Did Cataclysm Kill “Casual” Play?   34 comments

Last night, on my quest to figure out if Atremedes’ gongs are bugged, I made the mistake of venturing to the official dungeon and raid forums. I’m not sure why I thought that there would be much useful information there, but I really wanted to explore every avenue to see if we were dealing with a buggy encounter, or frankly, just botching a mechanic and not playing well.

(For those curious – gongs were not zeroing out our sound. It was suggested that perhaps it was just a tick of the searing flame that got off the same time as the gong, but people’s sound was more than the 7 that would be created by that tick, so I don’t know if that is it. I still have not found an answer – so if anyone has any insight, I’m all ears).

Anyhow, back to the point. The forums not only failed to have any helpful information, but when I arrived, what I was exposed to was enough tears to flood the Nile. I am not exaggerating. The majority of the posts were akin to “thanks for killing WoW for the ‘casual’ player, Blizzard”. And so I proceeded to read through some of these posts. And the Cliff’s notes version of the majority of the complaints is basically “the game is too hard”.

Of course, I have been enjoying myself immensely this expansion. I have found things challenging, and I have had a good time working through the challenges that I have been presented with. Of course, I also wouldn’t call myself “casual” in any sense. So, naturally, this got me to thinking about the complaints literally flooding the forums and the validity of said complaints.

I thought perhaps what I would do was go through some of the more popular complaints individually, and work through my thoughts that way.

Heroic Dungeons are too hard.

I actually thought about this complaint long and hard, and after a good bit of deliberation, I have come to the conclusion that, with an exception here and there, I do not think that they are “too hard”. Challenging? Yes. Requiring intelligent play? Yes. Impossibly hard? No.

I thought a little bit about why people may feel that they are over the top, and I came up with a few things.

1) People are “gaming” the system to be able to queue for heroics. And by that, I mean people are stacking their bags with higher iLevel gear that they are not wearing in order to be able to queue into heroics. This in turn means that you have a lot of undergeared people trying to play content that they aren’t geared to play. And while perhaps this would work for a guildmate, it generally isn’t going to work out so well for the general public.

Blizzard placed requirement restrictions on queues for a reason. It was their intent that you had geared up through the later questing zones, faction rep and via normal dungeons before entering heroics. As a result, it was also their intent that you actually have experience with the regular dungeons before you entered them on heroic. And to me, this makes a lot of sense. The assumption has been made that you not only have experience in these dungeons already, but that you also have quested and instanced yourself into a respectable set of gear. And believe it or not, the instances actually get easier as your gear improves. You are not supposed to be able to immediately queue for heroics the second you hit level 85 without some effort.

In turn, that means that those people who have “cheated” the system, many of who are now complaining that things are “too hard”, have made things more difficult than it needs to be because they didn’t put forth the pre-requisite effort required to succeed. I’m not saying that the gear will solve 100% of the problems, but I also have a hard time feeling bad for someone who didn’t follow the intended path, is exploiting a loophole, and is now upset that things are “too hard”.

2) People are undervaluing crowd control. Yes, there is a lot of trash. Yes, some of the trash pulls are devastatingly brutal. However, a lot can be solved by making use of the tools in your group and employing adequate crowd control. The only instance that I’ve found we’ve had trouble with having adequate crowd control has been Shadwofang Keep, as a result of all of the undead.

Crowd controlling even one or two mobs in a very large pull can have an enormous difference on how trash pulls go and how stressed your healer and tank are. When looking at your party, note that Blizzard has added an almost ridiculous amount of crowd control abilities to the game, and all classes have the ability to contribute to crowd control at any given point in the instance. If you aren’t sure about what kind of CC your group has, just ask them.

Take the time to mark mobs if you are the tank. Ask for crowd control instead of just charging in and praying that you have a healer that can keep you alive. If you are DPS, play smartly. Do not be that idiot that breaks the sheep 100 times, or starts nuking the rooted mob instead of the mobs that are not CC’d. If you are a healer, use your defense abilities to save your ass if something comes loose. Don’t be afraid to root/fear/stun/hex. I can’t tell you how many times Nature’s Grasp has saved me on a bad pull. I just pop it and kite/root the mobs beating on me, and then go hug my tank until he can get them under control.

3) People don’t want to have to learn new content. What I mean by this is that I think too few people actually take the time to analyze how boss fights work, and where they are falling apart if it goes wrong. However, this is part of the learning process. If you died on boss fight, do you know why? Did you miss a mechanic? Do you understand the mechanic so that you know how to avoid it in the future?

