MMO-Champion - Coffee With the Devs - Rate of Change
Coffee With the Devs—Rate of Change
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
How the Developers Decide What Needs to Be Changed and When

My previous two blogs spelled out some upcoming changes. This isn’t going to be one of those blogs. If you care mostly about WoW news, and less about the design process behind the game, then you might want to skip this one.

A lot of game design is striking a balance, and I use that term not only to mean making sure that all the various classes are reasonably fair, but also to mean that it’s easy to go to one extreme or the other. You even have to strike a balance in how many changes you make. On the one extreme, if you don’t change anything, then the game feels stale and players understandably get frustrated that long-standing bugs or game problems aren’t addressed. On the other extreme, too much change can produce what we often call the "roller coaster effect" where the game design feels unstable and players, particularly those who play the game more sporadically, can’t keep up. I wanted to discuss today some of our philosophy on change, how much is too much, and when we think a change is necessary.

First, Some Technical Background

World of Warcraft is a client-server game. The servers (which are the machines on our end) handle important, rules-y things like combat calculations and loot rolls. There are a couple of reasons for this. First, it makes it much easier to share information across groups. When a rogue stabs your priest, it’s helpful for both your computer and the rogue’s computer to agree about when and where a hit occurred and how much damage was caused (and what procs went off as a result, etc.). Second, we can trust the server in ways that we can’t trust home or public computers.

Over time, as our programming team has grown more experienced and picked up additional talented engineers, we have been able to make larger and in some cases bolder server updates without also having to update your client. Updating the client (the game on your computer) requires a patch. This can be a large patch, such as 4.2, which introduced the Molten Front questing area and the Firelands raids, or it can be a small patch, like 4.2.2, which fixed some bugs. Client patches are fairly involved. They take a lot of time to create and test, and they carry some amount of risk, because if we botch anything, we have to issue another client patch to fix it.

Changing the game code on the server has become much easier for us. There is still risk involved, but it’s also much easier for us to fix any mistakes. We call these server changes hotfixes, because often times we are able to deploy them even while you are playing. If we hotfixed Mortal Strike’s damage, you might suddenly do more or less damage in the middle of a fight. Players sometimes call changes like these stealth nerfs or buffs if we haven’t announced the hotfix yet (or in rare cases, if we don’t intend to announce them at all). We generally can’t hotfix, at least not yet, things like art, sound or text, so we won’t for example add a new boss or swap a weapon’s art around without a client patch (though we could enable a boss that had been previously added via a client patch).

I mention all of that just to explain that one reason you see so many hotfixes these days is because we have the technical ability to do so. That doesn’t mean that the game has more bugs, more boneheaded design decisions, or more class balance problems than previously. It just means we can actually fix those problems today while in the past, we (and you) might have to wait for months until the next big patch day. Overall, we don’t think it’s fair to our players to make you all wait for things that are quick for us to fix. Whether or not players are excited about the change depends a lot on the nature of the change. If we fixed a bugged class ability, that is often greeted with gratitude by players playing that class… unless the fix lowers their damage, or requires them to swap out gems and enchants to benefit from the newly repaired ability.

With Great Power Comes…

That’s the challenge in all of this. If your hunter is topping meters by a small fraction, you might ask: what’s the rush? And many players do. But you have to consider that other players are miffed that their raid leader might sit a warlock in the interest of bringing a third hunter (since their damage is so awesome) or might be really frustrated that they are so likely to lose to your hunter in PvP. “Necessary change” is absolutely in the eye of the beholder.

We try to gather a lot of voluntary information from players, when they are cancelling their subscription for example, about why they feel the way they do. Over time, we have seen concerns about class balance decrease and concerns about frequent game changes increase. Clearly there is a risk that we can change things too much and drive players away. The rollercoaster effect of too many changes can be wearying to the community, even if each individual change is made with a noble goal. We have to balance the goal of providing fixes when we think they are warranted with the whiplash or fatigue that can come from players feeling like they constantly have to relearn how the game works. We debate constantly whether a change needs to be made immediately or whether we can sit on a problem for an extended period of time.

