A very good friend of mine sent me a long and emotional set of messages yesterday, where he stated he’s pretty much done with Warlords. Without any firm news concerning changes or nerfs to current content, he has no reason to stay. All we’ve had in recent weeks is this continual stream of Alpha news, which he (and many others) have absolutely no interest in. In fact, there are a fair number of people on my Twitter timeline for whom Alpha has just no allure: they don’t want to read the spoilers, and are determined to play content ‘cold’ when it releases in September.
I think maybe this morning we should stop assuming that people like this are the minority, and maybe that the spoiler-loving, Alpha coveting section of the ‘community’ isn’t nearly as prolific as the World would have us believe.
In fact, maybe this way of ‘previewing’ content’s actually more detrimental in the long run. Because yesterday, with the inevitable stream of bile that inevitably follows such announcements, I watched people start complaining about the ‘requirements’ that would be needed to earn your flying skill once the Expansion launches. Yup, content that’s not even live or actually available, and the whining and criticism begins, presumably in a pathetic attempt to get it suitably watered down even further for release.
Why am I not surprised?
What this proves, of course, is that people will complain about anything, but after a while if their ire is directed at content we won’t even be able to play for months? Really, is there a point? It also seems especially jarring when the existing content is effectively ignored and dismissed as irrelevant. Of course it’s neither of those things, and almost as an apology to those who’ve not played for a while Blizzard sent out the ‘here, have seven free days worth of game time and Warlords of free’ invitations are already being sent out. Marketing is a harsh mistress, people. What you see as old and tired, others will be coming back to as unexplored and potentially entertaining. The biggest problem in all of this isn’t actually Blizzard’s fault, it’s ours. Yup, we’re the problem.
Remember, your perception of time is the real ‘Big Bad’ in any Expansion.
I’ve written various posts on this over the years, and the basic point remains unwavering: what is old for some will be new for others, and as a result Blizzard undoubtedly pace their content not on the slowest consumers, or the fastest, but more likely at a point between the two. That means that for every one of you struggling at Heroic Hellfire Citadel? Someone is excited that this weekend they get to go into Mythic Highmaul for the first time. That’s the size of the audience Blizzard deal with, and when you realise the real breadth of the demographic? All your issues should, ideally, gain an appropriate sense of proportion. Except that’s not gonna happen, is it?
Nah, didn’t think so.
It’s a long weekend coming up in the UK, and I’ll see you in game. Nope, it won’t be new or special, but it’s something I can control and make money out of, and that’s all that matters at this stage in proceedings. Of course, your experience of Warcraft may vary.
Remember how important that is when it comes to the bigger picture.