Gamers: Stop Skipping The Games You Like to Play

Recently Blizzard announced that it wouldn't allow flying mounts until the patch AFTER the new expansion is released. Many are angry... they are wrong... I think.
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Recently, Blizzard announced that it was going to forbid the use of flying mounts in their new expansion for the first several months after the expansion is released.

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This may seem like a bad maneuver. It’s caused a serious backlash from the community. Traditionally, gamers have been rewarded with flying mounts in the new areas as a reward for having completed the expansion. This is the Drivers license of game mechanics. Suddenly all boundaries were broken down. And your curfew seems more like a distant memory, and all sense of responsibility went out the window… along with your bike.

This is the Drivers Licence of Game Mechanics.

Since their first appearance in the Burning Crusade expansion, back in prehistoric times, they’ve become such a common sense feature that most MMOs include the feature. Some, like DC Universe Online, made it a feature that could be unlocked by simply designing your hero from the start to not be so handicapped as to require their own two feet to move.

It grew to the point where not including a flying ability was akin to a defect in-game design. An error. It’s like finally realizing that Freddy Mercury exists and learning what’s possible for a rock band to accomplish only to then have him killed by complications from aids. You can’t even put on his albums without feeling chagrined that there’ll never be another one.

“My life was all just a metaphor for flying mounts.”

So the players of Warcraft are understandably angry.

They had freedom, and it’s been taken away. They’re all now shouting as loudly as they can. “I want to break free.” But it falls on deaf ears. Blizzard has even insinuated that they wished that they could wait longer to release Flying mounts into the game, but worry about the backlash. This is because there are essentially three types of gamers.

1) Those playing for the end game content

These guys are the typical raider. It’s not about the game. It’s about the end content. To say “I beat it in two hours” feels like an accomplishment to them. They rush headlong through the game to see what’s at the end.

End-game content like Raids and Dungeons are all that really matter to this type. And they mostly consider the content that comes before the end game content wasted. They’re just looking for the opportunity to win the game and shout, “We are the Champions,” as the credits roll. Incidentally these guys are the loudest ones on forums and message boards commenting about how much they hate the game that they can’t stop playing.

2) Those wishing to see the ending

This player doesn’t want to know cool details regarding links to things earlier in the game. They just want to see if Dumbledore dies. He does, by the way. Luke is Vader’s son.

“I should throw you off the Astronomy Tower for not posting a Spoiler Warning”

These guys aren’t all that into gameplay either. They’re mostly about having something to say when someone asks what they thought of the ending to Bioshock Infinite; they can mention how they thought the Bicycle Race was a bit strange and out of left field but the rest of the game was solid (yes, I know that’s not how the game ends but how else was I going to work that one in without spoiling the ending?). They view games as a storytelling method and nothing more.


3) The Ones who want to play the game

I know it seems like all of them do, but these gamers are the only ones who really care about the game as a whole instead of being a delivery method for the parts they really want. They treat the game as an art form and critique not only the graphics, but also the systems for everything. The storytelling, yes. The end content, yes. But also the art, the pacing, and the voice over–the replay value, the theme and the execution.

So getting all of that right really pays off in this category. Like “Now I’m here,” in this category, as are many gamers. But these are the least vocal. Because they’re the most satisfied with game makers. And that’s because game makers want to satisfy them most of all. “It’s a kind of magic” feeling when a game makers sees this gamer. Quite rewarding.

This is because while there are many types of gamer, there’s really only one type of game maker.

That is… A game maker who wants you to “Play the Game”. They want you to see the game as a whole, and not go through like a buffet picking your favorite parts and discarding the rest like it’s the vanilla or strawberry portion in a tub of Neopolitan ice cream.

“Urge to kill… rising”

When gamers skip their content, it’s time the game maker spent trying to create fun for you, which you’re saying that they wasted. But “The show must go on”, so they create the content and simply hope you’ll enjoy it. Mostly to avoid stepping on toes. And because Game companies are always “Under Pressure” to make games for everyone, even if they’d rather just make all gamers enjoy their games. 

But Gamers have grown too used to skipping a game’s content.

Far too used to it, in fact. To the point where skipping a game’s content felt like a right, not a privilege. There were a variety of ways to do it. Ways that were “Driven by you”, the audience. There’s the topical flying mounts, the Speed runs of dungeons, Portals directly to your desired location, or quests which may be skipped outright, are all ways in which players can simply choose not to play the game that the game makers made for you. And ways that can honestly make playing the game less enjoyable.

