Greedy Goblin

Monday, November 28, 2011

Help the newbies! Or don't.

Anonymous on the previous post gave a very good summary: in BC many guilds were raiding Karazhan and enjoying it. Now where are the same guilds raiding BWD/BoT?

There wasn't any criticism or disagreement about the posts (1,2,3). No one claimed that I'm wrong in saying that accessible gear, non-gated content and gear resets make the game unfriendly to casual. However there was a strong disagreement about the relevance of the posts. People claimed that while the above is true, their damage is small compared to the damage of the alternatives. There were two major ways of defending the importance of the features.

The first one addressed today is that these features - while annoying to the elite and hostile to casuals - are newbie friendly, they allow the new player to quickly catch up on the existing players. My answer to these that it's both irrelevant and wrong.

Vanilla and BC did not have these features. Yet the subscription numbers were booming. It could only happen via newbie influx. It seems that the no resets, the extremely inaccessible gear and content did nothing to turn newbies away. While I can't say that other features wouldn't be better to get newbies, I can clearly say that these features were "newbie friendly" enough to allow the game the world largest. Most people would call this result "good enough" and wouldn't call for "fixing it".

Now let's see the main point, where I'm trying to prove that the claim is wrong. No newbie is turned away from the game by inaccessible end-game and no newbies can be gained by accessibility. To prove it, I call everyone to remember to his own newbie-hood. I started playing in mid-BC. I did not even understand the MMO concept, I just saw an RPG that looked good on my brother's screen to try it out. I leveled together with my girlfriend slowly as we were exploring the content. We saw no reason to hurry or "level faster". Actually the level number meant nothing else to me than telling which zone should I play. We actually stopped on our first mains on 19 and twinked WSG, just because PvP was fun. We stepped foot to outland at lvl 64 after finishing Winterspring and Silitus just because they looked interesting.

The XP boost and removal of the elites in 2.3 was nothing but annoyance to us, we got to grey too early, before finishing the interesting quests and lost the chance to beat some elites. She insisted to be a "melee" hunter (not an ortodox one, but one that melees often), just because she found dodge-tanking fun (OK, this habit served her well at RoS later when the guild lacked rogue). For this reason she played survival when practically no one else did. If a group did not take her for this, she did not care as she did not aim for gear.

Our entrance to raiding started when we simply ran out of other interesting content. I mean we did the 5-mans, even HC Shattered, we had the Kara key, why not? We weren't in a hurry. I started raiding almost a month after her because I was rather busy making gold with some scheme and simply did not care. She got her first chance when someone who chatted her a lot sent her a /w that they are 24 for Maulgar, and need a nat-res hunter tank.

The true newbie doesn't appreciate help to "progress faster" because his point is not "progressing" but exploring and maybe socializing. The "newbie" picture of the people is strongly flawed, they think the newbie is someone like they would be if they would lose their account. Someone with a new account who want to get back to the endgame as soon as possible.

The newbie is someone who sees a game, sees opportunities and fun. He is happy with the content he sees or he leaves. Since he has no sunk cost, he just tried out the game, he has no reason to stay playing if he doesn't like the leveling game. He won't bother "grinding" for an endgame he doesn't even know.

It is true that one day the newbie won't be newbie anymore. That day inaccessibility and the gap between him and the veterans can start to bother him. At this point he would be a wannabe hardcore, a soon-to-be M&S or a new casual player. Beyond this point every argument that refers him as "newbie" is wrong. Newbies are completely not affected by any endgame design choice.

I already shown that casual players are helped by inaccessibility. While he will be way behind the elite, he would constantly progress and have things to do. He would not even aim for top raiding as his time schedule doesn't support it. The casual never cared that he is not in the elite. They only care to not be considered newbies and crap, they just want to be average, nothing more. The wannabe hardcore would also be limited by the inaccessibility. He wants to join his HC friends. But if he is hardcore, he will not only suck it up and climb the hill in the snowstorm but will expect the way to be uphill in the snowstorm.

Tomorrow, in the closing piece of the accessibility series I'll address the last group.


Foo said...

This was how I raided lich king; as the newbie.

No rush to move into new bosses; in fact I refused to 'move up' until I finished a raid.

Lots of 'fun'.

And yes, I dislike gear resets.

Azuriel said...

Actually, not only are you wrong - something I pointed out for the first two days until it was clear you wrote these in advance of any criticism - but you are rather abruptly moving the goalposts as well.

This series has never been about "newbies," it has been about casuals. Did someone actually make the argument that gear resets impact newbies in any way, or is this entire post just a Straw Man? Endgame concerns are a moot point as far as newbies are concerned.

