Saturday, September 24, 2011

Shaman Class Feedback

Merinna visiting the Maelstrom back in beta- still blissfully
unaware of how developers  were going to screw up her class.
Recently, developers posted requests for specific feedback about how the classes are working that included a specific list of questions for each class. I rather wish that somebody would publish a sort of digest for these things. I think it would be very interesting to see what a bulk of thoughtful people had to say about these sorts of things. Though, I can't bring myself to slog through the pages and pages of "MAGES NEED MOAR DPS!" kinds of comments to find them.

Taking a look at some of the guide questions got me to thinking Shaman thoughts though:

What are your biggest quality-of-life issues? For instance, no longer requiring ammo could be considered a quality-of-life improvement for hunters.

We have three spells requiring reagents (Water Walk, Water Breathing and Reincarnation) and realistically, I can't use up all three of my minor glyph slots to opt out of carrying those reagents. Most other classes have been losing more and more of their reagents. I would be happy to lose the need to farm naga for "shiny fish scales" and/or "fish oil" at the earliest opportunity. I still kinda like carrying ankhs though, though it would be nice if I could make more than a stack of 10.


Whachoo lookin' at?
Richard Knaaaaaaaaaaaaak's latest Warcraft Novel came out a bit more than a week ago to the adulation of WoW lore nerds everywhere.

As is becoming my habit: I'll make some appraisal of the book itself in the first part of this post, saving SPOILERS!!! (Oh no! Not Spoilers!) for after the jump.

When I remarked on the previous Warcraft novel about Thrall I noted that I would have been more interested in a book about the building of relationships-- and not the goopy one Thrall builds with Aggra(vation), but the ones with draenei and dwarves as a part of the Earthen Ring.

Be careful what you ask for, because the heavy bulk of Wolfheart is precisely that-- although the relationship being forged is between Varian Wrynn of Stormwind and Genn Graymane of Gilneas.

Most players booted up WoW right after the Cataclysm to find Gilneas firmly in the ranks of the Alliance, and many would not have stopped to consider that Greymane left the earlier Alliance of Lordaeron, turning his back on Stormwind during its ongoing fights after the end of the Second War. Varian Wrynn, of course, has never forgotten this fact, and, at the beginning of this novel, is not really excited to welcome the Gilneans back into the fold.

Somewhat oddly though: this is a Knaaaaaaaak Warcraft Novel, and though the story really is all about the Humans and Worgen of the Eastern Kingdoms learning to play nice, the primary protagonists are all Night Elves. I think Knaak may be contractually obligated to only write about Night Elves sometimes.

The framework of the story involves Tyrande Whisperwind and Malfurion Stormrage hosting an Alliance summit in Darnassus. At the same time, they are squeezing shoe-horning Highbornes back into society, coping with a murder mystery, and having to deal with a second Hellscream making trouble in Ashenvale.

As with most Warcraft novels, this is a lot of plot. But it all feels like it has no consequence. The specific timing of the action of this novel is a little difficult to pin down, but I would peg it happening sometime during that 14-hour maintenance Blizzard used to upgrade the servers to WoW: Cataclysm before any story points progress from the expansion. What's more: the appearance, demeanor and placement of certain characters contradicts what we find in world now.  It's like this novel's story is taking place in some alternate dimension of Warcraft-- maybe on a private server or something.

The centerpiece of the novel is definitely an Orc campaign into Ashenvale. To the best of my recollection, this is the first time since the Second War that we have seen full-on battle between the factions. (and no, Alterac Valley doesn't count).  But this, too, is frustrating:  the resolution of any such battle cannot, and does not, alter the map of Ashenvale that we know in the post-Deathwing world. Any battle that has Garrosh Hellscream, Tyrande Whisperwind and Varian Wrynn on the field should have led to something much more significant than what happens here.

In many regards, I think this may have been one of the more disappointing Warcraft novels I've read. I see no impact of all this writing on the greater world we inhabit. There is some good character development, but much of it proceeds far too predictably, and is not as intrinsically interesting.

(Riddle: What is the best way for manly men like Varian Wrynn and Genn Graymane to bond and come to respect each other for the manly men they are? If you need another hint, go check any Hemingway novel or short story for a good hint.)

Click past the jump for spoilery bits: