Friday, September 26, 2014

Legendary Legacies and Content Removal

As most of us know, Blizzard decided to remove the legendary cloak quest from the game as of Warlords of Draenor release. This was just one change of quite a few things, some of which were expected while others were a shock.

A recent blog post overviews each thing that is being changed and removed, while there are other posts clarifying these things in detail.

Brawler's Guild and Challenge Mode "season one ending"

We're seeing both Brawler's Guild and Challenge Modes being referred to as 'seasons', which means they work similarly to PvP seasons, except instead of a new season every raid tier, we will probably only see a new season every expansion.

Or possibly not - seasons would make sense for Brawler's Guild, as it's supposed to be a show of your personal ability at a solo boss encounter and let me tell you, getting better gear really trivialized a lot of it. I went back and earned rank 10 only recently (achieved May 8th) with ~575ilvl gear and it took me just a few hours to get from Hexos, where I had gotten stuck before during tier 15, to finished.

freakin' hexos

Making Brawler's Guild into multiple seasons is something I could absolutely see them doing for Warlords.

I haven't obtained an arena mount or title since they started removing your ability to receive outdated ones. I don't have PvP friends, I'm not in a PvP guild, and I feel forced to make the decision to choose either raiding or PvP. I don't feel like I have the time or resources to be able to focus both on progression raiding and competitive RBGs and arena.

my most prestigious pvp title

It's this comparison to PvP seasons that I think people aren't understanding. Each season, we lose our rank and rating and have to compete fresh for the mounts and other rewards available through PvP avenues. If Challenge Modes and Brawler's Guild are to be seasons in this sense, then that is how they will work - the rewards from the previous season will be not be acquirable in the future. It's not a "removal of content" in the same way that each new PvP season is not.

Blizzard just made it so that PvE players have something similar to PvP seasons and personally I think that's awesome. The same people who don't rank during PvP seasons attempting to earn those rewards are upset about it, yet it's the same idea.

Siege of Orgrimmar mount, achievement, and heirloom changes

Regarding achievements in SoO, we all could have guessed that [Ahead of the Curve: Garrosh Hellscream] and [Cutting Edge: Garrosh Hellscream] were being removed because they literally say "...prior to the release of the next tier of content," so if you were shocked about this one, you have no one to blame but yourself.

We also had precedence set by all of the other ahead of the curve and cutting edge achievements for the prior raid tiers this expansion.

This is likely a new trend we won't stop seeing as long as the game continues.

However, Garrosh no longer dropping heirlooms after Warlords release (you have an increased chance to get them between 6.0 and release) is something a lot of people are sore about. This means no one can go back later and farm heirlooms in the future to make leveling their alts smoother. I'm sure all of the people complaining about this have the [Dread Pirate Ring] from the fishing tournament because they are such adamant heirloom collectors. Luckily at least, Garrosh's heirlooms don't award bonus experience.

The majority of these changes are simply a removal of rewards - Garrosh will still be a boss that you can kill, and you can do new Challenge Modes and Brawler's Guild encounters in Warlords.

more of this to look forward to

For these reasons, the only actual content I see as "being removed" is the legendary cloak questline.

Trial of the Black Prince: Legendary cloak quest line permanently removed

The removal of the legendary cloak quest line had no precedent and was unexpected. Many people are upset about it, especially due to the suddenness of the announcement. Some people believe that it shouldn't be removed and should be farmable in the future just as legendaries from previous content tiers have been the entire time.

There is a distinct difference between this legendary and prior legendaries: the legendary cloak was guaranteed to everyone of every class, as long as you participated in the content. Prior legendaries required raiding, luck with drops, teamwork with your guild, and were typically earned to completion within one raiding tier.

The legendary cloak quest has you working from the beginning of the expansion, experiencing a story that coincides with the entirety of the expansion's lore, only awarding the legendary during the last tier of content for your dedication and hard work, and is available to everyone.

we saw a lot of this guy

The only thing that kept you from acquiring the legendary cloak was not doing it.

It is a legendary in the sense that it is an orange rarity, high ilvl, irreplaceable (until the expansion) piece of gear. However, it is entirely unlike any other legendary before it. It is arguable that there was no precedent and no reason to believe that the cloak would be made unobtainable after Mists was over, but the only thing I can agree with about this is that they waited too long to make the announcement.

I am completely for the removal of the legendary cloak quest line.

epic hunter quest related picture
When I was a hunter during vanilla, I had a class quest to obtain an epic bow, [Rhok'delar Longbow of the Ancient Keepers]. It was difficult and required a ton of patience and effort, and for each hunter in my guild we made it a guild effort to help them out.

