RNG and Grinds - The two big problems

90 Human Paladin
8235
I've been playing WoW for a while now. I've let my account expire a few times since Cataclysm was released. I re-subbed with MoP, but I'm starting to feel like it may happen again soon.

Overall, MoP is a much better expansion than Cataclysm. The gameplay seems to have been given more thought, and there is a lot of varied content to try out. Most of the classes/specs are fun to play. I like Raid Finder as a concept. The farm was a very good idea. The theme/story is very weak, but that's not enough to make me quit.

Having given it some thought, the problem is that I don't feel like I'm accomplishing anything when I log into the game. And it comes down to two core aspects of the game design: RNG and Grinds.

Obviously, all of the knee-jerk apologists will jump in with "RNG and Grinds have been part of MMOs forever, blah, blah blah".

The point is not so much that these things exist, as it is how they're tuned. There are numerical values involved. You get (x) amount of rep per daily, dungeon, scenario, raid, etc. and (x) amount of VP. You have an (x%) chance of items dropping. Various rare mobs, chests, etc. have a respawn timer set at (x). The weekly VP cap is set at 1000. The VP cost of items is fixed. The same applies to PvP.

It all amounts to this: doing the same thing over and over again, working towards some reward, or hoping that you get lucky. The grinds have been given a much more elaborate design in MoP. It helps a lot with the problem of repetition. But the bottom line is that no matter how many different dailies and activities you put in, you still have to let players have rewards, and feel like they accomplished something.

When you dangle a reward in front of somebody, there is a point at which you lose them. When the grind to get something is sufficiently long, you feel no satisfaction or accomplishment when you finally get there. You're just glad it's over, and pissed that it took so long, and you hate the game for making you do it.

When the drop rate for an item is sufficiently low, you lose interest in even trying for it.

This lack of rewards is becoming more and more obvious in MoP. They lowered the VP cap, and the rate at which you can accumulate VP. They did not lower the cost of items. The drop rate of Raid Finder is so low that it's about as much fun as playing the lottery. The difference is that buying a lottery ticket takes about 1 minute. Raid Finder can take several hours. It's fun the first time when it's new content. After that you need to be getting something out of it. If the drop rate is not increased, your time is better spent farming VP through more efficient means, and then logging out once you've capped for the week.

Simply put, I'm getting tired of playing WoW for many hours a week and getting next to nothing out of it. The progression rate is excruciatingly slow. I have many alts. I would run them all through the same content if the rewards were much more frequent, and it was easier to get gear. Instead, they sit idle while I try to stick to one character, still making very little progress.

This character has a blue 463 weapon and a blue 463 trinket 6 months into the expansion. I got it to 90 within a few days of release, and have played it consistently. I've killed the Council of Elders in ToT 4 times in the last few days, used Runes every time, for a total of 6 rolls. Nothing. The Blacksmithing items will unlock 3 or 4 weeks after the patch, then it will likely take another several weeks to grind up the ridiculous mats for the crafted weapons. And that's just one example.

I'm just about done with WoW, once again.
Edited by Rathlight on 3/20/2013 5:19 AM PDT
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90 Gnome Warrior
13000
When the drop rate for an item is sufficiently low, you lose interest in even trying for it.


Actually, I feel this may be a case of YOU lose interest in low drop rate items. Many people enjoy low drop rate items and farming for them i.e. Ashes of Alar and other mounts as well as items like Thunderfury, etc. It's the carrot on the stick that pushes us forward KNOWING that at some point, we WILL beat the "RNG gods".

And alts were NEVER truly meant to be 'equal' characters with our mains. This happened mostly in Late Wrath/Cataclysm when we had so little content and too much time. Pandaria requires a more time intensive investment in our mains so yes, our alts may sit out for a bit. But I don't really see anything wrong with that myself.

My alts all have maxed out profs even if they AREN'T at max level but that's why I want them. So maybe my perspective is a bit different.
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90 Human Paladin
8235
03/20/2013 05:24 AMPosted by Huggywuggles
When the drop rate for an item is sufficiently low, you lose interest in even trying for it.


Actually, I feel this may be a case of YOU lose interest in low drop rate items. Many people enjoy low drop rate items and farming for them i.e. Ashes of Alar and other mounts as well as items like Thunderfury, etc. It's the carrot on the stick that pushes us forward KNOWING that at some point, we WILL beat the "RNG gods".


That's fine for mounts and so forth. When it comes to current gear, which equals character progression at max level, there is a point at which the time/reward ratio becomes utterly un-fun.


And alts were NEVER truly meant to be 'equal' characters with our mains. This happened mostly in Late Wrath/Cataclysm when we had so little content and too much time. Pandaria requires a more time intensive investment in our mains so yes, our alts may sit out for a bit. But I don't really see anything wrong with that myself.

