Massively Overthinking: The minority playerbases inside MMORPGs

Earlier this week, World of Warcraft Lead Game Designer Ion “Watcher” Hazzikostas weighed in on a player thread about Legion’s in-game prices in a way the original poster probably didn’t expect: Hazzikostas penned a veritable essay on the nature of MMO playerbase feedback.

“Almost every facet of WoW is an activity that caters to a minority of the playerbase. That may sound odd at first blush, but it’s true. In a sense, that’s part of the magic of WoW. It is not a narrow game, but rather one that can be enjoyed in numerous different ways, by people with hugely diverse playstyles. A minority of players raid. A minority of players participate in PvP. A tiny minority touch Mythic raiding. A tiny minority of players do rated PvP. A minority of players have several max-level alts. A minority of players do pet battles, roleplay, list things for sale on the auction house, do Challenge Mode dungeons, and the list goes on. Virtually the only activity that a clear majority of players participate in is questing and level-up dungeons, but even then there’s a sizeable group that views those activities as a nuisance that they have to get through in order to reach their preferred endgame. And yet, taken together, that collection of minority groups literally IS the World of Warcraft.”

Consequently, he argues, any decision Blizzard makes that favors one minority is naturally going to find a majority of the others against it, meaning Blizzard must carefully navigate the feedback waters. “Ultimately, the approach we take is usually to tailor different content and rewards that can feel special to different groups, rather than trying to come up with a lowest common denominator that isn’t special to anyone,” he writes.

Let’s talk about Blizzard’s point of view. Is it right? Does it work in every MMO or just WoW? How does it apply to other MMOs, old or up-and-coming? Is there a better way to handle all the constituencies offering feedback in an MMO? Let’s hash it out in this week’s Massively Overthinking.

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Andrew Ross (@dengarsw): Bree’s kind of discussed this in the past as an “everything box,” so I’m going to use that as a starting point. I feel like an MMO that can offer a little bit to everyone kind of embraces the original nature of the genre. When your game only focuses on territorial warfare or end game raiding, it’s got niche appeal. Including other types helps, but only if they are seen as viable play options. This is important because I rarely feel like I can “be the hero” in MMOs unless I do the central activity. For example, I wasn’t in a cutting edge exploration monarchy in Asheron’s Call, but since some gear was totally random, I had other ways of finding really nice gear that could compete with those players in terms of being cool. In WoW, if I wasn’t funneled into whatever the latest push was (usually raiding and arenas), I felt like a second banana, even if I was playing as much as other people and mastering the tactics of my chosen activity (BGs with pugs, as, admittedly, a lot of my friends aren’t good on a competitive level and I don’t want to leave them behind or frustrate them with ranked BGs).

While the “everything box” is kind of a dream (I’m watching you, Star Citizen!), in modern MMOs, I’ve yet to feel it work very well as a generally hardcore gamer. Maybe Star Wars Galaxies was the last time I felt comfortable sticking with my preferred gaming habits rather than joining the rat race, though I’ve admittedly failed to make time for Project Gorgon (sorry Citan, but your AC2 work at least ensures that I keep paying attention!). Part of the problem is that my gaming habits require more bite-sized gaming time but I don’t have the fortitude to go into an MMO and “half ass it” (as my teenage self probably would have accused me of doing if I weren’t aiming for part of the end-game scene). In some ways, I feel games are sometimes becoming more bite-sized while staying connected through networks that share something, such as a launcher, currency, and/or IP (Steam, Battle.net, Nintendo’s new thing). I don’t know if the expanding of IPs across smaller games is “better” than shoving everything into the same game, but I’m finding it harder to resist than I’d care to admit.

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Brianna Royce (@nbrianna, blog): Hazzikostas surprised me; that’s more honesty about the playerbase from Blizzard than I have seen in a long time. I think it’s clear he does understand at least the variety of playstyles in WoW that Blizzard should be serving.

