255: A Simpler Cataclysm

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tautologico:

Yvl9921:
So in other words, you want them to get rid of the metagame. Which is half the reason a good number of people play.

Your idea sounds good on paper, but in practice, people actually LIKE thinking they've bested the nuanced, needlessly complex system, even if it's not their own math. I just spent all weekend balancing my hit, expertise, and crit caps (I'm a rogue) after a particularly successful run on ICC and I friggin loved it. I didn't kill a single enemy all weekend, and I still had fun with the game.

How would simplifying the systems get rid of the metagame? People would still do it, but it would be less about cookbook recipes (how to spec, how to gear) and more about strategy.

Not that I think that this will happen in Cataclysm. People will still be doing "the best build" and gearing for the best stats.

There is no "boss strategy" metagame as it stands now. None of the fights this side of Yogg-Saron are even complex enough to be worth talking about for more than 5 minutes unless you're absolutely terrible at the game (such as my first raiding guild, who spent an hour talking about how to beat the 4 horsemen DURING THE RAID while EVERYONE WAS WAITING.) Not only that, but bosses are a lot more static than a player's gear and stats.

And since Blizzard's motto is "accessibility first" they're certainly not going to make their bosses more complex just for the sake of the metagame.

Also, the biggest problem with reducing the talent points is that you're making the game a whole lot more boring to level up in. What do you think made Dragon Age so addicting? It certainly wasn't the cliche RPG archetypes, it was the fact that you gained something new and interesting every level. Cutting that down to one every 10 levels would make leveling even more of a chore than it is now.

John Funk:

Richard Allen:

Azmael Silverlance:
that was a wonderfull article....
the problem is that there simply too many pugs now...so everybody is goign about the MAX players they want in their groups in order to finish off a raid or a specific boss.
But i think Cataclysm will make the game alot more enjoyable...but we still need more end game content...simple but one that can survive for a long time....some emblem farming that would make everybody do instances for months....that will be nice...and put like 20+ dungeons from the begining!

Yes because there is nothing like farming easy mode raids because they won't turn on hard mode because we will blow through easy mode first night.... yea sounds like a great time to anyone who is good. Sorry, it's touchy subject to me since I have been in the game since day one and they have done nothing but dumb it down and prevent me from doing hard content.

Cry me a river :P That's a problem with your guild, not the game.

I've played since a month after release, I did hardcore raiding back in the days of BWL and AQ40 and I couldn't be happier with the direction the game is going. I like being able to progress and actually have a life outside of the game.

How are you happy with the direction it's taking? The game is so easy-mode now. You hardly have to do any work to get stuff as it's pretty much handed to you. People shouldn't be able to just jump ahead to endgame content by just running heroics. In my opinion, everyone should have to progress through raids like they did in Burning Crusade.

Until I get another opinion from playing the Cataclysm Beta, I'm saying that WoW is going downhill. I blame this on the merger with Activision and Jeff Kaplan leaving the WoW team.

Wiezzen:

John Funk:

Richard Allen:

Azmael Silverlance:
that was a wonderfull article....
the problem is that there simply too many pugs now...so everybody is goign about the MAX players they want in their groups in order to finish off a raid or a specific boss.
But i think Cataclysm will make the game alot more enjoyable...but we still need more end game content...simple but one that can survive for a long time....some emblem farming that would make everybody do instances for months....that will be nice...and put like 20+ dungeons from the begining!

Yes because there is nothing like farming easy mode raids because they won't turn on hard mode because we will blow through easy mode first night.... yea sounds like a great time to anyone who is good. Sorry, it's touchy subject to me since I have been in the game since day one and they have done nothing but dumb it down and prevent me from doing hard content.

Cry me a river :P That's a problem with your guild, not the game.

I've played since a month after release, I did hardcore raiding back in the days of BWL and AQ40 and I couldn't be happier with the direction the game is going. I like being able to progress and actually have a life outside of the game.

How are you happy with the direction it's taking? The game is so easy-mode now. You hardly have to do any work to get stuff as it's pretty much handed to you. People shouldn't be able to just jump ahead to endgame content by just running heroics. In my opinion, everyone should have to progress through raids like they did in Burning Crusade.

Until I get another opinion from playing the Cataclysm Beta, I'm saying that WoW is going downhill. I blame this on the merger with Activision and Jeff Kaplan leaving the WoW team.

The leveling content in Northrend was by far the most interesting in the game. The dungeon fights are imaginative, the art is beautiful, and I love the hard-mode approach. Everybody should be able to SEE all the content - devoting 80% of your resources to content 15% of the players see is phenomenally stupid game design - but still give the hardcore reason to have actual challenges.

The challenge is still THERE, it's just not the base line. And that's a much healthier and accessible philosophy.

John Funk:

Wiezzen:

John Funk:

Richard Allen:

Azmael Silverlance:
that was a wonderfull article....
the problem is that there simply too many pugs now...so everybody is goign about the MAX players they want in their groups in order to finish off a raid or a specific boss.
But i think Cataclysm will make the game alot more enjoyable...but we still need more end game content...simple but one that can survive for a long time....some emblem farming that would make everybody do instances for months....that will be nice...and put like 20+ dungeons from the begining!

Yes because there is nothing like farming easy mode raids because they won't turn on hard mode because we will blow through easy mode first night.... yea sounds like a great time to anyone who is good. Sorry, it's touchy subject to me since I have been in the game since day one and they have done nothing but dumb it down and prevent me from doing hard content.

Cry me a river :P That's a problem with your guild, not the game.

I've played since a month after release, I did hardcore raiding back in the days of BWL and AQ40 and I couldn't be happier with the direction the game is going. I like being able to progress and actually have a life outside of the game.

