Tag Archives: Rarity

Removing Content from a Live Game is Shitty Design

Actually, I suppose I could remove “from a live game” and the statement would still be true. But devs of “non-live” games don’t really mess with their games after launch other than bug patches, and maybe DLC – but I can’t think of a single time someone removed something.

Live games are games that constantly update. Content patches and expansions. New things all the time. They are games you never finish and are more like hobbies.

There are 12 classes. There are 36 specs. There are 24 appearances per artifact. That means there are 864 artifact appearances. (Holy shit, that’s a FUCK TON of art. That’s YEARS worth of work on art. Like – if they did ONE a week for a year – that would take 16 artists a year. Counting Holiday weeks. At 5-6 yr art veteran pay average (85k) – that’s 1.4 MILLION DOLLARS worth of art. And that’s a severe lowball for just modeling – that doesn’t take into account concept, vfx, sfx, programming, rigging, animating… Holy shit guys, they probably spent 5 million on artifacts easy. And before people say “Oh but 5/6th of the appearances are just texture swaps…” Textures take a shit ton of time. Especially in WoW – since the textures carry a large portion of the artistic weight.)

My mind is still reeling from that staggering amount of time and money spent on making these appearances, which overrides any of my other arguments for why they shouldn’t be removed. Only the Joker would light 5 million dollars on fire just to keep it out of other people’s hands.

Woof. OKAY. Moving back to my original points and statement.

There is never a good reason to remove content. Seriously. Give me one. It’s already been made, paid for, tested, and shipped. People have played it. Some people love it, some people hate, a large majority are meh on it. It’s done. What is the benefit of removing content?

How about the reasons for not removing it?

  1. People who missed it – can get it later. Check out my post about Exclusives – I know it’s about buying stuff at conventions – but the same ideas apply. You can’t be assured everyone has the time to play every aspect of a game in a limited time frame.
  2. Everyone paid for the game. Now only a selection portion is getting the whole game despite paying the same amount. (See this post.) The idea that only certain people who “work for it” is elitist and selfish. Those who work for it first, get it first. Players who come along after should still have to work for it (and they do) but they shouldn’t miss out because they prioritized Family Familiar instead of PVP.
  3. Oh and as always – rarity in WoW is bullshit and not real.

Also – let’s take into account that unlocking all of these appearances is individual. So – for example – the PVP ones require 12 pvp prestiges. From what I have dug up, it looks like this is per character. Not per account. And according to one enterprising WoWhead commenters – takes 45 weeks doing the PVP world quests every 6 hours, every day. So, that’s about 12 years right there. Or literally not having a job, family, sleep, or anything else to do. The expansion will likely last two years. So. You get two. Which two do you want? My immediate reaction to this – what’s the fucking point?

I want to collect things in WoW. I collect pets, mounts, transmog. I get Loremaster and achievements. I like PLAYING the game. I don’t like feeling like it’s a JOB with a deadline. I’ve already missed out on things – the ZA bear which all 9 of my guildies got but I missed out on, the MoP phoenixes, the MoP battle pet, the Naxx mounts, the Tiger Mount, titles, Ateish… Each item is on a list on my heart. Each one is a blue sphere of sadness. And those blue spheres, they are starting to add up. They are outnumbering the yellow sphere’s of joy.

Why bother when I can go play Persona 5? It’s 100s of hours of gameplay with new game plus. Breath of the Wild, I have played over 100 hours and barely scratched the surface. I kinda want to go back and play Skyrim too. And these games don’t punish me for having a job, child, and hobbies other than it.

If I pay for a game, then the content gets repeatedly removed before I have a chance to get it – is Blizzard just taking my money, calling me a shitty casual, and taking away the toy I paid for? That’s a pretty abusive and toxic attitude to take towards someone who has literally spent thousands of dollars on the game, thousands more on merch, recruited over 20 players, brought back over 20 players, and supported websites, fan artists, and all manner of extra-game things.

Further – those people I try to recruit or bring back – I have lost 4 of them to them seeing a thing, thinking it was beautiful/amazing – then finding out they can’t get it, getting bummed out and just giving up.

