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World of Warcraft subscriber numbers dip 100,000 to 10.2 million {WoW}

Feb 9th 2012 7:42PM There's no ONE single reason WoW has been losing subscriptions. But burnout, real-life interference, economy woes, and the like have existed in every expansion. A 15% drop in one year is a pretty clear indication that people didn't like Cata in general. That manifested itself in specific gripes, sure - but when taken as a whole, the overall direction of Cata was poorly received.

It's pretty telling that the subscriber loss lessened after the last patch, a patch which reversed most of the game design decisions of Cata. It's also interesting that there were more subscribers at the end of Wrath after a year of nothing but ICC than there are right now after a brand new content patch. I'm glad that Blizz is on the right track again, but let's not pretend they were never on the wrong track.

Mists of Pandaria: The myth of the talent tree choice {WoW}

Oct 31st 2011 9:37PM The problem with talent trees is that it's impossible to simultaneously give meaningful choice and also attain perfect balance. WoW is just a complicated numbers game, and any kind of meaningful choice is eventually going to be skewed one way or another. This isn't a problem in and of itself.

The big problem is that the game is balanced around the idea that you'll always be optimal. This is where Cata has failed majorly - rather than being able to set yourself up in a way that seems fun, encounters are designed around the idea that everyone is doing it with their optimal spec, reforges, and glyphs. I don't think a party of Warriors in spell-power cloth should be successful, but the pendulum has swung too far in the other direction. If you're not doing it exactly how Elitist Jerks does it, you're doing it wrong and hugely hampering the rest of your group. Choices are fun, and one right way to do things essentially means no choices.

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