Tobold's Blog
Friday, March 28, 2008
 
Tiger Woods raids the Black Temple

One of my readers, Ben, left such an excellent comment on a recent thread discussing the different motivations of casual and hardcore raiders, that I decided to copy and paste it into this new thread:
This whole argument becomes a lot more absurd if you use a different context as an analogy. Let's go with golf. Golf is a sport with a very low barrier for entry. People of all ages and skill levels play and enjoy it, but there are those who play at a high enough level to compete professionally. Let's say you and your friends have a regular game you play every weekend. You don't have the skill to enter any PGA tournaments, but you're respectable amateurs. One week your friend announces that on an upcoming vacation you'll be given the opportunity to play at Augusta, a world famous course that's beautiful and requires strategies beyond anything you've seen in your golfing career thus far.

You've seen the pros play this course, so you're vaguely familiar with how it works, and you've talked to a few friends who've been there before. Still, nothing quite prepares you for the actual experience. You struggle through it and eventually sink your putt on the 18th green. Your score isn't pretty, but you've finished successfully, and you feel like you've grown in skill slightly for the experience. If you did this every week you might not be half bad at this course.

As you're walking toward the clubhouse, Tiger Woods comes running toward you, wearing his green jacket, medals around his neck, brandishing his most expensive club. He's yelling that you're a bunch of noobs and it's not fair that you got to play this course. He points out that since you got to start from a closer tee than the professionals you didn't actually accomplish anything of value. He goes on to say that he played through Augusta years ago and he's done it many, many times since, so he's clearly better than you. Finally, he insists that none of you is allowed to buy anything from the gift shop before storming off the way he came.

The idea of this happening is ridiculous, and yet it's exactly what's happening in WoW. The high level raiders are the WoW Pro Tour. The rest of us are just amateurs. What's really sad though is that the analogy can continue to another level - we play for fun while the complainers seem to treat it like a job.
This is exactly why I think that raiding should be made more accessible, not more elite. Enjoyment of raid content isn't limited to people who can spend 40+ hours per week raiding. Raiding isn't just about the epics, it is a different mode of gameplay. Sometimes it is just plain fun to hang out with a larger group of friends and try to figure out a new boss encounter.

The ideal MMORPG offers a large range of different modes of gameplay: PvE, PvP, solo, small group, large group, combat and non-combat. And it gives out rewards in a balanced way based on time, effort, and skill, with each activity being worth pursueing and offering its own rewards. Unfortunately World of Warcraft is moving further and further away from that model, and towards a far less attractive model of compartmentalization: Instead of having players able to do a bit of everything, they are encouraged to excel at one single activity, and then rewarded in a way that makes all other activities not worth doing any more. That not only diminishes the scope of the game, it also leads to situations like the one in the analogy, where the top dogs in one activity feel they are superior to the players pursueing different goals, and try to shoo them off their turf.
Comments:
Dear Mr. Tobold,

Isn't there a certain irony that this golf analogy post immediately follows one of your most "elitist" posts in a long time? Most of us are playing for the fun of it, not the gear as such. Why, then, is it a bad idea to sell people a decent blue set immediately at 70?

I don't know how great these pvp sets are and I won't be buying them for any of my toons (call me a masochist, but I tend to level resto or prot all the way and like gearing up in dungeons...), but giving people easy access to gear that can enable them to at least start tasting higher-level content sounds like something you would typically argue *for* rather than criticise.
 
Selling decent blue gear is a bad idea exactly because it makes other modes of gameplay obsolete. That has nothing to do with elitist thinking that "you should work for your rewards". It is just that if you can get a better blue piece of equipment for 10 minutes work on a daily quest than you can get for 2 hours in a 5-man group dungeon, nobody is going to do 5-man group dungeons any more. And as I said in the other piece, if Blizzard thinks people need a base level of gear for PvP to be easily available without visiting dungeons, that gear should only work in PvP, and not destroy the fun group PvE activity by diminishing the chance to find people to group with. I'd be all for improving the quality of drops in normal dungeons, or for making heroic dungeons easier and thus the loot from there easier to get. But making a whole branch of activity obsolete by removing all the interest in the reward is only hurting the game. As I said, in this piece, the ideal MMORPG balances the rewards of all sorts of activity and doesn't give one preferential easy way.
 
