Friday, June 26, 2015

Obvious Gating is Obvious: Two Bonus Objectives

On the day of patch 6.2's launch I logged in with awe and wonder and was excited to tackle all that has to offer in Tanaan Jungle. We were getting quests to go here and go there and do this and that and in the confusion I thought something felt a little strange but couldn't really figure it out cause I tend to miss exclamation marks that are right up in my face.

So I worked out a battle-plan on how to tackle our new "daily" quests:

1. Get the kill 20 demon/Iron Horde quest.
2. Get the bird quest for 10 things. Look out for rares and treasures.
3. Get the thing in the building to do an apexis quest.
4. Fight the Tiny Terrors if I run by them.

Ok. So I'll start with #3, cause apparently you come back, THEN your faction person gives you a quest to go do two MORE apexis bonus areas.

On the first day I thought I was missing some rep or requirement so didn't think too much of it, but I realized it only shows up AFTER the first apexis quest is done.

Why didn't you ask me to go earlier?

Obvious time gating is obvious. There's no narrative to why he has to give this quest out later. It doesn't add to the immersion of "invading the Jungle", why are we running back and forth? Why not merge the two quests and then add in an extra one where we go pick up extra armaments/supplies on the way?

I don't know what else to say.

These are no good stinky poo tactics.

Turny the Stinky

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Mandatory Patch 6.2 Launch Post

The Story

The Promised Patch, the Resolver of Woes, the largest content patch in the history of WoW has been released and we have been sent to infiltrate and invade Tanaan Jungle. The Iron Horde has been broken and Gul'dan is up to no good and has erected Hellfire Citadel as his bastion of destruction.

The Narrative

What narrative? We are first sent to the Iron Docks to embark on a thrilling adventure to recover shipyard plans from the now disbanded Iron Horde to build our own fleet in our invasion of Tanaan Jungle.

This quest boils down to running around and clicking things until you are done, then in about five minutes you hearth back to your garrison.

We "invade" Tanaan jungle by building a boat which we can't interact with and literally running past mobs until you are told to create the foothold.

That was a pretty simple invasion I'm sure we could have done it sooner.

The New Factions

There are three new factions: Birds, Faction, Saberons. The birds just magically appear beside you once you've opened up your Tanaan base. No story, or lead-in, just exists and you automatically go and do some grindish treasure quests for them. Interesting enough but I'm not sure how I feel about wandering around the entire island for an hour waiting for treasure/rares to spawn to finish their quest.

Faction specific faction, Vol'jin's Headhunters: where did they come from and why do I care?

Saberons: Why is a Saberon telling me to kill other Saberons and where are the rest of the Saberon when one guy is dolling out all the weekly quests?

Factions are...weirdly handled in WoD, they kind of just...exist as a means of grind.

Think back to the Argent Crusaders and Knights of the Ebon blade. Their story line was amazing.

Demons and Pets and Immersion

The new island is fun to explore, except when I see treasure I wonder if I should wait for the bird faction daily to click them? I'm pretty sure most contain crappy 655s anyways? Our demons got prettier, gear looks amazing out of HC, and the new Legendary pets are a "challenge" but most boil down to spamming Sleeping Gas or using the Pandaren Water Spirit + Chrominius Combo.

See, it's nice that there is SOMETHING to do, but this is all based on the fact that there was almost NOTHING to do for current progression. Then again, the factions and rep grind don't really help us out save for the world boss dropping 705. Baleful gear can proc as 675 but I'm already 692 and I refuse to do this grind again on my alts.

The Shipyard

Another command table. Hate it.

Mythic and Timewalking Dungeons

Eh we almost already out-gear mythic dungeons so this is possibly an event for alts. Timewalking dropping what 660s will probably never be touched?

Demo Nerfs?

The buff to mastery makes our non-25% reduced spells quite potent, but I'll update you again on how crappy we do in HC "Heroic" this weekend.

The Short and Sweet

Beautiful jungle, look forward to exploring it more. Not sure how long it'll last except for the raid content of course.

Truny the Cautious

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Demonology in 6.2: Dev Q&A Responses

Don't Play Demonology: We're Changing It!

*Note: I do see on the current patch notes that our benefits from mastery are going up, so this would just mean that our scaling has been pushed back 25% until we obtain enough gear to come back to par. It isn't really the nerfing I am concerned with but just strange and poor decisions being made as a whole.

