The gates of hell opened during the Legion. We were confronted by a steady stream of almost invincible opponents, one stronger than the other, who tested the bravery of the most virtuous paladin and pushed the strength of the wildest warrior to its limits. One player after another faced the impossible and developed a bright steel backbone and a titanium will as he defeated the crucible.
Whoever went through the fire as a champion was rewarded with powerful artifacts that still set him apart from other players – and in the background the tomb of Sargeras spat out one easily defeatable demon after another. What, you thought, we mean Azeroth's demonic invasion? Ha! The Burning Legion could have learned something if it hadn't been so busy producing mediocre enemies! No, we're talking about a small, demolished ruin on the edge of the Broken Shore. We're talking about the legendary mage tower that separated the wheat from the chaff and produced the prettiest transmog artifacts we've ever seen, not to mention the great druid shapes!
Meanwhile, N'Zoth wraps around the world with his tentacle hug, pink sliver and a lot of love. Not everyone sees it that way, of course, which is why the residents of Azeroth set out to stamp the excesses of the imagination of the Old God in the ground. However, the first vision excursions by the magician-hardened champions are like trying to pull a jumbo jet across the asphalt with a super sports car: the power is great, the competence enormous and the knowledge of the mechanics comprehensive. However, if you don't equip your sports car with an eighty-cylinder engine, two hundred wheels and snow chains, you won't push the jet a millimeter away. In the end, the jumbo jet moves, the inflated Mad Max monster, the clutch of which is being actuated, but no longer resembles an elegant Lamborghini. The whole thing can be explained with the two basic types of video game difficulty: The "real" difficulty requires very fine adjustments in timing, mechanics and design, as we do for example in the case of the magic tower in Legion or (what a new and surprising comparison !) of the Dark Souls series. And then there is the "wrong" difficulty that lets you run into a wall if your numbers are not high enough. You are not to blame for your failure, you can play as well as you want: if your numbers are too small, you will die. Important: Even if the "wrong" difficulty sounds negative, it is not bad in itself – almost all action role-playing games in the Diablo style are based on it, for example! However, the disturbing visions are also the second type of difficulty, which may not be the right choice for a single player challenge. Don't get us wrong, you also need solid equipment for the Mage Tower. Still, he looked more like a final boss and less like a second job.
Many magician tower veterans feel something like this: Instead of rewarding competent play, you are showered with a real flood of complex and not always fun mechanics. On top of that, you'll have to level up an item again that will end up in the garbage can in the next expansion, and you'll also have a huge bunch of special-super-special passive abilities that you will never see again in eight months. All of that, to be thrown into the same scenario a couple of times a week, after which you'll be better equipped to do the same a little better the next week. As the time-caught reporter Phil from the film "And the marmot greets every day" would say: "I experience the same day over and over again. I think I'm a god." But why is there clearly noticeable vision fatigue spreading among the players in the meantime? After all, the feature was explicitly praised at the beginning, because it not only fits the topic of the Old Gods, but also offers a lot of long-term motivation. This time in our little corner of Mecker we illuminate what does not suit us with the disturbing visions and give a few enlightened suggestions for improvement that are, of course, absolutely bulletproof from an argumentative point of view. So put on your helmet and chew solidly on your now slightly worn bite stick, because we mess with an old god and his fancies. Of course we mean N'Zoth and not Blizzard.
Would you like more stress in WoW? We have stress for everyone!
Much of your success in World of Warcraft (buy now for € 32.95) depends on visible and invisible timers. Do you want examples? No problem: Mythic + dungeons have always had a timer that shows you in large numbers how much time you have left until you get a stamp with the word "failure" on your forehead. Of course that's not true – but the whole situation feels very much like it. The dramatically melting timer is of course a good thing in the mythical dungeons, because depending on the speed you will be ranked higher or lower on the ranking. In raids, on the other hand, the boss's tantrum timer constantly ticks towards zero. Even if you don't see him right away, the disaster countdown is definitely there and one of the main reasons for the so-called "DPS-Checks": If you don't bring large numbers with you, you don't even have to enter the room. And just to be on the safe side, we mention it explicitly – that's an explicitly good thing! If a little pressure wasn't built up in the high-end area of the game, the whole thing would be only half as exciting. We need crisp timers and DPS checks in the group content, because only in this way can a game that is based on collecting objects and increasing your values build long-term clearly visible goals. However, it gets a bit tricky when it comes to just such timers in single player content.
