Summer is nigh

We are in a kind of dry period in WoW news these days. That’s neither good nor bad, it just is. We are still at least a couple of weeks away from 7.2.5, I think, and then a couple more weeks away from the next raid tier. It’s the normal ebb and flow of game development. To be honest, I am just as happy with no New Thing To Discuss — these days the world seems to be spinning so out of control that it is nice to have at least one space where things remain constant and un-newsworthy, at least for a while.

Still, no real news is tough on us bloggers. It means we have to rely on our creative juices to come up with interesting topics instead of taking the lazy way and nattering on about whatever new announcements are topical. Creativity is something that waxes and wanes, I have found, and unfortunately mine now seems on the waning side just when waxing would be helpful.

In addition to being between major patches, we are also on the cusp of the summer season, typically a time in WoW when players have a ton of other relaxation and entertainment options, and activity slows down pretty noticeably. I don’t know if summer will have an effect on 7.2.5 or the new raid, but my hunch is it might make the patch last a bit longer, since quite a few people will just be playing less and thus take longer to get their class mount or complete whatever level of raiding they do (if any).

Interestingly, what I have observed is that while game activity tends to slow down, trade chat ramps up in the summer. I chalk this up to children on summer vacation quickly being in the “I’m BOOOOOOOORED” mode and turning to WoW trade chat as a way to pretend they are sophisticated and worldly, usually by showing off their dirty word vocabulary or exercising their freedom from supervision by being rude to everyone they can. It’s usually the time I just turn the channel off. However, I am not sure that will be necessary this summer — Blizz’s now year-old policy of taking swift incremental action against reported bad behavior seems to have worked miracles, at least on my server. Trade chat has actually become almost civilized again, the trolls have pretty much disappeared, the vile spewing of hatred has abated, and there is even *gasp* quite a lot of actual trade going on. Amazing. This is one of the best quality of life improvements we have had from Blizz.

Most of the people in my guild are using this breather to tidy up loose ends in the game. Our raid team is very slowly working on a few Mythic bosses once a week, people are grinding out their daily AP on their mains then working on one or two of their favorite alts, and there seems time again to spend soloing old dungeons for mounts or profession patterns or transmog sets.

The Mythic+ group is frantically running as many as they can in order to get three chests while that is still an option. I guess anyone who is interested already knows about the changes to M+ loot and keystones in 7.2.5. (If you don’t, Wowhead has a summary here.)

I am not big into running M+ instances. I usually run one or two a week with a guild group, mainly to get the weekly chest on reset day and maybe some extra AP. But I am not really absorbed in them like some people are. So I am pretty neutral on the changes. The one thing I will note is that Blizz seems to be fixing a problem they themselves deliberately set up, and they are fixing it, once again, cheaply and at the expense of players.

The current loot setup for M+ is that if you beat the time by a lot, each player gets to loot 2 or sometimes 3 chests at the end instead of just one. The change will be that no matter how much you beat the timer by, there will be just one chest at the end, and instead of per-person loot chances there will be 2 or 3 pieces of loot to be randomly awarded. It’s a pretty big change, but here’s the real crux of it: people who currently run a lot of 3-chest M+ instances don’t do it for the loot, they do it simply to increase the number of boxes they are opening. The popular belief — borne out by quite a bit of anecdotal reporting — is that there is a significantly higher chance of getting a legendary from a box than there is from, say, a world boss or some other kind of drop. Thus, the more boxes you open the higher your chances of getting a legendary. By restricting all M+ runs to one  box instead of three, Blizz is in effect putting a bandaid fix on a problem they deliberately created by having what is apparently a different legendary RNG for boxes than for other drops.

The other aspect of this is that Blizz is still in cleanup mode from their original terrible Legion legendary design. They continue to apply surface fix after surface fix, yet the whole legendary system is still a mess. The 7.2.5 legendaries that grant a talent will only add to the problem, especially if simultaneously with the introduction of these powerful legendaries Blizz reduces the lottery chances of obtaining them. Stupid. Lazy. I don’t know how else to put it.

So, on a no-news day I have managed close to 1000 words. This ability to fabricate a lot of filler when I have nothing to say may portend a future in politics for me. (No! 😖)  I am so impressed with myself that I am going to start my weekend with a cold beer on the porch on this hot almost-summer day. If you have the weekend off, enjoy.

