Mitch Gross: Writing Samples

A Kinder, Gentler Azeroth?

Posted in Samples by Mitch on March 26, 2010

Two players on the official forums recently looked at Blizzard’s design philosophy and where they see the game going and what changes they fear are coming in the future.

“Kanedias” compared different sized raids and how they might be adjusted.

Currently, raids award gear based on their difficulty, so a 25 man raid will be harder and award better gear than a 10 man. People seem mostly satisfied with this and the hardcore players tend to gravitate towards the 25 man raids and others to the “more casual” 10 man raids.

However, keep in mind that the point of raids (for Blizzard) is to keep players subscribed (making money is their goal in the end of course, hard to keep making games if you don’t). So how can they make raiding more attractive and keep people subscribed to the game?

It seems likely Blizzard will make 25 and 10 man raids of equal difficulty and rewards.

The hard-core community won’t be happy with this, but those are people who will likely stay subscribed regardless, so the change is not focused on them.

Elsewhere on the forums, “Icosiol” looked at the game design of WoW in general and how it does not work.

Over time, classes have moved away from diversity and having their own strengths and weaknesses and more towards making all classes balanced against each other.

Teamwork has suffered because of this trend towards balance. When putting together a team for a raid (for example), the leader no longer looks for specific classes and class specs, all of which were needed to make a successful team. Now, the raid leader just looks for any healer, any ranged dps, any melee dps and any tank.

Raids are now pretty much the same old thing over and over and the lack of diversity in teams is also reflected in the raid encounters.

He suggests Blizzard’s design philosophy for class balance, raids and loot should not be “make everyone happy” and focus more on making the game challenging and fun.

It does seem unlikely that Blizzard will change their approach at this point but who knows what Cataclysm will bring? Hardcore or not, everyone wants the game to be challenging and fun so we can still hope WoW will continue to change and improve over time.

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