Goodbye Warcraft! Hello Warcraft?

Long time, no see.  Sorry, been transitioning into a new job out in Arizona.  I left my hometown to embark on a new mission.  No, I’m not stalking our favorite bleggar, either.  Something’s been on my mind a long time, and it was confirmed today.

I chose to name my blog and officially place it on it’s own domain at a time when WoD sorta looked like it had promise.  It was a short time after that I found myself finally throwing in the towel and playing content from 10 years ago…  and loving it.  So outside of relocating halfway across the country, beginning a new job, and messing with a game that was dead I made a big choice to quit Warcraft (even though I’m part of the subs thanks to tokens) and then start playing Warcraft.  Just in a different time.

Since today’s numbers demonstrate that I’m not alone in leaving the game, with 1.5 million people (mind you, this would be considered a major city in the USA) telling Blizz where to stick their content.  And even more humorous to me was this gem:

They were more fucked than 5.6 million prior to the release?  How low?  One can only speculate, but I don’t even want to think about it.  They’ve officially arrived at December 2005 numbers.  The game had 5.6 million players a year after the official release of Classic.  Why?  Because players were joining in droves and telling their friends to get in on the phenomenon or get left behind.  Today’s community is telling their friends to gtfo while the getting is good.  Sad, no?

While I’m playing in a completely non-TOU way to enjoy my favorite MMO my way, that’s also sad.  I’m forced to seek out my favorite content because the manufacturer is busy retconning and hyping their official game, while ignoring that they have players that would like to take in the sights and sounds from years past, even though the toxic community of assholes they’ve developed are busy telling me “nostalgia”.  I dunno, I have a 60 and am about 2 months out from 3 more.  I am taking in the lore of the game and dealing with the bugs like a hardcore, and I get talent trees that actually are somewhat interesting.  I’m not playing nostalgia, I’m playing a game with evolving content by hardcore fans of the game.  Further, my server is packed with between 3500 and 8000 players at any given time.  People are halfway decent to one another because you have to be to get things done, and being a jackhole will land you on a blacklist.  Further, cheating is aggressively sanctioned.  You, on the other hand, get forced into more and more solo gameplay and told “no” more than “yes”, content gets burned through in days rather than months, and your announcements are peppered with new store microtransactions.

I don’t want to slam the game for those that are enjoying it, because I simply don’t enjoy your content.  I enjoy my favorite content.  If we went to an ice cream store and you ordered a banana split and I ordered a fudge sundae, I think we can both agree that we got what we wanted because we had the options.  There are officially 5 expansions and classic content.  How do you make 6 generations of Warcraft players happy and benefit your bottomline at the same time?  Gee, I dunno.  Burn those previous tiers of content and tell your players to adapt or die?  You’re telling a story?  Like it or not, this is a game, a business, and entertainment for millions.  There’s a reason why reruns are shown on TV.  There’s a reason why you change your business paradigm when things aren’t working.

With an announcement of another expansion just hours away from this post, it just makes me wince.  We got royally fucked with this expansion in terms of almost everything.  Price?  Higher than the previous expansions while being told “free 90”.  Content?  3 patches with 2 raid tiers.  Developers outright telling us how to think.  PvP content receiving change after change to very cold reception with the lead developer exiting Twitter.  The gold game was practically destroyed and everyone shoveled into the same funnels.  And now, after years of precedent, the next expansion is being announced at Gamescom, and the rest of us will miss out on seeing it except in YouTube videos and streams.  Woohoo.  Pinky swirl.  And /golfclap.

Blow by Blow

Straight from MMOC’s comments…

  • More developers are working on World of Warcraft than ever before

If I was involved with Warcraft at Blizzard, I’d be pulling a Ghostcrawler/Bashiok.  Bashiok is now a Senior Content Manager over at NCSoft.  Smart move, they keep releasing new IPs and building on them and he was just a CM at Blizz.

I would expect that with the loss of about 1.5 million subs, which at most would be a hit of around 22.4 million bucks per month, there’s going to be some massive adjustments incoming.  You don’t go from 10 million to HALF your income without rethinking the office cubicle layout.  Someone’s got to pay, and it won’t be any of those bloated officer/VP/Executive Director checks.  In these situations, the little guys in the trenches feel the penalties, not the guys at the top.  All those GMs and CMs you like to abuse, they get to pack their desks.  Raises don’t happen.  Careers go stagnant.