Doing the right thing

Some poetry for you to contemplate while you go about your weekend:

The Listeners 
BY WALTER DE LA MARE
‘Is there anybody there?’ said the Traveller,
Knocking on the moonlit door;
And his horse in the silence champed the grasses
Of the forest’s ferny floor:
And a bird flew up out of the turret,
Above the Traveller’s head:
And he smote upon the door again a second time;
‘Is there anybody there?’ he said.
But no one descended to the Traveller;
No head from the leaf-fringed sill
Leaned over and looked into his grey eyes,
Where he stood perplexed and still.
But only a host of phantom listeners
That dwelt in the lone house then
Stood listening in the quiet of the moonlight
To that voice from the world of men:
Stood thronging the faint moonbeams on the dark stair,
That goes down to the empty hall,
Hearkening in an air stirred and shaken
By the lonely Traveller’s call.
And he felt in his heart their strangeness,
Their stillness answering his cry,
While his horse moved, cropping the dark turf,
’Neath the starred and leafy sky;
For he suddenly smote on the door, even
Louder, and lifted his head:—
‘Tell them I came, and no one answered,
That I kept my word,’ he said.
Never the least stir made the listeners,
Though every word he spake
Fell echoing through the shadowiness of the still house
From the one man left awake:
Ay, they heard his foot upon the stirrup,
And the sound of iron on stone,
And how the silence surged softly backward,
When the plunging hoofs were gone.

You will forgive me, I hope, for waxing philosophical today. There is not much going on in Blizzland, at least not much I can find worth writing about. Patch 7.1.5 has been around long enough for the initial excitement to have passed. Patch 7.2 is weeks away. We know it is too soon to even think about the next expansion. We know Legion is what it is. Those of us still playing the game have decided its positives outweigh its negatives, even if some of the negatives are significant.

The poem I quoted above is one that I learned as a child, read to me long before I could read the words myself. It was the last poem in a children’s story book of nursery rhymes, and I was entranced by both the imagery it evoked and the moral code it taught. I still am.

Over the last few months I have noticed a remarkable change in Trade Chat in WoW, at least on my server. A year ago, it was filled with some of the most vile and disgusting behavior you can imagine. Trolls and spammers were rampant, and anyone daring to actually be civil was hooted down, called horrible names, and treated to thinly-veiled threats. It was Lord of the Flies every night. Then, early last July, Blizz implemented its new set of “silence penalties” for toxic players, and the difference was immediately noticeable. After nearly 7 months, I am ready to call this Blizz action an unqualified success. In my opinion, it is one of the greatest improvements ever made to the game.

Still, there is this nagging little thought: Is it only the threat of punishment that can compel decent behavior from some people? Have we as a society really migrated to the notion that as long as no one knows who you are and as long as there is no punishment, it is acceptable to be a vile piece of shit?

“Tell them I came, and no one answered, that I kept my word …” This is the polar opposite of anonymous asshattedness, this is the human belief that doing the right thing, even when no one knows, is the proper celebration of humanity. I am saddened that this noble moral foundation seems now to be the exception rather than the rule. I hate thinking the main reason the game now seems more civil is that players are afraid they will get a timeout if they don’t mind their manners.

We are in a better place in the game in terms of civility than we were a year ago, but, absent the whip, would players soon revert to rampant nasty brutishness? I don’t know. Perhaps the game is indeed a microcosm of larger society — a very pessimistic thought these days, at least in my particular corner of the world.

What I do know is that there are still at least some of us who will do the right thing, though no one is there to witness it, though there is no penalty for failing to do it. In the game, we are the ones who help out a player struggling to down a mob beyond their level, who let the player originally tagging a mob skin it, who see a new player and stop to maybe give them some gold or mats just for no reason, who donate expensive crafted goods to the guild bank, who respond kindly to someone asking a naive question in trade chat.

We do the right thing because it is right, not because we will be punished for doing the wrong thing. There is a vast difference.

Dare we hope?

Short post today, summer lazies have overtaken me. Also, about the only thing going on for me in the game now is clearing out banks, selling gear, rounding up some glyphs from vendors, and the ever-popular RECONFIGURE YOUR ENTIRE HOTBAR SCHEME AND UI FOR EVERY FLIPPIN’ ALT. Not that I’m annoyed….

Anyway, that’s not what today’s topic is. Today’s topic is manners. Hold onto your hats and take a deep breath, because I have noticed that

Trade chat, LFR, and the general tone of the game has noticeably improved.

image

At least on my server. I have no idea how long this will last, but I am loving it. I am not a big believer in coincidences, so I have to think that Blizz’s new Cone of Silence rule has had some effect, if only temporarily. Fingers crossed.

