The LFR and the New Dungeons means Blizzard was wrong

There is a lot to be said about the vocal minority, but blizzard was wrong to listen to the people that wanted to make the game “hard” again.

A lot of people miss the point that the complexity of the game in vanilla was not because the end game encounters were harder, but the game was not as refined as it is now. It was exponentially less accessible.

I was WoW for the first time while I was living in Michigan. The person showing me the game was one of the developers I worked with and I cannot even remember what class he was playing. All I remember from that first look at the game was the obscene amount of buttons available to you and that you were penalized by having to walk back to your body. I was torn between trying UO or WoW back then, but FPSs were more my addiction back then, that and gunbound.

I did not actually play WoW until BC and the little endgame I got to see was limited. It wasn’t until Wrath that I really started to be able to raid and experience the end game and by this point we had the LFD, the Token gear system and just overall a smoother user experience. I did experience dungeons where CC had to be used before, and even some of the fights where you had to use multiple people performing various tasks that created a lot more complexity to encounters. Ulduar was no pushover by any means, but encounters in that expansion, even ToC which I did not enjoy all that much were engaging and difficult but rewarding.

As I have noted before Cataclysm separated the casual from the raiders big time. With the lack of content and heroics being challenging again you really damaged the casual groups that had mixed skills in their ranks. The troll heroics did not do us any favors because most people that has seen the places before were not engaged by them story wise, and most casual players would cause death after death because the trash was extremely unforgiving. I believe most players in WoW sit in the dungeon world for quite some time hoping that they can raid but not having the time to invest on it. When those dungeons are not a source of fun for the people that already have the gear, good luck with trying to get people to go with you to those places.

The LFR and the new dungeons are completely opposite to what the rest of Cataclysm was. It is not that they are overly simple, because they are really not. The ramp up though is not as high as it was the rest of the expansion and you can still have fun inside of them. They are quick, they are fun, and they allow you to once again play with your friends.

Most of the hardcore raiders I knew stopped playing the game with Cataclysm. Once those players have moved on, who is the audience? The casuals. It makes no sense for a company like Blizzard to create content that only 1% of the population gets to see. Sure, that might have been the case before, but when that number turns into 5-10% during Wrath, there is no point to dial complexity back up and saying… you know what you guys don’t deserve to see this because you don’t have the skills. Enter Firelands nerf, enter LFR, enter new shorter dungeons.

Three difficulty levels is a great model. I will probably still be a normal/raid achievement raider. Knowing I can have fun with my friends is more important to me, and the LFR and new dungeons clearly show that Blizzard gets it. Make things too difficult and lose players.

4.3 So Far!

I hated Firelands. We will have to still go in there until Triz completes her legendary quest as well as Jackie’s mage that has it right behind her. It will be probably done on a off night but I could not wait to get out of that world of orange and brow. I am not a fan of the color to begin with and with all the fights being driven by one or two dumb mechanics it felt good to go in there a clear the place minus Rags in less than 2 hours. So 3 new dungeons and a new raid could not come fast enough.

The dungeons are short, VERY short. With a competent group they can be done in less than 30 minutes. I think we cleared one in about 20 or less. Eventually I think that Ilidan and Thrall will get very very annoying and seem slow, but at least for now they seem to keep up. I still seem doomed to have the same shield from the first month of Cata that Mike crafted for me… I hope the gear gods smile upon me and let me upgrade my shield.

Only half of the new raid is open in the LFR. The raid is extremely easy for raiders, who are the only people that could probably access it the first week due to the iLvL requirement of 372. I did the raid with one of my tanks and both of my healers and actually managed a couple of nice drops for the healers. The bosses seem to have their mechanics tuned very low and after 1 wipe it seems anyone that had not seen the fight before was able to pick it up and execute. I do think that having most of the raid be in pretty good gear probably helps, but 372 is pretty high… I am sure people with PvP gear will sneak in but overall it should not be an issue for any group to clear at least the first 4 bosses.

I did not spend any time in the darkmoon fair since I was focused on capping my 4 raid capable toons of valor points. Capping is now a breeze. The new dungeons give you 150 (either new or old heroics) and the raid gives you 250. It took no time to get all of them capped.

I have not had this much fun playing WoW in a while. If I want to raid, I can get into one in minutes. The only annoying thing is dealing with bad pugs, but surprisingly that is not the case in the raid. I guess we will see how it pans out as the weeks go on and more people get into the LFR.

Elite>Raider>Casual>Bad>Elitist

If you have ever read my regular blog you know that for some reason I have issues with labels. They do seem to come in handy though. This topic though is one that is coming up a lot lately. Elitism in WoW.

The reason that this is going to become a hot topic in the coming weeks is because Blizzard introduced a new feature where you can do the latest raid in this patch with 25 other people in a easier than normal difficulty setting. I went there with two characters now and it is faceroll for raiders… not sure it will be for casuals or bad players.

Like many other posts this one will be all over the place, but I think I do have a point. Lets first define the labels.

Elite to me is someone that has killed Ragnaros pre-nerf. The 1% of the population that is not just a raider but actually has seen results while content is relevant. There are not too many of those in WoW.

Raider is the person that only plays WoW to raid. That is their primary focus and they are part of a progression guild. They might not get world or even server first, but they do get their achievement drakes and probably went 7/7 HM.

Casual is a person that enjoys the game and might even raid, but it is not their primary focus. They might have the skills but not the time, or enjoy people rather than progression. I put myself in this category.

Bad is the person that does not try. Grumpy elf has an excellent post about it, go read it. To me a bad is someone that refuses to take advice and does nothing to improve their gameplay. They are the ones that expect to be carried to shinnies.

Elitist is the group of people that look down upon others because of their achievements in game. They are the people that forget where they came from and feel the entitlement to verbally abuse others because of their “superiority.”

In a way, this post could also be looked at as a form of elitism as well, because I truly don’t like playing with either bad players or elitists.

I’ve had people tell me that I have the wrong attitude towards the game. I personally play to just see content, so to me 7/7 non hard modes in Firelands is ok. I will go back and do the heroic modes, but it is not my primary goal. Now if Deathwing kills over on regular very easy and I can do some heroic modes, awesome. I will not lose sleep over my gear not having the little “heroic tag.”

I jumped back into the whole leading a guild thing. Once Bea and I transferred over to a new server, we were joined by most of our friends. The ones that chose not to come for their own reasons are still our friends and hopefully we will get to do more with them if they open up cross server raiding. (Cross server BGs are already a reality!)

The point of this post is that I really don’t want to play with elitist or with bad players anymore. It makes me feel bad sometimes, but if someone does not have the decency to either respect others by not belittling people or at least work on their characters before they step into the raiding game, I feel like they are wasting my time.

I would not DPS for a long time, I could do it but not at the level that I thought a DPS should. I feel that a DPS should be able to move out of the fire and keep their numbers up, but for a long time I felt that was just not going to happen for me. Recently I have tried and been able to do it with some consistency. I don’t think I am all that good at DPSing in the game, but I do think that I can bring something to the table when it comes to healing and tanking.

I don’t think expecting this same self evaluation from the people you play with is too much.

The point of this post is two fold. Where do you see fitting in this scale? Would you be willing to play with people lower than you on that scale?

I ask because I think that Blizzard might benefit from instituting something along these lines. Almost like a badge system. I know you will be able to get medals of some sorts in MoP. Imagine being able to get even a bronze medal and say, I only want to play with bronze medal level players. What do you think of a feature like this?

TH to both Windsoar and Grumpy’s discussions for sparking this post.