Friday, July 10, 2015

[WoW] So, confession, I actually enjoy Tanaan Jungle

Back in Mists of Pandaria, the final patch brought us the Timeless Isle--a compact zone filled with mobs, rares, treasures, jumping puzzles, and loot. I didn't mind Timeless Isle so much, but it felt cramped. You could get from one end of the island to the other in about 2 minutes, maybe 3. With the sheer number of people in the zone, some days it was difficult to tag the monsters you wanted because there was just too much competition.

But aside from that, I enjoyed searching for the treasures, and many of the mobs weren't difficult to kill if you were decent at understanding their patterns. Toads, tigers, turtles, and so on. It was also well-designed in the fact there were places that you could go if you were low ilvl to get gear until you could tackle the higher ilvl stuff. Timeless Coins as a currency was a good call, as well, because it gave you something to collect, obtain. You could set your own goals. Timeless Isle was a pretty good demonstration on what progression in a single zone could look like.

Enter Warlords of Draenor. Tanaan Jungle is basically Timeless Isle 2.0. The major differences this time around are the zone is much bigger (easily about four times as big), with actual dailies/missions to help guide your experience and give you goals if you don't want to make your own. Objective zones were basically ripped from their previous dailies, and I don't mind them. I like waltzing in, wiping out a swathe of enemies, breaking their things, and killing their rares. And with some treasures that may regenerate daily, even if you get all the static stuff, there are till things to search for.

Tanaan certainly isn't a small zone. In fact, it's large enough to have plenty of empty space delineating each sub-zone.
For me, I pretty much only run a single character these days. I get to Tanaan, I pick up the first set of dailies, complete them, grab the next set, complete them, and I'm done in about 45 - 60 minutes. This is about the perfect amount of time for me to play on a mostly daily basis. On top of that, that gives me a fair bit of progress on all 3 Tanaan reps, and usually dumps about 15k Apexis Crystals into my coffers (seriously, Apexis rains in Tanaan). It would make it quite easy and quick to gear up an alt, if I chose to go that route. But even with Heroic BRF loot, I could still get some upgrades in Tanaan Jungle with the 20k Apexis Upgrade token.

If solo stuff isn't your thing, I can see why Tanaan would hold no interest. If you didn't like the more free-form play that Timeless Isle brought, you'll probably dislike Tanaan (though it has more structure, so perhaps not). Tanaan is pretty much ignorable though if you raid, aside from the Legendary Ring stuff. I've nabbed most of what I need after about 10 days of play in terms of resources though, which I personally don't think is terribly onerous.

Granted, some raiders seem to resent being forced into any solo content, and while I definitely prefer group content myself, I don't think asking folks to play some of the game outside of instances is necessarily a bad thing, but I know that's an unpopular sentiment amongst the mythic raiders I follow on Twitter. Almost to a person they seem to detest being asked to do single-player content it seems. Either that, or they're just really loud about it. And that's okay. Some things are just not everyone's cup of tea. In days past you were forced out into the world to get materials for your raid. Farm for potions, food, flasks, enchanting materials, so on and so forth. With most of that handled by Garrisons or the AH these days, nudging people into non-instanced content has to be dealt with in another manner.

Killing orcs. Well, fel orcs this time. Haven't killed fel orcs since TBC!
That being said, Tanaan does rub me the wrong way in some ways. It doesn't really forward the story very much. Granted, that's pretty much all of 6.x's post-100 content in a nutshell, but I've done 4 out of the 6 Tanaan story weeklies, and they're super short and don't tell a lot.

Rares mostly don't seem to scale HP fast enough to survive very long--outside of the 4 pseudo-world bosses, which have a metric butt-tonne of health--which makes seeing them and running after them a difficult proposition at times.

And World of Warcraft's tapping system for monsters is extremely antiquated, and Tanaan exacerbates it. Pretty close to every other MMO out there allows for multiple people to tap a monster, but WoW still only allows that for rares/big monsters. This presents a problem in the more popular daily areas where there aren't enough spawns for people to share. Or they up the spawn rate and people get overwhelmed. At this point I'm still not sure what the reasoning is for WoW to maintain their ye olde tapping tech. It feels bad because instead of cooperating with folks, I'm competing with them. It makes me want to find an isolated corner filled with my own targets. That's the exact opposite of what they're trying to encourage, no?

Overall, I've enjoyed my time in Tanaan. I think it's an excellent evolution of the Timeless Isle design. I've loved exploring it, and I think the rewards come in at a decent enough pace to make it worth my time now that my exploration phase is largely done and I move into the farming phase of the content.
#GameDesign, #WoW


  1. World of Warcraft's Alliance versus Horde factions have been replaced almost entirely by Casual versus Hardcore. I think both sides should just shut up and play. "Wah, we have to solo/group/raid/pvp/afk at a bank" ... it gets old.

    1. I don't know if you can boil it down that simply. There are a lot of different activities in WoW, and not a lot of overlap between them. Small group PvP, large group PvP, small group PvE, large group PvE, solo PvE. Some folks love arenas but hate battlegrounds. Some love the 5-player dungeons, but don't like massive raids.

      But at the same time, I feel like having a minor amount of crossover isn't really a big deal, at least within the PvP and PvE silos. Ultimately the content is quite similar, just differing numbers of people. But I wonder if (but doubt) a game that was nothing but raiding would be able to sustain itself.

  2. "Almost to a person they seem to detest being asked to do single-player content it seems."

    If you're curious, I don't mind single player content and enjoy it if, y'know, it's actually decent. But I actually like lore, so perhaps take it with a grain of salt.

    That said, I think the larger issue tends to be when stuff is daily...there's the feeling of obligation to log in or you permanently lose out on progress. It's even better if it's tied to something else that takes a long time -- if my raid collection quest will take six weeks then expecting me to do 10 hours of solo content sometime in those six weeks is a lot better than expecting me to do 30 minutes of solo content a day for the first three weeks.

    1. Yeah, but I don't follow you on Twitter so you're not part of that echo chamber of "I hate solo content!"

      But I do agree with your point. I think with mythic raiders there's a lot of pressure to do everything you can to give you that edge, so when the WoW devs make content that's honestly likely aimed for the average player, the Mythic raiders get caught by the snare and feel forced to complete the content as fast as they possibly can. If you can't binge on it, as you mention, then having all that content laid out to log in daily for does mean you're "missing" progress.

      Kinda makes me glad I don't raid competitively.