How are you happy with the direction it's taking? The game is so easy-mode now. You hardly have to do any work to get stuff as it's pretty much handed to you. People shouldn't be able to just jump ahead to endgame content by just running heroics. In my opinion, everyone should have to progress through raids like they did in Burning Crusade.

Until I get another opinion from playing the Cataclysm Beta, I'm saying that WoW is going downhill. I blame this on the merger with Activision and Jeff Kaplan leaving the WoW team.

The leveling content in Northrend was by far the most interesting in the game. The dungeon fights are imaginative, the art is beautiful, and I love the hard-mode approach. Everybody should be able to SEE all the content - devoting 80% of your resources to content 15% of the players see is phenomenally stupid game design - but still give the hardcore reason to have actual challenges.

The challenge is still THERE, it's just not the base line. And that's a much healthier and accessible philosophy.

Dungeon fights imaginative? They've been a complete boring re-hash of old fights. Not to mention anybody could do the new dungeons with their eyes closed.
We also can't forget how overly dull the new raids are when compared to past. I'd like to see Blizzard make a raid that could top Karazhan.

Wiezzen:

John Funk:

Wiezzen:

John Funk:

Richard Allen:

Azmael Silverlance:
that was a wonderfull article....
the problem is that there simply too many pugs now...so everybody is goign about the MAX players they want in their groups in order to finish off a raid or a specific boss.
But i think Cataclysm will make the game alot more enjoyable...but we still need more end game content...simple but one that can survive for a long time....some emblem farming that would make everybody do instances for months....that will be nice...and put like 20+ dungeons from the begining!

Yes because there is nothing like farming easy mode raids because they won't turn on hard mode because we will blow through easy mode first night.... yea sounds like a great time to anyone who is good. Sorry, it's touchy subject to me since I have been in the game since day one and they have done nothing but dumb it down and prevent me from doing hard content.

Cry me a river :P That's a problem with your guild, not the game.

I've played since a month after release, I did hardcore raiding back in the days of BWL and AQ40 and I couldn't be happier with the direction the game is going. I like being able to progress and actually have a life outside of the game.

How are you happy with the direction it's taking? The game is so easy-mode now. You hardly have to do any work to get stuff as it's pretty much handed to you. People shouldn't be able to just jump ahead to endgame content by just running heroics. In my opinion, everyone should have to progress through raids like they did in Burning Crusade.

Until I get another opinion from playing the Cataclysm Beta, I'm saying that WoW is going downhill. I blame this on the merger with Activision and Jeff Kaplan leaving the WoW team.

The leveling content in Northrend was by far the most interesting in the game. The dungeon fights are imaginative, the art is beautiful, and I love the hard-mode approach. Everybody should be able to SEE all the content - devoting 80% of your resources to content 15% of the players see is phenomenally stupid game design - but still give the hardcore reason to have actual challenges.

The challenge is still THERE, it's just not the base line. And that's a much healthier and accessible philosophy.

Dungeon fights imaginative? They've been a complete boring re-hash of old fights. Not to mention anybody could do the new dungeons with their eyes closed.
We also can't forget how overly dull the new raids are when compared to past. I'd like to see Blizzard make a raid that could top Karazhan.

They did, it was called Ulduar ;)

Okay, I played in vanilla but never started raiding until BC, so i don't know exactly what the raiding was like in vanilla. When I raided in BC is what quite casual, I did kara, eye, gruul, and i little bit of BT as we neared the end. Overall it was a good experience. WOTLK was good near the beginning, but ultimately fell downhill. This was because of two things I feel. One of the things being as Jeff had said the fact that there was not enough variety in the specs. For example my friend just asked me this week (as he had quit WOW during school) if destruction was out and demonology was back in. This to me was a casual question, but now as I think about it, it is quite sad. What is the point of having a whole tree of talents to pick from when there is only one "right" way to do so? This I feel limits the game.

I don't know the answer to this problem, but I do know that this same thing happens in every game.

- A fanatic ultimately finds how to perfect a certain classes dps, healing output, tanking efficiency,etc
- He shares it with the rest of the community and it becomes the "correct spec".
- Everyone copies this so called correct spec.
- From then on any other spec is wrong or stupid.

This same thing happens with any strategy game you can think of. For example, I play Dawn of War 2, and Warhammer 40k as well. Each of these games is a strategy game and each spec/race/class has been mastered. If you try to somehow stray from the "plan" and develop your own strategy everybody freaks out. You the person trying to perfect the game in your way instead of following the path set before you become the noob.

This I believe has to be changed.

The other thing that WOW has to change is this badge bull-shit. I played in BC and it was fine then. The gear purchasable by badges was better then heroic gear but not as good as raid gear so it was a fine median (near the ending with sunwell it got worse, I know). Then Blizzard decided in WOTLK that they wanted to offer more to the casual players and allow them to purchase normal raid equivalent gear from badges. Being a casual player myself I knew it was a farce because they weren't offering more to casual players they were offering more to noobs which was a large percentage of the WOW population during the beginning of WOTLK. The fact is that even normal raids are much more challenging to do than mindlessly running heroics so why reward them all the same? This path I feel has to be strayed from as well. I am in no way saying that they should take away badges completely because I feel the system is good, just flawed. Heroics and Raids aren't on the same caliber so they shouldn't be treated as such, even when new harder content is released keep the heroic badges the same don't switch them to accommodate casual players because than all you are doing is wasting the previous content you had released.

