Monday, November 15, 2010

"Any FoS for killing them?"

Maybe I'm a bit grumpy. But I cringed inside as I read this comment at MMO-Champion's news report about elementals attacking the capital cities:
"Any FoS for killing them, tabard, etc? If not what the point?"
Is this how far the stimuli-response training has taken us? Are we nothing but trained animals, performing acts on command, but only as long as we can expect a proper reward? Have we lost the idea of what's it like to roam about in the playground just for fun?

I see this player in front of me as he passively stands there, looking at the invasion, doing nothing as the elementals rip the citizens into pieces. What does he care? He won't move a finger unless Ghostcrawler gives him a Feat of Strength. Or at least a shiny tabard. It's a minimum!

I keep reminding myself that it's just one voice in a forum. A whiner. There have always been whiners around, so what's new? There are probably thousands, even millions of players who happily will defend the cities, not to get achievements or to get access to epics from mini bosses, but because they're playing a game in an imaginary world, which they care about. I try to stay positive.

However I can't quite get the worrying thought out of my head: he might not represent the entire community, but he represents something - a mindset that has stuck. How and when did this happen to the player mentality? It surely wasn't like this as I started to play in 2007.

And what will the future hold for WoW and the MMOs that will follow? Is there any way back? Can Blizzard find an alternative in their next MMO or will they continue on this path, since the rats - sorry - players want it so badly?


Battle Priestess said...

Ugh, that just makes me sick.

While this guy might be thinking that and there are other players like him, there are still plenty of players who will participate and defend because that's just what you should do. Myself included.

Aeven said...

"I see this player in front of me as he passively stands there, looking at the invasion, doing nothing as the elementals rip the citizens into pieces."

There are a few times in game that I've really, really, really wished that I could just kick the snot out of someone in my own faction without having to get their permission first.

This would definitely be one of them.

If they're going to stand around, doing nothing, at least give them a debuff to make them regret their inactivity...

Len said...

I may be an RP nerd, but I just loved the sight of hundreds of Alliance players racing around Stormwind, shouting out advice and elemental locations, forming impromptu raidgroups, fighting to get every last one of those elementals down ASAP.... just seeing everyone gathered together curious as to what was going on made me WANT to defend the city.

Buggered if I know if there's any quests or achievments for this but you can be sure if I'm around and Stormwind gets attacked, I'll be flinging frostbolts at those elementals as long as I can.

jardal said...

I think it's worth noting that you've found a way to play the game and get enjoyment out of it and they obviously have found another. It's just they don't intersect here.

Perhaps you should take heart that people with such different points of view can enjoy the same game for different reasons. Both of which the devs strive to keep valid.

shopshopshop said...

I don't think this person is as awful as you make him out to be.

Battle Priestess says that what players should do is defend and participate. No. Players should play. For some, this means logging in to valiantly defend Azeroth. For others, it means PvP.

If the one thing you enjoy in World of Warcraft is playing arenas, and you stop playing entirely in the off-season, why should you log in to kill some random elementals that have very little effect on the game you play?

Others, such as the forum poster in question, plays as a means to an end. He wants to collect things. Achievements, tabards, whatever. Some people might see tabards and Feats of Strength as entirely pointless, which I imagine would offend the anonymous forum poster.

WoW is a game for many types, and just as you might want this FoS-worshipper to not mock you for RPing or fighting for the glory of Azeroth, you might want to refrain from denigrating this person because he likes Feats of Strength and tabards more than killing elementals.

Anonymous said...

There is a FoS for killing the elementals... FYI.

Syl said...

I've just participated in the event tonight and had lots of fun, mayhem in IF and SW ftw!! ^^ the 4 bosses were fun too even if they dropped nothing of interest.
but yeah, there is such a mentality in WoW, a very loot- and collector-centric attitude that also causes the huge whining whenever another race or class gets something new and they don't (like recently the whining about worgen's travel form). I guess its partly also Blizzard's fault for often handing people 'meaningless achis' etc. so they're training you to expect something every time.

In the end it's a question of character though: personally I will always have fun with silly and useless things in WoW, that's just how I am! =D

Rades said...

I kind of cringed at this, Larisa. I'm very much like you, in that I would partake in the event, reward or not, simply for the fun and experience of it. But I don't think there's ANYTHING wrong with a player who isn't participating because there's no loot they need, or whatever their reason is.

Now, if his non-participation was actually hurting the rest of you - such as an AFK player in a battleground - well okay, that's different.

But I think it's very unfair to label him as a whiner or someone who isn't playing right. When the next loot pinata seasonal boss or whatever is released, the tables might be turned. Suddenly he might be the one excited about the new content while you may be uninterested and rolling your eyes because it's just a loot bag without any story, or whatever. I'm sure you wouldn't want to be considered a rat or a whiner.

Suicidal Zebra said...

I agree with Rades, and furthermore I think that mementoes of World Events are quite a nice touch in the game. I've still got my Tabard of the Dark Portal and Argent Dawn, Haunted Mementoes, Vampyric Batling etc and don't in any way begrudge their existence.

Yes, being driven purely by achievements may seem a bit shallow, but saving mass screenshots it's one of the few ways we have of marking our own actions in the world.

