World of Warcraft as a Single Player Game

BlizzCon is fast approaching, and it seems highly likely that Blizzard are about to announce the eighth expansion to their almost thirteen year old MMO. The game is old enough that it’s possible for couples to have met in Azeroth and had a child by now who could raid the Tomb of Sargeras with them. And yet, with Legion being the most popular expansion since Wrath of the Lich King, development shows no signs of slowing down any time soon. But all good things must come to an end, and WoW’s end – be it a year or a decade from now – is as inevitable as the sun blinking out forever someday.

The end of WoW is a possibility that’s surely never far from player’s minds, especially those who live and breathe for their Azerothian alter egos. I know people who have max level characters across every class, who throw themselves into raids every week and have sunk tens of thousands of hours into the game. And I’m no part-timer myself. So the prospect of interest in the game dwindling enough to lead to servers closing down is cause for worry and speculation, especially as the game shows more and more signs of aging. Sure, they continue to graphically update the game and introduce new mechanics, but some things can’t be fixed in an expansion. World of Warcraft will always be limited to the foundations the game was built on, which in itself is a bastardisation of the Warcraft 3 game engine, as far as I understand it.

The way I see it, though, it’s no cause for worry. As the MMO as a genre grows older its interesting to see the various ways in which some of the games stay alive after their discontinuation. Many close down for good. Some, like Everquest and Guild Wars, move onto sequels whilst keeping the original game alive with a smaller development team for those dedicated few. In Runescape’s case, Jagex came to realised that the game had transformed so much that they needed to bring back an older edition as a separate game to keep a portion of their audience happy. But some games, like Wurm Online and The Secret World, have opted to modify the game to become available for offline play.

Now, Wurm Online is still going, but the developers opted to create an edition called Wurm Unlimited that’s purchasable on Steam for players who want to run their own servers or play by themselves with customisable rulesets, such as changing the amount of time it takes to harvest a resource. And while I haven’t played it myself, PC Gamer’s Secret World: Legends review portrays the game’s move to single-player as being a slightly awkward but somewhat successful shift, concluding that “The more that you want to play it as an MMO, the more you’re likely to chafe at this reboot’s restrictions, especially in terms of loot. For more solo or narrative-focused players, however, it’s a great second chance to see what it has to offer, as well as the Secret World’s best chance in years to expand its reach and continue telling its story.”

MMO’s aren’t, as a rule, built to be played offline. World of Warcraft especially stands out as an MMO that has enjoyed iteration upon iteration within its lifetime, and most recently has gained functions in the world that encourages and requires player co-operation, such as particular world quest bosses and rare mobs. This, I think, would be the biggest issue in turning World of Warcraft into a single-player experience. As for dungeons and raids… well, just because the game isn’t an MMO doesn’t mean it has to be single-player entirely. I can’t picture Blizzard being comfortable with handing the reigns of server administration and hosting over to players such as with Wurm Unlimited. However, I can see them dedicating some server space for hosting online parties to go dungeon delving or raiding, though I can’t guess as to how much demand there’d be for raiding in a static world.

As for the gameplay side of things, I don’t think WoW would prosper as a single-player game if it were transformed in the state it’s in today. The entire world’s questing and story was overhauled back in Cataclysm, but the time period between the Cataclysm overhaul and now is greater than between the original game and Cataclysm. Blizzard recently reviewed the 1-40 levelling experience and re-balanced the amount of damage it takes to kill enemies, as low level players were wiping the floor with bosses without so much as a second thought. There’s still a lot of work to be done though, and with each patch and expansion the cohesion of the overall game slips more and more in favour of the last ten levels being the sole focus of enjoyable content. You typically won’t find any challenging or gripping content gameplay-wise until you’re playing through the most recent expansion, and that’s hundreds of hours of dedication which most players aren’t going to be willing to dedicate.

