Where can I stick this filter?

As Wrath of the Lich King slowly approaches, every beta build change brings a new wave of beta testers flooding the internet with info about the latest tiny tweaks.

I see various different opinions around the blogosphere about how good or bad this is, and I wanted to share with you my own personal outlook on the subject. I thought some of you might be interested, since if you know where I stand on it, then you will know what to expect from my blog over the next few months.

Sound fair?

Wrath of the Lich King is not released. The version of the expansion people are playing now is not complete. Some people may not realise this.

In many betas I have played in the past, the alpha build was for internal testing only. During the alpha phase, content was developed, incorporated, and playtested.

Once all bugs and content and balancing were complete through internal playtesting and analysis, a beta phase would begin. During a beta, if people outside the company were recruited to help, it was normally to try and catch the more obscure, itsy bitsy little bugs that the internal testing did not catch.

Things like driver or hardware related issues in the real world, a result of people using computer platforms with massively varied technical specs.

Or things like data communication code streamlining or server load stress when a large number of people are all playing at once.

So people used to be able to expect that, if they were invited to ‘beta test’ an application, they were seeing a very nearly final and complete version of the software, including all content, that only required a last polish and fine tune before going into release.

Do you remember those days?

Welcome to the real world, buddy. Those days are long gone.

In the Wrath of the Lich King beta, and in most other beta testing for MMOs these days, content is NOT complete. In many cases, what you are seeing is just the faintest first idea of a developer, who is trying out new ideas to see what community reaction will be.

Many things done to classes, while part of an overall plan, may be implemented in various phases of the build process.

‘Build process’? Yes, that’s right. See, they are making the game AS YOU ARE PLAYING IT.

So those things that make the Warlock class so OP’ed compared to everyone else, that the beta testers are imploding over? Well, while it may look like, if they let that go unchanged as is, the Warlock will be the new king of whatever, the designers may have a similar level of capability intended to be added to the other classes to balance it out… but they just haven’t coded that yet.

So what you are playing is not complete. The things incorporated in the build you are playing may not only be wildly different from what will finally be released, but may also only represent a small portion of what will someday come out, and the other classes that have no counter may have them planned, you just haven’t seem them release it yet.

Please understand, I’m not making a judgment call on this. For a single player game I think the full internal testing is the way to go, but for a game with a massive community, having feedback on content and balance, if listened to, might (or might not) vastly improve the final release.

No, my point with recapping this, is to point out that, in my opinion, seriously analyzing class changes, new abilities, new talents, class mechanics or anything else related to how a class will play, especially when compared to other classes, is worthless effort on blogs at the moment.

A week or two before the suspected release? When people are playing in what is believed to be the final build? Okay, now there is information that will be of great value. But not before.

The place for such early discussion is in the official WoW Beta forums, where playtesters are asked to give feedback concerning what they are playing directly to Blizzard. And they really don’t need my opinions on the stuff… since I’m not the one playing it.

There is a place for speculation, sure. I enjoy looking at stuff and speculating on where it may end up as much as the next person. But I’m not going to make the mistake of thinking that what is seen NOW is in any way something to get all worked up over. And I’m not going to analyze what the stuff we see now means for our gaming experience.

Beta is beta, live is live.

So, what is my opinion on posting beta stuff?

I think posting about where a current classes’ abilities are in the beta, and then speculating on where they might be headed with it, what their design philosophy seems to be, the WHY of where they seem to be headed with the changes they are making, is appropriate to talk about. A lot of good ideas and fun can come out of such idle speculation. Making assumptions on balance or fairness or usefulness, or comparing those abilities to what another class is getting and whining about it, however, ain’t.

I think that talking about items that we have seen released into the beta so far, whether from drops or from crafting professions, and then speculating about what those items may indicate about the neat stuff we will get, or what we could do with them, is appropriate. We can imagine those items in our current game and get excited, or bored. 

And I think that discussing instances and areas, zones and story-based information is completely bullshit without a massive spoiler warning at the top of the post, followed by a ‘read after this for more, warning, may reduce your enjoyment of the final game’.

