The "Wise" Words of a Self Confessed Geek!

5 Most Controversial Decision in WoW (in my opinion of course!)

Over the history of World of Warcraft there has been many decisions where a few people have been left thinking “eh?”, but normally these are drowned out by the “omg that’s brilliant” supporters of the idea. Here I list decisions that in my opinion were the other way.

5) Mage Tax

Okay so this one might not be in most people’s top 5 as a lot of players don’t play mages, but it’s in mine. During The Burning Crusade beta, it was deemed by Blizzard that mages were doing “draw dropping damage” at level 70 and so a hidden tax was put on mages. For every point you spent in “Improved Fireball” or “Improved Frostbolt”, you would lose 2% of your bonus spell damage, up to a maximum of 10% for those spells. So say you had 1000 spell power, you’d lose 100 on those spells.

As the expansion progressed it was quite clear that those who had decided that mages needed this tax must have been smoking something illegal as the mage class slipped further down the pecking order, with only arcane able to go anywhere near the top of the damage charts. This was made worse with the rise of the warlock class from unknowns in vanilla WoW, to god-mode in TBC. It got so bad that come the introduction of the Sunwell raid instance mages were being replaced left, right and center by Warlocks. The proof was in the pudding as the first guild to clear Sunwell made the decision to have no mages in their 25 man team, as compared to warlocks they were vastly inferior. This is where the saying “Sunwelled” came from.

Another thing they did was to put counterspell onto the Global Cooldown. This meant that counterspell could not be cast until 1.5secs after the last spell was cast. Blizzard’s reasoning was that this would bring the interrupt of mages in line with the interrupts of say shamans Earth Shocks (which at that time was their interrupter). This decision was met with derision by the mage class with justifiable comments such as “well in that case, lower the cooldown of counterspell to match earth shock and attach damage to it, if you want to balance them out”. Blizzard saw the light of their errors shortly after and rescinded the decision, returning counterspell to an “Off the GCD” status.

4) Call to Arms

Announced just last week, this one has polarized opinion so much that I think it deserves an immediate place in my top 5. I’ll summarize then offer some links to some very good opinions from both sides of the argument. Basically the role that is needed most will have a “Call to Arms” by their name on the Looking For Dungeon screen. If someone takes that role they will be given extra gold, flasks and a chance of getting a rare mount or reputation pet. It’s meant to reduce wait times for DPS, however whilst some DPS are thankfully for this littlest of thing, others are saying “so basically tanks and healers will get extra for just doing what they signed up for?” and “this is just a band-aid. In a months time we’ll back to square one. Long wait times and tanks and healers will still get the extra goodies”. It’s even split opinion within the two roles that’ll benefit the most from these bribes, the tanks and healers. Some are saying “this is great, extra incentive for me to suffer the LFD”, whilst others are saying “Bribing me to do LFD is not a good fix” and “I’m still not going to do it”.

Anyway here are those opinions I promised you.

Guillin – Call to Arms, er Protection/Feral/Blood (Mainly Against

Dwarven Battle Medic – Call to Arms, A Rebuttal (Mainly For)

Emberstorm – LFD, Call to Arms (On the Fence, Slightly For)

Psynister – Dungeon Finder : Call to Arms (Generally For)

Root and Branch – TANSTAAFL (On the Fence)

I had to throw my own post in their, but all of these that I have read all offer some fantastic opinions on this, and whether you agree or disagree with what’s going on, they are, in my opinion all excellent reads.

3) PvE to PvP server transfers

At the time of this going live this was hugely controversial. Some of the players on the Player Verses Player (PvP) servers were unhappy about players from Player Verses Environment (PvE) servers being able to transfer to their realms. The argument? That those on PvE realms are not as skilled in PvP as those who levelled up 1-70 (at the time) and then spent their raiding/farming days ganking/being ganked. Thankfully Blizzard pretty much thought that these presumptions weren’t valid overall and proceeded with allowing it to happen. Nowadays nothing is thought of it, but back then it caused a lot of angst amongst some players.