My initial reaction to the nerf data back in April for the Demonology spec was "well, I better play Demonology if they are actually that great".

I'm going to try to make my comments on Ion's response to why "Demonology is being nerfed to the ground".

The reason Demonology is receiving nerfs is because it is the current "go to spec" since the other two specs do not feel as flexible and well-rounded. However, they also say that Demonology also feels too complex and requires add-ons to play (uh, no, unless you are blind and can't count the tick-down of your corruption on 3+ targets in your head?).

This feels contradictory. Sure, Demo is better well rounded for multi-target damage and your demon makes up for some of our sub-par single target. We aren't THAT great for single target.

So Ion is basically saying "The Affliction and Destruction spec are currently non-optimized, with players feeling pressured to play the more clunky class which turns out to be more balanced in all fights in general".

Um. Wut?

Now if I remember correctly, demon form used to just make us flat out stronger, with the same spells. You were literally just x% stronger.

Then came demon "form"/stance. There were extra spells that allowed us to become a bit more mobile, and modified our existing spells.

Is Demonology Clunky?

If you're talking single target then we are pretty basic and almost boring. Get your basic dots up, pop demon form for Doom and then build up your energy bar and wait for your CDs and the stars to align and pop demon form again and unleash terror. Now this is all single target.

I found multi-target fights such as Triple Boat Bitches to be very fun and engaging. I'm doing more or less the same on 2-3 targets, but instead of wasting my Hand of Guldan, I am popping in and out of demon form to use Chaos Wave (which, sure is pretty strong but has limited use) to more damage. I do agree to Chaos Wave MAYBE drawing back a bit, I mean it is a very powerful AOE that one can cast while jumping around like a chicken with its head cut off.

I would use JUST this time to use Chaos Wave to refresh any running corruptions on targets (I don't specifically pop into demon form to refresh corruption, I think Noxxic is crazy?).

Why would I need an addon? What am I looking for? Why do we need addons for anything anyways? Just ignore me I'm one of them no-addon snobs, sure they're helpful but not necessary unless you're going for world firsts.

Every fight has a pattern, every mechanic has its trigger, and those that are timed happen at the exact same time so why is there even a reason to have an addon tell you? You pull, pop your potion and you know EXACTLY 1 min after your first CD something happens and you deal with it.

(Tips to developers: Make encounters where addons CAN NOT track mechanics. Your in-game warnings are awesome and sufficient).

Ok I'll stop now. Back to rant.

Sorry I'll Stop Ranting About Add-ons!

So class balancing is a dud, and can I blame the removal of rain of fire ember regen on this? I feel this would have helped a lot for multi-target fights?

So what I am hearing is: "People feel they must play Demo, so we must push them away from it. They are too lazy to learn the semi-clunky rotation, as it is not 1-dimensional like how we have pushed a lot of the other classes to become in WoD. And BTW, we are also going to redesign the spec so when said lazy people see a change in Demo AGAIN, they do not bitch and cry and moan".

Did I Feel Forced to Play Demonology?

No I did not. Usually if Destro isn't workout out for me I will defeault to Demo and then if Destro still doesn't work I will drop it and become Demo/Affliction.

Demo has worked so I haven't had to go the latter route yet.

I also don't like the word forced.

Early on when I was still sitting at a mere 630 ilvl worth of stats, ANY spec was just horrendous. What would I have been "forced" to do. Gear up, but slowly and horribly. So I stopped playing.

I am quite excited to see how Demo will turn out to be. Perhaps they'll remove Hellfire, and our imps, and the Felguard, and Hand of Guldan gets a cast time.

Throughout the expansions I have followed how our talents and spells have evolved and have obtained a general sense of what should be done to maximize the output of each tree so switching between the three specs isn't really a big deal to Truny.

WoD however was different. Having been almost exclusively destro in MoP and only coming back to Demo for current raids, I found my numbers to be significantly higher (over 10%) simply for being in a different spec.

Is This a Real Solution?

I get it. It is Demo's turn to be bottom of the pack again. But you HAVE to look at the big picture. Warlocks aren't that great to begin with now. I had to actually hit 690 to catch up and exceed my 690 peers, while I was eating their dust at 680. This is a fundamental error. Make us godly again (please.).

But seriously, take a look at the spec as a whole. If people were compelled to move away from 2/3 of the specs and now you're going to make the one they moved to less attractive, it doesn't solve the fact that perhaps all the changes have made the entire class feel unattractive. Sure maybe Affliction will be the new top dog within Warlocks, but how about compared to OP Fire Mages?

