Content, progression, nerfs, oh my!

The post I keep meaning to write, and then pass on.

Months I’ve been kicking this around.

I’ll put this bluntly.

I DO feel very bad for the progressive raiders in World of Warcraft.

It’s a case, in my mind, of raised expectations.

In Vanilla WoW (as it’s inevitably called) raiding was fun, but followed the 40 man trend started by Everquest.

Hey, it’s cool, Everquest led the way for others to follow. Big raids were the order of the day.

In Burning Crusade, what did we get?

I won’t go into the specific math. I could, but I’ve seen it posted before.

What we got at expansion start was a sequence of zones to play through and level through, most of them having instances tied to them. Same as Wrath of the Lich King.

Once you hit max level, the instances were available in heroic mode. Same in Wrath of the Lich King.

Let’s look at raids.

At release, we had;

  • Karazhan
  • Gruuls’ Lair
  • Magtheridon’s Lair
  • Serpentshrine Cavern
  • Tempest Keep (The Eye)
  • The Battle for Mount Hyjal
  • The Black Temple

These were some pretty sizable raids, and all were waiting on determined raiders to kick ass.

Later on, Zul’Aman was added to give more of a 10 man kick, and Sunwell brought the ass whupping uppity raiders desired.

Burning Crusade was not WoW 2.0, because WoW had been new, people were learning as they went, stumbled into level 60, looked around and gradually learned what raiding was all about. It happened over time, and raiders accumulated at the upper echelon like dandruff.

With Burning Crusade, it was the same as unleashing a flood, an army of raiders SWARMED into Outlands all at once. 

Zerg rush from hell. And they prepared for it well, grasshopper. 

An entire army of max level raid gear equipped players were just sitting there, bored out of their minds despite Ahn’Qiraj, waiting for that portal to crack wide open.

Burning Crusade opened up Outlands, and the race was on!

People leveled like demons, fought their way up to level 70, geared themselves in difficult heroics, and faced down this tough new place called Karazhan.

Having Karazhan be 10 man only, and the follow on raids all 25 man, caused massive bitching, and why the heck not? It was crazy, you wanted to learn together and prepare to play as a team together for raids, but your first introduction at level 70 raiding was a 10 man that at best split your team up tino two groups… and 5 folks were screwed each week. What, back to Upper Blackrock Spire teams? Wha?

But that’s fine. Karazhan was tough enough and fast enough that it kept folks working it all the way up to the first nerf… and by then Sunwell was open with crazy badge gear and those that were gonna progress, HAD progressed.

But once past Karazhan, the progression guilds had long, insane fights to master. Content out the freaking wazoo to do.

You want to know where your wazoo is? Ummm… sorry, it’s not that kind of blog.

A couple of short, challenging raids were there, the Outlands versions of Obsidian Sanctum and Vault of Archavon; Gruul’s Lair and Magtheridon’s Lair.

The difference? Well, first off you didn’t need to trust in luck as to whether you controlled Blade’s Edge to schedule a Gruul’s Lair run.

Don’t knock the ability to consistently schedule a raid. I know that my guild would dearly LOVE to be able to schedule Vault of Archavon runs, just so we know to be online and prepared to take on that second boss. When you’re casual, it’s hard to schedule a raid on the off chance you’ll get to go in… and if you can’t people are out of the option to pug it for fun with other friends.

But let’s get beyond that. So Outlands had their two mini raids, and Northrend has it’s two mini raids.

The Wrath versions have 10 man AND 25 man versions. A clear win for Northrend, right? Well, only if you like 10 man runs. If you’re a raiding guild doing 25 man content, the 10 man version is just a way to help gear more people up past heroics in half the time. Same content TWICE a week, oh boy!

Okay, so past those two, and Outlands had Serpentshrine Caverns, and Northrend has Naxxramas.

Again, not a bad comparison. Serpentshrine felt freaking huge. Fishing the boss up was pretty cool, too. 🙂

Naxx is a clear winner, though, with more wings/bosses overall. Very big place, can take a while to take down. Really, if Naxx were in the same spot in progression that Serpentshrine was, would there ever have been complaint one?

But after those… well, what next?

Outlands offered Tempest Keep, Caverns of Time: The Battle for Mount Hyjal (omigod that place rocks) and Black Temple.

