Monthly Archives: May 2014

Garrisons are a military base, not a house

Wildstar and World of Warcraft are both introducing “housing” systems into their content. Warcraft just released a post about how their garrisons will work. I wanted to take a minute to talk about how Warcraft isn’t actually introducing player “housing” into the game. Instead, the garrison feature is a military base. While I am more likely to stick with WOW due to my long-term investment, and I have issues with other aspects of Wildstar that make it less appealing to me, the one thing I do like is the Wildstar housing system. In that respect, Wildstar delivers a more traditional take on building your own aesthetic house. Blizzard, on the other hand, is allowing us to have some amount of choice in building our military base, but that choice is still largely limited compared to Wildstar’s full customization of your own plot of land.

Wildstar housing:

  • Starting from low levels (around level 14), you can build and customize your own house. You gain materials and items for your house from the early leveling experience thru max level.
  • If you want to build a house in a tree, you can have your very own treehouse.
  • There is a wide variety of enhancements for the decor, so that your house won’t likely look like someone else’s house. There are, however, general themes in terms of being related to various races, for example. So, houses will likely share some features with other houses, especially early in the content release.
  • Want to build your own bar? Sure, not a problem!
  • You can even customize the color of the sky if you really want. The important part is that your own house will feel unique because it’s unlikely that anyone else will have built the exact same thing. In this respect, you build a cosmetic house that serves the purpose of driving intrinsic motivation related to finding new treasures you can use to personalize your home.
  • You want guild housing? Well, you might actually get to decorate a house with your guild members, and hang your raid boss’ heads in a communal space.

World of Warcraft Garrisons

  • Starting at level 90, building a garrison is integrated into the leveling experience from 90 to 100.
  • In the various zones, you will be given options to choose from specific pre-fab buildings. There are three levels of each building, with the stables (for example), getting bigger and fancier as you level them up.
  • You can’t currently customize the look of any of the buildings. If you have a stables at level 3, it looks just like everyone else’s stables at level 3.
  • As you level, you will be prompted to pick 1 of 2 buildings that impacts your leveling experience in a particular zone (though recipes are available later on to pick up those buildings you skipped, if you change your mind!). This might be neat the second time you play an alt in the zones, since your building choices will impact your questing experiences – perhaps your alt will choose all the opposite buildings in every zone.
  • While completing the quests that give you access to building types is incredibly important for the leveling process if you want access to garrisons, you can also potentially skip this process and buy blueprints instead, meaning that on your 4th alt, you can still avoid the feeling of “chores”.
  • A focus of your garrison is on the people that inhabit your base, not on actually building and customizing the base. You will send your garrisons on missions, and you will basically serve as the commander to this army that you accumulate as you strengthen your base. They may make your world feel more populated, but your garrison won’t be your own personal retreat to hide from the world. While your base will feel populated, they won’t be populated with your guild members, since there is no guild housing.
  • These followers and rewards include content related to the extrinsic rewards of gaining access to crafting materials and bonuses that enhance your solo questing experiences. While garrisons may be fun, the point is to get things you need for completing other content. So, your crafting needs may shape some of the decisions you make related to your building plots.
  • A benefit of the garrisons is that there will likely be a great deal of content tied to this system, allowing for more solo play related to trying to defeat the Iron Horde.
  • Your final garrison can have up to 10 of the 21 buildings, meaning that most people will have roughly half of the available options once their garrison is complete. Thus, while you and your friend may have different choices you made along the way, the general aesthetics across a couple dozen garrisons (of the same faction) may have a really similar look and feel. You get to customize your garrison, but only to a certain point.

So, in the end, World of Warcraft isn’t really introducing housing, in the traditional sense. Instead, they are introducing military bases that allow you to have some form of customization. The garrison system is going to probably be a fun system; but if you want to build a house, you may have to look elsewhere. Maybe I can still keep my Lord of the Rings Online house for a while longer to have my own sense of home.

