Thursday, January 22, 2009

"EZ-Mode" and Disappointment

This new patch brought about a bunch of changes I'm unhappy with. At first I was a little more than unhappy, but, well, I figured it best to give myself a little time to think about it.

Anyone can get into UBRS; my Seal of Ascension is worthless. My Drakefire Amulet, pointless. My Mallet of Zul'Farrak, unnecessary. My Scepter of Celebras, a broken stick. And worst of all to me, personally, my urn for Nightbane is vendor trash worth 2g.

I was so proud of that urn. I was proud that when I pugged or ran Karazhan with a guild, that I had been able to get through that rigor of Heroics to summon a boss for more drops. Even when I no longer needed anything off of Nightbane, it was just awesome. I never took that urn for granted, and it never left my bags. Even now it stays there, along with my Amulet and Seal, useless except for nostalgia. My scepter and mallet sit in my bank inventory, and I'm debating vendoring them. Something I loved to be able to bring out for people's alts or help other people to obtain, now semi-decent blues at zero durability.

The "dumbing down" of WoW is something that has been bothering me for a while. To object to it is a showcase of elitism, to condone it a showcase of incompetence. I've never really enjoyed when WoW was made easier; I've taken advantage of it, but it was never something I was happy about. Not being attuned for Hyjal or Black Temple caused me to gain Exalted rep without any perks, and I had no quest line for Illidan. I was missing out on an epic component of the game. I was half-attuned for Hyjal and a third attuned for Black Temple by the time WotLK was imminent and I couldn't find groups.

I wanted the epic quest line. I wanted to be a part of the story.

It's just an upsetting trend. PUGs were clearing Heroic Naxx before a full week had passed after release. The common theme is, besides Drakes on Sarth, there is no progression. I was told last night that if I could get to 80 by tonight, I would be taken to Naxxramas. I replied I only had 1.1k spellpower, and they laughed. They were clearing it in quest greens.

The once-premiere end-game raid of the World of Warcraft, with the best items in-game and the largest difficulty curve, can be farmed by fresh 80's in greens who have even just a decent concept of the boss fights. Isn't this...sad?

It just feels like, one day, you're going to be able to push a button and Lurker will pop up, and you'll loot the ZG fish boss's bait from the fishing camp. You no longer have to do quest lines for anything druid, it seems. Only Bear Form has remained at this point; even the aquatic form quest has been removed. That wasn't even hard! I would argue the Bear Form quest requires more effort, but I don't want them to remove that, too.

Part of this feels elitist to me, which is why I'm so uncomfortable with expressing my dislike for the changes. Like I said, now "anyone" can get into UBRS. But it's not really that I'm objecting to. I'm not saying I don't want everyone to be able to do it. It's both the sudden invalidation of my efforts to become attuned and go through quest lines, and the feel that the only part of the game that is important is the expansion. Blizzard pushes and pushes and pushes, removing every roadblock because that's "old" content.

If there are achievements for old instances, what exactly do you "achieve" if Blizz knocked down all the walls? Now the only reason to do those quests is to become Loremaster. And they even lowered the requirement for that!

I felt a bigger sense of achievement when things in the game took a little effort and trying. Moreso than when Blizzard tells me I am or was achieving.

31 comments:

Gwyn said...

I feel the same way. Its so sad that things have come to PUG'ing an epic instance. One thing that irritated both me and the boyfriend (another druid) is the epic flight form trainer skill.

We worked hard for our birds..

felfire said...

I knew that they'd reduced the Blackened Urn to vendor trash, but I hadn't actually thought to look at mine... That screen print makes me want to /cry.

I agree. Well and eloquently said.

Leafshine said...

I think there's a difference between removing the requirements for quests to obtain abilities - which people would do - and making it easier to do content that people just wouldn't touch otherwise.

UBRS must be barely touched these days, and making it easier for people to get a group together and explore it makes a certain sense.

