Sunday, October 23, 2011

Now... The Other Side

I posted a list of many of the things that popped up that I am looking forward to with the next expansion, now to post a list of the things I am not to thrilled with.

Pandas -
I don't have anything against them because they are a cute type race.  We have probably thousands of pigtailed female gnomes running around that people made just for the purpose that they are considered cute.  Cute had a place even in a RPG. 

What I have against them is the fact of what they might turn out representing.  A change in the game toward an audience that isn't me.  Lets face it, no one wants the game they love being turned into something else.  I hope it is not a step in the direction of making WoW into a kiddie game and bringing in droves of people that are not fantasy RPG players into what is supposed to be an standard fantasy RPG game.

Some people might also call them silly and have that against them.  I have nothing against silly either and I am pretty sure most of the panda haters have nothing against silly, they just do not want to admit it.  I've leveled at least a dozen goblins through the starting area just because it is silly and it was fun.  The thing for me is will they always be silly?  I worry about that.  The goblin starting area is silly, but it is just a small area that is silly, not their entire life.  I worry about them making pandas silly from beginning to end.  We have silly beginning to end already, we have gnomes, we do not need more silly.

Mists of Pandaria Title -
It just does not seem to fit the pattern of the game.  Again, like I said about pandas, it feels like it might be trying to change the audience of the game.  I feel a little slighted by that.  I am the audience, or at least I thought I was. As far as I am concerned they could have called it Kung Fu Panda Adventure Island and I would have the same feeling about it as I do with them calling it MoP.  It is a horrible title.

All the other expansions where named after a focus.  Is the focus really going to be about one island only?  Doesn't seem like much if you ask me.  Would wrath have been as cool if it was called the Snows of Northrend?  Nope, it was the fact it was a long quest to kill Arthas that made it exciting.  If all we did was run around and fight bad guys that exist for no reason other then to kill them then killing them does not feel like is as important.

How would BC have fared if it where called, The Mystery of Outland and all we did was run around exploring a new area and meeting new people and new races but having nothing to aim for?  While a title is not everything, it makes you wonder sometimes.  The other titles seemed to have a purpose, this title seems to be blah, at best.

Antagonist -
The lack of having someone we need to defeat as our main goal scares me.  Why does it scare me?  Because of the grind.  We all grind for things we like, we all grind for things we are aiming for, we all grind for something, for some reason.  The grind is fun because we are aiming for something.  Once we lose our focus on what we are aiming for or once what we are aiming for no longer seems important to us, the grind becomes annoying and no longer looks like a means to an end.

Why keep grinding gear when there is no one we really want to beat on?  Sure, we will do it because we have been trained to do it.  Just like the elephants in the circus.  They chain them down with heavy chains and they try to get away every day, sooner or later they stop trying to get away, their brains where trained that they can not.  After that point you can tie them down with sewing thread and they will never try to get away.  We are trained the same way from the game into doing the gear grind.  There is one huge difference here however, I mean besides the fact we are not elephants, at least I don't think any of my readers are, we can move on.  If we are not inspired to do the grind somehow, we will stop sooner or later.

If there is no one to beat, or no one interesting to beat, where is the driving force to keep grinding?  I lost complete interest in deathwing and killing him so while I do make an effort to keep up, within reason, I do not go crazy like I did when I wanted to kill Arthas.  If something new came out BoE that was best in slot, or close to it, I would make sure I got it ASAP in wrath.  Now, who cares, I can do well enough without it, not worth getting.  That is with someone to kill and I still lost interest because that someone, deathwing, was a boring antagonist.  With no one to kill, will this expansion be able to keep me wanting to grind?

Raids -
This is one of the biggest problems with Cataclysm and they seemed to not even remotely touched on it for the next expansion.  Maybe being we have no big baddie to go after there is no need for them to address the raid problems.  I am not talking about the difficulty here.  The difficulty in Cataclysm is pretty close to perfect.  Some bosses seems to almost require a certain class to make them easier, but outside of that, raiding seems good over all.

