There has been a LOT of discussion around the place about the badge changes.  There’s some ranty stuff like what I wrote, there’s some less ranty stuff, and there’s people who have ranted in the complete opposite direction to myself.  What can I say, giving away loot in a simpler manner causes lots of emotional babbling!

One comment which I have seen coming up here and there is the argument that the changes allow people who are in, shall we say… less able guilds… to see the content.  For guilds who are carrying people doing sub-par DPS, or underperforming in some other role, they now have the opportunity to see new content because they can carry guildies through it.

For some reason people get up in arms when this idea gets thrown around, so I am just going to get this out in the open right here, nice and early:

Some people just suck at WoW.

It’s true.  It might not be politically correct, or even NICE to say this, but some people just don’t know how to play the game.  Some of them improve with research and practice, others just suck and nothing will fix it.  They might be lovely people, great to talk to, but they can’t play the game.

So, some people are saying ‘we have people like this in our guild.  They might even be RL friends.  Now, I can’t just tell them they suck and not take them on raids, but they hold the rest of us back and we can’t see the content.  This new badge gear will help us overcome that.’

That’s just bullshit.

Take a single player game…. I don’t know, Duke Nukem or something.  Now, I used to play Duke Nukem a lot as a kid.  I was also bloody horrific at it.  I couldn’t get past things, I died all the god damn time, I was hopeless.  Never been good at shooters, what can I say.  However, there was nothing to get me ‘through’ the game.  I just had to practice a lot to get past it, or suck it up and admit that I was not ever going to be good at it.  No one was going to drop an awesome gun into my hands or anything and say ‘Here you go, now you’ll be fine!"  So why do MMORPG’s do this?

Simple: Money.

Any ‘regular’ game, all the money is made at the purchase point.  If the person then sucks at it, well, too bad for them.  The developer already has their cash and they are happy.  If someone buys WoW and sucks at it and can’t progress, well… they’ll quit.  That’s a lot of money lost right there.  Blizzard want to keep their subscribers, so they want to make the game accessible to everyone.  Unfortunately, it’s slowly killing the fun for those of us who can play.

Euripides claims that WoW is not any easier than it has ever been, it is just that the playerbase is getting more skilled.  I have to disagree.  The largest indicator of this to me?  Hands up who uses crowd control.  Come on, there must be someone out there who uses crowd control.  In a heroic?  In a raid?  *looks around* OK, I think there’s a little hand up there in the back corner.  That’s it though.  CC went the way of the dodo when Wrath came out, along with most situational awareness (seriously?  How hard is it to dodge a big black pancake?)  Not to mention the fact that I find the game easier, despite having a much more complicated rotation than my ‘lolSBspam’ BC rotation.  I have to actually THINK about my rotation and the game is still easier for me!

I have not seen crowd control used in Wrath at all.  Oh, sorry…. once or twice in Ulduar.  Instances?  Nup.  Heroics?  Hell no!  Who needs to crowd control that puppy when the tank can AoE tank, the healer can heal em right through it and the DPS can just mow them down?!  I remember pulls that went horribly awry in BC heroics, where someone’s CC failed and you would almost always wipe.  Anyone remember chain seducing those mobs in Shadow Labs?  Banishing, enslaving AND tanking demons in Mechanar?  Having Mages designated solely as chain sheepers on some fights (Lurker, anyone?)… the ability to crowd control effectively in BC was hugely important.  Bosses were less forgiving of errors, and you died if you screwed up even marginally.  In Wrath, thus far all the content I have seen has been roflstomped fairly comprehensively up to Ulduar, and even partially into Ulduar. 

Euripides says that the game being ‘not easy’ is proven by Ensidia taking 204 tries to kill the hardest boss in the game.  Let me just think this through…

1.  Hardest boss in the game currently.  That immediately implies that this is content people SHOULD be butting their heads against.  The hardest boss in the game should take a hell of a long time to get down.  How long did it take people to down Kil’jaeden?

2.  204 tries.  That’s chicken feed, quite frankly.  If you raid, think about the number of times you wipe on progression content.  If I think back to BC (and I hate to harp on it, but if we are going to say the game is easy, then we need to compare it to something) I remember wiping for weeks on end on Vashj.  At about the time I started this blog, my guild was beating our collective heads against the wall on that stupid Medusa looking creature.  So, minimum of 8 hours of wipes a week.  Weeks on end.  I would say that added up to well over 100 wipes.  I was easily going through a stack of food at LEAST on a ‘wipe on Vashj’ night.

Now, I don’t blame Blizzard for making the game ‘easy’ and accessible to everyone.  At the end of the day, they want to make money, and it’s the best way to do it.  However, the minute something more challenging and interesting appears on the horizon, I for one might just jump ship.  WoW isn’t a challenge anymore… it’s just far too easy for anyone with a pinch of skill.  I for one am tired of wipes feeling more like “Who noobed it up this time?” than “Wow, this is a HARD fight!”


