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After my near internet-less holiday I'm back and find the world wrapped up in the Olympics. I was originally planning to kick off my new blog with an update on my minecraft adventure map but because I've been gone not much progress has been made. Instead I decided I would do a write up on WoW and my experience with WoW in general. Turns out this was the right decision with today's news on WoW losing 1.1 million subscribers. Before I end up talking in circles lets get this blog started. Note you can skip the first two sections in you like, they're more about my experience with mmos and less to do with my opinion on the game.
My Experience With WoW (And some other MMOs)
I started playing WoW towards the end of Burning Crusade, well technically I've been a player since the beginning because I played the game for about a month before BC came out but those were different times. I then picked it up and played for a while in BC but wasn't a fully committed player until the launch of Wrath. That's Wrath Of The Litch King. WoTlk is the dumbest shortening of a name in my opinion because it takes way too long to type and looks / soundsidiotic. Fight me. Anyway I will refer to Wrath as Wrath because of my personal vendetta against WoTLk will never end. so get used to it now Throughout Wrath I played a Paladin, I swear I didn't know about the over powerdness before hand it was just the time in my life when being the super good guy was cool. I never really got into raiding but I dabbled and enjoyed it, I just didn't feel like setting up a schedule for a game because I thought it would make me enjoy the game less. I played pretty heavily until probably 5 months or so before Cata. I signed back up a month before Cata launched and dived back in. That dive wouldn't last as long though mostly because most of my old guild mates had moved on long before I stopped playing and unlike me they didn't come back. Our guild broke up and we all went separate ways. I was also more bored of the content not because it wasn't good I had just seen all it earlier. Sadly I was so into all the beta footage that it felt like all the content was old the second it came out. (A mistake I will not be making with MoP, and yes I approve of MoP.) My time with Cata can be described as spastic with me guild hopping looking for a new home combined with taking longer breaks than I normally do with MMOs. Should mention that WoW is not my only MMO experience, I dabbled with EVE for a long time, continually return to DDO (The only game other than LoL doing free to play right in my opinion), had a bad relationship with Lotr, and a love hate relationship with TOR. I've played others but honestly non worth mentioning. Oh and Age of Empires Online but that's more of a single player game for me. I think that sums up my MMO experience so hopefully you can kind of see where I'm coming from, or maybe I just bored you to death with a wall of text. I should throw in a cute picture or something to grab you attention.
Dr. Irvandus: Or how I learned to stop worrying and love the MMO
I like MMOs, yeah I admit it, those dumb hot-bars you all complain about I love em. What I don't like is how those hot-bars are implemented the same way and auto-attack. My thought on auto-attack to come later in the MoP section. I just figured I should let you know what I personally go to MMOs for. Honestly I'm pretty simple I like: well written large back stories, cool art, "interesting combat", other people (sometimes), decent pvp but it doesn't have to be the focus, challenging dungeons. That's about it really, interesting combat is a new one though. The combat doesn't have to be completely different than WoWs but I refuse to play another rage based or mana based class if MMOs are using WoW's style of combat. That's why I played a bounty hunter in TOR, ranged tank was something different along with his cool heat based energy. Should also note I prefer hitting stuff and tanking over ranged classes.
In-between time / why WoW lost 1.1 million subscribers
From the outside perspective it looks like Blizzard must have done something terribly wrong to lose 1.1 million subs and that they should do all they can to save their sinking boat. This isn't really the case though. First thing to understand is that most of those subscriptions are from the far east, which means Blizzard doesn't have to worry as much. "But Irvandus that's more than 15 million dollars a month out the window!" Not exactly, the subscription system in those countries is actually different than ours, they're not paying 15 dollars a month instead they pay through game-time cards that can be bought at most stores. Why do they do the subscriptions that way? I don't know, hat I do know is that Blizzard has repeatedly reported to investors that these subscriptions don't mean as much and as actual 15 dollar a month subscriptions. Then again you could argue this is does sweet talk to investors, in which case you might be right.
The reason for the loss is assumed to not be bad quality content but pure lack there of. The last major content patch came out in late December last year. That's about 8 months now with no new content ( I think the new circus content came out but that's just mini game stuff and not something that can really hold over players.) We also know that Blizz has said they don't plan to release anything before the launch of Pandaria. The reason that Blizzard has not made any new content is that when they released Naxx and Sunwell at the end of Vanilla and BC respectively most players chose to not do the content because the gear they would get from it would be obsolete at the launch of the next expansion. Some could argue Naxx was just because of difficulty and we were not sure how obsolete the gear was but for Sunwell that was definitely the reason. Another hold over raid was launched during Wrath called the Ruby Sanctum that faced the same issues as the last two hold over dungeons but this one was also pretty badly made to top that.
