Episode #67 – Everything Hunters With Timecop & Raziya + Black Lotus Chat

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Hunters! Listen up! Countdown To Classic comes at you this week with an interview with two of the best in the business for another entry of our general class overviews.

Josh puts Timecop and Raziya on the hot seat as they answer a barrage of questions all about their thoughts on the perception of the class today, whether or not there’s a use for the Survival spec, and Hunter PvP dominance, amongst others.

After that, Josh takes a quick call all about the Black Lotus and the farming mayhem that may be coming with what will likely be one of the more highly sought after items of WoW: Classic.

Highlights Below:

  • In Depth Interview – 3:00
  • Anger Management – 1:37:30
  • Memory Lane – 1:41:25
  • Calling Countdown – 1:52:00
  • Shout Outs & Show News – 2:05:45

 

Find Raziya The Ravager at YouTube here: https://www.youtube.com/user/BrutalDoomguy

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Directly download here:

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Also listen @ Spotify here (Spotify takes a couple of hours to upload after posting, check back later if not there):

https://open.spotify.com/show/38mHWjscNorJr7OFeNu8X5?si=c6JKxJeSRCeLQPSIlKJL8w

Or @ iTunes (As above, can take a short while to upload after posting):

https://itunes.apple.com/au/podcast/countdown-to-classic/id1352967778

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Send your Memory Lane stories, Anger Management rants or just say hello to Josh at feedback@countdowntoclassic.com or get in touch on social media:

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8 thoughts on “Episode #67 – Everything Hunters With Timecop & Raziya + Black Lotus Chat”

  1. My very first character in Vanilla was a hunter but I never got him past level 15. I think a lot of classes were victims of unfair stereotypes back in the day, especially the hunter. There seems to be less of that in retail today even though flavor-of-the-month characters are bigger than ever. I’ve never thought Hunter looked very fun to play in a raid, or most group PvE settings for that matter, but they always intrigued me from the PvP perspective. Playing a hunter becomes incredibly complicated when you face human opponents and I’ve always respected people that could handle themselves on the battleground.

    As for farming, I absolutely understand where you guest is coming from concerning snowball effects from small changes. However, I think most of us would agree that farming is a massive problem on private servers that we don’t particularly want to see in Classic. Despite the obvious annoyances of things like Black Lotus and Dire Maul farming, it has the potential to really hurt new players and really mess with the economy from the get-go.

    When most of us think of the Vanilla experience it doesn’t include game breaking exploits, unfair farming, and massively competitive camping on top of nodes. I find it hard to sympathize with the “no-changes” crowd for that very reason. Between having already played through Vanilla and pumping hundreds of hours into private servers, we have learned so much about the game that it will undoubtedly change our play style. Shaking things up in small ways like changing the Black Lotus spawn has the counter-intuitive potential to retain the Vanilla atmosphere, even if it’s not a carbon copy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “Shaking things up in small ways like changing the Black Lotus spawn has the counter-intuitive potential to retain the Vanilla atmosphere, even if it’s not a carbon copy.”

      Yeah for like…..half a week until someone maps the new Black Lotus spawn system and posts it on the internet.

      I’m sympathetic to the idea of making subtle changes to shake things up. I am just supremely unconvinced it will have the effect its advocates are hoping for. The problem keeping us from recreating the “feel” of vanilla WoW as a new place is how much more organized the internet is, not memory of the quest and mob locations.

      If Vanilla WoW were a brand new game published today, and we had no memories of it whatsoever, the game would still be “solved” in a tiny fraction of the time it took us to figure things out back in the day.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. If I remember correctly Nostalrius changed the Black Lotus spawns and it went over very well. It took much longer than half a week for people to find them all, although I’m assuming your estimate was hyperbolic. Even more time passed before that information really made it’s way to the general population. Even after that point, the hundreds of players were no longer camped within 50 feet of each other trying to grab the same spawns. They were forced to spread out and roam, forcing them to actually pay attention to the game and interact with the world. Private servers aren’t Vanilla, nor will they be the Classic experience either, but if you’ve listened to the other episodes then you know that Blizzard has been taking Nostalrius’es advice pretty seriously, and I see no reason for them not to consider this.

        As you (sort of?) pointed out, Classic can’t be Vanilla because of the new way gamers approach MMOs and the fact that so much more information is accessible to the average player. This likely means we’ll see more high level, competitive players in Classic than Vanilla, which in turn is more competition for things like Black Lotus. That makes broken and poorly thought out spawns a much bigger issue than they already were. Why not try to fix those little issues for the next wave of players, especially when we both seem to agree that the experience will be different anyway?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. “I’m assuming your estimate was hyperbolic. ”

        It was, but not by much. With respect, I think you’re significantly underestimating how much organized effort would be put to studying changes in official classic servers over illegal private servers. There’s a significant amount of money on the line. Youtube accounts, online guides, Icy-Veins, everyone would be chomping at the bit to offer the first comprehensive guide to the farming changes in classic in ways that just aren’t the case for private servers.

