Thursday, March 18, 2010

I'm Back


This... This has been an interesting week.

I've been working on a sort of project for you guys. Kind of an addendum to an idea I started a while ago.

See, a lot of readers (A LOT) have sent me messages asking about private servers. Private server this and private server that. What do I think about them? Blah, blah, blah.

Recently, I decided to look into it.

Remember the WoW trial I played for a theme week? Remember how all the WoW fanboys complained about how it was only a trial and it doesn't get good til later?

A lot of readers have sent me messages about that, too.

A Freaking Lot.

If you haven't figured out where this is going yet, shame on you.

I have been playing WoW on a private server for a few weeks now. That is in addition to:

a) working full time
b) being a father
c) being a husband
d) cultivating my FFXI obsession

I finally wanted to lay the entire matter to rest. I have done every conceivable thing there is to do without actually spending every waking moment playing.

Susan and I sat down and made a list of everything there is to do in an MMO and I have been forced to do them all.

I'm serious. She's withholding sex until I'm done.

A man has needs DAMMIT!

AND I have formulated my thoughts on the private server experience.

Spoiler: Not good.

Susan also suggested I take a vacation from blogging during the process as I barely had time to think.

Please don't think I have forsaken you, oh loyal reader. I have driven myself to the literal ends of my sanity to finally put an end to this debate once and for all.

Or until someone bitches about something else.

My list is almost complete. I have one big thing left and then, I am free to rain my wrath down upon all of the haters.

Things should be back to normal tomorrow. That or I'm going to stab myself in the eye.

Either or.

Also, I may or may not have some HUGE news to lay upon you pretty soon. I can't tell you anything, but it is BIG.



At 10:08 PM, Blogger phillip said...

Glad to see you not dead.

At 12:15 AM, Blogger Moradath said...

I'd just thought you'd have been playing FFXIII all week :P

At 12:59 AM, Blogger Salt said...

I figured with all the donations you should have been able to get the game and it's expansions.
You probably could have gotten to 80 in the free month.

Although now it's kind of a bad time to be a new 80.
Prepared to get bitched at in heroics and rolled in PVP. -_-

PS: Quick someone who isn't poor (like me :( ), send Dave the complete package, vanilla + expansions. :P

At 3:51 AM, Blogger Dave Cushley said...

Wow, admitting to something illegal on a public blog is fairly brave.

At 3:57 AM, Blogger Lorthic said...

Susan's pregnant and you're taking a hiatus (of course by "choice").

I knew it!

At 7:34 AM, Blogger Master said...

So Dave I thought you might have been working on that novel... So how is that novel coming along. Hmm... remember that novel you were working on? How is that going?


At 8:13 AM, Blogger E+G said...

I figured with all the donations there's no freaking way you would waste it in buying anything WoW related.

Right? Right?

At 8:30 AM, Blogger Salt said...

I figured if he is to "review" WoW might as well do it right. :P

Or maybe he can try it "for real" when the next expansion comes out.
As I mentioned, everyone will outgear like nuts right now.

At 9:29 AM, Blogger PV said...

You can't review a game from using a private server, especially the WoW ones with a jillion times normal experience and loot, Mobs that just stand there or autoattack instead of using their real abilities, and with half the world missing.

If you really think this is a fair review of WoW, we're just going to laugh at you.

At 11:44 AM, Blogger AzureShadow said...

WoW private server? Fantastic! I've been on one for a few weeks now as well...

And as for the big surprise, is the wife pregnant again?

At 11:45 AM, Blogger Hylian said...

If you wanted to play WoW for free, here it is >>

it's a WoW clone, that in fact uses the WoW modeler for every graphic of the game.

@PV actually, all the things you've mentioned simply take away 1 aspect of WoW: the grinding. trouble with WoW is, that's all the game is: grinding. there's no story, no real community (if that's what you want to call it), and in the end you get the same satisfaction you would from getting the high score on donkey kong at the arcade. congratulations, you did it. wait for the next expansion so we can make everything you just accomplished seem like nothing. All those enhancements do is speed up the process of finding just how boring the game gets...

"WoW is so addictive!" yeah, til around level 40. suddenly, it's not so addictive anymore because you're tired of doing the same thing over and over again... all so that you can say "I'm level 80! .... now what? grind for gear til the next expansion makes it completely obsolete?"

the one thing that keeps me coming back to ffxi is the forced player interaction and the missions (story). Let's cut the damn grinding out and see what this game REALLY has to offer us. Go for it Dave

At 1:56 PM, Blogger Miguel Santos said...


Private server have auto-attack mobs... When they're not bugged to all hell. That means no skills that you need to watch out for, nothing that will actually constitute a challenge. (And yes, there is a challenge in WoW if you're not completely overgeared, especially in the latest dungeons).