There are no hard and fast rules that help us resolve these conflicts, so I thought it might be easier to just give you a few examples of the kinds of things we might be tempted to change in a hotfix, patch or expansion, and the kinds of things we would not.

Example One: Spec Parity

After looking at many raid parses, we conclude that Arcane mage damage now routinely beats Fire mage damage. (There are a lot of elements to this discussion that I’m ignoring right now in the interest of keeping the scope of the decision to something I can reasonably discuss.) For example, if Fire is better than Arcane on AE fights, that has to factor into the decision. If Fire is harder to play or if Fire is more inherently random, then that also has to factor into our decision. Even if you ignore all of those confounding issues, this is still a really tricky call. Ideally, we want players who like Fire to be able to play Fire without feeling like they are holding back their friends.

The extent to which Fire can fall behind Arcane and still be “viable” is very dependent. For some players, having the two specs within 10% damage of each other is close enough. Others will swap specs for a theoretical (i.e. not even proven empirically) 1% gain. If we could make a number tweaks to Fire and be very confident that they bring Fire up to Arcane’s level, then we feel like we owe it to players to do so.

There are a number of risks with this decision though. If our buffs to Fire made them more dangerous in PvP, then we’d have to be very careful about the change. If more mages going Fire meant that some utility or raid buff brought by the Arcane mages was now harder to get, then we’d have to be careful about the change. But the worst outcome, from our perspective, is if we overshoot our goals. If that happens players who like Arcane might feel like they have to swap to Fire, which might involve regemming, reforging and re-enchanting and might make them mad that they had rolled on that item that dropped last week. It just puts players in a bad position.

When players talk about being on a design roller coaster, this is often what they mean. Last week Arcane was the spec to play. Before that maybe it was Frost. Next week, who knows what it will be. We’ve absolutely screwed this up before, where we thought we were creating more parity between say hunter or warrior or DK specs, but the actual result was that it made players feel like they needed to respec. Given enough time, we can get pretty close on our balance tuning, but hotfixes and often even patch changes can’t always benefit from sufficient testing.

Remember, it’s not about how much damage the Fire and Arcane mage do against target dummies. What matters to players (and us) is how they do on individual encounters given a wide range of player skill, raid comp and constantly shifting allocations of gear, PvP comps, etc. We will often take larger risks when there is a major difference in play style. It’s harder to ask an Enhancement shaman to swap to Elemental than it is to ask a Demo lock to go Destro. That may not seem fair to the player who really likes Demo, but we have to weigh the risk to the game and to the player base as a whole with even small changes that appear totally safe at first.

Example Two: Creative Use of Game Mechanics

A lot of smart people work on World of Warcraft, but there is still no way that we can compete intellectually or creatively with the combined efforts of the millions of you. Despite our best efforts, players are frighteningly brilliant at coming up with creative solutions that never occurred to us. There are a wide variety of examples here: A player finds a very old trinket, set bonus or proc-based weapon that works really well on new content; a raid comes up with a strategy that makes a boss much easier than we intended; an Arena team finds a way to layer their crowd control or burst damage that is virtually impossible to counter.

A lot of the fun of World of Warcraft is problem solving. Our general philosophy is not to punish players for being creative. We try to give groups the benefit of the doubt as much as we can. If a boss ends up being slightly easier because players group up when we expected them to spread out, or they crowd control adds much better than we thought they were able to do, then we just silently congratulate the players for being clever. If a boss ends up being much easier than intended, then we might very well take action. (Overall though, we hotfix and patch in far more nerfs to encounters than buffs.)

Where we are more likely to take action is if it forces players into odd behavior, especially behavior that they won’t enjoy. If raids feel like they have to go farm really old content for a particular trinket, or if the raid feels like it has to sit six players in order to bring one particular spec who has an ability that trivializes a fight, then we’re more likely to do something. These kind of changes are really subjective and involve a lot of internal discussion. Just remember that our litmus test is usually “Are players having fun?” and not “Are they doing something we didn’t expect?”

