Blizzard Will no Longer Report World of Warcraft Subscriber Numbers

Sonicron

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Mar 11, 2009
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Steven Bogos said:
World of Starcraft, anyone?
My yes. Take all of it. And my money too, while you're at it.

I usually couldn't give a fuck about classic high fantasy settings, and even I enjoyed WarCraft III. If they actually managed to pull off a proper StarCraft MMO, I... well, I might very well become a social recluse as the game eats away at my life and all I typically hold dear.
 

bladestorm91

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WoW must die for a new breed of MMOs to be made. Right now MMOs have not been revolutionary, but evolutionary and there is only so much you can improve a building before you have to destroy the walls and start again.

What I'm saying is that theme-park MMOs must die and MMO developers have to start making Virtual Worlds. Right now MMOs are really just theme-parks that we come and see a bunch of attractions. MMOs have potential to be much more, they could be Virtual worlds.

The day that an MMO world is interactive and your input changes it will be the day that the new generation of MMOs arrives, because it won't be an MMO, but a Virtual World.
 

devilmore

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Blizzard has stated it plans to release expansions for the games a a much more frequent rate than prior.
They have said that literally before and after each and every expansion so far.
 

Glaice

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Now we will have to rely on a third party to get the subscriber numbers.
 

LordLundar

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Whatislove said:
$100 says that when they release the next expansion and get a subscriber boost they'll start reporting subscriber numbers again.
Now this has sucker bet written all over it. :p
 

Twinrehz

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Karadalis said:
Add to that that the dumbing down of the gameplay/difficulty and character systems have done jack shit to improve introducing new players to the game.
The dumbing down of content that people talk about, doesn't actually exist. They've separated the raid content into 3 distinct categories: Looking For Raid, a laughable tragedy of oversimplified raid content so that even those not in a raid-guild, those without the time to progress through normal/Heroic raids and those who no longer can be bothered to show up for raid at set times can see the content they've made. All mechanics have been simplified (or dumbed down, if you will) so that a bunch of non-communicative people would be able to down it. It is not in any way representative of higher difficulties, like Normal/Heroic difficulties, where some level of cooperation and coordination is required to be able to get through it (the only exception would be if you have overgeared people that have gear from mythic).

Mythic difficulty is where most of the challenge today lies, the problem with it is that it's virtually inaccessible for most people because it requires that you've cleared heroic content and have gear from there. A lot of mythic raiding guilds require you to put raiding priority before real life, and it requires an insane amount of discipline.

The point that I'm trying to make with this long-winded post, filled with stuff you probably already knew, is that if your experience with content is solely from LFR, then you basically have no right to complain about dumbed-down content. The only "dumbing down" would be that they no longer require 40 people to show up for raids, and it would no longer be a need to coordinate such an array of people across failing internet connections, disturbances from family members and those that generally refuse to communicate.

IridRadiant said:
Guild Wars 2 is also doing very well - on Oct 23rd, ArenaNet released an infographic that stated they have over 7 million GW2 accounts created - and has done the best job, imo, of trying to revolutionize the genre. It's very common to tell new players NOT to treat the game as they do other MMOs because the general experience of the game is so different than what they are used to, especially now that the base game is free to play and all of the new players that brings.

From different quest hub setup (heart and dynamic event chains), different combat mechanics (collision detection, combo fields/finishers, dodge rolling, and downed state/rallying), different crafting (salvaging and recipe discovery), jumping puzzles and vistas, multiple pvp game modes, branching personal story, to the economy (in-game gold to cash shop gems exchange, trading post), it's just very different from any other MMO. The expansion brought horizontal progression (instead of increasing the level cap) in the form of elite specializations and the mastery system.
GW2 is by no stretch an absolutely fantastic game, and I've kicked myself a few times for not keeping up with it and its living world-development of story. I even bought the game back in 2012, but only played for a short while, not getting very far into the game in the first place.

