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5-24-2011 @ 7:20PM
@John,"I call them my friends whom I want to play WoW with and not get angry at."I don't have a problem with that. That's a great goal! I'm the same way. I like to play with my friends too.Video games have never really been about "play with anyone at any skill level" though. You can just play with your friends in Halo, but if they're not any good at it (like me!) your group will not win very much and not have a fun time. Same for Starcraft. Those are against other players though, true. What about a single player game? Well, you could do Halo co-op...but you'll still get destroyed on the harder difficulties if your friends aren't any good. There you have the choice of a lower difficulty level. How about Portal 2? Well, I've not actually done the co-op yet, but if you and your friend can't solve the puzzles you aren't going anywhere. If there are any "shoot the portal at just this time" like there was in Portal 1 (which there probably are), you and your friend will need some level of coordination and reflexes.Many, many video games have required a certain "skill" or "competency" level to progress. This is true for both solo and multi-player. This is not a new concept at all. At it's heart, there is nothing wrong with the idea of a difficult video game. The place WoW runs into trouble is the lack of difficulty VARIETY. Halo has 4 difficulty levels. So does Starcraft 2. The Warcraft RTS had difficulty levels, as did Diablo. At the release of a current raid, it has a normal level and a hard level. It lacks that easy level that a significant portion of the playerbase likes. It's the "easy" level that lets you play with just about anyone, to get your friends into the raid even they just aren't very good. Interestingly, the only time WoW has had that Easy level present from the beginning of a raid was Naxxrammas. It wasn't present at the beginning of ICC. Well, the first few bosses were, but the rest of the place was pretty rough until the stacking buff hit.It's interesting. I don't recall such an outcry at the release of Ulduar, most of which was also very rough, but came right after the ease of Naxx. My guess is that it's mostly related to the lack of any raid content to run. Even with Ulduar, people could go back and run Naxx again if they wanted something to do. Also, it's possible the, uh, "easy raiding boom" didn't happen until later. Possibly people expected Naxx to be the exception, so when Ulduar was hard and not cleared by many, it was just business as usual. That mentality shifted with ToC and ICC. Interesting how it started shifting with ToC, despite how nasty the Faction Champions fight was.One of WoW's difficulties with, uh, difficulty lies in the "reason people raid." Overwhelmingly, it appears to me that people raid for loot. While loot is nice, it's a lot better to raid just for the fun of it. Perhaps that's just my perception. Maybe I'm wrong...but I don't think so. So in addition to the difficulty level, Blizzard has to balance the reward element. Plus, with raiding (partly due to that reward element) people tend to start at the lowest raid level and then move up. I worry that if an "easy level" was added that raiders who should be on normal would start at easy, then move up. This would contribute to burnout I think. A rough problem to solve for Blizzard.This is a lot longer than I intended, so back to the original point which is that historically, it is quite common for a video game to require some minimum competency level. This certainly varies from game to game, but I think it's pretty unique to MMOs to see this sort of "I want to play with my friends but can't" problem show up. Oh, I'm sure it's happened in many games, but the complaints don't crop up, probably because most other games are pretty static. Anyway, it's certainly a reasonable request that makes sense, but it's still seems odd to me. Not odd that you want to play with your friends, but odd that you want to alter the game to fit your needs. Most times, when a game is too hard people just find a new game. I'm not advocating that (well, to an extent I am, don't play something that's not fun!), but it's certainly more common to stop playing the game than to try to change it...except for MMOs. They are an odd creature indeed.
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