Andenthal said...

"Is this how far the stimuli-response training has taken us?"
Yes, I believe so. Especially within the World of Warcraft. This game has programmed us to expect rewards with minimal effort. Within the same MMO-champ post, there are players whinning about the loot being "ONLY ilvl 251", or that there isn't loot specific to their class/spec.

As shopshopshop said, each player plays for his/her own reasons. But, when you start complaining about them on 3rd party websites, you've crossed into another territory. If you didn't care, you wouldn't post at all. Posting means you do care. Telling me you don't care about something is pretty much useless to the conversation (unless the conversation is what you do/don't like about WoW).

If you don't like it, then don't do it. Quit whinning that the loot isn't good enough, or the achievement isn't what you wanted - it's not helpful and does change anything. Go enjoy one of the other 100 aspects of WoW, and GTFO of my fun.

foreveranoob said...

I do think that this is the slow spiral to the end for the game.

When Wrath came out, the response was "what do I need these achievement points for?" After a while, the tabards, titles, and achievement points drove every aspect of the game.

Its parallel to raiding, which has become just about the gear and not about the lore of the bosses or the artwork of the instances. More gear! More gear!

Now, Blizzard cannot spend dev time on aesthetics or atmosphere or storylines without people asking for rewards. That's not sustainable.

Derkhan said...

If you are not playing for the sheer fun of it, you may need to seek help. I like Achievements as much as the next guy, but its not why I play. I can't wait to log on to kill Princess and the others on all my alts WOO HOO!

Anonymous said...

The problem with MMOs are that they don't have a butterfly effect.

Participating in this event won't in any way change the outcome of the coming cata.

This is the reason I didn't like Operation Gnomeregan. It felt like I was tagging along and in the end nothing mattered.

I think FOS and tabards are an artificial way of making you feel like you counted and I have no problem with players being reluctant. Not everyone can say "I'm going to have fun doing something for a long time and not care that nothing changes."

Bill said...

This is the nature of motivation. If the player is motivated by goodies, he will only do things which reward goodies. If the player is modified by social contact, then they will consume content with more social contact. Ditto for achievements. Or griefing, ease of advacement, or player kills.

This is why WoW is so successful. It caters to so many different types of people because of the differing rewards it gives.

But its one of the reason why many people are disappointed by WoW's direction: it has too many incentives for goodie kiddies, and disincentives for socializing. Of course since people have a mix of motivations, many people enjoy WoW to a point.

midnightcarnival said...

The funny thing is, after you've cleared the elementals and the rifts, you're able to access the bosses that drop ilevel 251 loot. That is a reward right there.

Not only is this guy a whiner, but he's also pretty dumb imo.

Azryu said...

I don't think you can truly blame them for not seeing any reason to take part in the events.

What we enjoy in the game is purely based off of what we are forced to experience (leveling) and what others have suggested we experience (raiding, etc). Perhaps they need only someone to show them how fun it can be, persuade them to mentally invest themselves in the events taking place.

Back when I was raiding, I had only one friend telling me how fun PvP is and that I should try it. I declined for a long time, seeing it to be just a bunch of people mindlessly slaughtering each other without reason or cause. However, today I am in Wrathful, and that's all thanks to that one friend. They got me to try it, and now it's my main reason to log into WoW.

Perhaps, instead of getting frustrated to the point of disguest, you should have reached out to them and tried to show them how fun it can be if you can only project yourself onto your character and truly immerse yourself in the game. Should they argue they "don't RP lol", you need only remind them that project ourselves onto other people each day, and it's a skill that is very much alive and well. In fact, it's a skill we learned back when we played with barbies and action figures as a child. When you imagine "how cool it would be to own a Ferrari" you are projecting yourself onto someone who would own a Ferrari in order to emulate the experience, the emotions, and awesome feeling that would come with driving around in a fancy sports car. Hell, we even do it in World of Warcraft: "Man, that new alchemy mount is SO COOL. Man I wish I had one!"

In any case...

Try to show them the error of their ways and point out how it can truly be fun if you only try.

Azryu said...

Revised TL;DR:

Try to show them the error of their ways and point out how it can truly be fun if you only try.
(Assuming they are not being a douchebag about it)


Shelly said...

I did the quests to experience them before they are gone, I did the invasion for the same reason. I missed out on the stuff before bc and I liked the stuff for wrath so I knew I wanted to experience the cata events too. The only thing is that I wish I had the time to get all of my level 80's through it but I am happy to have seen it on my main.

spinksville said...

I have some screenshots of people tearing round and defending Ogrimmar last night. It was a lot of fun! Guild channel lit up with excitement too.

But for all that, I'd be surprised if many of them weren't thinking, "I wonder if there's an achievement for this." So ... yeah, I think you're probably right.

As an interesting aside, one of the papers I was reading recently was about how to approach group work in schools with girls as opposed to with boys. They commented that they had found that boys tend to be more achievement oriented, girls are more interested in community and relationships. I take this with a pinch of salt because I know female players who love achievements ... but I wonder.

Blimp said...

I've defended Stormwind this morning. At first, it was fun but it got old very fast (farming the same mobs over and over again in all the districts of Stormwind). Why should I care? I know that whether players destroy these elementals or not, the script will keep going as planned.

