In the End, There is Azeroth

If you follow my twitter feed, you can probably guess what happened with me and FFXIV… I tried, I really did. The game itself is really well done in a lot of ways, and I can definitely see why it has the playerbase number that it does. It’s polished, well thought-through, and interesting. But honestly, it just wasn’t my genre. I felt about FFXIV a lot like I thought about Wildstar – both fun novelties and excellent MMOs in their own right if you’re into JRPGs and Sci-Fi Westerns, respectively. But JRPGs and Sci-Fi Westerns aren’t my thing, so it was difficult for me to viscerally connect to those games. I lasted a few weeks, and then I was floundering about again without a game home.

So, I resubbed to good ol’ faithful: World of Warcraft. As much as I dislike Garrison gameplay, I’ve ended up maxing out 4 garrisons (and working on two more) with Treasure Hunter followers and running gold missions each day for easy money. At the end of each expansion I typically run dailies for gold anyway, so this is just a more efficient version of that. It’s not really “fun”, but I like checking my Accountant mod at the end of each night and seeing the day’s totals tallied up. I’m also working on finishing leveling Archaeology and Fishing on my paladin, since she is my new main these days.

In addition, yesterday I came across this post on Tumblr that is proposing a fantastic idea: Taking the first two weeks after the Warcraft movie comes out to hang out in starter zones and assist new players. Since I currently play on a high-pop realm that is tagged for new players (Dalaran-US), we will likely get slammed with an influx of new players when the movie launches. So, new project: making and stockpiling Netherweave Bags and putting some gold back to give to lowbies. The plan is to hang out in Elwynn/Kharanos/Dolanaar and hand out the bags & gold, answer questions, and generally assist lowbies to make their starting experience more positive. My LotRO guild did something similar in LotRO back when it went F2P, and my GW2 guild (Gaiscioch) has done this in RIFT and GW2 with great results. It was fun so I’m definitely looking forward to doing it again, and I’ve already gotten a few others in my guild (Drunken Hooligans represent!) on-board to assist as well.

Next time: Stardew Valley, one of the very few single-player games I actually enjoy! 🙂

First Impressions of FFXIV

Typically the week between Christmas and New Years is a heavy gaming time for me, but this year was thrown off-kilter by two things. First, I didn’t have enough PTO to take off the extra days between the holidays, and second – I really wasn’t feeling any game that I had installed. Wurm Online is the old faithful that I adore and will always keep in my back pocket, but sometimes you just want to throw down some old school MMORPG questing action. I’m currently subscribed to WoW but it’s become primarily about logging in to take care of garrison business and make gold to prep for Legion. I updated LotRO and logged in a couple of times, but I have a very uneasy sense of dread about that game and it’s future. I even floated back into GW2 a couple of nights, but I couldn’t get motivated to do anything there either. ESO tempted me, but I couldn’t justify paying for the game when I didn’t know if it would be my cup of tea. Then, there was Final Fantasy.

I don’t have a history with the Final Fantasy franchise at all… I’ve always been aware of it but I never really thought about playing it. I like my games to be set in a medieval world, with just enough fantasy/magic to make things interesting, a la LotRO or Wurm. Low-fantasy, I guess. So Final Fantasy with it’s high-fantasy, eastern feel never really appealed to me. I’ve also never been impressed with the screenshots or videos that I’ve seen, it looked ugly to me, sort of RIFT-ugly. Still, it had a free trial, so I figured that I would give it a go. I’ve only played it a night or two and I’m still only level 7, but here’s my initial thoughts…

