Friday, December 19, 2014

Is Technology Getting Out of Hand?

Giant Metal Scorpion: steampunky. Tail Mounted Laser: not so much.
This goes back a while:

I was in the Mists of Pandaria beta testing phase and one of the things they frequently tested then were race and faction changes. As a result, I had turned a lot of my Alliance characters in beta into Hordes and gotten a chance to check out how the other side lives.

Early on in the adventure into the Jade Forest, A Horde gas bag is hanging in the sky dumping pain and misery on...somebody on the ground. I honestly can't remember if it was Hozen or Alliance or Jin'yu. But for one quest you are ordered to "man the guns" and kill X number of bad guys on the ground. So I ran off and did that, but as soon as I jumped into "the gun," my heart sank a little.

This was no ordinary gun.

This was a machine gun.

Y'see, machine guns are weaponry that quite definitely begin their existence in the 20th Century. In fact, the machine gun took its bow almost exactly 100 years ago this year as it was pulled up by troops in World War I. It shocked the world just how horribly lethal it was and how cheap a soldier's life had become. It was a triumph of mechanical engineering and one of the worst things to happen to the human race all at the same time.

And, as of the beginning of MoP, The Horde has these things on the decks of their navy.

Since that time, we see more and more futuristic robots, we have the Warlord's Deathwheel, which is a cross between a tank and a tricycle. The Iron Horde has rocked up on our world with artillery that looks like it Napoleon's cannons on a bit of steroids.

Warcraft has always embraced an element of steampunk, and I can't say I'm against that. But artillery, machine guns and huge, city-destroying bombs seem like they have gone a bit beyond steampunk. You must remember, when the real life calvary raised their swords against a machine gun nest, it was the calvary that lost-- badly.  What place does a warrior's sword or mace serve in a world where Siegemaster Blackfuse is firing lasers at us? And maybe more importantly, how does this change the story?

Sunday, December 14, 2014

RIP Garrosh Hellscream, Warchief, War Criminal

This is a spoilery sort of article if you haven't worked that out yet.
It is with a relieved heart that we of the Alliance lay former warchief of the Horde, Garrosh Hellscream, to rest. Or, not really to rest, but more to slowly rot away, exposed on the plains of Nagrand after having been electrocuted and squished in a talon of earth by his former mentor and noted orc shaman, Baldy.

Hellscream, a noted war criminal and warchief of the Horde who was overthrown in a recent revolt, had most recently escaped justice in Pandaria using a botched time travel mechanism and is presumed to be at least partly responsible for the recent attacks of the so-called "Iron Horde" on the Blasted Lands of Azeroth. It was these actions that brought together a rare, mixed task force of Alliance and Horde heroes to storm the Dark Portal, protect our world from this new threat, and bring Hellscream to justice.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Resource Follow-up.

The Commandojack
It's a little bit later and there are results to go over in regards to my experience trying to up my garrison resource production. Some useful lessons have appeared.

Upgrade Your Lumber Mill ASAP
I built the level one lumber mill, accomplished the first few quests related to that, and then promptly stopped finding any lumber I could harvest. It was frustrating. The mill sat idle for several days during the holiday weekend when my runs through the world turned up little I could harvest, and my brief forays to generate lumber were also unsuccessful.

Prompted by some guildies, I upgraded to the level 2 mill and found a ton more trees to mark. I also found the Nightmarsh of Shadowmoon Valley to be a fast respawning place to collect two or three days worth of lumber work orders. This is how I imagined the mill was supposed to work.

Scavengers Need Development
We spoke of how follower with the scavenging trait looked to be among the best ways to generate materials. I ata d by that, but find more work is going to be needed for that pay-off.  As noted before, the only way to get a scavenger on your team will be to headhunt one. But any follower brought on board this way is going to be level 90 and thus unsuited for many potential supply runs at the outset. She is going to need leveling, so pair her with training bonus followers and keep her busy even if she's not chasing supplies right away. And on the downside, your scavenger will have other abilities that may or may not make her suited for particular missions. This is a crapshoot and would support hiring one or two others. But more on the foibles of hiring more followers is below. I think I went out and hired my first scavenger immediately after I wrote this and since then, she is underperforming. First, she was too low level to go on the right runs. Then, she most frequently didn't have the right counterskills to bring home the bacon. Third, very few of the resource reward missions have more than one character to assign, so unless something changes, I don't see much opportunity to stack that scavenging bonus either.

Garrison Invasions

An idyllic evening in Lunarfall... but not for long!

I've been through two weekends worth of garrison invasions now. Um... first weekend it was the Iron Horde, and then it was another bunch of Iron Horde. But they were different, I swear. These are a real hoot! But there's a lot going unexplained. 

There are three stages. In the first you kill some scouts. In the second, the main body of the attack commences. In the third, there's a boss. The real meat of the thing is the second stage. And there are clearly some variants depending on what group of idiots is attacking you. For example, the first week, they charged the gates. The second week, they poofed into the center of town in a puff of smoke AND charged the gates.

Your goal, as a defender, is to rack up as many Victory Points (VP) as possible. If you get 300 VP, it's a bronze. 600 VP is silver and 1000 VP is gold. The quality of your finish affects the size of your reward at the end, which includes gold, garrison resources and apexis crystals. You can allegedly win one bag of prizes for each finish once a week. Which seems like crap to me. If you get gold on your first invasion, what are you encouraged to do? Fight less so you get the silver or bronze package again? Are you going to deprive a friend of a strong finish because you want your spoils?