Do you ask your group “what happened” or “ok, so how do we fix this” before making another pull? Or, like so many, do you just run back belly-aching about how terrible your group is and blindly do the same exact thing again? Remember – Albert Einstein taught us that Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.

Blizzard wanted to make instancing challenging again. They wanted to engage you, the player, and make you think and make smart decisions. So, yes, sometimes you will have to decide if it’s more important to DPS or lose some DPS while you are moving – yet keeping yourself alive. You will have to make a decision if it’s best to tank that boss on a wall, or in the middle of the room. You will have you think through your heals and make good choices – and sometimes chose who to let live and who might die.

Now, I certainly cannot speak for everyone else, but I like a challenge. I like that I cannot just mindlessly run through things, sneeze on them, and watch them fall over. I like that it takes a bit of elbow grease. Sure, it means that I may wipe a few times while I’m sorting through it all, but I like that my skill is being pushed and in turn is making me a better, smarter and more experienced player.

To be fair there are a few encounters that I think are a tad over the top. Now, I am not above admitting when I think there are a few exceptions and a few things are perhaps a bit out of line with the rest of the content.

The bearded Rock Guy in Stone Core, for example. I think that his slam is too unforgiving on the tank. Yes, the tank should be penalized for not moving out of it – but I do not believe that it should kill him outright. (I also think it’s crap that the bosses spell reflect desyncs from his paralyze ability, in what I can only assume is a bug, making the fight that much more annoying). The Worgen boss in SFK is another example. A really solid group can still struggle with keeping up with the adds and getting the boss down before they are overwhelmed. I do think that perhaps he could be toned down just a touch.

But outside of just a very small few, I think that a little learning, some patience, and some knowledge of your class (skill) make most of the encounters fun and very achievable.

4) People lack patience. And this is big. Learning takes time. No, you probably aren’t going to enter into a group where everything is exceptionally smooth. There will probably be a wipe here or there that you need to recover from. You may need to work through a boss strategy to achieve success. You need to be a little patient while the general community is learning the new content. People giving up after three or four wipes is a huge part of the problem.

5) People aren’t communicating. And this is huge. So very, very huge. And something that we are learning more and more about as we get further into raiding. In fact, when something goes wrong in a raid I’ve taken to asking the person “did you communicate that to us” when analyzing the problem. An example: I missed my interrupt because I was stunned/knocked back/feared”. My reply “did you let us know so someone else could cover it”. Communication solves so many problems.

Sure, in a dungeon, perhaps you won’t have that level of communication, but you can set up each pull and offer instructions on the pulls if you are a tank. You can set up a “HELP” macro that lets the tank know mobs are beating on you if you are the healer. You could even set up a macro to communicate that you are out of mana, so that the tank knows to cycle some cooldowns and the DPS knows not to expect heals.

Alternatively, if you have a vent server, and you are OK with other people hoping onto it, feel free to see if the group wants to get on. We’ve invited PuGs into our vent for our 5 mans a few times and have found that not only have the not minded hoping into vent, but have been a lot of fun to chat with as we clear through the instance.

Regardless of which venue you opt to communicate in, communicating with absolutely make your instance experience that much better.

Heroics Dungeons take too long to complete and I have limited time to play.

I think that this complaint goes a bit hand in hand with the problem that I addressed above.

I have completed all of the heroics available, and by far the two longest are Deadmines and Shadowfang Keep. Actually, I will openly admit to swearing every time I see the SFK load bar pop up on my screen, just because of how long the instance takes to complete. That being said, our Heroic SFK run last night took under an hour to complete.

Granted, we were an all guild group and 4 of the 5 of us had completed it before, but even when we were learning it, we still only took 2ish hours to get through what I think is the longest instance in the game. I understand that at this very early stage of the game instances to take longer to complete because you have to take that “learning” step, but I do not believe that if you have a group that works with the suggestions I’ve given above they are prohibitive for those that only have a few hours to play.

Additionally, if you are crunched on time, I might suggest working with a guild group. If you aren’t able to do that for whatever reason – try to find a steady group within your server that you can run with. And perhaps even try to create an all server group of people that you know before utilizing the LFD tool. I can also say that as more people learn the encounters that are available to them, they will become “easier” for the general community to complete, just based on the number of people familiar with them.

And, in short, if you don’t have a couple of hours to dedicate to the game, perhaps refrain from utilizing the LFD tool until you have more time to commit to playing.

I have to wait in Queue for 40 minutes and then get a fail PuG.

Unfortunately, this is a bit of the risk in working with the LFD tool. However, there are a limited number of tanks and healers that queue in, and with the rewards for participating in groups as a guild, this number is diminished even further. This is actually a complaint that I do see a little bit valid when it is coupled with the “I have limited time to play” concern above. Unfortunately, I’m not entirely sure that there is anything to be done about it if you are utilizing the LFD tool. It’s just one of the downfalls/risks of utilizing the tool.

