to each zone. A few details still evade my understanding such as how this works for telling the narrative of the expansion. I know that when players reach level 110 they’ll be able to go to Suaramar which will present a cinematic experience — perhaps that’s where the more congruent story comes in?

I’m also curious to see how the scaling works, exactly. If I go to Azsuna at level 109, and my friend is level 101, will I be scaled down or will he be scaled up? I guess I don’t understand how we can tackle monsters together and have that experience scale up to me and down to him.

Though my mind is wracked with questions, I find the idea very inviting. I like freedom to go where I want, when I want, and to be able to group with friends more readily. I’m so ridiculously glad I won’t be on a PvP server, though. I can’t imagine having all of the higher levels ganking lowbies just because the zones scale and we’ll be forced more than ever to interact.

Do Levels Really Mean Anything?

The concept of zone scaling does once again bring into question why levels exist in WoW. The entire 1-110 experience will exist as what? A tedious activity designed to keep people paying subs longer? Leveling artifacts and iLvL are already end-game leveling curves anyway.

Although it’s truly too late to remove levels from WoW, I feel as though Legion inches us one step closer to their inevitable free max “level” expansions. After leveling two characters to 100 — I just hit 100 on my Monk last night — I’m pretty tired of the experience, and the idea of buying a level boost isn’t entirely out of the realm of possibilities for me moving forward. I don’t think I can stomach 60-100 ever again. I’ll put my prediction in writing here that we will eventually see progression become an “endgame” activity, and levels will be cleverly hidden behind items or other mechanics.

FFXI on iOS from Nexon

Lots of images — well, lots of the same image — are coming out of the Nexon developers conference showing the upcoming FFXI “reboot” for iOS.

FFXI for iOS

The idea of FFXI on mobile devices intrigues me for a few reasons.

MMORPGs on Mobile Devices

I’m growing quite fond of my iPhone gaming. I play Clash Royale, Kingdom Hearts Unchained X, Yokai Watch Wibble Wobble, and plenty more mobile games daily. I have lots of time to play in short bursts of 3 minutes here and 10 minutes there. That’s why mobile gaming is so convenient for me. Mobile games are becoming more like games and less like gambling by offering whole gaming experiences. MMORPGs on mobile devices would definitely take things up a notch for me.

I think the first question I have to ask myself is whether or not I want to even play a MMORPG on a phone. I think my answer is yes, though when given the choice I’ll take PC over phone. But when I’m not at my PC, is FFXI a game I’d boot up? I think so. I recently returned to FFXI on Nasomi, and I enjoy the experience enough. Having that, or even better a rebooted version of that, experience on mobile could be great.

The very thought of FFXI on a mobile device at first sounds horrible, but then I think about the menu system already being more intuitive for clicking. Then there’s the idea of a “reboot” where this could be a much simplified version. Maybe 5 abilities usable at a time? Refined menu system? After that, the only barrier becomes proper chat support and I think they have something.

FFXI Reboot

Will Nexon Ruin FFXI?

The business model will make it or break it for me. Nexon doesn’t have a great reputation for handling business models well. The currencies listed at the top of that first screenshot worry me. I’m not interested in a game where I pay to win or can’t do half the stuff F2P whales can do. I’d rather pay $10 and have the whole experience. Realistically my chances of that are nil. Will they have built in play-time limitations? Pay to win shops?

Lots of potential. FFXI is hopefully only the beginning of bigger things to come for mobile games. Never thought I would ever say that.

I’m Turning Into A Goblin

I'm a WoW Goblin

I think “Goblin” is the correct term, anyway. Isn’t that what the people addicted to the WoW economy call themselves? The people who want to make lots of gold? Yeah, I’m becoming one of those. I recently decided that I was tired of being poor. I’ve played WoW on and off since it launched, and I have never had anything close to an excess of gold. I had to work my butt off to buy a mount, and I slaved away at the grind to afford an epic mount. Even in modern WoW I’ve never had luck with making cash… until recently.

I discovered something calling “TSM” or “TradeSkillMaster.” It’s an addon which essentially does all of the work for you — once you can configure the thing. Configuring it all takes an undergraduate degree in economics, but it’s worth it. Now I practically feel like I’m cheating.

TSM has a program that runs in the background and automatically syncs told prices to my WoW client. I know what every item on the auction house goes for and my program will automatically post items based on routines I program in. When I open the auction house, I can automatically buy low and sell high at the click of a button. If someone puts up a valuable transmog, my program finds it, buys it, and reposts it at a higher price. See why I feel like I’m cheating?

I thought I had nothing on my characters worth anything. Then I used TSM and now I have 10,000 gold in one day. So the addon takes care of the knowing what to sell, and finding stuff on the AH to resell, but that’ll only last for so long. The real money game here is in getting the items and posting them. I’m going to start farming pets and running old raids (for gold and pets) to sell. I’m also going to farm lowbie tier dungeons to get the valuable transmog items and sell those too.

Why am I doing this? Simple. I don’t want to pay for my sub. I joined the garrison party too late to farm gold like so many others — they’re rich already. Garrisons are being patched out of existence here soon [Translation: You can’t make gold anymore] so I figure now’s better than later for getting my economy set.

This has breathed new life into the game for me. Sure, I’m still leveling from 94-100 right now on my new server, but that boredom has been mitigated by the obsession and lust for gold. If you’re a goblin, I’d love to get some tips on how to make gold in WoW.