Engagement, reward, and “nothing to do”: The problems with max-level content in Warlords

“I have nothing to do!”

I’m sure that most anyone who’s played WoW has heard this complaint from someone at some point during their time playing the game.  On the surface, it seems trivial; how could you possibly have nothing at all to do?  You could go finish quests you didn’t get to, hunt down rare mobs or treasures, run dungeons, do some PVP, go raiding, play some pet battles, or any number of other things.  With over a decade’s worth of content, how could anyone possibly have run out of things to do in WoW?

Just like “clunky” and “poor scaling” are terms that hint at an underlying cause of frustration with class design, “nothing to do” is a shorthand that is used to describe a different circumstance altogether.  When people claim that they have nothing to do, more often than not, they mean that they have nothing engaging and rewarding to do.  While I have no real objective measurement of this phenomenon, I’ve had a feeling for a while that we’ve been seeing this complaint more in Warlords than in past expansions.  It feels like people are burning through content at a much faster pace, reaching that state of boredom and listlessness much quicker than previously.

To understand why (or at least, my theory of why), we need to talk about what makes WoW fun.

Engagement

First, let’s talk about engaging content and how Warlords has pretty much failed to deliver on that front.  I define “engaging content” as content which fulfills some or all of the following conditions, the more the better:

  • Interesting:  somehow different from other content in the game; even as simple as a new environment
  • Not tedious:  doesn’t feel like a slog to get through
  • Varied:  in the context of a whole patch, a larger amount of different kinds of things to do
  • Efficient:  doesn’t pad the experience out with extra time
  • Not frustrating:  avoiding or curtailing situations like just barely missing out on a rare mob or combat situations that produce unfair scenarios for a player
  • Fun:  while entirely subjective from player to player, should be fun to most people who try it out

There are probably other conditions that could be used to describe engaging content, but I think this is a decent start.  The more of these conditions a piece of content checks off, the longer players will want to continue doing it of their own volition.  Obviously, no content can remain truly engaging forever, because no matter how well it is designed, eventually players will get bored and stop trying.  And that’s where reward mechanisms come in (but more on that later).

Now let’s look at Warlords and compare it to the next-most recent expansion, Mists of Pandaria.  How does it hold up?

  • Interesting:  Although Draenor is a beautiful environment (A+ to the world design team, you did great), none of the content truly feels different, both inter- and intra-expansion.  The Apexis dailies all blend together into an endless stream of killing whatever’s in front of you, and the endless stream of rares and treasures makes each feel less special.  Mists brought scenarios and challenge modes to the table, and the reintroduction of world bosses felt fresh and interesting, especially since it wasn’t a nuisance to get to them (like it is in Warlords where you’re forced to deal with ground travel).
  • Not tedious:  Apexis dailies are the definition of tedium.  Thwacking away at mobs watching a progress bar go up only reinforces the monotony.  Mists’s variety helped keep things interesting, with daily quest hubs sending you out on specific assignments, making you feel like you got more done with your time.  Turning in three quests always feels better than turning in one.
  • Varied:  6.2 added Tanaan Jungle, a neat-looking zone with…even more Apexis objectives.  Hooray.  Mists added all kinds of things with every patch, from daily quest hubs to the Brawler’s Guild to freeform adventuring zones like the Isle of Giants and the Timeless Isle.  I’d say that Mists brought a greater variety of post-launch content than any other expansion, and Warlords is quite possibly the worst (I think it might even edge out Cata; at least Cata had new dungeons).
  • Efficient:  Whose bright idea was it to make you do three Apexis objectives A DAY if you wanted to get the 6.2 reps up in the shortest number of days?  Seriously, who thought THAT was a good idea?  Don’t even go “but it’s optional!”  By tying those reps to unlocking flight, even only needing to get them to revered, you made them feel obligatory, so don’t even try to weasel out of it.  In contrast, barring obvious outliers like the Golden Lotus, daily quest hubs in Mists only took ten or fifteen minutes of your time to complete; you could get in, finish your tasks, and get out.
  • Not frustrating:  Show of hands, how many times have you tried to get to one of the Hellbane rares, only for it to die two seconds before you could thanks to the fact that Tanaan is FUCKING HUGE and you can’t fly there yet and everyone goes full ham on it despite the fact that the rare’s obviously going to die because everyone in the zone is going to try to get to it?  Even with Aviana’s Feather and the Skull of the Mad Chief!  Mists had its frustrating moments too, but at least Timeless Isle was small enough to where you stood a chance of reaching a rare before it died.
  • Fun:  Not since Cata have I had this little fun playing this game.  Even during the boring SoO period, at least enhance was doing good damage.