Northrend offered… The Eye of Eternity. Another mini raid. A hard damn raid, don’t get me wrong… but another mini, teeny raid.

So, Eye of Eternity versus Tempest Keep, Mount Hyjal and Black Temple.

Yes, yes I see the pain of raiders, and understand quite fully. Rather than having an equivalent number of new raids and new content to learn and admire, they got Achievements. The same content, with new harder twists.

NOW there is Ulduar, a match to Sunwell but it came faster than Sunwell did, and soon there will be the Crusader’s Coliseaum. In the distance, there might even be an Icecrown Citadel raid.

That’s not bad. It’s picking up some serious steam now.

BUT!

The amount released with Wrath showed a failure to learn from the lessons of Burning Crusade.

In Burning Crusade, all the max level players, raiders and soloers alike, were poised, ready to tear into the new content.

The level differences and gear differences were extreme enough that there was a total revamp before hitting 70 raids. No matter who you were, skill and reliability and time to devote to raiding determined who got to do what, not gear obtained from the last year.

A total reset.

Can you imagine a level 60 tank or healer in full Blackwing Lair gear making it to Karazhan at 70 without changing much of his gear? And winning?

The gear revamp in Wrath was simply not extreme enough. Part of Burning Crusade’s formula was to force players to experience earlier content in order to get appropriately geared up. No matter WHO they were. It put the brakes on a lot of the rush.

Second, the raid setup was changed from 40 to 25, and when guilds ran headlong into it, they were forced to learn how to adapt to smaller groups… especially with going down to 10 man Karazhan and then back up to 25 man Gruuls. 

Total stall.

They had to relearn many lessons, adapt to changes, and really learn to play all over again in a 25 man dynamic. The old 40’s were gone forever, and the paradigm changed with them.

Guilds that attracted massive numbers of people in the old days and could still progress with 8 slackers had to tighten their belts and really work on class balance and skill.

Some guilds adapted faster, worked harder, or held together better, and progressed past others.

In Wrath… the signs were clear from Sunwell, Black Temple and 3 man Kara clears that the natives were restless. And very, very skilled and coordinated.

You knew going into Wrath that there was going to be a huge group of players that had extremely good gear, were seasoned raiders with a solid understanding of 25 man raiding, and a drive to be first.

And to these raiders, Blizz gave them less content… they could use the same raid makeups they had already mastered to succeed, and in some cases they could even win using the exact same gear they wore at level 70.

Yes, people expected another massive content dump like Burning Crusade. They were trained to expect part of the game to be the pursuit of realm and server first kills.

I don’t blame them for feeling confused and abused when they blasted through all the content the game had to offer by January and were bored. It’s not how the script was supposed to be written.

Now, there is tons of new content out and more coming fast… but at the same time, existing content is being reduced in difficulty, and the rewards gained by the emblem system that are special now will be open to all players, at all levels of progression.

It’s a bad situation. People are grumpy. People that love progression raiding feel they are getting jerked around pretty good, feel the game is getting ‘dumbed down’ for the lowest common denominator, and don’t understand why. 

I don’t understand either. I have no magic answer to give you as to why the raiding content wasn’t as deep or the gear upgrade wasn’t as drastic as in Burning Crusade.

Perhaps a few contributing factors were me and people like me asking for more new content for all levels of play rather than just the max level raiders.

Maybe our asking them to devote development time for 10 man modes for smaller guilds is what cut the content at the top end from early release.

I know I feel that the developers did three times as much work as in Burning Crusade, but the results FEEL like fewer raids because it’s the same content, modified over and over to present different challenges.

For my part, I just want to tell you, if you are a player that prefers progressive raiding, I appreciate your distress. I really do.

I may not be a progression raider, but I can feel the allure, the pull of taking on content that everyone is buzzing about, of being part of something big and seeing something new, and of having that feeling of sporting a shiny that says “Yep, we’ve been there. We can do that.”

I will be delighted to gain my new ranking of Emblems, because for me the game is about being good at what I do, and having fun as a valuable part of the team that can get the job, whatever it may be, done. Better gear helps me do my job better, so sure, I’ll pursue it.

