Visions of a better mobile app

As I’m sitting here on a quiet Sunday morning I do what I normally do when I have a bit of free time.

I goof around on my phone.

As I often do, I log into the mobile app to see if there’s anyone online that might want to chat. While I was bouncing from character the character to check the various guild chats I realized I had accidentally deleted a “chatting alt”, and now couldn’t talk to a group of my friends until I get back online and make a new one.

First world problems, right?

Well, that may be, but it did get me to thinking about the mobile app itself. More specifically how it could be so much more than it is now.

I know there was some talk at Blizzcon of having the ability to do the pet battling minigame from mobile devices at some point. That would be pretty neat.

How about managing your farm? Or even your garrison perhaps?

That would be pretty awesome. I could do those kinds of things while I’m on my lunch break at work.

The biggest thing I think should be added is the ability to log into my list of battlenet friends and chat with those people, just like I currently can with guildmates.

Blizzard is certainly encouraging the social community aspect of the game by encouraging players to build their own groups. With that in mind I think being able to chat with ones friends in the mobile format would come in pretty handy for coordinating things.

One caveat though, it would have to have an “Invisible” mode. Simply logging into the app to check your auctions, or farm, or something else, does not mean you are in a mood to chat. Actually I kinda wish I had that option when logging in, preferably something I could set on a per character basis.

Yes, I was one of those that used to have stealth alts for when I wasn’t feeling social.

Anyhow, that’s my random thoughts on a chilly Sunday morning.

My two cents on the boost to 90

One of the more interesting pieces of news that came from Blizzcon was the instant boost to 90 that will come with the expansion pack. It caused quite a kerfuffle on Twitter as the announcements were coming thru.

Later as more details came to light it seems that Blizzard has decided that playing with ones friends is an important part of the game, and will be giving everyone the option to have a character that can begin the new content right away.

I know there are those that will say its a horrible idea, but it is a brilliant move in my opinion.

Ever since the scroll of resurrection offered a boost to 80 and server transfer as part of coming back, I have been hoping we would see something like this.

I only have one beef with it really, and that is that the plan is to only grant one.

If the object is to play with ones friends then I think it would have been more logical to have one per faction, that way someone returning to the game doesn’t have to decide which group of friends to play with, assuming they know folks on both factions.

What I think we may see in the future, and what I think will cause quite a ruckus if announced, will be the ability to buy a boost to the previous expansions level cap. I figure buy patch 6.2 we will see that in the store right along side server transfers and faction changes, and likely for about the same price. I’m guessing $25.

I’d pay it in a heartbeat.

If we are looking at about 5-6 days played to reach the previous cap that’s a few cents an hour to skip the grind that I have already done before. Well worth it, so I can spend less time grinding and more time playing with my friends.

Just my two copper.

The Riker paradigm

Years ago I was in the Navy, and spent a good part of the late 80’s and early 90’s out to sea.

What does that have to do with Warcraft? Not much honestly, but it does explain why I’ve been slowly working my way thru shows like Star Trek, The Next Generation and actually seeing them for the first time.

What struck me was an episode I watched a few weeks ago.

The short version is that years ago LT. Riker was the last to beam out of a research base that was about to be cut off for a long time, something like seven years. There was a problem during the beam out and they almost lost him, but he came thru.

Years later when the next window opens up to go retrieve the research data left behind Commander Riker meets LT. Riker, who never made the beam out. Somehow there ended up being two of him.

Two of him that were now quite different people. One having advanced a career while the other was marooned alone for years. There was the one we had met on the show, and Riker 2.0.

It’s an interesting episode, but more to the point it gave me an idea about possibilities for Warlords of Draenor.

Everyone, myself included, has been hitting this from the time travel angle.

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What if we are totally wrong.

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What if, when Garrosh went back in time, it actually made a second copy of Draenor the way it existed at the moment he arrived.

A copy separate and different from the one we know as Outlands today.

