Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Blizzards Change in Philosophy?

No blue poster has mentioned anything I could find to explain the change in philosophy that it seems blizzard has had with the introduction of the new expansion.  What change am I talking about you might ask but to anyone that follows the blues they already know what I am talking about.  For those that do not know I will clue you in.

For as long as I can remember in the game blizzard has been trying to make the world look full.  They even went so far as to merge servers, make cross realm zones, basically doing anything they can on their end to make the world look fuller.  They also keep, or kept as it may be, talking about giving players things to do out in the world.

The design philosophy has been to try and get people out in the world and doing things.  They want people to play their game and not just sit around in their main city.  I see nothing wrong with this and can support it and I am sure everyone else would as well.  We all want things to do and doing them out in the world does expand our view and make the game feel fuller.  It is better than having one tiny little space to do things and then that is the only place we are.

But with warlords it seems blizzard has completely changed its philosophy.  They seem to be actively giving us reasons not to go out into the world.  Why are they doing this?  I am not being sarcastic asking that, I really do not truly understand.  Why has blizzard, for so many years, repeated the phrase "get people out in the world" and then suddenly did an about face and are doing everything they can to make us not go out in the world.

If you ask me this is a huge waste of developer time and space.  If they do not want us out in the world why did they spend so much time making the world?  Yes the zones, outside of nagrand, are all much smaller than we are used to with new zones, but why even have them that big if there is no intention of having us go to them outside of our original journey through them to level up.

If you are not sure what I am talking about and think that I am just off on a tangent again with no rhyme or reason I will list a collection of things that show blizzard does not want us out in the world any longer.

1) Flying:

Flying had become a staple of game play.  Giving us the means to travel much easier and at our own pace and in our own direction meant we were much more likely to go out and just fly around.  Even if we did so aimlessly, which I had done many times, flying allowed us the freedom to do so.  Removing a staple of travel in the game like that greatly reduces the impulse travel.   No longer will people head out aimlessly like they do with flying because if you need to choose a flight point you need to have a destination in mind on where you want to go.  Having a destination is actually the exact opposite of just flying around aimlessly.

The removal of flying was the first step in the direction where blizzard said to its players it would rather you stay in one place.  Why else would they remove the number one method to get people off their asses and out of the cites?

2) Dailies:

While I do understand the issue blizzard has with dailies right now because of all the negative feedback from the beginning of mists their wholesale removal of them in warlords is uncalled for.  With all the feedback they collected and read (or at least said they read but being their action are as they are I am going to say they never actually read the feedback) blizzard should have known that it was not the dailies people had a problem with.  It was the fact that valor gear was gated behind them.

People like to do dailies, they always have liked to do dailies.  But they like to do them at their pace and like to do them when they want to do them if they want to do them at all.  Whether it be doing them just to get another faction to exalted, or because that faction had a pet they wanted, or a piece of gear for gold that they wanted, or because dailies were always a fair way to make some gold.  Not to mention some people did them because they just liked having something to do.  Dailies gave some people purpose, some people direction.

The backlash on dailies was because the valor gear was locked behind them.  The backlash on dailies was because you needed to have one revered before you could even work on two others and when you wanted nothing from that one but did want something from the others it opened, it was frustrating for the casual player to get stuck behind a wall that existed for no reason other than to be a wall.

In the end dailies always have been and always will be a great way to get people out in the world.  Even more so if they offer something worth getting, but blizzard removed them from the game and gave people one less reason to go out in the world.

3) Rare Mobs:

Rare hunting has become a huge thing mists.  I have a friend who plays on off hours and all he does all night is fly around (which you can't do in warlords anyway) and kill rares.  Each rare gets him some blue item that he can sell for gold or disenchant for materials, but it is the chance at getting the small bag of good or the big bag of goods and then there is the added chance of getting profession bags filled with things in townlong.  This kept him motivated to be out in the world.  This kept him busy, this kept him playing, this kept him happy.  More importantly, this kept him out in the world.

He did the original rares, he did the warbringers, he did his passes on the timeless island, he spent a lot of time out in the world killing rare mobs because it was fun for him and he could get something good from it.  For the record, he makes between 20K-60K per night rare hunting for a few hours.  So it is a fair way to make gold too.

Now you might have noticed me mention in other recent posts that you can not move 10 feet without stubbing your toe on a rare in warlords.  However that is the problem.  Rare in warlords are not like the rares are now.  There is absolutely no reason to ever kill them twice.  As a matter of fact, once you kill a rare, it is no longer a rare to you.  It just becomes a really strong named mob that gets you absolutely nothing.  So once you kill the rare there is no reason to kill it again.  Actually, you are better off avoiding it completely because it becomes an annoyance after you have killed it, nothing more.

