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The Name Game

Thanks to Z and Cinder’s Blog Challenge, I have content! If only I would have done this back when the challenge first came out, like weeks ago. My bad!

The challenge was thus:

“How do you come up with character names?”

My answer is simple – I tend to let others come up with names.

No, I don’t have an army of monkies mashing away on typewriters to crank out names for my WoW toons. Not that that wouldn’t be cool because it would. It would also be filthy, what with the flinging of poop that monkeys tend to do when they’re not working in the typing pool.

My first few toons had the typical Warcraft names. Actually, they had typical Everquest names since I was trying to copy the characters I had over there. But after awhile, I got sick of rolling my face across the keyboard and calling it a name. I wanted to be clever. So I did what many do – I went to my favorite things outside the game and tried using those names.

I had three typical go-to’s when it came to finding names. It was either comic books, mixed martial arts, or fantasy novels. I quickly discovered that the fantasy novel thing was a dead end, because either all the good names were already being used, or they were outright disallowed.  Bummer.

Mixed martial arts was an interesting source for me. Here are a bunch of men and women, like Terminators, bent on distraction …. but in a sportsman-like way. Marketing is big with these particular athletes since they don’t really make the cash you would think a person should get for beating someone unconscious / twisting their limbs in unnatural directions. They have to be somewhat marketable for sponsorship and so on. Ergo, nicknames!

Naturally some of these names are going to be pretty creative. Some of them, like Nick “Fainting Goat” Thompson (now just “The Goat”), clearly comes from a mind that has taken one too many doses of blunt force trauma. But some of them, especially ones in another language, make for good WoW names. I had a goblin named Napao, which is Portuguese for “Big Nose”. Got that from a human wrecking machine from Brazil, Gabriel Gonzaga.

 

gonzaga

Not that I’m calling him a goblin. Not to his face, anyway. Not even to his picture.

 

But generally, my best source material has usually comic books. Of course, good luck getting any of those in-game. Like Fantasy Novel characters, they are already taken (most likely due to a creative use of obscure icons or an interesting spelling) or they’re just not allowed (because facing a Marvel lawyer is a RL boss that nobody wants to tank). I’ve gotten around this by combining those names with the Rokk- prefix, giving me Rokkthor for my Alliance main Death Knight, Rokkhulk (my Draenei Warrior), and so on.

I’ve tried to keep a theme going, but like most things in my brain, wires get crossed. There is a method to my madness, but more often than not there is more madness then method.

Of course, lately, there’s been Scaredevil. He seems to have grown into my Horde main. His name comes not from looking like a scary devil, but looking kinda like a purple version of Deadpool. And since that name was one of the names in the Deadpool movie that didn’t make the cut  (along with Mr. Neverdie), I was tickled that I got to use it. And how ironic, my two main characters are both named after superheroes. And they’re both a hero class. Funny how things work out sometimes.

There’s method to my madness after all.

 

Four Mistakes New Raiders Make

RokkTalk_Banner

 

Deathrokk_LFR

Assuming the position.

 

I’ve leveled fourteen characters to 100. I’ve done Heroic dungeons, PVP, and even pet battles. I’ve farmed for mounts, pets, transmogs, and gold. I’m almost at the point where I’ve got the Brawler’s Guild on lock. So it’s s safe to say that I’ve dabbled in pretty much everything WoW has to offer. But Blizzard is all about the raiding. Dungeons? A means to gear up for raiding. Storylines? The plots get wrapped up in raids. Legendary items? Raid or GTFO (which is actually quite helpful, that’s a future reference to something I haven’t discussed yet stay with me here people).

I’m actually no stranger to raiding. Back in my Everquest days, my guild often raided numerous World Bosses and Planes of Existence. In those days though, raid zones weren’t instanced. Every guild had a rogue alt parked where the various bosses spawned. When you got the word that a boss was up, your entire guild had to race other guilds to be the first to clear to – and pull – the boss when it was up.

