Challenge and QQ

Following comments I made in response to her post “Is Halion A Pushover?”, Saresa at Destructive Reach (www.destructivereach.com) asked me to write a guest post. The subject was to be about going straight in to content at the “heroic” level of difficulty, as Nephilim tried with Ruby Sanctum.

My original comments were something of a knee-jerk kick against what I percieved to be a general consensus that content is becoming too easy. We all make our own choices about what difficulty of content we run and if this leads to complaint, there’s nothing to blame but our own choice.

Anyway, here’s the post I wrote for Saresa:

————————————

I recently came across a forum post where a guy was saying how
pessimistic he was about Cataclysm. His opinion was that Burning
Crusade was awful, Lich King was worse and that everything was on a
downward spiral since vanilla, which he never actually played, though
he wished he had.

I had to stop for a minute to digest this. The guy had invested
something like three years of subscription fees, never mind the
playtime, on something he thought was rubbish and after all that still
cared enough to post about his disappointments to an online forum.

Where many, many people agreed with him.

I’m the kind of guy that chooses to spend my time on things I like! If
I watch the second season (to be honest, the second eposide) of a TV
show, it’s because I like it. If I’m still playing a game after the
first week (to be honest, the first day) then I like it. Judging by
people’s opinions on various forums, that’s a radical concept in the
WoWniverse, where folks steadfastly soldier away spending their time
and money on things that prompt a litany of complaint.

So I ask myself, why are these poor fools putting themselves through
this misery? The only answer I can come up with is… they aren’t.
It’s phoney. There’s no other logical explanation, is there?

Let’s take an example. The very familiar “WoW is too easy now” meme,
cause of more complaint than anything since SL/SL. The many, many
complaints all basically say the same thing – “We are being Starved of
Challenge! Things were challenging once, but that feeling has gone
now”.

Let’s leave aside for a moment the issue that many of these complaints
hark back to a time when a Warlock’s job was spamming the Shadow Bolt
button. It’s about the difficulty level of the raids, apparently.

Take Ruby Sanctum, appearing under Wyrmrest in a cloud of “meh, pugs
can down it, no challenge anymore, not going to bother”-ness. The
instance can be done, straightaway in one of two difficulty levels. A
“normal” mode for those that would like to get it down in an evening
(some people might not want an epic, week-on-week challenge) and a
“heroic” mode that will take a heroic number of wipes, tears and pain
to beat. Is anyone beating it on heroic then complaining that it’s
easy? No. Of the 200 or so guilds to have killed Arthas in 25HM (an
insane fight, even with the buff) only around 50 have downed this.
Many of these have put in time on the PTR to hone their strats.

So, how many folks reading this have gone straight in to heroic mode?
What did you make of it? Not challenging enough?

You can always try to beat the Lich King in heroic with the buff
switched off. Not challenging enough? Try it in blues.

The one possible excuse for people getting tired of “normal” mode
content is ICC, because of the requirement to complete it to unlock
“heroic” modes, combined with an extended gating period. Even so the
excuse that folks are too tired of the content to try and down LK-HM
doesn’t quite square with their professed desire to be stuck on
content, held up by week after week of wipe after wipe until the
content gets nerfed (C’thun, Mu’ru). Ulduar didn’t require completion
on normal and wasn’t gated. According to Blizzard barely anyone went
straight to hard modes. We all went and did it on normal first. By
choice.

It’s easy to forgive the ICC mechanic when there’s such a large
discrepancy between what people say they want (spectacularly
challenging content) and what they do when given the choice (normal
mode clears). Blizzard simply judged what people did, not what they
said, as the old adage demands. That has led to a flood of the same
old “what they said”, but who would really have gone straight in to
ICC on heroic mode? On the evidence of Ulduar and Ruby Sanctum, very
few.

It’s easier to talk about how much we want to be challenged than it is
to actually get up and do it. The WoWniverse is so huge now, not just
some fish in a pond but whole oceans of aquatic life, and news travels
fast. The top guilds down Heroic LK in a few weeks, another bunch
takes down Festergut in nothing but blue gear, a rogue solos Patch and
Grob in Naxx25. We all want to think we’re in the same league as the
people doing this stuff, but to prove it we have to actually get out
there and break our hearts wiping on something insanely hard. And the
most likely thing we prove by doing so is that we’re not up there with
the big fish after all. Easier by far to mouth off about how these
challenges are beneath us. How once we were giants, as good as anyone
else, and all that we ask is a chance at something truly befitting our
supreme abilities.

QQ is all about wishes, but not the ones that show on the face of it.
What sounds like a wish for challenging content is something else, a
wish that the QQ’ers themselves were up to the challenge of the
content already there.

Everyone has the choice, and they always did. There’s rarely been a
time when there hasn’t been challenging content, and there certainly
is now. There’s always been easier stuff to do, too and never any
reason for that to matter. People decide for themselves what their
ambitions are. If there’s an easier version of a raid, the only people
doing it are those that want to and choose to.

Well, thanks for reading. If I haven’t rubbed some people up the wrong
way then I’ve not done this right. If you’re one of the ones I’ve got
bristling, just do one thing before you tell me I’m wrong. Try the
Halion fight on heroic. I dare you to have fun, and be challenged by
an awesome fight.

– Wormskull raids with Nephilim on Blade’s Edge EU. They’ve yet to
kill Halion heroic, but it’s gonna happen! (even though they did wind
down from this lockout’s heroic wipefest with the fun of knocking her
over in normal – hard to resist doing that!)

Advertisements

About this entry