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Old 04-20-2018, 07:26 AM
Kyalin V. Raintree Kyalin V. Raintree is offline

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Lumber (War3) Expectations and Evaluation Criteria - Teldrassil

I had intended to make this post yesterday, but it was caught up in posting. As information is already coming in on Teldrassil, I will need to make this brief and amend it somewhat for the information I am already aware of.

Introduction

My post yesterday was going to include a conversation on what constitutes "constructive death", and I'm happy that it appears as though I no longer have to include it. Based on the information we have so far, the Night Elven civilian population is evacuated to Azuremyst Isle, not to the Eastern Kingdoms. Additionally, substantial portions of the Night Elven army and fleet were away for the Teldrassil scenario.

Based on text from the mission tables, it would appear as though these missions take place before the burning of Teldrassil, meaning that we don't yet know how zones will be distributed, or how the effort will end.

General Expectations - Lordaeron is a Benchmark

I've said that I would be using the battle for Lordaeron as a benchmark for Alliance performance during the Teldrassil events. The forsaken are shown as competent, confident, and in control of the situation to the extent that I would find reasonable given that they still lose the city. The Alliance takes substantial losses and doesn't gain much. (By the way, no, I don't regard the use of blight as "cheating". It's an area denial weapon and it's been very much entrenched in their repertoire.) I fully expect the Night Elves to come up with a similar showing.

I also expect that the Night Elves will lose a major, named character to this in the same way that the Horde loses Saurfang. My prediction is that this will be Malfurion, who will die during the scenario. Saurfang's capture, however, was preceded by scenes that depict him as more than competent. Him being captured takes nothing away from him as a character or the impression that he's extremely dangerous. Again, I expect Malfurion's death to be handled with similar care.

Evaluation Matrix

This was again more robust in the former post. I must apologize for recycling prior rubrics, I do so in the interest of time. Pieces of content will be reviewed with the matrix set down below, and once I feel that all of the content is in and reviewed, I will aggregate the scores into a weighted average.

Objectives: Rigby's Psychological Needs

Quoting from "Night Elves and the Player Experience":

Quote:
Scott Rigby is a Ph.D. in clinical and social psychology and has summarized three human psychological needs that video games, ideally, address. They are as follows: [1]

- Competence (We control the situation)
- Autonomy (We control our own actions)
- Relatedness (We feel like we matter to others)

This should be obvious to anyone who has ever played a video game. So we’ll start here, noting the through-line of player choice.

Next let’s add the Mimesis effect, or the tendency of a role-playing game player to role-play in a manner consistent with their role, whether that role is chosen or assigned (this effect is stronger if chosen) [2]. In World of Warcraft, roles come from the character selection screen. The Mimesis effect suggests that regardless of the reasons for choosing that role, the player will mold their behavior to it. Linking that concept to Rigby’s framework: this chosen role becomes important to a player’s enjoyment of the game.

Finally, motivations to play an online game are, among other factors, tied to a game’s story [3]. It follows that the story is a core element of game quality. It is not reasonable therefore, to offer as a defense to a poor story, the suggestion to disengage from it and focus on mechanics. The poor story still hurts the quality of the experience. As far as it relates to the story for an individual race: the race in part defines the role. That role therefore will be partially informed by the race’s history and current lore.

We now have a useful set of rules to evaluate effects on the player experience. The player’s needs are filled when they can feel competent, autonomous, and meaningful in the role of their choosing, and that story has a material impact on the fulfillment of those needs.
(I'm aware that the TeachThought link at the time of posting is having issues with its host. If that persists, Rigby didn't have his work in just one place)

Scoring: Legion Review Scoring Framework

Because I evaluate Night Elven content almost in a vacuum, the criteria is obviously going to be put through that lens. This section is quoted from another thread as well.

Quote:
Irredeemable (0/100 points) – The experience portrays the Night Elves in the worst possible light and appears as though it was driven by malice. (Example: The Night Elves suddenly losing all of their territory in Kalimdor because the writers said so.)

Kosak Level (20/100 points) – The experience is humiliating, often driven by inconsistencies with prior lore, and it presents the Night Elves as being weak, unsympathetic, illogical, annoying, or useless. (Example: Tyrande’s presentation in A Little Patience)

Depressing (40/100 points) – The experience isn’t malicious, but it is depressing, either because something that defined the race or that they were competent with is being arbitrarily destroyed or taken away, or because the plot focuses on the theme of loss. (Example: Night Elf Questing in Cataclysm writ large)

Passable (60/100 points) – The experience treads water. Nothing good nor bad is done with the Night Elves, but they aren’t portrayed in a negative light or shown as being incompetent. Nothing in particular stands out, either, however. (Example: Night Elf Questing, pre-Cataclysm, Krasarang forest)

Redeeming (80/100 points) – The experience is favorable to the Night Elves. The characters are portrayed as reasonably competent. The plot appears to care about portraying them favorably. (Example: Warcraft III)

Exceptional (100/100 points) – The experience is drop dead amazing. It made me feel proud to be a Night Elf fan. (Example: A patch of content where Night Elves have victories against Horde-aligned Orcs, advertised to the general public with a sizzle reel set to the chorus of Judas Priest’s The Sentinel)
Anticipated Weights

I obviously don't know how content will be distributed, so I reserve the right to change these weights.

- Mission Table Content (5-10%)

- In-Game Missions/Quests (15-25%)

- Cinematics/Acted Scenes (15-25%)

- Environments (15-25%)

- Aftermath and Foreshadowing (15-25%)

Goalpost

Yes, I do believe in setting those.

I intend to be stingy with scores of "Extraordinary" and "Irredeemable", but I also think that passable is an average score. Hence, for me to consider this content successful, using Lordaeron as a benchmark, a threshold of 65 will be used to gauge the content's success or failure.

So there you go, let the games begin.
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Old 04-20-2018, 09:08 AM
Cacofonix Cacofonix is offline

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The story arc won't end in any way that's remotely satistying unless you're a Horde apologist.

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Old 04-20-2018, 09:29 AM
Ethenil Ethenil is offline

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I don't think we'll get to see how the territory is distributed in northern Kalimdor until the end of BfA because it will be in a state of constant war.

