Established Fact

In one of Syncaine’s latest posts, a commenter made the claim:

WoW is bleeding accounts because people are finally realizing that being handed everything with minimal effort and no risk is, in actuality, not that much fucking fun over the long run.

After I presented the counter-argument that it was established fact that increased difficulty was principally the cause of WoW subscriber drop-off, Rammstein “countered” with this:

Anything that Chilton says to the New York Times is “established fact”? LOL. You never considered any of the following?

1. He could be lying.

2. He could be wrong, which looks more likely when you consider he is part of the design team responsible for the drop.

3. He could be both lying and wrong, the most probable scenario.

4. He could be right. In this horribly unlikely case, what he said is STILL NOT ESTABLISHED FACT, as that would require something establishing it as a fact besides someone just saying it to someone else.

Syncaine agreed with Rammstein and made another post highlighting it. So… let us give these arguments the gravity their authors did not.

1. He could be lying.

Sure, Tom Chilton could be lying to the New York Times. But… to what end? His specific line is:

“What we’re trying to do now is figure out what our current audience wants,” Tom Chilton, World of Warcraft’s game director, told me by phone last week. “It became clear that it wasn’t realistic to try to get the audience back to being more hard core, as it had been in the past.”

Is that supposed to be less embarrassing? An admission from the game’s director that they don’t know what their present audience wants, in an article about the release of Star Wars: The Old Republic? What could they be hiding that is worse? Assuming Syncaine and company are correct vis-a-vis lack of difficulty being the cause, it would be far, far easier to admit that WoW had deviated too far from what “made WoW great” and that Cataclysm was the first step in the right direction.

Except… Cataclysm clearly wasn’t a step in the right direction because it was released with a higher difficulty and 2 million people left anyway. So how convoluted does your difficulty argument have to be to still remain valid? That people hated the ease of Wrath, burned themselves out, got served a difficult expansion, and then quit 2-3 months later after getting exactly what they wanted/needed? The nerfs did not occur until after the loss in subscriptions, after the 50+ minute LFD queues. Or is the argument that the hardcore center hollowed out in Wrath? In which case… who were the 2 million who unsubbed in Cataclysm?

Even if we assume that Chilton was lying to the NYT for whatever reason, for that argument to hold you must further assume that it was not just Chilton, but the entire damn company. Here was Mike Morhaime in the November Earning call:

That said, we know there are improvements that we can make in gaming content. The level-up content in Cataclysm is some of our best works. But it was consumed quickly compared to our past expansions set, Wrath of the Lich King. Once players reached max level, the end-game content in Cataclysm is more difficult. Balancing this content for our diverse player base can be very challenging.

Our development team is constantly analyzing the game, and we’re continuing to explore ways that we can adjust the game to better satisfy both hard-core and casual players. To that end, our next free major content update for World of Warcraft is already in testing and will be available for players in the coming weeks.

I could post more. In fact, I did post more… back in March of 2011 as I put the backpedaling on a timeline starting from January 7th’s “We don’t think it was a mistake to start with the difficulty we did” to February 3rd’s “On the other hand, maybe things have come too far in the other direction.” The whole gang is there: Zarhym, Daxxarri, Bashiok, Ghostcrawler. Were they just repeating Chilton’s lie for the past 12 months?

Not only were they lying with words, they also had to be lying with deeds. Consider the LFD Luck of the Draw buff that rolled out not even two weeks after Ghostcrawler told everyone to L2P. Consider the absolute bevvy of heroic nerfs, the T11 nerfs, the ZA/ZG nerfs, the 4.2 nerfs before the end of the patch (!), and finally the implementation of LFR. And let us not forget part of the Mists of Pandaria announcement:

In Cataclysm, Heroic dungeons were intentionally designed as gear and difficulty checks on the progression to raiding. In Mists of Pandaria, the Raid Finder will be the appropriate transition from running dungeons to Normal raids. Heroic dungeons will largely be tuned to be about as difficult as they were in Wrath of the Lich King, allowing players to fairly quickly down bosses in PUGs and hit their Valor Point caps. Valor Points will follow a new philosophy with 4.3, as a parallel way to gear up alongside the Raid Finder, but not as a fill-in for boss drops.

Which leads us to:

2. He could be wrong.

I am actually much more sympathetic to this argument, simply because we do know not just by experience, but by admission that designers (or at least the people that manage them) frequently have no goddamn idea what they are doing. Even in Blizzard’s specific case, Chilton is admitting they are still trying to figure out the current audience wants, which becomes more and more bizarre the longer you think about it.

That said, while I am sympathetic to this argument, it is also extremely weak. Blizzard is privy to 100% of the statistics that we have to crudely extrapolate from either Armory information, or from websites that have not been updated since October. And even the statistics we have access to can be incredibly misleading. I have always said that arguments based on total subs is asinine, because who knows what the churn rate is, what the concurrent users numbers are doing, and so on. Only Blizzard does, and we only know what they have said:

Are you basing this conclusion [heroics too hard] off of forum posts or in game data?  I hope it’s the latter so you get a truly accurate picture.

