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Hildegard

Time investment

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Up until now a lot, if not most, of the game involves a lot of time investment. Be it farming heroics, honor farming, gold or consumables - most things you like make you spend additional time with things that are way less fun. With the recent patch-notes (source: 4.2 Conquest change - MMO-Champion BlueTracker ) Blizzard announced that they are unhappy with how few time was needed to get gear in arenas.

Be it arenas or raids, I think that a growing part of the WoW-population is in the game since the start and relationships, intense jobs and other obligations make the old hardcore approach of spending constantly a lot of time a concept not made for the future. And no - I am not promoting everyone going casual, but to think of concepts to enable players participating in end-game content without having to spend time on other things in game.

Some ideas would be:

  • Reward loot from all bosses for killing the final boss after each boss has been killed three times.
  • Keep the S9 conquest point model.
  • Drop the materials needed for consumables from trash and bosses within raid instances. Drop considerably more from hardmodes.
  • Give out honor for additional arena games, more based on rating.

The idea is to reward excellence and not time investment. Anyone, who wants to do things based on time investment is still free to do so, but someone being able to clear 50% of the hard modes would not have to do additional heroics or farm consumeables. I think this would keep a lot of players around that quit the game due to not being able to spend the time necessary to play the game the way they want it.

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You play the wrong game. An RPG will always need a certain amount of your effort to be invested in time.

Try Starcraft or something like that if you want a strongly performance-based game where time does not matter a lot.

I think this would keep a lot of players around that quit the game due to not being able to spend the time necessary to play the game the way they want it.
Could you define that a bit? If you think that WoW needs a lot of time right now you have to be talking less than 6-8 hours a week. How low should it be?

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Yes, I think of actually less than 2-3 hours a week for arena or 5man dungeons (solo play) and maybe 6-8 for larger group play like rated bgs and raids. This does not include progress / start of season phases , where one wants to play more. But rather the amount of time needed constantly. Actually I enjoyed the half hour I could play in some weeks, doing only arenas and do not really want to invest more. It was a pretty decent modell after having done the honor grind once to never ever having to play more than 5 games a week if I did not want to. This does not mean, that I do not have weeks in which I enjoy playing a lot more. Maybe I'm really playing the wrong game. Seems like no one else is bothered by having to spend a lot of time.

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The idea is to reward excellence and not time investment. Anyone, who wants to do things based on time investment is still free to do so, but someone being able to clear 50% of the hard modes would not have to do additional heroics or farm consumeables. I think this would keep a lot of players around that quit the game due to not being able to spend the time necessary to play the game the way they want it.

I have two problems with your idea:

1. Excellence is already rewarded.

2. There should be nobody in a guild that currently clears 6/13 hard modes or better that still needs Valor Points unless they're a Druid working on their fourth Tier Set.

If your guild is currently incapable of providing cauldrons for raids, your guild is not one to which we can attribute excellence. If your raiders have to spend more than a couple hours every few months to farm materials for potions, they also are not excellent. You don't even need consumables for any normal mode content in the first place if your raiders are excellent.

Similarly, running heroics constantly for Valor Points is unnecessary unless you're trying to ride the bleeding edge or you're making up for a lack of excellence. Any excellent raiders who take a relaxed approach have long since finished their tier sets, even if they haven't hit any hard modes.

I can't speak to PvP because I don't PvP. You probably have some insights there that I don't because of it. But as it stands excellence is well rewarded in PvE, and any guild struggling in that area can not be said to embody excellence.

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I do not raid anymore due to time reasons.

You as an raider, that gets rewarded for excellence, have to kill a boss on hardmode how many times? Ten? Fifteen? Twenty? Is it really fun for you and all your guild to kill these bosses over and over again? The model is still the same - farm all the bosses every week in order to be best prepared for the next tier.

The arena model until patch 4.1 was pretty perfect. You needed 5 wins in order to gain your points for the week but could continue to fight for rating. Fun, if you have the time, if you only find a strong half hour it would probably also work. So the game did not force you to do something. Now the model goes back to "you to spend time for your points", which is a great step back in my opinion. When I wrote about this, Illuwen (see post above) simply replied "Welcome to my world". He is a PVE player.

