Archive for January, 2014

Killing the Goose that lays the Golden Egg.

LFR_WIPEThe more I endure LFR the less motivated I am to continue raiding. I’m already tired of the Siege of Orgrimmar and I know I’m not on my own. Blizzard is trying to make their content more accessible for the majority of it’s player base and in this they are being successful. However, in doing so they are slowly killing their own game and reducing their own revenue.

In no longer creating content exclusively for raiders they’re reducing the motivation to accept the challenge of completing normal level raiding content. Any game needs a healthy balance of easy and accessible content and very challenging, testing content. Since vanilla WoW Blizzard struck a very nice balance of content for casual gamers and more hardcore players. However, since Cataclysm and the introduction of LFR the balance has swung the other way.

It’s no secret that subscriber levels grew all the way through vanilla and The Burning Crusade to a very healthy 11 million. This was maintained for the whole of Wrath of Lich King peaking at 12 million immediately prior to Cataclysm release. Since then the title steadily declined through Cataclysm to 9.1 million, a level they exceeded in the early months of The Burning Crusade. There was a small surge back to 10 million when Mists of Pandaria launched, but by the second quarter of 2013 subcriber numbers we back to vanilla levels of 7.7 million. When results are public for the second half of 2013 and 2014 I cannot reasonably believe that subscriptions will have gone up. Is WoW dying? No, of course not. Even if you calculate a linear decline (and assume no effort on Blizzard’s part to arrest that decline) we’re still looking to 2016/7 for no subscribers and WoW will be 13!

The best raid content ever produced? According to Blizzard‘s own surveys Naxxramas 40 is the most respected raid content Blizzard ever produced. This despite the fact that less than 3% of Warcraft players ever got to see this content. The fact that many more entered Naxxramas 10/25 in Wrath of the Lich King is immaterial, no one really rates that dungeon (despite the fact it’s exactly the same, maybe tuned down somewhat) as much as the, gone from game, 40 man version. What does that tell us?

RagnarosGamers, despite what you may believe if you read all the whining on the official forums, like a challenge. What’s more only a tiny minority (particular Americans) resent the fact that there is high-end content in game they cannot access. I still don’t understand the sense of entitlement that this minority of gamers have. If it’s in game they want it. Personally, I was awed that people were able to penetrate Naxxramas 40. I loved getting taken along to see Molten Core. I didn’t resent that I couldn’t really aspire to raid since I was unwilling to commit so much time to the game. I was excited that I was playing a game that featured that content!

When I saw a guy wearing legendary items in Shattrath one afternoon I was amazed! When I equipped my Legendary cape in Mists of Pandaria I thought it was appalling I could have earned a legendary item and it just wasn’t Legendary if I had it. I don’t think I’m on my own feeling like that.

Don’t listen when people tell you that you don’t have to run LFR and Flex. If you’re in a 10 man raiding guild you do have to! Not many people raiding every week in 10 man guilds are all that. Sorry, but that is the way things fall out. So you need every edge you can get and a good set of Flex gear to supplement your current tier normal level raid gear is absolutely essential. At the beginning of a raid tier LFR gear is also very helpful. If you’re not running LFR and Flex you’re holding your 10 man raid back, you’re slacking. Don’t want to put the work in? Sorry, the reality is that normal and heroic raiding content is not for you. There is content for you, ironically, it’s available with LFR.

karazhanLFR has only made things worse for normal mode raiding. People turn up wearing crap gear, PvP trinkets, no gems or enchants, without reforging and with no clue how to play their class. They “progress” and get gear quickly in LFR. Looking for Retards is apt, you can be a in the gamer sense, with no gear, no clue, no attention span and still get to see all of Blizzard‘s content. LFR has not resulted in providing more players interested in proper raiding either! Blizzard’s introduction of LFR has undermined 10 man raiding guilds and made life more difficult for them.

Casual gamers can log in whenever they want and get to see all of Blizzard’s raiding content. Why the hell should they join a guild; be forced to attend at fixed times on set days; learn tactics; buy a headset; have to talk on voice chat; wipe? If these casuals are interested in more challenging content they join some poor, unsuspecting raid guild. They sign up and never turn up; don’t always gem or enchant gear. They’ll listen on voice chat if you’re lucky; never watch tactics videos; and don’t want to come next week if you spent all night wiping on a progression boss. In fact if you’re wiping you’ll be lucky if they stay all night. Why should they? They’ve already seen all that content in LFR anyway.

What’s more is that the more committed raiders, like myself, who want to do challenging progression raiding are sick of seeing 14 boss raid dungeons for a whole tier. We do it three times every week for the first third of the tier and then twice thereafter. That’s only on our main, if we gear competent additional chars to cover utility tanking or healing roles that’s another couple of LFR runs every week. Our progress in Siege of Orgrimmar is 7/14, halfway, and I’m already bored. How many times have I killed Garrosh? What do I have to look forward to?

MalchezarAn increasing amount of people are feeling this way and what’s more they’re expressing this in their subscription habits. Many more people are subscribing at the beginning of an expansion, levelling to maximum, completing LFR so they’ve seen all the content and quitting the game. They cancel their subscription until the next patch and slew of new content. They’ll subscribe for long enough to experience most of it and cancel again. If any subscription model was guaranteed to kill raiding guilds, especially smaller, slower progressing, casual 10 man guild this was it Blizzard.

