Motion Sickness in Games

Eternal Darkness. Morrowind. Drakon the Ancient Gates. Oblivion. Half Life 2. Quake 4. Portal. WoW. Minecraft. Borderlands. Legend of Grimmrock 2.

What do all these games have in common?

I have vomited at some point while or directly after playing them. It’s worth noting, I never once vomited while pregnant. But I play Half Life 2 for 10 minutes and I am seeing my lunch again.

This has come up yet again because of WoW’s newest raid, Blackrock Foundry, and one of the fights is pretty awful.

I am a bit surprised it’s just coming up now, because for me at least, Grimrail Depot was far worse. Both fights have moving things, generally at a high speed, while the player needs to move or stay stationary. The problem occurs in that the player’s brain is immersed to the point they FEEL like they should be moving, but they aren’t, so everything gets a bit wonky.

In Grimrail, the specific problem is that the players are on a moving train. The developers added a screen “jostle” to sell the realism of being on a train. Then they have a section where the boxcar walls are lowered and there are canyon walls rushing by. But those walls have stripes on them, so the sensation of movement is very strong.

In the Hans and Frans fight, the floor moves, and the player has to run around dodging things while fighting against the conveyors.

“How does something like this get through?”

In my experience – it gets through because no one notices it. I have worked at 4 game companies, and only ONCE have I worked with someone else who got motion sick playing games. Occasionally a game will pop up that makes a large number of people motion sick, but they just adjust the fov and move on. (This is how I fixed Minecraft.) But for those of us that are sensitive to it, this is not going to solve our problems.

Game devs are generally, by definition, Gamers. They play tons of games. They have been playing games forever. (And if they don’t, like some artists, they don’t even play the games they make! But that’s another post entirely.) Much like riding on a boat, you get “sea legs” that makes you less likely to notice or be bothered by the motion sickness. You can acclimate. So by the time devs get to the point of working on massive games like WoW, they generally don’t get sick from it anymore.

“Okay, but I still feel like ralphing, how do I get around this without just skipping this fight?”

In a perfect world, Game Devs would contract a QA team to test and find things like – color blind issues, motion sickness, epilepsy, deafness, etc. Pretty much everything Able Gamers fights to raise awareness and solutions for. But there isn’t always time or money. (However for Blizzard I call bullshit. They know better. They have the money. They should have their OWN internal team checking for it.) At the very least, each company should have avenues for employees to bring attention to and address these issues. (Just like they should also do with sexist and problematic things!) At every company I have worked at, I invariably end up as a “motion tester” because I complain VERY LOUDLY any time I get motion sick. I get called to desks to test stuff and help the designer tweak areas and gameplay sequences to make them less hurl inducing.

But this isn’t a perfect world. So how did I get over it? After all, some of those games I listed are my favorite games! And I have to keep doing Grimrail for alts for the legendary ring!

– Saltines. It’s an old standby for a reason.

– Ginger ale. Again, we give this to sick kids for a reason.

– Greasy food. I have a method for a game like Skyrim or Grimmrock. I play it until I am feeling VERY unwell, then I eat some McDonalds. It calms my stomach down, and I wait until the sickness has completely passed, then do it again. Skyrim took 4 attempts. Grimmrock took 3. Drakon was the WORST. It took 11. I was persistent.

Preggo Pops. Seriously. I got these while pregnant and there is a reason I never got sick. Further, they are super safe, and many moms even give them to kids when they are ill.

– Lemon water. Especially if you are one of the people who has mouth watering right before vomiting. Lemon water knocks that right out. (Or just sucking on a lemon if you can stand it.)

Within the game solutions:

– Point your camera straight down. Or adjust it so you can’t see the movement. I am awful at Grimrail for this reason, I have to just stare at the plate and can’t look up at the walls.

– On Hans and Frans, get your warlocks to set up their portals ALONG the “stationary” bands. These are the thinner bands. Then STAY ON THESE BANDS. Do not spend any time if possible on the moving part. Doing this means your camera doesn’t move, so YOU feel stationary, even though everything else ever is moving. Use the portals to move for smashers and try to focus on only looking at the bands. (I also found it helped to keep my camera facing the same way – the door direction – and stay on the one band.)

– Turn down spell effects. The more graphical stuff you have going on, the more it fights with your ability to focus on anything. Turn it way down. This just clears out the noise.

– Request that your raid take a break after this fight. Maybe you can sit out the next trash clear. But step AWAY from the game, and eat something bready.

– Persist. You will get your sea legs.

– Last resort – Dramamine or Sickness bands. While in school, we had two semesters where we worked in Half Life 2. I took that crap twice a day for 6 months. It sucks, but it made me able to function in the tool to build levels for it.

I feel like Blizzard could do somethings to help this without destroying the fight. Clearly delineating the stationary parts. Tune it so you can lose 3-4 people without wiping (so the motion sickers can just die). But they do need to do something. This is definitely a stepping away point for some people.

How to Make Gold – Hard Core

I feel a bit phony even trying to write this post. I have never by any measure tried to do any of these suggestions. These are “too much work” for me. Me. With the 9 garrisons. BUT I have it on good authority, these are ways to make multi-millions. So here’s the idea of what to do, it’s up to you to figure out the path and specifics.

TSM – Sniper:

TSM has a module called sniper. This allows you to find items that are very under valued on the auction house, buy them, and re-list them. It’s also called flipping. For me this was never a very viable thing because it requires investing money. Just like flipping a house, it’s a risky bet, and you have to be willing to lose the money you invest.

This also includes buying things like pets, leveling them to 25 and reselling them. Or buying the cards to make a Darkmoon trinket.

