Joe's World... Of Warcraft: Keeping the WOW in WoW
This week, in his World of Warcraft editorial, Joe Iuliani poses the question: What keeps players interested in playing WoW and what draws new players to a game where so many people have already reached max level?
World of Warcraft is closing in on its three year anniversary. There is no doubt that WOW had taken the gaming world by storm. Their sales and subscriptions have been nothing less than extraordinary and nobody can really argue with their statistics.
In fact, they are many MMO players out there who never played anything but WOW (you really need to feel bad for them). Additionally, they have become the hurdle that almost every new fantasy based MMO must jump, so much so that most emerging games are accused of being “WoW clones”.
Even with these credits, the question is “After three years can WoW still hold a player’s interest?”
With more and more subscribers keeping their eye on the next MMO, how will WOW stay competitive in an evolving and expanding MMO world?
One of the challenges that World of Warcraft faces is keeping the interest their current players while recruiting new subscribers. Sure, WoW’s subscriber numbers are high, but how many of those are active players? By active players I am referring to the gamers out there. The folks that play the game as intended: questing, raiding, and PVPing. Not the folks using the game to turn a profit.
How are new players supposed to catch up with current players? The original game has a level cap of 60, now the expansion has raised that number to 70, and the planned expansion increases it further to level 80. With such a wide gap, this could turn some new players off from wanting to join WOW. At this point, with so many games on the horizon, why would somebody join WOW now? Too many potential new players have the thought: “Why should I join Warcraft, when I can just wait for [insert game here}. It’s time that people just don’t want to invest into a game three years later.
One solution found on the WOW forums is: Level 20-60 Quest EXP has been increased, while EXP to Level has been decreased
It is Blizzard’s hope that this will entice new players to join the game, alleviating the fear and pressure of trying to catch up with existing players. There are few things more aggravating than joining a game with some friends, only to not be able to play with them. Many of us have the intention of using our high level characters to help a new player, but somehow it just never seems to work out that way. There is always some sort of assistance from fellow players, but when it comes down to it, it’s only the player’s job to get those levels.
For existing players, leveling those alt characters will move much more quickly. Since the release of the Burning Crusade, most players have created either a Draenei Shaman or Blood Elf Paladin, just too see what they were missing. While the most dedicated players have already hit level 70 with their alts, there are many casual players who haven’t. The grind from the 40s to the 60s always seemed to be the worst. Hopefully this takes the sting out that.
Well, that’s the thought for this week. Over the next few weeks I hope to address some other points to keep both current and future WOW players interested in playing. Let the flaming begin, and discuss amongst yourselves.