Greedy Goblin

Friday, December 12, 2008

Dear Faerlina,

You most probably don't remember me, and I barely remember you. I know you had some folks around you who shall not be touched until the raid leader says so. I know that sometimes some players have poison, that I abolish in seconds, but by the time I finish, there is no damage to heal, thanks to the CoH priest. I know you have soft hands since even half of my lifebloom went into overheal.

I don't remember how you look, what you use to say, where you use to go. I can't remember how your room looks like, how your minions look like. I do remember what they do: the same thing what the minions of all bosses nowadays, gather around the tank, eat AoE and die.

It was a long-long time ago when I last was in HC Shadow Labyrinth, and I wasn't there too often (my lower city rep is barely revered), but I still remember all the bosses, all the trashpacks, how to pull those wrath-mistress like creatures away from the sitting guys and so on. I had to know it, because if I've mistaken, we had a nice ghost run. I remember every line of Nalorakk and his buddies, and it were really good to see them again in the Har'koa questline.

You, my dear Faerlina, on the other hand never had the chance to make the impression. You and 3 other buddies (Anub'rekhan, Maexxna, Noth), I've first met yesterday went down so fast, and so easy as the poor yellow bunnies when some stupid kid decides to one-shot them.

I know that Ghostcrawler (Blizzard bossfight designer) said they wanted the endgame to be accessible for casuals. Well, my dear Faerlina, I am a casual. I reached 80 a couple days ago, and met you just yesterday. I've never been in a guild that had mandatory raiding, since my real life does not allow it. I spend much more time by the AH and writing this blog than theorycrafting restodruids and collecting gear. By Alexstrassza, I only have 6 emblems of heroism (+15 spent on idol). How more casual could I be? In BC I never got behind Rage Winterchill. I did not apply to HC guilds, partly because my real life did not allow it, but mostly because I had stupid hopes (those are not Blizzard's fault).

Did I somehow found my way into a guild of super-heroes of wow, got boosted though Naxx for gear? Don't think so. At first, on all bossfights I was first on healing meters. The other healers did not have a chance to prove their worth, since my lifebloom kept the tanks mostly above 90%, everything they did went to overheal. So all they could do is heal those who stepped into fire. And, contrary to Ghostcrawler's assumption, the others were also casuals. We finished Haigen with 5 people (with SS and 2 BR used), since they couldn't dance. I don't blame them, they were there for the very first time.

I feel sorry for them, they just died on the first or second dance, and did not have the chance to try again, they just watched as the boss slowly but surely lost HP and finally died. You know what was the most annoying in this elongated Haigen fight? To regenerate mana, I left my lifebloom fade away in platform phase to be outside 5SR. I kept my branches above the NS-HT button to act if this inactivity would risk the tank's life. Well ... that button was never pressed. I was literally AFK in 3 consequtive platform phases! I had to heal like insane in dance phase because people could not dance. But if they could, I had been completely useless.

Casuals, my dear Faerlina, are people who play casually. People who put little /played time in a week. If a raid takes 30 hours to complete, than a HC raider does it in 2 days, a moderately HC player with 3x4 hours does it in 3 weeks, the very casual player with 1 raid/week does it in 9 weeks. Since there are 2 years between expansions, and there are about a dozen raids, 9x12=108, almost equal to the 104 weeks/two years. Perfect match, a casual can complete the raid content exactly when the new content comes out.

Being accessible to casuals means that there are no more than 4x104 hours of content in a 2 years long game. Being accessible to casuals means there is no perfect-gear-check. If a T5 boss can only be killed if you farmed everything from T4, that's not casual friendly, since demands weeks of complete farming of previous content parallel to learning the actual content. Brutallus was maybe off this limit.

But when 33% of healers is dead, other 33% is AFK and the boss goes down, that fight is not casual friendly. That fight is complete-dumb-friendly. When I finish the fight with 90% mana, 50% overheal, no mana tide, no replenishment, that fight is not casual-gear friendly. That's random-green-friendly. When "progression" bosses can be two manned, that's not "bring the player not the class". It's "just autofollow in, AFK out, accept res, loot badge and epic".

Dear Faerlina, you were not more of a "progress" than those crazed furbolgs I killed in Grizzly Hills. Strike that, at least they had some lore, storyline told by the questgivers. You would deserve a questline like Keristrassa, who got some nice appearances in Coldarra, compensation for the complete lack of DPS and abilities.

One can ask: have I gotten all my exalted rep and HC dungeons I need? Have I completed all the questlines I need? The sad answer is yes. I got all the exalted reputations I need: exactly zero. Because I don't need any. Hey I have only 1 revered rep, the oracles, just because I use to go there with my GF who wants the trinket. Want =/= need. She does enough damage to kill any bosses already. Hey, if she would be AFK, the boss would still go down, so why bother? (because oracles are cute) I don't need any heroics for loot, rep, badge or anything. The money I spent on crafted gear was "wasted", if I'd be in my old lvl70 epics, 700SP, 100MP5 less, who would care? I would finish bossfights with 30% mana and 30% overheal instead of 90/50.