Casuals are helped by accessible gear, by accessible content, and by gear resets. At NO point in this series have you addressed the simple fact that inaccessible gear/content means LESS content for casuals. At all.

How is LESS content casual friendly?

Anonymous said...

"How is LESS content casual friendly?"

With gear resets, it means you only get 1 tier to play! This is the least amount of content possible.

While past tiers are accessible, good luck trying to find at least 9 others that actually want to do that, when they can get better gear from doing the same wipe-free 5-mans.

We need guilds to progress on BWD/BoT, others on Firelands and others on Deathwing, this is how you make more content.

Tazar said...

I agree that newbie is not helped by gear resets and faster leveling and is actually harmed by them. However casuals and people who play this game at "above average" level but don't want to grind for eternity. I mean I can learn new dance quite fast but I have time to play this game for about 6 hours / week (2 raids). This ones are helped a lot. At the end of BC I founded 10 man guild. Our target group were former raiders who just don't want to play 5/7. So people with good performance and less time. Gear resets helped us a lot with recruitment. We always got new people after new patch and we could progress further because we didn't needed to go back to former raid and gear them up. With our little time (2 raids / week) it would be nightmare. In the end we were able to kill all but HM Lich King.

Right now we are 2/7 HM.

nehunter said...

Maybe Karazhan was better than Bwd/Bot. I can't make that comparison, never played Karazhan at appropiate level.

I started raiding a few weeks before Ulduar came out. A few months after that I found my Naxx10 guild, our dps was terrible(I was healer), but compared to your average pug we just kept playing. I was proud to finish naxx10 before ToC came out, we even had 6 kills in Ulduar. The guild just broke when ToC was out, no one would come to Ulduar for "progression" when they could get most of the gear from 5mans and then find groups/guilds for ToC. And the raiding core did not want to make the dungeon spamm.

Yaggle said...

Players who want to get their characters levelled up quickly to do end-game are very happy for the levelling to go faster. But casuals define their own progress more by their levels and are more happy when everybody including themselves have to level slower and work harder. They are proud of their knowledge of the quests and best twink gear to level faster. So BC era was more casual-newbie friendly. The casuals are a much larger group of subscribers so why did they change the levelling and outdoors game to easier to make the much smaller group(end-gamers) more happy?

Anonymous said...

Its less content, because everything in the game drives you too be 85 as soon as possible. Its less content because ist anoing to make quest, under your level, even if the quests are fine. Some people do it because of the achivments, thats all. But there ist no real fun in grinding old quest, only to have it done all.

- You are portet to the dungeons, dont have to search them
- You get you quests inside the dungeon, don't need to quest outside to get them
- You could fly and dont have to finde the
- Every importent Quest-Item in the game is sparkling, you dont have to search it
- You even dont't need to go instance for your class special riding pets
- Ask a new tank (a so called newbie) now, how to tank a group and what crowd control is, and which one in his group could control. Theree is no control up to the first heroics and they dont now what it is.
- Ask a player, what abilities a boss have and how to solve them. Players today are overpowered, and dont care about nothing.
- Ask a tank to mark targets and to cc in a dungeon beyond 60-70 and you are called an idiot, because you dont need to care about nothing until its to late. With 85 they cry "nerv these, nerv that, its unplayable, no one could make the boss", they never learnd it.

Do you think this blizzard created pace is all for players to make them level slow and with fun, read the texte of quests, learn how to play their char? Do you think its fun to follow a tank who never stops to let you even loot the dead bodys, pulls mobs on the row, faster, faster.

Most of the posts you read in channels is for 85 chars. Only fery few that someone is looking for a sholomance tank as an example.

And dont tell me that new players dont have to use all of this and could have the original feeling. Player tend to use everything, a designer give them. They even dont now that there was a time, they have to do everything above to enter a dungeon. They have 80 level time to learn, that a "groupthing" must be fast, without thinking, without wipe or they leave.

If you don't know anyone and new in the game, how great is the chance to find a good guild? More and more level 25 megaguilds, with mostly no interaction. Everyone uses the dungeonfinder.

Sometimes more is not better.

Gesh said...

"No newbie is turned away from the game by inaccessible end-game" - instead of the long post, this is all you could have written. If you think of it, 'end-game' and 'newbie' (in a sense of a new guy, who for example climbs the hill in the barrens) are mutually exclusive. When you arrive at the end-game, you are not a newbie already. You may be not prepared for it, but not a newbie anymore. Anyway, as Azuriel pointed out, you should have focused at the casuals (as always), not at the newbies.

Anonymous said...


I would say every newbie is a casual a long time, until he is dedicated to the game. Then he changes.

A casual/newbee dont care about reading guids to optimize their chars, the dont use tools like femaledwarf or read elitistjerks. the dont count numbers.

