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Sunday, June 7, 2009

How Blizzard killed PVE

Lots of players leaving and others not enjoying WoW as much as it could have been. It has been talked about a lot, but I today realized exactly what it is and how. Though it is personal and some of you might have figured this out LONG time ago.

WoW is no longer the game it used to be. My guild has had a lot of people not feeling the drive anymore. As a result they are leaving. There are others that don't feel the drive too. Coinciding with summer (and no longer being locked inside to flee the cold) this is very bad for the raiding communities in WoW.

The reason for it is not that Ulduar is not what we expected it to be. It is exactly what we expect it to be. However WoW itself has changed drastically. WoW have become socialistic bastards. "We want more people to experience end game encounters". In other words; if you suck ass you will one day kill Yogg Saron. This makes good players sad.
It is an attempt of Blizzard to make even more money. However I feel it has destroyed the game completely. The main driving force behind new and more people starting to play WoW, I think, was the mouth-to-mouth talk from friends on how awesome WoW was. At the moment I would recommend nobody to start playing WoW. Try some game that is not dying. The game is dying and it is time for a reanimation force from Blizzard.

Ulduar is a great instance, and yet it sucks monkey balls. The bossfights are awesome, but then again disappointing. There is no progress. Or at least not like it used to be. Previously you would work one week on a boss and finally get him down. Now you work 2 hours on him and he is dead. Then you can spent some time working on hardmode. And this is where it goes wrong. If you raid with 25 people at least a few of them do not really care about hardmodes. This depends on the server though. The top guilds on a heavily populated pve server will get those people. But if you don't you are screwed.

Now as to what this change has accomplished. A lot more people will see Yogg Saron. Basically, if you want to you can. Yay, but it means it is totally unrewarding for anyone skilled.

Pre 3.0 there were no hardmodes. Or rather there were no easy modes. Freya would always have her 3 watchers up. Flame leviathan would be way one of the last (optional) bosses since you need to kill him with 4 towers always. Then downing Flame leviathan would mean something. We last week went for the "easy" achievements and with not even a full raid we got 2 easy achievments done. 3 actually, nobody dying (part of a meta), no repairs and no overload. Where is the challenge?

Pre 3.0 you used to be in a guild and hear some guild took boss x and boss y and you would imagine yourself killing them one day. If your guild would suck you could choose to join an other (how ever hard that choice may be sometimes). If you wanted to you could see all bosses in an expansion. If you were in a top guild you would be walking around with great gear and all would see how great you looked and envy you. That is something that gives satisfaction.

What is the satisfaction now? Everyone looks the same after 2 months of raiding. If you are in a crappy guild you will kill Yogg Saron eventually for sure, as long as you have a PVE focus. There is no room for self improvement. And good players, the ones hooked to WoW are finding less and less enjoyment in it.

This will result in the biggest "Yay! WoW!"-sayers to go: "Yeah... WoW :S"

I don't know about PvP but I think Blizzard should hurry up with the new MMORPG game (non Warcraft) of which I have heard rumors. In my opinion WoW is dying and they need a followup.

As a closing statement;
To reach for a goal is to get the ultimate. The thing you can't get or have to do a lot for to get. Once you have it and you can't set any new goals you get depressed.
WoW has lost any ultimate can't-get factor it had in PvE. No goals so depression sets in.



    Did you read my blog about algalon?

    SUCH AN EASY FIGHT!!!!!! so disapointing

    It is basically saph v2.

    Cosmic smash is an ability you move out of ala blizzard, and big bang you run into the portals to another "phase" ala getting behind iceblocks.

    The only difficult aspect is his brutallus likeness. Imagine a tank on brut had stomp 100% of the time, and just as strict an enrage timer as we killed it with 2 seconds to spare (also a stacking debuff that you must taunt every 4th one ala brut as well).

    For a fight as much as blizzard has hyped it, its a fucking joke for any guild capable of killing firefighter to get there.

    wow, sorry for the rant.

  2. You seem to be complaining a lot lately.
    Have you concidered that maybe it's not wow that's dying but simply your interest in it.

  3. More like I am pissed off at blizzard ruining the game I love just to make more money because they are rich, greedy, faggots in control of the most popular video game IP. They do not care about hard core raiders anymore because we make up such a small portion of their income.

    11 million people play wow, 10 million of them log in 3 times a week and raid 3 hours those days and have better gear than I do when I raid 40 hours a week.

    LK was nothing more than a big FU to all the serious raiding guilds.

  4. @darksend
    Yes I read your post. I didn't base my story on it but for ever a more hardcore raider it is even more frustrating.

