Greedy Goblin

Monday, April 12, 2010

Hard mode soccer

Undergeared update: we raided this week but I had no time writing the post, will come tomorrow.

There is a strange thing about "easy" and "hard" games and I'm surprised that no one else is surprised. Soccer is an accessible game. There are amateur groups in every city (in Europe, for US think of basketball instead). Strike that, you can just grab some friends and find some empty spot, place down two pair of rocks as goalposts and play.

On the other hand the same soccer is a hardcore game with million-dollar paid superstars, world championship and hundreds of thousands of spectators cheering for victories.

There is a "progression" in the "soccer levels" for good players. They start as rugball kicking kids, get chosen to their school's team, later they get picked by a the coach of the local 3rd league team. If they perform well, they are picked by the headhunter for a second league team, a first league team and finally get into a world class team.

90% of the soccer players "get stuck" on the very first level: they are kicking a ball in an open ground or rent field with friends. 9% of the soccer players "hit the brick wall" after the second level: they are playing in a school team or an amateur team, never chosen by any coach.

Yet I've never heard a single soccer player saying "FIFA makes this game only for 1% of the players". Of course some questions his position, blames certain coaches for being unfair with them, but you can't find a single soccer player who claims that every soccer players are entitled to play in a huge stadium front of 50K spectators.

On the other hand MMO players believe that a game is hard if it is not completed by the average player. A game where players hit brick walls and cannot advance beyond certain levels are considered hard-core. The fact that the game has easy content for them is not enough. They must have all content. In BC, everyone could level to 70. Everyone could participate in normal mode dungeons. Everyone could participate in battlegrounds. About 90% of the game content was open to absolutely everyone. About 8% was accessible to everyone who was not a complete failure: HC instances and Karazhan. Only about 2% of the content needed some level of professionalism. Yet the game was called "hard core" and nerfed in WotLK with huge business success.

On the top of that, soccer has all the "bad, outdated" features that no "modern" MMO has: there is death penalty (if you mess things up, you are removed from the more professional league, back to a less professional). There are no rewards for defeat, strike that, you lose prizes (points in a professional league, beers in an amateur match). There is no solo content that everyone can do on his own pace. To be on the very top, you must be "no lifer", practicing soccer all the time. Yet there is a thriving soccer-playing community.

Are soccer players are better men, and MMO players are just sorry kids living in their parents basement, whining for rewards for nothing?

The answer is that the soccer business is financed by spectators and fans who want to see good soccer. So no one cares if the bad soccer player whines for anything. On the other hand an MMO is financed by players, so the bad MMO player is an equally valuable customer. This can only change if an MMO become a widespread accepted "sport" and majority of the company will come from people who don't actively play, just watch matches and buy merchandise.

PS: the post was seriously rewritten according to comments, so if some comment seem to make no sense, it refers to the old (wrong) version.


Dr. Shaid said...

I'd like to see this in action, if only to see how the economies on the various servers play out. We can all admit half our income comes off morons buying shit they don't need from our AHmules who conveniently overprice it. :)

Jormundgard said...

One difference I see is that FIFA is funded by spectators, not players in the lower brackets, while MMOs are funded by players who are mostly in lower brackets. In order to fund the product, the developers must make content that is for the lower bracket.

Since players fund themselves via the marketplace (under the heavy hand of the developer), I figure it produces different social behaviour.

Anonymous said...

You're missing a major point. The entirety of soccer content IS available to every player. There's no story you're missing because you don't get to play in the field that Beckham beat last year. You're not missing out on the fruits of your labor (I.e. in wow content created using your subscription fees).

And finally, where's the satisfaction in wow? In soccer you're satisfied by the exercise releasing endorphins, no matter what level you play at.

Azzur said...

The flaw in Gevlon's post is that apples are being compared to oranges.

In soccer, you are playing against an opposition (PvP). In WoW raiding, you are playing against a scripted encounter (PvE). Hence, for the comparison to be valid, Gevlon needed to compare arena (PvP) with soccer (PvP). Now, I don't think that people qq'ing that there is a "progression path" in arena. I don't hear newbies saying "i deserve the 2200 rating weapon".

Instead of soccer, a better comparison would be marathons. I read an article somewhere (if needed, I can hunt it down. But I'm pretty sure my memory on the article is correct) that "hard-core" marathon runners complain that the bar for marathons have become "too easy". What is basically happening is that organisers are setting lenient cut-off times so that more "social runners" can complete it and say that "they've completed a marathon". Now, in a marathon, you're not competing against others (unless you're gunning for first place), so it's very much like a PvE encounter.

