A thought about the Brawlers Guild

Update from patch notes v5.1:

Entry into the brawler’s guild is by invitation only.  Invitations can be found on the black market auction house, by invitation from somebody within the guild, and occasionally as drops from certain Horde and Alliance NPCs.

Reaction: Good change. Fair call.

I’ve been seeing reactions to the Brawler’s Guild, and thought I’s share my reaction.

If you’re not familiar with the idea – the Brawlers Guild will be a solo fight arena for characters against a random boss in a fit-pit style. The character will slog it out, demonstrating how bad ass they are. Bosses will have powers that require strategy, experience, and use of abilities. Good concept, implemented with a Fight Club spin.

The Brawler’s Guild is:

  • No mechanical in-game rewards/advantage – which means it is basically not compulsory for focused PvE and PvP players.
  • It grants achievements – which will appeal to completion-junkies. That’s good too, an appeal without a draw back is good.
  • Once started the player must wait their turn to fight, watching others. One fight at a time (?). This makes the system hard to imagine when everyone has an invite and are all interested, but a short stacked set of queues makes sense. No biggie here if the loading is handled well.
  • The invites will initially be offered through the Black market Auction House. This means that the first players to do this will be those who are mad keen and also wealthy enough to buy in. Early adopters with large bankrolls.

The basic concept is new to WoW where the achievements of the individual were typically not openly on display to others in a dedicated way. Love it or hate it, this will allow those participants who like glory to get it. To have a reason they can demonstrate to themselves and others which says they are bad-arses. I think most players want their characters to be tough, and this impression of how mean and hardy the top players are matches well with the lore and feel of the Fight Club ethos. It is a nice fit.

Tyler Durden: “Hey, you created me. I didn’t create some loser alter-ego to make myself feel better. Take some responsibility!”

Rewards wise – the BG gives only the achievements and kudos for being a tough son of a bitch – which is an interesting choice, and a choice which should be taken into consideration when talking about the impact and style of the implementation in game.

No rewards…get it. None. You fight because this is what you love doing, or have to do, or can’t stop doing. It is a bold statement when you think about it outside a game, and an even bolder risk to make for a company to develop around – if nobody uses it then it could demonstrate that the fight is not why we play. Why do we fight? Indeed.

Brawlers Guild might actually be a very clever statement, and a very sharp punch in the guts to the players who play to improve their gear/stats/whatever. Here is a facility where the fight itself is almost the only reward.

I love this idea, as it is a brave thing to do. In a game where time is limited for a lot of players asking us to fight for the joy of fighting is offering a new pathway in the game. Here is where you demonstrate how totally awesome you are, yet gain no trinket or shiny bauble. Continue reading

Paid mobile services go free

The Mobile Armory guild chat and AH features are now free. Holy crap. Awesome!

Why do this? Giving it away free adds another “feature” which other MMOs will be compared with. These options are not something that I’d pay for, but I will certainly use infrequently if they are free to use. It also makes it far easier to update guildies on what is going on.Its based on retaining and increasing the value offering of WoW against other games which will compete with Mists of Panda-randa-mania.

Fantastic news, cute toy, and nice option. Continue reading

Real$AH WTB Authenticator

Apparently the Real Money Auction House will be up for play tomorrow, and restricted to people who have authenticators. Shucks, I think that is good news.

Why? – Well security, and knowing that the cash transaction is far more likely to be the real people involved, not a hacker exploiting. The only barrier I can see if those people who cannot afford or desire either a dongle authenticator, or a mobile device authenticator, and I seriously think that if you are willing to risk your game account by not using the almost free tools then you are not really invested in the game(s) at all.

Wanted: Account Setting Lockout – I still won’t be using the real money AH though, my real money is far too valuable to see being spent on golden pixels, and I have not interest in selling gear for cash. I would like an account setting in the Battle.Net profile to block all Real Money AH type transactions. This way even if my account is compromised, the hacker needs to make a setting change, and kids and partners cannot buy/sell “by mistake“.

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The Cub is almost irrelevant

There is banter abroad about the USD $10 in game pet that can be traded between players, and yes, its a variation on what was happening before. The card game prizes and all sorts of other items could be traded between characters before, and this adds another way, which is admittedly far more obvious and direct. Tabards, mounts, special toys, flags, and a huge array of other junk are already available for purchase via ebay. It has not wrecked anything. This is another item with no actual impact on gameplay being sold.

Overall though the people this will impact the most is the people who are buying and selling gold – and if you’re doing that you really need to be quiet and sit down.

