Category Archives: Broken promises and shattered dreams

UbiSoft’s favorite Software Company

Brak | hobbyDB

Two days ago (at time of writing), the State of California filed a suite against Activision Blizzard for several counts of sexual harassment, abuse, and other related crimes. Since then I’ve ben soaking in it, so to speak, too stunned and bummed out to really write about it.

In a way this is surprising, seeing as I have seemingly written about it so many times. This is, by far, not the first time Blizzard has had this sort of scandal. The rot really does seem to reach back to the origins of the company, settled in around the roots. Time and time again they claim they’re turning around. Time and time again I have opined that maybe, just maybe, they’re turning a corner. And time and time again, they disappoint us.

First of all, I want to say, I believe these charges, I believe the women that have spoken up, and I believe the women that have subsequently joined in to confirm.

But I also have to say that simple belief, simple support, is not enough.

These women aren’t the source of the problem. It’s the men they work with. And if you are in the software industry, it’s you, as well.  I’m not saying you’re guilty of harassment and assault. I’m saying that you may be letting little things slide that are Not Okay. When you hear someone disrespected, when you hear someone being abused, hell, if you hear someone BRAGGING about it – it’s your job, as an ally, if you are in fact an ally, to push back.  To shut then down. To make them see the light.

Because that’s the source. People just “going along”. Refusing to “rock the boat”.   Not “wanting to embarrass a friend.”   I mean, seriously, what kind of friends you got if they’re rapist-adjacent?

As men it’s time we stood up against this shit whenever we can.  I’m not talking full on drama queen here, but just against the little stuff. The stuff you can get away with without getting in trouble (though getting the rep as a troublemaker in this particular case isn’t a bad thing, IMO).

Let’s talk (my) history. (in no way exhaustive – I got too depressed to keep going)

Here’s the current scandal du jour.

A lot of people have cancelled their subs. I’m not one of them.  Why?  Because I haven’t payed for a subscription in years, since the Token came out. I’ve been paying for my game time using auction sales. I am a burden to Blizzard. I will continue to do so until I run out of gold – which is at minimum 2 years from now.

Also, switching to another game is silly.  If you think Blizz is alone in all this, you have paid zero attention to the news.

All I’m gonna say is Riot and Ubisoft are big fans of Blizzard right now.

Delayed

https://bnetcmsus-a.akamaihd.net/cms/blog_header/91/91RKJ6KC62PA1594365571485.jpg

Today we got the news: Shadowlands has been delayed until later this year. And the response has been … well, kinda mellow.

I think everybody involved was kinda aware that, a month out, the beta was kind of a hot mess.  I, personally, can not relate that one way or the other – even though I have a beta invite, I’ve never felt all that excited about unstructured testing of software that hid its design from the tester.  I come from a QA past, and I prefer my testing more structured.

But I digress.

While I was not involved in testing, I hear things. From people that were testing. And those things were along the lines of “damn this worries me”.

And then there’s Blizz’ contribution to the general zeitgeist. While they’re very clearly hiding the design behind very thick walls, they can’t hide the patch notes without, well, just not issuing patch notes – and we’re not there yet. So as each beta patch came out, and they indicated that yet again another system was reset, or tweaked, or redesigned, the mood among those of us that are noting this sort of thing becomes more and more uneasy.

Let’s be clear. A month out from the announced launch date, there should be NOTHING subject to redesign, rebaselining, or reset.  And yet, we’ve seen all three within five weeks of the proposed launch date.  So, let’s be clear, SHADOWLANDS IS A HOT MESS.

This evening Blizz announced via public channels that they were definitely not ready for launch, and via private channels (email) that they’d even refund your repurchase for Shadowlands if this for some bizarre reason caused you major butthurt. (They wrote it more diplomatically but I don’t give a damn about diplomacy so if you have issues with that, take your butthurt ass about a mile down the road and make a left turn into I don’t give a fuckland.)

out of my face

The upshot I have seen from most humans has been positive. They are aware of the issues currently in place (i.e. covenants suck) and are more than happy to wait for this to be fixed.  I agree. The 10% or so against that I’ve seen are basically the entitled asshats that bitch about anything, especially the ones that haven’t pre-purchased. Go demand to speak with the manager, Karen.

