How World of Warcraft Ruins Itselfs

There have been dozens of popular massively multiplayer online games at this point but none of them have matched the popularity of World of Warcraft. No doubt, Blizzard is doing something right. But what are they doing wrong?

Blizzard is ruining World of Warcraft, one patch and one expansion at a time.

World of Warcraft patches are unique in a way that they permanently and almost irrevocably change the game forever. Before Mists of Pandaria came out Blizzard unleashed its new talent system. It went from a cryptic point based talent tree system to a simple and linear 6 talent choice system each with 3 options.

WoW Talent Changes


Blizzard argues that the new system is better, and the subscriber base seems not to mind considering its still holding strong around 10 million. Regardless of what you think, unless you play on a buggy private server, you’ll probably never see the old talent system again. This is just one facet of the game, in Cataclysm Blizzard destroyed half the world and remastered almost every quest from 1 to 60.

How is this different than patches in Starcraft II and other games? It’s different because of the massive scale of the changes applied over the last decade. The classic World of Warcraft that 9 million people played in the first 3 years is completely gone. Forever.


Here’s a picture of my tank geared up with uncommon and rare items to do Molten Core. Never again will Molten Core be genuinely challenging. Never again will players struggling through Dire Maul, carefully organizing crowd control assignments and kill orders.

With each expansion and with many of the patches every single existing instance is immediately out dated as it will never be genuinely challenging again. Raids like the original Naxxramas were completely removed.

But how to fix it?

It’s actually possible and relatively easy to fix and certainly all of my whining would be futile if there were no solution. Everquest has already defined the progression server, where new content is unlocked as players progress through the game. Instead of locking all players into one period of time within the Warcraft world, start a few new servers every year or so.

Servers can have unique configuration based on popular demand. Some might have leveling caps, slower or faster XP gains, others have increased difficulty and perhaps some can be have added death penalties. These would allow players to relive the classic World of Warcraft experience that has been ruined by expansion after expansion of content.

Along with the addition of new progression servers Blizzard could adopt the apprenticing system from Everquest. This could allow players to play with lower level friends and progress with them. Gear and stats would be scaled down for whatever level content they are playing.

Finally, the third thing Blizzard could do is scale all old (or most) dungeons and raids to max level gear and stats. This would allow level 90 characters to return to challenging version of Molten Core. Different difficulties would allow players to earn different achievements. A real “heroic” mode could be readded to the game which would be a challenging version of old and existing dungeons. Old dungeons could be revisted to make gold or earn a different type of gear.

Why Blizzard won’t do it

Ultimately Blizzard will host progression servers and possibly even scale old content, but the reason they aren’t doing it now is because, as they claim, they would rather invest time and energy into producing new content than reviving old content. This strategy will prove futile in the coming years as players get bored of the same repetitive and templated content and demand the classic challenging and complex game of the past. Blizzard’s quantity over quality approach is nearing an end.

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  1. You’re living in the past. We’ve all heard this story 1000 times. Get over it.

  2. i disagree with pretty much every post i have seen in Recent News….. for a site called WOW-farming you sure do put the hate on for WOW

  3. First, kudoes to you for posting a well written, well thought out piece. It happens I disagree with a lot of it, but that doesn’t interfere with my respecting what you say and how you say it. That said…

    Throughout the short history of gaming, the issue of “replayability” has been a strong focus. If we’ve learned anything from this, it’s that, while some people like to revisit old content, they aren’t nearly as enthusiastic as they are with new stuff. I can’t think of a game where this isn’t true. I too raided MC, and I enjoyed it. But I don’t really have a desire to return, just as I sometimes reread books — but not that often.

    And it’s not all just novelty. You mentioned the Nax raids (wasn’t Nax a 40? Sooo long ago…). Do you recall how hard it was to get 40 people together to raid some content? And on some servers, it didn’t happen at all. There are players today that started om vanilla, and never had much experience with Ony or MC, as they weren’t in a guild that had enough members. People hated that, and I can see why.

    Now, as to your proposal — I see where you’re going with it and it does have appeal. But how will you handle people screaming “Discrimination!” when they find themselves on a server with low experience gain. poorer dungeons and less opportunity — and the only way they can change it is to hack out yet another $25 for yet another server change? I’m worried that a groundswell of unhappiness would be the result, with the subsequent “voting with your feet: migration out of this game.

    Don’t get me wrong — I like your ideas — I just think they need some refinement, and I’d be interested in hearing from you about those.

    In the mean time, don’t you like the newer content? :}

  4. So I caught my little brother (15) posting his comment here ^ He’s the one calling himself Dan.

    Dan is 15… He’s played wow for a whole year now, but because he watched me play it for years before that he thinks he knows more about the game than he really does.

    Dan never played vanilla, or TBC, or even WOTLK for that matter.

    He came into WOW during Cata, right before MOP launched. Dan literally doesn’t know what the game used to be like, he’s one of these types that just surfs the forums, and bases his opinion off of other “dans” that are equally prevalent on the forums these days, his opinions are those of the mass crowd of “dans” that now exist.

    I like my brother, but when it comes to video games he’s just wrong. He is the kid that throws his keyboard when he dies in a raid, he’s the kid that my mom has had to purchase 3 new LCD monitors for him since he was 11 because he has a tendency to punch them when he loses.

    Dan is immature, shallow, and is failing school.

    Dan can’t hold a job, he’s been trying for years now.

    I know that it was my little brother that posted this because he tried yesterday, to pretend that he just “found” this page, and tried to use his own post to prove to me that people like wow the way it is. The problem is that I was in the room when Dan made this post back in January and I watched him post it, he thought I was working on university projects, but really I was snickering at this little cretin’s inability to form a cohesive or respectable argument.

    I don’t know what it is with these younger kids, but I can agree with the author, as a 29 year old that played from day one, the game is now very dull and lackluster, it has been nerfed and toned down to the point that most of the original player base has completely left and given up on MMO’s in general, because the other developers seem to have followed BLizzards lead in this dumbing down of what is supposed to be a deep and complex game.

    Today I’m going to bring Dan into the living room, and show him this post I’ve made, I’m also going to explain to him for the 10,000th time that he did not play Vanilla and to stop telling people that he did, he was like 7 when vanilla came out still peeing his bed.

    In a nutshell – Dan, my brother, who has the top post on this page, never played wow until a little over a year ago, he is terrible at the game, he’s the DPS toon that won’t let the tank do his job. Dan is a bad player, so using logic to convince him he is wrong won’t work, but here’s the deal. If blizzard would stop catering to Dan, he’d leave. He’s the kind of kid that gives up as soon as things get difficult or require work. Why do I know this? The kid hasn’t cleaned his room in over 3 months, he’s failing REMEDIAL school courses, and he cries when he’s told to do chores.

    Dan is a baby, and babies have ruined WoW.

    I wish my brother would stop playing, but because the game is so dumbed down, I fear it won’t happen.

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