I would again suggest looking for guild groups and server regulars if you are able to do that. Of course, if the PuGs can fix half of what was suggested in my first point, there would likely be less “Fail PuGs”, however we should probably focus more on what we have more individual control over ;)

I got kicked by my group so they could invite a guildmate before the last boss.

Unfortunately, I have had guildmates that have experienced this very complaint as well, and I’m going to flat out say that it’s a problem. Anytime a group has at least 3 people from the same guild, you run the risk of being vote kicked for no reason. Hell, I’ve even read about people attempting to be more polite about it and asking a person to leave so that they could invite a guild mate.

And you know what? THIS IS NOT AN ACCEPTABLE THING TO DO.

Any way that you slice it, this is rubbish, and I think that people have every right to complain about this. People who do this are being unfair to the poor guy that has contributed for most of the instance, and sat in queue for 30 minutes or more to get into the dungeon. My take on it is that if you guildmate wanted to go he should have joined in the group with you. If he didn’t that’s his problem and you shouldn’t penalize the other members of your party because all of the sudden you have a guildmate that wants in the instance. If you want guild rep – queue as a full guild group at the start.

I do think that this is something that Blizzard needs to fix, however I don’t know what the fix would be. Maybe set the threshold to receive guild rep at the first boss? So once the first boss is killed it will only recognize the number of people from your guild that started the instance no how many of your guild mates may join later in the instance? Of course that penalizes those legit groups who have people drop and guildmates come to the rescue.

In Conclusion – No, I do not believe that Cataclysm has killed “Casual” play. However, I do believe that Cataclysm requires smarter play from players, which I do appreciate. Even the simplest games, such as solitaire, are supposed to challenge you, the player. I really don’t think that WoW should be any different in that regard. I welcome a challenge, something that pushes me, and for me I think a return to challenging the player and making them think, makes WoW a better game.

And since I pretty firmly believe that being a good player has absolutely nothing to do with the amount of hours you log, I do not think that “casual” play is impossible or dead. I just think that more of the general community needs to recognize the new challenges and subsequently adjust their play to face them.

How about you? What do you think? Do you share any of these concerns? Do you disagree with my assessments?

Posted December 22, 2010 by Beruthiel in Cataclysm!

34 responses to “Did Cataclysm Kill “Casual” Play?

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  1. Since launch I’ve had many bad experiences using the Dungeon Finder to form groups and have in fact stopped using it. I do believe that heroics are too difficult for randomly put together casual groups. While I like the difficulty of the heroics I have simply come to the conclusion that the stress induced from trying to run them in random groups simply is no longer worth it.

    • I do not think that they are too difficult, I just think that they take a little more effort and that there are a lot of folks out there not willing and/or wanting to put the extra effort into them.

  2. I don’t think there’s any getting around the fact that many people find the new dungeons fun, and having them be very difficult now is the only way to keep them interesting for more than a month.

    However, your suggestions to people who think casuals can’t complete the new dungeons do tend to boil down to “don’t be casual”.

    I have easily spent 3 hours in a heroic and not completed it. Plus a 40 minute queue for DPS. Just because a guild group of skilled, geared, and experienced raiders who know each other can clear SFK in 2 hours does not mean a pug can. Let alone a pug with terrible comp or people who struggle to devise tactics and trouble shoot.

    I am a raider, but I also have a family, a job, a home, and things to do for the upcoming holidays – I don’t always have 4 hours for a single dungeon, especially one that doesn’t even get finished!

    Communication and patience are learned skills, and whilst I don’t think they fall under the HC/Casual spectrum, not everyone is going to want to develop them for the sake of a video game.

    Problem solving and identifying issues that are wiping a group are fun for you, and me, and many other WoW players. That’s the core of the fun of progression raiding, after all! It may not be fun for everyone, though.

    Having a guild group, or even a trusted group of friends, isn’t the way all casual players enjoy playing the game. That’s not right or wrong, just another play style.

    In the end, I think right now, in the gear we have available, heroics ARE NOT casual friendly. It’s better, to me, to admit that fact. In the end, Blizzard has decided to make the end game less casual friendly, and that’s probably a good thing for it’s core demographic. But posters on the official forums claiming “you’re all just whining it’s not that hard” is probably even more demoralizing.

