No one said an MMORPG must only cater to the most hard-core players in the gaming community. In fact, most would agree that in order to have an MMORPG be successful and sustain a healthy player base, it must cater to every type of player that comes its way. However, has the latest large patch from Blizzard's powerhouse gone too far?
Patch 3.2 is live, and with it the wonderful new 5/10/25 man Heroic and Regular Coliseum has opened its doors to the Northrend's adventurers. Most players at the 80 level mark by now have completed or at least attempted the Regular and Heroic five man mode and for the most part probably completed it after a few tries. Blizzard did away with most of the trash as far as instances go and made a unique trio of boss fights. Each of them comes with its own set of interesting quirks that you are unluckily to find in the other instances in game. They have added a new feature that anyone who participated in the Argent Tournament is already familiar with and that is the jousting section of phase one and phase two on the first boss. The jousting adds an interesting game play element but unfortunately, as with the Argent Tournament, jousting lacks any type of decent control. Every time I participate in this encounter I can only think to myself "Why can these mounts not control like the mount I ride on a daily basis?" Besides this small complaint, the five man version of this instance flows together nicely. You can easily begin an encounter by simply speaking to the NPC in the middle of the room and after a brief monologue the doors are open and the encounter has begun. You are able to take breaks in-between bosses and if the going gets tough you are even able to run out of the instance and reset the boss, not that the run back takes anymore time. As a casual player you may find yourself finding a few hiccups where your group will wipe and need to retry, but after learning the basics, the instance becomes an easy 20-minute a day chore.
This being said about the five man and with such a slight learning curve it made me wonder how difficult the ten man version could be. The regular ten man version of the Coliseum is a five boss instance where you are only able to unlock one boss a week assuming that you did in fact kill a boss you had not been able to attempt the week prior. As I write this, and since the patch has only been out a few weeks, now you are only capable of having killed a few bosses within the instance, with no hope of having it cleared by this point. The question at hand however is, how hard are these bosses actually?
I myself, being in a newly formed guild and gear being only made up of Ulduar ten man and badge gear have found no problem downing a new boss every Tuesday night. You will notice that the bosses in the ten man version are completely different from those in the five man version, yet after giving one or two attempts on a given boss there are no real problem adding tactics to these fights. The fights on most of these bosses can be figured out quickly, and eventually downed without any real problems. Even on the third boss of the instance, the Horde Champions, which is set up as a 6vs10 player-versus-player battle, can easily be figured out after a few attempts (Hint: CC 1one Healer and zerg other Healer, zerg other healer, kill dps). Killing these regular ten man bosses will grant you the same item level equivalences of Ulduar 25 man gear, as well as throwing in three emblems of triumph and one champion seal per boss killed.
After reading all of the information on the biggest update of the patch, you may be questioning the title of the piece. The World Of Casual-Craft. Along with the new instance, some other changes have come into play. Starting at level 20 you will gain the ability to train and purchase a regular ground mount; at 40 you are able to get the epic level. You are still able to train flying at 60 for the Outlands leveling portion as always, but they also threw in the ability that if you have a level 80 character you are able to spend a thousand gold and grant your new level 70 character the ability to train cold weather flying as soon as they reach Northrend. It appears as if Refer a Friend leveling did not make getting through 1-80 quick enough for your average player, they have now decided to increase level progression even further. I am beginning to feel as if Blizzard does not even care about the original content they created anymore. Players can now fly through the first 80 levels so quickly they are missing out on the beauty of Azeroth, as well as the lore (or lack there of) on the lower level quests.
Now say you actually took your time leveling and were able to enjoy all of the leveling experience and the content on which World Of Warcraft is based, or say you have been playing for the past 4+ years the game has been released and are an experienced level 80 end game player. Blizzard has released the ability to gain emblems of conquest by simply running the same heroics you have been running since you hit level 80. In fact, you no longer have to step into Ulduar 10 to get these badges (although it doesn't hurt if you have the ability). You can simply get four other people together and farm heroics, before you know it you will have two pieces of tier 8.5 as well as other off set gear. Or, if you are really dedicated to dailies, you can run the heroic daily everyday and start collecting you full tier nine set before you know it. Stacking the heroic daily with the three badges of triumph you get from the all too easy ten man Coliseum bosses and you may find yourself the envy of your friends.
Are these changes a slap in the face to hard-core raiders? Is the new system of only allowing you to unlock one new boss a week and brick wall for those who wish to progress? Or are they simply ways to get the more casual player involved and feeling like they too can be a part of the end game world? You decide, but I know where I stand.