Warcraft and difficulty

This is an endless debate and the problem is no-one is wrong and no-one is right. It’s about how you feel and no-one can, or should, tell you that what you feel is wrong. If you think the game is too hard then it’s true, if you think it’s too easy then that’s also true. Whatever, someone thinks is their own personal truth. It also doesn’t matter why they think that, after all people’s views are usually shaped by circumstance and experience. The problem is some people are very vocal and this is a debate that the community as a whole is quite passionate about. It’s easy to feel ‘got at’ if you don’t agree with the game is so easy people, it’s easy to feel disgruntled and like no-one cares if you do think it’s easy. Everybody is right and everybody is wrong and that’s the true problem.

Is warcraft too easy?
If you’re asking that question you’re asking the wrong one in my opinion. You only have to look at the player base and from what extremes they come from. These people are only in the same group as one another as they’ve managed to find common ground – warcraft. Now, they’re fighting over it as everyone wants it their way.

I wrote a post a little while back where I tried to explain my approach to raiding. I wasn’t having fun on the raid team I was on and, eventually after lots of introspection, I managed to pin point why. In a nutshell I wanted to have fun more than I wanted progress. I didn’t like the blame culture that hard progress raiding seems to breed, I didn’t like the never ending wipes and the pressure. However, a very good friend of mine wanted that kind of team, wanted the progress and was willing to push and push until they got it. As I’ve said to them “we’re different, maybe that means we shouldn’t raid together, but we can still be friends”. We want to raid in different ways but that doesn’t mean that one of us shouldn’t be allowed to.

Value judgements
I don’t know if it’s a general lack of empathy but a lot of people in game have a ‘better than you’ kind of attitude. If you don’t play the game the same way they do then you’re inferior. That is unless you’re one of the people that they inspire to be. I like to raid in a low pressure, relaxed manner. I don’t allow people to throw blame around and I won’t wipe over and over on a boss when it’s obvious we’re not ready for it. I don’t enjoy banging my head against a brick wall. Other people do and I accept that. They feel that it makes the accomplishment better when they finally kill the boss. That’s fine, they can feel like that and if they’re happy then I’m happy for them.

However, the fact that I’m not willing to play like that means that I’m deemed ‘second string’, ‘casual’, the ‘training team’ and lots of other things that just are frankly a little insulting and not true. It’s a different raiding philosophy, I still insist that people are prepared, you can’t just turn up with your gear in a mess without having looked at tactics, that’s letting your team down. I still treat raids as something that you have to take seriously, as a commitment to the other members of the team. The value judgement that how I like to play is worth less because I’m not willing to wipe over and over, it’s not fair.

So is warcraft too easy?
The simple answer is yes in a way. Bet you weren’t expecting that. You need the best gear to raid, therefore if you don’t raid then you don’t need the gear. Therefore the gear for points system should go or you shouldn’t be able to get quite such good gear with it. If you can’t get an upgrade, as something refuses to drop, then you could get like an intermediary piece like that. Also, the only thing I agreed with that guy in the video about is the relevancy of previous raid tiers. While it’s useful that I managed to gear my mage in a day to get into Dragon Soul when we needed one, it also takes away all the challenge of it. I like alts but alts can’t be as good as mains. You generally have to pick one character and stick with it while progressing through endgame content. Otherwise we might as well make all gear BoA so we can gear alts no matter what character we’re on.

I started in wrath and didn’t really get to endgame content before cata was released. I’ve never seen a system in action where you have: levelling —> dungeon —> heroic dungeon —> raid tier 1 —> raid tier 2 —> raid tier 3. However, I can see the benefit in that it will extend the life of content. It could be difficult for new players as they’d have to start at the beginning. However, as a community we could change that. We could be friendly, and helpful, and pigs might fly. Even my willingness to help people gets eroded over time. I ran Firelands for months for no other reason but helping our shadow priest get dragonwrath for the guild. It’ll be a long time before I can bear running that raid again. So, perhaps that’s not such a workable suggestion. You have to accept how people are not just how you want them to be. With how people are, expecting them to help others like that, it’s just not happening.

