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World of Warcraft - The Burning Crusade Review 329

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the ahhh-the-crusade-it-burrrrnnnnnssss dept.
It would be hard to argue that World of Warcraft hasn't been a huge success. Not only has it been a financial success in the MMO market, but it has introduced many new people to Massive gaming that might not have otherwise given it a shot. With their first expansion, The Burning Crusade, Blizzard has made huge advances in many areas of the game. Long-standing complaints have been addressed, and the structure of the popular title has been reinforced. The casual players have gotten a large injection of content that is both accessible and enjoyable to someone who doesn't have huge amounts of time to play. At the same time, hardcore players who thirst for new challenges on a daily basis have quite a bit of work ahead of them. This is not to say that The Burning Crusade (BC) doesn't have its pitfalls, but overall I get the feeling that this is closer to what Blizzard's World of Warcraft dream was meant to be. Read on for my opinions of this new round of addiction.
  • Title: World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade
  • Developer/Publisher: Blizzard / Vivendi
  • System: PC / Mac
  • Genre: Massively Multiplayer Online Game
  • Score: 4/5 - This game is a wonderful addition to the original World of Warcraft universe and helps to alleviate many of the "problems" that players have been complaining about for a long time. If you are burnt out on the original game, now is a good time to give it another look.
In the beginning Blizzard gave us World of Warcraft. And life was good. Like any shiny new toy, the faults inherent to the game weren't initially obvious. As time wore on, though, players were able to delve into the guts of the game through raiding and excessive amounts of play. After a while the main complaints seemed to fall into two different "camps": those who wanted to see more "hardcore" content and those who wanted to see more "solo" or "casual" content. There were many arguments about how these two groups of people were mutually exclusive and how one or the other was the "obvious" best choice. However, in BC, Blizzard has done an excellent job in making sure that both groups of players have content to shoot for, even if the rewards aren't necessarily all that much better for conquering the raid content.

The first major improvement in the game comes with the extension of the level grind. There is a vast difference in the enjoyment of leveling a character from levels 1-60 and from 60-70. While the amount of experience is relatively comparable, the mechanisms in place make it a completely different animal. With the original game, leveling was thought of as one of the main aspects of the game and designed to take a long time to do with very little continuity or help to speed you along. Instances were designed to be for gear rewards and something you did rarely in between your bouts of leveling. With The Burning Crusade, the quests were designed to make you feel like you were accomplishing smaller tasks within a grand scheme, and they actually helped to develop the plot and a feeling that you were a part of the game rather than just trying to "beat" the game to get a level.

Throughout the questing and overall leveling process, instances in the Burning Crusade were also designed to be a much more integral part of the game for both leveling and gear. The group experience bonus allows a player to still make good progress towards the next level while playing through group content with friends and finding new challenges and boss fights along the way. The quests for every zone eventually start to poke and prod you towards the next level appropriate instance to help players make this decision and help round out the leveling experience. To make the process of instancing even better, Blizzard has grouped the instances in each zone together as "wings" of increasing difficulty within a larger structure that has an overall theme. This allows players to tackle the content in smaller chunks without having to commit large blocks of time just to do an instance. At the end of each group of instances the content culminates in a larger group encounter for raids to tackle once their players have completed a key quest for that particular instance.

While instances may have gotten a large push in the right direction, there are still a couple of major problems that continue to crop up, preventing players from really enjoying the content that is right in front of them. The largest of these problems are instance-breaking bugs. There have been quite a few of them since launch, and while bugs are to be expected, these are taking a long time to fix. Meanwhile the customer service reps in game are doing very little to help the players deal with the bugs beyond telling them it is a known problem and sorry about your luck. Now, I realize that some people are going to try and exploit GM assistance, but there comes a time when you just need to give your customer the benefit of the doubt and help them through any problems that crop up. The other major problem attached to instances comes before you even make it to the instance. If you aren't part of a large guild with resources always at hand, it means you are going to have to try your luck with a pickup group. While the "Looking for Group" interface was a neat addition, I think Blizzard either did too much or too little depending on what they were going for. With a simple global chat channel it was very easy for players just to type what they were looking to do and for others to answer, a quick and easy solution. In fact, most servers have seen a grass roots channel emerge to move back to this functionality. With the introduction of a user interface and automation to the process, they removed the "easy" solution but didn't go far enough with the complex solution. Ultimately, the "best" answer to this problem would be to bring back the chat channel but make the user interface "grab" names and classes from that chat channel into a larger pool of people to draw from, allowing users to use both methods of communication depending on their preference.