This event would be fun to me, if players actions had an impact of the outcome of this invasion, i.e. if we could actually lose a capital. But I know that Blizzard won't do that.

So I understand players who are wondering if there is some kind of reward attached to that "event".

Shy said...

The saddest part is that in general the people who complain now about what is happening will be a different kind of people two months down the road.

These people now say: Ugh, this elemental invasion stinks/is stupid/is boring/come up with something negative.

They will say in two months: Woah, you missed the elemental invasion? Loser, it was brilliant/amazing/fantastic/name some other overly exaggerated word.

It's apparently rather hard to be happy with what is now, and a lot easier to look back or sideways.

Azryu said...


I hate it how people change stances and glorify things. Example: zombie event. I have a friend who is guilty.. they hated the event. So much that I remeber them not logging on at all for days at a time during it... and now they talk about it as if they were one of the people marching on the player killing, zombie parade.

People who talk about multiple-day Altrec Valley's also do a SHIT ton of glorification. The large majority of people hated it. People would fish, farm, do quests, etc... and wouldn't even help their team by engaging in PvP.

It's disingenuous and it really gets under my skin, unfortunately.

Nils said...

Very short, very precise and very right. If there is one thing in MMORPGs that is going the wrong direction it is this.

.. in combination with convenience through anonymity.

Thanks Larísa

Jen said...

I don't completely agree with the poster, but I don't completely agree with you either, Larisa.

He doesn't *have* to do anything. If he doesn't feel like defending a city, he's not a better or worse person/player than me or you or Battle Priestess. If he'd only do it for a FoS... I don't see the problem, is he hurting anyone? The behavior does bother me (I have an achievement hunter guildie and he gets on my nerves), but I can't justify it, it's just a personal thing. (After all, I *am* doing Explorer just for the FoS...)

Personally, I killed elementals last night and it was an absolute blast doing it in a raid with my guildies while chatting on Vent. And still... I would have really liked a memento of this, and yes, a tabard or a FoS would be a good way to do it.

So, in short:
- Doing it only because there was a FoS involved? Pretty pointless.
- Doing it and then wishing there was also a FoS? Agreed.

Bronte said...

"They're attacking us! You need to kill them!"


"Because they are evil."

"Are they evil with epic loot?"

"Uh no."

"Then it's not my problem."

"What are you serious? You won't go take care of an elemental invasion because there is no reward?"

"No I will just engage in activities that reward me with something useful."

"What's the difference?"

"I am not actively ignoring the invasion. I am actively pursuing other activities that yield epic loot."

"How about I give you half an apple core, some pocket lint and a trumpet that doesn't work?"

"Where do I start?"

Crowqueen said...

Agree with Jardal. This game is big enough for the two of you. I don't need a busybody telling me what I should or shouldn't do. As long as you are having fun, then he should be able to have his. Don't be such a spoilsport.

I'm doing the quests, I think they are great and they don't get in the way of ordinary questing or levelling. I'm trying to get the achievements on my main, just to say "I was there". But I don't want to say that only I am playing the game the right way. That's unfair to the other people who all pay their money every month, and pretty arrogant.

Nils said...

I'd never tell somebody that he has to care.
But I do tell blizzard that they should design the game in a way that people do care.

I am pretty sure Larísa meant this when she complained about people not careing for anything than some carrot.

The guild is hardly with the people that react to the game. It is with the game and its creators.

Dàchéng said...

You are exactly right, Larísa. We are becoming a group of stamp-collectors. Oh, it isn't stamps we are collecting, it's gear, or boss-kills or achievements (or mounts or pets). But many among us aren't doing it for the fun of the experience, but in order simply to complete their collection.

I think second anonymous has it right: many people cannot see the point in taking part because they feel that they cannot affect the outcome (and in this they are correct).

Such people, though, DO affect the game-play of others, despite claims to the contrary in earlier comments. Our game-play involves immersion in the game world, and if adventurers just stand around watching citizens being torn to pieces by elementals, then that contributes to breaking our immersion.

The same problem can be seen when, for instance, the horde raids Ironforge, and lvl80 "alliance" characters standing at the forge just totally ignore the killing of Magni Bronzebeard taking place 50 metres away. Attempts to motivate such stamp-collectors to actually defend the king are met with boredom or contempt: "Let them [the horde] get on with their game. They're just trying to get an achievement". I have found the only way to motivate such players is to point to the city defender achievement. Once they have a new stamp to collect, their attitude changes.

I am hoping that the Cataclysm will help bring an end to such attitudes (though I don't hold out much hope). If not, then I intend to leave Azeroth for pastures new. Even though I'm not much good at PvP, I'd like to give Darkfall a go. What a thrill to know you could be killed at any moment, by anything or anybody, and actually lose something more than 30 seconds of your time in a corpse run. I'm afraid there is no thrill in stamp-collecting.

redcow said...

I'm really surprised and a little annoyed at the idea that doing something in order to get an achievement is a bad thing.

