Is this a failure or just the path of an aging game?

MMO Champion has done some data analysis from the WoW armory and has found that upwards of 60% of all WoW players have done Highmaul at some level, whether LFR, Normal, Heroic, or Mythic.

However, only 36% have done even the first wing of Blackrock Foundry on any difficulty.  That includes LFR, which has been available since February 17th.  The later wings have been done by even fewer people.

I’ll admit, I have only done the first two wings of BRF, and only once each.

What’s the reason for this?

Is WoW hemorrhaging players the way the naysayers have claimed?  I haven’t seen recent subscriber numbers.  In my guild, a lot of our long-time players have stopped logging on.  I don’t think they have unsubbed, but I don’t see them for days at a time.  Why?  There’s nothing in the game that is holding their attention.

Guild raiding seems to be dead unless you’re in a progression guild.  It is easier to get your raiding fix through Group Finder or LFR.  Here’s the downside of that – if your raiding activities are limited to LFR and Group Finder, then you have no personal motivation to upgrade your gear.

In guild raiding, if you run into a roadblock or wipe repeatedly, then you look for ways to improve.  Everyone in the guild has to work to get better otherwise you’ll never succeed.  You grind out opportunities for upgrades, whether in LFR or crafting or the auction house, because you have to run with the same people next week.

In LFR/GroupF inder raids, if your group fails, you can always requeue and find another group.  There is no personal responsibility to gear up or even to be any good at all.

For example, I have not upgraded my crafted gear, even though I have the resources to do so.  There is no personal motivation for me to spend the resources.  LFR is easy and Group Finder is hit or miss, but a patient player can usually find a good group that will succeed.  Why should I push myself and spend gold to raise my iLvL if I am just running LFR?

Because I have no gear grind driving me, I really don’t do many of the raid-related activities in the game.  I do garrison chores and I do LFR to make progress in the legendary questline.  I do pet battles to get closer to my Level 3 Menagerie and fishing to get closer to me Level 3 Fishing Shack.  Once I finish those buildings I doubt I will pet battle or fish any more.  Then it will just be the legendary and achievements keeping my attention.

The solution to this, in my mind, is to revitalize guild raiding.  Incentivize raiding in guilds, somehow.  That, however, is unlikely to happen.  Blizzard has spent the past couple of xpacs crippling guilds in order to promote overall accessibility.  Non-progression guilds are all-but-pointless now other than social constructs.  Without guilds, we lose any personal responsibility.  Instead of increasing raid accessibility, what we are seeing is people unsubscribing and raids are going unplayed.

I’ve heard that PVP stinks right now, too.  What it seems like is that all of Blizzard’s efforts to increase accessibility of the game are falling flat once at max level.  At level 100, the game is mainly engaging for progression raiding guilds. Everyone else – casuals, pvpers, guild raiders – are getting more and more unhappy.

I’m still busy in game, but it is discouraging to log on on a weeknight and see only 2-3 guildies online.  If nothing changes, then I predict a nice spike in activity at patch 6.2, followed by a HUGE drop in players once they burn through that content.  Hopefully Blizzard will add some hook to get our attention in the near future.

8 Responses to “Is this a failure or just the path of an aging game?”

  1. March 31, 2015 at 9:44 pm

    “Non-progression guilds are all-but-pointless now other than social constructs.”

    How is now any different from Vanilla/BC/WotLK in this regard?

    • April 12, 2015 at 9:42 pm

      There used to be plenty of casual raiding guilds. In fact, I’d say there were more casual raiding guilds than progression raiding guilds. I think that progression raiders don’t even realize that.

      Now, with LFR/Group Finder, the casual guild is dying out.

  2. April 1, 2015 at 9:21 pm

    Blizzard SAID that normal mode was going to be for Friends and Family guilds, but they overtuned it for that audience. The problem isn’t accessibility, it’s Blizzard once again screwing up by being too hardcore.

    • April 2, 2015 at 12:42 am

      “but they overtuned it for that audience.”

      How are you drawing this conclusion? I mean, keep in mind that it’s *progression* for Friends and Family guilds which means those guilds are supposed to take a few months to work their way through the bosses. Do you know of F&F guilds that got legitimately stuck on a boss?

  3. 5 Hamacus
    April 2, 2015 at 6:31 pm

    Well being in a guild that can’t even get enough people to show up we are functionally “Stuck” on a boss.

    Din I agree with your thoughts 100%. I have become one of those that don’t even log on lately as PvP pretty much sucks and we have no hope of fielding a competent raid team. This is the first time in 9+ years of WoW that I have no inclination to play at all.

    Maybe at some point I will try to find an Open Raid group to get through content as I did in the last expansion but that even seems doubtful at this point.

    • April 2, 2015 at 7:37 pm

      “Well being in a guild that can’t even get enough people to show up we are functionally “Stuck” on a boss.”

      So what would change that? I mean, I’ve seen people claim that normal should be easy enough that a F&F guild should be able to clear the whole place with 2-3 wipes on a boss…which also means you’d be “progressed” through the place in 2-3 weeks as long as you raided like 4 hours a week.

      Are you not getting *far* enough in normal or something to get people to motivate people to show up? Should the first few bosses be easier and the difficulty effectively go up more during the zone (instead of from 3 to 6 on normal go to from 1 to 6 on normal)?

  4. 7 Hamacus
    April 3, 2015 at 11:47 am

    @ Balkoth
    My first reaction would be to totally get rid of LFR. Given that Blizzard is not going to do that I think that maybe they should push back LFR access even further. Maybe pushed back to a month or two before the next major expansion.

    I understand that Blizzard wants the so called “casual” player to see content but by giving access to content before friends and family guilds have had a chance to get through it you give players an opt out option that kills guilds like our. Certain players that really don’t know what “raiding” is and what it entails.

    These players really don’t know (or care) that progression raiding, even in casual or family friendly guilds, involves commitment. You show up prepared and on time. You stick around, even through the wipes. You improve your character through gear and better game play and personal responsibility.

    Most of the uber-casuals are not going to do this. Especially when they can hit a LFR and get the same or better gear there or through Garrison Missions. In LFR they can be anonymous stand in bad or under-perform in other ways and rarely if ever be called out. No commitment.

    I love that Blizzard is creating a great environment for true progression raiding (Mythic). I love that they are giving those without the time or commitment to an option to “see” content. I am just sad that Blizzard has totally taken away any incentive for those uncommitted casual players to show up for anything outside of the LFR experience. Regrettably at the expense of guilds like ours.

  5. 8 Bryogue
    April 9, 2015 at 12:18 pm

    I am having a hard time finding a raiding guild. There is no middle class in WoW anymore. Its mostly elitist jerks or so casual they don’t care. I am 40 and have a day job so I can’t spend as much time studying fights but I figure it out (I do study). I know my toon and can put up numbers once I learn a fight. There is no patience for this kind of player anymore. My Rogue is as leveled as it can be without a guild. Its frustrating because I want to play.

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