I quit WOW around 8 months ago (for other reasons) and decided recently that I would go on my friends account and check up on the progress. When I left they had just released ToC 25 so, people were still running naxx a bit, and ulduar as well. When I returned however those raids were no longer used and what was good content when I left just sat there to collect dust (or be ran for free weekly badges). In the end the mindless heroics had stayed alive while the raids had been left to rot.

To conclude my -quite lengthy and riddled with grammatical errors- comment this is just my take on the situation. It probably isn't the right one and it definitely isn't the only one, but it's the one I got and I am sticking to it.

I have mixed feelings about all this. I suppose this is my careful treading towards the unknown, but I choose to remain guarded because I have seen cases where simplifying the mechanics can go wrong.

I sincerely hope it doesn't happen in this case but there were cases in games... Okay lets go with the one on top of my head, Black and White and Black and White 2. The mechanics being unseen and a mystery for the player to discover kept alot of people playing with wonder through black and white 1 over and over just to get an inkling of what was making all the happenings in the world do what they did. Where in Black and white 2 lay it all out for your prying eyes to see at the click of the button and I saw alot of people become disinterested with it so fast you could have blinked.

The point is I really hope blizzard remember to keep somethings a mystery to the player in terms of stats and this simplifying of the mechanics still allows us who enjoy tweaking our players to perfection to something big and chunky to get our teeth into still.

That said I did like the profession synergy that tailoring/blacksmithing/leatherworking would have in the future with gear stat alteration. True, stuff is being simplified but I hope in that void, a whole new dimension of complexity is stuffed in for us to get our grubby little Cheetos-powder laced fingers on

Im hoping that bliz simplification of stats works such as the removal of armor pen which as a pally is a god send since they seem to put it on everything.

As for increasing the variability of play style through the use of the talent tree I really hope they go all out so i cant even recognize the trees any more.

I also hope that they make many talents with cross purposes for hybrids so we all dont just put all our points into our dmg tree, thus negating the variability of hybrids such as rets all having all points in ret.

Davrel:
I couldn't really disagree more.

The game is simple enough as it is; sure some of the maths is complicated, but I enjoy the nuances of getting a perfectly balanced talent tree and tweaking my character to perfection. Having loads of talents to choose from is great, they all subtly impact the way your character plays and allow you to develop some form of personal playing style.

The argument that all the information is there on the internet is rubbish too, because that is the same for every game - they all have walkthroughs - whether you chose to look them up or not is your own business. Don't go changing the game because of the information released about its mechanics...

Further simplification would just reduce the already limited variation between players and produce some homogeneous, boring pool of 10-talent point players who all did exactly the same thing.

The group synergy idea already occurs - though not to such an extent as it used to, and this does need to be changed. Nowadays, every buff in a raid (with a few very minor exceptions) gets applied to everyone, meaning that as long as there is at least one of each class in the raid, you all get buffed. This is, in my opinion, too simple and needs to return to the old system where raid structure and balance actually counted for something.

The game simply needs more content that isn't just a copy/paste of the same grindy repetitious dungeon running, badge hunting fiasco that is going on at the moment - though of course some of that will always remain.

Agreed (80 dk Tank) being a DK tank makes a lot of complex choices (blood of course) like should I get mark of blood or ditch it and get hysteria so we can down this boss in less time. I think it just becomes a little more satisfying when I think that my talent tree is perfect, although somethings he said WAS right. I don't even really know how much more damage you get when you get Armor Pen. so they could cut that and replace it with haste and I wouldn't miss it :I

"simplicity = more strategy" is the same as "ignorance is strength." Its doublespeak.

Simplicity just reduces options. Fewer options means less strategy. Less strategy means less gameplay. Less gameplay means wow is just a work simulator.

The problem with wow's stat systems isn't that some guy figured out the ideal combination for maximum dps. The problem with wow's stat systems is that some guy can figure out the ideal combination for maximum dps. The ideal "5%" hit rating for melee has been around since the game came out (it was called chance to hit, but whatever). The problem is the stat system in wow is imbalanced as hell. If 5% worth of one stat is godly, but more or less is a waste or pointless, the problem is your stat system.

But, in standard mainstream fashion, they opt to just cut away all the sharp corners so people won't hurt themselves.

John Funk:

Wiezzen:

John Funk:

Wiezzen:

John Funk:

Richard Allen:

Azmael Silverlance:
that was a wonderfull article....
the problem is that there simply too many pugs now...so everybody is goign about the MAX players they want in their groups in order to finish off a raid or a specific boss.
But i think Cataclysm will make the game alot more enjoyable...but we still need more end game content...simple but one that can survive for a long time....some emblem farming that would make everybody do instances for months....that will be nice...and put like 20+ dungeons from the begining!

Yes because there is nothing like farming easy mode raids because they won't turn on hard mode because we will blow through easy mode first night.... yea sounds like a great time to anyone who is good. Sorry, it's touchy subject to me since I have been in the game since day one and they have done nothing but dumb it down and prevent me from doing hard content.

Cry me a river :P That's a problem with your guild, not the game.

I've played since a month after release, I did hardcore raiding back in the days of BWL and AQ40 and I couldn't be happier with the direction the game is going. I like being able to progress and actually have a life outside of the game.

How are you happy with the direction it's taking? The game is so easy-mode now. You hardly have to do any work to get stuff as it's pretty much handed to you. People shouldn't be able to just jump ahead to endgame content by just running heroics. In my opinion, everyone should have to progress through raids like they did in Burning Crusade.

Until I get another opinion from playing the Cataclysm Beta, I'm saying that WoW is going downhill. I blame this on the merger with Activision and Jeff Kaplan leaving the WoW team.

The leveling content in Northrend was by far the most interesting in the game. The dungeon fights are imaginative, the art is beautiful, and I love the hard-mode approach. Everybody should be able to SEE all the content - devoting 80% of your resources to content 15% of the players see is phenomenally stupid game design - but still give the hardcore reason to have actual challenges.

