29
Mar
15

Is this a failure or just the path of an aging game?

MMO Champion has done some data analysis from the WoW armory and has found that upwards of 60% of all WoW players have done Highmaul at some level, whether LFR, Normal, Heroic, or Mythic.

However, only 36% have done even the first wing of Blackrock Foundry on any difficulty.  That includes LFR, which has been available since February 17th.  The later wings have been done by even fewer people.

I’ll admit, I have only done the first two wings of BRF, and only once each.

What’s the reason for this?

Is WoW hemorrhaging players the way the naysayers have claimed?  I haven’t seen recent subscriber numbers.  In my guild, a lot of our long-time players have stopped logging on.  I don’t think they have unsubbed, but I don’t see them for days at a time.  Why?  There’s nothing in the game that is holding their attention.

Guild raiding seems to be dead unless you’re in a progression guild.  It is easier to get your raiding fix through Group Finder or LFR.  Here’s the downside of that – if your raiding activities are limited to LFR and Group Finder, then you have no personal motivation to upgrade your gear.

In guild raiding, if you run into a roadblock or wipe repeatedly, then you look for ways to improve.  Everyone in the guild has to work to get better otherwise you’ll never succeed.  You grind out opportunities for upgrades, whether in LFR or crafting or the auction house, because you have to run with the same people next week.

In LFR/GroupF inder raids, if your group fails, you can always requeue and find another group.  There is no personal responsibility to gear up or even to be any good at all.

For example, I have not upgraded my crafted gear, even though I have the resources to do so.  There is no personal motivation for me to spend the resources.  LFR is easy and Group Finder is hit or miss, but a patient player can usually find a good group that will succeed.  Why should I push myself and spend gold to raise my iLvL if I am just running LFR?

Because I have no gear grind driving me, I really don’t do many of the raid-related activities in the game.  I do garrison chores and I do LFR to make progress in the legendary questline.  I do pet battles to get closer to my Level 3 Menagerie and fishing to get closer to me Level 3 Fishing Shack.  Once I finish those buildings I doubt I will pet battle or fish any more.  Then it will just be the legendary and achievements keeping my attention.

The solution to this, in my mind, is to revitalize guild raiding.  Incentivize raiding in guilds, somehow.  That, however, is unlikely to happen.  Blizzard has spent the past couple of xpacs crippling guilds in order to promote overall accessibility.  Non-progression guilds are all-but-pointless now other than social constructs.  Without guilds, we lose any personal responsibility.  Instead of increasing raid accessibility, what we are seeing is people unsubscribing and raids are going unplayed.

I’ve heard that PVP stinks right now, too.  What it seems like is that all of Blizzard’s efforts to increase accessibility of the game are falling flat once at max level.  At level 100, the game is mainly engaging for progression raiding guilds. Everyone else – casuals, pvpers, guild raiders – are getting more and more unhappy.

I’m still busy in game, but it is discouraging to log on on a weeknight and see only 2-3 guildies online.  If nothing changes, then I predict a nice spike in activity at patch 6.2, followed by a HUGE drop in players once they burn through that content.  Hopefully Blizzard will add some hook to get our attention in the near future.

05
Mar
15

Still Lots To Do For Us Casuals

I see more and more people who stop logging in or even unsubscribe, claiming there is nothing for them to do.

I can see that, if you play a lot.  There is no game that can keep up with content for players who spend hours gaming almost every day.  However, for us casuals, there’s still a long list of things yet to be cracked.

I am full-blown casual now.  My available game time has dropped to only a few hours per week.  I set aside two nights to raid, but we only have enough guildies to raid about 50% of the time.  Even with OpenRaid we usually find ourselves short of tanks or healers.  On off-nights I get to log in about 1 out of 3 evenings, and then only for an hour or two.  Its enough to keep up with Garrisons and do some crafting/auctioning, and that’s it.

On my to do list:

  • finish normal mode Highmaul.  My guild is still at Ko’ragh.  Raiding one night a week, and that with an inconsistent raid team, does not make for quick progress.
  • do normal mode Blackrock Foundry.
  • continue the legendary questline.  I’m still collecting Abrogator Stones, so I’ve got a way to go before I’m caught up
  • Pet Battles – I have not yet unlocked my Level 3 Menagerie
  • Fishing – I have not yet unlocked my Level 3 Fishing Shack
  • Archaeology – have yet to touch this so far this expansion
  • Old raids – I intend on running old raids, specifically to get pet drops
  • Toys – this is a collection I’d like to work on
  • New in 6.1 – Jukebox.  I think this is neat, from a collectors point of view, and I’d like to track down the available music patterns

With the amount of time I play, this is probably a good 6 months or more worth of content.  I’m up to my ears in things to do.  I’m swamped.  I hope they delay future patches so I don’t get further behind.  I know that’s not a popular opinion among the more time-rich players, but I speak only on behalf of myself.

