Like Moths to a Flame

I have noticed a trend in the MMO market/community lately.   It happened only a few days ago.  Before you read on, can you guess what it is?

There are a LOT of people returning to play World of WarCraft.  There must be an expansion launching soon.  Oh would you look at that, there is an expansion launching in a matter of days.  Have you noticed how the really popular MMO streaming personalities have all switched back to WoW?  Noticed your guild numbers down, or a few less people in WvW?  I have.

It’s crazy that people who swear they will never return to WoW, who even insult it, go back.  Why?  What is Blizzard putting in the punch to get people to leave a game that just launched 3 weeks ago — a game way more unique than any themepark launched in the last 7 years.

Not that any of the above is a bad thing, mind you. I have absolutely nothing against anyone for playing a game they enjoy, but I won’t be returning. I know what it’s like to be among those that do, though.

Despite what anyone says, I don’t believe it’s the content, polish, PvP, gear treadmills, or any game-related reason that causes someone to go back.  WoW has become so integrated into our culture as MMO gamers that it now has this primal, instinctual affect on people capable of luring them in.  I hope no one takes offense to this, but it’s like moths to a flame.  Does the moth really know it’s flying into fire or does it instinctively recognize the light and, due to its nature, set a course towards the light?

Update:  After reading through the comments, I like the idea most of you had better.  WoW is the security blanket, the comforter, and (most important of all) something stable or reliable in their gaming lives.  I wrote about this back in 2010, but forgot all about it until you guys brought it up.  Good thoughts!

  • GW2 is not way more unique than any themepark launched in the past 7 years. TSW is just as unique in its own way. Maybe not as popular or polished in some peoples’ opinion, but definitely unique.

    My guess is a large part of the reason why people return to WoW whenever an expansion is released because it’s a chance to catch up with old friends and guildmates, not because of the game itself. There are lots of MMOs that I would rather play than WoW (e.g. GW2 and TSW) but I’ve never gotten to know my guildies in these games the way I did with my WoW guild.

  • A friend asked me “are you excited for MoP?” and seemed extremely confused when I said “not really”.

    I wouldn’t call GW2 UNIQUE, but it is an evolution and polishing of game mechanics that really freshens up the experience. WoW was the evolution from EQ era style games, and I feel GW2 is the next step up.

  • I go back for solid content, period. I know the gameplay and synergy of grouping is probably the best available in the genre. I know the dungeon design, structure, encounters, and difficulty exist. It is a world that I know won’t let me down like so many other mmo’s have. That is why I return when new content comes out. I know ahead of time that eventually said content will grow old and I will stop playing. I know this time is in the distant future instead of the nearer however which is another guarantee. Being guaranteed something and actually receiving it in a mmo these days is few and far between. I KNOW the quality of WOW, in what I stated above, WILL be there and that is all I need.

    As far as Fuzzy said about friends in the game etc. Many mmos today fail at the basics of creating a good community. From grouping models, to lack of a treadmill at all, to difficulty of enounters, they all contribute to communication and how the community grows. A good example is GW2 for instance. I stated it before in a post that while I leveled I pretty much had zero reason to interact with other players from 1-80. This is common today in many mmos. Even technically WOW had this model. The thing is dungeon/raid design was so good in WOW, combined with a treadmill that kept you coming back to them, that you HAD to communicate, you HAD to be a good player, you HAD to eventually get in a raid group, you HAD to join a guild, you HAD to communicate, to progress. This instantly creates deeper community. Most mmos have nothing like this, or try and fail badly at either keeping the treadmill true or the dungeons/raid content are just poorly built. Basically there’s a reason WOW was successful and it’s behind the scenes stuff that most other designers fail at realizing. There’s a whole slew of other factors as well but this is a big one that many games fail at. I hate to say it but I’d rather be stuck in a treadmill than have content not worth playing and progression just stops.

