Back to School
“what about WoW just doesn’t work for you? Maybe it’s something you aren’t good at, maybe it’s something you just don’t understand, maybe it’s something people like that you really never got into and don’t understand the appeal”
In thinking about this my mind kept on returning to something I read the other day in another WoW blog – something along the lines that if you can’t play your class by the time you’re 90 then there’s no hope for you. I actually think that’s complete nonsense. There’s always hope – I’m living proof (after all I survived the Durumu maze yesterday!).
But it does lead into what doesn’t work in WoW for me – and that is the fact that the degree of skill needed to level your character is so markedly different from the skills needed to raid & to a lesser extent run dungeons.
In my opinion you can easily get to 90 without really knowing how to play your class. I could have got to 90 as a mage purely questing & spamming Arcane Blast in every single fight. And contrary to popular opinion that is not all that Arcane Mages do in proper boss fights. We have to do complicated things like count to 4, keep an eye on Living Bomb and remember which of the Mirror Images can’t be trusted.
But yes getting to 90 could have been just an Arcane Blast spamfest. Certainly I would have died more often (in reality I have at least tried to use other abilities & so have done my fair share of freezing & blinking to get myself out of trouble – often blinking right into another pack of mobs of course – but that’s another story). But even with more deaths and messier fights my progress would have continued and I’d have got there in the end. I actually think that many people just “get there in the end” i.e. get to 90 without properly knowing all the tricks of their particular trade.
And that’s fine. To enjoy this game you don’t actually need to know how to play your class well. You can quest, level, fish, dig and dance without knowing your class inside out. In fact you can be on only nodding acquaintance with your class to do this & lots more. You only really need to know how to play your class well when it comes to dungeons & raids (& of course PvP)– in other words when (a)the difficulty level steps up a gear (b)you bring other people into the mix.
I think problems arise in WoW when people think that just because they have hit the level cap they can easily succeed in a complicated raid or dungeon. Someone at 90 might very well not be good at dealing with dungeon mechanics, avoiding bad stuff on the ground, using interrupts or basically doing anything other than standing stock still & hitting things. All that levelling via questing trains you for is the latter – see mob, hit mob X times, loot mob. And so this is what I think is missing from WoW – a leveling experience that truly trains you for a raiding end game.
I speak from personal experience in all this of course. In fact despite the “pro” freezing & blinking referred to above I’ve been shockingly reliant on a very limited number of spells in my levelling experience. So much so that I froze (in a non Mage sense) the other day in LFR when someone said “Mage table” (as an aside note the lack of “please”). I had forgotten I could even set a table (real life doesn’t help – we always eat on our laps). I’ve also written previously about my mishaps with Slowfall in a group & the other day I counterspelled when I meant to blink. And I realise these are very basic abilities. Sigh.
What I wish for is an in-game dungeon & raid Training School. I’d enroll in a heart beat. I’d even wear the uniform. Year 1 would involve running 5 man dungeons with NPCs. If you’re Dps they would be Tank & Healer etc. These dungeons would be different from the dungeons in-game at present in that there would be more complex mechanics involved, more need for situational awareness & less abuse (in fact the NPCs would be programmed to say encouraging words throughout such as, “Well done Seashell, you sheeped that troll, yes I know you then broke CC because you forgot to change targets but yay for the sheeping, we are so proud” etc.).
In Year 2 the dungeons would step up in complexity & become tailored to your particular class. Additionally on occasion one NPC would play up and have to be shown the error of his ways – bonus points if you get the NPC to apologise for yelling Gogogo & calling the healer a noob. Party chat would sometimes be disturbing – particularly if there were NPC Pandarians in the group. But it would be good experience. You would fail the dungeon if you did not use all the necessary abilities. You would even need to conjure refreshment, cast Slowfall & correct someone’s grammar. The full caboodle. Most importantly no mob would go unsheeped. You get the idea.
Before entering Year 3 you’d need to run some proper dungeons in the real Azeroth world with real people. Then when ready (i.e. out of therapy) you’d come back to school for the 10 man raiding experience (9 NPCs – all with their own interesting personality quirks, including one who claims he’s a real player trapped in the raid by Blizzard) & in year 4 the 25 man experience with a boss whose abilities would change in ever single encounter (oooh hardcore). And then & only then would you be released into the wild i.e. LFR.
Oh it would be amazing. I understand that Proving Grounds has been introduced as a way to challenge yourself and practice your class (or a new class specialisation) alone. But I don’t see that it prepares you for group experiences and raids & I do think it comes too late in the game. Not because by 90 you already know it all, but because by 90 you could know so much more, and there could be something in the game that could help you with this. So come on Blizzard – the summer hols are over, let’s go back to school.