April 1st Came 23 Minutes Early in Europe - 3.31.2008

At 11:37 PM on March 31st, somewhere in Europe (Sweden?), Kungen made a post on the official Nihilum website that the guild will be breaking up and that most of the members will be quitting.

"If you think you’re freaking hilarious (you’re not) and are thinking TOO LONG DIDN’T READ, let me sum it up for you. Nihilum is finished and most of us have quit. Bye.

It’s been a 3 year roller coaster ride. We have enjoyed ourselves, sometimes. But all good things must come to an end and all that. I think we have reached a point where enough is enough. There is only so much your face can take after repeatedly smashing it against a wall. It seems like we are fighting a multi-million dollar company whose sole purpose is to destroy every last bit of fun hardcore guilds can have. We’re a bunch of fishies swimming against the current. A rare breed of little fishies that don’t want everything given to them on a plate and are happy when they accomplish something that is a challenge.

It all really comes down to the state of the PVE game at the moment. It’s something that totally contradicts our reason for existence. We always try to use every single advantage given to us. And thus we are forced to “test” PTR content just to stay ahead or keep on par with other guilds. This is ridiculous, we should not be testing anything, an internal testing team should. Oh how incredibly awesome it would be to zone into and new instance and not have a CLUE what bosses exist, or what tactics to use to kill them, or what gear will drop.

I think the Sunwell gate “idea” was the final blow. Why bother trying to compete for world firsts if the leading guild has to twiddle their thumbs waiting for the next stage to be open, watching everyone and his mother catch up. Why bother race to the finish line when it’s only Kil’jaeden that matters? It’s like a four hundred meter race where everyone has to stop and wait for the last guy every hundred meters. It’s unreasonable, and makes me not want to bother. And when everyone in the guild has that mentality, it collapses.

“Make some positive suggestions instead of whining blah blah”
We are not the company with infinite resources and the best creative and design team gaming has to offer, we don’t need to come up with anything, we are useless bums living in our parents basements remember?

So what will happen to Nihilum?
Some of us will go, some of us will stay and play the casual game it’s become. But eventually you will see us make a comeback in a new game. Thanks to the fans. We pretended those level 1 whispers didn’t matter. But they made our days! We screenshotted every one, every single one! And we look at our screenshot folder on lonely days to cheer us up. Thanks to the sponsors that believed in us. We had such big plans coming for the website and the community...a pity really :(.
Goodbye cruel world...

...of Warcraft.
P.S “Activision Blizzard” doesn’t make sense."

April Fools, everyone!

No, but seriously, I don't care if this post was "technically made on the 31st of March". Blizzard did the same thing with the Wisp's joke in 2006. It's a joke, people! There is NO WAY that Nihilum will be leaving WoW - at least not right now. There is still too much for them to do between the Sunwell and WotLK. Besides, Nihilum leaving WoW and going to a different game would be like Jim Carrey leaving the comedy genre and doing dramas. It just wouldn't happen and if it did it'd be a complete disaster. Oh, wait...

Even if I'm completely retarded and they actually are "breaking up", my guess is that another incarnation of the guild will appear with some of the old members.

-Matt Graham

Busting Down Kil'Jaeden's Door - 3.29.2008

Hawt diggedy dawg, we have a new patch! Writhe in irrevocable joy fellow WoW players; for new content is upon us! Servers are bustling to complete the endless stream of dailies to unlock the new features of Quel'Danas - I found a rather nifty progress page for Europeans (looks like there's an American version as well, fear not) and it all feels rather AQ gateish. Pardon my involuntary transformation of 'gate' into an adjective, but it sounds good dagnabbit!

Anyway, raiders have been bustling to kill bosses in the new 25 man instance, Sunwell Plateau. I can say from my own experience that the boss fights are very challenging and a welcoming breath of fresh air from Mount Hyjal and Black Temple. Oh wait, I mean Mount Badgel and Badge Temple - for the badges are also upon us! Everywhere you look mobs are dropping Badges of Justice like there's no tomorrow. I found one in my daily quest reward today as well, staring back at me like some grotesque blue child molester. These things are everywhere....

I'm wandering off the point somewhat, apologies. Heading back to the Sunwell, we can see a number of guilds have already half cleared the place; notably SK-Gaming, also known as Meet Your Makers, formerly known as Curse. If these guys sell out any more we're gonna have a hard time keeping track of them. Anyways, they managed to down the third boss within 5 hours of Sunwell being open. This doesn't mean the instance is easy, nor does it mean SK-Gaming is a bunch of spectacularly accomplished individuals who we should all offer to wash their cars with our testicles; it is worth noting that this guild also killed the first 3 bosses on the PTRs, so the boss fights weren't exactly new to them. However it is still a great achievement, so congratulations to them. With the gate openings now normalised across all servers the real test of prowess will surely be Kil'Jaeden himself, who no-one outside of Blizzard has tested. The first guild to down him will have proven themselves particularly skilled.

If anyone wants an actual accurate list of who's killed what when in EU and US, SK-Gaming's list is by far the most accurate list to date; various other sites are not reliable at the current time.