In general, I very much like how the system is heavily exploration-based, wandering around looking for stuff, taking in the huge-expansive world. I haven't gotten around to playing the new expansion yet, trying to wrap things up with the personal storyline that I never completed the first time around.


elvor0 said:
-snipped FF14-stuff-
I've heard a lot about the good and bad things about it, the crafting-system being one of the most annoying things (I haven't played more than a 14-day trial with lots of content gated off). However, the thing about the hit detection I've been told is related to the latency between you and the server, and if you're based outside of the US (where all the servers have been up until quite recently), latency has usually been very high. That's one of the things that annoyed me with it, there was no way of telling how much latency you had, which is useful for spell-clipping and telling if you're going to have a problem moving out of AoE effects.

As for playing MMO with controller, to me that just sounds weird.
 

alj

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Nov 20, 2009
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Is anyone surprised ? The game is just too old now, the graphics ? I could not give a shit what it looks like thats not what i am on about.

The general player base is far too experienced so they have to have more and more complex fights, this i turn leads to them having to have an "easy mode" so people can see the content. This leads people to burn through it too fast run out of stuff to do and un-sub.

This is how its been since the end of Wrath.

Back in classic and TBC i was in a raiding guild , we where middle of the road, not shit , not amazing with a core of very good players. We where able to see most things excluding original 1.0 nax and sunwell , we where a few tiers behind when they came out , but that did not matter , it was current content for us, we where happy , constantly improving our skills and our gear and progressing, who cares if you are a few patches behind , its gives you something to look up to and aim for. As access to the content in Wrath got simpler we moved up and became quite decent in 10 man ( with that strong core i talked about before) but we still did our 25 and all or friends we enjoyed playing with could come and be..... not carried but have the slack picked up by the better 10man guys and we could all have fun and a reason to play.

Now you ether have to be so at the top of your game that you cannot make a single mistake , or the content is so easy you could play with your feet.

And catch up mechanics mean that everyone is ALWAYS on the current content and boom over and done and everyone is bored.

And don't even get me started on how they have homogenized the classes so much that there is no point playing any of them anymore , they are all the same and can do the same within there role ( tank healer r-dps m-dps)

The game i loved is gone anyway , there is just another game called wow that is not worth the time for me right now , will pop back every few expansions to see content and thats it.
 

Qizx

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Feb 21, 2011
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Clankenbeard said:
This seems terrible. At $15/month subscription fee (and I know there are reduced versions for longer terms), that means the game only takes in $83 million/month. That's just $1 billion per year. It does seem like something you'd want to hide from investors/media/subscribers.
At first I was going to chew you out for saying "Just 1 billion" then I read the rest of your post. I agree, WoW is still raking in MASSIVE amounts of dough. Not sure how much they put in for upkeep but it's hard to image that WoW doesn't still pay for more than a few gold plated yachts a year.
 

Qizx

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Feb 21, 2011
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Twinrehz said:
Karadalis said:
Add to that that the dumbing down of the gameplay/difficulty and character systems have done jack shit to improve introducing new players to the game.
The dumbing down of content that people talk about, doesn't actually exist. They've separated the raid content into 3 distinct categories: Looking For Raid, a laughable tragedy of oversimplified raid content so that even those not in a raid-guild, those without the time to progress through normal/Heroic raids and those who no longer can be bothered to show up for raid at set times can see the content they've made. All mechanics have been simplified (or dumbed down, if you will) so that a bunch of non-communicative people would be able to down it. It is not in any way representative of higher difficulties, like Normal/Heroic difficulties, where some level of cooperation and coordination is required to be able to get through it (the only exception would be if you have overgeared people that have gear from mythic).

Mythic difficulty is where most of the challenge today lies, the problem with it is that it's virtually inaccessible for most people because it requires that you've cleared heroic content and have gear from there. A lot of mythic raiding guilds require you to put raiding priority before real life, and it requires an insane amount of discipline.

