Tobold's Blog
Monday, April 30, 2018
World of Warcraft today

I got a "gift" from Blizzard, 7 days of free subscription to WoW. Not that I would have needed it, I still have several tokens I could exchange for game time. But it did what it was supposed to do, prompt me to update the client and play World of Warcraft for an hour or so. Unfortunately for Blizzard that didn't get me hooked again. Instead I got rather bored with running errands, aka quests, and logged out again.

One major difficulty I have with World of Warcraft is that the buttons I have for each character have changed so often over the life of this game. Which means that even on my main character which I have played literally for thousands of hours I can't remember the optimum sequence of button presses after a year and a half of not playing the game. That doesn't appear to matter for quests, I can do those with just randomly mashing buttons, but it is a serious barrier to re-entry if I wanted to play again.

The next thing that hit me was getting billions of artifact points thrown at me for doing not much. It basically made all the effort I had previously put into artifact weapons seem pointless. On the other hand, I had stopped playing with only part 1 of the achievement necessary for flying done, and it turns out that part 2 still needs weeks of grinding to get to. No thanks!

In summary, World of Warcraft has changed the details frequently (which makes it hard to remember how to play well), while not changing the basic structure of the game enough (which makes it hard to find a renewed interest in playing). I still don't think I will buy the next expansion, Battle for Azeroth.

Same here, Blizzard sent me an invitation recently and I gave it a tray too. I still have 4 out of the 7 free days. I had the will to sell random leftovers on the AH and that's it, I really couldn't even start doing a single daily as it's "more of the same" in any case. Not to mention that Argus (added in 7.3) is a gigantic pain-in-the-/\ss.

As for the "button sequence" issue I think that's not a big deal. If you get hooked you re-learn everything quite fast (Icy Veins class guides fix it in seconds) but I think the main problem is, indeed, getting hooked again. We're too old for this game, in my opinion. At the end of the day it's an endless grinding process in a world that we already know too much.

Battle for Azeroth has a good thing on its side, in my opinion: no more demons and back to the "medieval" setting. But let's face it, players will be grinding once again for the neck artifact (which replaces the weapon artifact) and there will be a revisited Class Hall (which was a revisited Garrison). Plus the infinite rollercoaster of class fixes where your main gets suddenly nerfed and then re-buffed for no apparent reason every month or two. Plus new currencies to grind. And so on.
I think the secret to the artifact was to never grind for it. Simply do stuff you wanted, as everything gave some kind of ap.

I'll treat azerite that way, and see where it ends up.

I "grinded out" the class mount for every class, but I had fun because I liked doing the class hall quests. It was bonus content, with a mount at the end. (I also enjoyed the optimization exercise that was the common elements, for some reason.)
Well yes you can completely skip the grind and play at your own peace but in general you will lag behind other players and be locked out "harder" stuff (Mythic raids for example). Grinding is always optional in that sense... But I think that past the first months you will always end grinding the best currencies. I mean, as soon as you've consumed the new content in BfA you will again find yourself doing the same stuff over and over. Which will be daily quests/missions, mostly.
I've dutifully bought BfA, and I'm not sure if that got me Alpha access or something else did, but for the first time ever, I won that particular lottery. Nothing they've had me test in BfA has knocked my socks off. They appeared to have taken some bits away (mobility, abilities, accessibility etc), I assume so they could slowly give it back. We're ground-bound again, which - as always - feels more frustrating than it should be. Especially since in an (unsuccessful) attempt to make certain areas appear majestic and inspiring, they also made them incredibly boring and time-consuming to traverse. Stats got squished, as usual, new areas got introduced which are largely on-rails questing for the most part and precious little else. The quests follow the same formula they have done for the last handful of expansions.

Polecat battle pets are cute. So they've got that going for them...

The new zones do not grip me. I play Horde, so we're getting a whole shitload of desert/jungle Troll again. The 'Voodoo Aztecs' angle never really grabbed me as a theme so I've always skimmed everything Trollish in the past. All I've been exposed to so far is a whole bunch of mildly offensively-fake Jamaican accents. (Seriously, these guys make enough that they could afford to hire outside of the same half-dozen actors they always use. It's Elder Scrolls levels of bad at this point.)

Also, the fucking grind for the Legion reps needed to unlock the other races makes me disinclined to even bother with the new races. The new Horde ones have no appeal, and I'd need to actually play an Alliance toon to an absurd level to unlock the new ones I want to pay. I'm actually half-hoping they'll offer some low-cost real-money skip for that bullshit process.

Frankly, half of what I'm interested in is the ability to go back and solo the Pandaria/Draenor raids that they never bothered to fix the lazy-ass anti-soloing, "Oops, you got mind-controlled, raid over," fuckery.

It's pretty shit, in that respect, that we're still - a decade later - cajoled into putting up with 'other people' to round out the stories that were completed and only relevant several fucking years ago. And by 'other people' I mean either searching in vain for non-ass-hat strangers and eventually settling for just tolerating the ass-hats, or the more involved, tedious, error-prone and generally regretful process of turning non-ass-hat strangers into 'friends' long enough to achieve your goals.

This apparently necessary cancer of MMOs is what turns me off the otherwise appealing prospect of a large, routinely updated persistent world RPG in general.

I had been thinking about why I wasn't taken with WoW when i resubbed for a month earlier this year - I must have played about 5 hours total before just giving up with it. For the first expansion, I hadn't even got a max level character (or out of the Demon Hunter starting area for that matter).

As much as l love the idea of going back to WoW - with so many options of level 90+ classes I just can't be arsed to re-l2p.

I have somehow managed to get a beta invite - so I might just play that for a while and level up a new toon as a goodbye to WoW (unless I'm somehow blown away)
@Ragus: Well yes you can completely skip the grind and play at your own peace but in general you will lag behind other players and be locked out "harder" stuff (Mythic raids for example)

Well, if you expect to go play in mythic raids when they are current, then the grind is the least of your troubles.....
If you limit yourself to Heroic, then the "play as you like" approach works fine.
The changes that the game made to classes and crafting back in WoD completely killed my interest in the game and I never made it back. Both of those systems have since seen additional major changes, enough that I might even like the modern iteration. However, I'm hesitant to ever really get invested in the game again. Drastic game design changes come down the pipe far too frequently for my tastes. Any time I settle on a class and spec I like, it's highly likely to be so drastically altered in a future expansion cycle that it's essentially ruined for me. After having the developers kick my legs out from under me more than once, I now refuse to further support their spastic game design philosophy financially.
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