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What’s Wrong with World of Warcraft?

What's Wrong with World of Warcraft

On May 23rd 2013, Robin Torres posed the following question over at WoWInsider: What’s wrong with WoW? It’s no secret that WoW’s numbers are declining. If I recall the statistics correctly, WotLK was the height of WoW’s popularity. But I thinking asking what’s wrong with WoW presupposes a “yes” to the more important question: Is there anything wrong with WoW? And to that I say “no.”

WoW is over eight years old at this point. It’s been the king of the MMO world for quite some time. Many competing games have been introduced that were dubbed as “WoW-killers” like Aion, Rift, Old Republic, and Guild Wars 2. But thus far, nothing has lived up to the hype. The health of the game, despite the decline in subscribers, has remained strong.

WoW’s biggest problem is its lifetime. It is incredibly difficult to get players to play the same game for eight years. I love Halo, and I’ll occasionally boot up a game and bask in the nostalgia, but I could never have played it for eight years. At some point, the game simply becomes too repetitious. New multiplayer maps could be added which would give the game some life, but that could only go so far. At its heart, it is the same game.

WoW breathes life into the game with every expansion through new classes, races, spells, zones, etc. It’s a little like playing a brand new game, but it’s still WoW. An expansion is more substantive than a multiplayer map pack would be, but it can only go so far. At some point, players just get bored with it.

Unfortunately for Blizzard, this often has a ripple effect. During Cataclysm, my guild broke up. Some people went to another guild, others stopped playing altogether. It was very frustrating for me and it removed all my desire to play at the time. Finding a new guild is hard. Getting people you enjoy playing with and earning their respect takes a lot of time. Doing it mid-expansion is even more problematic because it’s difficult to find a raiding spot.

A friend of mine recently stopped playing because his guild broke up and he lacks any desire to find a new one. After having transferred to two realms to find a guild that raids in his schedule, I can’t blame him. There’s nothing Blizzard can do to stop these things from happening though. The friends I play with are the reason guild breakups aren’t completely debilitating for me. I still have fun leveling alts or trying to 2-man an old raid we’re not quite geared for.

I take breaks with WoW. I’ll either be incredibly active with it or only log in to raid once a week. It’s a very cyclical pattern. It even applies to individual aspects of the game. When pet battles were introduced, I actively sought out to catch ‘em all (with the caveat of trying to catch every possible rare I could find). I burned myself out, though, and stopped pet battling for a month or two. I’ve only recently started again.

Many games, such as Skyrim, took the place of WoW for weeks on end. Players get burned out. There’s nothing Blizzard can do to prevent it. In my experience, players eventually return to WoW once they’ve had enough of a break. There’s nothing fundamentally wrong with the game that causes it.

Now, there are certainly aspects to Mists of Pandaria I did not like. As many others have said, the daily reputation grind was extremely irritating. I think the problem could’ve been alleviated somewhat if dailies were not restricted to level 90 players and I could’ve started gaining more Tillers rep at 86 or 87. The time required to get valor capped at the start of the expansion was miserable too. I was also not a fan of the Golden Lotus rep gate, and I severely disliked the removal of reputation tabards.

All of that being said, I didn’t stop playing altogether. I voiced my frustrations and was happy to see Blizzard took some measures to address concerns. The double reputation commendations were a welcomed change, players now only need 50 lesser charms of good fortune per week instead of 90, a small amount of bonus rep is earned when doing a random dungeon or scenario, and patch 5.3 removed the Golden Lotus gating.

There are parts I love and hate about every expansion. Mists of Pandaria is no different. Players will always find something to complain about and label it as the reason it stopped being fun. It’s just a flavor of month type of deal. I know that sometimes, a revamped system or nerf will be the single cause of a player deciding to quit, such as the big Will of the Forsaken nerf back in Vanilla. I just can’t see any of it being the cause for the drop in subscriber numbers.

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  1. Saki /

    I can tell you why I stopped playing WOW. They dumbed it down. When I first started playing (burning crusades), leveling was a struggle, quests were important to leveling, and pvp was pure encounters in the world. When WOTLK was released, the early training areas were dumbed down, and professions began going down hill. With Cataclysm, if you weren’t a high level, you could be so quickly you never learned to strategically play your character. Every character pretty much plays the same as other characters of the same class and race, no more tweaking of talents and skills/spells to get the ‘edge’. The Panda release completely killed strategy, and professions. It is now a kiddie game, not a strategic game. It is now possible to get from 1 to 80 without dying, using food, or using potions, and to do so very quickly without actually enjoying the game lore. Tanks run through dungeons so quickly in the name of points for gear that you are not really ‘playing’ the game. It is no longer possible to learn how to strategically battle at levels less than 10, because nothing attacks you in in the training areas. Professions (except inscription) are pretty much worthless (unless you finally make it to the highest levels) as no one less than a high level person wants to purchase your stuff because it’s NOT needed. No one purchases player made armor or food or potions when you are less than level 70 because there are so many armor drops it’s pointless to do so. Just go to the auction house. PVP is now nothing more than who has the highest score. Gone are the times when factions would simply battle to retain control over an area in TRUE PVP fashion. When’s the last time you battle like a fiend just to keep Alliance out of Booty Bay? Having 2 characters of different factions on the SAME server now makes faction loyalty worthless on that server because of ‘spies’. And seriously, pokemon battle pets? I started playing as an adult in my mid 20’s. I would have continued to play had they not dumbed it down.

  2. Saki /

    Another thing – Dailies. I like dailies as they put money in my pocket. But is it really playing to be spending most of your time grinding on dailies, doing your random groups for a quick tank bash through a dungeon to get your points for the day? Where’s the ‘play’ factor? when’s the last time you went on challenging raid for the fun on of it, instead of just the latest release raid? The designers are so focused on content for high level players, they’ve forgotten to develop replayability for rolling new toons, and have made it so easy to create twinks that again, the play factor is lost in leveling up.

  3. There are a great many things wrong with WoW. From the very beginning the game was designed wrong – whether it was taking features out and putting them in years later, completely ruining the lore, or Blizzard’s hard on for the horde, the game wasn’t that great in the first place. It was as fun as an MMO could be all the way through the end of TBC raiding. Wrath had a fun leveling experience but everything else was stupid, and it all went downhill from there.

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