Friday, January 3, 2014

Subs equal Pay-to-Win

Anyone concerned about World of Warcraft adopting a Pay-to-Win system needs to realize it already is the model they use. Subscriptions are Pay-to-Win.
I've noticed a lot of online discussion about WoW possibly going free to play and other payment models. Gamebreakers has one here. Naysayers think free-to-play is the downfall of any game and these hybrid concepts are an abomination. One major complaint is the idea of being able to pay cash for gear. This concept is touted as the worst possible decision a company could make because it would become a Pay-to-Win system.
In Pay-to-Win, people spend cash to get uber gear or something else that gives them an unfair advantage over players who don’t shell out cash.
Subscriptions are basically the same as a Pay-to-Win business model. You can't win if you don't play. Any subscribers can log in and grind dailies, dungeons or raids until they get the top-of-the-line gear. But this option is only available to those who pony up the dough for a sub. You pay money, you can get gear. You don’t pay and you’re out in the cold.
If they added an option to be able to buy gear, I wouldn't complain. Granted, I'm too cheap to use the option myself, but I think they should sell extras to those willing to pay more to play the game as they wish. 
Let's face it. Time is money. Buying a piece of gear for cash is just an extension of that. People like to argue that a subscription model creates a level playing field. But it doesn't. 
Time is as much a resource as money. Some would argue that it's not fair if some kid with rich parents can buy something I spent a month to earn in a game. I would argue it's not fair that the kid didn't have an extra month in his life to earn the item himself. Maybe he has a part-time job. Maybe his parents limit his Internet access.
Now, I'm not in favor of players being able to buy the absolute best gear. I think that should be reserved for the elite raiders who have that extra time and dedication to participate in weekly raids.  But I don't see why players shouldn't be allowed to purchase the next best thing. I'm talking about the epics like those you can get in dungeons or through daily quests. 
Consider this example. Let's say you want an uber helmet. It's not best in slot, but it will get you into the latest raid. It will take you 30 days of grinding a daily quest to get.
You purchase two months of a subscription for $15 a month. You grind out the helm for 30 days and have another 30 days to raid with the guild. Total cost = $30.
Your friend wants the same helm. But he works a lot of hours and can't log in every day to grind it out. It would take him two months under a subscription to grind enough dailies to buy it. Total cost with a month to raid = $45.
Now let's say a more equitable option were available. If an option to buy gear was added, he could pay $15 to buy the helm. Add that to a month sub to raid with the guild and his total cost is $30.
Your friend doesn't have some unfair advantage just because he didn't spend the 30 days grinding dailies. He just caught up to you. It doesn't make your helm worthless. It's worth $15. You spent the $15 for a sub. Your friend just wanted the helmet. 
Under the Pay-to-Win model, each player would be able to decide whether to spend in-game time to get something or fork over cash. I don't see how having money to buy an item you want is any different than spending X amount of hours to acquire it. 
The end result is the same. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Hardcore players shouldn't mind easier

Some people have been up in arms about Blizzard's decision to nerf current raids.

As a member of the casual masses, I welcome this change but I can't understand why the hardcore players care.

Blizzard wants to have players experience the raid content, a fact made evident by the gear being thrown to players left and right during Wrath. While I loved the harder heroic 5-man instances released with ICC, they ended up being loot pinatas and threw the idea of hard-won gear out the window.

Reducing the difficulty of the current raiding tier with the release of 4.2 is brilliant. Serious players get a new raid, with new gear, while casuals basically get the same. Sure, we have access to the current raid content, but we never really got to the point of being able to consider it farming for gear. If we made it through (and our guild has yet to see many fights), it is tough each and every week. The difficulty has gotten to some of our raiders, apparently, because they stopped showing up on a regular basis.

By allowing for more mistakes during raiding, casuals can get a feel for it and learn at a lower level. Let's face it: right now, there is no place for a causal guild to learn how to raid.

Before anyone says it, I'm not complaining that Cata raids are too hard. Even though I haven't completed most of the raiding content, I still don't have a problem with the difficulty of the expansion. I'm a casual player and I don't expect to have easy access to all parts of the game without hard work.

As it stands, casual guilds can basically hit a brick wall trying to get a start into raiding. Rather than asking for loot pinatas, I would rather they make the old raid content easier. Not only will it allow more people access to the gear they will need to try to survive in Firelands, but it will give less experienced or less dedicated raiders a place to hone their skills. Casuals can hit a brick wall in raiding with Firelands, but now struggling guilds fall back to BWD and BoT.

Hardcore raiders should be thrilled that Blizzard isn't going to implement another set of 5-man heroics to help casuals gear up. Instead of worrying about a heroic instance putting out better loot than they are wearing, they can focus on Firelands. It also makes the current raid tier a place for us noobs to practice.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Storyline shortfalls

Matticus recently wrote about the story line shortfalls in Cataclysm and I have to agree with him.

I feel the same about the lack of connection to the current story and wanted to share my thoughts as well.

