Here is my two copper on the whole brouhaha following the 14,000+ comments left by readers on Ghostcrawler’s blog Wow, Dungeons are Hard!
Before I go any further, let me reiterate the obvious: I am not a hardcore player. While I would love to achieve the things that Paragon and Blood Legion have attained for themselves, I’m realistic enough to know and accept that my circumstances won’t allow for a shot at such greatness. First of all, while I have an awesome computer, Internet blows in this country. Playing with latency dancing anywhere from 300 to 500 ms on a good day ain’t gonna cut it in a hardcore raiding group. I’ll just be deadweight to the 24 other players, and I really hate to be that kind of guy, erm, girl who stands in fire for a good bit only because I saw the fire two to three seconds after everyone else has seen and jumped away from it. Yeah, latency is the bane of my gaming existence.
Second of all, I am a mom of two girls – one with special needs – and in the middle of a maddening house renovation project. My duties do not leave me enough time for theorycrafting, watching every Tankspot video on every boss fight there is, and running every Cataclysm heroic dungeon only to see it fall apart because the tank or healer couldn’t keep up with the unforgiving mechanics of the combat. I value my free time. When I log into WoW, I expect to relax and have fun. (There are days when I don’t feel like raiding, believe it or not).
Casual gamer that I claim to be, nevertheless I did raid a lot back in Wrath, even when I held a managerial position and clocked 12 hours in the office. I did a lot of time in ICC, and Ulduar and Naxxramas on the side for shits and giggles. We wiped countless times, but it was a happy period for me because I was in a great guild (until that sorry incident which I won’t rehash anymore). Yes, we researched the fights and watched the videos, but I don’t recall it being such time-intensive research. Besides, we preferred to learn the fights hands-on, rather than dissect tutorials for hours on end. Learning by doing was how we got things done.
Casual gamer that I claim to be, I think I am a pretty decent raider. My DPS is not something to sneeze at. I show up at least 20 minutes before start time, and am at the stone to help summon people. I bring my own flasks and contribute feasts. I pay my own repair bills even if the GM is willing to shoulder the cost. I don’t clog vent or raid chat with the same verbal diarrhea that plagues most attention whores in this game. I’m there to do my damage-dealing job quietly and efficiently.
Casual gamer that I claim to be, I take raiding seriously and 5 man heroics less seriously, but I have always approached every run armed and ready and responsible and courteous, but always with this in mind: no matter the outcome, I’m there to have fun and learn something new while supporting the group to the best of my ability.
So what the hell happened in Cataclysm that not only ripped apart the old Azeroth but also created a bigger, gaping chasm between the casual and hardcore players?
First thing everyone noticed – and I pointed it out in this post – that the new heroics are not a walk in the park anymore. The Wrath zergfest is over.
Casual gamer that I claim to be, I am fortunate enough to have spare time to look up fights, wait in queue for more than half an hour, and maybe this has something to do with my age and being a parent, I have the patience of Job to sit through several wipes until we get it right. I honestly don’t mind practicing CC (on my hunter) or kiting the adds away from the party (at the expense of my DK’s DPS) if it guarantees a successful run.
But holy moly, I don’t recall spending 3 hours in an instance and wiping SEVEN times on a boss back in Wrath.
Casual gamer that I claim to be, I can deal with challenges that Blizzard throws in my face.
But Jesus H. Christ, I can’t do it alone if the four people with me are not willing to support one another and continue to bring that sucky attitude of quickly putting the blame on someone, anyone when a boss fight or mob pull goes wrong, and then ragequit after the second wipe.
We all make mistakes. Even the best players don’t get it right the first time and have to deal with a learning curve. So it really irks me when someone in a random heroic gets on his condescending high horse and rips apart the first-timer with irritating, snarky L2P comments.
My reply to the elitist jerk who simply won’t accept less than perfection from a first-timer: if you hate encountering so-called noobs, go run with your own damn guild. If you don’t want to extend kindness and tolerance to a stranger, then the Dungeon Finder is not the tool for you.
