World of Warcraft Is Now Too Hard

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Something I’m discovering as I’m slowly playing more of the Cataclysm expansion is how much tougher the new level 80+ dungeons are than any of their predecessors. Personally I welcome the challenge but unfortunately it seems that a lot of players just don’t have the stomach for it. Whether it’s because they’ve been conditioned to the blind face-roll that was previous WoW dungeons or spoilt by the fact that they everyone they grouped with before already had the best available gear, this new challenge aspect to the game is definitely causing quite a stir. Have Blizzard unknowingly shot themselves in the foot by trying to make things more difficult?

It’s certainly polarised the community and, whilst some people (like myself) are thoroughly enjoying having to think again, others are finding it a hard adjustment. Personally I relish going into a new dungeon for the first time, having to watch what I pull and how I fight, figuring out boss tactics and actually using a bit of skill. Who cares if we die on a boss? It’s hardly a chore to respawn right outside the dungeon 10 seconds later and then use the teleporter within it to return to your last location.

When I’m fortunate enough to get a group of like minded individuals it’s a blast and I probably have the best times in WoW I’ve had since I started playing it. Random PUGs are full of banter and chat (for the first time ever) and there’s a real buzz in the party. It’s like playing a completely different game… or even one with a traditional, helpful old school community.

Unfortunately though not everyone sees it that way and a good proportion of the peeps I’ve encountered (I’d say at roughly 50% of my groups) are still stuck in the pre-Cataclysm mentally of expecting everything to be a straight forward cake walk in the cake park. As a tank, it’s not unknown for me to be on the receiving end of silly critisicm such as people expecting to me have full appropriate level epic gear (huh? at level 82? in a brand new expansion?) or expecting me to prop up the entire party without realising that now DPS are required to think as well and the healer’s mana isn’t infinite like it used to be.

Side note: curiously enough almost all negative comments come the damage dealers and I usually find that the oh so witty response of “this coming from the pussy who plays DPS” normally shuts them up. Still, I don’t gripe as the lovely complements I do get make tanking all worthwhile.

The absolute massively gigantically insane leap in gear power hasn’t helped matters either and there isn’t a person in my guild who hasn’t replaced almost all of their level 80 epic gear by level 83 at the latest. Green quest rewards and random drops are more potent than some of the best gear we used to get (note to self: draft article about why I dislike itemisation as progression) and the blue dungeon drops frankly blow everything old out of the water. Of course this means that acquiring the appropriate gear for level 80+ is a real rat race and often players get trapped in the cycle of not having “good enough” gear to do a dungeon which, ironically, would net them the gear they need.

The Dungeon Finder is a real mixed blessing at this level too as it can prove to be a fantastic way to experience group content or an equally fantastic way to experience the retarded dregs of the community. It’s actually quite comical how many people will cycle through dungeons until they find the “right” group as opposed to just giving one a shot and see how it pans out. I had a funny instance today in which the same DPS player cycled in and out of our dungeon about three times (I of course took every opportunity to jeer at him each time he arrived).

So all-in-all it’s a rather funny situation the game finds itself in and personally I’m looking forward to seeing what will break first. Will the community start to realise that this is a new age for WoW, one that requires cooperation, thought and teamwork or will Blizzard get scared and nerf the dungeons before people start to leave?

Although I do recognise that it’s a bit jarring to go from easy – easy – easy – SUPER HARD over night, I am hoping that Blizzard will stick to their guns and keep things tough. Frankly, it will do wonders for the community. Eventually.


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  1. Klepsacovic says:

    I’m enjoying it a lot. Is it really much loss if a few idiots can’t get through an instance?

  2. Dblade says:

    Tanking I hear in that game is EZ mode though. Try it as a DPS or healer and see if you feel the same.

    • Dril says:

      Other way round. Tanking is now harder. Healing is now hard. DPS is still the same easy faceroll. I have nothing but contempt for crap DPSers who don’t try and cry at the tank/healer for not carrying them.

      • Masith says:

        The difference is that good dps can make more of a difference than they could back in wrath. Nowadays I can make the tanks and healers job easier by using cc well, interrupting appropriate abilities stunning mobs whenever I can and of course avoid taking damage and doing as much as damage as I can to the right target. Until people overgear the instances much of this is actually essential to the success of the party especially in heroics.

