- I will try to keep this blog post up to date and modify it based on commentary.
Commentary and ideas
- Commentary on casuals...
As much press as hardcore players get around World of Warcraft, the difference in making money or not for Blizzard Entertainment is not the hardcore players. Hardcore players don't represent the majority of players, but use up a vast majority of the resources in the game. This is because it is obvious that Blizzard spends a majority of its time catering to hardcore players. They spend inordinate amounts of time creating, refining and tweaking top-level raids, creating and tinkering with itemization for top-level raids and heroic instances, and responding to complaints and support requests from raiders. Blizzard is falling into the squeaky wheel trap.
Because of this misplaced focus on hardcore players and their desire for top-level content, Blizzard is losing casuals. Casuals is what separates World of Warcraft from most MMOs. When the game first came out it was by far the most casual friendly MMO with the most depth and wise gameplay compromises. Blizzard has lost its way from this winning formula and so it is losing casuals at a rate too fast to maintain growth or even keeping at a plateau.
Why are casuals so important? Because they pay as much as hardcore players, but use far less of Blizzard's resources. If the trend continues, Blizzard will continue to spend more and more resources on less and less players. It could become a vicious cycle. This time is still probably quite far off, since Blizzard can probably justify and maintain adequate content release cycles as long as their player base remains in the multiple millions, but they appear to be on the downside of the game's life-cycle and are doing very little to really reverse the trend.
- Commentary on twinks
Another group of players, some of whom could actually be considered "hardcore" in many respects, that Blizzard is also neglecting is the twink community. Blizzard has apparently long voiced its support for the twink community, but hasn't really delivered in their laser focus on end-game content. Although they acknowledge the problem, Blizzard has actually stated that their priority is on max-level PvP and that they apparently don't want to divert resources away from that. The twink community is less interested in immersion, lore, and quests than some of the casual community, but they definitely want focus on non-level cap, non-end game content. The twinks want attention to class balance and itemization at lower levels. So, as casuals will spend more time leveling at low levels, some of the benefits gained from aiding either twinks or casuals will benefit both.
- Allow the use of rest as a sort of currency or pre-req for some content.
- Remove as much grinding as possible. Basically, this means put something in dailies or other rep grind activities far more optional.
- Make more dailies for different levels, but with much shorter rep grinds (remove the big grind to exalted for dailies below the level cap).
- Adjust all-level dailies to be divided among racial capitals to make each a quest hub for different level ranges of players. This way, there would be less congestion.
- Stormwind City/Orgrimmar for level 81+.
- Dalaran for level 71 - 80.
- Shattrath City for level 61 - 70.
- Ironforge/Undercity for level 41 - 60.
- Darnassus/Exodar/Thunder Bluff/Silvermoon City for level 1 - 40.
- Add more low level instances in or near racial capitals not congregated by level cap players.
- These low-level instances, if done right can also serve the cross purpose of working on twink class balance through itemization coming out of these new instances.
- Make frequenting less central racial capitals easier by making getting in and out or getting between key buildings easier.
- Put flight path destination inside Exodar/Undercity or portal inside from flight path.
- Allow players to become quest givers to trade soulbound items for profession ingredients.
- UI for trading macros in-game.
- Tune quests in zones more so leveling matches zones better.
- Add back longer questlines lower and mid-level (<level 60), many of which were removed with Cataclysm.
- Allow players to craft for other players who have soulbound ingredients, but only one type of ingredient at a time and possible only once per day/week/month.
- Fix Archaeology so it isn't so boring:
- Add finds that point directly to a new dig site zone rather than mostly random hunting.
- Allow random items to be found at dig sites that seem at least semi-relevant to archaeology, like recipes, jewelry, etc.
- Since Archaeology is a secondary profession, make different areas accessible based on a related primary profession.
- ...or just kill it entirely.
- Fix First Aid so there are more useful products like:
- More powerful bandages at high levels.
- More powerful anti-venoms.
- Allow "deconstructing" cloth items for cloth items.
- Business changes
- Introduce tiered subscription rates depending on what expansion you have up to. The current model is unfair and new subscribers who don't want to buy all the expansions know it.
- Come out with "Battle Chest" omnibus software boxes with all but the last expansion included faster and for a lower price (say around US$40-60/€30-50).
- Blizzard recently offered vanilla and for US$20, so they're already going in that direction, but this offer may be promotional and expire at some point.
- Player representation committee to Blizzard. Maybe like EVE Online's CSM (Council of Stellar Management).
- Allow groups of guilds to form "nations" (or "unions"?).
- Guild housing.
- Player housing. This isn't that important, unless it can be done in a way that doesn't strain server resources too much.
- Player built environment elements (bridges, buildings, farms, tunnels, etc.).
- ^ Miss Mediocre 2011-08-04. Wow… I’m Kinda Done With WoW…. Miss Mediocre (blog).
- ^ Boubouille 2011-05-10. WoW Loses 600k Subscribers, Diablo 3 Beta Q3 2011, Arena Passe, Blue Posts. MMO Champion.
- ^ Greg McClanahan 2011-05-15. WoW in Decline and Blizzard in Denial. Gamasutra.
- ^ Matthew Lynley 2011-08-03. World of Warcraft subscribers fall for second straight quarter. VentureBeat (GamesBeat).
- ^ MMOData Charts v3.4 Subscriptions : 1m - 12m
- ^ A well documented post about Blizzard's past stated support for twinking, but recent lack of support: Korette 2011-07-30. Low levels are unacceptable - Blizzards commitments. Official Battlegrounds and World PvP forum (EU).
- ^ Wryxian 2011-08-11. Low lvl pvp is pathetic, just plain pathetic.. Official Battlegrounds and World PvP forum (EU).
- ^ Blizzard Entertainment. World of Warcraft® Battle Chest®. Blizzard Store (US). Retrieved on 2011-07-14.