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World of Warcraft: How WoW Learned What Casual Gamers Want in Post Mortem Cataclysm

Updated on July 12, 2012

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.


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    • Morgaren profile image

      Tim 5 years ago from Broken Arrow, Oklahoma

      It's good, but if you never played it but played other themeparks, you can look at all the different mechanics and go, X game did this too, only they......blah blah blah. Sometimes Wow started it, most of the time they refined it. Either way, it is far from being so awesome that your life isn't complete without playing it. I would recommend it if your looking for a new game, hardly blame you for never trying. Only reason I started was cause a RL friend invited me. Started out harmless enough, let me play for free the first time, then next thing I know....

    • Kyricus profile image

      Tony 5 years ago from Ohio

      I've never played Wow, never been interested in it really. And the people populating it sound just like those on most other MMO's.

      Oddly though, I've gotten a beta invite to Mists of Pandora, twice now. Not sure how I managed that. Don't think I'll download it though.

      Too many games, not enough time.

    • JohnGreasyGamer profile image

      John Roberts 5 years ago from South Yorkshire, England

      Aww, that's a real nice story there and I'm sure many others will want to battle because of that! My girlfriend and I always exchange gifts, mostly vanity pets. She got me the Wing Guardian Cub, and I got her a Panderan Monk and some in-game pets too. Those are always special, and I'm sure they'll make a fortune for me in pet battles ^^

    • Morgaren profile image

      Tim 5 years ago from Broken Arrow, Oklahoma

      When I was in the Beta, I could still go back and might to look at that, the pet battle system wasn't available. I can tell you exactly why the pet battle system will be a success though. I have a tiny emerald whelpling. I grinded 6 levels in the swamp of sorrows and never got it, and went back for days at a time and never got one. So one year my wife goes out and tries forever in her off time to get one of those to dropm never letting me see her grinding for it, and we play alot. Christmas day, there is a mail from her, say's "never say I don't sacrifice for you"

      I did the same thing for her for the firefly pet from zangarmarsh that same year, funny how that works out.

      Point is lots of people have attachment to one or more of their pets. I had a siameise cat from before you could buy them and they were just drops from cookie. More interaction with them is a big draw for a niche market within the community.

    • JohnGreasyGamer profile image

      John Roberts 5 years ago from South Yorkshire, England

      Did you try - or have you seen - the pet battle system? I think it's good, but obviously it conjured up controversy. What I don't get is if Pokémon is so great, how come people don't want it done elsewhere? If it's "exactly the same", surely more would be better, and on WoW no less. I think the one offputting thing for me in the expansion though is going to be the questing, which will become stale after 85 levels of doing it over and over. However if we want a change, GW2 is right round the corner presenting originality ^^

    • Morgaren profile image

      Tim 5 years ago from Broken Arrow, Oklahoma

      Yeah I played the beta for about 6 hours, and the dungeons were great, the quest were typical of the formula you expect from WoW. I think MoP will be awesome for the game. I would suggest getting it, and you will probably get a pet for the collectors edition, and you can bet it will be cool to do the pet battles with.

    • JohnGreasyGamer profile image

      John Roberts 5 years ago from South Yorkshire, England

      "So if you have a problem with other people having good gear, well the door is over there." I think this sums up the so-called elites up perfectly. Yes, I was born in late WotLK. Yes, I'm an altoholic that doesn't know any class he plays at endgame. Yes, I am aware that you lot hate me because I didn't know what healer stats were. Yes, I am aware you're sadists. But I'm playing this game, I like it, and if you don't you can bugger off.

      I'm glad Mists of Pandaria sounds like an improvement, and if what you're telling me closely resembles what I'm thinking, I might really enjoy this game. So much so it might be limited edition time. I'm glad that Blizzard care about the casual gamers, y'know, the people the game is built around, rather than the elites that suck the blood of the game dry.

      Voted up, useful and interesting ^^