Tobold's Blog
Thursday, May 24, 2007
World of Warcraft Patch 2.1.

Yesterday was patch day for World of Warcraft in Europe, the US got the patch a day before that. WoW patch 2.1.0 is one of those big content patches, adding a new raid dungeon, a couple of new level 70 solo and small group content areas, and a very long list of adjustments to various character classes and professions. I downloaded and installed the patch, read the patch notes, and then failed to get interested enough to even try playing.

Adding content is good, but I doubt I'll ever see the Black Temple from the inside. What Blizzard *should* have added to the game is the equivalent of Zul'Gurub, but what they *did* add is the equivalent of Naxxramas. And the majority of players have never even visited Naxxramas yet, half a year and 10 level later. It is safe to assume that most players will never see the Black Temple either. What a waste of resources!

The long list of modifications to many different talents, abilities, and items is in most cases not changing the game much. Sure, if you play class X and find that your favorite ability has been nerfed by 5% you are probably going to be upset. But in the greater scheme of things these changes will be forgotten and taken for granted very soon.

The only game-changing part of the raid I've identified is Blizzard's attempt to make raiding more popular, by making it both cheaper in consumables (alchemy changes) and by improving the stats of the epic loot found there. This is a direct result from the fact that the Burning Crusade made raiding less popular, instead of making it more accessible as initially hoped for. Whether the patch 2.1 changes improve this situation much remains to be seen.

So, how did you like the patch? What changes did stand out for you, and will change the way you play the game the most?
What 2.1.0 did to, at least on paper is nerf a lot of raiding content, but that doesn't help a bunch of folks. In some sense when I look at 2.1.0 it's a few things.

Fixing loads and loads of issues from the original TBC launch. This includes problems for a lot of classes, itemization, content difficulty, bugs.

Add black temple and do some PTR for Mount Hyjal.

Add some solo and small group content.

But really having done some PTR on the solo and small group content, it's a drop in a bucket of the current lack of endgame.

It's absolutely correct that there should be more accessible group content early on, indeed like ZG and there isn't even a date when ZA will be in. Given the current pace, it'll be 4 months plus.

For a lot of people TBC endgame will be disasterous. The current patch really only helps people who are at the brink of already entering SSC and makes live easier for those who already have.

For a lot of people like myself, the fact that TBC endgame never really felt designed for me hasn't changed at all and the fact that a lot of content remains inaccessible is just the same as before, even despite the added backflagging for SSC, which won't help folks who basically are all about accessible and casual friendly raiding ala MC/ZG/AQ20 or evena accessible raiding as BWL/AQ40 and even early Naxx was.

I do think that the content team of Blizz is somewhat losing sight on what content helps most endgamers and the fact that the makeup from launch of the original game to now has drastically changed. Yes there are tens of thousands of raiders scratching SSC, but there are millions who are bored in endgame before that.
i'm interested in the skettis and the hunter changes, but as a casual player the raiding content means nothing to me other than frustration and disappointment.

my horde mage hit 70 and found the game to get incredibly mundane, so i've gone back to my original alliance hunter who is now 54. once i hit 70 on both factions i'm not sure leveling any other alt's would be worthwhile because all the azeroth content has been done.

sure i guess i could make some twinks for pvp, but the new battleground changes makes that idea rather redundant.
same to me in some way, Tobold …canceled my 3 month acc back in april to give WOW another chance with 2.1., i found myself no longer interested in another round of faction grind and the farm/raid game in WOW …logged on for an hour, flew arount a bit to see the new thingies, didn’t even feel like starting a quest, then logged of somehow disappointed…yet it might be unfair but i simply don’t know what to expect from the game anymore..maybe nothing, maybe i’m too much drawn into LotRO - the methadone-thing, i guess
You are forgetting 1 thing about ZG. When ZG was originally released, it was as hard if not harder than BWL.

I raided ZG when it was new with 10-15 members of the TOP BWL raiding guild on our server. Wipe Wipe Wipe. I think they finished after 6-8 hours in there but I had to log at 2:30am.

ZG was overhauled twice by blizz with nerfs, loot table upgrades and trash removal to make it the fun loving place casuals remember so fondly.

Current 25 man content will start to feel more "ZG like" after the next overhaul (or two).
Designers from Blizzard are losing it in my very inhumble opinion.

Fortunately, the game still provides a lot of fun, if you know where too look for it. The new Skettis "Skymarshals" Faction is quite similar to the Silithus faction grind. I have to admit, I like it. You have a set target (Exalted) a good but not overly good reward (a unique flying mount) and you can do this in small amounts in between. I calculated that I might be exalted with that faction in 2 months. Still, there is Karazhan and some twink stuff.

My raiding heart has weakened. In our casual gamer guild, only a small core is interested in raiding anymore. We planned for a Gruul raid tomorrow, which will most likely fail. Many semi-casual raiders who do Karazhan did not even bother to sign up for Gruul.

So, my personal love for WOW is on a steep decline curve, ever since I saw the attunement chart for TBC which was a literal killer for normal players.

Tobold, you think you will never see the Black Temple? I BET you will never see it. To enter BT at the moment, you need to attune:

1) Tempest Keep (The Eye) -> Kill a boss
2) Mount Hyjal -> Kill a boss

Basically, this is a termial show stopper for all but a few thousand players worldwide. Even Naxxramas was more accessible!

When I start to think about how much time and effort went into the lore and story development for BT (see the cool intro movie on the Blizzard site) and how little into the rest of the instances, this makes me eternally sad. Compared to Onyxia, Ragnaros, Blackwing Lair and Temple of Ahn'Qiraj, all of which were deeply woven into the game at an early stage (Dark Iron Dwarfs in Dun Morogh, first Silithis in Starting area for horde), this is a shame.

The designers are distancing themselves more and more from their customer base.

Sad sad sad.

My last hope (TBC is hopeless) is the next addon. If they repeat the same mistakes, I am out.

so Ethereum Prison, Skettis and
Ogri'la aren't 5man instances?
To the best of my knowledge none of these is instanced, they are world content ala Silithus. Correct me if I'm wrong.

I've actually tested the first two on PTR, but didn't have a group to do the quest chains to the end. Didn't see any instances around though just group quests for summonabled small bosses (again ala Silithus).

Real question with Ethereum Prison for example is: Is grinding for prison key cards fun, or in general are the daily quests fun?

I think the answers are certainly individual. I personally found doing the Etereum Prison soloable quests fun enough, once. Can't see them being fun daily.

Same for the egg bombing quest in Skettis... fun once or twice (was bugged on PTR)... but daily? Not sure.
One of the problems in TBC endgame is that it's strictly linear. If you just look at the attunement chart it might not be so, but the level of difficulty will dictate the progress:
Tempest Keep
Black Temple/Hyjal

Karazhan is fairly accessible and the attunement is not too painful. The trouble starts at Gruul and Magtheridon. Both are required for attunement quests and thus are gatekeepers to all other raid content. Because these are short instances with only a handful of trash mobs and few bosses (Gruul's Lair has Maulgar, Magtheridon's Lair has only Magtheridon), you don't gain anything if you keep wiping. A night of wiping means that you have nothing to show for it. No epics, no crafting materials, not even reputation. Nothing that would make the next raid even a bit easier. Just a hefty repair and consumable bill. And you have to keep trying if you ever want to even see Serpentshrine or Tempest Keep, let alone Black Temple or Hyjal.