    The thing is, IF WoW would have beent he same game as pre 3.0 I might have seen it as something related to me. It very much depends on what kind of player you are but I think Blizzard is slowly killing WoW for me here. I would really like to hear your opinion on where my view is wrong here? Can you point to certain facts that are absolutely not how you feel or perhaps to something I didn't understand/investigate enough? (as far as feeling and recalling from memory can be called investigate).

    As it stands at the moment what I wrote is the truth, though be it my truth and completely bogus for someone else.

    PS, A LOT of players I played/play with feel kinda the same. Is it because they play the same game I do (progression raiding)?

    PPS this goes to all reading my blog, I would like to hear your opinion about it.

  5. I don't think Blizzard is just trying to make money by making everything easier. Well, I take that back, I'm sure they are, but I think there is a genuine interest in making all aspects of the game more accessible to all players, and I think that's good.

    Let me give an example from my point of view, which is markedly different from that of a hardcore raider. I play WoW a lot, but am probably only a bit more than a casual player; I have a few friends in guilds and out, but am not in a raiding guild and do a lot of pugs. I do want to see all the end game content that I can. I want closure on storylines; for example, in my questing in Northrend, I've run into Arthas a lot, and have learned a lot of lore on him both in game and out due to interest in the story. When Icecrown Citadel opens, I want to have the chance to be able to beat the "last boss," in a final showdown, like I would in a console game, and close that chapter of the story. But, I don't want to have to make the deep commitment to it that hardcore raiders do. That's not to say I won't try to improve my character and be the best that I can be; just that I don't feel like my (real) life fits with a serious raiding guild.

    So, I'm glad Blizzard is making the game more accessible. I'm sure you hardcore raiders miss out on a bit of the challenge, but I think the hardmodes are a good way to alleviate that, and still allow everyone else access to the content that they want.

  6. I agree that if I were a casual player I would not mind the game as it is as much either.

    Look at it this way. There are 2 kinds of players (I mean main focusses). PVE and PVP. PVP players get gladiator title, exceptionally rare gear(set) and a personal achievement for owning in PVP.

    What do PVE players get? Ripped off! That is what. We are good in PVE and we are proud of it. What do we have to show for it. The same gear as a casual player? The same titles? I feel ripped off.
    You say Blizzard is making everything more accessible. What if I would only win 10 arena matches and loose 50 (because I suck) and get the most imba PVP gear and title? I bet there would be a lot of disgruntled pvp players just as the pve players are now clueless to why their joy has gone.

    PS, as to "experience" and lore. After each patch release blizzard should make a guided tour of each instance. When 2.4 got released it was safe to assume all BT tactics were well known, all bosses were killed etc. "BT is empty" lorewise speaking. Pay a guide at the entrance 100 gold and let him take you through the instance, fight by fight. You can see all battles playing. 25 players recorded, their moves, their actions, their kill. See all scenematics, etc. Then you go to the next fight.

    So for now this should mean that you would be able to get a guided tour through any raid instance except for Ulduar. Now THAT would be experiencing the game, instead of fucking up the whole pve gameplay.

  7. Unlike PVP there is a lot of talent in that casual PVE pool. The main thing that makes hardcore raiders hardcore is time. I'd argue that in terms of skill my guild 10 man which runs 3 hours each week is more skilled and accomplishes more in that 3 hours than many hardcore raiding guilds do in their 40 hours.

    Beating all the content in the first few weeks after it is released is a recipe for boredom and burnout. The game is geared toward playing at a causal pace. Limit your raiding to a few hours each week and new content will released right around the time you are ready to advance.

    The rate at which new content has been released has always been way behind the hardcore raiders so not much has changed with respect to how long it takes content to be cleared for the first time. The fights are certainly more fun now and that is partially because they are much less picky when it comes to absolute perfection.

    The main thing that has changed is that hardcore raiders are unhappy that others that put in the same time and effort at a casual pace are getting the same rewards. Why should what someone else is doing or not doing outside your own guild/raid affect your enjoyment of the game?

  8. Sarah, you miss the fact that progress raiding was all about the hours. Hours and effort. Put in hours, master every aspect of the fight and down the boss.

    The fights are still there but are called hardmode. Which in reality means "normal mode". Not doing it that way is the easy mode / cheat (in my opinion of course).

    The thing with hardmode is that you can as previously not kill anything till the boss is down. But there is always the choice made to take a look at it later and do it easy mode after a few hours of wiping.