Back in the day, Blizz had a “it will ship when it’s ready” attitude. For example, BC was scheduled to ship in 2006, but actually shipped in 2007 when they famously delayed the launch to put in some polish (whereas “polish” means fixing game-killing bugs).  Side note: Day One of the patch was, in fact, a major clusterfuck. I was still levelling in Wetlands and the entire realm crashing when my guildies entered Hellfire was an experience I wish not to repeat.

So it’s nice to see that that attitude still exists.  I have no doubt that somebody will take a fall for this, and when they do, look for Activistion and Bobby Kotick to be holding the smoking gun. That will tell you all you need to know – who the hero(es) are, as well as who the villain is.

I personally am pleased that Blizz is committing to quality over schedule. As a former QA person, I am especially pleased, but, as a customer, I am also pleased. I feel comforted that somebody is trying to avoid pushing rotten code onto my PC.  I have enough rotten code sitting here already, so anyone pushing against rotten code is my hero.

Listen, guys, “later this year” is at most an 8-week delay.  8 weeks is nothing. The year 2020 has been what, 200 weeks long so far? We can do this.

Legion was a Bad Idea

image

Okay, hear me out.

Throughout WoW, there was no big bad badder than the Legion. We were told, this was the ultimate goal.  We were even teased that the war against the Legion would continue into Anduin’s old age.

And then came the Legion expansion, and we chumped Sargeras and, somehow (?) the Legion was rendered moot.

Now, we’re in a strange place where instead of hopping world too world after Dem Legions, we’re fussing around with Fancy Trolls and Thicc Bois and blowing each other up. And something something Teldrassil, and “anticipating” an adventure in the land of the dead.

It’s weird. Pursuit of the Legion had enough built in content to keep this game going for decades, with a wide diversity of possible worlds, multiple opportunities to switch things up, and ample opportunities for engaging new races and characters and maybe even classes.

Compared to this, Shadowlands feels – to me – like flailing about wildly for “what’s next”, a Dr. Strangesque excursion into a place that we didn’t really feel compelled to go in the first place.

I’m not sure who’s idea Legion was at the point that occurred, but I really feel “don’t schedule the endgame until you’re ready for the endgame” seems to be fairly rational advice, and I can’t believe nobody gave this advice to that person.

I’m surely giving Shadowlands a fair shake. But I feel somewhat less than excited to do so. BfA at least stirred my blood with the burning of Teldrassil, but this time I feel like, “can we just close the gateway and leave her in there?”

Hey, there are a few things I am truly looking forward to, starting with (and primarily) the new appearance options we’ll get for our characters. But everything else I’ve seen so far leaves me feeling flat.

I wonder how others are feeling about it.  I imagine the hardcore raiders / pvpers are indifferent, as long as they get new raids and stuff. 

Gatekeepers

brilliantI was sad to hear that an addon that was planned for use in WoW Classic is set to be sabotaged by Blizz itself.

The addon in question is a tool to aid in the process of finding others for dungeon and raid runs – a tool that more or less subs in for the current, modern game’s LFD and LFR tools.

Now, I’m pretty sure that Blizz, left to their own devices, wouldn’t have done anything about this tool. But there was a group of alleged purists – I say alleged because I bet they won’t last six months in Classic – that whinged about how this tool was taking away from the “classic experience” or some sort of bullshit like that.

And once again Blizz listened to a bunch of losers whining about how OTHER people play the game.

I wasn’t even planning on using it, but the circumstances piss me right off.

Listen, it’s simple.   I made a flowchart to help you understand.

A matter of Addons

Nobody forces you to use an addon that others are using. If you prefer to be one of the idiots hanging out in Stormwind spamming /y, you go right ahead. I thought they were idiots when I played through Classic the first time, and knowing that they had a choice and blew it this time, they’re even bigger idiots.

