Friday, November 30, 2012

One Step Backwards: Brawlers

The sign of any good company is that they continue to move forward, develop, learn and get better.  Every company, even good ones, will occasionally make mistakes and take one step back however.  This is the situation I see blizzard in right now.  A successful company that seems to have forgotten their past.  What is that saying?  Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it.

Doomed might not be the correct word for the quote or for what blizzard is doing with the brawlers guild because it is not something that could have been unseen.  It is an active desire to repeat the past on blizzards part and I am just left to wonder why.

Does anyone remember the bad old days when you needed to queue to play the game because your server was so packed you could not get on.  Sometimes it would just be a few minutes but sometimes it would be hours, if the horror stories I heard were indeed correct.  Luckily I have never had pleasure of experiencing that but thanks to blizzard I can experience it, in part anyway, if I wish to play a part of the game known as the brawlers guild.

Not content with the long lines on every server waiting to get in and fight blizzard in their infinite knowledge decided to make it a cross realm zone.  Lets forget for a moment that cross realm zones are probably the worst addition to the game ever from a PvE standpoint, it also means that an already long wait becomes even longer now.  Blizzard said, why have someone wait 30 minutes to do one fight when we can make them wait 3 hours.

Someone must have been reading the forums a little too much over at the blizzard office but not actually reading the posts.  They saw many people yearning for the days of vanilla and looking back with their rose tinted glasses about how great things were.  The problem is, they did not read what people said they liked about that time and said to themselves, self, they loved those long waits to play, lets give it back to them.

So not only do they add something to the game that requires a wait to play aspect but they cross realm it to make that wait 10 times longer.  Not exactly a step forward I would say.  If you ask a million people that remember those times what they thought about queue time to play I am willing to be all one million of them would say they hate it.  So why bring something back to the game that is basically making you wait to play in game instead of waiting to play to get into the game.  Sure, at least people can use chat now while they are waiting, so perhaps it is better than waiting on the outside looking in but just marginally better at best.

One of my guild mates spent 6 hours there over the last 2 days, waiting, and has fought only two fights.  Last night he gave up after standing there waiting for three hours to get in and do one fight.  Three hours standing there to do nothing, is this what they call good game design now?

I am not being my normal grumpy self here, I am not being a naysayer here, I am asking a serious question I would love to see answered with something other than the standard "it is not required you do it" bull shit response.

Who at blizzard thought this was a good idea and why?

I would really love to hear that answered.  Did they really think it would play out any differently then people are seeing and did see and complain about on the PTR.  Did they really think that once it hit live everything would be fine.  Like the problems on the PTR were not really problems.  Just like all the people that reported crashes and other problems with the CRZ and instead of fixing them they just released it as if don't worry, when it hits the masses it will fix itself.  Why even test things if you are not going to listen to the testers?

Why did they take the worst part of vanilla, waiting to play, and bring it back to the game.  The thing is, and I am sure no one could have thought it possible, but they made it worse.  Instead of waiting to play on the outside, you now need to wait to play on the inside.  This means you wait at the ring listening to all these people and most of them from different realms at that.

People have a hard enough time being decent to people they see on their own server there is no way in hell they will be decent to people on other servers.  Seeing people on other servers makes them hostile the second they see them.  I saw at least 100 get off my server comments last night, of course they were in a bit more colorful language than that.  I wish blizzard would notice that people do not like this CRZ stuff and remove it or at the very least remove it from this because in this it is bad for the community, very bad.

A few hours there, for no reason because I did not fight, last night showed me that this addition was the last thing this deteriorating community needed.  Grouping people up that have even less connection to each other and allowing them to insult and abuse other players without any possible repercussions on their community reputation was a stroke of stupidity that I would have not even thought possible if you had let a dust mite design this game.

Lets look at the design here.  Make people wait, meaning they will get frustrated and bored from waiting.  Add to that the continued down turn in the community and how people act to each other.  Then let those people get all packed together with other communities removing even the small boundary that might have had a chance of keeping things civil out of fear of community retaliation because now they can take their frustrations out on someone elses community and guess what you have?  The worst idea blizzard has ever come up with.

