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2-01-2012 @ 12:18PM
I think Blizzard is starting to understand the type of model their philosophy supports, though they're still a little bit away. Raid Finder is actually the CLOSEST they've come yet, and I'm excited to see where it leads.In early Cataclysm, everything was supremely difficult. CC was essential, healing was like climbing a rope without hands or feet, tanks were dancing the edge of a blade, and gear was hard-won. Was this fun? For some - not for me. (Tell you why in a second.)Several tiers later, all of that is covered in dust, because the two things it had going for it (the challenge and the rewards) aren't there anymore. About the only value in going back would be to earn achievements. Dragon Soul is one of the better-tuned raids so far, with each tier providing an appropriate challenge to its target audience. Except, with it being an appropriate challenge, gearing up makes it less so, and it essentially graduates its target audience out, potentially placing them in a position they're not inclined to.So, what's fun? Well, to be honest, straight numbers games aren't fun to me. I don't enjoy Patchwerk-style fights, where you simply stand still and pump out the numbers, and the "challenge" is in keeping your numbers high enough, long enough. To me, that's like the trick where you balance spinning plates on poles.What is fun to me is variation, unpredictability, and performance. I enjoy bosses like Anhur, where you abruptly have to jump down, defend a switch, and then run back and tag the boss. I enjoy the goo-gobbling Abomination of Putricide. I enjoy the poison race of Venoxis. I enjoy the jousting of the Tournament (...in concept. The execution didn't quite hold up.) I enjoy the totem-throw of Bane. I enjoy the Spine of Deathwing, where you're not simply killing a thing, you're doing one thing that affects another thing that affects another thing that unlocks the actual target. I even enjoy the gauntlet of Skadi, and bringing down his mount. To me, these fights bring back memories of earlier days, and of games like the Legend of Zelda. It wasn't simply "keep shooting and don't stand in the fire". That was there, sure, but they were considered baseline. The real point was in understanding the nature of the boss, using its abilities against it, and discovering its weakness.Is gear nice? Sure. But with the addition of LFR, the three difficulty levels, and the direction they seem to be headed, I wonder if gear is becoming an automatic part of the progression, and not the goal. I also find that I don't mind.
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