Wait, what? Didn’t I just make a three-part series about how Blizzard is making all the wonderful content in World of Warcraft obsolete? How they’re ruining the experience for everyone and we, the poor players can only watch helplessly as everything we ever loved is being torn apart by streamlining, accessibility, difficulty adjustments and progression optimization? And now it’s suddenly our fault?
Alright, I guess I need to back up a bit and explain my train of thought. There is never one single correct way to enjoy and play a game. Many people enjoy different things, find some aspects interesting while they dislike other parts of a game. And for other people it’s the other way around. Everybody is different and everybody has different tastes. That’s why it’s never ever possible to develop a game that is being universally liked.
However: There is often a majority, or at least a relatively small number of groups that make up most of the player base. Finding out who your players are and what they enjoy is quite difficult. Even if you ask players what they want, you probably won’t get a good answer, because the most vocal ones, are often a displeased minority, while the majority that’s happily gaming away, doesn’t see the need to voice their opinion. Also: They often don’t actually know what they want/like or what would make the game better. Sure, they THINK they know it and certainly have an opinion they’re sharing on the forums and other platforms, but more often than not, these suggestions and improvements are terrible.
But I digress. My point is, that many players follow those major groups’ gameplay style, because if something seems to be really popular, it must be the best, or right, way to do something. First and foremost the majority of the player base gets distracted by shiny items and numbers that get bigger. While leveling, that means you usually see your increasing level as the most important thing to increase and once you hit max level, the item level takes that role and you focus on increasing that.
The problem is, that focusing on these aspects leads to boring gameplay and missing of the majority of the content. Sure some people go back later at max level with their flying mounts to finish old zones for achievements, but the experience is completely different and they’re still missing most of the story and lore.
The thing is: You don’t HAVE to rush to max level, you don’t HAVE to use heirlooms, you don’t HAVE to skip zones because they’re below your level, you don’t HAVE to use a flying mount, you don’t HAVE to abort zones because quests got green, you don’t HAVE to accept a quest without reading the text, you don’t HAVE to skip the cutscene or event, you don’t HAVE to ignore instances because there’s no loot for you and so on.
“But I’ll be at a disadvantage! Everybody will reach max level before me!” So what? You’ll get there eventually. It’s not like you’re missing anything, the content will still be there. The only ones missing something are the players rushing to max level, skipping all the content.
“But I’ve already played through everything five times and it’s boring!” Are you sure? You’ve actually read the quest text in all the zones? Did all the quests (you know there’s more quests than the quest achievement for each zone lists?) in zones and dungeons? Played all the new Cataclysm zones? Have you played through all the starting zones of the different races? You do know there is another set of quests for all zones for the other faction? Sure there are overlapping quests, but there’s a lot of content you’re not seeing.
“But it’s too easy!” Make it hard then. Ironman that shit! Lock your level for zones and instances, lower your gear quality or item level, duo or solo instances at a low-level. There are a lot of ways to increase the difficulty.
Try a new class you’ve not played before. Play a different role. Tank, Healer, DPS (ranged, melee, caster?), start your own guild and/or find like-minded players, play characters locked at lvl60/70/etc. and max them out without using features of the next expansion etc.
Did you experience all group content with all roles at appropriate (or even challenging) levels? Most encounters and instances/raids provide a completely different experience for Tank, Healer or DPS.
What about roleplaying? Professions, Transmogrification, Achievements, Pet Battles, PvP…the game has so much to offer but we ignore most of it, skip past everything and then complain there’s nothing to do.
“But I don’t like PvP, quests, pet battles, roleplaying, leveling and other people! There’s nothing for me to do! Blizzard has to make more content for me!” Yeeah…no. Just because your personal taste is very restrictive, doesn’t mean that the content isn’t there. Plus many people saying “xyz isn’t for me” never gave it a fair chance in the first place. There are a ton of options, it’s up to you to use them. If you don’t, don’t blame the game. If you don’t like most of them, maybe the game isn’t for you?
There are tons of alternatives out there from single player RPGs to other F2P/B2P/P2P/P2W MMORPGs. Try something different, you’ll probably realize two things: 1) World of Warcraft isn’t the only game out there that can be fun and has an active player base. 2) World of Warcraft is really well done and has polish and content far beyond most similar games.
Or do what I do: Take a break! The game is over 10 years old now and I don’t think anyone can enjoy the same game for over a decade without feeling at least some kind of burnout. I often take breaks aka ragequit for a couple of months and then come back because something motivates me again.
The bottom line is: Don’t let Blizzard or other Players tell you what’s the best way to play. Explore the game, try different things at your own pace and find the most fun thing to do.
The content is there and it’s not obsolete IF you approach it the right way. It might take longer and it’s more difficult to find other people with the same mindset, but all the dozens of zones, instances and raids are still enjoyable in one way or another. You just have to find out what’s the most fun way for you to do it.
And of course the rushing to max level and skipping all but the most recent raid content option is also there. If you like that, do it. Why not take it one step further and look for a raiding guild? How about Heroic? Why not Mythic? Step up your game.
Even LFG/LFR content can be interesting if you treat it differently. Of course you can go in there and mindlessly autoshot-afk the boss, succeed and get your loot. Or see it as a personal challenge. Log your DPS at bosses, try to improve your rotation as a DPS, find ways to compensate for the mistakes of other players as tank or healer. I’ve often taken low quality gear sets and tried to see if I could reach their maximum potential. It’s really funny if you’re out-dpsing some brain-afk heroic raider with your blue gear. Utilize more of your skills. Especially in LFR a ton of things can go wrong. Find out if there’s anything you can do about it. Those skills will be useful in more serious content as well.
Take a look at my own current project: Playing dungeons 5-10 levels lower than the LFG tool without any DPS characters in the group. Just 1 tank and 1 healer. Suddenly some random 1hit boss becomes a major roadblock where you have to improvise and find out your own strategy and see boss abilities you didn’t even know existed before.
The game is huge but if you keep doing the same thing over and over without paying attention to anything and ignoring all of the options, it’s not Blizzards fault you’re getting bored.
Well, let’s call it a day here, shall we? I think the truth lies somewhere in the middle. Blizzard focuses a lot on getting faster to the endgame and most recent raid content, so it’s harder for people to get off of the path laid out before them. But on the other hand, the alternatives are there and they’re quite numerous. As long as you’re patient and creative, you can enjoy the game in some way.
And if you’ve actually already done everything: Congratulations, you’ve finished World of Warcraft. You should probably take a vacation and/or find another game to play until the next expansion. If there’s truly nothing for you to do, there’s no point in repeating the same content over and over if it’s not fun anymore. I know I’ve been there.