Friday, July 26, 2013

Time for Our Quarterly Second Guessing

There are two important pieces of business news in reference to the game we play out now.  One being that warcraft is now down to 7.7M subscribers and the other this that blizzard-activision is separating itself fom vivendi.

Both things are worth discussing.  The first being the fact that blizzard-activision will be buying itself free of its connection with vivendi for a measly 8.2 billions dollars.  In case anyone did not know vivendi was looking to raid the coffers of blizzard-activision which had a reported 3 billion saved up so they could pay off some business debts and that is most likely what prompted them to seek a separation from vivendi.  Vivendi would get the money it so desperately needs, and more, and blizzard-activison can continue along with what it was doing as if they did not have the leech trying to suck the blood from them.  And by leech I mean failing vivendi company and by blood I mean the 3 billion in profits that blizzard-activision had saved up.

Why is this bit of new important to us, the players?

That is a very good question and there are many different answers you can guess for that.  If you read the forums, and if you read this tiny in the middle of nowhere blog I am guessing you read them, a fair deal of players blame vivendi for all the problems the game has had.  No longer will that be an excuse, wrong or right, for the issues with the game.  But for me the big part is the back side of the story.  The fact that blizzard-activision had 3 billion dollars saved up somewhere for whatever reason it might have.  Many companies like to keep some money saved to make acquisitions or deal with downturns if they should happen.  So it is no surprise that they had some money squirreled away.

However the largest part of this knowledge shows us that even if warcraft has been bleeding subs like it lost a limb since cataclysm it has really had no effect on the company's bottom line.  With other ventures, the game itself, and massive item shop sales, the company is doing just fine despite that we see as another 600,000 users lost.

So what does this all mean to us?

Nothing.  Nothing at all.  The game will continue to exist as we know it.  It might also actually expand a little more being it will now be a little more of its own entity.  We all can believe what we want and unless you know someone on the inside everything we believe is just guess work.  You could say vivendi was controlling things and in need of money and it was their idea to milk the cash cow with the new shop.  You could say it was all blizzards idea and it is doing well enough for them to afford to buy themselves out.  Guess work, all of it.

I can't wait to see if this has any impact on the game but I don't think it will personally.  Even if it does, it will not be something we will see for a while, that is for sure.  I doubt that there will be any massive changes on the scale that us, the players of one game, would even notice in the immediate future.

So now we go to those subscription losses with a gentle reminder first.  Blizzard had over 3 billion, yes that is with a b, sitting around in the bank.  They are in no immediate financial trouble from losing a few users.

Still, as a player I can't help but wonder what is responsible for those losses.  Whether the game has 2M or 20M users means nothing to me.  As long as it is here for me to play and as long as I still want to play it, what should I care.  But it does have some impact on me in a way and that is why I, you, and others, talk about it.

The fewer people there are playing the longer our random content will take to queue for.  Seriously, as long as the company behind the scenes is doing fine, that is the only thing in game that having fewer users will actually effect in our game play.

You could say there will be fewer guilds, smaller servers, etc.  But none of that really matters.  Who cares if there are 50,000 active guilds or 10,000 active guilds, as long as there are active guilds there is a place for to go to be in an active guild.  Smaller servers, same story.

So there will be less people are around in the world but who really cares, will it stop you from going out and farming peacebloom?  Nope.  It might actually make it more enjoyable to do so with fewer people.  Fewer people on a server can be fixed and adjusted with the new virtual realms.  The only thing that really gets effected with less players is fewer people being around to queue for random content meaning longer waits and even more brutal ones on off hours.

So that brings me to my guess on one of the largest factors to the recent loss of subscribers.  I can sum it up in just three little letters.  L, F and R.  Yes, the LFR.  For 99% of the player base that is not downing content in the current raid tier at a reasonable pace the only place for them to get gear, reputation, quest items, the ability to spend that valor they seem to need to collect for everything they do, it is through the LFR.

So unless the player is content with some craftable gear, some outdated catch up gear like the barrens stuff, or some 463 dungeon gear, the LFR is a necessary evil.  I am not saying that the 99%, the ones not in a raiding guild that is downing bosses regularly all actually want to have gear or complete quests or spend valor or what not.  But I am saying that the people that do what those things need to do the LFR and have no other options.

