WoW Wednesday: The Gatekeeping of the End Game

World of Warcraft is a deceptively easy game to pick up and play. Despite all of its issues in pacing and progression throughout the leveling experience just about every single class is intuitive enough in Battle for Azeroth to quickly grasp. I myself can personally attest to that fact; despite maining a Priest for most of BFA, I’ve recently made the transition to a Hunter alt that I’m enjoying and slowly polishing my skills with. While I’m certainly nowhere near ready to begin pushing the arena rating I want with it, I’m more than prepared to start hitting for the lower aspects of the ladders. However, even with more skilled characters players can often find themselves facing down particular situations in Warcraft that can slow if not bar their progress in the end-game entirely. Gatekeeping is a problem in WoW.

Now what is gatekeeping? Gatekeeping is a method identified as barring or controlling people from participating in or using certain things. In Warcraft this occurs primarily in two major streams of the endgame both in Mythic and Heroic raiding, but also predominantly in Rated Player vs. Player content.

Why does gatekeeping occur? For one simple reason: content is hard.


In the Raiding scene Mythic (or Cutting Edge) raiding is the most mechanically difficult content in
World of Warcraft. A perfect example of the intensity raiders have to mitigate can be witnessed in the Gul’dan encounter in Mythic Nighthold from Legion. The encounter begins with Gul’dan’s fully powered-up state from previous difficulties at the beginning of the fight, further increasing already high damage numbers due to difficulty. Gul’dan then empowers himself to a further state over the course of the battle including a move that can instantly kill players during a phase transition at 66% health. After his defeat, the fight then continues with a unique encounter against a new boss enemy, with new abilities and difficult mechanics. All of this falls on top of increased boss health, enemy mobs spawning in, increased damage percentiles and people managing 20-man groups to pull off the encounter flawlessly.

It’s not hard to see why players involved in raiding want to settle for their best teams possible. This form of self-curation has existed since Vanilla Warcraft, where players could become both famous and infamous within their server community. Later during Wrath Gearscore became the mark that players measured each other’s skill level, as most classes were incredibly gear dependent to a certain extent. Up until Battle for Azeroth with the release of Raider.IO, item level became the big determining factor for player recruitment.

Rated Player Vs. Player content features similar issues across the board due to its reward systems and tiers. In Battle for Azeroth rewards are now gameplay oriented, however, throughout RPvP’s history impressive cosmetic rewards have been synonymous with elite status. Those rewards are tied directly to your Rating, a publicly viewable score that actively adjusts based on your performance. Your personal rating will go up and down as you win matches, increasing and decreasing at a higher rate depending on who you participate with. If you win games with players with a higher rating, yours will skyrocket. If you lose matches while playing with those who have a lower rating than yours, it will plummet.


As such, players naturally only want to compete and play with those of a similar rating and perceived skill level. Some will only want to play with particular, guaranteed proven compositions of classes. With RPvP rewards being restricted to the highest echelons of players, of course others only want to compete with the best of the best. At any moment you could find yourself on a losing streak and your rating could drop between fifty points or five-hundred points depending on your partners’ placement.


Thus comes an incumbent problem with these aspirations of the end-game. Whether you want to be the Gladiator or the killer of Mythic Jaina, players naturally only want to work with those on their skill level to minimize their wasted time. As such, the bar is set high to disqualify those without either the experience in completing lesser difficulties or the equipment and higher gear on their character. Some face fewer issues depending on their server population, some higher. Being based on an RP server, we have one super-sized PvP guild and as such I need to form pick-up-groups if I wish to progress in Rated Battlegrounds. A personal friend based on a PvP oriented realm faces a similar issue with only a handful of raiding guilds and none forming any additional teams.

As such, here’s where we find the problem with gatekeeping magnified. Is gatekeeping inherently wrong? Absolutely not. As a current player in the RPvP circuit, forced exclusivity has forced me to play better in compositions and learn as much as I can. Certainly, I just lost 20 rating with a bad team but now I can recognize the differences between a very good Rogue and a very bad one. Of course, my friend lost a night raiding a Mythic PuG and wiping on the first boss, but now they recognize what really doesn’t make a good raid leader. Failing is as good a teaching tool as playing beside higher-level competitors. Is it frustrating to want progression and effectively take three huge steps backwards? Absolutely.


