Is there such a thing as getting too old for World of Warcraft?

 

A rare post has made its way to the Avenue today. It is my genuine hope, you will read it, add your thoughts and contribute to it.

I know, that it won’t just take a few seconds to read – and that many of my blog posts, that have a lot of writing in them, might tend to get skipped.

But I will really appreciate your input, so if you could just bookmark this for a dull moment during your Monday, then I hope my gratitude for you taking your time, will be worth it. 🙂

 


 

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This is not a post made to criticize World of Warcraft and the current state the game is in. This is meant to get us talking; and to make myself wiser, on what is going on behind the scenes of Blizzard, and maybe in particular, behind the scenes of me. And you.

 

A feeling of disconnection

 

I’ve been thinking for a while, why I have felt so disconnected, when playing World of Warcraft lately.

Legion captivated me enormously; I cherished the whole theme of it, the zones, the Dungeons, my Class Hall, the story lines in particular – and those, the stories, are what keeps me playing the most. (I had long periods of breaks from MoP and through WoD, but both expansions had their moments.)

 

“But lately, starting with the pre-patch of Battle for Azeroth, I’ve started to loose interest.”

 

I feel no real “drive” to log on and play; in fact, some evenings I prefer to just keep my computer off.

But why? I have not been able to put my finger on it, precisely, at all. And that is rare. Granted, the story of the Burning of Teldrassil was not easy to digest; it still is not. But I made peace with it, I moved on, and I hoped into Battle for Azeroth with a positive mindset.

 

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What’s wrong?

 

What is at play here exactly?

The stories of Battle for Azeroth – seen on their own – are nothing short of great. Immersive and clever, they are engaging and entertaining, especially Drustvar as a zone, interesting and captivating.

I still enjoy my Restoration Druid, as a Class.

The new zones are possibly more breathtakingly beautiful, than any other zone, I have ever seen in World of Warcraft.

The Dungeons are fantastic, the encounters are well thought of, and the Raids too (I have not raided myself though.)

The music is okay, though I feel it lacks the touch of Russell Brower, but maybe I just have not listened to it well enough, since the CD no longer comes with the Collector’s Edition.

So what is missing?

I could go into great depth discussing the systems of Battle for Azeroth and how I feel they lack “refinement”, how getting an upgrade should never leave us confused, and I could go on about how communication from game designers and to players could be done differently.

The launch of Battle for Azeroth could have been handled in another way too, but the last days of activity and the last two videos released were really positive for me, so the past is in the past, and I believe great things are to come, concerning those systems, azerite and what not. I want to believe, I choose to believe.

 

“We all learn from experience, Blizzard does too. I have empathy, for how hard they must be at work right now, trying to figure this out. No company is interested in alienating themselves from the player base.”

 

So no, I will not go into depth on that, but instead, I am trying to take a different approach.

 

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Another store encounter

 

I had an experience in a store in town the other day, where I observed a bunch of teenage boys – my guess is they were around 15 years of age. They were there to purchase a keyboard, and searched for it.

They joked about it, stating it must be very “rare”, or even “epic”, since they couldn’t find it in the store. I chuckled to myself and my inner nerd, because I instantly knew, what they were referring to; the quality of items in World of Warcraft.

I stealthed around them a bit to listen (in Cat Form, obviously), and I discovered, that two of them had just started playing the game in the last year.

This really made me think, in the days that followed.

Those boys. They play the same game I do. Some children might have started playing this game, when they were 3 years old, sure. But let’s pretend they didn’t. Chances are they started a few years ago; that was the impression I got, from the chat they had. Maybe even later.

So here you have me, an almost 36-year-old woman (who played the game for 14ish years)

And you have a 15-year-old boy (who played the game for 1-2 years)

 

“How on earth do you tell a story – and design a game, that appeals to these two player segments at once? And which player segment is going to bring you the most income to your game? Which one should you focus on the most?”

 

I am genuinely asking.

 

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Player segments / Target audience

 

So, is that, really, what is at play here? Have I simply moved away from one of the player segments; the target audience of Blizzard Entertainment – when it comes to their storytelling?

If you are an author, and you write Children’s Books for a living. It is not expected of you, that your writing develops with your readers. You are not expected to suddenly start writing for teenagers later on.

And if you write for teenagers, chances are, not many adults will enjoy your books. And you are fine with that, because, it is not your target audience.

Many authors stick to one target audience, and that really makes sense, because we appreciate different things, depending how much we have matured, and where we are in life.

I realize age does not define that on its own, but, you know.

When you make a movie, rarely is the sequel to that movie aimed at viewers in a completely different phase of their lives, than the viewers you had in mind, when you made the first movie.

A book I read, when I was in the beginning of my 20s, might not be a book I enjoy now, that I am close to 36. The same thing can be said about movies, theater plays, anything, really.

 

“How many of the things I enjoyed 14 years ago, are things I continue to enjoy today?”

 

Yet I keep circling around World of Warcraft.

Creating a game, that appeals to many different player segments at once must be close to impossible. I have thought of systems in WoW lately, a lot. Many I have not experienced fully, because I have signed them off as too RNG – and with my limited time to play, it’s not for me.

But what about the story?

It puzzles me, why I have not thought about the story of World of Warcraft from this perspective until now, but I am beginning to feel, as if this is one of the main reasons for me to feel so disconnected.

 

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Being selective made impossible

 

I always looked at various things in WoW made to appeal to many different players.

You have Mythic+, you have Looking For Group, you have gorgeous zones to Explore, you have Achievements, you have hardcore Raiding in bigger groups, you have Pet Battles, you can engage in PvP or PvE, you can be casual, free of choice – and you can just have fun, with whatever you want.

 

“One thing never rules out another – the World of Warcraft is yours to conquer in any way, that you want.”

 

I select carefully, what I spend my time on, because of limited time, but also because of what I find enjoyable.

If I do not like the speed of M+ and if I am not fond of World Quests? Simple, I just don’t do them.

But what happens, if the story gives me the same feeling? I have played one race from the very beginning. My “relationship” with them, but also in general with the Alliance, the Horde, the zones of World of Warcraft, the NPCs, the important leaders of both factions is many years old.


 

This brings me back to those teenage boys, I saw in the store. Who have been playing for a few years at best.

They cannot be expected to feel the same way about the game as a whole, as I do. Perhaps even the contrary. Quite possible, even the contrary;

they might have relished in all the “drama” as of late. In the stories. They like it, when old NPCs gets “spiced up”, perhaps they even took joy in the genocide, that happened, because it fits their mentality more, maybe they liked how NPCs that play an enormous part of roleplay and story are killed off, reanimated, then killed off, risen as undead, and so forth. They might not search for deeper meanings with all of it; they just go with the flow.

 

“They naturally do not have the same connection to the game, as I do; who have played it since the beginning.”

 

They probably do not care much about zones being destroyed, because, let’s face it, how much time do they really spend in zones not from the current expansion?

Times were a lot different, back when we used to hang around in main cities, in search of a group. We naturally spent a lot more time in every single zone of the game too, because of the slow paced questing, and our curiosity and exploration-desires. In general we were a lot less focused on achievements, because of the 10 points they give today; we did it for the experience (not the XP, but the experience), and we spent a lot more time “bonding” with the story of the NPCs we quested for, because of that.

So maybe that is what is at play here?

 

“Without realizing it; Does the story told in World of Warcraft no longer appeal to me, because of how long, I have played this game?”

 

Do I just care too much? Am I just “getting too old for this shit”?

Or is the story no longer the core of the game, but has been developed into something, that comes later on in the game-making process, to fit the systems of World of Warcraft instead? Something minor, to make it sound “cool”? I feel a change in the overall theme.

 

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Faction War and reactions

 

The teens I observed in the store, appeared much more “right in your face” tossing around swear words, and had a much more direct, yet obscure behavior, than I do.

I imagine, that they find the “Faction War” much more captivating and “awesome”.

Whereas someone like me; I really dislike it. I particularly hate, what it is doing to people;

 

“I hate seeing players fight each other on social media, making the Faction War personal.  Granted, that does say a lot more about the players on their own, but is there really any reason to light the fuse?”

 

I hate how a small, small part of me have this feeling of “unfairness”, and the only way to make things even between the Alliance and Horde would be, say, to…

 

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Kill off “Zappy Boi”

 

See what I did there? I just mentioned this as an example, but am I not right in assuming, that the idea of that alone;

the idea of the Alliance slaughtering Zappy Boi – Zekhan, just for the sake of it, just for the “let us cause an uproar, just wait and see, it will make sense in years ” plot, is causing a reaction on your side?

