A History of my WoW Experience Summary into WoD

Hopefully this will be the last post on this thread for a while.  I will continue to post about WoW as an outsider as I know many people that continue to play that game.  Even when I talk about other games like EVE Online and Final Fantasy 14 : A Realm Reborn because World of Warcraft is an MMO that I played for 7+ years and where I really started to dig into MMO terminology so it is like English is to me when learning a foreign language.

Initial Thoughts on WoW:WoD

Now a few months after announcement.

New Character Models: Cool I am ok with new models they are needed for the original races and we have been asking for them for several expansions now.

Level 90 Character Upgrade: Highly needed with the level cap now 90 and soon 100 with the expansion.  When the announcement first came out I was already planning which character I would use it on from the 8-10 characters that were not already 90 that I had left at 87 or lower.

Garrisons: Cool another feature that is something similar to what players have been asking for since Vanilla, Player Housing.  It will end up being more of a mini game like the farm was in MoP but a step in the right direction and needed for expansions now.\

Journey to a Mythic Time: While I like Time travel and I don’t have a problem with it in this case as I understand how the time lines fit into the multiverse, I do think the Orcish Bro-fest that was given as our introduction to the game left a bit to be desired.  As an alliance player I was like great more horde plot.

Dungeon and Raiding Improvements and UI Improvements:  I was excited about these changes and thought they brought a lot to the game in large.

With all of these features, I thought I would be spinning up my WoW accounts again even months before the expansion to build up resources for the expansion.

The the news came in one of the further panels that not only was the leveling experience going to be similar to Mists of Pandaria, which as I mentioned previous post ended up making me hate the game, it was going to be even more restrictive and not allow flying in content while it is current, so flight would be locked until the first content patch.

FUCK THAT.

So not only were we not going to get the books of flying like in Wrath which should have been implemented in MoP but it was locked behind and “Epic” i.e. “Pain in the Ass” quest line which would only become available at level cap after the first content patch.  In very few cases in my life have I had a complete and total change of heart on a subject than I did concerning WoW and starting up my accounts again to play in Warlords of Draenor.

Warcraft Missed Opportunities

FFXIV:ARR Guild Housing, Raids and System Changes

I mention FFXIV:ARR here because I realized recently that Warcraft missed a great opportunity with Cataclysm and the remaking of Azeroth.  In Cataclysm they easily could have made the world larger and had a few instanced zones that were not accessible otherwise to accommodate player housing.

If you watch how much time is spent on Facebook games where you have your own space or other tablet simple games where you can collect items to improve your trophy room or house, I think this one feature could have prevented much of the player loss since Wrath if it had been promised and implemented during Cataclysm.

I remember Lissanna playing Lord of the Rings Online and running quests and playing for hours during holidays just to collect a furniture or cosmetic item for her house in the game. In MoP players would spend similar amounts of time doing various reputation grinds just to unlock the Dog on their farm.   So much so that it is asked that the Dog be allowed/added to Garrisons so it can travel with you.

I hate to say it but whichever executives in charge of steering WoW need to have their heads examined as to why they let this type of feature set be passed on for all these years.  There is casual and hardcore gamer gold here and it was completely written off as not worth our time.

This is not even mentioning an even more important feature that is similiar and that is Guild Housing and spaces for groups to claim as their own.  The ability to have a place of your own and build a community around it is extremely important for MMOs and social games.

FFXIV implemented their Guild Housing and eventual player housing after having a Cataclysm of their own.  The similarities between the end of FFXIV version 1.0 and FFXIV:ARR or 2.0 and WoW pre/post Cataclysm is startling in the story connections.  In simple terms both have a big dragon coming back and wrecking the world.

It was that similarity in how the world was completely reshaped that made me see some of the possibilities that WoW completely missed, which is a shame.

Brawlers Guild
Another time and feature that I was really excited about until I heard how it was implemented, let alone how to get an invite.  It should have been an instanced area so it could have been load balanced better and so that more than 1 person per CRZ could actually do the damned thing.

