Why we play this game, and what keeps us going

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Re: Why we play this game, and what keeps us going

Postby PsiVen » Sat Feb 19, 2011 1:44 pm

I enjoy playing with friends, and beating challenging stuff with other people who enjoy that. I've never had a better time of it than now in Cataclysm, where I can be competitive in 10-mans on a relatively casual basis of 3-4 late nights a week as opposed to the 5-day prime time grind of ye olde 25s.

Specifically, I'm playing this game rather than dragging friends to a new one because it's the best there is IMO. Every other MMO is a joke compared to WoW, and no other genre offers the same experience. I'm playing the Rift open beta and I'm astonished not only by how much they ripped off straight from WoW but how much they got wrong -- quality of life things that will get fixed slowly if ever. TOR is hard to get excited about when it's practically weeks from release and beta testers are still under strict NDA. Every would-be competitor on the market seems to be undervaluing the key points of having an interesting gameworld with rich, challenging endgame content that keeps people interested. WotLK proved that even poorly tuned faceroll raid content can be wildly popular, yet every new game has the same thing to say about it: "What? Oh, yeah we'll design some of that later. Don't worry!" The addon API allows us to have an interface that is highly informative while being ridiculously customizable and good looking, but titles still ship with UIs that don't support extension and lack features that should now be considered industry-standard even if only WoW has them.

There's a megathread about how "guilds are falling apart left and right" on the R&D forums after every expansion, and during every tier of content. The fact is that guild turnover has always been high, and 25-man recruitment has been hellish to keep up with since early Sunwell when on every single boss, nobody wanted to join a guild that hadn't killed the one you were trying to kill. I don't think the number of talented raiders has increased nearly as much as the general population of the game, but that doesn't make guilds fall apart, it just means there are a lot of low-level-progression guilds out there.
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Re: Why we play this game, and what keeps us going

Postby yappo » Sat Feb 19, 2011 5:47 pm

The discussion of guilds falling apart, or for that matter, not falling apart makes me believe that the average (WoW) population is a bit younger than I am.

While I've never been a hard-core WoW player, an active decision from my side, my gaming background is very much hard-core. From table-top RPG during the 80:s, via MUDs (mostly as a developer) during the first half of the 90:s and TCG (in my case V:TES) for the better part of the 00:s; I've seen gaming groups form, dissolve and partially reform again.

As I see it there are a few main reasons people drop from these groups, some of which have been mentioned here.

1) The game goes stale.
1a) The game is unable to be competitive with other similar games.
1b) The game is unable to be competitive with NEW types of games.
1c) The game is killed by the producer.

As far as WoW is concerned only 1a) could be applicable for those who give "bad old game" as a reason for quitting.


2) The gamer moves on.

You pretty much covered this one here. Life changes. The gamer graduates from university, gets a job or builds a family, or all of it. My experience is that this is indeed the most common reason people drop, or at least moves from hard-core gaming to casual.


3) The game goes new.

I personally find this one to be the most fascinating of reasons. While the underlying reason for the gamer to drop out here is very likely 1) or 2), the stated arguments for 3) are worth exploring.

For WoW it would be the "was better before" litanies popping up every new expansion.

Table-tops didn't have this type of problem, and neither did the textbased MUDs. TCGs, however, have been riddled by them very much the same way as WoW.

For every new expansion something actually NEW has to be added in order for the consumers to accept it as new. Now, this might sound like a ridiculous statement of the obvious, but bear with me. We eagerly await a new expansion BECAUSE we expect something new. The problem, however, lies in that we (to different degrees) have mastered the OLD.

An important reason for hard-core gaming is the advantages gained though hard work. I can build a better deck than you can because I've learned 2500 different cards by heart, how those cards interact with each other, which cards I'm likely to see you play later based of what card you played now, how archetypical players are likely to react to combinations of cards played by different players by the table depending on their seating-order, etc, etc, etc.