The challenge is still THERE, it's just not the base line. And that's a much healthier and accessible philosophy.

Dungeon fights imaginative? They've been a complete boring re-hash of old fights. Not to mention anybody could do the new dungeons with their eyes closed.
We also can't forget how overly dull the new raids are when compared to past. I'd like to see Blizzard make a raid that could top Karazhan.

They did, it was called Ulduar ;)

Nothing will ever be as magical as Karazhan for me :(

I completely agree here, especially with the talent trees. As it is, there's always one tree that's declared good for PvE and one that's declared good for PvP. Imagine my surprise when as a frost mage I discovered that fire (no, arcane, no fire, no arcane again) were the "best" for raids. But I loved my frost spec and didn't want to switch to fire. So what was I forced to do instead? Look up premade frost specs that were specifically geared for giving me the best output in raids. So because of all of these silly little mathematical processes that Blizz built into the game for stats and talents and all that good stuff, I had to use a spec that I did not want in order to be considered good at the game. That's bullshit! I'm the one playing the game and I should play it however I like, not however the people doing a 5-man with me like.

I really hope that's the kind of thing Blizz can sort out with the talent trees. Maybe if they make them all varied and unique instead of "plus to damage" and "plus to crit" I can actually play the game the way I want and still be considered a useful part of the team.

Okay now everyone be quiet because I, That One Guy That Doesn't Play WoW, will talk now.

This was a great article. It reminds me of that one Final Fantasy game in which, due to a bug, the Magic Defense stat did nothing, since what it should do was wrongly tied to the regular Defense stat. I think it took players a few years to figure it out, it may or may not have been when they looked at the source code.

On one way, it has to do with the 'social contract' of gaming that other article was talking about. We expect Attack to mean that you hit harder and Defense to mean that you're not hit as hard. If it means something else, what's the point? Luck is troublesome because there's nothing that leaps to a player's mind when he thinks of it, since each game has its own spin on it.

This also reminds me of Bartle's discrimination of the four player archetypes - Explorer/Spades, who tries to find new stuff to do, Achiever/Diamonds, who tries to be the best, Killer/Clubs, who enjoys conflict with other players the most, and Socialer/Hearts, who enjoy story, roleplay and companionship. It makes me think that there might be 'super' versions of these archetypes. Every test of this kind I took pegs me as an Explorer, and it fits the way I play, but if I can't solve a puzzle I'll look up the solution. However, a Super-Explorer is the guy who reverse-engineers the game to figure out what makes it tick, and the Super-Achiever will need to look at the Super-Explorer's data to figure out how to be the absolute best. The problem with WoW, as inferred from this article, is that the data is so impenetrable only the Super-Explorers can unveil it, and since all the Achievers are fighting against each other to be the best, they all need to have the same data to be the best and can't (well, won't) figure it out on their own.

Compare it with Magic: The Gathering, where the rules for each card are literally written on it, allowing rogue decks to make a sweep in tournaments. From this article I doubt a 'rogue setup' could be suddenly found in WoW to make a certain boss raid much easier.

Okay, not sure where I'm going with that. You can continue to argue now, children.

I'm sure this won't matter, but Blizzard has lost its way. I'm not sure where this talk of "accessibility" comes from, because if you don't have raid gear, you're not going anywhere. And where does one get this raid gear? In raids, of course. I love that Catch-22. Accessible indeed.

It appears this may be a last hurrah for this game. At least it is in my mind. I still think that this game is set up like a 900 number, waste as much of the player's time as possible through traveling or leveling so that their monthly income is safe. Whatever happened to actually WANTING to play the game because it's GOOD? Apparently this is a foreign concept to Blizzard, and all other games that hope to dethrone WoW. Can't destroy something with a badly made copy; only with something made better, stronger, smarter.

I laugh at all these estimates of billions of dollars to make the WoW killer. I propose a different idea; a GOOD MMO game, of which none exists. All MMOs exist for the benefit of their developers, making 15 bucks a month grinding at a grindstone til it's a nub, or people leave.

I do love what he said about talent points, pretty obvious he has never played more than lvl 15 in wow in his entire life, if he has, he's a lvl 80 facerolled char with little or no knowledge of how a proper class build is: there are all out full 1 spec build, hybrid builds like the infamous tbc pala shockadin and it will just get harder to decide in what to invest your talent points which is the idea. Your build, if u copy urs from someone else, congratz but u're a undefined rock lacking any brain power to deduce what u would need to survive/dish out dmg.

Hopeless Bastard:
"simplicity = more strategy" is the same as "ignorance is strength." Its doublespeak.

Simplicity just reduces options. Fewer options means less strategy. Less strategy means less gameplay. Less gameplay means wow is just a work simulator.

Yes, because chess is clearly for people less intelligent than WoW players.

I'm pretty sure there's an ideal amount of complexity. It's just slightly more than an intelligent person can easily understand. Video games generally have billions of times that much complexity. That means instead of actually thinking and trying things out and getting a feel for how things work, you simply stumble around blindly until something kinda works without having any idea why or how, or you get a computer to figure the answer out for you. There is absolutely zero strategy involved in that.

Frankly, I think Blizzard is trying to take WoW away from the people in this thread and give it back to people that speak English. And I applaud them for it.

Your article raises a pretty valid argument. While I really admire those who will sit down and hash out the numbers to these kinds of games, it really has the sole effect of turning me away from a game, if I have to sit down and overly work out what kind of damage I'm doing. I'm NOT good at maths (my Achilles' heel) so the prospect of working out damage multipliers and reduction factors is about the worst game I could possibly imagine (unless there is a game that combines algebra and calculus with bugs, or something.)

