Tobold's Blog
Saturday, May 29, 2010
Why is WoW this big?

In the open Sunday thread the question was asked: "Is WoW's success based on its player base or its quality? There are other games that are very good, even some excellent, so why is WoW this big?"

I don't think there is an easy answer to this. That starts with the problem of how you define "quality". Most people are completely unable to separate gameplay design from quality of execution. Thus if they are playing a game in which the gameplay is fun for them, they will say it is an excellent game of high quality, even if there are obvious flaws in the execution, like lag, bugs, and a bad user interface.

I would say that yes, World of Warcraft has an excellent quality of execution. It does what it sets out to do very well. But of course that doesn't help you if you either don't like the guided approach to gameplay, or if you did like WoW and burned out after having played it for hundreds or even thousands of hours.

The second part of my answer is that World of Warcraft is big because of its accessibility. Some people laughed when Blizzard revealed that only 30% of players who are playing the free trial for WoW make it past level 10, but several industry veterans stated that this is far higher than the retention rate of other MMORPGs. How many 6-year old PC games do you know which still regularly hit the top ten of the PC games' sales charts? Apart from the problem in China, subscription numbers for World of Warcraft have held up steadily. Not because nobody ever quits WoW, but because there is still a steady stream of new players joining this game which balances the exodus of people who got bored with WoW. This is only possible because World of Warcraft is relatively newbie-friendly. Of course it is easy for the elitist jerks to paint accessibility as "WoW is dumb" or it "caters to the lowest common denominator". But actually the challenge level of the end game is completely independent from the ease of accessibility for new players. As some readers pointed out, very few players actually beat the Lich King on 25-man heroic.

Does the success of World of Warcraft have to do with its player base? You hear a lot of conflicting statements on that. On the one hand people claim that WoW is a completely anti-social game, in which everybody just soloes, and "pickup group" is a derogatory term. On the other hand some claim that people only play WoW because all of their friends are playing. Obviously both statements can't be true at the same time. I do think World of Warcraft is far more social than some people think, and the ability to play solo or in pickup groups does not actually destroy the social coherence of the game. That isn't to say that I wouldn't like WoW to introduce a bigger group XP bonus to get more people to play together, or that I'm not looking forward to the new guild functions in Cataclysm. But at the same time I'd like WoW to introduce pickup raids. Because I don't think you can create a social network if you only play with the handful of friends you already have, meeting new people, and making new friends is an important part too.

The fundamental problem of the discussion of why World of Warcraft is so successful is that everybody is aware that any statement of "WoW is successful because of its high quality" can be turned around and interpreted as "this other game is not so successful because it is of lesser quality". While I do believe that this is very often the case, very few players of other games would be willing to admit that. It's like if your favorite sports team loses horribly against another team, you'll never admit that your team just plain sucks, but rather invent stories of the referee not having been impartial, or some external condition favoring the other team. Thus in the discussion of World of Warcraft you will still find completely spurious arguments of how WoW is only so big because of marketing, or because it makes its players "addicted", or other such nonsense. Not because people actually believe that, but because they are defending their own favorite game with pseudo-religious favor, and have to explain away the success of World of Warcraft.
I would say that yes, World of Warcraft has an excellent quality of execution. It does what it sets out to do very well. But of course that doesn't help you if you either don't like the guided approach to gameplay, or if you did like WoW and burned out after having played it for hundreds or even thousands of hours.

The distinction is important. I often played WoW, because the execution was very good. But after the first year I have never played it for the general approach.

I sincerely believe that it is the fun of the core gameplay, (chain-killing mobs) that makes WoW successful.

All the rest be found in other games as well. Item grinds, tries to use cheap pschological tricks, instances, dungeons, battlegrounds, guilds etc. etc.

Right now my gut tells me that WoW subscriber numbers drop sharply, by the way. But they will definitley soar again the first few months after Cataclysm.

After that we will have to see.
I have my own reasons for believing WoW is the best of them out there atm, although I doubt it specifically attributes to WoW’s success on its own. The big important thing I always look for in an MMORPG is how good the controls are, how well you move, how fluidly you react to the environment.

A major pet peeve I have with almost every single MMO is that they tend to feel like you’re always restricted by your character’s animations. Using a skill might make your character stop, stick to his target, and make some gratuitous attack animation. It ends up feeling like I’m just giving my character advice on what he should do while he tries desperately to show off his neat animations. I can handle this in a single player game, but for some reason it absolutely doesn’t work for me in MMORPGs.

