As many of you who frequent this site know, I am a pretty huge fan of World of Warcraft. Pretty huge, because I’m fat, but also because I have pumped more hours and days into this game than probably all others combined. Well, maybe not, I can’t do that type of math in my head, but you get the friggen point. I love(d) WoW.
But, as stated here many times, I got burned out on it. There are a few reasons why, mainly I wasn’t happy with the direction that The Burning Crusade took the game, and I got one of those pesky girlfriends I kept reading about in People Magazine. And she was soooooooo pesky when we first started dating. I would be all like “I have a raid tonight but I want to hang out with you” and she would be all “No, go do your nerd game, we will hang out tomorrow.” Women… I tell ya.
The game started feeling like a chore though with little reward. My problems with The Burning Crusade are fairly exact: the loot structure is completely out of whack and actually detracts from the game as a whole. Basically, when you reach level 70 you already have a pretty decent set of gear from questing, so the need to do dungeons isn’t as great as it was at 60. But you’ll do some, and it’s fun, but it’s just not as addictive as it used to be. And the reason for this is because getting the next level of gear is so easy that there is no reason to even bother.
Basically, all you need to do is hop in a battleground for a few hours a day and hit your spacebar every 20 seconds or so. Now, this is not something I ever did, but i sure did see a lot of people doing it. And they got easy honor which turned into easy epics. Then they make an Arena Team with some highly scripted pre-defined class combos and power their way to the best quality gear in the game with very little effort.
Some of you may be thinking that I am anti-PVPing and just an elitist raider. But that is not the truth at all. I am one of those weird WoW gamers that enjoys PVP and PVE. But the PVE loot structure is completely out of whack when compared to PVP. It takes months (or it used to) to learn Karazhan, then even longer to get through Gruul/Mag/SSC/TK. I’d say it seems to have taken most “normal” (IE not hardcore, nor casual) guilds about a year to get through all that content. What do they get for all that time spent? Gear that is 2 generations worse than what PVPers get in about 3 months time.
Now, yes, i’ve heard the arguments, PVP gear is only good for PVP, PVE gear is only good for PVE. I understand that. I just don’t like it or agree with it. Back in Vanilla wow if someone in blue pve gear fought someone in blue PVP gear, the gear definitely benefited the PVP geared person, but it wasn’t out of control. It was also A LOT harder to get blue pvp gear back then (unlike the full epic sets you can get in no time flat now), so the advantage made sense. But at the same time, if a really serious PVEer came in with top end PVE gear, they could flatten people. A lot of PvPers cried foul about this, but it made perfect sense to me. Those people put an insane amount of time in to make their characters more powerful, and thus should be more powerful. But…. but…. but….. the absolute kings of the PVP mountain were the people that grinded it all the way out to High Warlord/Grand Marshal(the hardest grind that ever existed in the game), and had the full set of epic PVP gear. And this all made sense to me!
But it didn’t make sense to the casual gamer who doesn’t think that time or effort should get you an advantage. And Blizzard listened to these people when they designed The Burning Crusade. They made it really easy to get good PVP gear. Which, in itself is fine, but what it does is make PVEers wonder why they have to spend a year to get gear not as good as what a PVPer can get in 3 months. Where is the reward?
Well, obviously the reward is in personal satisfaction, and The Burning Crusade raiding experience did provide that. While there are definitely dull spots, the vast majority of TBC raiding is fun. Karazhan, for instance, even though we are all sick of it now, is an absolutely brilliant dungeon. And Mt Hyjal is an absolute blast (especially for AOE classes, I was a warlock when i went through there). Timed events like ZA for the bear mounts are still difficult, which is really cool. It was all really well done. And it kept PVEers playing. But it didn’t keep them as happy as it should, and a big reason is because the drops that people were getting for working on stuff for months were already outdated by the PVP community.
And then you introduce badge loot as a way for lesser guilds to power up to beat the content… but the problem is when they beat the content the drops aren’t as good as the badge loot they had to grind to beat the content.
