I don’t know if Blizzard can trust us.
It’s bad enough that there are reports of people stabbing each other. They are the lunatic fringe of WoW players, and they will always exist. But how much responsibility for our play styles can Blizzard allow us to make? The more I follow the player-base, the less I’m able to answer that question.
As a sign of faith, Blizzard has lifted the daily quest cap. As a result, of the 300 new daily quests in Mists of Pandaria, about 48 will be available each day. This will be in addition to profession-based dailies, and all the old daily quests will still be around for players to complete as well. The point is that with all the new content available, the daily quest limit was blocking players from completing that and then going back to explore old content they had never seen it or to earn gear for transmogrification.
The quest cap existed to serve two purposes. First, it restricted the amount of content someone could do in a day, forcing them to prioritize activities and therefore preventing them from rushing through everything that was available; thus prolonging the amount of time that new content was relevant. Second, it helped force people to quit playing for the day. Blizzard knows how addictive their game is, and something as small as running out of stuff to do will get some people to sign out and experience life. (There is even a loading screen tip that advises meeting your friends outside of Azeroth!)
Because most of these daily quests will allow people to earn reputation with the various factions on Pandaria, and reputation will be needed to purchase gear that will be required for raiding, people are concerned that in order to be competitive (if not competent) within their guild that they will be expected to complete all 48 daily quests every day to earn their reputation gear as quickly as possible. This is a valid concern, and this is exactly why I don’t know if Blizzard can trust us.
Raiding, especially for the top guilds, is a very competitive activity. If you are not performing your role as expected, there are always plenty of people applying; some of whom probably can do your role as expected. To that end, being geared, gemmed, and enchanted properly is a requirement. Previously, players knew they could only do their 25 quests each day, and earn their top-level gear no faster than anyone else. Now, for those players looking to keep up, it is as if the daily quest cap was raised from 25 to 48.
If players can do roughly 10 quests an hour, they now have almost 5 hours of dailies to perform each day instead of 2 1/2. For someone who is dedicated and plans their day around their WoW playing, they can probably make the adjustment to their schedule. But for most people with school or a job to worry about, they might have struggled with the 25 quest cap limit and now find doing 48 quests impossible. To them, top level raiding will be off limits as other people are able to surpass them and get the gear first.
These people are not crazy. These people are dedicated, but they also have lives that they cannot simply drop because raiding, while important, is not their #1 priority in life. From their perspective, Blizzard is telling them that they don’t deserve to be top-level raiders. From their perspective, anyone saying that they need to find a guild with more understanding leadership doesn’t get it. Those guilds where gear doesn’t need to be top level and progress is much slower tend to have more casual players. They are the feeder guilds. Once players realize they understand their role and have the appropriate gear, they abandon those guilds and move to the more-competitive guilds where progress is faster and the penalties for failure can be more severe.
No one likes to be told, “you can’t do this,” and from these players perspective Blizzard is forcing them explicitly decide just how important being a top level raider is. Some people will have real-life responsibilities that will make them feel as though they have no choice. The fact that these players feel like Blizzard is putting them in a corner is exactly why I don’t know if Blizzard can trust us.
There is another way that Blizzard tried to encourage people to not play for too long. While in an inn or a capitol city, players enter a rested state. For every eight hours rested, the next 5% of the XP needed to level is acquired at double the rate. This stack up to 30 times, so after 10 days players can earn the next 150% of their XP needed to level at double the rate. For players who only play a little each day, this allowed them to constantly earn XP at double the rate and help keep up with players who would play for longer, and consequently earn more XP at the un-rested rate.
The other effect this had was that when characters ran out of rested XP to earn, it made sense to park them in a city and play an alt while the main regained its rested state. I spent my time leveling juggling three characters this way. This system has been in place since vanilla (and technically beta), and has worked well enough. However, in Mists, Blizzard is tweaking of the system for the first time.
One of the Pandaren racial abilities is to allow twice as much rested XP. So whereas characters thus far could only have rested XP available for the next level and a half, Pandaren will be able to stockpile three levels of double XP. At this point, Blizzard isn’t too concerned with limiting people rolling new characters from leveling too quickly. Most people playing Pandaren will already have other characters they’ve leveled before, and even if they don’t, Blizzard knows that the bulk of the new content is at max level; allowing most new characters (since I’m sure most new characters in Mists of Pandaria, at least at first, will be Pandaren) to get to max level a little bit quicker shouldn’t hurt anybody.
Unless people complain that they have to roll a Pandaren to level quicker, and then race-change at max level, because this racial is forcing them do that and spend money on the race-change. If that happens, then I’ll finally know that Blizzard can’t trust us.
NINE TWENTY-FIVE. http://us.blizzard.com/en-us/games/mists/
The PTR for patch 5.0.4 is live, by the way. If I know Blizzard, and I think I do, I predict that patch will go live sometime in the next eight weeks. http://us.battle.net/wow/en/blog/6761563
Dungeon and raid boss gold drops to be normalized. If I can’t solo old raids for money, how am I going to get rich? http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/6147286884#9
Mists of Pandaria will not be required for Pet Battles. Oh… I guess I can cancel my pre-order then. http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/6080181259#9
SPOILER! The Pandaren starting zone movie has leaked. The first 20 seconds are the best! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jdfAxWQqB9o
Kotaku has an interesting look at the birth of the Warcraft franchise. I can’t wait till they get to the part where the pandas ruin it. http://kotaku.com/5929157/the-making-of-warcraft-part-1
Druids get a new default travel form. Now you’re not playing WoW because you don’t have a date; you’re just wandering Azeroth stag. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oxo9nqvawPw