The Great ability purge of 2014?

With news that the Timeless Isle PvE world component of patch 5.4 introduces the concept of events that scale dynamically to the amount of people partaking, and reward based on the amount of time and effort you’ve put in it seems the concepts that started in Warhammer Online’s public quests, and were refined in Guild Wars 2 event system are finally making their way to the Warcraft Universe. About time too.

We first saw the transition to this concept introduced in Cataclysm whereby quest mobs could not be tagged – they were essentially public NPCs that anyone could get credit for killing for a quest if they were on the mobs aggro table. This prevented griefing, and was one of the small changes to the game that went mostly unnoticed, but it was a good change.

We saw this expanded to Boss NPCs in 5.1 (or maybe 5.2). 5.3 saw mobs scale in HP and difficulty with the amount of players. 5.4 Also introduces flexible raids which expands flexible health pools and difficulty further.

So what next?

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WoW Predictions – The Next Expansion

imageSo, with the revelation that Blizzard have copyrighted the title “The Dark Below” as a video game, and with the Diablo 3 expansion hinted at being called “The Reaper of Souls” it seems increasingly likely that that the next World of Warcraft expansion will be called “The Dark Below”..

A potential list of topics that could be covered by the next expansion would look something like

There’s overlap there of course, and plenty of scope for other topics not yet hinted at in the lore. For example, who knew Pandaria would yield as much lore as it has done?

But The Dark Below? What could that mean?

WoW Predictions–retrospective

I thought I’d leave these two comments I posted to reddit a while back here for y’all to check out.

Cross Realm Zones

This comment posted in January 2012 predicted Cross Realm Zones, a full 4 months before the official Blizzard developer blog announcement that it was making its way to the PTR was made.image

Mereged Realms

This comment posted in January 2013 predicted that Cross Realm Zones didn’t go far enough to solving the issues of players out in the world issue – a full 5 months before any announcement on the feature coming to World of Warcraftimage

I’m posting this as I’m working on a an episode of ‘Rage Quit’ to discuss what else can and should be done to resolve not only the things being fixed with the concept of merged, virtual, or joined realms, but also the levelling and community experience as a whole – it all ties in to a last post regarding the third drive.

Azeroth, and the Third Drive – part 1

Dan Pink is an author. An author that has written many books on behavioural studies. One in particular is called Drive. Or to give it it’s full title Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. In this book he cites decades of research that states that humans in traditional workplaces aren’t driven in a carrot and stick fashion in the way everyone thinks they are. For example, traditionally people think if I pay you more money to perform better you will perform better, or even if i punish you for performing badly you will perform better. I’m paraphrasing here massively, but he states that rather humans are driven and motivated to be better by intrinsic urges to be better, be learn how to be better on our own, and that doing so gives us purpose. He calls these urges Mastery, Autonomy, and Purpose.

He argues that this is only true when the work needed to be done requires some rudimentary cognitive skill. Or rather, the thing you’re being measured on performance-wise isn’t repetitive, mechanical processes.

Carrot on a StickSo, the performance of something that requires us to think, e.g. getting better at a particular skill cannot be increased infinitely by offering fundamental rewards. It will work for a little time, but then performance improvement will go back to normal levels, or sometimes actually get worse.

Yeah yeah, but how does this relate to the World of Warcraft?

In this short series of blog posts I’m going to break down everything I see and understand about Dan Pink’s Third Drive and how it relates to the steady, but sure decline that’s happened to WoW. I’ll try my best to not look at the game with rose tinted specs – either in it’s current, or old guise.

Diversify Diversify Diversify

I have always focused on primarily on World of Warcraft content for YouTube, with other games coming second fiddle, but there have always been other games.

The question is what other games are popular?

As someone that watches as much YouTube content as I produce I generally stay away from new games that are big releases. Some of the channels I subsribe to do a great job at Let’s Plays, or Walkthroughs. TheRadBrad springs to mind as a consistently high achiever for the big Triple-A games. But when I enjoy a game, or think I will enjoy the game I will find the prospect of doing a Let’s Play appealing. It’s not about getting 10,000 hits, it’s about the enjoyment of playing the game, and that at least some people will enjoy experiencing it with you.

So, Here’s some plans for upcoming videos.

World of Warcraft MoP

The current series has been trotting along slowly, visiting each dungeon in turn. My plans here were to see each dungeon and battleground, playing through them in turn to get a complete let’s play. As it turns out this wont be happening as Garthis and I, but I may continue this series solo.

However, Garthis, Teeps and I will be doing a recruit a friend series commencing very soon. Hopefully we’ll get chance to focus on more end-game focused content.

World of Warcraft : PvP

I will be continuing focusing on PvP content on my main character. I’m considering moving to a PvP guild to allow me to focus on Rated Battlegrounds, and 3s team. Currently I only do 2s arenas and this really isn’t the optimal way to run.

Guild Wars 2

The plan is I will return to Guild Wars 2 to finish off the Jumping Puzzles and vistas. The other GW2 videos on my channel are some of the most watched content, and I should really be focusing on providing popular content.

Other Games

I have just started a Bioshock Infinite let’s play, and will see this game through to completion. Other new games that appeal to me will also fall in to this category – but I will not be playing ever new game due to lack of time. :-(

Garthis

My brother, Garthis would like to do some Let’s Plays of other games, he’s looking at some of the classic Zelda games. Can’t wait to see that!

Is there anything else you’d like us to contentrate on? Let us know in a comment here, or on youtube.

focus generation

So, if you follow this blog, or me on youtube you may have noticed a distinct lack of updates lately. There’s a couple of very good reasons for that. So, let’s be quick about it..