23
Feb
15

What was your first sign of burnout?

This weekend I didn’t log into WoW at all.

Admittedly, I’m really busy these days.  Three kids with various activities, family birthday parties, cooking, cleaning a house, and work that I bring home all take their toll on my free time.

That aside, I did have a couple of hours Sunday evening to log in, and I chose not to.  I elected to relax at home with my wife rather than relax in Draenor.

Is that the beginning of WoW burnout?

The one thing that really makes me question whether I am burned out is a single task I have yet to accomplish.  I have yet to unlock the Level 3 Fishing Shack.  In past expansions, this is the kind of thing I would have been all over like a bee on honey.  I never minded grindy tasks if they had a specific and desirable goal at the end.  Plus, I have always had a love for fishing in the game.  I was the first person I knew to get the Salty title, back in the day.

These days I can’t really motivate myself to go out and catch a few hundred fish.  I’m only logging on for an hour at a time, except on raid nights, and looking for short-time activities rather than long-term goals.

Is this the first stage of burnout?

31
Jan
15

WoWInsider – End of an Era?

Having played World of Warcraft for a long time now (almost 9 years), I’ve seen the way the community has changed over the years.  WoWInsider was a HUGE influence on that.

When I started playing, game blogging was barely a thing.  There were a few communities – Elitist Jerks and the official forums and the like – but not much else.  You generally went to Thottbot for your information ad read the comment section.  Then there was an explosion of gaming blogs.  They became the go-to resource for all things gaming.  If you wanted to know something, from boss strategies to crafting to pvp, to class-specific information, there was a blog (or 10) for it.

Then along came WoWInsider.  And it was good.  Really good.  And the WoWHead.  It was good as well.  And from these, there became less need for gaming blogs.  Why scour the internet for information when it was almost certainly on WoWInsider or WoWHead?

As a blogger, I did resent them, somewhat.  I had become pretty involved in my rogue-related blogging, and the fact that WoWInsider’s rogue columns were just plain better than mine irked me a little.  It helped ease the sting when they linked to my blog and brought me thousands of views.  Still, it was soon after this that my blogging started to decrease.  In my mind I sometimes blamed them for stealing the thunder of WoW-bloggers, but in my heart I knew they were just excellent writers who were putting a lot of time and effort into their work.

Since then, WoWInsider has been my number one WoW resource.  I know that some people call them shills for Blizzard, but considering how much I love the game I’m not actively looking for WoW critics.

Seeing how they have been the dominant online presence (outside of the official forums) for WoW for years now, to me this marks another shift in gaming communication.  Is this because of the recent predominance of Twitter as a gaming community?  It it because there are fewer gamers?

I’m sad to see them go.

And I hope on Tuesday when their site closes they will make an announcement that they are setting up shop in some other part of the internet.

27
Dec
14

Grimrail Depot is the Worst Thing Ever

I’m very patient.  I don’t gripe in party chat.  I don’t call people noobs.  I don’t tell people how bad they are playing.  I generally stay silent, respawn after a wipe, then go back and do my thing but try and do better.

I tolerate both the good and the bad in LFD groups.  Sometimes you get a great group, sometimes you don’t.  That’s life.

That said, my problems with Grimrail Depot are not from the players or the inevitable griping and drama that comes with a run through this hellish place.  This is all Blizzard’s fault.  I have now run Grimrail Depot three times – twice as a healer and once as dps.  I will never run it again.  Here’s why.

  • After making the game more and more of a solo affair, pushing us into LFD and LFR and Garrisons and reducing any need to communicate, the first boss in Grimrail Depot actually requires some form of coordination.  Since most players have been trained by Blizzard to run in and pull without fear, this inevitably leads to drama.  Who is killing what?  Why did you kill the little guy first?
  • When on the train, during trash packs there is fire everywhere.  I’m a good little player – I’ve learned to run out of fire.  But wait!  We’re in a narrow little corridor with no room to maneuver.  So we get caught in fire no matter how much we want to get out of it.  Sorry healers.
  • Line of sight.  Take one wrong step, and you’re out of sight of the healer.  Let the finger-pointing commence.
  • The second boss is the biggest mess of any instance boss I can remember.  The Dungeon Journal – a real advance in the game – gives no real clear advice on what the heck is going on in that fight.  I’ve done it three times and I still don’t have a clear idea of what I’m doing.
  • The sliding backward thing during the second boss?  Whatever developer came up with that should have to sit on a rolling chair on an inclined floor while he tries to do work at Blizzard HQ.

