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Wrong Choices

Ghostcrawler tweeted the sort of thing I’m sure sends “real” MMO players into howling fits:

“No,actually,there is not a wrong choice.Wether we(players) buy new items OR upgrade old ones should be our decision,not DEV’s.”
Giving players the ability to make choices with wrong answers doesn’t make players happy overall. (Source)

Choices having bad consequences is the best (only?) way to make a decision matter, as the argument goes. However, this quote got me thinking: do such players actually enjoy being able to make the wrong choice, or is it simply that the bad choice existing (which they did not pick) validates their good decision? Or put another way, who really likes making bad decisions?

I understand that the demonstration of skill necessitates there being wrong choices. Demonstrating skill, or improvement thereof, is fun. At the same time, the Mass Effect series (for example) was fun to play even though there weren’t any “wrong choices” (provided you weren’t specifically looking for X result).

There is only ever one correct answer to the questions of “which does the most DPS” or “what is the most efficient use of resources.” Ergo, is there actually any real decision to be made when one is correct and the other(s) not? I suppose the fun is supposed to be the result of figuring out which one is which, but that sort of clashes with the mockery and disdain frequently attributed to those who don’t look up the correct decision from the Wiki/EJ. Compare that to the question of “which transmog set is the best?”

I do not believe that there has to be a wrong choice in order for choices to be meaningful generally. We make identity choices every day – what type of person do I want to be, what do I believe in? – and I do not think that anyone would suggest that those choices are either irrelevant or have wrong answers (well… no one with any sort of self-reflection). And while I am willing to concede gameplay being under the (broad) umbrella of choice, e.g. one makes a wrong choice by pressing 11342 instead of 11324, I consider there to be a distinction between executing a rotation under pressure versus avoiding falling into a designer trap. One has its place as a legitimate test of skill, and the other is simply you winning via a few mouse clicks several months ago.

Unabated

My WoW playing continues unabated.

I have reached Exalted with Anglers and Klaxxi most recently, and the Tillers/Cloud Serpent weeks ago. I am a step away from Honored with Shado-pan, and stopped at Revered with Shieldwall and Golden Lotus (may whomever is responsible for Golden Lotus dailies burn forever). Since I am neutral with the August Celestials and they have nothing of interest for my paladin, I have not bothered doing any quests for them.

Of my 10 alts, the highest remains stagnant at level 88; dailies and/or LFR consumes all of the WoW time I permit among my other diversions. With me hitting so many reputation milestones though, this may change.

My (high) opinion of LFR has not changed, although I did have a few bad experiences. During the first fight of Vault of Mysteries, we had a AFK warlock leecher, who stood by the stairs during the encounter. While it was annoying knowing that he/she could possibly get rewarded for doing so, the greater issue was how the encounter was reset TWICE when he was targeted by one of the bosses’ abilities. The reason why it took two resets to kick the warlock was because it was not immediately obvious why the encounter reset.

The luck I experienced with my first run of LFR has not held up to repetition. Two weeks ago I received nothing, maybe 1-2 of those coins, and this past week I received naught but a tier helm. I will agree that the “failbags” do indeed start to feel worse than not winning rolls under the traditional model… although that is more a psychological artifact than reason to go back. I think it is easier to believe you pessimistically expect nothing to drop, when you are not immediately reminded that you had a discreet chance via the roll. The difference between Blackjack and slot machines goes much further than the mere odds.

For the second week in a row, I have also cleared out Black Temple solo. I am not entirely certain that every class can do it, but my Retribution paladin with 474 ilevel does not have much trouble with a full clear in 50 minutes. The 2nd phase of Reliquary of Souls is the only time things get truly dicey – Council also requires frequent Word of Glories while kiting – but beyond that it is fairly easy at this level and gear. I got the T6 pants and shoulders on my first run, and picked up some other Transmog-worthy pieces along the way.

Unfortunately, both the T6 chest and Bulwark drop off Illidan and he has yet to drop anything useful for the 3rd week running; clearing the place is easy, but 50 minutes is still 50 minutes. I could probably “cut my losses” and spend a ridiculous amount of honor for the Season 3 off-color chest (seriously, 1000 honor vs 175 honor for the S4 chest), as I grow increasingly weary about the odds that one of the legendary blades will drop. In many ways, getting one of those on the paladin, an item I could not even equip let alone Transmog (…yet), would almost be worse than never getting anything from Illidan.

Gaming psychology. Such a twisted thing.

What Have They Done to Me?

I have a lot of positive feelings towards Blizzard’s 4.3 patch, primarily because of Transmogification. But… why? It has been 50 (!) days since I quit WoW. So why do I get excited about dressing up an avatar in a game I no longer play? Is it a function of my ~7700 hours of play time? Or perhaps unfulfilled dreams of legitimately using Ghoulslicer on every character that can equip 1H swords? I like cool armor as much as the next guy, but I behave this way in no other videogame, even ones that have item sets. Maybe it’s an MMO thing?

Anyway, imagine my consternation when the paladin PvP set was revealed:

Paladin Season 11 PvP Set

...holy shit...

con·ster·na·tion   [kon-ster-ney-shuh]
noun
a sudden, alarming amazement or dread that results in utter confusion; dismay.

Prior to today, I was a big believer that paladin T6 was the best paladin set in WoW, Judgement be damned. I never legitimately raided Black Temple or got any of the tier set, but I did do quite a bit PvP in TBC (since that was all there was to do) and Season 3’s Vengeful Gladiator’s Vindication set was just as good as the real thing (or arguably better, if you prefer the red recolor to the normal blue). So my sort of fantasy tank set would have been Vindication + Bulwark of Azzinoth + Ghoulslicer. According to Wowhead, the whole thing would have looked like this:

Shut up. It looks WAY cooler in my head.

But Blizzard, defying years and years paladin-degrading precedence, has come out with a PvP (!) armor set that not only makes the PvE one look like a total joke, but honestly steals the whole goddamn Deathwing show from every other class. The only sets that come as close as this one is the Priest T12 and Priest Season 3. Between this new PvP set and the fact that they are putting older Season PvP gear back on vendors – letting me complete the Vindication set and/or get the priest set on an alt without scraping together a BT raid group – you have no idea how goddamn tempting it is to spend $15 on a dress-up simulator.

The only thing stopping me? My nine alts, seven of whom are level 85, are trapped on low-pop Alliance Auchindoun with full heirlooms, max level professions with most non-ultra rare recipes, and approximately 450,000g in liquid wealth. I am not paying $55 per character to move them and a max of 50,000g, nor am I interested in straight-up rerolling without the benefits my ~7700 hours of seniority entitle me. So until Blizzard gets their head out of their ass and tweak the server/faction transfer service price-points (seriously, would a weekend deal kill them?), all this renewed interest and goodwill is going to waste.

Which, given the ridiculousness of my desires in the scheme of things, is perhaps win-win anyway.