Let there be no doubt, that I adore this troll! I just used this example to highlight, what the Faction War might trigger, when it comes to emotions, in the players, who engage in it daily. Because it involves our race, our alliances, our faction, our zones. Not just hostile NPCs we have no deeper connection to; not just a supporting role actor.

 

“Is it positive?”

 

I think there is a chance, we react this way, because we are not standing together in overcoming a joined foe, but instead we deal with meaningless slaughtering, while we “wait”.

Perhaps the reason beind all of this is to make us hunger so much for the hostility between us to be over, so that it will fill us with enormous relief once it ends, and we will be able to play across factions. But is the journey to this a good experience?

 

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The stronger the feeling, the better the reaction?

 

“At Least It Made You Feel Something” – was a good read for me, over at Co-geeking.

“Feeling something” is not always a measure for succes, I think. Sometimes things need hard work, in fact, most things worth going for, does. A feeling of relief, immersion and joy can only happen, if there is drama somewhere along the lines, I get that. We need excitement, so we do not find it dull. We need to be hooked, we need to care.

But isn’t it about the right balance?

Isn’t it about the journey, and not so much about the destination, where it all – apparently – finally makes sense?

 

“If I feel disconnected to a movie, I stop watching. If I feel disconnected to a book, I stop reading. I need to feel enjoyment, while I watch, I need to feel it while I read. – and not just in the last part of the movie, or on the last page of the book.”

 

If I do not enjoy it, I simply just say “Okay, hey, this is not for me, it’s for another type of viewer/reader”.

But what of the story of World of Warcraft?

I feel as if, it is a whole other thing to not chose the story of the game. I cannot avoid choosing the story, since it is the core of the game. (Is it?) And I do not want to either.

I frequently see this meme around, with words similar to “The less I care, the more happy I am.”

Is that the solution? Can I pull it off?

 

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Trimming Target Audience

 

Are Classic servers meant as a salvation for those of us, who feel this way?

And us going there, will make it easier to focus on fewer player segments in the future in the current version of the game?

I said it before; We all know the rose-tinted goggles are strong, there is clearly a market for it, but releasing Classic servers is not just about listening to the devoted fans, who have played on Illegal servers since Cataclysm. Something larger must be at play.

 

“Are we seeing a shift in more and more aspects of the current version of the game, optimized to appeal to fewer and fewer player segments, that are more likely to finance the game best?”

 

“Spreading yourself too thin” is never a good idea, so it might be what is happening? (Right expression?)

I mean, trying to please multiple target audience at once must be getting harder and harder, when we all mature, age, grow up, while also seeing new players, teenagers, entering the scene.

I do know and realize, that many still enjoy the game, so:

Is it my age or is it how my personality has developed since the launch of the game first and foremost, that plays a part, in how I view the ongoing development of World of Warcraft – and hinders me in enjoying the story of the game anymore?

Note, I use the word hinders, because I sincerely want to get back to a much greater feeling of immersion, than I have right now.

But down to my very core, I feel a disconnection to the ongoing story; it’s simply not for me.

And even if it turns out, that two years from now, Chromie appears and just manages to rewind time two years, or everything suddenly makes sense, and we find out, that everything had to happen for a reason – I just want to emphasize, that for me, it is the journey that matters.

 

“Just like an end to a great show, like How I Met Your Mother, can taint the entire show, if it goes against all of the development of the characters up until that point – just as well can an ongoing story taint the end of that same story, even if the end is extraordinary.”

 

It goes both ways.

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Just for the record; I am still enjoying myself in Battle for Azeroth – mostly because of the friends I play and talk with, and I have several very positive “Look how great this World of Warcraft is!” and “Choosing to stay positive; How it helps in the game” posts ahead of me. This time of year is where I craft my annual “Well done” poster to Blizzard as well. Again, this post is not a “flame war” towards the game.

But this subject has been on my mind for so long, that I needed to get it out there.

I am more than open to the fact, that it is my head, that is on backwards.

 


 

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“And today, more so than ever, do I wish I had the intelligence and ability to bring this discussion on a much greater level and add much more depth to it, than I am able to. I wish I could toss in a lot of facts, charts and what not, to support what I say.”

 

So many of you blow me away with how structured and straight to the point your posts and thoughts are, I am in awe.

I did my best though, so thank you so much for sticking with me all to the end of the post!


 

What are your thoughts on this?

 

I am sincerely interested in everything you have to say.
Merry Monday to all of you wonderful bloggers and readers, and thank you again, so much, in advance. 🙂

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64 thoughts on “Is there such a thing as getting too old for World of Warcraft?

  1. I am a bit in touch with younger players, I’ve been young once as well, but I’ve also always been weird.
    Stabbing a sword into the planet really hit home for these players. I don’t think that would ever have caught my attention, my attention was caught by Uldaman, excavation sites, mines. I was interested in learning about the places I read about or played in.

    The Faction War is a theme appreciated by players of (more or less) all ages based on forum posts. There are players who came back for the first time since Vanilla, because in their opinion (based on what, exactly?) it’s been the only time WoW had been about faction war. Personally, I wonder how it comes I’m more mature than them based on their writings. Glorification of war and war stories, and “blood is cool and dark”, and “kiddies can’t handle blood” – these are very simple and immature views in my opinion. Blood is a bodily fluid and in playing outdoors during childhood I bled much more than I do these days. And mental issues, cycles of violence, and enthropy are much more intimidating issues than blood or some scar or gratuitous violence in a game. In my teenage years I put all that together as the stuff society doesn’t want to look at. But these days I think we do look at the latter, and people who really go for that just try to avoid thinking about the former.

    I think these days the place of story in WoW is better than before. And I’m not sure a story surrounding (relatively) old women, as it is for the Alliance, was targeted at a young audience. If I took a guess, I’d say the faction war story line was targeted at them. But that’s a tiny fraction of all the story content. And it’s possible that I just conflate “poorly written” with “targeted at young people”.

    I hope, others feel compelled to give their view as well because your questions pose mysteries I’d enjoy to solve. I don’t like feeling so out of touch.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so sorry your comment got caught in my Spam Filter, Brunold – thank you so much for letting me know on Twitter, and for taking your time to share your thoughts here.

      You put things in another perspective, I didn’t think of it in such a way. I guess age might just play a much smaller role role, and it might has more got to do with personality and how we change over time.

      Hm, yeah. There do seem to be a lot of women -development focus in BfA. I guess that is a whole other blog post subject on its own, or just an observation that can bring me to speculate on the reasons for that 🙂

      I am very positively surprised how many wanted to share their thoughts in this post; I guess that is why I really cherish the blogging community. It’s been done in such a mature and decent way, and really brought me a lot to think about too.

      I really do not like feeling so out of touch either, and it has surprised me a lot, since I enjoyed Legion very much. Heres to hoping the stories of the next patch will change that for me – and for those of you who feel the same way.

      Thank you again 🙂

      Like

  2. I don’t think age is a thing here. Look, I’m almost 60. If I didn’t play WoW, it would be something (hell, sometimes it IS something else). The act of gaming is a cultural thing, not an age thing. People just a little older than me got that ball rolling, and some people have found it appealing ever since. WoW’s been around for over a decade. It’s natural that it accumulates people from different age groups and cultures. I personally like that. I can feed off the energies of the young to extend my own life. (just kidding! fnord.)

    I’ve gotten “over” WoW at times. I just go do something else. If it brings me back in, fine. If not, also fine. I have some very neglected games on my hard drive 🙂

    Sometimes its the expansion. Sometimes it’s Blizz themselves. We’ve had enough expansions, and enough Blizzcons, for Blizz to roally eff it up (anyone remember the Corpsegrinder fiasco? The “boy’s trip” fiasco?) Sometimes they do something that really disenchants me, and I back away for a while. No bigs. Usually they’ve made amends in some ways. Other times, it’s too little too late for some people (the list of dead blogs because of this is almost as long as the list of active blogs in my reader).

    BfA is one of “those” expansions. It is full of little annoyances, things that indicate lack of polish and finishing. Things like the Inscription ink seller; vague and uninteresting choices for Azerite armor; lack of any clear reason for doing what passes for “missions” in this expansion. It took me two weeks to figure out where the Island Expeditions thingy was after I did the intro. And maybe it’s me but this expansion seems to encourage poor habits in LFG, such as tanks trying to be coy and buypassing clumps of mobs that everyone gets feared into later on. (that might be typical start of expansion stuff, I actually avoided LFG completely in the first six months of Legion).

