Greedy Goblin

Friday, September 2, 2016

The silence of the Legion

Once again I was watching my girlfriend playing WoW, now as the Legion is out. The starting quests fit to the "you are the hero of the ages just for pressing any key" theme. Kill some random demons and bang, you got a legendary weapon and you become the leader of your class. Of course every other player got the same legendary and becomes the leader of his class, so this makes absolutely no sense MMO wise.

Anyway, the stories are nice and the graphics - despite lower quality than BDO - is more "real". Uncanny valley I guess, BDO world is an almost perfect human medieval setting while WoW Legion is cartoon demon land. Anyway, I watched the hunter and the priest starting quests, liked them and the order halls a lot. Also seeing Dalaran was nostalgic enough. Probably I'll watch another classes too. However I see no benefit actually playing the game and don't see how the experience would be different.

But that's not the point. She noticed that more people were online in the guild than ever, yet the guild chat was dead silent. Only achievements popped up. On the one hand, this is good, people were immersed in the story. I was too, despite not even playing. On the other hand this didn't help at all to somehow integrate the newcomers and returning players. So they'll have no reason to stay after their story ran out.

I think WoW completely lost focus. What is WoW? An RPG? A raiding dance game? A gear collecting grinding game? A competitive PvP game maybe? The problem is that if you are everything, you are nothing. Players want to play together but it's impossible when the others have other preferences. A WoT clan has the same preference: playing tank PvP. But in a WoW guild there can be flower-smelling casuals, story-consuming soloers, raiders, PvP-ers with nothing in common. Unless the guild is very focused and strict in rules, it will be all over the place and goes to nowhere.

The silence we saw yesterday was the best evidence that Blizzard does something very wrong. An MMO lives and dies by its community and that chat was silent even by my standards. Maybe the game should be split into various games: a leveling game where it takes 1000+ hours to get to max level and there are lot of achievements to collect, a raiding game where gear is given and boss tries are limited for competition, a gear-grinding game where upgrades come from World and 5-men dungeons with tank and spank mechanics and maybe a competitive arena game. They can use the same mechanics and your avatar can log into any of them but actions in one has no effect in the other.

Or maybe something else. But something should be done, because that silence on the chat will kill WoW.

15 comments:

Carson 63000 said...

I don't think you can just assert "if you are everything, you are nothing".

Trying to be all things to all people has always been WoW's main selling point. And pursuing that goal has, well, kinda made it one of the biggest successes in the entire history of video games.

One thing is for sure, though - I don't think there's room for lots of different games to all try to be all things to all people. We've seen how many broken carcasses of MMOs have washed up on the shore after trying to compete with WoW on that front.

Oswaldo Cerdán said...

Don't get me wrong, but you should see the bigger picture because this is not happening on my guild, they talk like there's no tomorrow, we're even on Discord talking about the quests, and the zones, and why we can't wait to do dungeons together.

It could be a matter of time, who know? But sure, you got a point, maybe WoW lost it's route, but what's an MMO anyways? If you're having fun then everything will be alright.

Good post mate.

Anonymous said...

>it's a "wow is dead" episode
WoW pioneered the single-player MMO. All the silence means is socials no longer have to interact to compare against one another.

Smokeman said...

Gevlon says:
"Maybe the game should be split into various games:"

This is my point exactly. You cannot have "One game to rule them all" All the rings must have their own game. but they can share the same "Game universe."

maxim said...

WoW enjoys a very special place for many people where it is almost a lifestyle choice. I know a fair amount of players who are not very interested in in-game socialising, don't care about any other games at all and seem to have been perfectly content - for years now - to simply do their one preferred aspect of WoW (PvP, achievement gathering, pets, auction, raiding etc) as simply a way to unwind after a busy workday.

It is important to point out that these people have been Blizzard's customers for many years now and show no signs of any real dissatisfaction, so will probably remain that way for many years more.

So, if WoW is dying, it will take years to die, because that's the kind of foundation it built for itself.