We regularly run in raids, have already led some and are very familiar with Mythic +. The mental health mechanics of the disturbing visions, however, drive our pulse through the ceiling so hard that you can still see the blood-red mushroom cloud from Stuttgart. Anyone who has played "Sonic the Hedgehog" as a youngster knows the music that eats into the nerves of the player when Sonic is about to drown – for many players, including us, the disturbing visions seem like an endless "water level ". And you gasp for air throughout the run. When the visions were announced, we still had scenarios in which we explore the corrupt capital cities, find interesting little details and dive a little deeper into N'Zoth's dark thoughts with each attempt. The ultimate content, however, consists of a panicked sprint through winding alleys and ground effects, while your own mental health continues to decline. Anyone who has already tried to tick off everything in hardmode with five masks will quickly notice that the slightest mistake, such as a short hanging on a corner or a fall into a pool, already leads to the fact that you log out unnerved. If you are not perfect in this environment, which is also dependent on chance, you can leave the room backwards. The magic tower, on the other hand, concentrated on surviving under enemy fire and very precise and predictable mechanics, which were still extremely difficult. You had to play "right" instead of "fast". We admit that taking risks in order to optimize your own speed is a cool concept, which is especially good for watching a stream. Anyone who is a single player and also a fan of methodical procedures can say goodbye to his gamble evening. The usual procedure for hard content in MMORPGs is to use your own basic pattern recognition, determine optimal routes and then execute your own plan – this also works in the disturbing visions, but afterwards you don't feel like a hero who is a big one Hurdle, but like a plumber plugging one leak after another in panic mode. And if the feeling after a vision run is not pride but relief, something goes wrong.
War and glory instead of bumper cars and multitasking
The old orc warrior wipes his posh blade with a torn Horde flag and looks around. Orgrimmar is still occupied, but he has just sent a few faceless people back into the void; every little bit counts. Deep down, he knows the misery around him is an old god's fever dream, but the tainted flag in his fist feels damn real. Just as he is about to make his way into the Valley of Strength, he is attacked by the henchmen N'Zoths. However, instead of having an epic battle with the aberrations, it is pushed back and forth by several burning soil effects. Meanwhile, tentacles pop out of the ground around him. Just before he can mow them down with his blade, the tentacles teleport to another place – meanwhile, the proud warrior bounces around uncontrollably as the spots of fire grow under his feet. Meanwhile, the player in front of the monitor is pounding desperately on the button to restore his character's mental health. After two minutes of listening to Benny Hill music in the back of his mind, his character flips over. The only thought at the moment is not "It was fun!" But "How can I strangle someone through my screen?"
Does this situation seem familiar to you? U.S. as well. Normally you will face at least every second group of opponents with a mechanism that reminds you of a round of bumper cars at the local village fair rather than the fight against a cosmic horror. Again, complex mechanics are not bad in themselves, but unfortunately the enemies in the visions often misunderstand each other. Attacks that take control away from the player have never been a source of uninhibited joy. However, as soon as you start jumping around uncontrollably or forced to move at walking pace through one of the countless affixes, it gets silly. If you sat in the quality check, played through the magician quarter including the boss Magister Umbric as a melee class through the effect "Bleierner Fuß" at walking pace and then thought: "Wow, that was fun, again!" We understand that the idea was to incorporate a variety of effects that different classes can deal with differently. What we don't understand is the sadism with which Blizzard did it. It gets really murderous when you combine the element of limited time with these mechanics. Anyone who has ever been thrown into a canal by one of the countless "features" in Stormwind and then went mad both in the game and in the real world knows what we are talking about. And while we're at it: The corrupt storm wind is such a great exponent of this philosophy that Blizzard is considering reducing the difficulty of the vision again. Wrong, we say! A high difficulty is good, because only in this way can we experience real moments of triumph. Instead of a reduced difficulty, we instead demand fewer mechanics that take us out of control, slow us down or push our character around like a kindergarten child in the moshpit at a Cannibal Corpse concert.
