WoW Factor: Would you like to take a survey?

Yep, it's time to talk about Blizzard's FFXIV survey.

    
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Surprised? Really?

All right. Yes, I know that World of Warcraft is finally releasing its first major patch for Shadowlands on June 29th. That’s a thing to talk about. That should be a big deal. But I’m sorry, that somehow managed to be dwarfed this week by the fact that the developers made a hash out of my own usual rules about not discussing WoW and Final Fantasy XIV in the same breath by sending out a survey asking whether WoW players are likely to play Endwalker.

As I have already said before, this makes me laugh so hard that breathing is difficult.

Now, while that’s good for a pithy two-line comment and certainly has its appeal, there’s actually a fair bit more to say in this particular context. So while I certainly could just post that Tidus laughter clip from Final Fantasy X over and over to fill out the requisite content length, I’ve decided not to do that both because there’s stuff to talk about and Bree said that I wasn’t allowed to do that. So let’s talk about why this is unusual… and why I’d like to hope it has an impact but I severely doubt it will.

However, to start things off, let me get this out of my system.

Ahh, that feels nice. Where were we? Oh, right, the survey.

Here’s the important thing to note, first and foremost: This is actually not an unusual thing for most companies. Asking about competitors is pretty much standard business operations. It gives you an idea of how much your existing audience is planning to stick around through other major releases and lets you kind of poll your audience to see whether things are going well or not.

What is unusual is that Blizzard doing this. That’s because Blizzard has, for a very long time, given the appearance that it believes that the MMO industry consists chiefly of itself and then a large number of also-rans. And, well… that’s not working any longer.

There’s a great article from Chris Sims about what he calls “the problem” when it comes to Marvel Comics and DC Comics, basically premised on the idea that for a very long time DC Comics had a very solid model. Either it bought out its rivals or just crushed them in sales. The resurgence of Marvel changed everything, as the company had a rival that couldn’t be treated either way.

WoW has, for a very long time, occupied a similar place. It consistently had so many subscribers that it could just outmass its opposition into irrelevance, and when the studio actually needed to bother paying attention to a rival, it could do so first and foremost by just adapting whatever was going to make that game unique. Couple that with a few years when everyone was trying to just be WoW again (and see my article about trend-chasing for why that doesn’t work) and it was easy for Blizzard to get used to the idea that, well… there are no other games.

Obviously, the field is not just WoW and FFXIV. But FFXIV has specifically taken aim at a lot of the same things that WoW has traditionally done well. I’ve argued before that spiritually, a lot of what makes FFXIV good is that it fundamentally serves as a sequel to Wrath of the Lich King that didn’t start backsliding into exclusionary gatekeeping with Cataclysm, and while the comparison isn’t 1:1, it’s a useful starting point for understanding why this game has popped on Blizzard’s radar.

All of this is unusual for Blizzard because it means that for the first time, someone is scared enough that another game is eating into what Blizzard has traditionally done best. It’s not that the survey would be bizarre coming from anyone else because it wouldn’t; the key takeaway here is that the survey appears to recognize a notable discontent within Blizzard’s core audience.

Unfortunately, there are two big hurdles to really having this survey do anything. The first is time, and the second is willingness.

Darn it, Blizzard, make your images easier.

I’ve talked at length about the problems that WoW has at this point, and I’ve been accused on more than one occasion of being a fan of one game being forced to write about both of them. This would be what the girls call “a lie.” I love WoW. I have loved this game since it launched. And this is one of the many reasons I have basically made it personal policy to not talk about FFXIV and WoW at the same time: because I don’t need to mention the former to point out all of the things the latter is doing wrong.

The lack of content for players who aren’t pushing M+ or high-end raiding. The discarded systems. The lack of meaningful crafting. The lack of non-apocalyptic storytelling. The inconsistent writing. The poor character development. The lack of deterministic gear. The borrowed power. I could go on, but that’s just a quick top-level summary, and I’m still missing things that are worth bringing up.

