Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Jungles, Shipyards, and Orcs Oh My

So 6.2 came out yesterday. This was me, today, on Wednesday.

zeroed in on the druid changes

Yesterday, I went on a day trip and played MH4U, forgetting there was a huge patch. So, I dove in today.

I updated my addons, - except for Master Plan since it wasn't updated and doesn't work and my life is in shambles - half assed some of my garrison chores, and built a shipyard. I'm killing orcs in Tanaan Jungle, and vaguely remembering that there was something about being able to fly.


I didn't read up a lot on the new patch. Honestly, I haven't been keeping up to date with what's coming in and going out in patches for awhile. This is the biggest patch of Warlords so far, and here is an exhaustive list of what I knew about it before today:

  • A meta-achievement to grant flying but apparently not yet or something
  • Timewalking and relevant weekends (which I wrote about)
  • Tanaan Jungle, supposedly kinda like Timeless Isle
  • New raid instance
  • Shipyards are a thing

Funnily enough, I've really been looking forward to 6.2. Not for anything in particular really, since I haven't been paying that much attention, but for a dive into some (hopefully) exciting new content.

I tend to avoid reading about everything and getting "prepped" until the actual content comes out. I enjoy learning about the new content by experiencing it. One of the things that make video games fun is the exploration and discovery.  I feel like it's something that a lot of people have lost appreciation for.

"cool what's down here?" - level 24's last words

When you read up on every little minute change before a game, patch, or expansion comes out, you're basically spoiling it for yourself. Do you read the entire review and plot summary of a movie before you go see it?

I know we're all excited for the new content, but I think we could cut down on some of the cranky old jaded gamer cynicism if maybe we relaxed a bit and just waited for content to come out instead of trying to experience it by reading every possible detail before it's even available.

The problem is that World of Warcraft creates a strange environment regarding this situation. If you don't already know everything that's coming out in the patch, how and where to complete it, and what the most efficient and effective ways are, you're obviously a scrub. You're clearly a complete idiot because you couldn't be bothered to read the patch notes. How do you even dress yourself in the morning?

this cat is more of a person than you

Hardcore mindsets and serious progression raiding environments pressure players into knowing everything before the content is even live. The community and the culture of the game has created a situation where it's not only uncommon for someone to not know what's coming up in a patch, but if they don't, it means they are basically not even a real person.

Back when they added the barber shop with the release of WotLK, I of course knew about it beforehand. I however did not know that there were no barbers in Shattrath. I don't know why I was in Shattrath, I think I was on an alt, but I didn't know there were no barbers there. I asked a guard to find the barber shop, but there was no option for one.

Totally confused, I asked in trade, only to have someone berate me for being so unforgivably stupid for not reading about it online and that I should "ask a fucking guard instead of having everyone else do everything for you." I responded that I oddly enough had asked a guard, but there was no option for the shop. Someone who was smart enough to conclude that I was probably in a city without a barber shop calmly told me to go to Orgrimmar.

How dare I. Honestly, I don't know what I was thinking. How could I be so ignorant? How bold indeed could I be to brazenly step into a video game that had just been updated with a mountain of new content and not know each of the tiniest details about every new aspect and feature?

For many years, I read patch notes to the fine print and back several times through their creation and refinement, up until the day of when I re-read the notes to entirety. A lot of this was due to my overwhelming obsession with the game, because of course where was I during the server downtime? It definitely wasn't "outside" or "doing something constructive," but of course sitting at my computer screen, refreshing the realm status page, posting on forums, and constantly logging into the game to see if it was yet that glorious time.

(cries of anguish heard in the distance)

That was of course during a time where I thought everything was pure gold. I couldn't be disappointed, except by nerfs to my class which were obviously of course always unwarranted, though back then a lot of it was more along the lines of "being completely ignored yet again". The thing is, nowadays, if you're constantly finding yourself disappointed by the content that Blizzard is putting out, you can maybe circumvent some of this disappointment by not letting yourself know what you're getting into beforehand.

I mean, it's all your decision, but give it some consideration. When we read patch notes not because we're excited, but because we're looking for something to analyze and grade based on our expectations and preconceptions on what we expect, it's simply more likely to create a negative experience for yourself.

I don't know what's going on in Tanaan. I made a shipyard, I gave a guy some oil and resources and a ship appeared, and I "collected" it just like any other garrison shipment, which was very funny. I couldn't build another ship yet, though. I also don't know what to do with the ships. I went to Tanaan and I fought some orcs.

wait wrong game

A city materialized and some people asked me to kill more orcs, and there's a vendor there who wants to give me tokens to turn 650 gear into 695 gear for 20,000 apexis crystals. Wow, I guess those are suddenly relevant.

I went off and fought more orcs, and in the middle of my adventure, I went down an unrelated path. "Does this empty into Talador or Gorgrond?" I asked myself and wandered away from the middle of what was seemingly a very dire situation occurring all around me. I killed some more orcs.

I went back and got lost. I found a cave.

"Neat." - me

I haven't seen this cave layout design before, so that was cool. I hung out in there for awhile until a plant monster attacked me.

"Neat." - me

Someone helped me kill it, and I kept exploring. I feel like I was supposed to be doing something, but I'm not sure.

I jumped out of a tower to get here.
I don't even know if that was how I was supposed to

Sure sure, I can get away with a lot since I'm not in a raiding guild anymore. Serious progression raiding environments are very demanding when potential gear, resources, or reputations that can help progression are involved. In the same way, a lot of casual players are the ones that are going to not be reading up on every patch note detail. However, a good portion of non-raiding players still tend to over analyze new content patches, particularly people in similar situations to me. People no longer raiding or no longer enamored with the game who used to live and breathe by it, that are possibly simply going through the motions, maybe even unaware that they no longer have to do this.

I understand there are some arguments that can be made in favor of reading up on patch notes before their content arrives, but I'll let you in on a little secret. I haven't been reading patch notes in detail since probably the end of Cataclysm.

"Oh damn." - me

Between Cata and mid-MoP was during the dark times when I was in an overwhelmingly casual guild with an identity crisis and superiority complex, but even after I was accepted into my third actual progression guild midway through ToT's content, I still didn't really get back into patch note analyzing. I didn't even read up a lot on Mists or Warlords before they came out, so I've been purposefully withholding information from myself for years.

I'd recommend it. It does have its downsides, of course. The very obvious being that you really do not know what to prepare for, to expect, or to work for until you rifle through the new content yourself and see what it has to offer. It would have been very convenient if I had known to collect 20,000 apexis crystals earlier, but I didn't, so no free instant upgrades for me.

I can see how this could be completely unbearable for certain players - I would know, since I've been there. I find a small joy in it, though. Back when I was still in guilds, I was kept informed on important raiding progression related things and other exciting information by the raid leader and other members, so I think 6.2 might be the most unknown patch for me, ever. So far, it's been great.

"Neat." - me

Not only am I exploring a zone where I have no preconception of what I'm to expect, but I'm not pressured to ignore irrelevant things in a beeline to complete the most important content. I get to explore this new zone, do whatever I want, and figure out what's going on at my leisure.

I fell

Sure, sometimes I feel like an idiot. I've been conditioned for years to believe that not knowing full well what's new, where I should be going, and what I should be doing means that I'm an incapable mouth breathing scrub, but that feeling tends to get overshadowed by a more powerful and enjoyable feeling. That is, having fun.

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