Friday, January 21, 2011

The honeymoon is over for the bitter veterans

I probably shouldn’t write about this post since doing it puts me in a slightly bad mood. However, there are some thoughts and views that have been swirling aruond in my backhead for a few days now, following a debate in the blogosphere. And I can't help myself; I need to let out this steam so I can enter the weekend with peace in my mind.
The firestarter is no one but Wolfshead, who is done with his month of evaluating Cataclysm and now has come to the conclusion that it’s the worst expansion in the entire MMO history.

The blogger who more than anyone else (possibly with exception for Syncaine) loves to hate WoW, the guy who has appointed Blizzard the Evil Destroyer of the MMO concept, has once again played WoW for a few days – how many hours is unclear – and come to the conclusion that it still sucks. I would have been way more surprised if he had changed his mind.

“WoW is dying” over again.
As long as I’ve been playing, since 2007, there have been people whining on the forums about how “WoW is dying”, how the game has been ruined by equally bad and evil developers, spiced up with some well chosen general insults to the entire community, meaning: all other players except for me are idiots.

We saw those ex-players return for Cataclysm and for a month they’ve been occupied playing the game. Now the honeymoon is over and this week a wave of negative posts popped up in the blogosphere, Wolfshead the most extreme example. Apparently those who basically don’t like WoW because they’re burned out or just haven't come over EQ are done with their thing and about to leave us.

And to be truthful: the quicker they go, the better it is. I’ve had enough of their presence. Their constant flow of bitter and poisonous throw-ups in blogs and forum posts is sickening and doesn’t’ give me any insight or knowledge whatsoever. All it gives is an annoying debuff on my mood.

It’s hard to take doom and gloom prophecies seriously. Is Cataclysm doing well or not? I don’t know. We’ll have to wait and see what the annual reports for Blizzard Activision say. But one think is clear: I don’t think that Wolfshead’s conclusions or a bunch of whiny forum posts can be hold as evidence that Cataclysm is a bad expansion, that it’s badly received, that Blizzard has failed and that players now are leaving for greener pastures.

We’ve seen exactly this happening in every expansion of WoW. Players fled after Vanilla, after TBC, after Wrath and now after Cataclysm. Just like in any other hobby activity, people come and go for various reasons.

But when it comes to WoW it’s a little bit different. For some reason, those who are unhappy can’t just cancel their subscription and play another game that suites them better, which seems to be the logical thing to do. Oh no, they have to make a hell of a noise as they’re leaving, slamming the door to make sure we’re really noticing their departure, yelling in red: “We’re all doomed, WoW is dying!”

A kick from bashing WoW
Isn’t this behavior a little bit odd, thinking about it?

I mean, it isn’t as if WoW was the only game on the market, just as little as there is only one sort of food available in the store. I for instance don’t like the taste of egg. As a matter of fact I hate it in its pure form, such as a boiled egg or an omelet. Does this mean that I’m at war with people who like egg, who make those dishes and eat them with pleasure? Do I call them tasteless, childish and lacking any kind of thinking ability because their taste is different to mine? Do I think that egg-producers are doing the wrong thing, destroying the market for good and tasty food? Nope. The thought is rather absurd.

However, some ex-players feed on and get a kick out of bashing WoW. I’m not sure why. Could it possibly be that it’s a case of an unhappy divorce, an unfinished relationship? WoW is their ex lover and they’ve parted from it on the paper but not in their heart and mind and now they’re trying to convince themselves to let go of it. When they demonize it, it’s their last, desperate effort to try to get away from it.

Lack of nuances
I guess Wolfshead wanted to provoke a discussion, but how do you argue with someone who so completely lacks nuances and perspective, claiming that “It’s almost as if someone has kidnapped the game designers at Irvine and replaced them with childcare workers.”?

How do you talk to someone who sweepingly says: “Like some deranged madman bent on suicide, Blizzard has destroyed everything that was good and noble about MMOs and seemingly wants to take the entire genre with it into existential oblivion”? Can you take this seriously?

Wolfshead claims that Blizzard has created “the worst community in MMO history”.

On what grounds does he say so? I’m a part of the community. So is my guild. So are the bloggers I read and love. Are we all just childish, entitled scum in the world of Wolfshead?

And he goes on:

“You’d almost think that Blizzard feels that socialization and camaraderie are liabilities that should be removed from MMOs altogether.”

I suppose Wolfshead hasn’t noticed the new guild leveling and guild perk system or the changes to raiding that means a huge buff to small, tightly knit 10 man raiding guilds? Likewise he doesn’t see how beautiful Azeroth has become. Has he ever set his foot in Vashj’ir?

All he does is raging about how thee world has been ruined: “Familiar and sentimental zones like Loch Modan, have been destroyed and replaced with desolate ugliness.” Would he prefer if Azeroth had frozen and looked exactly as it did in vanilla? A museum rather than a living, breathing and always changing world.

I could go on and on about Wolfshead’s post, but I think I’ve ranted enough. I just can’t help thinking that it’s a little sad that the guy doesn’t use his writing skill, influence in the community and knowledge about MMOs to make something more interesting. He could have initiated a good discussion; instead he comes out like a reckless forum troll, just repeating it self. Such a waste of talent.

The Cataclysm disease
Wolfshead isn’t the only blogger who has been writing rather negative posts about Cataclysm this week. There have been quite a few others. On that stood out as better an more interesting than many others was the one by Lonomonkey, who tried to put his finger on what he calls “The Cataclysm Disease.”

As opposed to Wolfshead, Lonomonkey doesn’t fall into the pit hole of troll rhetoric. He’s reasonable and I think he’s on to something when he talks about the backside of the streamlined player experience – a lack of free choice and control. I’ve noticed it myself, especially as I was leveling in Uldum and felt as if I was on a moving walkway, unable to decide for myself.

For my own part I haven’t seen enough of the game to make a verdict on how Cataclysm panned out at this stage. I’ve leveled a character to max level, I’ve seen most of the five man dungeons and I’ve started out raiding, but I haven’t quested through the revamped zones with an alt. I have yet to try out PvPing, I have yet to pay the worgen and goblin areas, I have yet to see the new Azeroth from a RP perspective. And above all – I haven’t seen what impact the changes to the game have had on the community from a long term perspective. It’s way too early to make the call. You can’t base such a judgment solely on what people post on the forums.

The good and the bad
If you push me for an answer, asking for my gut feeling, I’m a little bit worried about the lack of player choice, just like Lonomonkey, and I also have the feeling that 25 man raiding has taken quite a hit, judging from what I see on our own server. I miss the group quests while leveling, thinking it was a good preparation for five-mans and a way to get to know other people on the server. Overall I think that leveling is too much of a pure solo experience, considering it’s supposed to be an MMO.

On the other hand, there’s a lot of stuff that probably makes Cataclysm the best WoW expansion ever. The quests are more fun and varied, many zones are incredibly beautiful and imaginative, they’ve made the five man dungeons interesting and challenging again and they’ve given players more incentives to join guilds and play with friends, at least on end-game level. Epics feel like epics again, a reward for effort and overcoming of challenge. There’s a lot to be happy about.

