Monday, January 11, 2010

World of Warcraft: Crap of the Lich King

I plan on making my first post about something in WoW that has been bothering me for a while now. It's long-winded, so just bear with me...

I'm sure that I'm not the first person to ask this question, but ftw happened to hard work, competition, or just a simple challenge? And I'm talking about World of Warcraft. When I started playing this game 4 years ago, the majority of the players were not max level, and by no means did everyone have tier gear. I guess those days are gone.

I can understand Blizz making it easier to level. They want to draw in new players who have friends that already play and have 80's. I get that it's not fun to play a level 30 while you watch your rl friend raid. And seriously, what's the big deal? Yeah, it took me what felt like forever to make it to 60 back in vanilla, and these kids (and I know many are adults) are getting an easy ride to 80. Honestly, I couldn't care less. Hell, when I start a new toon, I throw all the heirloom gear at it and out-level them no problem. Besides, there has been no attention paid to any of the old content, in fact, Blizz plans on stealing and recycling old content (already did it with Ony). So basically, all the cool stuff requires you to be 80. So fine, let people get to level 80 faster. Levels were never what separated casual from hardcore or elite from baddies. Top gear is what really separates us. Well, it used to at least...

Emblem gear was introduced in BC, and it pretty much worked there. Mainly for two reasons: 1) heroics were difficult; and 2) You couldn't buy tier gear outright. Really, when it came down to it, if you wanted the better gear, you had to raid. Sure, you could run heroic after heroic, save up and buy a piece of gear that was about on par with tier 4. By the time Sunwell was released, you could could get stuff that was t5/t6 equivalent, but it still cost a buttload of badges which were, once again, not cake to earn.

When WotLK was released, everything was pretty stable. And there were two types of emblems: heroism and valor. Individual progression through the game was done in steps: 80 --> heroics --> naxx --> OS/EoE. You had to work your way up to the endgame content. And you couldn't buy a full set of t7 gear with Emblems of Heroism. You could get TWO pieces. Same with 7.5 and valors. There was a limit on how far you could get by farming heroics. If you wanted BiS, you worked for it. You had to kill Kel'Thuzad, Malygos, etc. Ulduar was pretty much the same, but they introduced Emblems of Conquest. The big problem happened with the release of ToC.

ToC... God, where do I begin? I guess I'll start with the change to Emblems. Blizz, in their infinite wisdom, removed all but the top two tiers of emblems: conquest (t8) and triumph (t9). This basically meant that now, when a player hits level 80, they can farm heroics for emblems to buy T8 gear. FTW happened to T7? Other than farm badges, why in God's name would anyone waste time trying to get a Naxx 25 together if they could just do a bunch of heroics and get better gear? Sure, you can farm Naxx for badges, but Naxx takes quite a bit longer to run than any heroic. And this is getting to the heart of my point. Now, the casual player, one who doesn't have the time to complete Naxx/OS/EoE every week, has equipment that is just as good as a player who ran Ulduar many times to get their gear. The person who logs on for 30-60 mins a night and does easy heroic fights (because lets face it, WotLK heroics have nothing on BC), can get gear that is equivalent to the person who watches strat videos, wipes multiple times, gets back up, dusts themselves off and spends a few hours a night to progress through bosses that require teamwork and understanding fight mechanics (rather than just brute force healing/tanking). There is no progression, you can just skip over Naxx, which is actually a fun instance where new 80's can learn how to raid. Which brings me to my next point on ToC.

Who was asleep when this piece of crap got approved? Really, the fights are all brute force with no real strategy required. You could walk into Naxx 10 with a group full of people wearing mostly blues, but if your strats were tight, you could walk out of there champs. Sure it would be difficult, but who says the game has to be easy (yeah, I know, Blizz does, apparently). ToC, on the other hand, takes no more finesse than a heroic. As long as you have tanks that hold aggro and healers and dps that can spam, you win. How much brains does it take to MOVE when Icehowl charges? (yes, I know some people out there who still don't get this) The only fight that's even slightly interesting is phase 3 of Anub, and that really only affects healers. Basically, the only thing needed to get through this raid is brute force. Brute force comes from having better gear. Better gear comes from.... well, Blizz. They made it so easy to get T8 gear, everyone can now do ToC, even the noob 80's. So, I suppose it's pretty good that ToC doesn't require much understanding, because Blizz just made a whole group of well-geared 80's who have no understanding of any real strategy.

In any case, Blizz has taken this whole concept a step further with the release of Icecrown Citadel. Let me say this, I LOVE the 3 new dungeons. They are what ToC should have been. I also love the random dungeon queue. It can be difficult for any new player to find someone to dungeons with when the server is filled with level 80s who only want to raid. So, gratz Blizz on the great ideas. Here's where I jump off the bandwagon. They changed the emblems AGAIN. Now, only Frost and Triumph. So, now a new 80 can farm heroics to get t9 gear (forget t7 and t8). Now, a player only a week or two at top level can enter ICC and be right there with players who fought through Naxx, OS, EoE, Uld, ToC (ugh, ToC). My question is, WHY?

Why does EVERYONE get to step into the ring with Arthas? This guy is supposed to be one of the biggest bad asses in Warcraft lore! During BC, I didn't see endgame content. I did all the t4 bosses and started on t5 content, but I never made it into BT or SW. I didn't see SW until I was level 80. And that's fine with me because I'm a casual player. Endgame is something to work up to, not something to have handed to you. In other words, WoW is too easy, just like any game you could get for PS3 or Xbox. Anyone can "beat" it in a month or two.

Hey kids! Go out and buy WoW! Spend a month leveling, spend another 2 weeks getting top tier gear, and about another month, beat the Lich King! Thanks for buying Nap of the Lich King! Coming Soon, our next expansion pack: Crapaclysm!

