With E3 going on, we've seen a lot of talk and news about other games in general recently. Since Blizzard only does Blizzcon, and we're in a holding pattern for 4.2, WoW is sort of taking a back seat. I mentioned the summer slump last week, and it's already begun to color our raiding schedule. Basically, we can expect from now until September to have at least one household away on a trip any given raid day. This tends to hurt us more than your average raid crew on account that we have a good smattering of couples. Thus, the absences tend to come in pairs.
Fortunately, we've not had to cancel any raids yet. We've been able to find subs. Which brings up the traditional question of whether to learn new bosses when you're down a regular raider, or to simply farm content with the subs. So far, we're farming. Changing a group make up even slightly can totally throw a new curve to old strategies. Like Maloriak. Hunter is on vacation, so we have no frost trap. I suppose we didn't realize how hard it is to kite without a frost trap. We'd had that fight down pat, but the removal of just one person saw us spending a few wipes on it. Nothing major, but enough to be moderately annoying. Still, I'll be extremely happy if we simply don't have to cancel any raids this summer, even if it means we don't progress very far because we're just gearing up. If you're able to weather the summer slump, you stand a good chance of hitting the fall in full stride and closing up a lot of content. I think we experienced that in ICC (coming off ToC during the summer slump).
Other than raid woes, WoW isn't really a full time job right now. I think even the more casual among us have had plenty of time to exhaust the content on a single, or even two toons. If you have a stable, you might still be working on stuff. The one thing all this E3 coverage does, especially in a lull, is whet your desire to "see other games."
There are several games on my to-play list that I'm not sure I'll get to (our summer is quite busy with weddings and travel). First, I'm extremely anxious about Star Wars: The Old Republic. I plan to get in on the ground floor there. I'd love to play with some other readers/bloggers, so when it hits, let me know what servers you're on. Fuu and I would love the company.
After that, Portal 2 is high on my list. It's probably sacrilege that I've even waited this long, but I want to give the game justice if I'm going to play it. That is to say, I need a good string of several days to immerse myself in it, because I suspect I won't want to come up for air.
The announced Assassin's Creed expansion is supposed to come this fall. I'll be awaiting that one as well. I'm a huge fan of that franchise and look forward to experiencing the next part of the story. It's another one where I'll want to have significant free time to spend with it.
Finally, right now we're actually playing a bit of Aion. Crazy, I know, but Aion has a free 10 days going on right now. Good timing on their part seeing as how I'm in a mini-lull. Can't beat free for some casual play. Fuu is loving the new pet system they put in. I've appreciated a good smattering of added quests. I don't think we'll be re-upping a sub, but it is nice to be able to dip your toes back in the water and see how things are. They seem to have fixed a lot of problems since we last played. (For example, bots seems to be all but exterminated, at least in the areas where I'm questing. And I love what they've done with the map interface. WoW should take some notes there).
My experience with Aion makes me wonder: maybe MMO's should shoot to release on a smaller scale. I think part of Aion's problem was trying to release 50 levels of polished content to immediately compete with the large games. What if they'd just started with 10 (the initial ten levels were awesome!) and then released another 5 levels every month? I've talked about being a fan of quicker, shorter patching. Maybe there's a lesson there for a new kind of MMO. Instead of large patches, what about very small, but very focused patching. More like a "serial" story than an epic adventure. From what I know of software development, I would think that such an approach would yield better results. I don't know, just a random idea.
Has E3 elicited any random general gaming thoughts from you?
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