Pandering to the Casuals: On Raiding.

"Welfare epics. Morons and slackers being in full Ulduar gear. Back in the day, you were ready for Molten Core if you were wearing good blues. If you were in half epics you had respect. If you were fully purple, you were a god of war. I know that Kungen, main tank of the world-renowned guild Ensidia, still makes money just by sitting in Orgrimmar. People will swarm him and trade him gold. He can make thousands an hour. Because he's pro. Because they know he's better than they are. Because he is hardcore and can do the fights.

Nowadays, who knows. Anyone can do those fights. Any loser can get fully naxx geared within a few weeks of being level 80 if they just join some raids. Ugh. Blizzard is pandering to the casuals and getting rid of hardcore raiding."

People who honestly believe things like the fictional quote above are stupid. OK? I've said it. It's facts. It was, perhaps, true before 3.1, when Naxx-25 was easily doable with a pickup group, and anyone could fairly easily achieve best-in-slot gear--a time when really you were only impressive if you had done Sarth+3.

Sarth+3 was difficult, but it was not necessary to do it with three drakes up. In fact, it was puggable like nobody's business. Only the best of the best did it with three drakes up.

Hardmodes are how guilds define themselves in Wrath. Many, many guilds have killed Sartharion, but with three drakes up? That's much more difficult. Only a select few have done so.
But every raider has SEEN Sartharion, if not with 3 drakes up. Thus, the content is exposed. It's possible to do things many, many ways--which means variety, which keeps things interesting. I, personally, have not done Sarth+3, but I have done Sartharion and think that with 3 up he'd be very interesting.

This is part of Blizzard's new and overwhelming philosophy to show everyONE everyTHING. Naxx is well-regarded as one of the best raid dungeons Blizzard has created. When it was released in 2006, only a small fraction of the population had seen it--I was not one of them. And yes, I would have enjoyed doing it when it was difficult, required 40 people, and intense strategies, but I am glad that I HAVE seen it at level 80, and that I can now properly imagine the difficulty of the fights.

The best example I can think of for this is Flame Leviathan. You see FL PuGs everywhere, because ten (heck, five) fresh 80s can beat it--with zero towers up, or just one.

Tonight I did FL+4, or attempted it. I was on the chopper. It was hectic. Not only were there two or three kinds of fire to not-stand in (Thorim's beams, Hodir's Beams, Mimiron's Fire), there were some powerful adds and some simply crazy outgoing damage. We wiped three, maybe four times, and we just wanted to Get It Done so we one-shot FL+2.

Yet FL+2 still dropped hardmode loot! Pandering to the casuals! FL+2 is very very easy for any group who's done FL and is not a primordial fish-beast. High ilevel epics for something that any old PuG can do? I'm cancelling my account.

Oh wait. I remember now. I remember that I'm not doing that. Because even though I got some hardmode items (well, technically the enchanter got em--none of us needed Twirling Blades) and the achievement for FL+2, I did NOT get what I actually wanted. Orbit-uary is required for Glory of the Ulduar Raider, and my 310% speed Rusted Proto-Drake. If you skip FL+4, you won't get the achievement. Therefore, the escalating nature of the rewards system is actually well balanced (The only weakness, I think, is that FL+3 only drops a single conquest badge more than FL+2, nor does it count for Glory of the Ulduar Raider)

And like I say, anyone that believes that Blizzard is dumbing down content and making it easier for people to do things... well, have they done Yogg+0? Every top end raiding guild I've read about, such as Fusion, has said that it's a well-tuned encounter that is entirely doable but requires incredible coordination and skill--as did Sarth+3, as does Algalon, and to a lesser degree: FL+4. A pickup group, even a skilled pickup group with vent, cannot immediately one-shot FL+4. We probably could have done it in another few attempts, but we wanted to speed on by to do Razorscale/Ignis/Deconstructor. Neither can ANY pickup group do Yogg+0, and very rarely Yogg+4.

Which amounts to the genius of Ulduar. I hope that Icecrown's 31 bosses have multiple levels of difficulty--two or three of them, at least. I'm okay with having a Super Easy Intro Boss or two with no harder modes, and I'm also okay with one or two Only Hard Mode bosses--such as Algalon. Overall though, I'd prefer that most of them have a variety of difficulties such as Freya, Yogg-Saron, Flame Leviathan, and Sartharion. I'll also take "Activated" Hardmodes that significantly alter the fight, such as Thorim, Mimiron, and XT-002. I think that Ignis' hardmode (Kill him in <4>

Next time I'll either talk about leveling, or general tanking strategy, or maybe glyphs, or possibly 4.0, or more on my Glory of the Ulduar Raider runs, or even professions. I don't really know.

Thanks for reading,

PS: I've decided that this idea of "I'm going to do EXACTLY THIS tomorrow" doesn't work, because writing these few paragraphs above killed me when I realized there wasn't much to write. Or maybe I had a more cohesive thought process two or three days ago when I thought I wanted to write this. I'm not sure. But I have to write what I'm passionate about at the moment of writing or else I get this post above, which I don't think was that great. Whatever. We'll see--but I WILL write something tomorrow.


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