Bring on the Fodder
For awhile now I have had a forum segment kicking around in my head. The idea is that I use Fridays as a day to reflect on things that have been brewing out on the various games forums. My friends have thought this was madness, as it would likely devolve into flame based insanity. I however think that I can make it work, since so many topics start on the forums anyways. However based on recent events, especially relating to one of the topics I have chosen this morning… it still very much can get out of hand. Anyways…. if I don’t start this thing I won’t get it done in time.
Yup that’s right… I have opted to leave the original forum post title intact for most of these unless it is offensive. Abusive use of ellipses aside there is nothing terribly offensive so here goes. This thread spawned a really interesting response from Bashiok stating hinting that in Warlords of Draenor a more permanent PVP toggle would be on it’s way. Now this has already been discussed by @AlternativeChat and @Qelric but I don’t really want to respond on what they have said… since the whole idea behind this is for me to respond to the subject matter contained within the forum post. I know this involves a bunch of semantics and blinders and whatnot… but it is a thing I am striving to do.
I have to admit my first reaction was “It’s about damned time”, as well as my second and third and fourth reaction. I have a love/hate relationship with PVP in general, in that I tend to love to hate on it. I am a massive Carebear at heart and get really excited about collaboration and community in online games and not so much about conflict and competitiveness. Please understand that this is coming from someone who tanked my servers first alliance Reins of the Black War Bear raid. Additionally I was a proud supporter of the South Shore vs Tarren Mill madness from vanilla and got to meet most of my servers hardcore PVPers during that time. However that is the root of it… I want to PVP when I want to PVP, and no other time. The problem lies that there are so many ways that you can get accidentally flagged without ever really intending it.
One of the things I do semi regularly is run around the Timeless Isle farming the named mobs. Generally speaking be it on the Timeless Isle or Darkmoon Faire I am a pretty welcome commodity since there never seems to be any tanks out there willing to tank the mini-bosses. The problem is as a Deathknight sometimes my diseases end up getting on flagged players and in turn flag me. Honestly I don’t know what it is, but I assumed it was the disease/bloodboil that I am constantly doing because I will end up flagged pretty much every time I do this public service. Granted the horde generally have the self preservation to wait until I have tanked the boss for them before killing me… but moments after downing the boss I am generally laying dead on the floor.
You might be thinking this means I rally support and start an epic land war? Nope… this means I do one of two things. Either I walk away for a bit and wait for my flag to clear before resurrecting, or I simply log out of the game and play something else for awhile. I seriously want zero part in PVP on a day to day basis and see it as an imposition on my play time. Ultimately that is what it is about for me, PVP is a gross inconvenience upon my time and forces me to somehow direct my attention to something other than my current goals. It is very much not a welcome distraction, and since I tend to play tanks… very few of the pvp skills have any meaning within the game I tend to play. PVP tanking was a thing I loved, but sadly that only really existed in a functional way in Warhammer Online.
Rift has had this PVP toggle for awhile now and it works extremely well. They brought it in during the much larger “faction as fiction” patch which is something I would love to see Blizzard do as well. Factions are meaningless things to me, and ultimately boil down as red vs blue in my eyes. I generally do not have much faction pride one way or the other… just like I have no sports team alignments. In an MMO the only “faction” I generally care about is my guild and its members. I tend to see the “Faction walls” as un-needed barriers that keep me from playing with half of the other players on the server. I started playing MMOs before these things really existed in Everquest, and have never really seen the benefit of them on the whole. Faction should be something that is character specific, that may limit where you can go in the world…. but not limit who you can associate with.
To summarize… “hell yeah” to the prospect of a more permanent PVP toggle. There have been a lot of people speculating how this might work, with faction cities etc. They can honestly take a pretty good queue from Rift in that when you are flagged as “No PVP” you can still be attacked by NPCs of that opposing faction. Thing is… you just cannot attack them back without turning off your anti-pvp flag. So this means that NPCs are more than willing to beat you into a pulp for being the pacifist you are. Players however… cannot. Running around in anti-war mode should have its limits, and this seems to be a pretty good way of handling them.
