When to NOT Need or Greed at all

When a player is used to solo play they don’t ever have to really make many decisions when it comes to what they pick up or not. As soon as you group with others, there is that annoying little box that has a dice, a gold coin and now a nice little disenchant icon. Then the player new to grouping asks, what do I do? The lazy response that I have heard before is, “need on everything you have a dice light up for.”

That is how a warrior ends up wearing spirit gear.

The LFR has tried to curve that a little making things a little more specific to classes. Basically if your class can wear it, you can roll for it. On top of that you now get a nifty little bonus for the job you are performing, tanking, healing or DPS.

I think this removes something out of the game in the name of convenience. That is basically how I first learned about what stats were good for me. Those rules are now second nature to me, but from time to time I encounter people that don’t know why an agility ring is not good for a plate tank even though it has dodge.

Gear and stats are intricate parts of the endgame, but they do affect play way before that. It is also why people now enter the dungeons or LFR with resilience gear. They look at the iLvL and some quite don’t understand why people look down upon them. I remember the term “welfare epics” used to describe PvP gear being used in a raid environment. Now we can all go to the AH and inflate our iLvL to circumvent the system. Most players new to end game don’t understand how much difference the sacrifice of dropping one stat for resilience really hurts.

So it is a numbers game!

Yeap, all over WoW we deal with numbers. DPS check, iLvl check, its all about the numbers! ROAR!

Warriors have it rough. While everyone jokes that everything is a hunter weapon, a warrior can equip pretty much anything in the game. It makes it very annoying to page through gear vendors and not have stuff shaded red because technically you can wear it.

But how do we as a community continue to pass down the knowledge to people that might have never visited MrRobot or Elitist Jerks?

We teach them when to need or greed depending on their spec. We teach them why a Greed is considered an OS roll. We pass down the knowledge that we either read, but in many cases was passed down to us.

The Need Roll – Main Spec

You roll need whenever an item drops that you can use on your main spec. To continue with the warrior team, if you are a protection warrior, you want Strength, Mastery, Dodge or Parry. For the most part if a plate piece has haste or crit in it will be a DPS piece. Hit and Expertise are different from tier to tier, but without a primary stat from the first list, it is probably not best for a tank. So if you have a slot in your gear where you are wearing a piece of gear of lower iLvL, you will roll need on that piece.

The nice thing to do in my opinion with tier pieces, is to only roll need if you don’t have them for your main spec. However we all know that most see their tier token and roll need. I think this is just being too greedy. Which brings us to our next roll

The Greed Roll – Off Spec

You roll greed on any piece of gear that you CAN use, but is not part of your primary spec. (Or spec that you are participating on the raid with) So our friendly warrior tank can then roll greed (or roll during an OS – Off Spec call out) on any plate item that has haste, crit on it. Some raid leaders are even nice enough to announce what the piece they are about to link is for (Tanking Plate – DPS Plate, etc).

What a warrior will never need is intellect or spirit. Whenever you see that pop up, you can either pass or click disenchant.

The important lesson here is that when you need on everything when that dice lights up you are truly cheating yourself on one of the coolest aspects of the game. You don’t get to click shift to compare the stats of the two pieces of gear to see what kind of difference it will make. I have always found that part of the fun playing WoW.

Stats are an important part of the game, and it is the reason why so many people get up and arms when someone does not enchant or gem their gear. Those +30 +40 to stats really make a huge difference. Being hit capped and stuff like that… but that boys and girls is a story for another day.

Dragon Soul Getting Nerfed

Last night I read the news that Dragon Soul is getting nerfed! and I went Yey!

I’m in a small friend guild. We don’t always end up with the best raid composition. We don’t always have the same healer from one night to the next. Sometimes our tanks get stuck at work. We raid with 2 awesome hunters, in 10 man.

We are all competent players and individually could join a progression guild and do well. But we like playing together, because we know each other. We know the jokes, we push each other, we die, get frustrated one night to one shot the same boss the next night. We are currently 5/8 with some solid attempts at the ship… we just always seem to run out of time. We are casual raiders, we know it, we don’t pretend to be anything else. Individually I think some have already cleared DS with pugs. I have cleared up to Madness on an alt.