In a sense, this is a natural consequence of WoW being an evolving game. What is Epic one year will be a push-over the next. Comparing your own experiences to those of people play 2 years later, when great swathes of the game have changes isn't hugely fruitful for anyone.

That said, they shouldn't have taken away the requirement doe the seal quest.

Tossers. :)

Brent said...

Firstly, let me say "Attunements are bad... mmmkay."

To all the BC Babies, the world was not meant to have attunements. They were introduced when Naxxramas came out as a way of stopping random nubs from accidentally porting into Naxx when running through Plaguewood.

In BC, they went freaking OVERBOARD. I swear, my IT degree didn't prepare me to read that damn flowchart of the fifty bajillion things you had to do just to step into Hyjal at BC Release.

Molten Core attunement - Run to the end of BRD and touch a rock. Why? So that you didn't have to run to the end of BRD *every freaking time* you wanted to raid MC. (Who remembers the elemental horde that attacked you at the ambassador? Huh? Nobody but me?) Same with BWL. The actual BWL entrance is inside UBRS. It wasn't even till patch 1.3 that they even introduced the Attunement for MC.

Now, I'm all for having a quest chain that leads you lorewise up to a raid. I love Storm Peaks. But unfortunately what you're mostly complaining about is the fact that the achievements from the old parts of the game are no longer recognized. How many people do you know who are going to go through all that effort to get an urn for all of 3 days while they pass by 70? Who's going to go to all the effort of endless L70 Heroics, just to see SSC during the 3 days they pass by 70?

Ultimately, what Blizzard is doing is making the content they spent so much money on (and remember, this is a business) able to continue to impress and engage people who start playing WoW tomorrow, without forcing them to make supreme effort for it.

Secondly, Naxx is the new UBRS. Deal with it. While introducing a massive swathe of new mechanics and the concept of phased zones, Blizzard DID take a shortcut. But how many people actually saw Naxx in EPL? I for one think its a great way to see what otherwise would have been dead content (again access limited by an attunement nobody does). People need to get over the impression that Blizzard is making *all* raid content so easy that nobody is challenged. Have you seen Ulduar? Have you seen Icecrown Citadel? No. All anyone has seen is a retooled version of a level 60 dungeon that Blizzard thought was so cool everyone should try it. Part of the problem is that all the cool mechanics were so overused in BC (Pos/Neg, Heal the iceblock, sentient weapons etc) that people didn't see it as "Wow, look at that". Do I think it was a bad PR decision? Yes. Do I think it was a bad game decision? No.

If you enjoy Naxx enough to do it repeatedly, Blizzard has succeeded in what they needed. They needed to keep people interested enough to finish Ulduar. Naxx has done that, so people need to stop griping that the game has gone to the casuals until people see the REAL raid content for Wrath.

/rant off

I really should start my own blog.

Anonymous said...

I understand your feelings, but I don't think having too many hurdles is good for new players. They feel like they will never catch up.

As a newer player I found the Ony and MC attunements onerous. I never even got Ogrila opened because everyone wanted to do SSO and part of the quest HAS to have five players. I got my urn, but I pity anyone trying since LK has been out. I never did get a Vashj kill and I never would have seen Hyjal/BT pre-nerf if they hadn't lifted the attunements. People didn't want to keep doing a hard 25-man fight to attune one person. I saw a group trying to run normal ramps last night and they were advertising for a healer for an hour and a half.

You got do do all this stuff, and obviously enjoyed it. Blizzard hasn't taken anything away from you. Please don't assume new players want to do it all too, though. They are focused on the same things you are: new factions, new rewards, and Naxx.

Azeroth is an evolving world, and we have to be willing to change along with it.

Phil Jackson said...