Sure adding more rares in the world will get people out there but there are two mistakes blizzard made.  Or were they mistakes? Maybe they were done on purpose to push their new agenda of keeping people from being out in the world?  One, they respawn instantly.  So they are not exactly rare.  So you can go around, wait no longer than 2 minutes for it to appear, kill it. Two, once you kill a rare you never have to kill it again because you got what goodie it drops and it will never drop anything for you again.

This actually gives people a reason not to come out in the world.  If they got all the rares why go out, and if they do go out, they have the chance to run into these mobs that offer nothing but don't die in 1 or 2 shots like everything else.  They just become a general annoyance.

Blizzard took one thing that got people out in large numbers, got them working as a team in large numbers, got them playing in the world in large numbers, and changed it into a one time kill that requires no time waiting or hunting for. 

Changing rares to be like this is blizzard saying, we don't want you out in the world hunting rares so here it is right in your face right away and we will even give you whatever it drops instantly on your first attempt, now go get in your garrison, be alone, and get out of the world

4) Rare Events:

Things like the brew boss on the timeless island are all around in warlords.  Unlike the brew boss however, and in tune with what seems to be the warlords philosophy, they are a one time only thing.  Sure I can stop and help others with it but I can only get something from it once meaning, like the rares, there is no reason to repeat doing them.

Once more it seems like blizzard is saying to us to just do it and go away.  Get out of the world.

5) Quest Events:

These are little things that pop up that give you a few objectives to complete, sort of like if you picked up 4 quests and they sent you to this one area.  A different way of quest delivery.  They give you some gold and some experience but like everything else in the expansion they are one time only things.

Are you seeing the warlords trend here.  Do this and then get the hell out of the world, we do not want you out there doing things any more.  We changed our mind.

6) Treasure Chests:

I think they took the idea from mists release, with the things you can find out in the world, and the timeless island where there were treasure chests all over, and combined them into one.  But they did so with one major error.  There is nothing worth getting in any of them.

Make that two errors.  The other is that you do not get the map that tells you where they all are until you have completely finished a zone.  Sure you can run across some things before you complete the zone, but it isn't until you completed the zone that you can get the map to find everything.

There are some decent items to be found, do not get me wrong, but if you have already completed all the quests you will not need any of the gear you get form them.  Most just give you some garrison resources, and the others give you junk that is either completely useless or unsellable so you need to throw it away.

Blizzard seems to have forgotten why the items in the world were so sought after in mists at release. They forgot why people spent hours camping spawn sights for those items.  They forgot why everyone and their mother actively wanted them.  They were extremely high item level when you take into account they were equitable at level 85 and they were BoA so you could find them on a higher character to send them to a character that really needed it.  These are no higher item level than the quests in the area offer, they require you to be the level you are when you find them usually, and they are soulbound.  So in other words, they are more than likely useless by the time you find them.

And the treasure chest part of it was also a misinterpretation of what people liked with the timeless island.  People liked them because all that gear was BoA.  And for some characters it was useful, and with burdens it could be useful for even more characters.  With nothing useful, nothing upgradeable, and nothing trade-able even with your own characters, there really is no need to go after them.  They sucked all the excitement out of finding treasures when most of the treasures you find are junk.

So there are no achievements for getting the treasures and there are no treasures worth seeking out means you are better off just ignoring them unless you are in the area, then grab them if you feel so inclined to do so.  In other words, you are better off staying in your garrison scratching your ass.

7) Gathering:

This is the one where it really begins to become apparent that blizzard does not want people out in the world.  The number one reason people go out is because they want something out in the world.  Often that happens to be things such as herbs and ore.

With each garrison having their own farm for herbs and mine for ore it really limits the need to go out in the world.  Sure, when first starting out this will not be enough to get you by, but once the expansion rolls on and once you have a few alts running you will be gathering more herbs and ore than you will ever have a need for.

This is a huge dent in the idea of being out in the world.  Don't get me wrong I love the idea of being able to gather without any competition but when a character that is not an herbalist or miner is only a week old and already sitting on hundreds of herbs and approaching a thousand ore there really is something that shows they want to keep you inside instead of out in the world.

8) Crafting Materials:

While the farm and mine are buildings everyone can get if you want to get meat, fish, cloth or leather you still need to go out in the world.  Fish you can fish for however, if you are willing to deal with no catches until you manage to snag some bait but that is another story.

