It’s time to experiment with WoW again for a little bit. So, naturally, I’m going to do some reasearch first.
First and foremost, I’m playing with the Talent Calculators, plotting out my character. Interestingly, I may well have spent more time researching these things than actually playing the game… which also means that I don’t actually see these talents in action, since I don’t get to the upper levels of the game. So, I’ll just offer a hearty Thank You to those hearty souls who make Talent Calculators available (Blizzard does so, but so do others, like WoWWiki or WoWHead, if I want a side order of theorycrafting and commentary). I thrive on data, and it’s really nice that it’s out there for when I don’t have time to actually derive it myself firsthand.
(Cue tangential commentary on my utter lack of credentials since I’m not a WoW raider, or some casting of aspersions regarding my ivory tower analysis of games that I’ve not made out in the trenches with.)
I wish that more game designers would make that sort of data available, rather than leaving it to the province of FAQ writers and theorycrafters. It’s especially important when choices are irreversible, you’re expected to spend months with them (and still have fun), and time is limited. Yes, I’m a careful consumer, and while a bit of flailing around exploring the system can be fun, I just don’t have the kind of time I once had to play and replay these things. I’d like to know beforehand what my decisions will mean, so giving me that data often makes a significant difference whether or not I’ll be playing your game today, or waiting for it to hit the bargain bin, accompanied by FAQs by the early adopters.
Second, I’ve been puttering around in the Armory. I like the Armory, because it lets me see what names are out there. I’ve got a great idea for a character name that I’m going to use, and nobody else is using it. Names matter, at least to this old wordsmith, and finding a name that is interesting, laden with meaning, and completely unique makes me happy. I was a little sad that Emow was already used, but I’ll get over it.