I think a concept that a lot of developers don’t seem to understand is that failure is important.
I have been playing WotLK for a few weeks, and its fun. My main is almost 75, and after powerleveling mining my alt is progressing through Borean Tundra at level 70. Its been fun, the lore of the quests is excellent, and the areas are diverse and interesting. In fact, much of Northrend has great theme, just like WAR does.
The instance set and monster design is especially good, with the Nexus and Azjol’Nerub being the best (yeah, when I went down the hole, I pressed levitate too X_X … thats one long fall). Unfortunately, the general design of the instances isn’t as good. The bosses are well designed stratagy wise from what I can tell, but the challenge just isn’t set right. My guild, with moderate coordination and Kara level gear can blow through every enemy, every boss without even looking at stratagies, without even trying.
And from what I can tell, the endgame is similar. A member of my guild who bolted to 80 was picked up for 25 man Naxxramus by one of the hardcore guild on our server, and they did a full clear on what was apperently their second try with only 4 wipes. Yeah, thats pretty easy. Blizzard had said that they wanted to tone raiding down for this expansion because the raids in Burning Crusade had required a level of gear, stratagy, and potion chugging so great that only the absolute pinnicle of hardcore raiders could complete the highest tier of content. In general, I agree with their analysis, and the general direction they were going, but I think they over shot… by a lot.
You see, although Burning Crusade raiding had been gruelling, even at the first steps (kara… ugh), there was a satisfaction that completing it got you. I remember the night my guild finally got Moroes down. We were yelling on vent and guild chat and general chat, and we we went on to get both Maiden of Virtue and Opera down that night because we were so pumped up. I’m afraid that Blizzard has made Wrath so easy, that there won’t be as many moments of pure joy, like the one of getting Moroes down.
You see, in the end, the true satisfaction of raiding, and for that matter anything in MMO’s, isn’t getting the phat epixx. If it was about that, the best way for MMO developers to make people happy would be to but a huge chest in the middle of the world, easily accessable by anyone, containing a full set of the best gear in the game. You see, the reason that getting epixx is satisfying is that you sacrificed to get them and now you are one of the chosen few who can say that you completed this task. You put in the hours, you had to work as a team, you read all the stratagies, you failed, but you eventually triuphed, and now there are only a small percentage of all people who have played your game who can stand above or equal to you. Without sacrificing, without stratagy and teamwork, and yes, without failure, epixxs are just groups of 1’s and 0’s.
That’s what worries me about Wrath. My guild can finally progress to the pinnicle of the WoW raiding scene. Hell, we can probly down Arthas eventually! Blizzard has finally come to the full realization of what they started realizing when they released BC, requiring large numbers of people to raid excludes many people from raiding. But with the good comes the bad. Though I may be able to kill Arthas, that may not be a great accomplishment because its been made too easy. The pendulum has swong too far in one direction! And what if Blizzard, aware of their mistake, turns the pendulum aroung again and over shoots once more!
Well, I guess I’ll keep playing until I stop having fun, that the best I can do. Worrying about undetermined future only stops you from enjoying the present.