After losing 20% of their players this year CCP apologized for having developed EVE in the wrong direction and promised to do better. (Actually the promise was to re-focus on FiS, which is a big deal to current EVE players that, you know, have been flying in space for 7+ years now) So what? (EVE players care, and so are excited that rather than abandon the game, CCP is going back to focusing on what worked?) Does anybody believe they will actually remove the monocles from the game? (Has anyone ever asked for it to be removed…?) They won’t (that’s a good thing), and all the other damage to the game is done as well. (Such as…? Ship spinning is coming back, a lighter version to load stations is coming back, and Incarna did not do any damage to 0.0 or PvP) Future development concentrating on what players have asked for is okay (just okay huh? I’d call giving players content they actually want as being more than just okay. I’d call it moving an MMO forward, allowing it to continue to grow rather than move towards retirement), but even there I’d be careful that this doesn’t end up developing the game specifically towards the needs of the Goons or any other vocal minority. (The vocal minority of EVE is the EVE community. It’s not like a Goon leader has come out and asked for changes that would actually hurt his Alliance for the betterment of the game or anything)
Syncaine is hoping for an apology from Blizzard for Cataclysm, (damn /sarcasm tags always being misplaced) but frankly I couldn’t care less whether they do that. (You seemed to care a whole lot back when the apology (BC to WotLK) suited your placestyle) First of all, Syncaine never played Cataclysm (nor Wrath. Syncaine is the Ed Zitron of the MMORPG blogosphere, he judges all games without playing them.) (Thank you for the compliment, considering the analysis coming up is exactly what I was saying pre-WotLK. I’m that good I guess), and wouldn’t play World of Warcraft regardless to what Blizzard changed to the game (I played Rift pre-1.2?), or said, or promised to do (I was excited for Rift in beta based on what Trion was saying?). Secondly even to players who did play Cataclysm, like me, an apology isn’t of any use. (But was pre-WotLK) We basically already got one, distributed over various Ghostcrawler posts. (So Ghost lies or can’t back up what he says due to funding/time/Bobby. Shocking?) But just like for EVE (what? Is Tobold in the future giving us feedback on the next EVE expansion?), all the promises we ever get for improvements are whatever the loudest vocal minority is shouting for (something tells me the vocal minotiry in WoW is a little… different from the vocal minority in EVE. Just a hunch), and then that gets badly implemented and doesn’t fix anything. (Reminder: Blizzard said 100v100 battles are technically impossible, while CCP is working to get battles bigger than 1000v1000 running smoothly. To be fair, Blizzard and CCP do have different resource pools, so it’s not exactly apples to oranges here (/sarcasm because I know someone is going to miss it))
(Snip: WoW analysis you read here pre-WotLK, now repeated over at Tobold’s blog)
But somebody at Blizzard decided that this still was too low, and somehow came to the absurd conclusion that the retention rate was linked to the leveling game being too hard. (Wait accessible is now absurd? If only someone had said that before…) The second game of World of Warcraft starts at the level cap, and is, and always was, much, much harder than the leveling game. (Not really. In vanilla myself and nine others were dragging 30 terribads/casuals through MC/BWL/AQ40, arguably easier content than UBRS or DM. Glad that ‘problem’ got fixed) But Blizzard listened to the vocal minority of veterans having spent thousands of hours in the game, who wanted the leveling game to be faster (because they basically didn’t want to play it at all) (What leveling game is a raider (max level character) playing?), and the end game to be harder (because they had become so good at it through thousands of hours of training). (Harder then what? Harder than Nax40? I don’t remember that. Harder than Illidan? Still don’t remember that. Harder than ‘accessible’ WotLK? Wait I thought we covered that already…) Then of course it turned out that besides a handful of hardcore players (And the 30 casuals they bring along), the WoW end game wasn’t of much use to anybody (yet it’s so accessible), and Blizzard nerfed it (now even MORE accessible!), managing to please no-one in the process. (Wait I thought the proven formula was accessible = good = millions of subs? So confusing…)
