WoW & The Grind

So today I just want to take  a moment and reflect on some things that have popped up with the announcements from BlizzCon. Most notably, the grind in World of Warcraft and how it’s weighing on the players. Please note this is how I feel, and I will share the perspective of some others.

What I mean by, The Grind. Currently, we are on the grind for artifact power, and we have been for all of this expansion.  First, we grinded AP to be able to fill out our weapons.  Next, we had to keep grinding AP to be able to unlock even more traits.  Now, we are still grinding AP to access the new crucible traits.  This sense of always having to do content that isn’t particularly enjoyable just seeking a means to an end…that takes so long to reach (unless you take a break, let the system catch up, and make it easier for you to reach nearly where others are, others that have been grinding this entire time). The good, this rewards players that are casual.  Players who enjoy being able to take breaks from the game and be able to come back and any point and quickly jump back into the game.  The bad, this system makes players who are consistently trying to push end-game content not feel ‘rewarded’ for their hard-work and consistency with the game.

This game has essentially always been a grind vs RNG.  In older content it was a grind to get your tier, clear your raid, and hope you get the pieces that you need and felt you deserved.  However, this was a short term goal.  This system suited the players that weren’t so casual.  Players that consistently raider and worked to get what they needed to be better players. This also allowed for these players to be able to step back and enjoy playing other characters or enjoy different aspects of the game without fear of ‘falling behind’. However, this system was harder for casual players.  Whether they didn’t have a competent raid team, they didn’t want to dedicate the time it took, or they just played for fun.  It wasn’t fun to always be so far under-par from the non-casuals, making the game less enjoyable. Blizzard sought to bridge this gap making the game fun for everyone, I feel like for the most part they have.

With all that being said, some players are livid.  Some of the not-so-casual players are really mad; they don’t like this gap being closed.  One of the reasons they did this grind was to have the advantage, to be rewarded for the time and skill level they’ve implemented into the game.  Also, with the war-forged, titan-forged system, raiders doing lowest level raids can get lucky enough to get gear that is the same ilvl as end of game raid; another slap in the face to raiders that push mythic content.  I know our guild is a losing a few players after this expansion due to these new systems.  They think, if I can play at low to mid level and get the same gear as end-game players, or take 2 week breaks and come back quickly and be at the same level as those that have been pushing, then what’s the point?

Here’s where I’m going to step up and just say it.  The point is, are you having fun? If you’re not, then it’s because you’re probably trying so hard to be ‘better’ than everyone else with your gear or your achievements, and you’re not focusing on having fun.

This all in all is a game, for all intents and purposes, it is here to be enjoyed.  This Grind that we’re on isn’t rewarding for a reason…Blizzard wants you to to focus on just doing what you like, and know that you can easily catch up when the time comes.  There is literally no reason to stress yourself with grinding AP or gear, because it’ll drop or it won’t.  They have done their best to make sure neither of these are over-powered enough to actually affect your game play.

Now with doing away with the Artifact weapons, they’re going to implement a more customize-able system making it easier for multiple specs to get the benefits that seem to implement a type of tier system and artifact system combined.  I like this improvement, but for some players this new grind combined with the war forging system getting revamped, it has killed their excitement for more. I know a few players that are either stepping away from WoW altogether immediately or they’re finishing this expansion with no plans to come back.  My advice to them, step back, maybe try it as a casual, maybe you’ll find the game more enjoyable if you stop trying to constantly push yourself to be ahead. Relax and immerse yourself in World of Warcraft, don’t worry about where other players are or what they’re getting, just do you.

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