I couldn't get into games that had a focus more on group synergies, either. Your article actually made me realize what it is in 4e D&D that I didn't like -- it reminds me too much of WoW and raiding, which I perhaps have an irrational dislike of.

Either way, if a developer changes anything about a game, there are always going to be those who hate it. Can never make everyone happy. It might balance out the game, simplify it for those who play it on a less-hardcore basis, but there will always be those who it might disadvantage, and they'll whinge about it until the reckoning.

For me, a game cannot be ''fun'' if they are not any chalenge and you can win by rolling your face on your keyboard. When wrath of the lich king released Ive quited. There wasnt any chalenge anymore, there was almost no way to distinguish yourself from the others since everyone could run the same content but at noob level. Too many points as well, you could basicaly have one complete talent tree and half of another one... eeeesh.

Lets all be the same! Yay!

Not for me, waiting for the next decent MMO.

The problem with hardcore raiders is-usually- there comes a feeling of achievement, which eventually morphs into a slightly arrogant nature. So whenever they see the game being made more accessable, they nerd-rage not because it is 'easier', but because their "Big Boys" club has been infiltrated by people who put in only a fraction of the effort.

What I don't understand is why people wish to make a hard encounter remain hard and not be tweaked slightly to make it a bit easier for others to get through so they can see the rest of the content. If it is made a bit easier then people should be grateful, because its not just for the "n00bs", its for you as well.

I am a casual player who has little time for raiding, so I am very chuffed with the changes Cataclysm will bring.

Edit: Nevermind...

John Funk:

Wiezzen:

John Funk:

Richard Allen:

Azmael Silverlance:
that was a wonderfull article....
the problem is that there simply too many pugs now...so everybody is goign about the MAX players they want in their groups in order to finish off a raid or a specific boss.
But i think Cataclysm will make the game alot more enjoyable...but we still need more end game content...simple but one that can survive for a long time....some emblem farming that would make everybody do instances for months....that will be nice...and put like 20+ dungeons from the begining!

Yes because there is nothing like farming easy mode raids because they won't turn on hard mode because we will blow through easy mode first night.... yea sounds like a great time to anyone who is good. Sorry, it's touchy subject to me since I have been in the game since day one and they have done nothing but dumb it down and prevent me from doing hard content.

Cry me a river :P That's a problem with your guild, not the game.

I've played since a month after release, I did hardcore raiding back in the days of BWL and AQ40 and I couldn't be happier with the direction the game is going. I like being able to progress and actually have a life outside of the game.

How are you happy with the direction it's taking? The game is so easy-mode now. You hardly have to do any work to get stuff as it's pretty much handed to you. People shouldn't be able to just jump ahead to endgame content by just running heroics. In my opinion, everyone should have to progress through raids like they did in Burning Crusade.

Until I get another opinion from playing the Cataclysm Beta, I'm saying that WoW is going downhill. I blame this on the merger with Activision and Jeff Kaplan leaving the WoW team.

The leveling content in Northrend was by far the most interesting in the game. The dungeon fights are imaginative, the art is beautiful, and I love the hard-mode approach. Everybody should be able to SEE all the content - devoting 80% of your resources to content 15% of the players see is phenomenally stupid game design - but still give the hardcore reason to have actual challenges.

The challenge is still THERE, it's just not the base line. And that's a much healthier and accessible philosophy.

Aaaaaand what has this philosophy given us in every other game? Achievements. Personally, I hate achievements.

Truthfully though John, how many people didn't get the opportunity to view TBC content? (Apart from the obvious Sunwell) There were plenty of pugs doing by the end of TBC that were doing, and clearing, Illidan. Although they may not have gotten to see the content at the same time as some others, they DID get to still see it.

But, seriously though, how many people that were doing weekly Kara runs in TBC, when the BT/Hyjal requirement was taken off, actually went into, and got to see stuff from SSC/TK? How many people still never attempted Vashj or Kael'thas? Is this bad? No. It just meant people truthfully weren't that interested in seeing it. The mass majority wanted to have their shiney purples.

To loop back to my first point though, why do I hate achievements? For the same reason I feel most of the "old-school" or "old-view" raiders have these same arguements: Because they don't actually mean anything. There is no benefit to getting an achievement. I could make up my own achievement for clearing something with everyone missing 5 pieces of armor. But it still means nothing, apart from having done it.

The biggest point I have is though, that getting gear really means nothing at the moment. The people benefitting from badge rewards aren't those who don't have time to play constantly. They're really still missing out, because they still don't have time to raid above anything they can pug successfully. It just means that anyone who has no clue what the hell their doing apart from thinking they're a tank wearing +healing gear while thinking that their taunt key is a crucial part of their damage rotation, can gear up to basically the same level as yourself the next time a patch is released JUST BECAUSE they have the time to grind out a load of instances.
This grind sort of works for PvP sets because you need the gear to be competitive, as you're thrown in with top level geared players. But for PvE settings, you don't NEED the top level gear to attempt whatever level instance/raid you should be up to, for your current gear level.

As Richard Allen said in his earlier post, there is basically no difference between top and bottom anymore. There is no feeling of achievement because you have progressed more than anyone around you. There is no "learning" your class, or even any class that allows for someone who is "skilled" at their class to show it's potential.

ZephrC:

Hopeless Bastard:
"simplicity = more strategy" is the same as "ignorance is strength." Its doublespeak.

Simplicity just reduces options. Fewer options means less strategy. Less strategy means less gameplay. Less gameplay means wow is just a work simulator.

