World of Warcraft lead systems designer Greg Street has countered criticisms of Cataclysm’s difficulty with the vexingly simple argument that it’s not supposed to be easy.
In a detailed blog post, Street discusses the latest expansion’s raids and Heroic-level dungeons.
“The bottom line is that we want Heroics and raids to be challenging,” he said. “We want you to celebrate when you win instead of it being a foregone conclusion.”
“We don’t want you to stumble your way to victory. We don’t want you to be able to overwhelm bosses without noticing or caring what they’re doing. We don’t want healers to be able to make up for all of the mistakes on the part of the other players. While at the end of the day, dungeons may just be gussied up loot vending machines, we want you to do more than push a button to get the loot.”
Street also noted that more powerful equipment introduced with Cataclysm, which most players are unlikely to have assembled, will soon turn the tables.
“The content is new and characters are still collecting gear. (Heroics and raids are) only going to get easier from here on out. … In Cataclysm, the Heroic dungeons and raids are intended to be challenging — and they are, at least until you overgear them.”
The designer ended his explanation by noting that lower difficulties waste the efforts of talented, organised players. “Ultimately, we don’t want to give undergeared or unorganized groups a near guaranteed chance of success, because then the content will feel absolutely trivial for players in appropriate gear who communicate, cooperate, and strategize,” he said.
Before the audience could run off crying to the forums, Street handed over an useful cheat sheet of hints and tips to help transform the most brainless button masher into a thoughtful WoW-er capable of tackling challenges.