        Sadly many players are still stuck in the WotLK faceroll era and so expect to be able to play like idiots and collect epics. I’ve come across as many tanks who expect healers to keep them up as they tank without cc and stand in AoE and healers who expect to be able to spam like wrath as I have dps who expect to just stand in AoE and nuke.

        • Gordon says:

          Indeed, good DPS makes a huge difference. I never underestimate the value of solid DPS, I just dislike some of the attitudes of DPS players I meet. Coming from EQ and EQ2 it’s strange to me how little DPS is acknowledged in WoW. In those other MMOs it’s considered a real necessity to have good players in every category whereas in WoW often DPS get a free ride. I’m a big believer in good dmg = faster kills = higher survivability for the tank ;)

    • Gordon says:

      I think all of the roles are a lot tougher now in Cataclysm dungeons. Unfortunately though it seems to be the Tanks and Healers that get the blame :(

  3. Tinker says:

    It is nice not being able to faceroll, although it’s a lot nicer when I can queue up LFD with just one DPS slot empty… seems to at least shut up the “dregs” if we get one, and it makes getting a competent player that much more enjoyable.

  4. someguy says:

    Im healing these new dungeons and so far i dont find them to be that hard at all. Granted im only running with guild groups with maybe 1 pugged dps but so long as boss mechanics are followed im not having too many issues with mana. But the fights are certainly more interesting. I can see how randoms with the wrong mindset will get thrown for a loop. I had 1 dps call us a fail group in throne of tides despite the fact that we had no wipes and the only person to die was our dps warrior because he went wandering off. I think he was upset that we decided to hard burn the feigned death elementals just because we didnt like the way the coward.

  5. JMartin says:

    Well the challenge is good is sorta missed CC, but it will stop subscription growth, and might for the first time take th e numbers in the opposite direction, I think Blizzards developers worst mistake through all of this is basically making snide comments on there forums and basically letting the “hardcore” players rip anyone who has a complaint a new one. And lets face it guys if the so called Wrath Babies leave, WoW will have a hell of a lot less subscribers.

    But maybe Blizzard knows that is inevitable anyway? Anyone who has tested TOR, or who participated in last weeks Rift beta knows some serious competition will soon be knocking on Blizzards door, maybe this move was to play to their hardcore base because they know the more causal players are going to leave anyway? In any event it’s going to be interesting to see what Blizzard looks like this time next year, they are a group of fantastic people though and I really do wish them all the best.

    • Gordon says:

      I think stepping up the difficulty is a good thing. I think Blizz realised that having a bit of an end game challenge is definitely a good thing as that’s what people want. Low levels should be easy but high levels should be tough. It’s the classic gaming learning curve in action.

    • Matt says:

      I think you need to look at it from another angle, this works both ways doesn’t it? More challenge == more people stick around longer vs SUPER EZ mode that everyone’s 5-year old can play (Nothing against 5-year olds), and that most people finish all available content and unsubscribe in under 2 months.

  6. Lujanera says:

    I’ve been tanking too and I’ve noticed that the loudest complaining is coming from the bottom half of the dps pool. At least in the higher level dungeons, where mana matters, healers seem to be too busy dealing with their own problems to talk about what I’m doing as the tank.

    I probably won’t use the “this coming from the pussy who plays DPS” response, but I’ve been sorely tempted to link dps meters on more than a few occasions. There have been far too many bosses where I, as a prot warrior, have done more single target damage than some of the dps in my group. I’m not special, aside from having a good amount of hit and expertise, so I’m wondering what is causing this. Have some of the dps specs been heavily nerfed? Has the average skill level of dps players declined? On fights where mana matters, having bad dps means significantly increased the risk of running out of healing.

  7. kaozz says:

    As long as instances are pugged there will always be problems and the harder the content the stupider pugs will be. It’s just how it is. People have no accountability and will continue to rage when things go wrong. Sure they may adjust to it to some degree but a leopard doesn’t change it’s spots and pugs will always suck, in general.

