(She Says) Where’s the Challenge?

This expansion is starting to get old. Our ex-guild who used to raid everyday has been farming the same instances for the past 4 months. I think it’s probably the same story for many raiding guilds: farming bosses for loot ad nauseum, getting full T7.5 and then having so much excess gear that they bring alts to gear up. Wash, rinse, repeat.

In fact the content is so unchallenging, our current casual guild can kill most of the bosses in the first 3-4 tries, once we actually got enough people to come on at the same time.  Having cleared Naxx and done all but the last bosses a couple of times, I’m actually fairly bored of it. The instances only get challenging when people insist on doing things the wrong way like pulling when your healers have no mana/still rezzing, gathering everything at once, pulling when you are not the tank and the tank is not ready. Honestly, I could probably do without “challenges” like that. Esp dealing with prima donnas sulking about not getting their way.

Apart from challenges, the other possible pull would be gear, but both my resto shaman and warlock seems to have geared up enough (from instances, PUG 25OS/VOA, crafted/BOE epics) to have much use of the eq from the runs.  While I’m not pulling the 5k dps that I see top guilds can do from wws logs, I’m comfortably doing 3k+ dps without flasking, the best enchants, food buffs or the highest dps spec. Even if I do more dps, I can make up for other people’s mistakes and stupidity. The things that won’t die still won’t and those that would die will probably just die a few seconds faster. 

Without sufficient challenges, the game feels somewhat shallow. People are likely to play less but on the other hand, more people are able to enjoy the content. It’s Blizzard’s ploy to go (even more) mass market. It’s a very Walmart like strategy, going for volume (of subscribers) and slimmer margins (in terms of shorter subscription period per subscriber) rather than catering to a smaller market of more hardcore players. It’s so easy that anyone can play it with relative success.  You could say that I’m disappointed that being good at dps/healing takes so little, I’m by no means a very skillful player with lightning reflexes. I didn’t bother researching on my warlock dot rotation and the like – I just put up whichever dots I feel like and try to keep them up; for a while I was putting the wrong spellstone on. And even then my dps was good. The only reason I can think of is that the game is too easy.

In the old days when RPGs was something you play by yourself, the successful ones are those with an interesting story or engaging gameplay that doesn’t just involve mashing buttons. In those games, you are competing against yourself. Those stories always start off with the protaganist being this weak mewling level one and gradually building up after much effort to an overpowered hero/heroine. And it always feels great to finally not be so destitute and have to spend 1 minute running back to the inn to rest rather than to use a measly potion.  In fact, the harder the challenge was, the more satisfaction you feel in overcoming it.

And then you come to MMORPGs where you are competing against other people, rather than yourself. Your individual achievements cannot satisfy you unless you know you are better than someone else. Let’s say you have WoW on a private server, and you are happy coz you do 100 dps.  Then say you have the same character but on the world server instead and you find that other people are doing 200 dps rather than 100. Suddenly you feel so much worse about yourself. In the original reincarnation of WoW, the classic version, the 100 dps guy probably wouldn’t get very far – he’d probably be stuck at MC while the 200 dps would be clearing Naxx 40. At the same time, the honor ladder made it such that few people will get good gear through pvp. This creates a big gap between the haves and have-nots and people were unhappy.

So what Blizzard essentially did with from TBC up till Wotlk expansion is to make it such that everybody can get through all the content even if you are only a 100 dpser. And so everybody has similar levels of gear as long as you are willing to put in some time. But because the encounters are so easy, the fun in playing WoW is no longer about the challenge of the fights and it’s all about ilevels on that purple gear, which honestly is not a good motivator for me. So unless Blizzard comes up with more interesting content, I’m probably not going to be in Azeroth for long.

3 thoughts on “(She Says) Where’s the Challenge?

  1. At least in TBC you can’t get thru all content with 100dps :p

    I remembered wiping multiple times in Shadow Labs

    I like technical fights like Vashj and I like fights where gear doesn’t matter (too much) and it’s all about execution

    I feel that you just find it easy as you gear up more and more. Also, your lock spec is boring.. too boring.. which is why I respec’ed.

    If you are bored you could:
    try afflic?
    try tanking?
    try healing tofuwood? 🙂

  2. Haha my lock spec is easy to play. I like 😛 Maybe I should try affliction. But end of the day, it’s at best more dps and I’m already OT-ing the little tofu 😛

    I’ve been healing since classic WoW. Tofu is just a little blimp, not quite a challenge yet. Just spam a bit more heals and drink only. But no one else wants to level healers and we somehow only have resto shamans….

    I like the Vashj type fights also but that kind of fight I wouldn’t want to do it with casuals who still die every single time on the safety dance!

  3. I fired up a WAR trial account the other day. Except I don’t like PvP…. and the game “feels” just like WoW so far. :/

    3.1 better fix the lack of challenge that has been the hallmark of WotLK so far.

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