I have often said that I do not believe that warcraft is helping the players by making leveling faster and easier. That they are not teaching the player and that is why we are seeing more and more bad players at the end game. Easy leveling that doesn't teach you anything.
I've been thinking about it recently and am starting to believe I was wrong, at least in part, because it is not that warcraft is not teaching players, it is just that players do not care to learn. You can not teach someone that is unwilling to learn. They are still trying to teach them, but later in the game, and by that point people no want longer want to learn. Perhaps that is really the issue.
Thinking back to how I learned, before I started to look outside of the game for information, it was from the things that happened in game. One of the very first lessons I learned, having rolled a night elf, is that falling long distances will kill you. Anyone that has ever rolled a night elf, at least before cataclysm when they changed it so you can't die from it now, knows exactly where I died to falling.
It was the changes like that change that makes me believe blizzard isn't teaching people. It is what I would like to see changed back. Something as simple and stupid as that was a good learning experience. You run to the top of the tree to turn in a quest and then run out and either by accident or because you know it would be quicker, you go over the edge and die thanks to fall damage.
Now when you turn in that quest you get a slow fall buff. Apparently I am not the only person that fell from there. Then again I knew that. There were a nice collection of bones at the bottom of that tree. No matter when you went there 24/7/365 you would see at least one remnant of the dead left behind.
That is why I keep saying that warcraft is not teaching people. Little things like that is how I learned. Why was it changed? Were brand new players quitting because they died right there at the beginning of their game play? No seriously, I want to know. Why was that changed?
That is the perfect way to teach people. If anything night elves learned it sooner, and more effectively, than any other race in the game thanks to that death plunge. Simple, subtle, and teaching. Who would have ever thought that something like that was a teaching moment. But it was. It taught me that falling hurts and can kill me.
And while things like that were changed many other things were not. There are still many other little lessons in game. Or there had been many other lessons in game. They all seem to be disappearing.
So it is not the quick leveling that is making these people bad, it is the removal so the subtle learning lessons that are making for bad players. While there are still many of them in game, the most important ones, the ones you learn from at the start, are almost all gone. So I might have been as much right about blizzard not teaching us as I am wrong. This case would be the right case.
Remember pulling one murloc and getting 12 and dying near instantly? That was a teaching lesson. Remember roaming mobs that would sneak up behind you? That was a teaching lesson. Remember the runners that would go grab as many friends as possible if you did not find a way to either kill them so slow them instantly? That was a teaching lesson.
All things like that, all little things, we did not notice it, but when we were leveling we were learning. Now, we don't. Mobs die too fast, there are less chances of pulling 12 murlocs when you want 1, there are nearly no roaming mobs any longer. All these learning moments were removed from the game to be replaced with quick leveling. So I was right, blizzard is not teaching us. But I was only right to a point.
Blizzard moved the learning experience to the later levels. It still tries to teach the players, but they make the catch up so much easier now. They let players get from 1 to 85 with as little resistance as possible and then decide to do those teaching moments in the newest expansion.
The sauroks around the lake in dread waste don't like to come one at a time. Most often you will get two or three of them. And they have roaming mobs, oh boy do they. Everywhere in the dread wastes in a massive collection of roaming mobs. Townlong too. And for runners, want to teach people about runners, just visit those virmen near the farm while questing. You better slow or stun or outright kill them or they will be bringing back friends. And they are fast. And they also have roamers.
So maybe I was wrong. Maybe the game is still trying to teach people but they are end loading it instead of front loading it like it used to be. The more I think about it the more I can see there are plenty of learning moments in the new content that you can experience through questing.
So does warcraft teach players? Yes, it is still attempting to do so but the problem is that the players do not want to learn. I have a theory as to why this is. A few actually.
Theory #1 : People want easy.
No matter where they try to teach people the people do not want to learn. I know plenty of people that do not touch the dread wastes at all because it is "too hard". Too hard my ass. Is it the best place in the game to learn how to play at this given moment. If they want to gate content that is where it should be gated. You can not enter any dungeons, raids, etc, until you have the achievement for completing all quests in the dread wastes, and you must do them all solo. Seriously. It is people wanting the easy route by skipping the best teaching, gearing, and challenge while leveling zone currently in the game.
It is the only zone in the expansion I have completed on every single character that has reached 90. I skipped most of jade forest, valley, and summit, never touched wilds and only did the shado-pan stuff in townlong on most of my characters but I did the wastes completely on every single one.
Why? Because it is not hard and offers better experience and better rewards. It is because it is the fastest zone to level in. It is easy because I learned how to pull mobs back when I was level 12. Because I started to learn how to control a situation when I level 6. Because I've been dealing with deadly pats that could take me out since the 20s and maybe even earlier. Dread wastes was no more of a challenge to me than tying my shoes is. I've been doing what is needed to accomplish it for as long as I can remember.
