On MoP Gating   16 comments

Have a video of Heroic Scholomance.

Yesterday Blizzard’s devs dropped a bit of a bombshell on the raiding community that was met with mixed reactions. Namely, they revealed that while there are three instances comprising Mists’ first raid tier, only one will be open at launch. Not only that, but they alluded to the first instance, Mogu’shan Palace, not being opened until the second week the game is live. There was talk about how second two zones in the tier were tied together in a story arc, that admittedly looks kind of cool, and would be released a few weeks after Mogu’shan Palace became available.

These announcements were met with a combination of sighs of relief from some and anger from others. I wanted to take a minute and explain my thoughts on the topic, which may well be a minority opinion amongst progression raiders. I like that the instances will be gated. Let me see if I can articulate why I feel this way.

The first thing that hit me as I was putting together our progression tracker for MoP’s first tier to place on  the website was the sheer size of tier fourteen. I counted a total of 18 bosses, which would mean 34-36 bosses for those pursuing heroic raids. The first emotion that hit me was a feeling of being immediately overwhelmed. The second was a recollection of how long T11 was at the start of Cataclysm and how hard it was to get through that tier before Firelands released. I then thought “Dear God, this is more bosses than T11, we are going to have to really push very hard to do that in a six month window, and have little rest once we finish”.

I don’t really understand Blizzard’s reasoning for releasing so much at the start of the expansion. I would much rather have a manageable amount of content each tier, evenly spread out over the course of the expansion, than to have one tier with massive amounts of content followed up with a single instance containing 6-7 bosses each subsequent tier. That, however, is likely a post for another day. Let’s get back to the gating, shall we?

I know that some people feel that gating is Blizzard artificially stalling progression or “babysitting” players. I don’t think I feel that way. I mean, this is only marginally different than attunements, outside of the fact that you don’t have to attune (or back attune a million people when you recruit). I get that people don’t like to be told “you can’t do this yet”. But I really don’t think it’s so bad. I like that they are encouraging people to take the time they need to level. I like that they are encouraging people to spend time in the 5 man content to gear to raid. And, honestly, I like that I’m not going to have 18 bosses looming in front of me the first time I step into a raid. Breaking it up just seems to make the content feel so much more…manageable and less intimidating from a preparation stand point.

Granted, the addition of LFR changes things and gives you the “Cliff’s Notes” version of each encounter so you can use that as a very loose “learning of the basics”. But still, 18 bosses plus hard modes is a lot to get a grasp on. For those who feel they can do it right away, that’s great, and I know you feel that you shouldn’t be limited – but I speculate that there are more people who felt overwhelmed than not.

Would I have felt this way two years ago? I don’t know. What I do know is that I’m far too old to pull all-nighters to level and gear. I tried it with Cataclysm, and the truth is that even with a nap in the afternoon before release there wasn’t enough caffeine in the world for me to keep my eyes open all night, and I ultimately had to go to bed. And in hind sight, I shouldn’t had even have tried. It wasn’t healthy for me, and ultimately made me cranky and miserable. I did much better, and had more fun, when I kept my work schedule and obtained a reasonable amount of sleep in between my marathon gaming sessions. I know this isn’t true for everyone, and I’m not saying it should be, I’m simply saying this is how I feel. Which, I suppose, subsequently makes me feel that I shouldn’t be necessarily penalized by virtue of falling behind a week’s progression because I prioritized things like sleep. To be fair, I do take a week off of work to facilitate leveling (and needing time away from the computer in the process, i.e. sleeping) – but what about the people who can’t take time off that are on my raid team? Do I fault them for having to tend to life and setting me back in progression a week? That hardly seems fair.

I know, I know. We don’t have to raid that first week if we aren’t ready, but why should that hold other people back? I don’t know that I have an answer to that, and maybe I’m being unfair to those who do get a rush from the initial push. I guess I’d ask “What’s the rush?”. If you are worried about rankings, aren’t you in the same boat as everyone else? I’m curious what is so wrong with getting through the first zone before the next is released? I assume that you will be able to work the Heroics of that zone while you wait. At worst you have a little bit of down time to farm and better prepare you for the new zones. I mean, if you think back to TBC, it released with a ton of content – but it had gating in the form of attunement and it was awhile before people got into the T5 zones and most didn’t even make it until Blizzard lifted the attunements. How is this that much different? Because rather than having an attunement the content just isn’t available? I guess I could see an argument – but I’m just not convinced it’s that bad.