I think the idea that Larisa and many commenters are suggesting is that choosing to do or not do something based on whether it has a "measurable" reward like an item or achievement is not a good reason. Interestingly enough, that's in contrast with many people who think that chasing achievements is worthless because achievements are nothing and the steps used to reach them waste time. So either way, both parties are judging another player's use of time and finding it to be lacking.

Personally, I'll likely do this event enough times to experience it all - kill the elementals and see all the bosses. After that, however, I'll be peacing out to safer locales because achievement or no, I don't consider this event worthy of 'grinding'. Does that mean I'm only half using my time correctly? I'm doing it without regard to a "reward" (except that of course the experience to me is the reward), but after I've had the experience (or received my reward, you could say), I'll be off to other things.

Selyndia said...

I was doing the events a bit last night when I got home from work. There are a few comments I had about them though.

First, this is much better than the pre WoTLK and pre TBC events that occurred. Kazzak attacking capitals was a giant pain in the ass, there was no real escape from him, and he had that stupid volley that just killed people in the area. The only other event I recall was something around the Dark Portal, but it wasn’t a particularly large event there, and I remember it more from the griefing that went on between factions killing each other trying to get the Tabard of the Protector. The Zombie event was interesting for a bit. I didn’t particularly like how it favored people who intended to grief (Finding people in towns infecting every FP master on half the continent was cute…) though I did like the undead invasion bits, and still have the full suit of armor from that event. This event is both a bit better in scale to level, allowing lower levels to actually participate, as well as having the city events having escape portals. It is also predictable in when it occurs so that you can plan accordingly.

Secondly, the boss events seemed a bit lack luster, and essentially just showed the “Que, loot, leave” mentality of the whole thing. I’ve been watching tanks just charge in as soon as the que was finished; grabbing the fire boss with all his trash and getting the healer killed in the process, as well as, rather impressively, grabbing Princess and her two trash mobs in a single pull. I did enjoy Prince though in AQ, and liked the tornado chasing bit (Even if it chased my shadow priest most of the encounter), the water boss was a source of amusement, as in all the times I’ve run it on my priest (I was trying to get the ring) I’ve seen the heal interrupted only once. However, a silver lining shows what they could do with Holiday events, instead of “Que, loot, leave” stretch it into a little bit more. Asking for more than five minutes in the instance isn’t unreasonable, and having a layered area where trash that is only for the event keeps it from being an issue for those trying to run the instance legitimately. I also don’t think they needed to provide Justice Points every single kill. Currently they are on a 1-2 minute que time even for DPS, take less than 5 minutes and offer a 251 drop and 12 Justice Points. Consider a single group can chain run them, you can amass a ton of Justice Points extremely rapidly. I do, also, seriously dislike that these count towards your “Five per hour” instances, and that “Five per hour rule” carries over your whole account. Running the holiday/special events on an alt should not prevent your main from being able to zone into a raid for an hour…

Finally, the biggest issue with the invasion though, will be that in a couple days, most of the people participating will stop doing so. As an example, look at the Headless Horseman events in the lowbie towns. It’s not like they were far away from capital cities, they offered rewards in an additional “Trick or Treat” bag, and provided an achievement. Yet, as the event continued, how often did he successfully burn down the towns as people just stopped bothering? Brewfest with the Dark Iron invasion is another good example, as the later in the event it went, the more likely the Dark Irons would destroy all of the kegs; despite it offering a daily quest, tokens for rewards and an achievement required for the meta.

River said...

Wait there's elementals attacking?

I thought it was just some Shaman tomfoolery.

I never really did world events, rewards or not. I got more important things to do.

Dàchéng said...

Redcow, I'm not complaining that people are doing things just to collect their "achievement", or gear or justice points or whatever other stamp they're collecting (I'm doing it, myself, buying bijous to improve pointless rep with a pointless faction). I'm complaining that Blizzard have moved the game in this direction, so that there is little other reason for doing anything. When our actions have no effect, why would we perform those actions?

One nice thing about the Ahn'Quiraj War was that it was the players on your realm who determined when the gates opened.

Ratshag said...

Fer what it's worthified,

"If we are mark'd to die, we are enow
To do our country loss; and if to live,
The fewer men, the greater share of honour.
God's will! I pray thee, wish not one man more.
By Jove, I am not covetous for gold,
Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost;
It yearns me not if men my garments wear;
Such outward things dwell not in my desires."

So that were a "no" from Harry on tabards, but

"Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,
And say 'These wounds I had on Crispian's day.'
Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,
But he'll remember, with advantages,
What feats he did that day."

So I guess he were down with Feats of Strength.

Larísa said...

First of all: Wohoo! I get some resistance with commenters disagreeing with me. That's great for a change. Blogger PvP ftw!

@Battle Priestess: well: I don't have any problem with people not wanting to participate for this for various reasons. To each one his own. But he's pulling it further, unable to understand why you can do it at all without an achievement reward. That's when it made me cringe.

@Aeven: well, to be fair maybe he won't. I was actually speculating. Perhaps he won't even be in the cities, since he's occupied grabbing achievements somewhere else. However it is an interesting thought if people who ARE in the cities and don't care would get some sort of debuff... Perhaps losing some honor points or a little bit of their rep with Stormind? Would seem fair... ;)

@Len: Go you!

