[Blizzard] Plan B in patch 4.3, and Diablo 3 trailer

Happy Sunday!

Let’s start with a link to the new D3 trailer that was premiered last night (this is an RPS link since the Spike TV one is inaccessible to people in my region. )

If you want to compare with previous ones:

Maybe I’m jaded from awesome computer game trailers these days. It looks fine. I just want to know the release date.

Of greater interest to prospective players, Blizzard also released some more details around how the auction house/ battlenet/ money thing is going to work. So you’ll be able to ‘charge up’ your battle.net balance via paying money into your account, but you cannot withdraw money from it – this isn’t a bank. Proceeds of a D3 cash auction can either go into the battle.net balance (ie. if you want to use the money to pay future subs or something), or they can be cashed out if you pay a cashout fee. What this basically means is that you cannot store auction profits on battle.net until you have a decent amount and then cash all of it out for a single cashout fee. You’ll have to pay a fee on every individual auction you want to cash out.

Or as Mike@MMOCrunch puts it, quadruple dipping. This rather makes the cash AH  useful only if you either want to ‘earn’ money for your WoW subs/future D3 expansions or intend to sell rather large/ high value items. I suspect gold selling/ buying for Diablo 3 in large amounts will be the dominant model on the real money AH, and people will just use the gold AH for selling most gear.

What does a successful patch look like anyway?

Earlier this week I asked readers how they had found the difficulty of WoW’s latest patch, 4.3. Thanks to everyone who responded! The main impression I get is that people are enjoying the content, so that’s definitely a win for Blizzard.

But still, I see concerns around how difficult or challenging the raids and instances are (or more accurately, around how difficult they aren’t). I see this as very much tied into longevity. Ideally every player would like to spend their time working towards clear short and medium term goals, and seeing actual progress towards those goals with every session. (The goals don’t have to be gear related, maybe you’re making gold, making friends, or learning how to play your class/spec better.) So there’s an idea that “Well yes, this is really fun now. But what happens next? It won’t stay this fun for long …” It’s like a protestant work ethic – we cannot admit that we are having fun with the new content because dammit, we didn’t have to work hard enough. And it feels as though admitting that a patch is fun right now is like saying that it won’t be fun next week, or maybe the week after.

So–  when a player meets their medium term goals quickly, what happens then? Either they make new goals, or take a break until new goals present themselves. Some people are better than others at thinking up interesting personal goals, and some goals appeal more to some people than others (eg. I’m not motivated by achievements, personally.) And after you have played a game for long enough, maybe you’ve run out of potential medium term goals that can still hold your interest. There are only so many times you need to get the Loremaster or Crusader achievements, after all.

Blizzard is aiming to offer heroic modes as future goals for people who complete the content on normal modes, AND a much larger proportion of the player base will complete the content on normal or LFD mode than previously. Will the player base buy it, and will people then want to spend time working on the harder modes? If so, it’s a good model for Blizz. Lots of fun things for everyone to do and see when a new patch drops, as they check out the content on LFR/ normal mode. And then when they have completed that, extra challenge on heroic. Plus the new PvP season, and any other new content/ daily quest Blizzard can drop in (Darkmoon Faire in this case.)

And all that is required for that to work is for people to really care about repeating content they have already seen in normal mode in a harder heroic mode.  Let’s see how that pans out. I’d also have concerns about how LFR will affect turnout to casual raid guilds. Again, if people are motivated by seeing the content, how keen will they be to turn up to weekly raids to see it again in a harder form?

Still, it’s undoubtedly a good deal for players who wanted to see the cool lore stuff from patch 4.3 and be done with it (assuming they don’t care about harder modes) when SWTOR is released.

7 thoughts on “[Blizzard] Plan B in patch 4.3, and Diablo 3 trailer

  1. Something I’ve found interesting about some of LFR is that it’s made me come to realise a couple of things:

    I want to see content, I want to raid but I don’t want to have to deal with all the ridiculousness that’s associated with raiding. I don’t want to have to tolerate a bunch of asshats or schedule my week around raid night to be able to do stuff. The vast majority of the playerbase has always been capable of raiding. It’s not really that hard. The issue has always been jumping through the hoops to get there. LFR has removed the final hoop and SWOTOR better do the same thing by at least the second patch.

    I’ve also come to the realisation that a lot of the people who complain about the loss of ‘community’ are advocating a similar form of elitism to the people complaining about the lost exclusivity of raiding. But their advantage comes in the term of being a long term player or being in a large guild rather than time spent raiding.