Here’s the thing: WoW cannot fix those problems before Endwalker. I mean that in a very literal sense. There is not enough time left for development to fix all of that even if the team is already knuckling down hard on patch 9.2: Make It Like Eorzea. At best we’re talking about next-expansion stuff, which is going to put a damper on any changes being made.

But the other problem is willingness. In order to accept a lot of the things that are drawing people to FFXIV over WoW at the moment, the current design team has to start with a very simple premise that the way the game has developed over the past several years has been wrong and is actively driving people away from enjoying and playing the game.

Oh dear.

Now, if you watch any amount of content from the FFXIV developers, you know that saying “we made a mistake” is kind of a consistent refrain. Not that the developers are constantly screwing up, but just that there’s clearly a culture and structure in place where admitting to mistakes and trying to correct them is seen as not just realistic but normal. I’ve lost track of how many times Naoki Yoshida has apologized and taken responsibility for something players didn’t like, sometimes even things that neither he nor anyone else could have actually controlled.

But what’s the refrain been from Blizzard for years now? “You think you want it, but you don’t.” “Just keep playing.” “No, you’ll see once we hit launch, it’ll be good.” “You don’t understand, we need borrowed power in the game.” “Just accept what we told you, you’re playing it wrong.” “The real problem isn’t what you say is the problem, it’s this other issue.”

Players have been asking for a lot of this stuff for ages. I just said a few paragraphs ago that one of the reasons I avoid comparing the two is that it’s entirely possible to discuss WoW’s issues in-depth without having to point to some other game that’s doing all of this right. And it’s hard for me to believe that after all this time and all this asking, Blizzard is suddenly going to take this sign that people are upset and sit up and actually change course.

I’d love to be wrong, though. I’d be lying to say I’m hopeful. But I’d love to be proven wrong.

War never changes, but World of Warcraft does, with a decade of history and a huge footprint in the MMORPG industry. Join Eliot Lefebvre each week for a new installment of WoW Factor as he examines the enormous MMO, how it interacts with the larger world of online gaming, and what’s new in the worlds of Azeroth and Draenor.
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Blacklight_Eve

Like so many in this and similar threads, I have also been a Blizzard fan since the beginning, have sunk so many hours into WoW across years (decades now, scary!), real life relocations between NA and EU servers, met my wife of 10 years playing the game, have a significant portion of my RL friends that I met in game etc.

I love WoW and more than anything I want it to succeed.

I think for many of us expressing our frustration these days it comes from that place of real love for the game and our levels of investment into it, I see very few people reveling in bashing Blizzard (of course there are some) for the sake of it, most of us are real fans who love the game but are desperately upset with Blizzard’s decision making.

That being said, I am never going back to WoW again unless there is a clear change in direction, and unfortunately I have to say this, a change in leadership. The current team making decisions and signing off design direction cannot be trusted with the game, they have proved beyond any shadow of doubt that the direction they want to take the game is not the direction I would like it to go.

A few tweaks and a little bit of a change in focus over the next few patches won’t cut it, I am not going back ever again unless they clearly acknowledge that they’ve made a mistake, they took their customers (and our money) for granted and they are wholeheartedly – as a studio, from the top down – changing direction.

At this point it’s not enough to just fix the game, I want some recognition of the amount of time and money from their dedicated fanbase that they’ve wasted with their terrible decision making. We’re into contrition and apology territory these days, way beyond just making better decisions going forward. I need to see clearly that they recognise what a total disaster they’ve become and that they’re committed to fixing it.

I can’t trust them with my money or favourite game again until that happens.

That might sound a little melodramatic but I think if you’re reading posts about WoW and Blizzard on this website, you probably understand the level of investment we all have in our characters, the world, our friends and guildmates etc. Which is why the current situation goes beyond Blizzard just making a few better decisions, they have seriously let down their own fans and need to make amends to win us back.

We’re almost in my eyes, and I mean this without any hyperbole, at FF14 1.0 levels of fail in WoW at the moment, and the game needs a reboot approaching that level of significance in the next expansion.