I fully understand where you're coming from. However, one of your main arguments have always been that one should not engage in any in-game activity with the sole aim of gearing up. I wholeheartedly subscribe to this view.

But now you're saying that normal-mode instances are being made "obsolete" because of the easy access to a good-quality set. I don't agree. Running five-man instances will not become any less fun with the pvp sets equipped than it was without them, from a game mechanics point of view. If it becomes too easy for some to run these instances then they can safely move to heroics. But I think we have all seen a large number of people in normal mode instances with honour-bought arena epics (can you say "pink toothpick"?), so gear cannot be the only motivation people have to do them. Quite aside from the fun to be had in beating dungeons in a group setting, and assuming that the pvp sets really are better than what can be had in the instances (which is a big assumption, by the way), there are still incentives to run these dungeons (mainly reputation and daily quests).

So to me this move seems like the opposite of making 5-man instances "obsolete" -- I'd call it yet another step in making higher-end content available *and* fun for more people. A true "Tobold reform", then. ;P
 
I'm very sorry that these comments ended up under the wrong post -- I couldn't agree with you more on the whole Tiger Woods/raider analogy!
 
If people choose not to do pve becaue of the ease to get pvp stuff, it is probably due to the broken pve system with tank/heal classes. I used to love working hard for pve and then using that in pvp on raid days off, now with two distince paths you have to do both specifically which is twice the work so many just choose one way.
 
I'm very sorry that these comments ended up under the wrong post -- I couldn't agree with you more on the whole Tiger Woods/raider analogy!

Not necessarily the wrong thread. Because what I'm saying is that I would like to play on a certain golf course (in this case 5-man dungeons), and Blizzard misunderstands my intention and offers me to buy the trophy in the gift shop instead. I don't want the bloody trophy, I want to play! But by giving out the trophies so easily, my chance of finding somebody to play with actually diminishes.
 
I'm sorry to disagree, but when it comes to the casual vs hardcore debate i'm not a big fan of analogy's as every single one can be twisted to suit either the casual or hardcore's viewpoint.

Let's take this golfer one for example:-

I don't think tiger is running over in annoyance that you are playing his course, but instead is annoyed that after all the time and dedication he has put in to obtaining his green jacket, medals and expensive clubs, you are walking around in the same (equivalent) green jacket, medals and expensive clubs which you got from playing your local pitch and putt. Don't you think he has a right to be annoyed? Or do you think every golfer in the world should be able to get the green jacket and medals without actually having to play and compete at the highest levels.

As an ex-hardcore player I don't the majority want to prevent people from experiencing as much content as possible. What is of great annoyance is that the rewards earned through time, dedication and skill can be just as easily obtained through easier and quicker means.

Kind Regards (love the blog....but not always your viewpoint :p)
 
The analogy would work better if Augusta was continually making the course easier rather than harder as it does now.

The top tier courses are constantly making their courses harder to accommodate changes in technology (Purplez Lootz for everybody!!), and golfers getting better.

I'm both a hack golfer (I can break 100 on a very good day...) and a raider in a top tier guild. I've played PGA courses and was in awe at how much harder they are than the average Mom and Pop course.

A better analogy would be to ask how Tiger, Nicholas and Jones would react if Augusta made the course 2000 yards shorter, made the holes 1' wide and gave very golfer a GPS controlled golf ball.

Would it still be the Masters ?
 
A nice analogy, though the only hiccup is the fact that Woods has talent. With the exception of a couple of folk barking orders, there's next to no "skill" involved in raiding - merely the ability to devote lots of time to it and being able to press a few buttons at the right time. Sorry to shatter any illusions. :(
 
I'm sorry, but that golf analogy couldn't be more wrong. If you want to correct it, you would add that the amateurs walked into Agusta, played 18 holes, and were handed 5 million bucks at the end of it.

Tiger would be wondering why he's worked so hard for the last 25 years to win a green jacket and a 5 million cash prize, and these amateurs walked right up with none of the previous work Tiger did, and got the exact same prize.

Not every end game raider spends 40 hours a week raiding.