Example Three: Encounter Difficulty

With encounters, the decision almost always comes down to whether to make a hotfix or not. Waiting until patch 4.3 to make significant changes to 4.2 encounters once the focus for a lot of players moves on to 4.3 isn’t necessarily development time well spent. When new dungeons or raids launch, our initial philosophy is just to get all of the nails in the board at the same height, which means prying some up to be taller and banging a lot down to be shorter. After a week or so, we hardly ever buff encounters to make them more difficult. We tend to bundle several of these changes together, often when a new week starts, so that they tend to feel like a micro patch and not just a constant stream of boss nerfs.

For raids, we look at curves indicating the number of new players who beat an encounter each week. That slope tends to be steep at first as the most talented guilds race through the content, and then slows down as other players make progress. It's time for us to step in when the lines flatten out and no new players are beating the content. It’s a bit easier for the five-player dungeons because we want players to prevail almost all the time. Nobody wants to go back to Throne of the Tides week after week until they finally beat Lady Naz’jar.

The statistics we look at the most are number of attempts to beat the dungeon boss, how many kills the boss gets, and how long the dungeon took to complete. Bosses such as Ozruk in Stonecore at Cataclysm launch were strong outliers. Sometimes we can handle these changes by tuning alone (lowering boss damage for instance) and sometimes we need to change encounter mechanics to the extent we can via hotfixes, which actually gives us a pretty big toolbox since almost all creature information is on the server.

Example Four: Class Rotation Change

There are a couple of sub-categories here: intentional and unintentional changes. Often we make fixes to make a class more fun to play. Allowing Arms warriors to refresh Rend without having to constantly reapply the debuff was a quality of life change to make the rotation a little less obnoxious to play. It also ended up being a moderate DPS buff as well. It forced Arms players to relearn their rotation slightly, but it was an improvement overall, and not too many players complained.

Example Five: Overpowered Specs

This would seem to be a pretty cut-and-dried case, but is one of the most controversial, because the community will never agree on when someone is overpowered or when someone is so overpowered that the developers need to step in. Being nerfed sucks. Period.

Players would typically rather we buff everyone but their spec rather than nerf their spec, even if the outcome is the same. It’s totally human nature to want other specs nerfed immediately, but when it’s your own character that’s in question, you wonder: what’s all the rush, man? Again, it comes down not to the developers being cold-hearted bastards (though we are) but to whether or not players are having fun. It’s fun for you to be a one man army. It’s not fun when the one man army rolls over you. It’s fun for you to top meters. It’s not fun for when you feel like you have no hope of competing with the guy topping meters.

Also keep in mind that when we make class adjustments via hotfix, we want to make the simplest fix possible that addresses the problem so we minimize the risk of us breaking something else and minimize how much testing we need to do before we can deploy the change. This is the main reason we are more likely to nerf via hotfix than to buff everyone else, because it’s just fewer changes. (Remember, that if we buffed everyone up to the DPS of the outlier, that we might very well have to buff creatures as well to keep you from trivializing content, which adds a lot more overhead to the change.)

I also want to point out that we virtually never make stealth class nerfs these days, at least not intentionally. It just makes players really paranoid to think their damage might change from under them. At worst, our programmers will manage to deploy a change before the community team gets it documented in the latest hotfix blog, but that situation shouldn’t usually last more than a few hours.

