WoW: Betrayal

BetrayalI don’t know why microtransactions in World of Warcraft bother me so much when I find them fairly acceptible elsewhere — perhaps it’s just the desire to take a shot at the big kid, but more likely that I have residual loyalty to what WoW once was, and see Blizzard chopping up and parceling off their product to make a quick buck wherever they can, no matter what it does to the quality.

We’ve seen name changes, server changes, authenticator keys, “eSports” servers and the like.  But this… this just downright disturbs me:

We wanted to give everyone a very early heads-up that, in response to player requests, we’re developing a new service for World of Warcraft that will allow players to change their faction from Alliance to Horde or Horde to Alliance. There’s still much work to do and many details to iron out, but the basic idea is that players will be able to use the service to transform an existing character into a roughly equivalent character of the opposing faction on the same realm. Players who ended up creating and leveling up characters on the opposite factions from their friends have been asking for this type of functionality for some time, and we’re pleased to be getting closer to being able to deliver it.

As with all of the features and services we offer, we intend to incorporate the faction-change service in a way that won’t disrupt the gameplay experience on the realms, and there will be some rules involved with when and how the service can be used. The number of variables involved increases the complexity of implementing this service, but we plan to take the time needed to ensure that it lives up to expectations before officially rolling it out. We’ll go into much more detail on all of this here at http://www.WorldofWarcraft.com as development progresses. In the meantime, we wanted to let you know that because this type of functionality requires extensive internal testing well in advance of release, you may be seeing bits and pieces of the service in the test builds we use for the public test realms moving forward.

I guess one of my major qualms with WoW is that you never could count on anything lasting — Blizzard has the knack of pulling the rug right out from under you, over and over until nothing could be depended on to be even semi-permanent.  One year they are firm that players will never be allowed to transfer from PvE to PvP servers, the next they just go ahead and do it.  And the kicker is that no matter how much players might howl, they’re big enough to have earned the right to ignore their hooked, dependant customers.

Seriously, once this change takes effect, how much “war” is left in a world of warcraft?  The conflict between Horde and Alliance is a watered-down joke, more akin to neighboring summer camps hooting bravado across a lake than fierce and bloody rivals.  Heck, sometimes they end up holding hands and skipping alongside each other against a common enemy.  The good guys are misunderstood, the bad guys are misunderstood, cows are more noble than Abraham Lincoln, and tug-o-war matches take place every Saturday afternoon.

So now they’re just going to let players up and change sides, just because?  I guess they’re just throwing in the towel of at least making a pretense of competing, warring factions.  A couple of bucks, and a Tauran druid becomes a Night Elf (don’t even want to know what that surgery is like) and a Dwarf hunter gets shoe lifts and becomes a Blood Elf.

Oh, and I don’t believe for a minute that this stems from “player requests” so much as “another way to make a quick buck”.  If they really capitulated with major changes due to huge forum protests and petitions, well, every class would be simultaneously buffed to invincibility and nerfed to uselessness.  Blizzard’s history doesn’t stand up well to player requests; for better or worse, they pick a course internally and stick to it.  Don’t try to shove this massive change off on anonymous gamers so that they have a dodge when the complaints come rolling in.

37 thoughts on “WoW: Betrayal

  1. I am waiting to see how this is implemented. I want to know if we’re talking about betraying your current faction (preferably with a long and grueling quest line… Horde gnomes!), or if we’re talking cross-faction race changes.

    Honestly I’d prefer the cross-faction race change. I have 2 lvl 80 priests, one of which is my main and one that is collecting dust. If I could take the dusty one and change her into a shiny new Horde priest… I won’t lie, I’d do it in a heartbeat.

  2. Do you think Blizzard really needs to go to this length to make a quick buck? I can’t imagine they’re so greedy that they’d implement something that is logistically complicated (esp. considering population balance problems) just to gather a few extra dollars to pile onto their enormous stack of income.

  3. I always played WoW on a PvE server, but I remember the first time I took a level 20 character horde into Ashenvale. Stepping into Ashenvale truly felt like I was encroaching on enemy territory. All of the plot lines re-enforced the us vs them mentality and if I was careless enough to stray too close to the Night Elf city … I was dead, instantly.