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I can understand your point in this thread in that you have little time to play WoW and want to achieve as much as you can. However WoW simply isn't designed to be played over a few hours a week and I think your failing to see the bigger picture of your ideas. Each new content patch of WoW is released at a specific time in order to allow members of all skill levels to clear the current tier content and not feel pushed into the next tier under geared. If the final boss, let us use Nefarian as an example, dropped all the previous loot from BwD each time we killed him we would be finished with BwD alot faster, finished with T11 raids a lot faster and thus Blizzard would have to release the next content patch earlier in order to keep us on WoW and to keep us paying for it. But what about the players who can't get Nef down? They are going to be pushed into T12 too fast and too under geared. These players unable to complete the current content may consider WoW to no longer be worth playing and Blizz will start to see sales drop. Evidence of this is Cataclysm, it was harder than WotlK and Blizzard have lost somewhere around 600k sales since it's launch.

I only do bg/rbg PvP and the honor/cp gain there is incredibly easy with very little time input so I won't comment on the PvP.

With regard to the raid mobs dropping the materials required for our food, flasks, etc. I'm unsure how I feel about this one, I can certainly see it helping some people as it would obviously reduce the grinding. However some people make alot of gold out of doing the grind and selling the materials on the AH. If that grind was removed these players would lose their income and I couldn't even begin to guess at the effects this would have on the in game economy of WoW.

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I do not raid anymore due to time reasons.

You as an raider, that gets rewarded for excellence, have to kill a boss on hardmode how many times? Ten? Fifteen? Twenty? Is it really fun for you and all your guild to kill these bosses over and over again? The model is still the same - farm all the bosses every week in order to be best prepared for the next tier.

I have to kill a boss on hard mode as many times as it takes for me to kill the final hard mode boss once. The number of times that takes is smaller the better I am and the better my guild is. Afterwards no more kills are necessary unless my guild is a competitive, bleeding-edge raiding guild.

Basically, the better a guild is at raiding the less time it has to spend raiding. The extra time is spent not raiding, raiding more because it's fun, or trying to be competitive.

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You as an raider, that gets rewarded for excellence, have to kill a boss on hardmode how many times? Ten? Fifteen? Twenty? Is it really fun for you and all your guild to kill these bosses over and over again? The model is still the same - farm all the bosses every week in order to be best prepared for the next tier.

Honest question here - what else would you do? A raid group that kills all the bosses once and then disbands for 6 months to wait until the next patch is never going to re-form.

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I know that this is unlikely to appease most of you but I wish they would have done more with the Cata zones than they already have. After you get your factions completed, there is no real reason to go back to these places save to farm or hunt for rare spawns. I feel that a lot less people would be quitting if they gave us a reason to go back instead of making Org and SW into big waiting rooms.

Look at all that stuff you could do in Outland. Shartuul, Terokk, so forth. They were designed to let casual players have some epics but nowadays there is no need for those things exist. And I used to do these things before raiding because it was fun. I could just be whining, a lot of you will say I should go play a single-player RPG, but I miss the feeling of exploring.

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Honest question here - what else would you do? A raid group that kills all the bosses once and then disbands for 6 months to wait until the next patch is never going to re-form.

This is an issue. It seemingly works in the small-scale pvp environment, where 3v3 teams can play well together even after long pauses. Raids look trickier and I cannot give you a good solution, but I think that the people that enjoy raiding together would reform, maybe like a bunch of guys that does mountaineering two times a year. The guild would reform for the next patch and those that want to stick around would be free to do so. Most likely it would not be the exact same team it was during the raid before, but would it really matter that much?

A new raid opening would be something big, people actually really wait for. Imagine that the dates were set, like for an expansion, but realistic. Maybe players would take some days off, meet together, enjoy the countdown like the start of an addon.

For PVP the end of a season should always be a tournament, where the winning teams of each battlegroup (or however else they want to determine the participants) should meet in an well-documented online tournament.

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Time and effort usualy translate into good results in pretty much anything, it's only natural for the same thing to happen in WoW. Excellence however, can and is rewarded in the game:

- There are 13/13 Heroic guilds that raided 8-12 hours a week during progress.

