Thursday, February 27, 2014

Warlords Won't Buck the Trend, It Will Set It

We all view the history of the game and its expansions differently so some might not agree with the assessment I make here but that does not change the fact that it would appear that through subscriptions and feedback they are somewhat popular opinions, even if opinions are all they are.

The game started the way that MMO games worked at the time, a basic grind fest, but a more casual version of it.  Enough that anyone that started playing in the recent years would not even recognize the game if they saw the original now for the first time.  When the burning crusade came out it improved on the game by making things a little easier but still including some classic grinds.  When wrath was added to the history of the game it all but removed the extensive grind, something needed to catch up with the desires of today's players and once again improved on the game in many ways.

A nice trend was starting here but it ended with wrath.  From the start the game just kept getting better.  The burning crusade was better than vanilla and wrath was better than the burning crusade.  Then the growth and desire to make things better stepped to the side never to return and the last two expansion gave us nothing of the sort.  However, the last two expansions started a new trend that it looks like, for the little data we have, warlords will continue.

The last two expansions and it seems like the upcoming one are all about huge additions too the game and less about trying to make what worked better like the original cycle of three did.  The last two expansions gave us some of the worst decisions blizzard ever made, such as the wasted development time on redesigning the old world (something they are letting you skip now which means it is even a bigger waste than it first seemed to be) and the harder heroics that could very well be directly connected to the loss of over 2M subscribers on its own to the best decisions blizzard ever made, such as adding pet battles and flexible raiding.

It is amazing that for a game with such a rich history of great success the three parts of the game from the start and moving forward showed growth by keeping the same design but building on it, refining it, to make it better, building on it one addition at a time, from vanilla to burning crusade to wrath yet none of them included anything that would be considered as the most horrible or most fantastic addition to the game.  Those distinctions are left for the last two additions.

So now we are going into warlords, the third in the second trilogy of sections and we can look back now and think will warlords buck the trend of just adding stuff and not trying to build on what works or will it cement it meaning the second cycle will be bad (cataclysm), good (mists) and bad again (warlords).

With all the early information we have seen, which I must warn is all subject to change of course, warlords is looking like the titanic.  A great strong ship that is destine to crash.  While there have been some interesting things coming out that we can latch on to and guess about there does not seem to be anything that would be considered a great addition to the game, like pet battles or flexible raiding was but it does seem like many of the things do have a chance to be considered bad additions to the game like cataclysm and it wasted redesign and harder random heroics.

It seems that warlords is leaning the way of cataclysm in every step of its design and it leaves me wondering why would blizzard go to the well again.  They already pulled water from that well and it killed off nearly 30% of their subscribers in less than a year after they tasted it.  So why go back there?

On its face warlords sounds awesome, something that would make for an amazing raid in a caverns of time sort of way, but not an entire expansion.  Cataclysm let us play in places like uldum and hyjal, places that had been in the game since vanilla, there was nothing new and/or exciting about them, it was more of an "about time" feeling to them because those zones were always there and should have been open in a patch years earlier and not saved on the side to make some misconceived expansion with them.

Draenor holds the same exact distinction as hyjal and uldum did.  It would be really nice to see what outlands look liked before it became the outlands we know but they did not need to make an entire expansion to show us it.  A raid or some other form of instanced content would have been ample to satisfy our curiosity.  So this is blizzard taking tainted water from the well and trying to make people drink it again.

Then there is the story line, just like deathwing, it is one of those stories that rings as "who cares".  No really, who cares.  No one gave a crap about deathwing and no one gives a crap about a whole bunch of orcs on draenor.  Even the people that will respond here saying "don't speak for me I am really interested in them" well good for you but these aren't our orcs..  You should be able to get a book and read all about them.  This whole expansion is a what if scenario.  None of these orcs are our orcs.  Anything that happens to them has no impact on us even if I am sure their writers will connect it in some way over the course of the expansion because they have to.  Anything we do there should have no impact on us.  It is an alternate world, these are alternate orcs.  Want to make this story interesting, let us see our history.  Leave the what if's to writers, not game makers.  So even if you do care, the story to care about doesn't mean anything and would be better told in a book, or in this case, a really bad fan fiction.  It is not something that an entire expansion should be wasted on, just like cataclysm.  They went the route of telling the story no one wanted to hear before and it did not work.  It won't work this time either.  Even if many people hated mists, at least people wanted to hear that story.

Warlords is going back to the well again to repeat a mistake that cataclysm made that cost it over 2 million players at one time and a lot more during its run.  They are making harder heroic dungeons and still allowing people to queue for them.  They would not be a problem what so ever if you needed to hand assemble them as we do with heroic scenarios now and there was no queue option ever for them.  But allowing people to queue for them, even with the ridiculous requirement of having a silver in proving grounds, will still make them a nightmare.

The heroics in cataclysm were not bad only because people were bad, they were bad because they were too hard for random groups most of the time.  I was 85 on day one and queuing up for the heroic dungeons and getting into fail group after fail group.  Those first people to 85, I guarantee, were not bad players.  What bad player would be able to get to 85 that fast?  And even if they were a bad players that just grinded it out so they were one of the first ones to max level for a new expansion I am sure they could grind out a silver too.  Silver will not make harder heroics easier.  Random groups, even random groups of decent players, will always have a harder time with content.  Not because the content is hard, but because it is a random group.  This will not end well.

They could make you have to have a proving grounds of gold in the role you queue for and it still would not help in any way, shape or form.  Perhaps on a boss like the last boss of grim bartol having damage dealers that could down the guys going for the eggs fast enough would have made the fight easier.  But it would still be a random group.  There will still be the guy that thinks, the others can get it, I am staying on the boss.  There will still be the guy who goes to the wrong side.  There will still be the guy that has a slow but refuses to use it because he thinks he is so awesome he can kill it without wasting a global on a slow and he will be wrong.  Just because having a proving grounds gold would assure your damage dealers can do decent damage on demand it will do nothing to show they can actually work as a group of random people.

