Friday, January 21, 2011

Cataclysmic Depression

Well as promised here is my follow up to the post I bumped by Screaming Monkeys. (If you haven't read the post, I will make reference to it, and the comments, so maybe go take a quick look here). The title selection maybe isn't the best, as I am not talking specifically about true Depression, just this feeling that so many WoW players are having with respect to Cataclysm: they love the expansion but there is just something that they can't put their finger on that they hate, and makes them less interested in playing.
Well I kind of agree that there is something. I am feeling it myself, but I do NOT share the opinion that it is due to Blizzard mapping out the path a little more than maybe they have in the past. Nor do I believe it is neccessarily anything to do with the dungeon difficulty, although in a way it is. I see two major culprits, which I will touch on individually: The LFG system, and Changes.

The Looking For Group System
I loved this system in Wrath. When I first started playing, a ton of people were already in full epics. I started around the end of Ulduar, so the dungeons were already being ignored by a large percentage of the population on my server, and to be honest, it really seemed like there was a lack of MMO in this MMO game. It was almost impossible to find people to run dungeons with, and had I not had a friend that was around the same gear level, and time available for play, that was a tank (I was a healer) I think there is a good chance I would have just stopped playing. So having said that, when I was eventually raid ready, had an alt or two leveled, and FINALLY here comes the LFG system, I was extactic. Everyone knew the mechanics, many could be ignored given the gear level, and the dungeons were really easy. So no matter how bad the group was, I could normally get through the dungeons pretty quickly. Now that the dungeons are hard, this system is not working. People don't seem to care to learn, and thats all there is to it. Each fight is pretty hard if you go into it with no idea of how to complete it, but there are just far too many ppl that think they can walk into these fights without a clue about them and just faceroll them. This is both a symptom and a result of the LFG system. Not only are people secure in their anonymity, allowing them to not care if the group they are in hates them (don't believe me? ever had an epic world drop in a dungeon? if you have, you have most likely seen people need them just because they can, often with no intention of ever using it). As for the result: because people don't care about those they are running with, they will often not hesitate to kick someone for doing something so intelligent as to say "Hey, I've never done this fight, what do I need to know?" Combine this with the fact that so many people are used to the "free epic" fest that was the last 6 months (well realistically most of the expansion but lets be nice here) of Wrath, and they believe that they should be able to hit the queue button and have loot drop into their hands. If the LFG system was not there, people would go back to the screening process of picking who to run with, meaning more contacts, more social interaction, resulting in more friends, and more consideration for the fact that the avatars you are playing with are infact real humans. The little to no social interaction that occurs for you average person that queues by themself is missing the draw of MMOs that we have all enjoyed in the past,  for them it is now basically a single player game. And the funny part is that so few of us realize it.

The other part of the equation I think is just the fact that there have been so many changes. Playing WoW post expansion after playing pre-expansion, is like if you had been eating your favorite breakfast cereal every day for the past month. You may be getting a little bored of it, but it's still good. Then you go and pick up a box one day, looks the same, but when you get that spoonful to your mouth there is something different, you weren't really expecting it, and you still like it, but there is something different about it, maybe less sugar (ok, it's breakfast cereal in the 21st century, lets be realistic: probably a LOT MORE sugar). Between the boredom you were facing and the new taste, you have a bit of a mix of feelings. It's new, so it cuts a bit of the boredom. It's still your favorite cereal, so you like it. But it's just not the same. If you can find me a class that has changed pretty much not at all from pre 4.0 levels, I will show you someone that is still loving the game (ok so a bit of a safe bet considering the changes to every class...).

These are the reasons that I see WoW as having this "je ne sais que" that is making so many of us cut back on our time, stop playing all together, only log on for raid nights or when we know friends will be on, or a number of other symptoms people are experiencing. My suggestions? Find a guild with people that share you specific goals in the game, be selective, most guilds out there are looking for great people, not just great players. On top of finding a guild, meet some people from your realm that aren't in your guild, you would be surprised how important connections between guilds can be, and one connection in a different guild can open up an entire pool of new friends to play with. After you have done this, try to pug as few people in the LFG system as you can, and when you do, remember to be nice to people, maybe even go one step further, if you have just pugged the best tank in the world, but he's a complete......meanie (remember, maybe kids reading!), kick him, if everyone sends a strong message they would rather run with "noobs that are nice" than "pros that are pricks" maybe the dungeon finder will get a little better. Finally: Give it time! with the HUGE amount of changes cata brought, not just dungeons, skills, and proffessions, but guild leveling, quests, and honestly a completely new style of play, it's only normal that this may not feel like "your WoW" anymore.

1 comment:

  1. I think your post is spot on. I have to admit I haven't been really motivated to log on and play the game.

    One of the reasons I think I'm less motivated is I have fewer options to raid (which is what I enjoy doing the most.) If it's not a raid night, I basically come online, do my random heroic, cooking and fishing daily and then log off again.