@Jardal, Shopshopshop, Rades, Crowqueen, Redcow: I'm all for players enjoying the game in different ways. People can PvP or raid or RP or do whatever they want to as much as they like. However: in this case it was THIS player who started to state something very dismissive about participating in this, failing to see the point in it at all. It wasn't me. I was just stating that I think this attitude is a little sad since it says something about the way the game has developed. Even if the post is a little bit sharply written perhaps, for being me, I'm basically not attacking this PERSON as much as I'm questioning if the obsession with achievements is good for the game.

I have never criticized achievements as such. On the contrary: I think it's a good complement to the previous game, it gives players ideas about "what to do" in the endgame - goals that aren't necessarily about gathering gear, but doing all sorts of things in the game, things they might not have tried out if it wasn't for the achievements. I also welcome achievements as well as hardmodes in raiding since they give the encounters a longer life span than they otherwise would have had. Even if you down the boss you don't need to get into a boring farming mode - you can do the encounter with a twist. And that's great!

Don't think I'm an achievement hater. But I think it's a bit sad when players can't be bothered to do ANYTHING if there isn't an achievement connected to it and not even realize that OTHERS can get enjoyment out of it. I have no problems with the question whether there's an achievement for killing elementals. It's the whats-the-point part that bothers me. If more and more players get trained into this thinking (and yes, I actually think that the game can push us into different mindsets, depending on how it's designed), if this is the road WoW is heading, I think it will become a worse game than it has been until now. Something is getting lost on the way. Or maybe it has already been lost - if I'm to believe some of the veterans (who I love to argue with as well, since I don't think the game is half as bad as they claim...)

I'd also like to point out that I'm talking about "us", not only about "him". I too have been affected by this mindset. I think I'm too focused on achievements and such, and that this mindsets makes me miss out other aspects of the game, which I would have enjoyed, if I wasn't so easily pushed into the achievement-hunting mode.

@Syl: I haven't seen it myself yet, but hope to get there soon. If I now only can find some way to occupy myself for hours, waiting for them to spawn.... Time to clear up the mess in my bank and bags I suppose.

@Suicidal Zebra: I too think a souvenir could be a nice addition. I don't argue against that. What I argue against is the dismissive tone in that comment, where he can't see ANY point in participating unless he gets an FoS or tabard.

Larísa said...

@Andenthal: Exactly my point. I wasn't cringing at a player standing in IF choosing to not participate. I just think that this attitude says something about how far the pet training Blizzard has performed on us through the game design has brought us.

@Foreveranoob: Yes. Something has happened to the attitude to the achievements during Wrath. That's my picture of it too. We're trained into this. But the kicks we get out of it are on diminishing returns and it's not sustainable.

@Derkhan: Well, we have different visions of fun ofc. But it's a little strange to me to have gone this far into the achievement mindset.

@Anonymous: I agree that events where you have an actual impact are better. Like I've heard that the opening of AQ was. And like I experienced the conquering of the Sunwell island in TBC. That would have been better.

@Bill: And sometimes those motivations collide.

@Midnightcarnival: well, maybe he was already decked out in epics. For my own part there's no gear incentive at all in doing those bosses. Still I'd love to do them of course. New content >new gear.

@Azryu: well, I don't think there's any way that I can "reach out" to this guy through the MMO champion forums to be honest. Page after page after page of babbling, would he even see my comment or care? I guess though that my blogging partly is my way of showing. I'm sharing my world and perspective, and maybe something of it might help someone see it from a slightly different angle than he would otherwise, getting curious about trying out something different in the game. The humble dream of a blogger.

@Shelly: One is honestly enough for me; I'll only do it on my main. Funny enough my alt druid has seen more elementals than my main so far since I'm levelling herbalism on her and she's stumbling upon them by accident.

@Spinksville: I'm a woman and I'm quite much into accomplishing things, both in WoW and in real life. Call it achievements if you want to. But there's a difference between appreciating the push for getting a hard achievement done to not bothering to do ANYTHING unless there's an achievement connected to it. Not sure though if it's a male/female thing. Maybe more about if you have a collector's mindset or not?

@Blimp: I haven't seen it yet, but I think it sucks a bit if it is as you say. Even if we couldn't LOSE the capital, the elementals could be present until we fought back, and being annoying as hell. But I guess the whining would be too big after it, like the one after the events preceding wrath... They wouldn't dare as you say.

@Shy: I'm actually one of those who changed their mind about the zombie thing before Wrath. I whined when it was there and afterwards I realized that I had been utterly wrong. :( This time there's nothing that can make me go whining though. I've learned my lesson.

@Nils: Wow! Nils and I agree. That's not too common... :)

@Jen: If he only had expressed that he wished he would get a FoS for it, I wouldn't have bothered to blog about it. But his comment went a step further and is a sign of a mentality that I think is a little saddening.

@Bronte: Wonderful script! I can picture it used for a Dark Legacy strip.

@Dàchéng: Stamp-collector is actually a good word to describe this mentality. And you are right ofc that it affects the immersion aspect. Those happenings aren't instanced. It's a part of the world. We're all parts of each other's world, either we like it or not, as long as we're not in an instance.

@Selyndia: I'm afraid you might be right about what will happen in a few days. I'd better get around to do it before that. Or maybe they'll throw something more into the brew? Let's hope for that.