All hope is not lost, though. Talk among the WoW playerbase seems to be mostly unanimous on the front of the old levelling experience needing a new touch of paint, and with the new level-scaling system and world questing system, there’s a decent chance that Azeroth is going to get the modernisation it needs to bring it up to speed with the modern day expansions. Blizzard themselves have acknowledged the need for this in Q&A’s, so I’m definitely interested to see what’s in store as BlizzCon approaches. But while I hope that this update would lay the groundwork for a single-player World of Warcraft, I hope even more that the day when it’s needed is still far in the future. And besides, I’m sure that when Blizzard does finally call it a day for WoW or releases a sequel, they’ll keep the servers for the original game up for many years afterwards.

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My Decade-Long WoW History

World of Warcraft has easily become my most-played game of all time, and I’m probably safe in assuming that the all-time part is gonna stick. Due to this, when a recent reddit thread popped up asking people of their earliest WoW memories, I decided to recount just where this potentially unhealthy obsession all began.

When I was twelve my Dad bought me the Burning Crusade + Vanilla WoW BattleChest. He knew I played Runescape and thought I’d like this… though I’m not sure if he was aware of the monthly subscription fee. After being unable to download it on our family PC I gave up on it and spent a few months reading the game guides instead.

Eventually on some random day I decided to try the download again, this time with the WoW website open. According to my placebo-addled mind this made it work, and I promptly jumped in with the gametime provided and made a human warrior to get a feel for the world before I chose my real race/class combo. After making it to Goldshire I decided to reroll as a Night Elf Druid, as I’d seen people running around as bears and cats and wanted to be able to do that. Shapeshifting was clearly the coolest ability in the game, in the mind of a twelve-year old. And that’s how… I can’t say it with a straight face… that’s how the Druid Shadowmadman was born.

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I’ve lost my original screenshots but luckily I made video slideshows of them that still exist on Youtube! Link’s at the bottom of this post, if you’re interested. It’s *very* 2008.

Over the course of the next few months I joined a guild called Dynasty Warriors (EU Karazhan), and ran around in Elwynn Forest and Westfall killing mobs and ignoring quests. I distinctly remember my guildies poking fun at me for levelling as slowly as I did. Oftentimes, I’d just hang out in Goldshire or travel across the world, dodging (often unsuccessfully) between mobs to make it to strange and hostile territories. I think I made it to Durotar once. Other naive noobish memories of this time period I have include running around Elwynn trying to figure out how to level woodcutting (not a skill), and leaving Dynasty Warriors to start my own guild (an edgily named Shadows of Destiny) which attracted many clueless players as low a level as their Guild Leader.

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That message of the day is inspiring.

After about twenty levels of pissing around I was distracted by the ever-present call of Runescape, and that was that. I neglected to tell my Dad that I no longer played the game so he payed for about five months of WoW for no reason (sorry Dad) and I considered my WoW days to be behind me. But eventually – and I don’t remember quite how I came to learn about this – I discovered the existence of private servers for the game, allowing you to play for free (and against Blizzard’s wishes). I promptly hopped into an instant-level-70 server and began exploring Burning Crusade’s Outland on a pimped-out version of my Night Elf Druid. Over these next few months I’d spend many hours hopping between different servers as they got shut down or failed to work, from fast-levelling servers to “Blizzlike” servers. I vaguely recall seeing the Wrath of the Lich King loading screen for the first time, so around then must have been when I stopped playing private servers.

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I didn’t earn this.

I even figured out how to set up my own private server for personal use, so as to mess around with GM commands. I recall turning myself into a giant, switching models to various boss NPCs in the game, teleporting to an undeveloped Emerald Dream and making NPC’s say weird and wonderful things. Looking back, this kind of experimentation was experienced by very few players, and I’m lucky that my bored teenage self took the time to bother figuring it out. Current me doesn’t remember a single step of the process. All I know is that I couldn’t get mobs to spawn or quests to work, so the single-player WoW I dreamed of never came to fruition. And besides, it felt astoundingly lonely in an empty Azeroth.