Now, I’ll admit, it’s hard to continue bringing new types of content to the table.  Most every niche has been covered at some point in the game’s history, from small groups to large, at multiple levels of difficulty.  But not only did Warlords not really bring anything new (mythic dungeons?  really?), it also REMOVED content in the form of scenarios.  Maybe scenarios weren’t the best, and they were no substitute for new dungeons, but at least there was a good variety and they were pretty short.  A bite-size chunk of PVE to do whenever you wanted, with no long queue times!  Why would you remove that?

Reward

Now, let’s look at reward mechanisms and how, once again, Warlords has failed to deliver.  Most every task in an MMO gives some kind of reward, that carrot-on-the-stick that keeps you going days or weeks or months at a time.  While developing engaging content should be the first priority, the reward system is also important; it’s what keeps players doing things that have lost some of their luster while they wait for the next chunk of content to drop.  It could be anything from gear to consumables to currency to cosmetic items, but usually it’s things that increase player power (directly or indirectly) that make for the best rewards, especially for the newer content.
I can think of no better comparison as to how Warlords has failed on this count than to discuss the abysmal state of PVE currency systems.  But first, a history lesson.

BC:  Badges of Justice

In Classic, PVE currency wasn’t really a thing; PVP had honor points, and I believe there were some turn-ins one could do to get their hands on some gear, but for the most part, the only way to gear up was through killing dungeon or raid bosses.  The problem with this system was bad luck; players could potentially go weeks at a time without seeing the piece of gear they needed drop, and if it did, chances were there was at least one other person who needed it too, and might get it over them for whatever reason.

In BC, PVE got its own currency in the form of Badges of Justice.  These items would drop off of any heroic dungeon boss, and later from raid bosses as well.  These could then be spent on various pieces of gear.  This served a twofold purpose:  to stem the problem of streaks of bad luck, and to provide an alternate progression path.  It was still a very slow path, but it was better than nothing!  When badges got put on raid bosses as well, the path got considerably easier; players could storm through Kara and walk out with a couple dozen badges, and it proved a good way to help new players get geared up quicker.

Wrath:  Emblems of Heroism/Valor/Conquest/Triumph/Frost

One of the problems of the badge system was that the later level of gear purchasable through badges required more badges to obtain, and at a time when these took up bag space, that could mean losing a few inventory slots while you saved up for your next piece.  It also meant that it didn’t matter what content you ran, you’d get the same rewards, so players opted for the most efficient route, leading to what Ghostcrawler termed “Mechanar syndrome;” the Mechanar proved the best heroic in terms of badges per time spent, so players ran it ad nauseum long after they were sick of the place.

The solution in Wrath was to introduce a new currency with every tier of content, which would be used to purchase items equivalent to that tier.  Thus, the emblem system was born, starting with Emblems of Heroism and Valor in tier 7; Heroism emblems came from running heroics and 10-man raids, while Valor came from 25-man raids.  Patch 3.1 introduced Emblems of Conquest from 25-man Ulduar, with Valor coming from 10-man.  3.2 simplified things somewhat when it introduced Emblems of Triumph; Triumph came solely from doing the daily heroic quest and any version of ToC, while all old content started dropping Conquest instead.  This system carried forward into 3.3; Emblems of Frost came from ICC and the first heroic dungeon of the day, while all old content started dropping Triumph instead.

