Syp over at Waaagh! has an interesting piece on Blizzard’s recent decision to allow players to transfer from PvE Realms to PvP Realms. There is widespread rage in the WoW community over this, and Syp raises some very interesting points ans questions.
Is Blizzard doing this in response to the release of Warhammer? If so, does that sound… maybe a little desperate? More desperate than Blizzard has good reason to be?
But the most interesting point in the article for me was:
I truly feel bad for current Warcraft players, because in trying to retain subscribers by throwing them everything but the kitchen sink, Blizzard continues to alienate the population by creating an environment of uncertainty and massive change.
There’s a dirty secret of the MMO audience right there. We in the blogosphere like to chant about ‘change’ and ‘innovation’. But what the garden-variety MMO player wants is stability. Rapid, radical changes to an MMO is a sign of certain doom, whether it’s the overhaul done to Asheron’s Call 2 before its demise, or the whuppin’ that was laid on Star Wars Galaxies with its new game experience. No matter how flawed it is, and no matter how much they bitch about it, people develop a comfort level, and big changes take them out of that zone.
I’m not saying that this is such a radical change – I don’t think it is, and I doubt I would personally be particularly upset by it, were I a hardcore WoW player, but people will leave the game over it. And the huge changes made to leveling in recent months are pretty radical. You’ll upset more people with radical alterations that you will in incremental ones. The trick is to push, but not try too hard, and a careful development pace is best – something Blizzard is known for. I wonder what changed there that makes them want to make a bunch of big changes? Are they really that scared of Warhammer?
There’s no question in my mind that the only company that can kill World of Warcraft is Blizzard themselves. Is this the sound of the inmate being strapped down?