    People play more than one character most of the time, I range from dps and heals to my new tank. Assholes will be assholes whether it be that they are tanking (they will be making fun of the heals and dps), healing (they will be expecting ass kissing) or dps (making fun of everyone). I don’t see them changing overnight and wanting to work together just because content is harder.

    I think this expansion may cause guilds to work together more, especially through harder content and for guild rewards. But for those who don’t have a guild like that it could be a lot of bs to deal with.

    • Gordon says:

      Funnily enough I think the challenge is helping to draw people together. I’ve experience quite a lot of PUGs now where people chat, discuss tactics and actually want to work together as a team. Until Catacalysm that was unheard of.

  8. Hyperiom says:

    I’m guessing this is your first time through an expansion + gear reset? WotLK dungeons have been the anomaly through the course of WoW as ridiculously easy. Perhaps the regulars are harder than they ever have been, but heroics in BC were a pain even at higher tiers of gear–really, until you were doing guild runs in T5 (and then MgT came out). It’s hard to compare to vanilla because vanilla bosses were so boring, so tank and spank (or maybe with an add phase), compared to anything in Cataclysm. I worry that even those old veterans are viewing the new dungeons through WotLK-tinted lenses; if we went straight from BC to Cataclysm, would the less hardcore groups still complain as intensely? Cause they complained in BC, but most of them had to suck it up or you were stuck doing regulars or battlegrounds. The hardcore was doing arenas or raids. WotLK and Cata were far more casual friendly. From what I’m seeing so far, rep is easier than ever to get–and even where it’s not as fast, there aren’t nearly as many dailies per faction, which means everyone is moving at that slower pace (which is in line with how slowly people get guild reputation right now)
    I think it’s just kind of a weird paradigm shift, to go more towards the “short, productive playing sessions” that started in Wrath, and also the “putting actual effort into dungeons & gear” that came into its own in BC (it happened in vanilla too, but the rep grinds for Thorium Brotherhood and Brood of Nozdormu were riddddiuclous.)

    • Gordon says:

      Yeah, aside from the beta I started playing properly after WotLK came out so I missed BC and all of that stuff. Leveling up I never had an issue so the difficulty of Cataclysm dungeons was a bit of a surprise (a welcome one though).

      Regarding the shift to short, productive sessions combined with having to put in effort into gear and dungeons… I think it’s a perfect mix. I don’t have to have to play for 4 hours at a time BUT I still want the game to be challenging and rewarding. So far Cata has got the mix right for me.

  9. Bhagpuss says:

    Unless I’m missing something, won’t this “harder” setting just be a very short blip? When everyone has replaced all their WotLK Epic Gear with shiny new Cataclysm gear, won’t the difficulty level largely reset to what it was before? I know there were changes to mechanics as well, but won’t state-of-the-art gear largely offset those?

    If I was a really lazy DPSer who didn’t want to make the effort and learn, I’d just do something else for a month or so, maybe level up a goblin or a worgen alt, then come back with my main, use the Dungeon Finder, keep quiet at the back and soak up the upgrades as the newly-geared folk did all the work.

    Of course, that would require both being lazy and having patience and the ability to set and achieve long-term goals, which is an odd combination of character traits.

    • Gordon says:

      Possibly although I believe the way it’s designed to work is that once players have obtained decent gear from the normal dungeons they then do the same ones on heroic mode and then progress to normal raids and then finally heroic raids, the idea being that the challenge is always present. Of course one could do normal dungeons with the best gear and it would be a lot easier, yes.

      • Gordon says:

        Sorry, just to add, I’m sure in a few months we’ll see people getting carried through normal dungeons by well geared guild mates and what not but I suppose that’s inevitable.

        • Silvermute says:

          And unavoidable, I would suggest.

          The only way I can see to circumvent the eventual triumph of gear is to either have some mechanism that scales boss damage against the average gear level of the group (which could remove the incentive for acquiring better gear), or have boss abilities like Defile that effectively ignore gear.

          Frankly, as long as Blizzard can keep on releasing content that challenges even those clad in the latest Fearsome Deathplate of Awesomeness (i.e. introducing new tiers), I don’t really see it as a problem.

