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World of Warcraft Finally Loses Subscribers

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the infinite-growth-apparently-unsustainable dept.

Role Playing (Games) 413

bonch writes "After seven years and a highpoint of 12 million subscribers, World of Warcraft has seen a loss of nearly one million subscribers in the last six months for the first time in its history, according to Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime during an Activision earnings call. However, the game remains the most popular MMO, and Morhaime said Blizzard plans to reverse the trend with fresh content. Some believe that the loss in subscriber interest is a sign of the game's inevitable twilight years. Blizzard also recently received a trademark for 'Mists of Pandaria,' fueling speculation about the next expansion pack."

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It feels old and already seen (3, Interesting)

CaptainInnocent (2439004) | more than 3 years ago | (#37116446)

Personally, and for many others, the constant feeling of grinding did it. RIFT is a much more fun game, it has a lot of variety and you get to the fun stuff right from the beginning. EVE Online has a huge interesting world where everything goes, and is tailored much more towards PVP. World of Warcraft is just too much about PVE and grinding that environment, which really isn't that fun, especially considering it's an MMO. Even withholding the MMO games, there are so many absolutely fantastic games coming out now and in the recent years that I'm not surprised people feel bored with WoW. It's only going to be worse for WoW, with Battlefield 3 [youtube.com] , The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim [youtube.com] and many more fantastic coming out really soon.

Re:It feels old and already seen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37116486)

Is there really that big of a crossover between Battlefield and WOW players?

Re:It feels old and already seen (1)

Walkingshark (711886) | more than 3 years ago | (#37117066)

To some extent. I'd say about 1/3 of the people I played WOW with also played various FPS games. I have always been about equally into both, with focus drifting between the 2 depending on what has my attention.

Re:It feels old and already seen (4, Funny)

Jafafa Hots (580169) | more than 3 years ago | (#37116556)

I always referred to playing WoW as "running errands."

Re:It feels old and already seen (2)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#37116650)

Damn right. I mean, they have a mail system, but still you feel like a FedEx employee most of the time.

Re:It feels old and already seen (1)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | more than 3 years ago | (#37116604)

RIFT is a much more fun game, it has a lot of variety and you get to the fun stuff right from the beginning

What? RIFT is exactly what WoW is, only with different graphics and apparently no support for phasing of content meaning the game world is even more static than in WoW. The only thing going for RIFT is the more interesting class/spec system, nothing else.

I'm personally eagerly waiting for Guild Wars 2; from everything I've seen and read the developers are atleast trying hard to rethink old conventions, ditching the whole tank-healer-dps system and whatnot. And well, it'll obviously come with updated graphics. I'm atleast getting somewhat tired of WoW's low-poly models and things that haven't changed at all in all these years due to how the game engine was designed back in the days of vanilla (you put on a dress and your god damn legs disappear from beneath o_O)

Re:It feels old and already seen (2)

Canazza (1428553) | more than 3 years ago | (#37116666)

People have tried ditching the Trinity, only to have it rear its head again later in the development, mostly because it's much easier to create content and balance for the Trinity (since it's been done that way for the last 10 years)

I hope I'm wrong, it's always nice to see developers try new things, but it'll be interesting to see how they work in party-dependence into the game. It'd be a shame if it devolved into everyone being a self-healing tank that eats giants for breakfast and the only reason to group up is because you have to kill something quicker than you mana bar emptying.

Re:It feels old and already seen (1)

mr_gorkajuice (1347383) | more than 3 years ago | (#37116944)

GW2 would be the title I actually trust to do away with the trinity. They can easily scale all content to be unsoloable, and still cater to the anti-social MMO-players through hired henchmen, a mechanism that has been in place since launch of GW1. On paper, the idea of having each class feature self-healing abilities with different restricting mechanics sounds like an excellent way to force each character to mind his own survival while rewarding good class diversity.

Re:It feels old and already seen (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37116894)

"at least" is two words. Like "a lot" is two words.

Every time someone types "alot" or "atleast", a kitten dies,

Re:It feels old and already seen (1)

isama (1537121) | more than 3 years ago | (#37116968)

You murderer!

Re:It feels old and already seen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37117184)

You just killed atleast two kittens. That's alot!

Re:It feels old and already seen (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#37117286)

That's alot of kittens! [blogspot.com] .

Re:It feels old and already seen (1)

Terrasque (796014) | more than 3 years ago | (#37117068)

Don't quite agree there about Rift, it's generally more challenging than wow, and the rifts does make things a bit more interesting now and then. So it's not just the class/spec system.

And, I'm also hugely looking forward to GW2 :) I will try it. I love the dynamic events concept, and they deserve the game price just for trying something different imho (plus, they already have a great reputation when it comes to MMO's). Not everything have to be a WoW clone :)

And if it's good, well.. byebye riftie :)

Re:It feels old and already seen (5, Informative)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 3 years ago | (#37116644)

EVE Online has a huge interesting world where everything goes, and is tailored much more towards PVP. World of Warcraft is just too much about PVE and grinding that environment, which really isn't that fun, especially considering it's an MMO

Actually, WoW has become more and more about PvP. The problem though, from my point of view as someone who's played since "vanilla" but recently just kind of lost interest, is that most WoW players used to be primarily PvE players who enjoyed world PvP and the occasional battleground match. These days more and more players are "kids" who just care about the organized and ranked PvP, Blizzard even crippled world PvP on PvP realms (quickly respawning elite lvl 85 NPCs kind of take the fun out of the old-style world PvP in and around towns).

I miss the fights in Hillsbrad or the horde invasions of Darkshire. Of course, back then there was also less of a gap between someone who was still leveling his/her character and someone at the level cap. If you were level 25 and in Darkshire when the shit hit the fan you could still put up a fight, these days when world PvP does happen it's always a bunch of lvl 85s with maxed out PvP gear who are able to tear through anyone but others who are also lvl 85 and in full PvP gear (PvE gear is useless for PvP these days).

Re:It feels old and already seen (5, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#37116688)

A very good analysis.

I started with WoW when it came out, returned from time to time, but it just can't captivate me any more. One of the reasons is what you describe.

I'm an old school PvE player. Still I played EvE for a long time, for the PvP. But that's more a matter of logistics, not so much one of actual shooting skill. EvE battles are, IMO, over before the first shot is fired. But I digress. WoW was designed around PvE. PvP, outside of world-PvP on dedicated PvP servers, was an afterthought. IIRC it took like a year before battlegrounds came into existence.

I'm actually surprised that Blizzard, after carefully avoiding pretty much all cardinal sins of MMO design and development (seriously, when I look back at the history of MMOs, I've seen my share of blunders and failures due to wrong decisions, be it balancing, content introduction or technical issues, and Blizzard so far avoided them all), fell into the old pit that spelled doom on so many MMOs: Do not alienate your core players by trying to cater to a fringe group that leaves you for another game. Most people I know that play(ed) WoW do and did so for the PvE content. The dungeon crawl, the item hunt, the raiding. Very few cared for battleground PvP (or PvP altogether).

Now, they will certainly lose players to games that are more PvP centric. But trying to win them back could easily lose them the PvE players that came to WoW because it is currently one of the few good MMOs that center around PvE, items hunting and raiding.

Re:It feels old and already seen (2)

Walkingshark (711886) | more than 3 years ago | (#37116938)

You also have to take into account the fact that they have come right out and said they don't have the tools to make new battlegrounds in any kind of economical time. So you end up on the same few maps over and over again, some with well recognized and established problems (many of which should have been cleared up before the map even left the initial design phase *cough*Alterac Valley*cough*). On top of this they decided that e-sport was more important to them than making the pvp game fun for a majority of the players, so in order to really compete you have to play in the arenas to get the best gear (because ultimately pvp in wow is a match of gear vs gear unless everyone is wearing the same item level).