That, boys and girls, is hardcore raiding. The ability to mobilize a raid with whoever you had, rather than the optimal raid configuration that guilds like to push for encounters today. You had to make due with whoever your guild had online, knowing you might only get one shot at the boss. Making that pull while another raid parked itself just around the corner, waiting to move in if and when you wiped. The PLP (Play Nice Policy) extended just far enough that guilds wouldn’t try to get you wiped (unless you were on a PVP server, which I assume is a special kind of Hell that plenty of people still manage to get off on).

But that was then, and this was now. Raid comps had become more stringent on their requirements, even in LFR. For a tourist mode style of raiding, there were still groups that expected a certain level of performance out of raid members. Some of it was reasonable, some of it was not. Mythic aspirations out of weekend warrior raiders.

I’d heard the horror stories, and it kept me away for the longest time. But one day I finally took the plunge (out of desperation and boredom), not caring what mistakes I happened to make. I had to give this raiding thing a try. If LFR was as easy as everybody claimed, it would be a learning experience. And if I didn’t measure up and got kicked, screw it.

So I did some researched, queued up, and drew Archimonde as my first raid. I may not have performed as great as I could have, but after we wiped and the raid leader went through the roster to cut dead weight he didn’t cut me. I’d tried to prep myself as best I could. And you know what? Things pretty much turned out ok. Well, for me at least. But other people… damn folks. Come on now.

Now that I have run a few LFR’s, I am something of an expert as far as raiding goes. Because of course.

Experience bragging aside, there are a few things I’ve noticed in the raids I’ve been in. Some faux pas, so to speak, some that I was guilty of myself. It’s not necessarily a WoW raiding thing, because I’d seen the same kind of issues when I raided in Everquest. These issues also seemed to be some of the reasons that many people try to avoid raiding altogether. I was one of those people, so again, experience talking here.

As I said, some common mistakes kept rearing their ugly head, and the sad part is that they’re easy enough to fix. So what kinds of mistakes do us rookie raiders make?

Read the rest of this entry

Blizzard Sells Gold In Patch 6.1.2

Mama's got a lifestyle to maintain.

Mama’s got a lifestyle to maintain.

I’d like to read a question that I may or may not have actually received via email.

Dear Rokk,

Have you ever purchased gold with RL currency?

Sincerely,
Some Dude.

P.S. You’re awesome.

Now regardless of whether I actually received this email (ahem), I will answer the question.

Yes, I have bought gold online, through a third party site, for real cash money.

But not in WoW. It was in Everquest.

Why would I do such a thing? Well, I had the disposable cash and no real skills that I could use to make gold (or platinum, in this case). I had nothing to sell, nothing to offer. I decided that I would rather give someone ten bucks for a bunch of platinum so I could play the game and buy gear, rather than sit by the second torch in the East Commonland tunnel repeatedly shouting (but not spamming) “WTS (some arbitrary item).” Oh, and bonus points for you if you get the very old-school reference.

It wasn’t easy to make platinum in EQ.

World of Warcraft is another story entirely.

I’ve probably got about 90k gold spread across all of my characters. Most of that gold was made through selling tradeskill items, the occasional transmog doodad, and by farming and/ or questing. While I’ve been working on making gold, a few things had popped up on the AH that I wanted to buy but couldn’t afford. I just learned to live without it. I never considered buying gold because a) the gold came from hacked accounts (blood money) and b) I’d rather not have my account banned. So I stayed frugal and decided I wouldn’t buy gold.

Until now. Sorta. Indirectly.

In Patch 6.1.2, Blizzard is going to be getting into the gold-selling business. Kinda. They will have a WoW token in their store, which can be used to buy a month of game time. You’ll buy the token from the Blizzard store using real greenback-style money, and it will show up in a special slot on the Auction House. It can then be bought for a predetermined amount of gold (a pricetag that will be set by Blizzard).

Everybody wins in this deal. You’ve got the WoW Millionaires with more gold than they know what to do with, who can now use their fortune to pay for their WoW time. You’ve got players with a little disposable cash who might be looking to pad their character’s pockets, that can buy these tokens and sell them for gold. And Blizzard, well they get to makes more money, because they don’t have enough gold-plated toilets in their big WoW mansions.

