My subscription runs out on Saturday, November 10th, just a few short days away. So I’ve been writing this series about the reasons why I’m retiring. Part 1 talked about raiding nerfs and how I feel the developers and I don’t see eye to eye on a number of issues to do with raiding content. Part 2 talked about how I don’t feel as though I have many of the same views as the majority of the playerbase, in terms of researching my classes and basically learning how to play. My last post, while not a full-fledged part of this series, demonstrates pretty clearly that not only do the vast majority of players of the game and I have little in common in terms of how we approach our play, but in terms of their social skills and abilities to not be total jackasses, we also tend to differ. As always, I’m not trying to convince anyone to quit. Play or don’t play, that’s your choice. It’s your $15 a month. I’m merely documenting my reasons why. And please do note that there is a comment policy in effect. Thanks. :)

Reason 3: The Bugs, oh God, the Bugs

Okay. I get it. I really do. World of Warcraft is an enormous game. I’m not a programmer of any kind, but I’ve done website coding for a living, so I understand how finicky even basic HTML/CSS code can be. I can only imagine how insanely complex the code within World of Warcraft is. As such, I am generally really, really forgiving of in-game bugs and issues. Not only that, but the devs are usually really good at hotfixing things once they recognize something is wrong.

Having said that, Cataclysm was the buggiest expansion I have ever seen. We’re talking brutally buggy in some cases. Let us examine some of the worst cases I experienced.

Tier 11 – Blackwing Descent, Bastion of Twilight, Throne of the Four Winds

The biggest issue we found in this tier of raiding was the “flexible raid lockout” system. We had a brutal night fighting with the raid lockout system last April when myself, Hestiah and Tikari were all saved to a different heroic ID than the other 25 people in the raid, despite no one killing any heroic bosses. Go ahead and read it. It’s a fun blog post. But it meant we were insanely careful about raid lockouts for the rest of the expansion, even going so far as to not swap specific people just so that we wouldn’t have to change who had the title of “raid leader” in the raid group, just in case another screw up like that happened.

In terms of specific fights where we encountered issues…

a) Heroic Magmaw: I have a video of this SOMEWHERE, but you’ll have to take my word for it because I can’t find it anywhere. On one of our progression attempts, Magmaw, instead of slumping FORWARD for a burn phase, instead bent over BACKWARDS. I wish I were kidding.

b) Conclave of Wind (both difficulties): Okay, this is less of a “bug” but is perhaps a technical limitation… We had to have people logging on every single platform in order to ensure we had a complete view of what the hell happened on this fight. Terrible design, that the combat log from one platform didn’t reach to the others.

c) Heroic Valiona & Theralion: Similarly, and we saw these issues through ICC and Ruby Sanctum as well, combat logs don’t work from one realm to another. This is still happening in current raid content with Gara’jal.

Okay, that’s not so bad, despite the raid lockout weirdness.

Tier 12 – Firelands

a) Rhyolith: I can’t point to a specific moment, but there were times when he was not moving the way he should have been. Honestly.

b) Alysrazor: Do not get me started on bugs with flying, bugs with tornadoes and other environmental stuff. People would fall out of the air despite having gotten their rings, people would die to a tornado and not actually be anywhere near one… The words “look at where I did! Just look!” were said in our raid more than once.

c) Heroic Baleroc: Touching people was always, well, touchy. Sometimes to pass on your debuff, you had to stand on top of someone, sometimes you only had to be a few yards away. Latency? Possibly, but unlikely when most people are standing still during these times…

Actually, again, not so bad, although adding this persistent issues to the Tier 11 frustrations.

Tier 13 – Dragon Soul

Here’s where the “fun” starts.

a) Zon’ozz (all difficulties): The Void of the Unmaking is buggy as fuck.

b) Hagara the Stormbinder: Two major issues here, but the first has to do with chaining the lightning. The second is that, and yes, I opened tickets about this and posted bug reports about this, if you cast Hand of Sacrifice on the person about to take the Focused Assault BEFORE the Focused Assault starts, then it fades prematurely, before transferring 100% of your maximum health or lasting the full 12 seconds. This happened to me on two separate holy paladins, in two separate raid groups, on a variety of different tanks.

c) Warmaster Blackhorn (heroic): Deck Fire. Do I REALLY need to say more?

d) Spine of Deathwing (all difficulties): Cut scene disconnects, getting stuck on the boat and having to relog, Grasping Tendrils not actually holding you in place.

e) Madness of Deathwing (all difficulties): Thrall drops people. This From Draenor with Love comic is perfect.

All of these bugs from Dragon Soul are either commonly experienced (Madness, Spine) or are easily visible in some videos I posted in this post about bugs in Dragon Soul or in this first Heroic Blackhorn kill video of ours: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fwllU3Kqce8. Look at all that delicious Deck Fire when Goriona is on the ship. Terrible.

There are, doubtlessly, other bugs, including things like previously-mentioned logging issues (figuring out who pre-potted on Ultraxion when you ditched into the twilight realm to do a healer-only heroism? Nightmarish.). As an example, there’s a “bug” (or perhaps it’s working as intended, I have no confirmation) where right now, the Holy Avenger talent doesn’t work right for holy paladins, where it grants 3 holy power when you drop a Flash of Light or Divine Light on a beacon target, but those heals aren’t boosted by the 30%. It’s like, it listens to the tooltip for some of the spells, but not all the spells. And I’ve opened tickets, posted bug reports, even tweeted Ghostcrawler, all to no avail.

Anyhow, the game is immensely complex. I get that. But many of these issues are repeatable. They are problematic. They are broken. The broken Hagara chaining mechanic was ludicrous. Why not fix problems in current raid content when it’s current? Those fights were out from November 29th, 2011 until the launch of Mists of Pandaria on September 25th, 2012. That’s 10 months. Are you seriously telling me they couldn’t fix Deck Fire issues, lightning issues, Thrall DROPPING people in ten months?

The lack of quality control has been problematic for a while. All you really need to do is ask rogues about vanish, right? ;) But it really made its mark on me during Dragon Soul. I’d previously seen things that weren’t that dire or were eventually fixed. They even fixed the old demon, Klinfran the Crazed, in the Burning Steppes, to work with the “new” Scorpid Sting not too long after they revamped Scorpid Sting entirely.

But you don’t really see that kind of attention anymore. Yes, you see hotfixes, bug fixes, tooltip fixes, but not a single one of my Dragon Soul issues were fixed. Why not? It’s just gotten worse, from my perspective. I hear there are some painful phasing issues to do with some dailies these days too. These issues are ongoing, so that’s one more reason I’m not interested in renewing my subscription.

The next part of the series will address my lack of enthusiasm for the Mists of Pandaria expansion.