Yeah, anything pre-wrath I don't care if they nerf it. Let everyone in there I say. It's old content for a reason. Who cares? And I'm sorry but how many bloggers are going to QQ about the ease of Naxx. Blizzard has said countless times that it was made easy so more people could try raiding. Kara would wipe far too quick for people to really get an idea of how to raid. The way they set it up now is that anyone who wants to try can try and do decent if they know what they are doing. This will allow them to get the gear (how fast is up to them) so that they can continue to try and raid as new content comes. But I'm sure I'm in the minority on this one.

PTD said...

I've got to agree with Leafy and others here. Do you really think that new players, should they have interest in older instances, should have to jump through the old hoops? I played since release, and I STILL don't have a UBRS key! :) I just never got that done, ya know?

I've always been a little "behind the curve," and I for one enjoy it when they make OLD content more accessible. Don't worry, there will be more, tougher things to do that you can be proud of in the future, I am sure of it!

Shauna and Jeff said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ratshag said...

"mmmkay"?
"stop griping"?
"who cares?"
"QQ"???!?

Blizzard done made some serious changes ta the nature of the game with version 3. When this happens, somes benefits, some don't. What Bellwether done said here is, "I'm feeling disappointed, and this is why", which be a legitimate thing ta say. She acknowledges the complexities of the situation. She don't criticize thems what be in different position than her. But it is about feelings and opinions, an some may have different opinions and feelings. That be normal and proper.

But some of you buggers calls this QQing? I's sorely disappointed in yer judgement and manners. "Works for me, therefore I's right and yer a crybaby" ain't civil discussion. Ain't even good logifying. I's sure you can do better.

Anonymous said...

While I think it's nice that everyone finished epic quest lines and got Urns & Mallets, I think blizzards idea is to get as many ppl to WotLK level because people will play for longer periods if they can get to the top faster.

Personally, I think that the "dumbing" of blizzard is a good thing for new players. It enables them to go to Onxyia without spending a day following the quest chain, or have fun with Nightbane without spending insane amount of time and effort looking for something that doesn't really matter in an end game perspective.
I pretty much agree with Leafshine, yes it was awful to see quest chains and attunments that I worked hard at just eliminated, but honestly, you've done them & the fact you you suffered through the PUGs and Rep Grinds shows. It shows through experience in groups and awesome titles you can get.

But evolution is happening baby :) This time next year who knows what is going to change. Sure we can push a button for Lurker, but there will be another boss to replace him that is actually your level.

Indigo said...

I felt the same way when they stopped making people get keyed for Kara.

gnomeaggedon.net said...

I feel for you, in the sense that I too have been hanging onto these things both for the nostalgia, as well as the "just in case one of my buddies needs a boost".

Nice to know I don't need to boost them, but I still want my trophy room, and I guess if anything the achievements system is the trophy room.

There should be a place in it, icons and all, for one and all to see. Up there with all the other keys, tier gear etc.

Hunter's lose space to ammo
Warlock's lose space to shards
We all lose space to memories.

G&O!

Keeva said...

I'm glad they've removed the requirements to get into these places, but I'm pretty upset that they rendered the items worthless - I only just did Maraudon scepter and UBRS attunement because I needed them to get Loremaster. And I'd never done them before, so it was a big deal.

No need to turn the items into junk. Even if they are effectively useless now, there really was no need to add salt to the wound!

lxsli said...

The fact is the UBRS key no longer meant anything a year ago. I, in my incarnation as noobiest-tank-ever, slogged through some hideous LBRS wipefests to get that. I *earned* that key. A couple of L70s could collect the gems in their sleep, though. Heck they could walk straight past most of the mobs. The challenge was gone as soon as the level cap went up. At L80 I soloed the gems with my resto druid.

The major change they've made is to remove group requirements eg to finish Uldaman. To me it's just a convenience. My druid can grab those lunar festival tokens and my achievements without having to make a group, because honestly if I have a group, I'm going heroic!


In a completely separate discussion, yes it sucks that there's only a small amount of challenging raid content right now. However, the next N content patches will largely be dedicated to us raiders, so chin up! This is just a slow point.

