Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Attunements back in Cataclysm - sure, why not?

The developers are seriously considering to bring back attunements to raids and heroic dungeons in Cataclysm. This according to WoW.com, referring to a blue post from the Spanish (!) forums.

First of all I must admit that I find it a little bit odd that they release news about Cataclysm in this form. I'll probably never quite understand what's in the minds of the Blizzard staff when they decide upon how to inform and interact with the player base. Maybe this is some sort of test balloon they're sending out to see what reactions it will cause. But why in the Spanish forum of all places? Is it a slip of tongue or do they do it on purpose?

Either way, I can't say I'm sad to hear that they're considering it. But then I never suffered particularly from the attunements in TBC.

By the time I reached SSC, TK and BT, the enforced requirements had been removed from the game. I actually did those questlines later on at my own willm getting my Hand of A'dal and Champion of the Naaru titles alright, but it never was mandatory, just a fun piece of distraction. I can vividly imagine how frustrating it must have been for a guild to have to run new recruits through old content, just in order to give them access to the current content.

However there was one attunement in TBC that I too was "forced" to get through, namely the long questline to get the key to Karazhan. And how I loved it!

Obstacles and excitement
I'll never forget how excited I was as I ventured to Deadwing Pass for the first time, sending shy looks to the crowd of players who were hanging out there. I didn't quite understand why they were there, since the whole concept of raiding was unknown territory. But I talked to the NPC to start the quest chain, just as a guildie of mine had told me to do as soon as I had dinged 70. I didn't have a clue about what was awaiting me.

And do you know what? The process of getting attuned never felt like a burden It was an adventure, a step into the unknown and the start of a new chapter in the story of my WoW life. It was a fantastic chain that brought me into a bunch of instances. And as I proceeded I didn't just gear up; I also learned the basics of group play and prepared for what was awaiting me in Karazhan. It was a shining example of my favorite kind of learning - the one you do unknowingly.

Was it free from obstacles and frustrations? Oh, absolutely not! The worst part of it was probably Black Morass. I've successfully erased most of my horror memories of humiliating failures to deal with the small adds on my own. This was something everyone expected a mage to do, but it was pretty tough if you were inexperienced and ungeared. It took me quite a few tries before I finally got through it, thanks to a kindhearted guildie who offered to be my pocket healer in every PUG I could find for it and didn't give up before I was done.

As I finally received the precious key that would grant me access to the mysterious castle, I was way prouder and happier than I have been about most so called achievements I've got later in the game, probably on par with Sarth+3d.

All in all, my attunement experience was on the positive side. I was new to the game and nothing came easy to me, but this never put me off from trying.

Why attunements might be good
I don't think it would be a horrible idea if Blizzard decided to have an attunement questline for at least the first raid instance in Cataclysm.

Of course it mustn't be grindy in any way - not in the lines of the nightmarish shard collection for legendary weapons as an example. And it shouldn't be unreasonably hard either.

But I believe that some sort of attunement is a handy way to offer proper training and introduction to all those brand new never-played-WoW-before players who are likely to turn up with the launch of Cataclysm. They need to be pushed a little; they need to get incentives to at least complete a few decently hard instances before they throw themselves into raiding. They might pick up a few gear pieces, just like I did myself back in the days. But above all they'll get a basic experience from group playing, which is far more essential for any wanna-be-raider.

And what about the veterans then? Why should we be bothered by attunements? Well, if nothing else you could see it as a bit of added content. You don't have to be a lore addict to appreciate a well written questline with crumbles leading you into a raid instance. It adds atmosphere to the game and give you a sense of purpose and direction in your adventures.

If the attunement will delay you slightly before you can start raiding in Cataclysm, so what? I'd rather see that they make the game last longer this way than that they use more artificial methods for gating, such as limited attempts.

It remains to see if this idea will make it the whole way into the game. They could stay at just making a small attunement for a bunch of five-man instances, like they did in Icecrown where you had to make them in a certain order the first time. They could also bring back an attunement chain to raiding, and that would be a way bigger deal, especially if they'll make it slightly demanding as Karazhan.

I know where I stand though. Bring it on!

Edit: I gave this blue post a second thought. It sounds highly unlikely the developers would be considering a real attunement quest line in the lines of the one for Karazhan at this point. Cataclysm should be more or less ready to ship and they've just announced that the friends and family testing is starting now. So if there will be any kind of attunement it's probably just one quest or running one instance. It was a nice thing to dream about though.


Jamie said...