I’ll run lots of heroics, get lots of Emblems, and get lots of nice loot that was previously only available to people in 25 man raiding guilds clearing Ulduar or 25 man Naxx.

But I will not ever say that I feel that I deserve it, that it is my right to have those Emblems, that in order for my guild to see new content we must have this class of gear opened to us.

Because we don’t. It’s a lot like a gift, freely offered but not asked for or demanded.

I do feel sorry for the way progressive raiders are getting jerked around.

But please… hate on the game, not the playa, dawg.

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26 thoughts on “Content, progression, nerfs, oh my!

  1. You know, the reason the hard core raiders didn’t finish up TBC stuff immediately was due to the immensely long grind to get attuned to everything. (The gear reset had something to do with it, but that wasn’t nearly all.)

    Remember this chart?

    http://www.largeimagehost.com/img/upload/rhrhs/attunement_chart.jpg.html

    To get the Tempest Keep Key (to get into Tempest Keep, to get into Mount Hyjal), required Revered with the Sha’tar, Cenarion Expedition, Honor Hold, and Lower City (not to mention all the other hoops.)

    Even to run Heroics required you to get revered, sometimes with multiple factions.

    I’m really glad to see those types of restrictions lifted so I can maybe get into a Raid sooner than later.

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  2. I want to put some dates down here just for reference. The last poster who said “At this point we had BT and maybe even Sunwell” really bugged me.

    BC
    mid Jan 2007

    2.1 – BT, easier heroics, working Hyjal?
    22 May 2007

    2.3 – ZA
    13 Nov 2007

    2.4 – Sunwell
    25 Mar 2008

    Sunwell came out one year and two months after BC released. We’re not even close to that yet. You also had to wait that long to run a new 5 man. Assuming 3.2 comes out sometime in September, 3.2 will match up with 2.3 in terms of timing. What’s also interesting to note is that in BC there was a 10 month drought with no new 25 man raid content (I’m assuming ZA was a side distraction for most progression guilds).

    It’s perfectly fine to compare BC to Wrath and to point out the ways in which Wrath is not good, but let’s keep in mind the ways in which BC wasn’t good as well.

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  3. Also one last thing; as people have noted the wraith instances are just too easy. I’ve never had a pug die on a normal mode instance. The heroics still die off with the tougher ones, usually because one or two people have no clue what they are doing. CC is a lost art. GO back to BC instances, and they are just tough! Pike discussed on her blog recently the last pull in MgT, some 6 mobs, just insanely hard. We have nothing similiar in Wraith. We have nothing that requires any amount of skill for any of the roles (dps/tank/heal). No raids need CC any more. There are no trick pulls. There are alot of gimmics to the bosses, but that’s all it is.

    We still do retroraids for the old stuff, and the trash is even hard! Harder at 70 than at 80. Given we usually run 10 80s for a 25 man, but many times the trash kicks our butt (I’m thinking of TK trash – you know the one that needs 3 tanks, 3 mages, etc). Maybe ulduar is better, idk. But yeah i think they really blew it with the dungeon/raid content in wraith.

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  4. I’m seeing a bunch of problems with raiding as it is now; the raiding guilds are just collapsing. Even my old guild is collapsing. Anyway the proper path and release of content has been brandied about, but in a month, which would be…7 months after release, the first T9 content is coming out. At this point we had BT and maybe even Sunwell. The sad fact is that right now we have two major raids, and two minor raids. I think the number of bosses is about equal from BC to Wraith..let me think, kara 11ish, gruul, mag ssc/tk = 10, BT/MH =…15? About 38 bosses in BC. In Wraith we have 14 in naxx, and i think 14 in ulduar (never been), and the colosseum which idk. So for right now we actually have more raid bosses and more opportunities to do them (10 vs 25 mans) than we do in BC, in a tier basis but the number of instances is lower. So i think that’s why people are bitching.

    Anyway raiders will always bitch; but perhaps the game is just dying, people are no longer interested in the same old paradim. WTB a new MMO.

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  5. My server was pretty fail raid progression-wise during BC. At the end of BC there was only one guild on either side that made it into Sunwell pre-nerf explosion, and PuG-wise Kara PuGs were iffy at best while Mags/Gruuls PuGs were near unheard of and the source of horror stories when they did occur.