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GM’s had access to a spell called “Hand of Death” which “Instantly kills all enemies.” Whatever resisted this, it was stronger than a GM.

What followed was the largest gap in my WoW history. I remember when Cataclysm was announced, and I was angry that they’d ruined Loch Modan. I remember hearing somewhere that Mists of Pandaria had been announced, and stating that the game was losing direction and probably on its way out. And then I stopped paying attention altogether. For all I knew, we could be 9 expansions deep by the time I next focused on it.

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You know what they say about people with big feet…

In 2013 I became a uni student, and it only took a few months of having my own income and a new laptop before putting two and two together and re-considering World of Warcraft. I poked my friend Reece about trying the level 20 trial, to which he said he’d already done it on a Night Elf Druid. (We make very similar decisions sometimes.) Regardless, the idea of returning to WoW with one of my closest friends meant that I didn’t keep to the Starter Edition all that long, and before I knew it I was shooting past level 20, joining a guild and diving deeper into WoW than ever before. This was near the start of 5.4 (the last patch of Mists), and it’s worth noting that I levelled my first ever character from 1 – 90 and still had time to get bored of the endgame content. I don’t know how long-time players survived the content drought.

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I bought the Fey Dragon after a student loan payment. Can’t say I’ve ridden that thing more than 6 times. What an investment!

Since then, I’ve levelled 9 out of 12 classes to level 100+ and have sunk literally thousands of hours into the game. I’ve been a part of four wonderful guilds and have met a plethora of new friends. I’ve become an on-and-off-again kind of player – usually a few months on and a few months off – but I still spend time goofing off, pursuing alternate avenues of gameplay and generally falling behind on my ilvl after I’ve consumed all of the narrative content that a patch provides. I’m starting to think I’m in this to the end.

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I’ve come a long way.

If they announce WoW 2, I’m fucked.

Screenshots Slideshow 1

Screenshots Slideshow 2

Screenshots Slideshow 3

Screenshots Slideshow 4 (The Series Reboot)

Player Owned Housing

So I don’t know about you, but I personally have always been a fan of the Player Owned Housing systems typically found in MMOs and RPGs. The idea of having your own personal space which can be decorated with your heroic endeavours (or plain old furniture) has always been charming to me, and with the release of ESO’s Homestead update which adds (surprise surprise) Player Owned Housing, I thought I’d look back on some of my favourite versions of this feature in gaming.

To begin with, though, I’ll add that I’ve barely scratched the surface of ESO’s Homestead update. As a poor, lowly level 30ish character, I don’t feel the pull to immediately go home hunting, knowing in my heart that I won’t be able to afford much more than the free inn room that the opening quest awards you. I have a clip of my reaction upon entering my “House” for the first time, though:

Cosy.

Before moving on from the topic of ESO, I will add that what I have seen of the furnishing system looks very well done and fleshed out. It’s not grid or tile based; nor is it a simple options menu that allows you to select what you put in your house, but not where, as was the case in Skyrim (and Runescape, incidentally, discussed below). ESO’s furnishing system allows full free to place your furniture and collections anywhere. And, er, I mean anywhere.

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It has idle animations, too. The breathing wallhorse is a sight to behold.

So anyway, my first real housing system was in Runescape, and it comes in the form of one of its many skills, Construction. Any Runescape player that isn’t a billionaire will happily tell you how much of a bitch Construction is to train, as it’s one of the most expensive skills in the game. Obviously you have to buy your plot of land, and then each room costs money too – a pittance, really, but to a low-levelled player with little money, it’s a fair gold sink. You also have to pay to upgrade the size of your land, to allow for expansion. The real money sink, however, comes in the form of planks, which you need to build the majority of your furniture. Planks cannot be made by the player. The player must take logs to the sawmill and pay 500gp each to have them made into planks, a cost which adds up alarmingly quickly given how many planks you’ll be needing.

