Home > Controversy, Nerf-bat, World of Warcraft > “Does Anyone Have Anything Nice to Say About WoW?” or “Are We WoW’s Biggest Problem?”

“Does Anyone Have Anything Nice to Say About WoW?” or “Are We WoW’s Biggest Problem?”

11.2 million people still play World of Warcraft. Yet it seems to me lately that no one has anything positive to say about it.

Most MMO bloggers I follow and read have played it at some point or another (a lot of them still do), yet 9 times out of 10, if there is an opinion on something related to WoW, it is seems intrinsically married to some element of negativity, scorn or outright malice. I am not excusing myself from this barrage of endless negativity, I am as guilty of this phenomenon as the next guy. But it does make me think: does no one have anything nice to say about the most successful MMO in the world?

When Ragnaros was hit over the head with the nerf-bat, we all ripped Blizzard a new one. “They need to design content better”, said some (myself included). “The game is become too casual”, said others. “This is the final nail in Blizzard’s rapidly sinking coffin”, was one ambitious claim. Yet everyone continued to play it, and raid, and talk about the next raid. I was able to dig up a few (partially) positive responses to the nerf in Firelands (Variant Avatar and Manalicious), but aside from that, most of the feedback was deeply mired in barely-concealed hostility.

As an example, here are some of the reactions:

  • Kurn felt the “hardest part on Alysrazor was NOT killing her faster”. In all fairness, Kurn’s group seemed to have a lot more fun because the content wasn’t as brutal as it was pre-nerf. That being said, Kurn felt the nerf was a slap in the face this time.
  • Morynne felt that the Firelands bosses, particularly the first few, had started dropping like flies, making the content a little ridiculous.
  • Lonomonkey was upset that in “the end, our efforts were for nothing and no one told us”.
  • Coriel was felt that Blizzard was not tuning the nerfs well enough. For one thing, it seemed rushed, and second, Coriel’s guild was just recovering from a tough raiding summer only to realize content had been made dumber.
  • Ben’s sarcasm was barely masked: “After numerous complaints about fairness, Firelands Elementary is also changing its policy towards grades. Many parents apparently feel that grading children makes the stupid kids feel awkward and embarrassed, and as such, the new grading policy will reward all children with an automatic “A+++”, just for showing up.”
  • Matticus raised an interesting point, that it had been only 10 weeks since players had been in Firelands. The nerf-bat normally didn’t hit the main content for at least six months. He felt it was way too soon.
  • Vixsin echoed Matticus’ concerns, and felt that the nerfs came too soon, and they were too strong.
  • Gevlon, as one would expect, didn’t hold back, opening a scathing post with “…Blizzard practically accepted that their raid design has failed”.
  • Even Tobold was upset, saying he didn’t feel like Blizzard was sticking to their guns, primarily because they couldn’t identify which guns they wanted to stick to.

We complain that Blizzard takes too much time between content, artificially lengthening the life of the expansion. But if they bring out the nerf week in as little as 10 weeks, we still complain that it is too soon. Even Transmorgification, a really cool and rather well-received new feature, was not exempt from the criticism. Some people complained that Blizzard had implemented the system after seven years, and that was too little too late. I must admit I was a little upset. I had held on to the Tier 2 Judgement set for four years, and finally cleaned out my bank a few months prior to the Transmorgification announcement.

Seriously, does anyone have anything nice to say About WoW? And more importantly, is it possible that the problem isn’t Blizzard’s policies or rapidly changing gears in their core systems, but that no matter what they do, we as a group will never be satisfied?

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  1. September 28, 2011 at 7:37 pm

    “…no matter what they do, we as a group will never be satisfied?”

    I’m shocked anyone wants to develop an MMO anymore – seriously. At least anything that is geared toward ‘catering to the masses’. The WoW official forums are a cesspool of hatred, and I anticipate that SWTOR’s will be the same way soon after launch. I haven’t checked, but does RIFT have the same problem of 400 posts of “what’s wrong with this game” on the main page? I’d suspect it does.

    You’ve nailed it right here. You can’t please all the people all the time. Hell, in MMO-land, you can’t please anyone, it seems.

    • September 29, 2011 at 9:50 pm

      I think the plethora of MMOs have also spoiled us. With so much to choose from and so many different worlds, systems and sub-systems to explore and experience, I think we all craft this vague idea (unbeknownst to ourselves even) of what an MMO is supposed to be like. I mean really, what MMO developer can compete with that?

