Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Tiers before bedtime

I'm not doing very well this expansion, 4.0 drops and I'm levelling from 60-80. 4.1 drops and I'm not in a guild doing troll heroics. 4.2 drops and while I am now in a raiding guild, I'm out of the country for more than a week after it drops, and I chose to level in Vash'jir and have all of Hyjal to do first. Way to be a cutting edge member of the community, with your up to date news and views there Crag.

So I'm back and it's time to log in, what, I wonder... as I pick up my 2 piece Tier 11 items with JP's, is the word from the Blues and what are people talking about? Well... it seems there is some QQ'ing to be done, which is so unlike the WoW community.... yeah...
Bashiok sets the casual cat* amongst the elitist pigeons with this new(ish) line from blizzard:

We specifically intend for the 4.0 raids to be puggable now that Firelands is out. Grabbing some tier 11 by way of Justice, quest rewards, plus across the board difficulty nerfs should really be enough to get them going.

The patch has only been out a day or so though. I think it'll probably take a little bit before people really get it into their heads that they should be pugging the previous tier because it's not too hard to be successful. It's just getting people used to the various encounters and mechanics.

Maybe people are waiting for the holiday weekend? If nothing else, leading one yourself is always an option. I think we'd agree that we need some better ways to get pug raids together considering we intend to follow the "New Raid is Hard, old Tier is Puggable" format from here on.

While this has gone down well with some and gone down with indifference with many. It has some people up in arms from the forums to Twitter and back again (it couldn't get an invite to Google+, otherwise it would be indignant there are well!).

To me this seems like a good idea, if you are not, for what ever reason, able to join raids at a decent gear level and in sufficient numbers when the new content is up, then you're not going to get into raids... and no, you are not entitled to just because you pay your £'s

I'm new to raiding myself and I can see it takes several things to come together:
  • 10/25 peoples schedules coming together (especially not easy if you are an (dun dun duh!) adult, and have the pressures of family, work, etc coming first)
  • Gear; in theory Blizz' takes the minimum gear to do a normal raid to be heroic 5-man gear from the latest 5 mans. In reality, higher than that is needed just to get some semblance of breathing room.
  • Coordination; this is the ones PUGs usually fall down on. Raids need a little stratagem before the first(every) pull, and even the most keyboard honed child of Gen Y is going to find it much easier to do this via the various VoIP clients around. Not something PUGs generally have access to.

So, current content raiding: For guilds that have the time, the teamwork, and the numbers. To those go the spoils: World/Servers/Realm firsts, Epic Tier Loot, Lore first-looks, 'Cheives, and all those other good things.  

The interesting and slightly depressing thing here, however, is the attitude that appears to suggest only the elite few percent of the Warcraft community should ever experience any of that.

QQ'ing over Tier 11 being available for Justice Points, and the idea that some of the now out-of-date playable content of WoW should be a reasonable ask to those players who don't have the time/experience/social circle/luck to have done it the first time around confuses and depresses me.
The objections seem to run as follows:

Making things easier spoils the game because it lets less skilful/dedicated players in”
The first problem with this from the dedicated tier 12 raider is A) It won't affect them, they will go on raiding with their carefully chosen, elite brethren, and likely never have to PUG with the unwashed commoners, let alone Raid with them... but B) the new father who raided in college, but now grabs a few hours in Azeroth between feeding and changing, is going to appreciate not missing out chunks of the game they've given 6 years to, just because they aren't a student any more. Remember, this is an MMORPG, not a ladder match in an elite FPS

letting everyone do it devalues my effort”
I get this, I really do, but it smacks of: In My Day
You had it harder in your day. You had it harder in Vanilla and you had it harder last patch. It's true, you had that extra time and that extra effort to put in, you cancelled dates to make raid night and you slaved over a hot spreadsheet to theory craft your way around Blizzard's latest challenge, and if you were generous community members, you put strat's up on youtube... and we salute you for it! You got world-firsts, realm-firsts, or you just hit top 10 guilds for progression. I'd hope you've got some great memories and feelings of achievement and camaraderie, coming together and downing Blizz's latest masters of chaos straight off the bat! I'm not, however, sure how the fact that people with less time, smaller guilds and limited ability to co-ordinate threaten those feelings of pride, achievement and mutual accomplishment, just because they're able to see the same story 6 months later...

Look at my X epic mount, why should those people be able to get it easier?”
I absolutely get this, one... if you've put in the hard graft and you've gotten something pretty rare and special, why should someone be able to get the same thing for doing less work, a few months later? Perhaps when the nerf-bat™ falls – maybe the elite rewards should go too... yeah 'you don't have to miss out on the story and content but you did get it 'easy-mode' … '
I do, however, draw one fundamental problem with this: If you have this mind set you're possibly the douche sitting on the mailbox with your gigantic mammoth, blocking anyone else from using that key part of the game because you want them to look at you, acknowledge you, and know you are better than them...
...and if you need that kind of confidence and esteem boost from random strangers in a virtual world, no amount of Epic Lootz will ever make your world a happy one.

In the end Blizzard has made it clear, while they want to push guild play as the excepted way of experiencing the cutting edge story, lore, fights, bosses, and – of-course – phat l00tz, they also realise that no matter how much they push it, not all of the... what are we at now... 10million players world wide(?) are going to be able to fit the challenges of real life, real commitments, and social intercourse (steady!) into that framework. Some people would kinda like to be able to see what they were missing 6 months ago, in the limited play-time they have, and with the best their main can do.

Believe me, I do understand the angst over nerf'ing things you worked hard to overcome, I get that it seems unfair. But this is a vibrant, changing, demanding universe/story/community we're all invested in, and we're all coming at it from different directions.

If you're 7/7 of firelands already, then 'Gratz!' you're pushing the 3% of the consumer base that can claim that, but then 4.3 rolls round and we're putting the kibosh on the next Twilight head-honcho/Deathwing/an old god or 6... don't, please, begrudge your fellow WoW'thusiasts** the chance to put Thrallty-Dumpty back together again. Focus on the awesome achievements that make you happy and don't define yourself by a need to have something no one else in the game has. It's a collection of pixels, in a virtual world. Ironically, if you want to impress, don’t' be an elitist jerk, be an elitist jerk... and by that I mean show us how awesome you are, do the fight first, and then help us more n00bish types with you tutorials and your videos! You'll get much more respect from your fellow man (ork) than sitting on a mailbox with your war-bear, moaning on the forums...

oh, and while you're at it, you and that war-bear can:

Swear Allegiance!

*and you know 'Casual-Cat is casual'
**I might have just made that up...

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