Wipes weren't what they used to are

| Tuesday, September 14, 2010
I ran across another person scared out of his mind of the dreaded "wipe" and the awful "trash".

How could you raid back then with the sheer amount of boring trash mobs all over? its awful... I was doing some Stratholme runs to maybe get the baron's mount and I was utterly disgusted by the instance: 20 million trash mobs all linked together so 1 miss-pull could spell wipe for the entire group.

There was a time when trash could accurately be called "Equally interesting yet non-epic-dropping non-bosses". Players had to pull carefully or risk the dreaded wipe. Yes, risk. What a strange concept! Next thing I'll tell you that bosses needed tanks and some weren't a pure DPS race.

Was there a lot of trash? Yes. But trash was different. First off, less boring since you weren't half-afk spamming AoEs. But there was also the incentive bit: trash dropped more interesting stuff. Sure there were the usual boring things like vendor trash and cloth, but also scourgestones and bits of bone that were desired for things related to Naxxramas floating above EPL.

When you're not planning to burn down an instance in 15 minutes on a slow day, a wipe isn't going to wreck your careful badge grinding schedule. Besides, how people reacted to a wipe was another way to evaluate people for possible recruitment. The guy who just lays there waiting for a res, maybe he isn't the best candidate. The first guy back, rebuffing and drinking, that's a potential keeper, assuming he's not the one who caused the wipe in the first place. When everyone is just a bunch of anonymous jackasses, wipes can say something. When we had to invest some time to get to an instance and complete it we also weren't so eager to ditch after one wipe the way people often do during their random instance mini-game.

And of course our gear sucked. Maybe a wipe hurts if you're in full epics, but only raiders had epics and if they wiped it was because they were trying for a speed run. Badass, am I right? Yea. When you're in half greens, a wipe isn't all that expensive. But no, these days we don't want to get our beautifully crafted dresses dirty and do you know how much these shoes cost!?

But I'm missing the true point: when someone is running a place for and only for a single extremely rare drop, then anything, whether challenging or trivial, boring or fun, cheap or expensive, is just an obstacle. Yes, a surprising new idea that I'm sure you've not heard a thousand times before: when you do something only for the result, the process is less fun than it might be otherwise.

Setting that idiocy aside, I want to clarify that I didn't enjoy wiping. I'd have rather not wiped. But they weren't the end of the world, the cue to spew rants about noobs, the cue to requeue with a new crew. And even while they weren't fun, they provided a standard of comparison, so that smooth runs were a reward for an instance well run rather than the trivially boring standard.

This isn't just vanilla nostalgia. It's also BC nostalgia. Even then we still played with our own server and weren't teleported directly into the instance. We'd wipe in SL and run back, rethinking our pulls. Or SH. Or Arcatraz. Okay fine sometimes in Arc we'd just give up and go home because that last boss was a bit too dependent on the group makeup.


theanorak said...

Hmm. Increasingly I think nothing has changed, even though I wasn't there to see it.

Take the time to put together a 5 man group -- from your guild, or just from the server -- and you'll most likely have the same experiences you had previously. Wiping won't be a whingefest, you can play how you want. It might take a little longer to assemble if you're picking up non-guildies, but you can still do it.

Accepting that playstyles differ in randomly selected, instaported groups is something that would make all of our lives easier. It's the price you pay for the free teleport, and the extra badges, and for not having to hang out in [location] spamming LFM. But like the saying goes, there ain't no such thing as a free lunch.

Anonymous said...

I agree here. The other day we experienced a wipe in Nexus (normal, levelling) because someone pulled an extra group. The nerdrage didn't wait of course in the usual "FFS "NOOBS" etc. I just said "relax, it was just a wipe" (and nowadays the corpse run to an instance isn't a 5 minute one either).

The nerd ragers then assumed I was smoking pot because I was taking it "so cool". I realised it's "default" to nerd rage today just as it was default to stfu and analyze what went wrong and do it again 3-5 years ago.

I blame the WoW 2.0 chew off and spit out content: everything has to go FAST and it has to happen yesterday. 2 minutes is considered "too long". These people wouldn't have reached level 5 in original WoW, they would return to their Xbox or whatever console was popular back then. Now, they are playing WoW instead for better and for worse.

If Cataclysm will launch like it's current beta status some people are in for a rude and cold awakening, even though Cata (beta) is not close to what Vanilla was.

Klepsacovic said...

@theanorak: The time to put together a group such as that would be slower now than it used to be. The pool of players outside the automated system is smaller. And there isn't the glorious global lfg channel.

The funny thing is, when you're making a virtual world, there can be free lunches. The free badge could go to pre-formed groups in specific instances rather than random groups in random places. Or we could have the lfg tool restricted to a single server without the teleport, meaning that players play with people they'll see again.