/rant

I read Kurn and listen to her podcast. I enjoy the banter and enjoy reading from the perspective of her and many other progression raiders I listen to. I am however quite disappointing, because what I have seen kill many WoW communities is what I am reading on her post.

My toons grew up in a PvP server that had population issues ever since I started playing. I never experienced the life of a larger server other than making a toon to talk to a friend there before real id, or to pass the time if our server was down for whatever reason.

When I first started to raid lead and lead a guild I started to bump into “progression raiders.” I quickly saw that they enjoyed trolling others establishing superiority via their achievements in game. That really does not mean much to an adult. Then the groups in this small server introduced me to the systematic dismantling of other groups. A raiding guild would move in, or progress and they would do what they could to poach players, not to help them but to slow the other guild down. I saw what a competitive environment can do, and how it hurt the overall community. I am hoping that this was an outlier of the community, and not the norm with progression raids.

I looked up to people like Kurn, progression raiders that seemed to just want to play the game at a higher level. Willing to share tips and help the overall community. I admire their dedication to their guild and the game. I even went as far as to be ok the calls of foul play when T12 was nerfed. I felt I was part of her community, the WoW community… I guess I was fooling myself.

Cataclysm arrived and with the T11 content nerfs, my faith in Blizzard was shaken. When the Firelands nerfs arrived, I was furious and my trust in Blizzard eroded. And now, with the announcement of Dragon Soul nerfs, despite the fact that Looking for Raid exists *for* those people who will not make the efforts needed to raid seriously, I have to admit that my faith in Blizzard is shattered. My trust in the developers of World of Warcraft is gone. I am obviously not the type of player they want playing their game. And that’s what’s so very shocking to me. I am a good player. I am a community asset. I am a guild leader, a raid leader, a healing lead. I write a blog dedicated to the game that has had hundreds of thousands of visitors and pageviews since December 31st, 2009 (and more before then, but I don’t have any data before 12/31/09). I co-host and produce a podcast dedicated to the game.

Read the whole post, it is a great way to get perspective. A perspective I don’t agree with because it uses word like incompetence, laziness, and “this game is no longer for me“.

Before I continue with my thoughts on the subject, lets be clear about something. Blizzard is a company that makes a game. They are there to MAKE MONEY because it is what businesses do in a capitalist system. They are above and beyond one of the places that is the most sensitive to their customers and keep millions of them happy.

This is not the first time I see these kind of diatribe about the game. The moment a person starts to feel above others, to me it is the moment that they show they feel insecure. I don’t know Kurn personally and that statement is not directed at her personally. It is directed to all of the progression raiders that have yet to kill Madness on Heroic, that never Killed Ragnaros Heroic per nerf.

There is no reason to take a crap on top of the community because the allotted time to accomplish what others do in hours, days, weeks, you ran out of time to do. If you can be that awesome, then why aren’t you done already.

I’m tired of the people in the community acting like if the game is not for the top raider, the game is garbage.

WOW is in the BEST state a game can be. There is so much to do it is unreal!

Stop acting like the game has to be tailored to just YOU or it is garbage and you won’t play anymore.

If you are truly a part of the community and want to report and serve that community, think of the WHOLE community and not just your very small percentage of hardcore raiders that need 4 months to clear an instance on heroic instead of 1 or 2. The nerfs affect you only because now you cannot compare yourself with those that did it before you… the reality is that you could not do that to begin with.

I am not a top 100 player, probably not even top 1000 either. But every night I log on and kill a boss with friends I have FUN! if the game is not fun for you, by all means, quite playing.

There are so many people in the community doing creative things to have fun with the game, that it pains me to read that the people that do what I like to do in raiding, don’t even consider me a part of the community.

If you hate pandas, do it! If you want to quit playing the game, see ya! But stop acting like the game is not for you, simply because the game is not JUST for you.

Who’s your main?

Vuuk wrote an excellent post talking about “mains“, when I started to reply to post I realized that it actually merited a post.

I currently don’t have a main, while I raid with my priest with our raid team, I have also tanked a lot with my warrior this expansion. I also use my bear and DK quite a bit and try to valor cap them now that is so simple with LFR and LFD.

First Born: Logtar – nElf Warrior

Besides him learning that crocodiles are fierce killers on my way to Ironforge, Logtar’s leveling was not very memorable. He was power leveled in BC so that he could become a potential tank and eventually raid. While he did do Karazan before WotLK came out, he did more dungeons than actual raids. I did spend a lot of time in the isle of q with him.

