World of Warcraft Classic Launch

Since I went into the launcher early, and dinked around with new characters to keep my connection alive, I didn't have to face THE QUEUE, apparently many people had 10,000+ people ahead of them, and hours of wait.

Even so, launch was slow. I could barely move or pick up the greeting quest, and made it into the cave, before the system settled down enough to let me do anything.

Here's the scene in the Valley of Heroes, 15 minutes into launch:

WoW Classic Launch-20190826-15.15.51

I'm somewhere in that pile of characters. I was only able to click on the quest-giver's ?.

After I got my quests, I went out to kill boars… which was impossible, the ground barely rendered in, the boars never rezzed until dead, chaos. After 41 minutes, I'd killed 4 somehow:

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Gave up on that and went out to Durotar to kill scorpids and boars there; higher level than me but I did OK because I am a moderately badass Rogue.

I ran up to Orgrimmar and got Skinning, Leatherworking, Cooking, and Fishing. Many many stacks of leather are collected, some of them end up in my new armor. Went back south to clear the Troll island quests; as with the stress test, it was just impossible to get Zalzane, so I gave up on him. Everything else is doable.

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Finally dinged 10, went back to Org and put some green armor and ammo bags on the Auction House; I'll see if anything sold in a bit. Haven't left Durotar yet.

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Next stop, I need to hit Undercity for a weapon trainer to learn Swords—I have dual wield daggers, and need one for stealth skills, but dual swords massively increase my DPS. Running to Thunder Bluff as a lowbie is possible, but difficult. Though I watched Crendor's stream while I was doing my levelling, and they gave up on Valley and ran straight over to TB, which was almost deserted. Then I'm off to Barrens to quest. That's gonna be interesting on Mankrik.

World of Warcraft: Add-Ons

I'm last-minute setting up my WoW client properly, which means using addons (WoW, like ESO and many other games, has scripting support in Lua, and much of the UI is written in Lua). I haven't touched WoW addons in years, so I dunno what's going on.

Mainly using WoWInterface since I'm used to ESO-UI, but there's also some on CurseForge and just randomly on github.

There are addon managers, but I never use them, I just hit my favorites link once a week, grab any updates, unzip, drag them to the AddOns folder (World of Warcraft/classic/Interface/AddOns), which I put a shortcut to in my Finder toolbar.

Blizzard has disabled ClassicLFG to try to keep the Classic community tone. Some others might follow.

  • Memoria: Screenshots every level-up.
  • Better Vendor Price: Classic doesn't show vendor price, which is important when you're looting everything.
  • DejaMark: Convenient raid marker setting.
  • DejaMinimap: Better minimap. The little decorative oval WoW client presents is silly.
  • DejaStats: Doesn't look as nice as Wykkyd Toolbar, but it'll do.
  • FasterLooting: You still need to have Auto Loot turned on, and not be holding shift, and hopefully it works, but better than the standard slow looting.
  • Felwhisper's No Moar Gryphons Classic: The gryphons are baroque but non-functional and in the way.
  • oGlow: Item quality outline.
  • maybe Questie: Considering this, it's "cheating" but I do want the worldwide quest pickup markers. I won't be using the quest tracking. From playing the stress test, you really don't need quest tracking, just read the text.
  • Real Mob Health: Experimental, I want the data but I don't know how it'll display. May need another tooltip addon.
  • SimpleMap: Don't be completely oblivious while looking at the big map.
  • TellMeWhen Classic: Effect timers, I hope to use sound and message alerts to keep my combat rotations and DPS up without staring at the action bar all day.
  • Track Sales: Start saving now for your mount, which is an obscene amount of gold at level 40.
  • YACL Classic: The only DPS meters I've found are this, and Details! which is mostly for raids, not solo. I'm used to ESO's FTC and Bandit's UI.

Haven't yet decided on an auction house interface. Maybe the standard one's OK? Maybe Auctioneer?

I might want a new HUD, but there's not a lot of choices yet for Classic. I don't like the curvy things in IceHUD. Luna, maybe?

There's a long list of slash commands for chat, but I don't know how many work in Classic.

I haven't really thought about macroing yet. Probably some macros are useful, but I generally get by with hotkeys for the actions; I turn on all actionbars, set keys for all of them, and barely touch my mouse except to steer.

World of Warcraft: For the Horde!

Q: Will servers be brought down at some point before release or will players be able to sit at character select waiting for “Enter World” to activate?
A: We are likely to perform some kind of realm restarts or maintenance between now and launch. However, in the minutes leading up to launch, our plan is that the realms will up and available and the Enter World button will instantly light up once we’re launched.