Besides this, however, the housing system is great… though on second thoughts, I may be looking at it through rose-tinted glasses, seeing as room furnishing layouts are unchangeable, you can simply construct different tiers of furniture within the highlighted spaces. Regardless, it’s still a satisfying feeling to upgrade your wonky, uncomfortable parlour chairs into cushioned seats, and to add more functionality to your kitchen as you go along. My favourite part about Runescape’s housing system was always the player-run house parties you could attend back in the day. I don’t know if anyone still bothers with them, but last time I checked, the house party world was devoid of, erm, parties. That being said, they may have all moved to Prifdinnas, a high level area I’m yet to unlock.

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Here’s my attempt at capturing the entire downstairs of my house. Yes, it’s wonky shaped. Can’t be helped!
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And here’s the upstairs. Bit less filled out, working on it!

Another one of my favourite housing systems belongs in Skyrim, though there are two types of houses in that game. The first one that shipped with the vanilla game consists of you unlocking the ability to buy a house, buying the house, and then buying each room from the steward to become fully furnished. Quite basic, but functional, and homely enough to enjoy living in. Plus, the cost was well-tailored to make it obtainable, whilst maintaining the satisfaction of making a hefty purchase to secure your own home.

The second version launched with the Hearthfire DLC, and allows you to build a house from scratch, adding from a choice of different wings as your house expanded. Much like Runescape though, you didn’t choose your furniture so much as unlock it. This is perhaps a little more forgiveable given that it’s a single player RPG, and players are therefore unlikely to think of making their home unique a priority. It’s a good place to store the wife and kids, anyway. And speaking of storage, houses in Skyrim acted as a sort of bank, in that they contained safe chests for you to store all your dragon bones and cheesewheels in.

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I always liked this screenshot of my house.

Player Owned Housing is a system that has been requested in World of Warcraft for many years now. In fact, one gate at the end of the Stormwind Canals had an inaccessible instance portal which the devs later admitted was going to lead into player housing. However, they said they’d only ever add it to the game if it had a function other than the novelty of owning a house. Player owned housing is still an often requested feature, but what many players don’t realise is that the Garrisons of Warlords of Draenor was a take on that concept. Players were given their own garrison which only they could enter, and it provided many in-game purposes regarding quest lines, professions, and conveniences such as accessing your bank and various vendors. Garrisons are retrospectively viewed as one of the worst ideas in the WoW, as they removed the multiplayer aspect by giving players too much accessibility in their private garrisons, and the mobile type gameplay of the mission tables one used to govern their garrison followers ensured that the player didn’t even have to complete dungeon or raiding content to get the best gear.

What players don’t realise – or seem to have forgotten – was the initial success of the Garrisons system, before it became apparent that they were going to lead into the death of gameplay. For the first time in Warcraft history, players had their own space in-game that they could customise (albeit to a very limited degree) and make their own. I remember reddit flooding with positive feedback about the system for a good month, and I myself was delighted with having my own base of operations. This, of course, didn’t last, and I soon despise my garrison as much as everyone else. Now we’re in Legion, however, I’ll admit that it’s not so bad when revisiting Warlords of Draenor’s content, although the lack of any cosmetic customisability is disappointing.

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Disregard the fact that my spellbook is open. This is totally not a salvaged screenshot of the only picture I have of my garrison on my hard drive. LOOK I’M NOT SUBSCRIBED RIGHT NOW OKAY

There were, of course, plenty of other games that allowed you the ownership and customisation of your own house. An old web game I used to play called Gaia Online is still around:

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I’m surprised this is still around.

I remember trying out Everquest 2 specifically for the player housing:

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Picture taken on my old, dying laptop, hence the horrible graphics quality.

And of course, the most cutting edge player housing of them all:

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Club Penguin, home of accidental intimidation.

All in all, there are plenty of games which give you your own house to dick around in, and I’m always drawn to the objective of owning my own place. Maybe it’s what drew me to Minecraft and Animal Crossing. Well, in the meantime, here’s another goofy EQ2 screenshot:

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Welcome to Jackass.

