Queasiness in Northrend

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

I have a problem that is affecting my game play in Northrend.
The problem is what many speak of as the moral “ambiguity” in WotLK especially as it pertains to quests that require torture or mistreating prisoners to complete. Ambiguity is in quotes on purpose because I don’t see any ambiguity — these actions are wrong. Here’s what bothers me.

This country is wrestling with its current history as having committed acts specifically forbidden in the Geneva Convention to which we are a signatory. We are viewed by many as harboring war criminals. We sacrificed principle for expedience. And this is precisely the same idea in the first torture quest I ultimately abandoned.  See below…

The Art of Persuasion
Librarian Normantis on Amber Ledge wants you to use the Neural Needler on the Imprisoned Beryl Sorcerer until he reveals the location of Lady Evanor.

Quest Text:
“You see, the Kirin Tor code of conduct frowns upon our taking certain ‘extreme’ measures – even in desperate times such as these.
You, however, as an outsider, are not bound by such restrictions and could take any steps necessary in the retrieval of information.
Do what you must. We need to know where Lady Evanor is being held at once!
I’ll just busy myself organizing these shelves here. Oh, and here, perhaps you’ll find this old thing useful….”

These quests are disturbing and I, for one, have abandoned them.  This affects my game play because now, not only must I figure out the quest but I also need to evaluate whether I have to do something I consider morally impermissible in real-life to complete the quest.   So, I will continue to play in Northrend although I am more leery of the quests and spend more time on wowhead researching an entire questline before starting it.

In the interests of full disclosure, I am a history major who spent upwards of two years studying World War II from a number of perspectives.  One of the most influential books I read during that time was “Ordinary Men” by Christopher Browning.  I am also a former Marine and have experienced the kind of peer pressure / group think that can be found in a military organization.

I don’t expect people to abandon these quests or do the same thing I am doing but I do wish to at least raise the awareness that torture is a nasty topic.   I guess what I really want is a path through quest lines that allow me to keep true to myself.  Let those that choose to torture get more XP or complete it faster but let there also be an option for an interrogation technique that may take longer or may fail but does not require me to torture.  Sort of like trying to skill up when the recipe is green.

Sorry for such a bleak topic but it’s been sitting in my craw for over a month now and I just needed to share.


4.6% More Feral

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Maybe this is theory crafting maybe it’s not but it IS a bit of number crunching relative to the new talent trees.

Although the talents themselves are not yet finalized, what does NOT seem to be tentative is the number of points required to hit the final talent in a given tree; in WotLK 51 points. Maybe no one else is bothered by this but I am. I’d like to be able to distribute the talent points PROPORTIONALLY, not linearly. In other words, By requiring me to place all 10 points between levels 71 and 80 in a single tree to maintain my spec I necessarily have to leave the other two trees completely stagnant.

Here are the numbers:
Burning Crusade
67.2% (41/61)

WotLK
71.8% (51/71)

So to stay feral in WotLK, I’ll put 4.6% more points into the feral tree (71.8 – 67.2 = 4.6) than I did for Burning Crusade.

My suggestion to Blizz? Re-work the talent trees (I know, a Herculean task) such that obtaining the final talent in any tree takes no more than 70% of the overall talent points. This will prevent builds from becoming more and more lopsided. Yet all this said, even though I am on the edge of my seat for the expansion, I despair of a talent rework coming to pass any time soon.


Shared Topic: Preparing for WoTLK

Monday, June 16, 2008

Wrath of the Lich King. How am I preparing for it? Hmmmm.

First, I expect that it will be whole lot like the California Gold Rush; the sheer anticipation of WoTLK will drive people bat-guano insane with all the nifty stuff it seems to promise. I have two 70s that need to prepare (the co-hosts here) and there is SO much to do right now that an expansion pack just breaks my head. Some of the issues/questions I deal with now are:

  • Do I complete the Karazhan key quest because I want “Hand of Adal” next to my name?
  • What about the Shattered Sun Offensive dailies?
  • Shall I farm Clefthoof Leather to complete my Strength of the Clefthoof set?
  • How about the former Rak’Shiri who was tamed long ago by the hunter and needs to level but only yesterday got brought out of the stable in over three months?
  • What about running groups and instances with other Sidhe Devils? I love EoTS and Arathi Basin but have just blown off battlegrounds for almost half a year. Get back into those?
  • I really want the pattern to Stylin’ Purple Hat from Blackheart and to hit 375 in leather working.

The point I am driving at here is that there are SO many things to do, right now, that I’m happy with how it is.

That said, I am hoping that we discuss this as a guild (note to self: post about this in guild forum). I’d absolutely LOVE to explore and level and quest with Sidhe Devils. I am not interested in being the first to 80; I want to level fishing, cooking, first aid, leather working and skinning while I level my ‘toons. In other words I want a deeper, richer experience of Northrend that requires a slower pace.

I especially hope this expansion does not cause the kind of rift that BC did. There was the race to 70 and Karazhan and many many players were left behind. I found that after three days off line that I was no longer a viable member in the group of guildies that I had been grouping with. That’s how frenetic the race to 70 was. As I write this I think it’s too much to ask that the race to 80 not occur; there are too many that want to climb the mountain because they can and it’s there. But what do they miss along the way? Perhaps what I’m really trying to say is that in some things it doesn’t matter when you arrive but how you arrive and the manner in which you conducted yourself on the way.

I submit the following and would welcome being disproved: I submit that even in top end raiding guilds there are several members that do not even have all secondary skills trained (especially fishing and cooking), let alone maxed out. I use the example of top end raiding guilds to point out that although raiding is a huge part of the game it is not exclusively about raiding.

If one charges straight to the top of the mountain in the form of leveling, one misses many many things that are not as sweet to experience when you come back down. Gnoshing on Ravager Dogs and Warp burgers you made at level 65 is a sweet experience because of the effort required to do so; I worked hard to kill the ravagers and warping critters when I was leveling and I really appreciated the well-fed bonus. Coming “down” the hill when level 70 to level cooking to learn how to cook Ravager dogs seems to me would be more of a task rather than a pleasure.

So how am I preparing? I am spending as much time as I can in the metaphorical field of red and purple wildflowers running hither and yon, splashing in the frigid mountain brook, gazing off to the horizon, contemplating the rocks, smelling the earth and listening to the wind rustle the leaves because all too soon begins another part of the journey. A part I hope to savor and enjoy as much as this.