What if we don’t go back into the past, but go to Draenor as it would be in our time, 35 years later, if just a few choices had been made differently. Changes like the Orcs not drinking Mannoroths blood for instance?

What if it’s not time travel at all (for us) but is actually Draenor 2.0?

It would explain ever so many things, and solve most of the paradoxes that could have come from this.

It would even explain how Garrosh himself was played down somewhat as the big bad we would be hunting. Perhaps he just set the ball in motion, and others made different choices as a result.

Choices that caused Draenor 2.0 to be a very different place than Draenor 1.0.

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Consider your own life. Look back thru the years and you’ll be able to find many turning points. Things that seemed inconsequential at the time, but ended up having a huge impact on your life.

For example, many years ago I was driving home from work one day. I decided I wanted to grab a burger. I saw four or five cars in the drive thru and decided to go in (which I normally would not have done).

While I was in there ordering my food I met a young lady.

We hit it off pretty well.

I’ve been married to her going on 25 years now.

What if I had been in the mood for chinese take out instead? Or I decided to wait thru the line at the drive up anyhow?

See what I mean, one little choice had a huge impact on my life.

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Back to Draenor for a moment, lets look at the bits we have seen. We see Gronn tamed and used as siege engines, trained armies, great weapons of war. Political, or at least military, alliances seem to now exist between the Iron Horde and the ogres.

Those kind of things take time to make happen. Time Garrosh would not have had if we show up right on his heels. Hell, he may even be dead of old age by the time we arrive.

This isn’t the tale of us chasing Garrosh thru the portal and trying to stop him.

His Iron Horde already has the majority of Draenor under it’s boot. They have had decades to prepare.

They have built a great army.

They know where we are.

And they are coming for us…

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As a storyteller myself, I can see how the pieces would fit together to make a story line like this fly. I truly wish I was helping to write it, it’s a really interesting idea.

As a player, well, I can see my characters as war weary veterans if I wish.  Hell, with all they’ve been thru I’m sure they would be.

I can also see the dark portal crackling, poised to send forth a horde that will destroy the world I call home.

I can also see the tired old veterans lowering their eyes at what they know is coming, but still strapping on their armor…

one

last

time.

I can see the remnants of those on Draenor that still resist the Iron Horde, hard pressed, nearly overwhelmed.

And I can see the dark portal simmering, and figures beginning to emerge into the lands of Draenor.  First as a trickle, then building to a flood, the armies of Azeroth are coming thru.

Help has come at last.

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I haven’t been this excited for an expansion since… I’m drawing a blank.

I’ve never been this excited for a video game.

Damn, I can’t wait.

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What if we are the bad guys?

A thought has been rolling around in my head ever since the basic plotline of the WoD expansion was announced.

You know, that whole thing where Garrosh escapes, somehow steals Doc’s DeLorean, and drives thru the Dark Portal at 88 miles per hour. This puts him back in the old west old Draenor where he decides to make the Horde more awesome before the Alliance has a chance to do anything about it.

We are tasked with stopping this from happening, because… reasons.  I’m sure they are good ones that will be explained in the fullness of time.

Granted I can see the Alliance point of view, but what if the Horde did manage to take over the world in the past? Why would the Horde of the here and now want to change that? Why have endless war when there could be a peace ruled by them?

Actually come to think about it, how do we know that the world as we know it today isn’t a result of our interference? What if it was supposed to end differently?

More importantly, how did Garrosh manage to get his hands on the Uranium to power Doc’s time machine? (I’m betting he found it on the Black Market Auction House. Shady dealers, those.)

Anyhow, the way I see it there are several ways this could go.

The first I’ll just call the Star Trek method. His going back splits the timeline and causes a new future different from the one we are currently experiencing.

There is a little problem with that however. Why bother going back to stop him?

Why send our war-weary soldiers on yet another journey to save a timeline that’s not even ours?

Hell, as long as it doesn’t affect our world why should we even care what he does?

Would we even notice?

