Friday, January 4, 2013

Is Better Really Easier?

Warcraft has gone through a lot of changes over the years and each change that is made someone is bound to say that the game keeps getting easier.  I am not completely sure I am ready to agree with that in most cases.

Is playing a hunter easier because I no longer need to carry ammo?  Is playing a hunter easier because I no longer need to feed my pet?  Is playing a hunter easier because I no longer need to level my pet?  In all these cases the answer is no.  Every single one of those changes is a quality of life addition. 

Some can argue that playing a hunter is easier because you do not need to tame other pets to teach the pet you want to keep an ability and they would be right.  It is easier not having to do that but was that necessary to begin with?  Yes, but it was a time sink only.  There was no difficulty in it, there was just a time sink.  So yes, it is easier without it, but it does not mean the game is easier because it is gone, the game is just more enjoyable without it.  It is better without it.  More time playing and less time wasting time taming pets you have no intention of keeping.

How about a paladin and their seals?  A shaman totem twisting?  Was removing those making the game easier?  Some might say yes but most would say it just removed an annoying aspect of playing those classes.  So it might be easier in the sense people no longer need to do it but what was it there for to begin with?  To create artificial difficulty doing something that was not fun at all?  Removing those mechanics to the classes made them more fun to play, it did not make them easy to play.

One of the reasons that warcraft is the top game out there and continues to be so is because it learns from its mistakes (most of the time) and gets better.  Getting better does not mean getting easier.

Many people on various forums complain that raiding is too easy and keeps getting easier.  I counter with it is getting harder but you are just getting better.  The more you play the more you get used to mechanics and the easier doing those mechanics becomes for you.

If they released the same exact fight every expansion with the same exact mechanics and the same exact tanking, healing and damage dealing requirements based on upgraded statistics meaning it was the exact same fight, each expansion it would become easier for you because you are getting better at handling those mechanics.  That boss was not easier each expansion, you were a better player each expansion.

How about your characters skills?  You keep getting more added to them.  How is adding more to do easier?  Compare a hunter with his 12 working parts that need to be used every single fight to the BC hunter with his steady shot 15 thousand times in a row rotation.  Which is easier?  Oh, I forgot, in BC you had to watch to make sure you did not clip your auto shot and that is what made it so hard.  Nope, made it annoying, not hard, big difference.

The game has gotten better, so much better and continues to do so.  It is clearing out all the clutter from the game.  Useless mechanics like DoT clipping are being removed as a quality of life thing, not to make life easier.  Useless extras like needing materials for buffs were removed, not to make it easier, just to make it less annoying so you do not have to carry a stack of candles around.  Was buying them really all that difficult?  Is it really dumbing down the game by not needing them?

While I do agree that there are some parts of the game that have really gotten easier such as leveling, that too can be considered a quality of life change.  90 levels are a lot of levels and covering them faster is better for alts and new players to get to max level where the game really begins.  I don't like it, I think it makes the learning process a joke, and I believe leveling should be slowed down a great deal but I am one of few that probably think so.  Most probably like the idea that they can get into the game and to max level faster and easier which really makes it better doesn't it?

Another one of the things I believe has gotten too easy in threat management.  It is not like it was where you had to watch everything you did as a damage dealer and any class that was not a hunter had issues with threat left and right.  Those first few seconds of a pull could result in a wipe if only one person did not watch their omen or got one lucky crit at the same moment the tank missed.  I liked the threat management game but it is almost completely gone now.  If a tank loses threat now that means either the tank did something seriously wrong or the damage dealer did.  No more accidental aggro pulls in game.  So maybe that too is better and not easier.  Threat was never a fun aspect of the game for anyone, except me as a hunter because I never needed to worry about threat to begin with.  So removing it as a prominent playing point made the game better as well as easier in that aspect.

How about other additions to the game, did they make it easier?  Like reforging.  Did it make the game easier?  Easier to get the stats you want, easier to get closer to caps you want to reach, but not easier over all.  It added another layer to things that need to be done to every single piece of gear you ever get.  How is adding additional things you need to do easier?  It is a great addition to the game allowing us to get more of the stats we want while getting rid of the stats we don't.  It made it better, it did not make it easier.

The game has gotten so much better over the years, even the dreaded cataclysm which I hated made many advances to the game that made it better.  Each step making it better might appear to be making it easier, but is it really easier or are we just getting better at playing it which makes it appear that way?

So while I might think some things are easier now than they were before, over all the game is not easier now, not even close.  A new player will have a harder time starting now than we did.  They might never have to deal with candles, and arrows, and clipping, but those things where never hard, they were just annoying.

From my own experience only I can say playing a hunter was a lot easier when I first learned it than it is now.  So I can't exactly say the game is getting easier and if I did say the game was getting easier I'd be lying.


  1. It really depends on how "easy" and "hard" are defined.

    If we define difficulty based on skill, then the game has certainly not gotten easier; in fact, I'd agree that it's gotten harder as you said.

    If we define difficulty based on time required, then the game hasn't really gotten easier this way either. Many things are less time consuming than they were before but many others (especially this expansion) now take more time than they did before: dailies, valor grind, rep grind, etc.

    I don't feel that the game is easier. Less grindy, better, more fun (compared to vanilla), sure, but not easier.

    1. The time factor has greatly been reduced. It has been upped a bit for mists but is still not nearly as time consuming as before.

      Yeap, that is how I see it. Easier as in the sense that quality of life it is easier, like not needing to carry 4,000 arrows into a raid or another 2000 guns should I win a roll during the raid for it. So much easier quality of life wise. Not so much game play wise. That keeps moving forward and for newer players it can be overwhelming.

  2. I guess one of the major 'wow sukcs, it has becom 2 eazy' (spelling seems to have gotten a lot harder) would be the whole raiding experience.
    Raiding is no longer for the elite few. You could see the final boss of Cata within a hour or 2-3 of invested time with random folks.
    That is easier than it was before.
    And thank you. I still don't touch hard modes, no thank you. But I do really appreciate the fact that developers realized that spending 50/60% of their time in a raid patch building stuff for 10% of the populace (these numbers are guesses, not factual) might not be the greatest investment.
    And as a hunter .... yeah, skill wise, it certainly has not become easier. I feel like I am trying to do a jigsaw puzzle within record time every raid boss.

    And well, in the end, I am having fun with mists. I mean, lots of pets! And I can have 8 of them attacking my target at the same time! So I don't really care about the people screaming it is all too easy :)

    1. Funny part is that even if raiding is made for more people now it is still 100 times harder than anything in vanilla ever could have dreamed to be.

      They took the "hard" part of the game out. Farming for resist gear, potions, etc. Assembling 40 people and assigning tasks and making they all were geared appropriately was about the most difficult thing ever in the history of the game. Old school raiding was not hard in theory, it was just major league time consuming and longer does not mean harder. It might mean "earned" more so, but not harder.

      By making it everyone can step in they opened the doors, but raiding is much harder now than it was in vanilla.

    2. I never took part in those raids but raiding in Vanilla sounded like a full time job; you didn't have people who "just logged in two nights a week to raid" like you did in Cata.