However as I said: my picture is incomplete. We have all time in the world to discuss this. This expansion has only begun and if I’m allowed to speculate I doubt we’ll see the next one until the end of 2012.

I’m looking forward to have some serious and balanced debates about what lessons we can learn from Cataclysm and what future we see for WoW as well as the next generation of MMOs. But let the WoW haters leave the scene first. Then we start talking.

And now I think we all need something to raise our spirits after the hit they took by the post-honeymoon backlash. It’s time for the weekly toast. I hope you’ll get an enjoyable weekend! Oh, and let’s make next week into a happier one, shall we? I for one am still having a blast exploring Cataclysm.

Cheers!

63 comments:

Grimmtooth said...

What always bothers me is why anyone would think that the subject of whether WoW is "dying" or not is even RELEVANT to the average or above-average player.

It's a video game, not an investment. The pile of obsolete video games in my box 'o boxes is mute testimony to the fleeting nature of video games.

So I don't give it much credence. When this ride ends, I'll get on the next one. Problem solved!

Well, as we said in the Navy, "A happy sailor's a bitching sailor." And, some people just gotta hate.

I'm sure there are some valid arguments hiding in the pile. But I don't care if you give me a shovel, I don't care to dig through a pile of manure to find the pretty rose :)

Janyaa said...

Honestly, I couldn't have said it better myself. There are a few things that I'm concerned about, such as the difficulty of leveling with someone else. However, for the most part, I've been enjoying Cataclysm and I'm really liking the raid encounters, so far!

Pitrelli said...

I think most people expected to see that article appear at some point on wolfsheads he is nothing if not predictable.

I personally havent quite clicked with cataclysm however i do think its the best content blizzard have put together. I feel a lot of my dissatisfaction stems from the fact im no longer the target audience and the thought of another gear grind and reset leaves me slightly cold.

Nikodhemus said...

Totally behind you on this. I've been playing for about 1.5 years, and I'm still having a ton of fun in Outlands! I used to read The Noisy Rogue but stopped recently because he can't seem to stop just bitching about how horrible the game is now. Which really means that his tastes have changed, he's explored as much of the world as he's willing to, and it's time to move on. To even suggest that you've 'wasted money all these years' is an absolute joke... It is NOT the end-all, be-all of games, but I've NEVER had a game that I've played this much for this long. So, when I quit, I will leave with the happiest of memories... to the point where I know I won't be able to play any other MMO because I'll constantly compare the experience to my time in WoW, and I also know it won't hold my attention for nearly so long.

Pike said...

The problem with so many of the articles by the "bitter" veterans is that so many of them, while being opinions, are presented as fact.

In other words, "STOP LIKING WHAT I DON'T LIKE!"

I'm enjoying Cataclysm. Others won't enjoy it; it doesn't bother me. Heck, I never liked Sonic the Hedgehog. Doesn't mean it's a bad game, just means I was more of a Mario person.

As a wise man once said, "haters gonna hate!"

Rilgon Arcsinh said...

I suppose Wolfshead hasn’t noticed the new guild leveling and guild perk system

Funny, find that very guild leveling/perk system to be damning evidence of exactly what he is saying (and what you claim it's evidence against).

Have you tried leveling a small guild? Have you tried leveling a guild comprising of mostly sub-70s? The progress is positively GLACIAL. Why is it that a guild with a handful of active members - let's say 40% of the 5 that you need to start a guild - cannot hit 40% of the daily XP cap for a guild? Why is it that a character going from level 1 to 70, a fairly big bit of investment, is barely 3% of the contribution needed to level a guild from level 1 to 2?!

I fully agree with him, if not as severe. I'm seriously disillusioned with Cataclysm. For an expansion that was supposed to streamline things and make things more enjoyable, it's made leveling professions a Vanilla-esque grind, it's made trying to run 5-mans as a pure DPS worthless if you don't have a network of tanks or healers to carry you to short queues, and made being in a small, tight-knit guild all but worthless if you ever want the nice upper-level bonuses from the guild perk system, like heirlooms or gathering profession boosts.

Prelimar said...

i had never heard of this Wolfshead fellow before this week, and all i can say is, he's a troll. he just has a louder megaphone than most.

Shelly said...

I think the whole reason for the lack of group quests is because to make them haed enough for a regular group they have to almost make it impossible to solo with most of the classes.

Plus, these quests just become hurdles for people leveling later in the expansion (or later in another expansion) that they can't overcome in an almost desolate area and time and then eventually get nerfed to the ground cause everyone skips them for lack of available help.

Pike said...

Gotta add another comment though, which is that I agree with Rilgon on the guild leveling system. It's a bit irritating to those of us who prefer "small, tight-knit community" over "massively multiplayer".

Klepsacovic said...

Us bitter veterans had completely unreasonable expectations. Cataclysm was perfectly predictable, doing what LK did but more: rep for anything and everything, easy quests, and phasing out the wazoo. To have expected anything else was stupid. I admit it, I was stupid.

Redbeard said...

Considering there are a bunch of people who thing MMOs hit the fan once EverQuest came along --you know, the people who played MUDs and enjoyed text based MMOs-- I take the "sky is falling" crowd with a grain of salt.

Are there things I like and don't like about the expansion? Sure. Is WoW dying? Not at all. You know why? Blizz is responding to what the customers wanted in this release. They didn't just stick things up the collective behinds of the player base and said "live with it!", they listened to what people liked and disliked about Wrath and the current state of Vanilla. They then went out and designed an expansion that emphasized what the majority of WoW players wanted.

What WoW is depends on who you ask. To some people (/cough 'Paragon' /cough) WoW is about raiding and world firsts. To some people, WoW only really begins when you reach level cap and you get raid ready. For others, WoW is about Role Playing and hanging out in the game. For still others, it's all about the achievements.

My point is that for the naysayers, WoW is no longer what they want in an MMO. Since WoW is the Big Bad of MMOs, they want to rip WoW a new orifice on the way out the door. Entertaining for some, but annoying for the rest of us for whom the world is more than just black and white.

And for people who complain about a lot of the new innovations --LFD and other stuff in particular-- you can still do things the old fashioned way. Nobody is stopping you.

Rilgon Arcsinh said...

Klepsacovic: And what would you have preferred? Aside from the 1-85 questing experience, everything IS sliding backwards in terms of accessibility and "ease".

Shall we forsake EVERY improvement that WoW has made on the MMO genre? Shall we go back to XP loss and item loss on death? Quests not even being VISIBLE without a lengthy dive into an obtuse dialog tree? Things being patently impossible alone?

Tesh said...

@Grimmtooth
"It's a video game, not an investment."

Sorta. It's an emotional investment for some, I figure. That's part of the whole "social" aspect of these MMO things. Also, a subscription does mean sunk money and time monopolization, and humans are kinda funny about "sunk costs", especially if a feeling of betrayal comes into play.

It's not a surprise to me to see those quirky bits of psychology here, certainly with greater effect in an MMO as opposed to something like a Mass Effect or Final Fantasy.

Selyndia said...

Those that are bored and think Cataclysm were terrible should all be gone in about a month or so. You are correct, and that it happened after each expansion was released, and as the content is cleared.