Take these scenarios:

  1. Player who wants the pet, and buys it from Blizzard. Cost $10, with no impact to game.
  2. Player who want the pet, and buys it from the AH using gold. Cost: a sack of gold depending on the market. and still no real impact to the rest of the community.
  3. Player who buys the pet to sell on the AH for gold. They give their money to Blizzard instead of a illegitimate company, and get the sack of gold. they’ll be looking to sell it on servers where the cub is rare, and hoping to clean-up. Tools like the Undermine Journal will be great resources to see where it is best to sell this little kitten.
  4. The gold buying player who previously used an illegal service, will now consider what the likely value of the Cub will be, and decide to either buy gold, or buy the cub. I’d like to think that this will mean less gold purchases overall, but I am not sure. It will certainly change the price that gold sellers will charge.

It could be argued that the impact to other players is the value of that sack of gold. As if their is a flood of buying and selling, the overall value of gold will change. Yup, dead right – it will. It’s been changing since day one, and will continue to change. An end game BoE used to be a few hundred gold, which was a huge amount of gold. A player with 1000g was amazingly rich in the old game. Now players have huge amounts (probably between 20k-200k gold) and we have entire sub-sets of the community focusing on gold generation as their core gameplay.

I’d stagger a guess though that the value of the sack will still not be a game changer. A game changer would be just letting a player buy a sack for money direct from the vendor.

This is not real money transactions, and I can’t see how it will affect my game-play at all..

You’re an idiot if you think that BoEs were not being traded for real money before (I know that calling potential readers idiots is a bad thing, but really c’mon) via indirect methods, and this change makes it more likely for the buyer and seller to use the Cub as a form of conversion.I know for a fact that it used to happen because an ex-guildie offered me real money for a nice blue helm once, and I was very tempted.

This is not breaking the bank, and is only going to hurt those who were dodgy to begin with.To my mind this only makes the gold sellers job more difficult, as the players can now circumvent a large part of their offering.

Bad for the bad sellers, good for the developer, and good for the player who was previously buying gold as they get gold from a legitimate source.

Farming the AH for raid gear, p2

Well it has been three weeks since I thought to start gearing up, and my effort to gear up via making a huge pile of cash from the AH is not going well. I’ve increased my gold total by about 3k. Given that the gear I want to buy costs ~60k, I’m a long way short. Only 60 weeks to go at this rate (shudder). I have had some very expensive expenses as I spend gold on mounts, gear changes, glyphs, and all sort of other strange items. In terms of income the figure is more like 5-6k, and I’ve been spendthrift.

You see I’ve not really changed my (poor) analysis methods, or started converting materials into items to re-sell. Part of my hesitation is that I may need some of those materials later, but really it is because I love to horde mats.

I’m a womble at heart.

I’ve looked at the current craftables that are performing well for which I have patterns, and there is money to be made. There is also however a slowly closing window for this opportunity as more players enter the manufacturing market, and the demand drops off as players buy what they need. The real burst time for profit is probably past, and now it is about considering the goal vs the cost.

When I thought that the mats could be redeveloped into around 40k of gold, that meant that I could get a fair way along my goal – which is better gear. But then the gearing through the dailies is reasonable, and the rep rewards are very solid. I think a better approach might be to do the same effort of slowing building a gold base, but spending that gold on rewards that are ever decreasing in cost is not something I want to rush.

e.g. A really smick one handed axe was selling for upward of 35k, and it now sits around 22-28k depending on the day. That is a very large drop in price in a short period.The axe is BoE drop, so there will be more at a steady rate, and the demand will decrease.

So I continue to ponder options and review what items to craft. My mats are steadily increasing and via the odd bargain, some clever use of mats, and some questing I think I can maintain a steady growth of my gold base at around 1k per week – after all the repairs and upgrade costs are included. That is an OK way to play for somebody who only really gets online 2 nights a week.

Happy farming.

Thoughts on Instance 190 to 192

A range of thoughts from The Instance shows 190 to 192. Kind of a catch-up bucket post, as I’m listening to them as a batch. I’ll say up front that I really like these guys; and the personal edge and plain language version of the game the present is really valuable. If you don’t listen regularly show #192 is a good one.

Toon Models

From show #192 the Randy and Scott chatted about an improved model creator for Warcraft. The idea being to introduce a toon adjustment option similar to other games where we can customise more of the appearance of our characters. I think most players would like the option to alter more of their appearance; especially over time as they realise what they like.

Damn guys, I would love this  but I can see why it is difficult. C models, with R variations, wearing A gear, with P options adjustable via the barber; well than gets you: CRAP! = a lot of variations to load in real time in Dalaran (Lag-a-ran).

Perhaps the game code could be altered in a future version to only adjust the subtle display of toon models during low traffic areas, or it could be a UI preference – giving the tollerance level for models to be adjustable. eg. In town I don’t care, but in Instances with my mates it would be nice.

Perhaps only useful in the DeepRun Tram?

Continue reading