  1. Graphics: Okay, it’s not as ugly in person as it looks in other media. It’s actually kind of pretty at times, and has a certain charm to it. I feel like the NPCs are made out of play-doh, like a really high quality claymation film, but it works when you see the characters up close and animated. There’s something still slightly off-putting to me though, but I can’t put my finger on it just yet.
  2. Races: human (yay), elf (yay), big ugly blue person (yawn), kewpie doll (huh?), and catperson. I took them all through customization (great customization options, btw) and ended up picking a catgirl, inspired by my cat IRL. She’s actually pretty cute, the only real cat-like things about her are the ears and tail so it’s not too over the top.ffxiv_12312015_224120crop
  3. Combat: A bit slow and clunky, but otherwise pretty easy to get the hang of. I picked an Archer, with the thought of becoming a Bard later. So far, so good.
  4. HUD: It’s fine, fairly self-explanatory and easy to use and change. It took me a minute to figure out how to resize the UI elements, but once I did, all was well. Well, except for…
  5. Maps: Let’s talk about this map system. It is atrocious. I have an excellent sense of direction, in both games and IRL. I’m the person you want to hang with in a strange city, and I can figure out the easiest/shortest way to get around in a game with no problems. But so far the FFXIV map system has me beat. They took one huge zone, split it into tons of miniature zones with specific gates in between, but not every gate is usable due to your level. Then if you are in one mini-zone and need to go to another to take care of a quest, you have to find the screen for the quest zone and somehow backtrack/trace a route to the zone that you’re currently in, but you never get to see all the zones on the screen at once. It’s annoying, frustrating, and is a huge time-waster. I’ve watched videos trying to explain how it works. I still don’t get it. I did find this site with an all-in-one map of the world, and keeping that open on my second screen is the only way I can tolerate it right now. Terrible design here.Grumpy-CatFFXIV
  6. Atmosphere: I primarily play games to relax after rough days at a stressful job, so typically games like Wildstar don’t do it for me – they tend to agitate me more than give me a peaceful respite. FFXIV so far is having the desired effect – as long as I’m not looking at the infernal map or trying to figure out where to go, it’s peaceful, relaxing, almost happy-ish. I’ve seen it mentioned on Twitter that it is in some ways LotRO-like, and so far I see it as being LotRO-like in that specific regard. It just seems like an enjoyable place to roam in.
  7. Quests: So far not too bad! It’s the typical kill ten rats, take this package here sort of thing, but that is standard and I’m perfectly fine with that. I kind of like reading the quest text in what I think are the characters voices – it’s almost an exercise in imagination and it adds to the immersion.

So will I stick it out? Maybe. Too soon to tell really. I have two weeks to figure out if I have a future there, if at the end of 2 weeks I’m still playing and enjoying it, I may sub up. Stay tuned! 🙂

 

 

Scenes from the Northwest

After a weekend of digging and fencing, here’s where we are so far:

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Animal field: Fenced and Locked! I still need to dig out that mound of dirt in the middle, but all the animals are in their home now.

 

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Farm field: Almost done! I still need to rip down the small temporary animal pen, level it alllll out (needs to be flat to plant a farm), and finish a few more fence sections. We have plenty of food for now though, so this project will go on the back burner.

Next up on the docket is digging out the eastern border of the deed and getting that part of the fence finished, then we should be good and secure against trolls, spiders, scorpions, crocs, and the like. I went exploring tonight so that I could find a female sheep in order to start breeding for wool. What I found is that if I go about 2 minutes through the forest to the east, there is a huge area of steppe and tundra FULL of nasties. That’s why we have so many critters wandering onto the deed, they’re all coming from here. I’m not complaining at all, that is good hunting. 😀

 

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Note the big troll in the upper right – that is a champion troll (an elite) and in my mind, he rules this hill. One of these days his rule will end. 😉

 

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Progress Post

Wildeacre is coming right along, slowly but surely. Let’s take a look at the progress so far:

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First, I needed to decide on a level for the deed and clean up the mine pit. It’s a tricky thing because the deed backs right up on a mountain, but is rather low towards the front. I ended up picking a low height that will look fairly natural in the front, and I’m cutting deep into the mountain in the back. It’s been a process of cutting into the back and then counting off the slope over lots of tiles to make sure that I’m working on the same level in both front and back. I ran into rock at one point in the back, about 25 slope higher than I would have liked, but I’m going to roll with it – that particular corner will be hidden by tall hedges, so we’re just going to leave it as is for now. Maybe at some point it’ll get corrected.

Once I decided on the level, I squared away around the mine. This wasn’t as easy as I would have hoped since I had to do some flat-raising, but I got it, finally. Then I sailed down the coast a bit to a big maple forest and went crazy plucking hundreds of sprouts off the maple trees. With those sprouts I made…

 

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Hedges! The mine pit has been lined with maple hedges that are short right now, but will grow into tall hedges the same height as the gate. We also built a guard tower to protect us from local wildlife, and I got the first story of my house finished. Since this picture was made, Mr. Moxie also built a mirroring house on the right side, where the packed tiles and crates are. These houses will likely end up being 3 stories high, with bavarian-style timber walls on the 2nd and 3rd floors and slate roofs.

