Saturday, November 23, 2013

Superfly Guy

Down With This Sort of Thing.

Right, that's enough.

You had your chance, guys, really you did, but you won't stop going on about how unfair it is. I've read so many arguments that frankly I'm staggered: and all of this because, until 6.1, you won't be able to fly. Yes, the Devs made a decision based on some really solid, sensible gameplay choices and you all went and threw your toys out of the pram. If I was in charge, I'd be taking flying away for good.

That's right. If I had my way, you'd never be able to fly EVER AGAIN.

Ask yourself this question: would it REALLY be so bad if you didn't?

I think my major issue is highly subjective, and has been around in pretty much every part of gameplay since Vanilla. Trophies have always been a means by which people have marked their metaphorical territories: I am doing things you are not. I have achieved this and I will demonstrate this by wearing/eqipping/mounting my particular badge of honour in a prominent position (by a bank, near a quest hub.) Of course, back in those days no-one flew, so it really didn't matter, but once flying mounts appeared, certain of these became highly sought after, especially those who dropped in rare/heroic situations. Mimiron's Head, Invincible's Reins. Some of these mounts are only usable with a flying skill to boot. Some could take weeks to farm.

Time Lost Proto Drake, I'm looking at you.

However, badges of honour are only part of the problem. Farmers on flying mounts, especially at max level, you're causing trouble for everybody, especially if you're in Druid Flight Form. I'm sorry, you don't want to hear this, but you're at a MASSIVE 'tactical' advantage. No need to dismount, that pretty much says it all... and its always been unfair to give people something that loads the dice in their favour. If it makes people deliberately roll a specific class just so they can exploit a niche, you could reasonably argue it's not good for the game. So no flying means everyone has to gather on a level field. Theoretically. It also makes PvP far more interesting and considerably less kop-out. There's a reason you can't fly in BG's.

Finally, and perhaps most crucially, is the understanding of a basic concept which underpins the entire basis of the game we play. THIS IS A COMBAT BASED MMO. That means you, ON THE GROUND and everything else that is wrapped up with that. Blizzard played about with sticking stuff up and out of the way in TBC as a way to gate content. You didn't just need to just grind reps to access stuff back then, you had to be able to fly there as well. Once flying established itself Blizzard knew they were screwed and couldn't restrict access to all content without tying us to the ground, because the moment you gave people the opportunity to do their own thing then off they'd go, negating the content and screwing up the planning. So, to keep flying mounts, all those cool designs and animation and abilities (two person flyers HO YUS) there had to be a payoff somewhere. 

It worked perfectly well in Pandaria, but following the complaints about the gated rep grind in 5.0, Blizzard are changing the game AGAIN. So, because stuff didn't work, the goalposts move.

This is what happen when you say stuff doesn't make you happy and it needs to change. This is what results from you stating you want expansions faster. These are the consequences of having such a close relationship with the people who make the decisions. THIS IS HOW THE GAME WORKS. You know, for close to a decade.

Remember those six words, because they're the most crucial part of this entire argument.

Flying is NOT A GIVEN :D

See, the thing is, if you want a new approach to questing, there has to be a process that commences to facilitate that. So a bunch of people sit down and decide what happens, what changes and why, and underpinning this, at some point, is the real understanding that if they spend six months designing the entire shebang, you need to take a set amount of time to complete what you're told to do. If you don't restrict people via a rep grind, they have to be restricted elsewhere. YES YOU WILL STILL BE RESTRICTED. I'm sorry, but at some point to have to grasp the basic, inescapable fact that this is how this game has always worked. Right since Vanilla.

Then there is the understanding that, however much money you may have dropped on the Blizzard store for Flying Mounts, or the number of years you've paid for a sub, this does not give you a right to control the game. It wouldn't anywhere else either, however many Egg Twitter accounts you make to harangue the Developers. The game has a set of Terms and Conditions which you cheerfully accept every time you log on, and if you go read these you will see that Blizzard own your soul and most of the rest of your karmic value are perfectly within their rights to restrict you from flying and indeed anything else if they decide it is for the overall good of the game.