My hope is that they may eventually introduce more hooks for aesthetic customization in the World of Warcraft garrisons. Until then, I’ll enjoy building my military base, and wishing I could change the color of the wallpaper.


Posted in Uncategorized

Balance druid guides for beginner moonkin

Blizzard released a new set of “crash courses” for learning various classes. Each crash course covers one damage dealing spec for each class. For the druid class, they chose moonkin. Thus, the video teaches you the basics of the Eclipse single-target rotation for people who have newly reached level 90.

The video does a great job of showing how Eclipse and our primary damage spells work. The video doesn’t, however, cover more of the advanced topics, such as what to do when there is more than one target. It also doesn’t cover talents and glyphs. These more advanced techniques are outside the scope of what these short videos were designed to cover. Thus, for more advanced druid techniques, Cyous has some videos, that while potentially slightly out of date may help fill in some of the advanced techniques. Cyous also took over the moonkin sticky guide on the official druid forums. You can also visit Hamlet’s EJ forum post. Icy Veins also has a moonkin guide.

Since Blizzard only did one starter guide per class, we don’t have a starter video for feral, resto, or guardian druids. There are, however, plenty of community resources to help teach you how to druid!

Posted in Moonkin Balance DPS, Written By Lissanna

What we DO get with the WOD expansion

It feels like we know more about what we won’t have with WOD than what we do have. Looking at the expansion with a more positive light may be important for helping us understand why the expansion is taking so long, and what we’re waiting for. I’ll go with three categories: Things confirmed that we will get (e.g., new content), and things Blizzard plans to give us that may lead to improvements in quality of life (e.g., system changes that may have downstream positive impacts).

Confirmed for WOD release:

  • We will gain 10 new levels, boosting us to 100. This is 5 more levels than the previous expansion.
  • We will have access to new leveling zones, filled with many new quests, story, progression, and rewards. This will be filled with amazing artwork and music.
  • We will have access to new max-level content in zones.
  • We will have new character models for some of the races ready at release.
  • We will have a new garrison feature, that allows you to build and customize a plot of land. This will allow for tasks relevant to crafting, as well as quests where we send followers out to do stuff for us for rewards.
  • A new PVP playground called Ashran which PVP players will enjoy.
  • Other PVP system improvements, such as skirmishes and spectator modes.
  • More PVE content: new raids, new dungeons and scenarios – filled with new threats to overcome.

Likely improvements in WOD that will benefit players:

  • An improved PVP ability system with regards to pacing of combat. A greater reliance on sustained damage over burst, and an emphasis for smarter crowd control use over stacking tons of crowd control ends up being an overall positive improvement to PVP play.
  • More intuitive gearing for PVE and PVP. Changes to the gearing system will reduce the amount of time you have to spend tinkering with an item after you get it, freeing your ability from having to rely on tools like Ask Mr Robot to tell you how to fix your gear every time you get an upgrade.
  • More intuitive spell toolsets overall, and improvements to hopefully make the classes more fun to play. If you have a button, that button likely has a meaningful purpose for you as a player – and you will hopefully not have an overwhelming number of buttons where one button is only marginally better than 4 other buttons that do the exact same thing.
  • Additional new character models for races beyond what they can finish for release.
  • An improved raid structure and lockout system that will make it easier to play with your friends or strangers. For example, the new flexible size content (e.g., if one of your guild members doesn’t show up, you can still raid) and only one hardcore raid size (allowing for better guild recruitment, new guild formation, and comparing your team to other teams) may have good consequences for guilds. The new looking for group system will allow for forming normal-mode raids with strangers.
  • We may potentially get improvements to the long-distance travel system as a consequence of other travel changes.

Overall, there is still a lot of positive things coming with the expansion, which may offset the problems that people are concerned about. If beta actually starts soon and we get a chance to experience these things for ourselves, it may actually turn out that the expansion holds more good than bad. I just wish Blizzard did a better job of showing us what we DO get, and making everyone feel excited about it.

Posted in Warlords of Draenor, Written By Lissanna



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