Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Grinding Blue Bars

I've been playing WoW a bit more lately. I decided that I'd like to at least get flying and the Legendary ring on my paladin.

I've come to the conclusion that the single worst mechanic in Warlords is the one where you fly to an area and then grind things until a blue bar is full. It's a terrible, terrible mechanic, and it is all over Warlords.

I hated this mechanic when it appeared in Guild Wars 2, and I hate it in WoW.

It's kind of interesting, because it's not that different from getting three daily quests to do in a specific area, at least in overall execution. But I think what makes it different is that the blue bar is just indiscriminate. You do everything you can as fast as you can.

Whereas the daily quests at least have specific targets. Part of doing dailies is a mini-optimization game where you learn how to complete the specific requirements in a minimum amount of time. As well, the daily quests can have a bit of story added in, and require specific targets like a boss.

Basically, for me, a structure like:

  • Do 3 of Item A and 3 of Item B and 3 of Item C

just feels better and is more interesting in actual play than:

  • Do 9 of [Item A or Item B or Item C]

Filling several smaller bars is better than filling one big bar. I strongly hope that Legion drops these blue bar areas and goes back to having different daily quests.


  1. I enjoyed the hearts in GW2 and hate the Tanaan dailies in WoW. To borrow an idea from your original post about GW2, the Tanaan dailies strip away the narrative illusion even more. The hearts in GW2 at least all had some form of simple narrative. The Tanaan daily areas have no narrative since the zone relies on the weekly quests for that. (And those quests are too few and too far between.)

    I also think the Tanaan dailies are a lot grindier than the average heart in GW2. I'm not sure of the average kill or click per heart in GW2, but doing all the Tanaan dailies each day is about equivalent to doing one of the Hemet Nesingwary quest chains four times. Hemet requires about 75 kills per quest chain and the Tanaan dailies require 300 kills total (of normal enemies). Both have some variation, but that's a good baseline for comparison.

    You could also compare the variety of activities and mechanics on each side and the short and long term goals. In both cases, I think GW2 is better than Tanaan, (although the other daily areas in Draenor have more variety).

    GW2 hearts are a lot closer to standard WoW questing and I appreciate that more than the free-form daily questing areas of Tanaan.

    1. That's true, the GW2 hearts are shorter and bit more specific than Tanaan dailies. As a result, I think there are more hearts per map than in Warlords. But for me, GW2 is still bad, Warlords is just worse.

      I haven't yet tried to do all the Tanaan dailies in one day. I do one, and that's more than enough for me to stop and go do something else.

    2. Interesting. Don't get me wrong, I have no great love for the idea, but I can do each "sub-zone" in about 10 minutes max, probably less. I "like" the Arakkoa area in particular as each elite there gives like 6-8% or something and blowing up the inactive robots is also like 8%. I wonder how much my better gear makes that stuff more bearable.

      On the flip side, I prefer Tanaan over the freaking Golden Lotus.

  2. Find a group, go to the area, go AFK. Blue bar filled.

    1. While that's kind of effective, it's not particularly interesting or entertaining.

  3. It's a min/max problem. Min/maxing a daily routine can result in still somewhat fun gameplay. Min/max how to fill a heart in GW2 means ignoring 95% of the content and just doing the easiest, and often most boring, task way more times an was intended.

    Now sure, you could just ignoring being efficient and do everything 'for fun', but for a lot of people, being inefficient is really not fun, and seeing all the random bits of stuff in a heart doesn't outweigh that, especially when you are filling up your 30th heart and have another 60 to go until you hit the level cap.

    Game design is about guiding a player in a fun way. Making it efficient to not have fun is a design flaw.

    1. The WoW blue bar issue is slightly different. It's not even ignoring 95% of content and doing only the easiest tasks. It's simply doing whatever task is closest to you.

      Blizzard actually the reward/effort calculation correct for most tasks in a blue-bar zone. But since they're all the same, you just do whichever is closest rather than skipping tasks.