Is anyone else getting to the stage where they’re finding it harder and harder to sustain interest in the current raiding schedule of Naxx, Malygos and Sartharion? I mean, when you can do Sartharion with 3 Drakes up, clear all of Naxx 25 and put Malygos on his backside in two nights of raiding (and finish early on the second night) what do you do the other five nights a week, and how do you stay awake when you are raiding?
For some, the solution is to shoot for achievements. I am not one of those people. I do not see the sense in crippling yourself and intentionally making a boss harder than it needs to be in order to gather another 10 lousy epeen points. If there were extra or a better class of loot involved, well that’s a different matter. Sartharion with three drakes up is a good example, you make the fight substantially harder but get substantially better loot as a reward. Malygos in 6 minutes is not. You spend an entire night forcing a wipe at 10% on each attempt because you’re not going to make the 6 minute marker, and in the unlikely event that you do manage to do it, your reward is… another 10 achievement points. Whoopee.
In fact, it’s this mindless chasing of achievements that’s probably burning me out faster than anything else. I can see why they’re attractive to a certain mindset and this isn’t intended to be a criticism of anyone who wants to collect as many achievements in raids as they can. That’s one of the strengths of World of Warcraft, there are any number of ways of playing the game, and if chasing achievements is what floats your boat, good for you. But collecting achievements for their own sake is not what pushes my buttons. If Blizzards’ solution to a lack of raid content is to slap a band-aid on it and make us do the same shit over and over in harder ways for an imaginary reward, then sorry guys, I’ll be over here levelling my druid. Or my Shaman, or whatever. What I won’t be doing is running the treadmill Blizzard has had us running ever since Wrath release and pretending it’s a new treadmill just because I’m running it with a blindfold on, or with one hand tied behind my back. The Emperor is not wearing new clothes!
Of course, the problem is worse if you’re a raid leader. There are only two ways you can make raiding more interesting for people if you’ve already been farming content for the last few months, and one is by doing achievements. This keeps the achievement junkies interested but it does nothing for your own blood pressure when people immediately pop consecration or start cleaving when you’re trying to do Spore Loser. It also means, since you’re by definition making your raids harder than they need to be, that you pretty much need to take your A-Team on each raid. This creates its own problems if you’re running on a tight raid roster, since the opportunities for rotating in fresh talent become more limited. If you’re doing Sartharion with three drakes or Malygos in 6 minutes you just don’t have the slack to bring in people with sub par gear or limited experience. So the people who couldn’t give a rats’ ass about achievement points keep getting roped in to raid after pointless raid and the people who could actually use the loot and experience never get a chance at being selected.
The alternative is to ease back on the pressure, stop making things more difficult than they need to be and relax your raid selections to include reserves and alts. You’re no longer trying to complete Boss A with your eyes closed while hopping on one foot in order extend your epeen by another millimetre, so it doesn’t matter if you’re not selecting people who’ve done the fight 17 billion times and would rather stick needles into their eyes than do it again. Loot starts going to people and characters who actually need it instead of being used to swell the guild bank with shards that are only being used to enchant your Paladins and Druids’ third set of offspec gear. The downside is that you’re going to upset the achievement junkies who don’t want to sign up for Pimp My Alt nights when they could be chasing achievements.
There is a third solution, of course. Instead of sticking an achievement on an existing fight and calling it new content, Blizzard could actually, you know.. design new content. Patch 3.1 can’t come fast enough if you ask me, because our raid signups are in the toilet right now and sooner or later someone’s going to flush. We had 24 signups to our last 25 man raid and you don’t need a masters’ degree in Mathematics to realise that doesn’t add up.
3.1 and Ulduar is going to bring its own problems and issues, of course, but at least it’s new content. I’m hearing some encouraging things from the Public Test Realm. It seems that some fights are going to be structured more like the Sartharion fight, where you can make the fight harder than it has to be, but you get commensurately better loot that scales with the difficulty you choose. More stuff like this can only be a good thing in my opinion. They also seem to be addressing another of my pet hates, vehicle fights. Let’s use the Oculus as an example. Fighting the last boss in that hellhole is just as tough naked as it is fully-geared. Hell, if it wasn’t for instance level restrictions you could summon in a few level 1s fresh from Northshire Abbey, have them mount the drakes and still make no difference to the success or failure of the fight. In Ulduar however, the stats of your seige engines are going to scale to the level of gear you’re wearing, so all that farming you did in Naxxramas will actually have had a purpose.
Speaking of gear, I’m looking at the loot tables in Ulduar and starting to get very, very depressed. I’ve seen exactly four pieces of cloth gear in there that doesn’t come loaded with a ton of spirit or mana per 5. Even as a Frostfire Mage I did not have mana problems in 25 man raids before the changes to regen in patch 3.0.8, so after the patch I still didn’t need all the spirit on my gear. The spirit on my gear is not “interesting and useful”, it is crippling my performance. And in Ulduar there’s going to be a whole lot more spirit on my gear and it’s going to be as uninteresting and useless as it is now.
Tell you what, let’s put spirit on Warrior gear. After all, spirit also provides health regen, and tanks lose lots of health in boss fights so no-one can truthfully say it’s a useless stat. We’d have to lose some strength and stamina to compensate of course, maybe some hit or defence, too but that’s only fair.
Anyone read the above paragraph and not start choking on their cornflakes? It’s absurd isn’t it? Yet when a Mage starts cursing about all the useless crap on gear that he’s forced to equip, it’s just more mage QQ isn’t it?
My priest is starting to look very attractive lately. I’m actually having fun on the rare occasions I’m allowed to play her, and unlike on my Mage, every piece of cloth gear that drops is useful to her.
Of course, we’re probably going for a 6 minute Malygos attempt again this week and picking the A-Team for a Naxxramas 25 Immortal attempt, despite 30% of the A-Team voting with their feet and not signing up.
Perhaps I just need a break? Or a bullet.