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Playing with the next Expansion in mind.

08 Mar

For some, the next expansion will be the release of Ulduar.

For vanilla WoW, those kind of expansions brought Black Wing Lair and AQ.  In TBC they brought the Black Temple and then the Sun Well Plateau.

So, after Ulduar we’ll have one more mini-expansion with another big-time raid instance to look forward to.  And maybe, most likely, it’ll be eyeball rending painful like Sun Well Plateau and AQ40 were in their day.  Yay!  That’ll appeal to those who like salt in their wounds, who insert rocks in their loafers on purpose, and for whom head banging is not an act of structure demolition but honest to goodness migraine pain.  “BRING IT, OW!!, ON!”  Oh, yeah, there’s some that like that much of a challenge.  They can’t climb K2, or raft Moose River, prior commitments, you know?, so they’re eagerly looking forward to the Ulduar and the next instance following.

Me?  I’m going for breadth this time around.  Which means I’m not looking forward to Ulduar.  I don’t care about it’s imminent release.  My first exposure to raiding this go ’round was Heroic Naxx 25 and the experience, while fun, was nothing I’m Jonesing for now.  Safety Dance!  Plus Minus!  Watch the Priest run after MC breaks.  Tricks designed to keep 25 players busy.  Raid design just seems to be about ramping up tricks.  The tanks are bringing 30k health?  Hit them for 45k and hope they know enough to have their HOTs up.  Design it to require popping the flask at the exact moment the right number of hots hit, oh, and don’t forget you’ve got mobs coming from out of nowhere and targeting your squishies.  That’s raid design.

See, Raiding and Heroism ala the Story Books, have nothing much in common.  In your Story Books, you’ve got one Protagonist.  Maybe a small group.  That’s it.  Everyone else are just NPCs in the story.  They even coach the mid-game content where YOU are the hero, the long prophesied saviour, the one to right the wrong, rescue the princess.  It’s not Heroic to bring 25 well geared players and pwn the face off Vashj.  Bring 5 players.  Bring one Death Knight.  That’s Heroic.

Raiding’s also not bringing me anything the second half of any Expansion isn’t going to replace with quest reward greens and auction house blues.  Oh, wait, there’s the Safety Dance!  And Dragon Riding.  (Except I already ride lots of dragons for various dailies.)  Meh.

So I’m playing with the next Expansion in mind.  And the game’s been kind of helpful in that regard.  Consider all the ilevel 187 gear the crafters can make, for level 78.  And it’s all BoE and available to everyone.  So far I’ve made three full sets of Savage Saronite plate, for Msaker and our Death Knights.  I need to make at least one more for my Paladin.  I’ve crafted the epic shield for Msaker, Prot Warrior that he is, and a Titansteel Destroyer for my Paladin.  I think our Death Knights will look better with the Ebon Blade factions two-handed sword.  And Alliance side my Hunter will need to make 3 different sets of this ilevel 187 gear, two kinds of leather and one kind of mail.  (And if my Rogue gets his act in gear, the Hunter will be making four full sets, much the same as my Warrior.)

And 78 will be all I need to be to move on out in the new Expansion.  Whether it’s into the Maelstrom or the Emerald Dream.  If it’s still about a year out, if not a year and a half, I’ve got PLENTY of time to get every character I have ready.  And if I don’t have them ready in the wings, they’re all still bringing me amusement and fun.

And to those that say instances are well designed and expose the player to lots of new stuff, I’d agree.  But we’ve got quests that are fun too, and giving us clever new stuff to experience and enjoy.  I miss the dragon flight fight around Thorim’s throne, but I can still strip to the knickers and fly a dragon and slay it before it slays me, and do that once a day.

And the wife and I have yet to leave Grizzly Hills and head into Zul Drak with our Druids, 75 and 77 now.  And while Storm did a few quests for the Argent Crusade in his reaching 80 to raid, most the rest of Ice Crown remains unadventured in.

I’ve got tons left to keep me busy without being 80, and the Expansion will only open up another grand playground for me and the wife.  I don’t plan to, or need to, fast track to the end-game and burn out.

See you on the Kul Tiras docks.

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4 Comments

Posted by on March 8, 2009 in Musings

 

4 responses to “Playing with the next Expansion in mind.

  1. Plastic Rat

    March 9, 2009 at 4:36 am

    This, I think is why most so called ‘hardcore’ raiders get annoyed with the, so called, ‘casuals’.