I did and will do the questlines, because they are nice story in this magical world. But I have 30% of Storm Peaks and 90% of Icecrown left. What shall I do after? Repeat content again and again and again and again, just to watch my reputation bar grow? Why? Cleaning public toilets seems more fun!

Dear Faerlina, you most probably don't understand why you have to suffer the shame of being defeated by complete idiots and AFK-ers. You may guessed the direct reason: because complete idiots also pay monthly fee to Blizzard. However this direct reason is not the fundamental one. After all, I can pay whatever price for a bicycle, I still cannot win the Tour de France. I can pay whatever money for a car, I still cannot win the Formula 1. If I grind a lawyer's diploma, it doesn't give me won cases. If I grind PHD I won't get Nobel prize next to it (learned it the hard way). In the real world, for my money and time I only get chance to participate in the contest. I must win it by skill and if I fail, no one gives my money back. For their monthly fee, the people should have the chance to go raid, so the instance should let them in, and you, my dear Faerlina should be on your platform on time, no slacking! But paying subscription does not entitle them to kill anything, they have to take it by skill.

What makes WoW different from bicycle racing? After all, that's also a game, no productive work is done. There are hobby bikers who just use their bikes for daily shopping, there are casual racers who participate in the "bike 10 miles for health, first prize is a new bicycle from our sponsor" and there are HC racers competing for World Championship.

The difference is not made by Blizzard, so don't bother whining to Ghostcrawler. The difference is in ourselves. If you see the game dumb-friendly, it's your fault dear reader!

Blizzard logs everything. Blizzard uses the most advanced data mining techologies to understand your choices and create a game that fit to these choices. Knowing the business value of social interaction, these technologies try to determine who are your friends, based on time spent together, language style used, helps given (yes, they can find out that when your lvl 80 goes RFK with his lvl30, that's not a PuG, but a boost). Blizzard knows that these dumb beings are your friends. So they want you to be able to play with your friends. And the only way to make it possible is to nerf the instances to their skills.

How can you stop the game from being nerfed? Simple: show every possible way that you are not the friend of the dumbs.
  • Kick them from your instance group or leave the instance if the others protect him.
  • Kick them from your raid if they come unprepared. I know preparation is not needed nowadays, but hey, if everyone is prepared, Naxx can be cleared in an evening, and not 2 or 3!
  • Insult them in /bg if they PvP in the middle of nowhere instead of defending/taking objectives!
  • /ignore them if they beg money or boost from you!
Remember, while Loatheb can be 2 manned, cannot be 0 manned. If no one would tolerate dumbs, they could reach nothing at all. 10 dumbs cannot complete any raid no matter how easy it is. Everything they have, came from us, not Blizzard, so all we have to do is say no! If we would, then their gaming experience would be so miserable that Blizzard would have to do something to keep their subscription.

What would they do? Acknowledge our de facto existing separation, and make it official. They would create easy and hard servers, first for dumb ones, with one-mannable instances, tank&spank raids, and lot of welfare epics. The the hard servers would be for us, brain-owner people, with complicated bossfights, challenging instances, much more XP needed for leveling, elite trolls in Hinterlands, elite ogres in Arathi highlands, stategy on BGs. A place worth spending our free time.

So it's all up to you! You can retake Azeroth from the enemy much more evil than Arthas, Illidan, and C'Thun could ever be: the Dumbness and it's countless minions crawling everywhere. You saw their real faces in the zombie event, no it's time to do something about it! Stop whining, start acting. Every /ignore, every /kick, every "/bg Look at XX, he tries to hit a rogue with the catapult watch the noob!" is a victory and bring us closer to our goal: dumb-free servers! And they feel so good!

PS: of course dumb =/= beginner. We were all beginners once. However beginner ask for information and not items. He asks you to give a link to a good strat to RFK and not boost him in RFK! Beginners worth helping, this very site has many (hopefully) usable information for beginner businessmen. But learning and paying the price of it is the beginner's responsibility and no one elses.


TheDave said...

I think that the easy and hard servers could be a good idea but did you think about the consequences into the server economy?
In a server made of only good players, you will surely have a really low percentage of dumbs, and this could led to a big cut of "easy" profits since they most come from dumbs.

Gevlon said...

Indeed. Than economy would be a challenge, and not like taking candy from 5 years old children. (so my tomorrow post could not be done if I'd be on a hard server)

Anonymous said...

If only that would work, the easy and hard servers would never take off.