After TBC came out, a non-raider hunter in my guild was working on getting Rhok'delar, outgearing and trivializing the fights. This was the very first time I experienced being upset that someone was getting something I worked hard for with very little effort.

The bow was completely useless to her, transmog wasn't even a thing yet and there aren't achievements for it. She was just doing it to complete the quest and get the bow just to have it, but she wasn't really doing it. She wasn't experiencing what it was like to fight those demons when they were difficult, she didn't need to practice the strategies and deal with them despawning for hours if someone interfered with her. Why bother getting the bow just to have it? You didn't get it while it was relevant, so what is even the appeal for you?

There are people on both sides of this fence. A lot of people will read this and say that I'm a whiny elitist and think I'm better than everyone else.

pictured: me

This argument is irrelevant to my thought process on the topic. Ask yourself: why are you worried about being able to work for something that was an accomplishment when it's no longer relevant for you to earn that item? You want to do it because you want to do it - you want to experience acquiring that item.

Here is the thing: You are not experiencing acquiring the item.

I would go so far as to say, if you started working on the legendary cloak quest line only recently, you aren't experiencing what it meant to acquire it. While it's easy to argue that I shouldn't care how other people experience the game, that it's not my decision, the fact of the matter is that it's Blizzard's decision - and the thing is Blizzard agrees with me.

MMORPGs aren't like other games. You constantly get new content. World of Warcraft has been getting new content for ten years. You could play an old console game and experience everything the way it's meant to be experienced, but the content never changes. The same mindset just doesn't apply to a game where old content becomes outdated. It is no longer "the game" - this old content is not tuned correctly and is not experienced the way it was intended to be experienced at its inception.

totally the same thing

If you aren't playing while the content is relevant, then you miss out on the correct experience regardless of whether you go back and do it later. The experience you get is only a shadow of what it meant to experience it, and with a game that ages just as the world does, the unfortunate truth is that you may miss out on those chances.

Since the burning crusade you've been able to solo Molten Core or do it with a small group of people, but does doing it feel anything like what it was like to raid it with 40 people at the infant stages of this game's development? The upcoming anniversary level 100 40 man Molten Core also won't be like it was during vanilla, just like new Onyxia in Wrath of the Lich King wasn't like doing Onyxia during vanilla. The experience you have will be unique to the Warlords of Draenor expansion, just simply triggering nostalgia for those who experienced it during vanilla. 

wow I feel so accomplished

The idea here is that Blizzard is removing things that had meaning because they will become trivialized, making the experience of getting them trivial as well. People want to experience content, but the best time to experience content is when it is relevant. Blizzard is trying to distinguish a unique experience for the people who were there for it, but because you weren't there for it or you chose not to experience it, you aren't okay with that.

I didn't put effort into challenge modes this expansion. I thought they seemed neat, but at the beginning of the expansion I was in a guild where I knew they would be impossible to attain. I attempted to do them several times later once I was in a capable guild, but I felt like I was ill prepared and I hadn't worked on ensuring that I had this experience.

Once I learned that challenge modes would be going away, the only thing I really worried about was getting the mounts for the purpose of mount collecting. I did not even try to shoot for 9/9 gold, and I'm prepared for the fact that I won't and eventually can't.


The reason why is because I felt like I missed out on truly experiencing them. When I did join some challenge modes intending for gold, I went in with invisibility potions after watching a run through once. I maybe briefly looked at my gear and reforged a bit to make sure I at least hit my first haste breakpoint. That wasn't what they were supposed to be. Challenge modes were this grandiose, planned out adventure that you practiced for, researched, and prepared for differently. I hadn't done that.

By the time the expansion was almost over, I felt that I would not have the same experience as I was meant to have, so I didn't even try. The fact that the reward is unique and will become unobtainable is meaningless to me. I already long ago missed out on the experience.

I frequently feel this way about a lot of things in the game I missed. The feeling of sadness is not that it is no longer in the game to experience, but that I missed my chance to experience it correctly. 

You shouldn't be upset about being unable to experience content where you will be over powered, the fights will be trivial, and attaining the item will be a quick, meaningless grind only to acquire something outdated and useless at the end. The thing that should matter is the experience you had gaining it. I understand being upset that you missed out on that experience, but if you didn't play while it was relevant, you already missed out on that experience.

If you missed out on unique Mists' adventures and are upset about that, start planning on having some great adventures in Warlords of Draenor.

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