Tobold's Blog
Monday, May 24, 2010
Thought for the day: WoW bashing

It has become somewhat fashionable in some blogging circles to complain about World of Warcraft players being stupid, mindless, and whatever else. Invariably those comments come from people who have played World of Warcraft themselves for hundreds of hours; and I don't think they admit being stupid themselves. Why is it that if somebody burns out from a game after playing a long time, it must be that the game is bad and its players dumb? Why is it to hard to say "I played WoW, I liked it, but then I grew bored and stopped"? Why would stopping to play a game cause shame and anger?

Don't you think that all this WoW bashing is telling us a lot more about the inferiority complex of the people doing the bashing than about World of Warcraft itself?
Ain't only WoW that suffers from this.

Other games, too. People have played the game for 6 years, liked it for its time, eventually grew bored and are now complaining that the "game sucks" and instead of quitting are too hooked up to be able to do that. Excuses such as "I play because of my friends" is pretty common.
Keep in mind this is almost as bad within WoW itself! We've all heard how Alliance players dislike Horde players, Horde players dislike Alliance players. Both factions call each other immature and unintelligent. Of course the nature of the lore and game promote these ignorances and it doesn't surprise me when they spread out into the rest of the internets. There's also quite a bit of jealousy in regards to the other games. If numbers of subscribers are an e-peen contest WoW definitely has the edge :)
In answer to your final question..

Yes. No doubt about it.
It happens in most fields of entertainment does it not?

Pop music fans complain bitterly about Britney Spears, TV watchers complain about big brother.

I think as you say that it relates a lot to the psychology of the person. There's a lot of status in belonging to a cool niche group of people with excellent taste rather than liking the populist stuff.

However all innovation comes from people who are dissatisfied with the status quo. You have to not like the populist stuff to want to create something better or different (generally speaking).

So while it does say something about people's psychology it's certainly not an unhealthy trait in a game design theorist.

I do think you need to back it up with some substance though. Wolfshead's post is an anti-WoW rant without much about specifically why it's so terrible. The Richard Bartle article he links to goes into well-reasoned specifics about why certain mechanics like instancing are both poor and popular. That's much more useful criticism.
You are probably refering to Wolfshead, although you seem interested in a more general discussion.

It's two things really:
The first point has been adressed in the comments so far. It's strange when people who play something for years suddenly claim that everybody who plays this is stupid.

The second point, however, one has not been adressed:

If you have been playing MMORPGs for 11 years and all this time you liked the idea of a virtual world, all this time there were so many good ideas: Player housing, RvR, meaningful loss, player generated content, unpredictable content, ...

But the MMO industry ventures into the opposite direction. You become sarcastic. I understand this. I write in favour of immersion, credibility and consistency for a long time by now. Long before I made my own blog I arguend in favour of virtual words.

But the MMO industry goes just the other direction. More teleports, less communication between characters, more (farmville-like) psychological tricks, less crediblity, more micro- and macro- transactions ...

Wolfsheads article is drastic and I disagree with many individual points he raises. But I feel his pain. There are no triple-A MMOs out there that even try (tried) to be what I would like to play.

And it's not the money. I would pay tenfold or twentyfold of todays MMOs subscription cost, to play a virtual world instead of arcade games like WoW. The industry ignores me nontheless. The only thing I have now is EVE; and it's just not AAA.
I don't know if it's an inferiority complex thing. I think for many they are so much in the habit of playing WoW that when they finally break out of the rut, they have to criticize it to justify their decision to stop playing.

And of course little things that we overlook become more glaring after hundreds of hours of play.

I'm on a WoW break right now and it feels good, but I'll probably be back again someday.
I have really, really been wondering about this myself.

I have burned out playing WoW many, many times since it's release and stopped playing, either in any real fashion or even completely plenty. I've burned out from lots of other games as well. And while I could certainly find flaws in each that may have accelerated burnout, I just don't seem to have this incredible hatred of the game like some people get.

I really don't understand this need to tie in your likes and dislike, what you enjoy or find boring into some sort of moral statement of how good or bad a person you are. People honestly react as if that which they do not like isn't just "not for them" but really, really wrong. And they defend that which they like as if it were a personal attack whenever it gets criticized.

It's really...weird.
I don't get why people feel the need to bash either. I tried WoW 2x and neither time "did it" for me. But it obviously "does it" for millions of other people. I don't think anything was "wrong" with the game. . .it just didn't "do it" for me. Don't know why, it just didn't.

