Google+ ALT : ernative: The More Things Change...

Thursday, July 05, 2012

The More Things Change...



Sure, the old attunements were bad, are you claiming it is only possible to do long boring ones? They can be updated for 2012 without being the same as vanilla TBC, attunements should introduce players to playing their class well to progress this journey of character progression is much more engaging and enjoyable than the current 'see the content' journey.

There're almost infinite perceptions of what's considered "playing a class well". What might be acceptable for you as an individual, might not be even close to what should be acceptable for another player, or might be even way too much for a completely different player.

If you ask what's playing a class well to a hardcore PVP player, a Hardcore raider, a casual PVP player, a casual raider... you'll get different answers from all of them.




Sometimes, I wonder whether I'm just getting too old for all this.

A great deal has changed since Vanilla. This fact is a) unarguable and b) subject to massive debate, and herein lies the paradox which this game has become after seven years. To understand exactly how much HAS changed in that intervening period requires either an extensive session with Google or for you to have ACTUALLY BEEN THERE.


I said it. I even blew my font size up specially.

I'd say it is a fair bet the poster to whom the blue response is directed at above has been around as long as I have. They will have seen a lot come and go, and more significantly they will have put up with it all. I have, for over a year of game time, done the same thing... despite the moaning and the frustrations and the sometimes downright annoyance that I CANNOT DO THIS. After seven years of faffing I'm still utterly rubbish on certain days, regardless of how well I think I can play any of the classes at my disposal. This is where the argument of 'player education' ultimately falls down: every player, however awesome you/they/forums/Reddit may think they are, (can and) will have wank days.

That's the way it is.

Therefore, when the question of 'player education' comes up (and it does, time and again, on countless blogs I read, normally accompanied by common sense commentary and hands-in-the-air despair at people JUST BEING STUPID) I can't fault CM Draztal's argument. Trying to design the game to keep the maximum number of people happy is no mean feat, after all. Even though player numbers in raid instances may have dropped dramatically in the last few months, the player base is still here. I see them on Twitter discussing their latest projects, or rolling alts on new servers, or deciding in many cases to go play on the US and EU servers where they don't have toons because D3's Global Play option has expanded the world even more. I may spend a lot of my time when online in the daytime alone but that hasn't changed because there are less people, they just all work and I'm cheaper than child minders at home with kids. It was like that in Vanilla too, but back then things were a lot less about making life easier for players like me.

I'd like to think of myself as smart casual. I do the fluff stuff (pets, mounts, achievements) but I can bring the tools to the job when needed. I learnt not to stand in shit from Garr, not because it is cool to say that but because that is where I began my education. I started in MC, it could have been Tempest Keep or ICC but the fact is I wanted to play well because I felt an obligation to the other 39 people involved, even if seven of them were AFK at the time. Most of Vanilla really was wank back then too. People like to remember the past as a better place because it gives them license to complain about how slack standards have become and how the present is never as good as what you remember. Trust me, these people are not remembering the bigger picture.

Whatever Blizzard do to ensure as many bases as possible are covered, Pandaria is going to upset someone. What I will say, and this much has been obvious since testing began in beta, is the amount of complaint about what we will be getting has (at least to my eyes) been reassuringly small. When there have been flashpoints I've seen Blizzard come to the table with a great deal of willingness to listen and to address the issues. The account mounts about-face is one such example where Blizzard listened to criticism, and changed their stance. We know now we'll get a transitional patch to apply (I assume) new talent trees and glyphs which should give lots of people an opportunity to grasp their class before Pandas come to stay. For those of us who will be relearning our class for the fourth time, spare a thought for the many who may (and likely will) take longer than you to grasp their basics. Its a long learning curve, and after seven years I'm still not totally there...

Things weren't easier when there were attunements. Playing your class well isn't about being told how, its grasping the mechanics for yourself. Ultimately, whatever Pandaria drops in my lap, I reserve the right to whine vaguely about how hard this is and then grow up, before getting down to learning my trade all over again. That's what makes a good game, in my opinion, the ability to make you want to learn how to beat it, and to do so with a measure of style to boot.