Cornering a Market:

Generally with something like glyphs, Darkmoon Cards, certain transmog items, certain pets, etc, people will corner a market. If the items in question are generally rare, difficult to farm, and low count, it’s possible to control a majority of the stock for that market on your realm.

This is time consuming, expensive, and requires being a bit awful about it. Only once have I ever had a market cornered and that was in Cataclysm with Mysterious Fortune Cards. I have written about it before, but essentially, I was the only person listing these cards, so I controlled the price. To do this though, I had to control the flow of whiptail – either by buying it from the farmers or farming it myself, then control the number of cards on the AH. Every time someone tried to enter the market, I had to undercut them obsessively and immediately. I froze out several players and generally had to battle another. Finally I managed to win by contacting his farmers and buying the whiptail slightly higher than he was willing to pay so that he could not get materials. He ran out of mats, right as I flooded the market with my product driving the price so low he couldn’t make enough gold to buy mats to make more cards. Think about that for a minute. I actively trapped this guy with thousands of gold worth of stock and mats, then intentionally made it worthless just so he would stop competing with me. He gave in, and offered to sell me ALL of his stock at half price (half the price before I flooded the market). I took it, cleared the AH, and then re-listed at 50% more than the previous high price point. After this I controlled the market for over 2 months without a single other seller.

Ultra Rare Items: TCG Mounts and Pets, profession kits, etc.

These are items that are super rare and always sell very well. I know people who deal in these. Mostly because I have purchased from them. However, I find this to be a risky business because while there is little to no competition, there are also very few buyers. I listed a TCG Rocket on the auction house and it took 6 months to sell.

 

It’s also always worth checking out what other people do. Like Elvine. There are tons of little blogs (like mine!) that track and figure out different methods of making gold. Good luck!

How to Make Gold – Middle Managers

How do you go from just making a bit of gold, to starting to work towards gold capped?

First off, level some alts. I have 4 max level garrisons running (with a 5th about to come online). That means I have 4 level 3 salvage yards feeding me items. 4 sets of treasure missions. 4 piles of herbs and ore. 4 toons making epics every 7-8 days.

I have 9 garrisons total. Sure, only 7 of them have mines and profession buildings, but that means I also have 7 sets of followers running missions. Lucrative treasure missions. I have all these alts with the ability to go and do quests or pick up treasures.

Now obviously, this takes a great deal of time (about 1.5 hrs a day) to check and “process” all these garrisons. (Process is the phrase I use to describe clearing and resetting missions, gathering resources, and setting work orders.)

Crafting Epics-

I spend a majority of my efforts on alts getting them to the point where they can run work orders and daily crafting cooldowns. This means that every 8-10 days they can craft an epic item, or every 15-18 days craft an upgrade item. These still sell fairly well and consistently make money. Tailors are especially good at this because they can make bags, which always sell, and generally sell very high.

Ore Shuffle –

The ore shuffle is a strange idea that I reserve for “middle managers” because it takes a great deal of time, several professions, and knowledge of the markets to actually make money on.

Currently the ore shuffle is as follows:

Send Ore to your Blacksmith/Jewelcrafter. Make Blue Items. Send blue items to your enchanter – disenchant for dust/shards. Sell dust/shards – or create enchant scrolls and sell those.

Trade Skill Master –

It’s a weird program, but very helpful. Go ahead and download the addon from your chosen addon site and then download the desktop app from TSM’s site. This requires you to sign up for their site, but it’s worth it to use the apps.

I use the Main addon, Accounting, Auction DB, Auctioning, and WoWuction modules. This gives me some tools to list and most importantly – data on the values of items.

Setting up TSM can be a pain. Once you get the addon installed and the desktop app up, you have to set the desktop app up to pull data for your server. Then you have to set up groups inside the game addon to sell your items.

tsm4 tsm3First create an operation. This is located in the third button across the top, labeled options. (It’s the bolts one.)

This let’s you change how you post things. I have a single operation, because I just don’t care that much. It posts for 48 hours, in full stack sizes, with minimum, maximum, and normal prices all based on the data base.

 

 

Next, you need to make groups. This allows you to break all your auctions into sections so you only post certain items at a time. Add them to the group by clicking on the item in the left column and adding to the right. Items can only be in one group at a time. (Again, I am very lazy here. I have one for greens, one for blues and purples, and one for pets. At home I have a fourth for crafting mats.)

 

Now go to the auction house and you will find a ton of new tabs. Select the Auctioning one, select the groups you want to list, and click “Start Post Scan”.tsm2

 

 

 

 

Finally you have to confirm the posts. This screen gives you all the data you need to make a decision about if you should post an item or not.

TSM allows you to post dozens of auctions very quickly, which is vital while running multiple salvage yards.

Rare Item Farming-

There are a few kinds of rare items that can be farmed – but generally I focus on transmog and pets. Specifically in places like AQ20/40 are gold mines for transmog. Having a list or TSM can help identify the items that sell the best. Other good transmog instances are Dire Maul and Molten Core. There is value in raids like Kara, TK, and SSC – if just for the trash and pets.

Be aware of in game holidays and the pets and mounts that can be farmed from it as well. Some are fairly worthless – like Sinister Squashlings – but others are very valuable – like Widget and Birdman.

One final note for middle managers – be sure to watch patch and ptr notes. Track what’s coming so you can prepare and adjust. This is especially vital on expansion and large content patches. I made over 100k the first two weeks of Mists just selling bags to all the new pandas. I spent months before hand buying up netherweave super cheap and just storing it on alts.

These few steps alone put a player into a state of making a few k every day on average. It generally takes more time to do these, but the reward is also greater.

How to Make Gold – For Casuals

Back in December I hit gold cap. 1 million gold.

