More inexplicable changes

And I quote from yet another unbelievable Blizz post yesterday:

New Ranks for Warlords Crafted Items
Two new ranks of upgrades have been added to Warlords Crafted items, “Mighty” for rank 5 at item level 700, and “Savage” for rank 6 at item level 715.
Crafting the new upgrade items requires Felblight Felbood, a new reagent that can be obtained from Fishing, Herbalism, Mining, or Skinning in Tanaan Jungle.through the Barn.
The new recipes can be purchased from visiting Garrison traders.

Yes, folks, the busy little beavers at Blizz’s Screw With the Players Department are at it again, cranking out more of their crackpot ideas. And in their usual hard-hitting, hands-on project management style, Blizz management has vaguely waved their hand and muttered something like “Yeah, whatever you wanna do. Someone get me the latest sales figures on the token!”

There is so much wrong with this decision I hardly know where to begin. With the big picture first, I guess:

Blizz, how about a nice long explanation about what you want to accomplish with all of Patch 6.2? What is your vision of where that patch will take the game?

I am giving them the benefit of the doubt here and assuming they do have such a vision. If they would just explain it to us, we could put seemingly ridiculous changes into context. But honestly the changes announced so far point at them having zero vision, no organized plan. The only way I can explain them now is that they put a big anonymous suggestion box in the lobby at Blizz Headquarters and are implementing changes by pulling the suggestion slips out randomly, like lottery tickets.

I would easily accept most well thought out explanations from Blizz. Maybe they realized much of WoD is not working, they have identified these three or five or ten things that are the cause of it not working, and here is how they are going to go about fixing those things. Or maybe they have completely given up on the entire xpac and the whole purpose of Patch 6.2 is to pave the way for the next xpac, so we will see changes geared towards that.

But no. No explanations from Blizz, just some snarky comments about how sheesh they can’t be expected to explain every little change because they are Very Busy People, and we are not to worry our little heads about such things, they know what they are doing. Uh huh.

Here’s the thing. Some changes are indeed trivial, but others are not, and Blizz for some reason cannot distinguish between the two.

So now in Patch 6.2 our garrison barns will be worthless. This announcement comes on the heels of announced changes that will make the dwarven bunker/war mill worthless. (See The Grumpy Elf’s post on this.)

Its as if, once players start actually accepting and using game mechanics, Blizz goes into panic mode and must immediately change those mechanics. Look at reforging — players were actually using it to max out hit and expertise, oh no, it must go! Aspect of the Fox was actually being used (somewhere, by a small group of raiders) to *gasp* ALLOW CASTING ON THE MOVE IN RAIDS! Who knew those sneaky little players would actually use something the way it was designed for, clearly it must go!

And now that most of the complaints about garrisons have subsided, now that some players have figured out how to use the barn to make gold and how to maximize the usefulness of the bunker/mill, it is obviously time to make these buildings obsolete.

Here is yet another inexplicable mixed message from Blizz. On the one hand they are cramming garrisons down our throats by requiring them to be at level 3 in order for us to be admitted to the new content, and on the other hand they don’t want us to use them in any way that might actually benefit us.

Again, Blizz is taking away player choice, forcing a particular game style on everyone.

Tinfoil Hat Theory:  By making the announced change to how Felblight is collected and the other changes making garrisons less useful, Blizz is trying to enforce their “immersion” fixation on all of us. Players responded to their stubborn position on no more flying, ever, by pretty much holing up in their garrisons and doing their mat gathering there. They were not experiencing Blizz’s idea of the perfect game, which is galloping around on the ground, fighting your way through mob after annoying mob just to get to an ore node or some worthless “treasure” or a quest location! How dare they?

Once again, Blizz was pissed that players were actually playing the game by using the rules Blizz set up. So now, if you ever expect to get required crafting resources, you WILL play Blizz’s notion of “immersion”. You WILL spend huge amounts of time gathering resources, fighting other players, annoying mobs, and of course the inevitable botters, just to do so. You will be immersed or Blizz will by god know the reason why. They have the power, they are the power, and you will be made to understand that your wishes mean nothing to them.