For some other things, like corla's beams, having a proving grounds of even a gold would mean nothing.  What about the proving grounds would teach you to do top DPS while watching for an interrupt, and a timer for when to step in and out.  And even if the proving grounds did teach that, what is there to speak for lag issues, ego issues from the guy that doesn't want beam duty, or just someone that does not know what to do or when to do it?  Or how about the fire elemental that everyone needs to switch to and the person that it is on that needs to run.  Would people switch to it or would they all think the other guy will get it?  Will the person not run because they expect a group of all gold proving grounds damage dealers to be able to down it fast enough?  Well they should but in a random group that does not mean they will.  Or how about the person who has to been in the robot in deadmines.  What exactly does a proving grounds teach you about that, or about deciding who has to do it?

Random hard content does not work.  It is not because it is hard, it is because there are random people in it and you can never guess what a random person will do.  Will he switch to stop the mob from getting to the egg or will he think everyone else got it.  Will he step out of the beam in time or will he judge it wrong.  Will he let his ego get the best of him and think he doesn't need to do something because he is so uber and can tunnel the boss?

Having the queue system even with a proving grounds of silver as a requirement is a recipe for disaster.  There is no arguing that fact.  Random content and harder content do not belong together.  That is part one.  Part two now becomes those people that can not manage to get a silver.  So you have it on both ends, people in them and people that can not get in them, that will be hating on these harder heroics.  Not because they are harder, but because you can queue for them.

When you have something you can queue for everyone wants access.  When you need to hand assemble a group, people accept that they need to make friends to do it if they want to get it done.  I suggest heroic dungeons in warlords go one way or the other.  Make them harder and you can only go in with a hand assembled group or make them face roll from the start and you can use the random queue system.  One or the other blizzard, not both.  Hard & no queue or easy & queue.

The heroics in warlords should not have a queue option.  This is not about the proving grounds silver crap.  This is about the fact that harder content should never be part of the queue system.  I loved the early cataclysm heroics once a few days past and there were more guild mates at 85 and we were doing them as a guild group.  They were not hard at all, but when I was in a random, they had the potential to be a nightmare.  Even later in the expansion, if you got a group that did not know the beam you could still wipe on corla.  And that is exactly why there should never be an option to queue for anything with even any minor level of difficulty.

I would rather not even get started on the raid or die attitude blizzard has created for gearing this expansion and their push to make it an even more randomized loot system with no safely net in warlords but it can not be just avoided.  Valor gear is good for the game and seeing how it was implemented in the burning crusade and made better in wrath and seeing the growth of the game during those periods should show blizzard something.

The badge / emblem / point gear system was perfected in wrath and abandoned in cataclysm to a straight out buy system where everyone could get the same amount of points.  It spoiled people so much that they could get to cap even without raiding whereas in wrath, toward the end, it was balanced as it should be.  Non raiders could get some emblems while raiders got a lot more.  There was no cap(that I recall), you got what you could get, the cap was how many things you could do to get them.  This meant non raiders could still work toward gear, albeit a great deal slower, and it gave them a reason to log on and do their daily dungeon to get the few emblems they were capable of getting each week.  It let non raiders get a piece every so often and let raiders use emblem gear for what it was intended for, a safety net for bad luck, because they would have a lot more emblems because they were raiding of course.

So cataclysm broke the system that did not exist in vanilla, was added in burning crusade and made better in wrath.  Now warlords goes a step further and not only breaks the system, but removes it completely.  Why remove something that everyone liked?  Something that even non raiders had a use for?  It makes no sense and shows a serious lapse in judgement.

Now on to talent trees.  Cataclysm gave us a complete revamp which while it was entirely needed it was a huge change for many players, even more so for the ones that are not like us, the ones that do not read about this stuff online and did not know what was going on.  It was a shock to the system for many players to experience such a sweeping change like that.

Now warlords decides it is time for sweeping changes again but not with our talent trees but with our talents themselves.  Thing like recent tweets where they said they were removing 20% of the abilties.  To people that do not read up on this stuff having some of their abilties gone is going to be a huge shock.  Add to that fact the tweet yesterday that mages have 12 new spells and 28 spells in total, over all three specs.  So this means they removed 20% and then added a bunch more which are changed versions of old things or completely new ones.

How do you think this is going to affect the average player, and folks, we are not the average players, we read about this before it happens.  The average player will log on to find his abilties either gone or changed for the most part and have no clue what the hell he is doing.  Not exactly a fun way to log into a game.  But hey, at least we will be prepared because we read.   But we are not the ones that pay the bills.  If every warcraft player that actually reads this stuff beforehand quit it would not even come close to the amount of people the game lost because of harder heroics in cataclysm.  We are the minority.  Sweeping changes scare people.

Speaking of sweeping changes how about the stat squish and the removal of stats.  Cataclysm had a massive removal of stats.  Armor penetration, spell power, attack power, defense, etc.  Now we see the removal of hit, expertise, doge and parry.  While I agree they should all be gone because they all served no real purpose that is another change when tacked on top of the previous ones seems a little overwhelming for the average player to handle.  All that and they will see themselves going from doing 150K to 15K, if they happen to even have recount, and that will surely go over as well as someone packing a fish in your luggage before a long flight so you get a surprise when you land.

So story wise, random heroic wise, change wise, redesigning wise, everything we see coming from the early information make warlords seem like a worse version of cataclysm.  I did not even think that was possible.  I did not feel excited for cataclysm and never thought I could feel as bad about the future of the game as I did then but I do now.

Another little thing that has nothing to do with anything but I felt like mentioning was the announcement that garrisons would be tied to the warlords expansion only.  With followers we need to level, buildings we need to build, and all the work we will be putting into it, I would have liked garrisons and my followers to be like my pets.  Something I can keep with me forever, something that will always be useful.  With all the time we will put into leveling followers and all the gold we will put into building the buildings, I do not want more throw away content.  Not when there is "leveling" involved.

I am looking forward to the expansion after warlords more than I am for warlords because in my mind warlords has already failed us as players and it is not even in beta.  Actually, the fact that it is not even in beta is a failure in and of itself.  I should be playing warlords now, or soon, the release, not the beta.