In WoW, pressing a button will make your skill go, animations be damned. You aren’t stuck to your target, you can freely move as you please and actually move in a precise manner. Directional and environmental awareness matters. The game doesn’t feel like a series of calculations that hesitantly accepted a cheap 3D engine.

I cannot play an MMO where I’m restricted by invisible walls, clunky movement, poor control, and combat that involves two people flourishing at each other until one falls over. I don’t care about graphics, it’s how much control I have to operate in the world that’s important to me.
When I asked that question I never thought to consider the "fanatics" that like WoW and only WoW. I often do that, I am fanatical about nothing and I consider such attitude to be so basically wrong that I end up ignoring it as a factor in many situations. However I am finding myself being forced to accept a hunch that fanatics have a much more profound effect on products than people who present an argument and expect a reasonable response. And that just saddens me.
Very good point. Some people argue that nice animations are good for immersion. They are wrong.

The best movie scene is bad for immersion if you don't have the feeling of control over your charcter.

I always hated the invisible walls WoW has in some very few dungeons. I'm pretty sure most players would agree.

I always liked the fact that (for some reason) most player would use the right mouse button to turn around. This way you can actually see when they look at you!

The network effect is a big part of it in my mind. The fact that World of Warcraft HAS gone mainstream, many non-gamers play it, have heard of it, etc. adds a great deal of value that not everyone from an MMO or hardcore gamer perspective appreciates.

For many of these casual players or new gamers, they are not even aware of other games that come out; and even if they were, they may not be interested in paying $50 to try a new game as an early adopter that DOESN'T have their friends playing it with them.
It was based on the popular Warcraft RTS series, launched at the right time, had an overall above average level of polish from the start (although some parts of the game were missing and there were a few serious bugs), is extremely accessible thanks to the linear and quest-driven progress and -crucially- gained critical mass very swiftly. Blizzard was apparently suprised but quickly implemented a thusfar pretty much flawlessly executed longterm vision.

Since then a lot of MMOs launched, mostly motivated by a risky me-too strategy offering similar but -as perceived by MMO players- inferior gameplay or subpar polish. Rushed releases are common: creating an MMO is a costly longterm deal, which few can afford. Right now MMOs are assembly line products, with an as short as possible time to market, aimed maximizing box sales; lacking any long term vision.
/puts on QA hat

One of the fundamentals of Quality Assurance is that of customer satisfaction. Using this definition, everything you are considering falls under that umbrella. I think Blizzard's staff recognizes this and have executed on it well.

Look at vanilla WoW and all the things that stand out are aimed at making the customer's experience more enjoyable. One of the first things I remember people raving about? Zoning. Remember zoning in EQ? AO? You know ... that obnoxious wait when you went from one zone to the next - that invisible wall that defined the break in continuous gameplay. We don't think much of it now, but back then it was a BIG DEAL.

Remember finding quests in EQ? Or, rather, remember how much 'fun' it was to waste time finding quests in EQ? WoW changed that game with clear and obvious quest givers, to the point that everyone more or less copies it.

People are often dismissive of Blizzard's contribution to the genre, forgetting how primitive and user-unfriendly MMOs were when it was introduced. They rolled out a whole new paradigm in player interaction. People flocked to this new game not because of the lore (which many of us didn't know or appreciate), but because playing the game was just plain old fun.

This is why I laugh every time I see some cheeseball proclaim he's coming up with a WoW-killer and then emphasizes something that does NOT relate to their strengths. Another game designer that Doesn't Get It.

I think it's about the customer experience, and always has been. I think they sussed that and that it's been the guiding star for them. And as long as it remains that way, they have bought themselves YEARS of steady income.
WoW was the perfect storm.

Polished, Blizzard being well known by the PC gaming community, not any meaningful competition, a solid advertising budget, and so forth. The circumstances that WoW launched in will never be replicated, and I don't think we'll ever see a "WoW killer" for this reason. A "better" game might come around, but its not PURELY about the quality of the game.
Polished, Blizzard being well known by the PC gaming community, not any meaningful competition, a solid advertising budget, and so forth. The circumstances that WoW launched in will never be replicated, and I don't think we'll ever see a "WoW killer" for this reason.

We had a brilliant opportunity with AoC. 700k sold copies.

This is not one of the reasons for WoW success in my opinion.