The lack of variety and being forced into small group team deathmatch, combined with the flavor of the month syndrome, killed the PVP game (some would say it was stillborn, I'd say the death knell was arenas).

The PVE game is also fucked, but more due to lack of content beyond a single new raid in 8 months.

Re:It feels old and already seen (2)

DJRumpy (1345787) | more than 3 years ago | (#37116946)

God I hope they haven't turned Diablo into a WOW clone. If they did, it doesn't bode well for playability. I just tried the free Wow (lvl 20 cap), and it's pretty boring not to put too fine a point on it. I've no interest in PVP, and if that's the only thing that makes this game interesting, it's bad news for old school D3 fans. This is all I keep reading on the D3 boards regarding turning it into a WOW clone, from the character customizations, the art, the play style, etc.

This seems like the classic go-fetch type of experience for an old D1/D2 player. I don't see the draw, but then again I'm getting long in the tooth. Is this thing the same for all 85 levels? I realize this is supposed to make you familiar with the game, but Blizzard used to accomplish this with quests that were at least interesting to a story line. Now it's all Go to X and Kill Y number of Creature Z.

Who thought this was a good idea exactly?

Re:It feels old and already seen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37117060)

PvP is a joke in warcraft at the moment, classes have never been so unbalanced before, and blizzard is trying to 'encourage' people to do rated battlegrounds to get pvp gear and discouraging using arena for that. It's why I unsubscribed, it's so painful to see everyone rolling the flavor of the month spec, while entire classes remain painfully unbalanced in arena. :)

Re:It feels old and already seen (2, Interesting)

lexsird (1208192) | more than 3 years ago | (#37116804)

I played WoW since the first two open betas, and recently, the last 6 months left the game. Once you level cap, then it's about gear. It's about a grind for gear no mater what you do. Gear is the high level content. PvP was an afterthought for WoW. Blizzard stumbled with it for years, doing massive nerfs, causing players to adapt to "Flavor of the Month" type game play, where you would just work on whatever class suited the system the best.

Having two types of gear, PvP and PvE just made the game annoying at the end. I got sick of Blizzard messing the things, fumbling through patches with nerfs and buffs seemingly in all the worse places. One just dreaded new patch notes. Who was going to get fucked, and who was their flavor of the month? They never got the chinese gold farmers under control either, that was one annoying factor.

As a player, I hated Chinese gold farmers and what they did to the game economy. I thought that it was culturally insulting as well. It showed massive disrespect for us and our gaming culture. I felt that only by carpet bombing them with nukes would our solution be solved.

Re:It feels old and already seen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37116830)

Ganking quest givers is not "world pvp"

Re:It feels old and already seen (1)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 3 years ago | (#37116978)

It's not about ganking quest givers, it's about actually being able to fight in and around towns. Interestingly enough the only world PvP still left in the game seems to be ganking for shits and giggles, always seems to happen in the middle of nowhere and against players with no ability to fight back (while I was leveling my latest alt I ran into a lvl 85 undead rogue (what a surprising race:class combo...) in full PvP gear who followed me around for almost an hour until I switched to my main and killed him a few times.

So yeah, killing quest givers is part of the world PvP experience but it is also what incites (incited) the larger battles, these days this doesn't happen, instead there are just random asshats following lone lower-level or non-PvP-geared players around killing them over and over again (which definitely can be considered ganking).

Cataclysm wall about fixing Arena's and PvP (3, Interesting)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 3 years ago | (#37117120)

The biggest change in Cataclysm was the healing model. Once a character passes level 80, the highest of the previous expansion, their costs to use healing spells increases to where by the time they are level 85; the new top level; their mana to healing cost has gone up four times. It is never a good idea in any game to make a player feel less effective as they progress. This one change alone had a very detrimental effect on players with many guilds report losses of people playing healers if playing at all; for some this was the only role they wanted and they when they stopped feeling effective they could not play.

The problem Blizzard had with PvP and especially Arenas which they put so much effort into is that it was all a burst affair. Those who could unload the fastest and most coordinated won. So what did Blizzard do? They jacked up the hit points of characters. When an average mage had 20k health at level 80 in the previous release they now have 100k health. This caused a new problem, healers would just make PvP (specifically Arenas) play drag on and on. So they eliminate the effects of burst attacks with immense health pools and in turn keep the games from going on forever by nerfing the healers so strongly they cannot afford to heal effectively for any period of time.

Blizzard causes all these problems through gear inflation. Its a common joke that your gear is better than your character, hell a mage's staff can double if not triple or more their ability. People used to make jokes in the previous release about how it was bound to happen when caster weapons would offer +999 spell power - well they do and actually do triple that.

So Blizzard balances a game around X, then they monty hall it to death and wonder why the model no longer works. To fix the problem they create the nerf players all under the guise of providing a challenge. When one side of their development team does not operate within limits how do they expect to balance a game. Worse, they lied to their players. They claimed for months leading up to Cata they wanted to give healers a more challenging and rewarding play style. They didn't bother to ask and when people complained they merely deleted threads.

What Blizzard forgot is that the majority of their players play to have fun. Having fun means being able to be a hero, saving the day, pulling it out under incredible odds. When they turned the healing model upside down they stripped that feeling from a large amount of their player base. Now I here they want to do the same to tanking as its "not engaging enough". Random groups already make DPS players wait nearly 30 minutes to get in (standard five man mechanics and needless to say more people play dps) so I can only imagine the pain coming forth.

Re:It feels old and already seen (1)

Ironhandx (1762146) | more than 3 years ago | (#37117172)

Spot on m8.

You've hit the nail on the head with that.

Another problem is what they've done with PVE Raiding. Lack of content and attempting to make up for it with new abilities? Shit no. Spending months wiping on the same boss was one thing, spending months wiping on a slightly more powerful version of a boss you already killed is something else altogether.

To be 100% honest it probably has to do with them focusing too much on PVP and PVP players.

The unfortunate thing is these kids that PVP all the time have a lot more time on their hands to whine and bitch on the forums. Unfortunately for blizzard they're also the worst people to listen to if you want to keep your core fan base.

I don't know about anyone else... but WoW has completely lost its feel of epicness. Northrend still had it, even with nerfed to hell easy heroics etc. Cataclysm just doesn't.

Another problem for me is how much they changed things with the breaking.... I mean, I'd have much rathered they just added random holes etc and left things as it was. Destroying the quest progression system that was in place in the lowbie areas has killed a lot of the immersion for me.

I used to like leveling an alt. It took a lot longer but now.... I've got to learn how to level all over again, except I don't really need to because I can dungeon crawl my way up the levels with people I will never see or hear from again.

Which brings me to the point that most people don't bring up. Its something that was created and geared towards those idiot PVPers that love Arenas so much. The Random Dungeon Finder.

It has single handedly destroyed the communities on almost all of the servers. It was a good idea when it was realm restricted back in the burning crusade. Its a game-killing mechanic now.

Wow... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37116458)

Wow....(no pun intended).... Last quarter wow lost 600k plus another 300k this quarter.... and the news appears now on /?

Re:Wow... (1)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 3 years ago | (#37116504)

>>Wow....(no pun intended).... Last quarter wow lost 600k plus another 300k this quarter.... and the news appears now on /?

It's even older news to me. Most people I knew quit circa 2007 or so, with the last holdout in our group of friends just quitting last month.

(My thought when I read this was: wait, people still play WoW?)

Anecdote, I know, but maintaining large subscriber numbers can hide people quitting in droves as long as they are picking up new subscriptions or expanding to new markets.

I went back to play the latest expansion and was profoundly unimpressed with the "new game experience" changes, which basically shoehorn you into one of three builds for each class. Rift (which I still play off and on) has taken the opposite approach, allowing you to choose three classes to play as out of seven, in four different archetypes, allowing a rather fun degree of flexibility in making a class that suits your personality and goals. 4x(seven choose 3) = 140 classes. Kinda.