Also social interaction with what? 20 players? Not gonna happen in ANY MMO.

Reviewing WoW on a private server is like reviewing an early alpha (all bugs included) like a finished product, it's not gonna work.

This isn't to say that WoW doesn't get boring, it does. Once people reach endgame they either stop playing till something new comes along (PvE) or do PvP, which gets boring after a while, too.

At 12:05 AM, Blogger Hylian said...

i really only found that even as i obtained newer skills, it really just meant a new rotation of abilities to use... just put 5 abilities in the first 5 number keys. same 5 moves, and the occasional "holy f@#$!" buttons when you got in trouble...

I agree with you: the dungeons and PVP were really the only places that learned skills were best used. Still, if you wanted to enjoy any of those, you had to get to 80 first... at least if you wanted decent challenges. Still... in the end like you said even that gets boring. you're not even worth anything unless you are decked out in purple gear... which is funny because you have to do the events (ie pvp or dungeon run) in order to obtain the gear in the first place... but doing the events is damn near impossible because you don't have the gear yet. catch 22?

and even on servers with 50,000 players (or whatever), it doesn't change the fact that this game is mainly solo... so what difference does it make when there are only 20 people on? that's just less chance of them getting in your way when you're farming rabbit tails or whatever gilmer at the pig farm needed to give you that funny-smelling hat and 200 exp you wanted. unless you wanted to argue the auction house would be rendered useless...

but still... where's the story? where's the missions? where's the cutscenes? (ok, they added some of those in the last expansion... but only some).

I'm sure FFVII would have been a much more fun game if they just let you play as brooding blond, brooding dead guy, and big tits schoolgirl with the object of simply obtaining the max level. nevermind the story and all that sephiroth and shinra stuff... the killing mobs and completing mundane quests is MUCH more fun...

WoW was fun to play... I'm just tired of trying new MMO's only to get the exact same experience WoW already offers.

At 6:52 AM, Blogger Salt said...


I wouldn't say there is no story. :P
It just that most of it is via quest text and the occasional scripted dialogue, so if you aren't paying attention you will miss it.
As you said it's only in Wrath did they get more "in your face" by using cutscenes.
And people shouldn't expect too much out of WoW's "LOLore", Blizz puts gameplay 1st, story 2nd.
If they think something is cool and fun, they add it, then write the story around it (regardless what kind of lame plot device they have to use :P ), at worst they retcon it to fit.

Well, the "community" is what you make off it. LOL
Join a guild that does what you want.
There are "casual" guilds where members mostly solo and talk about crap in chat.
On the other end of the spectrum there are hardcore guilds that do the hardest content they can get into.
The thing is Blizzard gives you the choice.

As for gear, well that's the way games, especially RPGs and MMOs go, you get gear then you get more and better gear.

And as we both mentioned, it kind of a bad time to be a new 80 now - everyone outgears you like crazy.
Although you can get decently up to date gear via heroics now (Tier 9 from emblems :D ; hell you can even get PVP gear via emblems), you will be relatively undergeared when you first step into heroics.
Chicken and egg, blizz is trying to fix it the best they can.

PS: and ya way too many MMOs are trying to duplicate the WoW experience. ><
Would be nice if developers tried something new.

At 8:40 AM, Blogger E+G said...

When saying WoW has no story it just means it has no story that anyone could possibly care for. Noone with at least a few books on his shelf, anyway.

Yes, cutscenes are beautiful and they really add to that story, but I don't think that a game needs them to tell it... I still believe FFIII has a better storyline than WoW does.

And saying Blizzard puts it's priority at gameplay is not quite acurate, I mean, WoW is fun for a while... just like playing with a bubbles plastic bag is fun for a while...

And I really wanted to like WoW, i mean, Warcraft is great! And I really wanted to like WoW... but I think Blizzard should stick at RTS for quality.

At 11:00 AM, Blogger Salt said...

@ E+G
WoW's storylines are not very "personal", not until late BC at least and only got more character focus & "dramatic" in Wrath.

And let just say they put gameplay at a higher priority then storytelling.

They don't let the lore prevent them from adding things they want, they just add it, and let the storyline guys clear up the mess. :p

The downside is WoW lore can be like swiss cheese in some places. :x

At 12:56 PM, Blogger Music-chan said...

I know arguing with the people above me is kinda pointless, but I'm going to attempt to make my point anyway.

There ARE people who appreciate the Warcraft lore and discuss it on a regular basis. There are also people who don't find WoW grindy or boring and find the end game a pleasant challange. There is also strong communities in WoW if you bother to find them.

It's a huge game with a huge following. It's harder to find what you want because you have to shuffle through more people to find it.

