QoL Improvements and New Features

Warlords of Draenor launches tonight at 11pm in the UK, which technically makes it the 12th rather than the 13th but that’s EU timezones for you. After the drought of the last few months which led to me unsubbing for the first time ever, there’s going to be a lot of new content to explore.

Even when I was raiding I basically played from an achievement/collector standpoint. I enjoyed raiding for the initial challenge. Once a boss went on farm it bored me. I liked gear for what it let me do but I didn’t care for it as a reward in of itself. Mists added feats of strengths for defeating the raids when it was current content. I liked these, and I was especially glad to get the Siege one as it rewarded a mount.

I’m not planning on raiding in Warlords. I can’t commit to a schedule like I did in Mists. That was way too much, far too intense and it sucked the joy out of the whole game. That means I have to accept that I might not complete the legendary quest. If there are rewards for the feat of strength raids then I might miss those. However, I missed out on all the challenge mode achievements and associated rewards in Mists. I have long resigned myself to never getting the PvP achievements as I suck at PvP. For a collector/completionist it’s never nice to realise you are locked out of something but it’s something I’ve had to learn to accept.

Anyway, this post isn’t about achievements exactly, or is it about Warlords of Draenor. It’s about some things I’ve noticed while playing recently. It’s things that I think either some addon maker, or blizz themselves, should eventually do something about.

Faction specific lists
With the 6.0 pre-patch the ToyBox tab was launched and the mount tab got a few improvements. It was these two tabs that got me thinking about Quality of Life improvements in the game. There are some items/mounts which are Alliance or Horde only. The mount tab added greyed out mounts that were yet to be collected. However, I can see all the Horde ones on my Alliance characters, these mounts are forever inaccessible.

I would love to be able to check/uncheck a box to hide these faction specific mounts, so they aren’t cluttering up my list. The same with the ToyBox, unless I can have them on my Alliance characters, I don’t want them on my list, it ruins my quest for 100% completion, as it’s putting things on there that aren’t possible.

Transmog possibilities
The pre-patch also implemented the new character models. I was not overly impressed as my paladin didn’t look like themselves. Thankfully they added the face option to the barber shop so I managed to change it enough to leave the new models activated. I’m still not happy but I’ll get used to it. I had to do the same for my mage, my very first character, which has always been ugly as hell but nostalgia kept it that way. I took a screenshot of how it was and then went to town with changing it. I have never been a fan of dresses, mage really was never a good class for me, and so just as I had a spare five minutes I booted MogIt to work out a good transmog.

Which brings me to another QoL improvement which would really be a new feature. I’ve made a post about this before but the game really needs a transmog wardrobe. As I was searching on MogIt so many good transmog options weren’t possible as they were quest rewards. I did all the quests before transmog was introduced so I didn’t save the items, they are forever lost to me and they have unique models. The game knows I’ve completed the quest, as hovering over the item told me it was marked complete. Therefore it would be very possible to automatically add all these items to a transmog wardrobe feature.

Just as an aside when it comes to transmog for QoL they should make the transmog wardrobe account wide. How often have you been on one character, and the transmog item you needed on another dropped? Then when you are on the right character it never ever dropped? Yeah, it sucks big time. As transmog is just a cosmetic thing, sharing unlocks account wide shouldn’t be an issue. It’s not about stats or gear, it’s just about a look. Man I would run every damn thing in the game until I unlocked every possible option. I am a collector and I would want to have 100% unlocked on the transmog wardrobe. They could add achievements for it and everything. Transmog already gives people reasons to go back and run old content, why not just add some additional incentives?

Flying and Archaeology
There is no flying in Draenor whatever your level. In Mists flying could be unlocked at level 90, it was the first thing I went and did on all of my characters. However, in Draenor whether max level or not flying just isn’t enabled. Blizz haven’t definitively stated that there won’t be flying ever, but they haven’t confirmed it will be eventually enabled either.

Aside from the fact that flying is just convenient anyway, there is one big argument in favour of it – Archaeology. This profession requires travelling back and forth over the whole continent. That’s all there is to the profession really, going from one digsite to another. It’s not exactly the most compelling areas of gameplay but stick some TV on the second screen and the achievements can be grinded for, in small doses. No flying just makes an already eye-watering grind that much worse.

There is a transport mechanism, the lodestone which teleports you to a random digsite. However, this has a 30 minute cooldown, which makes it pretty much useless. Either they should make this have no cooldown, and preferably not limited use/charge based, or they should add flying back in. Flying gets my vote as it’s useful for so much else but they really need to do something for Archaeology.

