Friday, November 8, 2013

The Natural Rise and Fall??

I read over on Massively that Blizzard has lost another 100,000 subscribers to World of Warcraft over the course of the last three months. This brings the total number of subscribers down to a mere 7.6 million. Shameful, right? Numbers have been on a steady decline, down 4.4 million from the peak of about 12 million in 2010. While 100,000 doesn't sound like a lot, 4.4 million does. To me at least.

That being said, I'm not in a panic (yet) over these statistics. When you're at the top, you only have one place to go, right? World of Warcraft has long been the forerunner of MMOs. From all the MMOs that I've tried, before and since I started playing WoW, it's clear that game mechanics and even story progression have been based on and evolved from, at least in part, WoW's genius. WoW has staying power, in my opinion, but Blizzard also needs to beef up their game (Haha. Puns.).

7.6 million subscribers is nothing to sneeze at. That's almost $114 million in revenue from subscriptions alone. That doesn't even include the money Blizzard makes off of table top games bearing the World of Warcraft name, books, figurines, clothing, BlizzCon badges, in-game pets, etc., that players regularly buy, myself included.

Do I think that Blizzard has anything to worry about? Well, yeah, to an extent. If they continue on this steady downward trend in subscribers, eventually, it won't be worth the money to develop expansion packs and keep the game updated. It's one thing if the numbers fluctuate significantly, both up and down, but they don't. At least between expansion packs.

News of the next WoW expac is supposed to be released during the current BlizzCon so we should be hearing about it soon. I'm curious as to whether or not it will be innovative enough, in depth enough, and contain enough new content to drive subscriptions up in a meaningful way. Blizzard has a mind boggling problem in front of them:  How to both draw in new players and keep the veteran players that they currently have. More and more often, I'm reading around the blogosphere and the social media outlets about how players have become disenfranchised with the game and hang up their subscriptions. I truly hope Blizzard has an epic rabbit to pull out of their hat during this convention.

Friday, October 11, 2013


I saw this article on Massively today that totally intrigued me. It was about a study that was conducted that suggests that gamers take on aspects of the personalities of their game characters. Sheesh. That was a mouthful. Anyway, I saw another similar mention of this...somewhere. I don't remember where. It was more along the lines of certain people gravitating towards Horde while other gravitate towards Alliance (it being WoW specific). I would dismiss this all out of hand as being craycray, but Stanford conducted the aforementioned study and you can't ignore Stanford, right?

The study found that basically, women who represent themselves in a gaming world in provocative clothing see themselves more as objects versus women who don't. I suppose that this study would have to apply to role playing because I, for one, have both Alliance and Horde toons, one of which is male, and they all wear a variety of gear and I don't role play at all. I've never thought of myself as a sexy gnome rogue. Right?

The study goes on to talk about how only 45% of gamers are female and that "many" feel the gaming world is not welcoming to female gamers. I don't feel that I can speak to this from experience. I've never felt unwelcome in any game environment based solely on being a girl gamer. I've dealt with male/female stereotypes plenty. I even got a little bent out of shape on Goolge+ the other day when someone intimated that all women like the Lifetime network, which I hate, by the way. I've also been annoyed PLENTY in game by idiots that follow me around and constantly drop duel flags on me or by 12 year olds who talk politics in trade chat like they actually know what they're talking about. But my many annoyances have never been gender-based. 

A direct quote from the article says, "It used to be passive and you watched the characters. You now enter the media and become the protagonist. You become the characters." I just don't know if fully I agree with this. I also would like to know, of these people, how many of them also have gaming compulsions? It just seems to me that someone who has a hard time separating their real life selves from their game avatar would also have a gaming compulsion. Just a thought.

What's your opinion on this article? If you're a girl, have you experienced sexual stereotyping while playing an online game?

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Account Wide = Lost Appeal??

I addressed this topic back when MoP was still in beta and it was new news. But I saw this topic surface on Google+ and thought it was a good time to revisit it. Account wide achievements and mounts. Are they good, bad, or something in between?

I can see both sides of the argument. On the one side of the issue, people say that they don't relish grinding rep for multiple toons. Additionally, they don't like having to earn the same achievements over and over for all their toons, especially holiday or world event achievements.

The other side says that making mounts (earned by rep) available for all toons takes away that sense of accomplishment. Same goes for achievements, but I think, to a lesser degree.