I will be sitting there waiting. Click click click. Gotta kill them boars & scorpids.

Q: Has the reception of Classic met or exceeded expectations? Are there far more people coming back for Classic than expected? Or were you guys right within the predicted ballpark?
A: We’ve been blown away by the response to WoW Classic. The passion from the community is exactly what got us working on this in the first place, and we see new signs of your passion and excitement every day. We’re very excited to make it a reality for all of you next week!

Note: They've added several new servers and most of the existing ones are now High or Full, which is apparently several times higher cap than original launch cap. These are for just people who reserved their names, not all the randos who'll try to sub and come in on launch day. Blizzard low-balled the numbers by a long ways. If classic doesn't beat the retail population, I'll be very surprised.

A: Trick or Treat! Yes, because we're based on patch 1.12's data, holidays will play out as day did during that patch. So we look forward to spooky treats and happy haunts this October!

YEEEES! This is Halloween! (but with more Forsaken, no Belfs)

World of Warcraft Classic Naming Day

Finally decided on the server, Mankrik. It's PVE, EST, 60%+ Horde. Not happy with the EST, but according to the reddit surveys the PST options were low-population and almost totally Alliance. I won't play PVP servers: Levelling in PVP-only zones is a tedious nightmare of some asshole 20 levels above you killing you over and over for no reason. Camping the graveyard when you give up on your corpse. Chasing you to your home zone and murdering everyone there. It's just a shit experience. PVE lets you flag for PVP when you wanna fight people, and just go adventuring when you wanna beat up pixels.

Logging in took forever, had multiple errors out. Blizzard's servers must be literally on fire.

My characters are:

  • Kamimark, Troll Rogue: "Kamimark" is always an Elfy Spellsword or Nightblade, Rogue fits fine. Troll is the most Elfy Horde race; I'd much rather have Blood Elves in Burning Crusade, but that'll be a couple years out if it happens at all.

WoW Naming-Kamimark

  • Josephcurwen, Undead Mage: Updated: I went in and deleted and chose a new name from Lovecraft. The lack of mixed capitals is ugly, but it's more fitting with the Forsaken culture anyway.

(was Nyärlathotep): Super annoyed that I can't have the unaccented name. Is it taken by the system, or did someone else make a Nyarlathotep in the first 15 minutes? Heavy metal ümlauts fix everything. Strongly considered Warlock, and I love the pet management part, but I hated bag space management for soul shards in retail, and we'll have 25% as much bag space in Classic. I levelled a Mage to 10 in the stress test, and it was interesting, if somewhat harder to keep a grind rolling, so Mage it is.

WoW-Naming-Josephcurwen

  • Fuzzytomato, Tauren Hunter: I couldn't seriously play F.T. as my main, but I had fun with it so I'm keeping the name, and Tauren are much fuzzier…

WoW-Naming-Fuzzytomato

Speaking of the server name, in the stress test, I finally dinged 15 and got Mankrik's wife quest. You'll be happy to know I found her, not so happy to hear the state she was in. And I didn't even bury her!

WoW Stress Test-Mankrik 1

Now we just have to wait for the end of the month to start playing. I'll see you there, right?

WoW Stress Test-windrider

What I'm Playing: World of Warcraft Classic

There's been a pre-launch stress test open now until Monday, so I levelled a test character:

I got to the red mohawk in char creation, and somehow flashed back to Return of the Killer Tomatoes and named him FuzzyTomato, which would've been an almost topical joke back in 2004.

WoW Stress Test-Fuzzytomato

And it's been fantastic. The game is moderately hard and grindy, but rewards caution, good play, cooperation with other players, gearing up, and resource management.

Pros:

  • FOR THE HORDE!: Thrall is still in charge, and all is right in the world.
  • Challenging gameplay: I'm Level 14 now, just soloed Skull Cave which is meant for a group at 10-12. Fighting more than one mob of equal level at a time is dangerous. Some players have hit the level cap of 15 and are doing dungeons, I'm likely to try that tomorrow.
  • Resource management: As a rogue, I go thru a huge number of throwing daggers, and now carry 2-4 stacks at the start of a run. Food is a little better since I can fish and cook, but until I got Strider Stew I had no reliable source of buff food. Hunters need arrows and food for their pets. Warlocks need a huge space for soul shards. Mages need reagents for many spells. Bags are rare, small, and expensive. I have: one 8-slot bag, three 6-slot pouches, and the 16-slot backpack. That's it. The biggest bags you can buy are 12-slot, I think, and after that it's very high-level crafting. I'm often dumping low-value loot at the end of a run.
  • Shopping: NPC vendors have varied items, unlike most modern games, so it's useful to check anyone you pass. Never know when they'll have an obscure recipe, a healing potion (SUPER vital for dealing with bosses), or a green item. And then there's the Auction House. Even on a limited-time stress test, there's good sales going.
  • Game runs fantastic at high graphics settings (on iMac 5K I set 50% render scaling, and then cranked everything to 7 or 8)
  • Quests are text-based, not spoken, and don't mark your map, you have to read the instructions and figure it out. Sometimes that's not super clear, but usually they say what you need to do. Quest markers don't show up on your map, turn-ins are just a little dot. The default setting has very slow quest text drawing, but that can be turned off in settings.

