Sunday, May 16, 2010

Too Easy

More and more on forums lately I have been seeing complaints that WOW is too easy and that anyone with a pulse can do everything.  I would tend to suggest the opposite.

For example, it is certainly true that anyone with mediocre skill and minimal investment can go into the final instance of the expansion and kill a bunch of the bosses.  Beating ICC does not require you to be excellent, and this is true of most of the other dungeons too.  With overpowered badge gear that is available now you can steamroll everything with only minimal instruction.  While that is the case I think it is rather silly to assume that since you can zone in to challenging dungeons and beat some guys up that the whole game is trivial.  Consider Alone in the Darkness, an achievement that 1.5% of the people in raiding guilds have acquired.  Even though that achievement was possible to win with Ulduar gear and we are now getting gear with 50% more stats on it hardly anyone can beat that fight.  Even Firefighter, which is notably much more gear dependent and easier to accomplish has only been beaten by 6.2% of the raiding population.  If the game is so easy and trivial, why are so few people able to accomplish these goals?

I think the big factor here is how much exclusivity there is for hardcore players and how easy it is for them to display it to others.  Back when Naxxramas was the endgame in classic WOW the models for the gear were unique and mediocre guilds never even zoned in.  Anyone who was clearing Naxxramas stood out in a crowd and could brag about how many encounters they had beaten that 98% of the population had never seen.  This is drastically more exclusive than being able to beat a harder version of the same boss for loot that looks the same but has a different colour palette.

It is all linked together.  If Blizzard makes some of the game extremely difficult to enter and succeed in then many of their customers complain that they are paying for content they can't see.  If Blizzard then lets those people in the most hardcore people complain that the game is too easy since their skill and time do not give them sufficient bragging rights and feelings of exclusivity.  Everyone wants to be exclusive and special, and it is a very tricky balancing act to allow people access who are not especially good while still providing some feeling of reward for those who excel.  It is my feeling at the moment that most of the game is very accessible and this is a good thing. There are specific portions of the game that only the best players can see and the cosmetic 'bragging' rewards are well done for those that complete those objectives.

While a few people find it tremendously fun to have big sections of the game all to themselves and to lord it over the peons of the world I think that desire is one that needs to be firmly ignored.  WOW has plenty of bloody hard challenges and bad players killing 4 bosses in ICC on easymode does not change that.

No comments:

Post a Comment