    What I’m saying is, maybe it isn’t you. Maybe it’s the game, and they need to do something about it.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. I think you hit it on the head about lack of polish. They’ve been at this a long time, I’m sure they have a good feel for how players will get around any design goal and twist it into something else. The database for art and core structures probably makes the visual a lot simpler than it was years ago. And yet there are still things that don’t just get through testing. They are discovered, reported, multi page forum posts devoted to them, and the impression is they just don’t care. I almost feel at time they have nominated Lore to be the scapegoat, the face to vent our frustration too. Ion seems, and I could be totally off base not personally knowing him, very stoic and set in his views. When he admits they messed up it feels almost hollow because the answer to the fix is we are working on it, or we are looking into it.
      The genie was released from the bottle years ago when they opened the forums and asked players for their input. Now it feels like those that were behind that idea, that getting player feedback on problems has been replaced with offhand replies. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve played a lot of games over the past 40 years, none have come close to WoW. But I think the bar of expectation for a top notch product, the “we will release it when it’s ready” has been replaced with a just ship it, we need the development team over on the next Overwatch expansion.

      And I too have had WoW encounters in the real world. From the guy at the store mentioning “Dude, your playing the wrong faction” when he saw the Horde symbol on the back of my car, to the kid commenting on my scarf one morning getting coffee, “hey what server”, and the guy pulling up alongside me at a traffic light yelling out his window “For the Horde”. We are a special kind of nerd.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. When I make wide statements like “lack of polish” there’s a whole iceberg’s worth of things that aren’t really exposed, but come into play.

        For example, there’s the common accusation that this expansion’s being done by the “b” team, the juniors not quite up to par with the “a” team that gave us Legion. That’s a HUGE assumption based only on anecdotal evidence, but it’s compelling. This flavors Ion’s perceived stoicism in a way.

        I personally wouldn’t make the assumption they don’t actually *care*, but maybe they don’t care *right now*. Thing is, there are fires being put out, and I know from experience that triage has been performed and these fires are being put out in *priority order*. So they probably do care that I’m still farming Legion mats for glyph making, but they don’t have anyone able to fix it available that isn’t already working on something a lot more wide-reaching.

        The trap is explaining that to users in general. Users are bitter, angry, misunderstanding, willful beasts that more often than not will take a good-faith explanation and try to pervert it into a bunch of armchair project management. Nobody needs that crap in their inbox. It’s easier to just bite your tongue, keep up a steady strain, and hope the Blizzcon hype will help mask some of it while you get the job done, eventually. It’s easier to have people claiming “Ion doesn’t care” than have a bunch of people insult your intelligence with second-guessing based off of incomplete data.

        The biggest mistake of all (IMO, from the cheap seats) was setting a deadline. Several months out, they set a deadline of Aug 14 2018, and that set an earlier deadline of July-ish for all the Systems changes. Unbelievable. They’ve never done that before, and I sincerely hope this taught them something about doing that.

        So here’s Ion, trying to hustle an package out the door on a deadline, and having to make the hard calls between not crashing, and polish. And they almost didn’t make it. There were a few real crash issues at the start of the pre-patch and main patch. It was close. And for all that hard work, all they got was some pikey like me bleating out that there was lack of polish.

        He KNOWS there is lack of polish because he made that call. It’s more or less an established fact. That’s the problem, of course, that he had to make that call so often in this expansion. (that’s always going to be the case, but this expansion seems to be festooned with a multitude of such cases)

        NOW … if, in six months’ time, this is still the state of the game … I don’t know what to say.

        I will say this. The Forums seem to be designed to be a black hole of information. They don’t support RSS so you can monitor a topic remotely. It’s hard to get back to a topic you want to monitor from within the forums. The ticketing system is, with very few exceptions, the worst thing I have ever used – and I’ve seen some real classics from the Ticketing System Hall of Shame, first hand. The massive indifference I see in THAT really speaks volumes.

        The great thing about the forums – for them – is that they can employ people specifically to maintain “standards of conduct” and then … call it done.

        But I think someone over there is getting the idea that tying the beta feedback loop into this black hole for information is probably not a great idea. Too much got lost on the 89th page of a critical bug report, as a fictional example. Maybe the missing Ink Vendor WAS reported on the beta forum, and maybe a Blue DID respond to that, but not to the one on the official forums. I dunno. How the hell would I find out? Anyway, file that under “Why Grimmy won’t beta test WoW ever again”.

        In short (too late), I’m very sympathetic to the plight of a software vendor just trying to get the thing out on deadline. But I’m very frustrated by the way they are interfacing with users, testers, and customers. I hope they fix that.

        Liked by 4 people

      2. I forget the exact quest, but a friend was stuck in Legion from completing a chain because of a known issue that went back to beta. This was about 6 months ago. They opened tickets, had GM responses, sorry you are stuck, it’s a known issue, try abandoning the quest and retaking it, sorry no we can’t complete it for you it’s part of the story experience, you can do it, have you looked at WoWhead or other sites to see if other players have figured out ways to complete it? Sorry we couldn’t help, here’s a joke.

        They just gave up on ever completing the quest chain. While I don’t believe the B team may be working on the expansion development, I do tend to feel these past few years that perhaps they are the ones relegated to damage control and trying to fix problems. And if it only involves being an issue for a few hundred it gets put not on the back burner, but moved to an offsite kitchen two counties over, on a stove that hasn’t seen use in 6 years, tended by the night crew when they decide to come to work. 😬

        There is too much riding on Blizzard pumping out content that can be viewed and talked about in competitive circles. The whole focus on awarding the top 100 to complete Mythic content, hyping the race to Worlds first tier after tier. The competitive aspect may appeal to many. I’m sure many enjoy watching the raid race. Me? I just want to be able to play the current content and enjoy doing so. Having a compelling reason to want to get logged in, beyond go do the same thing 50 times to power up something. I’m pulling my hair out over deciding which 340 Azerite head armor is better, the one worth 5.15 points, or the one worth 5.17 that factors in playing a way I’m not comfortable playing.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. Ah, I remember you talking about that experience with your friend before. Some of the GMs choice of words are not the best! The times I had to contact customer support outside the game; that live chat function, their service has been extraordinary, and handled so well. Two very different teams in place.

        I forgot the competitive circles and the intake they have done on the gaming scene of WoW as a whole. The impact has been enormous.

        As for the Azerite armor, I feel fortunate to be able not to bother with optimizing at all. I just ignore it, more or less. But instead, it is the story that really frustrates me.

        Those numbers you mention – are those from an AddOn, or?

        Liked by 2 people

      4. Hm, yes, I do believe they care, but for some reason that I am completely oblivious too, they appear to alienate themselves from us right now. Right, I see what you mean with that; I made a ticket to describe a bug not long ago, and was told, that this bug honestly didn’t affect that many players, so I shouldn’t get my hopes up of having it fixed before Battle for Azeroth.

        I agree, that deadline was wrong. It was far sooner than I expected too. I see now, why the polish is lacking.
        I have found the Forums to be a tad hard to navigate too! Especially the Search function; it never generates the newest topics and it is not possible to add any filter to it at all whatsoever.

        The ticketing system does frustrate me at times, but I’m low techy, so I do not know what to suggest to improve it.

        I did hear a lot about beta feedback not being heard or reacted to, and found that quite the mystery. If I were to submit feedback and spend time on such, I would like some kind of gratitude – so I felt heard, at least, and that my time was valued.

        Well put, I hope so too. The pressure to get the thing out on deadline; do you think that pressure is only from the players alone? Would it really have been that damaging to have postponed the Expansion say, a month?

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Yes, polish is a great word to use here for sure. It’s sad, that the Expansion had to be released so soon, when it was so far from being done, apparently. I rather wait for quality, than get quantity. But it seems that many, the more vocal ones, think they disagree with that. Offhand replies, what a saying too. I guess I did expect more but somehow, I am willing to overlook all of it. Except the story. I can’t seem to accept it.

        What fun encounters you had in the real world 🙂 Special kind of nerd indeed!

        Liked by 1 person

    2. I see what you mean with that, Grimmtooth. Yes, it was/is one of the beauties of the game; How we have it in common, despite our differences!

      Sometimes they do something that disenchants you. What a great way to describe it.
      I hear you on those little annoyances; despite them not affecting me much, they do make me stop and wonder, how they made it so far in to the game in the state they are in. Ah, yes, I googled how to start Island Expeditions too, I was lost on that one, thinking I missed a breadcrumb quest.

      Aw yeah, I have an enormous list of inactive blogs in my WordPress Reader, hoping to see them return one day.
      I noticed that too in LFG, the attempt to skip mobs; I just thought the tank was Mythic+ affected, meaning, on the look out to save time. Of course, it ends in the exact opposite with pulling multiple packs at once, resulting in a wipe 🙂

      Maybe it is the game indeed. It seems I am not alone at all.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. For me all that is left is the draw of the game. All of my true “wow friends” have moved on (or are on other servers). I am disconnected to the game from a personal standpoint. It used to be a lot about talking with friends while playing, now it is a very solitude experience. Which is ok too, because that is how I approach it. When I need to hide or unwind, mindlessly.

