Yes I think it does. It doesn’t turn the world upside down, but it might have some impact on the opinions and perceptions in the community, and that’s’ what I’m going to talk about in this post.
1. Blizzard succeeded in the tuning
The tuning of difficulty of the raid instances is always a target for criticism. No matter where the Blizzard developers put the bar, they can count on that someone will consider it too high or too low. However I’ve heard very few complaints about how long it took before we saw the first kill in heroic mode. It didn’t come the first week it was available; we’ve had to wait for it for a few weeks.
As far as I’ve understood it, the slightest little mistake from any individual in the raid would lead to a wipe. To quote Paragon:
“Quite simply the perfect end-boss to finish the expansion with, couldn’t have hoped for more. My hat is off to Blizzard on this one. I can’t wait to see if this encounter can be outdone in Cataclysm.”
2. The World Firsts aren’t given on beforehand
There was a time where the cutting-edge raiding seemed to consist of more or less one guild. And that threatened to ruin any kind of tries to bring some e-sport competition into raiding. Ensidia, Enisida, Ensidia… Nihilum, Nihilum, Nihilum… whatever. This kill shows that it’s far from a one-guild show. The competition is there, and guilds who perform at their very best will always stand a chance.
In an earlier interview, which Kungen made with Tun at Ensidias own website, they took lightly on this:
“Icecrown is coming soon. What guild/guilds do you see as big competitors?
None. It's not been 1-2 consistent guilds threatening us, so if anything happens it will be another obscure random guild from somewhere nobody has ever heard of. Stars, Paragon, Premonition, etc are all overrated.
Do you really think any of those guilds will have a chance against Ensidia in a fair race to Arthas?
Not a chance. Ever.”
Well, it turned out that Tun was quite wrong. And hopefully he’s happy about it.
The Ensidia member Eoy wrote the following in a comment to a blog post at the Ensidia website, “Has Ensidia lost the Edge?” (written by a non-Ensidia member):
“How fun would the game be if there was only one team winning all the time? Ensidia had it's primetime in Ulduar, and now Paragon claimed the throne by killing LK HM. This happens, and is why the endgame is fun to watch! You can't consider it was very entertaining when Ensidia took every single world first in Naxx before anyone else had stepped into the instance, can you?”True. So true.
3. “Normal” guilds can also be successful
I don’t say it’s fair – as a matter of fact it’s probably a bit unfair, but still I dare say that Ensidia has a problem with their image.
Regardless of if it’s true or just a bunch of lies, rumours and misconception, the brand "Ensidia" is suffering from connotations (to use marketing language) such as sponsor deals, commercialism and strange (or even shady) relations to Saudi Arabia. As far as I know of they DON’T get paid to play Warcraft. They’re just a guild of dedicated and skilled players. But when they do those star appearances at gaming events and sponsor cooperations, they get an aura of being different. This impression is reinforced by their slick, polished and pro-style website, regardless of the fact that it has a ton of good information on it. It smells of money, and people just can’t stand that.
Paragon on the other hand, this all-Finnish guild with the chaotic vent server, has a different image (mind you, I don’t talk about if it’s true or not, just about how it appears). They make me associate to the classic myth about the local football team, starting in the lowest series, and then step by step advancing to the elite, without ever losing their soul and comradeship.
According to their website they were formed in August 2008 from two previous guilds, quite similar to how Ensidia was created. But somehow they manage to convey a different image:
“Our roots go much deeper than those two guilds. Some of our members have been playing together since before World of Warcraft and have raided together in every raid instance there has been.”When I look at their picture, it strikes me that the average age looks fairly low. But apart from that, they look more like the rest of us out there, appearing in their own shirts and not in some sponsored ones.
And I think this is something that everyone, including Blizzard, applauses. We can keep the dream alive. Any guild – sponsored or not – can succeed if they have the right attitude. Finnish Sisu FTW!
When Eoy in Ensidia got the question about how he would celebrate if he managed to get Arthas HM world first, he answered:
“Definitely NOT by screaming on vent. I never understood that. Maybe I'll log off early and get a good nights sleep or something. Nothing special tho, it's just a game.”And that’s why I think we can identify ourselves more easily with Paragon. Just listen to the nerdscream at their vent server during the LK kill. Those guys are raiding with their hearts!
4. The issue with mages
Then there was this thing about the mages. Or rather the lack thereof in the setup Paragon used for their first kill. There wasn’t a single mage in the raid, and the question is if this will have an impact on the market value of mages. I'm probably not the only mage to feel a bit put off by this.
From the perspective of a min-maxer the decision was easy, as Paragon explains in a forum thread:
“Yes, we figured that mage would do very slightly less dps than some other classes which we had available. So we took the setup we though optimal as it was a first kill attempt.”Even if it makes sense, I can’t help feeling a little sorry for my fellow mages in Paragon. Sure, everyone understands that unless you have a ridiculously slimmed roaster, someone will inevitably spend the first-kill on the bench. But at least it’s nice to have a class representative in the raid.
Paragon is very clear on that they don’t think mages are generally bad, and that the dps difference is very, very small. But nevertheless, I think it might reflect badly on mages. The top guilds get many followers and I wouldn’t be surprised if some guilds will let the decisions of Paragon influence their own raid set-ups, making the demand for mages decrease – not only for LK hardmode, but on a more general level.
Trying to see it from the bright side, you can always hope that Blizzard will see it as a reason to consider giving a slight buff to the mages dps output. But so far come into this expansion, I doubt it.
5. The beginning of the End
Finally I think that this first kill is yet another landmark in the expansion. The last one. Many, many guilds have yet to kill Lich King. Some – but far from all – will keep working on it. But somehow this is the beginning of the End.
With the World First settled, we’re all ready to fix our eyes to the upcoming Cataclysm.