Wednesday, October 21, 2009

On Difficulty and Guilds

Larisa wrote an interesting post on difficulty in WoW entitled Why I Don't Want to Hear Another "WoW is Too Easy" Statement. Her response sums up a lot of my feelings on this issue.

However, I've been thinking a bit more about this issue, and have been looking at guild rankings at Guild Progress. I've also been reading a lot of Regency novels lately, and am inspired to make an analogy which may or may not reflect reality.

In Wrath, I think PvE guilds can be categorized as follows (for raiding purposes). All numbers are approximate:

Royalty - The two hundred guilds which can clear everything, including Trial of the Grand Crusader.

The Aristocracy - The three thousand guilds which can defeat at least one boss in TotGC--or some Ulduar Keeper hard modes--and thus are working their way through hard modes.

The Gentry - The ten thousand guilds which can defeat regular Trial of the Crusader, but haven't been able to advance into the hard modes.

The Bourgeoisie - The next ten thousand guilds which are working their way through Trial of the Crusader. Also includes those guilds working on Naxxramas and Ulduar. Basically any guild that is still working on normal difficulty content.

The Proletariat - Our beloved casuals. All the other guilds which are levelling or making alts or doing 5-mans, and haven't really gotten into raiding yet.

At different points in WoW history, different sections complain about different things. In Vanilla and TBC, a lot of the complaints about raiding came from the Bourgeoisie, who were unable to break into raiding at all.

However, I think the current complaints about WoW being too easy are coming from the Gentry. They can beat regular modes fairly easily, but hard modes are completely beyond their touch. This means that they see hard modes as something for the "crazy hardcore" and not for "normal people". And the problem is compounded in that a lot of people who are active in the WoW community via blogs or forums come from the Gentry.

Whereas both Larisa and I are in guilds which are in the Aristocracy, which can beat some of the hard modes. So to us, complaining that WoW is too easy smacks of whining. The content is there to be beaten.

The real problem is that the Gentry is currently too large. Too many guilds are in that gap between hard modes and regular modes. It needs to be shrunk from both ends. The difficulty of the first two bosses in TotGC should be reduced a little bit, and the difficulty of the last two bosses in TotC should be increased a little bit. That should create a more gradual path. Ulduar is a fairly good example of this, as the jump from Yogg-Saron to the first few hard modes is not that large.1

The Gentry need something to work on, otherwise they will be unhappy. Ideally, a lot of them should be in the lower ranks of the Aristocracy or upper ranks of the Bourgeoisie. Too many guilds in that gap causes a lot of complaining.

1Actually, I think Yogg+4 could be reduced in difficulty. It seems just slightly too hard for it's placement. But it's not all that bad to have a hard end boss.

43 comments:

Larísa said...

You nailed it, Rohan! I often think in pictures when I'm trying to understand things. This picture was damned good.

Actually, being in an Aristrocratic guild, we would be very pleased to receive some fresh blood from the Gentry. We're slowly bleeding members to other games and to real life (veterans calling it a day.) I think there are some potential aristracrats who are more scared of the aristocracy than they need to be. If they tried it for real they could very well get as hooked as we are. And since the gear difference is eaven nowadays, there isn't much to stop them, more than their own attitude.

ColinSFX said...

Your breakdown was great, and I totally agree with you. The WoM post and the general tone of the community/blogosphere lately has left me sour.

I'm not sure why, but WoW players seem inclined to complain and judge more than your average human. That has always seemed the problem to me rather than technical issues with the game. This latest pet cause of "too easy raiding" is just the latest in a series of nostalgia horses that get trotted out a couple of times an year to catalyze complaints. Let's keep on beatin' it! But seriously, if "raiding is too easy" is the lowest common denominator that people can come up to bitch about (remembering that there is no such thing as content WoW players) then I think Blizzard is doing pretty well.

Can't wait for Cataclysm!

Rhii said...

I don't know, I'm seeing complaints from the "Aristocracy". They go something like this: "We've done the easy modes and we CAN do the hard modes, but it's boring WE DON'T WANNA, give us something NEW".

Speaking from the ranks of the Proletariat, it's mighty annoying. And a bit demeaning to hear the ANYBODY CAN RAID battlecry being hoisted all over the internets, and being completely unable to break into it myself. Makes me feel like something the cat dragged in.

