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Springing forward: The long wait

Now that it is officially spring, the hope is that the long days of snow will soon be over. Much like waiting for winter to end and the blossoms to spring forth outside in the real world, most of us are waiting for WOD beta to blossom and give us new content. While we wait for this new Warcraft content, I still have some things to keep me busy. I don’t, however, have a lot of things worth writing about related to WOW until Blizzard gives us new topics to write about. So, here is an update on me:

What I do in WOW

In world of warcraft, I am an officer in a 25-man raiding guild. As the recruitment officer, this the time before new expansions is a challenge for me. As the officer of a raiding guild, I have plenty of things to keep me busy. I get to plan social events, search the internet for new friends to play with, and also diligently search for new expansion information, too! I’m also working on gearing up the warlock I boosted to 90, though I haven’t had much time to play it (I still don’t know how to do much on the warlock yet!). I’ve also been playing a little on my druid to get ready for the next expansion.

I am also still raiding 3 days a week. My guild is currently 10/14 heroic in Siege of Orgrimmar 25-mans. Our members also run flex raids, challenge modes, old-world achievement runs, and other activities to pass the time while we wait for new content.

Join our 25-man team!

Our guild is currently recruiting for current Siege raids. Join our team as we prepare for the next expansion! We have openings for a tank (our favorite bear friend is retiring after tanking with us from early Cataclysm, so this is the first time since early Cataclysm that we’ve been accepting applications from tanks). We always have open spots for ranged DPS (we would really love a moonkin, shadow priest, or elemental shaman – but any ranged DPS can apply!  If you are looking for a home and have availability during our raid times, now is the time to secure a raid spot for Warlords! We raid Wednesday, Thursday, Sunday from 8 to 11 Eastern.

We are currently going strong and looking to do whatever we can to have fun and enjoy the rest of the Pandaria expansion until WOD is released in the Fall. Recruitment is something I have been doing for so many years that I know it’s something I really enjoy doing. I like talking to so many different people. I love the enjoyment of finding people who want to join our team, and the enthusiasm that new people bring to the guild.

What I do In Diablo 3

With the release of Diablo 3’s new expansion, I’m currently working on finishing off the last few levels on my way to 70. We have a clan in D3 comprised of people from our WOW guild, along with family and friends of our members. I’m having a lot of fun playing my Wizzard. I also got a barbarian up to level 60 during the increased experience bonus days leading up to the launch of the Diablo 3 expansion.

Other games?

I have been playing around some with other games. I’m looking forward to Hearthstone being released on the ipad so I don’t have to sit at my desk to play the game (where Diablo ends up being more tempting!). I have also played around some with the beta for Wildstar, and it seems like a pretty neat game. I’ve also been poking around League of Legends a tiny bit (I just played part of the tutorial today), so I can see the basic mechanics.

Outside of gaming

Work has been keeping me really busy! For as much as I want to be playing games, I’m really only getting to spend a small number of hours plugged into the games. We have been making really good progress with designing the autism social skills game. I’m doing data collection with adolescents on our other research projects, looking at how adolescents (with autism or with typical development) get good at recognizing faces. So, most of my time I spend working! I do, however, really love the science that I’m working on and I am very passionate about my job.

Posted in Diablo III, Written By Lissanna

Diablo 3 loot changes: Now more rewarding

One of the most important things for the longevity of a game is the reward system. If your game isn’t rewarding enough, then people are going to tire quickly and find another game to play. This seemed to be the curse for Diablo 3’s initial release.

The problems with Loot 1.0

The completely random loot system made it such that you were unlikely to actually have good gear drop that was appropriate for your character. Instead, players often saved up gold until they could buy appropriate good gear on the auction house. In addition, everything dropped tons of low quality loot that people either realized was worthless and left on the ground, or would fill up players’ bags so quickly that gameplay was constantly interrupted with returns back to town to sell the nearly worthless items. This made the primary reward system of Diablo 3 stop feeling rewarding after a while.