    Now those same people are successfully (albeit not reliably) PuGing Ulduar 10 and some 25.

    That pretty much says it all, as far as I can see.

    Instances, including heroics, have been dumbed down to the point where the old measures and standards don’t apply. No one on servers like mine bothers to keep “progression” lists anymore — a huge change from BC — because there is no progression in any meaningful sense and everyone knows it. Hardmode was supposed to compensate some for the extreme ease of the encounters, but for the most part so few are interested in bothering with the whole “It’s the same fight, but with lasers!” mentality that it’s hard to get even good players on the average server to attempt them and for the most part no one really thinks of them as ‘progression’ anyway.

    Progression is dead as a doornail, this hasn’t been a game for people interested in that since 3.0 hit. “Raids for the masses”, and Wrath has brought us nothing if not that, and the entire concept of progression are mutually exclusive.

    Whether or not in the end this will be good for the game, who knows? I suppose it really depends on the player and what in particular they’re looking for in an MMO. Me, I don’t happen to think it’s a very smart or, in the long run, good direction to take things, but then I would think that as I’m no longer the kind of gamer WoW is aimed at.

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  6. I’ve got a view on this that’s close, but just a little off from what’s been said.

    Kara -> Naxx
    Gruul -> OS
    Mag -> EoE
    SSC/TK -> Ulduar

    While Ulduar may have come out a bit late compared to SSC/TK, SSC/TK were amazingly buggy at first, so I think even the timing isn’t crazy far off.

    To me, three problems stand out. Wrath heroics are too easy, though before 2.1 the BC heroics were admittedly too hard. Relately, Naxx is a bit too easy. Add that in with the gear reset being less and you have people tearing through all the initial Wrath content a good bit faster than was expected. I actually think I’ve seen a few blue posts that agree with this. They wanted to make content more accessible and succeeded a little too well.

    Hyjal/BT -> Coliseum
    Sunwell -> Icecrown

    The largest coming mismatch seems to be Hyjal/BT -> Coliseum. Unless there is another raid released or Icecrown is a lot larger than Sunwell, the total raid content of Wrath will be less, which I feel is a mistake.

    The other unknown quantity here is hard mode. People seemed to be entertained by hard mode OS for quite a bit, and Ulduar looks like it may be shaping up the same way. In that sense, not having as much, or as interesting, hard mode in Naxx might have been the initial problem, though understandably they weren’t quite sure how hard mode would work out. Even then, I’m not sure having Coliseum and hard mode Coliseum is enough to match up to Hyjal/BT.

    Anyway, my two cents.

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  7. Some of the information here is inaccurate, and I assume you may be either recollecting this information, or you checked it from WoW Wiki which seems to be lacking some of the information. At release of TBC, only Karazhan, Gruul, and Magtheridon’s Lair existed. Serpent Shrine Cavern and Tempest Keep existed, but were locked out because they still required fine tuning; they were opened during one of the first [non-content] patches after TBC was released. Black Temple was released during the first major content patch. Finally, Naxxramas is not meant to be compared to SSC or TK, but Karazhan, as has been stated officially by Blizzard and GhostCrawler on numerous occasions.

    You’re very much dead on when it comes to gearing in TBC and WotLK. When TBC came out, many, many progression raiders cried foul because they were finding quest gear and instance gear from Hellfire that was better than their T1/T2 epics, and by Zangarmarsh, T3 epics were being replaced in some cases… and this really wasn’t fair. It was a huge slap in the face to all of the people who’d spent countless hours raiding content for the best gear. In WotLK, they went back to making gear like the first 60 levels. Blues should last you 4-7 levels, and epics should last you nearly 10 levels before needing to be replaced. I don’t think this would have been a problem, except that they also nerfed the difficulty of all raids and heroics. I remember walking into my first heroic at level 70 – Sethek Halls – and getting crushed because we didn’t use CC. Heroics were so much more difficult than the regular instances, and this was fun. I no longer required 40 people, 25 people, or even 10 people to have fun, I could do it in 5-man heroic instances. In WotLK, instances weren’t difficult at all. I remember my first heroic in WotLK, Azjol Nerub, and we mowed it down in 45 minutes, no wipes. Then we decided to do the timed CoT: Stratholme. We missed it by 1 minute. I subsequently managed to 4-man and 3-man many of the heroics before ever stepping foot in Naxxramas… which was also a huge let-down with regard to difficulty.

