13
Apr
09

Timing is Everything

Now you know how Grandma feels

Now you know how Grandma feels

Six months.  Half a year.  More or less, this is how long Wrath of the Lich King has been out.  This is how long the WoW community at large has gone without any brand new content.  Just the same continent, twelve dungeons, four raid zones and two battlegrounds to keep us company.  Personally I went through all of the stuff within about three months and I’m sure others were even faster about it.  And now we’re bored.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a problem with the game itself or any of the actual content.  I thought that the Wrath content that did come with the expansion was great and certainly helped to expand the overall story line with great graphics and dungeons and all.  But I’m beginning to think that Blizzard has sort of screwed the pooch on timing when dealing with this particular expansion.  There are multiple reasons for this and trust me when I say that you’ll hear all of them (I do so love to go on), but it comes down to one major thing:  Six months is too long to wait for new content.

Think about it.  Yes, Blizzard released a larger continent than they did at the beginning of Burning Crusade.  They also gave us incentives to go back and do as many of the quests as humanly possible in order to garner extra rewards for professions.  Also involved were daily quests and a hundred little other things to keep us occupied and busy when we weren’t raiding or running dungeons.  All this is great and fantastic, but the problem is that the true draw of the game, raiding and dungeons, were just too few to keep us occupied this entire time.

One problem with this is Blizzard tried to “learn it’s lesson” so to speak by making the end game very accessible.  I will agree that the old end game content was intimidating with the idea that I had to spend hours and hours preparing and running dungeons and getting the right equipment or else I would be a craptacular failboat.  That idea actually kept me from the end game because I didn’t want to have to work so hard for it.  But now there’s no work needed at all to be able to do end game.  Run a few dungeons, get half blues and greens and you’re ready for Naxxramas.  Gone are the days of needing keys for dungeons or attuning yourself for raids.  We had a guild member who dinged 80 and literally two minutes later was in Naxx picking up purples.  The point here is that the occasional time sink can be good for the game and will serve to keep players occupied.

Another problem is the fact that there’s really only three new end game raids and all three of them are designed to take a half hour at the longest.  Although Naxx did have a “new to me” feel, what must some of my guildies who farmed this on 40 man be feeling when it comes to this?  They may be getting gear and that’s satisfying to them, but they’re also staring at the same bosses that they’ve done a hundred times before.  There’s no new challenge to this since even though they hit harder and have more health, they’re not anymore challenging than they were before.  In fact, Blizzard has already admitted they made Naxx too easy.  The idea of an introductory raid is great in order to get people geared out and ready to go, but when that’s your major end game dungeon for six months you’re going to have problems.

Guilds are already feeling the squeeze with players who just can’t handle doing the same thing over and over week in and week out.  Though achievements are out there with vanity items available to keep people busy, not everyone’s into that.  Not everyone will want to spend hours and hours trying to do or get something that’s optional and in the end of no benefit to them whatsoever other than to say “ooh, shiny.”  With the only options being to run the same raids or dungeons that have been available for six months, a lot of these players instead choose to just walk away from the computer for a while.  It’s too boring for them to log on and I even find that sometimes I log on and sit there staring at my character and wondering why I’m even on.

Of course, some people will say to level an alt, but that’s not anything new.  It’s the same content, just with a different perspective.  Not to mention that for me, there’s nothing more boring or frustrating than running content that I’ve run before only not being able to waltz through it like I know I can on my main.  Being a newb again sucks for some people and not everyone has the constitution to do it every few months when they’re bored with their mains.  I want to have a reason to log onto the character I’ve dedicated a huge majority of my time to already, not some other little wiener char I’m using as a way to waste time.

So what are some things that Blizzard can do to help stave off the malaise that is brewing like a storm over Northrend?  Obviously it’s unrealistic to expect new content patches every month and I can certainly respect and agree with the idea that you don’t want to release content that is incomplete or buggy just to give the whiners what they want.  But there has to be a happy medium somewhere in between.  There has to be a reason to log on.  Personally, I think they should’ve focused on and released the Argent Tournament a couple of months ago.  That was when most guilds had run Naxx enough to pretty much be done with it and were really beginning to butt their heads against Sarth 3D and Maly.  A major content release like that would’ve served to keep people occupied again for at least a month and though boredom would’ve started to set in again by now, they would be that much closer to Ulduar.