Re:Wow... (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#37116698)

Plus different skill point distribution amongst the three classes. Though you have to admit, from the thousands of possibilities, only a few viable remain, depending on what you want to do.

Pandaria? (2)

Shag (3737) | more than 3 years ago | (#37116470)

I look forward to being able to tank against kung-fu pandas.

Diablo 3 (2)

Idimmu Xul (204345) | more than 3 years ago | (#37116476)

It could just be people taking some time off before Diablo 3 comes out?

I doubt it (5, Interesting)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 3 years ago | (#37116714)

It is probably a combination of things:

1) WoW is just getting old. Some people get bored of the same thing after a time. Yes they introduce some new content but the fundamental game hasn't changed much. That was why I canceled my account. I'd just had my fill. Perhaps I'll play again later, after all if yo leave something alone it can become new again, who knows?

2) A solid alternative came out in the form of Rift. Most MMOs are complete and total disasters when they launch, they are all kinds of broke and you have to put up with a lot of shit. Not Rift, it was solid out of the gate, so you really could leave WoW and go enjoy it. Also Rift is solidly targeted at the same kind of gamer. It is a fantasy MMO, with quests, dungeons, etc. It's UI is extremely WoW like, and so on. I played it for awhile until I got too busy and I tell everyone "Rift is for you if you enjoyed WoW, but want new things in the same vein."

3) Blizzard seems to be getting real schizophrenic on what players they want to target with WoW. So in the previous expansion, they seemed to continue more casual gamer targeting, at least for PvE content. They made dungeons a hell of a lot easier, toned down raids in normal mode and so on. Very casual friendly. However in the current one they turned the difficulty way up, dungeons were a real challenge and raid were more old school. Also in PvP they have continually targeted more and more hardcore people, putting emphasis on the "digital sport" type of thing. This leads to a problem because gamers can't get what they want and it makes everyone unhappy. Hardcore types get mad when it gets easier, causal types get mad when it gets harder. Everyone seems to get mad when things just suddenly change (even the people I knew who liked more challenging dungeons were pissed off at Cata heroics because it was a massive change, with no middle ground).

This probably marks the end of WoW's glory years. It made MMOs in to something that all sorts of people play and really established the mass market. However it seems people are moving on. I doubt Blizzard will reverse the trend. Now I don't think WoW will die, I think it will be here for many more years, probably decades, but I think the player base will dwindle and settle at a much lower level.

It's had its run, but many people are moving on.

Re:Diablo 3 (2)

sa1lnr (669048) | more than 3 years ago | (#37116716)

Or it could be people having to deal with the current financial situation?

Re:Diablo 3 (1)

Walkingshark (711886) | more than 3 years ago | (#37116952)

I think it's more that there is nothing to really do anymore, unless you like repeating the same quests everyday in a tiny new area that disallows exploration beyond the little bit of real estate you unlock every few weeks, or you want to do top end raiding (which you can only do once or twice a week for most people, if at all).

You can always play the LOLESPORT pvp, but it has the drawback of not actually being fun.

Re:Diablo 3 (1)

CrashandDie (1114135) | more than 3 years ago | (#37117146)

Also, the fact that TFA cites a loss of 300k users and TFS cites "nearly a million".

C'mon /., I know that it's nice to be all big balled about throwing big numbers around, but multiplying a loss by 3 is hardly fair reporting.

People Growing Up? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37116488)

One of the interesting things about MMOs versus single player games has always been the social aspects. You get to interact with the people around you and, surely over time, are going to accumulate a few friends and maybe a desire to go out more.

Complete speculation: is it possible the decline is related to gamers 'growing up' and finding themselves with less time to devote to the game? Trying not to sound pedantic, but it has to be hard to maintain a Warcraft addiction while being employed, having a spouse, working a job, having children, etc. I wonder if enough of the magic has finally worn off that people are starting to look at other ways of spending their time.

Re:People Growing Up? (1)

moozey (2437812) | more than 3 years ago | (#37116506)

But surely a new generation of gamers are there to take their place? Circle of life, baby.

Re:People Growing Up? (1)

techsoldaten (309296) | more than 3 years ago | (#37116524)

Considering all the other games that exist on the market and the extensive multiplayer options that exist, I would not be surprised to learn the pool of new gamers is fragmented and that WoW competes really hard for their attention.

Nothing against WoW, but there are a lot of options out there these days. When I look at the games my daughter and her friends play, it's less about fantasy and more about social networking. Truly irrelevant in terms of a sample size, but there are options out there besides MMOs that offer a social aspect that did not exist even a few years ago.

Re:People Growing Up? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#37116720)

Well, when WoW came out, the MMO market wasn't as deserted as it was back in Evercrack times. There were quite a few to choose from, maybe not as many as today but the selection was pretty big regardless. From DAoC to AO to EvE, it wasn't like WoW came into a market that was just waiting to be taken over and conquered.

Re:People Growing Up? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37116582)

Or that the economy is in the toilet and we have huge unemployment numbers maybe as well. Hard to pay for an MMO every month when the 99th week of unemployment just came and went.

Re:People Growing Up? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#37116708)

Hmm... most people I played with are in their 20s and 30s, some in their 40s... I guess they won't grow up any time soon.

Though I guess we were the ancients in the game.

Long term nostalgia for WoW (1)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | more than 3 years ago | (#37116496)

One can readily imagine that WoW-players will be the next generation Star Trek fans. TV series followers from a few decades ago probably are the same (alien?) breed. The long term nostalgia potential for WoW appears great.

Re:Long term nostalgia for WoW (1)

bloodhawk (813939) | more than 3 years ago | (#37116546)

I don't think so, the problem with wow is you can't play the game from 6 years ago or even from 12 months ago, The game has changed and for many it has changed for the worst, dumbing it down to the point where they have sucked the life out of the game. Characters all look the same, the talents and specs are so horrendeously simplified even a moron could created a successful spec blindfolded and the PVP is broken worse than ever, blizz seem to be clueless to the problems and throw more and more weak content and grindfests at the players while ignoring what many wanted. (I finally ditched wow permanently not long after the latest disasterous expansion and so have many of my friends. if nothing else, how horrible the game has become made it easy to finally give it up. )

Re:Long term nostalgia for WoW (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#37116736)

What did many want? I know what I wanted (well, back when it was still vanilla WoW): A more challenging game. I guess WoW didn't turn into one with the last expansion either, judging by your words?

Many have moved to Rift (1)

psyclone (187154) | more than 3 years ago | (#37116526)

I don't have time to play MMOGs, but people I know who play WoW and the like have recently moved to playing Rift [riftgame.com] as their new fantasy MMO of choice.

Re:Many have moved to Rift (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37116578)

Also Rift is more secure than WoW. Its much harder to hijack a Rift account than WoW acc. And Blizz has done almost nothing to improve the security. I doubt that WoW will ever get back atleast 10% of the ones that left. The game is just too old and boring now. Time to move on.

Re:Many have moved to Rift (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#37116740)

Security is a joke in WoW. Say, did they ever fix that the board user/pass combination is the same as your game user/pass combination?

The security hole boggles the mind.

Re:Many have moved to Rift (1)

dc29A (636871) | more than 3 years ago | (#37117132)

Security is a joke in WoW. Say, did they ever fix that the board user/pass combination is the same as your game user/pass combination?

The security hole boggles the mind.

Not really. Security is a joke when the user is dumb:
- Runs windows as Administrator and gets his PC infected with every possible keylogger.
- Visits questionable sites and blindly clicks on every possible ad and gets even more keyloggers.
- Clicks on links from fake emails and yes, gets even more keyloggers, or simply gives his account credentials out to someone.
- Gives out his account credentials to guildmates.

