Home » Cataclysm, General, Opinion, Raiding

What in the WoW is Going On?

Posted on Mar 15, 2011 by: Jacob "Modem"
facepalm
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Reddit
  • Pinterest
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email

Those of you who listen to the podcast know all about my deep concern for the state of the game, but today my concern has reached a whole new level. Lately, I’ve been seeing great and dedicated players and friends quit the game left and right (5 of my good friends have quit the game and from what I’ve been hearing it seems like more are following), an overload of negative comments on the blogosphere and twitterverse, and communities in game dying a slow and painful death. Needless to say I am concerned deeply for the health of my beloved WoW.

Not to be overly academic, but WoW and Blizzard have essentially formed a relationship with each and every one of their consumers. We have developed norms with the way we interact with each other and when those norms get violated it is always very difficult to navigate a recovery process. I have often said in private to Jason and others that I now feel like Blizzard/WoW and I are navigating a rough stage in our relationship. It’s like when your partner/spouse tell you that they don’t love you anymore but because you so deeply love them you want to try to work it out… I feel like Blizzard/WoW is the partner/spouse who doesn’t love me as a player and a consumer anymore. Yet, my devotion to the game remains even despite its best efforts to get rid of me.

So here is my two cents on what is wrong in WoW, and what Blizzard should do to fix it.

Raiding
I know a lot of you probably cringe when I say that I believe the first tier of Cataclysm raiding is far too difficult for the majority of the player base. I’ll agree that Naxx and Obsidium Sanctum in Wrath were quite easy especially considering that I was able to complete both within 2 ½ months of Wrath’s launch (and I had to level my DK from level 55 in that time). I was also a young and new raider at that time, I knew very little about past raiding ventures and wasn’t experienced in the ways of classic and BC raiding, but I tried my best and did my research and though it wasn’t too terribly difficult it was still time consuming and fun… and I could learn. After all isn’t learning what the first tier of content for an expansion should be all about. So after having done my fair share of heroic modes in ICC, ToC, and Ulduar, and having 2+ years of raiding and raid leading experience under my belt jumping into Cataclysm raiding should have felt like ok… new fights… but lets do this. Instead it feels like everything I learned about raiding has been shattered and crapped on and Blizzard ratcheted the games difficulty up so much that even a now highly skilled player like myself (topping charts even when I pug in with hardcore guilds and players) feels like a complete and utter scrub and I’m left throwing my hands up in the air like did the last 2 years mean nothing?

Finally, this notion of being “spoiled” by a video game is utterly ridiculous in my book. Games are supposed to be fun, and completable by people with some challenge mixed in. Wrath was a challenge for many players but with enough work and effort even if it took them longer they got to do the content, not hard modes, but normal modes. Hard modes are for the hardcore, normal modes are for everyone who has the time and effort to put in. Blizzard should strive to give the hard core players better and more unique loot so they can feel that hard modes really do prove that they’re leet and they have something unique to show for it (not some recolored same model from an easy boss), but still make the loot for normal modes look appropriately cool (just not as cool as hard mode stuff). That’s the way I think it should run.

Dynamic Content
For all intensive purposes Azeroth is about as static of a world as you can get in an MMO. I’ve been a vehement defender of Blizzard on a lot of fronts, but this upsets me now more than ever that I see a number of lesser funded and developed MMO’s having dynamic content.

Take for instance the rifts and invasions in Rift… open world PVE content that actually gives you something for completing them (Rifts version of Justice Points). They encourage players to cooperate and are challenging but do not end up causing players to have to inspect each other’s gear/spec or anything like that before tackling them. Sure it might be slower than raiding or dungeoning… but it’s fun. No stress I get to join a public group of random people and go pwn some monsters and get stuff. The best part is… hardly anyone is judgmental or mean in those groups. Everyone has this attitude of “Yeah! Let’s do this!” You die… so what… run back and keep fighting the good fight. Why doesn’t Blizzard have something like this? In Wrath it could have been scourge invasions of towns and quest hubs or out in the world. In Cataclysm, it could easily work as Twilight Cult invasions… Imagine cultists overrunning Crossroads or Goldshire randomly, or your out running your dailies in Twilight Highlands and uh oh Dragonmaw Port is under attack by a swarm of cultists and twilight drakes so you and everyone else in the zone go rush to fight it off. Click a “Join Public Group” button and go in and save the day. I’m telling you… it could work and in Azeroth it would be awesome.

