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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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  • by SYSS Mouse (694626) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @12:45PM (#23477746) Homepage
    one of the oldest guild Death and Taxes disbanded today, citing such change as one of the reason. (http://www.worldofwar.net/n/413578/death-and-taxes-disband)
    • by GodInHell (258915) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @12:56PM (#23477956) Homepage
      Yay!

      I hate the idea of funding the development of content that only 5% of the player base is intended to enjoy.

      Sorry, but I want them to spend their development $$s making content I can get into with my wife and a few friends.

      cc

      -GiH
      • by Thyamine (531612) <thyamineNO@SPAMofdragons.com> on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @02:50PM (#23480100) Homepage Journal
        I'm a bit split on this, but mostly agree with you. I've been in guilds, but I don't have the time to sit for hours for a raid on a friday or saturday night. So I never get a chance to really play that side of the game. It's hard enough to get 5 people to run an instance, let alone split the loot that you get, let alone 30 or more people, with complex raid counting systems to determine who has what % chance to try and receive the loot (including stats from how many raids you've help in before).

        Give me new areas that I can explore on my own or with a friend or two. New quests outside of killing 10 more of those things or gather 20 more flowers.
        • by MBGMorden (803437) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @04:09PM (#23481426)

          I'm a bit split on this, but mostly agree with you. I've been in guilds, but I don't have the time to sit for hours for a raid on a friday or saturday night.
          Just raid with a guild that doesn't raid on those nights. Seriously, I know where your'e coming from. There's no way I want to spend my Friday or Saturday nights playing a video game either. That's why I got into a guild that raids only on Tuesdays :). (Well, sometimes they'll pull together a spur of the moment Kara on other nights, but I don't attend those).
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by PastaLover (704500)

          Give me new areas that I can explore on my own or with a friend or two. New quests outside of killing 10 more of those things or gather 20 more flowers.

          While I understand what you're saying I must say I wouldn't be playing WoW if not for the five and ten man content. It can be a lot of fun just trying to beat one of those encounters and getting a group of people working together and getting it right. So that content is absolutely vital to some players in the game. Others have more fun doing the ordinary quests. (but you can't do that for more than a year or two, at least I can't)

          The press and lots of players often seem to portray this as the "casual gam

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        The end of the line instances aren't just there to accommodate the 5% of players that actually can have a shot in there.
        It's also implemented to still have a carrot ready for the raiders that have a lower pace.

        Everything in WoW is build around the philosophy that no matter what you do, how hard you try, how much time you invest. There is always some reward or instance just out of reach for you.
        They will give you the idea that if you just try a tad harder you might reach it. That is, until a new patch
    • by elrous0 (869638) * on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @12:57PM (#23477970)
      I suspect the real reason was just member burn-out and disinterest, not any recent changes. No MMO lasts forever, and most guilds are even more short-lived.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by everphilski (877346)
        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.
        • by lgw (121541)
          My guild was formed in 1992 (no joke), but the guild's interest in any particular game burns out eventually - as you say jumping from one game to the next.
    • by Seakip18 (1106315)
      So i guess something are not always certain! Guess the IRS won't buy that though...
  • hmm (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nomadic (141991) <nomadicworld.gmail@com> on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @12:46PM (#23477772) Homepage
    does this continuing trend promise to alienate the high-end players who thrive on new challenges?

    The high-end players got to be high-end players through thousands of hours of grinding. They don't thrive on new challenges, they thrive on the same old ones.
    • by MBGMorden (803437)

      The high-end players got to be high-end players through thousands of hours of grinding. They don't thrive on new challenges, they thrive on the same old ones.

      They didn't take away the grind, they just made it more guaranteed.

      You want a cool weapon? Level up a profession, then grind for mats to craft it.

      Or, grind up a certain faction rep and buy a cool item.

      Or, run the same heroic dungeons over and over (and over, and mutha f***king over) to get those stupid badges that you can use to buy loot.