One of the main points of skepticism before the release of The Burning Crusade was the number of reputation "grinds" that would be required in order to experience new content. While much of the new content is hidden behind reputation requirements, the new system allows players to gain reputation at an amazingly fast rate making this requirement almost a non-issue. In addition to new content for these new factions the reputation system also unlocks a vast amount of new pearls for the crafting system. This allows different reputation choices to determine which recipes you are able to craft so that each crafter has the ability to obtain unique recipes instead of being a cookie cutter crafter like it was before the expansion.

Despite the fact that the casual consumer has definitely been given quite a bit of content to work their way through, the hardcore player has certainly not been left in the lurch. Raid content is available in spades. The addition of a 'heroic mode' for dungeons allows players to go back and play through previous instances at a higher difficulty level (and for better rewards). This, again, requires that they have put in the time to attain a high enough reputation level with the controlling faction. With each set of instances, there is also a difficult 25-man raid (now that Blizzard has decided to limit their "large" raids to 25 players instead of 40) encounter designed to provide an additional challenge. Beyond these short raids there is also new 10-man content (Karazhan) that allows players to work through a larger dungeon and attain a new armor "set" in addition to the random drops that still occur. Once players have made their way through this 10-man content they can start working towards some of the even larger 25-man content with huge sprawling dungeons promised, eventually culminating in the battle through Mount Hyjal. However, in order to get to this final realization players must wade through a lot of content. In an effort to help players in this goal one player even put together a flow chart of what it is going to take to realize this goal.

The largest problem with the current raid content is that while it requires large amounts of work to get to and complete (as it should), the rewards for actually completing that raid content have all but eviscerated the desire to do the work. Having moved from a "hardcore" raiding style of play to a much more casual approach I was quite pleased at how much I was able to do on a daily basis with my limited time. However, looking back at my previous play style and the rewards that I would be shooting for I realized that there was very little reason for me to aim for those "end game" rewards anymore. The time spent versus rewards earned seems a little imbalanced. I'm sure that a large part of this decision was to try and cater to the larger "casual" player base and stop the hemorrhage of players they were losing to other games. Just the same, if you are going to create content that caters to your hardcore players you should probably create rewards that justify the work they are about to put into it.

While much of the game play and content has been improved greatly the class balance issue is still one that continues to haunt Blizzard. For example, if you are a Rogue and you really want to experience some of the heroic content and smaller raid encounters, you are in for a difficult time finding a group. The same goes for priests if you are really into the competitive player versus player aspect of the game. I am willing to give Blizzard the benefit of the doubt on this one since they are probably still evaluating how the new talents and new gear will effect the overall class balance, but changes are definitely needed.

In addition to all of the game play changes, each faction also has a new race, a new homeland, and tons of new starting quests to work through. While information on the new horde race, the Blood-Elf, has been available for quite some time, the new alliance race, the Draenei, has been somewhat of a mystery almost until the release of the beta. Unfortunately, this also shows in the quality of both the quests and the overall feel for each of these races. The homeland and starting quests for the Blood-Elves have a much larger degree of continuity and they lend a feeling of a long time in development while the Draenei feel like a last minute cobble when they couldn't think of anything else. This obviously doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things once you make it to Outland and the new content, but it can have a definite effect on someone just starting the game.

Overall, it seems that Blizzard is definitely listening to their player base, they just need to do a better job of communicating that fact. I realize that it is hard to release information about something if it later gets taken away or changed, but let your GM staff work for you, give the player the benefit of the doubt more often, and admit when something is wrong so that players can avoid the disappointment while it is being fixed.

Despite any pitfalls, The Burning Crusade is an excellent addition to the Warcraft Universe. Blizzard has done an excellent job of catering to many of the different types of players within the game, providing a wide array of enjoyable content. If you are new to the MMO scene or even if you gave up hope before The Burning Crusade hit the streets, now is a great time to get into the game and give it a shot.
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World of Warcraft - The Burning Crusade Review

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  • As far as expansions for MMOs go, the Burning Crusade does have a TON more content than normal. No new classes was a glaring flaw though, and it will be interesting to see if they can get away with that in future expansions.
    • by kwerle (39371)
      While allowing the opposing factions to play the "other faction's" class (paly/shaman) isn't really adding classes, it sure feels like it to our horde guild. In addition, the various talent trees have been more clearly defined, which creates more distinctive build possibilities for each class - which also isn't new classes, but is also very interesting.