    And long before WoW, I played hours upon hours of Warcraft, where the evil orcs were rampaging through the peaceful countryside, razing our cities and murdering our women and children. Indeed, it was only through the most valiant efforts of the Human armies that the Orcs were pushed pack to the great portal from which they spawned, and driven into the vile world where they belonged.

    However, long gone are those days when Blizzard wrote quest text that portrayed the Alliance as a dangerous menace. (I can only remember a handful of quests in Outlands where the Alliance was portrayed as the enemy, and they were all low-60’s quests. By the time I had allied with the Aldur, I was fighting side-by-side with the Alliance against the villainous Scryers.) This is a trend that has been in the works for years, and the Faction transfers are just the final in the coffin of the ancient conflict between Horde and Alliance.

  4. How does rep work? Sure, much of the high level Rep is transferable, as both factions can grind Rep with many of the same groups, but will a traitorous 80 automatically become Honored (or higher) with their new Race? Or will they need to go back and grind that Rep?

    On an unrelated note, related more to the picture accompanying this story than the article itself, that “Betrayal” pic really made me LOL.

    Ahh, those were the days. Nothing like a well timed Yoshi-sacrifice jump to keep you in the game and maybe, just maybe, let you complete that particular level.

    Thanks, Yoshi old pal. I’ll see you at the next egg!

  5. I’ve been wanting something like this since November of 2004. I longed to make a Horde character, but all my friends played Alliance. I couldn’t bring myself to level a character who would not be able to be social with friends not partake of my other characters’ wealth, so I never got a Hordie. When I started PvPing, I realized my battlegroup sucked at BG combat as Alliance.

    So I look forward to this change, and I might eventually have a Horde character now who I can transfer to a PvP server to boot. It might–just might–help revitalize a dying game for me.

  6. First, and I say this because the general MMO blogging community seems to love hating on Blizz/WoW. I play and like WoW. Although I have played or currently play Lotro, WAR, EQ, FFO, etc. So hopefully I don’t get labeled as a “fanboy.”

    I see no problem with this or the PvP change and yes, I leveled on a pvp server. The profit margin on the authenticator is slim to none. It’s even free if you already have an iphone…

    Anyway, this and the pvp/pve changes I think come from a very simple problem. This game is big…very big. It’s not uncommon to meet other players “IRL.” Problem is you meet someone who plays, you want to play with them. But before you had to be on the same faction, same server, and same rule set. That is a lot of barriers. Rerolling isn’t an option for a lot of these people. Some take a year or more to reach level cap.

    Could the service be free? Sure. But we’re in a capitalist country. Also, I think if name changes, sex changes, and faction changes were free people would do them constantly and it would probably lead to server issues.

    I don’t agree with everything Blizzard does but overall I still think they have a great product and have reasonable RMT services.

  7. I know for a fact that players have been requesting this for a while, it will not be done “in lore” and it will PROBABLY be cross faction race changes. If you paid attention to the lore, you’d actually know that hostilities between the alliance and horde have flared up after being in an uneasy truce since WCIII. They probably implemented this to balance out the sides on servers.

  8. It was a highly requested feature, so I don’t have trouble believing that it was largely due to player requests, though I can see how some people feel upset at the decision.

    Personally, I don’t mind it, but I guess that’s mostly due to the fact that I have some Alliance characters I’d like to switch over. 🙂

  9. My friends suddenly decided to play Horde while I had quit WoW already for some time.

    This would be my chance to play with them without having to level up again from scratch, with my old char. But well, I am not really in the mood to play WoW again, that’s it.

    Still, I am against this. It is just greedy how they milk us with their “services”. Change name? Change Server? Change Faction?

    Who says that changing a server has to cost money at all. Why does it not simply have a no-switch timer, you cannot switch every month or so.

    On the other hand, who can blame Blizzard for making money from guild and server and faction hopping guys like my two special WoW playing friends. The guys just expect me and another friend to follow them around, which is a bit annoying.

  10. @ Jennifer

    The one thing people with a ton of money want, is more money.