Bring it on, Blizzard. I'm ready.

8 comments:

Jonathan said...

"Whatever Blizzard do to ensure as many bases as possible are covered, Cataclysm is going to upset someone."

Whoah, it's gone all wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey.

"We know now we'll get a transitional patch to apply (I assume) new talent trees and glyphs"

That was never in doubt, surely? That's been their stated modus operandi every expansion.

The Godmother said...

Well done for being the first person to a) notice and b) point it out. Your pedant status is secured.

As to the transition patch, from what I've read its caught a few people by surprise, so maybe we need it to happen again before people accept it as 'standard' as an expansion transition...

lometa said...

I've been around since the cusp of Vanilla and BC. When Zulamen and Zul'darak went live in their most recent iteration, it was nothing but a wipe fest. Our RL ended it all on a note I'll never forget. She said, "Why does it have to be so damned hard." THEN we had LFR which was an "oh joy!" moment to me. Still, I cannot play anything other than my spriest. Even as many times as they have changed up the spells and talents. I love being able to raid on her and I would enjoy the game so much more if I could wrap my head around my druid, rogue and hunter spells, like I have my spriest. I don't know if I want to roll a monk because it takes me into the "so damned hard" territory that I may not enjoy. Here's hoping...

Jonathan said...

I'm amazed anyone could be surprised that there will be a patch 5.0 before the release of MoP. There's been a transitional patch before release for every expansion, going right back to TBC. The devs openly talk about such a patch in every beta now - I certainly saw a reference months ago to 5.0 as a pre-release patch.

Possibly the news that it'll be on the PTR soon has surprised some people, but again that happened before Cataclysm; 4.0 appeared on the PTR before a release date was announced, which led MMO Champion to confidently predict a November release date - it was of course released in early December in the end, which just goes to show that news sites are not infallible. :-)

Kurn said...

All right, I'm a bit confused, here.

People like to remember the past as a better place because it gives them license to complain about how slack standards have become and how the present is never as good as what you remember. Trust me, these people are not remembering the bigger picture.

I've been playing since October of 2005. While I am absolutely certain I am remembering the past with rose-coloured classes, I still have a lot to say about current standards, senses of entitlement and I'm not quite sure what you mean when you say that I'm not remembering the bigger picture.

I remember how crappy it was to do Jailbreak or get MC attunement or BWL attunement. I remember the countless runs to advance people on their quest chains, I remember soloing the group quest in BC to get to the next part of the BT attunement chain.

What I do remember about those, though, is that these very runs that we complain about having done or having had to do are the very same runs that often turned out to be epic and unforgettable for a lot of people.

I did my MC attunement in a pug. I was on my hunter, there was a ret paladin from my guild who healed us through the run with a pally tank, a survival (! they were rare back then) hunter and a frost mage that we picked up for CC since we were doing an Emperor run, too.

We spent six hours in Blackrock Depths that night. Six hours. Tons of wipes. No Vent or Mumble or anything. And yet, we all stuck with it, pushed through it and we succeeded. We did every single quest available to us there. We cleared the instance. I got my attunement (as did the pally from my guild), four of us got the Shadowforged Key (which only one of us had previously) and it was, well, basically amazing. I will never forget that six-hour BRD run.

Similarly, I will never forget the time that one of our guildies died on Jailbreak and so he didn't get credit when we freed Windsor. We had to step right back in there again and do it all over again. Pain in the ass? Sure. But unforgettable.

It's these experiences, even my soloing the group quest part of the BT attunement, that resonate, that we remember and that we even cherish.

Rose-coloured glasses, sure. I know my experiences were different than those of many other people. But I maintain there's some use for attunements, if only as a bonding session for guildies. Now that account-wide achievements are possible, account-wide attunements would remove most of the hassle.

Things weren't easier when there were attunements. Playing your class well isn't about being told how, its grasping the mechanics for yourself. [...] before getting down to learning my trade all over again. That's what makes a good game, in my opinion, the ability to make you want to learn how to beat it, and to do so with a measure of style to boot.