- Any decently progressed guild can provide flasks, food and repairs for it's members while still making money.

- PvP gear, if you are good, has always been (and still is) very easy to acquire.

Not only that but compared to other MMOs or even compered to how the game was at launch, time sinks in WoW are pretty casual friendly and not all that time consuming. So I guess I have trouble seeing where all this supposed time investment is.

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First of all, most guilds, including Elitist Jerks, are not 13/13 yet. Don't see the point of excellence reduced to the very best. I think most of would agree that EJ is a pretty decent guild.

The argument of having to have constant things to do does not really work, because it gets old faster and faster. This model of having constantly new and exciting content is flawed. Even if Blizzard pushed raids like Ulduar every six weeks - things would get old. Even TV shows that run over decades have seasons, they have breaks. If you force players to spend constantly time in the game, it ages a lot faster. Computer games are still pretty young as format and we certainly have not found all working ones.

One thing that can be said for sure is that a growing part of the community is reaching a point, where their weekly routine cannot fit in a regular WoW schedule. Players that were gladiators or killed Kel'Thuzad before patch 2.0 would not want to start doing solo quests or battlegrounds but cannot realistically keep up with the pace. I think a modell that lets players participate in the endgame based on skill and not time investment would allow these players to stick around. A game that forces them to log in for hours every week will make them leave.

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I'm in a similar situation to Hildegard. I stopped raiding last year due to real life (note my zero RS kills). However, I do not share the same view. MMORPGs are supposed to be a bit grindy, this buys Blizzard time to develop content and other things but there's another element to it that hasn't been stated.

Namely that it is a social game and those grindy parts of it help that social part out immensely. Every one of us has spent hours online just gabbing away as we grind something (Raids/BGs/Rep/etc). Take away the grind and now it's just MSN. I'd rather grind and talk than just talk. Besides, the grind gives us something to talk/complain about, it's the equivalent of, "How about this weather?"

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First of all, most guilds, including Elitist Jerks, are not 13/13 yet. Don't see the point of excellence reduced to the very best. I think most of would agree that EJ is a pretty decent guild.

The argument of having to have constant things to do does not really work, because it gets old faster and faster. This model of having constantly new and exciting content is flawed. Even if Blizzard pushed raids like Ulduar every six weeks - things would get old. Even TV shows that run over decades have seasons, they have breaks. If you force players to spend constantly time in the game, it ages a lot faster. Computer games are still pretty young as format and we certainly have not found all working ones.

One thing that can be said for sure is that a growing part of the community is reaching a point, where their weekly routine cannot fit in a regular WoW schedule. Players that were gladiators or killed Kel'Thuzad before patch 2.0 would not want to start doing solo quests or battlegrounds but cannot realistically keep up with the pace. I think a modell that lets players participate in the endgame based on skill and not time investment would allow these players to stick around. A game that forces them to log in for hours every week will make them leave.

To summarize, "Eventually people get bored or have other important stuff to do and quit." This is nothing new, a fact of WoW since day 1.

You can already raid normal modes for three or four hours a week and see all the content if you're even somewhat skilled and organized. That's what normal modes are for. If even that is too much time each week you need to accept that life happens, and some hobbies and pursuits have to be put on the backburner.

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WoW has been out a long time. A High School or College student is more likely to have large quantities of free time than someone in the workforce. By now even someone mid-High School could have graduated, progressed to College, earned a four-year degree and progressed into the workforce. Factor in marriage and children, too. Many of the initial adopters have had their life circumstances change, often causing a reduction in hours available to play. This is neither good, nor bad, simply a fact.

Blizzard's earnings from WoW are based mostly on monthly subscription. Designing WoW in such a fashion to maximize subscriptions is in their best interest. Blizzard's ideal design is a game you could play 24/7 if you desire, but are still content if you can only play a couple hours a week. The greater still permits the lesser - only permitting a couple hours play a week is not in their interest.

Those who happen to have vast amounts of free time can participate in various grinds (PvP, Arena, Raiding, Dungeons, Reputation, and Achievements to name a few). Those with less time can pick and choose their activities.