      Finally, I don't know that no new classes is a "glaring flaw". I certainly didn't expect any.
      • I just hope it will cut the stupid whining. Part of the reason I quit playing was the "Pallies are overpowered" and "Shamans are too good" crap. Most of the people complaining had never even rolled on the other faction. Now they can STFU and play their "broken" class.
  • by LochNess (239443) on Friday February 23, 2007 @02:05PM (#18125090) Homepage
    While I can see people's point when they complain about the newish LFG tool, I really don't want to go back to the server-wide LFG channel. It was basically global Barrens chat.
    • by bugnuts (94678) on Friday February 23, 2007 @02:20PM (#18125298) Journal
      The way they could fix this is to put a global chat channel INSIDE the LFG tool, with a timer (2 broadcasts per 30 sec). That'd make it inconvenient to use as a chat channel, and would mostly be seen only by people actually actively looking for a group. The tool is nice, but needs some tweaks. But worse, the inability to chat destroys any usefulness it might have had.
      • by LochNess (239443)
        That actually sounds like a pretty good idea.
      • by Chris Burke (6130)
        That's a fantastic idea. The global LFG channel was obnoxious, but at least it functioned. The new tool is practically worthless. It's better to just go to the zone with the instance/nearest capital city and ask in general chat.

        They should definitely implement your idea, and then make it so that auto-join/auto-invite is not enabled by default.
      • by Miniluv (165290)
        I disagree. I started using LFG the day it came out, and have found it to be a steadily improving resource. I dunno if its useful for endgame instances, however up through SM and Uldaman level instances its highly useful. You don't need it to be a chat channel as you're already advertising your interest in one or more instances through the tool, instead I wish it was more dynamic (clicking refresh gets annoying) and I wish you could view the queue for more than 1 instance at a time.
        • by MeanderingMind (884641) on Friday February 23, 2007 @04:15PM (#18126992) Homepage Journal
          The biggest downer of the LFG tool is the artificial limits that have been put in place.

          1) Altruism - There have been times in the past where I see a grammatically correct and polite request for a VC group sent out for an hour or more. I like to reward people for these things, and so I'll bring in a high level character and get them through the dungeon or a hard quest. The new LFG tool has absolutely no support for friendly, high level players.

          2) Multiple Characters - I tend to have multiple characters on a single server. A habit of mine with the LFG channel was to play one character while monitoring the channel for a dungeon another character needed. The LFG tool has no functionality supporting this.

          3) Craziness - Sometimes people want to group for odd things. Whether it's a roleplaying parade, a raid on an enemy city, or a counter-offensive to an enemy attack the LFG channel allowed groups for non-standard events. The LFG tool has no functionality for people joining groups unassociated with predefined directives.

          4) Automation - While much of the LFG tool is automatic, using it isn't. Most players by default would join the LFG channel on login. People must personally open the LFG tool and set what they need. The result is a crippling effect on participation.

          5) Simple Limits - One of the major problems with the LFG tool is the limited amount of LFGing you can do with it at any one time. Despite the fact that I might be looking for several wings of SM, RFD, some elite Arathi quests and perhaps a general Zone group for the Badlands I must pick and choose between a maximum of three things. SM alone can eat 3 of those without even covering the whole instance. As instances generally fulfil many quests, they take higher priority than individual quests. This makes it extremely difficult to use the LFG tool for anything that isn't a dungeon, as people naturally select what will give them their "money's worth".

          6) LFM - The LFM portion of the tool is simply bad. Three was limiting enough, but at most you can LFM for one dungeon, quest, raid, zone at a time. If you're doing quests outside of dungeons, you might suffer from the "ships passing in the night" syndrome as you flutter through the relevant quests looking for people who might be interested.

          Those are my criticisms of the tool. It has great potential, but I think Blizzard jumped the gun. It's going to be twice as hard to convince people to adopt it because of the perception that it sucks. Even if it is improved to the ease of use and functional level of the LFG channel, people won't be convinced. It would have been better if they had waited and expanded it before replacing the flawed but undeniably useful LFG channel.
      • The problem is advertising that you're interested in an instance to people other than those also immediately interested. How do you tell people that are questing that you could use them in a group? If they don't have the instance tool open you can't.

        Also the game doesn't allow you to specify any classes. If you have several DPS classes there's no way to specify for it to only add a tank and healer.
  • Incomprehensible! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Andy_R (114137) on Friday February 23, 2007 @02:08PM (#18125128) Homepage Journal
    As a non-WoW player (I do play Runescape though) this made very little sense to me. Can someone explain what an 'instance' is?