I stand, somewhat in the middle. Account-wide achievements, for example, don't really bother me that much. Being an altoholic, it gets very repetitive going after the same achievements over and over. Taking into account the ones that can only be earned at certain times of the year, it's even harder for those of use paying attention to 5+ (that's conservative in my case, heheh) toons.

As for mounts that are earned via reputation gains and boss drops, I lean more towards the other side of the argument. Mounts can be a pretty big deal, at least in my opinion. Mounts are an entirely visible way of displaying your prowess in the game. Seeing someone with a coveted mount that has less than a 1% drop rate off of Boss So-and-So is enviable to say the least. Consequently, I only have two boss drop mounts and I luuuurrve them the most. I also remember getting them both.

Then you have rep mounts that are obtained after weeks and weeks of mindless rep grinding. I don't think I've ever heard of anyone saying that they enjoy running the same quests week after week trying to get their reputation up with a certain faction. It's fun the first few times, but after that, it's a major UGH in my book. Still, if you're at max level and playing the latest content patch, it's really the only thing you have to do other than raiding.

What if your toon is questing in Northerend. There's a rep mount, Sons of Hodir that gets you the various mammoth mounts. We'll pick the Grand Ice Mammoth for the point of our story.
Grand Mammoth Mount

To get this mount, you have to be exalted with the Sons of Hodir. I happen to have this mount and it's another one I remember getting. I worked for it. I wanted it badly. When I finally got it, I did a long and proud happy dance in my computer chair. At the time, this zone and these quests were level appropriate for my toon. While it was a repetitive grind, it was still basically one of the few choices I had for game play while waiting for the next expac.

Fast forward to MoP times and it's hard to imagine taking the time it would take to grind that rep for a 70-something toon who you're trying to get up to level 90 so that you can go to Pandaria. You just don't want to take the time at this point. Ya know?

So, I'm conflicted. On the one hand, I believe that mounts should be a player achievement, a goal to work towards, rather than just handed out to all your toons as soon as they can ride their first mount. If we're to have everything handed to us, then what's the point of playing? As soon as you roll a new toon, it should start out at level 90, have every mount available in the game, and be wearing all top level legendary gear. See what I'm saying here?

On the other hand, as much as I think that mounts should be earned by each toon, I can't imagine going through the rep grind for ALLLLLLLL the different factions for mounts for ALLLLLLLL my different toons. I, personally, wouldn't do it. There should be some alternative. What that alternative is, I really have no idea. Maybe lower the reputation points required for each faction so that exalted is obtainable within the time it takes to level that zone?? And then still need the required gold to purchase those same mounts? Hmm.

I know for damn sure that I absolutely do not go out of my way to earn achievements on all my toons that one already has even though it drives me batty when I see the "not earned by this character" or whatever it says, on the achievement. Ever notice that? Maybe grinding rep and re-earning achievements will be something to do when I have absolutely nothing left, in game, to do. As if. And monkeys might fly out of my butt. (Bonus points if you get the quote.)

What's your opinion? Are you in the camp of "Give it to me. Give it to me now." Or "It's not grinding, it fun. I enjoy mindless game play." Or are you somewhere in between?

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

To Transmog or Not to Transmog

I found a blog yesterday by Rinike:  Rinike's Wardrobe. Her main blogging purpose is transmog stuff but she also blogs about other game-related topics. She also lives in Sweden which is nifty to this American girl who has never been outside of North America. And honestly, Mexico and the Bahamas barely count as even leaving the United States. Anyway, her blog got me to thinking about transmog.

This is one aspect of WoW in which I have yet to immerse myself. On the one hand, I think I've gotten so used to wearing a mish mash of gear that it doesn't really even hit my radar. On the other hand, I have a hard time wrapping my head around running dungeons and raids just to get a piece of gear solely because of how it looks. Huh? What? Then I have to figure out what look I even want to go after. Basically, I don't know where to start.

Every once in a while I'll actually take notice of a piece of gear that one of my toons is wearing and stop long enough to think, "That looks nifty!" Then I'll save it back in my bank in hopes of finding other pieces along the line that will match. Then I won't play that toon for a few weeks, go back, clean out her bank and realize that the old, outdated gear I just sold was something that I had been saving for transmog purposes, rush back to the vendor to get it back, and discover that it's been bumped off the buy back tab and forever lost in the mists. I do this. Often. I really don't think transmogging is for me.