Anonymous said...

"Or maybe something else. But something should be done, because that silence on the chat will kill WoW."

My chats are exploding with people being so stoked, linking stuff, chatting about what they are doing, where to go, sure, so people (like me) are so engrossed in the story that they arent taking part in chat, but, when I get round to speaking, it will be not just achieve linking.

Also remember, people just spent 2 weeks powerlevelling, they are now relaxing.

Antze said...

Your observations are probably correct, although not statistically correct, as we see from the comments, but your analysis is arguable. I'd say that WoW WAS everything, in vanilla/TBC, for example - it was a raiding game, a leveling game, a dungeoneering game, probably a PvP game (didn't check then), and a flower picking game - there was plenty of flowers to choose, and many weird potions to craft with them.

Now WoW is just a movie plus a raiding game. Movies require no player interaction. Raids... no idea what's going there, but I heard they still exist in some form, and even good for some people.

Samus said...

All of those things were in the game back in the Burning Crusade and WotLK days, when WoW was enjoying being the most successful and profitable game in history. I do not understand the argument for why something like PvP would somehow detract from other parts of the game it has literally no effect on. These are all additional activities to keep players playing. Taking them away means players run out of content and quit faster.

Anonymous said...

What do you think about Guild Wars 2?

Gevlon said...

I know little of GW2 and saw no reason to learn more.

Anonymous said...

Gevlon, can we expect top10 single player games/movies/books lists from you? I have literally nothing on my table, and I would be glad to try out your recommendations.

Theodora Dunkelmauer said...

@Samus:

> I do not understand the argument for why something like PvP would somehow detract from
> other parts of the game it has literally no effect on.

Actually, it always have some effect, because of the class balancing, as the devs need to balance the différents classes not only for PvE, but also for PvE.

And that actually lead to the removal of several old-mmo roles :
* Debugger => Nobody like to be alive, yet totally crippled for 5 to 10 mins. Here, I'm talking about really crippling debuffs, like 50% reduced damage output for 5 mins.
* The Nuker => Weak overall dps, but that burst... Perfect example was EQ's Wizard, that had an ability that allowed him to translate his whole mana bar in damage on a 6 sec cast time. But as PvP is all about bursting someone down...
* Crowd Controller => EQ's enchanter / CoH controller: just imagine a specialized mage with 10 different kinds of sheep, AE sheep, ever lasting sheep...

It also affect the 3 remaining roles, as it limite their specializations :
* Tanks need to be frail enough to be killed, while dishing having balanced damage so they don't get totally ignored / wreck the whole enemy team.
* Healers lost their tanking utilities, so they could get killed even while healing them-self.
* Some dps got they burst limited / flattened as to allow peoples to survive them. ( Vanilla instant cast mage anyone ? They also created the GCD to counter that. May not be the only reason, but was definitively one of the reasons. )

Gevlon said...

@Anon: no sorry. Single player games are not competitive and serve only as time wastes.
Movies and books aren't even active forms of entertainment. While I'm not saying they are all bad, I won't bother blogging about them.

spinksville said...

Different experience here. We had loads of people come back to my guild, and also lots of new joiners for the new expansion -- a lot of them are people who have played WoW in the past, some of them in v competitive guilds, and they no longer have time to do that but want to be in a friendly guild with other people who know how to play and where raids happen regularly but on a more casual schedule. And still we get some newish players, often brought in by friends. I tanked an instance yesterday with guildies including one person who had never been into an instance before.

Guild chat is very busy.

I think what has happened in WoW is that Blizzard have finally twigged who their main audience is and what they want. There are going to be mythic+ 5 mans and mythic raids for people who want to build a competitive group and compete against each other ... but Blizz are no longer pretending that they are the main core audience or that all content needs to be designed for them.

It's a very very smooth game now. They've learned a lot. It may not be for everyone but it isn't trying to be that any more.

Anonymous said...

Like several others here have said - my guild's chat is incredibly active.