A Barrier to My Eventual Return to Azeroth

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, what I am playing is driven as much by what I am in the mood for as anything.  No amount of “I should be playing…”  will get me to launch a game.

And moods come and go.  Today I am playing a lot of Pokemon.  Next week I might tire of that and move on to something else.

But mood alone can only go so far.  Mood gets me to log in, sets up the scenario.  Then I need a task, a direction, a place to go.  I can be very task oriented, so I need a plan or a goal to work towards.  I was in the mood for EverQuest II back in December, but the plan for progress never solidified and I walked away.

All of which brought my thoughts to World or Warcraft.  I am not playing it currently, but I expect that I will eventually.  Curse has been keeping my addons up to date.  The Legion expansion lost my interest after running through all the zones and finishing up the quest lines.  Beyond that and hitting the level cap I ran out of goals there.

But the 7.2 update introduced both new content and a good goal.

now running in Azeroth

Unlocking flying in the Legion expansion is the sort of task I could see myself coming back to the game to run down.  It requires a lot of work, but the tasks themselves are not insurmountable on their own… they were even reduced in scope… and knocking them out as I went would provide a feeling or progress.  Progress feeds the soul of the MMORPG achiever.

The problem is that Blizzard threw a monkey wrench in the gears for me with the 7.2 patch.

The new feature where mobs scale to your item level seems bizarro world bad.

Yes, I know they cut it back a bit.

And I even understand the problem they are trying to solve, a problem I have bitched about myself, the trivialization of content.

You can see that issue just by starting a new character in WoW and running up to level 30 or so.  If you insist on running all the quests… which is to say, you want to consume the actual content and see the various zone story lines through to their conclusion… you will soon find you have out leveled the quests as they go gray on you while any foes are now so weak in comparison that Blizzard actually made a piece of gear that was effectively the “false swipe” move from Pokemon that would not kill mobs so you wouldn’t sneeze and slay an NPC you needed alive. (I think it was the toy foam sword, though I could be wrong.)

So there is an issue there.  This was addressed to a certain extent in the Legion expansion at launch by making the initial set of zones auto-scale to your level.  After you were done there, everything else would be at level cap.

You still had to keep up with gear progress.  But that wasn’t so bad, and gear progression is one of the things in WoW that makes you feel good, especially in the case of weapons.  Few things make you feel like you’ve grown stronger than being able to smite down a foe more easily than before.

But now when that hot new piece of gear drops and your item level count goes up, your foes get tougher as well.  That effectively kills the good feeling you get with gear progression, at least out in the open world.  If you’re running instance or raids it is a different story.  And, as somebody with a strong achiever streak in them, this rains on my achiever parade.

In an attempt to solve what I will cop to as a legitimate problem it feels like they have just made a new one.  It reminds me of the tale where a guy gets cats to chase away the troublesome mice, then dogs to chase the troublesome cats, and so on until he ends up with elephants and has to get the mice back to rid himself of the pachyderms that are literally knocking his house down; it feels like a solution that just changes the problem rather than solving it.

Of course, I haven’t actually resubscribed and logged back into WoW to give it a try, but the feeling that this may suck makes that less likely to happen.  And all the more so since I haven’t seen much about the topic of late.  Maybe it wasn’t that bad.  Maybe people quit and left over it.

So how bad is it, or is it that bad at all?

14 thoughts on “A Barrier to My Eventual Return to Azeroth

  1. RohanV

    In my opinion, it’s pretty much unnoticeable. My high-ilvl Holy paladin 2-shots mobs if Holy Shock crits. Pretty much any non-elite will die noticeably faster than my low-ilvl alts. And that’s with a healer.

    I think the scaling mechanic was primarily aimed at making it difficult for tanks to round up 20 or 30 normal mobs and then kill them all with a single AoE attack.

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  2. Krumm

    I agree with you on the monsters scaling with item level being a unwelcoming experience when carpet bombing the content. The idea that the areas scale with your level is kewl, getting closer to how Guild wars II will scale the area to your level or your level to your area.; but as we all know people don’t want to be challenged by trash mobs, it is one thing for an elite to scale with item level but for god sakes I play Holy Paladins and healers and my item level doesn’t equal dps!. (I know before some one points it out…that’s my fault for leveling as a holy….bt Ill point it out that they made it kinda important to level in your spec…more so now then ever).

    On the EVE front…I have grown sad that I cannot craft anything…anything at all and make a profit off of it. I spent a month working up the skills to make T2 missiles and when I do the math work up I cant make em for what people are selling them for. Its pretty much the case in all things. So a new plan I must make…a existing task I must adjust….So I have just been training skills and waiting on that hankering to do missions to come back to me, save up then place really low buy orders for materials to then build stuff at a profit. Its a logistical addiction…I must make things…at a profit. (but in all seriousness I’m afraid to go alpha but havn’t played in a month or two.

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  3. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Krumm – Yeah, leveling in your spec for your weapon is a thing.

    In EVE I found out six or seven years ago that you can’t buy a blue print, make some stuff, haul it to Jita, and actually make ISK. While it depends a bit on the item, the competition is just too fierce and you’re always up against somebody who has an edge of some sort.

    Right now, with the price of minerals, I am told you can make money with a fully research blue print building Charon freighters, insuring them, and getting them blown up just to collect the insurance. So there are ways to make money as a producer.

