Most of the time I attempt to remain positive about the games I am playing… and at least a good deal of the time it works. World of Warcraft is one of those titles that I just have too deep a history with to not at any given time be carrying a lot of baggage. This generally builds up to the point where I write a big long piece complaining about a myriad of things in the game and tend to be super depressing for a bit until I finally cancel my account. This is in fact a cycle that has played out numerous times in the history of this blog… initially around Cataclysm and repeating with every expansion to date. With the launch of Legion I tried something different… just fading away quietly whenever the time came that I needed to have a break from the game. For the most part this has worked extremely well, but there are still some residual frustrations. The thing is… I get frustrated with World of Warcraft not because it is a horrible gaming experience, but instead for quite the opposite. There are so many things that the game does right… that I can see the potential of what it could be with a little tweaking here or there. So when I ultimately write a frustration piece, it comes from a place of love rather than a place of hate. But in the past this hasn’t felt that different for any of my readers so in large part I have attempted to avoid them entirely.
There is however something that really frustrates me right now happening in game. With the 7.2 patch it introduced the Broken Shore questing area, and with it started the Legion Invasions. Now if you have been with this blog for awhile, you will know that I loved the Invasion feature during the lead up to the Legion launch. I used and abused this feature to level my army of alts to 100… but in truth also had a really damned good time doing it. The concept was simple… every 4 hours some new part of the world would be invaded and as a result you could guarantee that any time you logged in, you would have access to an invasion to go run. I think this “always on” aspect of the event was one of the things I liked most about it. My personal time schedule didn’t matter so much, but instead I could simply log in whenever it fit me and go do some invasion content. Unfortunately the reboot does not work this way but instead is limited to two events per day with widely varying start times. The above image is a cut and paste job from the WoWhead invasion tracker on their front page… and the in game interface. The invasion that is going on right now started at 2 in the morning CST and the next one will be tonight at 8:30 pm CST. These invasions are starting every 18 1/2 hours which means if you just happen to hit them at the wrong time… it might be a few days before you see another one.
Why this is frustrating is that it seems arbitrary and unnecessary given there is already a perfectly reasonable solution in place. Each morning at roughly 10 am there is the daily reset, that clears all of your heroic locks and resets your access to daily quests and such. The better solution to me would have simply been to leave a given zone hot for 24 hours and each time the daily reset happens switch zones. So instead of 18 1/2 hours… you end up with 24 hours… which sure in the grand scheme of things means that fewer invasions are happening but it also guarantees that regardless of your time constraints you are able to get one in every day. The only reason why I care I guess… is just like the pre-launch invasions… I actually like doing them. Sure there is a shot at gear on the line, but I find the whole process of doing the quests enjoyable because it feels like I am retaking a zone. Now I imagine the chief problem with this idea is the fact that the invasions themselves were designed to be limited content with each one providing a limited set of World Quests that cause the normal ones in that zone to de-spawn. That might be an issue were it not for the fact that I know Blizzard has a reasonable instancing technology as exhibited by the fact that the pre-launch invasions all worked in that they zoned you into a fresh instance of the zone that was in the early phases of the quest. The Broken Shore invasions honestly should have worked similar, in that you zone into whatever the “hot zone” happens to be and get access to the handful of invasion specific world quests… and then get zoned right back out after you have completed the scenario.
The frustration again is that this almost works perfectly, were it not for the frustrating arbitrary gauge of 18 1/2 hours between invasions and the fact that they expire after 6 hours. I get that they were trying to spread the times around so that they would at least line up once a week for most players with their normal play window. The end result however feels like the worst possible solution, because unless you happen to be playing 24/7 or setting alarms just to get up for invasion events… you are going to miss out on a lot of the fun. There are honestly a whole lot of design options that would have been better. I know there are technical constraints at work here, but the version we got just doesn’t feel like the best that blizzard could have done. The problem with this rant is the fact that it is too late to be relevant… but I still feel like making it regardless. The 7.2 patch landed back in March and it is now June when I am finally really experiencing it. The likelihood that any tweaks are made to the way invasions work is also extremely minimal. The likelihood that anyone from Blizzard reads my blog… is also extremely minimal. Legion as a whole has been a very unfriendly expansion for playing alts… and the Invasion system is this weird amazing thing for helping push up your alts and gear them. I personally would probably end up running every single one of my alts through the invasion, but in order to do that right now I have to either play at really strange hours or hope to hit the start at exactly the right time. I realize this is not a big deal either way, but just spending time this morning pointing out that it could feel so much better.