Posts Tagged “Penalty Systems”

This week’s Shared Topic was suggested by Relevart of Relevart’s Druid Reliquary, and it asks us to ponder one of my personal favourite topics to whinge about – The penalty systems in WoW, and player ‘entitlement’.

Relevart’s prompting statement makes a much nicer introduction to the topic than –I- could ever think of, so let’s hop to it, shall we?

I know a few other bloggers have shown interest in the idea of player motivation and I absolutely love the idea of examining the concept of what makes us want to/need to/desire to play.

I thought a neat springboard for such a discussion would be that of the penalty system (or lack thereof, as you might see it) in WoW as well as the recent claims that Blizzard is caving to the casual players’ feeling of entitlement to see and subsequently conquer any and all content, regardless of capability or time.

I suggest these two because I think they are inherently linked at the core, with entitlement driving the penalty system and to a lesser degree, the inverse. However, I would not be opposed to separating out the most relevant topic in order to condense posts.


Now, way way WAY back in my salad days as a blogger, I think I did a big long honking series on what gets me into WoW, and, y’know, it probably still applies.  However, at that point I never really thought much about penalty systems and entitlement.  I was making my first forays into raiding, I never expected to have a great deal of success, and, well, the people in the hardcore guilds saw content A, I saw content B, and that’s all there was to it.  I never really griped about this, I never thought it was ‘unreasonable’ that I didn’t get to see Illidan (well, eventually I did, but that’s an entirely different tale).

Now, well… things have changed a lot.  The playerbase can quite easily see the vast majority of the content.  Most people I speak to say ‘Yeah, I’ve been in Ulduar.  I’ve done ToC.’  Sure, they may not have seen Yogg, or attempted ToGC, but they’ve been there.  Everyone gets to see the content at the level they choose to see it at, and everyone gets to enjoy the shiny bosses Blizzard has so thoughtfully provided for us.

As I type this, I find myself questioning why I do not like this aspect of the game.  It sounds fair, and nice, and wonderful that everyone has a shot at seeing the content.  At the same time though, I find it bizarre that people can not make the obvious link – when we all can see it and do it, it cheapens it in some strange little way.  You hear people scoffing ‘Is this the best Arthas can throw at us?’, ‘I hope Icecrown is harder, but I doubt it will be.’ ‘Arthas is half the villain Illidan was.’  And, yeah, yeah, hard modes are supposed to be an answer to this, but there isn’t the same satisfaction in downing a boss on hard mode than there is in downing a genuinely difficult boss for the first time.

I never had an issue with not being able to see all the content.  There is still a part of the playerbase which seems to feel the exact same way.  What ever happened to just enjoying what you were able to see, instead of demanding to see everything?  Yeah, I sound like a spoilt hard core raider ‘Muuuuum, the little kids are playing in the big kids pool… they’re ruining it!’, and I have been flamed and flamed again over it in the past, but I guess I just don’t understand where you are all coming from.  Or something.  Especially since, well, hello… I’m NOT a hardcore raider.  Hard modes?  Pshaw.  Hell, I’m often lucky to raid twice a week recently!

I guess as players we often feel entitled to do everything. “I pay my 15 dollars a month, just like those hard core guys!”.  We also feel entitled to be challenged “I pay my 15 dollars a month, just like those casuals!”  We also feel entitled to enjoy the game, to have things our way (even if others disagree), and to often be pushy, demanding, and annoying, just because we pay our 15 dollars a month.  A visit to the official forums is all you need to show you how entitled we all feel.  Hell, I have a ridiculous sense of entitlement myself.

As for penalty systems, well, as Syrana said… they don’t really exist anymore in the game.  Hell, they barely existed before.  I don’t think I can make much more comment on those than what she already has.  Although, I am glad in a way that we aren’t penalised more harshly, especially in the levelling days.  If I got my XP taken away, I would have just packed up my little red wagon and cried the whole way home when I first started playing WoW.

At the end of the day, I have nothing to say here that I haven’t said before.  The game feels dumbed down.  I am so worried that it will be even further dumbed down in the expansion.  By appealing to the lowest common denominator, we don’t all actually win, and I think that the way the game is now actually increases tension between the casual and the hardcore player base, and everyone caught in between.

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