    Irresponsible speculation time:

    Part of it may stem from subscription numbers. I haven’t seen actual figures yet, but I imagine that WoW subs have finally started to plateau, and offering more features like this may just get a few hundred (maybe thousand) people to resub to check it out.

    coupled with that, I cant imagine how much money they are throwing at development right now. Diable 3, Starcraft 2, an unnamed MMO, and maybe something else in the early stages. And have you seen their statue? How many subs did it take to have that thing built??

    http://kotaku.com/5303766/ogle-blizzard-hqs-epically-mounted-orc

  11. Well, even with what Blizz is doing, the conflict between the Horde and Alliance is very strong. PvP is doing great in WoW, Wintergrasp is always full and with the new bg coming and pvp leveling, there will be lot’s more pvp going on.

    The race/faction change is great for the game, I have a friend that has 4 lvl 80s on the horde be I and another bunch of his friends all play in the alliance. This makes it possible to play with him.

    I really don’t think Blizz is doing this for the money. Honestly, I think it’ll cost them more money than they’re going to make with this service. Syp, I wonder if lotro or war did the same thing if you would be writing the same thing?

  12. I don’t see much watering down of the so-called opposite factions here. Well, there may be servers where the factions are really rivalled. And when I see a flagged player I have a chance on beating I’ll go for it.

    But on the other hand 90% of conversation on my home server’s forum do not interfere with factions at all. Many people playing Horde have an Alliance toon in a guild with some acquaintances or friends and vice versa.

    Most of the time levelling, you’ll even get the occasional help by a cross-faction player, and I like it. Now let me explain why. I’m not a huge fan of Warcraft lore, I’ve never read any of the books, just stuff on WoWWiki – let’s call it Lore Light, the rough history of Azeroth and its peoples. What I enjoy in this game is doing instances at max level, and sometimes the levelling itself. I chose Horde for the people playing there and I also have a couple of Alliance toons. I am *not* bothered about an eternal conflict.
    So, if someone from the other faction helps me kill an elite mob, and then I help him.. this is: 2*5min for 2* completed quests. Or we could flag pvp, duel for 20min, gank an hour and one of us would have 3 HKs and both no quests completed.

    That’s why I couldn’t care less about cross-faction transfers or race changes. If it’s cheap and the conditions would be fine, I’d maybe switch my Human Rogue to Gnome.

    Because I can.

  13. @ Arenwino – If WAR did that, I’d certainly be writing the same thing. Like that game or not, they drew a line in a sand between the two factions and put a lot of effort into making them into actual rivals.

    Blizzard isn’t an altruistic organization — they’re a company. They’re out to make money. They’re not going to do this if it won’t get them more of it.

  14. I know Blizzard wants to make money, but I don’t think somebody at Blizz woke up one day and said: We need more money, let’s make faction transfers! Maybe I’m stupid, but I still think that big game studios like Blizzard listen to their players. Of course Blizzard will make some money out of it, but I don’t think it’s the reason behind this.

  15. I can’t wait for this. I have a 70 warlock on a horde PVP server I would love to move. I think it’s about time Blizzard did this. I just wonder if along with this we’ll also be able to change are race. I can see why Blizz wouldn’t have that as well.

  16. Perhaps I just try to see the good in people. I have no doubt that the folks at Blizzard realized they could make money off of this service, but I don’t believe that everything they do is done for love of money.

    @Monkey: No, actually, I played WoW just after launch and quit (for the last time?) over a year ago. I’m too positive a person to get angry and jaded like other ex-WoW players.

  17. I have to admit, I do get tired of the WoW bashing. They are such an easy target these days.

    Don’t get me wrong, Blizzard does a lot of things that make me scratch my head and even at times get angry about but this…. this isn’t one of them.

    I think they’ve been doing a damn fine job with WOTLK (I came back after a 2 year hiatus), and though I’m not pleased at all with the upcoming WG changes, I don’t see why this faction change is at all a big deal.

  18. I’m not really worried about Blizzard being greedy. They’re out to make money, and if people are willing to pay the microtransaction route, power to them.

    My greater concern is Blizzard’s continuing damage (IMHO) to the expectations of the player base. This was one of the final decisions which you could make for your character that was binding. Now, I think, your class selection is the ONLY thing you can’t (pay to) undo.

    It will be very interesting to see how these players, who have screamed to be allowed to change ANYTHING on their existent character essentially at will, react to the permanent decisions Bioware is talking about putting into TOR.

    Has Blizzard killed any hope of meaningful progress in MMOs?

