Monday, October 18, 2010

The Time They Are A Changing

Or rather the times they have a changed already.
The big class changes patch dropped last week and though I haven't taken the full amount of time I probably could have checking out the changes I have to say I am liking what I have seen so far pretty well. But before I get into what I do like I think I should get the bitching out of the way about the things I don't.

To start with I absolutely hate the Blizzard raid frames. Don't get me wrong, it was terribly nice of them to squeeze that in there but the things are more in the way than anything for me. I don't use the Blizzard stock frames for anything and I haven't for a long time. I'm not knocking them for being there but they just don't fit the layout I have for my UI theses days. I think they should have put an option in to turn it completely off rather than just a hide button that still shows a hideously big tab on the side. I haven't seen a way to move it either (not that blizzard's UI options have ever been movable without 3rd party help from what I have seen) but that would also be something nice for them to add in the coming expansion. That's about the only change I haven't liked so far.

The Blizz power auras have turned out to be pretty nice even if I am still getting use to them and what they mean. They provide a good start but it would be nice if they were customizable in some form like the addon they are based on but since they aren't they still work well with the original add-on for me. Overall I like them.

Now the thing I have been spending the most time on is getting use to focus on my hunter. I was one of the hunters that was completely hyped about losing mana and so far I still feel the same way. Its taking some getting use to but focus is working out fairly nicely for me. I am enjoying the more complex BM rotation (yes I went BM did you have any doubt I would) and also the new pet abilities. I cant even begin to express how nice it is to have such a large pet stable now. One thing I am missing I wasn't expecting to is my volley. I mean it was really only useful in WOTLK but as AoE heavy as Wrath has been it kinda sucks not being able to do a nice AoE like all the not as cool as me kids. Two places I came across that it really sucked badly in were the cleansing chamber going to Prof Putput himself and the damned gates in strat when I was farming something. Since our AoE is dependent on range AND explosive trap things that don't trip traps leave us a bit screwed. So I get to stand there and feel completely useless as I watch Snuggles spaz around the screen like a real kitty does and make random comments in vent. I am sure I will get used to things again though. Volley was fairly crappy in BC and so was rarely used and I am sure I will forget all about it once I am out of AoE fest Wrath for good. On the other side of the AoE spectrum, explosive trap and multi-shot proved way more effective than I was expecting in my raid last week. I wasn't as high as I used to be but I wasn't too far behind it either.

As for my other toons, I haven't taken the time to sit down with anything other than my DK at the moment. I've specced my paladin, warrior, and shaman as well but just haven't wanted to get into them just yet so I will give more updates as I do.

What I have been doing a lot of is enjoying how much better things are running for me in game now since the patch dropped. The water and updated graphics in some areas have been a welcome change for me as I often find myself wandering the landscape just to pass the time and get my memories in before they all go away. Sure the looks don't have all that much to do with how I play but you have to admit for a game that's nearly 6 years old, warcraft is covering her gray hairs very well. Still would be nice to get some character model updates but I can't complain too much about that.

All in all this has been a fun patch for me and given me a nice boost in my lagging desire to play these days.

- Eds

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Feeling the Age Gap

I've been feeling my age for the past few weeks. No I am not yelling about "those darned kids" yet but I feel close to it. No this isn't exactly a WoW related post but WoW does play a part in why I feel this way. What has me feeling the gap is my views on entertainment and what it should and shouldn't do for me. Now what exactly do I mean by this? Well its simple. I see that my tastes in games, movies, music, and the likes are much more demanding than those younger than me it would seem. I prefer the quality of my entertainment products to the flashy, overly marketed package most things try to pass off as quality these days.

