Tag Archives: World Of Warcraft

The Greatest MMO soon free

This article from Time examines an event I’ve eagerly awaited since…February. Not long, still exciting.

Star Wars: The Old Republic can’t keep up with its subscription model and is going free-to-play this fall. The game has fallen under 1 million subscribers, but bad news for Bioware is great news for me.


Matt Peckham examines the free-to-play model as the new MMO-standard, even citing World of Warcraft as joining the bandwagon. What Peckham doesn’t realize is that the WoW free-to-play model is a joke compared to others, with a level limit of 20, despite the fact that DCUO, Champions Online and a host of lesser-known MMOs offer free-to-play with no level cap, and even limited economy participation. WoW’s “free” model is more of a trial account, not a truly free model. Read More →

Star Wars, The Old Republic: The Evolution of Gaming?

We’ve seen Star Wars games by the dozens and MMORPGs by the handful. Even a Star Wars-based MMO is nothing new. The franchise alone doesn’t always sell games, which are inevitably judged on their own merit.

So what makes EA and Bioware think they can profitably challenge industry behemoth World of Warcraft and its competitors? Is the Force with them?

I tested Star Wars: The Old Republic this weekend, possibly the most ambitious game ever made. It was innovative and surprising, and takes the genre in new directions as promised.

Read More →

RIFT: The Next MMO?

I’ve had the pleasure of beta testing RIFT, a new MMO from Trion Worlds.

As a six-year veteran of World of Warcraft, I have hardly encountered another game (of any genre) which comes close to WoW in quality of storyline, world depth, intelligent game design, difficulty calibration.

During WoW’s impressive reign of the genre (and before), I have tried many other MMOs and found them sorely lacking in one or more regards. Among those discarded lie Dark and Light, EVE, City of Heroes/Villains, Perfect World International, Champions Online, and Warhammer. And while I have good things to say about most of them, they simply didn’t capture me in the way WoW did.

I bring a critical eye to the MMO landscape, an eye tempered by years of game-tweaking of my own in tabletop roleplaying, as well as endeavors into player-content-creation opportunities afforded by venues like Spore: Galactic Adventures and Neverwinter Nights.

RIFT was the first game in a long time to bring some new concepts to a saturated market: Ideas like truly mixed classes, and dynamic world-altering events.

So how does RIFT stack up to the giants of the industry? Is it worth playing? Or will it shortly be set aside? Read More →

Beta Testing World of Warcraft Cataclysm

There are a lot of innovations and a lot of bugged areas/zones/quests monsters, but in summary, Blizzard has trimmed the fat. Kudos.

SATURDAY SPOTLIGHT: The best YouTube video I’ve ever seen.

Each Saturday, Jason spotlights one product or service or work of art he finds particularly amazing; the kinds of things that make you wonder, “Why doesn’t everyone have this?” (Read more at www. jasonrpeters.com.)

For the most part, I can’t stand YouTube. It’s like the worst aspects of television and the internet mixed into one, only without the benefit of real content like full-length television shows or movies.

That said, I do delve into the content wasteland for a few reasons. It’s a great place to learn intricate bossfights for World of Warcraft, for instance, so you don’t look an idiot when you first arrive. (#1 rule: Don’t stand in the fire.)

Beyond that, if a friend or relative recommends a video, I will grudgingly have a look. But only once have I ever been thrilled instead of annoyed by the time I actually watched the video.

This video by Sam Tsui was recommended to me by my wife, and I loved it.

Sam is a music student at Yale, and this is a video of him accompanying himself in a six-part a capella arrangement of a Michael Jackson medley. Read More →

My quest for the perfect game.

everybody-gets-offI have a thirst which has never been quenched. And I am tired of being teased by promises and demos, never to be satisfied.

Spore is as close as any game has come to being perfect for me, and yet it still fell drastically wide of the margin. I have tried a number of alternatives in its stead, and each has failed miserably.

Age of Empires and Empire Earth come close, at the very beginning, to simulating what I wanted to explore with my various sporelings. But the military threat is so imminent there isn’t time to explore the way a culture might gradually develop.

SimCity 4,000 comes close to providing the level of detailed control I would like to have with a whole world at my fingertips, yet it lacks randomly generated progress of a society. And worst of all, it lacks flavor.

