|Yup. That's right. I am a two letter word.|
My Destruction Warlock is called Woo. Normally I'd not come out and admit such a thing, but extraordinary times call for extraordinary actions. I'm very proud of her not simply for her ability to burn mobs to a crisp on a whim, but her three letter name. Getting either a three or two letter word combo that actually works on a server is a nigh-on impossible task, just because of the age of the game to begin with. Woo was forged in the desire during late Vanilla to help the Raiding Alliance I'd just joined to down Garr in Molten Core, which required a shedload of Warlocks and their ability to banish Elemental adds. I suspect back then such responses to raid mechanics made designers look at what people played and began the understanding that it shouldn't matter what class people chose, everyone should be able to contribute to Raiding. Hence was born the relationship between what we did in game and how it affected the mechanics of potential outcomes, and that designers would end up with a fairly complex balancing act to maintain.
How do you keep people happy but still maintain the structural integrity of the game?
I got into a right fight yesterday on Twitter over the flying 'issue' to the point where virtual abuse was thrown, I was baited, and people left my feed in what I can only assume is disgust at my assertion we could live without flying, because we did for some time with absolutely no problems. Flying in TBC only came when you maxxed at 70, and I can remember one ex-Guildie riding all the way from the Dark Portal to Shadowmoon on release day, just so she could go and see at first hand what the flying mounts looked like for herself. Yes, it was that exciting for many, and I can remember the amazement when I took to the skies for the first time, even now. Hovering above Shadowmoon it was easy to see why flying was the right move for a population that had only ever lived on the ground. I was told yesterday I'm 'selfish' for wanting to take that away, that this is deliberately making other people suffer on the assertion we don't need flying. The thing is, I think Blizzard made a mistake back then and it's taken this long to admit that.
I think flying has effectively negated a large portion of all content, regardless of its current restrictions when levelling.
|Ground Mounts baby, yeah!|
Those of us who keep hoping that Blizzard will go back and update timelines and quests in the 'Old' World are constantly reminded by the Devs and CM's that this is unlikely ever to happen, because of the time constraints this would place on the 'new' areas of the game and would therefore mean a restriction of effective new content. However, the ENTIRE twin continents of Azeroth got just that happen to them in Cataclysm and there's still universal unhappiness at what that brought, which was done purely and simply in the first instance to allow people to fly. Having instant access to any content at 60 pretty much makes your journey from that point academic. You can in many cases simply fly in and pick up quest items without ever going into combat. You cannot be effectively controlled when you are in the air, and although this will upset people to hear, that's EXACTLY why Blizzard want you not to take to the skies the moment you step into new content. It isn't about giving you freedom in those early levels, it is about making you play the content that has been designed for you, on the ground. They haven't just removed Server Firsts to deter people from exploiting mechanics to get their badges of honour this time around, I believe this is a distinct signal of intent from Blizzard: play the game the way it's supposed to be played. There are no prizes this time for being a 'winner.'
|This is *still* how my brane is. Scary stuffs.|
There is no clear evidence yet to support this, but recent comments by Devs are leading me to speculate that your Garrison could have a lot to do with the fact that flying could be off the table entirely. If Blizzard are attempting to create an entirely new experience with Warlords (and quotes I'm seeing could lend some credence to this theory) then you could end up returning to the Garrison with the frequency you do a Capital City. Although it won't be a place to idle (and that much has been stated, there'll be no Bank or AH there) it could end up being connected portal-wise to everywhere else in game and then you'd negate a lot of the need for flying in one hit. There are also countless issues with flying in two person mounts across zones which utilise a lot of phasing, which could also have something to do with current thinking. Most importantly, the dedicated PvP Zone in Draenor will be no-fly by default because of the issues that causes in combat, and if you want an understanding of why flying is just a convenience and not a right, there you have it in spades. Not being able to run away by engaging your Z axis is pretty vital not simply in PvP Combat, but everywhere. Hell, not flying away has the potential to make you play better by forcing you not to just take the easy way out and leg it.
|No, not him :D|
I caused a bit of a stir yesterday by suggesting people might learn to play better if they're deliberately forced off their mounts and onto the ground, and this might go some way to explain Blizzard's actions in that regard. If you are deliberately presented with conflict and cannot negate it by flying over it, what will you do? There was an understandable response to this: that's all well and good until we reach 100, but why do we need tethering after that? That one's easy to answer, and has a lot to do with what's happened in the last week. Suddenly for the vast majority of players the one constant is their desire to reach max level as quickly as possible. When Warlords launches, you will have two choices: level from 1-100 by traditional means or buy a boost and simply do the last 10 levels. The quicker of these two will automatically become the yardstick for further content timing, and if Blizzard can tether players not simply by restricting movement but by slowing their progress, content will last longer. This is absolutely crucial considering current complaints of the game feeling rushed, and may (for some) seem a fairly cynical ploy, but as we have established, these guys are here to take our money. This way, content lasts and people are forced to make choices based not simply on convenience, which is going to come as a shock to quite a few people. We did say the gloves are off.
In the end, if you're going to abuse designers by name and call them selfish for their choices, it's time to take a step back and consider the consequences of your words. This is just a game, and if you're that upset by what is being asked, it's probably time to cancel your sub. You could try and engage some reverse psychology and hope that the designers see sense too, but you might then actually miss the point of this entire exercise. It isn't about making this easy for you to do anything. It isn't about simplifying processes, because if that happens what is actually the point of playing this game to begin with? Yes, I know Warcraft isn't just about challenges and provoking thought, but a journey shouldn't just about sitting back and expecting other people to do all the work. Yeah, you can do that, but I'll bet you a sizable bag of gold you'll get more out of the entire experience if you put something into the mix. You might learn something too. The problem with many players is that Blizzard has indulged their whims for too long. That's what happens with kids when you spoil them: if you try and take the toys away, the consequences can be noisy and emotional.
Kudos to Blizzard for finally trying some proactive parenting, and I hope the results make us all better children as a result.