I don't know how relevant this is to the discussion, but:

I like that Illyana is a champion, showing that at least some of the children of Cenarius are helping the night elves;

I also like that Maestra is a champion too, being, in-world, probably a big deal of a priestess;

It appears Shandris will be in the battle of Lordaeron. This may indicate that the Sentinels are in force there, retirubution for Teldrassil;

Do you think it's possible to that the night elves themselves will burn Teldrassil as the Forsaken plague Lordaeron? They could use magic like in Nordrassil, where the wisps drew out the power of the World Tree.
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Old 04-20-2018, 09:50 AM
Kyalin V. Raintree Kyalin V. Raintree is offline

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethenil View Post
I don't think we'll get to see how the territory is distributed in northern Kalimdor until the end of BfA because it will be in a state of constant war.

I don't know how relevant this is to the discussion, but:

I like that Illyana is a champion, showing that at least some of the children of Cenarius are helping the night elves;

I also like that Maestra is a champion too, being, in-world, probably a big deal of a priestess;

It appears Shandris will be in the battle of Lordaeron. This may indicate that the Sentinels are in force there, retirubution for Teldrassil;

Do you think it's possible to that the night elves themselves will burn Teldrassil as the Forsaken plague Lordaeron? They could use magic like in Nordrassil, where the wisps drew out the power of the World Tree.
On your first point, yes, if they fail to outline at least a general idea of what territory has changed hands, I will heavily punish that, probably in the environments section.

Addressing the last three. Maestra may or may not be killed depending on how mission table missions shake out.

I haven't seen Shandris in the Battle for Lordaeron scenario so far and I hope she doesn't turn up. Her place is in Kalimdor, I would expect her to remain there. (For those wondering, I'm mildly annoyed by the "potential of humans" line, yes.)

As for what may happen with Teldrassil, anything is certainly possible, I'm just not sure that I understand why they would do that. I know that various people saw the blue lights of Teldrassil and imagined those to be Azerite for some reason, but I always thought those were lights from settlements on the tree itself. (Prior art had led me to believe that they had built buildings around the trunk, not just on top of the tree itself - similar to other Night Elf structures that feature themselves as being in and around trees)

Then again, one of the mission table missions as I said has the Night Elves evacuating Teldrassil in advance of the Horde attack, and that's strange to me. Under normal circumstances, Teldrassil should appear to be perfectly defensible, but they're evacuating nonetheless. Time will tell.
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Old 04-20-2018, 11:10 AM
Cacofonix Cacofonix is offline

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Seriously though. I'm not seeing how you can expect this arc to satisfy Night Elf players like yourself.

Need I remind you that Alliance players were once assured that the Alliance would get a fist bumb event back in Mist of Pandaria only for them to have to help Orc Hitler's ex-henchman (with that same henchman barking threats of Sylvanas raising Alliance corpses when asked what they were helping him for), King Traitor not letting Thrall kill Orc Hitler, and lastly making impotent threats to the Horde to not be mean again (which they were not too long after). The Alliance even ended up surrendering land.

It's embarassingly obvious the developers do not want the Alliance to be a proactive and more importantly overpowering force (despite claims of the Alliance being the superpower between them and the Horde) against the Horde that achives proper victory over the Horde with the Horde suffering suitable consequences and the Alliance swimming in victory cash. That is not their plan for the Alliance.

The Night Elves are no better off.

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Old 04-20-2018, 11:34 AM
Marthen Marthen is offline

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I am not sure where you are getting the missions happen before the burning of Teldrassil, for several reasons;

1) Going by previous expansions, missions are unlocked through leveling, ie after the initial experience the burning is part of.

2) All those missions are listed as level 120. The burning happens at the level 110.

3) One of the missions specifically mentions the Teldrassil survivors. How could they be survivors with Teldrassil still intact? Another mission also expresses the importance of the Zoram'gar Docks in attacking Azuremyst. Why would it stress Azuremyst with Teldrassil still intact?

Quote:
Dentaria Silverglade in Lor'danel overseas the evacuation of the Teldrassian survivors to Azuremyst. Slaying her will sow chaos in their ranks..
Quote:
Zoram'gar Outpost is the Horde's only port near Azuremyst Isle. Plant depth charges in the surrounding waters to prevent a naval assault..
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Old 04-20-2018, 12:57 PM
Kyalin V. Raintree Kyalin V. Raintree is offline

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Quote:
Seriously though. I'm not seeing how you can expect this arc to satisfy Night Elf players like yourself.
Expectations are different from predictions. If I say "this is what I expect from you", I think the context of that statement makes it clear that I'm laying down a standard. That's not a comment on whether they will meet that standard, what I'm merely trying to do here is establish where my goalposts are so that it's not a surprise when I either board the hype train or melt down into a heap of pessimism and obscenities.

Setting expectations and a rubric in advance also helps to ground criticism. Otherwise it's too easy to hold up one or two elements in isolation, ignore the rest, and unfairly rate the entire body of work according to that one element.

Quote:
I am not sure where you are getting the missions happen before the burning of Teldrassil, for several reasons;

1) Going by previous expansions, missions are unlocked through leveling, ie after the initial experience the burning is part of.

2) All those missions are listed as level 120. The burning happens at the level 110.

3) One of the missions specifically mentions the Teldrassil survivors. How could they be survivors with Teldrassil still intact? Another mission also expresses the importance of the Zoram'gar Docks in attacking Azuremyst. Why would it stress Azuremyst with Teldrassil still intact?
Going by the text of the Teldrassil evacuation mission, I'll highlight what made me believe this happens before Teldrassil:

Quote:
A Horde army marches north to Lor'danel; Blood Guard Rockrain at the fore. Send our forces to stall his aggression, so the evacuation of Teldrassil can continue.
That suggests to me that Teldrassil is actively being evacuated. The Horde army marching North also suggests to me that we're talking about whatever force Sylvanas is sending up there. That can only happen before the burning.

That said, your points make sense. Time and future content will clarify, I'm sure.
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Old 04-20-2018, 01:23 PM
Marthen Marthen is offline

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kyalin V. Raintree View Post
That suggests to me that Teldrassil is actively being evacuated.
I'd say the "can continue" is the key part here. My reading is this happens after the burning and speaks about the remaing survivors left at the shores of the island, waiting to be evacuated to Azuremyst.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kyalin V. Raintree View Post
The Horde army marching North also suggests to me that we're talking about whatever force Sylvanas is sending up there. That can only happen before the burning.
Not sure why can that happen only after the burning. If the Kaldorei get to keep/reclaim Lor'danel, the Horde could easily send another force to take it.
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Old 04-20-2018, 05:34 PM
Kyalin V. Raintree Kyalin V. Raintree is offline

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I believe we have enough information for me to start into day one impressions. I am building my spreadsheet as information comes in, but barring substantial changes, I think that enough information has come in to discuss some of the pre-event quests.