And that is what I believe is the weakest link in the game right now.  If you want any of that stuff and you either can not get into a good guild or are not capable of playing at that level or in the time frame to be in a guild like that, you have no options.

They need to break the attachment to the LFR.  They need to find a way for people to get things without funneling them into something they quite possibly do not want to do or do not have the skill to do.  They can do that easily too, if they want to, but they seem intent on forcing the entire player base into it.  The problem with that is, most of the player base can not do it.  It is, to beat the dead horse, way to hard for the masses.

To explain what I mean by that I will give an example, a very recent one too, as in just two days ago.  Just this Wednesday.  I went into the LFR on one of my alts to do some gearing up.  Did the 3rd part first as it had a trinket I wanted and I figured the sooner I get it out of the way the better right?  The better players usually knock out the LFR early in the week.  That means my odds of doing it with a better group are much better early in the week.  So first boss the maze comes up and myself and 4 others are the only ones that survive it.  Yes.  A total of 5 people survived.  On a Wednesday, when the better players are supposed to be playing.  Attempt two, seven people survived.  Three, four, five, all wipes.  On a freaking Wednesday.  Each time people leave and people come and we wait.

We did finally down it.  But I get called out, not once but twice for getting melee hit by the boss as a damage dealer and called a noob because I took aggro.  Excuse me?  After the maze is done and both tanks are dead, who do you think the boss is going to go after?  The only person over 100K DPS and on the top of the threat list of course you idiot.  I swear, not only are the people that play this game bad, but they are stupid.  And stupid is the understatement of the century with that remark.  I got called out for dying to the boss because the tanks were dead and the boss came for me.  Does this make sense in any world?

I did not get my trinket so I tried the first LFR.  You know, the easy as pie one on a Wednesday when it should be super easy.  We wiped 3 times on the first boss because we did not have enough DPS.  Even with the puddles giving people a damage boost there was me and a warlock as the only two people over 150K.  Wait, that sounds too elitist right?  Lets try this again.  There was me and a warlock as the only two people over 100K.  Still too much to ask of LFR people?  Okay, lets try this one more time.  There was me and a warlock as the only two people over 50K.

I am not kidding.  17 damage dealers and outside of us two not a single once of them managed over 50K.  They did mechanics right.  They stepped in the puddles ASAP.  They ran out with the lightning.  They all seemed to know what they were doing mechanic wise, they just had no clue how to hit the freaking buttons on their keyboard.  It took 3 wipes and lots of people dropping and coming before we were able to down it.  On a Wednesday people.  A Wednesday when the better players are supposed to be on.

This is just one example of the issue I think the game has right now.  Even if everyone says the game is getting too easy I say it is getting too hard for the people it is aimed at.  If you want to open the valor vendors, you need to do LFR.  If you want the best easy mode gear, you have to do the LFR.  If you want to do the legendary for everyone quest, you have to do the LFR.  You get the idea.

And it is not just the LFR, it is everything they are adding to the game.  The isle lead in quests are brutal for someone that does not know how to play.  Sure, I've gotten 4 characters to 90 since it came out and stepped into them the second I hit 90 without any gear and did them all, but I know how to play.  I hear others complaining left and right that they are impossible.  The people complaining are the ones that content was made for.  It was not made for me, that is for sure.  And just think of those quests.  If these people have issues with those solo scenarios how do you think they do the quests?  They can't.

The barrens was meant to be a catch up system.  Seriously, a catch up system that offers 489 gear when the current normal gear is 522?  That is not catch up.  That is an insult.  Next patch when the standard normal gear will be 553 the catch up gear will be 496.  Not exactly a catch up if you ask me.  Not even close to a catch up.  Blizzard needs to make a catch up system that, you know, lets people catch up.  Giving the people gear from 2 tiers ago as a catch up mechanic is not exactly catching them up.  Not even in the slightest.

I have watched, and admittedly laughed my ass off, people dying over and over on single mobs in the barrens.  Or accidentally getting two or three and face planting instantly.  Just the other day I saw a worgen run past me as I had a pack of about a dozen on me and jump off the side of the hill in the lumber area with a train following him.  I guess he thought he had a better chance surviving the fall then he would fighting them.  I loved it, it made my day, it was very funny, but it also stressed the point I am making here.  The barrens catch up content is not made for the people it is intended for, unless they are in a group.

