The State of World of Warcraft – A Current Analysis and Retrospective
Some of you may remember a epic rage (well mild aggravation) post from days gone by, written by me on the subject of the MoP announcement at Blizzcon....
It was given such rave reviews as:
“A thoroughly well written QQ post!” “I agree with most of the OP points!” “You are clearly a racist, xeno-phobic retard!”
…. and Si'skel the Blood Elf and Ebert probably gave it thumbs in some sort of elevated or de-elevated position, I couldn't really be arsed to check...
But I'd like to revisit it in retrospective and provide analysis of World of Warcraft as it is today and my own points I raised oh so long ago.
This starts with context of the post of course.... it was before Dragon Soul was released and I'd like to start with: I apologize for my clearly held belief Dragon Soul would both be of astounding depth and quality that it would be a raid for the ages. I was clearly too hopeful and woefully naive. (For those of you that bother to skim it it). Back to topic... the post was breed from two events, the blizzcon announcement and my shocked state of “tell me your kidding, this is a joke right?”. The other being a violent argument in my realms trade chat with a someone that voiced dissent with the idea of the xpac being woefully harassed.
So, time passed and a decided to take some of the advice in the thread and give MoP a test drive... I figured, in my shell shocked state maybe I was being too subjective and not objective enough to see positives. So I'm going bullet point some of my own arguments and provide commentary on myself to see where I was wrong, and where I felt I was right.... (I'm not obviously gonna hit each point)
- Theme Change: Of course this is a subjective topic to each player/reader and YMMV. I formally argued the theme of the xpac didn't fit with culturally entrenched western RPG themes (namely Dungeons and Dragons) and the overall established lore of the world. As it stand's I'd like to correct my former self that the environments, look and feel was not as off putting as I formally thought it would be. In fact, some of the zones gave me flashbacks of the Schzo basin , and even TBC zones. Even the panda's weren't that off putting.
HOWEVER... I still maintain that the tone of MoP is about as jarring a shift as splicing 5 mins of the film Chasing Amy into the middle of the game ZombiU …...but not for any environments, npcs, stories, or any panda's fault. The real fault of the theme change was the philosophy change of “GO SLOW”. As a long standing raider, foot to the floor min maxing and slamming my head off the wall until I was practically declared legally retarded was the name of this game. It was part of feeling epic, and progressing a character to see it grow.... instead I was given a Yugo and told to hit the tractor trailer lane (for eu readers: lorries) in a traffic jam.
- Progression Paths – Formally, I was down on VP from questing and using LFR as a gating crutch to drag out content patches by forcing time commits of once a week looting. I glossed over “VP from quests” as I didn't think then that there would be a drastic nerf to VP from Heroics and other sources. I also wrongfully stated that gear would be LESS grind-y to obtain with once-a-week LFR lockouts.
Boy was I wrong, but very right. I was right in the effect that gating would be used to slow progression unduly because of the clearing speed of Cata raids, but was wrong about how. Dallies being used as a brick wall in which Blizzard beat you over the head with was something I never considered at all, even with the “VP from quests” announcement.
- Class Changes – Homogenization of classes still sucks, sky is blue, and film at 11. IMO this made things hard to balance and ended up neutering Disc priests badly out the gate only to have them seriously OP after a“fix”.
- Ruining Old Content/Soloing – I voiced this concern strikingly early. …
QUOTE: My concern is that older content will be effected badly, mostly in the realm of my favorite side sport in extreme soloing. I love to be able to challenge my skills, knowledge of class, and creativity to down a level 80 raid boss.
Of course that was written at level 85 when it was pretty hard to do in most cases. But back then, I was attacking the proposed idea of a stat flatten. Yet another strangely wrong prediction that I was right about..... I just didn't foresee the solo nerfs and slight modifications so people can farm pets and mounts as if it was a mindless world mob grind. I'm really sad this happened.... I will continue to address this later.
Now I debated myself a bit... lets look at MoP now.... its issues and my less than previously optimistic views.
In the interest of full disclosure: I am unsubbed. I stayed to slightly inside 5.1. I DO NOT plan to resub at this time (or for 5.2). I'm not ruling out the possibility of re-subbing in the future at any time subject to my whims, the weather, presidential polls, acts of god(s), CIA mind control rays, or any forces known or unknown.
Objectivity and Subjectivity are hard.... a lot of people lack understanding of the concept when dealing with emotional contexts or things they care passionately about.
These two concepts are at odds when someone addresses a public forum where both run at fever pitch, but I feel my issues previously and current.....which thoroughly evolved over time..... can be dissected. This part is an exploration into problems with the state of the community and the game as I see it today.... which leads nicely to...
- The Myth of the Silent Majority – I see this trolled out quite often, especially by blue posters on the official forums. The myth of the faceless, nameless player that's just content with everything. It's like they are a quantifiable gray mass of neutral-ness that has no thought, no feelings, and more importantly to the person making an argument on its behalf....no complaints and agrees with the status quo.
Like the idea of John Q Voter in elections..... that middle of the road person that agrees with [insert name here] policies and beliefs. There's two major issues with this for WoW …. if they are indeed silent, MAYBE you haven't captured their attention yet...which means less customer retention. Or, on the flip side, MAYBE they stopped caring.
