Tobold's Blog
Thursday, October 16, 2014

Sometimes MMORPGs in general, or specific popular MMORPGs like World of Warcraft are described as being "addictive". So I was wondering whether I have been miraculously cured: I'm reading about the big changes to WoW with patch 6.0 this week in preparation for the next expansion, and I feel no desire whatsoever to resubscribe or buy that expansion.

If the miracle cure explanation isn't the good one, then the alternative explanation I have is that I expect WoW 6.0+ to be not fundamentally different from all the previous versions of World of Warcraft. Sure, there will be some new content. But most of that new content is based on already very familiar modes of gameplay: New quests in new zones, new dungeons, and so on. Some minor additions like housing don't turn this into a radically new game. A WoW expansion is always mostly "more of the same", with some tweaks.

Of course that depends on how far you zoom out your view, or how closely you look. You could say that there are a lot of "WoW-like" games out there which have the same leveling by questing, with some dungeons mixed in sort of gameplay. If one finds other games not worth playing because they are too similar to WoW, then surely a WoW expansion, which is even more like WoW, isn't worth playing either. Unless of course one thinks one has to play one of the bunch, in which case WoW isn't the worst possible choice. Nevertheless some people might prefer for example Guild Wars 2, either for gameplay reasons, or simply because they don't have to buy a new expansion and pay $15 per month to play that.

What about you? Does patch 6.0 and the upcoming Warlords of Draenor expansion tempt you to resubscribe to World of Warcraft? Or maybe you never left? Or have you been "cured"?

I've never hated the WoW content. I left because the game forced me to either find a very hardcore group or play with absolutely horrible people. "you can't kick this player for 4 more hours" literally came up in nightmares.

The cross-server raiding and now the group finder allows one to raid in casual schedule. If you get home early, you can find a handpicked team at 14:00 to raid till 17:00.

So I'm back.
Last time I played WoW was in early Cataclysm. I had become accustomed to all of the new talents and skills. I got my main geared up, had done the hard mode dungeons and leveled up professions. I had explored most of the reworked zones with my alts and I even got decent income from the AH. I felt like I had figured out the parts of the game that I liked, and other stuff like raiding, PvP or finally leveling an Alliance alt to level cap didn't interest me. But it was fun while it lasted.

So why not come back? While I did stuck around with Cataclysm longer than I did with WoTLK, it was clear that the time I enjoyed figuring things out was dramatically longer in vanilla and in TBC. It wasn't because the new content was worse. Maybe because I was just getting better at consuming it?

Barring massive, fundamental changes to the core of the game, that process was only going to get faster and faster. It was time for something completely different.
I discovered when I unsubbed this year that I really did have an addiction to the game. I kept itching to go back, just because, even though the BGs had been getting me more and more frustrated with the faction imbalance. (And the questing timeline that broke with Cataclysm and they've never bothered to fix it, but that's another story.)

So as you can imagine, I was sorely tempted to resub with 6.0 dropping. But reason eventually prevailed, because I knew that some fundamental parts of the game weren't going to change and I'd be just as frustrated a few months later.
You're not cured. You're just not interested in some genres anymore. Not enough to play them... but still enough to keep talking about them.

I stopped playing WoW in 2012 after 4 years and a half of intense activity. Then real life kicked in too much (family, children, friends, work) and I simply started focusing my free time on other things (which aren't "better" per-se, just different and more interesting for me).

I still think WoW is amazing and hard to be "killed" by other titles. What makes WoW unbeatable is the lore. For those who love long/deep questlines, stories, TONS of things to do/see/collect/explore/learn I guess no game will ever be like WoW, much like Star Wars and Star Trek will always be the kings in their genre.

I like it too much, but I get obsessed with the game. There are just not enough hours in the day!
By the way, the question is a personal one. *Statistically* I already know the answer: World of Warcraft already has 600.000 subscribers more today than in the previous quarter. And there will be millions more after the expansion releases.
I resubscribed the day 6.0.2 dropped. I've been enjoying it so far, and I am looking forward to potentially doing flexible raids.
I resubbed shortly before 6.0.2.

I've bounced from SWTOR to Wildstar but nothing really held me the way WoW does. WoW feels like home. I feel more connected to WoW's world and story. I know the lore better and can relate things that are happening to WoD to my experiences in tBC.

Every time I would start a long chain or rep grind in SWTOR or Wildstar, I'd stop and think about how I already had a max level toons that I knew how to play well and already had all these cool toys and spells.

