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What a N00B!

October 2, 2012

Dear Reader,

So as I got my new computer set up, I knew what my downloading priorities were.  I knew I could get one game over night each night without interrupting my various other online activities which would have had to share bandwidth.  Since I was expected to play The Secret World on Friday with my buddies, I knew that had to be first.  Then I figured Guild Wars 2 would make the most sense, since I’m playing that pretty actively.  Steam was a Must, too.

But then what?

WoW, of course.

I still have an active subscription, though I haven’t updated my account to Mists just yet.  I knew I wanted to check out some of the changes, and additionally I wanted to try to meet up with Navi for a Navi-spam (which is becoming a reverse Navi-spam, if you think about it, since nowadays she seems to be sought out by others.  More on that another day).  So I downloaded it overnight one night and got ready to hop on.

The next day I had some free time, so I booted up WoW and plugged in my password and authenticator.  The new opening screen is, well, a little boring, actually.  Compared to the threat of Deathwing, Sindragosa, and the Dark Portal, two panda statues pretending to be the Argonath didn’t do much for me.  I mean I get it, it’s supposed to be more serene after the constant threats of the past, but it certainly didn’t impress me the way Sindragosa’s entrance did the first time I saw it.

It was a moot point, though, because I happened to be trying to log on square in the middle of the 2 hours of downtime on Saturday (or was it Friday?  I don’t remember).  So in the end, it didn’t happen until the next day.

When I did finally get on, it felt strangely unchanged.  As on our birthdays, where we’re told we’re a year older, WoW didn’t seem to have shifted that much one way or the other.

Until I looked at the mini buttons on the bottom.  

Take it easy, big guy.

What the hell? There were all sorts of new buttons down there.  Take a breath, I told myself.  It’s no big deal.

Then I opened my talent tree, and again was at an impasse.  I realize that it was Blizzard’s goal to make us make difficult choices between our ability tiers, but they’re supposed to be difficult because they’re all so awesome, not because they’re all so bland – at least for my namesake druid, who naturally was first to get loaded up into 5.0.  I didn’t check the others, because at this point I began to get a sickening feeling in my stomach, the kind a student might get if they realized 20 minutes into a lecture that they were sitting in the wrong class.  This wasn’t what I was used to.

Stubborn’s underwhelmed.

I realize that the concept of “teaching old dogs new tricks” really doesn’t hold true in the world, that it’s more a perception from within than a biological inability from without.  Still, for one of the first times in my life, I started to wonder if it was worth it to learn all this new stuff.  Pet battles.  Scenarios.  Menu buttons.  Talent trees.  I don’t feel like the game’s been honed, like the fat has been cut as Blizzard proports.  I feel like it’s been lessened.  Yes, things were added (pet battles, scenarios, etc) to make up for the lessening, so in the end it may be a better product.  I’m not too foolish to admit that.  But it’s lessened, all the same, and it could have been improved without the subtractions.  Maybe it’s just me.

/Point still works

To be frank, I felt baffled, in the end, baffled, by definition – to frustrate or check by confusing or perplexing.  It was a lot to absorb at once, and I don’t know if I even want to absorb it.  I truly am an old man now.

In the end, I expect I will, at some point, but I’m certainly past my “look up the best spec” days where I’d spend hours pouring over web documents trying to decide whether one point in improved renew was better or worse than being able to cleanse magical effects.  I don’t want to look up stuff.  I want to figure it out, sure, play test it with my buddies, collaborate on cool combos, like Secret World allowed, but I don’t want to have to do research to have fun any more, and as a result I’m basically banned from end-game stuff.  Fine; it’s self imposed, I’ll accept that.  But to have to do it just to play my druid again, well, I’m just not sure I want to.

Anyway, I’m sure it’s simply a molehill of a problem that I’m busting out the pinions for, but that’s how I felt.  I quickly added Navi’s battletag to my friends list and logged off.  I haven’t been back on since, though I will check from time to time until I catch Navi and spam her.  Afterwards, we’ll see.


Stubborn (and baffled, by definition)

14 Comments leave one →
  1. October 2, 2012 7:03 am

    That’s pretty much my feeling on WoW these-days, the game has moved on and I’m just not willing anymore to keep on moving with it. It’s different, some good and some bad, but I just don’t feel like it’s the game I fell in love with back in 2007.