You can’t just dictate to others what “the classic experience” is.  For you it’s that stupid bullshit associated with LFG.  For me, it’s that scary level 13 run from Darnassus to Stormwind. Doesn’t mean I’m going to impose that terror on you just because that’s MY “classic experience”.

The sad totality of this is that all they’ve done is shift what they perceive as “the problem” to another venue. Somebody will come up with a website, or a database, or something else that will facilitate the gathering of players in dungeon and raid groups. We already have tools like that for cross-realm. It’s just a few lines of code difference and the gatekeepers will be thwarted.

I’m just waiting for them to come for WoWHead. You know, because “we didn’t have that back then.”

Effing wankers.

That Water Strider business; it’s all about control.

Imma not gonna lie, I never got the Water Strider mount  until BfA, and even then it was the Welfare Water Strider.  I was in no hurry, but until I got it I didn’t realize why so many people wanted it.

Take yourself back to Burning Crusade and the massive effect that flying mounts had on day to day questing. Now, there was a big difference between then and now. Then: you had to gain the flying ability per toon. Today: one toon gets it, all toons get is.

But there was a gate, and flying was that gate.

Before flying, you had to slog your way through any number of BC quests (flying didn’t apply to, well, anything on Azeroth), and that taught certain values about the value of flying in landlocked environments. Most importantly: quests that were difficult for landlocked toons were cake for those with flying mounts.

For some time now I have been ruminating on how water striding mounts fulfil the same role that flying mounts did, only instead of flying they offer the means to move freely in areas that water constrained the area of free movement.

And in the course of those ruminations, I have come to realize that water striding mounts fulfil the same role that flying mounts did on areas that relied on the behavior of ground mounts to restrict and control movement in a zone.

You see, this is all about control.

Control, and the complete lack of foresight on the part of software developers that are paid well to foresee such things.

The whole point of controlling flying in zones is to control the flow of the activities in that zone. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: this is bullshit. The design of a zone that has flying as a factor must take flying into account, or the zone design itself is a failure.   So far, every zone that Blizzard has presented is a failure when it comes to flying. Flying overcomes all constraints designed into the zone. No zone designers thus far have designed with flying in mind. And as a result, we end up with artificial constraints on where you can and cannot fly. Shame.

shame

Water Striders are the next generation of this shit-show of design. When they were introduced in Pandaria, they were a cute little end-game perk for players that endured an endless shit show of a rep grind. The short-sighted designers of these mounts failed to foresee how useful they would become in future expansions, for the design didn’t have any level constraints.

And then all of the zone designers after Pandaria worked water into the constraints of the zones that they designed, because somebody had already removed flying from the constraints until endgame, and, surprisingly, nobody had notified them that someone on the MoP team had designed a mount that would blow right by any water-based constraints. I mean, they can’t be expected to play the game and, well, read WoWHead, right?

And, unpredicted by anyone except us filthy casuals, water striding mounts became the most popular mounts in the game. Why? Because they broke the constraints imposed by the Master of the Universe Top Men programmers of all zones after  Pandaria. The Top Men said “you can’t go here unless you fight through zillions of aquatic assholes” and we were like “lol I water stride the fuck over your heads motherfucker.”

I mean, this was the deal no matter your level. If you were able to earn enough rep to buy an Azure Water Strider (about a month’s work) then you had the ability to bypass a large part of any zone’s constraints that were based on water. You could just “fly” over the aquatic mobs’ heads and call yourself a mf’ing hero.

Listen, I’ve been doing. So don’t trot out any holier than thought bullshit. No time, no patience. It’s a thing that happened, and any player that employs maximum efficiency will do the thing. it’s natural.

What I’m getting at is that the changes to water striding in the 8.2 patch are kinda predictable. WoW isn’t about making game mechanics more fun, it’s about maximizing the amount of time the can keep you playing and Water Strider mounts don’t really help with that.