    I'm equally baffled by the reviewer saying "players must wade through a lot of content." isn't content rather than grind what everyone wants?
    • Re:Incomprehensible! (Score:4, Informative)

      by halivar (535827) <bfelger&gmail,com> on Friday February 23, 2007 @02:15PM (#18125224) Homepage
      And "instance" is a dungeon, populated with monsters and quest goals, generated specifically for your party. No one else is there. If some other group tries to enter the same dungeon, they get a difference "instance". It's a good way of getting away from the farmers and channel chatter.

      Instances also have bosses with mad l3wt, which is always fun.
      • by toleraen (831634)
        I realize this is an article about how WoW does instances, but the definition is a little more broad than that. An instance in an MMOG really goes by the definition: a case or occurrence of anything [reference.com]. Anything in the case of MMOGs referring to a zone or area of the world. It isn't necessarily restricted to you or your party. In Everquest 2 they had the major zones automatically create another instance of themselves, so if the low level grounds of Antonica had more than 100 players or so in it, a new one
        • WOW instance detail (Score:3, Informative)

          by Akaihiryuu (786040)
          WOW acutally has several types of "instances", distinguished by portal color. First, the two main continents (Kalimdor and Eastern Kingdoms) actually are instances that are separate from each other (the ships and zeppelins are the "portals"). These work the same way "travel" instances do (white portals)...programming-wise they are still instances, but there is no limit to the number of players in it, and all players are placed in the same instance. Outland is the same way, and the Blood Elf/Draenei start
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Gropo (445879)

            if you were to find a way to exploit the terrain to get around the portal to the blood elf area you'd probably just end up at a beach with nothing there

            Verified... Tried swimming from North of Scarlet Monastery to Ghostlands before I installed BC (and after it had gone live) and all you wind up in is 5 dimensional space (shows you walking through the zone on the map, but you're actually standing on an anonymous mountain coastline). I can only presume this is still the case after having installed it. Gotta w

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Aaul (695153)

      An instance in WoW is a self-contained "copy" of a dungeon for your group. You basically get your group mates together, walk through the dungeon's portal entrance, and a "copy" of the dungeon is created for your group to progress through. In the days of EverQuest (before the LDoN expansion), every dungeon was shared across the server, so if one dungeon was full, you basically had to wait until people left or you went to another dungeon. It takes a little bit of the "community" out of the game, but the adde

    • by Oswald (235719)
      You raise an excellent question. The reviewer probably made the "wade through" comment unconsciously, but it's a very important point for a lot of us. The content issue relates directly to the reason I (and a lot of other people) no longer get involved in the big online games. The games are too competitive--in the sense that there always seem to be a thousand people on the server with more time and skills than you have, so that your character is always a small fry--and I am too competitive--in the sense
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by DerekLyons (302214)

      I'm equally baffled by the reviewer saying "players must wade through a lot of content." isn't content rather than grind what everyone wants?

      It's the eternal paradox of MMO's - the customers want more content in game, but they don't actually want to encounter the content. All they want is the next level easily and painlessly. (Then when they've gotten to the top of the ladder - they whine because there wasn't enough content.)

      Or as was recently posted by a player after a round of particularly ludi

  • by bugnuts (94678) on Friday February 23, 2007 @02:09PM (#18125148) Journal
    I concur with almost everything in this review.

    I'll note one additional data point: When you do some of the initial quests, you'll be amazed at the quality of the quest rewards for relatively simple quests. I believe this was an intentional design to bring the "casual" player up to raid quality gear, effectively levelling the playing field. Casuals do not start at much of a disadvantage when they're having T2-quality gear heaped upon them (previously only available in instances such as BWL, where few casual players were able to attend).

    The game does slow down after you hit 70, but more options open. Most likely, you'll be grinding to get a fast mount, but you'll almost certainly have 1000g for the slow flying mount. You'll want a guild, but one is not necessary to participate in most of the content. However, guildless, it's unlikely you'll progress into the "advanced" content for quite a while. It's difficult to complete the 10-man Karazhan key in PUGs, and even if you do, there are few 10-man PUGs. That sounds kind of funny, but Karazhan is NOT simply a level 70 UBRS. It's more like a 10-man Naxxramus.
    • by SydShamino (547793) on Friday February 23, 2007 @02:16PM (#18125232)
      I had little raid-content gear before I started in the expansion. I was, literally, replacing a piece of armor every 30-60 minutes of play for the first week. All of my pre-BC gear was gone in two weeks, and in most slots I'd upgraded 3-4 times.

