There’s an expression in English which is basically when you’ve got to the top, rather than holding out a hand helping others up as you were helped, you shut the door behind you so you’re the last one that can get there. On the eu forums there’s a nearly 200 page thread and WoWInsider got in on the act as well. The topic? The age old argument of casual vs hardcore. Now I’ve covered this a bit before and said something similar to what the indomitable Matt Rossi said. We’re all different, and with a large player base we’re as different as can be. There is no one universal truth, everybody has their own truth influenced by their experiences, and so we’re all right and we’re all wrong.
However, if I was just going to rehash the ‘please can we all just get along’ this would be a very short post.
Trying out your shoes
They say when you disagree with someone that you should walk a mile in their shoes. Essentially use empathy to try and see what they see, to better understand where they are coming from. Ok so let’s play let’s pretend; let’s pretend that I’m in one of the top guilds on my server and I killed Deathwing heroic before the nerfs. What am I feeling right now? Well pretty bored I’d imagine if I completed the raid all those months ago. So I’m sitting around in Stormwind, my goal completed, proudly riding either one of the mounts (the meta or the drop) and wearing my title. All around me, more and more people are appearing with the same items, months later and after the content is made easier through nerfs – how do I feel?
Do I feel resentment? Are these johnny come latelys trivialising my accomplishment by getting the same rewards in different circumstances? Honestly I just don’t see it. I think perhaps what it comes down to is a personality issue. That and the disappointment of not being quite good/quick enough for realm first. Those that get realm first get the extra title/achievement that these people are asking for. Theoretically you could argue that anyone who gets the title/mount for finishing the raid after the realm first (or world first) shouldn’t have it. After all someone else finished it before them, so they had less time, less good gear, it was harder so only they should have the reward.
I asked my friend once, who recruited me to the game, and who I look up to as a good player, did he feel resentful that I was achieving things easily that was hard for him. We were talking about the mount situation. He was an original player from practically day one of vanilla so he had to do the old grind, I paid 95 silver and got it instantly at level 20. He also has raided in all the expansions. I know that he cleared ICC 10 and 25 with full metas but I’m not sure where on the nerf scale that was. He definitely had something that very few people had back in vanilla.
Anyway you know what he said? He said he knew what he’d done, how hard it was and how much effort it had taken. So did his friends and the people that he’d done it with and that was enough. That in terms of something like the mount situation that was how the game was back then. Yes it’s easier now but the people for who it was easier missed out on how everything was, they missed the opening of Ahn’Qiraj, the unmasking of Onyxia, and other epic events. In terms of something like raids there’s a date next to the achievement. That is all the proof you need that you accomplished something when it was as hard as it could be.
For the people that need more, but who can’t manage realm first, there are new achievements in Mists for completing the raid without the nerfs. That still won’t be enough though as people will complain that others get that achievement later than they did – “they had more time”, “they had better gear” etc. Blizz can’t give everybody a different achievement/reward based on which week, and what the average ilvl was, when the boss was killed.
I was watching Cool Runnings the other day, the disney film about the Jamaican bobsled team. There’s a quote in that that I think really applies – “A gold medal is a wonderful thing, but if you’re not enough without it then you’ll never be enough with it”. The mounts and titles are awesome, but if the knowledge of your own achievement isn’t enough, then all the rewards in the world can’t help with that.
From a casuals perspective
A common argument in the thread was that heroic content was being nerfed, and made as easy as normal, to allow the casuals to access what was never meant for them. From my own personal perspective that isn’t the case at all. I got 3/8 heroic before the last 10% or 15% nerfs were applied I think. I won’t get any further until I go back in Mists to clear the achievements. My guild has sort of got 5/8 heroic due to a little help from friends. It counted as a guild group but I don’t think it was a full guild group. I doubt that they’ll get much further than that though it’s possible.
Heroic is hard for your average player – it’s supposed to be it’s heroic. I consider myself to take raiding seriously, I make sure that I’m prepared, properly kitted out and ready to go. I will never clear heroic while it’s current content. I don’t have the mental strength to cope with all the wipes that would be necessary. Heroic is still hard even with all the nerfs – it’s too hard for me. I’m ok with that. I’m ok with the fact that when I get the achievement ‘Savior of Azeroth’ that it will be meaningless because I did it in Tier 15 or whatever. I however want to collect that title. I’m a completionist and a collector. I bow down before those of you who can get those things now. You unquestionably have something I don’t.
This game is for everybody and blizz are doing the best they can. It tried removing mount rewards with the meta achievements from Naxx and the other starter Wrath raids. When I learnt about this, long after it happened I felt a little cheated. I’d not even been playing the game then so I felt a little like it’d been taken away without me even having a shot. You know everyone else had an advantage in that they got to experience everything as it happened, I was already playing catch up, and I’d already missed so much. I really wish that I could have played in vanilla, and experienced everything first hand, seeing what remains now is a cheap substitute. They got to have it first but I, and blizz obviously, believe that they get to have it longer but everyone still should have a chance to obtain it.
This is a war that will never end. People want to be special and for other people to properly appreciate their accomplishments. For anybody decent, like myself, we already do. I look at somebody who’s cleared heroic Dragon Soul with awe, particularly if the achievement date was a long time ago. I appreciate that you have something I don’t. You have the mental strength to wipe hundreds of times, you have the extra bit of skill that I’m striving for but not got yet, you have a group of people (hopefully friends) that can dedicate as much time and effort as yourself.
There are those that don’t appreciate the difference that time and nerfs make, or they don’t care, and so they’re rude, disrespectful or abusive. That’s their problem not yours. If you’ve achieved something then you know that you have achieved it, no-one can take that knowledge away from you. Even if everybody one day clears Dragon Soul and becomes ‘Saviors of Azeroth’ you can hold the knowledge close to your heart that you did it when it meant something. Appreciate your own accomplishment, pat yourself on the back, don’t rely on others to give you your self respect.