2) Real ID

Wait! What? You haven’t got Real ID as number one? That’s correct and whilst this kicked up a storm the likes of which we have never seen when it comes to WoW, I do think that there is one more decision and had Twitter been around when it was announced, then the micro-blogging site might of hid in a corner refusing to play ball. But first Real ID.

This from an old trial blog of mine pretty sums it up

“I’m sure by now if you frequent either the WoW US or the WoW EU forums you will have seen a pretty dramatic statement. It’s not as visible today due to a “convenient” talent tree revamp announcement (all yours tin-foil hat brigade) but it’s still there.  Basically I’m talking about this …

Recently, we introduced our new Real ID feature, a new way to stay connected with your friends on the new Today, we wanted to give you a heads up about our plans for Real ID on our official forums, discuss the design philosophy behind the changes we’re making, and give you a first look at some of the new features we’re adding to the forums to help improve the quality of conversations and make the forums an even more enjoyable place for players to visit.

The first and most significant change is that in the near future, anyone posting or replying to a post on official Blizzard forums will be doing so using their Real ID — that is, their real-life first and last name — with the option to also display the name of their primary in-game character alongside it. These changes will go into effect on all StarCraft II forums with the launch of the new community site prior to the July 27 release of the game, with the World of Warcraft site and forums following suit near the launch of Cataclysm. Certain classic forums, including the classic forums, will remain unchanged.

The official forums have always been a great place to discuss the latest info on our games, offer ideas and suggestions, and share experiences with other players — however, the forums have also earned a reputation as a place where flame wars, trolling, and other unpleasantness run wild. Removing the veil of anonymity typical to online dialogue will contribute to a more positive forum environment, promote constructive conversations, and connect the Blizzard community in ways they haven’t been connected before. With this change, you’ll see blue posters (i.e. Blizzard employees) posting by their real first and last names on our forums as well.

We also plan to add a number of other features designed to make reading the forums more enjoyable and to empower players with tools to improve the quality of forum discussions. Players will have the ability to rate up or rate down posts so that great topics and replies stand out from the not-so-great; low-rated posts will appear dimmer to show that the community feels that they don’t contribute effectively to the conversation, and Blizzard’s community team will be able to quickly and easily locate highly rated posts to participate in or to highlight discussions that players find worthwhile.

In addition, individual topics will be threaded by context, meaning replies to specific posts will be grouped together, making it easier for players to keep track of multiple conversations within a thread. We’re also adding a way for Blizzard posters to “broadcast” important messages forums-wide , to help communicate breaking news to the community in a clear and timely fashion. Beyond that, we’re improving our forum search function to make locating interesting topics easier and help lower the number of redundant threads, and we have more planned as well.

With the launch of the new, it’s important to us to create a new and different kind of online gaming environment — one that’s highly social, and which provides an ideal place for gamers to form long-lasting, meaningful relationships. All of our design decisions surrounding Real ID — including these forum changes — have been made with this goal in mind.

We’ve given a great deal of consideration to the design of Real ID as a company, as gamers, and as enthusiastic users of the various online-gaming, communication, and social-networking services that have become available in recent years. As these services have become more and more popular, gamers have become part of an increasingly connected and intimate global community – friendships are much more easily forged across long distances, and at events like DreamHack, GamesCom or our own BlizzCon, we’ve seen first-hand how gamers who may have never actually met in person have formed meaningful real-life relationships across borders and oceans. As the way gamers interact with one another continues to evolve, our goal is to ensure is equipped to handle the ever-changing social-gaming experience for years to come.

For more info on Real ID, check out our Real ID page and FAQ located at We look forward to answering your questions about these upcoming forum changes in the thread below. “

Now I have to say I wouldn’t be totally against this as I can see where they are coming from, however, I do think this would’ve been avoided a long time ago. If Blizzard would’ve made people choose a forum username when they first join the forums then they wouldn’t be able to hide behind alts to sprout abuse. Being able to select your character was a fantastic idea, but in the end it was counterproductive. A forum username would solve this.