    As someone who’s confronting the possibility of embracing a “casual” title for the first time in years, it’s liberating to say “Yes, they’re too hard for me, personally, to enjoy. The end game of this game is not designed for me. If I want to play WoW, there are dailies and fishing and alts and professions to work on and I don’t need those 346s right now.” Is that enough to keep casuals playing the game? We’ll have to see.

    • I think the problem here is that the ‘casual’ players (and I use the term grudgingly) are the ones who are doing things like cheating the ilevel system, or wearing wrong gear (eg hit as a healer).

      I think what it comes down to, is they have the time to research how to cheat the ilevel system but not what gear is good for them?

      • Well, that’s a bit of a stretch. HC sure “cheated” the system, too, but they weren’t complaining about it on the forums as much.

        I have adequate, well itemized gear well above the minimum, which is gemmed, reforged, and partially enchanted. I am a long-time HC raider – I put in the weeks and months on 25HM Arthas, eg. I go into a dungeon – we use CC. We talk strats. We use our class abilities as best we can. I take guildies. And yet it has not been a guarantee of success.

        When someone who at least theoretically doing everything “right” can fail repeatedly, it does indicate that there’s a skill/commitment level that’s far above what people expected from a heroic. I have sympathy for people who don’t even know why they’re failing.

        Now, there’s casuals and there’s BADS. I don’t think the game should reward bad players, who think they’re entitled to free loot. I imagine that’s a good percentage of the people whining on the forums.

        But casuals? Casuals who don’t enjoy looking up spreadsheets or spending time trouble shooting aren’t necessarily bad or entitled. They have to adjust to the fact that the end game is no longer tuned to embrace their play style.

      • @Velidra –

        Do not be too quick to judge who is, or isn’t, doing something. I know a good number of folks who wouldn’t consider themselves “casual” also “gaming” the system.

        Also, do not assume that just because someone is “casual” means that they lack skill. Those are two very different things.

    • @Narci –

      I guess what I would challenge in your comments is why shouldn’t groups need to communicate to succeed? Why shouldn’t they need to put a bit of effort in? I do not think that asking groups to coordinate is asking too much of them.

      I also don’t see how my suggestions for success boil down to “don’t be casual”. How does communicating or looking for steady groups to run dungeons with have anything to do with how much or how little time you have to play the game?

      Skill has absolutely nothing to do with how much time you can devote to the game. I don’t think that there is any reason a group of skilled individuals, who only have 2 hours a night or a week, can’t group together and have the same successes in heroics that I have. In fact, I know people that fall into that category and do have success.

  3. I was going to write a similiar article on WoM about this, but I was going to aim the post more at the players complaining than those that are kind of watching the spectacle go down.

    Very valid arguments, Beru and here are my thoughts on them (without giving too much away, because I want to save some for my post).

    I think Casual play still exists, but I think the definition of Casual has been changed. Casual was never supposed to be a lifestyle for people who wanted to have the best gear and to see content and things like that. People who were truly Casual back in the day didn’t care about such things. They were fine having a list of level 50 alts or trying out each profession or dabbling in PVP. They didn’t get too invested in many concepts of the game.

    Somewhere down the line Casual players became more vocal and started to want more for themselves. This I feel is where things changed, because deep down these people were not Casual anymore. Blizzard began listening to the feedback and the criticism and tried to make content more accessible and tried catering to this new breed of Casual player, who again were not really that Casual.

    Now people got it into their heads that this is what Casual is. You can log on for minutes a day and get epic gear and have just as high of a Gearscore or higher as someone who genuinely raids and is more hardcore. That is never what Casual was supposed to be.

    When Cataclysm came out, Blizzard realized the error and attempted to right the wrong. The new Casual was something people should never have gotten used to and should have never expected would always be that way. That’s on them. Not on us.

    For those that have been truly Casual all this time and continue to be, they’re probably not phased by any of this. It’s business as usual for them. It’s those who tried to toe the line (or is it tow) and have it both ways that are now crying foul, because they were trying to have their cake and eat it, too.

  4. I’ve been “commentating” on this topic with some of my guild-mates since release. It’s a tricky subject since it’s at the beginning of an expansion and MOST players are still learning and all that.

    That being said, I can see where some of the concern is coming from. There are few players that welcome challenging content as readily as I (or you), but on the other hand there are far more that played during Wrath when the level of play required to be “successful” was considerably lower.

    Considerably is probably an understatement. Even in full-guild groups with some scattered crafted epics and heroic blue gear, bosses still require complete attention from everyone involved. I can only imagine what the average LFD group looks like. I would say that the dungeon finder at this stage of the expansion is unusable.

    Whether or not Blizzard nerfs things will tell you how they feel. For now it seems they’re ok with the difficulty and expect people to grow into the instances.