    It isn’t just progression raiders that are getting jerked around though. Anyone with any skill is getting jerked around. I’m part of a casual guild – we raid one night a week, usually on the weekend. We raid for anywhere from 3-6 hours… 6 on a good night where there are no problems, constant breaks, etc. We mowed Naxxramas down in 3 attempts. We had everything on farm long before Ulduar was released. Ulduar was harder than Naxxramas, but still nowhere near the difficulty of Karazhan. You don’t have to be a progression guild to feel screwed. If you have a group of skilled players who move through the content, you get bored very quickly. Our guild has dropped to 1/4 it’s size since TBC from people who’ve left the game – casual players – because it’s not hard enough. A perfect example: Last week one of my friends – a DK tank (admittedly still a bit OP) – put on his “priest healing set” and went and tanked Ulduar 10 (no hard modes). They downed up to Kologarn with few issues. I watched the whole thing. They recorded it with FRAPS, and are editing the video now to prepare it for Warcraft Movies. This is what those with skill have been reduced to – trying really stupid and funny things to get their money’s worth out of the game.

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  8. Ulduar isn’t Sunwell, it’s Serpentshrine or BT…we still have the Crusader’s Coliseum and Icecrown(Sunwell) to go. Kara=Naxx, SS-BT=Uld-Crusaders Coliseum, Sunwell = Arthas/Icecrown.

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  9. As a raider in the lead guild on a small server – I’m going to say I love Wrath over BC. Here’s why.

    1) Attunements be gone! Forget the quest chain for the karazhan key, which required 3 separate heroics – you had the quest to summon Nightbane, then you had to get a quest from yet another heroic (time consuming, not overly difficult) to kill Gruul so you could go to SSC (Mag for TKE). What a pain.

    2) Soft gear reset. Especially on a small server, the pool of raiders is usually fairly small. In BC if you missed the first Kara rush, you probably weren’t getting into SSC/TKE right away. Miss those, and kiss BT/MH goodbye – and forget about getting into Sunwell. At least now potential raiders can farm older content for comparable gear – giving them a shot at the end game guilds and raids.

    3) Hard modes. Love em or leave em, for us they keep the game interesting. Same is true fro achievments in heroics.

    Then again – I’m a 5 day a week raider (3 in 25s and 2 in 10s) and we’re currently working on a server first Algalon kill in 10s and the hard modes in 25s.

    Side note – I seriously laughed out loud when one of our raid leaders called “Bring the rain” when he wanted AoE. I think he’d just seen Transformers 2 (or maybe watched the first one again).

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  10. As with many other of your loyal readers, some of your thoughts I agree with, some I don’t. Overall I’d say that Blizzard learns from their previous experiences for good and for ill.

    And lumping in the content as “all at launch” I definitely don’t agree with, since BT was patched in in a content patch, it was the Ulduar of TBC. Sunwell is more akin to the upcoming raids.

    Blizz has stated multiple times that after their experience with the massive gear reset (green is the new purple) of TBC, in large part because of stam explosion they were specifically not making the reset as severe this time. And I see a potential longterm problem as the expansions keep piling on, massive mudflation, add 10 levels for your toon and 100+ for their gear, and it accelerates.

    SSC and MH weren’t even really tuned at launch, they were massively buggy (at least SSC was) and the first Vashj kills were done with grinding out RNG attempts and MASSIVE abuse of consumables (recall right around this time the 1 battle/1 guardian elixir or 1 flask code went in, IMO a massive improvement to quality of gaming experience since no need for endless farming hours anymore).

    There are a lot of reasons that bleeding edge raiders are blowing through content, as noted above people have gotten a ton better at learning fights and coordinating. They’ve also gotten very acclimated to using the PTR to refine strats well before patch day, making them more dress rehearsal than the bug testing that is the goal. And how does Blizzard learn from that? By only spawning and allowing testing on some of the bosses at specified times rather than just allowing them to be spawned continuously.