I do not want to know about the zones. I do not want to read a walkthrough of the new areas, the new cities, and most especially I do not give a flying f*&^ about how much fun YOU had discovering these areas for the first time, as you describe the areas and things you have discovered in such detail that you seem to be trying to take that joy from ME.

If you are in the beta, and you are exploring and discovering new things, and it is exciting you and you are having an awesome time experiencing all this cool stuff for the very first time… seeing the story unfold and the areas brought to life before your very eyes, and you feel wonder and the joy of being an explorer…

Why in the hell do you think I want you to steal that joy from me? Are you somehow more special than anyone else, and only you should get to enjoy seeing it for the first time in the actual game?

I don’t know about anyone else, but when I am watching a movie, a TV show, or reading a book, I don’t mind knowing a little about the characters, what skills or background they start the story with. I don’t mind knowing enough of the start of the story to whet my desire for more, and I don’t mind someone telling me ‘oh, you’re gonna love that, the way they did some of the fights are awesome’, or ‘oh, you’re going to see Highlander for the first time? God, the scenes from Scotland are just gorgeously lush and beautiful, and the fights kick ass’.

That’s fine.

However, I do not need you to tell me, seconds before I go out the door to watch ‘The Matrix’ in the theater, that boy you really loved the movie, the movie was great, the rush you felt the first time you realized that in the movie people who live in our ‘reality’ are really living in a virtual reality and are just living batteries plugged into a system controlled by artificial intelligence machine gods, and the story revolves around a young computer hacker living inside the system that gets cut out by revolutionaries living outside the machine controlled matrix, who are looking for a living hacker god. Wow, you loved that movie, it was great, the suspense of what would happen when Neo took that pill and was jacked out of the virtual reality into the gritty real world… boy, you’re gonna love that movie.

You know what? Some things I’d like to find out for myself. And while I can understand your enthusiasm, your desire to share with someone else the joy and wonder you felt when the truth was revealed to you… if you TELL me ahead of time every single little thing, it reduces the impact of the real thing. In some cases, by a LOT.

So on this blog, you will find me occasionally talk about neat things I’ve seen posted somewhere, cool new gadgets from professions, interesting sounding talents or abilities and what they might mean…

But you ain’t gonna get a single damn story spoiler. No zone discussion. No questline discussion.

I’ll tell you gladly about bear mounts and engineering motorcycles. I’ll proclaim my glee that we will get Glyphs that change how we look.

Those things, I think, aren’t spoiling anything for anyone. I could be wrong.

When the time comes, I will begin to look at how the class seems to have finalyzed, what our talents and spells are loking like, what talent specs look interesting for actual use, what Glyphs seem to look the most beneficial from what is available, and what gear or reputations look like the most advantageous.

And after release, I am sure I will talk about neat stuff I have seen, as I see it, in the live build. I’ll talk about fun in instances, and about getting lost in Northrend and getting eaten by a grue.

I’ll talk about it… once everyone has at least had the opportunity to do it for themselves.

It’s like Magisters Terrace. I tralked about some of the stuff that could drop in there before the release of teh content, but I didn’t really talk about the fights or my experiences until I figured most folks that wanted to would have had the chance to go in.

I hope that other bloggers don’t take this as an attack on how they post. It’s really not. No, not even you, whoever you are, that posted about WotLK class changes. Seriously. I know what I’m thinking of, and it ain’t you. Chances are good I really like your blog. No, really. Relax.

It is, however, written while thinking about how some large news sites I read regularly seem to have dropped talking about the current game entirely, and seem to think that what everyone wants is to know everything, and I mean everything, to the smallest detail, about WotLK well in advance, even going so far as to speculate on how imbalanced certain builds or talents are. 

And that’s fine, I think that most readers DO want that. A ton of people want to go in knowing everything they can, and I can appreciate that. I certainly like to know as much as possible about my class, my gear, my talents and where I can go romp around and have fun. 

But it’s not what I want to read right now, not until I can be going and doing those things for myself. Once the game is live, and anything you show me or talk about is something I too can be enjoying, well, then I will be fine with it. Until then, I’ve stopped going to those sites. I just don’t need to have my fun spoiled for me. I still play the game for fun, after all.