Also there was EQ2. There was serious competition.
Also worth noting that you can play WoW on just about any computer still actively used in a home. I've got several PCs in my house, but even my oldest one (9 years) can play Warcraft. It can't play EVE and you can certainly forget about Warhammer or Conan. WoW? No problem. Just turn the settings down to minimum and I can still do everything. Heck, I can even switched to the dial-up modem and play anything outside of a Northrend instance.

The idea that almost anybody with almost any computer can join the game is one of the major reasons WoW remains so successful.
I would contend that the statement that "There are other games that are very good, even some excellent" as almost being false.

WoW is so big because Blizzard has just nailed it. I have played/tried almost all of the other MMO's out there and only EVE lasted longer than a couple months. Gameplay, graphics, and most of all polish has set WoW so far ahead of these other games it seems that there will be no other competition in the foreseeable future.

WoW is greater than the sum of its parts. It feels like a complete game. There are obvious flaws with the game and things they could improve on but compared to everything else on the market these seem inconsequential.

WoW isn't popular because its easy or cheesy. It is popular because it is extremely accessible and extremely well done.
WoW makes every user feel like they are very skilled at the game, even though half are obviously wrong. I think this is the key to WoW's success.

Gevlon made me realize that prominent solo gameplay is necessary for this. If you only play with others all the time, it becomes clear that they are consistently better than you.

Playing solo, that is not clear. You chain kill mobs with ease, you can handle an add or two, you can do quests above your level, even the occasional group quest by yourself! You're so awesome!

But since you are solo, you don't see that everyone can do this. When you play in groups, it is human nature to blame failures on others or luck. Solo play already established your awesomeness, the game does not force you to face your ineptitude.
I would have to say that WoW is about quantity and not quality .. I mean ... take a look at the game. Riddled with bugs, poor server side development. Stealth nerfs ... sadistic issues ... greed, the list goes on.

Gotta call you out on that. "Citation needed".

What bugs currently exist that you would consider severe?

Why would 11.5 million players pay for the boxes, much less the subscription time, if it were as you say?
After brainstorming general properties of MMOs for some time I made a list of how important what property is for the success of an MMO.

On top are the most important things and at the bottom the least important.
Obviously, it has to be taken with a grain of salt.

01) Player Mentality
02) Core Gameplay
03) System requirements
04) General Polish
05) GUI
06) Content
07) Features
08) Immersion
09) Accessibility
10) Community
11) Character progression
12) Setting
13) Challenge
14) Graphics style
15) Sound
16) Remaining Memories
17) Making Dollars
18) Developer data collection

The things at the top are the most important to get right and also the hardest to get right. Therefore, they require the most resources.

The things at the bottom are easiest to get right and even if they are not perfect, it usually isn't much of a problem.

For a little bit more explanation, also have a look at this.
It seems to be that WOW's secret, insofar as it exists, is that Blizzard nailed the behind the scenes, boring aspects of development so well. They really know how to balance the conflicting demands of time, cost and quality.

WOW certainly isn't bug-free, but it has far fewer, less severe problems than its rivals.

That really counts in the long term. Most people are pretty tolerant of bugs at launch, but if they remain for a long while after that, the game will start to leak subscribers.
@Nils: AoC? What? They weren't a solid game company, well established with an already thorough back catalogue of polished, masterful and incredibly popular titles that to this day still boast fairly high numbers online. They had operated Anarchy Online. That was it.

It's utterly stupid to say that when, where and how WoW launched are not major factors to its popularity. WoW was a totally different beast not because it pulled in every single EQ player, but because it pulled in Warcraft and Starcraft vets who wanted to keep with the company and storyline.

EQ2 was serious MMO competition yes...but it wasn't game competition. MMOs weren't well known, but you know what was? Starcraft and Warcraft; and Blizzard. The release, which came 2 years after TFT, was perfect timing: WC3 and TFT had spread and been played, and had substantial fan bases. They wanted the story, or the graphic update, or something new but at the same time familiar. WoW did that. And did it well. It released to captivate those people. They told their friends. The rest is history.
You said:
The circumstances that WoW launched in will never be replicated, and I don't think we'll ever see a "WoW killer" for this reason.

I said:
We had a brilliant opportunity with AoC. 700k sold copies.

My point proves that the circumstances weren't unique at all.
"Right now my gut tells me that WoW subscriber numbers drop sharply, by the way. But they will definitley soar again the first few months after Cataclysm."

