Saturday, June 07, 2014

ALPHA :: Mis-Shapes

This is not the change some were looking for...

The last week has been something of a revelation, not simply for the fact that being the owner of Alpha Client access has changed me, at least in the eyes of some people, into a pariah. I should point out that with excellent resources such as Wowhead and WoW Insider at people's disposal, it's very easy to be a part of the action without getting what many people complained of when everyone was part of the beta in Pandaria: pre-Expansion burnout. For instance, there will be those of you looking at the dungeon picture above and thinking 'hang on, that isn't Blackfathom Depths, is it?' Well actually, it is, and along with Razorfen Downs and Razorfen Krawl, it has received what I at least consider is a very welcome revamp. Needless to say, this use of 'time' by Blizzard developers isn't going to go down well in all quarters:

Unsurprising, on reflection.

I care, quite a bit as it happens. Lots of other people I know have been crying out for change in the Old World, and I assumed that when the insta-90's were introduced that levelling content would simply be left to rust into decay. Clearly I was wrong too, because WHY things change is as important as the fact they do so at all. Now, as to the reasons behind this having changed now... well, that's a different question altogether. This could mean there's data that these dungeons are ignored by players and need to be made more interesting. It could also indicate that every dungeon's being revamped so that there is consistency across the board. I could put my 'future Expansions' hat on here and speculate that these changes are being made in anticipation of the NEXT Expansion, when there'll be a new class and starting areas at L1 which means all low level dungeons will need to be revamped to accommodate the changes... The thing is, we just don't know unless Blizzard choose to tell us. However, there are historical precedents here. You only need to look at the Legendary Questline for evidence of that.


Last night as we MADE PROGRESS IN FLEX \o/ (more on that tomorrow) someone complained that Malkorok didn't drop a Secret of the Empire [*] Then followed the inevitable conversation about making the Legendary Questline easier, before Mr Alt made what was, at least for him, a pretty forceful outburst. He reminded me that people forget that Legendary Questlines *are hard*, that if it had been like him farming his Thunderfury most people would be waiting 2-3 YEARS for the drops they need and perhaps everyone could stop complaining and be grateful that they have good friends to play with who make the grind all that more tolerable. As a member of the raid team reminded us, it is only pixels. However, these pixels make people do strange things, like complain that game design shouldn't involve anything other than absolutely new stuff all the time, and RIGHT NOW.

I've watched a lot of conversations along these lines in the last week, with everyone second guessing Blizzard's modus operandi: they only care about influencing cetain people, they're deliberately out to scupper other games' success, they don't want me as a tester and it's not fair, I should be testing because... the list does go on, and on. Then there was the conversation yesterday on Twitter about people complaining in Alpha that stuff is broken and it's not fun to play, or that its not finished. WELL, THAT'S ALPHA FOR YOU. I do find myself wondering about the person who whispered me Thursday morning asking how I'd got a L90 on the Test Server and who couldn't find the means to create a template character, though. Perhaps Blizzard need to be a bit more selective in their admissions policy, though saying that even the most adept of people can have moments of stupid. The thing is, Blizzard have their stupid moments too, they just don't make a fuss about them. That's our job ^^

Let sleeping peons lie. Then use the Booterang.

This Blog has made many, MANY references to the lead times on this game. It is also well aware that the people redesigning old dungeons are more than likely NOT the same people designing the stuff in Draenor, just as the people redesigning the 2D resources aren't the same as the 3D designers... there are specific tasks for particular people. After 10 years of serial complaining from some players, maybe it is time we all cut Blizzard a break and tried to understand a bit more of the process behind the end result. The fact is, and I can tell you this after only two days of playing the Alpha, THIS IS A DIFFERENT GAME. The problem comes then with anyone believing me to begin with, until they play the game themselves. No matter how much I try to convince people that this is clearly an effort to redesign EVERYTHING from a different perspective, that it looks and sounds remarkable, that it has an utterly different feel and tone to Pandaria... some people will only see what they wish to see and that will never change.

You have to trust me here. Even in one zone, for only one faction, there are signs of genuine revolution in game design for Blizzard. All we have to do now is be patient and wait.


[*] Pretty sure you only get them from the first 8 bosses in SoO but I'd need to go check if that changed ^^


Astalnar said...

The news about Blackfathom Deeps gives me hope that one day they find the time to revamp Quel'Thalas, and the Draenei isles, and make them part of Azeroth. Maybe even rennovate Silvermoon back to its former glory.

kunukia said...

Very exciting!! I am hoping this brings life back to my original guild (a true F&F guild, and almost everyone moved on from WoW); most of my 90s are still in this guild.
On my new server, and active guild, where I used my two boosts to get 90s, I shall be leveling and instancing and garrisonning with great glee!

Sarolian said...

+1 for the booterang!

I like that they take their time to revamp older content. I think I ran the Razorfens twice during vanilla. Will be nice to see the changes :)

TheGrumpyElf said...

I've always got a kick out of people complaining things do not work while testing. I've been a part of many alpha's and beta's and yes it is annoying when something does not work, but you don't complain about it, you report it as a bug with as much information as you can give about it. That is what you are there for.