Friday, January 18, 2013

Is Blizzard Sending Mixed Messages?

I wonder if sometimes the people at blizzard really talk to each other when they design things.  I wonder if they actually look at all the data they collect.  I know they are capable of doing things right, we have seen it many times in fact, but sometimes they just lose touch with some of the concepts they themselves created.

Lets take valor gear next patch.  I know it is just the PTR but lets look at were things stand now and then hope they look at their own statements and data and change it.  From the little bits of data I have been able to find, mostly on wow-insider* posts, the new valor gear will be linked to raid reputation.  What is worse, is that you will only get reputation for beating bosses.

Mixed message #1 here.

Point/Badge gear was introduced as a catch up method for new players or alts to get gear or for people with bad luck with drops to fill in missing pieces.  If you link purchasing the gear to a raid reputation to get to be able to buy it and that reputation can only come from killing bosses the odds are that by the time you reach revered to be able to buy the valor gear you will already have full raid gear.  Excuse me?  I need to be in full raid gear to buy the gear that is meant to catch me up if I do not have raid gear?  Yeah.  I absolutely read that wrong or I am missing something because no company as large and successful as blizzard can be that off base.  You need better gear to buy lesser gear?

So point/badge gear was added to allow people to catch up, but you can not buy it until you are raiding the current raid anyway.  Mixed messages much?   I at least hope the LFR awards reputation for boss kills or no one will be able to gear up a non raiding alt.

Mixed message #2 here.

Item upgrades were added as an additional way to spend valor if you do not have anything to buy with valor.  Excellent idea.  Keeps people playing because it keeps them wanting to cap because there is always something they can use valor on.  The more ways to spend valor the more reasons there are for people to continue capping.  I like it, solid idea.

Now enter 5.2.  Already mentioned, people will not be able to get the new valor gear unless they raid, so there is no catch up mechanic there any more and it is something new players and alts can not spend valor on.  So at least they can use that valor on the 489/496 gear and upgrade it right?  Nope.  That 489/496 gear will still be locked behind a huge reputation wall for new players and alts, and you will not be able to upgrade it because they are removing the person that upgrades it.

So people are left with two options, do the rep grind to buy lesser gear that is out of date before you even buy it and you can not even upgrade it, making that an unattractive option, or cap valor because you now have absolutely nothing to spend it on because they are removing the ability to upgrade gear.

So you added the upgrade option to give people more to do with their valor, and then release a patch that only raiders will have something to spend valor on and remove it so others now have nothing to spend it on?  Excuse me.

Do you want people to continuously earn valor keeping them playing all the time?  Then let them have something to keep spending it on.  Locking the valor gear behind a rep non raiders will not have and removing the upgrade option leaves them with absolutely no reason to even give a shit about earning valor.  The exact opposite of why the upgrade system was released.

Mixed message #3 here.

They want people to get to end game as soon as possible.  It is why leveling has been made so much faster.  They design things for the end game so they want people playing the end game at some level.  Even if that means the most difficult content they ever see in the LFR, the designers want them there as fast as possible.

So why are they making it so hard for the new players to get into it come 5.2?  Sub par gear will be all they can buy with valor and that will still be locked behind a reputation wall and they won't be able to upgrade it.  So if you want to play catch up quickly, valor gear is not the answer.  So grinding dungeons and LFR will be.

Being the new players and alts will not be able to buy the 5.2 valor gear there will be no quick catch up mechanic for them.  They will need to grind dungeons to get to 460, then those LFRs to get to 470, then they will surely need some reputations to get some 489/496 pieces to help get to 480 to get into the newest LFR.  And that is only if they get lucky with drops and you know that will not happen.  One of my characters has done the LFR, all 5, for 6 weeks straight and has not seen one thing drop, not even something he did not need.  So gearing up by the LFR is not really a reliable option.  Valor gear was always the best catch up mechanic and that is a non-factor if the person can not even get into the LFR that gives you rep to be allowed to buy it.

So they want people to get to the end game as soon as possible, but they do not want people to be able to play it?  What is with this speed is everything approach and then slowing them down.  If leveling was slow and gearing up was slow at least it would be consistent.   Pick a type of game you want to make and make it.  Making it both ways just sends mixed messages.  Do you want people end game as soon as possible or not.  Make up your minds.

Mixed message #4 here.

We want to give people options.

