Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Pink Pigtail Inn List of 2009 - Things we saw in-game

We're back for the continuation of The Pink Pigtail Inn List of 2009. Yesterday we announced the instance awards. Now it's time to ponder upon some other stuff we encountered as we were playing the game. For those of you who are wondering about the community related categories - don't worry, I'll come to those in the next post in this series.

The fanfare is played once again, let's get started with the awards!

1. Silliest gold sink

Mammoths, mounts, Dalaran rings ("since you can find better nearly everywhere else"), monocle, expensive pets.

Healer Trek argues well for Haris Pilton's Gigantique bag: "For 1200 gold, I can get a 22 slot bag. Oh wait, I can buy glacial bags (22-slots) off the auction house from tailors for 400-500 gold. But since Haris Pilton won this category 2008 I've decided that she's out of the competition this year."

Falling leaves and wings had a candidate of her own:

"When I really thought about the silliest thing I spent gold on it was buying frostweave so I could get the 500 bandage achievement. I *never* use them on Beru, being a healer. I think I’ve got the same stack of 20 that I had when I was leveling! So, I’d definitely say that buying over priced cloth for a silly achievement is, well, silly!"

Silly indeed, I'm all with you.

The vast majority seems to be going for the choppers. However I don't find the motivations entirely convincing. Several of the ones calling it silly will at the same time declare their love for it:

"I bought one just to have it, use it for boosting my bf's alts and when we're heading to ZG or something and he wants to slack". Well, isn't that a good reason to have them, for enjoyment with a good friend?"

"The Mechano-hog for sure – I think these still sell on Barthilas for approximately 15k gold. Though who wouldn’t want a cool in-game motor bike? What better way to impress the ladies? Boys and their toys. After all there’s no cooler way to get around Ironforge."

I can't but agree with Spinksville there:

"But people have so much fun with the expensive motorbike and mammoth mount (where fun may or may not involve accidental boss pulls) that I struggle to see those as being sillier than anything else in the game."

The winner is: The Dun Niffelem Mammoths!

Motivation: I've never understood the idea about expensive mammoths that don't carry vendors. The ones you can get for shards in Wintergrasp is one thing. They're ugly and useless, but you can't really claim they are a gold sink. But the ones you buy for gold, getting nothing but an achievement.... They're plain silly.

Miss Medicina put it best: "The Dun Niffelem mammoths. They don't do anything interesting except keep you from getting into the bank in Stormwind, and block the flight masters so that others will report you."

2. Biggest addition to the game

Nominated: This category was a battle between two giants. Surely there were some nominations for turkey pets, BoA items and Ulduar, and a couple for achievements, but since achievements won this category last year, it's out of the picture.

The community split their votes between dual spec and the new Dungeon Finder system.

Here are a couple of few voices:

Pro Dungeon finder:

"no longer will you have to wait very long to run a random instance, and that's how this system should work. The interface is smooth, has great rewards, and works just like battlegrounds, the most successful PvP aspect of the game. LFG affects every level too, while dual spec is not really useful until Outland level. So LFG gets it by a hair over dual spec."

"The new dungeon tool is probably the most far reaching addition to the game. It has been a game changer, and finally many more people can experience the levelling game as it was originally designed. I’m sure the core team intended everyone to intersperse instances with questing — and now they can. And we are all reminded that it’s actually a pretty good game. I am fascinated to see where this is all going to lead. What effect will it really have on players to keep being thrown in with uber-geared raid bods who are in a desperate hurry? What happens when newer players ‘learn’ from more experienced ones that pulling everything in sight is what the pros do?"

Pro Dual Spec:

"It provided huge flexibility at all levels of the game, and was an extremely valuable asset."

"It might not have been as exciting for the full DPS classes, but for the healers and tanks, it allowed us to do a little more solo content!"

The winner is: Dual spec!

Motivation: While I agree that the new LFG system is fascinating - and possibly game changing - it was launched very late in the year. It's too early to see how the long term effects will be. When the initial enthusiasm is gone and the min-maxers have gotten all the frost emblems they need and we've run even the new instances ad nausea, what will there be left - apart from possibly a increasing ignore list and decreasing friend list? I don't say it's bad. I just don't quite know yet. If it turns out well, it will be one of the candidates for the title 2010, right?

Because of this, the winner this year will be dual spec. This has indeed changed the game. Even if hybrid classes benefit most directly, I think the increased flexibility is useful for everyone. We all know how painful it is to try to find groups and constantly run into the wall of lack of healers and tanks. Dualspec makes the life of healers and tanks a bit easier, and hopefully they'll be willing to keep tanking and healing rather than rolling another dps toon.

