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Yesterday evening, a Tweet gave me a bit of a moment:

It’s a perfectly simple request: how would you begin your journey if you’d not played anything for three months plus in game? Once upon a time I’d be able to answer this with an ease that could be shoved into several Tweets, but not any more. Last night, it dawned on me that I am no longer capable of accurately summarising what needs to be done. The amount of content currently available exceeds the capacity I have to absorb it. That led to the following moment of clarity:

There were suggestions, of course: take each day as it comes, ask Guildies, enjoy the Game for what it is. All of these are, of course, excellent points, but they don’t solve the actual issue. Without guides, it is now apparent that you are not simply at a statistical advantage over those who play, it will effectively hold you back from completing the game as it is designed. Hey, even ActiBlizz got the memo about making sure people know how shit works, and decided to start pointing people at how to fly in 7.2 presumably in an attempt to stop in game Customer Service reps having to tell people a bazillion times how that works. If we accept that you cannot play this game without some kind of Guide, and yet the Company continues to try and simplify what is presented as the interface without considering the consequences of doing the same with content… you’re gonna get increasing amounts of fanboy tears. In fact, I see they have already started.

I’d strongly suggest you read that entire set of tweets, and the replies: for those who don’t care and just want the punchline, bottom line appears to be this. You need 4,035,766,330 AP to max out your weapon in 7.2.

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Just gimme a second to stop laughing, and we’ll carry on.

NO REALLY, stop with the jokes, my sides are splitting. Honestly, the tears of obviously aggrieved fanboys are everywhere, and I cannot believe that they think Twitter is the means by which they can instantly get a hearing for their issues. Oh yeah, that’s how the President of the United States now runs the country, and if its good enough for the Commander in Chief? HELL YEAH go right ahead with your cause célèbre, people. The fact that if you are already deciding you need to run the Maw of Souls 1009 times when 7.2 launches just proves a point that many of us grasped quite early on in the Expansion, but some really committed souls seem not to want to grasp. Yeah, sure you CAN max your weapon out in a couple of weeks if you want, but that may not be how the Company are designing this game to now be played. Perhaps 4 BILLION AP isn’t a mistake. Perhaps that cap has been put in place to see a) who notices and b) who’s fucking stupid enough to grind it.

Maybe this game’s being designed not to be negated in the manner some people now choose to via their playstyles.

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There is no way to stop people grinding obsessively. Whatever arbitrary timescales the Company place, someone will always exceed them. Many of us may not have been surprised when it became apparent players were running instances 24/7 to cap out at launch, but as ActiBlizz were, they’ll now be acutely aware of what needs to be on the table to prevent that happening again. If this is, as the data from the above revelatory Tweets suggests, approximately four times the grind to cap out, this is a fairly strident message from where I’m sitting that the memo was read about people with all the time in the World to make that happen. We could now be entering a significant situation: the Company may not be able to stop you obsessively gaining a perceived advantage over your peers by capping out, but it can sure as fuck discourage you as much as possible from wanting to do so by making that journey virtually impossible to cheese on launch.

Now, there will be some people who will decide that it is the design of the mechanic that’s wrong to begin with, and if there was a better way of restricting the AP build, everybody would be happier. Except you and I both know what utter bullshit that ‘line’ has become: whatever ActiBlizz ask of players, however they gate or dress stuff up, someone will always find the means to be first. The only way to restrict this behaviour is to stop first mattering, and that’s not going to happen for quite some time to come. As a result, you can whine and complain all you like, but if this organisation decides not to give you what you want, the choices are staggeringly simple. You accept that, or you stop playing.

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Add this to a situation where each new patch provides so much new content to start (and by definition finish) and some people are going to implode. I know, I’m watching it happen now, moments when long-term raiders grasp that there’s just no way they’ll ever do everything and so instead of finding a compromise they’re prepared to live with, it’s time to go. The truth that this is only a game is becoming increasingly difficult for a number of players to stomach, and unless you are capable of working on things in a logical manner, without the desire to do the game your way…? There will always be casualties, of course, but as the very fabric of the MMO subtly shifts, so does the ability of some of us to cope with the pace of progress. It is not the game at fault in many cases either, because all the designers have ever done is provide what was asked of them.

