dorchadas: (Warcraft Algalon)
Warcraft is the series that I've put the most time into. Even completely ignoring World of Warcrafr--my main had something like 450 days /played by the time I lost interest in the game in in 2011--Warcraft III was my go-to game for pretty much all of university. I'd work on a paper for a while, load up WCIII and play a quick game, then go back to the paper. Back in high school, instead it was Warcraft II, and I was good enough that our team placed second in a tournament that the high school games club ran entirely on the strength of my performance. I mean, one of my team members forgot to build a town hall.

Warcraft I, though, I have less experience with. I came into the fandom (as the kids say nowadays) with WCII, so I got used to that game's much more capable interface. I eventually borrowed the install discs from a friend and played through Warcraft I, and then after I beat it I never went back.

Until now.

Warcraft I humans vs orcs battle
Welcome to the world of Warcraft.

Read more... )


2017-Jul-02, Sunday 20:45
dorchadas: (Warcraft Face your Nightmares)
I spent several hours today trying to get a multiplayer game of Warcraft III to work. There's a map called Sunken City that looks like a lot of fun that's designed for three players, so [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd and I roped in [ profile] uriany to play with us, but we ad to jump through all kind of hoops. First they had to update their games to 1.28, which broke and required them to delete the game and completely reinstall. Then I had to set up port forwarding to allow [ profile] uriany to successfully see and join the game. Then, when I figured out everything that was wrong and we had finally all joined and gotten the map started...[ profile] uriany got dropped out of the game. Twice.

Remember when we had to put up with this every time we tried to play games online? At least I didn't have to set my IRQ.

On the other hand, we got to eat lunch with [ profile] daveax! He's in town visiting family and had a lunch free today, so we ,eat him downtown at Vermillion, a Latin/Indian fusion restaurant near where I work. That was lovely and I'm glad we did that first so I wasn't in a bad mood before we went to lunch.

Now, to cap off the day, we're watching Laser Time play through the first hour and half of Metroid: Other M (THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY). Now that Metroid Prime 4 has been announced, it doesn't sting so badly.
dorchadas: (Warcraft Moonkin Moonfire)
Just got out of a three-hour meeting where they again mentioned that we need fewer meetings. Maybe they can form an exploratory committee that can meet and determine a meeting schedule where they hammer out a plan for having fewer meetings.

I mean, some of the supervisors near me were playing Candy Crush on their phones. These are not vital meetings here.

I've been working on a Pathfinder adaptation of Warcraft, sourced partially from the old World of Warcraft RPG and partially from my eternal desire to tinker with systems. I already added two ability scores to the classic Strength-Dex-Con-Int-Wis-Cha lineup (one for Perception, and splitting Dexterity into full-body agility and fine manipulation) and am writing out all the spells myself rather than using the classic magic missile and cure light wounds. Now I'm working on the druid, and I'm trying to do it without any moon or sun spells. Moonfire is probably the iconic druid ability--it's what the moonkin is casting in the icon I used for this post--but in Warcraft III druids didn't have any of that. They summoned plants, roared loudly, and turned into animals.

The ones with the moon-themed spells were, of course, the priestesses of the moon. WoW brought in shadow priests and didn't want too many race-specific classes--and I don't blame them, it was a balancing nightmare for years until they finally wiped out almost all the edge-case buffs and special racial spells--so they didn't make night elf priests moon-themed, but I can ignore that for these purposes. Druids get to grow thorns and summon roots and spores and control the weather, and priestesses call down the light of the moons.

Moonfires will still be spammed, but in a more thematic way.

I took that Potter quiz that's all around social media now and got Slytherin, again. I always considered myself as a Ravenclaw until I starting taking those quizzes and they just came back Slytherin, Slytherin, Slytherin, Slytherin... Well, green and black are my favorite colors, and sometimes I do know what's best for you.

And I almost forgot, but I found an article on USGamer about a fan-made Final Fantasy XV cookbook. I showed it to [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd and now she's fired up about trying to make some of the recipes, so maybe when we draw Darker than Black to a close, we'll have a new cooking project to match it and 50 Weeks, 50 Curries.
Maybe I should actually play Final Fantasy XV first, though...
dorchadas: (Warcraft Algalon)
I've been on edge almost all day, which doesn't make it easy to relax on a three-day weekend. I even went to get a manicure with [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd and while my nails are much more manageable--they were long enough that it was pretty annoying to type--all I could think of while I was there was how long it was taking. I didn't find it relaxing at all. And I meant to start playing ふしぎの木の実 (大地の章) (Oracle of Seasons) today and haven't even booted it up. Instead I finished reading Japan at War, which is admittedly an excellent book, and fiddled with music for hours.

