Friday, June 12, 2009

Players vs socials

Wowenomics had a post about the (ugly) future of WoW, mostly based on the data shown by Wolfshead.

The data is clear: official WoW sites have lower and lower web traffic. Hirvox found another chart showing that player hours does not increase, jump when content comes and falls back.

The article starts with "Is there an accurate way to know if a MMO is in decline? For most players it’s something we can sense by intuition." If "intuition" or "feeling" is mentioned (not as strawman argument), I'm 90% sure that the post is wrong. I just have to find a way to find a proof.

WoWenomics add another points:
They are sound proofs. However they prove something financially irrelevant. They prove that WoW loses players who seek up game information on sites, write blogs, get into groups and need quality content.

Blizzard does not need players. They need subscribers.
- What? Player = subscriber for a game idiot!

I disagree. "Player" is someone who play the game because playing is fun for him. It's maybe raiding, maybe PvP, maybe AH trading, maybe fishing, maybe dancing as a naked blood elf (ouch). However he subscribes because he wants to play. We, readers and writers of blogs, seekers of game information are all players.

Who else would subscribe to a game than a player? Well, ladies and gentlemen, behold the natural born M&S: the "pure social".

While most of us (not me!) have social tendencies, wanting to be liked and respected by many, loved and accepted by a few special ones, these are in the focus of the pure social. He/she subscribe to a game, goes to a movie, joins a sport club or political party because:
  • friends are there
  • possible friends could be found there
  • it's "cool" (draws respect/liking from others)
  • someone "important" says it's fun/good/right to do so
  • people around him talk about it, and he doesn't want to be missed out
The pure social sucks in anything (s)he does except "networking" and socializing. (s)he is carried in everything by not pure socials ("he is a good friend, let's gear him up"). The $15 of the pure social is just as good as yours.

Blizzard gained 10M subscribers when the #2 MMO have 0.4-0.5M. They did it not because they were lucky and stupid. They did it because they understand the market more than the competitors. The competitors, driven by bloggers and respected players wanted to make a better game than WoW.

WoW gained more and more subscribers by becoming worse game than it was before. I remember when a HC 5-man needed CC, when epic item was something that needed skill to get. Now the number of mobs killed/minute is only limited by mob density. I clearly remember when having 1000G was something and not something that any idiot can get in 4 hours of daily quests.

The internet is perfect field for the pure socials, just consider the popularity of Twitter, a site about completely nothing interesting or even slightly important. On the internet you can reach any "place" with a click, quickly leaving if it's not "cool" enough. An MMO is a place where people can always be found. If you log in to a game server, you are surely not alone. There is always someone on the LFG, there is always someone recruiting with "/w to LeggoIass for inv". For $15 you will never-ever be alone again. An MMO is the paradise of the pure socials.

Except... there are those jerks called "players" who don't group with you until you level up, use more than one button, stand out of the fire, learn (how outrageous) a bossfight. These no-life loser people turn the MMO-s from heaven to hell for the "freindly heplfull ppl". To avoid the negative commentary of these hideous beasts, you need to reach top level and get some decent gear, but your healthy social life don't allow such commitment to stupid pixels.

But fear not: in WoW, no more skill needed than right-clicking on something that has a red name above its head. The world-conquering spell of "auto-attack" kills them and you'll get level and gear. After you did this terrible grind you can join the cool people of the capital cities, get invited to groups of awesome people (lead by LeggoIass), defeat fearsome boss-monsters like Archavon and Faerlina, ride mighty dragons and mammoths. You'll be just as cool guy as they are and they will know it seeing your magnificent "Explorer" or "Jenkins" title.


As long as MMO competitors desperately want to make a better game than Blizzard, they are doomed to low income. They can have financial success, but only limited, as players have high demand for content, and sooner or later will complete it and move on.

WoW is not dieing. It may will never die. It's just dieing for us, players. Sooner or later we all have to leave. If the skill drop between the next expansion and WotLK will be the same like it was between TBC and WotLK, there will be no place for us. Blizzard won't give a damn.


