Wrong Answer to Right Question

Morning Sucks

I have consumed my tasty oatmeal and my first cup of coffee for the morning, and I feel no more prepared to confront the day than when I started.  For the last two days we have been setting a self imposed 7 am alarm in the hopes of trying to retrain our bodies to get up at a decent hour and hopefully go to sleep at a decent hour.  While the 2-3 am slumber time has turned into a bit after midnight, getting up in the morning still seems no easier.  I keep wondering if rather than Monday morning sucking… I have just allowed the last three days of vacation to suck equally.  The adult inside of me realizes that this is all for the best, but the inner 13 year old wants to rage against the machine and go back to bed.

I had a pretty active day yesterday, which I assumed would make it easier to sleep.  Instead it just seemed to make every inch of my body ache.  We continued our junking madness this time discovering an entire downtown area filled with nothing but antique malls.  That is a bit of an over exaggeration as there were a few businesses in there that were not, but basically it was three blocks of antiques.  I am probably going to save the trove of pictures for tomorrow as I have an actual thing to talk about today.  We did however crawl the entirety of the antiques district and found some potential options, and I got lots of random photos of interesting stuff to pad an entire themed blog post.

Disker Redux

I wanted to take a few minutes out of my planned schedule to update my readers on the whole Disker trojan issue from yesterday.  Apparently it has been confirmed that the Trojan is being spread by a fake version of the curse client.  How are people getting the fake version?  More than likely this is yet another case of Google poisoning, with an illegitimate link getting higher ranking over the legitimate one.  Basically as always if you actually know the address of the website you are trying to reach, you might want to go ahead and type the fully qualified URL in your address bar instead of relying on Google to get you there.  This has happened in the past with sites like Facebook suddenly redirecting users to a completely different place or at best an article ABOUT Facebook.

When I see one of my family members using a Google search as their address bar, firstly I die a little inside, but secondly I try my best to correct the behavior.  Each time you enter a phrase into Google you should take the few moments to verify that the URL it is sending you to is in fact a legitimate looking one.  If you go to a site frequently… create a bookmark rather than relying on Google search as a bookmarking system for you.  Criminals rely on the users laziness to carry off these nefarious schemes, and a little bit of diligence on your part goes a long ways to keeping you and your accounts safe.  If a domain name doesn’t look right, don’t use it.  At the very least do some research before using it.

Wrong Answer to Right Question

WoWInsider_90sPoll

Now for the topic I had actually wanted to talk about this morning, and the reason why you are not getting a massive flood of junking photos.  This is a bit of a spinoff topic as it started for me on the AlternativeChat blog.  She herself was reporting on a Morning Topic from WoWInsider asking just how much players would be willing to pay for a boost to level 90.  Surprisingly the most chosen answer is “Nothing, I wouldn’t want this option to exist.”.  For the sake of transparency I myself also chose this option.  In part I am not sure I want to live in a world of warcraft where nothing before level 90 actually mattered any more.  Right or wrong the decision to allow boosts to 90 that can be purchased off the store is essentially telling the player base just this.  Nothing that happened in the past decade actually matters.

Wow-64 2014-01-02 09-34-08-96 

Don’t get me wrong… I will happily accept the free level 90 that is reported to come with the expansion.  As you can see from the image above I already have 6 90s, and several that are in close range of getting there as well.  However if you look all the way at the bottom you see Belglaive my mage (which may or may not get re-rolled before I actually take the  character seriously).  The mage is pretty much the exact opposite of the type of character I like to play.  I enjoy Sturdy and Melee, and the mage is neither.  The only reason why I have a priest of significant level is because I accepted a scroll of resurrection and chose to boost that character to 80 in the process.  Similarly the only way I am likely to get a mage to the level cap is with the free boost that comes with Warlords of Draenor.

That aside I think “boosting” is the wrong answer to the right question.  The right question to ask is how can I get friends playing together faster.  Blizzard seems to be choosing the option of being able to jumpstart the character to 90 so they are within 10 levels of their friends.  This however is a pandora’s box of issues waiting to be opened. Firstly you are throwing a player into a character at the end of their life and expecting them to play catch up on learning the abilities.  Despite the problems with pacing and out-leveling content, one of the great things Cataclysm gave us was a slow and steady introduction to the key character abilities as you leveled from 1 to 60 and beyond.  By the time a character reached 60, the old world cap they had been spoon fed new abilities so that they could assimilate them at their leisure into their own hand crafted rotations.

Throwing a player at a level 90 character is essentially telling them that they should go to Noxxic or Icy-Veins and copy down the rotations that are listed there.  While I greatly appreciate that each site exists, because I don’t care about the math behind my character…  it does not really create fun and engaging gameplay.  It seems so much more engaging and a better introducing to the game world to learn those same abilities slowly over time.  Additionally I hate the idea that nothing I have done for the last 10 years of playing WoW has mattered.  There are so many amazing places out in the world that this new crop of players will never likely see, and unique encounters they will never experience.

The Right Answer

By allowing for the boosting of characters to 90 you are basically robbing them of experiencing the World of Warcraft.  Instead the game feels too much like an “end game is the only thing that matters” experience, which having played DAoC for years felt like a really hollow thing.  I talked about my commentary being a “good natured rant” yesterday, and that really is my intent.  For once I have no doubt at all that Blizzard has their heart in the right place.  They asked the right question, how can we make it easier for new players to play with their friends.  That is absolutely the question they should be asking, because despite the rough edges it is the community of players assembled, and more importantly the friends playing the game that make World of Warcraft worth playing.

I just think they are taking the easy way out in essence by boosting players over the leveling hump.  The better choice, the choice that works well in every game I have played with the feature… is to add a rich mentoring system.  This allows for mentor players to drop down to the younger players levels and experience the content the way it was meant to be experienced.  There is no glory in facerolling a dungeon for a friend, just so they can get some quest completed.  As a tank I have done this so many times, because I can pretty easily solo old content.  During the Christmas break I took a friend into Blackrock Caverns so she could get the Christmas hat.  While I was happy to do it for her, the experience was not exciting at all for either of us because I simply pulled everything as fast as I could and watched it evaporate around me.

If I could have dropped my level to hers, and gathered up a few more guild members to run that dungeon like it was meant to be run, I would have done so in a heartbeat.  I love soloing old content, so I am not saying that there is anything at all wrong with that.  However everyone should be able to experience the older dungeons the way we all did when we were at level.  All players should be able to experience the severe trauma that comes with someone clicking too many candles in Blackfathon Deep, or trying to get the Postmaster to spawn in Strathholme.  Mentoring provides two things, firstly it lets new players get in and experience some content with their friends  characters.  Secondly it lets the grizzled veteran experience those old glories through new eyes by seeing the content again with their friends.

There have been many times in the past that I thought they were primed to introduce a mentor system.  When they made spell levels scale to the character rather than basing them on ranks… I felt this was the key step needed to catapult us towards a rich mentoring system.  However for whatever reason one has not materialized and again with the talk of Warlords of Draenor I have seen no mention of this system.  This is the correct way to let players experience content with their friends, without completely invalidating everything that came before level 90.  I am not as opposed to having a single character boost to 90, but if this becomes a “priced to own” service that ramifications will likely be just as negative for the community as the dungeon finder has been.