Friday, March 30, 2012

The Issues with Moonkin Incarnation

Over the past week a lot of information has been pouring out of the Beta, and in all honesty I've had trouble keeping up with it all. Most of it has been small stuff, that I don't think merits it's own blog post, and there hasn't been enough small stuff yet to do a bigger post. However, there has been one tid bit that I think is big enough to get it's own post and that is the change to the Balance portion of Incarnation and how it relates to the other druid abilities.

The New Incarnation:
Balance: Chosen of Elune - Improved Moonkin Form that doubles Lunar and Solar Power generation. 3min CD
This is kind of a strange cooldown for a couple of reasons, but the biggest one is that how it helps Moonkin DPS isn't immediately obvious. What it does is speed up out Eclipse transitions which in turn increases out DPS in a lot of little ways. For example:
  1. Increase to DoT Uptime Since Moonfire and Sunfire no longer over write each other.
  2. Increased DoT uptime increases Shooting Star procs
  3. Increase Nature's Grace Uptime since we will proc Eclipse more often.
  4. Increase Starfall Uptime since Lunar Eclipse will be procced more often.
  5. Increases the Effective Uptime of Eclipse because of how the energy math works out.

The second strange thing about it is that it is kind of a "sustained DPS" cooldown, because it's not bursty at all. Most of the cooldowns in the game are shorter in duration and provide more direct DPS benefits like Elemental Mastery or Combustion. This one is spread out over 30 seconds and has several very subtle impacts on your DPS. So it's kind of a new model as far as I know.

The Issues of Incarnation:

Now that I've listed five ways in which this version of Incarnation will improve moonkin DPS, I think a lot of people would assume that this is a good ability and one we would like Blizzard to keep. Unfortunately that is not the case. Hear are the big issues.

It's Relatively Weak: When compared to Soul of the Forest it is relatively weak, which will make it a difficult talent to choose. I've built another simulator to try and value some of these talents options and the results are not good for Incarnation. In my simulator Soul of the Forest provided a 3.29% DPS boost at a lower level of tear, while Incarnation was about a percent behind at 2.32%. It's too early to place a definitive valuable on each of these abilities, but my results are similar to the other valuations I've seen. Hamlet put SotF at 3.5% and Incarnation at 2.2%. Dopefish created a simulator that put SotF at 4.47% and Incarnation at 2.45%.

While Incarnation does increase your DPS in five ways, all five are pretty small. Our DoT and Nature's Grace uptimes are already pretty high without Incarnation so there isn't a whole lot of room to improve. Plus, you will be transitioning so fast between Eclipses that the DoTs and NG will be refreshed before they fall off. Plus, the Starfall improve is limited because few of the stars will be buffed by Eclipse.

It Doesn't Play Well with Haste: As I said above, Incarnation relies on transitioning through Eclipse cycles more quickly to increase uptimes and provide a DPS boost. Haste has a similar impact on our DPS. It also helps us to transition through Eclipse cycles more quickly. This means Incarnation will scale well as we progress through the expansion. It may start out as a respectable 2% buff, but as our gear level increases that buff will shrink because Uptimes cannot be improved past 100%. It also means that Incarnation will have a limited impact during temporary haste buffs like Bloodlust.

When I increased the gear level in my simulator, Soul of the Forest increased slightly to 3.58%, but Incarnation fell dramatically to just 0.57%. Hamlet so a similar impact to increased heal in his WrathCalcs numbers.

It Doesn't Play Well with Celestial Alignment: In my opinion the biggest issue with this version of Incarnation is that we already have Celestial Alignment. Incarnation and Celestial Alignment are kind of similar in that the are both long duration cooldowns that fit that "sustained DPS cooldown" model I mentioned earlier, but they buff moonkin DPS in completely opposite ways. CA buffs our DPS by giving us an Eclipse buff and stopping the Eclipse transition. Since Incarnation increases power generation it would have absolutely no impact on DPS if triggered during CA, therefore they can't be used together. This creates a bit of an awkward situation in which we have two long duration cooldowns that can't be used at will due to their various drawbacks. In short, there just isn't room for both Celestial Alignment and Incarnation in the in the moonkin rotation without some negative interactions. As a result, if we need to choose a DPS cooldown from Tier 4, Force of Nature would be preferable since it can be used at any time and it plays well with others.