Example Six: Exploits

There is a gray area between when players know they are doing something they shouldn’t be doing and when they’re not sure if the developers would consider what they’re doing to be crossing the line. As I said above, we generally give players the benefit of the doubt. If they found something clever to do and it doesn’t give them an unfair advantage or make other players feel underpowered, then we will often do nothing, at least in the short term.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of bad guys out there who attempt to break the game in the name of personal profit or just because they have a malicious nature. We feel like we owe it to the other players to stomp out these abuses when they happen. Understandably, we also don’t want to publicize these changes too much. If one guy figured out a way to solo a boss to reap huge gold profits, we don’t then want to give ideas to thousands of other players by pointing out the loophole he found and how we fixed it. These also aren’t changes that we feel like we can sit on for very long. We need to get them out quickly.

I just wanted to point this out because sometimes players scratch their heads about a patch note that we made to prevent or discourage exploitive behavior. “Was anyone really doing this?” is a common reaction. Just remember that by their very nature, these kinds of changes are going to be on the down low, and they need to stay that way.

Example Seven: Expansions

We generally save up a lot of design changes for expansions. We know even this is too much for some players who don’t want to have to relearn their character’s rotation, let alone how glyphs work or what the new PvE difficulty philosophy is. However, we feel like we ultimately have to fix the problems we perceive in the game design if we want to keep players playing the game. In this case, we think some reasonable amount of change for change’s sake is desirable.

We hear from players who say “My dude hasn’t fundamentally changed in years,” and they want something, anything, that makes them look at their character in a new light. We don’t want to fix things that aren’t broken of course, but we do want to make sure that a new expansion feels all new. Expansions are opportunities to reinvigorate the player base and the gameplay itself. Therefore, you shouldn’t always view a class revamp as meaning your character is horribly broken and adrift on a sea of designer ignorance and apathy. We probably won’t ever reach a point where a particular class has reached perfection and no additional design iteration is necessary. Change, in moderation, is healthy.

Stuff like this is why I say game design is an art and not a science. Given the opportunity, there is no doubt various among you who would make individual design decisions differently, and in some cases I have no doubt your decision might have been better. We’d love to see discussion on this issue though. How much change is good? When can a problem chill for a few months as opposed to needing immediate attention? How much risk should we undertake to bring small, quality of life changes? Are we on the right track? Insane? Is this just more propaganda from the Ghostcrawler Throne of Lies?

Greg “Ghostcrawler” Street is the lead systems designer on World of Warcraft. He has an unnatural disdain for the male night elf shoulder roll.
This article was originally published in forum thread: Coffee With the Devs - Rate of Change started by chaud View original post
Comments 73 Comments
  1. Idletime's Avatar
    Interesting read, just reinforces my decision to get the hell out while the getting is good. I was a believer for 6 years, but GC and his crew have seriously messed this whole thing up since he came on the scene. He's making it far too complex and it's only resulting in the destruction of the game. Sure, casuals who don't care will always subscribe and the cutting edge raiders/PVPers will hang out and resubscribe patch to patch to insure their place in the gaming world pecking order, but what's left after that? The game is simply not much fun anymore. A month ago I would have told you I was just waiting on the next patch, but after losing half my guild and most of my long time WoW friends to other games (since Firelands is on par with watching paint dry) I made my decision to explore another title until SWTOR comes out, maybe D3 but I'm guessing that will be another Activisioned game. I totally agree with the above however, someone at Irvine had to pull his ass aside and tell him to stop being condescending to CUSTOMERS. You don't treat gamers like you would in game when you're the flipping head man in charge. I'm guessing it was someone that watches subscriptions. If you were at a restaurant and the waitperson told you "that's how it is, and that's that" you'd start demanding a comped meal and never eat there again. If you were a salesman telling your customer "sorry, that's how we do it so like it or leave it" you'd destroy your clientele base. He came on the scene when they were converting from the Vanilla/BC model to the Wrath model which is what made the game mainstream. In that time the demographic changed almost entirely and they didn't stay true to the demands of the market. Sadly I don't even want to watch Blizzcon again this year.
  1. lilbuddhaman's Avatar
    This is a joke, right?

