Yesterday, I left a reminder to myself that a Blue Post needed further examination. That was the beginning of a chain of events that has the potential to alter a portion of Warcraft’s player base possibly forever, and proved at least to me that there was a good reason why ActiBlizz didn’t apologise for their AP shortcomings last week. I’d assumed one thing, but in the cold light of Friday morning, I think perhaps that the future for this game is being intentionally steered in a particular direction, and with clear reasoning behind it.
So, that Blue Post:
In this post, a Community Manager suggested something that I don’t think I’d seen vocalised by this Company for quite some time: how about you cut players a break if they don’t perform like robots? In my interpretation, Mr Allen suggested that it wasn’t the proposed changes to AP traits and an ‘infinite’ ceiling on adding AP to Artifact weapons that would cause a problem, rather players who believed that the only way you’d ‘win’ this game was gathering AP at a faster rate than anybody else. There then followed a bit of a debate in-thread on the back of this where a random person suggested that ‘”Players should be nicer to each other” is not a design plan.’ He’s absolutely right, of course, but has singularly missed the point. Fortunately, someone else made it in the Forum comments following the Blue Post, and I could just copy/paste that and happily walk away:
Last week I got upset at the Company’s reaction to those who have worked hard to help them highlight the shortcomings in the AP system. This post by Lore, instead of alleviating the issues many hardcore raiders had highlighted, appears to make things worse, and points to a situation where there will be an infinite grind if certain players decide to do so. Logic dictates therefore, that despite the clearly-explained shortcoming of the AP system, the Devs are sticking to their plan. This is not going to change going forward.
That made the scheduled Live Q&A potentially a bit of a bun fight, and Twitch chat was suitably leery in anticipation of what ended up a pretty decent 60 minute session of discussion. However, it is the last 10 minutes that you really need to watch, if you’ve not done so already. In that, Ion Hazzikostas showed his backstory as a Hardcore raider, evoking Sunwell and SSC as areas where, once upon a time, players did bloody stupid things in pursuit of ‘beating’ other people for World First titles. Then, the law was laid down: I’ve read a number of synopses, and I think I give MMO Champion’s version of events the most approval in terms of accurately conveying tone. So, this is what you missed:
I’ll admit being both amazed and impressed at the end of this hour, so much so I tweeted as much:
Finally, I think Mr Hazzikostas has stepped up to the level expected of a Game Lead. He’s absolutely right, it has become an arms race at the top, and to be prepared to diss those people doing just that takes some significant kahunas. After all, as we have established, these people are your effective PTR/play testers, unpaid and willing to grind themselves into the ground for an opportunity for… what, exactly? There’s a line up there that tell everybody EXACTLY what the long term plan here is going forward:
The team wants to make a game with lots of goals you can progress to if you want to play a lot once in a while.
I genuinely believe that the long term aim going forward is not to play this game in the manner it has been consumed by the top 5% of players since competitive raiding began. The key now is to allow everybody the opportunity to pick and choose what makes their game important and play to that, rather than keep up with the pace of ‘progression’ at the high end as it stands. I’m now wondering if that mentality will subsequently trickle down to the less active player base and we will see ways and means introduced going forward that will further simplify catchup mechanics and allow the flexibility for players to come in progressively later in an Expansion yet still be able to participate quickly and easily.
It is apparent after yesterday that not only do these guys have a plan, but it might involve caring more about players than I’d at first assumed. The question is now how these individuals react to last night’s talking to, and how the top end raiding teams decide to approach the upcoming 7.2 content. Suddenly, raiding Sargeras’ Tomb has a whole new significance than previously held…
This game suddenly got a great deal more interesting to watch than play.