Under this system, someone coming into the game later had an easier time catching up; in 3.3, spamming heroics would allow them to rack up plenty of Triumph emblems, which they could use to buy tier 9 equivalent gear, letting them then progress into ICC without having to delve into all the old raids first.  Once they were in ICC, they would then start earning Emblems of Frost, which could be used to fill in slots they hadn’t gotten lucky on, furthering their progression into heroic ICC.

Cata and Mists:  Justice/Valor Points

The one big problem with the emblem system was that having five different PVE currencies proved somewhat unwieldy.  If a player wanted a reward from a lower tier, they would have to downgrade their currencies, potentially multiple times.  This was most common when players wanted to spend their Triumph emblems to purchase heirlooms, which were sold for Heroism emblems; instead of buying them outright, players would first have to downgrade Triumph emblems to Conquest, then Conquest to Valor, and THEN Valor to Heroism before they could buy the heirlooms.

Thus, a simplified solution came about in Cata with Justice and Valor Points.  Under this system, Justice would be awarded from older content, while Valor would be awarded from the latest content.  Justice could be obtained at will up to a maximum cap of 4000, while Valor had a weekly cap that changed a few times (first 1250, then 980, finally 1000), and eventually added a maximum cap of 3000.  Valor could be used to purchase gear equivalent to the latest raid tier, while Justice could be used on anything older.  They could even be converted to Honor Points, allowing a PVE player to gear up for PVP without needing to struggle in instanced PVP as an undergeared player.

Mists tweaked the formula a bit, such as rewarding VP for a larger variety of activities (yay!), offering older gear at a discounted VP price instead of changing it to require JP instead (kinda meh) and adding reputation requirements to spend VP (boooooooo); 5.4 didn’t even sell gear for valor (also boo).  But for the most part, the system stayed the same for two expansions.  Players would grind VP to cap, and then spend it on relevant gear as they could afford it; the JP they earned along the way would help shore up weaker spots in their arsenal.

Warlords:  Gold?  Apexis Crystals?

If there were ever a time to pull out the ever-popular adage, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” Warlords would most assuredly be it.

Before Warlords came out, the development team announced that they were removing Justice and Valor, with the claim that “gold will be the universal PVE currency in Warlords.”  The idea was to simplify currencies even further, removing extraneous reward systems.  After all, gold came from pretty much everywhere in the game, so it was pretty much a universal currency anyway.  Why not use it for PVE?

That…didn’t happen.

Apart from a few piddling trinkets, absolutely zero gear could be purchased for gold in 6.0.  Instead, the development team introduced a new, even worse currency:  Apexis crystals.  Apexis could be obtained from a couple sources in small quantities (completing work orders in your garrison, low drop from any level 100 mob), but mostly it was acquired from doing a daily quest, netting 800 or 1000 crystals.  Effectively, you had a daily limit on how many you could obtain, and it wasn’t very high.

But then, you’d have to spend them, and oh boy did they fuck that up too.  There were three tiers of Apexis gear (four in 6.1), and each tier required you to buy the previous tier first, plus pay an ever-increasing sum of Apexis crystals.  The costs added up quickly; even the cheapest gear cost 3000 for the first tier, 9000 for the second, and 14,500 for the third and fourth tiers, for a whopping 41,000 crystals in total.  Assuming 800 crystals a day, getting a single piece of gear upgraded all the way would take a bare minimum of 52 days of dailies.  In contrast, you could start buying VP gear in only two weeks of valor capping, and it would already be on par with the latest raid tier, no upgrades required.

6.2 has improved things slightly, but only slightly.  Apexis crystals still mostly come from doing the same ol’ dailies (but they added MORE), but can now be spent on 650 tokens that have a shot of upgrading to 675, and can be further upgraded to 695.  Apexis drops more frequently, but is still basically useless once you get past 650, and utterly useless once you’re past 695; hell, the tokens aren’t even BoA, so you can’t even use your stash to help alts!  It’s true that even VP started to be less useful as a raid tier progressed, but nowhere near as quickly as Apexis crystals have, especially with item upgrades in Mists.