Some people still will argue that more dungeons would’ve been the way to go and that could’ve been cool.  A new five man is always fun and great to play in.  But it would’ve had to be a level 80 dungeon and in order to entice end game players to keep them occupied.  It also would’ve had to be close to 10 man raids in difficulty to present a challenge.  Even then, it most likely would’ve only kept the 80’s busy and occupied for a few weeks before even that got pushed to the wayside.  I believe what could’ve worked is to have released maybe three dungeons in quick succession with each one needing to be cleared before you could move to the next.  Maybe a month apart or so.

Look, I don’t claim to know how long development of content takes and perhaps I’m being unfair, but I do think six months is an extremely long time to wait when you look at the utter lack of end game content available.  By making it so easy that a level 80 character could be ready for Ulduar within a month or so of dinging, Blizzard messed up.  They basically made a short path to a brick wall and now they’ve got millions of thirsty gamers howling at that wall.  They shouldn’t be rushing content, but they should have had some new content by now instead of having us just sitting on the same old crap for months.

So what do you think, gentle jerkwads?  What could blizzard have done to improve this concept of just not enough a lot of players are touting right now?  Do you think new dungeons are in order or perhaps you’d like to see some other sort of content similar to Argent Tournament or the Darkmoon Faire?  Maybe even some sort of mini raid?  Or maybe Blizzard could have long attunement quests or difficult to obtain keys again?  What could Blizzard have done to keep us busy?

-Dueg

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7 Responses to “Timing is Everything”


  1. 04/13/2009 at 11:48 AM

    I think this all comes down to personal preferences.

    For me, I couldn’t care less if they take another 6 months in coming out with Ulduar, because I really don’t care. I play the game because I enjoy playing it.

    That doesn’t mean I don’t like running through it with my high level characters, it just means that that’s not what drives me to play.

    Back in the BC days when I first started playing you always heard the phrase, “the game doesn’t actually start until you hit level 70”. And now of course that has been changed to level 80. But for me, that’s when the *game* ends.

    Now sure, you still have all that loot to get, you have the achievement you need to go after, and so on and so forth. But that’s also the time when it stops being just a game to have fun with and becomes a job. You have your scheduled work hours, you have to complete the job you’ve been assigned, you have to do all of your prep work before the deadline, and then you have to make sure you show up on time.

    While there is a great deal of satisfaction (at least the first few times) in all of that coming together and running smoothly to pull off a nice victory, it eventually becomes stale as you’ve mentioned.

    I don’t think though that that’s so much Blizzard’s fault in not providing you with the content you desire so much as it is your own personal desire and lust for more. Could Blizzard have done better in providing a stronger mountain for you to climb? Of course they could, as they’ve already admitted. But I don’t see that they have failed in any way other than perhaps fully grasping the hunger of the end game raiders.

    While the raiders may be leaving the game now because the end content isn’t challenging enough, I don’t think I would be too far off in saying that if they focused all of their efforts on end game, then they would lose far more players to that.

    You have to look at Blizzard from their perspective as a business, not your perspective as a customer. Losing long time customers has little meaning because the price is the same whether you’ve played for 1 day or 4 years. Losing all of your new players is a huge loss because you no longer have anyone to pick up the slack when old players leave for new games. As long as the number of new players continues to grow, then the focus has to remain somewhat on them even if it upsets the older ones (like lowering level requirements for mounts that upset the old timers so much). Losing one veteran player while gaining three new players is still a success. You don’t want to lose all of the vets though, and that’s where you have to throw them a Naxx-bone to chew on for a while to keep them busy.

  2. 04/13/2009 at 12:33 PM

    I think you’re missing the point of my post. I’m not QQing here that Blizzard isn’t doing enough to keep end game raiders vs new people. At this point in the game, everyone who’s hanging on with end game content in mind is just waiting for Ulduar. It’s an extremely common perception among a LOT of raiders and bloggers and the reason for this is that the end game as it stands now can only really keep a guild occupied for two to three months before everyone is decently geared out.

    It’s not about “lust” or “greed” for new content, it’s about the fact that there was simply not enough content to satisfy WoW’s player base for the amount of time it’s taking them to release something new. As things stand right now, you can clear all of the end game content in a 4 or 5 hour period once a week. It’s ridiculous for Blizzard to make all these changes to encourage people to get to level 80 as quickly as possible (and anyone who thinks otherwise is being naive) and then give you so very little to do once you get there.

  3. 3 Jack
    04/13/2009 at 2:19 PM

    lol.

    I still haven’t finished Northrend content. Hell, I haven’t “finished” vanilla content. I barely scratched the surface of Outland and have just begun Northrend.

    Mostly, that’s a result of only playing the game for just over a year now. And severe altitis.

    I’m certainly not bored. I think six months was more than enough time to go before new content and I could have gone more. Much more. I’ll go out on a limb and guess that I’m not unique.

