Does Blizzard Hate Their Players?

I mentioned to Cassie in passing today that one of the surprises in Patch 5.1 was that Ghost Iron Ore and all Herb spawns had their respawn rates cut in half. Why? Apparently, because the resources were too abundant. If the resources are scarcer and players have to work harder to get them we’ll value them more, and they (and they’re crafted items) will be worth more on the Auction House.

Her reply? “Sometimes I think Blizzard hates the players.”*

I can see her point. I personally thought the respawns were originally too generous… and I was grateful, because I don’t exist to play “WoW Tycoon”, I play WoW, the game that has an auction house in it where I can share shit I get with other players for cash, and if there is something I’d like I can maybe go find it there too.

Since I don’t play the game to amass vast quantities of gold, I make sure I’ve got characters that can go out and get the stuff I need to satisfy my wants. You know, like Herbalists and Alchemists and Enchanters and all that stuff. Self-sufficient. So long as I can get enough of the base resources to satisfy my own needs, fine.

It’s about time investment, though. I invest my time in leveling a character now so I have the capability to make stuff, so in the future I can spend teeny amounts of time getting a few mats and making what I ened on the spot instead of having to always be working to get gold to buy stuff on the AH.

Change things so it takes tons of time to get those mats, fighting other farming players for hours to get the scant few resources it takes to make a couple flasks, and it flips things around.

Likewise, they changed the conversion rate for Spirits of Harmony from 1 Spirit to 3 Golden Lotus, to 1 Spirit for two GL. I’m not trying to corner the AH market, so whatever. As long as I can still get what I need to make weekly flasks with my little farm, it’s all good.

It does mean that the amount of time it takes us, the players, to accomplish the same tasks has increased. So why do it?

If I were to settle into a “me me me” point of view, then it would be a sign Blizzard hates us, the players. They made it harder and take more time, so thus they’re out to ruin our fun. Right?

It’s nice that people can make WoW Tycoon a game in and of itself… but I don’t feel that we need to really care if people aren’t getting the prices from their ore or herbs that they want. If the inscription market doesn’t make you thousands of gold, I really don’t give a shit. That’s not the game I care about or respect. So how dare you change things to cater to them! Let them make real money in the real world with those skills if that’s what they like!

Or… maybe there’s a different point of view. A view that embraces more than just me. Possibly?

I don’t see it and other things Blizzard does as signs they hate the players. I see it as signs they are still looking for ways to please more types of playstyles.

I think they are  still growing, and in this case are trying to identify all the different playstyles that attract paying monthly players, and then add content that will reward them and keep them coming back.

The Black Market Auction House, canes and monocles and other items… these are things that acknowledge the existence of playing the WoW market as a real ‘thing’, so let’s go all the way to making the game economy an official, and rewarding, part of the game.

Just because I don’t care about it doesn’t mean it’s not a worthwhile part of the game, right? PvP isn’t my thing, and they’ve done amazing stuff with integrating it into the game.

How long did those of us who like all the casual stuff in game rail at how the designers seemed solely focused on raider content? Oh waaa, it’s all about the raiders, why can’t we get class quests or something for us casuals to do?

Shit, we got that in spades, didn’t we? Look around you, and there is so much to do the game is bursting with content for players of all playstyles. Including raiding for non-raiders!

PvP content, raiding content, social and collecting and game economy and fashion and soloing and now even stage productions, fighting while we watch!

They didn’t ignore the plight of casual players for content, did they? It just took time, exactly as they told us it would.

“The things we are working on to make the game better now you won’t see for years.”

They tell us these things, and looking back, can we agree they weren’t kidding around?

And now, they’re clearly paying attention to the desires of those who make the Auction House and game economy their playstyle, and despite it meaning it’ll be a teeny bit harder for me to go out and get my own mats when I want them, to me it means the opposite of “Blizzard hates the players”.

It looks to me like Blizzard is trying to see what people like to do in the game, and then accommodate those desires. ALL of those desires. A massive balancing act, trying to make all of the people happy all of the time.

That’s pretty amazing. Doomed to fail? Heck, let’s find out. I’m enjoying the ride anyway.

They’re even going back to the “let’s make class quests because they’re fun” well, with the Warlocks.