I do not think that World of Warcraft at this point can be fixed with an apology or giving in to any player demands. (What about bringing back the A team and, oh I don’t know, cataclysming the game for real? I’m sure Blizzard could find the cash for that in their office couch) The game simply has broken apart. (Yet become so accessible!) The majority of players, even the very casual, find the leveling game too easy now. (Too accessible? Now? But WoW subs stagnated after BC, yet Tobold was telling us that WotLK difficulty was ‘just right’. Hmmm) And the gap between leveling to the cap and being prepared for what is coming after has grown to a chasm that can’t be bridged any more. (Guess that’s what happens when you remove my ability to create content and carry casuals to the shinies, huh? Someone should create an MMO where you can have 1000v1000 battles, and only about 5 people REALLY need to focus and dedicate themselves to making it happen, while everyone else can just kinda show up and enjoy the ride. That game would do really well. Hell I bet you could even make the gameplay similar to working in Excel and people would still sign up)
Nerfing the end game is a crutch (Noooo. Really?), and not a very good one at that. (So now accessible is bad. Make up your mind…) An overwhelming majority of players of World of Warcraft does not raid, and never will. (Yet when the game was growing by the millions, casuals did see raids thanks to the hardcore bringing them along. Just a coincidence, I’m sure) Raiding is just a completely different game (Now. In vanilla 5-mans were pretty similar to raiding in terms of how you played your class. But again, coincidence), and what links still exist between raiding and the rest of World of Warcraft only serve to make both games less good. Nobody ever listened to the needs of the silent majority (how do you listen to something that makes no sound…), who actually liked leveling (in vanilla, when it was not so ‘accessible’), and would have liked the expansions to lengthen their leveling fun, and make it more challenging (so now not only is accessible not good, but you want to make leveling LESS accessible? That will never work! Or are we talking more challenging than WotLK, but not as hard as vanilla? Whatever happy middle fits Tobold, right?). Instead World of Warcraft managed the unlikely feat to get shorter with every expansion. (has anyone ever written a blog post about how accessibility shortens content in an MMO? They should, I bet it would be a really interesting read) These days you enter a new zone, you cough once, and that causes enough mobs to drop dead that you already outleveled that zone (So WoW is like playing Farmville now? One click and you win? But Farmville is super-accessible, and has millions of ‘players’. I’m not seeing the problem…). Where is the fun in that? (Millions can’t be wrong!) The casual players never asked for the leveling game to be nerfed (bhahahahahahaha. Yes, removing elite mobs/quests, dumbing down 5-mans, welfare epics and all the rest were not driven by the casuals), and the end game players would have been better served with a “create level-capped character” functionality. (Or more of the same from vanilla. You know, that odd time period in WoW’s life when millions were signing up rather than leaving.)
Vanilla World of Warcraft was justly hailed as a great game, because it was ONE game, with some sort of cohesion from start to finish. (I though people who like leveling never raid, and yet now we are talking about vanilla being one game? Make up your mind…) By concentrating on “player demands” and constantly fiddling (accessibility) with the end game, that cohesion has been lost. Cataclysm was a chance to fix the gaps and get the game together into a seamless whole again, but that chance has been squandered. (So because the Blizzard C team sucks at making MMOs, all future updates to all MMOs going forward won’t work or matter. Makes sense) And no apology is going to help that. I don’t want Blizzard to apologize or promise yet another fix. Apologies don’t improve games. (And neither does accessibility, it seems) I want them to learn from the experience and make Titan a cohesive game with no gap between leveling game and end game. (So just so everyone is on the same page, Tobold hopes Titan is like 2004 WoW. What a totally odd request, huh? I wish someone wrote a blog post about how creating 2004 WoW in 2011 would be an awesome idea. I would totally play that game (until 1.2, aka WotLK) and call it MMO 3.0 in some future pretend-world blog post.)
Edit: Sorry it’s not Friday. Blame Tobold.
Double-edit: Blog wars are for fun and entertainment. We are all internet-friends here, spending a silly amount of time talking about virtual worlds, making a ‘big deal’ out of pixels.