You know what’s always baffled me? Why WoW seems to have all the “traditional” holidays covered but is noticeably lacking anything honoring St. Patrick’s Day. So when I saw this blog topic, it seemed like a perfect way to expand on the non-existent holiday and see just what exactly it would be about.
I think the biggest difficulty with this holiday is making it unique. Lots of drinking? Brewfest has done that. Celebrating a holiday by turning into tiny green gnomes? Winterveil’s done that too. So while I actually do think those ideas would be fitting, I think they need a way to make them feel unique. And I think that making a holiday built around the bad guys trying to celebrate something (while still giving players festivities!) will be a good start to mixing things up!
What’s the Holiday All About?
Like any good WoW holiday, there should be some lore behind the event itself, and while the idea would admittedly need a lot of fine-tuning, I think I’ve got a place to start. Every year on the anniversary of its re-taking-over (or, almost taking-over) the leper gnomes of Gnomeragon attempt to gain complete control of the place by invoking some ancient power of Lucky Leper. This effort is spearheaded by the luckiest of them all, Pat Tricksizzle <Bringer of Ire>, a boss that would make his home in a modified version of Gnomer.
The holiday doesn’t have to be limited to Gnomer though. As a side effect of invoking such massive power (of luck!) there are pots of gold springing up all over Azeroth. This not only gives the gnomes a reason to spread out in the world, it also gives players a reason to claim the luck before the gnomes get their tiny, green hands on it!
So What Do Players Do?
Players will need to infuse themselves with a Lucky Leper potion in order to fully see the hidden pots and enemies throughout the world. These potions will drop in small amounts from the boss, but can also be made by an alchemist who has obtained a recipe to do so. This potion will give the player’s character a green tint, as well as making their screen glow green around the edges.
While under this effect, invisible leper gnomes (hidden to all but the luckiest!) will be in all zones of Azeroth, and will vary in difficulty. When they get low enough on health, they will run away, leaving a faint rainbow trail to their treasure pot. Players will have to follow the trail while it’s still visible in order to claim the rewards. These rewards will vary, but every pot will at least include some Gold Coins, the currency that will be used by participants to show their support against the leper gnomes.
Okay, But What Do We Get?
The holiday will feature all types of rewards, for all types of players! If you are a pet collector, you can scour the lands with your Lucky Leper buff in search of the elusive Pot O’ Gold, a pet that can only be captured through pet battles. While this pet will represent one of the more rare pets from the holiday meant specifically for pet battlers, there will also be a clover pet that has a chance to drop from Pat Tricksizzle <Bringer of Ire>!
That’s not all though! If you’re someone who appreciates transmogrification, the holiday offers a chance to collect all the pieces of an outfit that represents everything about the holiday. Some pieces will be rare drops from the treasure pots; a distinguishable hat will drop from the holiday boss; and the remaining pieces will be purchasable via Gold Coins.
And don’t worry, there will absolutely be holiday-themed weapons and even a mount – but only for the luckiest of players!
It doesn’t stop there though! If you prefer PVP, you can gain Gold Coins by killing enemy players who are under the effects of the Lucky buff! To encourage this, there will be giant, controllable pots o’ gold in various zones that will increase the amount of Gold Coins gained and number of leper gnome spawns for whichever faction controls the pot o’ gold!
Of course, what’s a holiday without everyone’s favorite…
Let’s See Some Achievements!
It’s not a holiday without some achievements to mark the occasion, right?
They’re Always After Me Lucky Charms!
Loot one of each type of charm from the different leper gnomes of Azeroth.
The Luck of the Gnomish
Loot one of the potions of luck from Pat Tricksizzle <Bringer of Ire>!!
Follow the Rainbow
Successfully find a treasure pot in Azeroth after defeating a leper gnome in combat.
Capturing My Own Luck
Capture a Pot O’ Gold pet in battle while under the effects of a Lucky Leper potion.
Gettin’ Jiggy With It
Perform a traditional jig of luck while wearing a lucky hat.
1000 Years of Luck
Loot a rare seven-leaf clover from one of the leper gnomes of Azeroth.
Not All Luck is Good
Kill a player of the opposite faction who is under the effects of Lucky Leper.
And There You Have It!
It may not be perfect, but it’s certainly a start and it’s something I’d be pretty excited to see happen! Lore isn’t my absolute strong point, so if I’ve missed something feel free to let me know! Any additional reward/holiday ideas would also be fun to discuss!
Coming strictly from the perspective of a Shadow Priest…. no! Let me elaborate…
As it is right now, the spells I use often are Vampiric Touch, Shadow Word: Pain, Mind Blast, and Mind Flay, with Shadow Word: Death thrown in below 20%, Halo only used once every 40 seconds, and Shadowfiend every 3 minutes (plus Power Infusion, which is tied into a macro).
That’s essentially 7 abilities in my main rotation during a boss fight. Sometimes I will throw in Mind Sear for some AoE if there are a lot of adds.