Here is to hoping that the next trilogy goes more like the first one, making things better as it goes along, and less like the second one, bad and good and bad with all additions and no building on what is already in place to make it better.

I would like if the expansion after warlords picked up right where wrath left off and we can forget the trilogy of cata, mists and warlords with their good and bad jeckle and hyde impersonation.  We have to go back to where we were, the keep moving forward approach.

Writing this reminded me of something I saw at the end of wrath that always made me giggle.  Years later when I think about it I can only think, they were right.

"Tell the world the lich king is dead, and the world of warcraft died with him."


  1. "Tell the world the lich king is dead, and the world of warcraft died with him."

    I think that's basically correct. I. myself, have been playing after LK more out of inertia than of anything else. You know, achievements (because I started them already, got to finish), ranks, "what else am I going to do with my free time", etc. Sometimes friends. Inertia...

    I am not participating in this PVP season at all, because it is hardly different from the previous one. Same FOTMs. Boring. No content.

    Ah, well. All things come to an end.

    1. I don't know who I stole that quote from but someone said it a long time ago and I have always loved it.

      I am going to be participating in the PvP season. Might as well get some practice in, because that will probably be all there is to do next expansion anyway the way it seems.

  2. Not very constructive, but....such negativity is saddening.

    I'm not going to trying to convince you taht you are wrong, because all of this is essentially opinions and how we would like the game to be. Blizz can not pleases us all.

    Cata was a very good expansion for me, only annoying thing was short raids.

    Mist was awesome, especially not having valor gear in T14. And I'm happy if they get rid of valor in Warlords.

    I may sound elitist but I think that you should get gear depending on what you do. You do not raid, you do not need raid gear. Most of my toons are 90 and just doing farms/dailies, they're still in quest greens and I'm perfectlly happy with that.

    I also like the fact that this tier looks like will last 8+ month last DS, it will allows me to finish things I didn't had time to do earlier, like level a few additionnal alts, getting some achiev, things like that.

    1. It is saddening and I knew that while I was writing it. I have not exactly been thrilled with the announcements, or lack of, coming from warlords.

      I do raid and my main does not need valor gear. I am usually past what they could help somewhat quickly, except for bad luck like I am still using a heroic ToT trinket. But for alts I love valor gear. And it is elitist to say if you do not raid you do not need gear. It does not sound it, it is it. You need gear no matter what you do, even if all you ever do is go out and quest. It makes your character feel like it is making progression.

      Your attitude is that anyone that does not raid should hit max level and quit until next expansion. Sorry, that is not good for the game. Even if people do not raid, do not dungeon, do not PvP, they need something else to keep them in the game. Gear progression does that. It makes them feel like each patch is worth sticking around for.

      If gear was only for the raiders than it would be quite possible that up to 95% of the player base could quit (but never would) because there would be no personal progression for them. If even if only half that quit it would hurt the bottom line of the company trying to make money off it, which means fewer raid patches.

      I do not know about you but I would rather see new raids more often and if that means handing out free gear to keep people that do not raid happy I am fine with that. As long as I get my content I am happy. If they keep subscribed because there is something for them to aim for, as in valor gear, I say give it to them.

      Also, you might be comfortable with your alts in quest greens, but I am not. Even if I never have any intention of raiding with an alt I expect it to be as geared as it can be. My bank alt has a 536 item level and it has never even stepped into a raid. If there was valor gear this tier it would have a 560 item level. Just because I do not plan to use it doesn't mean I do not want it to be ready... just in case.

      Everyone plays the game differently. Just because you are fine running around in quest greens doesn't mean others should have to. That is elitist. Absolutely 100%.

    2. I am very aware that because I'm fine with my alts being in green does not mean everyone should.

      That being said I stand with my position that if you do not raid, you do not need raid gear. That does not mean you should not have character progression.

      I agree the game is lacking here, there SHOULD be some way to progress your character to progress without having to get raid gear. I dunno maybe something like when you do quests for the tillers you'll be rewarded gear that increase the amount of crops you get, or gives you buff to kill virmens faster, well you get the idea, getting better at helping the tillers.

      It's just an example and I believe pet battles are a nice first try. I know ppl taht play just for pet battles, and pet battles award you pet battles rewards.

      See I don't believe it is elitist to say that the reward system in WoW is somewhat flawed that raid gear is the solution to everything and that if you do not raid you should not need raid gear. The problem is finding a reward system that don't make raid gear even better.

      If you take my example of tillers dailies above, a raider should be worse at helping the tillers than someone taht do all dailies everyday, but a raider taht do them aswell should not be even better that the player that do only the dailies. (not sure if I'm clear)

    3. At least we do agree that non raiders do need something to aim for. I guess were we differ is more on the gear end. I am fine with non raiders having gear. I will end up with heroic gear which they can never get, so having gear equal to normal but without set bonuses is perfect as far as I am concerned. It keeps them happy and keeps them playing and keeps my alts raid ready to step into a heroic should I need them.

      I don't think increasing crops would be reward enough, or even increasing gold. Gear is how people are measured. I'll stand by my opinion that they should have gearing options.

      Pet battles are awesome. It is the only thing that has kept this expansion from bleeding more subscriptions. I personally liked this expansion, even with the faults it has had along the way, but the raid or die attitude would have really killed this game if it were not for pet battles. I hope people give pet battles the credit they deserve, they are the saving grace for this expansion.

      You were clear, but you forget the fact that raiders, at least this one raider, would raid and do the tillers so I had both. Which then, puts the non raider behind. I have the same farm bonus he has, so he has nothing special, and he still has no gear. Anything you give the non raider so they can feel progression the raider will have also, so we are back to where we were, everyone equal, but non raiders without gear.

      Gear is the answer. Let people have personal progression. Just like leveling sees you go up levels and that is your progression, gear give you item levels and you watch that go up and that is your progression.

      In my opinion that is more important to the non raider than to the raider. I don't give a crap what my item level as long as I can perform well enough to down a boss. All they have is item level. If anything gear means more to them.