Community
I’m not sure if this is because of the content or just the maturity of the game but the player base of WoW is unbelievably judgmental and terribly inconsiderate and rude. In Wrath I used to see people pugging raids and dungeons all the time because it was fun even if you didn’t complete the dungeon. Now on a Friday night I log in and barely see anyone talking in Trade Chat… not even the obligatory “Baby” or “Murloc” memes. It’s like a ghost town…. no one wants to talk… no one is pugging. It feels for lack of a better word… empty or hollow.

Not to mention when you do finally get to the stage of getting into a pug or some other groups activity. You are under constant pressure to perform (spec, rotation, gear, ability) and at the first sign of trouble you’re kicked or not invited. Though I realize this is an ever-present and necessary trend in any group wanting to get stuff done, ratcheting up the game’s difficulty has increased the amount of scrutiny given to players and even friends that you have raided with for 2 years… who are good players! Is that what Blizzard wants to do to their community? Punishing people who enjoy playing together by making it so that they can barely get down 2 bosses a week? Making it so that you have to berate your friends about gameplay mechanics when I know that they know what to do? I urge Blizzard not to sacrifice the most important aspect of their game, the community, for the sake of appeasing the few people who enjoy excluding others from the fun, the others whose sense of accomplishment is directly related to the failure of others.

I recall Chris Metzen, in his “Geek Is” statements at Blizzcon 2010 talking about Dungeons and Dragons… and saying “Geek is sitting around a table with your best friends… armed with only graph paper and funny dice… and imagining far flung worlds of your own.” He even said that that was his favorite slide. For me “Geek Is” spending an evening raiding with my best friends enjoying jokes and downing bosses with minimal stress… still requiring skill and a few wipes… but minimal stress. Why does it now feel like Blizzard doesn’t want me to do this anymore?

Are there any people out there who aren’t experiencing these woes? Is it confined to my server? Is it just a random series of events that has plagued me as of late? I don’t know the answers to any of these questions, but I ask for help and your opinions. Please keep in mind these are my experiences and opinions and they may be very different from your own. I encourage respectful and intelligent disagreements, but don’t want to see any ignorant comments about “how I suck” or “qq” etc.

warcraft blog podcast
  • http://twitter.com/Shawndra Jennifer Morton

    I’ve really only just started raiding in Cataclysm. The encounters don’t lend themselves to joking around or my husband, the rogue, accidentally pulling the boss. I am in a great guild that puts up with a small amount of screw ups, which is nice, but I feel even that is not enough. I’m a little older than the regular raider in my guild, and I feel I screw up more often than most, just because I have another raid to manage in RL. Raiding is too stressful, worse than a job.

  • http://twitter.com/Icesnake1950 Icesnake Frostfyre

    I doubt that it’s confined to your server. A huge part of it is the necessity to endlessly run heroics to get gear simply to *start* raiding in Cata.In Wrath, by the time you hit 70, you could reasonably expect to be able to do the first parts of Naxx and pick up some better gear there (but don’t get me started on Heigan and the safety dance). This does not appear to be true in Cata. Not all of us have the time to spend 40 hours a week just trying to get gear.

    On the other hand, I am still having fun leveling, with one 85 and a bunch of toons still coming up (from level 1 to about 64 so far).

