So Blizzard has announced that it is effectively making threat redundant with a new hotfix and then a patch. I see. I suppose that they had to do this sooner or later; once you start down the road of player induced mediocrity it’s just about impossible to go back. The reason that Blizzard find themselves in this situation is because the made the very large mistake of taking their game in the direction that a large number of their player base were yelling for: make raiding accessible for everyone.
A few days ago I was watching a documentary of raiding in WoW and something struck me; raiding, hardcore raiding, is very much like having a job. I mean, you have to be seriously fucking dedicated to do it well. And back in the glory days of Burning Crusade, (which I like to think as the high water mark of WoW and raiding), it took a huge amount of organization, teamwork, and dedication to pull a raid team together and get results. It also took skill. So it was not for everyone, in fact it was only the top 5% or so of players who were able to raid successfully.
A lot of players didn’t like this, they wanted raiding to be more accessible for all. Which meant making it easier to get into and easier to do. But the fact remains that during this period Blizzard had huge growth in subscriber numbers. If these players were all so unhappy, if the system was so blatantly unfair, why then did the amount of people playing WoW continue to grow so much? To be fair, Blizzard probably made the mistake of being too greedy as opposed to listening to their player-base; they probably had visions of subscription numbers going ballistic once they made raiding accessible to all. All that happened was that the hard core element of players became disillusioned with the game and drifted away. Which is a very big deal indeed; make no mistake, nerds are loyal. But once you take away the very elements that made the game a challenge to a certain type of player, it makes it impossible to go back.
So now we find ourselves in the situation where taking threat from the game is seen as an improvement. It may be for the present general player base, but lets face it, that’s not saying much.