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!

The Good News Is…

I don’t normally disclose my tactics ahead of a patch, but I will make an exception for you here.  I do it… for the people.

Bob Odenkirk circa 1997, and ahh yes, we meet again 180p.

I want to talk about a common topic today that arrives after every PTR patch launch, and that is stockpiling for 6.2.  This isn’t a troll post, there’s some damned fine critical thinking going on in here!

The issue with stockpiling anything for 6.2 is that we are looking down the barrel of a loaded gun, we could all be wrong and it will blow our damned head off like Daffy Duck.  6.2 is probably 2 months out from now, I’m thinking a mid-June release date.  If nothing earth shattering happens between now and then, we’re looking at severe price normalization.  Garrisons are going to produce insane levels of reagents in this patch with the number of people who will stockpile Rush Orders, primal spirits and garrison resources; especially since Rush Orders will produce 100% more reagents when used.

The Plague

That being said, I would avoid the following items on busy servers:

Temporal Crystals – While it’s still advisable to perform daily CDs on these, Rush Orders are going to make it possible to generate oodles of Fractured TCs the first minute the patch is released causing widespread price shock.  People will not be killing bosses immediately and progress will be slow giving time for the entire server population to go nuts with crafting and dump them on the open market.  I learned my lesson about this expansion’s progression with 6.1’s release, where we had massive amounts of transfers coming over to Illidan and dropping the price on crystals while demand was low.  Not that I’m proclaiming I won’t get fooled again, I’m proclaiming that pricing is flat out not going to be pretty enough for me to ask it out.

Fractured Temporal Crystals – See Temporal Crystals.  Crafting these via Rush Orders right now will be a bad idea as you’ll receive half the materials.  Crafting them via Primal Spirits is still a poor idea regardless.

Sorcerous Elements – With Rush Orders come lots of these, especially on larger servers.  People are also stockpiling them like mad right now in anticipation of a heavy Felblight market so they can upgrade the hell out of those 685 pieces.  While this is smart business, I’m anticipating market prices to hit the shitter on patch day as everyone tries to cash in on their adjusted prices and then causes a panic as they dump them.  Best to probably wait for patch day to buy them.

Alchemical Catalysts (Cats) – Since we’re entering the official second tier of raiding and Blackrock has been considered old news for a while now, I would only collect these if you’re making them yourself and not receiving good prices on them.  It makes sense to unload them asap so as not to absorb market fluctuation.  For myself, I’ve found it easiest to get rid of these through Alchemy transmutes of all flavors.  Because herbs are going to probably have price issues after release, flasks are going to probably lag behind as demand wanes.  Realistically if you can make money on anything besides flasks with these, I’d bet on those odds instead of laying against the flasks to have better pricing.

Savage Blood – These are going to continue to fall in price.  If you harvested your bloods and cannot eliminate the stock right now, you could always keep them around for upgrade tokens in 6.2.  The player base will be returning this summer and will be looking for quick upgrades so they can get up to speed from Blackrock with Heroic 715 level BOEs.  Most people’s attention will be on cashing in primals for the half-off Savage Bloods and chasing down Felblights and not grouping to trap wolves and clefthoofs.  One would believe the price of them would rise in that vacuum, but if you’re on my server, the duper spam will be incoming.  Groups to farm them are not nearly as present as they were a month ago, so the seedy underbelly of Warcraft’s material supply market will probably fall all over themselves to supply ridiculous amounts for the greedy fencing goblins to race to the bottom with at the local AH.  That is unless Blizzard fixes the duping issues that they claim do not exist.  Be right back, laughing so hard I’m going to hurt myself.

BOEs – I’d be very careful about going into the patch with any of these things in stock.  My experience has taught me that people want them, but the cost to make the first stage of the BOE is a lost opportunity.  It costs you 100 of a crafted reagent to make them, but the reagent could have been used to craft upgrades.  The lone exception on these will be weapons, as non-Mythic raiders will immediately desire upgrades to ilvl 705 weapons with perfect stats.  The PvP audience will be limited because they’re already rolling around 10 ilvls below so it’s hard to say if it will be worth it for them, and most people that are good at PvP won’t be waiting too long to get their new weapons anyhow.

Conversely

The things to look into buying will be (I’ll leave it to you for interpretation):

Draenic Dust – You cannot perform Rush Orders without it.  Expect the price of it to spike briefly after release as people start going through all their rush orders and long neglected accounts load up their work orders.  Further, once the price relaxes, people will again go back to using it for lesser enchants so having several hundred stacks of it laying around will be useful as LFRs are released and trade posts refuse to spawn the dust trader.  Thank me later.

Luminous Shards – Used exclusively for lesser enchants and daily CDs.  I would not suggest paying retail on these, but finding creative ways to go about getting your supply of them.  Depending on server demand, I would recommend a two week supply at minimum.

Ores – Again, Rush Orders and primal spirit crafting.  You cannot upgrade weapons without the reagents, and the prices have (at least here) relaxed since March.  Jewelcrafters are going to go nuts with the demand since Epic Gems make their long waited reappearance.  Miners will beat their heads against nodes in Tanaan at release but it’s going to be packed, and about a week after 6.2 releases you’ll see bots running all over themselves.  Get your “Report Player” macro ready!

