Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Smoke and Mirrors

I had planned to write about class balance and the levelling experience in Jade Forest, but I have been distracted by 2 articles by Tobold, "WoW the Single Player Game?" and "Estimate the Challenge Percent". I will try to answer all three in one article if I can possibly stay on the subject and not stray off as I have a tendency to do.

Starting with "WoW the Single Player", the catalyst was the post written by the Godmother about Cross Realm Zones and Blizzard's Public Relations Department. The comment sections picks up on purely the CRZ issues, with the general gist being that nobody likes the added competition or the glitches that accompany the feature.

Tobold reasons that if you don't like the competition, then why are you playing a Massive Multi-player Online game? There was a time before MMO's and most of us are old enough to have been gamers before we discovered World of Warcraft. I personally played all the Warcraft games, and games like Baldur's Gate. For me WoW is merely the combining of these games with the emergence of a technological breakthrough in servers and increased home network speeds. Nobody would play an MMO with a 56K Modem.

Do I want or need other people in my game? Personally the answer is no. I have engineered my game to gain the maximum amount of independence, free from asking Guildies and even worse the general populace for help and assistance. I have all the professions at max or near to max level, and have more gatherers than I know what to do with. The only interaction I need with other people is for scenarios, instances and raids. It can be argued that the Tiller farm and Pet Battles only emphasises the solo end game activities, and suggests that I am not a minority player. Valor can be gained on my own, although the process is of course very slow.

If I need obtain some Thorium or Adamantite ore and the price on the Auction House is extortionate, I will go and farm the ore. Now the point is, I have made a decision that it is worth spending my limited time going to personally obtain the ore, but I need to be able to gather sufficient quantities in a certain timeframe for it to be worth the effort. If Adamantite is the same price as Ghost Iron Ore, then the answer is simple, because I can gather a lot more Ghost Iron than Adamantite, I can sell the Ghost Iron and buy the Adamantite and will have saved myself some time.

Cross Realm Zones are creating competition for resources and as a consequence are causing scarcity of items on some realms. Simple supply and demand economics, demonstrate that under normal conditions, if demand remains the same and less items are supplied to the market, then the price will increase. This can cause an issue for those people who are trying to level a profession at the same time as they are levelling their Pandas with either no nodes available or expensive raw materials.

The second subject "Estimate the Challenge Percent", is based on the theory that the casual majority are doing nothing in the game that is particularly challenging. Levelling is not particularly difficult at levels 85-88 and is only as difficult as the challenge you set. There are no more group quests, like there were in WotLK's  Dragonblight which had at least 5 quests requiring grouping. These group quests have been moved into their own instance and are now called scenarios. The advantage of this is that they are designed to be completed with any mix of characters (with the possible exception of 3 healers and can be repeated if a player wants to. Scenarios also group other people wanting to do the same content at the same time, without the requirement for Guild and General chat shout outs.

The difficulty setting on Heroics as been reduced from the Cataclysm benchmark of healers doing triage and a requirement for crowd control. I believe AoE is back in vogue (please note that I have not done Heroics yet this expansion). A large amount of time is being devoted to dailies, farming and pet battles, all of these have a low level of difficulty. It can also be argued that those who are doing a weekly Looking for Raid are not partaking in difficult challenges.

I am still doing the unfashionable levelling of alts so my percentage of difficulty sits firmly in the 1% category.

On the subject of levelling, I am yet again visiting Jade Forest, and have noticed that the area seems to be much easier than first time through the zone. During the levelling of my Hunter I was getting used to a new toolbox of tricks and found the increase in the power and hit points of the new zone level 85 mobs to be considerably harder than the equivalent level 85 mobs in Cataclysm. My big shots and cooldowns would only shave small percentages off the mobs hit points and of course the respawn rate was crazy with some unfortunate positioning would attract a large posse of mobs.

My last foray through the zone was on my Death Knight and the Jade Forest was a stroll in the park. That appears to be nothing compared to the juggernaut power of my Warrior. My warrior, Dumpyrustnut is fortunate enough to be wearing 3 items of Blue 415 gear, which is created as a proc through Blacksmithing. Having said that I am still only at an average iLevel of 389 which is well below what most raiders would have romped through the zone wearing.

