Friday, October 14, 2011

Quality of Life

In their recent class questionnaires, among other questions, Blizzard asked the players:
What are your biggest quality-of-life issues? For instance, no longer requiring ammo could be considered a quality-of-life improvement for hunters.
I thought really hard on this so that I can find the last hard edges in WoW. Here are the results.

1) I really don't understand why I have to endure flight paths! Everybody knows that they are boring. Just make it a teleport. It's more convenient for the player and less work for you. A typical win:win situation.

2) I don't see why I am supposed to return to a repair guy to repair my equipment. Please make every merchant able to repair my equipment. Once you've done that, please make every NPC able to repair my equipment. And once you've done that, why don't you just add a button to my character screen: “Repair equipment, gold cost XY”? Wait, why don't you just remove the durability from items and instead subtract gold from my pockets whenever I take a hit or die?

3) While leveling I repeatedly have to return to my trainer. But why? If I gain a level I should be able to instantly use any newly acquired abilities. Less work for you, more fun for me!

4) Why can only healers resurrect me? It's so annoying to not have a healer around! Every class should be able to do it. .. And while you're at it, why can't I resurrect myself, see (5).

5) When I die, I have to run back to my corpse. But why? There's no challenge in that. No gameplay! Please just let me instantly choose a respawn location in a 100m radius of my corpse. Thanks.

6) I can stay underwater for about 10 minutes. But yesterday I had to leave the computer and died. I think this is inherently unfair. Please remove the breathing bar!

7) What gameplay is there in falling damage? None. So, just remove it. I am not supposed to fall a hundred meters anyway and if I do, it's just annoying to die.

8) Movement via WASD is a good gameplay element, but why do I have to do this outside of combat? There's no reason I should have to use WASD to move from the auction house to the mailbox, really. Please just add a list of available teleport locations when in town.

9) Some challenges stop being challenging after some time and training. I shouldn't have to prove for the 10th time that I can beat a heroic dungeon. Please just give me the rewards each day for logging in if I did not fail the last 10 times. Thanks!

10) Please add more support for macros !

Bashiok, what the hell?


  1. What would be the purpose of this ironic (dare I say sarcastic?) list? To tell us that quality of life improvements are a bad thing?
    I could easily come up with an equally absurd list of reductions in gaming quality of life that would "prove" how important QoL is to gaming.

    Certainly this is something that has to be handled on a case-by-case basis and can't simply be swatted by a provocative post such as this?

    Or do you just mean to mock the idea of asking players what they want?

  2. Good point, Scrusi. First reason I wrote this was because it was fun. I Usually think a lot about was done wrong in the past. It's interesting to extrapolate this into the future.

    I'm actually not so sure that every point on this list is a bad idea. Returning to trainers, for example, is indeed kind of ridiculous in nowaday's WoW. I'm pretty sure it will be changed eventually.

    And really, if Blizzard decided that every merchant can now repair your equipment. Would you be surprised?

    I am pretty sure that a lot of people would actually defend many of these points if Blizzard actually did implement them. But they don't support it before Blizzard does it. Making sense?

    I might come back to this post once Blizzard implemented a few of these suggestions.

  3. There is definitely something ironic about the two conflicting changes in Cataclysm:

    1) Get people to travel/explore the world

    -Flying everywhere


    2) Keep players in the main cities

    -There's nothing (bar archeology) that you can't do from here

  4. With the current state of WoW I would approve 2 and 3...

    (I didn't like that I can sell everything to every vendor in Witcher 2. I preferred Witcher 1.)

    Besides that, not everything that's annoying also improves the game. The removal of soul shards was a quality-of-life improvement without any negative effect on the game. The other possibility would have been to implement soul shards correct. That would have been even more fun. But can't be done as long as they can be used in PvP.

  5. very nice :P it was really fun bat sad the same time..."quality of life" changes reduces dramatically the feel of a virtual world and lose much of the simulation..

    it is really ironic to speak for "quality of life" when you speak for a game...It will be quality of life to instantly teleport myself from Greece to England in my real life or don't have to go to super market 2 KM away and have whatever I want with a press of a button..but when we talk about a game we cannot talk about quality of life..

    In 6 years I have seen wow to lose almost all its simulation and its virtual world

  6. I'll reply "seriously" :P to your list:

    1) we had an endless thread on the beta forums. My option of choice is something like LotRO: two options. Insta-travel and normal travel. Make the price different if you really want to do something irrelevant :) In a hurry? Insta-flight. I want to afk and drink something? Or see the scenery? Slow mode.

    2) It's been quite some time I don't need to go back to a NPC. There's a mount with a repair NPC.... BTW LotRO has "all npc can repair", and honestly I cannot see the difference from WoW, where it's just "any NPC has another nearby which can repair".

    3) Agreed, this is idiotic. Even more idiotic are the NPC-vendor fodder grey items. Dropped items should always serve some purpose, even if it's just scrapping some metal from them.

    4) you can resurrect yourself. "release spirit" does it nicely. As for being able to rez, you always have a healer when grouped. If you don't, join a level 25 guild and you'll have a mass rez.

    5) You should repop at the graveyard, end of story (or entrance to the instance). The current approach is very lame, expecially since your phantom is unable to walk on hills, for some mysterious reason, making some corpse runs a total nightmare.