        Though if we were to alter Classic to try and fix this problem, I would suggest fundamental changes to how mats and mobs spawn in the first place. Mob credit sharing outside of group and multiple characters harvesting the same Star Moss in Retail were implemented for a reason and I think a variation of those changes are much more likely to fix the problem that a shuffling of spawn locations.

        “if you’ve listened to the other episodes then you know that Blizzard has been taking Nostalrius’es advice pretty seriously, and I see no reason for them not to consider this.”

        I don’t know about that. We know they were interested in Nostalrius’ experiences, but it wasn’t until after that meeting took place that they even chose a development team for classic. How can we know how much the final team selections care about Nostalrius’ solutions, and even if they care, how can we know if they agree with them? Nostalrius or no, Blizzard is still Blizzard and they have a tendency to do things their own way, and only admit mistake after that choice has already failed. Regardless of which one of us is correct, I’m skeptical that too much of what happened on the private servers is going to significantly shape classic.

        ” That makes broken and poorly thought out spawns a much bigger issue than they already were. Why not try to fix those little issues for the next wave of players, especially when we both seem to agree that the experience will be different anyway?”

        I’m not universally opposed to changes in SUCH a strict way. As I said, I’m sympathetic to this particular goal. Though frankly, I’m not entirely convinced that it will necessarily be such a big problem. We don’t know what the population of classic will be like, nor how many servers they’ll have, nor what the player makeup will look like. On a private server, the “hardcore” to “casual” ratio is very extreme. In a publicly released Blizzard product, that ratio will be very, very different. On privates, you have 50% of the player base knowing how to farm those items, and they’re all on the same server. Depending on how things work out in official Classic, that could be down to 5% hardcores, spread out amongst a dozen servers, so without changing anything in the game at all you significantly fix the problem the private server has just by how you put together your official product.

        It’s a unique project being attempted here. It may require in turn unique solutions to unique problems. The only thing I would discourage is using altering game design as your first solution to a problem, and when you do so, be extremely cautious. Few gameplay alterations have no unintended consequences.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I don’t disagree about the monetization of information being a bigger factor in Classic than private servers, but I think you kind of contradict yourself later by saying that there will be a lot more casual players in Classic. Anyway, the intent behind changing Black Lotus spawns isn’t to shroud it in mystery forever, but to change how it’s farmed. Myself and many others don’t like the idea of players being able to run to the corner store while camped out in one or two locations while waiting for something to spawn. I’d rather people have to wander the world and actually play the game in order to collect their materials, even if it’s slightly easier in the end for dedicated farmers.

        Sharing monster kill credit outside of groups is a quality of life addition that I would be very upset to see in Classic as I think it fundamentally changes how the game feels and would require quests to be completely reworked. Allowing multiple simultaneous harvests of a material node on the other hand isn’t something I want to all together discredit, but I’d caution against it for the same reason. I think I’d rather see more nodes further away from one another than less nodes spawning less frequently but allowing multiple harvests. Even though simultaneous use might allow more people to harvest the herb, it doesn’t fix the fundamental problem of things like the Black Lotus.

        It’s also true that nobody, myself included, really knows what’s going on over at Blizzard. However, I do feel pretty sure in saying that private servers like Nostalrius will have an impact on the final product of Classic. In the interviews it seemed like Blizzard was very interested in how they ran their servers from front to back end, and I know that a lot of Blizzard employees, potentially those now working on Classic, were/are private server players themselves, if they weren’t recruited straight from those projects. We won’t know know for awhile (hopefully Blizzcon) where Blizzard stands with a lot of these issues, but my point was that I can’t see any reason for Blizzard not to entertain the idea of changing Black Lotus spawns unless they’ve already chosen to go full no-changes on everything.

        I’m not sure I completely agree that more casual players will lessen the impact of things like Black Lotus overall. Less players might be using flasks, but if the pocket of those high levels are effected by the change in the economy, whose to say that won’t be felt by the lowbies?

        In the grand scheme of things, Black Lotus is pretty small potatoes, but it’s something that I would feel comfortable with them fixing in order to make Vanilla feel a little more cohesive and finished, which I think is important to retaining players outside of the “5% hardcore” crowd you’ve estimated we can expect on each server. I absolutely agree that Blizzard needs to be very careful about the unintended consequences of changes made to the game, but my hope is that a small fix like this could be tested pretty easily in beta. I understand the “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it” mentality, but, I personally think there’s a lot about Vanilla that’s broken.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. “I don’t disagree about the monetization of information being a bigger factor in Classic than private servers, but I think you kind of contradict yourself later by saying that there will be a lot more casual players in Classic. ”

        How? There are more casual players in retail, and there is a higher monetization of information in retail. What I’m describing is how things currently are, evidenced by just looking at the current state of WoW. There’s a giant pool of casual players milling about not knowing what they’re doing in the bottom tier. A top tier of players who have mastered the game, and a mid tier of players desperately digging for the information they need to join the top tier. Private servers have no bottom tier. Classic servers will. That there will be a lot of casual players doesn’t effect sites like Icy-Veins because they were never the customers in the first place, the mid tier players were.