So, lets take this aspect back to raiding. Casuals want the content to be easier so that they have the satisfaction of completing it. Especially that they are spending time and resources on the activity. The same thing with the marathon. Casuals spend time and money to run the race, so they want to be able to complete it.

Anonymous said...

The marathon comparison has already been posted on this blog:

Foo said...

This used to be called gated progression.
* You can't start heroic modes untill you get keys.
* You can't start Black Morass untill you've finished Old Durnhold
* You can't start Tempest Keep untill you have a flying mount
* You can't start Kara untill you have finished the above criteria.

Socials found they couldn't do the latest and greatest content, so WOW was 'exclusive' to the point it excluded them. As such they took their dollars and played a different game, where they could be feel 'leet'. In order to keep these players dollars, WOW enables and encourages lower level players to mingle with and be boosted by higher level players.

This leaves those looking for gated challenges having to set arbitrary limits for themselves, in part assisted by hard mode acheivements. I do not expect to see any assitance from Blizzard to re-segregate the communities.

That said, at least with the levelling dungeon finder you are mixed with very roughly similar level toons, admitidly with overgeared and heavily nerfed instances. In my opinion this compares favourably to previous scenarios where the majority of players only ever saw instances in the company of a max level toon.

Samus said...

Gevlon, you must realize that a huge part of WoW's success is convincing every social that he is just as good as the hardcore players? You pointed that out yourself in the discussion of why a hardcore server would be a bad idea, I don't see why this is different.

Zazkadin said...

I agree with Azzur and Anonymous above here: the analogy is incorrect. In soccer you get all content, at whatever level you play (unless having a large audience must be considered "content"). Blizzard already gave us a bit of this, by providing the same raid content in 25 and 10 player raids, where the latter are more easier to complete. If Blizzard extended this by providing us with the posibility to kill the Lich King in 5 man groups or even solo, everyone would be happy.

A better analogy would be a ski resort where you had to qualify yourself for the more difficult slopes: if you were a beginner or had limited talents, you would only be allowed on the blue slopes and only the experts are allowed on the black slopes. If you then make the beginners pay the same amount as the experts, you can be sure that the beginners will start to moan that they deserve to ski the black runs, since they paid for the full content.

Gevlon said...

@Azzur, Zazkadin and co: every boss is like another. They hit the tank(s) and put goo on the ground. Some might call their hit "impale" others "saber lash". Some farts green goo, others throw black and white spheres. There is not more difference between two bosses than two soccer fields. The difference is cosmetic (green or white goo / a schoolyard or the Old Trafford). You play the same game: DPS the boss and stand out of the goo, run in, run out, decurse the debuffed, heal the damaged, taunt the boss.

@Foo: you missed the point. If the gated progression is WITHIN servers, than the guy in stage one feels bad when he inspects a guy in stage 3.

On the other hand if the stages are separated, he sees only equal stage people.

The hard mode server is DIFFERENT. You are hard mode or you are not. On the other hand staged servers are just STEPS. The idiot can keep saying that he is not on stage 2 YET because he does not play that much as the no-lifers in stage 2.

Azzur said...

every boss is like another. They hit the tank(s) and put goo on the ground. Some might call their hit "impale" others "saber lash". Some farts green goo, others throw black and white spheres.

I dispute this. If WoW bosses are the same, then puzzle-like games (i.e. jigsaw, IQ, etc) will also be considered the same. So, hence my viewpoint - Casuals want to complete the "challenge", and that is why they want the content to be easier.

Also, in my previous post, I didn't suggest a solution. So here it is: I read somewhere in a GM manual for D&D design that there is a sweet spot of rewards. Give too much and players will get bored. Give too little and players get disheartened. Thus, Blizzard needs to find this sweet spot and thankfully there is a market solution. This sweet spot can be found and adjusted through the "success" of the game (e.g. number of subscribers).

So, unless there is solid market research showing that your "gated progression" will lead to better "success", I believe Blizzard's current model is very close to this sweet spot.

Anonymous said...

Problem is, the best soccer players don't get exclusive areas to play that are different in structure to every other soccer pitch in the world. It's still a rectangle. It's still the same number of players. Just with *harder opponents*.

