What a difference a week makes.
November 7 – Blizzcon 2014: During Blizzcon’s opening ceremony, Blizzard President and co-founder Mike Morhaime gives an impassioned speech about the negativity and bitterness poisoning the gaming community. He didn’t mention GamerGate specifically, but he addressed the entire thought process. He asked everyone in the gaming community to take a stand against hatred and harassment, and redouble our efforts to be kind and respectful to one another. Remind the World what the gaming community is really all about.
Hear that cheering crowd? Everyone, attendees and Twitter folk alike, really got behind the message. Hugs all around.
They forgot the message less than a week later.
November 13, 2014 – Blizzard’s new World of Warcraft expansion, Warlords of Draenor, went live. Two things happened that Blizzard was not expecting:
1) They were the victim of a serious DDOS attack.
2) Ravenous players attack the new starting areas in numbers much larger than were expected.
For almost a day, the game was unplayable. Servers were down while Blizzard tried to deal with the DDOS attack. Then, to regain server stability, they lowered the player cap per server. This created queues that were thousands of players deep. Wait times in the neighbourhood of 8-10 hours were not unusual. People who had taken vacations from their jobs so that they could play, were left staring at a login screen.
Well, players lost their shit.
People hated on Blizzard something fierce. “Unacceptable,” they said. “How does this happen after all this time?” Valid questions, and while there may have been technical answers the players decided to make up their own conspiracy theories. Blizzard became the Big Bad who, according to some, were deliberately keeping them from playing.
The poor Community Managers took the full brunt of the player’s wrath. They apologized, and assured everyone that Blizz was doing everything it could to get things running smoothly. They released hourly updates all weekend so that everyone knew exactly what was going on and what steps were being taken. Friday, servers came down for patches and updates, and equipment was upgraded.
Saturday, adjustments were being made on servers to allow more people to log in. But players were reaching their breaking point. Things got uuuuuugly.
There were those during this “crisis” with fully functional brains who realized this was a video game. They often reached out, offering a reality check and asking those less patient to take a bloody chill pill.
Some folks didn’t get the message and tried to make a point.
If they hadn’t started turning on each other yet, they started doing it now in droves. The angry and entitled vs the patient and devoted. Those who tried to hang onto Morhaime’s message of kindness, and those who wanted to burn it all down and piss on the ashes.
By Sunday, things had calmed down. Queues were short or non-existent. People were tweeting about garrisons, leveling, or just how pretty the game looked. Fewer and fewer complaints as more people managed to log in.
Today, people are discussing tips on making gold, leveling, or running instances. It’s pretty much business as usual. But for some, the damage has been done. I’m sure there are still plenty of angry players out there who feel Blizzard let this happen intentionally. I’ve read forum posts where they accuse Blizzard of being “cheap”, not wanting to do the hardware upgrades and just let the angry players unsubscribe so they didn’t have to spend the money. This release has left many with a sour taste in their mouth, and they will never fully forgive Blizzard for it.
Blame Blizzard? Sure. They knew what their sales were. They had to know how hard their system was going to get hit. They could not predict the DDOS attack, but they freely admitted that they underestimated the number of people who were going to log in at once. They’d never seen numbers at a launch like they did on Thursday. Blessing and a curse to be so popular.
Mike Morhaime’s message to the gaming community though… I don’t think he changed any minds. Good people are going to be good people, and haters gonna hate. Blizzard may have been at fault for much of it, and nobody is arguing that (including Blizzard.) But the players were in full control of how they handled the situation. A great deal chose to handle it poorly, and that vocal minority who overreacted and raged to anyone who would listen, suffocated the voices calling out for patience.
The World of Warcraft gaming community had the opportunity to show the World something this weekend. They did. But instead of sending out a positive message, I think all the World saw this weekend was a bunch of gamer nerds who lost their shit because they had to wait to play their video game.