    I’ll keep playing GW2 but the incentive is low at the moment. Max level and I have a handful of semi meaningful things to do. If there was a treadmill to build towards a raid encounter it could be totally different. Do I really want to grind what seems to be endless mats to make a legendary that is technically just a reskinned item? Do I even want to get full exotic gear when I know that chances are I will end up in a zerg vs zerg in WvW and it won’t matter what gear I have? The time spent towards end goal is just not too appealing. On the other hand would I want to grind mats for an item that WILL have direct noticeable affects in pve and pvp in WOW, sounds better. Do I want to hop into a treadmill that will have an end goal of killing a really cool boss encounter, sounds fun and usually is. If you can’t understand why people go back to WOW after reading this then you just don’t play enough mmos.

  • Eh, that’s what compulsive gaming looks like Keen.

    7 years of conditioning and as much as people claim to ‘hate’ wow, they are infact hooked on it.

    Good luck to them I say. I’m happy to continue having fun with Gw2

  • It’s odd being immersed in MMO culture and commentary and yet having little interest in and no affection for WoW. I didn’t pay much attention to it when it launched, took five years to get around to trying it, lasted three moderately enjoyable months and have no desire to take another look.

    The key factor with MoP is surely going to be not how many moths are drawn back to the flame but for how long they circle it before flying to another.

  • I am interested to note that you regard the move of players to GW2 as a rational decision based on the game’s merits but the return to WoW as instinctive (and self-harming/counter-productive, to follow your metaphor).

    If you read GW2 forums you see that this game, despite its innovations, has not broken the cyclical migration of MMO players to the latest shiny.

    A WoW expansion is very much a known quantity.
    We should be more surprised if the MMO blogosphere did NOT return to WoW for Mists.

  • It is an interesting dilemma…Arenanet wanted to avoid the gear treadmill that frustrates a lot of players in WOW. The fact that you feel like you HAVE TO get the next gear…so you put in a bunch of work to get it…just for it to be obsolete once better gear is released. This is an annoying problem. However, the gear treadmill does somethign else – it gives a strong incentive to play and progress your character. While the outcome of the treadmill may be frustrating, the presence is a motivational feature…it keeps you progressing and playing.

    GW2 got rid off the treadmill as seen in WOW by offering gear that is aesthetically different but which you do not need in order to play. Here they got rid off the annoyance factor but they also removed the motivational side effect…

    I think that is GW2 biggest problem – I dont think Arenanet fully grasps what motivates people to play the game….or…they approach it a little naively. The absence of a treadmill (without substituting another feature that motivates people to keep playing) in PvE or the lack of incentives for WvW – both are examples of Arenanet being naive.

  • GW2 needs more variety in it’s available armor, without QUITE as much difficulty to obtain as it is now.

    GW2 needs ability or something progression, something tangible, gear UPGRADES doesn’t have to be the method of progression.

  • I for one will not be going back to WoW, period. I’m happy in GW2 now, and if I wanted a more traditional ‘end-game’ focused theme park I’d go back to Rift, not WoW. Trion are infinitely more deserving of my money than Blizzard is today. The content release pace for WoW especially since Cataclysm’s release has been insulting low compared to companies like Trion that have much smaller resources yet manage to crank out regular and substantial content updates.

  • I dunno man. I’ve been bored of WoW for quite a while now, haven’t had an active sub for a couple of years. But every new game I play, I realize more and more just how far ahead of them all WoW is when it comes to polish. Like playing GW2, the latest hotness – it’s a great game, which actually dares to try something different and has really pushed the genre forward. But damn, after shuffling around yet another broken DE or skill challenge every time I play it, I yearn for the smoothness and stability of WoW. I really do.

  • I’m one of these people that said they’d never go back to WoW after the last time I quit. But then when SWTOR flopped horribly and everyone I knew and myself even quit there wasn’t really anything else. I played a lot of Torchlight 2 beta and that’s about it. So I ended up migrating back to WoW, yet again, just “for a month” I told myself. But the thing is, I found a great new guild and community of people to play with, and I think that is what has kept me coming back this summer and now for the next expansion. Especially on Emerald Dream which is I think the only server with any sort of decent and active World PvP still going on. Even though I’ve done all the content so many times before, as long as I’ve got a good community of people to play with it is really enjoyable to me. Add that to a neat new expansion coming out, and I can definitely see myself playing it well into next year.

