Top 5 Reasons why Neverwinter is the Best MMO That Can Exist, or, How To Twerk in World of Warcraft

Boared Stiff.
Boared Stiff.

When I found out “Top (some number) (some thing)” articles were called “listicles” (for List Articles), my life was changed. I’d always had these feelings I couldn’t explain, where I’d think of some provocative list of things and then put any old things in as the list, because getting people to click on the link and come to the article — the LISTICLE — would be mission accomplished. Article could be blank.

“How To” articles, though — have listicles beat. You can be just as provocative with the title as you would be with a listicle, but you only have to write about one thing (be sure your AdWords bill is paid up!) In fact, as a corollary of Internet Rule 34, I just needed to Google Twerking in World of Warcraft to find this gem over at One Crazy Paladin:

More than you wanted to see.

I love this game. Let’s try for… Three Wolf Moon in Guild Wars 2? DONE. I SWEAR to you that I didn’t know there was a Lunar Wolf spell in Guild Wars 2 that did the Three Wolf Moon before I searched for it.

So that brings up probably the most popular kind of link bait in blogs: Writing an article about someone else’s blog post. Bam. Original author gets new eyeballs, and you get some credit for pointing it out.

Don’t make me look for Gangnam Style in, say, EverQuest.

Pig Herding
Pig Herding

But now I’m totally serious. Neverwinter is the best MMO that CAN EVER EXIST, and I think you’ll agree when you find all your pig herding dreams are coming true for you in glorious F2P 3D.

See, the Midsummer Festival allows adventurers, for a short time, to visit a farming community on the outskirts of Neverwinter, which is having a festival that is being ruined by trolls in the barbecue, kobolds in the flower gardens, and pigs in the corn. Pigs and chickens. But for the purpose of this article, pigs.

Pigs are nasty little animals. They escape from their pens and go running through the corn. They’re a pain to catch, so the inattentive farmer who keeps them has decided to let adventurers do the herding. The stubborn creatures refuse to move, or go dashing off the wrong way, or seem to ignore the big honking horse you’re sitting on (horse really is necessary for pig herding), but after awhile you get the rhythm. You and the pigs come to an understanding. They’re heading to the pen like they meant to go there on their own.

It’s incredibly relaxing and fun. After crafting, it might be my favorite Neverwinter activity. And no pig is harmed, is the best thing.

And that’s my top five reasons why Neverwinter is the best MMO that can ever be.

2,600 petals later...
2,600 petals later…

The reason for my Midsummer obsession is a simple blouse, the Sunite Garb. There’s three bits to the festival outfit; the pants, the headdress, and the garb (the blouse). The first two can be crafted with the special Midsummer Crafting, but the only way to get the blouse is to earn 2,600 petals and buy it from the petal store. You get around 300 petals for doing all the events and quests at least once each day. Helps if you can herd pigs like a Pokemon Master. Since I wanted the outfit for Nina and the petals are (mostly) no trade, I had to do the quests on Nina, breaking the leveling compact Kasul and I have to stay in sync. (You can pick twelve flower blossoms (also no trade) and with them purchase a Flower Garden Reward (tradeable) which can be opened by someone else for fifteen petals). You can follow someone killing kobolds and ninja all their flowers while they are still fighting. I know this because people kept doing it to me.

Anyway, outfit done, pig mount obtained, I’m done herding pigs and picking corn for lazy farmers. Hated every minute of it. Half elves get no respect.

For the HOARD!
For the HOARD!

I don’t need to herd pigs, because I can be a dragon frying knights and ransoming princesses in HOARD. This little actioner came out last year, and I meant to try it out when it first came out, but for whatever reason did not. Now that EverQuest 2 has stopped taking up so much of my time, I’m branching out.

In HOARD, you play a dragon vying with other dragons (both AI and player controlled) to gather the most loot by the aforementioned depredations of the local nobility, razing fields, terrorizing towns and villages, and strategically igniting rolling dynamite carts where they will cause the most collateral damage. Against you are town-defending archers, tower-defending wizards, castle-defending knights, soon to be crisp thieves, and the other dragons, who don’t know that they are really just gathering gold so that you can take it away later.

I choose to play in the relaxing “TREASURE” mode, where I have no dragony opposition, just me and a world that lives in fear of my shadow.

It’s as restful as pig herding, and that’s no lie.