Where I disagree with him (and agree with Eliot below me) is on the idea of opposing playstyles. Very few WoW players are likely to fit neatly into one of those minorities with no overlap with any other minority. Most people do a little bit of a lot playstyles, and the task of pleasing all of those people isn’t nearly as complicated as Hazzikostas is making it sound, even — especially — in WoW, which is significantly more narrow than Hazzikostas seems to think when it’s held up next to many other MMORPGs.

I also don’t think Blizzard’s history in regard to “tailor[ing] different content and rewards that can feel special to different groups” is one I’d want to be bragging about. I like that ideal, but as someone who fits into basically all of the minorities except “modern raider,” I am confident when I say that this is not an ideal Blizzard itself has even remotely upheld since Wrath of the Lich King.

Hazzikostas’ method might be applicable on the forums and on social media, however, where playstyle factions arm themselves with virtual torches and pitchforks and exaggerate all claims in an effort to be the squeakiest wheel and “make like an army.” Let’s hope Blizzard gets back to ignoring that.

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Eliot Lefebvre (@Eliot_Lefebvre, blog): There are a lot of things at play with this statement, and I’m going to be honest, I think that by and large it’s kind of nonsense. First of all, there’s the simple reality that if you look at Blizzard’s track record with World of Warcraft, they have been favoring one minority pretty consistently for years now; you don’t really get to say that you can’t serve every minority whilst at the same time creating a game that caters to an extreme minority in and of itself.

But even if you put that to one side, this is built upon the idea that if a change is made to improve life for Minority A, every other group would be opposed to it. That the act of balancing is appeasing several completely separate groups in constant opposition to one another, as if the game itself was some sort of zero-sum equation wherein anything one group gets has to be taken away from someone else. Certainly there are elements of that – every one person assigned to developing battlegrounds is one less person developing dungeons, for example – but that doesn’t mean that everything is a matter of one group getting what they want while every other group must wail outside of the gates.

That’s neglecting the idea that “everything is a minority” makes little to no sense in statistics. If, for example, 40% of the playerbase does not PvP, 30% participates primarily in unrated battlegrounds, 20% participates primarily in arenas, and 10% participates primarily in rated battlegrounds? You have a majority there. And it’s ignoring the reasons why people may or may not participate, to boot. It’s quite possible that minority participation in an activity has less to do with the activity itself and more to do with perceived rewards for effort. I certainly don’t do heroic dungeons these days, but it’s not because I don’t like heroic dungeons, it’s because the rewards for them are verging on useless for the amount of effort required. Go back to the reward structure of WOTLK, with badges and buyable armor, and I bet that you’d find a significant upswing in Heroic runs and a significant downswing in some raid participation. By viewing each group as a separate minority with very little connection to anything else and tailoring rewards to perceived “groups” of players, it creates an environment wherein players are discouraged to try something outside of a perceived group.

Counterexamples exist. Final Fantasy XIV, for example, seems to take a more holistic view of how its various forms of content interact with one another. There is not the “leveling group” and the “raiding group” and the “dungeon group” and so forth; there are various forms of content in the game, with rewards and availability adjusted over time and the need for more people to see things. When the percentage of players clearing the progression content in 2.x was too low, the decision was made to have future progression content (Alexander) come out at a lower difficulty with an optional higher difficulty level. Adjustments are made so that more people have the option and more content is available to everyone, rather than treating the whole thing as a contest of minority interests.

So no, I don’t think this is correct. I think, if anything, this theory of balancing shows why WoW increasingly comes under harsh critical fire. Yes, there are people with different interests running in your game, but by factionalizing them and treating them as opposing forces, you’re encouraging the idea that these types of content aren’t for everyone, rather than giving a broader focus to a variety of playstyles that can interact with your game at varying degrees.

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Justin Olivetti (@Sypster, blog): I enjoyed this post by Hazzikostas — it was measured, reasonable, and not reeking of condescension as I would’ve expected. Naturally, MMO studios have access to metrics and perspectives that we on the outside do not, so I don’t have the ability to confirm or refute his statements here about what percentage plays what in the game. I’m inclined to take this at face value, because it lines up with what I’ve seen and experienced.