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    5. You are one huge dwarf. :P

      The gear scaling in mists is as much to blame for not being able to kill things in later additions to the expansion. But yes, some extra gear would have smoothed out the edges for you. Like on dino island, you should be able to solo those easy by now even if you never raided but with gear available outside of raiding you will never reach that level. Sure, you could do it, but not like I can. I can send in my pet and watch TV while killing it and never have to worry about anything while you would be in a constant fight for your life and that of your pets. That is just wrong. That is bad stat scaling and no valor gear. That is blizzards raid or die design.

    6. Yeah as I though I wasn't really clear :p

      What I meant was like:

      -You do raid you get things that make you better at raiding

      -You do tillers you get things taht make you better at tillers

      But things you get from raid would not help you to be better at tillers, it would still be "harder", less eficient for you to do tillers than the guy who don't raid but do tillers, so if you want both, you do both. That seems fair to me.

      That being said, all activities should give you basic reward that enable you to start another activiy at decent level.

      (The additionnal crops thing was just a random idea)

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    8. By using your example, as a raider I would still do tiller (just like I did do it) so I could get the 300 food recipes and the feast recipes so I could use it while raiding.

      Now once me as a raider and the person that is not are equal I have gear, they have nothing. They still need their progression. Gear = progression. So why can't they have their progression out of the raid and I have my progression inside of it?

      Why is it so important to you to not let other people have gear? How is it going to hurt you if Roo here, who is not a raider, and others like him have gear? Will him walking around in 553s make yours worth any less to you? Or better yet, will him walking around in 553s make your 566s worth any less?

      Give me just one good reason that does not involve being selfish and wanting to keep things from others that people that do not raid should not be allowed to collect some valor and but a piece of valor gear once every few weeks.

      Sorry, you will never be able to pass a reason along that does not sound like someone being selfish and wanting to keep everything for themselves to make themselves feel special.

      It is only gear, who cares who has it. Let it go and let everyone enjoy the game.

    9. ok GE, sorry - bad day with the head and I am not using that as an excuse, just times when I think things are well thought out, they aren't and if it can go wrong, it will.

      Ok, as I was saying and your reply is up above in a spot that dones't make sense, I but I know why it is there (because of the wabbit, yes indeedy) - as I was saying, you have known me long enough to know my favorite saying - "gear has to be able to kill world stuff, not raid or dungeon stuff (well, the beginning 85 dungeons.). And if it doesn't then things are wrong. Hmmm, I think that is all I said, lol. Or should I leave well enough alone? Now I do have a LW and unless I run dungeons and get those Haunting Spirits that are disenchanted from raid items from normal/heroic TOT, right? they are used to make ilvl 522 helm and 1 other thing. Which means you need to have someone already at at least ilvl 522 if not higher to be able to run the normal/heroic TOT, right? Silly, plain silly. And no I dont have that kind of gold to buy 6 to 8 of these things off the AH. If Blizzard wants to redo something, go back and redo the gear that can be crafted. :D

      ok, now that it is more confusing. Have fun!

    10. No problem, I get that way all the time. Heck, sometimes, often even, I write something out and it makes perfect sense to me but then I get responses where people think I meant something completely different.

      What you mentioned, with the leather working patterns and the items needed to create them, is something I have had issues with all expansion. Those things should be available for purchase, with valor maybe, so people that do not raid or people that do not have an enchanter that raids, can get them. The patterns are supposed to be things for non raiders but when you need raid materials for them, or more exact, raid disenchants, which means useless raid materials, to get them it putting them at a premium price for the people that need them the most. Seems unfair to me, but seems to fit blizzard raid or die approach to gaming.

    11. You still don't get me.

      Scrap the current rewards of tillers, forget the +300 food.

      I'm speaking of totally different reward.

      If you're so focus on gear imagine that scenario :

      You ger gear from raiding, like 550 ilvl which is fine for raiding. Thing is when you're back in the world it's downscale to like end quest gear 430 ilvl.

      Now on the other end you do tillers and get reward with other gear that is like 550ilvl but only in the valley of the 4 winds. you get out of the zone gear is downscaled to 430ilvl.

      That more the idea I had in mind, but yo avoid bag issues, this should be doing in another way than pure gear. A way were your raid gear would not give you bonuses in the world and tillers would give you some kind of buff that would make you OP in Valley.

      Everyone would get reward and progression this way, but according to what things you are doing.

    12. @Anonymous:

      When you "do" Tillers, what exactly do you do? You tend to crops and you do dailies. Both these things involve fighting mobs, tending less, dailies more. Yes, these mobs aren't as powerful as raid mobs, but they are mobs, and better gear helps kill them faster / pull more. Done. Whoever is doing Tillers is interested in gear.

      Note that this applies to almost everything in WoW. Because almost everything in WoW involves mobs at some point. So almost everything in WoW makes you interested in gear. So let them have that gear. Via valor points, for example. That's the argument.

    13. And my argument is that the fact thet you need gear for everything IS the problem.

      There should be other way to progress your character and raiding gear should be for just that, raiding.

    14. @Anonymous:

      OK, I see.

      When Tillers are deep enough and large enough and don't involve fighting mobs, this will work, yes. Maybe we will have that with garrisons. (Battle pets are the closest I can think of to a non-gear progression, out of what exists in the game - and they are only half-way there at best, because the collection part, which arguably is _the_ reason battle pets exist at all, involves killing mobs.) Until we have that, though, gear matters for most everything (and so dumping valor is silly).

      I'd welcome non-gear progressions. I am skeptical that this is going to happen in material capacity, but I'd welcome that. Paragon levels, maybe, like in D3.

    15. So you are saying that in the "world" all gear is scaled down, so having higher gear makes no difference if all you ever do is stuff out in the world?

      I would be cool with that.

    16. That the overall idea.

      Though it would have to be more polished, cause raiding should still give you an increase of power in the world but actually doing stuff in the world would help you more.

      Dunno maybe something like PvP power but called "Dragon Slaying power" or whatever that would make you powerful in raid but not OP in the world.

      While doing things in the world would give you things like the ability to summon a herd of peasants to help you kill those nasty virmen or whatever but that would be something that made raid gear irrelevant for that activity.

