Sunday, April 26, 2009

Noblegarden really should have been more noble

So here I was, my first world event since my return to WoW two weeks ago. I had heard Blizzard revamped it but hadn't really heard any details other than it was completely different. Last night WoWInsider ran a few articles explaining the new event, but an article doesn't always explain things in enough detail to remove all vagueness from your mind. In this case, a central point about the event was just plain wrong.

I applaud Blizzard's attempt to revamp this world event, but unfortunately it needs quite a bit of work before it rolls around again next year. Last year when you walked around in Elwynn Forest you would find little eggs everywhere. Can't say I paid that much attention to it since there weren't any achievements in WoW back then and there wasn't anything you could earn or that had any value from it all. So I largely ignored it. This year however, the event takes place in and around the starter zones for each race (and Shattrath). Additionally, unlike last year where you would find eggs everywhere, the eggs now spawn in a relatively small area, and in the same spots around trees, bushes, and buildings. In other words once you find where an egg spawns, you can simply sit there and wait for it to spawn again. The eggs re-spawn every minute to two minutes, so it's a lot more efficient than running around looking for another egg. And it didn't take long at all for everyone to catch onto that either.

I walked into Dalonnar around 10am this morning to find every spot where an egg can spawn camped by at least one person. Yelling and cursing was prevalent as irate people were trying to tell interlopers to their spot to get lost. Most people would ride around looking for an egg spawn that wasn't already camped, but would by and large move onto the next starter area hoping to find a spot of their own there. Lots of frustration was expressed not only in the zones, but on the official forums as well. Here is a quote from just one of those threads that I think adequately expresses a lot of what you could have read on the forums today. I'm quoting it because Blizzard has a habit of deleting things. Linked here.

This is quite possibly the dumbest event I've ever seen in this game. It is currently 1:30AM and I'm averaging around 1 egg per 10 minutes. In the MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT.

There are so many players crawling around the tiny area where eggs actually spawn, you're lucky if you even manage to see an egg before it's nabbed. The sheer crushing garbage that is this event truly boggles the mind.

A holiday that consists of spending the ENTIRE WEEK trying to grief and steal from other players. That's it. That's the extent of it.

Why do you keep doing this, Blizzard? Why do you keep deliberately making events that simply are not fun. It's not even hard to figure out the correct way to implement this: an egg appears, stays for 30 seconds, disappears, respawns elsewhere. During that time, everyone can loot it. Each person can get a chocolate out of it.

Voila. Cooperation between players, instead of griefing, and an event that consists of running around trying to find eggs, instead of camping spawn points and yelling at other people who come close.

This is so bad it's offensive. Complete and utter failure.
I think I have to agree with him. The crushing competition and frustration this event spawned is clearly foreseeable. Ignoring the fact that the majority of this event requires you to sit in a spot for hours and clicking on an egg that spawns every 1-2 minutes and hindsight being what it is, if I had designed this at the very least I would have also included higher level areas to spread people out and give a much greater portion of the player base a chance to do this.

I like the fact that they removed almost all luck from this world event, which has been a huge problem of other events, because if you don't loot an item you need you can always buy it off a vender. It just requires you to sit on that spot that much longer to get the necessary additional chocolates to pay for the item. I was lucky this morning because I ended up only having to camp my spot for three hours and looted all but two items I needed from my eggs. I bought the last two items and headed out into the world to complete my remaining achievements.

That is except Shake that Bunnymaker, which requires you to place bunny ears on female characters of each race. Anyone who has played WoW for more than a few minutes knows it isn't easy to find a female character that isn't a Night elf, Blood elf, or Gnome. Female Undead, Dwarves, Tauren, Trolls, and Orcs are no easy thing to find anywhere. And to make matters worse Blizzard insists that they have to be at least level 18. A funny play on real life to be sure, but in WoW it simply means this is the achievement--that is part of the meta achievement required to get the title and complete this world event for the year-long meta achievement. Otherwise people would just do what they have done in previous world events and make an alt of whatever they need for a friend and have that friend reciprocate.

Blizzard needs to scrap this event and go back to the drawing board. They clearly did not spend much time on this event, which is disappointing considering the company we're talking about.