Thursday, April 22, 2010
If you make me think, I quit!
Muqq from Ensidia wrote a long "I quit" piece on Ensidia's blog section, which contained one really curious phrase: "Not only did the limited attempts force progress guilds to create alt raids to try out the encounters beforehand, we also had to cherish each attempt, inducing long tactical playthroughs and discussions before actually making an actual attempt. We spent much more time playing the game less, a strange paradox indeed." (Emphasis mine) Maybe he should have tried sleeping on it instead. I knew that most guilds coming after the server firsts use canned tactics from YouTube or other boss killing strategy sites. I wasn't aware that even Ensidia complains if they have to actually sit down and think and discuss strategy to kill a new boss, instead of just rushing in and "actually playing".
I found Larisa's view of battling the Lich King far more interesting, because it confirms my fear that Icecrown is yet another rather twitchy raid, where fast reaction time decides whether you live and die. She says "You need the reaction time of a teenager brought up on Nintendo and FPS games as well as a very good, lag free internet connection, or you’re screwed.", and I simply don't have that reaction time, being neither a teenager any more, nor a player of FPS games.
Combine the two posts and you get a pretty accurate description of why I don't raid any more: The world's top guilds are dominated by people who hate having to discuss strategy, and the non twitchy demographic is left wiping 38 times because they are lacking some fraction of a second in reaction time. Now Blizzard promised us that with Cataclysm activities like raid healing would become less twitchy and more strategic, but of course that only helps if the encounter itself doesn't force you to react very fast or die. I would rather see raid encounters becoming less predictable, thus forcing raids to discuss strategy more, while at the same time becoming less twitchy.
Funnily enough I agree with a lot of what Muqq is saying in the rest of his "I quit" post: Like him I'd prefer if there was a middle ground, or better a continuous increase in difficulty from the easiest to the hardest difficulty level of content. And I would prefer if you had slow and steady character progression, instead of farming easy heroics to a point where the epic rewards make most of the existing raid dungeons obsolete. I'm happy I did at least Naxxramas when I still had the chance, because now I can't go there with alts, because everybody figured out that from a "gear score requirement difficulty" point of view it is easier to just bypass Naxx and Ulduar by running heroics. Can't Blizzard see that a trade chat full of "LFM ICC PuG raid, 6k gearscore", with not a single raid to Naxxramas or Ulduar being organized is not the kind of character progression curve this game should have?
The perfect raid end game in my opinion has a very easy first starting dungeon, and then gets gradually harder. But the "harder" challenges are designed in a way that it takes a mix of better gear and faster reflexes to overcome them, with a possibility for people who don't have the latter to still advance by gathering more of the former. Thus the top guilds with the players with the fastest reflexes still get the server firsts. But the regular people just advance slower, having to run dungeon X more often before being able to succeed in dungeon X+1. I don't know whether that was the original plan for Wrath of the Lich King, but I do know that heroics giving rewards better than Ulduar killed that progression. And if Larisa's description is right, not even a 6k gearscore from grinding emblems of frost would suffice for me to Icecrown Citadel, because the twitch requirements aren't such that they can be overcome with better gear. I find it ironic that Blizzard first does the right move by making an accessible entry level raid dungeon, and then kills it by making its rewards obsolete. Great, the content I can do, heroics, is getting too easy and repetitive, and the next available step is already too twitchy for me. Why is there no middle ground?