September 11, 2009

Drama Mamas: Is it time to leave?

When an elephant walks into the room, it may be time to leave. OK, I admit the above picture is a stretch for the topic at hand, but I just couldn't resist the elephant butt. The picture for the Officer with No Respect letter may also be an obscure choice, but I just felt that the Dead Bunny Police Officer depicted in that photo didn't look like he got the respect he wanted. And I could probably hold my own in a layman's debate as to whether or not Mary, Queen of Scots was a Manipulating Queen, though I doubt that I would do well against a real historian. But enough of my excuses for this week's choices from The Commons, let's get to the letters.

Officer with no respect

Dear Drama Mamas: I'm an officer in my Guild, and there are only 2 other officers in the guild. There is this one person, who gets along really well with another officer, and at least respects the GM, but when it comes to me, I get no respect... or at least very little. When I am the only officer online, this person is really annoying, He chats in guildchat about how he misses a person when he is not online all the time, or how a body part hurts, or linking all his gear when, frankly, no one cares or had even asked.

These things aren't that bad, if they were not that often, but it's all the time. I say, "Don't Link your gear. If people wanted to see, they will look you up on the Armory" or "Please stop spamming in Guild Chat. The person will be back when they come back. Complaining about it doesn't make them come on any sooner." I get a "Sory Mam... I men sir" (His spelling isn't that great.) A hour or so after this, he starts back with the annoying things again. He doesn't listen to me, and the "mistake" of calling me Ma'am happens to often to be a Mistake.

Now, I could throw him on my Ignore List, but I'm an officer, and I need to see what everyone is saying, so I can deal out punishment when needed. I would demote him, but when another officer that he is very friendly with comes online, he will complain to them and get promoted again.

It has gotten rather bad, and I have thought about leaving the guild a few times over it. But I enjoy being an officer, and I have made a lot of good friends out of it. I don't want to complain to the other officer, as the other officer is his friend and I don't want to put him in the middle of it. The person is young, around 13/14, so I don't want to be mean to the guy. But sometimes he just annoys me so much that all I can do is be mean to him. Do you have any advice on what I should about this guildie, without hurting his feelings too much? Signed, Officer with No Respect

Drama Mama Robin: The only thing that Chatty Teen seems to be doing wrong is acting his age. He knows he can get a rise out of you and he's pushing your buttons every chance he gets. I don't condone this behavior; but as long as his cronies do, he's going to keep poking at you. Sure his misspellings, equipment linking and chatting are annoying. But if you don't have restrictions against that kind of thing in the guild, he really shouldn't be demoted for doing them. Of course, calling you Ma'am is not at all a mistake and he shouldn't be insulting an officer, but your nagging and his immaturity bring it on.

Personally, I can't handle the misspellings and immature behavior, which is why I don't belong to guilds that allow it. There are plenty of guilds out there that have the same tolerances you do. I don't think you should let your attachment to the officer title get in the way of finding a home with people who have better guildchat manners. Regardless of your playstyle, choose a guild that has an application to get in and that expects minimum language skills and maybe even an age restriction. If you are a good leader, you will work your way up to officer, no problem.

Drama Mama Lisa: Dear Officer With No Respect, I agree that you're not getting the respect you deserve – but it's a lack of respect from your fellow officers (not the Chatty Teen) that's the issue. There doesn't seem to be a clear concept of what sort of atmosphere the guild is aiming for and what standards of behavior should be acceptable. More to the point, though, there's no teamwork and mutual respect among the leadership team. Playing the demoting/promoting/demoting/promoting game based on personal impressions and relationships? Really?!?

I see three alternatives:

You meet with the GM and officers as a group, set standards and enforce them as a team.
You resign as an officer, get out of Chatty Teen's line of sight and enjoy the friendships and connections you've built in the guild.
You leave the guild and look for one with more mature members and leaders.
One thing's clear: you can't remain an officer without confronting this issue. This is, after all, the role of an officer. Good luck!

(One last thing: Parents, are you looking over the shoulders of your teens when they're gaming? This is your opportunity to instill social skills and respect for others. Don't pass by these teachable moments!)

Manipulating Queen

Hi, Dear Mamas: My question concerns a raider in the guild. That raider turns out to be a girl, and it seems she is using her "charms" to get things from members of the guild. She got promoted to raider after only being in the guild for two weeks; usually, the probation is a bit more longer.