This history lesson has been to illustrate a point.  Namely, when the reward mechanisms aren’t there, players are much quicker to stop playing content.  The easiest illustration of this is dungeons; in the past, players would continue running dungeons long after they outgeared them because of the currency reward; this had a beneficial side effect of allowing lesser-geared players an easier time in dungeons as overgeared players would steamroll through them, enabling them to get caught up faster.  There were other reasons too, like rep grinding (even Mists had that eventually) or gathering exclusive profession materials.  In Warlords, there is absolutely NO reason to continue doing dungeons once you get past their paltry 630 ilvl.  There’s no rep, no crafting mats.  The small chunk of gold you could get is much easier earned through garrison missions (which I’ll get to), and the garrison resource reward is kinda paltry.  Neither of these are worth the queue time and then the dungeon time, so most don’t even bother.  Hell, the satchels for playing in-demand roles no longer contain rare pets or mounts, so even that reward means less!  With one avenue of content devoid of meaningful reward, players start to feel like they have less to do, even when the content is still there (albeit paltry; eight dungeons, guys?  seriously?).

Another problem of the removal of the old currency systems is that it removed the bad luck safety net.  Blizzard stated that this was intentional, arguing that the bonus roll system implemented in Mists was supposed to be the new safety net.  In truth, it’s a poor replacement.  For one, you have to hope that the bonus roll actually gives you gear; for another, you have to hope that the gear it gives you is a piece you want.  More often than not, a bonus roll is a disappointment, and it removes player agency in determining their character’s progression by leaving it all up to chance.  Not just one chance, but two, even!

For some reason, Blizzard did a total 180 on their reward mechanism design.  Now, the only real progression path is raiding, with the (supposed) goal being to push everyone farther and farther up the chain of raid difficulties until they get BiS for their best difficulty or burn out.  The problem is that each level of raiding is not very different from the next, with only mythic throwing in new mechanics to deal with.  Once you’ve done it on normal (or waited two and a half months to do it on LFR; seriously, Blizz?), there’s less incentive to keep progressing once you know that there’s still two or three levels to get through before you’ve done it all.  Why bother doing it all again, just with higher numbers?  And because all other avenues of progression feel unrewarding, once you’re done with raiding, it feels like there’s nothing to do.

Garrisons

I can’t really continue this post before I spend a bit of time talking about garrisons and how they’ve only exacerbated the problem of feeling like there’s nothing to do.

I was initially really excited about garrisons when they were announced at BlizzCon 2013.  One of my favorite parts of Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker was managing Mother Base in between my normal missions.  Sending out squads on missions, researching new weapons and gear, and capturing more recruits and vehicles for Mother Base helped break up the monotony of the game, giving me access to rewards that helped me out while I was on missions and keeping me interested for many hours of play.  Thus, I was anxious to see a similar type of gameplay in WoW, and I couldn’t wait to send out followers on missions and reap the benefits.

Now, I won’t say I hated every aspect of garrisons, but it was certainly a mixed bag.  For the most part, the follower system worked fairly well, although I wish it were more alt-friendly by letting me transfer my armor and weapon tokens to alts, now that I have a full stable of 675s.  Some buildings are useful, while some kinda suck.  I think it was dumb that the mine and herb garden were included by default, but to get fur or leather you had to use up one of your medium building slots, and it wasn’t even automatically generated.  The salvage yard nerfs were undeserved, and the building is now pretty worthless.  And I have an entire book to write on why the shipyard is the shittiest content ever developed for this game (note to Blizzard:  reduce the costs of equipment by at least half and stop destroying my ships, and maybe it wouldn’t be so shit).