And there are "so called casuals" with playing HC Raids. I bet they care about their chars, but they are not casuals anymore, they are hardcore players with less time then others. Its reality that some people do things better and faster better then other people do. Not everyone is equal. Blizzard try to let everyone think he is equal, because they want our money. Raiding is "geil" so everyone has to raid. But not everyone is able, thats the simple truth. But to say this is not god for the business. Blizzard changes content, thats good for newbies and people with not time, let everyone do everyting.

But to avoid that someone is frustrated, they have to change content to level, that everyone could do everything, and not to let only the good players let solve the raidbosses.

Right now, i see more people left frustrated a dungeon, because they even not could stand for 10 seconds in a beam, left the beam for some seconds and go in again.
And the ones who could interroupt the fear did it. This simple 2 things in a 5 HC dungeon is impossible for many players. And what is blizzards conclusion. Give the tanks more agrro, so that its easier, or to give players more dps and the beam function of this boss is only a joke, because you are faster and dont need to care about it... Its only a example, maybee not a good one, but to make every thing smother and easy is not the right way.

So this is not a abruptly change, is another point of view of the same problem.

If many of the new raiders are not able to raid because they dont learn it, you have less players to choose from. This may vary on the servers.

It good for blizzard to lift the frustration to the level 85 players, because you play longer and you pay longer until 85.

Anonymous said...

At level 70 I raided Kara several times, but since I was new to the game I had plenty of things to do. I started to love level 50-60 dungeons such as Stratholme and BRD. To this day I still believe that BRD is the best instance in game, a game of it's own that requires you to learn certain "rules" to win.

At level 80 I had plenty of time to quest and explore the old world, which I missed as I started playing just several months before WotLK. I was both a newbie (in a sense that I wanted to explore the world) and a hardcore player (raiding up to seven nights per week). I really enjoyed the experience and for me gear from heroic content was just another step toward a single player experience. Overall the most enjoyable part of the game for me was soloing stuff that wasn't supposed to be soloed. Too bad they turned Ony into level 80 raid as I just learned by then that I can solo her as a clothie.

I wonder what will happen in SWTOR. It is certainly not a WoW killer from what I can tell, but in my opinion it has a very straightforward gear system. At early levels you get gear with just two stats on it: Endurance (Stamina) and main stat for your class, so you won't meet a "rogue with Spirit leather". However, it's hard for me to tell if the game is any better than WoW in other aspects, so I will have to wait till the release.

Anonymous said...

With gear resets, it means you only get 1 tier to play! This is the least amount of content possible.

My thoughts exactly.

For me as a player, I never really cared about the leveling content. I 'saw' the raiding and pvp at level 70 and wanted to be part of it. I dinged level 70 a few days after Sunwell came out, worked my way up the ladder through normal dungeons, heroics, starter 25 man and Karazhan. Soon after found a raid for TK and SSC, joined a few weeks later BT and SW raid and finished the content with them before wotlk came out.

In every Tier I saw some casuals enjoying the content. The ones past Tier 5 were a bit more ambitious or had more time. But there was never an issue of people not wanting to raid "old" content, since for them it was still new.

The thing I hated the most when TOC came out in wotlk. I didn't miss Naxxramas, but I sure missed Ulduar since I didn't finish the 25 man heroic content in there. And it was impossible to gather people to do Ulduar. TOC was way easier and didn't require the gear from Ulduar. Pretty much exactly the issue Gevlon describes here..

Anonymous said...

This problem started towards the end of BC when they saw 2 of the best raids they ever did pretty much unplayed: naxx40 and Sunwell.

They were not accessible to your average player.

The end of Wotlk gave another problem which they didn't saw till this day: ICC was good, Ulduar was better even on par with naxx40 and Sunwell, yet it remained unplayed ( I wouldn't count guilds going back there for achievements as playing in Ulduar)

Andru said...


If all those casuals wanted to see content, then surely the gear resets did not stop them. After all, with more powerful gear, they could finish the last, incomplete tiers, "see" the story, whatever. They could even gather similar-minded 'casuals' and make raiding guilds prohibiting use of higher ilevel gear. Kind of like 'Vanilla-only' guilds.

Where are those "mythical" casuals? Simple answer. They do not exist, or they are in a vast minority.

If people like you cannot find like-minded people, then it means simply that you're in the vast minority, and asking Blizzard to cater to *YOU* is simply moronic.

Giving examples of 'casuals' raiding in TBC (what a joke, TBC raiding was as hardcore as it can be) and then claiming that they were happy is a bare assertion. Of course they were happy WITH THEIR LACK OF CHOICE. Huh. Wait, that doesn't make sense.

