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.

Why?

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.

~o~

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.”

9 Responses to “WoW can has Trusting Players?”
  1. Takira says:

    Just my two cents: the overwhelmingly prevalent complaint and perception about WoW (especially from non-WoW players) is this idea that people who play are all addicts that play constantly. Some well-known people have ever explicitly said that WoW causes people to quit college, get divorces, ignore their children, etc. Now I know you have always been a proponent for RL first, and that is definitely a good thing, but my perception is that there are alot of people out there that may ride the line. No they didn’t quit college, but maybe they didn’t take that 8am class because despite wanting to take the class, they knew they’d be too tired from raiding, or something similar. Myself for instance, I work full time and teach flute lessons/gig on the side. No I didn’t miss work, and I never shorted my students, but I bet there were things I could’ve done promotionally that I did not have time for with my WoW schedule. At the end of TBC I was raiding 3-4 nights a week, plus one night for collecting consumables if I didn’t sit enough, plus doing a slew of dailies… I now play about half as many hours a week and still accomplish roughly the same amount of content (minus the collection of JC pats >< stupid dailies, stupid Dragon’s Eyes, grumble..). Now is that a problem for Blizzard? I don’t see how it could be, I’m still paying the same amount per month, but using less than half the server resources. Its not like I’m going to quit or anything. Is that a problem for me? Well I am a little less drawn to the game, but its also nice to feel less like “I have to” and have more “free time IRL”, etc.
    Also – they dropped the big gear reset that people complained about in BC. That’s really a separate issue but they were pretty clear that they were going to do that. We are just feeling part of the side effects.
    My point to all this ramble being, I really think that Blizzard has been trying to address their biggest “PR” problem: WoW Addiction.

  2. Jive says:

    zomg a big ramble inc!

    While I still hold strong to what I said yesterday – that I’m not sure what the appeal will be once we’ve killed all available content.

    BUT, I know that this content was mean to be entry level. I have a different kind of angst about it.

    My guild was always one of those ‘coming from behind’. We didn’t hit BT til SW came out. Our Illidan might have been dead pre-patch but it was still way behind other K’J kills. We had a very late start. With the expansion, we had the same start as everyone else. Our method has always kind of been ‘find the wall’, ie, find the boss that we can’t kill, and consider our options.

    Is it a archetype check? (tank, heal, etc)
    Is it a gear check?
    Is it an environment check? (Get out of the fire, kill your constructs)

    And work from there.

    We haven’t really found a wall. I was convinced Sapphiron would be a complete pain, but aside from a few misteps at repeating her it’s been okay. It hasn’t all been EASY, mind you. Jumping right in with fresh 80′s made Patchwerk a huge pain. That was probably the most enjoyable learning for me, because we kept tweaking and kept tweaking, til it went perfect and ended the night with a kill. Thaddius will still wipe a raid if someone’s not paying attention, there’s plenty of ways to get yourself killed in Naxx and Sartharion if you’re not paying attention. Malygos is an entirely different story.. but we don’t speak of him, B3.

    But it’s a forgiving learning curve. You’re supposed to use this as a stepping stone, right? It’s hard for me to imagine the bar of the next tier. If it even goes back to being BT level organisational or ‘you want me to do what with the what’, I wonder if people will think it’s ‘too hard’.

    Even on my server there’s a LOT of guilds getting out there and pushing 25 man content. I think that’s awesome. It’s a LOT more then there ever was in BC. Again, I think it’s awesome everyone’s seeing so much progression. The mood is a lot less nasty then it was concerning Sunwell. Everyone wants everyone to get a Malygos kill. It’s a testament to player drive, and the learning curve of WotLK entry level content.

    If you are just getting into raiding now, Naxx might seem like a lot. 25 bosses and they all have weird gimmicks. What happens when that set reaches for the next bar and misses, though seasoned people might be saying ‘this is PERFECTLY tuned’? Like the Mu’ru debacle? Only this is Tier 8, should it be perfectly tuned? Who does Blizzard listen to?

    I am so looking forward to that new stuff, though. And I’m excited to do it with other guilds from the get go. While my guild might be masochists, I think we all kind of enjoy pulling a boss and get getting splattered. It presents a pretty nice challenge to figure it out when we rez, instead of saying ‘the strat goes like ___’.