Someone said in a response the other day that I can not blame blizzard for the community being the way it is.  I say to them, yes I can.

Blizzard created this situation, they threw random people together and gave them a reason to be angry and upset and then gave them something where they can take it out on each other by adding a competitive aspect to it where people can insult each other without any fear of ban or repercussions.  Yes, I can blame blizzard for the down turn in the community and yes, I am completely right to blame them.  They made this on purpose, they knew what would happen, they did not care, some people like to watch the world burn.

Waiting 3 hours to log on to play was not acceptable back in the day.  Waiting 3 hours to get in a fight that only lasts a minute at best is not acceptable now.  Waiting 3 hours with those drooling half wits insulting each other in chat for no good reason other than they are bored and frustrated is not acceptable either.

People play to play, they do not pay to wait, and they sure as hell to not pay to be verbally abused in game.

When I first thought about this and complained about this I was hoping it would not be as bad as I was making it out to be and it turned out worse because blizzard made it cross realm.  WTF were they thinking?  Make the waits longer and let people stand around and insult others from different realms for even more time?

I swear the amount of stupid connected to this addition is incomprehensible.  I understand that to move forward we sometimes need to take a step back but this is not a step back at all, it is a step forward in the wrong direction, a huge step forward in the wrong direction.

The waiting factor was a step back but gathering massive amounts of people and giving them a venue to spew all their hatred at other people is... unspeakable.  I can not even use the words I want to use about that.

I need to step away from the ring because the more I think about the things I heard people saying to the fighters and each other the more it makes me wish I were a GM because there would be a hell of a lot of banned people.  The things I want to say about that would be better saved for things that come out of my mouth while watching a football game with my buddies and not used here.  See, there is a time and a place for acting like a neanderthal and in a game is not the time or place but watching football with buddies seems more appropriate.

Lets move to the beginning and where you get your invitation.  The black market auction house, or in other words, the addition that proves blizzard actively supports gold buying.

They added the blood soaked invitations as a way to keep things from getting too crowded and then made it cross realm zone to fill it up.

Excuse me?

Did I skip that day at logic school where you do not want things crowed but you make efforts to make it crowded because you don't want it crowded?

Blizzard has been at the front of MMORPG game designing for a long time, they add so many things so often that show everyone else how things should be done, but don't fool yourself, one of the thing other games look at is what fails for blizzard so they can try not to repeat the mistake made by them and this will be hotly discussed at designer tables for a while.  Perhaps on how not to design things or perhaps on how to make it better.

The brawlers club is a great idea and could have a great addition to the game but blizzard dropped the ball, not once (in making people wait to play), not twice (by putting people in an abusive environment), not three times (by supporting gold buying if people want to get into it and can't afford it) but four times (by making it cross realm zone).

Will it get better?  Yes.  As time passes and the novelty wears off to people that just wanted to test it out and others get as far as they want to go in it.  Like myself, once I get all the achievements I will never return.  It will get better, with time.  But the community watching and insulting people win or lose will always make it a horrible environment to be in, that will not get better.

Could it have been made better?  Absolutely.  They could have added a long quest line with challenges appropriate to the types of challenges you would get in the ring instead of charging for entry on the auction market and enticing people to buy gold.  If they wanted to charge a vendor that sells tickets at a set number would have been more appropriate.  They could have added a public or private option to fight so you could just fight all the fights alone if you want to practice or just get the achievements as fast as possible or fight with everyone to see for a chance at extra prizes or something.  They could have added more to do there while waiting and watching.  They could have added more achievements for watching if they wanted people to hang out more instead of creating a long line that people needed to wait in.  There is a lot they could have done to make it better.

In my opinion, when it comes to design, the brawlers guild is one huge step backwards.

I thought those nightmare stories of waiting hours to play even solo content were over, but blizzard bought it back big time.  They added solo play that you have to wait hours to do.