    • October 3, 2012 11:11 am

      Yeah, I try to avoid “better” or “worse” debates, but it’s just not the same, and I don’t know that a 4th major transition in what I’m used to is warranted for a single game. I’ll probably still give it a try, but we’ll see if it sticks.
      Thanks for the comment!

  2. infamydeferred permalink
    October 2, 2012 8:11 am

    If it’s any consolation, all of the old no-brainer talents are now spec passive bonuses (listed at the end of your spellbook), and almost all of the old talents that were optional exist in glyph form. The thing about the new talent tree is that Blizzard wants you to invest some thought into flexibility – until now, every healer picked talents that gives more healing, every dps goes for max dps, etc… If you didn’t define your roll as narrowly as possible, you were not doing your job in pve. Plus, you can change these talents in the field for like, 45 silver.

    • October 3, 2012 11:12 am

      In another month the same will be true with these talents. It only takes a short time for the math eaters to figure out what’s optimal. Mark my words; you won’t be “doing your job” unless you use a specific spec from this new set, as well. The reduction just means the math eaters will have an easier time figuring it out.

      Thanks for the comment!

  3. October 2, 2012 9:30 am

    That’s an…interesting complaint. Most of us who protested the talent change did so because it simplified things and removed the requirement to study the interactions or go out to external sites for a cookie-cutter build. Look at some of the class threads on EJ now and there are many tiers that are listed as ‘situational’ or ‘player preference’.

    The current talents encourage experimentation and situational swapping. It also has the advantage of honestly as, to be honest, the old system was built around a very few good specs. The new system is simple but it does not seem to have many plain bad choices.

    My main advice to anyone returning is to look at the Core tab on the skill book. Some classes have undergone significant changes. And take time to actually quest. Unlike Cata the quests are fairly well designed and feel organic. The quests in each hub are still on rails but at least you can do some self-direction in deciding the order in which you will move to the hubs or run the chains.

    • October 3, 2012 11:15 am

      Give it time. It will eventually be modeled to the “right” spec again, but it will take less time to read through and figure it out. I’m just getting tired of the studying. I’ve put in my time over and over again across many games, and I just don’t want to have to read to play any more. I read on my own. I also play. I do research for my job. I don’t want to constantly be mixing my duties, so to speak, and in particular I don’t want “duty” to be affecting my game play time.

      Unfortunately, that means I can’t be a part of some of the games out there any more. It’s a sacrifice, but fine. If I can save hundreds of hours of research (which by now is how much I’ve done across multiple games, expansions, patches, classes, etc) by not doing one aspect of the game, I guess that’s what’ll happen. And to be frank, I don’t think it’s just me. Raiding has been down for an entire patch cycle, and I think this is a response to that. Not enough of one for me, but perhaps others. Only time will tell.

      Good to see you around! Thanks for your comment!

    • RimeCat permalink
      October 3, 2012 2:38 pm

      That’s the main reason I stopped raiding – people pay me a good bit to do Program Management and Systems Engineering, I’d rather not do it for entertainment.

      Ultimately this is a question of tastes. I’ve periodically dropped WoW, and thought I’d permanently quit before LotRO went FtP. I cannot stand that business model and it’s one of the major things annoying me about GW2. When RIFT announced the new expansion, and a great housing system, I fully intended to buy that instead of MoP – then I saw the cover. Sorry, I’ve not been in the target demographic for decades.

      I will say that, as far as WoW expansions go, this one is considerably less of a relearning challenge. The talents are basically player choice, the priority systems are simple (one you do things like change the spelling of ‘Judgement’ in all of your macros), and the questing feels more like vanilla. It is not going to appeal to everyone, not by a long shot, but it is probably the best expansion release they’ve done since BC.

      That said, I’m still going to check Mania’s Kickstarter once I’m off work and out from behind the firewall.

    • October 4, 2012 4:17 pm

      WEll, I’ll probably “break down” at some point and try it, too. It may be – terrible though it is to think – that we’re starting to just outgrow the genres we grew up with. I know exactly what you mean about the Rift expansion; I haven’t been in that demographic for more than a decade. I’m ready for something more mature – not in the sexual sense – and I thought TSW was delivering that. Instead of – or rather, In addition to that, I got a pretty lousy game over all.
      Maybe I can get back into WoW. The more I hear about it from people like you, the more it’s beginning to pique my interest. I guess we’ll see once TSW’s out of the picture.
      Thanks for the comment!