    I’m fine with the difficulty, but I’m fortunate enough to be in a guild built on a solid raiding foundation.

  5. I fully agree with your points Beruthiel. and I think you bring up an important distinction between ‘casual’ as in ‘less playtime’ or the ‘casual’ that many players utilize to describe more laidback / lazy / noncommittal playstyle. the current heroics might not be very doable for the second, but certainly for the first type of casual player – just because you don’t have loads of time doesn’t mean you can’t finish heroic 5mans. it’s about quality now more than ever, communication, foresight, care, tactical approach etc. etc.
    all of that obviously sounds nigh impossible to achieve with a pug, but that says more about the sorry state of LFG groups than WoW being too hard. it was to be expected that there would be huge outcries after the faceroll PuGs had in WotLK, but eventually this phase will pass. all I hope is that blizzard won’t give in soon and nerf everything again.

  6. WRT “gaming” the system with gear you aren’t using… well, you kinda have to. I started Cata in decent gear–251 and 264. I’m a number cruncher… I’m not going to equip a piece of gear that’s questionably “better” or that ends up being a.big sacrifices for the sake of Blizzard’s. Bullshit ilvl requirements while leveling. I want as much power as possible while questing, and that means analyzing EVERYTHING. The greens I’ve gotten largely haven’t been “good enough” to do more than game the system. Unfortunate, but that’s the way it is.

    • I have to ask what class you’re playing. I’m not an absolute hardcore number cruncher here, but from what I’ve seen the 289 ilvl, level 80 BoE greens have absolutely kicked the butt of everything with the rare exclusion of a few set bonuses that are just so good they’re painful to part with.

      Also, it seems you’re off point with focusing on the dungeons while leveling, the main point is people cheating the gear requirements for heroics, which is a big difference over the dungeons while leveling.

    • Hrm…I’m a bit confused.

      I was in full 277 gear coming into Cataclysm, and I had replaced all but 2 items by the time I hit level 85. Most of the greens in Twilight Highlands were straight up upgrades to my Heroic ICC gear.

      Are you sure that you aren’t overlooking some upgrades?

  7. FYI: In Atramedes, a ring of the gong reduces a player’s sound by 50%; it does not reduce it to 0. So, “standing in the bad stuff” cannot be eliminated no matter how many gongs you ring.

    As to the difficulty factor of heroics, I do think you’ve hit the nail on the head with all your points. The greatest advantage that guild groups have isn’t skill, isn’t communication, and it isn’t strat–it’s investment. I step up my game running with guildies because I have a vested interest in making a run successful. We went into those first heroics dedicated to seeing them through; we did every pull by the books until we were comfortable enough to let our hair down, we flasked, we feasted, and we talked through our mistakes (and we made plenty). To me, that has nothing to do with being “hardcore” or “casual”; any LFD group is capable of exactly the same thing.

    Interestingly enough, I had an exchange recently which underscored this entire concept (I actually LFD more than I group with guildies). A 6k dps mage in my last HoO group who couldn’t be bothered to gem his gear (or dodge shadow crashes, or group for AOE healing, or iceblock, or buff) told me that “hey, some of us don’t have all the time in the world to spend on this game, it’s called being casual lol”. After I picked my jaw off the floor, I replied “That doesn’t make you casual; it just makes you lazy. Don’t confuse the two.”

    If Cata wants to kill lazy play, I’ll do everything I can to help.

    • I’m a casual Mario Bros. player. Can’t be bothered to jump over the pits.

      • pffft – I used to have to have my little brother come jump in certain parts of Mario for me because I sucked so badly at it. I used to get SO frustrated :P

    • @Vixsin – we seemed to have solved our Atramedes problem. It involved some hollerin’ from me about sound, but we got it done :) Thanks!

      I absolutely think that people frequently confuse “casual” with meaning “unskilled” or “lazy”, and that frustrates me. I have never been of the mindset that casual is synonymous with a lesser skilled, or poor player. Just because you only have a few hours a week to play, or don’t have a desire to raid, doesn’t mean that you can’t, or shouldn’t, invest in your character.

      And I agree – I do think that people should want to put forth some effort and play their best. I don’t expect everyone to have the time/drive/energy or desire that I might have for the game, but I do not think that means that they can’t handle basic concepts of play and make attempts and efforts to improve each time they do play.

      I’d rather play with someone who is making noticeable effort to do a good job than someone who thinks that they don’t have to try.

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  9. Somewhere along the line people forgot that heroics is supposed to be hard.

    I think this expansion is way more accessible than BC was. Remember how annoying the rep work was there? Those heroics were also just as hard or harder than these heroics.