Heroics – Wrath is FAR easier than BC overall

Entry level raid – Naxx is definitely simpler than Kara was.  Kara was a nightmare of an entry level raid… Naxx is not much more difficult than a Heroic.

Single Boss raids – I would say Gruul’s Lair is about on par with Malygos, but OS is much easier than Mag’s was.  Except for maybe 3 drakes, which is slightly harder, but then, that IS ‘hard mode’.

Next level raiding – Ulduar is a weird mishmash of difficulty levels: I would say that the bosses on average are harder than the easy bosses of TK/SSC (let’s face it, TK was fairly easy overall), but the more difficult bosses of SSC/TK were more difficult than those of Ulduar.



Irrelevant post script: This is my 300th post!  Yay!

19 Responses to “Where in MMORPG does it say ‘Easy’?”
  1. :x Uh oh… I have to say I agree entirely. :P I’m just too chicken to say so on TDT! /grin

    About jumping ship, though… Tigor and I have started playing FFXI because we’re getting really bored playing WoW. It’s certainly a change of pace. :P I can tell I was a little spoiled by WoW’s difficulty level… judging by how often I died when I first started (about 5 times in one night… it was bad).

    Hopefully Blizz will start coming out with new hard content at the same time they’re easificating the older content. :D Then everyone can be happy, right? D: right?

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  2. Remember that one pull in Heroic: Shattered Halls? Where there were like 8 mobs and you really needed to strategize and make the best of your group combination? I miss that kind of thing!

    I don’t feel the same about the game as I did in BC. On the one hand, I found the leveling experience in Wrath to be a lot more fun than BC, which I didn’t think was possible. But the end game and instances… meh. I haven’t been very impressed.
    .-= Brajana´s last blog ..Down with the Sickness (Scavenger Hunt!) =-.

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  3. First of all, much <3, Sar. I'm pretty sure I haven't reared my head around here in a while, yet am happy you continue to squeeze in posts. :-)

    Okay, to the real comment(s)… you can't argue the entire game is easier and then in the very same paragraph say your rotation is harder. Rotation is part of the game. So maybe you feel that PvE raid trash/bosses are easier, but that is hardly ALL of the game. I think some parts of the game at large may have gotten more difficult, but they're the parts that we, as a player community, have gotten better at (like min/maxing and gearing). I do agree that CC has gone away and that makes things easier. However, I disagree that that one point proves anything about the game as a whole.

    Perhaps the theory here is that Blizz is purposefully making the trash pulls easier (cuz we hate trash) and then letting you "choose your own" boss difficulty. I don't think you can complain unless you're doing EVERYTHING on hard mode. I mean, I've done a few of them and they are pretty challenging for the most part. Just because easy mode exists for "less skilled" folks to be able to see the content doesn't mean the "more skilled" folks HAVE to do it that way. It's enabling everyone to see the content which is a pretty damn smart decision by Blizz. Why waste so much content on 10% of the top raiders? When you're talking about 11 million people, it just plain makes fiscal sense to ignore that 10% and cater to the rest of us… yet they're still trying to give people challenges by keeping "hard modes". If those were absent, I'd be more likely to agree. As it stands… I think we're looking at a "different" type of game for sure, but not necessarily "easier" across the board.

    Also, recall that with heroics they were trying to make them shorter time-wise. Are the boss fights really that much easier than many of the TBC fights, or is it just that we can go quickly through trash now and there's not as much of it? I could see arguments either way for that point, but it is hardly clear-cut.

    Finally, @ your first commenter… FFXI! That's where I started my MMO career. I can't say I hate the game (it's certainly more of a "challenge"), but man the grind was awful there. Basically, you just can't do a whole lot on your own effectively in that game, which turned me off. Not saying it's not a decent game, just brings back the ol' memories :-)

    Okay, sorry for the long comment… I should probably just make my own post, but I've been avoiding the issue. My main point is just to caution you to not narrow your focus on only small aspects of the game and not look at the game in general. Sure a lot of stuff is "easier", but I think the community has also gotten "better". I don't think you can really claim it's completely one and not the other (so you're BOTH right), but PvE endgame is probably the best place to start that argument.

    Oh and I totally agree with some people just sucking at WoW. :-D

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  4. I agree with you completely.

    There is a hunter in my tiny guild that is, frankly, rubbish. He can solo content well enough but he has proven to be a liability in most instance runs, and even at 80 with all blue gear he struggles to push out 1,200 dps. But he can’t see it, and that’s okay as far as it goes. I don’t mind that he can’t play, as long as he’s having fun and not causing us too many headaches, but he’s proof that there definitely are people who aren’t good at the game.