    I’m currently unsubscribed as the draw of a weekly LFG and a daily WQ isn’t enough for me. I am hoping 8.1 will bring me back in, whenever that is. We shall see.

    We can (and do) outgrow games, or games just don’t grow enough to keep our attention. It’s frankly amazing that WoW has had such long legs. And as Grimm says above, it has been different for each expansion for me.

    Classic: 30 hours a week, full bore hardcore raiding
    TBC: Same
    WOTLK: Cut back a bit, changed guilds, still loved it
    CATA: Barely played
    MISTS: Got to level, hated daily quests as a gating mechanic, stopped playing
    WOD: Skipped Entirely
    Legion: Loved everything about it
    BFA: currently waffling

    I think Legion played the most like a single player RPG. The story, class halls, hunt for legendaries, worth doing WQs every day (money, legendary chance, etc.). SO it was the one that best fit my playstyle at the time.

    The crazy part is, everyone’s motivation and likes are different, yet the common threads of WoW tend to keep us together.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Disconnected to the game from a personal standpoint. Good way to describe it, Isey. I do hope 8.1 will bring good things too.

      Funny, my chart looks similar to yours.
      I loved everything about Legion too.
      I wonder if that plays a part. If my expectations were on pair with Legion and Battle for Azeroth could not match that.

      Yes, exactly, we all play for different reasons, yet the world is the same.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I don’t think that age per se is the thing. I’ve known and played with people in early teens and 70+. I even had a guildie that was four (a guildie’s daughter). Of course no one bothered her and she couldn’t read and knew no English, but somehow she managed to level a char a bit. 😀 That is an extreme example, but age and nationality matters not much to the extent we can’t all enjoy the game. I got into WoW via my son, who sensibly quit years ago. 😉 However, WoW has managed to attract many different categories of players, including people who previously did not show much interest in gaming at all (e.g. me). I guess WoW arrived at a fortunate time with many people getting decent internet connectivity, the complicated WoW universe and its stories, cooperative play, the slightly cartoonish graphic design and plenty of large scale raiding and also pvp. Maybe the recent huge increased interest in fantasy helped, too. (LOTR films etc)

    But, as you point out, long-time players, and (relative) newcomers do probably have a different view of the game. You even ask if the story is the core of the game anymore. I guess for some (increasing numbers?) it is not at all. Most games have very little story (?) so I assume the want for story/myth/worldmaking is a minority one among gamers? I also think that the question of if the story is adjusted to the game is a valid one. I hope it will not be so in an essential way. There will always be retcon, but that is probably more annoying than truly game changing?

    As for the faction conflict: It means less than ever for me. There were so many big drums pre-BfA and then… nothing. When I see Horde now I am sort of uninterested in them. Sylvanas schmanas. I always played on pve server, but at least it was interesting and sometimes exciting to see Horde even when not in pvp situations. Now faction thing feels like a big MEH. Also for me having belf look alikes in Alliance… When I first came across void elves in battlegrounds I thought it was Horde and then it wasn’t. Confusing in actual gameplay. Not bad storytelling though as there is no reason why certain races must be in one faction only. Not new either. Think pandas. Maybe the whole dual-faction thing has outlived itself?

    There is possibility a person changes more than the game and it is not just that interesting anymore. Or even that people get tired of looking at flat screens for hours…

    Hugs!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. You are right, Wisteria. Maybe the title of my post should have been something closer to the lines of “Can you grow up and evolve with a video game and still expect to like it?” Hehe, how sensible of your son 😉

      Oh, yes that could play an enormous part too, your point with the internet connectivity. Perhaps even the rise of social media later on?

      I’m really glad to hear you find my questions valid 🙂 It was not easy to put into words. I sure hope it will not be so either.

      I know. The story going on right now seems from a whole different expansion than what we experienced right before. Well even the scenario with the Battle for Lordaeron.

      Yes. That part about Allied Races does not sit that well with me either. I don’t think I will get used to being up in combat on an Island Expeditions vs the Nightborne. It just feels so wrong.

      But maybe, once we can group across factions one day, all those restrictions will fade away and there we have it. If that is what will happen. It does seem that way, and that BfA is an Expansion meant to “explain” it later on. I don’t know.

      Yes, I believe I have changed a lot over the years too, so maybe it is indeed about evolving with a game, and whether that is really possible.

      Aw, thank you so much! Lots of hugs 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. MMOs are built for social appeal, and live or die based on those connections. Really bad games can be kept afloat with a solid community. This includes a relationship with the developers. Fornite took off because Epic actually responded to the public, while PUBG ignored the #1 issue of bugs/stability.
    WoW was a great tool at building social links over the years. I’ve floated through dozens of guilds, as real life commitments took me out of the game. Those folks came and went as well. There are so many options for social gaming now…so people end up flitting between them. One guild I am a part of, at peak had over 200 active members. It hasn’t had anyone log in except me for 3+ years now.
    As for the developers, there’s a level of trust that is fractured. There’s no denying that the air is negative on BfA. It feels confrontational, which bleeds into the game. If your opinion on the seller diminishes, even if you used to love that product, then you start to lose trust in that product, regardless of the actual quality.
    I’ve also seen the value of time change as I get older. I certainly have much less of it as compared to 10 years ago. Heck as of 2 years ago. I don’t have time to raid anymore, certainly not in a coordinated fashion. I could grind out a useless faction, or spend time in Spider-Man. Not so hard of a choice…

    Liked by 3 people

    1. That is very true. My friends have kept me in the game, and the other way around, even during time where we all agreed we would have stopped playing if it weren’t for each other. I did not consider how so many options for social gaming could influence it, that is a good point too.

      I feel so too, overall, it does seem negative, no matter how positive I try to look at it. Though the last videos released seem “open and honest” (I’m naive, I know, but that is what I tried to get out of it) But yes. I do admit, I struggle with this, I honestly do.

      The value of time. Another good point. I am more careful and more aware of how I spend my free time, especially since I have so little of it now compared to before I became a mother. So it has become even more important for me to make sure I actually enjoy myself when I play.

      Liked by 3 people

  6. For my part, I’ve never been particularly interested in the “medium” story of World of Warcraft–the fight against the capital-V Villain of the current expansion, the drama between major NPCs like Jaina, Sylvannas, Tyrande, and so on. I’ve always enjoyed the “big” story (where did the world come from, what are the titans, why do the mortal races exist) and the “little” stories (entertaining quests, random NPCs with interesting backstories or motivations that have nothing to do with the Alliance/Horde geopolitics, surprising locations in the world to discover).
    Battle for Azeroth has done great for me with big stories (there’s something hinky going on with death in these islands that we haven’t quite figured out yet) and little stories (the Gnomish resort in Tiragarde Sound, Taelia’s wide-eyed excitement at meeting an adventurer from the mainland, the gang on the little island west of Stormsong Valley telling fish tales). So far, Ive been able to ignore the unappealing medium story (the Horde and Alliance fighting *again*) and the mechanical failings (poorly-designed azerite gear, annoying island expeditions, tedious warfronts, the pointless mission table) by focusing on those.
    But if the medium story has always been what connected you to the game, I think you’re perfectly justified in feeling left out this time. Even speaking as someone who has never been much interested in that part of the game, I’m feeling particularly put off by it lately.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I agree with you Erik, those small quests and the quests on Kul Tiras on their own has been great.

      I can see why you find what you refer to as the “big” stories appealing. too

      Funnily enough, I would call what you refer to as medium, big 🙂 And indeed, that part of the story really does not sit well with me either.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I’ve struggled with how to refer to the different kinds of stories we get in WoW. The small/medium/big distinction is the best I’ve come up with, but I’m sure different terms will make more sense for different folks! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I don’t know if it is age but it is certainly possible that something you’ve loved and invested time in can suddenly be viewed as exhausting, even the thought of it. Can you muster the energy to go in there one more time.
    There is a philosophy cooking underneath the systems that I find frustrating; I don’t know the why that pots, flasks, foods are not meaningful buffs – I don’t know the why that our passive income has dropped so hard – I don’t know the why we can’t have those wonderful pre-pot pulls of insane power that was a rush – I don’t know the why an alt can’t support a main. I don’t know the why we have to pay for rewards.
    So: I guess. I guess that Blizz is designing for it’s critics, a sure mistake. They want a good review from Method on their raid so they are designing for them. They hear the loudest critics from the streamers and tubers; do those guys really have that much influence? Are they trying to fix their economy in the game at our … expense?

    I could go on, obviously I do every day!

