Why Would People Leave WoW?

With WoW moving toward a cash shop, the major drop in the last release, and almost everyone in the WoW community knowing people who’ve stopped playing, “Why Do People Stop Playing WoW?” is a pretty big question right now.

Today two bloggers are looking at that question from very different perspectives – and it’s fascinating to see the contrast.

  • Ardwulf takes a look at the changes in WoW from an extremely old-school player’s perspective, in a short but interesting piece.

    Read What Was Lost »

  • And The Godmother looks at the community of WoW, and whether that’s actually what drives a lot of people to get the hell out of (virtual) Dodge.

    Read If Leaving Me Is Easy »

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Focus On Cough Unofficial Servers

Private Servers.

Unofficial implementations of an MMO have been around for a long while, existing in a space somewhere between “informally ignored” and “actively sued” by the games companies who developed the games they’re now emulating.

But are do they actually provide a valuable service for the MMO community? Here are two bloggers who think that they do indeed.

  • Syp looks at the MMO abandonware world, showcasing five projects that aim – very successfully, in some cases – to keep MMOs that have been killed by their parent companies alive. From Star Wars Galaxies to Shadowbane, it’s a fascinating list.

    Read “Five Emulators That Are Keeping Dead MMOs Alive” »

  • And Ardwulf looks at the role of private servers as “retro” servers for still-existing MMOs, allowing WoW players (for example) who miss the good old days a chance to go back and relive them. Note that you won’t get any links to these dubiously-legal services here – just discussion of the theory.

    Read “Retro Servers And A Light At The End Of The Tunnel” »

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Late To The Party Roundup: The New Cash Store

Goddamn it, I’m taken away from the Melting Pot for just a few days and Blizzard decide to change the virtual world around us…

Yes, the biggest shakeup in WoW for a while has happened – a new Cash Store has been unveiled, with everything from XP boosts to shiny new (cosmetic) helmets on sale.

And whilst I missed the biggest explosion of comment last week, I’ve still been able to catch some of the aftershocks:

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Friday Links: Female Appearance, Stupidity, God Mode And Community

There have been some great pieces in the blogosphere in the last week or so!

In fact, the entire ‘sphere seems to be waking up a bit at the moment – there’s a lot of quality writing and ideas out there. Very much enjoying it.

Here’s your dose of thinking to round out the week:

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But Where Did The Real Garrosh Go?

Garrosh Hellscream: villain of Mists of Pandaria. Altogether all-round bad egg. Corrupted, sinister, and irredeemable.

How did that happen, exactly?

Rades is steamingly furious at the progression Garrosh has gone through from complex, flawed character to mustache-twirling archvillain, and he explains exactly why, how it all fails to make sense, and where it seems to have gone wrong in this fascinating post:

“But then it was announced that he was going to be the end villain in Mists, and I guess Blizzard wanted to make EXTRA SURE that we knew he was bad? They’ve made it pretty clear that, oh hey, just in case you haven’t noticed, HE’S EVIL NOW. First there’s Malkorok playing the role of enforcer Gestapo, who literally came from nowhere and STILL feels bizarrely forced and jarring. And of course, the bombing of Theramore, which only goes against every aspect of Garrosh’s honor-driven personality we saw so carefully constructed during Cataclysm and the excellent Shattering novel.

I’m still not really sure how “I would never use a bomb to kill innocents, Krom’gar!” turns into “I’m totes gonna use this bomb to destroy innocents, Malkorok!” I guess that’s character growth, or something?

So that’s been bad enough, and that was even before Mists launched! And it’s only gotten worse. Garrosh in pursuit of evil artifacts. Garrosh sending assassins after his own allies, or abusing them so bad they start thinking of switching sides to the Alliance. Garrosh trying to control the Sha, even as Pandaria is torn apart by their re-emergence and even as his strongest warriors are twisted and slain by the negative energies he’s trying to wield.

Because oh, it’s not like HELLSCREAMS have any important history of being corrupted by evil forces that would make Garrosh think twice about such an act. Nope, not at all.”

Read the rest of “Thoughts on Garrosh and Baine’s “betrayal” comment” »

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Of Ogre Gender And Inappropriate Suggestions

Whilst the MMO world has been pleasantly silent as far as massive inequality FAILs go recently, the ongoing fascinating discussion of sexism and gender politics continues.

Today we’ve got a couple of interesting posts on the subject, as The Godmother ponders the gender of WoW creatures and Redbeard relates a particularly, erm, surprising recent encounter…

  • The Godmother looks at the portrayal of female creatures in WoW, asking such questions as “where are the female ogres?” and “really? Bikinis on Mogu?”.

    Read “Female of the Species” »

  • And Redbeard relates a recent encounter in a PvP battleground, where, ignoring the mayhem, a fellow player asked him to do something there definitely isn’t an emote for – and then delves into just why that happened.