@River: Good for you! Whatever makes you happy.

@Ratshag: We have a scholar in this pub! Shakespeare Henry V ftw! Cheers!

Anonymous said...

Last night, I was in Stormwind on my level 36 warrior and ran around stacking sandbags and attacking the elementals. Not that it did much towards actually killing them. I died a couple times but it was fun. I'll probably do it again. There's no achievement for me, no bosses and no loot.

It might be interesting if you lost rep with Stormwind by standing around while the elementals attacked. Not interested in defending but still want to stay in the king's good graces, get out of town.

Nils said...

@Nils: Wow! Nils and I agree. That's not too common... :)

Really? :)

Actually I think we agree on most aspects we write about. And on my blog your comments also seem to usually agree with me. (?)

Larísa said...

@Anonymous: yeah, I think it would make sense tbh. I would be fairly unimpressed if I was the king at the leechers.

@Nils: I think you tend to be a little bit more let's say... critical... than I am. Agreening more often with Wolfshead than I do. But that only makes the discussion more interesting. If there weren't any differences I figure we'd create them. Just because of the joy of writing...

Coeur-de-fer said...

"Its parallel to raiding, which has become just about the gear and not about the lore of the bosses or the artwork of the instances. More gear! More gear!"

Has become? Molten Core was an unremarkable brown cave, less interesting design-wise than the instance that "contained" it (Blackrock Depths). With 4 trash models (5 if you count the imps in the short stretch before Lucifron), the mobs didn't have a lot of visual variety either. The bosses, with the exception of the flamewakers and Ragnaros, again utilized the same models as the trash. The flamewaker model might have been fresh if you missed Ambassador Flamelash in the aforementioned BRD, but when it's then used for 5 of the bosses, 4 of which have trash which use the model again themselves, it loses it's luster pretty quickly. And with the exception of Majordomo Executus and Rag, who aren't present until summoned, they all just stand or pace in their appointed spots, doing nothing, waiting to dispense their pretty purple pixels.

And as for the lore, Thunderheart hints at the Dark Irons summoning some kinds of spirit that threatens the land with "eternal drought", and makes mention of "something" controlling Pyron and Incendius. However, that's all we get from this short/aborted quest line. Duke Hydraxis has his two sequential quests that send us into the core, but provides little background other than "We are at war with the servants of fire. These servants are stronger than those you fought in the previous quest. Defeat them and prove your loyalty." You can learn a bit more once you'd reached the appropriate rep level to obtain the aqual quintessence and start dousing runes, opening up the last two boss encounters and the bit of dialogue with Executus, but it's not info you get going in, nor is it even indicated that you'll get it once you've spent a bit of time inside. And even the bits we do get shed little light on anything other than Ragnaros himself. The rest of the inhabitants get no more background than the instance trash.

(Split for length, continued below.)

Coeur-de-fer said...

This is, of course, assuming you'd even done these quests (and read them. Revolutionary, I know). I raided that instance with plenty who hadn't.

What was the purpose of this trip down memory lane? People like to pretend that the raid game has become more loot-centric and less interesting design- and lore-wise. The fact of the matter is that Blizzard's raid content has been one series of loot carrots after the other. People didn't go to Molten Core (and keep going, and keep going, week after week, month after month) for the titillating lore nuggets or striking visuals; they went there because it's a loot-driven, gear-progression game, and that was the next step up from their dungeon blues.

People like to think it's a new thing, but you reap what you sow, and this is the culture that Blizzard, wittingly or otherwise, has been encouraging from day one. When you hasten the leveling game to the point where people quickly and easily reach the cap, they need some other form of character progression to keep them occupied and paying, and WoW's solution to that problem has always been gear (and, later, achievements as well). When there's no real way to lose anything in game (as there was in many older, "hardcore" MMOs), people aren't going to be satisfied merely maintaining what they have - that's a foregone conclusion. All the levels have been handed out already, so keep throwing them the shinies. The old tiered raid structure didn't provide the character improvement carrot to a wide enough segment of the player base, and thus they've changed tactics, introducing emblem systems, easy/hard modes for raids, and Tn-1 loot from dated 5-man dungeons (where n = the current raid tier). More carrots for more people. Panem et circensem. Of course, overjustification effect often kicks in when you introduce such reward structures, and our intrinsic enjoyment of the activities themselves become less enjoyable. But hey, whatever keeps them paying. Our elemental invasion FoS friend is the logical result of the world they've crafted.

Sthenno said...

The striking thing about the villain in the post - and the thing that really put me off - is not that he wanted an achievement but that he seemed to be under the impression that this event was entirely about him. If someone has no interest in the event, that's fine. If someone can't understand that even if they aren't interested in the event that it could be a good thing because other people are having fun - even if only because they don't understand that other people are thinking things with their own likes and dislikes - then that person is just plain awful. It's also possible they have an attachment disorder, severe autism, or just haven't reached the age when you realize that other people are like you (three or so?).

