Disconnected thoughts

Today feels like kind of a disconnected day — we have a few flakes of snow, so of course most things in Northern Virginia come to a screeching halt. It is both amusing and annoying, since it inevitably entails rescheduling, postponing, cancelling, etc. So while my brain is multi-tasking those things in the background, here are a few scattered thoughts on WoW.

Addendum to my manners post. One other “rude clod” type that annoys me in the game is the raid slacker. I am not talking about actual raid performance, but rather the person who is chronically unprepared. You all know such a person. They always want to “borrow” flasks or talent books. They forget to update DBM. They never remember to get their seals before raid so have to go back for them and then demand to be summoned back to the raid. Even in progression, they are chronically short of Defiled Augment Runes, and they have never troubled themselves to get the permanent one from the Army of the Light.

If the raid usually provides feasts, they never ever contribute anything towards making them, and in fact frequently complain bitterly if a feast is not immediately set down, saying rude things like “Feed me” or “Where’s the feast?”. Same with repair mechanisms such as hammers.

On our progression team, we usually provide everyone with a weekly vantus rune to be used for the toughest boss of the week. But once we have the heroic raid on farm we stop doing that. Last tier, after we had downed KJ a few times, the GM announced that we would start doing the boss without handing out vantus runes. Our usual slackers were incensed when a few people used their own, claiming the GM had said we were not to use them. When someone explained that no, only the free ones would not be handed out, there was slacker indignation and piteous cries of “But I don’t have any gold, I’m poooooor!”

So yeah. Ill-mannered clods abound.

Patch 7.3.5. I have not actually done much yet with the new patch. By the time the servers came back up yesterday, it was already past our raid start time, so we all hurriedly logged in and started raiding. I did not do the new quest line or try out any of the old world zone changes.

New zone levels. I am still on the fence about the zone changes. I see why many players would be happy that they can now quest in a favorite zone for much longer and not be penalized in leveling. But beyond that, I think Blizz has pulled a fast one on us. Basically, by increasing the amount of xp needed to level in these zones, and by increasing the health and hit points for mobs as well as for instance and raid bosses in these zones, Blizz has stretched out the amount of time necessary to level a new character or to farm old content for mounts and transmog.

It’s all about the MAU, baby.

I do not know about you, but I actually liked being able to roflstomp through a zone with a new character. I have done nearly every quest so many times that they no longer offer any real entertainment value to me, they are just a means to get passingly familiar with a new class, and to get that new class or alt to a decently high level where the actual fun starts. The faster I can get through them, the better.

As far as I know, Blizz has not improved the mess of low-character spells and abilities, either. A couple of expansions ago, they changed the way/rate at which characters get certain key abilities, and the result for many classes is that you are stuck with one or two useful buttons for a pretty long time. This was annoying but not terrible when all the mobs died quickly and when you could rapidly level up and get a few more abilities. We will see how it plays out now that you cannot level as rapidly and the mobs are more deadly.

Also, if I am farming old raids or instances for a mount or some special transmog or old recipe, I couldn’t care less about “the experience” — I am interested in getting through the thing as fast as possible so that I can be disappointed again and quickly move on.

Basically, I feel like Blizz is testing out techniques for vanilla servers, and they are pretty much shoving “the classic experience” down our throats. And they are ensuring no one can rush through leveling allied characters when they become available, thus stretching out the inevitable end-of-expansion thin content.

Not to mention, if these changes annoy enough people, Blizz’s sales of character boosts will skyrocket. What’s not to love?

”More” bag space. What a scam this is. Ion Hazzikostas had the chutzpah to really hype this at Blizzcon — better sit down, here’s a big announcement: We are giving you more bag space, whoopee, just like you have been asking for!!

It’s four lousy bag spaces, for crying out loud. It doesn’t even begin to make up for the ton of gear and “things” Blizz now makes us carry around.

And if no one noticed, it comes at a price. Not only do you have to add an authenticator to your account (not a bad idea even if you do not get extra space), but you must also subscribe to Blizzard SMS Protect. Thus Blizzard gets a ton of very valuable phone numbers for the paltry expense of a small amount of server storage.

