Is the Brawler’s Guild Great, Awful, Or A Bit Of Both?

We’ve never seen anything like the Brawler’s Guild in WoW. And that means no-one’s quite sure what to make of it.

Is it the best thing since sliced bread? We’ve heard that it is. Is it the worst thing since sliced – er – people? We’ve heard that too.

Today Apple Cider’s weighing in with a long, thoughtful post that concludes that, well, it’s a bit of both – but mostly a brave new step for WoW

” When Blizzard first announced this feature, I was excited. I loved soloing things! I really enjoyed being able to outlive and survive something incredibly big. Even though I was slightly squishy on my mage, I was a pretty veteran player and could keep up. I even had entire alts developed towards being able to solo stuff as well. The idea of being a non-traditional (see: Not a Death Knight) soloer is something I’ve always enjoyed.

Then all the drawbacks came in – invites would be sold via the Black Market Auction House. It would be open to a very select group of people at first. It was difficult in nature. It would be a queued line. And originally, that it had spectators and they were allowed to toss buffs or debuffs at you. This made me lose all interest in competing at first. The idea that your skill mattered very little if you were someone that would earn a lot of buffs or debuffs galled me in terms of having it be pure display of your ability to solo stuff. Having spectators made me a little queasy in terms of possible jeering as well. Thankfully, they removed the buffs/debuffs thing early on, but it still left a bad taste in my mouth. This wasn’t necessarily the soloing challenge I had in mind, and it seemed to me that it was geared towards a different sort of people. An affluent, fairly well-geared person that enjoyed putting on a show. It was very gladiatorial in that aspect and I never considered myself as such. So in my mind, it would attract at first just the top-end raider types on my server who made most of their gold selling heroic Deathwing mount runs or something of that nature. I’d never be able to afford an invite, I’d never get in, and if I did, I’d be boo’ed to hell and back.

Curiously, I found myself sitting at the Black Market Auction House even still, chasing around bids as they spiraled up and up. I managed to scoot away with one for 60k, very pricey for the privilege of getting in on this on the first day, but with the same feeling of excitement nonetheless. What was wrong with me? Didn’t I already eschew the idea of the people getting into the Brawler’s Guild?”

Apple Cider tells the rest of her story – from the highs of the first days to the low of griefers and idiots arriving – and comes to some very interesting conclusions.

So, what do you think about the Brawler’s Guild so far?

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WoW 5.1 Controversies: Brawler’s Guild, Ore Drop Rates, Stealth Nerfs

Is WoW 5.1 great? Or is it awful?

We’re hearing both sides of the argument at the moment, on a wide variety of issues. Stealth nerfs to ore drop rates and some classes? Brawler’s Guild? We’ve already covered some of these discussions in our Friday 5.1 roundup – but here’s the latest…

  • Saxsy is extremely unhappy about both the ore drop nerf and the apparently huge stealth nerf to Fire mages“The nerf effectively removes thirteen item levels from my equipment. My 486 item level that was one of the best in my raid group’s? Now it’s no better than 473, which is probably someone they could pick up from LookingForGroup or Trade.”
  • Big Bear Butt speaks up about the Brawler’s Guild – and in contrast to Grumpy Elf on Friday, he’s absolutely loving it, and tells us why“Seriously folks, it is exactly how I pictured it. Except, I was having too much fun queueing and cheering people on to leave my desk for another beer.”
  • Big Bear Butt also speaks up on the ore drop rate nerf, and his feelings are dramatically different – he loves it“And now, they’re clearly paying attention to the desires of those who make the Auction House and game economy their playstyle, and despite it meaning it’ll be a teeny bit harder for me to go out and get my own mats when I want them, to me it means the opposite of “Blizzard hates the players”.”
  • And Faris goes over all the changes (although not the stealth nerfs) and gives a point-by-point opinion on each“Since 5.1 came out on Tuesday, I’ve probably spent a good 8-10 hours down in the Brawler’s Guild. Best part? I don’t even have an invitation yet. “

What do you think? Were the ore nerfs warranted? Does the Brawler’s Guild rule?

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WoW Patch 5.1: Blogger Reactions

Yes, the Fastest Patch In The West is out – and it brought class changes, new questlines, Brawler’s Guild, and more.

