Player investment

For a game that has been around as long as World of Warcraft, there must be something special that keeps players coming back year after year. But from a design and story perspective, how do you make things new and exciting while keeping the essence of what keeps your players invested in the game? It’s a question I don’t have a great answer to, and I don’t envy the folks at Blizzard for having to find that delicate balance.

Over the years I’ve seen my friends and the greater blogosphere get worked up over changes in gameplay and mechanics, but even mores over changes to the world and the direction of the story. The response I felt to some of the things that happened during the War of the Thorns was a visceral thing at times, and judging from the conversations I’ve seen I’m not alone. Yesterday’s post shattered my record for most comments [thank you, my beautiful readers!], and the discussion was very thoughtful and sometimes emotional. People are trying to help each other navigate their feelings about the game and find a way to keep enjoying it.

My own feelings have definitely evolved over the past couple weeks. I’m in a place where I don’t fully trust the writers with the story, but I do trust that I’ll be able to find fun things to do anyway. My excitement for this expansion is low, probably just a bit better than I felt about WoD, but there are specific things I am looking forward to. As long as Sylvanas and Jaina stay away from becoming raid bosses I’ll eventually make my peace with the rest.

Let’s be honest, the most important part of the expansion is the fact that those extra levels will let me farm WoD and maybe Legion raids for transmog. And if Blizz wanted to give me my very own arcane pirate ghost ship, that wouldn’t hurt either…

16 thoughts on “Player investment

  1. Haha, you keep inspiring me. “[thank you, my beautiful readers!]” 😀

    I think I am with you on the lack of trust in the writers. All I can feel is this “GOTCHA, Didn’t expect that did you!?” moment coming on, and I dislike those, because more often than not, they are ONLY done for the shock effect alone. Like How I Met Your Mother or Desperate Housewives. It tainted the whole series and show and story with their “GOTCHA” acts, which went against all they had build up until that point.

    I hope I can mobilize trust in myself to enjoy BfA at some point, when I lack trust in the writers, as you say. Right now my subscription is running out soon, and I am ok with that. The hype has vanished. LF Hype, I guess?

    I do wonder what the results of the recent scaling/stat squish will be when it comes to Legion raids.

    • Totally agree about the “GOTCHA” moments. They are no fun at all when they don’t make sense in the story up to that point.

      I keep reminding myself that every time we go through this, the best part of a new expansion for me is that so many friends are returning to the game and exploring the new content together. I hope you can find your hype again. If nothing else there’s whole new lands to explore for your awesome screenshot stories!

    • I think a lot of the misplaced hate against Blizz writers happened because of no GOTCHA moment in the burning of Teldrassil.
      Everyone was cooking up their own tinfoil theory, and what happened was that the most obvious suspect burned it.
      (I had my own tinfoil moment, and still believe a lot of my predictions will play out 😛 )

      • Hm, I think it could be it. And that waiting around for knowledge about Sylvanas’ reasons for an unspecified amount of time, sadly, is causing loss of faith instead of peak of interest.

        Share your own tinfoils, please! I see a blog post in the making? 🙂

  2. Excellent thoughts 🙂

    I’m still waiting for the day one of the friendly bloggers tells me to please stop writing walls of text on their comments. (I dont do it on purpose, it just happens 😋 )

    Discussions like the one yesterday are what we need more, because so many are jumping on the bandwagon of “my tree burned, I hate it, gonna leave”. I’ve avoided logging in to wordpress, reddit and the forums on the last weeks precisely to avoid being bombarded with negativity. Nearly all stories so far had half the people loving it and half hating it, and since this story hit too close to home for a lot of players they are angry and sad.
    And most are claiming to find “flaws” when really it’s just nitpicking details, when sometimes it would just be better to be honest with themselves and saying “Im sad, I preferred how it was before”.

    But things change, and they move forward, and NO ONE can guess what the next two years will bring. My silly guess “Magni will be planted on the ashes and grow into a diamond montain” is as good as any other. Highly unlikely, but not 100% impossible. That’s he amount of story covered by what in the RTS games we called “fog of war” that we are clueless about. Two years ago no one guessed we’d hop on a ship and fly to Argus. (Silly Magni example, I know, but a silly humorous example works wonders 😀 )

    As for me and Princess, we are excited about this expac, did the Fall of Lordaeron on the Alliance side today as she hadnt done it yet, and can’t wait to see everything BfA has to offer 😀

    • I enjoy the walls of text lol! Sometimes it is so quiet around here, so it’s reassuring when people care enough to comment!

      I know that no matter how much the changes may annoy me or make me sad, the game will keep changing with or without me. I know myself well enough to know that unless they kill off some of my favorite lore folks completely I’ll be coming back to WoW with every new expansion just to see the sights.

      A diamond mountain is as likely as anything else at this point. My thought is that Queen Azshara will use the sea to put out the flames and try to reclaim the elves. Mostly because I am excited to see more of her.

    • I guess that is me “my tree burned, I hate it, gonna leave”.

      I am with you on the reddit and forums, because the negativity there is often not very constructive. It’s mostly “I hate this, but I cba to come up with ideas to make it better, and I will never EVER use the suggestion tab in the game, lolz, bye /unsubs not”. Where as the blogging atmosphere is mature, constructive and thoughtful to me.

      Glad to hear Princess is back and she is excited – Have fun together! 🙂

  3. Hm, another thought Gracie. I am wondering, and have been thinking about how divided the player base appears to me right now.

    I wonder if those that find losing Undercity and Teldrassil, Darnassus, Darkshore and Astranaar are the people that have played for the longest.

    Remember back when there was no LFG, no go go go. We had to visit our towns way more often. Go back to trainer (get robbed, lol), back to bank, back to quest delivery. Back when there was not a lot to do at end game but to chill in towns, trying to find a group for a Dungeon etc. It appears the player base that were around back then, are the player base that have taken the loss of the two cities the hardest. Maybe simply because we have a much stronger bond with those cities today.

    I imagine almost everyone today just have their HS set to Dalaran and always portal to Stormwind from that.

    • I think you are definitely onto something with this. Although, secondary capitol cities have been around since Shattrath in TBC. I do think the slower leveling meant you were in the original zones longer and had more time to bond with your race’s city. Plus, as you say, you had to chill out in town to find a group for anything. This is very interesting food for thought!

  4. Player Investment is a great question. For me, the most excitement that I have going into a new expansion are the features that I can imagine and anticipate. Sure, the Proving Grounds did not turn out to be what I hoped for: a place to hone my skills in private but I wanted it to be that. I was stoked about the Toy Box, guilds leveling to 25, riding in big strange tanks, flying. The story, I feel, will be what it is; maybe I’m numb because we never really seem to kill the boss on the box, he always gets away and escapes or gets frozen or we watch Thrall do it while we sit and eat sandwiches. Zero satisfying resolution or really sad resolution like losing our Aspects as leaders.
    So, there is almost nothing that I’m looking forward to in BfA. We are not getting new exciting ways to play the game, they all seem recycled from past ideas (and, I’ll admit that I will love to play them).
    Still, Blizzard holds the trump card if they need an influx of subscribers: Player Housing.

    • Oh man you said the magic words. If Blizz announced Player Housing my hype levels would immediately go from zero to maximum! You make a good point that there’s no really new systems being introduced this expansion, just additions to old ones. Hopefully there will be some surprises a few months down the road to spice things up.

  5. I’m curious! Player Housing. Which kind of it would you like to see implemented? Be as specific as you can, I’m genuinely curious 🙂

  6. Pingback: War of the Thorns: The Burning of Teldrassil – Alunaria's Avenue

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