I’ve now run the Iron Vanguard “World Event” questline three times. I’ll probably be doing it twice more. Maybe I’ll take my time during the final run, but until that point I just want to tear through it. I’ve never been one to read the quests. Generally speaking, I just don’t care that much. My apathy must frustrate the questgivers after awhile.
* * *
Thrall: The Iron –
Okay, got it.
Where are you – Oh. You’re back. Good, I guess.
Yeah, I blew up tanks and killed some pale orcs. I dig their armor. Very Punisher-esque.
Why would you dig – nevermind. It is time to – wait! Now where are you going?
Something something executioners, blah blah battle plans.
No that isn’t –
Can’t talk! Running!
… does no one read quest text anymore? Oh look. You’re back. And so quickly.
I am. Here, this is for you. Battle plans, and some weapons or something.
Or something? Do you even know what you –
Yeah whatever. I planted flags in Nethergarde too.
But that isn’t even –
I’ll go deal with the Ogres now. Like, right now. As in I’m already done. Poisoned their food, killed a bunch that were standing around too.
How very heroic of you.
I know, right? Should I go talk to Vol’jin now?
Are you even going to talk and there he goes.
Orgrimmar portal surfing!
Greetings mon. You been busy I see.
I get paid by the quest, not by the hour. I’m here to knock this thing out faster than Damacio Page took out Brian Hall.
I don’ know ‘ow you did dat but –
Thanks for the Iron Ball pet-thing. Yoink!
* * *
Rinse and repeat.
MMO Champion wrote in a post that Patch 5.0.4 had just hit the PTR. Most likely, this means the patch will be pushed to the live servers in 4-6 weeks.
Which also means that I’ll probably be done with WoW for awhile.
This is generally the exact opposite reaction of what most people will be doing. There’s a great number of World of Warcraft players out there who are salivating at the thought of the upcoming changes. The new hotness on the horizon, so to speak. Entire classes are being revamped (hello Warlocks). The talent system, glyphs, all being changed. In many cases, people will have to go back to the drawing board and hit the learning curve to play their class with any degree of competency once again.
Now me, I’m not a numbers guy. I sure as Hell don’t feel like sitting around in front of a targeting dummy to relearn what I’m supposed to be doing in the 5.0 era. Greater minds than mine are looking forward to that sort of thing, and more power to them. I’ve seen video footage from the beta regarding some of the upcoming class changes, and from what I can tell it’s not all that great news for my Frost Death Knight and my Warrior. Hence, I am somewhat less than excited about the changes.
Of course, I understand that things change from the beta, to the PTR, and to the live servers. But despite all the testing, major patches tend to bring major problems – from server issues to class bugs to general unbalance. If I wanted to deal with that kind of disorganized mess, I wouldn’t have to log into an online video game that I’m paying to play. I’d just leave my cave and step out into the sunlight. It’s kinda like paying for a massage and expecting a happy ending, but getting a surprise Brazilian Wax instead.
Personally, until the patch 5.0 dust settles, I’ll be keeping my head low and saving myself the headache until things sort themselves out. What about you? Are you looking forward to 5.0 going live?
If I hadn’t been so lazy this week (the heat, I blame the heat) my recent achievements would have seemed a little more impressive since I did all of this in a single week. But folks, these are the cards I’ve been dealt and will therefore shuffle them in my hand and try to slap on my poker face.
The week was all about titles. Titles are always a fun little way to change things on your character. I managed to pick up three of them in a little over a week.
The first title <Name> “the Patient” was one I wasn’t even consciously trying to get. I was running an endless stream of Hour of Twilight PUGs, and just got the title. It was a side-effect of running too many PUGs, but unlike lowered self-esteem and hemorrhoids this was actually a side-effect worth getting.
The “Flame Warden” title wasn’t hard to get. If you can put in the time, you can get this title. I mean, completing the Midsummer Fire Festival isn’t all that tough to do. As long as you can find enough fires to Honor or Desecrate, Flame Warden is one of the easier titles to grab. I still say the title should be <Name> “Pees on Fires”, but that’s why I’m not working for Blizzard. Well, that and the restraining order, but I’m legally prohibited from discussing the issue.
