Has Blizzard given up on the playerbase?

| Thursday, December 3, 2009
Despite the pleasant words of the Blues, based on actions, it seems that Blizzard does not trust players to be anything less than rotten deceitful scum.

Auto-DE. Why? Arguably this is to help generate shards and spread them around to nerf enchanting profits. I don't mind nerfing enchanting. Okay I mind, but I don't think it's terrible awful game-killing stuff. But I don't think this will affect enchanting profits much. A few more shards will slip away, but in general enchanters are DEing and handing out shards at the end. This won't affect supply all that much, so prices won't change. In other words, this won't actually nerf enchanting.

What it does do is say "We don't trust enchanters with the choice of whether or not to use their profession. People get unhappy when enchanters don't work for them for free, so we're going to take away that choice." It's also saying that Blizzard doesn't trust players to figure out how to gather and DE shards.

I don't buy the "can't trade cross-server" argument either. That's a technical limitation that they could fix. Since they've not announced any plans to allow it at some point, it appears that they have chosen not to pursue this fix.

We also cannot roll on loot below our armor class. Why not? Sometimes it's an upgrade. But Blizzard doesn't trust players to not ninja. This restricts the potential loot that can be ninjaed. Again, Blizzard doesn't trust us to be anything less than scum.

Are these just ways to prevent mistakes? Perhaps. But haven't we taken care of that? BoPs can be traded for two hours after looting. That takes care of the "sorry, meant to hit greed" or "I forgot I already had a better [item]." Mistakes are covered, and I'm glad for that. But now Blizzard is moving into control over choices. That worries me for two reasons. First, it's a bit insulting to effectively paint the entire playerbase as incapable of being decent human beings. Second, where's the line? Will Blizzard move into the AH and other parts of the economy to control undercutting, flipping, and other events in free markets?

Maybe mages will automatically make tables, warlocks will make healthstones. When new loot drops the nearest JC's window will open, listing out the best gems to make and if the winner has the the right gem, it is automatically cut. Does this sound weird? Yes, it does. So do some of the current changes.

This isn't new either. Summoning portals were changed to no longer hang off cliffs. Why? Maybe people were griefing by making portals over cliffs and summoning people. Or they were summoning doomguards in the middle of cities and killing a group member in the process. Was that so terrible?

I'm not endorsing being a terrible person. I've made my position on this clear. But I believe in choices. These can be greedy or selfish. Or selfless. If we cannot make the wrong choice, we cannot make the right one either; there is no choice.

I don't deny that cross-realm LFG increases the chances of ninjaing and other antisocial behaviors. This tends to happen as communities expand. The solution isn't imposing more and more rules. It is to let the community adapt and create its own rules as needed.

Maybe I'm just crazy. Maybe I've been watching too much Glen Beck. And by too much I mean any, because there is no safe level of exposure to him. But isn't this trend a bit worrisome?

Maybe it's not entirely Blizzard. Maybe it's us. Are we incapable of self-regulation? Are so many of us such horrible assholes when we become anonymous that we cannot be trusted to show even the most basic level of selflessness required to not ninja? But some of our action is due to environment and Blizzard is the single biggest influence on it. They create the incentive structures, the expected rewards, and can influence the sense of or lack of community.


Anonymous said...

Give me Liberty of give me death!

Anonymous said...

I do believe that the player base is incapable of self regulation, and it comes down to one word: accountability. There is just no way to hold someone responsible for their actions. All they would have to do is get on an alt or sucker a few people from a totally different server on the new lfg system.
As an example if someone ninja’s something you go ahead and put him on your ignore list. That in no way stops him from doing it again. You can’t even be sure you won’t group up with him again if he decides to get on an alt. Without accountability there is no responsibility and no way to punish/discourage bad behavior.
Hence this is why the ability to make bad choices become limited. If you can’t hold them accountable you then take away the ability to make that bad choice in the first place.

Hana said...

I don't buy the "can't trade cross-server" argument either. That's a technical limitation that they could fix. Since they've not announced any plans to allow it at some point, it appears that they have chosen not to pursue this fix.

