Category Archives: World of Warcraft

ZombiePirate – Oops, I Did it Again…


No, this picture is not me! But still, after a long while and many casual hours of play I have another level 80 character in the wargaming phenomenon World of Warcraft.

This time I have a Death Knight, therefore as they start at level 55 I haven’t had to level all the way from scratch, this is the third character I’ve reached max level with, all of them on the Alliance side. The last level was done entirely since the new patch dropped which vastly changed the Death Knight and how they play. At least in my opinion, no more spamming of Death Strike to keep me alive through Blood Presence as the uber self-healing has been stripped away. Not to mention patch 4.0.1 ripped apart the talent trees.

Anyway, it’s nice to take a break from painting to chill out and detractors were amazed I managed to get one character to 80 let alone now having three. My Argent Dawn account is still full of characters as I am very sad and quite enjoy the levelling process. When Cataclysm arrives in December things will change-up again with the new world. I still have to level a Horde to 80 and the XP changes seem to be making that a lot faster process again. I don’t think I’ll get there on another character before the expansion, not with my painting to be done too, but if I can clear Azeroth I can get bored with Hellfire Peninsula all over again and then plough through Northrend while getting my 80s through the new content if I do decide to pick up Cataclysm.

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Six Of The Greatest Computer and Video Games Ever


Ever since I could hold a dial contoller and make the lines go up and down on a pong machine I’ve been playing computer games. Not that that qualifies me at all to make any kind of judgement upon what makes a good game or not, it simply shows that I’m getting old and still think digital watches are a pretty neat idea.

So anyway spambots, I have been thinking long and deeply about some of what I consider the best of gaming… EVER!!! Obviously as I write this in the middle of October 2010 it may not be valid for very long… Indeed I might well have changed my mind by tomorrow, but here goes:

6) Mass Effect 2 – This game truly is a work of genius. Just about the only adventure game I’ve ever played where I actually gave a stuff about what NPCs had to say. I must have sat through hours of dialogue and not got bored, wore out the continue button, fell asleep or went off in search of food once. Remarkable. In addition, I don’t think I got lost in game either, saving literally tonnes of virtual shoe leather. Good adventures? This is how it’s done!

5) Modern Warfare 2 – The second sequel on our list proves the point that video games are utterly unlike videos. For those of you who are 20 years old or less a video is an archaic device used to store films and movies. They were big plastic bulky things, and if you were posh you could put them in covers that made them look like books from the side. Anyway, most movie sequels are about flogging the dead horse in a vain attempt to cash in. Game sequles are about taking a game and making it better. MW2 happens to be just about the greatest FPS game, technically and especially playability wise. Single player – great, multiplayer – amazing, co-operative – a right laugh. Yes PC owners whinge that it doesn’t have LAN support. It’s best played on a console where the playing fields are level and victory cannot be bought at your local PC component store.

4) Grand Theft Auto 4 – I know a guy from eastern europe who happens to be called Niko. He also looks like the protagonist of this great game. Fortunately he has never tried to carjack me or rob a bank. I did pay him to help paint my house and assemble a bathroom though, and I would say that maybe he’d be wise to keep his options open for a career in crime. Regardless, GTA4 is amazing. The attention to detail is fantastic. Even if breaking the law is not your thing you can spend hours watching the TV, going to shows and surfing the internet in game. It’s seriously hilarious. The game proper though is a great high quality adventure into the seedy underworld of Liberty City, with enough freedom to keep you playing for days. It’s the jewel in the crown of Rockstar Games, but also recommended are the similar Grand Theft Cowboy (Red Dead Redemption) and Grand Theft School (Bully).

3) Gears Of War 2 – Want a game with sex drugs and rock n’ roll? Pfff… that’s for wimps! Get up close and personal with one of the most brutal and excitng games you’ll ever play! Once you’ve hacked, slashed, blasted and sawed your way through an excellent single player or co-op campaign, you then have the further fun of brilliant multiplayer options. Gears of War 2 has a serious ace which will keep you hacking, slashing, blasting and sawing for years to come. What? Two words – Horde Mode.