I guess he could be considered my main, but I enjoy playing all of the alts that I have taken to max level. I have been told both that I am a great tank and also the backhanded compliment of, you are a great healer, bring your priest!

Second Child: Hollogos – Dwarf Priest

I have never RPed, but I created this character with one of my grandparents in mind. He was my mentor in a lot of ways and while an avatar in a game is no replacement, it is a reminder of how much I cared for my grandpa!

The priest was the personal challenge. I heard that priest were horrible to level because they got hit really hard and did not put out much damage. I don’t know if it was because people tried to level anything other than the supreme priest spec! DISCIPLINE! ROAR.

I had a great time leveling this toon and apparently it is one of the ones I play best. He was a dungeon and raid healer all through WotLK and eventually did the whole shadow thing for ICC when we needed an extra DPS for Sourfang. He was actually my first toon to Kill the LK with his bubble spamming abilities.

T11 our lack of tanks made him take a backseat, while he still raided on alt runs we were in a low pop server where pugs were pretty non existent. So the warrior got all the first kills in BoT, BWD and TofW. Fast forward to T12 when we moved and he was actually the first toon that made it over with a secured raiding spot. He once again became exceeded the first child by killing Raggy first.

He is happy sitting on his 4 set bonus (which I am not all so sure is as cool as the FL one) and working on the lootship.

Gatoso the wonderbear!

If I was to start all over in WoW, a druid would probably be my first toon. They can do it all, mele, range, heal and tanking! Truly the overachievers of the WoW world.

Gatoso also had a lightning fast leveling pace. He was leveled when my wife started playing. As his name suggest (Gato-Cat/Oso-Bear) he was supposed to be a DPS/Tank. He did tank towards the end of Wrath, but was quickly relegated to an on hold status for most of T11. Enter the new server and the lack of healers there and bam! he actually raided T12 almost every week. He has been the networking toon with other guild because he can heal or tank for them. Most people eat one of the “o”s when pronouncing the name and call him Gaatzo. I am a pretty decent tank with him but still working on becoming a better healer for sure.

Left Behind Lock – Talgro – gnome

When my wife started playing I leveled Talgro so I would not be completely dumb when talking to her about the class. He is a max enchanter and engineer and made me some money with both of those professions. I think he has built about 6/7 bikes.

He was mostly a fun alt. I thought that he would be easily recognizable as one of my toons because I stone one of the practices from our guildie Curan to use the same letter for alts (Talgro<- Logtar) but it is amazing how many people just don't recognize it at first. I did raid with him and even kill the LK before Cata, but he was mostly a last choice because it was rare that we did not need heals or tanks in a run.

He is my only max level character left on the last server and I have not logged in there for a while now.

With my wife being our resident lock, there is really no reason for another one. The other thing is that if I want to be a damage dealer, a shadow priest is fun to play with. I do miss his money making capabilities... but not sure he will get played any time soon.

The DK that did not get deleted – Talgor

I have played with a lot of people, but one of the people we miss the most was our awesome blood DK that killed the LK with us for the first time. Phaetal was not just an awesome blook tank, he is also a great person. We actually still keep in contact even though he gave up on the game the week we killed the LK!

I had played a DK since the expansion came out, but he was the default (delete character to make room.) When some of my guildies decided to see how the horde side was in our server, my almost capped DK was deleted and Mooerte (the tanking cow was born)… I think he made it to 60, helped guildies through some zone and was deleted. Fast forward to the LK kill and us loosing a DK tank and I rolled one in his likeness! I think that is what made it hard for me to ever delete him.

So I leveled the DK but did not tank much at all during Wrath. DK rotation takes a bit to get used to because its more patience and coordination than OMG IF SMASH the KEYS HARDER I WILL CRIT MOAR (ROAR)… yea that is my warrior DPS mode. Eventually got into a nice wave of spreading diseases and the like and realized that he is just beast even as tank.

DKs are probably the strongest tanks right now in T13, and he has done lots of LFR… not sure if I am going to push him to a higher spot because I have 3 toons already somewhat committed to other raids, but he is fun to do LFR with and out DPS people as blood.