It’s not all doom and gloom though, maybe an adjustment is just what they need?  New ideas, new blood, beheaded managers who were stopping innovation get replaced by people who come up with better ideas and paradigms.  When you stare into the abyss, you figure out what’s really important.

  • The Warcraft movie is a chance to expose Warcraft’s lore to new audiences and increase interest in World of Warcraft overall.

This is a year away.  They won’t even show us the trailer unless we attend SDCC, and YouTube accounts showing it get instantly hammered.  So you’re going to show a movie demonstrating lore that was followed up with game content that was destroyed by Cataclysm and the company refuses to re-release.  I’m telling you, if they don’t open legacy servers with this next expansion (and I know how popular they really are), you can count on the same graph as you see right now. If this is acceptable, then the executive management has officially lost their fucking minds and need to go back to business school.

Show me lore from 15 years ago and then put me into a game that doesn’t have anything to do with the demonstrated lore.  That’ll be a nice introduction for those people.  Other issue:  New players coming in?  What will happen to the game as a result?  You guessed it.

  • The subscriber count was down in the east, in part due to Diablo 3 release.

Ah yes, because people often quit Warcraft when Diablo 3 is released.  I assume they are talking about the season that was released shortly after 6.1, because 6.1 was a pile of dogshit and I for one was happy to pay attention to Diablo 3 instead of Warcraft.  Eastern players recognize what’s best, and Diablo 3 kicks ass now – and the game has come light years from the 7 year development period that resulted in another pile of dogshit.  The thing I fear is that they may cut devs from Warcraft and put them on D3 and one of them may be Jay Wilson.  /shudder

  • Patch 6.2 helped to stabilize the subscriber count in the last few weeks of the quarter.

Again.  They were LOWER than 5.6 million?  Third quarter is going to be an A-Bomb.  This explains their actions the past month in three letters…  S.O.S.

  • Blizzard has been listening to players experiences during Warlords of Draenor and thinks players will be excited by the announcement this week

Fanboys will be excited.  Fan sites will promote the news.  Twitter will go nuts with screenshots.  The hype machine cometh.  That’s the biggest no-shit statement I’ve heard all day.

  • Tokens are included in this timeframe, as they launched in Q2.

/Raises Hand.  Yes, I have tokens out the wazzoo. Will I play? No. The account can rot.  I have zero desire to play live Warcraft today.  I log into Classic and I’m excited to see if anything sold for a few silver.  Log into WoD?  Blow CDs, look at mission table.  Check friend list for who’s on?  Noone?  Ok, log out.

  • Hearthstone, Heroes of the Storm, and Destiny combined now have more than 70 million registered players.

The future of Blizzard and Blizzcon, gang.  Learn it, live it, and love it.  Once Overwatch releases and with all those micros, they’ll have one forum at Blizzcon for the Warcraft people, and then we can all scuttle off and enjoy the rest of our weekend.

  • Blizzard Entertainment had the largest online player community in its history, with Q2 MAUsB up 50% year-over

I believe this, given the new games.  Thanks for making me feel like a Blizzosaurus.  Maybe in two years we can all check into a gamers museum where people can sit and speculate what we died of.

  • Hearthstone engagement metrics nearly doubled year over year, largely on account of the new content and new platforms

See above.  Yikes.  Get me my cane and lawnchair.

  • Diablo III has now sold-through over 30 million units life-to-date globally.

And this was the good news for the day, because Diablo will always be my favorite game universe.  I wish I had a Tyrael hood for my “fun” photo up at the office.

Conclusion

I think it’s great that lots of people still enjoy the game as it is.  5.6 million people?  No other game has that player base, unless you count all the Asian-market-only MMOs.  Or the playerbase of some of these non-MMOs.  It supports a rather large group of people’s lifestyles, which I’m sure they’re thankful for.  Nothing is worse than wondering where your next meal is coming from, so hopefully the bleeding won’t be too bad.  Of course, it will be more challenging for people to get into Blizz, with a looming freeze coming since they have more candidates internally than you can shake a stick at.

