Thursday, September 22, 2011

An accurate description of World of Warcraft

I stopped reading Gevlon's blog when he started insulting my wife. So I only got the news that he actually wrote something sensible for once 6 days late, via a quote somewhere. After years of telling people that they are morons & slackers when they stand in the fire, Gevlon finally realized that getting out of the fire isn't fun because it isn't the core gameplay of World of Warcraft. And to boot he tops it off with a brilliant definition of what World of Warcraft is: ""WoW-playing" is therefore defined as "solving tasks by using class abilities"."

This is exactly why I am not playing World of Warcraft any more. I've been a pretty hardcore raider in vanilla WoW, where I got up to the end of BWL with my priest. And at that time it was all about how good I was at using my class abilities to heal the raid. Between triage and managing mana efficiency, that was challenging in a "using class abilities well" way. But with every expansion using my class abilities became less and less important. Instead World of Warcraft turned into a huge game of Simon Says, where everybody is supposed to learn all the boss encounters in the game, and to be able to quickly react correctly to a series of scripted inputs. Healing isn't easy, but if you compare the situation now to vanilla, the actual using of healing class abilities well has become easier with concepts like downranking spells or mana efficiency having been removed. And in place of the challenge of using class abilities well, there is now the challenge of finding the time to use a very basic set of class abilities while constantly jumping in tune to the blinking lights the boss fights are all about now. And in Cataclysm even the 5-man dungeons are about knowing the script instead of being about using class abilities.

Gevlon describes that as: "A math competition with differential equations is hard. But imagine that in a math exam one of the tests would be "do 100 pushups". That would make the exam significantly harder in the meaning of "less people can do it". However people would say "It's not mathematics, what the hell pushups do here?!"" I fully agree. Modern raiding is not solving tasks by using class abilities, what the hell is Simon Says doing here? I am not interested in learning scripted boss encounters, where mastering one boss does zilch for your ability to fight the next one. I am not interested in challenges that only test my split-second reaction time, where muscle memory leads to better results than actual thinking. I would like to succeed because I know how to play my class well, because I can solve tasks by using class abilities. This isn't about how easy or how hard raiding is, it is about what kind of challenge raiding offers this day. It sure is challenging, but it just isn't World of Warcraft any more.

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