Posted by: seanmalstrom | February 1, 2012

Email: The Official List of Things that “Forever Ruined World of Warcraft” Over the Years

Hey Sean,

I was a tad perplexed by the goings on in the MMO scene lately, with the increasing polarization between those who support SWTOR and those who support WoW. It’s all over the place, even on Daily Blink which has of late posted a comic and a blog entry about the troubles of being “divided” between the two (the blog post was meant to quell a few readers who were up in arms at the comic for “bashing SWTOR”).

Now as we know, the latest expansion has been getting a lot of hate. Naturally I’m disturbed by this, but when I stopped to think “Why is this so? Why are gamers so angsty about WoW and its perceived death?” and did a little snooping into history, I came across this compiled list of things gamers have claimed will “kill WoW”, originally put together by an MVP poster from the European Battle.Net forums.
“Wow has been ‘ruined’ according to people unhappy with one or two aspects of the game since its inception. Since it began, it’s been ruined by:
  • Rooftop camping
  • The removal of rooftop camping
  • The lack of honor
  • The implementation of honor
  • The lack of dishonor
  • The implementation of dishonor
  • The removal of dishonor
  • The removal of wall walking
  • Rank rewards
  • Decaying rank
  • The removal of rank decay
  • The removal of PVP titles
  • Ahn’Qiraj
  • Scourge Invasion
  • Zul’Gurub
  • The cost of mounts
  • The lack of information about TBC
  • All information released about TBC
  • Playable Blood Elves
  • Playable Draenei
  • Horde Paladins
  • Alliance Shamans
  • Flying mounts
  • The timing of the release of TBC
  • The cost of flight
  • Jewelcrafting
  • The LFG channel
  • Holding people accountable to the Terms of Use
  • Meeting stones
  • Arenas
  • The number of arena teams one player can have
  • Arena-based gear rewards
  • The lack of battlegrounds
  • The addition of battlegrounds
  • Everything about battlegrounds
  • Illidan being killable
  • Daily quests
  • Instance-based reputations
  • The Darkmoon Faire
  • /pizza
  • Playable wisps
  • Tinfoil Hat
  • The Armory
  • Warden
  • The lack of information about Wrath
  • All information about Wrath
  • A failure to revamp old world areas
  • The inability to transfer from PVE to PVP servers
  • Hero classes
  • Siege engines
  • Cold weather flying
  • Wintergrasp being a PVP zone
  • Death Knights
  • The inability to start a new character of any class at 55 or higher
  • The lack of a dance studio
  • Character recustomization
  • The inability to change race or faction
  • The cost of mammoths and motorcycles
  • The fall damage negation of mammoths and motorcycles
  • The removal of fall damage negation from mammoths and motorcycles
  • The ability to transfer from PVE to PVP servers
  • Dual specs
  • Achievements
  • Holiday events
  • Mountain Dew Game Fuel
  • Streaming Blizzcon ’09 on pay per view
  • The revamping of Onyxia’s Lair
  • Worgen for the Alliance
  • Goblins for the Horde
  • Revamped old world areas
  • The ability to change faction
  • The ability to change race
  • New race/class combinations
  • Purchasable vanity pets
  • As well as weekly maintenance and patches 1.1 through the current one inclusive.
In that time, while WoW was being ruined by all of the above, WoW has quintupled its subscriber base. So don’ t be disappointed if Blizzard doesn’t leap to change whatever you say is killing the game.”
Combined with your explanation that WoW has become a “lifestyle game” for many, and how hardcore gamers–on account of an emotional investment–act like they are “married” to their chosen game/company/console, it suddenly made sense. One wonders if the people who laud the “death of WoW” aren’t really acting like disgruntled spouses whose significant other has failed to meet their perceived expectations.

Ahh, an email that isn’t about Nintendo.

SW: TOR is already seen by most everyone as failing to live up to expectations (i.e. the WoW killer). Just as naturally, these same players are now hyping the next game which is Guild Wars 2. “Guild Wars 2 will change everything, Malstrom!” Uh huh. Sure.

World of Warcraft’s success is nearly identical to the DS and Wii’s success. WoW brought the MMORPG genre to the masses. WoW was never a ‘hardcore’ game… ever. WoW introduced things to make MMORPGs more appealing to the masses like rested experience. Did you know that RPGs used to penalize you much more heavily when you died? In WoW, you just had to run back to your spot. Other MMORPGs had you lose gold, lose experience, or even lose levels if you died. Even in Nintendo’s Zelda II, if you lost your lives you would not only start at the beginning palace but lose all your experience points. Ouch!

Many of the people who are angry at WoW are people who never really understood it.

“What do you mean by this, Malstrom?” asks a reader.

Does this statement surprise you? Seeing the mass graveyard of “WoW Killers” reveals that not even experienced game designers understand WoW. It is not a stretch to say that our hardcore gaming friends, who constantly declare themselves an expert on everything gaming yet actually aren’t, also do not understand WoW.

WoW did not become popular because it was “HARDCORE”. It became popular because it was very accessible and extremely fun leveling up.

While WoW launched with a considerable amount of content in 2004, gamers consumed it very rapidly. The Endgame of WoW was artificially inflated with rare drops (to make people do raids over and over and over again) as well as ridiculous attunements and gear requirements (+Nature or +Fire Resistence gear). This Vanilla Endgame wasn’t actually the WoW experience so much as “We ran out of content so we are artificially wasting your time…” Many players, most of them young, mistook this type of raiding as what the game was about.

WoW has gone through many changes over its seven years. Most of these changes revolved around making the game more accessible and not making it as much as a time sink. The hardcore ‘rage’ at these changes, yet these changes keep ‘modernizing’ WoW.

Consider this: If WoW became huge because it was more accessible, then the ‘WoW killer’ would have to be a more accessible MMORPG. However, WoW keeps ‘modernizing’ itself to make itself more and more accessible much to the shrieks of the ‘hardcore’. Therefore, WoW immunizes itself from a ‘WoW killer’.

What amazes me about WoW is that ten million people still play a seven year old game. Consider that WoW came out before the DS and PSP did. When WoW came out, George W. Bush had just won his second term in office. It feels like a lifetime ago. This game has gone beyond the Seventh Generation. That itself is an incredible feat. No game can last forever, but it is fun to see how long Blizzard can make it last.

Being a helpful Malstrom, I intend to aid Gaming itself by telling everyone how they can properly ‘kill’ WoW. In an upcoming post, I will explain the achilles heel of WoW and how to properly defeat it. The answer will surprise many of you. I expect this one blog post to save game companies billions of dollars.



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