Certainly not the first time we've seen it in FFXIV
Certainly a well thought out and contemplative analysis of the issue at hand, and I will say that the divide between raider and non-raider is a rather contentious issue with a lot of moving parts. I am fortunate enough to see the issue from both sides, having been a long-time hardcore raider pushing the bleeding edge of hardcore content in Lord of the Rings Online for the last several years I played it. I know what the struggles are and I know the joy that can be found in a hard-fought victory.
That being said, unfortunately like it happens with all too many, I no longer have the luxury of the time I once had and my usual window of 8-10pm raids every night just doesn't work any more. The constraints the current hardcore raiding environment is party to just won't work for me in any regard. Many people have said, “If you want to do it, then make the time and do it.” But this doesn't always work in the real world and it's not that I don't -want- to have the time to do it, but that I simply don't have it, like many others.
If you are afforded of a good deal of free time to push the content, then that's good and by all means you should be free to do so. I don't think there's been a single person on the more 'casual' side who has argued that the hard-core raiders should have anything taken away from them, and yet it seems that whenever those in my particular position request that we have something a little bit more suitable for our needs that many in the raiding community come out and decry it as degrading their experience. Like we're asking for a handout instead of a hand-up.
The other issue that is cropping up, and I notice it terribly so on my own server, that even if you manage to make the time, actually getting into a static that is challenging the content is extremely difficult. At this point you need to provide data that proves that you know what you're doing (even if that data is technically against TOS to generate with the current system). A lot of statics are expecting people to come in knowing the mechanics as well, and it's nigh impossible to learn the mechanics of a fight that you've never actually been in since you can't get into the static to do them in the first place.
The drive to beat the content, to get past the head-smashing on that wall drives groups to fall apart, but it also takes those very same groups and gives them the mindset, “If we take anyone who doesn't know things already and makes us have to teach them, we'll never win so we can never take them.” And that mentality only further perpetuates the downward cycle and breaks the raiding community even more.
I've maintained personally, throughout many of these arguments, that the content itself isn't flexible enough. It doesn't allow you to make a mistake without killing you, it's brutal and unforgiving. If you're the kind of person who likes the Souls games, maybe that's just fine. But in trying to appeal to a large audience, which essentially is what all MMOs do, you need to come up with a balance.
Normal Mode was supposed to be that balance, along with providing the gear to get through A1S and A2S while you get your Esoterics and drops from Savage. But the outcry came that it's 'too easy' and that somehow it takes away from the enjoyment people have from running Savage. I will agree that having it be the same bosses takes a little away, but this is also not the first time MMOs have done such a thing, and certainly not the first time we've seen it in FFXIV. But it seems to me that this outcry is more of a reaction to people getting burnt out in A4S and wanting it all to mean something more than it currently does.
And while you say that this is 'make or break' for the raiders, the main thrust that people who are not the hardcore raiders get out of it is, “You're not really important to this game, it's made for us. Either get to raiding or go back to your rock.” That's the message that's sent whenever someone says, “You don't need this.” or “You don't have a right to see that.” No one wants to be a second-class citizen.
But it all boils down to... whether you raid or not, this is a game. The game is what you make of it, or what you choose not to. If you choose to push the content hard and take it with the seriousness of 'do or die' you will burn out. There's nothing SE or the community at large can do about that. Sometimes you need to take a step back, say to yourself, “Okay, we're not progressing here. Maybe for a while we should go hit something else and see if we can improve ourselves there and then go back.”
The #1 reason that statics breaks... is because most statics don't know when to take a break. It's 'push, push, push' all the time. Something will break, if it's not the raid, then it's the static. And if enough statics break, then the raiding community breaks as well. So please, when you stop and consider why the game isn't fun for you anymore... don't look to the rest of us who, like you, are trying to do the best we can... who pay our subs just like you do (and yes, there is some entitlement to content that comes along with that, same as the raiders have)... and really just want to love the game and enjoy the community.
In conclusion, this game is about -all of us-. Raiders, non-raiders, mid-core, casual, what-have-you. Each part of the community gets something different out of the game, each of us needs something that can cater both to our desires and to the time we are capable to commit to the game. By saying that one group is less or more deserving of deferment only serves to break the community and further push the things that divide us. You're right that the issue isn't about 'special snowflake' arguments, but when a comment such as, “I don't care about your satisfaction with the game, only mine,” is something that can both be said and be looked upon as alright... then the community has far deeper issues than simply a matter of poorly created content.
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