I was talking with a friend the other day, a friend who started playing Warcraft not long after it launched. He unsubbed partway through Mists, was persuaded to try Warlords but didn’t even make it to level cap. He’s done with the game. He said that was the nature of MMO’s, they change, and the game Warcraft is now, isn’t the game he loved and played.
That made me think. I’ve said repeatedly, here and elsewhere, that I didn’t know what to do with Warcraft. I’d invested so much time, effort and money into the game, that just turning round to leave and never going back was hard to contemplate.
However, games are supposed to be fun. Rather than spend time in a game I no longer like, let alone love, wouldn’t it be better to leave? Let the memories of the good times remain, and accept that the game has changed and it’s no longer the game I loved and played.
It’s a wrench, I’ve never been good at letting go of things. However, change is inevitable and I’m reminded of something the same friend once told me years ago. I asked him if he was cross that items in game e.g. mounts, achievements, reputation etc. were easier to obtain now.
He said no because while he’d had to pay a premium in terms of time spent, in game currency, or real world currency, he’d had those things earlier and enjoyed them longer than others that got them later. He said the premium was for getting in early, like when things go on sale, it happens to everything sooner or later.
Well I guess it’s like that with the time and effort I sunk into Warcraft. I did it because I wanted to, and because I enjoyed it at the time. Continuing to try and play in an attempt to recapture what is no longer there, just wastes time.
Nobody ever said moving on was easy and some part of me thinks it’s ridiculous to talk this way about a video game, but as I’ve said before there’s real people behind those pixels. I made social connections through the game too.
So why unsub now?
I wrote a post about patch 6.2 just days ago, shouldn’t I wait around for it? Well, no because that patch doesn’t change anything. I find certain aspects interesting like the time walking dungeons but not enough to stay subbed.
Those features are like window dressing, something attractive to catch the eye to hide what shouldn’t be seen. Nothing fundamental is changing in 6.2 and the game has fundamentally changed from what I liked.
Once a decision is made to walk away, what’s the point in sticking around any longer? What’s the point in making any kind of progress in a game, in all likelihood, I’ll never go back to? There is no point, I’ve been circling the drain for ages, agonizing over it and I guess finally I got brave enough to cut the cord.
What killed it?
When I unsubbed I had to put why, it was check boxes with only a 250 character option to explain. I could have written a lot more. Picking out any specific change or feature just makes it sound like I’m quitting over a petty grievance. It’s not like that. The reason behind the final decision isn’t any single factor, it’s a whole host of issues that are just too much to ignore any longer.
However, I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t at least try and explain what I think changed the game, from something I spent practically a literal year playing, to something I’ll never play again.
The starting point was LFR.
The first LFR of Dragon Soul wasn’t so bad. There were the three new dungeons which offered very effective catch up gear, there was also justice for catch up gear, and valor for current normal raid gear. I barely ran LFR at all, which was how I liked it but I loved those dungeons.
That was a great patch for me. I played all my alts, I ran them through the dungeons getting drops, I accumulated justice and valor, I barely even noticed that the patch lasted longer than people wanted. I had a great time.
Then Mists dropped and the changes to my paladin were amazing. I loved active mitigation, it was the best change ever and I knew then that I never wanted to go back to anything other than tanking. The only thing I still missed as a paladin was the Righteous Defense AOE taunt but who needed it? I felt so powerful, I had such great self healing. It was brilliant.
Unfortunately, all the rest of the changes Mists brought weren’t so great. The only valor gear available was double gated behind reputations, and it was no longer raid level. Justice gear was ridiculously low and dungeon drops were just as worthless. Yeah justice and valor still existed in Mists but they were gutted.
With the second raid patch, locking the valor gear behind a raid reputation just sealed it’s fate. As a raider I had no need of the gear, my alts did need the gear but I don’t raid on my alts. There were no new dungeons. Basically, I played my main only as the way I loved to play my alts was gone. I couldn’t run dungeons and slowly accumulate gear any longer.
