Friday, August 02, 2013

Flannel is the Colour of My Energy

I don’t think this will change any time soon but I must say that I sympathize with what you’re saying, This isn’t a “special snowflake syndrome”. Sure, there might be a little bit of that involved, but it’s mostly a matter of perception, and perception is a very important factor in driving motivation.

If a colour is associated with rarity, that colour becomes important by itself, and that’s something that only the most old school players probably understand, still feel, or miss.

I've realised this morning that an awful lot of the problems in-game are, in fact, my fault.

No, it's not your fault, really! Blame me!

After eight years, there is a PHENOMENAL amount of baggage for Blizzard to drag around behind them. However, in most cases, they're already so over it that they're off thinking of new and awesomer (even a word?) shiny things to tempt us with. The problem isn't them, it is most definitely us, and by that I mean all the people who remember when Epic was properly Purple and who still own the t-shirt to prove it.

There's a shirt for that. Go buy it now.

The 'here since Vanilla' brigade are, for the most part, absolutely the worst group of people to try and please. They're bringing every preconception and more to the table, expecting everything to have some kind of relevance back to the past whilst simultaneously making the future easier, shinier and distinctly more fun to play... except of course, it won't be, because Vanilla was better. We've had this argument so many times now we've gone the same colour in the face as that shirt: it wasn't better, it was just DIFFERENT. Actually, in many cases it was far, FAR worse and trying to rekindle the feeling you had when you walked into Ironforge for the first time is unlikely to ever happen because... well, that is the past, and you've changed. That's the key. I even wrote what I think is one of my best posts about just this subject. There is no way to recapture those special moments, because they have passed into history.What remains are your memories, and unless Blizzard are going into business with Rekall Industries, you're never getting that back in game.

Just add Daniel Craig. Job dun!

What remains therefore is the understanding that even with eight years of source material, Blizzard will get stuff wrong. There are those who would argue that with a monthly sub we shouldn't be paying for wrong, it should all be right, but then we find ourselves in the realms of 'pleasing the majority' which is all a game can ever reasonably expect to do. It isn't one person's decision, which goes back to Mr Street's comment above: this is a game created very much by committee. Those people all know the weight of responsibility AND history behind them, and in the end you have to trust that they're not sitting and deliberately trying to upset us. No, REALLY THEY'RE NOT. If you are one of those people who feels that they've got some entitlement to complain 24/7 because you pay a sub... well, actually you don't. Go read the Terms of Service. If you don't like what you're being presented with, it is probably far easier just to stop playing and walk away... except after eight years, where do you go?

Other gaming platforms are available. GO ON.

Part of the problem is the ingrained nature of this game for so many of the people who have played it. They just can't stay away, and keep coming back to pass judgement. Some don't play but still write about the game, as they realise that this was something they enjoyed being a part of... except its not the experience that captured them. It's the community, and that's why so much fuss continues to be generated over LFR's behaviour matrix. That's why people complain about how bad things have become: it's not the game's fault, that's the people playing you need to poke. For every good person that remains so many others have moved on, and as the player base reduces down over the years, the bad becomes more apparent than the good because so many people have taken positive experiences away with them. The game is just that, remains the same basic set of pixels it has always been, the perception shifts because of the people who are looking... or not. Gaming for many people isn't about analysis to the Nth Degree, it's about winning and doing the next thing. What changed isn't simply your perception of Warcraft, it's also the community's approach to gaming.

Don't blame Greg if stuff is bad. Don't blame Goldboy99's DK for ruining your LFR experience (well you should report him regardless, but I'm building to a climax here so run with it ^^). Don't even think about blaming Canada, because they're an ex-British Colony and you'll have me to answer to. If you want to blame anyone for why things are different, why not start with yourself to begin with, and work from there. You might be amazed at what happens if you do.


Andy said...

Makes me think of this xkcd comic. A lot of time the people complaining need to realise they are a tiny minority, and there's no way Blizzard can cater to their special snowflake demands.

James Flinders said...

I'm one of the 'here since vanilla' crowd.

However I have been a devoted casual player that whole time (someone who plays casually, but plays A LOT) all that time.

while I miss some things from the past, i do not see the past of WoW with Sparkbolts patented Rose-Quartz NostalgiaGoggles, much of the mechanics of old WoW was very poor, but it holds tremendous nostalgic value.

one of the reasons I love WoW and Blizzard is that the devs are still willing after 8 years to try new things, possibly risking the ire of the community in the process.

And when things go wrong, there is an honesty about Blizzard, they hold their hands up, say ok that didn't go as we'd hoped, back to the drawing board. And they do, they go back, iterate the design, and make things better.

Also, I don't see wow as a game, it's a hobby. And as a hobbyist it's my responsibility to make the most of what I have in front of me. I have only in MoP - after 8 years of play, joined a regular raid team. I felt it was time to do it, and I'm really enjoying it.

When I get bored or disillusioned with the game (which i do from time to time) i take a break, go play Skyrim or Minecraft or some other timesink. I tend to break from WoW to play more creative games or more scripted games (like Half-Life 2 for the umpteenth time) depending on what it is that WoW isn't offering me at the time. But WoW always draws me back, because of the stories I have tied up in some of my characters, and I return feeling refreshed.

I think it's important in a game like WoW to not feel like a slave to the content, if you have another aspect of the game that you control, (for me it's my character's evolving stories) it makes the game more bearable when the platter that Blizz have served up is less palatable.

if the vocal minority grouchy brigade realised that, they might have a little more fun with the game, and quit bugging everyone with their grouching and griping.

Grimmtooth said...

You touched on one of the problems early on and it is, I'm sad to say, Blizzard's fault.

Namely, there is an enormous pile of leftover cruft from earlier expansions or vanilla. Some of it is wrong, some of it is broken, some of it is contradictory. But, as you point out, they are gleefully off doing new and shiny things.

This is a common feature of software engineers. They never finish anything. They get things up and lumbering along, call it good, ignore the 1000+ "minor" bugs in the bug tracker, and move on to the new hotness.

Software engineers (counter to some opinion) aren't truly "artists" but they do have creative sides to them. It's unruly and undisciplined, and it needs firm guidance to get it to shut up long enough for the pragmatic, practical side to take over and finish things up.

In many firms, the job of fixing bugs and correcting minor glitches is handed to the newest members of the team, because it is viewed as an unpleasant and thankless task by the veterans. They are conditioned from Day One to hate the job of fixing and completing stuff.

Greg Street, bless 'im, doesn't strike me as a competitionist, as a strong project manager. He's always out there on the forefront of the cool stuff, getting that ball rolling and never looking back.

It's a common thing, and it's why there are on average 500 unresolved bugs in your OS, and your web browser, much less your game of choice. It isn't just a Blizzard thing, but it manifests differently than it does in, say, Windows.