Blizzard Customer Survey? Oh, Yeah. I Have Feedback…

So I was selected to fill out a survey after the little ‘problem’ yesterday. The problem that lead to my cancellation of my World of Warcraft subscription. It’s going to be boring around the house for awhile, but I’ll be damned if I’m giving any more money to a company that has so little regard for it’s player base.

The Customer Service representative that gave me the e-mail address so that I could protest the temporary ban; I give him high marks. He did exactly what he should have done. The moderators that banned me, and the drones that attacked, though? They represent exactly what is wrong with the World of Warcraft community, and that community is doomed to cannibalistic failure unless it changes.

There are serious issues in the current version of the game. Effort/reward is far skewed towards the wasted effort side of the scale. Endgame play is confined and cramped, in a way that has never been present before in the game. Months of endless grinding is required to get the 5 faction reputations necessary to get a set of epic gear, unless you happen to be a member of a large guild. There is no acknowledgment of the casual player in the game. Casual play is a virtual impossibility once you hit endgame. I could go on, but I’m sure the average player knows what I’m talking about, and if you don’t play you aren’t going to care.

There are serious issues in the community as well. The high-handed nature of the actions of the moderators in my case is a prime example of the basic problems in the community. In fact, there really isn’t a community, in the natural sense of people working in concert for a goal. There are just guards and inmates. The guards look for examples to make to keep the other inmates in line. The inmates conspire to get away with behaviors that are officially banned; by going outside the game to communicate, to exchange gold, etc.

I was limited to 1024 characters for my response in the Customer survey. This is what I wrote;

Your prison guards (forum moderators) decided I didn’t need to be playing Blizzard games anymore by permanently banning me from the forums. None of my posts warranted censure for 72 hours, much less permanent banning. Because they are prison guards, and I questioned their authority, they exercised it. But there are other games out there. I will be playing them instead.

I offered sincere suggestions for improving gameplay on the forum, and I was routinely attacked by drones in the forums for daring to be unhappy with their game. But I’m not the only one, and I don’t participate in activities that don’t bring me joy. If Blizzard will not change Cataclysm, if they are not interested in player feedback (and on the forums, they are not. If they were, I would still be there) then I have to go elsewhere to find entertainment, because I’m not going to just endure the monotony.

Then I realized I would run out of space. So here I am. I have agitated in the forums, repeatedly, for real community policing tools. The ability for players in the game to isolate the bad players from the good ones, to allow natural behavior patterns to reinforce good behavior and punish bad. To get rid of the guards, in essence.

But it goes beyond that, and I think I’m beginning to understand why I’m dissatisfied in World of Warcraft these days. I shouldn’t have to go where they tell me to go, and do what the developers want. They, like their moderator stooges, have acted in a high-handed fashion, artificially limiting endgame play, and manipulating access to areas of the game that they don’t want us to spend time in. When players balked at going into Cataclysm dungeons, they took away Dungeon Finder access to content that wasn’t part of Cataclysm. Was that in the patch notes? No, it wasn’t. But they did it. When players suggest, over and over, that they want easier access to older parts of the game…

They end up banned, like me.

Well, they can erase me from their forums, but I know the truth; and lucky for me, I never trust moderators. Most of my arguments were written here before being copied to their forums. So if you’ll allow a moments crudity, let me just say; DELETE THIS, MOTHERFUCKERS!

Also, I pulled this image from the Google cache. Like most images, it’s worth a thousand words.

Thank you to the players that put this ranking on the thread. I’d be proud to raid with you any time.

…if I’m still playing.

Blizzard No Longer Interested in Complaints

In the continuing saga of my issues with Cataclysm, we hit a new chapter. I tend to spend a lot more time on the forums now, or I did until recently. I find myself flying around Azeroth, boating around Azeroth a lot more of late; and when I’m trapped on a taxibird or a boat, essentially unable to do anything in game other than watch the scenery go by (and contrary to forum opinion, transit times from one area to another can be upwards of 30 mins) I tab out of the game and surf the forums for responses on my various threads, or drop hints on other player’s threads concerning community policing tools, the artificial scarcity of materials for the various professions, the lack of rewards for legitimate time spent, etc. Whatever seems appropriate for the discussion at hand.