If there are changes to these quests, I will make adjustments accordingly.

Delaryn Summermoon in Astraanar

I have already begun to refer to this character as the Avatar of Failure. Christie Golden appears to have inserted her into the story because she believes that Cataclysm's Lor'danel/Auberdine content was good. She exists in the story to cry, that's it. The Alliance player does not assist her in retaking Astraanar, they arrive after the action has ended and the Night Elves have already failed - and that failure is more or less complete. It helps to know that Mr. Brooks' scene from A Good War has likely already happened, at least.

I am not terribly concerned with the Horde's decision to round up civilians and kill them. That fits like a glove into Sylvanas's strategy to distract Malfurion and to force him to defend the territories. I do have an issue with the Alliance player not participating in retaking the city, with the decision not to portray the scene that Mr. Brooks did in the novella excerpt, and with the choice for us instead to "honor the fallen" instead of doing something useful (by the way, Avatar of Failure, you are supposed to be savages - act like it), a choice intended to cement the feeling of a loss that we can do nothing to stop.

I have said in the past that I heavily punish moments like these, and I will do so here.

Competence is rated as Kosak-level due to the complete failure, mitigated by the scene we didn't see.

Autonomy is rated as Kosak-level due to the overall inability to affect the situation.

Relatedness is rated as Kosak-level due to the apparent desire for us to identify with and via the mimesis effect as a completely demoralized and useless character.

Only Mr. Brooks spared this moment from being rated as irredeemable. Good on him.


Wisp Wall/Malfurion Stops the Horde Offensive

Following up the prior moment with this one was sorely needed, and I appreciate what they've done. Malfurion doesn't just stop the Horde offensive, he stops Sylvanas, and apparently he's done so twice. Again, thank you Mr. Brooks. This appears to enact heavy losses with Sylvanas left to flee, essentially shaking her fist. It's great to see Malfurion "onside" as well.

What could have made it better? (i.e. Why did I not rate this moment as exceptional?) Oddly enough, the presence of the Sentinel army, or a sentinel presence at all (leaving aside the aforementioned amalgamated mass of highly refined failure that has coalesced into a sentient being). Malfurion being able to do this is expected given his "power level", but it would have been more meaningful I feel if it wasn't just him handing the Horde the defeat.

Competence is rated as redeeming, as Malfurion is indeed very competent.

Autonomy is given no rating, as this may as well be a cutscene.

Relatedness is rated as redeeming. I think this is somewhat borderline. I didn't exactly walk away from this feeling as though I should feel any pride from it, but it also wouldn't make sense given the situation for this to be given more bombast than it was.


Shandris organizes the troops

This is the opposite of the Avatar of Failure sequence. Again, this is more or less a cutscene, but what sticks out to me about it is that Shandris appears to be quick thinking, confident, and intelligent. Whether those strategies are actually thought out or the writers just decided to throw military jargon at us is frankly immaterial to me. It looks like we're dealing with a professional, and it looks like we're rallying. I'm probably rating this a bit too highly, but given how sorely this sort of thing is needed, I'm not going to split too many hairs about it.

Competence is rated as redeeming, as we are shown an apparently competent commander.

Autonomy is given no rating, as this may as well be a cutscene.

Relatedness is rated as redeeming, as the player is now being put into the shoes of a force that can make a difference, and seems poised to make a difference.


Preliminary Weighting

Final weighting will not be done until I have all of the content in front of me, but in the interests of giving an idea of what the score looks like as more information comes in, I will provide tentative weights for the content reviewed so far. Before I do that though, I get the feeling that this section in total will not absorb a lot of the total weight. It feels like a prologue to a much more significant scenario.

(I also have tentative scores down for mission table descriptions, but based on the prior discussion with Marthen, I don't think there's enough information about them yet to start talking about them. That's why I've left them out for now.)

Delaryn's segment gets 40% of today's total, with Malfurion and Shandris's segments getting 30%, respectively, and I think that's being generous. Their scenes are effectively cutscenes and do not spend as much of the player's time as does the segment for the Avatar of Failure. If the quest is later axed, that will drop the weight down to equal footing.

So, for an initial calculation: 20 * .4 + 80 * .6 = 56

Hopefully subsequent content will raise that score!
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Old 05-16-2018, 06:38 AM
Kyalin V. Raintree Kyalin V. Raintree is offline

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It looks like we have some new Teldrassil related content that's not broadcast text. It also looks like there is enough to comment.

Night Elf Refugees in Stormwind

Initial mission table content had led me to believe that Night Elves were being evacuated to Azuremyst Isle. Recent screenshots have shown to me that this isn't the case, and with such an uproot - knowing that this uproot includes Tyrande and Malfurion based on currently available broadcast text - this was exactly the sort of worst case scenario that, back in November, led me to assert that Night Elves were dead and that there was nothing left for Night Elf fans in the franchise anymore.

I understand that the same is being done with the Forsaken. That doesn't make it better for me. I don't like the decision on that side either. It stinks of the concept of a wholesale removal, and suggests that the respective races are giving up on their respective homelands, or are being pushed in that direction. For the Night Elves, this inches them closer to constructive death - a situation where the playable race continues to exist, but can't be taken seriously ever again and/or has completely lost its identity or reason for existing. The images coming out of refugees living on city streets and in a literal tent city look like constructive death to me.

Competence is rated at Kosak level, and this is only because the sentinels (who I hold should be fighting in Ashenvale, not guarding Stormwind) have a new animation of them holding their bow.

Autonomy is rated at Irredeemable. Rather than refocusing the evacuated military and civilian population to Azuremyst, we see quite plainly, at least a substantial chunk of refugees being relegated to doing nothing in Stormwind. The playable race, at least going by this development (I am aware of others, such as mission tables, which will be evaluated separately after the scenario), has lost its agency entirety.

Relatedness is rated at Kosak Level. I was torn between this rank and the next one up because the refugees so far are not annoying and insufferable, as they easily could have been. Nor also, do they appear to be mistreated by Stormwind's citizens. The depressing lines they spout however, put it over for me. Again, I heavily punish that sort of defeatism.

Updates to Preliminary Weighting

This event will be rated at least at 10% of the content when the final information is in, and the more I think about it, the more I see it inching closer to 15% or even 20%. It tells us what the results are, and this one is one of the worst possible outcomes I could have initially imagined. I'm setting it at 20% for now because it's being evaluated against pre-scenario content.