The repetitive aspects have never really bothered me. I want Blizzard to provide "more of the same" with new lore, zones, quests. I came back to play WoW, not some new game under WoW's moniker. I don't WANT something "fundamentally different from all the previous versions of World of Warcraft." If Blizzard wants to sell that they need to market it under a new name "WoW 2.0" or whatever. If I'm buying a WoW Xpac, I dang well want to play the WoW game I've come to know and love over the past 8 years (I didn't start until 2006).

WoW is already back up 600k subs, and I'm sure more are coming with the Xpac. We had a bloody queue to log in to Zul'jin on patch night. A queue for a 10 year old game with 'connected realms'.

Look, I know after a couple of months people will stop playing again and the numbers will fall. MMOs in general seem to be in a bit of a decline. It makes sense to finish this ride where I started it, in WoW.
I don't think I'm cured, rather that after playing games like Guild Wars 2 and The Secret World, I have higher standards for where I'm willing to spend time, and WoW no longer meets them.

The last WoW raid I Gloried (got all the achievements for) was Firelands. I stopped playing when my guild killed Deathwing on Heroic. I came back briefly in Mists when some friends grabbed me. Dread Wastes was an amazing zone, calling back to the masterpieces back in Wrath. I could imagine Dread Wastes fitting in right next to Zul'Drak. Everything else in Mists was boring and terrible. A training montage? Really? I was genuinely insulted.
I came back for Mists of Pandaria, because I wanted to try the new class and hoped that would breathe life back into the game. I was hardcore the whole expansion, and I enjoyed my time.

I don't feel like the additions that Blizzard is making to the game add any value for me.

I never got into the Battle Pet system, but I appreciated it because it was compartmentalized gameplay and did not bleed into any other systems into the game much, or at least the ones I enjoy (raiding).

The garrison system seems like it is taking the opposite approach and it has a performance impact on everything else you do in the game. So much so that I don't think I will be resubbing. Playing the subsystem should be optional, and not have a significant impact on other aspects of the game. One the first quests that you do in the new content hand holds you through your garrison.

If the garrison was doing some world building in the process, and connected players more instead of isolating them, I could see that adding value.

I kind of felt the same thing about arenas, because doing arenas/BGs gave you better gear than the content you were interested in doing.
I believe the popularity of the MMORPG has declined over the years, and I believe that's in part due to the free-to-play games on the rise. While many have existed alongside World of Warcraft's history, none have truly emerged as popular if not more popular than the recent MOBAs--League of Legends in particular. I think that a game's addictiveness can be attributed to its popularity, and although you mention the recent boost in WoW's subscribers, they're still lagging behind LoL--and that's a fact. And this recent boost is most likely related to the new expansion, which, as I'm sure we've all seen, dies away after a few months of its release.

However, what I think is specific to WoW's lack of addictiveness is its increasingly low learning curve and its increasingly high variety in features. Whereas Vanilla players remember when raiding (and later PVP) were the highlights and most important features of the game, the modern WoW player is overwhelmed with options on how to play the game.

I played the WoD beta for a few weeks, and although the story is compelling and immersive, I can tell that once all the main quests are completed, players are going to lose interest again. The effort involved in gearing up just to do end-game content used to have considerable value--now it's fractional value based on the way one plays the game. And it's also redundant, making the gameplay the same just revamped character models and new boss fights.

I don't believe this is going to be worth the money for subscribers in the long run. Many will certainly buy the game to test out the new expansion and experience the story (the last one for WoW, supposedly), but I don't think the gimmicks that kept people playing will work anymore.

I don't think they would be spending so much time getting their free-to-play MOBA Heroes of the Storm right if they thought WoW would be sustainable in the future.

Cool question. Glad you asked it.
I was "cured" by the effective dissolution of the guild I played in. It was what I consider first a friends-and-family guild which managed to do some raiding through the last few expansions, but in the days before Siege of Orgrimmar was released, we started losing people whether due to changing real life conditions or lack of interest. Without them, "more of the same" was simply not good enough to keep me subscribed.

I miss those days, but I don't expect the guild situation to improve with Warlords and I haven't seen anything in the previews that interests me enough to dive back in personally.
I actually just resubscribed last weekend after not playing since.. I'm going to guess March 2011. It was before 4.1 landed, but long enough after Cataclysm launched to fully devour all the 4.0 content.

WoD did get me enthused, in a way Pandaria didn't, largely because Garrisons sound interesting. However I think I may have given Pandaria a bit less attention than it deserved. Pet Battles are a pretty extensively realized new feature, and a lot of fun. Also I just got a farm which seems like an interesting new thing.