My alts all have maxed out profs even if they AREN'T at max level but that's why I want them. So maybe my perspective is a bit different.


It definitely is. The peak of WoW was ICC/RS in WotLK, in terms of subscribers. They have done several things to kill the game. The revamped leveling in Cataclysm was supposed to encourage alts. But they destroyed the point of having alts because they killed off pug raiding by making 10 and 25 the same loot and lockout, and tried to force everybody into raiding with their guild only through the new guild system.

Now you've got a situation in MoP where guilds and pugs are looking for an item level you can't realistically attain without raiding Normal mode to begin with, because the drop rate of Raid Finder is so abysmally low, and VP is doled out at a trickle.

When it was easy to get geared to raid and there were more raiding options (separate 10 and 25), people were playing the game like mad, and had multiple well-geared alts. Now people are just losing interest and giving up.

I think back to the fact that you could buy your entire 10-man 4-piece Tier set with emblems in WotLK and chuckle. And the 5-mans dropped purples.

Now you have Justice Points that were TOTALLY worthless from the get-go, and you can't even get last tier's gear with them. Whoever is making these decisions is completely clueless.
Edited by Rathlight on 3/20/2013 5:53 AM PDT
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90 Tauren Druid
19270
That's fine for mounts and so forth. When it comes to current gear, which equals character progression at max level, there is a point at which the time/reward ratio becomes utterly un-fun.


Yes but if you got geared in a week why would you still play?

It's the same reasoning behind the rng nature of normal and heroic mode drops as well. You could go for weeks without getting something in normal raiding, same difference in LFR as well.

It's there to keep you playing. We saw the kind of philosophy in ICC and ToC in wrath... people got geared, then either quit out of boredom or QQed that they couldn't get into heroic raiding because it was too hard and they'd completed the easy mode of raiding (10 man normals at the time.. 10 man heroic was equal to 25 man normal in Ilevel and difficulty)
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90 Gnome Warrior
13000
Now you've got a situation in MoP where guilds and pugs are looking for an item level you can't realistically attain without raiding Normal mode to begin with


And it's very easy to get into Normal Mode raiding. The direct progression route is normal>heroic>normal mode raiding. Granted MANY guilds want you to have LFR gear but the ONLY thing that has changed about that is the way things are rolled for. You're rolling ONLY against 'the system' and not against everyone and their brother. Drop rates are still relatively reasonable.
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90 Human Paladin
8235
03/20/2013 05:51 AMPosted by Waraila
That's fine for mounts and so forth. When it comes to current gear, which equals character progression at max level, there is a point at which the time/reward ratio becomes utterly un-fun.


Yes but if you got geared in a week why would you still play?


See my above post. If you get geared enough to get INTO raids, you will do raids. You will also level alts, and gear those. That's what millions and millions of people used to do before Cataclysm.

It's the same reasoning behind the rng nature of normal and heroic mode drops as well. You could go for weeks without getting something in normal raiding, same difference in LFR as well.

It's there to keep you playing. We saw the kind of philosophy in ICC and ToC in wrath... people got geared, then either quit out of boredom or QQed that they couldn't get into heroic raiding because it was too hard and they'd completed the easy mode of raiding (10 man normals at the time.. 10 man heroic was equal to 25 man normal in Ilevel and difficulty)


More to the point, do you think I need you to tell me it's (supposedly) there to keep people playing? That was my whole point. They THINK that's what they're doing, but they're actually making people quit.
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90 Human Paladin
8235
Drop rates are still relatively reasonable.


LOL. Sorry, nothing to say but LOL.
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90 Blood Elf Paladin
SWC
18960
There are valor purchases for both pants and trinkets. Why haven't you bought them? There's also a 493 pvp weapon that can be easily obtained since 5.2 came out, why not buy that?
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90 Night Elf Priest
5045
Grinding... in an MMO.... you don't say?
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03/20/2013 05:51 AMPosted by Waraila
Yes but if you got geared in a week why would you still play?


Flip that around. If the expac/patch is over, the games moved on, you did everything you could within the limits of the caps and limits, and still weren't geared...why would you play?

Sadly, "not being geared", i.e. "rewarded" is all too common. People, friends "not playing" is also getting all to common.

03/20/2013 05:52 AMPosted by Huggywuggles
And it's very easy to get into Normal Mode raiding.


Actually, that's not true. Low pop servers, not true at all. High pop servers, especially for DPS classes, usually have iLv and experience requirements. Those pugs that don't...generally don't get anywhere. It's a "chicken and egg" thing, they want you to have a minimum iLv to raid, but if you're having lousy RNG in LFR...you can't get there without raiding, or spending week after week grinding VP. With the low VP, that cuts you out for weeks, and the clock on the content is running. Ditto for example "Straight Six" often used as a discriminator...can't get it without having it.