Many guys in the guild love her. She is top healer, she's cute and she flirts with them. From what some officers learned, she is flirting (like proposing dates and related actions) to members, and after, she tries to use them to get what she wants: enchants, flasks, gold, promotion, more attention ... This has led one of the class leaders to quit the guild, since he could not stand a girl like that.

The officers and guild leader are unsure about what they should do. She is very good at what she does and all, but the way she acts is in my opinion unacceptable, and she denies everything when someone tries to talk to her. Oh also, something that may lead that she had a bad reputation: She had to rename her character at least two times -- in less than 6 to 8 months ... Signed, Worried Member

Drama Mama Lisa: This is a matter for your guild officers. Approach them with your concerns. They'll need to examine the facts and decide if That Girl is actually behaving in a way that is disruptive to the guild as a whole. After all, you've admitted that "many guys in the guild love her." They may conclude that some personality clashes are inevitable.

If the officers decide that That Girl's skills are an asset and her behavior isn't have a harmful impact on the guild at large, it will be up to you to take the next step. Obviously, be careful not to be seduced by her succubus charms. Avoid her when possible. But if merely having her around is putting a dampener on your spirits, you may need to start looking for a guild with a more compatible social culture and atmosphere. Remember, this is your hobby time; spend it among people you can enjoy it with!

Drama Mama Robin: I agree that taking it up with the officers is the best thing to do here. If they decide she is sticking around, there is something to think about before you jump ship. While I agree that life is too short and you should spend your leisure time as pleasurably as possible, you also need to keep in mind that there's always going to be That Player.

That Player is going to be immature, like the kid in the first letter, or flirty or abrasive or whatever. In a big enough guild, there may even be more than one. You need to decide if That Girl is a make or break personality clash for you or if you want to take a chance on getting another type of That Player if you change guilds. Of course, this phenomenon also occurs with That Coworker, That League Player and That Person in Your Extended Circle of Friends. Is her inappropriate behavior worse than the other personality types you might have to deal with if you make a move? If not, try to focus on the benefits she brings to your raid and put the rest of her on mental ignore.

Fan-created documentary about BlizzCon: An event for fans

Here is a link to this excellent fan-directed documentary short about BlizzCon. Just a few days ago, I kind of panned the LA Times for treating BlizzCon as such an alien thing, but this video kind of takes a different look at the same event -- instead of coming at it from an outsider perspective and treating it as if it's something 20,000 crazy people do over a weekend, it's much more about how exciting it is to be a part of an event this big. I don't know, maybe the difference is just something I see, but this fan documentary, I think, does a really great job of showing just why BlizzCon is so great, while the LA Times piece, in my view, kind of dismissed its subjects even as it was portraying them.

At any rate, Chris Nguyen did a terrific job on this -- he says that he created the short film to prepare for a few doc film classes he's going to be taking, as well as challenge his doc-making skills, and it seems like he did just that. He interviewed two of his former guildies, as well as the winner of this year's costume contest, as you can see in the video. And he says the whole thing was shot over the two days at BlizzCon and then took about eight more days to edit. Definitely a fun little film to watch, and if you've never been to BlizzCon before, it'll give you a nice look at just what it's like to show up in a hall with thousands of people who play the same games that you do every day.

September 9, 2009

No Heirlooms above level 80

Slorkuz reinstated that heirlooms will only give xp bonus from level 1-80, and none at all from lvl 80-85. This measure likely serves as a gouge to prevent players from creating alts to power-level through Cataclysm content. Specially if there are new achievements such as first level 85 on a realm. On the other hand, Blizzard would make sure everyone experiences all the Cataclysm content.

With the flying mounts, Blizzard wanted players to behold some areas from the ground level where the developers put great detail, by placing a gouge: Cold Weather Flying training at level 67.

It is currently our intention that the heirloom items will stop at level 80. Additionally, we are looking into ways to prevent the exp bonus from working when leveling past level 80.

WoW Patch 3.2.2 Hotfix Galore Sept 08/09

Blizzard issued various hotfixes in the Trial of the Grand Crusader, and the paladin class. Listed below are recent fixes the Dev team has applied to the game. Keep in mind that some of these changes may not be active until after the realm has been restarted.

