Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Minor reflections

The last post was about a week ago, and due to real life (work) commitments I just haven't been able to either blog nor play.

However, due to my INTJ/INTP Briggs Myers-personality, I have had a lot of time to think and ponder the game and my approach on it. And my current situation and interest in it. As a side notion, I find it somewhat strange to be also ESAK in Bartle, which would suggest some clear extrovert trait, too...

The recent post has created a quite active chain of responses and responses. The overall notion of the responses is though that the game is as it is and shouldn't be changed in any way. Whatever the discourse of the comment is, I got quite fast the impression that there are really no instances people run for fun in WoW: only the glint of new loot -or loot which helps to move along- is the reason to commit to the group activity of an instance run. So instead of running the instances as they are meant to be ran at certain level ranges, people solo through the game to the cap and only then 'solo' the lower level instances, too, for the achievements. If they bother.

The mere mention of the approach that the instances are passed this way points out the flaw in their design to me: they are not fun as themselves. Maraudon is passed because it's not fun (it's too big, too winding and too messy to be fun), Blackrock is too long/big and so on to be fun and at the end game the Oculus is generally passed because it sucks. Which is the short version that it's not fun because it takes too much time to run through and the resulting loot is not equal to the time spent.

Wanted or not, all but one comment point this fact out. And the idea of having the instances scale up to the party entering, giving them the appropriate challenge is met with similar fervor.

I understand that the time has passed on the older content: new content voids the older one. But why is it so? Instead of growing the game within the confines of the world created, the designers have taken the easy route and created new areas for each expansion. Easy route in that sense that they haven't had to accommodate the new quests and scripts to the old content, and perhaps even change the old content to accommodate the new one.

Thus bringing on the Cataclysm, which wipes off the design flaws and faulty design of the original content. Only to be replaced with what? More of the same?

Anyhow, that's pointless as it's based on opinions and not facts.

My reflections on the game has been quite much on the same level with the earlier ponderings. Am I having fun when I play? If not, why is it so? What do I feel about the gearing, dailies, content now?

And to be honest, I am confused in a way.

I love to login. I hate the fact that all I have to do is cooking and fishing dailies, and if I'm lucky, the odd heroic daily. For anything else I do not have time to allocate. I don't have time, nor interest, to sit in the LFG or Dalaran calling for group for anything, because it always takes time from my actual playing to get something running. Because I do not do this or sign to the guild raids (which is another thing covered later) I do not get exercise and practise to be good enough to pass my own scrutiny. Also due to this I do not sign into to the guild runs, because I do not want to ruin the other players fun by being the inadequate tank or poor dps (which I hate to do anyhow).

Add to this the fact that I find the whole concept of gearing up for the instances outside the instances completely folly and stupid concept, and you have a mess.

I want to play the game, but I cannot find a reasonable way to enjoy it the way it's supposed to be enjoyed. Does that make any sense?

It seems that I have to sign the view my brother stated sometime ago: the journey is more important than the destination in an adventure game. In WoW there is no adventure in the destination for me.

One thing that bothers me with the whole end game concept is the fact that the game doesn't 'guide' the players at all. If you do not have the luxury of having time to plunge through the guides and lists within the internet, you are completely out of the game. The game doesn't state that you need to have 540 def to be able to tank in the Heroic instances, nor any other stat which is currently thought to be essential information to be able to advance into the raid instances.

I have said it before and will state it again: I love the game, the overall concept of the MMORPG which is executed perfectly in WoW. This ranting may sound the contrary, but it really isn't: I see flaws in there which bother me, but do not prevent me from finding that nugget of enjoyment every now and then. As it happens, raiding isn't the thing for me with my schedule even though that is what I would love to try at one point or another. However, I see it the way that the game is not designed for a role player or casual player to advance to the point where they can meet and vanquish the Lich King. That's only because the required information of gear, stats and theorycrafting just isn't supported within the game for those who are less fortunate with their internet time.

Quite another point is the fact that to advance within the game you need to be extremely selfish and/or be a member of an excellent guild. That selfishness comes up in both loot situations and in the participation in groups with whatever gear you are in. To enter an instance group or raid without properly preparing ruins the fun for the rest of the group, and IMO that is extremely selfish conduct: me first, nevermind the rest. In guild runs you can expect some tolerance with poor gear, as it is commonly understood that your situation is what it is. But then again, in guild runs you are not participating the 'important runs' and thus are not ruining the possibly first time experience of anyone else.

To sum this up, I urge you all to listen to Veneretio's latest podcast called "That's the game you are tanking". His next post, however, has a valid point, stated much better than I can ever put it.

That it is a people's game. How easy that is to forget when you solo up, gear up solo and live at the cap.


Till we meet again next week.

(Disclaimer: Of course major part of this rant is due to the fact that I do not have enough time to play at the level I desire. Then again, if the philosophy Blizz is trying to instil is "bring the player, not the class", then the game should be made so that you do not have to plough through various theorycrafting sites to overcome the class/player hurdle.)