Updated Overall Rating: 48.8
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Old 05-31-2018, 07:49 PM
Kyalin V. Raintree Kyalin V. Raintree is offline

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I have reviewed this video. Now I shall comment on it.


Updates to Previously Issued Content

-Delaryn Summermoon in Astraanar: Competence drops to irredeemable as a result of the forsaken rogues being there. The Night Elves, having moved into the town, should have pushed them out as well. Granted, this doesn't say good things about the Forsaken rogues either - what with their decision to stay there after the Night Elves retake the town and get murdered by the player instead, but I'm not evaluating their performance.

-[strikethrough]Shandris[/strikethrough] Myara Address the Troops. (No changes to scores)

Now to new content:

Dragon Attack

I've never been wild about the Fey Dragon model or the loss of the Chimaera, but this is nevertheless a good way of bringing back in some of the Night Elves natural allies. The quest is a power fantasy for the player, and importantly, their actions are shown to matter. After the quest is complete, Darnassian forces are shown as winning in that region. I discount relatedness only because of Delaryn, her quest text, and her response lines - this character exists to be doubtful, worried, and lamentful and that's just not what's needed right now.

Competence is rated as redeeming due to the demonstrated ability to hold off the Horde here, which is not just stated but shown with the presence that turns up after the quest.

Autonomy is rated as redeeming due to player agency and its effects on the narrative.

Relatedness is rated as passable due again to Delayrn.


Hidden Amongst the Leaves

This one is a bit of a head-scratcher for me. The druids are both druids and are closer to the grove of the ancients than we are - so why are we telling them that the grove of the ancients is under attack and not the other way around? I'm not rating this content as depressing because of that. I'm giving it that score because once again, we're killing furbolgs instead of the Horde. This is development time and player time that's wasted on something other than what we're there for - which was a problem in Cataclysm's Ashenvale content as well.

Score of depressing given across the board.


Garden Grove

Again, it's good to see that the playable faction is shown as working hand in hand with the ancients, and that the ancients are working with them. Druids of the claw are back, for example. In regards to the quest itself, again, the player comes out having made a difference, and appears to win there.

Score of redeeming given across the board.


Enraged Furbolgs

I'm going to assume that Delaryn's repetitive lines are going to be brought down to one, but again - I despise this character. Most of her lines, including her response lines, drip with lament and depression, and she adds very little to this mission. This mission further, adds very little to the story other than to justify why we were fighting furbolgs in that quest that I said should have been cut.

Competence is rated as passable. There's nothing spectacular here.

Autonomy is rated as depressing as the player doesn't get to do all that much here.

Relatedness is rated as depressing due again to Delayrn.


The Wake of Something New

Yawn.

Competence and Autonomy are rated as passable. You do fight the Horde, you do kill their troops. But nothing special is happening here.

Relatedness is rated as depressing due again to Delayrn.


Malfurion Returns/"Rock" the world + Night Elven Fleet Returns

In Darkshore, tree cut you!

I'm of two minds on these sorts of quests. On the one hand, getting into a vehicle and destroying things is always fun, but on the other, especially with something that's presented as a mystical one-off, it doesn't tell me that the Night Elves are competent, it tells me that this magical thing that won't come around again is competent. I wasn't terribly moved by the magical cat at Raynewood Tower in Astraanar because of this.

That said, the section with the tree of life (?) seems to mostly avoid this problem. Ancients are not remarkably rare allies, and again, it's nice to see them onside again. Finally, it's also not just them holding the line in this instance. The Night Elven army is there, and they're putting up a good showing.

More importantly, Malfurion does something here that we haven't seen characters do in a long time - act and speak with confidence. This content also ends in a way we haven't seen Night Elf content end in some time - on a high note, and with both Malfurion and Delaryn saying something that underlines that they are confident in their ability to defend the territory - and they can back that up with the results of the questing the player was just put through. The Night Elves very much are a force to be reckoned with in this batch of content, and while I have my gripes, I do think we're getting nearer to the right track.

Score of redeeming given across the board.


Updates to Score

The weighting is getting a bit complex to explain and would at this point require screenshots of my spreadsheet, which I will provide when this process is complete. That said, I have increased the score to 53.6 after this information has come in, up from 48.8.
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Old 06-20-2018, 09:00 AM
Kyalin V. Raintree Kyalin V. Raintree is offline

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Preliminary notes on Horde content:

I have gone back and forth with myself over how I wanted to address Horde quests or if I would at all considering that they are decidedly not content that the Night Elf player has to experience. It would be difficult to rate things like autonomy in a story that you are not the protagonist in, and so I was initially going to present unrated impressions before explaining that I couldn't share a rating due to it not actually being Alliance content.

That changed last night, when I sat in a Horde dominated Discord and watched about three uninterrupted hours of celebration and faction "fistbumping" as ptr content rolled in, belittling and mocking the Night Elves, and celebrating a certain Blood Elf rogue who apparently just completely trashes an entire town. I watched them also belittle and mock the few voices of concern, even going so far as to bring in a moderator to restrict the activities of a known pro-Alliance poster because they found his complaints annoying. It was the sort of attitude that I would expect to see in a horror story about the treatment of Alliance fans at Blizzcon - the same horror stories that indeed kept me away from those events, and kept me from ever being comfortable telling anyone in the real world that I was a Warcraft fan.

Horde content, in the way that it presents the Alliance, has a pass-through effect. This is a rivalry based game, and we interact with our rivals. Past that, we also see content through their eyes, and while a person may have a favorite race, it's rare for them to have just one character. This stuff all circles back to how the role is defined, and one of the best examples we have of that is that moment in Warcraft III where Grom calls the Night Elves "perfect warriors". What I saw was the other side of that - when your enemies see you as trivial and not worthy of any shade of respect.

So, I will review the Horde's questing. I have already identified the video I want to look at, and because I want to put some more distance between this event and my evaluation, and because I have tomorrow off, you should expect to see that review by about lunchtime tomorrow.

Adjustments to criteria for Horde content

In reviewing that content, I will only look at competence and relatedness, mostly with an eye to how the defenders appear to hold up, given the situation. Scores of "passable" (60) will be awarded when the Horde and the Night Elves appear on an individual basis to be evenly matched. I will make adjustments from there.