All The Other Spells
Now, what about everything else? Let me break it down, as I see the abilities best categorized…
CC and/or PVP: Shackle Undead, Void Tendrils, Psychic Horror, Silence, Psychic Scream (5 abilities)
Healing/Support: Mass Dispel, Dispel Magic, Hymn of Hope, Vampiric Embrace, Binding Heal, Power Word: Shield, Renew, Flash Heal, Prayer of Mending, Void Shift, Life Grip (it can have no other name!) and Symbiosis (Tranquility) if I have it. (11 – 12 abilities)
Other: Power Word: Fortitude, Inner Will, Inner Fire, Mind Vision, Resurrection, Fear Ward, Levitate, Dispersion, Fade, Spectral Guise (10 abilities)
Now, that might seem like a lot of abilities that I don’t count as part of my main rotation, but does that make them abilities I’d want to see disappear? NO! In a raid situation, I find myself using almost every single one of those abilities, and if they aren’t used during a raid I can almost guarantee they’re used when I’m soloing.
I have saved the tank multiple times with Void Swap; made dispelling raid members a no-brainer with Mass Dispel; pulled someone out of a deadly beam at the last second with Life Grip; and overall made many, many saves with the support abilities I have in my arsenal. Do I use every single one of these abilities in every single fight? Absolutely not. But I use them plenty often, and when I do use them, they are almost always life-savers. That’s what I love about being a hybrid class; I have all sorts of abilities at my disposal. I don’t care how situational they are; in fact, that’s sort of the point! They’re useful very situationally, but in those situations that they are useful, they’re irreplaceable.
If you’re familiar with Shadow at all, you may have noticed I left out Mind Spike. To me, if I had to pick something to be removed, this would be it. As it stands, it does medium damage and wipes all my DOTs. Without a glyph or talent, Mind Spike becomes almost entirely useless in raids (for me, anyways). Sure, it has a few upsides – if you need to wipe your DOTs, it does that, and it also is cast-able if you’re shadow locked… if you don’t mind losing whatever DOTs you had up for the sake of getting a cast off – but other than the rarest of situations, it’s not very useful. Again, this is specifically speaking for the build and glyph set I choose to use, but it’s still the first I’d choose to go.
Other than Mind Spike, Inner Will and Renew are the other two spells I find myself using very rarely. That’s it. The rest of my spells, I would never actively choose to get rid of.
A Small Digression
I must take a minute to point out one thing: I don’t think it would be nearly as easy to organize my spells and know what I’m doing without an action bar addon. Sure, I could make the best of it, but I think that the amount of abilities we have requires a degree of flexibility with placement that the default UI doesn’t offer. I organized the abilities very specifically in my post, and I do so in game. I think a move-able UI and more bars are long overdue as part of the default package.
Sure, I have a lot of spells. And sure, a large portion of those are situational. But that’s part of the reason I chose a hybrid spec; I love having all these different support abilities at my disposal. There are a very small number of abilities I’d get rid of if I had to, but other than maybe 3 I wouldn’t give away any of the spells I have right now in favor of less clutter. I don’t need things simplified. I like knowing when to use what, and how to get the most out of that usage.
Let me just start by saying very emphatically: yes!!!
Levels are great. In fact, they’re one of my favorite aspects of a new expansion.
Obviously, not everyone may feel the same, but for me an expansion would not be the same without levels. Ever since Wrath, I have made it a “tradition” to play the game right when midnight (or 3am..) rolls around and race to hit the new max level as quickly as possible. I know the “realm first!” mindset places me in a minority, but that doesn’t make me love it any less, and damn it all if Blizzard ever took that experience away from me.
Less personally speaking though, I think leveling serves many functional purposes as well. For starters, it gives players a real sense of accomplishment as they are moving through new content. The prestige may be diminished more so in recent expansions, but seeing someone at max level still is a way to know that character has gone through the leveling process and pushed through the grind. Aside from maybe gear, level is the first thing other players notice. Losing new levels would lessen that distinction and just take away from a sense of accomplishment and progression.
Moreover, without levels, what is there to do at an expansion’s release? Imagine Mist being released without new levels and jumping straight into the daily grind. The leveling process separated those two things and gave players a reason to quest before working to perfect their character.
“But wait!” you might say. “You could easily make a new expansion that just focused on the story without the levels! 5.1 did that and it worked great!”
To this I say, “then why not throw in levels anyways?” Seriously, Blizzard always adds new zones to an expansion. If they are going to tell a story, why not let us level as we progress through that story? 5.1 may have shown story doesn’t need levels, but in all honesty, the achievement progress was essentially a replacement for levels. It’s all the same, but the levels themselves really push things along and make players feel good about what they’ve accomplished.
No, more levels certainly isn’t a bad thing. The problem – (and I’m sorry, I’m about to stray a bit from the topic) – is the sum total amount of levels needed to hit the cap.
If we get 10 levels in the next expansion, that’s a full 100 levels before a new player is maxed out. That’s pretty daunting, especially considering the size of the world.
Blizzard has made steps to make it easier, but the result has been a sort of ridiculous disparity between “recommended levels” for zones and actual player levels.