You said yourself you think rewards should be given out based on time, effort and skill, well guess what, the people that have been killing Illidan give more effort and have more skill, and times varies from guild to guild. The problem is casual players want to spend *less time, for exactly equal rewards as people that spend more time, or put in more effort, and have more skill.
 
Yes, I have to agree, the analogy falls down.
The amateur is being given the Green Jacket, not a copy or a similarly cut jacket, and he is also given the same status as Tiger Woods, or rather, Tiger's status (real or imagined) is diminished, because everyone else is now wearing a Green Jacket, too.
Having a Green Jacket is no longer a symbol of acheivement.

I've already seen a few Hand of Adal labels out there. I think Blizzard need to make a few more of these, like Vashj-bane or Illidan-slayer, to keep the hard-core players happy.

As a casual riader, I see both sides of the 'free epics' argument, so my posts may seem to be at odds with themselves sometimes.
 
Note the last phrase of the quoted text: "we play for fun while the complainers seem to treat it like a job". And note how the raiders who disagree all are upset about casuals possibly getting the same rewards. This is exactly why in the past I have repeatedly asked for "easy mode" raid dungeons with lesser rewards. Because the casuals wouldn't mind, and would like to experience all the raid content that way. Casual raiding is *not* about the rewards, it is about getting to play a game that is currently reserved only for raiders.
 
It's not reserved for raiders though. The only difference between you and I, is I raid and call myself a raider and you don't. That's it. There is nothing stopping anyone anywhere from walking in to any raid instance in the game and killing mobs and fighting bosses.

What's stopping the casuals? The time? Surely you can walk into Hyjal and kill Rage in the same amount of time you can clear Karazhan. If it was about the content, why aren't people spending their 22 Badge Karazhan time going after Rage in Hyjal?

As of 2.4, nothing is reserved for raiders anymore. Blizzard has given the casual players access to everything. So go see it.
 
I don't think the real issue is that WoW is moving away from the 'bit of everything' model, but rather moving away from the PvE model and focusing on PvP.

When WoW was released, it had no PvP model. Then BG came out and were a cute diversion, a little break from the main PvE game. Add in PvP honor gear, and finally the welfare system and 'overpowered for everything' Arena gear, and now you have shifted a considerable amount of people to farm PvP instead of PvE. And finally, you have WAR and AoC making noise, so you go all out and promote your arena style of play as e-pvp.

So it's not that WoW stopped being a 'bit of everything' game, as it never was, its that it stopped being a PvE game and is attempting to morph into a legit PvP game.

Raiders, and now even casual PvE fans, are the ones making the most noise about this, because Blizzard is no longer catering to them, but rather trying to hang on to the PvP crowd before they all jump ship to something built ground-up for them.
 
And note how the raiders who disagree all are upset about casuals possibly getting the same rewards.

I'd say those disagreeing (not liking what you wrote, more correctly) seem to miss that Tiger Woods of the analogy is ... well ... a dick.

No matter what your skills and acomplishments are, if you are childishly and petty towards your fellow human beings, you shouldn't expect people to respect you much.
 
This analogy is dead on. The hardcore won't agree, because it shows them for what they truly are. Golf, being a perfect example of "skill" gained by time spent, and not necessarily talent.

How hard would it be to go and have a green jacket or a trophy made for yourself, that is exactly like one of Tiger's? Personally I could go over to my in-laws embroidery shop and have one made up within the next couple of days. People don't really do that though, because the stupid jacket isn't the point. The raiders will never understand that though, no matter how you explain it.
 
Actually, syncaine hits near to a point that I was talking about to other players last night.

Endgame content is arbitrarily segmented into PvE, or PvP.
In other words, raid or BG+Arena.

Why do so many people choose to PvP? Because you can access very good gear *without raiding*!!
For many people I know, they *don’t* want to raid (or are stuck). Don't want to commit to it, aren't interested in it, want to play with friends not strangers, can't find a 25-person team good enough to get past Kael, etc.

PvP? Flexible times, flexible groups... Queues instead of LFG...

So... Is it about Loot? Well... exactly what other form of "progress" has been offered to the toon in the WoW level-cap endgame? Pretty much nothing.

Anyway, that wraps back around to the pair of design problems that I'm always bumping into:
1) The 'trinity' model; If my friends & family want to run an instance together, tank+3DPS+heals is pretty much the required, inflexible formula.
2) The arbitrary 5-toon instance, 10-toon and 25-toon raid model. Where's the 2-toon or 3-toon or 8-toon or 12 toon instanced content? Sorry, you're pretty much out of luck.