Now. Changes to the Water Strider mount are kinda weird in that light. What we’re getting right now is that the mount won’t be able to do the thing it was bought to do  – walk on water – until the character that uses it is level 100.

Okay, I get that, if the max level for the current expansion is 100, that makes perfect sense.

But it’s not. Current max level for BfA is 120.  So if you are level 100 and playing BfA, you are not in any way constrained when it comes to water walking mounts.

So I am in many ways questioning the changes to water walking mounts in 8.2.

Listen, I’ve been of the opinion that water walking mounts blew the level design of all zones since Draenor. But I’ve always envisioned a solution that … addressed the problem. As in only applying to max-level zones, not zones of the past.

The current solution is bullshit. Wrong. Punishing people other than the intended audience.

Though I have to say, if your mechanics design hinges on punishing people, maybe you’re in the wrong line of work.

Or I’m playing the wrong game.

Getting close to option B, friends.

So about that thing

If you’re not up with the latest happenings of the past hours (i.e. the commencement of War of the Thorns Pt. 2 and the animated Sylvanas Warbringers story) and care deeply about spoilers, close this tab now and come back when you’re caught up.  There will be no further coddling.

.

.

.

.

.

I want to say first of all a few words about some peoples’ reactions.

One rotten development of this is that a lot of people have been harassing Christie Golden and others associated with the writing of this game, the shorts, and related media. I don’t care if you don’t like the direction a character is taking, harassment is out of line.   It’s one thing to analyze the story without mercy, to call shit out, and express even disgust with the proceedings. Fine. Be as dramatic as you want about a video game.

(I don’t care how many years of your life you’ve “invested” in it. That just makes you look bad when you couch it in those terms. Stop making a fool of yourself).

But personal abuse of any sort is way beyond the pale. Take it down or get the Bitch Slap of the Apocalypse for your troubles.  That’s my personal promise.


Back to the story.

We’ve known for a year that Teldrassil would burn. We’ve known that likely Sylvanas would be the burner, and that Azerite might in some way figure into all of this.

Blizzard assured us that Sylvanas wasn’t going full on evil, saying the world was “gray, not black and white”, or words to that effect.

Aaaand Sylvanas then turned full on evil.  She burned that tree down for spite’s sake.

I don’t want to hear how she was better off not fighting a Resistance so it was a good tactical move. She had full on planned to capture until Delaryn Summermoon sassed her, telling her she would never defeat hope. And Sylvanas, morally grey Warchief of the Horde, who until then had other plans, ordered the tree burned. AND forced Delaryn to watch it. Deliberately, sadistically.

This is not me RPing angry Alliance, this is me saying that the character they depicted shows all the signs of a sadistic, evil creature not too far removed from Garrosh Hellscream himself. Cruel, capricious, and, from what I can see, just plain greedy. She’s missing a moustache to twirl, but so is Elon Musk.

And that’s a problem for Horde players that have been “we’re not evil” for all these years.  Granted, this is the same Horde that Pearl Harbor’d Theramore and Scourged Gilneas, but otherwise a peaceful, pastoral group of people that were just trying to get by, farm grain, murder elves, same as everyone else.

The Horde now have a maniac in charge again, and I think this time it’s breaking them.  I have seen a LOT of people revolting. (I’ve seen some revolting people too, which we’ll speak of in a moment). They are not happy and they are making themselves known.

In a way it’s kinda comforting to know that some people, when confronted with what their nation has become, will not, in actuality, go along with it.  It feels like maybe we’ve learned something from the Nazis after all. Refrains of “Not our Warchief” reflect the real-world cries of “Not our President”. In a way, I wonder if Blizz isn’t making some sort of statement here.


jas and teldrassil

Sliding back into the story … it’s hard to take it all in.  I have two Kaldorei toons, both noob’d on Teldrassil back when getting to Stormwind was a harrowing journey through high-level dangers. I have a lot of memories associated with Darkshore, Teldrassil, Auberdine, and points beyond. A big chunk of my WoW history is literally up in flames now. Others are taking it even harder. Some people are tremendously attached to their gentle elvenfolk and feel as betrayed as the Hordies that can’t cope with their murderer-in-chief.

