Sunday, July 29, 2007

Attunements

Attunements are an interesting topic of discussion. They are obvious "gates" to content. The benefit of attunements is that they provide a pathway to content. You do Karazhan and Gruul before Serpentshrine Cavern, you do Magtheridon before Tempest Keep.

For most of WoW, the pathway is provided by level. At level 35-40, you do Scarlet Monastery, 40-45 Uldaman, etc. But at endgame, Blizzard resorts to attunements to provide the same pathway.

There are actually several types of attunements in WoW. First are the keys, where only one person in the group needs the key in order to :

  1. Upper Blackrock Spire
  2. Shattered Halls
  3. Shadow Labyrinth
  4. Arcatraz

Second are the initial raid attunments, where you need complete a non-raid instance to attune to a raid instance.
  1. Molten Core
  2. Blackwing Lair
  3. Karazhan

Third are the heroic instances, where you need to run a fair amount of non-heroic instances before being allowed to run heroics.

Finally, there are attunements which require you to complete raid instances.
  1. Serpentshire Cavern (Removed)
  2. Tempest Keep (Removed)
  3. Mount Hyjal
  4. Black Temple


But how many of these attunements are really necessary? The thing is that players are pretty good at figuring out what the pathways are. AQ40 had no attunement, but everyone knew you had to beat Blackwing Lair before moving on.

Would anything really change if the keys for the first set of instances didn't exist? I don't think anything would really be different, save that it would have been a lot easier to make groups for UBRS back in the day.

To be honest, out of all the attunements listed above, the only one I think is actually necessary is the Karazhan attunement. Insisting that you have successfully done several of the regular instances before moving on to Karazhan is probably a good idea, especially for guilds and players who have never raided before. Attuning for BWL is unnecessary, as most people know that MC comes first, and Razorgore will ensure that you understand this.

As well, I think the implementation of the fourth class of attunements is not done well. It's not enough to be able to attune your current raid, you need to be able to attune your entire raiding force. For example, let's say your guild successfully defeats Kael'thalas. The next day, all excited, you head for Mount Hyjal. What are the odds that you will be able to field a full raid? For most guilds, the odds are low, because you need the exact same 25 people as the previous night. But you won't get the exact same people. A couple will not be able to log on for real life reasons, and you'll need to swap other people in. Only because of the attunement, you can't. And that's just messy and saps your momentum.

In general, artificial barriers to content are not really necessary. There are already enough real barriers in terms of level, difficulty, and required gear. Keys and attunements are not going to significantly slow down the hardcore, and they just make life more annoying for the more casual players. I think that WoW would not be hurt by removing most of the attunements and keys in the game.

6 comments:

kiryn said...

I think that the WoW developers agree with you, at least somewhat. They DID remove the attunement requirements for several raid dungeons, after all.

Anonymous said...

I find the idea of having to run the same instances 5+ times to get revered with a faction to get heroic keys a little stupid. It makes everyone get sick of them by the end.

I would rather see a quest chain to get heroic keys. So what if your not geared for them. The moment you step into it, you'll know fairly quickly! :-)

K.

Anonymous said...

If you walked into outlands and followed the intended progression you had the rep you needed to do heroic's at 70. Or were within 1 run. Outside of aldor/scryor none of the BC reps have been "grinds".

From a my guild is able to progress standpoint I don't mind that they removed attunement's for SSC or Tempest Keep. But I also wouldn't have minded doing them.

SSC should give CE rep.

Drake

Kaziel said...

One could counter that the reason they have attunement checks beyond the initial raid instance is that sometimes certain bosses will be easier, and are accessible (this is done to allow players to not waste time fighting old mobs that have drops that no one needs), so players will gain access to loot above the intended gear quality for where they are at.

An example of this is Void Reaver. VR is considered one of the easier 25-man raid bosses, and able to be gotten to without fighting any other bosses in The Eye. The intended kill order goes something like this: Karazhan > Gruul's Lair > Magtheridon > SSC > Al'ar > Void Reaver. The generally suggested killing order I've seen, since the attunement to SSC and The Eye were removed, is this: Karazhan > Maulgar > Gruul > Void Reaver > Magtheridon. Despite the intended progression route, many people are getting their T5 shoulders before they are getting their T4 chest pieces. The problem lies in that they can't significantly up the damage the boss does without making the fight ridiculously hard, and once you understand the basic concept of the VR fight, you can pretty much avoid a lot of the damage done to the non-tanks. If you have 3-4 good tanks and some good you should be able to beat him.

So while in theory players should go from A to B to C, it doesn't always work out that way. I've said before and maintain now that the reason why the attunements to The Eye and SSC were removed is because they required doing Heroic runs. Attunements that involve mostly doing stuff you would be doing anyway, for example a raid instance requiring a few normal 5-mans and maybe doing a few fights in another raid instance, are not that bad. But having one of those raid instances require that you get a person up to revered with 4 factions then go do some of the hardest heroics in the game was way overboard. So they removed it, and it threw the planned "kill order" out the window.

GSH said...

Yes, the attunements involving heroics were unnecessary. But there are other methods to keep difficulty in line, and people on the "intended path".

Void Reaver doesn't have to be so easy. Or maybe A'lar should not be skippable.

Secondly, does it really matter if people are killing Void Reaver first? Content is made to be experienced, and if T5 shoulders help some guilds kill Magtheridon, all the better. After all, Season 2 PvP weapons are probably helping out a good deal as well.

Should the developers really care that people are going from A to C to B, rather than A to B to C? As long as the content is being experienced, let players do what they want.

The only time they really need to step in is if people are going from A to C, and never doing B.

Jehu said...

Blizzard is in business to make money, so they have to find a way to keep emptying people's pockets on a monthly basis. They know that players that want to experience and see limited access content will do what it takes to get there. Hence, beyond the challenge of the actual content therein, there also has to be a way to slow down access to that content so it is not experienced too quickly, thereby extending the amount of time a player stays "hooked" on the game and keeps paying a monthly fee.

Like all businesses, they want to keep the players relatively happy, and in order to do that, there has to be limits on the processes to access limited-access content. Not too hard or long, but not too easy. Just enough to keep 'em coming back...

But I do agree with you. Being a veteran EverQuest player, I truly loath drawn-out keying/flagging processes.