Let's contrast this with Vanilla WoW, before Zul'Gurub and Ahn'Qiraj. You had Molten Core, Blackwing Lair and Onyxia. Molten Core was accessible after a single instance run and so was Blackwing Lair, but Onyxia required a long quest chain. However, you didn't need to really kill Onyxia until you had cleared Blackwing Lair a bit.

So, most raiding took place in Molten Core. Even if your raid group kept wiping on some boss, you could kill trash mobs and some bosses, get some epics and crafting materials as well as reputation. Eventually you would have enough gear to progress. And even if you never did kill Ragnaros, you could at least try Blackwing Lair. And if you got stuck on Vaelastraz, you still had Onyxia.

TotalBiscuit has long championed an idea called progressive content, and I tend to agree with him on the basics. Any effort should net you some benefit, no matter how minute. Blizzard uses this idea quite successfully on both PvP and small-group/solo PvE, but seems to have forgotten it when it comes to raiding.

Let's get back to vanilla WoW and add a few patches. Zul'Gurub was instantly accessible, and so were both Ahn'Qiraj instances. Naxxramas had an attunement quest, but it was in no way chained to other attunements nor did it require a raid or even a group. In the end, vanilla WoW raiding was very much nonlinear. If you got stuck somewhere, there were several other dungeons to choose from. That is currently not the case in TBC.
I agree that lack of accessibility and choice are the problem and that non-linear access is good.

From the Stratics interview and other posts I do get the sense though that at least Tigole disagrees and really likes highly progressive and linearized content with clear and strict progression benchmarks. Some hardcores agree and celebrate the new exclusiveness.

For all it's worth it has started and I think will keep killing the raiding game for a lot of people. Accessibility and non-linearity were hallmarks of the success of raiding in the original game.

And 2.1.0 really does almost nothing to address the accessibility question and non-linearity. The backflagging drop of the endboss doesn't solve the problem as it stands now. Basically folks are at the mercy of highly progressed guilds selling backflag attunements for access. Not that great a model I think.
How popular do you think the following would be if it were the next expansion?

No new races.

No new classes.

Add Troll & Gnome starting areas of their own. The Echo Isles and Gnomeregan recovered. I bet Troll and Gnome populations would jump.

Provide new 20-60 content equal to about 50% of the current content, i.e. creating a 3rd "leveling track". Provide land to play this content by developing the Maelstrom or Neverend or the island nations like Kul Tiras.

Expand existing craft professions, at every level, by providing more recipes. Allow the creation of more "sets". Nobody wants to look like a hobo or a clown. Let the tailors, leatherworkers, and blacksmiths create full sets of armors for folks. At all levels. Make the recipes dependent on quests, perhaps, or turn-ins, or faction.

They keep developing the finish lines, so people race for them. What would happen if they created a course where people actually wanted to take their time about it?
I really think that we see MMOs still learning how to do endgame longevity. Blizz had ideas for TBC and one can learn a whole deal about it.

I think the leveling part was actually a success, just the part where it click back into endgame mode is where it got tricky.

If expanding the leveling cap is really needed to create longevity or if just a general solution to endgame content is what is needed, is a good question.

I certainly think that the highend raiding culture isn't a good driving model for adding content but it's a culture that has developed with EQ and continues into WoW... but the population has exploded, so another model is needed.

Because at the end I agree with Tobold that 2.1.0 lacks motivators for those of us, who quit WoW already for what it was pre 2.1.0, mostly because it actually does come up with the solution to endgame that WoW does need, which goes beyond making sure that the most hardcore guilds always have content in front of their noses at the expense of having equally desirable content for a broad population (i.e. not repetitive grinding stuff).
I was hoping 2.1 would rekindle my desire to play my 70 druid. When I found out the Ogri'la stuff was almost all 5 man quests my hope faded fast.

I mostly solo or duo due to the nature of my guild. While I can get in a kara raid a few times a week and 5 mans here and there (if I wanted to- usually I don't), beyond that most of my guildies are three time zones removed and/or they play about 2-3 times more than my 2-4 hours a day (averaged out over a week).

So my choice for new content is fight for mobs in the overcamped skettis area or try and convince guildies they really want to do 5 man outdoor stuff they did already over again.

All I wanted was more quests I could do at my own pace with as little hassle as possible. I refuse to play as much as about 1/2 of my guild. I went through the 6-8 hour a day phase and I don't want to go back to it. If I want to keep up and not be a drag on people so I can do the 5 man stuff I have to go back to that or I get to spend time hanging around doing nothing while I pray 5 people come on who still want to do stuff they did already.

I don't mind quest chains that end in 5 man quests, but starting with them? I guess it's back to slowly leveling my lock with a friend's paladin. We get to play at a leisurely pace and accomplish something everytime we play. Apparently that style of play is reserved for 1-69. At 70 it seems to be play alot or fall so far behind you'll be hard pressed to get groups. The outdoor content in 2.1 seems to follow this rule, for the most part.
Yep it's true that the new outdoor content is very group-heavy and that that's a design flaw.
I doubt 2.1.0 will be the salvation thing most of us has been waiting for.

During last few weeks about half of our active raiders left the game/guild because of the lack of progress - we were stuck at Aran for several weeks. Originally we had 2 simultaneous groups running in Kara, but now we can barely scratch one raid 2-3 nights a week. Even if we'll be able to beat Aran now or even finish Karazhan with upgraded loot and nerfed content, it will be very hard to recover from the loss of memebers to start doing 25 man content - and we were quite picky about our members. Some people are thinking of switching to LOTRO, bust most just waiting for WAR and AoC now.
I went to the instance Botanica in Tempest Keep lastnight (after 2.1) and some mobs have been removed and it seems easier
The atunement quests were made easier. In case you haven't heard: The high end 25 man raids the boss drops scrolls where a player can use it on another to get him attuned instantly.

Soon you can get attuned by buying such a scroll or being part of a guild who farms them each week.
i admit they do have some flaws, but i see they are trying to do their best to see what is good and what is not.

you got your 1dwagon instance (Ony, Magh(?), ....)
you got your long instances (BWL, MC)
you got your "you choose what bosses you want" like ZG and even AQ20 i think.

kara is also new in certain ways, where the despawn is highly involved in progress + a side entrance to make it a 2-part dungeon in essence, with a random boss as well.

the 5man's in TBC are from fast to pretty long and you got yourself the heroics variant with different abillities on the bosses

we have WoW, where it was mostly cash and quests and some rep.

we have TBC where it's faction driven, perhaps a intention to reduce spammers...

people may not like it, but they sure don't revamp the whole design, but they evolve the instances.
the leveling they hit spot on, and there is no change in that ;)

i don't have a clue what the next expansion will be, but it won't be the same as TBC i'm sure.
The first high end boss to drop such a scroll is Vashj. Looks like it's one drop per kill. Given that guilds will need to attune new recruits first I think it's fair to assume that it'll be a while until SSC attunement is a commodity. Current kill count is at 2 guilds worldwide. Yes it's been nerfed, but the bulk of raid groups isn't even in SSC, nevermind Vashj.