  10. In theory, returning the heroics to a more involved style of play is a good thing. They *should* require a level of attention and preparation higher than what is typical for solo play or a regular dungeon. They are, after all, heroic.

    In practice, Blizzard is closing the proverbial barn door long after the horses have bolted, and it was a door they themselves opened.

    There is a whole expansion’s worth of players who are used to the WotLK style of heroic. Maybe they are one of the millions of new players that WoW picked up in the past couple of years, maybe they never had that group of friends to run things with and LFD opened up that part of the game to them, or maybe they are like me and and started running heroics and then getting into raiding precisely because they were easier and more accessible.

    Whatever the case may be, and it’s likely not going to be a permanent thing for all of this expansion, in the short to medium term yes, Cataclysm has killed “Casual Play”.

    I my particular case I used to be a pretty decent raid healer, but with the way things are now I’m strictly PvPing. It fits my casual “do it when I can and enjoy it while I’m doing it” style a lot better than a 45 minute wait in queue followed by a painful wipe-fest would. I think this is part of the reason why healers and especially tanks are as hard to come by as they are – those of us who got into it to help out the guild or explore a new style of play got out of it when it went from fun to frustrating.

    Yeah, it’ll get better in time as experience and gear catches up to the content, but I don’t play the game to be the first to clear this heroic or kill that boss. I play it to have fun, and from what I’ve seen and heard about the heroics they wouldn’t be fun to me.

  11. This post and quite a few others on WI have me slamming my hand down in a chorus of Amen’s. I enjoy my guild runs because we talk to each other throughout the run, whether communicating CC or strats or just goofing off. Even when we pug a slot or two, I feel comfortable saying, “Hey, I can pull out my succubus if you need,” or “I can Banish this mob, but not that one.”

    Also, regular dungeons are content, too. I mean, people treat normal raids with respect, why are normal dungeons pffft’d off?

    — “(I also think it’s crap that the bosses spell reflect desyncs from his paralyze ability, in what I can only assume is a bug, making the fight that much more annoying)”

    What do you mean, desyncs? I think it’s meant so you put a DoT on yourself to break the Paralyze later. Not sure, but I believe every class has a DoT they can reach without changing forms or anything. I had to tell my healer once to not dispel magic off me because it was my UA that was going to later break me from Paralyze (plus…it’s UA; idk if the silence goes off when a friendly dispels or not, but just to be safe…).

    • Frequently he doesn’t put his spell reflect up before the paralyze even though he emotes that he’s going to do it. So I can moonfire to my heart’s content after he says “break yourself upon my body” – but he doesn’t cast his spell reflect so nothing reflects back to me. Subsequently, everyone in the group is paralyzed.

  12. In short, “This”.

    The long version, with bullet points because I’m late for work:
    * This feels like TBC. However, running heroics in blues now feels like running TBC heroics in *T4*, so I think it will get easier pretty soon.

    * I think a big, big problem of the difficulty of heroics is… other people. I admit that I’m not a very good healer right now, but at least I have an idea about how to conserve my mana. When I see the QQ from healers who still try to use the old Wrath style it makes me cry – it’s not supposed to work like that, why are you complaining about lack of mana if you’re doin it rong?! I won’t even get into cheating the ilvl requirements, that pisses me off, I’m not here to boost your ass, I worked for my gear so you can do it too instead of wasting my mana.

    * Another problem is the randomness. Maybe LFG should be a bit pickier with regards to where it sends us. When I queued for my first heroic ever, with 2 friends on *their* first heroic ever, and got Grim Batol… yeah, not fun :( I liked that it was like a mini-raid, but on the second boss it just felt that everything we did was simply not enough. WTB 1s Nourish again…

    * This is only anecdotal, but the few times I’ve braved LFG have been quite successful. Last night I managed to complete heroic Throne of the Tides with a full PuG and it was honestly more enjoyable than my previous heroic run with the guild.

    * Legitimate question: do fury warriors have any CC? I haven’t played mine in ages, but I remember the days of “LFG MgT” and “lol no we need CC”.

    * The only “complaint” I have is the length. At the moment, there’s no way I can do more than 2 heroics a day (and that’s on a good day). At this rate, getting upgrades will be very, very slow, so I’m just hoping the rep rewards will be enough. (Also, Blizzard, seriously, did you forget to put leather bracers in game or what?!)

    To conclude, I am sure things will get better. People will learn how to CC and they won’t leave after the first wipe. Gear will get progressively better in general. I’ll learn all the strats and be able to explain them even to the clueless ones. Bosses will die and we’ll get shiny dragons :D

  13. I agree that the runs will get easier and we’re already starting to see it. Our healers are finally able to finish a boss fight without going oom, the tanks don’t lose health nearly as fast and dps is getting good enough to get adds down while still killing a boss.