And that is why people aren't learning. They just want the easy route so they skip anything that gives them a challenge.
Theory #2 : End game is all that matters.
Blizzard is pushing this concept on people in various ways. One being they are pushing the entire player base into raiding, like it or not. They sped up leveling so people can get to end game as fast as possible. They create nothing for the leveling player. No lower level dailies outside of cooking and fishing. No lower level daily dungeons, no lower level tier sets for justice or something, nothing to earn at the lower levels. Just get through it and get to the content that matters. End game at max level.
This design basically forces people that want to get there as fast as possible to take the path of least resistance. If wastes is going to be too hard for them they will level through dungeons, pet battling, doing the forest quests, wilds quests, summit quests, anything that keeps them away from challenge and gets them to that all important end game that blizzard keep telling them is the only thing that matters.
Whatever the reason, I was wrong, blizzard is still trying to teach people. They just made the mistake of where they are trying to teach them. They need to move the learning back to the start of the game. They need those falling to your death moments. They need those roaming mobs sneaking up on people and killing them. They need the poor innocent adventurers dog piled by a pack of a dozen murlocs and ripped to pieces.
People need to learn early in their playing. Not late. I was wrong, blizzard is still trying to teach people. But I was right in the idea that people where not learning because blizzard basically gave them a chance to avoid learning.
Every zone at every level from 1 - 90 should have those very same challenges. It should teach them early and keep them on their toes. The only reasons that the dread wastes is so hated by many is because they do not know how to handle it. They never learned, and because they can skip it, they never will.
Blizzard doesn't even need to remove the speed of leveling. It can stay as fast as it is. But they need to add the danger back into leveling and with that the learning experiences that will make players better players later in the game.
The only reason the dread wastes seemed too hard to so many is because they had never experienced that type of challenge. If the entire leveling experience was filled with those types of challenge then the dread wastes would be just another zone to them, like it was not me, nothing special. Just a zone with better quest experience and better quest rewards.
Case and point to show someone that learned how to play the right way and someone that learned how to play since cataclysm when you could basically skip learning.
Someone that learned how to play:
One of the klaxxi areas. You know the type. Lots of mobs tightly together. Flying packs, roaming packs, connected packs. I walk up there on my mage while leveling and wait. See a pat move and grab one mob when I know I will only get one. I slow, blow it up, slow, blow it up, kill it before it gets to me. I repeat this, taking my time, about 4 times with this paladin watching me.
Someone that never learned how to play:
The paladin does a laughs emote and says, fucking noob, and goes charging in. Pulls a roaming pat of three mobs, the two he was aiming for and a set of flyers. He dies in seconds. Mobs come after me, I hit invis to save myself.
This went on for a little bit. Me pulling one, or two, at a time and killing them. Him reviving, running in, dying. I finish the quests and wait for him to come back and revive again. I say to him, I pull one at a time so I can live and finish the quest, how is your progress going? I then mount up and run away. It was my way of saying, fucking noob, right back at him.
If only he had learned at a lower level that you need to watch for roaming mobs, pull controlled pulls, and even move back to assure you are fighting on your terms, he would have not died multiple times and he would have not made himself look like the total jackass he is.
They are still trying to teach their players but they made the, I believe, massive mistake of where they decided to move the learning experience. You can't teach people at the end, you need to teach them at the beginning. Once someone hits 89 and gets to the wastes they are set in the ways. If they are a bad player and they always will be. Maybe a small, very small fraction will take this opportunity to learn but most won't.
You need to teach them when they are new to the game, at the start. You do that by removing that slow fall buff when turning in that quest in the night elf starting area and letting them fall to their death. That is how you teach people and when you teach people.
So I was wrong, blizzard is still trying to teach people. But I was also right, because they are not teaching people because by moving the lessons where they did, they made it possible for people to completely miss or ignore the lessons.
Move difficulty, move teaching, back to where it is supposed to be. At the start of the game. No more two or three shotting every mob up until you are 85. Let people earn their way to 85 and learn their way to 85. Don't wait until current content starts before you try to teach them. You can keep it quick level still, just make it teach people while leveling. If they learn while leveling they won't even know they are learning. It will just become part of the game.
I don't think knowing how to pull only one mob from a pack of mobs is some sort of skill. It is just something I learned while leveling. Yet someone else will see me do that and say, wow, nice pull. I should never hear anyone say that because everyone should know how to do that from the course of their leveling.
How they learn to pull is by them pulling wrong and getting killed, near instantly. They will go back and do it again and again until they learn how to do it. And guess what, even as a low level while leveling, this is one hell of a triumph that makes you feel great. You got those suckers that killed you. And guess what, without you even noticing it, you learned how to pull. The game effectively taught you something. Tada.
Move teaching back to the beginning of the game. That is all I have to say on the matter.