…and yes I am playing FF14 instead, I thought I would hate it, I railed against the aesthetic for years, I was put off by the 2.5 sec GCD etc. but over the last couple of weeks I gave it a good solid try and now I love it, I’ve got that magical new MMO feeling again that I haven’t had for at least a decade and I am delighted. I’m not going to wax lyrical about all the things it does right and WoW does wrong, Eliot and others have done that very effectively – the important point here is, there’s another WoW player who wants to love WoW and not play other games, who’s moved to FF14, loves it and is now going to be harder to win back to WoW.

So now not only do Blizzard have to a) recognise that they’ve messed up (catastrophically) and admit it b) change their terrible design philosophy and now c) they actually have to put good enough content in to pull me away from my new game. They’ve really dug themselves a terrible hole and it all comes back to leadership, vision and philosophy – the current leadership have a design philosophy and vision for the game which doesn’t work for their own customers.

Lots of long answers in this thread, you can see how passionate everyone is on this topic!

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Sarabande_Mage

They do take loyal, long-time players for granted. I feel like they don’t even want us around anymore. Many companies want the cool demographic – you know, the 18 to 35 year olds. Sure, some who played as kids have come back and are enjoying it but so many started later and maybe they just don’t think we’re cool enough for them.

I have played since late 2006 – a few months before The Burning Crusade dropped, and have not unsubscribed since. There were a few extremely lean years where I played with gold that I had, but other than that, I’ve given them my money each month. An old game like this, you’d think would appreciate a long-time fan and customer. And yet, by the decisions they make, you know they don’t. Their thought is probably “well, if they liked the game the way it was, they can play CLASSIC.” I don’t WANT to play Classic. I already played it. I want retail (where my guild is and some of my friends still are, though I don’t see them much, except lately since a patch just dropped) and that’s some of the BIGGEST reasons I’m still there. I almost quit a few times, but have wanted to keep the connection with my guild.

I think they are aiming at a new audience, those that like timers and scores and competition, rather than real exploration (though that’s the excuse they use to heavily gate flying), or continuous story or the feeling of being and belonging in another world. Instead of keeping players logging on with fun, and connecting with friends, they now do so with grinds and terrible RNG. But the latter will eventually frustrate many.

I believe they have allowed too many bean-counters to make decisions. “What’s the new hotness in games? ROGUE-LIKE?? OK, let’s do it BUT require it as part of crafting REALLY GOOD GEAR!! I think we can get X% more /played hours this way from Y number of players.” Yeah, my /played hours might still be decent but I spend a lot of it tabbed out while I fly (a looong way) on taxis. They’ve taken away the Flight Master’s whistle (with no actual good reason) making travel more cumbersome as well. The /played time does not equal engagement, but to those who only look at spreadsheets, they can justify it that way.

I’m there for the memories and nostalgia, and probably-futile-hope. And most of all, for the connections that still exist. We will be celebrating the 15th anniversary of our guild at the end of this month. (It was created shortly before I started playing, though I’ve been in it for 14 and have run it for about 10 years).

All around, it’s a bad romance, and I know it. I stay for the mutual friends, the good memories, the hopes that things will get better, the long time invested, the energy invested. And many that I know, also stay for those reasons. But I wonder, how long we can last like this?

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Sarabande_Mage

Players have been complaining for awhile now. They urged Blizzard to NOT combine the aesthetic / thematic choice with a power-system. They’ve told them that we are sick of borrowed power. Sure, it worked fine in Legion, but in that expansion, they actually put interesting lore and made it fun. (If they had capped AP, and made getting Legendaries a bit different, I think they would have had even a more positive response).

Right now, as a casual player, I feel left out, as do many other friends. In order to take advantage of the newest progression system, you have to earn achievements that, for many players, is either beyond their usual abilities, or most likely, beyond how they WANT to play. I ran M+s in BfA with guildies and friends, and what made it fun was that the PRESSURE to time it wasn’t there. The TIMING Of those should be for bragging rights, not to access a way to progress. Now, I’ve pretty much lost interest in M+ because of it, because I feel like it wasn’t even designed for people like me. If guildies or friends asked to run those, I would. I do ENJOY them in good company, but not if there is pressure to TIME it. For us, that was one of those “If we time it, GREAT, if not, we’ll still get something nice in the chest next week.”

