Wednesday, March 15, 2006
How many level 70 does it take ...
... to screw in a light bulb? Aeh, no, to screw Ragnaros? Aeh, no, to *beat* Ragnaros and all the rest of Molten Core? We don't know yet how Blizzard will handle it, but there are two possible scenarios on what might happen to the current high-end content: Either it becomes irrelevant, or it becomes a good training ground for learning how to raid. Obviously I would prefer the latter.
Would you rather have Stockade Pauldrons or Polished Obsidian Pauldrons? Wall of the Dead or Husk of Nerub'enkan? Hurricane or Eaglehorn Long Bow? I just searched 3 cases at random, which show that an epic item you might get at level 50 is more or less equivalent to a rare item you might get at level 60. That suggests that a tier 1 epic from Molten Core could still be more or less equivalent to a blue item one could get from a new 5-man dungeon at level 70.
We don't know yet how much more powerful a level 70 will be than a level 60. But undoubtedly 40 level 70 characters would have an easier time in Molten Core than 40 level 60 characters have now. With the boss mobs having some unique tricks up their sleeve, it is quite possible that a group of 40 level 70 people who never went there at level 60 would still find beating Molten Core challenging enough to be interesting. And if at the same time it would be easy enough to beat for people not experienced in raiding, and with less good organization than a uber guild, a place like Molten Core could become some sort of raid training ground. Now that would be great. Getting 40 people together would still be difficult, but if a "pickup raid" could actually beat a couple of bosses in MC, there would be a much greater chance of these places getting used by more than 3.6% of the population.
What could go wrong? The less likely scenario is that people at level 70 are so powerful, and the blue loot at level 70 so good, that Molten Core would be too easy, and the loot there too bad to farm. That is certainly something which will happen one day when Blizzard raises the level cap to 80, but not yet in the Burning Crusade expansion. The more likely mistake that Blizzard could make is "improving" (which is Blizzard-speak for "nerfing") Molten Core, and changing the raid size cap to 20 or something. If getting level 60 epics is harder than getting level 70 rares, nobody will bother.
Unfortunately this change of raid size cap to the previous 40-man raid dungeons is something that might well happen. The Blizzard developers nowadays are very much aligned with the hardcore gamer crowd. And the hardcore would very much prefer if the average player would *not* have a raid training ground, even if the loot there would be trivial compared to the level 70 raid dungeon loot. The current uber guilds all started equipping themselves in Stratholme and Scholomance raids, learning how to raid there and getting their meta-levels up high enough to be able to start raiding Molten Core. Now Blizzard did them a favor and burned that ladder leading to the high-end content, effectively blocking the late-comers from advancing further for the moment. It wouldn't do for the "leet" to have to admit that anybody could get to their level of equipment, given the same amount of hours of training and raiding. So expect the small, but vocal, minority of hardcore players to protest loudly if ever Blizzard allows a pickup raid of 40 players to beat Molten Core.
We can only pray and hope that for once Blizzard remembers that the majority of their income in coming the majority of players, and not the leet few. Give the hardcore players some new level 70 raid toys, and please, please, let the average players access the current high-end content. Just because an item is "epic", it doesn't mean that the average player is not supposed to be able to get it. As long as it is a level 60 epic for level 70 players, and thus not overpowered, it wouldn't unbalance the game, and it would make a much larger part of the player base happy.