Re:Many have moved to Rift (1)

Anonymus (2267354) | more than 3 years ago | (#37116618)

See, I tried Rift but everything about it screamed "WoW clone" and the whole point of me trying it was trying to escape WoW. If you compare the Rift classes to WoW talent specs, you'll see they all match up almost exactly. The gameplay and UI are basically the same, but without the ability to customize your interface with addons (at least back when I tried it).

So instead of switching to Rift, I just quit WoW, and now I have far more free time to enjoy doing things that are actually fun, and even productive.

Re:Many have moved to Rift (1)

lynnae (2439544) | more than 3 years ago | (#37116670)

Rift is a step sideways from WoW in a number of good ways, and similar in a number of boring/bad ways. Not gonna proselytize it however, but the actual rift (small r) mechanics are good and the way the treat classes is a nice change from you picked "x" therefore you are a healer/tank/dps and never shall you do anything else. My sub probably won't last past my next re-up though. I know a lot of us are waiting on Guild Wars 2, and another subset of us is also waiting on The Secret World.

Re:Many have moved to Rift (1)

McGuirk (1189283) | more than 3 years ago | (#37116762)

Try DAoC. It's very old school, but imho that is something to brag about, as modern games all feel like WoW. The leveling grind is partically non-existent at the moment, as you can level extremely fast from a set of repeatable quests in the Battlegrounds from 10-40 (level cap is 50). You can fight enemy players near your level at any level, or level safely in PvE only areas for your Realm. It's not particularly time-consuming to gear out a character, and the RvR is very good. Having 3 factions is an absolute necessity for fun team-based PvP, as two can temporarily team up if the numbers are skewed heavily one way.

It's not perfect, the UI is rough and old, but the PvP is considerably more rewarding to players that like to learn and improve.

Re:Many have moved to Rift (1)

Walkingshark (711886) | more than 3 years ago | (#37117092)

I used to play DAOC, and ran the number one pvp guild on my server for a while. Then they released the expansion and introduced unkillable bone dancers, castable endurance buff, and some left-axe buffs that completely ruined realm balance beyond hope of repair. I gave up on Mythic as developers after that total fail.

Re:Many have moved to Rift (1)

Walkingshark (711886) | more than 3 years ago | (#37116956)

I had the same experience with RIFT. It was like playing WOW, except I didn't have a horse to ride from place to place (or a winged whatever) and I didn't have the 10k gold to buy myself one.

Not to mention the storyline makes no sense:

"Oh hey returned hero who saved the world, you've returned to save us! What, you want a horse and you can't afford one? FUCK YOU!"

Re:Many have moved to Rift (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37116662)

Not nearly as many people who are done with a game like WoW moved on to Rift, contrary to what Trion Games loves to proclaim. In fact, for those who played WoW for long periods of time were turned off by Rift's endgame, as its raiding and heroic-mode dungeon grind was virtually identical to World of Warcraft in nearly every respect. Rift is, for what its worth, a perfect WoW clone with a few choice elements taken from Warhammer Online for public 'instanced' quests.

That said, a lot of former Warhammer Online players are into Rift -- people that I have known to hate WoW but loved WO are now hooked on Rift. And, from the short period of time I played, I encountered a lot of players that were burned out from Aion and the Star Trek MMO.

Paid customer services are a pain (1)

xonen (774419) | more than 3 years ago | (#37116536)

Paid customer services, like character recustomization and especially migration have been deadly for certain realms and games in general.

If your friends move to another realm, you have 2 options: transfer your own character, or quit playing. The same goes when a previously florishing realm goes 'dead' - people either move either quit playing.

Blizzard neglected this issue way too long - look at their fora, for certain realm subfora this is the most common complaint 'our realm was good but now everyone left there's : not even enough players to raid with / too many opponents / etc. The character transfers also heavily affected PvP - no-one wants to belong to the 'loosers' so a lot of battlegroups got serious balancing issues. -There are other indications that blizzard didnt take PvP serious enough, like heavy class imbalances, but in my opinion it were the character migrations that have been deadly for certain realms...

Last not least - blizzard 'hardened' the content. While most will agree that a lot of content in previous expansions was 'too easy' (major cause of this being 'epics' too easily available - hence the term 'welfare epics' was introduced) - the balance now swapped to the other side and a lot of semi-casual guilds and players just gave up on the raiding content because it was 'too hard'. Blizz still being king of content - they'd better taken some of the complaints on the fora more serious as they seem to be unaware of certain issues that every player is aware of..

So.. i'm not surprised - it's still a great game but it cries for more variation in the content to please both hardcore, casual, PvE and PvP players - and yes, the players got spoiled over the years, too, demanding a better game all the time ;)

Re:Paid customer services are a pain (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37116600)

If your friends move to another realm, you have 2 options: transfer your own character, or quit playing.

Or use their new free realid cross realm partying system to just invite your friends and do whatever you feel like as long as it's not in the general world.

Re:Paid customer services are a pain (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#37116754)

Does that work now across servers? Last I heard was that they introduced it, but you couldn't friend/ignore people across servers.

Re:Paid customer services are a pain (1)

Walkingshark (711886) | more than 3 years ago | (#37116962)

Don't forget you're going to have to pay real money for it too.

Re:Paid customer services are a pain (1)

Anonymus (2267354) | more than 3 years ago | (#37116642)

That's a good point, and partially what led to my quitting. One of my few remaining friends who played on my server started spending more and more time on another server until it eventually became his main character. In order for me to play there with him, I could either spend 100+ hours grinding a new character and gear, or spend $55 to transfer one of my existing characters there and change faction. $55 is the cost of buying the game again, just for them to have an automated script move a few bits around from one server to another.

Re:Paid customer services are a pain (0)

CProgrammer98 (240351) | more than 3 years ago | (#37116926)

you dont need to buy anothe rcopy of the game to transfer characters. You can have many characters across several servers on the same account, and do a paid transfer across faction or to another server without buying a whole new license

Re:Paid customer services are a pain (1)

mr_gorkajuice (1347383) | more than 3 years ago | (#37116998)

[...]or spend $55 to transfer one of my existing characters there and change faction. $55 is the cost of buying the game again

It's a cost comparison. Noone mentioned actually buying the game again.

Re:Paid customer services are a pain (1)

Solarhands (1279802) | more than 3 years ago | (#37116746)

I have recently quit WoW, and I dont think that either of those is the problem with WoW. Paid transfers are IMO a good thing, they may have a few too many lower pop servers, but I think that is more a function of loosing subscribers. Neither are raids too hard, unless you are just talking about the hard modes, which I would agree with.

The biggest issue they really have right now is that they killed the leveling experience. They will not get any new people when what people see is that this game is easy enough for a toddler to play. Any class at any level up to 80 can kill an elite mob of their level, something that should at least take a pocket healer, if not a party. In the past, if you found yourself either on a bad realm or unable to progress in raid content, you could always level a new toon, and play a decently satisfying single player game. Now you would rather just unsubscribe than reroll.

The second problem they have is the whole concept of hard modes, which they have gotten locked into. Players want some form of story progression. Quickly progressing through the current raidbosses only to have to fight the same raidbosses with more health and damage is quite simply boring. On top of that, for many of the hardmodes, success had little to do with ability and much more to do with whether or not the boss randomly does two things in a row that automatically kill at least one person, which would cause DPS to be too low to kill the boss. Boss hits everyone for 80% heath, boss hits specific player for 50% heath .4 seconds later. Everyone on vent was frustrated, but everyone knew that it was the designers' fault, not the player. RNG FTL.