The yet-another-complete-rework of skills and talents, I can take or leave. I'm really unconvinced that any of the reworks have been significant improvements on what came before, as seems to be evidenced that they all get reworked again next expansion, every time. I'm beginning to think that this is either intellectual masturbation by the designers, or the theory that rejigging everyone's skills and talents will make the game feel fresh to them.
I can't think of any other genre where I would play a 10 year old game over more current offerings. I'm not playing WoW now, nor do I have plans to go back. And yet, if I were forced to play an MMORPG, I would probably have to pick WoW.

So I can't really say I've been "cured," I just see a massive failure by all other games in the genre. 10 years later and no one else could make a game as good.
I resubbed this week. I have an annual date with disappointment - by which I mean the headless horseman - trying to get the @#*%*@ to drop his @#%*^* mount. (Every day, every year, on multiple toons. STILL NOTHING.)

My brothers and some friends have resubbed as well. And like I said in the Destiny post, the presence of friends buys ANY activity (even if it's just drinking in a bar and playing darts) a lot of longevity it otherwise wouldn't have.

The stat squish is novel for now, kind of interesting. Re-familiarizing myself is interesting. The quality-of-life improvements are welcome. But longevity? Well. We'll see how we go.

Thanks to some clever timing on Blizzard's part, they've got me for Hallow's End, the 10yr anniversary, and then the expansion drops, which I'll probably spend at least a monht or two on.

The longevity test will depend on whether raiding is their time-honoured answer to 'what's the endgame?' If so, then I'm out. If they decide to make alternative routes to power and challenge in the form of end-game, high-difficulty solo/small group content, I might just stick around.
I don't know whether you remember me from perhaps 3-4 years ago. Anyway, I haven't played any MMOs, or indeed any other serious video games, in years. As is, the patch has had me reading forums for a few hours to gauge reaction. The newly overtuned lowbie dungeons piqued my interest, but have already been hotfixed, apparently. It also got me to check out a few of my old haunts, like this one. And I'll probably go read the forums again when the expansion drops to see how the Cataclysm-esque changes to healing and difficulty go over with the general playerbase.

But I don't think I'll be resubbing. I know what would happen, a couple days of frenzied dungeon runs followed by boredom and unsubbing. I think if I had real life friends into the game I would still be interested in playing. As Gevlon mentioned, the additions of cross-server raiding, the group finder, and (most importantly) the introduction and now expansion of flex raiding make WoW's endgame finally sound like one that could work for me. But without that, it all just feels empty.
I logged in on day 1 of mists, looked at the utter clusterfuck that was the Alliance introduction quest and promptly unsubbed until a couple months ago.

I find the Garrisons idea interesting.

I like that things have been squished back down to a level where you can more easily determine whether an item is an upgrade without checking another site.

I particularly like the raid changes that make it easier for me to raid on occasion with my guild. With Normal and Heroic being flex without breakpoints, it is far easier to raid when I can, without concern that leaving half way through will end the night for everyone (as DPS, anyway).

I have not been enthused about an expansion since probably Wrath. WoD had me enthused.
After 2+ years of being away I resubbed due to the changes coming in 6.0.2. I resubbed 2 months ago to level my toons to 90 and hated the combat system they introduced in MoP. Since 6.0.2 hit the other day I'm having a blast again, as combat has been simplified with the stat squish introduced with the patch. I went from having 550+k health to having 67K health and 30+K mana. The combat now is eerily similar to Vanilla in terms of mitigation, damage dealt and spell rotations(for my pally and shadow priest anyways), and the new UBRS instance is giving the entitlement kiddies a fit because they aren't able to face roll the dungeon.

I'm having a blast again after being gone for 2+ years, and I'm actually excited about the new expansion.
Pandaria is the first WoW expansion I have stayed subscribed for the entire expansion with no lapses, which is really quite incredible. Although that is almost entirely due to finding and raiding with a guild that I enjoy raiding with, the perfect mix of people I enjoy being around and ability to get content done (We recently downed Heroic Garrosh! Before the patch! Not even remotely hardcore considering how long we took, but by golly we beat the final boss in time).

