Over a Month into Icecrown Citadel, What Do I Think Now?

I think the encounters in Icecrown Citadel are quite good at a basic level. The normal modes are moderately challenging. I think Putricide, while not difficult beyond the limited attempts you get, is extremely fun.

But the atmosphere of Icecrown is ruined by excessive gating and limited attempts. When someone in my raid is having lag issues, I am annoyed. Not at the people with the latency woes, but at the game design. I have to pressure people with lag to sit so as not to potentially lose a shot at killing the boss. And when someone makes the most innocent of mistakes, people get pissed off. It’s not fun for them. And it’s not fun for me as a result.

As far as gating goes, I think a gate should have existed only for Arthas. Instead, the instance feels extremely fractured by the existence of several blockades. The awe is not at all seamless, as a result. It’s broken, causing the instance to lose its luster each time you have to wait for the next door to open. The impact of the atmosphere and my enjoyment is lessened as a consequence.

I think raiders shouldn’t have the fear of God struck into them for wiping just once. I think it’s a flawed game to play in that regard. It’s one of the reasons why I stepped back from hardcore raiding in the first place. And now that I’m casual, my satisfaction is still hindered by the same issues that caused me to lose some enjoyment in hardcore raiding. I thought it’d go up substantially. I thought I’d be able to laugh and shrug if we don’t get a boss and run out of attempts. But it’s difficult not to think about that, simply because that limited attempt number exists.

It’d have been a great instance, save for those two issues. Instead, Blizzard feels the need to have gating to protect the irresponsible players who ruin their lives competing. Don’t believe that played a part in Blizzard’s decision? You should read the Icecrown article from the first issue of the official WoW magazine. I will quote the reference explicitly.

Players tend to take on everything we give them as soon as we give it to them. What we’ve found is that if we give them access to twelve bosses, they will run those bosses day and night until they beat them all, to [the players’] own detriment.

These are the words of Tom Chilton. Need I remind Blizzard those people are a small percentage of players. And it shouldn’t be up to a gaming company to police their behavior through game mechanics. They will find other ways to satiate their addiction. When they run out of content to attempt, they will roll alts and do it a second time. Hell, most top guilds do that so they have the option of having a better raid composition, anyhow. And if WoW doesn’t allow them to satiate that addiction, they will simply turn to other games, be it Dragon Age, Call of Duty, or whatever the current flavor of the month or year happens to be.

If Blizzard wants to help gamers with their addiction problems, they should fund studies of the “condition” and provide monetary aid for programs that help treat it, instead of subjecting people, no matter how responsible, to being coddled. Not all of us warrant such treatment.

Then What Are the Positives? (Stop Whining, Lume!)

I “whine” (I’d use the word “criticize” instead, but some people are going to call it whining), because I try to protect the game I like. And there are things to like about the raiding game. To succinctly list what I like:

  1. The music.
  2. The artwork.
  3. The encounter design.
  4. The story. (Save me the complaints about Jaina crying and the dramatic lich. It’s still awesome in the grand scheme, so far.)

There are still many unknowns. Namely, the rest of the encounters, and the hard modes. We’ll see about those. But, so far, that’s my take on the instance.

I also like the basic idea of having a raid-wide buff to make bosses easier to kill over time. This way, people aren’t perpetually stuck on a boss months into their attempts, while allowing more hardcore guilds to defeat something before the buff comes into effect. But the details are not yet known, so it’s difficult to develop an full opinion just yet.

We’ll see how the rest of it plays out over the next few months.

3 thoughts on “Over a Month into Icecrown Citadel, What Do I Think Now?

  1. I have nothing substantive to say other than it’s great to have you back, Lume. I didn’t realize you were posting again until the WoW.com reference. Thanks, and keep up you great posting.

  2. I think you’ve hit the nail on the head, judging by this article I’d say you and I come from substantially comparable backgrounds. I found the limit in TOCs heroics acceptable, because it was heroic mode… regular mode it doesn’t seem as necessary to limit the attempts. Gating itself seems like an artificial way of prolonging the content, so they don’t have to release a “mini” dungeon to keep people interested in the year before Cata’s release. Not to come off all tin-foil hat, but at least that’s how it feels to me. In general, as a raiding tank the entire instance feels like a punishment, not a reward for playing to the end. My gear got too good, so I have to take a debuff to a major tanking stat through the entire instance (again), and then the gating, then the limited attempts.

    Even after you get Putricide and Blood Queen down, there’s still the inevitable RNG to deal with. Some times you fumble. And I don’t consider it clever or engaging content if suddenly you have to wait a week, because of a couple of bad luck situations.

  3. I’ve been posting on and off as life permits. WoW is now casual fare for me, so the lack of recruiting has freed up some time. But I think my days of raiding will be done after ICC. I *may* PUG a bit in Cataclysm, but I’ll be adjusting primarily to battleground PvP once rated BG’s are out. And that will probably be the extent of what I do in Cataclysm. So long as it seems well-designed

    In the meantime, I’ll probably have to talk a bit about DAO and ME2 and more general gaming stuff. The medium has a lot of potential right now.

    Anyway, it’s good to see I still get some readers! Thanks for commenting, guys. =)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *