Tobold's Blog
Thursday, January 20, 2011
 
Differential diagnosis

Ionomonkey from Screaming Monkeys goes House and analyses the Cataclysmic WoW disease as being a lack of choice and control. Well, House would tell him that he is doing the differential diagnosis all wrong, but besides that one has to wonder whether Ionomonkey's diagnosis is the right one. Even House always makes three wrong diagnoses before arriving at the good one just before the end of the episode.

Ionomonkey's clues are heroics, guild perks, and linear leveling zones. Of these I would only consider the linear leveling zones to be really a problem of lack of choice and control. Not being able to skip quests you don't like, or go directly to a quest you like to play it again with another character is annoying like hell (and makes me wonder how a certain other storytelling MMORPG is going to handle that).

Heroics I consider to be a problem of flow. In previous expansions people kind of naturally moved from leveling to doing dungeons to doing heroics to raiding. In Cataclysm that process seems to be a much bumpier ride. By making heroics both long and hard, a large number of people end up not even being able to run one every day, and resign to do daily quests instead. That appears unsustainable to me, because I don't see people doing the same daily quests for the next 22 months. If we believe Ghostcrawler, that actually is only a temporary problem, as the flow will appear when people got used to the new heroics, and have geared up a bit.

Guild perks right now seem to be more a theoretical than a practical problem. Due to the cap on guild experience, a large number of guilds have exactly the same level of guild perks at the moment. If guild perks work to prevent guild hopping, that is hard to see, and not necessarily the worst outcome. And while pugging is certainly less pleasant than guild runs, I don't think we are at the point where I could agree with Ionomonkey's statement that "Either join a guild that can or be done with your progression on that character.".

So to get back to House and his differential diagnosis, we would be wise to consider a wider range of possibilities, and then start eliminating those which don't seem to apply. That starts with the possibility that there is actually nothing wrong with the patient. What evidence, besides the word of a few bloggers, do we have that Cataclysm is ailing? Then we should consider the possibility of the disease being something much simpler: Burnout. Frankly, it wouldn't be the first time that a third expansion failed to really counteract the natural process of people getting bored with a game faster than the developers can renew it. I hated Shadows of Luclin. And finally there are probably a range of other explanation of what ails World of Warcraft right now. Given a list of known bloggers, one can even predict what each of them would claim is the reason for this unproven disease, from "dumbed down" to "not immersive enough" to "too many morons & slackers".

So what do you think? Is Cataclysm doing well or is it ailing? And what are the reasons for its success, or your diagnosis of its disease?
Comments:
I'm playing it as much as ever. I'm having fun. Some people in my guild say "I'm bored" ten minutes after logging on.

Things are as always. I don't think the patient is ready to be committed to hospital just yet. :)

Building on your point, the fact that this is the third expansion probably indicates that WoW is now better than ever. For me. And what's been dumbed down, when it comes down to it? The classes are more similar and there are fewer really unique abilities, but they certainly still feel different to play.

Man, it's great to be mediocre – that way I don't notice all the bad stuff!
 
I believe that it WOW is facing the most problematic stage of its expac, currently... it's the point where there is so much challenge that it almost rules out a large percentage of its population from progressing that it risks alienating people before we can get around to the gear normalization that Ghostcrawler spoke of.

Part of the cause: low level cap, in my opinion.

By setting the level cap to half that of previous expacs, Blizzard almost guaranteed that people would be off like a shot, trying to get world/realm/guild-firsts. The illusion of a lower cap (though it may be no different in terms of time spent leveling, due to higher XP requirements) made people think, "Hey, I might have a shot at this." I know at least half a dozen or more guildies who took off time from work, or "worked from home" to spend a huge amount of time leveling in the first two weeks of Cata's launch. This placed them in the small percentage of players who were already ready to get geared for Heroics within the first three weeks. A good number of those players are DPS, but more significantly, several of them were the guild's few healers and tanks.

This has created a gap for those of us who had jobs and holidays to deal with, who did not have the time to invest in the rapid acceleration toward end-game content. My main, a Mage, faces queue times of 30-45 minutes on a regular basis. Less for regular random dungeons, but even more for Heroics. With the likelihood of wiping in Heroics being higher, there's even less of a chance for my Mage to get a shot at loot that would help him be better prepared for Heroics (and thereby start staging for Raids). Calls to guild members for help are repeatedly ignored, as the tanks and heals are already sucked into Raiding or Heroics of their own by the time I get online.

I don't have the time to sit around in queue for 30 minutes at a pop, spend two hours wiping on an instance, and get nothing for it. That's not a good use of my time, or the money I've invested in the game.

Now, on the somewhat-bright side, I've already gotten my Priest up to 85, and I have a DK-tank-in-waiting that I'm going to level with my wife's hunter. I also know others in my guild who are similarly feeling dispossessed, per se, so we may find ourselves forming into our own band to access content, but it's quite likely we'll never catch up to the rest of the guild. Additionally, the new content in the lowbie areas is well-written, providing a real sense of heroic adventure (the Goblin quests, which I tried on a lark, were actually quite entertaining and make you feel some sense of personal progress beyond just the dinging, if you pay attention to the text). Whether Blizz intended to or not, it may be causing several players to "regress" and level older, untouched toons, simply to avoid being bored and feeling like they wasted their money on the expac.

I'd say if Blizz can find a way to balance the challenging aspects of the game with the need to make it just slightly easier to gear up (perhaps reducing the cost of some JP gear or increasing the percentage of random drops, or even adding more patterns for crafting gear, to increase supply), then this expac should weather well over the long run. However, there is the chance for additional complications (issues with clients forcibly kicking players when entering dungeons, or stuttering cameras, etc.) to cause trouble down the line if Blizz doesn't get a handle on them right away.
 
Cataclysm is fine imho. I would certainly love it if I was as young again as I was in classic times.
Its not the fault of the game that it no longer tailors to my taste. Not the game changed, my timetable did ;)
 
My take on it is WoW has indeed improved itself and given people what they've been asking for: guild membership that matters, heroic heroics, good dungeon leveling, good story telling (see "kill 10 foozles").

I think for many people WoW has turned into the American TV show Lassie from the 1950's: "What's that girl? Timmy has been kidnapped by Deathwing, and he's at the bottom of the Well of Grim BlackwingLands behind 11 other bosses? Well I guess we have to grind our gear in crappy PuGs for a few weeks and go rescue him for the next 2 years!"
 
You forgot House's most important rule:

Everybody lies.

People claimed to want heroics to be more challenging. Yet, the population overwhelmingly flocked to the "easy" Wrath heroics and are largely shying away from the Cata heroics.

Even you, Tobold. You ran dozens of Heroics per week at the end of Wrath, and now you say you don't want to run them at all. House is in your patient room right now belittling you.

After thinking Cata has a heart defect, autoimmune, and then cancer, House would conclude it is too difficult for the vast majority of players, even most of the bloggers who claim they want this big challenge.

I'm sure there are many bloggers who will still claim they want a challenge, like the protesting loved one ("they couldn't be cheating/using drugs, it's not possible!"). How much weight do you think House would give their words?
 
I'm inclined to say Cataclysm is fine. Of course there are things that could be changed/tweaked to make it better, but all in all I typically enjoy the time I spend online as much as I ever have.

Starting at level 80 and reaching the cap in less than a week, the two prominent new features I'm most equipped to comment on are the heroics and guild membership. I tend to like both. And while small guilds will certainly lag behind the larger ones, I don't necessarily see that as as much of a problem, but more a rational outcome. As far as heroics go, I don't think any of them are tremendously difficult. And even so far as most of the proposed changes go, I don't see it as a nerf so much as removing some too restrictive mechanics which required more class balance than a heroic should require, or polishing mechanics that function the same.

The biggest problem I have with WoW at the moment is the community, particularly the raiding community. The split between hardcore raiders and "casuals" is becoming pretty dramatic, and toxic as far as I'm concerned. Speaking only from personal experience, raiding is pretty much divided into serious raiders who want exceptional play and bump-less runs all the time and "casual" players who haven't yet/can't/refuse to learn how to play end-game content properly. The two groups consistently clash through the LFG tool and the results are never pretty.

The main reason I dislike PuG runs of heroics is because it usually ends with an obnoxious 1337 player calling out an equally obnoxious moron and the group disbanding after you wipe on the first boss. As a result, the community just becomes more and more enraged.

I think Gevlon over at the Greedy Goblin is on the right track, trying to isolate casuals who aren't idiots, but I know as far as I'm concerned, outside of my guild and a few other friends, the people that constitute an otherwise enjoyable game (with some exceptions of course) are close to unbearable.
 
- Cataclysm is a technically superior single player game for children.
- At maximum level Cataclysm becomes a technically superior multiplayer game for dedicated adults who like a childish theme.
- It is massive only at indirect interaction (auction house, potential players in the dungeon finder queue).
- It is no roleplaying game.
- And most of all, it is not a virtual world; not at all.

Cataclysm already is a financial success and will be played by millions unless one of the coming MMORPGs turns out to be incredibly good. Which I doubt.

WoW is simply brilliant at what it is and really bad at being a virtual world.
 
"What evidence, besides the word of a few bloggers, do we have that Cataclysm is ailing?"

When I read GC Blog Dungeons are Hard the first thing that came to mind was, damn people must be cancelling in record numbers for him to basically beg the customer base to keep at it under the new "vision". Then the next day you read about all the dungeon nerfs on the PTR. If you look at the various Blue posts in the last two weeks you can definitely sense a change in tone from the developers. Its more than just being nicer, its almost nurturing and appeasing.

I think Blizzard is losing the 25-40 crowd who can only log on for a few hours work. For those folks time is at a premium. They want to knock out things like dailies quickly and efficiently so they can move on to other things. These people have real life things going on. If you are doing a Heroic just for points/rep and it takes 15m, you can tell a wife / child / etc. you will be right with them and mean it. If it takes 45m to queue and 2 hours to run that pretty much takes up your whole evening. Peoples real lives have been at least somewhat intertwined in the Wrath model of play for the past two plus years. You change the game and how it plays you have also effected how real life is impacted by the game. There is also the line of thought a lot of people have mentioned to me that they see 5mans and dailies as nothing more than just "Farm" content. They don't want to spend inordinate amounts of time dealing with it, they want to be raiding with ALL their friends.
 
Why did you hate Shadows of Luclin? Old EQ players frequently cite it as the point at which they fell out of love with EQ but I've never really had a clear idea why.

I know it had a very buggy launch, but I was playing DAOC then and by the time I came back to EQ the bugs had been knocked out of the expansion and it seemed pretty good to me. It was certainly good enough to make me give up on DAOC and come back to EQ full-time. I'd say that even now Luclin is probably my 4th favorite EQ expansion.

As for WoW/Cataclysm, WoW now sems so distant from what I understand an MMORPG to be that I can't begin to imagine what might be write or wrong with it. It's beginning to seem no closer to the MMOs that I play than a multiplayer online FPS or RTS might. There are a lot of people online in the same gamespace but the things they're doing are things I've only read about, never done.
 
I think it depends on the person. I am bored and hardly playing WoW at all even with the expansion, because of that I am probably going to be playing Rift until ToR comes out.
Most of my friends love Cata, are playing more than ever, and they have no interest in even looking at anything else. I even have a few friends still playing EQ because they like it and have no desire to play, or even try, anything else.
A lot of people will stay where they are just because it is where they are, that is why WoW will be around for may years to come even if they didn't release another expansion.
 
This comment has been removed by the author.
 
I'm in the camp that thinks that the playerbase is the one with the disease. A disease that Blizzard itself has incubated in a nice warm petri dish using "near instant gratification" as the growth medium. Epics were handed out like candy in WOTLK, and in turn the community embraced the concepts of gear scores, dps meters and achievement linking as the social measuring sticks of success.

Cataclysm saw a major shift in the mudflation curve and players are now being asked to spend more time in accomplishing the same thing.

Is it any wonder that we're seeing a rebellion now that the speed of reaching the top tiers of gear has been decreased?

GC's comments cemented the notion that a drastic shift in the "gearing up" curve would upset the playerbase, and in like fashion the playerbase is looking for the easiest scapegoat(in terms of the game design) in which to place blame.

Harder dungeons means it will take more TIME to gear up. Players who refuse to learn the dungeons/encounters and/or play their classes well now have a much broader impact than in WOTLK, and I dont blame the playerbase one bit when they complain about bad players, because bad/ineffective players now affect other players progression in a substantial way.

I can see this devolving into the old "time is money", or "subscription model versus some other payment model" now that Blizzard has taken away the tit of "near instant gratification" that the playerbase has been comfortably sucking on.

-I'm in a small social guild.
-I run LFD pug randoms.
-I dont expect to have top level gear within a few weeks of the expansions release.
-I play the same amount of time now as I did in WOTLK.
-I realize that it will take longer to get the epics.
-I'm having fun playing Cata and insulate myself from those things that make the game less fun
 
@Bhagpuss

“As for WoW/Cataclysm, WoW now sems so distant from what I understand an MMORPG to be that I can't begin to imagine what might be write or wrong with it. It's beginning to seem no closer to the MMOs that I play than a multiplayer online FPS or RTS might. There are a lot of people online in the same gamespace but the things they're doing are things I've only read about, never done.”

I wasn’t planning on adding to any discussion because I’m still a bit annoyed by the recent pretentiously narrow minded philosophical topics, but then I saw Bhagpuss’ post, and that bit I quoted is just so perfectly on the dot. At this point WoW to me just feels so misdirected, so dead inside that it hardly seems to resemble what I expect an MMORPG to be, which makes it even harder to treat it as one. Also what Nils said about it being only indirectly massive. Those are both great points that I wanted to give props to.
 
The fundamental design of Cataclysm was to focus content into the early levelling game. They've done a great job and I have no doubt the 'stickiness' for someone trialling for the first time has been increased by several orders of magnitude.

Unfortunately, the end game is a little stark by comparison. Difficulty is great, but not if we go back to excluding the majority of the player base from seeing any raid content again.

With the raid bosses not puggable and Tol Barad being horribly broken, it's no surprise that people are taking a break until the next raid tier, when they can start enjoying the game again.
 
"And most of all, it is not a virtual world; not at all."

"WoW is simply brilliant at what it is and really bad at being a virtual world."


I'm not sure I understand this. Do you mean it is not a virtual online world?

Certainly your actions make no difference to the world itself. And what's more, the open world is set up that the other players are incidental (and in fact, usually just an annoyance). In many respect, WoW is basically a solo RPG in which other players can intrude upon your play session.

However, even single player RPGs are still "virtual worlds." I do not know what it means to say that WoW is not.
 
Well their is some truth in what lonomonkey said. In the last couple of weeks of extended xmas break I decided to level a 3rd 85. A dwarf shaman because it would be another tick in the box on stay classy and guild 5 mans tend to be healer light.