Additionally, I will omit shared sections, such as Malfurion stopping the Horde offensive with the wisp wall, unless new information is presented that I haven't already reviewed.
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Old 06-21-2018, 01:39 PM
Kyalin V. Raintree Kyalin V. Raintree is offline

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I have reviewed the following video, I will now comment on it.


Sorry for the snippy update you are about to read. SOL obliterated what I had written earlier.

Edit: I deleted post 12 because I didn't think it was adding much, but it did explain that I am not giving autonomy ratings for these, because they are opposite faction content.

Lorash Segments

Competence: Irredeemable
Relatedness: Kosak Level

What can I say here that isn't apparent? The player and Lorash literally "sack an entire town". Night Elf sentinels are nothing but hapless victims, and are completely powerless to stop you. For any race this is ridiculous. For a race that is supposedly a guerilla fighting force that excels at this very thing - it's even worse.

I want to point out also: this trend of the Night Elves being marred with useless and depressing characters while the Horde is given characters who drip with confidence and make the player feel like a badass is one of the worst elements of Alliance vs. Horde content in general, and it's not a good sign to see that it's made a return.

Zoram'Gar Outpost Segments/A Quick Flyover

Competence: Kosak-Level
Relatedness: No rating

Individually, these segments are given relatively light weights, but they highlight problems that I've noticed earlier. It makes no sense at all that Zoram'gar outpost continues to exist, since at by at least the end of MOP, the Night Elves have had control of Ashenvale. Leaving an outpost of this size in the hands of the horde, in the location that it's in is like the United States in the 70s allowing the Soviet Union have a naval base in Maine.

A Quick Flyover demonstrates that the Night Elves are either unable or unwilling to defend their wisp wall with flyers, and reflects a general problem of the Horde being able to bombard substantially anything from the air without needing to worry about hippogryph riders. This appears in several places - here seems like a good place to bring it up.

Blurred Vision/The Trees Have Ears

Competence: Redeeming
Relatedness: Passable

The return of Warcraft III elements and their denotation as a concern for the Horde is well appreciated here. I'm roping Malfurion's appearance as well into this, but the meaningfulness of his actions here are to say the least, questionable.

Updates to previously issued content

A Glaive Misunderstanding reduces the competence rating of Dragon Attack from redeeming to depressing. This appears to take place after Dragon Attack, the Night Elves suffer at least a partial defeat, and Sylvanas regards this victory as "easy".

The Horde furbolgs segment increases the autonomy rating of Enraged Furbolgs from depressing to passable. The Horde Azerite segment also increases the competence rating The Wake of Something New from passable to redeeming, both for the same reason. They explain how the Horde got to the den and to the island with the Azerite deposits, respectively, and further, they demonstrate that the Alliance player undoes the Horde player's actions here. That's important as it suggests that the Alliance retakes and reasserts control here - which is pivotal for the question of whether the Night Elves continue the fight in Northern Kalimdor.

A Wild Ride does not change my impressions from the end of the Alliance questline - it verifies that the Night Elves hold the Horde at a stalemate once they are allowed to fight back.

Updates to tentative score

The overall rating has decreased to 51.3.
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Old 06-28-2018, 07:55 PM
Kyalin V. Raintree Kyalin V. Raintree is offline

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I have viewed the part 2 Alliance and Horde Teldrassil videos, produced by WoWhead.

I am assigning scores of irredeemable across the board for content that will comprise 15% of the final score, leaving a final score, assuming no further changes, of 42.3%. There is little that needs to be said that isn't apparent from those videos. The Night Elves lose crushingly, their leadership flees, the player is dumped in Stormwind after the evacuation, there is no counterattack or in-game representation linking to the mission tables that I assume are to follow this.

This was the worst case scenario - the one I feared back in November, save for that the Night Elves nominally have a presence in Kalimdor after that - but nominally isn't anywhere near good enough.

I will prepare a final conclusions post in the days following this, and per a discord conversation with Krainz, I'm going to give Blizzard two weeks to clarify, change, or yank this content entirely. Otherwise - I think my evaluation period is over.
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Old 06-29-2018, 03:12 AM
Lord Grimtale Lord Grimtale is offline

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Old 06-29-2018, 09:26 AM
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The game devs don't care about Night Elves beyond having them as stand-in High Elves.
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Old 07-07-2018, 09:40 AM
Kyalin V. Raintree Kyalin V. Raintree is offline

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Housekeeping

Some of you will know that I've run across new content over the past week and that accordingly, I haven't given this up quite yet. As for what I've been able to gather so far, I missed a number of pre-burning world quests, and think these have been generating some confusion along the lines of "why is this dead person giving me world quests?" (Speaking of Delaryn Summermoon). I have also not yet included the mission tables in my analysis. That content is written out and is sitting in a word document, but I'm not going to release it just yet.

Why am I waiting? I am waiting because there appears to be post-burning World Quests, and post-burning environments that are there to evaluate, and based on what I've seen of them so far, I am actually quite pleased. There isn't, however, video footage of them yet - just pictures and descriptions that I got from the people who posted those pictures on discords. The world quests I'm referring to at the moment are called "Staying Power" (Horde) and "Break Free" (Alliance). Once more information comes in about them, and in particular, as changes in NPCs and environments come through, I will feel more confident in speaking on them.

Technical Corrections and Weighting Changes

Prior to the release of the Lor’danel world quest and the surrounding environments, I made a few changes to the relatedness scores for content reviewed on June 28. I have increased the relatedness scores for this content from Irredeemable to Depressing. Relatedness in function has become something of a “characters” score, and while I don’t believe the content portrays the underlying characters particularly well, a) it could have been worse in that the characters could have been portrayed as annoying as well, and b) as much as I don’t like depressing stories, the ludonarrative work in the actual burning quest deserves some recognition.

I have also allocated weight away from the presence of Night Elves in the streets of Stormwind. They were previously pulling 15% while significant moments like Malfurion at the wisp wall were pulling 5%. For that and other moments, I have reduced the former element to 5% and have reallocated the 10% difference among several other elements. The resulting score after these changes is 47.75%

World Quests - Pre-Burning

I am mostly using this video, except where supplements are needed.


Blunt the Spikes/Pruning the Thorns

http://ptr.wowhead.com/quest=52505/pruning-the-thorns (Horde Mirror - not separately evaluated)

As far as what the player does, this is pretty standard fare for a world quest. The characters involved in the quest also behave fine. Night Elf sentinels appear to have moved into the ruins, as have Horde invaders. Summermoon’s voice acting is actually tolerable as well. This content is mostly passable – mostly.