Where is the motivation for hardcore and 25 man raiders? There used to be some kudos and some in-game value in completing raid content, but now everyone and their pet has epic raid gear and the content is identical, the encounters cosmetically similar and the gear even looks the same. No one cares if the gear is LFR or 25 man heroic when it looks the same.

Warcraft has always needed, and now more than ever, a healthy balance of content for the casual and the hardcore. Make content that really is difficult to access, and not just one extra boss in heroic mode raids. How about entire raid instances that only the best (or more persistent) raiders will ever reach. How about some aspirational content? How about some content people are motivated and, dare I say, proud to have reached. The first time my guild downed Prince Malchezar in Karazhan was the one of the biggest buzzes I’ve ever had in game. 10 man dungeons made raiding accessible and taught us how to workas a unit. It gave me the desire to do more and commit more time and effort to my main, gearing and skilling up. In the new Wrath of the Lich King expansion I wanted to be in a 25 man raiding guild, see all the raid content and kill the Lich King. Karazhan was an amazing innovation when viewed in that way.

too-many-wipesCompared to Karazhan LFR is not a valuable and positive development in World of Warcraft. A small minority of whiners begged Blizzard and got what they wanted. As a result the game is seriously flawed for the majority of us and Blizzard will struggle to fix things and get the genie back in the bottle. Flying mounts have made Azeroth easy and content derisory. The once epic world now feels very, very small. LFR hasn’t opened raiding to a wider audience it has introduced dumbed down, derisory content that has damaged guilds and weakened the appetite for raiding and long term commitments to World of Warcraft and subscribing. Playing in LFR teaches you nothing about raiding, teamwork or cooperation in game and the fun they can produce.

Good luck fixing that Blizzard.

This is LFR…

ShrugSo I get into an argument with a tank…nothing surprising there. What is surprising is why. We ported into the instance and five people insta-quit. Two of them tanks. We waited a couple of minutes then someone starts asking the Death Knights if anyone could tank? One guy does and tanks all the way to the first boss. After the fight the recently ported in tank says “GJ healers” and I say “Yeah and GJ stand in tank”. Now he takes offence at this remark and persists even if after I explained what I meant.

Now people in our battlegroup have noticed that the high population server Kazzak seems to have a high number of elite idiots. However, high population servers will suffer as their minority of morons will be more visible. Personally, I’ve started to notice that TarrenMill seems to have a much higher proportion of the idiots. Fewer idiots yes, but a greater proportion of the server population.

So this tank persists calling me a noob and then starts picking on my 110K DPS!. Now if we were in Siege of Orgrimmar and I had ilvl 562 (my ‘locks ilvl) then 110K would look shamefully bad. But ilvl 502 in Mogu’shan Vaults? crying little girlOn an un-gemmed, un-enchanted alt?!

He inspects me, of course, and then starts ragging on my lack of gems and enchants. And before I can say it, he says, that he’s on an alt too. Clearly he’s done this before. Well, look at you wasting gems and enchants on char that’s running MV. Is it your second level 90? Do you have no expectation of ever better gear soon (later today or tomorrow) so you’re gemming and enchanting sub-528 gear? Or are you just gold rich and want to max out your DPS at every stage of levelling? Well good for you. After my warlock, Rutå, warrior, Fleetfoot, and priest, Sakkara, I’m a) poor and b) fed up with it and just wanna have some fun with my paladin that I can’t play immensely well and will never take inside a real raid.

Some people are just elitist morons though aren’t they Nikmoob-TarrenMill?

Facebook Malarkey

nerdrageIt’s customary for most guilds, most serious guilds, to periodically prune their roster. People join guilds and stop playing all the time and guild rosters become full of characters that really aren’t valuable or contributing in any sense. What Officer regularly do is remove chars that haven’t been logged on for a few months. Occasionally legitimate alts get booted out and have to be re-invited, but that’s not a big problem.

So we kicked some chars that belonged to this guy who calls himself Geo Johansen on Facebook. By his own admission they’re small alts (I take that to mean low levels) and he’s mainly Alliance, plays on another server Arathor, hasn’t logged on for months, so he was kicked out. He has two choices: either accept that this is standard practice and inevitable or request a re-invite…which may or may not be granted. If you’re not playing, you’re not even socialising with us so why be in our guild?awhazc

He kicked off and had a go at us at our guild’s Facebook page. “So, you NOOBS kicked my small alts out of you guild…” and some abuse for this. I replied with “Who are you? You’re nobody to us, so your lowbie alts were remove from the guild. Accept it and stop behaving like a child. If this is how you conduct yourself we’re better off without you.”

He had a good rage at this one; “NOOBS stuff your crap guild up your ass. I am not a child I have survived two strokes, a hip replacement…” some other medical stuff, “…I don’t need you or your crap guild, you’re the kids!” “You’re behaving like a 12 years, check my date of birth before calling me a child. Incidentally, were the strokes caused by your constant nerd raging?”

He deleted his own posts (and my responses with them) from our Facebook page. He also appears to have deleted his own Facebook page. He’s /ragequit Facebook…now that’s comedy.

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