The ones that never made it

I am on my second hunter (born only to harass Froto… then I realized that playing a hunter in BGs is just unfair, lol) and first mage right now as alts go. Not sure if either of them will make level cap. I also have a forgotten 50+ level rogue that was going to complete a guild achievement but some people are just too hard to beat when it comes to leveling. Not sure if I will level cap any more toons, I love having flexibility when the need is there. I have not deleted many toons other than DKs and I currently have no horde toons I play. I am thinking of leveling another DK on the horde side in a server some RL friends play so I could raid with friends that have horde toons using the new tools coming up.

So that is pretty much my alt history, not really a clear main, just whatever is needed to rescue the princess.

I have a dream!

Ever since the LFR was announced I have been salivating at the opportunity to run a raid with some of my real life friends that I have never had a chance to raid with. Now that dream is close to a reality because Blizzard will soon implement cross-realm raiding. See, I was late to the WoW party. Most of my FPS friends played WoW from the beginning and some had way more hardcore raiding experience than I did. They are spread over many servers and I have always wondered what it would be like to run a raid with all of them together.

Furthermore, what about running a raid with all of the WoW bloggers I read?

While there is the little caviat of me not having a horde character… which might have to be fixed by me rolling a DK and gearing them up. All of my alliance brothers and I could get together and do an awesome Firelands 25 or an LFR together in the not too distant future!

So my dream is to be raiding with people all over the world of warcraft! I cannot wait for this feature to come out.

LFR Tanking Guide

Before you even que up for the LFR as a tank, be aware the the tables have turned and your queue will not be instant, no sir! be ready for a little bit of a queue time. So without much more to say, let’s have a real quick LFR tanking guide. This is quick, and oversimplified!

Morchok
1 Debuff – Taunt at 2 Stacks!
You can survive more, but 2 seem to clear nicely and not cause you much issues.

Taunt in the middle of the road. You might have to reposition. Make sure you are always stacking with the other tank.

Rotate through your cooldowns while you are tanking and be ready for getting hit a little harder towards the end.

Yor’sajh
1 Debuff – Taunt at 3/4 Stacks!
Oozeappoloza! Purple – Yellow – Red (Green does not do splash damage on LFR)

Make sure you help kill the Oozes, there always seems to be a DPS (see hunters) that refuse to switch. If one of the oozes that comes out is the black one, be ready to AoE taunt adds and be free with your AoE abilities.

Zon’ozz
If you are the OT you could be the one bouncing the ball back and forth. If you have aggro, face the boss towards the raid initially and once the ball is formed face him away. No other movement needed besides stacking up.

Hagara the Stormbinder
Probably the first fight that actually requires some tanking.

Focused assault hurts! you could just pop a cooldown, but learning the timing and running away will make it so you take no damage.

Try to tank off center and be ready to tank the add during the electric phase.

Do not tunnel vision during ice phase DPSing a crystal, move early and stay alive.

Ultraxion
Tank and Spank… well kinda!

This is a fun fight for tanks, we get to use our cooldowns a lot more. Make sure you time them correctly and this fight will be no problem.

Warmaster Blackhorn
2 Debuffs – Lots of movement
You start having to tank two types of adds. While it is important to swap, it is more important to not let one of them run wild. Get everything controlled and the talk to your off-tank if you need to swap.

Help soak all incoming damage to the ship. Rotate through your cooldowns.

The boss will have to be move away from void zones and avoid his shockwave.

Spine of Douchewing
This is the fight where you will become a STAR! make friends across all realms and have post written about you!

Mark and kill 1 (uno) tentacle. Grab the add and get it to 30%. Let the OT kill 9 bloods. Pick up the 10 bloods, nuke the add. Rinse and repeat!

Here is where this fight causes issues to everyone though. The very first add comes out when there are not enough bloods… people see adds, people blow up add without sufficient stacks, process has to start all over. If you time things right with your OT, the first part will seem to take forever, but it will help the new people understand what is going on.

Towards the end of the fight the issue might be too many bloods beating on healers, so if you are the free tank, go pick the up with an aoe taunt, and potentially keep them from the main add until it is at 30%

Mark and DSP the tendon and WIN!

Madness of Douchewing
Debuffs that can KILL YOU! BEWARE!

