An Open Letter

2 07 2009

Dear people who say the game is being dumbed down,

Did you enjoy reading a quest, only to have it tell you to head “northeast?” Northeast is quite vague. Sometimes the directions weren’t very accurate, and more often than not you were looking for some small object on the ground. As someone who levelled long before mods like Questhelper and Carbonite existed, I can tell you that this is not very fun. I also recall not having a mount of any sort until level 40. Then at level 60 I never had enough gold (500 gold was a LOT back then, what with there being no daily quests and all) to buy an epic mount, so I ran around on a 60% mount for a long time.

South, eh?

South, eh?

Did you like when many classes really only had one role, even if their talent specs seemed like they should be able to do more than one? Like when a Druid’s 31-point balance talent was Hurricane, on a 1-minute cooldown? And when tier sets for Druids, Priests, Paladins and Shamans were simply healing sets (which sometimes had strength on them for Paladins)? Do you remember not having dual specs, when you had to pay 50 gold if you wanted to do some PvP or tank/heal something?

How about when you didn’t get tier loot through tokens that multiple classes shared, but rather simply having the items drop, like Vault today? When pets and mounts took up room in your inventory? Do you remember questing in Blade’s Edge and Netherstorm without a flying mount? When the auction houses weren’t linked? When you could only fly from one FP to the next, and having to buy a new gryphon at each stop? When every raid needed as many Shamans as possible, lots of Shadow Priests, and many specs/classes were basically left out to rot?

Did you also know that a lot of MMOs have severe penalties for death, like XP loss, item loss, or any number of other things?

Do you remember how much these things SUCKED? I guess not.

I applaud Blizzard for doing their best to streamline what are the grindiest parts of the game while working to provide new raid content that satisfies people. Also, have you possibly noticed that the hardcore guilds like Ensidia are still here? When Naxx came out, and they cleared it within days (hours? I don’t recall), they stuck around. Blizzard may not be doing everything perfectly, but they’re doing a lot right.


On Changes and Bitterness

15 06 2009

The response to changes, nerfs, buffs, etc. in WoW that I least understand is bitterness. The “I worked so hard to get that when it was hard” reaction. What brings this to my attention are the recent changes to mounts and their pricing (full list of changes here). They are making everything except for Cold Weather Flying cheaper, including epic flying, which will now receive a faction discount. Some people feel frustrated and bitter with these changes, having spent possibly upwards of 20k gold on various riding skills for various alts. I’m of the opinion that this reaction is more applicable to more basic purchases, like materials and other things you might buy for resale value.

Unlike, say, your house, riding skills have no resale value. You bought it knowing that it was completely optional, cost a lot of gold, and that you’d never really get anything but faster flight time for a return. Same goes for BoEs that you buy for your alts – you’re going to equip them, not sell them. We should be looking forward, not backward; remember when you levelled your first character and 5000 gold was just a ridiculously insane number to even think of? Let alone the ~7000 gold it takes to get all the riding skills required to fly at 280% speed in Northrend? So consider new players wearing the shoes you once did, who are dealing with gearing up, learning new raid encounters for the first time and making their first 1000 gold.

Think of the children!

Don’t kid yourself, 1-80 is a giant slogfest of sloggy slogishness. The real fun comes at max level, when you can raid, PvP, dance around in LAWLPURPLZ in Dalaran, etc. Anything Blizzard does to alleviate the pain of levelling and in doing so the strain on our virtual wallets is a welcome change for me. It will bring more people to WoW and help get more of those people to 80. So every time Blizzard makes it easier, cheaper or faster to level, I’m just that much more likely to bring up another alt. Well played, Blizzard.

For reference, I have 4 characters with epic flying (one that doesn’t have cold weather yet), and I’m nothing but happy about the new changes to mount/riding skill costs.

My old main, a Druid, with his flying mount of choice.

My old main, a Druid, with his flying mount of choice.