My current project is creating a road from the front of the deed to the highway, and then leveling the entire border of the deed and getting it fenced in. After that, finishing the farm fence. Then, leveling some more space for the workshop/storage buildings, abbey, and winery. I honestly love this spot. While it doesn’t look like much now with the dirt piles and crates strewn everywhere, it’s beautiful, has great resources, a great view, a great location, and it’s shaping up to be a beautiful, cozy, lush Secret Garden-like deed.

Wurm Bites

After Blaugust, I needed a break from blogging. The whole once-a-day thing was waaaay too unsustainable for me, so I took a brief hiatus to let things settle. I’m thinking a post 2-3 times a week, or whenever I have something to say. No promises or obligations. This is for fun, right?

So as far as WoW goes, I think I’m pretty much done for this expansion. I got my paladin and mage to 100 and decently geared out via PvP, and transferred them to a fun World PvP-centric dwarf guild with great folks. Other than finishing out achievements or collecting pets or mounts or whatnot, there’s really not a ton else that I need to do, so I’m in a good spot for Legion. I’ll continue to log in periodically to do some dailies for cash, but otherwise I think I likely won’t put in any more significant WoW time in until Legion.

In other news: I picked up another old, friendly, comfortable game again: Wurm Online. Those of you that have known me for years know that I adore this game, although like anything I have to take breaks from it. Hearing the announcement about the upcoming Wurm Unlimited release on Steam got me thinking about jumping back in anyway, and then my old pal/co-worker @_Jeg_ also started thinking about it as well, so off to Xanadu we went. The first thing to decide was whether to continue on our existing deeds, or to start fresh. This was hard because we’ve both spent a ton of time and resources on building our deeds, but there were two negatives to the location: We were in the dead middle of the map and were only sea-accessible by one small canal at the far north end of the lake, and there was no activity in the area. We were basically hermits. We both wanted better access to a spawn point, a market, and foot-traffic, so we grabbed a couple of horses and went scouting in northwest Xanadu. We went north because mob density is higher (better hunting) and west for easier access to the Independence/Deliverance/Exodus/Celebration cluster.

I had a few requirements:

  • Coastal access: I don’t normally like areas right on the water, but having a coastal area about 100 or so tiles from my deed was preferable.
  • Close to a spawn point: We started out looking at Linton and Vrock Landing. Vrock quickly won out, one of the Wurm staff members has been working on the spawn and it has a super-cool checkerboard portal area. Also, it is further northwest (see above).
  • Good ores: This one is tricky. I’ve learned lessons from past deeds, and at this point I take care to prospect to get an idea of what is available BEFORE deeding. Iron is a must. Gold, silver, or lead is icing on the cake. Anything else is nice to have, but not super-necessary.
  • Terrain: I like places that back up to mountains or otherwise difficult-to-deed terrain (for a mine), but I also LOVE me some forest. Lots and lots of forest, with good trees (cedar, pine, birch). Also, not tooooooo hilly, I prefer flattish deeds as opposed to terraced.
  • Neighbors: A few good neighbors and a good alliance are also necessary. Not too crowded, but not too lonesome either. Hermiting is nice until you’re hermiting for months on end.

After riding around for several days, checking out all sorts of different places, digging, prospecting, and running from entire tribes of trolls, scorpions, spiders, hellhounds, anacondas, crocodiles, and other assorted wildlife, we finally settled on two places relatively close to each other. I took the forest on the highway, Jeg took the (rare but awesome) spot on the coast. My only issue with the forest was that I was unable to prospect to check what ores were under the area, so it was a gamble. However after prospecting other nearby areas and asking neighboring deeds, it seemed like the chances were good that it would have iron at the least, so we took that chance.

It paid off. We’ve found iron AND gold so far, and I know there’s zinc somewhere nearby. WOO!