In my opinion the problem is not that the content is "too hard" or "too easy". I'm a good player, not a nitwit, and I know my class. It's that the old content is "too obsolete". Everyone is TOO progressed, so for all intents and purposes there's no entry level at all right now. Making it hard for newcomers to get in.

forthebubbles said...

That's a good way of putting it.

We're solidly in that Gentry, and damn, but it's not always a fun place to be (especially not as a recruitment officer).

Also, I get more page referrals from your site EVERY DAY than anyone else. LUFFS.

Shayzani said...

I don't think its accurate or fair to say that its mostly just the people beneath you that are doing all the griping.

Also, and I know this is nitpicky, do we really need more terms to label players with that evoke such elitist/classist sentiments?

Rohan said...

@Larisa, the thing is that the Gentry are successful guilds. They've beaten all the content on normal, and can expect to beat all the content in Icecrown. Loot is coming in at a steady pace and their characters are improving. It's not like a guild which is going nowhere.

So going to the Aristocracy is a big risk. New people, having to leave friends, going to a place which has a hardcore and somewhat unfriendly reputation. That's a lot for just doing hard modes. And most Gentry guilds will get destroyed by Heroic Beasts, and thus see Hard Modes as something for the Ensidias and Premonitions of the world, and not really something aimed at them.

Quite honestly, if I was in a stable Gentry guild, I would probably stick with them and not want to move. My goal is to see the content and kill Arthas, and I can do that with a Gentry guild.

@Rhii, my recommendation for you would be to target the Gentry guilds. Look at Guild Progress, identify the guilds in your band, and whisper someone in the guild asking to talk about recruitment. Check out their website and put in an app if the guild looks good.

Most Gentry guilds cannot afford to be excessively picky, and since they can already beat all normal content, picking up a slightly undergeared player is not that bad, especially if the player demonstrates that they know how to play.

@Shayzani, I'm not badmouthing the Gentry guilds. I think they do have a legitimate complaint. A lot of the problem is that the different strata each consider themselves as "normal" (even the Royalty, see EJ) and don't really see the perspective of the other strata.

As for the labels, the hierarchy exists already. Trying to pretend it doesn't exist is foolish.

Lance said...

Your `social' layering there is the best analogy I have seen for the Wow community for a loooong time. Very imaginative.

I think a side-effect of the current game difficulty - and I think you have mentioned it before - is each layers replenishment (usually from the immediate lower). But that deserves a post on its own...

Babar said...

I really agree on the end bosses in normal being too easy and the first hardmodes being too difficult. My guild is currently working on Anub hardmode, but Northrend Beasts are probably harder than the two bosses after.

I remember people were complaining when they nerfed FL+4, but I thought it was perfectly ok, even though we had already killed it. It was way too hard for being the first hardmode. I really think hardmodes should progress the same way easy modes do, with the first ones being a little harder than the last normal mdoes.

Elleiras said...

I'm one of those whining Aristocrats. :) (I was going to say "unrepentant, whining Aristocrats," but Rhii's perspective forces me to rethink that.)

I think my frustrations are exacerbated by the fact that I am a guild leader as well as a raider. I know what motivates me: fresh -- not necessarily new, but please don't make hard-mode "kill 10 /more/ rats"! -- and challenging content. But at the end of the day, what motivates the 24 other people I raid with is more important to me.

Your analogy puts an interesting spin on that. Surreality started in the Proletariat (I created it as a haven for a few close friends and real life family members after a nasty bit of drama with our WoW guild), and over the course of two expansions ascended to the Aristocracy. I'm starting to realize that that kind of upward mobility is rare; your analogy really drives it home.

The challenge -- and a major source of frustration for me, because I feel personally responsible for everyone who wears my tag -- is that we've lost members along the way because they were content to remain in one strata while the rest of us were reaching for the next. The TBC model of raiding -- with its long attunements and harder baseline level of difficulty -- enabled us to straddle the line between Gentry and Aristocracy. Wrath forced us to choose, and that choice cost us members who I had come to consider a part of our family.

I don't think I realized until I read this post how much I resent that.

You've given me something new to think about. Thank you!

Adgamorix said...

As a member of a select royalty - I think it's great. To clarify - I'm not part of the royalty that does 25s - only 10s.