My main, Maruka, does have a transmogged gear set. What?!?!?! Yeah. She does but before you get all excited for me, it's generic pieces that I got from questing. I think. It's basically, more or less, this set:  Osul Peak. Turns out that it's also known as the Stormscale Set which I didn't even know until just now when I browsed Wowhead for a screenshot to share on this post. I decided to use this for my transmog for two reasons:  1) Because I just happened to notice that I had a complete matching set before I sold it all. 2) Because the legs are a skirt instead of pants even though it's a mail set.

Yeah. I'm real discerning, lol.

How much time do you spend on transmog? How far out of your way do you go to get a piece of transmog gear that you want?

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

2013 Newbie Blogger Initiative (Updated)

Corrected and Updated becaaaaussse...

Turns out that Syp didn't organize this year's NBI. This year, Syp turned things over to Contains Moderate Peril  and Red Skies. Any information that you could possibly need or want about the 2013 NBI can be found at either of those links. I think it says a lot about Syp and the NBI that other people were ready and willing to take the reins and keep it going another year. Hopefully, the enthusiasm will continue and the Newbie Blogger Initiative will be renamed the Annual Newbie Blogger Initiative. Huh? Yeah? Sounds awesome, right???

The NBI is how this blog got started. I know. Not exactly a ringing endorsement. All things considered, the NBI launched a bunch of great gamer blogs last year. It was, for me at least, just the incentive needed to take the final leap into the gaming blogging community. I know that I had been considering starting a game blog for quite some time before I saw the NBI. Fear that I wouldn't be able to keep up with it, that I wouldn't have enough post ideas, and that I would bore the rest of the community kept me from taking the chance. The Newbie Blogger Initiative was a great support system for us new bloggers. It was the perfect safety net and I, for one, appreciated all the great comments and exposure that I got last year. I was tickled to see that it was back this year. I hope that Syp decides to make it an annual thing.

As for where I'm at with this blog, it's more laziness than anything that keeps me from posting. I have so many ideas and observations about gaming, specifically WoW, that I have bouncing around in my head and it's just the chore of getting out my laptop and composing a post that's keeping me from putting my ideas out there. Yup. Laziness.

I started a WoW Bloggers group over on Google+ that I've also been neglectful of. I searched and searched and didn't find anything specific to WoW bloggers so I figured I'd start a group. I envisioned it as being a place for both support and exposure as well as communication. Somewhere to bounce ideas, etc. I still have hopes for it. And even though I haven't generated much content, I still very closely monitor the group, so if you're feeling up to it, check it out and add your blog if you'd like.

See you out in the community somewhere.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Trying to Understand the Function of Guilds

Credit goes to Dr. Jenny Fremlin
If you've stuck around with me long enough, you know that I have questions surrounding guilds. If you don't raid, what purpose do they serve? I was in a guild for a pretty long time that was a 100% social guild. We occasionally ran raids as level 85s but it was strictly old content because hardly any of us were experienced raiders and hardly any of us were geared to run Cataclysm (at the time, this was the most current expansion) raids. There were times where we couldn't even manage to get through Cata heroic dungeons as a guild without wiping repeatedly. It was sad. From what I could tell, the most active members were primarily interested in PvP and were geared and experienced as such. The husband and I were looking for more than that. While we occasionally enjoy PvP, our primary focus was social and leveling but we were very interested in learning how to raid. This was something that our guild and more importantly, our guild manager, was totally uninterested in. Rather than try and bend the guild to fit us, we left. It was so far from being personal. I really miss those people. But being in a guild that didn't fit us, that we had outgrown, led to dissatisfaction with WoW in general.

After Pandaria came out, we left the guild and paid for a realm transfer. We decided to found our own guild. Our entire purpose was to have a place for our alts and a bank that we could do with what we wanted. After leveling the guild to 25 and more than just two members to level 90, we plan on recruiting. What we're looking for in members is as follows:

  • Fun people that enjoy playing a game and not analyzing it to death.
  • Respectful people that understand that when you're running a level 85 dungeon on normal with bad gear, it's because you're trying to get better gear for cripes sake. 
  • Respectful people that understand when you're in a level 85 dungeon with bad gear, that you probably don't know all the fights because IT'S A LOW LEVEL DUNGEON THAT YOU'RE TRYING TO LEARN AND GET BETTER GEAR.
  • Fun people that are interested in being respectful, social, adults who are interested in playing a game.
  • Fun people that are looking to learn together.
I know. I'm idealist and probably unrealistic but my husband and I can't possibly be the only gamers out there that are like us. I remain hopeful.

The other day, @Matticus posted this on Twitter:
 It led me to wonder, what are other guilds like? Guilds that have actual leadership and direction? I really think this is an aspect of MMOs, and not just WoW, that I have yet to experience.