When all is said and done, I’m happy about the gating. Maybe it’s because after playing the game for so many years I’m happy about a slightly slower pace. Maybe it’s because I’ve never been a fan of “rankings” to begin with, and subsequently am okay with a system that has an “artificial” stop. Maybe it’s because after all of the problems that I’ve had with my hands the past 18 months I have a firsthand experience with what extensive time at the computer can do to your health (and the medical bills to prove it!). Whatever the reason, I’m glad for the decisions I read about yesterday, and it has made me a little more excited about sitting down at the computer on September 25.

What do you think about the announcement that raids will be gated? Why do you feel how you do? Do you think it’s a benefit or a boon to the WoW community?

Posted July 31, 2012 by Beruthiel in Brain Dump, Deep Thoughts, MoP, Raiding

16 responses to “On MoP Gating

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  1. Hi Beru,

    I think your post hit the nail on the head for me. I can relate to the part about recognizing how you used to raid and how you have changed to where that style of raiding just doesn’t suit you anymore and there’s nothing wrong with that. I feel the same way.

    In fact, one of the reasons that I was actually contemplating not coming back for Mists was because I liked the idea of having a life and getting a good night’s sleep again. That’s not to say that people who raid as often as I do (which isn’t that much) or at the level that I do (which isn’t that high) don’t have lives or don’t get the right amount of rest. But I know that there are times where I have made sacrifices to both of those things just to stay on top of things and sometimes it’s nice to have the choice to do something, even if you don’t actually do it. It’s nice to be able to say “I can go out tonight if I want to,” rather than immediately having that day on the calendar blacked out for a raid.

    I’ll admit that I was dreading the timeframe that my guild gave us to get ready and now I’m not worrying as much. Like you, I feel like I can breathe. I don’t immediately have to black out that weekend on the calendar or start thinking about how I’m going to be a zombie that week (yes, week) that we were given to get ready. I feel like I can maybe have my cake and eat it, too.

    Thanks for putting this out there.

    • I’ve actually given a lot of thought to if I could go back to a heavier raid schedule, and after having more free time, I just don’t think I could. I think part of this is me finding other things to do and enjoying them, which I suppose could be me starting to out grow the game. Right now, just glad that it feels as if a weight was lifted, which in turns means I can have more fun 🙂

  2. Thank god. I’ve been asking for this for such a long time. I enjoy raiding, but I like levelling, like seeing all the new content. The pressure to hit max level and raid is intense. In my opinion, Blizzard could go even further, and give us a full month before the raid opens.

    Sometimes raiders need to be saved from themselves, and this is one instance.

  3. It’s not a bad thing at all. It takes pressure off people and gives them a chance to concentrate on other things in WoW. It also makes it so that the content isn’t consumed all at once, and this is really the bane of many games nowadays. Game developers cannot keep up with the demand to release new content if they don’t somehow throttle how content is being released.

    There are many perspectives on this issue but as a raider, it’s nice not feeling so pressured to get ready after a lengthy absence from the game (haven’t played in over a month!). With that said, I’m still not 100% sure whether I’m returning for Mists. But if I do, at least I know we won’t be rushing as much if the raids weren’t gated. I still wouldn’t be working as hard at levelling like I did in the last expansion because I also learned that sacrificing things like sleep or spending time with my family wasn’t worth it. The stress of it all nearly made me go insane and that’s something I’m not as inclined to repeat. After all, it’s only pixels, right?

    Good post!

    • I think you hit the nail on the head with the comment about how quickly content is consumed. Regardless of the reason ps behind doing it, I am happy to see it 🙂

  4. The thing that confused me is that they will have two tiers of raid gear launched (almost) simultaneously. Yes, they will be gated apart a few weeks, but that is nothing over the 6 months life of these initial raids.