One of the wonderful things about MMORPGs is that they do offer a wide buffet of activities to meet both our playstyle and our current moods. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if player interest is spread all over the map, unless there’s something that’s either incredibly new, incredibly (even disproportionately) rewarding, or incredibly popular. I don’t envy developers for trying to cater to such a wide range of interests, but then again, if they didn’t want to try to tackle this they could’ve taken jobs elsewhere.

If we’re being honest here, can you imagine anything that a developer could post about a change or improvement to a game that wouldn’t generate pushback and hostility among some of the players? Some players want to find offense even when there’s none there, and Hazzikostas is absolutely right when he says that people get prickly when devs are making content “not for them.”

On the other side of this, players should voice concerns and desires, and studios should listen — especially when there’s a groundswell pointing at an issue or demanding change. I’ve seen MMO studios (particularly Blizzard here) become actively tone-deaf to the community and choose to retreat into silence instead of discussing issues with the players. Even if the answer is “no, we’re not going to do that,” it’s almost always better to take a little bit of time to communicate why instead of pulling back completely.

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MJ Guthrie (@MJ_Guthrie, blog): He speaks wisdom! There really doesn’t seem and major, overarching type of gamer; instead it’s a conglomeration of many types making up a player-base. I wish developers and studios would embrace the truth: “You can’t please all the people all of the time.” Heck, you can’t even please some of the people all of the time. And you shouldn’t even try! The best you can aim for is to try to be sure that all people are pleased an equal amount of time. Unless you can create and maintain a niche game on a small budget, then going totally niche is not necessarily in a game’s best interest. Instead, there should be things that bring a variety of customers together. So the idea of alternating really pleasing each group instead of trying to discover what “thing” would be least hated by everyone sounds like a smart move. And if everyone knows they will have a turn at getting the love and attention, it could (theoretically) appease folks. The trick is you have to deliver on such a promise. When it comes to feedback, then you’d have to focus on whether your action/content/whatever did indeed please the group it was meant for and not really worry if you are pleasing the others, already knowing that you won’t. You don’t ignore that other feedback, but you file it away. It would be neat if there was an easy way for devs to easily tell from which audience the feedback come, but any method I can come up with could either be very labor intensive to monitor or could be circumvented by those who want to sway the decision. Perhaps when you offer feedback you have to mark yourself as a certain type of primary gameplay and can’t change that selection more than once every three months or so.

Your turn! (And thanks, Sally!)

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Giggilybits
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Giggilybits

ashfyn Giggilybits sray155 I was refering to the raids in its current form, the Raid finder.  Not when you actually had to communicate and use strategies. Maybe I should have capped the word “NOW” and put it in qoutes in my previous post.

Valkyriez
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Valkyriez

I don’t get it.

ManastuUtakata
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ManastuUtakata

Valkyriez 
….

Valkyriez
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Valkyriez

Rumsfeld may have rambled but his “known knowns and unknown unknowns” was on point and couldn’t have been any more accurate.

Lord Zorvan
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Lord Zorvan

mmonerd Yeah, you really are.

ashfyn
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ashfyn

Polyanna breetoplay  What’s a raider by today’s definition?  I never raided in WoW (meaning I never regularly ran 24 or 40 man instances).  But I did a fair number of 12 man “raids” in LOTRO during the MoM days, The Watcher, turtle and DN were all challenging in their prime.  But I’d never consider myself a raider.  Or identify with the group I do consider raiders:  Those whose primary game time is spent pursuing BiS.

