There was a post at wow.com yesterday about the death of in-game interaction. Unfortunately, the writer set his premise but then spent the rest of the article explaining what he would do to fix it, instead of exploring his actual premise and the reasons why. His ideas were mostly nonsense and even included that old hoary chestnut of a bigger death penalty. This obviously meant that the comments were made up of four pages of people calling him a moron. But digging deeper into the comments I discovered something: a few people were agreeing with his actual premise, and as a result they were getting down-rated.
The actual fact of the matter is that the majority of players in the 11.5 million that play WoW are not the the same ones who played it back in 2005. They did not experience the original WoW and its social aspect. Their WoW is the log in, push a green button, do an instance and get your loots without talking to anybody. It seems that a lot of the original players who want social interaction have moved on to EvE. A pity that I don’t like space games. So of course that post on wow.com is going to be taken to pieces – the playerbase has changed. He’s preaching to the wrong crowd.
So where does this leave old fossils like me? In the unenviable position of whining about this state of affairs on my blog. I played a bit of WoW on Sunday afternoon. Did some stuff on my priest. It actually bored me shitless. I haven’t made any friends, but that is as much my own fault as the games. I searched in the Barrens yesterday and discovered about 30 other players there. Yet I didn’t attempt to make contact with any of them. This is my own unwillingness, but it is also a symptom of the state of the game. The game doesn’t put you in any situations where you could make friends. To try and force it yourself is un-natural and uncomfortable. Why should I go through that in a game that is supposed to be relaxing?
Cataclysm will not fix this. It will have a brief period of social activity when everyone is levelling together. But the basic game mechanics are still the same. I was thinking yesterday that even questing has become out-dated. I do not have to even read a quest now. Click on the ‘!’, look on map where the area is that I have to go, cursor over mobs until I find one that says ‘0/12′, kill them until it says 12/12, go back to point on map with ‘?’. It’s not very immersive. But if that is all you know then it’s great. You did not experience the original game so you have nothing to compare it to.
The next 12 months should be very interesting. Apart from Catalycm itself, there are a bunch of new games coming out. Guild Wars 2 looks very impressive. They promise a lot but if they deliver it could be my WoW killer. Lets face it – WoW isn’t the game that it used to be. But it was so good when it came out, so breathtaking in its scope and execution that we just don’t want to leave her behind. I’ll leave you with a quote from Travis McGee on San Francisco. It sums up my feelings on WoW:
“… San Francisco is the most depressing city in America. The come-latelys might not think so… But there are too many of us who used to love her. She was like a wild classy kook of a gal, one of those rain-walkers, laughing gray eyes, tousle of dark hair–sea misty, a lithe and lively lady, who could laugh at you or with you, and at herself when needs be… A girl to be in love with, with love like a heady magic… She used to give it away, but now she sells it to the tourists. She imitates herself. Her figure has thickened. The things she says now are mechanical and mechanized. She overcharges for cynical services … This one had her chance to go straight and she lost it somehow, and it has been downhill ever since. That’s why she is so depressing to those of us who knew her when. We all know what she could have been, and we all know the lousy choices she made. She has driven away the ones who love her best. A few keep trying. But the love words have a hollow tone these days.”
from “The Quick Red Fox” by John D. MacDonald.