The point that I'm trying to make with this long-winded post, filled with stuff you probably already knew, is that if your experience with content is solely from LFR, then you basically have no right to complain about dumbed-down content. The only "dumbing down" would be that they no longer require 40 people to show up for raids, and it would no longer be a need to coordinate such an array of people across failing internet connections, disturbances from family members and those that generally refuse to communicate.
Not sure if this is what they were talking about but personally I don't like how they made rotations easier, they made stats easier (removing a lot of them) and that dumbing down. Not so much the raid content itself. I remember back in WotLK you could have a Shaman who stacks MP5 and priest stacking Spirit (I might be remembering it slightly wrong). It was that that changed things, now everyone has 100K mana, everyone heals the same etc...
 

elvor0

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Twinrehz said:
elvor0 said:
-snipped FF14-stuff-
I've heard a lot about the good and bad things about it, the crafting-system being one of the most annoying things (I haven't played more than a 14-day trial with lots of content gated off). However, the thing about the hit detection I've been told is related to the latency between you and the server, and if you're based outside of the US (where all the servers have been up until quite recently), latency has usually been very high. That's one of the things that annoyed me with it, there was no way of telling how much latency you had, which is useful for spell-clipping and telling if you're going to have a problem moving out of AoE effects.

As for playing MMO with controller, to me that just sounds weird.
Actually, I'd say the crafting system is pretty good, /if/ you like that sort of thing. Personally I don't enjoy it, but it is deep and well realized and creates a good player run economy for those willing to get stuck in, unfortunately for people like me, I'd sometimes just like to make a bloody item. :D

I'd heard the hit detection is calculated by when you do something. So you get out of the aoe, cast a spell and the server refreshes where you are, preventing you from being hit. That seems rather dubious though but outright foolish if it is true. When I was playing, it never felt like there was lag though, my spells all responded instantly, and I never get hit by shit in WoW. It's....bizarre. Played it again 2-3 weeks back and still felt just as iffy about my dodging.

Twinrehz said:
Mythic difficulty is where most of the challenge today lies, the problem with it is that it's virtually inaccessible for most people because it requires that you've cleared heroic content and have gear from there. A lot of mythic raiding guilds require you to put raiding priority before real life, and it requires an insane amount of discipline.
I don't really see how having to have done heroic is prohibitive. It's inaccessible to a lot of people because a lot of people just don't want to put that much effort into the game(which is fine). And while a few Mythic guilds do require a lot of play time, I don't agree with spreading the notion that a lot of them do. 3 days a week is enough for any guild not trying for server first. Mythic is a bonus difficulty, most raid teams are quite content with Heroic being their upper limit, or something they do for fun alongside normal.

The notion that you need to be a no lifer has grown to include anyone who even does normal these days, a notion which I think is actually harmful to the player base and breeds a toxic community. Different people have fun doing different things, if you(as in the figurative you, not YOU) don't enjoy mythic then there's no need to berate the people who do have fun doing the hardest difficulty.

I've been through a good few trial members in my raid team that just do not care at all. People that constantly stand in the fire, turn up to raids without enchants or gems, have no idea what they're doing, then when you try to be helpful, and offer them proper helpful advice (as in not "git gud scrub"), they get angry and offended and sometimes, vicious. And a lot of them use the defence "Oh I'm just here to have fun!" without taking into account the fact that they're being selfish to 16 other people, for whom having to put up with you, isn't fun for /them/.
 

Karadalis

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Twinrehz said:
Karadalis said:
Add to that that the dumbing down of the gameplay/difficulty and character systems have done jack shit to improve introducing new players to the game.
The dumbing down of content that people talk about, doesn't actually exist.
Skill trees: gone

Raid atunments: gone

Character stats: Simplified

Skills: Simplified

Leveling: Simplified (as in absurd level speed pre current expansion levels)

The game leads you around the nose more then ever before.

Theres no sense of exploration anymore.

Remember cataclysm heroic dungeons? Didnt took a month till they where nerfed into the grounds and all challange stripped from them.