While not a complete fix, I think it would be an incredible step in the right direction if Blizzard allowed players to level in whatever zones they pleased. Scale up or down player stats to fit the “level range” of a zone so players can experience what zones and stories they want, when they want to (with the “current content” being a possible exception). Your effective level is determined by experience, everything else is determined by the zone you are in. This would also help players level together no matter what effective level they were. The only time you have to leave a zone is when you’re out of quests. Wanna hit 85 without touching the Cataclysm zones and stay in Northrend instead? Go ahead! Love Outland and wish it lasted longer? Stay and finish the zones then!
It’s not necessarily the perfect solution – after all, 100 levels is still 100 levels – but it’s still a system the game sure couldn’t hurt from having. And while it may be a bit of a diversion from the original topic, it all ties back to the leveling experience in general: new levels on their own aren’t a bad thing. New levels + all the old ones, expansion after expansion? That is only going to become more and more overwhelming with each new addition to the game.
(Edit: For reference, the original question was posed at http://wow.joystiq.com/2013/08/15/community-blog-topic-do-we-need-more-levels/ in reference to this post from Sportsbard)
So by now, most WoW folk who would ever visit a site like this are probably familiar with the interview wherein Ghostcrawler (or “Ghost Crab” as I’ll forever call him from now on*) mentioned the consideration of a “buff” class/role. Now, I interpreted his words to imply a buff “role” rather than “class” and that got me thinking about the possibility of adding a 4th spec (and maybe a 5th for Druids) to the game that could help serve as this buff role.
Now, before I get into what a buff role might be like, let me explain why I think a 4th spec is a cool idea in the first place.
For starters, it helps to avoid over-populating the game with yet another class. So far the game has had 2 major class additions, bringing the total number of classes up to 11. While I don’t doubt Blizzard’s ability to make a new class interesting and unique, it’s starting to feel like adding a new class is just a way to draw attention to a new feature. It’s cool, and unique, but not entirely necessary. Maybe even a bit redundant.
Secondly, it means that to experience the “new class” existing players wouldn’t have to start an alt, level all the way up, and the decide at max level if they want a new main, or to go back go their old one. If you as a player love your class and love the particular toolkit available to you, you wouldn’t have to abandon your precious shadow priest you’ve been playing 7 years just to try out the new feature. All it would take is a respec and some practice and you get to experience the new spec right from the comfort of your class.
Lastly, it would add a new dynamic to the game that changes things more than a new class itself ever could. Think about it: an entirely new role. Blizzard hasn’t exactly been afraid to shake things up in the past, and a 4th role to consider for dungeons, raids, etc. is certainly a way to shake things up. But of course, that’s where the difficult actually comes in: what would a “buff” role be like in practice?
This is where I’m thinking out loud more than anywhere else, and it’s also where I’d like outside input. For me, a buff role would probably come closest to what shadow priests were in BC, maybe combined with what paladins were like in Vanilla. And hey, let’s throw in a little Disc. priest/Mistweaver monk in there as well. What exactly do I mean by that?
For those not familiar, shadow priests in BC returned mana to groups based on their damage output. What this meant is that they were invaluable to raid groups. The healer group needed a shadow priest. What it also meant was that shadow wasn’t ever going to top the damage meters. What it excelled at in utility, it suffered in pure output. And quite frankly, that was fine by me. I knew I would never top meters but I also knew I was a necessary member of the raid. Of course, what this eventually led to was Blizzard feeling “raid stacking” was becoming too important and implementing the “bring the player not the class” mantra. So how would a buff role avoid this pitfall?
Pretty much the same way it did in Wrath. A replenishment-style system of raid buffing via damage. Think of it like this for a moment: a buff role would be available to multiple classes. Each buff-specced class could use damage output to provide raids with multiple buffs (more so than just mana return). Lets say a “buff” warrior at maximum output provides the raid with a nice health boost. Or a “buff” mage doing its job allows a temporary buff of the raid that functions like a mini-Time Warp.
In other words, picture all the current buffs available, only slightly more interesting and dependent on the performance of a buff role. The buff role-er wouldn’t be topping meters, but his/her presence is what keeps the raid chugging along at maximum efficiency.
I know it might sound weird right now, but it’s an idea in progress. And coming from someone who played shadow back when damage had a direct correlation to health and mana returned, I feel the dynamic is certainly one that could help the game. It is a work in progress but still something I like the idea of very much. And at the very least, opens the discussion for a new spec to be added to the classes. A “buff” role might not work for every class, but for those that don’t there is always the possibility of adding a 4th spec, even if it’s not a new role.
Of course, there are a lot of concerns this could bring up: First and foremost, would this type of role be fun? Even if it is fun, would enough people want to play it? And in terms of gameplay, how easy would it be to balance around adding an entirely new role to the game?
I don’t have an answer to the last question (I’ll leave that up to Blizzard) but the first two, I honestly do think “yes!” People have their preferences, and I doubt I’d be alone in enjoying this type of role (if I am alone, then I guess I’m just weird).
*I may not actually call him Ghost Crab forever.