I agree with pretty much everything you said. Coming as a guild leader of a casual raiding guild and remembering the days of Kara, the only things I'd like to add are that while I *loved* the attunement process in BC, two things stood out as annoying: [1] Give us a BoA key at the end of it so for those of us who know how to play and who have already experienced the process can go where we know we need to go to gear up ahead of time and be done with it on our alts and [2] Don't make a part of the process a previous raid. Quests, 5mans, heroics -- those are all fine. But once some guilds get done with a raid, it just becomes tedious to set up raid groups for content we're not doing anymore simply because someone still needs their attunement.

Klepsacovic said...

I think attunements are great. They tell us a story. They push us through some content as practice and gearing, without calling it practice and gearing. They ensure that the person who invite to your raid isn't a completely lazy slacker, since even being run through attunements takes some time and effort.

I would prefer if attunements were account-wide. The second time through isn't as fun, perhaps even unfun.

Fremskritt said...

You hit the nail when you mentioned atmosphere, to me the Wrath raid game felt slightly cheapened by the fact I could just walk in to any raid I wanted. That's not to say I liked the TBC model of attunements, when I started in TBC I was used to the way they were done in vanilla, where you didn't have to do a single raid to attune yourself to any other raid (AQ excepted, but that was a serverwide attunement, so I don't count it, and yeah, I don't count UBRS as a raid either).

That's right, all attunements could be done by a "casual" player and you could expect players to do the attunements on their own. In fact it was a requirement to get into a decent raid guild that you already were attuned. Why not add this way of "gating" in Cata?

To me it only makes sense that some content is gated behind questchains. It adds depth to the world, pure and simple, and that's what I felt was missing in Wrath.

That's not to say there were no attunements in WotLK. What do you call the prequests for the Sons of Hodir? You have to get attuned (on one char per server) to a faction to get the best shoulder enchants, if you're not a scribe that is.

So yeah, I like attunements, simply because they add flavour.

Perdissa said...

I have 2 very conflicting memories of attunement from BC days.

On one hand, I remember the first time I did the attunement for Kara. It was very, very memorable. I was on my first level 70, new to the game, and content like Shadow Labs, Steamvault and Arc were very challenging for me. At that time, there was no guarantee that my group could successfully clear Slabs, and one time we wiped to the adds in the room before the second boss and later the void-walker summoning boss for a mind-numbing FIVE hours. It wasn’t much of an understatement, then, to say that my little group was estatic to finally get our attunement to Kara.

The other memory I have of the Kara attunement comes a bit later. Here we were, a small group with attunement to Kara. Just need to find 5 more people with attunement to join up and we’re raiding Kara, right? Not really. We constantly ran new people thru attunement only to lose them a while later, and it was a constant frustration to deal with, especially for a group of very inexperienced raiders. I mean, raiding was hard enough.. We wiped constantly on Moroes, but the Attendance-Attunement Boss were far greater challenges.

So, overall, I feel that attunement at an early level gives the actual instance a more epic feel, but they need to disappear before that raid tier is obsolete.

Stabs said...

Doing an achievement once on your main is fine, very few people have a problem with that.

The problems come

- if you want to attune a new alt or several alts

- if you are playing a much needed role, eg tank, and you have to run bloody Slave Pens again every time your guild recruits someone.

- if you come late to the party and you need, say, some 5 man group quest in the middle of nowhere long after most people have ticked it off their list and never want to come back.

I rather like attunements but I really adore 5 man content.

hound said...

I agree with most of this post and its comments.

I love the idea of attunements and was very pleased to get my key to Karazhan. However, I was not pleased, as a main tank, to run the boss encounters of the chain every time someone leveled up an alt or a new guy came along.

I remember being very concerned that I might never make it to the higher-end raids in BC for lack of people to run me through their attunement chains. At that point in the game you are confronted with high-end raiders who only run with guildies, and guilds that only recruit people who have been attuned already, and everyone else who would love to be there but can't seem to get it together.

I never did get those attunements.

Ngita said...

Attunements are great for lore,story and adventure.

Attunements in practice are are often a fairly horrid affair.

Back in classic wow I devoted a weekend to nothing but finding groups to do the various parts of the Horde ony chain on pvp server in very early 2005.

In TBC their was the early group that was ahead of the pack, we worked through the attunement for kara, I went off to work, several groups managed to get almost every 80 in the Guild through the arc. part of the chain and i came home to besieged with request to come heal them in black morass( as ret with t3 healbot gear). I would have far preffered to be looking for a pug for arc to catch up but I got begged to come help them and even offered gold(which just made me feel guilty) I spent the next 2 evenings healing Black morass, they went off to Kara, and I went back to trying to find a pug for arc.:(

Then you had heroic SH, Our main tank got so burnt out on trying to shuffle people though the attunement chain he just flat out refused to run it anymore.

Spinks said...

I think people always get too wound up about attunements.

The problem with them was just that you needed groups to do some steps and that it was hard to find groups later on in the expansion.

