Friday, 21 October 2011

New Mind-Sets and BLIZZCON!

Did the Eye-Candy draw you?
Now, since the release of my last two posts, the results have been pretty dramatic. Yes one was featured on WoW Insider, 'Your Character and You', which I am totally thrilled about, but there's more. Taking a look at the responses I have received, in combination with the fact that my thought processors have gone into overdrive, the mood and view since my 'WoW Blues' have shifted considerably.

Among all this, Blizzcon is finally kicking off tomorrow! Or tonight for some lucky venturers! A substantial amount have been fortunate enough to make a tripe the Anaheim, California, for a weekend of Blizzard galore. (Unless your already situated somewhat locally, of course). 

With a number parties kicking off in nearby hotels and bars over the next three nights, including tonight, this is not a convention to miss. However, for some of us, myself included, have sadly not been able to make the long trip. 

Though, hold your horses. Virtual Ticket - hallelujah! For more on this including my upcoming involvement in the event, and what may be in store for you, hold put until the end of the post (or feel free to scroll, if you must).

Firstly, back the main chunk!

Before diving into the following, I must stress a few important points. I will be using the terms 'Hardcore' and 'Casual'. However this is just for ease of writing, and getting to the point. My view, along with the part-core gamer Stubborn, on these two terms, are that they are too subjective. Though like I said, this is just to keep a good flow. So bite your tongue.

After much thought, on quite a downer with WoW, I now think that I was looking at the situation from the wrong angle. My idea, which is pretty common, that blizzard want you to play (and pay) for longer, I still stick to. HOWEVER. To remain playing for longer doesn't, necessarily, mean playing more. Mean, if you only log on once a month, you've still payed your subscription. Blizzard have been successful in their biggest job. 

I now feel that the current game is being directed in a more casual (*grits teeth*) manner, so to speak. In simple terms you can play less, and not have to grind, just to be able to play a solid amount of end-game. This may of course vary when looking at heroic raiding content, and such, but I'll get to that.

In my eyes, it's being structured so that you can steadily progress and build your character over time. Meaning you don't have to jump into a massive 'grind fest', if you don't have to, and/or complete optimisation isn't your main goal. But the option is there if you do want to maximise in every way possible, and speed up the process.

You can power level those professions, in one day, if you wish, or gradually level them at a more comfortable, and bearable, pace that suits your, the players, needs. Either way, you will get there OVER time in the latter case. I do have a strong belief that Blizzard are putting more aim/focus into 'steady-over-time' progression, as a middle line (more than likely in terms of player population also).

Think, with this new casual arrowhead leading the way , Blizzard still manages to retain the hardcore aspect somewhat. This actually works out to be a much better business model, (hear me out), having players consistently and steadily progress their character over time. That way, unless playing the 'hardcore route' (which I will get onto), players will not become burnt out so quickly. Content will last longer. Also, most of all, you won't have to play religiously just to get a meaty slice of end-game, if you don't want to. You can pretty much survive on 'dailies', to set the pace. 

Now, for the hardcore (*yes hold it together*), of whom I greatly respect for their determination, or partly if your aiming for heroic raids also, which could suggest that mental attitude anyway.

Yes, if playing the game in a min/max all out 'everything you can get' way, it can then definitely be considered a serious grind fest, to say the least. You'll need more than dailies. Time will need to be invested to go out and work, in whichever way, to fund your gaming mind-set. Then all the rest that's involved.

I feel for those that want this. Heck I have wanted to play this way, on many occasions. However, this is the clever bit. Blizzard know that you guys/girls are motivated enough to see it through, or the majority, so you can hit end-game with everything on offer, as fast as possible. Although a great test of ones mental endurance, yes, your playing against the games new target audience, with this theory anyway. That's what your up against.

On one hand, with the time left until 4.3, maybe Blizzard are aiming to make it long enough so that 'casuals' can attempt and get stuck into, or at least attempt and get a taste of, Heroic modes. Maybe of course, but don't bite my arm of, just a long stretched thought/possibility. Though it does answer the question to why the Firelands was 'nerfed', so early before a new content patch.

The idea is that you can play in a so-called casual manner and still attain those end-game victories, or a substantial majority, and get yourself to the gear cap, just as the next patch hits. Saying that, if you do want to spend more time in game , you can. Though Blizzard hasn't put a focus, or push, on this, which is why it's all a seeming grind fest, from then on, once you cross that line.

If you want to go for those realm/world firsts, which the majority of the subscriber base isn't, then get ready for a big time investment.

Then there's the time when you've shot down all the end-game content, way ahead of everyone else, and you fond yourself pondering 'what to do now' until the next juicy instalment.

Same goes for PVP. If you pace yourself,  you can steadily obtain most of the gear over a reasonable, for some, time frame, excluding a piece or two (and of course the ELITE set, which cleverly on blizzards part, as you can see, is just aesthetic). But say your goal is high ratings and proving your worth at the very top, then expect a lot more time, and grinding, to be required. 

Though I do feel PVP is a little less of a grind, for it's own version of end-game, than PVE, but that's just my view so far, without having reached any high ratings.

"Play less, play longer. Hardcore stick around anyway."

The above statement, as hard and gritty put, could be said.

Create something more interesting, for those that want to spend more time in game. More challenge, rather than a long, repetitive, and monotonous road to the top. More about how you play, instead of how much you play. That is what I say.

But wait. Before we lose hope, for this aspect of the game, there is one more twist, in the future ahead.

Raid finder! This incoming feature, due for 4.3, with it's new 'lower level difficulty setting' could eliminate some of the problems in game, for a number of fellow players. Meaning that rather than content being subsidised to accommodate the, somewhat, casual player base, players would have the choice. This could be the start of allowing players to have true choice in their preferred playstyle. Options, in opposition of global changes to suit all. A possibility that these two individual, hardcore/casual, gaming styles could exist together peacefully.