    One very slight thing I’ve been worried about is that all the progression widgets I’ve seen list Icecrown and Ulduar as ’0/1′. I’m hoping both tiers aren’t just one boss/one instance. That totally will not hold my attention.

  3. Tigerfeet says:

    I’m feeling pretty much the same as you BBB. As I was leveling the sentiment I got from most everyone in my guild (we’re pretty steady raiders, 3 nights a week) was that all these new instances were really easy. The were also spectacularly fun (last boss of Ahn’Kahet: Old Kingdom, for example), but easy. We had fun, but we didn’t feel very accomplished.

    Now that we’re in Naxx some of our players are finding it easy and some are having a little trouble. I’ve noticed problems in fights like Heigan, where having your dps capable of reacting and moving where they should can make or break the encounter. Our guild is extremely ranged-heavy and we’ve got a lot of players used to just ‘stand & pew pew’. This is a fight that is training them to be more situationally aware.

    So, while Naxx is easy for raiders who are used to intricate fights (not necessarily with the gear to go with) it’s easy, but when you get a middling sized guild that has some experienced players and some that are not so much, you can definitely see Naxx as a ‘teaching raid’. I, for one, do think it’s working as intended.

    The real test will be the new raids. Yes it’s easy right now, I’m not a big fan of easymode, but I’m willing to give blizz a chance to prove it can deliver. If it doesn’t deliver, then I think you’ll see a lot more complaints.

  4. ARA says:

    I think the ease of raiding atm alllows us to weed out the weaker from the stronger players in our 25 mans. This is a good thing. The bosses we are having trouble with are so easy (from a mechanical design pov) that it is clearer than ever our weaker players are causing the wipes. We are not wiping because eg we should stack more shamans (archi) or more healers (bloodboil) etc etc.

    If RLs were ever unclear about the relative importance of class mechanics vs. player skill in the past (tbh, I dont see how they could have been) — well, there’s no excuse to be confused anymore.

    If we choose to act upon this knowledge while we’re still in easy mode, it will put us in a very strong position for harder content. This would be a great preparation.

    Cant wait to read your death knoob post :)

  5. Copey says:

    I think I read blogs too much. You guys seem to be have a twisted idea of what the reality of the game is, in my most humble opinion. Obviously avid wow blog readers and writers will be better informed, and thus quite possibly be a better player. That’s why I started reading, was to learn how to become a better player. But I see so many comments on this blog and thinktank, and may others about where people complain about the game being too easy, and also mention that they were in Black Temple or Sun Well.

    I’ve never talked to, instanced with, or known in real life a person that was in a raiding guild that was capable of the real end game raiding (before they were nerfed of course). Possibly they wouldn’t have anything to do with the likes of me, I don’t know. Heck, I’ve only seen in game one set of war glaives that I can remember, and it was on an alliance rogue in QD. And everybody was like don’t go over there, you will get your butt killed. Funny thing was he wasn’t even ganking. Just hanging out.

    Anyway, I will be dinging 80 tonight, and yes I have several pieces of BC gear that I still use. I’m fine with that. I’ve also noticed that I’m pretty much indestructible no matter how many mobs I aggro while I am farming. I’ve died twice I think in the trip from 70-80 (not counting instances or ganks mind you). And I’m fine with that too. The reason I’m fine with it is because I want to raid.

    I was ready to stop my subscription and find other uses of my time when I stumbled on a guild that ran late at night when I’m on, and needed a healer. I went in with my +914 healing, and was the raid healer for Kara. And that’s when the game started being fun. It was truly amazing, 10 people every week, getting to know each other, struggling at first learning the fights, then as time when on being able to laugh and joke during Neatherspite. That guild fell apart after 4 months, and we never made it past T4 content. I was so bummed because I couldn’t really find another guild that fit, because everybody runs earlier than I can log on. So, game over at T4.