      Or farm dailies for insane amounts of cash and just buy one of the countless BoE epics out there.

      Make no mistake, WoW is just as grindy, if not moreso, than ever. What t

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      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, Insightful)

      by HardCase (14757) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @06:45PM (#23484028)
      I'm in a high end guild with a high end character. I don't care about the changes that Bliz made, it really doesn't matter to me. 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.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Cl1mh4224rd (265427)

        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.

        Ahh...

        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?

  • by EvolutionsPeak (913411) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @12:47PM (#23477784)
    They released the Sunwell at the same time, a 25-man highest end raiding dungeon. I'd hardly call that something for any but the most hardcore pve players.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Llamahand (1275482)
      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.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        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 archen (447353) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @03:55PM (#23481132)
        MeanderingMind has it mostly right. D&T was a high end raiding guild, but had gotten to the point where they were having issues filling slots. So of course recruitment for such a guild is easy... to acquire leeches.

        In the end this is the fate of nearly all raiding guilds. The focus is on pushing content, and getting loot. There is basically no loyalty, and the second the grass looks greener on the other side people jump ship. When everything is going good, it looks fine on the outside but basically rots from within. It's sort of strange that people think of MMORPGs as being unique in this way. Crime organizations often go the same way - ala drug cartels, the mob, etc. Didn't anyone learn anything from scarface? :p
  • Good changes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rune.w (720113) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @12:50PM (#23477838)
    The latest patch has been great for me. I'm more of a casual player and now I'm able to level up with just a couple hours of gameplay. Before it would take me a good couple days to increase just one level, which got increasingly frustrating and became the main reason why I canceled my subscription last year. I'm also a big fan of soloing and now I'm able to do that in more areas of the game (I usually do the party quests and dungeons during the weekends when all my friends are able to connect at the same time).

    Overall I think it was a good move for players like me. I don't know what the "old-timers" would think about it, though...
    • 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.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by geekoid (135745)
        "My wife-to-be is a fairly hardcore raider ..."

        You might want to flee~
      • by snuf23 (182335)
        It is pretty easy to get to 70 now if you do a lot of instances. The XP rewards from instance runs are huge. I hit 70 and had only quested through Hellfire, Zangarmarch and Nagrand. That's less than half the quest content in Outlands.
        The big issue is as a healer I constantly get requests for Heroic runs when I'm not geared for it. The act of gearing up post 70 seems to take as long as the leveling. Hitting 70 this late in the game means you are likely to well over geared by 95% of the level 70s around you.
        I
    • Re:Good changes (Score:5, Insightful)

      by vertinox (846076) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @01:58PM (#23479170)
      Before it would take me a good couple days to increase just one level, which got increasingly frustrating and became the main reason why I canceled my subscription last year.

      Personally I find grinding the least favorite part of MMO's. Leveling in itself is fun for the first few times but after playing MMO's and plenty of other single player games that are based almost solely around leveling (hell even pokemon is based on leveling your pets), the process has gotten old for most people and the need to come up with some other gameplay is needed.

      One thing most people are rumbling about in WAR (Warhammer Online) is that there will be horizontal progression rather than vertical progression with a hard cap at 40 for levels and the end game is the Realm versus Realm (like DAoC).

      Most people agree that increasing level caps will alienate casual players who will be at a disadvantage to hardcore players because it is PvP in a sense and even if they separate higher levels from lower, increasing the Cap simply for the sake of keeping the players playing the game will only cause the player base to be separated even further.

      The idea of horizontal progression is that once you reach level 40, new content will be added for a second tier of leveling which means any expansions that add new spells, gear, and content will be equal to that already added by on a second scale completely separate from the levels gained from 1 through 40. They will be balanced so that these new features don't actually make the old ones obsolete. They WAR devs haven't really gone into exactly how this will work especially since they haven't released the very first part of the game, but the idea of horizontal progression at a certain point actually makes more sense to me, because you don't have to grind to experience new content but to use some other scale (I think there is something called realm pride etc) to which the end game can be progressed without simply raising the level cap.