Look at my original post, for years and years I loved the hell out of WoW..... and a lot of that original post was born out deep seated love and caring about something for which I was passionate. So I submit, maybe there is a silent majority.... the ones that lost the ability to continue caring and lost their passion and did not speak out for support or dissent.
Or, maybe it's just a myth to promote the idea of “nothing is wrong here” at Blizzard....either way, its bad for the game.
- The KGB(lue) Posters – Something I've noticed lately, following the blue posts and tweets here on MMO-C …. is the rather large upswing in aggressive, almost “screw you” type replies to players. Some of it is of course earned...... but re-read some of the various blue communications and it seems increasing hostile. This is of course subjective, but I see it as a systemic problem of MoP and “the new” blizzard (as it seems called now) .
I always get the feeling reading some of the responses as a down right hostile blame to the players, an echo of the losses of Cata.... almost to say “we tried it your way, and your an idiot”. Granted most suggestions are rather stupid, but good intentioned. As stated above, when people lose passion is when you should start to worry.
- Lack of Real Content/Good Content – A subjective argument, but I feel MoP (so far....this is a HALFTIME REPORT) lacks real content. The raids staggered gating, LFR ilvls questionably skewed higher for later raids IN THE SAME TIER, facepwn heroic 5mans, paper thin scenarios all lack real soul. There is a spark missing from them, they lack that Heroic Shattered Halls trash pull ass clinch or the epic feeling of running from the Lich King in HoR or even the 5th wipe keyboard head smash of an early Cata heroic. It's all too spread out weak content for a longer service life.
Then there is the raids, best summed up with the phrase: Bored, Bored, Bored, Sha put me to sleep.....literally snoring on vent.
And that’s all before we get to the concept of dallies....which follows nicely into...
- Dallies Blow (but not for the reason you think) – What can I add to the mountain of daily hate that hasn’t already been said 50 million times in all caps rage?
Destruction of the game....that’s what. Sold as an alternative time sink or as an optional fun thing to do.... they are anything but. They cause social isolation by removing MMO elements by making the game a crappy version single player version of Skyrim, act as artificial time sinks to stretch content and cash follow to Blizzard and hard wire gating to slightly more interesting content.
But that’s only a fraction of the issue, there's hastening player burn out, and frustration....
And the coming economic collapse of Azeroth through time to production shortages, automation, uncontrolled liquidity injection, and rampant inflation.
WHICH … I'll post in another thread.... (because I wrote a bunch more about this specific topic and would like to do it justice and drop AH sales data and graphs I generated to illustrate effects and discuss economic theory. Plus I'm more than sure it would hijack the thread here badly).
- And Finally...the Community... In the OG post that spawned this retrospective and reflection upon myself, I lashed out at the community and the way it behaves....
I maintain my belief in the subject, but now want to explicitly wax-lyrical about how I personally see it. When an old veteran player talks about wanting vanilla, or TBC, or even Wrath back....... to a point, what they want back is a social aspect above all. In days of yore, you had to rely on yourself being liked and your personal rep on your server. Prove yourself a good player and you were in, prove yourself a asshat...you were shunned... Today none of these controls exist. Piss off people in a random? Who cares you won't see them again..... Piss off your server? Gquit and name change....pooof new person. Really piss off a server....realm change!
The sense of faction is gone... I will never forget the desperate battles on SW bridge to stop the horde raid or fighting Dumble's gang of retards as they attempted their hourly raid of Goldshire..... the dramatic fights over Auberdine (still miss that town, for 6 years had my hearth there) between levels 15s and all the way up to 80's (in wrath). No one cares anymore.... ransack a town, and no one responds anymore.....hell does anyone but me still use /WorldDefense?
The sense of need of each other is gone.... the design of the game lately seems to push solo pursuits and the sight of other players as “interaction”. CRZ and hub areas are NOT social interaction! Working together, stopping threats and working as a team IS social interaction (either in raids, dungeons or PVP). On top of that, everyone is now so focused on best gear, dps/hps, achievements, and the almighty ilvl simple activities like pugging, randoms, and BGs can be as frustrating as shaving your privates with a rusty cheese grater! (further reading: see gearscore). I've seen new people berated for having blues and greens (having just dung 90) for poor dps and booted in 5mans..... like you didn't start a new toon, alt, or had to catch up before? No catch up mechanics in the world will stop this and makes taking breaks or jumping in late a nightmare of an experience.
And then there is the elephant in the room, the dissenters and the true believers. This rift is as decisive and deep as ever, just look at the forums...official and otherwise. Anyone that dislikes anything about the game is a “hater” …... anyone that likes an aspect is a “lover” and the fighting gets more intense. It doesn't help that this expansion is more polarizing than anything in the past (closest thing I remember is LFD debate) with almost all aspects being equally loathed or loved. This attitude however hampers real discussion …. and by proxy any real change. If real discussion occurs, and real debate occurs then Blizzard as a company could respond to better feedback, instead of flamefests.
While I've tossed in the towel at the moment, I still maintain an active academic interest in the game, community, and business side of things....i still deep down hold some obama-ist “hoping for change” mentalities. This is how I see it......and interested to hear some input. Do I hope looking back in retrospective on myself will help anything? I'm guessing not... this may just do no one any good at all. Or maybe, someone....somewhere....ah....who knows....prob just another “thoroughly well written QQ posts.” but at least I can look back and debate myself and evolve opinions by careful assessment of myself.