Here’s hoping that the next expansion has nothing to do with Draenor, and possibly has content for those of us that like the old stuff (Say it with me… Legacy… servers…).  But this would require lots of resources, and unfortunately it looks like they’re going to be playing that old card moreso in the future.

Thanks for stopping in!

Time to Jump In the Wayback Machine!

Not Nostalgia.  More explanation.

Upon WoD’s launch, we heard from Blizzard that part of the problem with the overpopulation during launch was that they were seeing people return to the game who had not been seen since TBC or Wrath.  Today, we learned that all of those people have left the building since returning.  Let’s explore what a person who left the game at these points would remember having returned to the game after not seeing it since 2007 or 2010.

Beep Boop Bop Time Set: June 1, 2007

Holy crap! June 2007!? Did they even have flying then?

If you left at this time, your last image of the game was Karazhan being the introductory raid tier and being insanely tuned.  It required lots of solid gear to clear through Prince, and you got to see 2.1 released that Spring.  Since that time, Burning Crusade has long been regarded as the best expansion roll-out in the history of the game.  More than likely you were just a casual player, and the game demanded the following of you at this point in time in order to progress:

  • Upon hitting 70, you did normal dungeons for individual reputations.  This allowed you to unlock the Heroic dungeons and retain entry level epics.  Certain Heroic dungeons were avoided like the plague and required some class balance buffs, crowd control, threat management, and being stupid resulted in one shot hits against the dps.
  • If you didn’t have a solid collection of Tier 3 epics at 70, you had to retain your class dungeon set out of the Heroic dungeons.  You had to build groups yourself either in guild or in trade.
  • Heroic dungeons dropped badges.  Everyone raiding needed badges to get better epics so they could take on Karazhan.
  • In order to get into Karazhan, you had to collect the key to enter the place.  These were called attunements and wouldn’t be removed until Wrath of the Lich King.
  • If you were raiding Karazhan, you began to work on attunement for Serpentshrine Caverns (SSC) and Tempest Keep (TK).  This required Magtheridon and Gruul raiding, with each raid requiring crowd control to reach the boss and a good understanding of raid mechanics and how to click portals.
  • Once you reached SSC and TK, tanks required resistance gear to get past the first boss.  This required guild efforts to retain those pieces so guild farming nights were not uncommon.
  • If you were a progression raider, you were more than likely raiding 5 nights a week.
  • Progression was tiered, with catchup gear being your level of raid tier.  There was no skipping of entire tiers through dailies or content patches
  • The expansion was shipped with 2 tiers of content baked in.  Tier 6 (Mount Hyjal and Black Temple) was released 4 months after the ship date of TBC.
  • If you wanted to craft epics, you were a top tier raider with DKP.  Raid materials were found in the raid and preserved within the guild until everyone had what they needed.  It was rare to see epic gems offered in the auction house, much less raid only drops.
  • If you wanted top tier crafting patterns, you had to get lucky with drops and either win the rolls or have the standing within your guild to deserve the patterns.
  • Karazhan was nerfed in almost every patch after release of the game, which allowed most people to gear alts via raid instances.  The other raids did not see a nerf until patch 3.0 when all bosses were hit with a 30% hitpoint reduction – which was about one year and ten months after release.
  • If you were a PvPer, you saw the introduction of resilience and Arena matches.  Resto Druids were considered the most overpowered class.
  • In order to progress your character, you may have needed to earn Arena points to retain a weapon.  For many classes this was simply the easiest way to get one since bosses rarely dropped what you needed.  For many this was the answer to getting a next-tier weapon because they were stuck in Tier 4 or 5.
  • PvP zones were mini-games that happened either on a schedule or at-will.  Most of them were simply “Hold the Objective” style.
  • Dailies were introduced at this point, but you could only complete 10 per day.  You were probably working on Ogri’la or Netherdrake repution.
  • You saw flying.  Regular flying at 60% flying speed with 280% flying costing a whopping 5,000g.
  • You were probably sitting on 1-2 max level characters at this point.  There was no such thing as heirloom gear, experience pots, or RAF boosts.
  • An original player of Warcraft would have come from the dungeon crawl era.  More than likely they had experienced either Dungeons and Dragons, Ultima, Everquest, Dark Age, or Star Wars.
  • The game took no mercy on guilds that were not progressing.  There was no such thing as “hardmode” at this point, all players encountered bosses at the same level of difficulty.  Guilds were progressing each tier of content at different rates.  Being in a BT guild at this point would have put you in the top 0.5% of raiders.  Applying to a guild included both the furthest tier you had seen AND which boss.  If you took time away from the game, you more than likely never recovered to your previous position unless you had a guild that would help you.
  • During this time you would have had to seek out people collecting primal orbs from Heroic dungeons to craft pieces for you.
  • You collected a metric ton of tokens, coins, badges, “toys” and reagents.  Your bags were filled with mount and pet trinkets.  The largest bag available was 20 slots.  Eventually you could buy 22 slotters, but that was almost another year away.
  • If you were a Druid, you were anxiously trying to retain epic flight form and get people to help you along with it.
  • Herbalists at this point were nuts about killing trees.  These were the giants patrolling around the lake in Skettis and were heavily camped for easy herbs, Primal Life, and Fel Lotus.
  • Shattrath was probably where the majority spent their idle time in-game.  The sanctuary city offered banks, portals, vendors, several places to hang out, but no auction house.
  • In order to get into a dungeon or guild, you were dealing entirely with people from your own server.  At this time in the game good social behavior and understanding how to play your class was demanded of you since blacklisting was very common.  It was commonplace to friend people you had played with for future dungeon groups.
  • Nagrand was the farming capital of Azeroth.  It was common to see people fighting about nodes in chat and druids became known for being node ninjas.  Engineers made fortunes here in Primal Air.  Elemental Plateau was a ganking hub while people tried to collect mats “easily”.
  • If you were fishing, you had to level fishing in order to fish!  You could not even cast otherwise.
  • Gold was a real issue for players.  Until the introduction of dailies at this point, players retained their gold by completing old quests, grinding mobs for coin and vendorables, or farming resources.  Auction house barons were not as common as they are today.
  • Burning Crusade offered 16 different reputations, with one more concluding the expansion.  In order to retain status with all of them you have to perform various tasks, dailies, raids and turn-ins.  Your Shattrath reputation was often considered a critical choice, because the shoulder inscriptions were rather focused.
  • The last new Battleground you saw was The Eye of the Storm.