Omg I have to do Hyjal AGAIN, because I will need the rep for head Enchant, I need to do Deepholm again for shoulder enchant and essentially you need to do the whole zone for Therazane rep, and of course the optimal place for a 84 trying to minimize the time to get into Heroics is Twilight Highlands because if your going to wear a green at least its a 318 green.
 
Personally, I am not heartened by the message I am getting from Blizzard.. for the first time, we see negative feedback.

1. Heroics are very challenging for the average Joe
2. Guild rewards are for elite players, not for average Joe guilds
3. They want us to do 1-60 again? WHY? Objectively speaking, it is remedial and pointless (besides lore/tourism). It does not get you closer to end game or closer to epics. How much cooler if they just converted those entire areas into 81-140 zones.

The subliminal message sent to the player base this time around was CASUALS GO HOME! Only hardcore guilds need apply.
 
Cataclysm is totally fine. For the first time in a long time (e.g., The Burning Crusade), heroics and raids are challenging and require a series of harder achievements to master (e.g., progression). Makes me want to raid 4 days a week with a hardcore 25-man raiding group like I did in TBC (and yes, we did get past Karazhan...in fact, we beat every boss in TBC, including Illidan). If only I had the time...lol.
 
I'm out of wow.

Here's my diagnosis - not of wow's problems but of my problems with wow in Cata.

Background.
Played for 3 years avg 20hr/week.
9 x 80's in Wrath (2 tanks, 3 healers, 4 dps)

My experience with Cata.
Great questing - for one toon, but a bit boring to put alts through.
Heroics are great fun and get the most out of players, I love the return of pacing and control. They're not too hard (except stonecore) they just require a different skill/mindset for Wrath.
Awful grind to level tradeskills - probably made to feel worse due to the 5 level increase in cap. I farmed leather for about 18 hours to max lw.
Horrific queue times. 40 mins for dps, and groups that would fail on trash - so back to the 40 min wait. I had some nights where I queue for 3 heroics in a row and groups failed each time. This = 120 mins wait time and nothing achieved (except another 100 mins of leather farming). This is not a night of fun like I expect wow to be.
My guildies are generally not at my level but we never had problems with guild heroics and early raids in Wrath. In Cata our guild groups really struggled, even with increase communication from vent and experienced dungeon guides who knew trash/bosses.
Once I geared my rogue with the best crafted, rep and heroic gear through pugs I was out of rewarding things to do.
It's all still a lot better than BC.

I saw my choices as:
1/ go find another guild - which did not interest me. I like my guild and raiding guild drama was something I'm really sick of.
2/ start leveling an alt - which did not interest me because of grindy tradeskills and recent experience of running the new zones.
3/ take a break.

Things that could have been different that might have kept me playing.
Reduce the grind for levelling trade skills and instead just make it a grind to make the high lvl epic recipes.
Graduated heroics with different gear level requirements to get in.
First Raid in the expansion that was fairy simple - on a par with Heroics and puggable (at least for the first few bosses).
Epics from final boss in Heroics same as Wrath.
Quickly available heirlooms with xp bonuses for levelling alts - maybe make them available from factions. (I know that some guild perks do this already but its also about feeling like there is something you can personally achieve that will influence the process).
An extra character slot to roll a goblin on my main realm - I'm kind of astounded that they've not done this as I imagine that it's not too hard and given the age of the game I think many players would be in a similar situation to myself.

Key themes:
I ran out of rewards too quickly.
The "time to reward" is higher. Dungeons take longer and are not as rewarding, tradeskills take longer, rep grinds feel about the same.
If you are going to increase the difficulty of something it's a good idea to increase the reward.
Slowing everything down also means that I've not leveled my tanks and healers which reduces the pool of these roles, which increases the the average queue time for everyone.
To keep players like me Blizzard would have been better focused to get content out quicker rather than slow everyone down.
 
Cataclysm Real Gameplay: epic video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5zDVEZFfdSo
 
Cataclysm is a technically superior single player game for children

Ah, so *that* is the newest insult on how the hardcore denigrate the casual.

Just because a game is easy and has cartoonish graphics, it isn't "for children". World of Warcraft actually has a relatively high minimum age of 12, so you need to be a teenager, not a child, to play it. Try Free Realms if you want to see a *real* game for children.
 
I am bored with Cataclysm. I have hardly touched it but its boring me. And I know why.

Its the same as everything before it. Sure there are new quests to get to level cap but we have done that before. Sure there are dungeons and heriocs to run but ... we've done that. Nothing has changed at the basic level. The gameplay mechanics are all the same. And its getting old and boring.
 
I like Cataclysm very much. It's imho the best expansion of the 3.
However, for me, it is not enough. I enjoyed it, but it's to much of a themepark.
The world is less and less one world.
It's more a stand-alone package, than an actual expansion.

The only disease I noticed is the story. It's getting bigger holes everytime.
 
Players often forget that they too can change over the course of years.

It's not just the game that is changing, but long time players too: more responsibilities, less leisure time, more refined taste in entertainment, more interesting things to do, etc.

The game has improved from its beginnings in 2004, and perhaps those improvements just don't fit what you expect from a game now, 6 years later.
 
Ah, so *that* is the newest insult on how the hardcore denigrate the casual.

Just because a game is easy and has cartoonish graphics, it isn't "for children". World of Warcraft actually has a relatively high minimum age of 12, so you need to be a teenager, not a child, to play it. Try Free Realms if you want to see a *real* game for children.


Since when am I harcore? My raid has 4 raid bosses down in Cataclysm.

Have a look at the goblin starter area, or at the difficulty during leveling. This is Harry Potter style. Stuff for children, that a lot of adults love, too.
 
We have easy leveling / timesinks, a redesigned world for alting, and hard instances ... tbh, we're back were we where with TBC [Black Temple], with a lot more content, so it's good enough for me.

I currently wonder if i wasn't having more fun in wotlk, thou. But that's subjective, time will tell.

The only thing i really can't stand is the normalization : all gear has the same stats, all classes have interrupts / buffs, ... etc etc. Ok, it's balanced, but lessen the fun, imo.
 
Saying something is "for children" is not in any way insulting. It's just a description.

Lots of adults read children's books and watch children's films, myself among them. There is no stigma in this, it is a commonplace activity, taken as completley ordinary behavior by most other adults even if it's not something they do themselves. I can't imagine why the same wouldn't apply to children's games.

Whether WoW is "for children" I don't know, but I do know that it is not insulting to think or say that it is.
 
A next-gen MMO needs to have a living, breathing, dynamic world, gear that ages, characters that age, a world that ages and re-generates, public quests with automatic proximity grouping, random spontaneous events with outcomes that permanently change the world, outdoor world bosses that react and scale with the amount of attacking players, neutral races/classes that can influence biased races/classes, player generated settlements/towns/cities, etc., etc., etc. WoW has none of these; it feels stale, lifeless and old to me and is stifling the chances of other games and producers from succeeding.
 
I agree complete, Bhagpuss.
 
@Nils

"Have a look at the goblin starter area..."

The one where your girlfriend cheats on you, so you kill her and rip out her "fickle" heart?

http://www.wowhead.com/quest=25243

Cartoon graphics =/ for kids.
 
@Bernard:

Yes, like Hansel and Gretel

Children's stories have always been rather cruel and full of stereotypes.