Are there some gaping flaws in Cataclysm? Sure there are. There are too few dungeons that some are slightly too long. The “Normal” level 85 experience of running dungeons to get gear to do heroics step is horribly monotonous with only 3 normal dungeons. Tol Barad is a balancing nightmare.

Are there some great features in Cataclysm? Yes. This tier of raiding is both enjoyable and challenging. Which is more than I can say of any tier of raiding, with the exception of Ulduar, since TBC was released. Paragon referred to it as the most challenging tier of raiding ever released, which is pretty impressive counting some of those older encounters in there (M’uru, Alone in the Darkness, Light of Dawn, C’thun, 60 Four Horsemen, etc), and not only that, but we are now closing on the second month and it’s still not even fully cleared (Which is in of itself a pretty decent testament to its challenge). Quests have gotten more involved and more interactive moving substantially beyond the “Go kill 10 Rats” days, and we even are seeing some of the initial/rudimentary stages that decisions matter from questing (Note Mt. Hyjal quest that allows you to either kill or release your captive). Zones have now added story to the game so we know who the bad guys are, and why we’re actually fighting them. Five mans provide both a sizable challenge, as well as a viable training ground for the next stage in PVE progression as opposed to being a loot treadmill. They now teach essential fundamentals to raiding, which was a step that was woefully absent in previous expansions.

The community itself is toxic, not because of World of Warcraft, but due to Internet communities in general. Have you actually looked at MSNBCs comment threads on articles, local news, you tube comments, etc? The sociopathic tendencies shown by people with anonymity and no fear of reprisal are pretty shocking to those that haven’t seen it. World of Warcraft just has a large concentration of these people. Eventually, as the medium evolves, it will improve, and when it does World of Warcraft’s communities will with it, but its going to be a gradual thing encompassing the entire internet subculture.

Saithir said...

Apparently it's now trendy to bash Blizzard and WoW. It has been for some time, so I guess there's no better way to get some attention than going out and proclaiming WoW the Worst MMO EVER. Ignore the trolls, they thrive on this bitching.

I'm exactly like Larisa here - got to 85, done heroics in guild groups and mostly LFG PuGs, trying raiding. Nothing else, and there's a ton of "else" to do. And even the LFG PuGs go pretty smooth mostly - the bad things happen, sure, but it's rare.

And I'm enjoying Cataclysm. I wouldn't be playing it if I didn't - I'd find myself some console games or Civ 5 or something else.

SpiritusRex said...

Well, my wall of text trinket just procced...

"Oh no, they have to make a hell of a noise as they’re leaving, slamming the door to make sure we’re really noticing their departure, yelling in red: “We’re all doomed, WoW is dying!”

Isn’t this behavior a little bit odd, thinking about it?"

Actually, it's not odd. It's perfectly in synch with the behavior of 2-year old. It's as if these people say that since they can't have the toy THEY want, then nobody ELSE can have it to play with. Frankly, it's a bunch of bullshit from people who can't think beyond themselves.

Really simple to me: I like, I play. You don't, feel free to leave. Nobody's holding a gun to your head to play WoW and at this stage of my life I really don't need or want somebody to tell me what I like or don't like to do as my nightly recreation. This whole nonsense of "Look at me, I hate WoW and I'm gonna rail at it for the whole world to see until it dies!" just strikes me as a petulant, immature person who craves for attention. The problem with these type of people is no matter what amount of attention they get, it's never enough. So, eventually, people get tired of the act and really just want them to move on and fade away.

Further, with respect to the argument that small guilds can't gain access at the same pace as large guilds I've got two words for you: No shit. Why on earth would you expect them to? Because we're all equal? Well, yes, yes we are. We are all equal to choose the type of guild we want to be part of or create our own. Part of the perks of being in a larger guild is faster guild advancement. The drawback? Without effort, it's really hard to get to know all of your guildies on a friendly basis. Some people are willing to make that sacrifice, some aren't; but to say all guilds should be equal, while utopian, is a little bit deluded. I mean, it's not as if Blizz has said, "Unless you have a guild of 300 members, ye shall not unlock these sparkly shinies!" In fact, as you have mentioned, Larissa, I think Blizz has gone out of their way to accomodate smaller guilds. It's my opinion that the smaller guilds just need to temper their expectations - the rewards will still be there when you get to them.

The bottom line, as I've said many, many, MANY times, is that people play this game for a variety of reasons and as long as you are the one who's enjoying it then keep paying the subscription; otherwise, stop and find something else to do.

Redbeard said...

@Klepsakovic-- 'Tain't stupid at all. Nobody is saying you can't have Friends lists and invite guildies on runs into instances. Nobody is saying you can't talk to people while out in a zone and create connections there. Nobody is saying 'guilds are for raiding and advancement only'. Nobody is keeping you from creating your own chat channel so that you can keep up with cross guild contacts for LFG purposes.

Just because LFD makes it easy to be anonymous doesn't mean that you have to do it that way.

Kestrel said...

Just a comment on the guild leveling system:

We have about a dozen active players, and some of those are much less active than others. However, we have over a dozen characters at level 85. We are halfway to GL 8 as I type this. So yes, the guild leveling system--which is intended to benefit level 85 players more than level 1-80 players--is working quite well, in my view.

A leveling character shouldn't need, for example, a 15-minute hearthstone CD: They should be in a zone, LEVELING for 30 minutes or more at a time, generally speaking.

A guild full of people under level 70, say, don't really need the 10% bonus to XP/Rep/gold that higher Guild Levels bring: They already have the benefit of simpler content in the form of linear, you-can't-possibly-fail quests, combined with a much greater XP payout than most of us experienced during that time.

The Guild Level system is intended for end-game guilds, to enable them to level alts and bring up newer, lower-level characters faster. It's not so you and 4 friends can start at level 1 today and be running level 85 heroics by the end of the month.

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

Incidentally, people have been bitching about games they left for 20 years. I saw this in Shadows of Yserbius, it was developed into a cottage industry for Asheron's Call, Everquest, and Dark Age of Camelot. It's neither new, original, nor credible any more today than it was for any of those games, and others.

Syl said...

What Tesh said. many players DO behave irrational when leaving WoW, psychologically speaking, because they're not "just leaving a game" to replace it with the next one - the emotional investment in MMOs such as WoW is so great that it's not a game, but a part of their life they feel betrayed by. there's probably no other entertainment medium right now that provokes the same reaction and constitutes the same kind of 'bond', like MMOs can (and ofc life sims).

from tat PoV the raging quitters make a lot of sense, albeit it still seems a little deranged or at least very immature. I never got it and I always disliked it.
IMO there's also a second secret reason behind, at least some of them, the kind that quits and then mocks the community - and that's people who secretly always were ashamed of their hobby. looking down on the others then makes them feel better about themselves.

as for Cataclysm; it's definitely not disappointed me, because well, I knew what to expect. and while I am with others that consider it a lightweight expansion (which is also so obvious given the fact that a lot of time and investment now goes into other blizz projects), it definitely comes with a shiny wrapper. and maybe it's because my own play- and lifestyle has changed quite a bit lately, but somehow thats enough for me now. at least for the moment. I guess it also helped a lot that I'm still nowhere near 'done' with anything in Cata as my playtime is so tightly measured these days. RL has forced me to chill more in WoW and that has been kinda perfect for Cataclysm. =) so no, I've no reason to moan really - except maybe for lady RNG. ;)

Anonymous said...