And that's only consolation for those who can muster 25 people to even consider SSC as target. And even for those, if you haven't managed to make a dent in SSC by then this won't save you. It'll take 25 Vashj kills to attune a new group. That is still vastly different than just zoning into AQ40 or just zoning into AQ20/ZG.

I'm not holding my breath for Vashj drops making end-game raiding more non-linearily accessible.

It will eventually (but also too late) help raid groups backflag new hirees. But if you have all bosses down in SSC but Vashj, but need to bring new recruits in, this isn't helping you at all unless you indeed have a friendly market of scrolls.

Having an open access structure ala WoW 1.0 is definitely the way to go, not this type of trade-bucket slow backflagging.

So you want to test a new hiree for your group. You have to spend the scroll on the hire before you can see them performing with you. This is still more effort cost to the raid group than it was in 1.0 as well.

Basically TBC is more effort for the same effect and that's not a good idea. Especially because the old model was actually working rather well, maybe unwittingly so.
if all the people now leaving – and you can read/see it everywhere - would also cancel their accounts, then maybe this will affect the future design of the game…but i’m also intrigued about the role the asian market with its 3,5+ bil. subs and its “history” of grinding plays on the design of WoW…it fit’s well in nowadays, so i doubt there will be a significant change in that, quite the contrary i think...

...and i'm not a pessimistic person ;-)
Last week I did the quest for Gorefiend's armour with 2 other guildies - kill a ghost dragon, and return the armour to a guy who turns out to be evil (c'mon Blizzard, that storyline's getting a bit thin these days).
We did the same quest for another guildie post-patch: whoops what's happened??? Place is now populated by some very nasty mobs( Lv 72 elites, what the...).
In fact, we needed 5 people to take down the dragon, because of all the adds in the area. Forget about this quest if you aren't lv 70 by the way, as you won't live very long without a flying mount.

The new 5 man instances and rep grinds have not affected my gameplay at the moment, because I am so busy doing other stuff.

As for Black Temple, well I heard Gruul is really hard, so I'm guessing that Illidan is going to be another step up from that. Just how much gear will you need to even go through the door?
I wish Blizzard would accept that for the majority of its players, sitting in a raid for 6-8 hours at a time is simply not feasible.
Unless you are single, that sort of free-time commitment even at the weekend is not readily available.
I see it as this and this will be a mishmash of my thoughts along with many other poster's comments.

TBC in my view killed end-game as we all knew it.

Many posters here along with Tobold speak of casual friendly content such as ZG, AQ20, and the beginning 40 mans. What we must remember is they all went through this phase. Hell, I remember when UBRS was raid content. The content starts out as overly hard for but all of a small portion of the player community. Later the devs come along with the nerfbat and make it easier for most players. I remember when MC was leading edge content (very few guilds on my server could get past Sulfuron) and noone had even seen Rag. As time went past, some guilds progressed, some didn't. Blizzard did as they always have and slowly made the instance more accessible. It became more casual friendly and more guilds were able to accomplish it. Same thing with the raidblocks for many in BWL (Vael or Chromaggus in later time). It eventually got nerfed.
ZG is exactly as another poster said...I remember spending close to 6 hours in there once just to get through panther boss when it first released.

Now what made this end game different? Similar to what shalkis said...they provided some type of reward no matter what. Whether it be that random Epic drop, cores and leather out of MC, or reputation to get that next level. They even lead to some of the best weapons in the game (pre-tbc) such as Benny, Thunderfury, and the Hand of Rag. In ZG you got the rep drops and such. There was always some reward.

The current end game gives none of that. Sure I grinded rep for my heroic keys. What did that get me? A couple weapons that cost me 80+g each and head enchants that ran another 100g. It gave me the opportunity to get into the heroics...which I had to run with my guild or another high end guild because PUGs simply couldnt do them.

Sure I got my Kara key and went through it to the end. What did it get me? Mediocre gear, 100+g costs for each night of raiding, and splitting the guild into "cliques" based on your raiding group.

I went through Gruul. Again 100+g costs, no shot at gear for at least a couple of months due to the need to gear out your tanks first, and an insanely hard fight until it was nerfed.

That is when I stopped. I got a couple shots in a Mag, more of the same. Never did SSC. Don't really care to, I hate Naga anyway.

The addition of another even harder instance with a doubt that the fights will be any more innovative than the last round of drivel? No thanks. I did the hardcore game. I have no will to go back to it. I like Kinless' idea about the additional crafting/leveling options and the addition of alot more early game content.
I'll be back to do Children's Week quests, but right now the lack of anything "fun" is preventing me from logging onto WoW for more than an hour to chat.
The only reason I play is because I am in an awesome guild (Shaded Visions on Norgannon). We are casual raiders. I do my bit to farm for the guild, show up on raid nights, but other than that, hardly play (I prefer GalCiv2 right now).

I think most of us feel this way right now.
I am a glass-is-half-full guy so I don't understand all the complaining. It sounds like people who are tired of wow after many hours of /played are expecting a major overhaul to make them more interested. If you want a completely different end game and completely different classes/races/gear/instances, I don't think you are looking for a patch update, you need to find a new game.

In my case, I have a full time job and do not play wow every night of the week so I am pretty casual. When I log in, I have the option to 1) play one of the 7! level 70 instances, 2) run a heroic on one of the other many instances, 3) join my guild in Karazan (currently 1/2 way cleared), or 4) solo and small group quests. How can anyone say that TBC is not friendly to casuals? There are more options now than there ever were before (LFG scholo, strat). It just sounds like you are tired of the game.
I have casual friends who are quite happy. I think the problem is for those who are a tad more than casual. Those folks that would raid in 1.0 but not at the cutting edge. Who'd hate farming or rep grinds, like doing 5-mans for fun, but still have success raiding on a regular basis.

If you haven't explored 5-man normals by now, certainly there is stuff to do. And the new 5-man outdoor content will give you some more. I think that isn't what got a lot of people disenchanted.

More the "Wanna come to SH heroics" with the "No still need a lot of normal runs first" kind of dialogues for those what are in those inbetween guilds. How fun is it to chain-grind SH normal with your spouse, just so there is no roadblock for the two of you even trying to tackle a heroic if that's what might be new?

Linearized content has thrown too many roadblocks between people, more than that an individual at a certain pace has nothing to do.

Really MMOs are social games and the thing wrong with TBC is that pacing dominates things rather than access to same content to people who may have varied attitutes to the game.

So your friend absolutely hates rep grinds. Suddenly any kind of heroic run is off limits.

