Saturday, February 21, 2009

WoW: The Little Things

You know, it's the little things that really get you about this game. As much as you might want to concentrate on the big differences (*coughgraphicscough*), it's all of the little differences that tend to stick out in your mind.

Like in FFXI, the Humans don't look like they have Elephantitis.

I kid, I kid.

Besides, the Humans in FFXI look like they're all going to get together and start a boy band.

No, it's the subtle things that really get you.

The map markers for everything.

I'll grant you that this makes the game a lot easier.

Unfortunately, it makes the game a lot easier.

That wasn't a typo. The unfortunate thing about making the game easier is that you can make it a little too easy.

Basically, little yellow icons show up on your mini-map telling you where to find new quests or where to go to complete current quests.

Why is that too easy?

Well, some of the quests involve you finding a nearby NPC and delivering a note.

That's not particularly challenging when the second you accept the quest, yor map tells you exactly where to go.

Wow... How am I supposed to find one NPC in such a big city?

Oh... He's right there.

And he's conveniently highlighted.


Also, the drop system is strange. While certain enemies drop specific items, there's also a chance they could drop any one of dozens of other pieces of equipment.

Kill a spider and he drops a pair of Bard's Shoes of the Monkey.

I do not know why a monkey would have shoes.

I do not know why a Bard stole a monkey's shoes.

I certainly do not know why a spider then stole those shoes from the Bard.

There must be a very large underground shoe black market in Azeroth.

In FFXI, that low level lizard drops a pair of low level boots.

Just the boots.

Basically, you are either getting boots or not.

That's it.

You're not also going to find some Monk artifact armor.

Lizards make terrible Monks.

It's the little arms.

It would, therefore, make no sense for the lizard to carry Monk artifact armor.

Not in Azeroth.

That condor you just killed... Carrying a giant shield of epic kickass.

That makes perfect sense.


Speaking of drops, some of them are "Bind on Pick Up." That means that as soon as you pick them up, they bind to your character and cannot be given to another player.

That's weird.

Now, you're probably thinking this is very similar to the whole Exclusive tag on items in FFXI. That tag means you cannot trade the item to other players.

Similar, right?

That's not the problem.

The problem arises out of semantics.

In FFXI, the item simply can't be traded. It is exclusive.


But in WoW, the item is bound to you. It quite literally binds to your soul.

My question is how in the hell you get it from the enemy.

If it binds to the soul of whoever picks it up, shouldn't it be bound to the soul of the monster?

Aren't semantics fun?

Oh, let's not forget the crafting system.

Almost, if not, all MMORPGs involve some form of a crafting system.

This isn't new.

The crafting system in FFXI is very challenging as you have to look up recipes in order to create working combinations of materials and to determine if you have enough skill to actually craft the item.

In WoW, the crafting menu tells you which recipes you know, which materials are required, and even tells you if you have enough materials to perform the craft.

It even tells you which crafts are more likely to help you skill up.

This is incredibly convenient, but arguably too simple.

Oh... And you can't fail a synthesis.


Arguably too simple.

And by "arguably", I mean "obviously".

Maybe I'm just making a big deal out of tiny differences.

It's not like me to overreact though.

No, it's the little things that make a game what it is. It's those nuances that make a game unique and interesting.

And easy.

It would be wrong of me to suggest that these differences are inherent flaws and that WoW is an inferior game.


Luckily, I quite often do the wrong thing.


At 9:38 PM, Blogger Lunarius said...

I really respect that you took the time to give WoW a try. As someone who has played since release, it's a game I greatly enjoy. What you dislike for its simplicity, its ease, I like because it doesn't feel like I have another job.

I can log in, and set to doing something amusing and fun. I don't have to work at it, I can just enjoy it.