So much for a company that has been worried about getting people out in the world for years.  They made something that not only keeps you from getting out in the world, but keeps you from going out in the world for many hours instead of the few minutes it should.

Many will just write it off as saying if you don't like it don't do it, it is optional content, and they are right.  But if you want to do it you will see it for what it really is, horrible design and a huge step backwards.  Optional content or not, bad design is bad design and the brawlers club is bad design.

If you are after the achievements I have a suggestion for you.  Wait.

If you wait you will have shorter lines, even with cross realm.  Fewer people watching which means less bile filled comments being thrown around as there are fewer people and that means fewer comments and fewer reasons for them to act like jerks because there is not a large captive audience they feel they need to impress with with witty ability to make asses of themselves.

Just hang back and wait if you want achievements.  That is how this new addition to the game should be play, by waiting.  Wait 3 hours or wait 3 months.

The brawlers guild has changed the world of warcraft into the world of waitcraft.


  1. PVP anon here:

    Several hours of wait just for one fight, LOL. Was it interesting to watch how others are fighting while you are waiting for your turn, at least? ROFL, sorry, didn't mean to troll, I know the answer: it got very boring very fast.

    Yeah, that's a clusterf&^@.

    Blizzard have to either test things for longer or they have to fast-patch things more often, but they absolutely have to do something, because right now every patch is bringing a couple of disasters.

    1. I was actually waiting to try to get an achievement while BSing with people on vent but I agree with you, it is a joke. it is completely laughable and I do not know why they let something like this get from the PTR to live as is. It really shows blizzard has lost touch with the player base on some things.

      As for watching, it was quite boring. The mobs don't have a lot of life but seem to have instant kill mechanics which makes it more about reaction so I think for a PvPer like yourself you would excel at it.

      I felt bad for some people. One guy zoned in and was dead in seconds. He said, sorry, I was still loading. Not sure if he was covering for doing badly or if he was stuck in a loading screen as he was being killed. If that was the case it really sucks to be him, waiting 3 hours to die when you are in the loading screen before you even get a chance to fight.

      Also, watching all the hunters it seems like the mobs have no aggro what so ever. Either that or there were really a ton of horrible hunters in there that do not know how to MD, turn on growl or FD because every mob was sticking to all of them like white on rice.

      All in all seeing the fights was fun the first time or two you saw them but it goes boring super fast and if it were not for the people on vent keeping my company I would have never stayed as long as I did.

      Good idea done badly, the blizzard motto.

      Welcome to waitcraft. ;)

  2. Hi Grumpy big ears,

    Interesting article - thanks again - is about all I can say. So the actually invite is bloodly looking? :D And more for the Eric Cartman's to do (instead of calling the griefers, they are Eric Cartman - yes, I like South Park), being able to quote on your performance, heh. "I so hate you guys"

    I like how you put that quote. It was George Santayana who first came up with it and I quote, lol "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it" . Can't remember the book correctly, but I think it is Life of Reason I.

    yeah, yeah, yeah, I work at a college. His picture and quote is on my wall, but not where it is from, so I am trying to remember right. ;}

    Wish I could stay at home and play all day. :)

    Welcome to Wow (WtW)

    -roo "to be or not to be, that is the question" of the day while hunting

    1. What cartman would say would be like someone whispering sweet nothings in your ear compared to what the people watching there say.

      They also love to give new people help. Help like "stand in the chomp and you get a 20 second buff". It is like they want people to die. Well, not like they do, they actually do.

  3. hi again, lunch time!

    Well, Grumpy I am sorry you had to witness this, but I am glad you did so we can get an eyefull and earfull about it. :D

    I will wait and hopefully my ticket will drop off a mob that I kill. I can't afford a black or white goat mount now that I am exhausted with the tillers, much less being able to afford a silly ticket to be humiliated in public.

    Too bad those hunters didn’t have Miss Direct on their pets or is it possible that Blizz in their wisdom made it so that one can’t use MD or growl (or anything else) to remove threat on these brawler’s?

