How the Ball Bounces

This week we had a tweet from Bashiok that told us the Mogu Runes of Fate (aka Rogu Moons of Fate) will now cost a mere 50 lesser charms, versus the 90 they’ve cost since MoP launched. It is yet another change that was long overdue and another one that makes me scratch my head on how Blizzard approaches these types of issues.

The Past

Let’s keep in mind that any serious level of play was not something I even participated in until WotLK. So I cannot speak to content prior to that. This isn’t an invitation for Vanilla folks to tell me how they had to walk uphill in the snow both ways. Yeah, you had some weird and inexplicable burdens to bear back then, but good for Blizard to move away from some of that.

What I noticed immediately in WotLK is how easy it was to progress through heroic 5-man dungeons. In particular, any of the heroics prior to the ICC ones. Those were a nightmare up front for a lot of people. Well, not all of them, but I know Halls of Reflection was a complete pain in the ass, most notably for healers in the first part, and the DPS check at the end. But you know, as much of a broken record as this may be, this is when the game was really thriving in terms of player count, PuGs, and finally capping the story of Arthas.

Here come the complaints. “Wrath is too easy,” they said. What did they do for Cataclysm? They made dungeons so unapproachable for so many (especially healers), they immediately lost subscribers. The triage healing model (which never really came into fruition—just pillow talk) is what killed it, in my opinion.  Couple that with a mostly uninteresting story, and the game took a complete 180 from where it was before.

The Present

In Cataclysm, now you could cap your vp in a couple hours each week, there were no compelling rewards from dailies, once you got past the initial factions of the expansion, and players were just bored. So, then the complaints were that there wasn’t much to do. As we saw with the Hour of Twilight dungeons, 5-mans are now far more approachable and on the verge of face-roll again. See how the ball bounces?

So, what happens when Mists launched? They overloaded the shit out of us with “things to do.” The problem was always that Blizzard actually believed that most would look at all the content as “optional.” To many of us (as I’ve covered before), it was. But the VP capping and the Lesser Charms capping has seriously been the biggest pain in the ass. Regardless of what it is that you’re doing to gain VP, it’s the same repetitive shit as it’s always been in the game. “New” content is only new for a very short time period. Blizzard understands this, but still insist that we grind and grind and grind for the hope of something more later on. That’s not “more things to do.” That’s having to do the same things more. Big difference. And for lesser charms? You’re only getting those from dailies at the start of the expansion.

The players have been complaining about the grind since MoP launched. Blizzard was “firm” up front about keeping things like they were, but let’s look at the back-peddling so far.

  1. Reputaion gains were enhanced significantly in 5.1, but acknowledged almost as soon as MoP dropped.
  2. Certain dungeons grant more VP, because they’re a bit longer or have more obstacles in them.
  3. 5.2 Brings higher VP rewards through daily sets, and even offers some weekly quests worth 150 VP. That’s 15% of cap in about 10 minutes of your time.
  4. Rares drop 15 VP.
  5. Pet battles can drop lesser Charms
  6. Cost of Mogu Runes is reduced by nearly half.

These are only some examples of how Blizzard heard and responded to requests from the player base. Hats off to them for that. The problem I have is: Why don’t they see these things coming? What causes them to go from one extreme to the other, and then back again, and then settle out somewhere in the middle. Why can’t the design be aimed at “the middle” from the start.

The Future

I only hope that Blizzard finds the sweet spot on this. I do want to have to work a little bit to cap the things which need to be capped in a week, but I don’t want to only focus on this. I’d like to be able to play my alts a bit more without feeling like I’m not doing what I’m supposed to do.

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