I have a friend who said that there, for awhile (before he started playing ESO), that in the keys he ran – which tended to be betw. +10 and +15,he saw quite a few players that had certain achievements with abilities (playing a class, understanding the dungeon fights and affix mechanics) that didn’t seem to match. Our hypothesis was that, there were players who may either have wanted the power gain or somehow NEEDED it (for raid, for example) and may have gotten some favors from friends or taking advantage of the MANY advertised SALES of carries that you see CONSTANTLY in General chat (and I imagine in Trade chat, though I usually have that turned OFF), and even in the Looking for Group tool. No, no one is putting a gun to their heads to BUY the runs, but if they feel that that’s the only way to progress (even when raiding, the RNG of the drops and the vaults seem so awful, that gearing up can be a real slog) is to get the achievements, and then run the content after to gear up. Anyway, my friend used to love running keys, for not only the gear but the actual CONTENT, the CHALLENGE. After that, he kind of lost interest too. And with the Valor system, it apparently filled LOWER keys with HIGH ABILITY players, rushing through it, rushing other players, in order to get quick valor.

Why not, instead of that, just let people get SOME valor for whatever dungeon they ran? With Heroic giving very little, M0 giving a bit more and the highest giving a LOT, but enough even on the lower ends that people could FEEL like they could still use that system to reasonably progress while those with the willingness and ability to do higher would get the more items (or get the few they needed more quickly). Simple system, I think, but much more inclusive.

Many were also disappointed and felt somewhat deceived by the use of “valor.” Sure, at some point, they were used for upgrades, but for many, the term is remembered for the early version, which was used to BUY gear, either as a progression path for the more casual players OR as a “bad luck” deterministic option for raiders and others who may just have had awful luck on a slot or two.

But you are correct in that what’s holding Blizzard back the most is ATTITUDE. They ARE used to being at the top and complacent. Their customer service (GMs, ticketing) is beyond awful. They make it very difficult to put in a ticket and instead, try to send you to their forums (the general forums are pretty toxic) or to a third-party site. I remember when they actually had knowledgeable GMs that were given time to research and answer the issues. They DO constantly try to tell people that THEY (Blizzard) are right and we, the players, have no idea what we want.

We’ll see if they actually listen to anything now. Players have been asking for PLAYER HOUSING, but with fear that Blizzard will turn it into some mandatory grind. WILL they put in player housing (I’d take that over the overly-complex-and-yet-boring-one-expansion-only-systems) we’ve been inundated with since BfA (well, since Legion, but as I said, Legion was fun enough that it didn’t feel so egregious). WILL they be able to trust that the FUN of that will get players into it and NOT make it into a mandatory grind?

TORGHAST COULD have been fun!! Had they made it either just-for-fun or yet ONE of many sources to get a currency you needed, and just filled it with fun, funny, OP POWERS that made you want to go there, and test it out on different classes or with different compositions, had it been a go-till-you-want-to-stop powerfest, where the WORST Anima powers are useful-but-not-too-exciting, to the MOST making you feel like you’re in some god-mode (but with some challenges still left in) that made you actually feel GIDDY to try different things and made you look forward to combining different powers, well . . . it could have been THE system that kept people busy during the lull. But they didn’t. They made it MANDATORY, which turned it into a chore. They made it so unbalanced that I had friends go in as TWO HEALING specs because they DID feel, OP, while a mage, who is supposed to FEEL OP, felt . . . not so much. EVERY class, role and composition should have been able to do these, and yet, the difference between them was much greater than they should have been.

They don’t seem to trust themselves to make FUN content anymore. They seem to feel the need to make them MANDATORY, making them feel like grindy-chores. That’s not what people pay subs and log on for after a long day of work or taking care of kids. They want FUN. They want to have things that are FUN to do with friends. They want their FRIENDS to be on, not just random strangers. They want a fantasy that they can immerse in. If the content was enjoyable enough, grinds can be tolerable. It’s always been with us, but the way they are implementing it now, just FEELS like they are created for the SAKE of making us grind.