The game has just gotten to the point where it is too hard for the vast majority of the player base.  The LFR is too hard, the isle is too hard, the barrens is too hard.  Sure, you and me might have no issue on it, even with a fresh 90.  But remember, you and me are not part of the 600,000 that just quit because we felt there was nothing in the game for us.

Sure, those people could have quit for a myriad of reasons that have nothing to do with what I said.  But we are here to take guesses, offer opinions and this is my guess on what is wrong and it is my opinion that making the game for the 99% will work a lot better than trying to turn the 99% into the 1%.

600,000 losses is actually not a lot compared to what they have been losing.  There should be no "OMG end of the world" worry about it.  The company is fine, even more so if it can spend 8.2 billion to separate itself from vivendi so there is no cause for worry.  But I would still like to see them make the content that is for the non-raiders capable of being done for the non-raiders.

Sure, I will miss watching worgens jump to their death with a train of mobs following them, but I will definitely not miss wiping 3 times on a boss that should be a push over in the LFR even with people that don't normally raid.  Make the casual content easier blizzard, make it doable by the people it is meant for, seriously, it would be better for everyone, not just them.  If you do that you just might pick up some users.  As much as people will flame me over saying this, easy sells.  People want easy.  Let them have it and then let raiding be for the people that want more.  Everything else should be easy mode for casuals.  LFR is easy mode for you and I maybe, but trust me, week after week I see it first hand, LFR is not even close to easy mode for the masses.  And if I were one of those people and LFR was all I had if I wanted the best I could get solo, I too would have quit by now.


  1. I know right. I thought the same about the catch up system when I actually thought about it. The announcement that pre-5.2 gear was going to be sold for justice rather than valor, and that there was going to be this new timeless gear, it all sounded positive. I wondered if maybe I'd get an alt up to scratch for some flex raiding without having to hit any LFR. Then I looked at the ilevel and realised that was a pipedream.

    They marketed Mists as being an expansion of options, but it seems to me to be just the opposite. I've talked about LFR or bust before and I truly believe that to be the case. Even on my main I've 'had' to run LFR for the legendary quest because we only just cleared Throne this week, we extended the lock and Lei Shen bit the dust on wednesday :) Given the bad droprates for runestones, and the fact that we've had some bad bad weeks and not got to the latter half of the raid, I would be nowhere close to my 12. I realised this and then I had to choose whether I wanted the legendary or not, as at the rate it was going I wouldn't get my 12 through normal raiding before Siege came out. Doing Throne LFR once the new LFR came out would be 10x worse than doing it now, and I chose to do the legendary. I only need 1 more runestone so next week I am done with LFR forever, I can't wait.

    I'm hopeful that next expansion will be better, though of course it depends very much on what they do with flex raiding. Some are wondering if it will replace normal raiding and if it does then we'll likely have the same problem. If it doesn't then as flex would in from the beginning there wouldn't be this catch up problem, so I could see potentially being able to do flex straight off in dungeons blues/crafted etc. and therefore there would be an alternate path for raiders to gear alts without LFR hell.

    They really need an alternate patch for the rest of the world though. Where's the harm in options? Getting LFR gear is an achievement for putting up with how awful it is, not as testament to any skill. So I don't see what would be so bad about releasing LFR ilevel gear for valor. Let tier bonuses not be accessible this way perhaps, but just let people gear up to close the current tier, so that they could jump in and raid that tier, should they want too.

    I haven't played an alt all expansion and I miss it, but I run LFR begrudgingly on my main, there's no way I'll do it for an alt. There was talk this week about running Throne on alts as we'd cleared it on reset day. However, that just wasn't possible as only a handful of the group had alts they could switch too. Before Mists I would have had an alt of every role to choose from.

    I've often said LFR shouldn't be part of the gearing structure and that blizz should make up it's mind who it's intended for. It can't be all things to all people and I agree completely it should be a lot easier.

    Blizz please listen, just give people options and some flexibility, give them what you said Mists would bring, please.

    1. From a gearing perspective, I've always wanted LFR to drop the exact same iLvl as the previous normal tier... preferably with lower itemization (fewer gem sockets, most likely).