I also no longer play SWG, Vanguard, Guild Wars, LotRO, AoC, WAR, and I am again taking a break from EQ2. That doesn't mean they're bad or that they must be bashed. It just means I'm no longer playing them. I have no idea why people seem to get so up in arms about games they used to play.
Couldn't it be a guilt thing? Just like smoking. The usual story is that a person smokes a long time, feels guilty about doing it because, you know, it kills. WoW won't kill you, but I can say with a high degree of certainty that many people play it sufficiently much to feel a bit guilty about it (or at least the workplace spec-browsing,, blogging (!) etc) and some probably more than a bit.

Many people who quit smoking turn into vehement anti-smokers. I believe this has a lot to do with that guilt the feel over all the time they spent doing something they felt they shouldn't be doing.

This Wolfshead, he seems to be deep into this. Am I the only one who thinks he sounds like Agent Smith when he speaks of the "disease that is World of Warcraft"? WoW is a virus! :)
I think people need to do that kind of statements to somehow make themselves feel better. "You suck. WoW sucks. Go me!". I think it helps them to make a clean break, go turkey and justify their choices.

Maybe it's also a sign of how incredibly involved they were from the start. Passion is turned into hatred in a break-up. Just as in the post from Wolfshead, which might have inspired you to this little thought of the day.
I also no longer play SWG, Vanguard, Guild Wars, LotRO, AoC, WAR, and I am again taking a break from EQ2. That doesn't mean they're bad or that they must be bashed. It just means I'm no longer playing them. I have no idea why people seem to get so up in arms about games they used to play.

People who quit games and still think the game is great are strange, imo.

People who quit games, don't think that it is great and still don't want to offer their insights to the public are useless if I want to discuss MMOs.

If you quit so many games, why don't you offer your insight as to why you quit? This is an MMO game design blog after all.
This Wolfshead, he seems to be deep into this. Am I the only one who thinks he sounds like Agent Smith when he speaks of the "disease that is World of Warcraft"? WoW is a virus! :)

Have you been following him? I doubt you wrote like that if you had followed his blog for some time.
I don't understand it. I mean, we all run into annoying people in the community from time to time, but how can you enjoy a game for hundreds of hours and then say it sucks? If it was so bad, what kept you playing for so long?

I've come and gone from WoW several times. The first time, I fell into the "let's be critical because I'm burnt out" trap. But, I realized the above and honestly felt like a bit of a hypocrite. There's nothing wrong with criticism, but when someone comes off with it after loving it for the last six months or more, it all just seems a little petty.
I dont think it has to do with an inferiority complex it has to do with the reasons a player plays a game and how they indentify themselves in social situations such as in groups, guilds, forums and games.

Im sorry if i get a little too personaly and if i overgeneralize but i do so in order to answer your question.

For example your article on spirit for holy paladins. Why is it so annoying when someone inspects you and finds an flaw?
You could just have said thanks kind sir you are right stamina would probably be better than spirit as i can just drink when im out of combat still i will keep my spirit enchant.
You then went to bash him on your blog. You needed to say that he was wrong and you were right.
You got annoyed because he was making your social status smaller or that is how you saw it.

While your bashing is defensive so that you could keep you social status or your own self image of your social standing it could also have been offensive.

For example when some player stops playing a game she is no longer part of that social group therefore she has to bash the game she played before. She does so to move up in social standing in her new group, be accepted.

It is the same in the schoolyard one kid tries to move up to a higher social standing in a new group by bashing her old group.

It is a basic human instinct and it has nothing to do with the quality of the game. No flaw in a game could ever inspire bashing without this social indentity because logicaly you dont have to deal with flaws in a game you dont play.
Ah, but is it the player that has changed (eg. burned out), or has the game changed during that time?
Player housing, RvR, meaningful loss, player generated content, unpredictable content

Oh god yes, I think I drooled a little.

Anyway, the reason for the WoW bashing goes beyond MMOs and even video games. It's a common reaction when something becomes controversially popular. There's a whole psychology to it that I won't get into because I can't do it justice and most of you probably understand that already.

So instead of generalizing the issue like I just did above, most people have rightfully talked about specifics. I got really nothing to add besides "it's popular and people think popular things are important to feel strongly one way or another about".

I mostly just commented to give a shout out to that perfect MMO Nils mentioned. We can dream...
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One more try to make people understand.

You like motor cycles. The sound of accelerating, the air on your skin, the way the fuel smells and the looks of the machine.

Now, imagine there were many, many cars and only three different motor cycles. One of them is clearly the best. However, you think that many things could be made better: The motor cycle has a small front shield that you would like removed and the sound of accelerating is not to your liking.

Since it is the best on the market you drive it for years.