Granted this is just my opinion, but it makes the time I spend with my friends and husband in game all the more fun. And by husband in game, I mean that my IRL husband and I play WoW together. :3

I'm Korlae, a hunter on Thorium Brotherhood, Alliance side. Please feel free to look me up some time if you ever feel like giving it another go. TB is, by the way, an RP server. ^_~

At 9:39 PM, Blogger Mali said...

wow that sucks... when i play a game i like a little bit of a challenge... i would get bored of that so fast

At 9:40 PM, Blogger Edwin said...

i said once i'll say it again.... welcome to MMO easy mode

At 9:42 PM, Blogger Saifer said...

Um, I know this is a little off topic but havent seen any 1 recommend this to u yet, or maybe I didnt read the right 1 but ill do it anyawyas: U HAVE to do an Instance b4 u stop playing WoW, u really have to, whatever it takes.

At 9:43 PM, Blogger Orion said...

hehe, ya alot of that stuff is for the cassuals.. Try end game Raiding.. it's much worse.

Then again you hate people, so i don't think that raiding is your thing.

At 10:17 PM, Blogger J said...

"Oh... And you can't fail a synthesis."

When you're making things that have a value of about 1600-1800 gold, failing at making it would piss off a huge portion of the population.

At 10:22 PM, Blogger Mali said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 10:30 PM, Blogger Karu said...

I admit that crafting in ffxi can be a serious pain in the heiny. But WoW's system is hardly even interesting. Brainless, even. Somehow I managed to make it to 40, get a mount... and then I realized I wasn't enjoying myself anymore.

Now, I curse at FFXI almost constantly. But even when I quit for a few months, I always come back for more.

At 10:32 PM, Blogger Dxoh said...

In FFXI, you craft things that are worth a lot of gil. And I mean a LOT. And... sometimes the synthesis fails. Often with a failure, the materials break. Lots of gil lost. I'm sure a large percentage of FFXI's population has had this happen, yet they still play. I'm rather glad the devs haven't dumbed it down just to keep the population 'happy'. Otherwise FF would be just another WoW.

At 11:42 PM, Blogger Angelique said...

Some of us are lazy gamers you know.

At 11:48 PM, Blogger Chirri said...

WoW is certainly "easy mode" compared to most games out there. It's certainly easy mode compared to the first MMO I ever played, which was EverQuest, prior to all those spiffy changes they made to it...but that's another rant.

Minimap tracking of quest, training, vending etc NPCs is a recent addition, in WoW's history. As is reduced exp required to level, all of the formerly Elite tagged NPCs outside of instances no longer being Elite (now totally soloable). They've dumbed down a good portion of the Original WoW content to "help" players reach max level more quickly.

As most WoW players will probably admit, WoW is about Endgame. Which makes it somewhat unfortunate that a new character will still have to level from level 1 to level "endgame" before they can actually experience what Blizzard wants them to experience. It also means the early game is ridiculously easy and mindless... I don't play WoW much outside of raiding, now. But I do enjoy that a great deal (learning new encounters, getting the guild to work together just right to do something we've never managed before).

As far as I'm concerned, though, EVERYthing is "easy mode" compared to the first few graphical MMOs (in their original and early incarnations). I really do wish they'd bring some of that back to newer games.

At 12:12 AM, Blogger Codexx said...

Again with the whining about how easy it is. A vast majority of people tried and stuck to WoW because it was easy.

Granted, the crafting system is dumbed down. But it's not interfering.

Now, i don't want to be a rabid fanboy. You've given the game a good try. You make some valid points, but some things are taken out of context. If you shift your perspective a bit, you can see that the ease of use isn't "too easy", it's easy so it doesn't prevent you from doing anything else.

Who wants to spend an hour looking up recipe and crafting right before a boss? Sure, a chance to fail on Orange recipes would be a nice penalty to outwiegh the guarenteed skill point gain. I admit the crafting system is a little lacking in some areas.

But you can't critisize it for making things accessible to all people.

FFXI has it's bonus points too. But if I wanted to test it out, I'd need to take it in context. I can't jump because I'll never NEED jumping. Crafting and Grinding are there, and that's part of the game. WoW isn't grind free, but Blizzard has done their best to make sure that anybody can do as much as possible. You aren't limited by time.