I am docking points from competence for the Night Elves’ failure to reclaim or rebuild Auberdine. I understand that there is an expectation for Blizzard not to allocate resources to this, but when that failure to allocate resources creates a canon reality of them simply giving up on a major port town, suspension of disbelief isn’t enough to get me to let this slide.

Competence: Depressing
Autonomy: Passable
Relatedness: Passable

Spiritual Aid/Extinguish the Lights

http://ptr.wowhead.com/quest=52312/e...ish-the-lights (Horde Mirror - not separately evaluated)

Elements of this bleed through elsewhere, but I’m mentioning it here. David Sarif in Deus Ex Human Revolution is one of my favorite characters in that game, but nevertheless, whenever he talks, he sounds like he’s complaining to the point of whining about something. This (mostly) didn’t have anything to do with his dialogue – it had more to do with his voice acting, and I was actually kind of sad to see it go in Mankind Divided. I bring this up because Malfurion Stormrage does a similar thing with a lot of his voice acting – except that it sounds like he’s crying. Do I believe details like this bleed through? Yes, hence why I’m docking points from relatedness over it.

As for the quest, it’s a filler quest on another Darkshore problem that the previous hero failed to resolve, and one that mostly involves the player rescuing sentinels – instead of the player and those sentinels fighting the Horde. I dock points for both competence and autonomy based on this.

Competence: Depressing
Autonomy: Depressing
Relatedness: Depressing

Our Sacred Forest

Scores of passable given across the board. This is a tolerable filler quest.

Hang On In There


There’s a lot of overlap with “Our Sacred Forest” that I feel is better discussed here, but they are distinct enough to have earned separate ratings. The Night Elves are willing to constantly threaten the Horde’s encampments and bases, with this rather important one being the feature of this quest. Taken with them also pushing on the ruins of Mathystra – once again, we are left with a competent, tenacious defense.

Competence: Redeeming
Autonomy: Redeeming
Relatedness: Passable

So We Meat Again

(Horde Mirror not Evaluated)

This is a minor thing to remark on for a small filler question, but I do appreciate the acknowledgment that Night Elves eat meat. This is a small thing, but the more refutations of generic hippie culture there are, no matter how small, the better. (This isn't enough though to budge a rating - Sorry)

I’m docking competence however, for what’s going on with chimaera. Chimaera mobs weren’t in Darkshore before these quests, and Blizzard should remember that the Night Elves used these units as aerial siege units – and they sat at the top of the tech tree. There were few things more satisfying than a well-supported Chimaera steamroller in Warcraft III. To see them reduced to this is saddening to me, and it doesn’t speak well to how Night Elves make use of strategic game-changers like Chimaera.

Competence: Depressing
Autonomy: Passable
Relatedness: Passable

Detonate!

(Horde Mirror not Evaluated)


Here we see what’s going on with the Night Elven fleet – it’s being attacked from the air and with Azerite mines from under the waterline. The parts that stick out to me are that we do see a fair number of ships in relation to what Blizzard is usually comfortable with actually placing into the game. I understand that these are probably just static meshes and that placing them may not actually be that hard, a lot of this still comes down to willingness to do so.

I also appreciate that Blizzard did something creative here and put small orcas on the side of the Night Elves. That’s a clever idea for securing the undersides of their vessels from threats like this one and the Naga.

Competence: Redeeming
Autonomy: Passable
Relatedness: Passable

Other Pre-Burning World Quests:

Grove of the Ancients
Fey There
We will “Rock” You / Under Pressure ([url]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sJk75jMdmXc[/no)
The Azerite Stuff
One Vision ([url]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hXfXTay3s7k[/no) / It’s a kind of magic ([url]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mCtoIvc9yA4[/no)

Each of these quests appear to essentially be repeatable versions of quests that I’ve reviewed already. They are therefore not assigned a separate rating.

Updates to Tentative Weighting

For the moment, these world quests are accounting collectively for 10% of the overall score, but I expect to reduce this by half to fit mission table content and post burning content. For now, however, taken with slight changes to weighting after the technical corrections, the score now stands at 47.69%
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Old 07-11-2018, 01:03 PM
Fojar Fojar is offline

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Out of curiosity why are we saying that something being depressing is bad? Pathos is an integral part of a compelling story and without it there's no catharsis in future climaxes.

If you're using Lordaeron as a benchmark I think that it'd be warranted to also use Lordaeron's fall all the way back in Warcraft 3 as a benchmark, which was horribly depressing yet still widely considered to be one of the better stories Blizzard has told, and it makes the arcs of WotLK and BfA all the more compelling as a result.

I think that the fall of Teldrassil is just as compelling, and Blizzard uses in my opinion some rather ingenious ways of conveying that pathos, particularly when Darnassus is burning and you get the typical "save civilians" quest that you always get in this scenario, except it's "save literally every NPC in Darnassus" and you have a 3 minute time limit. This is obviously an impossible quest, and no matter how hard you try you'll fail it, right down to hearing the "quest abandoned" sound effect and seeing "quest failed" in your chat log. It emphasizes that right now, you are powerless to save everyone, and that should be something that motivates you going forward when fighting the Horde, especially in Kalimdor.

You can't have a compelling arc, character or racial, without weaknesses and failures to be overcome.
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Old 07-11-2018, 02:50 PM
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I'm going to guess that Kyalin's answer will go along the lines of "the night elves have been in this downward spiral since the start of WoW and haven't had the compelling act to follow it, ever; the night elves don't need another reason to fight the Horde, they've been given plenty already."
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Old 07-11-2018, 04:30 PM
Kyalin V. Raintree Kyalin V. Raintree is offline

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fojar View Post
Out of curiosity why are we saying that something being depressing is bad? Pathos is an integral part of a compelling story and without it there's no catharsis in future climaxes.

If you're using Lordaeron as a benchmark I think that it'd be warranted to also use Lordaeron's fall all the way back in Warcraft 3 as a benchmark, which was horribly depressing yet still widely considered to be one of the better stories Blizzard has told, and it makes the arcs of WotLK and BfA all the more compelling as a result.

I think that the fall of Teldrassil is just as compelling, and Blizzard uses in my opinion some rather ingenious ways of conveying that pathos, particularly when Darnassus is burning and you get the typical "save civilians" quest that you always get in this scenario, except it's "save literally every NPC in Darnassus" and you have a 3 minute time limit. This is obviously an impossible quest, and no matter how hard you try you'll fail it, right down to hearing the "quest abandoned" sound effect and seeing "quest failed" in your chat log. It emphasizes that right now, you are powerless to save everyone, and that should be something that motivates you going forward when fighting the Horde, especially in Kalimdor.

