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The false memory of WoW's difficult past

The false memory of WoW past
Vanilla raiding was not mechanically more difficult than current raiding. In fact, in terms of encounter difficulty, raiding in World of Warcraft has never been as challenging to remember and execute as it is right now. Fights like Lei Shen, Twin Consorts, Iron Qon, and Durumu ask players to learn mechanics and execute awareness at a level rivaled only by fights like Mimiron's Firefighter mode. And I'm not even talking heroic difficulty for those fights. Yes, it was often harder to get 40 people together, I'm not disputing that. But that's not design difficulty, that's social difficulty. The argument that WoW was objectively harder back then is beyond absurd.

I was there for all of those raids. I've raided in vanilla, in BC, in Wrath, and in Cataclysm. I've done hard modes and heroic modes since they were introduced. I'm neither the cutting edge progression raider nor someone who raids occasionally for fun -- I've been everywhere from a raider pushing for realm firsts to one leading a semi-casual 10-man while tanking. One thing I can and will say with absolute certainty is this: every single expansion to World of Warcraft has increased the complexity of the raid design.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, The Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria

Why loot drama happens (and how to prevent it)

I like this post over at I am a Paladin -- it's a pretty insightful look at why drama is so easy to come by in bigger guilds. Blizzard has done almost everything they can to divide loot fairly (and they're still working on it, with the addition of more token systems), and there are certainly plenty of systems out there to try and keep things as fair as possible. Still, as long as there are only a few rewards to split among 25 people in a raid, there will always be loot drama -- as IaaP says, when people aren't rewarded for their hard work (or at least they perceive that), then frustrations start to set in. And gone unchecked, that can lead to jealousy or resentment, which leads to anger, and that all leads to the kind of spectacular guild breakups you can read about in Guildwatch.

So how can you avoid all that?

If the main reason people start causing drama is that they don't feel rewarded, then you've got to find a way to reward them. That might mean going with a more fair loot system (I've been in a few guilds that have switched to DKP at the first hint of drama), it might mean changing up the way you run things (by switching groups around or switching roles in a raid), or it might mean stepping back down into an easier raid to better gear up some of your members.

As long as Blizzard requires more members than loot in a raid, there will always be imbalances, but hopefully most drama issues can be avoided if everyone realizes that though any given piece of loot might get passed out unfairly, there'll always be enough to go around.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Guilds, Instances, Raiding

Quests added to mob tooltips on the PTR

The Godmother over at ALT:ernative ducked into the PTR recently, and noticed something new: Blizzard is apparently testing adding Questhelper-style notes to tooltips of the quest-related mobs you come across. This looks so familiar that I thought it was an addon, but no, apparently Blizzard really is planning to tell you when a mob you're looking at happens to be the target of a quest.

It shocked me for a second -- not only is this dumbing down the questing game even further (maybe someday we will have a large red arrow pointing out a quest target from zones away), but it seems to be an awfully big break in immersion. Blizzard is basically telling you that "this is the mob you need, right here," and actually reading the quest text becomes even less necessary.

But then I realized that tooltips themselves aren't exactly paragons of game immersion -- it's already a little jump in the reality of the game to see a box with a mob's name and level whenever you mouse over it. Tooltips are already where the UI meets the road, so to speak. And as for the "dumbing down" of the game, most experienced players already had this functionality through addons like Questhelper and MonkeyQuest anyway (and if you do plan to complain that this makes things way too easy, make sure Questhelper is out of your Addon directory before you start typing). But if the tips stay in the game when the patch goes live, questing will be that much easier for people who stick to the basic UI.

Filed under: Patches, Items, Analysis / Opinion, Quests, Leveling, Wrath of the Lich King

"Leading the Cavalry" achievement lowered to 50 mounts


Looks like our little survey of mounts available for the Leading the Cavalry achievement found some ground at Blizzard -- they've lowered the number of necessary mounts from 75 to 50 in the latest beta build. Seventy-five mounts is a lot, and even though, yes, we didn't actually count any of the mounts coming in Wrath of the Lich King (surely there are plenty there), Tauren especially would have trouble coming up with that many things to ride around.

And as you can see, the prize for having way more mounts than you'd ever need is... another mount. You can nab an Albino Netherdrake (a few commenters say it's just a drake, but that model looks like a netherdrake to me) for completing the achievement. We can say this: it'll definitely stand out in a crowd. But the green and the white together? The skin may change before launch, but maybe we don't actually need to bother getting those 50 mounts after all...

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Mounts, Wrath of the Lich King, Achievements

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