This post is immensely well written and very worthy of some responses, so here goes...
Q u o t e:
The main issue, and to my mind the most prominent and worrying, is the recent addition of "pay to use" mounts and pets: the celestial mount, the pet LK, and so on. Now I fully support paying for addons, the monthly fee and the game itself. The amount of work that has gone into the game itself, the post-addon content (usually the large patches), and the cost of maintaining such a game and the servers account for the conventional costs charged. However, to add a fee for exclusive digital content I definitely do not agree with. Yes charging for server changes, race and, character changes I can appreciate as a way to regulate what should be a rare, yet occasionally helpful, change. However "in game content", in my opinion, should be paid for exclusively in game. We all know of the "free to play" MMORPGs, making their money from selling gold, armour or similar character boosts – this seems uncomfortably close to blizzard's digital store. Yes, nothing sold is going to change your character's performance, but it should not cost cold, hard cash to get any in-game item. A "cool" item should be regulated by in game accomplishments, be it downing a boss on hard mode, a rare drop, PvP accomplishments, or even a stupidly long and pointless quest only a minority would attempt. Real-world money seems to add a level of segregation, and begins to remove the "anything that is possible in-game can be done by anyone" aspect. The same is true of the KT pet, and any other in-game item only available through the blizzard store.
We here at Blizzard Entertainment are here to provide entertainment. It's in our name, and it's what we do. We hope we do it quite well! The feedback we receive shows we're doing an ok job of it. :)
It's clear that players enjoy (find entertainment from
) gaining aesthetic items, such as the mount or the pets, by both earning them in-game and through an on-line purchase. If they deem the purchase of a vanity item like this valuable to them, then we'll provide them. Some of you feel it absurd that someone would want to purchase an item that serves no purpose other than to look great, and that's fine - we understand that - and we're in no way making them mandatory. They offer no in-game benefit other than simply looking nice. :) If you're one of those who dislike the idea of these items, then having one run past you or stood beside you shouldn't impact your game play in any way, you can just 'tut' and move on should you so wish, or just ignore them. They're enjoying their new riding experience (in the case of the mount) and you're there with an extra 20 bucks in your pocket. Each to their own really. One thing is certain, we want to avoid selling something that offers a direct advantage in-game, and we will continue to ensure this is the case.
Q u o t e:
Achievements. Like marmite, some people are in love, some people have a burning hatred, but we can all agree they are here to stay. While I am in the latter group, I am also able to recognise that they are beneficial to WoW as a game, and a lot of people take great pleasure in, well, achievement whoring. However, I believe achievements should be as the name suggests; something notable you have achieved. Be it a milestone in honourable kills, a hard mode boss kill, something "pointless" to the less achievement focused of us (such as collecting a number of mounts/tabards/pets, raising an obscure rep, the list can go on). However, what I do not recognise as a worthy achievement is "earning any variety of emblem", or "grouping with 10 random players". I mean honestly, is getting boosted through a dungeon really something you've achieved? Using the normal tool to run a few dungeons, is that an achievement? It feels a little like getting an achievement for "washing the dishes". Why not add "used jump" or "turned left" to the achievement list. If it's supposed to help players learn the WoW world, where's my achievement for "been reported for leeching AV" and "trolled 5 noobs on trade"? Keep achievements as something meaningful in the game, giving me a cookie and a clap for picking my nose feels insulting.
This one is something where we can agree to disagree, I think. Achievements are not always something that fit the dictionary definition of an 'achievement' - such as 'Grouping with X players through the LFD tool' - but we stuck with the name 'Achievements
' over 'Achievements and other notable things that aren't really achievements but an indication of what a character has done in their time
'. The former rolls of the tongue much better. ;-) Ok, so I'm sure there are shorter ways to say that, but Achievements are what they're called in the various gaming platforms, and it's what people can relate to.
Q u o t e:
A minor point, advertising on the WoW website. Seriously? While the type of adverts have seemed to improve from the "random unrelated blatant-sellout-for-revenue" adverts to the "could-possibly-be-convinced-blizzard-is-helping-a-small-WoW-related-company-in-an-altruistic-manner" (wow am I glad I don't have to say that) type of adverts, the fact that it's still a support website for our well funded game being exploited for revenue troubles me. While it is a large step (possibly a leap) away from in-game advertising, it is still wrong for the same reasons. As with the first issue, it reeks of tackiness and unprofessionalism. The image that comes to mind is of a car manufacturer sticking adverts over the interior of my brand new car.
Ads are something that are often seen as a point of controversy. We're always reviewing how ads should be handled within the forums.
Q u o t e:
Anyway, despite the rant, I am still happy with the direction WoW has taken in WoTLK. I could write just as long a post thanking the developers (and perhaps less recognised contributors) for combining such skill and passion in creating a wonderful game. However, that may have to come another day.
This sentence alone is impacting enough. :) Feedback, however large or small, positive or negative, targeted or otherwise, is valuable stuff, and we love it. Thanks!