I apologize for the gaps in my posts – I wasn’t kidding when I said my RL work obligations& health issues were consuming my time. We have all these great ideas for posts, but the past few weeks, all I’ve had time for is discussions with Derevka, and he ends up piecing together all the ideas in the final posts. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not feeling bad he actually has to do some ACTUAL work during his daily latte routine, but I do feel bad that I haven’t been contributing as much as I want.
That being said, we DO have some great posts coming in the next 2 weeks – Renews & You, Holy Nova How to, Grid For Dummies, PI guide for non healers, Heroic LK25 (finally killed it) & Heroic Halion 25 guides, so you’ll see some great discussions to make up for the down time. We’re just trying to put the finishing touches on them all.
I just thought I would use this post to take a moment and reflect on things related to raiding in Wrath, & give our opinions on them. Beta is currently ongoing (Invites please?), & the current expansion is winding down. I’m not sure how raiding will turn out in Cata, so let’s just look at what was good, what was bad, and what was downright ugly in our current expansion:
Raid Zone Buffs (ICC)
- The Good: It solved the issue of how to get more people to see the content. Lore is a huge part of this game, and I know I enjoy the stories & background. Being able to see and experience the boss fights shouldn’t be so far out of reach of the majority of the player base. Also, having the buff gradually increase allowed more capable players & guilds to progress as normal, while allowing those that lagged behind a light at the end of the tunnel.
- The Bad:
- The buffs had no business being in heroic mode raiding. The fights are not drastically different & do not add anything to the lore, but require more skill and team play – adding a buff negates the whole concept of HEROIC mode raiding. They give raiders a goal to work towards, and if a fight proved difficult, you work on strategy & gear until you win. There’s no sense of accomplishment in steamrolling things.
- Also, having a heroic mode with an end boss that was tuned for the high end of the buff value was just plain silly. For most people capable of that fight, the entire zone becomes a 2 hour cake walk, only to have the difficulty go over 9000 by reaching LK25. It was very awkward, and it sends mixed signals: Do you intend for people to see all the content, or was LK only intended for the Best of the Best, frustrating the guilds that finally managed to scrape their way past the last few heroic bosses as the buff hit 20-30%? There’s nothing wrong with bosses increasing in difficulty as you progress – that’s how it SHOULD be – but having the difficulty at completely different scale as the rest of the instance is downright annoying.
- The Ugly: As the buff increased, it gradually began to negate the need to understand one’s class and the need to play well. Instead of gear being a reward for tackling content, it became an expected right, something everyone seemed entitled to. As gear became commonplace on even the worst of players, certain asshats started looking for a way to discriminate. Since skill was no longer much of a factor, a player’s worth started being designated by a nonsensical numerical value called Gearscore. It didn’t matter if the rogue in T9 could out DPS a one in a 5500 GS – his gearscore sucked, so he must as well. And when PuG raids made up of these high Gearscore players encountered difficulty or wiped, they were bewildered – how could that happen? And then the insults and rage would ensue. No one seems interested in learning the mechanics of their class or content, or even gearing properly – it’s all about making that number bigger. It’s no longer a MMO community – it’s every man for himself on the quickest, easiest path to purples, and it down right sucks.
- The Good: Excellent concept – a great way to add extra challenge for progression raiders when normal modes weren’t quite the difficulty people were looking for. The rewards were slightly better, yet not substantially enough to offer a severe advantage on later content, and rewarded prestige items that had no impact on actually gameplay such as mounts and titles.
- The Bad: Pick a way to access heroic modes! In my opinion, the “flip the switch for heroic” like ICC & TOGC was downright lame and boring – most fights simply came down to more damage & bosses had more health. Sarth 3D & Ulduar were much more interesting, adding elements & ways to approach the fight that usually completely changed the fight itself. Now THAT was interesting.