The final problem I'll mention and what killed it for me and many in my guild were daily quests. For many of us these are the straw that broke the camel's back. Blizzard had plenty of feedback from the Argent Crusade faction grind that players don't like to be forced to unlock crap with repeatable dailies. They basically copied that exactly for the Firelands patch, without putting in any way around it. For instance, while there were repeatable quests for many factions, you could just wear a tabbard and do 5-mans to grind rep, which was much less painful. With the Firelands patch Blizzard was basically saying to us, "Hey I hear you enjoy doing chores!"

Re:Paid customer services are a pain (1)

Walkingshark (711886) | more than 3 years ago | (#37116996)

Yeah, when they released a big new content patch that had 1) A raid I couldn't participate in due to low pop + shitty work schedule and 2) the same exact thing over and over again with no challenge every day for no real reward, I knew it was time to quit.

Re:Paid customer services are a pain (1)

Catnaps (2044938) | more than 3 years ago | (#37117310)

I quit because of a) RNG and b) 10-man raids hinging on someone doing a specific task with exact timing. So, RNG again I guess. The enjoyment of the game being linked to dribbling idiots (and no-one available to replace them) just pushed me over the edge.

Re:Paid customer services are a pain (1)

BandoMcHando (85123) | more than 3 years ago | (#37116784)

I found that the realm transfers and also the cross-realm battlegrounds (and later the LFG tool), did a more subtle damage on our realm - it killed the sense of community.

It quickly went from a world where people knew each other to a world of strangers.

Re:Paid customer services are a pain (1)

Walkingshark (711886) | more than 3 years ago | (#37117010)

This. The only community building once LFG went in was the spam on trade chat. Sure, it made it easier to find groups, but they were always with people you'd never meet again. It would have been much better if you could somehow have friend listed people and had the LFG tool look for those people again next time you queued up.

Speaking for a hardcore WoW player... (5, Interesting)

neokushan (932374) | more than 3 years ago | (#37116572)

I tried WoW when it first came out in the EU. I gave up after a month for numerous reasons (basically, it just wasn't my kind of game), however a couple of years ago I met my (now) wife who was an avid WoW player. She played at a professional level, in a guild with sponsorships and that kind of thing. By all definitions, she was a "hardcore" WoW player. Yes - was.

I watched from the sidelines as her interest in the game dwindled and it's easy, from an outside perspective, to see why - Blizzard were trying to appeal to too many "types" of MMO player and more or less alienated everyone. To break it down in its simplest terms, there's 2 kinds of player - casual and hardcore. When the burning crusade came out, it was hard. Tough as nails, in fact. I remember watching her and her 25 man guild wipe numerous times on regular bosses, let alone the heroics. And it was fun! They enjoyed the challenege, but the problem is the "casual" players didn't. The casual argument was that they're paying the same subscription as everyone else yet only getting to see half of the content because they couldn't progress.
That's when Blizzard decided to tone down the difficulty, just in time for Wrath of the Litch King. This kept a lot of the casual players happy, but it meant the hardcore guilds were completing the content a day or two after it came out. If Blizzard didn't stagger patch releases, Arthas would have been dead before Christmas.

In each instance, Blizzard ultimately lost players. Sure, they'd gain an increase in subscribers when the expansions were released, but shortly after people would stop paying the subscription. On the one hand, the casuals feel cheated when content is too hard and the hardcore guilds get bored because there is no content left for them. I've even seen Casual players argue that the heroic modes are too hard and that it isn't fair, despite the fact that the content is the same and the purpose of heroics is to keep the hardcore guilds happy.

The end result is that Blizzard constantly changes their mind on who they focus on - casual or hardcore and ultimately appeases neither.

Re:Speaking for a hardcore WoW player... (1)

GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) | more than 3 years ago | (#37116920)

Yes, I played the noob dungeons. You can run 5 man PUGs solo and it isn't even challenging. The game was more difficult in 2004 than it is now.

Blizzard made the wrong move doing this and I think I can explain why. Casual WOW players, if they retain their subscription, end up becoming strong in the long run anyway. Hardcore WOW players, simply beat the game with no challenge and leave. If Blizzard really wanted to do things right, they could have made two or three servers. Easy, medium, and Hard. The Hard server could even have special drops that are extremely rare so people who are even too good for Hard, have something to seek.

Re:Speaking for a hardcore WoW player... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37116986)

I just lolled 'hardcore'

WOW is NOT a skillbased game, its a time sink game.
I understand hardcore WOW to be as..'I play 6-12 hours a day'.

SC2, now thats a skill based game, I played many hours a day, but still wasnt getting anywhere near the top players.

Conclusion: You wanna be hardcore at wow? spent alot of time grinding and farming (wasting time). (hmmm maybee thats why children and women like it??)
               

What did it for me was (2, Interesting)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 3 years ago | (#37116586)

- the rampant immaturity and callousness. MMOs need a karma system, even several, where you rate your random-grouped partners on their skill, social behaviour, and efficiency.
- the endless grind, which is harder to solve: either things come too easy to anyone, or one must grind them for hours...
- the lack of new stuff. Blizzard has tweaked WoW, but not really added new game mechanisms over the years. My last fights a few months ago were very similar to whatever I was doing in Molten Core way back when.
- the gross imbalance in Tank/Healer/DPS numbers, leading to 30+ minutes waits to run an instance with a DPS.
- my guild insisted on doing 25-players raids, which I find top heavy and boring.
- permanent balance issues. I think there were too many classes filling the same roles, but not equally. They never delivered on "take the player, not the class"

Heh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37116772)

- permanent balance issues. I think there were too many classes filling the same roles, but not equally. They never delivered on "take the player, not the class"

Show me a game that does, and I'll show you a game without the concept of classes.

Or to quote some ramblin' dude from the days of text-based gaming (Hi, Tenny!):

You could clone the warrior class and simply change the class name and the name of all the skills, and people would still bitch about balance.

Re:Heh. (1)

Spad (470073) | more than 3 years ago | (#37116950)

City of Heroes. You can run almost any content with almost any combination of classes, as long as the players are good.

Re:Heh. (1)

mr_gorkajuice (1347383) | more than 3 years ago | (#37117014)

WELL, very little WoW content absolutely requires a certain healer and a certain tank - IF the players are good. If they're not, however, you'll likely want to avoid certain classes in certain roles that they officially support.
So... even if all content is beatable by any class combination... are there combinations that have an easier time than others?

Re:Heh. (1)

Walkingshark (711886) | more than 3 years ago | (#37117012)

Team fortress 2 does a good job of making each class have something unique to contribute, without making one so overpowered that it is the only one you see in play. Blizzard could learn a lot from Valve.

Re:What did it for me was (0)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#37116790)

As someone who played many classes, I can easily explain at least the trinity imbalance: Playing a tank is something I can't do while drunk to the point that I can't see the screen anymore. Something that is pretty easy with a dps class under most circumstances.

The imbalance isn't something Blizzard enforced in some way. They don't keep people from rolling a tank. People just don't want to do it. Not even because tanks level slower (please... last time I whipped together another few 80s a year or two ago, I was surprised that the fastest leveler was actually a fully def spec'd warrior. In a nutshell, handling 2 enemies at once was a problem. Starting at 4 it got easy). It's simply that it seems that most people are a bit ... let's say overextended by the "burden" of playing a tank.

Which is, admittedly, quite hard to believe considering WoW's general difficulty level.

Re:What did it for me was (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37117232)

I've run with a tank that was drunk most of the time. Made for some REALLY interesting raids!

I've also run as a druid tank, and actually enjoyed it. And i started tanking in Burning Crusade, so I learned to do it right.

In Wrath, tanking changed from "learn the instance so you know who to crowd control and who to kill first" to "grab every mob in a room and let your healer go nuts on you".
then in Cata, they totally redesigned how all of the classes worked. Suddenly I couldn't hold aggro on more than one mob at a time. Yes, it was an attempt to make tanking more technical and challenging, but I was still stuck running with DPS that wanted to top some imaginary chart and would cut loose on anything that moved.

