I’m still playing Warlords of Draenor. Not sure why beyond the fact that I can play for free now thanks to being able to purchase game time with in-game currency. Now that it doesn’t cost anything beyond time I was already spending in the game, the argument about paying for the game goes out the window.
Still, I’m not happy with it, since none of the complaints I’ve aired previously have lead to changes in the game. The professions are still cludgy and largely useless, my favorite class/specialization from Mists of Pandaria remains almost unplayable (more on that after the break) my toons all look different rather than simply more clearly rendered. Most importantly, I still can’t fly!
Noticed a post on my Twitter feed about a developer announcement concerning the addition of flight to Warlords of Draenor;
In an upcoming Public Test Realm build, we will be introducing a new meta-achievement called Draenor Pathfinder. You’ll earn this achievement in Patch 6.2 by mastering the outdoor environment of Draenor—exploring Draenor’s zones, collecting 100 treasures in Draenor, completing the Draenor Loremaster and Securing Draenor achievements, and raising the three new Tanaan Jungle reputations to Revered. Initially, this achievement will award a rylak mount: the Soaring Skyterror, one of the native beasts that roam Draenor’s skies. Players will remain ground-bound on Draenor until a small follow-up patch (6.2.x), when all players who have earned Draenor Pathfinder on at least one character will unlock the ability to fly in Draenor on all their level 90+ characters.
We believe this strikes the right balance between ensuring ground-based content lives up to its full potential, while providing players who’ve already fully experienced Draenor’s outdoor world extra freedom to “break the rules.” This also provides a general blueprint going forward for content to come. Players will explore new and undiscovered lands from the ground, and then once they’ve fully mastered those environments—a notion that continues to evolve with each new expansion—they can take to the skies and experience the world from a new vantage point.
The blog post that I found the developer link in was ecstatic (to put it mildly) about the developers finally relenting and allowing flight in Warlords of Draenor, but my response to the announcement is a bit more tepid, if not outright QQ or open rebellion.
I already paid for flight. Multiple times. I’ve already earned flight, multiple times. Flight should not be an endgame perk. That’s it, that’s all I have to say. I should be able to fly all the time on all my characters because flight is part of the game, not an endgame perk. Not interested in playing a game that excludes flight. Flight was my goal from the moment I started playing in Burning Crusade and I resent having it taken from me each and every time a new version of the game comes out.
If that’s the way this game is going to be into the future then I really don’t have any interest in playing it any longer.
In Burning Crusade there was always the possibility of being attacked and killed while in flight, even though it was an endgame achievement in that expansion, flying was not without risk. You learned this with multiple deaths and frustrating runs back to your corpse. Frustrating runs are the problem in any game composed of impassable terrain, whether alive or dead as a character. Limiting travel to the ground does not make ground travel any more enjoyable if there isn’t a direct route from questgiver to goal and back again.
Ghosts fly. Why can’t my ghost fly in game? Why force negotiation of terrain when you are dead and have no mass, no reason to be held to the ground at all? My ghosts could fly in Cataclysm, so could all my toons fly, fly for the entire length of that expansion. One of the few (very few) things I liked about Cataclysm. But that is beside the point.
The best thing about the Nagrand zone in Warlords of Draenor is having the corral and being able to fight while mounted. Combine the corral with flight through all of Draenor, and you have the ideal playstyle for the game I thought Blizzard was working towards way back when I started playing. The playstyle I envisioned? Battle while mounted and in flight. There was even a quest in Burning Crusade, a repeatable daily, that required you to ride and do battle on a flying mount. On your regular flying mounts, not some silly vehicle interface as was added into the game in later expansions.
I really don’t care that some people don’t want to fly, or that the programmers or developers don’t want to develop a game that includes flight. I’m not interested in a game that reserves flight to some endgame travel perk that isn’t part of the game’s regular mechanics. If that is the game they are intent on developing, then I’ve been playing the wrong game for all these years.
Would have been nice to know that sooner.
I am most definitely not interested in another long, long, looong grind to gain three reputations, completing all the quest content and finding 100 treasures in the game just to be able to use the mounts I purchased for this game in regions added to this game. If they weren’t going to allow people to fly from the beginning and are only now adding flight back in, why are they making flying mounts for this game?
If players really don’t want to fly, why do they buy flying mounts? It certainly isn’t because they look good running. Give us flight and stop toying with us. Stop expecting us to spend more and more time in the game grinding just to be able to do the most basic things in the game. It’s silly and self-defeating. I have no idea how anyone who has a life outside of WoW can even play the game as it is currently structured. It takes days of work just to get basic stuff done on one toon. More time for this one game than most people are willing to invest, in my experience. The problem is not that this game is too easy or that the rewards are just handed out. The problem is very much the reverse.
