And the hits just keep on coming

I am trying to be excited about Patch 8.2, trying to give Blizz the benefit of the doubt. I really am. But it seems like every time I turn around they announce yet another stupid idea. The latest one is the “perk” we will get to “allow” “equipment” on mounts.

At first glance this sounded like a nice quality of life thing. But no, in fact it is not a perk at all, rather yet another ham-handed bunch of Blizzspeak. It turns out that, no they are not giving us a new ability, they are replacing a whole assortment of them with a one-size fits all and boy it better fit all, because you only get one at a time, the same one on every damn character and mount you have. Someone in Blizz’s Screw With the Players Department got a bonus over this one.

Ok, Fi, breathe.

Now of course Blizz is giving us their tired old soft shoe about “It’s just in development, we want people to try it out on the PTR and give us their feedback.”

Right, sure. When’s the last time Blizz actually responded positively to any legitimate player feedback on the beta, the alpha, or the PTR?

So here is a summary of what they have announced about it so far. Please note how it is being marketed:

HOLY MOLY! WATER WALKING FOR ANY MOUNT IN PATCH 8.2!!!!! SEE HOW MUCH WE LOVE OUR PLAYERS?

No. Just no.

Remember back before Legion when Blizz said “Hey, big perk! You will be able to switch to any spec in your class at any time! No more being limited to two!” Then, of course, they made it almost impossible to do, because in order for a spec to be viable in Legion you had to have a specific artifact weapon for it and have that weapon leveled, not to mention the extreme importance levied on secondary stats meant every spec in every class pretty much required its own set of gear. So it was not much of a player perk at all, instead just a way for Blizz to get people to play the game more — not necessarily an evil objective, but definitely an insult to players (“BWAAAHAHA, they are really stupid enough to believe anything we tell them!”)

The “mount equipment” shtick is another such ploy. You “get to” put equipment on a mount, but there are a lot of kickers. Basically, you will be able to pick one and only one piece of mount equipment at a time (as I said above, your choice will immediately apply to all your mounts on all your characters) from (so far) the following:

  • Saddlechute: Equip in your mount equipment slot to install an emergency parachute that will deploy when dismounted high in the air.
  • Inflatable Mount Shoes: Equip in your mount equipment slot to allow you to walk across water while mounted. Any damage will cancel the effect.
  • Comfortable Rider’s Barding: Equip in your mount equipment slot to prevent you from being dazed while mounted.

These items will be made by professions and can be replaced at any time. However, the item is destroyed when replaced. Apparently Blizzard thinks the price should be 1,000 gold . (If vendors are also selling them, does that mean now Blizz is also setting profession item prices? And what happens to the ones professions can already make, such as LW bardings — do those just go away mysteriously in the night?)

Now here’s the real kicker: Mounts that already have one of these abilities (think: Water Strider) will no longer have that ability unless that is the equipment you have selected for all your mounts.

Okay, so we have a boat that does not float, a water strider that cannot stride on water. (I can hardly wait to see Blizz’s rendition of “Inflatable Mount Shoes” on a chopper or a boat…) What’s next? A horse that cannot run without special horseshoes? A chopper that you need to equip with wheels before you can use it? Special thread for the tailor’s carpet? Flying mounts that have their wings clipped unless you buy special wing extenders? Underwater mounts that only function if you equip them with scuba gear?Clearly, Blizz is being very limited in their imagination on this one.

I cannot for the life of me figure out why anyone at Blizz thinks this is a good idea. Here are my best guesses so far for this harebrained idea:

All about the MAU, baby. Blizzard realized that even though they now withhold flying weeks or months longer than they used to, players are still (hold onto your hats here) *gasp* often able to use water obstacles to go around the glut of mobs on their way to or from a quest site! And if players can evade mobs in the early part of an expansion, MAU might take a dive, the investors would be mad, and Ion would not get his bonus.

This is a way for Blizz to remove any mount ability at any time for any reason, no matter how long you labored to get that mount. Next expansion if Blizz thinks no one should have water walking abilities — no problem, eliminate the mount equipment, declare it “BFA-only”, and voila! players are stuck slogging through every mob everywhere. No going around. They can design long, mob-filled, tortuous paths every player must traverse every time we pass that way. Even underwater quests could take much longer if the only option is swimming.