It won’t just be the tears of the hardcore you’ll be seeing in the months that follow.

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All those times that players complained at long periods of no content? This is the answer, this is how ActiBlizz chose to approach it. You asked for this. You complained you’d end up leaving and doing other stuff, and that there was no reason to stay. Now, if you leave, you’ll always be behind, and the legacy of players own entitled, arrogant assertions has come home to roost. If, like me, you realise that what matters more is the journey and not the destination, this is the best this game has ever been. Sure, I have to forget being able to know everything, and simply do what I can in the time I have… and after writing this article, thinking about what happened last night? I’ll never have to write another Guide again. I’ll spend more time passing on juicy tidbits, sure, but the future can be left to people who think Guides are how you play Warcraft. Now I’m happy not to know, and I’ll be cheerfully ignoring the cries of horror as players who asked for this now decide they don’t want this any more and could they just have everything NOW please because you know, this is too hard.

Grow up, people. Stop expecting to get everything instantly. It’s not going to happen.

4 thoughts on “Begin Again

  1. Honestly at this point I hope the legacy server people fail, get sued, then fuck off and never come back. I mean really, that tweet was the most pathetic thing I’ve seen all bloody week, and I’ve seen Trump tweets goddammit.

    As for the AP grind, they’ll bitch about it, but they’ll do it. They know they will. The alternative to “too much to do waaaah” is the 5.4/6.2 situation where there’s nothing to do for a year, and nobody wants to go back to that.

    It’s possible people will learn patience, and that not EVERYTHING needs to come straight away, that “WE NEED TO DO THIS TO DO MYTHIC” isn’t strictly speaking true…

    …But I doubt that, sadly. They’ll do it all and bitch the whole time, or leave and never come back. No grey area, no inbetween.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think the main thing that will stop people coming back that have taken a break is the weapon situation. Now I am not saying it is a bad system, after all if you are playing you are always getting stronger due to the AP gain from all the different sources. This can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on how you play.

    Now let us think about this, if you leave for any length of time you are going to get behind with your AP progress compared to other players. Not a big issue I hear you say, well maybe not unless you are coming back to high-end content and you need a maxed out weapon. Now you could say this was Blizzards plan all along to stop people taking breaks between patch cycles.

    In the old days it was pretty easy to be carried to top end gear including a great weapon, if your guild was well enough progressed you can be kitted out quite quickly, unfortunately not quite as easy with the current AP system. Whether you think the AP system is good or bad is up to you to decide, so like it or not, this is what we have for this expansion. So it is a matter of dealing with it and making the best you can, or leaving until something more appealing to you arrives.

    It is no secret that I left in November and I have no real urge currently to come back, however I do still like to keep up on the news, which I am able to do thanks to Alt. What I have noticed though since I left is the hyperbole form various sides, maybe it has always been like that and because I was too busy playing I just ignored it. I have come to the realisation though that because World of Warcraft has grown so much in 12+ years, it is becoming almost impossible to please all aspects of the player base. So if you are playing just make the best of the vast amount of content that is available to you.

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  3. I cannot believe that they think Twitter is the means by which they can instantly get a hearing for their issues.

    Why should this be surprising when we are all told when we have a problem,

    Have you mentioned it to the @BlizzardCS twitter?

    These past years they put all the marbles into using Twitter as an interface. Why should it be surprising when people catch on and use it for everything.

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  4. Personally I have no issue with the game as it stands, BUT I do think that Blizzard relies too much on 3rd parties – they have almost become a requirement. If Blizzard designed the game to be more playable without having to look things up we’d be in a better place imo. Which brings me to:

    If there was no datamining, everyone would have to discover content. The pace would slow down. Content would be less overwhelming not only to players but also to developers.

    Yes, build your databases and your guides, be there for people who need them. But do them at the pace of the game, of personal discovery. There would be so much more game to play for everyone, and less of a ‘grab a guide and rush through content’ play style needed to be competitive. Also there would be more delight in the discovery of more usual things (hunter pets spring to mind) and Blizzard wouldn’t have to feel a need to make rare discoveries quite as ridiculously hard/obscure (that boss with the mount on the Eye of Azshara island thing).

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