I never got to use my blackened urn btw. I did those heroics a hundred times but I was just massively disorganised with the quest so I got the urn like a week before LK. That makes me a little sad. On the plus side - free bag space! Yay!

Aertimus said...

I too am disappointed in the game at the moment. Thank you for sharing your feelings and letting me know I'm not the only one out there. I have not attempted to pass judgment on Blizz publicly because my feelings are too emotionally charged for me to write anything unbiased and I do not want to take the time to explore both sides of the coin.

I will be holding on to all of my gray items for sentimental reasons. I am trying to complete every quest in a zone for lore knowledge reasons. I pretty much ignore every achievement except raid and heroic ones, because I don't think hugging every pet in the world is an achievement. I will also continue to play WoW because more often than not I am satisfied by it.

Thank you again for sharing your feelings, which mirror the feelings of many others.

Kayeri said...

It is a disappointment... back in BC, though, being a part of a small guild, and knowing I'd never see the inside of the 25's because we just werent big enough was also a major disappointment... I felt like I was getting left out of the story... even the opportunity of the story because the attunements could only be attained if you were in a 25 man raiding guild.

Well, obviously, the attunements were dropped and I DID get into these raids eventually. Never got a Vashj or Kael kill but at least I got in there to experience how it would go! In the last 2 weeks before LK, I was even invited by a friend in a raid guild and got into Hyjal and BT... I got to SEE Illidan and Archimonde and Nordrassil and I treasure those experiences...

The attunements? I tried, but the way it was set back then, only 25s could do it. So while they served a purpose, they also blocked those who wanted to do it but wouldn't leave the friends they'd made to do it.

I've got no issues to earning my way in... I DID do the SSC attunement before I ever saw the inside of it just because I felt it was right and I want to do the quests. But earning your way in shouldn't be limited by the size of your guild... thankfully, they solved that in LK by doing the 10/25 system. Now, from what I've seen, they need to get rid of the gear difference, because 10s are just as difficult, if not more so, than 25s... but thats a topic for another day.

Past content, yes, I can see them dropping these things in just to make them more attractive... Is it sad? Yes, just like when they took away the fast flight form quest requirement... That made me sad because I knew I'd EARNED it, and the others coming up would never have that sense of accomplishment. But at least now they'll still get to fly fast...

Anonymous said...

Phew thanks for letting me know, glad I can vendor that urn, its just been taking up space in my bank!

I think its all cool, and I'm happy about it. Attunements are a mechanism to keep you having fun at level cap. But they also acted as a barrier to alts, or to smaller guilds. And they've gradually been changing their philosophy because they want people to experience the content. I dont mind. I stayed away from MC at level 80 because I couldnt be bothered with lvl60 attunements. How I can go in there and check it out, right? That has to be a good thing.

Anonymous said...

STOP QQing... it's freakin business so get over yourself. Also, your assumption of there being no progression is absurd. Just wait and see.

Think of the business like this. All the hardcore players will ALWAYS play this game. They may get bored and stop playing for awhile but when new content comes on board they will be back in a heartbeat.

As for new players, making the initial content more accessible is a great business model, bc it allows everyone to get "hooked" to the most addictive part of the game.

Another positive to current content being relatively ez is for ppl to gear their alts as well. If an instance is able to be PUG'd then you can essentially PUG your alt instead of never seeing it since you have to be on your main with your guild.

Quit crying about the past and how much work it took you to get that special attunement and so forth. Life evolves so evolve with it.

Anonymous said...

Stop removing posts you do not like. What's the point of a blog and comments then?

I am with everyone in regards to how annoying it is for all bloggers to complain about how ez everything is.

Have you downed Sart 3D? Honestly, after having done this fight it is pretty ez as well, not for the casual guild though.

Anyway, I think I am with the masses now with my thought that ppl QQ too much over current content. Until you get a Twilight Drake, STFU!

Even then, it's really nothing to brag about.