Entire game revolves around gear. Somewhere along the line, especially as they keep throwing more and more neat nifty items into the game (most of which you look at, go "cool, shiny!", and promptly delete/vender) they've lost sight of what is "needed" and what is, or should be a truly sought after "luxury" item requiring endless grinding and open-ended RNG.
Edited by Jamesfisk on 3/20/2013 6:31 AM PDT
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90 Night Elf Priest
5045
03/20/2013 06:29 AMPosted by Jamesfisk
Yes but if you got geared in a week why would you still play?


Flip that around. If the expac/patch is over, the games moved on, you did everything you could within the limits of the caps and limits, and still weren't geared...why would you play?

Sadly, "not being geared", i.e. "rewarded" is all too common. People, friends "not playing" is also getting all to common.

And it's very easy to get into Normal Mode raiding.


Actually, that's not true. Low pop servers, not true at all. High pop servers, especially for DPS classes, usually have iLv and experience requirements. Those pugs that don't...generally don't get anywhere. It's a "chicken and egg" thing, they want you to have a minimum iLv to raid, but if you're having lousy RNG in LFR...you can't get there without raiding, or spending week after week grinding VP. With the low VP, that cuts you out for weeks, and the clock on the content is running. Ditto for example "Straight Six" often used as a discriminator...can't get it without having it.

Entire game revolves around gear. Somewhere along the line, especially as they keep throwing more and more neat nifty items into the game (most of which you look at, go "cool, shiny!", and promptly delete/vender) they've lost sight of what is "needed" and what is, or should be a truly sought after "luxury" item requiring endless grinding and open-ended RNG.


Funny, I thought there were so many more things to do.

I've been playing the game wrong.
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90 Gnome Warrior
13000
Actually, that's not true. Low pop servers, not true at all. High pop servers, especially for DPS classes, usually have iLv and experience requirements. Those pugs that don't...generally don't get anywhere. It's a "chicken and egg" thing, they want you to have a minimum iLv to raid, but if you're having lousy RNG in LFR...you can't get there without raiding, or spending week after week grinding VP. With the low VP, that cuts you out for weeks, and the clock on the content is running. Ditto for example "Straight Six" often used as a discriminator...can't get it without having it.


Low Pop servers are in a bind, there's no denying. But there is a website, Openraid.us (I think) that can help alleviate that. It sucks to have to go to a 3rd party website, but it's still a tool.

High Pop servers should have enough (by definition) for PuGs to be forming. Hell, I'm STILL seeing MSV pugs forming on my realm.

Point is, there ARE alternatives other than raiding guilds. You can't blame Blizzard if people aren't using them.
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90 Orc Rogue
9445
03/20/2013 05:56 AMPosted by Rathlight
Drop rates are still relatively reasonable.


LOL. Sorry, nothing to say but LOL.


=\

You'll have like a 90% + chance to see loot each week in LFR at the current rates - (once all 4 wings are out) - assuming you never once use a charm. What is unreasonable about that? Even after that, and factoring extra rolls from charms, you STILL have VP to fill in anything missing and / or upgrade further.

I mean, am I missing something here?
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90 Tauren Druid
9425
OP: Here's what I think is going on with you. You've reached level 90. You're doing LFR. LFR is all that you've done. But there's no fun, joy, accomplishment or community in LFR. You queue in hoping to get some gear, and if you don't get gear, you queue again.

There's nothing wrong with RNG, but there is something wrong with playing RNG solely for gear.

No different than gambling. If I play blackjack and the only satisfaction I get is if I come out ahead at the end of the night, blackjack is going to be a very, very unsatisfying game. In fact, I'll hate it, because RNG is up against me. But if I sit at a table with some friends, joke around with the other people around the table, have fun with the dealer ... then I'll enjoy it when I lose, and enjoy a little more when I win.

When the drop rate for an item is sufficiently low, you lose interest in even trying for it.


Tell that to people who farm rare mounts.

When it was easy to get geared to raid and there were more raiding options (separate 10 and 25), people were playing the game like mad, and had multiple well-geared alts. Now people are just losing interest and giving up.


That's a pretty broad generalization. Wrath was the time when I had the most geared toons -- by the time ToC was out, I had a prot warrior geared through Ulduar, with some ToC pieces, this druid geared enough to heal ToC, and a Warlock who I could bring into Uduar to dps ... but I was still raiding two-three nights a week and that's it.
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90 Draenei Shaman
11540
03/20/2013 05:56 AMPosted by Rathlight
Drop rates are still relatively reasonable.


LOL. Sorry, nothing to say but LOL.


Don't know exactly why you would be laughing at something that is an understatement at least. Drop rates are not only reasonable, but probably bordering being too high. It's so easy to gear up right now it's ridiculous. The only people that should be saying LOL, is the people in this post seeing you complain about them.
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90 Night Elf Priest
5045
03/20/2013 06:49 AMPosted by Violentntent


LOL. Sorry, nothing to say but LOL.


