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Raethan

Pandurrrrs

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It's been a little while since the expansion release, has anyone been playing World of Pandas? I've been hearing people are very much enjoying it (even entirely excluding the actual pandas themselves) so I was wondering what you all thought. Since you're my trusted gamer buddies and all that.

 

Obviously if you feel that WoW is a time sink that is shitty, you don't need to reiterate that here, I'm aware that there are people who think that, I'm sure this expansion hasn't had any impact on your opinions ;)

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I am interested in this discussion. I still haven't fixed my computer, but if kung fu panda 3 is fun, then I could play that over the winter.

 

I believe Jenica is playing the expansion? Maybe? Ditto for the littlest Chris?

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I think you all know I'm a guildless, dungeon- and raid-free casual player who likes quests and not the rest of it, so if you didn't, now you do. :) (Start telling me I'm doing it wrong, or that I need to do it differently, or pay more attention to how I'm speced, and I'll walk away.)

 

That said, I'm having a lot of fun leveling up my panda dude. It's a WoW starting zone, and it does what WoW starting zones are supposed to do. The art's good, the concept is fun, and it's well-executed. The voices are non-annoying, and the NPCs are amusing me but not in an eye-rolling way.

 

I also spent a few hours with my 85 warrior checking out the beginning of the Pandaria zones, and it reminded me of the best parts of Northrend questing. Standard WoW expansion, and they simplified talents like whoa, which was jarring but doesn't bug me, see above re: how I play. Also, those Horde and Alliance guys are jerks. Poor panda dudes. :P

 

On another note, Justin is currently irritated that his 85 Druid can't fly, as this puts a serious crimp in his "jump off things, transform, don't hit the ground" tactic. But his travel form has changed, which is neat, too.

 

I'm having a good time. But I'm easy to please on this front. Also, we're waiting for the new projector to arrive, so I can't play Skyrim on the Xbox, so it was a well-timed thing. :D

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So far I'm rather enjoying the expansion. The talent trees have been completely eliminated and there is a perk system where you get a major ability every 15 levels (which greatly simplifies the game). However the different specs of each class is a lot more focused than ever before. I am currently leveling a warlock and I've tested out the three specs:

 

Destruction: you deal GREAT burst damage with fire spells.

Demonology: You get Metamorphosis at level 10 and at 19 you get a dark meteor spell that has a chance to spawn imps (and you spam shadowbolt afterwards)

Affliction: What warlocks did in the good old days, stack dots on ALL THE THINGS and wait for them to die while your voidwalker suffers the hits for you (warlocks are fun)

-Also each spec only gets certain spells that the other specs won't get. This expansion GREATLY focuses on what each spec does and is far less generalized than it was before.

 

I'm in it for the pvp and I'm still leveling up this character to 90 so I haven't gotten into it all that much but this expansion from what I've heard does pvp a great service. Unfortunately, pvp wise, the new monk class isn't doing so well as it is too squishy and can get killed off pretty quickly (just a balancing issue Blizzard will have to fix). So far I'm having a lot of fun with this expansion and I would say if your interested in seeing how the game has changed go check it out for yourselves because ALL THE COOL KIDS ARE DOING IT!!

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Thanks for the feedback :) I'll probably be trying it out, probably later in the year, it does sound like a good winter time waster. I'd like to see the spec differentiation you're talking about, I'm hoping the mage specs all feel quite distinct just like the warlock sounds like it now has. I'll probably make a panda to see the leveling content, but they look so dumb to me :( I probably won't level past 15 or so (famous last words). I do want to try out monk.

 

Also, the "jump off things, transform, don't hit the ground" combo was my most favorite badass thing to do! Suddenly! Bird!

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I asked my brother to give me a good reason to pick WoW back up. He told me (without joking) that the best part of the game now is the "Pokemon" battle mini game. This is fail to me. :P

 

I kind of wanted the changes to sound good to me but at this point it hasn't peaked my interest enough yet. The pandas look funny to me as well.