The problem with garrisons is how they relate to the rest of the game.  Namely, garrisons have overtaken everything except raiding in terms of rewards per time investment.  Garrison missions can generate insane amounts of gold for only a few seconds’ work total, especially with a level 3 inn and a bunch of treasure finders, eclipsing other methods of gold generation (except maybe running 25H Cata raids).  Considering gold is the only other worthwhile reward in Warlords besides gear, this makes much of the rest of the game feel worthless in comparison.  After all, even without using an addon to help facilitate selecting followers for missions, it takes mere seconds to start a mission, and then all you have to do is wait a while, come back, and get free stuff.  How could anything else compare?  This is without even getting into the exclusive rewards available from the garrison, which are again so easy to obtain that the hardest part is just waiting for the missions to pop up.  And this is also without getting into having profession buildings giving you more cooldown materials than you can get otherwise, enabling better gold generation through professions.

While I’m not complaining about easy gold (I have NEVER had this much gold at one time, and I’ve only really been focusing on my main; I started the expansion with 30k and am currently around 220k, and that’s after buying some big ticket items), I do see the problem with it.  Garrisons make every single other activity in Warlords feel like a waste of time because of how much reward you get for such a small time investment.  Sure, getting a stable of followers leveled up to epic quality and kitted out with gear takes a while, but once you’ve got it rolling, you can just hop on once or twice a day, gather your loot, start some more missions, and log off.  Why run a dungeon for twenty minutes for 70 gold when you can send out a treasure hunter in five seconds for 200?

If garrisons make a comeback next expansion (which, honestly, I’m feeling like they won’t), the rewards are going to have to be rethought.  But it’s a delicate balance between providing so much reward for the time and not providing enough; if there’s too much, you hurt the rest of the game, but if there’s too little, nobody will bother.  While I might argue that it would make more sense to make it a self-contained system without ties to your character, would that be worth anyone’s time?  Perhaps a better system would be to choose what paths your followers would go on, allowing you to have control over what rewards you want to work towards.  I dunno!  Garrisons are a complicated feature, and hopefully they’ll be iterated on instead of forgotten entirely.

Why is Warlords different?

Eventually, in every expansion, people run out of things to do.  Or, phrased more correctly, people run out of things they care about doing.  Obviously, with a decade’s worth of content, it would be really hard to actually run out of things to undertake in WoW, but everyone reaches a point where the luster wears off; where you start showing up to raid not because you want to, but because you feel obligated to; where you might go back and solo an old raid or two but your heart’s not really in it; where you might go back and knock off a couple quest hubs you skipped for no reason other than they’re still marked on your map.

While I have no evidence one way or the other, as I mentioned before, I still have this feeling that people have been hitting this point a lot faster in Warlords than in previous expansions.  There’s not just a single reason for this, but let me throw out a few and share some thoughts.

Numerically less content

This one should be pretty obvious to anyone who’s messed around in this expansion for longer than an hour or so.  Besides the fact that we’re going to have a whopping three raids before the expansion ends (the lowest EVER) and almost the smallest number of raid bosses (34 compared to Cata’s 31), Warlords is also the expansion with the smallest number of dungeons (eight), the smallest number of leveling dungeons (four, though it was tied with Mists until they released a normal version of Niuzao Temple and Setting Sun), technically tied with Cata for the smallest number of leveling zones (five, since Frostfire is Horde-only for leveling and Shadowmoon Valley is Alliance-only), and almost the smallest number of reputations (eight, compared to Cata’s seven).  Warlords has also had the smallest amount of post-launch content, after the non-patch that was 6.1 and 6.2 only having a single zone and a raid.  Warlords has also had zero new battlegrounds or arenas added; the only new PVP content is Ashran, and that has been nothing but a clusterfuck.  And, love ’em or hate ’em, Warlords did away with scenarios as max-level content entirely, taking an entire chunk of potential content and tossing it aside.

I mean, seriously, no new dungeons?  The PVE complaint I saw most often in Mists was “more dungeons,” so you give us LESS?  What the fuck?

