lørdag den 17. november 2018

World of Warcraft - Classic vs. Battle for Azeroth - Professions and Achievements

Next part of my World of Warcraft rant

The Achievement system, that was launched in October 200. That was rigth down my alley. Doing strange things and getting rewarded by a KA-CHING. 

We left my old main, Bredil frustrated over not being able to learn all the cooking recipes at the tender age of 113. First - feel his triumph! This is one of the hardest of the 200 recipes required for the then top Achievement Iron chef.
October 31st 2010 - the recipe is the green book with a panda on it.
There existed 201or 202 in-game cooking recipes, of which one - Thistle Tea - could only be had by Rogues, one other was of the "now you see it - now you don't-variety". It was added, then removed etc. for every patch. I finally learned it in February next year and then I succeeded in learning 200 recipes not much later.
February 10th 2011
This was all in the Cataclysm expansion.

-- 🐼 --

Not very much later I also got the achievement for learning 240 Recipes This happened in Mists of Pandaria.

August 6th 2012

Since then new recipes have been added to the game with every expansion. There's now 338 in-game recipes.
But no new Achievements have been added. No, you still have to get 240 cooking recipes to get the hardest cooking Achievement. When it was launched it was a bit of an achievement, it is not an achievement any more.

-- 🍦 --

For me professions were more than half the reason I played. But now ...
Alchemy/Herbalism was ruined for me once progress could only be gotten by doing dungeons. I'm still not maxed in Broken Isle Alchemy. And as nobody need my services any more, why bother.

I fished for conjurer Margoss and for the Fisherfriends instead. I got my legendary fishing pole, the Underlight Angler, and improved it almost all the way.
 But Fishing now is ridiculous. You don't need a pole - you don't need skills. You just point your weapon at the nearest school of fish and pull them up. And no worthwhile Achievements for your trouble.

 -- 🍳 --

 I liked the secondary professions best. In Vanilla cooking buffs could mean life or death for you. Now they might mean something in a raid, not in your everyday life - same as potions, gear, and scrolls.

 And I loved the achievements you could get. But really ... for cooking the best is STILL Ironpaw chef Where's the Draenor Chef, the Broken Chef, and the Battling Chef Achievements?

Cooking in Battle for Azeroth is just a money sink. Fr most recipes, you just need two mats which you get by pointing your weapon at the water (aka fishing) and squish the oil of two fish. Yes it doesn't matter which fish, any old fish will do. Then you go and buy mats for 5 G (a heap of flour, berries, honey, coffee etc) Fills up your bags and slims your wallet.
There's nothing to it any longer. It's maybe a tell tale sign of how little value Blizz puts in Cooking, Alchemy etc. that you can not follow your progress in Armory any longer. If you Check out my Achievements, you'll see that I do love Professions.

 -- 🍳 --

Many of the older recipes have had their ingredients altered. Fewer, easier to come by, and vendor bought items have supplanted the original ones.
 Good old Westfall Stew can serve as an example. In Vanilla it was a Quest to get the recipe. First you carried the recipe from a farmer giving up farming for city life, to another with more staying power. Then she asked you to gather ingredients: 3 Stringy Vulture Meat, 3 Goretusk Snouts, 3 Murloc Eyes, and 3 Okra. You were rewarded with a copy of the recipe. The ingredients you needed to make it were almost the same - no Okra though - I always wondered why.

Vanilla ingredients for Westfall Stew
Stringy Vulture Meat (from Fleshrippers), Murloc Eyes (from Murlocs), and Goretusk Snouts (from Goretusks).

Battle for Azeroth ingredients for Westfall Stew
 Chunk of Boar meat (from Boars or Goretusks), Refreshing Spring Water (from almost any Vendor)

Fewer and easier obtainable ingredients needed. And the recipe is now sold by a Vendor in the Capital city.

-- 🍦 --

I love exploring, questing, cooking and fishing.  I love levelling slowly, experiencing the whole world before I outlevel it. I don't mind making goofy mistakes, like fighting with my fishing pole equipped, or trying to defend myself with the Egg hunting basket instead of my big shield. I don't mind the long corpse runs, I don't mind having to shift+click every single letter to open them. I don't mind waiting for items on Cool Down until next day. I don't mind having to hand in/kill/pick ... an endless number of things. I don't mind having to go somewhere special to craft special things. I don't mind having to cooperate with other players to craft really good items.