PvP is flexible -- No wonder PvP is so popular.
 
Not necessarily the wrong thread. Because what I'm saying is that I would like to play on a certain golf course (in this case 5-man dungeons), and Blizzard misunderstands my intention and offers me to buy the trophy in the gift shop instead. I don't want the bloody trophy, I want to play! But by giving out the trophies so easily, my chance of finding somebody to play with actually diminishes.

I'm confused. Blizzard lowers the barrier for entry into one aspect of gameplay (pvp) and you're mad because it reduces the number of people forced into playing in your aspect of the gameplay (5mans)?

Seems like if the people you are running 5mans with are only interested in getting gear so they don't have to do 5mans anymore and can go do pvp, they aren't doing it for fun. Why not let them have the gear they need so they can go off and do the things they find fun?
 
i think syncaine and doug both hit it. Pvp is more flexible. People can grind out thier gear regardless of how many friends are online they don't have to use the broken LFG tools and they don't have to play a tank or healer if they don't want too. They also dont' have to deal with forming a group if there are at least two of them.

The interesting thing is I regularly talk to people online that tell me they dont' really like PVP but its the only way they feel they can advance on thier schedule. And I think a large part of that is there is no real incentive for those that have moved on to come back and poke around in the old sandbox. there used to be but then blizzare embraced the solo to the real game.

I think blizzard is being pulled towards pvp by a perfect illusion. PVP is more open and flexible so more people do it. They assume that means they'd rather do that. PVP requires less dev time so managment loves it. And they are afraid of War which is PVP based so they are pushing thier old tired PVP semi FPS games. In the end I think they'll be sorry but only time will tell the answer to that one.
 
"You said yourself you think rewards should be given out based on time, effort and skill, well guess what, the people that have been killing Illidan give more effort and have more skill"

Unfortunately, this is s slippery slope. Nihilum beat BT roughly six weeks into the expansion. I don't think any raider that followed would pretend that the're AS skilled, or AS hard-working as Nihilum. How, then, do they deserve the exact same reward?

Having the gear is part of the reward, but the other part is having the gear EARLIEST. Nihilum busted ass and got to use BT gear during 99% of Burning Crusade. A guild entering BT today gets to use that gear until WoTLK, a couple months at best. So really, WHEN you get gear is part of that gear's value.

It's no surprise Blizzard is essentially giving blue gear away, BC blues will be utterly worthless in a couple of months. Heck, many BC purples will be worthless. It's not really worth running instances for gear this late in the expansion, and Blizz realizes that. For a new 70, getting to Honored on all the factions is now the requirement for being geared in blues. Thats fairly consistent with how the old Honor system used to work, it's not exactly trivial, and with WoTLK just around the corner I don't see it as game-breaking.
 
Unfortunately, this is s slippery slope. Nihilum beat BT roughly six weeks into the expansion. I don't think any raider that followed would pretend that the're AS skilled, or AS hard-working as Nihilum. How, then, do they deserve the exact same reward?

But is that kind of like Tiger at Augusta shooting a 69, and maybe on a specific hole shoots a 4... but Joe Average shoots 129, and on the hole Tiger shot a 4 Joe shot an 8?
But they both finished the same "content".

How does Joe Average "deserve" to reach level 70 in TBC, when someone else leveled from 60-70 in a world-first 28 hours, but Joe took 7 weeks for 60-70?

It would seem that it's past time to give some sort of title or 'trophy' to world-first raiders. That must logically follow since they're moving toward and e-sport model anyway. They need to offer a competitive track in raiding parallel to the PvP Arena titles and special rewards.
I'm no raider, but if they don't have that in WotLK I'll consider it a rather major design oversight.

I think blizzard is being pulled towards pvp by a perfect illusion. PVP is more open and flexible so more people do it. They assume that means they'd rather do that. PVP requires less dev time so managment loves it.,

Wow Sam that is a scary thought.
I hope you're wrong, yet Blizzard's actions are murky enough that you just might be right... :(
 
Actually doeg I disagree. Originally the whole model of catering to raiders was to motivate people to raid. And early on it worked. We all sat in IF and oooohed and Ahhhhed at all the uber MC, then BWL gear. But on top of the carrot getting too far ahead of the horse, they added PVP that is a more flexible way to get your stuff.

