Friday, December 23, 2011

The Fun - Stop Killing It

I don't know if you've noticed this... but I'm not having fun hoping for Lumpy. Note the use of "hoping" instead of "hunting". Yes, that's pretty much what I and many other collectors have been reduced to when it comes this companion as well as the other holiday loot-bag dropped pets. Rather than working hard and being rewarded for our efforts, all that can be done is pray, hope, and agonize for those few weeks out of the year.

The determination? The persistence? The patience? And all those other awesome, POSITIVE qualities that MOST other pets bring out in a pet collector? They mean NOTHING when it comes to certain RNG based holiday pets. Instead it's all left up to chance.

In all fairness, some players may find this type of random system "fun" and "exciting", but many members of the pet collecting community do not. Can there be no compromise? Where is our small slice of the fun-pie?

Yes, it's time for that angry tree macro.

Originally one of the arguments FOR the RNG, limited-time, limited attempts, single-source, Bind on Pick Up holiday companions was rarity. 'Keep it rare!' Blizzard said. But as of late, I have to question this mentality. If rarity were a truly desired model, why bring back vintage pets and make them available now?

Cue the Clockwork Rocket Bot! This pet was originally a 100% drop from under the holiday tree in 2007. It soon became unobtainable, and therefore a VERY rare pet. Yet what are many collectors finding in their Stolen Presents this year? Yes, the original Clockwork Rocket Bot.

Is this a bad thing? In my opinion no, as it gives newer players a chance at this neat older and rare pet. For some, though, it's a tad annoying especially if the 'Keep it rare!' mentality is taken into consideration. Rare, you say? Then isn't making it available again counterproductive?

So go ahead and throw the "rarity" reason out the window, because if that were a true model Blizzard wanted to maintain, they really shouldn't be teasing us with older companions that we thought would never be available again. I'm not against the idea of things being rare, but please keep it consistent, Blizzard. Either maintain the rarity mentality or toss it out completely. This back and forth business is highly distressing!

Another possible reason FOR the RNG, limited-time, limited attempts, single-source, Bind on Pick Up holiday companions is time inflation. As EmberDione eloquently put it: "In MMOs, it is all about keeping the player playing and thus paying." I have to agree with her, though, that this mentality of RNG = more time invested often produces the opposite intended effect.

Humans are creatures that crave instant-gratification. We're constantly on the go and need/want things sooner rather than later. We've evolved from the "work hard and profit" mentality. I mean, there's a phone-app for just about EVERYTHING. Why? Because it's what people crave and desire to make their lives more convenient and efficient. Blizzard's very own creation knows what it's all about: "Time is money, friend!" To deviate from this mentality is to drive consumers away. Time is the new currency, and for many players if it's not now, it's never.

Isn't this why Blizzard has been opening up content for a wider audience? Can't find the time to farm Valor Points every day? That's fine because we'll now award you for your efforts all in one day if you please! Can't commit to a consistent raiding schedule but wish to see end content? No problem, we have a WHOLE NEW separate tier of content for you.

Blizzard has openly stated that they do not wish to force players into a pigeon hole and drive them to "have to" do anything. Yet this RNG, limited-time, limited attempts, single-source, Bind on Pick Up holiday companion that will supposedly increase player play time is forcing players to continue to subscribe or resubscribe during certain times of the year. All for the HOPE of obtaining a specific pet. Doesn't this, again, sound counterproductive? We don't want you to have to do this, but oh btw, our current system is set up so that you have to. Contradiction, much?

That being said, the majority of pet collectors are more than willing to spend every waking hour (if possible) hunting for that elusive vanity pet. Except... we CAN'T during specific in-game events due to seasonal constraints. This would be an entirely different situation if it were possible to obtain the pets during any time of the year, but this is not the case with these holiday pets. Imagine the frustration of going not one but two or even more years of trying and hoping and wishing but coming up empty handed. This is enough discouragement to drive away even hardcore collectors. So how is this increasing invested play time...?

And last but not least, another obvious reason that the RNG factor still persists for these limited-time, limited attempts, single-source, Bind on Pick Up holiday companions: SOME players find randomness fun. What about those who do not? Where is the compromise? Where is the balance? So only a portion of the collecting community will get to enjoy each seasonal event while the rest will just have to suck it up?