      The issue I see with that, though, is if normal raiders have no reason to run the next LFR, ALL you'll get are the 50Kers... and right now, some normal raiders are required to offset them.

      Easier LFR would be one possible solution to this but I don't know what side issues that would raise. I still generally trust that Blizzard knows their business better than I do and that if easier would be better, they'd make them easier.

    2. The "catch up" is a joke and they really need to think about a better idea for catch up gear. Timeless will get 496 catch up? Should be at least 522, last tiers gear by that point. That is a catch up.

      Hopefully I am not too behind you as we were going to extend for the first time this week but decided to start new again. So next week on that.

      They desperately need alternatives to the LFR or they need to find a way to turn the LFR into 15 minute things like dungeons.

      @Anon, sadly many "normal raiders" are the ones doing that 50K. While trying to recruit for my 25 I get new people each week testing out and yes, I see people with a 520 item level only doing 50K each and every week, and they call themselves raiders. The worst part is I have to take them, because they are the best my server has to offer. But you are right, you can not even manage LFR with people doing 50K and that is the max most people can do.

      Mind if I ask what side issues you think it could bring? I often over look things when I make suggestions but I personally don't see anything wrong with making content easier that is meant to be super easy to begin with. While I do agree it could have some bad side effects, I can't think of any.

    3. I don't know, but the problem I have is that I come from the sane vocal minority (ie. sane actual majority) in the game who can't really predict what's going to set off the vocal masses. I mean, I honestly didn't see any negative side to the in-game store but you and many others made it clear that there were some negative aspecs that I still don't see but apparently exist. :)

      Alright, I'll try to come up with one possibility. Right now, anyone wanting to raid who doesn't have a normal run is running LFR. That, to them, is raiding, where 50K is enough to kill a boss most of the time. So, when you're recruiting out of that pool, you're dealing with players who, for 8 months, have been succeeding quite nicely, thank you very much, doing 50K dps and being #3 on the charts despite mid-pack gear. In almost any aspect of life, that would be a good result.

      In WoW normal raiding, though, not so much.

      Now imagine an LFR where 30K is enough to kill a boss and any wipe mechanics are removed. Basically turn it into an interactive story. Bosses will only aggro onto tanks and tanks have +50% DR passively. If a healer heals someone at full health the heal will automatically go to whoever needs it most. Anyone just auto-attacking will get a +100% slacker dps bonus so they'll be in with the rest of the pack. Standing in the fire gives you a "standing in fire" debuff that does nothing except indicate that you're standing in fire. Every second you're alive you get +1% damage done as a stacking buff.

      Now that's the class you're going to be recruiting out of.

      At least LFR as it is now has the potential to teach people the bulk of how the fights work and give a general indication of performance, if you go in and run LFR with a recruit you can get a decent idea if they're any good. You lower the bar much further and you lose even that.

      So there, that's my shot at pointing out a possible side issue. As it is, I suspect half of the complainers are saying that it's too easy and half are complaining that it's too hard (not half of everyone, just the complainers). That's probably the kind of balanced perspective Blizzard is looking for. When you can't please everyone, at least try to piss everyone off equally.

    4. A very good point. I would love to see the LFR teach but I don't think it is possible. As least not if we want to get in and out quick, which I know I do.

      Often when someone new comes I ask if they have "at least" done the fight in the LFR. It is actually a great tool to set them up for the real fight. I can say thing like, you know when he does that thing in the LFR, when here you need to do this if it happens. It makes explaining much easier.

      So if it were watered down to that level you suggest then it would no longer be of any use to me outside of, well, at least you know what the room looks like.

      So having the mechanics there still needs to happen. But they should not be as brutal. For example. The maze, let it tick for 10K per second instead if someone gets hit. Enough to let them know that it is there, but not enough that it would kill them unless they made absolutely no effort to move what so ever. And make the fights much shorter. No fight should ever go over 2 minutes in the LFR. We are there to get valor, maybe gear, some rep and quest items if need be and to "see content" as blizzard says. There is no reason to be bogged down with long fights or endless trash. They should be almost trash free and short versions of the real fight with less damage from things that could be one shot abilities.