If the attunements had been awesome soloable quest lines, they would have been loved. Or, for example, blues announced yesterday that you won't be able to randomly queue for an instance via LFD until you have discovered the entrance for yourself. That's a kind of attunement, but a pretty sensible one and will add to the air of "oh cool! I found an instance entrance" when you are exploring.

I quite liked the Kara attunement chain though, and if we'd had LFD it wouldn't have been so annoying.

Rachkalos said...

Whilst I never got to experience the whole attunement process, I have to say that I'm quite looking forward to them.

Seeing as anyone can wander into any raid that they like these days, with no planning or preparation seems to breed several problems.

If people "can't be bothered" to get their attunements done, then what else are not going to be bothered to do when they're in the raid? Move out of the fire? Heal?

Jb said...

Larissa wrote :
"was something everyone expected a mage to do, but it was pretty tough if you were inexperienced and ungeared."

I wish I could have been there seeing your nude mage fighting off those pesky dragons, hehe.

And on the topic, yes to attunements. Onyxia and Khara atunemenst where good implementations. But i can`t se it happening with the direction Bliz is going.

Larísa said...

@Jamie & Klepsacovic: Yeah, making it BoA could be an idea not to wear down altoholics. And yes, I agree that raid instances shouldn’t be included in an attunement chain. It shouldn’t include anything more demanding than 5-mans.

@Fremskritt: Yeah, SoH felt a little bit like an attunement, even though the removed it with all those nerfs and addtions. It was a fantastic quest chain, great content!

@Perdissa: hehe, yeah it was the same to me. Oh god, it took some time before I finally got through SL.. Memories… And yeah, I suppose you have to remove them eventually. But it’s nice to go through it once.

before that raid tier is obsolete.
May 4, 2010 5:29 AM

@Stabs: yeah, but as suggested by some commentors you can make a BoA attunement. I don’t’ think you’ll ever have to “run someone through it” anymore thanks to the LFD system nowadays.

@Hound: @Ngita: Again: LFD would be your friend in such a scenario. No need to run people through and get burned out.

@Spinks: Yeah; I think a lot of things in the game has changed, so attunements wouldn’t bee such a nightmare these days.

@Rachkalos: I agree. Attunments sort of sets your mind to what kind of challenge that you can expect later on (supposedly the raids in Cataclysm will be proper ones ofc.)

@Jb: Hehe… I wasn’t naked, but I certainly felt like it!

Andy said...

Having only started playing WoW since a week or so before Lich King came out, I have no real experience with attunements beyond the Kara Key one (so I could try soloing the place), and the Molten Core "teleport-straight-to-the-raid-bit" thing.

That said, I do like the idea of the attunement process being done via 5-man instances. With the LFD tool, and emblems from the 5-man bosses, it should be, and remain, quite easy to get groups. I agree that making a raid instance part of the attunement is probably a bit too much.

And yes, make attunements account-wide.

Erinys said...

I have mixed feelings partly because I was the "go to" healer for my guild back in the days of Molten Core and I still have painful memories of attuning pretty much the entire guild plus alts to MC, Onxyia and Blackwing Lair. I was so happy when they removed Jail Break from the game that my parents caught me dancing with glee.

However since then, I've learnt to say "No" and I would like to see a natural progression in game. For example, you do quests and normals which in turn let you do heroics and from there you move onto raiding. I thought it worked in the Burning Crusade and I'm glad Blizzard are thinking about doing it again.

Not convinced about BoA keys though. Yes, it would be convenient to those people who have lots of alts (myself included) but with the ease of levelling these days, I would prefer it if people had to attune each character separately to prove they have a little commitment to that character.

Copernicus said...

In addition to the LFD system making things easier on guildies, instances are much shorter these days. I remember my main goal for an evening was running Botanica for badges, and that was a 1-2 hour event.

Instance in Wrath were 30-45 minutes, which was much more manageable.

lonomonkey said...

Actually that's not the first I hear about bringing back some sort of progression into the endgame. Attunements could be a way for them to achieve this. Still if they keep the same badge/gear progression it will ruin any shot at attunements and progression anyway.

Ixobelle said...

when the alternative is dinging 85 and going directly into "heroics" without ever having run the normal dungeons, then yes.

When it's raid night in your guild of 27, and 13 are attuned, then no.

Blizzard has effectively made the grind THERE, but optional. The grass wasn't greener, it's the rose tinted glasses. In your case, Larísa --as you mention-- it's a simple case of the fact that you've only attuned once.

Running UBRS to get BWL attuned before the blood was a guaranteed drop for everyone in the group (and it was even *white*, and thus not 'rolled' on) was a huge hassle, and that was a 'one dungeon attunement'... nothing like (Hordeside) Test of Skulls for Ony, or the original keyings for Hyjal, SSC, TK, etc.

