So we all know that many of the WoW developers were transferred to the new Titan team back in 2009.
I'm suspecting this is precisely why WoW is so different nowadays from what it used to be. This is obviously subjective, but despite what manner of polished (and sometimes really good) mechanics and upgrades Blizzard brings out, it all feels rather soulless to me.
An anecdote I often bring up is what it felt like back when you did Scholomance or Karazhan. Those dungeons were incredibly detailed and atmospheric. You could literally picture the designers sitting down in a dimly lit room with five cups of coffee and a pizza, tinkering with every little detail of the place to get it just right. To make the world come alive, as it were. Not just to produce content.
Now, while WoW is still a good game (arguably better in many ways), it doesn't excite me or anyone I know as it used to. When Cataclysm launched, I got really excited about the return of Deathwing from the old Warcraft games, but the expansion never really immersed me. With the MoP-beta (and the so far disastrous introductory events), it seems as if though the trend continues - beautiful content and upgraded mechanics, but in the end a game which feels shallow, uninspired, and not at all like Warcraft. Too streamlined, I should add, whether you talk of talents, quests, story, or the flow of content. I think one of the strengths of a fictional world, ironically enough, is that there be some chaos for us to moan about. All worlds contain chaos, dull chores, and annoyances. Nowadays everything is so efficient and simple. Compare pre-expansion events now and then, for instance.
If you think back a couple of years, when was the first time this change of design occurred? I dare say it was with the Icecrown Citadel. Think about it.
A plain layout of a castle which ought to be very complex and intricate; very few atmospheric moments or scenic highlights. It was go from point A to point B in a very straight corridor, kill the boss in a big room, and repeat. Exactly like the dungeons and raids of today.
So I suspect ICC marks the shift when many members of the team left for Titan, and had their positions filled by other devs who formerly held minor roles in the team. In short, the vision-holders for the design were replaced.
What do you think?
Do you know who left and what positions were filled?
Note: I'm not at all bashing the current devs. I think they're all marvellous designers. They can't be held responsible for not sharing the same vision as the people before them.