    Guild Wars 2 looks awesome, and I really want to get it now. I just worry it’ll be SWTOR all over again, where I’ll get it because my friends and so many people I know are playing it and enjoying it. Then I’ll enjoy it for a bit, but in a few months everyone will have gotten bored and stopped, so I’ll be left on my own. I probaly won’t get GW2 until a few months down the line, as there is so much coming out already (Torchlight 2, XCOM, Borderlands 2, Mists of Pandaria) that I’m looking forward to, but I’m afraid by then I’ll have missed the really great time to play it. I hope Guild Wars 2 does really well and that the KGC guild sticks with it, because it’d be great to join you guys. But that’s what I like about WoW, there is always a group of people I can go back to playing with.

    I guess you could say WoW is like a really comfy security blanket.

  • In my mind, there are 2 key reasons:

    1) Blizzard has delivered quality to them over the years, and they’re relatively certain as customers they’ll get it again. “Customer Satisfaction” it’s known as.

    2) The character time investment they have in WoW is more important to them than playing another game – until another game grips them about their character more, and there simply hasn’t been one yet, including GW2

    There’s a million little and maybe more subjective reasons, but those are tangible.

  • Me and a friend were actually discussing this last night. How WoW has so taken hold of the MMO industry that whenever they come out with a new expansion everyone flocks to it.

    Evne more than that how WoW has killed the the MMO market and WoW is the reason for the market having slowly died out in the past 7 years. New MMO’s all try and copy WoW because of it’s success (until the last two) and even when they are successful, by the terms of any other genre, people point out WoW and say these games are not a success because they are not as big.

    Look at Rift, it has a good solid subscriber base, first expansion coming out, and has not gone free to play yet. Yet no one I know is calling Rift a successful MMO game, they all think it failed because it didn’t get as big or kill WoW.

    @Lethality: WoW hasn’t had quality since they came out with BC… Most people I know who played WoW since Vanilla and even who go back each expansion, have not been satisfied with WotLK or Cataclysm, and even though they are going back to MoP, they already expect to be disappointed and are already complaining about the new talent trees, and pandas, and pokemon, but they are still going back.

    Also, point 2 that really doesn’t effect the people Keen are talking about I don’t think. The people who pick up an expansion, play it for a month, then leave it because they realize they still hate WoW.

    @Carson: This brings up another reason why WoW has killed the diversity of the genre and why the genre could very well be gone when WoW finally flops. People expect the polish of a 7 year old game in a launched game now and when a game has problems at launch, or even with a new patch, or a month after launch, or 6 months after launch, they say “oh it’s not as polished as a game that has had 7 years to work on this” and people look at that and then don’t buy the new game, when if the new game was able to be around for seven years it would probably be 10x better than WoW is now… just no one is giving MMO’s a chance anymore because of WoW.

  • @Drathmar – Regardless of the player’s taste for the content – the *quality* of what they do has never been better, and I think that’s an intangible that brings people back. Especially when they’ve been let down by the quality of other games, most recently GW2 with the trading post issues, broken parties, broken dynamic events, broken story, etc

    Also keep in mind that the number of people who have stopped playing WoW since 2004 is greater than the number of people who are still actively playing it – that’s an awful lot of people to make a potential comeback with at least some previous character investment.

  • I never said I’d never go back to WoW, and MoP looked genuinely interesting to me. I decided *not* to go back recently when I read that the storyline for both factions end with storming Orgrimmar and killing Garrosh. Pardon my French, but fuck that.

    That said, 3 friends and I are currently in our mid 30’s on the Al’Kabor EQ server, time locked to 2002 (PoP era). The assassin finally showed up last night and our bard got his mask of deception. Remember when getting gear actually meant something?

    For us, it’s not about a “security blanket,” It’s that nothing has come out in 13 years that’s better. More hand holding, less risk of death, less penalty for death, more faceroll autopilot gameplay, and pages more things I hate do not make for better games. They make for easier games to appeal to “the masses.”

  • @Lethality: What about the fact that every expansion there are huge bugs with WoW as well. Cataclysm launch wasn’t smooth at all. This seems to be the quality you are talking about at this point and with WoW, just like any other MMO, there are bugs when they launch major content updates. The only thing I can see about your argument making sense here is that WoW has always fixed the bugs so people know they will, so go back to that instead of giving other MMO’s the same chance to fix their stuff.

