Monday, November 3, 2014

Serious Daily Business Incoming in WOD

I remember back in The Burning Crusade when they introduced dailies.  10 dailies allowed per day, and you would gain rep and a bunch of gold for your trouble.  It gave people a reason to log in and play everyday, as if raiding at the time wasn't a full time sport and sucked up a ton of your time in TK, BT, MH or Sunwell.  Then you had dailies AND raiding to do everyday.  But casual players needed content as well, otherwise those casuals would become unsubscribed casuals.

This was the gold that everyone who had no idea how to work the Auction House reaped, and they were damned happy.  So happy, they put more of them into Wrath and Cataclysm, and by the time MoP rolled around they really got out of control.  Today, you can do every single daily in the game and not have any cap on how many you can do.  As of the expansion patch, however, the gold rewards were basically cut by 45%.

The big complaint about dailies was always that they felt grindy, and that the content lost it's luster over time.  Usually the first week they were introduced, everyone was doing them.  By about week three you weren't competing for mobs or resources as heavily.  And by month two only the holdouts were still doing them.  Go do MoP dailies today, I'll bet dollars to donuts the only ones doing them are fresh 90s who were probably boosted, or bot assisted.  TL;DR - This is low attention span content for gold.  But many, many players relied on them for their gold income.

Do you know what's waiting for casual players in Warlords?  Give you a hint - Warlords of Garrison-ville.  As if Tillers farming wasn't boring enough, we now have that on steroids and almost complete removal of dailies.  I know I went over the new method of casual gold making via legacy raids in my last post, call this a follow-up.  Dailies are going away, being substituted by point and click Garrison missions that will become as exciting as Tillers ever was, which was never.

Years ago, my mother was convinced to hear an Amway presentation through some former friends.  So one night, the rep shows up to the house and talks with my mom and dad about all the money they could be making.  All they had to do was recruit more people and have them recruit more people for them.  Everyone makes millions!  But my mom, obviously demonstrating the critical thinking power she passed along to me via the genetic lottery, asked the most important question over and over, and the rep brushed it off....

Who sells the soap?

In any pyramid scheme, the name of the game is not to be the sucker holding the bag and selling the soap.  Your mission is to get more people to buy in, and buy the product for their own use that nobody will ever sell.  The ones at the top make all the money.

This is Garrison-ville.  Casuals will earn gold from garrison missions, but someone is going to have to sell the items those things make, and someone is going to have to buy.  Log in, talk to followers, spend money on massive Tier 3 upgrades, and then hope like hell someone out there buys the product that will come with the joy of random mods so you can eventually break even.  Rinse and repeat this across all your toons and you too will be a fucking millionaire!

Who is going to make the soap?  It costs about 16k per Tier 3 upgrade and these are character specific, not account wide.  Blizzard released data not too long ago showing that the average account has 2 max level characters, and thanks to the boost they now have 3.  So let's say you have the standard average 3 characters who will qualify for Garrisons, that's going to be a shitload of gold just to be able to go into massive production.  The average player, per Blizzard's own statements, barely has 50,000 gold.  These people could barely be relied upon to complete dailies because they were so boring but were some of the first to scream that dailies were mandatory content so they ... weren't... worth ... even... attempting.  Basically, the game is made up of 99% poor people who have dreams of being rich, but aren't willing to do what it takes to get rich.  Of that 99%, I would venture to guess 20% of them will try for a little while.  Right now they're looking at Garrisons as the answer, but the answer is they simply won't have enough characters or gold to compete with psychos like myself, so they'll be run off to Grinding-land in between major content patches when Garrisons will be upgraded for "new" content.

Even if these people were to grind legacy raids every single week, which per character offers a few thousand per week across all instances, it would take them about a year to put together about 100,000g assuming about 2k in vendorables and gold drops.  They'll never be rich, unless they themselves sell the soap. In a world where some of us throw down nearly half a million on a GDKP drop, these people don't stand a chance when it comes to market domination.  If they aren't somewhat wealthy going into this expansion, they're going to be really behind, and that's not fun.

The old adage of "it takes money to make money" aptly applies here.