Over the years all companies make the front shield bigger and make the motor as quiet as possible.

Eventually you 'quit'. There are no motor cycles on the market that you would want to drive anymore. Instead, companies add drugs to the motor cycle cabin that make people happy when they drive it. When you started there wasn't even a cabin!
(Ok, that a little bit silly, but you get my point :)

Now, you drove that motor cycle for 10 years! You argued in forums on how to make things better; spent hundreds if not thousands of hours. You even have a well-known motor cycle blog!

But when you write down your feelings, people disregard you as a crank who drove that motorcycle for 10 years, although he didn't like it.

Man, this guy must be stupid!
Quitters tend to make one of several kinds of post:

1) Official forums
“If you don’t fix [class X], I’m going to quit! I mean it this time! Seriously! GG Blizzard”

2) Official forums/guild forums/blogs:
“The game was great before, but the [challenge/fun/originality/other] has all gone. GG Blizzard.”

3) MMO champ forums & similar
“Having seen these recent changes, I feel glad that I quit a year ago. GG Blizzard.”

Is it any surprise that these posters are treated as cranks? Their analyses tend to say more about themselves than providing an insightful critique of game mechanics.
Is it any surprise that these posters are treated as cranks?

No, and it probably shouldn't surprise me that if once in a while somebody makes an intelligent 'quit'-post, people don't even bother reading.
Well, I played WoW, I liked it, but then I grew bored and frustrated at it being such a timesink. I also disliked guild politics and being in a position where I had to deal with them.

WoW is a great game, but I feel it has been both a blessing (in terms of introducing new people to the genre) and a curse (in that Blizzard have never really helped foster guild loyalty and community). For a guild such as the one I helped create, it has been the cause of a great many dramas, some of our own making, but a fair few from the game design moulding player behavoirs.

I've not played for two years, and I very much doubt I will again, but I still take an active interest in what my guild is doing in the game. And as an outsider, I get a different view on how in game changes affect peoples view points. I find it quite fascinating.

I'm not jealous of WoW subscriber numbers, I'm more realistic. I know that in any new MMO that I try, the majority of my guild mates that join me are likely to last no longer than 3 months before the draw of WoW hits them again. And you can understand that, as the majority of the guild still plays there, and the so called "Social Magenitism" drags them back (plus often new games cannot compare to a game with 5 odd years of developement behind it!). I wouldn't lie as say I wouldn't be dissapointed if WoW suddenly fell flat on it's face and my guild mates all joined me in the next big thing, but realistically that isn't going to happen any time soon.

Us WoW exciles will just have to deal with it, and make do out here in the MMO wilderness :P
I refrained from playing WoW for five years. I'd never played any other Warcraft or Blizzard games, knew nothing about the IP or the company. I had no position on it whatsoever, in fact, until WoW's unexpected and incredible success began to affect and alter the gameplay in the MMOs I did play.

I finally bought WoW last summer simply because Mrs Bhagpuss and I were at a low ebb of interest with the MMOs we were playing and had run through almost all the alternatives we could think of.

When we began playing WoW, we enjoyed it a lot. We found most of the things we'd heard about it to be untrue. We both thought we'd get half a year, maybe even a year's soid play from WoW, and we both play a lot. This turned out to be optimistic.

I was "burned out" with WoW in three months. There really isn't much to do there. Compared to other MMOs I found the content thin and very samey. Since I don't raid and have no interest in "gearing up", the much-vaunted WoW end-game is completely irrelevant for me.

I have no interest in running dungeons repeatedly for gear upgrades - I don't care what my characters wear beyond basic functionality. Achievements are of no interest. The crafting is fun but having it tied to adventuring levels reduces the attraction. The quests are well-written but there are just far too many and they become bland and uninteresting by sheer repetition.

Having played WoW, I still think it's a better MMO than I expected from what I'd heard people say about it in other games I play. I am also convinced that it must have been a MUCH better MMO in it's first couple of years. Every time I looked up something and read how it used to be and how it had been changed, the changed vversion seemed less interesting and involving than the version I was left with.

I remain sufficiently interested in WoW to want to go back for Cataclysm, although I don't expect to stay more than a month or two. Mrs Bhagpuss, on the other hand, who stuck with WoW for a couple of months longer than I did, says she doesn't miss it at all and isn't interested in going back.
1. WoW or an expansion comes out.
2. I play like crazy, hitting the new level cap, raiding, and my real life suffers as a result.
3. I am on the top of the World and beat whatever content is there.
4. I get bored and leave my guild/level alts, enter low level of play.
5. Severe burnout. Hate the game.
6. Content patch comes out.
7. Come back and play hard, for shorter time.
8. Repeat steps 3-7 until a new expansion comes out.