The Farm
In many ways this was a success, but it could have been so much more.  This of course ties into the player housing subject.  I have beat that to death so I will leave this alone as well since they are so similar.

Mists of Pandaria & Warlord of Draenor Feature Confusion

One of the things that has annoyed me most since Wrath is the inconsistent way Blizzard has dealt with 2 main functions, Flying and Catch-up.

Flying and Flying mounts were a FEATURE in Burning Crusade because that is when it was added to the game.  That is when Jewel Crafting was a FEATURE as a new Crafting Profession.

In Wrath the first expansion after the flying feature was added, they decided that they did not want to design questing with flying in mind and so just locked it out.  This is after players had already spent between 1K and 6K for it in Burning crusade and not only restrict it but put another price tag on it of 1k gold at time and 500 currently.

So now the second expansion after flying was implemented we don’t have to buy anything new and it is available in all zones right off the bat.  This was the best time to level characters as with flying implemented and xp now gained by gathering nodes it opened up mining and herbing as an alternative way to gain xp.

I actually enjoyed leveling in Cataclysm because of this, it is also why by the time MoP launched I had 13 level 85s.

MoP and WoD see my previous rant in this and earlier posts about leveling and no flying in these.

One statement I have made multiple times to Lissanna and others when complaining and talking about WoW is this, “If I don’t have a reason to play the launch of an expansion why the hell would I play it later at a future patch?”.

With how insane Item Levels have gotten and the resultant power spread an expansion is the global reset and allows most/all players to be on almost an equal footing once again.  Unfortunately it does not sound like they are going to fix this problem long term and only doing an item squish in such a way as to be a band-aid for another 2 expansions before we get back to lunacy again.  The problem is that the developers feel that they need a full 13 item levels between tiers of content.  With how War Forged and VP upgrades have worked I think a 4-8 iLevel between tiers of content at most would be acceptable.  Heroic/Mythic geared characters have no reason to be doing 4 times the dps of an entry level geared raider by the middle/end of an expansion.  If each raid tier can be completely contained in 20ish iLevels rather than the 50+ we have now the current item squish may be able to last until Titan Launches which would be a miracle.

So how did that grump about item levels related to my statement about reasons to play at launch of an expansion?  Well it really gets to the catch-up method aspect that I mentioned earlier.  The catch-up mechanism refers to how do you get fresh level cap characters into current content in a reasonable time after the launch of an expansion?  Blizzards current method is to generate a metric fuck ton of content for the launch and then be playing catch up the rest of the expansion given the speed of which some and the most vocal of players consume said content.  A much better approach I am learning while playing FFXIV:ARR is to List everything you want to do in an expansion/major content segment and then be open and honest about how each of the features are coming along.  Then when you hit a cut off point say what you are going to include in the next patch and what is not ready for release and why.   I know Blizzard got burned with this method with the Dance Studio that never released which I why they most likely don’t do it anymore but it really is a much better method.  It also allows for more timely patch and expansion releases as you can early on realize that something is going to take much more time than initially thought and can be moved to a later development cycle.  The key is to be open about the change in the cycle if it was a previously mentioned feature so that it is not a surprise when it hits the PTR, and especially if it was on the PTR and removed for said reasons.

The other big gripe I have about WoW and have for a very long time is how they screw with crafting materials and the as a result the Auction House.  I swear Blizzard is afraid of having an actual functioning AH and Player Driven market in the game most likely due to gold trading concerns which would be mostly wiped out if they would just use the solution CCP proved would mostly work years ago in EVE Online.  That would be to release an in game item that provides Account Game time and is trade-able/sell-able on the AH which is purchased by a player from Blizzard through the Blizzard Store.  Then legal “Gold Selling” could be done where Blizzard is the seller of it via a proxy item which is traded in-game.

