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Pre-emptive criticism and Warlords news

Anne Stickney

It's hard to not get excited, one way or another, about new information. As players, we don't exactly have a lot to think about at the moment with Mists -- with the advent of cross-realm Siege of Orgrimmar on all difficulties, our options are suddenly opened in terms of things to do, but the story of the expansion itself has been completed. So we wait, somewhat impatiently, for new information on the next expansion, or excerpts from novels, something to think about, something to look forward to.

Yet with every Dev Watercooler released, with every small excerpt published, there seems to be an overwhelming sense of negativity from players in regards to the information. The healing dev watercooler, while clearly explained, was judged at first as a series of colossal nerfs to the various healing classes in the game currently. Excerpts from Christie Golden's next novel have been dissected and torn apart, with many suggesting they aren't in character or that Garrosh's listed crimes aren't in line with anything we've seen so far.

We're jumping the gun, we're doing so in a big way, and we might just be shooting ourselves in the foot while we're at it.

This happens every single expansion. We reach the end of new content, and enter a period where information regarding any kind of new content is few and far between. Because of this, we're quick as a whole to jump on any new information presented, and even quicker still to tear it to pieces. But the problem with doing this is that we have absolutely no perspective at all in which to base our opinions -- the only frame of reference we have is what already exists. And that's a big problem, because guess what? Wrath wasn't Cataclysm. Cataclysm certainly wasn't Mists. And Mists is definitely not going to be Warlords of Draenor. We don't know what Warlords is going to be, because we haven't seen it yet.

When you look at the scope of healing changes presented in the last dev watercooler, it absolutely looks like classes are being crippled -- if you look at it from the standpoint of someone that has been healing through Mists content. Raids in Mists are absolutely brutal from a healing perspective, demanding that healers pull out every trick they've got to recover from crushing, life-threatening damage in a dizzying array of cooldown rotations. Every hit a raid takes is one that could potentially wipe it. And to be perfectly honest, I don't know exactly how fun that style of play is -- as a DPS, I do my best to mitigate whatever damage I'm taking, and I feel a little sorry for the heal team on a regular basis. I know my brief stint as a raid healer in vanilla was nowhere near as complex an experience.

But these healing changes aren't intended for the kind of brutal damage we're seeing in Mists right now -- they're intended for the dungeons and raids we'll be seeing in Warlords. We have absolutely no idea what those are going to look like, yet. We have no experience to draw from. Devs have since stated that Siege of Orgrimmar will be balanced around this new style of healing come 6.0, so we'll have time to play with that new kind of damage and healing before Warlords hits -- which means that honestly, in the long run, we've got nothing to worry about here.

In a way, the same applies to excerpts given from Christie Golden's upcoming novel, War Crimes. Garrosh's list of crimes may sound a little strange at this point in time, but we don't really know exactly what that list is referring to -- we have nothing to draw on for comparison. It's likely that once the book is in our hands, that list will make perfect sense in the context of the novel, and possibly include information that we simply haven't seen any major evidence of in game as of yet. His talk with Anduin Wrynn may seem a little strange, but this is a Garrosh we simply haven't seen before -- Garrosh the prisoner, rather than Garrosh the Warchief.

As for Anduin, it might seem a little strange -- and it does, to me at least -- that he still bears that overwhelming sense of optimism regarding Garrosh, his crimes, and his fate, especially in light of the near-brush with death that came at Hellscream's hands. Yet Anduin appears to be moving into that optimistic diplomat role formerly filled by Jaina Proudmoore. It's something he's been doing for a while now. It'll be interesting, then, to see if the remainder of the novel contains some sort of mental Theramore for Anduin -- or what he'll do with what he learns over the course of the book.

Whether class information or lore, it's almost pointless to try and dissect what we're given without some frame of reference in mind. We don't have that frame of reference yet -- we won't until we at least see the beta, or have the novel sitting in our hands. That said, approaching everything we're given with an overwhelming sense of negativity isn't exactly going to encourage Blizzard to release more information -- in fact, it may do the opposite. If nobody likes the information being handed out, what's the point of releasing the information in the first place?

I'd much rather we keep getting glimpses into what's to come -- even if those glimpses are sometimes confusing, it gives us something to think about.

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