  19. Is it bad that I actually like this change? Guess I prioritize the freedom it gives more than the feeling of “war” between the factions. To each their own.

    I do object to the “quick buck” aspect though. I’m glad your calling this what it is, which is microtransactions. Just because Blizz doesn’t call them that, the community hasn’t hooked into that fact. They keep criticizing microtransactions in other games without realizing blizz has been doing them for a while now.

  20. I don’t play WoW and don’t have intentions of ever playing … so please accept an outsider’s perspective.

    This appears to be another item Blizzard is putting in to accommodate their player base … making things easier. If you have a toon that is leveled up but you don’t intend to ever really play it again you will be able to convert it to a mirror in the other faction you might have felt compelled to play. Right?

    Sounds okay on the surface but it just sounds like another short-cut Blizzard is putting in to accommodate lazy players or players who cannot devote the time to leveling another toon.

  21. @Syp: Where did you ever find that awesome “Betrayal” poster? (I assume you didn’t draw it yourself, although if you did, you’re incredible). In any case, amazing poster. I particularly love the expression on Yoshi’s face.

  22. “Now, I think, your class selection is the ONLY thing you can’t (pay to) undo.”

    I’ve asked for the ability to change class for a while now. If you’re going to get players invested with hundreds of hours in a character and then ask them to do hundreds more if they want to try something different, that’s abusive in my book. Giving players the freedom to change even those most “fundamental” aspects of the game just makes it easier to actually *play* the darn game, rather than grind forever to get to the point where you’re having fun, especially when there’s a huge population bulge at the level cap. New players who want to jump in with veteran friends have a long, annoying slog in front of them.

  23. I think people are forgetting just how much money they can make. If 1% of the population pays 15 bucks to switch factions, that’s 1.5 million bucks which ought to pay for a (not nearly as complicated as they claim) change.

  24. @Tesh: That’s a prescription for doom. Rolling alts is one of the only things that keeps MMO players coming back. Take it away completely, and you basically have “You have earned 20,412,812 experience. What class would you like to play today?”

    Even apart from my concerns over Blizzard’s damage to the playerbase and what it means to the games they want, I have to wonder if Blizzard is destroying the entire market.

    MMOs have always been more about time invested than anything else. At the moment, they’re pandering largely to people who don’t want to (and won’t) play 90% of the game any more. To try and satisfy these players, they’re basically making it so you can skip that 90%, if not more. That works now that there’s a lot of player hours already invested and they’re just squeezing the last drops out, as it were. But what happens to a new game?

    Views like Tesh’s will kill the MMO market. The time to exhaust content is already dropping radically. If players are essentially able to access all the end-game content they could want after a single play-through, burnout and departure will come that much quicker. Development companies simply won’t be able to keep up with player wants in that environment, and MMOs as we know them will vanish.

    Now that may be a good thing… If MMOs were actually fun to play this wouldn’t be such a problem… But either way, I expect that we may all look back a decade from now and decide that WoW was the worst thing to happen to the MMO market.

  25. Again I come to WoW’s defense. lol I just don’t understand the hate on this one. Though I didn’t agree with the reasoning, I could at least understand the hate in the last WoW post.

    Blizz has only made one significant change that I really disagreed with, thought made the game worse, was unjustified, and was simply kowtowing to the QQ. That change was giving Alliance Shamans and Horde Paladins. It’s not that I don’t like the classes, I liked that each side had something unique to account for.

    To me this is just another example Blizzard “fixing” a bad and arbitrary original design decision. This new service doesn’t exist today and costs money to develop. It’s perfectly reasonable to charge for it. As opposed to hating, I say thank you, thank you for giving me the option. It has virtually no effect on me if I chose not to take advantage of it.

    Ultimately what you’re seeing is Blizzard removing, in sales terms, objections. “Oh, you’re not going to play the game because your friends are all level 80 and it’ll take to long for you to catch up to them? How about if we made leveling faster?” or “Oh, all your friends are Alliance but you rolled Horde, so you’re going to quit the game? How about if, for a small fee, we allow you to switch your character to Alliance?”

    If enough people said “Let me switch factions for free or I quit!” They’d let you do it for free. The don’t because they don’t have to.

    The only reason other the other MMO companies don’t do this is because they are to busy trying to keep their basic business afloat, keeping their subscribers subbed.