The last few times I’ve done this, I’ve forgotten to get “before” pictures, so here it is… the lovely, lush, wild area that is Wildeacre 2.0:

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Battle Priestess Redux, Again

One of the promises I made to myself when joining Blaugust this year was that if I made it all the way through, I’d set up a regular website again, rather than being dependent on WordPress.com or buying their pricey Premium packages. Well, I didn’t make it all the way through Blaugust, fizzling out due to craziness at work and other real life matters, but I made it much longer than I thought I would, so I decided to gift myself the self-hosted site anyway. At the suggestion of Faeldray, I went with A Small Orange for shared hosting at $50/year, which I think is very reasonable. So far I’m loving their service and simplicity, and it feels good to be back in control of the site. 🙂

Then I took a cue from Belghast and installed the GeneratePress theme with the additional plug-in package that (for a one-time $30 fee) allows you very powerful customization of the theme. So far I love it. I’ve been playing with it all day and it’s super-easy and super-flexible, more so than any other theme that I’ve tried. This could be dangerous, because I’ll always find *something* to tweak.

So while I won’t be a Blaugust winner this year, I’m still happy with the outcome. I’ll be blogging here maybe 2-3 times a week, or whenever I have something to say. I definitely won’t be forcing myself to post every single day, but it might happen sometimes. Congratulations to all the Blaugust winners, I hope that this month was as good of an exercise for you as it was for me. 🙂

This Is What We Wanted All Along

Today I’m just going to leave the text of this SUPER-LONG post by Community Manager Lore here. This is what I’ve been soapboxing about lately. This is EXACTLY the kind of communication we’ve needed to see during this expansion: transparent and honest. As they say, bad news doesn’t get better with time, so it would behoove Blizzard to be honest about delays and what is causing them in a timely manner.

Kudos to CM Lore for posting this, even if it was late. This is what we want. Please, please give us more of this as it happens and I think you’ll find that the players will be more receptive and forgiving.

—WARNING: HERE THERE BE PERSONAL OPINION DRAGONS—
I’ll start with this: we’re a software development company. More precisely, we’re a video game developer. Anything and everything can change in the software development world, for reasons that are often impossible to predict ahead of time. As a result, we’re hesitant to 100% commit to anything. We’ve learned that, no matter how confident we are at any given point, there’s always a very real chance that there’s something we haven’t thought of that makes what we want to do impossible.

The whole “weeks, not months” thing makes an easy example. At the time that was said, we firmly believed that it would only take us a few weeks to polish off Tanaan and fix a few areas we knew were likely to have some bugs, and then we’d roll out the flying patch. It’s easy enough, right? We just change a few 0’s to 1’s and it’s all done.

Then we started finding a lot more bugs and glitches than we expected. We found tiny pockets of the world that weren’t properly obeying the flight rules, and would drop players to their deaths if you happened to fly through them. We found issues with certain mounts and class abilities that were caused by hotfixes to resolve exploits, which resulted in those mounts and abilities not working. We found situations in which if you fly into your Garrison at juuuuust the right angle, you get disconnected and can’t get back onto your character for a good half hour or so.

Finding those bugs, implementing fixes, testing those fixes, finding more bugs (sometimes caused by those fixes)… it all added up to a lot more work being needed to actually enable flying than we had originally expected. And as a result, what we originally thought would only take a few weeks ended up taking a couple months.

Now, don’t get me wrong: I’m not making excuses here. And I don’t at all blame the players who are frustrated and upset that we didn’t hit the timeline we originally stated. Honestly, we probably should never have said that it would only take a few weeks. That was clearly a mistake, and I apologize for it.

But that should hopefully give you an idea of why — ESPECIALLY given the missteps we’ve made in the recent past — we simply can’t 100% guarantee that nothing will go wrong between now and September 1st. Truth is, we’re more confident in this release date than we usually are this far in advance of a patch. That’s why we felt that we could give a date at all.

There’s just always — ALWAYS — a chance that something can go wrong at the last minute. We could, say, be finishing the fixes for the last couple of dismount bugs on the Saturday before release, and when we compile the final build, all of a sudden activating your flying mount teleports you to the graveyard in Westfall and deletes the contents of your inventory. Is that likely? Not really, no. But it’s possible, so we need to make sure you’re aware that things can change, just in case something like that does happen.

There are alternatives, of course. We could just not give a date until we know for 100% certain, which is our usual strategy. Like I said, we feel a little more confident in this date than usual, so we thought it was okay to share it.