And sure, some of the game is too easy, but I fail to see how it detracts from the enjoyment as a whole.

At 12:46 AM, Blogger Surazal said...

That condor you just killed... Carrying a giant shield of epic kickass.

OMG, I lol'd.

At 3:55 AM, Blogger Salt said...

The truth about map markers.
If they were not there, people will use addon mods like questhelper to find the NPCs and what not anyway. Either that or pop on to database sites like WoWhead to find out where the NPC you are suppose to find is.
It's as hard as you want it to be.

And it certain does help with the more frustrating/time wasting aspects of those quests, like when you need to find some tiny object on the ground based on a somewhat vague description from the quest text, those quest markers were a god send for those situations.

Oh and the "of the Monkey" doesn't mean it's from a monkey.
You will find gear with names like of "of the whale" or "of the [whatever]", it just the naming convention used for medium quality "green" gear with random stats, where the "of the" part denotes the type of stats those pieces of gear will have.
etc "of the Whale" gear will commonly have spirit and stamina as stats.

The BoP system is to prevent players from buying their way through the game.
If you want the nice/best gear, you have to do the dungeons/raids/craft/PVP to earn it.

Ah... WoW crafting system. Ya, it's not very deep.
But although you can't fail a synthesis, you can fail a skill-up. Which is frustrating enough as it is.

I think you notice a trend here, blizz does whatever it can to remove/tone down aspects of the game that it considers pointlessly frustrating or are more difficult then they intended.
If something is too difficult and too large a chunk of the playerbase just ignores it because of that. They will nerf it.

That said, there are parts of the game that are intentionally hard.
Raids now a days have a "hard mode" for the elite PVEers which drops better if not the best loot in the game, and in PVP to get 2200+ rating in Arena you literally have to be the best of the best because it's a ladder system.

At 4:45 AM, Blogger Jeffrey Mathis said...

The fact that it is easy is why I love it so much. Full time job and a son that is almost three means I have little time to game. I can get onto WoW for an hour a day and actually advance. Or run a dungeon in a few hours.

WoW to me is fun, not hard.

At 5:39 AM, Blogger Hat said...

I play ffxi, and recently i've played wow. My current job keeps me from doing endgame with my ls, so I play wow to keep me from having to burn away under the sun. I've done all the endgame for both ffxi and wow, and even if wow's endgame is hard compared to the rest of the game, it's still nothing compared to ffxi's endgame. The most difficult strategies in wow are things that an ffxi player will almost instinctively know. It's rather pathetic how unimaginative blizzard is, but i suppose that keeps people from freaking out and having to think outside the box (e.g. AV, Pandemonium Warden). That said, there is something nice about being able to be the best palladin tank on the server in your sleep. If only I were joking...

In the end, it all follows the ffxi player's loving mantra: Wow is checkers, FFXI is chess. But checkers is fun at times to.

At 7:54 AM, Blogger Jon said...

Try addons. They will blow your FFXI riddled mind.

At 8:24 AM, Blogger m said...

In regards to the "Bind on pickup" items...wouldn't it make since if it was bound to the soul of the monster, and you killed said monster-thus extinguishing its soul-that the item would then be free to bind to another soul (i.e. yours)? I mean, it's WoW, and that's the most simplistic answer I could come up with.

At 8:32 AM, Blogger akisawana said...

WoW is a game.
FFXI is a way of life.

At 8:41 AM, Blogger tyranastrasz said...

The crafting system is one of the things about WoW I wish they'd just overhaul completely. I liked the systems they had worked out in EQ2 and Vanguard better.

Unfortunately those games sucked in just about every other respect. =P

The map markers for quest turnins didn't used to be in the game, by the way. They added that feature sometime last year. As someone who's done all of those quests without the markers and as such already knows where the heck to go, I wish they at least gave you the option to turn it off.

At 8:48 AM, Blogger tyranastrasz said...