That’s an analysis pulled from hard data. We always try to base improvements an accurate overall picture. (source)

The Luck of the Draw buff, however, is being made in response to the feedback we’re seeing on the forums, as well as the statistics we’ve been reviewing which reflect all types of dungeon party trends. We feel it’s a good way of closing the disparity between the success of pick up groups and the success of preformed groups, without trivializing the content for some players to appease others. (source)

By looking at actual stats, actual progression, time spent playing, where, and to what extent, we can see that most people are looking for more accessible raid content, so yes, we absolutely are able to tell without a doubt that the plan we’re enacting is actually what players playing the game want and need, and are not just listening to people on the forums. (source)

So the “He could be wrong” counter-argument essentially comes down to “Blizzard is wrong about why they experienced a loss in subscribers because I said so without any objective evidence other than total sub numbers.”

Could Blizzard actually be wrong? Sure. Maybe they actually lost 2 million subs because of the alignment of Praxis-12 Prime with the center of the Andromeda galaxy. But given the incredibly consistent (since February 2011), highly publicized direction shift when it comes to difficulty, it is beyond all reasonable doubt that Blizzard as a whole believes the Cataclysm drop in subscribers was due to Cataclysm being too hard. With the release of LFR and all information revealed about Mists of Pandaria thus far, it is similarly clear that Blizzard is literally betting the $1 billion farm on an easier, more accessible WoW experience.

Consider this fact established.

About these ads

Posted on January 13, 2012, in Commentary, WoW and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 25 Comments.

  1. 1. “Not only were they lying with words, they also had to be lying with deeds. Consider the LFD Luck of the Draw buff that rolled out not even two weeks after Ghostcrawler told everyone to L2P. Consider the absolute bevvy of heroic nerfs, the T11 nerfs, the ZA/ZG nerfs, the 4.2 nerfs before the end of the patch (!), and finally the implementation of LFR.”

    Nerfs to old content are not new to Cataclysm. You don’t remember the massive BWL nerf even before AQ40 was released, once the top guilds had beaten nef? That is an extremely old philosophy and is completely irrelevant to this argument.

    ““What we’re trying to do now is figure out what our current audience wants,” Tom Chilton, World of Warcraft’s game director, told me by phone last week.”

    Like I already told you, he’s lying by omission because he’s pretending this is about ‘hardcore vs. normal people’, when it’s really an issue of dance vs. performance requirements making it less fun for people of different skill levels to play together, and about the token/jp/vp system producing negative effects. Blizzard intentionally replaced dps requirements with dance requirements, so you can’t argue that they don’t even know the difference between them, that would be absurd.

    Anyway, even if you disagree with me that he’s being at least deceptive here, the original point was that he COULD be lying, not that he IS. Saying “but he has no motivation to lie, and multiple people would have to be lying”, is really totally irrelevant. He still could be lying. If you want to call something established fact, then we’d be in a whole another realm, of whether there’s sufficient third-party corroboration, correlation with the evidence, etc. Your argument here is completely irrelevant.

    The whole “the whole company would have to be lying” comment was funny though. Have you ever heard of the phrase “the company line”? The fact that you don’t think everything these reps are saying has been vetted by PR people makes me laugh.

    2. “So the “He could be wrong” counter-argument essentially comes down to “Blizzard is wrong about why they experienced a loss in subscribers because I said so without any objective evidence other than total sub numbers.””

    That’s the fallacy of argumentum ad ignorantium. I merely advanced the possibility that they might be wrong. You are claiming that what he claimed is established fact, therefore the burden of proof lies completely on your shoulders, proof which you have yet to provide. The fact that the people currently in charge have presided over a rapid decline shows that your argument that Blizzard has more information than us really isn’t that relevant. Obviously, more than “more information” is needed to prevent a loss of subs.

    “Could Blizzard actually be wrong? Sure. Maybe they actually lost 2 million subs because of the alignment of Praxis-12 Prime with the center of the Andromeda galaxy. But given the incredibly consistent (since February 2011), highly publicized direction shift when it comes to difficulty, it is beyond all reasonable doubt that Blizzard as a whole believes the Cataclysm drop in subscribers was due to Cataclysm being too hard. ”

    So you started talking about is blizzard wrong or not, and without changing subject or any transition you end the paragraph talking instead about what Blizzard BELIEVES. That’s completely irrelevant. It seems that you’re operating under a few fundamental misconceptions here, as most of your arguments are just irrelevant to the matter at hand.

    • Nerfs to old content are not new to Cataclysm. You don’t remember the massive BWL nerf even before AQ40 was released, once the top guilds had beaten nef? That is an extremely old philosophy and is completely irrelevant to this argument.

