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Mists of Pandaria: Seeing through the Fog of Warcraft (Part 1)

/ May 12th, 2013 No Comments

Mists of Pandaria

New is not always better.

Mists of PandariaWorld of Warcraft‘s latest expansion, Mists of Pandaria, took the world by storm and sold record numbers of copies only to see a gigantic dip in subscriptions months later. Gamers, fed up with Cataclysm, were eager to finally get it out of the way, shoving it onto the back burner like every predecessor expansion the record-breaking MMO has released in favor of new content. A lot of things have changed since the initial vanilla release of WoW, and they can’t be ignored by longtime players of the game, especially when those changes retroactively gut old content for use in creating “new” content, something for which Cataclysm is infamous. You can’t argue that Blizzard hasn’t stuck to their guns with this business model continued in MoP, but you can argue whether they’re shooting themselves in the foot by effectively scrapping all content up to endgame with each new release, rendering all the previous loot and lore obsolete, unless you care about farming achievements.

Where have all the good guilds gone?

MoP seems to have favored the casual solo player over anything else, and it shows with the latest incarnation of the ever changing player base. Raiding guilds have dwindled as more players decide to utilize the Looking for Raid feature that matches up random players from different servers into one instance. While the content is the same, the fights are easier and the rewarded gear has lowered stats. The only incentive for anyone to raid with their guild on increased difficulty levels is the same models of gear with better stats. Factor in the new ability to Transmogrify gear into other models and players are left with nothing to judge but a tallied up Item Level (which is nothing more than the latest incarnation of the old GearScore addon) thereby effectively reducing a players’ worth to mere numbers.

Time is money.

Blizzard has drifted from more challenging raid bosses that keep players hungry to freely handing out loot on a personal basis in LFR, ie. you aren’t rolling against anyone other than yourself for gear. While this adheres to Blizzard’s policy on attempting to make WoW more accessible to everyone, it does cheapen the ability to have a sense of pride in what a player has accomplished. This also gives players no incentive to stick around to finish up a raid in a LFR group if a piece of gear failed to drop from a specific boss, thereby placing the group back into the queue in hopes of finding a new random player to join. Players are no longer rewarded for learning, adapting, and working together, but rather, rewarded on their time invested. Basically, if a player sticks around long enough in a failing LFR group, the group will be buffed up via a spell that stacks with each wipe until the group is able to complete the fight. Easy Mode, indeed.

The daily grind.

To combat the lack of wiping, the lack of requiring players to learn boss fights, and to keep players involved, (read: spending subscription money) Blizzard has decided to ramp up the usage of daily quest chains. The old limit of 25 repeatable daily quests was lifted long ago and Blizzard has had no shame in exploiting this. The worth of gold has dropped in a startling manner due to inflation, and players are actually punished for not completing certain faction’s daily quests. A good example would be the Tillers faction, where players tend a farm similar to Farmville or Harvest Moon that allows them to gather crops, most of which are needed to level the game’s crafting professions. Some of these items are untradeable and have a drop rate so low when killing mobs that the only viable way to get them is to raise reputation with the Tillers and grow them, otherwise leveling professions is nearly impossible.

Pigeonholing.

The other benefit to increasing faction reputations are the Quarter Master rewards such as mounts and gear. The issue with this is how long it takes to farm reputation in MoP, which is longer than any other expansion. By the time a player has unlocked the last level of reputation with any given faction they could have done multiple LFR runs for gear that far surpasses the quality of any sold by a faction QM. Adding the lack of intuition on any given QM’s pricing, such as needing Valor Points for lower quality items, and then eventually gold for Epic quality items, it’s no wonder most players tend to slog through LFR rather than invest any time on daily quests at all.

The fanboy’s final ruling? If you don’t like the daily quests then don’t do them. If you don’t like LFR then don’t do it.

The player base’s final ruling? Decreased subscriptions.

Ben Conrad

Ben Conrad

Associate Contributor at Gaming Illustrated
Ben is a newcomer to Gaming Illustrated, covering hot topics in the world of gaming.
Ben Conrad

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