Category Archives: Ain’t no party like a Blizzard Forum party cause a Blizzard Forum party don’t stop
I’ve been long delayed in my report on BfA inscription. A large part of that delay has been Blizzard’s delay in implementation of a reasonable system for Scribes to create Glyphs.
Lemme essplain. No. Is too much. Lemme summarize.
Starting in the expansion following (3.0) the introduction of Glyphs (2.0), Blizz offered a mechanism for Scribes to create glyphs that were introduced in every expansion. In short, the Ink Trader. The Ink Trader allowed you to exchange whatever the current expansion’s primary ink for inks from previous expansions. So, for example, if you were in the Cataclysm expansion, you could exchange Blackfallow Ink for any ink required to create glyphs in Vanilla, BC, or WotLK. In MoP, then you could exchange inks from that expansion for older inks. And so forth. I hope you’re keeping up.
Which brings us to the most notable absence from the current expansion. Normally, at the introduction of the x.0 patch for an expansion, the Ink Traders in all faction hubs (Stormwind, Shattrath, etc as an example) would provide an exchange of whatever that expansion’s most common ink was for any other ink in the game. For example, in Legion, we could exchange Roseate Pigment for inks from previous expansions.
But now we’re in weird territory.
When BfA rolled, we expected an Ink Trader in the faction cities to accept one of the inks from the current expansion (we figured it would be Ultramarine Ink) for inks from previous expansions. But we found nothing. At that point, the previous expansion (Legion) still held sway. So the only way to create inks for all expansions was: farm Legion inks (Roseate Pigment) or go gather herbs on the continents from the previous expansions, and mill them. This was less than optimal. In a world where we expected to exchange Ultramarine Ink for other inks, we were met with disappointment, at a massive scale. And now we are in 8.1.0, and there is still no sign of an ink Trader in Boralas, much less Stormwind.
So what we are doing, here in the first content patch of BfA, is farming Legion herbs. BfA herbs are almost useless – there are three Druid glyphs in this expansion, and that is it – so we are currently either selling them off – a poor financial investment – or banking them against an expected future where they are actually useful. At this point, I am becoming cynical.
So what is actually going on? Those that are willing to attribute an actual plan to all of this are welcome to comfort themselves in the actual market, but those of us that are embedded in the current market are doubtful. Currently, Dreamleaf (https://www.wowhead.com/item=124102/dreamleaf#comments) is the king of the Inscription market due to its secondary conception of Roseate and Sallow (especially Sallow) pigments. BfA Inscription is pretty much dead. And the WoW customer service accounts are pretty much silent on the topic after multiple pokes.
That is: currently. Aside from Cards of *, it is currently impossible to turn BfA herbs into a profit. And Blizzard doesn’t seem to care even so much as to stroke your ego. Sorry.
BtW: in case you were thinking of switching to Alchemy:
Herb-related crafting in BfA is, to be quite brutally honest, a cluster-fuck. You’re best served in just selling the herbs (especially Legion herbs) than trying to make a profit at Inscription or Alchemy.
After the worlds-shattering drama following their announcement that flying would not be happening in Draenor at all, Blizzard has changed their minds and decided it bring it back, but only if you really want it.
At the heart of the initial plan to restrict flight in Draenor (even after players reach level 100) lies the design goal of providing the best moment-to-moment gameplay possible in the outdoor world. From navigating the lava flows of the Molten Front in Patch 4.2, to breaching the Thunder King’s stronghold in Patch 5.2, to reaching the heights of the Ordon Sanctuary on Timeless Isle in Patch 5.4, to uncovering secrets deep within Gorgrond’s jungles on Draenor, World of Warcraft is full of memorable moments that are only possible when players explore the world by ground. And as we’ve continued to develop content over the years, we’ve focused more and more on providing players with these kinds of experiences.
There will be chores to do; exploring, collecting, rep grinding, and so forth. It’s a little reminiscent of the attunements we had in BC, to be honest, and I like that. I’m not one for collecting piles of non combat pets I’ll never look at or mounts I’ll never or rarely use at all. I’m not as much an achievement monkey as some. Give me a grind that will get me something tangible, however, then you’ve got my attention.
