Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Two Things, and They're Bad

Two things right now I disagree with. Two things right now either aren't good enough or are just bad ideas. The first would be the cosmetic feral glyphs in WotLK, and the second would be the Recruit-A-Friend nonsense.

Yes, nonsense.

Anyway, I think I'll start with the first.

I'll admit, I'm not at the fore-front of WotLK knowledge. I don't really have the time right now to do an intense amount of research on druid changes and glyphs and DK's and all the other things coming out in the expansion. And I actually don't want to know too much about it. It's a roller coaster of changes and ups and downs with the beta, so I'm not too concerned with it until it becomes final.

However, I do read Bear's blog and he very recently talked about a red lynx glyph. I am actually not excited about this. My attitude is, basically, not impressed. If you have to use up a glyph spot for these polar bear or lynx glyphs, then you're not making your druid the best it can be, stat-, dps- and tanking-wise, if you use a cosmetic glyph. It would become the equivalent of leaving one of your sockets in your gear empty right now. I could not, in good conscience as a healer, sacrifice my utility to give myself green or blue leaves when I could be putting out a better HPS.

The other issue I have with this is it is doing almost nothing to deal with the deindividuation of druids. Except now, instead of the same purple bear and the same brown bear, you can be the same purple bear, the same brown bear or the same white bear. You can be the same purple cat, same brown cat or same red cat. It's not fixing it. It's not really doing anything but advertising that you're willing to sacrifice stats for cosmetics. It isn't really "unique"! Every single bear with the polar bear glyph will be the same polar bear.

It's like giving everyone at a Catholic school the choice between a blue uniform or a brown uniform. You have a choice in how you look, but blues are going to look like every other blue, and browns are going to be like every other brown.

Moving onto the other issue.

Recruit-A-Friend is what I like to call a Bad Idea. Not a Bad Idea in theory, but definitely in practice. Mostly because it only benefits the gifter and not the recipient in the long run.

If someone is just starting out in the game, allowing them to triple their experience right off the bat isn't good. If they decide they dislike their chosen character, they then need to pick another, and level three times as slowly. And in tripling experience, much of the old content is completely skippable. This sounds great to a veteran player, but in essence is very bad for a new player. Unless they only plan on ever levelling and playing one character, they're essentially lost.

Basically, any person brought to the game through Recruit-a-Friend will, on the non-tripled alt, be likely lost, confused, frustrated with the levelling speed, and unfamiliar with many zones, dungeons and quests (slowing them even further).

EDIT: I need to rewrite this post, but feel free to keep giving me information about glyphs and Recruit-A-Friend and such. It's obvious I need to do some more homework (damn the recruit-a-friend site being down while I was in first draft!), but I'm still not convinced these aren't "bad" or, at least, "not good enough" sorts of things. :)


Armond said...

Have to agree on both points. My hope is that the glyphs are only implemented the way they are right now for technical reasons (coding these sorts of things isn't the easiest thing in the world, and with a beta, you're just kind of getting it done as fast as you can and throwing it in for feedback), and we'll all get a "non-stat" glyph slot in the end.

Anonymous said...

Hello, just a note, glyphs are divided in three categories, lesser, minor and great(?) lesser glyphs are meant to be all cosmetic changes or anything that does not affect the mechanics of any skill/stat, will be the ones used by the alternative skins and will be the same slots used by mages to polymorph into penguins or the rumored green fire for warlocks. You won't be less effective on raids having a polar bear glyph :)

TheBigBearButt said...

I agree with you about the Glyphs, Bell.

I love that we are going to have some variations open to us, but unless we get a large quantity of these cosmetic Glyphs, there will still be a ton of folks all looking identical.

But I think that it is just not likely we wills ee the elvel of coding out of Blizzard necessary to individualize our forms based on player choice.

This isn't City of Heroes, where we can customize our appearance and tweak every little thing until we are each a special, unique snowflake.

I still welcome the fact that I'm getting ANYTHING out of them, these days.

And hey... two rider bear mounts. You gotta give em props fer that.

Anonymous said...

I completely disagree about glyphs, for what I've read minor glyphs don't change stats, they are just a way to customize the character (new polymorphs for mages, for example)

I agree with the recruit-a-friend thingie, though. It seems blizzard thinks that most new players won't want to play the "old" content. It might be true, but it's kinda sad :(

pennington said...