      I also thing some abilities should be buffed in the LFR, as odd as that sounds. Back to the eyeball guy. The thing that knocks you back in the real raid does nothing in LFR. Make it knock you back a tiny bit. So at least you know it does "something" instead of it being there and doing nothing. If they want to teach, teach.

  2. Not all of your readers read the forums, I avoid them whenever possible unless I'm having a technical issue that I'm trying to figure out.

    As for the 600K sub loss, I'm just hoping they're all dps and my queue times improve!

    i489 gear IS catch-up gear... it's equivalent to normal MV gear. i496 is apparently going to be the LFR requirement for Siege so that i489 will almost get players into the next LFR. How is that NOT the definition of catch-up gear? In 5.4 or 5.5, whatever catch-up mechanic they come up with will probably give i516 gear. I've created maybe half a dozen Barrens i489 pieces across toons to help out with trouble slots that I haven't had luck getting drops for... the i489 gear has actually come in handy. The stat allocations on them can be terrible (so far they've all been of the Pri/Sta/Sec single-secondary stat type that gives up a lot of itemization) but in all cases they've been upgrades.

    Yeah, lower than 50K on the first ToT boss is really bad... I've had some sketchy dps groups occasionally but none that bad. My last LFR in the first part did wipe on the first boss but due to mechanics, we lost about 8 dps in one shot and the rest of us couldn't quite finish it off.

    I'd like to make a proposal that Blizzard ties in a Proving Grounds requirement before queuing for LFR... on a particular toon you can only queue for a particular role if you've completed that role's Silver Proving Ground (I believe Blizzard equated Silver to LFR calibre play). It won't guarantee that players will actually perform while in there but it's at least a baseline so the ignorant folks (meant to imply just not knowing better) will know what the expectation is. I also think the lack of an in-game dps meter doesn't help... if you assume the really casual folks who are in LFR and doing 30K aren't running a dps meter (or know what an add-on is), they may just not KNOW they aren't pulling their weight. Maybe they think they are...

    1. I read them because they gives me something to write about. But I have to admit, more and more as the years go by, I often feel like quitting the game after a session reading the forums. I would not be surprised if one day it actually happens.

      I would have said 496 in barrens would have been catch up gear, and 522 in timeless would be catch up gear. I consider catch up gear as the item level of the previous raid. But opinions will vary of course.

      I have a couple of the barrens pieces on one of my hunters and on my new 90 warrior. They all have one secondary stat. They might be 489, but are worth a lot less. One alt I had a few 476 and 483s on and I decided to keep them, lower item level sure, but better items.

      When we finally downed it on the 4th attempt only 5 people were over 50K by that point. Yes, it was that bad. Amazingly we did one shot the next two however. How amazing is that?

      That actually sounds like a good idea. But what level of the proving grounds? Taitrina said that they went all the way to gold before needing to even use a cooldown in the tank one. Anything more than a bronze requirement and we will never hear the end of it, even if it is that easy for a skilled player like them, a LFR player might still not be able to do it.

      I do like the idea of a one time, simple 5 minute test, before signing up for it. It is not like someone will need to do it every time. Just once.

    2. Forgot to add my comment about the last part. You are so right. I've met many that did not even know they were doing bad until I said something to them. They thought they were doing fine because things always went down nice and easy. After the downloaded recount and did the LFR they came to me and asked for help. They were lower in DPS than two of the healers, and only one was a disc priest. So how sad it that. And they never knew. But it really was not their fault, no one ever said anything to them about it until I did after a heroic scenario when I asked them how it was possible to even do 18K at a 480 item level. Did they leave their fishing pole equip.

    3. I mentioned Silver specifically for LFR since Blizzard I believe made that comparison (Bronze = 5-man Heroic, Silver = LFR, Gold = Normal). Let me see if I can find the quote... yeah, here it is:

      "Very loosely if you can get Bronze in Proving Grounds you're good for Heroic dungeons, if you can get Silver you're good for LFR, and if you can do Gold you're going to probably be able to handle Flex/Normal - if you can get Gold you're probably not a liability to pick up for a Normal."

      They're basically setting that up as a prerequisite so they may as well drink their own Kool-Aid and make it an actual requirement for queuing for randoms.