Cons:

  • Classic models are blocky and bend weird, like an N64 game rezzed up. You can enable "retail" models, but they looked really out of place in old terrain and buildings.
  • Competition for bosses and some quest mobs can be extremely heavy, and it might be better to skip some quests than try queueing for it; I'm not exaggerating, some bosses there's literal lines of a dozen 5-person groups waiting for a chance to hit a boss.
  • Run speed is abysmally slow, the world is huge and often vast empty spaces. You don't get riding until Level 40, and it takes 100 gold, which you likely won't have. Every 5 minutes I get to hit a Run Faster for 15 Seconds button on my Rogue, and it just reminds me how annoying normal speed is.
  • Don't think you can just use Wind Riders, either. There's a single one in the starting zone, in Orgrimmar; Sen'jin Village and Razor Hill don't have one. There's three in Barrens, but it's a long ways to pick them up. The zeppelins and ships have limited routes, Undercity to Orgrimmar, Orgrimmar to Grom'Gol, Ratchet to Booty Bay. Note no Thunder Bluff zeppelin. Walking to Mulgore and up is a long long hike.
  • Guilds don't have banks or perks. They're just chat rooms. And since mail takes an HOUR to deliver, doing trades requires meeting in person or long waits.
  • Alliance is still terrible, by all accounts; I haven't bothered to make a char there but if you were bothered by fantasy Nazis in 2004, wait until it's real Nazis in 2019.

Unclear:

  • Everything is exhaustively documented on Thotbot, er, WowHead Classic. means no surprises, but also the wiki is correct.
  • Many players are dedicated to recreating just how stupid Barrens chat was in 2004. Briefly funny, hopefully dies down a bit in the real launch?

If you're at all interested, it's worth getting a 1-month subscription, installing and playing this stress test, and see if you like anything.

Game of the Year

I've decided there is no Game of the Year 2018. Everything's been mediocre sequels or ripoffs; that a shitty deathmatch shooter is the most popular makes me disrespect your species nearly as much as sportsball.

I'm still playing old games:

  • Elder Scrolls Online: Mixed bag this year. Summerset's a fantastic "chapter"/DLC they make even subs pay for. Murkmire DLC is awful, its only virtue is that Shadowfen's no longer the worst zone in the game. Mac client performance has been garbage since Murkmire, and the nerf to Sorc shields has annoyed the shit out of me. But, close to 5 years in it's still the best Elder Scrolls game.
  • Unturned: France map is fun and moderately hard, but 3.0's reaching EOL and who knows how buggy 4.0 will be. Ominous.
  • Minecraft: 1.13 update was a buggy shitshow for a while, but it's made the waters interesting. But I build bases in taiga or mountains. Very little time in it this year.
  • Animal Crossing Pocket Camp: Least bad gachapon/daily clicky-toy game in its second year. The monthly cycle of garden event, fishing event, scavenger hunt is pretty solid now. The Cabin recently added lets me save a few favorite animals outside the ever-rotating camp roster. It's OK.

This year's failed contenders:

  • EXAPUNKS: Haven't bought it yet because like TIS-100 and the rest of Zach's games, real coding is more fun than fake-coding, but maybe if I was more fun-not-GTD it'd be on the shortlist at least.
  • World of Warcraft Classic demo: The most exciting pre-release was a 10-year-old version of the most boring MMO.
  • Dragalia Lost: Good but compromised design. I loved it for a few months, the characters are fun and cute, action dungeon's great for quick play, but the gachapon store drives the game and creates too many identical heroes, dragons, and cards, and it nagged me out. This could've been GOTY if it was paid up front, earning heroes by questing instead of random pulls.

My own failure to ship is appalling. I can't justify it. Perilar gameplay is excellent roguelike tactics & resource management, but some dungeon generation's not right yet.

Delvers in Darkness, my new tabletop RPG, is getting another rewrite of the adventure and I haven't done any art direction. I think it's fun in solo tests, but still need table testing.