Yes, because chess is clearly for people less intelligent than WoW players.

I'm pretty sure there's an ideal amount of complexity. It's just slightly more than an intelligent person can easily understand. Video games generally have billions of times that much complexity. That means instead of actually thinking and trying things out and getting a feel for how things work, you simply stumble around blindly until something kinda works without having any idea why or how, or you get a computer to figure the answer out for you. There is absolutely zero strategy involved in that.

Frankly, I think Blizzard is trying to take WoW away from the people in this thread and give it back to people that speak English. And I applaud them for it.

A: I'd love to know the games you're playing with "billions of times the complexity an intelligent person can easily understand." If you're doing the stupid thing, and trying to argue every single line of code equals more complexity, sure. But in reality, where I live, the code of a game is equal to the individual atoms that make up the board and each piece of a chess set. They are what allows the game to exist but have little affect on how the game is played.

B: Chess has sixteen pieces spread across six piece types that at the highest levels need to function in perfect tandem to achieve anything other than crushing defeat. This is good balance.

If you boil everything down to what it actually affects, then wow has fifteen total "stats." To each individual class, only five really matter. Three of which will be at sufficient levels simply as a side-effect of wearing the best gear. This is terrible balance.

The problem isn't that there are too many stats, the problem is powercreep hasn't been balanced properly, rendering 2/3rds of wow's stats irrelevant to each individual class. Instead of taking the proper approach to fixing their game, they're simply cutting away all the sharp corners to make the game more accessible.

[random last line, that I think is really, really profound, but just makes me look like a retard]

Hopeless Bastard:

ZephrC:

Hopeless Bastard:
"simplicity = more strategy" is the same as "ignorance is strength." Its doublespeak.

Simplicity just reduces options. Fewer options means less strategy. Less strategy means less gameplay. Less gameplay means wow is just a work simulator.

Yes, because chess is clearly for people less intelligent than WoW players.

I'm pretty sure there's an ideal amount of complexity. It's just slightly more than an intelligent person can easily understand. Video games generally have billions of times that much complexity. That means instead of actually thinking and trying things out and getting a feel for how things work, you simply stumble around blindly until something kinda works without having any idea why or how, or you get a computer to figure the answer out for you. There is absolutely zero strategy involved in that.

Frankly, I think Blizzard is trying to take WoW away from the people in this thread and give it back to people that speak English. And I applaud them for it.

A: I'd love to know the games you're playing with "billions of times the complexity an intelligent person can easily understand." If you're doing the stupid thing, and trying to argue every single line of code equals more complexity, sure. But in reality, where I live, the code of a game is equal to the individual atoms that make up the board and each piece of a chess set. They are what allows the game to exist but have little affect on how the game is played.

B: Chess has sixteen pieces spread across six piece types that at the highest levels need to function in perfect tandem to achieve anything other than crushing defeat. This is good balance.

If you boil everything down to what it actually affects, then wow has fifteen total "stats." To each individual class, only five really matter. Three of which will be at sufficient levels simply as a side-effect of wearing the best gear. This is terrible balance.

The problem isn't that there are too many stats, the problem is powercreep hasn't been balanced properly, rendering 2/3rds of wow's stats irrelevant to each individual class. Instead of taking the proper approach to fixing their game, they're simply cutting away all the sharp corners to make the game more accessible.

[random last line, that I think is really, really profound, but just makes me look like a retard]

Go only has one piece, the stones all do the exact same thing. There are black stones and white stones. Either you are the black stones of the white ones. Pretty simple rules too, you pretty much just place them on a grid one at a time. Its still a hugely challenging game and its been around for over 2000 years. One could argue that Go requires more strategy than chess even though chess pieces can do many different things.

Your argument of more complex=more strategy is invalid.

Dark Templar:
Go only has one piece, the stones all do the exact same thing. There are black stones and white stones. Either you are the black stones of the white ones. Pretty simple rules too, you pretty much just place them on a grid one at a time. Its still a hugely challenging game and its been around for over 2000 years. One could argue that Go requires more strategy than chess even though chess pieces can do many different things.

Your argument of more complex=more strategy is invalid.

If Go had the same amount of board space as chess (19x19 vs 8x8), you would have a valid invalidation of the "complexity=more strategy" argument. But since a go board has 5.640625 times the playable area of a chess board, one can argue they're equally complex. Mathematically, at least.

Hopeless Bastard:

Dark Templar:
Go only has one piece, the stones all do the exact same thing. There are black stones and white stones. Either you are the black stones of the white ones. Pretty simple rules too, you pretty much just place them on a grid one at a time. Its still a hugely challenging game and its been around for over 2000 years. One could argue that Go requires more strategy than chess even though chess pieces can do many different things.

Your argument of more complex=more strategy is invalid.

If Go had the same amount of board space as chess (19x19 vs 8x8), you would have a valid invalidation of the "complexity=more strategy" argument. But since a go board has 5.640625 times the playable area of a chess board, one can argue they're equally complex. Mathematically, at least.

Hmmm.........your right in the mathematic sense. But when you play chess you have dozens of different options to move different pieces in different ways. In go you just put one stone down. The result is that go is just as complex but its very much more simple in the mechanics. That was my point.

You can simplify the game, but that won't stop the dependence on theorycrafting whatsoever. People go to sites like elitist jerks not only because the have no reasonable idea how to play their class, but because they are too lazy to make any attempt to do so. So all that would happen is that the articles about what specs to take will change to articles about what spec to take when X class is in your party (which has already been done if you ever played a raid stacking rogues with HaT). People won't ever think for themselves, they will still just copy the few players who actually work out the most efficient method of playing. The strategies will change, but most people won't notice because they will be too busy waiting for someone else to figure it out for them.

