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Normally, Wednesday would be a regularly scheduled post on Warcraft history, but today we’re going off script for a reason. I’ve been thinking about how content is currently deployed by ActiBlizz, in particular cases without any indicator it is in fact that to begin with.

Yeah, you heard me correctly.

This tweet refers to a bunch of stones that spawn in Dalaran, and that’s all I’m going to say on the matter. The answer is already known, I am told to a bunch of people on a Discord server who discovered it and (presumably by now) on at least one data mining website. Mr Feasel it appears also gave some other clues in his Twitter feed, so if you’d like to go and try make the discovery for yourself… that’s a good place to start. I find myself wondering at the merit of having to ‘hide’ content like this so that it is a surprise, when everything can be just be that if you never use the Internet to look up how to do stuff in game to begin with. In fact, part of me is now beginning to wonder exactly what the point of content is if Designers push you to discover it remotely to begin with.

Where’s the real ‘surprise’ if somebody else is prompting the discovery?

lightning

Yeah, I know how miserable this makes me sound, but hear me out for a second. I understand that, as a designer, it might be a tad annoying that you got to stick all this cool shiz in Azeroth and then, ONLY THREE WEEKS INTO THE PATCH, nobody worked out where it is. If it matters that much that it is found, presumably, you’d put the data mining markers in to begin with so it could be picked up in PTR testing. If it is so obscure that you have to hand hold people through every stage to the end, or the clues don’t exist in game for players to pick up and they need Twitter as a prompt to solve your puzzles? You’re not doing it right. You’ve effectively made Discord and Twitter part of the game’s UI, and if players don’t have either, you’re disadvantaging them from taking part.

I don’t want to be this person, but part of me wishes that if someone wanted to make great, immersive treasure hunts or cool ‘vanity’ projects for ALL players, not just the lucky ones with English as their first language and access to a designer’s Twitter account, it could be accomplished without the need to flag every step of the journey. What this makes for, of course, is great news site content, and just shows how wonderful it is that players and designers are working so well together. That’s a designer and a very select group of players: no, I don’t hate anyone, and I certainly am not jealous I don’t get to ‘announce’ the cool stuff before you decide that’s why I’m whining. This game needs to be accessible to everybody, and right now things like this make me feel that’s not the case.

had-enough-gif

Mostly, on days like today, I feel that perhaps there’s something fundamentally missing here that I’m not grasping. Maybe I’ve just lost the ‘vibe’ of the game, I don’t know. Perhaps this was just a straw on a back that’s tired of being told that I need to play this game with so much baggage attached that it becomes impossible to cope with the basics to maintain my presence. Needless to say, if you want to make a game ‘fun’ for someone like me, stop holding my hand and give me enough clues to be able to work the damn thing out for myself.

Otherwise this stops being fun and simply becomes another grind.

4 thoughts on “Not Like This

  1. Idk, seems pretty subjective. I don’t think saying saying they’re “doing it wrong” is accurate. For people who like to do all this Twitter thing I guess it’s pretty neat. Some pay more attention to posts on twitter than to the quest text. Anyways, social media are a huge thing, people like to “play” social media around their common interest (the game itself) so it’s actually sensible for designers to do that. I mean, putting it all in game misses the point as that very point is to bring the game to the social media. They want to establish presence there. It’s not that they are worried that nobody found their secret, it was meant to be a social media thing from the beginning, they are playing a game, a bit different game, there, on twitter.

    It’s just the world we live in. Those of us who don’t like social media might try to stay away from them but unfortunately social media embedded itself deep into the global culture just like newspapers then radio then tv…. and its face will pop up even when we try to escape.

    And you can’t make a game for everybody simply because the ‘everybody’ of WoW got so diversified. Some spend half their wow-time on twitter, others hate it, some like figuring puzzles out by themselves, others like reading about solutions on Wowhead. This isn’t blizz being exclusive, I feel it’s the opposite, it tries to accommodate a social media engaged player as opposed to the players who like to figure stuff out in-game by themselves. Accommodating each is mutually exclusive, so they have to make different content for type A and for type B as opposed to content good for both, because that’s just not possible. If it was all hints in game… these people wouldn’t know, wouldn’t be interested. News sites, social media is the very point for them.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “I find myself wondering at the merit of having to ‘hide’ content like this so that it is a surprise, when everything can be just be that if you never use the Internet to look up how to do stuff in game to begin with.”

    You said it yourself a few days ago. The problem is the players. “People remain the biggest single problem ActiBlizz can never hotfix or remove.” They’ve tried putting in little secret easter eggs and such (and for what these pebbles lead to, I’d hardly call it “content”) before, but it would usually get solved by datamining the PTR client or in beta. (Here’s a similar blogpost discussing the Gara puzzle from WoD beta http://mashthosebuttons.com/2014/09/wow-thoughts-on-the-puzzle-of-taming-gara/) There will ALWAYS be people who go and look up how to do things. These puzzles are Blizzard’s attempt at circumventing that.

    There’s something to be said for putting these in and fostering a sense of community by driving players together to figure this out. It sucks that the discord is primarily in English, although outside of exchanging tweets/taunts with Feasel, I don’t see any reason why players in other languages couldn’t start their own discord. Those pebbles went unsolved for several weeks so its not like they wouldn’t have had time.

    If the pebbles irritated you, don’t look into the Riddler’s Mind Worm saga.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I followed an NPC around Dalaran last night. He had a bubble to talk to him. He told me Dalaran had a bug problem. He had a little bug eating toy with him. I was prompted to ask if he needed help and was told no. Then he walked off to another part of town. I wondered later if perhaps you follow him for a complete route if eventually he gives you a pet or toy. But I thought, do I really want to spend an entire evening following someone to find out there is nothing?

    Like

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