Where the original WoW was solid homecooking that found its peak with wrath of the lichking, nowadays it resembles some Mc donalds kids menu

The dumbing down was real in WoW and it did jack shit to keep players around or introduce new players since the player numbers have been a steady decline ever since wrath of the lichking.

I dont see how this model of churning out one expansion every year at full retail game price is going to keep people around either. WoD certainly wasnt worth the full price they demanded since they abandoned that expansion the moment they had pushed it out the door. (they cut away so much content its not even funny)
 

Scarim Coral

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I guess this make sense since they must be tried from "reporting" how much they suck now in the form of the subcriptions losses.
 

elvor0

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Karadalis said:
Twinrehz said:
Karadalis said:
Add to that that the dumbing down of the gameplay/difficulty and character systems have done jack shit to improve introducing new players to the game.
The dumbing down of content that people talk about, doesn't actually exist.
Skill trees: gone

Raid atunments: gone

Character stats: Simplified

Skills: Simplified

Leveling: Simplified (as in absurd level speed pre current expansion levels)

The game leads you around the nose more then ever before.

Theres no sense of exploration anymore.

Remember cataclysm heroic dungeons? Didnt took a month till they where nerfed into the grounds and all challange stripped from them.

Where the original WoW was solid homecooking that found its peak with wrath of the lichking, nowadays it resembles some Mc donalds kids menu

The dumbing down was real in WoW and it did jack shit to keep players around or introduce new players since the player numbers have been a steady decline ever since wrath of the lichking.

I dont see how this model of churning out one expansion every year at full retail game price is going to keep people around either. WoD certainly wasnt worth the full price they demanded since they abandoned that expansion the moment they had pushed it out the door. (they cut away so much content its not even funny)
Skill trees: google "Paladin dps spec". Much difficulty. Such skill. If you actually did anything of difficulty in game, you'd realise that the new talent trees are much better and require you to constantly change it up per encounter.

Attunements: Really? How are attunements difficult or complex? Time gating nonsense and a massive inconvenience for having new raid members. Clearly you never had to run new members through old raids just for some bollocky item. "Oh our new Tank hasn't killed Vashj or Kael Thas yet?, well fuck the raid we had planned, we need to run TK and SSC even though none of you want to or need gear from there."

Stats: Hit and Expertise were irritating gem fillers and you know it. You just put the gems on, put the enchants on, or went to the reforger, wasn't difficult. Be really lazy and you bought up a calculator to tell you exactly what to gem or reforge so that you were optimal.

Levelling: There's 100 levels now dude, leveling from 1-100 is a long road for a new player with no heirlooms. Can't have people leveling at the same speed as they did in vanilla from 1-100, that's mental.

You want a challenge in dungeons? Go do Challenge Mode or Mythic Dungeons at the appropriate item level. Done.

Raids are more complex than they've ever been and Mythic is fucking hard.

I agree that WoD is a massive shove out the door without even sticking its shoes on and I am not impressed with the price I paid for it at ALL(raids are good though), but otherwise you're looking through some massive rose tinted goggles if your arguments include "attunements" as a example of difficulty and complexity.

Karadalis said:
Showcased by the inclusions of kung fu pandas...
I thought you played WC3? Get out of it, Mists was an excellent expansion, oodles of content, great world, fun story and good raids.

I agree with Twinrehz, if you're not doing Heroic at the VERY least, you've no right to complain about content being easier and dumbed down.
 

flying_whimsy

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Subscriber numbers aren't really what counts anymore anyways (especially not since you can play so much for free): focusing more on direct profit numbers like in-game purchases and stuff would be a far better way to gauge how profitable the game is.

Also, freaking hearthstone.
 

Baresark

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I'm not surprised. It was literally industry bragging but it blew up in their face. Sure, the rest of the world had MMO envy for their numbers at one time, 10 million subscribers. Now, 5.5 million still puts them as the top MMO I'm sure. But, the anchoring point for their success is 10 million. Which means that it looks like WOW is doing terrible, despite still being wildly popular and profitable by MMO standards.
 