I think they need to get over thier ego, and if you remember BWL being beatin in what a few days after devs saying it would be months, that is IMHO what it is just ego and quit worrying about how quick Nihilum beats it. I don't think more than 5 or 10% of the gameing population care anyomore. They are so far up in the clouds a lot of players don't even know they exist. Just us nerdy guys that hit the forums.

let Nihilum blow through the content in 2 weeks and cancel thier subs till the next game. And everyone else can take the year or so they need to actually work through the content.
 
It seems to me that the developers' actions are nothing but murky. From a business perspective, their sole aim must be to release the expansion (and every expansion) as *late* as possible. So to get people to keep their subscriptions they encourage gameplay that takes a *lot* of time. Want to level alts? We'll make that faster and thus more fun. PvP? Sure, go crazy. When you hit 70 we'll now hand you a set that gives you a fighting chance off the bat. Raid? No problem, just go in their and wipe on Archimonde for four months straight! Solo? We'll give you a whole new faction to obtain exalted with so that you can have yet another epic mount. Is 5-man instances your game? Then grind your badges in the heroics.

That may leave the non-heroic instances for newly-dinged alts and slackers like myself. But it is hard to say 5-man content isn't offered for those who want it.

Sooner or later people will quit of course, they'll say "I'll pick it up again when the expansion comes". One day the magical threshold is reached and a release date not too far in the future will be announced. It is also quite convenient that this fits perfectly with Blizzard's "when it's ready" ethos!
 
Time for the broken record to repeat: All of these issues seem to come from the game's players and developers getting stuck in a "chasing loot, advancement, and rewards" model, rather than finding a more flexible way to handle the game.

So... Is it about Loot? Well... exactly what other form of "progress" has been offered to the toon in the WoW level-cap endgame? Pretty much nothing.

This seems to be the big design decision that is working its way into most other issues with the game. Complaints about "welfare epics" come from loots roles as "rewards" and its effect on character power competing against each other, gear inflation comes from using loot as a reward, issues betweeen friends with different amounts of time and raiding get worsened by loot, there are other examples as well.

It would seem that it's past time to give some sort of title or 'trophy' to world-first raiders.

I'm no raider, but if they don't have that in WotLK I'll consider it a rather major design oversight.


It seems odd that they didn't start going in that direction even with gear inflation.
 
That is why, of all the complaints "elite" raiders make (I guess I'm a casual raider?) the most valid one is the fear they'll have a harder time recruiting.

In the specific case, I don't buy that the badge rewards are so easy to get though. Or that they really empower the character that much (a few pieces per spec).

But in principle it is correct. People will advance their character the easiest way possible.
 
Severe access restriction on endgame raids is less of a philosophical choice and more of a practical one. Put simply, the vast majority of the players should be prevented from 'finishing' the game by experiencing all its content. Once they reach that point, many will quit the game and terminate their subscription, which is bad business.

Case in point, I had recently subscribed to Dungeons and Dragons Online. I had great fun it, until I finished ALL of the game's (surprisingly accessible) dungeons and raids about 2 months later. Finding myself without new goals, I promptly unsubscribed from the game.
 
Ok dillion. How about this. If all the angst and drama keep coming in around loot. Why don't the devs upgrade instance loot when the upgrade PVP loot. Why are the 5 mans exactly the same as they were a year ago. It seems to me if they want to get people who are behind caught up it would make more sense to upgrade boss drops. Relatively little dev time. Just upgrade em everytime you upgrade the PVP stuff. Boom new reason to get old timers back in those instances for marginal upgrades new trinkets etc. And newbies comeing up from below come out of thier 5 man runs better geared for the raid or PVP content whichever they prefer to do?

I think at this point the preponderance of evidence is that blizzard has taken the lazy way out and puts as few dev hours as possible in maintaining the game while working on the next expansion or the next game or both.

And the steady stream of never changing complaints is a symptom of that. We are haveing the same conversations we had pre BC. We've just added poorly implemented PVP to exacerbate the old problems

This game is designed around loot upgrades. I think to leave that behind would require a new game. But I do think it handled much more smoothly than the haphazard willy nilly approach they seem to be on.
 