Personal preferences aside, the market follows the customers.  That is why MMOs today are designed primarily as solo experiences that can be grouped.  Yes, there are a few indie studios developing old-style MMOs for those who prefer group-only content, but they are niche games for the very reason that only a minority of players play that way.  This is not a head-scratcher.  Game developers are going where the customers are. 
Just looking at Ian H.’s comments, he doesn’t mention dungeon running.  He just says “raiding” which he splits off from “mythic raiding”.  I would never consider dungeon running “raiding”.  Heroic dungeons can be run solo and a whole lot of players consider Heroic soloing to be the real test of their skills.  That’s not raiding.

ashfyn
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ashfyn

Giggilybits ashfyn sray155  Giggilybits, you made me laugh.  Your last sentence completely undermines your first.  Hard content = Best rewards.  But guess what?  Then you say “you don’t even have to participate” in the raid you’re in so long as you ding the gear score.  So I guess, not that hard, uhn?  Kick back, have a beer and a slice.  Watch whatever game is on while putting yourself on follow.  Yup.  That’s hard content all right.

DPandaren
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DPandaren

ManastuUtakata I don’t know, but going on recognizing different playstyles. There really isn’t a real reason why they can’t add more to the classes that they have. Now the classes have three different playstyles at least, but there is literally no reason why they can’t be like, “Yo guys, we added a new class specialization to Mages, it’s a tanking spec.” Or, “By harnessing the powers of Frost, Death Knights now have a range DPS casting class.” 

And they would just be additive to their current roles.

Polyanna
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Polyanna

borghive The only reason you need the progression that raiding offers is because you’re raiding. There is not a single reason to get anything it gives unless you’re there because you want to do the things that you need those things to do. And yet, people do it, and not a few of them. They aren’t raiding because they have to do it in order to do something else. They’re raiding because, for whatever reason, they actually want to raid.

Polyanna
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Polyanna

breetoplay The original stats came from Blizz long before mythic raiding existed.

Yeah, back when raids were 40-man, people wiped on a single boss for months, and it only dropped three freakin pieces when you did finally kill it. “Normal” raiding back then makes mythic look tame by comparison; the mechanics are far more elaborate now, but the pain was real. When you put in an activity that only 1% of people can ever do, only 1% will do it.

That is not even close to what “raiding” today is in WoW, and the number of people who choose to do it is not even close to a “tiny minority.” It is “a minority,” just PvPers are “a minority” and crafters are “a minority” and auction house players are “a minority.” If you think it’s a “tiny minority,” then you’re not paying attention.

Vexia
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Vexia

ManastuUtakata Vexia Oh, I see. Apparently this guy started becoming increasingly active in the community after I took my ongoing hiatus from WoW. I kinda forgot Ghostcrawler was gone, too. 
Also, is it bad that I trust him less now, knowing that one of his specializations as a lawyer was white collar crime defense? :(

ManastuUtakata
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ManastuUtakata

Vexia 
http://wow.gamepedia.com/Ion_Hazzikostas
I think he’s the natural replacement for Ghostcrawler currently. He also was a lawyer before joining Blizz. o.O

Ceder
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Ceder

Stating all groups of players in the game are minorities in regard to game play niches is a misdirect.  Most of each expansions’ content focuses around carrots before the cart of one specific game play function.

sray155
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sray155

@Giggilybits I don’t buy into the “rewards = progression” design philosophy in WoW. I have no issue with players doing high end content receiving unique rewards, I have issues with them being placed on a pedestal that gives them PVE power and economic advantages over the rest of players.

Vexia
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Vexia

Who is this Hazzikostas guy? In all the time I devoted to WoW, I can’t recall hearing from him. If he was a part of the team and commenting on things publicly, I must have been unaware of it. However, recently I’ve been seeing him discussing WoW everywhere. He may not be 100% right 100% of the time (who is?), but he’s been dropping a lot more real talk than I’ve heard from Blizzard, probably ever. I’m impressed by that much.