- The Ugly: Certain cosmetic rewards for doing these probably should be removed after some point. Removing them immediately after new content is released might be pushing it, but going back to get a Sarth 3D drake or Ironbound Protodrake in full T10.5 gear cheapens the accomplishment since they’re intended to be rewards for doing the hardest (at the time) content. Or an better idea is to have them attached to conditions, like a more loose version of Dedicated Insanity or Herald of the Titans, where you can’t outgear the instance by a certain factor to complete the achievement – that way they can still be done at any point in the game, AND it gives people a reason to go back and gear up in old instances.
- The Good: This expansion offered a much easier way to progress & stay current. You could change your main or come back after an extended break and be right back in the game after a minor amount of time. It also allowed more casual players to partake in content without falling behind as well.
- The Bad: With every new raid or dungeon, previous content was completely negated. There was no need to progress thru older content to gear up and “learn to play”. In a nutshell, unless it was part of the weekly dungeon quest, all previous content was forgotten.
- The Ugly: This resulted in a complete loss of character progression. In an MMO, you develop your character thru progression. By collecting badges on the way to 80, running the new 5 mans, weekly dungeon, and crafting some gear, you can usually be ready for the latest normal mode content in a minimal amount of time….and then you’re out of things to do, unless you roll an alt, and do it all over again. It’s become the norm for most players to have several characters, and it’s become a boring treadmill. I would have loved to progress new alts thru naxx & ulduar, but my guild had done them to death, & PuGs have no reason to do them now, other than to steamroll them for mounts. Bring back content progression, time investment and character development to the game!
- The Good: It kept players from being overwhelmed by so much new content.
- The Bad: It provided a brick wall to more progressed players. I’ve heard Blizzard say it was a way to keep players from being unhealthy, but IMO – who are they to tell people how to play, or enjoy the game? If guilds like Exodus or Paragon want to play nonstop until they’ve cleared all the content – LET THEM. Don’t put an artificial barrier up on the way people play the game. Saying people will bored if they finish all the content so fast can be counter argued they’ll be bored & frustrated by being forced to wait.
- The Ugly: I don’t know if this is considered ugly, but I always believed gated content was a way to release the content before all of it was finished. If that’s the case, say so – don’t try to feign concern for peoples’ well being.
Limited Attempt/Timed End Zone Bosses:
- The Good: I liked this. A boss like Algalon was not required to complete a normal raid instance, but was an optional, heroic challenge that opened up after completing heroic modes, and offered some excellent rewards. I also like it because it forced more focus to be on skill, rather than throwing yourself at a boss until 3am. More guilds could remain somewhat competitive without raiding absurd amounts of hours.
- The Bad: If it’s a limited attempt boss(es) like H LK, those that really want to will use alts to learn the fight. But I really don’t think that’s bad – that’s dedication, as far as I’m concerned. But if it was Blizz’s intention to prevent top guilds from continuous work on a boss, it didn’t work too well. Other than that, I don’t see really anything BAD with ‘X’ attempt bosses, other than when atrocious server lag would rear its ugly head in the middle of them. If you can’t guarantee a stable server, then you might want to rethink this.
- The Ugly: A Timed boss, like the hour on Algalon, was also at the mercy of server stability and internet providers. If the server crashed or went down unexpectedly for maintenance, or some part of infrastructure for an area of users failed, the timer didn’t stop and there goes your attempts for the week.
These are just some random thoughts I had on what I’ve seen during this past expansion. There’s more things I could talk about, but those are the major changes I saw. Most of you know Derevka and I are hardly elitist Pricks, so please don’t read this post with that angle. What we are, however, is passionate about a challenge in our hobby. I think that’s what most raiders find fun. The biggest rush is working together with your guild to tackle challenges, and I am crossing my fingers that Cata can bring back the positive things we saw introduced for raids this expansion, while refining the things that didn’t work so well. I’m holding my breath that Cata can bring back challenges and accomplishments to raiding, and find a way to balance 10/25 man raids so they have both.
So what do you guys think? What are your thoughts on these issues? What did you like or dislike about Raiding In Wrath?