The other option would have been to try to have the patch ready to go by the 1st, but not actually plan to release it until a week or so later. That would let us announce a date we’d be extremely confident in, but we’d essentially be delaying the release of flight even further, and we definitely don’t want to do that. So, we gave a date that we feel pretty good about, with the reminder that we won’t be able to release if something catastrophic happens.

This ended up being a giant wall of text, but I’ll leave it with this: I know it’s super frustrating when it feels like we’re not being as open as we possibly could be. And I know it’s equally frustrating when it seems like we’re completely unwilling to commit to anything concrete. I spent 8 years as a player before I became an employee. I know exactly how it feels.

I just also know that it’s better to not expect much and be pleasantly surprised, than to feel like a promise was broken. At least that’s my opinion.

Regarding the transition from 6.2.1 to 6.2.2: we actually had two potential plans that were dependent on how things fell in terms of development timelines, which is why some of what we’ve said seems contradictory.

The core of it comes from our PTR testing process, and the fact that we are blessed with some extremely savvy fansite operators who are capable of combing through patch data, finding nuggets of information, and drawing educated conclusions based on that information. If we’d put, say, the Illidan-themed Murloc pet into the PTR data before Legion was announced, that would have been a pretty big tip-off. At the same time, we needed to get PTR testing for flight underway as quickly as possible, so that we could make sure we found all those silly obnoxious bugs I mentioned in my earlier post.

So, our strategy was to create two separate versions of the patch. 6.2.1 would have all of the relevant patch features (including flight), and 6.2.2 would have everything in 6.2.1 plus the upcoming stuff that the art team has been working on. In the unlikely event that everything went EXTREMELY smoothly with flight, we’d have the option to go ahead and push out 6.2.1, and 6.2.2 would come separately. If not, we’d just carry on with 6.2.2, which was basically the same patch plus some stuff that other parts of the WoW development team had been working on. As you’re all aware, things did not go extremely smoothly with flight, so the latter option was what ended up happening.

I’ll make a silly analogy. Think of the patch like a bus. This bus is waiting for a high-profile dignitary (flying) to finish up some negotiations, and as soon as she’s done with those, she needs to leave to get to another conference. That bus will not leave without the dignitary, and it will leave immediately once she’s on board.

That said, the bus is also capable of taking on other passengers (who for the sake of the analogy we’ll assume are headed to the same place). The longer the dignitary’s negotiations take, the more opportunity there is for other passengers to hitch a ride. The other passengers, in this case, are things like Mercenary Mode or the new pets and mounts. If the dignitary had finished unexpectedly quickly, there would be another bus coming by later that could take those passengers, but since she hasn’t, the bus company decides to just take one trip instead of two. Make sense?

One other note: 6.2.1 was briefly labelled as a “Release Candidate” on the PTR prior to the switch to 6.2.2. “Release Candidate” is an internal term we use to basically mean “we think we might have fixed everything.” As it turns out, we hadn’t. In this case, if we hadn’t had the transition to 6.2.2, 6.2.1 would have just stayed as “Release Candidate” until September 1st. But since we had this weird extra “hide your kids” strategy going on with the Legion stuff, the title was switched back as part of the changeover. I completely understand why that looks like “Blizzard delayed the patch to add some pets” to those who aren’t familiar with our internal workings.

Regarding “you should have designed the world with flight from the beginning!” We actually did, we just had to do a lot more development after that, and some of that stuff broke flying in ways we didn’t fully anticipate.

For example, when Warlords released, our servers were unable to handle the massive numbers of players trying to log into the game. Our server technicians pulled some absolutely crazy magic to dramatically increase the number of players who could be on a given server at one time. That solved the load issues, but ended up creating a large number of the dismount/de-instancing issues that players who have been testing flight on the PTR will have noticed.

Another example: a few weeks later, some exploits surfaced that were allowing certain players to fly in clearly unintended ways (such as Druids being able to leave Ashran with the Flight Form book still active). We hotfixed those exploits as they came up, but some of those hotfixes broke flying in Draenor in ways that continued even with flying properly enabled.

Obviously, we knew that both of those things were likely to cause some issues, we just severely underestimated how widespread (and difficult to resolve) those issues would be. And we didn’t want to delay rolling out those fixes, because they had major implications for the live game (especially the server stuff), where no one was supposed to be able to fly at the time anyway.