    Just for reference, here is a list of the first hot-fixes to cata which was pretty much all bug fixes:

    So… I am trying ot figure out what quality you are talking about now. Because if you mean content… it’s hasn’t been there since BC. If you are talking about polish, lag of bugs, smoothness, every content patch and expansion breaks that and has as many bugs as a normal MMO launch.

  • @ Lethality, you opinion of course and mine is

    quality over the years? yeah right, cata was pants – widely accepted

    “The character time investment they have in WoW is more important to them than playing another game – until another game grips them about their character more, and there simply hasn’t been one yet, including GW2” – this is so much nonsense and just your opinion, GW2 has plenty of character investment for me

  • All I can tell you guys, is the numbers speak for themselves. I stand by my reasons stated above.

  • It’s almost like an MMO blogger being lured into the next great MMO, hoping and praying it’ll bring them back to the glory days of nostalgia.

  • Why not bum around MOP for a few months and see how it unfolds? It’s not like GW2 won’t be there if you want it later.

    If you really get hooked on WoW, it’s a bit like quitting smoking. Odds are you’re going to start smoking again at some point, especially if you are interesting in playing MMOs.

    I basically missed that one before Cataclysm, played two months of Cataclysm at launch, and yet I’ve half considered buying MOP. It’s a weird thing.

  • After reading your thoughts I’m getting the sense that most of you think it’s a security blanket. I can get behind that idea.

    There’s something extremely reassuring, comforting, and natural about the attraction to something reliable. I can’t find it (maybe someone else can) [Edit: Found it!] I wrote a post back in 2010 on the very subject of WoW being extremely reliable, and Blizzard being far above their competition in this department.

    So maybe it does work the same way as always wanting something new, always looking for the next best thing. Maybe people also always want reliability and will go to it. The key really is, as mentioned above, for how long do they want it? I know that when I went back to WoW it was always short-lived. Despite WoW being polished and reliable, with lots of content (I won’t deny that), I think the number of people who go back specifically for the type of content are far fewer than those who go back just because ‘it’s WoW.’

    I can’t think of any other game out there which has a relative percent of their players leave and come back and leave as frequently. That’s why I think people don’t necessarily return to WoW because of the content in the game itself. The reason they left still exists when they come back — WoW doesn’t change. That doesn’t matter, though. That urge to go back is either rooted in who they are as a MMO gamer, or the desire for reliability and something to hang your hat on overrides the reasoning center of the brain.

  • For years I would quit WoW and then go right back. Right after Cata I got each class to level 85 and then was like WTF this is the same thing every Xpac, race to level cap and then get bored. Finally a few months after Cata I was like screw it, I am not coming back. At this point I wouldn’t go back to WoW even if it went Free to Play with MoP for free as well.

  • For me it’s simple. I enjoy playing it more than any other. I like the style, I like Orcs vs. Humans, and I LOVE the PvP. I know WoW takes a lot of heat on it’s PvP, but for me it’s pretty darn close to perfect.

    I honestly can’t really get into the PvE part. I enjoy it for a bit, but there is NO way I can grind it. Same for leveling. I hate it. I’ve been playing since day 1 and only have one level 85, because I loathe leveling. Now I do LOVE exploring the world to farm items and mats, but I HATE quests and I HATE anything scripted! For me it doesn’t matter how awesome some Dragon is if all his attacks are on timers.

    I love Arena and Battlegrounds, so for me that is the main reason. Would I love some reason to get out and do some worth while World PvP? Sure! Would I love it if the world was covered in castles that your guild could conquer and keep them? Sure! But I enjoy small skirmish PvP the best, so WoW has what I need.

    You also have to remember that I only have time to play MAYBE 10 hours a week. So I enjoy the fact I can login, group with my friends, push a button and we are off.

    For me, it’s MMO Counter Strike with a TON of other stuff to do if I’m in the mood…and that’s what I like about it.

    You all have been putting out some good stuff here lately K&G, keep it up!

  • I think it’s funny how so many that went back 3 or 5 times laugh at the ones that go back now…perhaps they are not up to quitting so many times as you lol

    I went back once, haven’t played since BC, but that doesn’t mean I won’t return one day to enjoy the changes…however like many returning now, I’ll do the ride and quit shortly after when I hit the wall of gears core…that is if I ever return, been what…4yrs?

