Six months. Half a year. More or less, this is how long Wrath of the Lich King has been out. This is how long the WoW community at large has gone without any brand new content. Just the same continent, twelve dungeons, four raid zones and two battlegrounds to keep us company. Personally I went through all of the stuff within about three months and I’m sure others were even faster about it. And now we’re bored.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a problem with the game itself or any of the actual content. I thought that the Wrath content that did come with the expansion was great and certainly helped to expand the overall story line with great graphics and dungeons and all. But I’m beginning to think that Blizzard has sort of screwed the pooch on timing when dealing with this particular expansion. There are multiple reasons for this and trust me when I say that you’ll hear all of them (I do so love to go on), but it comes down to one major thing: Six months is too long to wait for new content.
Think about it. Yes, Blizzard released a larger continent than they did at the beginning of Burning Crusade. They also gave us incentives to go back and do as many of the quests as humanly possible in order to garner extra rewards for professions. Also involved were daily quests and a hundred little other things to keep us occupied and busy when we weren’t raiding or running dungeons. All this is great and fantastic, but the problem is that the true draw of the game, raiding and dungeons, were just too few to keep us occupied this entire time.
One problem with this is Blizzard tried to “learn it’s lesson” so to speak by making the end game very accessible. I will agree that the old end game content was intimidating with the idea that I had to spend hours and hours preparing and running dungeons and getting the right equipment or else I would be a craptacular failboat. That idea actually kept me from the end game because I didn’t want to have to work so hard for it. But now there’s no work needed at all to be able to do end game. Run a few dungeons, get half blues and greens and you’re ready for Naxxramas. Gone are the days of needing keys for dungeons or attuning yourself for raids. We had a guild member who dinged 80 and literally two minutes later was in Naxx picking up purples. The point here is that the occasional time sink can be good for the game and will serve to keep players occupied.
Another problem is the fact that there’s really only three new end game raids and all three of them are designed to take a half hour at the longest. Although Naxx did have a “new to me” feel, what must some of my guildies who farmed this on 40 man be feeling when it comes to this? They may be getting gear and that’s satisfying to them, but they’re also staring at the same bosses that they’ve done a hundred times before. There’s no new challenge to this since even though they hit harder and have more health, they’re not anymore challenging than they were before. In fact, Blizzard has already admitted they made Naxx too easy. The idea of an introductory raid is great in order to get people geared out and ready to go, but when that’s your major end game dungeon for six months you’re going to have problems.
Guilds are already feeling the squeeze with players who just can’t handle doing the same thing over and over week in and week out. Though achievements are out there with vanity items available to keep people busy, not everyone’s into that. Not everyone will want to spend hours and hours trying to do or get something that’s optional and in the end of no benefit to them whatsoever other than to say “ooh, shiny.” With the only options being to run the same raids or dungeons that have been available for six months, a lot of these players instead choose to just walk away from the computer for a while. It’s too boring for them to log on and I even find that sometimes I log on and sit there staring at my character and wondering why I’m even on.
Of course, some people will say to level an alt, but that’s not anything new. It’s the same content, just with a different perspective. Not to mention that for me, there’s nothing more boring or frustrating than running content that I’ve run before only not being able to waltz through it like I know I can on my main. Being a newb again sucks for some people and not everyone has the constitution to do it every few months when they’re bored with their mains. I want to have a reason to log onto the character I’ve dedicated a huge majority of my time to already, not some other little wiener char I’m using as a way to waste time.
So what are some things that Blizzard can do to help stave off the malaise that is brewing like a storm over Northrend? Obviously it’s unrealistic to expect new content patches every month and I can certainly respect and agree with the idea that you don’t want to release content that is incomplete or buggy just to give the whiners what they want. But there has to be a happy medium somewhere in between. There has to be a reason to log on. Personally, I think they should’ve focused on and released the Argent Tournament a couple of months ago. That was when most guilds had run Naxx enough to pretty much be done with it and were really beginning to butt their heads against Sarth 3D and Maly. A major content release like that would’ve served to keep people occupied again for at least a month and though boredom would’ve started to set in again by now, they would be that much closer to Ulduar.
Some people still will argue that more dungeons would’ve been the way to go and that could’ve been cool. A new five man is always fun and great to play in. But it would’ve had to be a level 80 dungeon and in order to entice end game players to keep them occupied. It also would’ve had to be close to 10 man raids in difficulty to present a challenge. Even then, it most likely would’ve only kept the 80′s busy and occupied for a few weeks before even that got pushed to the wayside. I believe what could’ve worked is to have released maybe three dungeons in quick succession with each one needing to be cleared before you could move to the next. Maybe a month apart or so.
Look, I don’t claim to know how long development of content takes and perhaps I’m being unfair, but I do think six months is an extremely long time to wait when you look at the utter lack of end game content available. By making it so easy that a level 80 character could be ready for Ulduar within a month or so of dinging, Blizzard messed up. They basically made a short path to a brick wall and now they’ve got millions of thirsty gamers howling at that wall. They shouldn’t be rushing content, but they should have had some new content by now instead of having us just sitting on the same old crap for months.
So what do you think, gentle jerkwads? What could blizzard have done to improve this concept of just not enough a lot of players are touting right now? Do you think new dungeons are in order or perhaps you’d like to see some other sort of content similar to Argent Tournament or the Darkmoon Faire? Maybe even some sort of mini raid? Or maybe Blizzard could have long attunement quests or difficult to obtain keys again? What could Blizzard have done to keep us busy?