@Hat: Are you referring to the endgame now, in Wrath, or did you play endgame TBC too?

Wrath only has the first tier of raid instances released so far. Raiding content in TBC was more challenging, and you can expect to see the difficulty ramp up in the 3.1 patch with Ulduar.

At 9:14 AM, Blogger Sean said...

I see a lot of people saying about how Blizzard makes the annoying and tedious things easier. While I get some people may like that, to me when they do that they also take away everything that is interesting. In my opinion, the only good part about WoW is the endgame raids, however, while good other MMOs have raids that are better, while still having all the interesting non-endgame content. I suppose WoW and FFXI aren't simply different games - they're nearly different genres. What appeals to one group in WoW, doesn't appeal to another group in FFXI. I guess that's why we have two different games.

At 9:56 AM, Blogger Music-chan said...

Every MMO is different, I've discovered. People who are dedicated to FFXI are going to find that the best game, no matter what. Same thing goes for any other MMO; Everquest, WoW, LOTRO, etc.

I know what GM Dave does it make fun of things and that's perfectly all right by me. But I've never understood why people feel the need to insult the games that other people enjoy. You have a game you like, I have a game I like. Why does that mean one of us is a 'noob' or whatever?

It is the little things...the little things that make us enjoy the time we have in a game.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go jump over a river.

At 10:01 AM, Blogger MinorAgentofChaos said...

The tracking of quest NPCs got added because everyone was tired of folks asking the same questions over & over in chat --


And there's a few quests that were consistently getting skipped because they were out in the middle of nowhere, hidden in out-of-the-way areas -- you could pass within a few feet of them & never know they were there. One on the border of the Wetlands & Arathi Highlands comes to mind -- the questgiver is a dead dwarf, under water. The questchain leads you through this heartbreaking backstory of a dwarf killed in the fighting and how it hits his family; I would've missed this one entirely (and did, on my first toon) until Blizz added the tracking option.

Granted, adding the sparkly things around quest items was STUPID. It did make it far too easy. Hey, if players don't know enough to look up the crap on any number of hint sites, they aren't smart enough to be playing.

akisawana --

I have a life. It's called Offline Real World. I play WoW to GAME, not to have another life & job. kkthankxbai.

At 10:10 AM, Blogger Dxoh said...

So... by killing a monster, extinguishing its soul... you can steal his BoP item. Does that mean that when a player kills YOU, they can steal your uber BoP item?

At 10:40 AM, Blogger Scarlett said...

@ Music-Chan

If you want to see a Dave really make fun of WoW-

I've personally loved this week- but then I've always felt that way about the sugar-substitute that is WoW.

It just doesn't look or feel right and leaves a bad aftertaste in my mouth.

At 11:00 AM, Blogger Mystic said...

a) You don't know what it is to be sucker punched by WoW until you've failed at picking flowers. Read that again. You can fail at /picking flowers/.

b) Just wait til you get the quests that don't tell you where the guy is that you're supposed to deliver the note to. Those are fun. And by fun I mean I have contemplated throwing my computer out the window after five hours of fruitless searching.

At 11:49 AM, Blogger tyranastrasz said...

@Dxoh: No, because obviously players' souls don't get extinguished. You run back to your body as a ghost, after all...

At 12:45 PM, Blogger Carboc said...

