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