Trade chat has become bearable again. No, it’s not where you go for intellectual discussion, but it is no longer toxic, and the bile-spewing hatemongers have either become almost civil, or they have disappeared. The usual summer influx of bored children showing off all the dirty words they know has not happened. People returning to the game after long absences ask questions, and others actually answer them without heaping flames of shame upon them.

Speaking of which (returning players), I have noticed quite a few of them since the patch. I did not notice any influx of new players as a result of the Warcraft movie, but the patch does seem to have enticed quite a number of players back. I don’t know how long it will last, but it is refreshing to see them (not to mention a tad amusing to witness their befuddlement with all the changes). Stormwind has become populated once more, and it seems like the long garrison exile is over.

My guild, too, has become more active, with probably double the number of players active every night now compared to the number we saw before the patch. I am hoping some of these returning players will need gear, pots, gems, and enchants, because it would be nice to put all those crafting cooldown mats to good use before Legion.

In short, I am seeing a tentative return to a sense of community, and I like it. I really hope it is the start of a rising trend, not just a temporary upward blip in what has been a descending spiral.

Tonight we are going to try a guild fun run through HFC. It should be a real circus, as we are all still learning our new class and spec changes. I am expecting a lot of really spectacular fails, with accompanying choruses of laughter.

Blog admin note: I will be taking some days off periodically until Legion goes live, cutting my posting back to 2-3 times a week. I feel like I need to get a short break in before the mad whirl of a new expansion is upon us. Plus, it’s summer, and summer is made for relaxing. Hammocks and sprinklers and beaches and barbecues await!

Time out for trolls

I never thought I would see this, but Blizz is finally going to try and crack down on some of the toxic players we all encounter in trade chat, BGs, LFR, and other places. Today they announced a “silence penalty” for some of the worst offenders.

Following the Legion pre-expansion, any player who is reported multiple times under the Spam or Abusive Chat categories will, after investigation, receive an account-wide silence penalty. While this penalty is active, the silenced player will find that their ability to chat with others is greatly limited.

This is no slap on the wrist, it is a penalty with real teeth. Among other restrictions, players who receive it will be unable to interact in instance chat or in auto-joined global channels, they cannot create new premade groups or send in-game mail or create calendar events. The first verified infraction will invoke a 24-hour silence penalty, with the period doubled for the second and each subsequent infraction, with no maximum.

Holy.

Moly.

After years of Blizz turning a blind eye to some of the most vile kinds of behavior in their game, after telling us it is up to us to police our own trade chat, after permitting professional trolls to dominate social aspects of the game, they are finally implementing a policy that has a chance to work, a chance for some real improvement in the game’s quality of life.

I don’t know why Blizz decided to do this now, but I suspect they have finally realized that toxic behavior drives away new players and indeed makes the game very un-fun for everyone. No fun = no profits in the long run. Over the last few years, WoW has developed a reputation as being unfriendly and downright hostile to newcomers, and that is not something any company should tolerate.

No one knows how this will work in terms of achieving the goal, but I think it has a great chance of being very successful. For one thing, just making the announcement should put most people on their best behavior, should make everyone think hard before making that string of disgusting comments in trade chat.

And the penalty really fits the crime, I think. Trolls live for the reactions they create, they feed on chat channels. If they receive this penalty, it really shuts down their operation. It’s like a time out for trolls. I think it may eventually cause some of the worst offenders to leave the game, because the main reason they play — debasing and ridiculing others, trying to shock with ever-more-putrid chat — will be gone for them. Good riddance, I say, their departure can only improve the game, and likely will result in increased participation by new and veteran players alike. This is me doing my happy dance.

Watch the forums on this, because there will be — in addition to positive reactions — outrage and cries of “No fairrrrrrrrr!” There will be allegations of misuse, people crying that someone was out to get them and so lied in reporting them, or that their “free speech” is being shut down. Horse hockey. Ever player willingly agreed to Blizz’s terms of use. In the past, Blizz has shown themselves to be quite thorough and deliberate when investigating game cheating, spamming, abusive language. In my opinion, they have been a little too slow to act in some instances, but I think some of that was due to the extreme nature of the only possible punishment to date — suspension. Now that they have a somewhat lighter punishment, I hope they will be willing to act a little faster after they have verified complaints.

