Thursday, 21 February 2013

The daily grind

For nearly 4 years, I've played World of Warcraft, which is now into its 4th expansion set. There are times, though, when it seems to crowd out a lot of my other interests - not least of all blogging. Lately I've been making an average of just 1 post a month - despite there being no shortage of things to blog about - and for regular blog readers, it's too long a gap.

I'm currently in the process of completing a quest line for a legendary item - itself just part of a wider unfolding plot in the latest expansion - and it basically involves earning 6000 Valor Points. As of the current Warcraft patch (5.1.0), players are capped at a maximum of 1000 of these points per week, making the completion time a minimum of 6 weeks. I'm already about halfway through, and it's proving to be something of a daily grind - one of the ongoing complaints some Warcraft players have of the game. If it's anything to go by, 1000 Valor Points per week involves something like 5 raids (90 points each per week) and 7 heroic dungeons (80 points daily).

So far, WoW has remained nearly unchallenged for almost a decade now as the definitive, and most popular, MMORPG. Upstarts like Star Wars: The Old Republic, All Points Bulletin and City of Heroes have tried, and failed, to knock Warcraft off its perch. A lot of these competing games have given the impression of reinventing the wheel, or have taken first-rate concepts and let them down with second-rate execution. Even long-established titles like EverQuest and EVE Online haven't exactly set trends.

Yet one project might just break the ice. Paizo Publishing, the publisher of the highly successful Pathfinder RPG books, has exceeded its Kickstarter goal for the forthcoming Pathfinder Online MMORPG being developed in partnership with Goblinworks. The developers claim to have learned from the experiences of previous MMOs, and cite a number of differences setting it apart from what came before it - namely their belief that most MMOs are 'theme parks', and putting more of a focus on the players. More importantly, it intends to do away with the long grinds in questing and crafting that risk taking the novelty out of a game.

In the meantime, I'll try my best not to let one activity get in the way of the others. After all, it pays to enjoy everything in moderation - including a decent beer.