At this point, I'm convinced that this version of Incarnation is a bad talent and needs to be redesigned once again. The question is how?

The original version of the talent, that halved Eclipse power generation while in Eclipse and doubled it while Eclilpse was down, had some potential. However, it also had some drawbacks like how it reduced the uptimes of DoTs and Nature's Grace. There's also a lot of support out there for a standard DPS cooldown that increases damage by 20% for 30 seconds.

I would still like to see something in this tier that boosted AoE or Multi-Target DPS. The idea I had was a buff I called Infestation that spread Insect Swarm to all near by targets for say 15 seconds, and increasing our Hurricane or DoT damage on all of those targets by 25%.

TL-DR: This version of Incarnation is bad.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

MoP Press Event Reaction

As most of you know, the march towards a new expansion continued last week with the Mists of Pandaria Press Event, and yesterday we got buried with information from multiple sites and I am only now digging myself out of it.

There are several things that came out in the press event that I like, but my general feeling is disappointment. To be fair, my disappointment probably has something to do with high expectations and in no way am I proclaiming that “WoW is doomed” as some like to do, but I expected more. Overall it felt like a Blizzcon recap and we were fed a lot of rice (no pun intended) without much meat. Though as Lissanna tweeted to me yesterday, that is kind of inevitable until we can get our hands on the Beta.

Anyway, I’m going to break this post into three sections I think of as bit stuff, medium stuff and little stuff. I’ve read everything I could find, and taken some notes on along the way. However, there are a lot of things that are hinted out without much detail backing them up. It is quite possible that I missed something or misunderstood something. Please feel free to comment with different view points or with corrections.

My Big Raiding Questions:

It’s safe to say that my biggest concern after reading all the press event stuff was what wasn’t said about raiding in MoP. In the media presentation it was glossed over very quickly by saying there would be three raids with fourteen bosses and two world bosses, but that was it. When Lore from Tankspot questioned J. Allen Brack about it he said:

Yeah, that’s because we haven’t done a lot of the work yet, and so we’re reluctant to commit to a whole bunch because things may change for us, but we’re working on spawning out the dungeons, we’re working on spawning out the various raids, and building those out. Those take many, many, many months to be built out from an artists’ perspective. Then we’ve got all the itemization, and all the character art that has to happen, from weapons, and armor, and bosses, and trash mobs that we have to make and dress up in order to make that happen.
This has me concerned because I am really hoping for an early Q3 release and don’t want to be killing Deathwing for another nine months. It could be that Brack is underplaying how much work has already been done or just trying to manage expectations, but if the raids are really “many, many, many months” we are in for some rough times.

Brack was also questioned about the overall raiding philosophy for MoP and had this to say:

We actually have not decided what our raiding philosophy, our raiding design will be. We have a lot of different ideas in terms of where we're going to end up, but I really can't say because we basically haven't decided just yet. But we have changed our raiding philosophy very significantly with every single expansion, and I don't expect this expansion to be any different, so we'll have a lot of thought, and a big write-up, and a blog will go out when we've decided how it will all work, and the forums will explode and it'll be amazing! (GamePlanet)

I think we’re gonna look at how the 10/25 person lockout worked as a shared cooldown. Was that the right decision, or do we want to do something different? I don’t really know what the right answer is yet. We haven’t decided.” (Tankspot)
I am happy that they are taking another look at the overall raiding philosophy and aren’t afraid to change it for the fourth time. It needs to change to address the 10vs25 issues, but judging from some of the comments I’ve read it seems like they are committed to the two raid format model. I’ll hold off judgment until they do make a blog post about their ideas, but I am becoming less and less confident that a two format system can work.

Garrosh: The Final Raid Boss

Taken entirely on its own without considering other theoretical “lore vs game play” issues, I love the idea that a faction leader of a playable race can screw up so horribly that BOTH factions think it’s necessary to pull him down. I like a lot of people have never been a Garrosh fan, and despite a few slightly positive moments I think it’s safe to say that his reign as warchief has been a bit of a disaster. I won’t be sad to see him gone, but I do have some concerns about what this will me for the game’s tone and lore as a whole.

