The Blizzard Blues

I remember when I first started playing Warcraft. I looked at the subscription options and I wanted to take the 6 months one, or whatever the longest option was, as it was the best deal. My friend told me not to, he said that there may come a day when I want to unsubscribe for a while. If you’ve just paid for the next six months, then you can’t do that. I told my friend that I couldn’t imagine ever wanting to quit, but I took his advice anyway as the difference wasn’t huge.

Well now I can’t just imagine wanting to quit, I’m actively considering it. I won’t because I’m not ready to say goodbye. I like my guild, I like the in game friends I’ve made, I even like raiding just not as often as I currently have to. I’m not ready to quit the game but I’m really wishing that I could vote with my wallet. Complaining about blizz’s decisions and continuing to pay them money, after all gives them no incentive to change.

The missing beta
I’ve always been someone that has defended blizz, even when I didn’t agree with them I accepted their decisions. The playerbase is so diverse that even when I don’t like something, I can see why other people would, and the game isn’t just to please me, it has to try and please everyone. However, I really can’t defend what is happening now. Maybe that makes me one of those doom and gloom people, maybe I’m overreacting, I don’t know. Perhaps this is just a rant post but I need to say it.

There were many things I didn’t like about Mists of Pandaria, that has perhaps contributed to my general feelings about the game. However, the big problem is Warlords of Draenor and it’s release date. It’s now February and we’ve not even heard whispers of when beta might be released. Unless blizzard do something completely new then we are looking at having no new content for about a year. What’s even worse than the lack of news about beta or when it’ll be released, is the silence from the devs about it. Now I don’t visit the forums looking at blue posts, I don’t follow all the devs/community managers on twitter. I do however visit WoWInsider several times a day. If any of the ‘blues’ said anything about beta or release, then it would be mentioned on there.

An acknowledgement that the release date is a concern, some sign that they understand the problem, would go a long way. The most they have said is that if you pre-order you’ll get your level 90 boost early. As if the boost is content enough to take people through. I have 8 level 90’s and I only play one – my main. I have geared a couple in Timeless gear but what is there beyond that? LFR which I won’t do, flex which I don’t have time for and would have to be carried in anyway at that ilevel. There’s heroic scenarios which some people in my guild still do, but at very random times, I often used to ask and get no response. I miss the days of dungeons, I miss the days of point gear. I miss the days when I could play when I wanted, for a short period of time and still get somewhere. It would be glacial slow, but it would be measurable progress. I don’t play for gear but I don’t like to play for no reason either, maybe that’s a contradiction in terms but it’s how I feel.

With Mists of Pandaria blizz finally fulfilled their promise to bring content out faster, only the result is an even longer gap between expansions. Perhaps I’m being influenced too much by the ‘free to play’ games that I’ve been playing lately. Why should we pay money for nothing? Six months is long enough, that’s plenty of time to consume a raid tier and play with a patch, February will mark the sixth month since the release of 5.4 Siege of Orgrimmar.

The long wait
Blizz have said that there will be no 5.5. We are in for a long wait for Warlords of Draenor and I’ve had enough. Perhaps if I had a release date, even just for beta, I would feel better. There would be something to look forward to, something on the horizon that wasn’t an abstract, but something real, there would be progress towards new content. However, there is no news, no sign of it’s release, it’s all up in the air, and that’s really hard to look forward too.

I bought another Warcraft account in the sale before Christmas. It was an extremely good deal and I thought it would help me level my Herald alt. However, I’m struggling to do that as I just don’t enjoy levelling in Warcraft. Why was I bothering? That’s what I asked myself the other day. I don’t want to level the alt and my enthusiasm for the achievement is long gone. I’m doing it out of habit, because this is what I would have done before, when I actually cared. I’m forcing myself because I said that I would do Herald with my friends and they are waiting for me, I’m forcing myself because it might be removed due to the item squish next expansion and then it’ll be unobtainable. Forcing myself just sounds stupid though, it’s a game and it should be fun. I’ve stopped caring, I’ve stopped playing outside raids I only attend out of obligation. I’m burned out and fed up.

I don’t want to quit, like I said I’m not ready. I don’t want to let my guild down and I don’t want to leave my friends. It’s because of the people I know and not the game, that I’m still playing.

Mists of Pandaria
I’m a little worried that I’m just passing blame around, which is perhaps unwarranted. Somewhere along the way I lost my enthusiasm and love for the game. I can point to things I didn’t like but really I don’t know if I can say that’s why I feel the way that I do.

Mists of Pandaria attacked how I play. It took away the weekly bonus (7x anytime you like) and made it a daily bonus. It made valor capping take longer, not that it mattered as there was very little worth buying for valor. It made justice points pretty much irrelevant. It made dungeons irrelevant and made the choice LFR or nothing in so many respects. It made raids more complex and more tightly tuned so that it locked out more casual players, everyone else had to take a step up. It made gear inflation go crazy so a skilled person with out of date gear, their skill is worth nothing. It said that it was increasing options and actually took so many of them away. It took away alts and made me an elitist. I’ve had to bench people for raids, I’ve had to say that they can’t come because they can’t cut it and I hate that, I really hate that. I don’t like being mean.

I play the game very differently now at the end of Mists of Pandaria, than I did at the end of Cata. Mists of Pandaria forced change and I did change, I had to because what else is there? I don’t like LFR, I have never liked LFR and now I refuse point blank to run it. I won’t do it, it’s not fun, it takes too long and the environment is often toxic. If I didn’t raid on my main, I probably would have quit a long time ago. Playing casually is no longer an option.

