Sunday, October 06, 2013

The Beaten Generation

Mrs Wembley was not best pleased at hearing the level cap was increasing to 70...

The past in Warcraft has a limited value. It's really about time that a large proportion of the long-term player base accepted this and moved on. It's been discussed to death in so many places (including this parish) but yet people persist in the notion that somehow the only good stuff happened in Vanilla, and as soon as we moved to TBC everything broke... or was it Wrath? No, actually everything was great and then Cataclysm came along and finally...

Just STOP IT, take a step back and think long and hard about what the real problem is. The issue isn't so much the game, as the people desperately holding onto the persistent vision of a past that may well have existed in the format they recall, but is now very much gone. However, that view may now be having an adverse affect on the game, because of the way social media amplifies issues.

I'm in your Twitters, dissing ur Expansions.

In fact, if we're up front honest here, this is a form of entitlement that makes the Fountain of Lootistics hardly sufficient to fill the gap. The problem comes of course when enough noise gets made and it appears that this has a direct influence on altering actual gaming mechanics. For instance, one could reasonably argue that 5.4 never started off as an Island of Boundless Riches but became so when it was apparent that no-one was playing alts except those with time as the one resource they didn't need to farm. Blizzard simply reacted to community pressure and caved, and hence the Hub of Instagearing was born. I've already argued the contrary but there certainly appears to be a sense from talking to people that this is simply a reaction and not a plan. Flex is certainly the exact anti-LFR solution that you might expect to emerge when its clear that the Community isn't happy about the options it has available to it. Who exactly is driving the bus here?

Another chance to use the 5.4 bus graphic? Marvellous!

I don't think making a noise is going to get you anywhere, especially if it's tinged with bile or vitriol as so many of the Tweets I see about 'bad' things in game ultimately are. However, if you didn't know already, Blizzard really are in your Blogroll, reading your posts. Infact, you might be surprised who else is reading your words: site stats only tell part of the story. There are plenty of ways for Blizzard to gather their intel, after all. If we go back to LFR as an example, everything Flex covers is pretty much all the stuff that LFR lacks, and that has to not simply come from Mr G. Crawler sitting in his palatial office suite and suddenly having the obligatory Eureka Moment [TM] That imput is from social media, websites, podcasts... and not simply from the usual subjects. There are the Devs you don't see giving the interviews who read the Internets too. It's a big world out here.

The problem with people like me, and yes I know very well I'm under the spotlight here as being EXACTLY the kind of person that Blizzard's having to deal with isn't simply the notion of the Past as being better. It is the way parts of the past have been discarded, seemingly without explanation, even when the mechanic or idea worked well. It is the fact that the Lore's significance has often been forgotten or amended for the sake of expediency. It's that things seem to be getting progressively easier in some places when there is no apparent concession in others. These are all horribly subjective issues to boot, and it should not be a surprise that these aren't areas that the game spends too much time focussing on. Blizzard, more than anyone, will know you can't please everybody, so the default will be to focus on areas like Quality of Life improvements, and cosmetic 'carrots' like Transmog where it knows that it can hit the most number of targets in the quickest way possible. It's also apparent that it has learnt the lesson regarding in-game transactions, at least for now. The Giant Parrot that's just been leaked as a 'reward' in game...? I think that might be Blizzard's 9th Anniversary gift to us, a reminder of it's generosity and that without us, there would be no game. We will see.

I'd even go so far to say that the Bird might be in it's Autumnal hues. I reckon this one might change with the seasons, just like the Blossoming Ancient.

Yes, it's a Giant Parrot.

What could we expect to see therefore to appease the Vanilla Generation? What changes would be acceptable and be greeted with universal approval? I think we can stick bagspace and character models right up the top of that list (at least one of which is being addressed) I suspect having everything with a Flex option will come as standard too, and the possibility that 5 mans might become more flexible too as well as the Challenge Mode option. More mogging options have to be on the table somewhere, because as many people have as yet failed to grasp, if they're redoing character models they'll need to redo the armour too... and you know what, I reckon we might get thrown some curves. How about a 25 man you can Flex up to 40 for the Classic Raids? Yeah, what about MC (that will be the second reboot if you count the model changes in Cataclysm) that allows you to run it the way it was originally intended? That might shut a few people up, and would be hugely entertaining to organise... and don't tell people wouldn't do 40's again, because it would utterly happen. Make it as an option, not the default, seems to be the key to success for a lot of things. I for one am now getting quite impatient for November to arrive...

Is it Blizzcon yet?

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