While I'd love to do the 25s, we got burnt out being in a Gentry guild - so 10 RL friends broke off to do 10s only. It's fun,it's extremely rewarding - and there's a lot less stress.

I don't know if that means that we're still Royalty or not though. Maybe a Duke instead of the King.

Khrakan - Paladin, Shandris Realm said...

The only thing I'd point out is that when you segment a group of people, you want to have it either equal in terms of content or populations. The problem with this is you have detailed segments of the guilds doing ToC, but group everyone who isn't ToC ready into one bucket. There are guilds beyond heroics who are progressing in Naxx (mine for instance), there are more guilds progressing in Ulduar. Those two groups alone probably outnumber all the guilds above the casuals in your ranking system. I think you need to consider that when trying to analyze how groups of players are reacting to the changes blizzard is making, not just focus on the top 25% of guilds (which is what you have here).

Anonymous said...

You seem to be missing a tier...in between "Working on Trial of the Crusader" and "not into raiding"

Um, what? Heh our guild is a bunch of people who have fun and are serious about progressing through all the content of the game...but at our own pace. Finished Naxx/EoE and are just now starting in Ulduar.

Not that your analysis isn't spot on, but it just felt weird to be completely invisible on your chart.

Aleyromillen said...

I have a couple of comments, but i'll try to be brief.

First, I think there's a gap in your structure. you have:

Royalty: full clear, hard mode, end game
Aristocracy: progression, hard mode, end game
Gentry: full clear, normal mode, end game
Bourgeoisie: progression, normal mode, end game
??????: raiding, not end game.
Proletariat: zero raiding.

the social structure, as presented, only focuses on "end game" (as of now, totc) content, and ignores a (possibly) large population of guilds who have progressed beyond 5m instances into naxx, os, malygos, and ulduar, but are not yet geared/skilled enough for totc.

I also find it incredibly interesting that it took 10 comments for someone to bring up the 10m/25m chasm. On my server, (blackrock-us)10m content is considered somewhat trivial, and is often pugged/gdkp'd.

Finally, I would love to see some more of the numeric analysis you've done as to the relative sizes of these populations. Your numbers suggest an equal number of guilds in the gentry/Bourgeoisie classes- i would have expected an order of magnitude difference between the two.

Aleyromillen said...

wow, beat by 2 comments.

Rohan said...

Guilds working on Naxx or Ulduar would in the Bourgeoisie too. I just wasn't precise enough in the description.

chris said...

There are only 10k guilds working on content between 5m and toc10? i find that surprising...

Anonymous said...

With the way badges work in Wrath, I'm not sure why any guilds would still be working on Naxx or even Ulduar, or if you are, you shouldn't be there long since you'll quickly outgear it with all the badges you're getting. Blizzard has done a good job of allowing even brand new 80s to be able to get into the end-game quickly. Even if you haven't cleared those raids yet, your guildies will be more motivated to go to ToC since there won't be many upgrades to get in the lower content. With how short ToC is, you could probably do both ToC and Ulduar in one week anyway, especially if you skip the optional bosses.

Anonymous said...

This is among the WORST analogies I've ever heard from the WOW community. It's not just bad, it's asinine, elitist, patronizing, demeaning, flawed, and just flat-out wrong. Why don't you just call the last two types plebs and peasants? Although I encourage you to keep on going if it you really feel the need to pat yourself on the back that much.

Doddilus said...

Acouple weeks ago I made a very similar post on mmochamp to this article. I however lumped the Aristocracy Gentry and Bourgeoisie together as upper middle and lower middle class. It was the aristocracy(upper middle class) that was complaining that the Gentry(middle) and Burgeoise(lower middle) now had access to the same gear they did.

The response was almost exactly the same
Post ranging from "Spot On!" to "i agree but..." to "your full of sh!t classifying raiders like that, i dont fit any where so you are disproven!" and to "i like turtles!"

Caleb said...

"With the way badges work in Wrath, I'm not sure why any guilds would still be working on Naxx or even Ulduar"

To beat them? Progression <> just gear. Doing them in order keeps it a challenge even a year later

Rohan said...

Forgetting Naxx and Ulduar was just an oversight on my part. I was generating numbers using Guild Progress, which only shows one instance at a time.

Anonymous said...

The problem with creating a segment for Naxx/Ulduar guilds is that the content, based on game progression, is obsolete. You can pick up 219 ilvl items from Trial of Champions and 226 ilvl items from conquest emblems.