    Now this is where the thing is. Getting a boss down on easy mode is no accomplishment. A trained monkey can do it. Killing the boss after on hardmode offering the same (maybe 1 better item) loot does not EVER feel the same as then you kill a boss for the first time pre hardmodes (Vanilla & TBC).

    So taken from the equation is the feeling of the first kill, the feeling of the first real kill. Killing something you slaved your ass over was THE one thing hardcore raiders went for. That has been taken from the game.

    Again to conclude, this is from my p.o.v., which is not the hardest, but still a hardcore raiding p.o.v.

  9. Killed twins: 4/17

    2 weeks later muru's gate was opened

    killed muru: 6/9
    killed kj: 7/27

    3 months for 3 bosses.

    we killed 13 bosses in ulduar in 1 week (less than a week we got yogg on sunday the week ulduar came out).

    Boss no longer require raid stacking, which is something I have spoken about in the past and that is a major part of the reason that it takes one week of attempts vs 6 weeks of attempts to down a new boss (you can wipe on muru for 3 weeks with 2 resto shaman and just because you have 2 resto shaman instead of 5 you will never beat the fight).

    But blizzard is hardly releasing any new mechanics. Twins muru and KJ were all about strategy, and a MASSIVE dps burn in phase 2 of those fights (phase 3/4 for kj). the 1% wipes on entropius probably is more than the 1% wipes on every other boss combined from MC to BT and that is why that fight was hard. Even hard modes come down to DO NOT DIE IN A FIRE = collect loot. Time = wiping till you finally get an attempt where no one dies in a fire even though you new the strategy for the boss hours/days ago.

  10. I see a lot of QQ from hardcore people regarding how easy the bosses are in normal mode and that they have problems getting people to rerun on the hard modes. The question comes to mind that why did you not just run the place doing hard mode from the first? It seems to me that it was your choice to do ulduar in lazy mode to start.

  11. I know a lot of guilds do have trouble making people come back for hard modes, but right now my guild forgotten heroes US BDF is rated 28th in the world and 10th in the US. We had attendance problems early on in the first 2 weeks but once we started hard modes everyone came back.

    When we killed yogg in the first week on easy mode, the flood gate of applicants just started rolling in. That is why you do it on easy. We were US 5th on general vezax hard mode, again the flood gates opened on applicants.

  12. Sadly I am on a PVP-RP server. We only wished we had a lot of players that would like to join.

  13. I generally love you're blog, have followed it for a while and you typically have some great things to share ... but you've been a bit whiny lately ... fyi. I also have never posted here but these kind of posts just bother me for some reason whenever I see them. A few things I'd like to point out about your (and Darksend's) stance on WotLK raiding.

    If you feel like you've been cheating your way through easy modes (your quote and I don't agree with it) than why didn't you/your guild just start out doing hard modes? The easiest response to this has to do with time-reward ratio (which is why most would do it) but I don't think that makes sense given your stance (i.e., most people don't feel like they're cheating their way through the content I don't think).

    Your guild hasn't even cleared Ulduar and it's been out for a little while. Looking at your achievements, in terms of number so not with a critical eye, you have just about as many achievements left as you've done in Ulduar. You're not even "done" yet.

    What would you say to the people in the Revelations guild on your server saying you guys do not deserve the same quality gear/titles they do because they are so much better than you are and you just don't deserve it? Just looked on GuildOx for an example ... I actually don't know anything about your server. There are many more examples outside of your server.

    Why would you ever argue for an encounter that "requires" 5 resto shamans? That seems absolutely absurd. That's akin to "Hey, we can't get past this progression boss without bringing 15 warlocks"? How does that make the fight any more "challenging"?

    You're also comparing the second raid in this expansion to the absolute last raid in the previous one which seems inherently biased. How many people got to see all of Sunwell (at 70)? I bet the number is so minuscule you'd be surprised. Do you really believe that the Naxx should have been harder than Sunwell? I don't see how that makes any sense.

    Is their a sane argument for catering any product ever created to 0.001% (I don't know what the actual percent would be other than a small extremely subjective number) of the user base? I've heard Everquest was extremely hard (never played it) and look what happened to that.

    How many people do you think will have Conqueror of Ulduar or The Astral Walker on your server anytime soon? You don't even have either of them yet although I'm sure you'll probably get them. I bet that number is extremely low in terms of the realm's population. On some servers there are quite a few Gladiators although I agree that's probably a harder title to attain but I would have said the same thing if Sunwell had an achievement associated with clearing it when it was cutting edge.

    Talking about difficulty and mixing in things about loot seems incongruous. The sense of achievement you'd get from doing something challenging doesn't have anything to do with the reward.