Paragon Fury

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Jan 23, 2009
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elvor0 said:
Karadalis said:
Twinrehz said:
Karadalis said:
Add to that that the dumbing down of the gameplay/difficulty and character systems have done jack shit to improve introducing new players to the game.
The dumbing down of content that people talk about, doesn't actually exist.
Skill trees: gone

Raid atunments: gone

Character stats: Simplified

Skills: Simplified

Leveling: Simplified (as in absurd level speed pre current expansion levels)

The game leads you around the nose more then ever before.

Theres no sense of exploration anymore.

Remember cataclysm heroic dungeons? Didnt took a month till they where nerfed into the grounds and all challange stripped from them.

Where the original WoW was solid homecooking that found its peak with wrath of the lichking, nowadays it resembles some Mc donalds kids menu

The dumbing down was real in WoW and it did jack shit to keep players around or introduce new players since the player numbers have been a steady decline ever since wrath of the lichking.

I dont see how this model of churning out one expansion every year at full retail game price is going to keep people around either. WoD certainly wasnt worth the full price they demanded since they abandoned that expansion the moment they had pushed it out the door. (they cut away so much content its not even funny)
Skill trees: google "Paladin dps spec". Much difficulty. Such skill. If you actually did anything of difficulty in game, you'd realise that the new talent trees are much better and require you to constantly change it up per encounter.

Attunements: Really? How are attunements difficult or complex? Time gating nonsense and a massive inconvenience for having new raid members. Clearly you never had to run new members through old raids just for some bollocky item. "Oh our new Tank hasn't killed Vashj or Kael Thas yet?, well fuck the raid we had planned, we need to run TK and SSC even though none of you want to or need gear from there."

Stats: Hit and Expertise were irritating gem fillers and you know it. You just put the gems on, put the enchants on, or went to the reforger, wasn't difficult. Be really lazy and you bought up a calculator to tell you exactly what to gem or reforge so that you were optimal.

Levelling: There's 100 levels now dude, leveling from 1-100 is a long road for a new player with no heirlooms. Can't have people leveling at the same speed as they did in vanilla from 1-100, that's mental.

You want a challenge in dungeons? Go do Challenge Mode or Mythic Dungeons at the appropriate item level. Done.

Raids are more complex than they've ever been and Mythic is fucking hard.

I agree that WoD is a massive shove out the door without even sticking its shoes on and I am not impressed with the price I paid for it at ALL(raids are good though), but otherwise you're looking through some massive rose tinted goggles if your arguments include "attunements" as a example of difficulty and complexity.

Karadalis said:
Showcased by the inclusions of kung fu pandas...
I thought you played WC3? Get out of it, Mists was an excellent expansion, oodles of content, great world, fun story and good raids.

I agree with Twinrehz, if you're not doing Heroic at the VERY least, you've no right to complain about content being easier and dumbed down.
I'm going to have to disagree here.

With Patch 6.0 and Warlords, nearly every single class and spec in Warcraft was made easier, less complex and for many of them far less interesting to play. Very few came out ahead - Holy Priests, Paladins, DKs and Rogues namely.

Wind Walkers got destroyed, Mistweavers got hit and basically no more Fistweaving, Warriors are super boring to play, Mages got made easier etc. Druids got shafted on their forms.

My old raid guild that I kept in contact with (Mythic/Old Heroic) lost so many members just because of how badly classes played now - not mention Blizzard's idea of "fun" was now to simply grind content over and over again, rather than meaningful progression like in Wraith and BC.

Even I got tired of it; sure, I was overjoyed that Holy was a legitimate Raid Healing Spec again (until stat inflation once again pushed Disc above Holy) and it wouldn't be considered a handicap to bring a Holy Priest to a Heroic/Mythic raid (like it was in MoP - AND I WAS STILL GOOD ENOUGH TO GET IN MANY NIGHTS SO SUCK ME DISC PRIESTS), my main, the Warrior, was so goddamn boring to play because of how much they simplified it compared to the past I couldn't stand it.
 