      And yes, they're still tweaking the tuning in those, whatever the current difficulties are may or may not make it to live so I'd go more from the quote above in terms of expectations and assume they'll tune roughly in line with that. Also, being a long-term normal raider isn't the same as being READY for normal raiding, an established raider should cruise through Gold, IMO, even with equalized gear.

      I had a funny(ish) encounter in Terrace a few nights ago... ran my monk in there for the first time in a while for VP and to see how much a few gear upgrades would impact my dps (quite a bit, was up about 40K since last time in). During the Tsulong fight, had a few folks die early due to not resetting stacks (which always happens), one specifically asked for a battle rez and got it (grumble... major pet peeve for me there, save 'em for tanks and healers in LFR). After the fight I checked his dps... 23K. i470+, 23K. I almost don't have a problem with that due to the doesn't know better thing I mentioned above, but... he asked for a battle rez. So all I'm left with is that he's incompetent. If he was just lazy he'd have stayed down rather than asking for a rez. Players like that mess with my head more than a little bit.

      I was doing some testing on my monk that I hadn't seen anyone else do (whether the Xuen summon used a stat snapshot or changed dynamically with current stats... turns out it's dynamic, if anyone's curious, which wasn't what I expected and changed my actual rotational priorities as a result) which required removing any gear with a proc... weapons, cloak, trinkets and helm, as I recall. Did about 30K on the dummy like that, I think. Was obviously wearing the other gear pieces but still, that seems pretty good considering all of the literally missing gear, especially weapons. Half my gear could break right on the pull and I'd still do LFR-average dps. That's both good to know and slightly frightening.

    4. I agree, if they are going to make a statement like that then yes, they should make it a requirement. You are correct.

      I still believe there will be crying endless rivers of tears if they do however.

      Your story reminds me of a Tsulong LFR fight I was in once too when the same happened. Someone died and was screaming rez the rest of the fight. When the fight was over the tank said. You can have a battle rez after you learn how to do more than 20K DPS.

      My hunter auto attack with my pet using no abilities but what he has on auto can usually beat most in the LFRs.

      A guild mate of mine, a hunter as well, keeps pets separate on recount and when he does the LFR and someone starts complaining about something he will post recount and say, how about you keep your mouth shut and stop complaining about others until you can beat my pet in damage done.

      I would never be that rude myself, not in me, but I love seeing him do that.

    5. Eh. I'll use that same tone to shut someone up who's, uh, out-vocalizing their performance. That line about "beating my pet" is right on par with something I'd come up with. I don't think that's rude at all, the goal is to quiet down people who don't have anything constructive to say and are just creating noise. If you're going to come in and make the fight longer for the rest of us, the least you can do is to do it in silence.

    6. I have a rule, part of my LFR rules.

      "The most vocal player in the LFR will usually be the worst player there."

      I would say that is true 99% of the time. It is like a trend that when you are doing badly you need to speak up as much as often.

      When I go on alts that I am doing quite poorly on I make extra effort to be as quiet as possible. Heck, even if I am the number one damage dealer by 5%, which has happened on multiple occasions, I keep my mouth shut.

      If someone asks for something explained, or if someone addresses me directly, I will speak. But outside of hello at the start and thanks for the run at the end, I never talk.

      There is another rule of the LFR that everyone should take note of and it kind of goes hand in hand with the first one.

      "Most of the time the person calling out another for being a bad player is just trying to sway attention away from themselves."

      So the next time someone says "kick bob his DPS sucks" look at their DPS. They are most likely trying to deflect the fact someone might notice how bad they did.

  3. This post almost makes me want to resume playing the game.

    Never gotten to the point of being a good player or raider although i'd go when there was room. Just don't have the time commitment for it most times. But I keep reading, just reading this makes you better than most.

    Think it is true?

    1. This particularly? Nope.

      But I believe if someone is out there looking for things to read about the game they are looking to get better and that alone, the effort of trying to get better, makes someone better than most.

      I am not sure if coming back to the game right now would really be great unless you wanted to. I think if someone leaves the game the best time to come back is at the start of a new expansion. Just my opinion of course.

      However, with flex raiding and virtual realms coming. It might actually be a decent time for older players that could not find their place to see if there is now a place for them.

      You might find something that fits your schedule now.

