Now, before you decide I’m just a whiner, give me a moment. I’m not new to Wow. I played many toons up through Cataclysm and two into Pandaria. I left it behind a while ago and now I’m back trying the Public Test Realm [PTR] in preparation for the Warlords of Draenor. No WoD content in the PTR yet.
I created a Level 90 Death Knight, a class I’ve played a lot in Wow, and started out with the quest that I was given. I was toast. The template toons are created to allow someone to play the new content right away to test the new things. And from looking at the stats you would think that this template toon was tricked out. But as soon as I went to the Timeless Isle – where the quest sent me – I was toast.
Why is that?
Pandaria and Timeless Isle are a Disconnect
I noticed the same thing with the Pandaria expansion, which I purchased near the end of my previous work with Wow. One would think that an expansion would be a progression from previous content. And I’m sure that the Wow designers would argue that Pandaria is a progression. But it is a progression if you have played RAIDs and Dungeons and spent a long time learning all the arcania required to trick out your toon with the maxed out gear in the game. Then it’s easy.
But if you just do the questing and some dungeons along the way, and are not a RAID’ed, Guilded, Tricked out Geared to the Max player, then the Pandaria extension was a disconnect. Way too hard. You struggled just to stay alive. It was no fun. And I don’t mean that I went to Pandaria with lame gear. I had dungeon or crafted gear with enchantments and jewels. It was blue gear. But it wasn’t the best gear that you could get from Raiding. So I was way behind. My conclusion is that Pandaria was created for hard core Raid players in mind.
And Timeless Isle is much worse. As soon as you land, you have walk through the woods filled with Elites that have 10x the HP you have. A few hits and you are down. The only way to make it is it die a few times luring them back toward the landing place so the guards can kill them. Or be lucky and land after they have been cleared by previous tricked out players. The normal mobs in the area have 2-3x the HP of my level 90 template toon.
The other thing I found out a while ago with Pandaria when I tried it on the live servers was that it was a grind. There were tons of quests giving 1 or 2% of your level XP. The idea seemed to create 1000 quests to get from level 85 to level 90. They succeeded, but the result was a real grind. Given the bad gear situation that made grinding that much harder. Well you get the idea. No fun.
Wow is Losing Players
We wonder why Wow is bleeding players like no tomorrow. Because the high-level content is no longer fun for the casual gamer. That’s at least one reason. Of course there is the rise of the F2P games like Tera where you can get started and have a lot of fun for free, or on your terms to buy what you want when you want.
When I heard about Garrisons and other neat things in WoD I thought I would re-up my subscription and carry on. But I see in the PTR it’s no fun. The first area that you have to go to, if you mash and grind your way through Pandaria, is Timeless Isle which is another Disconnect.
Here’s what I did
– that made very little difference.
After failing miserably to stay alive on the Timeless Isle. I went back to Pandaria and did a few quests. I was just fine against the 85-87 monsters there with the template gear. Yes I still knew how to play Wow with a Death Knight.
So after a little while I went back to the starting area in Kun-Lai Summit and enhanced my gear. The template was a maxed out Jewelcrafter and Enchanter and was given lots of mats. So I created some stones appropriate to the gear, and enchanted everything with the best enchantments that I could make.
Back to Timeless Isle
Well I was still pretty much toast. A little better, but still no fun. I talked with a hunter who was doing a little better, although still dying and looked at his gear. His Bow reported twice the damage of my mace and when he asked where he got it, he just laughed at me. Very helpful high level players, don’t you think.
Well in case you know what you are doing with Wow, I’ll show you the gear that I have on this toon. But if I go back I’ll play in Pandaria and leave the high level content for others. There is not enough time in the PTR to learn more of Wow, and since the toons there are disposable, I don’t have the desire to work very hard.
When I played the PTR for Pandaria, I used the PTR to learn about areas that I could not yet visit with my lower level toons in the live servers. Well there is only Pandaria for me to learn about.
The Future of Wow?
I suspect that Wow will continue their slow decline. They had 10M players back in 2013, down from their max of 12M players in 2010 and have dropped a couple of M players since then. Many players left to go. But like MySpace found out, eventually the drop off is precipitous and there is no way back. There is some disagreement about how many of these players are in Asia. Maybe they like this new style of game.
In addition to the rise of F2P games, I think the designers have lost their way in catering only to the highest level players and leaving serious, but less rabid players like me in the dust with their expansions. I enjoyed Cataclysm content quite a lot and was looking forward to the new content and character models. As I moved through Northrend, and Deepholm, it didn’t feel like a grind and it was fun. I moved a dozen or so toons through those areas of all classes. But Pandaria is not much fun. Well I can see the character models in Starter, and with no content that I can play in the expansion, why bother.