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Accessibility, Not Sustainability

This piece is a contribution to the shared topic feature of Blog Azeroth on preparing for Wrath of the Lich King.

Our friend Amava recently wrote about gear accessibility in Wrath of the Lich King. He observed how Blizzard has been changing the way gear is made available to the masses as the game through badges and other forms of rewards. This accessibility allowed those who started late in WoW to catch up more easily to those who have played since the release of Burning Crusade.

When I started playing almost a year ago, I’d laugh if you were to tell me that I would be raiding Karazhan almost weekly and taking pokes at Gruul and Magtheridon. Burning Crusade was only 7 months old at the time. I started playing in the days of Patch 2.2, before the boost in experience rewards through questing and the removal of attunements. At the time, everything related to Outland seemed overwhelming. I was only familiar with 5-man instances. Any more than that would be chaos in my head.

Fast forward another 7 months. I entered Karazhan, received my first epic gear and my first badges. At this point, I’ve finally felt confident enough to start Heroics and settled myself into the possibility of regular raiding. I’ve come to terms with the fact that I may never see Hyjal or Black Temple. I’m still hoping for Serpentshrine Cavern and The Eye of Tempest Keep.

But now what? At this point, the only upgrades I can get to gear is from raid content, and that’s mostly epic-to-epic upgrades. Other upgrades will come from Badge of Justice rewards. Nothing I can do through questing will give me that kind of feeling when I used to constantly find things to replace my gear. Sometimes I find that disheartening because questing had been the cheese keeping me in WoW since the beginning. I wasn’t in it with the dreams of becoming an endgame player. I’m afraid that this is slowly leading me to the path of eventually feeling apathy towards WoW because I have little motivation to quest now.

I could blame myself for progressing too fast, but that’s not really the point. Almost everything in Heroic runs nowadays get sharded. Those who are stuck in Karazhan can get some of the best items from the Shattered Sun Offensive. The point is Blizzard has undoubtedly made this lame duck period before Wrath as a way to bring everyone to the same level. Provide easier access to everyone for similar gear. In my opinion, this is why raiding has become less sustainable than before. What’s the point in raiding when you can get some upgrades through other means (badges or PvP)? Even my guild is barely meeting the ability to field 25 people for a raid every time. And raiding sustainability is oftentimes related to guild sustainability.

I have no doubt that Wrath can renew my interest in my cheese, but we’re at least 5 months away from it. In the time being, what can I do to fight apathy? I’m hoping I will find the answer in Azeroth through my warrior.

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6 responses

  1. Honestly I can’t understand players who raid for gear and who lack motivation for raiding if they can get as good gear from badges.

    It’s the raiding in itself that is fun. The cooperation with 24 other people. The losses and the wins, the wipes and the downings… The new encounters!

    Loot is fun and gives something extra, but it’s not the whole point of raiding, at least not for me.

    But I’m afraid you may be right. The combination of summer vacation coming up and people getting geared up by badges and the upcoming expansion may make it a bit harder to progress in raids the months to come. I feel a bit cheated. To me TBC is not ended at all!

    Hm… I may write a blog post of my own about it…

    13 June 2008 at 04:11

  2. Thanks for the link, it brought a smile out to see the reference and hear about your thoughts on the topic.

    I enjoy reading your blog, and I loved your quickie post about Snake Traps on a Plane.

    13 June 2008 at 08:52

  3. It’s times when I read articles like these that make me glad that I find such large enjoyment in roleplaying. Even when raiding is dragging me down and I can’t find groups to get my hunter geared and I slowly start feeling like I’m getting nowhere pretty darned quick, I always have roleplaying to return to. It’s a wonderful catharsis and something that you can enjoy whether you’re a newly rolled sin’dorei warlock stepping foot into Silvermoon City for the first time or a young-yet-skilled human priestess who is a paragon of her faith, skill, and, well, enthusiasm!

    Larísa makes an awesome point, though; if you raid for epics, you’re probably going to experience some malaise. Things are winding down, people aren’t progressing as much, critically acclaimed progressive guilds are dissolving, and many people are jumping ship for the newest MMORPGs until the expansion comes out; as a result, progression comes close to a stuttering halt and people become jaded and depressed about the lack of progress. However, if you raid for the social aspect and the fun, then you might find more enjoyment in the game.

    13 June 2008 at 09:22

  4. Eldr

    It’s a big jump 10 to 25 man, sounds like it’s proving something of a wall for you. Lots of 10mans in Wrath.

    There’s plenty of T5 + T6 content for you to experience, what’s stopping you? IMHO this period is partly about bringing everyone up to a minimum standard, partly enabling people to overgear and hence tackle content they may not have otherwise seen.

    Go into SSC, fight lurker. The worst that can happen is you wipe, right? My comm are planning a Sunwell trash farming expedition, we expect to get our asses handed to us if we try Kalecgos, but it’ll all be good fun.

    It can be very energizing for a comm to try hard content. Even if you fail, you know you TRIED and made some progress. There isn’t much feeling of achievement to killing a boss perceived as easy.

    re: epic-epic trades… epic just means good stats for the ilevel, the ilevel varies dramatically from world drop to sunwell. Compare the Blade of Wizardry to the Tempest of Chaos.

    16 June 2008 at 04:48

  5. Eldr has a valid point. We are 2 of 4 in TK, and 3 of 6 in SSC … and have done some playing around in Hyjal. We have had Rage on farm for quite some time, then all of a sudden Anetheron went down … we went damn!!

    We then starting take a hard look at our gear and ability, and realized that we are spinning our wheels raiding the T5 content … Most of us are in T6 level badge gear and partial True T5, there is no reason why we shouldn’t just move on into BT.

    Basically what it comes down to is we are starting this week in an attempt to skip T5 completely. The worse thing that will happen is BT laughs at use and we come back and finish up what we have started in TK/SSC.

    We raid for the thrill of it, not for the gear. At this point in time anyone that is raiding for the gear, will probably fade out pretty quickly.

    16 June 2008 at 13:20

  6. Pingback: When is enough, enough? « Armaggedon’s coming

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