I am finding that even as an Arms Warrior, I want to pile the mobs up high and Thunder Clap and Cleave my way through the assembled foes. If that is not quick enough then Bladestorm is on hand. Either my mind is playing tricks on me or the mobs in this zone have be nerfed. I do not have empirical evidence to backup my claims, but it not unreasonable for Blizzard to make the levelling of alts easier. They are going to make reputation grinds easier with patch 5.1 for both main characters and alts.

To bring all of these points together, I believe that Blizzard have created a single player game, in a multi-player server environment, that is easy to play with a difficulty option only for the most dedicated raiders. This may be the MMO of the future, only time will tell.


  1. I, for one, would like to see more emphasis on single player but I do not think it will ever happen. I would like to be able to do my daily heroic alone. I would like to be able to do the LFR alone. I would like to be able to do the real raids alone and even the real raid heroic modes alone.

    I play with other people because I am forced to do so. I do not like it, never have and never will. If warcraft as we know it was a single player game I would still play it but even I must admit I would not play it as much if it were not for the personal connections I made.

    While I prefer the solo game play the multi player part of wow is what keeps me playing, and what keeps me wanting more solo content. If you get what I mean.

    When playing with the decent people I have come to know I enjoy group content but when I have to be teamed up with the masses who have no respect, no skill and no understanding of basic social graces I do not want to ever see another person.

    Perfect example is questing. With those new group tag mobs. If I am beating on a mob and someone comes in and grabs the loot with the last shot it annoys me. They have absolutely zero right to that loot. It was my kill and you just joined in for the easy tag as it was about to die anyway.

    A decent person, read as myself, would be happy to get the quick kill, mount up and move off. I would never even consider for a split second to take the loot as it is not mine even if it is flashing. Leave the loot for the person that did the work.

    A shitty person, read as 95% of the wow player base, will take that 3 silver item from you in a heartbeat and would even call you out as a jerk if you took it when it should be yours to begin with.

    So I am not against multi player games. I like them. I am against the wow player base acting like morons.

    I can give example after example of what a decent player would do and what a jerk would do. Like a decent player would see someone fighting on an herb and fly by while a jerk would land on the person fighting and pick it and not care that the only reason that person was there was for the herb.

    As I have learned the appropriate response from someone acting like a jerk now is "welcome to wow". As if they all learn that is how they are supposed to act, that is wow and it is acceptable to act like that.

    Miner: You saw me land on that node just to get it.
    Jerk: Tough luck, welcome to wow.

    Warrior: Why did you roll need on a strength back?
    Warlock: Because I can, welcome to wow.

    Mage: Gogogogogogo (pulls)
    Tank: Let me do the pulling next time.
    Mage: Screw you, welcome to wow.

    It is that attitude that makes me wish wow were more a single player game.

    It is the lack of moderation and lack of penalty for acting like a jackass that makes it seem like this type of game play is supported and expected.

    In the end, it is me, the decent person that tries to act like people should, that is in the wrong. I need to become one of them. I need to take nodes from people, steal kills and loot from people, roll on things I don't need just to deny others and if anyone ever complained I should just say "welcome to wow". Apparently that is how we are supposed to act now, I must have just missed the memo.

    Yeap, single player games would be better, much better.

    1. Wow... Seems you don’t like competition... In a MMO. Seems a bit backwards. Its a MMO, since when did competition become a bad thing, It has been in the game since day one. You are acting more and more like you are a special snowflake, and the people below you are not worthy of playing a game as they please because it doesn’t conform to your reasoning’s of how they should be playing. Keep up the great work.

  2. Awesome, I got a guest post from the Grumpy Elf. I agree entirely of course. I am more than happy to play a single player game version of WoW, but it makes me sound like a grumpy old git, which I am of course.

    Just one question though, is it ok to steal a node from a member of the opposite faction?

    I think it might be considered fair game.

    1. On a PvP server I would say it is required to steal the node, and then kill the person. On a PvE server, you can still be civil across factions in my opinion.

      Many times thus far this expansion I saw a horde trying to take down a rare and helped them. I even could have stolen a few but saw lower levels working their way to it clearing adds and didn't. I helped them clear the adds and tag the mob first and then helped them kill it.

      Does that make me the good guy? No, not at all and that is not why I am like that. I do not try to be the good guy. I do it, not because of what it makes me, but what it makes me not be. I am not a jerk. At least not that type of jerk. ;)