As you might have heard from, well, all over Twitter and the various WoW news sites, Blizzard released some Q1 numbers and guess what? Yep, they dun lost about 3 million subscribers in three months. In three months, Blizzard managed to drop back to their Mists of Pandaria numbers pre-WoD. Yes, there’s always a drop in subscriptions during an expansion, but three million in three months? That’s pretty steep.
So why? Why did so many people pull the plug on WoW? I put the question out on Twitter and got much of the same responses:
Now as someone who has just hit 100 on their eighth character (WTF is wrong with me), I feel much of this pain. I’m a casual player. A dirty casual, some take a great deal of pleasure in pointing out. Doing garrison missions on eight characters is just mind numbing. Log in, click a couple of buttons, gather gold and gear, and log out. Garrisons were interesting at the beginning, a fun little distraction. But it slowly evolved (or not so slowly, given the dropoff in three months) into a chore. Blizzard has used a retention mechanic to keep people logging in, and players have slowly resented it.
That feels like a theme with this expansion, really. Players resent a game function and Blizzard rubs salt in the wound. People are pissed at the lack of flying, Blizz tells them “Hey guess what, we’ve got another patch coming and still no flying. Nope, probably not in the next one either. Keep climbing trees and getting all the cute little treasures we’ve left for you.” People complain that garrisons are becoming a chore, so Blizzard gives them MOAR CHORES!
Now you’ve got garrison missions in two zones! Fun!
Honestly, it feels like Blizz has really dropped the ball on this. Leveling was easy, which is something I am thankful for. But there’s a reason I didn’t stop at two max level characters. If you don’t raid, what else is there to do at level 100? Apex crystal missions to get gear you can also get from doing nothing (aka garrison missions)? Sure, maybe if I have four hours an evening, every evening, I might care about mulling about trying to build reps for some kind of reward. I don’t know. Personally, it feels like the part of the game that gives me the most reward (gear and gold) is something I don’t even need to do. I don’t need to play my class at all. I could do it on my bank alt.
Bellular covered this topic in one of his recent videos. This video, actually.
I’ve touched on my disappointment in a previous post. I just hope Blizzard comes up with some compelling content that can staunch the bleeding and keep people from leaving the game in droves. But things like this –
– is not going to do it.
Garrisons and alts go together like a peanut butter and banana sandwich.
Master Rokk here, and I have a quick tip for those of you who aren’t quite sick to death with the mini-game of Sims that we like to call World of Garrisoncraft.
I’m sure most of us have at least a couple of level 90 characters. If not, welcome back to WoW because you must have left the game about a year into Mists of Pandaria. Damn that expansion was around forever. How did people kill time if they weren’t jacking up a small army of alt characters?
Anyway, grab any of your level 90 toons that you may want to level at some point and start them off on the Draenor storyline. Run them through it until you reach the point where they have their very own garrison and a follower (you can get a second follower by doing the Ashran storyline which takes all of five minutes, and a third follower as a reward during your first few follower missions). That should have taken maybe 90 minutes to two hours. At that point, you can leave your alt and start the process again on another 90, go back to your main, or get up and do some squats. Look, do what you want with your time. I won’t judge. Just remember to come back and check on your alt from time to time, taking about five minutes to send their few followers off on missions and collecting their garrison resource cache.
You may ask why go through all this effort when you could have just left them in Panda Land? Well…
1) Your alt will get rested XP just by hanging around the garrison. Once you’re ready to start leveling them up, they’ll have a nice bonus XP buffer.
2) The garrison resource cache fills up every day with over 100 garrison resources. That gives you enough to buy a 20% XP buff potion every day. Again, when it is time to level up you can grab several of these things to speed up the process.
3) Your alt may only have 2-3 followers, but over time their mission rewards will add up. We’re talking rewards like XP for the alt, a chunk of gold, garrison resources, and gear for both the alt and the followers.
And there you have it. Give your alt their own place to live instead of sponging off you and your main. Let them earn their own keep without the nuisance of actually playing them.
Behind every great main there’s an army of alts being horribly neglected and abused.
Master Rokk here. Blizzard was kind enough to make the leveling process much less painful this time around. They also gave us little to do outside of raiding once we reached 100, other than knock the dust off an alt and start that ten level beating all over again. Sometimes, like a form of Stockholm Syndrome, the leveling abuse makes us more sympathetic to our secondary character. Next thing we know, that alt who used to be just a profession mule is suddenly kind of fun to play. Too bad our main is geared better, or has more garrison resources, or is just not ready to become an alt.
A proper garrison for an alt could alleviate a great deal of that.
SignsOfKelani created a video that outlines what he claims is the best garrison setup for alts. While there may be no right or wrong answer as far as garrisons go, this comes up with quite a few that seem right. So maybe there is a right answer. Let’s not get too in-depth into this. It’s for an alt. If the toon was worth that much forethought, they’d be a main.
If you’re going to have an army of second stringers, they don’t have to be geared as second stringers. Keep them ready, build their hopes up, and maybe one day they will be the character called up to run a heroic dungeon. Or raid. Or just be really geared for farming transmog gear and cloth from old content. But, like, do it really well.
Apexis Crystals. Turns out these are actually good for something.
Master Rokk here. These darn crystals were becoming a pain in my side. Mainly because I was getting them as work order rewards and I just kept jamming them in my pocket, wondering if I should vendor them or just toss them in the trash.
Turns out that they are considered a form of currency in Draenor. Which is a relief, because my pockets were getting pretty heavy. I had to double cinch my belt just to keep my pants up. And you can’t deliver a crushing jade tornado with your pants down. Apparently the authorities don’t think too highly of that kind of shenanigans, even if it does happen to be your birthday and you were a little too full of the pandaren punch at the time.
Once again, Qelric the Undying was more than happy to whip up a video that explains exactly what these crystals can be used for. And while you watch the video, I’m going to empty my pockets and see what else I might have in there that I could use for currency.
Let’s see… Hair, leather scraps, a toenail for some strange reason. Anybody want to give me something for the toenail? Anyone? One toenail with what looks to be teeth marks OKAY THAT’S JUST DISGUSTING!
Followers. The grunts who run out and fetch garrison resources, gold, loot, and keep your herb garden and mines running smoothly. They are a necessary part of garrison life.
Master Rokk here, and if you’re like me, you’ve probably missed out on a great deal of content by trying to sprint through the content as quickly as possible. Pesky little things like quest lines which unlock followers. This can result in much work needing to be done, but not enough bodies to do it. Seriously, it’s not like I’m critiquing their resumes. Most of the followers I’ve picked up are ones that I’ve either beaten into submission, or gotten out of jail. Life imitates art I guess.
Qelric the Undying has been gracious enough to put together a few videos that will help locate some of these followers. Having just left Talador, I will most likely be going back to pick up a couple of these followers and beef up my roster. I’m looking at you, Pleasure Bot 8000!
But not, you know, looking-looking. I’m simply observing you – you know what, let’s just go to the video. Stop making this weird.
Qelric, once again a fantastic job in making my life easier. I can’t wait to get my hands on these followers!
Not literally, like putting my hands on… can we just end this here?