Thursday, September 13, 2012

Don't Nerf My Collecting Please

It's still a bit early to get too worried, but after reading the developer response to a certain question on Wowjuju... I can't say I'm very excited atm.
Q: Many raiders ask for more recognition (feats of strength, achievements, cosmetic rewards, pets, mounts, titles, etc.) for completing dungeons before debuffs are enabled. Have you given this anymore consideration for Mists?

A: Yes, this is what the new "Cutting Edge" feat of strength is intended to accomplish. This feat of strength will only be obtainable when players complete the content before any debuffs are introduced to nerf the content, or before the next raid tier becomes available. We'll see how it goes, but the idea is to stick with this type of reward structure for future raid tiers.
Essentially what they are saying is that their new design model is to make certain achievement rewards available only for a limited of time. Once a certain tier of content has run its course, the rewards will be removed.

Limited time feats of strength, I can understand. But pets and mounts? Didn't the removal of the Plagued Proto-Drake mount make it clear that suddenly making items unavailable is usually NOT the best way to go? No one likes to have things taken away from them, even if it's just a chance to earn said item.

Not to mention that if certain pets are available ONLY as a reward for a dungeon/raid achievement, more pet collectors will be forced into PVE. I've said it time and time again that pet collecting and most PVE gameplay do not mix well. The former you can accomplish solo, while the latter requires a group or a guild.

Now, I know this an mmo, and therefore playing completely solo is not an option. But sometimes you need a break from socializing to do something just for yourself. No obligations, potential drama, etc. For some, that's what pet collecting is. Dabbling in PVE? Sure. But every now and then, it's appropriate to focus on individual gameplay and goals.

Implementing vanity rewards for a dungeon or raiding achievement that will only be available for a limited time forces collectors into a corner. To bite the bullet and partake in a style of gameplay that they don't enjoy all that much? Or to allow their collection to have a huge hole/gap in it because they can't obtain that certain pet any other way?

For a serious collector is there much choice?

Then again, it could be argued that serious collectors won't mind as much and will gladly do ANYTHING for a pet, even if it means joining a guild to get some help with specific instances.

It could also be said that dungeon achievements are the lesser evil when it comes to achievement rewards. Compared to raiding achievements, where there's a smaller entrance window for players, dungeons can normally be completed by most players. Of course this only applies if the new philosophy to remove certain achievement rewards after a period of time is for 5 man achievements rather than 10/25 man ones.

That's all fine and good, but an achievement/reward that will only be available to complete/receive for a limited time still does not sit well with me.

I'm not a mount collector, but when the Plagued Proto-Drakes were removed as the reward for the Naxx meta achievement, I felt it was a real slap in the face for collectors. Sure, content became easier as everyone got new gear and leveled up, but did that warrant punishing the players by taking something away from them? Progression will naturally mean that older content will be easier, and last I checked, progression is one of the main goals of this game. Players should not be at fault for moving forward rather than standing still.

Rather than punishing progression, create content that's static. This is what I thought challenge modes were for. Gear will be normalized and be appropriate level for each instance, making it impossible to simply power-through the dungeon with over-geared stats. With this set up, it will be consistently difficult to complete an achievement and receive the companion or mount reward. This ultimately keeps the items "rare" and "special" (that IS the goal of achievement rewards, right? Yet to increase an item's rarity and special-ness, Blizzard is opting to remove certain achievement rewards?).

Of course, that also means that the "skill" level into these challenge modes will be steeper and not all players will be eligible. That's not an ideal situation either since that could very well leave out many.

Which is why I don't agree with companion rewards for most raiding/dungeon achievements in general.

Anyway, these are just my thoughts so far. Perhaps my outlook on pet collecting is outdated now-a-days, and newer players are more easily accepting the new collecting model and philosophy.

Things could still change and only time will tell, so I'll just have to sit back and wait for more details.

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