Tuesday, 10 February 2009

End game

Thinking back to when the previous expansion was launched, we had five raid dungeons all of which were brand new:

Karazhan (10 man) - 10 bosses I think, including some very tough fights (eg Shade of Aran)
Gruul (25 man) - only 2 bosses, but both challenging and requiring careful planning and gear
Magtheridon (25) - 1 boss, but so hard that he was regularly skipped by progression guilds until he was nerfed quite hard in I think patch 2.3.
Serpentshrine Cavern (25) - 6 bosses
Tempest Keep (25) - 4 bosses

We then had four further dungeons released later - Zul'Aman (10), Mount Hyjal (25), Black Temple (25) and Sunwell (25).

All of the 25 man bosses were a real achievement to down. Most took a week or two of trying for all but the most hardcore guilds and a first kill was a thing to celebrate and post on your guild forums. Because of the very tight attunement requirements to the "next" instance, Vashj and Kael'thas in particular got a reputation as "guild breakers", where guilds would break because of an inability to beat them and progress onwards. I remember my own guild getting stuck at Lurker in SSC for about 2 months, and our GM (normally such a controlled guy) losing it near the end and telling us "Just f*cking kill him this time, I'm sick and tired of wiping on this f*cking fish."

Now we have four raid dungeons - Naxxramas (15 bosses), Sanctum (1 boss), Malygos (1 boss) and Vault (1 boss). To be blunt it's getting boring for a lot of guilds, especially those who cleared Naxx the first time round in vanilla warcraft. Blizzard have said that more content will be released, but guilds like ours are crying out for something, anything, to do. Malygos is down in both 10 and 25 man, we can now clear Naxx in four and a half hours even with casual players rotated in, and just about all that is left is Sanctum with multiple drakes left up (hard mode).

I understand Blizzard's determination to open up raid content to the masses - most people never saw past Karazhan in the last expansion, but that was served by making Naxx easy (even I have cleared 3 of the wings multiple times, and I've only run 4 raids) and I think the amazing content that they've delivered in creating Northrend is being badly let down by the lack of end-game. You very rarely get cheers on vent when the boss goes down these days, and while I think more people are in epics than ever before, it's sad that the sense of raiding achievement is going.

Bring on Ulduar. Please.

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