Tanking for Dummies

Content Shortage
April 17, 2009, 6:28 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

It seems to me that the talk of the town is all about content: whether 3.1 would hit this week or next, or whether we’re going to get another expansion to the game this year, it all comes down to content, or rather – a lack of content.

I have invariably harbored suspicions about expansions that deal with the Frozen North.  There is something about MMOs dealing with frigid wastelands that heralds an inevitable decline of a game in my mind and perhaps this is starting again despite Blizzard’s game designing abilities.  Maybe it’s the fact that I have a soft spot for vikings that make everything after seem somewhat dull.  Maybe it’s the fact that I only have a certain attention span for the same game.  Maybe it’s that I start to loose interest in MMOs when my guild dies (a pernicious tendency come expansion time).  But I can only fathom that this feeling comes from somewhere this time, and considering what has been popping up in my Reader recently,  I can only surmise that I’m not the only one that is getting a little bit edgy about the amount of content available.

Let’s presume for a moment that you are not chain leveling alts.  If you have one character you play, you might be forgiven for wondering what you are going to do next.  Presuming you have completed a primary gear set (and maybe a secondary one, I know I have effectively managed this while raiding one night a week and barely stepping foot into a Heroic instance on Tarsus), you’re running out of things to do.  Your options are fairly limited you can:

  • PvP – if you like that sort of thing.
  • Do Dailies to become more Rich – you never know when you might need to shell out 1000 gold for the newest best thing.
  • Work on an alternate-alternate gear set – because you can never say “Well, it’s not really better than my Dragon Brood Legguards, but can you ever have enough block value?”
  • Blog about how you have nothing to do.

Eventually, however, you are going to start getting bored, and realistically you are bored because it’s been five months since the expansion came out and you’re not getting any younger.

At this point an optimistic voice would remind you that there is new content coming out soon.  An entirely new raid and this Tournament thingy.  There will be stuff to do!

Deep down, however, I’m skeptical this new content will last very long.  Either Regular-Mode Ulduar will be easily conquered or it will be out of the reach of most players, and while the Argent Tourney seems like it will be a fine way to earn money, Daily Quests are not precisely something exciting after doing them for about a week.

No, the thing I think WoW is missing right now is new 5 person dungeons.  They’re the most accessible kind of content and present the most opportunity for variety.  And, you know, maybe you could make them give tokens that were actually good for gear progression?  Instead of cutting off the usefulness of doing Heroic instances?  Because if you think finding a Heroic group is hard now, wait until the next patch hits.  Talk about undercutting a lot of good content.

In my mind, realistically, we don’t need a new Magister’s Terrace.  We need like… ten of them.


10 Comments so far
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Preach it. One new 5-man won’t be enough. It’s the content that gets run every day. They are still the bread and butter of the main playerbase. And yet in 3.1 they’re relegated to ‘gear up twinks’ status.

Comment by kadomi

Good point. I’ve liked what I’ve seen of the new patch but once you’ve done the dailies, all you really have is an extra raid (great if you’re raiding) and an extra boss in wintergrasp.

And that’s it.

Don’t get me wrong, I really like what I’ve seen of Ulduar and my raid are really grooving on the wipe nights but I also wonder how well it’ll suit more casual players.

Comment by spinks

@ kadomi – Well, certain Heroics now are so dead. I mean, why would you ever run Utgarde Pinnacle over and over when you can get the weapon from the Argent Tournament, guaranteed?

@ spinks – One of the things that they did when they made the decision to go with progressive currency instead of a single currency for Heroics/raids is they cut off an alternate gearing path to raids as well. I mean, doing Ulduar in anything less than Tier 7 epics would be suicide, but unless you can find someone to run Tier 7, you’re not going to get into the new content anyway. It makes Ulduar less accessible.

Comment by Tarsus

I’m still seeing a decent amount of activity in trade chat on my server, for Naxx Pugs, ect. I think there are lots of people that will still be spending their time there, after doing flame leviathan in Ulduar.

And Ulduar itself will get more accessible as more information is discovered and released. Right now, my raids are putting in the time to figure out what works best – and we’ll probably end up still using a less-than-optimal strat.

Comment by Yakra

@ Yakra – Yeah, we also nailed Razorscale last night. It took us a bit to figure out how to control the Devouring Flames, but once we did that we got her into the ground phase after the second round of Harpoons. The De-Constructor and Ignis will probably fall on Monday.

This was a generally “from the gut post” – I really don’t have much evidence to back up what I’m saying here save a kind of creeping feeling. I suppose time will prove me right or wrong.

Comment by Tarsus

Meh, I’ve actually seen MORE heroics forming since the patch than before, thanks to Dual Specs giving people the flexibility to fill tank/healer roles more easily. Also, Uld 10 is doable in heroic gear (it’s the same iLevel as the Naxx-10 gear) or lower, and provides gear the same iLevel as Naxx-25, so you can gear up for Uld-25 without setting foot in any kind of Naxx (which I imagine will still be pugged because it is trivial effort).

Also I should point out that getting the axe from the tournament requires doing their dailies for a month and not using your tokens for anything else, so it’s probably less efficient than doing HUP; it’s intended as an option for people who don’t WANT to do heroics more than an alternate path for those that do.

Comment by Yuki

I can see what you’re saying Tars but I’m not sure I can agree in the end. While I loved running all the new 5-mans when Wrath hit, they weren’t good for that long. You can only run a 5-man so many times (about 3 for me) before you want to gouge your eyes out. The problem lies in that they just aren’t, and can’t be, hard enough. The achievements helped alleviate this -a little bit- but once you get the achievements done in the instance, you don’t really go back. Raids like Naxx and Ulduar on the other hand are good for a lot more time. ESPECIALLY places like Ulduar with it’s shear amount of bosses and ways to fight them. I haven’t had this much fun raiding since BWL.

Comment by kittoes

@ Yuki – I hadn’t figured it would take that long, but considering the time investment and the guarantee of return it seems worth it. Also, the relative upswing of heroics currently because of dual specs can’t last that long, especially given the capacity of Naxx 10 to outfit people faster and more efficiently. The items from heroics are equal, but only from the final boss. Naxx you get items that level from every boss.

@kittoes – I recall Magister’s Terrace when it first came out – it was pretty damn hard, even on normal and I was in TK and SSC gear at the time. You can make a 5-man as hard as a raid, IMO. Also, Once you clear Ulduar, it’s done for the week (it is only a matter of time before you can clear it in one night). Heroics you can run every day, and if the badges/emblems are of the correct value you always are making progress towards something, even if you don’t get the drop you want.

Comment by Tarsus

I think you’re right about MT being harder than any other 5 man before it (and I don’t think any after has competed either) but IMO it was due to class balance more than the instance itself. The hardest part of the instance was dealing with the massive amount of damage taken from casters and as a warrior it was a lot easier due to having spell reflect, shockwave, shield bash, and conc blow. In other words, we had three times as many options as say druids or paladins which just had to deal with it and drag along a pro healer.

While I think you can make a 5 man relatively difficult, I don’t believe you can truly make one all that hard because of shear game design. You can’t make damage too high ’cause then there is no way one healer can keep up. You also can’t do anything that would require a second tank, which is what a lot of raids do to increase difficulty. The less people you have in a group the less options a designer has in creating content to challenge that group. I don’t think that it’s really possible to design a 5 man that will actually challenge any group of decently geared and coordinated players like a raid will. And yeah, raids will always end up eventually being on farm, but that will take weeks. Instances on the other hand are pretty much on farm after the first time. I know that MT posed some challenges the first time I stepped in there but not anytime afterwards unless I was running with PuGs.

Comment by kittoes

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