Why WoW is Dying
For years, World of Warcraft has been the most played, highest grossing MMO on the market. In the years that WoW has been operating, dozens of triple A MMO Titles have been released and failed to find the subscription base that WoW has. But all that being said… is WoW’s time in the spotlight coming to an end?
I remember when I first got the WoW Beta Invite in 2004, I installed it, played it for about 2 hours and uninstalled it. My first initial reactions to it were that the graphics were terrible and gameplay was horrendous. I forgot about it until some of my college roommates picked it up in November when it released and started playing it and talking about it. It took me a few months to go out and actually purchase it (at the time, I was playing Final Fantasy 11 and having a blast).
Fast forward a few months and I was hardcore playing it whenever I had any spare time. The idea was that a few of my roommates and college friends were going to “raid”. For those of you unfamiliar with MMO jargon, “Raiding” is playing the final boss areas with a pre-made, static group. This was before auto-grouping so you had to actually be social with people and find and join groups. Back then, Raiding was a 40 person ordeal. A guild had to organize 40 people to log onto the game at the same time and then spend a few hours playing. As you can probably imagine, those hours were some of the most monotonous, stupid hours of game playing ever. There were so many people, you could go make a sandwich and nobody would notice. But we all did it for the promise of epic gear and the feeling of accomplishment.
After a few months of doing the 40 man raids, I got bored with the whole thing and stopped playing. However, the first expansion was announced and guess what… I went out, bought it, and started playing again. This time there were 10 man raids, perfect for my group of friends and a few friends we had to make in-game. These were a lot more fun because we could interact and really get to know each other. We played the one 10-man raid: Karazhan until our eyes fell out of our head. But again, after a while, I got bored and stopped playing.
My guild downing Mimiron in WoW
Guess what happened when the 3rd expansion released? I started playing again. The timeline looked about the same for that expansion and for the 4th expansion. During the 4th expansion (the most recent), I got myself a great girl and got engaged. As I started doing other things, the time I could devote to WoW quickly dried up and I quickly realized that unless I could spend about 2 hours a day at minimum playing, my character was going to fall behind and I’d be left behind. Nevermind the fact that to raid, you need to devote 4-5 hours twice or three times a week at night which was not happening. WoW requires a pretty significant time commitment to play correctly and to play at a level that you will be able to compete. (not to be misconstrued, ALL MMOs require a significant time commitment).
A few weeks ago I resubbed to WoW just to see what the game was like after being gone for almost a year. I assumed that my max level character was going to be really behind on gear and would be unable to clear dungeons. Boy was I wrong… In a year, my character could still jump in and heal just as well as anyone (I have a 90 Paladin). Upon going to explore a little bit, the only thing I could see that was any different was the addition of new Raids. Don’t get me started on how terrible the game looks visually when compared to the new games out (Star Wars the Old Republic and Final Fantasy 14 just for comparisons).
Star Wars the Old Republic Gameplay Video
Final Fantasy FFXIV Gameplay Video
World of Warcraft Gameplay Video
Honestly, I know why people still play WoW, at this point, everyone has hundreds of hours and years of game time and have put in so much of themselves into the game. Part of it is that you have so much time put it, to quit would just make that time seem wasted. I think the other part is that when you have a good social network in the game, the game becomes more of a social thing then a gaming thing. The game also still has some of the best gameplay in an MMO which is another reason why people still play the game. However, the game itself is getting stale. There is only so many different mechanics you can give to a boss before one boss behaves just like or closely to another boss. I think WoW has a few more years left in it because of the reasons stated above but every year, WoW just gets older and older. I realize that they are finally redoing the character models in the next expansion but that really isn’t enough visually for me to even want to try to play again.