Yesterday, there were a lot of great comments, and I thank you. It seemed to me that a lot of you feel that the real issue isn’t a lack of depth right now, but a lack of challenge.
In fact, I get the impression most folks trust Blizzard to always come through.
That Wrath was intentionally planned to be a ‘starter set’ to get us going into the new level, learn the new rules and get our feet wet. And now that we’ve had a month (or three), the first ‘booster pack’ in the next content patch will come and add that sense of depth and give us more to do.
I’ll go along with that faith. Considering Blizzard’s track record in the past, it certainly sounds reasonable to me.
I don’t subscribe (snarf) to the idea that Blizzard is all knowing and infallible, and that everything happens as part of some grand design. I do not worship at the altar of Blizz, fo’shizzle. But we knew going into Wrath that not all the content was going to be released up front. We KNOW Ulduar has been announced as a new Raid for the next content patch. What else we might get in the patch is completely unknown and subject to change, and we have had patches in the past that were simply a raid, and nothing more. But we have also had fairy-godmother patches like Sunwell that brought thousands of new goodies, for players at all levels of gameplay, so we have no way of knowing what, exactly, to expect. I’m willing to believe there will be more than a new Raid or two. I find it hard to believe that we’ll get THAT much new stuff so soon after a massive expansion, but who knows? I’ve certainly been wrong before.
What resounded in my ears, though, was the common refrain that the excitement that comes from overcoming a serious challenge is lacking right now.
As I said yesterday, I think that in most every way, Wrath is just awesome, and in fact is more polished and brilliant than Burning Crusade. I love the lore, the immersion of the story throughout the leveling quests, yes, the ‘in your face’ aspect of the Lich King, Wrathgate (yeah, I know, everyone oohs and aaahs over the Wrathgate quest chain…). The new instances seem to be well designed, and if they are shorter, they do not lack in intricacy of level design. The first time I did the lower level Spider God instance in Dragonblight, I was amazed. Yes, It takes about a half hour to complete, sure. But let’s face it, the spiderweb level design is a trip. It’s fun. And the Nexus, aside from those DAMN YOU, BURN IN HELL annoying little seed pods, is also very pretty, and a lot of fun just to see.
When it comes to the attention to detail that pervades every aspect of Wrath, I love just about everything about it.
But the difficulty level, the challenge that we are all used to, certainly doesn’t seem to be there.
We knew going in that there was less of a gear reset on this expansion, and Burning Crusade and Sunwell and high end Badge Gear and PvP Arena Epics were out for SO long, that most people got at least their main extremely well decked out.
But even for those that didn’t, there are plenty of quest rewards to bring you up to speed, and solid Profession BoE epics. My Hunter is now level 77, and wears almost entirely new gear, with the yummy BoP Engineering Bang-Bang, and the Engineering Goggles, and a Nesingwary ‘Saturday Night Special’ waiting in the bank for 80. But I didn’t need to do that. Everything I upgraded to was incremental, not critical.
My Druid is still, as far as tanking gear goes, almost 100% in the gear I started with, and she’s 74 now, almost to 75. I get quest reward after quest reward, and inevitably sell it. The only changes I’ve made so far is replacing all my old gems with new ones my JC made. And I tank instances just fine. Spiffy, even.
Maybe the strength of our gear going into Wrath is one factor in making the leveling phase and instances feel less challenging. Blizzard had to tune the game to be able to handle brand new players and alts who never got a single piece of badge gear in their lives in Burning Crusade, going straight into Northrend at 68.
At 80, with Heroics and Naxx raids, you’d expect a different story though, right?
But you say it’s still not that challenging. Does that mean it’s all kiddy WoW now?
I don’t think so. We’ve had a Community Moderator say before, point blank, that Naxxramas was intended to be easy. To be an introductory raid. To be a workshop for players to get their shit together and come up with a game plan.
That’s right, it’s working as intended. You’re supposed to kick it’s ass.
My personal, gut level feeling is that everything feels easier because, in order to fulfill the directive ‘don’t bring the class; bring the player’, some of the previous difficulty that was designed to make you choose to min/max player capabilities to get the job done was removed. Mana challenges were lessened. Healing races were eased. DPS races were lengthened.
For players trained to sit on the edge of their seats and master the intricacies of their class in order to survive, it’s certainly going to seem easier. Especially if you had capped your gear in Sunwell.
As one commenter said yesterday, it feels like Blizzard has moved towards making the entire game more friendly for the casual player, which is what we all said we wanted… but they might have gone too far.
Well, from the CMs statements about Naxx intended to be easymode, I’d say to hold on to that Trust a little longer.
Wait until the new Raids are released, and see what the new difficulty level may be. The bar may be raised to a new level, and you will be forced to build on the basics learned in Naxx to go forward and face the challenges we know and love. And maybe the gear that drops there will reflect those challenges.
Right now, looking at craftable Epics, I find myself comparing them to Blues, and again, finding not massive upgrades, but incremental ones.
Almost as if, yes, we all love epics and getting heroic drops and badges… so let’s make those Heroics more accessible. But did they tune the gear drops to match, perhaps?
The new achievements that Jive talked about show that they CAN tune things to be more difficult. Now I guess we just need to wait and see when, if at all, that more challenging content will come along for you.
Now, having said all of that about easy instances, and reduced challenges in raids, and how folks are getting bored already with the existing Heroics and Raids….
I have a second post to write.
It might send a mixed message. But it needs to be said.
I’ll give you a hint; “Death Knoobs.”