Don't know exactly why you would be laughing at something that is an understatement at least. Drop rates are not only reasonable, but probably bordering being too high. It's so easy to gear up right now it's ridiculous. The only people that should be saying LOL, is the people in this post seeing you complain about them.


I definitely agree. I'm grumpy about getting dps gear, but I certainly get quite a bit and it's not slow going, and after doing a week and half worth of dailies, I have more than enough valor and rep to fill in the blanks by friday.

People are just too fussy.
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90 Night Elf Druid
7730
I agree with the OP, the drop rates are too low. But given Blizzard's mission to keep progression as slow as possible this expansion (due to their failures last expansion) I fear we'll have to wait until 6.0 before they learn that they overdid it again.

Since this topic is so dear to Blizzard, I expect they CMs are being instructed to use their shadow accounts again to "guide" the dialogue in a manner that either kills the conversation or derails it using mantras like "RNG is RNG" or "I got mine, it's just you".
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90 Human Paladin
3540
03/20/2013 05:51 AMPosted by Waraila
Yes but if you got geared in a week why would you still play?


False premise, you're assuming the RNG is the only thing that's making gearing time-consuming. No, it just introduces an element of chaos in gearing. It's actually the flip side of your coin, RNG loot permits gearing in a week. That's RNG.

So with RNG based loot, you're stuck with players that can be geared in a week saying how "there's nothing to do" and players that never get the gear they want (Judgement Gloves/Breastplate, how do I still not have you in my bags after all these years ?).

However, if you remove that chaotic element of RNG from gearing (tokens is one way to lessen it, not remove it, I loathe you prince for taking 5 years to finally drop my Helmet token while I was there), you provide an essentive for players to actually follow the carrot, knowing they'll catch it eventually.

A completely point based system rewards indiscriminately Time and Effort. If you put in the time and effort, you'll get the reward. It'll take the same time as the guy next to you, the same participation, the same effort. No more of "Trial gets phat loots, guy raiding for 6 months still can't get half his pieces because they don't drop".

And guess what ? You want to say this is faster ? *BZZZZZT*. Point caps/item prices/point rewards can be... *gasp* wait for it... TUNED. Precisely tuned at that, so that players finally get their final piece with 2-3 weeks to spare on the current content before new content comes in. It also introduces an amount of strategizing purchases to get the biggest upgrades first, but without waiting too long on more expensive pieces because you won't progress in the mean time.

There. Simple. Not faster, much more rewarding, no-frustration gearing. All point based.
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35 Troll Rogue
16655
There are valor purchases for both pants and trinkets. Why haven't you bought them? There's also a 493 pvp weapon that can be easily obtained since 5.2 came out, why not buy that?


First of all, 493 PVP weapons are inferior to the same ilvl PVE weapons (and are several ilvls below current 502 LFR weapons). It is all based on their secondary stats (agility and base weapon dps are the same).

Example:

1. 493 PVP Longbow
Total secondary stats: 793 Crit = 793 secondary stats

http://www.wowhead.com/item=91107/tyrannical-gladiators-longbow

2. 491 PVE Gun (LFR 483 twice upgraded -- note 2 ilvls BELOW the PVP weapon):
Total secondary stats: 697 Haste + 758 Mastery = 1,455 secondary stats

http://www.wowhead.com/item=86889

Second, to buy a 493 weapon, you need to earn 7,250 Conquest Points this season. Without rated BG's, you can earn a maximum of 1800 a week from random BG's and low rated arena play. You can also get 350 per week doing the new Isle of Thunder pvp dailies. For a non-pvp'ers, this is just another grind to add to the others the OP is already talking about.

Instead, just add Valor Point PVE weapons. Both PVE'ers and PVP'ers can pick them up and use them as they choose (b/c PVEing with inferior PVP weapons is no fun). Weapons and trinkets seem to be the main reason people keep on schlepping through the same LFR's over and over. At least there are multiple Valor Point trinket alternatives. The same cannot be said for weapons.

It would also help to solve the problem that you cannot receive off-spec weapons in LFR. As it currently is, you have people q'ing for LFR as the wrong spec to get off spec loot (like Boomkins and Spriests q'ing as heals, but staying as boom and shadow to get dps drops), which messes up the LFR group.
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I'm feeling the op. I'm not sure what the solutions should be but the problems yes. Was WoW always a casino game in disguise but I didn't realize it or has it just become that recently?

The only two things I can think of (there MUST be others) that are sure things are quest rewards and planting vegetable seeds on your farm: do this and you WILL get this. Everything else is a lotto ticket. I feel like playing WoW is running around pulling on varied iterations of one-armed bandits.
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