Google+ ALT : ernative: Fings Aint Wot They Used to Be...

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Fings Aint Wot They Used to Be...

I keep his picture in my Bank, to help me remember...

There's been quite a bit of talk around the Blogsphere that I inhabit of late about how the Game gets things wrong: Big Bear Butt is having trouble getting the Hallows End plate helm to drop (and I know he's not alone in that regard) whilst that Grumpy Elf makes some very salient points about how Cataclysm missed the target. It's never easy to please all the people, as Blizzard must now be acutely aware, but the fact remains they're still 'doing the business': even if people aren't happy, they're talking about the Game. Any publicity is still that, after all.

It seems to me, when people are disenfranchised about the game generally, they do something which seems to happen in the Real World with unerring regularity: look to the past, where things were always 'so much better'. It's all very well referring to Nostalgia as an answer to any current malaise, but the truth is often a far less rosy picture than most people will tend to recall from memory. Vanilla WoW was not great, not by any stretch of the imagination, but it held one overriding advantage over the 'current' content: no-one had ever done things like that before. PvP, 40 man raids, an epic storyline covering two races full of hundreds, thousands, MILLIONS of different people worldwide. How did this game manage to eclipse everything else in such a definitive fashion? I reckon if Blizzard could find an answer to the question they'd already have it bottled and would be selling it to other game designers across the planet... My personal take on Warcraft's personal success has always been that it has the ability to be completely different things to disparate groups of individuals: it can accommodate both the hardcore gamer and the casual potterer side by side. You can simply play this as a fishing game, or as an Auction House speculator, or as a PvP-er... and there are thousands of points in between. Role playing, Heroic Modes, Achievements... the diversity the game has continued to foster and nurture are where the real successes lie.

It should come as no surprise therefore that The Panda Expansion has deliberately focussed on creating new avenues of diversity, considering the perceived failures in Cataclysm.  The difference this time is that Blizzard appear to be admitting that they are aware that their game is played in many different ways, away from it's original remit. They are providing a mini-game for the first time with the Vanity Pet Pokemon, they are adding Medals to Dungeons: these things already exist outside the World of Warcraft and are proven ways of extending a game's longevity. This is all well and good, but there is still the issue of how they will address many of the holes that have appeared in the existing content. Will there finally be a decent overhaul of the Professions system to cover the issues that exist therein? (Note To Self: Remind me to write a 'What's Wrong with Professions' post) Will Archaeology get any love at all and will it's potential be expanded upon or will it be left to gather dust? There's also the issue of how the much-anticipated D3 Auction House will impact on Warcraft, because I cannot believe that if that is hugely successful that we won't see some kind of  knock-on consequence...

None of this however matters to the Naysayers, those who feel Warcraft simply isn't as good 'as it was', and they're right (of course) because when it was great for them was the same time (I would suspect) that everything else was going well, when Real Life and the Game meshed in fabulous synergy. Nostalgia works best I think when you can be objective, when you balance the good and the bad. Some days I do miss 40 man raiding, I remember fondly grinding in Burning Steppes playing 'Spot the Gold Farmer.' Then I remember the less enjoyable stuff, and it occurs to me that over the last six years there have been parts of the game I'll never forget, and those are all wrapped up with the people I play with. Not the characters, the individuals, the people who have become my friends because of all this. Blizzard's greatest success is the community it has created, and when it listens to it things really get done. When it is dismissive and thoughtless however, it can cause untold damage. Even after all this time, they can get it wrong.

I hope that, with the Pandas, Blizzard really can demonstrate their ability to give people what they want without them realising they missed it. I keep my fingers crossed that they will address the issues that I think need looking at instead of simply giving people more ways to distract themselves. Whatever happens however I KNOW there will be those people who will complain that things aint wot they used to be: in shock news, I reckon it's a fairly safe bet that you're never going to be happy whatever Blizzard do, and if I may be so bold it's probably time you went and did something else. For the rest of us, I think it's time we had some more news on what we can actually expect to see in game in the next few months so we can prepare ourselves. It's looking like it's going to be a cold winter, and I for one am looking forward to Quality Entertainment [TM] ...

3 comments:

TheGrumpyElf said...

The human nature of things will have people saying "I wish it was like it was in Cataclysm" once we are a year into MoP.

People always seem to remember the good and forget the bad about things. Toward the end of wrath it seemed most people in the game were so glad that it was over.

I was one of the few vocal ones saying I would miss it and thought it was great. Now, a year into cata, we are starting to see all those people that hated wrath talk about how much they miss it.

It could be rose tinted glasses, it could be people not noticing what they have until it is gone.

Either case, it is said and done and people will always look back on the past and think of it better then it was when it was the present.

It surely does seem like with MoP they are trying to expand the reach of players and not cater to one segment only. I really hope it works because it would be better for everyone that plays if they have more players happy over all.

BTW: Write about professions. ;)

I've thought about that one a lot myself, they need a real overhaul. Would love to see what you had in mind.

Mister Rik said...

Yes, write about professions!

Lemme suggest one problem I have with crafting professions (more specifically, tailoring, blacksmithing, and leatherworking): the fact that, at max level, there is essentially nothing but PvP and raid gear to make. And if your crafter isn't a raider and thus can't obtain orbs, it's just PvP gear.

I'd love it if my 525 tailor had some new "basic clothing" patterns (for RP), something you stop seeing around skill level 20. It would be great if my 525 blacksmith could forge blue quality weapons suitable for level 85 characters.

Anonymous said...

Great post, perfect message