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Role Playing (Games) Entertainment Games

The Changing Face of World of Warcraft 328

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the lowest-common-denominator dept.
Back in March Blizzard released patch 2.4 and significantly altered a good portion of the overall gameplay and provided a much more casual experience. Since then Blizzard has continued to make the game more approachable through new dungeons and removing attunements and other restrictions throughout the game. While this may open up a lot of new content to the masses and help the game's overall appeal, does this continuing trend promise to alienate the high-end players who thrive on new challenges? Should Blizzard care?
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The Changing Face of World of Warcraft

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  • Mega Million (Score:2, Interesting)

    by hubdawg (1148477) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @12:52PM (#23477886)
    game companies.. need to put some real loot in the game.... gas discount cards, fun tickets to go to the movies or discounts on outdoor activities. At least that would give some players a better reason to log on than mindless hours of grinding and crafting. Sure , that would shoot them in the foot. Not really I say, then you get a player wins a gas card.. they are on the road not logged in but stll are paying 14.99 month for something they do not use. Sounds win-win for the game company.
  • by everphilski (877346) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @01:01PM (#23478040) Journal
    We have guilds in EverQuest that are alive and strong, and clocking in at over 8 years old... And there are often guilds that outlive games, jumping from one game to the next.
  • Re:Good changes (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Scoth (879800) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @01:09PM (#23478228)
    I'm in a somewhat interesting position of being able to see both sides. My wife-to-be is a fairly hardcore raider with a couple or three 70s (her group has taken down Vashj a few times, and making progress on Kael'thas in BT) while I'm a much more casual player. I've mostly enjoyed the changes because I can experience more content on different character types without nearly as much grinding away on each one. On the other hand, she's gotten a little frustrated because people are getting to 70 and wanting spots in raids well before being sufficiently geared or skilled with their characters. She's now having to deal with people who stormed to 70 in quest reward greens who want into SSC or BT with blue and green gear.
  • by Llamahand (1275482) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @01:23PM (#23478496)
    Ironically, the issue with Death and Taxes disbanding was the huge lag in time between the major updates. From what I've heard, a large number of their higher-ups were disillusioned by the fact that they were having so much trouble beating Sunwell. "But... But... We're uber! Forget it. I quit!" kind of mentality.
  • by Duffy13 (1135411) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @01:25PM (#23478528)
    I've been wondering about that myself. It always comes down to who stays subscribed the longest, and unfortunately we have no way to track such a statistic. If my friend's that play the game are any indication, they make more money on the hardcore group because they never cancel their subscription, where as the casuals will cancel a month here or there, or even a few. Of course there are more casuals then hardcore, so the difference might be made up, but I'd still be curious to the actual numbers. Not to mention there is the hardcore burn out factor to consider. Personally, I believe that making a purely casual MMORPG is asking for failure. The hardcore group, while smaller, probably makes up the largest steady portion of your revenue. Not to mention they are the ones most likely to buy your full priced expansions immediately. Again, we lack the hard numbers, but from the trend in WoWs development, I think it's safe to say that the hardcore make up enough to warrant development time along with the casuals. The nice thing about casuals tho, is you can throw them lots of little bones (development time wise) opposed to having to focus on a whole new raid instance to satisfy your hardcore group, however that instance lasts longer for them. It's an interesting trade off. Ultimately the successful game will balance the two. WoW appears to be getting better and better at this, the expansion will be the immediate decider in whether or not they have achieved this goal.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @01:39PM (#23478782)

    how would you feel ? anything less than totally screwed ?

    What don't feel you got enough entertainment for your subscription rate?

    I say bullshit.

    Blizzard had to make these changes. Why? Well I'll tell you.

    The PVP servers were turning into crap, since the younger (who have more time and less maturity) players gathered "uber" gear and would spend their free time harrassing low level characters or characters with lesser gear. Our guild spend more time helping out the "lowbies" than we do on serious questing or PvP because of these shenanigans. I don't mind the random attacks (teaches a player not to take the common route in a war zone), but not being able to complete a quest because they hang around the quest giver is a little rough...

    While I personally like the "wild west" atmosphere of the PVP server, it is getting a little out-of-hand. So Blizzard had to make it where these lowbies can get better gear and fast so they can defend themselves. I prefer this over some game master interfering with game play.

