Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Go outside!

Blizzard is going to be pushing out the 6.2 patch in the reasonably near future and it seems clear to me that they are doing the gaming company equivalent of yelling at kids "Go outside and play!"  Right now there is very little incentive to leave your garrison once you hit max level as the garrison contains herbs, ore, crafting materials, cash, and plenty of things to do.  The only exception to this is the Barn, which requires you to go to one particular zone and kill some specific mobs for an hour every couple weeks.  This generates a ton of cash and crafting materials too, and with doing only that you can get absolutely everything you need.

A lot of people are complaining about this and want good reasons to get outside and play.  Rewarding exploration and socialization is perfectly fine and that seems to be what Blizzard is aiming at, having proved that player housing has all the issues that everybody thought it would.  Sitting around in your own personal house by yourself just isn't that fun it turns out.

The main thing Blizzard is doing is making the newest and best crafting resources come from gathering professions in the new zone.  Felblight is going to come from herb nodes, mining nodes, skinning, and fishing, and from nowhere else.  This means that players will be rushing out there to stand around in the new zone to grab all the shinies instead of sitting parked in their garrisons.  Blizzard is also reducing the relative importance of the garrison buildings by making it easier to get crafting resources just from personal cooldowns.  Also the Barn is going to drop massively in importance as people find new and more efficient ways to get Savage Blood.  (Both from Primal Spirits and Alchemy transmutes.)

At launch I expect the new zone to be absolutely jammed with people.  It might well get to the point where every herb and mining node has someone standing beside it, ready to grab it when it respawns.  I am sure fishing is going to be that way with people desperately trying to grab pools from one another.  On a PVP realm the new zone is going to be soaked in blood and tears for certain.  I think this is a fine thing, particularly because this new stuff isn't going to be mandatory.  You can always sit in your garrison and make money to buy the new crafting materials off the Auction Hall if you want to - it won't be the most efficient or exciting but it will be safe.

While lots of people like to whine about Blizzard 'forcing' them to play a particular way it is clear that Blizzard can't just stand aside.  Whatever activity generates the most stuff / hour will draw everybody in so Blizzard has to sit down and figure out what will create the best experience.  Clearly at the start of Warlords Blizzard wanted to build player housing and give players lots to do in their houses and that worked... and now they are changing course.

It is good to accept when you tried something and it didn't work out perfectly.  Garrisons are pretty decent but the inclusion of herbs and ore in particular made it silly to ever leave and that is an issue.  The changes currently slated look like they will set things back on a more even course and I think doing so is the right direction for the game.

Go outside kids, and get some exercise.

And by that I mean sit at your computer but look at slightly different background scenery and click on different sparkly things.


  1. I don't know anything about MMORPGs, but I've always wondered - why do they have set spawning spots? I love wandering through the forest and finding things, and it seems like knowing where the monsters will spawn takes away that element of exploration. No random dungeons? Wandering monsters?

    Optimally, you want to find things that no one else has found, which I think is extremely difficult in MMORPGs, but at least have the sense of "ooh, I got lucky and stumbled across this cool monster!"

  2. With seven million players you can't ever have "ooh, I am the only one who has found this!" Really rare stuff gets found and then immediately camped by all kinds of people. Just the way it works, though I totally agree with you about wanting to find cool weird things.

    I think the set spawns are because spawning in completely random locations would put spawns in the middle of trees, would block areas off, etc. There are a huge number of spawn locations and only a small percentage are up at any given time. You could increase the number of locations but I don't think that really changes things much in the end.