Of course, I immediately spent 300k of it on mounts and pets, but STILL. I hit the mark. After my 500k expense during MoP, I was fairly sure I wouldn’t hit it before WoD, but even so – I didn’t have far to go when I got there. Of course, now everyone is always asking me:

How did you make your gold?

Well first off, it wasn’t any one thing. I farmed. I bought and re-listed. I ore shuffled. I crafted epics. I lucked out on some pets. I did dailies. It was a huge blend of things. There is always gold to be made, no matter the scale or play-style.

But this post is some ideas. It assumes several things – 1. You have one toon. Every alt will increase your gold making. But let’s just assume you have the one.

How would I recommend people make gold?

First and foremost – get thee to a level 3 garrison. Garrisons are an absolute gold mine. Get the mine and herb garden up and running, then make sure to process them every day. Start your work orders running on both those buildings, and get them to level 2. Then to level 3 asap.

Next on the Garrison front, go to Spires of Arak and get the pattern for a salvage yard. You’re going to be activating missions every day anyway, might as well make some gold off it. For your other two small plots, either grab your specific profession buildings or an enchanting hut.

Pick up the Inn and the Barn while you are at it. The inn gives you treasure missions, which – while I would argue Blizzard’s use of the term “lucrative” – are missions that just give gold. Once you get all your followers to Epic 100, these missions are vital to have things to send your followers on. The Barn, at level 3, allows for the farming of Savage Bloods. Don’t discount the fur and leather though, both will still sell consistently.

At level 3 your garrison should be giving you substantial amounts of herbs, ore, and salvage bags. When you open the bags, you will get BoE greens/blues/epics and crafting mats. Keep the crafting mats for your professions (you should have at least one that makes epic items) and list the rest on the AH. You want to have some form of addon for telling you the “market price” for an item. I use TSM and will have a second post about how to set it up and use it. The reason I say you “want” this is because of a few things. Most of the items from the salvage yard are actually fairly worthless, but that’s why I suggest the enchanting hut. This hut allows the disenchanting of items, even if you aren’t an enchanter. (Ideally though, you would have a max level alt who is an enchanter – especially if you have two other crafting professions and want those buildings for the dailies.) With all the things from the salvage yard – check it’s vendor cost vs the market cost vs the disenchant cost. These are the three things you will need to weigh to decide if you should vendor, list, or dust an item. Everyone’s breakpoints will be different (for example I won’t list anything that’s under 100g, I will dust or vendor it.) But remember to consider that enchanting mats always sell faster than greens. Greens can take re-listing several times before they sell, while mats rarely take more than 1 or 2 listings to sell. Never list something that isn’t selling for at least twice it’s vendor price.

Some people like to discount the herbs and ores from their garrison as “not worth it” because it doesn’t sell as well as herbs and ore did in the past. These items rarely go below 50s each (so 100g per stack) on most servers because of the ore shuffle and the amount of them needed for work orders and cooldowns. Remember, every sale is a sale. Even small gains are worth it if they don’t take too much time, and these don’t.

You should have at least one crafting profession and the accompanying building so that you can use work orders and such to work on epic items. If you have no crafting professions (really?) either pick the one that makes gear for your class, or inscription, jewelcrafting, enchanting, or tailoring. Each profession has something good, but those 4 have great stuff for all players, not just specific classes. Inscription allows the crafting of Darkmoon cards which sell fairly well and can be made into trinkets. Jewelcrafting not only lets you craft gems and epics, but also has a daily quest in the garrison building that nets a few hundred gold a day. Enchanting allows for the creation of temporal shards – which sell well and likely will for the duration of the expac – and makes it easy to disenchant things while farming. Tailoring is the last one, and while not the best unless you wear cloth, it does have the upside of making bags. Bags are a commodity that always sells well. If you farm old instances, you will get cloth and mats to make Netherweave, Frostweave, and Embersilk bags, which still sell well and consistently. Hexweave bags sell high and generally on a single listing. If you pick the professions you have or the one that makes your armor, it can still make you money. Once you have your crafted pieces made, use work orders and daily cooldowns to build up stock of the soulbound item. Then either make epics to list on the AH or upgrade items if you are also running a barn for savage bloods. (On my server, this makes sense as the bloods are only 700g each so about 10.5k – and the upgrade items sell for 20k. I make the ones that use the cheap sorcerous mats, not the earth, because those babies sell well.)

Outside of your garrison you should make sure to get Loremaster of Draenor. All those quests give mountains of gold at level 100, and you can sell the quest rewards.

You can also run old raids, both for mounts and pets, but also just to vendor trash and bops. Doing this requires big bags and is easier if you have a vendor mount (both are worthy investments.)

What are the biggest things that keep people from making gold?

Buy NOTHING. Seriously. Don’t buy gear. Don’t buy pets. Don’t BUY. If you need mats for an enchant – farm it. If you want a pet – farm it. Do not spend gold. I had a problem with this, so I actually stored my gold in my bank alt’s guild bank. Every time she had over 6k, I would put all of it but 1k in the bank. This made it a two step process to get it out of the bank and onto my main to spend. Just annoying enough to keep me from doing it.

List everything. So many people don’t realize that every item needs to be considered for sale. When I got my one and only BoE epic from High Maul, I seriously considered selling it. I wasn’t going to equip it simply because I COULD sell it. However I did some research and realized that they were literally the only gloves I could get from High Maul so I put them on. I did list the first FOUR crafted cloth items I made though. Why? Because chances were high I would get something as a drop. Save your gold by listing things instead of equipping them, unless you have really good reason.