I don't mind all of these things as long as I can do them while I level. I do not like it when the real gameplay seems to open up at max level only. 

I play to relax and have fun. I do not play to do it right every time.

 ... more frustration to come. 

fredag den 16. november 2018

World of Warcraft - Classic vs. Battle for Azeroth - End game oriented.

Next installment of my World of Warcraft rant

Some thing you want to do or buy requires you to gain reputation with groups of people (called factions). Some of those are mutually excusive. Like you cannot be cops and robbers at the same time. But most are not.

When I started playing, lots of thing were locked behind reputations - they still are. But there's a difference.
Classic Demo Quest completion.
Look, I gained some reputation with the people of Stormwind - that's the Human Capital city. Almost everytime I hand in a Quest, I'll earn reputation with some faction or other.

This kind of reputation used to be required for cheaper training, equipping certain items, riding horses/rams/kodos/ - all the race-specific mounts were only at your disposal once you got exalted (highest rank) with the relevant faction. Lots of other funny things were as well. Fishing poles, recipes, tabards, ...

Now I don't really know what it's good for - maybe cheaper training still?

When I first played, you got this kind of reputation as you levelled. If you were in a hurry, or wanted an exotic item or recipe, you went somewhere special, fought certain enemies, handed in strange objects (insect wings, burning coins, caskets of seaweed ... ) acquired in strange ways while levelling to gain reputation.

Reputation is still needed to acquire certain items, recipes coming naturally to my mind, as I always like to collect all in-game recipes.
Back in October 2010 I handed in an endless number of Silithid Carapace Fragments to gain Exalted status with the Faction Brood of Nozdormu. This gave me a Quest item etc etc ... long questline , that ended up with me having the best In-game recipe ever: Dirge's Kickin' Chimaerok chops. That is the green book with the panda portrait in the upper left hand corner of my bachpack.

Screenshot October 31st 2010

But nowadays it comes to a sad ending for my poor Paladin ...
Battle for Azeroth screenshot.
 Well, at a first glance this looks quite fine.


I have to be level 100 - currently 113 ✔
I have to have learnt Kul Tiran cooking - current skill level 25 ✔
I have to be at least Honoured with the faction Tortollan Seekers - current reputation level still Neutral ➗ - that's why it's red.

And here I stand baffled. Three quarters of the way to Friendly, the lowest possible positive reputation. I have dilligently done all the Quest given to me by this guy's friends. There's no way whatsoever I can get any more reputation with this faction until I reach maximum level. Once there I will be able to do a special category of repeatable Quests called World Quests. I can't kill any enemies. I can't cook up Tortollan delicacies. I can't hand in any ancient scrolls or anything. I'm forced to reach level 120 before I can get any more reputation with the Tortollan Seekers.

Poor Bredil feeling despondent. Inset is the numeric: 2293/3000. And that is only for the first step on the reputation ladder:
Neutral - Friendly - Honored - Revered - Exalted.
Why can't this vendor just tell me: "You have to be level 120 to start looking at all the goodies I have for you, sorry. Return later, mate."

-- 🍦--

 Of course most of the fun nowadays begin at level 120 - maximum level - and it is far too easy getting there. The number of experience points needed to reach a new level has steadily been lowered throughout the game - not neccesarily in numbers, but compared to the Quest rewards etc.
You can buy gear, augmenting your gain of experience points by high percentages.
You can ride or even fly from place to place from a very low level. If it is not your first ever character, a mount is available the second you log in.

-- 🍦--
The old version of level 15.
Vanilla screenshot. My main at level 15.
No riding - the mount tab is not there even. Riding came at level 40, and you were lucky to be able to afford both training and a mount. Paladins had to do a Quest to get a mount - a hard one, requiring help from friends in-game. Now you can ride mounts when you hit level 20, and if one of your character has a mount every single one of your characters has it. The Paladin Quest is no more. Paladins are instantaneously given their mount and the ability to ride it once they hit level 20. Faster riding can be learnt at level 40, and flying at level 60.

-- 🎆 --

I am by the way not trying to prove anything, convince anybody or even start a longer debate on the pros and cons of Vanilla vs. Battle for Azeroth. I'm just venting my frustration and telling why I'm not playing much nowadays, and why I'm looking forward to the summer of '19.

