Tag Archives: garrisons

Have Some More Opinion You Didn’t Need!

I’ve spent a long time thinking about the topic of flying.  I’ve railed against substandard ride quality.  It is, of course, time for yet more!

Some say flying is an ability we never should have had.  It narrowed our view of the world, made surviving in the world too easy.  It reduced player connection to Azeroth.  In the interview, a typical quest goal was mentioned in which the player must rescue some trapped NPC.  That player was once forced to “interact” with the world by killing his or her way to the NPC and back out again*.  Flying enabled that same player to drop in on top of the NPC, free it, then fly out again.

/violin We can't put the cat in the bag, but we can take the cat away from you.

/violin
We can’t put the cat back in the bag, but we can take the cat away from you.

Yes, flying made it easier and more convenient to get from Point A to Point B – and that very convenience, though apparently detrimental to game enjoyment, was part of why I was so involved in the game even when I didn’t necessarily care for the content.  Being involved was a large part of why I enjoyed the game – but it’s important to note that for me, this meant being involved with goals of my own choosing, which usually wasn’t slowly grinding my way through masses of mobs to have a “conversation” with an NPC I’d probably never see again.

Flying seems like the low-hanging fruit that’s easier to get rid of than it is to figure out why, exactly, I don’t give a flip about the NPC as a character, and instead see the NPC solely as a required step towards completing an objective.  Or, perhaps, why we’ve chosen and kept certain behaviors for mobs – they can look square at me while I’m landing on top of the NPC’s cage, but they do nothing about it if I’m beyond a certain distance.

Frankly, I haven’t been interested in WoW’s plot for a very long time, and I dropped raiding because the time required was more than my schedule could handle.  Running LFR and acquiring transmog gear became my primary activities in Azeroth, and as a result, I was traveling between multiple locations in different expansions quite frequently.  Flying and portals made that level of activity doable for me.

Without flying, I tend to lose steam.  I don’t care that much about this patch objective or that one, but I know I should probably go do it.  So let’s see, which is the closest flight path again?  Okay, if I go there (wait, do I have that one?  Yes, thank goodness, I do), it’s going to take me [insert amount of time here] to get from here to there, and then I’m gonna have to run around [insert problem like level 100 elite mobs or mountains here] … yeah, you know what?  I’d rather sit in my garrison.  I’m going to alt tab and read blogs while I’m stuck on the flight path anyway.**

But I keep getting drawn back to how the designers seem to think the world should feel more dangerous, and how they think flying is one of the primary culprits behind a staid experience.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t need the world to feel that way, because it hasn’t for ages. I’d rather somebody figure out how to give Aggra a better role instead of just dumping her in Nagrand rather unexpectedly, like, “Oh hey, you THOUGHT we forgot her but YOU’RE WRONG.  Just ignore the fact she doesn’t do much.”  I’d personally bake cakes or something if I could have a plot line devoted to a topic other than more manly orcs.  Hell, I’d totally go for a goblin-themed patch!  (I know I’m in the minority with that one.)

THIS ORC-CENTRIC FOCUS IS UNFAIR Goblin expac forever!!  Sassy Hardwrench for Warchief 2016!!

THIS ORC-CENTRIC FOCUS IS UNFAIR
Goblin expac forever!! Sassy Hardwrench for Warchief 2016!!

I don’t think flying was the criminal responsible for sapping my ability to “immerse” myself in a fictional environment, either.  For me, the problem lies in how I have become a jaded old fart.  Time has passed and my skill level with games in general has increased as a result.  I’ve been running from killer monsters in MMOs and other games for years now, and I’m long past the point where mobs actually evoke terror.  Giant killer murdersheep in FFXI used to scare the bejeesus out of me and I would sprint from zone portal to zone portal – if I survived the initial encounter.  Now, meh.  Giant killer murder-anythings are old news (unless the ToT snails make a comeback).  Even crap that I know to be dangerous to my character’s well-being (thanks to my poor gear or low DPS ability on an alt) doesn’t frighten me like “the world” in games did when I first got my N64 and was freaking out about a whole extra dimension.  It’s just too familiar.

No, “dangerous” isn’t the feeling I get when I’m out and about trying to navigate a world without flying.  An MMORPG which keeps me on the ground with the aim of making things more realistic, dangerous, immersive, or what have you, feels mostly tedious.  I’ve done my duty, so to speak, walking from one end of the world to another in other games, years past.  I’ve waited for airships and zeppelins, taken slow boats across seas, and ridden chocobos and hawkstriders, and of course, all uphill in the snow both ways back in vanilla blah blah blah.

True, a lack of flying in and of itself isn’t necessarily stopping me from where I want to go.  Okay, so I run into some mountain cliff and I can find no obvious path to descend – I’ve got no problem throwing myself off the edge.  I run back to my corpse, then continue onward.  Or let’s say I run into elite mobs, get my ass kicked, and I die.  While I would prefer to make it alive, rinse-and-repeat corpse runs will do trick in a pinch.