Paladin: Holy Wrath Hotfix

We just deployed a hotfix to modify Holy Wrath so this spell has the same diminishing return mechanics that other player stun spells and abilities currently have. This will prevent Undead creatures that we wish to be susceptible to stun from being permanently stunned if you include enough Paladins in your raid who then rotate their Holy Wrath casts. This will affect the difficulty of Anub'arak, but we didn't want the “right way” to defeat this fight to involve bringing five Paladins who glyphed their Holy Wrath spell.

Trial of the Grand Crusader

We just hotfixed the following changes to the Trial of the Grand Crusader (aka Heroic mode).

Northrend Beasts

  • Fixed a bug where the flag that prevents a creature from gaining attack speed after a parry was inadvertently left off Gormok the Impaler. This bug is fixed in normal mode as well.
  • Increased the amount of time players have to defeat the encounter before Icehowl berserks.
  • You have an extra half second to get out of the way of a very angry charging Yeti. Players with high ping rejoice.
  • Icehowl will become tauntable. (This particular element isn't hotfixed quite yet, but should be shortly).

Lord Jaraxxus

  • Infernal Eruption will now spawn an additional Felflame Infernal the instant the eruption occurs.
  • Nether Portal now summons Mistresses of Pain slightly more often.

Darkmoon Faire France cancelled

Upper Deck has posted on their site that they have canceled the upcoming Darkmoon Faire event in France for the TCG. They've been having events all over the world of this kind, featuring tournaments, exhibitions, and interaction with the game's officials and designers (I checked out one such event when it was in Chicago last year). And while they had planned to hold a Faire in Paris in 2009, apparently it's not going to happen -- they say there was "complications" with the "venue," and the event has been shut down. They are still trying to come to France, however: they're hoping to hold an event called the Tournois du Voile d'Hiver ("Tournament of Winter's Veil" in English) in Toulouse in November.

And this really does just look like a schedule conflict, as they are still holding events in Amsterdam, Austin, and Vegas later on in 2009, and from what we've seen at various conventions this year, Upper Deck's WoW-related TCG and minis games are bigger than ever (in fact, given what I saw at Gen Con and have heard from various UD employees, it's possible that the WoW games are the company's biggest-selling non-sports product). They're planning to bring the Darkmoon Faire back to Paris next year, and that's probably exactly what they'll do.

WoW: Cranius music available on Amazon

Cranius has built one heck of a reputation as a World of Warcraft fan songwriter. His music and video credits include Big Blue Dress and the incredibly moving Darrowshire. This year, he (and machinimator partner Legs) achieved the first place prize at the BlizzCon 2009 machinima contest for their every-man video, Don't Make Me Get My Main.

All this background makes it awesome to point out that Cranius has released his music through Amazon, all collected on an album titled Big Blue Dress. The album is pretty cheap, coming in under $5.00. It includes downloads of Big Blue Dress, Darrowshire, and The Lament of Captain Placeholder, as well as his new pieces, Happy Place and Don't Make Me Get My Main. The only piece I felt was missing was Ulduar, but I can think of a few reasons it didn't appear.

At the cheap price, it's nice to be able to throw a little support at an artist who's brought so much music to the community. He's not been alone in this, of course, as both Oxhorn and Myndflame have released their music in one form or another. I think it's a wonderful opportunity, and something I support wholeheartedly. I obviously have purchased it, and am playing it on my computer even now.

The Guild episode 2 of season 3

Episode 2 of The Guild's season 3 is out now on MSN Video and in HD on Xbox Live (thanks, tipsters!), and it's the first new Guild footage we've seen since BlizzCon a few weeks ago (episode 1 came out last week, but there'd been a sneak peek of that before the season started). And Vork wastes no time at all mixing it up with Wil Wheaton playing the new rival guildleader -- he throws down as only Vork can, history lesson style.

Unfortunately, the Axis of Anarchy turns out to be more than a match for the Knights of Good, and that leads to a shocker that The Guild will probably be dealing with for a long time to come. Or at least until next week, when the new episode (and hopefully the game's new expansion) comes out. You can see the entire episode embedded right here after the break -- enjoy!

