Wednesday, June 28, 2006

New Casual Instance before The Burning Crusade?

Blizzard has assured us that casual friendly instances are coming down the pipeline in the next expansion. They explain rationally that very few raid instances existed in the game upon release and they wanted to even out the ratio a bit more. Yet its been noted that very few people actually make use of raid instances. Sure there may be a 1,000 people per server that go to the 20-40 man zones but that still leaves about 9,000 people who currently can't see that content. Yet for some reason Blizzard thinks there should be a more even distribution between the two. This is where people who don't raid start thinking Blizzard hates them.

There is a plan in the apparent madness though. The real reason Blizzard wants to introduce more raid instances is that they believe as new levels are introduced the person requirements will go down. Eventually they see level 70s in blue gear being able to run Zulgurub and AQ20 in groups of ten or less. Molten Core will be run by casual guilds who only have about 15 people on at a time. It seems as if this strategy should pay off in the long run. Add content for the hardcore now which will be opened to casual players later. Yet one tiny thing is throwing a hitch in this plan. CASUALS WANT SOMETHING NEW NOW!

Its been since Dire Maul that any instances have been put in that required less then twenty people. The changes to Stratholm and Scholomance were poorly thought out and the only reason they were done at all was to make it look like there was more single group instances. It might have even held back the tide a bit along with the tier 0.5 armor. However, I think most players were only expecting it as a temporary covering until a new 5-man instance was implemented.

Now that the new 40-man instance is out that cover has been blown away. Casuals now know that they are not going to get any new content until the expansion. Sure the new outdoor pvp objectives are coming out but at the moment a single tier-2 armor player can hold his own against three tier-0 armored players. Since most pvp initially occurs with only 1-3 people on both factions the tier 2 will always win. Those that claim skill is involved are right to a certain degree. However, as long as the tier-2 is more intelligent then your average toddler he is going to win.

I am tired of hearing that the expansion is going to be the cure all for casual's gripes against World of Warcraft. What is to prevent this from happening again with all the patches after the expansion being oriented to raiders. The truth of the matter is casuals need some reassurances to stick around until Winter 2006. Thus I make a challenge to the developers of World of Warcraft:

Implement a new 5-man instance that does not require epic equipment to complete before The Burning Crusade Expansion.

Please show us that you are still devoted to all of your playerbase. We love the game and realize you have your reasons but seeing zone after zone of content introduced that we cannot access is slow starting to turn us into raving lunatics. Winter 2006 is still half a year away and I believe a lot of us are on the edge of walking away disgusted much sooner then that.