If you're some average broke stiff playing this game, you're going to do your Garrisons, spend the outlay to upgrade them, and then find that the gear being offered is really directed at other casual players.  The raid gear immediately drops better than or equal to the crap you're making in comparison to crafted quality, and people can only equip three pieces of crafted gear.  Remember in MoP that this was also the case.  To add fuel to the fire, the undercutting is going to be fierce because this is nearly forced Auction House play.  Everytime cooldowns hit their peak, you'll see 2 dozen of each item pop up on the Auction House.  The average person is not going to know how to compete, because they never learned how.  And then the sharks in the water like myself will eat them alive.  Remember this:  The gear being offered at release is targeted at casual players, not cutting edge progression minded raiders.

Surely, the other casuals with gold to spend will buy the gear, but they will have a very hard time replacing their gold unless they themselves participate in either Garrison-craft or gold drop grinds.  Gold sellers are going to have a field day with this, because if there's one thing I've learned in all my years of gaming, people are happy to Mastercard their way through it.  People are busy, they can't be asked to log in and do this crap day in and day out.  Even if you can queue things ahead, there are working professionals that play this game who have real responsibilities, and those responsibilities are not playing nanny to a bunch of followers in some fantasy kingdom. 

"But Zerohour, you're fecking nuts, eh.  People will just do old dailies for gold.  Get a grip, yo!"  Will they?  The rewards for doing them isn't as hot as they used to be.  11g40s for a turn-in in Pandaria, down from 19g80s, and this was changed at the patch.  That's an enormous drop.  The amount you make from leveling will be more than a month of dailies at this point, and I guess I should explain myself further.

Someone not only has to sell and make the soap, someone has to buy the soap.  These buyers are people that are NOT in the AH gold game.  These are the people who use the AH to buy your goods and have little desire to do anything to acquire it outside of passive gold farming.  Thanks to inflation from dailies and quest rewards in each expansion, we've seen the gold get spread around to more of these players.  That perk of inflation is now gone.  There is no WoW welfare office that sends a check subsidizing your purchasing power, unless I missed that in the patch notes.  These people, more so than any other, determine the end price of your overpriced epics because their loose change is what goes into your pockets.  They are the buyers, the customers, the deadheads.  Today it takes 173 dailies to give you the same rewards as what 100 used to give you.  And dailies in the Garrison will offer sizable rewards, but they will also cost gold to be able to complete.  I doubt these people will be able to stomach doing Garrisons for their gold for very long.

To top it off, there IS NO MANUAL FOR GARRISONS.  I and my fellow like minded players over in the Stormspire at The Consortium have been wracking our brains about this new game changer, and we're absolutely at a loss for words.  While Wowhead and MMOC have been faithful in trying to explain it and many guides have been produced...

Do you think the average player is going to stick with it very long if some of the best minds at this crap are having trouble making simple heads or tails as to the best routes to go, I'd say the big world is in a bit of trouble.

Of course, many will have trouble seeing the forest for the truck lights headed their way:

"Fuck garrisons, I'm just going to make glyphs and gems and enchants," you say.  "This gold game is easy, there's no reason to bust my ass in Garrisons when I have always made extreme gold through leet ninja skills with TSM's post/cancel and camping."  If you haven't heard, this is going to be a painful expansion for you.

Why I have no faith in the system as it is being issued

Mumper, aka Cory Stockton, designed this system.  Not that he's a bad designer, I just think he's been tweeting too many beer drinking achievements since patch during the week and not enough about why this feature isn't going to feel like a repetitive grind and why his baby is going to be a game changing piece of win.  He's always been the most vague designer on board, generally at Blizzcon he's been the least vocal among them.  We can't get any answers either way of what's hard and fast, and reports from beta have been wanting at best.  How many hotfixes have we seen since patch?  We got a mini-patch?  When was the last time that happened?  Like never?  To clue you in, this has been the most unpolished patch release of all time.  Cataclysm changed the world and it didn't have near the trouble of this thing.