Why keep playing if I am just going to keep missing out? Fear of Missing Out only works if I care about missing a thing AND HAVE THE ABILITY TO GET THE THING THROUGH NORMAL PLAY. These grinds and achievements, especially when multiplied across alts, are not normal play. It’s unhealthy play, that does not take into a positive work/game/life balance.

The only thing that will kill WoW, is WoW, and right now, it’s doing a pretty damn good job of it. If I walk away, it effectively pulls the plug on 5 accounts. (3 are mine, one for my boyfriend, and a final one from at least one person I know who only plays WoW because of me.) But even worse, it means the next time I get all excited for a patch or expansion and talk about it, those 5-10 people I am friends with who occasionally re-sub because I am talking about it and they get interested, they won’t.

Casuals are the lifeblood of this game. They are the ones who carry the game between content lulls. They pay more than the bleeding edge mythic assholes who demand special treatment. Cater to one, not the other. Removing content because of some arbitrary deadline is catering to people who require feeling Elite and superior and actively punishing the players who are the larger base of support.

“So you’re paying to wait in line to buy stuff?”

So this year, Blizzard is doing yet another new thing with their Virtual Ticket: Allowing the purchase of the Goodie Bag.

And oh, the grumping that started. So let’s break this down and really consider what’s going on here.

First off, the goodie bag in question has traditionally been the domain of those who attend BlizzCon. You pick up your badge and goodie bag the day before (or day of) and it’s filled with a half dozen or so things you can ONLY get in that bag at BlizzCon. But this year, those who buy the Virtual Ticket ($40) will get the option to purchase the goodie bag. We don’t know in quantities or how much, so for this exercise, let’s assume it’s ~$100 with shipping, and you can only purchase One per virtual ticket.

Why people are happy: They get the chance to buy the goodie bag, even if they aren’t going to BlizzCon in person.

Why people are upset: The goody bag is chock full of exclusives and those attending in person are grumpy their exclusive isn’t so exclusive anymore.

Both sides have valid points. Those who can’t attend are getting the chance at something they wouldn’t otherwise. They can get the loot, and have a cute little murloc or whatever figure, which they wanted, without having to travel to Anahiem. They are fans too. Just maybe not with lots of money, ability to travel, or vacation time. For those who can attend, it IS nice to get something that is exclusive. It’s nice to feel like you have something special, that you have shown your dedication and gotten a reward.

This all breaks down though, when you see the arguments from an empathetic view. First off, assuming people who “really want” the goodie bag had the chance to get one. Well, no, they didn’t. I tried to buy BlizzCon tickets for 2 years, failing both times, and finally got to go when I won a contest. The fact that not everyone who wants to and can go – gets to go is the first point where this shows that the exclusive is a “feel bad”, meaning something that makes people feel crappy for no good reason. If I want to go, but lose the “spawn in at a low number” on the website attempt, I already feel like crap because I can’t be there in person, but on top of that, I am denied exclusives I WOULD have had to the chance to get (and likely would have). It would be very different if even up to the week before there were still tickets available and people could go.

Now, take a moment to consider those who CAN’T attend. Here are some reasons of people *I* personally know who would LIKE to go to BlizzCon and can’t.

  • It’s always the first weekend in Nov, the same weekend as their mother’s birthday.
  • They have 4 kids, and no one to watch them for a weekend.
  • They can’t afford the ticket, airfare, and hotel.
  • They have severe anxiety issues and being in a convention center with that many people would be damaging to their health.
  • They cannot walk, so things like Cons are very taxing on their physical abilities.
  • They are immuno-compromised and a convention is pretty much asking to die.
  • They only get so many vacation/sick days per year.
  • Their spouse doesn’t like Blizzard games and they don’t wish to travel alone.

A more heartless person would say – oh well – but really, that is a very privileged (and in some of these instances Able-ist) view to take. Especially considering, what are we talking about here? $100 worth of chochkies and such? Does someone else having an item you have lower it’s value to you? If something’s uniqueness is all that matters, better to pass up that thing that over 6k other people have and craft something of your own that is truly unique!