All that said, you really do not need to go out in the world for any of that stuff if you happen to have the trading post on your garrison.  If you do you can trade garrison resources for all the materials you ever need.  All the fish you need, all the meat you need, all the cloth you need and all the leather you need.

Sure going out in the world will help speed things up.  Having a lumber mill along with the trading post will speed it up and you do need to go out to make the most of the lumber mill.  But once you have a few alts running, the outside time decreases.  And even if you don't and only have one character, as time goes on you will gather enough crafting materials otherwise to not need to go out at all.

Just one more case of blizzard saying, you have everything you need right here, why would you want to go out in the world.

So back to my original question which was why has blizzard had a sudden change in philosophy and instead of being like they always had been with wanting us to get out in the world are they now instead doing everything within their power to make sure we don't go out in the world?

Am I missing something here.  Did blizzard really change their philosophy.  It sure seems so to me.  But why?  Seriously, I do not understand this complete change of approach in the design of the game from being a game that wanted a full world to a game that wants an empty one.

Maybe someone can explain it to me.  I mean I liked going out in the world and flying aimlessly.  I liked going out and gathering materials.  I liked going around killing mobs for drops.  I liked going out and hunting rares.  I liked doing dailies.  I liked going out and doing things and don't get me wrong, I love the garrisons and all, I think they are a nice step in the right direction for player housing, but I am not sure in their design change to make it so I don't want to be anywhere but there.  Why did blizzard suddenly change?  Why do they not want people in the world any longer?


  1. no food for thought here, just typical roo mis-guided mind chatter - instead of fortresses of solitude out in some parallel universe of WoW, why not put the garrisons in the major capital cities of a players choice?

    1. If they ever decide to make a player housing version they most likely will. This is just a one time deal, it will be useless once the expansion is over, just like the farm in pandaira is now.

    2. Yeah, I think this is just a test. It also may be why they are already talking about the expansion after WoD and making Warlords last only a year and two tiers. They realized they have made everything a one-shot without replay value, and people will just hang at garrisons.

      Garrisons seem over powered. That being said, I think I'll be sad when this expansion is over, and we leave our garrisons. I'll have gotten used to my own base with all my gathering, AH, and bank centralized.

      Going back to the old lvling format of a random adventurer wandering around and helping allies will suck after the convenience of a garrison and the glory of being the commander.

    3. I really do like the garrisons, but I really dislike the fact there is nothing else to do outside of them. Once you get dungeon gear there is no replay value to them either. So it is log in for raid time only. Is this really good design? What if you are not a raider?

      They really need to do some serious thinking before release because if it gets released this way there might not be enough subscribers around to make it worth making another expansion. Sure, they will still have millions, but why scare people away. And they have to know having nothing to do will scare people away.

  2. Wabbits of Doom is only temporary? Well, I guess things do change because if I remember right, a year ago, it was to be the last of the expanisions.

    With the exodus of the top wow folks, the old nag will be flogged as much as it can be.

    @troutmonkey - not for me! I doubt I will spend much time in WoD area of play. Besides I much perfer going from 1 to 60 and then stopping. I have my 9 lvl 90's, probably will do 7 to 100 and the rest of my toons are from 1 to 60. Thats where they stop.

    Now to look for a vanilla wow only server - hey thats what Blizzard should do - run a few from 1 to 60 servers. I would gladly transfer a few of my toons over and stay there.

    1. All expansions are only temporary. As soon as the new expansion comes out after it we don't go back there. Like who is going to go back to the mists farm? Same will happen with garrisons when the next expansion comes out.

      Don't be surprised if we do see some new twist show up. Doubt it will be a 60 server, but they are going to need to add something for people to do and maybe something like that might be the way they go. Otherwise the new expansion will be done within a month of release.

    2. LOL, thats GE (and others like him) time frame. Roo's will be at least 3 or 4 years or until as you pointed out, a new expansion comes out.

      But I am serious - Ghostcrawler said WoD was it. And he wasn't sure of how many years after until WoW was pulled.

      So flog that old nag, boys, flog that nag.

    3. Well GC is no longer with blizzard so anything he said can't be taken as fact any longer. They seem to have changed a lot of their way of doing things since he left. Still not sure of the better or worse, but I am not happy with what I see.

  3. I think they don't know whether they changed their philosophy or not, they just do whatever the devs feel like doing - disjointly - and that's it. It feels pretty mindless, and I think it is mindless. Honest. They don't know what they are doing. They don't know if they will succeed. They just, you know, try to row on the boat they are in, wherever.