The whole system just doesn’t make any sense to me, as a hardcore MMO player. I thought the way that gear progressed in Vanilla WoW was pretty much perfect. They turned that on its nose and destroyed it. But that’s just a fact of life for a WoW player. Blizzard is catering the game to the more casual players, which is fine, but it’s taking some (not *ALL*, *some*) of the reward away from the guilds that raid on a fairly serious level.
Now that brings us to Wrath of the Lich King, an expansion which is hopefully coming this year. Again the level cap is being raised by 10. And again they are revamping how the loot system will work, but details are still hazy at this point. One thing we know for a fact is that all dungeons will have a 10 man mode and a 25 man mode. This is a good idea on paper, but I need to see it in action before I give it ye olde thumbs up. I really love the 10 man instances in TBC, they are fun, and prove a fairly epic raiding experience (and complex, at that) can be accomplished with just 10 players. But to give a reason for people to still do the 25 mans, they have decided on making those drop the better loot. Again, on paper this all makes sense. It’s harder to accomplish things with 25 than it is with 10, so the payoff should be better.
One thing I worry about though is that you will basically have to double back on the content. Like in a bad shooter game where you keep running back and forth across the same areas to collect different keys. But instead of keys it’s loot. What I worry is that you will have to go through and beat a dungeon and collect its loot, and then use that loot to go beat the same dungeon in 25 man mode. That sounds like it will get kinda tedious. Because, to me, there are three reasons to raid:
1. The camaraderie of doing it with your guild.
2. To see new content
Now, number one stays in tact, to some extent, unless people just decide “you know what, I don’t feel like learning this dungeon all over again, I already beat the freakin thing in 10 man mode.” Number 2 falls totally on its face, and I don’t care if the boss encounters play out differently, you are still treading over the same ground fighting the same guys… that’s not new content. Number 3 is the only reason to do it, and having it be the *only* reason isn’t very compelling.
But, again, this is all hypothetical. We won’t know exactly what our feelings on it will be until we are a good six months into the expansion. Like, for instance, I remember thinking that getting easy PVP epics was gonna be awesome and great for the game. And then I got there was like “uh, this is a really, really bad idea.” So who freakin knows.
The addition of the Deathknight class is obviously much needed and long overdue. It’s pretty insane that since the game launched 3 years ago that they haven’t added any new classes. But I do take issue with them adding only one. They should have released two, at least, that had completely separate functions. The deathknight looks to be able to tank pretty well and DPS pretty well. They should have added another class that was a healer/dps hybrid. I am just nervous that with only having the Deathknight, after so long without any new classes, that there are going to be a million of them. Atleast if they released two classes it would be 500k healers and 500k tanks. Not just a million dps/tanks. But, yeah, this obviously isn’t what is going to happen and it’s too late to complain about it now.
And finally, there is the 500 million pound pink elephant in the room…. PVP. This is where the least info is known at this point, but you have got to think that they will rework the PVP loot system. I mean they have to! They need to see how broken it is, and how unfun Arena is for most people. But the lack of much concrete info doesn’t have me convinced that they will do much to it. And I think it will repeat many of the mistakes of The Burning Crusade.
There are other things to rail about, the lack of exciting new class abilities (hihi mages!), the further balancing for PVP, how the new PVP zone will play out (I’m not expecting much on my server where there are 9000 alliance for every horde), how the graphics engine *isn’t* getting an update, how the melee and casting mechanics are starting to show their age in the face of Age of Conan and Warhammer Online….
But, ya know, for all my bitching, and yes that was a lot of bitching, the game is still fun. And I am sure Wrath of the Lich King will be incredibly fun. I mean it’s like if I have this gold bar sitting here and it has some smudges on it and maybe a bird shit on it… it’s still a gold freakin bar! And how cool is it having a gold bar? If I ever get rich i’m buying gold bars and putting them on my desk.