LONG POST INCOMING!!
First I want to make it clear that I am not a subscriber. So my opinion may be bullshit to some of you guys but I have been however, an avid follower of MMO-Champion and am quite interested in Warlords of Draenor. Second, I used to be a hardcore raider back in Cataclysm and quit back at July 2011 (Patch 4.2) for personal reasons. I tried resubscribing back at June 2013 (During Tier 15 of MoP) to try to get back into the game but failed as Guild Wars 2 had its hooks on me at the time.
I am making this thread because I have been reading a lot of posts about how its a big deal that wow is losing subscribers. How many of the posters are giving reasons of how the direction the game developers are taking with wow is what's causing the decline of the game. I just wanted to give my thoughts on how I think the direction Blizzard is taking with WoD and the expansions of past is probably the best for not only wow but in general great for us gamers.
So before I get into anything about the game's direction, I wanted to first talk about how wow is losing subscribers. I refuse to believe that the current condition the game is in, is a pure reflection of how the game is doing with its subscribers. It certainly is a part of it, but I like to also think the other MMO's competing with wow such as Guild Wars 2, RIFT, SWTOR (believe it or not, these games are actually doing quite well, research it yourself and you will see) and the new ones that are coming out such as WildStar. I also like to believe in the good old Product Life Cycle. The game is over 10 years old, its time to come to the realization that the game was bound to lose subscribers at some point, which happened somewhere in Cataclysm. Also, the game still has plenty of subscribers, higher than any other mmo. The game is still monumental compared to any other "little shit" it comes across. Even if they lose subscribers, they make most of those losses back with their microtransactions, and they should as the player (consumer) is willing to spend $20 on their favourite little goodies (not that I will understand that anyway). Now, the last thing I like to mention is how I think Blizzard has been implementing new features into every expansion and throughout each expansion, trying their best to perfect each and every one of them is great for us gamers. Now for my little rant.
Personally, I will never stop believing in this but I believe Wrath was the worst expansion out there. Maybe it was because I was in a horrible server (Dalvengyr US) at the time and why I thought Cataclysm was my best time raiding in wow as I made a new character in a new server (Magtheridon US), but I refuse to believe an expansion that changed how heroics worked, how insanely bad ToC was, how toxic ICC was, despite all of the complaints and praises there have been. Honestly, ICC was the biggest fucking dumbfuck raid I have ever experienced, I still think people are overblowing their nostalgia to an all time high with the Lich King fight. Yeah, lets make a fight 100x harder than the other bosses, and make everything else abysmal. Let's make all players get a stupid buff to pretty much make skill and order in raids mean nothing. The only good thing in that expansion was Howling Fyjord and Ulduar, that was it.
So what was the point of that little bitching about Wrath up there? Well, ironically it was where WoW had the highest subscriber count at the time. However, Wrath was a very different expansion compared to its predecessors TBC and Vanilla. How come? Seriously, they were gaining subscribers faster than any other mmo out there. The player got easily trapped in the carrot chasing treadmill, which was very difficult to get out of back then. So how come they changed it? Why did they change it in Wrath? Why did try to revert it to Cataclysm? Why on earth did they release ToC, a raid with no trash, 5 worthless bosses, and overall make Ulduar feel sick next to it? Why did Firelands and Dragon Soul have such few bosses? How come they are fixing something that isn't broken? Well the answer to all of these questions is simply "game design". That's it.
No really, that's it. There was something wrong with players being stuck more addicted then ever back in TBC and Vanilla and getting out of the addiction. WoW had a pretty bad stigma at the time for its addiction and now we don't hear much of it. I think they knew there was something wrong with certain players not being chosen because of specific classes. What game developer would want its player to choose a class and feel like they made the wrong choice in picking it because it is useless in certain situations. Why on earth would they want 1% of its players to see the final endgame content like Naxxramas? Why would they want leveling to be nothing but a long and horrible grind. I think you get the picture. Now I am not a game designer. I have very little chance on becoming one since it requires some science courses and computer programming, all of which I was horrible in. But I am just thinking, if I were those guys in Blizzard, how could we keep our games like this. Times were changing. Trying their change and make sure their games are good but are still open to its audience while following the themes the designers wanted them to experience isn't easy. If we look at From Software with Dark Souls 2, many of its followers know that they have been trying to make the game more open to the general gamer while still retaining to its core beliefs of a hard but fun game. I think Blizzard is the same with WoW, trying to make an awesome game with more open features while still retaining to its overall core design, a solid RPG game.
Think about it. Questing is far better than ever. The carrot chase with gear has been diminished significantly, to the point where its mostly cosmetic. The design of their zones and music and what they can do with their game is truly breathtaking. I am sure MoP had some of the finest zones out there. Storytelling will always be getting better (No Wrath Storytelling Sucked Ass). They are trying their best to make gear choices more simpler yet more efficient at the same time. They knew talent trees were stupid so they made that even more simpler and with more choice. No one can truly win at this argument as MoP talent trees is arguably the best expansion that gave the players the most choice in its talent trees. They are constantly changing difficulties, trying different options, trying to find the right fit. They knew that social engineering the player base in Wrath wasn't great and immediately getting them into Cata heroic 5 mans difficulty was the wrong choice.
If anything, I will argue that they have been trying to find the right difficulty for its player base since Vanilla 5 mans. Vanilla dungeons were long, boring with almost no mechanics in most of their bosses and just requiring specific classes. TBC changed it with more boss mechanics being put in, shorter dungeons but it didn't solve the problem of specific classes with CC being needed for certain situations or the fact that it still took hours to clear them. Then Wrath came and it solved the length problem, but then the players didn't like its difficulty. I mean we can all agree that the difficulty in Wrath heroics were far too low. The only boss that was actually difficult was the HoL final boss but mostly for holy paladins. Then came Cataclysm but it reverted back to TBC style dungeon which pretty much brought back the problems of TBC again. Unfortunately, at the same time, WoW started losing subscribers. So everyone thought with mop's wrath style dungeons (which brought back its problems again) it would go back, but they kept losing subscribers. I am now sure they have some idea of what the players want when it comes to specific difficulty in their dungeons, which is short but difficult, while still being accessible to all classes because I think they know that subscriber numbers are going to keep going lower.
I know that little shindig is mostly for 5 mans, as raids I will not touch upon as I did not experience them, but I can only assume that the raids were getting better as well as the raid tiers were getting compliments for the number of quality bosses and raid environments. I won't get into PVP but I can only assume PVP is like in every other expansion and other mmo.
Essentially all I am trying to say is that despite what many of us may think of the game right now, the direction that Blizzard is taking with wow may be the best for the game and the players. I don't entirely believe in every little thing they have done but I think they have been experimenting with every feature at different points of the game to see what works and what doesn't. Adding in more features, some their own, some from other games such as timeless isle from gw2, pet battles from pokemon, and garrisons from farmville (I believe that was the game, correct me if I am wrong). But then again, I could be wrong and everything I say may be BS when WoD comes out as their promises and statements are always changing but we shall see.
If you read this far, you earn my love which is worth nothing.