PS: Patchnotes WoW 5.2:
  • an "adventure guide" NPC was added to all starter zone who provide quest "kill 3 boars" for XP to level to 100
  • streamlining classes: the complicated rotation of the 2 spells/class introduced in 5.0 has been revised. Now every class have one spell "Ipawn" doing 50000 damage to all hostile cratures in 20 yards and heals 60000 damage for all friendlies in 20 yards up to 10 targets.
  • Reputation requirements for "awesome screenblocking flying whale" mount has been reduced to Whale Tamers friendly
  • New Whale Tamers daily quest introduced, providing 500 Rep for bringing a letter from Whale Tamer Jack to Whale Tamer Joe, both standing in the largest building.
  • Material requirements for ilvl 400 legendaries have been reduced to 10 dream cloth/dream skin/dream bar and 1 ultimate earth/fire/shadow/life

PS2: don't worry though. We have buying power to support even so small games as Darkfall. There will always be games for us. Just not the most popular ones. Those, by definition will belong to the socials. As long as the real world taxpayers give them enough money to pay $15/month...


PS3: a personal comment, feel free to ignore. Yesterday, I was on FL+4 tries with the guild. It was awesome. I was hunting flowers (shooting Freya-lashers), and taking down Pyrite ammo for the demolishers. It was awesome, despite we did not get below 25%. No problem, we'll do it next raid. Surely. Except, there won't be next try. Poor FL was nerfed to the ground. No, not the basic "LFM Udluar 10, link [Siege of Ulduar] so we see u killd Levithalan" mode was nerfed. The FL+4 was nerfed. Why? Why to nerf a hard mode?

Because the free gear and watching the content is not good enough for socials. If there are "hard modes", if there is any place where those elistist, unfriendly jerk "players" can go and they can't, no matter how tiny and irrelevant and cosmetic it is, they feel disrespected second-class citizens. They want everything. And since they have the $15, they will get it.

I never liked nerfs, but my dislike was theoretical. I wasn't there when they nerfed the twins. I missed the important skills to analyze the situation and see that my guild goes nowhere. I never had the chance to kill KJ until I learned to choose my group properly, and find my own way to be accepted in such group. This time I was there on the 80% wipe, on the 75% wipe, and so on, down to 25%. Every time I killed more and more lashers. Every time the "damage taken" of other vehicles by lashers decreased. Every I aimed better to get max hit on a running lasher-pack, killing them before they reached their target. Every time I could take down more pyrite between lasher waves. 7-10 more tries and I could be in the 0.99% who made FL+4. I could be there because I improved in skills:
  • understanding group mechanics, giving up trying with M&S and know where I want to be
  • get the necessary resources to provide this group to take me
  • to kill the lashers
This time I was prepared. But the chance was taken from me to see FL+4 go down.

I feel hate now. Not towards Blizzard, they did the goblin thing, defending their $15. If I were a Blizzard executive, I would do the same. I had warned the raiders in 2 weeks advance so they could focus on FL+4, to have it before the nerf. But I'd nerf it too.

I hate the socials now, who are paying for this nerf.

Hate makes one weak. I try to get rid of it fast by turning into something creative, creating more anti-M&S resources here on this site and ideas for the goblins to get back on them. They may take FL+4 from me, but they will farm elementals and I will laugh on them every time I relist their stuff as crystallized for double profit.

43 comments:

Anonymous said...

So, with the whales and all, you are suggesting that we won't be seeing the Maelstrom as an expansion until WoW 5.0?

Jormundgard said...

And yet most players probably would not pursue things like "server first" or "progression" so aggressively if WoW were not so popular.

Interesting issues are on the horizon, I think.

(really great posts lately, btw)

Townes said...

I'm confused - the chart in the link to Hirvox seems to show steady player activity over the last 2 years.

Vyr said...

@townes: The bar chart shows a slight increase. The peaks are getting higher and the troughs are getting higher. The chart is trending on the upside (altho very slightly) for the past 2 yrs.

Shy said...

One problem, those pure socials need people and people to look up to. Every one of those socials needs a hero. And if all the heroes would move on, I wonder if those pure socials wouldn't be following.

Hirvox said...

I'm confused - the chart in the link to Hirvox seems to show steady player activity over the last 2 years.
There's no dispute that the overall concurrency figures are still growing, but the rate of growth seems to be slowing and patches have only a temporary effect. If you look at the beginning of the chart, you see that the patches didn't just cause a temporary spike of interest, but continued to build upon the surge.

spinksville said...

"One problem, those pure socials need people and people to look up to. Every one of those socials needs a hero. "

Pure socials really don't care who the raiders are or who got the server firsts. Their heroes are other social players.


