Erc wrote a post, I read it, I commented. I realised that my rant about emblems, dungeons, raids, and my opinion on how this game could work really well in regards to gearing, raiding and hardmodes, mixed in with a little of my TBC nostalgia, was a post in itself. Or perhaps a rant too long for a comment.
Many people say that epic dungeons are long gone. They pine for the days of Blackrock Depths, Maraudon, Dire Maul, but in essence I believe that Blizzard have given us an almost perfect middle ground in the Frozen Halls. Three dungeons, the Forge of Souls, the Pit of Saron, and the Halls of Reflection, which are intended to be run back to back as you help Lady Sylvanas or Jaina, but the best part is that because they have been split into three separate instances, they can also be treated as such, making them just a little more PUG friendly than Blackrock Depths ever was. I know it’s not quite the same thing, and I love the long epic dungeons, but I think it’s the best we’re going to get. Mind you, I hope we get something bloody long and epic in the form of Uldum after waiting this long for it.
The thing with emblems is something I haven’t been happy with since they introduced Conquest emblems for running heroics. Yeah, great, I can gear up my alts, but I’m not fond of the idea that Naxxramas, Sartharian, Malygos, and Ulduar are pretty much skipped, aside from quick weeklies (for more emblems!!) and zerg runs. These were well designed raids, why change things so much that they become almost forgotten and left behind?
The Burning Crusade (and “Badgers”)
Back in TBC (nostalgia moment) we had 2 10 mans. Karazhan and Zul’Aman. We also had just one type of emblem: Badge of Justice. Originally, you could only receive badges from heroics, and heroics were fucking hard. I can remember back on my Warlock at the beginning, we got a group together for Heroic Underbog. We tried several times, even with the Rogue kiting one all the way back to the door we couldn’t get past the 2 bog lords before the first boss. This was how difficult heroics originally were. It wasn’t until later on in the expansion that heroics were nerfed, and a little later we could receive badges from raid bosses. This was a good thing, it made gearing up much easier and through TBC we would run Kara every Friday for badges, and sometimes gear. We’d take our mains, our alts, and sure it did get boring, but nowhere near as boring as Trial did. It was long, and epic, and we had a few laughs while we did it. That was the difference.
I was never a fan of the removal of the Black Temple and Mount Hyjal attunements as early on as they did, because when you killed Kael’thas and Lady Vashj for that attunement, you had a feeling of pride much bigger than any achievement, because they were HARD. The first couple of bosses in BT and Hyjal seemed almost like a “and now you can relax for a bit” reward for defeating two very difficult encounters, once they’d removed that, it felt just a little cheapened. I don’t think they shouldn’t have done it at all, I just think they should have waited until the 30% nerf.
Either way, once heroics became farmable and badges could be gained from raids, and there was some awesome gear from badges towards the end, not to mention Magister’s Terrace, with this, you could gear up enough to do Black Temple. Even so, there wasn’t really any skipping of content aside from Kael and Vashj. In my opinion, this was good.
Wrath of the Lich King
The beginning of Wrath was okay, Naxx seemed pretty piss easy to start with but hey ho, it was the first raid. Heroics were easily puggable to allow you to gear up to start raiding, which was great. Ulduar was a nice, big, epic raid instance. Then the Trial patch hit, you could get gear equal to Ulduar level, not to mention they changed the way hardmodes worked, which were fine in Ulduar. If Blizzard had kept the gearing system the way it was around the middle of the Ulduar patch (after a few nerfs, the easy modes are supposed to be doable after all), then content wouldn’t need to be skipped so much and the game would feel less like this linear, bland factory of mass production.
This is why I am pretty nostalgic towards TBC, there were 2 10 mans without a 25 man version, which made them less repetitive. The encounters were fun, the raids were epic. I have some great memories from Kara and heroic farming with friends, not to mention Black Temple runs, which stands as my favourite raid instance even now. Comparing then, to the game now, well.. there is a lot of difference. Things are too easy and repetitive now, raids aren’t that fun anymore, when I do raid it’s just doing the same thing over and over.. I pine for TBC, heck, I pine for Naxx and early Ulduar. When it’s just about having the best gear and keeping up, the game really loses its epic feeling.
My ideal situation would be kind of a mix between TBC and now. There would be multiple types of emblems, one for heroics, and separate types for each raiding tier, like in early Wrath. These would reward boots, trinkets, rings, the usual stuff, but no tier loot, that would be received from drops only. Hardmodes would exist the way they did in Ulduar, you would have to activate them in differing ways rather than simply clicking a “I want this to be heroic” button on the raid interface. The hardmodes would be fun, the easy modes would be doable for the more casual players, perhaps a buff similar to the one in Icecrown too. No content would be skipped just because people didn’t have to anymore and therefore couldn’t be bothered, it would work for all types of players. Thus mixing up the game a bit more, giving some variety, and less of the repetitiveness that leads to so much burnout. We’re getting there, the game is improving a lot, but there’s still a little way to go in my opinion.
When is the last time this game felt truly epic for you?