    The majority of folks who ‘got’ raiding and were happy with it, were like pigs in mud with BC. They reveled in the challenge, enjoyed the teamwork, and embraced the issues of getting a bunch of unpaid volunteers to work together like a cohesive unit.

    The game has now been changed to allow folks who don’t want to give this level of commitment to the game, but still want the experience. Unfortunately now, most of these folks are again, not happy.

    “Naxx is boring.” (Yes it is now that it has been dumbed down for the masses…).

    “Raiding is silly, it’s just a bunch of learning to do tricks.” YES! YES PEOPLE! THAT’S WHAT COMPUTER GAMES ARE! Except that learning the tricks without the challenge and the teamwork gets old fast… if they’re easy tricks to learn… they GET BORING.

    So now what do we have?

    ‘Casuals’? Bored and unhappy. Don’t like this whole raiding thing after all. Going back to collecting vanity pets/mounts, leveling up alts and questing.

    ‘Hardcores’? Bored and unhappy. No challenge in raiding. Thinking of quitting the game (or have quit) for something that doesn’t spoonfeed them.

    So where to from here?

     
  2. Solidstate

    March 9, 2009 at 10:18 am

    Hit them for 45k and hope they know enough to have their HOTs up.

    You mean CDs.

    That’s raid design.

    The Heigan dance is an (individual) test of simply being able to pay attention to where the eruptions happened and running to where they are not. The only “trick” is to know not to overshoot in areas 1 and 4 which is what kills 90% of the people who die there. The rest has nothing to do with “tricks”, whatever that means.

    Many other difficult fights are a test of team-work, coordination and communication between people. Yes, mobs appearing mid-raid and going for your healers will require your DPS to stop focusing only on the boss (and on their damage-meter standing) and help out with the adds as required. This is not a trick. This is a simple issue of people needing to follow a tactic in an intelligent manner. A bot could play a char standing in one place and nuking for X minutes. This is not a raid… (Patchwerk, being a single fight and defined as a gear check, can be excused).

    As for Thaddius’s +/- mechanic, it’s a slightly more elaborate version of the heroic Mech first boss. It’s not new. It’s not especially tricky. The only trick in that fight is the jump from the platforms to where the boss is, and frankly Blizzard could have done without that annoying jump :)

    The large hits on tanks (a-la Malygos’s breath or Sartharion soft-enrage with drakes up) are slightly over the top, but this is top-level content. If you don’t feel up for it, fine, there is (as you rightly pointed out) plenty to keep a casual player happy. But large spiky damage is something raiders have been working with since vanilla WoW. It used to be called Crushing Blows, now it’s magical breath damage – but it is pretty much the same thing. There’s actually quite an excellent article on WoW Insider about it.

    Kinless this is your blog and you’re free to rant as you see fit but frankly I think both you and Plastic Rat have it wrong. Raiding should not ONLY be so hard only 10% of players can do it (vanilla, TBC) or ONLY so easy 70% finish it months before the next content is ready (Naxxramas). It should be a mix, something for everybody. Some people enjoy a hard challenge – this isn’t a form of mazochism as you seem to imply, just as climbing K2, as hard and taxing as it is, is not a form of mazochism.

    It’s not Heroic to bring 25 well geared players and pwn the face off Vashj.

    Sure it is. Heroism is in the eye of the beholder :)

    Bring 5 players. Bring one Death Knight. That’s Heroic.

    Wait… 5? 1? Make up your mind? I think you need a better definition of “heroic”, you seemed to be confused about it yourself :)

    Anyway for 1-on-many Diablo was lots of fun, personally I’m looking forward to Diablo 3 :)

    I miss the dragon flight fight around Thorim’s throne.

    Lot’s of fun, that. In fact the entire quest-chain was fun, nothing like mucking about in inter-deity-politics to spice up your life :)

     
  3. Kinless

    March 9, 2009 at 7:55 pm

    Hey guys. Yeah, I got off on a tangent with the raiding bit there.

    I originally was just posting a thought about “Now that I’ve reached 78, and in my crafted iLevel 187 gear, and I’m not raiding, I’m pretty much ready for the next expansion.”

    The rest, yeah, kind of got away from me. ;)

     
  4. Samownall

    March 12, 2009 at 4:15 pm

    “The rest, yeah, kind of got away from me.”

    My blog posts always do as well :)

     

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