Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Does Convenience Hurt the Game?

I'll gladly be the first to admit I enjoy not having to hunt down arrows all the time.  Not having to find an engineer and farm the materials and have them craft it for me, or level an engineer so I can make them myself.  Or not having the wade through 200 stacks of 1 arrow that some jackass listed at the same price someone else listed a stack of 100 for because he wanted to try and see if he could catch someone making a mistake.  I am glad we hunters no longer have an added expense and wasted bag space that no other class ever even came close to having to deal with.  So I am most definitely not complaining about convenience, I like it, in some cases.

I did not believe that making sure I had arrows was compelling game play.  I did not believe that wasting all that bag space on arrows, and bullets in case I got an upgrade that happened to be a gun during that raid, was compelling game play.  I do not believe farming mats to make arrows and have to deal with an expense no other classes did was compelling game play.

But then again at least I did not need to make my own poisons, I did not have to go around finding mobs to farm for soul shards, I did not need to have stacks of regents to buff every person in the game one at a time.  All classes had those generally annoying things that brought nothing to the table, so to speak, in terms of enjoyment.

So with that said, I think convenience is a good thing.  But when does it become something else, when does it go to far.  I was thinking about that when talking about the free level 90, and later the purchasable ones.

All those level 90s do it offer convenience, the convenience of not having to level those 90 levels again on another character.  But does this go too far?  I think that is what it really comes down to.  As it is now all leveling has become is a general annoyance, no more so than me having to fill my valuable bag slots with arrows would be.  But is it?

When does convenience take away from game?

I've often said I fell in love with the game leveling and I am sure there are a lot of people out there that would say the same thing.  If you had not fallen for the game you would have never made it to max level.  It is the leveling that got you hooked on the game.  That rush to explore, to learn, to level, to make it to the promise land of 60, or 70, or 80, or so on.  It is part of what made you love the game and the class you were playing, that leveling experience was a very integral part of why we are all still playing, even for those that hate to do it.

Now don't get me wrong.  Leveling today is absolutely nothing like leveling before the cataclysm revamp was done.  Even after the leveling experience was dropped in wrath the leveling world was different than it is now.  Leveling post cataclysm seems more like an inconvenience than a vital part of the game, it does not feel important any longer, even more so for those people that have already done it multiple times.

This is why I support the buying of 90s.  I can see why most would want to skip it, because there is really nothing to see while leveling any more.  You are pushed through content at a break neck speed that even as a new player with no heirlooms and no guild boost you are leaving a zone before you were even in it long enough to learn the name of the zone you were questing in.

But that is why I do not support the buying of level 90s.  Yes, I take both sides.  It is only a convenience but it is one that I believe pushes it too far.  Why do I believe that?  Because of what I said just earlier.  I fell in love with the game and my class while leveling and I believe that every person should be given that opportunity, even with the new world of faster leveling, of falling in love with their class while leveling it instead of just pressing a buy now button on the flavor of the month class.

That is how I came about my opinion that I believe you should only be allowed to purchases a level 90 of a class you already have a level 90 of.  If you have already done it and you have already fallen in love with the class, have at it, pass the general annoyance of the leveling process a second time.  Buy as many of those that you want, you have done it already, you have fallen in love with that class, why not just jump past leveling and have another hunter, I know I will.  I see absolutely nothing wrong with that but having the ability to skip the entire introductory part of the game for a class, the leveling part, just seems like too much convenience to me.

There is nothing hard about leveling, it just eats up some time and the amount of time it takes has never been shorter, in the name of convenience.  Take the chance and play a class, level it, get to know it, get the feel of it, see if this is your class, see if you fall in love it with.  It is not like it is hard, there are no elite quests any longer.  It is not like it will take long, 4 days to 90 as opposed to 40 days to 60.  Just give a new class a chance, get it to 90, and if you fall in love with it, then you can buy as many other 90s of that class as you want.

That is the perfect example of what I believe is convenience that works and convenience that goes too far.  Buying a copy of something you already have is convenience that works, so you do not have to do the same thing you have already done all over again.  Buying something you have never done and do not have, is convenience that does not work.  My opinion only of course and I am sure many if not all will disagree.