This puts Blizzard in a pretty terrible spot. Provide your players with content that they won't do and waste money and production time or don't give your players anything and see them stop playing. I think we can assume that Blizz figures that losing a few (Or 1.1 million) subscriptions is less costly than making any new content that won't be played. It's a pretty damned if you do and damned if you don't situation. Well with that let's have another short intermission after which I will detail my excitement for MoP and my hope for how it can rectify some mistakes in the past.
"Oh man new WoW expansion is going to be launched dude! What can beat a cataclysm that almost destroyed the entire world!"
"Maybe an expansion where we fight a Titan!"
"Or the Old Gods"
Nope Pandas, but unlike a good majority of the WoW fan base I was far more excited because of it. Azeroth at this point is a pretty ridiculous world when you think about it. Every year for the last 5 years some new monster has returned to destroy everyone. For a world with a really well written back story it's super ridiculous. Also it leads the story in every expansion to sum up to this.
- New Villain invades
- Travel to area where new villain is (Not quite in Cata, war on the home front.)
- Spend year and a half learning about how bad ass and evil the bad ass evil guy is while you kill other things.
- You kill final boss, Npc takes credit.
- Rinse and repeat.
On the other hand they can actually do something totally different with MoP, my understanding is that the story goes like this. (Spoilers are blocked out if you care)
- Discovery of Pandaria
- Both factions set out to conquer the land
- Pandarens split into two factions. One that supports the Horde and their no nonsense were going to kill your ass before you kill us attitude introduced by Garrosh and a separate faction supporting the "more political" approach of the Alliance.
- Player adventures in Pandaria learning the history of the Pandarens while seeing their land slowly transformed due to the arrival of the Horde and Alliance
- Stuff happens with a specific character. Garrosh does some dickhead thing that causes everyone who doesn't already hate him to hate him.
- A certain place is invaded where a certain character dies. Ogrimar is invaded and Garrosh is killed. Yeah Ogrimar is the final dungeon.
- End expansion.
To me this is way more interesting than the overly used format than the previous expansions and hopefully Blizz can pull it off. Their is also some cool side story stuff about Jaina proudmoore having her troops asses kicked in Theramore from Garrosh that somehow leads to her getting grey hair and becoming more powerful.
This is also the first expansion to focus on new story instead of a trip down memory lane focusing on characters from the RTS games. "But pandas are so dumb waaaaah". You should read up on them and their lore before you form an opinion, but this is the internet and I guess I shouldn't expect better. I'm also excited because it seems like Blizzard is creating a large amount of content in this expansion. As much as Cataclysm changed the world it didn't provide a lot of new high level content. The zones except for Uldum and the water zone that must not be named because I really don't like it, were the only zones that were really giant. The specific stories in each zone were really cool but you were done and out of each zone the trade off of more content for more focused quicker content didn't feel worth it. Raids rolled out slowly as usual but their was a lot of drama early on about the difficulty. Through out Wrath the vocal minority in WoW the "hardcore" (Dumb name") complained a lot about how easy everything was. Blizzard listening made most Cata content really challenging, which is bad when most of the community likes the challenge they got in Wrath. This lead to a lot of early dislike of Cata and the expansion never really recovered. Hopefully their will not only be more content at the launch of MoP but it will also be better balanced.
"Pokemon is so dumb!"
Yeah it's kind of silly on the surface that Blizzard is basically adding a pokemon style mini game to their game but after seeing the new footage of it I'm actually excited just to having something else to do that isn't crafting related, dungeon related, pvp related, or fishing. For those that don't know the game takes your vanity pets that you've unlocked and turns them into tools you can use to battle other players in a turn by turn pet based battle pokemon style. Each pet unlocks moves as it levels up and has a specific type assigned to it that makes it better against other types. For example dragon type attacks do 150% damage to humanoids. You can catch, I mean capture new pets in the wild by lowering them down to 35% health with your pets. From what I've seen it's actually really well produced and the battle music used during the fights is actually straight out of Warcraft 2 for those looking to stroke their nostalgia a bit.
That's all folks.
I felt the odd need to let this all out, hopefully one of you out there found it interesting. Certaintly not the best writing but hopefully I helped explain the loss of subscribers and my hope for MoP. I forgot to touch on auto-attack but you guys probably didn't notice that until you read this. Whoops. I honestly could have probably written another 12 paragraphs worth of stuff but it would largely be me arguing about my opinions on stuff people don't care about. Your regularly planned Irv Blog will return next week. As always leave advice and opinions. If you want to hit me up in WoW I feel like hopping back in after writing this and will tell my new character name to anyone interested. Do we have an active GB guild? If so is it on a bad server?