    I found, back in the day, that avoiding Jita and hauling things out to a remote mission hub was a way to make ISK. People are lazy and will pay a huge price penalty to buy something if they can avoid undocking to travel in order to pick up the item. I did okay with things like warp core stabilizers and shield hardeners and extenders in some locations. (Warp core stabs sell very well in low sec stations in faction warfare areas.) The volume isn’t the same as Jita, but you can make it up with better margins and you can corner the local market.

    In the end I stopped doing production because I found, once I had enough ISK, that is was easier to do a buy order for ammo drops at a mission hub, collect them up, and then resell them there.

    Just don’t do a region-wide buy order. I still have stuff all over Domain because of one.

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  4. Trippin Ninja

    It’s not bad at all after they dialed it back. Even with the initial stats they used it only affected people with 880ilvl or higher which is not the easiest to get without raiding or mythics. Many people had a problem with the damage they dealt rather than the TTK as well. They completely removed the damage buff to mobs so all good there and I don’t even notice the hp buff. Stuff still dies crazy fast once you have some decent gear. For example my shadow priest is only 881 and his two dots alone will kill most normal mobs. Even as a dot class I’ll kill things in just a few gcd’s if I focus them. Non elite boss mobs barely live through one rotation and elites only take a couple rotations.

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  5. Jenks

    I’m 905ish ilvl, not only is this a non-issue but it’s not even noticeable. A typical “kill enough stuff to reach 100% progress” world quests goes like this: run 20 yards spamming an aoe (thrash) to get agro. Turn, cast brutal slash (big aoe damage) twice. Quest complete.

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  6. carson63000

    I agree with everyone else who has commented – I found it barely noticeable logging in the day it was turned on. I don’t think there’s even the slightest chance you’d notice it if you hit it organically by increasing your ilvl beyond 850. The toughness increase does not even remotely compare to the damage increase you get from your higher level gear.

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  7. Ngita

    Just echo’ing the barely noticeable. The only character that feels a little slow is my tank DK. But at least I can’t die.

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  8. Helistar

    Same experience here, I didn’t even notice it (and I don’t play DPS). Stuff “just dies”(tm) just like before.

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  9. Scifibookguy

    I started playing WoW again a few months ago. I hadn’t played since 2005 (when I had three level 60’s and no desire to level up a 4th to 60). Blizzard had deleted my account, so I started over, and my current highest level char is level 65, so I can’t comment on Legion. But what I’m wondering if you can help me with is which Add-Ons to use. Do you have a recommend list that I can use?

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  10. Solf

    “Yeah, leveling in your spec for your weapon is a thing.”

    It isn’t. Or at least it isn’t anymore. Artifact Power you get while leveling is literally nothing compared to what you get at max level — they changed it so that when you ding 110 you can raise your artifact knowledge to 15 right away (if you have enough resources) — which is something like 30x multiplier.

    On a related note — as an achiever — don’t you find it frustrating that they actually took weapon upgrades away? I much prefer when I can get ‘new better weapon drop’ to the current ‘get some item that slightly improves current weapon’.

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  11. Krumm

    There way of stopping the need to make weapons…should be interesting to see how they figure out going further with them thou…say the next couple of expansions. People are going to get tired of those artifacts I am sure… and I am mad because I want to play my Hunter old school, with duel weapon fighting.

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  12. wowstorylines

    I really haven’t noticed all that much difference on my characters with the mobs, however, I’m lagging behind as per usual and my gear is not great at all. Still no legendary to flaunt about. Still working away and will eventually get flying.

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  13. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    Solf – “On a related note — as an achiever — don’t you find it frustrating that they actually took weapon upgrades away?”

    Yes. It isn’t as bad as the legendary weapon thing in LOTRO, but it does take some of the fun out of it, grinding rep and then grinding weapon experience.

    I’ll have to see how the weapon leveling thing goes when I return. Back when I stopped playing I was at level 110 and while I saw some increase in the amount of artifact power gain for my weapon, that increase was overwhelmed by the huge boost in the amount of artifact power needed to unlock more aspects of the weapon. That soured me a bit on the whole artifact weapon thing. And you can’t even toss the weapon away and just go old school as you might in LOTRO because all the classes are tuned to having their special weapon, so you lose some of your combat abilities.

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  14. nightgerbil

    This whole post makes me so glad i moon walked away from wow 15 months ago after they announced they weren’t allowing flying in wod. I never played Guild Wars, because of level scaling. Sometimes you meet a road block. that mob you cant kill. so you go back to the last stage, do a few more quests, grind a bit. Perhaps even go back to a city/fleet get a gear upgrade of three if you have been lazy and not upgraded your gear for 3-4 levels. Come back, kill it and on you go. Thats part of the whole power progression. thats how you SEE your getting better and your char is getting better at the game. Level scaling simply removes it. My avatar becoming stronger is supposed to be part of the journey isn’t it?

    Its always been the removal of perfectly good content that annoys me most. why remove scenarios? why remove mop chall dungs?

    Lastly the comments from players that they didnt even NOTICE? so yeah there no challenge left to wow any more is there? I don’t want to sound elitist I really don’t, its not like I’m some kind of world first gamer. I just want to ask the question though: if your running around just 2 shotting all the mobs whats the point of the game? when they made it so easy you can’t fail and the only way to measure success is how fast you can speed run it, whats the difference between that and a level 500 mafia wars account? I miss wow. I really do. I wish they still made the game I’m in love with.

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