By empiric evidence, the gear-catch-up was a complete success, judged by the fact that mostly everyone was in the last tier when it became available.

Sure, there are doomsayers that claim that gear catch-up killed WoW. Actually, there's a long list of stuff that killed WoW, according to the Internets, starting with 'cross-server grouping' and ending with 'Zak Mc'Kraken's dog who got quantum entangled with Schrodinger's cat'.

Here's the gist. There are a lot more likely candidates for WoW's subscription slump than some obscure feature implemented 4 years ago which supposedly only became apparent now.

Why don't we start with the obvious. WoW is old. Old players got bored of it, new players are young and are drawn by Anisotropic Filtering, Trilinear Anti-Aliasing, Bloom and other such as. WoW is clunky, poorly optimized and can bring a high-end system to its knees despite its rather poor technical performance.

Claiming that content is 'new' for those who haven't played it is true, but a misnomer.

If some business would re-release "Ultima Underworld: The Stygian Abyss" now, I guarantee that it would flop, despite the fact that 99% of the people interested in buying a RPG today never even heard of it. (And despite it being a great game.)

Content newness isn't the only thing that matters, else we'd have a thriving market for old PC games. The fact that we don't speaks volumes about what PC game consumers consider a worthwhile investment.

NetherLands said...

Agree with a lot in this post.

"No newbie is turned away from the game by inaccessible end-game"

True, though the only exception might be the small group who solely subscribe to WoW to Raid with all-ready maxxed friends (as with any MMO, the actual number of Raiders is relatively small, the ones with irl friends who'll spend a cabungle of cash + time just to Raid instead of far more sensible options a lot smaller).

To this I'd like to add: "ALL content is new content to newbies". I hate it when people use the fallacy that The Shattering was to provide new players with new content.

"With gear resets, it means you only get 1 tier to play! This is the least amount of content possible."


I disagree however with "Newbies are completely not affected by any endgame design choice." , at least how in WoW things pan out: early level play tends to be MORE affected by system changes etc. made with an eye towards end game than end-game itself.

To name but one of the many examples (issues like Heirlooms, out-Greying etc. have been given in the bloggosphere already):

Hunters getting more and more rediculously OP in early level PvP because of decisions based on end-game (as the joke goes, with 4.3 and the buff to Explosive Shot, 'Hunters will get 15% more rediculous with 4.3') and a total /care from Blizz.

Andru said...

@"To this I'd like to add: "ALL content is new content to newbies". I hate it when people use the fallacy that The Shattering was to provide new players with new content."

How many 'newbies' would pay 30$ for "Ultima Underworld: The Stygian Abyss"?

Let's see you answer that.

Anonymous said...

azuriel the current model makes it so that casuals cant go to the old places he wasnt done with I.E he only sees half the content, not all of it, also all of his slowly acrued gear and routine now became worthless, ha can never catch up or get done with the content the plug is pulled, and well desgned tiers becomes abandoned (or areas for leveling).

Anonymous said...

Good point. The newbie is like a child growing up.

However, a newbie does not have heirlooms. He can level up solo on his own pace. The only XP bonus he may receive is rested and when he accepts the guild invite to a lvl 25 ninja inviting guild. The latter bonus is however marginal, much less than a fully loomed/rested character. Alts want to rush through to get to end-game content; the benefit of no attunement, heirlooms, gear resets is there more for them than for the casual or newbie (rested bonus is however more beneficial for a casual).

The problem lies not in the soloing for newbie this is still the same; the problem lies in playing together. When the newbie starts to join a dungeon he does not know tactics, and he likely never played with other people. If he is the tank that is a problem, if he is DPS it is no problem (2/3 DPS who know what to do is OK), if he is healer it may be problem. Most likely he plays with 4 alts, loomed. It is a zergfest in which he is boosted, no communication required, and he learns that is OK to be boosted. In fact, he probably thinks he performs (not having a counter installed.. "wait you mean there are addons for this game"?). He will expect the same happening at lvl 85! He will think he is a great player!

These people experience a nightmare of gigantic proportions as soon as they queue for lvl 85 HCs. And people like me who are then on their alt, queueing for satchel, or getting the last VP points on 2nd alt are then stuck with these people teaching them basics of the game. I have played the other day with a shadow priest who flat out refused to dispel the magic debuff from last boss ZA bear (our healer was rather weak, and did not have Remove Corruption talented; unwise for 5m dungeons in end-game). He did not even know the debuff does damage! He claimed he never had to dispel, yet in this situation a 1,5 sec cast time removing 5 debuffs which otherwise remove 50% of your health and make it the healer must heal next one in charge quickly is an easy choice.