Pet battles, mounts to collect, pets as drops from old raids, old raids modified to change mechanics that required multiple people to now be (potentially) soloable, a Brawlers Guild that is all about a solo player going against NPC challenges before a live audience…

Blizzard takes a lot of abuse, but when you come right down to it, they’re doing an amazing job.

One thing I like is how they’re experimenting more with small changes that add up to big content for players.

Have you seen the little items you can buy with the new Commendations that drop from mobs you kill doing dailies? You can buy traps. You take a trap, and it gives you a daily quest. You can go out and farm some materials to make an animal trap. Then, you trap the animal in the wild. You take the animal and turn it in at a big arena with animal cages. You or anyone that sees the animal in a cage can ask to fight it. And those are some tough critters! Crabs, Tigers and Cranes, and they are serious badasses designed to be easy for a party of five, but good luck soloing one.

Here’s a hint; stand on top of the tiger. If you back off to range, he’ll leap on you and one shot your ass. Melee Hunters up!

It’s just a little thing, but it’s an activity that you can choose to do every day that takes time, is diverting and different, the trap quests act as dailies for 5 valor and 2 Lesser tokens, and when you’re done, you or anyone else can fight the beasts and get a quest on completion that gives you more faction rep. And like with other boss kills from quests in the game, you don’t all have to be in the same group. If you take part in the kill, just jump in and assist one in progress, you get credit. And like I said, when it’s dead, your first critter kill of the day gives you a nice quest to turn in for added rep with the new faction.

I tested it. It’s only the first animal kill. Just saying.

Blizzard does things sometimes that seem to be huge pains in the ass, or make life more annoying, or whatever. But sometimes, you look at it a different way, and you can see that it may be annoying to my playstyle, but it makes someone else’s more interesting.

Let’s not be the raider that hated on casuals for wanting stuff to do. Or the casuals that hated on PvP.

I personally am eager to get a Brawler Invite. I’ll wait until I can afford one on the BMAH, but I was in the Brawlers Guild arena watching today, and it was very cool.

I enjoyed watching other players square off against opponents, and I can ABSOLUTELY see spending an evening kicking back, relaxing, having a few beers and watching the fights while waiting for my turn in the ring.

This Brawlers Guild thing really is going to add a new dimension to the game… exhibition. You are going into your fight knowing you are being watched, and judged. Will you get stage fright? Will the crowd jeer you?

Today I saw a Druid fight a penguin in Bear form, running and jogging around, almost jigging and it looked like it was all to put on an exciting show. I’ll grant you, someone in the crowd was /yelling “GO GO GO HAPPYFEET”, but it was still fun.

I can see a developing new playstyle, people playing to the crowd, tweaking their costumes for the show (transmogs are awesome now that we can be performers on stage, amiright?), dancing around and doing emotes to give the live audience something to FRAPS or screenshot for later.

Players, we who are about to /dance while kiting green slime salute you!

I feel as though the seeds for amazing things were sown in the expansion, and we’re still just seeing them start to blossom.

It’s just too damn early to pass final judgment on these things. Or to get all cranky.

*sentence take out of context may not represent Cassie’s actual thoughts about Blizzard.

18 thoughts on “Does Blizzard Hate Their Players?

  1. Pingback: Node spawn rates and ripple effects | The Casual Everythinger

  2. I disagree with you strongly on the ore spawn rates, and I think it’s because I look at it with a different perspective. I do play the AH game, although not hard core, and I do monitor the price of ore and such. I think you’ve taken at face value Blizzard’s stated goal of helping people get more value out of resource gathering without considering if what they actually did works to that end. It doesn’t. People who are gathering ore for sale on the AH just got screwed.

    Ghost iron ore has a value floor, as I’ve described a few times. I can take Ghost Iron Ore in quantity, prospect it, turn the results into rings, necklaces, and cut gems, and then sell them to the vendor, all for a value of 20-21g a stack. Thus, Ghost Iron Ore is never going to fall much below that point because if it does people like me will snap it up. Even at prices of around 25g-30g people will still jump because the value of the rare gems far exceeds the vendor price.

    With ore being more rare, it won’t fall as quickly to that price, and it may stablize a fair distance above it. (Pre-patch, it seemed to be stable at around 30g a stack, but with some fire sales that I took advantage of). What it won’t do, however, is double, because the portion of a value of a stack of ore represented by its vendorables does not change. Right now ore seems to be stabilizing around the 40g a stack range, although it’s really hard to tell.