    Now if they can do something about the AFKers in the battlegrounds. Hey Blizzard! How about only award "Marks of honor" to players who actually done damage or healed another player? Set a reasonable minimum value for each, jeez all weekend I had the misfortune to be in a pug in WSG with only 4 active players...

  • by east coast (590680) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @01:45PM (#23478900)
    Essentially the surge of WoW players is one of the reasons I think that EQ2 was dumbed down. It's one of the reasons that my interest in EQ2 didn't last long after some changes were made and ultimately the reason that Sony lost a subscriber.

    At this point I'm kind of set off by MMORPGs. Just like Hollywood, the gaming industry has a way of creating cookie cutter results. What fun is it going to be for a real gamer if they start to dumb down in order to draw in the casual player? Not that I play 60 hours a week or something but I certainly don't mind a challenge. How many more MMORPGs will be dumbed down to follow WoW's lead?

    Also, as a side note; Age of Conan came out today. I took some interest until I found out that it was 50 USD without ever stepping foot in the game and the games website seemed to have little content (not that I spent much time there). Why is it that a gaming company still thinks that we should shell out bucks to buy a game that we need to subscribe to? I'd be much happier and more likely to try it if I could download the content and play for 15 USD a month. I'm a hell of a lot more willing to pay 15 to see if I like a game instead of 50 for a game that I can't play without shelling out another 15 if my interest in it wanes for a few months.
  • by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland@yahoo. c o m> on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @01:48PM (#23478970) Homepage Journal
    This has always been Blizzards style with WoW. The grind is what you pay to get to be some of the first to achieve something.

    And no, I ahve never felt I was screwed. No more then I feel I am screwed when the people who get to the theater first have to wait longer for the movie then the person who walks in last.

    Fortunatly, I only did the initial grind for a few things, not worth my time. OTOH some people find being one of the first with a Dragon mount worth the extra effort. The players I know that got one knew they would become easier to get latter on but got one anyways. Yes, that's a tiny sample size, but I would be surprised if it didn't reflect what all the Hardcore players know.

    Too bad they force you to play~
  • by unity100 (970058) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @02:00PM (#23479212) Homepage Journal

    Did you play the game and have fun during all those hours?
    not quite. first 15-20% at the start, yes. rest, tedious.

  • by daveywest (937112) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @02:10PM (#23479400)
    2.4 Patch was the end for me. The game finally became more tedious than work.

    I actually think the downfall was the drop to 25-man raids from 40. In MC, you really only had 25 players who where on their game and contributing to the kill. If you don't believe me, think about the the last time you were in there and how many were alive when a boss was at 75%, 50%, 10%?

    Those other 15 "raiders" were the real entertainment. They were the ones who kept the game a game and not just a mindless grind.

    In the 25 mans, everyone must bring their "A" game or you wipe. There is no room for goofing around anymore.

  • Re:Good changes (Score:3, Interesting)

    by pezpunk (205653) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @02:31PM (#23479758) Homepage
    yep these changes have been a major boon for me and my guild. we have been around since the game launched, but always approached it pretty casually and minimally-organized.

    however, what with the recent changes, we have been able to go into dungeons and down bosses we never thought we'd ever get to see. we're downing bosses in Tempest Keep, Serpentshrine Cavern, Black Temple, and Mount Hyjal, and we're plowing through Zul'Aman picking up three of the timed chests on the way. it sure beats farming karazhan over and over and over!

    anyway, we're having tons of fun seeing all this year-old content for the first time, and countless guilds across countless realms are probably having the same positive experience.

    sure the hardcore will grumble, but so what. it makes absolutely perfect sense for Blizzard to allow the majority of its players in to see teh cotnent they spent the majority of their resources developing! doubly so now that the current expansion is reaching the end of its life cycle.

    Wrath of the Lich King will be here soon, and tehn the hardcore will once again be on top by a wide margin.