If you want to buy valor gear?  Do dailies.  Do you want to get elder charms?  Do dailies.  If you want reputation?  Do dailies.   I am one of the people that love dailies, except for the golden lotus ones, but I just do not get it.  Am I missing something here or am I the only one that sees only two options. Do dailies or don't do dailies.  I do not consider them options.

This is how options works.

If you want by buy valor gear?  Earn valor from the myriad of ways you can get valor (dungeons, raids, scenarios, dailies, challenge modes, etc.) and just buy it.  No gates to it.  Now that gives you options to get it.

If you want reputations?  Get it from quests, mob kills, dungeons, repeatable quests, etc.  Not just dailies.

If you want to get elder charms?  Have 10 for the first dungeon and 5 each additional.  Have each raid boss drop 5.  Have all dailies, even old school ones like the SW/org fishing and cooking dailies give max level characters 1.  Have scenarios give some, have the world bosses drop a few.

Giving more than one way to get everything means giving people options.  Telling people they do not have to do it if they do not want to is not an option.  Sure, it is a do it or don't option, but that is not a real option.  A real option is having multiple ways of doing things.  Having only one way to do things and saying do it or don't is not giving people options.  Definitely mixed messages, or just a complete misunderstanding of what options means by the people that work for blizzard.

Mixed message #5 here.

We want everyone to be able to see end game.  Okay, so LFR was created as a way for everyone to be able to see the raid content.  I can accept that, but if that is truly the case why is the LFR so hard?

I am not saying it is hard so to speak, what I am saying is that it is hard for the people it is aimed at.  If it were not for people doing slightly better, like me or you, or anyone that actually reads online about the game, the at least better than average player because we research, they would never get it down.  For the players it is aimed at, it is too damn hard.

So the LFR was created for the average player right?  Then why can't a group of average players do it?  If all the DPS were doing 30K and all the healers were doing 20K at most and all the tanks were rarely using the cooldowns, as those are the number the average player do, do you think anything in even MV LFR would be going down?  Nope, not in a million years and not with a million tries.  Those numbers are the numbers the LFR should be designed for.  The LFR should not be designed that you need at least a few better players to carry everyone else.  It should be designed for the people it is aimed at.

So if the LFR is meant for people to see content why is it not designed for the people it is meant for?  Yeah, really a mixed message here.  The message the LFR sends out is, it is okay to be bad and let other people carry you.  Sorry, not a good message to be sending blizzard.

Mixed message #6 here.

We do not want people to feel that have to do both each week.  That was the reason for making 10 and 25 man raids the same lock out.  They did not want people to feel like they were forced to do it.

Then they added dailies you needed to do to open valor gear purchases, making people feel like they were forced to do them.  Then they added the LFR as an additional gearing up step for those that might need it, making people feel like they were forced to do it.  Then they added an upgrade system to make valor useful all the time so you can always have something to spend it on, making people feel like they were forced to cap.

You removed what was probably the #1 reason for the raiding boom in wrath because you felt people might feel forced to do it and then added a whole slew of other things people feel forced to do.

Just give us the 10 and 25 on separate lock outs again and let us decide if we feel forced to do it.  You are content to give us valor gating and letting us decided if we are forced to do it.  If you want to recapture the glory days of wrath when it opened raiding to so many new people you need 10 and 25 back on separate lock outs.  This, we do not want people to feel forced to do it, argument just does not cut it when you made an entire expansion about people feeling forced to do things to gear up.  Can't have it both ways.

I just don't get some things they do.

Blizzard is sending us a lot of mixed messages but none perplex me more than needing a raid reputation you get from killing bosses to buy the gear you are supposed to use as catch up gear to get into the raid.  Don't they understand that if I am raiding on a character, thus killing bosses, I won't need the valor gear but on my alts that I do not raid with I will, if they want to at least stay somewhat caught up on the sidelines as back ups.  If I don't raid with my back up how am I supposed to get the gear to get ready for the raid if the only way I can get ready for the raid is by being in the raid.  It makes no sense.

At least we should be able to get the reputation in LFR.  At least I hope we will.  After all, we can get the legendary stuff in the LFR so we should be able to get reputation too.

But please tell me that I am not the only one hoping that this early information from the PTR about buying valor gear is wrong and I am not the only person that seems a bit confused by it.  I just do not see what use a valor chest piece will do for my raiding characters when they will probably have their tier chest piece by the time I have enough reputation to buy the valor one.  I must have read that wrong.  It just makes no sense.  Hopefully I missed a line reading about it on wow-insider.  Hopefully something else hasn't been datamined yet.  Because as is, it is the ultimate mixed message.