2) Bayonetta – What the heck is this doing at number two? I’ll tell you what, it’s a veritable feast of awesome. Everything about this game is absolutely stunning and I’d say that even if the main character was a fat bloke called Dave who walks around with his wang out. Visually it’s incredible, aurally it’s amazing and it all glues together with such seamless effortlessness and flow to produce the ultimate beat ’em up. Give typewriters to an infinite number of monkeys and eventually they’ll produce the full works of Shakespeare. Give computers and hallucinogenic drugs to an infinite number of programmers and I don’t think they’d come close to producing something this crazily amazing.

1) World Of Warcraft – The greatest game ever made. Seriously. Hmm, I am beginning to doubt my own sanity. But just look at it, Warcrack is so immersive that it’s very hard to find a regular player who hasn’t had some kind of addiction to the game. It’s phenomenal once you get into it, all you need is a PC with GameBoy type specifications and a smattering of social skills and you are off into this crazy world of adventure which can and literally will suck your life away. The repercussions of Warcrack will become apparent in a few years as a generation comes of age lacking in qualifications and suntans, having squandered the best years of their lives holed away in basements doing the safety dance and grinding their Hodir rep. Good? – definitely. Addictive? – dangerously!

Things Not On This List:

1) Old games – Populous was great. Notice the WAS. Resident Evil was incredible. Again notice the WAS. They’ve all been redone, a million times better on far superior hardware. Only a true masochist or someone living at the bottom of a swamp would think that Elite is still the best space opera game ever. Groundbreaking, yes, the best game ever to grace the BBC Micro, sure. Possibly the best game on the planet by a long way on it’s release. Take off your rose tinted spectacles, play it on an emulator and see how it pales in comparison to games you can even get on your mobile phone.

2) Nintendo – Run by plumbers? Never played any of their games in any serious measure (well not since they refused to add blood to Mortal Kombat on the SNES, a bit like doing a wrestling game without the spandex). I do own a Wii, which is revolutionary in terms of game controllers but its a kind of fun thing for social gatherings. I don’t rush home from work to get in a round of Wii Sports Golf. Oh yeah, Goldeneye 64 was the best game of it’s day, but see ‘1) Old Games’.

3) Any Other MMO – Warcraft is far more popular. Admit it, you invested 3 months in levelling a toon in a game people only play when the WoW servers run maintenance.

4) Sonic The Hedgehog – Haha not a chance you spikey freak!

Name and Shame – WoW Edition


While I cannot condone the use of profanity here the picture adequately relates what I want to do today. I understand that giving some asshats their little fifteen minutes of infamy maybe just what they want, and nobody will probably know or see the person in question but I just wanted to vent a little, so here we go.

I’d like to send out a great big shout out to Leksy, the level 74 Night Elf Warrior that was in Dragonblight last night, on the EU Argent Dawn server. Hi! I am that Human Death Knight you came across.

So, what is the cause of this public naming? Well, there is a quest in Dragonblight from the NPCs at Star’s Rest, they are concerned about all the fluffy little BEARS!!!! being infected, so, you are tasked with killing them off and burning their corpses, similar to the way UK government dealt with Foot and Mouth a few years back.

Being the vastly overpowered PvE machine that a Death Knight is, I rounded up an area worth of my targets and AOE’d them down. No-one else is around when I start and I certainly haven’t robbed anyone of their mobs. I set fire to the first of my corpses, then, our friend Leksy here proceeds to target and set fire to everything else (bar one Elk) that I had just killed, robbing the majority of them for his quest (I’d loot and then my corpse would be on fire before I could do anything else). I tried to whisper this character but, surprise surprise, I was ignored. I finished off my quest easily from other spawns but seriously, camping someone elses kills to finish your own quest when you see that person (who put the effort in to actually kill the mobs) doing what you are doing it just not on. I know this particular special snowflake probably doesn’t care about any of this, but the icing on the cake was after our little Night Elf had ninja’d three fifths of my quest mobs they gave me a /thank…

This is the kind of person who should be publicly flogged. It is a small misdemeanour in the grand scheme of things but an asshat is an asshat, so, if you come across Leksy on EU Argent Dawn, you now know what kind of person they are. Luckily for this person they are a prot specced warrior so we should never meet in an instance (me being a tanking DK) because if we were, well, I don’t want to group with someone who shows such a disregard for other players.

