WoW is a mere shadow of what it used to be. All of my fond memories are from TBC and some from WotLK. Cataclysm? None really comes to mind. The world is bigger than ever, yet it feels completely dead.I spent over an hour yesterday looking for other players, who aren't stationary outsidethe auction house on their giant dragons, waiting for a popup on their screen to prompt you to "enter battle" or "enter instance".
I went to all the places that used to have actual players in them. Areas that Blizzard has revamped to encourage people to revisit. I think I may have seen the odd player flying by me on their mount. That's it. There where nobody dueling in Goldshire, no sneaky alliance players ready to take down some unfortunate fool who just wanted to pass through the barrens. Outside Stormwind and Orgrimmar, there was a few players dueling, most of them wasn't even flagged for PvP. Tell me again why it's called a PvP server?
I just don't get it. Here you have this amazing online world where thousands of players could go on adventures and fight side by side against the opposite faction. But nobody does. The have no reason to do so. Due to several "convenient" features, such as the dungeon finder, I can make a new character and upon reaching level 10 or so, I don't even have to set foot outside the city ever again. I can just queue up for a random whatever, watch some TV while I wait. get teleported in and get shiny stuff. Why should I even bother setting foot out in the world, when I get the best stuff from places I get teleported to? I'm not being encouraged by the developers to do it. Sure I can get an acheivement saying I did all the quests in a certain area, but does it make any difference? Sadly it does not.
There are two things that is important to the average WoW player today. Itemlevel on your gear and the acheivement confirming you have done the particular boss or instance before. Have you ever been asked if you are a good player before joining a group? Not me. You write something like rogue 361 [acheivement]. If I get lucky, I can write 362 next week. That's it. Nothing personal. We are all here to do a job and as fast as possible so we can all go back to our giant dragons while we queue for other random things.
I remember when you actually had to manually go to a dungeon and ask for people to join you, perhaps even kill some mobs outside before you could summon people to you. I can't remember someone going "Damn, Blood Furnace again?" and then leave the group back in the good old days. If I'm going as a tank, I can be inside an instance 10 seconds after I press the "I'm to lazy to travel or interact with other players" button. I try to at least say "Hi" to the random people whom I will never see again, but it seems that even a friendly greeting is considered a waste of time by more and more players. People want their 70 points as quick as possible so they eventually can write a higher number next to [acheivement] before being accepted in a raid.
Tol Barad - a "PvP" zone that could have brough some life back to world pvp. 4 months have gone by, and now I hardly even see a player there. I guess most of them have gotten the exalted reputation, and therefor have no reason to go back anymore. It will interfere with their click on the menu and get stuff handed to you routine.
Yes it is the players that in the end are responsible for breathing life into the world, but most people are lazy and want as much as possible for as little as possible. Blizzard keeps putting in features that enables you to stand around doing almost nothing and still get rewards for it. Why is it that before all of these features was implemented, people where actually out in the world and doing stuff? Could it be that it was fun to just go out and do stuff, because there was things to do out there that was fun and engaging? A world raid boss, hordes coming to pick a fight by the flightmaster in westfall. You had to be responsible for some of your own entertainment, not just clicking a button and it all comes to you.
Everything is easymode now. You get epics handed to you. Look at me. I'm a mediocre, casual player and yet I have been able to get pretty much the best possible gear avaiable to anyone. The only thing a top rated arenaplayer can get that I can't is slightly better weapons, and another color on his PvP gear. Back in the day you could spot a top player just by looking at his gear. To this day I still remember when I saw the first rogue on my server dualwielding warglaives. There where even groups of players following him around the city. Now, it's nothing special. Everyone can get the best stuff now anyways. It's not like it's unique and special to be decked out in epics.
This is all part of the "Don't worry. We'll hold your hand and give you things" mentality that has taken over most aspects of the game. You don't have to find out things on your own. The spells in your spellbook have "handy" tips saying when you should use them. Maybe it's just me, but whats wrong with targeting a mob, casting spell on it and see what happends? Or what if I have equipped a lance to smash some eggs in the quest you get in Mount Hyjal, and forget to equip my own weapon. No chance of that happening, thanks to helpful reminder from the game. Anything wrong with finding out on your own, when you are fighting the next mob and you abilites don't work. You feel a little silly for forgetting that, run back to your corpse and equip your weapon. Hey, I found stuff out on my own!
I would like to finish by saying that I still think it is an amazing accomplishment, what Blizzard have acheived with this game. I truly hope that their next MMO will be even better, and that it will preserve one thing that I felt was lost in WoW a long time ago. To encourage and reward players to contribute and take part in the whole world that you created, not just handing them everything thorugh various "mini-games" that you access from your user interface. An online world can only be truly dynamic and involving if there is something out there that makes the players want to go there. If WoW was more about content and less about acheivements and item level, perhaps this story could have been different...
This thread is somewhat inspired by another player, who had some interesting thoughts after his computer was broken and he had a weeks break from WoW
Since my account is closing soon, I wanted to share this before I go:
It's a video of what I did my last day in WoW. A 1vs1 tournament with 16 players. The winner got all my stuff ;)