Getting lazy. People who admit to already not processing their mine and herb garden complain to me about not having gold. WELL. Go do work! These same people complain when they realize I have two crafted gear pieces at 670. *whine* savage bloods *whine* WELL. I farmed them. I even sold some too. Gold doesn’t just appear. You have to do some work for it.

 

That’s the really easy/casual way to make gold. Doing this you should make at least 200g per day just on garrison salvage, missions, and mats. Runs of Firelands and ICC can get you a few k. Small investments and small returns. Next up, TSM and how to step into more “middle manager” gold making.

When to List What

I complain about the time it takes to list auctions loudly and frequently. (It takes me about 2 hours to list my standard auctions.) When I complain though people always say things like, “That’s why I only list on weekends.” or “Yeah I don’t even bother selling <insert item> anymore.”

These are always the same people who when I drop 100k on a mount or 20k on a pet say things like, “Gah, how do you have so much gold?”

News flash – these two things might be related.

Let’s be clear though, I enjoy making gold. I like having a big pile of it. I like being able to just buy crap instead of farm for it. I would love to have player housing where I could visualize my gold in a big ass pile I could lounge on like Smaug. (Imagine me, transformed into the drake from my legendary staff instead though.) For most players what I do is far too time intensive and inventory management heavy.

But let’s say you want to make gold, and you have a TON of stuff to sell. But you don’t have a ton of time. When should you list things to get the best chance of selling an item? I am firmly on team “List all the things all the time.” BUT if you can only list things at certain times, here are the best times I have found.

*Note – I have not tracked data for this. I am not even sure how I would go about that. These are just observations I have had over the history of playing WoW. Though, it is worth pointing out, I have made over a million gold.

Some items will always sell, no matter when you list them. Herbs, Ore, Enchanting Mats, Savage Bloods, Leather, and Cloth. Generally anything used in professions. These items you should list whenever you have them. The prices on these items will rise and fall over the week, but generally never to an amount that makes it worth holding onto them. I would only put ONE exception to this – never list Saturday afternoon or evening. Weekends are weird times in WoW, and while a ton of stuff sells on weekends, I noticed a distinct dive in cost of profession mats every Saturday afternoon. So much so, I have a phone reminder to go buy cloth during this time.

Epics, enchants, gems, and upgrade items should always be listed on Mondays so they are present all day Tuesday and potentially even re-listed Wednesday. It depends on your time zone and your server “play time”. On my PST server I try to make sure my auctions go up around 6pm on Monday and set them for 48 hours so they last until Wednesday. You ALWAYS want your epics and things that deal with raiding up on Tuesday, for the whole day. I like to take a minute Tuesday night at around 6 just to double check I haven’t been undercut by a ton of people though – and relist anything that has more than 3-4 items listed lower than it. Raiders who are willing to spend money on big items are going to be prepping for raiding on Tuesday or Wednesday. You list on Monday because that is the point where many players are hitting the end of another week without an upgrade. They get antsy and become more willing to drop gold.

Transmog, Mounts, and Pets should be listed as often as you are able, but need to ESPECIALLY be listed so they are up Friday and Saturday. For one, many people play Saturday, and sales are always a bit higher on Saturday and Sunday. If you can list at 5pm on Friday for 48 hours, do it. Not only will more people be on over the weekend, but you are also playing to a thing called “Drunk Shopping” and “Retail Therapy”. Some people love to do both these things, but don’t have the money to do so in real life… so they might in WoW. I also know, just for my own personal gains, these were the days I would look for pets on the AH. I didn’t have anything to do in WoW, and had time to think about going and looking for them.

Finally – two additional tips:

1. It’s always worth taking a second to link in chat during peak hours if you are selling something big – like a mount, rare pet, or 15k+ item. Only link it once, and only say it’s on the AH. Getting into trade chat is a deep hole of time sink and despair.

2. The fire sale. Some people forget that the difference between an item’s value and gold in hand is that you can buy other items with that gold. I have never had someone take me up on an offer to trade several transmog items for a pet or even several pets for a pet. People want gold. An tmog item that I list at 1k gold, isn’t actually 1k gold. It’s just junk I am storing. About once a month, I will slash prices, and list everything for 50-75% of it’s TSM listed value. Always over a weekend, and always over a weekend I think will be a big seller.

How to pick your weekend: Weekends before patches are always good. Weekends after patches are also good. Watch out for real life holidays and avoid them, unless they are bum around the house holidays. (So for goodness sake AVOID the upcoming Valentine’s weekend. Despite what trade may say, a large number of WoW players are older and in relationships. Terrible fire sale weekend.) Do not pick a weekend after a new game comes out (esp a CoD, Elder Scrolls, GTA, or the like.)

TLDR:

  1. Every day – Profession mats.
  2. Monday and Tuesday (maybe Wednesday too, for people who raid late) – Epics, Upgrade items, Gems, enchants
  3. Weekends – Big ticket stuff and Fire Sales.

But in truth, my answer would be – always list. List as much as you can as often as you can. If your stuff isn’t on the AH, people can’t buy it.

 

(Note – this is going to be a part of a series on making gold in WoW. It should be the third, but someone asked for it early, so here it is.)

The Twitters to the Rescue.

So here’s what happened NEXT.

Me:

I see the hotfix note that “Inscription-crafted Warlords trinkets should no longer be able to be upgraded using crystals meant for upgrading Inscription-crafted weapons as this could cause the trinket to end up in a broken state.”

How do I get a non-broken Sandman’s Pouch then so I can use my Molten Tarot?
#6 17 hours ago
Thanks for your reply. Like the previous rep pointed out though, it’s something that needs to be fixed by the devs and that’s why it’s included in a hotfix like this. It will hit everyone at the same time. It’s, unfortunately, not something we can tackle individually.