And hopefully now you folks have some idea of what you will, or will nto be seeing here.

Expect me to gush about new Engineering gun recipes, or the motorcycle with sidecar, etc, but don’t expect me to compare how feral Catform DPS is scaling in comparison to sword-specced Combat Rogues in the latest build.

Sound fair?

29 thoughts on “Where can I stick this filter?

  1. You know what, BBB? I’m going just start linking your articles at the Aerie, then post the following:

    “What B^3 said…but in about half the space.”



  2. Amen to that. I knew I couldn’t be the only one who felt like this. I’ve had to stop reading WoW Insider because they have picture spoilers on the main page every single day. I don’t want my first look at Stormwind harbour to be a screenshot, I want it to be in Stormwind! Fine, host a gallery, but hide it behind a spoiler.

    aaaanyway, good to know I’ll be able to read your blog and not have to worry.


  3. “Oh, yeah. One more thing. Anyone seen a flying anvil mount fer blacksmiths yet?”

    What do us leatherworkers get then? Flying animal carcasses?

    I’ll admit, I keep track of all the changes to druid talents and such. I just find it interesting, even if it’s all subject to change. I’ve also been looking at gear and loot lists a bit, since the current bliz philosophy is to have us tank in rogue gear…who knows how that will work.

    But as far as what everything looks like? What zone is what? I won’t touch it. I want the same experience I had walking through the dark portal the first time and seeing HFP. I swear, I think I stared at the outland sky for 10 minutes straight. I want to enter the first dungeon and ooh and aah at all the bosses, just like I did in ramps. I’m really looking forward to wrath, partly because when I started wow, BC had just been released, and by the time I was 70, most of it was old news. This time around, I want to be one of the ones trying new content.

    Well, sorta new content that’s been around on beta for a few months. Ya know what I mean.


  4. Originally, I was thinking of posting various screenies and maybe some videos of the new zones from beta. But I ended up deciding that when all’s said and done, that’s not really fair. So I’m writing all my beta information down in the form of in-character letters to Its’ parents. Hopefully, that should be enough indirection to let me talk about cool stuff without actually spoiling the surprise.

    Plus, I got to set fire to Tiddles’ tail, which I can only imagine being hilarious. 😀


  5. Argh makes me feel even worse that I couldn’t get the ‘more’ filter to work in feed readers on my recent post… 😦 The reason being…. I totally agree with you – I don’t want to spoil anyones fun and I don’t believe in looking in depth at class balance and changes in the beta.

    I’m having fun looking at abilities and new stuff and not posting much about the beta because I remember, way back, when I walked into Terrokkar, along a long windy path and saw Shattrath for this first time. Nothing could have prepared me for that moment and it would have been sad if someone had taken it away from me.

    I am a bit… miffed at the people in my guild who’re decrying loot, class mechanics, instances etc…. when it’s all a work in progress. Confuses me to hell, though I do play a little with ‘oh this ability would be cool in x situation’.

    “some large news sites I read regularly seem to have dropped talking about the current game entirely, and seem to think that what everyone wants is to know everything, and I mean everything, to the smallest detail, about WotLK well in advance, even going so far as to speculate on how imbalanced certain builds or talents are. ”

    This is getting a bit tiring for me too, to be honest… It’s sometimes easier to find out about what’s going on in the beta from reading such sites than… actually playing the beta.



  6. Wall of text indeed, I think I only read about 1/4 of that… ugh. Sorry man.

    It certainly seems you’re directing this at WoWInsider, and I have to agree on that front. They’ve been struggling to find things to talk about for some time now, and all this wrath info is pure gold for them. Why would they pass it up? In their grasping for things to talk about, they’re going to be dumping spoilers all over the floor without warning… my only advice is to just plain not read their stuff till Wrath comes out… if you can.


  7. I’m more in the curiosity is about to kill the cat mode myself, though the aspect of the beta which interests me more than nitty-gritty details and individual specs is how the devs want to evolve roles and group / class dynamics.