With the recruit a friend thing, all the characters on your account get the 3x XP boost. You have to level with a character from the referrers account and they have to be within so many levels of each other (the same level if you both want the XP boost). I don't think it's that bad of an idea giving new players a chance to play with older players and learn the ropes from them.

Neil said...

Unless the referred player only ever plays alongside his/her referrer, he/she will get used to sometimes being without that 3x bonus.

The game has always had tradeoffs between creative expression - e.g. putting on the best-looking gear - and optimization for raiding - e.g. putting on the best gear. How is this any different?

Anonymous said...

What it should have been called is "Goodbye Azeroth, Hello New Players!"

It would seem that Blizzard is trying to speed people through Azeroth and nix it all together. I would love to see the old dungeons fixed up and loot tables revamped...but even the Ancient Bone Bow isn't worth having these days.

I miss ten man Baron runs :(

Valyre said...

I think the argument you make about cosmetic glyphs is only sort of valid. Others have posted about how 2 slots will be cosmetic only, but that's not what I'm talking about.

I don't see how being a red cat like all the other red cats is any different than the current situation with tier gear. My paladin looks the same in T5 as every other paladin in T5, for example. And do I get to pick what T5 set I get to look like? Absolutely not. You get to be a fiesty red cat or a cool purple bear. I get a pink/purple robot suit no matter what job I'm doing. I'd love a glyph that lets me be a silver/gold robot, or a green/blue robot. The grass isn't always as green as it apprears.

On the recruit-a-friend thing, I started to type out a really long thing. Instead I'll just post about it on my blog, linking back to yours. :)

Paedolos said...

First, I think like previous commenters have stated, the minor glyphs are not something that can boost your DPS or whatever. I think it is either cosmetic, or utility (such as casting Gift of the Wild without using a reagent I think). Thus, no-one will have to sacrifice anything for those.

Second, regarding the boost-me-up-Azeroth thing. The problem today is that an increasing number of players who already have high level mains, do not spend much time grouping when leveling alts, because it simply slows them down (as selfish as it is). New blood find it hard apparently to start playing because some places are really deserted, so in a way, boosting up with a friend is some solution.

I'm not saying it's all honey, but that's marketing.

On a side note, with enough patience, much of the old content (save raids who require way too much people) can still be done. One just needs to be patient and not keep leveling past it ;)

Paedolos said...

I forgot to say something else (as if my previous comment wasn't long enough ><).

I think it would be VERY hard for blizzard to make the various forms customized by armor. They already struggle to make the designs work well on 20 models (10 races, 2 genders), and adding 4 more (Bear, Cat, Tree and Moonkin) could be too much effort for the gain.

Sorry, but it's supply vs. demand at its best.

Bell said...

Yes, I'm dumb with certain things, thank you everyone for pointing them out. I'll probably write a new post, a more coherent post addressing all this information, when I'm not watching three kids and a puppy (looking up zoo hours now!) :)

However, in regard to purple-shiny-bot (Valyre), your character still looks like what you customized in the beginning. You can choose skin tone, hair style, color, whether or not to show your cape or helm. You can put your weapons away or hold them out. You have weapon enchants of differing color and shine and effect. You have a degree of individuality, even if your gear is exactly like another's (which rarely will you find an exact clone of yourself). Your gear is also ever-changing as you level.

A bear, however, is a bear is a bear is a bear. Imagine having the same gear from level 10 to 70.

And I did misread some of the recruit-a-friend stuff, but it still ties people down, they're limited to playing with another person, and it actually hurts their experience. If you're getting a new skill every few hours, how are you learning to use them?

It's just not a good idea for anyone but Blizz.

And I dunno, I'd take casting GotW or Rebirth without Reagents over being the same cat everyone else is.

Daniel said...

Glyphs are not all for stat upgrades. Each class has certain glyphs (not to be confused with sockets) that are solely for cosmetic changes. Mages are able to make their Polymorph make someone a penguin, etc. But no matter how hard you try, there will be no glyph they can put in that spot that will do anything other than a cosmetic change. You won't lose anything by turning into a red lynx.

Dechion said...

I also have not read much about the glyph thing so I can't really speak on it.

Hopefully they will have a slot or two for "fun" glyphs. different forms, different colored fire, rubber chickens circling your head. something, anything, to get a laugh out of.

In reference to the whole recruit a friend thing you bring up some good points. My main beef is it gives an in game advantage for out of game money.