I’ve seen the Horde vs Alliance debates for years, and one thing that I think is often forgotten is that game play will always trump story and lore. For this reason, there will never be peace between the Alliance and Horde, because PvP would feel hollow without the overall conflict. There needs to be animosity between the Horde and Alliance, and that is why Garrosh and the irrational Varian were good for the game. They maintained that animosity in a reasonable way.

In MoP that’s clearly going to change. I don’t have a problem with Varian maturing and becoming the “great king” for all of the Alliance that he can be since the Horde had good guy Thrall for so many years. However, I do think a good guy Varian would need to be balanced out by an irrational enemy, and that won’t happen if Thrall is reinstated as Warchief as suggested by J. Allen Brack on GamePlanet.

In short, I like the fact that the Alliance is being presented in a more positive light while the Horde is getting slapped around a little by Garrosh’s the ends justify the means philosophy. However, that will be hard to maintain if Thrall is reinstated. You can only have so many peace talks disrupted by Onyxia or the Twilight Cult. Plus, I think it’s a little strange that Chris Metzen just spent an expansion explaining that Thrall is more of a World character then a Horde character to throw him right back into the leadership of the Horde.

The Medium Stuff

Removing Group Summon: In his Curse interview Tom Chilton said that they plan on removing the Have Group, Will Travel guild perk because it “shrinks the world and allows players to avoid being out in the world” I have to say, this is one of the dumbest things I ever heard a WoW developer say. I agree that it shrinks the world, but it’s absolutely ludicrous to think that by eliminating it players we be out in the world more.

I think of it this way. HG,WT is a travel ability. On my main it primarily gets me to my raid quickly, on my alts I use it to go back to Org to train and such. Without it, I would use a flight path or pop in to flight form fly in the general direction of my objective. Am I really out in the world when I’m on a flight path I can’t get off, or flying myself a +100 yards above the ground?

I would argue not. In fact, removing HG,WT will result in fewer people being out in the world. The HG,WT perk is a quick and easy way to get your friends and guild mates to your location quickly when something worthwhile is going on. Let say for example, the Alliance is attacking Crossroads. If you put out a call for help, the action could be over by the time people get there, but HG,WT will can get people there quickly for some real world PvP.

To get players out into the world more Blizzard needs to create content that make people want to get out in the world. If Blizzard really wants to tackle this problem by eliminating modes of travel there are much bigger fish to fry like Flying Mounts, LFR, LFD, Flight Paths, Portals, and Hearth Stones.

Druid Glyphs and Inscription Changes: In general terms I don’t have a problem with what they are doing to Inscription. Getting rid of Prime Glyphs makes perfect sense since in most cases people use the same three 95% of the time. I also like that they are focusing more on utility and situational options for Major Glyphs while adding a lot of “fun cosmetic” minor glyph options.

That said, I am surprised that the Glyph of Stars made it past the editing room, because its either a half-baked idea or not finished. According to the tool tip (reported by several sites) the Glyph of Stars Transforms your Moonkin Form into Astral Form. This sounds cool at first until you find out that Astral Form is just the “spirit” model that is used when players are dead.

Given that moonkin models have been the same since vanilla WoW, and that the only way to change a moonkin’s appearance currently is to change races, I approve of Blizzards effort to give us a little variety. However, the ideal change would be to update the Moonkin models much like they did for the cat and bear models in WotLK. If that is to much work and a bandade fix like Glyph of Stars is the only change possible, do it better. Please come up with a new graphic rather then a tired old one that makes us look like a Shadow Priest. I think a model like Algalon’s would be cool and would fit the title of Glyph of Stars.

LFR Loot System: There has been a lot of confusion about the changes being made to LFR looting. If you are one of the confused, here is a link to the thread in which Zarhym is trying to explain it.

The basic premise is that for LFR kills loot is done on the individual level rather then for the entire group. If you win an item it will be an item that you can use based upon your class and spec, and it will be unaffected by what other people win.

From what we’ve been told, I really like this idea. For one, it gives us a consistent chance of obtaining loot. We aren’t S.O.L. because the boss only dropped protector tokens and an enhancement shaman can’t role on a caster trinket I want. The other thing it will prevent is the 2minute wait after a fight for loot because someone decided to log off without rolling.

