World of Warcraft is still the top dog in the MMO space today. Even with subscription numbers slipping dramatically over the past two years or so, WoW still boasts "only" seven million subscribers. That's right: Seven million people paying $15.00 a month to play a nine year old game. Even in Asia where game time is purchased by the hour, the amount of income generated by WoW is staggering and could probably outpace the GNP of many small nations. There's not a publisher or developer in the business that wouldn't want to be the one to topple the Blizzard juggernaut and, while inevitably that time will come, WoW remains the most popular MMO on the planet.
So why is it that some people absolutely abhor World of Warcraft? We have a few ideas to present in today's List.
5) The Lemming Syndrome
Let's face it: It's simply fashionable to hate World of Warcraft. Some people just see W-O-W strung together and a red haze drops over their vision and they charge into any forum discussion to spew vitriol. Once that starts, the lemmings rush in to further denigrate WoW and to make their point that it is the suxxor. What's always astonishing are the number of these people who openly admit to never having played the game or who haven't played it "in years". Yet, at the same time, they claim some sort of mystical ability to criticize that which they do not know.
"I have a friend of a friend of a cousin who said that WoW sucks."
"I read on a forum somewhere far, far away that WoW is really horrible."
You get the idea. The bottom line is that it's popular to jump on the Hate Train when it comes to World of Warcraft. Haters gonna hate, right?
4) The Stupification of WoW Since Vanilla
One of the more popular complaints when it comes to WoW is that it's gotten ridiculously stupified since the "good ol' vanilla days" of yore. Honestly, there is merit to this contention coming from the standpoint of someone who only recently began to play. Good times were had by all when it came to having to actually go out and achieve something.
"You would have loved the days when you had to go out questing for your first mount and then it was ridiculously expensive." my friend Shelassa has told me.
She's right too. World of Warcraft has been 'dumbed down' from that standpoint but that's not all bad. It's easy to look back on the good old days through the filtered vision of rose-colored glasses. There's no question that there were many complaints and many reasons why Blizzard has chosen the path it has when it comes to the current iteration of WoW. In another 10 years, we'll all look back on today's version with nostalgia as well.
3) The Ultimate Theme Park
As more and more players chafe to be released from the dreaded theme park in favor of the sandbox approach to MMOs, many point derisively at World of Warcraft as the ultimate example of all that is wrong with MMOs today. Quest hubs and exclamation marks and FedEx quests, OH MY! Let's not forget stylized graphics either, something we've been hearing a lot about lately with EverQuest Next taking a page out of the Blizzard playbook. In short, everything that drives sandboxers insane is embodied in World of Warcraft.
The terrible evil that WoW created has only repeated itself ad nauseum over the last nine years in these folks' minds and it's very easy for them to bandy the phrase "WoW clone" with a sneer.
2) Grinding Gear & Dailies
World of Warcraft has become increasingly dependent on players possessing adequate gear in order to participate in certain dungeons, raids, or events. Without the proper 'gear score', players are often locked out of content, something that makes a lot of people foam at the mouth because becoming properly equipped requires a huge amount of time and grinding away in lower-level dungeons and raids or PvP to obtain what's needed.
Grinding daily quests has also become a big part of a WoWer's life. Pandaria is simply rife with them: Quests that can be completed daily in order to gain faction reputation that opens up the ability to purchase high-end gear, mounts, tabards, and more. In fact, so unpopular has the Pandaria dailies grind become that patch v5.4 will feature an island that has been described as having no dailies for players to complete. This is a prime "selling point" for the patch. Pretty sad, huh?
The fact is that players hate grinding and, at least for level 90 players, grind is a way of life. It's quite tiresome as Shelassa and I have discovered in our time playing WoW together. Increasingly we find ourselves preferring to go play Diablo 3 or some other game simply to escape the daily grind.
1) Utter & Complete Jealousy
Still, as said in the intro, World of Warcraft is the top dog, the game to beat, the standard against which every other MMO measures itself. Don't try to deny it. MMO developers are constantly looking for ways to 'think outside the box' in order to take down WoW. After so many years of attempting (and failing) to clone WoW, developers are now pushing the envelope and becoming more and more innovative in the process. This is only a good thing for the industry.
Until the time, however, that a game comes along that truly improves all that World of Warcraft is, it will remain on top. There never has been a more popular game than WoW and for good reason: It set the standard. For my money, it will take a long, long time for any other game to become what WoW has been to so many people. It is truly something special.
What about you? Love WoW? Hate it? Let us know in the comments, being terribly polite, of course.
Suzie Ford & Shelassa play on the Magtheridon EU server. You can follow Suzie @MMORPGMom on Twitter.