have we been participating in one big focus group this expansion leading to the film release and a wave of new players

Lets take a look at a lot of what has happened in this expansion with an eye towards us being a focus group if you will, looking at what has been introduced and how it has played out, what may or may not see improvements, or outright abandonment.  There is the potential of a great many new to WoW, or even long gone players perhaps making a come back as a result of the movie.  While I do understand that the hiring of a considerable workforce has resulted in some growing pains, I do see that they have tried a lot of new ideas.  Maybe it seems to me, but have they tried out so many new concepts in prior expansions?

They have said they want to release expansions at a faster pace, so this will be the first at 18 months if we get to April/May of 2016 for the next expansion.  The deadline is in place, they have to be ready for the movie.  Perhaps that set the shorter time frame on WoD, if there was concern the next may have issues and run longer than expected.

Perhaps it was just the overall content and some disjointed problem area’s but I feel the leveling process was in good shape, once we had established a Garrison the campaign quests had some issues, and I think some of the story progressed in a way that left many wondering what was going on.

Many were put off on the speed that raids were released in MoP and were no sooner making progress on one, than the next was set to go, which inevitably lead to the final tier of Mists going for much longer than they wanted or us for that matter.

For WoD we had an entry non tier raid in Highmaul, followed after a time with BRF, and now in to HFC which could peg out at around 10 months.  I think the pace set for the raid release seems to be fairly well timed.  Obviously there will be those that burn through all of it and want the next ASAP, but conversely there were many that may have gotten all Normal, but were at a loss for time to try any Heroic mode.  I think they did a decent job with the timing.  As to the raids themselves?  I will not comment because they are, at this time, of no interest to me beyond doing once in LFR.

The increased cost of the expansion.  That extra $10, however the subscription cost remains the same as it has over the last 10+ years.

How many decided against their normal Collectors edition due to the new price, how many may balk at more than just the basic digital download going forward based on experience with this expansion.  Beyond the initial Battle Chest I purchased for both of my accounts, I bought the collectors Cataclysm, I did the preorder for the Free Diablo 3, but this last, there was nothing enticing me to buy other than the digital version, and even that I held off until a week or two prior to release.

They have introduced alternative methods for paying your sub fee, and a way for people to buy gold to use in game, both in one feature.  Will it continue?  That is another subject all together.

I think the values have pretty well stabilized, Blizzard is the only one that truly knows how many are still buying gold, and if the monthly subs are being paid for with gold.  I expect that if it was removed there may be a great deal of an uproar, I additionally feel that the upcoming Q2 report will have critics saying adjustments should be made due to people buying up many months of game time with gold, that may have taken a break or quit not being reflected in the numbers

More options for current dungeons, Normal, Heroic, Mythic, and Challenge modes.  Adding in Timewalker versions

I think this overall is not a bad idea.  I allows people an alternate means to become more powerful.  The Silver Proving grounds achievement still does not sit well with me.  I understand why they feel it is needed, but there are many people, myself included that just do not do well on our own.  While I have been told that adjustments were made to take in to account WoD talents etc, using the MoP adds for teaching purposes felt like a cheap fix to get it out the door.  I would much rather have seen something based on the current adds we would have to fight in the world.  Just my opinion.  Adding in the Timewalker dungeon runs while a trip down memory lane for many of us, was also a first time for quite a few.  I do feel there need to be some subtle adjustments made to them.  Legendary weapons from that time can make them a joke, however gearing up specifically in the appropriate gear that should have made them a joke did not.

Keeping flying out to extend the leveling experience.

Well this is an interesting topic.  I think many are ok with holding it off until you have reached max level, maybe even until a future patch.  But it appears the majority are set on really wanting their flying.  I am on the fence.  On the one hand they are trying to prolong your experience in the new zones and to give you a chance to learn new abilities and changes to talents etc, but on the other, they are in such a rush to get you to max level so you can go raid with friends.  I will be curious if going in to the next expansion if there will be notice given prior to preorders on it being in or out, and if they will say firmly yes or no, not open for debate.