Burning Crusade hasn't even been released in China yet. If Blizzard gets that mess worked out, I'd expect the numbers to take a jump upwards.

And yes, Cataclysm will increase numbers also. I think it might be the first expansion that lures back players who haven't played in years. It gives everyone a chance to start over and get new content.
Popularity, commercial success and quality aren't synonyms. Often they are barely on nodding acquaintance.

The Harry Potter books aren't the most successful novels of any genre and none in the last half-century because they're the best-written or the most original. Neither is "The Da Vinci Code".

Why are those books not just successful but successful on a scale beyond any of their contemporaries? No-one knows.

If someone DID know, then the vast slew of sub-Dan Brown mythteries and sub-Rowling family-friendly-fantasies would also have challenged and broken sales records. They didn't, because whatever synergies pushed those into the Phenomenon class could neither be identified nor replicated.

WoW stands alone for reasons that will not be understood and will not be reproduced. Won't stop people trying, though.

Oh, I would suggest one identifiable factor common to all outrageously disproportionate successes in popular entertainment:

they have to be bland.
@Nils: I fail to understand how AoC proves it wasn't unique. It was.

@Bhagpuss: You're mistaking bland for accessible. Harry Potter is the perfect example; it isn't brilliantly written, but it is easy to read and fairly enjoyable if it's your genre (not mine, but hey.)
- WoW was a better MMO than anything else at the same release period; so it pulled in many MMO-vets (EQ2, SWG, etc.)

- The Warcraft IP is well-liked and highly popular among PC gamers. This brought in that segment.

- In addition, Blizzard at the time of WoW's release probably was the most popular/liked PC developer, and many WC/SC/Diablo players tried the game simply because it was Blizzard.

- Broadband/persistent internet access was growing exponentially (especially at college campuses), and society was much more widely-used to paying for things online.

- The game is easy to play, but hard to master. Whether you enjoy PVE or PVP, crafting or twinking. There's something for everyone, and even if not done perfectly, it's done very _well_.
Polish, ease to play any character, it runs well on computers (that right there can make the decision for people with older computers). Does it keep people lately though?

While Cataclysm might net back more players it only will offer five more levels. If Blizzard keeps letting the game stagnate I think people will keep drifting off.

WoW is great, it just needs less time between expansions.
1) I was going to say network effect: Zode q.v.

2) Joining because your friends do, or because it is so well known is not incompatible with "most of the time I prefer to do content solo."

3) A factor I think that has made WoW successful is appealing to more customers than just typical videogamers. I believe there are more mothers, housewives, retirees playing WoW than CoD4 or Darkfall.

4) WoW is also accessible in terms of time and RL, at least on a PvE server. If i have 15 minutes, I can do a daily or visit the AH or craft. I can not raid but I can still find things to do in WoW even if I know i could be distracted by a phone call, child, or TV. It turned out this is why I find WoW so much more pleasant than EVE. EVE is Serious Business and you should not even AFK travel with your freighter in high sec. I want some gameplay to be intense and riveting and require my complete concentration. Good accessible games provide that and also provide things to do that are RL and distraction friendly.

5) No death penalty encourages experimentation. There is no real cost for trying a higher level quest, instance, BG or arena. So people try it some fail but some succeed or like it.
In fact, I am looking forward for Cataclysm not because of the end game. The Tx->T(x+1) set design is horrible in my opinion.

What I am looking for is the leveling game - as are many other players.

I hope they reduce leveling speed again and tell some nice stories.

I hope I will be able to do some BGs without outleveling my quests! ..

I fear for the worst, though :(
How could i forget my two favorites

6) Good Mac support. This is irrelevant for the Halo/FPS demographic but important in the broader realm.

7) Customizable UI: annoyances are ameliorated long before Blizzard can address them by user addons. And the popularity of the addons gives developers insight into what to polish and even ways to do it. I think people greatly underestimate the importance of this.
WoW is this big because of convenience.

Convenience includes:
1. Popularity
1.a. A lot of players logged in to do stuff.
1.b. Easy to find people you know who play WoW too.
2. Availability (tons of game stores have WoW)
3. Ease of play (it's not super tough hardcore difficult to achieve this and that in WoW)

When it comes down to it, most people play games to relax. By offering such convenience, WoW becomes this big.
WoW has quality in the same way that The Da Vinci Code is well written.

However who in his/her right mind would say that The Da Vinci Code has more literary value than Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms or Milton's Paradise Lost or Miller's Nexus or Kundera's The Unbearable Lightness of Being or Saramago's Blindness?