And the small QoL items that they take out or withhold (be it the Flight Master’s whistle, existing portals in various cities, extra roll tokens) makes me feel like they are deliberately wasting people’s time. They can say “we want the world to FEEL BIGGER,” but the player has SEEN the parts of the world dozens, hundreds of times and seeing it yet again, won’t make it feel BIGGER, especially when they want to GET somewhere and get things done. Believe me . . . I LOVE to explore, but I do it when I’m initially questing OR, later, when nothing else if pressing. I like to FLY around, and just see the nooks and crannies to see what I can find.. When I want to world to FEEL BIG, it will.

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Ashfyn Ninegold

WoW does feel punishing. Like the devs have a hair up their ass about something and they are going to SHOW US that they are right. Do they even like their game?

The common understanding is that only about 10% of the game’s population raids. By designing the game for that 10%, they have effectively reduced their player base to raiders.

Your post reminded me of Wildstar, where the devs made the content hard, the grind long and the raids impossible because they believed that such a Player who truly wanted such content truly existed, only to find that no such Player exists. WoW is slowly designing itself into Wildstar.

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tyyriz tyyric

in terms of design. they aren’t even designing for raiders. they are designing for “world first esports” raid guilds.

they design for grps to do 100,200 pulls.
who has time for that?

i think the selling of CARRIED runs needs to be talked about. we never had that before. we had gold sellers. then the token system killed that.

but now chat is all – selling M+ runs, Raid runs, full clears, get all the loots runs. it entered Classic immediately and its running loose in BC Classic.

thats a design issue.
something changed that made a market that ppl are exploiting. it think its the M+ key gear (but idk, just speculating). but the design of the game is creating a market for ppl not to play the game but to pay to be carried through.

half of the LFG Mythic page the other night were adverts not groups on Arathor. thats a design problem.

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Sarabande_Mage

I totally agree and it bugs me every time I see it. I’ve not had trade chat on, on my main toons, but I do usually keep general chat on, and whenever I port to SW, often the first thing I see is the “Carries” sales. I also see it a LOT in group finder. While I have been seeing it for some time (not sure if it started later in BfA or early SL), I have to wonder if the rather exclusive Valor system, along with the Vault, has exacerbated the problem. And I might be cynical, but Blizzard DOES sell gold tokens, and people with a bit of extra gold (plus desire or need for better gear, and wanting to put in less time and /or effort) could easily PAY for it. Yes, with real money, but in a roundabout way.

While in Legion and BfA, you just had to get ONE key done of a certain level, to get the desired ilvl gear in the weekly chest, now, with the Vault, doing 4 or 10 will give you more CHOICES (though not more gear). And with Valor upgrades being tied to successful TIMED runs of +10 and +15, I think that has also changed how people see things. For those for whom successful keystone runs don’t come easily, it may be tempting to give in, especially if you have a bit of extra cash lying around. And Blizzard has made their RNG pretty awful (or maybe everyone I know all just have awful luck?) and having taken away extra-roll tokens (sure, they were not always reliable but you could USE it on pretty much any boss, able to target specific loot on a table and even use them on World Bosses), it’s slowed down the upgrades quite a bit.

I, on the other hand, see this as being pretty close to Pay-to-win, just in a roundabout way and find it distasteful. It’s not against any rules of course. And have I gotten carried? SURE. I have friends who used to drag me (at some point, practically kicking and screaming) into Mythic+, till I learned to run it a bit better and became more comfortable. Late in BfA, we ran first, +0s, lower keys, broke through +10s and even hit some +15s, at the end. As a very casual guild this felt good. We were learning slowly, and getting gear in a way that I think was intended. But they raised the stakes with the “valor” system, making running it like this not as productive. I don’t buy carries. I just lost interest in running Mythic+s. I will go with guildies sometimes but I just don’t have the interest anymore.

I wish they would start making the game FUN for the vast number of players that play, not just the streamers. I don’t want to WATCH other people play a game, I want to actually play and enjoy it. a

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Josh

I think a perfect example that differentiates XIVs dev team from WoWs dev team is put into context via the recent FanFest.

