This will be a three part post and, as normal for me, will be very long winded, so sit back and relax and maybe grab a drink or a smoke and I hope you enjoy my rambling.
Part 1: The game is filled with gated content already.
The definition, paraphrased of course, of gated content is as follows.
- Requiring someone to do something to gain access to something else.
Now, in case you did not notice, the entire game is filled with gated content and people don't even realize it. Every single person that is saying they would quit if attunements are put back in game should quit now because every step you ever take in the game is gated.
You need to be level 2 before you can be level 3. So you are gated from level 3 by level 2.
You need to be level 32 to enter that dungeon. So you are gated from entering that dungeon by level.
You need to be level 54 to wear that chest piece. So you are gated from wearing it by your level.
You need to go into vashj'ir far enough to get a water mount. So your mount is gated by quests.
You need to go deep into the quest line in deepholm to open the port to the quartermaster. So you are gated by quests.
You need to complete a dozen or so quests in twilight highlands to open the port back to Org/SW. So you are gated by quests.
You need to have an item level of 329 to get into cataclysm heroics. So you are gated by gear.
You need to have an item level of 346 to get into a zul heroic. So you are gated by gear.
You need to have an item level of 353 to get into a HoT heroic. So you are gated by gear.
You need to defeat the four mini bosses in HoO to get to that one big boss. So you are gated by fights.
You need to defeat a boss before him to get to him and his mini bosses. So you are gated by fights.
You need to finish four quest lines before going into the molten front. So you are gated by quests.
You need to collect enough marks to open different areas in the molten front. So you are gated by marks.
You need to defeat a raid on normal before you can do it on heroic. So you are gated by fights.
I could go on and on and on all day long with things in the game that require you to do one thing to open up another thing. This is all gated content, this could also be called attunements because all attunements are is a gate to something. It is an RPG game and that is how RPG games are. They are gated by design. No one starts an RPG and immediately goes to the last boss because that would ruin the whole concept of the game. You need to open a series of gates to get there.
So what is the big deal about adding something else into the game that is a form of gating? You get a quest to go to the trainer park and collect the head of billy-joe, the hand of billy-bob and the pinky toe of billy-jim before you can enter the new raid, queen azshara's hobo barbeque.
It is no different than having to be level 2 before you are level 3, or having to be 32 to enter that dungeon, or having to be 54 to wear that chest piece, and so forth and so on. All it does is add another step to the process.
If anything, as far as PvE content goes, raiding is the only thing in the game not gated right now. Does that really seem right? Having no gate to get into a raid is the same as them saying, no problem, you can start at level 85. No problem, you can have a 176 item level and join in a heroic dungeon. No problem, you can have all the ports open, even to places you have never been before. No problem, you do not need to be 85 to get into dragon soul. There needs to be gating because that is how these games are supposed to be designed.
Raiding is broken basically in part because there is no gate to raiding except for level and that is just not enough. However, gating raid content can cause some problems, as we will see in part two.
Part 2: Some times gates can be annoying.
Lets all think what life would be like if the raiding this expansion was completely gated. You needed to do a quest line to open every raid zone and then you need to do all the raids to open the quest line to even allow you into the next raid. Now lets play pretend that you just started the game not so long ago and just hit 85 and wanted to try raiding.
Cue the crying. I support the crying. I would not want to go through the hell of opening all those gates and then finding a guild that will run every single raid just to catch up to the current raid so I have no issues with anyone else that would say they do not want to do it either. Doing old content should be a choice, not part of the raiding gate.
Gating can really be annoying when it comes to raiding if it requires you to do all the previous ones before you can catch up to the current content. However, I do think that having the current content gated would not be an issue for anyone that actually wanted to raid.
If they made you do a quest line just for the current raid content it would be no big deal because most people do all the newly released stuff anyway as soon as it comes out which means they would open it up as soon as it came out. If they made it something you could do solo it would be even better, so you can catch up on your own and do not have to find a guild to drag you along to play catch up. Catching up is the biggest problem with attunements.
How often have you went on pugs before they removed the attunements for some raids and forgot to ask if anyone had the key for EoE or kara or people where not attuned to whatever it is that you where going to.
