Why TBC Killed End-Game WoW for Me and a Plea to Blizzard
Thursday, May 24, 2007
Why TBC Killed End-Game WoW for Me and a Plea to Blizzard
THIS IS A VERY LONG POST. Just a warning.
So as I sit here today, pondering the many things I ponder (most completely useless), I started thinking about why I quit WoW. Why I put down the addiction. In the end I came to this conclusion. It had very little to do with my own will power. It had nothing to do with me wanting to play another game or do other things. Heck, I think I would probably raiding tonight on WoW had I not made the decision to stop playing.
What caused this epiphany you ask? The Burning Crusade. TBC killed WoW for me. Now remember I played TBC since beta. The game I thought would be the cure-all for WoW, in the end, killed it. I leveled my druid with my newly vamped feral talents. I went through Zangarmarsh, Terrokar, Nagrand. I adventured in instances such as Coilfang Reservoir, Hellfire Citadel, Shadow Labyrinth and Arcatraz. I did the grinding necessary for the reputation for my all 5 of my heroic keys, my Karazhan attunement, and everything in between. I took the hardcore raiders view and did all of this as fast as I possibly could.
I went through Karazhan on several full runs through Prince and Nightbane. I went into Gruul’s lair and saw him and King Mulgar (and his minions) die. I even did ALL of the heroic instances. In the end, none of it was as satisfying as the evenings I spent in MC, BWL, or any other instance back in WoW 1.0 with my friends. Why NewBreed? Why? Do you ask?
In my mind with any MMO as with other things, there is a concept known as risk versus reward. For me it was, time versus reward. How much time and effort would be necessary to raid on a 3-4 night schedule.
In WoW 1.0 (pre-Naxx), even if you were in a guild that was on bleeding edge content, the reward generally outweighed the risk or time commitment. You either got that next pretty piece of gear or you got that final bit of reputation you were trying to get for that ‘oh so necessary or you are a complete newb’ head enchant. You spent some time farming gold for repairs and consumables. You spent sometime preparing for the raid. In an average week when I raided hardcore, I figure I spent a total of 100-150g for repairs and consumables. For that I spent probably 8 hours raiding and 2-3 hours preparing to raid for the week. This is over a whole week. So 11 hours total plus any other gaming time I spent on PvPing or just goofing off and running basic 5 mans.
Now with TBC, that time was tripled and in some cases quadrupled. Though WoW was approaching this already for me due to the fact I lead a guild, TBC became a second job for me. Between trying to farm for the hour I had before our raid schedule, trying to be available through my busy personal life to raid for my guild, or always being available to provide enchants to my guildmates, it seemed as though I was spending close to 50-60 hours a week…playing a game. It was this level dedication that was required to be successful in a raiding guild. This was required to see ANY reward. Not just some reward, but to see anything.
The Burning Crusade has been tailored to the Raiding Elite. It is for the .1% of players that will ever see the inside of the Black Temple. I was in that .1% for awhile, but it is simply not worth the time, the effort, or the personal strain it puts on a person just for side-graded gear (pre-2.1) and no other rewards other than a possible EXTREMELY rare enchant drop(i.e. Mongoose/Spellsurge).
I think back to the days of MC and BWL (what I consider my most enjoyable days in WoW); when raiding could be done on a more flexible schedule and by a group of 25 people who carried the raid but took along 15 other people because it was fun. When Blizzard put innovation into their fights. Where the fights were more than running a merry-go-round to avoid a blizzard or not stepping out of a glowing spot as to not just hurt the raid (Think Geddon in MC) but wipe the raid (Shade of Aran). Blizzard’s current methodology of simply making fights insanely hard as opposed to putting innovation into that they had in the past drove me away. The fact that WoW no long has a casual raiding side drove me away. The fact that staged fights are simply Phase 1: Hard , Phase 2: Insane mode (i.e. Gruul and Magtherion) drove me away. Even the fights in UBRS, Scholo, and DM had more thought into them than the fights in TBC. The fact that now if a person drops connection, doesn’t perform 1 task perfectly, or goes AFK, it wipes the raid. It doesn’t just hurt them, but WIPES them. This is not game design that I wish to participate in.
I loved playing WoW. I loved the world, the atmosphere, the raiding, and the adventures had there in. I loved every single fight in Molten Core even when doing it for the 25th time. BWL is the epitome of instance design in my view with every fight being very different yet falling into that general theme of dragons and colors. ZG and AQ20, once tuned down, was an enjoyable experience that almost anyone could get into. I loved Onyxia, Kazzak, Azergos, and the Green Dragons. I even loved the higher 40mans though I did not run them until shortly before TBC.
What I do not love is having to make a game into another job. If I wanted that, I would do something that pays well. I don’t feel like dropping my 15 dollars a month to have to feel compelled to come home just so my raid group can complete KZ (remember I have a very addictive personality). TBC killed WoW because it did very little to cater to the 99.9% of its player base…Casual’s. People who do not raid every night, but could fill that spot if need. People who enjoyed the game JUST AS MUCH, if not MORE than their hardcore counterparts. People who could be just as devoted the guild as someone who spent 60 hours a week in game, but maybe had a kid they needed to take care of or a job that sometimes ran over during the weekend. TBC catered to .1% of people who consider themselves hardcore. People willing to put in those 60-70 hours a week. People who would stay up until 4am for a raid and be at work the next day at 7 or 8 (can’t tell you the number of times I have done this). TBC took away that casual raiding atmosphere and replaced it with the “if you can’t get the proper gear or consumables don’t step foot into my instance” methodology. Where bosses hit for 10k damage. Where 1 mistake and one or a few people wipe an entire raid (3 people next to the tank when Gruul goes boom = bad).
I shall finish my rant with this. I am a tried and true Blizzard fan. I have always loved their games, but to the developers of WoW I give this plea.
YOU MUST LOOK AT YOUR PLAYERBASE!
You will always have your raiders, it is their mindset and determination that make them raiders, not necessarily the content. What you may not always have are the other couple million subscribers who don’t necessarily want to raid. They may want to craft or PvP or run some new alts through new lower level content. You might have former raiders who want to experience some of that old content at level 70 (BWL in my opinion is still THE BEST instance ever designed). You also have that new generation of WoWers who are picking up the game for the first time. Don’t push them away with this design. Don’t kill the fun of the end-game by making it simply “Raid-centric.”
It needs to be an all encompassing design. It must be something that has content there for every type of person from the hardest hardcore raider to the guy who picks up the game twice a week for an hour or two because in the end it’s the same thing for both players…fifteen dollars a month. They both pay the same, why should they not be treated the same. Patch 2.1 does not solve this.
I have seen much of what WoW has to offer. I have stated my mind. I have shown my opinions. Now it is up to Blizzard to finally listen to their playerbase again; to develop content for every type of player. When will I play WoW again? I don’t know. Maybe with the next expansion, maybe never.
Until I post again, happy adventures in whatever you decide to play,
Shoutouts: Thanks Tobold, Kinless, and the other posters on the comments of Tobold’s post (found HERE) for inspiring this post and for the discussion around patch 2.1 including Big Red Kitty's coverage (found HERE). Thank you to the friends who gave input into this post.