World of Warcraft: How WoW Learned What Casual Gamers Want in Post Mortem Cataclysm
What Happened When the Cataclysm Hit
When World of Warcraft released it's curent expansion, they made alot of changes to the game. Alot of them were loved, others hated. But probably the biggest mistake they made, has been involving the difficulty of the end game content.
There was alot of clammering on the WoW forums during Wrath of the Lich King about how easy the game was, a term was invented called "welfare epics" was coined, and the very vocal elite gamers voiced their opinion. No one else was really active in this particular regard on the forums, we were all too busy playing the game and having fun. We hadn't gotten to the point where we just logged in and raided, logged out, and complained about how there wasn't anything to do. Despite the fact that many of these accounts could have leveled alts, or PvP'd, farmed mats, done dailies, helped lowbies, taught new people to raiding how to get better, or a plorenthra of other activities that didn't immediately give them gear. But they didn't do that, instead they complained.
Never say Blizzard doesn't listen
So when cataclysm came out, they had made a big change in the difficulty of the heroic dungeons. They changed the time sinks for them, and altered the end game that a large portion of their subscribers knew and loved.
There was alot of complaining from the community. People that had previously not said anything were complaining that it was too hard. There was also a large response of "learn to play noob." Then there was also lots of post about how people where playing in dungeons and these people had no idea what to do, how fail they were, and the like.
For the first time I think the elitist gamers where having a good time. They got to watch all the casual players fail. They had what they wanted. It really wasn't that the content was easy that bothered people in Wrath of the Lich King. It was that everyone had the same looking gear that they had. They weren't special anymore. They weren't elite. Yeah they had heroic gear, instead of regular gear, but the difference wasn't viewable unless you inspected them, and even then it wasn't that big of a difference, not like the old days, when their gear was purple, and everyone else had blues and greens.
So the Cataclysm accually had casualties
Well, there is something to think about with a subscribtion based game. If people don't have fun, they quit paying. The numbers are never actually stated because no company has yet given actual figures except during the height of Wrath of the Lich King when WoW had 12 million players. Free to play games counting number of active accounts don't count, there is no way 25 million people play mabinogi daily.
The generally agreed upon figure is 3 million subscribers were lost. I find it funny, that the population of azeroth decreased by 25% after the cataclysm. 1 in 4 player characters died. Anyways, a large number of people were leaving, and there was still lots of discontent. Blizzard had to think of something and fast. There was lots of real competition forming in the market, Rift, TERA, Guild Wars 2. Old competition was going FTP, and attracting attention. If those 3 million people found new homes, they might not come back.
So Blizzard made a decision, and I applaud them for doing it.
You can take your ideas and....
Blizzard reduced the difficulty greatly in the Rise of the Zandalari patch, and even more in the Hour Twilight 4.3. They also reduced the amount of time that dungeons took. To go even further there is an easier version of the Deathwing raid, so that almost everyone can see the content and get the gear.
So if you have a problem with other people having good gear, well the door is over there. Blizzard realized that a part of the community that is less than 1% is much better to loose than a part that is 25%, and also attracts non gamers and new gamers, instead of only long term gamers, who would have obviously already heard of their product anyways.
Seriously though, Money had a large part to do with the decision. But I also think that Blizzard likes it when people see what they worked so hard on. So making it accessable is important. There are still hardcore modes. So if you want a challenge it's there. So the elite gamer content locust types have nothing to complain about. Unless the challenge wasn't really what they were complaining about.
The Future and Mist of Panderia
I played the Beta for Mist of Panderia and quickly stopped.
It wasn't because I thought it wasn't any good, or was ruining the game, it was because I liked it so much that I didn't want to spoil any of the surprise. I did some quest, learned how the shadow preist work a little better, and did a dungeon. It was fun, the bosses were challenging and the trash was much easier and less in number. It took us about 45 minutes because we died about 1-2 times per boss encounter. We were learning the fights.
They learned that a vasy majority of players do not want to spend hours in a dungeon. 1) Not alot of people have that kind of time, and 2) It makes queues for people that use the dungeon finder frustratingly long. waiting 90 minutes for a dungeon queue as DPS is crazy. They said this all in a very "we weren't wrong, but we learned from our mistakes" paradoxical arrogant way that a company is expected to do in their Cataclysm post mortum articles. Linked below.