Like it or dislike it, fine. But saying it has no story, no community and no fun is pretty short-sighted.

I play multiple MMOs and I enjoy them all for different reasons. But you have to be willing to meet the game on it's own terms and not compare it to every other game.

At 2:56 PM, Blogger swoosh41 said...

Hey Dave,

Just wanted to say I have enjoied reading your blog. I figured I would try to jump the gun here and give you a nice new project and one I think you would actually enjoy. I know you have the theme week going and you do different things to try and keep us interested and laughing. Something I have noticed that seems lacking is your exp in the game as a dragoon. As a dragoon my self I know I would find this very interesting and look forward to possible stories about the lol drg days before I started to play. Just something I thought I would throw out there to you.

At 3:29 PM, Blogger tyranastrasz said...

AND I have formulated my thoughts on the private server experience.

Spoiler: Not good.


At 3:40 AM, Blogger SmJR said...

Dear Dave, I'm a BIG fan, BIG. I don't play FFXI, but i do have friends who play. as an ex-WOW player I just want to say it's not worth playing. and having you forced to play a game that well it's something you'd want to play is just WRONG. I think you should do what brings you joy (read as: destroy the idiots and retards that infest your world of Vana'diel. On another note, I'm happy you're not dead.

At 8:41 AM, Blogger Hylian said...

Yeah, the quests in the beginning seem ok... but after about like level 30 you start to realize that the quests aren't really worth reading...

"oh thank you for stopping by hero... my husband traveled far off into that cave of gnolls, and i-"

"yeah yeah, whatever, how many of the gnolls do you want killed? and you want your husband's what now as a keepsake? and who's the main bad guy you want killed in that cave? k, done, done, annnnnd done. gimme my exp, money and items, wench!"

really the only fun i had was watching the scripted events happen... like the dwarven target practice in dun murogh (or however you spell it), and cookie mcWeaksauce's menu for the crew in ... i think it was azuremist isle?

cpt >> hey cookie, what's for dinner? and don't say chicken...
cookie >> arr... it all be comin into focus now...
*after cookie tells some huge extravagant meal menu to the crew*
cpt >> really?
cookie >> no, not really.
*pulls out a blunderbuss* *BANG!* *chicken falls dead*
cookie >> it be chicken.
cpt >> i hate you so much cookie.

still though, i kinda feel like those are just "quests"... ffxi had those. you know, like the subjob one, and those repeatable ones you do to obtain norg fame...

i always keep coming back because of the main missions that tell ... well, your typical final fantasy story (have they changed much over the years?)

ffxi has spoiled me i guess lol. when you've grinded with people all the way to 75 for a year... then go level in WoW to 80 in 2 months by doing quests by yourself... there's some part of you that wants the torture of leveling in a dunes party again just so you can feel the pain of it all over again...


ok i'm a psycho masochist, don't judge me :P

At 12:10 PM, Blogger Salt said...

Your examples of the storytelling in WoW are pretty spot on.

Majority of the stories aren't very character focus, although in wrath there are a few but they are rather short.

Most quest stories exist to tell you about the state of the world, the characters are there as a tool to convey the information.

There are interesting characters (major) in WoW though, you bump into them once in a while.
But majority exist to just give quests and be forgotten - though if players take a liking to said characters blizz often follows up on them. :P

As for "forced grouping", I'm not really a fan of that. LOL.
Sometimes if the group is good, it's great, then sometimes you get dickheads. -_-

Finding a group is also a hassle - yes most WoW players (like me) are that lazy. :P
Thankfully blizz implemented a dungeon finder to help group up people with similar "goals".

At 4:24 AM, Blogger Kahsha said...

"It's big!"


I don't believe these words coming from any man. Your view is skewed.


At 12:10 AM, Blogger Rwn said...

i see you stabbed yourself in the eye eh'

At 6:00 AM, Blogger Jason said...

1 post in 3 weeks. This news is either going to be cataclysmic or sadly the blog has run its course.

At 12:49 PM, Blogger Music-chan said...

Blizzard admited that they didn't have any real story in the first two years of the game. The Burning Crusade started to introduce the idea of progress and a final goal (defeating Illidan, and then eventaully Kil'jaeden). Wrath of the Lich King is all about story. The journey through Northrend is definitly leading you somewhere, the cut scenes lend more emotion to major questlines, etc.

Final Fantasy games have always been about story, so the developers had a head start when it come to making a cohesive and engaging story. Lord of the Rings Online has the same benefit over Blizzard. You can't help but have a good story if you're basing your game on a good story. Blizzard lacks in the story-telling portion, but they're getting better at it as the game progresses.

So yes, the first 60 or so levels, you're not going to find a lot of storyline in World of Warcraft, though that might change when Cataclysm hits and they rewrite everything.