Ok I'll say it since no one else will.

Wrath > Cataclysm

AND Bliz/EJ's/Ghostcrawler trying to say it's "different but better" just ain't cutting it anymore.

Levelcap is less in Cata
Content is less in Cata
Quality is less in Cata
Endgame access is less in Cata
Battleground Quality is less in Cata

FUN (remember fun?) IS LESS IN CATA


Guys quit calling the mongrel "breed apart" and start calling it the pound puppy dog that it is.

I AM HAVING LESS FUN WITH MORE FRUSTRATION THAN ANY OTHER GAMING EXPERIENCE I MY LIFE.

I swear if SWTOR was out today I would dump this crap game for it in a second.

Big Bear Butt is playing DC ONLINE for gosh sakes... Nuff Said


Angry Gamer
Stay Angry my friends Stay Angry

Syl said...

I should probably add that, while some points sound extreme, I do very much agree with Wolfshead on several accounts. the MMO genre has taken a major shift in WoW, maybe it's just that I have kinda accepted that fact and treat WoW as WoW rather than expecting it to be anything else, or more classic.
I do agree with him that the community in WoW has a baffling sense of self-entitlement, I was actually going to write about that soon...I also hold by my older article where I stated that too easy and loot-centric is detrimental to epic atmosphere or teamplay.

but again, I've long accepted WoW for what it is. and it is a pop adventure, a shiny chatroom for collector-craft, besides a few more things that keep it interesting (like exploring, or raiding with buddies). Nils recently wrote that it's more of a parody that has its very own charm and entertainment and I agree there. I certainly dont get out of it what I would want to get out of an ideal MMO - but I still get some things out of it (or i wouldnt be playing). asking for more, is making yourself unhappy. but then some people still have the energy to rant (maybe am just getting old!). ;)

Grimmtooth said...

@Angry - lol; nobody's saying that dinosaurs are made from spam and cardboard, either, and there's a reason for that. Silly.

SpiritusRex said...

@ Klep

"So yes, it is a stupid comment, because it completely fails to acknowledge that "able to do something" and "theoretically able to do something but the entire system is set up to discourage it" are different things."

Actually, rather than failing to acknowledge, it specifically acknowledges - you can do it this way OR you can do it the other way.

Further, while it is not appropriate to comment on your blog here, I will say that I DID read it and have one question - From where did you derive your data that "99.99999% of the population is pushed into impersonal cross-faction randoms and have abandoned any general channels because they're overrun with spamming crafters and spamming gold sellers"? Because .00001% of 12,000,000 is 1.2 people and, I can certainly find you 2 people in all of WoW who haven't been pushed into impersonal cross-faction randoms - you might want to stay away from the hyperbole when crafting an argument. Just sayin'...

hound said...

Maybe it's time you just stop reading his stuff? This is not the first time that he has set you off. If you do feel the need to discuss somebody's negative opinions or reviews, you could always choose someone who appears more intelligent. They are certainly out there.

If you are interested, you can read my opinion in the form of a wall of text, which almost ended up here in your comments, on my blog. I think it has a nice neutral stance.

Hope your day gets better from here!

Jasyla said...

I've never read Wolfshead's blog before. I think he needs to get over himself.

Excellent post Larisa. I've been trying to write something like this since the deluge of negative posts I've read over the last couple weeks, but you've said everything much better than I could.

I'm so sick of all the posts and comments about how terrible Cataclysm (or Blizzard in general is). Don't like the game anymore? Stop playing. Don't try to rain on everyone else's parade.

Nils said...

I agree that Wolfshead post is too one-sided to be useful. What I do not understand is your hostility, however. Let him write ..

You say you don't understand why people don't just stop playing WoW when they don't like it? Why don't you just stop reading Wolfshead when you don't like it?
See what I did there ? :)

In my opinion, the segment of WoW players' who mourned the loss of 'immersion' over the last 6 years (that includes me), needs to stop attacking WoW for what it is not, and congratulate it for what it is.

Complaining that WoW doesn't offer enough 'immersion' is like complaining that Tetris doesn't offer character customization.

Having said that, it is perfectly ok to complain about no reasonable AAA-MMORPG being on the market today.

Grainger said...

Wow, sensing a lot of tension here.

I love Cataclysm, I think I've been more engaged than I have been in awhile. Like everyone else, some things I wish were different, but you can't please evryone, nor should you try.

Not everyone is a social being or wants to group up for quests. I, myself, hate feeling like I am slowing someone up as I look for herbs while questing or while I actually read all the quest text. One of my good friends, meanwhile, is always grouping up with people and making aquaintences. It's really how you want to play and the idea that LFD is killing the game is patently ridiculous. I am pretty sure I would not be playing right now without this tool. Dungeon runs were very hard to get previously and with the emphasis on tabard rep-grinding and justice/valor points tio gear up, there is very few other opportunities to do anything in a reasonable timely fashion.

I'm not going to list all the changes I would like to see, but what I will say is that people who hate the LFD system and it's lack of socialization or realm-based teaming - you can take it upon yourself to fix that. Trade chat often has people posting for groups - and even if you only get two people, you can queue together and maybe make friends.

And to the poster who said they were leaving this crap game once SWTOR is out - what are you waiting for? if the game is such crap, why are you even wasting your time? Surely there are better things for you to do if you hate it so much.

Gronthe said...

I'm a bit of a cynic, I think that often ex-wow players and sworn haters of WoW feel the need to rant to satisfy thier desire for attention; after all, bad news is the best news, right? It gets better ratings. But that's just me.

I think even those that enjoy wow can see and know that it's not perfect. No game ever was, is or will be. It's good to complain - it worked for RealID/Forum issue, so we continue to provide feedback and hope that the devs listen. If they don't we play other games, quietly (that is if we're not attention-seeking haters).

lonomonkey said...

Thank you kind innkeeper for allowing a moment on the stage!

To all who say what wow-quitters are ragers for a number of reasons I tend to agree with you. Whatever the reason might, emotional investment or something else, WoW does provoke intense reactions.

The flip side is that people still playing are often fiercely defensive of their game for the same reason I believe. Any critic of WoW is met with rapid dismissal or insults.

As always the middle ground might be the better solution.

To say that WoW is dying or Cataclysm is the end of things is probably exagerating. On the other hand, saying nothing is wrong is probably as dumb. This is what I've been trying to do, putting my finger on what's going on.

You know, we need not to be like the Titanic captain. "Tis only a small iceberg no?"

Redbeard said...

@Klep-- Spiritus hit the nail on the head. I did read your blog entry, and I disagree with it. If you want to make connections, you can. I've added quite a few people to friends lists after having helped them out in various quests or the Ring of You-Pick-'Em. I've had people Whisper me after an instance or after downing a 5-man quest boss that if I'm ever up for an instance to let them know. It's not hard to go out there and connect with people, even with the game supposedly stacked against you.