  • Anonymous

    I agree that leveling is still fun if not better than ever… but it’s about all there is that makes me feel accomplished.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Judy-Christine-Thomas/100000103146633 Judy Christine Thomas

    I have been playing WoW for 5 years now and am also losing interest due to the inability to make progress into raids without dumping my friends and joining a large guild that is mono focused on raiding. I am also immensely put off by the widespread nastiness of other players when I do take a chance and get into a pug. Any mistake is greeted by insults that are rarely limited to play style. In BC and Wrath, I was a top level raider and my skill level is still high. I do my research and am generally well geared before trying heroics or raids but find myself avoiding certain heroics because it is frustrating to wipe 15 times on the first boss (Stonecore). This is in no way helped by the plain meanness displayed by other players when things get difficult. This is a game and is supposed to be fun, not a second full-time job complete with a verbally abusing supervisor.

  • Channi

    There is a great deal of burnout happening lately. No one seems immune to it. I think part of the problem is there doesn’t seem to be as much to EXPLORE anymore. I was still finding new things and questioned at the end of Wrath, and I always felt there was more to do and find. With the new quest hub systems and everything feeling so linear, I can complete a new zone and never feel like I have to go back, except for reputation dailies.

    Everything has been laid out for us and mapped out so we get through everything and then what? I don’t feel any need to go exploring anymore. I’ve completed 4 out of 5 of the level 80+ quest zones and really don’t feel like touching Vash’Jir. Running Random Dungeons with random people is a PITA. If it’s a Regular, they just want to go back to Wrath AOE-fests, or if it’s a Heroic, the group falls apart after one wipe. Where is the fun in that? Or even when they do go all the way, they take too long. Some can take up to 2 hours! Heroics really have become mini raids. And I don’t have time for that.

    I’ve been pretty lucky getting myself ready for Heroics/Raids on my DK. I ran very few Heroics (mostly H-BRC trying to get my wife a dagger) and was able to craft my belt and chest piece. Most everything else was reputation gear. I’m ready to raid and don’t have to touch heroics again! But now I also don’t know what there is for me to do anymore.

    I can level alts through the Lowbie areas, and explore those, but they have the same linear feel to them. It’s too… Staged. Scripted is probably a better word. That’s the feel I get. “Enter here… Follow the script… Pass along to the next zone here… Thank you for playing in Azeroth!” Complete with Cheap Fake Smile. It just doesn’t seem to have the same adventurous feel anymore.

    At this rate, I can’t wait to get my alts into Northrend. At least I might find some more of a stirrings I never finished waiting for me…?

  • Channi

    Damn autocorrect! Quests** not questioned…!

    And storyline** not stirrings!

    Any other issues are property and responsibility of Apple, Inc.™

  • Trawgy

    I am feeling the same Modem but I don’t know what to do about it I love WoW and want to progress in my gaming but it is so tough to shake the feeling that bliss doesn’t listen much like a parent who know exactly what their child needs without considering talking to the child to understand what the child actually needs from them

  • http://redcowrise.blogspot.com red cow

    I’ve seen a ton of people succumb to the general malaise that has accompanied Cataclysm. Granted, I’ve only been playing for 2 years, but I am still totally in love with most aspects of the game. I’ve done heroics and raids (although not completed the final boss of the 3 raids) and find them acceptably challenging, and I say this from the perspective of a relaxed-attendance but high standards “casual” (I hate that word…) raiding guild.

    I definitely agree that the general populace can be very hateful and/or snobby. When it comes to just nasty speech, I’m still campaigning for a “Report Abuse” button in addition to “Report Spam”, just to differentiate between hatespeech and gold sellers. Maybe the GMs can’t be watching all chat channels all the time, but players should have an easier way of policing themselves. When it comes to elitism in pugs, I find it’s easiest to always surround yourself with friends or guildies who won’t be jerks. Which sucks, because not everyone has a guild, or a kind guild, or time to play with others they know. If your guild is yelling at you for subpar performance or preparation, they might be jerks. On the other hand, it’s also rude to them to resist sensible gems and enchants and expect to main tank. If they are a good guild, they will be able to give you criticism and advice without being buttnuggets about it.