      The idea is interesting to me because I could care less about leveling another character ever again and would rather focus on another way of advancing a character through a game. I think Ultima Online had it right, but no one seems to want to copy them ;)
      • by brkello (642429)
        It really makes no difference. They are just changing in what area the grind will be. So you aren't doing levels anymore...you are grinding realm pride. Maybe it will be more enjoyable to you to grind in that manner...but since it isn't even implemented, it is hard to praise such a thing. Eve removed the leveling grind to a real-time based system. But you have to grind for money in such a way that is more tedious than WoW. Just depends what you like, but I would hold off singing the praises of somethi
    • I would have to agree - I used to start new characters and guilds because the mid-level grind after 20 was just way too boring for someone who:

      a. has a full time job
      b. has a life
      c. has a kid

      But now I can frequently just pop on and get a level or two with the few hours I can spare, so I've stopped creating new characters and am leveling my existing ones in preparation for the expansion(s).

      Besides, I always wanted to be a runecrafter.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by pezpunk (205653)
      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
    • by bidule (173941)
      I have (70 70 65 61 49 34 33 + more), and while I like the sparklies around quest items and the ?! on the mini-map, I think they really dumbed it down too far.

      There used to be elite mobs that required skill to kill, groups that required to kill adds and run away before dealing with the main mob. None of these were hard, they were puzzles you had to solve and for which you had to prepare. Now it's mindless kills, no finesse at all.

      So now you have level 70 who don't understand aggro control, wall-pulls, minim
  • Mega Million (Score:2, Interesting)

    by hubdawg (1148477)
    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.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      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.

      So you want WoW to give discounts on out-of-house things so that people will spend more time playing in order to get the discounts which will then cause them to go outside and spend less time playing while still paying their subscription?

      You are a marketing genius. I tip my hat to you sir.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by elrous0 (869638) *
      Why, so some Chinese farmers could grab them all up?
  • by neoform (551705) <djneoform@gmail.com> on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @12:58PM (#23477984) Homepage
    It seems to me that they make more money off Casual players since they require less server time and their subscription ends up bringing in the same dollars as hardcore users that are online 24/7.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Duffy13 (1135411)
      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 me
      • I Agree with GP (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Zancarius (414244)
        It's really rather hard to say, but I'd be willing to bet that the casual gamers bring more money in. However, it does depend on their economic situation. I'm a casual player of WoW and spend maybe a few hours here and there during the week/weekends, but I pay largely so that I have the game available as an entertainment fallback in the event I grow bored of other hobbies. If my guild is any indication of this demographic, we have a large number of working professionals who keep their accounts active solely
  • Morons (Score:5, Insightful)

    by geekboy642 (799087) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @01:06PM (#23478168) Journal
    Full disclosure: I play Warcraft in a raiding guild.

    Anybody who cites the removal of attunement from a high-level raid instance as a reason to give up raiding is a complete and total idiot. The fact that you can set foot into a raid does not in any way mean you can beat it. The only thing attunement gives is a way for raiding guilds to weed out the complete and total idiots. Honestly.

    For those of you that don't grasp this, here's how it was before the patch:
    Level to 70. Replace gear with low-level dungeon loot, and complete a quest while you're doing that. Raid one thing and get better loot. Raid the next thing and get better loot. Raid the next thing and get better loot. Hooray, you beat the game, go outside.

    And here's how it is after the patch:
    Level to 70. Replace gear with low-level dungeon loot. Raid one thing and get better loot. Raid the next thing and get better loot. Raid the next thing and get better loot. Hooray, you beat the game, go outside.

    Guess what. It doesn't matter if there's no attunement. Everybody still had to spend the identical amount of time and effort getting better loot to even survive stepping in the front door of Illidan's house.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by bugnuts (94678)
      What you said about beating a boss is absolutely true. Gear does make it easier, but a crappy raider is a crappy raider, and you can't expect him to be anything else no matter how much gear you throw at him.

