There are two ways to take the news that New Blizzard is finally learning from Old Blizzard about how to make an MMO.
On the one hand, maybe it gives you hope that New Blizzard can turn Retail around and make it into something worth playing for MMO players.
On the other hand, its infuriating to see New Blizzard be this dense about MMO design, to the point where only AFTER millions of players show them why Vanilla worked that they wake up and go “gee, maybe faceroll easy everything with autogrouping isn’t the solution for everything?”
Also, considering who the audience is that plays Retail today, I could see this design pivot backfiring; current Retail players WANT an sRPG that is faceroll easy and occasionally auto-groups them with silent bots that happen to actually be controlled by real people. That’s what they are paying/playing today, and while most of the overall playerbase has quit WoW due to this direction, the CURRENT playerbase presumably likes what the game is today. They don’t want Vanilla and all that it brings, as we saw when those sRPG players tried Classic and still went back to Retail for whatever reasons.
Of course the biggest mistake in all of this now is spending time/effort on Retail over Classic, but Shadowlands was already far-enough along that Blizzard might as well finish it and push it out the door. Hopefully it wraps up the amazing and cohesive plot of Retail, that version goes into maintenance mode, and Blizzard can focus on the real breadwinner of the franchise. (s/ but not really…)
I hope they realize that we will work to complete an objective, we will ask for help from others, it gives a feeling of accomplishment. But only to do it once. Endless repetition solo or grouped gets stale.
I see the split in retail/classic being the main pain point. Classic populations have taken a massive nosedive (or rather, layering is gone), enough to intrigue people sure, but not enough to sustain. That Classic “floor” is not enough to sustain retail. This is entirely ignoring the drop in retail.
I guess this sort of makes WoW Classic the sequel and prequel to WoW retail?
This kind of ‘lessons learned’ synthesis would be the best outcome of the whole strange nostalgia detour. Retail is certainly not a perfect game, and there are a few things that vanilla did better and simpler. It would be prudent for Blizzard to review carefully all the player behaviour data from Classic and make a few careful adjustments going forward – enhanced social hooks likely being part of it. On the other hand, non-functional meeting stones, two-button ret gameplay, third-party/add-on LFD, ritual running through the Wetlands, etc., are best left for the museum tour.
What ought to worry Blizzard is the Cataclysm precedent. It was similar to the kind of influence Classic might end up having on Shadowlands, an attempt at retrenchment of difficulty after the more fast-paced, easier gameplay of Wrath. And it bombed miserably, turning off large numbers of Wrath players and failing to attract enough masochists to compensate. By the time Cata was nerfed (4.06, a move that presumably re-disgusted anyone who actually enjoyed suffering through its heroics) the damage was largely done.
Not sure I’d want meeting stones to ‘work’, as that takes away one of the major tools of a warlock, and shrinks the world. Maybe for raids, but not for dungeons would be a decent compromise.
2 button ret gameplay is more a meme than reality. Playing a Pali now and IMO its a great class from a design perspective. Plus the flexibility of roles in a dungeon is pretty awesome.
I’m not aware of add-on LFD being a big deal, but are you suggesting LFD be added to Classic? Because yea nope.
Wetlands run is iconic, suggesting its a flaw in the game shows how far apart we are in understanding what makes Vanilla work vs Retail.
If they would start building new content off of Classic, another nice side effect would be working from a lore standpoint where everything makes sense, and not the fanfiction-level horseshit of whatever is going on in Retail right now.
based on quote “OK, this has to be fun as a solo experience, because sometimes you just want to go online and not be bothered by anyway, but how can it be more fun, more engaging, or more rewarding with others”
The still don’t understand a thing. You should not design “fun” or “engaging” (WTF dat even mean?) you should desing activity that “WORTH IT” in the long run.
Masturbation is fun, rising kids is worth it.
What is the source for that quote?
I think we’ve seen in the past that designing a good game is much more important than being able to spin a good story about game design–that said, I would agree that it doesn’t sound like he understands what the secret sauce is, let alone be able to add it back in on command.