Virtually every player eagerly embraced the advent of facts, figures, and formulae driving the game when they first began to trickle through to the player base some years ago. We scoured forums, fan sites, and data-driven websites like Wowhead. A way to tell which gear worked best for your character? Sweet. Community managers and devs who actually explained and discussed game mechanics? Utterly amazing. It was a brave new world and an entirely new way to play. Gone were the days when players murmured longingly of eloquently named pieces whose names evoked the epic locations they came from. Now, it was all about tiers. We argued endlessly over the correct numerical sequencing of armor sets –- remember the etymological debate over "Dungeon 2" vs. "Tier 0.5"?
A little bit of knowledge about how to tinker under the hood is absolutely a positive and helpful thing. Today, we expect free access to ability and spell mechanics and a point-by-point road map to gearing up. But at some point, overachievers that we humans are, so many numbers can make the game feel more like a checklist of benchmarks than a storied progression of fantastic encounters and arcane gear.
Whether or not all the analysis gets under your skin, it's easy to see how this emphasis on precision and analysis evolved. The question is, do you think that this is merely a subjective matter of roleplay immersion in the fantasy aspect of World of Warcraft, or do you think the attitude actually reduces the game in spirit and heart? Do the vistas and horizons of Azeroth ever seem uncomfortably closer when every step is paved with a formula pointing to your destination? Where do we stand on the balance scale of pre-analyzing and measuring how the numbers stack up vs. gaining a feel from experience for how things work in the world of Azeroth?
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