Once upon a time, there was a Game that everybody Loved.
The people who had made the game knew there were all sorts of people who wanted to play, and these groups all had different things that kept them interested. So, the game designers made sure that absolutely everybody could find something enjoyable to do with their time. Most importantly, they would keep adjusting the game’s difficulty settings to ensure that it wasn’t too hard, to easy, but just right. Everybody was really happy, because they could play this game their own way and it wouldn’t matter that other people didn’t ‘see’ things the same, because there was enough space in the game ‘world’ for everyone to exist happily and harmoniously.
However, some refused to live happily ever after.
When you exist in a game space, a lot is asked of you as a player. Depending on the type of entertainment you indulge in, your behaviour will be dictated by a number of factors, including individual ability, skill set and attitude. However, in the last few years, there is another factor which I think a lot of gamers generally don’t actually grasp as significant, when it quite obviously is. The level of success of the title you play has a bearing on how you perceive it, and more importantly the manner in which you communicate your interest to others. More significantly for a company such as Activision Blizzard, the people responsible for producing your games now seem to have as crucial an influence on individual perception as the game’s own content does. The number of high profile departures of ‘notable’ design personalities, for instance, I’ve seen used to apportion blame for the company’s policy on nerfing and buffing classes. Suddenly, everybody’s become a game designer.
This need to understand how stuff works is perhaps an inevitable consequence of the amount of information out in the gaming world, but is more likely as a result of those of us who like to use MMO’s like Warcraft to stimulate debate or (shock horror) make their living. That means that when it becomes apparent that certain Raid quests will not be completable in LFR and can only be undertaken by those making an effort to do instanced content ‘seriously,’ it’s a good time to spin the decision as ‘underhand’ because it wasn’t announced weeks in advance. Then you can complain that everything is clearly too easy in the World First race because it’s all over in days and not weeks, because it’s only hard if you wipe 900 times per Boss. Once upon a time that was the factor that gated everything: if it took you forever to make progress, then there was no need to worry about new content two months into an Expansion. Thanks to social media, attention spans and the need to make money, that is no longer the case. It is not about how long it takes to complete, rather when people get bored and give up.
That’s the key, why ‘winning’ is becoming progressively simpler, but not at the expense of dumbing down the game.
If your desire is to collect all the Artefact appearances for your weapon, the path is very clear, and will require an all-round effort in all aspects of gameplay. This attunement, like every other gate the game provides for you to jump through, is a discretionary process. If you choose to take the World First race as a measure of attainment, it does not make you any more or less worthy than the guy who grinds a Panda to max level without leaving the Wandering Isle. It means when Activision Blizzard decide to push you into formal content for items, there’s not a conspiracy at play, just a series of decisions made that unless you’re the designer, you’ll probably not grasp. Does this matter? No. Will the world end because of this? Definitely no. It’s not dumbing down when you have to work, and it’s no underhand because you weren’t personally informed. That’s just silly.
What Legion provides, over and beyond any other Expansion in twelve years, is the freedom to dictate your own pace without feeling restricted when doing so. That means I can complete two lots of Emissary quests and garner a ton of rewards either in a solid 90 minute block, or stretched over several days if required. It allows me to dictate my own pace and on my own terms. If there are mistakes along the way on Activision Blizzard’s part accusing them of deliberately engineering them is just so dumb it beggars belief. There is no conspiracy here. People leaving the company does not foretell the End of All Things, but feel free to try and spin that one and see how far it goes. As your game becomes easier, in an attempt to encourage new people to play, it is not expecting you to get everything for free. Work is involved. If you put in the hours, rewards are there to be taken, so please get off your You Tube channel soapbox and get on with it.
The only person stopping you from progress is yourself.