      And here's how it is after the patch:
      Level to 70. Replace gear with low-level dungeon loot. Raid one thing and get better loot. Raid the next thing and get better loot. Raid the next thing and get better loot. Hooray, you beat the game, go outside.

      Crappy example.

      It's now Raid one thing and get better loot. TURN IN BADGES to received from raiding or heroics or daily quests for loot as good as that found in the next two raiding zones.

      Removing the attunements makes perfect sense. It's called mudflation which was coined to demonstrate that the dem

    • Raid one thing and get better loot. Raid the next thing and get better loot. Raid the next thing and get better loot.

      You are being less than honest here.

      Did you *really* raid Gruuls (for example) just the once and then move on to the next thing?

  • by mseeger (40923) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @01:08PM (#23478190)
    Hi,

    If you want to see new content, you cannot do so as a casual player. I was far beyond a casual player (2 RAIDs a week, several hours of farming) and still noticed, that i was falling behind on the content scale.

    New instances were added faster i could complete them. Going through SSC and TK literally took months. The RAID had several crisis meetings, weaker players were encouraged to seek their fortune somewhere else. In the end, we made progress and were inside the black temple, but the fun was left behind. In April i quit after playing my Rogue for more then 2.500 hours.

    Quitting hurts... as intended. But there was no choice. You can either do the easy instances again and again or try new content. There you need two things: equip and error-free playing. I loved the game, but it was becoming a second job. No need for that :-(.

    The desertion rate is currently high. In the month after i quit, the RAID lost 4 more players with 3+ years under their epic belt. There are still new players coming in (still got 330$ for my Rogue), but WoW is loosing a lot of experienced players currently.

    All the things done for casual players considered, the R&D of Bliizzard is still focussed on the power gamer (Nihilum&Co). 90% of all instanced content (SSC and higher) will only be seen by a small minoritry of all players (~15%).

    Please don't missunderstand me: The game was fun till the last minute. But to continue and make progress it would have required more time of me, that i was prepared to give. The content for the casual player (daily quests, small isntances, etc) didn't appeal to me.

    CU, martin

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by subsoniq (652203)
      All the things done for casual players considered, the R&D of Bliizzard is still focussed on the power gamer (Nihilum&Co). 90% of all instanced content (SSC and higher) will only be seen by a small minoritry of all players (~15%)

      Actually, many more people see high end raid content than you might think. Wowjutsu is a site that crawls the Armory and compiles stats and progress for guilds and servers, and it also breaks down the percentage of the population that sees raid instances and even specif
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        Actually that's 57.5% of the guilds that the site scans, which is not 100% of the WoW population. If you check the site there are a number of qualifiers a guild has to reach before they are listed. At a rough guess I would say less than one in three guilds on my server are listed on our page on that site.
      • I absolutely love games that have such focus and dedication that players who want to win a dungeon have to have "required stats and builds". Makes you feel like your character is you, and customized just to fit your playstyle

        /sarcasm
        • by ultranova (717540) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @05:08PM (#23482508)

          I absolutely love games that have such focus and dedication that players who want to win a dungeon have to have "required stats and builds". Makes you feel like your character is you, and customized just to fit your playstyle

          Yeah. Isn't that how it is in real life too - you build up your stats (CV) and gear to get higher-paying jobs (instances), which both build the CV further and drop better gear ? And while you're at it, you need to join a guild (social network) to succeed at those higher-end dungeons. Repeat until you die. Sure sounds like my life, except that I'm stuck at level 1 due to a chicken-and-egg problem ;(.

          The only real difference between WoW and Real Life is that in Real Life, you aren't allowed to split the Boss's head with an axe.

