An Ex-Gnome Tank's World

Hardcore Pwnography

April 29th, 2009 Posted in Rants

Though I’m sure it wasn’t meant as anything, Jacob accused me of being “hardcore” below, after I mentioned my surprise at parts of Ulduar being nerfed after the instance had been out for only a week. I’ll admit I was fairly taken aback by that. Me? Hardcore? I have a life!

The problem is that no-one believes they are hardcore. In the past, I played a lot more than I do now, for sure. Perhaps I was hardcore then. But if that’s the case, why did I rarely see a 25-man raid, and fail to beat the third boss in Zul’Aman? These days, I have even more time to give to things outside of WoW. I don’t spend every waking hour thinking up new boss stategies, I don’t spend my days poring over spreadsheets trying to work out the best upgrade (well, OK, maybe I’ve been known to do that, but only on my lunch break, and not very often).

A famous man once said:

“Anyone more progressed than you is hardcore, and anyone less is casual or a slacker”.

It’s true, to an extent. But only to an extent. I know hardcore players that haven’t even set foot in Ulduar (and have only seen Naxx a couple of times). There are several people in  The Hidden Circle who come to raids but just aren’t around that much the rest of the time.

To understand my feelings on how Ulduar should feel, I think it’s worth going back in time to the launch of Zul’Aman. I was in a position of having cleared Karazhan multiple times but couldn’t hold on to enough people for Gruul’s Lair (that’s another tale). ZA was hard, and that was with the best players in the guild in a run. It was a logical (but difficult) progression from Karazhan. We walked away from that first week with just a single boss down. And that was on the first instance with a normal and a hard mode (timed bear runs).

This was what I was expecting from Ulduar. We had the power to progress, just much more slowly than zerging everything down in a few weeks.  Instead I’m still seeing ever-increasing nerfs, even to optional bosses (Ignis and Razorscale, for two). The argument that I’m obviously hardcore because I hold a title afforded to one in five people who’ve downed a single 25-man boss (I looked it up) doesn’t sit well with what I see as belonging to that label. Yes, there are hard modes, but I sit in the uncomfortable position of being not hardcore enough for hard mode (we’re nowhere near even getting XT-001′s heart killed) and being too casual for the hard modes (at present).

And there’s the problem. No-one will admit to being hardcore, unless they’re in the top 2%. I think when it comes down to it, hardcore is a state of mind.

From one of my guildmates:

This is where I spend my leisure time, so I want it to be fun. I want it to be the raiding guild it is, which is an inclusive one, where there is space for the ‘characters’ of wow… The nab huntards who pull the entire dungeon, or who let their pets pee up Kirin’s treeform, or who fry Grog’s Brown Rabbit… Where there is space and time to wait for the little Parisian gnome who fall off slippery pipes and tries to find his way back, or dumb shadowpriests who fail at voids…

To me this says “We are not hardcore”. We’re progressed, but not hugely so.

Labels like “Slacker”, “Hardcore” and “Casual” are simply too wide ranging and encompassing to be useful to anyone. There’s far too much stigma, frequently unintended, attached to each for anyone to truly wear such badges with pride.

  1. 2 Responses to “Hardcore Pwnography”

  2. By Jacob on Apr 29, 2009

    Yes, one needs to be careful when using the words “hardcore” and “casual” because they can have multiple meanings.

    “Hardcore” can mean:
    - intense focus on achieving victories
    - puts a lot of time into achieving victories
    - no-life person who has no focus or time outside of WoW

    “Casual” can mean:
    - only casual interest in achieving victories
    - spends little time toward achieving victories
    - unfocused person who will accomplish nothing in WoW

    Ignoring the dangrous words, it’s still possible to talk about guilds and raids in terms of progress and achievements. Let’s assume that every raiding guild is able to kill Sarth+0D. If your guild was able to kill Sarth+3D and this puts you in the top 20% of guilds, congratulations. You are capable of a high level of progression, and by the end of Tier 8 you will probably be able to do most of the hard modes in Ulduar. (Not right away, of course, but I bet you didn’t kill Sarth+3D during the first few weeks of Tier 7 either.)

    But consider the raiding guilds that have not killed Sarth+3D. Blizzard still needs to decide what to do with these guilds. It’s not a wise business decision to let ALL of them clear Ulduar, because that isn’t what the gamers want. The gamers want a game that grows gradually more difficult. So, you can bet that Blizzard has set a goal, has established a fraction of raiding guilds which “ought” to be successful in clearing Ulduar.

    Choosing this fraction is a part of the game design, because the “success” fraction is essentially a measure of how hard Ulduar is. By the end of Ulduar and the release of the next raid, you will be able to look back and say “X % of the guilds which cleared Naxx+Malygos were able to clear Ulduar”.

    The tuning you seen over the past two weeks are a result of Blizzard examing their encounter data and seeing whether guilds world wide are on-track for the “success” fraction which was chosen. If too many people are dying on Razorscale and nobody is even fighting Ignis, Blizzard will look over their data and adjust the encounters until the statistical average of all guilds is back where Blizzard wants it to be.

    I’m okay with this. I’m sympathetic that you personally want more challenging fights for yourself, but Blizzard has been quite clear that they are choosing a generous “success fraction” this expansion, and it appears they need to nerf the normal mode fights to achieve this.

    I’m confident I’ll see you posting about hard mode victories in the future. :)

  3. By Fleischmann on Apr 30, 2009

    IMO hardcore is an overused and ignorant term. My guild does 5 hours a night, 3 nights a week (hardly what the top guilds are doing, even the next to top guilds) yet we still progress just fine. We have our Immortal, TV, and even got a few server firsts.

    Tuning hasn’t been the best choice to be honest. We actually were having fun with hard trash and not “lol aoe it all” from Naxx. I understand that Blizz wants to make the game more accessible, but in some cases it’s a “lolwut” to me. I’ve heard my guild and even friends in other guilds that aren’t as “hardcore” say, “Wait, that was hard before?”

    I wholeheartedly agree with your closing statement Namthe. I may be hardcore because I min/max to an extent, but I’m casual as when I log on at raid time, I do so to play with friends and maybe down a few bosses and toss back a few beers. It’s a game. I enjoy raiding in that game. Hardcore or not.

Post a Comment