So with the boosted 90s, one of the major impacts that occur in the game is further degradation in grouped situations. For the boosted 90, they might see their situation as being “easily” carried via better geared/skilled players. However, for the skilled/experienced/geared players, they end up having to deal with the frustrations of people who either lack knowledge in their class or cannot produce the required output for a certain situation. Obviously, this aspect of the game really isn’t that new but surprisingly Blizzard seems to be content about this situation and we should figure out ways to handle it.
The boosted aspect of the game is, to be honest, a good one in my opinion. I know there are those (*cough* Mike Preach *cough*) who are vehemently against the idea of boosting. I wrote another article that discussed this matter. But I feel that there are real positives like in my case where I simply did not want to go through the process of leveling an entirely new Hunter on the Alliance side when I already have one on the Horde side. I’m already pretty decent at the Hunter class and I know what needs to get done in order for me to gear and prepare myself for Warlords of Draenor. So for me as someone who plays the game as a hobby, the boosted 90 is a nice Godsend, especially if I ever decide to play with other streamers who only play Alliance.
But there’s the group of people who suddenly “don’t know how to play their class” by instantly hitting 90. Quite honestly, leveling to 90 doesn’t really teach you your class that much in the way you might deal with end game content, which is why the “instant 90 is bad” argument goes out the window. Even running dungeons while leveling does not really provide adequate experience for dealing with end game content.
And let me take things where they really need to go. The core issue in the end is none other than the culprit LFR. You could argue PVP to a degree but I think the speed at which people can honor grind and get into BGs make that route less cumbersome. But the real place that people absolute hate boosted 90s is LFR. Every other piece of end game content when you truly examine things is perfectly fine. Flex, Normal and Heroic Raids? No problem because guilds can either carry fresh 90s or enforce gates. Pet battles don’t require any class knowledge nor do dailies. And Arenas and RBGs really aren’t affected since once again people can enforce rules.
The only aspects of end game content that aren’t easily enforced are Heroic instances and LFR. Heroic instances aren’t an issue because the boosted 90 gets gear as if they completed the first tier LFRs from the pre-5.2 patch. Also, in Heroic instances, it’s far easier to hide and less requirements overall at the present to succeed. So the only real issue is with LFR.
And here’s the thing. LFR is easily correctable. Blizzard could (and probably should) impose either a higher minimum ilvl (which I doubt would really do much) or force players to complete Throne of Thunder with regards to Siege of Orgrimmar. And I dislike imposing artificial gates like minimum actual DPS/HPS vs ideal DPS/HPS because a geared player can still fuck everyone over by AFKing, griefing or acting like a jackass in some other creative manner. The true problem at the moment is mostly with the terrible design of Siege of Orgrimmar at the LFR level. It simply needs a few more mega nerfs to make it fly through faster.
However, correcting Siege of Orgrimmar does not solve the main problem, which is that PUGs never will be ideal. This is a long standing problem in World of Warcraft and all the incentives over the years in bringing back players whether it’s RaF, Scrolls of Resurrection, Boosted 90s, etc. will never correct. The thing is that the core issue is with the individual players. The player themselves come from such a huge variety of backgrounds, it’s very hard for Blizzard to nail down a single, engulfing solution that will appease everyone. They could theoretically just even make boss fights 1 minute with 10 hit points and some jerk will still find a way to make everyone else’s lives miserable.
This is why to me the true implication of what we see in World of Warcraft is not just social engineering at the design level for end game content such as LFR. What’s really required are UI/UX options that allow people to interact/socialize and gather better. There have been some (rather feeble) attempts in the recent patches for cross realm raiding but the implementation is quite weak. I feel that (and I’ve mentioned this multiple times) that we really need things like voice/video chat, better overall match making, something like dating service rather than these black box situations which don’t really serve to bring people together in the way I think most people wish.
At any rate, even though I do experience the backlash of the 90s boost, I can’t fault people for doing what they’re doing. However, merely unleashing such things to the gaming community can be somewhat pernicious and require a better thought process. However, maybe the real issue is that the feedback loop to Blizzard’s development team is just too slow and that they can’t keep up with the demands. Either way, just enjoy these benefits while they exist and take advantage of them.