What is Blizzard thinking?
It’s one of the questions I’ve been pondering now for the past few weeks. It’s a valid question to ask. Blizzard has lost almost 1 million subscribers since Cataclysm has launched. Multiply that by $15 per month (a rough guesstimate). That’s about 90 million lost in a 6 month period. 90 MILLION.
You can’t sit here and claim Blizzard isn’t panicking. That’s a lot money to lose in a 6-month period of time and it will only increase as time goes on.
So what’s causing this sudden drop of subscribers?
1. Raid Lockouts
This change was probably the biggest one. Both 10 and 25 man raids share the same lockout. Many guilds decided to go the 10-man route and forgo 25s altogether. I know that for my old Oceanic guild, this was a huge issue. It slowed progression greatly. We could no longer work on bosses in our 10-man to prepare us for 25s. And all of the sudden our raiding roster dropped from 35 to a mere 15 people including socials.
2. Class Changes
How many Paladins do you know that quit WoW because of the introduction of Holy Power? I know a few actually. It’s quite sad because these people loved their class and hated the changes made to it. They didn’t want to re-roll anything else, so they just left the game. A couple of them are actually playing Rift now and enjoy it. Rift seems to have that “old school WoW-feel” to it that many people miss in Cataclysm.
3. Boss Mechanics
Cataclysm has just been plain harder than Wrath. T11 broke many guilds. Some guilds STILL have yet to kill Chogall, Nefarian, and Al Akir even after their respective nerfs. And T12 is worse. I’m all for fun encounters, but bosses like Lord Rhyolith are just plain unnecessary. It’s taking it a step too far. It’s not just “don’t stand in bad” or “kill these adds.” Sometimes I just yearn for a good old-fashioned “lolPatchwerk” fight.
Now we are hearing that the 4.3 Deathwing fight will require someone (or maybe the entire raid?) to be on his back flying around. We still don’t know much about it, but I just hope that it’s difficult without being overkill. I liked the Nefarian encounter. I’m hoping it’s difficulty is somewhat similar without the mechanics not being too punishing.
4. Familiar Content
Cataclysm has been all about familiar content and familiar faces. Some familiar parts seem all new (like questing in Silverpine, which I loved), while others haven’t been graced with as much attention (Winterspring, etc.) We also saw reworked dungeons like H-Deadmines and H-Shadowfang Keep and some brand new ones.
We saw some new places, like Hyjal, Uldum, and Twilight Highlands. These places were pretty epic to quest in. The story lines were very well-tied into the lore of their respective areas. But once you hit 85, the fun stopped.
But to be honest, nothing in Cataclysm has been TRULY new to the player base. Not like Burning Crusade or even Wrath. It’s all familiar as if we’ve all done it before and it’s getting old real fast. Even the “new content” patches have been familiar. 4.1 brought old troll raids back as heroic dungeons. 4.2 brought back an old Molten Core boss and the raid itself has broken quite a few raiding guilds due to ridiculous boss mechanics. I’m starting to think Blizzard is running out of ideas.
5. Bring the
Another huge issue, specifically for healers. You didn’t really see this as an issue in T11 (mainly just for endgame bosses), but this philosophy has pretty much been required for T12. Blizzard has designed every T12 boss to have a phase where cycling through healing cooldowns is the only way for the raid to survive. Without said CDs, your raid wouldn’t survive because your healers just couldn’t keep up with the boss’ DPS. We saw Shaman get a powerful raid CD in the form of Spirit Link Totem. We saw Druids get more up-time with Tranquility. Discipline Priests got a nerf to Power Word: Barrier, but it was just to bring it more in line with other raid CDs. Paladins still have the incredibly powerful (but situational) Aura Mastery. And Holy Priests got—-nothing.
I know a few Holy Priests who have since temporarily left the game for greener pastures or new experiences, and some are fellow bloggers who I hold great respect for. I certainly don’t fault them for trying out something new and I understand what it means to be passionate about your class.
In the long run, you should be able to play the spec you want to play and not be told to play something else just because of one ability. It’s unfortunate that the raiding community has come to this mentality. But I don’t blame the community. I blame Blizzard.
We all play this game to have fun. If you don’t enjoy a specific class or spec, then why play it at all?