No Attunements: It’s a Good Thing

Remember Burning Crusade? It was WoW’s first expansion. Whole new continent to explore. We were able  to challenge Illidan for supremacy of Outland. Heroics were introduced for the first time. Content was difficult and everyone was going through it at a manageable pace. Progression felt like progression because it seemed like stuff would take forever to do and you had to wait for everyone else to catch up.

We’re not talking a simple BRD run to get attuned for Molten Core, either. We’re talking full fledged chains and reputation requirements.

Seriously, the only real “fun” aspect of the system was that you could lord it over other people who couldn’t do it. I’m ashamed to admit it, but I used to be one of those people.

“Oh what’s that? You can’t get into Serpentshrine? Sorry to hear that man, I gotta go raid it right now.”

I wasn’t proud of who I was then. But I was young, I didn’t know better, and it felt like a status thing to me. I could get into this one instance that only a select few people could get into. Tempest Keep was like the prefect’s bathroom of Hogwarts that only the best and hardest working could get into. It was another way to measure and compare your character’s “worth” against others.

Look at this diagram below (Can click to expand).


Look at what a mess the entire Burning Crusade tier was.

You had to get keys and hit revered with certain factions just to hit different raids. The benefit attunements came with is that the players who went through the entire gauntlet were well trained at the end. They put in the hours, the wipes, and were well equipped to handle the raids. The attunement process took them through so many instance runs that they had to inevitably gear up through drops or valor that by the time they finished, their character could survive and contribute to the raid.

Not a bad raiding initiation and training process.

Pre-nerf Shattered Halls.

Pre-nerf Shadow Labyrinth.

I’m hoping challenge modes return or exceed that level of difficulty.

Actually, I will grant that there is one thing I liked about the way everything was laid out. Progression was clearly laid out. There wasn’t a recommended path or anything, but you clearly knew based on the quests received what you had to do in order to get to the end. Cataclysm was a little more open ended at max level. Call it a hunch, but when given too many options or choices, I suspect people might freeze up and not where to go. I believe it’s called Decision paralysis. Does it apply? Maybe. So much selection and not knowing where to go.

I’m hoping Mists will have some signposts that offer some insight on where you should go first.

With the first raiding tier of Wrath, you could waltz into Obsidian Sanctum then onwards to Naxx. But only after taking Sapphiron’s key could you assault Malygos in the Eye of Eternity.

So bottom lining this, I’m not in a rush to see Attunements return. But I’m not opposed if a minor gating mechanism was in place for select bosses. The way Algalon’s was setup or Sinestra is one way you can place a pseudo-attunement in place. In addition, I was internally debating with myself the idea of either select guild attunements or account based attunements. Not sure what conditions or settings would have to be in order to pull it off, but it’s something in the back of my mind.

7 thoughts on “No Attunements: It’s a Good Thing”

  1. While I agree that creating very large attunement paths is a barrier which is difficult for some, and could even be problematic for raiders who switch characters (or whatever) there was something great in the story aspects of the attunements. Getting the Karazhan key was interesting from a story perspective. If the attunements were part of the general story, in content which was not repeat-gated (eg. one after another) then they could return with my support. Perhaps the attunement is for the 5man to raid step, rather than for each raid step? Perhaps also start the stories as the leveling experience starts, and therefore the story plays through the experience, which leads into the raids.

  2. I agree with you (and Rossi). I was a complete noob in TBC, so I got dragged through the attunements without even knowing what they were, mostly, but… what if I wanted to change mains? Would I have to drag 24 other people with me again? I still remember how embarrassed I was when I held up the raid so I could kill Murmur and then get Champion of the Naaru (it was taking too long, so we quit and I got the title the following week). Then I did change mains… and I had to farm Lower City rep to be able to kill Anzu for my epic flight form. Fun, years after it was relevant!
    As for the story, which I see some people loved: I don’t care about lore. I just want to raid. I think the Hour of Twilight heroics are the best way to deliver a story, without having to gate any content (plus, there are more people who can run heroics than who can run raids).
    Some gating of progress (along the lines you mentioned, Algalon, Sinestra, not being able to jump into heroic before clearing normal) is fine. If we need to farm rep and complete endless quest chains again… WoW will be less fun for me.

  3. I didn’t get to raid in BC.  Oh I was drug through Kara  a couple times on my hunter once the attunements went away, but it’s not really raiding when you’re being carried though is it?  I started playing right before the Troll Raid came out in BC, and by time I hit 70 on my first character, Sunwell daily’s were out.  Though I did enjoy the lore aspect, it really left a bad taste for me.  

  4. IMO It’s the removal of these attunements that have contributed to the game becoming too easy and therefore boring. With attunements etc there was always something else to strive for, high end players were known as high end players and looked cooler, it wasn’t just titles, kudos was deserved and respected. It’s like stopping competitive sports days at school, people NEED competition, people THRIVE on competition… oh dear, you can’t do it? Oh no… how about you try harder? WoW went way too soft, Ok how about we ALL do end game content straight away. Yay! We’ll even make it really easy. Yay! Ok now you’ve done that, do it again, a bit harder. YAWN. I quit recently after 2 years in accessible WoW and guess what? It’s dull. I doubt I’m coming back.

    Like matt said, there’s this feeling of ‘exclusiveness’ or ‘superiority’ that used to go along with raiding and I think a lot of folks really enjoyed that and when you hear nostalgia for Vanilla this is what some of those people are talking about.  This is not a healthy attitude for the game.
    Really, did attunements make anything harder?  Was it really more challenging to wander around trying to find an NPC?  Oh wow, you’re super skilled!  You found Rexxar!  No.  More dedicated?  Maybe, or you just have more time.  Lets get one thing straight.  Attunements didn’t teach you anything (perhaps when you had to run dungeons they taught you something, but you’ll do that anyway now just to get geared up and 5 mans aren’t anything like raiding), they didn’t demonstrate skill.  They just wasted time.
    There’s still skill and competition in WOW.  There’s the race to realm first, or for world firsts in the top 100 guilds.  There’s that race against another guild on your server to get that boss earlier than they do, or get the clear earlier.  They haven’t removed competitive school sports – they just removed the requirement that you have to go on a scavenger hunt for two weeks before you can try out for the team.
    That said, I believe there were some good points to attunements.  Mostly, they got you out and involved in the world, and by the time you were done, even if you never read quest text you’d have a decent idea of what was going on in the raid instance.  I am a lore nerd and even I wasn’t very involved in the lore of Dragon Soul, mostly because there was no leadup.  It was just “here’s some dragons, go kill them”.  Some sort of attunement would have helped.
    I think you could have something short and sweet, like Thrall’s questline, or the HoT 5 man questline, and require it for the respective raid tier.  Don’t make the raids themselves required for the next tier, just make a short attunement for each raid tier.  Make it account wide, and remove it after the next tier is released.
    t11 – you have to complete 3 heroics and a quest in each and then you can do t11.
    t12 – remove the t11 attunement.  you have to complete Thrall’s questline before you can do FL.
    t13 – remove the attunement requirement for FL.  You have to do all three HoT 5 mans before doing DS.
    Quick, painless, and you get some rewards and some nice lore.


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