Pandora’s Box May 10, 2011Posted by Stormy in General Whinging, Moar Ranting, Personal, Tank Girl.
Yesterday the lovely and talented Beru of Falling Leaves and Wings put up a post entitled “Is WoW Entering Its Twilight?“, and although I must admit that seeing this topic bandied about on every other blog is starting to grow tiresome, she did indeed get me thinking about the topic that seems to be on everyone’s lips these days. Then, as I logged in to my newly-85 paladin last night to attempt a heroic, I ran smack into the thing that, at least for me, is sucking all the joy out of my time in the game.
What killed WoW? (Well, that’s not really a fair question since it’s not dead, but I’m good at predicting these things *wink*.) What killed WoW was a spectacular failure of expectations that Blizzard created in the last year of Wrath. When the Dungeon Finder first launched I thought it was the greatest thing ever. I thought it would go down in WoW history as the best innovation the game has ever had. And the truth is that with the ridiculously inflated gear levels and the months of experience most players had with the Wrath dungeons, the Dungeon Finder was pretty awesome. On a Monday night after work I could log in, wait ten or fifteen minutes in a queue (or two, if I was on my resto druid) and bust out an Old Kingdom run in less than a half hour, collect my badges and go to bed. There was no danger of failure; every heroic was successful every time, unless someone did something spectacularly stupid. I grew accustomed to letting the game interface find four other people to perform roles I wasn’t able to perform myself, and we won every single time. I got used to it. It was awesome. And with the triumph and frost emblem rewards, I was able to hit 80 on my druid one weekend, spam heroic runs all week, then heal an ICC10 run the following weekend in 4T9…which guaranteed more success.
And we got used to it. I could grab a group of guildies on a Saturday afternoon and chain ten heroics in the space of a few hours, collect 50 triumph emblems, and then go do something else. But somewhere along the way, we came to expect this as the Way Things Should Be. Well, for the most part. In fairness, though there was a large and vocal contingent who hated this system and demanded that dungeons get harder, epic drops become rarer, raids become more prestigious, etc. Then Wrath ended, Cataclysm launched, and Blizzard listened to these folks. My first run in H Deadmines took four hours and I don’t even remember how many wipes. Now, almost every heroic run I jump into (especially the Zul’Agains) is going to include at least a couple of wipes.
But the player base has grown so accustomed to guaranteed success that they’re generally not willing to endure difficulty, wipes, and failure. I got kicked from a random heroic group last night because we wiped once on the third boss of Lost City, a boss that I’d never tanked before on a toon that hit 85 last week. One wipe, and the group had declared our run a failure and kicked me. I logged out demoralized, angry, nearly crying. I spent weeks leveling a paladin from 1 to 85, spent thousands of gold leveling inscription and engineering, spent hundreds of gold on gear, gems, enchants and the like, and now I don’t ever want to log into that character ever again because I’m so disgusted with the state of gameplay. I know I’ll never see the inside of a raid instance on this paladin ever. I know I’ve spoken about this before, but the raiders who left the guild I’m currently GM left because they wanted what they couldn’t get with Sane Asylum’s “everyone can raid” philosophy: guaranteed success all the time. No one wants to take the time to let anyone learn a fight, to put up with less than perfect execution of mechanics on even the first try of a fight, to entertain just for a moment the idea that not everyone is perfect and infallible, and that failure may happen.
The question for me now is this: I have a druid at 85 who needs gear, a warlock at 73, a shadow priest on another server at 72, a mage at 46 and I wanted to level a shaman. But why bother? Why go back and level those characters and get them geared? Why bother beating my priest’s head up against the Zul’Agains for the gear? At least for me, there is no endgame anymore, so why is there an early game?
Pandora’s Box has been opened. Can we put the monster back in the box? I hope so, because it’s that monster that’s killing WoW.