    ” . . . but the problem is that the true draw of the game, raiding and dungeons, were just too few . . .”

    And that’s where we disagree. Not the point about raids and dungeons being to few, but the importance you put on them. It’s where you may be able to speak for yourself, your crowd of close friends, and other end game raiding guilds who approach the game like you do, but you are wrong to describe that narrow approach as the true draw of the game.

    I’ve got one friend who says the only reason to play the game is Arena. For him, World of Warcraft is PvP. Everything else is just a vehicle to get you there.

    For me, the game is about being involved in the storyline. It does not bore me at all to level up alts. You may be bored seeing the same content from different perspectives, but it excites me. It engages me.

    I’ve got another friend who only plays the game as a social tool. We could raid, quest, PvP . . . it doesn’t matter. We could hang out at the Filthy Animal drinking virtual ale and chatting for all he cares. As long as he’s there with his buddies.

    ” . . . now they’ve got millions of thirsty gamers howling at that wall . . . “

    Very nice imagery. Honestly. However, I question the numbers. Or at least their significance. Maybe you’re right . . . with 11 million players, millions, plural, only requires about 20% of the players be as hard core as Deug. Consider that if only 20% are like me, that puts millions in my boat also. I ran Zul’Gurub the other weekend. But it was part of a 15 man raid of players in the 70ish level range. The lore, the gear, the rep . . . none of it really mattered. We aren’t participants in the Hakkar story line like original content players could be. We just did it for the achievement. And while there may be millions howling at the wall for more content faster, there are likely also millions who can’t catch up to the pace at which new content is being released.

  4. 04/13/2009 at 2:21 PM

    I got the point, don’t get me wrong. When I went to address it, the above is what came out in its place. To say is not about lust or greed and then in the next sentence state that there’s not enough content to satisfy is contradicting. That’s the whole point – you want more than what they gave you. “It’s not enough, Blizzard. Give me more!” There’s nothing wrong with that, I’m just saying your perspective of what they’ve done vs theirs is different.

    Everyone at end game is just waiting for Ulduar, agreed. Most of the bloggers out there are raiders, which is why most of what you read deals primarily with end game. That’s where I’m talking about preference and perception.

    I think you missed my point in the first half though. The point up there was that it all comes down to preference. Why do you play the game? What’s your motivation? If it’s strictly end game, then you’re going to be disappointed because that’s not what’s the primary focus right now. If they turned over Ulduar before it was ready, it would have an even more profound negative impact on driving players away that what we have right now without it. The reason being that right now we have something to look forward too even though we’re bored, where if they rushed Ulduar and gave us crap we would leave the game to potentially never bother coming back.

    You’re looking at Blizzard’s failure to have more end game content, where I look at Blizzards success with focusing on new players.

    You mentioned you don’t know how long development takes. Well, I’m a programmer, so I do have some idea. You can’t just look at Ulduar as being the only thing they are bringing in either. You have to look at the dual specs, you have to look at the changes they are making to talent trees, etc. There is a lot of stuff going on here and you can’t just throw it in and call it good. When you make an expansion, you have to look at what impact these new changes are going to have on existing content, and make sure you don’t leave any holes that can be exploited. You have to test it, then you have to fix it, then you have to make sure your fixes don’t break anything either, and then rinse and repeat.

    Apparently I’m one of the naive ones because I really don’t see rushing to level 80 as soon as possible being the primary motivation behind Blizzard’s changes. Secondary, perhaps, but not primary. In my opinion, I think if you don’t realize that Blizzard is primarily encouraging people to being new players into the game then that’s where you find naivety. They want new players to come in and they want them to level quickly, yes. Take a moment to look at this from a business perspective rather than as a game. The idea here isn’t so much rushing everyone to 80 as it is bringing in as many people as possible, give them a way to make a lot of progress in a fairly short amount of time to get them hooked, and then give them some bones (i.e. achievements, PvP, BoA, RaF, etc) to chew on while we finish up the next expansion. As I said before, a new player brings in the same amount of profit as an old player. You get more money from bringing in more players than you do from retaining the old ones. Not every long time player is going to leave because new dungeons are lagging, but every new player adds profit.

    Blizzard knows full well that not everyone is going to strive to obtain all of those achievements, that some people just don’t give a flip about PvP, vanity pets, mounts, cooking/fishing, etc, etc. They know that Naxx was a flop compared to what they did with BC. Now they are bringing out Ulduar to satisfy the old, while still bringing in more and more content for the newer players as well.

    Why do you think they switched the requirement for dual specs from level 80 down to level 40? Was it because they were focusing on the raiders, or because they were focusing on the new players?