World of Warcraft: Legion (The Levelling Experience)

Well it’s finally fricken here and it’s so brilliant that I’m going to have to restrain myself from gushing about it for the next few hundred words. I’d hoped to reach level 110 before writing this blog post but as I type these words, I’m currently sitting in The Dreamgrove at a very disappointing level 109 and a half, with only half of Stormheim left to do.

The class order halls were probably one of my personally most anticipated features of the expansion, and I’m still yet to explore any of the classes outside of my main, my druid. But as far as the druid class order hall goes, it’s beautiful. We always had a bit of a private druid dance party club in the form of Moonglade, but one of the first class quests you’ll get pretty much sends you there to open a portal to your order hall, which is greener, druidier, and substantially HDer. The class specific quests have been good so far and whilst the mission table is an initially alarming reminder of Warlords of Draenor (and everything it did wrong), there’s actually far less to do on it. It’s more of a side project than a base of operations.

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I’ve wanted to meet this guy in game ever since reading Stormrage! It’s a shame he has to wield those ridiculous looking paws.

Profession quests are in, and they tie in very well with the open world gameplay – provided you pick them up at the right time. I’ve had some quests that go hand-in-hand with the zone’s quests and can be completed side-by-side, but there’s others that have sent me off to kill dudes that I’d already killed a few hours prior, and the drop rates on those quest items kinda need an accompanying quest tied into the same mobs to stop you from going crazy. This is an inevitability of non-linear zone levelling, though, and might be something that they fix in the future.

I can’t speak for the majority of Artifact weapons, but my Scythe of Elune is sitting comfortably on my back and I’m a big fan of the systems that come along with it. Of course, putting points into arbitrary power increases could have been baked into simply levelling up your character or acquiring new gear, and the same can be said for the abilities that you unlock through them too. But a new method of progression and power acquisition is hardly something to be faulted. As far as the common criticism about sharing a room with 50 people that all have that one legendary Scythe of Elune (or Doomhammer, or Ashbringer)… well, the criticism has merit, but I don’t feel like I’m wielding some legendary weapon as much as I’m simply in possession of a staff that everyone else has. And whilst it is jarring to run into so many Ashbringer-wielding paladins in the world, this effect will lessen as time goes on and players unlock more customisation options… or simply get sick of looking at it and transmog out of it.

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Holy goddamn balls it’s the Scythe of Elune.

As for the core gameplay… well, that comes in two parts. The first part is the questing, and whilst storytelling is at an all-time high (especially in Val’Sharah and Azsuna), it’s still the same old combination of kill these, collect that, interact with these 6 objects and return to me, with a few vehicle quests thrown in there for crazy hijinks. That’s not to say that the expansion isn’t littered with more unique quests, but there’s certainly a fair share of your copy / paste kobold adventures from level 1.

Balance Druid, as a specialisation, is wonderful. In Warlords of Draenor, it was an ugly mess of watching the UI and having your DPS mess up the second you break out of casting to avoid something. Now, I’m in control of what I cast, when I cast it. And the main artifact ability lets you drop freakin’ moons on people, so that’s cool.

I’ve not dedicated much time to discussing dungeons, but that’s because I’ve only done three of them so far – Darkheart Thicket, Eye of Azshara and Neltharion’s Lair, in that order. What I can say is that they’ve all upheld a unique theme, enjoyable boss mechanics and so far, I have no qualms with the prospect of revisiting them several times over the course of the expansion.

There’s plenty left to do. I may have to dedicate an entire blog post to post 110 content, such as world quests, raids (when they come out), the continuation of order hall related activities and more. Whether this will be a regular or a bonus blog post rests purely on whether I play anything other than WoW in the meantime!

Finally, Content! Sweet, Delicious, Content! (World of Warcraft: Legion Pre-Patch)

I know that I originally said that if I wrote about the pre-patch, it’d probably be as a bonus blog post… but I’ve not played much else since they released Demon Hunters, Invasions and the Broken Shore scenario yesterday. So without further ado…

The first thing I did yesterday morning after jumping out of bed and forcing myself into some state of a presentable human being was hop on WoW and make my Demon Hunter. I’d settled on the name of my Demon Hunter months ago, and had reserved it, even though the chances were highly unlikely that anyone else would go for the same name.

