Read yesterday’s post if you want this to make sense. OK, it might not actually help but you should read it anyway, this is PART 2!
People were, and continue to be, the hardest mechanic of the game.
Things were hard and/or time consuming in vanilla/BC. Player base expanded. Pendulum swung (too far) to the other side. People complained that it got too easy. Pendulum returned. Now it’s too hard.
I wish I had started playing (and blogging) earlier. I wish I could look back at how it really was in BC and compare to how it is now, for me. But I can’t so everything is my own perception of what I’ve seen and read.
Returning to the nature of humans, we become accustomed to things, we are creatures of habit. Spending an evening in one heroic is hard to swallow when the week before we were blowing out a chain of 4-5 in an hour. We like slow rises or declines in our effort cycle, with pleasant, lazy plateaus. Expansions have a nasty tendency to reset the cycle and put us all back on the ground floor.
I remember reading posts from other blogs just before the release of Wrath. Many were disillusioned with continuing to raid, even if they hadn’t conquered the content – because their purples were going to be replaced with quest greens. “Wrath will be Outland all over again!”
And it was. And so was Cataclysm.
The cycle hasn’t changed.
The players have.
We have a fresh, expanded player base that has no experience with the way things were in the good ol’ days and an experienced player base that fell out of shape during the Wrath days, all while reminiscing about how good it was for things to be hard back then and these young whippersnappers wouldn’t know what CC was if a sheep bit them on the ass.
So here I am, a Wrath baby by virtue of the time that I seriously entered the raiding scene, but have always felt that there was more or should be more behind the encounters, that maybe Blizzard really did give mages polymorph for a legitimate PvE reason.
And I have my guild, which is currently undergoing a bit of a transformation. (Changes to the guild environment in general are another topic altogether… gone are the days of “ask not what the guild can do for you, ask what you can do for your guild.”)
When I joined DH, we were at the end of the Wrath expansion. A lot of people had wandered off due to work or school or boredom or flammable felines. We were working on LK heroic but it just wasn’t happening. A few of the people involved didn’t want to be there and you really can’t force someone to focus and function if their heart isn’t in to it.
Attendance was pretty low leading up to Cataclysm and we had a good core of 6-8 players to form a 10-man group.
Cataclysm hits and we start raiding in 10 mans, hitting it hard and making good progress quickly. At one point we were 3rd on the server.
But lo and behold, with the new expansion, all the fair-weather raiders came strolling back and expected raid positions.
Some nights we had 40+ people on, many clamoring for raid spots.
And so my hardcore progression guild moved to 25 mans for 2 reasons.
1 – 25s are easier.
2 – I shit you not – people’s feelings were getting hurt because they were left out.
So we basically had to restart the raiding situation. We had already cleared 7/12 available bosses (oh, and the loot pinata down in Tol Barad) on 10s. Now, we had to go back and re-experience them while teaching 10-15 more people the encounters.
Yes, 25s are easier.
I still prefer 10s. More personal responsibility, less chaff, less dead weight, less bullshitting, fewer potty breaks (because people seriously can’t all take a break at the same goddamn time they have to stagger it so when the first person gets back they suddenly are in a dangerous position of being on the verge of pissing all over themselves), fewer afks, fewer late people, fewer people leaving early, etc.
So it drops us back a week or two while we get all the new people up to speed. And we’re at 7/12 again.
We start the week on 25s. Usually good attendance on Tuesday, getting worried on Wednesday, might have to pull in some friends and family rank, by Thursday we’re scraping the bottom of the barrel, “You! 85? Yes? Accept this summon and don’t do anything stupid!”
Fridays through Monday we would drop to 10s and work on progression fights.
We’re a 25-man raiding guild that has not dropped anything on 25 that we have not killed first on 10. (9/12 now if anyone is keeping score.)
But 25s are easier! WTF?
This tells me that our ratio of people that should be there to people that should not be there is more tuned on 10 mans. It means that we’re filling raid spots in 25s with people that may want to be there, but don’t have the skill, or they have the skill but don’t want to be there.
It came to head the other night.
Tuesday and we don’t even have 25 people on. We eventually get 21 spots filled, most of us are standing in the entrance to BWD and after an HOUR of trying to scrape something together, the raid gets called.
Some people log off in disgust, much complaining and bitching was to be had.
Eventually, a 10-man raid was formed so that we could raid SOMETHING. We’re a RAIDING guild, FFS, we need to raid something.
There is some additional drama about the 10-man that formed. The officer that took charge hand-picked the people he took, assembling a raid with good composition and dedicated players. (You know, the ones that didn’t say, “fuck it” and actually stuck around.)
Eventually enough people logged on (or back on) for a second 10-man to form. Composition was not as good and the players were not all of the same caliber.
But hey, of 21 people that had logged on, we had 20 in raids. Not bad in my book. Yes, the first group got a boss further and was able to put in some good attempts on a progression fight.
A lot happened behind the scenes that I was not privy to. So I’m sure some of it was justified, but the fallout for us *GASP* raiding 10s instead of 25s was hell.
