By now, I’m sure you’ve heard of the change in LK that will change all the buffs/debuffs so that multiple classes can have them.
Case in point, Fel Intelligence, a buff that increases Intellect and Spirit, just not as much Intellect as AI does, or as much Spirit as DS does. And all these various buffs/debuffs no longer stack. For example, Scorch and Winter’s Chill will no longer stack with each other.
What this change is supposed to do is kill raid stacking, so that people don’t have to go raid with people because of their class/spec, but rather, raid with the people they want to raid with.
In other words, raiding with their friends, without screwing themselves over because nobody rolled a priest.
The good news: casuals rejoice! No more shall you have to scrape to get the right people in order to actually run a successful raid! No more shall you be forced to call a raid because a key person(s) somehow failed to show!
The bad news: say goodbye to class originality and uniqueness! No more will you be able to stack groups favorably, no more will you have to stack groups favorably. Now you won’t need to put in any effort whatsoever to raid successfully!
Blizzard is simplifying WoW, making it easier for the casual player to get in and check out all the content they’ve developed. Think of it this way: compared to the older MMO’s like the original EQ, WoW is the Fisher Price of MMO raiding. And Blizzard only made it easier by removing attunements and so on.
Lemme talk about board games here for a second to clarify my point.
Checkers versus Chess. Both are, essentially, the exact same game. They involve pieces on a board, moving around and capturing other pieces, with the intention of destroying the other side.
Both games, by their very nature, are very simplistic games. They have simple rules, and literally anyone can get in on the action.
At it’s heart, chess is moving pieces around a board. However, chess is infinitely complicated. Chess has blockades, castle swaps, swindle moves, compensation tactics, using a pawn gambit early on to try and get a successful flank, in order to force a move…
To play chess well, you need to be excellent at both long term strategic thinking and short term, move-by-move tactics. It’s a simple game, that a person can spend decades devoting themself to opening strategies.
Checkers, on the other hand, is simple. And that is that. Sure, it has some strategical depth, but nowhere near the complexity of chess.
I cannot stress this enough
SIMPLE =! NOT COMPLICATED
I am all in favour of simplifying something, if it means that the something will get better. I have no issue with Blizzard’s design choices to homogenize class abilities some if it means that WoW as a whole will be moving towards a more chess-like game.
If, however, it crosses the fine line and starts making things stupider, rather than simpler, and moves towards a more checkers-like game… well. Now I have a very, very serious problem.
The concern with homogenizing the classes in WoW this way is that it will remove whatever skill is currently required to play those classes.
As raid stands now, it takes much, much more than simply showing up and knowing how to play your class. There is a whole extra level of synergy, talents, and group composition that upper tier raids need to have to succeed.
A hardcore guild doesn’t just want to put 3 BM hunters and a feral druid in a group with an enhancement shamanfor the ridiculously high DPS, they need to do it to even beat the encounter. Take that away…
If you can’t stack groups/classes the same way, really the only option you have is to make encounters easy enough so that such stacking is no longer necessary.
Make encounters easier, now all the more casual types have a solid shot at those instances, and now all the hardcore raiders don’t have a challenge.
The hardcore raiders DO NOT want to go raiding with their friends. They don’t want to log in and clear Kara for the fiftieth time with their RL buddies. RAIDERS WANT TO RAID, to hell with who they do it with.
Picture a 5v5 arena team. 4 of those players are starting to become hardcore, and seriously considering becoming officially competitive. However, the fifth player is a feral druid named “Melvin”. There’s a resto druid, fairly well geared, advertising that he’s looking for an arena team. A couple of these players know of him from a former raiding guild, he’s quite good.
So what do these players do?
The hardcore raider mindset would ditch the “Melvin” without hesitation, snatch up this almost total stranger druid, and start going at arena seriously.
Thats what raiders do.
Give them a choice between running Karazhan with some friends and running Sunwell with total strangers, they’ll pick Sunwell every single time.
It’s a common misconception that the hardcore begrudge having casuals “in there instances”. This is incredibly wrong. Hardcore players begrudge what Blizzard needs to do (read: nerf) to those instances in order for those casuals to get in.
Raiders want things to be hard. They want to go at a new boss, wipe a few times, figure out they need to bring ten resto shamans and no other healers, get that makeup, charge back in, and take that boss down. They want to go to a new boss, realize that they can’t afford to bring any warlocks, they need all those raid spots for mages for decursing and low threat AoE…
Raiders like that kind of thing. That kind of extra layer of difficulty the average player would never even think of is something raiders love to deal with.
It’s like comparing the Olympics with a high school track meet. Sure, “nerfing” the olympics so that every young person with even a modicum of interest in competing can do so is all fine and dandy, but then what the hell is there left for the hardcore athletes to do? What could an athletic event of that magnitude possibly challenge them with?
Of course, as of yet, we, as a community, don’t know what type of boss fights there are in our collective raiding future. We know for sure there will be Arthas, a few undead guys, some dragons, and a really big giant made out of ice. Maybe an insane Titan.
Still, it is a fear that the raiders have. It looks like WoW is heading in a checkers direction by making all classes Bishops and Knights. Maybe some of them wear funny hats, but in essence, they are all exactly the same. This is what the raiders are so angry over.
And then there is the fact that all this change will do is make min maxing and raid stacking much, much worse.
By allowing multiple classes/specs to bring the same buffs/debuffs, you make it possible for the cutting edge raiders to say “Ok, we need these exact people for these debuffs, and the other 12 slots can go to whatever class has the highest DPS this patch”.
You could very well end up with a 25 person raid that has eleven warlocks in it, all of them wearing identical gear and sporting identical talent specs. Or a dozen mages. Or 15 warriors.
WoW could, of course, be homogenized even further than it already is so that there isn’t a significant difference in between classes…
Which I, for one, would utterly hate. There is already far, far too much homogenization going on.
Giving druids an OOC resurrection ability? A good change. Being unique because of something that you painfully lack?
“Hey, look at me! I don’t have a left arm! I’m unique!” You sure are.
Givng Paladins Evocation, giving it a new icon and putting “Divine” in it’s name? An awful change. Blatantly stealing something that makes another class unique, just because you don’t want them to rely on potions so much?
“Hey look at me! I just cut off my left arm! Now I’m unique too!”
So what’s it going to be, Blizzard? We going with checkers here, or chess? Make up your mind, it’s practically September.