    How did you get your ticket, if I may ask?

    As always, good hunting,

    -roo “I’m off to see the wizard, the wonderful wizard of Blizz” the Hunter

    1. I was thinking it might be designed that way because it would be way to easy for hunters if their pets had aggro all the time giving them an unfair advantage. No big deal, we as hunters have so many other skills we can use there. Just have to go old school and kite it seems.

      I do not have a ticket, or might soon, I was there as part of a quest that sent me there from the new quest hub and was getting the non-fight related achievements. I just could not find a mad enthiust to throw stuff at and gave up after a while.

      I'll get a ticket sooner or later. I had a bid of 30K on one last night when I headed off, perhaps it will be in my mailbox when I get home.

  4. not to beat this to death, but couldnt the same be said for pally's, with their instant heal (and any others - it is just pally's that come to mind right now)- they would have it easy? I was reading where the mobs can do hits that will do 60% of the toon's health as damage. :D thats just plain crazy.

    1. Some classes with no healing have a disadvantage like hunters but hunters also have massive amounts of ways to keep things at a distance which makes up for it.

      As much as people complain about balance to some extend they do a fairly decent job at attempting to balance it so everyone has some chance.

      The main difference is some classes you need to be at your best to do it while others can get by being average or lesser thanks to class benefits, such as those huge heals.

  5. Blue post from Zarhym yesterday:

    "We've seen some confusion about people from other realms showing up in the Brawler's Guild.

    It's important to note that the Brawler's Guild only uses realm coalescing when the number of participants is really low, so a lot of people are seeing people from other realms due to the fact that there haven't been many invitations to join distributed yet. It's highly likely the area will cease to activate CRZ on most realms as participation increases. Having 100+ people in the queue doesn't create a good experience, but, from our perspective, neither does having only a small handful of people.

    The feature is designed to bring a decent population into the guild, and those people should spend at least a modest amount of time as spectators or loiterers before getting into the ring. We didn't design the Brawler's Guild with the intention of getting you through queues in 10 minutes or less. We're not trying to replicate Dungeon Finder for the solo player with Brawler's Guild.

    If the place seems overcrowded AND you're seeing people from other realms there, it could be a situation where the population check that determines whether or not to coalesce a realm hasn't run again yet. As I said before, this should stabilize in time and likely automatically disable CRZ for the guild."

    EPIC FAIL!!!!

    The thread that Zarhym started is a 20 page stream of people saying that the information Zarhym stated is completely ludicrous.

    At the end of the thread, people are talking like Blizz just hotfixed it in the last hour or so and it's not doing CRZ anymore or it's significantly better. They're seeing 20 people in queue instead of 100+.

    1. Thanks Jaeger! Between you, Grumpy, PotatoeWow, and several of the Ananamooses, I am learning lots of things here!

      Grumpy - You know, I am not sure wtf blizz is doing now. They say "we want people out in the world doing things, not sitting in a city" and yet, here they say (reading between the lines), "we want people sitting in Brawler's Guild doing things not out in the world".

      Like Jaeger said - EPIC FAIL!!!!

  6. It's definitely been fixed. The queues are only a few minutes now. No idea why Blizzard couldn't have set it up correctly at the beginning though...

    Seems there are a lot of "pet" issues with the fights though.

    Haven't gotten an invite yet myself, but I did watch some fights tonight while I was cooking and eating dinner.

    1. I noticed that from some of my friends this weekend. Even at high times it was less than an hour between fights and at a few times even 30 minutes between. Closer to better. I take it more as people getting bored with it quick or sick of waiting so there are less even trying. Could be a fix, but I think it is more people saying screw it.

      Some of the pet issues have been fixed. Growl as only working when you first started the fight. After you were in battle it would never go off again and you could not even manually do it yourself. Aggro issues with pets were all over the place too, but that seems to have gotten better as well. I think the restart they did the other day fixed many of them. There are a few bugs still like pets are a little on the squishy side still since 5.1 came out.