Thank you so much for your understanding,

Game Master R—

  #7 4 hours ago

Me: 
Except there are multiple people in that thread that WERE helped.

Also, again, please READ what I wrote. The hotfix DOES NOT FIX my problem. It only prevents the problem I have from happening in the future.

I do not understand. It’s not a complex idea – I have a broken trinket that should upgrade, but won’t. Take my broken trinket, and instead give me a non-broken one that I can upgrade. Or take my trinket and my upgrade item and give me the 3 of 3 trinket.

I have a progression raid TONIGHT and after spending a stupid amount of time farming the mats to create and upgrade my trinket TWICE, I should not be forced to use a subpar trinket because of a BUG on Blizzard’s end. We are not talking about some thing I just threw together. This was 2 months worth of work and over 57,000 gold worth of mats.

#8 2 hours ago
Zormothric – Customer Service Representative     

Firstly, let me apologize for the confusion. My name is Madeleine and I took this reigns on this.This is actually a bizarro bug, that should have been fixed for you much earlier!

So thank you for your patience =] I went ahead and handled it for you, so you’ll see on Joyia a 3/3 upgraded Sandman’s Pouch:D

Again, so sorry for the confusion and the delays here, but thank you for hanging in there with us! GOOD LUCK on your raid tonight! Slay some bad guys, and I’ll keep my fingers crossed that you get some sweet loots =]

Have a good one!

 

How did I get from Mr. R who said he couldn’t help me individually to this other GM who handled it?

Twitter.

I made this post: https://twitter.com/EmberDione/status/562723564181528578

Less than an hour later, I hopped onto my toon and there is my lovely trinket. The old busted one and the Molten Tarot was gone. (To be fair, I did get stuck on this idea, because it was the easiest solution that got me the trinket I needed for our raid tonight – but they never suggested anything other than waiting.)

The power of social media is that it’s social. I talk about WoW to excess on my twitter. I am friends with dozens of WoW players on there – if not hundreds. Loudly and vocally complaining about something that is actionable (ie – replace this bugged junk vs this is stupid) will get results. Now I am sure this was the person/persons watching the Blizzard twitter and escalating my ticket. It shouldn’t have NEEDED to go that far, but it did, and they handled it.

So why couldn’t it be handled on the first person instead of the later one? Probably alot of reasons. If they are like other CS setups, the first person who sees your ticket doesn’t actually have the power to do anything. They are tasked with reading it, and then filtering it, by either passing it up the chain, or kicking it back to me. That’s why the first person in the previous post suggested I wait for the hotfix. I bet money they knew the hotfix was hitting soon, and thought that would take care of my problem.

My only problem is with the second guy I talked to. He clearly didn’t read anything I had written. He skimmed, he responded, and he filtered it back to me, instead of stopping to even read my replies. I doubt ANY of them followed the link to the bug report forum, or else they would have seen a list of people who needed help. But his insistence that they didn’t handle this on an individual basis was absurd. There are people in the thread who were helped – and that’s why I asked for that specific resolution. This guy failed at his job. More so, as a GM, your job is to fix problems, that’s literally your job. You help the players fix their problems.

That said, tackle hugs to the person/persons running the Twitter and to the GM who did the thing.

This is unacceptible.

Updated: Follow up post here.

I think it says something that in 9.5 years of playing, I have been forced to contact Blizzard Support more since WoD launched than I ever have before. In fact, prior to this time, I have never had to contact them for an item issue at all. 90% of our contact is me reporting someone for circumventing ignore, which is pretty much me just sending a message and letting them take care of it.

But this time. Oh boy, this time it’s awful.

Back in December, after hitting gold cap, I bought a trinket – Sandman’s Pouch. It’s crafted, and really good, so I decided to splurge and get it for my Warlock. I bought the cards and made the item. (About 7k gold, this will matter later.)

Once I got my scribe up to the point where she could make War Paints, I started saving them to create the upgrade items for this trinket. It takes about 35 days to make both upgrade items.

The mats:

The mats for  Inferno Tarot:
150 X  War Paints
30 X  Sorcerous Water (450g)
15 X  Savage Blood (15000g – at the time of creation)

The mats for  Molten Tarot:
200 X  War Paints
40 X  Sorcerous Earth (1600g)
15 X  Savage Blood (10,500g)

Apparently though, I made a mistake when I made the first upgrade item – you see, there are 4 different upgrade items for scribes to make. Two work for trinkets and two work for weapons. I made the wrong one. That’s stupid, but that was my mistake. What happened next was Blizzard’s fault. I used the Weapon Crystal on my trinket (or I believe I may have, I don’t really remember, that was in December, but it’s plausible, and others seem to think that is what causes the bug.) And it WORKED. It upgraded my trinket to the 655 version. So I went back about doing my thing and continuing on raiding and kicking ass.

Now, here at the end of January, I finally got my war paints to make the second upgrade item. I made sure to find the one that said it upgraded from 655 to 665 (really 670, but they haven’t updated the tooltip.) I made the item. And instantly realized I made the wrong one. Again. I made the weapon one. So after much cursing, I decided to list the wrong one on the auction house, eat the 5k price difference and buy the molten tarot off the auction house. I sent the molten tarot to Joyia, and grumbled a bit, but fine. I would have my upgraded trinket.

“This item cannot be modified.” – That was the message I got when I tried to upgrade my trinket. Uh. NO.

After triple checking, I went to the web and found this thread full of people with the same problem. The first post was over a month ago. A MONTH. (This is also where I found my info on the crystal issue.)