    The gist of it is that ore sellers now have to work twice as long to get maybe 30% more gold. This is not a change that favors them, and Blizzard is being disingenuous to suggest that it is. The people who do nothing but mine ore will be okay (not that anyone needs to worry about them), but people who want to make some gold with an hour or so of gathering will find it much less appealing.

    The change in itself is not something I’m terribly concerned with. Blizzard made a decision as of 5.0 to make ore and herbs plentiful and are now reversing course on that decision for whatever reason. What I am concerned about is how disingenuous they are in selling this. Claiming that this is for the benefit of people who are actually screwed over by the decision is double talk, and it’s not something to be accepted at face value.


  3. The WoW AH player is actually the one helped by this change. The so called self sufficient player is the one hurt most by this change. I find it interesting that you seem happy about a change that will likely hurt your style of play than any other.

    The AH player really doesn’t care about the cost of an item per se, just that the player can profit off of it. It doesn’t matter to me that Ghost Iron is 20g a stack or 60g a stack, all it matters is that in both cases I will make back profit on the transaction. You see its the rare “Tycoon” that actually mines or herbs materials. We almost always buy it from the AH. OR we have deals with miners and herbers that do that for us. Most of your big players do that. In fact as a “Tycoon” the only upsetting thing was that this was a stealth nerf… HAd I known, I would have stockpiled more to make more of a killing. But make no mistake I can profit in the same time each play session regardless of what mat prices are. I may make different items or have to accept a smaller profit margin(could happen, hasn’t yet tho), but I will always come out ahead.

    Now the self sufficient player, he/she is the one that’s hurt, because when they go out to herb and mine, they’ll have to spend more time getting the mats they need (or pay elevated AH prices) so if it took 30 mins to mine enough Ghost Iron for what you need, it will likely take at least 2X, but more likely 3-5X the time. The extra time will be required because of increased contention for nodes. So those extra hours you are now forced to mine, you could be spending playing and doing other fun things or spending time with your family.

    Again, I find it odd that you’d be happy about this.


  4. I suppose I should be glad I managed to get the Master of All achievement before this happened, but all I can think of are the times some jerkass swooped down on a node I was fighting over to grab it while I was occupied and how those types of things are just going to go up in frequency. I really thought Blizzard had gone to a different paradigm on resource availability with how prevalent ghost iron and tea leaves were this expansion, but it turns out, nope.


  5. I think the ghost iron ore rates have been way too liberal, as compared to any other era in the game. My own experience as a miner was that I had been seeing at least twice as many nodes as at any other time in the game. If they want to dial it back, that’s fine with me.


  6. I wouldn’t say they hate us, but I do think they like a meaner, more competitive game than I’d like to play. Does anybody really have fun doing GL dailies on a high pop server? Is the goal of CRZ to make every zone feel like that? I like bumping into other players, but at a ‘leisurely, wave hi’ kind of pace, not a ‘taking elbows to the ribs on the subway’ kind of way.


  7. Pingback: MoP – 2 Subscriptions Canceled – I have a job and I don’t need one in game | Malchome's Mind on Gaming

  8. I am about done with this expansion as an atl-o-holic. Ya there is casual stuff to do in pet battles and that is about it. The daily grind is a pain since even on tanking classes and tanks one miss pull and your dead. Oh and now the fast and flying mount while dead is gone too have fun with with 5 minute run around the entire zone to go up one level of a cliff if there even is a path to do it.

    If they had not taken out all of the time saving quality of life features out of the game, some of the added difficulty would be acceptable.

    But now it is a grind in rep, a grind in valor, a grind in justice points. Oh and instead of just grinding 1 to get a reward you have to grind rep to then spend your honor and valor something that was already capped and in valor case time gated on acquisition.

    Rep items should only cost gold you already paid your dues
    Justice, Valor, Honor and Conquest should not be further gated.

    I also don’t want every activity I do in the game to take 100% attention to what I am doing. I like to play the game to relax.