AGx
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AGx

Feels to me like a lot of those “minority groups” overlap.

borghive
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borghive

That is because there really no other way to progress your character in Wow other than raiding. So it makes sense that there are a lot of the people at least trying out raids. Also, LFR in my opinion really doesn’t count as raiding , it is super accessible and has 100% chance to be completed, it has zero challenge.

breetoplay
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breetoplay

shaw sbst Polyanna breetoplay The original stats came from Blizz long before mythic raiding existed. LOTRO’s numbers have nothing to do with mythic raiding either.
Blizzard has basically spent the last five years trying to make raiders out of non-raiders by redefining what raiding is and making raiding so simple a rando pug can do it, as if to justify the cart before the horse. Actual raiders who want to be raiding and consider themselves raiders are a tiny minority.

breetoplay
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breetoplay

Giggilybits ashfyn sray155 If the best rewards came from the hardest content to complete, hardcore server-scale-event-running roleplayers would be wearing the best gear. Raiding is seldom the hardest thing in a video game.

shaw sbst
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shaw sbst

Giggilybits ashfyn sray155  “But shouldn’t the best rewards come from the hardest content to complete?” – And why can’t Blizzard make all their activities hard to complete? That way, everyone can go, do the stuff they want, don’t have to bother what ther people are doing, and at the end of the day, everyone would have achieved the best rewards.

Giggilybits
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Giggilybits

ashfyn sray155  But shouldn’t the best rewards come from the hardest content to complete? In vanilla WoW I think I was in a total of one raid. I wasn’t even medicore at the game. Didn’t bother me one bit. Now as long as meet gear score requirements im in a Raid you don’t even have to participate because no one will notice( unless your tanking then lol).

camelotcrusade
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camelotcrusade

Well there is certainly a difference between “we can’t make anyone happy in the game” and “we can’t make anyone happy on the forums.”  But to find that difference you have to use the right yardstick to measure it, and considering the latter is overwhelming applied as a proxy for the former (and poorly so) his remarks are not surprising.  
It’s too late to close the barn door after the horse has has left, but if it were possible I’d transition the forums to 100% “talk amongst yourselves” status and gather feedback only via sound data collection methods.  Then, I’d share it.  You’ve got to close the loop.  Even if people don’t believe you and question it, if you’re confident in your own measurements you can be confident in acting upon them.

camelotcrusade
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camelotcrusade

Archebius So we were with my grandparents one Sunday morning and my grandma says to my grandpa, “Frankie, give some advice to the young couple” and he says “Always get married in the morning.  That way, if it doesn’t work out, you haven’t wasted the whole day.”  
I hope the wedding starst early!

ManastuUtakata
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ManastuUtakata

That Hazzikostas quote reminds me of Donald Rumsfeld’s whole “known knowns” rambling. As seems like a screed of obfuscations weaved with half truths to make it look like something insightful and meaningful. And likely to justify any design direction Blizz has for WoW, for good, bad or something in between.
My question over this though, and putting the *minorities* proclamation aside, are all these directions being rewarded equally? And have they’ve all be given equal focus in design? I am pretty sure most of WoW’s history suggests that certain playstyles and choices are rewarded significantly more than others. As well as, that certain game design has been given far more focus than others. There is likely technical reasons for the latter. But putting that in to the calculations, it does appear that more game design focus has been utilized at the expense of others.
That said, I would of liked to see this quote at least as an admission that Blizz is planning to design WoW with more playstyle recognition. I really don’t think so though. It seems to be more turgid explanation in keeping the status quo, unfortunately.

ashfyn
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ashfyn

sray155  Yup.  Started playing WoW again preparing for Legion.  And after tours through many other current MMOs, I had forgotten how raid-centric WoW is.  Everything worthwhile comes from dungeons and raids.  The years when I thought this was a fun way to spend my time are behind me.  And I’m not the only one.  Yet, WoW continues to design its game and to dole out rewards based on high end group content.
Raiders jealously guard their advantage and put pressure on developers to comply with their demands.  Although it’s refreshing to hear him say raiders are a very tiny minority, he should have said “a very powerful minority that has us by the short hairs.”   
Just imagine all the development resources this tiny minority sucks up.  That’s on Blizzard.

