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2-01-2012 @ 11:02AM
No, it's not a bad thing. As long as you don't mind your subscriber base logging in, gearing up in a week, messing around for another two or three, then unsubscribing until you can rush more content out.Oh, is that NOT what we want? Hmm.. might want to delay some of that gratification then. I've been harping for a while on the "cater to the casuals" model. It's not an elitist thing. It's not a hating on the casuals thing. I don't twist my mouth at the bitterness of uttering a pejorative like "casual". It is just that I think that WoW has drifted away from the model that made it successful in the first place . I read an article about 2 years ago that talked about the genius of the MMO model; balancing overlapping task / reward projects so that the player is constantly engaged. Effectively, to make it work, you have to offer short-term tasks that provide marginal rewards while also offering long-term projects that provide more substantial rewards. Ideally, the longer, more difficult the task, the greater the payoff.Sadly, I have seen what I perceive to be Blizzard moving WoW into full-blown "instant gratification" mode. While that's initially lauded by the players (like handing out nothing but sugary candy to children), it is fundamentally flawed. Players - even the oft-chided casuals - burn through content at a rapid pace, obtain all the rewards with little to no effort, and then lose interest. The only way to keep them engaged (and, by extension, subscribing) is the churn out more and more content. It becomes a race, and once the bar is lowered so that high-end rewards result from marginal effort, there is no turning back the clock.Most players complained loudly about the early Cataclysm model - but I didn't. It was a breath of fresh air. For all it's reported difficulty, early Cata had NOTHING on BC. And I distinctly remember thinking "Maybe they can slow things down a bit." Clearly, that has not been the result, and I fear - genuinely, not out of spite or frustration, a latent sense of elitism or any negativity toward the so-called "casual" playerbase - that this marks the beginning of the end of WoW.
2-01-2012 @ 12:17PM
At the start of Cataclysm, I looked at things like the guild rep cap and thought "Blizzard must want us to play our alts almost as much as we play our mains!" And having come straight from the Wrath model of easy heroics you could chain-run with friends any time you pleased, I believed it--after all, how accessible was gearing up an alt in Wrath? Very.Sadly, the rest of the game didn't seem to agree. Everything was less accessible and grindier. I had to set aside large chunks of time to do even a single heroic on the off chance it was Deadmines (The Mario tunnel especially). Then 4.1 hit, and I couldn't even cap my VP like that--I had to clear the Zul instances, which were aggravating exercises in repetitive tedium to say the least. And that was just on my main.Put simply, I was having more fun with Wrath and its more casual-friendly model than I was having with Cataclysm until patch 4.3 hit. Being able to queue for all the expansion's heroic dungeons and cap my Valour Points? Fantastic. Being able to mix up my VP gain with LFR runs if I so choose? Brilliant.LFR itself providing the much-desired "Easy" difficulty setting, and promoting being able to drop in and out as life permits *and* not being punished for doing so? Beautiful. LFR allowing all players to--for the first time in this entire game--follow along with the entire story? Incredible.Early Cataclysm was simply not entertaining.
2-01-2012 @ 3:06PM
Blayze: was that a mis-post? Your response has literally nothing to do with Aranyszin's point. It's a canned response about how your casual play-style should be catered to because you're entitled to "see the content."You're not wrong. But Aranyszin isn't either. WoW kind of trapped itself under the weight of its own design.The problem Aranyszin is getting at is that the current model of the game isn't sustainable at all because the amount of in-game time required to "finish" current content is so low that they could never keep up with anyone who isn't artificially gating the content for themselves. Assuming even mild preparedness, the casual-est of players could have completed all of the content for this patch in their first 12-20 hours of play time. Think about that for a minute. Gear and repeating stuff you've done already does NOT equate to content. For someone who doesn't care about repeating content on alts or on higher difficulties or stockpiling gear that's readily replaced with equivalent or better next patch, you're done. You could sub for a week, see ALL the content, then unsub and not have missed anything.What NEEDS to happen is for raid content to stop being the cat's meow among MMO players and for Blizzard to come up with way more ways to play at end-game that are not only relevant, but also have some durability so you can't just finish in a week (by a very reasonable definition of "finish"), but that also isn't trivially easy, impossibly difficult or annoyingly grindy.Whoever can come up with that game will win MMO forever.
2-01-2012 @ 3:50PM
@SmashboltWow, after reading your response, I have to say - I wish I had said it that well. I think my posts (especially those in the past) have been too laden with my frustration about what I perceive to be Blizzard making WoW to easy - it has tended to sound like the stock "Quit dumbing down for the bads" line we have been hearing from the so-called "hard cores". I would prefer to have a discussion that didn't divide the WoW gaming community into the "haves" (the hard-core) and the "have-nots" (the casuals) because it just starts an "us v. them" battle among the player base. I just happen to be of the opinion that there is nothing wrong with making advanced content harder to see, harder to reach and harder to conquer; nor is there anything wrong with expecting players to invest large amounts of time to reach it. But you raise an EXCEPTIONAL point - if they are going to raise the bar to raid back to BC and earlier levels, they need to have an engaging alternative that appeals to and is rewarding for the casual player who either wishes not to or does not have the freedom to invest large blocks of time in playing the game.I just deeply wish we could return to the earlier model, because I think it hit that balance better than the slippery slope I think we are on now.
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