Therefore, WoW is exactly perfect the way it is. People play the same game, but the better players play against harder opponents. NO EXCLUSIVE CONTENT.

Which is what elites complain about. They don't want the game to be harder. They want exclusive instances/bosses that only they have the right to see.

Zazkadin said...


By your logic the whole game is the same and we do not need more than a starter zone, Deadmines and Molten Core to provide all players with all the content they ever need.

Regardless whether I agree with that, Blizzard creates the illusion that all the content is different. Since I paid for the game, I want to see all that content. Halls of Reflection may not be that different from Deadmines, it does provide different terrain, mobs and storylines and I want to be able to see them.

In the 1990s all the games had cheat codes that were "leaked" 3-6 months after a game was released. This was exactly to enable even the unskilled and impatient players to see all content of a game they paid for. You can say they did not deserve it "because they are not good enough", but challenging your customers is not always the best business model. Well, wellfare epics and nerfs are the cheat codes of WoW.

Holger said...

so you claim every boss is the same in all mechanics AND stories...
I'd claim there is quite some difference between different bosses beside cosmetics, say: story and tactics. You can't really claim that Vash is the same fight as say, the Lichking.
Soccer is a "pvp game", and as such has different standards. The game itself doesn't change no matter where you play it. A good example of a game that changes depending on location may be Golf, but there few other sports that really depend on the place you are.

Additionally, stadiums are usually not build from the money that "low level groups" pay, but from the money the visitors pay.

So "hardcore realms" would have to get contend development as well as support only from the money the players pay + maybe "visitors" that pay to view others playing. No soccer club uses the membership fees of its players to pay the stadium of some first league team, they use it for their own place and material.

To make the "casual" and "hardcore" servers purely cosmetic, all of them need the exact same content, just, on hardcore realms it's harder to beat and gives special achievements.
it does however NOT give better gear.
This would separate the "hardcore elite" from the other players (as only "hardcore servers" are tracked by "the media", and still leave everything accessible for everyone else.

For soccer, many players dream of playing with the best, but they can at least get everything the top players can get (the same gear) and they don't have to pay to play.

Anonymous said...

well, i think it´s just a poor failure by blizzard.

They made an extraordinary job with diablo 2: normal - XX - nightmare (dunno the names anymore, but 3 different difficulties). Therefore you got 3 more server-types. Open Bnet (you can cheat & do what you want - e.g. "sandbox" Mode for testing the content and the singleplayer).

Closed Bnet with server-sided saving of Characters - the normal playmode for MP - it´s not hard to play, but it needs some effort to reach 99 and "finish" the game...

The ultimate hardmode - meaning death = death, no chance to get back...

I don´t want to see ultimate death penalty in WoW, it´s too easy to die therefore (pvp realm? ^^), i think nobody could say he leveled without a single death... but:

Fix the difficulties server-side. Let the players choose in which environment they want to play! M&S hates the serious players because they show them that they suck. Serious players hate the M&S because they can´t get good groups, can´t hire any player without serious testing and can´t raid do to casuals.

Just seperate them. Blizz is a bunch of socialists. Everybody is the same, needs the same content and has to play the same way. That´s BS. There´s a nice theory called "the long tail" - meaning earning money by serving the demand of splitted subgroups. The internet is the perfect place for the long tail due to easy personalisation. Blizz sucks rly in this case - and that´s why they stuck in 11 mio subscribers and don´t grow anymore. WoW is quite a poor hard coded game. "The Game" itself is not that good - it´s all about the community (yeye social stuff eeeek...) but, would you play this game in singleplayer? It only make sense with other people to talk about tactics, minmaxing, making money with and so on. Blizz cuts off the most important part of "having fun" in their game:
Not getting pissed off by any other people who don´t behave like me. It´s like you would force workers to work with retarded persons and just gave the retarded ones too hard stuff and the normal guys too easy stuff...

Chewy said...

The perspective of this example and a lot of others to me is fundamentally incorrect. It assumes that the player and the perceived problem is what is important. Keep in mind that the MMO would not exist in the form we know it today without it being a profitable business for Blizzard (and others) who bring us the content. Blizzard do not care and cannot afford to care about a minority who believe that the game isn't fair because it caters for the casual player. Every player is revenue - casual, stupid, hardcore whatever and whichever is the majority group, they will cater for, because that's where they make their money.