Naturally, no matter how you slice this, there will be mighty drama around this announcement as there was around the last. Where before it was all “Blizzard doesn’t care about what the players want raaaaeeeege”, now instead it’s “Blizzard gives in to every little whine raeeeeege!” Blizzard can’t win with this bunch, and personally I think they should just do what they think best and shut down the forums, but that’s me.
I’m still not missing flight in Draenor. But to some, the mere inconvenience is an insurmountable obstacle to inner peace, or something like that. This is not to say, I won’t use it if it’s there. As I’ve said before, I won’t put myself at a disadvantage on mere principle.
The haters will always be around because they need an avenue to vent their frustrations in life in, and a bunch of nerds writing software is just the perfect target. Well, people at Blizz get paid to read their drek, but I don’t.
So flush twice, it’s a long way to MMO-C.
Having rankled for more than a few people, I’m sure, my thoughts on flying in WoW remain unchanged, but I want to give the flip side of the argument some air, because it is very valid.
My friend Zel brings up the way this impacts herb farming, as an example. I do hasten to point out that herb farming isn’t the lucrative endeavor it once was. Making flasks for resale is just silly given current prices (I expect to see them go below 10g before too long); farming for glyphs doesn’t outweigh the convenience of buying herbs off the AH – the herb prices just don’t impact your profit margin that much. And selling herbs outright doesn’t (as implied) really bring a lot of cash to the table – hardly worth trolling SMV for choice cuts.
There’s this thing that you’re either for or against flying, by the way. I think the angst and anger between the two sides at this moment is greater than that between Alliance and Horde. And that’s pretty silly, considering that one can be on both sides of this.
I have my own problems with flight-less WoW, and most of them resolve down to inconvenience and annoyance.
It is very inconvenient and annoying to, for example, try to get to some of the more obscure corners of Draenor right now. Why? Because you have to navigate these huge mountains and ravines just to go from A to B, much less the obscure Point Z. And the maps are not very helpful in this regard. Also, I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a set of convoluted zones as I have in Draenor. It’s a perfect storm of angsty goodness that makes even me want to rezz up the old roflcopter and fly on over there.
The thing is, I find that as I give myself time to develop tactics to deal with little annoyances like this, the less annoying they become. And that’s part of the problem, here. People have not developed these strategies internally because they either feel they haven’t needed to (i.e. “flight is coming”) or shouldn’t have to (“fuck Blizzard”).
But it also comes back to the problematic skills that the terrain designers have. Instead of a stick – “no flying, you’re not paying attention to our bootiful landscapes” – how about a carrot – make the ground route a nice place to be, something enjoyable and maybe somewhere south of 50% annoying.
So while I completely get and embrace the no flight evermore approach – for limited reasons – I also get very much why this is frustrating and, believe it, I am feeling those same frustrations.
Let’s just say that if it weren’t for WoWHead, I’d’ve given up and moved on to another game by now. And that’s a very strong indication that you have issues with your terrain design. It should be possible to sort most of this out with in game resources. I agree that parts of the map should be reserved for those that have a lot of Dora in their veins – those that enjoy the exploration part of the game – but nothing important should be as hard to get to as the Time-lost Glade, not when it’s a key part of a major component of the endgame gearing circle-jerk.
So, pro-flight people, don’t for a second think I don’t empathize and agree, but also don’t think for a moment that I think it’s worth pitching a fit over. It is what it is. The minute that becomes too annoying to pay 22000 gold for, I’m back to playing marathon sessions of Sins of a Solar Empire or Civ 5, like I was before WoW even came out.
Bottom line here is that, regardless of which way this goes, Blizz done messed up and removing Flight is their version of mayonnaise, which cooks use to cover their mistakes. All the anger, all the ragequitting, all the angst belongs squarely on the shoulders of senior game management, and nowhere else.
Sadly, I doubt they’ll ever understand that. They will say the words, but they will never, truly, own their mistakes.
And that’s the greatest disappointment.
This interview with Watcher has set the WoW social universe on its ear.
The first big bombshell is his statement that Flight will not only not be back in 6.2, but may quite possibly not reappear in-game ever again, going forward.