I agree that WoW won't die though. No company would stop supporting a product that popular until it got unprofitable. Even if it lost half its players, it's still the biggest game in town by some huge margin. I think it's just the population will tend to spike when expansions come out and tail off more quickly.

Abandon said...

While I understand your point about 5-man content becoming significantly more easy, I still think that WOW is a better game now than it was at level 60.

Every class has multiple viable specs in both PVP and PVE. Boss fights in 5M and raids are much more varied and interesting. There is also much more flexibility in which classes a group needs to be successful. Further, I think that there are alot more ways for people to have fun doing their own thing than there have been up until this point.

Lastly I actually like the new raiding model. 10M, 25M, and hardmode versions of fights allows for the "Players" to challenge themselves while at the same time allowing the masses to experience the content. This idea allows for the largest amount of people to have the largest amount of fun doing what they like.

Abandon

Neil said...

I would think the pure socials are the ones who don't even make it into raids.

Your suggestion that all people who play WoW as "socials" are supported by government welfare IRL is strange. A Goblin should have scientific evidence and proof, not beliefs and biases. You must have the results of a neutral third party's study comparing WoW players and welfare recipients, right?

And to be honest, until your toon has the Heroic: Supermassive achievement, I won't believe you or anyone else who says "the game has become too easy". As long as there is a meaningful challenge remaining in the game that you aren't good enough to do, then the game is not "too easy" for you.

Ranjurm said...

It is certainly strange to see someone who hasn't done any progression raiding or significant hard modes in Wotlk claim there is no challenge to current content.

What skill was demonstrated by forcing your raid members to pick up leatherworking for sunwell or to fill your raids with 8 warriors to get a vanilla naxx four horsemen kill? What skill did it take to have only dwarf priests to do fear ward? Or to have most of the dps specs in the game be a burden for group play? Or to have to precisely stack groups for buffs?

There was no golden age to WoW.

Anonymous said...

People will leave WoW when there is something better to play. I imagine Blizzard will most likely kill its own product (having long since been paid back for their efforts) when they release SC2 and D3. And while all the former WoW players sate themselves on demons and templars and zerglings, they'll finish their new MMO, which we'll call WoW 2 and everyone will come flooding back.

The game is fine and it's not going anywhere. Ulduar is literally the perfect instance offering challenges for every conceivable skill level in the game, so long as you have 9 or 24 people with whom to do it.

No question heroic 5 mans could've (and probably should've) been harder and Naxx was about as faceroll an instance as anyone ever made, but I think anyone who legitimately gives Ulduar a chance (and hopefully 3.2's raid and Icecrown beyond) would have a hard time either claiming that WoW isn't hard anymore (if you choose to make it so) or that it doesn't support everyone's playstyle.

As an economist you should know that things are only as good as their relative value. Sure people in general have a lot more gold but there's a lot more to buy and lot more expensive stuff to buy. In vanilla, Joe idiot could make 100g farming for vendor trash in a week. Now he can make 1000g doing dailies and those have about the same relative purchasing power. Similarly, though most everyone has epic gear now, it's easy to tell someone with heroic level crap from someone in hard mode. People (apparently you included) have gotten hung up on the fact that most loot is purple now and that most people get it from raids. So what? That doesn't make all loot equal.

Sven said...

"Now every class have one spell "Ipawn" doing 50000 damage to all hostile cratures in 20 yards and heals 60000 damage for all friendlies in 20 yards up to 10 targets"


Only 10 targets healed? That's no good for 25 mans. I demand a buff immediately!

Omestes said...

I suppose I am one of those ultra-social folk then, since raiding bores me, and "fake" status is just silly. And I do have both the "jenkins" and "explorer" title. I also have been playing for 4.3 years now, and have raided all the old world content WHEN IT WAS CURRENT, bought my epic mount within one day of turning 60 (back when that meant something), etc...

I grew up and stopped caring about my epeen, though. Now I play for fun. I find most raiding guilds to be absolutely absurd, as do I find taking a game seriously rather silly.

I don't look up to ANYONE in the game, and the more respect a person insists they should have the more contempt for them I have. The more someone claims to be "hardcore" or to matter, the less they actually DO matter to me.

That said, who really cares what you've cleared? The various social groups on WoW are self-selecting. If you're "hardcore" (or 1337), then you no one else wants to bother with you, same thing if your name is Legolass, or Arthasrox, or such. Same thing for the much hated (or so the interwebs tell me) /w guilds.