The problems with raids are much more straight forward.  Lock outs.  We want 10 and 25 lock out back.  Check that, we need 10 and 25 lock outs back.  With the advent of the harder raiding the ability to pug has been compromised so badly that having two lock out is almost imperative.

That is where pugging failed this expansion more then the difficulty.  The ability for guild to run 10s during the week and pug 25s on the weekend.  Without that, less people get experience, less people get gear, less people know the fights to help the progression as a guild.  Also, without that, it creates stress for guilds.  Say your guild is not making the progression you personally want, or you showed up late for a raid, you might want to go grab a pug.  With two lock outs you can jump into a pug and still be available for your guild, should they need you.  Now you can not do that.

Two lock outs are needed again, maybe people have said it, blizzard has not listened.  I am not sure why something so simple is taking so long for them too fix.  Unless there is some reason they don't want to and if there is, I would love to hear it.

Pugging -
They are introducing a few things in an effort to help pugging but all of them are short sighted and not well thought out.  Raid finder would be a winner, if it where 10 man as well but they are making it 25 man only.  When tanking a 5 man trying to get 3 DPS to follow a kill order or CC or interrupt is nearly impossible, how exactly are you supposed to get that many people to do what you can rarely get 3 people to do?  A 10 man version would really help.  You could most likely fill all DPS spots from your guild so there is no need to worry about bad DPS.

Speaking of bad DPS, it seems their way to fix this is to take away their ability to choose their skills.  No matter who you are, you will now have the perfect spec for what you choose to do.  No longer will people choose the wrong abilities.  Blizzard seems to forget that bad players are bad for a reason, because they are... not good. 

Giving them the perfect spec is not going to make them play their class right.  You will still have 2K DPS boomkins, 5K DPS ret paladins, and hunters that think just shooting steady shot is a solid rotation.  If they where good players they would have had the right spec to begin with.  Giving them the right spec is not going to magically turn them into good players. 

I think they made this change to help out in 5 man pugs more then raid however, to assure you had tanks with the right tank spec, healers with the right healer spec and DPS with the right DPS spec.  It is a noble undertaking, don't get me wrong, I like that people will all have the right spec but forgive me if I don't believe this will help the bad players.

Stat Changing -
I am not really sure how to feel about this.  They changed the way we have stats in cataclysm and  it seemed okay.  Not horrible, not great, but usable for sure.  Their biggest error with changing the stats was not the change, so to speak, it was the fact they did not fix everything before it to go along with the change.
Now they are going to try to do that again and I am sure we will have even more discombobulated stats all over the place on gear that is not current gear.

I think this was needed, while numbers are just numbers and we can keep just making them bigger having them smaller makes them easier to balance and control.  So bringing them back down to earth is a good idea.

I have no problem with trying to get "in order" but if you are not going to fix previous items you are not fixing the problem as a whole, you are only addressing the current and creating a big mess for everything that came before it.

It could be a huge plus to the game, it could be a huge mistake.  That remains to be seen.  Changing how everything works every expansion however, is not a good idea.  Which brings us to change...

Change -
I'll admit it.  I am a geek that will immediately look to the experts for advice.  I will find out what stats are best for me, what my caps are for my classes, what my optimum rotation is, all that fun stuff.  As a geek I do that and I like doing it. 

The problem is, I am probably part of 25-30% of the WoW population.  The rest of the people are really just part time players, something to pass the time players, call them the true casuals if you will.  They never looked at a forum, they never studied a rotation, and even if they might care enough about their class to try as hard as they can to do reasonably well they might still think that you need to put a blue gem in a blue slot.  They don't read so they do not know any better.

It is that population of WoW that these constant changes hurt.  People like me will keep up, it is what we do, but everyone else will start feeling slighted because every time they start to feel comfortable the game changes everything on them.

Lore -
I don't know a great deal about panda lore but I do know that what I know is probably most of it because I read often.  There is just not a lot out there about them which means they need to do a hell of a lot of building on lore this expansion.