You can't have a compelling arc, character or racial, without weaknesses and failures to be overcome.
A lot of it is context dependent, and I apologize for what I am about to get into here, but I do want to clarify something that I don't feel I have made clear.

In a nutshell, depressing moments are not necessarily bad, but especially in a video game, they have to be handled with care, and the context in which they are presented matters.

Re: Lordaeron

So first, when discussing an RPG, we have to consider the Mimesis Effect, or the tendency for players to mold their behavior to a role, regardless if they select it or if it chosen for them. (For more discussion on that and the citation, see my "Night Elves and the Player Experience" thread) I'm not going to say that there is no possible element of role playing in an RTS, but it's the furthest thing from the focus. Watching another battlefield commander lose doesn't impair your notion of competence or your ability to act.

The circumstances surrounding Lordaeron's fall are also wildly different. To begin with, as is expected in an RTS, the player helps to bring them about, and their actions are shown to matter significantly. But also with Lordaeron, they are brought about by an incredibly prominently featured betrayal, not the failure of Lordaeron's commanders in the field, and certainly not by something that directly attacks the player's desire to feel competent.

I bolded that part for a reason. The betrayal is not a quick, throwaway explanation (as they normally are for Night Elves). It's one of the major narrative moments and it gets its own cinematic. What Blizzard chooses to feature and chooses to downplay is incredibly significant.

Teldrassil as Motivation

I don't think I was entirely fair to the second part of the Teldrassil quests until the technical corrections, but what you mentioned about the integration of quest mechanics and the focus on pathos was the reason for them. Your point on the quest mechanics is absolutely correct.... until we get to this:

Quote:
It emphasizes that right now, you are powerless to save everyone, and that should be something that motivates you going forward when fighting the Horde, especially in Kalimdor.
Emphasis mine.

Now, does it?

I've been following a few threads from the US and EU forums on that. I want to share one particular, but popular sentiment:

https://eu.battle.net/forums/en/wow/...0272175?page=1
https://us.battle.net/forums/en/wow/...5616392?page=1

I took care to avoid quoting the same person twice. This is just a sample.

Quote:
Because one does not really care to fight (or buy a product), if one gets the impression that all is already lost before the bloody thing hits the streets
Quote:
And dont give me that "wait and see" crap. The Night Elves got jack !@#$ after what they received in Cataclysm, why would it be any different now?
(Disclaimer: Not a Night Elf poster)

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I know for a fact that, we will never see any fire in the NE ever again.... The leaders of NE will be ignored in this expansion and Anduin will be given the center of attention.
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Telling you guys if you like aliance and night elves you should quit and not play bfa it is retarded and blizz doesnt care.
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A thirst for revenge? Why would that be enough when all evidence so far would just indicate that the story/quest devs are just gonna make them be as conveniently incompetent as usual.
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How about actual quests and writing to fulfill that revenge? Having fangs and savagery that Grom Hellscream admired back would be a nice change of pace from the constant victimization that composes the majority of Nighty elf stories in WoW and apparently BfA.
Quote:
That thirst for revenge is tempered by a lack of faith that there will be any chance of that; I'll be very surprised that it isn't swept under the rug and that they'll see any action at all. Thus far, Night Elves are very good at being incompetent and dying, and only at those two things. Wait, being dead, that makes it three. I have damn near zero faith they will do anything useful, since they seem to do a lot of stupid things with getting outplayed so easily.
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Lol, you speak as if Blizzard was actually gonna use this chance to develop Night elves instead of just making them victims to carry on the story. I think we know better.
(Disclaimer: Not a Night Elf poster)

Quote:
I'm a Horde main myself and this seems disingenuous, Nelf players have been voicing concerns of feeling Worfed for human development and losing a lot of their cool stuff over time, destruction of Teldrassil just makes me think Blizz wants to marginalize Nelfs, not drive them to fight back.
(Disclaimer: Not a Night Elf poster)

Quote:
If a "Thirst for revenge" is all that they'll have left at this point then I better damn well see some satisfying results from that. Years of being the punching bag for the Horde's benefit or anytime an enemy needs to be shown as being dangerous doesn't exactly have the hopes up high, and you can very much see that in the responses on this thread and the discussions of the story forum for years now.
Quote:
All Night elves get to do is have their corpses lay about everywhere
.

Quote:
Right now I'm just ticked off and not in a good way, more of a throw my hands up in frustration way. It's not as if I as a player character can make any difference, I'm completely at the mercy of the Blizzard narrative which has consistently been about territorial losses for the past 8 years.
I would agree with the idea that depressing content can be used as a motivator, but after eight years of watching the race be mocked, humiliated, and stripped of the respect they once held with no redemption or payoff, motivation eventually gives way to its opposite: hopelessness. Worse still is that this flavor of depressing content has all attacked the feeling of competence.

Or to put it perhaps more bluntly: if you can't win, why play?

To be fair, some night elf fans are at least hopeful that this will lead to some kind of payoff, and the post-burning Darkshore environment (more on that when I have more to reference) is encouraging in that regard. But this was always going to be a problem so long as Blizzard decided to roll something like this out without making up for prior presentation. The message being received is less "this awful thing happened to you and you're going to make your enemies pay" and more "you suck, you've always sucked, and things are only going to get worse for you."

I could call that message many things. "Motivating" is not one of them.
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Old 07-12-2018, 12:18 PM
Krainz Krainz is offline

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Poor sample.

The official forums are very well known for complaining about just everything. Do a quick search about Mage Tower, for instance. The Mage Tower is praised across several Warcraft community spheres as a great piece of content, providing a reasonable solo challenge with satisfying rewards. Many people want a similar to Mage Tower in BFA.

The official forums, however, voiced many and many complaints about the Mage Tower, mostly regarding how "hard" it is, and how they spent hundreds of attempts dying to the mechanics there.

The kind of player that won't have fun in the Mage Tower, no matter what, is most likely the kind of player that will never be encouraged by depressing content.

Basically, snowflakes.
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Old 07-12-2018, 12:58 PM
ARM3481 ARM3481 is online now

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The only serious problem with the Mage Tower was the choice of associated story content.

Well, that and it being part of the otherwise worst patch in Legion.

