WoW: MoP Jade Forest Review and Other Miscellaney

It’s been a while since my last update, so I thought I’d check in and let you all know where I’m at. My main game has been WoW: MoP lately but I’ve dipped my toe into more than one water, so let’s jump right in.

Jade Forest Review

While “review” might be a bit overkill, I’ve played through the zone and feel comfortable sharing my thoughts. I think it’s safe to say that Jade Forest is a very well done zone and provides a great introduction to Mists of Pandaria. Each quest hub now represents a set of six or so quests that give you a nice chunk of story and usually keep the thread of the main storyline going along at a steady clip. This is a nice change from previous expansions where a dozen quests kept the story; this is much more concise and easy to follow. It also allows Blizzard to deliver story in chunks of real movements. For the first time, I found myself questing because I wanted to see what would happen next and not just to kill more furlbogs. I also had a great “wow!” moment at the end of the zone when the Sha of Doubt finally reveals itself. The lead up to that was fantastic and one of the best bits of storytelling ever seen in WoW’s quests.

Unfortunately, quest design didn’t evolve nearly as much as story in that not at all. This is why I think reviewers nailed the game so hard. Quest progression and story delivery have evolved, and even combat has had some shake-ups (while still being a 1, 2, 3, mechanic, button-mash), but what you’re actually doing hasn’t changed a bit. There are a couple outliers, like the sniper quest and other instanced story content, but the open world doesn’t get more exciting than the bombing runs first introduced in ’07. I really hope this improves as I continue through the game.

Still, WoW is WoW, and I’m having fun with it. Jade Forest is a good introduction to what I’ve always said is a good game. At this point, though, it’s an old game and virtually everything in RIFT’s Storm Legion (other than story) is showing it up. Will I stay subscribed after this month? I really don’t know if 90 is worth it when there’s such other offerings on the market.

Guild Wars 2 – No Pressure, No Login?

Guild Wars 2 is a fantastic game, no doubt about it. I like it a lot, but its systems really don’t compel me to keep logging in. There’s just no pressure to do so. While having no quests and (almost) meaningless levels is a good idea, it also means that it’s firmly an “at my own pace” kind of game. I log in here and there to play with friends or do a story mission, but I’m sitting at level 30 and don’t see myself hitting 80 before the end of the year. I’m slow like that.

What does this say about the game, though? I mean, my own experience aside, lots of people have stated similar opinions whether they’ve capped out or not. I have to think ANet isn’t exactly happy that so many people have fallen off when this was, relatively speaking, THE game of the last few years. Then again, they got their box price, so maybe it means more to us than them. I’m more worried that this will mean less content updates and more boxed expansions, similar to Guild Wars 1.

And maybe someone can explain this to me. GW players say that the game had great support. Every time I checked their site, I’d see balance updates and maybe a chunk of content for a holiday. The once and maybe every six month quest pack. Did they just not update their site enough? Bury real content additions under layers of “Buy Guild Wars” banners? I don’t really consider balance patches and holiday events as content. That’s more… “we’ve got to give them something, plus PVP!” type stuff. If they do that with GW2, they will fail.

Other Games, Other Gigs

I’ve been playing a handful of other games recently. Borderlands 2, Dishonored, War of the Roses, BF3: Armorer Kill… lots of stuff. And another game I’m not allowed to tell you about yet (but it features zombies and is a lot like a mod you might have played… stay tuned). Suffice it to say, all of the above are excellent, especially Dishonored. If you liked Deus Ex or Bioshock, you need to play that game. It’s GOTY material.

I’ve also picked a couple other gigs. I’m back at Vagary for one — I took a LoA earlier this year to handle some personal issues. I’m also writing for Hooked Gamers now, too, as a PC Reviewer. Here are two recent reviews: Cortex Command (bad) and War of the Roses (good). It’s likely that my work for those sites will take up more of my time, but I’ll be keeping up here as well.

Hey, you know what game I haven’t been playing? RIFT. Despite an extremely generous offer from their team to get a tour of the expansion, I’ve been staying away in preparation for the expansion. Now I’m in lull mode, the calm before the storm, you might say (bada bing!). It’s going to be good, guys. I just don’t want to spoil it for myself and knowing it’s just around the corner is keeping me at bay until it’s finally here. You get that way? You want to play the new version of something so much that the current version just doesn’t seem good enough (when it really is)? You’ve got to give it to them for community outreach. Trion is really something special. Shout outs, Elrar!

Anyways, that about wraps it for now. Stay strong, internets. November isn’t long!

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