Your proposal may be wonderful for anyone who feels cheated out of their "just deserts" because they are "skilled and talented" but they only pay the same subscription fee as all the other players and even if the majority are "not worthy" it doesn't matter, as long as they pay.

If you can show how this idea increases the overall popularity of the game and hence revenue, you may have something, but simply introducing a gated system that restricts content for those who don't have the time or the wherewithal to progress doesn't increase revenue for Blizzard it simply panders to those who want to feel they're special or talented. The Profit & Loss statement doesn't distinguish them as talented or special in any way.

Anonymous said...

Meh. Blizzard's solution to this throughout WotLK was at first just splitting content along the 10/25 line (remember not long ago when heroic naxx actually just meant naxx25?), but that was not enough for the social brain, that needed further splitting into hard and normal (of course not easy, that would be preposterous!) modes. If you look even further back to TBC, that was what heroic dungeons were about - almost the same dungeon but HARDER - the required actual awareness of your surroundings, which mob to tank which mob to cc when to spam heal the tank and when to heal the whole group etc.
Perhaps the TBC heroics were TOO EASY, as they were accessible to SOME socials so they all wanted in on it, first demanding lower requirement (reputation = running normal mode enough times) to get in (in wotlk blizzard placed no requirement) and then applied that same "logic" to the raid content.

Out of this came the good part of the wotlk changes - the aforementioned 10/25 and easy/hard modes of same raids. Everyone can now see all content.
Unfortunately, this came at a greater cost. For one there is less actual content, as blizzard is selling these "modes" as separate content - can it be that I was the only one to flinch when the next big raid after Ulduar was one circular room where huge pinatas came for you to beat the purple candy out of? When all the new content of that patch was 6 diffrent versions of that room + basement?
Perhaps the new "fun" dailies to be grinded distracted everyone? And hey, after killing the lord of magic, kel'thuzad, and an old god, you can face not one jormungar, but two!
The second price to be paid was the watering down of the heroic 5-mans. Instead of the interesting dungeons where every pack of mobs feels like a boss (you need diffrent strategy for almost every pull), clever design of boss mechanics and reasonable prerequisites for participation (the key could only be obtained once you ran that particular dungeon enough times), you have basically a pull-as-many-as-you-can-and-aoe fest, where even old mechanics become obsolete (not standing in the fire has no meaning if the fire won't kill you), and new ones were first easy and then obsolete with the improvement of gear on a global level. To add insult to injury, blizzard re-used (perhaps I should stay mutated beyond recognition) an old TBC strategy of updating gear attainable from heroics by means of badges - but now instead of getting gear COMPARABLE to that from raid content by PLAYING the game and having fun while doing it, you grind the aoe fest again and again and again. For someone like me (I have A LOT of alts), this is akin to grafting skin from your face to fix a burn on your ass.

Foo said...

@Gevlon: @Foo : you missed the point. If the gated progression is WITHIN servers, than the guy in stage one feels bad when he inspects a guy in stage 3.

I didn't miss the point. In my opinion your proposition in this post is missing the reason that the majority of players are in the game. I think the reasons behind Gamers Hate Gamers and Ding are valid, and stand up better. This is not any personal preference, just an observation of others. In fact I am playing a 'gated' game by personal choice. I am not doing the ICC weekly (or any ICC raiding) till I have cleared ToGC. I have stopped doing 5mans. Your proposal would actually benefit my preferred playstyle.

Sectioning WOW by competance will:
* Prevent (significant) boosting. i.e. no more lvl 80's escorting deadmines.
* Prevent in game advice from helpful 'experienced' players.
* Segregate players from their in-game friends.

I understand that for some, these are all desirable goals. For those you deem M&S - these are deal breakers and they will leave WOW for another game. The gating was removed because people didn't rise to the challenge by their own competance. Re-instating gating will simply cause these players to go elsewhere.

Jana said...

Sorry, Gevlon, but you just can't simply define raid encounters in such meta model level and imply that they are all the same just 'recoloured'.

I mean I can define all board games as:
- has a board divided in areas
- different coloured figures can be put on these areas
- the figures can be moved from one area to another
- figures can sometimes be removed from the board
- there can be a random number generating device involved

Then I can say:
If you have played checkers, you have played chess (and all other existing board games in the world).

Same way I can say that soccer, basketball and volleyball (and other games which involve moving a ball around and trying to position it in certain spots for points for your team) are actually one and the same game.