    @syp
    I like your posts and find them interesting. I generally only post when I have a strong opinion about something. Since you’re generally not writing about the games I play, I don’t have strong opinion to either agree or disagree with. Since I do play WoW, and your more resent posts were critical of Blizzard (in ways I didn’t agree) I responded. Just letting you know, I’m not thinking “Syp said something bad about WoW, get him!” 😉

    But I must say, based on your last few posts, you’re very negative on WoW. In ways that seem, to me, a bit unreasonable/irrational. To the point that Blizzard can’t do anything without you finding fault.

    Obviously this wouldn’t happen, but for general musings… If Blizzard were to ask you how to update their game to make to make it great for you again, what would they have to do?

    Like I could guess,

    1. Don’t allow faction transfer.
    2. Don’t allow server transfer.
    3. Revert leveling and questing experience rates to what it was on release.
    5. Revert the ability to acquire mounts at 40 and 60, as it was.
    6. return AV to it original, multi-day, fight format.

  26. I’m not a fair and balanced blog… I just post what I feel on a particular topic 😀 In Blizzard’s case, there’s a long-lasting love/hate relationship I have with them, but really, many of their recent decisions concerning WoW have been stupid and detrimental to the game, and I wanted to express that, even if I’m not playing it.

    If you think this is a good idea for the game, let me ask you this: where does it end? Should they allow any player to pay a few bucks and change their class, faction, race, whatever? What about just bypassing the 1-79 content with a pre-packaged $20 level 80? It’s slippery slope and all that, but Blizzard has this habit of stating extremely firmly that X will never happen — like PvE to PvP server transfers, or, hey, faction transfers — and they go ahead and do it when it’s most beneficial to their pocketbook.

    I feel strongly about this because it pretty much eliminates faction pride. When you can swap between factions for a few bucks, what’s the point of pretending the two sides are in conflict? Why did they even have factions to begin with, if they’re going to water them down with RMT transfers?

    I see from the comments here that several of you guys are happy about this, more choices for the consumer and all that. And I understand that, I do. But it’s not a good change for the game, and by reading other blog posts and many of the responses in that thread, other people agree.

  27. “That change was giving Alliance Shamans and Horde Paladins.”

    Ironically, this is the one place I think Blizzard DIDN’T give in to the whining. I think (and they’ve said) that they felt the need to add new classes in BC, but just didn’t/wouldn’t/couldn’t put in the time to balance them, so the easy solution was to give people sorta-new classes by removing the restriction.

    “To me this is just another example Blizzard “fixing” a bad and arbitrary original design decision. This new service doesn’t exist today and costs money to develop. It’s perfectly reasonable to charge for it.”

    Maybe, but it could also be argued that they’re making the change to keep subs, and the $15 a month they’re already going to be (still) getting from the people this keeps should pay for it. There’s also quite a solid argument that Blizzard has a bajillion dollar a momth income, and this is a drop in the bucket compared to that. Hell, most full-game development costs are a drop in the bucket compared to what they rake in. I don’t necessarily have a problem with them charging for it, but it’s perfectly reasonable to think they shouldn’t charge for it.

    “It has virtually no effect on me if I chose not to take advantage of it.”

    This simply isn’t true. If they allow it on PvP servers, balance is going to go to hell. If, as is commonly complained about, Alliance so vastly outnumbers Horde in general, then I expect this will see a lot more people moving to the more-populated Alliance side, which will make the problem worse. This certainly has the potential to affect the world in large ways, which will affect you whether you ever do it or not.

  28. By “the game”, Syp, what exactly do you mean? The lore that has already been pillaged by the treadmill game design, retcons and character assassination, or the money press that requires people to pay their $15/month because they like playing (or are just stuck in a rut)? The game that you remember and thought would last forever, or the game that Blizzard has sole control over, for good or ill? The game that 2 million players were playing or the game that 11 million players *are* playing?

    What exactly *is* the World of Warcraft? What is the vision, and what is the reality? This isn’t good for what, exactly? Whose vision of the game, and what reality?

    Let me take one of your questions and turn it around:

    Why have factions if they are a barrier to friends playing with each other, especially when “the game” doesn’t start until the “endgame”, and it takes a long grind to get to that point?