3. Best quest

Nominated: Oh, you should rather say: which quest isn't nominated? The abundance of suggestions mirrors the abundance of high quality quests in WoW of today (the kill-ten-rats-model is starting to become something mostly historical), and that players are looking for very different things in the game. Many of the nominations have been for questlines rather than for single quests, and that's OK too.

Here's a few of the suggestions: Oh Noes the Tadpoles, the Icecrown Citadel series "These were really engaging and interesting", the Quel'Delar series, "the questline to discover Bronzebeard is not as dead as we thought", Battle of Citadel/Threat from above, the jousting quest to defeat the Black Knight, Escaping the Mist in Borean Tundra and The Betrayal quest line in Zul' Drak.

There are several votes for the Wrathgate questline and The Battle for Undercity. However it won 2008. Someone suggested the Might of Kalimdor, but that isn't even TBC, it comes from vanilla WoW.

Syrana advocates the quest line starting with A Tale of Valor, where you search for Crusader Bridenbrad and eventually his spirit is saved by the naaru rather than him turning into a scourge. "It's very touching, especially since it was written to commemorate a Blizzard employee's brother who played WoW and died from cancer."

Spinksville and quite a few other commenters went for the Sons of Hodir questline "because the Drakkensryd is just that cool. It doesn’t get any more cinematic than flying in a crazy race on protodrakes, and jumping through the air from drake to drake so that you can unseat their riders. For me it marks why WoW questing is so fun at its best in the new expansion, and it’s because you can experience the crazy dragon rides, cut scenes, and phasing rather than being faced with walls of text."

The winner is... The Quel'delar chain.

Motivation: This was really a tough call. Not only were there many very good candidates - I also didn't quite know how to regard the quests that many players completed already in November-December 2008. I rewarded Wrathgate last year, would it make sense to reward the Sons of Hodir chain this year then? Finally I made my decision I wanted the quests to have become available in 2009. Suddenly the candidates were much fewer. But it still wasn't easy. For one thing: I haven't done the Quel'delar chain myself. It requires a Battered Hilt, and we all know the drop rate for that one. I've seen it drop once in a pug, but that's as close as I have gotten. Can I possibly reward a quest I haven't done myself?

However, I trust the judgment of my readers in this case. "Being able to enter the restored Sunwell raid instance and stand in front of the actual Sunwell itself is amazing.", as someone wrote.

Everything I've heard and read about it make it seem absolutely awesome. And what I find especially attractive is that it offers exclusive and epic experiences also to non-raiding players. I hope we'll see more of that in the future!

4. Ugliest tabard

Nominated: There are many ugly tabards out there, obviously. Quite a few readers want to nominate ALL tabards. Or they nominate their own guild tabard (understandable, I have yet to see a goodlooking guild tabard. I never wear my own. Ever. /blush).

Tamarind suggests the UC tabard: "it has a weeping goth on the front, for heaven's sake." Other nominated are Exodar and the Explorer."

The Competitor's tabard, carrying the Olympic circles, is definitely the ugliest tabard ever made in WoW. However it won the category last year, and doesn't belong to 2009.

But apart from those few voices, the vast majority express their hatred towards two tabards in WotLK. The first one is Wyrmrest Accord. "That tabard is just plain ugly. The colours are gross, the pattern is icky. Need I say more?"

The second one is Kirin Tor: "Seriously, you want my gigantic plate-clad studly Tauren to wear purple? What?"

The winner is...The Wyrmrest Accord tabard!

Motivation: I agree that the Kirin Tor tabard makes my eyes hurt. But I think the pattern on it, with the eye, somehow makes sense and fits well to the mysticism surrounding this faction.
The Wyrmrest tabard on the other hand looks like a tasteless souvenir bought at some sort of tourist trap, not like something you'd expect to find in the outfit of a hero and adventurer. Besides - the colors. Yellow and red - it just doesn't go at all with the Northrend setting. What were they thinking of?

5. Favorite non combat pet

Nominated: Every player seems to have his own favourite non combat pet. I guess that's the point of the wide assortment Blizzard provides us. Among the nominated are: The Pandaren Monk, Sleepy Willy, the Sen'jin Fetish, Wolvar Orphan, Core hound pup, Mr Chilly, Demon Penguin, Teldrassil Sproutling, Wolpertinger, Strand Crawler, Calico cat, Blizzard Bear, Enchanted broom, Pint-Sized Pink Pachyderm, Silver Tabby Cat, Mechanical Yeti and possibly a couple of others that I've missed.