I can see this. They don't want cross-server trading of non-conjured items, and they have to flag the item as being tradeable or not tradeable. Unlike the BoP items that drop, shards are stackable items. How do you flag the recently DE-ed shard differently from the shards the enchanter may be carrying in his bag anyway? Does that you mean cannot stack your pug-run shards with any other shards in your bag until after a two-hour period (like the BoP items)? Does that mean each shard from the pug run comes with its own two-hour timer so you end up with five different non-stacking shards in your bag if you're keeping all of them until the end of the run? How do you "transform" the shard with cross-realm tradeable properties into a shard without that will now stack with regular shards of its kind?

It's a technical problem that could be solved, but it may not be a simple one or a convenient one.

I dislike the idea that people who might want to roll on things below their armor class are stuck Greeding (being a moonkin with our historical need for cloth, this pains me), especially since this new interface will encourage everyone to use it instead of just passing and discussing with the party who needs, but I am sympathetic to Blizzard on the auto-DE issue.

They easily could have not bothered and any cross-server pug runs just wouldn't allow for disenchanting. Instead they took a common practice in the game and found a way to integrate it. It might not be perfect, but it'll get the job done.

Klepsacovic said...

@Anonymous: Word.

@Anonymous: Accountability is missing, but what about decency? Most players are social creatures to some degree and will respond to social norms even if they are not going to be hurt externally by violating them.

@Hana: You raise a good point with the shard flagging. For some simplicity, they could immediately unflag the shards when we leave the group, so there's no need to track timers on shards for groups that ended. Or for something fancier, there could be a 'shard chest' in which shards go if everyone picks greed/DE and there's an enchanter. Opening it will trigger loot rolls on the shards and they are untradeable.

I do hope that the armor thing works out better. Maybe moonkin could get an exception for being weirdoes. :)

Leah said...

the armor thing is the one that buggs me. it buggs me a lot. it contradicts Blizzard's original intention to reduce the number of sharded gear. we used to have tier pieces drop directly. that got scratched becasue too many of them got destroyed as people who could use them, already had them. so we changed it to tier tokens. I'm a living example of that system being flawed (I have all 3 specs shaman tier 8 pieces, becasue we got too many protector tokens to drop while some people went without for their main specs becasue their tier token DIDN"t drop) So now we have trophies - perfect! that pretty much guarantees that items will never go to rot.

and then they go and turn around and make it "we'd rather you shard or vendor this item then wear an upgrade that is not your armor class"

behold my current resto shoulders

gemmed with haste and mp5 they damn near perfect for a resto shaman. no wasted stats, only pure utter goodness in leather form. the day I got them, it was in fact me or DE, as our only druid in a raid didn't want or need them. With a current system as I understand it? these shoulders would get DEed automatically as DE roll actually gets priority over greed roll. there's currently no such thing as offspec roll.

what's with a sudden change of heart Blizzard? I thought you wanted us to use all these items you have designed for us, instead of sharding/vendoring them?

Anonymous said...

First, I think the cross-server community is simply too large to really create its own rules.

Secondly, from personal experience, I think the auto-DE, in addition to the non-tradeable issue pointed out by Hana, is also more of a convenience thing; now, as a enchanter, you don't have to actually remember to disenchant and pass out shards. I've pugged with a number of disenchanters who've simply forgot, and while it's nothing we can't live with, if the shards were going to be passed out anyway, auto-DE is better in that case.

kaozz said...

Good read! I have some of the same feelings on these changes, I actually wrote about this yesterday also.

When the designers feel the community has to be 'baby sat' what does that say about the game? While I really love to play WoW these changes bother me. You can't police everything.

Maybe some of these won't go live as test is still up.

Juzaba said...

I think this is more of a convenience thing than a gameplay issue. I don't consider "gather all of the loot at the end of a run, shard it, and pass it back out" as gameplay. Does anyone else? It's not even like forcing enchanters to go through the DEing process maximizes choices - it just maximizes work.

Klepsacovic said...

@Leah: Blizzard is caught between three competing forces: wanting fewer shards (hence more tokens and cross-class gear), wanting people to wear their armor class (see the cataclysm stat changes), and leaving in the RNG. It's that last one that makes the first two into a problem.

@Anonymous: I am appreciative of the convenience, since I know on both ends the annoyance of opening trade over and over, unstacking shards, making sure everyone got their shard... It would be nice if enchanters could turn it off; though it would be on by default and groups would see if someone was an enchanter with it off, so they could shun him if desired.

@kaozz: Your post said it better than mine. I am outraged. And following. :)

Rusty said...

The thing I'm most grateful for in the DE option is for the greens that drop. I've got shards out the ying-yang, I want infinite dust!

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