Thats the nice thing about WoW, diversity. You never really have to bother with the groups you don't like, unless you take /2 seriously.

That said, your drawing a false dichotomy. There is no us vs them, there is just varying degrees of people who meet your personal preference.

WoW isn't really getting easier, they just made option "hard modes" for the 1337 people to do. This is fine. You get rewards worth your efforts, it all depends on what reward your content with. Just real life. Its like saying some middle class person can never be as happy as Bill Gates, just because the middle class guy isn't filthy rich.

Its all relative, and there is room for all.

My opinion states that "hardcore" arena folk are ruining the game (thanks vindication nerf). But thats my opinion... who cares.

Quantify "ruining the game" in an objective, universal statement, and I might buy it.

Anonymous said...

@Omestes

Best post here mate. Even though i'm in danger of falling into the 'l33t' I realise the absolute absurdity of it.

Play the game, have fun and be kind to others - We'd do well to follow this philosophy IRL...

Reylas

Anonymous said...

Was looking at the profession forum and noticed you had an effect on your new realm.

http://forums.wow-europe.com/thread.html?topicId=9521445384&sid=1

DarkKnight said...

@everyone commenting about the graph:
Never forget the (in)famous "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics."
[source: Benjamin Disraeli and Mark Twain, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lies,_damned_lies,_and_statistics]

You can draw quite a lot of conclusions from the same set of data, as long as you are creative enough ;).

Yaseen titi said...

A reason why the traffic on the official website is dropping is because people visit wow related sites to get information nowadays (like wow.com, mmo-champion.com), I know I do, it's easier to get info that way.

Yaggle said...

Well, I have been complaining about WoW for awhile now and feel it is certainly in decline. And their attitude says that it is in decline. Just like when Everquest started to decline, they started giving players all sorts of free stuff, making things easier. Since when are people able to maintain interest in something that is easier and easier? I am a casual player by the way, I am not saying the game needs to be hardcore raiding or anything. WoW has always been known as an "easy" game but making an easy game easier and easier only encourages people to lose interest. Even non-raiders such as myself like to believe, whether true or not, that they have accomplished something challenging. When levelling up and affording the fastest transportation is so ridiculously easy that I could do it with one hand while talking on the phone and eating, even a casual will lose their interest.
On top of that, Wow has completely abandoned the non-raider crafter businessmen such as myself. I used to craft and work the AH to make some money, so I could afford those ultra-rare BOE epic patterns. Then I would gather the mats and make those epic items and sell them. Now where in the AH are they? After lvl 70 they are all gone. My favorite way to play the game does not exist any more unless I want to spend the rest of my life in Outland pretending that there is no level 80, or make lvl 80 epics that I trained in Dalaran and pretend that I am a real craftsman, which I am not, because anybody can do that. WoW is still a great game for many people, but not as many as before. Blizzard better get the next expansion really, really right, or you will see the player base start shrinking more and more.

Hirvox said...

@everyone commenting about the graph:
Never forget the (in)famous "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics."
[source: Benjamin Disraeli and Mark Twain, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lies,_damned_lies,_and_statistics]

You can draw quite a lot of conclusions from the same set of data, as long as you are creative enough ;).

Indeed, but in the absence of properly gathered and official statistics, these are as good statistics as we are going to get. I wouldn't use those figures to make business decisions, but they're perfect for blogs.

Yaggle said...

@Neil:

I feel I have to address your comment since it seems to strongly contradict mine. It is true that there is always more challenge if you are willing to find it. "Easy mode" outdoor levelling WoW has become easier but they have done a lot of work with 5-mans and raids so that there is more challenge for players there, and a wider degree of challenge also. Beginner players can do beginning instances and have a lot more choices now, and high skill players have more choices now, also.
Here's the thing. I don't like being told what to do or where I should go. I don't like being roped into a certain way of playing. I don't like being told that my challenge isn't where it used to be, but I can find it somewhere else now. I don't like Blizzard running WoW like an ant farm and deciding where the ants are going to dig and where the ants are going to eat. And where the ants are going to have to go if they want a challenge. Also I certainly don't want the price of a fast land mount to go under 100g when I paid over 500g on five different characters. Why do I care? I don't know why, and it doesn't matter. When I am not paying for a WoW subscription, Blizzard can figure out for themselves why I care.

Anonymous said...

One problem for the newer players is the attitude of some more established players.