    Trying to get a peek into the class designers’ minds and trying to, by extension, to anticipate what impact it will have on the larger picture with 10 more levels, that’s my kind of dope. I just hope I’m not losing too many readers because I rave about these things 🙂

    That being said, the only two things which made me chuckle in Armageddon were playing golf from the oil rig to the treehugger ship, and the written sentence “65 million years later…” after the short dinosaur extinction intro.


  8. I personally don’t care about spoilers but I am personally (and likely one of the few) getting tired of “Wrath this” and “Wrath that” and “I got into beta” “check this out from beta”. That honestly I’m skimming past over half the feeds in my reader these days.


  9. By the way, before this gets out of hand…

    perhpas, after being crit by the wall of text, you missed me saying this;

    “And that’s fine, I think that most readers DO want that. A ton of people want to go in knowing everything they can, and I can appreciate that.”

    I’m saying that I don’t personally want to read a lot of what’s being posted, not that NOBODY wants to read it. I think that most people DO want to read it. AS Felkan said, he doesn’t care about story spoilers.

    I see a ton of stuff, mostly screenshots and movies, that either have no warning about spoilers, or are thrown up right next to the warning instead of behind a break or ‘more’ tag.

    It’s not like I’m saying to use the Ain’t It Cool News patent pending ‘inviso-text’ spoiler hider… just make sure when I visit your massive news site, that if I choose not to read spoilers, I get teh choice.

    I will say, it’s my understanding that one of the news sites that was mentioned by readers, WoW Insider, IS trying to create a ‘No WotLK news’ feed specifically for people that don’t want spoilers. They are going to those lengths to try and please their readers.

    For me, I think I’ve made my position clear. You can come here safe and secure in the knowledge that my boring ass will not be plastering huge screenshots of my buddy Melpos’ trek in the Beta, called ‘Northrend: The Visual Odyssey’, right on the front page.


  10. Oooh, and I got another one…

    in The Shining?

    The hotel? It’s actually haunted by GHOSTS.


    I know!

    You thought it was all a techno-thriller involving soviet spies, or aliens, or hallucinations from military biological warfare experiments, but nope!



  11. Oh yeah? OH YEAH?!?

    Well, just for that… did you know in “Armegeddon”, the asteroid DOESN’T destroy the Earth? That’s right! The good guys win! Hah!

    That movie was worth watching, to me, just to hear Ben Affleck say “It’s all fun and games until someone gets shot in the leg.”

    Well, and to see the whole ‘Nasa medical review of the oil riggers’ scene. That was classic.


  12. First off . . . Ratshag is awesome.

    And secondly, BBB, you have totally ruined Jaws for me now. In retaliation, I think I must tell you that in Titanic, the boat sinks. Ha! See how you like it!


  13. I like reading the new stuff as it is interesting to see where Blizzard is heading and how they give and take along the way. Think of it like “WoW Development — The Reality Show”.

    That said, I hate to read QQ’ing about something that is going to change the next day. Or, worst, has not been completed and the Devs have told us several times that is it not completed yet folks still QQ about it.

    Reading about zones and quest doesn’t bother me as I could care less about “exploring” or the “story”.


  14. I am with you completely, which is why you have not found me writing about WoLK on my blog … I have two beta testers who post from time to time, but I am reviewing everything before they post, (both posts), and they have been instructed to keep it to opinion only. These are both very good friends of mine, and so honestly if I asked they would probably go on for hours about everything I wanted to know.

    I haven’t asked.

    I don’t want to know.

    I still remember the awe the first time I rounded that path in, (it makes me smile just thinking about it), Teldrassil and approached the gates of Darnassas. The awe of seeing the big tree walking guy, (who probably has a real name), at the gate and trying to pan my camera in every direction at once to get a glimpse of the most intense, massive, intriguing online city I had ever seen.

    At lvl 12, dying my way through the wetlands with a couple of friends who had been playing as they ran me over to Iron Forge and seeing the gates of the massive mountain city.

    I want to experience this again, and that won’t and can’t happen if I have all the information ahead of time.


  15. I get the feeling that a lot of people don’t trust Blizzard when it comes to class balance, especially. They want to fight for their class, and the best time for big class changes are with an expansion. So those people are analyzing everything and then making sure to let Blizz know about anything they find out of balance. Regardless of whether or not their opinions are right or matter at all, that’s why everyone is focused on Wrath.

