Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Communication Breakdown

Just so we're clear.

It was probably inevitable, considering the lack of hard facts that actually exist surrounding the Garrisons 'feature' in game currently, that people would be confused about exactly what it is they're signing up for with the concept. For instance: there appears to be some misunderstanding, even after it has been reiterated by several people in different places, about the 'participatory' nature of this entire experience to begin with. The problem, undoubtedly, is that word above, especially when used by a Blizzard dev in an interview:

Having a garrison is mandatory, but what you do with it is up to you. It will work well with the story that you experience while leveling, but if you level with dungeons you can catch up on your garrison later.

Mandatory, for many people, conjures up images of Dailies you can't skip in order to access gear, with reputation grinds deliberately engineered to ring-fence content. However, pretty much everyone involved in the Garrison construction at Blizzard has said what WatcherDev reiterates above in the last couple of weeks: the feature is simply built into the brickwork of the game. It is only one of many ways you can enter Draenor, and it is certainly not the only way. It has been provided to present players with an alternative means by which they can level, as an 'upgrade' from the simple business of questing. It is access to a part of the Warlords experience that many people hate to begin with. This is what 90-100 will encompass if you decide to trust Blizzard on spec and embrace the new form of questing they will present, that links your levelling to other experiences such as crafting. For those who just want to level using Dungeons or using PvP, you'll want one of the other doors. When Blizzard use mandatory in this context, it is to the structure of the game they're making and NOT to your individual experience.

On reflection, a better word to use in this context would probably have been 'integral' (thanks @eljeppy :D)

Many entry points. Same basic result: L100 :D

Blizzard really, REALLY want you to play their Garrisons feature. Trust me on this, it will be made as attractive as possible in order to convince as many people as Blizzard can to experience the content. Its potential attractiveness will be in the same vein to their decision yesterday to award a guaranteed heirloom to anyone in 6.0 doing Garrosh in the Siege when they kill him for the first time.  This is what is known as incentivising, and it will be Blizzard's hope that you'll want to take part in the experience at least once as a result. Tying it to the Professions experience is one way to get a lot of people on board: giving people means to customise it is another. However, what Blizzard as yet have failed to be able to do is convince people of its worth as a tool for levelling. There's a really good reason for that.

It doesn't actually exist yet.

This is your Mage Tower.

This is where I have to tell you that you're going to have to take both Blizzard, and me, on trust. I'm watching the feature slowly appear in the Alpha Files. I'm becoming aware of how closely this will integrate with questing and professions, how it will build into something quite unlike anything people have seen in Warcraft before. The fact I'm incredibly excited, STILL, even when I see people getting angry about the fact it appears you won't be able to bypass it, should tell you that I can see a bigger picture here, but only because I'm sitting on the Garrisons construction site and taking notes. I can see all the potential plus points, and I can also make some fairly educated guesses as to the pitfalls. All these doors are in place, but the building is far from finished. Until I'm let inside to observe build quality, my guess is pretty much as good as yours, but the fact remains, this is Blizzard's way of changing the basic quest experience from 90-100.

In that regard, and at least in my mind, Mr Hazzikostas is indeed correct. Garrisons for me will be mandatory, because I want to experience this new feature up close, at first hand, and see if Blizzard have cracked the task of making levelling over multiple alts an entertaining one.

Only with Rested Bonus.

The problem with Garrisons currently mostly boils down to perception: how people see them, how they grasp comparable game tasks currently, what their play style is. There will be those who argue that a lot of this is down to how Blizzard deliver their information, and undoubtedly without a solid explanation from the company on what is what, misinformation will continue to exist. However, the only sure fire way to quash any of your issues in terms of understanding?  Give players something to use for themselves. In this case, that's still a product who's development is very much 'in progress.'

Taking things on trust from Blizzard is not something some players will ever do.


Altaholic said...

Leveling alts was fun in vanilla till it was 'improved'. Locking you into liniar BS and removing many of the cool features of the world.

I dread them 'fixing' more of the game and making it awful like that.

Because you dont enjoy the leveling experience doesnt mean everyone else doesnt. I used to love leveling characters. Cata tarnished that rather badly and holy heck is it bad in MoP.

Im not excited to play their free to play 'build agarrison game'. Im sure it will be fun once like all the other mobile games are their copying but 14 times? Ah...just hell no. But it is manditory if I want access to the features. in a fee to play game you would have a fee to skip the monotonous grind but they havent quite figured that out.

Until they do, and make it NOT manditory I will continue to say it IS manditory. I wil have Blizard Devs agreeing with me.

sprowt said...

I'm looking forward to playing with Garrisons but I agree, they perhaps made a poor choice with the word "mandatory". I'm working on the assumption that the garrisons are similar to the farm/tillers in MoP .. you don't have to use it. Yes it gives you some decent XP whilst levelling, if you do the starter quests for it and, if you persist and use it to its full potential it gives rewards - but you don't have to use it.

I used it a lot with my first couple of characters, but after that it was either ignored or simply used for the opening quests for the XP - I suspect the Garrison is going to be no different.

Saying that .. it would be nice if there was something similar to the "buy a rep boost" option in MoP for Garrisons .. so that once you've maximised it on one character, the next time (if you want to do it again) would be easier and quicker.

Imraith dos Santos said...

"I'm sure it will be fun once like all the other mobile games are their copying but 14 times?" I agree - and I wonder why Blizz aren't simply making one garrison per account, with all your characters contributing to building it. Maybe that wouldn't be possible, but I am thinking it would be better for those of us who love our alts.

marathalbt said...

I do have much hope for Garrisons, it feels like an activity I can spend a lot of time doing, my fear, probably unjustified, is the level of difficulty associated with activities as it grows. Great rewards come with great risk.

The Legendary cape is a good example of being steered into content many do not enjoy or wish to do. So much rage at having to complete 2 specific new battleground wins, having, initially to find a large group to kill an opposing faction NPC in the opposing factions camp, the dreaded LFR farming, etc. The reward was great, but the means to get it forced people to do content they disliked, and for some hated.

The worst for me was the solo encounter, easily 60 attempts, thousands in repairs flasks, potions feats drums over 6 weeks of attempts. I got it once. And this will be the only one I have it on, I cannot do that again. My hope is they do not use the Garrison daily? Weekly? Quest mechanic to "Encourage" us to do content we have no desire to do. If that makes any sense.

My thinking,

Level 1 Garrisons everyone gets.

Level 2 Will require running Dungeons/LFR for NPS quests.

Level 3 will have Notable characters send you on tasks that will require Normal/Heroic/Mythic raiding.

Just the way my brain works. I'm probably way off base.