People can hate WoW all they want, it's still the best game that's ever been made, overall.

I've put thousands of hours into it, I'm well aware of every way it could be improved but it still is the complete package.

I like single player games, pvp games, sandboxes, classic games, strategy games, JRPGS, CRPGS, doesnt matter: WoW still has the most to do, the most polish, the most playstyles, the most players, the most fun. It's why you keep coming back to it, until Blizz's secret MMO project comes out perhaps.
I don't think the problem is WoW per se; it's the fact that almost every other game to come out in the past few years, with a few rare exceptions, is trying to clone it. Even people who like the diku formula don't want every game to be identical, and for people who don't like it there really isn't much else on the market.

I can sympathize with Wolfshead. When I first played EQ years ago, I was enchanted by the immersive world and wonderful community, but I didn't care much for the grindy, loot-acquisition oriented gameplay. Rather than building on the parts I loved, modern MMOs have thrown away the worldy aspects in favor of perpetual grind. I just don't quite get it.

I can only speak for myself, but I don't feel at all "burnt out" on MMOs (and certainly not on WoW, which I barely played). The kinds of MMOs I like simply don't exist anymore.
I come and go with WoW.
I don't understand why people bag WoW out so much. It is always used in a condescending manner to put other people down.
In a way, it sounds like they are calling almost 10mil people stupid, dumb etc (adjective of choice).
There are a lot of little thing that Bliz got right in WoW, and others that aren't so right (personally for me, the raiding - I generally detest it).
Anytime a new MMO is in the works, and someone suggests a nice feature from WoW for the new game, that post is torn to shreds ("stupid wow gamer", etc), even though the suggested feature would be great to have in that MMO.
I have never understood this mentality.
Even worse are the people who have *never* played WoW and say the same things! Some say they've "heard" about WoW, which makes them feel they have the right to bag out people who like or play WoW.
But I think its like others have said - people like to pick on the most popular thing, regardless if it deserves that criticism or not.
directly before i started playing WoW i played FFXI for a couple of years. the day i quit FFXI i was well aware of it's many flaws. it was often a frustrating game which actively punished the way i wanted to play it. but i wasn't mad at the game for failing to keep me. i was sad to leave it and leave the friends i'd made there.

however, it didn't take long after i stopped playing that the frustrations got forgotten and all that was left was fond reminiscences. i had some really good times in that game and met some fun and interesting people. the world is great. some combat mechanics have real depth. i could speak at great length about it's failings but i have no compulsion to bash the game or write the whole thing off as a stupid game full of idiots.

since playing wow (started in early 2005 i think) i've quit more than once. the longest was to play lotro just after the burning crusade was released. i always came back because i had friends there. time invested but most importantly because there hasn't been any innovation yet. in lotro i got to a point where i was just grinding levels to be able to access more content. at that point i already had max level characters ready to go in wow.

i don't understand the bashing, the need they feel to distance themselves from the game or its player-base. it always struck me as quite immature and self-centred.
Well first and foremost people bash WoW because no competitor has "beat" it yet. So any MMO that comes out is instantly compared to WoW and a lot of times people have jumped to new MMOs to escape WoW and hear nothing but comparisons to it.

Same thing happens with Apple products like the iPhone and iPad. There's nothing inherently wrong with the product and they're aimed at the masses, but you get people who bash them non-stop.

(I don't buy Apple products, but I do play WoW.)
same thing that was discussed on your blog years ago.

People have time invested in thier toons so they Feel like they "own" them. Giving up means letting that investment die.
Second people that would happily walk away get trapped because thier friends won't go. so they stay because thier friends are there.

Add that to the just plain mediocre to bad junk the industry has put out for the last 5 years and people feel burnt out , not listened too and trapped on the hamster wheel with thier friends.
It's like an ad hominen attack, just discredit anyone that disagrees with you. It's quite popular in politics,
The same applies to anything popular on the internet. Internet logic says that if you don't like something it and all the people who enjoy it MUST be stupid/noobs/idiots/dumb/13yearolds/frat boys/casuals/etc.

Internet logic also says that if something is popular you will seem more edgy if you go against the grain and call it the worst piece of trash ever created and say it has absoulutely no redeeming qualities about it, even if you yourself have played said game for hundreds of hours.
"It has become somewhat fashionable in some blogging circles to complain about World of Warcraft players being stupid, mindless, and whatever else."

Has become? I'd ask where you've been since 2005 but well.... :)
"Has become"?

