First, I wanted to let you know I’ll be going out of town starting tomorrow until late Monday. With limited-to-no Internet access where I’m going, I expect there’ll be no updates during that time.
On another note, there’s been plenty of discussion about attunements recently, and I think plenty of very solid points have been made on either side. Some feel they were cumbersome and got in the way of playing, causing people who’ve done them over and over to have to continue doing them to get others on their prospective raid team ready. Others think they were a great way to immerse yourself more fully in the story line of the raids, helping you understand who these bosses are and why you’re there. Both sides make very strong arguments, and really the difference simply comes down to play style. Some people want to explore and enjoy the game in multiple facets, and others view raiding (or dungeon crawling) as the only real point to the game. There’s no “right” way to play, though, so the debate continues.
I’ve always enjoyed attunements. I used to do the Karazhan attunement even when you no longer needed to. Prior to all of my beautiful keys (my preciouses) being stolen, I had done basically every dungeon and raid attunement that you could do without having to put together out-of-date raids (I never finished the Black Temple attunement, as I was a brand new-ish player and was only raiding Karazhan at the time). I enjoyed the storylines associated with them, and I felt they added something to actually getting into the raid. Nowadays, when you can step in to a raid minutes after you ding 85, it all feels so cheap, but that’s what Blizzard wants: more accessibility.
Players don’t really have to earn things any more in WoW. Virtually everything was an uphill struggle for a long time, and that struggle made the few low-hanging fruits of success that much sweeter when you got them. So much has been sacrificed in the name of convenience that the game has lost the edge it once had. Now, the entire game is low-hanging fruit, so no one appreciates what they have. It’s why you see the older players getting bitter or bored. It’s why you see more and more snotty trolls in chat. It’s about the degrading of value: the value of success, the value of community, the value of the game.
But there’s a flip side to this coin that we have to be careful of, as well: hazing. Attunements were a form of digital hazing. You had to undergo a ritual that was inconvenient (really? Go to the Dalaran crater in Alterac from Deadwind Pass before old world flying? REALLY?), painful, and that your friends were frequently involved in. No lives were threatened unlike real hazing rituals (don’t get me started about how stupid those are, and by those I’m not sure if I mean the rituals or the desperate-to-fit-in “victims” who undergo them), so it’s not a perfect metaphor, but it’ll do. Part of that culture is to pass the misery on. Perhaps those of us who love attunements have a part inside us thinking that if we did it, so should the new players. The inconvenience made us strong, so others should have to suffer it, as well. Perhaps this is just about hazing.
I don’t think we can be safely sure that we’re not just passing on a hazing culture here. I still like attunements and would like to see more of them. I still like to get to revered in my BC reps before moving on (nowhere near possible with how low the BC xp bar is set nowadays; I didn’t even get honored in some of them in this last playthrough). I still like to go see Akama in SMV. It was all part of the experience for me, and now that they’ve been stripped of relevance, it feels like an act of respect, of reverence, for old game material that’s been forgotten. I’d like to see it come back, but I’m sure it would arrive to a fanfare of bitching and moaning from the new culture of entitlement within the game. Remember the reception the firelands dailies got? How quickly did Blizz nerf the length of the opening part from 3 days to 1? The Argent Tournament had the same structure, and it was never changed. That goes to show both how much more entitled players feel now and how much more willing Blizzard is to cave to them.
No, we have a culture of convenience and ease now, and it comes with its good and bad, just like the culture of struggling did. Each convenience solved a struggle but created a new problem, too. That’s the thing about technology; it doesn’t solve problems as much as it changes them. Consider all of WoW’s advances: LFD, LFR, Real ID, less talent points, no talent points, old-world flying. Each one has come with its own cost, shifting the problems so things look better.
Stubborn (and attuned)