Now its not like I just starting thinking about this for no reason. A podcast I was listening was the trigger for me when they brought up teenage relatives and how they want more gore and in your face graphics in their horror movies. Now at first I just ingested this statement and thought about it quickly and found I agreed with it for the most part. I didn't really dwell on it though, so that podcast came and went and I didn't think about it again for a while. But its like that statement flipped a switching that was partly on to completely on and I started to actually pay attention to comments on various media I was using. For example, I was in Dalaran watching trade as I chatted with some guildies and somebody popped up and asked if anybody remembered Q-bert. I was surprised by not because of the normal trade banter on my server but rather because Q-bert wasn't the kind of game someone after a certain age would know about at all unless they were some sort of collector or game historian. Keeping this short, I whispered the guy and we had a little chat and he was indeed older than me and though neither of us really got into the old "new verses old" game debate the feeling still presented itself.

Next up is looking at my love for horror movies. I was watching a Cronenburg movie that was from like '79 and out of curiosity I started reading viewer comments as I waited for the movie to load. One of the first things my eyes landed on was a post by somebody that said they couldn't get into these sorts of old movies. First thing that clicked in my mind about this was even though I am a child of the 80's, I never really thought of a movie that isn't from the early 70's and back to be "old". Next I felt sad for the person that wrote that since that was closing yourself off to a lot of really good movies that blow anything made in the last 10 even 20 years out of the water. But that is a matter of tastes and conditioning. American horror movies are a shell of their former greatness with constant hashing of poorly made remake after remake of classic movies that in no way needed remakes and recent Asian horror that has no business being Americanized because the cultural details that made it work in the first place are lost in translation, as well as gore porn movies that have no purpose other than to shock and gross the audience out but cant even do that well anymore because there are 10 other movies on the market at the same time with the same gimmick. Now while I have a personal dislike for those shorts of movies I wouldn't hold it against the people that happen to enjoy them. It's more I just find it interesting that I would feel that way towards a comment like that when I am probably not very much older than the guy that posted that. (note: i have no idea how old the guy was exactly)

As for games, these have made me feel the gap more than any other form of entertainment. Maybe its because the technology has progressed so far in games or it could simply be the fact I was blessed enough to be born around the time that games looked like colored blobs vaguely resembling people and object so they had to be fun in other ways to keep people buying them. Story and game play were the selling points rather than how pretty something was. Now I am not just rambling about the hay-day for no reason. Last night I was looking at the sales email from Gamestop and saw the link for Cata on it so I decided to check it out since I haven't made up my mind how I wish to purchase the game yet. First comment on the page was somebody saying they couldn't understand how Blizzard could still have so many fans using outdated engines and what not. So wait. As long as a game is pretty and requires you to pay out the ass for a system that came play it, its worth spending the money on because it has to be good? I understand WoW isn't the most up to date game in looks but it must be doing something right to keep millions of people playing it for all these years when its competition can't. I'm not trying to say it couldn't look better but to be as widely playable as it is the game is damn pretty. Also why should you care it doesn't look like Age of Conan or the newer mmos that are coming out or have come out? As long as my game can pull me into its world, keep me there, and keep me entertained, I don't really care its not the best looking thing on the market. I would take Final Fantasy VI over any FF after 9 gladly because the story isn't utter crap. The original Silent Hill still makes my pulse race even thought the graphics look horrible. The first Fatal Frame still scares the crap out of me after all these years and it certainly isn't as pretty a game as things that came out just a few years after. Legend of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time is one of the best games I ever had the pleasure of picking up but its still ugly by today's standards. I would take any one of those over 80% of the games out today. Still I know that I most likely couldn't sit any of my teenage cousins down and expect them to have a good time with those same games. Its not their fault, its the fault of marketing and sellers. Still if I could sit one down and get them to play Streets of Rage and admit it was fun I would find it a moral victory.

The age gap isn't a bad thing, its just a weird feeling. Its the feeling that I am the odd one out. Its the feeling of a wall being built and its one I am not sure if I like or dislike. All I know is I hope one day I can come across someone younger and we can have a nice talk about some classics so I know that there are still people that respect quality being born.