Remix: FOMO and Culture Clash

There are a variety of things I'd like to be doing in WoW right now: I haven't worked on my hardcore priest in a while for example - in fact, the other day I logged in to find that I'd been kicked from the guild for inactivity. However, Pandaria: Remix keeps pushing my FOMO buttons every time I log in. "67 Days Remaining" it declares right there on the character selection screen, so there's always that feeling that everything else can wait. It's annoying, but that's just one of those things about marketing: simply being aware of how the trick works doesn't automatically make you immune to its power.

One of the criticisms I've seen levelled against Remix is that people think Bronze shouldn't be the currency for everything. I didn't really get that at the beginning, and maybe the devs had a similar line of thinking as I did: that making Bronze the currency for everything would allow collectors to focus on getting mounts and cosmetics, while people who don't care about that kind of stuff could upgrade their gear and be OP instead. I guess the devs didn't anticipate that so many players would feel that they absolutely had to do both.

However, even if people are happy to just focus their efforts on one specific path, the system creates quite a chasm between those who care about the gearing and those who don't. My goals have settled on earning as many mounts and cosmetics as I can with a casual time investment, as well as levelling a few alts over the next couple of months. I haven't invested any Bronze into upgrading my gear because that just feels like a waste to me at this point. However, seemingly everyone in my guild is the opposite, and I keep getting dragged along to do normal and heroic raids under strength, content where I'm worse than useless and just end up dying on every boss because I'm too squishy to survive most of the mechanics. Meanwhile all everybody talks about for hours is their gear and how much dps they're doing. I know I shouldn't be complaining about a free ride to some achievements and Bronze, but ultimately it's not really what I want to be spending my evenings on right now.

My shaman dreams of questing on greener pastures instead of inspecting the floors of Siege of Orgrimmar.

And that's all in the benevolent environment of playing with friends. Pugs are just totally dominated by over-powered speed-runners now that care little to nothing about anyone else in the group. I did the second wing of Siege of Orgrimmar in LFR the other day and after the third boss, people just charged ahead without even fighting any of the trash, so that those who were unable to keep up (thanks to +speed on the gear and cloak it literally becomes impossible to keep up with certain characters) got locked out of the last boss room, and the gate didn't re-open after he had died either. After I'd collected my loot, I felt rather bad seeing the half dozen people or so who were still locked outside as they couldn't even enter to pick up their stuff. I can only hope that the Postmaster mailed it to them.

Dungeons are pretty much the same. For example, I made a little bear druid and queued into Scholomance as my first normal dungeon. I pulled the first two trash mobs, but a dps just ran past me, jumped down the stairs and instantly pulled the boss while ignoring all the trash. I pushed myself through the ice wall she spawns, taking massive damage in the process, and only survived because I levelled up when the others killed the boss. The rest of the run was then just more frantic running after the dps who were simply AoEing everything. Basically, Remix dungeons are just like normal retail dungeons now: no gameplay, just speed-running. I said previously that I don't mind getting a bit of a boost from someone stronger than me, but at some point queueing into any of these activities simply doesn't actually involve any actual gameplay anymore, it's just a chore to jog through the exact same hallways over and over again for more threads and Bronze. Not a very tough or time-consuming chore, but still a chore. And that's the situation we're in with the event having been live for less than a month, with two more months left for people to get even more overpowered.

Earlier today, I was in Valley of the Four Winds when the world boss Galleon spawned, so I flew right over. Nobody had attacked him yet, and since I wasn't confident in my survival by myself, I stood around for a few seconds to wait for others to show up. Then the boss just fell over in front of my eyes before I could even blink, never mind getting a hit in. Someone else had literally just landed and one-shot him. I didn't realise we were at "one-shotting at-level world bosses" degrees of power yet.

Ironically, on the rare occasion when you end up in a group that doesn't have anyone OP in it, it doesn't end up feeling good either, just super slow. More than once I've zoned into heroic Mogu'shan Palace (and for some reason it's always Mogu'shan Palace) with damage dealers that couldn't out-dps a healer with zero gear upgrades, and it just made everything take forever. It's not like there were suddenly real stakes or anything, it just meant that I stood there pouring my piddly healer dps into what felt like a damage sponge for five minutes per boss fight.

I just see all this as a reminder that Blizzard has never really managed to square the concept of getting everyone into the content and keeping queues popping with the reality that throwing people with vastly different interests and power levels into groups together - while also providing zero incentive to be social and treat those other people as human beings - can lead to some pretty crappy experiences. I wish their motto in regards to group content wasn't always quantity over quality. I'd rather have five actually enjoyable dungeon runs than fifty LFD hallway jogs.


  1. I definitely do understand where you're coming from when it comes to group content etc.; while I'm always happy to do stuff as long as people need it and want to do it, but I really don't feel comfortable just being as powerful as Remix allows one to be. Being able to underman an entire heroic through the efforts of two or even one person is obscene and frankly should not be possible. It just isn't fun for anyone, really.

    Upgrading is very much a double-edged sword. Not doing it means content is more fun as things take longer to die, thus allowing for actual experience to be gained while fighting, but then when it leads to the instances of repeated deaths when you do absolutely nothing wrong except just be hit... that is just awful to deal with, and upgrading just becomes a way of making sure that's less likely to happen alongside everything else. It doesn't feel like upgrading is 'natural' in that regard; it's something that one feels forced to do either because of taking too much damage or because you're being left behind by pumpers.

    The sad bit is as well that this has stymied my mage, as I don't want to take her into dungeons etc. and just be carried by a highly-geared 70; it's why I try not to enter dungeons through group finder at all on my DH except with other guildies, because I don't want to be that person to the group(s) I get.

    I dunno. It's just... I do get your pain. The moment I realised we could underman Heroic Mogu'shan Vaults, one of my first reactions was "oh shit, we're going to be farming this bloody thing, aren't we?". Yeeeeeeep.

  2. Being so overpowered devalues the 'harder' raid contents, especially the Mythic Garrosh one. Wearing the "Paragon of the Mists" title just opens a person up to being mocked for paining a giant "L" (for loser) on themselves. I saw someone wearing that title on retail and local chat was roasting the title. The most cutting comment was comparing the title to getting the Bronze drake from Culling of Stratholme during Dragonflight. Ouch.

    I may level another character or just farm some more bronze, but at the moment the whole system just pushes me to tune out my involvement in any group activity if there's an overpowered player in the group. That's as unhealthy to the game as a toxic player in a normally powered group. :sigh:

    I mean, I have had my fun, but the excesses are just making sure Remix is going to end on a low note.

  3. I do not like FOMO. That is why for me Classic Era is perfect. Nothing changes, so if I come 1 year later I can just pick up from where I left. Also, the content is big enough that even playing for 5 years I still have quests to do or items to get (on one character, not even going to comment about alts... or faction change, for that matter). It has the quiet comfort of a single player that you pick up years later to play again.

    1. It does indeed! I still log in at least briefly every day. It's just that those same positive qualities, knowing that it's not about to go away or change in a major way within a month, mean that it's easy to always leave things there "for later".