        “In the interviews it seemed like Blizzard was very interested in how they ran their servers from front to back end”

        Blizzard says….. a lot of things in interviews. I suppose we’ll have to chalk this up to you taking them at their word far more than I do. I would attribute a fair bit of this interview rhetoric to it being what the audience in question wants to hear. Though this boils down to speculation of true motives of someone not here to speak for themselves so it’s obviously a dead end of a conversation topic.

        “’m not sure I completely agree that more casual players will lessen the impact of things like Black Lotus overall. Less players might be using flasks, but if the pocket of those high levels are effected by the change in the economy, whose to say that won’t be felt by the lowbies?”

        I didn’t say it wouldn’t effect the lowbies, I said that we don’t know precisely what level of a problem this actually will be, so it’s a bit preemptive to be changing design to fix a problem that might not exist, at least not in the way that we expect. Think of an MMO as an ecosystem. You don’t go messing around with the different components of an ecosystem unless you really have to. We haven’t seen the black lotus problem in anything resembling this context. Shoot, we don’t even know if a retail version of classic WoW is even financially sustainable for Blizzard (I think it is, but that’s not the point). How can you hope to guess at the correct solutions to problems you haven’t had a chance to witness or study yet?

        ” but my hope is that a small fix like this could be tested pretty easily in beta.”

        So…… how is it you expect to make these changes in beta that won’t be mapped by all the aforementioned sources and distributed to the public, months and months before even day 1 of live Classic? The only way I can see this working is if the change to the system is something more dramatic than changing spawn locations, like previously mentioned multiple characters getting to farm the same node. I can see both sides of the argument for that change. I do find it interesting you’re so fundamentally opposed to mob sharing. Why is it that being denied a kill because people are farming it because they have a mastered knowledge of the game is not a problem to you, but the exact same “problem” with a material node is a problem? I’m interested in exploring because I think we might be hitting the slippery slope we’re both worried about. If Blizzard can justify changing harvesting mechanics to avoid that problem, why couldn’t they justify trying to achieve the same goal in other parts of the game? Because once you say “Because I subjectively feel like one is broken and the other is part of the ‘feel’ of classic WoW”, you’ve just opened the door to every change you can imagine because there’s someone, somewhere, making that case for every trait of the original game.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. “There are more casual players in retail” but “a lot of casual players doesn’t effect sites like Icy-Veins because they were never the customers in the first place”? I think I understand what you’re trying to say, there’s just a bit of a disconnect somewhere. However, the problem with things like Black Lotus is not that it’s publicly available information but that the spawn locations and timers are fundamentally flawed. Regardless of how much Icy-Veins stands to make off of being the first to publish a Black Lotus farming route, I still think it makes sense to fix the current spawns.

        I think it’s fair to say that I might be giving Blizzard too much credit in regards to taking community feedback on Classic, but I’ve always personally felt they did a good job in the past. The reason I think it might be different this time around is because they stand to learn a lot from the way private servers were run, including how changes to things like Black Lotus can effect the ecosystem. When it comes to the Black Lotus we already knew back in Vanilla that it was an issue and it certainly stayed that way in private servers which is why most of them made the change. It’s not an unknown in any sense.

        As for testing it in beta, it would allow them to attempt to replicate the positive results that the private servers have had with those changes within Blizzard’s own controlled environment. I also think it makes sense to plan to make these changes before launch. Whether or not they go team no-changes or team changes, they should stick with it. Even though I’m on the fence myself, I’d be a little upset to have a no-change version of the game subsequently patched out a few months in, or visa versa. Data miners and information leakers wouldn’t be that much of an issue with regards to the Black Lotus because, again, people knowing where the spawns are isn’t the issue.

        Sharing mobs is, to me, obviously a much bigger issue than herbs. It affects the leveling experience of the player, and by extension, the ability to get certain quest rewards. A niche of the economy is a much smaller deal, but still one that has necessitated change in private servers, spawned multiple threads on the forums, and now has it’s own segment in a podcast. The other difference with Black Lotus being that my proposed change to the way it’s farmed does not change the meta for material gathering in Vanilla, in fact, it brings it much more in line with how most of the other herbs are farmed. Your arguments against the change seem to mostly deal with the inevitable discovery of the new nodes, which again, is not an issue. I understand your secondary caution against snowballing changes, but this is one that was made to private servers with very little effect on the atmosphere of the game, but a very positive effect on the high level economy. It’s also not a change that breaks with the conventions of Vanilla game design in any way.

        It just seems needlessly defeatist to me to say “whelp, people will figure it out again, so why bother?” or “you’re never going to please everybody”. If that’s really how you feel, then why play Classic at all?

        Liked by 1 person

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