      A bit like with the klaxxi buff in DW where the more you help the klaxxi, the more buffs you have acces to (though in the end there they are pretty much useless)

    17. Creating more things like "PvP power" is a bad thing in my mind. I have been a supporter of the idea that they should just have one type of gear. So no PvP and PvE gear, so surely I can not support world gear and raid gear.

    18. Hit enter too soon.

      But getting things like the klaxxi buff would be nice. But as I said, a raider would still have it. Raiders would have all the world stuff and all the raid stuff. Still leaving non raiders with nothing.

    19. I agree that there should be only one type of gear. the overall idea here is to find a way to make raid gear irrelevant compared to the things you get by doing world stuff.

      I'm no game designer, I'm just tossing ideas aside. Maybe things like slot enchantement that would make for example you weapon do +X% damage on raid mobs taht you get from raiding, and from helping the tillers you would get another enchantement taht would give +X% damage in Valley of the four winds and you would be able to have all active at the same time.

      It's just random ideas the main point here is that raid reward and world reward would not stack for a given activity.

    20. Your idea is noble and I agree with it in concept. I just do not think there is any way they could ever add it to the game in an effective way. It is just better to let the non raiders have some gear. It doesn't hurt anyone if they do.

  3. Well, Grumpy, I tried every way I could think of to disagree with you, but I can't. I think you are right, and that makes me sad.

    Besides my main hunter, I have 5 alts at 90. It would be nice to be able to gear them sufficiently to help out our raid team when we have too many hunters and not enough of some other role, but Blizz is doing everything they can to make that impossible. They have constructed a perfect Catch-22: You have to raid to get gear, but you can’t raid until you have the gear.

    For all the reasons you cited, LFR is a failed experiment, and I just refuse to run it any more. Even if it means I will never get the legendary cloak on another alt. Even if it means I have limited utility for my raid team. Why? Over an hour queue wait for any dps, dysfunctional groups -- either because of constant wipes or because of snotty mean spirited people -- and an RNG system that often for me results in zero gear reward even after suffering through all this over and over again. (And the flex queue is an even longer wait, often for the same kind of group and same gear result.) My raid team is a progression team, but very slow, so we almost never get to the point where we are farming even normal content, so significant gear from there is not really a reliable option.

    Anonymous above said "you should get gear depending on what you do." OK, then from that point of view if you run horrible LFRs over and over and over again, then imo you are doing something, and that argues for a currency system. You are supporting Blizz's game structure, you are helping to make these groups possible for others, etc.

    I think for me the unkindest blow of all was the announcement that garrisons would exist only for WoD. WTF BLIZZ???? I realize that planned obsolescence is a business strategy, but sheesh, this is Blizz giving us a big blatant in-your-face finger. And here I was hoping if we had taken the time to max out Tiller rep and farm space, then we could get a slight advantage in configuring our new garrisons, like maybe all those Tiller friends who are supposed to be helping on the farm might actually become garrison followers, or we get an extra start building or something. Silly me!

    I will wait to see what actually materializes in WoD, but like you I am not optimistic. I hope we both are wrong, though.

    1. I really liked mists even with all the annoyances, like grinding reputation on three characters before they added any catch up, and having undergeared characters that I don't raid on because blizzard things they do not need gear. Over all however I liked mists a lot. It is a bright spot for the most part in the cloudy skies of the last few years.

      To add to your argument if you are doing dungeons, if you are pet battling, if you are doing dailies, you are doing something. And should be rewarded for doing something. Some people just like to think that gear is for raiders only. It is their right to have that opinion, I just do not agree. Apparently blizzard does agree however with their raid or die mentality this expansion and expanding on it to make it even worse next expansion.

      That garrison thing really upset me too. WTF is blizzard thinking, really. I would love to be able to pick their brain a little bit on this one. There has to be some logic, even if it not one we agree with, behind this and as it is I can not see any logic to making people level up something that they intend to make useless at the start. Kind of hurts the desire to want to level it to begin with.

      I too was hoping if you had a maxed farm maybe your farm would start at level 2 instead of level 1. That would have been nice, but that also would have required someone at blizzard to be forward thinking and they are anything but forward thinking.

      I am waiting as well, hoping they revert some of the things they said once people start to hear about it and they start to get feedback. But I am not optimistic at all.

      Here is to hoping the next expansion after is better, I've all but given up on this one before it even hits beta.

  4. I mostly disagree but not on any new points (raid or die? sigh... :) ) so I won't rehash...

    The one thing that occurred to me is that with the squish and Recount, how long until someone comes out with a modified Recount add-on that unsquishes all the numbers back to where they would be today? :)

    1. I don't think it would be needed. Anyone that actually cares enough to see how they are doing for reasons of doing it better will not care if they are doing 10K or 100K.

      I am surprised no one released on that simplified it for this expansion. We had a warlock with over 3 million burst on our garrosh kill last night. It just does not look right at all.

    2. Oh, there'll be complaints about "I WANT MY MILLION DAMAGE CRITS BACK!!!". I know it, you know it, we all know it. :)

      Well, that would be another idea... release a modified Recount now that decreases all numbers by, say, a factor of 50 to get us used to seeing smaller numbers. Maybe even a UI mod that changes things like boss and player nameplate health numbers, too. Could result in some fun miscommunications, too...

      "Gah, so close, a 500K wipe!"

      "Er, the boss still had 25M health left..."

      "Oh. Right."

      Speaking of the difficulty of seeing small numbers, I've been doing progression on H Malk lately and on one attempt last week I sat at, literally, 702 health for about a minute... and this tiny little number kept catching my eye, it was more than a bit distracting. Hopefully small numbers will be less distracting when they're all smaller. :)

    3. There already are people crying a river over it. Just check out the forums. And I would have guessed most form people would be smarter and be more likely to be the ones that would understand it and they are still creating a firestorm over it.

      I believe large numbers are more distracting to most people. I can not recall the number of times I heard someone say something like "he only had 25K left". No, he only had 25M left.

      People are more likely to get larger numbers wrong.

  5. you cant speak for me, but those ain't our orcs.

