On my morning troll route, I came across a rather heated topic on one of my least favorite forums.
While I have opened more than my fair share of content related threads, this one caught my eye because the poster seemed to be taking a stand against all the crying and instead he stated that the content is not too easy (and yes, the fact that he used the word “disingenuous” in his title did seem to give him credibility in my book). The evidence for his claim relied wholly on the broad assumption that players in blues and greens – “greenies” as he goes on to call them – cannot easily PuG any raid in Lich King (not even 10 man Vault). He continues on to insist that the people who complain about the ease of content are in fact the same awful people from vanilla WoW (or are aspiring to be such) who raided for one of two reasons: 1) Reaming people in BGs who obviously did not have access to equal content or 2) standing around any major city and reveling in the attention you received from “greenies.”
I must admit, I found this argument initially compelling – as well as insulting – but it ended, as most angry, self righteous posts do, on a rather immature note that served to negate any valid points the poster sought to make. There are a few things the poster said which were aimed straight at players like me. I, like many previously hard core raiders (“massochists” as he calls them), find the content presented on the release of Wrath of the Lich King too easy. I am in fact a “massochist” in that I truly enjoy slamming myself against a particularly nasty boss for hours, paying hundreds of gold in repairs and then showing up the next night to do it all over again. Sure it’s frustrating, on many nights it feels pointless, and it is most definately expensive, but it also offers a sense of achievement that I honestly can’t say I have ever felt in the real world. Seriously, how many of us can say we’ve actually killed a dragon? Also, there’s a very small, unpleasant part of myself that is probably one of those obnoxious people that uses the game as some form of validation of their 1337ness. Case in point: It annoys me to no end that all the off set models look exactly alike and no one can really tell the difference between my uber robe and the crafted BoE epic.
However, I also understand Blizzard’s point of view completely and I do not fault them for making the introductory content too easy. In fact I applaud them for trying to level the playing field and allowing smaller, less BC progressed guilds, a chance to play along with the most progressed guild on the server. I await Ulduar impatiently and highly anticipate a genuine challenge.
This isn’t really what I wanted to write about though. In the subsequent eight pages of response, there were people slamming the OP for being a poorly geared huntard who hasn’t even cleared all content, and likewise there were the friendly forum trolls (I like to call them brownies) who sought to protect the OP by lashing back at the nasty trolls and saying, “Well neither have you! Look at all your unfinished achievements!” This launched a fascinating argument about the validity of achievements as content and raised all sorts of questions such as: What defines content? What defines progressive? And what is necessary to say you’ve completed it all?
Allow me to make my stand very clear from the start: I do not think achievements equate content. Not even achievements related to PVE boss kills. I think the majority of achievements – even the ones tied to actual in game rewards such as mounts, titles and tabards – are the video game equivalent of busy work. In other words, they’re something Blizzard has given the player community in the hopes that it will keep us busy and out of trouble until they can create something new for us. I know a lot of people really, genuinely enjoy achievements. I am not one of them. I would never farm achievements ever if that silly red proto-drake weren’t attached to them. On the same note, I thank Blizzard for having the foresight to know that their hard core player base would be bored with the raid conentent approximately one moth after release. Still, this does not mean achievements are raid content.
Sarth with three drakes is valid and genuine raid content to me. Sure, there’s an achievement that goes along with it and even a fancy title, but there are also extra drops that can be farmed. This means to me that Blizzard really did put extra thought into the three drake encounter and they really did design the fight rather than just put some innane challenge at your feet. I would do this fight even if there were no achievement and no title because it’s an honestly difficult encounter (as of posting, my guild has not yet managed to finish Sarth with three drakes). Were this fight simply a boss fight +extra adds (much like the achievement in Naxx “Just can’t get enough”) I would probably not enjoy it as much. The fact that Blizzard took the time to design and balance the Sarth with drakes encounter rather than just make it an add fight validates Sarth and friends as content not just an achievement.
Because I don’t consider achievements content, it’s easy for me to disagree with the nice brownies who use these achievements as a defense to the “Full-LK-Clear! massochists.” If my guild had Sarth+3D down, I too would claim to have all of LK cleared, despite my lack of “Glory of the Raider,” Immortal, and such. One of the great things about Lich King is that we all have choices now beyond just PVP or PVE, and I think it’s important – easy raid conent or not – to acknowledge Blizzard’s move forward with their game development.