Monday, May 25, 2015

Balance, Balance, Balance (And Not the Druid Kind)

I wrote up an entire thing about flying and how it affects activities such as Archaeology and Pet Battles, but it started going off in a tangent that wasn't intended. So instead, I'll just lay out what I have plain and simply.

If Blizzard is dead set on no flying, then please, PLEASE create content with no flying in mind. Don't add in content same as usual; amend or alter them so that they accommodate the inability to fly.

This article that Lio linked explains how WoW has steadily shortened the stick upon which the carrot dangles. Not only that, though, but the tools to get to that stick have also been cut. Flying, for example.

When I read about the two new pets coming in 6.2 that will have similar if not same spawning mechanics as the Unborn Val'kyr, I was pretty livid. Not only did I not understand the logic (or lack thereof) behind it, but the fact that it felt like manipulation also upset me.

I gauge content and the desirability of it with the following (loose) equation. It's something I feel should be kept in mind when adding features and mechanics to the game.

RNG + Effort required = Willingness to participate

I say loose equation because 1 - I'm no math major nor was it my strongest subject, so I can't even say it's a proper equation. And 2 - the three things involved can be broken down into smaller parts. Perhaps it's more like a puzzle and these are just the three main pieces.

Anyway, to give an example of what I'm talking about, let's take the Sprite Darter Hatchling. Before and after Cataclysm, when the source of this pet was changed.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Pets With Unborn Val'kyr-Style Spawning In 6.2 - NO THANKS

Update: After thinking it over (and I've been thinking about this the entire day) I've come to the conclusion that IF Blizzard really, really wants to implement new wild pets using the Unborn Val'kyr spawning mechanic, they're pretty much damned if they do and damned if they don't.

Let's say they take into account the desirability factor of the two generic pets (a moth and a firefly), and decided to replace them with super new models with shiny new abilities. That would make them extremely desirable yet players would feel stuck behind the "one spawn per zone" mechanic. It addresses the "why should we care about these two pets" and "why do they deserve such unique spawning", but it adds a different type of irritation to the equation.

Well ok, let's pretend that the two pets aren't ultra special and they are just a moth and a firefly (how they are currently). We then return to the issue of why these two pets and why should anyone care. It feels like a gimmicky, pointless addition to the patch, all in the hopes of getting us out of our garrisons and wandering aimlessly in Draenor. It's almost as if our collector mentality is being taken advantage of and manipulated in order to give the false impression of engaging and compelling gameplay.

So what is Blizzard to do? Damned if they do, and damned if they don't.

My personal opinion is scrap the whole Unborn Val'kyr-style spawning and go with something else. Maybe the wild pets don't need any kind of gimmick. Just make them rare or spawn under certain conditions.

I thought about what made finding a pet fun and interesting, and for some reason Nethaera's Light (a 6.2 pet from Dalaran) came to mind. It's such a simple encounter, if you could even call it an encounter. Yet finding the NPC, figuring out what to do to trigger the event and adding the little candle to my collection -- all of that had me brainstorming and actually thinking. If that's not engaging (yet short-lived) gameplay, I don't know what is.

Perhaps that's what the Crimsonwing Moth and Sapphire Firefly need, some sort of simple mechanic that allows the player (not RNG) to take the lead. More gimmicks and what not, but if Blizzard absolutely insists on implementing these two wild pets in a way that's outside of the norm, then gimmicky ideas is what they'll get.

Just random ideas off the top of my head: Perhaps give a prerequisite to the Crimsonwing Moth. Only spawns if the player drops a campfire down in a specific location. Moth to a flame, right?

Or some other requirement that the player has to figure out. But something like that would be interesting and different. It would make the moth available only to those in the know. Gate it behind multiple requirements, whatever, go nuts. Sure, over time everyone will know about it, but by that time the impact of having players out trying to figure out how to heck to get the moth to spawn should be felt throughout Draenor.

Another random idea: Sapphire Firely spawning only at night, and only if you have another firefly pet out. Makes sense since fireflies are drawn to each other, yea?

My point is, you don't need to use extreme mechanics to make a pet rare or to draw out gameplay. One per zone at any given time is such a punishing concept, and it won't even help accomplish the intent behind adding two hard to find pets. Because guess what? Players will camp a spot, that is...sit unproductively for hours, capture their pet and then leave. The Unborn Val'kyr-spawning style leads to a mindless and infuriating activity, and it's not really necessary, is it?

And if it is necessary, someone please explain to me why.


An official 6.2 pet preview was released today, and while most of it is information we already know about, one piece (conveniently added towards the waa~ay bottom) is new and somewhat alarming.

  • Crimsonwing Moth -- A rare spawn in Talador with many spawn points, and only one ever appearing in the zone at a time.
  • Sapphire Firefly – A rare spawn in Spires of Arak who also has many spawn points and appears only once at a time.

Wait, wait, what? If I'm reading this correctly, this is Unborn Val'kyr-style spawning. In zones where there is no flying. For pets that are recolored versions of pets that we already have.

Again, WHAT?!

I generally try to avoid knee-jerk reactions, but I can't stop myself from being fairly annoyed and upset with this announcement. The underlying reason for my irritation though, is the lack of reasoning behind these two new additions and the way they were implemented. WHY?

To be clear, the Crimsonwing Moth and the Sapphire Firefly are two entirely new pets being added to 6.2. Don't confuse them with the other wild moth and firefly (Cerulean Moth and Violet Firefly) also being released in the next patch. Nope. The former two are special...kinda? Not really.

These two are not unique in any way other than their skins and planned spawn-style. Unless changes are made to their movesets, both have uninspiring abilities that are identical to other moths and fireflies.

So again, why are these two pets receiving such special treatment? Giving them the unique spawning must mean they are desirable and worth our time, right?

Because that's what we're going to be investing in these two pets. Time. Lots of it. Both Talador and Spires of Arak are zones where flying is not allowed. Sure, you can Aviana's Feather around every 10 minutes, but that doesn't exactly make scouting out the entire zone for ONE spawn any less of a headache. Even the Unborn Val'kyr was a pain to find (still is for some), and you can zoom around in the air in Northrend.

A mechanic that might set these two wild pets apart from the Unborn Val'kyr's spawning is if the spawns come in one right after another. A Crimsonwing Moth gets captured in one area, and another one immediately spawns somewhere else. One collector manages to snag a Sapphire Firefly, and another person is able to collect one almost right after in another part of Spires of Arak. That would make the difficulty of traveling around these zones less of a negative factor. But that's something we'll have to test once the PTR comes back up.

Even with this small consideration, I'm not exactly excited about these two new pets. Traveling around aimlessly, hoping for a spawn isn't very engaging gameplay.

I'm still failing to understand the "why" behind their implementation. Currently my only impression is that developers really wanted to stick these two pets in somehow, but also wanted to draw out 6.2 content. What better way, than to keep two boring wild pets just out of many collectors' reach! Two birds with one stone. Compelling. Gameplay.

I mean, some collectors still don't even have the Unborn Val'kyr. Granted the area in which those spawn is MUCH larger and spread out, but it's still disheartening news hearing that you'll have to find two more wild pets in a similar fashion, when you don't even have the Val'kyr that was added in Patch 5.3.0.

And again, I come back to the "why?" in this. Why these two generic, recolored pets? Why should collectors care about/desire these two pets? Why this style of spawning? I'm sure I'm not the only one asking these things. Unfortunately I don't think we'll get any real explanation, and the answers that I come up with on my own only anger me further.
Creative Commons License
Perks N Peeves by Quintessence is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.