Tuesday, October 20, 2009

How broken is it really?

Had a long discussion with my brother, Bishopgeorge, the other day. The main thing about the discussion was the difference of the 'end game' and the 'levelling game' in WoW. Or in any MMO I suppose nowadays. And how broken the game in level cap in WoW currently is.

How much more broken can it be?

Larisa from The Pink Pigtail Inn wrote a nice post about how easy WoW currently is. Or isn't, according to her. She points out that the people whining about the easy mode raiding in WoW are mainly the people who haven't downed Yogg-Saron or the rest of the rowdy bunch in Ulduar (even in normal, let alone hard mode), and that they have no right to say that the game is easy. In her own words:
Hands on heart, how many of you have actually killed Yogg-Saron 25 man? Not quite that many. As a matter of fact, people seem to have given up about him altogether. I haven't got any scientific evidence that this is the fact, but from what I read on the blogs, it appears that most raiding guilds have stopped aiming for an Ulduar clear. They make ToC, Onyxia and not much more than that.
I think the main question is, why people have given up on the real raiding in WotLK and resort to the 'easy mode' gearing instances instead?

Because the raid progression is broken.

I know, that is harsh from someone who has never even raided, but there is nothing new in that statement. And certainly nothing I haven't said earlier either.

If the raid progression was working, people could progress through the raid content in orderly manner: Heroics to gear up for Naxx to gear up for Ulduar to gear up for Icecrown. It just doesn't work like that. People do not work like that, in the sense of 'taking up the challenge': instead they go by the route of leasts resistance, accepting the 'welfare epics' to be able to take on the harder content. If at all.

The difference between Naxxramas gear and Ulduar content level may have been too large, because Blizzard decided to create such an utter waste of space as the Argent Tournament, which -let's admit it- is just a loot piñata for the people who cannot for one reason or another raid the Naxxramas content for the Ulduar content.

Now the situation is such that you can get way better gear through grinding ToC Heroic and then ToC 10/25 than you can ever get from Naxx. Add the daily heroics Emblem of Triumphs and Emblems of Conquest gear to the mix and you can skip Naxxramas completely.

Why would anyone in their clear senses take on the challenge of Naxxramas (other than for the Achievements), if they can get better gear easier and through more simple encounters?

As the patch 3.3 is nearing, you can be sure that Ulduar is going to suffer the same fate as Naxxramas: it will be forgotten before Icecrown is done, and I'm afraid that Blizzard is going to apply some more welfare epics into the game (in addition to the 'new' emblems...) to ease the gap between ToC/Ulduar gear and Icecrown difficulty.

In effect, Blizzard is voiding the content in the end game the same way it has voided the 'old' end game content of the former expansions.

Where does that leave us, newcomers to the game? In a situation where we pass huge amount of content without ever setting our foot in it and leaves us wonder what the fuzz about that content ever has been.

So, how broken is the end game, really? And how broken will it be, before Cataclysm comes and repairs all (not likely, but a nice thought...)?