I found this paper that was written in 1996 about MUDs which was entirely too interesting especially when comparing it to the current gaming experience of MMOs. Essentially, nothing much has changed in what the gamer is looking for in the 17 years since this was written. You should read it.

I would love to hear about other people's guild experiences.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Top Ten Favorite Battle Pets: Part Two

Maruka's back to introduce you to the rest of my favorite battle pets. Two posts in one week. I'm on a roll. ;)

I have all of these spiders in their different colored skins, but the purple is my favorite. The Amethyst Shale Hatchling wasn't hard to find, at all. These spiders are all over Deepholm. Lots and lots.

The Pandaren Monk. This is one of the few pets I've spent actual money on. I think I've only bought this one and one other. I really love his animations though. He is so funny.

The Emerald Whelpling. This is one of the few pets I've gotten as a drop. As I rarely run dungeons anymore and I never run raids, I don't have the opportunity to get battle pets as drops very often. I fight with this pet in almost every battle nowadays. He's a level 25 so I use him to battle pets in Pandaria. His heals and Moonfire are very helpful to my main group.

This is one of my first rare level Pandaren pets, the Bandicoon Kit. I like this one for no other reason than that it's cute.

This is the pet that I mentioned in part one that isn't a rare level. I could only find the Harpy Youngling as poor, common, or uncommon qualities. She doesn't spawn that often and is pretty hard to find. It took me several hours just to find an uncommon quality pet so I took her and I might use a stone to upgrade her to rare. I really like this skin and I worked hard to find her. I think she looks fantastic.

There you have it, my ten favorite battle pets. Well, as of today anyway. I collect new pets every day that I play so I'll need to update this post sometime in the future. I wanted to include a link to my profile on for anyone interested in viewing my (mostly) complete collection. I need to update there as well, lol. Anyway, Maruka's Menagerie on Warcraft Pets.

I hope you enjoyed viewing my favorites. I hope you'll share your battle pet posts in the comments and/or a link to your menagerie on Warcraft Pets.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Top Ten Favorite Battle Pets: Part One

I get easily distracted by doing pet battles. It takes me way longer than it should to complete one quest just because I can't resist stopping to battle a pet that I don't already have or one that I have but isn't rare. This is one of my most favorite new features of the Mists of Pandaria expansion. I think Blizzard was brilliant when they introduced this into the game.

I thought I'd compile a list of my top ten favorite battle pets that I already have. I limited myself to only rares (with one exception) because I had such a hard time picking favorites. They are not listed in any order because I just couldn't do that. I might hurt feelings. ;)

Modeling with my battle pets is Maruka, my level 90 Orc Hunter.

Say hello to the Giraffe Calf. Ok. I know I said that I couldn't pick favorites, but the Giraffe Calf is probably my favorite and for two reasons. One being that I have collected giraffes since I was ten years old. I think they are one of the most majestic and unique animals in nature. Secondly, it took me freaking forever to find one and catch it. Days. I trekked around the Barrens for days.

 Next up is the Sporeling Sprout. He wasn't all that hard to find, but I love this skin. He's fun and one of the three pets I fight with the most.

This is the Darkshore Cub. I like him simply because he's cute.

The Tiny Harvester. I love this skin. I think this is a very fun pet. He was super easy to get. There are Tiny Harvesters all over the farms in Westfall.

So, how fun is it to fight with a book, lol?? I love this pet. It is pretty unique. Also, I'm an avid reader, so I had to have a Lofty Libram. This was kind of hard to get as a rare. I had to camp around Dalaran Crater and compete with several other players just to get a battle. Then I had to repeat the process until I could get a rare. It wasn't as hard as the Giraffe Calf, but a challenge nonetheless.

And this concludes part one. I didn't want to overload with too many screenshots. As always, you can click on the pictures to view a larger version with more detail. If you've written a post with your favorite pets, please leave a comment so that I can go and read it. I really enjoy seeing other player's favorites.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Sims 3: Crash on Save

First of all, you should know that I'm running The Sims 3 on a PC with no mods of any kind. I have the following expansions, worlds, and stuff packs installed:

  • Seasons
  • Pets
  • Generations
  • World Adventures
  • High End Loft Stuff
  • Outdoor Living Stuff
  • Master Suite Stuff
  • Riverview
  • Hidden Springs
  • Monte Vista
Now onto the point of my post.

the sims 3, seasons, the sims 3 seasons, snow, walls, crashing, crash

After installing Seasons, I tried altering and adding onto a house that was previously on a lot. I added an entire second floor and repurposed several rooms on the first floor to accommodate my growing family. After making the structural changes, I began decorating and adding furniture. After about an hour's worth of work, I clicked back to live and promptly hit "save". Then my game froze. My only error message was that "The Sims 3 has stopped responding". All my work was lost. Frustrating but The Sims is notorious for its crashing clear back to the original game, so I go with the flow and relaunch the game and get right back into building. Again, I make all my changes, go back to live, click "save" and the game crashes AGAIN! Now I'm beyond frustrated and I want to hit something.

