Is the game too easy mode?
Some how I had forgotten that Emblems of Triumph were the new tokens to get until I did the heroic daily to finish off my Proof of Demise achievement. Then I was like "Sweet, I wonder how many it will take to get a new helm?" A lot. As in, some heroic dailies won't quite get me there. I will still have to raid, and that is totally fine with me.
But it got me thinking, after looking at the rash of applications we got recently, that just looking for purples don't cover our needs anymore. VoA, emblems, the new dungeon offering item level gear similar to Naxx means that folks who are up and coming now are getting geared faster.
This is great news for our newly invited folks. We take the approach of Low Maintenance, meaning as long as you keep your head down and do what needs to be done, we are willing to over look some lack luster dps and carry you. With the changes to how gear is acquired, we expect to see those guys start to catch up in some areas.
Double Edged Sword
One thing about some other MMO's is once the population is out of your level bracket, it becomes difficult to get anything done. Without a guild or some friends, it is like pulling teeth to even get a group going. WoW is not immune to this problem, but they tackle it with Recruit a Friend. The normal on my server at least is running noobies through dungeons they have no real right to be in. Quests are easier, traveling is easier, acquiring gear is all much easier than when I first started playing. This is not saying a whole lot since it was pretty easy compared to my EQ days of leveling off rats for a week.
Many players don't even set foot in dungeons at the lower levels. Some of it is because of the community and some of it because it's slower and the gear that is there will just be out leveled in a few days. Many folks don't see a dungeon until they hit 80. I don't know how many VoA's I've seen with people in greens. Some who have done dungeons are hitting VoA in T4 or T5, which boggles my mind.
This leads to a severe lack of understanding of the game and one's role in it. I recall a blue poster (and I believe it was GC) who said that players are getting smarter. Really? Which players was he referring to, because as I see it, the general population is not. It does not help that Blizz rehashes some mechanics, but I see more and more people choosing to ignore their surroundings or even take a moment to think critically about an encounter. It is a pet peeve of mine to hear over vent "OW, what killed me?" Sigh. Do me a favor and look through your logs or recount before spewing that. Even the question "What happened?" is starting to annoy me. But I will stop there before I start to digress.
Many PuG leaders are stepping up and trying to tackle this problem. Setting requirements like "If you are not pulling 2 or 3k dps by the time we get to the boss, you will be booted." Then folks QQ. But is is a start, even if it's a rather blanket requirement. If you can pull those numbers in your greens, then props to you. I met a druid who did as much healing as I in blues which made me step up my game. It was healthy competition.
I had opened trade channel to get some pug time in (yes, on my server, trade is the LFG channel), and after the patch I had to shut it down. The amount of lame ass questions was large. So many people didn't either look at the patch notes or research any of the information that has been out for a month. Why bother when you just ask in open channels what you need to do. Hell, don't know how to update your addons? Ask the channel (true story).
Playing in Aion Beta did make me miss WoWhead. After running around for 20 mins looking for a quest item, my boyfriend said "I bet it will be right under our noses" and sure enough, after asking, we realized we walked right past it. Some things in various games are pretty vague, and for that some help is appreciated and given out willingly. Simple things are not.
Taking the good with the bad
The many minor improvements the game has made since launch I wouldn't ask to be taken away (Remember when we didn't have marks and people had assist macros? How did we kill anything?). With the game being as old as it is, and some servers just as old (mine is one of the early ones) you need something in place in order to allow the new folks or rerollers a way to catch up to their friends. But the downside to that is the dumbing down of the game on many levels which I feel is a slippery slope.