There’s little surprise that World of Warcraft has lost millions of players since its peak during Wrath of the Lich King. Ralph Koster, long timer game designer and MMOG theorist, pulled a Moore’s Law for the industry long ago. But that’s the larger trend. Why, in general, subscriptions peak and fall. The devil is in the details. Why does an individual chose to leave a game they once craved? This is incredibly important in small scale. Mine is relatively simple. Not as easy as the Wrath drop, but very close.
I began my professional video game writing career shortly after The Burning Crusade was announced. It struck me as rather odd that Blizzard would force require us to pay for a subscription and the expansion itself. Combine that with the cash-strapped nature of a junior year of college, two plus years of the same content and I had had enough. My money, at the time, was lost. Clearly, this didn’t persist, as both Project Lore and Lore Hound exemplify. At any rate, my connection to the universe remained a slippery slope. No expansion held my attention like Vanilla, TBC being the least played, and no expansion approached my connection with Wrath.
My modus operandi since then has been, sadly, quite predictable. TBC was largely ignored due to a major life change and cost backlash. Post Wrath it’s been simple: Pop level cap, throw out a horde of articles while I quest and dungeon, farm loot for heroics, move to raids, farm more loot and get bored of the same content and leave. Poor lore has exasperated the problem in recent expansions. Far more so with loltimeparadox Warlords of Draenor.
Sadly, I’m not expecting good lore with Legion. Will it hold my attention more than the few months WoD did? I don’t expect so, but I’ll give it a chance. Yet again. What about you? What’s your typical WoW path?