With all the news related to Human Again and BlizzCon lately, I haven’t had much time to talk about what I’m actually doing in my games of choice, so I thought I’d do a quick update of what’s been going on in World of Warcraft and The Secret World. We’ll start with WoW.
Siege of Orgrimmar:
I’ve now killed Garrosh on both my rogue and my warlock, and my monk is closing in. On the whole, I think Siege is a pretty cool raid, though it’s not going to go down as one of my all-time favourites. It’s a bit visually bland, and the lack of fights actually taking place in Orgrimmar is a bit disappointing. Plus, it’s got a case of Ulduar Syndrome — a lot of filler encounters that just don’t need to be there.
On the upside, though, I love all the little details and cameos. Bringing so many iconic characters together for an epic brawl is just awesome. I like how a lot of the bosses are recognizable characters, too. It saddens me that Nazgrim had to die to show his true nobility. I always thought him a bit of a goon.
And the fights with Garrosh and the Paragons are just epic.
I liked how the story ended, too. It was a very satisfying conclusion to the Pandaria arc. I still wonder where we can go from here, and considering they’re already hyping the PvP zone in the next expansion, it seems the answer is, “nowhere.”
But even if it turns out to be pointless in the long run, Pandaria was a great ride while it lasted, and in my books, it’s going down as one of the better Warcraft games in terms of story.
Now that my monk’s finally max level, you know what that means: It’s time to make yet another alt!
This time, I’ve decided to give being a hunter one final try. Since there are no new classes or specs next expansion, I might as well try to get my archer fix from the one available option. Fourth time’s the charm, right?
I was planning to make another Blood Elf, but I think I’ve probably got enough Elves. Worgen was tempting, but I’ve got too many Alliance characters these days. So I decided to roll a female Pandaren.
I still don’t like their one and only face that much, but it looks better when it’s animated, and I like everything else about their look and animations. Plus, they’ve got really cool voice-overs.
Thus far, I’m enjoying myself more than I expected to. Being able to shoot while moving and the removal of minimum range help a lot. Without minimum range, I can do like I did with my warlock and level without pets. Too early to say if it’ll stick this time, but being a hunter is not as boring as it has been in the past.
Meanwhile, in the dark days, I’ve played through both of TSW’s Halloween events.
Yes, both. In addition to bringing back the Cat God storyline from last year, they added a new mission chain that had the player collecting ghost stories from around Solomon Island for Danny Dufresne.
Surprisingly, I found the Cat God didn’t quite live up to my expectations. The story was rather confusing, and a lot of missions were little more than busywork. The boss battle at Stonehenge was pretty cool, though. I managed to solo it, even though it’s supposed to be a group dungeon.
On the other hand, the spooky stories chain was awesome, despite being obviously done on the cheap. Gameplay-wise, it was a bit dull — mostly every story boiled down to “go to a place and kill a thing.” But the stories were all so brilliantly written and downright creepy that it made the whole thing worthwhile.
After nearly a year in TSW, I’ll admit the game had started to lose its intimidation factor. I felt like I had seen the worst the Secret World had to offer, and sent it home bleeding.
After reading those stories, I realize how wrong I was. I have barely scratched the surface of the horrors Funcom can come up with.
My favourites were Carter’s, Sam Krieg’s, and Tyler Freeborn’s stories. Carter’s had a great twist, Krieg’s gives us a whole new perspective on his character, and Tyler’s was just a brilliantly surreal and horrifying piece of mind-frackery.
The Venetian Agenda:
The last week has also seen the release of issue #8, “The Venetian Agenda.” This is the first issue in a while to not offer much in the way of story content. Its main purpose is to introduce the new augments and scenarios.
Considering the lack of story, I’m enjoying this issue much more then I expected to.
Scenarios turned out to be far more fun than I expected. They’re very challenging, but they’re intended to be something for the true hardcore players to do, so that’s to be expected. I doubt I’ll ever be able to attempt the harder difficulties, but I’m enjoying normal.
Scenarios are supposed to be training simulations run by the Council of Venice. Think the virtual reality training room the X-Men have. The interesting thing about them is that they are heavily randomized. Random enemies, random weather hazards, random Filth outbreaks, random NPC betrayals.
Every scenario plays out differently because there are just so many different variables. Even among one enemy type, there’s significant variety. I’ve run across at least three different kinds of ghouls in the Hotel Wahid scenario, not counting bosses.
TSW is all about being able to adapt to new situations, and scenarios distill the essence of that. You’re constantly thinking on the fly and making snap decisions.
Augments are a bit less exciting. Their drop rates are appallingly low, and they don’t really offer much in the way of character customization. They’re mostly just bland percentage bonuses.
To my surprise, scenarios have greatly divided the community. The forums are ablaze with debates over their difficulty and mechanics, with many believing they’re vastly overtuned. Meanwhile, others say they’re just right.
This would be typical for other MMOs, but TSW’s community tends to be a bit more harmonious.
For my part, I’m in favour of scenarios. Considering they were intended for the top 1%, they’re still quite doable for us mere mortals, and the variety of difficulties and flexible group sizes ensure pretty much everyone should be able to make headway with them.
I’m not a good player by any means, but I’m consistently getting silver or gold on solo normal. I even got platinum in group normal at one point.
I just wish I could get some damage augments to drop.
Brief though it may have been, I also liked the story of issue #8. It’s a testament to the writing in TSW that Arturo Castigleone’s character came through so strongly after just one cutscene. I can feel how the Council’s impotence is grinding at his soul. I hope we’ll see more of him going forward.
But then again, I tend to hope we see more of pretty much every character in this game.
My latest WhatMMO article is about the top 7 Types of MMO Forum Posts.
“Never gonna give you up…”