Neverwinter: Return to Azeroth(ia)

The Scarlet Library?
The Scarlet Library?

Each week, when Kasul and I meet for Neverwinter, we never know quite what we’re going to be doing. Grinding quests to max level? Not really our thing. We’ve got our whole crafting operation to worry about, the endless skirmishes, the occasional dungeon — our only problem, really, is having enough time to do it all.

Our free companions had reached their max level — 15 — and were not up to their jobs any more. Which was really unfortunate, because my companion was a cleric, and healing is a nice thing to have. Kasul was rocking a control wizard companion. Both needed replacing. Kasul got Dogsupial, a skeletal dog dropped from the recent demonic invasion of the city of Neverwinter. I spent my astral diamonds on Flambert, an apprentice phoenix obtained from Nightmare/Nachtmahr lockbox. We spent an off-night last week leveling up the new companions so they’d be ready for our regular adventures.

It was Kasul’s night to choose the Foundry’s we’d be doing. We traveled to the instance and —

How does my shield float like that?
How does my shield float like that?

— stepped into World of Warcraft. A portal had apparently been opened that connected Faerûn to Azeroth. An adventuring party was forming from Azerothians to close it from their end, but their party was comprised solely of naked mailbox-dancing night elves, gold selling druids, hyperactive gnome mages, bubble-hearthing paladins and paranoid dwarf hunters. In short, they were doomed. Though the Azerothian Scarlet Rogue was reluctant to make her presence known to us natives of the Forgotten Realms, it was one of our own that had invaded Azeroth; we would be needed to quell the threat.

We stepped through the portal into Azeroth and found ourselves back in the Scarlet Monastery, the Library instance. I ran this so often back in the day to get that priest staff at the end; the nostalgia was palpable. I almost expected Houndmaster Loksey to drop a key (or at least a dog whistle), but he dropped neither. Arcanist Doan didn’t drop either his robe or his staff!

Where's the mailbox?
Where’s the mailbox?

When we finished. we found that the WoW party had followed along in our wake, ninja-looting the corpses. They’d have helped on the last boss, but were distracted by the naked night elf.

At our level, Neverwinter requires two Foundry missions to get the daily reward. I couldn’t wait to see what Kasul would pick for our second. Turned out there was a sequel to the Scarlet Library — the Scarlet Cathedral, the renowned instance of Severe, Sudden Overpulling.

The instance’s author, though, weren’t as cruel as WoW’s designers, and we easily cleared the cathedral grounds and headed in to see the WoW party’s corpses littering the floor. They’d gone in without us. We soon took care of the invasion force and came face to staring grim visage of the necromancer who’d come to Azeroth from the Forgotten Realms. She just refused to die, but our swords were light in our hands and she eventually succumbed.

The dungeons are Scarlet Library and The Return to Azerothia by @cojoru179. Highly recommended.

Kasul and Nina and Flambert
Kasul and Nina and Flambert

The adventure didn’t stop there; we did the Helm’s Hold skirmish a couple of times — I won that blue-tinged sword from it, and finally managed to (barely) complete the Mad Dragon dungeon. We were doing great until the end, but the green dragon Chartilifax got me with her acid breath weapon when my guard was down, and I was pushed by her breath out of range of the cleric and died. Then the wizard died, then both rogues, and it was just the great weapon fighter left, a half orc of decently high level who managed to solo the dragon the rest of the way down while we looked on from the locked door of the lair.

So, that was pretty awesome. I doubt we’ll do that dungeon again, though. We could be dying in the Gray Wolf dungeon instead!

Daily Blogroll Oct 26: Pandamonium edition

All anyone is talking about these days is Winds of Pandaria. I desperately want to join in, but how? I don’t play WoW any more. I’m feeling a little left out.

But hey, why let that stop me.

I may not play WoW much any more, but I have played another game that was desperately trying to attract new players while keeping old ones — EverQuest. A game that is still going strong. At this stage in its life, where WoW finds itself today, EQ added a race of dragon people, a whole new accelerated leveling path. Later came mercenaries that allowed almost any class to easily solo. All this kind of stuff.

So, World of Warcraft is offering a kid-friendly expansion. This is — and I’m being entirely serious about this — a genius move. Many of the hardcore raiders of today are about to take on responsibilities, get families of their own, take jobs that require their attention and enthusiasm and so on. The kids of today need to be ready to take on the guild leadership and raid management that the previous generation is leaving behind. The Winds of Pandaria is Blizzard reaching out to kids just coming into the hardcore scene.