To solve this problem we must abolish heirlooms and make sure that the alt and the newbie are closer together, gear-wise. This means it boils down to skill, and that these skills are required instead of zerg-fests. This forces the newbie to learn their class abilities, and together with the inability to kick a newbie (new in patch 4.1) the "pro" players are forced to teach him his class abilities. Part of removing the heirlooms is that we must have a dungeon journal for old dungeons too, and somehow we must make such a thing for PvP too. This is so the newbie can read up themselves instead of relying on other people. By growing the newbie up like this he is faced with the fact that PvE is not mindless zergfests with shinies where whatever he does he will succeed. And wiping in a low lvl dungeon will be once again normal because wipes happen, allow you to learn, and make it crystal clear: you did something WRONG!

PS: It will also feel more rewarding when you had to do your best, together, in a 5m as a team. Although the newbie will feel this way anyway (he don't know how well he did, only that he killed the boss) the regulars do know this. The feeling of accomplishment will be once again there.

Joe Nothin' said...

Man, what are you talking about? I started in vanilla, took a brake, and got into BC too late. I missed out on a whole expansion's worth of raiding because of that.

See, there are several different kinds of casuals. One of them is me - the raiding casual. I like raiding, i like hanging out with my friends [IRL friends, guild and raid], but i don't like grinding. In vanilla i raided a little, and thought it was fun, but i didn't want to put in the grind around the raid, because that wasn't fun. In BC, i wanted to raid but since i came in late, i couldn't - i missed the wave, and now the only people going through kara were the M&S. See, you had to go through all the raids to raid BT and sunwell, but you couldn't because no one was doing them. So all you had was kara. And no, it wasn't that much fun.

But in WotLK and Cata, i can raid. I log in twice a week, get my raid invite, and play. We aren't the best of guilds, and we have alot of turnaround, but since everyone who is coming or going has the needed gear levels, we can allways raid. We dont need to put in alot of hours, we dont need to carry anyone through old raids to gear and attune them - we just play.

Also, you are compleatly misseing the reason people are dropping subs - the troll instances are just bad, but you cant go around them. So if you hate them, you just stop playing - unless you are like me, a casual raider that just comes for the raids.

Anonymous said...

Why would you imply casuals want just to "see" the story? Why not actually play that tier whithout being laughed at.

If people like you cannot find like-minded people, then it means simply that you're in the vast minority.

Everyone follows the paths of least resistance: remember 5mans before they started to emblems for Ulduar tier and before LFD? Because they offered such strong rewards 5man HC were once again played, can you claim that anyone actually liked playing them? Guess NOT. It's all about rewards.

Anonymous said...

Newbies do need help.
With all the bad rep about LFD, before it I was stuck after leveling to 80(naxx was current content) because it was hard without knowing anyone to do 5mans that often, and it usually took up to 2h hours taking in considerationg gathering the group, making the group actually move to summon, finding a replacement in case someone had to leave, don't even want to mention if someone was really bad.

Can you imagine if those 5mans would have been actually hard?

As long as a newbie is not stuck all goes well.

Moving along, what is the goal of these posts, trying to build a game where the average player is happy whithout haveing the average player feel like a M&S ?

Andru said...

"Anonymous on the previous post gave a very good summary: in BC many guilds were raiding Karazhan and enjoying it. Now where are the same guilds raiding BWD/BoT? "

1) How many?

2) Who says they were enjoying it?

Let me tell you what I remember from my time as a TBC guild leader. Gearing people up and then having them poached from us, them skipping to upper tiers, leaving us trying to climb an elusive slippery slope uphill, trying to retain enough people with knowledge of the fights so we can drag yet another clueless newbie through content we already done, in order to gear up/attune him. And god forbid we actually had some critical role in a non-officer spot like a res tank, or a mage tank or some other weird-ass role TBC was fond of.

Fun? Not really. I am completely in awe how these things are readily forgotten. As a mid-progressing GM in TBC let me tell you. TBC. WAS. HELL. In order to keep the blissfully unaware numpties in getting their progression at any level, I had to cheat, kick, scream, engage in messageboard flame wars and trolling, resort to poaching, broker guild mergers, subsidize rival-guild internal strife and all the crap I never ever EVER want to do, see or be done to again.

Instead of progressing, as a GM I was playing XVII century court diplomacy. Good bloody riddance.

If my progression slumped compared to rival guilds I would have half of my bloody guild threaten to quit, create drama, and such.

Lothildin said...

I joined wow during Vanilla. I only started raiding in BC.
Took more than 6 months to reach level cap during that time. And you know what?
Leveling in Vanilla, capping during BC and raiding Kara, TK, SSC, Hyjal and BT was the most fun I ever had in this game.

Anonymous said...

