Greedy Goblin

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The WoW Legion TV show

I watched my girlfriend doing the WoW Legion intro quests and scenarios. Surprisingly, I liked them a lot. They were well-written and immersive. The Legion really invaded Azeroth and the adventurers really fought back.

However I saw no reason to do it myself as the content was already "consumed", despite I didn't touch the controls. WoW completely became a TV show instead of a game. The "player" is a passive consumer who has no agency in the story. Unless you choose to avoid some content, you will complete it, regardless of "skill". Sure, some players complete it faster than others, but at the end, everyone will "be the hero". Rewards will be given out, but will be obsoleted in a month or two. Nothing you do will affect the world, other players or even your own character.

I never understood while people watch streams of others playing. Play the game yourself! - I said. I now see the reason: most games are rather TV shows which are best consumed fully passively, not being bothered with and distracted by clicking keys. In the same time the oblivious morons and slackers can make themselves believe that they are actually heroes, exceptional players achieving all the stuff on the screen instead of simply passively receiving it.

This also explains why WoW has so rapidly changing player numbers. When new content is out, lot of viewers return to experience it. When it consumed, they move to the next "TV show episode", while avid fans "re-watch the episode".

I'm not being judgmental here. There is nothing wrong with running such shows. The "idle games", which don't even have formal player action are popular forms of entertainment. Good luck with it Blizzard. But of course it's not the entertainment for me.


nightgerbil said...

Its thee lack of replayabily that gets me. I used to be bale to spend a massive amount of time in games exploring all their content. Wow originally for me was like the motherlode. In wod I was done in about 4 months. I don't plan to buy legion. This will be the first expac of wow that I miss since I started it all those years ago, but I see no reason to sub to wow anymore: its not being written for people like me.

maxim said...

There could be an interesting discussion on the impact of free market (and open society in general) on people's ability to make meaningful MMOs (and games in general).
If profit is the ultimate goal, you always end up catering to the lowest common denominator, which is not very high in an individualistic world that puts a premium on people being unique.

maxim said...

Incidentally, there is an opposite example of No Man's Sky. People consciously chose to avoid any and all trappings of a "tv show" and the result is, in a paradoxal way, both polarising and mediocre.

Anonymous said...

For any mmo to capture me in the long run, it has to cater to the RPG side, and let me create my own story. The problem is, as with all such instances of sandboxes, that most players are terrible storytellers, and sucks at creating their own. So instead they flock to the mmo which like you say, spoon feed them the story and make them the hero for conversing with someone and then clicking a button twice.

Cathfaern said...

@nightgerbil: do you play any MMO right now?
My problem is that yes I liked WoW more in before Cataclysm (where this "TV show" feeling really started to define the game) but still I can't find any MMO which is the same diverse, well-thought, lore-heavy as WoW.

Basil said...

It can be like reading a book, in my opinion. And once you've read it, there are things like arena to keep you entertained while you wait for the next one.

Anonymous said...

for relaxation at the moment i'm leveling a warlock. i'm in quest greens not heirlooms but by the time i'm allowed to do a zone, quests become available, i overpower it.

i'm 68 doing Borean Tundra and the only mobs that even slightly challenge me are 72 elites which I remember not being possible at 71 when it was current content. I could have reasonably done Shadowmoon Valley at 61 when i left Hellfire peninsular but the quests aren't available till i was 67 so i had to do Zangamarsh and Blades Edge.

my lvl 10 holy paladin was able to solo Ragefire Chasm in heirlooms. well technically he was lvl 12 or 13 by the end of the first run.

i wish there was a server type. where everything to make the game casual is removed.

Anonymous said...

If you ou want to compete, you want to play against someone. On typical games, you must be stonger, faster and smarter to be better then your opponents to win. Computer makes the "strong" part absolete, having muscles in real life wont influence gameplay in WoW much. You want to be faster? Naturally, young people have faster reaction speed and have significant advantage over older counterparts. Thats why older people dont like to play FPS games soo much, reaction speed matters too much. If you eliminate in the game both reaction speed and physical fitness, then only strategy and players knowledge should matter.

MMO add-s 2 factors more. Gameplay time and wealth. Gameplay usually is some sort of experience, what caps after rectain cameplay. Its good, because it separates newbies and pros and on reaching cap, everyone should be equal.

Wealth on other hand, has no cap. People grind, cheat, buy or abuse to get wealth. As our goblin is specialist in wealth style of play, i got a question. What are the methods to cap power increase from wealth on different games?

Anonymous said...

@cathfaern You should try TESO if you haven't yet. It's heavy on lore and immensely improved after a mediocre launch.