WoW made a big boi ludicrously hard to get then, after 0.24% of the playerbase managed it, made it smaller—'Blizzard literally stole half my dog'

A big dog next to a small dog in WoW.
(Image credit: Blizzard)

In recent expansions, Blizzard has given World of Warcraft players a meta-goal to pursue after running through all the usual stuff. It's basically an achievement that needs a boatload of other achievements to pop, a badge that says you've done everything, and it comes complete with a prize.

In the case of Dragonflight, this achievement is called A World Awoken, and at the time of writing a mere 0.241% have managed it, per Data for Azeroth. So a quarter of one percent of the playerbase. WoW aficionado Heather Newman documented her own grind for the achievement last week for PCG, and concluded "WoW did it suck."

But that's not today's development. While this achievement is obviously a reward unto itself, etcetera, it does have an actual reward: a Bakar mount called Taivan, basically a giant dog that plays a story role in the expansion. Funnily enough the narrative is all about his size: Taivan's bigger than all the other Bakar, and is thus expected to be an exceptional hunter, but he's such a gentle floofy thing that it turns out he's more like Lassie, all about saving centaurs trapped under rubble.

That aside, the point is Taivan is not just a good boy, but a massive good boy. Patch 10.2.6 added the ability to gain Taivan as a mount for players who'd managed the meta-achievement, and the main source of delight for players was that Taivan stayed the same size—making him much bigger than other mounts.

And after having surprised and delighted players by letting them ride a ginormous dog, Blizzard then decided to piss everyone off. A hotfix deployed yesterday significantly reduces the size of Taivan, by about a third, and he is now a pale shadow of the mighty mutt he once was.

Did they already change him back? from r/wow

Get ready. "Whoever at Blizzard thought that making this giant dog smaller would be a good idea needs to be fired," fumes Too on the official forums. "They clearly don’t understand the appeal of the mount, or anything about fun, or the amount of effort required to get the mount in the first place.

"Everyone loves this very good big boy. Nobody said, I’d like to ride him, but make it smaller. NOBODY! Reverse this stupid change."

Tell us what you really think. "They better bring back Taivan twice as big as he was before," says the well-named Fwuffykins. "Unshrink my goat," says Adnanosh123 with a crying emoji. "Nerfing the size as players are perhaps 100 hours into the grind already is absolutely wild by Blizzard," writes BeHereNow91, "I can’t remember them changing a reward like this."

"Like, I’m the 300th person to say this," writes Aspiration, "but I wanted Taivan, not one of the 24 regular Bakar I petted along the way. The goodest boy, not the okayest boy."

"Not cool," says Zalerin. "Blizzard literally stole half my dog. Put it back."

The above are a small selection of posts from the official WoW forums, which are now festooned with Taivan posts across the game's regions and players fulminating against Blizzard's decision. Players have also been posting size comparisons, with the below image showing the in-game Taivan next to the nerfed mount Taivan.

One point that players keep returning to is that the size is kinda the whole point of Taivan's place in Azeroth. "Taivan's whole story revolved around his size," says GilneanHuntress, "and now this? No… I genuinely don't understand Blizzard's logic, they generated so much goodwill and player engagement having Taivan as the meta mount for Dragonflight, a wonderful cherry on top of a damn good expansion, only to throw it to the wind like this. Taivan deserves better."

See? It's not just that everyone wants a giant dog. I was going to count up the number of positive posts about the change versus the number of negative comments, but honestly I found two of the former and everyone else hates it, with many players just posting the slogan "Make Taivan Big Again." And yes, there's a #JusticeforTaivan hashtag.

The one counter-argument that has any traction relates to clipping and the saddle size. Taivan's scale meant that the saddle was amusingly oversized, and this led to various visual bugs with the mount. Clearly this is the actual reason Taivan was shrunk, rather than the wild claims Blizzard staff are constantly plotting to kill fun, but such practicalities are as naught next to people's desire for a big boi.

"I don’t give a single iota of a care about any of the bugs with his mount," says Llanthta. "HONEY, UNSHRINK THE DOG!"

Will Blizzard restore Taivan to his former glory? You best believe I've asked, and will update with any response.

The problem here is that obtaining Taivan is a massive grind: remember, only 0.241% of players actually have this mount, though of course given WoW's scale that means thousands of players. Heather Newman's account of going for it says there "were still parts of this meta-achievement that made me want to set my PC on fire." Certain of the achievements have a large element of randomness to their successful completion, over and above the base difficulty, making them frustrating to repeat in the pursuit of a larger goal. Yet as Newman writes: "people are going for it anyway, because they really want that mount."

This is a pretty classic case of Blizzard, whatever its intentions, failing to communicate with its playerbase. The developer must have known this was going to be an unpopular decision, but just dropped it from on high in the full knowledge that players had been going to absurd lengths in order to obtain the reward. There's no sop for those players, no "we had to do this to Taivan because of X, Y and Z, but here's something to make up for it."

It also, incidentally, shows the difference in tolerance between players and developers for glitches. Players will moan their heads off about glitches in most cases yet, when it's down to something ludicrous like an oversized saddle clipping through a good boi, show a remarkable tolerance. Sure, it would've been nicer if everything was perfect about Taivan's original model. But players would rather ignore that for the simple reason that, even in Azeroth, size matters.

Rich Stanton

Rich is a games journalist with 15 years' experience, beginning his career on Edge magazine before working for a wide range of outlets, including Ars Technica, Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, Gamespot, the Guardian, IGN, the New Statesman, Polygon, and Vice. He was the editor of Kotaku UK, the UK arm of Kotaku, for three years before joining PC Gamer. He is the author of a Brief History of Video Games, a full history of the medium, which the Midwest Book Review described as "[a] must-read for serious minded game historians and curious video game connoisseurs alike."