Wednesday, August 12, 2015

It's Another Flying Post - Pre-Legion Edition

I made a disclaimer earlier that I'm purposefully keeping myself ignorant to announced Legion features. If I say a thing or things that have already been discussed, announced, explained, or debunked, that is because I intentionally did not research this topic. My reasoning can be summarized by saying that I don't want to spoil the game before it even comes out. My reasoning can be lengthily explained by this particular blog post. Please excuse me and any accidental uneducated nonsense.

Blizzard decided to enter into Warlords without allowing flying. They nudged at maaaybe adding it later, only to kind of backhandedly "announce" in a random article somewhere that they maybe might not be adding it back to the game ever probably most likely. Of course, throughout the entire debacle, people were very fervently internet-campaigning about it, and this just took the cake. I mean, if you somehow missed the whole thing, you must have left mid-Mists or earlier and just come back to the Warcraft community scene like, yesterday.

actual depiction of pro-flying protest rally

Everyone was writing about flying, so I tried to keep my posts about it to a minimum. My first two posts were before they had announced that flying would be back, where I ended the second stating I was sorry and wouldn't write anymore flying posts. Then I made a third one when they made the decision to add flying, insincerely apologizing for lying about not writing another flying post. Knowing better this time around, I did not, in fact, promise to not write about flying again, so here we are!

My last flying post discussed my opinion on the manner in which they decided to implement flying into Draenor. Long story short, Blizzard introduced the ability to unlock flying through a meta-achievement, which required that you do all the things they wanted you to do without flying in the first place. Basically saying, once we've forced you to do the things that we didn't want you to be able to fly for, you can fly.

The idea behind the whole thing is fine. Before, getting to max level was the task we had to complete to get flying, which the majority of people are okay with. This is just like them adding an extra layer to the requirements.

The only issue here is that this entire system being successful depends on whether that content is entertaining enough. If you gate flying behind a huge grocery list of necessary achievements that are bland and boring and no one does them and quits the game anyway, then the idea has failed.

This is why it failed in Draenor. I haven't even tried to unlock flying, and I personally know others who haven't either. There's also about five million people who I know didn't, too.

It doesn't help that I'm guildless, but there are better games to waste my time playing, so I haven't even bothered. It's not that the reward is not good, it's that, once I get that reward, I don't think I'll be playing anyway. They added flying so late that I already went all around the world and got myself good and bored of the game. I believe that being able to fly would give me something to reignite a little bit of interest in the game, but the tasks required to get flying are so lengthy and bothersome that I'm just gonna not. Honestly, I'm not even sure if they've released the patch that allows you to actually fly in Draenor, yet. I'm that disinterested.

Keeping this all in mind, it would be very wise of Blizzard, if they intend to keep this ideology for Legion, to ensure the ability to be granted flying is available the instant the expansion is live and to ensure that whatever content they insist be completed is worth the reward and not also gated (e.g., dailies).

none of this

One of the problems with insisting that we raise certain reputations to unlock flying in Draenor is that Blizzard is telling you how quickly you are allowed to experience the content that you are being forced to experience before you've experienced it enough to unlock flying. If I want to play for 36 hours straight to unlock flying the same week that I hit 110, I damn well better be able to.

Not only that, but the longer they make people linger on the ground doing content they are doing because they're forced to, the easier it will be for people to get discouraged and unmotivated, especially if the content is annoying or unfun. Now, I'm not saying that I think the ground-bound outdoor content will not be fun, I'm saying that if you make people do unfun things for too long, they will just stop doing them. Essentially, even if the requirements to unlock flying are actually not that fun, as long as you can work on them as much as you want and complete them as fast as you want, people are more likely to do them.

The most important thing, though, is the ability for flying to be able to be unlocked from the moment the expansion is live. When you ask the players to perform a thousand tasks only to still withhold the reward from them until later, the response is going to be negative. If you are worried about some people flying long before others, guess what, seeing people soaring in the sky above them is going to motivate people.

look at all this motivation

Seeing people doing fun stuff that I'm not doing makes me want to do that stuff. When I stopped raiding to screw around as a non-raider at the beginning of TBC, seeing people in purples gave me an intense urge to start raiding again. Every time that I've stopped raiding and fallen behind on gear, it makes me want to start raiding again. Guildies with more achievement points than me make me want to go earn more achievements. People doing well in PvP with PvP titles and mounts makes me want to PvP. I'm not even a PvPer!

It's also worth noting that since the introduction of flying in TBC, getting flying and being able to fly around in the content that you just leveled through was a significant goal that every single person leveling up and playing fully intended to get as immediately as possible.

Having the ability to unlock flying immediately gives everyone who just hit max something important and significant to do. If there is a meta-achievement to unlock flying in Legion, no one will be on the forums saying "wow there's nothing to do at max level" three days after release. (Who are we kidding, I'm sure someone will.)

Hopefully, this is already what Blizzard is planning on doing. If it's not, someone please let them know the mistake they are about to make.

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