The game doesn't have to be fluffy and nice but when you're new and don't know much it can be pretty depressing being called a noob all the time. Wanting to go to a raid or instance and every crappy DK demanding " link achievement" .

Anonymous said...

From a personal point of view I don't enjoy the game as much as I used too. In fact I rarely play now. I loved the game at 60 it was awesome fun, I really enjoyed PvP and I was pretty much overjoyed when I finally hit rank 14. Now BGs are crap , everyone wants easy gear no one plays for the fun of killing each other. Team work is almost dead. I played the arena in TBC but never really found it that much fun either, I am a lock so the first few seasons were pretty damn easy , even getting the title in season 2 but it wasn't fun.

I raided a bit in pre TBC , mainly ZG , MC , AQ , I didn't really enjoy that. It was better in TBC with the smaller raids and more 10mans , I enjoyed the design of alot of the raid instances too. After doing some Naxx 10 and Naxx 25 my interest in raiding stopped fully. PvP is still lame , they should remove the easy gear and people may play it for fun again.

Anonymous said...

So much Mammoth hate on this blog!

I'm one of those M&S's saving for mine now, and will be saving for the Choppa after I get it.

Grodus said...

Have you ever seen "King of Kong", Gevlon? Sometimes when I read the things you write, you remind me of Billy Mitchell...

Babar said...

I honestly don't see the problem with nerfing FL. Hardmodes should progress the same way normal modes do, making FL the easiest one and Yogg+0 the hardest. FL was too hard for being the first hardmode so to speak. You only see them nerfing FL and XT-002, while Freya was actually buffed after a week. And nobody has done Yogg+0 yet.

l2pnub said...

There's a little book called a "theory of fun" by Raph Koster, in which he sort of makes a similar point: games are meant for learning. When they are power-trips (and not learning) they are sort of a perverted version of the real thing.

Basically you make the point that the power trip sells better than the learning experience (getting better at something).

Maybe there is something to say about how the developer doesn't do anything to market the learning experience to those who don't already appreciate learning experiences.

I mean if you already like getting better and better at a game, you will surely succeed at WoW. What if you dont' *already* know there is such a satisfaction? Is there anything that the game does to teach you anything except being an M&S from level 1 to level 80?

Radu said...

Don't worry mr. goblin, you will most likely participate in other hard mode kills with us (maybe even on Monday!).



I think Blizzard's nerf rate is quite perfect. Her's why:

I can't argue that I am playing WoW primarily to learn and develop myself. That happens too, but it's not the main reason.

So am I spending 17 hours a week leading a WoW guild? Well, for entertainment. "Entertainment is an activity designed to give people pleasure or relaxation." Pleasure and relaxation are desirable, good things.

There's a lot of ways one can be entertained. M&S are entertained by the feelings of integration, when hanging out in Orgrimar, or feelings of greatness provided by a Mammoth mount.

Myself, many people in our guild, and even more people in top guilds, and probably you too, are entertained by the feeling of flow. This is probably the most elitist form of entertainment there is:

"Flow is the mental state of operation in which the person is fully immersed in what he or she is doing by a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and success in the process of the activity."

To that definition i'd like to add that for many, group flow is even more pleasurable. Since you often take evolutionary psychology into account, you can see how a feeling like this would support the group hunting activities that humans relied upon for so many thousands of years.

But today, most professional occupations don't really cause group flow feelings.

So, we decided to make a guild that provides flow to it's members, while maintaining a light 14hr/week schedule. And Blizzard is improving the conditions for such a guild to exist. Actually, we are exactly on the crest of the nerfwave. All our kills so far, basic or hard mode have been within -3/+2 weeks of the first major nerf.

As we improve, we will probably stay ahead of the nerf wave, meaning that we can provide our members the best flow (that requires hard content), while not requiring more then 3 evenings per week of them.

And in my view, that means that Blizzard's nerf policy is perfectly tuned, catering to all types of people.



Radu

Anonymous said...

Srly? why all the wow hate. Blizzard is not catering to us. We are a small percent of the subscriber base.

I know 3 people that fall into the social group. They all love wow. The changes that made the game easier especially the level 30 mount change are considered to be good by them.

I think what we are all complaining about is change. Wow is fundamentally changing. Every day it becomes more and more like free realms and less and less like everquest. You laugh now but wait until fishing has a mini-game and see if you laugh then.

