Cataclysm’s Fantastic Four

1 February, 2011

Don’t think. FEEL. It’s like a finger-pointing at the moon. Do not concentrate on the finger or you will miss all of the heavenly glory! — Bruce Lee

With a day off to literally do nothing in-game, I had a little bit of time to reflect on normal mode Tier 11. We still have plenty of farming time on it to go as we progress through heroic mode Tier 11, but we’re done with it.

There have been a lot of Negative Neds and Nancys out there hating on Wow 4.0, but I want to put a different spin on it.

In these past four weeks, there has been a lot of time to explore the newness of Cataclysm and settle into the 4th era of WarCraft. With so much content, some might find it hard to pick out the best parts of the expansion just one month in, but I’m selfish and 99% right, 100% of the time, so let’s have at it!

Let’s see how random we can mark these points

1. Guild Leveling/Perks/Reputation/Achievements

I’m doing this one first because I want to state up front how wrong I was about this feature  (I said 99% right, don’t judge me). Before Cataclysm, guilds were simply an angle-bracketed Ominous Latin Name or Abstract Noun. The only significant source of togetherness was a cropped screenshot after a boss-kill with that same guild name on it.

Now with guild leveling and reputation, all the players in the guild (from officer to friends & family) can contribute to the progression of the guild. Raiders in the guild contribute inside of the instance, but the quests, dungeons, and battlegrounds that the more casual members complete also contribute to the guild experience pool.

Giving a tangible goal to everyone in a guild grants ownership of that goal to every member. The guild rewards are insignificant in the grand scheme of things. Most of them are just another pet or mount, but there are others that everyone can benefit from. Gold from looting put into the bank which can then be used for repairs (we have guild repairs turned on for everyone, all the time).

Remote access to the guild bank, experience and reputation boosts, and honor bonuses. If you contribute something, anything, you will reap the rewards.It encourages folks to stick with a guild and build it into something meaningful. The bonuses to reputation/experience given to guild instance groups help build camaraderie through cooperation.

As a friends and family member or retired raider, the fact that guild status was previously only tied to raid progression had you feeling like a passenger. Now you can give something as well, and that can only mean good things.

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Account-Wide Achievements: Rewards For Multi-Classing

20 July, 2010

One of the greatest and simplest tools for learning more and growing is doing more — Washington Irving

Last night I read a great post by Larisa at the Pink Pigtail Inn concerning achievements at an account level instead of a character level. It goes against the grain which I always like to see. It’s what blogs are for, right? She summed up her post with the following quote:

In the end I think the danger of account-wide achievements doesn’t lie in the fraud that it actually is; the problem is that they would detach us from our characters. In combination with the increased use of our real life names as opposed to character names (brought to us by Real ID), it will bring us even further away from the RPG origins than we already are.

We’re [no] longer playing our characters; we’re John Smith, who has done this, this and this feature in WoW.

For me, that’s what it’s always been about. Our guild has a lot of players that function as virtual Swiss-Army Knives, switching up their main class or leveling an alt to assist on a certain fight. We’ve been doing it forever, so it feels like second nature or something that everyone is doing. In essence, we play our accounts, and our characters are just tools.

Though I go by Borsk (or Sov, as a reference to my former long-time main), all of my characters are ‘its’. As a carpenter opens his tool box and sees a hammer, a saw, and a drill, I see my Shaman, Rogue, and Warrior. At the end of a job, one doesn’t appraise the individual accomplishments of each tool (nails hammered, walls painted), but that the house was completed and looks fan-damn-tastic.

The same applies to guild achievements and those group screenshots you take after a first kill. There’s no DPS or healing meter shown (most of the time), it’s just 10/25 happy avatars looking out over the trophy they’ve just earned.

The case against account wide achievements is a solid one and hard to argue against. I took pride in completing Glory of the Raider (10 player) on both my Shaman and Warrior. It was a neat personal achievement to say that  I both healed and tanked it on separate toons. Riding the Plagued Proto-Drake on my warrior always reminds of it, even if nobody else cares (and I’m sure they don’t).

I think we can do better.

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