I do acknowledge and applaud Blizzard for taking steps to ease the stress on those that do not find the RNG factor appealing in the more recent holiday updates. Pets that were once highly sought after can now be bought, are BoE, or have additional sources for acquisition. But there are still those few that persist under the RNG umbrella, and it's those few that are raining on people's parade and causing the most heartache and anxiety. The nature of these pets is taking the fun out of the game, which is probably not helping WoW's ever-dropping subscription numbers.

There are many different solutions and compromises for these RNG, limited-time, limited attempts, single-source, Bind on Pick Up holiday companions. Some of which are:
- higher overall droprate
- increased droprate over time
- multiple source for acquisition
- sold from a vendor
And the latest one that I've thought of: end of holiday compensation.

Naturally, Blizzard doesn't want to just hand these pets out like candy, right? Ok, well many collectors will agree that we are willing to work for our pets. It's been made clear that Blizzard does have the code and tech to track dailies completed, as seen with the many achievements that require a certain number of dailies done in a row or just in general.

What if an internal tracking system was implemented that monitored a collector's progress throughout the holiday season. A player that completes say, for example, the You're a Mean One... daily quest a sufficient number of times will receive Lumpy either in the mail or from under the holiday tree at THE END of the in-game event IF they did not receive the pet through the reward from the daily. Those that DID receive Lumpy through the Stolen Present... well, they get Lumpy. That's pretty fair though, right? RNG played a factor, yet determination and effort also played a part. In this way, collectors maintain some sense of control over the situation but are still rolling the dice as Blizzard wants everyone to.

I concede that even under this system, some players will still not receive a pet due to time constraints and bad luck in general. But unless Blizzard is willing to make holiday pets 100% available to ALL players, there's just no way to please everyone in every way possible. However, I really do think a compromise needs to be made between those that do find RNG a fun mechanic and those that do not agree.

Whew. Well that was this year's long winded post, and I know some will not agree. But after reading so many disappointing comments and general dislike for this current holiday system, I felt the need to say something even if it falls on deaf ears.

In the end, even IF I manage to strike it rich and find my desired toon in posession of Lumpy, I will still not feel the "fun" and joy that was intended for this in-game event. Why? Collector's guilt to put it bluntly. How can I enjoy a companion when I know many others who are putting forth the SAME amount of time (and possibly even more) into finding this pet may not be as fortunate? The answer is that I cannot. The pet will simply serve as another reminder of how the fun was killed for many pet collectors. And unfortunately for some players, the fun can't be resurrected and another collector gives up the good hunt.



  1. You have completely and very eloquently summed up my feelings on this. I don't mind grinding, searching, working or those sort of things to get my pets, but to do a daily every day for the winter veil holiday and not get one and have to wait for another year is soul destroying.

    It happened with Ahune and the scorchling and it's happening again now. I hope that come the end of winter veil there is another way to get this pet (such as the molten front dailies for the scorched stone) because if not I am going to be one seriously upset customer.

  2. What if each time you killed the Greench you could loot a broken piece of coal from him and at the end of the holiday, if RNG hadn't favoured you, you could hand in the broken bits for a Lumpy.

    I much prefer currency pets to RNG. What usually happens to me is my husband gets the bop pet that he doesn't want/care about and I don't. Although I did get Lumpy on the first day on my Druid. So far not on my main pet collecting character though.

  3. I agree with you. As you mentioned, some rare pets came back like Searing Scorchling, maybe because Blizzard wanted more collectors to get it. So why making another RNG pet now ?
    I haven't found Lumpy for now, I'm crossing fingers every day and it's frustrating when you see players who do not collect walking with Lumpy by their side.

  4. I couldn't agree with you more. I wouldn't mind doing these dailies if I was sure that and the end of the event I'd have Lumpy.

    Only I would add one more option to the list of ways to make it better, make the pets BoE. Then people who end up with one but either don't collect pets or already have one, can give it to their friends wrapped up with a bow (or I suppose hawk it on the auction house).

    And if Blizzard was to supply some sort of end of event compensation, I'd suggest a token that could be traded for any of the major prizes so those who'd rather have the Clockwork Rocket Bot could get that instead and my husband could get the Christmas tree dagger he so badly wants.

  5. Have you noticed the corgi in the cave behind him? Hope they add that as a pet at some point.

  6. Long time lurker, very much agreeing. Lumpy is still eluding me, while my friend got it on its first try. I even started doing the quest on my alts, hoping on my luck there, but it just feel the same, getting it that way... Seriously Blizz, not cool!

