Is the tail dying whilst the head keeps on?

by on May 9, 2011

We’ve seen a fair number of people asking if WoW’s dying lately – and even some evidence that Blizzard themselves are listening and fixing things. I’m pretty sure the “LFD now groups with your server first” fix was a direct result of all the comments on the blogosphere and forums talking about LFD’s loss of server community.

However, the talk of a rotting WoW is mostly focussed on the endgame – raids are too hard, heroics are too easy. Beruthiel from Falling Leaves and Wings has a different theory, based on the activities of people in her large, active guild – that actually, WoW’s dying because alts and levelling are failing.

Let’s take Brade, who is pretty much a machine when it comes to leveling, and it was something that he genuinely seemed to enjoy. He seems to have petered out at 4 max level alts. Instead, during his offtime, he’s been playing other games outside of WoW. It almost seems that he has little inclination or incentive to log in and level another character. He doesn’t chase achievements. He isn’t an instance fiend, like me. He isn’t as socially tied to the game as I am. And the alt grind seems to be less enjoyable this time around.

I am really interested by the metrics she asks about at the end of the article – how many players are hitting 85 month on month? What do the player hours trends look like? We’re never going to see them, but I wonder if there’s a way to extrapolate. I know that I for one, given the length and the easiness of most of the grind, have no intention of levelling anything from 1-85 any time soon.

What do you think? Are you levelling alts? Or are you checking out other games? And if so, what and why?

Quote taken directly from Beruthiel’s post.
Falling Leaves and Wings’ homepage can be found at

If you enjoyed this article, check out our other posts from these categories: General MMO Interest,World of Warcraft

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Shintar May 10, 2011 at 12:09 am

Actually I’ve been spending more time levelling alts lately than doing other things, as I haven’t actually explored all of the revamped low-level zones yet and it’s something that I definitely want to do. I do admit that the 60-85 stretch doesn’t look particularly appealing though.


Kammler May 10, 2011 at 6:52 am

I went into Cat with three 80s. I leveled them each a bit differently so I could enjoy the new content. One went asea, one went to Hyjal and the other jumped to new zones as soon as he could.
I leveled another toon from 50 to 85 and enjoyed all of it–up to WoLK content which has remained unchanged. Although the exp requirement is halved the quests are very boring now. 50 to 58 was great, 58 to 68 was mundane but not a complete waste. In fact, it was so good that I took a much ignored L25 Shaman and pushed her up to 73 now. Unfortunately, she is stuck.
The new content in lower zones is fun. New quests are robust, the redesigned talent trees and new phasing really give color to the lore. Once you get to Outland everything goes back to the way it was. It goes fast enough though, especially with Heirlooms. Once you get to Valiance Keep the mind numbs and the boredom begins anew.
I have played Rift. I didn’t like it for a variety of reasons, not the least of which was the disconnected leveling experience. Running from A to B and completing quests is fine but then a Rift appears and you get dragged off track–just wasn’t my cup of tea.
If Blizz would put the effort into revamping Outland and Northrend like they did all the vanilla content I would have more incentive to push more 85s.


Paul May 10, 2011 at 7:27 pm

I leveled four characters to 85 (including a cowadin  from scratch), realized leveling any more would be pointless, and let my subscription run out three months ago.   I’ll come back if they radically change course and fire those responsible for the Cata design philosophy.
The revamped lower level zones did basically nothing to keep me playing the game.   To me, they were a complete waste of development resources.


Ohken May 10, 2011 at 8:21 pm

Leveling alts is the most compelling casual play in Warcraft. There are a lot of different specs, and there are enough zones and dungeons to keep it interesting. Unlike Paul, I can’t imagine having the free time to level enough alts that it would grow boring.
Despite being pretty good, the extra zones and dungeons have a significant problem: they are only usable by characters at exactly the right level. I wish Blizzard would emulate other games and come up with some way to automatically nerf a character to the right level of power for a zone or dungeon. It would greatly expand the available content available to casual players.


Nils June 16, 2011 at 4:30 pm

WoW fails at several levels right now. I covered it in various posts on my blog.


Hugh Hancock June 16, 2011 at 4:33 pm

I’ve actually just featured the latest post on that subject on the Pot – found it a really interesting read.


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