What I’ve started to notice is there is an adversarial relationship in place between the employees at Blizzard and the customers that play their games. This is quite obvious when you look at the amount of work required just to be able to get errors in the program reported, much less fixed.
At least there is a suggestion box and a bug report form in the game now. Why an online game wouldn’t have had this kind of feature from the beginning of the game rather than introduced many years down the road is just another example of Blizzard not actually being interested in feedback from the player community.
If Blizzard was smart they’d give gold out like candy. Gold for tickets opened. Gold for suggestions. Gold for bugs reported. Gold for every complaint. Nothing soothes the soul like free stuff, and the best free stuff is currency you can use to buy other stuff in the game, from a developers perspective. But they don’t do that. What they do is punish players like yours truly for offering suggestions, pointing out bugs, agitating for change.
As it stands right now I am not allowed to reopen my own tickets because apparently I’m a nuisance player and don’t like hand waving explanations that really don’t explain anything. So after I reopened a ticket about a dozen times, I find myself suddenly unable to do that and Blizzard’s customer service blithely ignoring my questions about why my tickets cannot be reopened. I’m treated in this fashion for pointing out bugs in the game, rather than being rewarded for bringing their attention to something that isn’t working correctly.
I still haven’t seen the Hearthstone decks that the last bug I stumbled across cost me. Was not rewarded in any fashion for reporting the bug, documenting the bug, reporting the bug fixed. That took real time and was the main reason I ended up abandoning the Hearthstone tournament I was in at the time. Can’t win if you can’t get new cards. Effort should be rewarded, even if that effort isn’t directly in-game. We all are not just happy to be here. Some of us like a bit more appreciation for our participation than that.
I now have no less than 4 claw weapons for my Orc Shaman. This is odd, because my Shaman has never used claw weapons, fist weapons, etc; because my shaman utilizes the correct specialization, elemental. I know that the enhancement Shaman are convinced that their superior DPS means that enhancement is the only way to go, but mace and shield are the weapons for my shaman who is first and foremost a spell caster, so the melee loving enhancement shaman can go melee somewhere else.
Except that Blizzard broke elemental specialization in Warlords of Draenor. They made lightning bolt another spell that can only be cast while standing still, just like all other casters must stand still while casting. But not only must I stand still to cast all my spells unless activating spiritwalker’s grace in advance, the weights of the different spells have all be altered, making it virtually impossible to be effective in a fight while in elemental spec.
The game knows this. When my poor shaman is granted one of the rare rewards of epic weapons, inevitably the weapon that is handed to her is one for healing or enhancement. Only once has she won a shield and a mace in the entire length of Warlords of Draenor. She has gotten many, many times that number of fist weapons and staves, more than I can count. So it is clear that Blizzard wants me to change to enhancement specialization just like all the other shaman I meet.
I could elaborate, in detail, what I’d like Blizzard developers to do with these claw weapons. Could elaborate in graphic, bloody, disemboweling detail, before I’d be willing to even contemplate changing to enhanced specialization. Or Blizzard could just fix the elemental specialization. Maybe make all casters able to cast and move in the process, since they’ve decided that standing in one place and casting spells is too easy.
Every single fight in this game requires constant movement to avoid ground effects and insta-kill blows. Spell casters still have to stand and cast for several seconds at a time leaving them vulnerable to all kinds of damage if they want to actually do any damage themselves. Why is this true of casters and not melee? There is no answer for this aside from that is the way it has always been. Seems to me that magic is, ya-know, magic as in, not actually governed by any hard and fast rules. So let casters move and cast all the time, or stop making every fight a Charlie Foxtrot of multiple effects and threats that can only be survived by running like hell constantly.
The problem with most expansions I’ve ever played for any game is that the developers run out of ideas for new things they can do with the game. It’s understandable, especially in a game that is more than 10 years old and has required the developers to reinvent the game every two years or so.
But there is a distinct difference between doing something new and relabeling something old and calling it new.
Case in point, the new stats on characters introduced with Warlords of Draenor are just previously existing stats relabeled as other things. This doesn’t mean that the stats are weighted the same and that if you just know what the old label was you can apply the old weights to the new. No, they did more work than that, but just barely.
What I’m saying is that they reshuffled the stat weights and renamed a few of them just to force the old players to relearn playstyles, stats and spell rotations rather than actually doing something different with the game. Different as in, say, letting us fight while mounted. Attack opponents from the back of a fire-breathing dragon, perhaps.
I may be flight obsessed; but in my defense, I do know what I like.
(Posted in part on the World of Warcraft forum here. Don’t hold your breath on it still being there. I have a track record with the moderators there)