PvP, the Ashran debacle

I give them credit for trying.  They are really working at fixing it.  It is a problem that is a long time needing a fix.  Many changes have been tried, but the largest issue, at least to me, is how do you get people that only jump in every so often the ability to hold their own against people that have been in there for months.  It is a tough thing to balance, perhaps a sliding scale buff given to those new to a zone, that diminishes the longer they participate, or the more kills they log, or improve gear.  There should be something in place so that 6 weeks in someone does not wander in wearing their Blue quest gear, get ganked instantly 10 times then walks out never to come back.

Treasures and finding things.

While I think it was fun finding some treasure, it quickly became something you needed an add on program to help you with.  Some were so small and located in such bad spots they would never have been found.  There were many that I was directly on top of, only to have to go look up on a web site to find were in a tree, or an alcove, or showing so faintly on the ground you would never see them unless you played on Ultra settings.

I am sure there are quite a few other things that have been tried out on us this expansion.  Garrisons are a whole discussion to themselves.  Lets just all hope that the feedback they listen to was informative, and lessons were learned.

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Do we really matter. 

Do those of us that don’t raid to the highest levels, those that do not compete at the highest PvP arena levels, that don’t have Twitch channels with hundreds of followers, etc. do we really matter. 

Do our opinions, thoughts, comments, suggestions, ideas, gripes, and blogs really matter?  Do the people at Blizzard only truly pay notice to those they feel are at a different level than your average player?  

We see on occasion people highlighted, certain streamers get special interviews or access to things, and there are times many of us scratch our heads and wonder, who are they?  When you feel you follow a great many people. And believe me there was a time I followed almost 2000. And that barely scratches the surface of people that play WoW involved in one form of social media or another.

 I saw the posting for the job at Blizzard as a Social media manager. And boy that was a laundry list of must haves on the requirements. Unfortunately, in my opinion, they won’t get the type of person they need. Oh certainly they will be able to find a few qualified. But it comes down to not necessarily having a figure to point at. But finding someone that is willing to listen to everyone. 

There is a small percentage of people that play aspects of the game at the highest levels. They are more than happy to demand harder, tougher, more time commitment content, push the envelope. And when they are the ones being listened to, the game is designed and tuned so that they are happy. These are the people that Blizzard feels we should be looking at and saying I wish I could play as good as them. Wow did you see the worlds first mythic kill video?  That was something. And you know?  5-6 years ago when the game was at its all time high, that may have meant something. 

Now we see hundreds of Twitch streamers all vying for views, subscribe to my channel, look at me. People that elevate themselves above the rest of the player base in hopes of getting some financial compensation for sharing what they do. 

The people I respect, are the ones that do what ever they do because they love the game. They share thoughts in blogs, they do pod casts, they give away artwork, they do it just because they like to share. 

I never expect to get any acknowledgement from anyone at Blizzard for the writing I do. I don’t even care if I have 10 or 1000 people reading my thought. All that has always mattered to me was trying to help people. All of the worlds first kills pale in comparison to helping 1 new player figure something out. Helping one person gain the confidence to push for a spot in a more focused raiding team, being there to listen to someone having serious problems, even something as simple as sending a few hundred gold to someone that has been saving for something special, and is just a little short. 

The most rewarding feelings I personally get playing WoW are when I try my best to help others. I saddens me when I see others put down because they cannot do something those at the top level do. Or feel that people that give of themselves freely, must have a motive. 

What they really need is someone that is willing to listen to all the players. Not just those in charge of big web sites, or the top guilds in the world. You need to listen to the person that has resigned themselves to just getting by. What is isolating them from wanting to do more. What is broken in the game that makes them feel they don’t matter. Because we all do. 

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Are we becoming dependent on add on programs, or is the level of complexity to the game at fault. 

So to say the least I was a bit frustrated Tuesday when I collected my naval missions and looked to the map for which 92%+ missions I might have. I had a blockade at 81%, two experience missions at 36%, and a bunch in between. I am not a fan of constantly running down to the docks to buy 1 missing counter to recheck only to find it still does not yield a 100% chance. I relied on an add on program for garrisons to give me quick displays on percentage chances. 

I decided after 3 days of looking at it hoping something would change, to figure out what I needed. Imagine my surprise when I moved two Epic ships to a low percent mission only to see them raise it to 100%. Well now I feel stupid for falling victim to something I know I should really be doing myself. 