Taking from the previous post, here's the quick answer from a different PoV:

Two types of player exist:
Player A) Plays content for Gear
Player B) Gear is but a tool to play the content.

If player A has played since mid-TBC, and average Player B Joe joined in Cataclysm, assuming that player A plays 7h/week and player B is the said 2h/day player...

Then Player A is only losing out in terms of gear.
What matters is the experience, not the items.

It's the exact same reason why giving "free" pvp gear to everyone is plain irrelevant to good pvp players (if we ignore class balance, which is a way more important issue).

A good pvp player with 4.0.6 blue pvp gear will still destroy a 4.2 pvp geared rookie (imagining a mirror match of sorts).

It's not a "dream" that skill exists. It does make a difference in pvp. Hence, separating players by gear is idiotic. Being higher ranked is what feels "good" to top players. Not the "gear". Gear is just that... "gear". Tools. Steps. If you take the steps and make it a plain road, then the one with the better legs (skilled) wins. End of story.

Regarding pve... It only exists due to progression. Content.
What did you expect? That vanilla players would automatically get "something" from having played older content?

I'm smarter than my grandmother even though she lived longer.
She didn't read the books I read nor had the access to the information I have today.

Her experience is extremely small though there are things she knows I still don't know.

Anonymous said...

The only reason why people raided Karazhan for almost an entire expansion was: Karazhan was the only 10 man raid instance for almost an entire expansion!

It is that trivial.

25 man raiding is non-accessable for a really large chunk of the player base. Add in the really harsh attunement up to tier 6 (that attunement got removed only pretty late) and you have people raid Karazhan simply because it was the only accessible option.

Coralina said...

There is a lot to discuss here but the bottom line is that casuals didn't complain in Wrath.

They were quite happy.

Given that Wrath and Cataclysm use the same progression model you should ask why it went wrong in Cataclysm.

For a start the casuals haven't bothered attempting the crappy raids in Cataclysm. Numbers participating in T11 and T12 raids are diabolical. Raiding has collapsed since Wrath. In fact raiding is currently no longer commercially viable. Too expensive to develop, too few subscribers using it.

Why after quitting my hardcore guild did I continue raiding casually with a social guild in Wrath? Why in Cataclysm have I not stepped foot inside a single raid? Same applies to the rest of my guildies.

LFR is Blizzards solution to save raiding from being consigned to the dustbin but even that is not an answer. It won't get the casual guilds raiding. What you really need is an easy 10 man version of each raid tier and scrap guild perks! Instead we are forced to run 25 mans with morons that we cannot filter out, who will grief, who will AFK and who will surely out roll everyone on gear drops.

The TBC model was not so great. It is in the world of forum fantasies where the odd person claims to have started out and worked his way up to Sunwell but the reality for everyone else was different.

It was very divisive for guilds. The players that got lucky with drops were poached and everyone else in the team were put back to square one. A good player starting out got shoved in a sucky team full of M&S running Kara. If he got lucky with drops he could leave that guild and join another. If he was unlucky then he was consigned to running Kara forever.

If you didn't want to raid then there wasn't much happening.

Imagine how many people would be running T13 in Cataclysm if we had the TBC model? As I said, raiding has already collapsed and is on life support. If you remove half the players currently runnign T12 and force them to run T11 for a year things would be far worse. Barely anyone would see Deathwing and there would be little point in developing the raid.

Wrath had it spot on. A vibrant raiding scene for 10 man social guilds and a reason for non-raiders to log on each day as they could run 5 mans for a complete set of new gear on a regular basis. All the problems you guys are associating with that system apply to Cataclysm, they were not problems in Wrath. In fact they were a bonus in Wrath as that never ending system of gear resets kept casual players happily subscribing to acquire the full set from short, sweet 5 man runs.

You are all having a long and complex discussion over nothing. The simple answer is that Cataclysm sucks because it was tuned too hard for the vast majority of customers running in disorganised groups with team mates chosen based on personal relationships as opposed via strict selection processes.

The casuals/newbies don't want your help. They want Wrath.

I took newbie (first toon, started playing WoW after ICC was released) real life friends of mine into ICC and cleared a couple of wings. They do 5k dps in current HC's and I can't even take them to a crappy old troll heroic let alone one of the new sucky dance raids that barely anyone wants to enter.

There is your problem.

Jon said...

I think Andru hit the nail on the head. WoW is 7 years old - the reason people may be leaving is because they're tired of the same old WoW and are looking for a new game. It's not that WoW is bad or unfriendly to casuals/newbies - it's that the game has simply run its course for some people.

When I was a kid, the average NES game held my attention for maybe a week or two, a month at the most. For anyone to expect WoW to hold someone's attention for a decade is, in comparison, expecting a lot!

