Well, those were a couple of productive days…just not for the blog 😉
I bought, built and set up a new gaming system, after the mainboard from my old one was slowly starting to die on me. Well, it’s been way over 5 years since I got that gaming PC and I thought: Why not get a new one. So that, and the new job, kept me from posting for the last few days.
Today will be a slightly demotivating post, not a long one (I say this every time, but I constantly fail at keeping it brief), but maybe it’ll serve to keep old players from coming back to the game with the wrong expectations and push some current players, who still keep playing for the wrong reasons, to stop.
Anyone else who’s actually managing to enjoy the game, keep playing an keep having fun. Maybe you can let me in on your secret to enjoy the current iteration of WoW, because I just can’t figure it out.
Alright:WoW Classic! Vanilla WoW! The good old days! Whatever you call it. It’s often associated with better times, higher mountains to climb, harder challenges to overcome, more diverse classes and talents, meaningful professions, realm communities, communication between strangers…you name it.
I’m not sure there are a lot of real vanilla players left. No, not the ones that just experienced the old pre-Cataclysm world. I mean players who played before the first expansion and got to level 60 and were maybe even raiding. I don’t think even 1% of the current playerbase has started back then. Most of them aren’t there anymore, they quit at various expansions, claiming that “TBC/WOTLK/CATA/MOP has ruined WoW!”. Fine, I don’t really care why they left.
What I do care about is the fact, that almost nobody is left. I guess there are even more active players that started with WoW after WotLK came out than before, even though TBC had the biggest active playerbase. This is very important, because I think a lot of oldschool players who don’t like the current state of the game, but still keep playing, do so because they hope one day WoW will get “good” again and return to the way it used to be and the way they remember it. That’s one of the reasons I still play the game, but that wish will probably never be fulfilled and I’m here to tell you why.
You see, it’s just not going to happen, because Blizzard has no reason to do that. If they reverted WoW back to its roots, they would practically be alienating most of their current playerbase. They would be creating content and changing the game for players that make up a very VERY tiny minority of the overall community.
They would also make the game less appealing to future customers. Back in 2005 the MMORPG market wasn’t what it’s today and the impact of console platforms with their achievements/trophies was just beginning. Today it’s a totally different game landscape out there. I’m not saying I like it, but to make money, companies like Blizzard can’t afford to create a game so archaic it’s not appealing to the current generation of gamers who are used to instant gratification and easy “achievements”. WoW had to and has changed over the years to keep up with the constant changes of the overall gaming industry and needs of new gamers. By no means am I saying I like this change, but if WoW had not evolved the way it did over the years, and it actually already started with TBC, it might not be dead today, but it would NOT be the big time player it became and still is despite hundreds of thousands of players quitting.
Another reason they can’t change the game to be more challenging, less forgiving, less accessible and less convenient is the fact that none of the current players even want that change. I might prefer the ways of pre-TBC WoW, but 99.9% of the current playerbase doesn’t. Why? They never EVER experienced it. Most of the current players started with TBC or more likely WotLK and more recent expansions. With the heirlooms, reduced XP, strengthened skillset, overhauled content and streamlined questing, these players just don’t know anything else. Look at the TBC content after Cataclysm. Suddenly players are requesting a remake of Outlands because they just can’t take the unorganized and clunky quest structure of the TBC zones…the very same zones I found way too streamlined, encapsulated and simplified compared to WoW classic.
It’s a matter of perception and the current playerbase has no need for playing until lvl40 to be able to ride a mount and be broke all the time, taking months to level a character to 60. To the remaining vanilla players, the old content might seem much more appealing, but to the WotLK/Cata players, it’s awful and they make up most of the playerbase.
But even they aren’t necessarily the ones who have a say in the direction WoW takes. Vanilla players complained about TBC, TBC players complained about WotLK and WotLK players complained about Cataclysm. It’s funny…the last 9 agonizing months of Cataclysm were so bad, not many people complain about MoP, at least not in comparison to Cataclysm. People are complaining a LOT about the changes made -from- Cataclysm, but everybody is just so happy not to be grinding Deathwing, they’re not saying it. They hate daily quests, but nobody wants to be the guy saying “I want Cataclysm back”…it was just that bad (in the end). But that trend will continue and there will constantly be players who don’t like the way the game is changing. I’m sure in a couple of years we’ll have “Remember the good old days of Pandaria, when the game still was good and challenging?” postings of Cataclysm/MoP “veterans”, complaining about the eight expansion (this time with a Troll theme and Lvl115 Onyxia).
Blizzard constantly evolves the game to the current gaming scene. Remember the rise of smartphones and facebook? Suddenly everybody was playing cheap minigames and *poof* WoW got a Farmville and Pokemon clone in MoP. It’s no accident…the game is just more appealing to the current gamers who want/need small games and activities to keep them interested. This way WoW somehow manages to constantly lose a great number of players, but attract new players with each new expansion. If Blizzard had stuck with the old WoW, there would be a LOT more long term players, but the overall subscriber number would be far less impressive, because players -will- quit the game (for whatever reason) and with the game not evolving and adapting, there would be less new players subscribing.
So Blizzard has no choice if they want to see that much profit. Maybe if the gaming market evolves yet again to a playerbase who’s very challenge oriented and prefers long term goals over instant gratification…maybe then WoW, providing that it’s still around, will be (once again) more like it was before the first expansion, but I doubt it.
Next time, we’ll continue this fun topic and take a look at what’s left of the pre-TBC content…don’t get your hopes up. 😉