I am mixed on this. I’m pretty much in favor of this because of the way that flight disrupts the quest design mechanics, but I want to state for the record that if Blizz had designed the quests with flight in mind in the first place, this wouldn’t be a problem.
Let’s consider the example that Watcher gave: without flight, you have to “fight your way to the NPC you’re rescuing” to complete the quest, but with flight you can “just fly over there, land on the hut he’s in, and you’re done.” And: agreed, that’s a lousy thing.
But why aren’t there flying Mobs around the hut? This is a design failure in the quest, not a problem with flight per se. But, since Blizzard is apparently incapable of grasping that simple concept and fixing the problem, the simpler solution is just to ground everyone.
The quest designers done screwed up, so everyone has to get out of the pool.
And now, a moment of gloating.
Watcher confirms that 6.2 is not the final patch for this expansion. There have been a number of intensely strident people swarzing up and down that this was the final content patch for Warlords, despite the fact that they had not a single fact to support this. I have set aside a vat to collect their delicious tears, and have set aside an area for them to furiously backpedal without endangering innocent lives. Because, sure as Moira’s got an agenda, these people will be claiming they said no such thing as soon as they can, as often as is legal in their home state and/or country, and and as loudly as local noise ordinances allow.
Let’s say this all together once again: MMO-Champion is not the gold standard of Blizzard predictions. They got it right exactly ONCE (Cata), and ever since then, Blizz has alternatively bought their silence with access bribes, or fed them misinformation. Reddit isn’t a lot better, but at least there you don’t have a central point of failure like you do with MMO-C.
Honestly, the louder and more strident they are, the less likely they are to be right.
I myself haven’t made much in the way of predictions in this regard other than to express extreme doubts that 6.2 was the final patch. For a number of reasons.
- Two patches is atypical for Blizzard’s history. Three to four is the general rule of thumb.
- The story that I’ve been able to discern so far doesn’t really seem to be end-gamish.
- e.g. I strongly suspect there’s a real WTF moment in our future, either at the end of 6.2 or in a future patch.
- I don’t see the ultimate end-of-expansion time-waster-zone that we’ve seen in every expansion including BC (e.g. Money Island / Tournament / Firelands / Timeless Isle). Until they roll out that zone – which, you realize, will be yet another new and innovative way to while a way the post-expansion blues! – we’re not looking at the final patch.
As I have proven to myself a number of times, predictions are a tricky thing. Smart people will couch these guesses as guesses and not FACT (actual quote). There’s nothing wrong with speculation as long as it’s presented as such. But stating categorically with great authority on these topics is just silly.
Unfortunately, these people won’t learn, probably. They’ll just get shriller, louder, and more frantically self-defensive as this unwinds. I’m not sure what the point of all this is – some weird form of territorial marking or something – but it’s lead to some serious paring of my social media feeds, let me tell you.
But I’m more interested in where this is going, lore-wise.
It’ll be interesting to see if the Grommash / Guldan story resolves this patch, or if it gets marched out to the next one. I personally don’t think one zone and one raid is enough to include that and Archimonde, too. I’m interested to see what they do with that, too, and whether we get to see Kil’jaeden as well. And will this all end in tears as Draenor Renewed gets blown up again?
All I know is that we are free of the tyranny of prophecy once again.
No fate but what we make for ourselves.
Summary: Flying was a mistake. It was a design flaw in TBC. Blizzard lacked the vision to realize the game would last beyond one expansion ((I’m really not making that up, they didn’t expect it to be so popular.)) and so they painted themselves into a corner at the end of TBC by giving everyone the ability to fly, and it went from neat end of game feature to automatic entitlement in the next.
When WotLK came along, the "reason" we couldn’t fly in Northrend at first was so thin, so lame, that we actually mocked them, and for good reason. And thus has it ever been for the following expansions, as they continue to come up with lame, stupid "reasoning" ((Hint: no actual reasoning to be found.)) to "justify" ((To them, not us.)) keeping us on the ground until we’ve narfled the Garthok ((Def. #2 slays me.)), just because they don’t want us ignoring all that beautiful artwork and masterful questlining they’ve done.