Khaas the Insane said...

There will always be contrarians, it's unfortunate but they exist. And they don't shut up for any reason. Their agendas are varied: some do it for attention (what could get more attention than offering a dissenting view on a popular game/expansion?), for some it's simple trolling, and still others it may be more noble purposes mutated by anger.

Like Anne Frank, I tend to think that people are generally "good". But, that's not always how it works out. The best of intentions can lead to the worst disasters.

In Wolf's case, maybe he wanted the game to be good. And maybe seeing how close it was to his vision he was dismayed. And that dismay turned into wrath so blinding that not only could he not form a coherent argument, but alienated people who once might've sided with him.

Then again, he could just be a dick.

Stabs said...

I find it odd how entitled some of these players are.

Wolfshead feels betrayed that Blizzard haven't designed a game specifically for him even though it obviously wouldn't be anything like as profitable.

Blizzard don't want to make the game he wants. Very few other people want to play the game he wants nor did many people play it in 1999 when sprawling virtual worlds were the only shows in town.

It really is time he moved on and played Darkfall or some such.

Gazimoff said...

I've blogged my own thoughts abut Wolfshead's opinion, and how MMO traditionalists expect games like Warcraft to conform to their ideals. After all it's just one game in a genre and you can't expect to like them all, right?

You're right though, it's the hate and the bashing. And I've seen the hate, the bashing and the elitist "I know better than you about how an MMO should work" destroy games during alpha and beta phases.

Anonymous said...

@Kelpy

"What part of "the entire system is set up to discourage this behavior" are you not understanding?"

How about the part that goes "the entire system is set up to discourage this behavior"?

Comparing the system as retail to the system now, in terms of finding a dungeon group without using LFD--they've added summoning stones, and a more attractive alternative. Your analogy is bad. A more appropriate analogy, would be that starting with the food system as it is now, the government says they will ship wheat free to your door, but they will actually pay you to eat rice. you would then undoubtedly complain and say that you couldn't find anyone to eat wheat with in a wheat-eating party, because THE ENTIRE SYSTEM IS SET UP TO DISCOURAGE THIS BEHAVIOR. Just like how water falls from the sky freely, therefore THE ENTIRE SYSTEM IS SET UP TO DISCOURAGE DRINKING BEER. Well, that's not true, despite the fact that water falls from the sky freely, any reasonable observer would conclude that large parts of the system are set up to encourage the consumption of alcohol, despite real and various drawbacks to such.

In conclusion, it's time to face reality. You have problems finding groups to play with outside of LFD, not because of the entire system, but because you personally are the kind of person that not many people want to group with. You cultivate this offputting behavior intentionally and with pride, but when given the opportunity to scapegoat the obvious results onto some other factor, you always leap at the chance. Your tears are bittersweet, yet I delight in their pallid taste.

Rhii said...

Ah, Larisa, I read that post and I wish I hadn't. See long ago Wolfshead joined Syncaine on the "do not read" list. I just get angry, frustrated, and upset when I go there.

In my opinion, he's extremely out of touch with the average player, and I'm always offended when he refers to me as part of the worst game community ever, or implies I'm some sort of brainwashed drooling lackey because I have different tastes than he does.

I like many different kinds of games. I've got three active subscriptions to MMOs right now - WoW, LOTRO, and a Tale in the Desert! You can't get much farther toward opposite ends of the spectrum than WoW and ATITD. I play all of them, but I play WoW the most -- not because Blizzard played some sort of nasty psychological trick on me -- I'm not a sheeple or a mindless Blizzard fangirl, I just ENJOY WOW. So I stopped reading overblown, hateful bloggers who make personal attacks because they're so desperate to prove themselves right.

Klepsacovic said...

Rather than carry on fruitlessly, I will instead encourage everyone to read this post by Nils which should help explain legitimate issues at play here, beside the inevitable "I quit so I am angry."
http://nilsmmoblog.blogspot.com/2010/09/fun-fallacy.html

Redbeard said...

@Klepsakovic-- I disagree with your premise, because at heart is the belief that there's an optimal methodology to play WoW.

People play WoW for different reasons, and what works for one person won't work for another. If you work second shift, something like LFD is a godsend if you want to get in to see instances. If you want to sit around and Roleplay, you can. If you want to raid, you can.

Nobody forces you into using LFD, and I'd argue that making connections in the game the regular way --through guilds, friends lists, and the LFG channel-- are the best way to fight the impersonal feel that some pugs get.

Moxie said...

I'm another of those folks that have recently stopped playing WoW and blogged about the reasoning behind that decision.

However I realize that my opinion is just that... one player's opinion. WoW isn't dying and certainly won't be approaching that status anytime soon, and I don't hold any animosity towards people who continue to play it. People should play whatever they find fun, regardless of what others say.

One thing to think about is that while WoW is "one game", it's also extremely influential in the genre and in the gaming world. When investors are looking at potential new game projects, you know that the first game they'll look at for examples of success or failure is WoW. These folks may be more likely to fund games that capitalize on (read: duplicate) WoW's success, rather than taking risks and trying something new.

So for players that are looking to other games to satisfy their playstyles, whatever Blizzard does with WoW will still end up affecting them at some point, whether they like it or not. That can be a source of bitterness for these players, particularly if they are designers themselves.

Iru said...

Students of Industrial Psychology know that both the Peak of Unreasonable Expectations and the Trough of Despair are feature of the hype-cycle of any change.

All that's happening with each Wow release is that the cycle is speeding up. We got to both faster and then level out - or remain surprised that the world isn't stuck wherever we are.

spinksville said...

Kestrel:
"A guild full of people under level 70, say, don't really need the 10% bonus to XP/Rep/gold that higher Guild Levels bring: They already have the benefit of simpler content in the form of linear, you-can't-possibly-fail quests, combined with a much greater XP payout than most of us experienced during that time."

Well a guild of 85s certainly don't need xp boosts either.

For what it's worth, I think Wrath was a far better expansion than Cataclysm so far. But I was just more interested in the Lich King than in Deathwing, plus there was a stronger storyline theme to the whole of Northrend than a place like Uldum.

Anonymous said...

Raiding is inaccessible? To whom? Rep gear and crafted blues can get you to a 340-ish ilvl without the hated LFD tool, which by the way is a massive improvement over the trade channel, which is how PUGs formed in BC/vanilla. 45 minute queue times (more like 25 on my server) aren't bad, considering you can be questing, farming, eating cheetos or what have you while you wait. I played a rogue in BC, and some days I'd spend hours running circles in Shattrath trying to get a group together for the harder dungeons (which were rep gated - revered until very late in BC). It seems like people have very short memories about the negative aspects of "the good old days."

Mr. Man said...

You don't like the taste of egg? Well that's just crazy talk :-)

Anonymous said...

Raiding is inaccessible? To whom? Rep gear and crafted blues can get you to a 340-ish ilvl without the hated LFD tool, which by the way is a massive improvement over the trade channel, which is how PUGs formed in BC/vanilla. 45 minute queue times (more like 25 on my server) aren't bad, considering you can be questing, farming, eating cheetos or what have you while you wait. I played a rogue in BC, and some days I'd spend hours running circles in Shattrath trying to get a group together for the harder dungeons (which were rep gated - revered until very late in BC). It seems like people have very short memories about the negative aspects of "the good old days."

