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3-17-2011 @ 9:13AM
WoW still has several years of 'top dog' status, but i think we've seen the peak of WoW in the past 1-2 years... probably around early ICC. Cataclysm launched with huge sales for the expansion and a ton of people returning, but warcraftrealms tells the real story -- average player online time has dropped precipitously the past 3 months and is now lower than the dead time mid-summer 2010 (when ICC was 6+ months old, and there was no new content to be seen). Cataclysm has become stale very quickly for a blizzard product and while the quality is there i just think the wow paradigm is becoming a bit tired. With guild wars 2, SW:TOR, Rift, Tera, and Diablo 3 all slated for different times this year, i just can't see the majority of the wow audience remaining subscribed for the next 21 months until the next expansion. Blizzard will have two choices at some point -- try to maintain active player numbers, by offering a 'free to play' option, or consolidate some realms. If the trend continues (and that's a BIG if) they're probably 12-18 mos before they'd want to pull the trigger on this. F2P might even be a selling feature for the next expansion -- it certainly will require alot of development effort.
3-17-2011 @ 9:42AM
I wouldn't base your claims solely off of warcraftrealms to get an accurate view of how many people are playing and when. I don't argue the fact that yes there are people, probably a lot who have gotten bored and left for other games. You have to take into account though that some people using the warcraftrealms mods might stop using those particular mods but continue to actually play the game. Also I'm sure that there are new players coming into the game who have never heard of warcraftrealms, and if they have or do might not even bother with it. Now I could see Blizzard merging some of the pvp realms that seem to be consistently in the low pop status if they ever find themselves needing to cut down on costs.
3-17-2011 @ 9:54AM
Actually, I think the Expansion is killing WoW. I have played since Vanilla, and got BORED with the game and took a 10 month leave. The thing about Vanilla was that if FELT like grinding. And, as much as I can think back to +12 Frost resist on an item, let's be honest, the game boomed under TBC. It opened up more of the game from Hardcore to Casual (not once a week, but an hour or two at most a day). Then WotLK comes along, and there were PLENTY of people who never saw the inside of Naxx raiding it! Opened it up for the masses. Then, we had the Heroics (which were a step up from Normal, but not much more) and all of a sudden, you had time to play ALTS as well as your main. ToC brought EPICS to all. The badge system simplified and showing return, meant you could Gear up an Alt in 232-245 gear in a reasonable amount of time played, not all your time for minimal return. Then, you can start joining ICC raids as you could get yourself geared for it. Look, ICC was no cakewalk, and as the 30% buff eventually made it forgiving, it was still not a guaranteed success at all. Just look at your trade channels, see alot of Raid PuG's anymore? Also, when it takes sometimes an hour to do a regular random dungeon because of the group makeup? And, don't forget your 20+ minute queue for DPS. Alot of us have time for a SINGLE dungeon run. What happened to the 15-20 minute heroic dungeon time Blizzard was aiming for WotLK? The participation of our Level 17 Guild is pathetic the past 6-8 weeks. And, after talking with others, it is mirroring their log times as well. It seems that Blizz may have shot too far up on the curve. We like mechanics, we do not want to just AoE everything in a Heroic dungeon, but trash is taking too long. Forget the fact I have only been able to complete 2 (are you serious Blizz) Random Cata Heroic PuG's. The game itself is chasing people away. If I can't go wit a Guild / friend run, I am not bothering anymore. And to be honest, I can't find 5 role fillers on anymore to do this from 7-9pm EST. I really Hope Blizz is watching the log times of it's mass of players (which are the casual, we do outnumber the HC raiders). I fell this is the crossroad of the game. 80-85 leveling wasn't as long as expected. But just gearing up to enter Raid's, run Heroics with PuG's with 80-90% success, is FAR off. Don't hand me everything, but allow me to run dungeons enough and get reward from them to move up, instead of, my eyes bleed because someone stood in the poo, and we only have 1 CC in the group.
3-17-2011 @ 10:34AM
AmIEvil pretty much nailed it. While there are high-end raiders and never-stand-in-the-poo types who finished all the heroic achievements (Glory of the Cata Hero or whatever it's called) very quickly after hitting 85 that first week in December, there are many of us who are still struggling. I have yet to see the 30-45 minute heroic no matter what toon I'm on. My main is a feral/feral druid so I have no useful CC outside of Grim Batol or Beauty's pups - and I have to drop out of cat form to use it. Throw me into a group with a DPS warrior and we have to rely on the 3rd dps to do all the CCing. It seems like the only way to zoom through a heroic these days is when you no longer need to do so.I'm running out of pre-raid upgrades so I mostly help out my guildmates by healing on my Paladin to gear her up for ZG/ZA. There's no point in working on my druid right now because I'll use 4.1 to step up from 346 blues to 353 epics. My guild isn't raid-ready so I'm not going to kill all my time working on buying T11 gear with points.