Karadalis

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elvor0 said:
Karadalis said:
Showcased by the inclusions of kung fu pandas...
I thought you played WC3? Get out of it, Mists was an excellent expansion, oodles of content, great world, fun story and good raids.

I agree with Twinrehz, if you're not doing Heroic at the VERY least, you've no right to complain about content being easier and dumbed down.
Pandaren where suposed to be a joke. And there was ONE of them in that "orc campaign"

Pandaria was a shite expansion dragged down by endless daily quests that later got thankfully removed by a single little island with somewhat interesting concepts that they added to WoD (namely rare mobs giving interesting if not allways usefull loot)

I played WC3 and let me tell you: Pandaren never played a role in it kept for that one side character. And yet they made an entirely pointless expansion out of it that only achieved turning garosh into a huge dickwad for no reason (remember that scene on the dam where he threw off one of his generals of the damn dam because said general murdered civilians of the alliance because garosh deemed it highly dishounorable? I guess its okay when garosh does it himselfe with a manabomb right?) and set up the next poorly thought out and made expansion.

BTW if pandaria was such a gret expansion why did it not stop the downward trend in subscribers that cataclysm started? Blizzard saw a return of subscribers with WoD thought thanks to the power of nostalgia, but as soon as people figured out that it was a half assed cash grab with famous old lore characters and a facebook game instead of housing (wich people have been asking for pretty much since day 1) they just dumped it like a hot potato.

As to your other points:

There are no "skill trees" in the game anymore so i dont know what youre talking about. You get to choose an ability every handfull of levels and you pick the best one out of the bunch.

Back in the day when we still had real skilltrees you COULD try out other things if you wished, sure you could go with a cooky cutter build or do something that was more for your liking.

Nowadays youre not even given the option anymore. ALL characters of a given class have 2 max 3 playstyles that are identical to each other and thats that. Its a ridiculus clone army.

Instead of expanding on the tree skill idea and make choices more meaningfull blizzard opted for the lazy way out and simply removed any resemblence of choice or customisation from the equation.

Same for the rune system, it was touted as THE way to further specialize and customize your character beyond max levels... today its a joke of a system that no one really pays any mention to anymore.

Attunements are also a feature that many notable WoW players ask to return, because it makes for good content and does seed out the bad players from the more dedicated ones. No one demands that they are as dreadfull as in BC but atleast you felt acomplished after gaining your Karazan attunement, you did something to deserve to go in there. Oh and they should be accountwide, no matter what it is if you have to repeat it for every single of your alts it becomes a dreg.

Yes... leveling... there are 100 levels of content, WoW is a massive world. That no one gets to experience anymore. There is over a decade of content in this game, but only roughly the top 1% counts. Why not simply cut out the middleman and jump right in... OH WAIT! You can now buy lvl 90 characters and actually get one for free with WoD! Screw all that other content.. why dont we simply cut it all out and be done with it anyways? It serves absolutely no purpose anymore then gathering transmog items.

Heroic and mythic dungeons? Are you kidding me? These sorry excuses have nothing on BC or Cataclysm heroics.

WoD heroics are a piss poor excuse that can be done by mere random pug groups.

As for stats: People manage stat systems in Dark souls games just fine, yet blizzard isntead of making things more intuitive simply rips out and adds new shit to the stat system every dang expansion. Why the fuck do we even have stats anymore? They are completly useless nowadays since it doesnt matter anymore. You simply have one or two stats per character that matter and thats it! Why simply not do away with that system at all and simply replace it with power increase per class item or something braindead.. atleast then the pretence wouldnt be there anymore that stats actually matter beyond right or wrong for your class. In vanilla for example as an arms warrior i would have to balance out Agility for critchance, strength for raw damage and endurance for my HP. I managed to create a burst damage killer glass cannon warrior that pulled off great damage numbers that used polearms, something no one else in my guild or any other did and guess what? It worked both in PvP and in raids just fine. Cleared molten core and black wing lair with it before raid lead blew up with power politic shenanigans

Again why do you insist on raids so much? I didnt even talked about raids one bit. Conclusion: Youre a raider that cant seem to understand that WoW at one point consisted of more then simply rushing to max level as fast as possible and jump into the raids.