    • by PseudoThink (576121) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @02:01PM (#23479228)
      I'm a nitpicking bastard for saying this, but I think you're confusing a World of Warcraft "raid" with RAID, the acronym that means "redundant array of inexpensive disks" to the IT industry and computer users. While it's possible for a person to save screenshots of their WoW raid to their RAID volume, saying you can't wait to join your guild's RAID makes it seem like you're just shouting the word "raid" for some strange reason. :)
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by PotatoFarmer (1250696)
        Redundant Array of Introspective Dilettantes?
        Really Athletically Inept Dorks?
        Ridiculously Armored Interactive Dissemblances?
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by daveywest (937112)
      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 2

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        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.
    • There are still new players coming in (still got 330$ for my Rogue), but WoW is loosing a lot of experienced players currently.

      How do you sell a character, yet mitigate the risk of identity theft? When I consider that my Blizzard account has both credit card information and personal information about me (name), I'm hesitant to sell my character -- especially as the backing of gold/character selling sites are often of questionable origin. However, the prospect of Getting Out is tempting -- while I do enjoy

  • The Future (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Narpak (961733) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @01:26PM (#23478536)
    Blizzard are considering the future and managing their resources based upon that. Some of the profit from WoW goes to maintenance, some to developing new patches and content; and some undoubtedly goes to future projects (World of Starcraft/The New World of Warcraft, or whatever they have up their sleeve). Also they are considering how to keep the larges majority of their players from changing to Age of Conan, Warhammer Online, Generic New RPG/FPS/RTS/BIG-BROTHER-STYLE - MMO. New products will continue to hit the market and as they learn and improve in quality serious challengers to the dominance of Blizzard will arrive.

    I think Blizzard are willing to risk alienating one group of their players if it means holding upon another; if indeed those are mutually exclusive. Whatever happens I am sure in the end serious competition will force Blizzard to improve or die.
  • The OP apparently isn't up to date on the latest about the next WoW expansion (Lich King). ALL raid instances will be playable as both a 10-man and 25-man; the differences will be loot and difficulty. I'm a casual player - I haven't been in a 20-man raid since Burning Crusade came out. I would probably have quit the game soon, except for this news. I enjoy all the stories and quest lines woven into the game, and now, FINALLY, I will be able to participate in "the big ones," even with "only" a 10-man raid.
  • by BobMcD (601576) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @01:44PM (#23478896)
    ...and I blame the dailies, mostly. The actual content they provided wasn't fun. At all. If not for the competition issues, you had to content with serious burn-out problems from doing the same EXACT thing over and over again, day after day. The problem with skipping this grind lies in the massive gold inflation caused by them. Your gold pieces were getting smaller by the day.

    Of course, you didn't have to grind away on dailies. You could always grind badges instead. Or grind PvP by getting your weekly beatings in the arena.

    The point was made up above, but I'll reiterate it: Play has changed to a combination of the best gear and a complete mastery of the metagame.

    And frankly, if you're lacking in either of those areas, this really sucks the fun right out of it - ESPECIALLY when mindless repetition is your only way out of the deficit you're facing.

    Oh, and when that next patch hits, you're now even further behind. Gratz!
  • 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 jjohnson (62583)

      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?

      From the game company's perspective, there's a neat division of costs that are nicely met by current way things are priced: Initial development goes on for 3-5 years, and its cost is recouped with the box cost, while subscription fees pay for maintenance and incremental development. From a business perspective, it's pretty crucial to recover the sunk costs of initial development, and if t