Dalishal
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Dalishal

One of Star Citizen’s community managers said basically this. In a panel of MMO legend developers, they also repeated the same. Large AAA MMO’s were going to stop being the go-to format. Indie studios with smaller more focused/niche games were going to be the next wave of development.

Giggilybits
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Giggilybits

Xyggy  But hasn’t it been the same dude in charge of development since the start. Maybe his time is over and his ideas have grown stale. Does he have a chokehold on everything World of Warcraft? or could it be since the acquisition of Blizzard by Activision with Bob Kotick as CEO has he changed the way WoW is played. I think your right WoW could be a great game again but someone over at Blizzard has to eat some humble soup for that to happen.

shaw sbst
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shaw sbst

Polyanna breetoplay When everyone is funneled to raid, because every other activity in the game have measly rewards compared to raiding, combined with the fact that players MUST raid in order to see the story of the game, its easy to say that raiders are a “huge” number.
I would love for Blizzard to put all their collective knowledge and resources to pet battles. Let pet battles get the highest gear and the story progression, and then you will magically see how the numbers of pet battlers increase to “huge” numbers.

sray155
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sray155

Elliot says pretty much everything I would, except much better then I would.

The whole post itself is a defense of just maintaining the status quo of their design philosophy (all roads lead to raiding). It’s giving some fortune cookie wisdom (“everyone is part of a minority”), and then assuring the reader that everything they do is the result of listening to everyone and then properly weighing the pros and cons. However, at one point, just after the quoted bit in the main article, he writes “If we decided to focus on a specific playstyle and elevate that portion of audience above the rest, then we could certainly visibly and consistently address clear feedback from that group, but WoW would become a far smaller game in the process.” And yet that is exactly what do with WoW: most balance changes come from the grumblings of PVPers and high end raiders; and raiders, an admitted minority now, have large in-game power and economic advantages over the much larger majority. His post is a lot of pretty words to defend not really changing anything and blame it on players for failing to see how different and special they all are.

Polyanna
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Polyanna

All he is saying is that they’re steering a big ship through dangerous waters in heavy fog. They have a thousand “lookouts” all around the ship screaming about icebergs they see, or think they see, all the time. But regardless what they hear, they only can choose one course. The comment is less about “minorities” and more simply an honest admission that it is, at best, a game of best guesses.

No matter what they do, a non-trivial number of people are going to bitch about it, and often the number who bitch will outweigh the number that applaud any particular change. And the fact that every single decision they announce draws heavy fire does not mean that every decision they make is wrong. It also does not eliminate the possibility that all their decisions taken together add up to a reasonably good approach to resolving the the many conflicting demands and resource limitations they face. It may not be optimal, but it’s not necessarily as awful as it may appear from any particular point of view, or even from every point of view at once, from outside.

That said, when the response on a single issue is overwhelmingly negative, in both consistency and sheer volume, they do, sooner or later, most of the time respond by changing course. However, you fairly can say that they usually do it only after having tried everything else first. But they do it, nonetheless.

Karl_Hungus
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Karl_Hungus

Archebius deekay_zero breetoplay 
Afterwards? How about during?

Archebius
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Archebius

deekay_zero breetoplay Archebius Well thanks! Maybe I’ll post a picture afterwards. :)

Archebius
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Archebius

Karl_Hungus Archebius She wanted a gaming computer, that’s good enough for me!

borghive
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borghive

Amazing post,you hit the nail on the head.

Polyanna
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Polyanna

breetoplay raiders are a tiny minority

Sorry Bree, but this premise, as you have stated it, is simply false.

This generic statement gets repeated a lot around here, and it is simply not supported by any actual numbers we’ve ever seen, or any official comments on this topic. Blizzard’s comments, and what stats are available on this, show that mythic raiders are a tiny minority. That is the “1%” that gets bandied about when people talk about content that hardly anyone ever will see. Raiders generally, including everyone who spends any non-trivial amount of time raiding at any difficulty, are NOT a “tiny minority.”