However, there are benefits to that sort of system. I am absolutely sick of Dragon Soul. I’m trying to recruit more people for the raid team so I should be running and then pugging for our regular raid slot. After all sometimes you can find people via pugging. However, I’m making excuses as I don’t want to have to run Dragon Soul anymore. I’ve been raiding it almost every week since it came out, sometimes more than once a week as I’ve been on alts too. I’d like to go back and raid T11 but it’s ‘old content’ so getting people to come is an exercise in futility. Whereas if it was part of the gear cycle still then you could pick up alts in addition to achievement hunters.

It’s ok not to complete it
This is something that I believe because I tack the ‘as long as you do it eventually’ on the end. I do wonder sometimes whether some players have got entitlement issues, and they feel that they should be able to kill everything on heroic, without putting in the effort. I know myself well enough to know that I will never be able to clear a heroic raid when it’s current. I’m not willing to bang my head against the brick wall enough and in all honesty I might not be skilled enough either.

I will clear it one day and it’ll be easier when I do it. I’ll get my achievements and my titles and I’m happy with that. There are those that think that you shouldn’t be able to get the achievement or title after the contents been out levelled. I can kinda see the point as it is less of an accomplishment. However, I don’t do it because I want the big buzz, I get enough of a big buzz through clearing normal for the first time. I’ll clear it because I’m a completionist and I want to check it off the list. That doesn’t lessen the accomplishment of the people that got it when the content was fresh, anyone can see dates and work it out.

I don’t know if people would be happier if they thought of it like that. Personally I don’t think you should allow what other people do to affect how you view your own accomplishments. I suppose back in the day having the best gear was a lot rarer than it is now. If you saw someone decked out in full tier then they had something that the majority of other players didn’t. I’m not going to say that it was skill that they had, though that’s possible. I didn’t play in vanilla so it’s just my impression but I think that raiding back then took more time than anything else. From talking with a friend who did play in vanilla, about farming all the resistance stuff, it was a time issue more than anything. Yes you have to put in time to succeed but there’s time and there’s time. Finding time to raid a few hours a week, is different from finding time to farm a bunch of mats and then have a few hours a week.

I don’t think gating content based on how much free time someone has a week is a fair thing to do. I also think that players as a whole still do have respect for those that are Savior’s of Azeroth. A friend of mine had Death’s Demise as a title and she couldn’t wear it in a city – way too much attention. So for those that want people to respect what they’ve achieved I think that’s still there. Wearing tier is kind of irrelevant now with the transmog system and new titles come out every tier anyway. Have the awesome title on and people will still respect that you’re a badass. Therefore if that’s the problem that you have with making content more accessible, not so much of a problem. How many people are Savior’s of Azeroth? Not many in the grand scheme of things. However, as I mentioned at the very start everyone is entitled to feel the way they do and I’m not going to say it’s wrong.

So what’s the answer?
There isn’t one. As I said at the beginning, everyone is right and everyone is wrong. I personally think that Mists is heading in the right direction with introducing new avenues of endgame play. Right now you raid, or you pvp, or you sit in Stormwind acting like a spacebar clown. Perhaps if raiding wasn’t seen as ‘THE’ endgame play then people would feel freer, and more relaxed, in making their own choices, as to how they like to experience the content. If you still want to raid then you raid at your appropriate level and you should be happy with how you choose to play. I find heroics too hard so I will only ever, in all likelihood, by a normal mode raider. However, I want the social camaraderie of a guild raid so I’d never be satisfied enough with raid finder. That’s me and my level, it’s what’s right for me, it might be totally wrong for everyone else.

This is a big game, with a vast player base. Perhaps rather than fighting over who gets the biggest slice of pie we should remember what we have in common – we all love this game. Maybe hard mode should be tuned even harder to keep the hardcore raiders happy. Maybe people should be reminded that if they don’t want the help, the tactic how to guides, the progressive nerfs etc. that they don’t have to have them. If you’re not competing for world first and you want the challenge of ‘what does this boss do’ then stay spoiler free. The help is optional so that sort of challenge is in your hands.

Azeroth is a big place, with a multitude of different activities and difficulty levels. There’s room for everyone. Everybody is allowed to experience the content how they would like, no-one is right and no-one is wrong. The ‘difficulty’ is in your hands.