On Tobold and Raiding
Tobold made an excellent post entitled Improving raid endgame progression about the flawed positioning of the newest Zul’Aman instance. Blizzard continues to create and implement content for the hardcore while leaving us casual players to enjoy our raid-content by proxy.
This post apparently attracted quite a few elitist raiders that had a negative reaction to Tobold’s gripe. He made an excellent riposte with Invaded by raiders that delves deeper into his interpretation of the raider mentality and Blizzards decision to cater to it almost entirely.
A lot of what Tobold says mirrors my own thoughts. As much as I’d love to experience end-game content, it’s just not practical for someone who can’t dedicate a significant amount of uninterrupted time to the required gearing up process. I enjoy running instances, but running the same instance in a “heroic” flavor (no change in the encounter, just the stats of the mobs) multiple times does not appeal to me in the least. The only instance that I can really withstand running more than once per character is the Deadmines. (Heroic Deadmines maybe?).
I think I might understand Blizzard’s thought process though. They focus a lot of initial energy into developing the primary game (or expansion) content and once the game is released, all efforts are shifted to keeping that Carrot on a Stick dangling just out of reach of the top players. Why do this? Because you don’t want the top players to leave, either by “winning” the game and completing all of the content, or by hitting a rough patch were progression seems impossible or not worth it. When the end-game isn’t appealing to the top players, you will have a trickle-down effect that will instill apathy in even the most casual of players.
This reasoning is a shot in the dark, I’d love to be a fly on the wall in some of Blizzards Top Secret planning meetings. Regardless, I think that the paradigm needs to shift to a casualcore player focus. Release new content that will actually be seen by a majority of your player-base. 2.3 was a step in the right direction (new midlevel-zone content makes an alt-aholic like myself very happy). Existing instance refreshment seems also like a logical choice. How many people have had the opportunity to experience Blackwing Lair or even Molten Core? Even the level 60 5-man content is bypassed at 58 for superior quests and rewards in Outland.
It’ll be interesting to see what the future holds. Will WotLK turn Outland into the new Azeroth–a veritable ghost-town with the occasional alt scrambling through on their way to the top? Will we ever see a major content patch or even an expansion that focuses on revamping the old-world? Regretfully, I’m a frayed knot.