Home > Uncategorized > Why Blizzard’s World of Warcraft is Losing Steam

Why Blizzard’s World of Warcraft is Losing Steam

I started in World of Warcraft back when it was available as an Open Public Beta.  A family friend told us about it, so I checked it out, figuring it would be fun to play a game we could play over the internet w/this family friend.  Turned out to be a blast, a cool style of role playing game adventure.  You choose your gender, pick from a variety of races and classes and give your newly created character a name.  It’s very much like Dungeons and Dragons, and in a 3D style world.

Fast forward about six or seven years, and I’ve got teen characters (aka toons).  Believe it or not you can have up to 50 toons, and up to 10 on any given server (aka realm).  I have a hard enough time maintaining ten toons, and have beyond the base Classic game purchased and played the Expansion Packs:  The Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King and Cataclysm.  I’ve enjoyed it and even signed up for the World of Warcraft (WoW) Annual Pass.  By committing to stay a member for a full year, I got a free Mount, which is “your ride”, in this case a kind of angelic-looking Pegasus-type flying mount.  You also get a free digital download of their game, Diablo III.  Plus, early access to the next Expansion Pack, Mists of Panderia.

There are some things that are turning me off from the game:

1.  The fact Blizzard even did this kind of promo maneuver.  Gives off the impression they’re getting desperate and may be losing customers.

2.  Gold Spammers.  These are fake accounts of unscrupulous or “bots” who trick you into using REAL money to pay for VIRTUAL GOODS, illegally.  They redirect you out of the game to a no-name website where your account information is usually “phished” / “hacked” and then not only are you wasting real money for so-called digital goods, all your digital goods are locked out to you, where they harvest your armor, weapons, and Gold and try and re-sell it to other, unsuspecting players.

I constantly see messages through the in-game chat from Gold Spammers and no matter how often I report them for spam, no matter how many times I put them on Block, they never seem to go away.

3.  “Same Routine”.  Though I enjoy it, it’s become kind of boring.  They’re having trouble coming up with new content so I’m basically running each of ten toons over and over through the same content.  So there’s a lot of repetition and that grows boring over time.  I have six toons at level 85, and four toons at level 83.  The people I once played with are hardly ever on these days.  Seems there are so many people hanging out in Town, and in Chat instead of questing.  I can’t find enough people I actually want to play with, to quest with, and it seems to have gotten harder and harder to get help from others.  The community is often full of people more interested in putting down you and your equipment rather than trying to find ways to help you improve.  It’s also challenging to find people to Raid with.  If they implemented a kind of Raid finder / matching system, it may help to kick the game up to the next level.

4.  Over the evolution of gaming, I have found that I am into those games (especially with today’s activity) that contained voiceover content.  It seems strange to me that games still have so many text conversations.  I don’t mind having text to back up the voiced over dialogue, in case you didn’t understand a word or phrase spoken, but if you only do voiceover work for the initial conversations, and everything that follows is text based, it’s tiring.  I’m not knocking reading, but since gaming is supposed to be more an entertainment medium, I think it best to have it contain mostly, or all, voiceover conversations.

5.  Mists of Panderia.  This most recent Expansion Pack is supposed to introduce a new Race:  Pandas and Class:  Monk.  Though I think it kind of cool, I also think it kind of a direct rip-off and simply out there simply to be like Kung Fu Panda.  There are obvious similarities and though I applaud games for having pop culture references, this is not one of those things I think they should’ve embraced so readily.  Introducing the Monk class is one thing, but to also have a panda character? Err, I don’t think so.  When at first I was planning to buy the expansion, I’m not so sure any more.  Besides, I’m quite busy playing Blizzard’s other games, Starcraft II and Diablo III.

6.  The membership has become kind of anti-helping in some ways.  A ways back many people were into helping others.  Now so much of what you find in the Chatroom is all about me-me-me!  And full of braggarts showing off what they got.  And then putting down others who don’t have the time in their busy schedules to play to get to the same level they are at.