  9. I powerleveled herbalism from zero to six hundred on Thursday aka after the nerf. Took me a little over four hours as near as I can tell (didn’t do it straight, it was an hour here and an hour there). I was worried about Outlands and Northrend because I’ve been hearing horror stories on the forums about how bad they suposibly are now. They were fine. There are still plenty of Green Tea Leaf, Rain Poppy, Silkweed and Snow Lily (getting from 500ish to 600 took about an hour). Only thing I can’t comment on is Fool’s Cap because I don’t need to farm that.

    As far as I’m concerned the real issue behind the node nerf was the fact that first it was left out of the patch notes and then a blue posted it was a bug and had to correct himself a few hours later to post and say that yes, it is in fact real and is truly intentional. The patch notes this time around left out TONS of stuff (priest nerf, details with the PvP power nerf just to name a couple of others off the top of my head). The state of the notes and the communication between the blues is what worries me.


  10. i honestly ddint notice they changed the herb spawn rate. in the first too weeks i filled my bank with herbs. iv been living on them since.
    the spawn rate may have been riduculously high.
    On another note. i almost quit playing. because i felt they turned my fun into a job.
    But i can still tank the lfd. and do a bit of questing. so still fun for me.
    at least so far 🙂


  11. To be honest, the spawn rates were ridiculously high for ores and herbs in the Panda zones, and yes. They might as well have just set up a vendor in Stormwind where you could buy them. It was silly.

    But it WAS appropriate in the initial drop of the expansion, because of all the traffic. On Day One there wasn’t a node or herb patch that was easy pickings, you had to hustle. They did this with mobs, too. If they had kept the respawn rates the same, there are places in Jade Forest where you wouldn’t be able to breath without wearing another Hozen.

    So I think it’s less a nerf and more a normalization. The spawn rates are far more consistent with Cata now.

    But I’ll ask about setting of a flower stand, just for you 🙂


  12. I don’t know, Bear. I do agree there are so many things to do for all types of playstyles, but change that basically makes players scramble, bite, and claw for resources is not good. Period. The amount of spawns felt just right for once–especially in light of many servers being in the same area at once. It’s hard to explain, but in this virtual world, the RNGs are both benevolent and bored. I really do think (and know) “they” like to shake shit up, because they can. What I do think is awesome is I have come across so many little nuances/changes that we (bloggers) have suggested, and it’s like…they….listened.

    That’s pretty powerful indeed.


  13. I am a minor gold goblin. I enjoy playing the AH. I think a lot of people feel like prices are too low and they can not make money. However I am fine with the abundant herbs and ore keeping prices low. It just means you have to step your game up and play better to make gold. I think its better for the majority of the player base to keep prices lower.


  14. Honestly I very much doubt this was a change aimed to please Auction House junkies, I mean lower supply of herbs just means higher prices which means those higher costs get placed on the end user as well. Historically, Blizzard has only fought gold makers, they’ve never exactly made it easy for us. The Black Market Auction House wasn’t to appease us, it was to provide a gold sink and a way to reintroduce old items that other players had been clamoring for.

    My suspicion is that the SoH nerf was simply to counter the fact that Golden Lotus can now be randomly looted while picking up herbs. Why they did that was probably to appease the casual herbalists like yourself making it easier for you to make the flasks for your raid each week.

    Finally, with higher prices for things like herbs and ores you also get higher prices on the auction house for gems and flasks and the like, causing players to dig deeper into their pockets, and because of the 5% auction house cut that means more gold leaving the server, fighting inflation. Further more, these changes will actually slow us down if anything, and will discourage more causal AH PvP’ers with higher barrier to entry.


    • Have you actually done any research before making those statements? Golden Lotus, for example, can possibly drop while herbing… and the drop rate so far is far less than the chance to find a Golden Lotus “in the wild”.

      Just… geez. Having Golden Lotus drop once in two hours of farming herbs isn’t actually gonna make up in any way for people “like me” or affect how we do anything.


      • I know that this is not scientific – but I got 10 in about 45 mins of herbing yesterday. Compared to what I used to get ~1 it does seem like the drop/spawn rate is significantly higher for the lotuses.


      • Wait, what? They can drop? My herbalist supplied three alchemists and one scribe with enough plants to get to 600 and I’ve never ever seen a GL “drop” – it’s always only been the extremely rare spawn. Granted, the bulk of it was before 5.0.4 (I’m a bit obsessed with my professions…), but they can drop now?!?!
        BRB, herbing…


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