There’s some talk on the WoWosphere about whether Firelands is too damn easy.
Certainly, a lot of people have been posting some pretty impressive kill speeds. Most hardcore raiders seem to have splattered through Normal Mode in a week and are now engaging Hard Mode. For me, a fairly casual raider at best, that seems pretty remarkable. And some of the ultra-pro guilds are already at 6/7 bosses on Hard Mode.
But does that mean that we’ve got the equivalent of the Trial of the Crusader on our hands here? Graylo at Gray Matter doesn’t think so:
Let me ask you this. What if a new golf course was opened in your area and as a promotion they had Tiger Woods come and play an early round to generate publicity. Would you say that the course was too easy if Tiger Woods hit 15 under par in that round? If the course was designed to be a championship level course then probably, but if it’s intended to service the local population then maybe not.
If the WoW endgame was intended to test the most elite players then I would agree that Firelands is too easy, but that isn’t the case. The raid encounters are designed with a broader population in mind.
Since e-sports are a comparatively new field, I don’t think most of us have really acclimatised to just how much better the top players are than almost anyone else. I used to play competitive Quake, and I was pretty darn good – ranked 300-ish in Europe, and good enough that me playing a pickup game against casual Quake players was frankly just unfair. At the same time, I used to spend a certain amount of time playing on the same servers as the top 10 players – and I’m still proud of the fact that I once managed to hit Sujoy Roy. Not, you know, actually frag him, just impact him with a projectile that did damage. Because people who are really good are much, much better than those who are just good.
In conventional sports, we get this. I know perfectly well that just because Chuck Liddell can flatten someone in the UFC ring doesn’t mean I wouldn’t be a damp, sticky paste after 3 seconds against the same guy. But in MMOs, we haven’t had the same acclimatisation, we don’t have the TV coverage, we don’t really get the chance to compare ourselves directly. And thus, we don’t fully realise just how much harder content would have to be to prevent Ensidia from flattening it, compared to content which normal raiders would bounce off for months.