Right now the Kaldorei and Gilneans are camped out in Stormwind Harbor (seriously, Anduin, can we get some housing here?) and presumably they will be in search of new digs after all of this settles. Though, personally, I think, after they fill in that nasty basement, Lorderon would make a fine new home for our displaced friends.  And maybe they’ll team up and take back Gilneas as well – that’s a huge waste of a beautiful city otherwise.

Maybe once the Sindorei disavow the Horde and join the Alliance, they will reunite with their sylvan relatives, we can fire up the jets, and Kaz Modan can fly off to Mars like a rocket ship.

Hey, you never know. Haven’t you read ElfQuest?

Art Department, can we talk?

I’ve recently completed my class mount quest, and, well, I need to preface my thoughts a little bit first.

Listen, art department peeps, I know you’re hard working Artists with a Capital A. And I respect what you do.  Going from solid models to 3D models requires a broad skill set.  Creating new sounds for fantastical creatures that don’t even exist is challenging under any circumstances. And you folks in the lead positions, I know for sure that it’s difficult to give good leads to the art and sound peeps and fold it all back together at the end of the development cycle and get it in to the assets people to be merged into the test servers.

I respect the challenges in developing all the pixels we see and use in the game.

Having said all that, I have to observe that somebody actually signed off on this.

Priest Mount

Its a good … whatever, Brant

I can’t even. It’s like somebody mashed an owl and a lion together without a) being told that it was supposed to be a mount or b) knowing what a lion or owl looked like originally. And the sound … the sound the thing makes when you summon it is reminiscent of the Witch King’s mount in Lord of the Rings. There is nothing divine about this creature’s screeching wail. It’s like somebody got the sound files for the Death Knight mount mixed up with the Priest mount files, and everyone’s too embarrassed to admit it. Working as intended, yo.

I hate to sound ungrateful, but, seriously, if they’d posted a note that “the Priest mount will be delayed for a few weeks for additional enhancement”, I would not have objected at all, expecially if I knew what we’d get “on schedule”.

Next up: mage mount.  It’s a fidget spinner, yo.  I can live with that.  It’s like that Pandaria Red Cloud thingy.

Six Weeks a Scribe

Illume400After six weeks, I’ve got a bit of a handle on Inscription as it stands.  It’s definitely not the old profession we used to have. But is it better, worse, or indeterminate?

 

In Summary

Here are the bullet points.

  • Glyphs are no longer permanent. If someone wants to re-use a glyph after purging it out, they’ll have to buy it again.
  • Glyphs no longer provide necessary improvements to your skills or talents – all they do is change appearances. That’s it. They have no real purpose, and anyone eschewing them will perform exactly the same as they would if they were fully loaded.
  • Older glyphs cost all of three Roseate Pigments, the “common” pigment of Legion.
  • New glyphs, or NuGlyphs as I like to call them, cost varying amount of Roseate and Sallow Pigments – Sallow being the “uncommon” pigment of Legion.
  • Pigment drops vary vastly between different herbs.
  • Roseate Pigment is the Palmetto Bug of Legion herbalism. You can’t get rid of it, and it’s everywhere.

Yield

So first I’ll address the yield rate of the different herbs. Observe:

