Pass the crow, please

Today I am going to eat a little bit of crow. Blizz just announced they are rolling back the new loot rules they implemented a few weeks ago. Recall that, with the new leveling zones and processes introduced in Patch 7.3.5, there was a change that put personal loot automatically into effect for all leveling dungeons. What this meant was that anyone running old dungeons for transmog or mounts or recipes or whatever would only be able to get loot appropriate to their spec, for one player, as if they were running in an actual group.

You can see the problem — and probably many of you experienced it. It effectively drastically curtailed your chances of getting the transmog or legacy items you were looking for, and of course you could no longer run them on, say, your very powerful warlock and hope to get that cool transmog you wanted for your alt paladin. (Not to mention it put an even further dent into the amount of gold you could clear — whether by selling BoE transmoggables in the auction house or even by vendoring everything.)

Predictably, and justifiably in my opinion, there was a huge outcry over this. For years Blizz had allowed — nay, encouraged — players to use their most powerful characters to go back solo into old dungeons and rapidly romp through them for the express purpose of gathering all the mats and loot their bags could hold, and try for elusive mounts or pets. Some players have run the same dungeon for years looking for that one item their heart desires.

For Blizz to suddenly say, “Sorry, changed our minds” about this practice seemed especially capricious. Players vented in the forums, on Twitter, every venue they could think of.

And with today’s Blue post, it appears Blizz listened to these players and took action to remedy the problem.

Yay Blizz.

I have frequently stated in this blog that I believe Blizz has stopped listening to the majority of its player base in favor of catering to the elite. This is where I eat the crow, because this latest move pretty clearly was in response to the 99%, not to the 1%. Fixing the problem they had created, in response to the protests of large numbers of casual and semi-casual players, was a move worthy of the old Blizz. Recognizing the importance of this activity to a large number of non-elite players heartened back to the roots of a game originally designed for millions of ordinary players.

Still, there is a cynical side of me that thinks maybe the Patch 7.3.5 move caused a downward blip in MAU. Almost certainly some players who used to spend hours roflstomping through old instances stopped doing so, because what was the point any more? I don’t know how many players this might have been, but Blizz has shown us that any decrease in the monthly active user metric, in any activity, causes them to take immediate remedial steps. (And yes, they almost certainly track MAU by activity, not just overall.)

But the end result was action taken for ordinary players. So yes, I am eating crow, but just one serving of it, not the whole damn bird. In this instance, Blizz did the right thing, and they did it relatively quickly and completely, without adverse impact to other parts of the game. Good job, Blizz, now maybe you could keep the trend going, think about giving alpha access to BfA to some regular non-special players?

*munch munch* Needs a little salt, don’t you think?

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7 thoughts on “Pass the crow, please

  1. I agree that this is a good change, but also agree that it was an entirely foreseeable and thus completely preventable problem. However, isn’t this fix going live in BFA, not in Legion?

    “Since the Patch 7.3.5 change to use personal loot rules in leveling dungeons, we’ve heard a lot of feedback from Transmog hunters concerned about how this has affected the ability to collect appearances from older content. We hear you, and agree it’s a problem, so we’ve been working on a more robust solution for Battle for Azeroth.”

    1. You are 100% correct. I missed that tiny detail about when it “might” go into effect. I think I should at this point limit myself to a BITE of crow. 😉

      You also make an excellent point about the foreseeability of the original change. Anyone who actually plays the game, when confronted with the plan for the change, could have quickly reasoned that it would be a disaster for people routinely hunting transmogs. Sometimes I think Blizz cannot possibly be that incompetent, that they do these things mainly to see if they can get away with it.

      In this case, it is entirely possible Blizz realized the consequence of the action, but they had to rush the patch out the door no matter how many bugs, so they actually intended to change it eventually. And by announcing it now but doing nothing, they feel they have bought themselves a lot of time. (“We care. But not now.”)

  2. Yes, bite a crow indeed. No eating.

    It is rare, that I am more cynical than you, Fiannor, (I probably often come off as a fangirl, if thats the right expression) but there is a first for everything!
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    Blizzard knew how upsetting this would b to a large player segment. We made them aware of it on the PTR. It does not take many braincells to figure it out; the effect this would have on many of those players, who have nothing else to do than hunting transmogs/completionists.

    Saying that they will “roll it back” one way or another is great, of course.

    But announcing, that it will not take effect before in what, 8 months?

    Come on!

    It’s like, they hope, that the players who – very likely – cancelled their sub because of this, might think about coming back, sort of like this, you know: “Oh okay…Hm…I’m still pissed off! But, okay, it will get changed…Okay, Allied Races…Ok, I can find something else to do until this fix is live…Okay fine. Here is my money again.”

    Fixing it, I welcome, of course. But it should be fixed NOW. Not in 8 months. Gosh. I’m still pissed off. (Just for the record though, I am not a completionist like that, it’s just, a ridiculous change, that goes against – well, you said it well in your post already)

    But okay. I am no techy techy woman. I do not grasp, what the scaling has caused, and the ways a developer might has to go about it, to make loot drop as before the patch. So maybe, it’s just complex, and they hoped “it’ll be fine”.

    Eh, though! I’m sorry. I would love to bring you over to the less cynical side, but I agree, bite the crow. Do not eat a single wing. (such a weird expression in your language, lol, we do not have it in mine!)

    1. Haha! Great points. I am self-aware enough to know I often come off as a curmudgeonly old cynic that gripes about everything. (For that, I have to thank my blog idol, The Grumpy Elf, whose writing presence I miss every day). So possibly I was desperately looking for something — anything — to be positive about.

      Your comment about the problem being present and noted on the PTR is telling, I think. (I did not play the PTR this time around, though I usually do.) For some reason, Blizz felt compelled to push out a lot of BfA changes in Patch 7.3.5. Maybe that is because the patch itself was thin, or maybe they felt they had reached the end of their Legion content bag of tricks and had to poach a bit from BfA in order to keep up their corporate metrics. For whatever reason, the patch was pretty obviously rolled out with a lot of problems, which tells me they were pressured into going live with it before it was ready. If they were under the gun to get it out, it is entirely likely they knew the group loot change would have a bad effect on a whole lot of players, but they opted to not fix it because they could not do so without delaying the patch.

      Unfortunately, it seems they either do not have the resources or the interest in making the change now. As you say, waiting 6-8 months for it is pretty unreasonable.

      And yes, I agree it is a weird English expression!

      1. Hah. oh, well you know, I sometimes appreciate a good cynical view, honestly. A reality check is often needed to keep me grounded, so thank you for that, honestly 🙂

        But yeah. At least it will get changed, right?

        We’ll take what we can get at this point!

        Maybe it is actually a tricky techy techy challenge…

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