Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Whatever happened to WoW?

I've recently come back to WoW after a break of seven months or so, and suddenly find myself a member of not one, but two static groups. Both groups are running all the old instances, before they're gone forever when Cataclysm hits. Not that Blizz have said anything about removing/changing the original dungeons, but y'know, it's the principle. That minor detail aside, it's all quite appropriate I guess, considering I resubbed in the first place under a wave of Onyxia-inspired nostalgia.

There are three of us in the Horde-side group - the classic Tank (Prot Warrior), Healer (Resto Druid) and DPS (Enhancement Shaman, yours truely). Technically we're making things tough for ourselves from the off, as these instances were designed for a full party of five players, but we like to think that after four years play, we know what we're doing. We rocket through the first few dungeons: Ragefire Chasm, Wailing Caverns, Deadmines, Shadowfang Keep, Blackfathom Deeps. We even manage to barrel our way into the Stockades instance at level 25-ish with only 17 deaths each and the cunning use of 'resurrectional positioning'™. It doesn't really occur to us that we're not only completeing these dungeons at 60% party capacity, but that we're doing it at way under the intended level.

By the time we reach Scarlet Monastery, we're 5-6 levels below the mobs we're fighting. Not only that, we're pulling 3-4 groups at a time and blasting them down. This is where I start to get confused, because I remember running SM back in the day with a full party, at intended level range (higher actually). In those days double pulls were frequent due to closely packed groups. If you weren't careful to pull your targetted group back, chances were a runner would agro some nearby buddies, which almost certainly led to a wipe.

I can't explain how it is that we're doing what we're doing. Admittedly our tank has a couple of heirloom items (essentially, epics that level with your character, for those not in the know), albeit leather rather than mail armour. Aside from that, the gear we're using is whatever we're picking up along the way. WoW has changed a lot over the years - restructured talent trees, gear itemisation, improved threat generation, our own knowledge even, but I can't believe these factors alone explain, well, just how easy it all is. As much as I'm loving the nostalgia trip, the most frustrating thing is that we're limited not by our own skill, but by the game system itself - we can barely hit mobs more than six levels higher. It feels rather false that our progress is halted by some arbitrary game mechanic, as opposed to the difficulty of the actual content.

1 comment:

pjharvey said...

I think all instances below Northrend content have been rebalanced, much in the same way that Burning Crusade raid content was rebalanced near the opening of Northrend.

Unless I'm more vastly mistaken than a man who believes Hillaire Beloc is still alive, the instances seem easier because they are.