    Nice screen shots!

    Liked by 7 people

    1. Boy, you really hit a sore spot with me regarding the streamers and the tubers and the ‘pro’ players. Blizz has REALLy embraced those communities and pushed hard to produced content that generates buzz with those groups. And those groups are not my groups. Point nicely made.

      Liked by 5 people

      1. Me too, Grimmtooth. No. Not my group. At all. And when I see these Youtubers getting “care packages” from Blizzard, to promote their new gear store items, I have to remind myself, that this person might get paid to word things, the way they do. I guess that I cannot fathom just how big an industry this whole competitive scene is either.

        Liked by 3 people

      1. I know! I have been wondering that too. It is the same with Quest Rewards. I guess, they are trying to put a stop to the enormous amount of gold around, or hoping we will turn to the WoW Token instead?

        Liked by 2 people

    2. Couldn’t agree more. The subscribers who pay for the game (=the ones who makes a profit for Blizz) just to get enjoyment from it vs the “pros” that probably in many cases are sponsored. It would be sad if people pay and play WoW because living vicariously thru some streamers. Would be similar to a person buying certain shoes just because some fancy sports star wears them. Maybe the industries are converging..?

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I think it would be interesting to analyze how many of the streamers getting beta and alpha keys actually gave proper feedback. Its all good showing new content before general access to get people hyped and interested, but getting those keys comes with a responsibility to generate actual workable feedback.

        Which while Im at it, is something like “On day/month, hh:mm, door on Dungeon Z Normal Difficulty is bugged and wont open on character-realm. Addons disabled and UI reloaded, and bug is still happening”, instead of “door bugged on instance dungeon z”.

        I’ve seen several blue posts detailing that for a bug to be found and fixed, they need to be able to recreate it.
        Are the audience driving streamers too focused on getting their views/likes and forgetting the feedback? Could that explain some unresolved issues?

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Yes, I agree. I’m not sure who is driving who and to what place. But seeing how things that were reported bugged for months on the PTR still make it to the game without explanation might make people, who did spent time submitting bugs, feel as if their time was not appreciated. (This is only based off what I have read, not what I have experienced)

        But, perhaps earning money from doing Youtube videos on WoW, and getting “paid” by Blizzard for doing so, probably isn’t doing the precise and overall quality and flow of the game any favors.

        I guess the “crowd” also can give out the impression, that speed beats quality. Which is a big shame, and something I would love to change.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. On the quality of the game, and testing, and who gets to test, a few observations.

        First, most people “sign up” for the beta on their profile page on Blizz dot net, yes? Is this a fair assumption? I feel like it is but maybe my perception of my twitter stream et al is wrong.

        Secondly, how many people know how to test software, much less something as complex as a game?

        Listen, I spent a decade in hardware reliability and 20 in QA, and I am here telling you that I wouldn’t know the first place to start given the data that they give testers! What changed, what’s new, what needs regression testing, what needs beaten up? Only people inside of Blizz – if that – get that level of information.

        So what are “alpha testers” actually testing? Beta?

        And then there’s the beta feedback mechanism. Do they have a beta ticketing system? No. It’s same same same … the forums. The BETA forums, sure, but it’s da forums.

        It really seems to be a mess, a random, unpronounceable mess that will hardly produce anything helpful. It seems more and more – and now, especially – like a publicity stunt of some sort.

        I’ve been selected for beta for every expansion from Cataclysm on out. But after this one, I went and unchecked that checkbox on my blizz profile. I have nothing useful to contribute.

        Liked by 3 people

      4. Oh, I didn’t actually know one could “sign up” for beta that way.

        I was under the impression that giving feedback on Alpha and Beta was done much differently than forums! Look at my ignorance, heh 🙂

        I can relate to how you feel; if you spent hours submitting decent feedback only to see all the bugs you came across make it to live without explanation; it’s bound to feel very demotivating.

        Liked by 1 person

    3. You are right, Wrath, searching for the “whys” and not finding an answer does the game no good either.

      And I cannot believe, I didn’t consider the whole competitive scene more into the making of this post. They plan an enormous role too, I imagine. Far too large.

      Maybe that brings me back to the “Which player segment is creating the most income for the game today”? Hm :/ How to make the development take a different turn.

      I would like a glimpse into where the money covering World of Warcraft comes from, which sources, which kind of player, which micro transactions.

      Thank you so much; this post was heavy on words, but I did spend a lot of time editing the screenshots too, so thank you for noticing it 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

  8. Hmm..where to start? So many things to think about.

    The music. I actually really enjoy the soundtrack of BfA, going to certain places just to wander around while listening to a piece or two (Something I didnt do in Legion zones). Im very attached to the soundtracks in past expansions, but unlike we feared, getting a new one done wasnt a job only one person in the world could do. I might even go as far as saying this OST is on part with MoP and WoD.

    I think you end up losing a bit by not playing Horde side too, as the story of these first chapters is more interesting in Horde zones. Granted, this shouldnt happen as both sides deserve an equal interesting plot, BUT, we cant forget that the Alliance will have a huge chunk of story just about them with Jaina and Tyrande soon. We cant give up without getting there, I guess. I had a friend many years ago who stopped reading Harry Potter’s 5th book because the story on the first bunch of chapters was quite unfair for Harry (Several people were doing this.), and in the end it was all explained.

    And like Grimmtooth said above, the worse thing they could have made was set a date for the launch.
    But then again, who really pushed them into it? The players. On June people were already calling for Mr. Hazzikostas’ head because they pre patch event should already have a date. Rush rush rush.

    There are always things to do in WoW. Princess and I make characters and let them have their own adventures (which the choices of expansion at 58 and 80 really help). We have been having a blast doing islands (which is NOT about rushing. Its about treasure hunting, you target the rares you want, at least when doing them right). We enjoy the odd mythic + (which several people seem to think its about rushing, when in fact it is the most similar experience one has when dungeons were really tough and trash packs needed cc, kiting and all that). We enjoy the story and all the fun side quest stories we find. In short, we make our own fun 🙂

    Now for some, fun is getting super achievements and realm first king of Azeroth and all the Titan forged worlds. And that is okay too. For others its about getting high pvp ranking, which is also fine. Some players dont even care about story or NPCs, which is fine by me, we all enjoy different things. Dont let the fact that those young boys were new to the game make you think that they enjoy genocide plotlines and dont have an emotional connection to the game as veterans do. When Princess did the Pandaren starting zone for the first time, she was awfully sad for what happened [no spoilers from Lord 😛], and at that point she knew quite few about Pandaren other than she really wanted to see Pandaria.
    I have a friend and colleague that joined WoW and he was thrilled with the scaling changes, as he could now stay questing and finish a zone without being penalized for it.

    I think you could try to make a Horde character (we’d be thrilled to level with you), or a lowbie alliance alt, it should give you a feeling of having a fresh breath of air after a stressful time. Or make an alt on Argent Dawn and see how alive the world is there 🙂

    (My thoughts are a bit scattered, I may add more to this when I have a bit of time again) /hugs

    Liked by 5 people

    1. I guess I still need to feel captivated by the music in BfA, and it is my hope I will. I have noticed certain things about it though, and have a post in the making on that subject too, but it’s some weeks away, I think. Which tracks are you most fond of? 🙂

      I think you are right; I heard good things about the Horde Quests, and how they also make Uldir make sense. Whereas on the Alliance side, that Raid seems to pop up out of nowhere for no reason. Indeed, we cannot forget that and I look forward to it, with anticipating and worry at the same time; hoping that the development of the story will make it better again.

      I hear you on that Harry Potter comparison for sure. I just think that there comes a point, where the explanation for what is going on should happen, and I do not believe, it has to be left for the very last page of the book. But we are all different. It’s just not my idea of quality entertainment.
      The creeping feeling of gotcha-moments are not immersive. For me, anyway 🙂

      I agree, I would have been fine with having BfA come out this month instead, of even the next month. Quality is worth waiting for. And it saddens me, that Blizzard feels forced to give into a release done too soon. I was glad to see that 8.1 was not announced at Gamescom, at least.

      There are so many things to do in WoW, I agree. I have a good time doing old content, and could easily entertain myself there from this point on and years and years from now 🙂 And maybe that is what I should do; come back to BfA later on, and into another point of the game and take it from there. Instead of being stubborn and staying on Kul Tiras because surely it cannot be, that I prefer another part of the game this early into an Expansion.

      Oh, I know, I did not mean to make it sound as if I was “painting with too large a brush” (right expression?) when assuming what those young boys liked and disliked. 🙂 It only got me thinking.

      Yes, there seem to be a lot to discover on the Horde side for sure. Aw, thank you, I’d love to level together too. It’s been years since I levelled with anyone 🙂 Oh, yeah, perhaps just some casual RP on Argent Dawn could be a fresh breath of air, you are right.