I've been really nostalgic for Warcraft lately. Not World of Warcraft, necessarily. The time of my life when I played MMOs is over. But the Warcraft setting, around which there isn't any way to interact outside of WoW and Hearthstone now that Blizzard isn't putting out Warcraft RTSes. I downloaded and organized the entire Wrath of the Lich King soundtrack, all fourteen hours of it, and have original WoW and Burning Crusade waiting for me to sort through when I can find the time. I booted up Warcraft III and played for a while before I tore myself away. And I made that icon that's up there from one of the few screenshots of Algalon I could find that wasn't full of PC nameplates or raiders trying to murder him.

I originally thought of putting "The stars come to my aid" as the text, since I played a Balance Druid and wore the Starcaller title from the moment I got it until I stopped playing even as I accumulated titles like "The Insane" and "Battlemaster," but I thought the current version would be more broadly applicable.

I'm all fired up over trying to make my perfect version of a WoW tabletop RPG game based on Pathfinder and using the Spheres of Power sourcebook to build spell lists for each caster class and Path of War for the martial classes, because I think it would work incredibly well even if it would be a ton of work. It'd be less work than actually balancing WoW is, though! And I need a new project now that Warlords of the Mushroom Kingdom is in tinkering mode and I have multiple other games prepped and ready for when I have more time.

Of course, that's what I need, right? More time.

(On the other hand, an old woman at the nail salon told me that I had interesting pants and the proprietor said she was jealous of my hair, so some good things happened today!)
dorchadas: (Warcraft Burning Moonkin)
For how long I've kept this blog--over a decade at this point--and how much time I spent playing World of Warcraft, I wrote surprisingly little about it. The last time I remember checking the /played on Manaan, my balance druid and the subject of the user picture on this entry, it was something like 410 days. Over six years, that's over four hours a day on average. I played a lot of World of Warcraft. If you check the blog tag, there's one post about the RPG campaign I want to run, two posts about my memories of playing, and two posts from the very beginning of my playing time. Almost nothing else. I guess when I was playing all the time, I didn't feel like I needed to write about it? The fish does not see the water, and so on.

Well, eventually I grew disenchanted and drifted away, and nothing I've seen since has ever convinced me to go back. Not even finally adding a real travel form. I spent six years turning into a cheetah by clicking on a hoof icon, but the pull is not strong enough.

I still really like the Warcraft setting, though. I want to run that game, I've bought the art books that I didn't get in the collector's sets that I own, and last night, I received something else I've been after for a while:

Moonkin statue

With art book for a backdrop.

Here's a dirty secret--I actually never liked Moonkin Form. I thought it was silly and didn't like the idea that druids needed to transform to accomplish anything. I do think moonkin are cute, though, and I spent years staring at feathery moonkin butt, so I have a big soft spot for them. I can see them now in my mind, wandering around Winterspring.

I set this guy up on my computer desk, where I keep most of my computer gaming memorabilia. I don't have much there, and don't usually want much there, but this was worth getting.
dorchadas: (Warcraft Stormcrow)
Yesterday I was poking around Youtube looking at World of Warcraft shorts out of a sudden sense of nostalgia and I re-found this:

This isn't my favorite WoW machinima I've ever seen--that honor goes to Ulduar: Defiance, to which I can attribute my love of trailer music like Two Steps from Hell or Epic Score--but it's definintely my second favorite, and I think a lot of that has to do with how I played World of Warcraft and why I ended up finally losing interest in the game after Cataclysm dropped.

One of the parts of World of Warcraft that I really loved when I first started playing was the sense of exploration. All the hard travel, the Menethil Harbor run, the Stranglethorn Vale run, traversing the length and breadth of the continents to get the flight points, all of that was great. As much as actually traveling on the flight points was a bit annoying--ten minutes to fly from Silithus to Darnassus--it gave a great sense of place in the world, and that's probably what I valued about the game most. Having played through Warcraft I, II, and III before I played World of Warcraft, so it was a chance to learn more about the setting that I already liked. I still have some of the screenshots I took of getting into bizarre places and exploring all the nooks and crannies that the designers didn't want you to go, like on top of the Ironforge gates, Mount Hyjal before it opened as a regular zone, or the edge of the world.

I mention this because I interpret the video as a conflict between people who want more DoTs and all the DPS (hence the title) against people who just want to explore the world. That's not actually a real conflict, since people who like raiding and downing bosses aren't diametrically opposed to people who like WoW as a setting or the feel of it as a world, but that kind of dichotomy was definitely drawn between them when I played.