This is scarcely a new phenomena, although it's probably cresting right now with the coming of the pre-expansion doldrums. Once Cataclysm hits, it'll slow down again. But it will never go away so long as the current WoW-dominated climate persists.
I quit EVE twice. It was boring to me. It took too long to become competitive, combat was so slow, but somehow too fast too. The UI is terrible. I don't think it's a terrible game. It's a great game for the people who enjoy that type of game.

I can sympathize somewhat with the complaints of people who quit WoW and then bash it. It has changed a lot, and I think lost a lot of the fun, in the name of bringing in more subscribers. I wish there was a WoWlite with badge farming and dailies and cross-server, antisocial randoms; and then a version which would suit me better. But there is not, so those who dislike the changes can only complain, quit, or some combination.
"It has changed a lot, and I think lost a lot of the fun, in the name of bringing in more subscribers."

but none of the things you mention are subtractions. disliking the additions is fine but you're free to opt out of it.
people can even cap their level at 60 and enjoy vanilla raiding if that's what they want. find a guild that shares your tastes and go and have fun.
people do like to complain.

that said, I've almost stopped playing wow BECAUSE of the people I've been running into. my SO stopped playing completely becasue despite liking the game itself, people started pissing him off too much to make it worth it. SO I can kinda see the player bashing.

also - born agains are usually the most rabid in their bashing of something they used to believe in. I see it all the time in born again religious people, former alcoholics, etc. Not sure exactly why they go to such and extreme but they do. WoW fits right in :/
It's the Ex-girlfriend syndrome.

When you were head-over-heels in WoW everything was great but after time it became boring,repetitive and your view of everything soured. Your opinions changed and there fore you bash the game and people associated with it, much like you would bash your EX and her friends.

Most people were in love with their most hated Ex at some point. The same premise applies here.
but none of the things you mention are subtractions. disliking the additions is fine but you're free to opt out of it.
people can even cap their level at 60 and enjoy vanilla raiding if that's what they want. find a guild that shares your tastes and go and have fun.

Erm .. no.
1) Your character changed a lot: skills/talents.
2) Your enchantments changed a lot.
3) Most importantly: The environment changed !! You can get a glimpse of the vanilla WoW feeling in my latest blog post if you want.

The athmosphere of WoW in 2006 was different from now. You cannot revive it on your own.

I often raided in Vanilla WoW by joining PUGs. Try to get a 40 man lvl 60 PUG into Molten Core. Try it without being the leader - yes, that was possible in 2006 and it makes a hell of a lot of a difference.

Now, even if you managed to do all that: I've already done Molten Core. I might be interested in the feeling of vanilla WoW, not in content that I've already done 100s of times.

Vanilla WoW was far from perfect. Many things have been improved since then. But several good things have been lost on the way.
i was replying to someone else. they listed some of the recent additions to the game that they thought made the game worse. my only point is that perhaps more personal responsibility could be taken for the game you play. you don't like cross server heroic pugs? don't do them? etc. etc.

and, no thanks, i don't really want to read your blog. i don't often comment (or read comments) on the blogs i follow. is it the norm for people to mention their own blogs in others' comments like that?
is it the norm for people to mention their own blogs in others' comments like that?

I do it when I think that there is some connection to the topic discussed. In contrast to Tobold, I don't write daily, but whenever a topic enters my mind and I really want to write about it.

Therefore it sometimes happens that while discussing on other blogs I refer to a post on my own. Better than copy/pasting it here, isn't it ?
. you don't like cross server heroic pugs? don't do them? etc. etc.

Just that it isn't so easy.
Why do you think WoW has no 'give T10 now' button?

According to your argument those people who would like to press it pressed it and those who wouldn't like wouldn't. Every would be happy.

mmh ...

Game design is about rules. Rules are boundaries. Boundaries need to bind me. Chess isn't a lot of fun if you can just kick the enemy king to win the game. It is the rules, the boundaries, that make it fun.

I've been playing Red Dead Redemption this week, and a) it's a lot of fun and b) I kinda realized that its pretty close to my ideal MMO, except for the Massively Multi-player part.

You have a sort of leveling (towards the end you guns are much more powerful than at the start) but not so much that it would impossible for a neophyte to kill the veteran. There's gathering. The quests, which is exactly what they are, are genuinely fun, in and of themselves, regardless of the reward. I do many of them even though the reward is likely to be very minor, because I like doing it. There's a well acted coherent storyline. In short, it's a pretty interesting model to follow for an MMO that doesn't rely on artificial time stinks, rep grinds, and gear scarcity to keep people on the hamster wheel, and instead offers an MMO that offers truly fun gameplay as the draw that keeps you in.
Wow is a raiding game, with a pretty extensive PVP mini-game.