If that was to be done, I can say that I would be (*bites finger*) happy with the direction the game is taking. If anything I will feel obliged to continue playing with this structure Blizzard might be aiming for. Although, as with any speculation, I could be way off.

Feels like you would be able to play, meaning end-game, on a semi decent level without having to commit so much. Making the game a game, rather than a hobby. Unless you want to dedicate more of your time to it. Actually allowing you to roam other games and do outside activities with your free time! Without that feeling of guilt, that your wasting valuable grinding time.

Blizzcon 2011

Whether your going along to this, most anticipated, event of the year. Watching it from the comfort of your computer or TV, like me, your sure to be excited about Blizzcon! If your not, you should be! What's that? You don't have any access to the event? Well, not to worry, your in luck!

I have decided to team up with the Twisted Nether Blogcast: Blizzcon 2011 - Live Blogging team. This means that in one way, or another, I will be giving you live coverage of the whole two day event so that you don't miss a thing.

With an awesome line-up for this years event including: World of Warcraft PVP and Starcraft 2 tournaments, exclusive insights into Blizzards current projects such as Diablo 3 and a closing ceremony featuring the FOO FIGHTERS! It's nothing to face away from. So keep your eyes peeled for updates to keep you in the loop with our live coverage as it happens.

TELL ME. What's your view on my theory of the new Warcraft direction? Are you attending Blizzcon or grabbing yourself a Virtual Ticket? Did you attend previous years? Or are you not really that bothered? Let me know!

Maybe we will get an idea of exactly what way the creators are pointing the game in the next WoW expansion to be announced, very shortly...

Keep Posted - Follow/Comment/Subscribe

- Jamin
I want to go PARTY!


  1. Jamin,
    I found the link! Do I win a free xpac?

    Seriously, though, it sounds like the new direction Blizz is going is an improvement, so maybe I'll be able to more fully participate in the end-game content in the future. I'm certainly interested in all the other Blizzcon tidbits, too; that's you in the first picture, right? (;

    As to Blizz's direction with WoW...I don't know. I want to be excited (as above), but I'm really cautious since I've felt more and more disappointed the longer the game's been out. That's as much my acclimation and then boredom to the game, I think, than anything in particular Blizz did (though I think LFD was the beginning of the end of common courtesy on Azeroth). I hope you're right. I want to play and have fun without all the "should be's" that we sometimes are made to feel. I don't know, though. The firelands dailies were more should be's, that's undoubtable, but we'll see with 4.3, I suppose.

    Here's to you being right! I look forward to the rest of your coverage

  2. I think that the direction Blizz is heading is for the more casual player - the ones who don't want to grind like crazy to get what they want - the people who are "what can I do in WoW for an hour" people. In this busy day and age, people have RL stuff to do (ZOMG! really??) and WoW caters for all sorts of people - the collectors, the achievement junkies, the adrenaline junkies, the PVPers, the competitive player, the loner, the lore lovers, the social butterflies - I am sure each of us fits in one (or more) of these. And WoW is trying to cater for you all.

    And I have never attended or subbed to Blizzcon. I look forward to the posts rolling out from all my fave bloggers so I can keep up to date with the latest news.

  3. Oh and BTW, I think I looked at that pic for about 5 seconds. Nice costume!

  4. @Stubborn

    Hmm.. But I want it :'(

    I think I am included too. Trying to come to see any perspective that prolongs our love for the game (hence this post). Maybe it's a way to justify continuing to play. However, I do have a good feeling about it :)

    .. And of course it is! What, don't you like my figure ;)


    - Jamin

  5. @Navimie

    You hold a good point. The majority of the playerase may be in heart. However, maybe being a fanboy, I just can't imagine Blizzard completely leaving their dedicated player-base to the dust. Hopefully not.

    Ahah! My plan worked then =D

    Thanks for dropping by,

    - Jamin

  6. I think blizzard is going in the wrong direction with its catering toward more casual players. Not saying casual is a bad thing, I consider myself a casual player. The problem is they are going for a different class of casual player.

    The raid finder thing could very well be a fantastic addition if it where not for two major faults with it. It is 25 man only and blizzard once again is counting on people to work as a group against a difficult opponent in a random setting which is hit or miss at best and we have seen it fail for heroics, which means it will fail for raids as well.

    I think if it had a 10 man version where you can pop in with the standard guild group just for fun, or maybe with just a few pugs, then it would be a winner of an idea all around.

    They seem to be tuning the game more and more in a way to attract people that are not into this genre of game to the point where it is starting, at least at the leveling up point, to not look anything like the MMORPGs we have come to know.

    I wrote an post about it a while back and it explains where I think the problem is with the way they are heading and the use of the word casual to describe where they are heading. <-- should you be so inclined.

    I see nothing wrong with making things easier, in fact in many cases I am all for it. I do have a problem with making it so easy that is it not even worth doing.

    Never attended a blizzcon and never will, unless they decide to have one in new york, then I would go. There is nothing about it that would make it worth traveling to.

  7. TheGrumpyElf

    See, that's why I don't like the terms 'casual' and 'hardcore'. Way to subjective.

    Anyway, yes. I see your point. You mean they are trying to spoon feed an audience that might not stick around otherwise? Possibly, causal as in, wanting the game to revolve around them?

    Ah, I didn't know the Raid Finder was only for 25man raids. Seems like a strange move. However, I do feel that they will have considered that (with the LFG 5 HC pattern in mind), and will attune the raid accordingly, on this new 'low setting' they are to introduce.

    I read that post , and it was quite intriguing to see a different standpoint on the current feeling of Blizzards intentions. Nice to see!

    I see what your getting at, thanks for the input!

    - Jamin


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