I will say one thing: Test of Skulls in particular did see a lot of random people banding together, because we all knew how horrible it was to not be attuned, which is a form of 'forced grouping for the greater good', which is nice... but by BC, nobody cared about anyone else anymore, and if someone wasn't in your guild, fuggem. :(

Anonymous said...

I concur. I think there is something to be said for earning your way into raid instances. Further, it makes it much easier to fill those last few spots in a raid with a PuG. "Are you attuned?" "Yep" \invite


Kurnak said...

Oi! What's wrong with us spaniards getting some info first?
;) Just kidding!
I've read the original post (I tend to distrust translations) and the translation is correct. Finding the dungeon first (discovering it in the map) just makes sense and forces players to explore areas. When LFD was introduced it felt strange you could get into an instance located in an area you've ever set a foot on. So thumbs up for this change.
About attunement, it's just a possibility. In the past attunements were quite a heavy burden (MC, BT...) because there wasn't anything else to do at end level. And it has been pointed out, attuning several characters it's just a big pile of crap, specially when attunements require large groups of people.
Karazhan was a good attunement questline, but turned shitty at third character, so the change of letting you in without attunement was a nice one. Maybe too nice. A BoA key would be much better. This ensures that everybody has done the questchain at elast once. So bring attunements back as long as they're not a heavy burden like the old ones.

Gronthe said...

If we are to find the dungeon entrances before we can use the LFD finder, I can see everyone sitting around a capital city spamming:

"Where is entrance to X,Y, and Z?"

They won't move their lazy butts until you go look for it.

Attunements? Well I didn't start playing until Wotlk, but I really enjoyed the Sons of Hodir quest chain. I would love something soloable like that for raids.

I agree, it would add depth and give your character purpose. I'm all for anything that can help me become more immersed in the world.

I realize, from what I hear, that the execution has sometimes been grindy and difficult, having a BoA key obtained via solo attunement would be great. Also a BoG (Bind on Guild) key that is good for like 3 other players. That way when you recruit someone to your guild, you can quickly attune up to 3 new guildies instantly.

If you want another BoG key, you will need to begin another Guild Attunement wherein 5 or more members of your guild embark on a separate quest chain geared to help you learn how to work together. This would fit into the new guild strategies Blizzard is trying to implement.

So in it's basic form I'm for attunements, as long as they don't suck.

Stokpile said...

I honestly love attunement quests. I did all of the TBC ones on my main by "requirement" and loved them. Besides in those days raid gear was totally different than today. My guild ran Kara many times to get us tanks a new pocket watch. Ran Gruuls to get our all star rogues the dragon-spine trophy. So there was always some legit reason to do old content.

The one thing I couldn't stomach was (can you guess?) doing it 8 times over for any toon I raided with. Make the attunes give you a key that's BoA and I'd be tickled.

Once they drastically lowered the rep needed for heroic keys I loved that too. I liked knowing that everybody I was with had at least SEEN the instance before. Made explaining the differences, of which were both significant and dangerous, far easier.

Also less armor pen wearing resto shamans back then too.

Larísa said...

@Andy: I think you would have loved the Karazhan attunement, at least once. I've never heard of anyone who didn't. But even something smaller than that would be better then the current "nothing!.

@Erinys: you have a point about the attunement being a sort of school that anyone would need - including those levelling alts. I'm pretty crap at my rogue and I believe an attunement chain would have forced me to play her a bit more let's say... focused.

@Copernicus: yeah, I had almost forgotten about that. The instances took aqges to do. Shattered halls one example, Botanica another. The REALLY quick one was Mec that you could do in an hour and felt like a walk in the park compared to the others (if you skipped the optional fire boss, which was a beast.)

@Lonomonkey: hm... we got badges instead of attunements. Is that really a win for us? Just come to think of it. I hope cataclysm will give us something slightly different to Wrath.

@Ixobelle: I don't advocate attunements for high tier raids that require you to do low tier raids. That's just crap. But something along the lines of the Kara questline would be nice for a starter.

@SpiritusREx: yeah, I definitely would prefer attunement as a decision tool for who you want to bring rather than crap stuff like Gearscore. At least it shows some dedication.

@Kurnak: yep. Not too much. But something more than we had in Wrath. Attunmeent in moderation ftw.

@Gronthe: Bind of guild is a nice one. Actually we have something like this now with the EoE key and Algalon access and access to HM in ICC. But yeah, bring us more!

@Stokpile: Oh the repgrinds... I get a little bit nostalgic there... But tbh I see points with the current tabard system as well. Freedom of choice and not being forced into your non-favorite instance...

So I think I'd rather stay away from excessive rep grinds, but I'd like to see attunments. They don't get repetetive, especially not if they would be BoA

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