    As for content being easier, you’re right. Damn, I remember my warlock having loads of fun in Mechanar, just as you say. And my raid group back in the early days spent at least a month wiping on Razorgore, the first boss in Blackwing Lair. We spent four nights a week for weeks on end continually wiping on him before we got the knack, and that was a long way from taking on and finally defeating Nefarian.

    At the same time, I am no out of raiding and haven’t even been in a heroic instance in WLK, mostly because of the small guild I am in and my perennial shyness with finding random people. I have a desire to see more of the content of the game but I accept that I probably won’t get to see it, just as I didn’t see much of the progressive raid content in BC. However, my casual playing nature also means that I have enough to keep me occupied anyway, particularly as Blizzard continue to introduce new content like the Argent Tournament that is accessible to all.

    It’s just another case of trying to cater to the lowest common denominator and creating something bland as a result.

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  5. A quick thought regarding Ensidia and “the hardest content in the game” (I believe they’re referring to hardmode Mimiron there, by the way).

    First: SK Gaming downed Kil’Jaeden within three days of the gates being opened.

    Second: 204 attempts is a lot of time spent on the boss. If you assume 10 minutes per attempt (which sounds low to me, but apparently they were getting 5-6 Algalon tries in per hour), 204 attempts is 34 hours of attempts on a single boss, or more than a mnoth at eight hours a week.

    Neither of those says “Ulduar is easy” to me.

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  6. I don’t understand why you seem to object so much to the notion that the broad masses get to raid now or wear epics. At least that’s the vibe I am getting. I agree that heroics are half-assed and I really miss TBC heroics. The difficulty was just right. They were punishing in the beginning, but once you had gear they were right. WotLK heroics are vastly undertuned and too easy. They don’t make me feel heroic.

    Let’s look at WotLK raiding. Very easy beginning raid in Naxx and OS with no drakes. More challenging raids with OS with drakes up and Malygos. Then next we have Ulduar. Which for me is more difficult than the step from Karazhan to ZA was. Blizzard chose to make a distinction in raiding. Normal mode, hardmode. You want difficult raids? Then do Yogg-Saron + 0 watchers. Not even Ensidia has managed to down that one yet. Exactly one guild in the world. And 3.1′s been out a while.

    I’ll believe you that Ulduar is too easy when you show me you’ve cleared all hardmodes. Normal modes in Ulduar are for beginning or ‘average’ raiders, people like me. Hardmodes are not. It’s a different system than what we’re used to from TBC, but WotLK is a different game, really.

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  7. Is the change to badges any different than the situation in Burning Crusade where people were grinding heroics for equivalent T5 level gear?

    Also, this “controversy” and outcry over badges seems to stem from players’ desire to distinguish themselves. Gear serves as a proxy for and visual representation of accomplishments in the game. This badge change only reduces the stratification between the highest level of gear and that which is easily obtainable. However, if I see someone rolling around Dalaran sporting a new cape from Algalon 25 man, or an ilvl 256 sword from the Colosseum, I know and recognize that player’s commitment to endgame raiding. Even if everyone is eventually wearing two pieces of Tier 8, there will always be gear, mounts, and achievements to distinguish oneself.

    Beyond vanity, Blizzard also continues to serve the hardcore raiding community. There are many interesting and fiercely difficult fights in the current content and patch 3.2 promises to include still more. Have fun and play whatever aspect of the game offers you the most.

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  8. The days when only a very small fraction of the player base would get to see the “end of the story” are probably over, and I’m good with that. TBC was all about the machinations of Kael’thas, Vashj, and Illidan, and an incredibly small portion of the player base got any closure on those stories (except perhaps on Kael in MgT). No, they shouldn’t have us downing the Lich King in a five-person group quest, or a tiny trivial instance a la Azjol-Nerub, but the idea that Icecrown should be a raid instance that only a very tiny fraction of the player base gets to finish (a la Black Temple), because 95% of the player base doesn’t “deserve” to experience Wrath as a complete story is….well, it’s not what Blizzard seems to want to do anymore, at any rate, and more power to them.

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  9. The game is easier for sure, but for a good and obvious reason. Of course it’s about money. It always has been, always will be. Otherwise, WoW would never have existed.

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  10. You’re going to make me post about this now… and I was so excited about being lazy about this topic. CURSE YOU YOU EVIL AUSSIE!

    PS: my post is going to be part about emblems but mostly a direct response to yours.

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  11. @Kadomi “I’ll believe you that it’s too easy when you have cleared all hardmodes”. That is both a fair, and yet ridiculously unfair statement. Should a raid be judged solely on it’s hardest encounter, or as a whole? I remember thinking TK was an ‘easy’ raid, even though it had a HELLISH end boss. Too bad half the bosses were simple though! Karazhan was harder than TK (IF you were in the appropriate gear levels for each).