The other concern, and for me this is a bigger one. Apparently Bashiok yesterday posted his real name on the forums. Within no time people had found out his personal details by searching for them on the internet, as a result, some Blizzard employees have stated that Blizzard’s real names will not be shown on the new forums due to privacy issues. Yes the same privacy issues that Blizzard are willingly going to disregard when it comes to the user base.

I’m sorry but you CAN NOT have one rule for the user base on this and one rule for Blizzard employees. Let me give you a situation. Say a regular well-mannered forum goer has just beat someone fairly to an item, or has defeated them in PvP, or has made a comment on the forums that the other user disagreed with. What’s to stop them from finding their name on the forums, doing an internet search like the one that was done on Bashiok, finding out their personal details and causing havoc? If anything this whole incident surely must have shown Blizzard that real names on the forum are a terrible idea. There must be someone in Blizz HQ with an ounce of common sense, who must know that this will open a can of very unpleasant worms.

Finally I’ll restate what I think would be the best option. Unique forum names. Only one forum name per account. Using real names is just asking for it to be abused.”

This I posted last year when it was first announced. And the huge storm of very unpleasant smelling materials that was caused by this announcement forced Blizzard to retreat and cancel the plan to have real names on the forums. It did however achieve something very rare. It unified 95% of the wow player base behind one common opinion, however it wasn’t the opinion that Blizzard wanted.

1) And now, with no further a due, I announce to you what I think was at the time probably the most controversial decision in WoW history … Shamans to Alliance, and Paladins to Horde

For anyone who started playing from TBC onwards, you’ll be thinking “what?”, but trust me, when this was first announced, the WoW forums absolutely exploded. It made any complaints that are happening right now look like, well it made them seem like they didn’t exist. And if Twitter was around at the time, I’m pretty sure the makes of the micro-blogging site would’ve banned anyone from mentioning WoW for fear of the site crashing, hiding under the bed and refusing to come out again.

In vanilla World of Warcraft, Shamans and Paladins were exclusive to the Horde and Alliance respectively. They were meant to be one of the main things that separated the two factions, however near to the launch of The Burning Crusade it was announced that for the first time in WoW, these two classes would be available to the opposite faction.

Oh boy, did the brown and messy stuff hit the fan. Players from both sides went to forums to declare their absolute disgust for this decision, more “I Quit” posts sprung up then after a night in Grim Batol or getting Oculus again as a random dungeon. The main arguments were that they defined each faction and that this was just Blizzard taking the easy way out as they couldn’t work out how to balance both classes without making them the same. In hindsight this was probably the first mass attempt to homogenize in the game, and not the first and certainly wont be the last time that Blizzard take the easy way out.

I myself, didn’t have an opinion, I didn’t play either class, so i didn’t care. I could empathize with those who were against it but could also see where the boys in blue were coming from.

This for me was the most controversial decision that has been made in the game, I know, as always that others will rate them differently, have ones of their own, or have others that I’ve completely forgot about. But hey-ho.


3 responses

  1. jay/bringing_chaos

    This was a great read. A trip through memory lane 🙂

    April 13, 2011 at 20:11

  2. Razorstorm

    I wasn’t around for the Shammy/Pally debaucle, but did it make the Wall Street Journal? Because the RealID thing DID. It was a remarkable event of a customer base rising up in arms. And Blizzard completely reversed their decision, and Michael Morhaime had to make a personal statement from his honeymoon to calm things down. This event had much greater ramifications and implications about internet anonynimity, which would have been felt through the industry had it gone forward.

    I have a hard time believing that the Shammy/Pally event was ANYWHERE near as impactful from a big-picture perspective as that.

    April 13, 2011 at 20:13

  3. Good post. I agree with Razorstorm, though, the RealID fiasco was certainly more controversial than the Shaman/Horde debate. Of course, RealID in itself wasn’t as hotly protested as the ‘Real Name Only on the Forums’ announcement. That’s when the Internet Shit really hit the Internet Fan.

    However, the RealID debacle gave the community a real sense that we actually had a say in how this game is shaped; and more importantly, gave us Anne Stickney’s wonderful and meme-generating post regarding Internet Dragons. So at least something positive came out of it.

    April 13, 2011 at 20:46

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