The ePeen of Things

25 Jun

So in 3.2 casual players are going to be able to earn tokens that will allow them to grab some really sweet T8 level gear.  As can be expected, this isn’t sitting well with a lot of the hard corp raiders.  The argument of who Blizzard is really catering the game to is back in full flame and for anyone that’s been around for a major content patch or two it’s getting a little tired.

Hard Corp Raiders are a dedicated handful on each server that have the discipline, game play skills and time to beat their heads against the progression wall as new content is added.  Regardless of how you feel about these players they’re the “wow heroes” that have been there, done that and have lots and lots of great t-shirts to go with it.

Throughout the history of the game the Hard Corp were easily recognizable.  They’d be the ones standing motionless in Ironforge or Ogrimmar – their tier set gear dappled with lens flare, faintly marred by the drooling of casual players that had gotten too close.  They – along with the Arena Gladiators – were and are the elite of the game that the rest of us wished we could have some small taste of.

And Blizzard gave it to us.

With WotLK the life of a casual player has never been better.  The instances (heroic and otherwise) are more accessible than ever – the gear available through daily quests and heroics is honestly pretty damn good and with the badge reset of 3.2 things are shaping up so that casuals will at least be able (though over a long period of time) to at least maintain some kind of gear parity with the Hard Corp.

And a lot of the Hard Corp are feeling kinda butt-hurt.

On WOW.com and in the official forums one of the most repeated arguments is this:

“Why do you need T-9 if you’re never going to do more than heroics?”

The answer is simple to me – but maybe a stretch for those that are missing those days of standing around in Ironforge in their new purple duds.  The reality of it (that I can see anyway) is that Blizzard is allowing casuals more access to loot to provide them some kind of character progression.  Lets face it – 80 is 80 – and short of rep grinding or battlegrounds you’re not doing much if you’re not raiding 10-25 man content.

While many casual raiders and Hard Corp alike might scoff at this – the reality for a great deal of casuals on each server is that they will likely *never* clear Naxx – much less get into Ulduar or the Colosseum.   So what’s left to them?  Heirloom items and alts?

Allowing higher tier badges as loot for daily dungeon quests and as heroic boss drops extends the value of existing content while not having to make it “more interesting” or “new”.  Honestly – it’s a win for everyone in my mind.  Hard Corp Alts that might have languished just shy of 80 may actually get leveled now since players can hit heroics again and be able to jump a few tiers in order  to get these new characters into Ulduar faster.  Casuals have a  reason to look forward to playing – and for casual raiders having a tough time with their current 10-25 man content – the extra gear may help them power through the tough spots.

Yes – Hard Corp players used to being the best geared and most unique looking toons on the server will start to share some iLevels and gear models with the rest of the unwashed masses.  But what they won’t be sharing are the Achievements.

And that my friends – is what I believe Blizzard is banking on.

Gear is perishable – gear gets outgrown.  Achievements – titles – Rusted Proto-Drakes – those are forever.

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4 Responses to “The ePeen of Things”

  1. Negathle June 26, 2009 at 01:35 #

    “Gear is perishable – gear gets outgrown. Achievements – titles – Rusted Proto-Drakes – those are forever.”

    Sigh.. and that, in a nutshell, is what I am most frustrated about.

    See, there isn’t just Hard Core and Casual, there are a lot of people in the middle. Guilds, like mine, that try our damnedest to see every bit of content despite the fact that we cannot dedicate our lives to it, like the Hard Cores do. But we pride ourselves that we can do the content, even if it is at a slower speed. We are good players who don’t want to sacrifice RL for the game, and 3.2 is making it feel like we are obligated to, now that it is obvious Blizzard intends on splitting players into those two categories.

    These nerfs to Hard Modes, these free tier sets to people who run heroics, they insult those of us who for the last 4-5 years have done content and earned our gear and titles at a realistic pace. Do you see how cheated we feel that the achievements, titles, and mounts we aspire to are being held high above our heads, unreachable by all the methods that we have employed for the last years, while the gear we earn through our hard work is being trivialized?

    I’m sorry, I suppose I’ve just read so many opinions on the badge matter, and my inner angst finally articulated itself here. Honestly, the fact that Blizzard is catering to the two extremes of the player spectrum has caused me to consider quitting… and I really don’t want to.

  2. Windpaw June 26, 2009 at 17:40 #

    Hey Negs – great comments.

    I’ve written for half an hour trying to respond and keep coming back to the same place.

    Blizzard is trying to hit all of our current WOW demographics (casual, raider, hard corp) with enough sprinkles of goodness that every one is happy. The problem with that – is that when efforts are divided – the folks in the middle (your guild) are the ones that end up feeling like they were somehow forgotten.

    (and that’s completely ignoring the whole PvP game which we won’t even get into here…)

    My guild *finally* beat Kel’Thuzad and cleared Naxx-10 this past Sunday. Finally. We’re a small struggling bunch of casual raiders that managed to do this with at least 1-2 PUG players for each wing of the raid. For a while we were wondering if we’d ever manage to clear through to the end before the next expansion pack came out.

    What kinda sucked – was that much of the gear that dropped was inferior to the epics many of us had received through VOA runs or grinding Argent Crusade rep.

    It seemed…wrong. While the grind to “Crusader” wasn’t exactly *fun* – it had none of the visceral appeal of watching KT *finally* drop after so many wipes and so much trial and error.

    I’m not sure what the real answer is. Blizzard needs to be able to keep all of their players interested and “progressing” in some fashion or they’ll leave the game. The unexpected consequences of their methods is that they often alienate those in the middle that are successful – but perhaps not as successful as the truly “no-life” uber.

    For *myself* – I’ll take those T8 tokens when they’re offered and hope that I can struggle through to the next content tiers. For me – the game is centering around the experience and the achievements – the gear is simply something that gets me there.

    If it’s any solace at all – I think guilds in your particular range are in a good place. Maybe they’re not enjoying any rusted proto drakes – but my guess is that your achievement scores utterly outshine most players in the game save maybe the LifeLess. You guys have the best shots at titles like “undying” and in dropping Sarth with 3-drakes. You might not be first in anything – but you’re so far ahead of some of us that it’s almost despairing to think about keeping up.

    It’s all relative when you get down to it. While you may feel like your accomplishments are being trivialized – there are *millions* of players that can do nothing more than wish they could be in your shoes.

  3. Negathle June 26, 2009 at 19:27 #

    I would agree with you whole heartedly in our comfort zone, except for one thing: We are given half the amount of time to do 150% of raid content. There was a 10 month gap between Black Temple and Sunwell. There will be a 5-6 month gap between Ulduar and the Colosseum. While the initial clear of content in Ulduar is easy enough, the hard modes will take a considerable amount of time to get through in order to get those mounts/titles, effectively providing about 50% more content than a pre-Wrath instance. Yes, we are doing just fine, if we had a normal amount of progression time, but we don’t. That’s what I mean by the achievements and mounts being held up above our heads. We don’t have the speed to get to them.

  4. Windpaw June 26, 2009 at 20:43 #

    that’s a good point – I was surprised at how fast they were ready to jerk the latest series of proto drakes – it seems exceptionally quick.

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