    Throne of Lies
  1. gurusotah's Avatar
    hi guys and ladiesI have been playing mmo games for a long time.First of all i must say that if wow had released last year with that brainless and 3rd class untalented dev. team members,they would have had a big problem and fell into deep shit with 100k subc, because no one would give a shit such a crap game in all aspects especially in pvp, it is so clear that Blizzard doesnt care about pvp and they dont even bother to nerf insane op classes like fmage spec feral and rogues , i play fmage and to be honest it is not even fun to faceroll everybody although they seem to be good players.Real wow dev team memebers left wow looong time ago and created ARENA net which is a creater of guild wars in a way.So if you think that wow send their talented dev team to titan, it is a bollox.Subs is 11 million rofl, guys are you all so naiv to think that there are still 11 mil ppl who play that game BOLLOX.it is not even 5 mil, they started to see deep shit i can predict that you know how?i play in 3 servers and even in peak time they all are DEAD.i have friends who play in different servers all say the same thing servers are dead may be not all but most of them.Ghostcrawler and his everquest buddies fucked that game and made wow their own gamecourt, GC and his buddies are the real reason why people are quiting.when i read how they think and what they want to do i loled hard and sady that these guys are designers of wow.as an old veteran mmo player i must unfortunately admit that wow will fall apart thanks to these brainless 3rd class dev teams with GC .
  1. [-Spiritus-]'s Avatar
    There is a lot to take in, but what stuck me the most was the idea of class balance. Notice he only talks about class balance in terms of raw DPS? What happened to control? AoE v. single target? Burst vs. steady damage? That is the real issue. "Bring the player, not the class" meant that pretty much every unique aspect of every spec was washed away, with the only real difference being how and what abilities you execute for maximum damage. So now, instead of "Arcane is good in X, but not as good in Y & Z, Fire is good in Y, and not as good in X or Z, and frost is good in Z, but not as good in X & Y" you have " Arcane is best at X, then next is Fire in X, and at the bottom Frost in X." When you are only balancing around X, then that 1% is the only thing that is truly separating the specs. If you had Y & Z, you could say, "Sure Arcane is good at X, but if you need Y, Fire."

    Now, was this homogenization a good move? For some, absolutely. For others, not so much. You can't please everyone, but count me in the "not pleased" category when specs are devolved into raw output and then encounters are designed with primarily raw, homogenized output in mind.
  1. FurIouS007's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Thustra View Post
    The 11.1M current ( or at least the latest number) of subscribers is a fact.

    so 'people that currently play world of warcraft' == 11.1M

    And then your quote says that 'people that played wow but no longer play' is larger that this. Now, seeing as this group of ' have but no longer' is by definition distinct from the 'play now' group. This means the total amount of people having played plus the ones that are playing numbers over 22M.

    The only way your way of reasoning works is if the subscribers numbers have dropped to around 5M in the last 3 months... and I doubt that ^^ but if you have a source on that I'll happily retract my words.

    Also the mmo market has exploded over the last decennium, ofcourse swtor has more preorders than wow has. they are fishing in pond that has maybe 5 times the size it used to have and it's friggin Star Wars. Hell I have mine preordered.

    Yes i just signed up to reply to this post for a good reason.

    ROFL 22m active subs, you really need to go "search" for posts about the active number of players in WoW.

    I can tell you it's no where near what you think it is.

    Edit: More on topic about massive wall of blue post.

    WoW had it's glory days and now it's trying to still be the best when the people who made it the best are no longer around. Like EQ, GC will stuff WoW up and you can all ready seeing this happening. GC fate is the same as Kalagan ( I think that is how you spell it? ) that he will just vanish in to thin air.....
  1. Calzaeth's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by FurIouS007 View Post
    Yes i just signed up to reply to this post for a good reason.

    ROFL 22m active subs, you really need to go "search" for posts about the active number of players in WoW.

    I can tell you it's no where near what you think it is.

    Edit: More on topic about massive wall of blue post.