Valor Point Revamp: Blizzard didn’t address this directly in a formal way, but many of the interviews commented on a revamp of the Valor Point system. The most direct comment I could find was on the WoWHead News site which said:

Valor Points are completely reworked. They are no longer a currency for actual items, but something you use to (repeatedly) augment the ilvl of your gear. Details are still being worked out as to how many times players can bump up the ilvl, or what happens when players hold onto an ancient item for the stat combinations.
There were also comments made about using Valor points to buy rep and extra loot rolls in all tiers of raiding. It’s hard to comment too much without getting more information, but what little we’ve heard so far sounds good. Valor points have been a bit of a joke where they are really important for maybe four weeks and then they become completely useless. Tier 13 has highlighted this amazingly well.

WoW Farmville: With the Tillers and Anglers faction players will have the ability to tend there own farm to grow cooking ingredients, herbs, quest turn-ins, and pets. I’m not really interested in a farming for farming’s sake mini game, but I find this addition very interesting.

There are a lot of open questions, but this could have a dramatic impact on the game. The first question is, do you have to be an herbalist to pick the herbs that you grow? How many Herbs can you grow and how often? Can you grow all herbs including low level herbs? Can you choose which herbs you grow?

As you can see there are far more questions then there are answers, but it will be interesting to see how this plays out since it could have a huge impact on the WoW economy.

I also wonder if this is a reaction to the SWTOR professions system. I haven’t played the game, but from what I’m told the crafting system in SWTOR is very hands off, where you tell your crew what to do and they do it while you are off-line or doing something else in game. The Tillers and Anglers faction along with the possibility of Scribes being given a “staff” seems very similary.

The Small Stuff

  • Female Pandaran Model: I personally think it looks awesome. Much better then the female worgen model. I’m having a hard time understanding why some people seem to hate it.

  • No Item Squish: I don’t have a strong opinion one way or the other on this one, but it does need to happen eventually.

  • AoE Looting: Why couldn’t this have been available when I was farming Enchanting mats on my rogue.

  • Buff UI Update: I really like the idea that it will show you if you have 8/8 of the buffs. It should make life slightly easier.

  • Tier System Revamp: They seem to change how you acquire tier gear every patch so why should MoP be any different?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

My Cata Post-Mortem

Normally I save these review looking, post-mortem type posts until a month or two before a new expansion is being released, but it feels appropriate to do Cata's now. For one, I've almost "beat the game." My guild is currently 7/8 HM DS, and I will be upset if we don't have Heroic Madness down in the next week or two. Second, Blizzard is giving almost every indication that they can that Cataclysm is over. They have already done three "Post-Mortem" blog posts focusing on systems, encounters, and quests, and with the MoP press event happening this week you can bet that all attention will be focused on the next expansion starting Monday the 19th.

So, I would like to take this opportunity and look back at what I think worked or didn't work, before it's completely irrelevant (if it isn't already).

Stats and Customization:

Mastery: Most of my experience is limited to moonkin, but I think most people would agree that the addition of Mastery has been a complete success. There are a lot potential issues with adding a new stat to an existing game. It could be too weak, too strong, or to complicated, and each would create problems. However, after a little tuning, Blizzard integrated it into the game almost seamlessly. In fact, I had read over years worth of old blog posts before I remembered that it was an addition in Cataclysm.

Reforging: As a concept Reforging gets an +A, but the implementation of the Reforging system gets a C. The problem with reforging is that it's hard to walk up to Thaumaturge Zajir and do it on the fly with the assistance of add-ons, third party web sites, or advanced planning.

I think the Reforging UI needs a significant revamp. First, it would be great if there was a "learn" feature like there is on the talent tree, so that you can make changes and see the impact without them being permanent. This would allow players to sandbox configurations without spending a lot of gold to figure it out. Second, I think they could make it clearer which items are reforged and how they have been reforged. If you look at the tool tip of each item it just says "reforged." Why not "reforged crit to hit," or have the reforged stats highlighted in some way on the tool tip?

Talent Overhaul: The fact that Blizzard is once again revamping the Talent system in MoP shows that Cata's overhaul was pretty much a failure. It wasn't all bad, but I think our main criticisms that it wouldn't create more interesting choices or optional talents, has been proven correct and that is why Blizzard is making such a big change in MoP.

Raids, 5-Mans, and Encounters:

General Awards: Traditionally, I have done a list of my favorite and least favorite instances and such. I am going to try and get away from that format a little this time, but I did want to make a few quick comments in this regard.