Warlords of Draenor
I could be looking to the next expansion with too much hope. I am probably pinning for too much on it, hoping that it’ll fix everything and it probably won’t. That is probably why I am so desperate for news on Warlords, or some forward movement towards it, because I think it’ll fix it. I doubt that it will. LFR is here to stay and blizz is going to want to funnel as many people through it as possible. LFR is just a numbers game after all, whereas new dungeons require new art assets and new coding.

Raiding is going to change next expansion, in some ways for the better and in a lot of ways for the worse. How exactly it works out is something that remains to be seen. There’s not even a beta so speculating on the consequences of the changes, it’s just speculation and with nothing to back it up. Raiding is the last bastion of gameplay that I’m still a part of, if I lose that too then I really will be done.

Please Blizz, we need some news yesterday, we need beta and we need a release date. I’m also hoping like mad, that the statement made at blizzcon, that dungeons would return, is accurate. I just want choice, I’ve said that in previous posts. People can choose LFR, I wish to choose something else and I don’t want to be left so far behind the curve because of that choice. Raiding takes time, even ‘casual’ raiding like LFR, and that is time that I just don’t have for alts, yet I still should be able to play them.

Yes this is a rant post, yes this is just one big moaning complaint. I had to say it. I can’t vote with my wallet because I won’t leave my guild, so I have to vent somewhere, somehow. I just hope blizz doesn’t take too long as I’m losing patience by the day. All is not well in my guild and I do have the capacity to say “just screw it” and walk away. I don’t want to because it would be unfair but I am only human. I have Marvel Heroes and Swtor to play, I’ve signed up for the Everquest Next beta because that looks really cool. Warcraft is no longer my only game, so it has to prove itself worthy or maybe I will just leave it behind.

/end rant

3 thoughts on “The Blizzard Blues

  1. Raiding in WoD seems to be shaping up as better in almost every respect except for the transition pains for heroic raids needing to hit a new body count… and once you get past that hurdle the downside is gone. Where’s all the incoming WoD raiding badness?

    I do sympathize with most of the rant, though… for a long time I’ve wished Blizzard offered some flexibility in their subscription so it wasn’t just an “everything or nothing” proposition. As you say, the choice is to either keep paying and send no message, or cancel, sending a message but maybe losing more than $15/month is worth. It really is a trivial amount of money in the grand scheme.

    Regarding the beta and release, if they had dates to give, they’d give dates. My predictions from last year were an early Feb beta with an early-mid Jun release for WoD… that was mid-pack as predictions went and those are still within scope. I don’t think the lack of dates is surprising, especially since Blizzard of all companies has NEVER floated dates until they were 99% solid. Their user base is unusually antagonistic toward back-tracking, at least from what I’ve seen/experienced. And in general, wanting to release content faster doesn’t guarantee faster content… I’m happy enough that they’re trying to do it. Maybe some day they’ll succeed…

    • I think I made a post about Warlords raiding issues. I’ll check because if I didn’t I should. Basically it forces us to scale up to 20 man, I personally don’t like larger raids and I’m not sure my PC can handle it. That’s a personal issue. From a raid leader perspective it ends my dilemma about confirms but creates a whole host more issues. Restricted to 10 means I can bench people that can’t cut it on progress nights, without actually telling them that. I’d have no raid size to hide behind. Plus the flexible loot only lockouts could cause drama with people wanting us to go back and kill bosses they’ve missed etc. Basically I want more details and to see how it’ll work in practical terms.

      As for those dates that you predicted. I doubt very much that they will release in June, that’s what is causing my concern. Summer is when people typically don’t play as much and so putting out an expansion, at a time when there’s less interest in the game, well it just doesn’t seem like something they would do. I could be wrong but I’m predicting that if it isn’t released before summer, which given the lack of beta I doubt, then it’ll be released after. 5.4 came out last September so if Warlords releases after summer, then we are looking at a year.

      They did release content faster, they did brilliantly. I wish that they hadn’t done so well, I wish that the gaps between the patches had been larger so there wasn’t this epic gap at the end. It’s the gap at the end I have a problem with.

      • Heh. Yeah, being able to hide behind a lack of flex is probably a perk even if in a perfect world it wouldn’t be necessary. 🙂

        The larger raid size will be an issue for some from a philosophical standpoint, me included… I just don’t like large raids, I prefer smaller ones with more easily identifiable problems and more personal accountability. Also, 10 players are going to master mechanics more quickly than 25 most of the time.

        My current raid is planning (I think, I’m far from the inner circle) to leverage cross-realm raiding to get to 25 regulars immediately to start planning for 6.0 hitting when heroics will require 20… things like making sure everyone’s system can handle it, maybe doing some recruiting in the process, etc. That came out of nowhere, I don’t think any of us even knew that cross-realm raids were confirmed to be coming prior to 6.0, let alone actually hitting that quickly. That means that while my last raid date was 10m, it’s possible we won’t be running any more at that size. I think that’s going to drive me out, I was happy to be done with 25s after Wrath, I don’t want to force myself back into them. That’ll also mean I’ll never be a heroic raider again but I’m fine with that, too, I can generally hold my own there but I prefer to run flex or normal to heroic.

        And yeah, seems June was overly optimistic. Sigh. I suspect I will take my first actual break from the game since BC at some point but I’ll be back for WoD, hopefully refreshed and maybe with a softened stance on 20-man raiding. We’ll see how it goes…

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