Every time a new expansion is thrown into the equation my hard won advantage is temporarily diminished. To a certain degree the slates are wiped clean and I'm forced to actually compete with the casuals rather than roflstomping my way all over them.

So, my examples are from the cardgame I played, because I don't have the hard-core knowledge from WoW, but I recognize the arguments from people showing signs of tiring.

On one hand:
"It's bad for WoW when the bads can get epics." "Giving LFD a 15% extra everything destroys the game." "Blizzard is stupid to add a 30% zonewide buff."

On the other:
"Cataclysm dungeons are unplayably hard." "It's impossible to play a healer, because Cataclysm makes us go OOM." "They destroyed feral PvP with 4.0.6 and I'll quit this crap game."

Trust me, I heard it all during my years with V:TES, different terms, but EVERY expansion brought a hailstorm of complaints from hard-core players who suddenly lost a little bit of the edge. In my personal case three consecutive expansions utterly DID destroy mine. I had mastered a defensive playing style, and as the game changed into a direction promoting agressive gaming (a damn good change, honestly) I simply couldn't adapt, and it frankly sucked having to adjust from mastery to learning.


So, why do I continue playing WoW? Well, because I never got hard-core in the first place. New mechanics are just that, new. I'm good among the bads, which gives me ample time to adapt.

It took me a full two months longer to down my first Cata raid-boss (BH still doesn't count) compared with you guys. When T12 arrives I'll be happy if I'm 4/12 though the current content. When the next full expansion arrives I'll still not be through normal modes on whatever content patch is the last for Cata.

In other words, I have the luxury of continuous learning. WoW, as a result, is perhaps more exciting for me that way, as I'll never attain mastery.
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Re: Why we play this game, and what keeps us going

Postby bldavis » Sat Feb 19, 2011 9:24 pm

yappo, i would love to just see trash in a cata raid, i have only finished i think 4 heroics, and i have 2 85 tanks.....and both of them are over the min gear level to do heroics

i am more then happy to not be one of the casuals, b/c i know i do research, and i think i play the game well.
i just dont have the time to devote to a hardcore raiding guild, or the desire to
i am happy running dungeons, leveling alts, and all in all enjoying the content on my own pace

being able to do so, this is teh reason i can see myself playing wow for quite some time to come
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Re: Why we play this game, and what keeps us going

Postby PsiVen » Sun Feb 20, 2011 12:39 am

theckhd wrote:
Sabindeus wrote:Wow my answer is just totally different from everyone else's...

I continue playing this game because I am a giant Blizzard fanboy, and I love the Warcraft universe.

This.

<edit> Also, I love numbers. So World of Mathcraft appeals to my analytical side.


Oh, and this stuff. I actually wanted to play an MMO in the Warcraft universe well before they announced it, and before I knew what an MMO was really.
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Re: Why we play this game, and what keeps us going

Postby Badenhawk » Sun Feb 20, 2011 6:58 pm

My wife introduced me to WoW as an alternative to her playing the Sims and me Fable or Halo in separate rooms on game nights. I was a bit dubious of MMO's before then, and really this is the only one I come back to....have tried several others (Aion, LOTRO, Eve) and none of them have the depth or playability that WoW does. These days, the hour or so we get every few days after our baby girl finally goes to sleep are pretty much the only release/wind-down we have, but prior to parenthood I used to love the interaction with our friends over this medium. Something along the lines of what PsiVen said about succeeding at content with a group of friends/peers and sharing in your accomplishments and having a blast doing it is what keeps me coming back (as well as the promise of being able to do that again more regularly when sleep becomes less of a rarity).