Comming from an RP server i know all about this, now I like RP, I never knew what it was when I first rolled there, but respected peoples choise and decided to join in, which i found quite fun if you look in the right places.

Now, sadly my server is swamped with OOC (out of charecter) tards who accuse us of being dumb when they cannot even spell simple words correctly and have just as much 'no life' as myself from being on the game at silly o' clock in the morning.

Also noted is that the server started off as RP which had quite a few RP'ers, this number dropped because of social issues, (eg. "ma frend palys on here") people got fed up with people breaking the server rules and ...left.

The point being I think you will always get dumb people, you will always get lazy people etc etc etc

I think probebly another idea is to have difficulty setting like heroic, but same loot, and to make it like a badge of honor put a title in or and achivement or mabye even a mount (i know alot of HC raiders who love all that stuff, think armani warbear).

krizzlybear said...

dumb people exist. there's no escaping that no matter which social environment you're in, digital or otherwise.

Anonymous said...

I have one qustion and one observation...

How do you know that about Blizzard's data mining? Their choices on design and content availabilty seem to maximize the relation of work put into specific content and the number of ppl who see/experience it. Shatt beeing the first big example of that policy. This just looks like a marketting guy took over after the first design team left the game.

My observation is that you're not a casual. Not by a longshot. Yu dedicate time and effort into knowing the game and that isn't casual attitude. The only difference is that your blog and the sites you visit aren't logged by Blizzard. Knowing ratios of Overheal, investigating which reputations to rise first, playing a healer to get groups aren't signs of a casual attitude.

Gevlon said...

@krizzlybear: you can't escape. But you can defeat them.

@Yzy: Obviously the marketing guy controls the game design. However no marketing guy would do anything without knowing the targeted people.

About casuals: you also do what most do, mix skill with playtime. There are skilled casuals (play well but little) and unskilled hardcore (play a lot but has no clue). While it's true that there is cortelation between game time and skill but far from 100%

Anonymous said...

Interesting. I really like the idea of a servers based on difficulty. Sorta like playing Diablo on different difficulties.

Larísa said...

Well we all have different things in the game we like or dislike. There's a lot to comment here, but I'll focus on one thing.

I for one can't find it entertaining in any way to check AH again and again and again. Would rather be cleaning toilets... :)

On the other hand I do run heroic instances over and over again these days. And I enjoy it! I've already got the badge gear I want and quite a few drops, so my gear is probably fine for 25 man raiding as it is. And still I keep doing it. I'm exalted with one faction and got my boots. Now I want to ge exalted with another one and get a ring. Because there's some sort of force within me and many other players to work on our gear for perfection. And I think farming it by instance runs is more fun than crafting it.

You see I'm not just repeating content. Every time I run an instance is a bit different, a different setting. And there's always some achievements to push for if you have the right setting. Did a timed strat run the other day - we were in such a hurry that I skipped looting quite a few mobs. I didn't win the mount roll, still it was awesome, extremely entertaining. Even if I had done the instance itself a couple of times before (without managing to get the timer).

By doing instances over and over again I train myself as a player. I'm convinced that the day I manage to survive the whole endboss fight of HoL on heroic, I'll be better prepared for some of them more moving fights in 25 man raids later on. You don't learn that stuff at AH, do you?

Fish said...

You say dumb friendly, I say alt/pug/ADD friendly. The reality of the situation for a lot of players is that one way or another, they have to PuG content. Since most PuGs are of questionable quality, it would then be almost impossible to PuG higher tier raid content.

Another thing to consider is alts. Being able to "farm" raids is advantageous to those of us who have multiple alts and want to see things from a variety of angles. Your calculations assume a person has only 1 character. what if they have 5 that they rotate between?

Anonymous said...

While I love your work and realize that English may not be your first language, it pains me everytime you insult others and yet spell "Rogue" as "Rouge".

Gevlon said...

@larísa: of course you can go to instances many times for your amusement, but considering the storyline, it's not needed. The story of the game is to defeat Arthas and his minions to protect Azeroth. If you defeat HC Malygos, you completed the game for this patch. And you can do it in lvl 70 gear. Could you imagine someone beating unnerfed Maghteridon in lvl 60 and unenchanted blue gear?

@Fish: someone who have alts BEFORE he completed the game with his main is someone who simply can't make up his mind. Someone who plays in a questionable pug is someone who either can't defend his interests or questionable player himself.

@Anonymus: rogue fixed

Hinenuitepo said...

Blizzard clearly changed directions with their first raids of this expansion, yours is hardly the first blog or post to point this out.
It remains to be seen if the difficulty of the next level of raids ramps up sufficiently to keep the hard core happy.
I'm a hardcore casual btw. My guild raids two days a week, and has already cleared everything except two or more adds up Sartharion. It's been fun, but I really do hope Ulduar is more of a challenge.

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