Leah said...

there are 2 major types of people who are making the noise. those who are an equivalent of a grumpy, unhappy little old man (or woman) that just need to put down and criticize absolutely everything and those who still feel something for the game and are making a desperate last ditch attempt to maybe get back that feeling of wonder and fun they used to get by pointing out the things that could have been better, didn't need to be changed etc.

both are drowned out by the chorus of "you suck, wrath baby, l2p, can I haz your stuff" (and this sentiment lately is not just coming from community, developers are starting to adopt it and that's just wrong) and the sad part is, a great deal of the people who do that, are only doing it to be part of the cool crowd, in reality they are not accomplishing much in game either.

the complaining trolls eat it all up, and keep stirring trouble, because that's what they feed off of. people who are still trying to somehow make it work, lose hope, stop trying to reach the developers, the community, anyone and just leave.

and you end up with the community that's growing more and more toxic, a game that turns into a test subject for developers to play around with ideas on, using their players as beta testers that pay THEM, and lots and lots of disappointments for a lot of people.

in the end its actually a good thing, why? it gives other games better chance to shine.

Juliet said...

Great post. (Seems like my rare comments have only been when I disagree with you, which I really shouldn't do.)

You really must try out the worgen and goblin starting zones. I've done both and can't decide which I like better; the goblin zone is quite hilarious and full of sly in-jokes, while the worgen zone affected me more emotionally than any quest chain since Redpath's redemption in Western Plaguelands. They left me craving more playtime in both cultures.

Talarian said...

It's interesting when people who we once held in high esteem eventually change into someone who we have difficulties relating to. Wolfshead was once a respected blogger in the WoW community, and now seems to be more of a troll. And of course many people espouse that his point of view is no longer useful or relevant, or feel betrayed that his opinion has diverged.

Similarly, when a game that you once held in high esteem and heavily invested in with time and emotion goes in a direction that you don't care for, you decry it as no longer fun or relevant, and feel betrayed that "their" game has diverged.

As a blogger, Wolfshead needs topics, and WoW is a good topic as ever, regardless of people's feelings on it. So while the average person might just shrug and complain to their inner circle of friends how WoW isn't fun anymore, Wolfshead's opinion is magnified by the megaphone that is his blog.

I'm not saying I agree with him (in fact, I'm enjoying Cataclysm immensely), but I don't believe anyone's reactions here are terribly surprising (Wolfshead's, or Larisa's). On the other hand, I think Wolfshead's vociferous complaints can be chalked up to one of two things: as mentioned above, he wants the page views, or he still has a much larger emotional investment in the game than he lets on.

Perdissa said...

I probably mentioned this before. I enjoy WoW, and I read blogs about WoW. I don't see any reason why I should bother to read blogs about why WoW sucks. I'm not completely satisfied with WoW, and can readily point out several points it can improve on in a variety of areas. But if I grow weary of the game or become irritated enough to quit, I'll do so quietly. Reading blogs about why WoW sucks is not going to make me quit the game.

I really don't get the rationale of people who need to kick up a storm and make a very public thing of quitting the game. Like what you mentioned, this seems very much to me like a badly terminated relationship. When I break up with my ex-girlfriend, I don't care what she does, I don't go back and stalk her or monitor what she does and point out "ha! see what she did? what a bitch!" If I did, I would think my feelings for her were not completely resolved. And I think that's what's happening here as well.

William said...

I just read the Wolfshead article and felt so trolled. He kept droning on about how leveling content in Cataclysm is no longer challenging to him. What I don’t understand is why he thinks the original WoW actually provided this (sounds like major rose-tinted glasses). As far as I’m aware, mages used to just spam fireball spell all the way to level 60 or something like that and even during raids. Meanwhile, 95% of the quests were of the type “Kill 10 x, gather 10 Y”.

Sure there was more freedom, but more immersion? Phasing content actually makes it seem like you’re causing real changes to the game world, which is miles ahead in immersion compared to the old content, so I don’t understand that part either.

Leveling content was never intended to be challenging, ever (unless you tried to solo group quests, which is unintended anyhow). If he wanted challenge in WoW, why hasn’t he been trying out the new heroics + raid content? There IS challenge in the game. He just seems to willingly ignore it and then start ranting about it.

Lily said...

Here's my 2c:

It is new content. (Period)

If you devour new content in all haste with the purpose of experiencing it as fast as possible, I think chances are you are not really taking in what is really happening. You just see the quest type line-up, grind that mob, pick those items etc, instead of seeing the setup with the environment, the involved characters, lore and what not.

In that case I can understand that it is not a fun or entertaining experience.

About the public whining. Well.. Some people need attention i guess.

I quit due to RL issues just before last summer, and have not seen any of the Cataclysm contents so I really can not elaborate any further into that but from what I have heard, there is not much to complain about, apart from some imbalances in PVP (Go ferals!) ;D
Trolls will be trolls.

Anyway, o/ Larísa *hugs*

Tobeume said...

Here, here! Great post as always.

I think if people don't like Cata, they can exit stage left. I don't like dealing with negative people so the fewer the better. :)

I do agree with the pain of not being able to pick where you want to go in the zone. The first time I did Uldum I was terrified that I would do one quest line and miss out on the other do to the heavy phasing. I had heard horror stories of people being locked out of the Harrison Jones quest line because they turned in a quest at the wrong time.

nugget said...

Hmmm!

Honestly, I found Cataclysm to be the best of all three expansions.

That I'm not playing/into/don't like WoW anymore doesn't detract from the fact that Cataclysm is truly polished, beautiful work.

I think it's the best WoW stuff since Vanilla.

...and I'm probably one of those bitter veterans you're referring to.

I don't quite get how anyone can look at Cataclysm and call it bad. It is the embodiment of everything WoW is, refined to perfection. I no longer play because *I do not like what WoW is*. That doesn't make it bad, or unpolished.

Cataclysm is horrible? No way. If Cataclysm was what I got when I'd bought Burning Crusade, I'd probably still be playing WoW.

Jayd said...

I completely agree with your stance on this, Larisa. It pains me to know that people can be so tied to Wow that even when they know they are over it they just can't let go and have to hang around complaining about it.

I'm loving Cata so far, and I'm so glad the Wow community as a whole was listened to so well by the designers. Of course it's not going to be everyone's perfect cup of tea (I'm loving the solo aspect of levelling and not missing the group quests at all, for example, whereas a few people have mentioned how much they dislike this) but overall I consider it a success.

Copra said...

I don't even bother to read most of the comments in here. I have some things to comment on you Larísa though.

The community in WoW sucks, really. That community consists of all of us players, and we're not a community: there is no community as such, just a random bunch of shitty personalities. Like you yourself stated in the debate about WoW community earlier, the 'community' consists of small communities which may or may not work. In total, the community as whole doesn't exist and the vocal minority is extremely poor but representative portion of it.

