Looking for group..? anyone..?
It seems that the dreaded burnout has been affecting more and more people recently. I see dwindling numbers on my friends lists as fewer people sign on to the game all the time, popping in occasionally to see what's up. I must admit I myself have fallen into this hole, not logging on nearly as often as I had, and often ending up sitting afk browsing the internet instead of actually playing the game. Why is this I wonder?
I never had this kind of problem during Wrath. Oh, everyone who plays ends up taking a couple days off to do something else. But this is more serious and far more deep. I never felt I had nothing to do during the Wrath expansion- even when I was farming herbs or such, I was still enjoying myself. Now I rarely even have the urge to play at all!
I think part of it is the difficulty level of the endgame content. Towards the end of wrath, I was excited! Having to CC in dungeons? Sounded like a blast! Healing and tanking would be a little harder than a roflstomp? Bring it on! It sounded like the content would be amazing, and I'd finally have the chance to learn to kite and trap I'd always wanted. But now having seen the content, I'm highly disappointed...
Cataclysm is certainly not a picnic!
The dungeons were interesting at first, with new challenging content. But they were hard. After having run Shadowfang Keep several times now, I often wipe just as much on the first boss now as I did the first time I ran it. There's no sitting back and enjoying myself. Any one mistake and your party is most likely doomed. And these are just the heroics. I take no enjoyment whatsoever in running dungeons anymore. I can't get decent gear from them any longer (Except that blasted polearm that never drops! *shakefist*) and the tiny trickle of Valor Points I get at the end hardly seems worth it in the long run; especially when the groups fall apart more often then not.
And I think this is the major problem. Gear came quickly in Wrath, and as such so came the satisfaction. Each tier let us move onto the next fairly quickly and continue enjoying the content. If you wanted more of a challenge, such as for the hardcore raiders, they had hardmodes of the raids to keep them interested and busy with. I successfully raided Naxx with my first serious guild in Wrath, had fun pugging into various attempts at Ulduar and TOC, and eventually had fun launching myself into ICC content towards the end. I had FUN. I don't have that much right now.
Our guild right now isn't quite ready for raiding yet. We have a few members who have the skills, the throughput, and the gear, and a bunch who are just *slightly* under the needed level. Therefore we have no chance. No amount of player heroics seem to be able to get us past those first bosses- and making no progress at all makes for a poor game. We all have raided before and while we aren't one of the finely tuned progression teams that have already downed all the bosses, we work well together, know and perform our jobs, and try our damnedest. The Stromgarde Crusade is an adult guild- adults with children, and jobs, and other things to do. We can't farm, do extreme research, theory craft, and such for hours on end and then try dozens of times till we happen to get it right. No one has time for that, at least not on every boss, every time!
Achievements kept me occupied for a while- I worked on Loremaster, Mountain o' Mounts... but now that those are nearing completion, I balk at finishing them. What will I do when they're finished? Blizzard hasn't mentioned anything about new achievements. I rarely PVP (the alliance on most servers and battlegroups is just terrible and after losing a half dozen matches horribly, one right after the other, it spoils the mood) and I haven't the time and energy to hardcore raid. Being at the bleeding edge of content must be just as bad as stuck at the beginning- both groups are out of things to do!
Wait, wait! I think I see the future down there!
With Blizzard set to release the next patch, hopefully this Tuesday, I'm hoping the light at the end of the tunnel I'm spying is hope! I'm desperately hoping that this new gear dropping from ZG and ZA will be enough to bridge our guild over into raiding. Hopefully it will be enough to draw our burnt out players back, the ones who hate the unfun tanking styles imposed upon them and the overly constrictive mana pools our healers suffer. I hope that with a bit more gear, heroics won't be "One mistake, you're wiped" and that people can relax and enjoy themselves in the dungeons again.
I also hope that this is a sign that Blizzard realizes that while the Hardcore players are somewhat pleased with the content, they've lost the interest of a lot of the more relaxed players. This is the reason why I support hardmodes. It's the best way to make the game accessible to both groups. Hardcore raiders get the fun and interest of tearing up the normal difficulty then throwing themselves at the hardmodes, whereas the more laid back and slower players still have a chance at defeating the content and enjoying themselves. I play to see the lore, the areas, the design, and for the fun of killing an internet dragon. Not to show off my skills to the gaming world. Both groups need to come and realize, the game isn't for one group or the other; and Blizzard needs to find a way to make it fun for both.
I want it to be hard and a challenge, but when it feels like such an overwhelming challenge and that there isn't room for fun... Well, it doesn't really feel like a game anymore does it?