    2. Wow. You certainly earned your moniker of "grumpy" with that one.

      Some guy tells you that one of your posts makes him consider coming back to the game... and your response is (as it came across to me) "No, people like you are turds. You sucked before, and you'll still suck now if you come back. Wait 'till next expac when all the social and F&F groups are looking to clear last-teir content."

      @ the original Anon: Dude (or dudette, whichever the case may be), absolutely! Buy a time card; no need to sign up for a renewing sub. Check out what's new and see if it fits your style and expectations. If not, no biggie, WoW 5.3 isn't your thing. I will say... best wishes, hopefully you find the "fun" again, and find a crew that meshes with your style!

    3. I think you misread it. I was telling him that the start of the expansion is usually the best time to return but if he wanted to that maybe with flex and virtual realms coming it might be a good idea.

      He said he does not have time to raid and with flex raids there will be more pugs going (hopefully) so it might be a good time for him.

      I thought that was a very positive reply. It addressed his concerns about not being able to raid normally and it gave him my suggestion that he should only come back if he really wants to.

      The end result is, if you don't really want to come back you will not be happy. You have to want to.

    4. er... @ Caldmint.

      WTB edit button! : )

    5. Okay. Cool. Went back and re-read everything using all the different inflections and implied puncuation I could think of : )

      And please, that's not a "Grumpy can't type" slam. Just damed text, lol

      Stil gonna stick with the "get a cheap card, try out 5.3, and hope Cald can find a good crew" sentiment : )

    6. Things can often come out different from the way you mean them with text. It is common to read things in the wrong way. Oddly enough that is why doing things like ;) is a good thing, it shows something it a joke.

  4. Both Cata's 'Raid or Die' and MoP's 'Looking For Raid or Die' are iterations of the same stupid idea that only endgame 'matters'.

    With 90 levels of slog it is a tiny miracle there even ARE new players at 90.

    One of the problems with the focus on endgame is that you end up with a catch-22 situation: you either aim such content at established players who e.g. learned their class when levelling content was still relevant and experienced the various 'dances' Boss encounters have been focussing more and more on - and then make it 'impossible' for newcomers to join, or you aim catchup mechanics etc. at newcomers and then P.O. established players by not offering enough challenging content & invalidating their previous effort.

    If instead players were taught it is okay to 'putter about' and content wasn't viewed solely from the Progression Raider POV (and rewards structured around it, eg the rampant inflation caused by the wish of making 'Raiding accessible'), the game would be more attractive.

    IMO, of course.

    I do think that it is clearer and clearer Pet Battles are what keeps MoP 'afloat', the amount of new and updated content aimed at what was originally 'something you do while waiting on your raid' (or what the Blizz words exactly were; notice the blinkered PoV) is quite noticeable.

    1. I agree completely with you and I an one of those people caught in the rat race. I often have to tell myself, like the pandas do, to slow down when leveling an alts.

      It is sort of why I have adopted the idea of always stopping to fish when I see a fishing pool. Not like it is going to teach me anything, but leveling is the only time you are free to "play". Might as well stop and smell the roses on occasion.

      They are going WAY over board with all the pet battle stuff, and this is someone that likes that stuff and does it saying that. However, I agree with your sentiment that it is the only thing that is saving this expansion at the moment.

      It seems as if blizzard is trying to make a clear divide. You either grind yourself to death in the LFR or die, or you slow down and pet battle. There is no in between and I would like to see everything lean more in between personally.

    2. You're right there. I've only just hit 90 with my paladin, first 90 as I found MoP incredibly boring.

      Once there I got the distinct impression that it's a case of incredibly tedious grinds (I'm not even geared for heroic 5-man atm, this is a fresh green-noobgear 90) or it's just "thanks for the cash, you're sh*t, bye".

      I found lev 90 distinctly uninspiring having read what I can do, solo player in a social guild, and went off to play TERA instead.

      It's a shame as I had been playing since november 2005. 'New' kept vanilla and TBC looking good. 5-man fun and raiding kept Wrath fun. Cata stank (an attempt to return to The Basement Crusade), MoP is just a hefty dose of grind painted pretty colours.

      There's nothing I really want to do at 90, I realize, particularly with such a vile and abrasive community in such a terrible grind.