One other implication in this announcement is that people who report players for abusive language and chat-detected toxic behavior also have a responsibility to make sure they are submitting a legitimate report. Ordinary (and I realize that is a subjective term) bad language or cursing is not in and of itself abusive, and if you choose to disable your bad language filter, you really cannot report someone who drops the occasional F-bomb. There is a line between cursing and abusive language, and I admit I would be hard pressed to say where it is, but I think I recognize when it has been crossed. It is up to each of us to make sure that if we report someone, that we really believe they deserve it.

I have very high hopes for this change in Blizz’s policy, and I commend them for implementing it. I am optimistic that it will have immediate and positive effects on the game. We all could use a little more civility in our game discourse. Thanks, Blizz. This might work.

Who are you in trade chat?

I use an addon to help me set up chat tabs, and the one I usually use screens out trade chat. But last night I inadvertently had my “everything” channel on, so trade chat was streaming through in all its vile-ignorant-illiterate-self-absorbed glory. It was like watching a train wreck — too horrible to see, but somehow you are unable to take your eyes from it.

The first thing I noticed was that the main cast of characters seems never to change (I use the gender identifications the person has self-identified in chat):

  • The village idiot. This person has never once, to my knowledge, put together a coherent statement. Everything he says is something along the lines of, “dont start playin my never shinny sord is sharp” (actual quote). I think he is, seriously, a very disturbed individual, which should indicate that engaging him in conversation is not only pointless but also could do further psychological damage to him. Nevertheless, trade chat bullies and trolls on my server insist on baiting him, making fun of him, seeing how long it takes to get him typing in all caps and reverting to a steady stream of four-letter words.
  • The self-styled “intellectual”. This guy spends his chat life trying to show off what he believes is his mental superiority over all other humans. Most of his chat responses to others start out with “Actually, you are mistaken,” followed by some rather obvious Wikipedia info. He also frequently claims to have several advanced degrees, apparently to impress everyone further with his great intellect.
  • The trade flamer. This person lurks in trade chat, ever ready to pounce on, and hold up to ridicule, anyone daring to offer anything for sale. He uses several techniques. The most frequent one is to ridicule the price of the item being offered, usually claiming to have either bought or sold many of the item for far less than the quoted price. On the opposite spectrum, if the item is low priced, he accuses the seller of being an illicit gold seller or bot. If he is bored with these techniques, he sometimes resorts to just ridiculing the actual item, claiming it is ugly or useless or everyone has one so there is no chance of selling it.
  • The sex troll. On my server, this person identifies as female, and basically trolls adolescent males by incessantly discussing her supposed sex life and physical attributes, all the while whining about being “objectified.” Why anyone pays any attention to her is beyond me, but her presence on line never fails to incite the creeps who usually spend their game time “RP-ing” in Goldshire.
  • Other trolls, too numerous to list. These people usually specialize. We have a political troll, an elitist-gamer troll,  a hate troll, a religion troll, etc. It takes a special kind of sub-human, in my opinion, to be amused by inciting the base emotions of others, to apparently be gratified by thinking you have “power” to manipulate people. It tells me these are sad little losers with no real power over any part of their real lives.
  • Spammers of various kinds. Often these are people who just figured out how to macro an item for sale, so they hit the macro keybind approximately every 15 seconds. One of the most annoying on my server is someone who spams a word for the male genital, in caps, over and over again. On the plus side, I rarely see gold spammers on my server any more.
  • The hapless helpful person. There is actually someone on my server who is an incurable do-gooder, who keeps trying to bring reason and logic and politeness to trade chat. He doesn’t do it in a nasty way, always in an understated appeal for civility. Sadly, he is usually ridiculed and shouted down, but I have to give him credit, he is not deterred.

There is a human tendency to project our own opinions and values on others, and I am aware of this as I make my next point. The second thing that occurred to me as I watched the chat lines roll by is that I think –more often than not — people’s real life baseline personalities are magnified in anonymous interactions such as WoW’s chat. I have seen people claim — when called on particularly odious behavior — that this is a game, and their game persona is not their real one. But I don’t think so. I think if anything the person you are in trade chat is exactly who you are at the core of your personality. It is you stripped of all the restrictions of society, of having to face any real consequences for your behavior.

I am a believer in the idea that morality is what you do when no one is looking. The Internet, by virtue of its near-complete anonymity potential, is the modern day equivalent of “no one is looking.” No one can tell your mom that you were acting like an ass, you can call that big bruiser nasty names without fear of his fist connecting with your nose, your friends will not know that you routinely taunt and tease a mentally disturbed person, your girlfriend will never suspect that your favorite response to all females is “Bring me a sammitch, b**ch”, your father will never know that you were sashaying your little self provocatively in front of a crowd of horny teenage boys.