SimCity Societies provides that flavor, but lacks the challenge and level of control. On the surface, you can create cultures of artistic value, imperialism, shamanism, control, law, or anarchy. But the toolbox is disappointingly limited, and the methods disappointingly direct.

I want a game that gives you a vast empty planet, full of natural resources and strange creatures, much like the creature level of Spore, where their truly is something new and wonderful over each next rise. Unfortunately, each inter-species interaction is mind-numbingly repetitive. I want a game that fills you with the sense of infinite sadness I had wandering the scorched earth of Durotar in World of Warcraft for the first time. I want a game that provides you with the sense of a blank slate like a new city in Simcity, but gradually lets you discover fire, and tools, and farming like Age of Empires and Empire Earth.

I want a game that lets you evolve your society in different directions, the way Civilizations does, but with the control over architecture and my own creations akin to that of Spore. I want a game that lets me guide my people from cave dwellers to space farers.

I want a game that both fulfills and challenges my imagination and creative control.

In short, I want a game that lets me play God.

…is that so hard?

World of Warcraft vs. Jason R. Peters: Two playstyles enter, one game leaves.

World of Warcraft

This weekend, in a moment of weakness/boredom, I renewed my WoW account. Unfortunately, for all my love of the game (and finding questions like “We have the technology” and “We can rebuilding him” shortly after logging in reminded me of Azeroth’s immense charm), I had very little fun for the 6+ hours I stayed logged in to WoW on Friday.



It might be necessary for me to come to realize the possibility that there is NO niche in World of Warcraft for someone with my particular personality and playstyle. I don’t know for certain whether this is the case or not, but I am starting to believe that it is.


I’m an elitist in that I like to run with the big dogs and be the best at what I do, but I don’t like to raid constantly. Also, I’m an introvert; I can do extroverted activities like Game Mastering, leading  worship group, or giving speeches, musical performances, but being around people leaves me emotionally drained. When left to my own devices, I’d prefer to be by myself most of the day, and keep a very small/close group of friends nearby to hang out with occasionally. I’m picky (sometimes to the point of being asinine) about my time commitments and I have high standards for others as well.


When I say, “I’ll raid at 8:00 PM”, what I mean is that EVERYTHING ELSE IN LIFE is put on hold for the raid. My phone is turned off, I’m fed, my drinks and meds are right by the computer, Megan knows I’m unavailable for the next 4-5 hours, and I’m going to log in at 7:15 PM to get all my mats and ammo and the right pet so I can sit at the stone by 7:40 PM. If my apartment is on fire or a friend is in the hospital, (or if my router dies) then yes, “Real life happens.” But as far as my word and my commitment goes, “real life happens” is not going to stop me from keeping my commitment. I was brought up and trained and taught that if you aren’t early, you aren’t worth taking along; and that if you aren’t on time, your word is no good. As an adult, I recognize that this doesn’t make me “better” than people who don’t operate in this fashion, it’s just a difference of personality.


Most other people, when they say, “I’ll raid at 8:00 PM”, they mean they’ll log in at 7:55 PM, may or may not have ammo, may or may not have the right pet, may or may not have food buffs and elixirs, and don’t really care if they aren’t at the stone til 8:15 or 8:30 and are content to start an “8:00” raid as late as 9 or 10. And this is not because of real life emergencies, but just lack of planning and preparation.


This seems to be the majority of the WoW community.


This is their choice and I will never convince them to change these habits. But if I’m online an hour early and ready to roll, I am unhappy to sit around waiting for everyone else to get their collective act together. And I don’t play video games to be unhappy, I play video games to have fun. Waiting for half the raid group isn’t fun to me. An alternative method of operation is for me to be just as late to arrive and be ready as those with a more relaxed sense of duty and commitment, but when I play that way, I am unhappy with myself, and I don’t play video games to be unhappy; I play them to have fun.


I’m  a loner who believes in the power of personal merit. This idea is not (currently) supported in WoW. It is not possible to get the best gear by soloing, no matter how much time you put in, how skilled you are, or how intense your work ethic. ONLY by grouping with a variety of other people (whom you are bound to like and dislike) is it possible to advance to get the best stuff available. This has always been true for PvE, with Arenas and the constant nerfing of the honor system as a source of gear, they’ve made it true in PvP as well.