Cyrell said...

@Andru. Hey, don't knock the "half-assed mage tank roles that TBC was fond of!" I really enjoyed that role, as you will remember! I totally miss that kind of thing. One of my biggest problems with WoW now is that interesting, hybrid and outlandish specs have all but been removed from the game. Sure, you can still play what you like and do whatever you like in the world out there, since it's all so blindingly easy it's not funny. But once you get into raiding or serious PvP, there's simply no more space for "Panzerkins", "Mage/Warlock/Hunter resistance tanks", "Elementalist mages" etc. My highest achieving character at the moment is a feral druid and by god I hate it ever since the changes to the shifting mechanic. I did not ask for ridiculous bleed damage that forced Blizzard to nerf my mobility. I liked my incredible utility and sub-par DpS. It was a playstyle I enjoyed, slowly wearing players out of resources until I got the upper hand and they died. What I'd really like to play is a combination balance/feral using agility as spellpower to throw instant wraths or heals when needed. Thankfully, Blizzard is doing that in 5.0. They've said they're reintroducing hybrid ideas because that is what people have been asking for.

Unfortunately, I think they're too late. I for one will be playing Guild Wars 2 and Diablo 3 by then. Two far better games that will give me everything I need from an MMO without all the cute fluffy Panda bullcrap.

Cyrell said...


And yes, WoW IS getting old. As an aging gamer, I can tell you that it can be compared to Star Wars movies in a lot of aspects. I grew up on the original ANH, ESB and RotJ. Even RotJ was a bit too "Disney" with the cute, fuzzy Ewoks. But now it's ludicrous with all the Jar-Jar Binks's, frog people and CGI. WoW is the same. I just grew out of it and I'm waiting for the next "dark and realistic MMORPG" out there. Skyrim is filling the blank space nicely until something better comes out.

Bristal said...

Your post to me is the definition of a hardcore player. All that work organizing, planning, coordinating, scheduling, communicating, managing blah blah is what separates a casual from a hardcore.

I play a lot. I read and minmax. I spec/gem/chant perfectly. I do it all right, like a hardcore player.

What keeps me from seeing end game content and keeps me casual is that I cannot or will not turn my game time into a committee meeting.

And I'm not necessarily complaining, but if people like me are becoming their mainstream, then "casual friendly" has nothing to do with newbies, it has to do with eliminating the tremendous effort and bewildering knowledge it takes to organize even a simple raid.

Last week there were 4 or 5 people looking for a group in /trade to do BH. /trade trolls berated us to form our own group. One brave player started it. We proceeded to wipe 3 times with no real leadership.

As a casual, I was happy to be giving it a shot with nothing else to do. And I was actually learning something about raid leading. But of course the tank finally quits, telling the raid leader to never try to lead a raid again.

THAT my friend, is what makes the game casual unfriendly, not gear resets.

Coralina said...

@ Jon

The "7 year old" explanation is no more convincing than the "it is the recession" excuse - something that was embarrassingly discredited after record sales of Call of Duty and Pre-orders of SWTOR.

Don't forget that Cataclysm out sold TBC and Wrath - record numbers wanted to continue playing WoW despite its age.

The game was doing absolutely fine. It didn't gradually decline, the decline happened suddenly from a specific point in time.

That specific point in time being when the largest mass of players hit 85 after Cataclysms release.

I repeat my point from a post earlier - I raided ICC with newbies that didn't have a clue. We couldn't finish but we could have a laugh and do a couple of wings.

In Cataclysm I can't even take them to a Troll Heroic and we have to instant quit if we get some of the more challenging original heroics too.

Blizzard agreed with the theory perpetuated by hardcores on the forums that if you make content too hard for players they will put in the effort, learn to play, and improve their skills so that they can continue playing.

That was an assumption that went terribly wrong.

Gear resets and the like have nothing to do with this issue. It is simply a case of there being no content that a large number of players CAN and WANT to do given the commitment/effort required to do that content.

Blizzard over estimated just how much people enjoy their game and which elements of it they do enjoy.

Anonymous said...

Gevlon, you are wrong in saying that accessible gear, non-gated content and gear resets make the game unfriendly to casuals.

My friends and family guild plays more than me and cares more than I do about raiding, which is why they're 6/7 HM now. We all like playing together but that wouldn't be possible if gear were harder to get, never reset and if there were still attunements. I won't get a full T12 set before T13 comes out just because I won't put in the time to grind it out. I expect my guild to clear dragon soul's hard modes, but I probably won't; with my play schedule, I'll be content to just do the normal fights at least once.

Other casual players are in different guilds, have different skill levels and want different things from the game. One of the problems with your analysis is that you've treated all casuals as if we were a homogeneous group. We're not.