It is not beyond the realm of possibility that Blizz could put “mount equipment slots” into the same category as flying, withholding the abilities for months every expansion so as to force players into longer, mob-filled routes. Even better for them, maybe they can designate an “anti-gravity” piece of mount gear, so that if you want your mount (any mount) to fly, you have to use the equipment slot for it. (Blizz has not said, but the implication is that these equipment slots apply throughout Azeroth.)

Blizz clearly still has the water strider debacle stuck in their craw — they wanted to remove it in WoD, but there was such an outcry from players that they were more or less forced to give up the idea. It certainly seems like they have stewed about that for years now, and here is their chance to finally remove it from the game at will. They are showing us uppity players who is boss!

PvP might be another explanation. No idea how, but this move definitely has the whiff of PvP whining. No one should be allowed to escape ganking by going over water and also having a non-daze barding on? I do not PvP, so I don’t know, but in the past whenever there have been inexplicable nerfs to the game, often it is to satisfy the delicate feelings of the PvP players who only like that aspect of the game so they can screw with others. (Not talking here about the serious PvP players who love the one-on-one challenge.)

Blizz really intends to do something else players will hate, but they are floating this as a diversion. Remember before Legion when Blizz said they were going to make spec-changing progressively more expensive to do, until they had pretty much priced it beyond most people’s grasp?

There was a gigantic outcry over this, and in a suspiciously short time, with almost no arguments, Blizz seemed to cave on it, saying effectively, “Oh, ok, sorry, we are very sensitive to your comments, and we will not do this. Instead, we are implementing a new talent change system that will require a special book for you to change talents outside of a rested area. That’s fair, isn’t it?”

No, actually it wasn’t — there was exactly zero connection between the two ideas. One was not a “compromise” of the other — it was a transparent ploy to get players to think, “OK, whew! Yeah, that’s a lot less objectionable!”

Blizz has designed 8.2 to make flying as treacherous as ground travel, and they do not want players to be able to evade it, just as we cannot now evade mobs, invisible walls, and other obstacles on the ground. Maybe they have redesigned aggro range such that it triggers no matter how high you are flying overhead, and Blizz wants players to have extremely limited choices for evading this. “Yeah, ok, we know we have to eventually give you flying, but we are going to make it just as miserable as ground travel!”

Now, I am fairly sympathetic to newer players who might not have obtained the water strider, or other specialized mounts, when they were current. These players have a point when they say that going back and grinding out rep or long quest lines is tedious. Yes. Yes it is. But there are other ways to ease this problem — why not have a greatly reduced rep requirement, for example, or shortened quest lines? Blizz does that all the time.

Blizz has always had a philosophy of “You do the work, you get the perk”. But this attempt to remove hard-won perks from the game because Blizz is pissed that players can evade badly-designed traps is just bad business. If indeed they think every player perk should be confined to the expansion it was won in, then they have a lot of things they have to remove: Timeless Isle trinkets, garrison hearthstones, Old Dal hearthstones, class hall portal abilities, hero drums from previous expansions, auto-hammers, the rez brazier, goblin parachutes, the fish finder — you get the idea.

The mount equipment idea is terrible, and it in no way benefits players. If Mr. Game Director Hazzikostas is so insulted we would even think the game is designed for any reason but player fun, it is time for him to put his design where his lawyer mouth is and stop removing the things players love.

 

12 thoughts on “And the hits just keep on coming

    1. I think you were downright restrained! And you were absolutely right — if the water strider had been a mythic raid reward, or a PvP one, it would never be a target for elimination. Forum topic has 1.5k comments and counting. Almost none of them are positive.

      Thinking that since one of the new zones is almost exclusively water, having water walking PLUS something like barding would allow players too much freedom in Blizz’s view (i.e., no one would have to fight through constant mobs), thus they had to do this now in order to salvage their ill-planned design for 8.2.

      1. I’ll just explore and quest with my wife’s Shaman. We will take the parachute for the Sandstone drake, and she can give me water walking if needed. Unless they are removing it from a Shamans tool kit.

        I can see their ideas. They will enable flying creatures to attack you and you will be forcibly dismounted to your death so you will need the parachute to save you. But then you want to play an Alt without flying so you will drop 1000g to get Water Walking. Or the Barding for exploring Argus and the like with no flying zones.

