Although I am no longer raiding in Warcraft, I still keep up on all the gossip and watch some of the action, listening to the drama on TeamSpeak. My guild is currently doing ToC hardmodes, and really struggling with it since they didn’t gear everyone up on normal modes prior to trying to conquer hardmode. There have been recent /gquits, and a lot of drama, finger-pointing and name-calling. They’re not a happy group right now.
All of this made me think how I miss old-style instances, back in the day when Blizzard didn’t care if only a small percentage of players ever got to see the hardest raid content. Now, of course, they design various versions of encounters, so that guilds of any level can experience content, and I suppose that is a good thing. But hardmodes feel too much like achievement wipe nights – I remember wiping on the Sarth 3D encounter for ages, and hating every minute of it. Yeah, there’s slightly better loot, but I didn’t care about the mount, or the achievement. We got it in the end, but at a cost – just the same as doing ToC hardmodes.
Sunwell pre-nerf was a hard instance, and we wiped there plenty of nights. To be honest, we probably wouldn’t have completed it prior to the expansion if they hadn’t had a nerf to many of the bosses. I know that a lot of guilds never got to see all of that instance, and in that sense it was probably a waste of resources for Blizzard. But you know what? When you finally downed a new boss, there was such a sense of achievement. The yells and screams over TeamSpeak were deafening when that problem encounter was finally solved. That was a rush, and I loved it.
Now, though, once you’ve done normal mode, hard mode isn’t much different aside from being more of a gear check. It’s not new, and some of the hardmodes are insanely hard. Maybe it’s just me, I don’t know…but personally? I would rather have Sunwell type of instances to beat. Give me skill checks rather than gear checks, and let me have new bosses rather than just harder versions of old bosses.