This morning I have stalled in sitting down to write my post, because I have a bit of a dilemma. I try really hard to keep my blog overwhelmingly positive, with try being the opportune word there. Over the last several years I have tried to limit the amount of negativity that I allow into my life. That said every so often I encounter something that really pisses me off for a whole bunch of reasons. Yesterday I encountered one of those things, and this morning I have been struggling with trying to find anything else that I would rather talk about in my morning blog post. For the most part Legion has been an undiscovered territory for me, every now and then I see the echoes of drama happening in the World of Warcraft community but I have not dug further. However yesterday some friends of mine were talking about the ramifications of the crafting system changes, and in a conversation I was not even directly participating in… they linked the above video. Over twitter there have been like I said echoes of frustration about the changes, but not a whole bunch of details. Now I guess in a way I can see the frustrations, namely centering around a new high demand resource called Blood of Sargeras that is going to be bind on pickup. This feels short sighted honestly, but this isn’t really something that pissed me off. Instead what frustrated me was the tone of the video and some of the phrasing of the answers.
One of the things I have mentioned before is a general feeling of condescension towards players that I receive when some Warcraft devs talk to the public. Alex Afrasiabi has been really bad about this especially during Blizzcon, and apparently Paul Kubit has learned to represent the product from this same school of thought. There are several moments during this video where the statement that is delivered feels like the equivalent of “Don’t you worry your pretty little head about that”. This came across big time in a discussion from this video that I am going to paraphrase about dual crafters being at a disadvantage in gaining Blood of Sargeras. Which essentially gets answered as “we don’t feel crafters are disadvantaged” then a few moments later “we gave gatherers an advantage”. If you give one class of player an advantage that a different class of player cannot get… that is pretty much the textbook definition of a disadvantage. Other questions were not even really answered and just “Noped” out of existence, and the truth being I thought the collected questions that Josh Allen was reading off were pretty good ones. The worst of these being the lack of any reason that might possibly matter about why they didn’t just make Blood of Sargeras bind on account, stating that they don’t want players to feel like they have to have an army of alts. Which feels counter intuitive to how their game actually feels to play, given that after a point… if you want to stay invested you are going to ultimately roll up an army of alts.
There is a certain amount of paternalism that seems to be happening with the game design in World of Warcraft, that has honestly kept happening since around the launch of Cataclysm. There is this general feeling I keep getting that “father knows best” and that we really shouldn’t want these things. While the game keeps changing, I don’t really see any incarnation really being better than the last… just that it is different and attempting to patch the holes in the previous design without fully understanding it. It does not feel like we are building towards anything anymore, given that when a new system is introduced we know deep down inside that come next expansion the devs will be backing away from it as quickly as possible. So things like the Artifact weapons are awesome… but so was the Garrison when it was first introduced, or the Half Hill Farm… or countless other things that were ushered it to create a new era of greatness in Warcraft only to be demolished two years later when the next “greatest thing” is released. The myopic vision of the game hurts it, and makes it feel like nothing that came before the beginning of this expansion actually mattered. That was not the way thing felt up through Wrath of the Lich King. Back then it felt like we were building towards something, that we were unlocking new and interesting ideas with each content patch. Now the entire experience feels shallow and lacking any meaningful depth that extends past the current patch cycle.
When all of this is the case or at least feels like it… the last thing you want to be told repeatedly by Blizzard staff is that you shouldn’t want more. I realize that it is impossible to appease all of the fans, but to present folks that seem to have an adversarial tone about their obvious darlings… is not really a great option either. I could do a super-cut of condescending answers to heart felt questions from the fans, knit together from videos like this one and countless Blizzcon panels. All that would really do is to serve to make me even more sad. Ultimately that is the problem I am having is that I want to get excited about Legion, but the more I hear about it the more I end up getting disappointed. It is a foregone conclusion that I will play it however. I always end up playing World of Warcraft expansions, but about a month and a half in the shiny seems to wear off and I remember the game I am playing. I would stop trying, save for the fact that I still have a lot of friends that I care about… that are really enjoying this game in ways that I seem to be unable to. This is precisely the sort of post I have tried to NOT make, but this morning… I just couldn’t stop it from coming out of my hands on the keyboard. I apologize now for all of the folks who are wrapped up the in thrall of Legion news. I don’t want to rain on your enjoyment, and more so I am honestly jealous that you feel that way. I wish I could bottle it and prescribe drinking whatever that is on a daily basis, because I would like to enjoy the game and play with my friends. However this video and its tone… just sort of broke something inside of me that caused this rant to spill forth. Tomorrow I will be positive and happy, and talking about the things that excite me once more… but today I had to get a bunch of stuff that had built up off my chest.