Warlords of Draenor received a news spike last week with the release of a bunch of notes on what we might see in the pre-release patch coming 6 or more months from now.
I wanted to inject a little sanity into this right from the get go. These are notes about what might happen before it’s ever been tested in something that ain’t going to be released for over 6 more months. Get a grip, people.
Anyway, gotta keep pumping air into the news bubble for WoW, so we got patch notes.
As expected, Twitter and the forums began to churn with excitement, enthusiasm and outrage.
The most common complaint I’m seeing in this first pass is that the changes are Blizzard ‘dumbing down’ the game.
This seems to derive from the stat squish, abilities being removed, some Glyphs being given automagically as you level, the removal of hit and expertise, the easing of facing requirements for the use of some abilities, and so on.
Complaining about dumbing down the game. Another way to phrase that would be simplifying the game, wouldn’t it?
What would be the drawback of a simplified system? Or put differently, what are the benefits of a complex system?
Seems to me someone desiring a complex system wants there to be a great deal to learn and master in order to become great at playing their class.
So that same person would not like a simplified system where the gap between a great player and a good player narrows. The larger the gap, the shinier the epeen. The narrower the gap, the more any gap can be explained away by class burst or imbalance issues, not skill.
The point here is to have an opportunity to shine as you excel at playing the game in groups.
But what goes into this gap between good and great performance? It’s not all just hit after all.
You’ve got baseline class abilities, stat optimization on gear and player skill.
Basically, in order to be a great player, right now you have to know what your key abilities are and exactly how/when to use them, you have to know what your most important stats are and reforge/select gear to maximize them, and you have to be able to PLAY.
You know, move your butt? Pew pew? That part of the game where you’re actually playing kind of thing.
So what’s the problem?
Yes, class abilities are being streamlined according to the patch notes. Fluff is being removed. Baselines skills and spells are being highlighted so it’s harder to get lost as to which you’re expected to use.
That doesn’t mean a player will know how to use them, it simply reduces the likelihood that a Destruction warlock will run an entire encounter spamming Fel Flame.
Now the gear thing, I can almost see the QQ there. After all, a reforging calculator is not currently built into baseline World of Warcraft. In order to be at the ‘optimal’ levels of Hit and Expertise, a player has to know about reforging, know about the character pane and how to find your levels, understand about your effectiveness and miss chances against mobs at various levels above yours and that raid mobs are plotted in as three levels higher than you, and all that jazz.
Right now an easy way for someone to feel special is to properly reforge their gear, and reap the performance benefits over people who don’t. A lot of that is going bye bye with Warlords.
And of course then there is skillful playing.
This is the tough one for your diehard e-peener, because some of those players that don’t read websites or know about reforging or what stats to use or what the ‘optimal’ rotation is for their class have the temerity to be fucking righteous players.
As Keanu Reeves once said, “This is for rubber people that don’t shave yet.” They can get out of the bad and stick to a bosses’ ass like a remora on a shark.
Can you imagine what it’d be like if they weren’t kept from realizing their true potential through things like obscure reforging systems and opaque hit and expertise ranks?
Let’s flip this on it’s head.
What is the biggest complaint in many LFR runs?
That so many of the players in them are on low-geared or new alts that aren’t properly reforged, gemmed or enchanted and where the players don’t know how to use their class skills.
When you think about it, is it really SO BAD that Blizzard takes steps to address some of those issues?
What, you don’t want Blizzard to simplify aspects of the game, but you do want to bitch about how miserable LFR is.
Is it such a terrible idea to contemplate that new players not have to reforge hit and expertise before stepping foot in LFR? That some class abilities be pruned and others enhanced to make it clearer what to use?
The average DPS or HPS or TPS will go up overall. The gap between these players and the leet will narrow.
But it will still be there. Those gems and enchants will still make a big difference. Your gear drops from crafted items and normal raiding will still help you shine.
If you want to keep your edge, though, you’ll really need to make sure you work on that whole skill thing. Because those newbs be narrowing the gap and sucking on your hind quarters there, chief.
I guess I can see some of the concern. ‘Dumbing’ down the game means the leet have to actually move their ass and learn to play if they want to stay on top.
If not, those rubber people that don’t shave yet will be eating your lunch, boyo.