Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The face of the game is changing

I have noticed much apathy recently. In the blogging world, in the game world, regards WoW. Lots of dedicated players are winding back their time and dropping out of serious gaming. Is it a cycle? Is it that 4 years or more of raiding and they have decided that is too much? Is WoW not holding interest for them anymore? I have a few theories.

Casual Gaming
WoW is now the ultimate in casual gaming. There is so much to do and so little time, and much of it you can do on your own. With end game raiding, Blizz is making the content very easy, so that any tom dick or harry can run it whenever they want. This has lead to lolguilds - guilds who are facerolling the easy modes and are being carried by 5 or 6 good players (generally officers). This means there are more guilds out there soaking up the raiding pool, so serious guilds who want to progress are unable to replace the natural attrition occuring to their own guilds. More than one guild is busting up and reforming, and more than usual people are dropping out. Will casual gaming destroy casual guild culture? No way, it is thriving. Will it destroy hard core gaming guilds, of course not. Will it destroy your average progression guild? Quite likely as they will have to make the decision between going casual and applying to established hardcore guilds.

Achievements and Hard modes
Again with the change. If you can't accept achievements are now the way to measure the worth of a guild, you are probably going to become disillusioned with raiding. I can see this happening all over the place. Old school raiders dropping out due to easy content, and their goals (downing bosses whilst standing on 2 feet) not being compatible with the new goals (downing bosses whilst standing on your head, then next week with one hand tied behind your back, then the NEXT week, on your head AND one hand tied behind your back). This is again removing a lot of good players from the raiding pool and spreading resources even more thinly. Again, something I have seen within my own guild as many old school raiders stop raiding because they just don't see the point anymore.

These two issues have been directly reflected within our guild and on our server. Guilds are dropping out and reforming. There are many lolguilds stretching the resources thin. There are a few harder core guilds also seeing the strain on their resroucing, and seeing fewer people to choose from - they are having to cross server recruit! We are recruiting members only to have them stop raiding within weeks, perhaps not even make it past their trial due to inactivity! It is quite insane.

This unsettled waters trouble me. We need to accept and work with achievements. Perhaps keep 25man harder and make 10man the casual content. Less 25 man achievements, and more 10man ones for the casual raider. Keep 25man hard... or something is surely going to give, and I suspect it will be our guild, as a typical example of a normal raiding guild, that take the bullet for the game, and that makes me sad.