So your friend has a few months baby break. Next time he logs on he won't be easily joining your own current raid progress.

In 1.0 just bring your spouse to AQ40, even if there was no time to see all of BWL. There certainly wasn't 5-man content that was exclusive to just one partner. In TBC there is...

Exclusivity is kind of a bad idea for people who have social bonds.

Certainly this doesn't affect everybody, but it certainly affects a bunch of folks.
Some comments on above:

Attunement scroll
Nice idea but wrong position. The end boss of this instance is the wrong place. Remember how often you "had to" do MC up to Ragnaros for tier 2 trouser? It sucked after doing this 4-5 months in a row. No Raid guild will do this for a long time. They will attune some new recruits or even 1-2 alt chars and try to hire already attuned players from other guilds. Remember how hard it was to get Onyxia attunement at the end of classic WOW?

I think the problem is for those who are a tad more than casual. Those folks that would raid in 1.0 but not at the cutting edge. Who'd hate farming or rep grinds, like doing 5-mans for fun, but still have success raiding on a regular basis.

Spot on! I truly enjoyed doing 40 mans. The Teamspeak cheers, the friendly atmosphere with plenty of people, the sheer size of the raid. Ok, I can live with 25, even if 5-6 frost bolts flying in the air simply look cooler than 2-3.

The only casual friendly raid content at the moment is Karazhan and even that is a bitch sometimes with certain class requirements (try Aran without a warlock). And Zul'Aman ist going to be the "next big thing" for casual raiders (at least I hope so). The hardcore raiders should accept that there are people who would like to see raid instances too and have the same fun.

My solution (for the next addon, they would never admit their wrong ideas): Forget step stone attunements, where you had to be in Instance A to visit B, kill Boss C in Instance D and then again A on heroic mode etc.

Make one (!) attunement quest chain for a raid guild.

Embed this one in a story, please.

Allow casual player to raid by setting raid instances on easy / normal / heroic mode with appropriate loot (tokens for all classes). Let me have a tier 6 with crappy stats but at least the cool looks?

That would ease the pain for many players. PUG-Raiding style would re-appear, you could take a not-so-tough raid group and still have fun & success. Customer base would be happy, even hardcore raider.
I am very much enjoying the patch. My guild cleared Gruul's Lair last night, and then made some attempts on Magtheridon. It was such a welcome change to get two pieces of Tier 4 from each boss instead of 1. And as we all know, the epics all got a huge buff. They all went up by at least 10 item levels. So the gear drops were more plentiful and greatly desired. We didn't DE anything. And since our existing gear was buffed in the patch, the bosses went down easier with very little consumables.

Raiding is now bettered balanced and properly rewarding. It should really help the "casual raiders" who are just running Karazhan right now. All your Karazhan gear just got a major buff, which will help you finish Karazhan and conquer Gruul's Lair. Also, Magtheridon and Hydross (first boss in SSC) got some significant nerfs. Like the developers said on Monday in the Stratics chat, they want more people to be beating these encounters and will continue to tweak until that's the case.

A significant amount of casual / 5-man content was added in this patch as well. I don't understand the outrage from people calling themselves casuals anytime a new raid zone is added, especially when it's coupled with new solo and 5-man content in the same patch. I feel that it's ok for Blizzard to make something for everyone, even raiders, as long as casuals get new content too. In this case, Black Temple is a key part of TBC (the pinnacle of the storyline), and the only reason it's coming out now is because it wasn't ready at release.

I can't see a lack of things to do in WoW for any play-style. There are so many solo quests, 5-mans, heroics, PvP, raids, tradeskills, and epic flying mounts. Way more options than original WoW. I think many people have grown tired of WoW from playing it for so many years, which is totally understandable. Others, like me, see it as still the best game on the market.
Wow. Just, wow. TBC bitching is way ahead of the curve of old world bitching. Tobold is already complaining about the Black Temple which he'll never see (somebody do me a favor and dig out his old complaint about BWL which he was never going to see). There is an AMAZING amount of solo and small group content. I've been dabbling in Kara and Gruul, but haven't pushed any further yet, but I'm already having trouble getting enough solo time to put forth any real effort on the Netherdrake rep grind.

I have to make time to get to the old world to finish that portion of the new Children's Week quest (and while I'm there I may as well do the Stormwind one as well). I haven't begun the Skettis line, or the Ethereum Prison line. I took a LONG time to finish all of the existing quests in Outland other than some of the instance quests, and now there are new quests which I haven't had opportunity to take a real stab at.

Karazhan got a LOT more casual friendly with the patch. We're getting further much faster which makes it much less of a "block" as some people seem to consider it.

2.1 is an amazing patch, and Black Temple is a VERY small part of it and that's what you choose to focus on? For shame.

A lot of these comments are absurd, btw. Not everything added in every patch is meant specifically to make you as an individual happy. It's the shotgun effect, they hope that you're happy with a part of it even if you aren't happy with all of it. Moaning that every bit of the patch isn't up your alley is selfish and shallow.
As a shadow priest, it was pretty much all bad. And they screwed up PW:S and MindFlay.
Really don't see a need to shame people. Even my hardcore friends have said that adding Zul'Aman at this point would have been more productive to the raiding scene than adding BT. So that Tobold points this out is by no means radical. It is true that _noone_ is entering BT today, whereas loads of people would have entered ZA and probably reactivated subscriptions for it.

I'm really happy for anybody who enjoys WoW. Good for you. A number of my friends do. But really, don't go around and bash people who describe having a problem with the game. Because I know a number of those as well, and certainly just "being tired" isn't enough of an explanation.
Raiders win. Everyone else who enjoys the game in general, but don't want to raid or stand around LFG all the time to get anywhere lose.

I raided for almost 2 years. Went to Naxx, etc. For me raiding is extremely dull. New encounters may as well be the old encounters with new skins. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

So now I play more casually. I 5 man once or twice a week. I raid once in awhile, if needed. I mostly solo or duo.

I like being able to log in, start something immediately and log off when I need/want to. I don't like having to log in, wait for a group to get together (30 minutes to an hour) then spend hours in said group because A) I need to get the most out of it as I don't know how long it'll take to find people at the same point in the game as me B) you feel obligated to stay so the group doesn't fall apart.

In effect, I like to dictate how much I play the game. I don't like the game dictating how long I'm going to play.

You can't do anything in WoW playing like this at 70. 1-69 is 100% like this. 70 your gameplay is entirely dictated by the poor '5 man, linear key progression, raiding' design.

I'm not asking for WoW to cater to me entirely. I'm just asking for a friggen bone without strings attached. (e.g. "here's some 'casual' content BUT YOU NEED 5 PEOPLE ALWAYS ON THE SAME QUESTS") I can't do the Ogre quests because it's all 5 mans. I haven't even seen the other two areas because they are camped to hell. I highly doubt they won't include a ton of 5 man roadblocks.

They had years to perfect this kind of content. Instead they throw out grinds that are in no way wrapped in an entertaining shell and a lot of roadblocks. Oh, and more super hard core raid content (ie new skins on the same encounters with more HPs and DMG output).