We hope you have brought time for the visions
Of course, we understand in principle why the disturbing visions eat so much time: They were designed as primary endgame activities that ideally keep you busy until the release of Shadowlands. Accordingly, the content must remain interesting and worthwhile for as long as possible, because if we could just rush through the whole thing, the annoyance about a lack of employment would be great. However, there is the small but fine tip on the scales, which turns the content from an entertaining activity to a grind party that bears a great resemblance to a tentacle-reinforced hamster wheel. On the one hand, the visions themselves take an enormously long time, which in the case of the magic tower simply did not have to be invested. The duration of the fight was short and crisp, while tantrum timers also ran in the background, but were invisible and imperceptible to the player. The visions themselves feel like an examination in home economics that takes over 20 minutes to half an hour: Did you also think of everything? Nothing burns? Do you keep an eye on three fireplaces at the same time? Oh oh, twenty minutes are up and you don't have a full clear yet? Time to activate panic mode! On the other hand, the disturbing visions require you to farm a currency so that you can tackle the content at all. Again, we are very happy to make a comparison to the Magic Tower, which of course also required you to use Nethershards and which was also only available for a limited time. The difference is that you could enter the magic tower as often as you wanted within the time window and the currency was also easy to obtain. Endgame employment wasn't too short, as expected, as thousands of players can confirm, who have never earned their transmog weapons.
The disturbing visions have no fixed end. Of course, the five-mask solo run, a maximized cloak and the attainment of the unique mount could be seen as the end, but the way there is so long that it might as well be infinite. Here is a brief clarification: we have nothing against long-term goals. However, it is extremely important for the motivation of the player to set intermediate goals, otherwise all progress seems like a drop in the bucket. The Magic Tower did it right at the time, because as soon as a specialization had won their super weapon, the player could switch and try again with another talent tree: a definite goal, paired with clearly visible victory plateaus from which you can continue your journey can. The rewards with which the visions provide you are indeed very cool and imaginative, but the problem here is the lack of self-determination: Most of the cool stuff is once again, like a distant robot casino, with a small chance of enemies or the chest dropped at the end. At all times, you have the feeling that you are working through a gambling system riddled with frustrating mechanics, rather than completing an epic journey or a dangerous adventure. Traceable, self-determined progress is important! Working towards a legendary reward feels a lot different.
The other side: The visions are great!
We would not be fair to ourselves and our readers if we did not represent the opposite side in a few lines. So: The disturbing visions are great, because in his time even well-equipped professional riders were shot out of their boots within seconds in the magic tower. If you didn't want to throw yourself against the damn tower alone and over and over again, you saw absolutely no country. The visions, on the other hand, give players an opportunity to progress at their own pace and set themselves intermediate goals. The game itself does not set any goals for you, but if you decide to make it to the next boss, for example, you will build your own motivational framework. As a second and extremely important argument, even physically impaired players can conquer the visions by getting help from their guildmates – in stark contrast to the magic tower, which towered like an invincible monolith in front of the player.
With a hot heart & cool head
Okay, we admit it: it is easier for us to plunge into a system that does not meet our personal taste if we can groom about it from time to time. Despite our craving, of course, players who love the visions wholeheartedly are not wrong. We were one of them at the beginning! Simply choose the content you like, switch down a gear until Shadowlands appears and relax. After all, we all currently have a lot of time to kill in our own four walls. By the way, we always recommend activities that reward you with transmog armor, because these will not be canceled immediately at the beginning of the next expansion. Represent your opinion with a warm heart and discuss with each other, because only through player feedback the game continues to develop. But keep a cool head – because yelling at a feature is much more relaxing than doing the same with a teammate who can't help it.
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