I came to World of Warcraft from Star Wars Galaxies, as a result of which I think that Blizzard are the most honest and open game developers in the history of everything. Ever. Okay, that probably requires some explanation.
Star Wars Galaxies used to be a fantastic game. The only problem was that the developers are Sony Online Entertainment, and SOE are the nastiest gang of double-crossing, lying sons of bitches ever to be handed a development deal. They would routinely sneak massive, game-changing nerfs into the game and then basically lie about them, and keep repeating the lies until the player base either quit or got tired of protesting. As a result, the player base of SWG right now consists of three students from Hammersmith who are so stoned they think they’re actually playing Runequest.
The problem was, SWG was a pretty fundamentally broken game. Once you’d reached your profession masteries (like hitting the level cap), received a standard buff package from any player Master Doctor and kitted yourself out in a standard set of high level armour (easily available from any number of player Master Armourcrafters) you were pretty much unkillable in just about any PvE content. I would routinely go hunting nests of Rancor and spend an hour or so carving a bloody swathe of destruction across the surface of Dathomir to earn cash. To put this into some kind of perspective, it’s the equivalent of a fresh level 80 soloing heroic dungeons one after the other. Obviously, something was wrong, and a substantial portion of the playerbase insisted that stuff needed to change.
Here’s the thing, however. SWG was not and never will be a PvE game. There was no PvE content, there were no real “dungeons” to speak of. SOE pretty much just designed a few iconic Star Wars worlds and left everything in the hands of the players. Everything, and I really do mean everything, was made by the players. Your armour, your vehicles, your weapons, your clothes, your furniture, your food, your home… everything was player-created. The only “dungeon loot” were components used by player crafters to make higher quality versions of the items that players used. The only real “game” in SWG was either crafting or PvP. That didn’t stop people from trying to play it like a PvE game, and it was these “PvE players” who were the ones complaining that it shouldn’t be so easy for people to solo PvE content, completely missing the point that there was almost no PvE content of any note in the game anyway.
SOE had been planning to rewrite the way combat worked from the ground up, and they siezed upon this as the excuse they needed to batter opposition to their planned “Combat Upgrade” into the ground. The Combat Upgrade was released and suddenly people who’d been slaughtering nests of Rancor the day before found themselves fleeing in terror from irate Jawa. Predictably, there was a shitstorm of biblical proportions, and SOE’s response was of course: “Players asked us to do this, we’re only giving you what you wanted.” It wasn’t the fact that they’d changed the way the game worked at a fundamental level, it was that they simply didn’t have the balls to stand up and say why they were doing it, and instead hid behind a tissue of lies and half-truths. I mean, just look at the title of the nerf: The Combat Upgrade? Please!
What the CU did was to force people to group up in order to go out carving up nests of Rancor, and this of course ended up being even more profitable in terms of cash and xp than doing it solo. Then one day on the Public Test Realm, players noticed that they were suddenly gaining xp at a much slower rate than before. Comments went out on the forums asking for others to test to see if they were experiencing the same thing, and within two hours of the first forum post, a patch went live. Suddenly, group xp gains on the live servers were half what they’d been the day before and SOE refused to comment. For two days the forums were in an uproar without a single official response. The community managers were at their wits end, they didn’t know what was going on, the devs weren’t telling them anything, and so they had nothing to relate to the furious players. This went on for two days, before another patch went live reverting xp gains to previous levels. SOE then finally made an announcement, claiming that a patch had gone out “by mistake” with a “bugged xp gain”. In some weird alternate reality, perhaps there was someone who even believed this massive, contemptious lie.
The level of contempt in which SOE held their player base was simply mind-boggling. This is why I laugh my ass right off whenever I see a “Waaaaah, Ghostcrawler promised me a pony!” comment on the forums or MMO Champion. You guys really have no clue how good Blizzard actually are.
However, stuff like this makes me wonder.
Raising the cooldown on spells like Wild Growth and Circle of Healing are good things for healers. It’s one of the few* things that will buy you GCDs to actually cast other spells. With a 6 sec cooldown, you really only get to cast maybe 3-5 other spells before you need to hit that magic button again.
A nerf is a nerf, alright? Grow some balls and call it what it is, we’d respect you more if you’d just man up and say what you mean instead of trying to dress it up as a buff. Yes we know you want healing to be more than just spamming the AoE heal button (something which it hasn’t actually been since Black Temple by the way, do try to keep up Blizzard) we get it, alright? No need to lie about it, we’re not idiots. And while we’re on the subject, you can stop shit like this, right now:
Our feeling is that druids rarely actually get to show off their armor, so it would be nice to have at least one spec that looked like a night elf or tauren (and soon troll or worgen) for most of the time.
There druids, you see? Blizzard are taking away our Tree form because that’s what we all asked for when we said we wanted our gear to make a difference to the way we look. It was what we wanted all along! Bless you, Blizzard.
Hey, can anyone hear a slapping noise? I can hear a slapping noise. Hey Ghostcrawler, what are you doing behind us with your pants around your ankles?