I submitted a ticket, waited my two days and this is the exchange:

My Sandman’s Pouch isn’t upgrading to 670 with the Molten Tarot item. My Sandman’s Pouch is 655 and should be eligible, but instead it says “This item cannot be modified.” I spent 30k on the upgrade item. You need to either give me the 3 of 3 Sandman’s Pouch, or refund all the mats used to make the trinket and both upgrade items.
http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/15700050462?page=2 <— here’s a whole thread of other people having the same issue.
OH, if you do decide to refund the mats to make the trinket and the two upgrade items they need to be sent to my alt, Summerriver on this account because she is the inscriptor that can make it.
Really it would just be easier to take my Molten Tarot, my current sandman’s pouch trinket, and jsut give me the correct 3 of 3 Sandman’s Pouch trinket.

-1 day ago – Adhaglaudock Customer Service Representative     
Hey there -,

We’re currently aware of the Molten Tarot not upgrading trinkets to level 3 as they’re supposed to and are working to get it fixed. Our Quality Assurance team should hopefully get a hotfix for this released soon, if not it will be rolled into the 6.1 patch once released.

As far as the items go, as the trinket was created back in December we won’t be able to return it to the mats as you have used it for over a month. Returning that to the mats would be unfair as you got so much use out of it so far.

In regards to the Molten Taro, as you bought it off of the auction house we will be unable to refund the purchase. All auction house purchases are all sales final and can’t be refunded as we’re unable to reclaim the gold from the other player and if we didn’t we would be hurting the economy by duplicating gold.

So you will need to wait for the hotfix to be released. We’ll get it released as soon as we can though!

Thanks for contacting me and if you need anything else, feel free to let us know!
#4 –  
Please READ what I wrote before responding. Others who have encountered this same problem say that rebuilding the trinket from scratch and upgrading it properly (using the Inferno Tarot and Molten Tarot instead of the Crystal item, which is why it breaks and will not upgrade properly). I am not asking for the mats to sell. I am TRYING to get my trinket I SHOULD have Sandman’s Pouch 3 of 3 upgrades.

Your solution – wait for the patch – is unacceptable. I am in a raiding guild. I have spent a great deal of time farming the mats and gold to make this trinket and upgrade it. Telling me to deal with having a subpar trinket when I should have a better one due to Blizzard’s bug is not an acceptable response.

If you cannot refund me the mats for all three items – the trinket, the inferno tarot, and the molten tarot – while removing the trinket and the molten tarot – then you need to replace the trinket. I have the 2 of 3 version of the trinket and the molten tarot in my bags. Take those, and send me the 3 of 3 version of the trinket.

For those who might not play WoW, let me explain that Trinkets are a high upgrade slot. Even a “small” gain like this could mean 10-20% better performance. That could mean the difference between my guild downing a boss or wiping all night. That could mean the difference in me being on the raid team and not being on the raid team.

The fact that the CSR’s response was “Oh sorry, we are fixing that bug, wait for 6.1!” is absurd. 6.1 could be 2-3 months off! In addition I am now holding a worthless item I bought for 30k gold! The cost of replacing the trinket would be 37k, if I had the materials on hand. All of this because I can’t be assured of a drop off a boss that is equivalent. (The 670 trinket I would need only drops from the last boss of Highmaul on Heroic. Yeah. That’s going to happen any time soon. *eye roll*)

Blizzard has based their end game on running content and grinding for gear. As such the acquisition and use of this gear is the most important part of lasting dedication to playing the game. Asking someone to wait to use an item they have already earned is extremely rude considering the time investment into getting these items is what KEEPS THE GAME RUNNING. Especially when the lack of this item either means another great expenditure of gold or losing their raid spot?

It’s extremely frustrating. The correct response would have been – well honestly back in DECEMBER when this was discovered, rushing a hotfix to prevent the bug from happening in the first place and fixing it on the broken end. As that is apparently not a priority, the GMs correct response should have been, let me check, grab the bad trinket, the Molten Tarot and mail you the correct 3 of 3 trinket. Apologies for the wait.

Mine Mine Mine – Work Work

For once, I read a thing on WoWInsider that I completely disagree with. Like not a little disagree with, but at least think they have a point; this is full on I think they are wrong.

Professions in WoD are not broken. With one *minor* complaint, they are better than they have ever been.

Statement 1: “As the game stands right now, you could never touch professions and you’d miss almost nothing of importance.”

Except for the huge piles of gold and gear. Nope, nothing of importance. Adam makes the statement that all of the crafted gear is easily replaced with LFR drops, and seems to be missing a few steps of logic.

I have run LFR every lockout on my main, Joyia. Not a single piece of gear has dropped. For that matter, I have 23 boss kills across all difficulties and world bosses and I have a grand total of 4 pieces of gear from all of that. I have two from Missions. And I have 3 crafted pieces. The purpose of crafted epics is to upgrade pieces you need that you can’t or haven’t gotten drops for. It’s a way to ease the pain of the random loot system. (Just like valor, which is why I am still cranky that’s gone.)

Why are crafted pieces actually MORE awesome this expansion than others?

First, they are no longer limited to a few slots. In MoP, as a tailor and clothie, I only got to upgrade/replace my legs and belt. But legs and belts were both SUPER common. I sharded multiple ones along the way. I didn’t get shoulders though until literally the LAST Garrosh kill of the expac. And even then only because the priest HANDED them to me because it was so absurd I still didn’t have them. It’s a lot like everyone felt with the cloak drops… they were worthless because everyone was working on the legendary. But now in WoD – if I get a great cloak, leg, and chest drop, I can make epics for 3 other slots! If anything, this has made crafting epics MORE valuable than ever before. As raiding progresses, the prices should stay fairly solid across all pieces too, because there will always be a need for that one piece that just won’t drop for someone.

