Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Played Lately: World of Warcraft

  • Tobold has an interesting blog post up about the hardcore/casual split and how it relates to Raph Koster's A Theory of Fun for Game Design. His contention is that the hardcore crowd is short-circuiting the casual learning experience by forcing their proven solutions onto everyone else. Is the casual experience being ruined because they aren't allowed to find their own way though the game?

  • Although I understand and empathize with the plight of the casual player in a hardcore landscape, I have to lay the blame at the foot of the casual here. If you dabble with the hardcore, you have to accept the rules of your new playing field. It would be like playing Major League Baseball, but demand the opposing team pitch to you underhand. You can't force an established community to change to suit your singular needs.

  • Where I think Tobold is right, however, is that casuals accepting the hardcore playstyle are doing the damage to themselves. Because I love personal anecdotes, here's another story about my solo time in Blackrock Depths.

  • Since I had a couple quests that took me to the Grim Guzzler, I was eager to find the path to the northern side of Shadowforge city. It took me forever to find my way since the maps weren't very helpful. But I eventually ran across the Shadowforge Lock (which seemed appropriate) and made my way across the now open bridge. There in the new section, I found the Manufactory, the area I knew lead to the Grim Guzzler, and another boss, Golem Lord Argelmach. Since I had a quest for him too, I set to bringing about his demise.

  • By the time I initiated my first attempt, I had only killed a couple of patrolling gnomes in the Manufactory if they so happened to attack me. Since I wasn't getting experience, I had taken to skipping as many trash mobs as possible because they were just as deadly. If you've been in BRD, you probably know what's coming next. I engaged Argelmach and his two golems, but he immediately charged out of the room to gather the various minions I had left alive. Pretty soon I was drowning in golems and gnomes and I had a long run from Thorium Point ahead of me.

  • I was shocked and amazed. Almost every other boss I'd run across was a straightforward fight with maybe a few adds. This one took me completely by surprise. So for my second attempt, I dutifully cleared the room and had a much simpler (though still hard) fight ahead of me. If I had read a strategy guide (which I do own) or checked WoWWiki, I would have robbed myself of this discovery. It was one of the most fun deaths I've had in the game.

  • My advice to everyone out there is this: use the tools you have at your disposal if you need them. But don't let those tools get in the way of you having fun. I've read Elitist Jerks and I've studied boss kills in YouTube, and I got a lot out of them. But I won't let that define or limit my experiences in the game.

  • On a side note, if you want to watch someone beat the hell out of Koster's Theory and receive some very interesting responses in return, check out this post from Eric at Elder Game.

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