      Oh, your thoughts seem fine to me, but I look forward to see if you add more when you have time. All in good time 🙂 /Lots of hugs

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Heh, I was about your age when EverQuest launched, so I am not sure that age alone is the best measure.

    MMORPGs are strange birds. Most games you buy and maybe play for a season, if you really like it, before moving on to something else. You beat the game or play through it enough, but eventually you move on and think nothing of it. There are lots of games out there, new ones show up all the time. Think of the other games you were playing in 2004.

    MMORPGs though, they want to keep you playing and paying for a long time, forever if they can. So they offer ever expanding content and social bonds unlike what you get in most games. For years EverQuest pushed out two expansions a year… take that Blizzard… because they were afraid that if they didn’t keep feeding new content into the mix everybody would get up and go home.

    But you can’t really change the core of the game. WoW is always hotbars and skills and pulling mobs and finishing quests in the end. And the new content sometimes feels like you’re on a train and they’re building the tracks right in front of you as you move along. So sometimes the train is going slow enough… they’re trying to fix the tracks they build suddenly… that you get off and wander away. You figure it will still be there when you get back. If your friends are there you are more likely to come back. If your social group dissolves though, staying with the train becomes all the more difficult.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Yes, I see that for sure, especially with these pay-pr-month games. There is no beating this game, heh. Wow, I had no idea, EverQuest did that, like, fully fleshed out expansions twice a year?

      Your description with the train is such a remarkable one, I can easily see myself on that train, with a view in front, showing the road ahead and how I worry of the quality of the tracks and the way the road is headed.

      I think I need more friends on board of my train.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Well, I am sure there would be some debate over what once might call “fully fleshed out.” There was generally what we might call a full expansion and maybe a two-thirds expansion every year for six years running. And even since they decided to reign that in a bit, there has still been an expansion every year for EverQuest. We ought to be hearing about expansion #25 soon.

        And even EverQuest II, which wasn’t as gung-ho for expansions as its older sibling, has 14 expansions out, plus some adventure packs, in the same range of time that WoW has managed to produce 7. So somebody at SOE/Daybreak still believes annual content is a requirement.

        As for the train, I fear the car I’ve been sitting in has been empty for a while now. My old group has all gotten older, found different hobbies, and stopped being able to stay up until all hours of the night for video games. We were up until 4am before we defeated Archaedas the first time. Now I’m sleepy by 10pm.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Aha, right, I see. I had no idea at all, they must have been hard at work!

        I wonder how someone like me would think of EverQuest today, never having tried ti before.

        I hear you on that – many friends of mine also moved on; we have children now and are in a completely different place in life. I could not get on with just 4 hours of sleep anymore! So no, raiding isn’t for me when getting up at 5 AM every day.

        Like

  10. I doubt that Blizzard is designing particularly for younger people; my hunch would be that the median WoW player is in her lare 20s or early 30s. Moreover, in my experience, younger players are at least as likely to dive into lore or ever RP as older players. Furthermore, listening to WoW conversations on Reddit and so forth, I see no evidence that younger players are particularly happy with BfA. So, basically: I appreciate your thoughtful argument, but I sort of doubt that age, generation, or game experience matters that much here.
    Instead, I think it’s a similar situation to WoD, where it’s an overall artistic failure that makes even well-executed components of the game feel wrong. If the game’s reward systems, fiction, art, and moment-to-moment gameplay don’t reinforce each other in the right way, then the overall experience is thrown off and even fun elements will stick out and feel off. It’s like how one off element in a movie scene (bad sound effect, weird lighting choice, etc.) can make the whole thing fail.
    WoD had (in my judgment) terrible fiction and poor moment-to-moment gameplay combined with good art and a mix of successful and broken reward systems. BfA has a pretty standard WoW mix of good and bad fiction, perhaps the best art in the game’s history, poor moment-to-moment gameplay and mostly broken reward systems. I think it’s the broken systems and lackluster micro-level gameplay (e.g., in comparison with the slightly faster and more complex combat in Legion) that make problems in the fiction glaring. I think it would be really hard to make a sustained argument that the lore and narrative in BfA is genuinely worse than in Vanilla or Wrath, for example. It’s just that the gameplay design has left the narrative weaknesses a bit high and dry.

    Liked by 8 people

    1. I see what you are saying for sure, Athie, thank you for taking the time to visit and share your thoughts.

      Perhaps my title for this post should have been something more along the lines of of “Can you grow up and evolve with a video game and still expect to like it?”

      But what you are saying makes a lot of sense.

      You managed to put it all so much better into words than I can, tying it all together.

      What and how you wrote and summed it up is just how I would have loved my post to look like. I do not suppose you have a blog or site I can follow? 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  11. This is a fantastic write-up. To break character for a bit, there’s a reason this expansion has been called Beta for Azeroth. It’s not polished, the story is lack luster (with the exception of the Horde campaign, IMO) and while I have plenty of 110 characters ready to go, leveling feel like a chore. I have Jax’s horde side version max level and well geared but… I’m just not feeling it with anything else. I don’t think it’s about being too old, I think it’s about Blizzard forgetting its roots. Check out the Wow subreddit some time, there are a LOT of people having the same struggle as you.

    Honestly, at this point I’m just here to socialize and RP.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Hey Alunaria!

    As always, I greatly enjoyed your thoughts on the topics. I don’t want to write a book in response, but I did want to give some of my own thoughts and opinions on the game as I have experienced it.

    The first is age. As I’ve grown older (18 when I started playing, 32 now) I have found that Blizzard appears to be tuning WoW to remain within my gaming budget. I still play the game a lot, but not nearly as much as I once did. Despite that, I am able to keep up with the end game progression fairly easily and enjoy it immensely. I was only able to dabble in raiding in my early years (despite playing since vanilla, I never capped a character until WoTLK) and thanks to the flex raiding system and other improvements over the years I can call myself a Heroic raider! Huzzah!

    The second is story. I actually think one of the things that has changed over the last decade is the story telling. When I was playing vanilla and TBC, I knew the story was happening… somewhere, but aside from some quest flavor text I didn’t know much. I mostly just shuffled along on my own adventure. In Wrath, I started to see a narrative forming, one that steered the events in which our player played (Undercity Assault). The first in-game cutscene at the Wrathgate and such. By Mists, we had zone cut scenes and an overarching story that kinda made it feel like we were part of a larger narrative, even if that’s not how we saw our characters.

    So, on that, I think the trend has continued to the point that we’re more or less back in a Warcraft III situation. The story exists, it has been written and edited and we’re just playing the matches in the campaign until we reach the next video. I’m generally okay with this, but the issue of “this isn’t my character” starts to spike, because the story doesn’t really focus on us anymore. It is Sylvanas and Anduin that are the main characters, and we’re just here helping out. It can feel like we’ve been made into side characters and that can feel disconnected when our story isn’t part of what we’re seeing in the cutscenes. As for myself, I love the faction warfare. As a long time lore buff, I’m actually glad to see Sylvanas acting out on the passion she had displayed since at least Cata and I am glad that the Horde is beginning to realize that she’s not a favorable leader. I like that Anduin finds himself struggling with finding “Peace” as a leader in a world that wants only war. I love Jaina’s arch and I stand beside her when she says she hates the Horde. I’ve seen her story. I know she has justification ten times over and yet still struggles with her old aspirations.

    Last, I want to address what I believe is a general negativity leading to a mob mentality. For example, BFA doesn’t feel “broken” to me at all. As a long time veteran I’ve seen a lot of systems come and go. This one doesn’t feel all that shockingly different. My tier sets went away and I get azerite pieces now instead. /shrug. Yet places like the WoW subreddit and the official forums would have us believe the game is in a complete state of meltdown and Blizzard personally oversees our misery.

    Sure, one can tell me of all the ways my traits aren’t as strong and %’s and SIMULATIONS! It all rolls off of me. I never sim my characters. I never needed to do so. I check logs, I look at my rotation and compare myself to other healer so I can do better. Sometimes that means swapping out some gear, sometimes a talent change… but nothing that was introduced this expansion has impacted my raiding, M+, or gameplay capabilities.

    So then some have argued it’s all about the “experience”. That tier sets LOOKED cool and we chased them for that. I can agree to that, but it’s definitely game breaking for me.

    I think, if I’m honest, I can sum it up like this. As long as I’ve been around, Legion felt like the biggest change to WoW in years. The artifacts, the world quests, the M+ dungeons, quests that encouraged everyone to try raiding… it was awesome. In my opinion, BFA is just an “expansion” of Legion. It didn’t really revolutionize or change the game in the big way that Legion did and as a result it doesn’t really feel like anything new happened. So, after burning the midnight oil pushing M+15 in Legion… now it’s time to push M+15 in BFA! I think that accounts for a fair amount of the disillusionment.