Therefore I can safely say that each raid encounter is actually a different mini-game, despite that all of them consist of a set of common elements.

Anonymous said...

99% of people who play football only play for enjoyment. That 99% know that they will never be a professional footballer and 98.9% of that won't care.

Fifa was made after the invention of football whereas WoW was created after Blizzard.

Also you're progression of football is wrong. You play football as a kid, your father thinks your good, you go to a try out for a local team. You get accepted of rejected. You either then go try out for another team or you become a youth member of a proper team, if you're good you'll rise up the inner team system till you get to the u19s or reserves, don't make the grade there then you go back to finding another team.

Not many teams actually even have professional players. Only some can make a living from football, the majority have real jobs too.

Oh and nobody uses rocks as goalposts, it's jumpers.

If you enjoy football you lay for your team no matter what level it's at.

Yaggle said...

The reason you never hear "FIFA makes this game only for 1% of the players". is because the rules have stayed the same. They do not constantly change the rules of soccer so that they can get more and more unskilled players but also to keep the skilled players. World of Warcraft has changed its rules so much that is is nothing like the game it once was. They have changed the roles of many classes, made the outdoors questing part of the game so easy that a small child can do it, and tried to rope casual players into raiding by making most raiding easier, also. People don't like to put in the time to level characters only to find that their role in the game has changed. Soccer stays the same. If you want to move up, you decide what position on the field suits you best, you work hard at it, and you become good at it. Too bad Blizzard doesn't get that simple concept. QQ whatever.

Ephemeron said...

If you're looking for a Blizzard game that follows the "soccer model" of progression, I recommend Starcraft II.

Nees said...

Starcraft 2 will have several leagues based on player skill. It's possible for that game because it's about matches which require skill only (no gear) to win, just like soccer. And no matter how bad you are, you will play the same content as everyone else.

Blizzard has done the same with the Arena matchmaking system in WoW. Everyone gets to play the same content as everyone else, and you'll face opponents which you technically should be able to beat (regardless of gear!).

However (as Azzur already said), we're talking about PVE matches here. And those are much harder to balance around the different skill levels of all players.
Blizzard is actually trying to do this, and gating/segregating the content is definitely not the answer. Just like PVP matchmaking, you'll need PVE matchmaking. Provide easier/harder versions of the same content. And there's the big problem: calculating a PVP rating and matching opponents based on that rating, is a lot easier than creating (generating?) PVE content based on a PVE rating (and how do you measure such a rating?).

LarĂ­sa said...

As by a coincidence I just finished a text-of-wall analysis on difficulty levels building on the ski resort analogy. It was inspired by my ski vacation though and not by the comments here, which I hadn't read as I wrote it. I'll publish it tuesday or wednesday. The point is that I think both the wow players who prefer black slopes and the beginners who want it green have some things to learn from the skiing approach. It's not just about the choices of Blizzard I think. It's also about the community.

Chewy said...


Sorry Larisa, I have to disagree with you, it's not about the community. We are merely a very small "user group" who talk about the playing experience.

If 50 people respond to Gevlon's post and that represents 1/1000 of the people who read it (which is probably generous), then we represent less than 0.5% of the player base.

With this level of influence (remembering that 1 player = 1 subscription) even the most sensational idea that caused everyone of those 50,000 players to cancel their subscription (if not implemented) would be little more than background noise to Blizzard.

Eaten by a Grue said...

Have you considered that the elite players would not like the separate server model either?

There seems to be alot of equating of socials and M&S. I think the non-morons are largely social as well.

What would your 6k gearscore mean if everyone around you had a 6k gearscore? Would you want to keep playing?

Let's face it, the content in WoW is not that great. Taunt boss, stay out of fire, learn a few mechanics, kill adds, wipe until perfect, that's it.

The key to WoW is the reward system, with the player feeling more and more powerful after each piece of gear, but how would you feel more powerful if everyone around you was just as powerful?

So the elite players need the scrubs, as much as they may hate grouping with them, I do not think they really want them to go away, or they would lose their feeling of being better than them.

Wilson said...

If players playing at level X (top 10%, top 1%, whatever) generated so much dedication from their fans that they bring in millions of dollars the way professional athletes do, then I'd say of course they're entitled to resources and content beyond what the masses get. But the cold hard reality is, they're just amateurs, paying the same $15/month to play on the field as everyone else.

Anonymous said...

