As I read WoW blogs and forums, there are a lot of naysayers out there that complain a lot. People always think that their class is nerfed, that others are overpowered, that PvP beats PvE or vice versa. There is certainly no consensus on any of this. The incessant arguing over all those issues – that’s called game balance.
I have never really found myself in a position to complain about the game. Heck, when you grow up playing Zork on a C64, these MMO’s are quite a spectacle, even after playing for two years.
- Can you imagine how hard it must be to balance classes for both PvE and PvP? You have three talent trees per class. You have three or four vital stats for each class that call for specific itemization in gear. You have gear that is gained through raids, instances, PvP, and quests. And yet with all of these variables, the game is still pretty well balanced. I can go into a raid with a druid tank, warrior tank, or pally tank and feel pretty confident. I don’t care if I am healed by a druid, shaman, or priest – they can all keep me alive. A rogue in PvP gear, a fury warrior in raid gear, a mage in badge gear – all capable of good dps. Combine that with the rock-paper-scissors trickiness of PvP balance. There are no classes that are completely unplayable in any situation. Imagine being a developer and trying to set that up! That is a task of epic proportions. Sure there are some classes that are better than others in certain situations, so it is not 100% perfectly balanced. But for the developers to even get this close is nothing short of amazing.
- The game is still fun after two years of playing. I can only speak for myself on this, but the fact that there are still ten million subscribers means that I am not alone. How many activities can you do for hours and hours and repeat day after day without getting bored? Not many. It is a supreme compliment to the game designers that I log on every evening.
- I do different things every time I play, and I play seven days a week. One day I do a 25-man raid. Two days I do 10-man raids. I run a heroic or two every week. I do dailies for gold some days. I don’t even have enough time to level my alt anymore. And I do zero PvP, so I’m not even including the time some people spend in arenas or battlegrounds. The game developers have put forth the effort to provide enough varied activities to keep us busy and interested. Again – put yourself in the position of the developers, and ask yourself how hard that task would be.
- The game is technically brilliant. Consider that this is the only MMO I have ever played, so I don’t have a lot of other samples to compare it to. I hear stories of other games where the lag was terrible, where it took 10 minutes to zone into a new area, or where you needed a cutting-edge computer to run the graphics smoothly. WoW plays on even low-end systems. It rarely crashes. Glitches are few and far between. Some people complain when their server goes down for a few hours. How often does that happen? Once every couple of months? That’s a darn good track record.
- This game has a very reasonable learning curve. My wife never played any video games before this, and she is now an awesome healer. My mother (over 60 years old) picked up the game having never played anything beyond the Atari 2600. Is she an amazing uber-raider? No. Is she having fun? Lots. My daughter started playing at 10 years old. How many games are out there that appeal to that kind of age range?
It is possible that a lot of this was true for games like EQ (which I have never played) long before WoW. I think that the numbers speak for themselves… ten million subscribers, still the top of the heap in the MMO world more than three years after release with no other games even close to its subscriber base. Death Knights and the other news about the expansion seems to have people excited again, so I don’t see any of this changing.
Another common complaint goes something like ‘with all of the money Blizz is making, it had better be good.’ What, has Sony never made a bad game? Nintendo never made a clunker? Those companies are bigger than Blizzard, and sometimes they produce crap. Money does not equal quality. Quality comes from attention to detail and setting high standards for yourself.
So, good job, Blizzard. Keep up the great work.