 

You seem mildly skeptical Katie so when you get your hands on it can you post your opinion so I have another opinion to look at.

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I haven't done any of the panda or monk stuff, but I think the changes they've made to skills/talents/specs are a nice improvement. I've mostly been playing Guild Wars 2 lately, but I've found time to level a druid to 33 and mess around with a death knight.

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Ive been playing the new content and its been enjoyable. The Monk class (all 3 specs) are enjoyable and thematically cool. The starting zone, and the lvl 85+ areas are visually nice, with music that reminds me of stuff from Avatar.

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I might pick this up in the future, but it's been nice not feeding my video game addiction for a few weeks.

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Male Panda do Party Rock by L.M.F.A.O, The shufflin' part.

 

Females do Caramelldansen.

 

Though this is when I played in Beta so it could have changed.

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"The talent trees have been completely eliminated and there is a perk system"

 

lol, nope, sry blizzard, try again.

 

This makes me glad I quit when I did.

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"The talent trees have been completely eliminated and there is a perk system"

 

lol, nope, sry blizzard, try again.

 

This makes me glad I quit when I did.

 

The new talent system is cool, but thanks for coming in to poop on stuff.

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The new talent system is cool, but thanks for coming in to poop on stuff.

 

I find the new talent system bland an watered down. You get one mostly trivial choice every 15 levels. This is significantly less fun than previous versions. This is not to say that the perks are not significant, just that the choices are not. At level x you get to pick which flavor of Y spell, rather than real character defining choices.

 

To illustrate as a mage, since that was what my main was when I played. Level 15, pick the manor in which you can increase casting mobility, a cooldown for 1 spell instantly, a cooldown for 2 spells to cast while moving, or just gain a mediocre spell that can always be cast while moving. And this is probably the most varied choice. Level 30 is a 25 second defensive cooldown. Level 45 is a 30 second targeted defensive ability. Level 60 is a cheat death ability, you can pick how effective it is vs cooldown length. Level 75 you get to pick what color aoe bomb you would like, and the new capstone at 90 lets you pick how to tweak your mana regen in order to get a damage bonus.

 

Lengthy, but the point is that there are no longer builds or different flavors of mages. You pick your class and spec, and that is the end for meaningful character choice. This homogenization and simplification started occurring about halfway through lich king. It is aimed for the more casual crowd, and no-where is that more obvious than the inclusion of several facebook style games into wow with pandaria. Gear options were simplified in cata so you didnt have to worry about understanding the myriad stats previously. In pandaria you dont even have to chose, they give you the gear you need, spares you the thought, eh?

 

This does not mean the game is bad. The production values are, as always amazing. The land is interesting, the quests are fun enough by all accounts. I have considered logging in to explore the new land much as I did in cataclysm, but I just have more fun with other games at this point.

 

But the style of game is changing, and it is not the style of game I enjoy anymore. I have played enough asian casual style games to see the end result, and I do not prefer it. I understand it, since that is a larger portion of the playerbase at this point, But I have moved on. Much like Dren, I feel that I picked the right time to do so as wow continues in its direction.

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I'd much rather have a choice of three nearly equal options than a dozen different mandatory talents. 5% more healing is boring, a button that does cool stuff is fun.

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I'd much rather have a choice of three nearly equal options than a dozen different mandatory talents. 5% more healing is boring, a button that does cool stuff is fun.

 

Yeah, the choices now all seem to be pretty viable. The old system had the appearance of a lot of choice, but most characters of a specific spec looked pretty much the same anyway. Hell, a lot of people were just copying optimal builds from forums and guides anyway.

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There was a time back in earlier versions of the game, where there were many viable choices in talents. As an arcane mage I had several choices, do I want slow, a spell that was of debatable use in pve, or did I want to pick up the 11 point talent (or was it 16? I'm getting old) in a secondary tree, such as ice block? Did I go fire for more sustained dps or ice for better burst and higher crits? Within arcane there were talents that were a given, but many talents that you chose to make concessions with, and each of those choices mattered, and helped with some fights, but not with others. Improved counterspell, or better arcane explosion etc. And mage was one of the least diverse talent trees, paladins or death knights had dozens of very real choices.