Not a bad tanking fight. Move to the back to start tanking the tentacle, specially on the last platform because it spawns almost as people are arriving to the platform (if they left blue for last like most people do).

Tank swap on debuff (survivable with cooldowns, but not recommended)

When you actually get to DPS deathwing, don’t forget about the green button specially when you are going to take a big damage spike.

Kill all the tentacles and WIN!

Bear to wood transformation

You would think that a druid shape shifter can do great things on all of the different specs, it is just not that easy. I am a sucky druid but I am working at it.

Gatoso, my bear, actually grew up during wrath alongside Trizilla. He had the added bonus of our accounts being linked so he leveled quickly. Back then we had a serious shortage of tanks and well, the natural thing was for me to do some bear tanking because of the similarities with warriors… they both use rage (that is where the similarities start and stop). We also did not play with a lot of resto druids and the ones we had were excellent healers. I have never actually played with a true Boomkin (I call them chubby chickens… maybe I should stop so we can keep a attract more of them.)

Once we moved to our new server it seemed that what the server lacked most is healers, so I played a lot with my priest… and ended up building a quick set for my bear. During Firelands it seemed that my healing style as a resto seemed to work well, fast forward to dragon soul (and a bag full of non straight intellect gems) and you have a resto druid that has gear with all the wrong gems and probably reforged poorly. I am simply not putting out the numbers I need, and even though he is not one of my main toons I don’t like to feel carried by others.

So I am going to start working on him seriously and get better at resto. It has changed a lot over the patches and I have plenty of resources to pull from. Just last week I read a great post from Cannot be tamed which will already help a lot in a couple of fights.

One of the drawbacks of having alts is that they always seem to be able to get gear drops a lot quicker than your main. Dragon Soul is proving to be an exciting raid, and like Lich King one that we will probably be able to get everyone that wants to get through it, through it on normal. Who knows, by next month we might even be doing well into heroics! Death to Douchewing!

Why I love the LFR

The Raid Finder (what most people are calling Looking for Raid, and then shortening it to LFR) is a new feature introduced in WoW that throttles the difficulty of the raid (first out being the Dragon Soul where you kill DEATHWING! – yesterday I LoLed when someone called him DoucheWing.) and automatically groups 25 people to complete the content. It is divided in 2 parts, so you get 4 bosses at a time. There are still game mechanics, but for the most part they don’t penalize you if about 5 people are under-performing. I would say it is like doing Naxx 25 with 20 people on Ulduar or ToC gear.

If your group has about 10 competent players, the whole experience is a breeze and easily completed from top to bottom in less than 90 minutes.

The Dragon Soul gear is itemized above the current dungeons but bellow the normal version of the raid. Firelands normal was 378 and so are the new dungeons, LFR is 384.

As an added bonus for raiders to do the instance besides valor capping if you are not yet clearing dragon soul (500 valor points from running which is half of your weekly cap) is that the raid also drops gear tokens that mix and match with the normal and heroic versions of the gear, so it is very manageable to actually achieve your 4 set bonus. Something that was previously challenging for casual raiders or infuriating for guilds that had a lot of people on the same token.

First lets talk about the bad.

Because it is a place where you can complete your set (or quickly valor cap.) raiders of all experience and dbag level come to play. You easily get into BG type of discussions about “FAIL vs e-PEEN” and “Carebear vs Troll.” Reason being that even though there is a “Go Go Go!” mentality, there also is a little bit of down time (unless someone ninja pulls… actually more Leroy pulls… which reminds me that I should find an addon that spams who the heck pulled.) when in between bosses you lose and add players. I’ve had a couple of awesome runs (probably because they were filled with guildies) but in most cases you lose between 3-5 after every boss. There is a great discussion going on in Manalicious about how this is eroding the community aspect of the game.

I however find the LFR a complete success.

I think the community creation part is up to you with your guild and other guilds you have a relationship with. I don’t remember BC or even Wrath as fondly as some others do. Sure it was nice to be known as a good tank or healer to group with people, but at least in my server there was tons of raider poaching between guilds… or casual guilds used as farms for the more serious raiders. The whole server community thing for me did not exist. Now the new more populated where we reside does feel a little more like a community (still now, in the days of LFG and LFR) and we have been able to mingle and have fun running things with other guilds.