The 5 man challenge is just right you say? HAH! In WotLK - even - we wouldn't had a snowball's chance in hell to trio the instances at proper level: now we've 3manned the initial ones without even hitting a real obstacle. Then again, we haven't gone through them all and we're still levelling and learning, but the overall experience is that Cataclysm is TOO EASY while levelling.

The railroaded levelling and taking the illusion of freedom of choice from the players are the worst parts of the expansion, and they are really taking the fun out of the game for someone like me, who likes to level. Lost one interesting project and character due to unbendable rules set in ingame storytelling. I have felt confined to a story with no possibility to make any decisions on my own and the choices in game being non-existing.

Sure, the new starter quest chains are fun, fast and furious, but they give very, very different view of the latter game than they should. And they give very flat view of the world, too.

So all in all, IMO, Cataclysm has gone too far in some aspects and unless it's a very big success, we will see some recuperative actions in the next expansion.

Or WoW will decline even more.

C out

Larísa said...

@All: wow, that discussion got hotter than I had imagined. But I guess it’s to expect if you start out blowing off some of your own steam.

@Grimmtooth: We do tend to blow things out of proportions sometimes. I must admit that I’m as guilty of that as anyone else. I suppose a part of it is that it’s fun to act as if you’re completely freaked out by something even if you deep down know it isn’t such a bit issue. Rhetorics ftw! It’s fun to rant, the harder, the better. But it’s a pity when the good arguments get lost in the pile as you say, which I’m afraid think is what happened to Wolfshead in this case.

@Janyaa: Same here. It’s not perfect, but what I’ve seen so far has been good enough for me.

@Pitrelli: Well I think you’ve been playing the game too long. As simple as that. The novelty wears off. In the end WoW is WoW and no new polish can change that. I’m in for this expansion myself, not entirely sure I’ll hang around for the next one. We’ll see.

@Nikodhemus: That’s the way I want to quit too. A clean break but no bad feelings. We had fun as long as it lasted.

@Pike: Yes, for some reason it seems to bug those people a lot that not everyone will see the light as they have. It’s strange. I don’t rail about people who like a certain sort of literature that I’m not a fan of. Live and let live, isn’t that how you say it?

@Rilgon Arcsinh: There’s a lot of things that he doesn’t seem to have noticed. I wonder how many hours he really has given Cataclysm to be honest. About the guild system: sure, the bigger guild have an advantage there. But on the other hand the 10-man raiding guilds were buffed with loot and the entire change of the raid system. We see the consequences already. I don’t think there will be that many strict 25 man raiding guilds in the future. So what the small have lost in one aspect, they’ve won in another.

And the guild perks… however nice they are, are they really so game changing that you can’t enjoy the game and have a great time in a smaller guild? I don’t think so.

@Prelimar: A very respactable troll if you ask me.

@Shelly: Well I think the idea of group quests broke down with phasing. Finishing Icecrown was almost impossible if you weren’t doing it when the wave did it. But I still regret it. I remember grouping up for the ogrila group quests for instance in BE and we had a blast as we did those quests in a five-man.

@Klepsacovic: You needn’t have deleted your comments. It isn’t the end of the world if the smalltalk in the bar gets a bit loud sometimes.

@Redbeard: The Sky has been falling the last 15 years or so, hasn’t it?

@Tesh: I guess I might never have loved WoW enough to feel that sense of betrayal if it changes a bit. So maybe the real WoW lover here is Wolfshead, for all his bashing?

@Selyndia: Oh, I agree very much about the five-mans. They’re really trying to learn us to step out of fire and they feel kind of like mini raids. Which is why they’re awesome. It’s not just about “grab the epics” anymore.

About the toxic nature of the community: I mostly frequent the non-contaminated areas tbh.

@Saithir: Glad you’re enjoying it too!

@SpiritusRex: no worries, PPI is a wall-of-text friendly space!
And yes, I’m afraid I’m guilty of giving the 2-year-olds more attention than they deserve.

@Kestrel: I think you’re right about your observation on the guild advancement system. And if you’re just a bit active it seems you can advance with a rather small or average guild. We’ve got about 40 active players and we’re advancing just fine. You don’t have to have hundreds and thousands of players to advance. I too was worried that would happen but it doesn’t seem to be the case.

Larísa said...

@Syl: The wrapping is shiny indeed. And those who get bored and run out of content immediately must have insane amount of time at their hands to play. I think I spend quite a lot of time on this hobby, but I still have a to-do-list that is way to long for me to ever complete.

@Angry gamer: Levelcap: I don’t know. It isn’t just about the arbitrary number for level cap, it’s about how you get there, how fulfilling the levelling is. And I don’t think Cataclysm felt any thinner than Wrath in this aspect. About less fun etc… well, I’m sorry to hear that. I’m having a blast. Lucky me!

@Hound: well… He has quite a bit of influence in the blogosphere so I thought that maybe someone should make an effort to show that his view isn’t the only one.

@Jasyla: thank you. I’m glad you appreciated the post.

@Nils: I guess my hostility is triggered by Wolfshead’s own stance. Yes, I’m maybe too easy to provoke sometimes.

“Complaining that WoW doesn't offer enough 'immersion' is like complaining that Tetris doesn't offer character customization.”

Agreed.

@Grainger: Yes, the bar chat has been a bit loud this weekend. Like you I see both good and bad stuff about Cataclysm as well as the LFD tool. And I actually think that’s the case for most of us. The extremes such as Wolfshead are in minority.

@Gronthe: I don’t know if Wolfshead is looking for attention to be honest. I think he has a sincere mission in this. It’s just that he’s missing the target, yelling too loud for us to hear what he’s saying.

@Lonomonkey: It’s true that some WoW palyers can be very dismissive when it comes to criticism and pointers about what could be improved in WoW. I hope I’m not one of those blind fanboys. I certainly try to see it with open eyes, hence the ending of my post.

@Khaas the Insane: Nah, he’s not a dick, more of a gentleman blinded by fury and the joy of using strong words. A bit speed blinded perhaps.

@Stabs: I guess he finds it more fun to talk about WoW even if he isn’t playing it, since it after all has a way bigger audience than rather small and obscure games? Even if he doesn’t play WoW I don’t think he’ll stop talking about it anytime soon.

@Gazimoff: Maybe it’s the very size and success of WoW that makes everyone want THAT game to be the solution for all needs? But I agree it isn’t rational to see it that way.

@Rhii: Yes, I agree that the swiping statements about the community are a bit insulting.
I don’t dwell too much on posts by WoW haters either normally; however Wolfshead has written some good stuff in the past and is generally a good writer. So I still want to hear what he has to say, even when he blows up completely as in this case. Maybe I should follow your example though and just shut it out from my horizon.

@Moxie: Fair point. Wolfshead IS into game design himself. I guess it can feel a little frustrating when you feel that you’re not listened to since everyone is so wrapped up in the have-to-copy-the-success-of-WoW mindset.

@Iru: Yep. It’s not just WoW that reminds of a themepark these days. The reactions to WoW have some roller coaster resemblances.

@Spinksville: I liked Wrath too, overall. There has been a lot of bashing of it and they did some mistakes, which they have admitted surprisingly openly recently. But the coherent theme was great. However I’m leaning towards thinking that Cataclysm is a bit shinier.