Some of those nominated have been in the game for a long time, so they won't qualify for the 2009 prize, even though they're adorable. I've always loved Stinker, just like Miss Medicina says:

" who provided countless hours of amusement to Fuubaar and I in Naxx, while we tried to fill out our 25 man groups. I don't know why the sight of her pet Stinker chasing after my black cat and repeatedly getting his heart broken was so entertaining, come to think of it. Why are we so mean? Poor Stinker."

Now Stinker has been around since 2008, so I'm afraid he won't be on the list this year. There certainly wasn't any lack of brand new pets to choose between. I could personally think of a number of potential winners, not the least among the wonderful new Argent Tournament Pets.

I also know that many players loved the miniature KT, the pandaren monk and the new core hound dog. And I agree that they are really well crafted and awesome to look at. But since they require you to pay real money to get them, I've decided not to include them, since I'm not a fan of that phenomena. I may be conservative, but I think you should get your pets by actually playing the game.

The winner is...Onyxia whelpling!

Motivation: It's really cute and well crafted, knitting nicely to the community and the history of WoW. It also has the little "extra" I want from a pet - some emote or little prank that can to entertain me. Currently I must admit that the "takes a deep breath" sentence is rather annoying than fun - it triggers my reflexes, making me freak out, throwing myself at the nearest wall. But as time goes by and we once again turn our backs to Onyxia, I think our love for it will only increase. This one will become a classic and forever a reminder of 2009, the year of the return of Onyxia.

The End
That's all for today! We'll soon be back with the continuation of the PPI list of 2009.


Elnia said...

The Dun Niffelem Mammoths. There are two different mammoths. The Reins of the *Grand* Ice Mammoth is actually a multi-person mount, the cheapest one in the game. 8K gold compared to about 15Kg for the chopper.

Dw-redux said...

Since I bitched so much over the last post, I thought it nice for my karma to post this: yes yes, a thousand times yes! :)

Carra said...

Well, a monocle costed me about 50g. Hardly a gold sink these days ;)

And of course, all tabards look ugly. I never wore one, not even when half the guild wore one.

Tam said...

People are so right about the mammoths - can't believe I didn't think about that. They really are the "middle life crisis, just got divorced from your tank" kind of purchase.

Fremskritt said...

I must be in the One Guild With A Cool Tabard then, because I actually wear my guild tabard rather proudly. Does every guild have a GM that goes "hmm, how can I make my guildies wear the silliest tabard ever made?".

That said, I have seen a few good guild tabards out there, but they're rare.

G-Rebel said...

@ Fremskritt: I too have seen a few cool guild tabards. I like mine, but never wear it.

My vote, albeit late, would have been for the Betrayal questline, for the sheer pain it caused to my vocal chords and my kid's ears.

I think all the nominees for silliest gold sink are equal. Useless is as useless does, dats what my momma says.

Fitz said...

Somehow I knew the Onyxia whelpling would be the choice in this entry. I have no sense of history so Ony is just another new fight to me, but it is very distinctive and the pet is better than most.

Looking forward to seeing the community-related entries as those I had no real good answers to.

Elnia said...

@Tam. This attitude bugs me because in fact the Mammoths do have a purpose, as all the multi-vehicle mounts do. If you have ever multi boxed you will immediately grasp the benefits of having all your toons on one ride. There a saving in terms of mount costs. But most importantly Blizzard's "follow" command has bad bad bad path finding. Until you have experienced it it's difficult to know just how bad it is. Having a multi-passenger mount saves a great deal of hassle.

Now, perhaps most people don't buy them for this purpose. IDK. But I don't think they were put in the game as mid-life crisis items.

Tam said...

Elnia, I was being frivolous - I'm sure multi-character mounts can be terribly useful under certain circumstances. But when you see one spindly zomfie parading around Dalaran on a mammoth ... well ... it does rather put me in mind of a balding man driving a very shiny a porsche.

Larísa said...

@Elnia: aww... should have thought about that. I just think that the mammoths you only can use for riding and not for repairing are a really big waste of money - especially since they're so annoying for the surroundings.

@Dw-redux: :)

@Carra: haha, no I agree on that. cheap monocle with wotlk economy.

@Tam: haha, nice description of them!

@Magma: a bargain? :) Maybe not. But it depends on what you're looking for in the game ofc.

: you make me curious. I wonder what it looks like!

@G-rebel: but useless isn't necessarily the same as silly. I think it's hard to beat the sillyness in the appearance of the Haris Pilton npc.

@Fitz: well, history or not, don't we all like dragons?