“Almost all quality improvement comes via simplification of design, manufacturing… layout, processes, and procedures.”
Fixing Legion: Patch 7.1.5
There is a term called “the step back” in stand-up comedy. That is when you have the audience rolling along, having fun and then you tell a joke that goes just a little too far. The audience “steps back” and you’ve lost them. Deadly, the show might as well be over.
I am seeing and you are seeing and surely Blizzard is seeing a game-wide “step back”. Players are shutting down, deciding to not follow the path, to play “for fun”, pulling away from that that massive engine running down the track. Blizzard needs to move and move fast but I think bolstering and balancing classes isn’t really the reason. Players are (mostly) happy with their mechanics.
You can read yesterday’s defending statement right here from Blizzard in the forums. Telling us to relax, we are in good hands.
The Big Problem:
Legion is a big complex inter-woven monstrosity and is groaning from it’s own weight. I have several quests in my log that will take months to complete; all completed through continuous raiding and dungeons. An 80 dungeon quest is bad design, any sane player would step back from it; or, if at 12/80 – never drop it but let it ride in the log for a year.
It is clear the designers (Watcher at the lead) want us to run and run raids and dungeons; every step of “progress” through the game demands dungeon and raid runs. Muffinus, a great guy, keeps asking us what incentives would keep us going (the universal answer is Artifact Power, but that’s another topic).
Facing RNG that feels defeating instead of rewarding, the design concept appears to be flawed. Passing all progress though group play with zero guild rewards is demoralizing. Making “game friends” without taking the Battle Tag friend step and being ever pursued is difficult as we rely on third-party communications which has grown: Discord, Curse, B-net, Mumble, Team Speak, Ventrilo and more.
We are buried under the weight of the design! Players are stepping back, too much is being asked of them. Maybe I’ll go for a fishing achievement instead.
The Leading Edge of the wave is happy; the millions who follow are falling behind. A “catch up” mechanic like gearing everyone up in a new zone or dungeon for the next raid won’t cut it this time.
- Make Trash Be Trash. The trash mobs used to be fun and a chance to display our power and make them melt. They don’t melt, they have mechanics that can kill you and they take f-o-r-e-v-e-r. If they are how they are because of Mythic Plus timers, reduce the trash health and reduce the timers.
The current trash makes the game a job and not fun. Bosses are fun. Trash is not fun.
- Failed Loot Rolls and Bonus Rolls Should Reward Artifact Power. Watcher has admitted it, the fail reward of “gold and gold” is depressing after a 13 minute fight. Fix it, you know the answer.
- Boost Satchels. I have done at least 20 satchel runs and the reward sucks. You get one badge for 1200 AP, 800g and an Augment Rune. I don’t need the gold, I give away the Runes because I have so many and the single AP badge is not enough.
Make it worth it and you’ll speed up cues and get players who want to get the job done. Historically they’ve rewarded rare mounts and pets and flasks — get back on board the Satchel Train, baby.
- Alternate Reward Systems. Let the 80 shards, 1000 essences, 30 tokens needed for these quests also drop from World Quests and World Bosses; forcing it through a daily dungeon or weekly raid (again) is bad design.
- Alternate Profession Solutions. If we can get Blizzard to admit that they have over-designed Legion, perhaps we could get recipes and mats without cuing for a specific dungeon (deadly, at least a 30 minute wait). A dungeon boss drop and then also, maybe, a rare mob in a zone; or a rare mob, fish, skin, node, quest.
The design is trying to pace the players to arrive at the next patch cycle and it is not working.
Balancing classes and adding content is great and necessary. Even with friends, it is the same dungeon over and over; make the fun part Fun with Challenges and the necessary trash be speedy. Get us through it so we can move on, don’t make us drag a three month quest in our logs.
Back off on the design — let us change Talents on the fly, for example. No need to be stubborn when your audience has stepped back.
Blizzard knows what they are doing mechanically. Their philosophy is failing them and I fear they won’t see the forest for the trees. They can balance, fix, boost and give out mounts but if they won’t see or admit that their huge machine is groaning under it’s own weight — players will step back or stop playing.