    Anyway, keep up the good work on your blog.

  14. You cannot do hard modes before easy modes. Stop suggesting that.

    Also, as I said my guild is currently the #10 guild in the US with all but mimiron down, and I agree with everything marino said. You going to throw my opinion out to because I do not have mimiron down.

    I SAID RAID STACKING IS BAD, I never said I wanted 5 shamans im saying you 100% had to have 5 shaman or you would never win. That was a bad thing and it no longer happens.

    I have starcaller, and conquerer of ulduar means nothing, it just means you give up hard modes for 1 week.

  15. @Ness
    Maybe I am whiney. I kinda feel that way too. That is what happens when the excitement has been taken out of gaming by Blizzard.

    At first, and you will have to excuse me, I was thinking of not even replying to your comment. Some statements seemed really weird. "Not having cleared Ulduar" (except for Agalon we did in week 2). Also I am not saying we should return to class dependence. I don't even get where you get that idea from.

    [edit] I see that was something you picked up from Darksend probably. Judging from the not often posting remark you made I would like to offer you the friendly advise to split your comment and direct it at someone by putting @<name> in front of it[/edit]

    Furthermore your comment is not really on topic, meaning that I think you misunderstood my feelings I tried to convey. There is no excitement left. It has been killed off. I am not saying people who kill a boss don't deserve gear, I am just saying that it isn't as "magical" as it used to be.

    To give you an example of how excitement has been removed from PVE (something quite unrelated, though it might be testimony of the way Blizzard is thinking).
    Someone walking around with a glaive was awesome. Someone with 2 was devine.
    The current legendary weapon, the mace, is crafted from I believe 28 fragments. There is no question on whether or not it will be there. It will be there, period. There is no chance, no luck involved. It is pure math. Imagine the excitement you would get from killing Yogg-Saron and the legendary mace would drop vs the "I am at 27 now, lets kill Yogg and I have it". It sure still is great but some fun/exitement has been taken out of it.

    The following statement goes for a lot of things that are pve concerned; Instead of one big orgasmic exciting thing happening everything now is chopped up into pieces. You will get a number of small exciting things that in total are equal to the excitement you would get if it was like killing a boss in TBC.

    That might work for some people, but I'd rather have one big orgasm then 4 small ones... ;)

  16. I for one, am extremely happy that Blizzard is making content more accessible. Due to other life obligations, I don't have a lot of available play time, and it is often at odd hours of the day, but am happy that I've been able to see Nax. In the vanilla days, I never saw MC, or BWL. Quit before I made it to Karahzan, and started back up again this year. I honestly think the hard modes should be handled differently. Instead of Regular / Heroic, it should be Regular, Regular Hard, Heroic, Heroic Hard, and let people pick at the beginning what they were going to do, therefore making the Hard Modes not optional. Only give out titles and such based on mode, heck, change the iLevel of the gear based on mode. It could be the same gear but a few more points in each stat allocation and a slightly different name.

    The designers at Blizzard are artists, and want their art to be appreciated by as many people as possible. Would you want to paint a picture if you knew that only a few people would get to see it, or would you want to paint one that hung in a big museum for all to see?

    And when it comes down to it, there are more of us casuals than there are of you hardcore players. Who are you going to take care of from a business perspective? 95% of your player base? or 5%?

    I expect that a LOT of the hard core people will quit over the next year, and new people will become hardcore, but for the new HC people, this will be the way it always was, and they will measure their skill by their acheivements not by their gear. I'm already seeing that happen on my server where people setting up pugs will require that all members link their acheivement before they can join the run.

    In the end, its to some degree selfish to want to keep content from everyone else, just because they lack the time to commit to a game that you have. It often times doesn't make them a worse player, or a worse person, just that they have less time for the game.

    Anway, love the blog, and thank you for writing it.

  17. I am fairly positive you can do certain/most hard modes without doing the easy version first. I have seen people start Leviathan on hard mode without ever having been in Ulduar before and kill XT's heart without ever having dropped him before. Maybe your talking about specific hard modes or am I mistaken?

    I'm not throwing your opinion out, I just disagree with it which is why I posted. From his own comments Marino sounded like he wanted to hear some counterpoints. These are just opinions.

    I agree raid stacking is bad, I misinterpreted your comment out of context.

    These "achievements" in game all really mean nothing except what value the person receiving them applies to them. You see them as easy so you apply almost no worth to them. I know plenty of people that would jump for joy if they could even come close to getting such things.