    6) underwater should kill you very fast, as it is now they could remove it. Not that I ever cared, being a druid :P

    7) Death from falls is good. But it needs more gore. A nice splat with flesh and bones flying around :)

    8) in towns places are so close one to the other, it's already the case.

    9) the 10th time you enter an heroic dungeon could be the one where the tank is undergeared, the healer afk, and one DPS chain-pulls. Wiping is still perfectly possible. BTW if you don't like to play grouped PvE content then I think you might have chosen the wrong game. It's a bit like playing chess and complaining that you need to move pieces on a blackboard....

    10) there already are: they are called "addons" and you'll even learn some lua programming as an extra bonus!

  7. If developers introduced Quality of Life improvements like these, what would keep players' minds occupied? Even larger daily quests/dungeon grind?

    The more devs introduce these QoL improvement, the more extrinsic rewards they need to offer to keep players playing ... I mean paying. In a dangerous world full of challenges, you don't need 200 pets or 10000 achievement points for a game to remain meaningful. But then you don't get 10+ million paying customers either. *grin*

  8. I miss that Tauren (or dwarf) walking around Orgrimmar with his crates of useless arrows, just looking for some bullets to trade for. It's the little things like that that add a sense of world. NPCs with unique functions in unique places are part of what distinguish a world from a lobby.

  9. I could do more in less time with some basic improvements. This in turn will give me more time to go do other things, like go outside and see sunlight. I might even get a life, we don't want to jump the gun steps.

  10. You know I read somewhere else about trainers "being obsolete" in todays WoW. Makes me sad... - Trainers served as a nice way to make you explore the city. Some skill required quests to level up and so on.

    Yes its a "roadblock", but imho logical and immersive one

  11. I'm a sucker for a good Modest Proposal, so I've featured this on the Melting Pot. (I've also been enjoying your series playing through WoW from start to 85, but didn't manage to find a good jumping-in point to feature).

    Some of these suggestions sound like they might actually make it into play, mind. All vendors as repairers would be popular enough - and apparently innocuous enough - that you might yet see it on Live. Of course, the downsides - increasing homogenisation of the world and the NPCs - would take a while to filter through.

    OK, I'm depressed now.

  12. 1) When was the last time you were on a flight path at level 85? But answering the implicit snark, if I Alt-Tab every time I get on a FP, what are the point of them?

    2) Repairs are a pretty poor way of removing gold from the economy these days; I would agree with revisiting the entire premise of having to repair at all (while still having some slap on the wrist for death).

    3) Considering how quickly you level, yes indeed.

    4) Perhaps an item (cash shop!) or trinket.

    5) As Helistar mentions, it truly is a dumb mechanic.

    6) Undead (and druids, and warlocks) are OP. By the way, Guild Wars 2 has no breath meter - you can stay underwater indefinitely.

    7) There is no gameplay beyond reducing/eliminating terrain exploits without using invisible walls (at least in no-fly zones).

    8) More load screens? No thanks.

    9) You shouldn't need to defeat the same thing 10 times in a row, ever, for any reason. More than three times is pushing it already.

  13. @Azuriel: nothing needing repetition more than three times?

    It would kill Blizzard's budget to provide content at that speed. Or alternatively it would have to be so bad/rushed that it would mean noone wants to do it even the first time.
    Or it would need to be so hard to master (and so different one from the other) that nobody would care about completing it.

    I see the wrong in the repetitive dailies (they are exactly identical every time), but for grouped content repetition is not a problem (the fun comes from the group as much as from the activity itself). I have many board games and I've definitely played them more than three times with my friends..... and while we grow bored with time, they last long.

  14. I think some of your items could be implemented in a cunning manner. One of the things Cata lacks is a really good gold sink.

    How about 100g scrolls that provide one shot:
    - instant teleport to any flight master
    - instant self rez (does not work if PvP flagged or in instances)
    - instant trainer / bank / repair access

    Then the economy might start to regain some sanity.

  15. When answering I forgot about the most important QoL change: INVENTORY MANAGEMENT. In the current system it's a nightmare of mailbox/bank/alt/guild bank. Lucky there are addons like postal and altoholic....

    The best approach I've seen in Rappelz: there's just one bank, shared by all the chars on the account. Non-weapon/armor items stack to infinity (maybe? I had a stack of 6000 scrolls I think). In the beginning there were infinite bank slots, then it was reduced to "only" 1000 (and people complained on the forums.....).

    LotRO provides this kind of service, but a lot less slots and a much higher price, of course (1200 TP for 20 slots, I think).

    To be honest, I'd like to have unlimited access to my bank from anywhere in the city (open as an inventory), and with some limits outside (just like now with the argent tournament pet).

  16. I, too, 'forgot' many points, Helistar. I limited myself to 10 ;)

    On that bank: I don't think having unlimited access to your bank makes much sense. In that case, just add the bank's storage to your character's storage.

    Oh, and then we need a 'sort' and a 'filter' function ... and thus these changes cause the next changes .. until there is no virtual world left. Of course, there's so little left that I don't really care about what WoW does at this point. But it is a good lesson for other developers.