    • by mbourgon (186257)
      Try Guild Wars. Buy the game, skip the subscription. If you like it, buy the expansions. You can get deals on the first one ($30 or so), which has at least 100 hours of stuff to do.
  • by teflaime (738532) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @01:56PM (#23479114)
    about making a game that keeps making them money. The vast majority (something like 86%) of their player populace considers themselves "casual" which basically means that they will play the game as long as it's still fun to them. 8% of players (that's the last number I heard, anyway) are involved in regular runs of end-game raiding. Clearly, they do not represent a significant portion of World of Warcraft income; yet, their voices have had a significantly inordinate impact on game play for much of the life of World of Warcraft. The remain ~6% are "hardcore PvPers" who went through their own (shorter) period of inordinate influence over gameplay; yet, again, we can see that they are not a major source of income for the game. Blizzard is now starting to recognize that they can reduce their overall churn rate by conctrating on that 86% of players who want to play for fun and comradery and do it in the 2-10 hours a week that they wish to set aside to play. And if you play 40 hours a week? Well, you should probably go hit the gym because you are probably raising the rest of our health insurance rates.
  • by icyslush (1162497) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @02:22PM (#23479626)
    We saw this with the last expansion, this is just a refinement. At end-game level before the release of first expansion, you had tons of people at level 60 but with wildly different gear levels. Maybe you were still trying to down the first MC boss or maybe you were uber and were clearing Naxx. You were not equal. Then TBC hit, we went to outland and within 3 levels we had all been equalized by green quest rewards that were better than the best we could get in the old world. It was a great big reset button and everyone got to start over. People complained about working so hard to get their Tier 3 stuff only to DE it at level 63. This time, their giving raiders, casuals and PvPers ways to get roughly equal gear in advance of the new expansion, to cushion the shock, I'd guess. It's the reset button again. We'll race to level 80 from roughly equal footing, the 25 man content will be hard, there'll be new raiding guilds and casuals will be locked out of the best gear again. Until the NEXT expansion, at which point they'll nerf things and hand out epics to equalize everyone once more. It's a reset button. Just consider it the start of Season Three. :)
    • by dave562 (969951)
      Very well put. Although I could have played WoW during beta I didn't actually pick up the game for quite a while after that. When TBC came out I wasn't even level 58 yet and couldn't go to Outland. Once I did get out there it was great because I finally felt like I was part of the game, instead of someone who was still trying to catch up to everyone. I really do feel like I missed huge parts of the WoW experience though. I will never know what MC was like. I will never raid Scholomance or UBRS. I act
  • I played SRO a while ago and about 90% of the updates were for high level players only cuz they either raised the cap or made new areas with top level monsters available that 95% of the players couldn't step foot in without dying. So pretty much everyone was pissed cuz the top level people run around stomping on everyone most of the time anyway so everyone hated them. Any updates that are good for lower level and mid level characters in any game is way better than cap raises and that sort of thing.
  • by Vrallis (33290) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @03:10PM (#23480404) Homepage
    The Burning Crusade expansion was already the beginning of the end for the 'serious' raiders. When they decided to not introduce more 40-man instances they killed a lot of raiding guilds, including mine. The day they announced that fact people I knew started leaving in droves. I stuck around for a couple months after TBC came out, but I just couldn't do it.

    By forcing smaller groups, they caused both an increase in smaller, tighter cliques of players, alienating many on the outside, as well as limiting the likelyhood of non-cookie-cutter classes and builds from getting into raids. This further alienated even more players.

    If they ever release a lot more 40-man content I *might* consider re-subscribing, though a high price for buying the expansion will likely stop that. There's also the whole issue of "I already have a job, I don't want to play like I have two," which was a large factor in me quitting.
    • 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".

    • by Mastadex (576985)
      So the huge guilds were broken. Small cliques alienated members. But that most admiring part of it was that you didn't get lost in a guild of 500 members anymore. You had a guild of 20-some members, and you felt like you were an imported cog in a well oiled machine. I lost many friends when it all went down. they formed a clique and excluded some people; friends of mine.

      But here is where I think Blizzard made a genius, ground breaking decision. Making more 5-man instances then any other type of instance. Ba
  • What's the cheapest way to make new content? Not make new content. Thus, the casuals will get to play whatever the raiders played only later. As for the wear and tear, that's natural as the most intense grinders to nothing but eat, sleep and grind (and usually not enough of the first two). After a few years sanity should return to them as is natural, usually related to something like "get a job you lazy college-dropout, you got rent to pay". MMORPG characters are like a stock bubble in progress, you can mak

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