Thursday, January 27, 2011

The legacy of Wrath.

As we progress into the third month of Cataclysm content, having seen and done the heroic dungeons and new zones, not to mention the raids, we're seeing a new trend spread: The notion of people quitting, either from burnout or lack of interest, or simply because of the game's increased difficulty level.

I personally enjoy the new content immenesely. I do, however, more than understand the people who burn out - though the challenges are greater and the skill required is higher, it's still a grind involved. Not that World of Warcraft wasn't always a grind; whether it was badges of justice, resistance gear or gearscore don't matter. It was always a grind.

So why does this one seem so much harder?

The answer is, of course, because it is. The Wrath of The Lich King grind WAS signifigantly faster and easier at all tiers. I'm not buying into the whole "Wrath was too easy" argument, and I'm equally disinclined to jump on the "Cata is too hard" bandwagon. But there is a notable difference in here somewhere.

The problems with Wrath, in my opinion, were mainly two things. Tier release dates (and the gating that followed), and gear being able to negate mechanics. Secrets of Ulduar was released around six months after the expansion went live, widely recognized as on of the best raids of all time. When 3.2 hit and Trial of the Crusader went live, less then four months later, Ulduar-level gear would already allow you to negate mechanics in the encounters, such as healing through Burning Bile on the Northrend beasts, or tanking the Mistresses on top of Jaraxxus with little risk of tank death.

And another four months later, a fully gated Icecrown Citadel, where again, many mechanics could be outgeared on launch day (did you ever CC Deathwhisper's adds? did you ever move out of the Bonestorm itself, or did you just run from the blue shit on the floor?). And then we had a whole year of farming this hideously boring, uninventive but very pretty instance for gear - which even rose in value every other month from the Hellscream/Wrynn-buff.

The preconception of Wrath being too easy is down to these issues mainly; partly, the easy aquisition of gear, but mainly, the absolute value of gear. Proper gear would allow you to stand in the fire and live - and anyone could get proper gear. And as we see in Cataclysm - where the fire WILL kill you and the non CC'ed caster WILL drain both your healer's mana as well as your tank's cooldowns. Wrath set a dangerous precedent for what was needed, and what was "skippable", and that notion has far and wide been the main culprit behind cries of "Cata is too hard". Because Cataclysm isn't in any way too hard.

Yes, it's more time-consuming. Farming buff food and flasks alone is a chore now, the gear progress is considerably slower, and top end enchantes aren't readily available whenever you want. Yes, heroic dungeons are long and challenging. Yes, trash have huge health pools and require focus and the ability to interrupt. But unlike Wrath, most of this can be negated in even the most basic of gear - as long as you understand and adapt to the mechanics involved.

The same thing applies to raiding. Learn the mechanics, and a lot of these fights are actually quite easy. Clearing Magmaw and Omnitron mainly in blues isn't at all a big deal when you know what to do, and know the value of a good interrupt at the cost of a few hundred DPS. And of course - as long as you move out of the damn fire.

Just remember to flask and get the proper food buff. There's really no reason not to.

No comments:

Post a Comment