Plus, the frequent nerfs due to PvP whiners, having to relearn my toon every major patch....it just got to be more like work and less like fun.

so I let both of my subscriptions run out and switched to Rift....but that doesn't feel any different than WoW did.
I'll probably be taking a break from MMOs for a while. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and I don't want to spend the rest of my life in front of a computer screen.

Re:What did it for me was (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37116810)

"the endless grind" is lack of content. The only reason games 15-20 years ago weren't very large was because they came on floppy disks or had to be installed on small drives. I still remember the time when Starcraft came out and it took up almost my entire hard-drive.
Nowadays you can do that easily, and it's being done, look at Oblivion, Fallout 3 and their kind, they all provide hundreds of hours of gameplay. And you know what? It was done by just one or two guys. That's it. But if Blizzard decides they prefer to invest in marketing more, well, that's their business.

Re:What did it for me was (1)

mr_gorkajuice (1347383) | more than 3 years ago | (#37117098)

Uhm... are you saying that Oblivion and Fallout 3 were created by one or two guys? Cause if you are, that's the most ill-informed quote to ever make it to slashdot. Go read the credits section in the manual of either of those games. It's several pages in a very small font.

Re:What did it for me was (1)

mosseh (1014255) | more than 3 years ago | (#37117244)

- the rampant immaturity and callousness. MMOs need a karma system, even several, where you rate your random-grouped partners on their skill, social behaviour, and efficiency. - the endless grind, which is harder to solve: either things come too easy to anyone, or one must grind them for hours... - the lack of new stuff. Blizzard has tweaked WoW, but not really added new game mechanisms over the years. My last fights a few months ago were very similar to whatever I was doing in Molten Core way back when. - the gross imbalance in Tank/Healer/DPS numbers, leading to 30+ minutes waits to run an instance with a DPS. - my guild insisted on doing 25-players raids, which I find top heavy and boring. - permanent balance issues. I think there were too many classes filling the same roles, but not equally. They never delivered on "take the player, not the class"

I played WoW for a while in several month bursts till I went to university, but I agree with pretty much all these points based on what I remember of Wrath of the Lich King. The following killed the game for me too:

  • Homogenization: Paladins and shamans for both factions. Making the healer classes too similar rather than keeping it so druids were better at HOTs or whatever.
  • Cross server battlegrounds: A lot of people were complaining about the big queue times, but removing the option entirely for in-server BGs really killed a lot of the camaraderie we had going with opposing teams and individuals. Same thing with cross-server LFG. Solved the issue of not having people to group with, but made random PUGs even less personal since you would hardly ever see the same people pop up again. This also led to having loads of ninja looters in PUGs.
  • Making everything too easy: Within weeks of a new instance coming out it always got nerfed. Practically every new item was 'epic' quality, which totally diluted the label. Where were all the blues? You mention the grind being partly necessary which I agree with. But why couldn't they just make things more difficult rather than requiring a huge volume of play? Perhaps this would alienate casual players. At the time I quit the 'heroic' 5 man instances were just really easy. In Burning Crusade it was much more fun when you actually needed a half decent group to do the more difficult 5 man heroics.

The karma system is an awesome idea and I don't know why it's not there yet (perhaps it is for MMOs I don't know about; I don't play them these days).

Deserves to die... (1)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 3 years ago | (#37116590)

... World of warcraft set back single player RPG's and single player games in general hugely. As everyone tried to copy WoW or wow'ify their RPG experience and now with the whole rise of the free 2 play phenomenon one wonders if there will ever be good variety of single player RPG's ever again on the PC.

Re:Deserves to die... (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#37116796)

Not only the single player RPG market, they also pretty much killed the MMO market. Every friggin' MMO that gets created somehow reeks of WoW.

It seems MMO makers are unable to fathom that people want to play their game not because it looks like WoW, but because it is not WoW...

12 Million Customers... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37117246)

...Give or take a million, not to mention the fact that 6 million are easily playing WoW from China as their job/prison sentence.

So let's say five million.

Five. Million.

Yeah, it seems MMO makers fathom the correct thing: They need to emulate WoW if they want the big bucks. I'm not going to argue how shortsighted that is (every game that has gone up against WoW has failed - and no, Rifties, your shiny game hasn't proven itself yet), or how disappointing it is for fans of the genre. But it's the monetary, corporations-have-a-duty-to-enrich-their-shareholders truth of the matter.

Fresh Content. Right. Uh-huh. (1)

RobinEggs (1453925) | more than 3 years ago | (#37116612)

Reversing the loss of subscribers with 'fresh' content would be offering a drowning man a glass of water. The game doesn't need more of the same, nor does it need more of the suspiciously similar.

The game is simply over. Eventually the whole Red Queen-syndrome of an MMO gets really, really old. Most players can put up with the invisible hand in the sky - that one that occasionally tells them all their end-game gear is suddenly vendor trash and they should go fight a bigger, differently colored monster which has conveniently appeared in the next village over- for exactly as long as the game remains interesting. The problem is that with the same engine, the same art direction, the same development team, the same corporate overlords, etc. the game can't remain interesting forever. You can't come up with truly new, practical ideas ad infinitum without reaching the point where the software can't take it or where with every New Thing (tm) you're changing the core experience and consequently losing at least as many players as you gain.

Blizzard needs to prevent WoW from becoming The X-Files here; they need to notice that the interest level (and the natural story arc) are winding down and create a proper ending before the whole thing becomes a bloated mess destined to a messy, horribly unsatisfying conclusion.

It's probably too late now.

Re:Fresh Content. Right. Uh-huh. (1)

RivenAleem (1590553) | more than 3 years ago | (#37117016)

I am a current player in a good raiding guild (currently working on Ragnaros Heroic). I can definitely see what you describe in your post. I'm quickly coming to the realisation that no matter what Blizzard comes out with next, won't be enough to hold my attention any more.

The current tier of content was only interesting for a week. Once you beat the bosses in normal mode, (which for our guild was not challenging at all) you had seen everything. The 'new' storyline could be summarised in less than 30 minutes of narrative. When you go back in the next reset to do heroic bosses, the fight is not new, just harder.

I have recently started playing more single and two players games again, Oblivion, Borderlands, Never Winter Nights. I like that each game is different, has it's own story and I find these to be a better spend of my time, than going for 4 hours a night battling against my team-mates (and a some of my own I admit) mistakes/failures in an attempt to make 'progression'. This 'progression' is becoming less and less exciting, and more and more like work. Yes there is still the lure of new epics, but after the 11th time of a new tier, it has really become a stale exercise in devaluation of effort.

Totally aside from that, there is still some major class issues. Everyone has something they really hate about their current Main. There is always, somewhere, a major flaw. In my own example, Frost DK's are stacking haste and dpsing in UNHOLY presence. This just makes NO sense whatsoever. The alternative is to go Unholy, which is under performing, or Blood which is also under performing. Ferals are complaining about threat, shamans are super squishy, etc. Every class has some major flaw that we are 'forced' to put up with. This flaw just seems to never get fixed.

I can easily see myself quitting the game soon, likely when SWTOR or Diablo3 comes along. I might even stop for Skyrim. I did try Rift, but it's timing with the expansion may have crippled it somewhat. I may try again, though it did somewhat feel too similar to WoW for me. SWTOR with it's Sci-Fi theme may be fresh enough for me to break away from the Fantasy genre.

Such a great game.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37116640)

But I never enjoyed it quite so much as when it was first out and there were .. assholes roaming around making it hard for the time deprived, slower people to level. A bit of villainy is necessary. When mass confrontation did happen in the world (even if it wasn't all that well dealt with by server).

