This ‘Warlords Of Draenor’ Trailer Is Amazing, But People Still Play ‘World Of Warcraft’?Filed inside: Editorial
Blizzard broke the big news today: the newest expansion for World of Warcraft, Warlords of Draenor, is headed to your computer and the trailer is chock full of that Blizzard sensibility that makes their cinematic offerings so damned tasty.
I feel like I don’t need to explain much on the WoW front; many of you are probably more qualified than I to speak of the lore and narrative, I’ve been out of the game for quite some time now. That being said, I was one of the people who, though I did enjoy most of my time in the game, truly relished the moments when I was commanding hordes of orcs or regiments of warriors from on high, and really appreciated the conflict as it existed in RTS form.
Though the trailer won’t be enough to herald my glorious return (in the form of my level 54 undead rogue, pre-Burning Crusade) to Lordaeron, it did strike a chord with me less with it’s glorious depiction of demon-related violence, and more with the return of Grommash Hellscream, one of my favorite characters from my time in Warcraft 2.
Time, it would seem, is more fluid than you might expect, and Grom’s son, Garrosh has found a way to travel back in time and influence his father, convincing him and the rest of the clan under his control from drinking the blood of Mannoroth, leaving them free from the demonic curse that affected them for so long. The apparent plan now is to unite the clans under Grommash and create the strongest possible horde, then construct another dark portal and march that horde into the world as it currently exists in order to garner superiority over the world.
A tad convoluted, I suppose, and once you start introducing time travel into things like this, there are all sorts of questions that can arise. Why create a unified horde to march it into another dimension? Why not just remain in the one you’re in and reign there? Whatever, what’s important is that the trailer is awesome, and the overarching concept is to.
But that leads to yet another question, one we sort of spoke on at some length some time ago. People are still playing this game?
Understand my lack of comprehension here, please: I am in no way putting down the game, or those that remain loyal to it. I understand that feeling, and am occasionally party to it myself (please don’t look at my Monster Hunter Freedom Unite game timer). At the same time, considering how fickle and scrutinizing the MMO community has been over the years, the amount of times I was witness to statements in other MMOs about a player who hated it and would be returning to WoW was astounding—though I saw many of those players in-game weeks or even months later.
The numbers don’t lie, after all: World of Warcraft accounted for more than a third of MMO-based revenues in 2013, and has held subscribers even in the face of mounting competition from free-to-play games and newer games with intriguing gaming mechanics and concepts. Many of these services have tried and failed to stand up to the titanm often modifying their pricing or abandoning their services altogether, while WoW made only one major change that I’m aware of to its system overall (you can play up to level 20 for free).
Sure, numbers are dwindling in terms of subscribers, but that holds true for all MMOs, not WoW in a vacuum. What is it that holds players so well in this case? Why choose it over all others?
Let’s gloss over the part where the games are intrinsically designed to appeal to folks with addictive tendencies. I’m not wondering why people keep playing MMOs over games that are (hypothetically) more substantive than an MMO tends to be, but rather what makes WoW so much more appealing than those other services.
We can rule out the “sunken investment” train of thought, I feel. It’s rare to see folks leave a game, then return because they’d put so much time in already—those are the ones that tend to remain subscribed at all times.
It’s almost as though WoW players are the quietly racist grandparents of the MMO world: they were raised in a particular way, and the world around them is changing. They’re resistant to that change, and are angry because of it. They try to move on, but things don’t quite feel right: this mechanic doesn’t function like the one in WoW, this seems to meld better, they’re just more comfortable with it the other way, even if the new way is “better”. They gripe and complain about the way things “used to be”—or rather how they are in a different, older game—and insist on the new game changing its ways to be more like its elder (which would be a terrible idea, “let’s all make the same game with different skins!”), or defame the new one as much as possible, and retreat into this elitist shell of theirs.
This is a blanket statement, I know—a hyperbolization that I would often refrain from using. At the same time, my exposure to many of the occupants of the MMO communities I’ve occupied, which have ranged from brief stints to year-or-more-long sojourns have inevitably resulted in meetings with a significant subset of a given community expressing similar feelings.
So help me understand, if you’re able, how World of Warcraft is able to exist. By all rights, it should have died ages ago. Yet here it stands, adding another expansion to its belt, one that you’ll be able to enjoy in November this year, if you’re so inclined. It’s good news for those WoW fans, yet baffles me. Alas, I’ll just watch the trailer again in peace, shall I?