    1. Well I think some management is needed over there. They can not aimlessly go in any direction they want and even more when it is going to hurt the game over all like this.

      Which makes me believe this has to be a design change, a philosophy change, because there is no way in hell that this could have happened and not even one person on the entire design time noticed there as something wrong here. No matter how much shit I give blizzard they are not that clueless.

  4. Short answer: Raid or Die, and Billy the Big Bad Raider has a wife and kids now so he can't spend time trapaissing about the World to keep up - and so should everybody else not be able to progress from the World,as Billy has to be better Geared etc. than everybody else nonetheless (though actual Raid Gear died with the removal of Resistance Gear).

    Add in that too many PvE Guilds may sit on PvP realms but are deadly afraid of getting ganked whilst doing Dailies and too lazy to wear PvP gear (which they tried to change with MoP by making PvP gear decidedly worse than Raid Gear, but as many, many casual players care about World PvP this led to quite the Forum and subscriber-outrage so they had roll this back somewhat with 5.4/extra Season and the WoD changes) and it becomes clearer that, once again, Blizz says one thing but does another.

    Btw, the removal of the Portals from Dalaran and Sh'at early Cata led to similar complaints and (imo) correct notions as you pointed out with Flying, and the other capitals are still reeling from that decision.

    1. Isn't the idea, or shouldn't the idea, be to offer content for everyone and not just the raid or die billy the big bad raider?

      I like to raid, I do it as often as I get a chance to. It will most likely be the mode I gear my characters through. But that does not mean I do not want actual content to do otherwise. I want the world to have things out there for me to do.

      Am I really that disconnected from other raiders or am I just a rare breed that wants more than just raiding in a game.

      I wouldn't think blizzard would cater to the 1% (or most likely less) that are the people that would like raiding and raiding only. But then again, you never know with them.

    2. I started out with a post trying to explain why? but frankly I can't, either, as it makes very little sense.

      I think that at the end of the day they figure that WoW is losing subs yet filthy rich anyway so they might as well risk chase away everybody not of their 'peer group' (most Devs come from a very hardcore raiding background/interest, in several cases dating back to EQ - which also explains their preoccupation with 'Billy's problem', as EQ Raiding was even more primarily the providence of college students than it was and is for WoW).

      They also seem to have adopted the idea that TBC was primarily so well-loved because it had a rather short shelf life, which would explain the very sorry excuse for a plot for WoD etc. and their now-serious (loads of new devs) intention to crank out Expansions faster - which is certainly possible with the lack of content and hiked-up price.

      At the risk of sounding a bit snarky, at least since Cata you and others have discussed 'Raid or Die' multiple times, this policy of them to try pushing everybody on a rung of the raiding ladder etc.

      I don't like it one bit, especially because this policy has a tendency to make all other progress (like maxxing profs, learning the lay of the land and, primarily of concern in earlier iterations, learning quick levelling paths/the Quests, twinking rare drops vs Vendor Heirlooms etc.) increasingly pointless, while making the in-game reward systems increasingly biased for (esp. high-end) raiding.

      But it is what it is, an utter waste of potential.

    3. With so little to do this expansion I hope they can speed it up and get a new one out soon. I would prefer expansions every 2 years with lots of content than one every single year with nothing to do.

      The raid or die mentality has really reached its peak here. That will be all there is to do. Nothing else. They were building up to this for a long time trying to push everyone into raiding like it or not.

      Professions are pointless this expansion now. Being you can now craft everything at skill level 1 and there is not bonus to leveling it up, professions have no real purpose any longer.

  5. It will be a shame if they don't make changes. Finding all the rares, treasures, and boa's was some of the most fun I had during MoP. I spent a lot of time trying to get Glorious achievement and Relic Hunter title. I also enjoyed the aspect of the dailies that you pointed out of being a way to see the different factions story as you became exalted with them (the gating, both valor gear and golden lotus, was the only part of dailies that I didn't like). I don't see the point of making everything not rare and only doable one time. It then just becomes a list of coordinates on wowhead with nothing more to it.

    I can only assume that part of the reason for trying to push everyone to raiding is that is where a lot of their development money goes so they have to justify spending it if not many people are seeing it.

    1. Even if they are trying to push everyone into raiding what pain would there be in letting rares stay rares, letting items being found around the world be BoE, things like that?

      I just do not understand why they are actively seeking way to make sure we do not go out in the world after 10 years of making such a big deal of trying to make the world more alive.