    Read “Where’s the Shower?” »

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See WoW In An Entirely New Way

Today’s featured post is a really short one, but it’s absolutely brilliant.

As you may know, Rades of Orcish Army Knife is a keen videogame photographer, particularly within World of Warcraft.

Today he’s sharing one of the best tips I’ve ever seen for getting better images out of WoW.

How? Well, it’s really simple: grab an item in the game, and you can get a Field Of View that’s much closer to that of a conventional real-world camera, meaning you can take much more “photographic” shots than are usually possible.

Here’s a couple of examples:

130624_ornatespyglass04 130624_ornatespyglass02


From guild photos to landscape shots, this thing’s incredibly handy if you want to increase the visual quality of your images.

To read how the magic’s done and see more great images, Read the rest of Rades’ post »

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LINK ROUNDUP: The Past, The Future, And The Present

It’s been a good week for interesting MMO-related article, about all topics and all games.

So good, in fact, that we’re having to hit you with another link roundup to get ’em all in!

From hidden bits in Pandaria to the closure of a much-beloved site, here we go:

Enjoy the weekend!

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TESTED: Just how unfriendly is WoW?

WoW, eh? Not like it used to be. Totally unfriendly now. Elitist, too.

You never get people wanting to help new players.

Or do you?

Spurred on by what does indeed sound like a pretty poorly-contrived article about how WoW was Very Unfriendly These Days, Big Bear Butt decided to test the theory – by creating a couple of new characters in WoW, and seeing if he did indeed simply end up left out in the cold. Was he spurned by the elitists and abandoned, alone and uninformed?

SPOILERS: Nope.

“I decided to test the first underlying assumption. That the community is full of apathy and nobody will help anyone, and those level 1 guild invites are evil.

I made a level 1 alt on a different realm, chose a name at random that was vaguely fantasy-ish, and started playing. No heirlooms.

Within 10 minutes, I had a guild invite and accompanying whisper.

I accepted the invite, and was greeted in a friendly way by several people.

I said, “Hi! Thank you. I’m really new to the game, um, can anyone tell me where I can find something to tell me what these buttons do?”

Guess what?

Holy crap, did I get a lot of help.

It turns out, people seem to know an awful lot about this game, and shocker! They are not only willing to share that knowledge, but they seemed very happy to be able to give advice to someone that didn’t already know it all.

I got suggestions of visiting Wowhead.com to be able to see what my specific abilities do, a suggestion to visit Tarou on Youtube to see many guides to current content, a warning that most of the videos were guides to help make gold in-game but lots of other stuff too, suggestions of MMO-Champion for the latest news, and one person took the time to take me step by step through my Spellbook and teach me how to see what I have, what specs and Talents are, how to move them onto my bar and move them around, and finally, a suggestion that I pay attention to the level 3 quest I will get that has me test an ability on a training dummy, and how I should remember that because when I get new abilities, I can put them on my bar, go to one of those training dummies in any city, and try them out.”

Read the rest of “It’s Not Looking For Friends” »

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Raiding: Now With 100% More Flex

It’s “honking big announcements” time in the WoW world once again, as Blizzard unveils what’s coming up in the new patch. Some of it – like the new “Virtual Realm” idea – is still a bit too fresh to have many reactions out yet, but one announcement from last week has set off massive waves.

That’s the announcement that WoW is getting another – yes, another – way to raid: the “Flex Raid”, which will accomodate any number of players from 10 to 25 and adjust accordingly.

Some people think it’s the best thing since sliced bread. Some people would much prefer cheap Wonderloaf. Let’s go to the reactions:

  • Kurn’s back, and she writes a very thorough post looking at the problems (how exactly will raids scale? And will hardcore raiders now have to raid 3 raids a week?) and the advantages (Achievements, amongst other things) of flex raiding. Read The Flexible Raiding Conundrum
  • Keen thinks that this is a wonderful idea that all MMOs should adopt – after all, why should you be forced to only have 10 friends? Read All Raids Should Be Flexible
  • Saxsy thinks the devil’s in the details – she’s concerned about hardcore raiders having to raid too much, but very happy that the flex system will put the “MM” back in “MMO”. Read /flex
  • The Godmother sees the “hardcore” dilemma as another choice issue, similar to LFR, and thinks that Flex Raiding will be a boon for casual raiders. Read The Choice Is Yours
  • Typhoon Andrew fiercely disagrees that the Flex Raiding system will replace LFR – read Flex Raids In 5.4 And LFR Is Apparently Killing WoW
  • And Big Bear Butt has no time for people who complain about how the game has changed – read We All Want To Be Special

BTW, as you can see, I’m trying a new way of showcasing posts here, with no quotes but more info and the title bloggers have chosen. I’d be really interested to hear whether you prefer this to the old version, as I know people sometimes get annoyed by my choices of quote!

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