I'd take the 'little things' in wow over the 'have to's' in ffxi any day. Have a problem with a buzzard dropping armor? Try the rabbit that will kick your butt. There's ALWAYS that rabbit.
Repetitive leveling?
Does anyone remember leveling in ffxi? You have to kill the same monster over and over for blocks of levels. Can I fight those ones? Nope, they kill you. I'd take running over an area, discovering different mobs and factions and quests vs. killing crawlers for two weeks. Ah, the crawler can rot in hell. And heaven forbid someone pulls two, 'cus there goes the hour of work you just did.
You want to be a healer? Great! But that means you have to level something else, too. Why can't I just stand back and heal? I have to spend weeks leveling a class I don't like and no one really wants to party with.
I think its a lot more fun to actually 'play' a game vs. sitting around for an hour or two waiting for a party to form.
And then there's the crafting. What's so wrong with using the stuff you make at a reasonalbe cost? Need potions or armor or bullets? MAKE SOME! How is it supposed to make sense that a necklace takes a big fireball of sound and fury to make..and you can fail at it. You'd think "put string in hole and tie knot" would be a little simpler than that.
All mmo's have a little suspension of disbelief, but making fun of one without acknoledging the weaknesses of your own is teh weaksause.
I enjoyed both games, but FFXI just wasn't for me. I am very anti-farming, so 90% of my play time was mostly boring and non-enjyoable. Playing wow to 20 is like just doing Dunes really doesn't represent the full fun and excitement of the game ^_^ .

At 1:13 PM, Blogger Dxoh said...

But your soul is disconnected from your body, and thus the armor on it.

At 1:36 PM, Blogger Donny Walnuts said...

Wow hasn't always been "go here on your mini map if you're looking for a quest to level from". At release there was nothing 'given' to you in such a way. You searched for everything and if you couldn't find it, you went to thottbot. Since, it has obviously evolved.

I don't understand the problem is though, I would rather spend the time playing the game rather than searching around a major city looking for the guy that gives me a quest allowing me to do so.

Thus in doing so, Blizzard has expanded their audience to people with a shorter attention span... (I.E.- those who don't play FinalFantasy*.*)

At 3:16 PM, Blogger Daniel said...

One thing about WoW is that money is too easy to make. In FFXI it's a pain in the ass. Like if you are crafting in FFXI, most items are usually sold at the cost of the materials, or less. If you get lucky and HQ it's like hitting the freaking jack pot. If you craft in WoW you get the same item, every time, no failures, and there are 100 others on the AH.

Which is sometimes like FFXI, but it doesn't work well for WoW.

Also, isn't there some "giant condor" in FFXI (you know, in sky) that drops a giant axe, some pants (actually, haidate, which are more like shorts) and other random crap? Granted that no giant condor should have any giant shield of epic kickass, but they shouldn't have any pants of epic kickass either.

At 3:35 PM, Blogger MinorAgentofChaos said...

If you want to see a Dave really make fun of WoW-

Scarlett, everyone who reads Dave knows his hatred of WoW. Honestly, I don't think any of us WoWers expected Dave to convert. And I wasn't hoping for it, either. He was fairer than I was expecting, all things considered.

Though having seen screenshots of FF1 on their official site, I don't see any difference between their graphics & WoW. Looks about the same, quality-wise, to me.

At 4:24 PM, Blogger Chrysalis said...

So, I'm of the camp that loves to play FFXI. I started MMOs on EQ and I tease all the players that got all the updates that gave them maps and porters, etc. It's the whole "back in my day" spiel. It amuses me. While I jokingly give WoW players hell as well, I understand and appreciate that the games are made for two different kinds of players. All with that is well and good for me. What I don't get is the idea that people on here feel the need to explain away Dave's jokes, or need to harrass each other about what game is better. They each are good in their own way and well... Dave.. is a comedian. He writes this blog to amuse himself, and possibly us. *laughs* So why the need to explain his jokes away, when that's the whole point... the JOKE! *sighs* Humanity, how I wonder why we bother...

At 7:49 PM, Blogger MinorAgentofChaos said...

So why the need to explain his jokes away, when that's the whole point..

Chrysalis, I don't think anyone here was intending to explain his jokes, as much as they were trying to help Dave understand the WoW conventions and game. If he's going to write about his not understanding certain aspects of the game, WoWers are going to help. He's writing as if he's a total newbie to WoW, and there's a lot of nice, helpful people who do play WoW, who want to offer advice or explain things that he's questioning.

At 7:23 AM, Blogger Tala said...