    **DISCLAIMER:** I’m not a Mythic raider, and I have watched videos from Preach Gaming and others that highlight the trait and azerite issues for high-end raiding. I do not intent to belittle their problems. I do, however, know that far fewer people tackle Mythic Raiding than any other content in the game, so I only ask that those who are doing LFR, while also complaining about traits, please take a step back.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Hey there! Happy to see you return, thank you for your in-depth response too 🙂

      Would you say for you, it’s the raiding that keeps you hooked right now, or?

      Right, I see what you mean with that. That is an excellent observation; one that plays a much larger role than I thought. Us, standing on the side lines, feeling we have little impact on what is happening and what will happen.

      I really cherish more lore evolving around the faction Leaders too, and I like not being the high and mighty “Arch Druid” that everyone turns to, yet the ongoing story right now makes me feel as if I am an audience on the side instead of participating.

      Negativity sure seems to feed negativity. That is why I try to remain positive, and if negative, I always try to be constructive.

      Personally, I am not that affected by all the systems not working well in the Expansion, since I do not raid, or participate in anything that require skills these days. I want to, but haven’t got the time.

      Something as Tier Sets and the removal of those meant a lot to me, somehow, though. I liked what they added to my class fantasy.

      I found Legion awesome too. I wonder if that is another reason why I find BfA a little underwhelming. But the story of Legion really captivated me, and I find it so enjoyable, whereas the story in BfA drives me away.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. To be honest, yes, Raid and Mythic+ progression are probably the largest pull for me to feel a “need” to log in. Of course, I have settled in to only completing the emissary quests to get the rep gains, so I’m not exalted with any of the BFA reps yet. I only play Alliance side… always… so the story side of things (in my opinion) were awesome and provided a several weeks of questing for me, but those too are finished up until 8.1 hits.

        That being said, I will admit that BFA feels more like the older expansions to me in that I feel like I can *not* log in for a few nights and I won’t be devastatingly behind on progression. In that light, I’ve taken a lot more time to play my Nintendo Switch (Zelda woot woot), work more on my creative writing, or even just play other games on the PC. I didn’t really get a chance to do all that during Legion because I was pretty much playing WoW all the time as I chased that endgame for more ilvl!

        I definitely think Legion was a big win for WoW and maybe BFA tried to follow that formula a bit too much and it resulted in feeling like 7.4 rather than 8.0?

        Also, to the story, remember that in Legion the story focused heavily on Alliance characters. It was OUR ship on Argus, our Draenei allies that led the fight, and a human and elf character (heroes of the Alliance from WC2) that led the charge in the storyline. The Alliance got a lot of the spotlight in 7.3 particularly.

        This expansion, the Alliance isn’t so focused. It’s time to let the Horde have some fun/genocide/plot. 😛

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Right, that makes sense 🙂 It used to be my main thing in WoW too, raiding.

        I guess if you look at it from another perspective; not feeling the “need” to log in and keep up with the grind can be considered a good thing.

        That is a good point – BfA can end up feeling like the next part of Legion instead of an Expansion on its own.

        You are right, I didn’t consider that much at all. I just thought the Horde had entirely different quest lines leading them on Argus. I will keep that in mind 🙂

        Like

  13. Wow you’ve gotten some good discussion going on here. I love reading all these comments.

    As for your post. I would say its more a game thing than an age thing. I am in my mid 20s and I feel similar things to you and those teens in the store.

    It probably boils down to a preference thing. What drives your motivations in game. For me, I really enjoy story to drive me. And sadly, the overarching theme of faction war is not working for me. I havent finished the zones yet in my slow read everything and do everything walkthroughs. But the individual zone storylines have been entertaining.

    Lately my main drive to play is my friends in game. A lot of my irl friends are playing for now, the first of them has already unsubscribed and the rest have similar gripes and complaints. But my in game guild friends are playing too. I find it fun to raid normals with everybody. And do mythic+ with my friends.

    I think that a part of the discontent with the expansion may be with how they have designed their systems too. I see a fair bit of criticism for all their new stuff: Azerite armor, Islands, Warfronts, Allied Races.

    I find myself enjoying other things that aren’t current expansion more than those new systems. I farm old raids, I train old professions for transmog. Or I’ll hop onto my RP character and walk around Stormwind. I do hope that whatever funk the players are in gets improved soon. Good post anyways! Its generated some good discussion!!

    Liked by 5 people

    1. I think so too, Grimgrog, I am really grateful for the ongoing discussion we have established here 🙂 Another reason why I cherish the blogging community!

      Thank you for leaving your thoughts on it too.

      It does appear so yes. The overarching theme of Faction War does not work for me either. And even if the zones in Kul Tiras are entertaining, I cannot help but feel a disconnection between the two.

      Yes, it seems as if there are a lot of issues with too much at once too. Oh, criticism for Allied Races? I must have missed this. Can you elaborate?

      Me too. I enjoy old content much more, and maybe I should stick to that for a while. I’m thinking about returning a bit to RP as well.

      Thank you, I am so very glad it generates this discussion as well, we need to have it!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The main issues I see brought up are the acquisition of allued races. Most everybody seems to be super happy and like the allied races we have received, with some grumbling for void elves (I saw a lot of people upset that they weren’t high elves). My only personal issue with them is requiring anything to unlock them. But as they are, they seem to be set in stone.

        My favorite solution would be to not require anything to unlock them, keep heritage armor behind a level grind, keep mounts/pets/tmog behind a rep grind. But let me and all players, new/old/returning access them from the get go. I have already lost a couple friends sub times because they wanted to play an allied race but quit after getting into the grind.

        This is my personal biggest complaint of the expansion 😁.

        I love rp servers. I tried one out in the dead of WoD. It was magical. All these people gathered in stormwind. And a guild put on a fireworks and light show by the cathedral. They help keep the game alive for me.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. Aha, thank you for the clarification 🙂 Yes, I am with you on that, I have heard several saying they felt it very discouraging running old content to unlock a race they wanted to play. I can understand their view.

        Me too, such a different aspect of the game, RP 🙂 Same here.

        Like

  14. I was one of those older players when I started playing WoW and still play – not as much as I once did though. I think a large part is that the game is almost 14 years old now and some of the criteria that increased it’s popularity has gotten a bit stale in some ways.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hey, how wonderful to see you return, I do hope all is well with you 🙂 It’s been a while!

      I can see sense in what you are saying for sure. We cannot expect the game to remain the same for 14 years. I just seem to sense we are moving too far away from the roots now. Then again, I have changed too, naturally.

      Liked by 2 people

  15. Well, I think that the game has kind of lost it’s way with this expansion a bit although I am still not that heavily involved in it currently. I look at the stories as they come out and watch what people are saying and I’m taking my time before I leap into it. I’m still grinding reps back in Legion – dunno why I’m bothering with it but it feels like the right thing to do until we can figure out where this is all going. Right?

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Don’t forget too, its hard to compare our game experience to a new players game experience. I have a new guildie who has been playing for 4 weeks and when I think of what he has missed or hasn’t experienced .. the gap is huge.

    Its what you have experienced over 12-13 years that makes you feel a disconnect and everyone will feel it I think at varying times, depending on what you are doing and how you are playing. I’ve been mulling over and thinking myself a lot about what I miss from past expansions, and that carries over a lot into how we feel about current Gameplay. Just look at reputations and the differences in what they have offered over the expansions, how they interact with story lines and rewards, and compare them to how they play out now – let alone how they have worked in how you built up your reputation.

    Its also about how accessible the game is now. I can see raids without needing a guild if I wanted, I don’t have to spend hours a week simply grinding out materials to make raid consumables, if I level a new profession you can do it for that expansion only and not have to worry about older stuff, if I want to grind out reputations I have to wait until the drip-feed way they are now all obtained is available, if I want gear I can dungeon or raid but for my play style so long as I have a reasonable ilvl I don’t need to strive to be overgeared. All in all it means that I can do more with my time … but Blizzard haven’t necessarily given me enough options on what to do with that time, which means I am more likely to switch off and watch a TV series or pick up a book than what I was when I started WoW.