Second, they can be upgraded. No, it’s not cheap – but then, it really shouldn’t be. Item level (ilvl) points make a much larger difference this expansion than previously. I went up 4 ilvl points and gained over 5k dps. And even at market prices, it’s still cheaper than buying a BoE epic of that ilvl.

No battle pets? What are the Elekk Plushie and the Soul of the Forge then? Chopped liver? And the mounts! My leatherworker is seriously eying her crafted mount instead of leg armor.

Also, the fixes don’t actually *fix* the problem he has detailed. He wants professions to be important. To have something to do with the mountains of ore and herbs he is stockpiling.

Fix 1 – more gear – Um… what professions is HE looking at? Because my tailor HAS a set of level 98 gear that is perfect for gearing up for dungeons. So did my Leatherworker and Blacksmith. It’s about the same as the gear I could get from quests in Nagrand, so really it works. The epics, built off of the daily cooldowns, are the source of steady gold this expansion. I sell at least 2-3 epics a week, each for 10-15k, which is far more than I ever made from blue dungeon gear in MoP.

Fix 2 – eliminate the need for daily cooldowns. First off – this is ALREADY HOW IT IS. My blue tailoring patterns don’t require the daily cooldowns.  Hurm, neither do my leatherworking ones. I bet the blacksmithing ones don’t either. The epic items are the only ones that need the daily cooldowns.

Also he seems to be missing the point entirely. The daily cooldowns are the things DRIVING the work orders in the garrison. They are adding purpose to having the buildings that match your profession. But once more, it’s better than it has ever been before, because you don’t have to have the profession to make an item from it. My rogue can finally make her own gear, without having to drop Engineering or Mining! My mage can make robes without dropping Alchemy and Herbalism! Also, by limiting it to 3 crafted pieces, they ease the entry to raiding, without making dungeon running and early raids completely pointless. No walking in, dropping 100k gold and being decked out in epics.

Fix 3 – the mine and herb garden… So he wants to go back to the dark ages of riding around fighting over nodes? No thank you. Yes, the ore and herb drops the first two weeks (three?) were FAR too high. And unfortunately, many of us built massive stockpiles during that time. But even so, the fact that I can mine my own ore, easily, without having to fight over it, means I have made far more crafted plate than ever. More gems have been cut than ever! I am actually leveling alchemy! These two inclusions have changed the default state of professions from gathering being the professions chosen just for gold making purposes to actually crafting things to use. Which arguably, is the whole point. And oh, the joy of not having to ride all over Draenor since we can’t FLY to get herbs and ore.

But even so, ore and herbs still sell well on the AH. 150g per stack of ore? For almost no work involved in collecting it? 300g per stack of herbs? Sure! As for too much of every material, they give 2-3 per node now. Yes, on level 3 mines and gardens, that adds up to a large amount, but it also cost almost 4k gold to get to that point. And the recipes require large amounts of all of it. My tailor uses 10 flytrap a day. So does my other tailor and leatherworker. I need those gardens to feed that.

People also keep asking for the ability to turn in herbs and ore for Savage Bloods. Um. You sort of can? Sell the herbs and ore to earn gold to buy the bloods? Make epic gear and sell that to buy the bloods? It’s all part of an economy! Or goodness, go and get the barn and farm your own savage bloods (I sell mine for 1k each, which is a steady flow of gold!)

 

This all makes sense. It’s a nice system that allows players to be self sufficient, and make lots of gold. I would even say I am exploiting it – with 5 mines, 3 herb gardens, 2 barns, and six crafters doing profession cooldowns every day. I am crafting more right now than I have in the last three expansions put together. Usually after the first month I am only making bags and gems.

Now. Professions and crafted gear DOES have ONE problem. FUCKING RANDOM STATS. (Sorry, I HATE RANDOM, THE CURSING IN WARRANTED.) It shouldn’t be easier for me to sell an epic on the AH with junk stats to buy the one with stats I do want. Especially with the removing of reforging. And the reroll items? WAY too expensive since you still might get the same bad stats. If anything THOSE are what shouldn’t use the daily cooldown items, and instead should just use massive amounts of regular mats. Actually, that one change would address all of Adam’s issues too, without hurting the way I and others use them.

I disagree Adam, I think as far as gearing and goldmaking, crafting professions are actually important. If anything, herbalism, mining, and skinning have been nerfed to unimportance and are likely going to get replaced for some of my alts, just to be able to make more of the daily cd items. Crafting has leapt into the position of actually being a useful gearing tool instead of something I only use for my main, then never again.

Promoting Better Play

“We’re not above bribing you to be nice to each other. And frankly, neither are you.”

They said this at the BlizzCon they announced Warlords of Draenor at. And I remember thinking… That will be a neat trick. In the words of our tank Xxiv, “You can grief someone at anything, says the guy who was griefed in Journey.” (Journey has no chat, matchmaking etc, you just move through the world with another player. But apparently his match didn’t move. They just stood still.)

As a game designer, I spend most of my time trying to figure out how to convince the player to do what I want them to do, without just flat out telling them. And sometimes with just flat out telling them. It’s funny, because it kind of crosses over into being a parent. How do you get the toddler to do what you want, without forcing them to do it.

As all parents and pet owners know, there is positive and negative reinforcement. Positive is rewarding them for doing what you want. Bonuses, treats, special treatment. Negative is punishing them for doing things you don’t want them to do. Spanking, time outs, etc. Blizzard is pretty good at getting a majority of people to “play” the way they want us to play. They want you to quest instead of grind just killing mobs? Make the quests have better rewards, take less time, and give more experience.