  7. @Sephrenya: It's really disheartening to see Blizzard continue to use this RNG holiday system despite many players voicing their dislike for it. There just HAS to be a better design for holiday pets and vanity items. :(

    @Erinys & Heartfruit: Both great ideas for other ways to solve the RNG vs. other methods of obtaining the holiday pets! We would still have to log on and actually participate in the event, but it's not just a huge let down at the end of the holiday if we just can't get the numbers to roll in our favor. That should be an adequate compromise yea? Blizzard doesn't seem to think so as far as I can tell though. :(

    @Cleophis: It's a wonder what Blizzard's goal is these days. Keep things rare or make them more available? There seems to be some miscommunication between their development teams or something, because they keep going back and forth.

    @Anonymous: Yes! It's quite adorable even though I'm not a fan of its short, stumpy legs. Hopefully it will become a true vanity pet in the future. WoW needs more puppy pets. :)

    @Maru: It wouldn't be so bad receiving Lumpy on an alt if it were BoE or the new system of pets being Bind on Account (coming in MoP) were guaranteed and the details of that feature made available to us. Sigh, still.. nothing can compare to finding a pet on your main collecting toon. :(

  8. Well... I still understand that you and other collectors are upset, but I still say it's not something Blizzard "should" do. I agree on one point: pets should be BoA, that would make things a lot easier.

    But I don't see the difference from, say, tier. You still have a fixed amount of resets to get it, don't you? You can't run Dragon Soul multiple times per week in order to increase your chances to get that chest, and you can't run it on your alts and mail the loot to your main. The only difference is that, for the seasonal pets, you have 1-2 weeks of doing the event daily (let's say 7 days). In raiding, that would be 7 resets, aka 7 weeks... and you still wouldn't be guaranteed a drop. Should Blizzard just say "well if you've cleared DS x amount of times, here's your full tier set"? I don't think so... And, continuing that reasoning, if waiting for months on a tier piece is fine, why isn't it fair to wait 11 more months for a chance to get a pet? Some people raided ICC for more than a year without getting that piece of gear they really, really wanted.

    (And, to play devil's advocate further: making pets BoA would be unfair for the people without high level alts, wouldn't it?)

    In the end, yes, it's just RNG, just like pretty much anything in this game. Pet collectors and raiders alike will always hate it... but I don't think any group is affected deeper than another or that Blizzard should change the game in order to make people happier.

  9. @Jen

    7 weeks is no where close to a year.
    I have cleared most content since BC and I can safely say that I've had a full set of every tier since as far back as I can remember (heroic or otherwise). Further, you have always had the option to return to the content and grind out that last piece you're missing for the sake of vanity.

    Further, a vanity item is not gear, this is not a tier item that will impact game balance in any way shape or form.

    "(And, to play devil's advocate further: making pets BoA would be unfair for the people without high level alts, wouldn't it?)",

    Fairness in what sense? Is it fair that I have better gear than most people because I play the game more? I thought the point of game development was so that players would actually want to play this game more, in which case making the item BoA would actually be a proper incentive to level another character. Players could actually do something in order to increase their chances of achieving something they highly desired, however impracticable it may seem.

    Opinion: Giving the chance once per year for a vanity item to be achievable is down right cruel in my eyes. If this were actual loot or anything else more people cared about there would be a huge outrage in the general community.

    The brutality of this event stems from the randomness. Flipping a coin is not fun.

  10. @Jen: Blizzard implemented the token system for raid content for a reason, and I think one of those reasons was because of the RNG burden placed on raiders. But because of tokens, that stress is definitely lessened to a degree.

    Not to mention raiders are compensated with PVE currency that can be used to purchase other gear pieces. Even if they don't receive a tier token, a raider can earn points to spend on other epic items.

    For pet collectors, there's no such thing as a "pet currency" to make up for time and energy spent on hoping and trying for a specific RNG based, BoP, limited time, limited attempts companion.. and in other words, no compensation what so ever. There's just nothing. It's very black and white compared to getting raiding gear, which has more shades of grey and work-arounds.

    @Anonymous Dec 27: That's one of the major reasons that's holding Blizzard back from changing how these holiday companions are obtained; they don't see too many players actually giving a damn about it. But honestly, if they're serious about Pet Battles and making a mini-game out of collecting, they need to steer away from the whole mentality that pets are "just a vanity".

    Collecting IS the game for quite a few people. "Optional" and "vanity" is all relative and subjective.


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