Yesterday, I was asked to comment on the above poll. This morning, I’m still not sure which option I’d have clicked, having watched a meltdown linked to me last night that was a reminder that however much you feel this game has changed, the people who play it seem to experience the same traumas time and again.
Last night the AP ‘grinding’ issue resurfaced, and I doubt I’ve seen the end of people complaining about how horrendous the task is to complete when you prioritise your job above the game. It is as predictable as ActiBlizz’ amazement that some people had multiple Legendaries and maxxed out weapons well before the company had expected that to happen. However many times I try and explain this in my Blog, nobody from the company reads this and reacts. By rights, I should have given this gig up a very long time ago, because after years and years and YEARS of constant comment and observation I still don’t have an NPC or an item of armour named after me which clearly indicates I’ve had no significant influence in Azeroth… and let’s curtail my passive aggressive irony right there, shall we?
Here is the moment where everybody playing stops and listens.
You are not the first person to shout into a void. You are not the only player who’s felt aggrieved. This game in the last decade plus has been littered with the bodies of people who tried to be celebrities on the back of it, who want to claim they changed the process of a bunch of pixels. In a lot of cases, there was change, but to claim you are somehow more worthy of remembrance or celebration is just the kind of entitled claptrap that I’d expect to see from people ‘using’ social media in exactly the wrong way. This is not the place for you to rant within. Go do that on the Forums. Then you have a better than average chance of being heard, but if you then undo all your good work by dumping your anger in everybody’s lap, whether they asked for it or not, you’ll simply serve to reinforce the belief that some people are mouthy and ungrateful.
This game won’t survive another five years with that kind of attitude.
I’ve been doing this for a while now. Indignation is almost as much a part of the UI as your Paper Doll. Watching Guilds fold, players flounce away with increasing degrees of arrogance and theatre, thinking that this is the first time such anger has ever been generated, becomes quite amusing after a while. However, you have to be careful when you laugh, if it happens at all, because all this goes to demonstrate is that someone grasped how subjective their life is in relation to this behemoth constant of an MMO. If you work on the theory that everybody’s on the make, looking for validation with blog views or You Tube subs? Drama sells, and always will. If you can cause a fuss, there’s a better than average chance you’ll generate some much-needed attention for your cause. It’s been like that since men came out of the caves and had a fight to impress the sensible woman who stayed in the cave because it was cold.
That’s maybe why a new Blizzard MMO might not be a bad idea. Then everybody can leave their baggage in Azeroth and move on, but you know that won’t happen either because when the company itself celebrates service and longevity to employers with shield and swords, you’re dealing with a mentality that likes to keep reminding you at every turn just how long they’ve been making these games. Except that’s not true any more: a lot of the core of Warcraft’s design staff are now elsewhere. There’s rumours that
the Queen is dead there’s a new MMO being made that is what Titan should have been, that Warcraft’s days are numbered, and that’s why we have a bunch of new people on board who are surprised at how committed, dedicated and insane the extremes of the player base can be. In shock news, people change. It has always been this way, and for every person who thinks they’re feeling something new and unexplored? I’m sorry to have to tell you this is unlikely, unless you’re a new form of evolved humanity.
For everybody else, time really is a flat circle, like it or not.
So we are left with the understanding that, for every person having an internal implosion, there’s a bunch of others just getting on with shit. What is forgotten, time and again, is that ActiBlizz has data on every single person who plays. In an age when your shopping website knows your favourites before you do, the algorithm is the real ruler, and there are Data Analysts in Irvine who’s sole task is to work out what is being played, what matters most, and to tailor your gaming experience to those avenues going forward. For every Guild struggling, countless others are too busy to use Social media to complain. It may seem the end of all things from your perspective, but the truth is that this game can and will rumble on and on for as long as there are people willing to pay the sub. That means this game can survive for another decade, even two, possibly even longer as long as those making the game can keep the balance correct between what people say is required and what the data supports is needed.
This is the most constant truth. It expects you to leave your ego at the door. It demands that respect is that, truly and honestly, and not the need for others to accept that your opinion is the only one that matters. However much you want Warcraft to be moulded in your image it won’t be unless you go work for the company, and even then I suspect there is a wakeup call for some when they realise that the only truth some days is doing what you are told without an argument. The world, like it or not, is a place where compromise is often the most powerful weapon anyone will ever wield. It is not about winning, or losing, it is simply survival and acceptance that happiness can be found if you stop assuming it only happens when you get what you want. This game will live for as long as people decide they want to play it. It will only surprise you if you allow that to happen.
Ultimately, you will never make it want you need it to be.