Monday, March 16, 2009

Casual versus Hardcore

So I'm thinking Mondays for posting. Do Mondays sound good to everyone? I would pick Tuesdays, but Tuesdays I work during the day and raid at night. I'm not sure what would be a much higher traffic than Tuesday mornings (due to maintenance), so Monday evenings should make sense. I'll change the poll to reflect this question once the current poll ends. =)

(Of course, now I'm sure you're asking why this is being posted Tuesday morning - I started writing yesterday, but was abruptly called into work. Nobody's here yet, so I'm gonna try to sneak this out before the boss gets here.)

So, the topic today is casuals versus hardcore - basically, was it a good idea for Blizzard to have "dumbed down" content a bit to make it more accessible?

My short answer is yes. While I consider myself a hardcore, with a regular raiding schedule and a 100% raid attendance (barring personal disasters), I couldn't be happier that they recycled Naxx or made the content pretty easy to jump back into after a 10 level grind.

I will say I was disappointed with the nerfing of all the level 70 raid instances in some ways. Part of me wanted to run my head repeatedly into the Illidari Council until we got it, part of me wanted to tear my hair out when we finally got into Sunwell and couldn't get past Mu'ru, the guild breaker. It would have made me a better player had I been able to succeed past those things without the nerf. It took content that was challenging and fun and made it completely trivial. Granted, I'm also the kind of person who was against the attunements for instances being taken out - I've personally never downed Vashj or Kael because my previous guild was filled with people who did not know how to follow direction, and we skipped both those fights and immediately moved onto Hyjal and Black Temple... where we started skipping Archimonde.

It felt so very wrong to move onto the next tier of content without having completed the previous tier. That's the only part of progression that's been taken out that I really disagree with. You shouldn't move on to T8 content until you've finished T7 content. I really don't understand what's wrong with that idea. In my opinion, it's kind of like saying you should finish a 101 class before you move on to the 102 class.

I don't mind the idea of having some things be a little more accessible. Naxx is a fun raid and I'm glad a lot of people get to see it. I was one of the many that never got to see the 40-man iteration (truthfully, I never saw any of the level 60 raids at 60 - Eseten remains the only character I have ever managed to get to max level). So I'm glad that they took something they had put so much effort and work into and allowed it to be seen by a much larger population.

I can still stand out above the casuals with hard modes (whoot, go go Twilight Vanquisher - now onto Of the Nightfall!) and I think that's pretty cool. I think that's a good direction to take the game in - let the casuals have their fun to a certain extent, and let the hardcores still have something to work toward.

I will admit, however, that there is still that overall disappointment. I haven't seen anything in a while that could be considered "progression." It's been many, many months since I could say that. Working towards achievements is alright... but it's still the same boss with (in every case but 2/3 drake Sarth) the same rewards. All I get is a few achievement points that sit there and don't really do anything. I suppose they give me bragging rights, which is not all that different from saying "HAH, I've downed every boss in every instance, EAT THAT."

I guess I'm still a little torn on the situation. I suppose my argument is more that it makes sense why Blizzard did what they did. Is it really taking away from my fun, though? Does it hurt me directly that others are allowed to experience the same things? It would be a bit selfish to say yes to that.

But then, we're all a little selfish sometimes.


Brandon Tilley said...

I agree pretty wholeheartedly. While I too think that making heroics and entry-level raids more accessible to folks has given a lot of players opportunity to have more fun, I find myself longing for something a bit more challenging. I'm thankful that the "hard modes" in Ulduar will give more rewards than just achievements!

The one thing I really don't like about all this, however, is the effect it's appeared to have had on some players. How many of the folks I raid with (in my very casual guild) know how to CC in combat? My guess would be not many of them--the world has become gather trash, AoE, move on to gimmiky boss.

Yandrag said...

I think the content int his expansion is good for hardcore and for casual players. If you want it to be harder, you can make it harder with the achievements and, there is a patch to be released soon (3.1) wich will give us Ulduar, wich hopefully will please hardcore gamers.