Monday, December 1, 2014

Designing and Updating on a Whim

By now I'm positive everyone that's serious about Garrisoncraft has at least 6-8 level 100's and probably working on the last characters which are deep into the 90's.  The game's been out for nearly three weeks, so if you aren't, what have you been doing with your life?

Myself, that's not me, I have only one level 100, and 9 characters have opened their garrison with professions and work orders are queued daily.  I balance my real life with the game.  Thus far, this is a lot of work.  The only way to reduce the workload is to get those characters to Level 3 profession slots, and load them up.  This requires material buying on a near massive scale, and today's post is about forecasting and prognosticating.  Also the rantings and ravings of your neighborhood lunatic King of the World... of auction houses.

I bring your attention to this fine post by Rygarius, the patch notes compiler for Blizzard who usually does a decent job.  But this post annoyed the ever living piss out of me:

Original thread here

As a personal anecdote, my character's Enchanter's Study is experiencing a similar issue with a lack of work orders submitted when the other buildings are humming along with a constant stream of work orders. We feel that Enchanting Dust can be a bit too scarce to come by and are looking at ways to ease those supply concerns.

Later, a hotfix was made to cause rare items, which have historically ALWAYS produced shards, to produce dust instead.  It's been my experience that you have about an 80% chance of producing 8-12 dust, with a 20% chance to produce one shard.  Shards are used daily to produce Temporal Crystals, which are worth far more than stupid dust.  I could be wrong, I haven't been DEing many heroic items, but if the numbers skew differently for higher ilvl blues then I'm in the wrong.  But in the meantime...

I personally hate the crap out of this, mostly because it changed the rules to the game in a less than elegant way with a person who is closely aligned to the game's development agreeing with the masses without looking for a flipping alternative to player whims.

Look, the vast majority of people and players are clueless about how things get done.  As my childhood superhero Gordon Gekko said,

"We make the rules, pal. The news, war, peace, famine, upheaval, the price per paper clip. We pick that rabbit out of the hat while everybody sits out there wondering how the hell we did it." 

The 'everybody' in this statement are the people who are incapable of looking around them and innovating a better mousetrap.  These are the everyman, the guy who comes home, logs in, and has trouble putting together 5k so they can raid.  In this case, it's people like the game's developers and personalities making rules to fit them and a vocal minority, and that's awful scary.

What's next?  Ore!?  Yes, miners didn't appreciate that mines produced so much ore, so it's nerfed.  A hotfix removed the credit you receive for work orders to only a few sources, after allowing others to hit their 250 very quickly via all sources.  Those trailing behind because of queues, well sorry for your loss.  This had less impact than the changes to how things are produced, and maybe you aren't seeing where I'm going with this, and if you don't then please go back to your regularly scheduled lives.

One does not open a game of Monopoly, begin rolling the dice, and then decide to change the value of rents because their friend landed on Boardwalk with 4 houses and that might take them out of the running.  By doing so, you screw everyone else playing whether they are winning or losing.  Rules are made to the game to be followed.

In Blizzard's case, they had time to test this out in the beta, and months and months to develop it and think about scenarios.  We all knew dust was going to be a limited supply item, thankfully so, and we were going to have to be more creative.  Let me play the creative part since they had someone who received a paycheck for being dedicated to professions and garrison mechanics, and all of them are obviously not designing with a full deck.  (As an aside, I felt things were phoned in this release, I could tell it was going to go really well when we all saw Mumper at Blizzcon show up wearing no Blizzard apparel while the rest of his coworkers were in logo shirts; guess it was a late night of partying for him or he just turned in his last Give-A-Shit card and is headed out.)

Perfectly viable options to using a sledge hammer when you only needed a scalpel:

1) The Auction House.  Go part with some gold and buy the materials you need.  If you cannot afford them, then there is a solution to that that's been around forever - it's called grinding mobs and dailies.  If you are totally lost here, see my earlier post on casual gold making's future.  Obviously, others took the time to come up with an overage in supply and they are willing to sell it to you so you can do whatever you need to do with your professions.  Why not contribute to the economy rather than being a slack basement dweller on the internet?

2) Actually play your character.  Grind mobs, complete quests, open treasures that have greens.  Handynotes tells you where all of them are for crying out loud, get off your lazy ass and go do it.  Disenchant everything and go forward.  The days of sitting on your ass and making 1000's of dust with a keybinding were over, but we're bringing them back because there's a shortage don't ya know.  Yeah, a shortage of people with a brain and no fear of work.

3) Collect greens on an alt while questing, and here's a noble idea - MAKE A FRIEND WITH AN ENCHANTING PLOT.  Join their garrison and DE everything.  How hard was this to come up with?  I must be a damned genius, I can't believe this was never brought up in the discussion as an alternative, but then again they don't send me meeting requests down at Irvine.

4) Change the requirement of the work order to 1-2 fewer dusts.  Because of #2, you would have access to lots of them.  Not the most elegant idea, but still better to tune the mechanic than change it.

5) Defer the change to a later patch.  We've always had material abundance issues, and this was resolved in a patch.  Wrath required lots of mats to make things, but they reduced the requirement in a hotfix which was well announced.  Not the same thing though, because one is production of a resource and the other is production of an end product.

6) Trade for the item within your garrison - they made a Trading Post for a reason.  Just wait for the trader to open up 20 GR dusts, trade for 5 at a time.  The idea behind these RTS style systems is to trade off limited supply resources for other limited supply resources, rewarding good choices and punishing poor choices.  GR is actually very plentiful provided you take the right turns.

You made a system where greens are no longer manufactured, and then whine about it openly to the playing public.  Just awesome.  It's like not being able to score 1600 on your SAT, and then changing the test so you can get to it or at least closer to it.  Participation trophies for all, because it doesn't feel good to actually have to do something in a game.  I guess I don't get the current gamer generation and their mindset.

Further, they didn't give fair warning that this massive economic change was coming.  Just that it was under review and then magically dust is falling in price and those shards are now producing dust.  If it was me, I would have waited until the first content patch to fix it, but in the meantime, please deal with it.  Then everyone could see patch notes that spell out to those that stockpiled: You are about to lose your ass in the dust market, you should consider changing your modus operandi.

Moreover, there are people who will tell me to deal with it, they always make changes to make things more fun.  Sure, they've reduced mat requirements and things in the past, like I mentioned above, but there was an actual cost to doing it.  You had to break up crystals, and not shards.  You had to break up essence with a strict penalty.  Illusion Dust was ALWAYS rare to come by, and there were limited ways to come by it in the game.  But a deeper issue is that many of you are ambivalent about these changes.  I prefer they leave rules in place and let the market work them out.  Not everyone needs to have 7-26 work orders going at a time.  Maybe enchanting isn't for you?  Let the people who know what they're doing handle it, you can always buy from us.  As Stede calls it, you're a customer.

Sooner or later, they're going to get to something you do care about.

On the flip side, at least the value of Temporal Crystals may be preserved somewhat, time will tell.

Thanks for stopping by!

Zerohour is a confirmed nutcase, who is happier believing he's Warren Buffet than being his manservant.  No developers or peons were harmed in the making of this blog post.


  1. I'm getting shards more often from 630+blues and dust more often from 615- blues. As the game progresses and more 630 blues are de'd, then I see this balancing out fairly well. I definitely agree that it was to soon to make this change if this is the way they HAD to do it.


    1. Thanks, Sell, this was the only question I had in my mind that was not yet proven by experience. Every 630 I've DE'd seems to pop dust, which is annoying.


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