Death of Dungeons
So yesterday I originally set out to write a post about World of Warcraft, and I am guessing this morning I will actually make good on that threat. Last night we raided Blackrock Foundry, and overall it was an enjoyable time. I managed to actually pick up a second piece of “tier” gear giving me the two piece set bonus. Unfortunately each of the pieces I swapped out was significantly higher level than the 670 normal gear level. For gladiator however I have a feeling that the two piece set is going to make the difference since it means the occasional free shield charge proc. I am still finding joy in playing with my friends while raiding, the problem is right now I am not finding much joy in anything else is World of Warcraft. As I said yesterday and a few other times… were I not actively raiding in this game I would probably be unsubscribed once more. There are a lot of reasons why Warlords of Draenor simply is not working out the same way as Pandaria did, and I thought I would take this mornings post to write about some of my frustrations.
Firstly the big one seems to be that Warlords destroyed the dungeon running culture. In my guild no one runs dungeons, at all. Largely because there is no real point to running them. What I mean by this is that through clearing Nagrand and mixing in a few crafted items you can get any alt ready to run LFR without having set foot in a single heroic. I’ve proven this on both my Deathknight and my Hunter, and if I bothered leveling another character to 100 chances are that is the path I would be taking as well. The gear gained through heroics just is not enough of a carrot to deal with the frustrations of running the dungeons. I ran the hell out of heroics on Belghast until the first wing of Highmaul LFR opened, and then never again other than the complete some of the Inn quests. I love running dungeons, but there has to be some reason to be running them… some reward waiting at the end of the frustration. The sad truth is that heroics are far harder than Highmaul LFR, so the risk versus reward equation is out of whack. Without the need to cap some token currency each week, we no longer have the incentive to keep running them with the guild.
Garrisons and Ashran
Garrisons have been this mixed bag, that in some ways I really like because it gives me my own private Stormwind that I can do my banking and trade skills in peace. Unfortunately that is also a double edged sword since no one is actually venturing out into the hub cities. We log into our Garrison, and live there until time for us to venture out into the world for raiding. The most social activity is when we invite other guild members into our Garrisons for the purpose of doing an invasion. This feature could have been something to bring players together rather than keep them apart. I feel like there is this missed opportunity where they should have connected the hub city to our Garrison, in that our garrison was like a “quarter” of the hub. This would mean that sure players would spend a lot of time in their Garrison but there would also be the incentive to pop out to the larger city for the resources they are lacking at home.
I also feel there was a massive missed opportunity for guilds in that there should have been another “quarter” that was a “guild garrison”. This would allow guilds to have some common goal to pull towards, bringing them closer and allowing this guild garrison to have better resources that could be shared by the entire guild. Instead we have our Ashran hub located in a PVP zone, that at least at the start you could not even queue for instances from. It is quite literally a town we all go to on Tuesday to collect our weekly raid tokens… and then never set foot in again. Compared to Shattrath, Dalaran, The Shrine, or even the revamped Orgrimmar and Stormwind… Ashran hub cities are abject failures. They don’t bring players together, and only serve as a jumping off point for pvpers waiting on the next match. The previous hubs have felt like these grand cities that had a personality of their own, and begged you to come explore them. Ashran just looks like a lazy camp hastily thrown together on the edge of a battlefield.
Disappointment in Draenor
There is a lot that Warlords does right, and I really did enjoy questing my way through the new content. The problem is there is a lot more that it seems to do wrong. Once upon a time World of Warcraft was this game that had something for many different play styles. While not all of them were as well supported as others, there were still many supported methods of play. The problem that I keep coming back to with Warlords of Draenor is that it feels like Blizzard thinks there are only two types of players now. The first are the raiders, and they are giving them plenty of loving this expansion with a mix of awesome flexible raiding modes and the super hardcore Mythic raiding. Blackrock Foundry is one of the best instances they have designed in a really long time, and Highmaul was this fun romp as well. The other type of player Blizzard seems to recognize… are the folks who wished they had the time and devotion to raid. For these players they have given them the current “tourist mode” LFR content, allowing them to collect shiny baubles, see the storyline and feel like they accomplished something once a week.
There are more than those players however trying to play the game. There once was a very rich and diverse crafting and harvesting ecosystem, and both were routes to both financial success and enjoyment. The problem is that Garrisons have essentially decimated this play style by replacing it with a daily login “facebook game”, where you flip a few switches every day and get candy as a result. Harvesting is now utterly meaningless because you can level and army of alts and receive far more resources in 15 minutes of logging in multiple characters than you can in three hours of serious farming. On top of this, since the majority of serious tradeskill items are linked to garrison resources it devalues their creation. Also placing a three item cap on the number of crafted items you can have, takes away the value of trying to craft a full set of anything. After the first few weeks I stopped doing my crafting cooldowns, because it didn’t really feel like there was any point to all of it. I was not building towards any larger goals, because I accomplished almost all of them within the first month. Now my time in World of Warcraft is largely spent around me logging Belghast in each morning, and each night to flip the switches and keep the Garrison humming… all for the promise of my next loot crate and potentially some upgrades to support my raiding habit. Which cause me to question why I am even logging in at all.
#WoW #Warlords #Draenor