EDIT: Oh, and the fact they're removing it, and presumably all of the stories with it, just to maintain the exclusivity of the rewards - i.e. a repeat of how they stupidly handled doing so with the Legendaries in MoP and WoD - when they should keep the content in and just replace the appearances and Achievements with a handful of Gold or something.

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Old 07-12-2018, 06:31 PM
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What's the point of bringing up how the Night Elves' big tree riles them up to fight the Greenskins and Rots?

1. The Night Elves already have grounds to fight the Horde from Grom Hellscream killing their god and the Horde continuing to make inroads into their property. Not that they've done well to kill the invasive Greens.

2. The Horde/Forsaken will never get a suitable comeuppance for their actions. The Undercity being invaded hardly counts since Sylvanas hit the self-destruct button when it looked like the Alliance's troops would come out on top over her.
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Old 07-12-2018, 08:49 PM
Kyalin V. Raintree Kyalin V. Raintree is offline

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Quote:
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Poor sample.

The official forums are very well known for complaining about just everything. Do a quick search about Mage Tower, for instance. The Mage Tower is praised across several Warcraft community spheres as a great piece of content, providing a reasonable solo challenge with satisfying rewards. Many people want a similar to Mage Tower in BFA.

The official forums, however, voiced many and many complaints about the Mage Tower, mostly regarding how "hard" it is, and how they spent hundreds of attempts dying to the mechanics there.

The kind of player that won't have fun in the Mage Tower, no matter what, is most likely the kind of player that will never be encouraged by depressing content.

Basically, snowflakes.
Nice non-sequitur there, along with strange connections being made between people commenting on a 24 page long thread on the exact issue and a completely unrelated one.

The sample comment is strange too. Are you saying I believe there's universal agreement on this? I believe I've said before that I don't think that's true. I'm even one of the people who does disagree partially with the sentiment that I'm highlighting, but having said that, having looked at these communities for a long time, I haven't seen it this prevalent as I am now. That to me indicates an incremental, or marginal effect.

I'm glad you commented in a manner that actually made me think again about marginal effects, because I can revisit depressing content with that in mind. With that, here is a study on demoralization.

http://scielo.isciii.es/scielo.php?s...32013000100008

I'm going to just quote one section entirely:

Quote:
The clinical progression of demoralization

As the intensity or duration of the stressful situation increases, [Subjective Incompetence (SI)] eventually becomes helplessness. This happens when the patient develops expectations of being personally unable to change the likelihood of having a positive (i.e., highly desired) outcome or avoiding a negative outcome but still hopeful that the circumstances will change. In some cases, an individual who is helpless eventually becomes hopeless, i.e., certain that a positive outcome will not take place or a negative outcome will take place. This cascade of events may culminate in existential despair, meaninglessness and suicide. As Abramson and her colleagues noted, hopelessness always involves helplessness, i.e., hopelessness is a subset of helplessness, and, therefore, when hopelessness occurs, helplessness also occurs22 (Fig 1).

Helplessness is not listed or required in DSM-IV-TM for the diagnoses of major depressive episode, dysthymic disorder, or adjustment disorder with depressed mood. Hopelessness is listed in DSM-IV-TM as a manifestation of dysthymic disorder, but research has shown that hopelessness is a mental state that is distinct from depression23,24. When measured with the Beck Hopelessness Scale, hopelessness has been shown among psychiatric patients to be a stronger predictor of suicide than depression25,26. In advanced medical illness, hopelessness is associated with demoralization, impaired spiritual well-being and poor quality of life17,27,28. This is consistent with the view that SI, and not distress, is the clinical hallmark of demoralization3. The occurrence of hopelessness implies a drastic change in the assumptive world ("Umwelt") of the patient3,7.

Demoralization is a spectrum or a gradient that starts with SI and non-pathological distress. SI becomes helplessness, sometimes grows into hopelessness, and becomes pathological when it is enduring and causes significant impairment in important areas of functioning. In its most severe form, demoralization can be recognized as a syndrome, including both SI-helplessness-hopelessness and distress that may be non-specific or specific (i.e., part of a physical illness or another mental disorder). The psychiatric outpatients studied by Frank were probably in the milder range of the demoralization spectrum, while those in a state of crisis described by Caplan and those with medical illness identified by Engel probably displayed a more severe form in this spectrum1,9-11. At a time when treatment strategies were not as advanced as they are today, the accumulation of frustrations experienced by patients with schizophrenia probably led to a chronic form of demoralization, the so-called "social breakdown syndrome", identified as a diagnosis in DSM-II12. Kissane and his colleagues proposed that a "demoralization syndrome be recognized as a distinct psychiatric disorder in which loss of meaning and hope can potentially spoil any sense of a worthwhile life and future"20. Clarke and Kissane also reminded us that demoralization is not a static entity but a process21. Clinical observations capture this process at various phases of presentation and, in the absence of biological markers, thresholds or "cut-off points" are established to define what constitutes a disorder, subject to further review, as new research findings are reported.
Emphasis mine.

So, what am I saying with this? To grab some of the bolded areas:

- Demoralization springs from feelings of incompetence
- Those feelings of incompetence create demoralization when they are intense or prolonged
- Demoralization exists on a spectrum that starts with subjective incompetence and worsens
- Demoralization passes through a feeling that the demoralized person can't change the outcome, to a feeling that the outcome will never be positive.

I don't really think I need to say much more. This is an adequate explanation for the incremental effect being observed, and a roadmap to where this is going. I don't link this stuff just to throw in citations - I link it to demonstrate that this is normal human behavior, as established by actual scientists and not just laid down by me personally.

Does the content provided present the role of the Night Elf as incompetent? Yes, and I think the evidence to that effect is overwhelming, particularly when mitigating factors are downplayed or removed from context-rich methods of presentation that are less accessible to the general public.

Is that experience prolonged? Yes, it has gone on for eight years.

Is that experience intense? Yes, it's a jarring departure from the content that brought a lot of the fanbase in to begin with, and it's just gotten to the destruction of the iconic starting zone that seems to be where most of the race lives.

The player already factually cannot change the outcome due to that outcome literally being out of their control, and there is now widespread belief that things will never change for the better.

Is it universal? No, but we can see the marginal effect and the movement down into demoralization.

Hitting on the point of marginality again - you could say that with depressing content for the Night Elves, we're running into diminishing marginal returns, a concept so widespread that I don't feel it requires additional explanation. You could charitably say it carried currency once. Does it any longer? I don't think so.
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