Hi! I’m back. Christmas was good, thanks for asking. No, I didn’t get anything done on the RPG. I did gain about five levels in World of Warcraft, though (and these were levels 53-58, not insubstantial).

I honestly don’t know what to do about World of Warcraft. I’ve been playing for over a year, and I am the definition of the casual player. I am approaching level 60 with my first character (a human paladin named Surago) and now I’ve got some problems.

The first is that the paladin class is one of the worst in WoW. Blizzard just doesn’t know what to do with the class. We can’t fight; our damage per second is the absolute worst in the game. We can heal but our heals take a long time to cast and therefore half the time our target dies before the heal gets off. We can remove some debuffs but not all of them. In the end, everything we do can be done better by other classes, and the weaknesses of the class become more and more apparent the closer characters get to 60. So why did I pick this class? Because I didn’t know all this a year ago when I started playing, and because the paladin represented exactly what I wanted to play – a fighter who can also help others out with heals.

The second problem concerns the radical shift in gameplay that occurs in WoW once you reach 60. During the level progression, you can track how far along your character is and how much effort you need to expend to improve him. Getting better gear is nice, but levelling up will improve your character more.

Once you get to 60, the only way to make your character significantly better is with better gear. Unfortunately, all the really good gear in the game comes from random drops from raid bosses, and these drops have really low percentages. They also bind to your character on pickup, so they cannot be sold on the auction house to other players. So you run instances over and over and over and over hoping your item drops. A friend of mine in my guild just got the final piece of his Tier 0 set – which is the most basic class-specific armor set in the game – and it took him one hundred and seventy-six runs through the Scholomance dungeon before his damn hat finally dropped.

One hundred and seventy-six times through a 2.5 hour dungeon. To get one piece of an armor set that isn’t even that good.

What this means is that you can no longer track your character progression. The odds that anything you need will drop on a certain raid are about 2%. I’d never play a gambling game with odds that bad (and neither would anyone else!) but here I am paying $15 a month to do just that – spend my time gambling over and over, praying that what I want drops. To barely improve a character of the worst class in the game.

I think I’ll probably just start an alt instead.

Okay, new topic. Saw Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence. In the end, I felt about it the same way I felt about the original Ghost in the Shell. Gorgeous movie, interesting ideas, tried too hard to mean something, but still very enjoyable. There wasn’t quite as much action in this one, though.

Let’s see…anything else? After I wake up a bit more, I’ll probably make the obligatory New Year’s Resolution post.