Counterpoint: Yes, we should track raiding progression

Mike Schramm
M. Schramm|12.04.08

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Counterpoint: Yes, we should track raiding progression
There's been a lot of hemming and hawing lately about how Wrath is too easy. And there's no question that it is: Ensidia cut through the endgame like an epic dagger through the Vykrul, and any guild that steps into the endgame these days, even with low numbers or cheap gear, finds success. Adam suggested this morning that raiding is so easy these days that we shouldn't bother to track progression, and while Adam is a great writer and a terrific player, I'm here to disagree with his opinion: progression is exactly what the new endgame is all about.

While Karazhan was one of the (if not the) most successful instances ever, it had one big problem: it killed guilds. It murdered progression. It was a roadblock after a roadblock, so much so that it took some guilds months to conquer, if they survived at all. Ten man Naxx obviously doesn't have that problem -- anyone with a little raiding experience who wants to beat bosses in there can do so, and Obsidian Sanctum is just as easy. The problem now, however, is that guilds like Ensidia and guilds who pushed through to Sunwell in the old endgame, are finishing the content already, and wondering what's next? They were 80 two weeks ago, and now, barely a month after the expansion's release, they've toppled every dungeon they can find.

And what's wrong with that? Nothing.

Because those people aren't who this expansion is for. The vast majority of players, as Adam himself posted today, isn't even level 80 yet. I've only barely hit 77, and that's after taking a week off while having to travel during Thanksgiving. High-end guilds and players who rushed to 80 may be whining that they have finished all the content, but the vast majority of us are barely halfway through it. You just can't run Wrath at Sunwell speeds, and frankly, that's a good thing.

Because there's so much more to do -- I wonder if all of the players angry that they've beaten Malygos have gotten all the Exalted rep they need, have picked up all of the Wintergrasp gear that they want to pick up, or have leveled a Death Knight up to 80 as well. I wonder if they've toppled all the Heroics (even Adam says the Heroics can be hard at times), or finished off all of the 25 man raids also. I wonder if they've earned every achievement point yet. I wonder if they've finished all of the amazing questlines to be found in Northrend -- from the time you step off of the boat to the first glimpses of Icecrown Citadel, there are tons of great things to see and do.

And if they have beaten all of that and conquered everything, then I suggest they go outside, or find another game -- I hear Final Fantasy XI has some challenging encounters they might enjoy. Yes, hardcore players will blow through PvE content in Wrath, but finally, as we've been saying since the game first started, this endgame isn't for hardcore players any more. People who want more can find it -- we haven't seen a player yet who's finished all of the achievements, and we're more than happy to post about anyone who goes an extra mile and solos content or does it better than everyone else. But the normal endgame -- the game designers worked so hard on -- is for us regular players now. The biggest group of players in the game is now able to play and enjoy the best content. Maybe Ensidia can go get world firsts somewhere else, at least until the next content patch.

And of course we should track raiding progression -- as we say in Guildwatch, it doesn't matter whether you're killing Van Cleef or Kael'thas or Sartharion: a down is a down, worth every wipe. Downing bosses in an MMO should be about teaming up and killing content together, not who can race to have the prettiest pixels. If your guild can beat the endgame, grats -- why shouldn't other guilds be able to do the same thing? And why shouldn't they get congratulated when they do?

"But that makes it meaningless," you say. "Everyone can win." And now you're getting it: it's an MMO. Everyone's the hero. Whether you take your sweet time questing around the new zones or push straight to the endgame to topple the big bad bosses, you too can see all of the dungeons and all of the encounters in the expansion. Nothing wrong with that at all.
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