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Coming Up: World of Warcraft Patch 3.2 on Game and Player

Coming Up: World of Warcraft Patch 3.2

Heather Richtmyre  //  July 2, 2009

What does new content mean for the player community?


otes for the next World of Warcraft patch have been published (located here). Most significant are the lowering the level requirements for mounts, and a new raid dungeon and player-versus-player battleground. Also, major changes are being made to the emblem system.

I was ambivalent about the mount changes until I wound up working on leveling my hunter. Running him from one zone to another reminded me how irritating the travel time at lower levels could be.

Upcoming changes bring the casual-versus-hardcore-player argument to the forefront.All raid content (heroic dungeons, Tier 7 and Tier 8 content), will drop one type of in-game currency — Emblems of Conquest. With these presently only available from the highest level content, and used to buy items that may only cost 18 or 20 emblems, this will make high-level gear easily available. Also, daily dungeon quests will offer the new Emblems of Triumph, which will drop from Tier 9 raids, as rewards as well.

Now that I've given at least a cursory look at the patch notes, I'd like to look over one area the upcoming change brings to the forefront among the player base: the old casual-versus-hardcore argument. Given the pure inadequacy of such an approach, I'd prefer to look at a few different factors of players. Namely, how both a player's drive for competence, and the amount of time they have to spend in-game, can alter behavior.

For example: I've seen players who are on quite a bit, but spend most of that time in Dalaran, chatting or roleplaying, with the occasional heroic dungeon-run or player-versus-player battle in Wintergrasp. One of these people, when brought into even an introductory raid, showcased extremely poor performance. Lots of time, but much of it wasted whenever they tried to pursue group activities because of their priorities.

I also know players who have busy work schedules, and thus spend the majority of their limited time in World of Warcraft raiding, or some other competitive activity. One is an assistant raid leader for an Ulduar 10-man group in one of the better raid guilds on my server. These players seem to suffer the most frustration when a group takes longer then usual, as it's not abnormal for them to have to leave at a specific time.

The Crusaders' Coliseum: a lot of
raiding, a lot of rewards.
There are also players who spend copious amounts of time in-game working on perfecting their character for raiding and engaging in raids, and players who are not on much and spend most of their time online in less competitive behavior.

So far as conflict goes, most of what I have seen comes from the first group of players trying to engage in activities with the second and third groups, who are much more focused on performance. Given that the second group is the most likely to have limited time for raids or other events, the conflict is particularly hostile there.

And while I doubt that the constant name-calling of "casual," "bad," "hardcore," or "elitist" will stop anytime soon, it's often laughable when it is assumed that anyone who has done more than you in the game setting spends all of their time dedicated to such, or that someone who has done less is not, in fact, doing what they desire to with their game time.

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