This means if you are currently working on Naxx or Ulduar you are doing so now by leveraging some of the (I know you will hate this term) handicap features Blizzard is building into the game. From a raid progression standpoint, the group of players "raiding" under the current raid content (Trial of the Crusaders) is basically the same demographic.

Catharsis said...

I find this breakdown infantile.

Why do you feel the need to break up and segment groups of players in the first place? Is this so you can classify yourself as an "Aristocrat" or something?

Secondly, some of your examples are just crippled.

Catharsis said...

Also...

"However, I think the current complaints about WoW being too easy are coming from the Gentry. They can beat regular modes fairly easily, but hard modes are completely beyond their touch."

Are you being completely serious? That's the only reason you can think of why they haven't done hard modes? Has it ever occurred to you there are other things that may take their time like, oh, I don't know... work? Family? Travel? Anything > WoW?

Seriously. Infantile.

Rohan said...

Are you being completely serious? That's the only reason you can think of why they haven't done hard modes? Has it ever occurred to you there are other things that may take their time like, oh, I don't know... work? Family? Travel? Anything > WoW?

I feel sorry for the Gentry. Apparently, they will be unable to do Icecrown Citadel because work, family and travel will get in their way.

Seriously, if they don't have enough time to try TotGC hard modes, how do you expect them to have enough time to finish a 14-boss dungeon?

Catharsis said...

I feel sorry for the Gentry. Apparently, they will be unable to do Icecrown Citadel because work, family and travel will get in their way.

I really can't tell if that's sarcasm or not. I'll give the benefit of the doubt and assume it is.

Seriously, if they don't have enough time to try TotGC hard modes, how do you expect them to have enough time to finish a 14-boss dungeon?

Maybe we're missing each other's point. I'm saying that 1) spending all this time trying to classify people into "Royalty" or "Proletariat" is demeaning, and 2) there is no way anyone could possibly break up all the reasons and ins and outs of why certain people or guilds progress in a certain way or do certain things. AND, all of this is encouraging even more stereotyping, which is already a plague in the WoW community.

Anonymous said...

Hi... I'll create an account at some point soon so I'm not anonymous.

@The original blog post. You described a great phenomenon in WOW I have thought about. I like your review of everything. However, I think it misses some discussion from the perspective of the developers. You have essentially described and identified the bottle-neck in WOW guild progression.

The real question in my mind is, "Is this really a problem or is the criticism and complaining a function of the artifact?". I don't think that the distribution of guilds and progression should change. I don't think it will stop the complaints people make.

What I mean by this is that in this expansion they created a distribution of progression that is exactly on target with their expressed goals. The majority of players can see the majority of content and experience the quests and art and everything else, but there is still a challenge and epic gear range available to the most dedicated players.

Most significantly, this also requires a constant rollover of gear within the expansion in addition to between expansions. This expansion has a constant turnover of gear beyond anything we have seen before.

This distribution, combined with the need for constant gear rollover, has created the perspective from the players that everything is too easy. You have old content that players are now over-geared for like never before. Not only can groups move through normal mode content relatively easily, they can ultimately aquire the gear that the hard modes had to offer in order to advance to the next normal mode. This must happen if you want the majority of players to see all the content on normal mode. It's great in terms of game experience and the use of your content as a developer. The complaining was always there, but now it is simply focused on this artifact. Where it happens and over what level of difficulty is an artifact of where they set the bottle-neck for difficulty and availability of content.

It's still pretty amazing that they have set up content that only a few thousand guilds can really complete with ease in the context of the 10s of 1000s of guilds that exist across the 10,000,000 players.

DJ Fatso Stupid said...

It seems very conspicuous that people who can't beat the hardest content are the people who are complaining things are too easy. They are, as you say, stuck between easy modes and hard modes, but I still feel like that story doesn't check out.

How many of us really believe that there is are more than a tiny handful of guilds out there that smashed their way through TotC without wiping, or, let's say, with only two or three wipes; and that simply cannot beat heroic beasts. It's absurd. If someone caught between normal and hard difficulties is saying normal is too easy while disregarding hardmodes as things for "crazy" people then it's hard not to believe they are in one of two situations:

1) Their guild actually struggled and wiped on normal, but now that they can beat it quite regularly with few wipes they have basically mentally rewritten their own history to edit out the fact that they were indeed challenged by the content.

or

2) Their guild is more than competent enough to take on hardmodes but doesn't want to put in work to learn harder fights because they don't like to lose and be reminded they aren't really that awesome at the game, but rather are only pretty good.