[..] The next morning, the witch locks Hansel in an iron cage in the garden and forces Gretel into becoming a slave. The witch feeds Hansel regularly to fatten him up, but Hansel cleverly offers a bone he found in the cage and the witch feels it, thinking it to be his finger. Due to her blindness, she is fooled into thinking Hansel is still too thin to eat. After weeks of this, the witch grows impatient and decides to eat Hansel, "be he fat or lean."

She prepares the oven for Hansel, but decides she is hungry enough to eat Gretel, too. [..]

 
Cataclysm is a technically superior single player game for children

Ah, so *that* is the newest insult on how the hardcore denigrate the casual.

Just because a game is easy and has cartoonish graphics, it isn't "for children". World of Warcraft actually has a relatively high minimum age of 12, so you need to be a teenager, not a child, to play it. Try Free Realms if you want to see a *real* game for children.


Actually I think you are being too thin skinned here Tobold. I have a 12 year old that plays on my account from time to time and I think Nils has a point. The game has a lot of children playing it. I know adults who play and got accounts for their much younger than 12 children so they could play with them. A noticeable amount of the Adults who play forget or are willfully ignorant of the fact that they the adults are not the only audience here. It causes at least some of the friction. Your averge 8 year old could easily play to level cap without instancing. And some of them instance poorly and never know about the disfunctional adults who are screaming about people who "Cant or won't" learn to play.


But I'd say at the moment WOW has the Flu. The patient has a fever from the whiplash of going from WOTLK. The patient will probably be fine.
 
@Nils

There were things that you could get away with in 1812 that no longer apply today. The Grimm brothers' Hansel & Gretel is an example of a folklore story being 'adapted' for children.
You are arguing that WoW is a children's game adapted for adults.

I'd like to hear your arguments for:
"Cataclysm is a technically superior single player game for children.
At maximum level Cataclysm becomes a technically superior multiplayer game for dedicated adults who like a childish theme."
 
an interesting slip of topic :)

personally, my 7 son can do archeology and kill foozles quite right, while even my 11 daughter wouldn't be able do play a heroic. Both could ofc level 85, given sufficient time (which won't happen)

If that's what tobold's speaking of, i can only agree?
 
Bernard, I'd love to elaborate, but Tobold already looks angrily upon at me for commenting too much on his blog;).

My comment was a copy/paste from my blog.
 
@Samus

Like many bloggers, you're confusing "hard" with "long and grindy." People wanted heroics that would challenge them via difficulty. In that respect, Blizzard delivered.

Blizzard seriously failed though by making heroics very long and grindy, and then creating and abysmal "daily heroic" mechanic. Nobody was asking blizzard to "make 'daily' heroics take 2-3 hours for a PUG to complete, after already waiting 40 minutes in que."

What blizzard should do is triple the valor points reward for a random heroic, but then only allow 2 or 3 per week.

This would make the game much less grindy, and also allow for the creation of large interesting dungeons again like BRD and sunken temple. I miss having large dungeons that you had to explore and learn the secrets.
 
Tobold!

I agree with MetaManu that this was an interesting twist to the topic. However, I think it deserves it's own post.

Since it carried almost full deniability and got Bhagpuss' seal of approval, Nils' comment was sly and clever –therefore it deserves as much ;)
 
@Thehampster

That wont fix the problem. In fact it will make it worse. Right now you have tanks and healers lining up to do Heroics every night because they get their random reward. If you reduce it down to 3 times a week they will only queue 3 times. You will create a longer wait by removing the incentive for tanks/healers to queue every night. DPS will still have to queue every night in the hopes of it being the lucky night they get one.

@Samus
I know we argued a lot last post, but here is a little advice. Nils loves to argue what you write and not what you meant. Becareful with him.

@Nils
Saying WoW has a "childish" theme was a loaded statement and you know it, you wanted to incite people. I think you are very smart and post a lot of good stuff but I believe most of it is over looked by your confrontational tone. Simply because something is cartoony doesn't mean it's only for children. I don't argue that WoW does have things that appeal to children. I believe it would be more accurately called a "12 and up game... or a family game" not so much a children’s game.
 
funnyny, i think i never managed to be on topic even once on tobold's blog :)

His fault, his topics make me think, so my mind wanders. I blame him for avoiding interesting topics like "wow sux", which would focus me more.
 
@Epiny:
That is a very differenting comment. I honestly thank you. Now, I don't try to argue what one writes instead of what one means. If it happens I am sorry. Point it out to me and I apologize.

About "childish theme" being a loaded statement. Yes, that's probably true. But firstly I'd like to point out that I said a lot of good things about WoW in that comment, too, and secondly I don't even think the statement is even that controversial.

We all know many people who play WoW together with their children. WoW is very heavy on stereotypes. WoW is extremely easy during leveling, which makes up for the first few weeks of play at least.

Can you name one AAA-MMORPG that is aimed more towards children than WoW without being specifically developed for them?
 
@Epiny

Actually, I honestly just didn't understand what Nils was saying. Not a virtual world? That doesn't even make sense to me, to the point where I feel I really must be missing something about what he's saying.

@thehampster

No one thinks the normal modes of the same instances are "long and grindy." They are fundamentally the same instance, the only difference is difficulty. The instance is only long because it is hard and each pull takes a lot longer.
 
I've read GC's post re: dungeon difficulty a few times and I think he makes several good points about taking personal responsibility for your dungeon run. If you are struggling in heroics, instead of going on the forums and raging about their difficulty, do the following:

1) Optimize your gear: Ilevel is not the only issue, make sure your stuff is enchanted, gemmed, and reforged if necessary. You're not going to get an upgrade every two days any more. Show your gear some respect. Also, pony up for a flask and some buff food while you're at it.

2) Learn the fights: Take ten minutes on wowhead or tankspot and learn the fights for a specifc dungeon. Pick "specific dungeon" instead of random when you're just getting started so that you don't have to learn too much on any one occasion. Do this, even if you are "just" dps.

3) Talk to your teammates: Don't wait until after you've wiped to discuss things like phase changes, cc responsibility, and what to do if things start going south. It won't take nearly as long as a corpse run/rebuff will.
 
Bernard, I'd love to elaborate, but Tobold already looks angrily upon at me for commenting too much on his blog

Teaches me the error of being lenient and to reply to your troll comments instead of just deleting them. Now you have derailed yet another thread. Won't happen again.
 
I think he makes several good points about taking personal responsibility for your dungeon run

Agreed, but this week clearly showed that taking personal responsability isn't very popular.
 
You ran dozens of Heroics per week at the end of Wrath, and now you say you don't want to run them at all.

You lie. I only said I don't want to run them in a PuG. And I can't run them on week-nights any more, due to them now being longer than my play session.
 
Actually, I honestly just didn't understand what Nils was saying. Not a virtual world? That doesn't even make sense to me, to the point where I feel I really must be missing something about what he's saying.

In the weird mind of Nils a virtual world is only a virtual world when there is no game feature guiding you through it. Thus WoW doesn't count as a virtual world for him, because you are being led through that world through quests, and aren't forced to explore it on your own. But don't worry, you're not alone, it doesn't make sense to me either.
 
You guys seriously don’t understand how a virtual online world populated by players who play like it’s an immersive virtual world can be differentiated from a gamey world wherein queues dominate the transportation system and everyone lives in their own padded cell of stats? Do you get the difference between Call of Duty’s multiplayer world and Fallout’s world? And even more, having living players gives so much more potential for community involvement than such overt facets like instanced PvP or forced grouping for your own selfish needs.

