Saturday, January 22, 2011

"Leaves That are Green Turn to Brown."

Someday I am going to update my blogroll to reflect some blogs that I frequent via other people's blogrolls. And when I do that, Klepsakovic's Troll Racials are Overpowered blog is going to be included. I've been to his comments section and argued with him once over items and features that Blizzard seems to be breaking just for the sake of removing fun from the game.

My argument was that there are things in the game that were broken upon release and players became used to some of them. When Blizzard finally gets around to fixing things, suddenly some veteran players feel as though some of the fun has been removed from the game. But complexity plays a roll in how long some "harmless" things remain broken in the game and fixes can take a long time to come as more important things tend to push the "harmless" issues down the list.

Anyway, this apparent removal of fun is a big issue for some players. It includes not only the issue of "fixed" items, but the removal of motivation for exploration. When nothing surprising can happen off the beaten path, then why bother with it? The linearity of leveling is a prime example of Blizzard's effective "fix" of the explorer's fun.

I wrote that Cataclysm is the highest quality product Blizzard has yet released for World of Warcraft and I stand by that statement. However, their attention to the quality of the leveling experience and the graphics of the new and updated zones, has forced them to pay less attention to random random experiences.

I think that Blizzard knows precisely what they are doing.

They want to make the game more easily accessible, but also they want to make the game look more stunning, provide more bells and whistles. They also want to release more content at a faster pace.

A sandbox game requires attention to lots and lots of little, random, "accidental" things for players to explore and stumble across. But this kind of game has to pull attention and time away from the environment, if they intend to keep to any respectable release date. No one game can provide both great quality environments, such as the new Cataclysm zones, and the open gameplay experience of Elder Scroll's Daggerfall. Maybe that game is on its way in the form of Rift or Star Wars: The Old Republic, but it's going to take Blizzard a lot more effort and time than their standard expansion pack allows for. Maybe Blizzard's next MMO will be that game.

The point is that World of Warcraft is not that game.

And as one blogger states, "Veterans of World of Warcraft had their standards and expectations set too high for Cataclysm."

The truth is that Vanilla Wow was mostly just thrown together. The developers spent a lot of time on making great features, but the game was so big they couldn't even finish the maps. Throughout Burning Crusade and even some of the Lich King, Blizzard was still finishing vanilla material and including it into the expansions as new stuff. Cataclysm is possibly their first entirely new product for World of Warcraft since the game launched, aside from a handful of zones and dungeons previously released.

World of Warcraft was never the game that the veterans really wanted. Instead it was an unfinished tease of what they wanted. Now it seems that Blizzard has an actual direction for World of Warcraft, not just "This is our first MMO, let's make it cool, big, and functional!"

To be honest, I too am a veteran RPG player, and I don't know how much longer I can play World of Warcraft. However, as other bloggers have stated, there just isn't anything else that is big enough, fantastic enough, or detailed enough to take us from WoW. For the most part the game for myself, is good enough. But I do long for a different game.

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