I'm just one frustrated Paladin 

 ... more frustration to come. 

onsdag den 14. november 2018

Words for Wednesday - 14. November

This week's prompts are provided by Elephant's Child.




Once again I wrote a small chapter from my autobiography and once again I took up the additional challenge of using the prompts in the order they were given. 
We're taking up the thread where we left it. It's the second summer at Unicorn Farm, holidays are coming to an end, and Susan is going home to attend normal school. Wizarding school is taking place during holidays only.

Susan found it hard to peel off her striped witch's skirt and once again face the normal world. But on the other hand, she found it hard to justify her black mood. She was not bringing her wizarding dress home with her, just to hang them on the wall. Heidi and the twins Tue and Lis, were not supposed to use magic. But Kai, father of the twins and Heidi, and a temporary employee in Winther's Summer Circus - he was a stage magician as well as the real stuff - had told them that control with the apprentice magicians was quite lax during off times. Susan imagined Heidi's mother's reaction to this. The temperature rose in her cheeks. But luckily, Sandra was not her mother. Only her best friend's mother. And even if Heidi and her siblings claimed that Sandra could foresee the future, at least for a small amount of time, Susan was not the least afraid of her and she always just let her many words and admonitions roll over her head like so much noise. She suspected that the twins did the same.

Susan's mind touched the old volume of cantrips and minor spells that she had checked out for reading during normal school time. She would have her revenge on those teasing class mates during the coming term. But then she remembered the words of Thora, the ancient, but energetic and lovable Icelandic teacher at the Unicorn Farm from their first day ever at Unicorn Farm: "You are all apprentice wizards, but apart from this, you're all different. And that is normal. You are here on Unicorn Farm to be taught the use of magic. And by use, I mean USE not abuse." Susan remembered Thora's black piercing eyes. She felt as if they had looked right into her soul. Susan suddenly felt as a fraud. If she ever did any of what she had planned only seconds ago, she was sure that sooner or later she was going to have to explain her actions under the scrutiny of these black eyes. Her knees felt weak and she had to sit down.

After sitting for a while Susan got up again. She had a vague feeling of barely having avoided something very dangerous. She promised herself then and there that she would only ever use her magic to help and amaze, never to hurt.

World of Warcraft - Classic vs. Battle for Azeroth - Nodes and Quest Objectives

Next part of my World of Warcraft rant

Not all the Questgivers wants you to slay villains, Some of the Quests require no killing at all. But no matter what objective you have it can be tracked. Which brings us to the Quest tracker. Right there  - under the mini-map. It is essentially doing the same job as the counter in your Quest log, but it's there, handy and visible ... or not so handy.

Once again Vanilla first.
I found one sack of oats. In the middle of the screen a short message: Handful of Oats 1/8 shows for a couple of seconds. In the quest log the counter states the same, and under the mini-map the name of the Quest and progress in finishing it, is shown for the next five minutes. If you don't want it to show at all, you have that option as well.

Tick the box at the arrow, close the Quest log, and the thing telling you you're on the right track is the yellow "Handful of Oats 1/8" floating around for a few seconds.

-- 🍦--

Now for the modern version:

I removed all the tracking and help, I could possibly find. Except for the golden arrow, everything looks promising.

 But then I opened the Quest log. Notice how map and Quest log has been integrated. I can't see my quest log without openeg the map - with objective markers on it, too. And it's big. I almost cannot see the world. And notice, the Quest tracker is back in place. Well OK, I click "Untrack" and it disappears.

But oops, I found one more transmitter and BANG it's back. And not a nice, discreet back, no it comes with a bling effect saying "Hey there, look at me!" 

 I don't like you, Quest tracker.

-- 🎆 --

And did you notice something else? Let's take a closer look - Vanilla and Sack of Oats:

Battle for Azeroth and Transmitter Spare Parts:

The transmitters are sparkling. And no, it's not because they're transmitters. Everything you ought to interact with, sparkles in the modern version.

- Quest objectives as seen above.

- New Quests on in-game boards: 

- Flowers (and mineral nodes/schools of fish/people you have to talk to ... )

Of course, you can disable all tracking, but then you will only have the "New Quest-here!" markers on your mini-map, not the "Here's a flower (mineral node/school of fish/what you might want to gather)".
Or you could  hide the user interface entirely. But if you have to turn it on every time you are attacked and have to fight, you'll get killed more often than not.

