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Sometimes, whatever you do, it won’t be enough. You can GUARANTEE that if Activision Blizzard had provided less than is currently on the table for Legion, someone would have complained. As it transpires I’m now seeing major web-based news outlets deciding this is the best Warcraft has been since 2004, so in that regard I reckon something’s right in this equation. However, the fact remains that for many, overt consumption of content’s become the reason why they’re playing right now… or is it? Is this stuff being shoved down our throats or simply provided as part of the All You Can Eat Buffet that the Broken Isles presents? I suppose it’s a bit of both: on various occasions in Dev interviews prior to Legion’s release, the assertion was made that it would take quite a lot of effort to exhaust the content as it was about to be presented. Speaking as someone who’s refused to go to the World Quest part of the buffet just yet, I don’t have a problem, because why I play has now overtaken how I play in terms of significance.

Once upon a time however, this was not the case.

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You could call it interpretive semantics if you choose, but I understand now that class abilities and Best in Slot options are part of a set of ‘how I play this game’ mechanics that often completely overlook the beauty of questing and story lines in the first few months of any Expansion. It’s why once I would have spent time complaining publicly about Hunter mechanics but now, I’ll be honest, I don’t care as long as I can stay alive whilst soloing. Yeah, once upon a time I’d have the BiS List by my side and be spending thousands of gold at the AH for upgrades in anticipation of September 20th’s ‘Grand opening of Raiding.’ Now, it’ll just be another reset and how I’m able to fit playing a couple of hours a night into my schedules, and all the how it works becomes a large irrelevance. That means why becomes far more important in terms of being engaged by the stories and encounters I come across in the real world. When I’m watching people complain and in some cases leave the game because how this all works has been altered to a point where it has become ‘unplayable’?

I think many never think about the ‘why’ to begin with.

 

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‘But hang on,’ I can hear people saying, those people who just concentrate on World First or Best Gear EU still make the why matter more than how: the push to do everything first just means you have to work on sorting out the how quicker than anyone else. This must be the case, because every time the game is simplified or altered, nobody leaves. In fact, if I believe what I’m told, they just keep coming back in ever greater numbers. In that respect, Activision Blizzard could give you one button to press and as long as it was cool to do that, millions of people would just keep playing. If that were true, Warcraft might be proven to be more addictive than drugs or alcohol, and then there’s a whole new set of long term issues on the table to consider. Except I hold a sliver of truth in this: compulsion only ever works to a point. Once you grasp that there’s no actual real world benefit to playing the game 24/7, an outlook can markedly alter. Unless you’re here to become the next Warcraft PvP World Champion or try and make a name for yourself as a ‘Warcraft celebrity’? It is just a game, pure and simple, and like any game there are basic abilities to grasp, and if you can’t do that? You’ll get bored and go play something else.

If you cannot work out how to play, the why never matters in the first place.

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If you buy a copy of Warcraft on DvD, it should not come as a surprise that select purchasers will be offered a free month of gametime. That’s the first major ‘how’ that the company has to overcome: the Nostalrius ‘experiment’ proved, above everything else, that paying for Azeroth remains a serious barrier to entry. Make that free for a month and you have a great chance of retaining some new subs, but only if how you then learn the game is simple and intuitive. That’s what the feelings of a large number of long-term players might not be as important as the desire to make money from those coming in fresh. Does it matter whether you’ve got all the ultra rare stuff in a month or a year? Not really, because the players who do it all early have historically buggered off well before Expansions ends for quite some time. That’s how they play, it isn’t a why. Turn up, get yourself geared, wait for the next Expansion: the plan here, I have to believe, will be for Activision Blizzard to retain them in game for enough time that they will end up with long term subs or buying tokens with at least more frequency than in previous Expansions. If that’s doable, then Legion really does become a massive triumph.

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Flying in-game then evolves into a ‘how,’ too: if it is now gated behind achievements for long term players, how that ‘attunement’ shapes and organises their months of playtime becomes just as important as the hardcore doing the BiS lists. Like it or not, I’m watching people make sure they’re prepared for the arrival of flying with as much care and attention to detail as the hardcore elite are with prepping for World First, and that says to me that for an increasing number of players, enjoyment ends up as secondary over the need to ensure they’re prepared to play the game in their own way when all the early-game restrictions are finally lifted. For me, I’ve always done this stuff first where I could, because it was the parts of game I enjoyed the most. The fact that now it has become an added step in a journey I’m already on? It ceases to be an issue. However, what it does is make certain players believe their content is being ‘shoved’ at them, when nothing is further from the truth.