    How will this work out? Will we almost immediately skip the first of three raids because the gear is half a tier lower? In which case Blizzard will have created a raid with just a few weeks life…

    Or will we get the situation where the second and third raids are gear-checks, requiring grinding the first raid? Will this bring back guild hopping, where some guilds get stuck in the first raid, losing geared members to guilds that have progressed to the second and third raid?

    I just can’t see a way in which this will work out…. Bizarre… Any ideas why they are doing this?

    • I have long ago stopped trying to understand Blizzard’s logic. I don’t know that we necessarily have to worry as much about guild hopping, because of guild perks (which is sometimes a bad thing). I do, however, think it is likely that a lot of guilds that enter this first tier of raiding won’t finish, largely because there hasn’t been anything to recitfy all of the issues we saw with guilds and maintaining a guild in Cataclysm. I could be wrong in this regards, but I tend to think we will continue to see the trends we’ve seen the last tow years.

  5. I didn’t realize people were unhappy about this announcement, but I guess odds are someone out there is going to complain. As for me and my guild, we’re ecstatic. It was going to be very difficult for guilds that raid less than 5 days a week to stay competitive with so many bosses right out of the gate, and delaying all three raids gives us a chance to stay caught up. I feel that this is more of an attempt to level the playing field, instead of artificially gating content. Or maybe that’s just a more mature me speaking.

    Though to be frank, I wish Blizzard would spread out the bosses over the whole expansion, like you briefly mentioned. A huge first tier followed by two tiny tiers was sort of a downer in Cataclysm, and I’m worried they’ll make the same mistake.

    • I agree! I think we wold be better served as a whole to have all tiers be abut equal in content. It wold make the flow of content so muc smoother and assist with keeping interest in the later content longer 🙂

  6. I totally hear you on not wanting to feel like you have to blitz through leveling. I leveled three different ways: TBC – rough life patch meant I was rarely online, couldn’t be bothered to deal with the 40>10>25 raid change drama, and took about a month to level before I was able to start trying to earn back my raid spot (the guild leader was starting to think I’d quit the game); Wrath – took a week off and spent most of each day playing, but still sleeping at night, and had fun going through the process; Cata – took time off (maybe a week) but wanted the “experience” of staying up all night until I reached max level, I don’t remember the leveling process (other than being bitchy and tired) or much of the zone stories. Of the three, the best leveling process for me was during Wrath. I should have known better that I don’t tolerate a lack of sleep very well and I sometimes wonder if that kind of a start to Cata just set my tolerance threshold lower since I finally quit mid-DS because I just couldn’t be bothered anymore.

    • I definitely plan to push leveling, but I also plan to take the dog for a walk each day, not eat at the computer and get 7-8 hours of sleep every night. 🙂

  7. I think it is better for everyone. Less pressure to level to 90 day one. Also for hardcore (what does this mean) raiders, now there will be very little excuse for world “seconds” to say they got held up on gear or leveling. Everyone who wants to raid on day 1 has a week to get leveld and geared up to really race to world first / realm first. I think it makes for a much fairer competition.

  8. I’m thrilled at this news. In this expansion I really want my guild to be pushing to improve our rate of progression, but at the same time, we will stay a 9-hour a week raiding guild and no one is going to be pressured into being level 90 and raid-ready within a day or two of release. Having raids not open for the first week will really help with that. I also like that the content will be spread out a little bit, I just hope they get the timing right (or close to right) for when the next raid becomes available.

  9. “I did much better, and had more fun, when I kept my work schedule and obtained a reasonable amount of sleep in between my marathon gaming sessions.” This sounds like a seriously healthy approach to gaming. I think there are quite a few studies out there already detailing some adverse affects to doing otherwise. Those that think they’re fine are wrong and/or just too stubborn to admit it or sadly don’t even realize it.

    I’m all for Blizzard eliminating the advantage a select few special players get by taking the day(s) off work. Take the days off work, by all means, play til you pass out on your keyboard, please do, but only if that satisfies some internal craving to do things fast or first, not in an attempt to measure progress against the rest of us. I know my guildies are achievement point hounds so they’re hoping to get realm firsts at leveling profs.

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