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?