Because I am jaded by time and familiar with how environment mechanics typically work in MMORPGs, there are usually two things that will stop me from getting somewhere – the amount of time taken by a particular activity, and the balance between effort spent and the reward for that effort.

Time I spend on the ground running like hell is fine in and of itself, but it’s time spent.  Time I spend fighting or dying to stuff that’s knocked me from my mount is also fine in and of itself, but again, it’s time spent.  After a point, I’m simply out of time to play the game, whether I’ve gotten to my destination or not.  I’d rather spend more time at my destination than getting there.

And if I’m running towards something I really really want, that’s one thing.  If I’m running towards something that I know I kinda sorta should do, but don’t really give a crap about, then that’s something else.  I’m simply going to have less tolerance for using my time on running like hell/dying/difficult terrain because the point at which it’s no longer worth it comes along much sooner.

So of course I’m going to fly to rescue that NPC.  Take flying away, and I’ll still find a way to minimize the effort I must put in.  If I’m on a rogue, I’m going to stealth.  I might use an invis pot if I have one available.  I might try to make a run for it, or I might creep around the entire questing area if it will reduce the number of mobs I must fight.  Being human and being stupid, I may even spend more effort trying to do it my way than I would’ve spent if I’d just done it the way it was designed.

* So if they want this to be a thing again, it seems to me like it would be awfully nice if they removed that EXP penalty they added a while back for killing a bunch of the same mobs in a row.  It was intended to stop bots from grinding, or something like that.

** If you want to talk about immersion and interaction with the game, I’d give players control by giving them flight and remove boring flight paths!

#draenorworldproblems

I just got the level 3 Storehouse.  FINALLY, right?  MY OWN TRANSMOG JOINT.

So I sprint the hell over, all thrilled, and I start trying out different combinations of the stuff I have in storage.  This could work with this, and that might go well, and let’s try that weapon, and how about dem shoes when all of a sudden, the @#%$er moves, the dialog closes, and I am filled with nerdrage.

I take a deep breath.  I try again.  Off Warpweaver Farshlah goes to look at that other box.  You know, the one he looked at a minute ago.

WAT ARE YOU DOING

IF YOU MUST WANDER, WHY THE HELL CAN’T YOU AT LEAST STAY IN RANGE

It’s not like I can RUSH!  I can’t just mog any old thing together!  My combinations must be chosen carefully!  They require thought!  A solid judgement of color!  A sense of proportion!  SOMETIMES I HAVEN’T EVEN SELECTED AN ITEM YET AND HE MOVES.

Okay, I thought.

Let’s try organizing Void Storage.

I’m going to click on this shield here, and then click on the second tab, and then click in that sp… WHY DID YOU MOVE, YOU SON OF A MOTHER TRUCKING

Sworn Enemies They'd be frenemies, but we were never friends

Sworn Enemies
They’d be frenemies, but we were never friends

I can’t.

I just can’t.


Not Sure I Want to Know Sometimes, it's just better to let burning warlocks burn.

Not Sure I Want to Know
Sometimes, it’s just better to let burning warlocks burn.

My followers are always birds of a feather, so to speak.  Thermalix is swamped with followers who can counter Minion Swarms, and I’ve only had one mission to get a follower retraining certificate.  This is a certified pain in the whozawhatzit when considered from the perspective of my Plan: Gobligeddon*.

The first time I used my inn to recruit a follower, I searched for the Scavenger trait.  I had not gotten a follower with it Hordeside, and Bombelina was in the throes of a resource shortage due to the way a high population server can clear-cut the entirety of Gorgrond in a minute or less.  (I have since discovered that if I log on at four a.m. server time, TREES EVERYWHERE.)  Once I started leveling this follower, though, it occurred to me that the Scavenger trait is actually kinda pointless.  Number one, it’s not like you get that many missions for garrison resources, and number two, the mission probably has a threat said follower can’t counter and will fail in attempting anyway.

HOW DO I LOG Gathering resources is sometimes difficult.

HOW DO I LOG
Gathering resources is sometimes difficult.

So screw that. My current plan is to look exclusively for followers with Epic Mount, and pray to Gawd that they also have an ability that would actually be useful to me (if it’s Minion Swarms or Timed Battle, I will possibly have to punch someone).  The higher level missions are always ridiculously long, which I find problematic.  I only play for a couple/few hours in the evening, and sometimes in the morning before I leave for work.  I’d like to see my salvage crates followers more than once in a blue moon, thank you very much!


GO AWAY I will not be asking the Tauren to be my guards anytime soon kthxbye.

GO AWAY
I will not be asking the Tauren to be my guards anytime soon kthxbye.

Can someone tell that Tauren representative to get out of the middle of the room?  He BOTHERS me.  He just STANDS there and scratches himself.  He doesn’t walk around, or tell jokes, or say hi, or anything!  No, he just stands there like a creepy cow.