So what did the assembled minds of the MMO Blogosphere think?

  • The Grumpy Elf is spectacularly unhappy with the queue-tastic implementation of the Brawler’s Guild“The waiting factor was a step back but gathering massive amounts of people and giving them a venue to spew all their hatred at other people is… unspeakable.”
  • The Godmother explains why so many features of this patch have come as a total surprise“I’ve read various interviews on how Blizz Dev’s hate the dataminers: it removes an element of surprise from events that they work hard to create dramatic tension and conflict within.”
  • Lorehound looks at the relationship between too little and too much content“But lately I’ve been seeing discussion among players that is a complete 180 — allegations of too much content. “
  • Shy feels that the new PvP focus means she doesn’t feel like a hero any more“I don’t even feel like a hero with the dailies anymore. In fact this entire expansion doesn’t feel as if the players get to be the hero. It feels as if we’re all soldiers, playing our little parts, but nobody stands out.”
  • And Lono praises MoP in general for bringing choice back into the game” Choice as to what you want to do a particular evening (battle pets, crafting, raids, dungeons, challenges,pvp…) and choice in how you get there. You actually have so control over how to progress through Pandaria this time around.”

What do you think of Patch 5.1 so far?

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Controversy Watch: WvWvW, SWTOR F2P, Brawler’s Guild, More

A few weeks ago I was saying that the MMORPG blogosphere was quiet.

Ah, I remember those days.

Right now, there are tons of interesting debates to get your teeth into – from the WoW Brawler’s Guild (Cash For Features SCANDAL!) to Guild Wars 2’s wobbling WvWvW populations (PvPers in server desertion SHOCKER!). So, who’s saying what, and do you think they’re right or wrong?

SWTOR Free To Play

  • Joe at Corellian Run Radio posts a thorough analysis of the heavy Free To Play restrictions coming in SWTOR, saying that they’re going to force-choke the game” I make this prediction – the number of players will jump through the roof next week. The activity will be VERY high for three months. The revenue will roll in. And, just like launch, after those three months revenue will tank as the active player count falls.”

Guild Wars 2 WvWvW Numbers

This one’s a new controversy – with easy server moves and top PvP guilds jumping from one Guild Wars server to another, will the game’s uber-PvP mode cope?

  • Jeromai looks into the implications for his own server of some of the most major PvP guilds leaving for distant shores“Is it unhealthy, in the sense that these multi-game-spanning guilds are more focused on their own communities and less about fostering -server- communities?”
  • And Healing The Masses sounds an optimistic note for WvWvW from their own experience“I think the system in place will do well over the coming months especially after the server populations settle down and guesting is enacted so people can’t bunny hop around to the better servers in WvW. “

Guild Wars 2 One-Time Events

The furore over GW2’s one-time events has mostly subsided, but there are still interesting things to discuss about it…

  • Bernard Parsnip responds to the one-time events’ fiercest critic, Azuriel, saying that publicity reasons justify’s decision to run one-time gameplay“Guild Wars 2 is a new game that is not based on a well-known IP. It NEEDS this press coverage. Furthermore, the business model relies on front-loading revenues from players, so continually growing the player base is crucial until the RMT shop can pay for the overheads of the game.”

WoW Dailies And Grinding

  • Big Bear Butt complained about dailies and gearing up – but then practical experience has shown him that it’s actually comparatively easy to get raid-geared in MoP“If you’re a new raider, it does not take that long to get to where you need to be to get started. I just proved it. And once you’re getting drops from the raids that are now being released, you WILL get items of such higher iLevel that the LFR stuff will be massive downgrades.”
  • And The Godmother is looking at alts, and how she and other players will level them and prioritise them with all the grinding“The shift has been subtle, but it has been noticeable. Alts are likely to be left by the wayside by many except those with a huge amount of time and patience. Its not just about the achievements either, there are a lot of choices bound up with the way the current system is being weighted.”

WoW: Brawler’s Guild

  • Typhoon Andrew defends the design choices Blizzard are making with the Brawler’s Guild, including their invitation policy“New gameplay is asked for constantly, so anything which adds options without placing a highly prohibitive barrier is good.”
  • And Rohan looks specifically at the Guild’s content gating – high AH prices – arguing that it’s never been tried, and is worth experimenting with“To my mind, selling the Invitations on the BMAH might not be the best possible idea, but it might be the one with the least side-effects, and thus, the least-worst idea.”