The LFR to me fills a huge gap for the people that want to experience the thrill of killing the dragon, but don’t really care to itemize themselves and work towards being part of a raid team. While you would think that would erode a guild like ours that has mostly casual players, it does quite the opposite. It gives the opportunity for people to gear more alts quickly. It also satisfies the needs of our members that want to still raid, but not on a schedule. They can be part of a community, fill gaps when needed and not feel any presure. That in the past was a pipe dream. Every time you lost a raider it was a setback. Now, there is no excuse for people not to be geared and valor capped when you can do it in one night a week.

I also don’t think that raiders see how much the truly benefit from it. They will still be able to do their normal and heroic modes, and if that unlucky shamman does not get his should drop week after week, or you have a token heavy group full of priest/pallies/warlocks, they can just go to the LFR and complete sets. I know in the past, whenever there was a gear check fight in an instance that required gearing it meant weeks and weeks of pain. Now with just 3 weeks of raiding we made it past the first gear check (Ultraxion). We have about 60% with 2 piece sets and even a couple of 4 sets. Heck we might even be able to not just kill Deathwing on normal but actually do some heroic modes while they are still relevant.

The LFR is doing a lot for a guild like ours. I know a lot of people in the raiding community maybe see us as not being deserving of the loot we are getting because of how easy the LFR is. Sure, our 4 sets might be 3 LFR pieces at first, but it will allow us to play the game at the speed we want without having to hit the reset button every time one of our raiders gets a different work schedule or wants to take an extended break.

If you want to enjoy your LFR experience, que with your friends, set up an LFR night, reach out to your server community and create groups for it. Don’t fall pray of the negative view of the world and enjoy the game for how awesome it is right now. You are in control of the communities you build and play with. So if you decide to just que on your own and end up in the ultimate dbag group, just do your best… besides, its always over before too long.

4.3 and what I am playing

My first character was Logtar born during the burning crusaded. He is the protection warrior that later started to PvP and DPS as arms, but he seems to always be a tank. During wrath I finished leveling my priest, druid and a warlock. I raided with all of them to some extent but by the beginning of Cataclysm I seem to go back to Logtar and he is the one that raided the most for tier 11. While the priest was geared and capable of doing tier 11, he was relegated to alt runs.

We moved servers while firelands was on their way and our new home realm seemed to be lacking healers more than tanks. The priest and the druid saw a lot more use and they both got to see a lot of the orange instance. Logtar was not raiding with any of the guild we were a part of during that period but found a weekend raiding group that got him to kill Ragnaros. I also ended up also bringing over the DK for his blacksmithing capabilities. So right now I have 4 toons that are doing dragon soul using the LFR and the priest doing the normal modes with our raiding team.

Priest healing is not as fun as it was during the Firelands. While discipline did see a nice buff in 4.3 and it seems easy to play, I still don’t find it as cool as I did towards the end of wrath when I was a bubble spammer. I am still not sold on the new healing model at all. I have 2 healed a couple of 10 mans, but still feel more comfortable in the 3 healing environment of current 10 mans.

The bear is really a beast right now and feeling very competent both in number output and survivability. Being able to hit trash packs harder than some DPS is fun, and even on single target I can pull ahead of other tanks. However, the druid seems to be more needed for healing than for tanking and I am getting more proficient at it, at times finding even a little more fun than priest healing.

The DK is just ridiculous. He is the last geared of all my toons but the ones that seems to hit the hardest. He ends up tanking LFR and dungeons but does not seem to find many current raids to do. I wish we had a full time blood DK (I miss you Phaetel!) again, their 4 piece during this tier is all kind of ridiculous.

Last but not least is the warrior. The arms DPS is just amazing right now, but he is not seeing much more than LFR right now. He finally had a decent shield and he seems to be the one I want to transmog. I think he will be PvPing more this patch than actually raiding. He has not had the luck in LFR than will give him his 4 set, and having a full time protection warrior on the raiding team makes it that he is almost exclusive for alt runs.

That is the summary of 4.3 probably the perfect time to get back into the game if Cataclysm was not your cup of tea. It feels almost like Wrath did towards the end. The dungeons are easy to do, the gear is dropping like candy from the heavens above. So come and join the fun. We are actually going to recruit a bit to see if we can get a rated BG team going and our raid team should be killing Deathwing on normal in the coming month!

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.