Comparing soccer to WoW must be a joke. In WoW people pay to play. In soccer people are payed to play by fans.

The huge stadiums aren't payed for by regular soccer players, they are payed for by fans.

I am not a fan of top guilds, and I don't want to pay for content created specifically for them (heroic Arthas for example, I would be fine if there was no such thing until/if 90% of guilds reached that point).

Persnickety said...

The main objection I'd have to something like this is the ability to mix the groups. For instance, in our guild, we'll mix our cutting edge Kingslayer toons with our alts to help the alt groups, and basically empower half a dozen or more 10-mans in our very small guild. In your model, those Kingslayer toons would be off on another realm entirely, leaving our poor alts stranded!

Nils said...

I wouldn't like that. Indeed, I doubt that WotLK was a success like classic WoW or BC was.

The subscribtion numbers stagnate for quite some time by now.
(Which is proven by the fact that Blizzard didn't annouce 12mio players so far.)

Players actually like somebody to look up to. Yes, they complain all the time. But in the end they like it. You shouldn't do a stupid mistake, like giving only PvE raiders good equip and PvP players not, of course.

But, ignoring stpid mistakes, I think that the classic and BC formula for WoW was basically quite successful; and WotLK less successful.

On a general critique of WoW and WotLK read my blog .

David said...

I find that this post suffered from the lack of a clearly defined problem it was attempting to fix. I would assume that the "problem" (which really needs to have a clear definition before moving on to the solution) is that "people complained about the accessibility and in turn the game landscape was altered to cater to them."

Given that is the "problem" a tiered server like that would only complicate things. WoW is as much a social outlet as it is a gaming outlet. With your proposed solution, the alts I'm leveling up would have no interaction with the rest of my guild. In fact, my level 80's that don't raid would have no interaction with my guild and would not even be able to receive mail from my mains. The people who complained about not having access to the content didn't complain because they necessarily wanted to run hyjal, but rather they felt cut off from the rest of the gaming community. They had a desire to "do THAT" and independent of what "that" is, they will always have that desire.

Blizzard has attempted to deal with this problem in 2 ways. 1 is with attunement, whether its keys from faction or quests or whatever, and 2 is with hard modes.

BC showed us what can go wrong with attunement. WotLK showed us that hard/heroic model can be a success. We have casuals PUGing into ICC yet we have some of the best players in the world finally clearing the hardest content. I think going forward the best solution would be to take everything that was a success from both attunement and heroic mode and combine it.

berg said...

The reason sports are succesfull are because of the teams, the biggest sports have teams from an area, not via a team name relating to nothing.
I am from area x, therefore I support x team, also I dislike Y team because they are differn't to me.

The other reason sports are so succesful is because of the business model behind it in supporting your team. You are not playing the game, you have no impact on the score, yet when "your team" scores you feel as if you just scored. The feeling of excitement the ability to brag to your friends about how your team scored, when infact you did nothing at all. That is why sport is so succesfull, it is fooling the socials into believing they are part of something that they are not. They are not part of the team, even though they buy the tickets and wear the shirt, socks, hat scarf and more, and update the kit every new season. They then believe they are more HC and can show it off at the local pub.

Similar to how you can ride your new hog in ogg or durotar, you can wear your kit in the pub and show everyone how HC you are wearing the kit.

As such e-sports will never take off untill they embrace this market model properly instead of making teams for the HC only, only imba good arena players may be in SK gaming! nono, it must be that anyone can BE sk gaming. All i have to do is wear there tshirt, use the mouse mat and purchase the rights to watch them play, and even play with them the same way football stars will play with kids to promote there team, pro's must play with scrubs to promote themselves.

Nathan Proper said...

Blizzard doesn't change things because people whine, they change things because it can keep subscribers or increase subscriber numbers.

I suspect that Blizzard realized that in BC many players would get to Kara and then be 'finished'and unsubscribe. To correct this problem, they made more content available to players but opening raids, and kept these same players hanging on as subscribers.

Conversely, to keep the hard core raiders subscribing, they introduced hard modes --- a virtual wall to beat against --- a measure by which to feel superior. And if they lose a few hard-core raid who feel that hard modes trivialize content, they more than make up in subscriber numbers by the M&S who stay subscribed for months more.

Tonus said...

From what I can tell, in most professional sports there are players who complain that they do not play enough, or that they are not paid enough, or that the fans are too critical, or that the press is too critical, or that the coach is difficult to play for... etc.