@Anonymous: Indeed people have very short memories. And as far as I’ve understood it WoW was at an early point influenced by the frustration many players felt with for instance EQ.

Larísa said...

@Mr. Man: I’ve been waiting for someone to call me out on that! It’s very impractical but I’m afraid I can’t do much about it. But at least I don’t call it out from the rooftops: “Egg suck!” Even though it would be true. ;)

@Leah: Well, fortunately enough I don’t see that much of either category of players. Most of the time I’m too focused playing the game, moving out of crap, nuking the bad guys to really notice or care about all the toxic stuff. But sometimes I hear them if they cry loud enough. Like Wolfshead.

@Juliet: I really can’t wait to do it. But I have some other priorities: first tend to my main, then level my druid to 85 (miss my healing). Hopefully I’ll get time to do those zones eventually though.

@Talarian: It’s a good observation. Wolfshead has changed just like WoW has changed. And maybe I should stop crying for the “old” Wolfshead. You’re right about being predictable. The last week offered a lot of been-there-before moments. We’re bringing up the same old topics again and again and we perform the dance we’ve done before.

@Perdissa: I’m totally prepared to read blogs with WoW criticism as long as it’s reasonable, well founded and not just trollish. Lonomonkeys post is a good example of a balanced post that you can discuss further in an intelligent, civilized manner.

@William: Yes, his review feels very incomplete. Your observation about immersion vs phasing is interesting. I haven’t thought of it that way, but there is something in it. When we change phases we make an impact on the world and that certainly has an immersive element in it.

@Lily: Oh I’m guility of that too, of devouring the content too quickly, not reading quest texts properly etc, in my eagerness to start raiding. So Cataclysm is probably even BETTER than I have noticed due to my levelling speed.

And: /hug! Miss you!

@Tobeume: Thanks!

@Nugget: Oh, a bitter veteran who still is balanced and manages to keep his senses, putting things into perspective. Cheers!

@Jayd: I figure I should most of all feel sorry for those unhappy people… I certainly hope I won’t turn into one of them when it’s my turn to jump the ship eventually.

@Copra: a random bunch of shitty personalities? Well a random bunch of personalities, yes, but where does the shit part come from? I know some quite awesome people in WoW and I think it’s very unfair to bunch those up with “shit”.

If you’re threemanning the five-mans you must be a way better player than I am. Kudos to you. However I think the instances are quite challenging to many players.
I agree that the moving track-feeling in some of the questing and the lack of control and choices is problematic. But I don’t agree with your conclusion that WoW is on the decline.
I think it’s better than ever before.

Red Skies said...

@Grimtooth: It *is* an investment. We shouldn't under estimate the personal, emotional, and time investment we make as players into MMOs. It fails to acknowledge the social element that makes these games popular.

As is apparent from my own blog ramblings, I do not feel this is the best expansion, by a long shot. However, it does have its merits. Unfortunately the bad out weighs the good for me.

Interestingly, a lot of the dissenting posts who disagree with Wolfsheads state they have been playing the game for only a year or so, or they started in 2007 (as Larissa). That is a conversation worth having in itself: how those who came late to the party view the game versus those who have been there since the start. I happen to hold more of the sentiment Rilgon expressed.

Still, attacking Wolf for attacking WoW doesn't lack any irony. We may not agree with him or like the way he expresses himself, but it is useful to discuss the finer points he makes which may have merit.

Grimmtooth said...

@Red Skies - Perhaps, but if the investment 'took', the social element extends out into the real world, and then the 'platform' that started the ball rolling becomes irrelevant. The game is not the thing, in this case, it is the people, and they will continue on into the next game. I've seen groups move from MMO to MMO like that.

Ratshag said...

But at least I don’t call it out from the rooftops: “Egg suck!”

Me, I'd pay real gold fer ta get ta see the pink pigtailed one on me roof shouting that. But I's easily amused....

Me personallies, I's enjoying Cat more than Wrath. Is some quibbles, like no 333/346 guns fer warriors and Deathwing parking a volcano on me home, but overalls I's pretty happy. Is fair ta say what this done be heavily colorized by me personal situations, which is way better than in the early days of Wrash of the Itch King. Would I still like it more, if the situations was comparable? Dunno, and don't really care. I's havin' me funs. Thems what ain't, I sincerely wishes them the best in finding they's funs. Eithers in Azeroth with different localized circumstancifications, or in another place what fits betters.

Rhii said...

@Larisa - I definitely agree that Wolfshead has more good things to say than most of the occupants of the Do Not Read list. I still normally catch on to those posts though, because other (braver? less sensitive?) bloggers in the MMO universe point them out. Maybe I've taken advantage of you there a bit!

Red Skies said...

@Grimmtooth: Not necessarily. The investment is in characters, items, stories, and the community, all things which may not extend outside the game. They are only there in the game. Sure you make friends within and may keep them, but that is not the only case and we can't make points as if it is. It still ignores too much and fails to take into account the whole impact.

Snail said...

Disclaimer: I am not employed by Blizzard or any WoW related organizations. I am not a fanboi. I just love the game.

Prior to yesterday I had never read Wolfshead's blog, but have seen reference to his negative commentary before.

I was curious, and read not only the post you linked, but also the most recent posts he has made, his biography and selected posts from his first up to about 2 years ago.

Having done a bit of a background check on Wolfshead, I can completely understand why he is so disappointed/angry/disgusted with the current state of WoW. He came to WoW from EQ, and encountered Azeroth in all its complexity, difficulty and unknownness (not a real word, but it works).

Many of his complaints are very valid. Much of that complexity, and difficulty has been forever lost. The levelling process is hyper-streamlined. The mob density has been nerfed to the point that when entering an area, you hope that you are alone in the area, or at least one of few, or killing those 15 Foozles will be a major PITA.

A lot of quests give you a companion that ostensibly you have to escort or "train", but is there to act as an NPC group member. While this is appreciated on the first occasion or two, after 40 levels it is just insulting really.

Epic questlines are gone as well. Rarely does a line entail more than 2 or 3 stages, and even those that run longer hold you hand all the way. The game no longer requires any significant ability to solve problems. The most difficult problems that WoW now presents us with are raid related: Getting along with people electronically, and performing your dance steps correctly.

The levelling process does not require socialization. There are no longer any attunements, any group quests, any insurmountable obstacles which require cooperation.

WoW now feels like a trophy wife, gorgeous and covered in bling, but dumb as a stump.

Now, don't get me wrong, I love the game. I always find something to do, and I don't see that ending soon. The graphics and music are stunning. Many of the more recently implemented features are welcome additions.

But even though I thoroughly enjoy playing, I can't help but feeling the sense of loss that Wolfshead proclaims.

Where is the game that required me to think?

Copra said...

Random bunch of shitty personalities, yes. but remember, that the roses require their manure, and without the roses you wouldn't notice the manure covering your boots.

And I mean exactly what you read: the instances do not require skill if we three can three man them... Our adventures are worth the read just because we don't know jack about the game. We play it for the laughs together and I worry about the lonesome nights without the group.

C out