Saturday, June 18, 2022

When the Game Betrays You

Okay, that title may sound melodramatic, but hear me out on this.

As everybody knows, WoW Classic and its descendants aren't exactly graphics heavy. As a salesperson at Microcenter snarkily put it, you could use a graphics card powered by a potato and some metal strips and run WoW Classic. Still, you can crank up the graphics and get a rather nice modern experience while running Classic. Everything is sharper, the woods and fields are denser/fuller, and even the obnoxious parts of the gear are, well, more obnoxious.

"Indeed." --Cardwyn

But there are times when the graphics make what is on the face of it a simple quest into something far more difficult.

I've explained this to in-game friends more than once, but it's better understood seeing it instead.

In the Nagrand zone of Outland there's a quest, called A Rare Bean, you're sent on to do something pretty disgusting: hunting through animal scat for undigested caracoli.* Now, on the face of it, the quest is simple: find animal scat that is conveniently located near to the quest giver, click on it, and get the caracoli. This is out in the plains, so it should be easy to find, right?


This is at max graphics setting.

One is right in front of me. Do you see it?

What? Kind of hard to find?

Okay, let's lower the graphics to the "Classic" setting:

There we go. Better?

Or, you could lower the graphics alllll the way down and get this instead:

Yep, it's right in front of me.

Now you see --or rather didn't at first-- what the problem is. 

The graphics look fantastic until you have to go hunting around on the ground for the scat and there's no little *sparkly stars* floating above where the scat is to find it easier. Then you have a couple of options: lower the graphics until you can easily find it, create a macro you spam while running around the fields to target the scat, or utilize and addon --such as Questie-- that makes the scat stand out. 

When I was out by myself, it was a no brainer: I just dealt with it as a side effect of having nicer graphics. However, when I was grouped up I quickly discovered that my friends thought I must have been going blind or crazy (or both) because HOW COULD I MISS THESE RIGHT OVER THERE??!!!


At that point I had to explain the graphics was too good and it hid the stuff. 

"Not on Questie!"


I would much rather lower the graphics until I could see it rather than use an addon designed to get me through quests more quickly without trying to solve anything. Sure, A Rare Bean is supposed to be an easy quest, but when the graphics give you lemons, you make lemonade. Adjusting the graphics fixes the problem for this quest without sacrificing my entire philosophy of playing the game.

And now you know I'm not crazy.

This time.

*And if you thought hunting through scat for caracoli like a parent hunting for a penny that a kid swallowed is bad enough, you probably don't want to know what the Shaman does with those caracoli afterward.


  1. I remember back in early EQII that you used to be able to tweak the graphic settings to make things like the sparkly collectibles show up at extreme range while reducing the ground clutter.

    1. That's also what became the default setting in Retail, circa Cataclysm or Wrath. I don't recall it being like that in Wrath, but I'm going to find out in a few months. But I also remembered being able to find these things very easily. Now I know why: I had the game's graphics on Classic or lower settings, because my computer back then couldn't handle anything more intensive.

  2. I haven't run that quest yet on Classic, but I don't recall Questie having a Magical Setting that makes things more visible in the world (Blizz frowns on that). But that quest sucked before Questie ever existed so


    1. It doesn't make them more visible in the world, at least what I know of it, but it tells you exactly where to find the stuff. If this is the first time you're doing a quest, there's no doubt gnawing at you, having you wonder "Am I in the right place?" There's also the bottle collection quest on Ally side in Hinterlands along the coast where --just like A Rare Bean-- you need to be able to see the bottles in the underbrush to grab them. That was the first time I had someone admonish me for not using Questie. (And no, it wasn't my Questing Buddy.)

  3. There are times when I do that today, with Swtor. My choice is to run it with all the eye-candy maxed, but sometimes I just need to lower the graphics to lowest possible setting to either find the items I need or to get through the 'struggle path' for certain datacrons.

    1. When I was current with SWTOR, I never had to worry about maxing graphics out as my PC couldn't handle it. Like I tell Shintar, I need to get back into the game a bit more than just logging on a few times a month and playing around in the "SWTOR Classic" zones.

  4. Interesting you mention the specific thing I was dealing with the other day in Nagrand. For the most part, I don't give a crap about graphics. Hell, anything other than 'See this blue dot? That a dragon. You are the red dot. Attack!' type of graphics are fine by me.
    So, my WoW graphics are usually at the lower settings, 1 or 2 kind of thing. Works great for most pick up off the ground quests.
    However, at those settings, you can see the poop piles from afar, but as you get close, the grass 'grows' magically near you, so much so that I had to swing the camera around more than a few times to pinpoint the pile hidden by the now taller grass.
    Strange quirk that having lower settings works from afar yet makes the problem worse when up close.
    Reminded me of beer goggles.


    1. Beer goggles, makes sense to me.

      The irony is that I'd left the low settings on and happened to hop into an Alterac Valley match on Linna a day or so later, and kept wondering what the hell was wrong when I wasn't seeing Consecration on the ground when I kept hitting it. It only took me about 20 minutes of trying not to die before I realized that it wasn't a bug, it was the graphics settings.

  5. I already ran into this problem in OG Classic with that Alliance quest in the Hinterlands that asks you to collect gryphon feathers. With the graphics turned down, they are super easy to see, but with the ground clutter way up like I usually play it was a proper nightmare.

    1. Yes! That's another one I had major issues with, and when you're constantly dodging the mobs in the area as well the whole Hinterlands experience can really suck.

  6. I'm just gonna say that I mostly know which handful of quests (over all expansions) have this problem and then I'm gonna turn down the settings, and after I'm done I'm gonna turn them up again to max.

    I can understand your frustration and I had to chuckle when I saw the first screenshot... but it really doesn't disturb me when I hit this problem twice a year.

    Much worse was my graphics driver crashing with a certain spell effect on a certain quest in BfA. Even when turning it down to minimum I only managed to finish the Q 2/3 of the time.

    1. It doesn't disturb me nearly as much as people's reaction to me having trouble finding the scat --or the bottles or the feathers or whatever-- when they're saying "Hey, it's all right THERE!"

      That being said, I remember the fun times I used to have when I would enter the Undercity when I first started playing WoW. The glowing graphics on those Abominations would regularly make my graphics card freeze and stutter until I finally broke down and upgraded the card (which was a pretty basic ~2007 card being used in a 2009 Vista machine) until something that could handle those abominations. And then, of course, I finally got to the Wrathgate event and it was no longer needed. Oh well.

  7. Bottles! Yes, the pollywhatchamacallit bottles on the shore of Hinterlands for the dude in Booty Bay. Those suckers are definitely my toughest visual. My best workaround for those is to constantly tilt my camera to almost parallel to the ground in order to see them against the background, as opposed to against the ground.

    All good though, only a few quests through all the zones are annoying that way. Been so long since I dove into retail with the sparklies that I've almost forgotten the quality of life change that made.