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I later changed his tattoo colour to green, as it clashed too much with the green-themed armour. I chose blue hair as a callback to my very first character made in 08!

Virizard, then, charged onto the front lines of Mardum and started chopping demons apart without hesitation. Having read the ‘Illidan’ novel prior to the release of Demon Hunters (which goes over their origins and their general state of affairs), I found the DH starting zone an absolute delight. The plot felt substantial, the characters believable, and the scenery… well, it was reminiscent of Outland in the best of ways. I cannot wait to return here for our Class Order Hall in Legion.

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Shit’s in space, yo. (Well… The Twisting Nether, which is essentially space-hell.)

The actual gameplay of the Demon Hunters themselves is wholeheartedly refreshing. (Keep in mind I’ve only played Havoc, the DPS spec.) Sure, you’ve got the base rotation of an attack which builds up your resource, an attack which spends it, and all sorts of bits and bobs between. But you’ve also got Fel Rush, Eyebeam and Blade Dance, turning you into a lithe, bouncing, beaming bastard of bloody murder. And then there’s Metamorphosis which turns you into purple Satan. The simple inclusion of double-jump and gliding is not only a useful utility in PvE and PvP situations, but is also a fun time-waster; I’ve spent many hours already parkouring around the rooftops of Stormwind, Darnassus and other major cities whilst waiting in a queue.

But there’s more than Demon Hunters in the pre-patch. Besides the initial pre-patch’s updates to every class specialisation’s abilities and rotations, yesterday’s update gave us Invasions and the Broken Shore, giving us some relevant content with which to test out our new abilities on. Both the Demon Hunter starting zone and the Broken Shore scenario lead into Invasions, so I won’t be giving any spoilers despite discussing them first. The Broken Shore scenario was an exciting narrative introduction to Legion, with the Alliance and Horde leading an assault on the portal which has allowed these demons to enter our world. As has not been a secret, we get royally messed up, and the performances from the voice actors were, erm, horrifying… but in a good way! You also get a pretty sweet weapon at the end of it, so that’s nice.

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This safari got ugly quickly! And I’m not just talking about the Orcs.

Invasions are excellent. Zones such as Dun Morogh, Westfall, Hillsbrad Foothills, Azshara, Northern Barrens and Tanaris are being assaulted by more than a couple of big angry demons, and through defending these bastions of wonderfully re-purposed twelve-year old content you get Nethershards. There’s plenty to be bought with Nethershards, such as an (admittedly rubbish) pet, four sets of transmog, some armour and, if you’re a Demon Hunter, your Invasion weapon. Each class has a unique Invasion weapon, which will only be obtainable (for use and for transmog) during this event. There’s also a few Feat of Strength achievements up for grabs, which I’ve already nabbed for posterity.

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This one hit like a truck. A, erm, horned, hoofed, fel-infused truck.

And there’s plenty more! The Dark Whispers event is periodically turning people insane in Stormwind, Dalaran has inconspicuously appeared above Karazhan (probably so the residents can play card games), and there will apparently be Legion prologue quests that are released episodically in the weeks leading up to the expansion! This is in addition to the treasure trove of narrative content that Blizzard has already released in the weeks leading up to the pre-patch, such as comics, a video series, and a fantastic audio drama, all with unique plot points and keen topics of discussion.

All in all, it’s a good month to be a WoW player.

An Unexpected Surprise (10,000,000)

10,000,000 is a game I picked up through the 14th Humble PC and Android Bundle. It’s a game that’s been on the edge of my radar for a few years, and every time I’ve clicked over to it out of renewed curiosity, I’ve left without much of an impression being made on me. For one, I typically prefer Match-3 games where you swap tiles instead of sliding the whole column or row across, and furthermore, it initially looked difficult to concentrate on matching specific tiles on the board in order to correspond with what was happening above. It was, however, in the fabled first tier of a Humble Bundle, and as such seemed like a purchase worth making.