After calling it what it is I'm not sure how you can argue WoW does not do it's job really well. There is no other game that has this polished of a raid experience. That said I think ZG was the pinnacle of raid encounter design (not loot distribution mind you) and it has been downhill since.

I have a rule. I only play Sandbox MMO's unless I want to raid. Then I play WoW.
"According to your argument those people who would like to press it pressed it and those who wouldn't like wouldn't. Every would be happy."

not at all. i think you're misunderstanding me completely (or didn't read my comment properly because your comment bears little relation to mine).

cross server, automated 5man heroics.
some people hate them so they don't have to do them. they can get 4 other people from their guild or friend list and go and run some dungeons. the game didn't stop that sort of activity when they adding the ability to have the server just match up a functional group of strangers.

this is all i'm saying. there have been additions to the game over the years and some people don't like them. they don't need to complain about them when they can simply avoid them.

I'll try to be less abstract.

The Dungeon Finder allows the circumvention of prior rules.

The rule before the Df came out was that you would first need too socialize with other players before you could venture into a dungeon with them. The DF circumvents this rule.

Now, I already said: Rules of a game are always restricting players. (It is all they ever do, their whole purpose.) As such they sometimes feel inconvenient. But usually they fulfill a purpose.

You can read Richard Bartle, who explains very well how shortsighted players sometimes make developers remove good rules. (He deliberately takes an expreme position, however.)

You argue that somebody can make his own rules and then enjoy the game. I am telling you that this is nothing else than asking players to not click on the 'give T10 now' button.
i strongly disagree with your analysis of my point.

the player that decides they dislike the experience they get from LFD isn't forcing hardships on themselves they're just selecting not to do something they have the option to do.

PuGs existed before LFD was introduced, there was no relaxation of rules when it was introduced just the addition of a tool. people weren't forced to socialise before it's introduction, they just had to type "DPS LFG daily" (or whatever).
also i reject the idea that LFD is anathema to socialisation. i've had some pugs where nobody says a word but others where i've made new friends. it really is just an improvement of the existing tools you see in many games.
Mmh, I agree that the DF isn't a catastrophe. I actually criticize the teleport function more than the core functionality. Server identity has been lost a long time ago in WoW. So not much harm could be done anymore.

What got me started was your point that players just shouldn't use a new functionality, especially if it circumvents prior rules of the game to some degree.

You can read this kind of argument whenever players criticize a decision by a developer. Don't like cross-server bgs ? Don't use them. Don't like ICC? Just raid BT! Think that normal modes are to easy? Do hard modes! Think that mobs die too fast? Just use a lower skill-rank!

These kinds of arguments can sometimes seem convinving at first glance. But they are flawed in that they do not accept that a game is mostly a collection of rules. When I buy WoW, I also buy the rules. I don't want (and often I cannot) remake them on my own. That's what I actually pay for.
While I realize that a counter-argument well probably not be well received due to the popularity of WoW and the readers of the blog generally being inclined to agree with Tobold, here goes.

First I agree that there are hypocrites who will love something then for whatever reason stop playing and as a result lash out with critical thoughts about their experiences. And for the record I do not support "WoW bashing" as it makes the speaker look petty and small, makes the audience (especially if in general chat of another game) irritated, and is almost always an puerile attempt at making your opinion universal fact.

However, it seems that the overarching belief here is that someone has played WoW for any length of time has loved the game, and so to be in said game or having left said game and having negative thoughts of the experience as a whole is silly, jealousy, complaining etc etc.

Is it that unthinkable that someone may play WoW for some other reason than "I love this game?" I came from many MMOs starting with DAoC, and fell into WoW b\c my 7-8 online gaming friends moved unto it. While I enjoyed the classes, and leveling through the lands, I ended up disliked raiding and the PvP set up of the game (please, I'm not asking for anyone to justify them now either it's just not my cup of tea). But due to our little gaming community being spread out for a year or so after we left DAoC, it was difficult to bail when we all finally had everyone committed to buying the game and paying the sub. So I stuck it out, and tended to do the little things in the game that I did enjoy. Open world PvP, exploration, leveling alts. However, it became increasingly apparent that time playing the game, had turning into time not scheduled to raid. The guild even had thoughts of growing into a 25 man guild to raid the higher content. So eventually I called it quits and subbed to different MMO and enjoyed it immensely. Is it better than WoW? No, it's the same, just different, and I like those different things on a personal level. The unfortunate side is that I no longer play with my core friends that I've gamed with since 2001, but it is what it is.