I can't even count the number of times I went to do BWL and had to run someone through to get attuned before we could go in because they did not know where to get the quest or how to do it to open it. Or the number of people that said, I could have sworn I was attuned to it, must have been on another character. Attunements can really be annoying at times. Mostly when it is old content and even more so when it is older content that you need the help of others to get attuned.
Gating the content is not the problem for most people, in my opinion. It is gating the content too much that tends to be the problem.
If you needed to do a quest line, say something the size of the thrall quest line and then needed to complete the three HoT dungeons before being able to get dragon soul I doubt anyone would have a huge problem with it.
They could even make attunements account bound like they are doing with achievements, mounts and pets now. So if my hunter is attuned it would mean all my other characters are as well. This would fix one of the huge problems with attunements that people have when it comes to raiding.
The problem is that you can not bring someone in on the fly. For example, say my raid team was short a tank one day because someone did not show. I could switch to my druid, but what if my druid never did the attunement. Crap. Now I need to do the quest line, run through the three dungeons, all before I can even get into the raid. Best case scenario would be we get stuck pushing back the raid an hour and when you only raid for two hours that is huge. All because I needed to get someone attuned to get into the raid because a tank did not show.
That is the problem people have with attunements. But if they where account bound that problem would be no problem at all. If my hunter did the quest line and the three dungeons then my druid would also have the attunement and could just jump right in if needed.
See, the problem with attunements was not that they where hard, but that they were annoying in many cases such as the one I just mentioned.
So while I agree we should never go back to the days of having to do all the previous raids to get into the new ones I can fully support an attunement process that is account bound for all current raids. When a raid is no longer current it could lose the requirement for doing it but leave it in game for the people that want to do the quest to see the lore leading up to the raid. Only the current raid would need you to be attuned.
Attunements can not only be a nice way to show the lore for the upcoming raid but it would work as a filter to the raids and quite honestly I believe that is a good thing as part three will explain.
Part 3: Gating content is a good filter.
Have you ever met anyone that wanted to come to the raid and had crap gear? No gems? No enchants? Not reforged? I'd be willing to go out on a limb and say yes.
Raids have no built in filter, they leave it all up to the raid leader to make the decision of who they invite and who they don't. That is unfair to raid leaders in this new world of the game where blizzard is trying to tell everyone that they can raid too.
Why should it be my job to educate everyone in the game because blizzard irresponsibly tells everyone, yes you can raid. Sorry, I do not care how much blizzard tries to push everyone into raiding and tells them that they can raid too. They can't.
So instead of adding a few little gates to keep the people out of raids that really do not belong there blizzard tells everyone they can raid and leaves it up to the raid leader to tell them they can't. That is about as unfair as you can get. It is your game, you do the basic teaching, I'll teach advanced tactics once they start raiding.
I am not saying that everyone shouldn't raid, but I am saying there should be some sort of gate to raiding even if it is a small one. I believe everyone has the potential to be a good raider, if they put in the effort. Just to weed out some of the lazy players from wasting the time of raid leaders all across the game make them put in a little effort before they are even allowed to step into the raid.
Quite honestly I've taken my fair share of players along that fit those descriptions above just to fill a space. I only took them because I really did not need them, we could have done it down a person but I figured, what the hell, give them some experience and some of that gear that none of us need any more any way. Not to mention, you never know where that next great raider is going to come from. Sometimes it is one of those non raiders. I am sure every raid leader has a story of some diamond in the rough they found.
It pays off some times. At the end of wrath we had this feral druid that had bad gear, a bad rotation, did not have any raid experience but at least he did gem and enchant and correctly too. He would rarely if ever pull over 3K, even with 25 man buffs but it was not like we needed the DPS to do it anyway so we carried him along. The thing is, he would have went through the effort of getting attuned if it were needed because he wanted to raid. Those are the people that deserve to raid in my opinion.
This expansion he is a beast. He holds top 25 on world of logs for every single fight in DS. For a casual raid group he is amazing. Any world first type guild would die to have him. So dragging people along pays off sometimes. But only rarely. He is one of 100s of people I have dragged along. Most still sort of suck, some might be okay but most didn't even deserve to be in a raid. Those ones that did not deserve to raid and are most likely the ones that would not have done the attunement if it where in the game.