In short, Blizz is throwing a tantrum that the players are not playing the way they are supposed to!

The floggings will continue until morale improves . . . .

These changes are not trivial. They have a significant effect on game play. It seems unprecedented for such major changes to occur with such frequency in the middle of an expansion. Yet Blizz steadfastly refuses to explain them and seems to implement them at random, forcing us to assume there really is no one there who even gives a crap about the player base any more. Or that the tinfoil hatters are right.

About Fiannor
I have a day job but escape by playing WoW. I love playing a hunter, and my Lake Wobegonian goal is to become "above average" at it.

4 Responses to More inexplicable changes

  1. You beat me to the punch, I was going to write on this too but you have done it better.

    We players are reeling with this announcement — key, I think, is still no information on whether the Primal Spirit vendor will sell the new stuff or not. Just a kind of snarky “it can be sold on the AH” which irked me too because the whole thing put me in a bad mood.

    The FUN part of the PTR and them offering patch notes way in advance is the chance to plan ahead (knowing that only about 3% of the players follow such news). I had hoped to have my crafted gear upgraded on Day One; my reward for using their crafting path and my preparation.
    I simply can NOT imagine my reality, which will be grinding skinning instead of questing and enjoying the new patch. I’ll want that new material and I’m sure everyone else will too.

    You are right, I would love an explanation from the designers on intent, planning and goals. And please, dear Elune, not by twitter in some defensive 256 characters answering a question with a question (why do you not think this is fun?).

  2. Fiannor says:

    You put your finger on it — this whole roller coaster of professions, crafting mats, garrison buildings, and class “balance” means that no one can prepare for the next patch. One day you need to start getting barns going on all your alts so as to be ready for the patch, the next day — oh we changed our mind, barns are worthless. Your SV hunter spends months getting multistrike on her gear, then oh we changed our minds, what you really will need is mastery. Maybe you have foolishly taken Blizz at its word and decided to not develop your garrison, because they said it is optional play, then suddenly “optional” means well if you want to see any new content then you need a level 3 garrison. See, what we meant is new content is optional . . . .

    I can assure you that my reality will NOT be riding around hours every week, grinding skinning and other mats. And if that means I never get another piece of gear this whole expansion, so be it. I am fed up with Blizz dictating my play style.

  3. Earachis says:

    I think at this point it’s quite clear that WOD has not been received the way Blizzard thought it would be. I think internally at Blizzard the Wow team has to be in disarray and have very low morale at this point. Everything they do is being criticized heavily by the player base and rightfully so in most cases. I think Blizzard has developed a huge amount of resentment towards the Wow community for not eating their vegetables like good little children and having the audacity to question what is being put on their plates.

    I think WOD has been a disaster from a creative design perspective and Blizzard’s actions are those of an angry parent.

    “Oh really? they are whining about being stuck in the garrison and gathering professions being pointless huh…well, we’ll fix that for them and I hope they choke on it”. It seems a lot of the decisions the are making are driven more by spite towards the player base than anything else. The nonsensical approach to fixing Ashran of let’s just keep changing things to try and force people to play the way we want is now bleeding into other parts of the game.

    WOD is a write off and there must be some very nervous executives worried about what this means for the next expansion and the movie next year. It will be interesting to see the body language & enthusiasm levels of the Wow team at Blizzcon because I don’t think they are in a good place right now.

  4. Fiannor says:

    @Earachis
    It is very hard to not reach that conclusion. It seems like every written “response” that comes out from Blizz is a terse Twitter-length non-response often laced with sarcasm. And the action responses — like this latest one — really do have the flavor of spitefulness. WoD is definitely a write-off, I think Blizz knows it, but there is a corporate culture somewhere there that simply does not permit them to admit that and quickly move on.

    Worse, there is something in the corporate character that stubbornly refuses to communicate with their customer base in any meaningful way. If Blizz would just lay out their strategy/vision for the next steps in the game and explain how these major changes fit that strategy, most people would accept that even if they did not agree with the reasoning. But, as you point out, Blizz prefers to treat its customers as naughty children.