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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

[WoW] If you haven't finished Heroic SoO, you aren't allowed to be bored

With roughly 4-6 months before WoD, players are starting to get burnt out on SoO content. As Rohan points out, the delay before WoD is one of the longest content gaps WoW has ever experienced. Plenty of players are claiming that they have nothing left to do but stand on the Timeless Isle waiting for Huolon (or whichever rare you’re farming) to spawn.

But eventually the argument “But you haven’t killed Heroic Garrosh, only 0.5% of players have,” pops up. It’s shown up every single cycle as a means of arguing that there is still plenty for people to do. That 99.5% should stop whining and go kill Heroic Garrosh if they’re so bored!

Edit for Clarity: Balkoth used similar phrasing in a comment to Rohan, but this post is not meant as a response because his comment was addressing difficulty, not volume.

The problem is that this argument misunderstands the other side’s definition of “content.” To some, content that is effectively out of their reach due to time or skill constraints is not really “content” at all. I’m among them, I've not killed Heroic Garrosh and I have no intention to, and yet I still feel like the content well is running dry. Why? Because I already killed him in LFR.

“But Heroic Garrosh is harder and different.”

Both true statements, he is significantly tougher and the fight does change, but the outcome is the same. Ignoring for a moment that there are real barriers to jumping from LFR/Flex to Normal and from Normal to Heroic; we still beat Garrosh. We still let him live. Taran Zhu still decides that he should have a trial. Jaina still does her angry “Wreck some Horde face!” speech and Vol’jin still takes over for Chris Metzen Thrall.

The content ended for me when I got to the end of the “story”. Much like how I feel no desire to try and beat Dark Souls using only the broken sword I started with, the game ends for me once I've finished its primary narrative content. In short, once a player has run out of the content that they enjoy, even if there is content that they don’t still remaining, they are effectively out of content. For some, a game is over once you beat the last boss regardless of difficulty, for others the game isn't over until beaten on the highest difficulty and BOTH are right.

For some players their ultimate goal is to defeat Garrosh on Normal, and Blizzard supports them. For others its to beat him on Heroic, and Blizzard supports them too. Not everyone views increased difficulty as more content. But trying to tell someone else that they aren't "done" because they have not reached the same goal as you fundamentally misunderstands the point of a game like WoW and attempts to inject your goals into theirs. 

You end up like this kid...
And nobody likes him
“So you admit that there’s content, you just don’t want to do it.”

From one point of view yes that’s true, in the same sense that we could say to one of the .5% that has cleared Heroic Garrosh and is bored, “But there’s still PvP content, and achievements, and pet battles…”
What I am out of is content that is targeted to me. I don’t have enough time to set aside to be a full-on participant in a heroic raid, so my activities are limited to more solo/casual friendly alternatives like LFR and Flex. Just as the bored Heroic Garrosh slayer still has theoretical alternatives, the content she/he is coming to WoW for has run out. While that player is coming to have a serious PvE challenge, I am mainly there to have some fun fantasy shenanigans, follow the stumbling story, and play medieval play-land dress-up.

The thing about a themepark MMO like WoW is that it has no discrete finish line, and anyone you ask will have a different definition of what it means to “finish” the game. I am not even sure Blizzard knows where the finish line is. Though I think it’s fair to say that clearing SoO on any difficulty is in their paradigm of what it means to “win” WoW. Some players might be more in line with Blizzard’s intent than others, but I am fairly sure that the vast majority of the “bored” players have played the game fairly closely to how Blizzard intends and are legitimately out of things to do. I mean, if they didn't think people had “finished” content until everyone had beaten the last boss on Heroic, we’d still be playing Wrath.

Plus, Blizzard tends to aim to include content for many different players in each patch, and empirically this is the longest wait we've had between patches. The end of Cataclysm dragged on for quite a while but Blizzard at least spiced that up with Ruby Sanctum (if we can even call that content) and the Mists beta. Regardless of whether you've cleared Heroic Garrosh, finished Normal, or never leave LFR, you haven't seen a new raid in quite a while.

Now I’ll concede that there is such thing as “unreasonable” content demands. Someone who ran SoO in LFR once and decided that was it ignores the realities of raid design, but I am fairly sure that also represents a minority of players, and not the ones that are complaining of boredom. The players that are bored are the ones that have spent some time on the Timeless Isle, raided SoO numerous times on their guild’s difficulty of choice, and finished a legendary cape or two. They’re hardly the type that consumes content rabidly, but after 6 months it begins to get repetitive. Even if you are trying to kill Heroic Garrosh, Siege gets old very quickly. They’re all the players that are playing fairly closely to how Blizzard intends the game to be played, but they are legitimately running out of things to do.