Time is a valuable resource for a great majority of us. And a simple program that allowed us to save a good deal of a daily routine became a crutch. How many programs do we run every day while playing that may seem innocent enough. But in reality are making us dependent on them. Obviously there are the staples.  Deadly boss mods, healing mods, ones for your UI. But what about Garrison ones, ones for finding treasures, ones that flag up healers in PvP. Has the game become so complex and time consuming that we need these to help us play?

I wish I had some great solution to it all. I guess the best advice is if something is making you frustrated with what it is telling you. Then perhaps turning it off and just figuring it out on your own may be the better course. 

I still have issues with the constant beat the opposing faction Blockade to get to another mission. I don’t log in multiple times a day just to check on things. The Garrison chores are something I do on log in. And maybe check before I log out. I am trying my best to get out in the world. I do not need hints and prodding to head back to see. 

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At a loss for a title

Last night was day 2 of not sending out a naval mission because even my best countering everything except 1 thing is at 84%.  That is having a counter for everything that I can currently purchase.  Even though I have up to this point only bought 3-4 things.  I see how quickly you can fall into the I will buy thins one, oh shoot, I lost a ship, I will build another, bah, taking to long, I will buy the instant complete, wait, where did all my resources go, dammit now I need to farm trees, and supply work orders for the Trading post.  I am still on the fence what to do.  On the one hand, my impulse is just to decommission the entire fleet and just walk away.  But then I think, what if they hotfix it so missions rotate out faster than 20+ days.  For the time being I may just leave them there, take a moment every day to see if there is a change.  But for now, that mini game is off the table, as it were, for me.

I see there is news about some thing at Gamescom the first week in August.  There is a by invitation only press conference.  It could be the next expansion anouncement, it could just as well be more Overwatch, Hearthstone, et al.  They have the entire company in lock down with the movie on the horizon, and my personal opinion is they are doing themselves a disservice in doing so.  Word of mouth is what keeps things up front in peoples minds. If we have no news, or even hints about things, we sit and stew, then look around at what we dislike, then talk about our dislikes even more.  Very rarely do we discuss what we love, it eventually becomes a very public, I am leaving because of this thing.

One thing I have really noticed missing from this entire expansion is the Why.  Even having read Warcrimes, I find the entire expansion very lacking in story, if it was a continuation of MoP.  Ok, we defeated Garrosh, we saw him lead away in chains, something something, a trial happened, Oh he escaped?  With some help of someone? Went back to an alternate Draenor, and we need to stop him.  Mmm Kay.  But if it is an alternate Draenor, why should we care?  It will effect an alternate Azeroth in the future.  Oh no worries.  Thrall stepped up and took care of business.  OK, cool.  So we can go home now.  Oh what?  Khadgar is calling the shots?  Ummmm, all right I guess?  Now I can kind of relate to the all of the Alliance players complaints about having to take orders from Thrall.  I don’t even want to go down the whole, opposing faction leaders leading the story, but yet it is still supposed to be us v them, except at the highest levels, where these leaders occasionally show up to have us go do some dirty work that is beneath them.

The story has been broken up so much, and at times was so disjointed that by the time you get to the next part you have forgotten what was prior.  I am sure in a 1 hour presentation to the heads at Blizzard outlining the entire expansion and story line it probably made a lot of sense, but is very lacking in the overall scheme.  We have not even hit the 1 year mark and I am scratching for things to do, Outside of raiding.  I still have 5 weeks to go before all wings of LFR are open to me.  5 Weeks.  It may have seemed like a good idea, lets, keep it special for those raiding progression, if we do it, people will try normal right?  Yeah, no.  I am done with raiding.  Period end of story.

I don’t know what I will do for the rest of the expansion, but what ever it is, I have 8 months to do it.

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Wrath Timewalking

I ran two Wrath Timewalker dungeons last night. The first I had equipped myself with a complete set of what would have been extremely overpowered gear for a Wrath Heroic dungeon. Two piece Heroic tie set, a majority of 264 gear, filled 17 sockets with Wrath gems, and enchanted everything. This was going to be awesome. If I had this kind of gear back then I would have had tanks yelling at me to hold back. 