At this point, I decide to do a Google search and I get lots of results. Turns out that the problem is directly related to the Seasons expansion and has to do with adding walls when there is snow on the ground. This was the fix that worked for me:

Go into Game Options and turn off the weather effects. Just uncheck the boxes for rain, snow, hail, etc. Wait for the snow to disappear off the ground (or use the in game cheat to manually remove it and I regretfully forget the cheat code to do that). Then build as usual.

Now, I never attempt to build when there is snow on the ground and I haven't had any crashing issues since. Before, it was every single time I tried to save.

I perused many different forums and people have theories that this crash is due to adding walls on a second story. I can't say for sure if that's true. Another solution that I read about was copying the trouble lot to clipboard, bulldozing the lot, delete the empty lot and then placing your saved lot onto another size-appropriate lot. I didn't try this solution because the first one worked just fine for me.

What I find ultimately irritating about this whole situation is that people have been posting about this specific issue for MONTHS now. Why hasn't EA updated with a patch? They seem to have more than enough time and resources to host announcement parties, live online broadcasts, etc. etc. Why not devote some of that energy into fixing what's already out there?? Hmm EA?? AMIRIGHT??

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Branching Out and Moving On

Things have been quiet here because I have felt directionless where my gaming is concerned. After being a dedicated WoW player for a considerable amount of time, I let my subscription expire a couple months ago. I had stopped playing about two or three weeks before that. I went through the same thing when I level capped to 85. So, what, exactly is my problem?

This is going to sound judge-y and like I'm pointing fingers but I don't have anyone specific in mind, just so ya know. But the problem is the other players that have taken the fun out of the game and have turned it into a chore. I read all these different WoW blogs and I listen to in-game chat and core players (and I think the term "player" doesn't fit but I don't know what else to call them) have elevated (or maybe lessened is a better word) what is supposed to be a game to this whole other...thing. When you break down the timing of a shot or spell to tenths of a second and then verbally attack the player who didn't get that shot or spell off "on time" you're not playing a game anymore. You have analyzed and nit picked at the tiniest detail to the point where you've sucked all the fun right out of playing. At least for me. I can see how some people get their rocks off by displaying their massive grasp of statistical math by dissecting the game of World of Warcraft.
Something that I don't get, never have and probably never will, is...if you've successfully run an instance or raid, you've downed the last boss and you've gotten that coveted piece of gear or mount, why do the numbers matter? Shouldn't the final question be, "Did you have fun??"

I'm neurotic, right? So when I log in to play a game, and I really mean play a game, and all I feel is pressure to perform perfectly, to study, analyze, and memorize game mechanics, all I feel is anxious and nervous and my hands sweat and by the end of the encounter I have to take deep breaths and Aleve for my massive headaches, it just isn't fun anymore. 

I realize that a lot of this dissatisfaction stems from my own hangups but it's really 50/50 in that a lot of WoW players (again, that term just doesn't feel right here), have lost sight that it's a game. It's supposed to be fun. Gaming, especially role playing-type games, is supposed to be a way in which you can immerse yourself in another world and just relax away from real life pressures. Most importantly, IT'S SUPPOSED TO BE FUN!!! Worrying about tenths of a second has no place in a game. No place.

As a result of my neuroses, I've branched out into playing Guild Wars 2 and I'm back into Diablo 3 and the Sims 3 as well. I feel no pressure in any of the three of these games and in fact, will be back to blog a little about them all in other posts. One thing though, the players in Guild Wars 2 are so friendly that the contrast between the in game chat there and trade chat in WoW is like black and white. Anyway, more on that at another time.

In the end, even knowing how I currently feel and having said all that I've said, I know I'll re-up my subscription to WoW at some point in the future. Probably even within the next six months. I just need a step back and gain a little perspective. Honestly, I miss the familiarity of WoW. I do. So, I'll be back to it sometime.