Anyway, when Cataclysm remade the old world, it lost most of the spark for me. Most of the secret areas that I had spent so much time trying to get to were wiped away with the move to make the world suited for flying, the quest structure was revamped and, while it certainly improved the flow of the quests and the ease of getting into the game for new players, I found it pretty offputting when I went back and tried the quests out. There was none of that slow, plodding structure that I found really let me get into exploring the world. And with Arthas's death at the end of the Wrath of the Lich King expansion, all the named characters I cared about had either mutated completely beyond recognition, if they were friendly, or already been killed, if they were enemies. Or gone insane and made us kill them, as the joke was.

I liked raiding and downing bosses, but not in isolation. Without context for them they were just so many numbers, and I stopped playing and have never really considered going back.
dorchadas: (Warcraft Night Elf)
The latest episode of the Crate and Crowbar podcast talked a bit about a concept that they call "fun boredom," where you're performing actions that are objectively boring, and you know that they're boring, but the repetitive and mindless nature is part of the appeal. It's the gaming equivalent of watching a movie you've seen a dozen times before, I suppose.

When I listened to that, I thought back to my days of playing World of Warcraft and how many of my fond memories of the game are bound up in that kind of activity. My WoW character has The Insane title. I got him a Frostsaber back in vanilla. I got Argent Dawn to Exalted in vanilla by grinding Runecloth drops. I hit the wealth cap in Wrath of the Lich King, mostly by doing daily quests and selling farmed herbs. I was all set to put in an Armory link here, but it looks like Manaan of Kirin Tor doesn't exist in any tracking services anymore, which isn't that surprising since I haven't logged in to WoW since November of 2011.

I did find this old thread that demonstrates my obsession with achievements, though.

My point is that I spent a ton of time doing incredibly repetitive grinding, but right now those are the moments I remember the most fondly. My main memories are of raiding Karazhan and Ulduar, and nearly everything that's not that is of flying circuits through Terokkar Forest herbing and looking for Fel Lotuses, which used to sell for 200g to raiding guilds that needed them for flasks, or of flying circuits through Storm Peaks looking for the Time-Lost Proto-Drake, which I eventually got after a month or so of looking, or of killing thousands of pirates south of Ratchet so the Steamwheedle Cartel wouldn't kill me on sight, or killing undead near the cauldrons in the Western Plaguelands, or any number of other minor annoyances. Other than the people I played with, those are the things I think of most fondly.

I honestly think that the streamlining of the game and lack of those things is one of the bits that pushed me away (well, I had also played almost daily for six years at that point, which is more than enough time for any one game). I didn't need to get herbs anymore, since I could buy herbs, turn them into glyphs, and sell them at a profit, which made me a lot of gold but wasn't nearly as fun as flying through zones reading Guild chat and occasionally clicking around the internet. Mix that with me no longer caring about the story after the Lich King died and that's probably why I quit WoW.

I still do that kind of thing in other games, though. My Oblivion game is ~240 hours in, but I still take the time to teleport to the Imperial City and run around the market district from store to store, selling all my loot, because I find it satisfying. It's my version of trash TV, I suppose.

Now I'm reading old WoW threads and soaking in the nostalgia.

Edit: I found the original thread about the founding of the Pig and Whistle Society! It's here for anyone interested.
dorchadas: (Warcraft Temple of the Moon)
I played a lot of World of Warcraft. I think across all my characters, I had something like 500 days of play time, which is an insane amount even if a double-digit percentage of that was tabbed out doing other things while some kind of automatic process was running--camping for rare mobs, long-distance flying, crafting, etc. On the one hand, that's a lot of time spent on something ultimately ephemeral, but on the other hand, it is pretty hopeful from a certain perspective. When I think about how much effort I'd need to learn to program or to speak Japanese, I remember how much effort I put into system mastery for WoW. It reminds me of an article I read about how so many modern people complain that they have a hard time concentrating but are capable of spending hours at a time staring at a computer screen while moving only the mouse and their WASD hand.

Anyway! That's not what this entry is about.

As is my jumpy fashion, I've been giving some thought to using the World of Warcraft RPG to run a game. Well, kind of--I'll probably read it through and throw up a review on Goodreads later, but for the moment I'll say that it has a lot of oddities left over from its D&D heritage. It still has spells-per-day instead of a mana system, warriors and barbarians are separate classes despite the existence of fury warriors in WoW and the fact that stances would solve some of the problems with the 3.5 fighter (not all my any means, but some), most special abilities for martial classes are done through feats instead of class powers, enchanter is a class instead of a profession, paladins are much more warriory than castery...