I'm tired of raiding WoW, the EQ lite for battlenet kiddies. I still enjoy my friendships and relationships in game and I like the game system and playing the game when I feel like I'm getting somewhere. It really wouldn't take much for Blizzard to keep me playing. As it stands now I'm nearing the end of my account which I've had since day one.

For me, this patch was an abject failure.
They didn't suddenly make Black Temple in the last month. Black Temple has been worked on for probably a year plus, so acting like they suddenly made a choice between that and Zul'Aman is foolish. Most likely, both Black Temple and Zul'Aman were intended to be a part of the expansion and weren't complete in time. It's also likely that Black Temple was much further along than Zul'Aman which made it a no-brainer decision which to complete first.

If Black Temple had been released with the expansion, nobody would have blinked. Instead, it was released with a major patch which gave people an opportunity to whine and pretend that they're ostracized. Me? I've seen each boss in Kara, haven't downed them all, have never downed Gruul, have seen Magtheridon once and am not even close to SSC or The Eye and may not ever be as they don't look all that interesting to me.

I don't whine about content not built for me, however. Instead I think "Hey, that's great. They're building content for lots of different play types." Then I log in, play in Karazhan for a while and go solo the Netherdrake content which is intended to be done solo.

I don't see the areas as overly camped, I see lots of people trying out and hopefully enjoying the new content. I'll never know why people play MMOs and complain about both group content and too many people in the way of the solo content. Was the store out of all copies of Elder Scrolls?
I played Elder Scrolls. It's fun. That doesn't address the fact the this patch was almost entirely void of solo/less than 5 person content.

Telling me to go play a solo game is equivalent to me telling you to go play EQ if you want serious raid content. It's not constructive.

And note, I said multiple person. I like grouping with people. I like having people to interact with. That's why I like MMOs. I don't like being forced into 5 mans (indoor and outdoor) to get anywhere.

I don't think all content should be tailored to my playstyle. I don't think I should get the same or or even equalent rewards to those who love the monotony of raiding. I do think they should spend as much time and effort into less than 5 man content (1-3 person) as they did creating Naxx and BT.

If they lovingly crafted questlines for people who want to play like they did 1-69 while shoveling 1/2 baked raid dungeons how happy would you be? That's WoW right now.
I know content is being, and has been in the past, adjusted to accomodate more players. By all accounts Karazhan, Gruul and Mag are moving that way with this patch. What makes it different than all the other times pre-tBC is that the attunement chain is still the block, where it never was before.

In hindsight, I should have seen this style of attunement coming though. Naxxrammas had an attunement grind associated with it, unlike any instance before it. It just so happened that it came so late in the game cycle, that the vast majority of players already had the appropriate faction to zone in on it's release.

I always prefer that gear and experience be the block to a new raid, rather than a long quest chain, but they way the devs are releasing content, it looks to be a conscious design philosophy. It may be something they regret doing at some point down the road.
It appears to me that somewhere along the way, Blizzard decided that the huge gap in gear between raiders and non-raiders was a problem. It created an imbalance in PvP mainly, with casuals in blues getting steamrolled by raiders in epics with no way for skill to make-up for the gear. So they designed the expansion with the first raid zone (Karazhan) giving only paper-thin upgrades over high-end 5-man blues. And each progession raid zone only yielded paper-thin upgrades over the previous raid zone. This better balanced PvP between raiders and non-raiders, But this also made TBC raiding unrewarding, and not worth the cost. Basically raiding was broken in TBC pre-2.1.

It also created a design problem for the developers in that without each zone yielding huge gear upgrades, there was no way to channel people through the content sequentially. In original WoW, you needed MC gear to have any chance in BWL. And you needed BWL gear to have any change in AQ40 or Naxx. It was forced linear progression, but via gear and not attunement.

Thus, the attunements of TBC were born. It's a way to channel you through the raid zones in proper order of progression. They had to do it, or have zones skipped. Since pre-2.1 Karazhan or Gruul's Lair gear was barely an upgrade, you theoretically didn't need it to progress in SSC. You just needed alot of time or money for insane quantities of consumables. So they make you kill Nightbane and Gruul to be able to zone in.

Then they implemented gear matching in battlegrounds, which eliminates the need to balance PvE raid gear with PvP balance concerns. Now the uber geared have to fight others of their kind, and those in blues don't get steamrolled. So, they changed raiding back to the original WoW model, of significant leaps in gear from one raid zone to the next.

Now that the raid gear progression is back, they really could drop all the harsh attunement requirements. They can just scale the fights to make them gear checks to see if you've done the previous zone like original WoW.
This whole discussion reminds me of when my guild zoned into AQ 40 when the gates opened (we were on the Drakes in BWL) and got our asses handed to us in about 5 attempts on Skeram. We came back a month and a half later after clearing Nef and dropped Skeram in no time.

It was fun being able to go into a raid we had no business being in, just to see it, and then mark our progression by those failed attempts at some point down the road. The block was always there, but at least we could **see** the content.
Then they implemented gear matching in battlegrounds, which eliminates the need to balance PvE raid gear with PvP balance concerns. Now the uber geared have to fight others of their kind, and those in blues don't get steamrolled. So, they changed raiding back to the original WoW model, of significant leaps in gear from one raid zone to the next.

Resilience had already eliminated the raiding gear gap in PVP. Sure, you were forced to PVP both in the Arena and in Battlegrounds to acquire the proper resilience gear but then when the guy in the raid gear crits you for less than he hits you it all evens out.

I played Elder Scrolls. It's fun. That doesn't address the fact the this patch was almost entirely void of solo/less than 5 person content.

Telling me to go play a solo game is equivalent to me telling you to go play EQ if you want serious raid content. It's not constructive.

Wait, so I'm not being constructive but you posting bald faced lies about this patch somehow is constructive? Interesting. The patch has been active now for TWO (2) days. You're claiming that it's void of solo content on one post, and then claiming that there may be solo content but that it's "too camped" to know whether or not there is in another post (assuming I'm talking to the same anonymous, and if I'm not then get a screen name already). It's not hard to find a group for 5 man content. I PUG'd 75% of the 5 man Outland content just by asking in public channels, and I was a month behind in the expansion so probably had less options than somebody trying out the new content.

After I hit 70, I went another month finishing quests that I hadn't gotten to. Now I've seen new solo content since 2.1 that I've barely scratched the surface on. I haven't even touched the 5 man content you're referring to yet, although I'm sure I will. All that, and you're still trying to claim that they've spent more time on the raid instances than they have on solo/small group content? To be kind, you are incredibly misled.
Wow, I used to come to this blog to read intelligent comments and hear about others experience with wow. I stayed away from wow forums due to constant bitching, moaning, whining. Reading these comments makes the wow forums actually seem apealing. OH noes I can't raid, I can't solo the new quests, omg they nerfed my class. Quite playing the damn game and go be a LOTR fanboy like tobold if you hate it so much. You guys sound as about as sad as the Shaman who were going ot do an in game protest ovre their class. Yea, there is no better way to show your upset with Blizz by throwing them 15 bux a month. I know this is not a WOW blog, but tired of it being turned into a wow bashing blog. I guess its time to read different blogs, just disapointed because this was my favorite place to read about the game and now it is pretty discouraging.
Personally I like the patch. The alchemy nerf is made my potions easier to make, the shadowfiend pet tool bar is a god-send, and being able to see see every single buff/debuff on the people I am trying to keep alive is helping tremendously. Easier to find gems while shopping on AH, Easier Heroics, new mounts, higher quality epic gear, the list could go on for quite some time.