    If Blizzard’s primary focus was on end game raiding, then they wouldn’t keep raising the leveling cap and by so doing require new players to put more and more time into reaching that goal. They do want you to be able to get a taste of it, which is a big reason why you can start that DK at level 55 (on any server) and be a bit OP for the sake of reaching level 80 faster, but you have to also look at how huge the DK population is now with that change, which gets people in the mood to (wait for it), that’s right – roll a new toon or go back to that level 55 they left to start up the DK. [Now there’s a failure worth blogging about.]

    To help you see a bit more clearly what I’m talking about here, take your line in that second paragraph “As things stand right now, you can clear all of the end game content in a 4 or 5 hour period once a week.” Well, maybe *you* can clear all of that content in 4-5 hours, but I can’t even come close to that mark, nor can any guild I’m in on 8 different servers.

    Why do all the other raiders you talk to agree with you? Because they’re the raiders that are in your same position; looking at end game. Why do a lot of blogs agree with you? Because most blogs are written by raiders and/or veterans of the game that could be raiders if they had a desire. Just because raiders are the most advertised and publicized group out there doesn’t actually mean that they are the majority. Count the number of raid-focused WoW blogs in the world and then look at what percentage that is of the 11.5 million players.

    To clarify my points here so they don’t get mixed up:

    1 – I’m not saying you’re QQing, I’m saying your perspective is different as a raider, and thus not fully accurate of the overall picture. You’re not QQing, I’m just disagreeing and offering a different perspective.

    2 – I’ve clearly stated that I agree that end game is lacking and that Blizzard has as well. My point in line with this is that Blizzard’s focus is not primarily on end game right now, and they aren’t going to cater to a select audience (raiders) that does not, by default, generate more revenue than another. They aren’t going to leave them hanging, they just aren’t going to focus solely on them either. Blizzard is going to target the masses by developing several things at once, not just another final dungeon.

    3 – Rushing development is never a good idea, and again you need to look at the overall picture and see that Ulduar is being developed alongside many other changes and additions as well. You don’t release an expansion/update/whatever when it’s halfway done unless you want it to suck.

    So to sum all of that up, I’m not saying you are wrong, I’m simply saying your perspective is focused on a single area instead of the whole.

    To address your original questions:

    – Are new dungeons in order? Certainly. But should they rush them through or focus largely on them? Not in my opinion. And in all honesty, do you think that if they even put out 5 more dungeons that you wouldn’t be sitting here writing this same exact post about having cleared all 5 of those as well?

    – Would I like to see other content like the AT or DmF? Sure, it only further enhances the overall playing experience, and it’s a nice enjoyable break from the regular play.

    – Mini raid? Hmm, not sure about that one. I wouldn’t be opposed to it, but I think they could focus their time and efforts elsewhere to greater benefit.

    – Attunement quests and keys? While I’m not a huge fan of the idea, I do see the value it presents in the game, and I would go for it. If you really wanted to be kept busy, then this is likely the best method from those you listed.

    – What could Blizzard have done to keep us busy? I think they’ve done a fine job of keeping people busy if those players actually want to be kept “busy”. That’s what achievements are for, that’s what PvP is for, that’s what the BoA items are for, and that’s what Recruit A Friend is for. If none of those float you boat, then I guess there’s little more I can offer than an unsympathetic “sorry”. Blizzard has given us plenty to keep ourselves occupied with. The fact that not everyone likes them is not a failure on Blizzard’s fault, but rather a limitation of the players to step out of their comfort zone and try something else for a while.

  5. 04/13/2009 at 2:57 PM

    Retro-heroics.

    I think Blizz missed an opportunity with recycling content, in that they didn’t take it quite far enough. How hard would it be to roll out a level 80 heroic version of a vanilla WoW dungeon every month? Start with RFC and update one every month thereafter.

    Don’t redesign them, just buff the mobs and bosses, then turn it loose.

    You gotta throw the players a bone every once in a while. The seasonal events help keep things fresh, but Blizz needs to keep em small and keep em coming. It seems like there has been absolutely nothing new in the game for 2 months now.

    Vess

  6. 04/13/2009 at 3:07 PM

    I’m not trying to be insulting nor am I insulted by anyone having an opposite PoV from mine. This is a problem I have with the internet and commenting on blogs sometimes in that the english language can change on tone, and how someone reads my tone is not necessarily how I wrote it. With that in mind, lemme say that both viewpoints put out here are valid and make sense.