Flash forward to actual release.  Since the game was already patched with dungeons being broken as hell, experience rewards being imbalanced like they threw darts at a board, and classes have been wonky at best, we have yet to really stress test the Garrisons.  What problems are we going to encounter with this thing?  Sure there are people in the beta, but they drew those names out of a hat.  Case in point?  A friend of mine who asks me questions like she's a new player, but she's played for 10 years.  You have people that got into beta who didn't even level 1-90 and try it out, but the errors made their way into live.  Good system there.  I think I liked the pay to play idea last time better.

Everything has felt arbitrary.  We have no freaking idea the problems in store for us, and nobody can tell me otherwise because everything reported in beta was probably shelved for a future release by Blizz.  QA on this game has lacked hardcore, and I'm just hoping they didn't make these suggestions and they didn't bother addressing them, but then again I've worked for big companies before and these communication issues commonly arise.

I think a new class of working poor is on the horizon.  I however, believe I have found an answer to stay rich, and it's there if you look hard enough.

The Question I Would Ask At Blizzcon

If I could be at Blizzcon and be in line for the panels, I'd be the guy who probably gets security called on him.  I have little respect for what Blizz did to Warcraft, which basically drove off all my friends who I played with for years.  I spent 2 hours talking to an old friend who came to see the game after getting 7 days free.  Bugs everywhere, he couldn't believe they issued the sampler pass when the expansion patch was still unfinished.  We reminisced about how we're getting too old for today's games, because in our world rewards weren't given to those who didn't know how to push buttons correctly.  He couldn't understand why I still sub not on one but two accounts.  Zerohour, don't you demand better of things?

He logged out and never logged back in again. 

So my question for the panels which comes in two parts:

* Why the hell do I still play this game?  Is it some form of psychosis?  Am I lost forever?

Have fun at your "con".

Thanks for stopping in!

Zerohour is a leading gold maker, having made and pissed away millions of gold. If you don't like him, don't worry, he doesn't like you either. Everyone is probably smarter than him, anyhow.


  1. There there - I'm sure we can find you some new friend in WoW - maybe even a workout partner - I know this one guy...

  2. 3 core raiders in my guild, which has lived through 3 expansions now, have quit in last few weeks. First one did it after he decided to press 123 on Mythic jugger with his warrior. He came out as 2nd DPS and decided he's dropping the game like it squirts ebola when you look at it.

    I'm only around because of the goldmaking, but let's see how long that will last.
    Oh, and most of the stuff from your doom thread sounds like not-so-silly worries, as much as we laugh about it. Or is it just me being too skeptical as always?

    1. The DOOM thread I started, like lots of my dark humor, went over some people's heads. In expansions past, there's always been the doom-and-gloom threads worrying about piddly crap that was never really a worry. This time I started it out for two reasons - 1) to point out the silliness of worry and 2) to poke fun at people who made their gold off the ez-mode-mindless-methods of the past. I love #2 the most.

    2. Oh, don't get me wrong, I'm not an advocate of general doom predictions (my comment leaves that impression I guess), and it's not that I'm worried about changes as much as I'm confused by some. And then there are some that just rub me the wrong way, like Mine and Garden, or making crafts available at lv1. Can't keep everyone happy I guess.

  3. Clear and concise as always. So crafted epics are obsolete by dec.9, gems and enchants seem less useful/mandatory than before. Epic upgrades for crafted items are painful to create and everyone can grind apexis crystal dailies to bypass them anyway. I'm really curious about what will sell...

    1. There's a good number of markets left to work, epic crafts will always have a market however as long as there is LFR.

    2. Enhancements will always sell. Always. Crafting those enhancements is just not going to be as quick and easy as it has been in the past. This is a boon to those who can reason and deduce instead of mindlessly following flavour-of-the-month gold making posts since the uninspired and uninventive will drop out in droves. As for crafted gear, clearly more will be added in later patches just as it always has.

      Furthermore, the vast seething majority of players simply won't be arsed to grind anything even once, let alone multiple times. The various methods we've had to boost xp and rep stands testament to the culture of laziness which surrounds us on all sides. Complete self sufficiency through garrisons would require 4 toons at most, but 99% of the player base wouldn't even consider putting in the work required. So relax. There's gold in them there hills.


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