Sinking Ships

I think it is fair to say Cataclysm has not been going according to plan.

Right in the middle of my writing a very long post about the Great Tank Bribe of 2011, we get hit with a few more broadsides:

  • Honor is now purchasable from the Justice Commodities Vendor at 250 Honor per 375 Justice.
  • Justice is now purchasable from the Honor Commodities Vendor at 250 Justice per 375 Honor.
  • Conquest is now purchasable from the Valor vendor at 250 Conquest per 250 Valor.
  • Any cut of uncommon gem now sells to NPC for 75 silver instead of 9 gold.

Not to mention the things we already know:

  • The rate at which Honor Points are earned has been doubled.
  • Revamped ZA/ZG granting 140 VP.
  • Daily heroics –> 7/week heroics.
  • Tanks getting gold, gems, flasks, non-combat pets (including cross faction), and mounts.

All of this for Patch Four “WE SWEAR FIRELANDS ISN’T BEING DELAYED” Point One. Or perhaps it should be called Patch Four “Precipitous Subcriber Activity Freefall Solutions” Point One. Individually, each one of these could change the entire gaming landscape for millions of people, and they are all happening together.

The easiest change to grasp is the (data-mined) change of cut uncommon gems going from what we all knew was a ridiculous 9g vendor price down to 75s. This radically undermines the safety net of bot-bought ore for Shuffling purposes as the True Vendor Price (TVP) going from 54g for Obsidium to 4.5g a stack. Will that stop the bots from burying us under a mountain of cheap ore? Nope. What else will they farm? More herbs? It is correct that such a high TVP meant a fairly substantial inflation spiral, but honestly, all that removing the floor will do is send Shuffle components (gems, dust, scrolls, etc) down into further free-fall. The bots have to go; all the 9g gems did was act as a garbage bin for their goods.

But what of the other changes? It is almost impossible to even imagine all the interlocking synergy going on. For example, with the tank bribe deal? It is safe to say that the gems and flasks from the goodie bag will be normal gems/flasks (e.g. sell on the AH), but what about those pets? Can you even imagine having an X% chance of bam! opposite-faction pet in your bags and ready to be sold? If they are BoP when you get them, alright, but most flasks are still hovering at 100g apiece over at Auchindoun, which puts the gold total at 84g + 100g + however much extra that toss in the bag itself. It would take a truly ridiculous amount to bribe me to tank based on gold alone, but at some point I will do an otherwise useless gold/hour calculation. And, hey, while I am not a mount guy, Reins of the Raven Lord is something I have been interested in since Sethekk Halls was current content.

What is most interesting to me at the moment though, is the calculus involving the honor JP conversions. It’s set at 66% rate of return, which means you need to turn in 3375 honor for 2250 JP (e.g. a “tier” piece) and vice versa. On the face of it, that’s a fairly bad return… but remember that all honor gain is doubling per the PTR notes. We don’t know if that’s honor from HKs or what, but can you imagine the alternative? I get 240 honor from a TB win, plus another 200 from the weekly quest, plus X amount from just general HKs around the map – 880 honor + X amount, let’s just round that to a charitable 900. Random daily BG losses will be 90 per game minimum. All this stuff will add up pretty quickly. That 3375 honor target is actually 1687.5 honor post-patch. In other words, PvP will be the most efficient way to farm JP in that you can turn 1687.5 honor into 2250 JP. Conversely, you could simply be picking up the blue PvP gear for 1100 honor for the most expensive slots.

If it sounds like I’m all over the place here, well, I’m all over the place. It honestly feels like Blizzard is throwing everything at the leaking hull and seeing what will stick, to mix metaphors. The doubling honor deal went under a lot of peoples’ radars, but added to all this other stuff? Madness, all around.

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Posted on April 8, 2011, in WoW and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. It is indeed suspicious how Blizzard is throwing all of this in to the game. If you look carefully, at so many aspects of the game, it's almost like they want to keep us focused in progressing. They stick our face in it. Want to craft epics ? Run the content for the orbs. Can't afford materials ? We'll put them on the vendors. Still can't afford them ? We'll give you goody bags. Still haven't got the Deathcharger ? Stop wasting your (tanking?) time in that damned Stratholme. You're still stubborn to get that Ravenlord mount ? Didn't we tell you we don't want you in Outland and we didn't nor do have new immediate plans for the zone ? move your rear to Cata content, you'll have better chance of finding your mount there. Oh, you're pve-ing mostly, and have no time to pvp ? Don't worry. Be a good sport, stay in game, run the dungeons and we'll take care of your pvp gear. You waste your time with all those old world essences and materials ? Well, we made the drop rate insanely low. So stop wasting your time in Silithus or whatever and do the Cataclysm content. You used to waste time and gold on all those absurdly expensive ore/herbs to level professions ? Don't worry, we'll make them spawn from 5 meters to 5 meters. You don't even have to mount back. We'll do more than that : we'll give you multiple level ups, so you can use fewer resources. Anything to move you to the end game running dungeons and raids. Oh, you have alts ? erm…ok…easy. Double xp in leveling with the new heirloom gear. Hint, hint. Get almost 1 level up per bg in low levels in that bg is the weekly. We love alts too, but…seriously move your ass to 85 running dungeons, raids, battlegrounds. You are losing us customers.