    People farmed Karazhan for badges to buy sunwell level gear without ever setting foot in there, Blizzard removed that with tier badges and now are putting it back (I believe this was planned all along). The KZ farming allowed a lot of gearing up of alts, rerolls and newer players, pushing more people into being able to qualify themselves for higher raiding. Same deal here, a gap between the Ulduar raiding crews and people stuck at Naxx, now with badges allowing more gearing up, more people can make the jump. I’d expect there will be an ongoing effort by Blizz

    All games have a problem staying fresh past a certain age, you always get the “good old days”, you can’t ever go back Toto.

    Meh, I’m a 2 nights a week raider, I wasn’t able to get to end game in TBC because of time, I’m able to see stuff die in Uld right now, I don’t agree with the speed of incoming nerfs so far, but I am enjoying myself. Blizzard has learned from the good and the bad and you can see a move-countermove between them and the raiders if you look.

    If that makes me a Bad, so be it. (Gad what a ramble)

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  11. I sympathize with “hardcore” players who want to be challenged, but although they are a vocal minority, they’re still a minority. I am more surprised blizz hasn’t done anything with the 1-60 content. I guess they believe the majority of their player base wants a variety of “easier” level cap content. I’m sure they’ve researched it, but I think aiming content at more casual players is more win for the majority.

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  12. It’s all about perspective. I want there to be enough challenge, I really do. But I don’t want it to take TOO long to gear my alt. Heck, I want a reason to do 5 man content again. This emblem switch they are doing is similar in essence to the new emblem vendor they added in TBC. More gear to work for out of 5 man content for people who are wishing they had something to work at when they aren’t able to raid, whether there is no raid scheduled, they didn’t make it in, or whatever.

    This change is not really about raiding. It’s about casual 5 manning. It’s going to help those who enjoy it, to have a reason to, which in turn is going to help new 80s get more groups. It’s a good thing, overall, though I would have done it differently.. I still like the idea that it will excite people for 5 mans again. I’m also in a casual guild, but we have a huge discrepancy between the geared and undergeared members right now. For some, running heroics to help gear players up is a chore. Something we’re reluctantly willing to do some of the time, and maybe enough are willing to actually get a group formed. When I got to 80 I immediately noticed the lack of gear from badges. I was thinking “holy crap I’m going to have all of that, or better, in no time.. then what will I run 5’s for?”

    My only hope is that there is enough interest to go to 10 man raids, too. Or 25s. I like to try everything, and I wouldn’t want their fix to “meh heroics” to turn into “meh naxx” or “meh OS” but some of that is bound to occur.

    I also sincerely wish the hardcore raiders the best with their content issues – I still sympathize and I would be hardcore right now, if I could. I work evenings, so 5 night a week raiding just doesn’t work. Even so, I like the idea that there is something beyond the horizon, something to work toward. Even though my guild never got to BT, it was something to work toward, content that was there for us if we ever got past Tier 5. I think this is an issue, but I don’t think giving out more loot for 5 mans will change much for the bleeding edge raiders. Some of them will gear their alts. The rest will already have the gear and as they progress in the new raid zone, it will become old news.

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  13. You’re a good man, BBB. Great perspective from someone who’s in a friends/casual guild. Yes, I do feel rather cheesed off. Although I used to rail against progression raiders who wanted their own personal instance just for them, I notice a distinct lack of enthusiasm in my progression guild for hardmodes. Ppl just arent that interested. Once, you were a sunwell guild. You were a BT guild. Now, you’re basically a rusted/ironbound proto drake guild. Somehow, its just not the same. Again, I dont expect my own personal instances for me and my hardcore friends. I wholeheartedly support raiding for everyone. But I wonder if wow is loosing its edge. You see, if you loose your hardcore, you loose your edge, and the game becomes casual for everyone. You need a leading edge to make it worth something, even to casual players. When everyone can have everything (except this months color of protodrake of course), then nobody really wants *anything*. if the allure goes for the hardcore, the allure goes for everyone, and the game becomes middleaged: weak, compromised, flabby in the middle and so on.

    I know its an experiment by Blizzard, and I really support it. I just wonder if wow is really past its prime. 4-5 years is a pretty good time for a game, and its been a blast.

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  14. BBB,

    People are smarter and better informed about the game now. The player base as a whole are far more experienced. And a large part of the content has been cleared many times on the PTR before it goes live. I think the biggest problem is the amount of information that is available about future content these days. I know my guild needed more gear to get in and do new raids to start with, however we could do the same stuff wearing greens now because we “know” the fights. It may take a bit longer to kill a boss but unless it enrages we won’t die.