In games we like game makers to show us great visuals, but also to make us feel like we worked our way to a new place. Traveling over a rainforest will not give you the same experience or stories you would get traveling through it. Probably wouldn’t give you the same Malaria, either. But it would give you a sense that where you went was exotic and dangerous. “It’s a hard life” going everywhere on foot. Whereas just flying there, or taking a portal, makes you feel like they just put it in a jungle. Contrast this with the system in the first Mass Effect game where you could roam around a nearly empty planet to get to your destination, wich made the shooting galleries you’d enter feel like they were part of a larger world. The Galaxy was much bigger in Mass Effect than in Mass Effect 2.

It’s your fault I’m not a planet anymore.

Speed runs have become my bane of late, as I’ve started a new tank character on a new server. Randoming into a group of dungeon seekers is very similar to going to a car show for only people with really cool cars. While your reason for being there is fairly neutral, you’re pretty sure that you’re going to hate everyone you meet because they are massive A-holes who think they’re the “Princes of the Universe”. As a tank, I’m regularly criticized for not having pulled the first boss in the first fight of the dungeon. Chants of “Pull More” or “Go faster” really irritate me when I’m trying to look around and see what it is the developers made for me. Imagine going to your own birthday party, opening a present and the second the paper is off of one gift, you’re being handed another wrapped one, while people shout “Unwrap faster”. People like that are in need of taking a sledgehammer to the face.

No… that’s not what I… nevermind.

These things, by themselves, aren’t all inherently bad, but can get that way when players make you feel punished for not utilizing them. I sure have the ability to use only ground mounts, but at that point I feel like I’m being treated worse for wanting to play the game the Game makers created. They want me to see the content, and they want you to see the content. They just want “Somebody to love” the content that they painstakingly created for you. The only way to level the field, is to take away those shortcuts that allow you to skip content.

But you really should be ok with that.

No really. You should… There are benefits for playing it this way and it could be “Heaven for Everyone”. Tangible benefits that you will notice. Firstly, the accomplishments you pull off will now feel all the more epic. Without the destruction of Azeroth, we wouldn’t feel like killing Deathwing was a significant event. But in the context of the content, we begin to feel like what we did there was relevant and world changing. The Lich King being a prominent figure all over Northrend really added to the challenge of killing him. That’s why, despite his lower level, Kingslayer is a much grander title, than whatever we got for killing Deathwing (I honestly don’t remember). Plus, you get to do one of those really annoying “I leveled a pally back when it sucked to level a pally” or “I hit 60 with my Tauren before they could mount.” things. And the accomplishment of the hardest fight in the game will feel like more arduous, and more climactic when it isn’t being pulled off regularly by groups as small as 10.

But more than that. Don’t you like the game that the game makers have made? If you really enjoy the part of the game you play, wouldn’t you want to see what else the game makers make that you might also enjoy? Trust their “One vision” and enjoy the game as a whole rather than only trusting one piece. If a musician you loved came out with a new album, would you spurn it and say that you probably wouldn’t enjoy it as it’s so much “Radio ga ga”? Of course you wouldn’t, unless that musician was Garth Brooks.

Not gonna lie… I actually love that album.

But the game makers have put together a piece of art, that should be looked at as a whole. Especially in the case of Warcraft, because there’s simply so much to it, that it could be considered many games in one.

Gotta play ’em all

And finally, there’s the community. There’s something magical about a shared experience. Something that we all go through together. It creates inside jokes. And running gags that we as a community experience.

Warlords of Draenor “IS” the Darkest Timeline

If you’ve ever gone to a convention with other people who like Warcraft, there are tons of shared moments that you can refer to. The same is true of forums, and blog posts, and comment sections of game sites. If you had never played through the Krasarang Wilds quests or could simply fly past them, you’d never get it when I joke that Desco’s wife died giving birth to about 10 million babies. And you wouldn’t gush with my wife about how sad that moment actually was. Made much sadder by the time and effort you and Desco (and the others) put into trying to save her. This shared sense of accomplishment and loss, can build a strong group of people with whom you share common history. The moments when Maiv and Akama team up to defeat Illidan is made much more enjoyable when you know who those people are. And you can have those “OMG, I can’t believe that just happened” moments.

So in conclusion, I urge you to not look at the lack of flying mounts as punishment.

Don’t look at it as a way for the game makers to take away what’s good about the game. Instead, ask yourselves why they’re doing it, and what benefit it can have to you, the gamer, to help you enjoy the game that you already enjoy playing. And more than that… see what you can accomplish, before you’re given the added crutch of Flying Mounts in 6.1. I’m Chad, and I hope you’ve enjoyed my “Bohemian Rhapsody”.

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Chad Tindale is one of the writers for He's half comedian, half observational commentator. A frequent host for MMO related events at Dragon*Con, his excessive personality is almost as much a feature as his information about games.