Hair of the dog

You know, writing a column on Alts over at Hammer of WAR isn’t exactly going to help me change my altoholism altophilia (the article I just wrote won’t come out till Wednesday, so consider this some early shameless self-promotion). Just as well, then, that I don’t particularly want to change.

Last week the Witching Night event was launched and Mort and I spent the better part of two days, Wednesday and Thursday, trying to acquire all the masks, getting all the Influence, and ticking off those Kill X ghosty-type foozle ToK entries. Amariel was lucky enough to manage it, being the fortunate recipient of a gold bag at the end of one of the Troll Country PQs, though oddly enough it took killing one more ghosty-type thing after finishing the Kill X ghosty-thing list for the Witch King title Tome Entry to pop. Weird.

Come Friday, and Mort’s return to work, I logged on Ysharros with the intention of filling her INF bar and getting her one of those snazzy delicate masks too. It didn’t take me long to give up on the notion, and none of the other characters I logged on showed any desire to farm PQs, cauldrons, or any other static ghost spawn just to fill up a bar that’s about 5 times as long as it ever needed to be. If hours-of-mindless-grinding is going to be the basic mechanic for any future events, I strongly urge Mythic to reconsider — and while I’m sure they don’t listen to me, I also know that opinion is shared a fair proportion of the community. Mythic are good about listening, so I’m hopeful they will take feedback on this event seriously.

I’ll never be a type-A achiever (Bartle or otherwise) in games, but that doesn’t mean I don’t take my characters seriously. What it mostly means is that I cannot do the same thing (read: play the same char type) for days on end. My favourite mode is to play one for a few days, then play another for a few days, and so on. I don’t plan any of this out, but the cycling keeps me happy to play them all by giving me different paces, different types of action, different ways of approaching the same game. Like I said, it’s not for everyone, but it’s always worked well for me. (I have a very high tolerance for repeating content, which probably makes me a happy altophile as opposed to a frustrated one.)

Right now, my char lineup ranges in level from 10 to 23, not counting the little Engineer who hasn’t even been unwrapped yet. I’d planned to use that last char slot for a Runepriest, but with the addition of Knights I’m not entirely sure what I’ll do. And no, there’s no way you’ll ever talk me into being a monophile, or even a serial altophile. After two days of playing an Archmage and healing blind, nuke-spamming, aggro-pulling, boundary-ignoring ingrates, I decided to deal with the Healer Hangover by playing some of those ingrates myself.

I was ready, in fact, to play any char able to do decent damage, so instead I played three: the Shadow Warrior (whose solo progression while scout-specced is slow and a little painful), the Witch Hunter (who is probably my greatest WAR love despite the frustration that can go with playing something so squishy) and a Bright Wizard.

You know… I really wanted to hate the BW. I wanted to discover that they’re horribly overpowered (they are, but not nerf-needingly so in my opinion) and to find out that playing one would automatically make me a jackass, since it seems to have that effect on so many other players. But maybe they’re jackasses to begin with.

As it turns out, Bright Wizards are probably balanced about right. Yes, they’re really, really, disgustingly blessed in terms of damage output… but half the time they explode themselves into crispy corpses, and the other half of the time they die because someone looked at them funny. It’s not as though  they’re tanks who were given the ability to deal out army-flattening amounts of damage — Bright Wizards wear flame-retardant robes, funky glowy tattoos, and not much else. And, like sorceresses, they are incredibly hard to miss on the battlefield. Waving arms + black-blob or flame-blob = target.

After playing a healer, however, stabbing things extremely hard in the nadgers and then aiming fireballs at said nadgers was a real and rare pleasure. With both the witch hunter and the bright wizard I found myself cackling maniacally at the screen, saying things like “Ha! You are SO my Chosen bitch!” (when I armor-ignoring-stabbed one to death for the third time) and “Burn! Burn you mofos, BURN!! ahahahaha! *glerk*”

I am developing a steely, cross-character hatred for Shamans, not just because they’re evil green healing machines, but because they’re too small to see! I ran past them all the time with the Witch Hunter, before my brain caught up with my eyes and I’d have to pull a U-turn in order to start handing out Stabby McNasty rapier damage. Similarly, I found myself trying to wave Chosen and Black Orcs out of the way by batting at the air in front of my monitor when playing the bright wizard — it may not turn you into a jackass, but incandescence sure does make me cranky and prone to shouting out orders and invective (if only to myself).

And yet, it was huge fun. Dying 12,987 times wasn’t, but I’m learning to hate it with a passion during scenarios (especially if it’s my own mistake that killed me) while shrugging it all off the second a scenario ends. NOT dying was even more fun — Mort played his rune priest while I played my bright wizard, and being healed while incandescing really does induce the maniacal laughter of the crazy-confident. He played his own Witch Hunter alongside mine, and that’s just laugh-out-loud funny when you skewer tanks, pincushion witch elves, and blow musket-holes in shamans and zealots. Sure, you’ll die quite a bit, but if you think ONE witch hunter can put out the hurt, stop and think what two together can do.

Altoholic? Yes sir, and proud of it. Pour me another!

8 thoughts on “Hair of the dog

  1. Ahhh… Pocket healers ftw in scenarios for BWs 🙂 With them, I can protect the backline better and wear down the opposition for the rest to take out or push them back with withering AoEs! Well that and knowing when to ride that combustion line.

    Maybe I have gotten better or am getting a rep for watching over our little fountains of life. Perhaps more start to see the symbiotic relationship between the two. It would be nice to see more Rdps save punts and knockdowns for emergencies like getting that pesky WE off the RP 😉

    Funny thing is that I am seeing more of this symbiotic play as I progress in tiers which is good IMHO. I am interested to see how it all pans out in the next 5 to 8 ranks.

  2. Oh, and huge “agreed” on the INF grind thing. It’d better be a bit smaller next time. That was ridiculous. But hey, the very fact that they had a decent Live Event in their second months speaks volumes to me about their capabilities as agile developers.

  3. My plan for sunday was to grind out inf to get the rewards. I looked at the bar, soloed a cauldron, looked at the bar, and called the plan off. The bar must have moved a single pixel at best.

    Other than not getting the inf rewards though, the event rocked. And WAR is the first MMO I’ve ever played with actual serious alts. Got a DoK, shaman, and marauder all going, with plans to play a Black Guard.

  4. I am wondering if they plan on keeping the INF bar that size, but make the PQ last longer, even permanent. That way, the long INF grind can be spread out and maxed eventually. Or maybe Mythic just hates me…one or the other.

  5. It seems to me a big problem is games often put RP or Socializer or Explorer content in, but put a big Achiever task in front of it to unlock it. This in a way locks out the majority of people who would appreciate it most. They aren’t going to bother with the achievement grinds because if they were into that they’d be doing it already in the other parts of the game to level and increase their power. To put the fun parts of the game behind the same wall of achievement doesn’t make much sense. To me it’s a way for the developers to tell those players they’re style is invalid. Or they should go play dress-up in some virtual world.

    Want a fun outfit to stand around Orgrimmar/Altdorf with? Grind out these repeatable quests every day for 2 weeks. Then go back to having fun. what? How does that even make sense?

    It makes sense if the people designing are Achievers too, and can’t imagine how other people play.

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