    It will get better and it will get faster.

    My biggest issue right now is the length of time required to do an instance. The challenge is fine, they’re just very long. Again, it will get better, but this has been a major obstacle since I won’t even start a heroic right now unless I have 2+ hours to do it in.

    The other night, two of our best geared players at this time were stuck in a GB pug for 2.5+ hours. That’s just too long a time commitment. Our raids are 3 hours. An instance should not take more than a third of that.

  14. I’m puzzled at the juxtaposition of “casual” and “heroics”. I mean, is that the definition of a “hardore casual”?

  15. Fantastic post!

    I do agree with the commenters who say heroics aren’t tuned for the “ultra casual” player. Thing is, the game *shouldn’t* revolve solely around ultra casual players. This is World of Warcraft, not World of Warcraftville.

    There are plenty of things for the ultra casual player to do: regular dungeons, crafting, gathering, random achievements, alt levelling, auction house playing, archeology. Heaven forbid Blizzard give players who want to be challenged something to do before the hard mode version of the last boss of the expansion comes out.

  16. Main problem in here is that people confuse ‘Casual’ with ‘Good player’.

    The only point you mentioned that is in fact bad for a Casual is the 40 min in the LFD tool, everything else has nothing to do with Casual.

    Thou I’ve been playing WoW for the past 6 years, since 2 years ago i only have 1 hour max 2 hours (during weekends) to play per day due to work and family, and i consider myself a Casual now, but, i rejoice with the level of difficulty of this expansion.

    BC started being a bit “noobish” and Wotlk 100% destroyed that… What’s the fun of running hcs clicking on Hellfire and press the “W” key? Seriously tell me… Or is there any fun of spamming CH on the tanker while alt tabbing to talk on MSN/Facebook and when someone dies ‘ops sorry was distracted’ ?

    What Wotlk was wasn’t anything related to “play” it was just a “zombie fest” where you had 5 players doing hcs where none would talk, think, or stop… GO GO farming… But what’s the farming for? For you to be shiny? Just adjust your monitor brightness and you’ll get the same results… Or you want the items to enter in a raiding guild? In that case L2P before getting the items and entering the guild.

    From my 6 years of WoW i can honestly say that the attitude, friendship and intellect of general players have drop like hell and the three factors are due to the game being way too easy in the lower tiers.

    Yes it was challenging to do Ulduar hcs and ICC hcs, but aside from that was just plain farming.

    And the OP is right, if you’re having difficulty getting into the LFD because you’re waiting for 40 min? Then get some friends dammit! Casual != Lonewolf.

    Get into a lame guild, or start talking with people and make friends. My guild just migrated to a new server (Twisting Nether) and you know what? After 2 weeks in that server i already have a list of 20 new friends that i sometimes do some instances when my guild is raiding and i’m out of time for it.

    So please don’t ever confuse Casual with being good/bad.

    You want the game to be played for a 5 year old kid? Then create an account on Farmville please

  17. I sub to this blog via RSS, but I had to visit your page today to leave a comment on this post.

    I believe this really needed to be written, and more importantly understood by the general public. Wrath era Heroics are gone (at least for now, we will out-gear them eventually) and it seems that the majority of people haven’t realized it.

    Facerolling Heroics in 15 minutes isn’t possible anymore.

    To the failpugs: Gear up, turn off the tv, and l2p your class to the best of your ability.

    Beruthiel, thanks for writing this, and keep up the good work.

  18. As someone who began playing WoW during WOTLK I am probably a wonderful example of one of those casual players who has been totally shocked by the new difficulty of heroics.

    I’m loving every minute of it. Heroics in WOTLK were way to easy and way boring. I had more fun completing dailies and getting my dragonmaw mount.

    I am shocked by the new difficultly levels, though… but it’s shocked in a good way. I enjoy getting into a heroic with my guild members and trying to work it out.

    I do have to say though, I’m kinda on the same path as Virile – less about time though, and more about need for gear. If I am to remain competetive in PVP I need to grind honor and conquest points now so that I can be properly geared for arenas and rated bgs. That boss in Shadowfang keep won’t be getting better gear or become any more difficult than he is right now. That opponent in PVP, however? He/she is.