    @Jenks…I remember that Mask of deception, one of our guys had been there for hours and had one ninja’ed…then the next day he got one after a couple more hours but they had nerfed it the night before to class specific for new drops only…it had always said bard but never enforced before…wow was he pissed, crazy times

  • I don’t think I’ll ever completely close the door on going back to WoW, but right now my desire to play the game is non-existent despite the looming expansion. I just don’t like the way it used to dominate my gaming time, and that I missed out on a lot of other snazzy titles because I was too busy playing WoW. It’s been a lot more fun playing a number of different, often times single-player, games since leaving WoW, and I want to continue down that road. =)

  • I find it so funny WoW keeps doing this too Keen. I would also like to point out to Fuzzy in the 2nd reply that he is incorrect. GW2 IS the most original and innovative MMO to come out in 7 years and I dare you to prove otherwise. Every design principle says otherwise from the removal of the trinity to the dynamic world to the classes weapons based skill system.

    As for WoW, let me just say in my most Appalachian voice that I can “aint no way, no how, will I ever be suckered into that steaming pile of shit again.” You all can have at it, in 2 months when everyone is 90, and all the raids have been beat you will see another loss of subscribers. I mean it takes blizzard 9 months to release content patches, and most MMO companies can release an expansion in those time frames.

    Also Sikk I dont understand how you can state all those anti-community and team building things about GW2 all the while ignoring that WoW refuses to honor any the slightest modicum of teamplay. You also speak of all the glory of WoW is derived from guilds well I hate to break it to you bub, so is GW2. Try playing WvW or Explorable modes with a guild if you want true interaction, its no different then in WoW. You cant bash GW2’s non community in one sentence and turn around and praise WoW’s Raid and Guild structures on the other hand, it doesnt work that way. You compare both in a vacuum and you realize that GW2’s non guild structures stand way out, way more so then WoW.

  • @Goom
    The unnerfed version was the Guise of the Deceiver! Your friend had horrible, horrible luck, that baby would be super rare later, like a manastone 🙁

    Next up we either try to get our SK a dark reaver, or take on the frenzied ghoul for some FBSS (not sure we’re ready for that yet).

    13 years later and people still know the names of items, because they meant something. You lose that when you make games too easy.

  • WOW 2 years ago became an torn blanket I grew tired of having. After I uninstalled I didnt look back. Honestly, all these people who leave never do since the game still resides on their hardrive. They’re only a click of the mouse away from returning.

  • I think people returning to WoW has a lot to do with nostalgia. It was the first MMO experience for a lot of people and a whole new world unfolded back then. Things are the most interesting when they are fresh and unique and on the up. I truly believe many people actually want to leave WoW and experience the new thing and all but it seems nothing new ever get them going as Wow did back in the old days. Problem is a new WoW expansion probably wont either. Cause the old days dont come back. After a few months into Panda you’ll be back to boredom reading up on forums for the next big thing on the MMO scene.

    Personally i too feel that tickle to return to WoW but i have stated to myself and others i wont to such an extent that i simply couldnt look myself in the mirror if i did 🙂

  • @zederok: Plain and simple. Lack of trinity kills it. If I can’t tactically run a dungeon/raid it is NOT fun. Running around like a chicken with my head cut off on EVERY encounter is NOT fun. Basically GW2 PVE sucks, happy? WOW’s PVE is far superior to ANY pve on the market, happy? Until proven otherwise, I’ll keep playing their game.

    @drathmar: You obviously NEVER played content past BC if you think everything after it was bad. Also the genre isn’t dying by any means. This same thing happened back when EQ was king. People played other mmos and went back to EQ because it was superior. WOW in my opinion is the successor to EQ in terms of the genre progressing. There will be another EQ/WOW at some point. Too many mmos today polish graphics and forget about finishing their content and that is a major downfall. Until a game comes along that has some innovation while holding true some basic concepts of the genre, and does it right, WOW will hold its throne.

    @jenks: Wasn’t aware a emu server was locked at POP. I go back and dabble on the legacy of zek server sometimes. I did enjoy POP though so I might have to do that sometime. Is it a red or blue server?