    Yes, the game is colored by how you perceive it and I will admit that my perception of the game is mostly raiding. But I will also stand by my previous statement that Blizzard has been taking steps to get more people to the end game quickly. That end game content is where the game is supposed to be headed. However, it is true that there’s definitely plenty of other stuff to do besides that.

    But let’s sweep all that aside and not even look at end game content. Let’s look at all content. Regardless of what’s come first or what changes have been made, six months is a long long time for such a dynamic world like WoW to be static. Even someone who’s an achievement hunter or who has arena or whatever, there’s only so much entertainment you can draw from doing the same thing for six months and without any new content whatsoever. This pretty much says that if you want to try something new, all that’s left is to roll a new alt.

    My point is that there’s no new content at all, end game or otherwise.

    Let me stress again that I am not insulted at all and welcome differing points of view. If only wanted my own opinion, I would turn comments off on my posts.

  7. 04/13/2009 at 5:22 PM

    No new content at all – gotcha. Doesn’t bother me a bit.

    I started playing during BC, seven months before WotLK came out. During that time I don’t remember anything of any significance that changed. That could be my faulty memory playing tricks with me again, but I don’t remember anything opening up that wasn’t already in place when I joined until the expansion.

    When you say that “six months is a long long time for such a dynamic world like WoW to be static.” I have a problem with that. How can “a dynamic world” be so boring to you if it doesn’t change every 6 months? And if it does change every six months, then think for just a moment about how daunting a task that would then become to all the new players. The more content you add to the end game, the further your new players have to reach. The more frequently you add new stuff, the faster the old stuff becomes outdated.

    I honestly do not feel like 6 months is a long time to wait. To be quite honest, I don’t think 12 months is too long a time to wait, and I would be cool with (dare I say it) 24 months. Take a look at another Blizzard game, Diablo II, a game that’s been out for 10 years with only a single expansion, and it’s still kicking just fine. I played that game from release until the beginning of last year, running the same content over, and over, and over, and over – and never getting bored with it. There wasn’t anything profoundly new even when there were expansions and updates, it was still the same old stuff. But, the game was fun regardless.

    If Blizzard wants to throw in some free dungeons every X months in the patches, then more power to them. I seriously doubt that it’s going to happen, and in fact I hope it doesn’t. But if that’s what they want to do with it, then they are free to do so.

    Maybe what we need to look at is the root cause here. Why is the lack of new content bothersome to you? Is it because it’s no longer a challenge, or because you already have all of the best in slot gear that is currently available? Is it the challenge that drives you, or is it the loot? Or is it something else?

    If it’s because of the loot, then perhaps the change that needs to be made is drop rates being lowered. Or bigger loot tables need to be generated.

    If it’s due to the lack of a challenge, then maybe its different kinds of challenges that you need. More vehicle/mount dungeons perhaps? Maybe a boss who doesn’t run off of abilities with set timers and triggers and such and pulls from more of a random table where he might just stun-lock the whole stinking raid every 10 seconds this time, but the next time he mind controls all the DPS and auto-focuses them all on your healers, and the next time he’s throwing random curses raid-wide with random effects from poison to polymorph to silence, etc. So maybe it’s not so much that you need more challenges as it is different challenges? What are your thoughts?

    To me, new content means very little. I’ll certainly soak it up and run through it and enjoy, but it’s not necessary in rapid succession. I would be happy if we were still in a pre-BC world just constantly leveling toons from 1-60 over and over. I could just as easily still be sitting in BC content right now running the same old stuff over and over. Or I could be taking my max level character and running everyone I could find through any dungeon or quest that I was capable of soloing and having a blast doing it. As I mentioned, I don’t care for raiding because that’s the point (to me) where the game stops being for fun and becomes like a job. I get paid to work, but I have to pay to play this game.

    Your point is stated clearly – there’s no new content. So take a minute to drill down into that as deep as you can to find out all of the main reasons why that bothers you, and see if you can boil it all down to one or two reasons so that we can find what’s the root of the problem.

    If it strictly comes down to wanting something new, then I have to go back to my greed/lust comment. If it’s some other problem, then there’s obviously some other route that may need to be taken. Or maybe, you just need to take a break from raiding and spend a little time doing something else to see whether or not you really only care about raiding or if there’s another aspect of the came you could enjoy as well that you could spend your time doing while you wait for future content to come out.

    For me, I take the game as it comes and if I’m not having fun doing one thing then I try something else. If all possible routes have been covered and I still can’t have fun with the game, then I move on to a different game for a while and then revisit the old one after a little time away from it. If I still find no fun, then I take a longer break before coming back for the third shot. If after the third time around I still find nothing, then I drop the game for good and move on to something else.


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