Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Problem with Low Drop Rates

I've been playing Marvel Heroes, taking advantage this week of the wonderfully bouncy and powerful redesigned Hulk. I've run a lot of cosmic Taskmaster terminals, then transitioned to cosmic Kurse runs. These runs are useful because Kurse drops one of the pivotal items in the game, the Gem of the Kursed. The Gem is the best kind of loot --- i.e., the kind that automatically increases your DPS almost no matter what your build, requires virtually no decision-making, and offers no options. You get the Gem, you equip it, you have more fun.

So I would like to get a Gem! Hulk wants. The problem is that the Gem is rare. Supposedly, it has a 1/200 drop rate in the Cosmic Kurse instance. Drop rates of 0.005 are an anti-fun mechanic.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Measuring Interest in Warcraft Over Time

Discussions of the artistic success or failure of different expansions/phases of the history of the World of Warcraft usually focus on subscriber counts. This makes a certain kind of sense. In order for subscribers to leave, they probably need some source of dissatisfaction. Thus, major declines in subscriber numbers clearly point to something that people dislike.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Warlords: Initial Impressions

So far I haven't been able to play Warlords of Draenor as much as I'd like. Server queues of up to seven hours have cut slightly into my time in Warcraft, as it has for so many others. Up to this point, I have managed to get my main character through the intro and the first real zone, and I'm just starting into Gorgrond.

My sense from general chat is that a lot of players are completely in love with the expansion, and that makes me happy. It's wonderful to see people happy and excited! My experience is a bit more mixed. I really like some things, really dislike others, and overall don't yet really know what I think. As an initial view, I will here inventory some positive and negative elements.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Fear of Draenor

We are at the eve of the new expansion for World of Warcraft. My sense is that anticipation is high, and how could it be otherwise when a year-long near-total content drought is about to break? The expansion, Warlords of Draenor, seems designed to appeal to long-time core players. It is a return to central themes of the franchise after two expansions that have widely been seen as side trips. We will return, in a way, to Outland, the location of the highly regarded Burning Crusade expansion. It will be dark! Grim! Epic!

I have been in a state somewhere between anxiety and dread regarding this expansion since it was announced last fall. I am at this point something of a veteran, of WoW and of MMOs more generally, so in principle this expansion should be for me. Yet I find myself put off in ways large or small by virtually everything about it. What worries me?