You may remember the raiding guild Risen, from the Alleria server, for their work in Naxxaramas back before The Burning Crusade, being among the first to grab Atiesh and the Corrupted Ashbringer. They're back at the forefront of WoW news again, but this time for a different reason. They've decided to tap out of raiding until WoTLK, and they aren't being very shy about telling us why, with a post on their website under the oh-so-witty title "World of Casualcraft."
The announcement post on their website starts suspiciously like your classic general forums rant posted by a level 5 anonymous alt: They're mad that any level 70 scrub can waltz in and grab t6 gear from badges come 2.4. They say that all the time they spent farming instances has been for "nothing." Failure (the poster of the entry) continues on to say that "about 2 weeks ago it became official. No, Risen is not a dead guild. We are a group of gamers that likes being the best we can be. Well, WoW isn't about that anymore, so we are taking WoW for what it is - casual."
He goes on to rant a bit more, saying that he's seen the decline of the game since Black Temple itself, calling the encounters there (which he admits other guilds such as Nihilum praised) overly easy, and calling the Sunwell encounters more of the same. He says that since they will have "nothing to show" for all their farming of BT, just as they have "nothing to show" for all their farming of AQ and Naxxaramas, it's not worth going on.
It seems that Failure and the rest of Risen have the same problem that so many other guilds have... They don't understand that you NEVER really beat an MMORPG. You never really have "something to show" for it if all you're after is the loot. If all you're after is the loot, you have to understand that pretty much all MMORPGs have always eventually had better loot and more stuff to conquer. If you don't, where's the line? Do you keep all loot the same as Karazhan loot, so no-one feels like they have "nothing to show" for killing Prince Malchezaar? It may be hard to believe now, but clearing Karazhan used to be kind of a big deal. Today's massive challenge is the boss you're a scrub for not being able to one-shot tomorrow. It's been that way for quite some time.
As it is, I think Blizzard is probably showing that they've actively learned from that anyway. The big complaint that so many people had was that they were a little put off that they could replace their most uber gear with level 61 greens off of Hellboars. Now honestly, I think that was a bit of an exaggeration. I was wearing a lot of my Stormrage gear out of BWL for healing well into my mid-60s, and I know some people kept their tier 3 gear and weapons well into the late 60s and up to 70. It looks to me like Blizzard falling into that same pattern again. By giving everyone the chance to upgrade to T6 level before the expansion, they can justify letting T6 gear stay viable longer into the expansion. Since more people will have it, they can wait until the late 70s before making T6 equivalent gear actually drop normally. They can let you get more use out of your gear. But to do that, they need to make it available to more people, so there's not such as "haves v. have-nots" gear gap leveling up, and you don't have people struggling to overcome a T6-attuned Utgarde Keep while those who started with T6 are already well into Icecrown Glacier.
In addition, I question whether it's really going to be as simple as a bunch of casual scrubs running around in badge gear. Really, we're talking about 150 badges for a weapon, 60 badges for a ring, and other totals such as that. This is hardly a few casual heroic runs. Saving up all the badges one needs for these things is likely going to take months. You'll see some dedicated "casual hardcore" types who play a lot and run a lot of heroics getting this stuff, maybe, but your average player will need as much as two months to save up the badges for the bigger ticket items, I imagine. And even after they have the items, they'll either need to shell out 15 badges or a few hundred gold for the top end epic gems to socket it. I think, especially with mobs dropping badges and extra set gear pieces, the raiders will easily be kitted out first.
As far as challenge... well, even Failure admits that guilds like Nihilum actually praised the design of fights like Illidan and the Reliquary of Souls. Really, I wonder if Risen isn't experiencing a bit of sour grapes. After all, they were only 3rd to kill Illidan himself, so apparently he wasn't THAT easy for them. Regardless, I know some pretty bright people who still had trouble learning Black Temple and Hyjal, so I don't think it was all that simple.
So in the end, while I'm glad Risen put their money where there mouth is and actually quit raiding, I can't say I agree with their points, and find the way they were raised to be more than a bit off-putting. I'm pretty happy with Blizzard right now, and I'm looking forward to Wrath of the Lich King. I wish Risen luck however, maybe they can find a game more to their liking.
What do you think? Does Risen have a point about this whole WoW as a casual game thing? Or is it much QQ about nothing?
[Thanks to Tazor of Casually Addicted for passing this along to us!]