If a Dan Brown fan would have a go at Saramago he/she would say that the writing wasn't polished or clear, that it was hard to read and full of ambiguous meanings.

Not saying here that WoW sucks. I played it for over two and a half years so I must've liked something.

I quit not so much due to burnout but rather because Blizzard has been toning down the complexity of the game. Dual Spec remove the last shred of decision regarding your character. Then came spellpower further simplifying the theorycrafting and player interaction. Now mp5 is also going the way of the dodo.

Glad most people like the KISS approach but since I do not I moved away.

What is jarring though is that most people seem to be unable to equate polish with resources and investor expectations. Blizzard, due to the success of their games had all the time in the world to perfect their game while others did not. I'm honestly glad that Blizzard could do it but it doesn't mean that all other software houses are clueless and dumb.

So yes, Blizzard had somewhat of a perfect storm in launching their game but that doesn't mean that they haven't achieved in a good polished way what they have set out to do: to make an obscene amount of money! :)
The answer is pretty simple for a lot of products if you like product X you'll often buy similar products Y and Z. For example people who play most genres of computer games buy a lot of games that are quite similar to other games that they like.

This isn't really the case with MMORPGS since most people only play one at a time and people having three active subscriptions in three different games is pretty much unheard of.

This means that if one game is a little better than every other game that its competing against (in WoW's case DIKU MUD-inspired MMORPGS) then the one that's clearly a little better than all of the competition will dwarf the others in market share.

You don't see this same sort of dynamic in games like single player CRPGs since you have plenty of people who play, say, Baldur's Gate and Final Fantasy but its very very clear in MMORPGs. So the obvious way to make money in MMORPGs is:

A. Make a game that clearly does a better job of whatever the market leader is doing (as WoW did for EQ). However unless the market leader has some obvious flaws (as EQ certainly did) this is HARD since you have to not only compete against that game as it was when it was released by years and years of expansions and patches as well. To beat WoW at its own game you're going to need lots of money, probably over $100 million which is more than most companies can stomach risking on one game.

B. Make a MMORPG that's different from WoW so that it isn't in such direct competition (I think this is probably why Eve is doing as well as it is).

C. Make a niche game.

D. Get your friendly local government to ban WoW (yay China!).

I think that right now the smart money would be on making a better version of Eve since Eve is successful despite there being a lot of very obvious things wrong with it so an improved version of it would probably do better than Eve in the same way that WoW did better than EQ and for the same reasons. Either that are spend a metric shit ton of money trying to beat WoW at being WoW.

No matter what, trying to beat WoW at being WoW while spending less money and time than it took to make WoW and then having to go up against all of the years of improvements that WoW has had since release is a suck's game.
WoW has quality in the same way that The Da Vinci Code is well written. However who in his/her right mind would say that The Da Vinci Code has more literary value than Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms or Milton's Paradise Lost or Miller's Nexus or Kundera's The Unbearable Lightness of Being or Saramago's Blindness?

If WoW is the Da Vinci Code, then most of the other existing MMORPG, including Darkfall and EVE, are the kind of cheap novels which you buy at the railway station and where the ink colors your hands while you read them.

I'm not saying that WoW isn't populist, but I don't see any MMORPG out there which would have the quality of a Paradise Lost or the powerful message of a Farewell to Arms.
As usual, David hits the nail on the head ;)

The comparion with novels is faulty, as you can hardly say: This book excels at X, but fails at Y.
But you can say this about most MMOs.
The more I think about it, the more I agree with Ben.

I don't think it is right to talk about the "polish" of WoW. WoW was a smash hit on launch day, and it was far from polished at the time. You need to look at the elements which were already there from the very beginning.

Sure, WoW has gotten better, adding much more content and polish, and subscriptions have gone up. But you can't point to the raiding, the battlegrounds, the arena, or tons of other things as the core reason for popularity, because WoW was hugely successful before those things even existed.
"If WoW is the Da Vinci Code, then most of the other existing MMORPG, including Darkfall and EVE, are the kind of cheap novels which you buy at the railway station and where the ink colors your hands while you read them."


Some of those novels are utter crap.
Others are gems that simply didn't get the time, money or talent in order to perfect the package although the ideas, concepts and plot are much more deeper, challenging and engaging. It's not easy at all to read Paradise Lost. That's why people prefer Twilight which has had a wild success and even some innovation to the vampire mythos: now they glow. That's how you know they are vampires.