So what is the solution to this issue, at least in the World of Warcraft? Surely its to get a team of your own together, and on the surface this is a good solution. However, for higher player content, such as Rated Battlegrounds and Mythic Raiding, this becomes innately more difficult. It’s a simple task to rally a few friends for Arenas, despite the fact that high-level rewards are now only afforded to top-tier 3v3 players. However, the often more expansive and broader gameplay is instead even more difficult to breach into due to sheer numbers. Cultivating a cohesive team in the long term is a task that most players simply do not have the time to engage with, nor the skillset to maintain.

 

So here’s my question to you: Gatekeeping seems to be a necessary part of culling the chaff from the wheat. But when that chaff is really some of the most eager and healthiest bushels of the plant, where do we as players have to go against our gut and give people a better chance?

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Secret World Legends Adds Lair Megabosses and Manhattan Raid

So there’s a Secret World Legends raid now. It has you fighting against something that’s called “The Unutterable Lurker”. Doesn’t that just sound like a snuggly good time? If so, then the latest update to the MMO is right up your very weird and disturbing alley. But hey, you do you.

secret world legends raid

SWL’s top-end content lies in the Manhattan Exclusion Zone, where ten players will get to face off against Captain Huggy Squid and any number of other horrors within the instance. The raid is available to anyone who is at least level 50 and is offered in a variety of difficulty levels.

Rewards include new Extraordinary Weapons and Talismans with new effects, and have no key or token requirement to collect though there will be a timed lockout.

In addition to the New York raid, Lair Megabosses can now be challenged. These 40-player fights are summoned at the Public Raid portal in Agartha provided you have the right sort of items harvested from Regional Lair bosses. Lair Megaboss access is offered first to the summoner’s group and nearby cabalmates and then becomes publicly available until 40 players are in.

Rewards for taking down these massive monsters are stashed within a chest that can be opened with one Lair Key, while the summoner receives extra rewards at no additional cost.

The latest update has a variety of other adjustments in it, so be sure to check out the patch notes.

Our Thoughts

…eeugh. Well, now players will get to fully take on the huge monster that they first encountered during the game’s opening beats. We’re certain that Secret World Legends players are always eager for more reasons to share their world in this “shared world RPG”.

Source: official site

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Bungie Offers Up Dates for Destiny 2 Endgame Activities

With Destiny 2 swiftly heading to its launch on console, the more devoted players will perhaps want to know how soon they can start Destiny 2 endgame activities. Bungie has answered the call with a number of release dates for the online FPS’ late-level instances.

destiny 2 endgame

According to the Bungie weekly post, three tiers of endgame activities will be available at different times post-launch. Nightfall Strikes will be immediately available when the game goes live, while the first raid will go live on Friday, September 13th and the Trials will go live on Sunday, September 15th. Both tiers of activities will be available after 10am PST.

Another feature that will see later release is Guided Games, which will let solo players link up with in-game Clans to work as a fireteam and tackle group content. In order to let Clans form up and reduce the potential for long queue times, Guided Games will be in a “soft beta” state.

Nightfall Guided Games begin beta on Thursday, September 12th and solo Seeker access will be limited to only 30 to 50% of the playerbase depending on Clan participation. After that, full Guided Game access for Nightfall Strikes and the raid is expected to go live on Thursday, September 26th with no Seeker restrictions.

The weekly update has further details to prepare Destiny 2 console players for what’s ahead, including information on how Engram decoding now works (spoiler: you don’t have to wear your best gear for Engrams to grant improved drops). You can read the post in full on Bungie’s website.

Our Thoughts

If you’re one of those who will play Destiny 2 on PS4 or Xbox One, your time is almost ready. Perhaps the first question to be answered will be how fast the game’s raid will be taken down. Anyone taking any bets?

Source: Bungie website

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