Dear Blizzard: What this raider wants

Dear Blizzard,

This letter comes to you from an average raider. My guild has never aspired to the bleeding edge of progression and we were, quite frankly, completely stonewalled on content at 3/7 in Firelands. When the nerfs were announced, I was pleased because it did seem the that content was overtuned for us. We could get the mechanics of a fight down just fine, but the enrage timers or the overwhelming damage output were things we were running hard up against.

We raid on the weekends, so I had several days to hear feedback from other gamers I know who were getting to see and judge the nerfs firsthand. The overwhelming message from them was that the nerfs were too much. The content went from being a challenge to being a roflstomp.

But I hadn’t seen it for myself so I tried to reserve judgment.

Now, having raided, I wanted to let you guys know that the nerfs were ridiculously overdone. My guild went from 3/7 to 6/7 in a single weekend. And it’s not a moment of triumph for us because you made it too easy and too cheap.

But this has all been said other places.

The real point of my letter, Blizzard, is to let you know that I think you’ve lost touch with what raiders actually want from their raiding experience. We don’t want to be handed loot on a silver platter for showing up with ten warm bodies and having at least half a clue of what is going on. We don’t want the lazy and the unskilled to be able to do what we do without putting in any effort. Conversely, we don’t want the fights to be so difficult that we have to choose to play without our friends just to see progression. We don’t want to be demoralized by an unforgiving mechanic that there is no chance for a recovery from.

We want something that falls between too damn hard and too damn easy. We want to feel like we’re overcoming obstacles but not facing insurmountable ones. We want to feel that our achievements are real achievements and not something any random collection of people gathered via pugging could do without breaking a sweat.

I get that creating balance is hard, but it seems like you’re missing the mark with some consistency.

I missed the boat on Vanilla raiding but I cut my teeth in Kara and a few more of the BC raids. Before Kara, I had no desire to raid at all, having heard stories about the insane dedication that was required to make a proper go of 40 man raiding. But when my husband got pulled in to a Kara raid to heal, I was so transfixed by what I saw on his screen that I desperately wanted a piece of it.

Picture credit to Elfi at http://worldofelfi.wordpress.com/

I went there the other night with a few friends in my guild, just because. We overpowered it to a ridiculous degree, of course, but I had so much fun wandering through those halls and reminiscing. Those were the adds that used to wipe our raids with some regularity. This was my least favorite opera fight. Remember the time we came through and one shot everything but nearly wiped on chess?

Picture credit to Elfi at http://worldofelfi.wordpress.com/

And more, it was beautiful and an immersive environment. One actually got the feeling that one was exploring some old, rambling wreck of a castle, encountering ghosts of days gone by and awakening old memories. The back ways, the rooms that no raiders ever cleared because they weren’t needed, the immensity of the place, the derelict furniture, that great abandoned library, the secret passage behind the bookcase, and the sheer soaring heights where a fall meant death…

Picture credit to Elfi at http://worldofelfi.wordpress.com/

Where is all that design and beauty and care for detail today? Did all the minds that brought us those twisting stairways abandon ship, leaving us with idiots who thought that a bunch of barren rock and a smattering of goddamned fire pools even qualifies as artistry?

I don’t, Blizzard, and it makes me so very sad that I can’t name one raid since Kara that I have been to that reeks of atmosphere or that gives the sense that this is really a place to be explored in the way that Kara did. I admit Hyjal was very pretty and Black Temple had its quirks, but what of the content in Wrath? Ulduar came the closest to being visually interesting. Everything in Cataclysm has been bland.

Maybe even worse than bland. It’s been ugly and uninspiring.

One of three non kill shot pics I have of Firelands

The thing I loved about WoW from the first times I set foot in it was that it really seemed like a world to explore. I would waste hours poking around places that were so far off the beaten path that I’ve never seen them again. But not only have the raid environments now become colorless backdrops to your gimmicky mechanics, you’ve also insisted on putting everyone on a conveyor belt of do A and then B and then C in that order to progress through the questing content out in the wider world. Once you’ve done that once or twice, there’s no point in getting on the ride again because you already know exactly what you’re going to be looking at and the exact point along the way you’ll see it.

You know what I call that? An unsatisfactory ride.

I certainly can’t speak for everyone, but to speak for my own feelings, I’d much rather wait two years between expansions and have each new release of content feel vibrant and rich and real than I would have a new expansion every year and feel as though you’re just regurgitating yesterday’s ideas and calling it new because you changed a model or the iLvl on the gear is higher.

I feel you are sacrificing quality for – not even quantity – but the illusion of quantity. All the while you reserve the little bit of artistry left for things you sell out of your store.

I feel like you care about getting the contents of my wallet into the interior of your wallet more than you do about delivering a quality world and a quality game to me and the millions of other people playing.

I’m not angry over this or over the Firelands nerfs. Mostly, I am just disappointed and wondering when the concern for the customer’s experiences is going to be completely subsumed by the concern for your bottom line.

Please prove me wrong when I think that this is only a matter of time and not just one of many possible outcomes. I want to love WoW, but you’re making that really hard these days.

-Alas

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6 Responses to Dear Blizzard: What this raider wants

  1. Borsk says:

    Your post is actually a great example of how it’s impossible to tune raid instances properly for all audiences currently playing this game.

  2. Stormy says:

    ^^This. What you said, times a bajillion. I haven’t done hardly any raiding in Cata (but that’s another show), but I remember walking into Bastion of Twilight and thinking “It’s a hallway. With a dragon in it. Why is there a dragon in it? There’s no story, no life to this place, no meaning in its existence. It’s a hallway with a dragon.” It doesn’t matter. To Blizzard, or to most raiders. There’s a dragon, and your job is to kill the dragon and move onto the next dragon, and darnit you weren’t killing those dragons fast enough so we’re going to basically kill the dragon for yo and let you walk in and grab his shinies and leave because that’s what it’s all about damned skippy so give us your money all your money money money money DRAGONSES *pant pant* KILL THEM FASTER.
    Stormy recently posted..Four Point ThreeMy Profile

  3. Agreed. I barely play anymore. Leveling has become dull. There is no excitement in this game. I still log on, say hi to people sometimes, but mostly I am dawdling, waiting for a new release of something else, something with new ideas…a new game presented by people who have not become jaded, who still retain a sense of wonder.
    Imraith Dos Santos recently posted..The Grey Priest at Level 36My Profile

  4. Paul says:

    Your post is actually a great example of how it’s impossible to tune raid instances properly for all audiences currently playing this game.

    Which makes tuning them for a small elite kind of a dumb idea, doesn’t it?

  5. Jayd says:

    I agree, Alas.

    Reading over the comment I wrote below I’ve gone off on a bit of a tangent to you, but:

    I actually think that although Blizz have their hearts in the right place by trying to make their content accessible to as many people as possible, they are shooting themselves in the foot by doing that. It means that there’s nothing to aspire to for the regular raider.

    I’ve raided since Vanilla. In Vanilla Wow there was AQ40 and Naxx, and in BC there was Black Temple and Kael’thas. I only barely got to step my toe in there because I wasn’t an elite raider. I didn’t care, though, because my guild and I were working hard on the earlier content, having fun, being challenged and dreaming about doing those high level encounters. I saw people in Tier 3 gear in Vanilla and thought how awesome they were and how much I wanted to be that good, and worked harder for it. I wasn’t crying because I couldn’t do that content.

    Blizzard needs to stop designing their raids for everyone and start designing something distinct and challenging for the elite, so the rest of us can aspire to that. And no, heroics don’t come close. It’s the same goddamn raid.

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