|Get it while it lasts. Offer subject to change without notice.|
It's been a week since Loot/Logistics island arrived in the EU, and the fountain of riches shows no sign of stopping. The only restriction to accessing it is a L90 capable of using the gear and the only way to stop yourself from spending all day there is a strong dose of self-discipline. I find myself wondering whether having no rigid indicator of time spent on an island where time stands still is a good or bad idea. The thing with Dailies was that you knew just how long they took you. They also gave you a sense of structure that is sorely lacking in this environment. Watching people rush in streams from one rare spawn to the next is oddly disturbing, and listening to people complain is becoming increasingly common. After a week, JUST SEVEN DAYS, should you really be making a fuss that you can't get a particular item to drop? Should it be a problem you missed the rare that drops a mount because someone didn't bother to call it in General? Should it really matter that we summoned the ship before we killed the whale?
As we have discussed previously, choice is very much a double-edged sword.
My concern at present is what is happening now at Blizzard HQ, because the next time someone announces the PTR's starting up we're going to be moving towards Expansion Territory. I find it highly doubtful we'll see anything major or public until the beginning of November, but this is where I mention that is only eight weeks away. That's hardly any time at all in gaming terms, a tiny fraction of what we've been used to in previous Expansions, and we need to be thinking how the Lootistics Island (I combined the two!) 'experiment' has the potential to influence the future of our gameplay. We can establish a few immutable truths already about our time in Pandaria based on what we've seen:
- People don't like having gear locked behind rep grinds.
- Daily Quests are not hugely popular, but neither for many is 'Free Questing'.
- LFR has it's detractors, Flex is the new Black.
- Scenarios are only good to a point, and they've been overused.
- There really weren't enough 5 Mans.
- Professions need a massive do-over.
- Obtaining gear needs to be easier, but not THAT easy.
- Account-wide benefits need a rethink.
- Pet Battling was great, now how does it get better?
- Guild Perks were hardly touched, shouldn't that get some love too?
There are probably many more issues you could add: someone somewhere is already considering these while you frolick in the never-ending late afternoon sunshine of the Timeless Isle. Major decisions are being made on the back of what have been some possibly avoidable own-goals on Blizzard's part since Pandaria began. It's odd, considering how positive the initial reactions were back during the Beta, that so much of what we were presented with hasn't *quite* worked out as well as it could have done. This does mean there's the potential for another Great Red Reset Button this time around, but I don't think the game can either afford or sustain such a slate-wipe, not with the 10th Anniversary of the game looming large. A Decade of Warcraft has to involve looking back as well as forwards in terms of what we'll be playing. It also means, more likely than not, that we're going to see a massive shift in gaming mechanics, if only to accommodate the issue that gear is set to break everything. Numbers on items is a thing, and it's been mentioned in public by developers. If the game is forced to embrace redesigning every piece of armour with lower stats, a lot else might also finally get a re-do.
We should be enjoying our time in the sun while we can, and not necessarily just on the Island.
|Even Monty Python's God can't stop the inevitable.|
Should we really be worrying what's coming and instead shouldn't we just be happy with what we've been given? For some people the holiday is already over: I've seen more than one person on Twitter announce they're done with 'Free Questing', and part of me can entirely understand why. The Island may be the place where I finally admit I'm giving up pet battling and collecting because Blizzard made it too time consuming: pretty much every mob family drops a pet, and the rates are so low that I KNOW I don't have the time to grind everything... and so something has to give. In giving people so much to do, Blizzard have finally poisoned the chalice. I don't want to have to spend time flying around the Island on an Albatross for the rare spawn that MIGHT drop the pet I want: that's not fun, that's time consuming and frustrating. Give me a way to buy every pet for a reasonable number of coins and I might bite, but for me, at least, this is the final nail. It doesn't have to be about choice every time, it has to revolve around attainable and realistic goals.
The Island may be Timeless, but my life isn't. There, I said it.
This time around, choice has been everything in game: whether you do or don't, if you decide one path or another, and I think that's fabulous, but only to a point. Your gaming time needs a measure of structure and focus, but you shouldn't require a degree in Logistics and Transportation to play a game to its fullest potential. Somewhere is a happy medium between the two, and I have to hope that the Blizzard Devs realise this too, and that the next Expansion is planning to embrace the possibilities both structure and creativity have to offer.
All we can do now is sit back and wait.