We Get Answers About Our Comms
You may recall my unseemly reaction to the removal of BH comms from story mode EC bosses and chests without so much as a peep. Well, a the devs put out a statement finally explaining, dude, where were my comms. (Emphasis mine)
So let me step in here and explain why these changes were made and what we’ll be doing to improve the current situation.
When Explosive Conflict was released, it was stuffed full of Black Hole Commendations in all difficulty modes, which was not actually intentional. For some guilds, this setup heavily incentivized running a single Operation twice every week to maximize their accrual rate. For other guilds, this made the prospect of attempting hard mode risky and inefficient compared to sticking with story mode. It was awkward and puzzling, but it sort of worked, so we left it as is.
With the balance adjustments to Explosive Conflict in 1.4, we took the opportunity to correct the loot packages. Story mode is intended for players who want to run Operations in a more relaxed atmosphere; it’s not meant to replace or bypass hard modes, but it should offer incentives that smoothly segue into the higher difficulties. Unfortunately, we erred on the low side with those incentives and failed to communicate the changes for 1.4. We apologize for the oversight.
So here are the changes you’ll be seeing in 1.4.3:
- Increased Black Hole Commendations granted by [WEEKLY] Galactic Operations from 8 to 15.
- Increased Black Hole Commendations granted by [WEEKLY] Galactic Crisis Points from 8 to 20.
- The final boss of Terror From Beyond now drops additional Black Hole pieces in story mode. (+2 in 8-man, +4 in 16-man)
- The final boss of Explosive Conflict now drops additional Black Hole pieces in story mode. (+2 in 8-man, +4 in 16-man)
The key here is that guilds running story mode aren’t forced to play it safe every week, but it’s perfectly valid if they’d like to. The weekly missions should provide a good avenue for guilds gearing up for the recent hard modes, especially with the upcoming addition of Campaign Armorings to the Black Hole vendors in 1.5. It also makes more sense – Operations should be the best source of gear commendations regardless of difficulty mode.
As for nightmare mode Karagga’s Palace, the commendations were actually removed as a side-effect of migrating the chests out in favor of putting loot directly on the bosses; however, the updated boss loot did not make it into 1.4. In 1.4.3, the commendations will be migrated to the weekly mission, and the vanity items will be moved directly onto the bosses:
- [WEEKLY] Deadly Operations now grants 10 Black Hole Commendations.
- In nightmare mode, the Dessler Turbo is now guaranteed to drop directly from Karagga the Unyielding.
- In nightmare mode, most bosses in Karagga’s Palace now have a chance to drop the M0-GUL Thrall Droid or Karagga’s Unyielding Helm.
One of our top priorities for future updates is to shape the endgame gear progression into something more coherent. We’ll also be working harder to keep a dialogue open with you guys. Good hunting!
Flashpoint and Operations Team
Why I’m Overall Pretty Damn Happy
A lot of stuff in there to like.
Unfortunately, we erred on the low side with those incentives and failed to communicate the changes for 1.4. We apologize for the oversight… We’ll also be working harder to keep a dialogue open with you guys.
I’m pretty damn happy that they owned up to it and explained what the hell was going on. It makes a lot of sense how things occurred, when at the time we were quite baffled (and pissed). I also like the communication. Please, more communication like this. Pretty please.
Story Mode As Step To Hard Mode
Story mode is intended for players who want to run Operations in a more relaxed atmosphere; it’s not meant to replace or bypass hard modes, but it should offer incentives that smoothly segue into the higher difficulties… The weekly missions should provide a good avenue for guilds gearing up for the recent hard modes, especially with the upcoming addition of Campaign Armorings to the Black Hole vendors in 1.5.
I’m pretty damn happy that they’re acknowledging (and supporting) story mode as an entry into hard mode for that same op. That softens the story mode/hard mode divide that was widening, since most guilds don’t fit neatly into one category or the other.
Gearing For Ops By Running Ops
It also makes more sense – Operations should be the best source of gear commendations regardless of difficulty mode.
As I’ve been saying all along, it makes no earthly sense that the best way to get ops-geared would be by doing non-ops activities. And now the devs are saying the same! Non-ops activities should be a supplement or an alternate path, but not mandatory. That’s something that Blizzard needs to learn to the face.
There’s Always A “But”…
Having said that, it has taken way longer than it should have for them to “get” some basics of the MMO playerbase.
The most obvious principle, in my mind, is “don’t take things away or people get mad.” Whatever it is, people hate it. Would you QQ more if your class were nerfed or if other classes were buffed? Same effect of class balancing, but it doesn’t feel like punishment or loss if, instead of taking away your cookie, someone else simply gets an extra cookie.
Another thing I’m seeing in this post is essentially “we intended players to do X and instead players are doing Y, and we don’t want them to do that (or to have to do that) – and we did not anticipate them doing it.” While it’s a noble goal to make sure players are having fun rather than mindlessly grinding, I’ve seen many similar statements like this where bioware underestimated the playerbase. Remember at launch: “we didn’t expect people to get to 50 so fast!” Welcome to the MMO world. If it is remotely possible, some moron will do it.
In conclusion, I like this new trend of honesty and communication, but bioware needs to learn (fast) the basics of the MMO playerbase that have been established over the last 10 years or so. The information is out there, get to it!
Bonus Content: My Profanity-Laden Knee Jerk Reaction
When I first read the above dev communication, I let forth a string of profanity on the guild forums to get it out of my system, rather than being a jerk and posting it here. But the guildies prevailed upon me to share this ill-thought out impertinent statement with the world at large, so here it is anyway.
Let me translate from Bioware bullshit into English:
“We fucked up and gave you way too many comms in 1.3. So we let 3 months go by without fixing it. When we finally had the opportunity to fix it, we did, without any warning or explanation, because that’s fair right? Why should you rely on a feature that’s been there for 3 months?
“But now, it’s a complete and total fucking shocker to us that you were pissed about it! Incidentally, you get to not get comms and stew with anger for a full 4 weeks before we even acknowledge that we removed those comms without saying a fucking word to you guys, OOPS!
“But you casual assholes pay us and well, apparently we aren’t making a whole lot of money. So we’ll give you more comms, I guess, but not as many as before, because you story mode fuckers aren’t real raiders and just want to drink and joke around and not actually do anything useful. Go the fuck away. Wait, I mean pay us, then stfu, and go away, right?
“We promise to announce things better in the future. We don’t promise not to fuck them up in the first place.
Like I said, I tried to keep my ranting (that really lacked editing) to myself, but I just can’t say no to the guild.