Before I get to that let’s talk about High Elves.

For basically years now fans have been BEGGING for playable High Elves and Blizzard’s response has been varying forms of condescension.

Enter XIV and Shadowbringers. While Hrothgar and Viera were great the near constant request was for Male Viera and Female Hrothgar.

Now we come to Fanfest where we discover that the developers busted their asses to make sure Male Viera would be included with Endwalker and a promise that Female Hrothgar were coming.

This is the difference, where Yoshi P and his team seems to genuinely love and listen to their community. Blizzard seems to have a barely veiled disdain for theirs.

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Bruno Brito

So.

I got my Marauder to level 21, and the story quest is making me do another dungeon, and a friend of mine who plays said i’ll get even another one.

FF14 is not for me. It’s clearly not for me. I find almost everything about it intolerable. Quest design is a mess, the color palette gives me the snores, the fashion doesn’t speak to me, class design while leveling has the same issues as WoW where your leveling experience has to be designed around how your class performs in raids, the early leveling zones are a living nightmare of terrible and uninspired sceneries, mobs are forgetable, the story is boring as shit, character customization is lackluster, character animation is great but the skill animation themselves are overblown, races are just humans with different colored skins and animal ears or horns, or smaller humans because for some reason this game doesn’t have Bangaa or Nu Mou races, being forced into group content just because of the MMO moniker is a relic of darker times i care not to have, exploring in this game is awful at least in the starter zones, the lack of character customization is a huge barrier for me, etc etc.

Anyway, it’s not for me. And even in this intolerable cesspool i found myself trying to play, it was absolutely “out-wowing” WoW. Besides the zones in WoW being beautiful and races being interesting, i know what waits for me endgame and where the resources go, and FF14 has enough laterality to keep people playing for ages while WoW is making all their players into jaded raidloggers.

FF14 is not for me. And that’s fine. WoW isn’t for me anymore either.

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Sarah Cushaway

That’s been my experience as well. I do not like FFXIV, but I’ll fully admit it’s a better-quality game with a team that takes into consideration what the player base actually wants vs. whatever the f*ck Blizzard has been doing the past 10 years.

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Bruno Brito

It’s not even that, it’s literally what WoW should be. If Blizzard had the same game-design for WoW as FF14 has, but with character builds ( even the 3-talent system they have now ) and the better zones/races/artstyle, WoW would be perfect for what it is.

Instead…eh.

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Ashfyn Ninegold

I agree. At this point FFXIV is really hard to get in to. I played at Reborn’s launch, so I find it somewhat better than most who are now just getting in to it. I’ve never played any other Final Fantasy game and have zilch understanding of the lore, but that doesn’t bother me. I like the attitude of a lot of the NPCs, their love triangles, grudges and loner hangups. So, I focus on the small stories and not the big one.

One thing I will say, I abhor WoW dungeons and never do them. But FFXIV dungeons i find interesting and fun. Groups, at least all the ones I’ve been in, are just so different in tone from WoW. People are helpful when you screw up and no one gets their panties in a wad. The whole tenor is different. Because of the way they have rewards structure, even the earliest dungeons are easy to get into through their group finder. I dunno, just a different experience altogether from WoW.

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Bruno Brito

I did the first FF dungeon, the pirate one, and i wanted to gouge my eyes out. I never seen a game being able to make pirate storylines so damn boring. WoW starter dungeons indeed are bad, but i like Scarlet Monastery a lot. WoW’s best dungeons are the towns, the churches, the temples, the places where human-like races habited. I find their caves and forests pretty bland and mind-numbing.

You should play FFTactics and the Advanced ones. They’re great, and i find myself wishing the artstyle would follow FFTA’s design. Also, i’m a big fan of the class system for FFTA and i also wish FF14 had something like it.

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Hurbster

I could not get on with FF14, if I wasn’t so committed to ESO I’d certainly take another look at it.

I didn’t even go back for Classic BC, that’s how little I think of Blizzard right now.