To the OP's point, it'd be a pretty ordinary experience without a guild or at least friends (either RL, in-game or both) to make it more interesting. With the current state of PUGs/LFD, I don't think I'd be too interested if I weren't part of a guild, even a small social one, and the nights I remember are the ones that had us in stiches. I beg your indulgence as I recall a few:

*A certain mage who used to stand in fire and die on pretty much every dungeon boss and listening to my wife put sailors to shame with her tirades at him in vent every time
*Running ZF with an old guildy who had Copacabana blairing down vent the whole time
*A younger guildy getting stuck in a chimney in Stromgarde just after using his hearth (on a 1 hour CD in those days). The rest of the guild that was logged on at the time basically stood around heckling him for the better part of 40 mins while one of our warlocks kept taunting him by starting then stopping to summon him
*Our first all-guild raid-boss kill with half the guild screaming in Vent while I solo-tanked the boss for the last 4% because they'd all stood in fire :D

Good times, good times....

Oh, and to echo another poster's comments, big thanks to this community for giving me my fix while game time is scarce. Another thing that's makes this game great.
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Re: Why we play this game, and what keeps us going

Postby Brekkie » Sun Feb 20, 2011 8:36 pm

inthedrops wrote:There's a thread on the US forums that I found very interesting: What is killing high end 25-man raiding?. If you haven't read it, it's worth a quick once over. People discuss how things have changed in Cataclysm, the struggles guilds are experiencing, and why.


There's a poster in the linked thread who pretty much has it spot on:

Even though Blizz certainly plays a part here there is another side as well. Even though the game's popularity exploded the talent pool grew only a fractional amount during that time. I would speculate most of the hardcore, top 100 guild caliber players are vanilla raiders. Any additions to the player pool has been exclusively from motivated, highly-competitive gamers that may have stumbled into WoW later on.

Raiding is/was populated mostly by college kids or people slightly post-college. A lot of these players' lives change during that period and basically can't commit to such a schedule any more. So come WotLK, four years after launch, and much of the game's vanilla player base starts to enter this period in their lives and some have to go casual, others quit altogether. There's really nothing anyone, especially Blizz can do about it. That's life.

My point is the available talent pool has been slowly leaking since Sunwell. There aren't new top 100 players, simply the ones still around stumbling around homeless. Whatever the amount of newer players moving up, it's clearly not enough to replace the number of them leaving. To survive as a top guild they have to pray they outlast others just long enough to pluck a few players from them.

I handled recruiting for my guild for about a year and the mindset of a vanilla raider is vastly different from latecomers. One could argue that there is a skill gap but it's also that the qualities we take for granted and the expectations we have only vaguely make sense to newer raiders. We get called elitists for expecting basic things that even the worst of the worst vanilla, never-even-killed-Rag-MC-raiders knew by heart.

I'm not offering a solution but this is my theory on what's really killing high-end raiding.

tl;dr WoW is getting old and so is its hardcore player base.


Since mid WotLK, the number of world-competitive caliber players has been slowly bleeding out because the originals are retiring at faster than replacement value.

A lot of the posters in the thread are misinformed when they dismiss the effect as the normal guild turn-over associated with a new expansion. This is not what is occurring. In such natural guild upheaval, the majority of the core world-caliber players don't actually disappear. Guild tags come and go, but in all previous times that was just superficial, the players were still there. Someone brought up Death and Taxes, and that's a good example because Death and Taxes did NOT actually die. It simply turned into Vigil. The tag changed, the server shifted, but the players were largely the same.

The top-end community has always been highly interconnected and tight-knit. While every now and then you find new players from outside that community who are good enough to break in on their own merit, 99.9% of the time players not already playing at that level simply aren't good enough to meet the standards. At best you can take someone and "train" them up, but that is a significant investment, takes a long time, and rarely works because most of the time it isn't just a lack of experience and knowledge, the natural talent just isn't there.