  • Favorite Fight: Sinestra - To be honest, I had a hard time choosing fights that I liked, and Sinestra kind of won by default. It was a tough fight and I thought the Cutter mechanic was interesting.

  • Worst Fight: Spine of Deathwing - This was a hard one as well because in general I didn't like a lot of the fights in Cata. Spine won however, because the idea that DPS only matters for about 10% of the fight seemed really stupid. I also hated breaking the stun as a DPS because it was impossible to tell if you should continue casting or not. Dishonorable mentions: Rhyolith and Beth'tilac.
Looking-For-Raid: In my opinion, LFR is by far the best addition Blizzard has made to the game in a long time. My only complaint is that they didn't add it sooner, which will be fixed for the next expansion.

The reason LFR is so great is that it takes a lot of the headache out of having alts. I have leveled a lot of toons to max level over the years, and it's always a little bitter sweet. Once I get them to 70, 80, or 85 the question always came up. What now? Gearing them up to do any kind of endgame was time consuming and possibly expensive, but now there is a simple way to learn a new class without having to make significant time commitments. LFR is a homerun.

Revamped Instances: Revamping an old instance is a very risky prospect. First, Blizzard always gets called lazy for redoing old content rather then doing something new. Plus there is always the potential that a beloved dungeon is ruined. However, it is also something that players frequently request so that they can revisit some of their favorite instances from the past.

Looking only at the Cataclysm Revamps I think Blizzard has done an amazing job this expansion. The Deadmines was one of my favorite instances leveling up, and the revamp made it 10x better. ZA was another instance that I had a lot of experience with, and while I don't think they improved ZA at all with the revamp, I do think they maintained what made it great as a 10man when they converted it to a 5man. I was less familiar with SFK and ZF prior to the revamp, but I thought both were enjoyable in Cata. As a result, I think Blizzard has figured out how to revamp old content after the blunders in WotLK. I have no concern about the revamps Blizzard has planned for MoP.

Shrunken Raids: One of the more controversial choices made by Blizzard in Cataclysm was to drop the Abyssal Maw raid from Tier 12, and I found the explanation given to be not all that satisfying. To summarize, Blizzard stated that compared to Firelands the Abyssal Maw raid didn't look or feel that good. They also said that they wanted to get away from the 12 - 14 boss tiers and focus their development on 7 or 8 bosses to provide a better player experience.

All in all I think this turned out to be a mixed bag. Generally speaking I would much prefer 7 great fights then 12 mediocre fights, but in the end I think we got 7 mediocre fights in firelands instead of the 7 great fights we were promised. Having unique art does not make an encounter great. Nor does a gimmicky flying mode like on Alys'razor, a gimmicky steering mechanic on Rhyo'lith, or a don't take damage when damage is sometimes unavoidable buff like on Staghelm.

In short, I'm not really against smaller raid tiers because after 5 years of raiding I am interested in shorter raiding tiers, but I don't think blizzard achieved their stated goals for having the smaller tiers.


Two Equal Raid Formats: I've already discussed this at length and will not go into to much detail in this post, but two equal raid formats was a big feature of Cataclysm that I can't ignore in a post mortem.

On the positive side, Blizzard has done a very good job of balancing the two formats in terms of difficulty. Of course there are examples where 10man is easier then 25man and vice versa, but for the most part they have been reasonably balanced. Unfortunately, that is the only positive in my opinion.

As anyone who reads my blog with any regularity knows I am a 25man raider who prefers the 25man format, and I think it's fair to say that having two equal formats has resulted in the slow decline of the 25man format. I think it's also fair to say that Blizzards solution of more loot and Valor Points has had little or no affect on this decline. While I have proposed solutions to make 25man raiding more attractive in the past, I am quickly coming to Lissanna's point of view that two equal raid formats just won't work. It's bad from an organizational stand point because one format will generally be easier to organize then the other. It's bad from a design stand point, because blizzard has to create an encounter that can work for two different formats in the same general space. And it's bad from a resources stand point because blizzard has to spend resources on an aspect of the game that is shrinking in participation. All in all, two equal raid formats has been a failure in my opinion.