There’s probably a bunch of different things that I missed, but consider what you saw when you returned.  If this was Warcraft for you in 2007, Warcraft in 2014 would have probably felt a little foreign.

Returning Back to the Future:

  • Raids are tiered for randoms, normal mode, heroic, and mythic.  None of them require any attunement but the more difficult tiers require prior raid experience that you do not have at this point and will have to struggle to retain.
  • Garrisons are where you spend most of your time.  Your only real interaction with other players is either in chat or going to Ashran which feels compacted and unfriendly.
  • Gaining reputations are simple grinds.  There’s very little in the way of quest hubs or turn-ins.
  • Collecting resources feels almost the same as it did during Classic WoW.
  • The social aspect of the game has become nearly anonymous.  One can now play the game in most every aspect (dungeons, arenas, raids) without ever having to say anything to other players.
  • The changes over the past 8 years can feel overwhelming to many players.  Prior to the Wrath expansion, the design team was not made up of the people who are on it today.
  • Gold is extremely important.  You can’t build without it and your reserves from 2007 are probably not going to amount to much.  It’s not like Auction House barons left the game, these people were probably sporting a thousand gold on their return.
  • Your past accomplishments do not matter.  Nobody cares that you were in an SSC guild when you left.  If you happen to have scored the Hand of A’dal title prior to leaving, some may sit up and take notice.
  • Most importantly, the game’s playerbase today is rather toxic compared to years ago.  While some were set out to ruin your experience back then, asking a question today will directly result in insults and name calling.  Not like this didn’t happen years ago, but these same people were usually not liked by anyone and there was retribution for it.  Remember blacklists.
  • The game would definitely feel more user friendly and easier to someone coming in from way back then.

The Time Has Come For Fingerpointing

If you want to blame something, I would definitely blame not just the developers but the demographic that plays Warcraft today and enjoys it.  The game is a direct reflection of gamer expectations, very vocal demands and biases. Ever see a business make a fortune while force feeding bad product on their customers?  In game development, you either appeal to people’s wants or you turn out the lights.  See: Any other game besides WoW that couldn’t survive the subscription model.