  • http://twitter.com/MajMalfunction Maj Malfunction

    I have noticed that in the same breath that some players are applauding the difficulty changes and crying when they are being lessened as catering to “Wrath Babies” that those same people are not completing raid content and quitting the game. They seem to want to talk the hardcore talk, but not walk the walk.

    I am enjoying the game still at this point, but I am not a raider. I level and play a lot of alts, and that part is better than ever. Normal modes are not bad in the dungeons, but heroic modes can be absolutely brutal depending on the group. There is just too big of a difficulty jump between the two modes plus, 2 dungeons don’t even have a level 80+ regular mode to even learn the mechanics before going heroic.

    I think you hit it on the head. Normal raids and dungeons need to be more accessible for more people so they don’t get frustrated and capped with what they can do because they can not find 9 friends with perfect execution to be able to progress. They need hard modes for the masochistic folks with their own bondage gear rewards, but let the rest of us be able to experience the content and perhaps train for the hard modes with our own friendlier version.

  • Eysen

    I switched to Starcraft 2, no sense in paying $15 and not being able to raid. Appsrt that I have to put work into being raid ready and stay like that. But honestly I was bored of the repetitiveness. Some new mobs, dungeons but no new gameplay.

  • Yeryerman

    Part of your problem with difficulty I think is the fact that 10 man and 25 man raids have a different dynamic, 10 mans are at least as hard as 25s on normal and harder on heroic modes.

    The main reason for this is in my opinion is redundancy, miss an interrupt on 10 man nef and its a wipe miss one on 25 and most likely someone else will be able to back you up, this is true with a lot of mechanics that are extremely unforgiving as well as asking more from every single player to be more accountable.

    I have been playing since vanilla wow and most of the motivation to raid comes with playing with my awesome friends some of whom have been playing for as long, currently we raid 10 mans 2 to 3 times a week if they all quit or went to another game like has happened to you. I’d probably follow them to put stuff i perspective we killed nefarion in early feb and have been beating our heads against heroic bosses since and have killed 2 so far, this is with mostly fantastic players who cleared normal modes in wrath without too much hassle and also algalon and heroic lich king when they were relevant content (server firsts)

    That being said its a game, its meant to be fun, if its not fun stop playing and find something else to do that is fun, come back when you feel like playing again, some of the content has been nerfed or is easier due to more available gear.

    I think the game is in similar state as it was during early bc, heroics were brutal as was the first raid tier in kara, magtheridon and gruuls were maybe killed by one or 2 guilds on a server if that before sweeping nerfs after the first content patch, its just that people are more burnt out or bored after a few more years playing and many haven’t even tried the new leveling content.

  • Kfranklin43

    Are u giving up on the show too? We would really like to hear more comments and details from u on the podcast. I hope you are well.

  • Pedis

    Interesting. I felt the same way when WotLK came out.

  • Freak5chaos

    I started just before TBC came out. I didn’t raid much in just a little Kara. Only had one or two toons maxed before Wrath. At the end of Wrath I had 6 toons maxed, and had raided a bit more. I have a full time job, and 2 kids, so with the dungeon finder, it was easier to get the gear that got me into raids. I could run a dungeon or two after the kids went to bed, instead of trying for 2 hours to get a group, especially if nobody in my guild was on. So even the half hour wait now isn’t bad. Of course I am not doing many right now. I have gotten 4 of my toons to 85. I have 4 toons that I only quest on with my wife right now. I have dabbled and maxed out most crafting professions. And archaeology on one toon so far. I switch between different activities, sometimes pvp, sometimes dailies, and I have also started a worgen that I RP like it is one of my dogs playing the toon.

    I did rush my first two toons to 85, 1 a week after release, and the second a week after that. But I just take things easy and play mostly casually and do what I like, mostly solo. So I keep things fresh for myself and maybe that is why I don’t feel burnt out yet. Where as the hardcore raiders rushed to 85, raced to being geared for heroics, raced to raiding, so of course they are burnt out. Along with that, I think the race to 85 was shorter than the race to 80. I had 2 maxed characters now in the time it took me for one in Wrath.