One thing I despise about WoD is that it has turned my blog into a pseudo gaming and corporate strategy and planning rant-fest. All I want is to be excited about random stuff, not complain about EVERY SINGLE component of the current game.

Uh Oh, Rant Mode Unrestrained

My question to the team that took over WoW: Have you ever PLAYED WoW within the past five years? Or an MMO? I feel there were a lot of grandiose ideas put into place where the expected result was "Let's see what happens".

I get it, the industry needs a change and WoW is the perfect catalyst to hold this change. And here I go on again about mobile mobile mobile.

Mobile gaming is a finicky princess, the retention and revenue models are completely different than what can be provided in an MMO environment.

I also get that integrating SOME parts of mobile gaming, such as quicker updates, weekly/occasional events can keep things fresh with minimal development time. But you have to be careful.

Garrisons could have been this feature, a side feature, not the main feature. Where is your mission/vision for the game? I feel that this has either been lost or is being concealed from the public.

Were you guys on a vendetta to single handedly destroy gold sellers? Were you trying to give us more immersion with our main character?

Ok I'll stop.

I also want to add that I am one of those cash-cow players where I could care less about $15 a month and when there are content lulls or I am bored, I'll just go somewhere else and come back later knowing things will be great.

WoD was the FIRST TIME ever since my subscription started in WOTLK that I had considered not even contributing to the revenue stream of the game, and this was only a few months into Highmaul! It wasn't that I didn't want to play, I just didn't want to. Period. And I'm surprised that there wasn't foresight put into a LOT of the quickly made redundant features such as Apexis gear and ok ok I said I'll stop.

Let's wait for 6.2.

Truny the Still Going to Play Demonology Probably

Monday, June 15, 2015

Battle Pets for Warlocks: 3rd Installment

With all the craziness that WoD has brought upon us I have massively delayed a lot of my "fun times" posts. I also haven't posted a lot of screenshots for you guys. So without further ado: Warlock Battle Pets 3rd rendition!

Raiding With Leashes 3 sends us into the long anticipated pet collecting raids of BT, Sunwell, and Hyjal Summit and since these were core BC raids we are sure to expect a lot of demonic pets.

First and foremost is Abyssius! I have waited for a long time to be able to bring this amazing blue Abyssal around with me. It will occasionally tense up and break apart, and put itself together again. He is a drop from 2nd boss in Black Temple, so get cracking if you've just started your hunt!

Next is the Eye of Observation. Remember Durumu from ToT? Do you like hanging out with your Eye of Kilrogg? Well fret no more for now you can have your very own eye as well. This dude drops off a "rare" mob and you'll encounter him in Shattrath (maybe go during an Apexis daily if anyone still does those).

Next we have the Servant of Demidos. This guy is a rare spawn who respawns every few hours in Shadowmoon Valley. You can only claim a true loot once per day per toon, so if you feel like it you can camp a toon by his spawn point and hope for this amazing looking voidwalker to spawn!

Finally, we can't talk pets without talking about puppies amirite? One of the drops in Sunwell is the Chaos Pup. He occasionally runs around all puppy like as well, aww demonically cute!

Did I miss any? I purposely skipped the Imps and Grells cause we get enough of them helping us out as Demo as it is!

Until next time!

Truny the Needs More Demons

Monday, June 1, 2015

Garrisons are Breaking Immersion

Before I hop onto the flying/no flying debacle one of the major arguments that requires a bit of backing up is in regards to gaming immersion within World of Warcraft. Pretend you're a time-traveler and you've read this information AFTER you read my future post.

We need to first analyze what provides a sense of rich immersion within WoW? You would think the developers have this as a check-list by their desks when they design content, but let's not go there yet.

Here is my quick and dirty.

What Provides Immersion in WoW

Our toons are the starting point as they are the digital representation of what we would like to be as heroes in a fantastical world. We need to feel involved and invested in their progress (take note of the word "progress") through their adventures and how they live their story as they grow up in Azeroth. Their gestures, dances, transmog outfits, all the customization bolster character-side immersion.

The world of Azeroth plays into immersion. The physical world in which we traverse needs to be fantastic and interesting. That sense of awe when a new player first discovers how BIG the world is, that the zone they are playing in is merely a fraction of what they can discover.