      Eventually, when finished with Hellfire Peninsula and moving into Zangarmarsh, the gear turnover slows down. Suprisingly, I found this to be quite a relief; I didn't want to have to slow down and reevaluate my gear once an hour!
    • by dave562 (969951)
      I'll note one additional data point: When you do some of the initial quests, you'll be amazed at the quality of the quest rewards for relatively simple quests. I believe this was an intentional design to bring the "casual" player up to raid quality gear, effectively levelling the playing field.

      As a casual player, I completely agree with this assessment. My girlfriend and I play for about six to ten hours a week and when BC came out we were still in our low 50s. Just last week we made it to 58 and headed

    • "I'll note one additional data point: When you do some of the initial quests, you'll be amazed at the quality of the quest rewards for relatively simple quests. I believe this was an intentional design to bring the "casual" player up to raid quality gear, effectively levelling the playing field. Casuals do not start at much of a disadvantage when they're having T2-quality gear heaped upon them (previously only available in instances such as BWL, where few casual players were able to attend)."

      I think there's
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Kjella (173770)
      I'll note one additional data point: When you do some of the initial quests, you'll be amazed at the quality of the quest rewards for relatively simple quests. I believe this was an intentional design to bring the "casual" player up to raid quality gear, effectively levelling the playing field. Casuals do not start at much of a disadvantage when they're having T2-quality gear heaped upon them (previously only available in instances such as BWL, where few casual players were able to attend).

      Translation: Get
  • Draenei Cobbled? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by borkus (179118) on Friday February 23, 2007 @02:12PM (#18125182) Homepage
    While I've liked both starting areas, I have quite enjoyed the Draenei starting quests. It's true that the architecture in the Blood Elf region is more complex, but that's consistent with the game in my opinion - the Blood Elfs are starting in their recently wrecked city, the Draenei start stranded on a remote island. The starting quests on the Draenei side are quite good - in fact, the "Medal Ceremony" at the end of the final elite quest is very cool. And then there's the Kessell Run. [wowwiki.com]

    However, I can see how someone might prefer the flavor of the Blood Elf starting area to the Draenei area. To me, that difference in flavor shows how much thought Blizzard put into each area.
  • casual (Score:4, Funny)

    by polar red (215081) on Friday February 23, 2007 @02:12PM (#18125186)
    what do they mean by casual players? People playing less than 2hrs a day ?
    • Re:casual (Score:4, Funny)

      by halivar (535827) <bfelger&gmail,com> on Friday February 23, 2007 @02:19PM (#18125280) Homepage
      They mean people with jobs and\or social lives.
    • A Casual Player is anyone who plays less than you do.
      A Hard Core Player is anyone who plays more than you do.

      G.
    • It's interesting, because the "casual/hardcore" definition has been debated for awhile. Some people contend that if you simply raid (play with 40 other players, now 25) you're hardcore. Others claims it's the amount of time devoted to the game.

      For outsiders looking in (like yourself) it's convenient to view all Wow players as addicted basement-dwellers. That's blatantly incorrect. The reality is that most players play infrequently, have career and families to worry about, and their Wow schedule is dicta
  • by diagonti (456119) on Friday February 23, 2007 @02:15PM (#18125228)
    Just some intro caveats: I'm a casual player. I think I've been in a raid-group of more than 5 twice. I am friends with several people who are serious raiders, but I'm not one.

    Initially when you first start the new content, the items you receive feel unbelievably good. They are meant to bring you up to just barely under the power level of the folks who have spent the past years raiding. And because of this, the new stuff felt really munchkin initially. Fun, but munchkin. Epic items from pre-BC were replaced with green(normal) items found in BC. The quests are good - a lot of the little annoying bits have been toned down (fewer pointless long runs, flagging quests that really require multiple people as requiring 2 or 3 people as appropriate). There is a lot of nice flavor here.

    One thing the reviewer missed is that a lot of BC is really beautiful. Each zone is very distinctive. And there have been several times when I just paused to admire the beauty. With the addition of flying mounts, there are some really gorgeous views that can be found. Several of the instances are visually stunning as well. This is a pretty game.

