WoW: Current State Of End Game Raiding

The World of Warcraft has gone through many changes.

The
World of
Warcraft
has gone through many
changes. What started as a PvP centered,
casual friendly game has morphed into a PvE machine where PvP is more
of a
mini-game and everyone is a raider. With each expansion Blizzard has
released the raid
content has become more dynamic but also more accessible.
Many
have said these changes have dumbed down the game
and that it is devolving. The addition of hard mode content has helped
to
partially satiate those critics, but is it enough? 

It
seems that Blizzard continues to focus its scope on
how to balance the desires of hardcore raiders versus allowing anyone
interested in raiding the opportunity to do so. Will these changes
ultimately
pay off or will this backfire and end up alienating all groups? We took
to the mean streets of Azeroth recently to get the perspective of the
leader of an end game guild. 

style="width: 250px; height: 404px;" alt=""
src="http://www.tentonhammer.com/image/view/71850" align="right">

I
spoke with the raid and guild leader of href="http://www.eternalsc.com/">Eternal
on Scarlet Crusade, href="http://www.wowarmory.com/character-sheet.xml?r=Scarlet+Crusade&n=Kdorf">Kdorf, style="">  to
get his feelings on the recent changes and
the overall state of raiding. Kdorf and Eternal have been raiding
 WoW end
game
content for four years now and have seen everything Blizzard has had to
offer
(even though I am completely biased, this group of players is among the
finest I have ever had the pleasure of playing with. Check them out if
you are
looking
for an end game href="http://www.eternalsc.com/index.php?option=com_smf&Itemid=53&topic=1206.0">guild).While
our conversation was mainly focused on the current
state of end game raiding we also discussed the changes that have
affect guilds over the years. 
 

Ten
Ton
Hammer: How
did you feel about the switch from a forty player raid size to the
current
twenty five player cap? 

Kdorf: style="">Overall it was a good change. We were
worried it may create some drama when the time came to shift our raid
size, but
we were lucky enough to avoid that. It definitely makes it easier to
co-ordinate the smaller group and keeps things more tight knit. It also
helped
in keeping recruitment more focused and easier to manage.

Ten
Ton
Hammer:
In The Burning
Crusade
how did you
feel, and how did the guild react to the nerfs in both content and
access to
content that Blizzard implemented? 

Kdorf: style=""> We never minded the initial set
of nerfs
like the removal of the key quests for BT and Hyjal. We took it as a
point of
pride to be ahead of the nerf curve so to speak. The patch 3.0 nerfs to
Sunwell
were a bit much. We were working on Kil’Jaeden and having
been the first and
only guild on the server to kill Mu’ru pre-nerf it felt
cheapened. It was
really one of our best accomplishments as that fight was ridiculously
hard. To
see it become the easiest fight in the zone the next week and to watch
guilds that
had not finished Black Temple killing Sunwell bosses stung a little.
But we
understood that Blizzard wanted more people to be able to see the
content which
they created. 

Ten
Ton
Hammer:  Do
you think the move to the current raid
configurations was the right thing to do? To allow ten player and
twenty five
player groups access to the same content but with the addition of the
hard
modes to have that separation for the “hardcore”
raiders? 

Kdorf: I style=""> think it was the right direction, I
don’t
think they have It quite perfected just yet but it is very close. Parts
of the
Ulduar raid feel too open ended; it lacks solid direction. We
didn’t like so
many optional bosses with no bearing on the overall dungeon. It looks
like the
Coliseum will be more linear and everything will count. But the overall
direction was the right one to go in. We especially like the more laid
back
feel of the ten player hard modes after doing the twenty fives. You
still have
to be on your game but it isn’t as chaotic as the
other.

Ten
Ton
Hammer:
 Do
you think Blizzard made any mistakes with
this expansion?


 

Kdorf: I
think the ease of Naxxaramas
was a
mistake along with the overall lack of difficult content at the launch
of the
expansion. Sarthirion hard mode was just too little in the way of
content that
really makes players analyze their characters and focus on
min/maxing and
theorycrafting. 
There was also an
extended amount of time between launch and the release of Ulduar that
made
players a bit lazier. 

 


Ten Ton Hammer:
How
do you feel about the complaints that Blizzard is making the game too
easy
overall?


 

Kdorf:  style="">I
think they are walking a fine line with that. I know the game has been
out for
four years but in many ways they are still learning on the job about
making an
MMO. I feel that as long as they continue to offer the hard content and
the
rewards to the top end raiders that they will be ok. If they do make it
ridiculously easy then they run the risk of getting rid of those
players. It
would be a huge loss to them to lose the players that really analyze
their
toons and do the theorycrafting. Those are the players that provide the
best
feedback on encounters, your casual players won’t do a lot of
number crunching
in terms of play testing the content.

  style="font-weight: bold;">
Ten Ton Hammer:
 
style="font-weight: bold;">How
has all of this effected recruitment?

 

Kdorf: Recruiting
on our server has
always been
interesting as our pool is limited by the server size and ruleset, but
mostly
it has helped. The increase in access to content has given a lot of
players a
chance to find a new way to show off their skills. You find a lot of
folks who
maybe only PvP’d in the past that have given raiding a try
and became very
skilled PvE players as well. The flip side has been that with so many
“easy
epics” out there, some of your more average players have this
sense of
entitlement and haven’t really developed the skills to
complete the hard mode
content. 
But that’s where a
strong
recruitment process helps you find the right players to mesh with your
guild
anyway. It just seems there are more marginal players to weed through.
But
overall it has helped as you are not restricted as much by classes as
you used
to be.

 


Ten Ton Hammer:
Has
Dual Talent Specialization affected raiding?


 

Kdorf: Slightly,
it makes it easier to
maximize
your raid composition without having to open a portal and summon a
player back.
We were always respecing before it was added, this just helps save some
money
for most players. I really enjoy trying to find any way to make the
raid more
efficient and playing with specs can be a big part of that;
it’s like putting a
puzzle together. We have a very good loot system so we
haven’t had any loot
drama associated with the dual spec issue. Again cite="mailto:Bender" datetime="2009-07-22T10:50">,
it all goes
back to finding the right people to surround yourself with. From a
recruitment
standpoint dual spec has had no real bearing as we always looked for
exceptional players that could handle multiple tasks if
needed.

I
want to thank Kdorf for sitting down to chat with me
about the current state of raiding and I wish he and Eternal luck as
they knock
out the last few hard mode encounters in heroic Ulduar. I spoke more
informally
with a few other raid leaders from a few different servers and most
have very
similar views of how things are progressing with WoW raiding. Everyone
is
looking forward to patch 3.2 for most of its new features although
there is a
bit of grumbling over the further devaluation of epics via the new
badge system
and the awful look of Tier 9. The only constant so far in WoW end game
raiding has
been change and I look forward to seeing those changes as they take
place.
Until next week, be safe and have fun in Azeroth!



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