For once in my misguided purchasing history, I was right!

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You may be locked in a dungeon, but at least they gave you a bed. And shops!

A game which is somewhat similar (if not more advanced) than 10,000,000 is Puzzle Quest, a game which I bought a little while previously in the hopes of finding the perfect RPG / Match-3 hybrid. 10,000,000, however, far surpasses Puzzle Quest in my eyes, mostly because of its simpler nature. Everything you need to know about 10,000,000 is presented to you within its tileset, and whilst choosing between certain abilities and upgrades is admittedly part of the RPG experience, 10,000,000’s simple upgrade system (where you can eventually choose all of them) is, in my opinion, better suited to the Match-3 genre. And plus, it has achievements. That’ll always help rope me in.

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Here’s the character upgrade screen. As you can see, I’ve unlocked everything. I’m pretty resourceful!

Bear in mind that 10,000,000 is something of a short game, as I’m approaching the end at 5 hours in. These have, however, been a very satisfying 5 hours thus far, and it may help that I also picked up its sequel, You Must Build A Boat, in the second tier of the Humble Bundle. In 10,000,000, I have so far completely upgraded my staff and fully upgraded my character’s skills. Sure, it’d be nice if the game were a little longer, but in all honesty there’s nothing to stop you from continuing to play the base game when you’ve fully upgraded every attribute of your character and his gear, and trying to get the highest score that you can. This is one of those games that I enjoy playing whilst listening to a podcast or two.

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This might be the first game I’ve seen where poison damage is achieved through magic.

I’m aware that this has blog post has been about half its usual length so far, but that’s because there’s not too much I can find to talk about when it comes to a 5 hour long, fairly minimal Match-3 game, no matter how much I enjoy it. I’m going to use this space, then, to talk about the upcoming events in World of Warcraft and how that will affect this blog.

As you may know, I’m an avid WoW player. It’s my jam. I feel at home in this game, fully attuned to every aspect of it (apart from maybe PvP), have played thousands of hours in it, and will therefore be blogging about it over the next few weeks and months. In a few days, the pre-expansion patch will have released, bringing with it all of the changes to the base game that will be coming to the game along with the expansion; this includes class abilities / rotations, quality of life updates like the new transmog system, and much more. In the coming weeks after that, they’ll be releasing the pre-expansion events, including the demon invasion and the Broken Shore scenario, and eventually access to Demon Hunters ahead of the expansion’s release on August 30th.

Here’s the thing. I know that statistically, most of the people who read this blog won’t be WoW players (which is the same reason why I have a separate Twitter account for my WoW ramblings). I don’t want to drive people away with blog post after blog post of WoW updates. Therefore, apart from maybe the launch of Legion which would be covered like any other game, I’ll be putting out additional blog posts regarding the pre-patch and its events if I feel inclined to do so in the first place.

A Sensible, Concentrated Post on One Game

I have been playing way too many games simultaneously to really focus on one this week, and given that it’s my birthday and I’m going to be busy for most of the day, I think I’ll just list off what I’ve been playing and why!

World of Warcraft – The Early Levelling Update

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Me mighty cow man. Mighty cow man goes ‘moo’.

In a recent hotfix to the game, Blizzard went back and fine-tuned the 1 – 40 levelling experience. After many years of focusing almost entirely on the balance of the endgame experience, Blizzard admitted that they had woefully neglected that actual first time player’s levelling experience, and have finally begun tweaking damage, mob health and xp gains so that the creatures of the world actually put up a fight, rather than dying in one or two hits – even without heirlooms. (Heirlooms are levelling gear that can be bought for large sums of gold and are account-wide; they scale with your level and provide hefty bonuses to xp gained.)

