So, Leafy threw up a post a few days ago saying how well WoW is targeted at its core audience right now, and Lissanna replied with a post saying “No, WoW is boring right now.” I actually agree with both of them, because they’re not really talking about the same point.
If you are a casual player (hint: If you read WoW blogs, you are probably NOT a casual player), then WOTLK is absolutely awesome for you. Unlike BC where most content was far too difficult to accomplish, 90% of the current content is puggable. Gear progression is easy, and getting easier. There are lots of paths for character advancement besides raiding; achievements, WE’s, PvP, etc.
If you are a raider, then things are very meh. All the content is fairly stompable on normal, assuming you have a reasonably skilled raiding group. (I expect my casual raid guild to have TOC25 down fairly soon…Lag on Twins is not fun.) The problem is, unlike BC where EVERYONE was motivated to keep progressing, hardmodes seem “meh.” The only people who want to do hardmodes are the achievers and the gear hogs, but most others really don’t see the point in it. Since the hardmodes require top-flight participation from everyone (unlike normal where 25% of the group can go afk), most attempts for midcore guilds to step up are generally frustrated.
A thought- would things be any different if you added a third difficulty level? Take the current normal difficulty, make it even easier but have it drop loot equivalent to the top Heroic (so Ulduar easy would drop 200, TOC easy would drop 219, ICC would drop 232) and bump up the difficulty of normal and hard. (Oh, and have Easy/Normal/Hard open from the beginning…forcing people to clear a certain difficulty first is a crappy way to do content gating.) The eventual goal would be for 80%+ of the playerbase to clear Easy, 30-40% to (eventually) clear Normal, and 1% to clear Hard. People can run Easy to just see the content if they desire, run Normal to gear up, and run Hard for top gear + status. Normal’s more challenging, so it’s more rewarding for guilds to work through it, and Hard mode is just ridiculous. Thoughts?