    Or another:

    Why pretend the two sides are in conflict when they are pretty much all “misunderstood” (the lore is diluted, but it has to be to make both sides appealing) and most players don’t like PvP in the first place?

    The fact that the game devs can and will change the game however they so choose, usually based on keeping the money flowing, is part and parcel of the MMO genre. If you don’t fit the demographic that the company finds most profitable, you’re simply out of luck. It sucks when you get left behind, definitely, but it’s also inevitable.

    Until they sell private servers with rollback options to previous patches, there’s not much you can do about it besides quit and tell them why. Until they see a dent in their pocketbook as a result of their changes, it won’t matter what those who quit or complain do.

    And yes, character class changes would be a good thing. Forcing someone to roll a new character if they want to change how they play (including playing with friends) is an onerous task, and when it costs real money to maintain a sub while that is being done, it’s doubly annoying. The friends have to wait or roll new characters as well, and nobody is really happy until the new characters are up to speed. The company is wasting players’ time, and that’s a cardinal sin in my eyes, compounded by the sub model where it’s not just time that’s wasted, but money as well.

    Ditto for instant level 80 characters. If you just want to jump in and get raiding with buddies, the leveling grind is a waste.

    And it’s key to remember that it’s an *option*. If you want to go through the leveling grind to save the transfer fees (or hypothetical class change fees), by all means have at it. There’s nothing stopping you. Walk up that hill in the snow barefoot, prideful that you’re doing it “the Right Way”.

    I’m talking about making “the game” easier to actually go and play with friends (the whole point of an MMO, or so I’m told). If you want something that abuses you and sucks up your time, there’s always Darkfall or EverQuest. Or you could just play WoW the old way and abuse yourself. That’s still an option.

  29. I understand that you’re not fair or balanced blog, more so now than before. I was more trying to point that out to you, in case you didn’t realize your were neither fair or balanced. 😉

    As far as stupid and detrimental are concerned, that remains to be seen. Stupid and detrimental is SWG and the NGE. heh

    “If you think this is a good idea for the game, let me ask you this: where does it end?”

    Bah, I totally addressed this in my original write-up and scratched it as I felt it was getting to long. 🙂

    For me, it ends for when Blizzard does something, for profit, that directly (negatively) affects and puts me at a disadvantage. If they start letting people buy gear with real money instead of working for them or if they allow people to buy stuff with real money that there is no other way for me to obtain (stuff that’s more than just vanity,) that’s when I’ll hop on the Blizzard hate wagon. I’ll even offer to drive it.

    Faction pride, why stop there? Why not make it so when you create a character, no matter what, you cannot change faction. The only way to change faction would be to “trick” Blizzard by buying a new account and using different credit card etc. In all seriousness, I believe that might actually create some serious faction pride, but not necessarily a thriving game.

    Blizzard has always allowed, and continues to allow you to swap factions, for free. The only caveat is that you have “start over.” Now they’re saying, “ok ok you did all the work on this character as Alliance and you want to be Horde. We recognize that you put the work in, we’ll let you swap for a few bucks…” And that destroys faction pride more than just rerolling?

  30. @Tesh: Then is there any part of the game that shouldn’t be available for purchase, or simply handed to a character who requests it? Why should I have to waste my time running the same raid over and over to get the drops I want? Why can’t I just have that uber-purple set of gear now? I’ve certainly put in enough playtime by now, any my friends are raiding the next dungeon up on the list, why should they have to wait for me to gear up before I can join them? Why should I have to spend 3 hours in a raid working through the early stages when all I want is the boss drop? Why can’t I teleport straight to the end, I’ve been there before.

    I can’t seem to find any line in what you think should be effort in the game, and what should be handed to anyone who wants it (or who has done it once, at least). The arguments you apply to why you shouldn’t have to level a new character can apply to literally every aspect of the game.

  31. the only real problem i see here, is that they are changing the premise of their game.

    “pick a side! smite the foes of the alliance and bring glory to the realm man/elf/dwarf/gnome!