7.  Endless Murloc and Chuck Norris jokes and “girls don’t play computer games” garbage.   So, so tiresome.  I’ve put anyone who even broaches those jokes on Ignore, but those people seem to come out of the woodwork.  I must’ve ignored over a couple hundred people already, in some cases, reporting them as spam.  When enough people contribute to the same line of garbage and it goes viral in a chat room, to the extent that it drowns out any real conversation, I consider it spam.

8.  Ease of others bringing in and leveling new people just joining the game.  Frequently, as of late, I’ve noticed a new person logging on and within minutes they’ve gone from Level 1 to level 60 or 70.  If I’m not mistaken Blizzard has several promotional programs, one of which is their Refer-A-Friend program.  So basically you invite one of your friends to join, create an account, and create a character and log in.  Then shortly thereafter, to save them from having to start from scratch and play the early content, they give you kind of a free pass to jump ahead to the harder, more challenging, more adventurous content.  This can, in some peoples’ view, be viewed as a kind of slap in the face.  You have been playing for four to six years and here someone comes in off the street and they haven’t worked through 60 levels of leveling, questing, hacking and slashing and boom, suddenly they’re already ahead of you with very little effort.

Note:  I do not know if new people have the option of skipping the easy leveling option and if they have the choice to opt out and instead start from scratch at level 1 if they wish.  That would be interesting to know.

9.  Increased competition from other Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (aka MMORPG).  The game I hear the most chatter about in the MMORPG realm is Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (aka Star Wars: KOTOR), primarily because of the good feedback on [BioWare’s] conversation system, one heavily designed with voiceover instead of text-based.  On an aside, the reason I never got into the Final Fantasy franchise or most of the asian-designed games, was it’s reliance on text based conversations.  They get really old really fast.  I’m told that their conversation system is well-designed, and I’ve also heard that SW: KOTOR is among the only games that are even making any substantial dent in World of Warcraft’s membership.  They appear to be the closest thing to a threat to WoW.  At one point it seemed like it might’ve been Warhammer.  Or at least that’s where a lot of chatter was directed.  But these days it seems to be SW: KOTOR

10.  The unwillingness to simplify contacting Blizzard to provide feedback.  They for the longest time urged you to post to their Forums.  I can understand their view, and that’s their only way to receive feedback, probably their version of consolidation and improving efficiency.  My problem is I’ve never been a huge fan of huge Forums.  Seems messages are too easily lost and if you’re not on there daily you can get swallowed up in the 10 or 20 or more threads on the same topic.  There was also some talk that they had issues receiving feedback, issues of a legal nature.  I guess maybe some members would send in feedback electronically and assumed they had some right to receive compensation.  I really don’t know.  I think in the last month or so Blizzard might’ve actually improved their ability to receive feedback in-game, implemented in the last patch, but I haven’t spent much time looking into it, to be quite honest.

So, at this rate, if they continue down this path I may finally end my WoW subscription.  You have the option of paying Monthly, every Three Months, and every Six Months.  For whatever reason they don’t have an Annual Membership.  I’d been hoping and praying for a game that would draw my attention, and something ideally optimized for gameplay on Macs, but nothing really has surfaced.  It’s why I’ve been on WoW for so long.  I had high hopes for the release of the MMORPG based on the Stargate SG-1 Universe, but that fell flat and never came into fruition.  So now I’m mostly playing Diablo III (primarily) and Starcraft II (secondarily).

I’m toying with the idea of trying DC Online or Star Wars: KOTOR, but you need to play it on Windows.  So if I take the leap I’ll need to install another internal hard drive and install a copy of Windows on my Mac.  We shall see, my friends.  We shall see.

  1. Norman
    September 5, 2012 at 7:02 pm

    Look up Firefall – it’s made by a group of WoW’s original developers who left Blizzard and it’s supposed to be coming out soon

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