It’s really no surprise that when I burned out on raiding after finishing Siege on normal, that I then took a break from the game. When I burned out on raiding in Cata after finished Dragon Soul on normal, I turned to my alts and had a great time. I had no such option this time. Timeless Isle gear might drop like candy but it was the same level as the starter raid and there was no progression in it.
I don’t want gear to be easy to get. I want it be slow, to take time, but to have measurable progression. I got that running dungeons and collecting points. I’d run one or two dungeons at a time, maybe I got lucky with a drop but I knew after a couple more sessions I could buy a piece of gear. I felt like my time in game accomplished something. Plus I have always loved dungeons, they are the perfect group size as they are small enough for one person to be able to have an impact.
Warlords just put the boot in.
The removal of hit/expertise, dodge/parry I can understand. All I did was max out the caps for hit/expertise, it was something that had to be done and so might as well just be automatic. However, adding all those other stats just seemed unnecessary.
What was worse, is the complete random nature of practically everything. Gear is all random, new content like the selfie camera is random (I still don’t have it), what stats you get, whether there’s a gem socket, everything just went random. That isn’t compelling, that’s confusing and frustrating.
Add to that, no decent way to gear up outside garrison missions which are available every two weeks. Which are – you guessed it – random in what they give you. Well, that would be bad enough but they completely gutted how my paladin feels to play. I don’t know if it was the item squish, the changes to vengeance or whatever they are calling it now, but they wrecked it.
True, I get that it’s wrong for classes to be overpowered. I’m not going to deny that sometimes protection paladins might have been. However, it’s a game and so long as everyone gets a moment in the sun, what is wrong with players feeling like heroes? What is wrong with people feeling powerful?
I know I’ve made this sound like it’s all about gear, and yeah I know Warcraft offers a lot more than just gear. However, gear is what the game revolves around, it’s how everything works. True, you can make mini-games out of other aspects but gear is at the core of everything else.
Even non-raiders need gear. It doesn’t have to be raid gear but there should be a clear progression, so they can feel that they are accomplishing something for their time. When LFR was introduced in my opinion that started the whole cascade. If you don’t raid, or run LFR, then you are left out of the gear treadmill. There are no real viable options without it and everyone deserves clear, measurable progression.
It’s called a carrot on a stick and Warcraft just doesn’t have one anyone.
Outside of gear, as I said there’s the changed feeling of my main. I first rolled a Mage but once I discovered the Paladin class I never looked back. As the history of this blog will show, I wasn’t always a tank as I was too scared. I always liked tanking but I fell into healing. I got the courage and the class became amazing at the same time. Mists of Pandaria was an incredible time to be a protection paladin.
In Warlords it’s just not the same. Again mostly because it’s random I think. Sometimes I’ll hit a heal and it’ll be great, other times I’ll hit Word of Glory and get nothing. I have five stacks of Bastion of Glory both times, I have three holy power, I don’t get why it’s sometimes good and sometimes not.
There’s other small things too. I think I said about the profession changes, with everything being so random and so gated. Then there’s the lack of flying, possibly ever in future content. They might add it in to Draenor when the next expansion comes out but I’m not holding my breath.
Random killed it, random is good in terms of not giving people everything at once. However, random can be too random and if there is no safety net for bad luck, no alternate path, then it just becomes frustration.
I could go on but I won’t as what’s done is done. This isn’t a list of complaints, just an explanation. I’m a writer and so I like words, I like to write about things. I have no expectation that Warcraft will reverse direction and I quite frankly no longer care.
People sometimes ask if the game got sunsetted where would you end? Well, the same question applies to logging out for the final time. Where will I take my paladin to end their days?
I have always loved how pretty the Isle of Quel’Danas is, so that’s an option. It could be Howling Fjord, arriving in Northrend on the boat that first time was a real wow moment. There’s the small lake and house just above Stormwind, that’s a nice spot. Although it does occur to me that if I no longer care, why not just log out where I sit? I’ll have to think about it.
That’s it, this will be my final post on Warcraft. The End. Will I ever resub? Not unless the game reverses direction and possibly not even then. When I quit during the end of Mists, I always knew I would resub for Warlords, I just didn’t want to pay blizz for another six months of nothing. However, this is it, this is the end.
I’m finally ready to say goodbye.