You can argue that technically there’s no promise of a world in MMORPG, and that technically all games have a virtual world, but if that’s really your stance then I’d argue that you have no soul.
 
Last time I checked, which was 3 seconds ago, there were living players populating World of Warcraft. 2 minutes ago I gave a portal to one of them. 5 minutes ago I got into an argument about the value of Darkmoon cards in trade chat. 7 minutes ago, ..., well, you get the point.

There is nothing you *can't* do in World of Warcraft which you could do in one of those lousy games which only put a world in and forgot to produce any gameplay for it.
 
Those other games are mostly lousy, I agree, but this comment:

“There is nothing you *can't* do in World of Warcraft which you could do in one of those lousy games which only put a world in and forgot to produce any gameplay for it.”

…is just not true. I always bring up Star Wars Galaxies because I think it epitomized this concept. There are a lot of things you can do in WoW, but the mechanics are skewed towards the gamey. That forces most of the community to act a specific way, so while there is potential, the community that really drives it is focused on the purely gamey aspects and so it’ll continue to develop in that direction. I am aware that WoW has players, but then so does Call of Duty. In essence, WoW is much closer to a single player RPG with a lobby for multiplayer than what could really be done with a virtual world. I know you like defending WoW, but denying that it’s losing its grasp on an immersive virtual world, whether good or bad, just seems short sighted.

I’m not advocating that sandbox games keep leaving out content, I’m not even specifically advocating sandbox games in this post. This has nothing to do with any games being better than WoW, I even still maintain that WoW is the best among them. All I’m saying is that WoW has become far far far more gamey than the virtual world that would truly set MMORPGs apart from other genres. You must understand what I mean, it’s not a matter of “This game lets me chat with other players while I do my own thing, therefore it’s on par with anything ever.” Making a portal for someone is decent enough interaction, but not enough.

I get that you’re probably upset at how Nils specifically stated that WoW is not a virtual world, people talk in extremes to get their point across all the time. But you must get what he means by it, most other people would understand him so stating that what he said “doesn't make sense to me” is either ignorant or just confrontational. Like I said before, technically every game has a virtual world, WoW’s just isn’t enough for some and as such you have to understand where the logic ends and personal creativity begins and you can’t view games on a purely logical basis unless you have no soul.
 
"Agreed, but this week clearly showed that taking personal responsability isn't very popular."

I think the key difference is this is a game, that's supposed to be fun. WE pay THEM to provide an entertaining virtual environment, not to pocket our money and shove any responsibility onto the players.

If we are not analyzing what would allow us to have the most fun in an MMORPG, that does not make us irresponsible, that makes us uninformed consumers.

You lie. I only said I don't want to run them in a PuG. And I can't run them on week-nights any more, due to them now being longer than my play session.

My apologies. I did not mean to misinterpret you. However, my point still holds. The old, easy heroics were extremely popular, and the new, hard heroics are not.

I'm not even arguing for personal preference, either. The original post was about "diagnosing" what was wrong with Cata. For Blizzard, I think the clear business decision is for things to be easy.

In the weird mind of Nils a virtual world is only a virtual world when there is no game feature guiding you through it. Thus WoW doesn't count as a virtual world for him, because you are being led through that world through quests, and aren't forced to explore it on your own. But don't worry, you're not alone, it doesn't make sense to me either.

Ah, thank you, that at least...sort of makes sense...kind of...

I think saying "themepark vs sandbox" would be a lot more clear, though.
 
The big thing I don't get is why people aren't satisfied with running normals. Why must casuals be able to complete heroic dungeons smoothly and quickly? Isn't this exactly what the normal/heroic setup was meant to be?

As it is, most casuals don't even have full ilvl 333 gear, and are probably much lower than ilvl329 due to exploiting the ilvl calculations by grabbing irrelevant gear to boost their ilvl score. There's plenty of content to be had just by running normals, and to be honest, if they pride themselves on not racing through content to be at the top and enjoy what's out there, then why are they trying to rush through heroics and chase after the hardcores into raiding?
 
I will be honest though: I am a hardcore player. I rushed to 85, and was doing heroics the day after launch, and as such, have never done a single cataclysm normal. Are normals an extreme joke even for casuals? Or is it just from the Wrath mentality that normals aren't worth ever running? Because whenever I'm killing some time in a random heroic, the majority of casuals that I come across in queues are undergeared and have never done the fights before even on normal mode.
 
Wow, that's really sad. I had to scroll all the way up to the top of the page to remember what the topic was. Gratz on the derail.

What's wrong? Simply put: If I can't get my daily dungeon done in an hour on a Wednesday night, then it's officially "too much trouble" for me to bother with it.

I'm the customer, so I'm not obligated to figure out "why" it's not worth it. The good people at Blizzard probably get paid more than I do to figure that out anyway.

Blame it on elitist jerks, scrubs, childish content, or whatever you like, but I'm not paying $16 a month to sit in my chair for 2.5 hours a night to NOT have fun. Judging by some of the buzz on the internet, I think alot of other people are in the same boat.

Diagnosis: Not fun anymore.
 
It seems everyone is experiencing the phenomenon but none of us have the precise answer to why the game feels ill. I think everyone has a piece of the answer though. I too have been blogging about it and even started writing a WoW post mortem series. The post is too long to paste here, but my thoughts are at raiders-guild.org, my gaming blog.
 
Ah, thank you, that at least...sort of makes sense...kind of...

Hobonicus pointed out the obvious. I said 'not a virtual world', because it is so far removed from the credibility, logical consistency and immersion of a virtual world, like Fallout 3.

Of course, even chatrooms are sometimes called 'virtual worlds'. The wikipedia entry helps.

@ Tobold:
Thanks for trying to understand me. I don't think you have been successful, however. Allow me to clarify:

In the weird mind of Nils a virtual world is only a virtual world when there is no game feature guiding you through it.

Apart from the offensive use of words, this is simply wrong. I have no problem with quests. Never had. Have a look at my blog or any of my numberous comments on your blog if you don't believe me.
 
Apart from the offensive use of words

Pot calling the kettle black?

I have no problem with quests.

Then I retract my statement that I understand what you mean. Now you really got me stumped. If your problem is not that game features distract people from exploring virtual worlds on their own, then how is World of Warcraft not a virtual world?

I'd agree if you'd say that WoW is a virtual world you don't like the style of, because it is too colorful, too many pop culture references, whatever. But even if you don't like Harry Potter, you can't just claim that those aren't books. Azeroth is a virtual world, and has all the features a virtual world could have, and then some.
 
Alright, my first assertion was an overstatement for the purpose clearly stating my opinion.

The reason I consider WoW a 'bad virtual world' is that it is not credible, consistent and immersive enough.

Credibility:
Horde&Alliance build an entire colloseum in Northend (instead of one of the other continents) to find out which 'heroes' to send into ICC. Unfortunately they build it EXACTLY on top of Anub'araks lair (who has been killed in a 5-man dungeon before?). The Lich King teleports into the masses of his enemies, but they don't attack him on sight, but let him talk and cast spells.
Otherwise, the Lich King sits in his citadell for two years without attacking Dalaran ever, which is just 100 yards east.
Adventurers try to be killed by Deathwing for an 'achievement'.
...

Consistency:
Onyxia is suddenly alive again and still awaits her death in exactly the same cave. She casts different spells now.
Arthas has suddenly grown when you fight him in ICC.
Deathwing, the destroyer of worlds, has somehow stopped to burn Azeroth. If he does, the fires magically stop burning a few minutes later and the world is reset.
...