With this update in mind, I decided to create a new character and try the early levelling experience out for myself. In order to keep the experience as fresh as possible, I chose the alternate faction to my typical choice, and chose a specialisation I was not familiar with (for I’ve played every class a decent amount at this point). Thus, Golgore the Arms Warrior was born.

I’ve been having a lot of fun with it. Up until now, I’d never realised just how much having heirloom gear takes away from the game, in that most of the gear you receive is useless to you. It’s wonderful to actually have rewarding quests that you look forward to handing in, and quest bosses which take a bit of concentration to get through. Things are still far from challenging, but as this is the early levelling experience, I’m sure that’s no mistake.

Runescape

There’s not actually too much to be said about this one which hasn’t already been said in my recent blog post on Runescape. I’ve still been playing a whole bunch of the game, and my current target is to get every level to at least 60 (I managed a minimum of 50 a few weeks ago).

AdVenture Capitalist

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Much as it may look like it, I’ve not spent a penny on microtransactions!

Oh no. Why did I open this game up again.

AdVenture Capitalist will ruin your life. It’ll turn you into a gaunt shell of a human being who checks the time wherever you are, wondering if your investments have made enough cash for you to buy 57 more Car Washes to hit your next milestone target and triple your Car Wash income. You’ll be biting your nails, anxiously waiting for the moment when you earn enough money for your angel investors to peak, hopefully to a point where your next playthrough will be even more lucrative. And have you earned enough money to exchange for a mega-buck yet? Because 10 of those babies will give you a golden ticket, and applying THAT to a business leads to more profits than you can shake an unsexagintillionth dollar at!

Well, anyway, when I first saw this free game, I looked at the achievements and thought, that sounds like an easy 100%. And, woe be to me, I was dreadfully wrong – especially when they added an extra planet and with it, more achievements to the game. Actually, that’s around the time I stopped playing, out of anger. But since I opened it back up the other day, I’ve been churning out more profits than ever before. Today, they’ve released an event, which is essentially a new planet that’s only available for a short amount of time, and awards you mega bucks, cosmetic badges and even gold (the buyable currency for impatient people) depending on how far through you get. Which reminds me, I should really check in on my businesses and make sure they’re running at optimal efficiency…

LEGO: Marvel Superheroes

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It’s okay, Hulk. We know you can’t help it 😦

LEGO games are great. I’ve already discussed my childhood love for LEGO Star Wars, and I’ve also already written a blog post about this game. Well, since that blog post I’ve finished the story mode, taken a quick break to finish university and have since delved back in to work towards 100% completion. Having criticised the lack of variety in gold brick missions before, I now feel somewhat guilty in realising that I’d simply been doing the same type of mission over and over again… woops.

I’m 25 hours into the game and I’m only on around 55% overall completion, according to the game’s calculations. There’s still plenty of characters to unlock, gold bricks to collect and an almost futile amount of studs to collect – my x3000 multiplier has made any stud sink irrelevant – and I’m sure I’ll be sad when it’s over.

Spore

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I found a planet called Bobermus. BOBERMUS.

Spore? Why Spore? Well, I had a hankering for a good space exploration game, and Spore has always fit the bill for me there. So long as you cheat yourself money in so you don’t have to bother with endlessly flying between colonies for spice, and you’re not afraid to genocide some arrogant race into next week’s moral crisis, you’re all good. I’ve been expanding outwards from the center of the galaxy rather than inwards for two reasons. One, I’m interested in what it’s like towards the end of one of those spirals (probably not that different, I just think it’d be cool). And two, I can’t be bothered to deal with the Grox yet. (They’re basically Spore’s Daleks.)

I’ve also been messing around with the creature creator for a bit, in an effort to populate my galaxy with races that aren’t generic or have lowercase names. (It is INFURIATING!) I’ve created one sensible creature and two monstrosities. If you have Spore, you can search for ‘krazyk095’ (an old username) to see my beautiful creations, including my earliest ones from 2008. For now, though, I’ll leave you with this adorable little fellow.

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I think he likes you!