Next Time: Gear Score


  1. A couple of weeks ago I hit level 80.

    I was expecting a another month or so before I would even be able to SNIFF Tier 9 gear.

    Yesterday, I just bought the last piece of my T9 gear to have a complete set.

    I mean, it's nice to be able to "Catch up" to all the other level 80's around (I've been playing for about 4 months.), but seriously??! I thought I was going to have to do Naxx, Ulduar, and a whole bunch of other raids just to get gear to do the latest ICC. But instead, I ran Heroic instances like no other and was able to get T9 gear as though it were nothing. I've only done a few raids to date! (Mt. Hyjal, 10man Naxx, and 25M Black Temple). It really sucks because whenever I try to get into a raid, I have no previous experience, and everyone is expected to have done it before, or have higher gear score (I hate gear score. I've been denied so many times just because it was a few hundred points under)

    Anyway, just responding to your rants, I'm actually liking your posts, and thinking about adding it to my "Check these blogs while Physics teacher is talking 'bout crap" list.

  2. Whats the point of spending time desingning something that only 10% of the population will play?

    The idea is that EVERYONE can go (and beat) toc and icc without gear restrictions so everyone has a try at the new content.

    If you want challenge, try hardmodes. If you farm hardmodes, then yeah, your out of luck.

  3. Although the opposite also holds true in my opinion - what is the point in spending time designing something that will be obsolete and forgotten about in a couple of months?

    Weekly raid quests (for more top tier emblems) aside, how many people go to Naxxramas now? Ulduar? Sartharion? Malygos?

    If you're a relatively new 80, or made the "mistake" of taking a break for a few months (like I did) then odds are you have completely missed out on content which you'll now probably never do until it's doable like the original Wrath heroics are now - completely devoid of challenge.

    On a related note I think part of the problem is the release style in this expansion - raids are released regularly and most have their own tier of gear. So they've created a constant treadmill they then have to "fix" by letting people catch up by bypassing content - and if your design mandates most of your content has to be bypassed for people to have fun then I reckon thats a fairly good sign you're doing it wrong.

  4. I kinda go both ways with this one (giggity), I do believe that they made the content too easy, and i hope they at least in Cataclysm have more raids/heroics that require thought. However i also think BC was too hard.

    The reason i think BC was too hard was because, as a DPS, i was kicked out of heroics for not having raid gear, not alowd to join raids because i didnt have heroic gear. So i spent most of my time QQing, and farming for PVP epics. Then again, maybe my server was just full of &^%#$.

    But anyway, I do believe that they did make it too easy, and many hardcore players are getting bored fast. But as a casual player, i kinda like being able to get the best gear. And i like being able to stay in my casual guild, and not feel like i have to join hardcore raiders to see good gear.

  5. I'm not against the whole emblem idea. It's a good way for people who can't raid to farm gear. The problem comes in when you can get the second from top tier just by running a bunch of heroics. If someone runs a bunch of HEROICS that would only give emblems of HEROISM, they'd be geared well enough to do Naxx. A few runs through Naxx, they can move up to Ulduar and so on. Progression would still be easy, but it just wouldn't be handed to you like it is now.

    @Bryan: hard modes aren't about progression. They're just about better gear an achievements. You missed my whole point. Endgame content isn't designed with 10% of the people in mind. It's designed for the people who have taken the time and effort to get there. If only 90% of the people playing the game don't want to bother, then screw them. (I would have been part of this 90% in BC)

  6. Here, Tobold wrote a post just for you.

  7. I think a lot of people miss the mark on this. I don't think that the game is too easy (although I'd like to see a better effort at a raid than ToC). I think that progression is too easy. When you can skip 3 tiers of progression and go straight to end game shortly after reaching level 80, something's missing.

  8. The content on WotLK came out pretty fast. Dang, we helped to build the tourney arena.

    IF you were hard-core, when new areas opened you went in and bested them. By the time you pwned the content, new stuff was added.

    As new stuff was added like toc10, then the prior stuff got nerfed so the non-hard-cores could get access to the cool content.

    It works great.

    We are at end game of this expansion, it only makes sense to open it up to let all the players see the game and, yes, go into Naxx for maybe the first time.

    The hard-core guys, they will tinker with min/max on their toons and either level another or go play Star Trek.

    The non-hard-core guys will get good stuff to end this expansion and then ... get 100 mounts or sumptin'.

    Good game, not crap.

  9. The biggest problem was having 2 (initially) levels of tier gear. the 25 man had to be better than the 10 man. Then the next tier 10 man had to be better than the previous 25.

    The gear gap opens pretty rapidly because of it. Heroics were not challenging while wearing all the available crafted & ilvl 200 epics from the heroics themselves. Now add in technically 5 tiers of gear between ilvl 200 and ilvl 232 and it's no wonder it's so easy.

    There was no real sense of progression even from the beginning. I do remember in TBC when you had to have a lot of normal gear before even attempting heroics. In Tier4/Kara gear and Sunwell badge gear Shattered Halls and Shadow Labs were still challenging. Magisters Terrace was one that tested even tier5.

    My reaction to the "everyone should see it, why design something only 10% of people see" attitude is this:- Why give everyone everything and leave them nothing to look forward to or work towards. Grinding 350 Emblems of Triumph in easy heroics is not what i would call working towards something. I never saw black temple before the nerf but when i saw a warrior or shaman in Tier6 i knew that this was someone who could play. Someone who had actually been into the instance and looted that token with his team. I looked at people like with envy and it made me want to play better and smarter and gave me something to try for. Not just another 126 badges and i'll have my legs, gloves and shoulders!!