The loot item level was also tied to the specific content. So, the easiest mode gave you gear that was lower level than the harder modes. This meant that many more casual players were often doing content where the gear wasn’t level-appropriate. My Wizard was often getting gear that was 10 levels below the level I actually was. This meant that nothing could actually drop that I could equip, but I would often die too much in the difficulty setting that was appropriate for my character. Since most of my gear was purchased from the auction house, anyway, there wasn’t any real reason for me to keep playing the game after a while, so I never hit max level on any characters in the game.

When I talked about World of Warcraft’s loot system a while back, I talked about how if the primary source of reward didn’t come from random drops, that WOW would get boring quickly. This is essentially what happened with Diablo 3. When you got too much bad loot from random drops, and your primary source of “good” loot came from buying things with gold, there wasn’t the excitement over wondering where your next upgrade would come from. You knew your next Diablo 3 gear upgrade would come when you earned enough gold to buy it from the auction house and what you wanted came on sale. That made the sense of adventure dissipate quickly – there wasn’t any sense of exploration to find fun rewards (unless that reward came from trying to farm things  you could sell on the auction house to make lots of gold – but with fewer people to buy things as they got bored, this wasn’t sustainable either).

The fixes with Loot 2.0

The latest 2.0 patch for Diablo 3 came with a couple really important changes that make the game a lot more rewarding:

  • Removal of the auction house means that your gear can’t primarily come from buying it with gold or real money. There are still vendors and crafting systems in the game, but your best items aren’t going to be what deals you score in the auction house. This also means you don’t have to waste time hunting for good loot deals on the auction house every time your character levels and you need better gear. This is incredibly important because this change allows for the following other changes to work:
  • Gear is less random & more character-appropriate. It is more likely to drop items that are appropriate for your character. This means that a caster whose primary stat is intellect will primarily get intellect gear, and not strength gear. There are still some random items that could be given to your other characters, but the chances of getting great gear that is appropriate for your character was greatly increased.
  • Gear is always level-appropriate. If you want to run the game on the normal-mode setting, you’ll no longer get gear that is 10 to 40 levels below your character’s current level. Instead, every difficulty level has a chance to drop things that are level-appropriate for your character.  The higher difficulty settings, instead, reward you with things like increased rates of experience gain. This allows people to choose their own difficulty setting in a meaningful way, and allows you to choose your own adventure and still get appropriate rewards.
  • Less “vendor trash” loot means you take fewer trips back to town that interrupts your game-play. Gear that drops always has a chance of being meaningful to you, so you aren’t being flooded with meaningless junk. Less meaningless junk means you won’t be tempted to leave things behind just to free up bag space, you can spend less time visiting your neighborhood vendors, and you can spend more time killing monsters. So, their philosophy of less loot overall, but more meaningful loot when it drops, means the game feels a heck of a lot more rewarding.
  • More legendary items with more appropriate stats. Even low level characters are likely to see legendary items drop (I got one great legendary item within two hours of playing on a level 50 character). While still appropriately rare, legendary item drops provide a much more clear sense of reward and accomplishment, since they are less likely to be disappointing flops. Instead, you are more likely to want to equip them and show them off to your friends.

Speaking of friends, Rewards aren’t just about loot! The game now has a better social system in place. You can now join clans (kind of like being part of a guild in WOW) to be able to chat with your friends as you play. In addition, your friends in the clan can see some of your accomplishments, so that you are going to get more social rewards for things you accomplish in the game. Your friends can know what you are doing and send along congratulations when you get a really awesome legendary item.

So, if you picked up a copy of Diablo 3 and abandoned the game along the way, I think it is definitely time to take a second look. I think you will be pleasantly surprised at how much more rewarding the game can feel when they have a more functional reward system. It turns out that you don’t actually need an auction house to buy gear if the gear you want is actually achievable along the way. I hear that the new expansion coming in a few weeks has other great features that is going to dial up the fun factor in other ways in terms of the content available to you. However, it takes a great designed reward system to make the game worth playing. I think they have now gotten closer to what we all wanted Diablo 3 to feel like from the beginning.