Immersion
What my character mostly does in WoW is teleport around. I just logged in. I will first do my daily heroic (as a tank, btw, because I love tanking). I will be teleported by game mechanics to meet some strangers who will not want to talk to me. I might 'kick' one of them. He/She will be teleported away by the gods. We will kill some guy for the Xth time and receive 'points' for it by game mechanics. These points can be used to 'buy' stuff from some guy who magically knows how many points I have collected. I am unable to receive these points a second time today. I will have to wait for tomorrow.
Goods in Azeroth do not need to be transported. Blizzard doesn't even care explain how these goods are teleported. This is maybe the most important point: They just don't care.

There are way too many examples than I could possibly list. For me the red line has been crossed. Others may see this line crossed at some other point.

Lastly, let me point out that I still play WoW. I enjoy the endgame right now.
 
But if I wasn't too lazy to actually do it, I could write a similar list for EVERY MMORPG out there. Not a single virtual world is completely believable, there is no black and white, it's all various shades of grey.
 
Tobold, why did you assume that he thought quests were the problem? The problem is a general disconnect from the context of the world, it has everything to do with immersion and continuity among the environment and your fellow players. It sort of baffles me that you continue to argue this on a purely technical level, as if you truly cannot read beyond his hyperbole. You must’ve read my posts above, and he even clarified what he meant in his post that mentions Fallout 3.

We are all intelligent enough to realize that WoW is technically a virtual world. The difference comes after that, when we take continuity and immersion within the context of the Warcraft universe into account. It has nothing to do with art direction. Even within the context of the Warcraft universe there are mechanics and encouraged methods of play that disconnects the player from the world in a manner significant enough to hurt the player’s experience of the virtual world as they watch it devolve into a style of game that resembles a mishmash of other genres.

Every game has a virtual world, we get that, but MMORPGs are the only genre where that world can truly thrive, so some people would enjoy an MMORPG that plays to the genres unique strengths. On a scale of Fallout to Call of Duty, there’s no denying that some of WoW’s mechanics and habits weigh towards the Call of Duty side, and that weight pulls WoW that much further from the Fallout side.

The same could be said for most, if not all MMORPGs out there, but that IN NO WAY excuses WoW from Nils’ complaint. Even if no MMO has yet surpassed WoW, or even if the perfect virtual could never be made, that absolutely does not invalidate any part of this argument. There are plenty of people who enjoy being served entertainment without creative criticism and inspection, and that's fine. Plenty of people like to defend what they enjoy, but you cannot simply deny the opposing argument because there’s no perfect example. WoW may set the standard for current gen MMORPGs, but it does not set the standard for potential at all.
 
I agree.

No MMORPG is completely immersive, because sometimes fun suffers if you push immersion. Especially if you have the wrong gameplay mechanics in place. I wrote about that yesterday on my blog.

The point with WoW is that Blizzard doesn't care (enough) about immersion (in my opinion).

I'll give you an example:
I've written above that the guy in Orgrimmar magically knows how many points I have collected. Why doesn't Blizzard change it like that:
When you kill that endboss you take his head (or anything less barbaric) and you give it to the guy in Orgrimmar. He thanks you for killing the villain and gives you some currency (no, not 'points'). This currency can later be used to buy things from the Warchiefs personal armory.

From a pure gameplay point of view this is, of course, needlessly cumbersome. And that is the reason Blizzard doesn't do it. But it would help alot with immersion. In my opinion it would be worth it.

About these goods that are teleported around via AH. Why is there no central goblin storage (think Dagobert Duck, how cool would that be?), where these goods are teleported to via gnomish trade portals that you can see behind their backs in the auction house?

You see, there are big issues and small ones. Sometimes there are legitimate reasons to ignore immersion and go for the gameplay.

But sometimes there is not.

Reviving Onyxia, because they didn't bother to employ more people is an outrage to me. You sacrifice a massive amount of immsion for a questionable gain in gameplay fun to make up for a mistake a very rich company like Blizzard shouldn't have made in the first place.
 
Why do you blame Blizzard for that? Isn't the problem that the *players* don't give a damn about lore, immersion, virtual worldliness, whatever, and that Blizzard is just giving them what they want?

One of the first player-made addons for WoW was the one that allowed you to click away the quest text faster.
 
Is it the player's or Blizzard's guilt?

Watching the last Startrek movie (I used to like that series), I convulsed with pain (metaphorically). There were so many consistency issues that pushed me out of the flow! I wasn't alone. The guys I watched it with agreed that it was terrible.

Then I read the newspaper and it stated that the movie was brialliant and a success and a lot of people liked it.

My conclusion is that different people draw the red line differently. I can actually live with a lot of 'gameplay first'; I often agree with it. For example, I see no way to create a good gameplay mechanic that replaces the holy trinity. Even though I consider it problematic from a credibility point of view.

I'm also in favour of the threat-mechanic until collision control has evoled enough to replace it.

Having said that, you can obviously cater to different crowds and Blizzrd chose to cater to the one I do not belong to.

Talking about guilt is therefore wrong. Was it their 'social responsibility' to do otherwise. I don't think so, either.

I just want the industry to know that they could make a different game that caters to the other crowd. You know, 'we' are generally economically successful and were willing to pay more than 12.99€ the month for a good game with more focus on immersion. But Darkfall production quality (and countless other issues) doesn't cut it for me.
 
You know, 'we' are generally economically successful and were willing to pay more than 12.99€ the month for a good game with more focus on immersion.

Yes, but how many of you are there? If there is only 12,000 of you, and 12 million of the other kind, then you'd need to pay 12,990€ the month for a good game with more focus on immersion to get a game with the same budget and quality.
 
I think you guys have skewed to the side and missed the real point which, in my opinion is that people aren't happy because they're being forced to do things that are NOT playing the game:
-Waiting in a queue for a dungeon with nothing else to do is not playing the game
-Trolling trade chat for a healer is not playing the game
-Arguing with the fifteen year old that just caused your wipe is not playing the game

At this point, the meta aspects of the game have started to outnumber the actual amount of time you spend actually playing. And that doesn't even take into account all the time you have to spend researching elitist jerks and other places to know how to gear your avatar the 'right' way.

It's not widgets and rewards or because there's no portal in the AH. It's a loss of immersion because our 'play time' has less and less actual play in it.
 
Tobold, obviously I cannot know how many players would love more immersion in WoW. But the feedback I get is considerable.

In the end we will have to wait and. When the Asians eventually have enough money there will be a big enough crowd to offer a quality product for everybody. What's also going to be interesting is when my generation retires in 30-40 years.

WoW is significantly driven by the computer game playing generation that only has a few hours a week left of 'free' time.

In the short term there is also reason for hope. Blizzard would be stupid to create a WoW killer. They should create an MMORPG that complements WoW, not replaces it. Perhaps that is the reason they put the game>world people in charge of WoW? Who knows :)
 
I only have one question. How did Fallout become the new benchmark in virtual world immersion?

I've played my share of Fallout. Great lore, fun universe. But that combat system? The dialogue system? Or are you talking about your expectations for the online game?
 
You are right, Oscar. I think we just use "Fallout-like" for lack of a better way to describe what is meant to people who struggle to understand what "focus on immersion / world" actually means.

I was more than happy to see Fallout Las Vegas introduce a gameplay mechnic that tracks your thirst/hunger btw. A fun gameplay mechanic.