Quest Design and 1-60 Revamp: All in all, I have to say the 1-60 Revamp was a huge success. In my 5 years I've leveled 9 toons past level 60 and I have a pretty good idea of what questing was like before and after the revamp, and it is unquestionably better now then it was in the past. Blizzard has criticized itself for some of the zones being to linier, but I didn't have any problem with that. I love how story driven the new zones have been and how natural the progression within a zone has been. In fact, I only have two minor criticisms.

First, I think Blizzard when a little over the top with the gimmicky quests and themes. From the overall Indiana Jones theme of Uldum, to the Joust quests in Hyjal and the PvZ quests in Hillsbrad to name a few, it just got to be a little to much for me.

Second, this is a bit of a catch 22, but progression through the revamped zones is extremely fast once you combine Heirlooms, guild XP bonuses, rested XP, and experience gained from gathering or instances. Sure you can turn off your XP gain, or not use heirlooms and such, but that presents it's own problems. I'm not sure what blizzard can do about this, but it literally took me 3 different toons to see all of the different 1-60 zone revamps.

Archaeology: The best way to describe Archaeology in Cataclysm is that it's was a good first draft. Despite what its haters say, there are some really cool aspects of archaeology, but it has some very big problems as well. Blizzard has already recognized many most of the problem. It's too grindy. The travel time between dig sites is to long. The dig sites and projects too unpredictable. All in all, it’s just too random.

I would be very surprised if Archaeology didn't get a fairly big revamp in MoP, and it will be interesting to see what changes Blizzard comes up with. Personally, I would like to see some sort of currency being accrued as you complete projects so that you can request or purchase as specific quest after you completed so may artifacts.


Lore is generally not something I like to talk about in my blog, but I have been reading a lot of the WoW books recently and the Lore of the game is something I've grown more interested in. These are couple of items that I had originally planned on including in my MoP wishlist, but ended up scrapping because they didn't fit.

Give the Old Gods a Break: If I remember correctly, right after WotLK was released a player asked why there were so few Naga in the new expansion. Blizzard responded that they felt players were a little tired of them after there large presence in TBC. With that in mind I am more tired of the Old Gods then I ever was of the Naga or any other race or faction.

I am tired of the tentacles everywhere, of the faceless ones running around, and of the big gapping mouths spotted around the map. I realize that the Old Gods are arguably the biggest bad in the game, but I'm tired of them after two expansions of heavy old god focus. Please skip them in MoP.

Garrosh Hellscream: As someone who played Alliance for almost 4 years before switching to Horde, I have long felt that Blizzard has been a bit unbalanced in how they've treated the two factions from a lore perspective. The Horde had Good Guy Thrall (there has to be a meme there) in charge for years which excused the idiots he had underneath him in the minds of a lot of players. The Alliance on the other hand was leaderless for a good amount of time and then when Varian Wrynn did step up he behaved like the idiots underneath Thrall. In short, Horde looks good, Alliance looks bad.

Cataclysm has been a step in the right direction in fixing that. I love that Garrosh is still pretty much an idiot who is alienating his allies, but also realizing that his style of leadership also had some negative consequences like they did in the Stonetalon Mountains. I think the tone that Garrosh's development has taken has been perfect, and I can't wait to see how it develops in MoP, when hopefully Varian Wrynn finally leaves his idiocy in the past and the Alliance in general wakes up. The good news is that judging from Chris Metzen twitter quotes I may get my wish.

Sylvanis Windrunner: Like Garrosh, I am happy with what they've done with Sylvanis in Cata, but unlike Garrosh I am unsure of her future. Prior to Cataclysm it was easy to dismiss some of the atrocities that the Forsaken were involved in because they were so focused on the Lich King. However, now that the Lich King is gone, I think the faction needs a big story overhaul if it is to remain relevant. How can Garrosh and the Horde in general continue to ignore Sylvanis' deceit and double dealing. Personally, I would love to see Sylvanis (with some of the forsaken) split off from the horde and become its own bad guy faction, with the playable forsaken being those people that have rejected Sylvanis's extremism.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

I'm Annoyed: An SoR Rant

In case you haven't heard, Blizzard is rebooting the Scroll of Resurrection to induce old players to return to the game with new rewards. The way it works is an active player can send SoR invitations out to former players. If the inactive player accepts the invitation and pays for 30 days of game time, the active player gets a faction based spectral mount. The returning player gets several goodies as well.