To everyone who is complaining, I am sorry but you guys need to take a step back because this patch provided some much needed help in many ways.
I completely agree, that patch is worthless, oh wait that what Tobold would like to hear.

Gentle man start your WoW bashing engine. This blog is now officially about how a wannabe journalist turned into a troll.

The first page makes it clear that this blog is not related to any particular MMO yet last few weeks I haven't seen the author comparing LOTR with

Cabal Online
Guild Wars
City of Villains
Dark Age of Camelot
EVE Online
2nd Life

The wow patch 2.1 is the biggest content patch they ever done since the release of wow. Hell other would called it an expansion by itself. If you really want to comment on WoW they play it and comment on it. If you lost interest in the game that is understandable but lets don't use that as your measuring stick. Blog is meant to be subjective but what you are doing is absurd.

This blog is now officially about how a wannabe journalist turned into a LOTR fanboy.
It never ceases to astound me how much aggressiveness can accumulate over mundane personal opinions.

So 2.1 is beyond differentiated observation or criticism? Let's go hate or attack Tobold?

Sad collector edition pandas (who no longer sleep)... the attack dogs are out.
Might be time to just shut off anonymous posting. I'm just sayin'...
Dont feed the trolls. There is plenty of room for discussion whether a topic is being derailed by finger pointing nonsense, its not the point of these replies.

So far my impression of the BT patch is that it doesnt really apply to my char at all (except maybe the gear matching system). WoW was much funner to play before TBC, and more specifically each of their newer patches are geared way too much towards the hardcore, raiding, and arrogant type of players.

It is disappointing to see the first TBC cinematic showing illidian and the general atmosphere of what TBC is aimed at... But once a player who was capped at 60 soon realizes... its not an simple journey to see this picture that was painted as you first logged in.

These attunements are lame. Well, unless you sadistically enjoy anti-social attunement pathing or retarded rep grinding (MMO-plague imo) and costly preparations (wipes, potions, timespent). Many people have pointed these gameplay flaws and offered suggestions geared toward the masses and/or casual players but it was defiantly ignored and flamed upon... (see tseric, WoW forums) and as customers that PAY to play this game you will see in the future customers that PAY to play some other game.

Nobody blames them besides the misery that loves company. WoW is just not the same value as it once offered, regardless of how much you have already gotten tired of playing.
Remember the motto at level 60. It used to be "at 60 Raid or Quit". In TBC raiding is not needed. I have been playing TBC since it came out. I never stepped into any 25 man instance. My gear is far better then these raiders. At most I did Kara and just got one loot from there. A mix of craft able, 5 man gear, BG and super low Arena rating (1200) can still get you real nice gear if you have the patience. All these activities can pretty much be done in your own time.

If you can't allocate 2 hour for a 5 man dungeon run then there is nothing any game company can do to satisfy your special needs. Pre TBC dungeons used to be 3 hours long. One shattered Halled can be done in 55 min.

At 60 the gear discrepancy got so bad that if you didn't raid MC/BWL/AQ/Naxx then you were not viable in PvP. On contrary the gear gap has been minimized so that you don't get WTF PWN (2 shotted) anymore. If you choose not to see these improvement in TBC, then we can't have a logical argument.
WoW died for me on this patch! I took a deep breath and cancelled my account. Game over Blizzard.

Like most players, I play with a few friends when I can. Full time job and partner to share my time with etc. I might get a couple of hours in the morning and an extended weekend session once in every 3 or 4 weeks.

This game has turned into a job and I was desperatly hopeing for some injection of real solo/casual/small guild content.

I'm not even interested in Khara anymore... not attuned and wont even bother! Our guild started to attune... until some members who got there first were lured into a bigger guild and as a result all our efforts were for nought. Then the next wave of members to attune would not help slower members as they only wished to do heroics...

I wont be party to that... so the wait is over we have 2.1!

Promised changes!

Drake quest line for slower casual playing. Cool... but it isn't is it! Go to work and grind for your 4000g first. You're not allowed to earn as you spend the weeks gaining rep. No you have to go out and grind like a gold farmer 8 hours a day first.

Ogre quests are nonsense to a player like me... I wanna have a fun with one or two folks I have gotten to know. Not log on, do LFG for 60 mins.

The Black Temple is a Fricking Joke! Why? 99% of the paying customer base is footing the bill for some elite hardcore raiding guilds.

For that final reason and 2 days after 2.1 release I have cancelled my account. My cash will stay in my pocket, so that Blizzard can't use it provide content for a minority of players who a solely interested in world firsts for bosses.

This game, post 70, is nothing but a job... I already have one of those and have voted with my pocket.
Despite the fact that i am never going to see the inside of the Black Temple, i refuse to complain about it coming with this patch. The entire expansion revolves around Illidan/BT and the hold over Outlands he has. It would be stupid to have left it for 6+ months before it appeared.

Ontop of that, the Dungeon itself has likely been in development for 4-6 months, so before BC even came out. It is just the way of things.

The netherwing quests are total rubbish. Worse than Silithus CC grinding. I am having fun with the Ogri'la daily bombing run from your own mount though :D
Ugh, no edit =\

Additionally, i would actually prefer less 10 mans like Kara. In my particular guild we have 2 groups running Kara, and the guild unity we had during pre BC endgame has completely disappeared as the guild gets broken down into smaller groups and cliques. Whereas we found it fairly easy to get 40 together for BWL, we are finding it hard to regularly get 25 together for Gruul.

Some of it can be contributed to burnout, but the splitting of the guild for the purposes of getting as many of us into kara as we can manage has been terrible for guild unity and general feeling of togetherness.

I feel 25 is about right for a raid, 10 i do not really enjoy (even if i do get to Bear MT Kara often)
Blizzard obviously had SC2 in the pipeline for quite some time so there had been a huge impetus to 'finish' TBC, by making content that would last until the next expansion, to free up the devs. The way they did this was to make endgame content excessively hard, because of a fear of having to rush out new raid instances which cost $$$.

This massive mistake has caused huge problems with guilds, since whilst big guilds having several karazhan runs may sound like a good idea, deliberately poor gear (to slow progression) has caused interest to dwindle and my guild - which was running MC/BWL with reserves can now barely get one KZ run together.

This is all reinforced by the egos of people like Tigole, because who wouldn't prefer to make uber hard raid instances and have the pleasure of seeing people like Nihilum dedicating their entire lives to beating something YOU designed. Far better for the ego than making another sidestep raid like ZG/AQ20.