I'm sure it would never have been as popular if it weren't so generic, but it's the reason to step away from it. Every quest you do is geared for you to pass. Every setback has virtually no cost. It's a brilliant game - but the highs and lows are gone. For me, anyway.

For me, Blizzard failed at one thing. They should have catered to a wider level of expectation. If a person wanted to play on a server with a more cut-throat edge to it, there should be one. If a person wanted to play on a server that had a deliberate time limit on how long you could play, so that power leveling was virtually non existent and people who wanted to play for X hours a week could remain competitive - without feeling like they were missing the boat - there should have been one.

Instead, everybody has to play with the people who just strip the fun out of competition by rushing through content. Everybody has to play on a server where you're only really permitted to pvp where they say you should (which is to say, where you can't be a rascal, if you so desire). Blizzard neither cater for the casual or the hardcore. Or the casual hardcore :)

All in all, you eventually realise the game has neither highs or lows and you move on.

As a ex-subscriber as of this month... (2, Insightful)

awjr (1248008) | more than 3 years ago | (#37116668)

The real problem is that the low level content has been invalidated by Bind on account equipment items that scale better than any other items you can get in dungeons/quests for your level and boost the amount of xp you get as well. Basically the only interesting content is the end-game raiding content.

I play with a group of friends that get together once a fortnight to play WoW and we level new characters over the space of a couple of months. However we are dumping WoW in favour of Lord of the Rings. You can no longer fail at playing WoW.

SWTOR (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37116686)

Probably those million are the people who are switching to SWTOR

Convoluted Combat (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37116852)

When I fight anything in WOW, I spend most of my time staring at my task bar, to monitor cooldowns and such.

Needing to look at something other than what you are fighting, while you are fighting, always struck me as a pretty serious design flaw.

WoW player, and loving it (1)

ultral0rd (1595449) | more than 3 years ago | (#37116862)

As a player that as been there since the days of Vanilla and playing almost non-stop in a semi-casual guild (and now as Guild Leader) I feel blizzard have been testing the waters for quite a while and have finally got it right. They have been experimenting with different ways of balancing PvP and PvE, as well as the difficulties of Raids and at which level they should be aimed at. In WotLK Naxx and TotC were complete and utter failures while Ulduar and ICC is rated as some of the best content to brace WoW since Vanilla. Come Cataclym, expectations where high, and though the first 3 Raid Dungeons were okay, they weren't great (besides Nef).. Because of peoples experience of WotlK (which I think was blizzards worst so far) people had already stopped playing and then when Firelands came out they didn't even bother levelling up to 85 ( http://www.mmo-champion.com/content/2413-Character-Activity-Stats-Poll-Trip-to-Blizzcon-Contest-MMO-Report [mmo-champion.com] ) But for those of us who have stuck it out, have finally been rewarded with Firelands... In my humble opinion, Blizzard has gotten Firelands 100% correct. It is hard, fun and epic. Firelands is about bringing the player, not the class It is about movement and tactics, not just standing still and smashing buttons.. Yes.. this has made organising raid nights harder as you can no longer carry players, but once you have weeded out those who are just not up to it.. It is definitely worth it.. The problem Blizzard are facing now is that because Firelands is so awesome, and hard casual players just aren't buying into it anymore, and so they are starting to pull the plug on subscriptions which looks bad, but it is probably the best thing that can happen.. This way blizzard won't have to cater for the n00bs who can't even play arcane mage :( I for once is finally enjoying WoW again (as I did back in Vanilla and TBC) and I can definitely recommend Firelands to any WoW player who has ended their subscription and has been thinking of trying it out again.

Finally !! (1)

matt007 (80854) | more than 3 years ago | (#37116872)

We need fresh games, now someone might create something and get a load of wow subscribers.
I love mmorpg, but wow is now feeling like work more than fun.
i liked the early casual-style just-for-fun pvp. hate arenas rated bgs and co.
I like discovering new places, exploration, new dungeons... and that is severely lacking in WoW. Daily quests suck i dont like repeating day after day the same shit.
Why cant they create stuff faster with their 100s of millions ?? like a new dungeon a month would be a MINIMUM.

Everything is bound on equip, i liked Everquest style where people were more helpful and sharing stuff was fun.

And above all, WoW attracts unpleasant kids. and they cant do anything about this.

Game is Still Going Strong (2)

Sharp-kun (1539733) | more than 3 years ago | (#37116874)

We've talked about this in our guild a couple of times over the past year. The main thoughts from us are that the game in terms of PvE content is better than its ever been, but our problem is that we've been playing it for 6+ years now. After that length of time, things start to get old no matter what happens. At the moment the main thing keeping us together is the raiding - Firelands is brilliant. We're a small group of friends from Uni with a few others that have joined over the years. We meet up reguarly and we have relaxed raids where we have a laugh and everyone knows each other. It's good fun and we've not found another game that can match it, let alone the effort in getting everyone to rerole etc. I don't think this will be of any major concern for Blizzard. Their subscriptions could half and they'd still be the largest MMO in the world and the game would still be worth developing for. Even if subscribers drop, they can probably just cut back on some hardware and merge servers with no loss to players. Several times a year for the past 2 years I've heard of "WoW Killers" (Age of Conan anyone?) and how WoW is at the end of its life and won't last another expansion. That's rubbish. The game will last as long as its profitable, maybe even another 3 expansions. Eventually a game will come along that will deal it a big blow, but thats not happened yet, and even when it does, it probably won't kill it. Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't Ultima Online still going and didn't it get another expansion last year? As long as the game brings in money Blizzard will support it and maybe even a bit beyond that point as long as people play.

I almost got an interview for Game Designer (1)

GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) | more than 3 years ago | (#37116892)

It was about 5 years ago. I was going to push for more content for a few reasons. First off, many people who quit the game do it out of boredom of nothing new to do. If you have lots of stuff for them, they won't leave, just keep making higher levels, and equipment and boards, and monsters, and quests. Next, if you make a good enough game, that it is a generational coming of age, you'll get a never ending stream of 10 year olds coming in, and they'll play til their 18 because of all that great content you ran up. Your game could be a permanent fixation on the Internet.

What is cool is that I found a company [tangerinepop.com] to work with where I am a game designer, and this is our philosophy. Too bad it is a small company though because I also have to do the job of game programmer too. You gotta do what you gotta do.

Lousy reinforcement model (1)

mattsday (909414) | more than 3 years ago | (#37116898)

I quit about 4 months ago after about 4 years of playing the same class/role (warrior tank). The driving factor for me was that the game had massively shifted from being huge and exciting, with a real sense of achievement, to inevitable victories and reinforcement pellets.

I used to love playing with my girlfriend, levelling and exploring the new content. We felt skillful completing raids with a group of people. We were never the best, but we worked hard and achieved our goals. Even when Wrath of the Lich King came out, it still felt epic and there was a lot of new content to explore and play.

However, now it's just a Skinner box. See here [cracked.com] and here [escapistmagazine.com] for great articles on this.

So, no new content, a lazy achievements system and uninspired story telling made me quit. This time, I don't think I'll ever go back.

F2P (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 3 years ago | (#37116948)

There are too many free to play games for WOW to carry on the way it's going right now. Many subscribers are probably getting sick of the grind and wondering why they're forking over $15 a month for a game when they can play something equivalent to it (e.g. Everquest II, Lord of the Rings Online, Age of Conan, Freerealms etc.) for a fraction of that. Or nothing since free to play usually offers a substantial chunk of content gratis and then an a la carte micropayment system on top. It makes games very suitable for casual players who don't want to spend a fortune for something they only play for a few hours at a time. Some games even offer a traditional subscription style model too for more hardcore players.

While it's a long time until the WOW servers get switched off, I think there will be a point where subscribers keep falling, servers keep getting merged and Blizzard will be compelled to go F2P. Their model simply doesn't work any more. I wouldn't be surprised if the same happens for other subscription based stalwarts like EVE too eventually.

Too mechanical - and not enough freedom (5, Interesting)

RogueyWon (735973) | more than 3 years ago | (#37116970)

I got out of WoW at the end of April 2010. I'd been a fairly hardcore player for a couple of years up to that point (having been fairly hardcore in Final Fantasy XI beforehand). However, by the start of 2010, it was clear (and probably had been for some time if I'd been looking for the signs) that the game was past its prime.

I think the trap Blizzard have fallen into is being too prescriptive towards their player base. In the Blizzard model of the world, everybody is basically working down a set progression path, with very little else to do. This is a theme that runs through every facet of the game.

In terms of overall progression, Blizzard have made it very clear that they want all of their players to be working on the same raid content at the same time. An expansion hits, raises the level cap and renders all previous raids obsolete. The new expansion has a tier of raid content, which everybody jumps into. A few months later, the next tier of content is added. At the same time, the previous tier is adjusted so as to be ludicrously easy - and the rewards from it quickly become obsolete. Then a new patch comes a few months later, and the previous content is all nerfed down again. After this repeats a few times, you get a new expansion and the cycle begins again.

What this means is that the game ends up not actually feeling like a persistent world. There's a treadmill that everybody has to stay on - with very little real potential to either pull ahead of the pack or - provided you are at least minimally competent - get left behind. This really diminishes any sense of achievement associated with the thing. Worse still, it's an entirely linear path that you have to tread; there are no credible alternative routes to gearing up and making progress, not least because the stats required for PvE and PvP are so completely different.

Now, I understand that there isn't a quick and easy fix to this and that some games have gone too far the other way; one frustration in FFXI was that a lot of the best gear in the game actually dropped from the "ground kings", who were some of the oldest (and most irritating to find) bosses in the game. Given the game's... what... 8 years old now, that starts to look a bit pathetic. But WoW's habit of doing a "soft reset" with every patch and a "hard reset" with every expansion is even more infuriating.

The lack of choice also runs through the character classes and the balancing. I always felt that Blizzard made a huge mistake in tying PvE and PvP balance together - they should have switched the game to different rules entirely whenever PvP was invoked. As it is, because of the constant tweaks required to maintain PvP balance, Blizzard got into the habit of constantly tinkering with every class in the game - and then fundamentally redesigning classes largely just because they felt like it.

There's no freedom in WoW to develop your class in ways that Blizzard hadn't anticipated. They know how they want you to play a class and if you don't go along with their scheme, they'll just patch it so that you have no choice. By contrast, when players found that FFXI's Ninja class, which had been designed as a damage-dealer and debuffer, actually worked best as a tank, Square-Enix followed their players, and while they did end up tweaking the class a bit, it was aimed at fitting it in alongside the other tank classes, rather than trying to reinforce their original intentions. Blizzard, by contrast, would likely just have banned the people playing the class as a tank for "exploiting" and then patched the class so that it could only be used as a damage dealer.

I think what I'm trying to say is that Blizzard's big mistake with WoW has been to let themselves become too interventionist, so that the game feels less like an exciting online world and more like a sequence of arbitrary hoops to jump through.

Re:Too mechanical - and not enough freedom (1)

Walkingshark (711886) | more than 3 years ago | (#37117046)

I think once they're done milking the current crowd of WOW players and they've lost enough people, they'll probably patch something where levels no longer have meaning. Everyone is just "max level" and monsters are all like, -1, equal, +1, +2, +3, and "skull" level. Then all of a sudden all the old content is viable as "something to do."

Hell, I don't know why they don't do this now, except that because LOLESPORT they feel that player "silouette" is very, very important. More important than the game being fun.

Re:Too mechanical - and not enough freedom (1)

Tridus (79566) | more than 3 years ago | (#37117124)

They could ditch levels if they used the talent system instead, because levels are just an artificial thing that gets in the way. But for new players (and players like my wife who play very casually) having stuff to gain is a good thing by questing. Also if you threw every skill at her at once at level 1, she'd just get really confused.

This game isn't only played by super hardcore types that read the forums for cookie cutter builds and know everything on day 1.

I blame Minecraft... (1)

bwcbwc (601780) | more than 3 years ago | (#37116976)

..and Indie gaming in general.

Actually, the "Great Recession" probably has even more to do with the decline -- when people do have money to spend on games, they won't be spending it on a monthly subscription. They'll buy a cheap pickup game like Terraria and get a couple months worth of entertainment out of it for the price of a single month on WoW. Or they'll play a "free-to-play" MMO that is more geared toward their style of play.

Horrible writing and lack of content (2)

Tridus (79566) | more than 3 years ago | (#37117024)

Something that's not been mentioned is that the writing has taken a sharp decline. I mean we're talking about a Blizzard MMO, the story was never spectacular. But in Vanilla and BC (and some of Wrath) it was good enough to do the job. It made sense. It drove things forward. It gave you reasons for why stuff was going on.

Cataclysm is just pathetically bad in this regard. Things routinely happen that aren't explained in the game (go buy a godawful Richard Knaak book!). When things are explained, they're hackneyed and don't make sense. It looks like it's just been set up so the team has an easy excuse to create PvP. The Horde has gone back to being the rather flagrantly evil faction, though mostly because they have one flagrantly evil member (the Forsaken and their plague warfare) and the rest of them say "hey don't do that!" then remain blissfully ignorant that it's going on anyway.

Also, content is a problem. Being 85 basically obsoletes everything except 85 content. Except that after release they went a very long time without any. When 4.1 hit and we got new dungeons, it was recycled troll dungeons from previous versions of the game retuned for 85, and that's it. So. Very. Weak. The raids in 4.0 were too hard for many people who had been able to raid in Wrath (they're easier now, but those people got bored and left with nothing to do). Now something apparently good came out in 4.2 but the damage is already done.

Combined with the general fact that the game is now getting old and every few months there needs to be a fan revolt to keep Blizzard from making some braindead decision they'd never have done in the past (real ID forum names, more recently trying to charge an extra fee to group with your real ID friends) and it's clear things just aren't what they used to be.

Finally, the competition is catching up. Blizzard had the advantage for years of other games not learning anything from WoW and having lousy UIs and unpolished releases. Not anymore.

It had to happen eventually, and here we are. The question now is just how many people it'll lose, and if they can get those people back with their next MMO.

Wow locks content behind grind (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37117108)

I want to raid, their content looks fun and interesting. The problem is, I barely managed to get 1 character to 85 with a LOT of encouragement from friends. But raiding as 1 class gets old, and getting a new class to raid with takes WAY to much wasted, unfun grinding. Thus, I left wow for games with lower barriers of entry on the "fun" elements.

wow sux (0)

crutchy (1949900) | more than 3 years ago | (#37117126)

starcraft & broodwar kick arse!!!!

People are developing resistance to content cycle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37117258)

When new stuff comes out I may be found wondering back into the game here and there. But lately the content cycle has create somewhat of an immunity in most. I have not even bothered to visit Firelands when it came out. I used my free 7 day return pass to mostly twidle my thumbs in Orgrimmar. The thought of doing another instance made a gulp of vomit come up my throat mere moments after I clicked to join the PvE queue, prompting me to just close the game down. They really need to come up with new, interesting, and exciting things to do. Just riding the same horse around, parading it in-front of people, just won't do anymore!

Gear killed it for me... (1)

CFBMoo1 (157453) | more than 3 years ago | (#37117268)

Aside from progressing the character I like getting things that make my character look different from other characters. WoW didn't allow you to do that very well because by the next raid tier or expansion that fancy staff you really like for Character X was no good anymore and had to be tossed. I always said Orgimmar or Stormwind looked like the broken photocopier capitals of Azeroth.
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