September 7, 2009

WoW Cataclysm's new race/class combinations

WoW Cataclysm's new race/class combinations
As you know, the new race and class combinations coming up in the Cataclysm will open a whole new set of doors to people who want an alternative character choice that goes against the grain of their typical racial customs, to one degree or another. With the exception of a couple combinations that feel as though they should have been there from the beginning (such as blood elf warriors, which need no discussion here), each new possibility presents roleplayers with an opportunity to play an outcast of sorts, a character who has made a significant break from the traditions his or her race usually represent.

The lore behind each combination is not yet fully clear. We know tauren paladins will probably worship the sun and call themselves "Sunwalkers" for instance, but not much more than that. Some things are clear, though, and there's a lot to get the imagination going for those roleplayers who yearn to play something a little different.

Tauren paladins and priests

Here we have the most obvious departure from the traditions and culture of a race in WoW. Blood elves already had a somewhat convoluted path toward becoming paladins at first, but their story really played out throughout the unfolding of The Burning Crusade expansion, and eventually ended in a redemption that helped make their status as paladins seem much more reasonable. Still, even if you discounted all that, you could argue that the blood elves had once worshiped the light, so it made sense that they could come to do so again.

But the idea of tauren becoming followers of the Light seems absurd at first glance. The good thing is that we're pretty much certain that the tauren paladins will not be Light-worshippers as such, not in the same way that humans and draenei are. Rather, somehow a new perspective on their ancestral connection to nature will open for them a new sort of path that just happens to bear an uncanny resemblance to the paladins of the Light over on the Alliance side, much like priests of different races have different beliefs, yet share similar powers. Whatever it is will probably make sense for tauren paladins and priests alike, but will probably still be a sort of fringe culture for tauren, much like shamanism has been for draenei.

This option seems to be the craziest of the bunch at first glance, but when all is said and done, I suspect that tauren paladins and priests will be more connected and unified with the rest of tauren culture than we would expect by just looking at the WoW lore as it is today, before the Cataclysm strikes. Taking up sun-worship may be more like the dwarves discovering their ancient roots as special creations of the Titans than a true revolution in beliefs or values.

Dwarven shamans (and mages)

Speaking of dwarves, mages are one of those classes that they probably should have had from the beginning -- but shamans, on the other hand, may prove to be something more interesting. Shamans may not have all that much connection to the Titans as such, but they are very connected to the earth element, which the dwarves now know themselves to be born of. Some dwarves of the Wildhammer clan are already shamanistic to a large extent.

Nonetheless, shamanism is something new to the general population of dwarves. Whether or not dwarven culture as a whole embraces it, it will be something most dwarves are not very familiar with, and didn't experience much growing up. I imagine it would be like the relationship between city-dwellers and rural farmers, who may generally belong to the same nation and culture, but maintain very different lifestyles within it.

Troll druids

As Michael and Daniel have already noted, there is a precedent for trolls shapeshifting and taking on animal forms already there in WoW lore. What isn't there is any sort of relationship to the moon goddess Elune and her son Cenarius, which normally forms the foundation of druidic culture. The likely connection between the night elves and the worgen indicates that worgen will have some sort of relationship with Elune, but there's nothing hinting that trolls would have one in the game at this point.

I always thought that druidism came with its own set of beliefs related to Cenarius, as well as protective attitudes about nature that I haven't seen trolls express so far. Could it be that some of the darkspear trolls are turning away even more from their vicious and barbaric past, and following the tauren druids in more constructive efforts to heal the world?

On the other hand, Michael and Daniel were thinking that trolls own belief system related to the Loa spirits could give rise to the same basic set of abilities as Cenarius-based druids. If so, this would create a "two religions, one class" type of system we will probably see emerge with the tauren paladins and priests. If so, then troll druids wouldn't be so much of a departure from their culture at all.

Human and forsaken hunters

Human hunters are likely to enter the game without any extra introduction from the new lore of Cataclysm, except maybe a bit about how the great changes in the earth have forced them to use more hunter skills in order to survive in treacherous places. Still, human hunters have been around for a while now, and it only stands to reason that they should be available to players.

Forsaken hunters have likewise been around for a long time -- Sylvanas herself is a "dark ranger," but in this case there might be an extra focus on a new regimen of dark rangers in Sylvanas' army. Far from being outcasts in their culture, forsaken hunters could be seen as their people's most elite fighting force.