At 3:30 PM, Blogger Leut said...

Dave's next post title:

"HaHaHa! Made you think I was back!"

At 10:45 AM, Blogger PV said...

Except of course, blizzard admitted no such thing, and vanilla WoW *did* have a story, in fact a bunch of different story threads, such as:

- What have the elves been up to since they became mortal? What are the effects of the corruption of the world tree?

- who are the dark iron dwarves (you meet these before you're level 20!), and what dark purpose do they have under blackrock mountain?

- What happened to the King of Stormwind?

- What are Lady Katrana Prestor and Lord Victor Nefarius up to?

All of those come up during various questlines, in dungeon instances, and get tied up in the 40 man raids of Onyxia, Molten Core, and Blackwing lair. Vanilla WoW filled up the rest of the time after that with a war effort to stop an old god (C'Thun), and then the return of the scourge (the original naxx).

Like the game or not, but don't make stuff up. Sometimes there's a darn good reason why something is more popular (say, about 100 times more popular) than something else.

At 9:39 PM, Blogger tyranastrasz said...

"Except of course, blizzard admitted no such thing"

No, they actually have, I've seen it too. There's plenty of story threads, certainly, but 90% of them meander around, leading nowhere, and then eventually cut off, as evidenced by the fact that only two of the four plot points you mentioned ever actually got resolved in the original game. Blizzard never had one single overarching plot for the original game. The Defias questline (the one originally meant to answer the question you posed - "what happened to the king?") is the longest-running storyline and until recently it cut off at level 30 with no continuation. In fact, it STILL does that - they've added a few quests to the end, but the ultimate fruit of that questline is a story that's revealed only in the COMIC BOOK, four years after the original game's inception.

I love WoW as much as the next guy, but I'm sorry, the way they handled storytelling for the original game was totally lousy and Blizzard is very much aware of that.

At 3:19 PM, Blogger PV said...

meandering <> nonexistent, which is my point.

It took until Lich King to get the full story on why the King is back (unless you read the comic book), but you did get it eventually, and they fixed up the quests or removed them where they're no longer consistent with the current storyline.

For example, lorewise Onyxia has been exposed and she's dead. They brought here back for nostalgia reasons only, and ony25 does not connect to current lore.

They've definitely gotten better at weaving the main story of the expansion into every aspect of the leveling and raiding game, but they always had a story, and a fairly good one if you do enough quests to collect all the plot coupons.

At 1:45 PM, Blogger Music-chan said...

My wording was poor in the last post I did. When I said they didn't have 'any story', I meant that they didn't have a main story theme for the first 60 or so levels for the game.

The Warcraft lore that existed in those times was from the original three games but didn't really GO anywhere. They introduce a few plot points that either are never really solved or were solved too quickly. (aka, Oh no, Prestor is Onyxia. Quick, kill her!)

So yes, I appologize for wording my last post badly. But Blizzard did admit that their narrative wasn't really up to snuff in the first couple years of the game. The base for the story was there but they didn't push it forward the way they have been doing in the last two expansions.

So for people who are used to a more robust storyline in their games, World of Warcraft would indeed seem rather boring the first 60 levels.

Which is why I feel the company is making the move to completely re-write the initial leveling experience. They want to change things to be more they are.

At 9:24 AM, Blogger Master said...

Cushley what are you talking about?

Private servers are not illegal. Check out game informer.

At 10:46 AM, Blogger Subaru Tsukasa said...

Actually, in defense of WoW:

1. It does have a story, it's just kinda lulzy, especially with the recent revelation about the Lich King.

2. It is grindy, but it has the least grind of other games I think. Especially if you make good friends who will ensure you don't get screwed out of regular gear upgrades.

Personally though, I'm playing Aion. It's a lot more grindy. But not as grindy as FFXI.

I'd play FFXI if it was about on the level of WoW in terms of grind, even with the bad character customization.

I just can't wait for FF14.

On a personal note, I just got FF1 PSP version. Ah, memories...

At 1:07 PM, Blogger E+G said...

Uhm, I never felt FFXI was grindy, probably because I always was doing something else.

I was never in a rush to lvl up. There was always something else to do.

Although I met some people that all they did was lvling, it just nevet hit my taste.

However, unlike most other games, FFXI had things to do, fun and challenging, not only excuses of a quests, at every single lvl. Not only high lvls.

Oh and btw, I think Dave wanted us to discuss this way... it was all planned.

And all I can say is thanks ^^

At 8:44 PM, Blogger tyranastrasz said...

What I don't get is why people would email Dave about WoW not getting good until later. Given his normal outlook on things, I would say his review of WoW was downright positive. I mean, he hates things. That's his shtick here. He hated WoW considerably less than I expected him to.


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