Basically we need to change with it or get out and go to another MMO.

btw my server pop has doubled since BC. Thats hardly a decline.

Whatsmymain said...

Think reality here for a second. The new players aren't people starting out at level 80 with all the knowledge in the world. New players are starting out with a ramped up experience curve and leveling alongside much better players that want nothing to do with noobs.

I work with 2 guys who recently picked up the game and are playing on their own... and it is hard to listen to them talk about the game. We are playing on different end of the spectrum but if no one is there to help guide them to the end then how will they know?

People just starting to play this game are unaware of how deep and complex the dynamics of the game are. You will find a hunter who auto attacks to 80 (while in aspect of the viper) and doesn't know any better. While you simply dismiss them as M&S that may not be the case anymore.

This game is growing and the decline in difficulty is simply because there are less experienced players to help the new players. The ratio between the 2 is steadily increasing as players who shared their knowledge (bloggers for instance) quit the game and move on. This isn't necessarily because WoW is a terrible game but because you can only do something for so long before looking to do something else.

Will I play WoW forever? No. The day it stops being fun to play is the day I find something better to do. In the meanwhile I'll do my best to help new players make better choices.

Woodie said...

It is sad that a fair portion of your commenters missed the point entirely.

Firespirit said...

I'm actually a bit split. Some days it feels like the game I love so much is on its death throes, then other days its like a whole new game.

I think what we are seeing is really a combination of many factors:

First, many of the longtime players, while they still love the game, are getting burned out. The game has been around for 4 years, and you can only alt it up so much.

Secondly are the drastic changes to the game, in terms of the Wrath Endgame. Everything is markedly easier.

Thirdly, Wrath made the fatal flaw, I think, of launching with too little end-game content. Naxx was a faceroll. OS, VOA, and Maly are all 1 room raids. There is no Exploration, no change of scenery. Even if you take hard modes into account (OS+3 for example) you are seeing the SAME raid content, tweaked for higher difficulty. I think THIS more then anything has the playerbase feeling bored. I can already start seeing it in Ulduar too.

Finally, I think we are seeing a distinct lack of 5 man content too. I know that when I was on the "Heroic Circuit" doing them every day for gear to get into naxx, the burn got really really old really really really fast. There needs to be higher difficulty 5 mans, and More of them. I think the raid content would have been ok at wrath launch IF it had a more robust 5 man architecture. Lets face it, HoL was difficult for the first few weeks of wrath. Now Loken is a faceroll for any competent healer. And because naxx is a faceroll, the purps that come from naxx are most likely making up for a lot of incompetency that would be weeded out if they did not have that quality of gear.

And finally - the 1-80 grind is daunting. Alts are alts, and you can have fun on them, but if you are trying something new, and decide you like it, its a marathon to 80.

Larísa said...

Dear Gevlon, I love it when you're writing with your heart. I can sympathize with some of your points, but at the same time I think you're missing an aspect, putting all the blame on Blizzard and the M&S. In one way you're a bit of a slacker too, you see. Look out for incoming, postive, pink-colored Larísa rant on monday!

Vaelin said...

While this is unscientific. EVERY year around this time it 'feels' that way.

I just thought this was just the ebb and flow of the students/parents. It'll get settled in a month, and then be in turmoil again in September, and December, etc...

Anonymous said...

IT IS NOT $15 PER MONTH!!!

Why do people keep repeating this. It is $15.95 per month, which is almost $16.

Dave C said...

Dunno what territory you're in that you're being charged $15.95, Mr. Anonymous, but in US/Oceanic territory, the prices are:

$14.99 USD - One Month Recurring

$41.97 USD - Three Months Recurring ($13.99 per month)

$77.94 USD - Six Months Recurring ($12.99 per month)

Hagu said...

I think your anger supports my opinion that Bliz would be better off changing fewer things. Would you have been nearly this upset if FL+4 had shipped this way? Isn't it the change not the absolute that upset you?

I think that Ul should have shipped Ensidia-impossible and then just reduce damage each week; very rapidly till world first and deaccelerating the drop till say half the attempts succeed. The epeen crowd would get the date of the kill recorded as an achievement. This would give even more incentive for raiders to hurry, get the M&S to eventually see the content before the next expac and most importantly not generate as much nerf rage. And you would end up with a perfectly tuned instance without having to guess a priori what the right numbers are.