    1. You are right, those are not our orcs.

      I say we box them put, slap postage on their head, and send them back to metzen. He likes orcs, he can play with them.

  6. I know you have slowly been grumpy about the new stuff coming out in Wabbits of Death, for a the few weeks or so. Can you make a posting showing where you are reading this stuff or if you dont mind re-hashing about it, posting it in one post? I guess I just don't read those same sites you do and really can't find it. And of course, I don't look at any other blogs but this one and of course mine. (todays post is about John Steinbeck's 112th birhtday :-D ). See I dont even post about wow any more.

    1. You can catch most of the updates and quote by reading the front page of MMO-C, link is on the side of the blog.

  7. I agree that the game got better with BC and Wrath.

    I liked Cataclysm though, so I'll disagree with you some there. The story was lame but the rest seemed ok to me.

    Mists has been a mixed bag for me, so I'll disagree with you some here as well. The story is better but the multi-gating, removal of valor gear, and the growing "raid or die" mentality has really bothered me as well. I've been a non-raider and a heroic raider and I've never agreed with "raid or die" and I never will.

    So I guess I could say that for me, it's been kind of downhill since Wrath (with a plateau during Cata). WoD is looking like it might be a sharp slope down though. I'm not looking forward to it at all.

    Depending on how much I enjoy ESO and how WoD beta goes, there is a high possibility that I will quit playing WoW.

    On another note, Corla was horrible if you suffered from lag... that was just bad encounter design...

    1. I hated questing most in cataclysm. Everything else I was kind of okay with. I could take it or leave it. Hated the questing, despised it so much I could not even put it into words. The story was lame but I guess I can live with a lame story.

      I actually really like mists, even with all its faults. I was happy with it, but not so happy with it that I would be sad to see it go.

      Corla was just a prime example of how not to make a 5 man dungeon fight.

  8. I can't say that I agree with everything here, but I don't disagree enough to make my own post about it.

    A couple of things that I'd point out though. If I were ranking the list of worst features added to the game in terms of value, quality and use of resources, I'd have to put in-game voice chat on the top of my list.

    This was released in patch 2.2, nee, it was patch 2.2, and it was awful.

    I'd also point out that LFD, LFR (yes, I know it's bad), Void Storage, Transmog, and Flex were all game changing features that were introduced in the final patch of their respective expansions. If Blizzard follows suit, then there is an unknown game changing feature in our future.

    As for the story, it has piqued my interest and I've been reading up on the characters and stories which frame this expansion. This is not something I've done with any prior expansion. For some reason these orcs and this story have my attention.

    I would further argue that Blizzard has taken the time to refine and improve existing features. We will have to quest to get from 90-100, and questing has improved with each and every expansion. Drop rates, respawn rates, mechanics, phasing, story, information on where to go and what to do are all better than what they were.

    In order to get great features you have to take risks and that means missing the boat on some things and getting it wrong.

    Have they got too many of things wrong this time? I think it's too soon to tell.

    I 100% agree that beta and even the release of WoD is long overdue though.

    1. The game changing feature in the final patch that you are looking for is character boost.

      Not that they have an obligation to do such features, but here you go.

    2. I totally forgot about voice chat, but I guess that is because I never used it. Not even once, not even on a lark to try it out. So out of sight, out of mind.

      I do agree that questing has gotten better, and looks like it will be even better in warlords. Even as someone that likes to quest however I do believe the entire leveling process is long over due to be replaced. Levels are no longer needed. Just keep us moving forward with gear and leave quest zones to be opened a little at a time as way for non raiders to gear up and tell the story as the expansion goes on.

      Saddest part for me is what I consider to be the best feature to come out of cataclysm, reforgning, is being removed. It is like, wow, how can they do that. They are removing the things that made reforging a task, hit, expertise and haste caps, no now reforging can be more about what stat you want more, no math to it, and they now remove it because it is too mathy? It is too mathy now when no math is involved at all but wasn't before?

      @ PvP anon and Dark

      The game changing feature is flex. Just like LFD was added at the end of wrath, LFR at the end of cata, flex was added at the end of mists.

      We are not waiting on the game changing feature, it is already here. And in my opinion, it is good.

  9. When I first read your post I was going to disagree on a couple of points, then I read it again and I realised that I couldn't. I was disagreeing based on how I wish it was, not on how it actually is.

    You see I don't have guildmates, or in game friends, that will run heroic dungeons or scenarios. I obviously raid on my main with my guild, but that's all we do as a guild. A few times we've said that we'd like to do challenge modes but when I put it up on the calendar no-one came.

    Cata was the first expansion I played from the beginning as I joined at the end of Wrath. What I always used to love about the 5-mans in Cata, is that they weren't completely faceroll. They could be if you had anything resembling a good group, but if you got a normal random group, and definitely a bad one, then it wasn't easy.

    I did like that because well it was an ego boost. I really enjoyed 'saving the day'. Whatever role I was, and it was usually tank and occasional healer, I would take on whatever special task there was. Beams, adds, interrupting, kiting etc. I would use everything I had in my toolbox to keep myself alive, to keep the group alive and to solo things down if they died.

    My favourite dps character was my kitty druid as it was the only dps character that I felt I was really quite decent at. I could pull good numbers on it, and far more importantly, I absolutely loved the ability to shift to bear and tank in an emergency. I have good memories of Zul dungeons where the tank would die halfway through the boss fights, and sometimes the healer too, and I'd pop bear and finish it off. Enrage + frenzied regeneration would heal through anything back then.

    I used to queue for random heroics a lot. I got incremental progression on my alts for dropped gear, and then collect currency to occasionally buy a piece from there. Quite frankly it was also really fun, that was most of the game to me. Yeah I raided on my main but nowhere near as much back then. I miss those days.

    However, there were obviously groups where I couldn't save the day. Especially when I was on a fresh alt, as I wouldn't have the gear to be able to do it. There were frustrating runs and runs that felt like they took forever. It was nothing compared to LFR which is like the worst dungeon run x1000, but I do take your point. Challenging content and randoms don't mix. I didn't like wiping, I didn't like the runs that didn't go well, I just enjoyed the ones that did, especially if I felt that I contributed to the smoothness of the run. You can make a lot more of a difference in a 5 man group, than you can in a larger one.