Just about the only area of WoW it’s possible to solo excel in is leveling. Every time I’ve created a new character, I’ve dazzled people on now a dozen different servers with the trail I can blaze while leveling away a new toon if I’m completely devoted to it. How many times have my friends made fun other players for having four or five level 70 toons, but all of them in green gear? But that’s honestly how I would prefer to play. Not that I mind having good gear, but I’d prefer to do it in a way that involved personal – not group – merit; I’m a capitalist, not a socialist. So in a way I envied Stoney his multi-level 70s (which I’ve had in total, but strung across different factions/servers/accounts, never all in one place).


PvP was the only thing to do AT 60 and AT 70 that I could do by myself and still excel and advance via effort and skill and patience. That’s gone. The best pvp gear is now available – and faster – by raiding. To PvP effectively, I have to raid constantly, and I have no desire to raid constantly. Furthermore, even the BEST pvp gear is now completely second-rate compared to the PvE gear available based on the way Resilience was calculated into Item Level starting with patch 3.0. This was not the case in BC days; when I got my Kara PvE gear, it was mostly side-grades from the PvP gear I already had, and eventually I was able to get even better PvP gear still.


Besides merit, the other thing I enjoyed about PvP was it fit my schedule. If I had 5 minutes or 12 hours, I could PvP as much or as little as I wanted. In PvE, that applies only to farming. Even REP GRINDING now requires you to run dungeons for some of the major reps that exist.


My Personality

WoW Community

Arrive early.

Arrive on time.

Start on time.

Start whenever.

Personal merit.

Group cooperation and achievement.


Need group to accomplish anything or advance.

Keep to myself.

Chat it up on Vent


The only way to advance is in large groups; since I’m a loner I am always behind.

Raid once in a blue moon

Raid several times per week

Play in short segments

Play in huge sweeping sessions of 6+ hours

Prefer to work in pairs or threes at most

Smallest group is 5, largest is 25

Play a part time game

Play 24/7 when not working/sleeping


The more I look at it, the more it just seems like there isn’t anything there for my personality. I think this is why I get:

·         Frustrated

o   Almost NOTHING happens the way I hope it will; that’s a hard way to live in ANY community.

·         Bored

o   All the ways which would be “fun” to me give you nothing meaningful in the game, and/or nobody else feels the same.

·         Exhausted

o   I recharge my “how good I feel” batteries by solitary activities; reading, writing, painting, music. When I’m in a group of 5, I feel my batteries slowly draining away. They drain away twice as fast if I’m on Vent, even if I’m not “grouped” in game (because it has the same emotional effect on me as grouping, but without the in game rewards).

·         Drained

o   When I’m bored, frustrated, and not having fun, WoW suddenly becomes even harder “work” to me than my REAL job. When heroics take two hours, I dread going on one. When raids never start on time, I hate them even more than I already did. When accomplishing ANYTHING requires me to be social for hours at a time, I start to hate all related goals; heroics, raids, arenas, even battlegrounds when we had enough people on the same Vent channel stopped being any fun for me. WoW becomes like a second job not just due to the time commitment, but due to the fact that I have more fun at work than I do in the game.

§  Ouch?

·         That’s not why I play video games, fo’shizzle.



The more I think about it and look at it and analyze it, the more it seems like WoW isn’t right for me or I’m not right for it. This isn’t anyone’s fault but mine, but the deeper into WoW (the way it is now) I get, the less fun I’m having.


I was sucked into the game by methods and goals which DO fit my playstyle; leveling, playing the market, learning tradeskills, finding short-term groups of 2 or 3 people for 20 to 30 minutes to do an outdoor group quest, and otherwise exploring a big wide world by myself, with my wife, or with a best friend. Not in huge conglomerates of people necessary to take down a ginormous dragon/demon in a world where you must group to advance, and spend a minimum of an hour online (assuming everyone starts on time) to accomplish even the smallest of goals (like a single heroic).


What do I want to accomplish in WoW? I have no idea whatsoever. What is there left for someone like me TO accomplish?