  10. leah says:

    you haven’t gotten to tank heroics yet. when you wipe on a boss, repeatedly, with a guild group while not standing in bad and following mechanics because of some weird rng quirks, when one instance takes as much as the raid to finish, assuming you actually do finish, when your abilities hit barely harder then they did in wrath, but health pools are 3 times larger and so is incoming damage to match it…aaaah, fun times.

    P.S. when you are focusing on CCing/dispelling, your dps with go down. being blamed for low dps because you were doing your job making it easier on a tank and healer – also a lot of fun.

    trash is not challenging unless you are running in and pulling multiple packs with no prearranged CC. its tedious. bosses? don’t even get me started. currently you are not required to play well in heroics. you are required to be excellent. first boss of the first heroic I did felt harder then either bane or Herald of the Titans.

    imagine if you bought the game, say..fallout but the only difficulty choice was insane? sure some people like that. some people are really good at video games. when you are average though and just looking to relax and have some fun? good luck.

    • Gordon says:

      It’s a tough one to balance, for sure and your point about players not being able to choose the difficulty setting like in other games is a very, very valid and well said, Leah. I bet we will see a lot of “fine tuning” happening over the next few weeks as Blizzard tweak the difficulty…

    • Hyperiom says:

      Again, that’s because wrath was roflstomp zerging. There was no challenge. CC should be used at all times. Your abilities hit barely harder than they do in Wrath because ICC had a +30% buff.
      I have had no “progression” instances that have taken longer than a progression raid. Yeah, a full wipe-and-die of HoO is longer than a current clear of ICC–but progressing from Marrowgar to Kingslayer took months at the start. Cataclysm hasn’t even been out for a week.

    • Andrew says:

      currently you are not required to play well in heroics. you are required to be excellent.

      that’s how it used to be back in The Burning Crusades when downing a Heroic level dungeon was actually an accomplishment, not something that everyone and their mother could do in their sleep.

      • leah says:

        I started in burning crusade. I was the hunter who could LoS chain trap provided I was given few seconds to set it up (which I was). this was my primary job through much of Shadow lab runs as well as quite a few MagT pulls.

        I remember heroics in BC. I don’t remember then being this tedious. I don’t remember them ever being that unforgiving. Even black morass that people conciser to be one of the harder heroics, I remember enjoying immensely. The only boss I couldn’t stand was the void walker in Arcatraz and that’s because I was still learning the whole, move out of the void zones before they happen shtick. I starting healing at the end of BC. I don’t remember having that many issues even in my starter rep/crafted gear. and I didn’t have experience that I do now.

        Wrath heroics didn’t have 30% buff. raids other then ICC didn’t have 30% buff. one of the last things I did pre-expansion was healing last minute “herald of the titans” for couple of people who had their sets but haven’t had a chance to get the group until that point. (I had my own title by the way, that I got before time limit was removed)

        my heals at 85 were barely higher then the heals I cast while in herald set in Ulduar. chain heal barely makes a dent and its no longer hasted through talents. it takes repeated greater healing waves – shaman’s biggest heal, a healing nuke if you will to bring the tank back up and its costly. very very costly. Fast yet expensive heal costly and it doesn’t hit much harder then fast expensive heal, but it sure takes longer to cast. healing wave – the small efficient heal is cheaper then greater heal overall, but its not even noticeable so it takes much much longer to pick p your tank..which is more often then not – deadly. riptide is more of a – “I need to haste my greater heal now” spell then actual heal. earth shield might as well not be there, with the way tanks are taking hits now – its gone before you can blink and its a very small buffer.

        I’ve always felt that 5 man instances are for people who simply don’t have the schedules (or skill, inclination, what have you) to run actual raids. so why are they taking as much time? why is there no difficulty choice?

        • Gordon says:

          “so why are they taking as much time? why is there no difficulty choice?”

          It’s a good question which I can only answer with my personal view that questing is the mechanic for soloers and grouping is the mechanic for people with time. Plus, the instances will certainally get easier as people get used to them.

  11. ogrebears says:

    I will eventually get up to those levels, maybe before the end of the year

  12. Andrew says:

    Oh sure – tempt me, Gordon :P

  13. Tesh says:

    I’m oddly reminded of Goldilocks and the Three Players. Some say it’s too easy, some say it’s too hard, and some say it’s just right.

    So who’s right?