It has yet to be determined just how much the tokens will sell for (either in gold or dollars). The speculation is that the prices will be determined by whatever gold is being sold for on third party websites. I poked around and what I came up with was roughly 1000g for one dollar. If a token is sold for $15, which is roughly the cost of a month of WoW time, then the token will sell for 15000g. Math stuff.

So going back to the question of buying gold (re: buying tokens and selling them for a fixed price on the AH)?

I’ll most likely buy a few tokens. Probably for some seed money so I can create and flip some more expensive tradeskill stuff. Or maybe I’ll just blow the gold on hats or something.

Are you going to be taking part in the token market, as a buyer or seller? Tell me in the comments below, if you would be so kind.

Paying Respect

It’s that time of the year when thoughts of Christmas dance through our heads.  Maybe that’s why I’m feeling so masochistic.  That would certainly explain why I’ve been thinking about Everquest.

During Chris Metzen’s “Geek Is…” speech at Blizzcon 2010, he showed the crowd a screenshot from Sony’s very own Everquest, one of the first successful MMORPG’s and the place where many of WoW’s Game Developers came from.  Seeing an Everquest screenshot during a Blizzard presentation seemed a little weird.   It was kinda like seeing your friend’s Mom naked.  You feel awkward because it’s off-limits and something you really shouldn’t be checking out, but it’s still pretty cool to peep.

No?  Just me?  Fine, prudes.

Metzen was dead on when he said “None of us, and none of this, would be here without Everquest.  Respect must be paid.”

Damn rights.  World of Warcraft is Everquest done right.  Or done better at least.  I laugh when I hear players bitch about how WoW is being made too easy, because that was the same gripe EQ players made about WoW back in the “Hardcore, Vanilla” days.  Why in EQ, there was no exclamation mark over a quest giver’s head.  There was no identifying mark at all.  Good luck finding that NPC  in the city, Carebear.  Still, the fact that Blizzard keeps “borrowing” concepts from Everquest (and yet I say they’re not borrowing enough) shows just how snug the bonds remain between EQ and WoW.

As I’ve said in many previous posts, I used to play Everquest (Or Evercrack, as it was accurately called back in the day).  My favorite class was the Berserker, which just goes to show that I played a Fury Warrior before there even WAS a Fury Warrior.  I happened to feel a little nostalgic yesterday (and there was nothing worth watching on Television) so I checked out the Berserker boards to see what had been going on with the class.  Berserkers being the red-headed stepchild class, I was not surprised to see very little action on their forums..  However, I noticed a post where someone referred to a comment made about the class at the recent Fan Faire.

The SOE Fan Faire?  That’s like a Blizzcon, yeah?

Well yes and no.  It’s the same in that there’s panels, game demos, and swag to buy.

There’s also the players.  EQ and WoW players are very much alike.

It’s also different in a few ways:

First, it’s in Las Vegas.  Kinda hard to compare Anaheim attractions –

– with Las Vegas ones –

Unlike Jay Mohr hosting Blizzcon, the Fan Faire host, Jace Hall, actually has serious gamer cred while still being quite entertaining –

To be fair though, Blizzard has the more popular titles and can therefore throw alot more money at their events.  Fan Faire is more grassroots in a way (as in poor, cost cutting, or whatever you want to call hanging a banner over a curtain as compared to a multi-monitor background setting), as evident in their costume contest –

However, FF does do something that I wish Blizzard would consider, and it involves the ticket sales.

Cold sweat time – damn those Blizzcon tickets were expensive.  They went for $150 per, and what did the ticket buyer get for that price?  It gave them access to the Convention Center.  That’s pretty impressive.  They also received a “Swag Bag” that by most accounts was less amazing than last year, when the price was 25 bones less.  Hard to tell where that extra money went.