Don't have time to run dungeons, farm mats, and raid? Fair enough, you're a busy person, but don't expect Blizzard to change WoW or remove game options. Instead think about changing how you organize your game time (Blizzard has added many features to make this possible). You and friends/acquaintances have enough time to farm or raid in a week, but not both? Then organize around it. Farm on odd weeks, raid on even weeks. Or farm day 1, raid day 2. Not enough time to clear? Extend raid over as many weeks as necessary to clear, then release lock and start over.

Or run Dungeons for X weeks, then progress into multi-week lockout Raids. Got a vacation day and going to play 3 extra hours this week? Run a dungeon, do some dailies, get ahead on farming, kill some nasty Alliance/Horde - enjoy your extra time.

Build your WoW experience around your schedule and free time - it's highly configurable. Changing WoW to meet lesser requirements would only penalize those who happen to have the greater time available.

Just because you have time constraints does not mean the game needs to have them built in and enforced. Put it this way: suddenly you gain millions of dollars/euros/currency-of-your-choice, are set for life, and retire. You have enough extra time to meet all your social obligations with time to spare. You choose to put some of this time back into WoW, do you want to be restricted and unable to do more?

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Somehow this seems to me to be similar to the following analogy:

You used to go with your friends to the cinema every Thursday, enjoying a film. Over time, your schedule fills up, be it from work or studies or whatever and you can no longer spare two hours straight to watch a full film. Not content with merely watching a series on the TV instead (which takes half an hour), you insist Hollywood must cater to your changed time-schedule and produce films which are at most an hour long.

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I think a modell that lets players participate in the endgame based on skill and not time investment would allow these players to stick around. A game that forces them to log in for hours every week will make them leave.

A game based on skill still requires a tremendous amount of time investment to be good at. I can guarantee you that cal-i Counter-Strike players didn't just sit around 7 days a week eating Cheese Puffs and talking about the latest Gossip Girls episode before they logged in to kick some Terrorist ass. No, they practiced, and practiced some more, and then practiced even more.

WoW raiding at this point is more skill oriented than it has ever been before. There's not a whole lot of up front investment required in raiding, and as a hobby it's mostly self-sufficient. I don't farm gold for repair bills anymore, I don't farm consumables, I don't farm resist gear, I don't do pre-req quests or attunements to get into raids. The time investment in raiding is actually raiding, and the better you are at it the less you need to do it to stay ahead.

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A game based on skill still requires a tremendous amount of time investment to be good at. I can guarantee you that cal-i Counter-Strike players didn't just sit around 7 days a week eating Cheese Puffs and talking about the latest Gossip Girls episode before they logged in to kick some Terrorist ass. No, they practiced, and practiced some more, and then practiced even more.

WoW raiding at this point is more skill oriented than it has ever been before. There's not a whole lot of up front investment required in raiding, and as a hobby it's mostly self-sufficient. I don't farm gold for repair bills anymore, I don't farm consumables, I don't farm resist gear, I don't do pre-req quests or attunements to get into raids. The time investment in raiding is actually raiding, and the better you are at it the less you need to do it to stay ahead.

First of all I agree to a great part of what you say. You cannot enter the endgame with no effort, but veterans like you as a good example, could probably take a one year break from WoW and be ready to raid (except the grind stuff) within 24 hours after resubbing. I don't know anything about your personal circumstances, but I remember from reading the Benefactors Bar, that you are playing mmos for quite a while. Don't you think more players would stick around if they could re-enter the endgame after a break or playing a lot less for some time, instead of having to grind all the stuff again. Having a break from raiding instead of constantly having to be there and worry if you can be competitive anyways.

Breaking edge guilds and good arena players have the luxury to enjoy progress and breaks. This works a lot better for people with busy schedules.

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Your concern only shows how bad rpg genre is in terms of pure gameplay. Lets define grinding as all activities that prevents you from starting a competitive game - leveling, gearing, farming, learning.