2.1 seems to be some sort of effort to rectify the huge mistake made in setting progression speed, except where is ZA?

Let's hope it's not too late for WoW
Additionally, i would actually prefer less 10 mans like Kara. In my particular guild we have 2 groups running Kara, and the guild unity we had during pre BC endgame has completely disappeared as the guild gets broken down into smaller groups and cliques. Whereas we found it fairly easy to get 40 together for BWL, we are finding it hard to regularly get 25 together for Gruul.

Same here. We are seeing much more clique-building than ever before. The sheer amount of 5 man instances that NEED to be done for a) starting gear b) repgrind c) heroic attunement d) raid instance attunement e) quest chains that are simply ridiculous: "Oh, the medaillon has been split in two pieces. One is kept by the dragon Nightbane in Kara and the other is in Gruuls hands" WTF? Compare this to Onyxia attunement quest!

To some posters above: Yeah, go on bashing the players that dislike WOW. End of this year, when WOW really starts to decline and the designers found out (too late) that catering for the elite hardcore alone does not pay the rent you will see the payback of this.

I repeat: Last chance for Blizzard is the next expansion. TBC is broken beyond recognition. But I believe the wrong designers are at the top of the food chain.
MMOs are a social game, I do believe that the core design of TBC has overlooked that. While there may be pieces for every time commitment, that doesn't change that two people, one hardcore and one casual could comfortably raid together and do all 5-man content (or really pretty much any content) together in 1.0 without any remarkable roadblocks (with exception of Onyxia attunement and possibly some mild Naxx attunement)

In TBC people are separated in a number of ways, whether by rep grinds for heroics, whether by parallel but separate Karazhans, which are on long lockouts, or whether by attunement progressions.

It is remarkable that from the first 25-man boss (Maulgar) to the first SSC boss it's just 2 boss clears, yet to get to the third boss one has to show for a deep Karazhan clear in addition to Gruul farming. Gruul farming alone would have been beyond plenty but it was overdone.

The access model is just too confining and forces people into content in a way that they don't want to. Karazhan is great, but it turns into a clique machine by the way it's placed into raid progression. And 2.1 doesn't change that.

This certainly doesn't affect people who don't have such a situation, but for those who do, like myself, it was obvious and it's also obvious that 2.1 unfortunately doesn't address this because it wasn't primarily a difficulty issue, it was and is an access issue.

Blizzard does need to relearn their access model for 3.0 or they won't get certain people with certain social requirements to play the game.

This is the first extension, and yes I think Blizzard just needed to learn this by doing. Their leveling design has really shown that they are very good at learning and improving on what is good design, now they just need to bring that back to instanced content access as well.
I feel there is a lot more to do in BC at Lv 70 than there ever was pre-BC at lv 60.
As a non-raider at lv 60, I really struggled to find anything to do outside of Scholo and Strat runs.
Yes, there was Dire Maul too, but no-one ever seemed to go there. Other than those instances, there was a huge void, short of going to MC.
Was the Ony quest chain easy? I didn't think so. Finding a group to do the BRD quests was in no way easy for me; unless you had well-equipped friends (ie raiders), Break-out was not easy at all.

I've been Lv 70 for 5 days out of 58 days played. I still haven't finished quests in ShadowMoon, havent been to Area 52 yet, except to instances, am working on tailoring and fishing grinds (fishing has improved a lot in 2.1), still looking to get some reps up to Revered (mostly Honoured, and not Exalted with anyone yet), still have Class drops to aim for, haven't tried Heroics yet,am hoping to do some old Raid dungeons with the guild soon (Naxx, BWL, AQ20/40 yay), loads of new quests in Skettis I havent looked at, got Childrens Week to do, Khara attunement almost complete - there is so much to look forward to.
for myself who is casual (only done MC , zg ,aq20) the feeling here is right on the money. the attunement and rep grind is really bad.

i think bliz's designer forget wat is fun and wat is not fun.

I remember blizzard is the game company whose game is fun to play and definitely they polish all their games. i wonder if the original developer of WoW all gone and replaced with ppl who is shortsighted and dont have blizzard philosopy...

I don't think the game is as broken as some are making it to be. I think they devs made some poor choices, that are still fixable. For some reason, I like working on the attunement chains. They generally have the deepest stories, and most fun encounters. While most hated the Onyxia attunement, I enjoyed doing it on my alts. And I could get attuned to every raid instance without having access to a raiding guild. That's how I got started raiding to begin with: I PuG'd the 5 mans, I PuG'd the Test of Skulls etc, etc.

Contrast to the current model of each new raid requiring access to the previous raid in a linear fashion, and there is fundamantal change in who can partake.

If you can't recognize that there has been a sea change in raid attunement philosophy, you're just kidding yourself.

On the other hand, I completely disagree that there is no casual content in the patch, or the post 70 game in general. Even if you just like to 2 or 3man, you can casually do arenas, get some points and earn some nice gear over time. PvP has been my most pleasant change from the expansion. How in the world can people forget just how bad the decaying honor system was for casual players? Seriously?

I was ready to quit WoW before the expansion, but wanted to at least see it. Now I have more to do than I ever had when I was capped at 60. I just think the devs have made a mistake on the attunements, and that's only because I liked doing the old ones. Hard is fine, inaccessible isn't.
Blizzard obviously had SC2 in the pipeline for quite some time so there had been a huge impetus to 'finish' TBC, by making content that would last until the next expansion, to free up the devs. The way they did this was to make endgame content excessively hard, because of a fear of having to rush out new raid instances which cost $$$.

No. It has already been stated that the development team for SC2 has been completely seperate from WoW, and that no resources have been or will be pulled from the WoW team to put into the SC team. Blizzard have done alot of hiring over the past 12-18 months to expand themselves, i imagine many went into the SC2 team.
First off, this is Doeg, but blogger no longer likes my login.

There are two major threads of discussion; the validity of complaints, and the patch itself.

I'm leaning on the side of the people who skewered Tobald who uncharacteristically wrote off the 2.1 patch, and with rather sharp criticisms without even logging on! As others have said, perhaps it is time for those so disappointed with the 2.1 patch to put their money where there mouth is an cancel, already. In the case of this blog, however, it would be a bit difficult to claim that it is an "MMO blog" if WoW is not played. But it will be even worse if it is bashed without even being played! Those who have and are playing WoW 2.1, I'm much more open-eared to your comments, positive or negative.

Now to the patch itself, it doesn't affect me much. As other old-timers have pointed out, this high-end progression of add-new, nerf-existing is hardly new to WoW. There is just a bit too much of the syrupy 'those were the days' comments. Class and gear adjustments are stock-in-trade for Blizzard; in another recent patch my staple warrior came away grinning while my beloved shadow priestess had her wings clipped.

