Feb 07, 2009 00:43:01

Expansion Deficit Disorder or "E.D.D." - a disorder common among some of the gaming communities more driven members. Whenever an expansion to a new mmo comes out, these individuals are compelled to reach the new level cap as fast as possible, throwing all caution, common sense and health issues aside. As one urban rumor has it, one graduate student in applied mechanics, his neurons fried from an attempt at leveling Warhammer Online in record time, submitted his masters thesis on the subject of practical time travel in an attempt to reach the level 80 cap in Warcraft before the Wrath of the Lich King Expansion was even released; but these are, of course, only idle rumors.

O.K I will admit it - one of my favorite podcasts isn't even part of the Virgin Worlds collective. The show Blue Plz, hosted by Total Biscuit (T.B.), is the sort of show that you may love, or you may hate but it always makes you think. Last week I listened to T.B. start his show with 15 minutes of screaming about how horrible and easy the end game instances are in Wrath "" at one point in the show he complained about "not having anything to do, considering we've beaten' pretty much everything in Wrath in 2 weeks..."

Since the day I first set foot in Azeroth and cast my eyes upon the great gateway of Ironforge (back when the biggest, baddest instance was Molten Core) to the present there the Warcraft community has been fraught with players I call the "Un-silent minority". Now I am not talking about the trolls who fill the "official forums" whining whenever someone of class other than theirs manages to top them on the DPS meters thereby shortening their "e-peen". I am not even talking about players who find that raiding is their favorite part of the game.

I am talking about players who are self described "hardcore" raiders - the sort of players to whom the game comes first, even before family, and raiding becomes not a lifestyle but life. I might narrow it down even further to those members of the "hardcore" community who are dead set certain that the rest of the 11,499,999 of us all look up to them as the crème de la crème. There are many reasons to look up to someone, but about the last reason to idolize someone is how fast they can push a button on a keyboard.

After The Burning Crusade expansion came out, Jeff Kaplan and Rob Pardo both gave interviews where they admitted that high end content like The Black Temple was being experience by about 1% of the player base at the time. And all the while they were raiding, members of that 1 percent where busy applying terms like "welfare epics" and busily trying to fit the remainder of the 10 million players (at the time) into a nice neat little box they labeled "casual players" - as if the rest of us were some how not up to their professional standards.

Back in grad school we were all taught that good marketing means making your product meet the needs of the consumer. How long, I wonder, would the Activision/Blizzard gorilla be able to through its weight around if it catered to only one percent of its customers?

There are some players who think that the shoe is now on the other foot, and it is the turn of the hard core raiding guilds to complain - after all, turn about, as it is said, is fair play. But with the release of the Wrath of the Lich King Activision/Blizzard is continuing its efforts to let the players have their cake and eat it too, with content that is variable beyond simply a choice between normal and heroic difficulties. In the mean time, those players looking for difficulty beyond what Warcraft has to offer can either turn to running Nax in their undies or have someone dump them in Zero Security space in a frigate in Eve Online.

See you online,
- Julie Whitefeather

Submitted by Brent on Feb 07, 2009 00:43:01 CST (comments: 3)


'Like a cuckoo's nest' by Shalkis
Submitted on 2009-02-07 09:22:08 CST
Appropriately enough, I _have_ moved into zero security space in a frigate. ;-)

While I wholeheartedly agree that Blizzard did make a mistake in the 40-man Naxx -> Sunwell era, I think that Blizzard's remedial measures were a bit overboard. I think that 10/25-man Naxx is appropriately balanced, but the problem is that there's little to go from there right now.

Personally, I liked the vanilla WoW's "melting pot" approach where people with vastly different play styles gathered to play the same game. Now WoW's either for the hardcore or the casual, not both. Part of the blame belongs to the players, each trying to hog all the content to themselves like cuckoo chicks. And they'll never be satisfied until the "siblings" have starved to death.

'Ulduar' by Eli
Submitted on 2009-02-10 16:20:03 CST
Blizzard has said many times that Naxx is supposed to be easy (and that it is, very easy), and that there's more to come -- at least Ulduar, which is gigantic, and another wing in the Wyrmrest Temple. It's a complete mis-read of the game to think that Naxx 25 is the most difficult raiding in Lich King, or even the end-game at all. I doubt very many people who are complaining about a lack of content have even completed the 10-person version of Sartharion with 3 Drakes, let alone 25, which is the current challenge the 'hardcore' raiders are taking up. Unfortunately Malygos is too easy or it would be in the same league for certain.

This fits well with their history of patching in and tweaking raids and dungeons, like Dire Maul, ZG, Kharazan, Black Temple, Sunwell, ad nauseum. The only complaining I'm personally hearing is from people impatient for Ulduar, not that Blizzard has made some structural mistake.

'No longer epic' by emeny2603
Submitted on 2009-02-21 22:22:35 CST
I appreciate the fact that Blizzard have opened up the raid content to casual players and I think this had to be done in order for the game to survive in its old age, but in doing so they have disolved the idea of 'epic' content.

Back in the day, when I wandered the halls of Ironforge I would marvel at the players that strutted their stuff. Ok i didn't idealise their lifestyle or the pain it must've taken to get that gear, but I did appreciate the fact that they were 'epic' and would no doubt spank me in a fight should I take them on. In a small way these players commanded respect and offered a goal for you to long for...

Now every Tom, Dick and Harry is dancing around Dalaran in tier 7.5 gear or equvalent. The player base is no longer distinguished by Epic gear (and thus we're all looking more and more alike on top of that) and anyone trying to stand out from the crowd is suddenly overwhelmed by a sea of purple.

This is a point T.B expands on a lot and I can't help but fully agree with, an Epic item is no longer epic if everyone has one. Fair enough Naxx is the easy raid to bring players in, but of that's the case then why does the gear have to be purple? Why undermine the 'epic' status in such a way? Would players have been so put out if the gear they had was blue? As long as it set you up to do the content then at least you'd have had the feeling that Epic was still to come; and as it started to filter into Dalaran you'd have had that pang to get on and accomplish as much as you could.

Currently I think the hardcore and the casual player base looks at the state of the game and fails to find themself, as an individual and thus fails to fathom the enthusiasm to carry on. I haven't even started on the whole class homogonizing (Druids getting a shield block!!!) which only goes to slap an already rather red cheek imo! I'll end my ramble here though :)

Emeny - The Combobulater podcast.

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