Blizzard did not develop the #1 MMO of all time simply appealing to yesteryear’s gamers (of which I am a member), they developed it by changing with the times and lowering the barrier to entry.  In order for me to continue playing the game, I’ve had to accept the things I cannot change, even though I still get extreme pleasure complaining about them.  I’ve had to adapt to things I dislike, and redirect my way of thinking in order to still enjoy playing.  I would run out of fingers in 10 seconds counting the things I don’t like about the game, however I’ve yet to unsubscribe from the game.

It’s funny that I’m willing to try things I may not like, and find the things I can tolerate and go nuts with in this game still.  Several years back I proclaimed my dislike for pet battles, only to become ranked in the Top 300 World on Warcraftpets.com a few months later.  Nostalgia is fun, but you always have to realize that you can never go back, time travel doesn’t exist, people’s tastes and desires change, and that you either get with the times or get off the train.

The people that left 7 years ago only to return to this expansion were probably looking for something that flat out wasn’t there, and they left again because they’ll never find it.  You can’t appeal to everyone, but keeping 70% of the playerbase continuing to pay to play is no small feat.  And this seems to happen after every release anymore so it’s really hard to nail down.  I say good riddance to the leavers, but I also still demand top notch design decisions…  it is my time and money after all.

Note: I was going to include Wrath differences as well, but it felt redundant.  There’s really not a heck of a lot of difference between what you would have seen when leaving in 2010 vs coming back today.

Thanks for stopping in!

How To Tell They Aren’t Really Trying

6.2 PTR is out and while things are still in flux, one glaring change is there for those of you who are actively in the market.

Felblood was changed to Felblight.

Earthshattering, yes?  MMOC said the name was changed, but upon inspection of the tooltip, it was more than that.

Felblood was to be produced with barns, making it the continuation for those with barns and crafting mat needs.  But the new tooltip says that it will be retained instead by mining, herbalism, skinning, and fishing.  Sounds like fun, right?  Let me illustrate the effects of this for those of you who were asleep during 6.1.

At release of 6.1, the big winner was crafting token upgrades for BOEs.  The bigger winner were those that spent an hour farming up about a month of cooldowns in Nagrand from the elite dire wolves for each character.  I put together 13 barns and I can tell you the output per work order yielded one Savage Blood 50% of the time.  So for 36 Work Orders (6 days of orders with storehouses) I would net 18 Savage Bloods on average per week PER BARN, plus an insane amount of fur.  For those reaching for their calculators, that’s 234 Bloods every six days.  I have so much fur right now I can’t get rid of it fast enough.  5 Tailors can’t burn it fast enough, the Fur Trader has nearly cut me off, and Primal Spirits are all over the place.  I also have a backlog of Savage Bloods in stock, at last count over 700.  The biggest issue was getting the reagents for the various professions, which was easily rectified by trading those bonus furs in every five days for extra Primal Spirits for crafting extra reagents, netting me more output every week and hundreds of thousands in profits.  Yes, this was my strategy for 6.1.

Lots of people just farmed those bloods up for sale on the AH, which made lots of gold for people.  The real gold however was the markup I received on my tokens, which essentially protected my Savage Blood value.  In some cases my bloods were worth over 600g when the market for them was under 250g.  No other aspect of the AH paid like a slot machine during 6.1 than Savage Bloods, barns, and doing a little grunt work yourself for a few hours to fill up with traps.  And it was really fun, thanks to the group finder.  I clocked about 100 traps per half hour when in a decent group.

(Total Tangent Here) I liked trapping so much, I could be caught doing it real life in my backyard.  Here I caught this (WARNING: Don’t click this if you are squeamish and nauseated easily or are an elephant) Level 103 Mighty Beast who’s been routinely cleaning out my birdfeeder because my neighbor is a hillbilly who refuses to pick up his backyard garrison.  Old dog poop, grass clippings, rotting brush and wood from failed deck projects, just a disgusting asshole. I love animals, but I don’t like disease ridden beasts that my dog might eat.  Them or us, man.