Need valor gear to get caught up quicker to the current raid tier for new players or alts, but can't buy that valor gear until you are already raiding it and downing bosses regularly and do not need it any more.

Yeah, some serious mixed messages there.

Please someone tell me I completely read that wrong.

* Source

Quotes of note that I refer to:
Join the Shado-Pan Assault in their singular drive to see Lei Shen, The Thunder King, defeated once and for all, and gain access to impressive Valor reward items. Reputation with this faction can be earned only within the Throne of Thunder raid dungeon.
Given that valor upgrades will be removed, and some valor gear, if not all, tied to progress in the new raid, how will players, particularly those with alts, gear up?

That is that is the same thing I am worried about in this post.


  1. I think you answered your own question in the first sentence.
    "Point/Badge gear was introduced as a catch up method for new players or alts to get gear or for people with bad luck with drops to fill in missing pieces"

    this valor gear from the rep is probably not for catch up purposes its for people with bad luck with drops to fill in missing pieces

    1. It still works for the bad luck people, which is me for sure, but what about alts? What about new players? What about the catch up factor that point/badge gear was made for?

    2. Valor wasn't made for catch up purposes though. That's what the dungeons/previous tiers/Justice gear was for.

      Blizzard's position (which is different from the playerbase's) is that you don't need Valor gear to start raiding, you just need decent blue gear from dungeons.

      Valor has always been to supplement the current tier of gear.

    3. True, that is what raiders use it for. My raiding characters do, but my alts use it to stay geared up so they can come off the bench, even if they never raided the entire expansion.

      That is what valor gear has evolved into and it did so a long time ago. It is nothing new that people play catch up with valor gear. It was actually stated by a blue that it was a way for new players to catch up.

  2. So in one paragraph you state "by the time you reach revered to be able to buy the valor gear you will already have full raid gear"

    Then a few more down you say "One of my characters has done the LFR, all 5, for 6 weeks straight and has not seen one thing drop"

    Ever think that you will still have missing pieces that you can fill in with that reputaion gear? You might have bad luck and not have full raid gear?

    Also didnt they have this model for FL, and some what ICC (granted only a ring)? And iI dont recall to many complaints on it.

    1. That is only one of the points. It will still be good for the people with no luck, but what about the people just gearing up for the first time?

      Firelands was a few extra pieces for gold, not valor. Valor gear was purchased even if you never stepped into firelands.

      Other raids like ICC and hyjal, etc, had rings as quests for the raids only. One piece, and a small piece at that. Badge gear could still be purchased even if you never stepped into a raid.

  3. Grumphy -

    Interesting. How many people out of the 10 million that blizzard says are subscribing - 1)hard core raiders, 2)light core raiders(this being LFR) and 3) aren't raiders? Any ideas on percentages?

    1. Based on what GC said last expansion, including people in the LFR, so lets call that light core, that 7% of the population has cleared DS. So that means, even with the LFR, only 7% of the population raids.

      Now, if you mean raids well? Less than half a percent, yes, 0.49% have finished heroic this tier, and honestly if you have not finished heroic already you can not be called hard core. So that means that less then half a percent are hard core.

      So basically, not many people raid.

      Compare that to the other number he mentioned, 30% PvP with some degree of regularity.

    2. Thanks Grumpy - here's why I asked -
      So it seems that 90% of the game is only for 10% of the people who pay for it. And if 30% pvp then 100% of the changes made to the game (outside of the 10% for raiding) is only for 30% of the people who pay for it.

      I know I don't ask for pvp or raiding changes, yet, Blizzard believe we should be doing exactly that. Something wrong there.

    3. It is hard to please everyone and there are so many different aspects to the game. I really do not envy what they have to go through but I do question it often. Like why put forward such a huge effort to appeal to such a small portion of the game.

  4. And I thought 35 bosses in a row counts as bad luck... oh my... you have done... almost double that?

    required iLvl for ToT LFR will be ... 480? Or even lower? I'd expect the new items to be 509+? So you will get raider level equip for doing LFR and some dailies. Sounds not so bad to me, but maybe I'm missing something.

    You are right about mixed messages - but working for a big company that's no surprise. I'm working for a big one myself, and I often wonder about idiotic decisions and mixed messages myself.

    It's often the result of 2 bosses requiring the opposite of each other, and then the decision is "let's do both"

    Rauxis, chosen of CAT

    1. Doesn't even have to be a big company. The CEO at the company I work for contradicts himself all the time...