To Fly or Not to Fly

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As someone who has been neutral on the highly divisive issue of flying, reading Blizzard’s latest announcement made me take a second look at how it affected my gameplay and enjoyment of WoW. And the key thing that stands out to me as I look at Draenor and its problems is that it’s not just about flying. 

There are two things that really make games interesting for me: 1) Having a stuff to do and 2) Having a compelling reason to want to do them.

So it’s not just enough to fill the game with something and say “look there’s stuff to do, you’re just not doing it” – things have to be interesting enough to entice players to them. And make no mistake, that is the game’s job not mine. Flying comes into this because it affects both of these key aspects.

Limiting my “stuff-to-list”:

I recently had to quit raiding (even though it was very casual) because tendinitis reared its ugly head (my right hand can’t hold a mouse). Even while raiding, I had noticed a trend in my own guild and server where people mostly hung around garrisons for short amounts of time, and logged on for raids….and that was it. Once I had no raiding to do, I found myself trying to fill the gap. In the past when I wouldn’t raid, I did things like Archaeology, herbing on my druid, and flying around taking screenshots series for the blog (like the one I did for Mists of Pandaria). And a big plus was that I could do all of these with just one hand and still enjoy the game.

It didn’t quite hit me until the announcement, but sure enough not being able to fly severely limited my enjoyment of these things. I did try doing all of those without the ability to just up and fly off to my next destination and sure enough, the experience sucked. The reward just wasn’t worth constantly figuring out how to get to which spot all for a couple of fragments. And then there were mobs which dealing with one hand doesn’t always work out that great for me. And I hardly took any screenies this time around. These are things that used to be fun through past expansions that are no longer fun for me in the current one, and from the looks of it – possibly not in the future.

I could go back to Pandaria or Azeroth and do them… but I want to be in Draenor! That’s why I bought the expansion afterall.

Lack of a compelling reason:

The decision on flying rests on their vision of Draenor which thus far has been a murky mystery chock full of contradictions.

Flight-quoteRather than expanding on what their vision is, we’re left to wonder what kind of vision that puts Garrisons and Raids at the forefront could possibly be at odds with making exploration and other activities more enjoyable. I am honestly just simply confused. They want us to be in Garrisons the entire time? Or is about constantly fighting mobs on the ground and feeling “savage”? (It doesn’t make me feel very savage but there you go) Or is it about wanting everyone to raid all the time? And how did they reach their flying decision from there? I don’t understand it one bit.

This doesn’t just reflect on flying, but it makes one wonder about the guiding philosophy behind decisions in general. The WHY behind the decisions are just as important as the decisions themselves. Added to that, the manner in which this decision came out reflects poorly on Blizzard but I’ll leave it to that since there’s not much else to be said for it.

About a week ago, it had dawned on me that Warcraft simply didn’t fit my needs anymore. It didn’t inspire me to keep playing and with my limitation of pure keyboard playing at the moment, it couldn’t offer me very much. So I naturally took my game time elsewhere to a game that DID accommodate my needs. The recent no flying announcement, while by itself didn’t make or break anything for me, gave me a signal that what I thought a week ago is still true for the foreseeable future.

The issue of flying is a small one if it’s just a lone issue. But its cumulative weight coupled with other issues combined seems to be a greater than the sum of its parts. If I were designing the game, I’d want to perk up, pay attention and maybe work on a good definition of the vision for World of Warcraft.

Time is Money, Friend!

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I was excited to hear yesterday that soon the WoW Token would become a reality – much sooner than I had expected. And sure enough, this little feature has brought out the goblin inside of me. The idea that I can theoretically fund my subscription through ingame gold has renewed my interest in the auction house. For PROFIT!

I think it’s a great addition to the game and it has some interesting consequences for us. Oh the possibilities!

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An Early Present….Sort of…

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Yesterday, Blizzard had a little surprise waiting for me in my account. As part of a promotion (from what I could gather by googling), they offered me 10 days of free game time to try out Draenor. Yep, the new expansion – I was shocked. Ofcourse, I cannot actually get to level 91 – it caps out when it is short of 1 xp – but hey, free is free and I thought it was great I could try out Draenor since I was on the fence about buying it. Starry eyed and full of gnome powa, I took the plunge.