If you don’t believe this, get in WoW right now, today, and queue up for HFC in Raid Finder. If you think those people are the “1%” then I don’t know what game you have been playing.

Also, go look at wowprogress at the number of people counted as “population” on different realms. Those stats count anyone who has killed something in the current tier on Heroic, and anyone who is in a guild that has killed something on Heroic. Those numbers may overcount by a bit, but any way you cut it they show that “raiders” in general, including everyone who raids at any level, are not a “tiny minority” of the people playing this game. There are huge numbers of people who at least dip their toe into Heroic, even if they don’t go all the way.

Xyggy
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Xyggy

Out of all the MOP staff comments, Eliot Lefebvre seems to hit the nail on the head, imo. WoW devs have certainly been catering to a single minority group for quite some time – MOBA players. From simplified skill systems that require no actual thought, to an avalanche of raid content that can be accessed by all (from newbies to elitist veterans); linear leveling content that is so easy, even a lobotomized spider monkey could get to max level in a week; Monty-Haul loot drops (remember when rare items were actually rare?); a normalized hunter pet system that makes every pet a winner; etc. I’d say for the past six to seven years, Blizzard has not only catered to a MOBA mentality player (nothing wrong with MOBAs, if that’s your jam, but I don’t think it should be a focused design principle for an MMORPG), but changed their systems and content design to feed & nurture that particular play system. 

And I think it’s backfired. Looking at the tumbling subscription numbers, it’s obvious that the minority crowd is “winning” WoW, while all other players who miss the early days of WoW being an actual MMORPG have long left (12 million+ subs at their high point to just a little over 5 million today. Yes, 5+ million is a great number, but considering the subs are less than half of what they were, or could be based on history, that’s actually a huge fail).

The Blizzard devs need to get their collective heads out of the sand and sniff the clean air of reality. There were systems in the past that the majority of players loved and want back. That’s evident from the vanilla WoW servers that enterprising former players have set up, plus the clamoring of fans who have been begging for a vanilla WoW server for years. 

Is it too late for WoW? I don’t think so. It’s just the Blizzard devs in charge, and their subordinates, need to stop drinking the kool-aid and find their way back to the great game that’s actually deeply hidden & buried within WoW.

FeveredDreamer
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FeveredDreamer

I think that there’s some truth to the argument, MMOs are definitely cobbled together by a diverse group of folks who may be interested in vastly different aspects of play.  That being said I think this argument almost misses the point, indeed folks do tend to get pissed when content comes out targeting one minority or another… but I’d argue that they’re not pissed about the new content, they’re pissed about what the new content does to other content in the game.  Ultimately like many other things I think this boils down to one more argument against the obsession with vertical progression in MMOs.

I highly doubt anyone cares if instanced dungeon grinds, raids, solo missions/quests or any other aspect of a game *exists* the issue is that games tend to be designed with all of these differing systems offering “comparable” rewards on the same track.  In the brief list above for example that means that all the content outside the raids ultimately becomes pointless since “endgame” is really just about vertical progression and getting the best gear/powers/level/etc.  When these things instead offer *different*  rewards instead of better/worse rewards it makes these activities options instead of requirements.

Karl_Hungus
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Karl_Hungus

Archebius

Karl_Hungus
Guest
Karl_Hungus

shaw sbst Karl_Hungus 
“Having fun” is entirely subjective. You’re assuming that everyone equates “gear” with “fun” like some sort of Pavlovian response. I just leveled yet another warrior to 100 and now I’m effortlessly solo’ing Ulduar for transmogs in the damn green gear I got from questing. My character has obviously grown in power since he was lvl 80. Too bad the transmog gear I want won’t drop lol.. but I digress..
You seem to want something tangible to represent your time invested, but that’s rare in entertainment. I watch Game of Thrones religiously. I have nothing to show for it. They didn’t send me a t-shirt because I watched every episode last season. All I have is the memory of enjoying my time watching the show. It’s the same with gaming. 
Looting stupid fucking pixels on a screen doesn’t mean you had fun. I’ve looted plenty in WoW when I wasn’t having fun. You try raiding 30+ hours a week trying to down a boss and then you finally do and he drops useless shit that ends up getting disenchanted. That’s not fun. But hey, I got an achievement with my friends and a screen shot of us all together teabagging the boss’s corpse. And I’ve gotten more mileage from a memory like that than any piece of loot that ended up getting replaced by a quest green in the next expansion. The experience is worth more than the reward.