I also agree, however, with the people who are saying that they don't feel like there is a point because nothing they do matters. The cataclysm will unfold in the same way regardless of what they do. This was probably the worst thing about the zombie event as well: it just got worse and worse, there was no way to fight back, and the cure was found after a set amount of time had passed. There was nothing we could do as players to try to save people or to try to find a cure. If there had been some kind of Gates of Ahn'Qiraj type event where we all had to work together to save our cities I think a lot of people would have gotten on board. As it is, the event will repeat on a regular schedule and whether we fight, stand there doing nothing, or go watch TV instead of playing WoW, everything will turn out the same at the same time.

Ratshag said...

@Larísa - Anythings fer an excuse what ta get boozed up, stand on the table, and proclaim the denizens of the bar ta be "We few, we happy few, we Band of Buggers!"

Rades said...

Sthenno, I think you're reading an awful lot into the behavior of a player who wasn't trolling, wasn't voicing his displeasure, and wasn't doing anything to negatively impact others who were participating in the event. He was simply standing there!! I'm honestly shocked at the hatred shown towards someone who didn't DO ANYTHING BAD.

I was unaware that in a game I pay for and play for fun, I was not allowed to simply spectate, go AFK, or CHOOSE to not partake for my own personal reasons. Who knew!

Brangwen said...

I might do a bit of shamless self referential link spam here, but I actually think that my post about skinner boxes explains a lot of that reaction.

Yes, I actually believe that we are conditioned to react that way. And while I feel sorry for anyone reacting like that, I COMPLETELY understand where they are coming from and why.

redcow said...

@Dacheng: I see what you are saying but I don`t necessarily agree. Like Larisa says, achievements can sometimes give new meaning or reason to doing something, a sort of checklist for new experiences if you have run out of ideas. However, I frequently get flack from other WoW players who don`t understand why I would "waste my time" chasing them, when they mean nothing compared to (whatever it is my friends like to do in the game). If you consider the only effect of performing an action the achievement you receive, then yes you may choose not to do something because it "won`t have any effect". But I would argue that the effects are anything we might get out of it.

Your second comment seems to be more a criticism of Blizz`s method - the event itself is not engaging enough for achievement-oriented players to want to participate because they get nothing out of the deal and their efforts have no real effect. I do agree that the event could be changed so that player efforts cumulatively made changes like with AQ, which would hopefully entice more to play along.

More @Larisa and piggybacking on what Sthenno said: I also agree that the players attitude - that it`s all about them, and if they can`t see the merit then what`s the point? is really irritating. I`m sorry, if you don`t like an event does that mean everyone who does is wasting their time because you yourself consider it to be a waste of time? I don`t think so! Although that commenter`s opinion is judgmental and crappy, responding that they *should* participate in the event (when they obviously consider it below them 9_9) is kind of doing the same thing!

Larísa said...

@Redcow: Again: I don't condemn him for not participating. I'm more pondering upon how the game mechanisms affect player motivations and behaviors. Check out the blogpost by Brangwen linked in a comment above. It pretty much nails it. Rats again. I don't wan't WoW to be that way. I know it's not ONLY that way. (see my post WoW is...) But neverhteless this perspective, when I see it in this obvious, undressed way, makes me a little depressed.

TheGrumpyElf said...

I can completely understand that line of thought and agree with it to some extent.

If I do the event on my alt there really is no need to do the event on my main. I am doing it for the joy of experiencing it.

Once I've experienced it is it really going to be something completely and totally different on a Hunter then it was on a Priest, or a Mage, or a Shaman?

I have 7 80s, 4 of which can use something from there. I will make sure to do it on those 4 just to get the "free loot" so to speak. But if there is no achievement or no tabard, or nothing to show I actually did it a year from now then why do it on my main as well?

If I say I did it and I actually did what difference does it make who I do it on?

If there were an achievement or a tabard or anything that I would keep with me forever then there would be a reason to do it on my main for collection purposes.

So yes, I completely and totally agree with what was said even if for a different reason.

My reason is I am doing it for fun but being I am doing it only for fun I will enjoy it on the characters that can actually get something from it.

Note: I ended up doing it on my main anyway just because I wanted to. But I still agree with people that say why do it if there is nothing to get from it.

Nils said...


your comment shows what is critizised in the post. Somehow Blizzard managed to make people approach the game in the way you describe.

Make no mistake: I understand you. Hell, I might act similarly from time to time. The point is that I do not feel like this is how it is supposed to be.

In the end this is nothing else but a discussion of gameplay vs. world. I would prefer to feel like part of the virtual world. But people not caring about fire elementals ripping their captial apart disrupts.. no anihillates .. my immersion.

Anti said...

for every time the elementals are not defeated before they time out.... blizzard delays Cataclysm launch on that faction by an hour(6 hours, a day?)

now _that_ would be the right kind of incentive.

but then my vanilla server was in the top 10% of AQ gate opening servers.

redcow said...


"Somehow Blizzard managed to make people approach the game in the way you describe.

Make no mistake: I understand you. Hell, I might act similarly from time to time. The point is that I do not feel like this is how it is supposed to be."

