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.
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.
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.
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.
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.