Oakstout raises an interesting topic in the comments of this post by Syncaine over at Hardcore Casual. Oakstout wrote “I just feel that when I read blogs about how great WAR will be and how much WoW sucks now, it tends to set me off a bit. WoW sucks no less than it did at launch [..], its just that people burned out on it so quick they just can’t bring themselves to say anything positive about the game[.] Now for some reason there are all these flaws that WAR is going to fix, and I’m saying that’s a pipe dream.” On Oakstout’s blog, he continued the rant and even echoed some of my own sentiments that bored players want variety and WAR is not the end of the World of Warcraft.
For my own part, I don’t want to be mistaken. WoW is a great game. I’ve played it for 3+ years and I still continue to play it and write about it in this blog. WoTLK will come out and I’ll buy it and play it and write about it for at least 3 months while I quest and explore. I’ll take at least one of my 70s to 80 and likely even a Deathknight. WAR, on the other hand, is a complete unknown. I *think* it offers what I want to see in my next MMO, but I really won’t know until I play it. To this point, all I can really say when comparing the games is that the WAR Public Relations team kicks the shit out of Blizzard’s PR team.
However, I strongly disagree with Oakstout that WoW criticism is unwarranted or unfair. I suspect the reason why many people like him are tired of hearing people be critical of WoW can best be summed up in one of his earlier in the comments over at Hardcore Casual. Oakstout wrote that “No need making WoW the bad guy, if your bored because you’ve done it all, its not WoW’s fault, its basically the players.”
So wait... It’s not Blizzard’s fault I got bored with the game, it’s mine? It’s my fault that it takes Blizzard 2+ years to release expansions? It’s my fault that the top end-game content is limited to a small % of the player base? It’s my fault that they don’t provide alternate progression paths or a deeper end-game that isn’t loot driven? It’s my fault they have introduced one battleground in two years? It’s my fault that most guilds can’t make the progression leap from 10-man to 25-man content? It’s my fault that all but a handful of crafted profession items are actually useful? It’s my fault that Rated PvP matches are limited to Team Deathmatch? It’s my fault that they haven’t updated any of the old world content to make leveling up another character fun?
It’s simply a fallacy to blame players for Blizzard not being able to continue to entertain their audience. I place the blame on lack of foresight and planning. For crying out loud, Blizzard hasn’t even fully planned out WotLK and it’s in beta, yet alone what’s the next expansion after that will provide. How can they possibly anticipate what will continue to keep the audience entertained 2 years from now if they don’t plan for it? I’m not saying this is easy, but with a subscription based MMO, you absolutely 100% have to be thinking about how to keep the majority of your audience entertained in both the near and far future. If you fail to do that, then you deserve every ounce of criticism that you receive.
Whether or not WAR will be a great game is really besides the point. The crux of the matter is that no matter how good Wrath of the Lich King is going to be, it’s simply not going to hold my interest for more than a few months. If WAR is what I hope it will be, then great – I know what I’ll be playing next year. If not, then maybe I’ll just watch more TV. Either way, I’m not going to be playing WoW and that is why they deserve the criticism.
Too little, too late indeed...