Saying things are too easy is just a form of boasting (Stars excepted, they have a legitimate complaint that they want to compete for world firsts but can't because the content is beaten before they get it), but it's hard to boast when you spend 6 to 10 hours a week wiping to content that other people on your server beat long ago.

This problem occurs with all kind of pursuits and hobbies. There are always people who are in the top 10% who feel very insecure about not being in the top 1% so they spend their time trying to diminish the accomplishments of the majority. This majority, of course, would rather have fun working away at their own pace without someone telling them that what they are working so hard on is easy.

I do agree that normal difficulty Val'kyrs and Anub'Arak could stand to be a little harder to better ramp up towards heroic difficulty, but while that would make the game better, I don't think it would do much to solve the problem being discussed.

Treason of Farstriders said...

I disagree with some comments:

You can, in a week of too much play, get enough badges, HTOTC5 and TOTC5 gear to competitvely go through TOTC10 normal and ONY10. I've done it on a tank (pally-splatter) and a mage (kablooie). Look at the achievement sections on the armory if you call bullshit.

In a 2-3 weeks of normal play without stepping into raids, your gear can be up to this level as well. The way they do badges now, it is VERY possible to gear up to a raid ready level with badges and heroics, esp totc5-heroic.

Blizzard has destroyed the "remedial progression" that was required to do T6/sunwell in TBC, and that is a FANTASTIC thing.


Secondly, almost EVERY guild is contantly recruiting or they're dying. All these ranks have player attrition. '


Lastly, the player pool you list as doing the upper level content is perhaps being exaggerated with the way you took your numbers. I know on Farstriders I raid with a non guild based raid syndicate, and with the way your numbers are gathered, these sorts of syndicates may *Vastly* be over counting the number of high performers. My 10 man team, for instances, is at the Aristocrat level, and has people from 5-6 guilds in it. I am aware of 3 other groups that have non-guild based raids on this server alone, I'm wondering if your methods of research accurately accounted them, or more guilds are actually stuck at the gentry level then it appears.

Rohan said...

@Catharsis, I disagree with you on a fundamental level. "Stereotyping" is only a problem if the stereotypes are not true. I believe that proper classification and identification of items that share similarities is vital to discovering solutions to problems.

For example, if I state:

Problem: People think WoW raiding is too easy.
Solution: Nerf Heroic Beasts.

Then that makes no sense. Why would making a fight easier make the game harder?

But rephrasing it as:

Problem: Gentry guilds are stuck between normal and hard modes. They see Hard modes as aimed at the edge guilds, and normal as too easy.
Solution: Nerf Heroic Beasts so that they feel that beating it is possible, thus moving them up into hard modes.

That makes a sort of sense. But you need to identify and stratify the guilds to get at the real problem and then a real solution.

DJ Fatso Stupid said...

Quoting Catharsis:

"Are you being completely serious? That's the only reason you can think of why they haven't done hard modes? Has it ever occurred to you there are other things that may take their time like, oh, I don't know... work? Family? Travel? Anything > WoW?"

Yes, but that doesn't mean that people who put in more time than you aren't better than you. On average people who spend more time doing things are better at them. It's called practice and it does not invalidate their skill.

Seriously raiding and beating hardmodes takes about as much time commitment as being on a sports team in a local league, probably even less. If it is not something you want to prioritize in your life then don't, but don't try to pretend that the people who do prioritize it aren't better than you at it. If you can't take down Trial of the Grand Crusader it is because you are not good enough to do so. When you are good enough, it barely takes an hour.

Blaming it on your more enlightened priority list and implying that people who have the time to do this are losers is childish. Do you really think that saying "The *only* reason you can do that is because you put in the time and effort" diminishes their accomplishments?

And maybe you find the names of the categories in the hierarchy a little facecious, but they do a good job of illustrating the point. If the metaphor lacks something it is that it (if takent too literally) suggests that the ranking is based on fate rather than dedication and merit, which it appears you believe anyway.

Unglar said...