If, in spite of all the ways you can make sure no one you care about will be looking, you still show compassion and respect for yourself as well as for others, if you care for and help others, then you are at heart a decent person, worthy of belonging to the human race. If, on the other hand, you routinely leap at the opportunity to bully, taunt, threaten, and abuse your fellow human being, sashay your intellect or any other part of you in front of others just to tease or demonstrate power over them, or ruin someone else’s enjoyment of a game for your own amusement, then you are basically a waste of good air who will best serve the planet as worm food.

In my opinion, you are who you are in trade chat.

Closet cleaning time

Time to clean out my Drafts folder — so here are some short, disconnected, rambling thoughts and comments.

— There is something to be said for mindless busywork in WoW. Sometimes after a long and difficult day at work, after I’ve hit the gym, fixed supper, and finished my household tasks, I like to log in and do things I can do on cruise control. Things that very slightly engage my brain but not too much. Things like fly mining routes, or look for stuff that’s easy to find, or kill hundreds of mobs for the leather, or go explore a corner of Azeroth I never spent much time in — you know, your basic bubble gum for the mind. Maybe throw in some friendly guild chat, crank up some music. In Mists, I loved looking for those dirt piles that yielded gifts for all the Tillers — perfect mindless relaxation.

For some reason I can’t figure out, garrison chores do not fit into that category. My only explanation is that they are too similar to real life chores,  too much like dusting or scrubbing the commodes — you know you have to do it or your quality of life disintegrates, but there is nothing uplifting about it. Whereas the other things I mentioned are more like going for a bike ride in nice weather.

— I rolled a Horde hunter a few days ago, a Blood Elf male. Just for something new to do. No idea if I will actually level him, but I am having a bit of fun with something different. Not different in terms of class, I have leveled a lot of hunters, I really never get tired of playing them. Different because he is Horde and because he is a he. I know lots of people have characters of both genders — although it seems like real life males with female characters are the most prevalent — but I myself have never done it. Don’t know why, probably some deep psychological reason.

—  I remain very disappointed that WoD is so unfriendly to playing alts, and that it has pretty much killed professions. Of all the  things wrong with this failed expansion, those two are the biggest for me. I enjoy raiding and chasing achievements on my main hunters, but for the last few years playing around with alts and doing profession crafting have been a large part of how I define “fun” in the game.

—  I finally just pulled the plug on trade chat. I don’t mind bad language, hell I even use the F word and a few other pieces of profanity myself in talking with friends. I am not offended by cursing. But trade chat at least on my server has become a cesspool of undisguised hatred for anything or anyone who disagrees with or is perceived as different from the chatter. Worse, the hatred is expressed in vile threat-laced terms, usually involving sexually explicit violent acts. Political screed and rants against women are common, expressed in caps with lots of exclamation marks. People asking perfectly reasonable game-related questions are immediately set upon by the pack, roundly ridiculed and denounced. Anyone daring to use trade chat for actual offers of trade is usually accused of being an idiot, a bot, or a gold seller, in very nasty terms.

I do not buy Blizz’s explanation that they have no way of controlling trade chat. I guarantee you if a few of the worst offenders were suspended on the spot, word would get around. All it would take is a couple GMs to randomly monitor trade chat on a few servers each night, and they should publicize this policy. Just the chance that you could be suspended immediately would go a long ways towards stomping down the very worst offenders.

—  How do you decide when it is time to leave a guild? This is something I have given a lot of thought to, and it turns out that for me it is a very complex question. I have no answers, unfortunately. I do think that guilds have finite life spans, and there are probably identifiable stages they go through, much like humans — childhood, adolescence, young adulthood, maturity, and yes old age. Guilds do die, sometimes very suddenly and sometimes in a long lingering way. How do you divorce a guild you have been with a long time? Are you a jerk if you dump it for a younger “trophy”guild? I know for some people changing guilds is no big deal, but for me it would be a huge step. Loyalty gene, I can’t help it. As I said, no answers, and no I am not going to leave either of my guilds, but it is a question I have thought about a lot. Probably some social scientist has done a Ph.D dissertation on it, who knows.

—  I think I’ve reached the bottom of the Drafts folder. Everyone have a nice weekend. Go forth. Do good. Rinse and repeat.

Patch 6.1 experien…..zzzzzzzz

Patch 6.1 is close to the most underwhelming patch Blizz has ever issued. It would absolutely win the prize, except that they did add some annoying, customer-hostile features that have generated quite a bit of (negative) feedback. Apparently they have implemented a policy often employed by politicians and movie stars, that any publicity/interest is good, no matter how awful the public response.