Why is this under my don't like list if I like lore one might ask?  Pandas as a whole just do not interest me to begin with.  I'll give it a go of course because I like most of the changes coming for this expansion, but I can't find myself getting hyped up for their lore.

The reason I feel their lore will be pretty much a loser of a proposition is because there is no lore connecting them to the rest of the world as we know it.  One of the greatest things about lore, good lore that is, is how everything is connected.  They are not connected with the outside world and the little bit they have been we already know about.

Are we going to need to withhold our disbelief while they try to tie everything that ever happened in Azeroth into panda lore?  I am not sure I can do that.  I will know it is bullshit, and I will know it is a stretch.  Which leads me back to, I am just not that interested in the panda lore to begin with.

Most everything else seems to be on the right path for the most part.  I read someone say a line on the forums I really agree with.

"Now I get it, they named it MoP because they are mopping up the mess they caused with cataclysm."

Sure feels that way, to me at least.

I called cataclysm a patch, not an expansion.  It felt that way.  It felt as if it were just something thrown together while they tried to figure out something they could give us that was a good story.  I will call MoP a patch as well.  It is a patch to fix all the problems they created for themselves with cataclysm.

I am still waiting for the follow up to wrath.  As far as I am concerned wrath was the last expansion.  Cataclysm and MoP are just going to be two huge patches they are charging us for.

In the end however, I do think I will like the 5.0 patch a lot more then I liked the 4.0 patch.  I just hope we get the next expansion soon, the last one was in 2008.  In game terms, that is a lifetime ago.


  1. You make an excellent point about the title, it's something I hadn't considered but you're spot-on. Mists of Pandaria feels like a patch title, not an expansion one. I'm not sure what they could have called it (not knowing really much of the lore or challenges yet) but it does really ring hollow.

    I completely disagree about separate lockouts, however. I absolutely HATED having separate 10 and 25 man lockouts in Wrath, because it felt like I *needed* to do both raids each simply to keep my gear "up to par." Like, you did your 10 man raid this week with guild but didn't pug Firelands 25 man? Slacker. You might want it back for your own genuine reasons, but it's definitely not the entire playerbase who wants it back.

    As for LFR being 25-man only, someone (probably Ghostcrawler) did mention in a Q&A that they made it 25-man because it would make it much faster for queueing, that it would be much easier to get 17 DPS into a 25 man than get 5 DPS into a 10-man. Proportionally, I can see that - 17/25 is probably a more accurate DPS/other ratio than 5/10. I do agree that it would have been nice to have a 10-man version, but you know if they did, and the wait times for long, people would be complaining to no end. I think this is one of those problems Blizzard can't really help, since it's the players who create such an abundance of DPS.

  2. Just commenting on the antagonist.

    I wouldn't have a problem with no antagonist. Classic didn't have a single one and I didn't miss anything. Actually, I think not having one is better, because it makes the world feel more believeable.

    That having said, some insectoids in Silithus re-awakening was ok. I had seen them in other places on Azeroth before. But the Panda antagonists seem a bit .. artificial. It feels like they are only there, because the developers need someone you can kill.

  3. @Rades

    I know what you means about feeling the need to raid both. I was like that, on what felt like three mains, during wrath. So it felt like I could never get everything done. Now that 10 and 25 have the same loot however I feel the "need" to raid both might not be as high as it used to be. Of course, my opinion only.

    It would be nice for me at least to be able to jump into a 25 on my hunter and still be available for the 10 if I was needed to be in it on my hunter.

    Now I have to leave my hunter, my warrior, and shaman all tied up because I never know which one I will need to bring.

    I liked having a second option. So I could raid with guild and pug. Even if it did feel stressful at times.

    About the LFR, call it selfish but I want the 10 man version so I can easily go in with all guild. It would be a great way to gear up alts, to learn fights in a watered down version for new players, and something fun to pass time and get easy valor as a guild. I see nothing wrong with that.

    At least add the option to do 10 mans only if it is a complete premade. No pugging for 10 mans. That would seem fair, maybe.