  1. I can't directly disagree with anything you've said here but I admit I find myself mostly in the "you just don't want to do it" camp... I'd certainly be more likely to appreciate the commentary around the late expansion slump if it came from the perspective of "there's nothing left that I choose to do" rather than "there's nothing left for me to do". Subtle? Yeah, absolutely, but it includes what I think is an important acknowledgement that MMOs aren't single player games, WoW in particular needs to provide content for 7M+ players, not 1.

    If someone has legitimately run out of things they want to do (and more often than not these days, on any particular day, I'm in that camp myself, I log in, do auctions and professions, then log out), there's nothing wrong with that... it's the complaining about it that bugs me. Compared to late Vanilla, or late BC, or late Wrath, or late Cat, there's... what, 5x to 10x the content available beyond raiding than there's ever been. Blizzard are BRINGING the end-game content to a degree that we couldn't have imagined in past expansion. If it isn't of interest that's fine but complaining that there is no content to play makes little sense from a rational standpoint.

    Is it going to be a long delay until WoD? Yep. Too long? Probably, but not significantly longer than in the past and while most Cat raids I was even slightly aware of were done raiding DS by this point, about half are still raiding in MoP... even raid content is hanging in better either despite (or perhaps more likely, because of) all the other in-game activities that are available to play although quite a few friends are basically only logging in to raid... and that's fine too. I still haven't even touched a Challenge Mode and that's on my bucket list for pre-6.0... I finally did Brawler's Guild recently but might try it again on a less geared toon (it was trivial for me in mostly heroic dps gear). I still haven't trained Pet Battles (nor do I intend to, but who knows). I have a bunch of classes/specs to do Proving Grounds on still.

    When I choose to log out rather than doing one of those bucket list activities it isn't because those activities don't exist, it's because I'm choosing not to do them. Why would I blame Blizzard for that or even just complain about it generally? Why does anyone?

    1. Their might be 10x the non-raiding content, but we have done it all, cata we finished heroic DS at 25%, MoP we have been 9/14H for 3 months and I highly doubt we will progress past this. Challenge modes? I have my bug suit. Reps? 4 Steamwheedle reps and thats pretty much it. Pets, mounts,achievements? The reality is if I spent 6 hours a week on them for the next 6 months I might increase my total by 2-5% Meh.

  2. I don't think whether someone is allowed to be bored has anything to do with what content is available. In fact, I think people are allowed to be bored with anything they want any time they want. It doesn't matter if they're bored with trivial content, normal bosses beyond "just once" LFR, heroic mode bosses, or even fresh content at the beginning of an expansion. It's how they deal with it that is the issue.

    It's the whining in gchat that's annoying, not so much their boredom. As such, the best way to deal with people who complain is to address their whining directly by calling them whiny bitches. If it's boring to them, they should move on. ;-)

  3. "But eventually the argument “But you haven’t killed Heroic Garrosh, only 0.5% of players have,” pops up"

    You do realize the comment I was responding to was

    "That because the game had quality and the whole content was actually difficult."

    In other words, it's someone claiming that the game is too easy. Well, complaining that the game is too easy if you only do LFR seems to be entirely missing the point, no?

    Are you suggesting that WoW would be made more difficult by simply removing LFR and Flex difficulties? Would make it a lot harder to finish your narrative in that case.

    I get your general point that not everyone is a heroic raider (most people aren't). But complaining that WoW is too easy (which you aren't but the commenter was) while only doing the easiest mode is simply stupid.

    1. Yes I do; your comment reminded me of the other one I have seen (I tried to reword my paraphrase to avoid them being too similar but it does somewhat rely on context). I was not intending to address yours because I completely agree that complaining that the game is too easy if you've only done LFR is foolish.

    2. I've added a note to make sure it's clear

    3. Appreciated.

      Pet peeve of mine, the people playing 5+ hours a day every day, never doing anything but LFR and maybe Flex, and complaining WoW is too easy.

  4. WoW has the "problem" of being many different things to many different people. Content has different levels of awesome for everyone, so the idea that some content must be completed for you to be objectively not bored is, frankly, dumb.

    Now, as I said on the Twitters, and as Balkoth reminds us, if you say the game is too *easy* but you haven't beaten Heroic SoO, THEN we'd have a legitimate beef.

    And really, is being bored of a game really that much of a crime? MMOs are extremely strange beasts. No other genre has to ensure that players are consistently entertained for literally a decade by the same game.