Apparently Blizzard requested that this all be left the same in order to increase compatibility with D&D, but everything I've found suggested that it just made people think it was too watered down and not really worth buying. The authors released a free supplement (PDF warning) that fixes some of the problems, but not all of them, and by that time it was mostly too late. Several of the supplements, like Lands of Ruin about Outland, never came out, and the line was basically shut down.

Before that, though, there was a Warcraft RPG that came out before WoW did. The mechanical issues are even stronger, but I think the background works a lot better. As a illustration, here's the map from the book:

There's some interesting bits on there (Caverns of Time! Maraudon! No Teldrassil!), but the main thing is how empty it is. WoW had little outposts of civilization pretty much everywhere, but on the map there, there's Nighthaven and Ashenvale, which the text describes as mostly left wild and untamed, Durotar, Theramore, Ratchet, Bael Modan, Thunder Bluff, and...that's it, and that's in a crescent pattern across maybe a fourth of the continent. The vast majority of Kalimdor is an unknown, with a few pockets of civilization. Points of light, if you will.

The book also takes the tack that contact with the Eastern Kingdoms has been mostly cut off and no one really knows what's going on over there. When I first read the Warcraft RPG, I really liked that idea as a the setting for a game, and I was kind of disappointed that WoW made travel so easy and convenient. Even in the book, it was a bit out of place, since in The Frozen Throne we see that the Alliance still has a command structure in Lordaeron and people are able to travel back and forth from Northrend without much trouble. And that's fine in a high-level world-traveling game, but we all know that high-level 3.x is broken as hell anyway and that having people who can summon angels to fetch them tea delve into holes in the ground to haul out loot is ridiculous. But an E6 group out of Theramore, tasked to explore parts of Kalimdor to give the Alliance an advantage against the Horde? That sounds awesome.

I have too many game ideas and not enough time to run them all.


2006-Jan-31, Tuesday 20:20
dorchadas: (Broken Dream)
I am sick. I also called in to work, because Tuesdays are Baby Faces days, and being sick + hacking and coughing + upset stomach + babies = misery for everyone. I still had to go into work briefly, though, to drop off the supplies for Baby Faces so someone else could do it. Then I went home and slept.

It's happening again--I'm starting to get burned on World of Warcraft. At least, I'm starting to get burned on playing alone. As I've written here before, I don't often like playing single player games anymore unless there are other people around, and since that means they're stuck with just watching, the upshot is that I don't play many single player games. Now, you might think that WoW, as an MMORPG, is by definition the exact opposite of a single-player game, but a lot of my time playing is spent doing things alone. I'm rather leery of playing the game with random groups due to John Gabriel's Greater Internet Fuckwad it's wearing on me. This is not a bad thing--I think I've been justifiably spending too much time on the game lately.

In fact, that very same urge led me to do something different today--learn Japanese! Slowly. I got some graph paper out and I'm learning to write Hiragana. I'll deal with actual vocabulary and grammar after I've gotten Hiragana (and possibly Katakana) down. And then I'll have to buy a tape/CD set, but oh well. If I'm going to try it, I should be serious about it.
dorchadas: (Terminator)
While Donald Rumsfeld crewing a ship that would possibly be in charge of a first contact situation is, in my opinion, pretty much asking for the beginning of a genocidal war, there's a reason I chose to include it as the title of my post. After a theoretical physics paper presented at the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics annual conference won first place, the U.S. government has expressed interest at using the theories presented within to develop an honest-to-gods warp drive. Even the way it works is fantastic--generating a huge magnetic field to provide thrust, or, at high enough power levels, drop the spaceship into another dimension where the speed of light is faster. A literal hyperspace.

Of course, I'm leery about it actually working, and more worried about how much of an effect that strong of a magnetic field would have on the crew, not to mention shipboard equipment, but still. My government believes in this enough to fund research into hyperdrive. How awesome is that?

I've been reading Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead recently. I've always hated Ayn Rand's philosopher (as a sort of disclaimer), and this book hasn't changed my opinion. I think the main character is supposed to be likeable, since he's a shining paragon of self-sufficiency, but really, he's just a self-absorbed asshole. I put the book down after the rape scene where the woman, after Roark (the main character) leaves, goes to the bathroom to wash herself, but stops because that means she would remove his scent from her skin and she's obsessed with him...not cool.

[personal profile] schoolpsychnerd came to visit this weekend, and most of what we did...was play WoW. Well, okay. We did a bunch of other stuff (like watch Cowboy Bebop), but I got her hooked on WoW as well. According to [ profile] kraada, I am now the moral equivalent of a crack dealer. Really, I'm not sure that's so wrong :-p


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