Granted, I never played Warcraft III and didn’t start World of Warcraft until Burning Crusade shortly before Wrath. As my wife and I leveled through Azeroth and Outlands, I enjoyed the stories and exploring this huge new world (though it didn’t feel as huge as Star Wars: Galaxies when we had to walk across contintents).

In Shattrath, I felt a connection to the Aldor, whom I viewed as the good guys (We’re playing Alliance) and wanted to help them out. I didn’t get into much endgame stuff as Wrath was around the corner. With Wrath, I felt like we delved into what made Arthas tick as we saw his downfall. By the time we hit the Icecrown area, I could tell Arthas was a bad mofo. I couldn’t wait for the Citadel to open so we could bum rush him.

By contrast, I feel nothing toward Deathwing, other than gratitude for cleaning up some things around the world. Through the various new questing areas, I have dislike of a few NPCs, but Deathwing hasn’t really affected me. I have little info on his background or motivations.

Now, I will admit I didn’t read each quest through each area, but I didn’t in Wrath either. Be it by cutscenes or whatnot, I understood the story and cared about it.

I don’t for Deathwing. But I hope the new questing hubs coming in 4.2 will change that.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Best stats for a Resto Shaman?

With the new changes to mastery for resto shamen in 4.1, I have to re-evaluate my stat choices.

Even with the change, it feels to me like haste should take the cake. The faster I can cast, the better chance I have of getting a heal off. When heals go off, people don't die.

Of course, you have to have spirit to go with haste. Earlier, I didn't realize this and stacked haste to the point my spirit couldn't keep up. Now, I scaled back and reforged off my haste because it was considered the least valuable stat.

But now, I have to rethink everything, since I want to be at the top of my game for raids.

And the Elitist Jerks site is no help. In their 4.1 discussion, they label Intellect as the most valuable stat, followed by Spirit. The problem is they don't take a stand on the stats I can do something about with reforging, haste, crit and mastery.

I recall reading other sites that suggest you get to 916 haste and then move onto other stats.

I guess I will stay away from reforging, outside of Spirit until I figure it out.

What stats are my fellow shamen prioritizing?

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Call me the Dread Pirate Roberts


I finally got the ring I've been looking for forever, [Dread Pirate Ring].

It was six minutes after the tournament had started and I had just told my son that someone was about to win the tournament. But I said I would keep going until it was announced.

Two casts later, [Blacktip Shark] pops up.

This time around, I wasn't too excited about it. I'd seen the stupid fish make its way into my bags twice before and I still awaited the first prize. My computer is kinda slow, so loading a new area takes a while sometimes.

Anyway, I started my Astral Recall spell to port me back to Dalaran and waited for Elder Clearwater's red words announcing my failure once again.

But he didn't announce a winner by the time I arrived in Dalaran, so I turned Ghost Wolf and raced to Elder Clearwater.

The problem was I couldn't see the guy. (Did I mention my computer can be slow? Sometimes this equates to my toon walking around in a deserted town until the computer catches up.)

So I wait a few anxious seconds while the computer thinks about whether I have waited long enough for the ring. I'd only missed it by precious seconds a couple times before, so maybe I needed another of those.

But to my surprise, Elder Clearwater appeared and I clicked as fast as I could to get the ring. The first time I found the [Blacktip Shark], I lost the tournament because I forgot to choose a prize. Not that there was a doubt.

As the quest box leaves, I notice a Worgen racing up to Elder Clearwater. She cheered at me when Clearwater announced I had won, but I think she was probably looking to score the shiny new ring herself.

I've been glowing all day, insisting people call me by my new title, the Dread Pirate Roberts. It's too bad the contest didn't come with the new title so I could show off to the WoW world.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Lich King finally goes down.

Since the beginning of time (or at least the middle of the Lich King expansion), I have wanted to fight my way to Arthas' throne and beat some sense into the guy.

Even after hitting 85, that was my main goal. There is a lot of stuff going on in that fight, so it was hard for a noob like me to manage.

But victory tastes sweet, now that I have my Kingslayer title. Granted, it's a day late and a dollar short, but at least it's done.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Archaeology finally pays off.

All that hard work digging for fragments and piecing together vendor trash finally paid off when I completed my first Tol'vir rare: Ring of the Boy Emperor.

That ring was the reason I started the profession in the first place. That, and the fun I had with the Harrison Jones quest line in Uldum. Too bad the actual profession isn't as glamorous as the quests.

I'm now done with Rare #13 for my Professor title from the achievement It Belongs in a Museum. I can't wait for this title. Finally, I'll have something to replace my Brewmaster title, another one I enjoyed getting.

I also realized I'm at 94/100 commons from getting Diggerest, so I guess I do want some more commons to proc.

I actually have enough fragments to complete the Fossilized Raptor, but I'm holding onto it. For some superstitious reason, I think having a rare that is being built helps other rares to proc. Consciously, I know that's not true, but I can't help it. It's kinda like Indiana Jones needing to have his lucky hat with him at all times.

So I just need six more rares to be a Professor, but I think Ring of the Boy Emperor will be my favorite find by far.

What is your favorite archaeology find?