      Helped me kick wow after nearly 8 years and find time to enjoy other games.

      Good blog, thought provoking at times. Hope you have fun.

    3. Thanks for the comment, glad you like it.

      I think the endless grind could be partly the reason for the community turning so bad. People just want to do their thing and as they are forced to do it together (LFR) they start to develop animosity against those that makes it harder on them to get it done at what they believe is a reasonable pace. In turn, this makes people upset with others and lash out on them creating an abrasive community because we feel forced to work together instead of wanting to.

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    1. Druid DPS is rather complex. The waiting on things is part of a lot of classes rotations. I am not really a big fan of waiting either.

    2. Isn't that what they call "John ****ing Madden"?

      I agree with you on the catch-up thing, The Barrens is terrible for this purpose, the mobs are too tough and you have to kill a lot of them for a single Mojo. Or you could follow a group and kill some commanders, which got thrown out the window after a few weeks, as the grind was too grindy and no one bothers doing it anymore.

      My Troll mage was high enough to do ToT LFR, but still had some low gear pieces, so I tried getting a few Barrens pieces to fill the gaps, and despite being iLvl 480, I couldn't handle more than one or two mobs on my own. Then IT happened, I had one of the best weeks in LFR ever with four T-15 pieces and a weapon in a single week. Suddenly I am way more powerful, able to take on mobs without too much worry, even taking down Demolishers and the associated Goblins all by myself.

      The content is too hard for people who need the gear, and becomes tolerable only after you have outgeared it, at which point unless you want a bunch of Gazrookis to sell in the AH, totally not worth it.

    3. You're not supposed to do Barrens on your own, that's why it seems terrible to you. I get two or more dpses, I pull an entire area and they kill them, by far the fastest way to get VP and coins.
      Surely, you can find a couple of friends to do the quest with, this is an MMO.

    4. I agree with James in that I think their intention was to get you to do it in groups.

      On my geared character that I do it for the valor it is easy to solo, even more so if I use a tank, like a DK where I can pull 5 machines in the oil area at once and never fear dying, but on one of my characters that is 470 item level and can use a few things it is impossible in every sense of the word to get it done in a reasonable time frame.

      I think their idea was, if you want to do this alone it is going to take you all week to do it.

      It takes me about 3 hours over 4 or 5 days doing a little here and there to get it done on one of my 90s that just happens to know no one in the server they are on. I asked in barrens chat for groups and all you get are the sound of crickets. So I do it solo and it is brutal on the type of character that might actually need the gear from it.

      In the end I agree with Turquioze that the content is too hard for the people it is intended for. Sure, it is easy for us to say "get a group" but that is not always a viable option. My horde characters try it but I have yet to see anyone to group with for it despite my efforts.

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    6. I like the need to group actually, but it would go over so much better if there were groups. I tried to make groups and always fail at it. Some servers it is just impossible to find a group.

      Now you can start having fun with it. While bear is not going to have massive survivability at the lowest of item levels, once you get some gear you will notice the difference.

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    8. Dash and run like a mad man... er... cat.

    9. It was awesome at the start, cause everyone went there, so groups were easy peasy to form, after that I got in a few guild runs on the commanders, also fun, but not as much as having 30+ toons swarming one commander. Now, almost nobody does it, let alone enough to pool together for a group.

      Some people just went out and grinded 1000+ of each in the first week so they could just pop over on Tuesday and turn in for the reward, then take off.

    10. My guildies did that but they still come help if i ask them. I dnt think i'd play this game if i didn't have people to count on.

    11. @Turquioze

      The first week was great. Like you said about commanders, everyone was doing it and they went down fast. Maybe even the first two weeks. But it died off really fast afterwards because with the exception of valor there was nothing for better geared players there. So all that left were the lesser geared players that might actually need the gear and a few valor seekers. So groups are almost non-existent now.


      My guild still do it, we always say in chat when we are farming and invite others along. But when you are not in a guild you are kind of stuck. I did some on my monk yesterday, it is decently geared, I can pull tons, and I get all 600 cone in about 30 minutes. So I always ask for people that need it to come along. Sad part is, even the people that need it often do not want to do it even if they need the gear or valor. Can't rightly explain why.