    I suspect this is what it was like for the vast majority of people that were not busy downing KJ every week. And by that, I mean 75% of the player base. Raids are a truly awesome experience, and tons of people had never even been to Kara before. For them to make all raids available for 10 mans (even if the gear isn’t quite as good as the 25 mans, as it shouldn’t be), for them to make epic craftables BOE so we can sell them to help gear up other players, for them to make rep easier to get, for them to make this expansion….well it feels like they had me in mind.

    Maybe the “Casual Hard Core” as they call them selves got left out in the cold. But I’m very willing to bet that Blizzard made the game so that the largest amount of paying subscribers could have a really good time. And I have been. I’ve been having a blast. Some times I wonder if these considerations enter into the mind of avid blog readers/writers. Not that you should dumb it down, or lower your level of content or anything. I just think that the target audience may not necessarily be a good representation of the wow community as a whole.

  6. Drazmor says:

    Well they’ve obviosly put a lot of time, money, and effort into making this expansion. They’re not exactly just gonna leave all the raiders out in the cold after a few months.

    I mean, we’re just regular players. If we can think of this, Blizzard has almost certainly.

  7. Meneldur says:

    Here’s my £3 worth :D
    I have been Guild Master of my current guild for about 2years now. I had a long period of absence about 8months ago that caused MANY people to leave for pastures new. I am left with the husk of the guild, which i have repeatedly made honest and heart-felt attempts to revive. I have always been loyal to the friends i make in WoW, and leading those friends into instance is the buzz that i play for. So i stuck with my loyalty. I waited for all the other people to catch me up, gear up and come out to play. Inevitably it seems….everyone left before a viable 10man team was ever formed. So i waited….and waited….and still i wait. I have tried everything…no-one at all has met me half way. So i hear you say…game over for The Sindarin right?…yep..my patience may finally have run out.

    What has this to do with todays blog? I’ll tell ya…

    I worked very hard getting myself prepared for Heroic/Raid in TBC….but i enjoyed it immensely. With the help of the “not always that precise” Be Imba.com…i could easily track my progress in terms of gear. I have found myslef ALWAYS taking the role of “fountain of all knowledge”…the dude everyone asks about everything they need to know. I have found the main difference between me and most of my guild’s players, is that i do the reading.
    BUT..Blizz has now reduced the amount of research required by nerfing the entire raid prep process…allowing access to raids for less hard-core players, logistically. Not sure if i should thank them tho…..

    Picking up on Takira’s post, the raid requirement nerf has come at a great time for me…i can no longer play for 24/7…my job is too demanding. So in my situation i guess it works for me.

    My dilemma is…do i now wait it out even more? Should i give the less “pro-active” players another chance to come and join me….I am SO eager to raid, but i am truly stuck between loyalty and selfishness…i know that the remnant players of my guild are skilled…i just dont want to have to organise everyting. Any advice appreciated.

    Oh and if anyone on Hellfire (EU) has a suitable guild to draft 5-6 players…that’d be great.

  8. Beaker says:

    Some of the content is easy. Its meant to be as an introduction. As Copey said the majority of people never saw beyond t4 in TBC.

    So this is blizzard giving everyone a shot to experience success in a raid (even if its a Pug with zero experience).

    Will it get harder and provide a greater challenge for the hardcore? Well blizzard say so..

    As it is now….Malygos is pretty tough. Plus there aint many guilds out there who have killed Satharion with 3 drakes alive.

  9. Javan says:

    Meneldur – My guild has suffered some of what you’re experiencing. We have a core group of 4 RL friends who make up the guild leadership, and have added two other very dedicated members to the leadership roster. With a lot of patience, we’ve seen folks come in, hang with us a bit, then move on for ready-to-run 10-man guilds. It’s very frustrating trying to build that first 10-man team. We’re about halfway to it and that last half seems like you’ll never make it. Sure, you’ve got the folks that will level up, but will they stay? Will they get poached by another guild (this happened with one of our level 80s – he was in a PuG and got poached by an active raiding guild).

    I can’t tell you what to do, but I’m in a similar situation and my answer thus far has been my friends >> raiding. If I really want to do Naxx, I can get in one of the many, many PUGs that are doing it – or try to tag along with one of the guilds that former guildmates have left for.

    It’s far from perfect, and it is definitely a very aggravating situation. I wish you luck.

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