Hello peons! I am Sunkisttuna, and I will be writing here at Manaflask, verbally vomiting my superior knowledge about Wow, Blizzard, and video games in general. I raid over in <Big Crits> on US-Sen'jin (summer sabbatical notwithstanding), and I play a s**tload of DayZ and other interesting vidya gaemes. I can also deadlift over 440 pounds. That is almost 200 kilograms for those on the metric system. So buckle-up dudes, follow along with me as I explore the latest developments in the World of Warcraft and other video games.
The end of Cataclysm was a dark time indeed for the world of Warcraft. A mediocre raid, the death of PUGs, and the sense that “there isn’t anything to do!” put a serious damper on both the overall enjoyability of the game and subscriber numbers. To some degree, this same problem has also been evident in Mists, even with the various enticements blizzard puts to force people out into the world. But why? Why does the game seem less… compelling, than it did before? In a patch and expansion filled with convenience and accessibility, why then did the game seem LESS fun, and LESS enjoyable.
The essence and core of World of Warcraft from a gameplay perspective is the interaction with other human beings. Not the pvp, not the leveling, not even the raids. People logging in and saying to themselves “I want to have adventures with my friends” is the ethos that brought Wow from ridicule as an “Everquest Clone” all the way to its peak during Wrath. I still remember the explanation of WoW that got me started in the game. My 6’6” 260 pound roommate, a redneck from Texas (I was a city boy from Boston), put it best in his deep southern drawl. “Mang, you can do ANYTHING in this game!” “Well, what are you doing right now,” I asked. “Oh this guy killed a paladin that was just trying to level so I’ve been camping him for the last… (looks at his watch)… shit, 45 minutes.” “You can do that?” I asked.
Interacting with other people, having that social connection, is what makes WoW a great game. Without that, that core “let's play and talk with others,” Wow turns into a mediocre third person rpg, and a weak one at that. Without player interaction and emphasis on socialization, World of Warcraft loses its defining luster. Perhaps most visibly in the mess of Cata, this concept was placed on the wayside in favor of “accessibility.” Attempting to make the game easier for new players harmed the game. How often is it now that there is that one guy on your server that everyone hates? How often do you see Pick-up groups forming for current raids? The interaction between experienced players and new players no longer exists, and new players have no incentive to learn or play with others (more on this in a later article). Wow has changed its focus from facilitating player interaction to spoon-feeding content to an eternally hungry populace.
So how do we fix that? We can’t very well go back and remove LFR or Dungeon Finder. And we cant force players to go out into the world by enticing them with the same type of content. “Insert Rare Mob Here” doesn't exactly compel people to explore and discover, it just takes the idea of “Content Consumption” and moves it out into the world. What Wow needs is Content Creation. And I don’t mean player-created raids or dungeons, I mean the creation of stories and adventures without the direct intervention or coaxing of Blizzard.
One of my favorite stories about WoW is from an old Buzzkill article where he talks about the leveling rush at the opening of Wrath of the Lich King. As Ensidia rushed to get to 80, the true drama and compelling content wasn’t the dungeons or the quests, it was the hilarious interactions between people slacking behind, falling asleep, and generally doing something as a group. Different players interacting, bickering, fighting, and complaining IS the compelling content that made World of Warcraft so great. I feel like as of late we have lost that. Everything is about “complete this, kill this, deliver this” and there is a serious lack of just going out and having adventures.
World of Warcraft was originally designed as a gigantic sandbox for players to interact and socialize with each other. In the last few expansions, that focus has gone by the wayside in favor of more content, more tasks to be completed, more things to be done. That’s not the answer! Perhaps in the upcoming patches and expansions, WoW can focus more on facilitating fun player interactions rather than continually feeding players content that they will complete and discard in a matter of weeks.
Peace out homies