  19. Pingback: Cataclysm Heroics Sanity Preservation Guide for Healers « The Bossy Pally and the Giant Spoon

  20. I used to think I was semi hardcore. I leveled to 85 on my main in 3.5 days. I didn’t cheese the system when gearing up, instead I very deliberately leveled in the zones that gave me the reputation required for rewards/enchants I needed. I bought one justice piece item (shield, unfortunately that was all I had enough points for) I enchanted what I could, with old enchants mostly because I didn’t have enough materials for new enchants, but I enchanted stuff nonetheless. I ran regular instances whenever I had a chance while leveling, with my guild and found them tedious for the most part with mechanics here and there that made it incredibly frustrating to win, until you got it just right. I CCed. in fact I suggested CC that my guildies didn’t realize I had (bind elementals). I adjusted my gameplay.

    I found heroics to be incredibly unfun, exhausting, frustrating to the point where I logged out in frustration, canceled my account, left my guild etc. I hated WoW at that point. and I didn’t even try pugging.

    2 hours minimum per instance is too long for a 5 man dungeon. 3 hours are my raid limit and I’m usually pretty tired by the end of it (4 hour raids mean that I’m making stupid mistakes for the last hour because I simply have no energy left to concentrate at that point). 1 hour doesn’t happen until you know places by heart and ONLY run with your guild and I’m not a fast learner when it comes to movement memory. I might understand what I need to do quickly, but it takes me a while to actually get the movement close to perfect and imperfection in new instances = wipe.

    Are they doable? yeah, sure. are they a relaxing pass time? no. they are mini raids. I realized that I’m a casual. I’m a casual that would like to be able to relax in a game, I’m playing instead getting stressed out, just to finish an instance run. I don’t want it to be so easy that I’m not even looking at the screen, but I don’t want it to be so “challenging” that I have to concentrate 100% through a fairly long dungeon to the point where I have no energy left for anything else once its finished. I don’t want to come out of the instance with the feeling of “thank god, its over”

    did Cata kill casual gameplay? it certainly did for me. and the attitudes of you just suck, l2p you baddie and find some friends only exacerbated the problem.

  21. I’m enjoying the hell out of Cata as a casual.

    Probably helps that I’m still in my old raid guild, so I have support from knowledgeable & competent players that other casuals don’t have access to. Haven’t tried healing a heroic yet – I figure it’ll be a long while till the next expansion so I’m not in a hurry. When I do though, it will be with guildies on vent. So, easy or difficult as it may be, it’ll be fun to kill stuff again with them.

    IDK – I love the Cata casual gamen, I do alot of BGs, I’ve made a fortune playing the AH & spent a large portion of it pimping my alts – which I spend alot of time on – playing different classes & different zones to se how things have changed. I wish I had more character slots on my server.

  22. OK I’m back having healed my 1st Heroic this expansion HSFK. Did it with guildies in vent, so despite my welfare pvp gear it was good. No wipes, 1 dead DK. Fun was had by all & I got a PvE neck. Will go again, alot probably, the loot whore habit is hard to shake.

    Verdict: Cata is great for this casual.

    A few Caveats:

    -I think you need a good guild.
    PUGging that would not be fun. I relied heavily on the fact I could trust my tank & dps to be pro. I don’t have to try to heal through stupid ever.

    -Being an ex raider/experienced player helps too – I had to pull out ALL the stops – but years of12 or more hours/week progression raiding means thats a habit anyway. My UI is also still set up for raids so all the information I need to be most effective is there.

    So the dress code for Cata is obviously smart casual :D

  23. Well, I need a place to vent a little. I am a casual player, not in hours played but in why I play. I play to kick back/relax. I do not group with anything over five players/never raid. I love helping people quest and hanging with a few family and friends. I am very disappointed with the expansion because my style of play is no longer supported in any way. I used to be able to get mediocre epics playing the way I do, there was still better gear for players who grouped with larger groups or did arenas. I am older and find that players are rude and obnoxious when I don’t perform to their satisfaction (hence the reason for my not grouping). I don’t believe it is asking too much for Blizz to make it possible for a “casual” player like me to play hard to get good gear. More often than not, I have waited 30+ minutes for a heroic, only to have group wipe several times and then all quit. I guess the game is better for those of you in big guilds who enjoy studying the individual fights and working to meet guild objectives. Why are you so happy that there are no epics in heroic instances? You would still get have better gear than me if you raid or do arenas. I want to PLAY for FUN and still be rewarded for my time with good gear. Not asking for the best gear. I don’t care if it has a flag on the helm that says “Casual” as long as the stats are relatively epic. To all you supposed Smart Casuals, there should be different ways for all of us to enjoy the content and rewards. Don’t penalize us for not wanting to join large groups and jump through a bunch of guild hoops! I like the comment that we can “play the AH”, if there were good rewards for that I would be amazingly equipped. Thanks for listening, flame away!! :)

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