    And i am sure that towards the end of THAT expansion's life cycle, Blizzard will again make the highest-end stuff more attainable for the majority of the players, but not after the hardcore have had their fun in form of 6 months worth of lourding their accomplishments over us casuals.
  • by MeanderingMind (884641) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @03:15PM (#23480460) Homepage Journal
    My understanding was that it wasn't the higher ups but more recent members who'd joined to fill spots left empty by raiders bored of continually farming Illidan. When faced with actual progression, many of the untested players proved to be undisciplined in dealing with the adversity.
  • by MeanderingMind (884641) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @03:28PM (#23480688) Homepage Journal
    I contest the notion that in order to be entertaining you have to be dead weight. There's plenty of time between wipes and during trash for skilled people to jest, joke, and have a blast.

    Besides, most of the dead weight I've seen isn't particulary entertaining.
  • by WinPimp2K (301497) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @04:05PM (#23481352)
    "The day they announced that fact people I knew started leaving in droves"

    Yes, and what people did you know? Perhaps just the very small percentage of folks who just discovered that their obsession with raiding actually marginalized their value as customers to Blizzard. So those folks left "in droves"? Big Whoop. WoW isn't EQ and Blizz eventually recognized that being held hostage to the demands of "serious raiders" was not a good way to serve the vast majority (90%+) of their customer base.

    Be brutally honest and you will recognize that there are probably more Chinese gold farmers in the game than "Serious raiders".

  • Re:hmm (Score:3, Interesting)

    by SandwhichMaster (1044184) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @04:50PM (#23482202) Homepage
    That's the reason I stopped playing. The only "challenges" I really found were, finding a group, having the patience to eternally grind, the will to ignore my ass falling asleep, etc.

    Take it as a flame if you want, but the game felt mindless to me. My mage pretty much used the same 3 or 4 spells over and over and over. I signed up for a world of adventure, not something more boring than my cubicle.
  • Re:hmm (Score:4, Interesting)

    by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland@yahoo. c o m> on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @08:06PM (#23485272) Homepage Journal
    "Have you ever done a bleeding edge encounter? No? "

    "Then your opinion is completely invalidated. "
    I suggest yopu loom up the word 'Opinion'

    ". If you played WoW, then I bet, even if you were handed top of the line gear when Naxx came out, you wouldn't have even downed Anub'Arak"
    Irrelevant to the point.

    "Encounters when they first come out are HARD."
    And this ties into some sort of point?

    "They're hard and imbalanced."
    Imbalanced isn't exactly a glowing statment. It is a poor reason for something to be 'Hard'

    "Stop being jealous, and l2p. "
    Who is Jealous? The poster doesn't even indicate an jealousy.
    Stop putting your frustration out on others. l2a( Learn to Argue).

    The poster is correct, high-end players do the same thing over and over again. Thinking otherwise means you've never done it, or have deluded yourself into thinking it has value to you.

    Yes I play, yes I ahve done high end raids, no not very often and I do it behind the curve. My value in the game isn't doing the same thing over and over again.

    I suggest you don't actually know what hard is.
    Nothing in th game is 'hard' Difficult at times, but not hard. Getting a group that plays well together is hard.

  • Re:hmm (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Cl1mh4224rd (265427) on Wednesday May 21, 2008 @12:12AM (#23487660)

    The greater part of the game for me is the social part of it, interacting with people who have come to be my friends over time. We've got members from all over the world and it's really a kick to just have fun.

    Yeah, the gaming is obviously a draw, but, at least for me, and for most of the folks I play with, it's not the biggest part.

    Glorified chat room.
    IRC with a 3D interface.
    Blah, blah...

    I never understood that. Why do people claim the biggest part of their continued stay in a virtual fantasy world is the "social aspect"? Why continue paying for a game you aren't even really playing anymore?

    Do these friends you've made just not exist outside of the game? Or is it that these "friendships" are so tenuous that the game is the only thing that keeps you together?
  • Re:Churn (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DMUTPeregrine (612791) on Wednesday May 21, 2008 @03:24AM (#23489142) Journal
    They might also work it like EVE: release an "expansion" pack that updates the engine. No WoW2, just an expansion that costs as much as a full game. This would avoid fragmenting the userbase.
  • Re:Churn (Score:2, Interesting)

    by varcher75 (800974) on Wednesday May 21, 2008 @04:29AM (#23489538)
    Most industry insiders report that World of Warcraft has a relatively low churn rate. About 4 to 5% montly. If you started playing at launch on Nov. 2004, you have a 20% chance of still playing.

It's not so hard to lift yourself by your bootstraps once you're off the ground. -- Daniel B. Luten