It was fun to be a gnome again, and I generally enjoyed the questing experience. They do a great job introducing the bad guys – I personally liked the little name tags they gave them because really, just too many orcs to keep track of at this point. The music is simply amazing by the way, so if you haven’t yet turned it on, I highly recommend it. I think they really outdid themselves there. Ofcourse, I haven’t got beyond early Shadowmoon Valley thanks to the cap – but I did get to build my garrison and got a peek at how it works.

So why I have I not bought it yet? Well much of that has to do with me and not so much the expansion. Life for me has changed a lot. Raiding feels like it was a lifetime ago, and I honestly don’t know how I managed to spend so much time doing it. It is impossible now. Heck, even the flexible size ones seem like a time commitment I may not be able to handle. I have concerts and travel and visits and a billion other things to keep me busy. And so, I’m asking some very different questions  this time around.

Is there enough to do at level 100 without raiding for me? (And I’m talking really no raiding – not even LFR because that will just drive me up the wall) Do I enjoy any of the classes anymore? Can I really play WoW without raiding? I’m honestly not sure yet. I’ve played plenty of other games without endgame but WoW has always been about raiding for me. If I can enjoy Draenor without raiding that would be great. The last thing I want is to be sucked back into raiding because I really really like where I am right now. Lots of piano, great pieces and lots to do.

I welcome your opinions and experiences with Draenor so far – and if you think it has enough content to keep a non-raider busy for a bit. I realise ofcourse that all experiences are different and ultimately I need to figure out what works for me – but I could use the help! :)

 

Up in the Air

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Wow, has it really been five months since I last wrote? Time for an update!

It’s been an interesting first half of 2014 for me. I had to deal with three deaths in the span of three months, had a nasty experience with a sexist asshole at the same time (see post below), and work shifted into high gear. Work (as in piano) is the thing that kept me going through it all. While I was going through all that shit, I was and still am playing really well. I have performance requests, students and a project to record the Beethoven sonatas. Things are amazing right now.

With piano being my top priority, I have less time to spend on my gaming hobby which has led me to be more critical of the games I play. If I spend my time playing a game, I want to be damn sure that it is fun – and that’s where my re-evaluation of WoW happened. My last six months of WoW have been more stressful and less rewarding than my full-time job. And, that’s just not going to fly.

With the exception of heroic bosses, there was nothing much keeping me in the game. Siege has now been out for about as long as Dragon Soul if not longer, and I’m so glad I’m not raiding. Even if there was new content currently being added, I’m not sure I’m sold on going through more drama just to raid or meeting the latest flavour of nasty. Without the raids, there isn’t much for me here. I’ve long given up on an immersive story, pet battles were something I did off and on, and I think I’ve collected most of the mounts I’ve cared for (heck, I’ve seen Rivendare drop twice now). Small wonder then, that when my sub came up for renewal, I decided to decline.

I’m currently spending my time playing other games – trying out different genres – and I’ve just been having fun again. It really has been a while!

The one thing that’s making this a dilemma rather than a decision is my love for blogging. I truly love blogging about the games I play and the blogging community is nothing short of amazing. If it weren’t for the fine folks here, I probably would’ve given up a long time ago. The community and the blog helped me stick it through the raging raid leaders, the PvP jerks and most recently the assholes of the sexist kind. Thank you :)

It really is all up in the air. Warlords is on the horizon but for the first time, I’m not really jumping in my seat with excitement. I haven’t pre-ordered it either (another first) – I will just wait and see. The only plan I do have is to continue my break (it seems to be the right time for it anyways with the lull) and see where I end up.

For now, I’m having a blast with other games and I am glad my hobby is fun again! I leave you with this awesome picture.

 

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Saying No to a Sexist

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This has been the month of hell for me. It’s almost like clockwork that around the time I get a bit idealistic and hope for the best in people, the Universe decides to prove me wrong and does it by outdoing the level of nasty I was met with the last time. (The fact that I haven’t blogged in 2 months is usually a good sign that something is very wrong for me in the game).

I was part of a guild I helped found with two others. A guild council with equal voices in decisions, and to share the burden of guild responsibility. It sounded great on paper, but I suppose the one thing we can never account for is what power can do to people. And for one of the members, having guild controls over two women who were co-leaders seemed to change everything.

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