Looking 'big picture', I guess that one of the more disappointing things to me is that it appears to me that much of the 'old' WoW-high-end-crowd has become entirely dependent upon Blizzard to provide for them a good time. The Horde on my server often hammers an Alliance major city with a huge raid. I'm in a pretty decent guild, and lately we've had some just-for-grins Southshore raids. A couple of days a week the lowbies have access to high-level help. It's usually not too hard to get a bit of help on a quest. We're having a good time... probably because we're not narrowly fixated upon high-end content. I guess I'd recommend that those who are complaining like 2.1 is the end of the world either cancel and go to LOTRO, or roll an alt and rediscover WoW.
The strange thing with the amount of reading that I have done appear to be that a majority of people think the game is over after you reach level 70. I too feel the need to get keyed and attuned but there is plenty of rep amd mats farming to keep people pretty busy. I believe just realigning your goals. I am not attuned for as much as I like but I have completed most of the questline. For instance, the alcatraz, kara, and hellfire key lines are nearly complete. Only need to do the instance portion of each. So when the day comes when I am able, I will be ready. I have shifted my focus at this time to obtain my flying mount. Just my two cents.
"either cancel and go to LOTRO, or roll an alt and rediscover WoW."

Roll an alt and rediscover WoW? No. My account is cancelled, and I'm not playing LOTRO either. If you're an altaholic play City of Heroes/Villains -- I'm a die-hard fantasy fanatic and hate sci-fi games, but even I'm having fun.

I played WoW open beta to release, then quit half a year afterwards to play other games, and frankly all of the other games I've played were more fun than WoW. The only reason why I came back to WoW briefly was because of the guild and that there was literally no other game on the market. Just because WoW is big does mean it's good. American Idol anyone?

Stop the rabid fanboism, please. At least open your eyes and minds to other possibilities. A blog can be about MMORPGs without being exclusively about WoW. Keep up the good work Tobold, and don't listen to the naysayers that think you've somehow become a turncoat just because you didn't log in to play 2.1 for a long time (and it's wise you didn't -- the mail stacking bug makes people lose all their equipment).
I think there is plenty of casual content, but looking over the patch (I have not logged into WoW in about 3 months now), I don't see anything different than before: more rep grinding, more mat farming, more running the same 5 mans or Kara once the general population of the server has advanced enough to PUG it. Grinding is not fun. Period. It's a time sink.

And if as a solo/casual player, you will always be second fiddle (not getting a chance at crafting recipes or gear that raiders or serious Vent team pvpers get), that is discouraging even though we say we don't care about being the best, being at least competative is fun. So you can either choose to play in a manner you don't find fun, or stop playing.

I've tried alts, tried pvp and just screwing around RPing and such, (but they took away my oprhan whistle, so Yunk can't have her human orphan "minion" which was half the fun of playing her) after awhile there is just nothing "new", and so I've gone looking for new adventures in other games. Trying out Lotro and CoV right now. Blizzard has done a better job executing than either of those games, but there's nothing compelling enough for me to return.

I think designing an end-game is very difficult. I am not sure any game will really get it right, or be able to be all things to everyone like WoW is trying to be.
In the case of this blog, however, it would be a bit difficult to claim that it is an "MMO blog" if WoW is not played.

Ouch, that just wiped out at least 80% of the best MMO blogs out there, including most developer blogs. Do you think that if I stop playing WoW I immediately forget everything about the game and can't comment it any more?

Yeah, I'm not happy with WoW any more, and that shows in my writing. So does that mean I'm not allowed to write any more? Re-read my actual post (not the comments of other people), and you'll see it's actually pretty mild. I'm just saying I'm not impressed with patch 2.1, would have liked an entry-level raid dungeon more than a top-level one, and the patch doesn't change the game much. Everyone is free to disagree and argue with me here, but don't tell me that the above is not a valid opinion. If I'm not playing WoW any more, is that *only* my fault, or does Blizzard have to carry at least part of the blame by steering the game away from my needs? TBC did change WoW a lot, and in the long term probably not for the better.
You write in such an intelligent way as to disarm all of those that would otherwise seek to detract from your very worthwhile viewpoints and critiques.

In other words, go Tobold! Your blog rocks! And thanks for keeping the comments open to the public!
I commented this...
In the case of this blog, however, it would be a bit difficult to claim that it is an "MMO blog" if WoW is not played.
To which was replied this...
Ouch, that just wiped out at least 80% of the best MMO blogs out there, including most developer blogs. Do you think that if I stop playing WoW I immediately forget everything about the game and can't comment it any more?

I feel obliged to clarify, at the least. And re-posting the rest of the paragraph I initially wrote goes a long way towards clarifying "where I was coming from":
But it will be even worse if it is bashed without even being played! Those who have and are playing WoW 2.1, I'm much more open-eared to your comments, positive or negative.

Obviously there are other MMOs out there, and a blog that exclusively speaks about EQ or LOTRO or about development concepts related to MMOs is an "MMO blog".
But I remembered you blogged last month...
"In response the editor said something that I very much agree with: You can't review a MMORPG in 2007 without comparing it to World of Warcraft."
At one time you staked a position of WoW as the MMO standard, and used that standard as a jumping-off point for reviews, comparison, and discussion -- using "MMO blog" as an umbrella term, rather than covering only one MMO.

No, you won't immediately lose any MMO knowledge by quitting WoW, but we both know that quitting will begin a fading of knowledge and a changing of viewpoint. Just as at one time I was right on top of MTG CCG, gathering cards, building decks, winning tournaments -- 2 weeks or even 2 months later I was still close enough to the game to fully relate (and had my share of "back in the day" moments mixed with cataloging the problems of the game I had quit), but as the new expansions and rules changes piled up and time blurred the memory I lost touch.
It's not an on-off switch, it’s a process.
After reading the last month's WOW issue of "Games for Windows" magazine where they interviewed all the game devs, I realized that all they care about is Raiding. All the devs could talk about were their favorite raid encounters and raiding.
As a casual gamer, I've been playing WOW on and off for the last two years. The OFF part usually comes when I hit endgame and realize theres nothing to do but raid, and I don't have the time for that. Being in a raid guild is a commitment and I play games to get away from my commitments. Especially when all the items I'm raiding for are made worthless by the next expansion.
I'm playing LOTRO now, but casually, a few hours every other night or so. I don't think I'll be playing it over the long term, though, with games like Dragon Age and Warhammer on the horizon.

I do miss my lvl 70 Mage though.
Interesting discussion. I'm in a casual guild, which has raided ZG in the past with a few other casual guilds. It's worked pretty well. I've only been in twice myself, since I hit 60 mere days before TBC came out, and I'm still working toward 70.

Our crowd have managed to get 1-2 teams (strictly mixed) together now for Karazhan, and on the very first attempt on the very first night, they managed to take down Attumen. This is after we've lost some of the more dedicated of our number to the raiding guilds.

So that gave me some idea that casual raiding is still doable with TBC, and that there'll be a place yet for wasters like me who want to drop in once or twice in a month and see how we do. But... all we've got to go on is Kara, and only the first couple of bosses at that. Has our crowd actually managed to find a way out of this, or does the skill level get much, MUCH more trying as you progress to other raids?
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