Oh, speaking about guilds, I really dislike what Cataclysm did to the smaller guilds. With a good number of people after the guild perks, who wants to join or stay in a fairly young guild? Why go for a Level 2 when there is a Level 11 guild recruiting? Now it’s all about the damn perks. What the hell happened to good old-fashioned guild pride? Cloudrunner was recruited by a GM who ended up disbanding his guild after a week because some of his core raiders moved to Level 7 and higher guilds. Sad. So sad.
Since moving to the new realm, it’s been a struggle to find a guild that actually does something besides killing a metric ton of critters to unlock more perks. I don’t dare apply for the hardcore ones, yet I don’t want to risk applying for seemingly social but “not so happening” guilds (where my hunter was until I pulled him out today, as there was simply no activity on the calendar). I’m looking for that happy middle, and earlier my DK joined a guild that looks to be somewhere there, so let’s hope I found THE ONE, and I won’t have to deal any more with PUG nightmares.
But only time will tell.
But I digress. So what is it exactly would I like to say to Ghostcrawler’s face if given the honor of his presence?
Ghostcrawler, I may be a Wrath baby but I’m no softie. I love challenge and I’m willing to put up with the unforgiving mechanics of your dungeons in this expansion. But while I’m no softie, I – and the majority of your customers – do not have the good fortune of having a strong guild to guide us (guide, not carry, okay) through our learning curve in Heroics, so we depend on PUGs through your Dungeon Finder to learn the fights. We could have pugged on Trade, but it’s not always a successful endeavor, so it’s back to the Dungeon Finder for us.
Ghostcrawler, I know your fanboys keep saying the Heroics are not that hard, and all it takes is some research and CC and whatnot. But watching a Tankspot video and reading Elitist Jerk articles alone don’t make a successful player. This takes us back to what I said earlier about Learning by Doing. It’s like what they say in those Nike ads. Just (effing) do it!
Unfortunately, Ghostcrawler, the Dungeon Finder is riddled with supercilious, impatient elitist jackasses. While that’s already beyond your control, we casual players are at the mercy of these people who refuse to help a fellow gamer. It’s bad enough the queue is 40 minutes long, it’s worse when you get into a group bearing that selfish attitude.
I play this game to have fun. I believe majority of your subscribers, the casuals who will never see end-game content in heroic mode yet still want a little challenge, play this game to have fun too.
But the very tricky mechanics of Cata Heroics that allow very, very little room for error, resulting in constant wipes and a lot of frustration and wasted time, is taking out all the fun.
Yeah, yeah I know, it’s all about reading up on your class, consulting the many resources available on hand, investing a bit more time, getting used to CC, and eventually it will all get better, yadda yadda yadda.
But last I checked, WoW was and is still just a game, not another one of my take-home assignments that were an extension of my 12-hour grind in the office. And not everyone cannot, or will not, commit to that extra task.
I know something is terribly amiss as I do not recall feeling this much tension every time I enter an instance back in Wrath, wondering if my next group would be just as nice as the ones I met in Heroic Shadowfang Keep, or just as impossible as the ones I encounter 90% of the time.
Now if my Random Heroic experience is miserable 90% of the time, in spite of all efforts to follow the kill order, practice CC, not stand in fire, et cetera, et cetera, then something is really off.
Am I suggesting you nerf the fights big time? Nope. Not gonna ask you to dumb them down like the Wrath dungeons, but maybe you could make adjustments to find that middle ground that will keep both the hardcore and casual gamers satisfied…and keep massive frustration at bay.
As I see it, the casual players are being alienated.
Sooner or later, my house renovation will reach its climax, allowing me to return to the workforce. By then, I won’t have much time to play during the week. We’re looking at probably two to three hours tops each day. With my time constraints, I certainly wouldn’t want to spend them in frustration.
TLDR? Eh, lemme then borrow a few lines from forum poster Wulfenserkyr to best sum it up:
“After leveling my toons, and running endless normal dungeons, I was then faced with the prospect of running endless heroics and more often than not failing with people who neither know nor care how the mechanics work. I understand the die hard ‘take it or leave it fans’, and at one point I even agreed with you. Problem is that most are not like you, and most just want to have fun….I want my games to be fun, not a lesson in tolerance with trolls, nubs or fail groups.”
14,000 comments and growing, Ghostcrawler. The proverbial ball is in your court.