  • A free upgrade to Cataclysm, regardless of the prior expansions purchased.

  • One character immediately bossed to level 80.

  • A free server and/or faction transfer to the inviting players server/faction.

  • 7 days of free game time
After seeing all this I got annoyed.

What Is My Issue?

Don't get me wrong, this isn't a grumpy old man rant about how hard I had it back and my day. I think the Scroll of Resurrection is a good idea and that the rewards provided were intelligently chosen. When evaluated entirely on its own, I can't find fault with the SoR.

I'm annoyed because it's hard not to look at these rewards and ask "what about me?"

I started playing this game in December 2006 and I have maintained my subscription without a break for over 5 years. I've paid for the original game along with all three expansions. I've also paid for 14 server transfers, two faction transfers, and a name change. And this doesn't even include the things not tied to my account like the books and WoW branded peripherals I've purchased.

Needless to say, I have been a very loyal customer, yet I have not received one free minute of game time, a single free level, or any free account level services like server transfers. So, it is a little bit of a slap in the face when a player who has quit the game can come back and get rewards I as a loyal player have never had access to. That is why I am annoyed.

What about the Annual Pass?

Some of you may be thinking "what about the Annual Pass? Graylo, don't you think a free mount, a free copy of Diablo 3, and access to the MoP beta are nice rewards for your loyalty?" All of those things a great, and I gladly signed up for the annual pass to get them, but they in no way reward me for my loyalty for a couple of reasons.

  1. You have to sign up for the Annual Pass to get the rewards. Just paying for 12 months worth of a subscription isn't enough.

  2. It was open to everyone who had an active account when it was announced.
In short, the Annual Pass is an agreement between Blizzard and the player, and completely ignores the player’s history with the game and the company. Blizzard is basically one of those TV pitchmen saying "Act now, and we'll throw in a free copy of Diablo." All Blizzard is trying to do with the Annual Pass is sell us the next 12 months.

What Should Blizzard Offer and Why It's a Good Idea?

Loyalty rewards are not a new idea, but most suggestions I've seen center around cosmetic perks like unique mounts and non-combat pets. Pets and Mounts are fun and I know there are tons of players would be happy with cosmetic rewards. However, if Blizzard went with something as simple as pets and mounts I think Blizzard would be missing a golden opportunity to not only reward their loyal customers but also improve their business as well. That is why, I think a Loyalty reward program should be structured more like the SoR and Refer-a-Friend promotions.

My suggestion is that Blizzard should offer a free server and/or faction transfers to players who have maintained an active account for a year. A no-strings-attached transfer would be ideal from a players point of view, but I could understand why it might not be that attractive to Blizzard given the impact it could have on Blizzard's fee based transfer service. However, I think Blizzard could create a system that would not only provide some quality of life improvements for the player, but wouldn't hurt Blizzards existing services much by limiting the free transfers with a few acceptable conditions. Two possible limitations would be:

  • Only allow the free transfers to be used only on toons level 80 or lower.

  • Only allow transfers to a server where the player already had a level 80 toon.
My thoughts process is that Blizzard could sell this as an account unification feature, allowing players to get reacquainted with old toons from old servers, but in their new environment.

I don't know about you guys but I have about 18 toons that have been leveled some degree across about 7 servers. In particular I have three level 80 toons and a level 85 on one server that I never play, because I haven't been active on that server in over a year. I would love to play those toons again, but it's hard since they aren't tied to my guild and don't get the perks and sense of community that comes from being in my guild. This could have multiple benefits for blizzard in that it could keep the player engaged in the game and it may encourage the player to transfer other toons using the fee service.

Of course, there are lots of other things Blizzard could offer players as a part of a loyalty program. Offering free level 80 toons could be nice as would free game time like they are offering in the SoR promotion. The point though, is that Blizzard needs to offer something. It just seems wrong that players who abandoned the game are getting offered cool perks, but players who have remained loyal are being left out in the cold.


I understand the point behind the Scroll of Resurrection, and I'm not against it on its own. However, it seems wrong to reward former players who have quit the game with perks like free level 80 toons and free transfers without offering similar perks to the loyal players. My suggestion is that Blizzard should offer a limited free transfer service that allows long term players to reconnect with some of their old toons and classes.