        Pretty much they are flat out saying, we don’t want flying in the game, now they don’t want water walking (because I’m sure it will be removed for the next expansion content), what’s next? No mounts at all, you need to Role Play walk from quest to quest. I am willing to bet MGDIH enjoys doing escort quests, and quests that involve going down into a rats nest of tunnels, because it’s IMMERSIVE.

  1. Wow… I’m a bit gobsmacked by all of this. I was hoping 8.2 would have a better flow but stuff like this really irritates me. I’ve been toying around with the idea of taking another WoW break. I think I’m going to follow through. I really am not feeling the fun with WoW right now. The raids aren’t fun, they specific require comps/sizes to have a reasonable chance of killing bosses in a set time frame. The dungeons aren’t fun either. They’re full or trash and random raid-lite mechanics set up for e-sports…

    I started playing Guild Wars 2 as they have a ranger/hunter class fairly similar to WoW’s hunter. But once you get to max level, you need to either play melee or switch to a healing-type spec (if I understand it correctly). So I’m not really doing much with that. More recently I started playing Neverwinter Online. It’s quite fun. It’s not quite the WoW hunter I really enjoy playing though. But (leveling at least), they make use of 3 player scenarios with near instant ques if you get tired of questing. Plus you can bring a henchmen into an instance. So play with a pocket healer, tank, or pet if you want. I might try Elder Scrolls Online as well.

    1. My anecdotal experience in the last few weeks tells me you are far from alone, Hec. I do not think I am there quite yet, but I share all the frustrations you listed. I am, however, back to actively looking for a Plan B. My guild — that has been continuously active since Day 1 of WoW — gets fewer and fewer logging in most evenings.

      I just do not understand why Blizz picks these kinds of pointless fights with the player base. As far as I can tell, approximately NO ONE was complaining about the current mount structure (except for the extreme RNG involved). Why they decided to “fix” something no one thought was broken is a mystery, but it’s almost as if they actually want people to stop playing the game…

      1. My current guild is still able to raid. Working on heroic Jaina now… But our numbers are decreasing as well. The discord chat when people log in isn’t as fun or happy… I don’t log into Wow most nights. I haven’t logged into play in about a week now. Fortunately I’ve been paying with tokens for awhile so it’s not costing me any real life $ to maintain an active-ish sort of account.

        I really don’t understand what the devs are thinking myself… Maybe they’ve lost too many folks with the core vision of fun that worked for so long? Or they’re focused on e-sports as the “future” of WoW, leaving the rest of us in the dust? Nothing really makes sense. It doesn’t feel like the fun game it once did.

  2. They could have had the “pink” water strider, a new one, tied to the fishing or turtle guys.
    I think that you are right. They are not offering any real bonus like a massive speed boost to our mounts.

    1. No indeed. What they are doing is stealing something we already have, then like bad con men, offering to sell it back to us at a “bargain rate.” Meanwhile showing contempt for us by handing us a line about how much better off we will be once they have completed their theft.

  3. Long time reader, first time comment.

    I can’t help but feel if they applied the same rules to the water strider the same as the herb picking mount we wouldn’t see the community screaming so much. Just make it so that the water strider can only be water walking and not have other mount equipment added.

    I, like many others it seems, hate the idea that something I worked hard to obtain is having the function I worked hard for removed. This is my major issue. Bliz seems hell bent on removing things they themselves have introduced over the years because retrospectively they don’t like the outcome. It’s the same with flying, class pruning etc. etc. From the (admittedly small sample size) chat on my realm, it is the repeated ‘taking away’ which seems to confuse and anger players the most, not to mention Bliz’s vaguely insulting reasoning .

    I’ve loved playing the game for the last 13 or so years, and have enjoyed the incremental quality of life increases Bliz has been adding to the game, but for the past couple of expansions there has been a sharp down swing in enthusiasm for me and a lot of head shaking moments where I wonder if their vision of the game is diverging markedly from mine. I took a year long break about half way through Antorus until January this year and have been enjoying BFA for the most part. but have found that I’m into leveling alt territory much quicker than previous expansions.

    It just seems pointless to continually irritate the player base like this without communicating the overarching vision. it seems they are happy to let players relationship with the game die by a thousand cuts.

    /sadface
    /rantover

Comments? (Please do have the courtesy to not post anonymously.) If this is your first time commenting, or if you include a web link in your comment, it may be held for up to a few hours pending verification.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.