So, the casuals are ruining WoW for everyone.
(No wait. That’s a miserable opening. Let me try again.)
So, the hardcore players are ruining WoW for everyone.
(Actually, that’s crap too. Let’s give it one more try. They do say third time’s a charm and all that.)
So, WoW has changed. Some people like it, some people don’t and all people are talking about it. Now I firmly believe that the definition of hardcore is “anyone who plays more than you” and that the definition of casual is likewise “anyone who plays less than you” and I always marvel about how you have managed to find that perfect balance between success in WoW and success and happiness in life-that’s-not-WoW. It sort of reminds me of when we get together for family gatherings and everyone in the world except the person talking is a shitty driver who should have their license revoked and/or be sentenced to a firing squad. Perception, people. It’s all about perception.
WoW and life balance is an overarching theme of this blog and I will freely admit that I play more WoW than I should. I ignore my family/friends sometimes because I’d rather do this raid or get that level or farm for the other rare pet. I have knocked off work early to rush home and play, I’ll admit that. I’ve neglected the household chores on saturdays and spent all day in front of the computer. I’d say I spend on average as much time in WoW as I do at work, on any given week.
That being said, I don’t feel I’m addicted. Or at least, if I am, it’s a manageable addiction. I don’t get grouchy or twitchy when I can’t play Warcraft. I don’t play even when I don’t really want to play. I try to budget my time better and I purposely make leisure time to do things that are not WoW. So I think I’m a moderately hardcore player. I play a lot, I spend a lot of time out of game thinking and reading and writing and talking about WoW and I am competative and goal-driven when I do play.
If I fall around the 7.5 mark of a 1-10 Hardcoredness scale, I can also say that I know lots of players in and around a 2 or 3 and a few that are pushing 9 or 10. We have a pretty good spectrum in our guild, and we do our best to accomodate as many of the different styles of play and measures of dedication to the game. The people who just don’t give a crap enough to get their act together and be conscientious, capable, team-oriented raiders with the rest of the guild frustrate me, but no more so than the people who play 12 hours a day, get all the gear and levels and arrogance that goes along with it and cause a month-long drama-rama. I don’t think either hardcore players or casual players have ruined the game. I don’t think the game is ruined at all!
What I think the game is is mature. The WoW-playing community has changed. It has expanded, it has grown and it has grown up. Gamers in general are more discerning, they want prettier scenecery, more life-like characters and more intersting game worlds to explore. I think for the most part that Blizzard has done a very nice job of changing the game to reflect the maturing tastes of its subscribers. On the whole I think that gear is better looking, quests are more engaging and original, dungeons are more interesting and involved and boss fights have new and intersting mechanics.
(zomg please don’t post about how many ‘kill n critters’ or ‘go over there and get me Y random doohickies’ style quests there are. There are still some lame-o, grind-tastic, boring, poorly designed or just plain broken quests. I’m talking a general trend in game design here, don’t kill it with details.)
I like the new graphics, I like the new quests, I like the new dungeons and bosses. I like the idea of dual specs – I think that is a huge change for the better. I like the idea of 10 and 25 man versions of the same dungeons. I like what they have done in terms of world PvP, in terms of the (ugh!) rep grinds and for the most part I like the achievements.
For the most part.
I understand what Blizz has done in implementing the achivement system in order to give the more hardcore players something a little meatier to work with. However, I really think that they have fallen short of the mark. Yes, you can do dungeons and bosses with less people, more adds, no deaths or other convoluted circumstances and if you manage to overcome despite the odds being stacked against you, you get that fancy ding! sound and light show. I like that. What I don’t like is that the achievements don’t cater to my ego enough. Not enough! My ego demands more recogniton! Getting the best gear from the hardest dungeons and a rare pet and an expensive mount is all about chilling in Ironforge or Shattrath or Dalaran and having every lowbie and sundry player who walks by you check you out and be jealous at how awesome you are. Achievements need to cater to that gamer ego more. More titles. More mounts. More more more! If I am so awesome that I can get these achievements, I want everyone to know it!
The other thing that pisses me off about achievements is the points system. I have heard in the wind that there may come a time that you can spend the points on mounts/tabbards/pets/gears etc etc and lawdy I hope that never comes to pass. You can spend PvP/arena points on PvP gear so everyone can see how awesome a PvPer you are. You can spend raiding tokens on raid gear so that everyone can see how awesome a raider you are. If you can spend achievement points on gear (or other items) then my points that I have earned through performing death-defying feats in raid dungeons will be worth exactly the same as someone who did all the holiday achievements or got a lot of noncom pets. That does not feed the Hardcore Ego, and it does defeat the entire purpose of putting in the raid achievements in the first place.
As I said above, our guild is a spectrum of players and that spectrum is (to a large extent) a reflection of the specturm of WoW players in general. There are people who log on once a week and there are people who only log off once a week. I know from the standpoint of a Guild Leader that is pretty much an impossible task to please all of these people all of the time. But we do try. We do things for the casuals and we do things for the more hardcore and I think for the most part we succeed. Our guild has changed and grown since it’s inception and I think we’re a more stable, more successful and more mature guild than the awkward, knobble-kneed little fledgeling we were two years ago. And I know Blizzard is in the same situation. They have the same spectrum of players and play styles to keep happy (read: paying subscription fees) and I actually think they have done quite well. The game is better, the game is more acessable at all levels of play and it has a nicer, more polished, more mature feel to it. This is a game that changes and adapts and grows. It’s not a one-hit wonder.
I applaud Blizzard’s efforts to make the game better for everyone. I think the WoW universe is a better one today than it was even when TBC was released. I think that there is more fun to be had in it for everyone, and I think it will keep on getting better and better.
Except for the BM hunter nerfs in patch 3.08. You can fold those till they’re all corners and shove them! *grumble*