    I could go more on this, but you get my point.

    That's how I feel when i see all these changes.

    I smell desperation. What do they know that we don't see ?

  2. Blizzard is starving their golden egg laying goose to save money on grain.

  3. Well, I smell desperation also. I have a simple explanation for the loss of players from progression content and the addition of these incentives by Blizzard: it's not fun anymore. It's not fun to tank heroic pugs, or to heal them, and adding these inceentives will not fix the basic fact. I have toons on three servers and guilds, one raiding, one huge social guild and one small family guild. In each of these people are walking away from the high end content, and from the game. There are a few hard core raiders left, a few arena junkies, but as for the average bear they are sticking to casual content, or ahem, leaving to play rift.

  4. Back when WotLK was at its end, I focused on making gold, because there simply wasn't much to do otherwise. Now, when I log in and finish my daily routine (30-60min at most), I don't feel the need to actually play regularly afterwards, e.g. leveling, pvp-ing, questing.

    It's hard to tell why it's that way, but it's already boring when I just THINK about playing regularly. I've never experienced this before, even though I've had numerous times when I stopped playing due to a lack of time or ingame content.

    I mean, really… I tanked a few heroics and never felt the urge to do it again, not caring that my toon is geared in all blue/green, whereas even in the boring WotLK grind, I would do heroics regularly to obtain a full set of purples.

  5. I feel exactly like you, Vayaz. “it's already boring when I just THINK about playing”. I couldn't find an answer either. More than that, on making gold, it's sufficient for me to just mindmap a gold making scheme and not actually go through with it. I visualize it to be profitable and it's good enough for me. I congratulate myself for observing this, picture the gold I could get out of it and stop there. I don't actually put it in practice. Because somehow, it doesn't seem fun anymore.

    The main thing i do in game right now is to bring tears in the eye of the enemy in leveling battlegrounds. I have a perpetual upgraded human hunter. I do that taking every piece of gear that is the immediate upgrade for the level I am at. Why ? Because it's fun for me. To see a very confident opponent set to blast you, being obliterated when they were so sure you'll eat the dust. After all you're a huntardlol. I can only imagine the perplexed rogue when his ambush didn't 1 shot me; more then that pewpew he's 2 shot dead.

    I also have a leveling worgen rogue for the sole purpose (and nothing else) of running the flag in wsg. Speed boost from tunnel, sprint, then racial dash+swiftness potion combo (used at the same time they stack). Sometimes I mouse look back at my chasers and they just stop following middle field to look how I blaze to cap it. I can only imagine their rage…

    I deviated from from the subject but, heh.

  6. “What do they know that we don't see?”

    You all but said it.

    Only they know how many people have grown so bored in the last few months to the point that they've let their subscriptions lapse.

    I mean we've always had periods of boredom…but can anyone honestly recall it occurring so early on in the lifecyle of a new expansion?

    They sank a lot of effort into redesigning and simplifying Vanilla questlines, presumably to draw in new players. But did they actually succeed? (I'm not knocking those efforts…its actually less annoying levelling your 9th or 10th alt now.)

    Their biggest mistake, imo, was deciding to make regular and heroic instances mini-raids. The vast majority of players don't enjoy spending 90 minutes to complete one. Or worse, not complete one. People spend money on games to actually feel like they've accomplished something at the end of the day and only a small portion of players have been getting that out of the current endgame design. And if they're not regularly completing multiple heroics, they're certainly not ready for raiding.

    Bottom line, yes, they're throwing everything including the kitchen sink at us in 4.1. I wouldn't be surprised if they still have another announcement or two before we see it go live, in an effort to retain and recapture the paying playerbase.

  7. I was flabbergasted when I realized last summer that they were tuning the end game difficulty up in Cataclysm. It seemed obvious to me this would be disastrous; what did they know that I was missing?

    I wasn't missing anything, apparently. I will love to hear them explain how they went so wrong, assuming they ever do explain.