Raid Progression Adventure!

The last few weeks of the Burning Crusade are upon us and many guilds are trying to plow through all of the raid content they haven’t yet seen.  In the last week, I have seen PUGs (pick up groups) for everything from Karazhan to Sunwell.  These PUGs do seem to only take geared individuals, but the fact that these once impossible 25-man dungeons can be penetrated and destroyed by PUGs allows everyone playing WoW to really see all of the raid dungeons and progress just before the entry of WotLK.

I guess the real question: why Blizzard didn’t make this change sooner?   I’ve played Warcraft since Dire Maul was introduced into the game.  I remember that when BC came out, guilds were struggling to go through BWL and AQ40, let alone get into Naxx to see that content before the expansion.   In fact, there are quite a few people playing WoW who still never went back into Naxx at 70 and probably won’t know anything about the spider wing until level 80.  With WotLK upon us, the raid bosses saw a huge nerf due to a change in game mechanics.  Does that mean that Blizzard never intended for all paying clients to see all of the content in the game?

MMOs have been popular for sometime with the success of games like Everquest and Final Fantasy XI. Blizzard is an innovative company that really stepped outside of the MMO box to make a completely new and fascinating game.  However, some of the culture of older MMOs did sneak into WoW.  I really do not believe that Blizzard intended for every paying customer to see every raid dungeon.  The elite hardcore raiders were meant to see Naxx.  The elite raiders were meant to complete Sunwell.  And now, every raider is finally intended to see the new content of the developed game.

What made Blizzard change their tune on raids?  Blizzard spends a lot of time creating dungeons and content.  Why wouldn’t they want to show off all of their hard work? WotLK introduces 10-man raids that allow for progression.  You can keep going with your steady guild 10-man group or you may be able to pick up a random 9 other players standing in Dalaran with you.  

Pre-BC, everyone loved 40 man raids.  When BC was introduced with 10 and 25 man raids, the community of players complained because people would be left out of the raids.  Post-BC, we are seeing the introduction of 10-man progression and 25-man progression separate.  Maybe the PUGs that we are seeing form in Shattrath today will continue to be a part of the World of Warcraft and perhaps everyone will get a chance to see all of the new content Blizzard throws our way.

Patch 3.02 Excitement?

Like many of my fellow adventurers, I was very excited to enter the World of Warcraft last week to try all of the great and new things added to the game before the release of Wrath of the Lich King.  However, just like everyone else, my excitement crashed as quickly as the servers night after night.

Let me pre-empt my disappointment a little by saying that I was one of the few people that forgot to turn on their background downloader and ended up having to download the entire 1.2 gigs of patch in one night.  After 3 long hours, I log into WoW to find many wonderful things:  achievements, new talents, easy raid mobs, oh my!  Obviously, there are many new features that make WoW seem like a whole new game. 

Halloween Pumpkin World of WarcraftI found myself fishing for the first time in 3 years to unlock achievements for my guild and the entire world around me to see!  I have fished up Old Ironjaw for the disbelievers that think he just doesn’t exist (and yes, it took me 4 hours and 370 fish).  But, despite all of the great new fishing achievements, the server restarts and shut downs over the past week have really put a damper on what could have been the most exciting WoW patch yet.

Here we are, 1 week since the patch release and instances are still shutting down sporadically and server lag is still a problem.  It is hard to enjoy my classic raid of BWL if the server crashes while we fight Chromaggus because I know the pug will not be able to start back up that same night to finish the achievement.  It is hard to get a group together for the Headless Horseman when the Scarlet Monastery’s server has gone offline.  It is hard to get excited about Wrath when the state of the game is so spotty due to this patch.

I have played the Wrath beta.  I know that there are a lot of great things coming.  Despite Wrath’s possible greatness (and it is great from what I’ve played), the game won’t be any fun if we can’t see all the cool new parts of the game.  The stability of the servers after patches needs a major boost if Blizzard expects people to stick with WoW going into the next expansion.   Arthas invading our servers is great…so long as the game still works.