BM said...

I have been playing wow for almost 2 yrs now. I am a very casual player and never made it up to 60 raid Pre-BC or 70 to raid during BC. I have however run Mauradon and ZF soo many times that I know the instance and fights like the back of my hand. I was looking forward to having to do quests to get attuned for Kara and the other end game raids. It added content to the game and separates people who want to raid from the rest. Not to say that raiding isnt experiencing content but the quests leading up to the raid means that people have put out the effort to make it to that point. Questing isnt hard, I believe anyone could do finish a quest chain and do quests and run instances to get geared IF they want to raid. If thats not their thing, then there are heroics that require you to rep grind, or amazing PVP gear that requires you running battlegrounds and arenas.

I have also partially leveled a druid, warlock, and my main is a mage. I know what it is like to have to do quests to learn new skills. That adds to the game in my opinion. If every class could walk up to a trainer every 2 levels and get every skill they need, in my opinion makes the game too easy. Granted, some quests are difficult to do now. (Example: the warlock 60 mount quest) I wish they would have changed the quest instead of making the mount so easily available. Blizz could have done alot more for it by adding some spawns that dont require going to DM. DM sucks and no one ever wants to go there and the components needed were expensive but managable and they were reusable. I see having an epic mount or epic flight form as a symbol of accomplishment. Just like the Amani Warbears were and still are a symbol of accomplishment.

Thats just my 2 cents.

Bell said...

...I haven't deleted any of the comments, so I don't know what you're talking about.

Myze said...

This post has been removed by the author [of the comment].

Google could stand to be a little clearer on that point.

<3 Bell

Bell said...

Yeah, that was even a positive, well-written, non-accusatory comment.

Why would I choose to delete that one as opposed to others? :P

Breana said...

/Sigh

I can see both sides of this. Personally, I am a little sad about the changes. I miss that stuff too, Bell, thanks for posting about it.

While I can understand why they did it, to help new players have access to content and achievements, I still got a little sad when this part of the patch went through.

Everything changes and it okay to mourn that loss.

Right there with you Bell
/hugs

Anonymous said...

I feel as you do. Really... I just did 3D Sarth. Going to do 10 man 3D sarth, even though it's a goddamn nightmare as a resto druid. Everything is too easy. People think this is great but even super casuals are completely done with the content, sans achievements but still. Achievements feel really fake. At least with Sarth there's another few dragons, different loot. Not just "Make the fight unnecessarily painful for the sake of a cute achievement".
I guess it's positive that I have time to level an alt.

Averna said...

And now druid aquatic form can just be trained at level 16... you just walk up to a trainer and BOOM you have it.

I liked that quest. It was a pain in the neck, sure, but it was good - it made you feel like you really EARNED it.

I don't care about the fact that "Well I had to work my butt off to get it and now you're handing it out for free?!" That's not it at all. It's more that they're cheating new players out of experiencing the real good stuff, the stuff that made you curse at your computer, the stuff that made you want to quit and log off, the stuff that (when completed) made you want to find a body of water IMMEDIATELY and shift into seal form and just swim around for a half hour or more, because it was THAT cool, and you felt THAT good about completing the quest.

Sigh.

Gowron said...

The biggest problem of wrath is not the absence of attunements (and they all got lifted in BC after a while anyway), It's the LACK of raid-content.

Now copying something from my blog:

Let's look at The burning Crusade-expansion for a moment. When this was started in Januar 2007 the following Raids were included:

Karazhan
Gruul's Lair
Maghteridon's Lair
Serpentshine Caverns
Tempest Keep : The Eye
The Battle for Mount Hyjal
Doom Lord Kazzak
..that Fel Reaver outside Black Temple

Now compare that to wrath. Naxx, and 3 Single-boss-raids. They should have put more raids in wrath, so guilds who are already sharding half the gear in naxx could do something else. There's nothing to look forward to.. and don't give me Ulduuar, it's not ingame..and god-knows when 3.1 is coming.