    WoW had it's glory days and now it's trying to still be the best when the people who made it the best are no longer around. Like EQ, GC will stuff WoW up and you can all ready seeing this happening. GC fate is the same as Kalagan ( I think that is how you spell it? ) that he will just vanish in to thin air.....
    The post you quoted never claimed that WoW has 22m active subs. It said that active subs + unsubbed = 22m. Which may be true.
  1. Requiem4aDr3am's Avatar
    so who else pre ordered SWTOR?:P
  1. Ganimah's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Thustra View Post
    The 11.1M current ( or at least the latest number) of subscribers is a fact.
    So...if this is the case, let's see if the math adds up.

    11.1 million subscribers at 15/month = 499,500,000

    Total quarterly revenue for Q3 (including Cataclysm launch in China) = 313 million (http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/3...ore_Slowly.php)

    So...with box sales eating up a decent number of the 313 million quarterly revenue (not profit but total money brought in), the highest possible number of active subscriptions, assuming absolutely ZERO retail box/digital sales would be equal to 6.96 million subscriptions. Remember that taking into account ZERO retail sales...ZERO micro-transactions/guild transfers/race or faction changes.

    I'll stick with the math, because 11.1 million simply doesn't add up. It is more like what they have said when it's less than half of the number who used to play the game.
  1. xEvangelionx's Avatar
    Change, yes it's good. We like change as humans, but we also hate it when it's changed something that was pretty awesome in the first place and here is why

    Firstly, yes it is a balancing act, this is true. But. They are not listening or don't seem to acknowledge players demands so leaving this to chill is kinda not wise, if you speak and the listener isn't responding of course you're gonna get angry and leave, I think openly speaking about it like for example the Censure hotfix, there was a collective "Yippee!" from avid Retribution fanboys.
    Retribution has been broken for a little while and I do believe there were many posts explaining that it's inconsistent and heavily dependant on gear to even attempt viability, that's after a cut-throat guild would be prepared to theoretically carry a Paladin specced into Retribution.Another is frost mages, they are incredibly imbalanced. The point of a cloth-wearing class is to be like a glass bombs, they will do amazing damage but they are fickle... come on, they are meant to have paper bag armor yet they can kill any class. I could see originally in PvP one class/spec had a weakness to another, I could go into details but I'm sure we can pick many combos.. But now? Hm.

    Secondly, the worst change is I guess... we can all agree, the game seems to have change since one golden rule...
    It's being tailored to the masses and I mean the "casual gamers" mostly, the ones that play Wii and let it collect dust or randomly play iPhone/Blackberry/Samsung apps.
    With the segregation of Normal modes and Heroics in a more stated and obvious way compared to 10man (Normal) and 25man (Heroic)... It's paved a way to the fundamental principles or there after the lack of those today.
    - Major class changes, in functionality and gameplay...
    Warlocks though I've never played one, their remake seemed much needed and for hunters, their quiver was somewhat outdated. Removing arrows altogether... Hum, I prefer there idea of elemental-damage-based arrows to improve DPS. But, stupid things like according to Blizzard Holy Paladins were "going to be not solely focus on tank healing and to be competitive at AOE", yeah, right.
    [2][Freddo]:LF Tank healer!
    [/w Freddo]: Holydin ilvl 365
    Come on, who has even changed their mindset that a Holy Paladin is a raid healer, a Resto Druid to be a tank healer?
    War
    - Reducing the amount of stats and removal of said mechanics/stats that gave a class a form of uniqueness. Yes, firstly I'm talking about a few things like MP5, Armor Penetration, etc...
    Well I dunno about you it's nice that they've reduced the headache of sometimes balancing about 15 stats to increase output and gave us the nice little Reforge to do so... but yeah, Armor Penetration for Rogues seemed... I dunno, a no-brainer? In terms of universal idea, they are sneaky bastards that could assassinate therefore nullifying even suits of armor...
    - Vendor Epics
    I think there should be some to granted start people up, the reputation based items and the ones based on collecting tokens is great. But draw a line, how can farming a heroic be similar or at some points depending on content (Like ZG/ZA) compare to a Raid?

