When World of Warcraft launched in November 2004 is was new, it was shiny, but it really wasn’t as polished or infallible as people think of it today. Aside from WoW’s launch issues, which mostly stemmed from Blizzard not anticipating the demand, WoW had issues that crop up in most contemporary MMOs.
WoW was evolving constantly back then, and surprisingly continues to evolve regularly even today. There were itemization issues, stat issues, and content issues. End-game wasn’t clearly defined. PvP was anything but defined. It was clear that Blizzard was learning like the rest of us how their future would unfold. I was there for all of it.
I remember playing and having discussions in general chat with the other players about raids. All we knew at the time was that there was a raid. Looking back at the 40-man raids of WoW’s launch and all they entailed, then looking at the raid finder experience of today, it’s truly mind blowing how WoW has evolved. If you played the entire time, you’re even more aware of how many changes the raiding system has gone through and different systems/mechanics/features/implementations the content has seen over the years.
Then there’s the PvP system, which started out … actually it didn’t. There wasn’t a “PvP system”. There weren’t battlegrounds, rewards, titles, or gear. It was just the ability to kill other players in zones like Hillsbrad. Evolving just like raids, PvP has gone through countless changes over the years.
What am I getting at by giving you this history lesson?
MMO Players have allowed WoW to grow over the years, through the good and the bad — and the horrible. Why then do we (myself included) have absolutely zero tolerance for new games? If a game does not release in pristine condition with every subtle nuance figured out, it’s unpolished and not worth our time. Ironically, most then return to WoW which continues to evolve and implement new ways of fixing something players may even currently hate when they return.
Is it Blizzard’s reputation that we trust? Do we think “eventually they’ll figure it out” and not worry about the present?
Do we give WoW a free pass since it was the first? Perhaps nostalgia has allowed WoW the right to be held to different standards.
Maybe we’re just tired of the same old thing. Every game releases the same, and with each new release the flaws of previous generations agitate us.
I catch myself being unforgiving of young games all the time, and I try to take a step back and think with a relative mind. The reality is, whether or not I might forgive a few shortcomings in a game, new MMO releases have only one chance to make an impression. I’m generalizing when I say this, but no one gives second chances. That’s why I coined the MMO 3-monther phrase. It’s a real phenomenon, but I think it’s just as much the players fault as it is the developers — and it’s here to stay.
Perhaps the only way to avoid this demand for excellence is change. The more a new game resembles its predecessors, the less forgiving players become. If a MMO released which drastically altered how players perceive the act of playing, then maybe the player’s mind will be drawn to other areas, thus giving developers time to actually patch.
Speaking once again in a general sense, both sides of the developer/player relationship have lost sight of the “ever-evolving and changing world” mentality.