In the end, choice (as we discussed yesterday) is a curious thing. You choose to show you've bought a mount for whatever reason. You decide to drop real world cash on items and, the fact remains that if they cause Blizzard a problem with keeping the game not simply relevant but viable, they will come and say no, and there's really not much you can do about it, except try and understand WHY it's happened. The fact is, you don't need flying, and you never have.

No, you really don't.

The Ambassador, he is spoiling us. YES HE IS.

You want flying because you play your way, with your rules. So what if you think Blizzard or anyone else can't give you a 'good reason' for having to play the game this way? That's irrelevant. You never needed flying to begin with, we could have managed perfectly well all this time without it. Flying, like daily quests and Valor points, was an idea that evolved from a collaborative process. It became attractive because it allowed a number of things to happen: it gave people more choice, it gave Blizzard a way to make money via gaming transactions, and it fitted a certain mentality. However, it never, EVER suited the reality of gameplay where the only method you have to stop people doing what you don't want is tying them to stuff you want them to do first. Blizzard, like the Ambassador, spoiled us with the notion of fancy. You don't need flying, and losing it shouldn't matter. The fact it does to such a vocal minority isn't likely to change anything, because Blizzard know who play their game. All those people not making any noise about this problem now?

Yeah, they're the people who don't give a damn. You know, the happy ones.

The harsh fact remains, if Blizzard destroy the game because they took flying away *this time* it will be on the back on more gaming data than anyone who's complaining will ever get their hands on. If the game collapses because of this decision, then feel free to come back and say 'we told you so' but you know what? It won't matter. Blizzard are pinning their planning to content that will last past 100, last several months, and then will be trivialised in 6.1, JUST THE SAME WAY ALL CONTENT IS LEFT BEHIND IN THE ENTIRE LIFE OF THIS GAME EVER. You people who seem to have forgotten what happens at the beginning of every Expansion? I hate to break this to you, but it's probably THREE MONTHS of your life we're talking about, then you get the things back. If you're going to shrivel up and die because of that loss, I think maybe you're taking this all a bit too seriously to begin with.

Yes, that's harsh, and it's brutal, because you're not losing your job. This isn't going to make you pay more taxes. It's a game with pretty sparkly pixels that, just for a little while, you won't be able to use.

If all else fails, other hobbies are available

In the end, however, you're not listening to me anyway, so none of this really matters. These are the arguments. You choose to accept them, or you don't. However, please don't start throwing around the line that 'I've not heard a good argument' as justification why you're right and Blizzard are wrong.

It's their game. You pay to play it. They spoilt us with flying, and we should realise this affects gameplay, and not fight it. You could allow Blizzard to do what they decide is appropriate and give them the opportunity to make the game better. In the end, it comes down not simply to choice, but also trust. If you don't like that, the door is over there. That's how it's always worked, and will continue to do so in the future. That's your choice.

Remember to close it on your way out.


PlaidElf said...

Honestly I can stand to wait for flying until 6.1. I can happily handle doing an epic quest line to achieve it. I just hope the quest won't be entirely dependent on RNG luck as the cloak quest is. Because I've had terrible luck with that. As long as it's something I can achieve without depending entirely on luck then I may gripe a little, but I won't genuinely complain. I kind of enjoy being grounded while leveling as an excuse to use my ground mounts anyhow. I just also like knowing flying's a shiny achievable thing at the end of it somewhere, so I can wait a bit longer for that. :D

Karragon said...