    Thirdly, Familiarity breeds contempt, this where I will say that keeping things the same is bad... and whether players know it or not, it has basically "destroyed" the faith in the GC and the team because well, the lore. They basically rewrote it to make ends meet such as Nefarian... Onyxia, Sinestra... and so on.
    People may disagree but the majority says TBC was the best part of Warcraft, and why? The story behind it. The bosses related to something and gave a sense of accomplishment, like really you progress through all the bosses in Black Temple, go through the chain of command and see Illidan, kneeling, in all his demonic glory and think "Damn, I worked hard and I'm gonna be in an awesome battle to end all battles!". It was built with obvious love, time and well an underlying current. Of course Sunwell Plateau was kinda, aside to the basic tone of Illidan but it still related and to see Kil'Jaeden was at least a pinnacle to the instance... You had to bust a gut to get past the bosses to him.
    And so far, though alot say WHY, WHY KILL HIM? People are fond that they ARE dead. You can't reminiscent without it ending. Period.

    Lastly, which brings me onto another issue that , difficulty. The reason why people play a game, which contributes to the quality of the franchise's life. Let's face it, with each year they seem to dumb down games.
    Anyone recall arcade machines or just older games where you would spend days, weeks even months on a game? Like snake on old-school mobiles, eventually you died you would try again... Granted if its too frustrating then we do give up but... difficulty didn't die with TBC, Ulduar is an OK example, wiping on hard-modes wasn't unheard of and longevity of the content did happen but not like Firelands where... people could clear it in weeks, or a good porportion got to 6/7 Heroic. That's not difficulty... That's like just... Hey, let's farm PTR get the basics and one-shot mostly the live-bosses for some purples.
    We don't want to be spoon fed the game, not in the way that it is now. There should be a certain feel to progression within the character, not just a minor upgrade from one tier to another. Ok, maybe its because the glory of leveling your first level 1 has all but died as your first ding 60, 70, 80 or 85 depending on your entry to Warcraft but still, the gap between expansions is too big and the the gap between content patches seems way too small.
    For what we pay for compared to other MMORPGs, why are you catering for the casual gamers? They don't really play for their money's worth compared to the more "veteran"-based players that are on the game. Why instead of pleasing the masses with easy loot and to get people into the game quicker, make the game more interesting for those that are your core-paying customers and constantly pay.
    To be honest, you can argue that the systems in play such as Tier 11 being obtainable by Justice Points which can be farmed, is good for the core-payers but ask yourself, would they really be levelling alts to use those systems if they weren't dying of boredom in the first place? Make more content for individual play? Like RPGs originally are meant to be, I mean duh your genre is RPG... What role is it to AFK in Orgrimmar/Stormwind? The NPC one? No.

    Overall, it seems that they've tried to change the game to the point of no return and in all fairness to what GC wanted. To make it feel it's HIS game, simple. Head Developer, you do as I say and want and you deal with it.
    Well, sorry :\ we deal with it but you can see the profit shrink as people leave, players turning casual to soon viewing their subscriptions as a money-drain... Only a few hang in there because the communities formed there outlasts any half-mashed content you're currently wanting to put in there.. And even then, players leave so those fall and as a domino, more leave.
  1. Hypocratus's Avatar
    Interesting. When about a year ago when I wrote here that GC is arrogant moron who destroys the game, most of the people were disagreed. Now, when he and his gang have successfully done it, most of the people are agree. Good, good. And I wish he said at least a word about what part of this "design process for people to have fun" brought those idiots to converting healing from relative fun (i had all 4 healing spec in WoTLK and enjoyed playing them) to cretinistic boring mana-watching-is-everything-enjoy-your-3-sec-heal-which-saves-nobody shit of Cata, when I didn't even level 3rd and 4th of my healers and now I play only main and only in raid. How did you come to that, idiots? I would love to read, really. And, ye, when you heal trolls in full Fireland gear it's easy, if that what you did mean by "gear up and this will be fun again". I really hope this idiot finally is going to be fired.
  1. Mulled's Avatar
    Can't believe all you people complaining can talk for the rest of us.