The one out of 21 that didn’t get to raid (and he was invited to the first group, he had gone afk) blew up. Guild chat was full of his ranting. He logged into vent while the 10s were happening and tore into the officer responsible, disrupting the raid. He made an absolute ass of himself, demanding that the situation should have gone to vote and since most people had logged off and couldn’t have voted, nothing should have been raided at all. He then attempted to pin his beliefs on his “military mindset” which only further embarrassed him when I pointed out that the military and the guild both have a chain of command for a reason.
Grumblings got worse, seeds of discontent were sown. People that ended up in the second group felt slighted, even if they hadn’t been logged in to have been asked to go to the first group.
The biggest complaints from people were surrounding missing out on loot opportunities and valor point accumulation. Not missing the progression fight. Fucking loot. People that rolled on anything and everything their toon could equip, and they were bitching about loot.
The GM had to leave the country to attend to emergency family business, very serious stuff and we all hope that things worked out. (He’s back this week, finally.)
People took the opportunity to jump ship.
Probably a dozen people left. A couple were planning on leaving for real life reasons anyway, friends on other servers, changes in schedule, etc. so the jump was justified. But others just jumped to the next ship sailing by. The officer that took responsibility for the ill-fated 10-man left, citing discomfort with how he had been treated (and I really can’t blame him).
After a week under a different banner, a few have come back. Turns out there weren’t the raid spots they thought they would be getting on the other side of the fence. The individual that made the biggest stink about the 10-man run was promoted to officer (WTF?) and heal lead (but never offered any assistance with healing assignments or strats), spent a week screaming about recruitment and then left the guild.
We met, had a council of sorts, and the decision was made to stick to 25s. We’ve pulled in a few new raiders by absorbing a smaller guild that couldn’t field their own 10s.
But still the problem remains.
Most of the guild is now comprised of Wrath babies.
And I don’t mean just the people that started in Wrath and have never known raiding challenges like it used to be, but the experienced players that got soft during the Wrath era and came to expect new purples every week.
I think there is a subtle difference between the groups. The first might not have had any clue that the game could be difficult. The second seems to have developed a sense of entitlement that you can’t fit in a 40-man raid. I feel a lot of bitterness from this group, like they have suffered for years during their “WoW-career” and they should be carried to the purples as they have already paid their dues.
In our 10 man group, when we wiped on progression, it was frustrating. (C’mon you just died, it gets on every one’s nerves eventually.) But we would pick ourselves up, run back, regroup, and try again. (It wasn’t always perfect, but it wasn’t horrible either.) Conversation was oriented around what worked and could be built upon. If the raid comp wasn’t working, we would swap people in or out to stack the proverbial deck in our favor or maybe we just want to give another player a shot at learning the encounter. (Yes, I have been sat from time to time.)
In the 25s, wiping is hell. Actually, it’s hell just getting 25 people on at the same time. Getting regrouped is slow and time consuming. The raid swings wildly from “no finger pointing allowed, to the extreme that if someone is making a repeatable error no one is supposed to point it out to them” to half the raid screaming at the other half for being fucking retarded.
I really enjoy raiding. I enjoy the challenge. I enjoy the thrill of getting a first kill, or a kill that we shouldn’t have gotten because someone’s cat caught on fire and jumped on the keyboard and the MT DCed but we somehow kept it together and pulled it off.
I don’t like wiping. But if it’s progression and we’re learning one more way that the encounter shouldn’t be done, it’s moving us closer to finding the magic combination of how our group can get it done. Wiping is part of learning, part of progression, part of earning the kill. Since I want the kill, I have to put up with the wiping. Generally, the kill outweighs the wipes in terms of overall happiness to irritation.
What I like less than wiping, is people giving up because we’re wiping. Oh noes! We didn’t waltz in and kill new content on the first attempt! Oh noes! We have to run back and try again. Oh noes! You didn’t get that tank helm. (And why did you even roll on it, ya fuck? You refuse to tank unless bribed. Oh yeah, he finally left too.) Oh noes! You got sat from a raid this week. Man the fuck up already.
Yes, raiding is harder now than it was in Wrath. (Seems to be my personal experience as well as general consensus, feel free to comment otherwise, I would actually like to hear from people that were there in vanilla and BC and can really supply some comparison.)
But it will get easier. Nerfs will come in. Better gear will be had. Classes will be balanced. (OK, that one might be stretching it a bit.) Eventually, it will all even out and we’ll hit our plateau. Regular content will be cleared.
And then human nature and the MMO aspect will again raise the bar.
Regular raids done? But… but… but… there are HEROIC versions out there!
And the cycle begins anew. The same people will complain that the heroics aren’t being cleared, but they only log one night a week when we raid 3. They don’t show up with flasks or gems or enchants. The people that couldn’t be bothered to watch a video, read a strat or even listen to the raid leader explain the mechanics will be the first ones to have their hand in the air for heroic runs and will be vocal in their displeasure if they don’t get picked.
In my opinion, heroic raids are not for every player. At least not this close to the beginning of the expansion. Me paying $15 a month does not guarantee me access to heroic-level raiding content and the kills/loot contained therein. My monthly payment gives me access to the game world and my characters. Anything above that is completely contingent on my time, my skill, and the time and skill of the people with whom I associate.
Regardless of how low Blizzard lowered the bar in Wrath to allow people to see content, nowhere in the terms of service does it state that I will kill Deathwing on heroic mode.
I’ve pretty much run out of words at this point, but you get the picture.