I’ll not pretend I had the wit or the perception to pick this up on my own, it piqued my interest when I read it on someone else’s blog (I’d love to give credit but for the life of me I can’t remember which blog. Sorry, my bad). There’s a number of posts that keep cropping up on the EU forums about how WoW has become too easy – dumbing down for the masses so to speak. Now I won’t deny that WoW has become easier in some respects but too easy???
A Crash Course In Corporate Business
Let’s take aside the obvious points about posts like this; ie. ease and difficulty are relative things so what is easy for one may be damned hard for another and that Blizzard is corporation. Yes that may shock some of you, those of you that believe Blizzard is your best friend, older brother, or sometimes lover, but it's the truth. As a corporation it is therefore in Blizzards interest to make sure that content is accessible to the majority, not the elitist few, in order to make money. Accessibility draws people in, keeps them playing and makes them happy. This is turn leads to subscription which equals money, money makes ActiBlizzard shareholders happy which means executives are happy, which ultimately means WoW is supported and funding is put back into development, customer service and all the other things we enjoy. Again, there are those that pay their 13.99 a month a demand that because you have paid that, all these things should come to you as standard. Well yes they should, but your 13.99 isn’t going to pay for it all, it takes lots of peoples’ 13.99 to make that happen.
I was particularly drawn to one comment; "I recently came across a forum post where a guy was saying how pessimistic he was about Cataclysm. His opinion was that Burning Crusade was awful, Lich King was worse and that everything was on a downward spiral since vanilla, which he never actually played, though he wished he had." – does anyone see anything wrong with this? Anyone?
I’ll give you a real big clue – this particular forum genius (the OP not the guy posting the comment) HAS NEVER PLAYED VANILLA WoW BUT HE WISHES HE HAD. Sweet Jesus titty fucking Christ!!!!!!!!!! (and I apologise for the profanity there but the depths of some people’s stupidity hits my brain in the same way a cricket bat might hit my nutsack, with a very sharp pain and an awful lot of shouting and swearing). How can you ever make a statement that everything has been a downward spiral since Vanilla when you never even played vanilla.
I joined during TBC, I can speculate many things about vanilla, I know stuff about vanilla, there are things I think I like about vanilla but I cannot make some empirical statement like this and expect to have any form of credibility. Furthermore I would not formulate such an incredible statement and then have the audacity to post it in the forums for the world to see as if I am the Dalai Lamah sharing some nugget of truth with you all.
*pant* OK rant over – I had a purpose to this post somewhere *fiddles about in robe, pulls out lint, some old chewing gum, a condom well past its expiry date… ah here it is; key points written on the back of a cigarette packet*
Accessibility = Easy?
Ok so basics out the way; does greater accessibility really mean that WoW is too easy? Or does it just mean that end game raids aren’t just the purview of the elitist few. You know the type, the guys that don’t have jobs or partners or children and can devote time and effort to organising 40+ people against some bitch hard boss? Let’s face it, end game in vanilla WoW was a bitch, purples were very rare and most people had blues as acceptable raiding gear.
Yes Blizzard has opened up more raid content to the casual player, they are making it more accessible because back in the day there were an awful lot of people who never actually saw end game content like Black Temple during TBC or probably in Vanilla. So, as a result, PuGs are more frequent now. Personally I believe it's a good thing; people get to see more of the game they pay 13.99 a month for, more people get to share the experience and there are less people sat around wondering what they're going do now they hit level cap.
More importantly, WoW is not that easy to most. Yes a lot of the mechanics are similar, you know not to stand in the bad, kiting is required and any mechanic involving two people and the word soul in it means you need to run towards each other - but how much of you knowing what to do comes with experience? First time I built a wardrobe at home, it was hard and ended up looking rubbish. I couple more times and the process got easier (well that and the fact that an Ikea opened up down the road). There's a lot more content that people pass over too, I know a lot of guilds that have never even attempted Yogg Saron (truly truly epic fight and I'm gutted I wasn't there when my guild downed him), dreamwalker was a nice variant and RS has introduced the idea that crowd control is actually needed again (I hear CC is going to be a big thing again in Cataclysm so I'm guessing RS sort of re-introduced it to people especially those that never did vanilla. You would be surprised at the number of supposedly 1337 players that don't know not to AoE the CC'ed mob). Heroics are there for the challenge, achievements are there for more of a challenge and don't even think about asking for gearscore if you’re one of these “WoW’s too easy” types, if it's that easy you don't need to worry about gearscore (I shall address the evils and merits of gearscore another time).
Cataclysm will bring a lot of things from vanilla back which I agree with; making CC'ing necessary again, at least in some encounters, is one of them. I hear rumours they want to bring a little more of that Vanilla flavour back, although without making end game for the elite few. But let's not debunk what has ultimately been an awesome three years of raids and content - especially when it seems that those most vocal about the ease of the game appear to be those who really don't have a goddamn clue what vanilla was like, much less the ability to compare it with TBC or WOTLK. Don’t spout off about your future disappointment of Cataclysm until it’s been released and you’ve actually played it. Let’s instead look forward to something new and interesting in Cataclysm that will hopefully test us, have new and interesting mechanics and make me stare in the screen in doe eyed wondering, drooling and gurgling “pretty” in a low guttural tone.
Unless Bambi starts handing out epics in Elwynn Forest, Deathwing changes his name to “Puff” and engages in magical adventure in a seaside town or gnomes suddenly start affecting jovial Irish tones whilst wearing little green suits and dishing out gold to passersby, I don’t wanna hear any moaning about WoW being easy.