Blizz may have lost a step in game creativity, but they are making up for it in marketing genius.

Ulduar timewalking. Meh. I suppose I will run it once when my guild does it, but I was never very excited about this raid even when it was current. It was too long then and I am certain it will be tedious in its reincarnation. The only fight I thought was interesting was the first one just because of the vehicles (although I rarely got one of the motorcycles, the coolest vehicle….).

Once again, the people clamoring for this, I suspect, will not really love it — their nostalgia for Ulduar almost certainly stems from circumstances other than the raid itself.

Coven revisited. We took a few more shots at Coven last night in raid. Interestingly, we got Army of Norgannon as the first set of adds every time, even though the other add sequences remained random. It could have been a fluke, but it is possible this is an unannounced nerf. It is undeniably easier to get Norgannon out of the way very early, before the really uncontrollable mechanics kick in.

We had gotten a late start on the raid due to the server outage, and we cleared all the bosses up to Coven, so we only got a few pulls (maybe half a dozen) before we called it for the night. People were having a lot of lag issues, and even some weird bugs such as falling through the floor to the boss below Coven. Even so, our last pull — frustratingly — we got the boss down to less than 1% before wiping. Pretty sure we will get past this one Thursday.

6 thoughts on “Disconnected thoughts

  1. Yeah, I have had an authenticator for so many years I’m considering possibly buying a new one. As far as giving up my cell phone number to get 4 bag slots? Sorry, not gonna happen. I normally have 80+ empty slots in me, being a tailor means having the best bags available, so an extra 4? Not really worth it.

    I agree, I think they are reworking the Classic experience, weighing out what is liked, and what brings down the wrath of complaints. I have heard a few comments that solo content now requires friends even on a max level. If this is true, along with all loot going personal, farming is about to come to a halt.

  2. With scaling, I feel that the experience gets very flat. Even in Legion. In the olden days, you worked through a zone and by the time you finished that zone, you felt powerful and knew that zone because you leveled a little and got a piece of gear — with scaling, that thrill (if you’ll allow that) isn’t there. So, it is flattened and becomes more workmanlike. Gone is that ramp up for each zone that you played and there are a lot of zones!

    1. Yes, exactly that. I felt that way in Legion a little bit too. I like to be able to progress every level, and see the mobs level do the same. Im a tad worried it will feel very demotivating.

    2. Yeah, I think these points made by @wrathofkublakhan and @Alunaria are part of a larger shortfall on Blizz’s part — a corporate inability to define, or possibly even to recognize, the elements of player satisfaction in the game. Even for players who are not achievement-driven, there is a need to feel a sense of accomplishment, a sense that progress is being made and goals reached, no matter how the player may define “progress” or “goals”.

      We saw the same dissatisfaction in Legion with the never-ending AP chase for artifact traits and constantly-added power levels. Even if the meta-satisfaction of this game is in its open-ended design (you never “win” the game), that does not translate into liking the idea that you can never complete anything.

      This is all part of the same basic design flaw Blizz has become enamored of since the beginning of Legion — they present us with tedious grinding and endless loops, and they make these mechanics a “requirement” for player progression, then they call it “rich content”. It is in fact anything but that. And it greatly diminishes the draw of the game for a large number of otherwise-loyal players.

      Part of my brain wants to think that the whole 7.3.5 zone scaling change was done out of spite. Blizz feels they have been dragged into the whole Vanilla server thing against their better judgement, and since the specialty Classic servers are quite a ways off yet, they decided to prove a point about such an “experience”, but they projected it on all of us rather than the game Luddites who clamor for it.

      Come to think of it, maybe the whole miserable Patch 7.3.5 implementation — reminiscent of patch days from years ago — was done on purpose, just to let us know that the “good old days” of the game were really not so good.

  3. I only have the Authenticator, didn’t sign up for the SMS stuff but still got my 4 bag slots. Maybe that’s because I’m in the EU region?

    1. No clue. I know people this side of the pond do in fact have to sign up for the SMS stuff. Count yourself lucky, I guess? Are there some EU privacy policies at work?

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