To respond to Catharsis:
Why a person is in the gentry is irrelevant to the article. My personal situation is that I can only raid 3 nights a week maximum. My guild can clear totc 25 and ony 25 in under 2 hours, but we spent 3 hours wiping on totgc 25 beasts just last night. I guess we are nudging the aristocracy, but count as a gentry guild. Once you can accept that you are in a guild in a particular situation and can be classified along with other guilds in a very similar situation, then you can begin to analyse why it happened (from a game design perspective) and so on.

Rohan, the specific titles you used are probably the most controversial thing about this post, simply because of the social class elements to it. I agree with the spirit of it, a really good read.

Catharsis said...

@Rohan
"Stereotyping" is only a problem if the stereotypes are not true.

I totally agree. That's the point -- they may not be true. Stereotyping more often than not leads to prejudice. Prejudice = pre-judging someone based on prior experience. Therefore, why go there at all?

@DJ Fatso Stupid
On average people who spend more time doing things are better at them. It's called practice and it does not invalidate their skill.

First of all, thank you for informing me of the definition of practice. I had not ever heard of this word in my entire life.

Secondly, almost the entire rest of your response is based on a total misreading of what I wrote, seeing things that weren't there, and jumping to conclusions on those implications that weren't there.

1) I made no comment on anyone's skill level whatsoever, so I'm not sure why you even implied that I did.

2) Building off of that, I also did not say that people spending more time raiding are not better than people who don't spend as much time.

3) I did not call anyone childish. Not sure where that comment came from.

Please, next time, don't read what you want to read and then respond to it.

Catharsis said...

@DJ Fatso Stupid

If the metaphor lacks something it is that it (if takent too literally) suggests that the ranking is based on fate rather than dedication and merit, which it appears you believe anyway.

I wasn't going to respond to the rest, since it was based on things I never actually said...but as a side note, yes, that is actually what I believe. But that's a conversation for elsewhere.

Ozz said...

I think the people reading this article and getting upset at the "elitism" are getting distracted by the article's semantics, and are misunderstanding the analogies, and by extension the point of the article.

The hierarchical categories aren’t supposed to be “superior” to “inferior” so much reflect the gradient scale of the focus & philosophy of the types of raiding groups. On one end, you have the players who are very serious about raiding (and on the other end you have the players for whom raiding is not much of a focus more than any other aspect of the game, and everyone in between. That’s all it is supposed to represent.

Furthermore, we already subscribe to this sort of scale in the gaming community, the author just put a different face on it. Probably all of us have spread at one time or another have spread the “hardcore/casual” meme which again represents the dichotomy of attitudes between raiders. If anything, the old meme has a stronger negative connotation and the added bonus of being far too black and white to be accurate, as it represents only an extreme minority of raids.

If you’re getting hung up on the terms, replace them with neutral categories like letters or colours, or lay your gradient horizontal and read it again.

The point of the article is that the bulk of the raiding players in this game are finding themselves in the middle of the gradient, and the middle section is the part of the game that has the least to offer. The game progression is not linear enough, and many raiders are getting stuck at points they shouldn’t need to be getting stuck at. It has nothing to do with whether guild B is inferior to guild A. The effort to serve both the so-called casuals and the so-called hardcore (an effort I commend), as resulted in too much of a jump between point A and point B to serve the “everyman.” And the everyman is upset.

Anonymous said...

Interesting.

Our guild hovers between Gentry and Aristocracy (bottom tier)

One of the main walls to getting any further has been numbers - there are far too many smaller guilds on our server trying to make it on their own.

Another has been the poaching of members from some of the Aristocratic guilds who have lost players to Aion or burnout.

Anonymous said...

You're entirely right. My guild is Gentry, and has been trying and failing to break into the Aristocracy (in 10 man) for a month or so. My 10 man group is breaking up because of it. I may take time off from WoW as it's just boring doing the normal instances again and again. We clear 10 man normal ToC in under an hour with no wipes.

As you say, there is too steep a curve between normal and hard modes in ToC. Heroic Northrend Beasts is a seriously tough first boss (for us, anyway).

Anonymous said...

I suspect you're not really talking about "hard" in the same way that people complaining about WotLK are.

Rolling a 6 five times in a row on die is certainly 'hard' - there's a very small chance you can do it. But it isn't very satisfying when you do. The 'hard' comes from factors outside your control.