No, things were harder when we had attunements. You often couldn't complete attunements unless you had learned your class, or unless you were carried. The problem these days is that so many people don't even understand that they are playing sub-par versions of their classes. Who cares as long as they can quest appropriately? Then they get let loose on the rest of us who HAVE learned to play their classes appropriately.

If more people were as considerate as you were back in MC, WoW would be much more enjoyable to play these days. Alas, the amount of people who don't give a rat's ass about other people increases every expansion and people, like me, realize they just can't deal with it any longer.

The Godmother said...

Welcome Kurn :D

'Alas, the amount of people who don't give a rat's ass about other people increases every expansion and people, like me, realize they just can't deal with it any longer.'

The player base of this game has expanded significantly since its early days. This means not a decrease in player quality in the first instance, but quantity (pure and simple) These people don't have the breadth of experience that an extended 'life' ingame brings. This is part of the problem I suspect you are alluding to.

Blizzard has an obligation to a vast range of playing styles. They have the ability to only place so much hand-holding in game. The rest really must be up to the individual to ascertain for themselves, and clearly many people just don't consider the learning curve to be a requisite of the play experience. Yes, you could put more hoops back in for people to jump through but in the end, Blizzard want a monthly sub. That means making it easier, not harder.

The attitude of people is not likely to change because of the way the game has to be played. The only solution therefore is for like-minded people to band together in Guilds, via Real ID and through websites like Twitterland Raiding to find those people who identify with the ethics and outlooks they wish to play with.

I found Vanilla brutally unfair, full of snobbish people who looked down on me for not putting in the hours on raiding because I had kids as a priority. I was forced out of my first Raiding Alliance because I refused to put my raiders before my family. I was told I was selfish. My glasses therefore may be a little more cracked and stained than others. The fact remains, we don't need more levels of difficulty, we need it to be fun again, and not for things to require half your life online to complete.

The Godmother said...

I should also say that, like you, I've been a GM since Vanilla, and am with the same people with whom I bonded in those early days. The memories I have aren't just of those times in MC and UBRS, they stretch right the way to the present day in DS. We are the sum of our memories, both in life and in game. They must all be looked at and considered as part of our learning experience.

Kurn said...

The attitude of people is not likely to change because of the way the game has to be played. The only solution therefore is for like-minded people to band together in Guilds, via Real ID and through websites like Twitterland Raiding to find those people who identify with the ethics and outlooks they wish to play with.

Or quit. Which makes me sad, but, as we say in French, "├ža suffit" -- "it suffices". That's enough.

I'm not trying to convince anyone to quit, I swear, but it's an option for many of us old-timers who just can't bear it any longer. It's just so very difficult to find those like-minded people. There are fewer and fewer of us around and more and more of the entitled-feeling folks milling about who seem to feel that because they've reached the level cap, they are owed the best gear in the game and bosses are supposed to fall over in shock when they're approached.

Vanilla was absolutely unfair, I completely agree, and the way I was treated in Vanilla led to the formation of my current guild in BC. And the current incarnation of my guild exists because of the memories we made in BC and the successes we've had in Cata.

If Vanilla hadn't been so damn hard to break into, in terms of raiding, my guild might not exist. If things in Vanilla hadn't been more difficult than they are today, I wouldn't have made some amazing friends along the way, most of whom I was able to raid with through at least part of this expansion. I have a lot of things to thank old-school WoW for and it's always the stuff people think is "too hard" or no longer has a place in the game -- attunements, farming for consumables, runs to Scholomance to make flasks, the 45-minute Baron run, the hunter and priest class quests... Half my Vanilla guild came out to see Klinfran the Crazed (aka Franklin the FriendlY) kick my ASS all over the Burning Steppes one night while I was working on that particular demon for my Rhok'delar quest. They still mock me for failing for so long on him. It was a ton of fun hearing them cheer me on and then laugh as I got one-shotted because I let Scorpid Sting expire on him.

While I agree that Blizzard just wants their sub in the end, that's exactly why I know it's time for me to go. We no longer value the same things and I, despite being a blogger, podcaster, long-time raider, raid leader and GM, am not the type of people Blizzard values among its community members.