    Even playing alts is easier because we are not surprised by much. We gear and spec with far more consideration, handle situations better, and consider fights before attempting them. I’m levelling some horde alts now for something new and last night at lvl 39 on my priest a alliance druid and I assisted each other with the final Nessingwary quest in STV. The one to kill King Bangalash. He is a Lvl 43 elite and suggested as a 3 man group. We were just smarter. 😉 No way as a new player doing it for the first time would this have been possible.

    So I am not sure that it is a simple as saying they dumbed down the game. Lets pat ourselves on the back and say we are just getting smarter and beating it.

    Cheers

    Kol

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  15. Gevlon made a good point on his blog.

    The nerfs are there to keep the rest of the subscribers paying their $15 a month, so that they can develop new content for those who progress pre-nerf.

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  16. Zombiee–I totally agree. We had the exact same thing happen to us with Yogg. My guild’s not in the top 3 guilds on the server or in the world or anything. But we like to clear content. We spent a few weeks wiping on Yogg. Got him down to 3%. Next timer we were SURE we were going to have his number. Oh wait, they beat Yogg with the nerfstick. We got Yogg in 1 attempt that next timer. While we were still excited that he died, there was a bitter aftertaste of not having done it pre-nerf.

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  17. I’m currently in a casual raiding guild. Oxymoron, right? What it amounts to is a core of 12-15 people that like to raid, and raid often, with another 15-20 that like to raid when they have time. While skill can vary widely throughout the guild, we try to push progression while still enjoying our wipes. Note that the skill level does not correspond to play time at all.

    I feel that the badge changes coming up are a good thing, allowing people that are unable to raid for some reason to obtain gear in other manners is nice, allows need blood to fit in with far far less effort that BC. I did not start playing Wow until well into BC and hit 70 the day sunwell was opened, the mountain I had to climb gear-wise to attempt to even see the content was disheartening.

    On the other hand, each week bringing new and numerous nerfs to the existing content are even more frustrating. Flame Leviathan is a perfect example, one week we spent a couple hours wiping to finally get that 2 tower achievement. We we thrilled and excited about have done this “hardmode”. Time constraints meant we only killed him that night and few others that lockout. We spent a lot of time talking and planning what we would do differently to take a shot at three towers the next week. Unfortunatly, they nerfed his health by a large percentage that Tuesday and we ended up killing three towers in two attempts. Far easier than the two towers the previous week.

    Could we have downed three towers without the nerf? I’d like to think so, but it bothers me that I’ll never know. This feeling persists through most of the boss encounters and trash that gets repeatedly nerfed. We managed to do portions of it and we were looking forward the the remaining challenges. Not because others had or hadn’t, simply because it was a challenge we wanted to conquer.

    It feels to me like getting one attempt at clearing a hurdle or to ride a bike for the first time and failing. Then get the hurdle lowered or training wheels attached, being patted on the head and told “There, now try. Have fun.”

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  18. I totally agree with some of what you say. I’d alter the comparisons though:

    MC –> Karazhan –> Naxx (starter raids that move to farm really really fast and turn into puggable raids)
    BWL –> SSC –> Ulduar
    everything else —> everything else –> nada.

    Ulduar was compared to Sunwell when it first came out. Ulduar was HARD. It spanked out. It was fun. Those of us who enjoy wiping for hours on bosses that are legitimately hard (not wiping to people who stand in fire), were thrilled. And then the nerfstick came. And it came again. And again. And I think we’re on nerfstick #4 as of this timer. Ulduar is boring again. Yay, there’s Algalon to work toward.

    However, half of my server’s having issues with attendance now because Ulduar’s just BORING anymore. It’s just another raid to bumrush. Yay.

    And now Colliseum looks like it’ll be LK’s version of ZA.

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  19. *stands in front of BBB with her new uber sexy shield raised to protect him from the swarm of umpteen bajillion raiders informing him they were waiting for months for BT to come out*

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  20. Having said that, I now realize I am going to get comments from umpteen raiders telling me THEY were waiting for months for BT to come out. Sigh.