    There are some class balance issues -- but I think at least part of the issues are that the classes changed a bit and people have not adapted their thinking. For example, it used to be hard to try to be a raiding druid in the tank role -- there was effectively one set of gear that all tank-druids went for. BC has added a large variety -- which means the class is a lot more viable in a role than it used to be. Is this unbalancing? No. It is different and changes some of the feel of the game.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Where you able to type out "With the original game, leveling was thought of as one of the main aspects of the game and designed to take a long time to do with very little continuity or help to speed you along." without laughing?
  • BC = Easy (Score:2, Insightful)

    by vision33r (829872)
    So far I think the BC's content is large but short on quality. Lots and tons of new gear but re-colored items with no new graphics. Some new epic gear has some of the wackiest artwork, doesn't have the consistent quality of many pre-BC designs. Most of the quests are way too easy for certain classes, while certain classes are dependent on others to help them grind quests. They have yet to fix class imbalances and looks like it got worst. Some classes have scaled so far ahead of others that they don't e
    • by geekoid (135745)
      " Lots and tons of new gear but re-colored items with no new graphics."
      There are a ton of new graphics.

      Different classes having different areas of expertise is not class imbalance.

      Just because one class can do something doesn't mean all classes should be able to do it.

      "Some classes have scaled so far ahead of others that they don't even need a party to help grind elite quests."
      lie.
      " lots of repetitive quest grinds and nothing new to the game"
      also a lot of quests done differently, and probablt fewer grind qu
    • While I don't agree with the bulk of your comments, I do agree that there could be some better quality-control overall with BC. I've run into several quests which were bugged in some way. Anyone encounter Fel Cannons and sand worms that were hidden underground? You can't attack them, but very annoyingly, they can attack you. Yeah, extremely frustrating. There are a couple of other quests which were bugged in various ways, that had to be patched as well.

      As for the "class imbalances", I have to disagree with
  • by nganju (821034) on Friday February 23, 2007 @02:20PM (#18125292)
    Did anyone else read this synopsis on the Slashdot front page and then completely misinterpret the next article down? For a minute I thought Slashdot was turning into Gamespot.

    First Article - "World of Warcraft - The Burning Crusade Review"
    Second Article - "Recovering a Wrecked RAID"

  • Aside from Scarlet Monastery, which was always broken up into sections, does anyone know if they broke any of the pre-BC instances into multiple parts? Specifically AQ, MC, or ZF?
    • I believe the existing raid dungeons were left as-is. Not sure why anyone would go to them at all anymore, as the loot is quickly replaced by quest rewards in the 60s and once you hit 58 you can go to Outland and start working through the new content. Just imagine all the level 60 content they put in over the years aside from dungeons that is now effectively obsolete... the mind boggles.
      • I can verify this...I picked up my pally again and decided I'd finally do the damn epic mount quest. Went to Strat, DM, and Scholo...On a high pop server, mind you...and didn't find a single person in any of those instances.

        Not surprising; I'll bet there are people in the under 50 instances still, but 50 and up? I doubt anyone will be in those until level 70s start grouping up and grinding them as a lark.
  • I quit WoW and started again after BC came out. They did fix a bunch of stuff:
    • Instances no longer require a 4 hour commitment
    • Casual playing actually has rewards
    • Zones are very well designed and laid out
    • One in ten quests is actually interesting and fun
    However, after I did a quest where I had to kill Hydras for 4 hours in order to get 8 scales or whatever, I realized that it was more of the same crap and the promptly quit the game again.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by dave562 (969951)
      However, after I did a quest where I had to kill Hydras for 4 hours in order to get 8 scales or whatever, I realized that it was more of the same crap and the promptly quit the game again.

      I started a Blood-Elf for the hell of it and realized after not too long that you can skip any quest that involves killing monsters to collect X number of items. That particular kind of quest has to be the most tedious and absolutely frustrating quest available. I read the interview with the Warhammer Online team and th

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by wynler (678277)
        Yup.  When looking for Murloc eyes, I found it really funny that apparently some Murlocs didn't have eyes. 
      • by Miniluv (165290)
        Very, very few of the kill for drops quests have low drop rates if you pay attention to which mobs to kill. Even Westfall stew is now quickly do-able if you pay attention to the levels of the mobs. Perhaps I've just been lucky in this (though I also run mobinfo2, so after running a quest once or twice I have good stats on drop rates and can become much more efficient). The only one I've run across (though I've yet to play a BE) that had a really bad drop rate was the various pieces of the Warrior quest for
      • by Chris Burke (6130)
        killing monsters to collect X number of items. That particular kind of quest has to be the most tedious and absolutely frustrating quest available. I read the interview with the Warhammer Online team and they seem to have gotten it right. In their game, if you go on a quest like that, then EVERY SINGLE MONSTER that you have to kill will drop the item you need to collect.