I will admit that when I logged on to my main after the patch I had a bit of fun just checking out some of the new stuff.  But, like this entire expansion, it was fun once on one character but after that it is boring at best and teeth-grindingly awful at worst.

So no, I will not be chasing all over Draenor on my alts to get a jukebox that plays the same elevator music I have heard over and over and over again for years in this game. I will be sticking to my iTunes playlists, thank you very much.

And no, I am not interested in publicizing all of my alts to everyone by joining Battle.net so that I can Tweet about how boring the patch is. The Battle.net requirement for using Twitter in game was a nice little last-minute gotcha by Blizz. A blue post yesterday explained that it was the only way they could implement parental controls, which I suppose is a decent reason, but — ummmm — just possibly this could have been explained IN ADVANCE?

Side rant: So, Blizz, it’s nice that you are concerned about all the innocent little children playing this game, really it is. It warms my heart. I mean that. However, I suspect your concern has more to do with possible lawsuits than any real worries about exposing children to the seamier side of social media. I say that because, damn, HAVE YOU LOOKED AT TRADE CHAT LATELY???? If you are suddenly so protective of young players in your game, maybe you could hire a couple of server trade chat bouncers to crack down on the vile, hate-filled, often threatening comments usually expressed in sexually explicit terms, and the filthy language deliberately misspelled so as to circumvent the language filter. Just sayin’. You know, since you’re so worried about protecting the little children and all.

Sorry, had to get that off my chest. Back to the patch.

I have not yet had the “pleasure” of taking any selfies in-game, because as usual the RNG gods have it in for me and I have not gotten the S.E.L.F.I.E mission on any of my characters. Not that I think this will be fun more than enough times to get the achievement, but — you know– it would be nice to have that opportunity.

Which brings me to my main observation about Patch 6.1. Even though Blizz admits there are problems with RNG (they did implement the bad luck streak fix for bonus rolls) — most especially the frustration players have when they are in a run of bad luck — they insist on making that the deciding feature on more and more aspects of the game. By doing so, they remove more and more control from players. For me, the truly fascinating part of this game was always the thinking part, embarking on Decision Tree X so as to achieve Goal Y. But lately I feel like it just doesn’t matter, since many decisions are no longer mine but instead a roll of the dice.

Everyone (I think) understands that the guts of this game is RNG — chance to land a killing blow, chance to win certain loot, chance that a mob will spawn, etc. But that doesn’t mean everything has to be based on a pseudorandom generator. And until recently there were many game features that were based on player choice. Choose to do dailies or not so as to get currency that resulted in gear. Choose to raid or not to get gear that way. Choose to level up a jewelcrafter so as to make your own gems or sell them for gold. Choose to tweak your gear stats with enchants, gems, or recently by reforging. Choose to have alts or not, along with a reasonable opportunity to actually play them.

Those things are gone, and Blizz keeps narrowing player options. For example, it is beyond stupid in my opinion to have the RNG method of learning new profession recipes for this patch. WoD already pretty much destroyed professions for those of us that enjoyed that aspect of the game, and now it seems like they are just rubbing it in. Why gate the availability of profession recipes FOR ENTIRE REGIONS AT ONCE? Just to stretch out the newness of the patch? News flash, Blizz, the patch stinks, and gating non-content is not going to make it less odoriferous. And why not at least make the profession recipes BoA? As it stands now, if the fur trader shows up in my leatherworker’s garrison, I have to log onto my tailor and beg someone to invite me to their garrison in order to get the tailoring recipes. Another news flash, Blizz, this does not force me to have more social interaction in the game, it only annoys me and forces me to spend valuable game time doing administrivia. I get enough of that in real life, thank you very much.

The only explanation I have for this entire patch is that it was the leftover punch list from the expansion. Blizz dragged their feet so long in getting WoD out, there were certainly a lot of things they knew were broken but hey the villagers were gathering with pitchforks and they had to push out the xpac or have their collective butts chased across the countryside. So they had a “fix later” list. Also, the patch was a great opportunity to give the citizens bread and circuses so as to distract them from the awfulness of the xpac. (“This blows, there’s no content, garrisons take up all my time, OOOHH LOOK, SELFIES!”)

And of course, the ever-vigilant Screw With the Players Department saw opportunities to add in annoying “features” such as RNG-based profession recipes.

All in all, 6.1 is a non-patch. Why bother, Blizz?