Back to what I said earlier in reference to leveling and falling in love with the game, and my class, while originally doing so.  I believe that is a vital part of the game.  I believe even if it is faster than it has ever been before it is something that people should experience.  I believe that offering the convenience of skipping it completely is just a little too much.

Sometimes changes are made in the name of convenience that are good for the game like the changes to hunters ammo, or having to level a pet.  But sometimes some changes are made in the name of convenience that end up being bad for the game.  Instant 90s of a class you do not have is one example.

Some say that the convenience of flying ruined a part of the game, most specifically world PvP.  Now I was not around when world PvP was the big thing because basically that was all there was to do if you did not raid and very few raided, so I can not speak for them, but I can see how that is possible.  It could be argued, and I have heard it done by many, that flying really hurt the game in the name of convenience.

Blizzard seems to have realized that is actually true, or at least they are testing that.  With the patches this expansion with various zones we can not fly in and news that we will not get flying in the next expansion until the first major patch blizzard decided that taking away some convenience might be good for the game.  I agree with them.

Would I rather fly around the timeless island to better my attempts at rare hunting to getting all the rare items for my achievement?  Absolutely.  Flying would be an amazing convenience.  Do I believe it would add something to the game to add flying there?  No.  It would remove something, it would remove everything.  If I could just fly around and land on the rare and then take off and move to the next the convenience removes something from the game even if I would like to have it.

Sometimes convenience is bad for the game, at least as I see it.  There are good things, like hour long buffs that buff the entire group instead of 5 minute or even 30 minute buffs you needed to apply one at a time.  That was a good change, a great one even.  But not all changes made in the name of convenience are good changes even if we like them.

We, as players, need to realize that there is a difference between things we like and things that are good for the game.  Flying on the timeless island would be something I like, but it would not be good for the game.

There are many places I could argue for added convenience but there are other times where I believe that convenience takes away from the game even if it is convenience that I like.  Sometimes convenience can hurt the game.

I mentioned one, flying, that has in some ways hurt the game, can you think of any?


  1. I had a comment, but it so far to the left then the right, then left and down the center, I had to delete it.

    But it basically said, there are still no fly areas that should be flying areas - namely the Blood Elf zones and the Dreanei (I cant spell the their name right) the goat people's area. Why? Why should I have to run into Silver Moon City and kill by the guards to explore it for the exploring achievement? No one should have too.

    As far as the "given" lvl 90 - is everything given to be at lvl 90? By this I mean professions - are they are going to be instantly updated to 600? If not, then those lvl 90's wil be going back into the "old" world, then "middle" world and finally "new world" to up them.

    And my last - from 1 to 90 in 4 days? I know there are people who have done it, but 99% of the players can't. Heck it takes me anywhere from 2 months to 4 months to get there. Even with heirlooms and guild bonus. Of course, this is no instances, no raiding, no pvp (yuck, spit spit).

    One of the changes I dislike was removing flight points and going back to the old style of having to learn them. Which is stupid because all one has to do is open the map and look to see the "fight path" icon is and ride there. I still stand by the notion that flight paths are like bus terminals - the busses know how to get there, all I have to do is pay my money. I don't need to know to take I-20 then get off on I-85 travel 4 miles to Route-99, go north 10 miles and I am at the next town to take my bus further north to Seattle. (gwad, didn't they tear up Denver! Damned birds). Flight paths shuold be left in the game.

    And I do miss leveling up a pet. It brought me closer to my pet (in my mind) than instant leveling.


    1. Nothing else will be given, as it seems, just a set of all 483 gear in every slot and a level 90. However it is believed that if you are level 60 or higher when you use the boost to 90 then the professions will be boosted as well. But with a fresh character you need to level the professions on your own.

      It would take me "months" as well to get there in 4 days played sometimes. I am talking /played, not start on a monday and be 90 by thursday. Unless of course you are playing 96 hours straight that is.

