Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Honor reset fails at PR

Blizzard announced today that PVP "honor" points (and, perhaps more significantly, "marks of honor" for participating in battlegrounds, which, if you're playing in Alliance PUG's, cost you a good 30 minutes a piece of losing misery to earn) will be reset with the expansion. You could argue that this change is good for the game because it helps keep the playing field level for when characters hit level 80. You could argue that it is bad for the game because it disrespects player time investment (indeed, wipes it out). You could argue that this is a purely mercenary move designed to keep players p(l)aying for longer after the expansion launches. One thing that is clear, however, is that Blizzard's CM's should sue the company for emotional abuse.

Why have half an announcement?
There are to be mystery items in the 3.0 content patch that will allow players to spend down their existing marks and honor points before they go live. What are these items? The CM's aren't authorized to say. This is idiotic beyond belief, even for Blizzard. The entire point of having whatever it is they're having is to soften the blow of losing all your banked honor and marks. As such, the identity of the mystery items is far and away the most obvious question that anyone would want answered upon reading the original announcement; you can't decide if they're worth getting before you know what they are. Sure enough, that's the question everyone wants answered. And the answer? "We can't release that information yet" and "They should be on the PTR's this week". If you hit the Blue Post tracker of your choice, you'll see this line repeated a dozen times.

There is ZERO reason to hang the CM's out to dry like that, especially if the items are ready to hit the PTR's within a matter of days. If the mystery items really cannot be identified until later in the week (perhaps they promised an exclusive to IGN or whomever), then hold the announcement of the honor wipe until the second half of the information is good to go. I guess it's possible that the mystery media outlet didn't want to get stuck with delivering the bad news, and so Eyonix drew the short straw so that whomever gets to give the good half of the announcement after the bad news has sunk in. If, on the other hand, the mystery items are just going to go up on the next PTR build with no fanfare, this just represents very very poor information management on Blizzard's part. Whatever good will the items generate almost certainly will not be enough to make people feel better on this issue.

What about the actual decision?
My mage stands to lose 5K honor, 100 AV marks, 34 AB marks, 27 EOTS Marks, and 40 WSG marks, and my alts stand to lose small amounts of honor points that I'm not going to cry over. The good news is that I'm only 3 EOTS losses away from a second black war mount (Alliance PUG's almost never win EOTS, or, really, anything other than AV, in my battlegroup). If there is actually something worth getting from the mystery item list, I've got a nice head start (I'll probably wait for the patch to go live for achievement credit). If not, I can probably spend a night or so of PVP to burn the honor points on a gem or something and get out with my main loss being a whopping 70 AV marks, which is unfortunate, but AV is my main source of honor anyway.

The bigger issue is one of consumer confidence, as it were. Take, for example the Olympics event. One of the reasons why I was alright with hopping into the battlegrounds even though I didn't really want any of the current rewards was confidence that there would EVENTUALLY be something down the line I'd want to spend the points/marks on. This turned out to be moot since the Olympic event wasn't that hard to finish, but, in the future, I won't have that same level of confidence that my investment will still be around when eventually happens. It's one thing to PVP for X honor points and Y marks for a tangible item you want right now, but honor and marks as a currency are no longer something safe to hold onto.

I suppose Blizzard still didn't have a choice; with banked honor, players might have been able to *gasp* skip level 80 5-man content and head straight into raiding. Still, Blizzard's entire endgame is, in some ways, based on a confidence that time spent now on repetitive battlegrounds/rep grinds WILL pay off in some way down the line. Changing that model to "might pay off down the line if it doesn't get reset first" might cost Blizzard more than they expect.


Alastair said...

Excellent and well written summary... frankly it seems a bit of a joke, and will only help the honor farmers and BG leechers who sit all day in AV - the rest of us more irregular players who have carefully stockpiled resources knowing that we don't have 120 hours a week to play WoW in will have to spend 8 weeks repeating the same guff before we are able to start "playing for the fun of it" back where we were in the first place. I am also deeply shocked in that, unlike Arenas which shift to level 80 with the reset, this has a massive impact on players who don't have the expansion but want to keep playing at 70. Why not wipe out our enchantments and gold at the same time to "level the playing field" Blizzard?

Joggoms said...

It really seems like a dumb idea up against the competition of WAR, but I can kind of understand the resetting of honor points. However, I totally disagree with removing honor marks- I don't see the relationship there with the points and they are a lot harder to come by- except for AV of course. :)

But you know...Blizzard has never been good with communication or keeping players happy.

sid67 said...

I am at honor cap with close to 100 marks of each BG on my Rogue (I buy pots). For the better part of a month prior to WAR being released, this was my main goal. I can understand the arena points (new season) but this honor thing is pure bullshit.

Needless to say, there is a good chance I won't be playing Wrath. I'm already enjoying WAR and there is NO FUCKING WAY I am going back to grinding BGs.