    1. ...

      You know what I don't even know what I'm saying here. I agree with you completely. I'm not holding up Cata as an example of a good expansion by any stretch of the imagination. I just did like the ease of playing I suppose. I liked that the dungeons were relevant and not completely faceroll. The early heroics were too hard. I didn't go in them straight away. I faceplanted on my mage, like boom brick wall, and I went and leveled my paladin, and I realised "hey this game can be fun" and it became my new main. By the time I had that up to level I think the edge had been taken off.

      I've been contemplating quitting for sometime. I too really haven't liked the raid or die that has been Mists motto. I have said a few times if Warlords is more of the same then I'll likely quit. The announcement about the currency is a nail in the coffin. Depending on how the heroic dungeons work out, that might finish it. It's too bad you know because I really did love this game.

      I too think that it's a failure that it's not even in beta. Do you think they are trying to kill their own game? I mean they can't seriously believe that people will just blithely accept that it's the same content for a year? Although I guess a lot of people do. If you read WoWInsider then there's a bunch of blizz apologists there. Though the majority of the games population don't read blogs like that. No telling really what their feelings are, though it's not unreasonable to be fed up.

      I just don't get blizz at all. I know they have to make decisions for everyone, and because the playerbase is so diverse different people will love it or hate it. Maybe I'm just blinkered by my own perceptions, hopes and expectations but I can't see how their recent announcements really benefit anyone.

      TLDR: I agree with you.

    2. I agree, it is too bad because I too love the game and am feeling like leaving. If anything I notice it is having a serious effect on me in game now. I suddenly hate doing everything in the game now because I know the game has no real future for me if warlords comes out as is. I have a feeling that my guild, that has been around since the beginning of time, will end up dying because I will kill it by being so blah and not wanting to do anything any longer thanks to next expansion telling us ahead of time how shitty it is going to be.

      You say something at the end about the player base being diverse and they have to design for that and some people will love it and some people will hate it.

      But the problem is, they are not designing it for that. With the raid or die attitude, they are designing it for 700K of their 7M players. What about the other 6.3M people that pay a monthly sub? Blizzard seems, once again, to have completely forgot about them or taken it for granted that if they push hard enough those 6.3M will go into raiding. It is just bad business.

      Maybe the are trying to kill off the game, it sure looks like it.

  10. As much as I want to disagree, I can't (and no this is not because it looks like hunter aspects are going rather than being changed). Blizz have been haunted by a specter since the end of Wrath. A specter summed up in two words: "What now?" The story of the RTS is concluded, the levels are getting too high to keep to the old talent system, and, as ever, new players must be thought of. How fitting then that this entire expansion seems to be "what now?" made manifest.
    WoD looks like it was lifted from the whiney desires of the elitist hardcore crowd who refused to play MoP because "Pandas" or "feelings are stupid". Those who, in short railed against LFR, LFG and anything that made the game more accessible to the average player.
    At the same time, Blizz is using the theme to try and make the game more understandable lore-wise to those who will go and watch the Warcraft movie. After all, it's taking place roughly around the same time (though in our timeline) and it's easier to succour newbies in with something they can somewhat relate to. There's nothing wrong with that at face value, but if it really is going to be as hard as they say, then we are essentially getting the worst of both worlds.
    Unless the proving grounds are *seriously* revamped, this is going to cause subscriptions to plummet. If nothing else Pandaria's saving grace was that everything was optional. The Proving Grounds have no real bearing on raid performance, I could barely get through them, but always paid my dues in raid, but now that they are hear my guild demanded them with the result that we lost one of our best tanks and a number of other dedicated raiders. All this because an optional test of arbitrary skill was introduced. And now we're being told this isn't optional. Good luck to anyone picking up the game for the first time.
    Despite all this, I have high hopes for WoW's future, because it seems that although Blizz is flailing, it is flailing strategically. They know how to craft a good story without prior RTS lore. Story-wise, Pandaria was easily one of the best WoW expansions to date. So good that it got a fair number of players through the hellish rep grinds. WoD looks like a test of dungeon balance. If anything I'm looking forward to the expansion after next (the one after the one after WoD), because this trilogy looks more like a quadrilogy from here. Blizz still has skills and talents to iron out before it can start making the perfect better. I just wish it would happen faster.

    1. It really does feel like "what now" and it seems like the writers don't know what now. They are making it up on the go and they do not seem to be very good creative writers.

      I like mists a lot too. I would rank it second best behind wrath. It has a lot of things I did not like, do not get me wrong. Hated the gating of rep and valor for alts and little things like that but over all mists was a very good expansion with excellent speed in releasing content as well. Until now that is.

      Same as me, I am looking forward to the expansion after next more than the next one.

      I am really losing faith in them, have been for a long time. I give them credit for making this a very good expansion from something I did not expect much from but that credit only goes so far. I too wish it would all happen a little faster.

  11. I just can't work out what it is you are so grumpy about...
    re: harder heroics
    Cata heroics were hard, probably too hard, especially coming off the back of the faceroll wotlk heroics.
    MoP heroics were easy, probably too easy.
    In both, I had groups that succeeded and groups that failed. In fact, no matter what level or expansion I have played, I have had some groups that succeeded and some that failed.
    Random groups can be good or bad, this is not news.

    Now, Blizzard has looked at the different difficulties and decided they want to pitch heroics somewhere between the WotLK/MoP model and the Cata/TBC model.

    They then realised that not all players will be able to complete more difficult heroics so they are making sure there are normal dungeons available at level cap.

    Next, they decided that it would be a good idea to make sure that people going into these 'harder' heroics should have the basic skills needed to complete the dungeon.
    So they gated them behind Proving Grounds Silver. To achieve silver, you need the basics of:
    Prioritising targets
    Throughput (to a certain level)
    Mana management

    If you can't complete Proving Grounds: Silver, you are not capable just yet of performing your role adequately in our new heroics. This is not a bad thing, go hone your skills in normal or keep practising the PG.