So, I have also new hopes for Bethesda and their MMORPG. In fact, I fear that Bethesdsa neglects the gameplay too much. Their rules for character development have always been way too vulnarable to optimizing the fun out of it.
 
I think Nils' and Hobonicus' comments above lead to yet anothe interesting topic for discussion: what exactly is that quality they are talking about — that which differentiates a good virtual world from a bad one? You addressed that in part, Tobold, and you have discussed it before, too. But it seems to me there's more to talk about.

Is WoW a worse virtual world now than what it would be if it made less fun of itself? If not that, what is it that draws the ire of some? The fast transportation? Probably not — that actually makes the world much more alive, since it allows more people to get together and populate cities and several zones.
 
@Nils

It's not that I disagree with you in principle, I just think hijacking a definition is the wrong way to make your point.

Even if you found your "perfect" immersive MMORPG, I think someone from Second Life could say "that's just a game, it's not a virtual world." And behind them, tapping them on the shoulder, is someone with 3D virtual reality.


I see no way to create a good gameplay mechanic that replaces the holy trinity.

City of Heroes has already done this, my teams very rarely had a tank. There is no reason you NEED just one person to be taking all the damage, or that this is the only possible method of damage mitigation.

But this is its own discussion, and (as usual) we are way, WAY off topic now.
 
Samus, we have a problem of semantics here with no easy solution. For me there is a difference between a game with character development and a virtual world. But there is no standardized definition of virtual world out there.

For the comment I required a phrase that would express the meaning without first writing a defining paragraph. So I chose 'virtual world'.

I could also have called it 'a piece of software that emulates a credible place' or 'Fallout-like' or someting like that.

---

Even if you found your "perfect" immersive MMORPG, I think someone from Second Life could say "that's just a game, it's not a virtual world." And behind them, tapping them on the shoulder, is someone with 3D virtual reality.

Things can be ever more immersive. But even I do not want a 100% immersive world. I already live in one. Also, immersion is not everything I seek. Some rather good games like A Tale in the Desert are very immersive, but don't offer the kind of gameplay I want.
 
Samus, just found this link and think it fits. It's not only me who uses 'virtual world' in a certain way ;)
 
The link you gave is more or less the embodiment of what doesn't make sense to me about this definition of "virtual world." It implies you could take away all the quest NPCs, and suddenly WoW is a virtual world.

I'm certainly not going to argue WoW is immersive, it certainly isn't. However, it fails in many ways that I don't think it is POSSIBLE for an MMORPG to fix.

Any of these things completely ruin any sense of immersion for me:

-Other players (this probably deserves its own discussion, but even the intelligent ones will still treat it like a game)
-Respawn (creatures appearing out of thin air)
-Most quests (extra credit for "kill 10 X" quests where the spawn area has LESS than 10, so you kill everything and have to sit there for the respawn)
-Arbitrary aggro radius (Why does someone standing 30 feet away watch you kill his buddies?)
-Arbitrary loot (Why does an elk have gold and a random magic item somehow on them?)
-Arbitrary requirements ("thanks for saving the camp/region/world for the Nth time, but we need you to save us all again. That sword? No, we don't trust you yet...")
-Arbitrary itemization/inventory (really, I can fit an entire elephant carcass in just one "slot" of my bag?)

As immersion is a complaint of yours as well, I'm sure you know the list goes on and on. However, currently there is no game that I know about doesn't do most, if not all of these.

So yeah, WoW and all other MMORPGs are unimmersive. I still think they are virtual worlds, just unimmersive ones.
 
Samus, it is possibe to suspend disbelieve :).

And just because it is hard to change mobs respawning, doesn't mean every elk has to be able to be lootet for gold.

When people critizize WoW for lack of immersion they usually know rather well that some things are hard to fix in a MMORPG. But then, some are not.

Just because WoW cannot be a 'perfectly consistent virtual world' doesn't mean that we shouldn't try to push in that direction.

It's similar to movies. In most cases heroes don't make any sense. But you need a hero to tell the story through him. All other ways are terribly boring. As a movie watcher you suspend disbelieve where you consider it necessary. But it still annoys you if you have to suspend disbelieve where there are very immersive solutions.

At some level all humans hate to suspend disbelieve. The guy who eats a BicMac although is wife is raped next to him, doesn't make any sense. And if the watcher figures out that the story goes like that, because it was easier to create the plot that way, becomes angry.

*That is an extreme example to demonstrate that everybody draws the line somewhere. There is nobody who doesn't care about credibility, consistency, immersion at all.
 
No matter how much it pains me to say it, I sort of agree with Nils here. WoW is an amazing game but it lacks immersion. A lot of game features in WoW were added because it made something more convenient. The problem is that convenience shouldn’t always outweigh immersion inducing game play.

I think it’s a hard thing to explain unless you experienced it before. If WoW is all you’ve ever really experienced you probably wouldn’t realize that it is lacking a “world” feeling. My best example I can think of was EverQuest prior to Shadows of Luclin in the East Commonlands. It felt like a real thing, like I was participating in a stock market type event. It’s hard to describe the feeling without getting lost in my point.
 
To be clear, I am saying I do not believe it is POSSIBLE to make an MMORPG immersive. You are talking about fixing very minor things in my view, while the game will still be beating you over the head with a club screaming "THIS IS JUST A VIDEO GAME, IT'S NOT REAL AT ALL!!!"

I regard WoW as just a game with zero immersion. That's okay, it is what it is. But what you offer, I would still regard as having zero immersion. Why should I throw away such huge amounts of convenience and fun for nothing?
 
I regard WoW as just a game with zero immersion. That's okay, it is what it is. But what you offer, I would still regard as having zero immersion. Why should I throw away such huge amounts of convenience and fun for nothing?

What would it cost you to make animals drop no gold in WoW? I think it a adds a lot of immersion for almost no convenience cost.

What would it cost to at least increase the chance that mobs with swords drop swords (too?).

What would it cost to don't give you points for heroic dungeons, but make you carry back the head of the villain to the royal guard who then give you some currency that can be exchanged later at the royal armory?

I get your point, Samus. In your opinion WoW or any MMORG is so far removed from being immersive that it doesn't matter. I can respect that opinion, but I simply don't share it.

I am absolutely able to suspend disbelieve. I do it all the time in movies and RPGs. If there is a good explanation for the necessity of the immersion-reducing element, I am fine. Sure, I'd like to have a MMORPG without respawns, were mobs stay dead when they are get killed. But I absoluetly get that it is impossible today and move on. That doesn't help me when Blizzard introcudes an anonymous teleporting LFD system: There are, and have been, LFD system that I enjoy(ed) more.
 
The thing is, do people want to go back to the olden days? From what it sounds like, Vanilla WoW was pretty close to what you wanted. Gameplay decisions were decided by lore, rather than fun. Certainly some of the more hardcore & RP people would like to go back, but I doubt the rest of the player population would.

I would like to point out (futilely, I suppose), that the topic is about why WoW is failing to take hold for some people. I would hardly point to your idea of a virtual world as a reason.

I point to http://nerfnow.com/comic/450 as an apt example. People just aren't as doe-eyed about the world after 3-4 years of playing this game. We've basically seen it all, and immersion isn't that big a deal for the masses.
 
I'm sorry, but I can't help but ask, Nils:

1. Since when did beasts drop gold in WoW? I know this is nitpicking, but you make a big point based on this assertion. I don't recall ever having gotten any gold off of any elks, and god knows I've decimated the Ashenvale elk population pretty drastically.