3-17-2011 @ 12:19PM
Like it was said Warcraft realms may not be the absolute in obtaining info, it is still a good snapshot of what is going on. I have to agree with the OP though. Wow has always been "my" game of choice but while I still play I am longing for and looking for a new game to play. The expansion has brought on what I would consider a new game per say. I have been playing since release as a holy priest and leveling him was my first priority in cata. After running dailies and some dungeons I stopped. Many reasons influenced that decision but for me it does not "feel" like wow in a sense.I lvled a dps character and 1-80 although revamped, still feels like wow. Once I got past 80, the feel, not just of the game but the mechanics of it all have drastically changed and I my opinion not for the good. Bottom line is I can honestly say this is not the game I have loved playing for the past several years.
3-17-2011 @ 1:07PM
Cataclysm completely drove me out of the game.About all my dungeon running was done in 30-minutes gaming windows spread around my crazy schedule, running in LFD-assembled random heroics.With WotLK, it was not only workable, I would end up putting over 10 weekly hours of heroic tanking per week.With Cataclysm, even with instant queues as a tank, there is no way to finish a heroic PUG in half an hour.Besides, I don't find tanking heroic PUGs any fun anymore; it's too much frustration for too long. Wereas I could go through 2 or 3 hours of WotLK random heroics and feel like I was having fun, after 30 minutes of wiping in a Cataclysm's heroic PUGs I'm almost to the point I want to throw my computer our of a window.It's not my only gripe with Cataclysm, but unless Heroics drop down to 30 minutes or less with at least a 95% success rate (or Blizzard implements some other way to gear for Raids with similar efficiency that can be done in 30 minutes chunks) I will not even consider returning, no matter how good the rest of the game turns out to be.Since Cataclysm WoW was such a fun killer for me I went back to LotRO, bought a couple GW expansions, DCUO with a lifetime sub, and I'm considering pre-ordering GW2 and SW:TOR; 6 months ago, I was playing just WoW, and having fun with it.As for if WoW might go F2P, AFAIK it was first intended to be a F2P game, and given Blizzard's history, I think they are constantly evaluating if the F2P model might bring better revenues. As soon as their analysis point to a high enough increase in revenue to make up for the risk and cost of a change in model, I believe Blizzard will do it.
3-17-2011 @ 2:49PM
@AmlEvil,A lot of what you are seeing is simply because it's a new expansion and a gear reset. At the end of Wrath, dungeon runs were a blazing 10-15 minutes (or less) primarily because gear levels had gotten so high. Even without any raiding at all, players had very high level epic gear from badges. This gear vastly overpowered dungeons meant for blue 5-man dungeon gear. Very similar in fact to running the dungeons with 5-10 extra character levels. Going from this overpowered state to an even-con state was a huge shock for many people. Even if the Cata dungeons had the exact same level of difficulty as the Wrath ones at launch, this still would have been a big shock. As big? Probably not, but it'd still be noticeable.Why didn't we see a similar shock between Vanilla/BC and BC/Wrath? Two reasons: Badges and Dungeon Finder. The badge system in Wrath, as mentioned, offered very high level gear to just about anyone. This was a new feature of Wrath, something not present in Vanilla or BC. It's true that the badge system started in BC, but it wasn't as extensive. Even though some Sunwell gear was available from badges, it was only 2-3 pieces. In Wrath, anyone could get full tier sets! Non-raiding players in BC just weren't as geared out as non-raiders in Wrath, so they didn't get as big a gear reset. On top of that, Wrath dungeons were a bit easier than BC dungeons, so the "power-shift" would have been fairly mild. Another factor would have been the longer leveling process. A longer leveling time in Cataclysm would've helped that "super-powered" factor wear off a bit more.Even bigger than the gear shift is the impact of the Dungeon Finder. Quite simply, it's convenience made running dungeons easy. Never before had getting a dungeon group been so effortless. It also fostered a lack of investment. Since there was no effort involved in getting the group, the group didn't matter. Previous to Dungeon Finder, the others in your group were people. Now they often feel like little more than NPCs. People forgot that groups used to mean something. They forgot the time and effort it took to get a good group and now assume that it's their right to have that automatically. Dungeon Finder has some really great benefits, but it's also fostered some really negative stuff too.Overpowered gear combined with the ease and non-involved nature of the Dungeon Finder has, in my opinion, fostered the current state of Cataclysm. Have harder dungeons contributed? Yes. Are they the source of the problem? No. The age of the game is also a factor. I've seen several people saying they're bored of the game now and I think a lot of that just has to do with the game getting old. Even as much as Blizzard tries to keep it fresh and new, Cataclysm has the same model that WoW has always had. Run dungeons, get gear, run raids.As a side note, the notion that the game is grindy NOW surprises and baffles me. The game has always been grindy. Wasn't chain-running Heroic dungeons in Wrath for your alt "grindy?" Why is Cataclysm "grindier" than Wrath? We ran dungeons for rep in Wrath. Did the same dailies every day out at the Argent Tournament. Ran the Heroic every day for more badges. But Cataclysm is grindy? Huh? I just don't get it.
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