Given the choice between letting thousands more people actually play the game and potentially breaking something that (at the time) we weren’t sure was even going to matter later, it was an easy decision. But even easy decisions have consequences, and now we’re having to deal with those in 6.2.1/6.2.2.

So, again: if you suspected that the new content would cause problems with flight, then why did you choose to heap MORE features on top of flying in his patch, knowing that would cause delays and thus upset people?
Because we knew it wouldn’t, and it hasn’t. None of the other content in 6.2.1/6.2.2 has delayed flying in any way.

There are multiple teams of people here working on multiple things. The people working on fixing up Draenor for flight are not the same people working on Mercenary Mode, or the class tuning changes, or the pets and mounts, etc.

Roleplay: It’s for Everyone.

More thoughts on roleplay today. 🙂

There’s been an interesting debate on our server regarding roleplay. Traditionally, and perhaps ideally, roleplay would adhere completely to the lore. So I wouldn’t, for example, play a character that is Thrall and Jaina’s half-orc/half-human love child that has been touched by magic and can turn into a dragon… at least I wouldn’t go around telling everybody that. In the roleplay world that’s called being a Mary Sue, a character that is so unique and powerful that it becomes near impossible to develop any kind of interesting story or back-and-forth with other characters.

There’s also roleplay that extends beyond the boundaries of the Warcraft universe, so for example, roleplaying as StarCraft characters stuck in Azeroth, or roleplay that’s so silly that it becomes a joke. What ends up happening is an inevitable clash between those who prefer their roleplay to be adherent to the lore and who want everyone else’s roleplay to be the same, and those who prefer their roleplay to be sillier and looser. Thing is: there’s room for all types of roleplay. If a group is roleplaying in a way that you personally find distasteful, there’s a very simple solution. Don’t roleplay with them. It’s not rocket science. Nobody is allowed to force their playstyle on another person, but that doesn’t mean that two or more playstyles cannot peacefully coexist side-by-side. This Blizz post from Goroxxigamm on our realm forums confirms this:

Normally we would stay out of this but there continues to be a trend where the environment in a realm forum, which is intended to be a place for players to BUILD community, serves only to do the opposite. So, I am posting here in the hopes that it will do some good.

So to start, the first negative post in this thread seems to have started a lengthy back and forth that likely could have been avoided entirely. Instead of responding to the post it would have been a great deal better simply to ignore it, or even ignore the user that posted it. By responding it adds fuel to the fire and detracts from the original purpose of the thread.

If you believe a post violates the Code of Conduct report it, ignore the person and do not engage.

08/18/2015 04:06 PMPosted by Xeer

I refuse to hold everyone’s hand on #edream. 🙂

That would be fine, but actively going out of your way to smash that hand with a mallet, probably something that we can do without.

This is a general statement and not specific to Xeer… The fact of the matter is, regardless of if you approve of someone’s RP or not, there are more appropriate ways to participate in a dialog where you can share you opinion. Let’s not confuse the issue either, it is your opinion and it is no more or less valid than anyone else. That you have it does not give you or anyone else the right to harass, berate or attempt to intimidate others for theirs.

No one serves as grand arbiter of what is or is not RP. Not here and not in the game.

For GREAT JUSTICE!

So yesterday I shared about how I came to play on the Emerald Dream RP-PvP server – but I didn’t go into what exactly I consider RP. Roleplay is one of those things that I love the idea of more than I probably enjoy doing it, to an extent. Sitting in a tavern and listening to characters have a in-character conversation is great, and I love being on a server where that is welcomed and available. But when it comes to participating, I sometimes have a difficult time. That same sitting around and having in-character conversations feels weird because in real life I’m not that social either. It feels like I’m always trying to think of things to say and how to word them so as not to offend and keep things fun and interesting, and that’s more like work than anything else. Why yes, I am an introvert, thank you very much.

This changes somewhat though if we’re doing a roleplay event. We’re going to march through the Eastern Kingdoms on our way to pay tribute to Uther’s Tomb? YES. Going to have a Horde vs. Alliance roleplay event with some PvP action. Oh yeah. Costume contests, beach parties, in-character dungeons and raids. Sign me up! I prefer activities where there is action and the subject of conversation isn’t dependent on me, but on whatever we’re doing at the time.