2. In a world where certain wizards can make portals for others to travel through using a special powder, is it really that hard to believe that a government-sponsored push to *save the world* would employ that same kind of magic to help the people saving that very world get to the key battlegrounds quickly?

3. The WoW universe represents a whole universe. The range of technologies available to different races is amazing. Some races are even capable of (although quite poor at, as it would turn out) space travel. Yet you think it kills immersion that one of these races would have invented a crude combustion engine?

I'm not trying to change your mind on any of this – you're free to feel that WoW offers you nothing in that department. But what I am trying to demonstrate is concrete examples of Tobold's earlier, and very important, point: immersion is what you *want* it to be. You don't (or no longer) want to immerse yourself in this particular universe Blizzard made. But going from there to say that this is *less* immersive than some other (purely hypothetical, from what I understand) place appears to be stretching things.
 
@Pzychotix: Great cartoon, and very much the core of the problem. "Immersion" is *not* a quality of a game, but a result of personal preferences, experience, and state of mind. For example I've often found WoW immersive, but never EVE, while Nils would probably claim it the other way around.
 
Oscar, these are good points.

1) About Elks dropping gold. You are right. They drop this. Now, it isn't gold, but I think my point still stands :)

2) You are right as well. I actually blogged about that a few weeks ago. So excuse my sloppy use of worlds. It is inevitable in a comments' section.
The portals are actually not inconsistent with the lore. If anything, the lack of portals is inconsistent. The portals rather reduce the 'world' feeling. It is hard to give a place or distance a meaning if you can teleport everywhere.

3) I don't think I talked about the motorcycle ever, but since you do: You are right. The combustion engine is consistent with the rest of the world. The style of the motorcycle, however, isn't. It feels like a cheap copy/paste from real world.


You don't (or no longer) want to immerse yourself in this particular universe Blizzard made. But going from there to say that this is *less* immersive than some other (purely hypothetical, from what I understand) place appears to be stretching things.

I disagree. With this conclusion. Logical consistency isn't everything. Credibility of the actors and general world feeling are also important. And, by the way, you don't really claim that WoW ranks high on a logical consistency scale, do you?

Why didn't they drop those bombs on ICC until the Lich king comes out? Why didn't they just place a big bomb in the ICC lobby ?
Why is a motorcycle as fast as a Kodo? ...

I guess one could go on forever. Some of these issues have a good explanation in gameplay (like the speed one). Others are a typical result of 'too much technology/magic'. Once your actors have a technology/magic for everything you have a hard time to create a plot that isn't trivial to solve for them. Think of Startrek.
 
I think Azeroth is a great place for immersion. It offers splendid opportunities for chance encounters and bite-sized RP. Its designers are very good at bringing people together in relatively close spaces. At least on my server, Stormwind feels like a living city, bustling with people going about their business.

WoW's lore is vast yet simple and easily understandable. One doesn't have to know the whole story in order to flavour one's language in-game with relatively appropriate references.

As for all the conveniences... are you really saying that you would be happier playing in a virtual world where getting to any place interesting took you 30 minutes? And what's wrong with "points" to spend? From an immersion point of view, wouldn't it be odd to haul away *5* "Heads of Badzor" to show to the king after your dungeon run – one for each group member (unless Badzor's full title is "Badzor the 5-headed menace", of course)? What's wrong with the King accepting that I participated in killing this scourge (again) and granting me access to his armorers in exchange?

For the record, I'm not playing on a RP server (by accident mainly, I might have liked it).

As I said, I didn't try to make you change your mind, nor did I mean to say that you were wrong to think that WoW offers you no opportunities for immersion. I just want to emphasise that we're all different. You feel that Azeroth has crossed the "inconsistency line" – there are too many inconsistencies for you, too many compromises. Fair enough. But I think you need to admit to yourself that these are your feelings, based on your own experiences. Not based on objectively quantifiable criteria. Put differently: WoW's world is no less immersive than Fallout's.
 
But I think you need to admit to yourself that these are your feelings, based on your own experiences. Not based on objectively quantifiable criteria.

Didn't I aleady do that? I think I repeatedly said that the red line is crossed for me, but obvisouly isn't for others.

---

As for all the conveniences... are you really saying that you would be happier playing in a virtual world where getting to any place interesting took you 30 minutes?

Not at all. I wrote about that here. To simply remove portals from WoW would be about as stupid as the dramatic difficulty increase of heroic dungeons at release of Cata.

---

WoW's world is no less immersive than Fallout's.

Even though we agree that there is a strong subjective component, I absolutely disagree that the game is irrelevent. Duke Nukem was not immersive, neither was Quake.

Games are different and some games make it especially easy to immerse yourself in the world, others just want to offer fun gameplay. Both can be great. I played Quake2 deathmath for years and had fun. Immersion in the Quake world wasn't the reason :). It was the same reason I like playing BGs in WoW: The flow of gameplay.

But I don't play Fallout for the gameplay flow. Actually, the gameplay flow isn't all that great in Fallout ;). I play it, because I find it enjoyable to out myself in some stranger's position at the end of the world and try to survive, happily celebrating every meal I find. It is an experience that movies or books cannot offer.

Neither can Wow. It doesn't even aim to do that. WoW wants to offer superior gameplay in a multiplayer game. They excel at that.
 
My apologies, I could have been clearer that I didn't intend any comparisons with Quake 2. I would have an even harder time getting sucked up by the lore of Lumines. Not sure why I'd try though.

And yes, you did say that wow is a kids' game and that some grownups like that kind of thing too. Nice.

But did you really type up 18 comments to this post just to say that you are not impressed by WoW's lore?

(I'm sorry, I should stop. I will, now!)
 
No, Oscar, I post comments, because I enjoy it. And because I think it is important to discuss contentious topics with people who disagree. I could rant the entire day at Wolfshead's blog about WoW being a game for children. What whould I gain by doing so?

No need to stop here, either, Oscar. Spamming old threats with intelligent comments is not a problem for Tobold, as far as I know. And I certainly enjoy your smart arguments.
 
(Yes, this should have been in the last comment)

My apologies, I could have been clearer that I didn't intend any comparisons with Quake 2. I would have an even harder time getting sucked up by the lore of Lumines. Not sure why I'd try though.

Sarcasm isn't helpful ;)
Your point was that WoW and Fallout are equally immersive. Your argument was that it is all in the eye of the beholder. I agreed partly: Immersion is subjective.

But that doesn't mean that the game doesn't has an influence. Fallout makes it much easier to be immersed in your character and the lore and the world than WoW. To prove that the game has an influnce in addition to the beholder, I gave an example: Quake2.
 
Spamming old threats with intelligent comments is not a problem for Tobold, as far as I know.

I am much in favor of you discussing immersion in this old thread, where at least there is some weak link of your pet peeve with the original subject. I prefer this to you starting the same old discussion in every thread, derailing them with your provocative remarks, as you tend to.

Actually I had a post planned on immersion, but then cancelled it, because I didn't want my blog to go back to the "Tobold & Nils Show".
 
Actually I had a post planned on immersion, but then cancelled it, because I didn't want my blog to go back to the "Tobold & Nils Show".

A good decision, I think.
You can ask me to not comment in such a threat if you want, by the way.

About me derailing the threat .. I don't think it is so easy. In my first comment I just aswered a question you asked in the original post. Then people started to discuss the 'childish theme' thing and then we somehow went into 'credibility of childish stories' and from there into the immersion subject.

Perhaps the 'adults who like a childish theme' was just to provocative for some commenters.
 
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