Shared topic: Of PTRs and News Websites
It’s time for another shared topic! This week, the excellent Windsoar of Jaded Alt asks about our thoughts concerning the PTR and all the news it generates. Does having all upcoming information on hand spoil the game? Check out other responses on Blog Azeroth!
I’m going to share my honest, honest, honest opinion here. I’m taking a page from Rajjs‘ book and say that, as hard as I try, I can’t bring myself to care. Last week, my blog feed showed me angry blogger after angry blogger, up in arms about gated progression. At least, it looked like they were angry. I wasn’t able to hold my attention past the pictures and first line of each. I wanted to share the feeling, I wanted to yell “OMG ITS THE END OF WOW” and burn my keyboard over it, after all, I’m all about fitting in. I don’t fit in, though, at least not in that respect. For me, until I’ve experienced something first hand, it’s not real.
It’s my personality. I’m the same way about anything. In the hallway before a practical exam, my classmates are reeling in fear. I watch them squirm, wishing I was nervous too. My nerves don’t kick in until my hand touches the doorknob. Once my brain registers “the beginning”, I sweat and shake and say stupid things like everyone else, but not a second before. Same goes for fun things. I love travel. I mean, I LOVE to travel. I’d live my entire life out of my backpack if I could get away with it. Yet, an hour before any grand departure, I’m still reluctantly packing, whining about the hassle and god why the hell did I decide that it would be a good idea to fly across the continent again. The magic begins when I get in the cab. Finally! It’s real and I can’t be happier.
I remember trying to write about emblem changes way back. I’m not even going to link it, it’s that embarrassing. Surely, I would have something to say about it! I must, I must! But I wrote the whole thing coldly and my conclusion can be summed up by one word: meh. It took a week or two after 3.2 for me to think, “Yeah. Yeah, that’s pretty cool. I like that.”
Ok, so what does that have to do with knowing about instances, boss fights and loot tables before they go live?
Well, for one, I’m not going to actively look them up. They’re not real to me, I don’t care about them. If I do hear spoilers or see pictures, they won’t register. When I watch boss videos or read guides to prepare for a fight, I even have to take notes otherwise I don’t recall a thing. I have to live it to believe it.
Oh! but how I do love going into fights blind, observing and trying to figure out what’s going on. I remember the first two weeks of Wrath, experiencing the new instances, poking the new bosses with sticks to see how they’d react, laughing at our silliness… That was such a happy WoW time. In the past, I have looked for a guild that did boss fights blind, but found none. I do my raid homework only because I’m part of a team and there’s no good in being the only clueless person on that team. I probably would be a good candidate for PTR fun but I’ve never tried because…because… I’ve just…never tried.
And loot tables? Uggg, don’t bore me with loot talk! To me, loot is means to an end. I want to raid and I want things to die. I need X, Y, Z in order to raid and for things to die. Ok, fine, lets get X, Y, Z. There are exceptions and I do have some sentimental pieces stowed in my bank. What makes those pieces special, though, are the circumstances of their acquisition and not their mere existence. Do you know when I look up loot tables? Do you? Do you, really? It’s when I get asked what I need from somewhere and I don’t want to look like an idiot. Not a second before. (EDIT: Because there might be some new 80s reading this and getting the wrong idea, yes, I did read loot tables when I was first gearing up for Naxx. When you need to make large, quick upgrades, there’s no way around it.)
I must admit that I do enjoy listening to people talking about upcoming changes. I like listening to the guys on vent, I like listening to podcasts, I like to see which blog addresses which topics. What really interests me, however, is what person X feels strongly about as opposed to person Y. How does that fit together with their personality and how they play the game? Absolutely fascinating!
I’m quite sure I’m in a minority among serious players. Good WoW news sites get tons and tons of traffic. Even I get a lot of search engine hits from people looking for news (I bet they‘re disappointed!). There’s always a lot of excitement, anger and other varying emotions buzzing when changes are announced or discovered. I would say that, as a general rule, the PTR and news sites add to the gaming experience.
Does the PTR and the news it generates take away from some people’s enjoyment of the game? Maybe. Some people love surprises on patch day. Some people, like me, love learning boss fights firsthand but can’t because they need to keep up with their teams. However, my thought on this is that if you need to learn things the hard way that badly, then perhaps an MMO isn’t the right kind of game for you.
On a side note, I do want mention that I loosely keep track of paladin changes throughout the patch testing, but it’s more to avoid panic on patch day than anything else. After a change, I want to be polished up and ready to go as soon as possible. I am what I am, but I don’t think it’s an excuse to be any less of a player.
I still try to care, I really do, but I don’t think there’s any hope. Sometimes I feel a smidge of guilt about not being more in the know. Just a tiny smidge. After all, it’s a pretty big game and there are other things to talk about than upcoming changes. There’s no rule that says “you must care about changes to game X amount of time before they go live”, so yeah. To each our own.