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Sarah Cushaway

FFXIV is FAR too linear for me, and locking certain things behind dungeons is also a big NO THANKS from me.

HOWEVER, since WoW became a linear slog itself, FFXIV does the linear slog -better-. And while I think both have some pretty bland writing, FFXIV at least knows its audience and knows what kind of stories they like, while Blizzard keeps somehow producing some of the dumbest, cartoony bullcrap I’ve seen in a big name MMORPG despite their base begging them to stop with the Sylvanas fancrap and put out some real story (or, in my own preference, step back from trying to make WoW story-based and let players just be a member in their faction again experiencing little zone stories and lore in a more organic way–Vanilla-WoW style. Also, why did they take out lore books? ).

For me, Blizzard constantly stripping away things that made WoW fun and immersive is why I’ll no long play that game. First it was talent trees. Oh, but “illusion of choice/everyone picks the same stuff”. Sure, at endgame everyone picks the same stuff–but a lot of people also liked to mess with builds and had that option. It was -fun-.

And they ruined my favorite class and favorite spec: Survival Hunter. Now it’s one of the least played specs because it’s a hot mess that no one asked for. Other classes also have their issues and broken specs that used to be decent, but Blizzard keeps tampering and “fixing” and “balancing” until everything is just a heap of trash and awful to play.

The constant vertical progression/rinse repeat gameplay. They did not -need- to tack on 10 levels every damned expansion. There really was no point, especially after talent trees got nuked. Cap at 70 was fine–other games know how to bring expansions with horizontal progression so it doesn’t feel like an endless treadmill that resets every few years.

The dwindling lack of things to do if you aren’t hardcore into endgame… I mean, people have been begging for a crafting re-work, housing, solo-dungeons and other solo/small group activities for -years- now. Blizzard ignores that base, and that base? Is their core base. So the core base has left for a game (I’d say “games”–many also left for ESO) that delivers those things, leaving only the hardcore behind, along with a few desperate casuals/RPers who just can’t give it up quite yet, but see the writing on the wall.

The writing is SO BAD. I don’t even want to start digging in on this topic; it’s too depressing and there’s too much wrong with the past several expansions’ worth of bad, bad writing, pacing, etc. It’s just garbage, it truly is. Also the trend of expecting fans to shell out for books to “get the rest of the story” is stupid. What other MMO does that? None of them: they tell their story in game, good or bad. As it should be. Any books on the side are purely optional and have no impact on if you understand what’s going on in game or why.

Oh, and the encroaching microtransactions are also gross. They impact the game far more than FFXIV’s level boosts– there’s WoW tokens that have utterly messed up the economy for one, heirlooms made the low-level item economy just so out of whack I truly feel for anyone trying to get into that game right now for the first time, ignoring crafting to the point most crafting professions are irrelevant at level cap, and remember how weird Garrisons were and how they bloated the economy? Yeah. It’s a mess.

And personally, for me, how linear it has gotten. In the golden-era of WoW, especially vanilla, your was dropped into a world that had several options for where you wanted to level at any given level range. Don’t like Mulgore? Hoof it over to Durotar or take the zeppelin to Tirisfal. Don’t like the Barrens? Go to Silverpine forest, and then hop to Stonetalon or Ashenvale, etc. Now it’s one path all the time for every character you play, and no more skipping zones you hate.

And while the art direction is good? The zone designs ARE NOT. Most zones have fairly narrow pathways with giant mountains smack in the middle, making them feel small and claustrophobic. They’re also a pain to navigate. What happened to wide-open zones where you had a chance to run around and check stuff out? Nope. Most zone are small, cramped, and so filled with agro it’s not even fun to explore.

And broken promises of course, the latest of which is “no more customization”. There have been plenty of others.

Just poor gameplay decision making for years now, such as borrowed power when it CLEARLY has worn out its welcome, and mission tables (so gross) and world quests that have increasingly become less rewarding, etc.