Bullying and Unpleasant Players

So, let us know – what do you think?

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Brawler’s Guild Invitation Controversy: Blogger Reaction Roundup

The “Brawler’s Guild” feature in WoW Patch 5.1 sounds great, everyone agrees – with just one major drawback. Invitations to the Guild will be a matter of being the richest player – as they’re being sold on the Black Market Auction House.

A lot of bloggers are reacting to this news – some of them think it’s an awful idea, whilst others believe everything will be OK…

  • Blizzard themselves have responded to the building controversy, and Olivia Grace gives us commentary on their response” It felt so wrong that an achievement like that should be associated with gold. But their explanation of the lack of instancing just doesn’t seem to fly.”
  • Big Bear Butt has an alternative suggestion for how Brawler’s Guild invitations might be limited – and frankly, it sounds much better“Humanoid NPCs that may be out in the world. If they were invited to come to the brawlers Guild but hadn’t traveled there yet, wouldn’t that make them challenging, powerful, deadly opponents in possession of an invitation when looted?”
  • The Godmother lays out her concerns with the invitation system, and just why she believes tying the invites to gold is a disasterous idea“I hate to break it to you, but there are people with enough money and clout on servers to make exactly what you’re saying a reality. I’m also betting these people won’t simply capitalise on this, they’ll exploit it to the absolute max. “
  • 15 Minutes of WoW goes against the general tide of discussion, saying that the invitation system will only be a problem very briefly” It is unlikely that anyone who cares about gaining access will have to wait more than a week or two, if that long. With this rapid accessibility, the cost of the actual purchased access will plummet in mere days”
  • And The Grumpy Elf loves the idea of the Brawler’s Guild, but is even more grumpy than usual about its implementation” In a mmo you should never have something that you need to form a line to do. It is not in the spirit of multi player games.”

From the point of view of a skilled Auction House player, I’m STILL not very convinced by this plan. Big Bear Butt’s idea of giving the invitations to challenging NPCs seems like a much better way to limit invitations whilst keeping the feel of the Guild consistent.

What do you think? Storm in a teacup or disaster waiting to happen?

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Drama, Brawling, How Average is Average, and How To Understand Stamina – WoW Roundup

It’s been a busy couple of days for WoW, with everything from the LFR Debate to news filtering out of the Public Test Realm faster and faster. So, if you want more brain-food for your WoW, from the troubles that Stamina causes top theorycrafters to an impassioned argument for opening up the Brawler’s Guild, here we go…

  • Theck writes a fascinating – if somewhat mathsy – explanation of why understand Stamina’s effectiveness for tanks is actually a huge unsolved problem“If you model a “perfect” healer, the tank almost never dies. So you want to model an “imperfect” healer, because tanks tend to die when someone makes a mistake (healer or tank). But how do you model “bad” play when that sort of play is inherently inconsistent and varies from player to player and encounter to encounter?”
  • The Godmother boggles at players who want the old LFR looting system back – because they miss the drama“What I find incredible is that if someone in the Real World went to the amount of trouble Blizzard have to improve people’s quality of life, they’d get a lot less grief and a lot more general acceptance for their efforts. It just goes to show, you can’t keep everyone happy, even if you do your best.”
  • The Grumpy Elf attempted to estimate the average competence of LFR players – With Science! (Sort of)“I wonder what the other 15 DPS would think if they knew that the person that finished #2 was a tank with all tank type gear playing cat for the first time in ages pressing only 1 button the entire fight.”
  • And Olivia Grace argues against the current intention to sell off Brawler’s Guild invitations to gold barons and AH players“The part that I find most objectionable about this proposed change is that those who have the invitations can hold other players ransom for access to the Brawler’s Guild. “

I honestly don’t know what the right way to jump on the Brawler’s Guild is – although I agree, it seems somewhat unfair to limit it only to players with huge amounts of in-game gold. Still, as the invitations are one-way, I’m not sure how long the gates would hold – I recall how easy it became to aquire Gmail invitations, back in the day…

What do you think?

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