My experience is that the better raiders are at least as likely to make AH mistakes as the general population; Perhaps you knowing the secret formula that 10 cry = 1 E will be funded from a cross-section of the population

I do think that WoW is in decline. I think it will decline much faster since it is owned by a company that has other games to invest in. CCP only has EVE; they will push it hard. Every quarter Bliz, a public company with all the short-term focus the stock market accentuates, has to decide whether to invest in WoW, Dia, SC, GHero, ... and make the most profitable allocation. But as a cash cow, with few support and no developer resources, WoW could continue for many many years; several years after executives have decided there will never be another expansion. Moore's law suggests the hardware costs to support a server are halving every 18 months.

I just think that Bliz is catering to the wrong casual crowd; what your analysis omitted is that you want *ongoing* players. Console games can sell bigger numbers than WoW. What makes WoW so much more profitable is the revenue stream; rather than a game than someone might just rent for a few weeks, Bliz can get a game, xpac or two and months/years of revenue. There are many console alternatives; WoW is in a unique position as dominant MMO. Adding more video-game elements/skills seems to me like you are focusing on the smaller, more competitive, less-profitable under 25 male audience. What console games are the peers of a 16 year old boy playing? How many were played for 24 months? Now what games are the peers of a 35 year old mother playing? (I don't mean to be overly sexist/agist there are many 35yo and mom's who can dramatically outplay me), Competition doesn't help profitablity. And scale doesn't matter for the people who are compensating; it's OK if there are only 200 players as long as your epeen is more endowed than 190 of them. Scale does matter for the social aspect; the more people you know who are in the game, the more desirable the game. Perhaps it is generational; in none of the games I played, did 250 milliseconds matter; or even 2500ms - bridge, chess, poker, board wargames, turn-based computer games. Skill, knowledge, intelligence all helped; reaction time did not. So if I were trying to expand WoW - "extend the product lifecycle" is the business term - I would focus on things outside of faster laser eyes, more void zone raids; e.g. professions are an obviously neglected area of WoW.

This is a genuine question, not being argumentative: is there anything you could see that you would regard as challenging - required knowledge, intelligence, ability so as to differentiate the skilled from the unskilled - that would *not* involve reaction time? Is there any way a game could encompass diverse players, without just segmenting them - the way that Ulduar and Arena people really don't know they are in the same game, except they both pay more for glyphs if they are on your realm. After WoW has player housing, I can at least yell at you to get off my lawn.

Hardcore Pissed said...

Thebig hit for blizzard is yet to come. With the coming release of Star Wars The Old Republic, will more then likely take a hefty chunk out of blizzard's income. I asked my guild on several occasions if they will be leaving wow for Old Republic, even i am. Now i am not a casual player, i raid 3-4 times a week, even 5 times. But still in the end, what blizzard is doing to the game its allowing M&S to do what hardcore do with little work, maybe not as quick but eventually will. Back in Pre-Bc killing Onyxia was a great feat, people knew who your guild was, clearing molten core was barely doable. Clearing Naxx 40 and AQ 40 you were considered God Mode or hackers.

With the coming of BC and with the addition of Karazhan, Gruuls, Mags, yes they were hard for beginners, but they were actually pretty easy for people who were playing for a long time. With the Addition of Black Temple, TK, SSC, and MH, things got harder again, but not by much. Now with Wotlk, all i got is. "wtf" you were seeing guils clear it in a week of 10 of their socials becoming 80, no heroics, they just plowed. Naxx 25 was especially easy, my social guild cleared it in 2 weeks of work, got immortal in 4. Now with the Introduction of Hard Modes, yes those are for Hard Core- but it still doesn't justify what is happening, because eventually even the M&S will be able to Sarth 3d, Algalon, and even get that hammer which requires Yogg-Hard Mode.

All i'm saying is that if the game does not get harder, more and more of the hardcore non M&S group, will leave, and blizzard will continue to make it easier.

Anonymous said...

different anonymous here.

I will not claim knowledge of every state, but in my state there's a one dollar surcharge bringing the monthly playing fee to 16 dollars

Yaggle said...

@Grodus:
The only spaghetti sauce I will buy is Billy Mitchell spaghetti sauce! And as far as comparing Gevlon and Mr. Mitchell, I think you are right, but who was the most interesting character from "King of Kong", was it Steve Webe, or Billy Mitchell? I thought it was Billy, hands down!

Brian said...