    I think people feel that once the expansion goes live, it’s going to be a lot harder trying to get anything fixed.


  16. Yeah, I had pretty much reached the point where all I wanted to know was two things: what direction professions were going to be taking (so I could try to figure out what I was going to do concerning inscription) and what direction developers were planning on taking frost mages. I love my frost mage and would hate to be forced into a fire playstyle for the Northrend expansion.

    I’ve already gotten a pretty good idea of what the devs plan to do with frostfire bolt and I’m pretty satisfied. Information on professions is slowly coming in. Past those two things, I really don’t care about what’s going on in the beta other than to get a release date. =D For now…ONWARD TO ONYXIA!!!


  17. Great call B^3 that’s the exact line I’m taking with the flood of WotLK news. I’ve looked at the new talent trees and recipes that might be coming as they’re almost secondary to the actual playing of the game which in my mind is doing the quests, running the instances and exploring the new zones.

    My real hope is that by ignoring all the DK information that’s out there so that when I get around to creating one it’s like playing the game again for the first time where everything is new shiny and exciting.


  18. Jaws dies?? AUUGHHHGgg…..

    Wait a minute.. this tooth fairy I’ve been hearing about… don’t tell me.. no… noooo.. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!



  19. John… I can see where you might feel that way….

    But I don’t mind. At this point… if there are geeks and fantasy/sci fi fans amongst my audience who still have not seen The Matrix, after it’s been out for 8 years, and I genuinely spoiled the story for them… they deserve what they get.

    Could be worse, I suppose… I coulda told people that in Jaws, the shark dies in the end.

    Oops, I did it again!


  20. I agree with a lot of this.. I must say, though, while I’m sure there are extremely few people that haven’t seen the Matrix, it is a bit hypocritical for you to post such a complete spoiler like that (even in jest)..


  21. During alpha and the beginning of beta, I was very excited to get my hands on anything and everything I could regarding the expansion. As it was, it was probably a good thing (or perhaps a bad thing where my work ethic is concerned), because it rekindled my desire to play on live. Now, that people in the beta are discovering more and more and a rather large amount of very specific information is out, I find myself backing off a bit. Even my reading of Jayne is mostly only a quick skim now, and maybe a peek at a screenshot or two if something shiny catches my eye. Other than that, I’m largely in agreement with you, BBB.


  22. “…the rush you felt the first time you realized that in the movie people who live in our ‘reality’ are really living in a virtual reality and are just living batteries plugged into a system…” spoiler warning!

    Seriously, this seems reasonable. WoW Insider is becoming more Wrath Insider due to their extreme posting of beta information and not a lot else, even the Shaman class column is going on about beta talents and spells. I wish they’d add a “no wrath” filter to their feed. Talents and spells and the like can be changed any time; don’t QQ about Potion Sickness, it’s gone.

    I *would* like to know more about the direction classes are taking or aimed in, I am interested in Death Knight information regarding play style so that I can use it to make an informed decision to pick the class up, or not. I would like to know if the crafting professions are worth a damn in the expansion so I can mentally prepare myself to grind another one up.

    Stuff like faction information and rewards, neat crafted items, etc, I would look up on wowhead the instant I started playing Wrath for real anyway, so some recommendations and tip-offs are always welcome. But that’s me and some other folks might not even appreciate finding out about those.

    Personally I’m not going to post anything about Wrath at all so my 3 readers can rest assured there won’t be spoilers. Having said that, if you must, I appreciate the use of the More>>> thingy on blogs to hide all the juicy spoilers behind.


  23. Wall of Text crits Ratshag for 127532 damage.
    Ratshag has died.

    Seriously, them talent builds and spells and all is so state of fluxy what I’s just tuning out everything but the most generals. Spellpower, general change in spriest philosophy, that I’m okay with. And yeah, that magic Carpet looks fun. But the details I’s happy ta wait ’til release for.

    Oh, yeah. One more thing. Anyone seen a flying anvil mount fer blacksmiths yet?


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