herb-yields

Fig. 1: Pigment Yields by Herb

  • The first thing I will point out is that Roseate and Sallow yields vary widely between different herbs, and an herb that yields a lot of Roseate may be crappy for Sallow.
  • Sallow Pigment is the real limiting factor for NuGlyphs.
  • Secondly, from a strictly Herbalist perspective, and with the previous in mind, Dreamleaf is the way to go for glyphing. At a .23 yield, it’s a couple of hundredths ahead of even Starlight Rose.
  • Roseate pigment yield isn’t really much of a factor.
  • Dreamleaf yield rates do not reflect the addition of Nightmare Pods. These pods can yield a lot of Sallow pigments, and are the after effects of Dreamleaf milling. So Dreamleaf may have a higher effective yield of Sallow than the chart reflects. I will be working on gathering more info on this statistic at some point, but off the cuff it seems like it’s almost a 50% boost.
  • I have more data on some herbs than other. Which brings me to …
  • I have zero data on Felwort. Do I look like I’m gonna spend that kind of money on something so expensive to get data that nobody in their right mind would use? No matter how good the yields you get from this bonny jewel, it’ll always be better to sell it on the AH.  Oh, all right, some day when I’m fat and buttery I’ll prolly blow a few Gs on a stack. But today is not that day.

Regardless, strictly for herbalists, Dreamleaf appears to be the clear winner.

Profession Switch

But for Scribes, maybe not.

Let’s be clear: most Scribes are going to burn a lot more herbage daily than they can gather in a day. So that means they’re going to have to buy herbs from someone – either the AH or private channels, it matters not at all. Coin is coin.  And that takes us to the more complex level of this equation.

herbage-profit-matrix

Profit Matrix by Class and Herb

Here you see three data tables. On the upper right is a breakdown of the prices for all but one of the herbs.  To the left of the prices is a breakdown of the general price for each pigment as based on the yield rates of each herb.

The data are clear. Regardless of their inferior yield rate, Aethril’s much lower cost produces a much lower cost per pigment. Looking at the table to the left, you can see a calculation of price per glyph by class. As I said, mat requirements for each class varies. For example, Paladin and Priest only require 2 Sallow pigments, while Warlock requires 15.

The final table in this image is a little selector that changes the “Sallow” and “Roseate” values for the table on the left based on what herb you choose. Easy enough … right now, at this point in the game, on my connected realm, Aethril is the clear choice for purchasing off the AH.

Vantus Very Little

A word on Vantus Runes … I have no data.  These runes require you to have defeated a boss before you can get the recipe, and I have not raided even a bit. Given that Jas is hogging all the glory, I imagine I probably never will without running LFR – which I look forward to as much as my next tax audit.

For the Profit

So, what is happening in terms of profitability?  Before this expansion, Inscription was my cash cow. Slower at times than other, but still a steady source of income.

Now, it’s hard to say. I’ve suffered a massive loss of cash getting ramped up – at least 300,000 – but the treasury is starting to grow once again.  Having said that, the sell rate is starting to fall off. So I’m not sure I can draw any solid conclusions yet.

Finders Keepers

There are around 20-30 glyph techniques – recipes, basically – that are drops out there in the world, making your ability to perform somewhat random. If you get some good luck in drops, you’ll be able to produce product that few others can.  If you get bad luck, your stock will be limited.

Not saying we have a trend here, but from level 100 to 109, I’ve gotten exactly two – two – technique drops.

Side eye

Gonna throw a little shade, here.  Most other professions, you have “ranks” for items that you can produce.  The higher the rank, the fewer mats required to create the item. These ranks come from various sources, such as drops in the world, world quests, experience, and so forth.

Guess which profession doesn’t have this mechanic?

If you guessed Inscription, you get a no-prize. Our recipes cost the same no matter what. There is no potential for improvement no matter how many of the darned things you make. I am not exactly pleased about this.

In Closing

As I watch this profession for further trends, I have to wonder where we’re going with it. I see exactly zero motivation for people to buy my wares, and have to wonder which profession will be next to be hit by this sort of nerf. Enchanting? Alchemy? Hard to say.

I hope it swings the other way. That the person that thought that this was a great idea gets transferred to Diablo and never comes back. That we see a return of Inscription as a profession of great interest in the next expansion.

But I have a hard time thinking that Blizz is going to go back now that they’ve taken the first step on the voyage of “making professions fun again.” Which seems to be a euphemism for “make stuff for yourself, but not so much any one else.”

You know, “Fun.”