Now what would allow for a real market to grow in the game?  It requires 2 ingredients.  The first is craft-able gear that is useful as an alternative gearing/progression path for both the crafter and others who can buy it directly or through the AH.  The second is the lack of BoP crafting materials.  The raw material must always be able to be traded and any BoP crafting material should be a product that is created by the crafter so it is not a BoP item from a world or boss drop.  Additionally the BoP item must not be restricted by a cooldown.  If there is to be a gated cooldown for server balance then it must be on an earlier intermediate crafting material that is not bound and allows for economic transactions to occur.

A final modification to really get the WoW economy and crafting going again is that no pattern can be BoP and any pattern that can be learned via discovery randomly must also be available by normal patterns somewhere else so as not to be completely at the mercy of the RNG gods.

Well I think that wraps up my WoW retrospective from my POV.  WoW was a really good game for a longtime but is no longer a good game for me.  It is a shame and I feel a little bitter about all of the time and effort and thought that I have put into it over the years.  I know it is still a good game for many out there that say they continue to enjoy the game, part of me wonders is it the game or the social group they enjoy but that is another matter.  I hope to see news about future WoW changes and features that will get me interested again but now I know it will not be WoD and what ever new would have to be meteoric in magnitude to get me to start an expansion after launch, so I will have to wait for the expansion after WoD at a minimum.  Also while if it is the expansion after WoD that I get interested in I may re-subscribe while technically WoD is the current expansion but it would only be to prepare for the expansion after it and not the current content.

 

A History of my WoW Experience Part 5 (MoP)

Almost done now we are at the second to last post I plan for this topic and this one focuses on the current expansion Mists of Pandaria.

Unlike many in the community that were expecting WoW : Kung Fu Panda, I went into the expansion with a somewhat more open mind.  I did have some issues with the speed of leveling and Jade Forest even while in Beta but kept my fingers crossed hoping for some minor tweaks when it Launched.

MoP Launch Date – September 25th 2012

So for the Launch I was actually able to schedule 2 weeks off from work, and it happened to be around my Birthday so I had multiple reasons to take some time off.  Due to being able to take that amount of vacation time for the Launch I was able to get the only 2 achievements I was concerned about relatively early on.

Master of All – October 14th 2012
Quintessential Quintet – November 4th 2012

After the 5th character however given the xp curve at launch and that there was no system to get my leveling alts the ability to fly in Pandaria, I could not bring my self to level another character.

It was during the push for 5 characters and eventually a 6th where I actually started to Hate the game.  Not just dislike certain parts and still be able to push through the pain but visceral hate for leveling and the content in general.

Not to mention I like crafting such that one character can make items for others while leveling and maybe for themself.  Well with the way crafting materials and patterns were distributed and locked as BoP or behind rep walls that you have to be 90 to get access to.  Well there went the ability for my factory of alts to be able to help one another in any reasonable amount of time.  By the time I got 1 the patterns they would not need anything for themselves and I would be sick of playing them almost exclusively sometime before that point.

So after a few months I realized that I did not have the interest to keep both of my WoW accounts active and as I listed below my second account I let expire in January 2013.  This was not unprecedented I have had 2 or more WoW accounts since tBC where I spun the second account up for the Zhevra mount with RAF.  What was unprecedented for me and WoW was when I decided that by there had not been enough changes by 5.3 to prove keeping my Primary account open and me interested in the game.  I had started to feel that way in April 2013 which is when the last achievement on my account occurred and I stopped logging in regularly.

Primary WoW Account Expired July 24th 2013
Secondary WoW Account Expired January 22nd 2013

So due to the structure of the content of MoP, I a player that had taken no previous complete brakes from WoW did so.  All previous expansions were structured such that I felt that there was at least something interesting for me to do as a player that did not Raid much.  It was no one big thing like there is for some where raiding is not hard enough, or there are Panda’s being added.  It was death by a 1000 little things and those little things not changing or changing soon enough to change my opinion.  Blizzard really needs to learn how to do Smaller/Faster content cycles.  I can not imagine how many 100Ks if not a Million or  more they will lose over the next 20 weeks+ so there is enough time for another PvP season while everyone waits for WoD.