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  21. I’m sorry, I know that nit picking is a favorite pastime, but I go by when the bulk of people are ready for the content.

    I count Black Temple especially as part of first content in BC. By the time most raiders except the very bleeding edge were ready for it, it was already there.

    Ulduar just isn’t even close. Damn near everyone was waiting impatiently for months for something new to do. Anything. It’s not a question of the leading raiding guilds ready for the new raid, it’s a question of EVERY raiding guild ready for the new raid.

    But like I said in the post, part of that in my mind is the gear non-reset and the way nobody had to change guild structure or raid structure down to adapt. Everybody could tuck right in and eat the raids up.

    I’m personally glad of the gear and raid structures remaining the way they are, they are very friendly for me and my guild… they just contributed to the faster devouring of content.

    This blog is devoted to not caring what patch something came out in, we’re devoted to talking about when the players see it.

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  22. I thought Hyjal and BT were patched into TBC. Also, didn’t the first Chinese Illidan kill involve a guild still wearing mostly Naxx-60 gear?

    Of course, by that point all the strategies for killing the bosses were available online… but still, quite an accomplishment really.

    However, I (like Spinks), am happy with the new raid setup. The less demanding raids means that I get to participate and see the current end-game. In TBC I was perpetually stuck in Karazhan and (rarely) ZA. Even though I was a member of the #1 raiding guild on the server, it was simply not possible for me to stay competitive with gear and only raid 3 days out of every 14. In fact, I still haven’t been in Hyjal or Sunwell, and I sill haven’t killed Illidan.

    However, I have cleared Naxxramas. I have even killed Yogg in a 10-man PUG, though I admit that the only reason I was invited to that PUG was because – as I said – I was part of the #1 raid guild during TBC. HOWEVER – if it wasn’t for the more relaxed raiding in WotLK I wouldn’t have the gear right now to be considered for that Ulduar PUG – friends or not.

    All that said – I haven’t cleared any serious hard mode fights. I don’t have a Proto-Drake. I don’t even have the Glory of the Hero Proto-drake (and as a mount collector, I really want that one) because raiding – even semi-casual raiding – takes up a good 70% of my online time.

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  23. Hey there!

    Long time reader, first time commenter, hehe. I don’t really play any of the classes that ever make their appearance on this blog, but I truly enjoy your writing, and curiously enough, the ones I enjoy most are those not WoW related.

    I’m currently raiding in what you could call a semi-hardcore guild, as we’re working on 25 man hard modes (just a couple left for yoggie!) but we only raid for 12 hours a week. In any case, though I like the structure of this post, I think you should try to be more precise on the TBH/WotLK content comparison.

    For starters, Black Temple wasn’t released with the first 2.0 game, but on patch 2.1, late May, about 4 months after initial TBC launch. Granted, Ulduar has taken longer, but it’s also a bigger instance.

    On another matter, Naxxramas is much bigger than SSK, so you can’t actually directly compare them (I think Naxx has about double the number of bosses SSK had), BUT(T), Naxx is reused content. Granted, they had to tune and tweak, but most part of the design was already done. I’d say that, ignoring the reusing and being generally less cool, in terms of content, Naxx would equate to SSK + Mount Hyjal, but for its ease.

    That’s about it, but I think it makes the comparison look less weighted towards TBC. Had Naxxramas been completely new and not much easier than entry level 25 mans in TBC, I’d say the contents would be 95% equal. Also, Ulduar is a fair match for BT.

    Now, the low difficulty of it all has completely devalued the more or less equal amount of contet, in my opinion, and is what leads to this “WotLK has less raiding than TBC” line of thinking

    Keep the great writing up!

    PD: The short video you posted has been a great laugh among all my friends. Thanks a lot for having a cool friend that finds those things, hehe

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  24. nicely put. I do sympathise but … omg I am so happy that my raid is able to get some progression in Wrath. I love them to death. We’re good. We’re just not hardcore, got stuck for ages at the start of SSC in TBC. And being stuck in a raid instance like that just makes the keener raiders frustrated enough to leave. This time they’re staying (they never really wanted to leave is the thing).

    If the price of me having cool content at my level is hardcore people being grumpy, it’s a price I’ll gladly pay. sorry guys, but c’est la vie.

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