  2. September 28, 2011 at 8:11 pm

    ” is it possible that the problem isn’t Blizzard’s policies or rapidly changing gears in their core systems”

    I actually believes this might be it. Games with slow changes like Lotro are a lot less prone to this kind of continued hatred.

    • September 29, 2011 at 10:07 pm

      I think part of the reason with LOTRO is also that the game is free to play (sort of). So people are more forgiving.

  3. September 28, 2011 at 8:50 pm

    I feel that part of it is that people are usually more passionate about things that upset them. If I run a dungeon in the LFG system and my tank is an idiot, SOMEONE is going to hear about it, whether it’s on my blog or on my podcast or just in my guild. In general, people make noise because they want a change, not because they want to keep things the same. Especially in WoW, a constantly-evolving game, you don’t want to draw too much attention to something that’s working very well for you because then you’re helping other people’s cases in saying that you’re OP. And if you’re OP, well, there’s an incoming nerf.

    That doesn’t mean that I won’t cry from the rooftops that something is awesome, but I am aware of how others might interpret those cries of joy.

    So it’s much easier to rail against changes you don’t like and gather like-minded folks and head off with axes and pitchforks towards Blizzard’s HQ than it is to write something positive that might come under fire with comments like “you’re too OP, I hope you get nerfed to the ground!”

    Finally, as to my raid group, we had a fun raid that night, but I think it’s setting in that a lot of this stuff is just ridiculous, now. You don’t have to pay attention to the majority of the mechanics on normal mode at this point if you’ve done much of the instance at all, pre-nerf. Tune in to Episode 35 of Blessing of Frost, the podcast I co-host with one of my officers, to hear our thoughts about the post-nerf Firelands. http://www.blessingoffrost.com/ :)

    • September 29, 2011 at 10:12 pm

      But isn’t that the problem Kurn? Evolution is one thing. I understand the need to innovate to continue to drive and move the overall vehicle forward. Otherwise things would stagnate. Evolution is logical, necessary and natural.

      What irks a lot of WoW players is that blizzard changes its chance on things a tad too frequently, and the driving force is always subscription numbers. Raids are supposed to be hard. No they are supposed to be easy. We need to have 40-man raids. No 20. Wait 25. Oh also 10. Actually let’s do easy and heroic versions. Wait that choice is too binary, let’s introduce a third for the ultra-casuals.

      Over the course of time this can wear you thin. I know a lot of people will disagree, but I miss 40-man raids. That was a golden era. It was a feat to get 45+ people (backups included) ready with consumables and knowledgeable about 40-odd encounters. That changes in TBC with 20-man Karazhan. Again in WoTLK. Again in Cataclysm.

      For god’s sake man, pick a meta-strategy and continue to evolve that!

  4. September 29, 2011 at 5:17 am

    It is unfortunate that the loudest voices are the ones doing the most complaining, but there are still 11.2M playing. They can’t all be mad. But Blizzard did shoot themselves in the foot this expansion cycle. They’ve tried the nimble development style and ending up course correcting far too often and far too wildly. Watching these patches and hotfixes go in has been like watching a drunk driver swerve down the road after closing time.

    All that said, I would probably still be playing if I were gaming much at all. The little gaming time I have can’t justify a monthly subscription.

    • September 29, 2011 at 10:13 pm

      You may be right Anjin. After all, people in the blogosphere may be the most vocal in the community, but they certainly don’t represent the entire cross-section of it. If 11.2 people are paying to play your game every month, you have obviously done something right.

  5. September 30, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    Hey, I’ve been consistently positive about the nerfs. (‘course, I’m also new and not well known, so there’s that…)

    Also, I’d say that people’s reception of the new content announcements counts as positive. Most folks I read are thrilled about the ideas coming out of the 4.3 instances. Every comment that I’ve seen on instance length runs along the lines of “oh thank fsck, we don’t have to spend an hour per 5-man”. About the most solid criticism that I’ve seen is that using the Demon Soul against Deathwing makes no damn sense.

    In the end a lot of folks play for the content, and Blizz is good at content. Even the Molten Front zone, miserable grind that it is on a 4th character, is a great area on its own merits and was eagerly anticipated. I dunno, makes sense to me, sort of.

  1. September 29, 2011 at 12:50 am
  2. September 30, 2011 at 1:26 am

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