However, just a beautiful zone with no substance is not enough. The story of how we traverse this world, through quest text and story-telling also play a part into immersion. WHY are we doing this? Other than the tangible rewards, it all has to tie back to the grand scheme of things that the developers are driving us towards. Give lore and history to the zones. WoW has done a great job of building up a complex network of stories and backstories giving each and every zone a lot of depth and breadth.

Next we can add on the complex layer of social interactions within WoW and this is where we start crossing lines. Now if everyone was on board and was fully immersed, that is everyone believes the stories, believes the lore and respects the world that they are in, we're gold. A lot of the tools that allow us greater convenience to connect with others may start breaking down game immersion. Instant grouping, instant teleportation, no need to communicate or share stories. We're heading towards the Ephemeral World of Warcraft.

What Actually IS Immersion?

Defining what provides immersion is easy. But what exactly IS it? Is it being so involved that you lose track of time? That you mistake Azeroth for reality?

At the very least, we should feel involved with the current story arc, that our characters feel involved and have a solid sense of progress (yet again) throughout the various expansions.

Despite the lack of current content and very little sense of personal progress in WoD, nothing yet breaks immersion as much as garrisons.

Garrisons are Breaking Immersion

Now Garrisons from the get-go did NOT break immersion since we were immersed with the world while leveling. The saving grace: amazing questing stories.

Once we hit end game and maxed out most of our buildings, the garrison breaks down into a few things:

1. Command Table: The main crux of the issue.
2. Mines and Herbs: While this in itself was a great idea, how they killed off professions creates a disconnect to the profession part of immersion.
3. Buildings that just feel like gating.

They tried to implement a system based on the very finicky mobile gaming philosophy of "checking in every once so often". Now we have to ask: "Who is checking in? Us the HUMAN playing the game, or our characters?".

The answer is us, the human. Garrisons are breaking the 4th wall of gaming! There is so little interaction and "immersion" with how garrisons are setup in every aspect be it how it has broken down professions to an ugly gated mini-game, but also how our major source of gold and gear (I got 2 700 ilvl gears back to back, that's pretty major).

As I have mentioned before, the garrison system is a very poorly implemented bastardization of a mobile model/town-builder/player housing. It just isn't good in any aspect so don't you go blabbing on about flying breaks down immersion. Even if we CAN fly, where is there TO FLY TO? I am not making an argument for or against flying, but that is my major observation as of right now.

Let's go back to what we setup earlier.

Immersion basically starts with us feeling connected to our character.

We log in and click things FOR our character, but I doubt they are having any fun at this command table.

The STORY is that we are commanders, but all we do is dish out commands player-side. Our character has no involvement, it doesn't even animate their HANDS pushing the buttons for us. Along with the fact that character progression boils down to "Hit 100, raid", there's no REASON to do any of the side-content (*Cough*VP/JP*Cough*)

We need to connect to the world. We (the human) send our non-immersive "followers" out into the theoretical world to explore...but that is it. We rescue/aid them out in the world and recruit them. That I feel was a good starting point but it just becomes bland once they live within our menus.

Lastly, we have social interaction. As of now, garrisons isolate us within our own little bubble and any interaction with others outside of organized raiding is simply clicking a button and completing your encounter in utter silence.

Now take all this coupled with a lack of world content, no wonder players are starting to slowly dissolve the 4th wall of gaming. We're not even on our own toons, the game has boiled down to the human player behind the monitor clicking on menus.

Why Didn't This Happen in MoP?

MoP had its own issues but one thing that is glaringly different is that the game never broke immersion within itself.

We had our personal farms, which was our CHARACTER's farm. They made friends, worked to build friendships with the various farmers, and physically harvested stuff from a farm you physically tend to. Sure, the herb garden and mine are also physical, but they act to negate a profession rather than complement a profession.

MoP was rife with dailies. Everyday you would log in and feel like you were behind the curve. Gotta do all the dailies and all the reputation things, get in your daily heroic for VP, perhaps scenarios for VP. It was overwhelming and I had hoped to see something SIMILAR, just toned down. Now while all those activities were overwhelming they all acted as a font of progression for our characters, something that WoD severely lacks.

Collecting a bazillion apexis for an out-dated piece of gear by the time you earn it? No thanks.

So in short: Fix this now. Don't anger your investors. Remember, some of your gamers are also investors and some big investors are also gamers. This is 2015.

Truny the Non-Immersed?