Monday, September 29, 2008

More on Nerfed Brewfest'08

I wrote my initial reactions to the nerfed version of Brewfest when it came out. Now that the thing is wrapping up, a few more comments.

Surveying the wreckage

I previously said that the Dark Iron attack event was broken. On this point, I may have been wrong. The new version of the attack keeps track of how many Dark Iron invaders are beaned with beer mugs for the entire group present at the brew camp. If players at the brew camp do well enough, a gear is left behind on the ground, allowing even late-comers who didn't contribute at all to the encounters, the opportunity to get a daily quest worth 10 Brewfest tokens. I've repeatedly arrived on the scene AFTER the attack was defeated and been rewarded for my timing with the free tickets.

I did eventually fight the Brewfest boss, primarily because killing him once is worth 40 tickets, which is nearly two 10-minute keg delivery runs that I didn't have to do. The boss is very very easy (well, once you find a group anyway), and the other loot isn't really worth writing about. (Indeed, I now own both the spell damage trinket AND the healing trinket on my mage.) So, basically, you have groups of five players getting 5 shots a day (presuming you didn't have to take someone who had already used up their daily summon because you were desperate for a tank/healer) at a mount that drops at less than 10% (and I'm not even sure if that's 10% chance of EITHER mount, one of which your faction doesn't really care much about).

Speaking of the keg runs, I think having these count for the vast majority of player token generation is a big part of the problem with the '08 version of the holiday. The '07 version included some non-repeatable quests that gave a fair chunk of tickets each, but the supposedly upgraded versions were too buggy to go live in '08. Instead, we're simply left with a keg run that consists of riding in circles repeatedly for 10 minutes, twice a day (I never really figured out exactly how often the thing resets, I would say 12 hours, but I could have sworn that it didn't reset for me a few times), and hoping that you don't get cheated out of credit for an apple barrel by a lag spike. (This typically happens to me about twice per run.)

Cultural Identity and Rewards

My previous post discussed the decision by Blizzard to convert the holiday's best reward, the permanent Brewfest mount, from a guaranteed purchase from solo-farmed tickets to a rare random drop (and we all love random drops) from a group-only encounter. (I was slightly incorrect when I stated that looking at others on the Brew Kodo in town was the closest I would be able to get; there is an easily obtained single-use item that lets you have a Kodo of your own for as long as you don't dismount, thus allowing me to take some Kodo screenshots.) One aspect that I didn't touch on (because it hadn't been raised yet) was Blizzard's argument that handing out opposite faction mounts is damaging to faction identity.

We have seen Blizzard get seriously concerned about entirely cosmetic issues in the past, most notably in the infamous spirit wolf incident. One might argue that the ram is already out of the stable on this particular point, as Horde characters were allowed to get and keep rams, and, frankly, I don't recall seeing all that many rams roaming Ogrimmar in the time before Brewfest returned. Some players will go substantially out of their way for the chance at a novel mount, but most will not. For that matter, the Kodo isn't really all that impressive for non-gnomes, who look amusing mostly because of the sheer size differential. (I will admit that the Brewfest Ram is not especially distinctive compared to other rams in the game, while the Brew Kodo is IMO the best looking Kodo in the game, but that's a separate issue.) In short, I think this is another case of the lore mattering only because it happens to support the decision Blizzard wanted to make anyway (moving the mounts to rare drop group content).

But hey, what do I know? Maybe if you stick a gnome on a Kodo, it will blur the lines of faction identity. The next thing you know, the poor gnome will be riding into Thunder Bluff and trying to explain to the horde of angry guards that it's all a case of mis-steak-en identity!

Ah, the things I do to my poor mage in order to sneak a horrible pun into my blog.....

No comments: