If you look back at our history, you’ll see that World of Warcraft has gotten a little bit of hate from us here at FleshEatingZipper, both in written articles and in our podcast. this isn’t because it is a bad game or because Blizzard’s a bad company or anything like that.
No, we aren’t so picky as all that.
It all boils down to direction…Read on for more.
Yes, it is all about direction – the direction the game has gone in the last couple of years and the direction the devs seem obsessed in forcing the player to go.
I’ve ranted before about Blizzard forcing gear score down people’s throats and how they’ve dumbed the game down to the point where the back tire of my motorcycle is just as capable of playing an end-game raider as any person is, and how sad it is that they have ditched the entire concept of community, the need for guilds and communication and cooperation and teamwork and how they’ve turned the whole thing in to one long grind, accentuated by the voices of young teens calling you a n00bfaggot because your ever-precious gear score is 1 point below theirs and you can’t crank out 1.21 jiggadamage per second like their 8 year old sister can.
Well, my friends, it now seems that Blizzard – and ultimately Activision – is feeling the sting from their lack of foresight.
Reports have indicated that World of Warcraft had lost as many as 1.1 million subscribers in the six months after the release of Cataclysm – that’s 10 percent of their total player-base – and that they continue to hemorrhage players at a frightful rate, despite a limited “free to play” model, free trials, and new content being pushed out to players on a regular basis.
Did Blizzard’s own arrogance get the better of them? It is certainly possible. It has never been a secret that many promises made by Blizzard have been fulfilled, just as it is no secret that they favor certain play-styles and character classes. Rather than allow players to play the way they want, Blizzard has spent an inordinate amount of time forcing players to play the way someone there envisioned it at some point.
I can’t help but wonder if some internal memo was sent out by a big-wig at Blizzard, a few years ago – “I’m sick and tired of seeing these players working together and devising strategies to get ahead in raids while my button-mashing, anti-social nephew can’t get the best gear in the game! From now on, every fight is a DPS race and every boss drops epic gear and if you even dream about incorporating strategy into a raid, you’d better wake up and hand in your resignation! Also, we are doing away with the need for guilds because little Stevie can’t go 5 minutes without calling someone a pole-smoking douchebag and he keeps getting gkicked. Make it so they can raid by just clicking a button or you’re all fired!”.
That’s probably not what actually happened but it sure felt like it. When Blizzard decided to strip all of the individuality out of the game, making it so both factions had access to the same classes and there was no need for strategy or teamwork or leadership or communication, the whole thing started to fall apart. They got some players back with talk of Nefarian, in Cataclysm but that was a bust and pissed a lot of people off and now they seek to placate users with yet another expansion, “Mists of Pandaria” which will feature kung fu pandas and a couple more raid bosses.
Meanwhile, Bobby Kotick yammers on about how he isn’t even slightly concerned about losing players to EA/BioWare and their very soon to be released MMO Star Wars : The Old Republic but that’s already seen nearly a million pre-orders and the hype train hasn’t even started rolling yet. You see, Bobby is too busy focusing on how to double the price of games to think about anything as pedestrian as his golden goose losing all its eggs.
One has to wonder when these people are going to learn…one also has to hope that other companies won’t repeat Blizzard’s mistakes and end us all up with nothing to do but watch television. Blah, television.