Motivation and Satisfaction
There’s been a lot of turmoil in our little sphere regarding the overall satisfaction WoW’s brought us. It occurred to me earlier this week when discussing the different motivations for balance that looking at motivation may give us a glimpse into why certain people are happy and others are not. So as a thought experiment, I’m decided to review different reasons that players play and examine how recent game changes may have affected those players satisfaction.
Of course, everyone plays for a diverse set of reasons, so no one of these will explain why people are feeling exactly as their feeling. I hope, though, that by examining our motivations, we can see what changes would need to be made (or unmade) to improve the overall state of the game. When you think I’ve made a misstep, dear reader (and I’m sure I will, since I have only my own perspectives to go on), please jump in and let me know where and how.
Some players play for the challenge the game provides. Whether it be PvE or PvP, the players enjoy the struggle to succeed, the learning curve of battles or bosses, and the experimentation with mechanics. This player wants to see and experience the content, but isn’t as interested in actually winning, beyond just getting to see the next boss.
These players will have mixed reactions to the newer content, but I believe most casual players will be dissatisfied. As has been pointed out by another blogger (though naturally I don’t remember who – at least this time it was about a month ago I think I saw it), most of the playing (you know, it may have been Gevlon, actually, in one of his rare thoughts I agree with) is either overly easy or overly difficult. To ensure that the maximum number of players are able to raid, they’ve made the entry bosses “easily puggable” (according to Blizz). The later bosses, though, require more dedication, perhaps more than the player can give.
While that speaks mostly from the PvE standpoint, most of these observations are true for PvP as well. With the introduction of rated BGs, players who have more time will find a greater challenge, as their ratings will go up, and they will be paired with more skilled teams. Players with less time will not have that opportunity and will flail around wildly between teams far too hard for them or far too easy. Neither presents a real challenge, though, so they will be dissatisfied.
Thus, players that are after challenge will be satisfied or dissatisfied in direct proportion to the amount of time they have. If they can’t dedicate themselves too much to the content, then it will seen to easy, too unchallenging, and they’ll be happy. Those with more time will find more satisfaction as they are able to see all of the later bosses and work on heroic content, as well.
Slightly different from wanting a challenge, players who are after success want to down bosses. They’re not after loot, achievements, or valor points (that’s our next category); they simply want the thrill of killing the bad guys, be they scripted bosses or other faction players. These players will find more satisfaction than players simply seeking a challenge because they will be able to, whether in PvP or PvE, find success every week. Whether they’re downing nerfed T11 bosses or killing the new bosses, they will be finding success in PvE, and when PvPers are matched with scrub teams, they’ll find their success that way. Both might be frustrated if they hit a content or rating wall, but there’s still other bosses to go kill to find success, so they’ll be more satisfied overall.
Some players’ main reason for playing is to get stuff. Whether it’s gold, gear, achievements, valor points, HKs, or ratings, they want more and more of something. These players will probably be very satisfied with the game. Gear is easier than ever to get, Blizz having made multiple routes through which to get it. More and more achievements are being added, so there’s more routes to follow for achievement points. More opportunities are available for valor points, too (at least since the hotfix making normal T11 bosses give them), and there’s many, many ways to make money in the game. The only group that may find dissatisfaction here is the PvPers, because there were several shenanigans with honor points around reset time, and not much has been done overall to provide more routes to earn the points.
4: Interaction with others
Players who are looking for a chance to socialize with friends should be very happy with the recent changes. The addition of battle.net groupings provides more and more opportunities to play with your friends, regardless of what servers they’re on. So players looking to play with their friends should be very satisfied.
On the other hand, players looking to play with others, perhaps strangers, are likely to be very dissatisfied with the state of the game. The in-game community is more impatient, rude, arrogant, and coarse than very before, and the penalty molehill (it’s clearly NOT a penalty volcano since it never explodes and buries villages of trolls, griefers, or general douches under searing lava) does little to curb their behavior.
Since guilds have, for good reasons or not, become more and more insular communities, people who are looking to meet others are more and more likely to run into foul little beasts, since many guilds run solely within their guilds. Thus, players will be satisfied based on whether they want to play with their friends and have enough of them to avoid the pit of fiends that is LFD or whether their daily excursions involve meeting said fiends in the dark alley of Zul’Gurub.
Players who play to show off are going to be rather dissatisfied with recent changes. Since the old bosses are easier than ever to down, many of the “rare” achievements that were had are going to become more and more commonplace. On those same lines, the gateway bosses into the Firelands are supposedly easily puggable, so no great feats of heroism will be happening there to impress themselves with. As more and more people have more and more achievements, less and less bragging can take place. We’ve already seen a storm of angry players who didn’t want to see the T11 bosses nerfed like they were. I’m sure some had perfectly legitimate arguments, but for many others, it came down to pride. It’s harder to feel superior when the fellow next to you in Org with a 341 GS has the same achievements you do.
6: Killing Time
Players who play to kill time should be very satisfied with this patch. There’s more ways than ever to kill time. The new dailies certainly make for a lot of dead seconds, as does the act of Valor capping, achievement hunting, farming, or any other traditional time-killing activity. Since most of those have already been covered, there’s not much else to say in this topic.
Players who play out of habit are always going to be dissatisfied with change, as change is the antithesis of habit. While they’ll keep playing, of course, they’ll be unhappy with most changes Blizzard makes, since it “always” makes the game easier, less like Vanilla (or BC or Wrath), and it forces them to update their behaviors by learning new class information or the like. Habitual players just want to be left to play in peace without any world changing … uh … changes, so they will probably be pretty dissatisfied with the current state of the game.
Looking over this, I see a lot of areas for satisfaction, a lot more than I expected to find, to be honest. It may be, of course, that I’ve simply misinterpreted something, but if I haven’t, I wonder what it says about the all the complaints we see, that they may only be coming from a smaller group than we’d imagined.
It also may say a lot about the type of player who blogs, since I would think that those who blogged were mostly after a challenge, with a few success seekers or accumulators thrown in. Maybe as parts of the blogging community are aging, they (we) have less time and are finding ourselves more dissatisfied with the game, which has less to do with the game than the amount of time we have. Maybe some of us are moving from challenge seekers to habitual players.
Of course, each of us possesses each of these motivations to differing degrees, and I’m sure the percentage make-up of our motivations is what decides our overall satisfaction. I am – or I used to be; I’m not sure anymore – primarily a challenge seeker. Success was probably secondary, followed by interaction with others and accumulation (and maybe a bit of pride, too, to be fair. I still sometimes link my Earth, Wind, and Fire (25 man) achievement when others start an achievement 1-upping contest. As far as I know, only 24 other people on the server have it, and none of them are in my guild. Or was that on a different server?).
Now, I fear it may be more habitual, which might explain my griping. I’m certainly trying to move back to challenge with my 10×85 … uh… challenge (I really need to be thinking ahead in these sentences). We’ll see if it can pull me back.
Off the topic of motivation (but not entirely), I started doing my dailies again, since my wife began them. Apparently you can now get into the second tier after just one day. I thought Blizz usually waited a patch to slap hard workers in the face, but I guess not anymore. Ah, well.
Stubborn (who values playing with wife more than avoiding doing dailies)