Sunday, November 14, 2010

Wulfrix on the evolution of rotation complexity

As a preface to this post, it would be widely advisable to go read This Post over on WoWInsider. Essentially, it's a peek into Blizzard's current design focus, and how the game has adapted from a 'Sink or Swim' talent speccing situation to a 'Dog-paddle or Butterfly'. While talents have previously blatantly disregarded the community that is built up around the game, now they incorporate this huge community fanbase into existing design decisions. Interesting stuff, but for one simple issue, which Eyeball2452 correctly points out.

To take a look at this, let's bring in Billo, the brother of Billy from wowcrendor's 'How to Win' series.

Hello Billo! I see you've decided to try to spec your talents.
"Yea! And there's a whole lot of choices to pick! Ooh, I want this one! And this one!"
Hold on, Billo. You need to think hard about what talents you pick. First off, what blogs do you read?
"What's a blog?"
-cuts to MSPaint rendition of EJ-
A 'Blog' is a place where someone who has played the game far more than you ever will tells you how to play it and what to do. And if you don't, people will assume you are terrible, and nobody will ever group with yo. Especially in harder content.
"But I want to play my own way how it suits me!"
You can't, Billo.
"This place sucks! I want to go hang out with Gamon! And the Go guy!"
Shut up, Billo.
 -Crazy Music and Credits-

The issue is that if Billo here never heard from us what EJ was, or read a blog, or heard about WoWInsider, they would never have heard about this 'higher' grade of talent speccing that is necessary for all raiding. Sure, it's difficult now to think 'Oh, who doesn't know what WoWInsider is?', but it took me a solid 3 years of playing WoW to learn about what theorycrafting was (I joined in 2004), and I have seen people play - and raid - in Wrath with less knowledge than what I had in my first UBRS run. Which consisted of Leeroy Jenkins, a Dungeon Companion, and Allakhazam

Blizzard needs to actively support the community in ways it just isn't doing. Knowledge accessible to average players consists of the forums... which would be a horrible first place to learn things... and a couple of well-hidden links on their main page. Adding large featured pages with links to major websites (EJ, WoWInsider, Wowhead, even Graylo and more specific blogs) on the website is a simple way to start, but there is a much more elegant solution.

What is the number one place that people who play WoW look for information? If you answered the GAME ITSELF, you'd be correct. And would also posses common sense. Why in the WORLD does the library in SW not contain Phaela's dissertation on Threat Management? Or a tome of BRK Lore? Perhaps the book seller nobody actually goes to in Undercity might hold some speculative lore from Shades of Gray? Billy and Blind could appear on the big screen in Ironforge! Cranius and Shigihara would perform at the World's End Tavern! The possibilities are ENDLESS, people! Just let the community into the world in a way more than casual references, so that the community can teach the world. Talents are just a stepping stone, people. But without the stepping stone, this brave new philosophy is an adaptation that will split millions. 

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