Anyway, when you put it all into perspective, Warlords just has less to do, leading to faster burnout.  Why is that?  Well, I have a theory…

Item squish and new character models

Just like the old world revamp hurt Cata’s endgame content, I believe that these two are the primary reasons as to why Warlords has suffered the same fate.  I know that both were pretty much needed, but both must have taken up a lot of development resources.  Yes, I know that there are different teams on WoW, but there had to have been an effect.  Those who made character models might not be environment artists, but who’s to say someone didn’t get pulled from one part of the art department to another?  And almost everything in the expansion had to rely on the final numbers for the item squish, so there might have been delays there.

Again, I have absolutely no idea what goes on behind the scenes, but these two very ambitious projects could not have had zero impact on the game.

Still, props to the art guys for the new models.  I like ’em a lot.

Abundance of RNG

I’m no dummy.  I understand how the Skinner box works, how random rewards get people playing longer.  However, too much randomness and it feels like an insurmountable obstacle.  RNG has suffused this expansion like no other, making people feel like they’re not able to reach their optimum.

You have the utter randomness of crafted gear, forcing you to roll and reroll and reroll and reroll stats until you get the ones you want, or at least not-terrible ones.  You have a lack of Valor removing the safety net below weeks of bad luck in raids, forcing you to keep hoping and praying that this week will be the one.  You have bonus rolls frequently giving nothing but gold, and when it does roll an item it’s often not even the one you want.  You have warforged/sockets/tertiaries feeling less like bonuses and more like being gimped if you don’t have them, especially sockets, the only real control you have over your stats.  Speaking of, without reforging, you have to hope that you get that one item that has the stats you want, or at least hope your raid leader is alright with you sidegrading down the line.

The combined effect of all this RNG is the removal of player agency.  Instead of being able to work towards getting the items you want (or close, anyway) on a relative schedule you can control, you must make sacrifice at the altar of RNGesus and pray that this time, you’re gonna get it for real.  The more helpless you feel, the less likely you’re going to want to continue.

Nonexistent reward mechanisms

As mentioned above, there really aren’t good rewards for running content outside of raiding.  Badges/Emblems/Valor used to be the driving reason behind running content you had long since outgeared, allowing you to work towards rewards you cared about.  This had the ancillary benefit of highly-geared players making it easier for still-gearing players to have smooth dungeon runs, and a higher population of people in dungeons helped shorten queue times.  Win-win all around!

But in Warlords, these reward mechanisms that linked all kinds of content together are no longer there.  A chunk of gold is mostly only good for buying consumables or handling repairs, and can’t be used to get some new gear (flying in the face of what they’d said before the expansion launched).  Apexis crystals are a bigger grind for worse reward, and are only available from a single type of content, which happens to be really boring content that is mostly done solo.  Thus, there’s no real incentive to do group content, so group content has suffered for it, especially…

The nerfing of LFR

Once again, Blizzard caved to a tiny minority, this time being mythic raiders.  Yes, these poor unfortunate souls felt “obligated” to walk among the unclean masses and venture into LFR just to have a shot at worse versions of tier tokens and trinkets, perish the thought!  I mean, never mind that LFR is already so delayed that it seems nigh impossible that they would actually NEED to go all the way down there by the time the raid was fully opened (because can you imagine how upsetting it would be to have that filth being able to see the end of the raid before mythic raiders did?), never mind that LFR has drastically lower ilvls to make it unappealing to mythic raiders already, never mind that there’s two OTHER difficulties that they could go into for gear, oh no, they feel OBLIGATED to go into LFR!  How DREADFUL!

So naturally, Blizzard’s response was to force LFR players to wait literally months to be able to see the end of each raid, remove all interesting tier sets and trinkets, and replace them with the most boring set bonuses and trinkets possible.  Seriously, an agility boost and a chance on using an attack to make another attack?  Whoa now, I’m gonna faint from these amazing bonuses!

Look, it has been…roughly three years since I was last doing progression heroic (now mythic) raiding.  If that’s your thing, I’m not going to fault you for it.  It just wasn’t for me anymore.  I’m content to run LFR to get my raid fix because I can fit it into my schedule without having to deal with combing the group finder and hoping I can get into a run thanks to the dismal state of enhance currently.  And there are way more people running LFR than doing mythic progression, it’s just a simple fact.

