Thursday, April 16, 2009

World of Warcraft is Broken?

In an effort to keep making regular posts to make this place somewhat interesting, and because I have nowhere else to discuss this, we're going to talk about World of Warcraft. I know, I know. Too bad.

Up until recently, I had been a long time subscriber, running around with my single character. I don't play alts, I played one character, doing the solo content, some dungeons, and even a raid or two more recently. I didn't try and min/max my character, I didn't pick the best spec, I picked my spec for fun and flavor: I've been a demonology warlock in WoW since before the first class revision, so I've seen the lowest of the low and the best of that class. And it was fun, even when I hit max level and didn't really raid, because of the social component, and because there were enough "extra" things to do that it made a great default game when I had nothing else to do.

I say "until recently" because a month ago, I cancelled my subscription. I'll probably resubscribe when the next expansion comes out, but I couldn't really play the game anymore. It wasn't because I was out of things to do... patch 3.1 was about come, and despite not really raiding, I could always do some dailies and professions and whatever.

The problem I hit was I couldn't ignore how broken the end game was for WoW now. You see, Blizzard's idea of the endgame is "raid, and when you're finished, farm, grind, and roll an alt while you wait for us to add more content." Think about that for a minute. You invest all this time into building a character, after you manage to go through the tremendous effort to go through whatever the current "final raid" is, you either just keep running the same area over and over again, grind some repeatable quests, or start a new character. You're expected to run in place or start everything over.

That's bullshit. Why do I have to wait for Blizzard to make content? There is no possible way they can keep creating content at a pace that will satisfy their users. They know, and I know it. So why do they keep pretending like that problem doesn't exist (yeah, I know, millions of subscribers, but this is a philosophical discussion)?

This is where they need to invest in some user generated content. And I'm not talking world-building, necessarily - you don't need something like City of Heroes' mission architect. Look at EVE Online - they created a sandbox, and the players basically call the shots. Other games are adding the concept of exploration, where players travel to areas that are somewhat "randomly" generated, and can do things there, then come back with something to show for it. See Star Trek Online's exploration model and how they're trying to make sure the game always has something over the horizon for you.

The point here that Warcraft is the biggest, most well funded MMO. Why are they still going with a "add content onto the end" model? I mean, having that stuff is all well and good, but they need something that's a little more self-sustaining. With their player size, I don't understand why they're not doing more to allow players to affect the world.

A tall order, I know. But they really need to break this "boom bust" cycle WoW seems to have with the lull between patches of content. This is especially true if they're making the content more accessible. If it is easier to get to all the content, that means more players are going to run out of stuff to do sooner.


crazystupid0 said...

I agree with you, I got to level 80 completed all high end instances and just though to myself, now what? I canceled my account soon after.

For some reason I find leveling more fun than doing instances, but I did enjoy doing instances pre-BC.

With 3.1 I guess they were not expecting as many bugs as there was. Servers were needed to take down, was pretty hectic from what I saw on the forums.

Yoozel said...

I do agree Tom and I've tried my hand at a few alts but I've always stuck true to one character. I've been a big time supporter for Blizzard since I first played Warcraft: Orcs and Humans but more and more I've begun to lose faith in them.

I find myself logging on to stand around and socialize hardly entertained by the content anymore. The Warcraft I once knew and I loved has been feeling more like a distant dream and I liked immersing myself in the lore of the game but have begun to find it more twisted than what was the original path set out.

One idea I'd like to see would be an updated world. One where things did change once you were the highest level things were radically different. The world you quested in, the reputations you grinded for and the causes you assisted actually did something to make the world different. Once deemed “war zones” would open up as controlled territories, new cities, new quest lines. And Blizzard has touched on this. The Argent Crusade's quest chain in Ice Crown will open a new base once you complete so many objectives, how come that cannot be applied to revitalize the entire game? Giving people a reason to first visit old content and then to explore things waiting at the end of the road?

I think another huge problem with WoW is the race to the max level and that's it. Just sit around, show off epics, run the same thing every week and the game becomes almost a chore with no real diversity. Even though it's a little late for this, why does everyone have to be 80? Why aren't their tiers of players where all the game assets are in play? Level 60 raids, level 70 25 man's and then the really hardcore people get to be one a tiny throne and raid the “hardcore” stuff. I understand it's a pain the butt to balance and stop level 80's from camping level 60's (like it doesn't happen already) but I believe it can be done.

I think Blizzard really gets away with the least amount of effort put into expansion packs. Or maybe it's Blizzard blending of making everyone able to be the best and play on the same level as everyone else, who really knows but I certainly say I've canceled my account more than enough times.

I could probably go on for hours about this... generally it's what family gathers are with my cousins, everyone sit around and talk about how WoW is inevitably broken.

Crow said...

You should check out Warhammer online.
It has excellent pacing thoughout the entire game.
Once you Max your level, you can continue building your Renown and Guild levels.

Geoff said...

Interesting. I just started playing (I've dabbled a bit here and there before) in January 2009, and I've come to the same realization, around level 67. (And yeah, I don't really do the whole 'alt' thing either)

I plan to stick with their dungeon-slashers and RTS games, but WoW, for some reason, doesn't pull me in once all the grinding/raiding/instancing kicks into full gear.

wadjet2 said...

Yoozel AND Achronos on WoW?

Now that I didn't expect. Anyway, I agree. Coming from my level 11 Zombie necromancer thingy, that should mean a lot. Anyway, they should add something simple that is NOT repetitive, I don't know, new items?

You might remember me... I'm the guy who made fun of your dual spiker... Multi-flag, Avalanche =D