    “but don’t worry, for your convenience none of your decisions will have an impact on your game! you can do whatever you want if you deposit a little coin…”

    the whole point of picking a side, is that you fight for that side. you stick to your guns through thick and thin ’cause it’s your character: the character you created when everything was new and wonderful. you herded this character through everything the game had designed for your particular choice. you were playing the game the way it was designed to be played. your “mistakes” when you slashed and crafted your way through those first few levels is what defines your character – for better or for worse.

    now everything is cookie cutter and streamlined on demand.

    my real worry is this:

    with WoW being such a large and successful MMO, it is a game new developers look up to. a great template, surely: look at their subscriber numbers and the amount of money they make!
    new games will be developed with these features “expected” from MMO tourists. it is ruining adventure, and supressing new and exciting ideas.

    WoW has turned the MMO community into the fat child who gets ice cream on demand by kicking and screaming and blizzard are the irresponsible parents who give in just to shut them up.

    so i don’t really care about the impact it has on WoW as a game – i gave it up a long time ago – i am REALLY concerned with how their convenience “silver spoon” features will impact the integrity of other games to be developed…

    it wont be long till a guide is out detailing the fastest class/race to level to the cap at which point people can pay to have the lvl 80 toon they want.
    disaster scenario would be a whole server the same class/race from level 1-79… (though i’m sure blizzard will prevent this from happening sometime. i just like to go “doom and gloom” sometimes :P)

  32. Definitely a divisive issue.

    As my other post said I don’t play WoW and will probably never play WoW. I do play another MMO so I have an understanding of character development, the grind for gear, and the time commitment needed to get one’s toon where they want them.

    I have two mains and several ALTs. It can be deflating thinking about the effort needed to get an ALT up where your main is. And like so many folks these days, we want some easy way to get there. We want instant gratification or renown without putting in the effort. Granted, this is a game, but as shown by the numbers of people who play MMOs this is also entertainment and livilihood for many so why should it always be so difficult.

    There are times I wish I could just skip much of the grind but it goes back to what Syp said concerning the model MMOs follow. WoW can do this because they have a stranglehold on so many players (I still question the 11 million number but I know it’s still millions). If Blizzard cuts out the grind for players who’ve already grinded it out, so what? It’s other MMOs that rely on players rolling ALTs and spending the time to level them, gear them, etc. WoW doesn’t have that worry anymore.

    I agree with Syp … where does it end? Will a day come when MMOs are an ala carte line where you pay for gear, level, abilities all up front and skip the grind? That would be a sad thing and would take out the whole “time and effort spent make the reward worthwhile” attitude. Instead, like so many things in our American culture, it’s all about short attention span and the desire to get mine as quickly as possible without putting forth the effort.

    Will be interesting to see how this affects other games.

  33. But I think we can all agree — and this is essential — that whenever I do a post being critical of Blizz or WoW, I get a bazillion views and comments. Win for me! Win for you!

  34. The focus on the “rewards” of these games over the gameplay will naturally color your views, Buhallin. You don’t understand what I’m getting at because you are too caught up in the notion of “earning” these rewards, rather than playing the game. There’s nothing wrong with that, though, especially since these games are pretty much designed around it. *shrug*

  35. “he focus on the “rewards” of these games over the gameplay will naturally color your views, Buhallin. You don’t understand what I’m getting at because you are too caught up in the notion of “earning” these rewards, rather than playing the game.”

    Uhm, no… Not even in the same ball park. As a matter of fact, you’ve got it about as completely backwards as it’s possible to be, and I find the insinuation a bit dismissive and insulting.

    What is “The Game”? You seem to think that the only thing that counts is the endgame, which is why you think you should be able to skip anything else. I look at the game as a whole continuum. The entire game is the game, and that includes levels 1-79. Everything you want to skip – the lower levels, the progress, the gearing up, the quests, the exploring – is “The Game” to me. My parallel to your view is that you want to start Monopoly with everyone owning the properties, or just deal them out randomly, because we’ve all been through that early stage of the game, why should we have to go through it again?

    My question didn’t really have anything at all to do with rewards. It’s about what pieces of the game the players should be allowed to skip. You seem to think that you should be able to jump immediately to the part of the game you want, to do what you want. That’s fine. What about what anyone else wants? If you think you should be able to skip 1-79 to get playing with friends, why shouldn’t people be handed the gear they need to run that dungeon their friends are doing right now? If your sole focus is being able to participate with your friends, then shouldn’t the game be designed to enable that at any point?

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