Why do people bitch about the quests. Go kill 7 of these and bring them back. This is no different than what FFXI or any other MMO has done. Go kill 20 mandies and bring me back their leaf's. Guess my point is you have to kill shit to lvl up anyways why not get a bouns at the end of your fighting when your done. FFXI has done the same thing now with Fields of Valor, i have seen 75's level sync back to 20-24 range to do FOV.

At 9:21 AM, Blogger Nummies said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 9:23 AM, Blogger Nummies said...

half the reason i play FF is because of the challenge!!!

whats the fun if you get to 75 and your a millionare in 3 weeks...

Its like cheats in regular RPGs. for the noobs :D

At 9:36 AM, Blogger Siegtaru said...

WoW is like the games I play on NotDoppler during computer class.

At 12:27 PM, Blogger Music-chan said...


It wasn't Dave making fun of WoW that bothers me. Like I said, that's his thing, I'm cool with that.

It's the constant putting down that people in the comments do. Maybe I'm just weird. I'm capable of enjoying the MMOs I play without debasing the others. I don't think I like playing certain other games but you don't hear me talking about how much they suck. I'm sure other people like them for their own reasons.

One person making fun of the obvious flaws of something is funny. A bunch of people who are doing it for non-comedic reasons...not so much.

At 1:44 PM, Blogger steven said...

i could care less about wow i like the game just i dont like to waste every day on it the game is easy because it is a fantasy to escape reality and to help morons feel like they can play a game... hence the reason i could care less and prolly one of the reason you dont like it. however i am not fairing ffxi i dont really care the game play for console systems like ps2 or ps3 run slash and run back WHOA THAT IS SO EXCITING yeah right any way that is just my opinion why you are looking for the little things.

At 3:52 AM, Blogger Santa ain't real said...

Why do you idiots always have to post the same shit over and over again?

At 6:38 PM, Blogger jotaroxtreme said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 6:42 PM, Blogger jotaroxtreme said...

I saw this at massively so I thought I'd throw in a comment or 2.

I've tried a lot of MMO's, arguably every big one on the market outside of LotR:O and this is how I'd stack the 2 up. By goods and bads.

FFXI Strengths:

Lots of content
Story heavy missions (and quests sometimes)
Arguably the best battle system in a MMO
Subjobs - adds variety and little reason for extra characters
Great design
Large cities and areas.
Great soundtrack

FFXI Weaknesses:

Slow pace - even for the style of game.
Subjobs - adds stress of leveling jobs to lvl what u want
No instanced content = lots of camping
Seeking party in Jeuno as a DRG and MNK
Not enough variety in end game gear
Horrible death penalties
Large time requirements
Payment needed for extra characters.
Horrible PVP
Very little solo gameplay
Level grinding..... ugh

WoW Strengths:

Lots of content
Very fun PVP
Lots of variety in gear
Lots of well designed dungeons and instanced content
Solo gameplay
Great design
Travel (mounts, swimming, flying)
Talent Tree
Great Soundtrack

WoW's Weaknesses

Way too easy
Quest Grinding
Reputation Grinding.... ugh
Need for more then 1 character to experience the game
General Chat
Barrens Chat
Stranglethorn Vale
Horrible players in end game
Very Gear based
Collection quests - way too many
Horrible quest representation - bad for story telling

Both games have gone through numerous updates and changes and change a lot at higher lvl content as well as have more to offer then any player can obtain in 1 week of play. Both games however have a lot of problems and are extremely different.

Good news here is Bioware is working on The Old Republic and it looks to be really amazing. Hopefully FFXI and WoW extremest fans won't shy away from it and give it the time of the day.

At 10:27 AM, Blogger ivyjean said...

And the one major pro of WoW that a lot of people'll run on a Mac.

Laugh if you must, but you'd be surprised how many people I raid with who run Macs (myself included).

*shrug* You make it accessible, you get the business.

At 12:01 PM, Blogger jotaroxtreme said...

While that is a big thing that WoW runs on a Mac (I play on one) FFXI plays on PS3 (PS2) and 360 as well as Windows.


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