Failed Design

If you’ve spent much time around me, you know that few things piss me off more than game elements created to deliberately waste my time.  In that regard, the Garrison as a whole, and the Lunarfall Excavation in particular really set me off on a rant when certain things come up.

But there’s more.

There are far fewer things that piss me off than things that are done to deliberately waste my time, but which contain self-defeating mechanisms to lessen or nullify their effects because the game designer was unwilling to hold the line  on the decision to go with that design, and wimped out rather than admit s/he was wrong.

In this case, I am referring to the two little treats you can find in the Lunarfall Excavation – the Preserved Mining Pick and the Miner’s Coffee.  These two items drop from Mine Carts that you find throughout the mine, and they nullify a bit of the time-sink that the mine represents – the picks by halving the time it takes to mine a node, and the coffee by speeding up your movement speed between nodes.  While neither completely nullify the time or distance required to travel around in a Level 3 mine, they go a long way towards diminishing it.  And that’s what annoys me.

When you’ve completed the design of a thing and submitted it to alpha testing, there are two ways of dealing with any shortcomings that the testers might find.  The first is, you take their feedback and make adjustments to the thing to make things better.  The other is, you pretend the testers don’t “get” your creation, and hold that line until someone else – say, the senior game designer – gets wind of it and there’s no time to actual redesign the thing, so little, stupid, workarounds have to be created to compensate for the failure of the thing.

Is this what actually happened with the Lunarfall Excavation?   Honestly, I’ll probably never know. But the design is so crappy, it really looks like those two “buff” items were added as a compensatory afterthought to somehow mollify the throngs of torch-bearing beta testers that wanted someone’s ass.

Compare the design to the herb garden. The garden is compact, organized, and takes less than five minutes to fully clean out even at Level 3.  Sure, it doesn’t render up the same quantity of resources or Primal Spirits, but it is just a far better design than the mine is.

This would not annoy me nearly as much if it weren’t for two things.  The first thing I’ve already hit on – Blizz, having elected to have this huge, sprawling complex that took at least a quarter of an hour to fully clean out, seemingly decided to wimp out on the level of commitment needed to clean it out. They apparently decided to soften the blow with a rather wimpy solution that showed commitment to nothing.

The second thing that amps up the annoyance here is that the mine is artificially mandatory for anyone that has a garrison.  Either you have to mine it for mats for your crafting – and many of these crafts are not blacksmithing or jewelcrafting – or you have to mine it for primal spirits used to upgrade your crafted armor.

Sure, you few Mythic raiders are going to get the good stuff off of Archy, but us mere mortals are going to have to deal with collecting resources to make our stuff, and unfortunately that includes mandatory mining for most things – Savage Blood, for example, requires Blackrock Ore for alchemists to use, and you need 60 of them to get a crafted item to its 4/6 level.

(Aside: it feels like they did levels 5 and 6 better, requiring you to be out in the world to find the primary mats for those upgrade, at least. So they can possibly be taught.)

In the film “Ruthless People” (A film I highly recommend, by the way), Danny DeVito’s character, Sam Stone, shares some power-negotiator advice with a hapless cop.

Never let the seller know you’re hot to trot. Tell him you haven’t got the money. […] tell ’em you don’t have the money, that it’s all tied up in investments or some crap. […] A bad salesman will automatically drop his price. Bad salesmen make me sick.

With regards to the Lunarfall Excavation, Blizzard plays the role of the Bad Salesman.

Bad salesmen make me sick.

Expansion Iteration: A visualization

I’ll be brief.

Blizzard Watch just posted a great analysis of the iteration times for all the past expansions.  I took that data and visualized it.

Expansion Iterations

Blue is the gap between the release of the previous expansion and the announce of the new one; red is basically the time between that announce and the start of beta; and the orange is the length of the beta to release.

Crunch it however you want, but the big takeaway for me is the damned heroic effort in getting MoP out in less time than all but one previous expansion, and that’s INCLUDING a total refactoring of The Jade Forest.