For anyone new to my blog a quick introduction is in order. I am a WoW player, having WoW as my main and only serious gaming pursuit since it launched. I've found a passion for the Warrior class and have taken my loved orc through clueless trispeccing and tanking in Molten Core with 31 arms spec, being owned (and owning before choice balances were implemented) in PvP, to pursuing the deep reaches of raiding in TBC and WotLK as a tank.
Despite the negative title, this isn't a Blizzard bashing post. Wrath of the Lich King added a lot of fun to the game and despite things I like to heartache about, far as MMO expansions go I have seen them lot worse. DAOC expansions spring to mind, with the exception of Shrouded Isles they were all awful. But I have never had so much fun levelling in new content as I did in Northrend, job well done!
Nevertheless I have some serious concerns and I'll break my bullet list virginity on this blog by pointing out some glaring things I've found or found missing rather, while fooling around on WoW that I wish developers would have noticed and done something about, before they shipped WotLK. Having all that out of the way then, lets get on with my list of concerns.
- PVE Progression: Up until 3.0 we always had a ladder to climb before taking on "endgame". Even at level 60 I was doing Dire Maul runs to get those blues that would help in Molten Core. Having some T1 from Molten Core was a requirement for stepping into BlackWing Lair, and you were in for a tough time trying Zul'Gurub if you hadn't spent some time preparing for it. Even if you had a strong guild to carry you, there were attunements to finish before even being allowed inside the raid instances. Today this is all history, you ding 80 and go 25 man malygos for ilvl 213 epics without much hassle. Why did you eliminate the whole concept of progress, Blizzard? I thought you wanted to keep subscriptions running?
- Raid content: To clear the raids available once we're done levelling we need a total of 5-6 hours, just a few months after the expansion has been released. To make it worse, the only raid that takes more than 20 minutes to clear is recycle material from level 60. I realize you think you did a great job with Naxxramas at level 60 and want more people to see it, but come on. You did nothing whatsoever to update the instance to make it interesting 2 expansions later besides raising mob levels accordingly and removing some trash. Also, I strongly believe the lore buffs who were actually interested in seeing the glory of Naxxramas had ample opportunity to do so joining retro raids at level 70. How could you think the player base who has an interest in raiding would be satisfied with a 3 hour Naxx rehash and two single encounter raids at level 80 ? All of this being easily puggable ?
- Hard mode: You may have been looking down on those playing this game to stand out and be a notch above the rest, but this is ridiculous. Its beyond ridiculous. You're basically having the player core who actually did Naxx at level 60 not only having to do it again at 80, but you try to create game content out of making all kinds of silly conditions to get achievements. If you wish to reply with the "1% of the players saw Naxx at 60", please see point two.
- Gear advancement: At level 60 and 70 we had an excellent balance on our self progress. Yes it was a grueling process to reach the end, but we had a clear path to take. Even purely social players were content knowing that before they'd get to do AQ40, they would have to gear up for it. That meant gearing for MC doing 40 (Edit: Went a bit fast indeed, wrote 60 man) mans, doing a bit of farming in MC, ZG and AQ20 for the next tier, collecting some pieces from BWL before taking on AQ40, and finally some gear from that place to be able to carry your weight in Naxxramas (Edit: I'm old and forgot that AQ40 came before Naxx *blush*). We had a similar climb in TBC. By skipping the need for this gear climb, I think you've made a grave mistake by ignoring completely how long this gear grind kept people busy, playing your game. Today you have all content available for players signing up with unenchanted, green gemmed quest rewards. Blizzard, if you have an interest in keeping us playing, bring back the progress grind (yes, I said it).
- Dungeon set armor: We've had our dungeon 1, 1.5 and 2 sets and while they were not strictly required to take on the next gaming tier if you had suitable replacement pieces, they were mostly useful, added class flavour and many many players took pride in completing their sets. I think the upgrade quests for the dungeon 1 sets were fantastic and I had lots of fun working to complete it even after I had gotten my fair share of drops from molten core. Why did we lose those ? The old sets had issues where they were not really useful for certain specs, but with a little effort you could easily have implemented a token drop system for 5 mans for dungeon tier armor in WotLK to let players pick dungeon tier armor suited for their specs. For me and many others feeling finished with the game, just working on completing or improving our sets like we could in the past would add a lot of replay value.
"Ulduar has a ton of bosses. While I’m sure some players would love for us to deliver an instance with that level of content every month or so (and throw in a 5-player run to boot!), it’s not in the cards, at least not for the next couple of years."
This looked almost like a WoW suicide note to me, if its one thing your game needs, it is more content, and lots of it. Under normal circumstances I would understand you not wishing to over saturate the players, but as it stands WotLK is lacking severely in level 80 content. A large part of it is based on 10 or 25 man Naxxramas, and for more players than I suspect you realize, this is old content already.
Get to work, we know you can do wonderful things and you still have a LOT of unexplored material already present in the WoW realm. Ravenholdt, The timbermaw cave in Aszhara, Uldum in Tanaris, whatever lies beyond the great wall in Silverpine forest.. There is much more that I can vouch for a lot of players wishing to explore further, make use of it first and put your creative idea minds to work on other fresh things further down the road.
In closing, I would like fellow blog readers visiting to voice your thoughts if you made it this far before closing the page, let me know if you think these are valid concerns or if I'm just being a whining troll, anything goes!