    Example : Warriors need buffing were in such a bad shape at this point in the game, that I can't even compete with other classes in the pvp scene.

    Now, Ask yourself what's wrong with that statement?

    Can't figure it out? Here let me telll you.

    That statement, States that the warrior class NEEDS buffing from his only perspective they need buffing.

    But has he taken into account not only his own skill level/experience but also his gear / knowledge of the class?

    So ask yourself, Before you go complaining X class is in the gutter and Y class needs nerfing is it the class? Or is it you..the player.

    Stop speaking for everyone else and learn to play, I mean you're telling these people who CREATED the class that they are wrong in their decision? I mean, I'm sure they know what they are doing and have the means to do what they do.

    I, Myself play a warrior and while I do think they need work if there is a nerf to the class it is quite possibly needed now I'm sure you won't agree with me because your in you're own little world but please, For the sake of the rest of the gaming community.

    Shut up and play!


    Cheers bro.
  1. tehdef's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Ganimah View Post
    So...if this is the case, let's see if the math adds up.

    11.1 million subscribers at 15/month = 499,500,000

    Total quarterly revenue for Q3 (including Cataclysm launch in China) = 313 million (http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/3...ore_Slowly.php)

    So...with box sales eating up a decent number of the 313 million quarterly revenue (not profit but total money brought in), the highest possible number of active subscriptions, assuming absolutely ZERO retail box/digital sales would be equal to 6.96 million subscriptions. Remember that taking into account ZERO retail sales...ZERO micro-transactions/guild transfers/race or faction changes.

    I'll stick with the math, because 11.1 million simply doesn't add up. It is more like what they have said when it's less than half of the number who used to play the game.
    Just wanted to let you know that you are wrong. The number is 11.1 unique accounts, not subscribers. EU and NA are the biggest subscriber territories, which only account for 5-6 million iirc. The rest comes from China, which they pay to play. The basics is that you have an account, you pay for an hour to play at a lan center. That is considered a unique account that logs in, and is tallied in their total subscriber base. Please try to read the fundamentals of the details laid before you. This is critical when you are trying to form solid arguments or even baseline discussions.

    Thanks,
  1. Ganimah's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by tehdef View Post
    Just wanted to let you know that you are wrong. The number is 11.1 unique accounts, not subscribers. EU and NA are the biggest subscriber territories, which only account for 5-6 million iirc. The rest comes from China, which they pay to play. The basics is that you have an account, you pay for an hour to play at a lan center. That is considered a unique account that logs in, and is tallied in their total subscriber base. Please try to read the fundamentals of the details laid before you. This is critical when you are trying to form solid arguments or even baseline discussions.

    Thanks,
    So basically you are saying that there are over 6 million people NOT playing the game and that there are less than 5 million people still playing the game. Which, by the way, was exactly what I have been stating all along. Unique accounts don't count towards a player base, those who continue to play the game do. Technically I still have an account with Blizzard, but I have not paid them a cent in quite a long time.

    But I guess you were looking for some kind of odd sub-text, when the rest of us were talking about how many ACTIVE players there are left in WoW, versus your stipulation of how many total accounts there are.

    I guess it might be YOU who need to learn that premises form conclusions and to change the form of the premises without changing the conclusion is called a false premise. If all A are B and all B are C, then all A are C. But in your world it's seems to be ok to say: If all D are B and all B are C, then all A are C. Otherwise known as, you can't flip my argument to fit yours and I can't flip your argument to fit mine. I made a separate argument to show you different line of argumentation and somehow you missed that.


    TL;DR Version: The ACTIVE player base for wow is 5 million or less players. Confirmed not only by quantitative argumentation, but also by citation of sources and confirmation from the devs.

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