Dark Templar:
Hmmm.........your right in the mathematic sense. But when you play chess you have dozens of different options to move different pieces in different ways. In go you just put one stone down. The result is that go is just as complex but its very much more simple in the mechanics. That was my point.

There are fewer mechanics (two, to be precise), one of which (the board) is mathematically more complex than all the combined mechanics of of chess/wow. Chess has 10 possible opening moves (fewer good ones). Go has 361 (ditto). By the end of a game of go between two professionals, there are still more possible moves/placements/whatever than there are in most checkmates. Even if the moves would only prolong what should be clear to both players.

But, yea, cutting away mechanics rather than making any sort of attempt to balance them will only end the viability of sites like elitest jerks. Which will simply alienate whats left of the highest end players, and their absence will likely be felt all the way down the line. As people aren't going to suddenly start thinking for themselves.

Hopeless Bastard:

ZephrC:

Hopeless Bastard:
"simplicity = more strategy" is the same as "ignorance is strength." Its doublespeak.

Simplicity just reduces options. Fewer options means less strategy. Less strategy means less gameplay. Less gameplay means wow is just a work simulator.

Yes, because chess is clearly for people less intelligent than WoW players.

I'm pretty sure there's an ideal amount of complexity. It's just slightly more than an intelligent person can easily understand. Video games generally have billions of times that much complexity. That means instead of actually thinking and trying things out and getting a feel for how things work, you simply stumble around blindly until something kinda works without having any idea why or how, or you get a computer to figure the answer out for you. There is absolutely zero strategy involved in that.

Frankly, I think Blizzard is trying to take WoW away from the people in this thread and give it back to people that speak English. And I applaud them for it.

A: I'd love to know the games you're playing with "billions of times the complexity an intelligent person can easily understand." If you're doing the stupid thing, and trying to argue every single line of code equals more complexity, sure. But in reality, where I live, the code of a game is equal to the individual atoms that make up the board and each piece of a chess set. They are what allows the game to exist but have little affect on how the game is played.

B: Chess has sixteen pieces spread across six piece types that at the highest levels need to function in perfect tandem to achieve anything other than crushing defeat. This is good balance.

If you boil everything down to what it actually affects, then wow has fifteen total "stats." To each individual class, only five really matter. Three of which will be at sufficient levels simply as a side-effect of wearing the best gear. This is terrible balance.

The problem isn't that there are too many stats, the problem is powercreep hasn't been balanced properly, rendering 2/3rds of wow's stats irrelevant to each individual class. Instead of taking the proper approach to fixing their game, they're simply cutting away all the sharp corners to make the game more accessible.

[random last line, that I think is really, really profound, but just makes me look like a retard]

Hey, that last line is exactly what it claims to be! :P

Anyway, you just claimed that every single character in WoW has ten useless stats and five useful ones. Even if I bought your idea of complexity=strategy you still lose nothing from them changing it so everyone just has five useful stats. Do you honestly think the game would be more fun if you had fifteen stats and every one of them was useful? How many different things can a stat even do in WoW? How would new people ever figure out which of those stats were better? The best strategic games are the ones where new players can figure out the basic idea and play. They can make their strategies themselves, instead of having to get them from other players that got them from a computer.

People have overly high expectations for the gear simplification in Cataclysm. At present, unless some other major change is announced, each player will have maybe one fewer stat to balance on gear than they do in WotLK, and in several cases they will have the same number of stats to balance.

There are some good things, of course. The removal of armor penetration is wonderful. (If you're a non-WoW player and still reading this, armor penetration is a stat so complicated that the math nerds mentioned several times in this article/thread thought it was bugged until one of the developers came in and posted in excruciating detail how it worked.) Making the "white" stats (stamina/strength/agility/intellect/spirit) actually useful to people besides healers and tanks is a good change, but it doesn't reduce the complexity of the game all that much.

And then they announced the mastery stat, which does something different for every spec of every class and will inevitably cause a giant headache for everyone, much like armor penetration currently does for physical DPS.

The continual simplification of the raiding game is another matter entirely, but I won't wade into that flamewar.

ZephrC:
Anyway, you just claimed that every single character in WoW has ten useless stats and five useful ones. Even if I bought your idea of complexity=strategy you still lose nothing from them changing it so everyone just has five useful stats. Do you honestly think the game would be more fun if you had fifteen stats and every one of them was useful? How many different things can a stat even do in WoW? How would new people ever figure out which of those stats were better? The best strategic games are the ones where new players can figure out the basic idea and play. They can make their strategies themselves, instead of having to get them from other players that got them from a computer.

People aren't going to start suddenly thinking for themselves. The people currently hanging on EJ's every word, are simply going to continue hanging on EJ's every word. If the dumbing down of the game alienates people who actually liked putting a modicum of thought into the game, those currently hanging on EJ's every word are going to find someone else to tell them how to play. These people aren't going to stop being thick if blizzard applies spell haste to agility or armor penetration to intelligence. They aren't going to start thinking for themselves if theres less to think about. They're just going to continue demanding someone think for them.

But... yea, how does complexity not equal strategic thinking? If, during the years in which chess was still in a state of change, someone came to the conclusion that "pawns are weak, lets remove them," would that have made chess more strategic? I played chess with some black kid in 7th grade, and he was taught you could move into check. Meaning the next move ends the game. Does that make chess more strategic?

incoherent:
Making the "white" stats (stamina/strength/agility/intellect/spirit) actually useful to people besides healers and tanks is a good change, but it doesn't reduce the complexity of the game all that much.

