Apologies to Trent Reznor. But it was so appropriate. As followers of the blog know, I recently did my ten free days of WoW (since I never upgraded to Wrath of the Liche King), but despite enjoying a brief return to Azeroth, I couldn’t actually bring myself to spend money on the game. Which, to date, makes WoW the only MMO that I have not resubbed to once I left. That should tell me something, but I’m not sure what yet. Perhaps that class imbalances are more than just a pet peeve to me. Perhaps that immature gamers can permanently ruin a game for me.
So I find myself in the contrarian position on this day. As millions of fans crash the WoW servers and celebrate giddily the release of glorious new content and hope (foolishly) for a new generation of customers, I stand soundly on my prediction: this is the high water mark for WoW. From here, it is all downhill – both in terms of subscription numbers and in terms of quality and polish. Why?
Veterans will eventually want the old areas back.
Yes, even WoW gamers get nostalgic, especially as those young gamers who grew up on it start climbing through their twenties and into their thirties. The logical step is to offer such rollback servers. I think we all know what that would mean.
The lore has been altered…pray I do not alter it further.
From personal accounts from friends, the Horde is not longer the “not bad, just misunderstood” other white meat. Its truly *bad* now. Evil. If you think that won’t affect new players, alts, perception of characters, etc. think again. Those subscribers who left at Burning Crusade left by and large for one reason – they couldn’t stomache the perceived changes to the lore – the backstory – of the world. Same at Wrath of the Liche King.
And the number one reason…
[insert drum roll]
Because Blizzard Can’t Go Wrong!
Or at least they (and many other people) think they can’t go wrong. Which is usually the moment, corporately speaking, when the floor falls out from underneath you. See also: Enron, US Automakers, Indianapolis Colts…
Blizzard almost went there with their RealID fiasco this year, but pulled back right at the brink. Its only a matter of time before they reach that brink again, and this time, they will have drunk so much of their own Kool-Aid, that they will plow right on ahead. The funny thing about this is that is may not even be all that important a matter, but it will become one in the course of the steamrolling.