        Well at that point it's no different than the "kill X monsters", uh, not that "kill an unknown number of monsters to get X items" is really
    • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Friday February 23, 2007 @06:08PM (#18128620) Journal

      I need my MMORPG fix but I do NOT need those random loot drop grinds.

      WoW players might regonize were I stopped playing WoW. It is in the night elf area, third area, and you got to kill some warlocks with their pets for an item to drop as part of a longer quest.

      It didn't drop. My rogue gained two levels in that area while I learned how exactly to get them in the shortest possible time. Simple, conceal, sap caster, kill pet, kill caster. Rince and repeat.

      That killed the game for me, right there and then I knew that this was exactly how the game would be for the next 40 levels and then some.

      Since I had already paid over the next few weeks I got my char to around 30 (were getting new skills ends and you just get slightly more powerful skills to deal with more powerful critters) and then just stopped.

      I couldn't stand the random drop nature of things. EQ2 at least most times TOLD you how much you had to kill. Granted most its quests were Kill 8 X, Kill another 8 X, and again. Once more. Okay, now kill 10 of them. Okay! Now kill 8 x (adjective) X. Congrats, you done part 1, now kill more X.

      But at least you could count them.

      Get the goddamn fucking randomizer OUT of my MMORPG's. If I kill every single last one of those casters the damn item should just fucking drop.

      It was the same with crafting. The chances of actually getting some of the rarer stuff were so random that you just couldn't make plans. By the time some items actually dropped I had gotten so many levels I was way beyond the item I had wanted to grind.

      WoW takes to long. Your warning tells me BC does not improve this. I HATE RANDOM DROPS.

      If Blizzard had made Star Wars poor Luke would have had to make a dozen trips to the Jawas before R2-D2 dropped.

      Then again, if Sony had made Star Wars, you would have had to form a que to rescue Leia, if she was spawning that day.

      Mmm, if only Lucas made a MMORPG. Surely that would be tops! Oh wait.

  • time vs skill (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dj245 (732906) on Friday February 23, 2007 @02:59PM (#18125936) Homepage
    The largest problem with the current raid content is that while it requires large amounts of work to get to and complete (as it should)

    Why should it? This is why I hate (and do not play) this game. A good game should advance with the player's skill and a little bit of time. World of Warcraft advances the story only with time, time, and more time. You'll pour your life into the game, but you can still suck large amounts of ass at it. The reason that there are countless level 60/70 clueless morons is because the game requires no skill to speak of, only endless amounts of time.

    • by tbannist (230135)
      This is because Vivendi makes money from forcing players to play longer to complete the content.

      Grinding = $$$ for Vivendi

      The game is no longer about serving the player's interests and thus acquiring new players and making $$$, it's about wresting as much $$$ you can from the existing player base as they can. That's why everything is grind, grind, grind. It's why the new pvp system runs on "seasons" so you have to play for 3 months at level 70 everytime you want to try to for the special pvp rewards. Tha
    • by ADRA (37398)
      Welcome to ever MMOG. Their only purpose is to waste as much time as possible, by definition!
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Green Smoke Flares

    What do they do you ask? Nothing. FUCK YOU BLIZZARD!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 23, 2007 @03:18PM (#18126212)
    roflcopter lawl lrn2dps nub
    lawl dude ur ghay
    wtf i need
    i clicked greed it must be a bug
    ya right btch

    ok we're almost to the boss
    i gotta go
    What? why?
    mom wants cpu
    Huh? Your Mom? Its 4a.m. How old are you anyway?

    i nd gold plz
    Huh?
    ind gold to repr my armer
    will u giv me sm gd?
    No.
    y not? wtf
    I'm almost broke, I can't be giving any gold.
    FU thn nub u sck
  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Friday February 23, 2007 @03:22PM (#18126262) Journal
    With a name like "crusade" how does it sell in Arab countries? Or do they have a different name for those countries like "Idol Crusher" or something?
  • That this story was posted RIGHT ABOVE "Recovering a Wrecked RAID"?
    Aren't they all?
  • by Broken Bottle (84695) on Friday February 23, 2007 @05:38PM (#18128198)
    Good review generally, I just have one point of contention I came across while reading it:

    I'm sure that a large part of this decision was to try and cater to the larger "casual" player base and stop the hemorrhage of players they were losing to other games.
    At what point did WoW start hemorrhaging players? Subscriptions have been on a steady increase since the game launched and I haven't seen any evidence to say otherwise. They hit 7 million subscribers a month or so before Christmas and 8 million afterwards. I'd argue that making the raid content in BC more casual friendly was just a reflection of them understanding their customer base. You can't have 8 million subscribers that are all hard core raider types. If it didn't start out as one, certainly WoW is a mainstream casual friendly game now and they've simply acknowledged that.
  • A few notes... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dr00g911 (531736) on Friday February 23, 2007 @05:39PM (#18128220)
    I'm somewhere between a casual & heavy player. I raided a little bit on multiple servers, and burned out with the need to schedule my life around 40-man guild raids. I just can't justify playing for more than 6-7 hours in a week, and I had three lvl 60 characters at the time.