Night elf mages (and orcish ones too)

Night elf mages are probably the most like proper outcasts among all the new combinations, since they openly practice something their race has sworn to abandon. As Metzen mentioned at BlizzCon, they're also a good opportunity to play a really ancient character, if that's what you'd like to do, since young night elves probably wouldn't have had much opportunity to study arcane magic lately. So if you're going to be a night elf mage, keep in mind that your character has probably been very solitary for a very long time, unless he or she would have studied either in secret, or in exile.

Orcish mages are an odd option because there's really no lore for or against them -- how orcs could come to be mages isn't really clear, but nor is there any reason why they wouldn't. Until some sort of story appears around them, it's hard to know how to roleplay one, except possibly as a former warlock, who has turned away from his or her demonological ways.

Gnomish priests

And last but not least, thinking of gnomes as priests brings to mind some exciting possibilities. I am thoroughly intrigued by the ideas Michael and Daniel had about a possible "Church of Innovation and Discovery" -- that a gnome could cast divine healing magic out of his or her faith in the constant exploration of new ideas seems perfect for their race.

Gnome priests wouldn't exactly be "rebels" as such -- gnomes don't have anything against religion as such, but up till now, the structured beliefs of other religions haven't really made sense to gnomes. Gnomes do have a lot of faith, however, especially faith in possibilities -- if you ask a gnome whether a problem can be solved or not, undoubtedly they would say yes, as long as they have enough time to figure out some sort of answer.

Still, gnomish priests clearly represent something new for their people, and an ambitious roleplayer could play one of those gnomes who thinks he knows what religion is all about but doesn't, constantly praying for the next boss to drop good loot or whatever, winking at his Light-worshipping friends as if they share a secret together.

September 6, 2009

Armor penetration being nerfed in 3.2.2

Ghostcrawler has announced that armor penetration (ArP) is being nerfed in the upcoming Patch 3.2.2. It's an early notice to players who plan on investing in armor penetration gems. Many raiding melee players (along with Marksman hunters apparently) have begun focusing exclusively on armor penetration without caring about other stats. While the mechanics of ArP can be complicated to understand, the basic understanding is the more ArP you have the more damage you deal. Heck, a Feral Druid in my guild has been known to pass on upgrades here and there primarily because it lacked ArP.

Again, this is mainly a nerf to PvE raiding but it could end up affecting PvP slightly as well. It's not expected to completely rock the arena world or anything. The worst thing that could happen is Priests (or other soft targets) like myself will survive a few seconds longer against melee heavy teams, or people like Rogues have it worse against Plate. I guess from my perspective it could be viewed as a buff!

Note that in Cataclysm, armor penetration will be removed as a stat as it has been deemed confusing in regards to its use.

WoW PTR 3.2.2 - Endless Abyss Bug

After login in into the WoW PTR 3.2.2. Build 10392, I went to Lando Longshot in Booty Bay. I logged out to launch my favorite video recorder. After login in the ground didn’t load. All the NPCs around me and my character started free falling en mass. Suddenly my character died.

I pressed the release button to get my ghost and probably to pay the spirit healer to recover my body. However, this didn’t happen. As soon as my ghost spawned, you can see in this video the spirit healer floating in the sky besides my corpse, and my ghost started free falling through the sky.

It became a nonstop loop. If this happens to you, the only way to get out of this was to press CTR + ALT + DELETE. This launches the task manager where you can terminate WoW PTR.

If it persists, keep accepting to resurrect while your ghost is still within falling range of the Spirit Healer until it self-fixes, or quit WoW PTR, delete your cache and WTF folder optionally. Then launch the WoW PTR again.

If the problems persists after all that troubleshooting, sorry—the PTR server’s hamsters need some rest. Get back later. Here MOre

Hodir Rep Commendations In 3.2.2

While doing my usual PTR testing, as I do a lot, I went about doing my usual thing on my characters to see what's changed on WoW 3.2.2 (besides the obvious Onyxia update) and came across something very interesting.

Now I'm not one to do heroics (Been farming them since I first hit 80 in January and am, well, sick of them) but since I was using a Tier 8.5 geared character I thought "Why not do the Heroic and Normal daily to test my DPS." I picked the Heroic daily as usual, but as I got to Archmage Timear to get the quest, something caught my eye.

A Sons of Hodir Commendation Badge which gives 500 reputation with the sons of Hodir instead of the usual 250 (most likely to make up for the fact that you can't champion the Sons of Hodir).