    The hard modes yeild the best gear in the game. Is the point that it's just not "better enough" to warrant doing it? Should the gear be "a lot" better than the normal gear?

    I have a question for you Darksend. If Ulduar was so difficult that your #10 US guild was still on Flame what do you think would happen? Suspend disbelief for a second and imagine what would have happened within your guild at this point if you had not been able to kill a single Ulduar 25 man boss on normal mode? It would have been simple for Blizzard to do this ... it was only a design decision not to. Guilds would completely disintegrate.

    Is it that you feel like it should take about a month of work to just down each boss in a new dungeon? I have a feeling if that were the case you'd be seeing a rash of blog posts about how insanely impossible Ulduar is and how it needs to be nerfed.

  18. @Marino you're right. I think I did miss the point of your post then. I also was composing it over a couple disjointed hours in between things at work so point taken about the "@"s. Sorry you are starting to feel that way and I know you're not alone. If you hold out maybe Icecrown will be a better compromise between access and challenge although it sounds like you just don't like the idea of hard modes as a way of satisfying both "camps" of players. Best of luck.

  19. @Ness
    I appreciate you responding.

    "I have a feeling if that were the case you'd be seeing a rash of blog posts about how insanely impossible Ulduar is and how it needs to be nerfed."

    Read this post and weep:

    Since Naxx it is expected you should be able to kill everything if you want to... even if you have your mommy to help you blow your nose.

    PS, as to flame leviathan being too hard; that is why I suggested (if, as said, there was only one mode, hardmode) it should be an optonal boss or nerfed (rather tweaked; meaning adjusted to be of less difficulty then following bosses) if it is still to be the first encounter.

  20. Q: Who linked me? I have been receiving double the pageviews then normal. So I think some site or blog has a link to this post. Perhaps there is a discussion on the topic going on as well. I would very much like to read that.

    So if you came to this post via a link, please post the link back. ;)


  21. @ Ness

    What disbelief? As I said in the old days of raiding it was not uncommon to spend 2-6 weeks on a single boss. If my #10 guild was still on flame levi it would not be #10, because then it would be tied with the million other guilds who are still on flame levi. Now if you mean if only 10 guilds in the entire US killed flame levi and we were one of them and we were stuck on XT. I WOULD LOVE THAT.

    @ marino:

  22. @ Marino

    Great post, got me really thinking about where I stand on PVE today and I have to say I am leaning more towards disagreement than agreement but only in certain aspects.

    In fact I decided to write my own rebuttal post :) Feel free to read if you like.

    I think you may have come from Warsong before too perhaps? so you might understand my point of view. I know you played with a lot of the old folks from midnight when they transferred off (mist furty cado etc)

  23. This view, and many comments represent a very typical view amoung wow-addicted arrogant teenagers. The initial comment by darksend was a boast about how awesome he and his guild are. And so on. Do you players not have any more interesting or thoughtful points to make? Nobody will miss you guys if you go play another game you know. Boasting & whining in public this way is pretty pathetic.

  24. Here's the problem.

    Blizzard wants most PVE players to be able to experience most of the fights/content. Therefore, normal-mode fights are tuned for groups with an average level of skill.
    Guilds that are comprised of all high-skill players (HC guilds) blow through this content.
    So Blizzard creates hardmodes and achievements, as a sop to HC guilds. And there we have it. Unfortunately, the days of exclusive content being created specifically for top-end players are over. For every hardcore player who says "Content too easy," there are five casuals who say "Content too hard." Blizzard would rather run off the few top-end players than run off the much more numerous casuals, especially since they all pay the same $15.

    So here's an idea, if you feel Ulduar is not challenging. Go give back to the community! Find a guild that's struggling, and mentor them through Ulduar. Sure, you won't get any in-game credit, but how much more of an achievement is it to down Ulduar with 24 other elite players, or 24 average players that you've mentored?

  25. @Anon
    Were you directing that comment at me too? Seems like you feel yourself too good for people that boast with what they have accomplished. And why is it only for kids? Don;t adults have the right to be happy? Who the hell do you think are buying Hummers? I am very sure it is not kids.

    I made a post on that too (joining an other guild). Prelude to this post kinda. Read the last column.

  26. Good article. There are two schools of thought into this. The only reason that I can figure out is that people do this for the achievement points, a totally artificial system.

    Some people love it, some people hate it. Those that hate it will leave, those that love it will migrate together. They will transfer servers to be with like minded people, leaving other servers totally dry of any raiding potential.

    I'm in the "hate it" court, which is where a majority of my friends are at now also. Time to start looking for another game.