Fan Faire has many different tiers of tickets.  The most expensive one ($135) is their Platinum pass, which grants full access to the event, as well as VIP events (like the Grand Banquet).  The next is the Gold pass ($109), giving you everything but the VIP goodness.  After that is the Silver pass ($89), yet another step down.  But the real gem is in the Friday and Saturday Day pass ($39 per day).  You don’t get any swag or frills, but if a person just wanted to catch a few panels it’d be much less painful to spend forty bucks for one day.

Given my Blizzcon experience, if the option would have been available, I could have seen myself getting a Blizzcon day pass.  I don’t even know where I put half my Blizzcon giveaway stuff, but I know where all my Wootloot goodies are.  I’m not about the frills. I had much more fun after ‘con hours, sharing beers and stories with folks.  Besides, it’s not like you can’t see all the convention displays in one day.  Or just buy two day passes and forego the useless crap, save some cash that can be spent with friends and guildmates after hours.

That’s what I’d like to see for the next Blizzcon.  They raise the price every year, and while I know that people are going to pay, I think they’d get more money if they made Blizzcon a little more like World of Warcraft – accessable to more people.

C’mon Blizz – go back to the Everquest well one more time.  Steal that idea.

Respectfully of course.

More "Inspiration" for Blizzard


Mayong Mistmoore will pwnzor ur face!

A couple of days ago, while on “Modified Duties” at work (stupid fractured elbow), I decided to make the most of the computer usage and started looking at Everquest. I mentioned in a previous post that I played EQ for years before coming to World of Warcraft, and I suppose I was feeling a little nostalgic.

Of course, since the computers are for “corporate use only”, most of the sites I found were blocked. However, I did come across two rather interesting tidbits that had been added to EQ since I left. Like the Guild Hall, I predict that it is only a matter of time before these tidbits become incorporated, in some form, into WoW.

I’ll pause for a moment and explain the Guild Hall concept for those who have not played EQ. Essentially, the Guild Hall in EQ is a phased zone, accessible only by your guildmates, that looks like a big Inn. There are vendors there, as well as profession aids like forges and tailoring looms. There is a pool that accellerates HP and Mana regen. Most importantly, IMO, there is the Guild Portal. Beside the portal is a Gnome that you buy Porting Shards from. Those shards are for various zones in the game. You buy the shard, hand it back to the Gnome, and it sets the Teleporter beside him for that zone. That Teleporter remains active for several minutes, or until someone else comes along and changes the Teleporter destination by handing the Gnome a new shard. Great for when you have to get a whole raid moving, or if you just want to get somewhere in a hurry and you don’t have a pocket Mage to send you on your merry.

I don’t know what the Guild Leveling process involves in Cataclysm, but don’t be surprised if something like this comes down the pipe.

Now back to fuctions that EQ currently has, that Blizzard should steal for their own game.

The Mayong Server – This server in Everquest is what has been called the “51/50” server. Characters created on that server start at Level 51, with 50AAs (Alternate Advancement – see “Titans, Path of the” in the upcoming Cataclysm expansion). They also start out with a full spellbook (as applicable) as well as Flawed Defias Armor.

What does this mean for WoW? Well, they could create “Veteran” servers which could start much the same way. Characters created on these servers would start at, say, level 58 (much like DK’s exiting their own starting zone). They would have standard gear, maybe blues, and would spawn in the newbie zone. It would be a short run to a capital city, where they would have preset flight paths (like Death Knights) that they could use to continue their adventures in higher zones like the Plaguelands, or take the portal to the Badlands to hop into the Outlands.

To keep things from getting out of hand, or to allow for all of the content to be used, perhaps only one Veteran character would be allowed per account. Once that Veteran character has been created, all subsequent characters would be level 1.

Would Blizzard go for this? Sure, why not. Players would get to try different classes at a higher starting level, but only on these select servers. If they liked them, they could pay to transfer the character to another server (Blizz ❤ $$). The mechanics are in place with the DKs. This is one of those things that I’m fairly confident will come to pass at some point. After Faction Changes went live, I wouldn’t put anything past Blizzard.

There was another function that I noticed, and this one I would bet cash money dollars that it will be in the game, probably sometime after Cataclysm drops. But I’ll save that idea for another post, because content is fun.