@pvpmasters: I agree that players act different, but as I said in an earlier post, I think it's mostly the same players just with different behavior. It's easy and useless to just blame it on the "xbox crowd."

Syl said...

lol I read that comment on tobold's blog too and found it truly hillarious - it's SO representative of what bugs me about the game right now.
I wiped, oh noes. trash takes time and care, oh noes. I can't pug any given instance with trained monkeys, oh noes.

sorry am being particularly sarcastic today.

and it's very true about the obstacles, thats all they are - so might as well make them a little interesting? we'd probably not be bored out of our minds now either if 5mans had been harder and longer in wotlk - we'd still be collecting stuff.
and MgT was a nightmare, loved and hated it because it was still a challenge.

Quicksilver said...

That was my hasty written post over there...

Thing is, the wipe per-se isn't the scary thing, but the sheer repetition of it all.

I mean, if I am to kill boring mobs with no particularly interesting mechanics, might as well do it quickly.

Over-tune their stats to create a high wipe risk and all you get is a "High Risk Low Reward" grind.

I'm sorry but my time is more precious than that.

Dont get me wrong: I would love an instance like MgT all over again which spelt diversity and difficulty into one place. It's the "1 million boring but overpowered mobs in one place" kind of philosophy which I despise.

Nikodhemus said...

I still find trash pulls entertaining, whether tanking or shooting... especially when soloing or 2-manning an instance. I've tanked good old RFC and finished in 10 min at level 16. I've also completed it with a shaman and a mage as the entire party, one at 16 the other at 14, and let me tell you that makes the trash pulls much more exciting. Each pull, if not handled VERY carefully, can spell your death. Brings back good old CC, Claw Totem all that crap we don't even look at anymore.

There are a few places not worth wiping at, like Blackrock or Mauradon, or even Coilfang Reservoir. Nexus? Bah, that's a blast at any level...

Mike ... said...

"The first guy back, rebuffing and drinking, that's a potential keeper,..."

That's me! Maybe I have a shot at getting in your raid group!

".. assuming he's not the one who caused the wipe in the first place."

Or not.

Klepsacovic said...

@Syl: Beside harder, just making instances longer would mean we run them less per day, so maybe we get just as bored after X runs, but not as bored after X days.

@Okrane S: Do you mind if we still go with the Stratholme area? The mobs were pretty variable and not merely overtuned. The patrols meant pulling had to be done carefully. Some of the cultists in there had nasty effects like a health/mana drain, but which was easily interupted, thereby rewarding paying attention to what's going on. Surely those are something more than boring mobs with no particularly interesting mechanics. I'll grant you the packs around live side were often just a generic weak casters and weak melee skeletons, but those were truly trash, not overtuned and boring mobs.

@Nikodhemus: Undermanning instances is a quick way to make them a lot more interesting. Just the other day my mage found himself running the bottom of ST with no tank.

@Mike: IT WAS YOU!

John said...

I completely agree with your post. The lack of proper pulls and crowd control has nothing to do with a false sense of nostalgia. It's entirely about game mechanics that simply have changed drastically over time. Like someone mentioned earlier: today speed is everything. GOGOGO! This sucks!

Quicksilver said...


You have to agree though that the instances in vanilla had a much higher ratio of uninteresting (albeit difficult) pulls in there and that the instances had an unnecessary amount of trash.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes Skyriss was easier than flaming infernals trash mobs before him. You wiped on them until you could convince your group that grouping up actually spreads damage from meteor and allows for survival...

Oxymustard said...

Good old times, I can still remember running Strat for the first time. It took us nearly 4 hours (few wipes) to clear. People were way more laid back and less whiney. We were also insanely happy with the phat BLUE loots we got, nowadays it's all about the numbers (fucking gearscore)

Nils said...

I agree.

Bit off topic:
What saddens me is that MMORPG players seem to be drifting apart in two distinct groups. Like left and right they do not read each others blogs and if they dare to comment on a blog of the wrong side they are encouraged to stop commenting.

I mean, I agree with what you write. But I know that there are a lot of people who disgaree and none of them seems to comment. That is not good. Neither in politics nor in games.

Klepsacovic said...

@Okrane S: Many instances did have more trash and much of that trash was uninteresting. But for early isntances I think that is a good thing. Low levels are for learning the basics: pulling, tanking, healing, picking targets. Players often don't evne have the necessary counters or only recently learned them. As you go up trash becomes more interesting, though I will acknowledge that as much as I enjoy BRD, it does have a very high amount of boring trash.

I agree that vanilla had unnecessary amounts of trash. But LK often has too little. It's a difficult setup to get right.

@Anonymous: If only they'd done AQ!

@Oxymustard: Four hours is perhaps a bit long. Unless of course you had fun.

@Nils: Okrane's always here to disagree. ;)
I see what you're saying though. I've stopped reading a blog here and there that was just too ridiculous.

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