Procrastination Amplification: Punditry on MMOs and games in general.

WoW Raiding Really Is Accessible

So Tesh says “only some can do it” in regards to raiding and Keen claims that World of Warcraft raids “are deceptively not accessible to the population since something like 5% ever even finish one”. Let’s look at some numbers here, shall we?

For the sake of focusing on one argument at the time I’ll accept it as a given that you need to be at the maximum level to raid in World of Warcraft. I’m not saying that that is a good thing, just something for another post. Now, kindly provides us with percentages of kills for each raid boss in WoW. These percentages, as far as I understand it, are based on the number of active raiding guilds that have killed a certain boss.

74.21% of those guilds have killed the next-to-last boss in the current entry-level instance Blackwing Descent and 54.32% the final boss in The Bastion of Twilight. Going back to the previous expansion Wrath of the Lich King, which introduced the whole accessibility concept, 89.15% of listed guilds killed Anub’arak, the Final boss in the next-to-last raid of the expansion in 25 men mode and a whopping 96.28% in 10 men mode.

A respectable 57.49% of active guilds even killed the Lich King, the final boss of the whole expansion in 10 men mode. What these numbers tell us is that raiding is very much accessible if you are in any kind of raiding guild, period. If you don’t manage to raid in WoW, you clearly aren’t in any form of raiding guild.

So how can raiding still be called inaccessible? I can’t imagine that people find it hard to get into a raiding guild. Sure, the top guilds on a server usually have strict barriers to entry, but you don’t need to be in those guilds to raid, not even to beat all the (normal mode) content available. Pretty much any guild will do and there are plenty of guilds around that have next to no barriers to entry.

Looking at my own WoW server, the top 42 guilds have killed all normal mode Cataclysm bosses, and you have to go down all the way to the 121st spot in the Wrath of The Lich King ratings to find a guild that hasn’t killed the Lich King at least in 10 men mode. Spot 186 is where you find the first guild that did not manage to kill Anub’arak in 10 men mode.

So where does this idea of inaccessibility come from? Sure, raiding takes a certain amount of time and if you don’t have that time then you can’t raid, but surely that isn’t accessibility? Learning Spanish is not inaccessible at all; I simply don’t have the time / don’t care enough about it to invest the time to learn it. Seeing the end of Dragon Age: Origins takes about forty hours, what if I simply didn’t have that time to spare between kids, sports, and other games? Does that make the game inaccessible? Should I call for a nerf and a speed button that removes all fights so I can just see the content?

I can absolutely see the problems of players with commitments to actual go out and raid. If you have a small child you can’t just commit to two or three hours of game play without possible interruptions. Sure, that sucks – but neither can you go to the movies during the same time. Are movies too inaccessible and need to be nerfed?

Two friends I regularly play Rift with have a little child and all sorts of other obligations. We still manage to do dungeon runs in fixed groups, often a couple of times a week. Now, these are five men dungeons, but with a casual attitude (and a larger circle of friends) it would be no issue at all to do small raids either. You just have to play with a group of people that are willing to accept your limitations (and are willing to wipe if the child needs attention.)

Attentive readers may note that I am not at all happy with the accessibility approach taken in modern World of Warcraft, but that is not because it fails to make content accessible. I don’t like it, but Blizzard did a very good job achieving accessibility in my eyes.

Maybe someone can enlighten me what exactly makes World of Warcraft raids inaccessible. I don’t see it at all.


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