The other aspect of roleplay that I think you don’t hear a lot about is just old-fashioned game immersion. When I play, I do try to get into the mindset of my character and play as her in my head. That doesn’t mean I yell GLORY TO THE ALLIANCE before every pull or speak in archaic dialect. It’s just when I’m killing those 20 muckgoblins, it’s not me playing a video game killing muckgoblins for 13,000 xp and 2 gold. It’s Teaghan Rose Stoutheart of Thelsamar, Initiate of the Argent Crusade and Harbinger of the Light killing those muckgoblins for GREAT JUSTICE and to collect their livers so that this sweet family can have dinner tonight. And sometimes if somebody is questing in the same area and asks me a question, I’ll answer in a dwarvish accent (which isn’t so far from my normal southern accent) so as not to ruin the immersion for them.

I think there’s room for lots of different types and levels of roleplay as well… more on that tomorrow. 🙂

The OTHER Emerald Dream

In World of Warcraft, I’ve played on a handful of regular PvE servers (Garona, Terenas, Runetotem) for short periods of time. The far greater amount of time has been spent on Roleplay servers: Feathermoon (first RP server), Steamwheedle Cartel (the one I’ve spent the most time on), The Scryers, Wyrmrest Accord and finally Emerald Dream. Steamwheedle Cartel (SwC) holds such fond memories for me – at the time it was a new, bustling server with an amazing roleplay community, tons of community events, and an active raiding and PvP scene. As it always does on RP realms, drama happened, and when Moon Guard and Wyrmrest Accord came online, most RPers gradually left for a new RP promised land. Over the past several years, SwC’s population has dwindled, with only maybe a handful of RPers left on the server. It’s a sad commentary on the WoW RP community that SwC and so many of the other RP realms are in the same situation – but then again I’m part of the problem.

Sometime during Cataclysm I transferred most of my characters to Wyrmrest Accord. Wyrmrest is GREAT for roleplay, but I found a weird problem there as well: there were SO MANY roleplay guilds, but very few casual, friendly, fun, RP-lite guilds that are my ideal atmosphere. It was almost too much roleplay, with a whole lot of strongly-themed guilds and little room for out-of-character banter. While it’s a great server if you’re a hardcore roleplayer, it just wasn’t a good fit in the long run for me.

Eventually I started researching realms again. I was tired of transferring between realms and drifting. I had a few requirements:

  • RP Server preferred.
  • Room for all playstyles: RP, World Events, Casual, Raiding, PvP.
  • At least a couple interesting looking guilds that I would want to look into joining.
  • POPULATED. I didn’t want to be on a dead server.
  • A good number of my preferred character names available.
  • A sense of community, whatever that was.
  • Active official forums & Facebook. I know, I know, it’s the OFFICIAL FORUMS. But still, that’s a pretty good indicator of population and community.

While researching, an option came up that I had never considered before:

Emerald Dream RP-PvP… PVP

I’m not really a PvPer, I fully admit it. While I have fond memories of running Alterac Valley and the old Southshore/Tarren Mill world PvP zerg battles, I considered PvP servers to be that place where those players go, where you can’t level because everybody is out to gank you and the e-peen reigns supreme. But other than that, it hit all the requirements. So I figured it wouldn’t hurt to roll a lowbie there and check it out. And of course, I got ganked in Elwynn Forest. 🙂

But I was pleased with what I saw. I contacted the awesome people in <Meddle> and spoke to them about what I was looking for and what it was like being on a PvP server. “Jump on in!” they said. “It’s not so bad, it can actually be fun!”. So I transferred one character over and I’ve been there happily ever since. I do get ganked pretty much every night, sometimes multiple times a night, but it’s important to have the right mindset for it. Just accept that it’s going to happen, and that if you get camped, you’ll just need to move to another area for a little bit. It’s no big deal really, it just adds to the Alliance vs. Horde atmosphere and yes, it does actually add to the immersion and roleplay.

So I’ve been a happy Dreamer ever since. ED like any PvP server has a reputation of being full of drama and rivalries, and it can be a volatile environment at times. But it’s incredibly active and full of life and fun times, and that’s all I really need.