Now I realize that the PvP season is being added because there is enough time for it due to the current schedule for WoD, but lets be honest, the clock started ticking when SoO was released.  No player wants a repeat of the last tier of Cata let alone ICC but due to pacing of content Blizzard is yet again setting itself up for pain in that department.

Here’s a hint, launch an expansion with no opening raid tier so you can get all of the systems up and running and out the door.  Let the expansion, dungeons and such run for 4-6 weeks so those that want world firsts don’t have to quit their jobs for the first month each expansion just to get leveled, geared, and running the first second they could.

Well I am already getting into topics that I should save for my summary and WoD discussion so I will end this post here.  It is also short because unlike the other expansion which were earlier ones this one is ongoing even if I am not playing it anymore.

A History of my WoW Experience Part 4 (Cata)

Now picking up in Cataclysm or December 2010 I was very active in game at the time and was actually a raider at the beginning of the expansion.  I power leveled 2 characters quickly at the beginning to get geared for raiding on both of them.  Malchome my warrior for Off-Tanking and DPS, which when I was asked to DPS more than Off-Tanking I used my Shaman ShepardBuch for throwing around the Lightning since Melee has been screwed in every tier of raiding since Vanilla and maybe even then.

IMO this is either the best or second best expansion WoW has had.  The other being Wrath,  and I am not sure because areas where Cata was better than Wrath are many but there are areas that Wrath did much better than Cata so it really becomes a toss up.  Both are better than either tBC or MoP in terms of content accessibility and progression for more than one character.  If all you play is one character/class and that is all you do then I can see in some ways why they may prefer tBC and MoP over Wrath or Cata.  I will leave more of this for my WoW summary post which will be after my MoP post which is the next I will write.

Some of the best features that were implemented in Cataclysm have since been removed from the game and I will list them here.

  • Have Group Will Travel – Guild Perc – Essentially for a predetermined cooldown period any member of a group/raid that is a member of a guild that has this perc could summon the rest of the Raid/Group to themselves.
  • Cauldrons of Battle 10/25 versions – These allowed for the cost of about 60-80% in materials to create Flasks for Raiding 1 big Cauldron that would provide a Flask to a group/raid member of the appropriate type based upon their current spec.  This the sizes would have different numbers of charges.
  • Feasts – These were implemented at the beginning of MoP but were weaker than the individual food buff items and were therefor useless for anything other than leveling of the cooking skill.  Now food carts are implemented so this feature is mostly back but much to late in an expansion cycle.

In Wrath I had 10 level 80s by the end of the expansion almost all of who were able to run the ICC dungeons by the release of the Cata.  In Cata I had 13 level 85s ready to start into the MoP content.  Most of the 13 had enough gear to be able to run the CoT dungeons that launched with the Deathwing Raid Tier.  For the first few weeks of that Tier I ran and Valor Capped 4-6 characters a week because the dungeon run bonuses were not tied as some stupid Daily restriction but were in Weekly increments of bonus, which helped keep them filled.

The real problem with Cataclysm was since so much of the Old World was reworked, which it was desperately needed, there was not enough Level Cap content variety and options and Cata was always on the lower total content level.

However due to the small size of Tier 9 in Wrath and the duration that Tier 10 lasted in the same expansion everyone had time to level alts and start to build out a stable of resource gatherers and crafters by the time Cata launched.  Then with so little variety and volume of content in Cata, most likely because everyone was working on MoP by the time Firelands was finished people had even more time to level even more alts and get them geared and ready for the next expansion, then the third Cataclysm occurred.

By third Cataclysm I refer to the first being the actual in game Cataclysm.  The second Cataclysm be the state of the Raiding Playerbase due to the raid mechanic changes implemented in Cataclysm.  The third Cataclysm I will talk more about in my MoP and Summary post.

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