/rantoff

Concepts In Gaming – The Myth of Balance


Time to sink our collective teeth into another of the meaty topics related to gaming. Whether you lean more towards the tabletop world or the virtual world there is an often quoted and talked about concept that has the potential to construct a perfect storm of CAPS LOCK fury and ‘Rage of the Nerd’ (TM). Any game that has more than one player in it strives for this singular achievement of gaming, as the title of this post has already not very subtly alluded to, that principle is balance.

This really is the holy grail of gaming, to have a game perfectly poised so that anything can defeat anything else and it just comes down to the player at the end of the day. What I am going to say is that right up front this is a crock! That’s right, I’m flinging poo at the punters again, not only did I decry Comp the other day but here I am now saying that balance in both tabletop games and online virtual environments is nigh unachievable. We here at 6 Inch Move don’t shy away from the big topics for you to enjoy at home or on the road. Obviously this is a viewpoint that I am going to have to back up. Luckily I have a good number of words left to try to achieve that, so, please stick with me and we’ll see where we end up.

Without the rose-tinted glasses of hindsight I doubt that we can ever come up with a game that was perfectly balanced (other than the original Starcraft, but I am not counting that as we are dealing with tabletop games and MMOs primarily). Both of these spheres have things in common, both tend to go with players on two sides, and each side will have access to various classes/races/armies or whatever. With tabletop gaming you have an army list to pick your units from, this leads to a whole host of different combinations that can be taken, especially when you throw in options for different magic items and upgrades that can alter how your army performs. In MMOs there are race/class combinations as well as differences in gear levels. Now, for MMOs balance is an argument that is almost universally attributed to the PvP environment, the reason I bring tabletop gaming up as well is that, in essence, this is also a PvP arena, one person or a team against another person or team. If one person finds it hard to beat another there can often times be a whine associated with it. Now, I’m not going to tar everyone with the same brush, it is normally the vocal minority that you hear about, they are the ones that are complaining after all and in our hyper-connected Internet world we hear about these things through the communities we associate with.

For wargaming there is an expectation that each army be balanced against all others, that there is no significant advantage gained by taking one army over another. However, if you consider the amount of variety available balancing each and every possible combination is next to impossible. Personally I don’t think any combo is unbeatable, you may have to come with up some inventive tactics or strategies and shy away from that one favourite unit you have in order to overcome something you struggle against. Sure I can understand the argument that if you bring an all-comers list you should have a good chance of beating your opponent but there will always be bad match ups. This happens in real life as well, some forces are better equipped than others yet they have stood up and made an accounting greater than they should have. The same can be true of our war games.

In an MMO environment I am even more dead set that balance is something that should not really even be considered. If I run around as a Holy Priest for instance, why should I be entitled to think that I can beat any pure DPS class or tank? I CHOSE to heal my team mates, it is their job to protect me so I can protect them. In one way the balance comes from the team and any team that has damage dealing and healing should steam roll any other team that is missing one or the other. I took a lowbie character into a Warsong Gulch match a few months back and we were faced with a team of 8 or 9 Hunters. In the 11-19 bracket that meant we just go walked all over because we couldn’t match their damage output and we had next to no healers (I myself was a Hunter on the side getting pwned). With WoW as a specific case I don’t think the classes are balanced around PvP anyway, more that they are looked at in PvE and PvP is just an addition. There was a lot of this in SWG too, PvP was a pretty big part of the game with the Galactic Civil War period, yet anyone that played a class that could attack the Mind pool of player was pretty much guaranteed to win.

If the only thing to happen was a one vs one then the game could strive to achieve a certain balance, but each person would have to have the same abilities and the same core design to allow only player skill to show through. In order to make an engaging game you lose this aspect, especially when other players are brought into the mix. Sure it can be frustrating to get absolutely spanked in a situation where you have no chance of doing anything else but everytime some people band together and start using teamwork things get a lot better. There is much more to a game than one thing being able to beat another or even the Starcraft like Rock, Paper, Scissors (Lizard, Spock). Balance is an unachievable Holy Grail in an environment that almost discounts balance at its heart. Sometimes you will win, sometimes you lose, this is a life principle and rather than just whining about we lost and such and such an army or class is broken we should suck it up, look at what we did and what happened and try to learn from that. Afterall, retreating from a fight is not always a sign of cowardice, feigned flight can be a strategy in and of itself and while you are alive you have a chance to fight back.