Point is, I wasn't dissing WoW or saying is a bad game. I even wrote in my comment that I played it for two and a half years and I'm not a masochist.

I simply challenge the notion that everybody else besides Blizzard are idiots that simply cannot put two and two together. Blizzard is indeed a brilliant company for they built a solid reputation through solid games. That allowed them to have a crap load of money and only themselves to answer while making WoW. And that is probably as important has having the talent to design and code.

Most of commenters here and you, Tobold love to rag on DArkfall and it's sociopathic, evil, eat-children-for-breakfast players but you ignore that Aventurine did a hell of a job with less than Blizzard's budget for paper toilet back in Irvine. Even more in EVE's case. Of course Mythic and Cryptic suck big time and I'm not AT ALL saying that with proper budget DF and EVE would "kill wow".

I only think that it's a bit puerile to lay Blizzard success on talent alone without seeing the bigger picture.

Let's see how Bioware performs. They have a company name almost as known as Blizzard. They have a solid reputation with solid games. They will also benefit from "oh, if it's from Bioware i'll give it a go" and on top of it it's a wildly known IP.
Hi Tobold.

I read your blog quite often, and we keep having similar discussion in our google group. My thoughts on why WoW has made it so big are :

* It expanded on a known universe. So people who had played Warcraft/ I/II/III instantly knew about the Orcs, Humans, Taureans etc. The lore was familiar. e.g. my first characters were NE and Taurean as I liked them in the WC3 games.

* The controls easy. I tried playing DDO, but cant get much done as the controls are so clumsy. WoW had controls borrowed over from FPS games too - so people did not have to re-learn how to move around.

* The world is seamless. You can just move from one zone to another without having to wait for the zone to load. This is a very big point as most other MMOs have not been able to achieve this. GW, DDO, etc. still make you wait for zone loads.

* It can play on low end systems. People usually don't bring out this point - but for the casual gamer , if the game can run on their default laptops, they are going to pay for it, rather than an extremely good looking came which they cant run without spending lots of money on the hardware upgrades.

* It runs on a mac. I know mac users are less - but they are quite influential. And nowdays, I notice in most blogs, people talk about their macbook when talking about the game. Cross platform is WIN.

* As you mentioned - it caters to the noobs. Its a friendly game to start off on. You level up quite fast compared to other games in the initial minutes. You are comparatively much more powerful than the monsters earlier on. Other noobs are usually helpful. The main city is near the starting area. I was wowed by Thunderbuff !

* Even though you can solo - you can _see_ other people around. I remember starting out as a NE hunter, and going into the spider cave - when someone invited me to their party. Contrast this with GW, where once I zone out of the city I can't see any other human player. Sure, WoW can be soloed, but it does not mean that you are playing in isolation. Same kind of feeling when I saw the 'red' name of the opposing faction for the first time on a random road in Stonetalon mountain. The world has other people. Other MMOs dont.

* the signup is fast and easy. Your characters stay even after you stop the subscription - the penalties you get are very few - apart from your guildies getting ahead of you in the gear game.

* If you want, you can solo, party, pvp, grind, rp. Its all there for you, there is no one dictating what you can do.

* It does not crash. I played the LOTRO demo when it came out - and the damn thing just kept crashing. WoW does not crash , even when I was playing it under Wine.

Other 'Wow Killers' think that by getting flashier graphics they can do great - but they fail cause they do not take care of the other factors.
While World of Warcraft is still my most-often played game. I still feel the game has lost something by "going mainstream". The sense you get while leveling 1-60[non-tbc] is far different from 61-80.

The game has become far to easy...who here can say their level 60 was fully decked out in epics when they 'dinged' 60? Doubt any. However, every single one of my 10 character have enough badges to complete gear-swap every slot with epics upon hitting 80.

World of Warcraft now feels more like a haunting, where the spirit just goes through the motions of "being alive". Stepping into ICC felt nothing like stepping into MC, AQ20/40, or Naxx 1.0.

On a final note, which I truly wish the Devs to take home is:
World of Warcraft is a MMO; please stop turning it into an instanced game. WorldPVP (DEAD), Meeting Stones (DEAD), Questing (DEAD)...there is no longer a reason for either of my 2 non-80s to leave Dalaran; they sit and queue up. You have removed the reason to BE in the world.

...I miss the old World of Warcraft.
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