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.