The new content will be enjoyable while it lasts, but it is really just the presence of the guild that keeps me going. I am definitely long past my WoW addiction stage.
@Charles - "Many will certainly buy the game to test out the new expansion and experience the story (the last one for WoW, supposedly),"

This if factually untrue.

game director Tom Chilton - "We are already in progress with our next expansion. We already have zones in production for it. Our next expansion after that, we have a couple of different options that we'll be choosing between over the next several months. Beyond that, there are about six or seven different ideas for expansions that we can take elements of and say, 'You know what? Let's take that and put it in this one for our next expansion after the next one.' Or we might shift the timelines around from what we originally envisioned. There's easily 10 years worth of stuff that we can draw from – more, really."
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Why would you consider a MOBA to be a massively multiplayer online game? Don't they tend to be around 5 vs. 5 players? I don't consider 10 people to be "massively" multiplayer, that is just "ordinary" multiplayer. The "massively" is describing games with hundreds of people able to interact with each other at once.
Yeah that did start to sound weird after I typed it. I think I've talked to too many people IRL who don't disambiguate MMO to literally only mean massive multiplayer--I've seen it used as a blanket term for all online multiplayer gaming. Probably because it's faster to say. :)
Still going to push the point that Chilton's ruminations on possible expansions does not count as a "factual truth". I loved WoW as much as the next guy, but if anything, I'd rather see Wow 2.0 like others than a Patch 7.0, 8.0, 9.0.
Yes, I have definitely been cured. It was the best game ever, and I did play lots from start to wrath. But no matter how much the content changes, I'm completely fed up with the framework of the game. No wow for me, ever again.

For new players it'll sure be lots of fun though.
Too late for anyone but Tobold to see this, but: the more I read about what they are trying with 6.0, the more curious I get to see whether it completely blows up in their faces. They are clearly trying to reinvigorate server and guild communities and reduce anonymity. The goal is to limit the extent to which WoW is played like a single-player game, where you unsub until the next expansion once you quickly kill the boss in LFR. However, to do that, they are taking some big things away, and doing some other things that will make a lot of players mad.

- No flying.
- Everyone must run to all non-LFR raid instances.
- LFR drops loot faster, pushing players through it and into normal (current flex) quickly.
- Clear visual scaling of armor between raiding difficulties. LFR loot frankly looks poor, and it lacks tier bonuses to boot.
- Proving grounds as a measure of class understanding and ability.
- Hard heroic dungeons that you must qualify for in proving grounds, that are on a separate track from normal dungeons -> LFR.

Some of that seems well intentioned, but there are some increased timesinks and things that feel like Cataclysm all over again (along with the healing nerf!)

I'm also curious to see whether Garrisons are a compelling replacement for dailies, how much nerfing stuff like professions (yay) makes the game feel different, and just how badly the PVP area that allows looting of some zone-locked items goes over.
I have played WoW on and off since year 1. I played when the level cap was 60. When it was 70. When it was 80. 85. 90. I got to the cap in each case, with multiple toons.

Playing WoW taught me many things, both about gaming and about myself.

WoW is visually compelling, which I find gripping. I enjoy both soloing and grouping, but I like social interaction with my group mates.

After a while the leveling-up stage, which I've enjoyed a lot, has gotten easier and easier, though not faster and faster. As a result, it's gotten boring.

And once I've leveled up each race and each class and done almost every dungeon and battleground, played PvP and PvE, leveled up every profession, gathered all of the funky Archaeology pets and mounts, I find the ongoing dungeon grind to get yet one more purple trinket or ring or weapon or whatever gets very very boring.

So over a year ago I quit. I've quit before, more than once. I might play again, but I agree with Tobold's comment - I don't feel very tempted to go back.

WoW is a brilliant achievement in game architecture and design and it's given me a vast amount of pleasure.

But, at the end, I didn't find the whimsical personal interactions any more. Every one I encountered was a focused, obsessed player with their eye on some objective or another. No more could I have relaxed conversations about whatever the heck and just enjoy getting to know a new person in a casual conversation.

So, after a while, it was just a chase for achievements and titles and obscure crafting specials. I had so much gold I could buy anything that appeared on the AH, but I couldn't muster the desire to actually buy anything.

So, almost a year-and-a-half ago I suspended my account. I still feel a desire to go back, but I don't want to go back to the game I left. I want to go back to the original WoW, or perhaps the Level 70 game. Not for any of the specifics of game mechanics or quests, but because the game was wild and new and full of fun people to chat with and it was hard to figure out what to do and thottbot was still pretty limited in what it knew and I had to struggle. My progress was slow, but I didn't really care.

The journey is the reward. WoW seems to have forgotten that, which is why I've left and don't expect to go back.

Sadly, I haven't found anything to replace it. RIP
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