Getting the title <Name> “of the Shattered Sun” was a multi-stage process. First, you need to have Exalted status with the Shattered Sun Offensive. There’s two ways to get there – either run dailies on the Isle of Quel’Danas, or run Magisters’ Terrace, like, a whole lot. I went with Plan B for a few reasons:
- There was no limit on how often I could run it every day. I would still get decent rep by running Regular versions of the instance, so I’d start with a Heroic and then switch to Regular until I was bored.
- I was getting Faction rep through tabards. In fact, Boss kills were giving me more rep (while wearing the appropriate tabard) than I was getting with the Shattered Sun Offensive. I managed to get Exalted with Gilneas, Ironforge, and Gnomeregan while grinding SSO rep. It’s always nice when you can get two things done at the same time.
- Transmog Gear was plentiful. I picked up the Sun-Forged Cleaver for myself, and farmed a great deal of greens that sold quite nicely on the Auction House. If you have to grind rep, you might as well make some gold at the same time.
- Sweet Chicken Mount. There’s a 4% drop rate on the Swift White Hawkstrider, obtainable only in Heroic mode. I managed to pick up this bird on my last Heroic run.
Congrats on Exalted with SSO. Now you just have to get a single quest where the dude rubs his hand across his palm and says “Can u spare gold plz? For the cause, dude.”
One. Thousand. Gold.
Are you shitting me? I’ve paid less for epic fucking mounts! When Quel’Danas was considered “end game” back in the Burning Crusade days, beggers would spout mighty dirty erections whenever they saw someone with the “of the Shattered Sun” title. It meant that person had waaaay too much gold, and had no problem throwing it away.
Which reminds me – I am now broke. Maybe I’ll run MT one more time for some sweet Transmog gear.
Being so close to completing the Meta Achievement “What A Long, Strange Trip It’s Been“, completing the World of Warcraft Noblegarden World Event went without saying. I was kinda surprised at how quick I finished it. I started Sunday afternoon, and by Monday evening I was done. I would have been done on Sunday but I had to slap some bunny ears on elusive members of the Alliance.
It was now time for me to relax and get back to focusing on other business. I was working on Hellscream rep and tokens to get my spectral wolf mount, as well as leveling up a DK on another server. As far as Noblegarden was concerned, we were done with each other for another year.
That is, until I saw it.
What… what the Hell was that? Why was there an albino flamingo, an abomination of Nature itself, running past me?
And why the Hell was it carrying someone on its back?
The Swift Springstrider, a bird so ugly I didn’t know how someone could hold the reins and cover their eyes at the same time. Did it come with beer goggles? It looked like the kind of bird you took home from the bar on a drunken bet. One that you lost.
No. Hell no. There was no way I wanted that bird. I would rather ride a mound of kodo feces between my legs than that thing.
But, y’know, just out of curiosity I checked to see how I could get one.
Turns out there were two ways: As a rare drop from inside a Brightly Colored Egg, or by spending FIVE HUNDRED Noblegarden Chocolates at a holiday vendor.
Now I’m not going to tell you that I got the Swift Springstrider for myself. But if I did, here’s some tips that I (would have) used to help farm up the five hundred chocolates.
Macro: to get from Point A to Point B quicker, I (would have) used this macro:
/use Egg Basket
/use Brightly Colored Egg
This (would have) helped keep the haste buff up while opening the eggs and stacking the chocolates, or whatever was inside the egg.
Location: When I was farming eggs for the Noblegarden achievements, I visited three locations: Razor Hill, Bloodhoof Village, and Falconwing Square. I managed to find a spot at each location that maximized the spawn points in a small area. Note: this is on a high pop server.
Tarou made this video which points things out much better than I could.
So there. If you’re are one of those who are so inclined to get one of these hideous birds and refuse to seek help for your obvious illness, good luck to you.
Son of a bitch.