I started a new thread a few days back. I have been trying to create a new ‘main’ character to play, I’m going to pick one of about three that I’m grooming. All of them have very low fishing skills, and while many players may not think this is a problem, or simply suggest that I just get to grinding on fishing…

Grinding? Let me explain grinding.

Grinding is the term used to describe the monotonous effort required to achieve particular goals in an MMO. Rather than introduce a level of difficulty to play, most games simply require that a certain action be taken several times. This practice has gotten ridiculous. Some of the professions now require that you perform certain actions over a hundred times, perhaps several thousand times, in order to achieve a single goal. This introduction of monotony into the game keeps some players (I’m one) from attempting certain parts of the game, thereby making the reward look more attractive and desirable to the rest of the players. While I do love my Wintersaber mount, I would not recommend the average player embark on the month-long quest grind that (used to be) required to get the mount. Oh, it’s cool. Even I don’t think it’s that cool.

So, catching stacks of fish with low-skilled player characters. Doing reputation grinds and daily quests to achieve goals and leveling in-game professions at the same time. the idea struck me that if I could just get quickly to the old quest hubs in the previous expansions of the game (these are the cities of Shattrath and Dalaran) I could use the daily fishing quests still present at the old endgame hubs to speed up the grind of leveling fishing, and add some short-term goals to what could turn into a month long attempt to level fishing.

This idea keyed into the storyline ideas that I had come up with previously. Re-route the now inexplicable portal to Blasted Lands from the major cities, to the Caverns of Time and involve the time tasked Bronze Dragonflight in the efforts of the bypassed game expansions, so as to give the story some sort of reason to go where it has to go if you are leveling a new character.

So I started a new thread titled “Dailies in Dalaran and Shattrath” and proposed just that, that a portal be created that lead from the new hubs to the old game hubs, so that players could go quickly from new to old for the purposes of leveling or questing. I was immediately set upon by Blizzard’s drones on the forum. Apparently using the word ‘portal’ in a thread tips over the hornets nest, and no amount of elaboration will ever cut through their noise.

“Blizzard is not going to put the portals back in Shattrath & Dalaran”

That’s great. I don’t want them back, they didn’t serve the purpose that I’m suggesting anyway. After about seven ridiculous pages of being flamed (more on that in a bit) I hit upon the idea that hearthstones were the answer, and my final post to the thread made the suggestion that the Bronzes give players a “Time Displacement Stone” at level 58 for Shattrath, and at level 68 for Dalaran. Give the stones a 12 hour cooldown, so that you can’t just shuttle back and forth between the two areas, but could go there once a day to do dailies (there are plenty of other items in the game that have 12 hour cooldowns, it’s hardly a unique idea) or to get your hearth set there or whatever. Any player over 68 could just go through the portal to the Caverns of Time and get the stones. Problem solved. No portals to Shattrath or Dalaran, but access provided that doesn’t take 20 mins in game to complete.

So, why is this not the end of the story? This is the fun part. The thread was deleted, and my account was banned for 72 hours. Why, you might well ask?

Obscenity. That’s right, I was banned for obscenity.

One of my posts, which I wrote when I was responding the many, many flames in the thread, included my statement that I…

well, I’ll just post the notice.


Forums / Comments

Ban Type: Obscene Language

Expires: Saturday, February 26, 2011 11:16:34 PM UTC (in 2 days, 3 hours)

Ban Reason: Suspended from the World of Warcraft forums for a 72 hour period for posting / masking obscene, vulgar or inappropriate language on the forums.

(Current) – Feb 21, 2011 7:44:18 PM————

Not having portals is kind of a downer but it doesn’t really effect my play. My Death Knight and Priest, both leveled from 1(55) to 85 after the portals went away, just never went to Shatt or Dal and remain parked in SW at all times. On the flip side my Hunter is perma parked in Dal, because I don’t feel like moving her, and I never see more than five or six other players there when I log into here. Taking portals away has just turned those areas into ghost towns.However I don’t see the portals coming back anytime soon so I suggest you do what everyone else does at the point and pretend those places don’t exist.

No, I’m going to @##!. @##! constantly, apparently.

The term in question is bitch. Not “you bitch”, which could be construed obscenely, since it calls into question the sexual practices of the person so labeled, but rather “to bitch” as in “Strongly Complain”. Yes, dear reader. Blizzard doesn’t want to hear your complaints. They are obscene, and they will get you removed from the forums.