As it turned out, I was 2-3 in DPS, sometimes 4th. And by a good 20%. I really thought about it. Yes my character base stats should have scaled down, but none of the gear should have. I should have been on top by a large margin, provided the others in group were just in their WoD gear. 

So I did a second. This time I kept on my 691 Draenor gear. And while I was still 2-3, my numbers were a bit closer to the tank, who was first in both runs. This brought a thought to mind. Trying to adjust all of the gear available for Wrath, Cata, MoP, and now WoD would be a huge undertaking for sure. And least we forget the previous was BC dungeons. I would suspect, and I am going to try it at some point today, that gear does not matter. That they just arbitrailily assigned a cap value to anyone level 81 or higher and let it go. 

Now I had heard the Legendary cloak procs still applied, I do not have a legendary Wrath weapon to see effects, but overall it was just a meh kind of experience doing a run I have done so many times in the past that I instinctively knew where to go. 

It was nice to see so many new players in the guild getting achievements for dungeons they never experienced. But place me in the skeptic category for this feature. I am giving Wrath 5 runs, because they were the dungeons I enjoyed the most. Even Halls of Reflection once we had done it many times. 

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Mr. Jones gets it. The Warcraft movie. 

I’m sure many of you have seen the edited Warcraft movie poster showing Lothar in exceptionally large shoulders in true Burning Crusade fashion. Even a colorized version which reminded me so much of miss  matched armor sets and garish colors. Thank goodness for being a Shadowpriest.

Duncan Jones replied back to this humor with a bit of his own adding the infamous ! Above the head of Lothar.  Yes I do believe that he gets it. He understands what this game is for many. And I have high hopes the film will do well bridging the gap from game to well directed story. As I understand it there really is not a whole lot left to do before it is ready to be shown. So we have a bit less than 11 months to wait.

And it got me thinking. What little extra in the film would set it over the top for me. And oddly enough the first thing that came to mind would be a blooper reel after the credits. Oh certainly it’s been done. Done quite well in many instances. But I was thinking why not pay a tribute to the game itself in the form of timeless moments that would make us all smile and laugh. What moments could you possibly have. And I am sure the folks at Blizzard could probably rattle off a few hundred easily. But here are some scenes I think would make for a tribute to those of us that play or have played in the past.

1.  Lag/DC. Perhaps a scene in town where a group is discussing plans for battle, and just off to the side someone running in place. We’ve all seen them at one time or another.

2.  During a battle scene where one soldier defeats another and leans over and hugs the defeated opponent, and a little achievement Make love not Warcraft pops up on screen, followed by others standing around asking how did you do that.

3.  I doubt it would be possible but seeing cast armies part and Chuck Norris making a cameo, with someone asking,

Where you headed?

The Barrens.

4.  If we have a scene where a Mage polymorphs an enemy, to have an extra accidentally attack it, only to have Mr. Jones step in scene yelling cut, cut.

5.  An obvious one would be a bunch of soldiers outside by a door discussing armor and how would benefit from things, only to have Leroy Jenkins go charging by.

6. Someone brings the king a pony instead of a horse. When he asks where’s my horse?  I don’t know sire.  I was told this was promised to you.

 

I am sure some much more clever people than me could come up with some classic moments in Warcraft history that could make even the most jaded critic nod in approval.

So how about you. What would you want to see.

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8 months is a long time

blog post take 2 since the WordPress app ate the first.

8 months is a long time to be confined to a zone no matter how big Tannan may feel at the moment.  Especially if raiding is losing its appeal.  I have read Beyond the Dark Portal, which I may add is a great read.  I have also seen the leaked trailer for the movie.  And I feel we may not be done just yet.

I, like I am sure many others, have completed the final chapters for the Tannan zone.  I suspect July 28 or August 4 will have flying added to the game.  It will not take long for the majority to consume the older zones, nor will most be satisfied with running around the jungle for 8 more months.  No I suspect at some point in the near future we wil start to see changes to the zone, see it become more like the Hellfire we know, desolate and barren.  And I do feel that this is not a throw away expansion, and that we will see a direct tie in to the movie by the end.

I had a lot of other thoughts in my head, that are escaping me at the moment.  But I just want to put out there, don’t think for a minute that this is all we will see until next year.

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