I like the idea of leveling people up faster if they truely want to catch up with friends. As far as learning the class goes, you really do that at or near the level cap anyway. I know leveling shadow did nothing for helping me heal for instance.

I just don't think this was well implemented. I actually put a post up about the same topic myself recently if your bored enough check it out =P

tenebrius said...

First off. You are in no way forced to be a red cat. If you want to take no-reagent casting, that is your choice. But that doesn't make you a 'better raider' or a 'better character' necessarily, it just means you have to bring 2g in reagents to a raid over a red cat. Also, you'll look like the cat you have been all along, and not like the new trend everyone is following.

Secondly. They have indicated that they are planning more forms. Inscription isn't even vaguely finished. Although the data for the 'forms' glyphs has been datamined, nobody has reached the level where they can produce them. So while we won't maybe have 6-7 sets of forms, we probably will have more, even if they have to come out periodically with patches/expansions. Eventually there will be 'enough' that although you aren't a 'unique snowflake' you can have a bit of flavor of your own. Who knows, we might have rep-based new form inscriptions for druids in the tiered dungeons so that your bear looks different based on where you're adventuring.

As to the ask-a-friend:
There are some people leery of joining the game because they feel they are too far behind. I think most of us will agree that an MMORPG is about playing with people, and more fun by having someone to run around and quest with. The incentives do run out (they are timed), but in that time you have a big-sibling to show you around a bit and give the barren old areas a little more population. Two pairs of these give you the potential for a low-level instance run. Whereas without the incentive you just have 2 newbies hoping they can conquer stockades/WC if they get some help.

Remember that as much as many of us are somewhat 'old-timers', there are new people getting upgrades to machines, growing up, or otherwise becoming interested in MMORPGs. This is blizzard's way of saying 'welcome to the game', and giving a cookie to the people that want to help them out and give them a pal to run around with.

No offense, but it didn't take me one third of a level after getting an ability to figure out what I'm supposed to do with it. And if someone is there to give a tip and help me out (Like Bell's earlier post about her cousin for example) with maybe a little optimization or gear advice, it would take even less time.

The plan as I see it works by giving triple xp incentive for people to play together, and gives 'level up' options to the lowbie to use on their friend for those times the lowbie is powerhousing and the friend gets outleveled and needs to catch up.

Is it perfect? Probably not. Would it help by providing someone to play with and making the WoW experience more enjoyable? I'd say most likely. Your mileage may vary.

Zeffy said...

Bell, I actually covered the whole recruit-a-friend thing in my blog. My brother has been doing it and its great for him.

here is the link to my biased opinion on the matter.

Jacob said...

Paedolos said:
"players who already have high level mains, do not spend much time grouping when leveling alts, because it simply slows them down"

You are saying that levels 1-60 (70?) do not reward grouping. I think you are right.

This is a big, major, game design problem, for a game whose PVE endgame is all about grouping.

Rather than fixing the game design to reward grouping in 1-60, Blizzard is trying to get people to skip past 1-60 as fast as possible.

Ignoring the problem and trying to slip past it makes me sad at Blizzard.

Anonymous said...

The recruit-a-friend thing:
1) as most people have stated, both the veteran and the new player have to be grouped TOGETHER to get the triple xp.
2) I'm actually using it as a second account for myself to level up quick prior to the expansion. A friend of mine used me as a recruit-a-friend for my second account. We're 2 1/2 hours of play time and almost level 18. It's incredibly fast and I expect that the 20 to 30 levels will go by even quicker with the new quest XP from 2.3.
3) I first picked up the game and had 3 friends already playing (in their mid50s/early 60s) and I started playing with a friend who's brand new too. We didn't know much about the game, we got in a casual guild with people who didn't raid and didn't instance much either. I think that most people who are coming brand new to the game don't know raiders... let's face it, friends of people who raid have either tried the game or are playing it for the most part.

Think of BBB - if he leveled a character with Cassie when she first started, do you think she would feel that she missed an integral part of the game by getting triple xp when they leveled together? I'm not sure. I think the game really starts in Outlands now, for better or worse. And, there's no triple xp past 60.

Anonymous said...

I posted a blog about the RAF program yesterday from the perspective of a long term player but also address the downside of it for new players. I agree that new players will be lost, broke, rushed in to Outlands with poor gear and will lose the overall experience that made WoW fun for me BUT it's a great concept for long term players to quickly level alts via a second or third account. You can read more on my blog if you'd like =)