Thus, why Blizzard decided to listen to the fraction of a percent who bother to do mythic raiding and nerf the hell out of the rewards for doing LFR is asinine to me.  Considering the headaches one has to go through to get through a single LFR wing (dealing with LA/BR players who can’t understand English when you tell them to get out of the fire, tanks who have never done a fight before and didn’t bother to read up first, DPS who are AFKing their way through the raid, healers who OOM in the first minute of the fight, anyone who fails at mechanics constantly, etc.), I think it’s only fair to get some decent rewards for it.  I get that they want people to use LFR as a catchup mechanism/stepping stone to normal and above raiding, but some people just can’t or won’t bother with it.  So why make the rewards so shitty to try and change that?  How many people are even going to bother sticking around to kill Archimonde on LFR given the TWO AND A HALF MONTH DELAY and the absolutely dismal rewards for beating him?  If the rewards are worse, the burnout comes quicker.

And if mythic raiders feel “obligated” to go into LFR and get shitty gear just to complete their 4-set or get a nice trinket, well, guess what?  The only person putting that pressure on you is you.  If your raid leader is “strongly suggesting” you do it when you don’t want to, then it’s time to find a new guild.  It’s a game, idiots.  Don’t do the parts you don’t find fun.  And if you still feel obligated, you’ll be doing 24 other people a favor by gracing them with your presence and making it easier for them to get through their instance.  Suck it up.

More difficulties != more content

Warlords now has four different raid difficulties (LFR/normal/heroic/mythic) and four dungeon difficulties (normal/heroic/challenge/mythic).  It has ranked and unranked arenas and battlegrounds too.  But how many people are actually going to be fine with playing the same instance on potentially four different difficulties without experiencing burnout?  Considering normal and heroic raids are almost always identical except for numbers, and LFR is usually pretty close, what’s the incentive to do the hard stuff apart from the prestige?  Does anyone even care anymore?  Are mythic dungeons even all that different from heroics apart from numbers?  Was this supposed to be a worthy replacement for giving us new dungeons?

Doing the same stuff with a slightly higher difficulty is still doing the same stuff.  Without an adequate reward, there’s no reason to keep doing it.  And coupled with the RNG factor of just about everything in this expansion, it all feels so much worse, so much faster.  At least stop trying to pretend that throwing in another difficulty level really means you added new content.

The takeaway

With the next expansion being announced in just a week, it seems clear that they really do intend to get Warlords over and done with sooner rather than later.  That’s probably for the best, honestly.  I don’t think there’s anything that can be done to fix the problems of a lack of meaningful, engaging, rewarding content this expansion, just bandaid solutions.  I can only hope that they can see the problems and fix them before things get even worse.

My advice to Blizzard:  start by making content that’s actually fun.  Don’t skimp on the good stuff; if the expansion has to be delayed a bit so you can fit in some more real content, please delay it.  Make sure that there are fair rewards for the time investment, and don’t have another garrison problem that throws this ratio out of whack.  Above all, incentivize people to play together, to help out their fellow player, to do things that they might not normally do, to be able to work towards rewards that they care about.

Otherwise, you might just hear “nothing to do” a lot sooner than you think.


 

18 tomes down, 33 to go.  I got seven this week from LFR, so hopefully I’ll be done in two or three more weeks.  Fingers crossed!

I’ll probably write up a shorter post on everything wrong with the shipyard, because ho boy is there a lot of problems with that.  How it ended up in the game in the state it was in is beyond me.  And I might get around to starting a post-mortem on Warlords sometime soon, considering 6.2 really is going to be the end after all.

I’m not going to bother with expansion speculation because honestly, I could see it going a bunch of different ways.  And with only a week to go until the announcement, speculation just seems silly at this point.  Most of the “leaks” have been pretty funny though.

So yeah.  Just counting down the days until this expansion ends.  Whee.

Until next time!

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