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Ultimately the only person deciding there’s too much, too little or a problem with content is you. If you have the time to spend the next X days until 7.1 launches doing nothing but World Quests? I’m not about to condone your life choices, and really nobody else should be standing and pronouncing what is right or wrong. Whatever you might think about the Expansion, we’re still less than a month into it. I’ve seen a zone and a half’s worth of stuff, and at this rate I won’t be even done with the questing by the time we’re supposed to be in Karazhan, and yet people are now raving about what’s going to happen, because they’re already looking away from this point. You choose to listen or you don’t. Nobody is right or wrong. How you play this game is still as important as why, and will remain so as long as people wake up and realise how much of their life they’ve wasted on pixels.

In the end, none of it really matters anyway.

If you’re happy, just do what you enjoy the most.

5 thoughts on “How Men Are

  1. Very spot on here. I know myself personally, and I am sure many others also, are looking at how we need to change the way we play to fit the why. Things like professions that were something I worked on at my leisure, now have more meaning in the eventual gear you can make for yourself, but the “how” to get there is much much different than it has been these past few expansions. Looking overall at Legion it seems they have taken a bit from all the previous. Perhaps they went through all of the exit surveys for a common reason people left and made the changes we see before us now. You used a very apt analogy by calling Legion a buffet. There is a metric butt ton of things to do, and it is ultimately up to the individual to decide how they wish to play to accomplish what they want. There is a great deal that is frustrating me, mostly due to having to completely rethink why I play, and how do I need to change. Writing and talking about the game is no longer something I want to do. It encouraged me to put to words what was giving me problems, but not giving my mind a means to sort it out in a way that I could grasp. I know that I will never be able to keep pace with those focused on a goal. I have to pick and choose what has meaning to me. Leveling to 110 was only the beginning of the challenges we all will face. I, like you, finished all the quests in the zones before I unlocked world quests, and after doing so? Aside from the world quests, I am seeing others pop up also. Quests available once you have raised your reputation with a faction. There is so much story I feel it could take a person the better portion of the 2+ years to see it all. Not even looking at Alliance v Horde quest lines.

    What I foresee people having issues with down the road are the bringing back of attunements. Reading the Blizzardwatch article, I see you will need your followers brought up to a certain level of gear, which means like it or not, if I want to keep up with the people I play with, because that is part of why I play, I will need to download the app, and send out missions during the day, or I will not be able to play with others. It is going to be a long road, and I can see a great deal of complaining ahead. I think you may have chosen a good path to do it when you want to, not when it is tossed at you to do.

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  2. Last night after I finally sat down to play, I pulled up the World Quest map and saw SIX things I could do that would provide a superior piece of gear. SIX!

    I also wanted to wrap up the Illidan-related quest from my order hall, but I had to make some choices because I only had an hour before bedtime.

    So the comparison to a buffet is spot on: yeah, there is a LOT of shtuff in the spread, but you’re not going to be able to eat all of it. Well, maybe you can, or will try, but you might not feel the greatest after you’re done.

    In this case we substitute appetite with time/desire, but from where I stand this expansion is perfectly tailored to how I played the game these days.

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  3. People need to learn to pace themselves better to stop themselves feeling overwhelmed, feeling they need to do everythung that’s available, right now.

    I love the WQ system, and think it’s honestly one of the best additions to the game in years.

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  4. Like you, I haven’t unlocked World Quests yet. I’m happy there’s a part of the game I haven’t discovered yet. I’m finishing Stormheim and moving on to Suramar. 4 pillars in Dalaran, one more to go – that’s what matters at the moment.

    There’s more – I will take a small break from the game in October, even if I’m not finished with stuff I want. I want a fresh perspective and time for other things. Check another game, read a book (don’t even need to buy anything as things are waiting on my shelves), focus on my projects, that sort of thing. My life’s not all WoW and will never be, regardless of how many things there are to do in Legion.

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  5. Pingback: Strange Little Girl | Alternative Chat :: Warcraft Edition

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