Most games have a beginning and an end -- if people want more, the developers produce a sequel. But games like WoW
are different, of course, because everyone is paying by the month in order to play together, and the developers are constantly adding some new content revising the old.
As time goes by, though, a rift appears between people who have been playing a long time and people who are just getting started. Not only does the game development company have to make some hard decisions about whether it's more important to keep people playing every month or to get new people to start from the beginning, but the old players have to figure out how the new ones are going to fit into the social system they've developed.The Burning Crusade
tried to appeal to both sorts of gamers, with added content for both ends of the player community, but Wrath of the Lich King
is taking another direction, with most of its content only for people who are ready to leave Outland behind. But the patch 2.3
changes reveal a different strategy for attracting new WoW
players: rather than adding new content to attract new players, Blizzard can just make the old content faster, more streamlined, and get new players into the new higher-level content more reliably. Will this keep new players coming
? Does Blizzard even need new players, financially speaking, or are they content to just try and keep all the existing players subscribing for as long as possible?
Either way, a more vital issue is at stake: As the WoW
community has gotten older, we have noticed some old-time WoW
players like to complain about "noobs" a lot, in a way that doesn't leave any room for new people to join in on the activities. For a newcomer, it feels like an exclusionist attitude. The "noobs" are running around in all the wrong gear, using all the wrong strategies, precisely because no one has interacted with them enough for them to learn how things are done here. Some aspects of WoW
are not at all easy or intuitive, and it's counterproductive to blame the noobs instead of reaching out and lending a helping hand where appropriate.