And then they announced the mastery stat, which does something different for every spec of every class and will inevitably cause a giant headache for everyone, much like armor penetration currently does for physical DPS.

In the beginning, we actually started moving away from the white stats because they were clearly weighted heavier than "ap" or "mana/5" because of all the non-damage "benefits" they gave.

Moving everything to the white stats does reduce complexity simply because its further homogenization of the game itself. Back and launch, casters went for int and stamina... and nothing else. But a few enterprising casters started stacking "spell power" when it was a white stat only on green items. It was an actual decision. "I'm going to sacrifice mana/health for this strange and unknown stat that claims to increase spell damage." People thought we were fucking daft... until the first dps meters started popping up. Then they started adding it to all caster gear and we rolled our eyes.

Then you had damned near every warlock in the game, when they first learned curse of elements thinking "wtf fire sux an i hab no frost spells??" or "maybe this will make fire more usefull..." then going out, cursing something, casting a single spell, seeing no difference or "resisted" and forgetting the spell existed. Then when curse of shadow comes along, they forget about it instantly. Not knowing the spell gave this small chance per point of negative resistance to add 25%/50%/75%/100% damage. Then it gets nerfed to shit to be more "clear."

Rambling... they've been steadily stripping away mechanics and features since launch because, for some reason, in a fucking mmo, no one wanted to take the time to figure anything out... people who will rack up 250 days played in a year... This (and many other tidbits) lead me to the conclusion that some people suffer physical pain from the act of thinking.

Hopeless Bastard:
People aren't going to start suddenly thinking for themselves. The people currently hanging on EJ's every word, are simply going to continue hanging on EJ's every word. If the dumbing down of the game alienates people who actually liked putting a modicum of thought into the game, those currently hanging on EJ's every word are going to find someone else to tell them how to play. These people aren't going to stop being thick if blizzard applies spell haste to agility or armor penetration to intelligence. They aren't going to start thinking for themselves if theres less to think about. They're just going to continue demanding someone think for them.

But... yea, how does complexity not equal strategic thinking? If, during the years in which chess was still in a state of change, someone came to the conclusion that "pawns are weak, lets remove them," would that have made chess more strategic? I played chess with some black kid in 7th grade, and he was taught you could move into check. Meaning the next move ends the game. Does that make chess more strategic?

If somebody decided to make a version of chess where every pawn had a different way of moving and there were twice as many pieces and the whole thing happened on a 16x16 grid would that make it more strategic? I would say no. No human mind is capable of processing that level of complexity, so the game would simply be more random from a human point of view, and no human would ever be able to compete with a computer. But that's how video games try to implement strategy.

ZephrC:
If somebody decided to make a version of chess where every pawn had a different way of moving and there were twice as many pieces and the whole thing happened on a 16x16 grid would that make it more strategic? I would say no. No human mind is capable of processing that level of complexity, so the game would simply be more random from a human point of view, and no human would ever be able to compete with a computer. But that's how video games try to implement strategy.

Then once again, I'd fucking love to know what games you're playing. The most complex game I've managed to find in the last five years is tropico 3... and even thats simpler than sim city.

As for my my point, I'm one of those guys who'd actually try to think about wow. Eventually, I got to the point where I found the game was extremely simple and boring. Wow isn't currently or has ever been in a state of overcomplexity. Its always been in a state of imbalance. What they should be doing is making more options viable, rather than cutting away options people felt were useless. There should be no shitty talents, taken simply to move up the tree. There should be no "required quantity" of a stat, where more or less is nearly completely useless.

The people on EJ about aren't inhuman adding machines, they're just people who, for some strange reason, don't find the act of thought extremely painful.

And, yes, that would make chess more strategic... if it were balanced correctly.

I'm all for simplifying the stat system. It was crazy-bogged down and complicated. As a BM hunter, I wanted to stack Attack Power because my pet benefited from straight AP rather than my agility. If I wanted to try Survival, it practically required a whole new set of gear, gems and enchants.

I'm excited about talent tree changes too. I love the idea of bring the class, not the spec. I get tired of being pigeon-holed into one specific spec. I miss playing as BM. I would love to see it get buffed to the point of being competitive again.

I enjoyed the article very much, especially the nod at D&D 4th edition. It's a refreshing change of pace to hear somebody besides me or my best friend say that it's a well made game.

Personally, complex group synergy would be a massive selling point for me in any game. I know that in most JRPGs party synergy is a main component of the gameplay, but I hate everything else in JRPGs with a passion. I mean, I told anyone who would listen that FF sucked before I even owned a computer. But that's neither here nor there.

Bottom Line: If it makes the MMO's in general about more than Tank/Healer/DPS, I'll be glad.

Jeff Groves:
The one variable that a strategy guide can't predict is your personal group composition. With 10 classes, each of whom can choose between 3 talent specializations, there are more potential combinations for a 10-man raid than there are current WoW subscribers. What if your talent spec not only affected yourself, but everyone in the raid as well?

This was a great, insightful article until you brought this up as a "solution". You must realize that if raid makeup and how certain specs' abilities affect the raid were a pivotal core mechanic EJ would eventually figure out which precise grouping of classes would contribute the most DPS, the most HPS, the most survivability, etc., just like any other variable. (In fact, this already happens - "You need a (spec) (class) to take down (boss)" - and it's a travesty.)

In this, like in everything else, simplicity is the key to allowing players to have the most freedom. E.g., for a 10-man, you need two tanks, three healers, and five DPS - the rest is up to you.

Does this lead to the overwhelming ultra-simplification we've been seeing in World of Homogenizationcraft since mid-TBC? For better or for worse, yeah. But the devs have to choose simplicity OR complexity - trying to straddle the gap between them just leads to disaster.

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