Torgo answered the question “Does WoD promote better play?” and he answered the question from his pov. But the game designer reads that question very differently.

This question is asking a lot of things. And play is a very loaded word for a designer. So I wanted to answer it, with my designer cap on. Play is not just about with other people, but everything you do within the game. other people are going to come into it more because it’s a multiplayer game.

Yes. And oh god no.

I am sure you are all surprised at my dichotomy.

Promoters!

– Garrisons do an AMAZING job of promoting play. People logging in at weird hours and staying up late to check missions, discussing buildings endlessly trying to figure out the best ones, helping with invasions, even working together to get achievements to get the guild banners! Further, they provide a very REAL reward in the form of bonuses, extra gear, extra materials. Very much a positive reinforcement to get us to play and play with all the parts.

– Flexible raid size. Our team of raiders is 15, just within our guild and real life social group. Now 2-3 of those might drop or wander away, but that would still leave us with 12. 12 is an awful number of raiders in the old system. In WoD – no worries. Even so, if you add our partners in crime, we are at potentially 32 raiders. THIRTY.TWO. That’s a ton of players and far beyond what I ever expected us to be at. So many people to play and have fun with. No man or woman left behind!

Non-Promoters!

– Items in dungeons not dropping from the final boss. Oh man… do you know how many times I have gotten into a Shadowmoon Burial Grounds run, the tank has been just terrible… we get to the first quest item and bam – he’s gone? Only to realize he was a dps, who had a tank offspec and used it just to rush to the item? It’s in the double digits already. Even worse – I had to run Grimrail Depot TWICE because I forgot to pick up the quest item off the ground, and even though I had a lockout where I had killed all the bosses, it wouldn’t let me back to that spot. So far actually none of the rumored “incentives” to keep playing together have been clearly communicated. And furthermore I have actually found it MORE difficult to succeed in a group of friends because we don’t get the luck of the draw buff.

– Proving Grounds. These were flawed to begin with. Players don’t really learn about their class in them. They don’t learn how to raid. They don’t learn how to move out of the stupid. All it does it gate the content. And what if my friend I want to drag along on heroics can’t do it? That doesn’t promote play, it promotes frustrated and upset people. This is a heavily negative reinforcer. It’s not good at all in that it makes players feel like crap and like they shouldn’t even be trying to play.

– No Flying. I haven’t done one bit of archeology or farming because oy is it HARD to get around Draenor. It’s very clear they wanted to gate and limit the player’s movement, but did they have to make it SO MUCH in every zone? It’s a very strong reason for why I don’t want to do these parts of the game. I don’t want to use a glider, I want to fly. Fiddly one off mechanics over a system wide ability I paid a great deal of gold for… yeah.

– Melee unfriendly fights. I already know one casualty to the melee unfriendly encounters of Slag Mines and Shadowmoon Burial Grounds. It is only a matter of time before we get into raids and find them there. Too often Blizzard seems to think the answer to making a fight “difficult” or complex is to make it insanely busy. There are a dozen different things to keep track of. And poor melee have to worry about huge swaths of downtime as they move. They have done this to a lesser extent to ranged, by taking away our ability to have some spells cast while moving. This is so negative. Especially for my guild groups, which are melee heavy. We would queue for a dungeon, get halfway through and be unable to complete it, despite having all done it singularly with pugs. The luck of the draw seems to be the deciding factor here, and we all miss it by playing with our friends. Bad choice.

In the end, I think WoD is just as good and just as bad as most expansions at promoting play both alone and in groups.

Warlords of Draenor First Impressions

WoW is a big thing for me, so in preparation for the new expansion, I flew my mother out to watch my toddler, stocked the house with snacks and Coke Zero, and took Thursday and Friday off work.

Here we are, 5 days later and I have a level 100 warlock, a level 92 monk, and a level 90 priest in her garrison. What do I think of WoD?

Amazing

Garrisons. I have my laptop set up at work so I can pop over and check mine before work, during lunch, and during break. At 8am, a time no one in my guild ever plays, there were 7 people on, checking before going to work. I have been moving characters into Draenor just to get to the garrison and start stockpiling resources.

Story. Holy cow. I really can’t say much without giving away spoilers but PALADIN TAUREN.

Good

Bonus objectives. The bonus objective areas are interesting and a clever way of having areas that are just “kill the things” without having those quests. I am a bit disappointed I can only do them once.

Rares and treasures. Once more we have brought back the MoP treasures idea and I really like it. It gives me a good reason to go poke my nose around in all the nooks and crannies of the expac.

Bad

Garrison dailies – the “strategic” ones. Could these be any LESS explanatory? They don’t give you any information about what you need to do. It turned into a cascade of people asking in guild what to do for the quest as the day went on.

Inn Quests – These are awesome, but it makes the inn feel very mandatory. As does the Stable. As does the Trading Post… In fact, it just feels like every building is fairly vital. Are they planning on expanding garrison? I deeply would like to have more of the buildings and I hate feeling like I have to choose between one content and another.

Outpost stuff – I was unaware how important some of those choices were. And now I find out it’s 10k gold to change them? OOF.

Ugly

No flight at 100. I decided to go do the daily in Spires of Arak yesterday and it took me 20 minutes to find my way there. Once I got there (after dying from fall damage) I was greeted by a few HUNDRED people all trying to do the same daily. 20 minutes later, I gave up and went back to my garrison, with 10% of the daily complete. This is NOT how I want to spend an hour of my game time.

Follower Mission Levels. These scale based on the player level, not the follower level. Which means my blitz to 100 has led to me having a ton of low level followers with no ability to level them. (Edit – they fixed this.)