Progression outside of raiding
This is just going to be rant most likely. Blizz what were you thinking removing points gear? That kind of rant. Mists of Pandaria should have been my favourite expansion as it was the expansion where I stepped up, I raided current content, it was my time in the sun so to speak. However, as I joined Wrath too late to get a proper picture of it, Cataclysm is the only other expansion I’ve played from start to finish. Cata had so many problems, everyone hates on it but it also did a lot right. Cata > Mists for how it treated alts, how it ran dungeons, how it gave options.

When they announced Mists, they said it would be the expansion of options but really in practical terms there were less options than ever before. Mists killed alts and it looks like Warlords is putting the boot in. Blizz want everyone to raid, it makes their lives simpler in providing content, just funnel everyone into LFR and call it good. Well it’s not good, LFR is a cesspit and I won’t run it.

I am a huge fan of dungeons, I am a huge fan of points gear. Mists didn’t really offer either as the points gear was doubled gated at the start, then it was locked behind a raid reputation before finally there wasn’t any. The dungeons were such walkovers, and so far behind in what they offered, and then were never updated, that they just might as well not have been there.

Warlords has stripped out points gear. Dungeons are potentially viable for the start but if they aren’t updated will soon be outclassed. Alts, or non-raiders will be left firmly in the cold again. Garrisons offer some options, and there’s the extremely overpriced apexis crystals, but it’s nowhere near enough. People like to login and feel that they have achieved something for their time. In Warcraft progression is tied to gear, so a progression path for better gear, in a consistent and persistent fashion is really needed. Points provided that, now they are gone there needs to be something else.

This above all else is what Warcraft really needs in my opinion. A way to play, and progress again, without the cesspit of LFR or organised raiding.

More, just more
I’m an achievement hunter and a collector. Over time, and often a lot quicker than I’d hope, I have everything that I can possibly do/collect. There are always random drops, the Soloed page on this blog looks at the RNG mounts. However, these aren’t achievable in a predictable fashion. I could farm them from now until the end of the game and they may never drop. Constantly trying for something and failing isn’t compelling gameplay. There needs to always be something that can be achieved.

There are good achievements for this. The Raiding With Leashes series, which sends us back into old raids for new pets. Then there’s all the Archaeology achievements in Mists to get 20 of each artifact and a pristine version which is a huge time sink. However, progress is incremental and can be seen and achieved.

Contrast that with the Kalimdor pet collection, which I’ve had all checked off bar the Minfernal since shortly after it was introduced. That pet is just simply much too rare with the introduction of CRZ. I may never get it and that isn’t a good feeling.

The game has such a huge wealth of content. Blizz should add more achievements, more collectable items, just more to give us incentives to trawl all over the game. It would mean that if endgame gives us very little, how Warlords is shaping up for example, then that wouldn’t matter as there would be other options.

I know not everyone is an achievement hunter/collector but if they aren’t, then adding more of these things won’t hurt them as they weren’t interested in the first place. However, it would mean the world to players like me.

Places like the Argent Tournament, or Tol Barad even which had their own currency as a quest reward. Then there was a vendor that offered items in return for this currency. It takes months to grind out all the commendations for the items, it can be done on your own timescale but it’s content that is always there. Blizz should add more things like this, where progress can be seen and it feels good, as opposed to just RNG screwing you over once again.

Even more reasons to login
Warcraft has world events but these are held at set locations during the year. They occasionally get updated or added to but for the most part once they are complete, then they are complete and there’s no need to worry about them again.

Marvel Heroes has a rotating pool of events that last a week each. These have special event currency, offer items from vendors that can’t be achieved in just one iteration of the event. They don’t add any additional content, they just provide reasons to run what the game already has. If Warcraft did this then it would give people a reason to keep logging in, it would give people an incentive to run any aspect of the game that blizz chose. It would add so much to the game for the price of just a few quests and a vendor.

This post is long enough so I’m going to call it here. I could probably keep on and list even more QoL changes and additions, there are a lot of possibilities. I said this in a comment on The Grumpy Elf’s blog. Even after everything I still do like this game, I am looking forward to playing it once again. However, that doesn’t mean I’m blind to it’s imperfections, that doesn’t mean I don’t wish it could be better.

The Grumpy Elf said that blizz should listen to players like me, players that still like the game but have quit and are prepared to quit for good, players that on the edge. Blizz’s focus seems to have changed to attracting back old players, rather than attracting new ones. I would hope that they would also want to keep the players they currently have. I certainly don’t think that I’m looking for anything unreasonable from the game. I just wish that they would offer more options. They can keep everything that they currently have, just add a little more, make the game friendly for different playstyles once again.

See you in Draenor.