I would also like to point out at this time, with a certain air of snobbery and foolish pride, that EU guilds have consistently beaten US guilds to the kills even though you Yanks had the headstart. Both SK-Gaming and Inner Sanctum cleared the instance on the first day they had it available to raid, whilst US guilds dawdled, possibly searching for the mystical Ben & Jerry's Melted Fried Mars Bar ice cream that was rumoured to be hiding within the depths of the Sunwell, mmmm... Actually I think I'd dawdle if that ice cream came into view, sounds digustingly delicious.

But enough of my patriotism or Europeatism (today truly is a good day to be making up words). I do hope you are all enjoying the new features of the patch, and scurrying about like little beavers to complete the phases and open up that armory because I want my Epic Gems! Ya know? :)

-Joe Zara [Phoee]

Ding, 70! - 3.25.2008

So, I finally hit level 70 on my original character, Punchline the Gnome Rogue.

The night the Burning Crusade released, I drove home as fast as I could (maybe a little too fast) and threw the disks into my drive. As I had it installing, I planned exactly what I was going to do to achieve level 70 as fast as possible. Well, it didn't go exactly as planned...

I got to level 62 that very night by running instances at the Hellfire Citadel. It was so great! Everything was so new and there wasn't one single person on the server that was max level yet - everyone had an equal chance to become great players again! New environments, new items, new quests, new mobs (well, new skins of old mobs), etc.! It was so fun! And then, I visited Zangarmarsh...

I cannot even begin to explain how much I hate that zone. I don't know what it is because the quests aren't really that different there from the other zones, but I just can't stand it there. I thought that I would just truck through it, but that didn't exactly happen...

I'm what you could call an "altoholic". I'm constantly rolling up new characters. However, I didn't expect that I would quit Punchline for an alt so close to level 70. But, it just so happened that I hated Zangarmarsh so much that I decided to quit Punchline forever at level 64 and reroll. Besides, I hated rogues! Before recently, I honestly never completely understood the class. I always played it incorrectly.

An Orc Hunter. That's what I rerolled as. It was almost refreshing to play through Azeroth yet again because this time it was on the Horde side - the faction that I never played past level 36. It was fun, I really like my hunter. It kinda sucked though, because Punchline is on a PvP server (Korgath), I had to roll my hunter on a completely new server. He was originally on Vashj (PvP), but I later transferred him to Lothar (PvE) to be with friends. The hunter hit 60 two days after the patch with the higher rate of experience gain from level 20-60 came out, so that kinda sucked. It took about 8 days play time to get to 60, so I'm pretty proud of that.

I decided to take a little week long break from WoW after I hit 60 on the hunter. Right when I was about to start playing again, I was told that all my friends had quit WoW. So, now I was a level 60 Orc Hunter on a server that I no longer had friends on and was strange to me. I haven't touched that character since the day my friends told that they had quit...

I decided to give rogues another try. I logged on Punchline and quested in Zangarmarsh for about 10 minutes before I logged off. My friend told me to just skip Zangarmarsh because it wasn't as necessary as I thought it was. So, I went onto Nagrand. It was a little tough for a level 64, but nothing too bad. Some time later I hit level 68.

I no longer hated rogues; however, I did hate Outland and leveling. Those last two levels are tough. But, my friend wanted me to hit 70 so bad that he provided me the incentive that I needed. He was going away for a week and he said that if I hit 70 before he came back, he'd buy my flying mount for me. Done.

Five days later, last night, I hit 70 with a group in Shattered Halls. It didn't feel quite as epic as when I hit 60 back in the day, but it felt pretty damn good.

Now, I can be an altoholic but know that I was still able to manage one character to 70. However, I foresee problems with Wrath of the Lich King...

P.S. - I'd like to thank Wideload, Breticus, Lid, and Redstarquad for that great Shattered Halls group last night. Thanks!

-Matt Graham

New PTR Builds - 3.8.2008

Over the past couple of weeks, Blizzard has introduced several new builds onto the patch 2.4 PTR: from new Badge of Justice loots to Lifetap changes (and back again). Many new and somewhat enterprising elements have been added to gameplay all in an effort to get feedback on what the playerbase is wanting.

Some of these changes have been good, some have been bad, depending on your perspective and why you play the game. For me personally, as a PvE raider, the new Sunwell content has been most refreshing and a clear challenge, and similarly the updates to professions such as the new Defense Enchants, the superb new Alchemists Stones (an update long required), and the vast quantity of new Jewelcrafting recipes are making the upcoming patch look like a ray of sunshine in the abysmal dark cloud of re-clearing farm content week after week.

For the PvPers as well, there have been substantial tweaks - the introduction of the Test Tournament Realm (TTR) for starters is a great way for Arena teams to test their potential by choosing whatever gear they desire, along with of course the Season 4 gear previews; all of which is looking pretty tasty.

One thing that really made me feel like Blizzard actually give a rat's arse about balance in arena matches was the post by Kalgan showing the percentages of classes at certain ratings. Clearly Blizzard is at least aware of what's happening and measures have been taken/will be taken to correct it - part of the general rampage for E-Sport acceptance I presume.

On the downside it looks like there is still extensive testing to go. The final boss in Sunwell has yet to be encountered, and the PTR notes are changing, if not daily then fairly frequently, so it's bound to be at least another 2 weeks before this thing hits Live Realms.

But to be honest, I'm much happier seeing things are being tested and tweaked than sitting around on my 2nd or 3rd alt running Steamvaults for the umpteenth time for some damn gem which they've now nerfed anyway. Oh well... :D

-Joe Zara [Phoee]