“It’s not me. It’s you”

1) World of Warcraft was, despite the initial highs of Pandaria, not really holding my interest in the same way previous expansions have. I can’t quite put my finger on it – the reliance on daily quest grinding, the terrible performance of hunters in the initial tier, or even the fact that after grinding every possible way of getting gear I was still unable to get some fundamental upgrades. Hitting your head against the same brick wall repeatedly isn’t fun.

2) Okay, that’s all QQ’ing. Really, the game just wasn’t holding my attention. I was thinking of quitting, or focusing on other games to fuel the youtube channel, but ultimately my single heart went a wandering, and it found something wonderous – a girlfriend.

Now, my story of WoW vs love life probably isn’t that different from yours. It’s been a chequered history, with highs and lows. For the most part holding down a full time job, a packed social life, and a full raiding schedule does not compute. For me it was easy to pick which one to drop.

Sorry Azeroth, but I /quit

I still have all my characters, all my mounts, achievements, gold.. but I may give it all away and delete it all to remove the temptation to come back. I’m not sure what this means for the youtube channel at the moment, perhaps just focusing on some let’s plays and random video game footage as I can find time to make it.

I may, however do what I normally do. YouTube was always a challenge for me. Could I do it, rather than doing it for any other reason. In the past I have challenged myself in many ways that I’ve never taken any further..

  • could I make music without having any instruments, or musical knowledge. I went on to found and run some early software / tracking trance groups releasing free music in the mid-90s, and very nearly got a recording contract before moving on..
  • could I go in to the games industry, despite not being a coder? I went on to produce commercial maps for Duke Nukem expansions, and pushed the engine to it’s utmost breaking limits, before moving on..
  • Could I DJ, despite having no vinyl, hardware, or expertese? I went on to being offered a resident DJ position in a UK nightclub, before giving it up and moving on..
  • Could I make gaming videos, despite literally having no experience of doing video work? I went on to not only make gaming movies, but winning numerous international awards, including best gaming movie released in it’s release year, and being sponsored by Intel… before moving on..
  • Could I climb a mountain and raise money for charity, despite never having done any trekking, and being massively overweight? I not only climbed the mountain, but I helped raise over £5,000 for a children’s charity, and even appeared on Venezuelan radio in the process. Pretty awesome!
  • Could I make a name for myself on YouTube? This one has proved the biggest challenge, and despite clocking up 1.6million views on the site I wouldn’t say I’ve made a name for myself. I do have YouTube partnership, I am earning money from the site, but I’m not Yogscast.
    Do i stick this one out to see where I can take it, or do I move on to a new challenge?

Time will tell… in the mean time, I’m enjoying life… seeya later!

The Future?

A quick update for the world of sheppo. What’s been happening?

Ironman

Since the last update the ironman challenge has petered off a little. My character died at level 69 whilst trying to find the last quests in Nagrand. Ironically, I died to mobs that I’d previously dealt with easily. Understandably i was frustrated – this time it was definitely my fault. I may continue again in (Mists of Pandaria) MoP as I have already levelled yet another character up to mid-level.

In terms of videos, I still have a few to upload, that I’ll try to get done in time for the release of MoP – as a nice little lead-in.

Guild Wars 2

GW2 has come, and.. well, I want to say come and gone. But I know I’m not done with it yet, but the PvP aspect interests me naught, the same as it does in WoW. The PvE aspect of the game – the levelling is exceptional, and way better than World of Warcraft on so many levels, but I can’t help but feel the lack of any level of raiding is a major detractor for me.

That said, despite the lack of a fully open world, and a excessive use of invisible walls the exploration aspect of GW2 is stunning. The inclusion of jumping puzzles, collectable Vistas, and the general design of the environment has really impressed me.

YouTube

Off of the Jumping puzzles I have gained quite a lot of subscribers to my YouTube channel, and subsequently applied and been approved for partnership through SocialBlade / RPM / Maker Studios, as well as being contacted to become a director for another YouTube partner – to produce WoW guides, etc. I’m not sure where these journeys will take me, but it’s exciting times!!

Pandas

With the release of MoP now less than a week away I can genuinely say I’m a lot more pumped for its release than I was for Guild Wars 2’s. I suspect that’s because I’ve had my fun in Tyria, but also because I’m looking forward to getting back to raiding, and producing more raiding guides for hunters.

On the lead up to MoP’s release I will be putting out a special video that will celebrate at least one of the following items.

  • The release of MoP
  • The first video in which i sing!
  • My first WoW machinima
  • hitting 500 subscribers
  • getting partnership on YouTube

Stay tuned, I’m hoping the video gets a few 1,000 views, but you can never predict these things.

Dealing with too much footage

Doing a play through, or let’s play is fun. It can be hard work, it’s definitely not the easiest way to enjoy playing a video game. For me it’s a good way to get additional interest out of playing games; I find as I get older it’s harder to find time to play games, even though it’s something I really enjoy doing.

More often though, the playing games isn’t the hard part, it’s the recording, and editing together hours of video that is becoming a mammoth task. Probably due in part to the fact my main series at the moment is the Iron Man WoW Challenge – which essentially sees me questing through as much content as I can, and showing it all. Currently I have 5 levels of particularly dull footage to compile in to videos ready for YouTube.

What to do?

I suspect I may just provide a voiceover for all the content, but even that is time consuming and relatively hard to keep talking about what’s going on in the footage whilst keeping it fresh.

My other alternative is to heavily edit down questing and travelling to keep the footage more compact. My fear is that this will actually be quite jarring to watch for the viewer.

We shall see.

The IMWC should be drawing to a close soon, with 5.x on the horizon, and the Mists of Pandaria launch date 2 months away. It leaves little time for me to level from 68-85.

Keep tuned to my YouTube channel for further updates coming ever other day.