 

But theorcraftying really went into vogue, dual specs were added, respeccing prices never increased to compensate for increased gold generation, everyone watched EJ, and swapped to the spec of the week in order to receive the theoretical 2% dps increase based on the gear that someone had on the character. But I know for a fact that a player that actually understood the underlying mechanics of those choices, and how they interacted with gear, could do better than anyone who copied the latest fad-build. This is part of what made the game fun for me, truly understanding how the character worked, knowing how to get the most out of it in order to do hard content with my guild.

 

During the tail end of lich king, the game really turned around. The excuse of 'everyone is using cookie cutter builds' was bandied about, and was somewhat true for a large percentage of the population that did not want to understand the depth that was there, but wanted to be as good as they could be without it. But the real reason was to make it easier to balance. Why balance when its easier to make everything the same?

 

Fast forward to cataclysm, they cut everyones talent trees in half, forced you to fill up one full spec before dipping in another, and strongarmed each spec to a specific dps/healer/tank role. You still had a little play with the last few points, but your character was 80% set by that first choice you made of base spec. Pandaria makes that 90%. The next expansion could well just say 'whats the point?' and take away talent choices entirely, just hand out whatever ability goes with the spec choice and be done with it. No-one would be surprised.

 

I am not saying that the people currently playing the game, and enjoying the game, hate the system. Obviously it is well liked by those that play. But there are a lot of people that have stopped playing from this trend. If you look at active north american subscriptions and sales records, it becomes very clear that I am not alone in this opinion. There is a reason why Lich king sold more boxes in 24 hours than pandaria sold in a week (possibly more than pandaria will sell in NA, there are no figures past that yet). Peak subscriber numbers for wow were in fall of 2010, before cataclysm's release.

 

Just saying that you like the changes does not mean they aren't there, and there are plenty of us that did not like them. And choosing between 5% more healing and 5% more mana regen was more interesting to some of us than picking whether our bomb icon is blue, red, or purple.

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*NEKKOFANCY*

 

So, are you still playing wow? Is it still fun?

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I'm still kinda sorta playing WoW, and yes, I enjoy the changes.

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In general, my view on gaming is more options = better.

 

League of Legends has a crap-ton of useless stuff in skill trees and runes. But, for whatever reason, it's fun to "build" different masteries in that game even though it might only be a negligible difference between an extra 0.25% attack speed or +2 points of armor.

 

Sure, LoL could remove all that and make the game just 4 skills (like D3 did) but the feeling of 'choice' makes it better, I think.

 

This goes back to the fundamental idea that "Simple doesn't make it bad... but more content is always better."

 

Whenever someone says a game is being 'dumbed down', everyone rebukes that statement by saying "well I'M having FUN". This is an improper use of logic. Yes, the game may still be fun. Yes, you may not care about simplification. But that still doesn't change the fact that simplification isn't AS FUN as it COULD be if they just left in the extra options. We're not 5yrs old, folks; I'm pretty sure we can cross the street without our hands held. Likewise, we should be able to handle a little extra customization in our games if we so choose. We shouldn't have to make games easier to appease a subset of people who think it's "too hard".

 

Maybe it's just my play-style. When I play a game, I turn off the HUD if I can, disable waypoint notifications, turn off auto-aim, and tooltips, and tutorials. I don't want to be told how to play a game. As such, I don't like the game to make decisions for me. That's what I feel they're doing when they consolidate abilities or provide fewer options in character advancement. If I want to screw up my character (like, say, in Temple of Elemental Evil) by playing a fighter with all my points put into Charisma, then I should be able to. Maybe I want to challenge myself more or create my own theme for the game I'm playing.

 

Honestly, they should just have a 'basic' and 'advanced' mode in games. Experts can dive into a complicated skill tree to fine tune their abilities, while the simple mode can pick them for you. That way everyone stops complaining and the integrity of the game is preserved.

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