    I maintain that difficulty is in the eye of the beholder, and that devs just need to make the game they want to make, but let players adjust their own experience as well as possible if the goal is a mass market game.

  14. Rivs says:

    “this coming from the pussy who plays DPS”

    You are what you eat. :P

    Coming from the ranks of the Vagina, DPS’ers don’t get the experience Tanks, and Healer do..For every 10 times you guys ran that dungeon we get one. Waiting around in line for 30-40 minutes also makes us a little testy while, Tanks and Healers get insta queue.

    So if we’re a little cranky when we die, and shit goes fubar, excuse us.

  15. “this coming from the pussy who plays DPS”

    Ahaha I’m going to have to steal that one for my own use. I’m planning on doing instances with my guildies though, at least for the first time through. One I’ve done so far went great. Sure we wiped a few times, but because it was a guild run it was full of support and we worked together trying to figure out how to do the bosses. I figure I’ll still tank for now, but only for guild runs. After I get everything down with my guildies, then I’ll see about braving the PuGs :P

    • Gordon says:

      I love tanking, it’s in my blood, and I don’t think I’m obnoxious about it (I hope so anyway ;) . I’m very patient with people who at least try and I don’t care how many times I die so long as everyone is having fun. The only thing I can’t stand is min/maxers who judge me by my a number on my gear :(

      • Dril says:

        I love tanking as well, and like you say, min/maxers piss me off immensely, especially when I’m playing my healer as well. I was utterly appalled when I read one of the WoW Insider columnists didn’t use a spell (Holy Shock I think it was) last expansion because one of it’s values wasn’t good enough. Seriously? You heal by numbers? That’s about the worst thing I think people can do: rely on the numbers. Sure, they’re nice to have, but methinks intuition and player thought are always far more important than “it’s X value isn’t good enough.”

    • Branes51 says:

      I have to respond to this, although my main is a DK. But I have a 75 mage. Please accept this in the “tongue in cheek” manner it’s presented.

      So who’s the pussy?The guy who goes into a instance or raid wearing enough steel to build a skyscraper, three or four different ways to bubble and basically heal himself, or the guy with a nightshirt and a stick, hoping like hell he doesn’t get noticed or run out of juice while blasting the crap out of the boss? And now some of the bosses have little buddies who ignore the tank and go after us squishies.

      I appreciate what the tank does to keep us nukers alive. and also being a DK, I’ve been there and done that too.

      But what I can’t stand is the DPS police who scream if you’re 1000 pts below what they think you should be.

      Some of these people need to get a life.

  16. ProtossPlayer says:

    I don’t think you should stereotype the DPS player. It’s just wrong maybe we are just a bunch of jerks but we are human and it is frustrating to have Tanks shout at us saying that we are not really doing a good job.

    Not try to piss anyone off, just trying to get my point through.

  17. Nils says:

    I like the new difficulty for normal dungeons. It’s ok for randoms.

    I have yet to use the DF to venture into a heroic dungeon after completing some with my guild. And I doubt I had much fun ;)

    While I like harder 5-mans on principle, I do not think that they fit into nowadays WoW. The exspectations of entitlement combined with a daily quest and the WotLK experience and newly gained player base make the current heroic dungeons a problem for sub numbers. Gear progression will not turn those heroics into easy content over night. That might take at last half a year, if not longer. I just wrote about it on my blog.

    • Gordon says:

      The increased challenge has certainly made my PUGs a lot more fun but I’m dreading seeing what the reaction is going to be when I tank my first heroic random. Gonna be a lot of people complaining about my health or iLevel before I’ve even tried tanking one mob :)

  18. WarlockMage says:

    It’s been a while since the last time I played Wow. Everything is so familiar yet unusual, so far everything has been okay (I particularly like the Worgen).

    This whole harder and challenging thing, is really a good push forward for all players I think, I consider myself not to be very good at Wow (quite bad actually) but I don’t dislike a bit of a challenge thats what makes this entire experience worthwhile. It’s why people even play these sorts of games and stuff, to experience the thrill and excitement of a challenge. In the end its just a game and usually the harder it gets the more fun it is (or guess so?).