If that’s the case, seal the portal so he can’t come back, effectively banishing him to an alternate reality and be home in time for supper.

Granted, that makes for poor story telling, so I think we need a different option.

In our second option Garrosh goes back and it does affect us. In fact the whole world is radically different. Possibly even owned by the Venture Company.

I suppose we’ll call this the Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure method.  Those that travel back are able to make changes that only they will remember, as the rest of the world just sees the changes as the way it’s always been.

Actually, I think The Butterfly effect did a better job with this type of time travel, and it was a far darker film.

Personally this is the only way I think it would work from a storyline point of view, but it’s still going to be very difficult to pull off.  His going back has to cause problems though, or we have no story.  If we have no sense of motivation then why spend our blood on him?

If that’s the case, and I think it will be, we are going to be going back in time to restore things to the way we believe they should be.

We are also not going to be able to control when exactly we go back to. If we could we’d just send a group back to 10 minutes before he arrived and be waiting for him when he got there. Catch him before he establishes himself, two to the chest and one to the head and that’s a real quick Xpac.

Once again, our characters are home in time for dinner.

Nope, the story will require us to fix a busted timeline, otherwise there is no point in going back.

We will have to go back in time to ensure the Orcs become corrupted. Hell, we might help that to happen.

We will have to set the pieces in motion to start the war. How many characters lost loved ones in the war? How many would try to stop the war from happening to save all those that died?

Our leaders will be there “Boots on the ground” long before the zombie invasion, before the Litch King came, before Deathwing snapped and broke the world.

We will have to take part in the breaking of Draenor, we may even be the ones who cause it.

My Character is a Draenai Palladian. What will be so important to her that she feels justified at breaking her own world? What would cause her, and her leaders, not to take action to prevent the breaking of Draenor? How about standing by and doing nothing to prevent the breaking of Azeroth?

All the war, hatred, cataclysm, death, and destruction for the last 35 years will be laid at our feet. All of it either caused by us or allowed to happen by our inaction.

Is hunting down one Orc, no matter how bad he may be, worth that?

We get the opportunity to go back to the past and all we can think of is making sure all the pain and suffering of the endless war between all our peoples happens just the way it did last time?

We can’t look at this and say to ourselves We have an incredible opportunity here, a chance to do this over. A chance to do it right.

If the best we can think of is how best to kill one another in the past then the worst villain of this expansion might very well be us.

Come to think of it that sounds like pretty bad story telling as well. I really don’t think Blizzard is going to make us into the bad guy. Bad for the story, and bad for business.

What we need here is a third option.

One that lets us save Draenor and Azeroth as well, from some bad thing I haven’t thought of yet.

One that explains why there is still an Outlands that it exists as it currently is for us to go to at the same time as the Draenor we get to try to save.

One that has compelling stories from the past while not greatly affecting the current level 1 to 90 timeline.

What we have here my friends is a pocket dimension.

Somehow, some way, Garrosh managed to travel to a copy of Draenor as it existed 35 years ago. A copy that exists in its own little “bubble” of the universe.

Garrosh, and our characters, can make changes there without making changes to our version of reality.

It also explains quite nicely how Outlands and Draenor can exist side by side in the Warcraft universe, even after this expansion. They are simply two different copies of the same place, the same only different.

Now, while that hurts my head a little, it does make sense to me as a story teller.

Only time will tell if that’s how it all works out or not.

I actually have a lot more to say about the pocket dimension idea, but that’s for another day.

Excuse my mess….

As you may have noticed, I have started blogging again.

In not even kind of unrelated news I have also started playing WoW again.

I suppose now that folks might be coming by again I kinda need to spruce the place up a bit.

Like your house… you have folks coming over for the holidays… *Dammit Brain, I told you to shut up while I’m writing.*

Anyhow, I’ll be doing some cleaning on the site. If you perchance notice any broken links or things horribly out of date please let me know so I can address them. One of the first things to go will be the gearing guide for level 70 hunters… I don’t think we are raiding at 70 much any more.