A further unintended side-effect is that they’ve never learned how to create a zone with flying in it. You may have noticed, Blizz uses the landscape to push you where it wants you to go. Impassable mountain ranges, big tree trunks, bloodthirsty troll guards, etc. You avoid that which is impassable or inconvenient, and end up in an area that they want you to be. Flying mounts negate all that, you violate every control they put in place, children are left unattended, dogs and cats cohabitate, and other terrible things happen as an effect.
I don’t know if they’ve even tried, but I have yet to see a zone where flying was properly factored in to the flow of the zone’s "experience", and, as such, it looks to anyone that’s looking as if they don’t have a clue how to design a zone, period. Twilight Highlands – who remembers how unpleasant it was to slog through the first time versus the second time, when you got flying for the whole tribe and your alts just skidded around in the sky without a care in the world? That’s the difference in how the zone comes across with and without flying.
So flying’s broken the game, and they won’t or can’t adjust the game to make flying work out as a part of the game ((Well, every now and then they try flying mobs that will knock you out of the sky, but as soon as the expansion moves far enough along, they remove that. Say hello to the birdies over Halfhill for me. If they pay you any attention.)), therefore all we get is "U No Fly Heer" zones and collective years of wasted effort on their parts as entire zones turn into flat, two-dimensional tabletop adventures that have a scattering of completely avoidable mobs.
Clearly, flying must die.
There are three possible paths, as I see it.
- They can remove flying from the game completely, admit it was a mistake, soak up the abuse ((For the kind of money they’re getting, they can manage to soak up a LOT of abuse and be just fine.)), and move on.
- They can remove flying from the current content, allowing it in all previous expansion areas, but controlling it in the current.
- They can bloody well learn how to put together a zone with flying taken fully into account.
As a gaming purist, I am in favor of the "nuke it from orbit" approach, mostly (a) because I have seen no evidence that option #3 is even possible. I’d rather they spent scarce resources on something that they have a reasonable chance to accomplish, meaning (b) I also have my doubts as to whether they can pick up all the loose ends in the case of option 2.
I’m not in favor of removing flying simply because I have the blackest of evil hearts and enjoy seeing others suffer ((I might, but it’s not germane to the situation.)), I’m in favor of it because it makes for a better game.
- They spend less time trying to account for ((And failing, and giving up on.)) people flying around whatever feature they’re working on.
- They spend less time trying to negotiate the precise moment in the expansion or player’s life that the ban gets lifted.
- They spend less time tracking down bugs that might crop up because someone found a niche where they CAN fly in ((A feature not implemented won’t cause bugs in its own right.)).
- Players play the game, rather than ignore it on the way to whatever corner-cased endgame feature they need to twink on ((And maybe players leave the game over this. I’m not concerned over the quality of people that lets something like this put them over the top. I just aren’t.)).
- The designers put more thought and interest into game features because they realize that there are far fewer ways for players to blow them off.
- You actually "accomplish" something yourself.
It amazes me that people can’t keep things civil on this. A friend of mine has been getting abuse over her opinion on this. Listen here, cheeto-breath. When all you have to fall back to is abuse, you lose. You’ve already lost. Everyone can see it, you have added nothing relevant to the argument. You’re nothing but a hater, and we all know about haters.
That’s right, J. D. ((Doing selfies Old Skool.))
You’d know better than most.
And the only way to deal with the haters is to let them go hate on the only person that loves them – themselves. So, any person they unfollow is, really, better off for it – though blocking the haters is better, since that whey they can’t sleaze back into your life later without your permission.
I’ve not said much about this before, because others have done a much better job of getting the point across. But it seems as if some people don’t do "points."
Well, they’ve finally done something I’ve been asking for for a long time – it is likely that Blizz will offer paid "boosts" to level 90 for the toons of your choice once WoD launches. Naturally, there are those that claim that this will ruin the game, but I’ll counter – and have been for years – that the LACK of this paid service has ruined a lot of the game for a lot of people.
I want to get something out of the way, first. I have absolutely ZERO sympathy for people that are in a hurry to get to max level. None. Zip. Nada. I am happy for this paid service not on their behalf, but on behalf of everyone that has had to endure the after-effects of these people.
