Nearly every week, Blog Azeroth proposes a shared topic to be discussed by World of Warcraft bloggers. For the week of December 9, 2012, the topic is: What raid-drop pets would you like to see? In Patch 5.1, Blizzard added battle pets as drops from certain raid bosses in Molten Core, Blackwing Lair, the Temple of Ahn’Qiraj, and Naxxramas. An achievement called Raiding with Leashes was also added. It requires players to collect all of the new raid pets and it awards a pet of its own, Mr. Bigglesworth. Patch 5.1 also changed it so that players could enter old raids without being in a raid group and the mechanics of certain bosses were changed to make them easier to solo.
At this time during World of Warcraft’s release schedule it would be typical to feel a certain sensation of pre-expansion excitement. Having played World of Warcraft since The Burning Crusade, I fondly remember being excited about both Wrath of the Lich King and Cataclysm. However, with under a week left until Mists of Pandaria’s release, my feelings on the expansion can be summed up with “meh.”
I want to be excited about Mists of Pandaria, but I am finding it more and more difficult as the release date gets closer. One of the things that got me hyped about the previous expansions was the pre-expansion world events. The Scourge Invasion preceding Wrath of the Lich King is probably my favorite, but even the Elemental Invasion set the mood for Cataclysm. It seems Mists of Pandaria will not contain any pre-expansion world event. Blizzard has instead opted to use a Scenario called “Theramore’s Fall” to set the stage. Was it enough to bring some needed hype to Mists of Pandaria?
I am sometimes often accused of being too critical when I judge gameplay mechanics. For example, while I understand that an invisible wall is sometimes the best way to limit a player’s movement, generally I find them to be a product of lazy game design. I also think it is cheap to temporarily take away a player’s abilities during an encounter just to make it more difficult (like removing Ezio’s ability to use “acrobatics” in Assassin’s Creed: Revelations or decreasing the player’s health in Bioshock).
I feel the same accusation mounting as I write this, but I cannot help it. For a while now I have felt that games lack a certain amount of creativity in their plots. It was difficult for me to put my finger on it exactly, but I felt like I encountered the same story in every game I played, even though they were very different at first glance. After I thought about it, though, I realized that there are two plot devices that are far too common: zombies and super weapons.
Time has finally come to conclude my analysis of Assassin’s Creed: Revelations. In case you missed them, please read through the previous articles on Sequences 1-3 and Sequences 4-6. The goal of these articles has been to express the problems in game design and to see if these problems were addressed in the upcoming Assassin’s Creed III, which is slated for an October 30, 2012 release date. Without further ado, let us see how the end of the game stacked up against the previous sections.
Let us start with the basics. DRM stands for Digital Rights Management. When applied to the context of PC video games, DRM is the method a publisher uses to verify that the game was purchased through a legitimate source and not pirated. Back in the early days of games, there was no DRM. I still have a few MS DOS games in a box somewhere that employ no method of verifying the game was actually purchased and not just illegally copied. As time went on, CD keys became the industry standard for DRM. Every game would come with a long string of numbers and letters that had to be entered before installing the game. Eventually, with the increasing popularity of the internet, those numbers were checked with an online server and if the same number was used too much, it was no longer valid.
But times are changing.