Furs – If you’re like me, you’re overstocking this in your Garrison outhouse because you ran out of space.  My followers clean up with nothing but the finest in asswipe.  The market will demand this material because for many servers it is THE cheapest exchange for primal spirits.  Don’t get stuck paying full market retail in 6.2, because people will be skinning like maniacs come the opening of Tanaan Isle so have a nice stockpile around for when you need to supply 100% of the server with Epic Gems to upgrade that pretty gear they got out of Blackrock and the new raid.  Yes, I said Isle, because the this is the new Timeless Isle and most everyone will be spending time there collecting it while the smart people will be consulting my patented “Trader Schedule”.

Leather – I’m fairly certain people will wonder why here, but leatherworking has been one of my favorite professions going all the way back to TBC.  You supply so many different classes who also happen to be mostly hybrids – Druids, Shamans, Monks, Rogues and Hunters.  That’s almost half the freaking classes in the game, and with TJ promising to be the next stop for everyone with a skinner chasing Felblight, it’s possible we may see a slight shortage of mats at good prices.  I would suggest keeping a solid supply around, enough to make reagents for tokens and to execute daily CDs and WOs.

Herbs – Right now we aren’t assured we’ll see non-Tanaan Jungle contain herb nodes in any real quantity, the whole place looks corrupted and will play the RNG game for herbalists.  First, if the spawn points are anything like Timeless Isle was, collection is going to be brutal and you should expect bots to make an appearance within a week.  Second, when gathering anything, you usually want to see herbs of specific types.  That won’t be the case in Tanaan, and more than likely we’ll see even distribution of all herbs.  So the best place to get the herbs you want will be from the Garrison, as per usual with this expansion.  Lots of people will also be gathering at release, so get these as cheap as you can in the meantime.

Fish – Wait, what?  Why not just save it for Tanaan?  The issue is that you have new content, and we haven’t seen any new cooking recipes giving up the feasts or noodle carts giving everyone free +stats buffs.  The demand for high end foods (for good servers) should be nothing short of astounding.  Cutting edge raiders and tryhards are going to bring everything they can to the party including an extra 25 stats, and most important they just buy the crap they need.  While fishing is supposed to yield Felblights, reports I’m hearing state that they are from pools only so fishing bots are probably going to get killed here while others are going to fight over pools just like an STV fishing tournament.  Meanwhile, the smart play is to insure you have several thousand of each fish/meat type and don’t forget to stock the Crescent Saberfish while they’re cheap.  Come patch day the prices will escalate back to normal if not well above normal.

Crafted Reagents – All of them.  Stop making upgrade tokens RIGHT NOW.  All of them.  Don’t make another one.  Let the market go to hell and let everyone else blow their wads on it.  There’s almost no reason at this point to eliminate costly crafted reagents by selling dangerously underpriced upgrade tokens when the lowest cost reagents will take a week or two to replenish without Rush Orders or primal spirit recipes.  In case you don’t know what they are, these are the things you get for the various armor professions from daily CDs, work orders, or primal recipes.  Jewelcrafting will probably have the largest boom from all of this, because people with JCs will now have a massive choice to make between “make epic gems” or “make rares” or “make upgrades”.  Inscription will also have enormous demand as people who were unlucky with trinkets will want a heroic upgrade.  There are TWO levels of upgrades here with Mighty and Savage, both requiring insanely high amounts of the crafted reagents (175 and 350 reagents each respectively, with 30 and 60 Felblights required respectively).  Epic gems are going to require only 100 while requiring 15 Felblights.

The jury is still out as to how common Felblight will actually become and if either bots or dupers will destroy the prices in the market first.  I would probably hold onto some extra gold for purchasing the Felblights until we get further information.  If they become a rarer drop, expect prices to go nuts for quite a while.  If you’re into farming for “free” mats, dust off a gatherer or fisherman and go check the drop rate for us.

Primal Spirits – These will be used to craft the extra crafted reagents when you get short.  If you choose not to stock these, then you’ll probably be run out of the high end markets very, very quickly.  Watch for your favorite trader now.

Conclusion

As with all stockpiling, don’t go too heavy into collecting too many things.  I would encourage at most 40% of your bankroll so you don’t get hurt too bad.  You want to hedge heavily whenever stockpiling anything because if one market craters, you can at least make it up in another, or at least eliminate the stock all together in the AH and get some of your investment back.  And you treat this almost like gambling, as unforeseen forces can cause havoc.  We can’t all predict the future, but you can at least try.

I’ve always stockpiled as I went along so that I can take advantage of price escalations and market shortages.  I’ve got the kind of funds to not care if I get vendor price for things (it’s happened by the way, I vendored a ton of MoP items that I miscalled) and only put money on the table that I can afford to piss away.  With this being gold, you shouldn’t care anyhow!  If you disagree or have another idea or want to point out typos, please comment below!

Bugsy:  So?  It’s only dirty paper.  I’ll make more!

Thanks for stopping in!