Blizzard has, in the past, altered the game in many ways to accommodate people that were ‘bored’ of leveling yet-another-alt to max level. They have nerfed the entire leveling game.
There are zones that you cannot get XP from all quests because the final ones go gray before you’re done!
Entire expansions have been nerfed so that you spend minimal time in them – My Rogue completed ONE zone on Northrend before he dinged 80! He had done maybe 3/4 of Sholazar! My DK barely finished Deepholm before she dinged 85. The assumption has been made that if you want to do all the quests, you’ll do so anyway, regardless of any XP you might get, and otherwise you just want to be gone as fast as you can.
There are pretty much NO challenges left. Coming up in Vanilla pre-Cata, you could count on a few tough runs out there, some elites hanging around outside of instances, some big rares that required some teamwork to take down. All gone. Even Stiches is a pushover.
So, overall, the way that Blizz was trying to accommodate the speed-levelers pretty much subverted anything interesting about the lower level areas – and rather than help, that just made it worse, because now the power levelers were trying to get through areas that were pretty much as interesting as naval lint and about as attractive. Leveling went from being tediously annoying to annoyingly annoying.
The biggest tragedy of them all is how much time and manpower that Blizz has invested in these changes that had no good effect, that pretty much subverted everything about the lower level zones, and pretty much rendered 90% of the game’s content irrelevant to a large subset of the playerbase.
The lower level areas are not the problem. The people that want to get OUT of them are the problem. They wasted time and money on the wrong solution.
Boosting to max-for-last-expansion level is the RIGHT solution. It has a minimal footprint. It doesn’t give max level away for free. They enhance their revenue on the impatience of impatient people. Those that wish to level the traditional way get some peace from the miserable hordes of people that would rather be somewhere else. Everybody wins.
This marginalizes nobody. It isn’t "pay to win" – you still have whatever the current expansion is go level through. If you get any gear from it it’ll be inferior to anything you get in the expansion, so who cares?
When I saw the WoD reveal mention a free boost for one toon, I had hoped that it would lead to this. I’m so very pleased to see that it has.
I have absolutely no plans to avail myself of this. I see paying to bypass content that you’re paying to see to be a non-sequitorian concept. But I have no reason to hate on those that will. Go in peace, kill some dragons, and tell Garrosh I said hello.
See ya in Draenor.
As I write this, Blizzard is now claiming that they will no longer require real names in the fora. I want to make a few observations.
- As Scott Jennings pointed out ((Oh, look, I got his name right this time!)), Blizzard has promised to “fix” something like this before, and then didn’t do squat, possibly under the theory that a slow bleed saps the will, or something.
[L]ook at this response from another privacy hullaballoo – Blizzard’s refusal to allow people to opt out of having their character data displayed online – for a clue.
Can I “opt-out” of the Armory?
No; this particular option is currently unavailable. While we do not possess any present intention to allow our players to opt-out of basic Armory features (character display, talent build, arena teams, and reputation), we do plan to introduce more complex functionalities; these upcoming functionalities will be “opt-in”/”opt-out,” thus granting our players the opportunity to display or omit correlated information as desired.
Clearly, they got right on that.
- So don’t get excited until you what they actually do.
- Also, the forums are just the thin edge of the wedge. While having your private ID searchable on the web is, in fact, a bad thing, the biggest problem with this whole thing is that they told us one thing about RealID at first, then they went and did something else with it after that. So what’s to say they won’t do that again? Nothing, that’s what. Until we have a permanent way to mask our real names in RealID, it’s still broken.
I have this image of Mike Morhaime in his office, typing into his LiveJournal tonight.
This was a triumph.
I’m making a note here: HUGE SUCCESS.
It’s hard to overstate my satisfaction.
Plying the bullshit.
We do what we must
because we can.
For the good of all of us.
Except the ones who /ragequit.
But there’s no sense crying over every mistake.
You just keep on trying with the finest trollbait.
And the money comes in.
And we all wear a grin.
For the people who are still subscribed.
Remember, the price of liberty is eternal vigilance.
And reloads close at hand.