I feel that this will be very useful to use on my alts as well as my main (who is fairly far away from exalted as I dread doing dailies) for leveling up my Sons of Hodir reputation to get my epic shoulder enchants .

Armour Penetration Nerfed for 3.2.2

In the latest build of WoW 3.2.2 on the PTR, it seems that Armour Penetration, after only recently being buffed to 125% has been nerfed to 110%. I went to the forums to see if I could find anything, and of course our lovely crab friend Ghostcrawler shed some light on the matter.

The nerf to armor pen in 3.2.2 is intentional. Compared to the recent buff where we increased the value of armor rating to 125%, this nerf would take it back down to 110%. While we are still evaluating the effects of this change in the 3.2.2 build, we did want to let you know of the possibility in case you were about to spend a lot on armor pen gems.

In fact, this was really the point. Several melee specs (and Marksman hunters) had begun to focus on armor pen at the expense of all other stats. Gear without armor pen was being passed over and gem sockets were increasingly being filled with just this one stat. While every spec has stats that are more valuable than others, this one felt like it was starting to trump everything. Not coincidentally, characters stacking lots of armor pen were starting to do more damage than their peers and more damage than we were comfortable with.

This change is largely for PvE reasons, though we won't cry at all if melee damage in PvP drops a little as a result.

We're letting you know now so that this doesn't feel like a stealth nerf, assuming it goes live. While you might disagree or be frustrated by the change (though I also suspect it won't come as a surprise to many players), we ask that you try and keep your response to something appropriate for these forums.
As a warrior I don't see this as a huge nerf, especially as I don't ArP stack at all, in fact I prefer to rely on pure AP and crit for my damage. However some people (Marksman Hunters and Arms Warriors for example) have done the ArP stack and are, well, let's just say "not too happy"

GC then followed up with this post.
There is rarely an ideal time to announce a nerf. In the case of e.g. the Prot paladin healing nerf, we had already decided we were going to fix it and how we were going to fix it so we announced it relatively early. The armor pen decision included more debate. I am sorry if the timing was bad for any of you personally, but we certainly can't promise that future nerfs or buffs won't necessitate gear changes.

I wouldn't focus too much on the issue of using too many of the same kind of gem. There are plenty of situations where that has been the case since BC (though it's not ideal in a perfect world). Rather the case was that classes that had been using Agi or Str or whatever were now switching almost exclusively to armor pen and being greatly rewarded for it. Gear without armor pen was being passed over. Specs that benefited a lot from armor pen were outstripping specs in the same class. As many other players have concluded, it was just too good.

That said, we don't think it will be a trash stat if we make this change. If you could beat plate-wearers in PvP before we don't think that will suddenly flip overnight. We don't think you'll feel the need to shard your items with armor pen.

We also think the change is good for both PvE and PvP. My earlier comment was to try and discourage players from thinking their PvE got nerfed for PvP reasons, though that absolutely happens sometimes when we can't avoid it. Some players have been concerned about the power of melee classes in Arenas. While this change alone isn't likely to sway their opinions, chilling out melee damage in PvP probably isn't a bad thing.

Yes, armor pen is gone in Cataclysm, at least as a rating on gear. Until then we want it to be a good stat but not one that trumps every other gear consideration.
I for one welcome the changes to the World of Warcraft and see this change as a change for the future, at least until Armour Penetration is removed.

Will you be checking out Cataclysm?

Goblins and Worgens, oh my! Changes in different mechanisms, and a complete revamp of World of Warcraft's old Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor. At BlizzCon 2009, Blizzard announced their next expansion, titled Cataclysm. Players will have the option of rolling a Worgen on the Alliance side, or a Goblin on the Horde side, exploring in new (old) lands and getting killed in new and exciting ways. Of course, for the lore nerds, Deathwing is popping up, ready to chow down on a bunch of new adventurers. That, as they say, is just the tip of the iceberg!

Is WoW next expansion Cataclysm now on your gaming "must have" list? Is the idea of being able to roll a Goblin who can access their bank remotely every 30 minutes something that catches your attention? Are you all about the Worgen, having been mauled by the Sons of Arugal in your earlier World of Warcraft career? Or are you pretty firmly burned out on WoW - or fantasy in general - and will instead be enjoying the silence as tons of MMO gamers stampede for the nearest game store at launch?