In three times through this instance I’ve totaled about 18 wipes.  It doesn’t matter how patient I am, that’s more than I can take.  Thanks, Blizzard, but I’ll pass on this one.

04
Dec
14

What Makes This Better Than Dailies?

Yesterday I posted a list of all the things I do when I log onto WoW.  It involved garrison missions, mining ore, picking herbs, gathering timber, trapping beasts, daily crafting cooldowns, and the daily Apexis Crystal quest.  It is quite a large list.

I dinged level 100 about 5 days ago.  I have not yet run most of the level 100 dungeons on either normal or heroic mode.  The reason for this falls squarely on my “chores”.  Each evening I log on at some point.  By the time I have finished my chores, I look at the clock and decide that I won’t have time to wait in a queue and complete a pug instance before I have to go to bed.  And so I do a couple of quests or kill some rares, or just gather more timber.  I’m not making a lot of progress toward raid-readiness.

And yet I don’t feel like I’m being forced to do this.  In Mists, the dailies felt mandatory.  They were mostly not enjoyable, but were a means to an end.   Whether you were a crafter or a raider, there was something you needed from the dailies.

In WoD, the garrison is simply the most fun I am having in the game, and I play the game to have fun.  I am opting to do what I like, even if it isn’t an optimized path to end game.

I think that somewhere along the way, WoW was taken over by optimizers.  Each task or choice had its value set based on how close it was to the ideal path toward an end goal.  Whether is is online guides or simulations or HandyNotes or add-ons, the majority of the game turned into a means to an end, and if you strayed from the most optimal path you were “doing it wrong”.  WoD has brought back the freedom to play how you like, and that’s just what I’m going to do.

03
Dec
14

Day in the Life of a Garrison Junkie

Here’s my daily routine when I first log onto WoW.

  • log onto druid
  • Complete missions.  Assign followers to buildings
  • Run to forge, collect and restart work orders.  Refresh follower buff.
  • Collect and restart work orders from enchanter’s hut and lumber mill.
  • Pick herbs and collect ore.  Collect and restart work orders from herb garden and mine.
  • Get garrison resources.
  • Do daily profession cooldowns.
  • Unassign followers.  Start new follower missions
  • log onto rogue
  • Complete missions.  Assign followers to buildings
  • Run to tannery, collect and restart work orders.
  • Run outside of garrison to find elephants to trap for barn work orders.  Run back to garrison.
  • Collect and restart work orders from enchanter’s hut and barn.
  • Pick herbs and collect ore.  Collect and restart work orders from herb garden and mine.
  • Get garrison resources.
  • Do daily profession cooldowns.
  • Unassign followers.  Start new follower missions
  • log onto mage
  • Hearth to auction house.  Cancel and repost auctions.
  • Hearth back to garrison.
  • Complete missions.  Assign followers to buildings
  • Run to scribe’s quarters, collect and restart work orders.
  • Collect and restart work orders from trading post
  • Do daily profession cooldowns.
  • Get garrison resources.
  • Unassign followers.  Start new follower missions
  • log onto priest
  • Complete missions.
  • Run to Tailoring Emporium.  Collect and restart work orders.
  • Do daily profession cooldowns.
  • log back to druid
  • Pick up daily Apexis Crystal quest.  Fly out to wherever that is located.  Grind mobs until quest is done.  Hearth back to garrison.

This process takes about an hour to an hour and fifteen minutes.  That’s all before I can think about questing or running instances. When you add in the fact that I refresh my missions again before I log off, I’d say that this process takes a good third of my gaming time.




Armory

Dinaer - 96 Assassination Rogue (US - Sen'Jin)
Derence - 90 Prot/Ret Paladin (US - Sen'Jin)
Metius - 91 Shadow Priest (US - Sen'Jin)
Liebnitz - 91 Arcane Mage (US - Sen'Jin)
Fastad - 90 Subtlety Rogue (US - Sen'Jin)
Darishin - 100 Resto/Balance Druid (US - Sen'Jin)
April 2015
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