Hurry Up with the Patch!

Premise: Blizzard is waiting too long to release Patch 4.1 and is allowing the player base to slowly wither away.

My guild has always been a pretty good microcosm of the general trends in WoW.  We’re a pretty diverse group and not too focused on any one thing, so just about any pattern in the game at large is reflected in the guild population to some extent.

I didn’t collect actual data for this, so my observations are purely anecdotal.  With that in mind, overall online time in my guild has plummeted drastically in the past few weeks.  Whereas a few weeks ago you could find 15-20 people online even on a non-raiding night, now we are lucky to have 8-10 on and we are struggling to populate raids.  The decrease has become most obvious in the past two weeks, so I conclude (unscientifically) that the rate of player loss has accelerated lately.  That’s just in my guild, but as I said we are usually pretty typical of the game as a whole.

The dropoff has become quite notable among our most devoted players.  You know those players – the ones that you can count on to be online every night, even if they are just sitting in Stormwind doing nothing more than talking in guild chat.  Those players are often AWOL these days as well.

If the patch had dropped two weeks ago, with the new heroics and mechanics changes, it would have been just in time to hold the interest of many bored players.  If it had been released this week it still would have been close.

Now that it seems like it will be next week at the earliest, I am just looking at damage control.  I’m wondering how many people will already be 2 or 3 weeks offline by that point and simply won’t come back.

Blizzard has always had the “when its ready” philosophy and I can respect that.  However, this has dragged on for quite a while now.  I only wonder if its affecting other guilds as badly as it is mine.


11 Responses to “Hurry Up with the Patch!”

  1. April 21, 2011 at 9:08 am

    It’s a good question. However, based upon my previous experiences with other MMO’s, a rushed patch can be a nasty set of bugs, downed servers, and overall a crap experience. I note Age of Conan as one of the worst examples of fail patches and fail game. I would rather they let it out only when they are solid and ready for it.

    • April 21, 2011 at 2:58 pm

      The patch was announced ages ago. It went on the PTR in late February, I think. If it was that buggy I can’t imagine that it would have been on the PTR for two months already.

  2. April 21, 2011 at 11:22 am

    I’m not saying that anyone here would act this way, but in my experience with onling gaming, the population in general is always going to be:

    “you’re not giving us new content fast enough!” AND and the very same time, “OMG this new content is buggy and it sucks why didn’t you fix it first!”

    Maybe I’m too cynical but I think this is true of people in general, and not just in an MMO. We want what we want, when we want it, and even if you give it to us when we want it, if it’s less than what we expected we will complain. 😛

    • April 21, 2011 at 3:01 pm

      A proper content release schedule would be timed so that as people get tired of the old content, the new content re-energizes them.

      I’m saying that Blizzard is missing their window. They should really have had this patch ready for a week or two ago.

      Its not like this just showed up on the PTR. Its been tested for about two months now. Also, its not brand new content, but re-imagined old content. It really comes off to me as if they are dragging their feet.

  3. 5 Dink
    April 21, 2011 at 11:46 am

    Alot are out this week and last due to spring break. I expect a small return to WoW when 4.1 drops.

  4. 6 Wraithstrike
    April 22, 2011 at 8:34 am

    You know what would revitalize this game and give people a reason to do old content and see things they have not seen in game before because it is not part of progression?

    An appearence tab feature.

    Write an article on that.

  5. 7 Bartokomous
    April 22, 2011 at 11:27 am

    I wouldn’t consider a recent trend of people not logging in as frequently “player loss” really, that only happens when they unsubscribe. I don’t think that’s happening all that much tbh.

    Also to trivialize the new dungeons as just reimagined old-content as a reason why it shouldn’t take so long isn’t very fair. Yeah they have the same names, same basic geography, but that’s not what takes a long time to perfect with this stuff. The encounters (from bosses to trash packs) is what Blizz is trying to tune and debug, and that is all new despite the fact that some of the bosses happen to have the same names as before.

    I’m sure they aren’t dragging their feet– there is some reason it’s delayed yeah (and it’s frustrating, I give you that!), but I’m pretty confident they are not just being lazy at that billion dollar company. 🙂

    • 8 Karmakin
      April 22, 2011 at 1:15 pm

      I heard somewhere, forget where that there was a game breaking bug with Runic power that is the reason for the delay.

  6. 9 Kit
    April 22, 2011 at 5:18 pm

    Hmmm . . . you’ve made me think about something. What do you suppose is the distribution of renewal dates? Are they spread evenly, or more towards the beginning of the month? So a patch date near the 1st of the month brings people back just before their subscriptions run out. I’m probably giving Blizzard too much “Evil Overlord” cred, huh?

  7. 10 Marshal
    April 23, 2011 at 2:05 pm

    We have had issues with players too. We haven’t had a raid in two weeks as we can’t get 10 people to sign up. I have been so bored, I have played a bit of Rift, at least it is new content.

  8. April 23, 2011 at 6:11 pm

    You have no idea how right you are.

    I used to be on a recurring charge on my debit card… then, I changed to a timecard… and now, I’m letting my timecard run out on Monday.

    Well, actually, it has more to do with the fact that I’m unemployed and can’t afford WoW anymore, but eh, minor details.

    Frankly, after more than a few years, the game has gotten stale and the reasons are many and varied.

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