Couple of important points I think need to be made/clarified:
1) It is not an insignificant number of people who object to this change, polls vary between 25% and 60% of people against this change and that's just of those who know, lets not forget, the vast majority of players wont even find this out till they hit lvl 100 and discover they can't fly.
2) It may only be 3 months (yay for estimated time frames) till we get flying back but we'll only be getting it back in the trivial content we have already passed, the shiny new content will once again be no flying, this isn't a temporary restriction, this is anti-flying design policy
3) Just because Blizzard can do something doesn't mean they should or that it is a good design decision. The could, if they so desired stop producing raids, or limit you to 1 character to an account, they could if they wanted, but I'm sure you'd agree it would be a terrible design decision.
4) The problem with the gating behind the rep grind was not that it was gated behind a rep grind it was that it was "double gated" behind either both a rep grind and a valor cap or a double rep grind.
5) Just because things have always been one way doesn't mean they should be changed for change's sake.
6) You're right we don't need flying, but we like it, we also don't need alts but we like them, nor do we need achievements, quests full stop (EQ for instance), flight paths, ground mounts, transmog I could go on.
7) Trusting Blizzard is a mug's game, they rarely get it right and back track more often than a politician caught with his hand in the cookie jar. Better in my opinion to try and stop them making mistakes than trying to get them to fix the damage after it's done.

I have, just for the record, located the door. I have cancelled all my accounts bar 1 (I have many many accounts) listing this as the reason. I will however give them at least the chance to prove me wrong, I will play my last account into WoD, if I'm wrong I'll bring them all back, if I'm right I'll unsub that one as well and happily close the door behind me on the way.

dobablo said...

I'm feed up of setting the "It's their game they can do what they want" agreement. In the last week I've seen it used to support positions on flying, sexism, nerfs, pet battles, selling boosts and every other issue that can be looked at sideways. Yes it is Blizzard's game but they ask for feedback and regularly make changes on such. If they want to remove flying them so be it and now they know the strength of opinion of the subject so they can take that into consideration. Feedback, even against what they plan to do, will assist their decision making process.
Your tl:dr send to be that Blizzard make one set of rules under one set of conditions and if the conditions change they should be permitted to change the rules to suit the new conditions. That's fine but don't expect "My ball, my rules" to win any agreements. If they want to make changes it should be done as "because of things x, y, z taking consideration of a and b" and not "because we can/want to"

Jonathan said...

I really don't understand the vitriol about "no flying until 6.1". We've had no flying for new content ever since TBC, except Cataclysm; I have to say being able to fly about did trivialise the content in the new zones in Cataclysm, which may go a long way to explaining why a lot of people felt so "meh" about it.

Karragon, your point 1 is supposition, I haven't taken part in any polls because I haven't cared enough to seek any out. I suspect I'm part of the silent majority who wouldn't expect to fly while levelling. Which brings me to your point 2; what is it about this particular expansion that has got you and those who think like you so wound up about not being able to fly through it while levelling? You couldn't on Outland, you couldn't in Northrend and you couldn't in Pandaria. Why should Draenor be the place that makes you cancel most of your accounts for that one reason?

As for your point 3, what is the bad design decision? They've explained the very good design reasons for it not to happen. Your point 5 is moot because equally things *shouldn't* be changed for change's sake; point 6, you do realise flying isn't being taken away for good? And point 7 does your argument no favours, saying Blizzard rarely gets it right is patently ridiculous; yes they make mistakes and change their minds, but the fact this game is still going after 9 years says they get more right than they don't.

Bottom line, I just don't get why this expansion's "no flying while levelling" policy is causing such anger when 3 out of the previous 4 were the same.

raiden55 said...

I don't care about PvP.
I'll never forget the day I flyed for the first time on BC, it was really great, and I want that in other games.

Flying in a MMO, going from a region to another by myself, but not slowly is something that make me feel the world is real. So there's no way I want that to go away.

I'm okay with people saying it's not good for PvP, I'm okay with offering an option, like a way to unmount someone flying more easily, but don't go and say flying need to go away because it's better for YOUR type of gameplay.

Karragon said...

Jonathan, I'm getting really sick and tired of reading the replies of people who really don't understand what we are complaining about.

We are not complaining about the inability to fly while leveling, that is standard practise, we are complaining about being unable to fly WHEN WE HAVE FINISHED LEVELING. Please note the part in caps, it is the part you appear totally oblivious to.

Do you realise that you retyped my point 5 just using placing the negative in a different place without changing the meaning as the argument for why point 5 was wrong?