    When it comes down to it, I need a structurally sound game on both the PVP and PVE side. That means I need the trinity, I need rock paper scissors PVP to enjoy it. Better communities are grown when challenges are present and a logical means to complete said challenge exists (ie: Big difficult boss exists, group attempts to kill boss with sound tactics and stragegy, aka trinity working together, NOT zerg chicken fest 2012). Find me a better game currently that proves that statement true and I’ll check it out. Nothing on the market can accomplish that though currently other than WOW.

  • Seems pretty simple really, people still find WoW fun, they like leveling, like seeing the new content and running the new dungeons. After a few months they get bored like most MMO’s these days and move on, doesn’t mean those few months they play aren’t enjoyable though.

  • @Sikk: No offense, but you sound like a WoW fanboy who is upset people are saying bad things about his game. Also, I played all of WotLK, it was shit compared to burning crusade, then they ruined the game more with cataclysm, screwed up talent trees to the point where it was BS and not fun to talent anymore, though I do understand why they did it because they did need to change something so you couldn’t fill out two complete trees but there were many better ways to go about it and none of the fans like it on the forums and none of the people I know liked it or even like it now.

    Also about your comment about WoW being the best PvE on the market,Rift PvE > WoW PvE by far, better tank abilities, more interesting mechanics for both classes and boss encounters, and faster new content.

    The problem is WoW has a large head start over other MMO’s. If other MMO’s released today had released at the same time WoW had… WoW would have been forgotten

  • It’s because WoW is a good game. The primary reason it loses subscribers is lack of content. When new content comes out people flock back because it is one of the surest bets to be entertained out there, at least for a while. They will probably consume all the content and then leave again, but this doesn’t imply anything bad about them or the game.

    There is of course a subset of people who legitimately don’t like the game, and that’s perfectly fine, but it’s a bit silly when people feel the need to attack WoW or WoW players.

  • Content Locust jump form MMO to MMO as is their nature. They will be through with the bulk of the expansion in two weeks. They’ll be raiding a few times a week and hitting WvWvW on off nights within a month.

    Streamers fall back on what they were known for so that metric is meaningless honestly. Since most of them started up in the WoW arena/raiding glory days its what they go back to.

    There really isn’t a lot of excitement for MoP in any of the circles I frequent where in the past a new WoW expansion was a huge deal. While MoP will bump up the WoW numbers I don’t think they are getting a bump as big as the other expansions and I think they will lose subs faster then Cata regardless of the content. People are getting tired of the treadmill.

    Personally, I’m torn. I bought a yearly pass on a whim and I’m subbed for 5 more months but I cant log in for more then 10 minutes anymore. So do I buy MoP and get to 90 over the next few months? Will I actually be able to stomach getting to 90 knowing the gear grind, cash grind, etc in front of me just to get something out of the game at 90 for a month or two?

    Regardless of what I do WoW is done for me. GW2 meets all my MMO needs as it caters to the way I was playing in WoW anyway but minus the crazy, boring and constant grinds for ilevels and things to enhance my new ilevels.

    At the end of the day Borderlands 2 and Torchlight 2 both have my GW2 time right now. MoP isn’t even something I have time for right now with all the really fun games I have to play.

  • Sikk sounds like you can’t concieve of the possibilities that a non trinity game like GW2 offers over WoW style trinity games. For one, once you understand the mechanics and can get the idiots to step out of the fire the PvE becomes boring and repetitive. I challenge you to name me one fight in WoW where once the learning curve is met the encounter doesn’t automatically turn into farm status.

    I love the non trinity based gameplay because it allows evolving meta gaming and no single fight ever is the same. Like Keen said in another blog post, it is organized chaos and that is what I find extremely gratifying. Plus There is no standing around waiting on a group LF 1 tank or 1 healer. Anytime you spread the outcome of the encounter across all players and not jsut 1 or 2 is why I love GW2 so much.

  • @Sikk: and anyone else who thinks lack of trinity is bad:

    Hey man.

    Before I begin here is a explorable mode dungeon run in case you dont wanna read my wall of letters.
    I havent run any dungeons yet but I heard all kinds of bad things about them. And until I watched this I tought it all true. Now it doesnt matter if this run was an isolated incident. What matters to me is that it can be done. As long as I know it is possible I welcome the challenge of finding the right way.