Have a good weekend,

Dech

 

Maybe I never really left?

There is a lot of hubbub about the upcoming expansion, most of it good. I read up on the changes planned for the game, and decided I would throw down a few bucks on a game card.

Yes, I know, the changes have yet to happen.

I have been quite happy with everything I’ve read. It’s like they read my mind, figured out all the things that had turned me sour on the game, and at least made an attempt towards fixing them. That plus tossing in extra cool stuff I hadn’t even considered, like the Garrison for instance.

(I wonder if I can name mine Mister, so it can be Mister Garrison?) *Shut up Brain, I’m trying to write*

Anyhow, I think the biggest thing that got me back now is the promise of an honest to goodness world event. I’m really quite excited about it.

I’m even willing to come back and level my planned new main character to 90 now. I could get him there just by buying the expansion, but if it’s half the fun that the zombie invasion was the hours of slogging thru old content will be worth it.

First thing I did was go poking thru my stack of heirlooms for gear suitable for the pally that I plan to level. I found pretty much everything I needed, scattered across the half dozen characters on Draenor.

Imagine my surprise when I found that heirloom shields had been added to the game. That one took me a bit off guard, but hey, I’ll take it. A bit of points shuffling and a few quick BG’s on my old 85 Hunter and I had a shiny new shield.

Apparently we can also upgrade our heirlooms now? the old level 80 ones? I seem to remember hearing about that shortly before I left the game. I still need to look into that, it would be nice to not need to worry about gear, and get the leveling bonus, all the way to level 85.

 After about a half hour of shuffling and buying, and bank searching he’s now kitted with heirlooms, bags, and a bit of cash. All the aspiring adventurer needs.

Standing at the start of all things, in front of his very first quest giver.

The journey to 90 begins with a single step.

You’re Grounded!

So, Insomnia is a damn nuisance.

It does however give me extra time to read up on things and even toss out the occasional blog post. Good with the bad I suppose.

Anyhow, The reason I brought you all here today was to talk about flight. More specifically flight in the new old world of Draenor.

Based on a few blue posts I have read today it appears that flight will be used as a gating mechanism, preventing players from trivializing the content of the leveling zones. That part I can understand. No flight until max level.

Well, it appears that there will be some progressive storyline type questing at the level cap which makes it valuable to the experience Blizzard is trying to provide to continue not having flight available. You know what, that doesn’t bother me either.

I work with machinery in my daily life, I work with interconnected systems. For some reason it just seems right to me that we don’t fly until max level. Quite honestly had they decided to not ever allow flight in Draenor I would have been OK with it.

Alright, I may have grumbled a bit, but it would simply have been how things are.

With new longer term storyline questing at max level and such I see the logic. Frankly if I have to give up flight in order to never do another daily quest I’ll take that trade.

Where it sounds like they may be making a grave error is the way I interpreted what it will take to fly again. A long and involved quest chain, the end of which won’t be available until after patch 6.1, and a “sizable” sum of gold. Both of those are meant to make you work for it, to try to re-achieve that feeling we had years ago when we hit 70 and were able (if you could afford the 500g) to fly for the first time.

Believe it or not, I don’t mind that. Make me work for something, and it gives me a goal to attain. The harder the task the more I’ll appreciate the reward.

There is something that worries me in all this however.

Alts.

I love me some alts, so do many of you. I know people right now with nearly every class at max level, both Horde and Alliance side. What about them?

Are they going to have to slog thru the same long involved quest line on a dozen characters just so everyone can fly?

Is Blizzard going to have a mechanism similar to the WotLK method where a max level character with flight unlocked could buy a tome of flight for the upcoming alts? I sincerely hope so.

I wonder, this is just a thought, if Blizzard is trying to gear the game more towards having one single Main character. One to be in charge of the garrison, one to be able to fly, one to be able to do all the things.

One Character to Rule them all.

I guess time will tell.