Of course with Quest descriptions being very obscure it' sometimes useful.
This is my poor, frustrated main character. A Human Paladin currently level 113. He has been around since October 2006 - late Vanilla.

 This one is a Quest for improving his herbalism skills. I'm sorry, this is not an original screenshot, but the text in the quest log would read: 
 That Declan Senal is not really highly informative: "Go out and drink!" I think I spent about an hour on and off before giving up and used some external help. He could have told me: " ... whenever you happen to be near Rosaline's apiary in Stormsong Valley, pop in and drink the potion ..." I'd have been a wiser and less frustrated Paladin.

 ... more frustration to come. 

tirsdag den 13. november 2018

World of Warcraft - Classic vs. Battle for Azeroth - Maps and Mini-Maps

WARNING: To follow is a long ranting picture heavy post about all the things MotherOwl found better in Vanilla. A feeling that a week of doing classic demo, levelling character after character from level 15½ to level 19 (that's the demo's limit) has done nothing to diminish. 
This is only part 1, as it turned out too long and picture heavy for just one post. 

And I'm sorry for my confusing putting blog posts up and taking them down again. The "post at a future date-feature" has been playing games with me. I hope it works now.  
Now to the rant: 

The maps in Vanilla was just that. Maps of the worls you travelled, not pushing, pulling or bothering you with informations on Quests  you still had not done.

 This is the Vanilla (or Classic) map. You can see the pointer - that's where I am -  and what I have discovered. Nothing else. No Quest helpers, no Fligth points, nothing but a map.

This is how a map looks in BfA: The blue areas are places with unfinished Quests The yellow question marks are Quests not yet picked up. The blue winged shoes are Fligth points (places from and to where you can take a flying taxi - A griffon or what the Master has to offer) you can see those markers even in places you have not yet been to.

The mini-map is a small, round map in the upper rigth hand corner to help you orientate yourself and find nearby resources.

 The mini-map Vanilla version. You see: The position marker. One yellow dot which could mean a completed Quest not yet handed in. Or a flower or a mining node. They all are small golden dots. The sun tells you that it's daytime - why I never reaaly understood, except for the fact taht server time is not always the same as your time. But as the sun set in game too making it quite dark, I never really saw the point.  + and - makes the minimap zoom in and out. N is for North obviously - the minimap can be set to rotate always having your nose pointing up. I get dizzy from that, and never used it.

The mini-map modern version.You seee: position marker, Quest exclamation marks for Quests not yet taken, if I had any quests done, but not yet handed in, they would show as question marks, Fligth master icon, and a fat yellow arrow pointing to the nearest incomplete quest.
The sun is replaced by a date, that opens a calneder allowing you to see in game events. Thats actually quite smart.

Even when I close the Quest descriptions under the map it still wants to remind me of "Objectives"

The tiny square upper rigth opens the big map.
- 🍦 -

In the Vanilla version the X in the upper rigth corner closes the mini-map. Like this:

Wonderful. Now you're free to explore the world at your leisure.

- 🍦 -

But how do I find the Quests? And how do I complete the Quests after I found them?

1. By looking carefully. The Quest givers are clearly marked in the world having a big, golden exclamation mark hanging over their heads (If it's silvery, you're too low level to thake the Quest, come back later). Fligth masters have a green one, and those with a completed Quest a golden question mark. This does not seem to bother them. Me neither.

2. Completing the Quests are done by reading the Quest description. Look at this:
Gryan Stoutmantle wants to see if I'm up to the job, I was sent here to do. To show my mettle, I have to kill 15 of two types of villains, then return to him. He then proceeds to tell me where to go and some general directions.
If you've done this several times, you do not need all this. Just read Quest objectives and click "Accept"

And if some time passes before doing the Quest (life happens, you know). I open my Quest log by clicking that holy Grail icon - one of those small joy making things, Blizzard has removed in later updates.

And first there's a summary: Gryan Stoutmantle wants me to kill 15 of two types of villains, then return to him. Secondly there's a counter. I've not killed any yes.

 Thirdly. If you're stuck, forgot, or did not pay attention to what Gryan told you then read on: He tells you where to go and some general directions.
Finally the revard 5 silver coins, That's not much, but it will cover your repair bill and other expenses and leave you with at least a few coppers left over. 

You think, you decide, you do.

... to be continued