Gevlon has basically done what most commentators on the "nerfs" have done...classify players into "hardcore" and "M&S". In their world, either Blizzard is catering to really excellent players (a group they view themselves as part of) or they are catering to complete morons who faceroll their way through content.

Are those really the only two choices though? I've met the M&S players, at least the ones who bother to try raiding, and they aren't clearing very much at all. The only content they experience is content where much better geared and skilled players can drag them through. And in my experience, this isn't too much of the content. Certainly nothing in Ulduar besides maybe FL normal mode. The game is not being geared for M&S, a group of M&S can hardly do OS.

What Blizzard is really doing is focusing the game on people for whom both social things and raiding are important. Raids can now be skilled friends instead of having a roster that's filled out like a professional sports team. The fact that Ulduar is much harder than Naxx makes it obvious that Blizzard's intent isn't to nerf difficulty into the ground. They're clearly searching for a good balance point.

Gevlon freely admits he places no value on social things when it comes to raiding, making money, or anything else. But I think he's in the minority in WoW. For most of us, skilled or otherwise, we don't WANT a game that forces us to kick someone from our raid permanently because they got frozen on Hodir. Older content basically punished anything but ultimate pursuit of the goal as weakness, and I'm not sure that's very appealing to most people, even if they are pretty good.

I don't want to play with complete slackers either, but I like that WoW allows me to pick friends who are pretty good over totally epic players who I can't stand. I already have a job where the results are the only thing that matter, I'm not sure my free time needs to be taken up with another one.

Unkk said...

"Ranjurm said...

It is certainly strange to see someone who hasn't done any progression raiding or significant hard modes in Wotlk claim there is no challenge to current content.

What skill was demonstrated by forcing your raid members to pick up leatherworking for sunwell or to fill your raids with 8 warriors to get a vanilla naxx four horsemen kill? What skill did it take to have only dwarf priests to do fear ward? Or to have most of the dps specs in the game be a burden for group play? Or to have to precisely stack groups for buffs?

There was no golden age to WoW."

The thing is, yes some of the hardmodes are actually hard, but they will hit the nerfbat and will be turned into easymode farming for M&S within like a month. Flame lev was a perfect example. It was not gear dependant(a bit, but not so much) and it was not class dependant. It solely relied on you having 25 people that know what they are doing.

Ie if you are good enough, and execute your strategy good enough you get a kill. Why nerf something like this? It's supposed to be hard, hence it's called a hardmode. I think this is what Gevlon is getting at, that yes there are hard encounters, but they will be nerfed in not a too long of a timespan. Ulduar has been out for what, 1.5 months? And they have already nerfed half the place with pointless nerfs turning certain encounters into jokes.

XT was laughable, Flame Lev was beyond laughable after the nerfs, they are now true welfare epics.

Anonymous said...

"It is certainly strange to see someone who hasn't done any progression raiding or significant hard modes in Wotlk claim there is no challenge to current content.

What skill was demonstrated by forcing your raid members to pick up leatherworking for sunwell or to fill your raids with 8 warriors to get a vanilla naxx four horsemen kill? What skill did it take to have only dwarf priests to do fear ward? Or to have most of the dps specs in the game be a burden for group play? Or to have to precisely stack groups for buffs?

There was no golden age to WoW."

both sides are exaggerating to make a point, but, in the spirit of the point-making, let's not forget that there was a time when each pull required strategy. CC was required. Now there is barely any trash, and all trash can be aoe'd with impunity. boss strategies have also been simplified almost to the point of triviality. and yes, the social aspect of the game has grown to be as/more important than the skill aspect.

this is what the op was trying to say.

so, while you have a point too, that maybe the extremes of requiring raids to bring a dwarf priest for fear ward were a bit excessive, there's such a thing as going too far in the opposite direction to appease the masses (read: lowest common denominator).

Don said...

I think you've got to look at it from both ends of the spectrum. While I agree that some of the 'players' leave, I also think that some 'socials' become players. I know that's how it started for me, anyway.

When I started playing WoW I was absolutely terrible. My friends were my idols. My heroes, if you will. But as I evolved from a Social into a Player my ideals of what makes a good WoW player changed.

Most of my Social friends have moved on and I now see the guilds achieving world firsts and the teams hitting the Ladder cap standing in the same light my buddies I once looked up to for having an entire Gold, let alone their level 40 (those were the days) mounts.

Thael - Eredar, US

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