    I was not around for vanilla, so I can not really comment there. However, I don't think it would have bothered me back then because I would not have known any better. If there never was a big baddie you can't miss a big baddie not being there.

    If the story is good, if the raiding is fun, if all the other content is fulfilling, then I can see it not being a problem. Time will tell.

  4. Blizzard should allow you to raid as often as you want, but only get a maximum of X loot per week from any raid instance.
    Actually, that is exactly what they are going to do with the LFR.

  5. Separate lock-outs are never coming back. The reason is because 10m and 25m drop the same ilevel of gear, and the reason it does that is because having four tiers of gear for each raid tier makes stat inflation spiral out of control. The alternative, I suppose, would be for 25m to drop gear 2-3 ilevels above 10m, in which case I think it would just piss people off. Blizzard has experimented with ~7 ilevel difference in Cata instead of 13 ilevel, and it seems to have worked so who knows.

    Re: Antagonist. As Nils pointed out, vanilla didn't have one. Arguably, TBC didn't have one either because we never saw Illidan outside 1-2 quests and I still couldn't tell you why we went to Outland to kill him other than to ruin his day. Kil'Jaeden was technically the end boss, and we never got any hint of him until the Sunwell patch.

    I would agree with Wrath being the last actual expansion that felt like an expansion, but let's face it: Ulduar (despite being awesome) and ToC had zero to do with Arthas either. The difference is that I actually cared about ending the Arthas saga, whereas I didn't care about Illdian or Deathwing. I don't care about Panda bad guys either, so Blizzard will simply have to work on that like they did (or didn't do as the case may be) in Cata and TBC.

    On a final note... Wow is "supposed to be standard fantasy RPG?" Gyrocopters, mechanical chickens, Titan structures, steampunk tanks, leper gnomes, murlock suits, etc etc etc? It's funny what a difference it appears to make between people who didn't play Warcraft 3 before WoW and those that did. If everyone looked at WoW as an MMO version of Warcraft 3, 90% of the problems people have with the lore and pandas would evaporate overnight.

  6. Now, I know that happy Elf wasn't going to last for long XD

    Though I feel Blizzard are holding a lot back about the while meaning to the expansion. Something to give it depth and such. So right now it just seems like a shallow 'patch'.

    Interesting post,

    - Jamin

  7. With raids, they think they have a solution in random LFR. If this works well in 4.3, they will stick with it. Otherwise, don't be surprised if they switch to Plan B or Plan C for raids.

  8. @Jasmin.

    I am still happy about it. Just pointing out some of the things I have issues with. Over all it looks like the game play is going to be much better then catas, and that is all that really matters to me.


    I never played warcraft 3 but based on things people say about it I would probably love it. The only experience I've ever had with Azeroth is WoW.

    Yeah, Ulduar and ToC where just there to pass the time but otherwise, it was passing the time toward an end I felt was worth aiming for. Again, from my experiences only.


    That is a good thing with the LFR, you can only loot a boss once a week. Otherwise people like me would spam the crap out of them the day they came out and get any gear I need in one day and then be bored.


    Yeap, this 4.3 release is a test and the "real" version will be later. I hope it will be long enough for them to work out some of the issues I am sure will arise.

  9. So far, MoP doesn't seem to tackle any of the issues and concerns I had with WotLK and even more after Cata, in some cases continueing on the Cata road (e.g. SM and Scholo are next on the chopping block), so I am pretty sure I'll give it a pass.

    Stale and uninteresting levelling that doesn't prepare people for end-game; Class Quests still removed; needless PvP imbalances not dealt with (Heirlooms); pre-endgame content needlessly trivial (same); no updated Loot system even though next to wipes it's the main reason PUG's fall apart; BG maps not updated to provide cover; WSG GY change not repealed; etc. etc.

    By itself, the Panda's don't bother me much (I am that guy that always plays Gnomes, and Goblins would have been the only reason to buy Cata) but is more what MoP 'means': 'concerns people have won't be dealt with because we want to make Kung Fu Panda-Pokemon instead'.