Like it was said before, many people has grown up thorough their 20's with wow and don't have that much time to grind. So you grow up, you value your time more and don't want to spend it on some virtual prequisite that has been there in order to maintain a cohesive fantasy world and has no other use besides forcing you to raise your skill in a very non-adequate manner (from what they said in recent interview that concern is also being tackled by making quests and achievements which should prepare player for raiding environment). Many other games set up grinding limit only on your skill level so you don't get the feeling you're wasting time just to start working on endgame(ie. leagues and ratings - sc2, cs). That is a natural response from a mature man. WoW is inherently flawed because it was designed to have this juggernaut-like feel of an old rpg model, where you can do a lot of things so you feel like the part of it and yet it's still a simple game of get-your-spell-queue-down-and-avoid-the-bad-things. I assume larger part of mature players prefer the latter just because it gives more real entertainment yet the in-game social interaction fills the place of broken immersion.

But in topic regarding the incoming rating change: It seems more like a force to bring more people to rBG's and get more feedback. The whole time investment issue seems like a byproduct.

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Don't you think more players would stick around if they could re-enter the endgame after a break or playing a lot less for some time, instead of having to grind all the stuff again. Having a break from raiding instead of constantly having to be there and worry if you can be competitive anyways.

Why would anyone need a break from raiding after progression is over? We're playing a hobby here with people we generally like, not being forced to work in a labor camp chipping rocks or some shit. Further, the ability for a person to quit and come back to raiding is entirely dependent on the raid group they're coming back to. If there's a slot available, they get in, if not, too bad. The amount of 'grind' to become raid ready again is meaningless comparatively (just yet one more reason why badges are terrible).

I just can't bring myself to agree with your original point, which is that less time investment into something should reward as much as more time investment into something. There is almost no area in anything where this holds true, and no exception should be made for WoW. If you take a break from raiding, expect to be left behind. If you can only do arenas twice a week, expect to not be further ahead. At no point in anything ever should a casual once-a-weeker be competitive with a seven day poopsocker.

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As far as learning something goes - I agree. But once someone masters something he will not need a lot of time to outperform a recruit, that spends his whole time training. I am not writing about learning and later mastering one's play and teamplay. What I am writing about is the time needed to spend outside of that. Farming bosses after progression is over, farming bosses that have been downed multiple times or doing rated bgs as an arena player. This of course does not change the social game.

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Farming bosses after progression is over is not some sort of punishment. I don't know why you keep pushing it out there like it is.

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That depends on personality. For me for example bosses I have killed are close the boring the second time around and annoying from the third time on.

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Then maybe raiding isn't for you, and you really should stick to things like the Arena or Battlegrounds. Just don't be surprised when Blizzard looks at the investment required for a particular reward and makes adjustments according to what they think it should be.

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I had thought the 4.0.3/4.0.6 disparity in time investment vs. reward between PvP and PvE were fine, due to the huge increase in the value of resilience for PvP relative to other stats, and the relative item level of the gear involved. The one outlier would be the 372 PvP weapons, but those felt like a "necessary evil" to me to reduce bleed-over between the game types. I also don't really feel like getting the 372 PvP weapons was "easy enough" that players would feel obligated to do it for PvE reasons, or at least those who did would have to PvP on a high enough level that they likely had to enjoy PvP somewhat to reach that level.

The faster players gear up in PvP, the faster they reach an even playing field where skill is the primary factor in an encounter. The end-game for PvP is a situation based on pure skill vs. skill. There is no comparison in PvE, really. In PvE, gear is a reward and a stepping stone to help make content more tiered and to enable lower skilled players to eventually overpower an encounter they previously could not defeat using skill alone. If anything, PvE encounters start out as more skill based, and the required skill level slowly descends over time.

Obviously Blizzard did not agree, and felt that the time investment between the modes needed more parity, and felt they could more strongly incentivize RBGs (using the stick instead of the carrot) at the same time. The 4.2 conquest point changes help reinforce this, I think, even further forcing people to do at least a couple RBGs to cap points (or maybe to force more RBG players into arena? Although based on anecdotal participation numbers this seems unlikely).

I do agree with James, though, that if you can't stomach killing a boss more than once, then raiding simply is not for you. That's not what that gameplay is built around, and it's not a sustainable model for content generation.

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