Ok, back on topic here.

At issue is that the change from barns to gathering makes barns irrelevant except for those still rolling alts and wanting to get quick pieces for upgrades.  Dupers had their way with this market because, well, Blizzard has zero intention of eliminating the issue with these people.  They’ve repeatedly demonstrated that they don’t give a care about the economic abuses and destruction caused by these people, but are more concerned with spammers and botters, which they ultimately don’t do anything about either.  All while promoting “strict anti-cheat” stances from the likes of Bashiok and Lore, both paid liar shills specializing in covering up the problems they refuse to address and misdirecting the issue.  I was talking about assholes earlier, Blizzard is a gaping dirty one and employs some finer ones to boot.

If people are tasked with gathering them, then that means they will be really easy to get.  And even if they aren’t easy to get, players will do what they’ve done for the past decade when it comes to gathering raw materials in the world.  You guessed it, we’re going to see Tanaan Jungle infested with bots.  Mining/Herb bots, Skinning bots, Fishing bots.  So we’ve traded one issue for another and can add yet another to the list of “Things Blizzard Will Never Fix Because They Punched Out For The Expansion”.

This further means that the value of these items and most every raw material gathered will drop into the black hole of surplus.  Upgrade tokens will maintain a value based on the raw materials needed to produce the cooldowns, because people are that stupid and can’t be asked to do simple math before posting them.  Oh, and traders will be in business spitting out the Primal Spirits so we can keep up with the demand and keep generating the reagents to make these things.  If the end product is cheap, people are going to not think twice about upgrading.  20k to upgrade a ring is one thing, but 1k to upgrade a ring to i700 is another.  Mythic level items for cheap.  As it stands right now, it’s a partial gear reset.

I guess the good news is that dupers won’t be bothering with duping the Felblights.  While I hate dupers with a passion, I dislike vast quantities of easily retained materials for upgrades even more.  No real work will be involved in order to work the market, ergo the barrier to entry will hardly exist.  That’s what makes people rich.

Barriers to entry exist for a reason.  It protects markets, and insures that those that want to be in the market are serious and dedicated to it.  This happens in the real world – people see a mountain to climb and say forget it, too much work.  We call these people losers, lamers, carries and whiners.  But there are those elites that are willing to do what it takes no matter the asking price to make it happen.  We call these people winners.  Doing what it takes when you have to no matter how you feel is the hallmark of a winner.  Bars are raised to accommodate these people.  But if you ask me, Blizzard loves to lower bars and barriers so that, as Ghostcrawler put it, someone’s grandma will be able to understand and play the game.

Ghostcrawler – who knew he was such a hardass against Gammies everywhere?

It’s a shame I’m paid up through the end of next year on my accounts.  The consequences of playing for free, thank goodness I’m not having to pay for this shit.

Resolution

The best thing that they can do, while this is still PTR, is reconsider this action.  More than likely this move is intended because gatherers have been whining their asses off since the beginning of the expansion.  Really, who the hell has gatherers?  Botters.  Ban them, thanks.  But ultimately, I want to see a good balance of exclusive items only for the very well off, rather than just giving it away.

Thanks for stopping in!

Welcome to the New Site

Zerohour’s Abuse of the Economy

For certain this is what I do every week in Warcraft, and ironically this was the name offered to me by Stede over at LNWS.net (thanks to him for the name). There’s no other word for it, I take advantage of online gamers financially like no other on the planet.  Others have come and gone, tired of the boloney thrown their way by constant game changes that don’t match their easy gold making ways, but there’s only me standing.

No doubt the traffic’s gonna suffer with a name change, but let me be the first to welcome you to the renamed ZHNameless blog, now known as

AbuseoftheEconomy.com

Be sure to update your bookmarks, update your RSS, and go with the greatest goldmaker in Warcraft today.

Nothing has changed here.  The intention of the site is to maintain my ever present informative posts, while offering the right amount of humor, nostalgia, egotism and contempt for other players that’s earned several thousand readers every month.  You’re dealing with the pinnacle of gold making when you deal with me, which is strange because I never really tell you what to do other than think.  But as Napoleon Hill discovered years ago, I hope that you too will continue to think and grow rich.

Updated posts continue shortly!

Thanks for stopping in!