Mr gamer. Do you really think that if they put out khara in the shape it is now after being slightly nerfed that most gamers would have finished it? I don't think so. The design has been tilted ever since the devs had thier egos bruised with BWL. They publicly stated that no one would be able to beat it for months and it was plowed through in a few days. I don't think the devs ever got over that. And the fact that they said Kara was supposed to be the next UBRS is pretty much proof to me they are still in a battle of egos with Nihillum and the other top guilds.
 
If all the angst and drama keep coming in around loot. Why don't the devs upgrade instance loot when the upgrade PVP loot. Why are the 5 mans exactly the same as they were a year ago. It seems to me if they want to get people who are behind caught up it would make more sense to upgrade boss drops. Relatively little dev time. Just upgrade em everytime you upgrade the PVP stuff. Boom new reason to get old timers back in those instances for marginal upgrades new trinkets etc. And newbies comeing up from below come out of thier 5 man runs better geared for the raid or PVP content whichever they prefer to do?

That doesn't seem like it would have taken too long to do at all. (I'm not sure if this paragraph was a disagreement, agreement, neutral extension, etc. of what I was saying, so this response will be kept as neutral as possible.) It would likely cause complaints from PvP people that their "work" had gone away, and from raiders about more "welfare epics", but it does seem doable.

However, these general issues involving different playstyles competing with each other seem to have all have loot in common, and the loot problems stem from how a "reward" is given out that improves the power of a character significantly, and is required/very, very, useful to access certain parts of the game.

If, say, raiding groups and PvP'ers were competing over an easily visible ladder system and getting recognition as a reward instead of getting gear, this probably wouldn't be as much of an issue. Hardcore players, whether they got no gear or tons of gear, would always have their top place on the ladder, so their "hard work" would not be going to waste. (this does depend on the type of ladder, of course, a "order of kills' ladder would have people up there forever, a "most kills" ladder would have people being knocked off.), but overall it would it seems less likely that complaints would arise over time being wasted.

The above is just an example 9which may or may not actually work if used) of some other system besides gear that hopefully would allow hard core people to get some achievement recognition out of the system without requiring lots of gear inflation and other loot issues, other methods would be more useful for PvP, instances, etc., but the general point is still that using loot as the reward does seem to create a lot of issues in general.
 
"but the general point is still that using loot as the reward does seem to create a lot of issues in general."

So true. Gear is too important to have it be, essentially, an optional reward. You *need* gear, and it drives people who are otherwise not goal-oriented, towards loot-centric behavior. I suspect if titles or dyes were the only rewards of AV, far fewer people would play it. Those that DID play would probably have a blast.

I remember how many used to turn out for world pvp at TM/SS, back when you got *nada*. Not even honor, and we'd go back and forth for hours.
 
What if the first time any particular piece of Raiding Gear dropped it was Orange, as in had Legendary status. Stat-wise it's identical to the regular Epic Loot, but it's Orange, to showcase that you were the first person on your Server to get that particular item.

Following in the same vein World First Drops would be Red, or have Artifact Status. Same Stats, just Artifact, because you were the first in the World to get that particular item.

This way the really Hardcore Guilds could wave their Orange and Red epeens around as much as they wanted, content that they're special, because their weapons go up to 11.
 
What if the first time any particular piece of Raiding Gear dropped it was Orange, as in had Legendary status. Stat-wise it's identical to the regular Epic Loot, but it's Orange, to showcase that you were the first person on your Server to get that particular item.

Following in the same vein World First Drops would be Red, or have Artifact Status. Same Stats, just Artifact, because you were the first in the World to get that particular item.

This way the really Hardcore Guilds could wave their Orange and Red epeens around as much as they wanted, content that they're special, because their weapons go up to 11.


That sounds pretty neat, at least to me.

(another one i've thought of is having the first kill on the world, or swerver, or first 10 or so kills,in the world, get a possible guild tabard with a big X over the raid boss's name, or something along those lines, though yours does allow showing off for multiple bosses.)
 
