Sunday, November 16, 2008

Wrath of the Lich King - The easy expansion?

You might have heard about the world's biggest WoW-braggard getting to level 79 in 13 hours, before being banned for exploiting. Or the guy who then reached level 80 in Wrath of the Lich King in a legit way, in 27 hours. That all was to be expected, after similar stuff happened in The Burning Crusade. But what came as more of a surprise was Nihilum going together with another hardcore raiding guild, forming TwentyFifthNovember, and clearing Naxxramas on heroic difficulty after only 65 hours and 30 minutes. Now their raid progress will have to wait for Blizzard to patch in the harder raid dungeons.

On a more personal level, I noticed that the non-raid PvE content is much easier now too. My level 70 warrior soloed level 77 mobs. My priest made it to level 73 this weekend, and was playing catch-up with his loot: I had already done several dungeons with guild groups that were up to 4 levels too high for us, and carried around several pieces of loot where the level-restriction prevented me from wearing it. I still need one more level before I can wield the staff I found in Drak'Tharon Keep.

So, is Wrath of the Lich King the easy expansion? It certainly seems so right now. But is it too easy? I don't think so. The dungeon runs I did were certainly challenging, with the 5-man bosses having far more "raid-boss-like" abilities, combat in multiple phases, and skill checks. And of course the people I played with were experienced raiders, and wearing TBC epic gear. These dungeons would have been a lot less easy wearing greens.

Naxxramas is only the first raid dungeon. It *should* be easy, even on heroic, so not-Nihilum guilds have a decent shot at it in both 10-man and 25-man mode. The harder stuff will be patched in later. Sorry, TwentyFifthNovember, Blizzard can't design difficulty just for you, they have to design around the majority of players. If that means that raiding isn't just for the elite few any more, but accessible to a much wider audience, so much the better. Well done, Blizzard!

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