While there are exceptions, what this meant is that by and large world-level guilds end up doing most of their recruiting by poaching from each other, while keeping an eye out for the occasional new talent that pops up once in a blue moon in order to replace losses from that community due to burn-out.
A side effect of this is that slowly and steadily, the number of world-level guilds has been shrinking. For the U.S. the number of guilds that had a legitimate shot at top ranked kills slowly drifted from:
Sunwell - around 25 guilds
Ulduar - 15
ToC - 12
ICC - 10
Now - 6

What is interesting about this is that the Europeans serve as the control group, the basis of evaluation, because the gamer life-style and hard core player characteristics are more stable than the U.S. gamers.
You may have noticed that in recent times you see fewer and fewer U.S. guilds on the top few pages of WoWprogress and the majority of it filled with uncontested European guilds. This is why. The European guilds aren't suddenly playing better than the U.S. guilds, the U.S. hardcore players pool is just shrinking faster than it is being replenished which means there are fewer guilds able to even challenge them at all.
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Re: Why we play this game, and what keeps us going

Postby Barathorn » Mon Feb 21, 2011 3:36 am

Brekkie wrote:
/snip most of quote.

What is interesting about this is that the Europeans serve as the control group, the basis of evaluation, because the gamer life-style and hard core player characteristics are more stable than the U.S. gamers.
You may have noticed that in recent times you see fewer and fewer U.S. guilds on the top few pages of WoWprogress and the majority of it filled with uncontested European guilds. This is why. The European guilds aren't suddenly playing better than the U.S. guilds, the U.S. hardcore players pool is just shrinking faster than it is being replenished which means there are fewer guilds able to even challenge them at all.


I found this very interesting, thanks for linking and quoting from that thread.

I would agree that European Players [from my experiances with other MMO's] do have the capacity to adapt quicker to changes in their enviroment [outside of the game] and become settled again quicker than American Players for some reason which as you say is probably why they are used as their characteristics fit a trend that Blizzard has to monitor very closely.
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Re: Why we play this game, and what keeps us going

Postby Worldie » Mon Feb 21, 2011 7:33 am

I quite agree with the above. So much has changed from the "good old times", us "MC raiders" are slowly getting extinguished by the newcomers.

But yea, sometimes I wonder what keeps me myself playing. I can't say friends, this is no longer the case, I can hear from all my friendlist from SC2, MSN, Facebook and a number of other things. All my old-dated friends quitted playing except a handful of them which all went casual by now.
I still like the game, I like raiding, expecially in the new Cataclysm form which is if I can say, an awesome job after the demotivating crap that WotLK was, I even like Pvp even if I'm extremely terrible at it. Probably it's the fun of learning bosses, of the first kills that still keeps me playing, of course 25 people is not the same as the old 40, but it's still looking good. Well that, and the fact that Worldi is now almost 5 years old, and is like a second me, I can't see myself stopping to play it. I should have joined Method when they were looking for a Prot Pala ffs!

Maybe it's just a drug after all. Someone save me :shock:


edit: WTF why i never meet anyone on the LFG? It's not like it's hard to figure out my alts!
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Re: Why we play this game, and what keeps us going

Postby halabar » Tue Feb 22, 2011 1:14 pm

A bit of a different take here..

I've committed to casual, now, after giving a long hard look at it, I've decided that i can't dedicate 2+ nights a week anymore to the game for 3+ hour blocks where I can't stop and do something with my wife if I want to. Part of this is do to expansion burnout, part due to the fact that the people in the game that were friends are gone. The last one told me this weekend that he's finally quitting for good (his wife is expecting in July). So I just can't find the motivation to go full bore 110% to prove myself to a group of people I don't know.

So that begs that question, what else to do? Right now it's getting into my pally again. But once I've done every heroic 10 times, then what?..

I think the anonymity of LFG might be really bad for the game in the long run. Sure it lets more people get in runs, but it prevents the social aspects of the game from developing.

About the only social interaction I have in the game now is the AH PVP. If I don't find a guild that has decent social interaction, I'm likely done soon.
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Re: Why we play this game, and what keeps us going

Postby masterpoobaa » Tue Feb 22, 2011 4:51 pm

I have been reading quite a few interesting blogs on wow recently, and how things like LFG are making the game more antisocial.