    On a story-telling side this expansion is probably as close to classic as we have come with a divide in what was experienced between Horde & Alliance. In classic apart from a few overlapping areas the storyline through the Horde and Alliance zones were very separate and from very biased viewpoints on both sides, and we have that here again. As a Horde player, Waycrest Manor and most of the dungeons on Kul Tiras are pretty meaningless, I mean the Horde Campaign there has all been about establishing a foothold and finding ways to prepare for conflict with Jaina. You have Nathanos running around dredging up Kul Tiran Heroes, and you have Rexxar preparing forces because he personally sees Jaina in the same light as people saw Malygos or Kael’thas – a brilliant leader going off the deep end. But apart from the Horde taking advantage to wreck some mayhem during the Siege all of the Dungeons there are not really relevant to the Horde. In truth like in Classic you are not seeing the full story unless both sides are played, as there is no real common ground barring a few Freehold, Tortollan or Champion Quests.Which is fine, unlike a book where you can see both sides a game only lets you see what one character can experience – which is what alts are for and why for a change my first alt is an alliance this time around.

    But getting to old? No. How I perceive things and enjoy things, yes – and being honest the why isn’t always Blizzards fault either.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Jod, thank you for taking your time here 🙂

      The gap is indeed huge, I did not think of it that way, well thought of – there are bound to be an enormous difference in the gaming experience seen on its own.

      I’m sorry, I think I am not following you exactly on the “but Blizzard haven’t necessarily given me enough options on what to do with that time” – how do you mean exactly?

      I do not know why, but reading your comment about the rep grind makes me miss Dailies instead of World Quests. Odd!

      Yeah you are right about that; back then it was two very different questing experiences between the two factions back then, and now.

      I do feel a tad disconnected to the Horde zones as Alliance in BfA, because there are few quests there, but I guess that is the intention. Maybe my 110 boost should be used on a Horde, despite not being able to really see myself being able to immerse myself over there.

      No, I think the issue is not getting too old either; maybe it’s my own development over the years that has brought me to another point in my life, where I just enjoy other things.

      Like

  17. Wow this is such a great post and there’s been some fantastic discussion in the comments! I will try to add my thoughts to the mix too. I think being a long-time player can be a blessing and a curse. We can be super invested in the game just from a time sink perspective. We have also had more time to really dig into the lore and all the stories big and small. We have social ties that keep us in-game, and fond memories that give us warm fuzzies.

    On the flip side we remember all the changes over the years. We’re invested in the story, so major directional changes feel strange and bad. We’ve accumulated friends on both factions, so this war feels painfully pointless. Plus every gameplay element added or removed gets compared to the time when we remember that thing best. Fun new features get colored a bit by knowing that Blizz has a history of throwing new features away after one expansion.

    There are running jokes about Blizzard “nerfing fun” or “Blizz won’t let us have nice things” because we’ve seen them remove, replace, or leave behind tons of features we’ve gotten used to and enjoy. A decade or more of that adds up and would make anyone start feeling old and cranky.

    I’ve already started checking out of BfA and finding my own fun doing old content instead. I’m hoping some of the patch changes and new stuff will help draw me back in.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much, Gracie, it took me so long to write and I am very positively surprised over how many wanted to participate and share their thoughts.

      You are right, it can go both ways. As a new player it might be easier to “go with the flow”. And as you point out, our friends are people we have known for, perhaps, over an entire decade! Painfully pointless indeed.

      Yeah, perhaps a little more clarification done right on why things gets removed, replaced, then put back into the game again would be nice.

      I hope so too. I cross my fingers the stories of the next patch will change things around for me.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. I think its worth bringing a couple of points into the discussion.

    So far Legion is being considered the zenith of wow. But we need to remember this: WoD with its content draught meant that they had a lot more time while were working on Legion.
    Some aspects of this expac feel rushed, but Im a bit tired of seeing players already saying they have nothing to do.

    The content model is frequent patches that move the story forward, and my unpopular opinion is that time gating is a necessary evil, as it prevents the power levelers/ pros/etc, from doing the whole game and staying a year ahead of everyone else. I wouldnt want to be in a dungeon where one player is so overpowered that he is carrying is. Or getting stomped on a BG because someone already did everything and has a heart of azeroth level of 500 xD

    Ive seen people say that they only log in for raids. Well, good for them, if their wow exists for gearing and raiding, rinse and repeat. But content cant be tailor made to those players or any other player group, and it is no easy task to craft content that will please and entertain everyone.

    The other day I read someone on a post, a new player who had leveled all the way to Northrend, complaining about the lack of story. And it turns out he wasnt reading quests -.-
    This is a nonsensical complaint. And there are many max level players who make the same complaint without having even bothered to read quests or look at cinematics (side comment: what the hell is wrong with people, kicking people out of cata dungeons while they are watching cinematics?!).

    Do I grind reps? If I feel like it. “Oh but Lord, there is such a cool reward”. Well, I’ll get there eventually, no rush. My wow isnt going anywhere 🙂
    Do I care about my necklace level? Not really. What about ilevel? Just enough to get into raids. What about pathfinder? Didnt rush it in Legion, wont rush it now.

    I get that people who only play one character will get bored more easily than people who play several, but there are always things to do in WoW.
    I recall last Lunar Festival, Princess and I decided to get all the achievements near the end, so we stayed up until 3am when it would end the next morning. Out of a whim. And thats what wow is all about. Feel like doing this one silly thing? Go do it, if you feel like doing it you’ll have fun 🙂

    For me, wow will always be the game I started playing with my two best friends. And while one of them was max level and raiding alliance cities with groups of dozens of players, the rest of us were slowly leveling and being amazed at our cool abilities. When we’d stay up until 6am just wandering around exploring. Its the game I play now with the woman I love, and while staying up that late isnt an option (I still can, but I shouldnt. Sleep is more important now, and I think I already sleep less than recommended xD) , I know that we will stick around and enjoy it he way we always have.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, very good points. I also remind myself, that I come from Legion, an expansion which I really, really enjoyed on so many levels. It’s not easy to follow.

      The “I do not have anything to do” is beyond me too; but there might be players who have all the time in the world to play WoW and who have had all the time in the world for many years. So they are always more than fully caught up to the current patch and expansion.

      And maybe this crowd sees the game as something that should provide them with an ongoing stream of entertainment, because it is subscription based. (Which is obviously the wrong way to look at it, but yeah)

      I get the time gating; Time gating needs to exist to keeps subscription numbers flowing, otherwise, as you point out, the game would be devoured even more than it already is. I just wish it would be handled differently, and without these abrupt “stops” during the story.

      But that is my personal opinion, and I get, that someone like me, who can play the game for an hour a day, and mostly play for the story, is a minority.

      Like, the story of Jaina, right now. This is not even time gated in the normal sense of the word. But the way it’s built up, it can be very immersive, cinematics, quest chains, you name it. But have it “STOP!” because it requires one to run a Mythic Dungeon (and therefor taking weeks for me to gear up to) is so discouraging. It just takes away all immersion there is.

      But without a doubt, it is nice not to fall completely behind and time gating does ensure, that late comers still have a chance.

      Urgh, I know, about the kicking out of dungeons because people take a few seconds to watch cinematics. It’s so sad :/ And especially today, where it is so easy to see if people are currently “phased” out to do it.

      To get back on track, I get, that the game has to evolve to keep up with the largest player segment there is. It’s the only sensible thing to do.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Question is: are you having fun? 🙂 If so, everything is ok then.

    I have an interesting thought that Blizzard offered almost nothing new this expansion. Warfronts and Expeditions have yet to be polished – like garrison/mission table which got the final and its best iteration in BfA (Garrison -> Shipyard -> Order Hall -> Ship). And they take relatively little gameplay time.

    For once, they listened to players and didn’t fix what was not broken, bringing the best expansion features… and somehow this annoys people. Mythic+, raiding, world quests were so awesome in Legion as core gameplay… and suddenly people feel bored of them?

    Oh my.

    I’m enjoying every minute in Kul Tiras/Zandalar. The story is great and will turn more epic. Surely it’s drifting to grimdark and complex waters nowadays, but isn’t it a sign of maturity? Do we want an evil dragon to slay and a get a princess? Or would we prefer more intricate characters like Lady Ashvane?

    With every next expansion, we’re playing a bit another game – imo improved and enhanced. Looking back is fruitless, so why not look forward.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You are very right about that. The trick is to take notice of that; if you are having fun while playing, or simply doing things out of habit.

      I hear you on that; I guess some expected the “new things”, like Warfronts and Islands to be different than they turned out. I’m not sure what they want though, then? I mean, coming up with new systems for a game, that many devour while playing cannot be easy.

      Hah, I have seen you ask for more characters like Lady Ashvane, and I can relate to what you mean. I guess that comes down to personality. I much rather want an evil dragon to slay, I guess 🙂 It is what attracted me to WoW in the first place; that fantasy world, with, sure lots of elements from the real world. But I rather want it more heavily focused on pure fantasy. But I understand why others feel differently.

      Press on and look forward we shall 🙂

      Like

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