They haven't explained the design decision, they've used buzz words like "immersion" and "danger" both of which are relative, seriously when was the last time anyone felt in danger riding their ground mount? It isn't danger when mobs daze and dismount you, it's irritation, much like replying to "why is no flying while leveling a problem" posts...

Jonathan said...

To be fair, Karragon, I didn't get that your complaint was about waiting however long between dinging 100 and patch 6.1, because you complained that "we'll only be getting it back in the trivial content we have already passed". You can't accuse me of being oblivious to something you aren't clear about!

So you're really cancelling accounts because you'll have to wait a couple of months before being able to fly on Draenor? Does that not strike you as a massive overreaction? And yes, it is only a couple of months; 5.1 came out about 2 months after Pandaria release, so I would expect a similar gap between WoD release and 6.1.

And yes, I did that deliberately to your point 5 to highlight that the flipside of what you said is equally valid, not to say that your view was wrong.

Oh, and as for this: "seriously when was the last time anyone felt in danger riding their ground mount?" - were you on Timeless Isle on day 1? :-)

Karragon said...

I was indeed on Timeless Isle on day one and I hated every second of it!

Apologies Jonathan, too much time on mmo-champion, where this topic has been beaten so much we can't even tell it's a dead horse any more that I take it as a given people have read all that has come before, I should stop doing that.

I've played WoW for a long time (too long some might say) Blizz has done things before I'm not happy about, I've objected before, I've been pleased when they've back tracked, I've plodded along when they haven't back tracked. TI and IoT have been the "test grounds" for the whole no flying thing and having spent time on them I can honestly say that if that is the future of WoW I will no longer find it fun and if I'm not going to enjoy it what is ostensibly still a game, shouldn't I just quit?

I'll admit this subject gets me very angry, initially it was the decision itself that wound me up but I've calmed down from that now. Now it is mostly the refusal of some people to understand that this is a big deal for some of us they just dismiss it with "lol no flying, qq more". The have convinced themselves that they are right and won't even listen to any counter arguments, I'm fighting a small (but not insignificant) loosing corner that people don't even want to attempt to understand WHY I'm fighting that's my problem here and I apologise to anyone to whom I verbally savage because of that (unless you just told me "lol flying qq more" then you deserved it)

Rekrsiv said...

Just because an idea has been tried once, twice, or 20 times and turned out not to work too well doesn't mean it's a bad idea, or that it should be discarded. Maybe the idea wasn't implemented properly. Maybe it wasn't a good time to try it.

Flying was a decent idea: Not being restricted by gravity is epic. Why should we accept getting that taken away from us? Maybe, just maybe, so Blizzard can try something else.

Flying, as amazing as it is, is a major problem (for Blizzard). It's a wildcard. It gets in the way of every other design decision they make. It trumps rock, paper and scissor all at the same time. The only way (that we know of) to really work around it is to selectively restrict it. See all Isles of No Flying.

Maybe getting rid of flying is a good idea. Maybe it's a terrible idea. Maybe there are better ideas out there and maybe there aren't. But in the end, we won't know for sure UNLESS BLIZZARD TAKES THE LIBERTY TO TRY IT. REPEATEDLY.

I think we can consider ourselves lucky that we're no longer playing vanilla. Contrary to many other developers in the industry, Blizzard is willing to try new things, at the risk of getting things wrong.

Ross Fale said...

Very nice post, Godmother.

I think you've hit in on the head: the arguments (explanations as to why this is happening) have been presented---it's just a matter accepting them by those who are so incensed by this changed. They don't have to like it, that's for sure, but it is what it is.

Not sure how folks can say they've never heard a good argument. I think perhaps what they may mean is they've never heard an argument they've personally liked. For those demanding flying and insisting its absence is the end of the world, I've seen more straw-mans and slippery slopes than I care to ever see again.

For those are are thinking about quitting/unsubbing over this, you should probably do it. If happiness in-game is reliant on such a small thing, perhaps another hobby (like you suggested) is in order.