The best raids aren't the ones where no one screws up. They're the ones where the exceptional effort of one player can compensate for the errors of another. Such raids reward exceptional players.

WotLK raiding instead rewards consistent mediocrity. Being the best Paladin in the world doesn't help your guild advance. Being merely adequate - amongst a group of equally adequate players - does.

Joenutz24 said...

I can't agree with you more on your analogy's and what class of genre the "wow is easy" comments usually come from. You nailed it for sure. The content is right in front of them for the taking,if they choose. Chalk up a Tribute to Insanity under your belt and then you may say "wow is easy"...and generally ppl who have come that far would not even say such a thing;comments such as those more than likely come from players who are behind on progression,usually from the gentry as you have put.

Subhodeep said...

This is an amazingly insightful post. If I could do more to propagate your message, I would.

Kowai-Koneko said...

Another aristocrat here.

I'm very impressed with this analogy. Your assessment seems dead on and you described all the WoW stereotypes quite well (I mean this in a good way).

There are exceptions to every rule though. The "WoW is too easy" statements often come from burned out former players as well, many of which were in the aristocracy and royalty.

I think the main problem with heroic trial going from normal to heroic mode is that you go into the instance feeling confident because you can clear all the bosses on normal and the strats for the most part remain fundamentally the same with only minor "gimmick" additions like Jaraxxus' portals needing to be dps'd down. Stepping out of normal mode into heroic beasts just feels like getting slapped in the face with a wet fish because the contrast difficulties in your mind which makes the perceived difficulty far greater than the actual difficulty... it feels like the difference between black and white when it's really more like going from light grey to dark grey.

Looking at individual encounters, northrend beasts is a bit odd because it's a boss fight that gets easier the further you're in rather than harder. Gormok hits like a truck on the tanks and causes a lot of raid damage with his snobolds and fire bombs and many guilds will never be able to get past him... but those who do will likely find the worms and by contrast to Gormok they feel very easy. Once the worms are dead you get Icehowl who is a cake walk compared to worms and and even easier when compared to gormok. I don't know if it was intentional that the fight would start hard and get easier but I do think gormok could be nerfed and icehowl could be buffed, the worms are just right.

I think heroic northrend beasts is a reasonable step sideways in difficult from yogg saron +4. One is not necessarily harder than the other, they're just different and require different skillsets.

Kevin said...

Aristocrate here.

Personally I find the current raids scale from easy as hell (puggable within 30 minutes) to challenging beyond blief (not impossible, just extremely hard)

-ToC 10 man is puggable with fresh 80s (assuming the tanks/healers have 5 man H ToC gear)
-ToC 25 man is puggable (with ToC 10/Ony/H ToC gear)
-ToGC 10 is puggable (with difficulty, ToC 10/25 and Ony 10/25 suggested)
-ToGC 25 is... not puggable, at least not yet. Many guilds have completed it, and many more are capable of doing it if they are willing to put the effort in. Sure it's not easy, but its the HARDEST RAID OUT. You're not meant to clear it after 5 wipes, 10 wipes, even 100 wipes. Thats why your given a full FIFTY attempes each week. This is supposed to keep the top end guilds occupied while they work on new raids (IC and whatnot) not satisfy the general population (the "casual" raiders as you put it)

All in all, the complaints are unjustified. They are made to be hard, to the point of being unclearable to those unwilling to spend the time working on them. Personally I find they are balanced enough.

Kevin said...

As to the curve in difficulty between Regular and Heroic ToC (10 man AND 25 man), I agree that it's a steep one. Like Kowai-Koneko said "It's like getting slapped in the face with a wet fish." Although I find it challenging, it's still doable by most, if not all of the WoW population, given a couple weeks of lesser raiding. I find that if you can set aside a couple hours each week for 10 man and 25 man ToC/Ony/VoA, you can be ToGC ready within a couple weeks. For example, I recently hit 80 on my warlock (about 5 days ago) and I can already pull my weight in a ToGC 10 man (approx. 6k dps on single-target fights)

For the casuals, who do not wish to take the time to get geared, theres the lower-tier raids such as OS, Naxx and Ulduar, which all still provide a challenge to people getting introduced to raids and are by no means "boring". New content is made to entertain the dedicated, the "higher class" raiding guilds. Sorry to anyone who does not consider themselves to be in such a guild, but this is how I see it.