I guess I still don't understand - because someone isn't playing the game in the "right way", it's ruining your fun? Imagine that the question of reward weren't about something already in question (ach points, gear, tabard) but something like...honor points. Let's say the only reason I play WoW is to PVP day in and day out, and I don't care what my BG reps or tabards of achieves look like so long as I can kill bajillions of allies all day. If I boot up WoW and say "I'm not going to do a thing about the elemental invasion because I am off to Wintergrasp!" would you respond with "No, you aren't playing the game right and if you go PVP instead of helping me kill elementals I can't immerse myself in the event!"

I think achievements get a bad rap for being visible measurements of rewards, but playing the game in order to be rewarded them is the same as being rewarded through RP fun or loot or pre-xpac shenanigans.

@Larisa: Yes I did read her post and it was really well thought out! The suggestions for how to rustle up more participation by playing the reward system were interesting, too. However, I don't think that can be perfectly applied to this situation, as the randomness of loot drops that requires constant killing of bosses is not comparable to achievements which can definitely be accomplished by performing set tasks.

Larísa said...

@Redcow: I suppose they trigger the same chemical rewardsystem though? Dopamine or whatever the crack we're on is called?

Nils said...


I do not blame anybody. This needs to be said first, I think ;). In particular I do not blame you or anybody who does not react to fire elementals destroying their captial (or pretending to destroy the capital) the way I would wish they did.

This is really just about the game itself. I would wish to play a MMO that would consist of people that react to fire elementals incinerating their capital in a .. credibly fashion.

I know: It is just a game. But It is also a MMORPG. Looking at what MMORPGs once were and, more importantly, can be, people ignoreing these fire elementals are in fact annoying me. But I do not blame them. I blame the creators of the game who do not even seem to consider my concerns legitimate. (If they adress them at all).

Redbeard said...

I kind of like the idea that every toon that is present in the city during the invasion but doesn't take a swing at an Elemental or free a trapped hostage is given a debuff along with a tongue lashing by Magni or Garrosh.

Besides, how often do you get to fight alongside Cairne? (Unfortunately, not often enough, I'm afraid...)

redcow said...

@Larisa: For sure! Just that the achievement is sure to give that feeling as soon as you do it, where as Brangwen explained the boss kill only gives it if 1) drops the loot you want and 2) you win the loot. (This is the part where I QQ forever about only seeing my ICC25 druid pieces once and not winning the rolls QQQQQQQQ)

@Nils: Criticizing the game's story and methods is totally fine with me! It just seemed to me that a lot of the complaints were directed at the person choosing not to participate. Hell, I'm all over these events like white on rice, but if the event were more like AQ (except for the exclusivity of the gong-ringing and the subsequent drama) where there was a common goal to work for that required group efforts and had a real impact it would be a thousand times better. Then again, I could also see myself saying "No I don't feel like farming (Wool Cloth) today I think I shall level my priest!" because I am a curmudgeon :D

Sandra said...

I can only speak for myself; I'll be interacting and killing the elementals and freeing citizens because that's where I find my fun in the game.

Perdissa said...

I think that the elemental invasions are pretty fun. For once or twice. Pretty soon, people will not really bother to defend the cities, and the elementals will actually win (this has happened once or twice in the wee hours on my server, I heard). It is also not possible to solo-kill too many of the elementals, as they have stuns and hit even a tank fairly hard if no one is healing you.

As time goes on (say next week), I foresee that people will become less and less engaged with the event, and the few people who are still interested to repel the invasions will find themselves outnumbered by the elementals. This would be extremely frustrating for the players who actually want to defend the cities. Unlike WG, people who participate in the elemental invasion do not get extra rewards after the battle is over. Granting an FOS for defending the cities would actually encourage more people to do it, say on their alts when it’s getting old. Alternatively, they may also want to consider requiring players to engage in city defence in order to access the special bosses.

On a side note, I find it completely inexplicable that the fire elementals are not immune to my fire spells.

Natalie said...

Had a ton of fun participating in it too! I logged onto my priest, milled around, and even led a raid group to battle the silly elemental invaders. We beat the snot out of them, but not before the timer expired. Still, I think I might write a RP blog entry about it. We'll see.

As far as player mc lazy butt, what else is he going to do, sit around and afk in town? I try to minimize downtime unless I'm sitting on my druid, chatting with friends. I do miss the days of "everyone is a lowbie, we're all leveling to reach the awesome end goal of 60". I always enjoy the first year of expansions and never really like the ends.

Nefernet said...

I wouldn't do the event for loot as many people see it. Getting epics we will be replacing in 3 weeks is not exactly interesting and a strong incentive. I do the quests and event for fun and lore.

Though, I'd love to see some fun items to keep as souvenirs. I kept some of the items I got from the pre-WotLK event, especially this axe/guitar transforming you into the bassist of the Tauren Chieftains. I've been carrying it in my bags for 2 years. There is no advantage in combat with it (there was at the time, it was an upgrade for me, an upgrade that lasted 4 weeks), but I see it as a lucky charm, as stupid as it may seem.

I wish we could keep some of the items like the one from the quest putting a sign around your neck "the end of the world in near". It's pointless but fun, like a lot of things many people love in this game. Many people collect artefacts transforming them into something else : pirate/ninja, other faction race, furbolg, rohart,... They collect picnic baskets and flower bouquets, they even collect dog's beauty ribbons... (Precious's Ribbon : what use in this item except fun ?)