But that's where we come back to what's at stake: rotational mechanics, the ineffable, partly conscious element of the game summarized as "fun." World of Warcraft is going on a decade, and sometimes milestones like that have effects beyond the immediate. People are hitting 30, or 40, and they look back and reassess why they play; and it isn't limited to what's tangible or rational.
Players who are not well-versed in game design, or haven't followed every detail and discussion of the beta, may not understand exactly why the game doesn't feel like it used to, or how it did when they were having the most fun and feeling capable. They may not be able to explain why playing on their character, or any of their alts, isn't really . . . "fun" anymore.
I don't think that this beta's design fixated on simplism is on the level of early Cataclysm. I do think it's more insidious, though, and will be harder to identify. Ultimately, though, I see it as a forced error, and a shortcoming for an expansion that otherwise has the most promise in more than 5 five years.
It isn't that often I'm compelled by a post on the Warcraft forums to make a post, but this has been an extraordinary week for this part of the Internet 'World'. I've read several serious commentators pronouncing that we're at a crossroads, a tipping point, that 'gaming' should never be a place where people should feel threatened or scared to exist within. There's a week's worth of arguments to pour through, if you feel the urge. For many people, playing games has stopped being fun.
That's why the above struck me so strongly this week, because if you can't even agree on a simple definition, you're already in a ton of trouble.
The OP has decided, as the central point of his post on what Blizzard is doing to the game's mechanics, is a particular concept of 'fun': of course, this is also part of Blizzard's argument. If you are going to play this game, it needs to be less like wading through treacle and more intuitive, sensible and with less choice and more result. Just for the record at this juncture, I feel I need to wheel the dictionary definition of 'fun' in here just as a point of order, both in noun and adjectival form:
So, in this case I am sensing the crux of this argument is simple: the OP believes that by dumbing down the system, the game becomes less enjoyable for them. I understand this, and I also grasp the need to constantly refining a gaming experience as the abilities and tastes of your audience change. More interesting to me however is one particular line in the OP's post: 'People are hitting 30, or 40, and they look back and reassess why they play; and it isn't limited to what's tangible or rational. ' This isn't general fun we're talking about, rather the 'fun' of a very specific age group, those who have 'grown up' with the game since its inception... except this isn't the whole audience. It's not even close. My son is a great example of someone who's grown up with the game. He's almost 14, and had his first character to play alongside Dad and me when he was five. That Hunter's now doing Progression content, and one of the overriding factors I've seen in my son's development is that 'fun' has absolutely NOTHING to do with the buttons he's pressing, and EVERYTHING to do with the people he's playing with. If those people decide to bring prejudices and narrow minded outlooks to the table, then we're all doomed.
|Also Fun. From New York City.|
'Fun' is now a smoking gun for the gaming industry: anything (or indeed anyone) seen to be 'upsetting' the enjoyment of others is going to be held up for ridicule, perhaps even abuse, and often for a slew of completely unacceptable and unrealistic reasons. The old will blame youth, youth will blame the old, sex will become the ultimate weapon to degrade and reinforce particular decision and individuals on both sides. In all of this, the *actual* fun in gaming is being symptomatically destroyed, and the content that is being produced is becoming increasingly tainted by the arguments that surround them. The people who play the games are destroying the fun by over-analysing, by arguing and accusing, when it is exactly them who are responsible for making the environment we exist within both entertaining and compelling by existing in the player base. The key factor many simply fail to grasp is simple: fun is utterly subjective. As you grow old, things alter, and it isn't just that your game has changed. You do too.
|Local fun. DOUGHNUTS.|
The argument about 'dumbing down' Warcraft we started this post with? Have to say, I utterly agree with the point, but totally disagree this makes thing less fun as a result. You see, fun for me is the grinding and the achievements and the Battle Pets and the Professions and that already puts me in the minority to begin with. That's what it says on the Twitter description, right next to the word 'WOMAN' because I get pretty annoyed so many people seem to think I'm a man. I'm here for the Minority Interests in Warcraft and as little flack as I can kop, which might make some people wonder why I'd actually care if people don't grasp my gender from the word go. There's a particular Tweet in the Polygon post I'd like to highlight at this point, if I may, just to prove this point: since the post was published the account holder has protected their tweets, but the gist is basically this: No women gave a f**k about gaming pre 2005.
/looks at almost forty years of gaming experience and shakes her head.
Certain sectors of this community are not doing ANYONE any favours, including themselves.
I'd like to hope that with the Expansion that follows in (checks countdown timer) 75 days, people can stop fixating on what constitutes their own very specific form of fun and maybe, just maybe, extend their range a bit. Maybe we can get the people who say nothing because it isn't their problem to actually start taking some notice as well. If we could just take away the smoking guns, people would all be so much happier and gaming could be fun in a more general sense for EVERYONE, regardless of how they live their lives when they're not playing. It is up to those of us who refuse to be beaten down and silenced to hold our heads high and press for gaming to be just that, games we enjoy.
I get pressing less buttons isn't fun. But in the general scheme of things, it isn't just one definition we have to worry about any more.