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In Review: WoW's 10th Anniversary

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After the excitement of Blizzard's Warcraft anniversaries - 10 years of World of Warcraft, and 20 years of Warcraft - how did they turn out? Some incredible celebrations at BlizzCon 2014 were followed by the in-game event after the Warlords of Draenor release, with mixed results.

 

There were three core in-game features for the 10th anniversary:

 

- The Molten Corgi, for logging in during the event's duration;

 

- The Tarren Mill vs. Southshore 40v40 battleground, featuring level 90-99 and level 100 brackets; and

 

- The Molten Core 40-player LFR, which rewarded the inv_belt_45.jpgCore Hound Chain and a 640 item level epic helm, as well as chances at Hatespark the Tiny and achievement_firelands-raid_ragnaros.jpgFlames of Ragnaros.

 

World of Warcraft has been officially recognizing the November 23 anniversary (back to its 2004 release date) since 2008, when anyone who logged on that day received the Baby Blizzard Bear. In 2009, there was another one day window to receive Onyxian Whelpling. For the past four years, there has been no meaningful reward provided, but a two week window in which to log in for the relevant achievement.

 

In terms of providing new content and something unique for a major milestone, it's fair to say that Blizzard did a good job - the battle pet was popular, and the extra battleground was a nice touch. Out of the three features, arguably the weakest was actually the LFR version of Molten Core.

 

The huge disparity in level of difficulty and length between a typical LFR and the MC LFR was felt by anyone who queued to complete it. Having a singular reward - in this case, the mount or the helm - for completing it seemed reasonable. A number of players, however, felt forced to play through it numerous times to try and get the additional pet and vanity item, both of which were on a very low random chance to drop.

 

Between the mechanical challenges posed by simply quickly scaling up the old content (dispels of all flavours would like a word), the arduous length (many players reporting a typical MC clear in LFR taking over two hours), and the RNG nature of some of the limited-time-only rewards, this was always a recipe that was ultimately going to leave a sour taste in some players' mouths.

 

As a firm believer in the notion that WoW is not a game meant to be 'completed', and that no one player will ever have 100% of everything that was, or will be, ever available, it makes perfect sense (and is internally consistent with previous anniversaries and events) that there will not be a future way to acquire the Core Hound mount or Molten Corgi. With something like the Hatespark pet, though, it seems likely to frustrate players - generally speaking, low-chance random drops for pets, mounts, etc. are available for players to continue to attempt to get long after the content is no longer relevant. This is one of the only examples of a limited-time reward with such a low chance for players to have received it, and drove a number of players to reclear the MC LFR numerous times for no benefit whatsoever.

 

If Blizzard were to put together another 'retro raid' LFR in the future for some reason, there are a handful of takeaways from this experience:

 

1. LFR, as a difficulty, has always been presented as a way to 'see the story'. Making it any more difficult than that feels like a punishment, given the consistent expectation developed across the whole LFR paradigm otherwise.

 

2. Guaranteed rewards for limited-time events are great. They foster a reason for players to log in and play, and to try the short-term content.

 

3. Low-percentage chance rewards in event-based content are always going to frustrate some players due to RNG.

 

4. Updating a handful of mechanics, while changing the 'experience' from what it was, would make the process more enjoyable.

 

5. Shorter morsels of content are vastly preferable. A 30-minute experience is infinitely more accessible than a two hour one.

 

Having said all of that, it was a great celebration of ten years of World of Warcraft! Would you like to see more updated retro raids brought to LFR in the future? 

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I loved the concept of bringing back 40man MC as a LFR, but having all the rewards tied to just ragnaros was really a drag, especially in the first few weeks when a full MC clear could easily take 3-4 hours, if you even got a group that could get past the corehounds. In the last week or so I was able to farm MC in 2 hours or less while trying to get a hatespark. That wasn't too bad, but it was still a drag that there was no reward until Ragnaros, and at that point I was just farming for a 10% chance pet, and a ~1% chance enchant.

 

I'd love to see them bring back old raids like this more often, but they need to have a full loot table if they're going to be this long, even if it's just heroic dungeon level gear or nothing more than transmog. Spending 2, 3, 4+ hours just to get loot on the final boss is too long. I would have loved running MC multiple times as a means of gearing up my alts instead of spamming heroic dungeons. just take the gear models that already exists, remove class restrictions, and update the stats to 630 ilvl.

 

Also if Blizzard ever wants to break the internet . . . Naxx40. 1 month only, full loot table just for transmog purposes, remove class restrictions and set bonuses from all T3 sets. Blizzard would pick up at least 1 million subscribers that month from all the veterans re-subscribing just to get their transmog sets in case they ever do want to come back.

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