Thursday, December 16, 2010


My husband was talking with one of our WoW-playing co-workers the other day, and she asked him what level he had reached.  She was surprised to hear he had only reached 82.

He embarked on a long discussion of the history of MMOs, concluding by saying he just wasn't interested in playing WoW anymore, except to play with his wife and daughters.  The main reason, he said, was that everything had been dumbed down so as to make it accessible to the largest variety of players, and there was no challenge anymore.

I protested, saying that some of the dungeons I'd been running had been challenging, mostly because I had had to relearn how to play my character, given that a lot of rules had changed.

"No," he said. "You've been able to make it through the instances all right.  What you've been doing is not relearning how to play your character, but learning how to play your character efficiently."

He stated there were no situations in which players had to strategize, thinking about how best to use their characters.  The suggestion that that was what raids were for did not fly. The encounters were too formulaic.  Once you learned a few basic principles, you were in.

"You put your right foot in, you put your right foot out,
You put your right foot in and you shake it all about,
You do the hokey-pokey and you get the boss down."

And that, he said, was what it was all about.

I can see his point, in that there are things which are formulaic.  I'm sure there are only so many ideas developers can come up with before they simply run out and start recycling.  How many times have experienced raiders compared a mechanic in a new fight to a mechanic in a fight they did three years ago?  When I explain the 2nd boss strategy in Stonecore to players new to the instance, I simply say, "Stay out of the stuff on the ground," and everyone knows what I mean.  We've seen it before.

But I've also seen enough encounters in Cataclysm dungeons to know it is not all facerolling.  There are trash packs which will flatten a group if not managed properly.  (The stars in Vortex Pinnacle, for one . . .)  And there are boss fights which still require thought to succeed.  So I can't completely agree with him that everything is too formulaic and simple.

In addition, from what I hear, Heroics will provide a good challenge.  I'm finally getting the hang of current Druid healing, feeling more comfortable with my triage skills.  I still have a ways to go before I will be Heroic material, but I'm looking forward to it.

Postscript:  Tuesday night, my husband entered Stonecore for the first time, with me tagging along to heal him as tank and to explain everything I knew about making it through the instance.  (Which in Stonecore, is quite a bit . . .)  Everything went pretty well until the final boss, where I kept dying to adds.  After a few iterations of this and some brainstorming by the group (two of whom said they had lousy AOE and the third of whom said he didn't dare open up on the boss because he pulled aggro), we managed to get the boss down with two dps alive and my husband's tank barely hanging on to a tiny sliver of life.  As he rezzed me, he told me he was revising his opinion of the Cataclysm dungeons.

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