Now, about those “eff over disrupt the enemy” daily quests … I had gotten one from Khadgar’s elemental-thing that wanders around my garrison (I think?), but after that, I forgot about them completely until Cav inquired if I wanted to go irritate some ogres.  I next proceeded to shatter Cav’s faith in my intelligence by asking where he got these fancypants quests.  He could not get his head around the fact that I did not know.  After attempting to glue together the pieces of his broken mind, he finally told me, “that table in your town hall …”

Oh!  You mean that troll guy I ignore because he always says the same boring thing to me when I leave the building!

SHOCK Oh, THAT guy!

SHOCK
Oh, THAT guy!

Why the hell did Blizzard make it so that everybody in your faction is doing the quest in the same place on the same damn day?  I mean, really.  PITA on a high pop server for sure, as you have to be constantly on the lookout for things that aren’t dead.  They’re hard to find.

I'll Show Myself Out Now We're done here.

I’ll Show Myself Out Now
We’re done here.

 

 

* Every single active follower will some day be either a goblin or some sort of mechanical contraption, like Pleasure-Bot 8000.  Since you can’t search for followers by race (or, errr, metal type?), retraining certificates would make this much easier!

Garrisons

This Will Never Do Needs more lights, obviously.

This Will Never Do
Needs more lights, obviously.

The Dream
You know what I want?  I want a goblin-themed Garrison.

Should Look More like Sassy's Place in Stranglethorn Just ignore that it's raining, and admit that it's awesome.

Should Look More like Sassy’s Place in Stranglethorn
Just ignore that it’s raining, and admit that it’s awesome.

So what if I’m in the Frostwolf area, surrounded by orcs and playing through a plotline filled with even more orcs ?  I’m the freaking commander of this joint, and I demand some STYLE in my accommodations.  Screw the orcs and their decorative spikes and limited color schemes!  I want LIGHTS!  I want A BARBEQUE GRILL BY MY TOWN HALL!  I want ACCIDENTAL EXPLOSIONS to keep things interesting!  I want a party to be going down in the Barracks!  I wanna dump that fetid, half-frozen pond at the back of my garrison and put in a heated swimming pool with pool ponies instead!  I want FANCY WALLPAPER with PENGUINS and BANANAS, and most of all, NO FREAKING SPIKES.  We got TECHNOLOGY to defend ourselves with, like explosive rocket chickens and murderous mecha-bunnies.  I don’t need to worry about Goren in the mines or crazed rylaks flying overhead if I got Shredders with flamethrowers, now do I?  NO, I DO NOT.

In other words, my ideal Garrison would be a CLASSY ESTABLISHMENT.

A Grill is an Important Creature Comfort I don't know how we're supposed to live in Draenor without one.

A Grill is an Important Creature Comfort
I don’t know how we’re supposed to live in Draenor without one.

The Reality
The reality looks like we took Orgrimmar and transplanted it into a snowy wasteland, minus my belovedly trashy and super-convenient former home, the Goblin Slums.  Mother truckers!  Also, the damn place was designed for tall people, even though we’ve got a goblin architect.

In Order to Begin Commanding I need some assistance seeing what's on this table.

In Order to Begin Commanding
I need some assistance seeing what’s on this table.

Lumber Mill vs. Frostwall Inn
But let’s talk practical for a second here.  I originally intended to build the Frostwall Inn because I want more followers* (not that I’m trying to create an army or anything).  I ended up bowing to collective wisdom, however, and went with the lumber mill instead.  “Resources are good,” people would say, and I can agree with that.

There was a problem with this plan, though.  Namely, there weren’t any damned trees anywhere.

The lumber mill NPC told me Gorgrond was GREAT for trees, but it took a damn long while before I found the two required to complete the initial work order.  It turns out that we’re all competing for the same trees, and like real trees, they respawn rather slowly.  This meant that Gorgrond was clear-cut for all intents and purposes long before I got there, and it also meant that other people were HIGHLY COMPETITIVE when it came to what trees did exist.  Quite often I would arrive at a suitable piece of timber, only to find it being chopped down before my very eyes!  To add salt to the wound, I soon started finding large trees that I couldn’t do a thing with because of my dinky level one lumber mill.  The level three trees remained standing, both irritating me and making me feel somewhat relieved because apparently, nobody else could do a dang thing with them either.

At the end of the night, I basically said eff this sheeyit, and I built the dang Inn on top of of the lumber mill.

Goblins Everywhere!
Given enough time, I’m going to turn this into a goblin stronghold regardless of its style.  I’ve written down every goblin follower there is.

Penny Clobberbottom A goblin after my own heart.

Penny Clobberbottom
A goblin after my own heart.

 

* Can I just say WTF RNG when it comes to followers?  Nioma’s first follower, Olin Umberhide, went all epically purple for no reason at all, and she got a slew of epic and rare followers thereafter.  And then there’s poor Bombelina, with a Garrison full of average green followers …

Nioma's First Four Followers I am not sheeyitting you, they were all rare/epic.  Poor Bombelina's people are practically all green.

Nioma’s First Four Followers
I am not sheeyitting you, they were all rare/epic. Poor Bombelina’s people are practically all green.