    • I don’t know if it’s really elitism to like being in a large friendly guild? That kind of Cheers model of MMO playing where you log in and everyone (in your guild) knows your name. I think that’s just human nature to like the feel of belonging.

      I’d say people who are against any kind of inducement for grouping/ forming communities are also just as elitist in their way. That’s the problem with big multiplayer games, lots of interest groups among players, few of whom are willing to compromise.

  2. I have to say, I’m back to enjoying LFD. My PoV is this-I like challenge! However, I don’t consider having to sometimes wrangle people who are of the ”clueless and don’t WANT to learn types” through a heroic where, if they mis-step, they pull wipe-trash that even a high geared group can die to. I’d rather Heroics be fairly simple and snappy. Now, there are things that can kill you in the new Heroics. Some of the trash can get a little bursty, and some of the bosses have a few hectic moments and have some light DPS requirements. But they’re much easier to understand. (Also keep in mind the characters I tanked them on were first my Firelands-geared warrior in a guild group, and my alt druid who was basically a strong 360+gear level, so people in the bare minimum may find a few of those moments a bit hotter than I did.)

    Personally, I think they’ll really hit the sweet spot in MoP, with Challenge modes. This way, at max level I can:

    -Enjoy simpler, faster Heroics on my alts, not worrying about an unbalanced PuG since I’ll be able to help make up for it, AND
    -Have tough, gear-normalized challenge runs with my guildies when I want something tougher.

    LFR I was actually skeptical about, I admit. But it seems-well, after the first couple weeks, anyway-to actually be successful so far. I think it’s great for those people who just want to see the content, and for myself, again, for alts.

    I do understand the worry about casual raiding guilds, however. Time will tell there, but I think casual raid guilds and possibly some more 25 mans will take this hit.

    Speaking of 25s, my own personal QQ lately is simply that 25 man guilds are really going the way of the dinosaur. Some old 25s went to 10 for simple logistical reasons. Some old 25s went into several 10s simply because they had the people but preferred 10s but wanted the same difficulty. I’m actually really cool with these. However, the ones that make me sad are the 25s that went 10s because it’s easier to get 10 skilled people together for the same loot and achievements now-which makes me wonder how many people actually raided 25s because they liked them. We’re the last full-on 25 man left on our server to my knowledge, and since Hordeside population is dwindling, and the ones there are happy in their 10s, recruitment is all but dried up for it.

    What really hit the nail home for me was seeing the top guild race this tier-the majority of the top 100 kills have been 10-HC…and I really don’t think 75-80 of the top 100 guilds got members suspended for LFR exploits(unless it was that excessive?) telling me that even some of the top of the crop are going to 10s. I’ve absolutely nothing against 10 mans by the way, and I even like certain things more about them-but I just like big raids in general.

    • I was curious why they made the LFR 25 instead of 10, but your post made me rethink. I guess the reason they made it 25 was so more people can see the content and have the opportunity at raiding. Either because they may be casual and unable to find a set time to raid or because there are so few 25 man guilds now so having a guild that needs 1 more person for their 10 man is not as likely.

      • I believe the reasoning behind 25 person LFR is two fold;

        1. The 25 person model is more forgiving, as there are more players to pull the weight of less skilled players. If my memories serves, they mentioned this in an interview.

        2. I personally believe this has helped appease the dps masses, as the queue times are shorter for them. 25 person raids require a higher ratio of dps to tank, and therefor more can be fit in per queue.

  3. The comments about Dragon Soul’s difficulty are interesting. Raid Finder mode is super easy, of course (and rightly so), but normal mode has been quite challenging in the later fights. Any organised guild is going to walk all over the first four bosses, but Ultraxion presents a tight(ish) dps check, Blackhorn requires good dps balance, Spine requires good execution, and Madness requires a combination of all of those things.

    It’s simply the first raid in a long time where there’s been an appropriate ramp up of difficulty from start to finish, and I think that’s weirded a few people out.

  4. I simply cannot get past the laziness of the expansion’s final raid. Not only was the trailer an absolute disgrace (and, yes, as a scene setter it definitely matters), using six rehashed models and touched up maps simply isn’t acceptable for a raid that was promised as “the most epic yet”.

    The Eye of Eternity with a vanilla female orc boss is “epic”?

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