(I’ll get to talking more about WOW content once we know more specific changes to druid & mage spells for WOD. Hopefully “soon”).

Posted in Diablo III, Written By Lissanna

Account security reminders for D3

So, most World of Warcraft players know the importance of account security. The login information for your account is actually worth more money on the black market than your credit card information is.I’m finishing up my dissertation, which is why I haven’t been around much. However, I wanted to get this post out while I had some time tonight since account security is serious business.

There are several really important things you can do to keep your account information safe:

  • Create a unique e-mail address and password combination for your account that you don’t use for anything else. I have one game e-mail address that I use pretty much just for WOW, and the password attached to it is a password I don’t use on any gaming site. It is pretty much impossible for the hackers to get into Blizzard’s database. However, it’s much easier to get into fansite databases and steal information from there. So, have one e-mail address you register to all the fan sites, and then a different one you use for your actual login info. Then, use a totally unique password for the login. For example, when Sony was compromised a while back, they got a ton of information about your accounts, and if you shared your login info between Sony and Blizzard, then they got your login info for WOW from Sony. Since your D3/WOW login is worth more than any other login, make sure that it’s unique so that other people can’t get into it (and whatever you do, make the password to get into that e-mail account different than the one to get into the game, so that if they do get one, they don’t get the other!). If your login is the same as any other login password you use, go change your password right now! It is also pretty easy for you to create a new e-mail account to use as your login account, too.


  • Make sure your antivirus program will actually search for keyloggers & rootkits. A lot of antivirus programs aren’t actually doing a good job of protecting your computer. Blizzard has a list of programs you  can use for helping to keep your computer safe. Even if you have an authenticator, it’s good security practice for all your other accounts (other games, banking, ebay, et cetra) if you have programs that actually do the job of protecting your passwords.  In the list for the Blizzard programs, I especially suggest picking up one of the anti-spyware or anti-rootkit programs listed towards the bottom of their page.
Posted in Diablo III, Mists of Pandaria, Written By Lissanna

Diablo 3 Resources for WOW players

So, the EU region is already sinking their teeth into the Diablo 3 content. For US players, we have to wait until later tonight for our Midnight launch (or 3 AM for me as an Eastern Time player).

I thought I would take some time today to go over resources that you may want to have on hand as you jump into Diablo 3. With so many WOW players on the annual pass, I expect a large chunk of WOW players to hop over and give D3 a try. This post is going to be a giant list of links, since other people know a lot more about the game than I do, and sending you to where to find info makes more sense than me trying to duplicate their guides anyway.

Getting Started:

D3 Trusted Gameplay Resources:

  • Diablo Fans is a Curse gaming website, similar to mmo-champion for D3 players. They have a massive information recap post that covers a lot of the class and system information. In particular, make sure you read their guide about the skill & rune system. As a WoW player hitting the D3 universe, also make sure you read about the difficulty levels, and the hardcore mode so that you aren’t surprised when your hardcore character suffers perma-death. Be careful with things labeled spoilers if you want to stay away from info about the storyline. You can read basic system & class info without too much fear of spoilers otherwise.
  • Not to be outdone, the Zam network is also building a site called Diablo 3 Database , which is a wowhead-like site for D3. It contains information on items, abilities, etc. It has a character builder for building what kind of gear sets you are looking for, and an ability calculator for playing with your spells and runes. There is also information on quests, as well.

If you  have other favorite D3 resources, please feel free to add them to comments on the post and I’ll do my best to update this resource list. Happy D3 day!

Also, if you have an annual pass and aren’t sure whether you should play or not, I really recommend that you give it a try. The game is pretty friendly to WOW players, and I had a lot of fun playing the beta!

Posted in Diablo III, Written By Lissanna


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