Is it the Journey, or the Win?
I’ve been reading a lot on various official and unofficial WoW forums lately, and there’s one thing that I keep seeing over and over again: The struggle between hard core and casual players.
In vanilla WoW, raiding was an elite PVE thing to do. Not a lot of people did it, not only because the raid instances were big, therefore requiring a lot of time to clear them; but also because you need 39 of your best friends to do it. Burning Crusade brought us 10 and 25 player raids with generally fewer bosses; which brought, IMO, much-needed accessibility. Getting 9 friends together was a lot easier. Wrath of the Lich King brought us parallel raiding in 10 and 25 player types), and that seems to be what Blizzard is going to go with for the foreseeable future.
Now, when new content comes out, the older content tends to get a nerf, making it more accessible, and many many people complain that it’s too easy. I’m not a raider, so I probably shouldn’t really talk about this, but I’m going to anyway. Because if I was a raider, I would probably be very casual about it. Probably not even raiding every week, much less several times a week, and I would welcome the nerfs – not because I want my WoW to be easy all the time, but because I don’t want to have to be perfect every moment to succeed. But I digress from my point.
I read a single line from someone, that was in horrible grammar, but that basically said MMOs that take more than a month to beat are too hard! A lot of people also complain that the new content is too hard… much more often.
So I started to wonder what really drives people to play MMOs like WoW. Is it the journey, or is it beating the game? For me, it’s definitely the journey. For guilds like Paragon, I think it’s beating the game. But guilds like Paragon are a very special breed. They’re…. Pro – or at least Olympic quality gamers (I have no idea if any of the members of Paragon are in any way paid for their gaming. I do believe they are not allowed to be Blizzard employees)
But let’s take a look at this idea of beating the game: First, what does beating an MMO mean? Does it mean having beaten the last boss in the highest raid tier? Does it mean getting the best title in PVP Battlegrounds, Arenas, or World? Does it mean getting all the Achievements? Does it mean having gotten the very best piece of gear you can for every slot for the character?
As you can see, there are a lot of potential ways to beat an MMO. And most of them require some sort of a journey. To point back to that comment about a month being too long, well, how can you enjoy the journey in a month?
I have to admit that I generally take the complainers as, well, complainers. People love to complain, and when they get to be semi-anonymous doing it, they don’t think their complaints through. I’m fairly certain that the vast majority of Blizzard’s customers are generally satisfied with the product, or they wouldn’t be there. And I’m also fairly certain that we will never be able to witness that because the content don’t talk about their content. Being content with the state of things doesn’t make for interesting comments, after all.