/quit


New year is a time for new resolutions, as tradition has it. So what did I resolve? To give up World Of Warcraft.

Lets get some things straight here. I’ve been playing it on and off since it was released, so hopefully I am qualified to make these judgements:

1) It is one of the best computer games ever. Why? Because it thoroughly engages you like no other computer game. The gameplay is so vast, and options so immense that there’s always something new to do or try. Throw into this mix the ability to interact and cooperate with other completely unpredictable human players gives the game an interesting and exciting element. Once you get into the game you are guaranteed hours of fun and entertainment unlike any other form of recreation. It is truly hard to describe the experience without going through it.

2) It is horrendously addictive. I pull no punches here. It really is. The world dishes out small rewards as you play, new skills, new equipment, new rewards which progress you character further and deeper into the game. This gives the player a sense of achievement and further desire to play as achievements open up further options to gain more rewards. It is a viscious circle, the more you play, the more you want to play. Before you know it, you’ve spent an entire weekend playing. Not necessarily a bad thing, but once you get into the game you will enjoy it to the detriment of everything else. A point of fact I realised lately is that WoW is the only game I know of that people play ‘just to see what is going on’, in that people will log in for a few hours with no real goals in mind, and will log off much later not really having done anything productive.

I do worry for some younger players who have become so entrenched in this game that they have thrown away some of the most exciting and critical years of their lives. I do wonder if I would be where I am now in life if I had discovered this game in my formative years, or would I now be living like a neckbeard in a basement! Seriously, if you want to read some sad stories on the effects of Warcrack, just do an internet search.

So why am I giving it up? A few reasons. Firstly, I rarely get to play it with real life friends any more. Playing with real friends in Warcraft is truly awesome. Secondly, I think I have better things to do. The problem with Warcraft is that yes, it is entertaining but it has no real narrative. For example, watching a movie or playing a game such as ‘Dragon Age’ may be percieved as an equal waste of time, but it’s not. At the end of the movie you have progressed. You have followed a story, learned things and reached an end point. Warcraft doesn’t have that. There is no real story, it’s just fight monsters, gain loot, repeat ad infinitum. I’m still going to game… Probably as much as before, just with different games. I’ll probably spend more time watching documentaries and painting models. And at the end of it all, when Blizzard finally shut off the last Warcraft servers, I will have some random facts to impress my wife with, and some stuff to sell on ebay.

Great Things in 2009


It’s nearly the end of the year, so here are some of my gaming highlights of 2009:

The Uncharted Seas

Spartan Games’ seafaring fantasy game is excellent. I don’t know when it first came out, but I came across it in 2009. It’s quick, simple and fun. It is on a parallel with one of my favourites, Silent Death (click here for info), for quick and enjoyable games. Unfortunately however, I feel a tempest is brewing for this game, and it will probably sink without trace within the near future. The game was inevitably released with a few flaws and balance issues. Sadly Spartan Games have been about as fast as an asthmatic sloth in releasing corrections and updates.

Space Hulk

Hooray for retro gaming! Space Hulk made a return in 2009, just as we had all forgotten how great it was. The main difference is that this version looks awesome. The boards and models are fantastic, adding much to an already atmospheric game. A big power fisted thumbs up!

We're Back, Baby!

World Of Warcraft Random Dungeon Tool

Well I cringe to include this one but it really has almost overnight revolutionised this grandaddy of MMORPGs. No longer do we wait for ages to get a group. No longer do we have to trek miles to a summoning stone. Just when you think WoW is getting stale, Blizzard go and pull this kind of stunt. I’ll happily wait a bit longer for Diablo 3 now!

ZombiePirateXXX is Going To Paint An Army!

OK so it’s not actually happened yet, but all you readers were witness to ZombiePirateXXX’s solemn promise to never play Warhammer Fantasy until he had a painted army. Man, the day he flops it will be a glorious day indeed, for his painting skills are legendary. I have visions of bright lights and hosts of angels singing ‘Hallelujah!’, followed by Gribblin giving him a good trouncing.

OK that’s it for now folks, feel free to add more!