Pathfinder? Nah, I really did just enjoy grinding out the gold at my own pace in a zone of my choice. I’m not alone on that. If anything, there should have been an option to pay a chunk of gold or get these boring, grindy achievements for those who didn’t want to pay gold. What’s wrong with choice? Oh, that’s right. Choice leads to fun and Blizzard can’t be having any of that monkey business in their linear esport grinder nightmare.

Locking new races behind a massive grind was STUPID. “But they were ALLIED RACES!” Yeah, so? You buy the expansion you should be able to play the race. At the very least, just finishing the race zone/story (no forced dungeons, thanks) should be enough. I know they reduced the grind a bit but it’s still just utterly stupid and turned away a lot of players who mistakenly thought they could just roll that race when they purchased the expac–y’know, how it USED TO BE?

I could go on and on, but what’s the point? The game is in a death spiral and only a change of leadership and a revamping of entire teams MIGHT save it. I doubt that will happen, though. Bobby Kotick is too busy raking in bonuses even now to ever want to step down, and Blizzard-Activision is more concerned with share holders than their paying customers.

I’ll always miss the old Blizzard, but I’ll be happy to watch this new Blizzard get stomped by the competition. They’ve crapped on their core player base enough they deserve every ounce of monetary pain that’s going to be slamming them in the very near future if things continue on like this.

Edit: Forgot to mention Blizzard’s treatment of their low-level devs and workers, as well as the whole Hong Kong fiasco. Truly disgusting.

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tyyriz tyyric

there’s soooo much here to agree with.

so i’ll pick 1. Survival Hunter.
I LOVE the IDEA of survival hunter. I even think they have my ideal toolkit – i wish outlaw rogue played with the same buttons as SH.

but everytime I try SH, i end up dead. you have to fake death if a second mob shows up (which in BFA/SL is all the time and not just 2, but 3, 4,5 especially in the elite zone areas).

SH should be such a better playing spec.
(and dont get me started on Enhance Shaman – they put off the redesign for an expansion to get…..invisible snowball attack? the snowball animation is already in the game – and theres frost DK’s cool ice throw attack animation.)

I wish I could pick and mix stuff for a toon – even if just within the spec.
like DnD where you can dip here, and take from this there. or path of exile where you have a path of development.
(that holy pally drop-the-hammer is cool but I NEVER play Healz.)
i want a pally who can run 125% – or a prot pally with a nuke like DH tank has.

it just makes me sad. theres so much here in WOW, so much potential, and there is sooooo many limitations imposed on that potential

EmberStar
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EmberStar

Sorry, it’s in my head and I have to share it. I just looked at the title, “Would you like to take a survey?” and somehow it merged with the song “Would you like to build a snowman?”

You’re welcome.

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Ben Stone

9.1 is the worst patch since like… Draenor? I have cancelled my sub. While I love my guild raid nights and the banter, I can’t continue to support this level of tone deafness. Also lots of us are discussing just making FFXIV our main game instead.

Content outside top level M+, raiding and PvP is pointless (and those are probably in the worst state of class balance I have seen in a long time). So many time sinks and mandatory chores though just to even do those things. Everything feels not just unrewarding, but actually punishing on your time.

Given the general feeling of the playerbase, I wouldnt be surprised if they pulled another Draenor, ditched 9.3 and just tried to rebrand with a new expansion.

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Munchmeat2

Maybe trying to turn your MMORPG into some toxic Forkknife e-sport wannabe wasn’t the best move for the game?

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tyyriz tyyric

this….

the design obsession with M+ 15 keys and Mythic Raiding seems all about esports and twitch streams

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Motherball

Used to be WoW set the trend for others to follow, but they’ve been adopting things from other games more and more. I think it’s already got bad over there and they are finally willing to bend a little, like no pathfinder requirement for flying this expansion, for example.

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Sarabande_Mage

They’ve always adopted things but lately, they haven’t been borrowing the better stuff. Other games have Player Housing. I think, as long as they implemented it as an optional side-activity, it could go over very well. Many players have been asking for it. Other games have dyes where you can dye your gear. Blizzard makes you grind currency so you can purchase transmogs with a slightly different shade than the one you already got.

I don’t care if they borrow ideas. I wish they would just borrow ideas that would make the game more fun.