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The pacing of the new endgame

Mike Schramm

So Illidan met his match yesterday in the form of Nihilum, which means that since the Black Temple is the last and latest bit of content to show up on the live servers, the game is effectively beaten. That's it. We're done. Time to go home.

Didn't that seem a little fast? The original WoW content took a few years to "beat," it seems, and now Burning Crusade (and the 2.1 patch) has been beaten by players in a matter of months. Is the endgame going too fast? From Boubouille's wrapup of the Illidan defeat yesterday, we get this post on the Elitist Jerks forums by Tigole. He says Blizzard is very happy with the way Black Temple is tuned. He also takes a look back at Naxx, and says the Four Horsemen were an example of an encounter that was well-tuned, but players at the time didn't have the gear they needed, so it took much longer for guilds to finish them off. The biggest hole in WoW content right now, Tigole says, is the lack of options after Karazhan for 10 man raids-- but, he says, "we're fixing that." So /cheer for more 10 mans to come.

But is the endgame dropping too fast? In my estimation, not at all. In my estimation, Nihilum is not a normal guild. If you're willing to give them the benefit of the doubt on gold buying (and frankly, I am not-- I believe they're cheating), they clearly play the game more than anyone else, driven by both their own determination and the fact that they are basically raiding celebrities in Azeroth. They are the hardcore. And if you're asking me whether hardcore players should finish the endgame content quickly, I'd say they should.

Why? Because that means it will be that much easier for casuals to get there, too.

Look at this week's Guildwatch-- there are tons of guilds working their way through Kara right now, and many of these guilds never had a chance of seeing Naxx or even AQ40. That's exactly the way it should be-- if Blizzard doesn't release any new raiding content until early next year (not likely at all-- more CoT instances are on tap, as well as more Heroics and Kil'jaeden as a boss-- but stick with me for the sake of argument), Nihilum will be sitting around doing nothing, but these casual guilds will just be finishing off the Black Temple and ready to move on. As Tigole says, "properly tuned raid content should die." And I'd say not just at the hands of a guild like Nihilum (a guild that either plays too much, or, depending on what the rumors say lately, cheats), but at the hands of a large number of good, steady players.

So while it's great to see Nihilum downing Illidan (grats to them and stuff), frankly, I don't care. I care more about my guild and what we're doing-- and whether that content will still be fresh and new when we get there. I never got to see AQ40, and I never got to see Naxx, because by the time my casual guild got to that point, there was Outland and better things to do. So if Nihilum having finished the game now means that my guild will be able to finish the game three months from now and still have it mean something, that's completely fine in my book. Yes, raid progression went extremely fast for those few guilds that went crazy over it, but I take that as a good sign-- a sign that what they down now, I as a casual player will have a chance to down later.

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