Attunements would really help with that situation, at least for the rookie raid leader or lesser casual guild. If attunements were something that could be done solo and required some actual work and time it would be a great way to judge if someone is worth the time and effort to take on a raid and teach.
See, the other people I dragged along I knew would amount to nothing. I just took them to take them. But the druid, he was speced correctly, he was gemmed correctly, he was enchanted correctly, he just sucked at the time but I could see he read online about his role and I knew he had potential so I made sure I always included him in everything I did even if his skills were lacking at the moment.
That is what attunements do, they evaluate potential. It works as a filter. He would have done it. Those others, would not have. He deserved to raid, they didn't.
Someone that is too lazy to do the attunement is most likely too lazy to read about their class, won't gem, won't enchant, won't reforge, won't have a good spec, won't know the fights, won't be dependable, won't know their rotation, won't do anything you expect a raider to do at the absolute minimum. They also will most likely not want to do all those things either if they are not even willing to do one simple quest line, which means they are not raiders.
Lets face it, if someone is not capable of doing a quest line to get his character into the raid they are probably not going to be good to begin with and I believe that the game needs more filters like that built in. Sure, as a raid leader I will still inspect people but there is nothing wrong with adding a gate to raiding being there is already a gate to everything else you do in game. Why not add one back for raiding?
I have a saying I like to use when I do my raider meetings. I will not take anyone into a raid that is not prepared to raid. I will help anyone even if they are not a great player, but only if they are willing to help themselves.
I offer to gem and enchant anyone for free, I have every profession maxed and have more materials than I could ever use even with 13 85s on that server. But you need to come to me and ask for them. If you are not willing to put in the effort to get better I will not put in the effort to get you geared.
As simple as gating could be, it is the prefect way to prove someone is willing to try. To some extent at least. If they are willing to go through the quest line to open the raid, then maybe they are worth me putting in the effort of teaching them how to raid.
While bad players will still do the attunement quests and will still be ready to raid it would surely limit the number of people that would do it and thus lower the number of bad raiders out there.
Let those people, the lazy people that do not want to do attunements, the people that do not gem, do not enchant, do not know their class, let them do the looking for raid, that is who it was made for. They will not need the attunement for that and it would open the door to show the people that are willing to raid and willing to help themselves.
You need to be level 2 before you are level 3 so you should need to do a quest before you open the door to the raid. I see nothing wrong with that. I see nothing wrong with adding a gate to the only part of the PvE game that doesn't have one, raiding.
Attunements might not keep all the bad players out of raiding, but it is a lot better than leaving the door wide open to everyone. The lazy people, the ones that just want to get carried for gear and do nothing, a fair deal of them will also be too lazy to do the attunement and will go to the forums to cry about it. Let them cry a river. No one wants them in their raids anyway. If they are too lazy to help themselves, I am too lazy to send them a raid invite.
I don't care what blizzard says, that everyone can raid, they do not play the game, they do not see what I see and you see, they do not realize that not everyone can raid and not everyone should raid. Attunements are only a tiny thing, but it could stop a good amount of those people from thinking they are raiders. Blizzard is doing a great disservice to the game trying to convince everyone that they can raid.
End Note: I want attunements back
Gated content is good content, it is good design. Everything we do in the game is gated, so why not have raiding gated as well. While I do agree that gates on old content are more of an annoyance than they are anything else, if you kept the gate requirement only for the current raid and once you get it on one character it is open to all characters I think it would be ideal. Raiding is the end game, why is every step of the game gated except the end game? It just doesn't make sense to not to have raiding gated.
Not to mention, it would be a great way to add story to a raid, something DS was really lacking. A simple quest line where we get to know the characters we are fighting in the raid would make a lot of sense instead of just fighting a whole slew of nameless faceless bosses that we feel no connection too. I didn't even care if I killed deathwing, he was not an interesting character and a few attunement quest lines could have helped with that.
I don't know about you, but I like going into a raid and seeing people I saw while questing. It makes it feel as if I am more a part of the story. As if I am really playing an RPG. DS seemed more like a shoot 'em up. A game where you just kill whatever boss is in front of you and who it is does not matter. An attunement quest that introduced us to all the bosses in DS would have added a huge amount to the story and perhaps even made the raid appear as if we were killing someone worth killing instead of the monster of the day.