  4. Kess permalink
    October 2, 2012 2:27 pm

    My advice is to make a Pandaren (you don’t need the expansion unless you want to make a monk) and enjoy the starting area. I think there’s a good chance you’ll get it by the time you finish.

    The only thing I miss about the old talent trees is that they acted as a little reward when you were leveling up, moreso back when it was every level, but nearly as true in Cata. Fifteen levels is a long time to wait when leveling, but I pay a lot more attention to the spell book now and keep looking at what new skills I’ll be getting.

    The new talents have some big game changers here and there. My holy paladin was ecstatic when she got sacred shield back, and the warrior’s mobility talents are amazing for a tank. I wouldn’t say that every talent is a shiny, but I do think it’s a move in the right direction for most classes/specs.

    • October 3, 2012 11:17 am

      I might do this, but the problem therein is that I’ve leveled one of every class (; It may just take me forking out the money first before I’m sure if I want to fork out the money.
      To be honest, though, the money’s not an issue; I expected I’d be buying the expansion eventually. It’s more about the mental act of switching gears yet again to get back into the game. I’ve taken a lot of breaks, but none for so long (10 months now), and I’m just not sure I care about most of what’s in Azeroth any more. We’ll see, though.
      Regardless, I appreciate the suggestion, and thanks for the comment!

  5. October 2, 2012 10:56 pm

    You sneaky thing, I have been hanging around online at all sorts of funny hours wondering where on earth is that Stubborn guy! And of course, reading this I found out why I can’t find you…. ninja logger 😀

    There has been a lot of controversy about the new changes. But as with everything, people hate change. In a year people will have forgotten what we were all complaining about, I’m sure.

    • October 3, 2012 11:10 am

      In Response:

      Sam: What are you up to? Sneaking off, are we?
      Gollum: Sneaking? Sneaking? Fat Hobbit is always so polite. Smeagol shows them secret ways that nobody else could find, and they say “sneak!” Sneak? Very nice friend. Oh, yes, my precious. Very nice, very nice.
      Sam: All right, all right! You just startled me is all. What were you doing?
      Gollum: Sneaking.

      To be honest, I only get on to check and see if you’re on 😛
      I’ll be checking again tonight, but it’ll be the middle of the night for you, but I’ll have time from midday til mid afternoon tomorrow. I did say we should schedule (;

  6. Beshara permalink
    October 3, 2012 8:05 am

    I have to agree with Kess’s advice. Try the Pandaren starting zone. That will give you a good idea of how the questing will be like in the new high level zones. If you like it, try out Jade Forest on your main. I got pulled into the story on Horde side like I hadn’t been in a while. It is a much different feel than Cataclysm.

    It is a lot to take in. It took me about a week or two to really get a feel for the changes. I find I don’t miss the old talent tree because the talents didn’t go away, they just are available in a different form, either built into the spec or as a glyph. It also seems like Blizzard really worked to make all specs fairly even on DPS, and with shadow the rotation feels pretty intuitive without having to do extensive research.

    It’s true that the game is definately not the same game as vanilla, BC, or even Wrath. The game has evolved, and I can understand if you feel frustrated trying to keep up with the changes.

    • October 3, 2012 11:23 am

      Yes, that’s the crux of it. Frustrated, but more tired, too. My two friends who moved to Germany are experiencing their first expansion changes, and they have that annoying “we have to relearn it” thing going on (they’re annoyed, I mean, not that they’re annoying me), but this is the fourth time I’m going through it. I just don’t know if I feel it’s worth it. Regardless, I’ll try all the same and we’ll see.

      I take issue with the word evolved. It did not evolve; it was genetically manipulated, to stay with the same metaphor. They’ve wed a frog (d3) and a cat (WoW) with some poké-genes (not that I have a problem with pet battles; the Monster Rancher series took up a LOT of my time) and turbine parts (3 man dungeons were in LotrO) to make something – new. I can’t and won’t pretend to know if it’s better or worse; a lot of the reviews suggest it’s much, much better. But I don’t know. A poké-frog-cat with a windmill on its back to power it (turbine – get it?) kinda freaks me out. I’m just used to it meowing.

      That metaphor got pretty wacky, didn’t it? (;

      Anyway, thanks for the comment!

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