The wife and I had a good giggle the other day. In-game chat is governed by the same ridiculous adult language filter that the forums are governed by. I have turned it off several times, but the default setting is on, and it gets reset every time there is a patch. So I’ve just left it on for awhile now. One of her clients had been phished and had lost access to her email account, which was being used as part of a 419 scam (she was telling me because I had gotten an email from this person, and I knew she wasn’t trapped overseas) She told me that it was a 419 scam because the IP address pointed to @#$^!ia. That’s Nigeria for the slow reader. Country names are obscene, apparently. We laughed and chatted back and forth, testing variations on a theme. Couldn’t be stingy, as in @#$$^!dly. You could say black in spanish (Negra. Never mind that the slang term that is considered obscene is a bastardization of the term the Spanish sailors attached to the slaves they were transporting, which was a description of skin color) so at least you can name colors in the game, if you speak Spanish. Can’t see any words that contain the 4 letter combination for that most favorite of American curses. The French love it too (Excrement! Just doesn’t have the same ring to it) I wonder if they have weird problems trying to block the word merde from appearing? And cheese and rice don’t you dare misspell continuous. That would be catastrophic! Any number of innocuous words or partial words are blocked by this annoying filter system. And some words, like damn, are left completely unfiltered (apparently calling for god to smite your enemies isn’t a obscenity any more) which probably has more to do with the combination of letters and their appearance in other words in the language than anything else.

So, when the word bitch was filtered out, I went back to check the text and edited it, but decided that bitch was the appropriate word for the kind of complaint I wanted to lodge, and that people were just going to have to figure out that the 5 letter symbolism represented the word bitch, and that represented a complaint.

…and now I’m banned for complaining. So watch yourselves, Blizzard subscribers. You’d better be happy in your grinding gameplay; if you are not, don’t think of complaining. You most certainly should not bitch about it. Learn from my example, eh?

Permanently banned from the forums now. Prison guards are so predictable. They reviewed the 72 hour ban, and in light of this blog post, decided I was a trouble maker. Into permanent solitary I go.

I’ve said it before, there are other games to play. I guess I’ll start playing them.

Senate 3-year PATRIOT extension thwarted

…By Rand Paul.

Now the fight shifts to the U.S. Senate, where Rand Paul is prepared to lead the battle to defend the Bill of Rights.

Last night, the Senate tried to sneak through a 3-year extension under unanimous consent, but Senator Paul prevented this by standing up and objecting.

(from a C4L e-mail broadcast)

Let’s see if he can prevail. Here’s a link for DownsizeDC’s campaign to repeal the PATRIOT act. Time to let your Senators know how much you want it gone…

Murglesnout and the Philosophy of Game Design

You might not have noticed, but I’ve had a few issues with the current release of World of Warcraft. I seem to be at odds with a good many players, and clearly I’m in disagreement with the deciding input on the design team. I actually think my issue with the designers can be simply summed up though.

Murglesnout. That’s right, Murglesnout sums it all up.

What is Murglesnout? Murglesnout is the most common fishing drop in ocean water in Cataclysm. Fishing in ocean water is the only place to get Deepsea Sagefish, the reagent for the best healer food short of the ridiculously hard to get fish feast (which requires 10,000 catches, pool fishing only. 50 days to get, best guess, with a good guild fishing every day. Not too long, right?) in the current version of the game. The catch is that to get a good stack of sagefish, you also get two stacks of Murglesnout, which is vendor trash in the current game. Basically, two thirds of your time fishing is a complete waste of time (there is a recipe coming out with 4.0.6. Gives no buffs though. If you are leveling cooking, great. Useless otherwise) a philosophy in this version of the game that seems to carry across all facets of the game. Whether it’s archeology creating vendor trash for 105 items (why can’t these things be equip-able trinkets? There is a scarcity of trinkets in this game at all levels) just so you can get those 27 items worth working for, or dungeoning and world PvP, there is an expectation that players will return again and again to the game even though there is little return on time spent, and a serious level of frustration.

I’m actually beginning to find my stride with the new mechanics, and I even consider the changes to some classes as major improvements (sans druid changes. Druids have been nerfed, and there’s just no other way to describe it. I don’t even want to play mine anymore) but the time spent/reward earned factor is grossly out of balance in this game.

I’m spending more time writing than I do playing, again. That should be a sign all by itself.

Posted here on the forums. Posted it in General, they moved it to Professions.