I haven't had a "bane" drop in Wrath yet - a piece of gear you want, but which just won't drop for you. But I do now. Most evenings, I head into Trial of the Champion Heroic, hoping to get Eadric and this, and all I ever get is this:
Nice outfit and all, Paletress, but howsabout giving Eadric some Hammer Time?
So maybe now instead of abandoning an instance before its finished with the only hope being to go back and outlevel it in the next expansion, maybe my scrub guild will actually clear something for a change.
If you weren't a designer, but a hardcore WoW raider, do you think you would think the game was too "casual" these days?
Quite possibly. I have this theory that, when you're a really elite hardcore gamer, what you really want - what drives you - is that sense of competition; really having that gap between you and the less skilled, and more casual. That's what drives you, and that's not different no matter what game you're playing: WoW, Counterstrike, Warcraft III, games like that. You strive to make the gap as big as possible.
So I certainly think that there is that sense that "Hey, I remember back when I had to walk uphill to school in snow both ways, and other players don't have to do it as hard as I did!" There's naturally going to be some resentment, but in the bigger picture, it doesn't diminish their accomplishment at all. They're still better and more skilled - but the gap has changed.
That's from an interview with Rob Pardo of Blizzard, that I've had open in a browser tab for days, but have only just got around to reading. I think it's a really telling quote in light of our recent discussion about the state of WoW.
The short of it is this: Blizzard is interested in providing you with challenges as hard as they have every been, but not in pandering to a sense of extreme superiority over others.
Now you can argue about how well Blizz are doing at providing that challenge - and it seems to be clear that there's a certain segment of the market they're not pleasing at all - but it seems very clear that vast differentials in gear and access between the most committed and the average players are a thing of the past.
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I 100% absolutely failed. You see, with my post about the difficulty of WoW for the average player, I was trying to stay away from the raiding debate, and look at things from a whole-WoW perspective. But, unfortunately, people saw it as being about them and their playstyle, and that was not my intention at all. Lissanna was clearly quite upset about it, and posted this as the intro to her follow-up post:
Okay, so I got frustrated at poor leafshine’s post today. Why? Well, because she says that the pace of the game is just right – and that the average player is happy just doing the same content over and over and over again – and that anyone who is unhappy with the game right now, you are basically all alone because no one else is unhappy… because the game is in a perfect place right now, because it caters perfectly to her.
She's since rewritten the intro. But I'd just like to say: if that's how I made you feel, I'm sorry. I apologise for any upset caused. It was not my intention to lecture or criticise those who are frustrated with the game in any way shape or form. I am an occasional raider, at best, and I'm not in a position to make any comment at all about the difficulty level of the end-game raid content, 'cos I'm just starting Ulduar.
I certainly wasn't suggesting that the average player is happy doing the same thing repeatedly - I'm certainly not. Ulduar is brand-new to me. Most of the quests I'm doing as I work on Loremaster are, by definition, new to me. And I certainly made no suggestion that people who aren't happy are alone. Just talking about "average" people implies that that are non-average people. I was talking about the peak of the bell curve, the bulge in the middle, and not those who are on the further parts of the slope either side.
In a sense, Lissanna reinforced one of my points, rather than countering it. She filtered my post through her own experiences, and saw it through the lens of raiders, who are, quite literally, doing the same thing again and again while they wait for Icecrown Citadel to emerge. It's interesting that, on the whole, the people who responded negatively to my post are the people who play WoW mainly to raid1. This reflexive assumption that any post about WoW difficulty is about raiding is a characteristic of the blogging demographic who are, by and large, raiders. That's what the game is about, on the whole, to them. I'm not one of them. I'm a WoW player who raids sometimes.
If you are a casual player (hint: If you read WoW blogs, you are probably NOT a casual player), then WOTLK is absolutely awesome for you. Unlike BC where most content was far too difficult to accomplish, 90% of the current content is puggable. Gear progression is easy, and getting easier. There are lots of paths for character advancement besides raiding; achievements, WE’s, PvP, etc.
If you are a raider, then things are very meh.
He just summed things up in a few sentences that it took Lissanna and I a few thousand words to say between us. :)
Tomorrow, I will return to the subject of yesterdays' post, as it's clear people have grabbed the wrong end of the stick and run with it.
But today, I shall leave you with assorted randomness:
This was a deeply, deeply gratuitous achievement. I noticed that I was only missing a lava crab, so off I went to find one. They're small little pests. /target lava crab is your friend here. That, or being a gnome...
A cup of coffee and three dailies, and what does my morning bring? This:
And that is me done, pretty much, with Northrend rep grinds. Oh, there's a few that I don't have at Exalted: Frostborn, Explorer's League and Frenzyheart. I'll probably do the latter eventually, but for now I need pets from eggs and I'm not insane enough to try and get Exalted with the Frostborn through one quest a day.…
I've been playing WoW since the day it launched in Europe, and this is the very first time I've been "up to date" with the current level reps.
And that's got me thinking. I've argued before that WoW is now aimed far more at people like me, people with one main character and a handful of occasionally-played alts. Ones without vast amounts of play time, and who can get one or maybe two nights' play a week. People who are somewhere close to average in the player base. I was really struck when, at Blizzcon, someone asked about extra character slots and the Blizz employee seemed surprised that it was an issue. Apparently, people who have used up all their slots with played characters on a realm are pretty rare. Yet, amongst the blogosphere, the lack of extra character slots was an issue.
The chances are, if you're reading this, you're not the average WoW player. You've taken the time to track down and read blogs on the subject - that probably puts you a distance ahead of 90% of the player base. If you're a blogger, you're in a tiny percentage of the population, because you're seriously committed to the game AND to writing about it. You are not the average player.