    You say “When it comes down to it, I need a structurally sound game on both the PVP and PVE side. That means I need the trinity, I need rock paper scissors PVP to enjoy it. Better communities are grown when challenges are present and a logical means to complete said challenge exists (ie: Big difficult boss exists, group attempts to kill boss with sound tactics and stragegy, aka trinity working together, NOT zerg chicken fest 2012). Find me a better game currently that proves that statement true and I’ll check it out.”

    By your definition GW2 has all those. There are big difficult bosses. both in dungeons and in open world aka wow raid bosses. These are as you also mentioned; pretty difficult mobs/bosses/encounters. Again by your definition group (or raid) needs to work together to successfully kill them. Yes they are killable if you insist on graveyard zerging, but lack of trinity in no way forces you to NOT work together with other people.

    In fact I claim it indeed forces it better than wow/holy trinity ever did. After BC I never once cared who my team mates are in a dungeon (unless I am with my friends) and I had NO interaction with them. I did my thing and they did theirs. Yes sometimes a dps/heals were too low or tank was not as good and we struggled but I never once assisted anyone or been assisted by anyone in wow dungeons after BC. At most I had to work harder at my job/role and that was it. it was simply not necessary. Holy trinity FORCES some interactions into group; like healers keep tank alive etc but that is not really interaction imo; that is the healers job in wow. I do not say this is how it is done. Yes I too have saved wipes on occasion or felt bored and dabbled in dps when healing or out dps’ed dps while tanking. but there are not norm. Those are not a requirement. just something you do because your original job is so limited.

    Not so in GW2. You HAVE TO work together. You HAVE TO know what people next to you (not necessarily grouped) does and respond. Because abilities/skills/combo fields/buffs/debuffs are not group spesific and can be used/utilized by anyone. It doesnt mean that Just because there is no holy trinity you cant depend on someone to heal your ass when you dps or heal you when you tank. It just means EVERYONE can do that not just spesific people who picked up that role at the start of the game. It also means YOU can do all of that to other people as well.
    Lack of trinity doesnt limit you; it expands your horizons. If you only want to do one thing and play your own game while playing with other people, then yes you are at a disadvantage but if you really want team-play and want to take on harder challenges; then I am here to tell you that you can do much more in GW2 than you could ever imagine in wow.

    As for rock paper scissors pvp; I always hated it. I love pvp and I know I am a bad pvp player. I am here to tell you that in my opinion being bad and still killing a rock class because I am a paper class is just as bad as being a good pvp player and still dying because you are scissor and she/he was rock.

    GW2 sPvP is not like that at all. everyone is max level and have max level items. There is no item disparity. There is no rock paper scissors. There is just builds and skill. If you have necessary build you have a chance of beating everyone provided that you are a better player than him.

  • Why not go back? And there’s nothing new about the observation. It happens in every MMO that drops in a lot of new content. LOTRO. DDO. Others that I’ve played.

    It’s a normal part of the cycle.

    And when people get done with the content, they’ll quit. Just like they always do.

    What you really see, though, past the ebbs and flows, is that the population continues a slow decline. Blzzard has long since taken steps to hide this by counting NetEase’s time-card Chinese players as ‘subs’ when they’re not subs or customers of Blizzard and refusing to disclose how many Western subs they actually have.

    But there are other metrics and we know it’s not as robust as it was four years ago.

    Now, I’m not saying it’s dead. But it is slowly fading away, as is perfectly natural. And it is also, still, the biggest western MMO and isn’t going to die anytime soon. Maybe years and years from now. But not on the 25th… Or the 26th… Or 2012… Or 2015…

  • I have mostly fond memories of WoW. It was my first MMO back in 2004. I met really good friends (both local and overseas) through WoW and we still keep in touch. I did stop playing seriously back in 2009. I briefly returned for Cataclysm but after hitting the level cap realised my time was done. Also my guild decided to call it quits which provided even less incentive to play WoW. I won’t be returning for Pandaria but wish all the best for those that do.

  • “What is Blizzard putting in the punch”

    Time. It takes time to build up emotional connections to a game and social connections to other players and that’s what makes people keep coming back.