    Now I don’t think it will completely help, but more solo content at 85 would be nice. Multi-player is seen as multiple people playing together, but technically it is just multiple people playing the same game and able to interact. I posted an idea for solo dungeons on the forums. In short, 3 man dungeons, with the other 2 roles filled by npcs. They would take the role needed that your character isn’t doing. And could be in such a way as to teach people how to play their class.

    I do still enjoy the game, and like every game there are things I have problems with. Blizzard has said that the thing that will kill WoW is Blizzard. They may have meant there next mmo will do it. But maybe ignoring the complaints right now will do it. And not to disparage your complaints, how many people are really complaining, and or leaving? At 12 million subscriptions, 100 thousand people isn’t even 1 percent. So even if that many people have left and told Blizzard the reason is for the same things you are complaining about, they still see 99% of their customers as being satisfied. It will take more than 1 percent to get them to address the situation and make a change that could cause those 99% to become unhappy.

  • panda

    I have one main lv85 Hunter which i had pre BC , now i thought id start a new char warrior and wow i love this game great content now with new added stories and quests , its really freshened up and made it a bit more fun and interesting , i have seen a lot of people leave seems to be the ones who have like 6 mains and have got bored of leveling , but for me and my 1 main its all good. If you dont have loads of chars then roll another and enjoy the freshened up areas.

  • Gobsmacked

    I have to agree completely. There is no discovering little quest-lines that give you insight into the world anymore (my favourite was the damp note under the bridge between wetlands and Arathi highlands)… there’s not even any new books lying around in the new areas that give tidbits about the worlds lore. The exploration bit has been misplaced.

  • Slorak

    First off let me say that I am a relatively new player to the game. I started playing maybe 5 months ago. I don’t have the same viewpoint that you do in your post. Reading your post I can’t help but see this common thread of all the things that don’t work for you in the game or community reasons for your lack of enjoyment anymore keep going back to it being blizzards fault. While it could very well be an issue that “raiding” has become too difficult and perhaps more “dynamic” content could enliven the game some more… Player attitude, rudeness, becomeing bored of the game, etc… really isn’t a fault of Blizzard. I can safely safe they are not waking up in the morning going to work and saying… “How can we punish our subscribers and customers.”

    The way I see it there is a new game that just came out, it is quite possible that people may have abandoned WOW for good or are simply trying out the new game. There will always be jerks and idiots in any community game you play. Aside from scaling back the difficulty in raiding how would you want Blizzard to fix things with the Community? Who is to say that they won’t be scaling back the difficulty of raiding with enough negative comments on it? Unfortunately my guess would be that it wouldn’t come overnight regardless…

    I know I am kind of rambling but after listening to the podcast I got the sense that there was a lot of taking things personally… after all this is simply a video game. yes there is community behind it… but it is a video game. There are many out there… if this one has become tedious maybe it is time for a break or to try another one… why continue to not enjoy yourself and pay monthly for it… Nothing wrong with that… Just my 2 cents.

    Cheers!

  • Anonymous

    Hey Guys, I’m one of those whose left WoW…a key factor is
    that I’m deployed, but regardless, I had barely played WoW for the 5 ½ months
    before I left.  I think Blizzard named
    the expansion PERFECTLY…Cataclysm, as in the game has experienced a massive
    shift.  WOTLK brought in so many
    refreshing new aspects to the game, and quite honestly, Cataclysm brought very
    little to the table.  As the undisputed
    leader in the field, I think Blizzard got a little too comfortable, and now
    they are going to pay for it.  Likely,
    they are going to have to “mod” the game during this lull in expansion far more
    than they ever had, to be able to compete and stave off the competition that is
    likely to be nipping at them.  Time will
    tell, but unless I see some major innovations in WoW, when I get back, I’m not
    likely to jump back in…SWTOR might be singing too sweetly.