On Why I Smell Social Engineering

Related to the last post.

In PvE, you can cap all of your raiding gear needs through running last tier’s content in a solo fashion. (Not that you solo Zulroics, but you can queue for them solo if necessary.) If you have a raid team, it can be done with only part of your raid team, or you can queue for it and take your chances with the LFD too.

In PvP, you can only cap through running content in the largest group environment possible, requiring the most coordination of any PvP activity. Not only can you not do it solo, you can’t even do it though your normal group if you prefer Arenas.

There are two very different philosophies at work here.

“I smell social engineering” is a phrase I picked up maybe 10 years ago from JWZ, who was talking about linux development of some ilk. Both of these point systems are directing players towards very specific content – Zulroics for PvE, Rated Battlegrounds for PvP – that have been introduced in Cataclysm, at the expense of other content that players seem to prefer.

Why? Is it to justify the development dollars in those projects? They have to amass so many hours of player time before an activity is justified?

The current system is a mess, and it’s a mess because the rewards programs are trying to drive specific behavior that is counter to what the player base wants to do.

Good times.

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “On Why I Smell Social Engineering

  1. Zosima

    I remember that Ghostcrawler used to use the term “false choices” a lot, especially as it applied to running both 10 and 25 man sized content the same week. Is Blizz trying to offer multiple real choices with all the VP sources?I do agree that they are trying to herd people into 5-mans and rated BGs.

  2. wowopa

    Yes, and those of us that can’t make the commitment to a raid schedule and/or Rated BG team are left with the previous tier. Not that there’s not other things to do in the game, it just means a part of the game will be unreachable… such is life.

  3. Zosima

    If you aren’t raiding T12 content, why do you need T12 gear? T11 is more than enough to stomp on the content level you are currently playing. Of course, if you can’t play the game, the content is unreachable. I don’t play Rift, should I log in one day and have access to everything?

  4. Cynwise of Stormwind

    @zosima: That’s a good point. It might be that the choice is different – it’s gone from “Will I cap this week?” to “how will I cap this week?” – and that is enough to make the choice more “real,” but then they blow that choice by presenting one option which is so clearly optimal that the choice is false again.@wowopa I’m coming to terms with that, slowly. :-(

  5. wowopa

    @Zosima Of course you shouldn’t have access to everything immediately; I’m merely echoing that the choice isn’t really a choice (particularly for pvp). I play the game, but there’s more than one way to play the game, isn’t there (or is there)?This is just another tweak, we’ve been through changes before and we’ll be through more in the future. As a long-time player I’ve come to realize that not all change is good — things will be tweaked along the way and if I miss the current top-tier content, I’m OK with that too. Priorities will always be there, this is a game after-all :)

  6. zosima

    I should have said “one” instead of “you.” I didn’t mean you in particular. I agree that there are multiple ways to play the game, but there can’t be endless or it just all gets mushy and nonsensical. It’s especially confusing when Blizz says one thing then implements something significantly different. We have a hard time keeping up and we are some of the direhards. I would be lost if I drifted in and out of the game. There has to be some sort of stability.