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The Delay of Firelands and “WoW Ennui”

March 21, 2011
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*sigh* Still closed.

If you’re one of the lovely readers who’s taken the time to subscribe to this blog, you may have noticed that I haven’t been posting much in the last few weeks.  Sadly, I’m experiencing a bit of a WoW slump at the moment.  It’s a particularly bad one to have lasted this long, since I’m usually able to snap myself out of it within a week or two.  The reasons why are pretty clear to me:  I was spending 5-6 nights a week raiding, and the guild has cleared most of the content that I expect us to without banging our heads off a wall.

As I reviewed this post today, I happened to stumble across a few other bloggers that seem to share this sentiment.  WoW Insider’s regular column on guild leadership has apparently had an influx of emails asking how to deal with Cataclysm burnout lately, and Larìsa wonders why WoW is “losing its grip” on her.  Many of my guildmates have echoed this feeling lately, one in particular using the phrase “WoW ennui” to describe her reasons for feeling like it just isn’t fun to log in right now.

Four months spent in the first tier of Cataclysm raids has taken a bit of a toll on my patience as well.  Don’t get me wrong – this is nothing next to the year we spent doing nothing but running ICC until we couldn’t feel feelings anymore.  It doesn’t take a year, however, for fights to become stale.  Personally, I’d estimate that most raids have about a 5 month maximum shelf-life before the players who have seen them since the beginning of the tier start to get a little fed up.

Now I realize that not every player and every guild has been working on this content since the start of Cataclysm.  This is especially true on a sever like mine, where there are surprisingly few organized raiding guilds, practically no 25 mans, and a general lack of progression.  I realize that Ghostcrawler tells us that Blizzard is happy with how progression has gone this expansion, and I’m actually pretty happy with my own experience of progression so far as well.  My guild defines itself as a “casual raiding guild,” so I’m not sweating that our 25 mans haven’t cleared all of the bosses yet, or that our 10 mans haven’t attempted hard modes.  While I’d like to see us make a little bit more progress before Firelands becomes available, I don’t really find it essential to have cleared every single hard mode before moving on to new content.  What I do find important is having meaningful reasons to log in, and that’s where I can’t quite see eye-to-eye with Blizzard at the moment.

I have to wonder just what amount of completion is necessary for a raid to feel like they’re ready to move on to something new.  I’m sure this is going to vary hugely dependent upon your server, your guild, and even from player to player.  A lot more players got to see hard mode content during WotLK because ICC was around for so long.  Thanks to the ICC buff, gear inflation, and fight mechanics that we had completely memorized, it was possible to clear all of ICC in one raid session by the later half of Wrath.  Those same reasons made it possible for many players to see hard mode content (and even PuG it) than could ever have hoped to do so before.  Raiding at the end of Wrath wasn’t at all a normal experience of raiding.  It leaves me thinking that perhaps Blizzard has been left with an unrealistic view of just how many players really want to progress through hard mode content, and perhaps even the playerbase with an unrealistic view how much time we want to devote to hard modes as well.

What does your raid need to do for you to feel “done” with the current tier?  Is defeating all of the bosses on normal mode enough for you?  Do you want to complete all of the fights on hard mode as well, including Sinestra?  Given the choice, would you rather see Firelands available in 4.1 or delayed so that your raid has a chance to defeat more of the tier 11 bosses?

If you are also suffering from WoW ennui, what are you doing to pass the time until new content becomes available?  (Be warned:  If you say “playing Rift,” I may roll my eyes a little – but don’t take it personally.  I’ve also considering moving to the temporarily greener pastures, but I just can’t bring myself to spend the money to buy a game that I doubt will survive in the long run.)

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Paul permalink
    April 2, 2011 12:54 pm

    I think Blizzards problem is a big chunk of the former raiding population simply isn’t even trying. Some of them have out-and-out quit, some are “dead subscriptions walking” waiting for their time to run out, and some are inching toward cancellation, distracting themselves with minor game content in the meantime.

    Clearly, Blizzard failed once again to properly predict how their customers would react to the content. For me, it was completely clear the end game content wasn’t going to be at all fun with the people I’d be doing it with, so I just preemptively canceled without trying even a single raid. There really wasn’t any point.

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