Tessy said...

You still need to to the flight form quest to be able to summon Anzu for a shot at that Raven mount, right?

Or is that boss summonable by anyone nowadays, even *gasp!* non-druids?

Hanzo said...

You can add my vote to the ones that condone it. I don't feel that it rewards incompetent players, however. Remember the effort that had to be put forth into it back in the day? That effort isn't negated now just because attunement requirements are still null-and-void. There may not be an actual metric you can use at this point in time to gauge that success/failure, but it is no less valuable.

I take pride in the fact that my guild was able to kill Maexxna in 40-man Naxxramas, circa WoW 1.0, pre-2.0. HoTs were not stackable. You may have had 5 priests, but I guarantee you only had 1 renew up. It was fucking scary.

I also take pride in the fact that we killed Illidan, pre-3.0. Sheer was still intact, and nobody had the new 80 talent trees.

So what if there is no measurement to that fact this day? *YOU* know what you accomplished, and you are well aware that it took half-a-brain to do. Nobody (and certainly no nerfs to attumements) will change that.

At the end of the day, remember that it is "A GOOD THING" that more and more players get to experience content. Whether the elitists balk or not, it is NOT OK to have <5% of the WoW community not having ever set foot in Sunwell. That content is there and is important, and guess what...it's been beat by the hard-core already. Let the rest of the playerbase experience.

Besides, when people complain to you now that everything is noobville and easysauce, ask them to show you their Reins of the Twilight Drake.

Copey said...

It seems that all the blogs I read I catch a post about “I’m disappointed in the ezmode that Blizzard made”. I think the important thing people have to realize is that just because Kara doesn’t require attunment anymore doesn’t mean that people might not want to go there. I got Med’s key, and the urn way back when. And you know what? It was FUN doing it. Now….if I want my DK to run Kara for some fun….um….what about that? Or an alt? I’ve done the quest line, and while it is epic and fun, maybe I’d just like to kick some butt in Kara now.

The point is, I’m not worried about other people getting out of what I “worked so hard for”. Because guess what, if it’s old and is being handed to them, then I’m probably working on something new and cool, and working my butt off again for it. Because I do what’s fun to me. Even the epic flight form quest went away, but really, how the heck does a new druid get into heroic Seth Halls? The quest, for people that think it would be fun to do is still there, and can be done. All the quests are. They just are not required anymore. Don’t lament that the old content is easy. Celebrate that you got to do it when it meant something.


And as far as Naxx goes, I stand by my preaching that good guilds find naxx easy and maybe it’s a disappointment to you personally, but I try to pug Naxx late at night and even as geared as I am and owning my own vent naxx isn’t a cake walk for a real pug. You know, like the kind of pug where I’m all heroic geared out with consumables, food buffs and flasks, and the off tank after getting two shotted on trash a couple times admits that “maybe my defense isn’t as high as it needs to be”. Or searching for a healer for an hour (mean while you can’t do any quests…), and settling for somebody that is gonna respect real fast (and ends up not really knowing how to heal since they have not done it in Wrath yet).

For the unwashed masses Naxx is challenging but still easy enough for people to get a taste of raiding. And Raiding is a whole new side of the game that many never got a chance to see.

Ellis (Eonar) said...

I was half-attuned for Hyjal and a third attuned for Black Temple by the time WotLK was imminent and I couldn't find groups.

^ This is why the old attunement quests and the like had to go.

It's bad enough that it's hard for people to get groups for old content, without making it actually impossible entirely even for those that don't need a group anymore.

Speaking for myself, I went ahead and got myself the Kara key on several alts even after they removed that particular requirement, because I remembered the days of trying to start a UBRS group and spending an hour or so just to find someone who had a Seal, or had an alt with a Seal.

Not sure how it was on your server, but even back when people were actually still running UBRS on my server, it was nigh-impossible to get a group for LBRS.