This is the rant I've wanted to write since Blizzcon. Thank you.

Jonathan said...

Karragon, apologies accepted. I don't read MMO threads because, to be honest, life's too short. :-)

Beshara said...

I am fine with no flying till 6.1. Flight paths still exist, and I enjoyed leveling with no flying. If Blizzard does not allow us to fly until 6.1, that gives us more time to see the new areas from the ground, to find all the small hidden treasures ourselves because we will have a better chance to see them on the ground. I like that I can only fly in trivial content, and new content has to be on the ground. I understand people enjoy the privilege of flying, but I do not understand why it is such a big deal to get it right at cap. Is it for gathering, to get a leg up on those still leveling, or is it another reason? I would rather have flight restricted than have to go through gated reputations again. My opinion though.

Morrighan said...

This is a difficult one. I can see both sides of this argument. I've been playing other MMOs without flying. In some, I welcome it (Guild Wars 2) and in others I miss it (Star Wars: The Old Republic).

What that tells me is there is a solution to this. What Guild Wars 2 has is a game built around the premise that there is no flight (or mounts at all for that matter). You don't miss them other than aesthetically or as a collector. This has enabled them to build types of content other games don't have.

That being said, if we are to take TI and IoT as representative, then the news is not so good. I don't want flying restricted for the sake of it. I want flying restricted because it enables new types of content and new opportunities. It needs lots of ways of moving around that content so that you don't spend an age corpse running to get to something. TI jumping puzzles are dull beyond words. TI leaves you running around trying to find rares that are dead before you get there, or unable to kill them because no one else is. Both have only one camp and no way to move quickly to the content you want to do. This is not content I want to see repeated.

I don't accept the argument that having to kill mobs for no reason in the world is pacing. I do accept that adding danger into the experience of running around the world is a valid reason (whether I like it or not). Artifically extending the life of content by adding grind is bad. Enabling new types of game experience is good.

So I've reserved judgement at this point. I can see a future where WoW is amazing, and brings elements that I love from other MMOs. Or I can see one where I might feel like Karragon.

MuttleyXIII said...

I agree with Blizzard that it has trivialised a lot of content in the past and I thought it made Cataclysm feel less like a world as I never got to know the bits in between where I needed to go.

I think the decision to maybe leave it til 6.1 is motivated by the desire to stop people burning through the new content just to get flying making the rest of the content trivial again. Leaving it til 6.1 will, for me, mean it'll feel like a dangerous savage world where I have to pay attention to where I am heading instead of mounting and ignoring the world while I fly to get to the bit at the end.

mrandmrswow said...

Just... YES.

Grimmtooth said...

I've had a post of this nature in my drafts folder since they added flying to Old Azeroth. I noticed right away three things.

1) There was no "flow control" provided by the terrain any more. People would go 'around' those control points at whim, destroying the intent of the zone's mechanics.

2) To (over) compensate, questing had become a true "theme park" ride ala "Small world" where you just went along for the ride while everything happened around you.

3) The formerly inaccessible parts of the map were accessible, but were also barren wastelands, devoid of life, mobs, minerals, or plants of any sort. They were miserable warts in the middle of my fantasy world.

I am so totally in favor of removing flight so they don't have to be so lame to compensate it, as a result.

I realize that people like me and you will probably come across like Calvin's dad when he was talking about "building character". I suspect all children feel the same way.

Matty said...

This is kind of silly. Sometimes I love to pretend I'm flying, and fly fly fly, and other times I love to pretend I'm on a secret mission, and get on my land mounts and run, run, run…choice in the fantasy to me equals engagement. I sure would hate for it to be an all-or-nothing. I know why Blizzard doesn't make flying available in new areas, or some areas. No biggie. But don't take it away altogether…did I miss something?

Jonathan said...

"But don't take it away altogether…did I miss something?"

No, you didn't, because it's not being taken away. Just the ability to use flying mounts on Draaenor until the patch after WoD is released. That's it.

There are far too many flying mounts in game for it ever to be taken away completely.