Also, you seem to think the game must be judged by endgame raiding but there's a lot more to it than that. When I do log on, I'm more likely to go pick flowers or do lowbie pvp or quest a little on an alt. Those are all fun ways to play the game for an hour.

NetherLands said...


Your Ultima comparison is wrong, for the simple reason that The Shattering was INDEPENDENT of Cataclysm.

The shattered world with it's screwy XP-rates, low replay value, evaporation (and loss of opportunity costs for those that did them) of Reps like Thorium Brotherhood, empty zones like Alterac etc. was forced down the throats of any and all subscribers, including newbies who'd buy Vanilla WoW from the bargain bin for a tenner (the going rate over here for several years now).

Yes, there might be newbies who flat-out bought Vanilla + TBC + WotLK + Cata in one fell swoop (Vanilla accounts being upgraded to TBC for free & without choice was implemented later, though shops are still selling TBC seperately) but those are rare, especially given e.g. the many F2P games that have been around even before Cata. And this STILL doesn't change the fact that The Shattering was a product change one couldn't do anything about (and a big reason I never bought Cata myself).

As for this debate: it depends on your definition of 'casual'.

Personally, I'd say it's primarily wanting (to be able) to do content at your own pace - and gear & world resets/removal of content don't help with that, nor Guild Perk systems or forced Grouping-for -hours -to-have-content.

Others would say it's doing hardcore activities like running progression Raids while they're current & the Raids are still meaningfull in difficulty but personally I find that a bit of a stretch. As Troll Racials blogged Raiding is ipso facto non-casual if it's meaningful, and having to schedule 2hr+ stretches with other people, watch a bunch of vids, download a bunch of addons, read a bunch of guides etc. are things people would associate more with 'hardcore' than 'casual'.

As for 'MUST do the Zandalars':

people have always been able to do other Heroics for their points as well, which are shorter to boot. 'Zandalar boredom' is a fully self-inflicted condition that deserves no pity or empathy at all (especially because often the same people had no issue with there being only two 85 Normals on release, with no other options available)

Azuriel said...

With gear resets, it means you only get 1 tier to play! This is the least amount of content possible.

This presumes there are multiple tiers of casual content, which there isn't under Gevlon's rubric. Everything Gevlon has proposed is WoW as it exists today, minus accessible heroics and raids. And even if we grant a magical system in which every expansion's dungeons are in play (maybe make attunements before you can graduate into TBC, etc, content?), it is a FACT that grouping would actually be worse than before for the casual because the number of relevant people (e.g. people interested in doing said content) would have been diluted.

LFD works while leveling because more than just casuals use the tool. The moment LFD queues get higher than 30-40 minutes though, casuals get priced out of the system. Nevermind what would happen to endgame queue times for the hardcore once casuals are removed. Remember the 40+ minute queues in the first 3-4 months of Cata, when casuals were priced out via difficulty and length?

azuriel the current model makes it so that casuals cant go to the old places he wasnt done with I.E he only sees half the content, not all of it, also all of his slowly acrued gear and routine now became worthless, ha can never catch up or get done with the content the plug is pulled, and well desgned tiers becomes abandoned (or areas for leveling).

1) If the casual cannot go back to experience the content he missed now, what makes you think he would be able to under a new system? There are either enough casuals to support old dungeons or there isn't. If there is, they can do old content at any time even under the present system; if not, then it doesn't matter.

2) Casuals, by definition, don't care about their relative position in the gear hierarchy. They only care that they still have things they can do, e.g. progression.

Anonymous said...

The problem is that lack of gear resets increases the content range available to casuals...

That is a problem because of the current 'persistent-world' problem.

Servers are finite - and spreading the available dungeoneering population between 100 different dungeons would result in no one getting to do content.

Blizzard could solve this problem by switching to a 'level=history' model where access to later expansions was gated based on level. Levels 1-30 would play on the newbie server, levels 30-45, levels 45-60, levels 60-70, levels 70-80, and levels 80-85 would play on different servers.

Characters would be allowed to revisit their earlier servers, which would allow for continuity. Everyone would have access to challenging content and lots similar level people to group with, and ultra-leveled toons would be rare - which would allow for a reasonable amount of challenge.

Andru said...

@ Bristal

You could never be a 'casual' GM. Not in TBC, not now.


You don't know HOW many people WoW has cycled. For all you know there could be 500 million people who played WoW at one point in their life.

You cannot simply equate the whole market share for MMO games with WoW's potential market, simply because of the model Blizzard took.

As to your point about TBC selling while Cata not, well, If you can't tell what the difference between TWO and SEVEN is, then I cannot help you.