Half way through Twilight Highlands i stopped and thought for a while.
Ain't seen anyone questing for 15mins (phased zones).
Ain't seen a singe /1 chat comment for 15mins.
Guild chat dead. (everyone busy doing something by themselves)
No group quests. Period.
Only 1 remotely difficult single person quest I found in TH.
Joing LFG to tank a dungeon, No one talks in there either, even when I ask if there is anyone who hasn't done the dungeon before. (Turns out 2 hadn't).
Hearth back to Stormwind, only tradechat is used, and is full of people slagging off at others.
Herbing/Mining. There used to be at least a veneer of civility with other herbers/miners of your faction. Not anymore. "L2P nub" "I saw it first" "I didnt see your name on it" etc if i happened to be finishing off a mob ontop a node in order to harvest it.

Where has the community gone?
Why do I feel so alone in a massive multiplayer online game?
It will probably be this more than anything that will finally make me stop playing.
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Re: Why we play this game, and what keeps us going

Postby halabar » Tue Feb 22, 2011 5:14 pm

masterpoobaa wrote:I have been reading quite a few interesting blogs on wow recently, and how things like LFG are making the game more antisocial.

Half way through Twilight Highlands i stopped and thought for a while.
Ain't seen anyone questing for 15mins (phased zones).
Ain't seen a singe /1 chat comment for 15mins.
Guild chat dead. (everyone busy doing something by themselves)
No group quests. Period.
Only 1 remotely difficult single person quest I found in TH.
Joing LFG to tank a dungeon, No one talks in there either, even when I ask if there is anyone who hasn't done the dungeon before. (Turns out 2 hadn't).
Hearth back to Stormwind, only tradechat is used, and is full of people slagging off at others.
Herbing/Mining. There used to be at least a veneer of civility with other herbers/miners of your faction. Not anymore. "L2P nub" "I saw it first" "I didnt see your name on it" etc if i happened to be finishing off a mob ontop a node in order to harvest it.

Where has the community gone?
Why do I feel so alone in a massive multiplayer online game?
It will probably be this more than anything that will finally make me stop playing.


Yep. The only real interaction I've had in game in the past few weeks (including running at least 25 heroics) was a guy that was slagged off about my AH practices. As I said above, if AH PVP is the only interaction I'm getting, then...
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Re: Why we play this game, and what keeps us going

Postby Sarevok » Tue Feb 22, 2011 8:43 pm

For the past two years guild progression has motivated me to play. Right now, ever since I started reading/following the "Making gold in AH" thread, my motivation shifted to acquiring more gold . In BC and Wrath, I was really having a hard time earning gold since I did not do any AH stuff. I think my max gold during that time was just 3k lol. But right now I'm slowly reaching 40k and my short term goal is 100k by next month. This is what drives me into playing these days :D
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Re: Why we play this game, and what keeps us going

Postby Flex » Wed Feb 23, 2011 11:04 am

First thing I do on any new toon is leave trade and general channels. Guild chat is typically not dead and usually has a lot of comments about how we're doing in iPhone games against each other.
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Re: Why we play this game, and what keeps us going

Postby Arcand » Wed Feb 23, 2011 12:55 pm

I'll toss this up just because nobody's mentioned it yet.

I don't really play to meet people or make friends (though Arcand is
unfailingly polite) and I've raided just enough to determine that I
don't really like raiding (9 frustrating wipes because somebody else
did something stupid, then 1 embarrassing and frustrating wipe because
it's my turn to do something stupid).

What I like is the same thing car tinkerers like. I like gearing up
a character, tweaking gems, reforging and punching a calculator to get
him working as well as I possibly can, then taking him out to see how
he performs. Unfortunately the chances to improve get scarcer as you
move forward, so what I like about the game isn't self-perpetuating. :(
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Re: Why we play this game, and what keeps us going

Postby halabar » Wed Feb 23, 2011 1:04 pm

Arcand wrote:What I like is the same thing car tinkerers like. I like gearing up
a character, tweaking gems, reforging and punching a calculator to get
him working as well as I possibly can, then taking him out to see how
he performs..


Yeah, that and the Theckcraft that goes along with it.. often more enjoyable that the actual raiding..
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