WoW is damn near 12 years old now. You don’t get to bitch about the lack of horizontal gear progression anymore. That’s like bitching about rain because it’s wet. Go play Korean Cash Shop Online if you think a fisherman should be as strong as a dragonslayer. In WoW, the fisherman will never be as strong as the dragonslayer, but the fisherman also has pets, mounts, and achievements that a dragonslayer will probably never have. And when a new expansion hits, the first thing that fisherman does is finds water to catch some new fish. All that matters is that you’re having fun and everyone has fun differently.

Karl_Hungus
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Karl_Hungus

carson63000 Karl_Hungus shaw sbst

deekay_zero
Guest
deekay_zero

breetoplay Archebius and condolences ;)

borghive
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borghive

breetoplay DoctorOverlord I think that is why so many players want to play classic Wow again. Sure, raiding was a big focus back then, but many players were happy to fill their time just leveling their characters, doing crafting and running dungeons. Now, dungeons are obsolete as soon as LFR launches, crafting in Wod was a mess totally gutting it into a mindless activity, also leveling is so fast these days, which almost makes it kind of pointless that they introduce new levels at all.

borghive
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borghive

Cambruin Lotro was totally thriving up until this point, I’d bet even growing it’s player base. Until they decided group content in an MMO was worth doing, which is just crazy in my opinion. Looks like they are trying to add back some raids and dungeons with the next update though.

breetoplay
Guest
breetoplay

Sorenthaz Karl_Hungus shaw sbst SallyBowls1 I don’t think it’s just that they want “power”; they want prestige for playtime investment in general, which in WoW is represented by gear, honor, and achieves; and drilling down further, they want the damn gear for tmogging, which should really be a reward for roleplaying but is instead one more thing hidden behind the raiding wall.

breetoplay
Guest
breetoplay

Archebius Woo, congratulations! <3

breetoplay
Guest
breetoplay

DoctorOverlord Except that it is and always has been — raiders are a tiny minority, and Blizzard still designs for them as if they are the only people playing (and designs to get more people raiding even when they don’t want to raid). So I can understand why people believe raiders aren’t a minority.

shaw sbst
Guest
shaw sbst

Karl_Hungus shaw sbst You are still not getting it. Part of “having fun” in an MMO, is seeing your character grow in power. You start as a level 1 with 3 skills, gray gear and easy to kill mobs, to become level 100, get a wide range of skills, get covered in purples and roflstomp everything in your path. Now, tell us Karl, which of the other weak activities (besides raiding) that WoW provides, lets you achieve that?

carson63000
Guest
carson63000

Karl_Hungus shaw sbst If all you care about is gear progression.. then you’re a member of yet another minority. :-)

DPandaren
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DPandaren

SallyBowls1 Sorenthaz It’s funny that you mention SWTOR because they have a lot of really neat grouping mechanics that are just baked in the game. Just turning a quest in while being in a group is a step up since the players you’re with don’t even need to be in the same area to participate.

Draegoth
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Draegoth

I play MMO’s for the story & quests with a little bit of dungeons & raiding, but ultimately I play in order to develop my characters in order to make them become powerful and self sustaining. I think WoW does a decent job of providing content to the various play styles, but I would like to see them implement some sort of Alternate Advancement (AA) like EQ2 or like the Champion point system in ESO, so we have a reason to play once we have finished all the current content.

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