    Hardmodes ARE hard, that’s why they are called that! However, they are a topic for another post entirely (and to be honest, not one I am especially interested in), as to whether it is ‘real’ or ‘artificial’ difficulty. The raids to me still feel like we are wiping because of silly errors, not because the content is hard in itself. That statement might not make sense… but then, feelings seldom do!

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  12. [...] I was reading a post made by Saresa recently on the topic of the emblem changes and as I have had a couple people pick up an interest in what I think about the whole change, I thought I’d make a direct response to Saresa’s post and give a bit of my insight. [...]

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  13. “OS is much easier than Mag’s was. Except for maybe 3 drakes, which is slightly harder, but then, that IS ‘hard mode’.”

    I think that’s pretty much exactly what they were aiming at. Easy/normal mode is easier than the TBC equivalent, hard mode is harder. But one thing about the OS – for Mag, the difficulty was mostly stacked onto a few people (ie. clickers). In OS, everyone needs to move out of the flames, everyone needs more situational awareness – at least that’s what I see.

    As far as the CC goes, it’s more about making groups of trash mobs harder than anything else. Actually casting a sheep spell (and resheeping as necessary) is dead simple – although you wouldn’t know it from the mess some mages used to make of it.

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  14. Actually casting a sheep spell [...] is dead simple

    Well, yes and no.

    A simple polymorph crowd-control strategy is easy. Requiring multiple crowd-control sources in a single pull, because otherwise the number of mobs becomes unmanageable, is where the group needs to be able to work together and be knowledgeable about multiple classes.

    Everyone needs to know that sap can only be applied out of combat, banish and polymorph start combat and make sap impossible. Damage breaks polymorph and sap, but not banish, so the mobs need to be moved away from sap and polymorphed targets and AoE needs to be carefully applied. Sap cannot be refreshed, but polymorph and banish can, so the pull and kill order of the mobs needs to be worked out and stuck to. On top of that, nothing breaks banish so refreshing it at the wrong time can lead to a long delay where everyone is waiting for a mob to kill.

    And even with all of that to consider I have forgotten about hunters and their traps. Making a fight require crowd control creates many more variables to consider that needs more thought and coordination than any fight I have seen in the WLK 5-man instances. My underpowered guild has run through them all with no problems, but I bet we would have been in trouble in Mechanar.
    .-= Elf´s last blog ..Stealing the Horde’s Flames =-.

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  15. Grats on 300!
    .-= Gnomeaggedon´s last blog ..Ask da Nome a Kwestion or 20 Bhlogdey Kwestions (Part 2) =-.

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  16. I find it interesting that you bring up single player games.

    Every single single player game I have ever played has had variable difficulty settings. If you were bad at Duke Nukem you could flip a switch and put the game on easy mode. MMOs can’t do that.

    This is exactly why the Badge changes are a good idea. It gives people an *optional* easy mode, just like you’d get in a single player game. Buying your Tier 8.5 with badges is the equivalent of completing a video game on Beginner. It’s a totally legitimate way to play, and it in no way devalues the efforts of people who play on Nightmare.
    .-= Temitope´s last blog ..More Thoughts on Content, the Four Percent =-.

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  17. @ Temitope the problem is, the game isn’t HARD already. If it was *optional* it would be fine, but it won’t be… it’ll force everyone to grind the same stuff, even if they hate grinding, to remain competitive. For instance, I don’t WANT to grind heroics on my Druid (who is fairly undergeared all in all) to get the latest greatest badge gear to remain competitive. I’m having fun doing it the old fashioned way, through masses of bad pug raids that leave me gritting my teeth. Well… I have fun with the raiding aspect anyway ;-)

    The game can not get any easier. Really. If people STILL fail, they are going to fail with their good gear just as bad as they do with their bad gear. So, it is all just silly imo.

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  18. I don’t see how the badge changes are forcing people to farm heroics. They’re not going to take the Tier 8 drops *away* from Ulduar, so if you want to gear that way you can.

    Although to answer my own question, I suppose if the ATC is balanced on the assumption that you have access to Tier 8.5 gear, then you’re put in a situation where you have to do Ulduar Hard modes (which I think most people agree are in fact hard – sometimes even mathematically impossible) or farm Heroics then that would indeed suck.
    .-= Temitope´s last blog ..Weekend Riddles =-.

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  19. [...] Using WoW for learning in Schools: WoWInsider Badge Changes: Blog Plz Greedy Goblin 2 The Elitists Destructive Reach 2 Levelling server?: WoWInsider Create your own title: WoWInsider Flavor text in PTR hints of new [...]

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