And they aren't paying $15 a month to play baseball, or basketball, or soccer. Many are being paid tens of millions of dollars every year, and they whine like children. And these are the ones who made it through the process to get to that level!

On the other end, the people who are recruiting for their sports teams have spent tens of millions (perhaps even hundreds of millions) on them, and so they presumably take the role very seriously. How much did the guild leader pay in order to assemble his group of all stars to kill the Lich King? $15 a month?

Anonymous said...

Bosses ARE all the same. Try finding a boss mechanic that can't be described as:

Don't stand in the ___.
Do stand in the ___.
Stay close to ___ player.
Switch dps to ___ add.
Stop dps during ___.
Interrupt the ___ spell.
Cleanse the ___ debuff.
Kite the ___.
Spam heals on ___.
Blow cooldowns during ___.
Taunt at ___ stacks.
Spread out by ___ yards.

Aside from vehicle fights, those are the only skills beyond knowing your spells/rotations. Once you have those skills, every new boss just requires learning the graphics and warnings, and applying the appropriate action.

Sky said...

Gevlon, you seem to have such a fierce hate on for casuals that you are failing to think through your suggestions to appease them. Try to imagine a tiered server for a moment: My alts aren't on the same server as my main. I can't play with my friends or my wife unless our respective toons are on precisely the same level of progression. If I have long term friends on my server I lose contact with them if I want to raid or pvp a little more aggressively than I did last week. When I get punted up a server I suddenly have no guild, no friends, no one to play with.

While there are surely people out there who seriously only play to enhance their score most people play for the social relationships they develop over time. I am a moderately hardcore player but I continue to play because I can keep in touch with my far flung friends through playing together in WOW.

There are an incredible range of players out there and the system of allowing people to sample the content they want while maintaining their relationships is a critical part of WOW. Some casuals are very smart, motivated people who like the connection WOW provides socially while not wanting to push into a serious raid schedule. Those people pay just as much as anyone else and marginalizing them is foolish.

Sky -

Shannon said...

The difficulty with your analogy is that one does not have to pay to play soccer. You certainly can - such as in a club that has membership dues - but there is no obligation to pony up cash for your game of goal-posts-ala-rock.

But in a situation where you're paying for entertainment, it becomes irritating to a social to feel that they're paying the same amount for 'less content'. Because he refuses to believe his cash pays for the privilege of logging in and the data storage of his characters, rather than admitting that the purchase price of the box covered all costs of creating patches, expansions, and raids.

Doing so would mean he'd have to admit he pays more per hour to enjoy less - by his own decisions of how to use his time.

By blaming you and I, rather than himself, saying that we're ruining his enjoyment - instead of realizing that he needs to measure his happiness by his own goals rather than our unrelated accomplishments - he's able to continue believing that he is entitled to anything he wants.

He sees himself losing a part of his paycheck every month, and thinks that this means he's paying for more game experience, rather than realizing he's paying for server maintenance and customer care salaries.

He sees more money go to Blizzard - surely that means he's entitled to more things!

Xaxziminrax the Second said...

Glad you rewrote it. Read through the old version and had nothing to say because it seemed so fragmented.

Still have nothing to say.

Eaten by a Grue said...

What I also find funny is that Gevlon's suggestion is essentially what Blizzard's EPEEN April's Fool joke was all about, though instead of moving to a new tier of server, the well-geared player gets an auto-ignore feature, where he does not see the noobs and they cannot message him. Gevlon appears to be on the level, however.

Klepsacovic said...

No one owns or controls soccer. There are certain authorities on soccer rules and regulations, but they can be ignored by most players, since most soccer is unorganized. Leagues and teams are the guilds and they're free to make whatever restrictions they want.

Your analogy doesn't really work. There are no soccer devs and high-end content is not all that different from low end content. Then there's the problem of comparing a pure PvP game (soccer) to the PvE content of WoW. Soccer is as hard as the other players make it, not the devs.

Anonymous said...

this post is thought provoking, i like the comparisons you make. i would like to point out that i dont feel like 90% of the wow community are asking for easier content so that they may participate. i believe there is a smaller percentage that are complaining, but i think the majority of players know where they stand and do not expect content to be made easier just for them. i feel like blizzard is pushing this because it is in their best interest. by making more content available to more players they are increasing their playerbase and therefore their income.