Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Two Murlocs

There's a debate running in the WoW blogosphere about the difficulty of Classic WoW. I had an experience last night which may shed more light on the issue.

I made a Human Warrior and was running around Elywnn Forest doing the quest that requires killing murlocs. I came across the dead body of a paladin, let's call him Dave, near one of the murloc camps. A few minutes later, I came across Dave again. He had pulled two murlocs and was at half-health. I jumped in and helped him kill the murlocs.

Several minutes after that, Dave starts ranting in General Chat about murlocs, and how when you attack one in a camp another comes, and you keep dying. The reaction in chat was not particularly charitable, telling him to form a group, or attack the lone murlocs instead of groups.

So here you have two perspectives:

  • Classic WoW is difficult. If you get into a fight with two murlocs, there is a high chance you will die.
  • Classic WoW is easy. The solution is trivial. Don't attack two murlocs.

Both perspectives are true, but I think neither perspective encompasses the whole.

In some ways, it comes back to my old posts on Small Decisions. Attacking murlocs is a small decision. The solution is trivial, don't attack two, only attack one. It's very similar to having to deal with ammo. Don't start a fight when you are low on arrows, go back to town and restock. Many of the commenters on those posts felt that small decisions with obvious solutions were a bad idea, and just busy work. For example, killing lone murlocs isn't hard. But you have to patrol more to find them, and it is more tedious.

Modern WoW has smoothed away most of those small decisions, instead choosing fewer large decisions that occur less frequently. For example, the equivalent of two murlocs in Classic might be an elite in Retail, which may happen only once in any given zone.

However, it's not obvious that this was the right decision. Many small decisions with easy solutions, and yet obvious consequences, might be better for the game than fewer, larger decisions.

Thursday, September 05, 2019

Throne of Eldraine Trailer

Wizards of the Coast released a trailer for their latest Magic: the Gathering set, Throne of Eldraine. Apparently, these high-quality trailers might be a regular thing from now on. The trailer for War of the Spark was pretty good.

This trailer is a little ... different.


As one person on Reddit put it, "I didn’t expect to be rooting for a gingerbread lady to kill Garruk when I woke up today, but here we are I guess."

Tuesday, September 03, 2019

WoW Classic Observations, Part 2

More WoW Classic observations:

  • Ragnaros and Onyxia have been killed already, pretty much putting a stake through the heart of the "Classic is hard!" crowd. As someone observed, Queen Azshara has about as many mechanics as all of Molten Core combined.
  • I was a bit surprised when Ragnaros died. I thought Hydraxian Waterlord rep would gate the kill. But apparently you can grind Hydraxian Waterlord rep in Silithus or something, so people were able to obtain enough Aqual Quintessence to spawn Ragnaros.
  • I'm really not feeling the druid. After playing a bit more and trying to analyse why, I think I just don't like shape-shifting for some reason. Druid is also the one original class I've never really been able to level on Retail either, and I think it is for much the same reason. Maybe it's part of my aversion to transmog, where I like seeing my character look change as I level.
  • I did try to tank Ragefire Chasm at level 12. This was probably a small mistake, as many enemies are level 15 and bosses are level 16. It did get better when I dinged 13 in the middle of the dungeon. Also, druid is completely missing AoE threat and a ranged pull in Bear form (at that level), so gathering mobs was a little difficult. Apparently you get Swipe at 16, in time for Deadmines or Wailing Caverns, which would have made life a lot easier.
  • I've been trying several other classes, but I really cannot pick a class to focus on.
  • We are beginning to see more and more posts suggesting that--for a lot of players--Blizzard was right when they said "You think you want it, but you don't." I think Classic is actually improving the view of Retail by highlighting the things Retail does better.
  • I think the wider WoW community is beginning to coalesce around the phrase "Retail is a better game. Classic is a better world." I've seen it posted in multiple discussion threads by multiple people, and it is always highly rated and gets positive responses. In a month or so, I predict this will be the accepted wisdom in the WoW community.