    The biggest issue I see is Blizzard absolutely have to make sure PG Silver is balanced for all specs and roles.

    What's the big problem?

    1. I am grumpy because that is what I do. It is in the title. ;)

      The big problem is that silver means nothing. I knew some dreadfully horrible players, I mean so bad that you can't even carry them, they are that bad, they will find a way to wipe you, and they got silver.

      Silver does not require any skill, just determination. If you stick with it enough you will get it. Doesn't mean you will learn.

      To get silver I did not need anything you mentioned. Gold yes, not silver. I stood in one place and killed everything that spawned. Maybe had to move a tiny bit to reach the spinning guy because it was out of range.

      I did not prioritize targets once, I did not interrupt, I just stood there and went pew pew. That is all you need to do to get silver as a damage dealer.

      I am grumpy because they think this will fix issues. It will not. There will still be horrible groups and not because the players are bad even. It is because harder content has no place in random content. Remove the ability to queue from heroics and it is fixed. Simple.

      I agree that PG needs to be fixed. It is easy to get it in some specs and harder in others.

      A friend of mine, a feral druid, one that has never healed a day in his life had been collecting healing gear on his druid. One day as a joke he went into PG and put on the gear to see how he could do.

      Took him a few tries but he walked out with gold. He still can't seem to manage gold in his feral spec which as been his main spec since, well, forever.

      PGs are not balanced. When someone that never healed can get gold and that same person that has played a class for 10 years can not, there are issues.

      PGs are not a measure of skill and while they can teach they will only teach the people that are willing to learn and the people that are willing to learn already know how to play because they learned so they don't need to prove themselves.

    2. Maybe I (mis)remembered some elements from dps gold in there.

      In that case, if they mean this to be an effective gating mechanism, those elements need to be in Silver.

      Otherwise, it becomes a pointless exercise that you spend 10 minutes completing before going into your heroics. At least you would know your team can produce a certain amount of dps, I suppose.

      I still like the concept but I now think they need to be tuned as well as balanced. Blizzard have already said they will be making changes so I'm hoping they have this covered.

      I have personally found them helpful by the way. I switched my paladin to prot having never tanked anything on any character before and went in there for some much-needed practice.

      The PG allowed me to work on my setup (keybinds etc) and basic tanking skills (picking up adds, taunts, active mitigation) without making random people suffer.
      It really did help but I imagine you will classify this under "willing to learn"

      I can't bring myself to agree with such absolute statements as "harder content has no place in random content"

      I imagine these new heroics will not be as hard as the Cata launch ones (Blizz have admitted that was a mistake) but we got through those dungeons in random groups anyway, moreso once people had overcome the shock of having to actually do something other than pew-pew.
      It wasn't guaranteed that every group would complete them, particularly early on, but why is that such a bad thing? I met great people willing to work together to get through those dungeons, still in touch with some of them. In the current model, we might have said 'hi' and 'bye' then gone our separate ways.

      If Blizzard are making any effort to promote that teamwork ethic and reduce (however slightly with PG:Silver in it's current form) the number of bad groups, then they have my backing.

    3. The gold needed those things, was saying the silver really didn't. You are right however, at the minimum having a silver would at least show someone can hit their buttons to produce someone decent damage. Maybe it would be better than seeing people in over 500+ item level still doing 20K.

      They will need a lot of tuning, a hell of a lot, so much so that I do not believe blizzard is up to the task and the requirement will be removed before warlords even comes out.

      The problem is this, make it too hard and people will cry they can not do it. Make it too easy and it does nothing to keep those horrible players out.

      I still say the best route is going the way they did with scenarios. Let people make their own groups. It brings a little community back to the game and with OR and other resources like that making a group is a lot easier than it was in the past when LF* was actually needed.

      I loved the cataclysm heroics those first week when in a guild group. They were a bit of a challenge but nothing we couldn't over come and it really helped me evaluate some players. Some people that were raiders showed their true colors in there. Made me think, how the hell can they raid if they can not do this.

      It was the random finder that made the cataclysm dungeons difficult, not the content itself.

      Having people hand assemble a group would not keep people from getting it but it might keep people from getting away with things and not being held accountable for it. That is the #1 reason I would like to see heroics not be capable of being queued for. It has nothing to do with the silver requirement.

      But on that note. I have absolutely no intention of getting a silver on any of my characters. I have been playing for many years and I have nothing to prove and even if I did the proving grounds are not the place to do it. In a group is.

    4. @Wes

      At least based on my experience, the difference is that in Cat 70% of my runs in the first-tier heroics failed while in MoP it's been more like 10%. My average heroic run in Cat was probably 45-60m (the 2hr runs hurt the average) while in MoP it was closer to half an hour.

      If you're only thinking the last tier of heroics in Cat then yeah, I didn't have as many issues with those and most actually completed but it's the first tier heroics that are being used for comparison. They were brutal. Heroics shouldn't have one-shot mechanics, period, those did. Save that required level of execution for challenge modes.

      I'm somewhat ambivalent on the whole "needs to be balanced" thing... silver shouldn't be any sort of cutting-edge challenge, it should just serve as a competency check (do ENOUGH dps, have ENOUGH gear, don't do anything TOO wrong that you get yourself killed) that puts it as a relatively equivalent experience to the heroics it's gating but without being able to count on others to carry or bail you out. If someone can actually succeed at a challenge that's roughly equivalent to what they'll be expected to do in a heroic then I think it serves its requirement perfectly even if the tuning isn't tight.

      ... I really need to go in and do silver on all my toons to see if there really are significant differences for different classes/specs. Guess I'll add that to my pre-WoD to-do list.

  12. Well said mate, all my concerns rapped up as well. I don't like the removal of anything from content wise like not being able to get the achievement for my girl who does not raid anything bar LFR. so I cannot go back and help her get the SOO mount.
    I myself continue to play for her and our RL friends, but they are now starting to question the changes well what's the point if I get stone walled. I love going into runs with them to have a blast and help them gear up and now with the changes I'm questioning the content more and more if its justified to have my $15 a month.