In my last post, I wrote that I had temporarily left WAR and started playing Wrath of the Lich King.
That was almost two months ago.
I've put some thought into my lack of blogging and the only conclusion I can draw is that WoW just isn't all that inspiring to write about anymore.
While I've enjoyed Wrath and many of the changes, it's still pretty much the same game. That's nothing new, but on this blog I've always liked writing about exciting ideas and while Wrath is *new* it's not exactly a fresh breath of air.
Anyway... what I wanted to write about today is...
Wrath "Raiding" or "Endgame"
Whether or not Raiding is EZ-Mode in Wrath is a hot topic in the blogosphere at the moment. Or rather, most people believe it to be easy and the debate is whether or not it SHOULD be easy.
The debate seems to funnel down into the age old "hardcore vs. Casual" debate that's become MMO's greatest cliche.
However, what I don't read much about is WHY it appears to be easier.
10-man vs. 25-man
I have currently seen all 10/25 man content except Malygos. That's a stark contrast to Burning Crusade in which there are still several 25-man raids I have never entered.
Two versions of the same content really makes a big difference on raiding. Not because it allows people to gear up, but because it provides people knowledge of the fights.
If you have done the 10-man version and know the fights well, then it's not much of a leap to do the same fight on 25-man.
Pre-Wrath, the biggest challenges for a raiding guild were a) maintaining a 25-man roster and b) getting everyone to learn the fight. However, in Wrath, someone can do the 10-man version with the guild and then easily transition to the 25-man.
The net result is that MORE PEOPLE UNDERSTAND THE FIGHT. Two version means you can practice each fight twice a week. Two versions means you can learn with a small group before attempting with a bigger group.
It's not so much about the fight being "easier" as it is about more people possessing knowledge about the encounter.
Pugging 25-man Naxx
Pre-BC, very few people would ever have attempted to PUG a 25-man raid like SSC or Tempest Keep. But in Wrath, a small guild that has mastered 10-man Naxx can pick up 15 other players with Naxx experience and easily do three wings in 25-man.
An elitist would argue that is exactly why raiding is easier. You shouldn't be able to PUG it they would argue. However, what they neglect to understand is that the only reason such a thing is possible is because both the small guild and the PUG had previous experience in the 10-man version.
It's that knowledge of the fights that makes the content easier.
Gearing up a fresh 80 is faster, too
If you were like me going into Wrath, you had some nice epics at 70. I had a nice combination of badge loot and PvP epics that lasted me well into my high-70s before I started replacing it.
The simple fact is that the delta between a level 70 epic and a level 80 blue is not nearly as significant as it was from 60 to 70. Heck, I didn't even find a replacement for my level 70 badge pants until Naxx.
What this means is that players can enter Heroics as a fresh 80. Even tanks who kept themselves defense capped can do some of the easier heroics right away.
Do a bit of research on the right Heroics and with a relatively small amount of effort, you can be geared well enough to participate in 10-man Sarth (a short raid) or even two of the 10-man Naxx wings.
However, this doesn't really make the raid content easier -- just more easily accessible.
One impact of the quicker gear-up and the easier access to raiding is that Heroic dungeons quickly become irrelevant.
I started playing Wrath two months ago. I am now level 80 and Heroic Dungeons offer me no upgrades.
Ironically, I enjoy running Heroics but the Emblem rewards from the bosses don't even provide me with anything worthwhile (except for Alts).
Sadly, this means that anything outside of a raid is a "waste of time" if you are measuring success by in-game rewards.
They really need some way of converting Heroism Emblems to Valor Emblems. Maybe 10 Heroism = 1 Valor or something. No one would every try to get 600 Heroic Emblems for a shoulder piece, but they would farm 10 or 20 to get those 1 or 2 last badges before the weekly reset.