Now, could I have just raided less? Yes, however I was a big part of the group comp. and also if I wasn't going to raid, I would have been alone in any case in whatever I actually did want to do. I'm sure there are many other what-ifs. But the point is that I played WoW while not enjoying 70% of it (random percentage). I was going to make a list here of those things, but it would have been trite and counter to my point.

At the end of the day people are entitled to their opinions and their own experiences are exactly that, their own. To say that they are "making excuses" or "shouldn't have played if they thought it sucked" and on and on, is really close minded. WoW bashing, or bashing anything is what imo the article was trying to state is wrong b\c it entails playing or doing something then afterwards, just for the sake of being a retributive douche, badmouthing it and trying to give it a bad name or impression in the public space. Bashing is idiotic and a lot of the time is indicative of some of WoW's less mature player-base due to it having such a huge and successful appeal. (Not saying all that play are dumb, just that if millions play, then you are bound to get a healthy portion of the jack-ass population, which leads to a healthy portion of jack-ass ex-players).

But please don't take the topic of bashing to where it is now: a crucification of those who have played and just leave not having enjoyed their experience, as if they have no right or grounds to.

Food for thought: Then you are just bashing the bashers. Or in clearer terms, hypocrites.
In contrast to Tobold, I don't write daily, but whenever a topic enters my mind and I really want to write about it.

If you would take everything you wrote every day in my comment section and write it on your blog, your blog would be bigger than mine. :)
I never thought WoW was good, and I always thought most of it's players were pretty dumb. I didn't play much at all because its just a dumbed down version of EverQuest.
If you would take everything you wrote every day in my comment section and write it on your blog, your blog would be bigger than mine. :)

I agree :).

But our blogs are different in nature and I wouldn't even want a bigger blog than you, no offense. You know I like your blog (obviously).

My blog posts are (mostly) about one theme. I try to analyse it and I try to offer solutions. I'm not perfect, of course, but that's what I try with most posts. That's why I can refer so something I have already written. There is exactly one blog entry about 'advantages and disadvantages of big bosses in MMORPGs' on my blog.

Your blog on the other hand, has a different aim. You provide at least one blog post per day. You even schedule them sometimes to appear the next day. You have a vibrant commenter-community (where I play a significant role, I guess :).

Your blog posts usually do not aim to solve MMO-design problem, but are just a starter for a discussion in the comments section. That's why I am here ;)
Food for thought: Then you are just bashing the bashers. Or in clearer terms, hypocrites.

Thought about that as well while reading many comments here ;)

From my experience there are two kinds of 'i quit'-bashing posts.
1) Stupid.
2) Smart.

I love the smart ones. People who play a game for years and then stop and write a many, many pages long wall of text, are brilliant reviewers. No game magazine could ever dream to compete.
"But they are flawed in that they do not accept that a game is mostly a collection of rules. When I buy WoW, I also buy the rules."

i think you see rules where i'm just seeing content.

i don't PvP... pretty much at all. it's not an area of gameplay that i'm interested in so i opt out of it. do you see my decision not to PvP as different to someone opting out of using the LFD tool to make groups?

the addition of content is massively (pun >.<) important to the longevity of MMOs and i would also include "change" in that definition of content. i'm sure that developers try to balance classes but i'm also sure that sometimes they change things simply for the sake of change.

the things you're saying seem to be simply against change but that would surely be very unhealthy. not all changes are going to be positive for every player and perhaps sometimes a change is so negative for someone that they feel they need to leave the game but i think a lot of the time simply opting out of disliked content is a perfectly fine option.
I cannot escape the effects of cross-server LFD just by not using the tool. The environment of the game is affected. People act differently now. I could have once recruited people for a 5-man by asking in general or trade or lfg, but except for raids or tanks selling themselves, people aren't looking for groups with anything but the tool. Why would they? Using the automated random function gives a greater reward than forming it yourself and picking an instance.

One cannot escape all effects of something just by not using it. Whether I drive or not, there are still cars making pollution. Whether I listen to them or not, there are still demagogues misleading the public. The environment is changed, even if I attempt to avoid it.
Two thoughts on that:

One, it feels somewhat contradictory to quit a game you like playing, and besides, it's hard to say something nice about something you hate at the moment.

Two, The last two times I've mentioned to someone I played WoW for a while, the other person went "Ohhhh" in that way that immediately puts you on the defensive. It certainly doesn't help that WoW still has a bad rap with pretty much everyone else who hasn't played it.
@ Alf:

I am not against change and certainly not against adding content ;).