Why reforging removal is a mistake
There are many versions of this thread out on the Battle.net forums, but this was one of the longest running sitting presently at three pages. Generally speaking I think a lot of these devolve into flames and get deleted before becoming truly “epic” threads. To summarize the original posters point… the believes that reforging was put in place to balance the classes and break the tyranny of having over powered classes. This opinion to me only seems to reinforce why reforging needs to go to be honest. I watched the blizzcon coverage the year they announced Reforging, and it was generally sold to the player base as a way of having MORE choice not having less. The problem is, like everything we the players have ruined it. I truly believe the intent, just like the intent of the current talent situation… was to allow us to have a bit more flavor in our characters. So that we could put our own spin on on the current spec and tweak the gear to perform the way we wanted it to perform.
The reality however is that we have systemized this and anyone who does not use Ask Mr Robot to reforge their gear to an “optimal” state is immediately “ doing it wrong”. Essentially… this is why we can’t have nice things. I personally ignore Mr Robot in favor of my own flavor on my spec, but I am sure I am a horrible person for doing this. Essentially just like the way the previous talent system was… we have an “illusion of choice” in that everyone is expected to change their gear stats towards the same ultimate ideal scenario. If this is a thing that every single player is doing, it means to me that the design of the system was inherently flawed in the first place. I applaud Blizzard for taking chances on building new systems, and I also applaud them for reversing that decision when it looks like it simply is another “non choice”.
If you have not gotten the impression already, I applaud them for deciding to remove reforging. While it was a really cool idea, it never quite worked out as well as I would have personally liked. The way it worked always seemed extremely limiting. I think we all envisioned a system where we could throw away useless stats from our gear in favor of the one that we really wanted in the first place. However the reality was dictated by some pretty rigid rules and only actually allowed us to change the secondary and tertiary stats, instead of getting more of the thing we generally want… our primary class stat. Additionally there is the issue of… if you are constantly reforging away a specific stat then the gear is simply itemized poorly.
Again I feel like this is another case where World of Warcraft can take a queue from Rift. Generally speaking the stats that I find myself personally reforging away are hit and expertise. This is because these stats can appear on every single piece of gear… however they are only useful in limited quantities until you hit the soft cap for every class. As a result you are lining up to remove them once you reach the higher tiers of raiding. How Rift has “fixed” this problem is certain stats only appear on certain pieces of gear. So you have a limited number of ways to gain that stat, so each and every piece them becomes important. Granted the hit/expertise issue is no longer going to be an issue at all… since they decided to simply remove the stat entirely.
Ultimately those are two completely different game design approaches. In the case of Rift they decided to make it work, by rationing the stats that players didn’t need as often. In the case of wow they kind just applied a general mallet to the approach and are now designing around the need for those stats in the first place. Both are completely valid approaches, and as always Blizzard seems to line up on the side of simplification rather than intricacy. If Blizzard were a toy it would likely be something made by Fischer Price and not some intricate model kit imported from Japan. There are places for both kinds of games and ultimately why I play more than just WoW. Currently it seems like the decisions they are making for Warlords of Draenor are really good ones, given the present state of the game…. however I am sure 2 years from launch we will be applauding them for undoing various things they did. World of Warcraft is a constantly evolving game, and I think as a whole this is a really good thing.
More Fodder Next Week
Mostly I am curious if this concept worked for you and if you actually enjoyed it? I am still evolving in my head what I want this to be. Generally speaking when I blog, I respond based on what I have heard said in the blogosphere without really going back to the original forum source… if a forum did in fact spawn the discussion. With this I am trying to essentially write what I would have written as a forum response… but instead in very long form blog format. Let me know if this works, or if it doesn’t how you would like to see it changed. Also remember tomorrow begins another experiment of mine… Factoid February. I still am not 100% certain what I will write… but I expect to devote one section a day to whatever the current “Fact” is.