Azuriel and Helistar commented on the last post:
Point taken. But please understand that I might never have stopped playing in the first place if some changes hadn't occurred. These are very hypothetical situations and hard to discuss.The leveling/10m raiding community I was a part of would not have survived into Wrath if that expansion was TBC 2.0 - we were already bored out of our minds and drifting apart until Wrath came along.
Would I still be subscribed if Blizzard hadn't changed WoW at all since TBC ? No, of course not. But that's not the question really.Honestly, you say that you are disconnected from the community and are otherwise unwilling to shop around for another guild. Would being required to have a full Friends List and/or be in a guild to even have the notion of running a heroic kept you occupied all this time? Hell, one could rightly say that this "replacement" was the only reason Blizzard has another month's worth of subscription from you, right? If there was no "LFD experiment" to try out, is there another reason you would have stayed aboard this long?
Please understand that I do not think that Blizzard should not have changed/added anything since TBC. I absolutely would have wanted them to move forward. They could have added housing. Or they could have added trade and a more sophisticated player-run economy. Or they could have added more variety when it comes to mobs outside of instances. They could have added a lore-history for items. Or they could have tested procedurally generated dungeons. Or they could have tried more divers battlegrounds and more divers instances, instead of homogenizing every single BG/dungeon into a 20 minute version. And what about at least some experimental areas in the open world that are actually dangerous?
There are many things Blizzard could have done carefully. Instead, they revamped the game dramatically. They replaced the entire endgame character power progression. They replaced major parts about how community works in the game. They completely reshaped the new-player social experience by adding heirlooms.
I said before: Adding some LFD functionality to the game, carefully, would have been alright. A cross-server LFD might arguably help with dungeon runs while leveling in a level-based game, for example.
Excuse me? LFD stopped me adding people to my friends list over night. It did destroy something. And, yes, it also added something. Look, we can discuss this. But arguing that LFD is without any disadvantage at all is really not helpful. We both know better.LFD destroyed nothing; it created activity out of thin air. The people who don't bother talking or saying hello in LFD? They would not be looking for groups or joining pugs in Trade chat. If social "Friends List" people use LFD instead of using their Friends List, that indicates they (or the people on the Friends List) don't actually enjoy being social, but did so out of necessity. Sort of like, hey, Facebook games.
I am the guy who doesn't bother talking in LFD most of the time. Still, I explained many dungeons before LFD to the players on my server. I made many, many groups in Rift earlier this year and led them to the dungeon entrances I had scouted before. And still I am an asshole in the LFD more often than not. qed.
Please don't use straw man arguments. I never said that heroic raids where useless or such. I said that the number of people moving from normal raids to heroic raids, that is, the number of people doing the same narrative for slightly better itemlevels at the cost of a higher difficulty level, is minimal. The same has to be expected for the number of people moving from LFR to normal raid content.Blizzard learned that heroic raiding isn't necessarily doubling the content perhaps, but as a method to avoid having a single difficulty level (and shoehorning 25m as the de facto "hardmode") the heroic raid model was a pretty solid success.
So you are comparing me with such a self-opinionated guy like Tobold? Now, that's a good way to make me write a wall of text :). But do you see what you are asking there? Am I to create the polished version of an alternative WoW for you, from scratch? Last I checked I wasn't paid by Blizzard.Please don't take this badly, I already had the experience on Tobold's blog, where after endless posts on how bad the current raiding is because of "the dance", I asked to describe how a combat SHOULD BE. I wanted a detailed description. Instead, I got the usual generic answer about "making things fun". Yeah, sure, HOW?
What I can do, is critically point out what is happening and give some reasons why. Also, I can report from my individual experience and, again, give reasons. If Blizzard decides to throw me some money, I might be willing to give more detailed advise that doesn't take the form of short blog posts.
Just for the protocol: it's also very easy to defend Blizzard's actions.It's very easy to criticize Blizzard, but at least you have to admit they are trying to change things (even if slowly and with mistakes), which is still more than what the competitors are doing....
I don't admit that they are trying to change things. I blame them for it! The changes were not the kind of changes you would make to one of the most successful computer games in history which, at this point, was still running strong. They weren't desperate!
The second team took over a game that was consistently growing at 2 million subscribers a year and brought it to a standstill within a few months. Then they made the next expansion and started to lose subscribers a few months after it had shipped in Europe / North America and after the previous expansion had shipped in China! Many parts of the game are in a sorry, unpolished state: look at that stealth animation in the latest video! Am I ice-skating?
Yes, you can interpret everything differently. You can say that the trend of gaining 2 million subscribers a year had actually turned into losing subscribers near the end of TBC and they managed to stop the loss mid-WotLK. You can say that, if you want. You can say a lot of things, really, that aren't completely impossible.
But let me point out where I aree with you: Blizzard, every now and then, did a few things I like. For example, giving background information about dungeons and bosses in a dungeon journal is a good idea for this type of game. I also like the art a lot and the combat mechanics for many speccs are still leading the MMO world by a very large margin.
I also liked their attitude with Cataclysm to make the game more challenging again. But they completely failed by applying it only to the raids and LFD content and making the leveling game extra easy (and that is an understatement). This was a completely predictable issue. Had I beta-tested Cataclysm before (I generally don't do betas), I could have told them exactly what the problem is going to be. I honestly don't know how Blizzard could even think that an anonymous LFD in combination with a daily quest and past experiences from WotLK could work with difficult heroic dungeons. It is beyond me!