The *only* true affect this would have one someone who attends the con is that it lowers the resale value of their goodie bag. Ah, so now we see a real reason. The only avenue people who can’t attend the con have of getting something from these bags if they really want it is eBay. (Or some other resale method, but let’s use eBay for ease of understanding.) My first time to BlizzCon someone said they “paid” for their ticket and trip every year just by selling the stuff from the goodie bag (this was during the statues time, not the Funko Pop time). I remember looking at him horrified at the concept of being willing to part with it. My last BlizzCon, I heard someone talking about how they bought a box of the pins, just so they could sell them on eBay and make a buck. They proceeded to talk about how much money they were going to make off all of us “nerds”. I got the impression they didn’t come to the con for the event, but rather to buy things to resell.

It’s also worth noting the people who attend in person are getting exclusives that will never be able to be replicated on the virtual ticket – meeting people, meeting devs, selfies with statues, the rush of being there, the demo stations, anniversary beer, seeing the movie trailer, etc.

What is the point of convention exclusives? To point to my title, someone once made that comment about Comic Con. At the time – I didn’t really get it, until I had to wait in like 3 hours at PAX to buy a t-shirt, only to get up to the booth and they were sold out.

It is absurd. To pay a few hundred dollars on a ticket, a few hundred more on a plane ticket, then a few hundred more on a hotel, for the CHANCE (if they don’t sell out, or you don’t have time) to spend even MORE money on an item? Talk about a racket! Especially since the only other way to get many of these items is to go to eBay and pay 2-5x the standard price.

Personally, I think convention exclusives are a terrible idea and should be completely removed. Yes, the idea of getting something exclusive is fun, but at what cost? Instead of seeing and talking to artists, you spend a weekend waiting in line. Instead of watching panels, sitting in line. Instead of playing demos, sitting in line. It turns a convention from a place to gather with thousands of others and geek out over something to a really expensive version of Black Friday.

Someone brought up the point that they liked exclusives because it was a thing to show that person had been there, and experienced it. But… it’s not. By that logic, I have been to 3 Comic Cons, 4 Emerald City Comic Cons, and no Wonder Cons. When really I have never been to the first two, and to the third one once! I used to agree with this stance, until the year I missed out on my PAX prime t-shirt because they ran out the first day. Instead, I have given an awful lot of money to people on eBay for my alternate Funkos, my one off prints of t-shirts, and my Blizzard stuffed animals.

When it comes down to exclusives – there are two potential ways it could turn out for me:

1. I get a thing I want, and I feel happy. There is a minor “addition” to this happiness with the feeling that something is rare.

2. I feel like crap because I didn’t get the thing I wanted.

Does the offset of the “rare” addition make up for the knowledge that someone else feels the second? If I had to pick, I would rather feel the first, without the rare bonus feeling than the second, ever. Hands down. More than that, I would prefer that Blizzard, and it’s artists/devs get the money for me wanting to buy a thing as opposed to some reseller.

The concept of wanting something that no one else has is a selfish one. To be clear, it’s not inherently BAD. It doesn’t make you a bad person. There are many instances when being selfish is not only a good choice – but also the right one. But that doesn’t make you exempt from people calling it out as selfish. It’s also the moment to take a look at how having that thing from the goody bag really makes you feel. Is it having the thing itself that makes you feel awesome, or knowing that no one else has it? If it’s more the second than the first, that is a thing to consider and perhaps decide if that’s a feeling you are okay with having.

All of this, for me, is not just limited to things bought at Conventions, but even in game. I HATE that I don’t have Murky and likely never will. I am one of those nut jobs that spent $2600 on the Vanilla Collectors Edition and if TOMORROW they announced that they were making those 3 pets available my response would be “Oh thank goodness.” I would rather EVERYONE have something than be one of the people who wants something but can’t get it because it’s intended to be “rare”. I’d much rather have mounts and achievements never go away (and pets, not to leave out the Vampiric Batling) and let the dates of those achievements stand for themselves. (Or just have the separate Feat of Strength with the “Ahead of the Curve” name, that rewards nothing other than the ability to say you did it when it was “hard”.)

While I am on the subject though, can we have the statues back instead of the Funkos? I mean, I love Funkos but STILL. Oh and maybe “themed” bags? Not to *raspberry* Starcraft or Orcs, but I would much rather get something with one of the ladies or Tyrael than Diablo or yet another Thrall. *thumps her mega blocks Thrall across the office*