Wich i remind you werent all that great in WoD anyways the way they threw away the titular warlords as simple boss fodder, only a checklist on peoples raid progress.

Atleast Kel thuzad was the last boss of naxxramas and a certain elemental lord of fire got TWO top boss spots in raids.

People are sick and tired about raids being the only bloody thing youre expected to do at max level. Why do you think that everyone is demanding a better crafting experience? Dungeons that actually have meaning in the game and content outside of raids? But again as a raider i guess i understand why you wouldnt care for anything outside of your precious raids.
 

Twinrehz

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Qizx said:
-edited because long post and scroll up to read it-
Let me begin by saying that I agree to some of your points, Blizz have rather shot themselves in the foot by changing the game so much from what it was, to what it is today. What they have TRIED to do, is streamline the game to make it more accessible to new players. What they have FAILED to do, is streamline it to the point where it's accessible to new players, yet interesting enough for veteran players to keep playing.

You talk about dedication, well what does dedication do for the game? It forces players to choose between two options: spend a lot of time optimizing stats, possibly farming for the gear they need because the stats on whatever items they may have, is wrong and will result in 0.1% less DPS that causes a wipe; they might have to go through a lengthy quest chain to get the attunement they need to even get into the damn raid.

OR: Level up to max level, see the time they have to spend to even get into raids, where they run the risk of being yelled at because they are new to the game and haven't shown the dedication over YEARS of gameplay that the smug veterans have, and decide they'd rather go do something else, cancel their subscription and play other, more rewarding games.

And I'm not talking about casual games and gamers. While I only started playing in wrath, I can only imagine the time necessary to complete all these insane requirements just to get into raiding; whereas now it's more aimed at pick-up-and-play style, because the market for games is more crowded, it takes less for players to simply drop a game and go over to another one, and the more attention a single game requires for you to complete/participate in it narrows the potential audience quite significantly.

I understand your perspective, but you have to see it from an outside perspective. If you were new to the game in TBC, didn't have any friends who played it, and was REQUIRED to farm quests and gear to be even considered for a raid-spot, and wasn't entirely sold on the concept of the game, would you continue playing? Some people enjoy crunching numbers, considering skills, stats and their combination; others just want to play a GAME.

The main thing I can say is that the market has changed significantly. Where MMOs back in the early to mid-2000's was mainly for hardcore gamers who spent saturday night crunching numbers and testing new builds, now the broader market has gained interest in what is basically a massive time-sink filled with facebook-style minigames that fits an entirely different niche than the game from 2004.

I do honestly believe the downward spiral of subscribers has not so much to do with the game mechanics, as it has to do with the player-base growing too old for the game. What remains is mostly kiddies who probably have older siblings that played the game a few years ago, or people that haven't quite given up just yet. The number of games and their availability nowadays is overwhelming, compared to 10 years ago, and WoW doesn't stand out enough any more, only as the old classic that all the veterans used to play. It will never become the same game, and nothing will ever be quite like it.
 

Muspelheim

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Apr 7, 2011
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"URG PANDAREN R N APRILS FOOLS RAEC"

Perhaps. But maybe I'm a phantom stroke victim or something, but I rather liked them, as well as Pandaria. It was something different, and it was a pretty fun excusion in little fantasy China.

People always whine about fantasy being so Eurocentric, about wanting something different. No one is very happy when it happens. But then again, people complain about unoriginal and boring old lore, and then hail Dark Soul's lore as something new and groundbreaking.