It doesn’t matter WHAT the new expansion was, people would pan it. Add a kid friendly expansion, then Blizzard is making WoW sillier. Just make another new high end raiding expansion and five extra levels, and Blizzard isn’t reaching out to new players. Completely revamp the leveling path, and Blizzard is ruining everything that was great about WoW in 2004. Everyone is a critic. Everyone could do it better.

Melmoth over at KiaSA thinks the whole “buy a year of WoW, get a new mount and Diablo 3” promotion might be a prelude to introducing some sort of free-to-play plan. That’s a cool idea, but I don’t see Blizzard letting people pay nothing instead of something anytime soon. Maybe when Titan is announced.

Asheron’s Call 2

Stropp has been enjoying the recent series of articles over at Massively about Asheron’s Call 2, the abandoned sequel to the early MMO pioneer Asheron’s Call. Stropp wonders if someone were to bring back AC2, or any other game that had been cancelled (Tabula Rasa, anyone?), would people would really play them? Aside from some hardcore fans, I’d really doubt it. People don’t wax nostalgic about game mechanics or leveling systems or whatever. They remember the community. And the death of a game has a chilling effect on the game’s community. What’s lost can’t be regained. Sure, a NEW community could form — but how likely is that?

EverQuest

TAGN has been keeping an eye on the EverQuest progression server, Fippy Darkpaw. FD is the first server in years and years to get their own dedicated GM. GMs used to be standard equipment for servers; they were an integral part of the server community, running events, mediating between raiding guilds, forming new guilds, officiating at player weddings and so on. When they got outsourced and became little more than call center personnel, something bright and wonderful was lost. Anyway, FD has a GM and the rowdy raid guilds have been forced into a raid target rotation. FD is up to the Velious expansion, and to earn the right to take down a mob, they have to kill Sontikar (the dragon outside the Temple of Veeshan) or Lord Vyemm (the gatekeeper of the North Temple of Veeshan, where all the cool mobs are).

The reason these raid guilds have to have a rotation is because there are no instanced raid mobs in Velious — nor in Luclin and originally, not in the Planes of Power, either. Guilds looking to raid had to race to every raid target, usually with a guild or two on their heels, waiting for them to fail so they could pick up the pieces. Instancing was eventually added to the Plane of Time, and from then on, raid targets were increasingly instanced. Nowadays, no guild progress affects any other guild, so there’s no competition.

Seriously? This is all you got?

Sorry :( Should have done this last night, but it’s morning now and I have to go to work. I’ll do better tomorrow!!!! Promise!

Winds of Pandaria!

Authentic Winds of Pandaria screen shot.

Yeah, I’ve been in the Winds of Pandaria ALPHA for awhile. I’m telling you, it’s AWESOME. You guys are gonna freak. NDA prevents me from being too specific, buuuut… ya know Deathwing? Yeah. He’s a mount and you can ride him.

Wanna play a Pandaren Monk? Their special ability is KUNG FU LEAP. You start a jump, and then this map of Azeroth comes up, and you can land anywhere you like. You jump into frickin’ ORBIT, and guess what you see when you’re up there? Well, I can’t say, but you will need new pants afterward.

The Pandarens live in peace and harmony, and that means NO MONEY. Yup. Gold GOES AWAY ENTIRELY. The Auction House now deals in barter and karma. Do a nice thing for someone, you get a little karma you can spend. You can even help out animals and monsters for more karma. Blizzard just killed the whole gold farming industry. Now you’re going to see bunches of level 90 rogues jumping around trying to do nice things for you.

It’s gonna happen.

The challenge dungeons? Well I can’t give any specifics, but I can reveal that the Blizz devs have been holed up in a conference room with My Pretty Pony vids and a screensavers that play nothing but Nyan Nyan Cat.

This stuff’s going VIRAL.

This expansion takes the other expansions to a dark alley and steals their lunch money. Cataclysm already started running. Don’t matter. Pandaria will be there waiting for them.

You will skip classes and quit your job and just play Pandaria, and you know what? Nothing bad’s gonna happen, because everyone else is going to do the same thing. People all over the world will come together for the awesome.