You can opt out of PvP, because it is indeed content, not a rule. The dungeon finder is not content, it is a way to access content.

Imagine the developer added a new rule: You can access the Lich King heroic weapons if you just played 100x Alterac Valley.

Now, I bet you wouldn't like that, would you ?
If I told you: "Cool down, you can still do it the classic way. You just need to somehow find a raid or make one on your own!"

What would you say ? ;)
Not at all, Nils. This morning was the first time I visited Wolfshead's blog. But having a bit of fun, possibly at his expense, seemed attractive at the time. Hope I didn't offend you.
Hope I didn't offend you.

Don't worry. I discuss too much on the internet to be 'offendable' any more ;)
WoW is a good game, but after 3+ years of it, I just couldn't justify spending time on it anymore.

The first year was extremely fun. It was vanilla then, and it was also my first MMO. It took awhile to learn the language of the game, and the philosophy behind gear, dps/hps/tps rotations, PvP, etc. Learning was fun. Slowly becoming an insider was fun, as it is with most things.

But as time went on and expansions came out, I slowly realized that no matter how much I play, I have to play more, or I'll get left behind, requiring me to play even more to get caught up.

I don't bash WoW in the classical sense that I attack everything in the game, because I used to have fun doing those things.

But I can tell you that games like WoW, as good as they are, intentionally lure the player into a never-ending cycle that requires paying/playing to actually utilize the whole game. You aren't going to be at the top of the arena ladder in 3 seasons-old PvP gear. You aren't going to get into pugs or a decent raiding guild in Naxx gear when ICC is out.

WoW is an excellent game in that tens of millions of people have played it and had fun. Which, by the way, is the whole point of playing a game.

But as a game player, I outgrew WoW. There isn't anything left in that game that interests me in the slightest. Nothing is ever really new in WoW (even Cataclysm is just rehashed old) and I think after awhile if something isn't new, it is harder to like.
They are trying to paint their addiction as 'loyalty' by painting your overcoming it as 'disloyalty' to the product. In the end I think its best if we remember that people are better off if they are free to come and go and their decisions, even if we don't like them, are treated with respect.

As far as the stereotype of dumb people playing WoW goes, there are some dumb people playing WoW, just like any other game. But that of course does not mean only dumb people play WoW. There are also geniuses in there too. And frequently they burn out faster because they realize they've done everything that interests them quicker.
It's a maturity/self confidence thing. In my experience, there aren't many people that can make peace with their past; be happy that they did what they did, made the mistakes they did, and have that fuzzy feeling that all your past experiences made you who you are today.

Kind of like ex-girl/boyfriends. You sure loved them then. But make that person no longer your current fling and they suddenly become evil.

Kinda makes you wonder how much we can trust our own brains, sometimes.
I think there's a good question based on the actual reason for quitting the game (WoW or not). For me personally, I've played a non-MMORPG game, enjoyed the game very much while playing it, but once the game ended, I was left with huge disappointment that I couldn't consider the game to be great.

Same thing could be applied to WoW. While you were playing it, you had lots of fun with your friends. But when you lost interest and quit at one point, you'd start seeing all the flaws that were previously unseen because they were clouded while you had fun. Stupid players? They were always there, but you tolerated them when you had fun. Once you no longer had fun playing the game, you had no reason to tolerate the idiots anymore.

It is much easier to do this on MMORPGs because the game is "endless" but they don't really offer new things all the time. They might give new monsters, new equipments, new battles, but the concept is still the same. Monsters still behave the same, equipments function the same (just better stats), battles have the same conditions. It's boring. Yes. But it's also bad for not offering other things to occupy the interest.
I myself played WoW for hundreds of hours, got bored, and did eventually leave. The thing is, I, and I assume the majority to be the same, don't go out of my way to talk about it. So what you're seeing with the "WoW bashing" is essentially the vocal minority.
For whatever reason, hating after leaving is more prevalent for MMO's than most activities I can think of, in particular WoW. It has to be reflective of the game and sorts of player is attracts.

My best guess is a lot of it has to do with addictive burnout. WoW's ratio of addictive to enjoyable content may be extremely high for a game, meaning that many long time players have to experience a highly unpleasant burnout in order to quit.
I understand burning out of WoW and "hating" it, like an ex. But saying all WoW players are dumb? How does that fit with the idea of some people here saying "I only played on because of my friends", and now you are saying negative things about your friends' intelligence?

I think WoW changed less than many people think, and the player-base of WoW changed even less than that. It is the burned-players who suddenly see WoW as a "disease" and their former friends as "idiots".
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