      I never understood why they added instantly found flight paths, always said it was not needed. Then I got used to it with this new super fast leveling since cataclysm and once they removed them I really do miss them. That was once convenience that I would not mind seeing come back.

      I always had a place to power level my pet when I got a new one. So yes, while I did like leveling my pet when I went and got an old one, it really did not do anything for me. When I would get a new one I would go to my farm area and kill for a few hours and it would be caught up. Having pets level with me just saved me time, no different than removing arrows saved me bag space.

  2. I would say LFx fits that criteria... I like it personally but it really has hurt my friends list over the years, I used to have a pretty extensive network of people in quite a few guilds, these days it's a busy day if I have 5 people online from my list. Forced socialization is at an all-time low. The upside of that, though, is that for those who spend even a bit of effort to reach out, there are a lot fewer players doing it so you're a lot more likely to get results once whoever you reach out to gets over the shock of it happening.

    I can't think of any other conveniences that have a significant downside... most are solidly net positive. Reagents needed to go, leveling needed to speed up, water strider and multi-person mounts are awesome, the new talent trees are actually useful (I change talents a lot more often now than I used to), not having to go back to a capital city every 20 minutes to train a new skill (or new rank!) was necessary, Misdirection being taken off the GCD was fantastic, integration of quest helpers in the main game have been great (shaded quest areas on the maps, for example), having to level weapon skills was brutally annoying, etc.

    1. I agree with that assessment. The looking for systems were a great things for convenience but I agree they have actually hurt the community and peoples ability to make friends through pugging because they no longer need to.

    2. Convenience can often save people from themselves, too... think folks who NEVER had reagents they needed come raid time, or actual huntards who didn't quite grok the hunter/pet relationship.


    3. That is one mean hunter and a very good bear.

  3. Anon, Grumpy's former Guild Leader:

    The convenience factor that has hurt the game? Really the LFx system is the only one that hurt the game. The advantage of quickly grouping for party or raid material was never great enough to overcome the loss of socialization the pugging system self-enforced.

    Flying should have been programmed in from the beginning, but I understand why it was not. The later introduction was badly handled, with flight being inconsistently applied even to this day.

    So in one sense, I can see flight being thought of as a detriment to the game, but the truth is I love to fly and to fly at the fastest speed possible, so all my characters capable of flight, have that ability.

    For me, flight actually enhances the game greatly, but the inconsistency of it over the game's history (including the late introduction in the next expansion) bothers me and detracts from the game's quality.

    The flight path thing was an accident on Blizzards part, one that they finally corrected. Personally it doesn't bother me to have to go get the flight paths again but yes, it was a very nice convenience to gain the paths automatically.

    I think the one thing that bothers me more than any other is the raid at end game mentality the developers fell into. I speak as someone who wanted to raid in Vanilla and did so to the opportunity I had up until Mists. The overall institution of raiding is much more open now and that is good, but the fact is there still is not any emphasis on other features for level capped players and that is bad.

    Yes, there are plenty of things to do for an imaginative player at level cap, but it seems most of it revolves around doing older content solo. Making it a solo sandbox game which is fine, but for a MMO the lack of socialization outside of a raid or guild enviroment is kind of a detriment.

    1. I love flying too and would not want to give it up. But I do see what many argue that was lost with its introduction. Same with the looking for system, great to get groups, horrible to get friends.

      I do not like the idea they are at now where they funnel everyone into raiding, want to or not. I think that is bad design. Good design is to make people want to raid, bad design it to force people to raid if they want anything else.

  4. soul shards. the dread of all warlocks. wasted an entire bag slot in order to carry my dedicated shard bag. Before raiding, had to go out around Shatt and grind mobs to get a partial bag full. If you didn't have any, no lock cookies, no lock closet for summons.

    Shards became a huge joke when I could get them off training dummies. "Look, I am draining the soul from a plank of wood!!".

    Personally I love the changes to locks that this resource is GONE!

    1. Those planks of wood had unlimited souls too. :P

      That was a great change for convenience. I complain about having to carry around bullets and arrows but at least I did not have to run around pulling off dead bodies to get them.