Sam:

I don't think raid difficulty has anything to do with the developers' egos. If they wanted to, they could always create an unbeatable 'brick wall' encounter that would stump the most dedicated groups. This is not the case. Every fight, however difficult, was made and tested to be beaten.

Upon TBC's release, the raid difficulty and accessibility were set to hard to provide the most determined raiders with a timesink and a challenge. Over time and with the new expansion looming on the horizon, the hurdles were eased to allow less dedicated players to progress too. I expect this pattern to repeat in WotLK.

After all, the developers DO want the players to experience the content. They just don't want the game to be beaten by a large enough group of people that it would cause a signiificant customer loss.

Now, WoW is a very mature game, and a few select groups have had time to achieve the level of game mastery that matches (and quite probably exceeds) that of Blizzard's disigners and testers. These groups have full understanding of the combat mechanics, efficient organization, and tools that allow them to solve any encounter that is mathematically solvable within the game's model.

These people have essentially 'beaten' the game. For them, defeating any encounter is just a matter of figuring out the script and applying an appropriate strategy. Blizzard simply cannot create any content that would challenge them for any significant length of time without making big changes to the game's underlying design.

Fortunately, these hardcore super-groups are very few, and the rest of us can be controlled in our progression to ensure that we never 'beat' the game.
 
Mr Gamer. I think you must not have been paying attention when BWL released. I really do think that BWL bruised the ego of the dev team. There were public statements made about the quality and difficulty of the content and that it was expected to be very difficult and take months to complete. They were completely blown out of the water in a few days. I think that ever since that they've been in a bad mental place of being in opposition to those guilds and go out of thier way to make sure they are never ever humiliated again.
Just my opinion though.

And what reinforces that opinion for me is the fact that they seem to occasionally look down and be surprised that so few have done their best content. I think they are so busy trying to put in blocks for the enemy they forget that if they end game raid guilds take 2 months on it, thats a 1 to 2 year proposition for most other groups.

But whether I'm right or wrong, I still think that if they'd just balance the content for average guilds and let those end game guilds blow past it and finally quit they and the game would be better off. We have a system where they balance for the Olympics and then a year or so later just give the farm away. It really makes no one happy.
 
I am a big fan of smaller dungeons myself tobold an I wish blizzard and other companies focused on improving them and making them so that they could be repeated but still be fun. Course you prolly figured I was :P. @syncaine & bonedead: I love pvp and it IS a great thing and I think it is a good solution I just wish it wasn't the only one employed, cuz I also like variety.
 
Actually it doesn't matter for a real casual gamer whether the loot is great or the raids nerfed to the lowest possible difficulty, because there is no realistic way to get into one anyway.

I can say that as a personal fact, as I have been busting my butt to get into any instance available on my level range ever since WC. Yea, I got into the early ones, but ever after Scarlet the instances have been void. No grouping, no instancing and not a dream about quick raid.

Now my main is sitting in Outlands at level 61 and I'm wondering what the hell am I doing in this game anymore. No way I'm getting into a group going into instances as everyone rushes to the raiding, which means in turn that there is no way in Outlands I'm going to be able to get my toon geared enough to apply for a raid.

Let's not forget the casual, "I play for fun and entertainment" kind of player in here. As much as you may argue about it, the commenters of this thread are more or less on the hardcore thinking, seeing only the shining crown of the much fabled 'End Game'.

If the grouping was as rewarding and encouraged as it is in EQ2 for example, the whole issue would have completely another meaning.

Now my toon is undergeared, inexperienced and completely out of the learning curve to attempt any raids in the future. This being the case I'm not looking forward to WotLK at all, as that will make the Outlands even more void of players.

Copra
 
The difference in this story is, Tiger Woods completed the hole and holds the record of the lowest score in x competition, everyone else that does the course is just another person he's happy he knows hes the best, and everyone else does cause it was on TV....

Why doesn't blizzard reward the elite guilds by doing something similar, guild x finishes raid first, each member gets a x amount of gold as a bonus completing it first or like a special haircut that noone else can ever achieve, kind of like the bug mount for the people that opened the gate etc.
 
Or even better give everyone in the guild a special token, that can purchase like 1-15 items, legendary, and special mounts, hairdcuts, sumthing that decorates their character, makes it oviosly to other they are tiger woods....a glow on thei amour, around their character, visual prettyness....
 
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