    So, I put the game down as I'd seen everything I wanted to see, and accomplished everything I wanted to accomplish except for the last new pieces of epic purple lewt(TM) in my set.

    Fast forward a year or so, and I bought the expansion, and I found that my needs (being halfway between "raider" and "casual") had been met absolutely perfectly.

    The game is gorgeous, the new questlines and level progression from 60-70 doesn't feel anything like a grind, and the improvements to the game made over the last year as a whole, are astonishing.

    Yeah, you can look at that flowchart about what it takes to get into the final, epic battle at Mt. Hyjal and it looks terrifying. But, with the exception of taking out Lady Vashj and Kael'thelas, you'll be doing all of that anyway while you're progressing through the content.

    That's what people don't realize... you only have to visit each of those instances once (well, twice if you run Heroic versions for the Naaru trials), and you'll be hitting that content anyway as you continue down questlines in your 60s and past 70. The reputations with each faction aren't grinds anymore. You'll get the required rep just following quests and running instances a couple times (as opposed to running, say, ZG 300 times to get exalted so you can actually use the chestpiece you won).

    The point is, there's a TON of stuff to do at level 70 now that doesn't require a raid, and raids are far less painful a proposition than they were in the Molten Core days.

    Contrast that to pre-burning crusade. If you didn't run raids, you were either stuck in UBRS to rinse & repeat for loot, or stuck in 18 hour Alterac Valley BGs for loot.

    Now, I can log in, run any one of 18 new high level, incredibly well-designed instances (requiring boss strategy normally reserved for old 40-man runs) in an hour, run TWO games of Alterac Valley in an hour, and actually make progress in both quests and reputations for the foreseeable future in a couple hours a week.

    That flowchart shows you what it takes to "win"... ie get attuned to everything and raid the 'leet raid. For all but a few of the hardcore, getting there is the fun part. You're not supposed to "win"... because you run out of stuff to do!

    There's a lot to do now post-70 that's a hell of a lot of fun if you don't raid, and there's a TON to do if you raid.

    The best part is: the gear gap is really narrow now. Those who pvp or run dungeons occasionally for their gear won't be horribly outclassed in PvP anymore by people with full Tier 4/5 raided gear. It's a really, really small upgrade, but the raiders are more interested that the name's in purple and they look cool, so everyone wins.

    For those who never got to high levels, the new Dranei and Blood Elf areas are great little alt sandboxes as well. The leveling seems a little faster than it used to be as well.

    Take all that and add in some of the best art direction, game design and polish that you're likely to see in any game, and I think it's a fabulous expansion.
  • Overwhelming (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Avatar8 (748465) on Friday February 23, 2007 @06:59PM (#18129184)
    That's the first word that came out of my mouth when I saw some of the new content artwork. Some of the locations and architecture are absolutely gorgeous.


    After getting into BC a bit, overwhelming applied to how much new quest, gear and instance content there is.

    I'd say I'm a casual gamer even though I play WoW ~25 hours a week. I've played since beta, played every class to some extent, achieved a few level 60's, run all the non-raid instances and half of the raiding ones. I still felt like I had quite a bit more to do and see in the old content. Then BC came out and I feel like I'm starting over again.

    I've started new characters to experience the new starting zones, and I have a few of my characters in Outland. My guild is quite divided about the content: hardcore group has muscled ahead and reached 70 planning to lead the guild through raiding, casual group is still reaching 60 and wants to raid the old content.

    I haven't purchased any other game since November 2004. I played Ultima Online for 7.5 years. WoW is considerably better than that, so I expect to be playing for a very long time. The review is fairly accurate though I disagree with the author's negative opinions about the old content.

  • by bidule (173941) on Friday February 23, 2007 @07:28PM (#18129562) Homepage
    The bcraids.jpg seems wrong to me. I think you need to do Shadow Lab, Arcatraz and Steamvault to obtain Karazhan key.

    I'd say more, but I have to level my alts.

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