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Is Wrath too easy?


Wrath of the Lich King has been out for a week. In that time, we've had the world's first level 80, the first complete and total clear of all raid encounters, and what seems like a billion "realm firsts." That didn't take long, did it? So, Tevri from Shandris dropped by the forums to question whether Wrath "is too easy."

Zarhym showed up, in his classic witty manner. He points out that the folks who're doing this immediate clearing are, in general, the same folks who've done every raid encounter in WoW for like . . . ever. In a sense, they're pretty high on the "pro" scale. (For the record, they are 25 people out of 11 million subscribers. Certainly, others have done the content by now, but it would take 110,000 people having completed the raid to say even 1% has "beat the game." ) Zarhym also cautions about relying on "truthiness" to judge the content -- which is to say, going with your intuition when the facts are still out.

It's certainly true that we keep hearing about how easy Wrath is, or how it's somehow been "dumbed down." I'm a firm believer that you can only brush aside so much smoke before you have to admit there's a fire somewhere. So, yeah, the game is probably easier than it used to be. But I think it's more fair to say that end-game content is more accessible than simply "easy." We've seen the desire for accesibility repeated in phrases like Ghostcrawler's "Bring the player, not the class." It's repeated when Blizzard considered moving away from class forums into role forums.

I think the issue, here, is one of pacing and intent. Is Blizzard creating a game meant for someone who constantly strives to be a total completionist? How much weight do they place on the race-to-completion when they build content? What portion of players actually "raid competitively?" We know Karazhan was among the most visited instances in the game, even if it eventually became simple farming material for many. What conclusions has Blizzard drawn from that instance's success?

These are the questions that make debating the topic of Wrath's "easy mode" so difficult. We don't have a firm knowledgebase to be able to advance ideas. Is Wrath easy because it's meant to be an entry level for everyone, or is it easy simply because we haven't seen Ulduar yet? It's impossible to have a real answer, but Zarhym does promise that Blizzard is watching the situation.

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