  19. Tyler says:

    I hate it, and I am losing my mind. If i wanted a real accomplishment, I would do charity work, build a house, learn a new language or something. I come to this game to have fun, hang out with guild members, and just to have a good time, none of this wipe 10 times an instance bullshit. In all honesty, I am running the non-heroics and it is still too difficult. So I apologize to the people that devote their lives to this game and this were they feel accepted, but this is really annoying for casual players.

  20. Blah says:

    The heroics in this expansion are much too difficult right now and unless Blizzard nerfs them at some point (which I feel they will) many casual players (where Blizzard makes most of its profits from) will quit before the next expansion and the MMO giant will finally die. I understand that WOLK was on the easy side but that was in part due to the item levels vs. the heroic levels. Want a solution? Make it more like BC (difficult but not so difficult that the game stops being fun).

  21. Scope says:

    Back when wow started it was super super super hard. More than you can possibly imagine. Wow today is soft compared to what it was when originally released.

  22. sjouke van der naalt says:

    I just can aint reach lvl 25 because it’s to diffulcult. I am giving up with wow. This is not my game. I like fly, so just download a game where i am be able to fly in 3D.

    And for a second; you must play wow in groups, but i don’t get friends on wow. Soooo wow is nothing for me, it is useless, to diffulcult, you pay for something that you are not able to reach. The stupid makers of this game should think in single player, because there are humans they can’t have friends on wow. The makers of wow are stupid makers.

    they have no more brains then this. Quests are to diffulcult, they are not explaining how it works in a quest for what you must do and like that. The wow makers can better thinking about something betters then this, so people can lvl up in single player.

  23. Branes51 says:

    The basic concept of an MMO when it began back with Ultima Online was that a group of people would get together, use their abilities to support each other while fighting mobs with superior power. That usually involved some tactics. Not just barging in, aoe’ing everything in sight with no regard for agro levels and often discussing beforehand which mobs would get cc’d to stay out of the battle until they could be handled.
    This carried over to EQ and later WoW until somewhere in the middle of Burning Crusade, when gear got way overpowered, and groups just started blazing thru dungeons, all guns firing and damn the consequences. Part of the reason for that is Blizzard’s questionable decision to make some kinds of gear dependent on vast numbers of Valor points which could only be gained by spamming every dungeon in the game, over and over and over again. Either that or you had to keep killing the same boss over and over and over again to get that one set of shoulders or legs that you needed for your particular gear score. Thus, face rolling.
    Only a fool, however, would expect that to continue in a new expansion at least until people had become overgeared again and the whole process repeated itself.
    I quit for a year and a half for just that reason.
    One of the problems with learning new instances is, if you’re not with guildies or people you know, communication can be spotty. Typing is a very inefficient comm medium in a battle and PUGS generally don’t have Vent.

    And for the guy who complains about the difficulty of questing and leveling, you need to acquire a few addons to help you along. But most quests are outlined pretty well in the quest log along with maps to them, something we didn’t have in the first edition. Back in Everquest, before WoW, if we didn’t know where to go to get something, you asked somebody. Of course, that was before people became obnoxious jerks and would call you a stupid noob and go google. it.
    But Google is your friend in WoW. Anything you want to know about the game, it’s there. somewhere. You can fly in WoW but not until level 60. And you can get a mount at level 20. I don’t want to sound like one of those “in my day” guys, but in the beginning, you only got a mount at 60 and it cost $1000 gold or a very difficult quest for paladins and warlocks.
    As for considering solo players, Blizzard does. Almost any quest can be soloed except those specifically designed for groups and they are clearly designated as such.
    You need to learn how to pull only one mob or two at most depending on your class and what you can handle. Just because a quest giver gives you a quest, does not mean you are ready to handle it. Quests with green lettering in the log are below your level and should be easy. Yellow are at your level and will present some challenge. Orange and Red are over your level and should not be attempted alone. But keep in mind. World of Warcraft, Everquest 2, Lord of the Rings Online and games like that are Multiple player role playing games. They are not designed to be played solo, although you can.
    Games like Oblivion and Skyrim offer a lot of the same options as MMORPG’s, but for solo players.
    The makers of WoW are not stupid, they just made a multiplayer game that allows for people to play it solo, but that wasn’t the original intent.

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