      I was afraid you or others would be unwilling to click the link provided wherein I documented the relatively quick turnabout last year around this time, and the quoted reasons for them.

      Like I already told you, he’s lying by omission because he’s pretending this is about ‘hardcore vs. normal people’, when it’s really an issue of dance vs. performance requirements making it less fun for people of different skill levels to play together, and about the token/jp/vp system producing negative effects. Blizzard intentionally replaced dps requirements with dance requirements, so you can’t argue that they don’t even know the difference between them, that would be absurd.

      Oh? It “is really” about the dance and the loot system? What evidence are you basing your conclusions on?

      Anyway, even if you disagree with me that he’s being at least deceptive here, the original point was that he COULD be lying, not that he IS.

      So help me out here, are you saying you still believe it is possible Chilton was lying to the NYT, explicitly or by omission, in spite of all the evidence presented here concerning WoW’s difficulty and the explicit design directions they have since taken and are planning in MoP? Or are you sort of nihilistically saying it is impossible to know or verify what Chilton actually believes?

      The fact that the people currently in charge have presided over a rapid decline shows that your argument that Blizzard has more information than us really isn’t that relevant.

      How is them presiding over the decline render their data “not that relevant?”

  2. @Rammstein

    So you were just advancing the possibility that Blizzard might be wrong? And your whole argument hangs on the fact that we don’t know and can never know the truth?

    I’m not sure you should participate in internet debates if you’re going to resort to the “BUT GUYS HOW CAN YOU PROVE IT’S REAL?!?”

  3. @Bernard :

    You missed the point. Did you not read the original post, or do you just not understand the issues here? The answer to your first question is ‘no’, and the answer to your second question is ‘no’. The response to your second paragraph is ‘what?’. We can’t have a productive discussion unless something drastic changes in our communication, obviously.

    @azuriel:

    “I was afraid you or others would be unwilling to click the link provided wherein I documented the relatively quick turnabout last year around this time, and the quoted reasons for them.”

    I’ve already read that article, it’s mostly about LFD which is not comparable to vanilla or BC, in which LFD did not exist. Not really relevant to me, sorry. The raid nerfs were generally not quick turnarounds, compared to previous tier nerfs.

    “Oh? It “is really” about the dance and the loot system? What evidence are you basing your conclusions on?”

    That’s just my opinion, if you want to stick to evidence based statements only, then just state your original post was not based on sufficient evidence and the discussion will be over :) How much time we could have saved if you’d pointed that earlier, in that case.

    “So help me out here, are you saying you still believe it is possible Chilton was lying to the NYT, explicitly or by omission, in spite of all the evidence presented here concerning WoW’s difficulty and the explicit design directions they have since taken and are planning in MoP? Or are you sort of nihilistically saying it is impossible to know or verify what Chilton actually believes?”

    It is always possible. I don’t see how it’s nihilistic to be aware that’s there’s always a chance someone is lying. If you’d rather talk about what’s likely and what there’s evidence for, then why are you even asking me what’s possible? Are you confused?

    I’m not sure why you want me to type in a few thousand words about the dance/vs dps difficulty thing, Gevlon has done many columns on it already. Sunwell was massive dps checks, obviously you had to do it while also dancing some, but the dps was super tuned. wotlk and cata kept buffing up the dance part of the fights, all that’s been covered so many times already. The thing about cata is they made an effort to include the dance in 5 man and solo content more than before, to train people to dance in raids. The ready for raiding achievements, certain quests, I’m not going to go look it all up. It’s something ghostcrawler talked about, and it failed. They realized that they couldn’t mold everyone into that one kind of content, and they’ve reacted by providing dance free raids (lfr), and expanding the quest/collectible content. One could look at the hardcore/casual “making the game easier” quotes Chilton provided as being a simplification of that process for the New York Times reader, but to me it extends beyond that to being a fundamentally deceptive way to put it, a product of PR spin. I guess I’m not sure what your point is here. Do you want to have a long debate about this? Then why write a 4 sentence reply in which you claim that anything Blizzard people say to a reporter is “established fact”? Isn’t that a way of shortcutting long debates? Unless I can get some inkling of some goal you’re driving at here, I’m not going to be able to motivate myself to reply again.

    • The raid nerfs were generally not quick turnarounds, compared to previous tier nerfs.

      The reasons for them, especially given the context, are in fact relevant. If you have some links squirreled away talking about why BWL was nerfed (etc), by all means share them.

      That’s just my opinion, if you want to stick to evidence based statements only, then just state your original post was not based on sufficient evidence and the discussion will be over :) How much time we could have saved if you’d pointed that earlier, in that case.

      I want you to be consistent, and hold yourself to the same standards of language as you hold others. For example, my original statement that spawned this whole thing was:

      “Blizzard already acknowledged that the actual fact of the matter was that Cataclysm was too hard, and trying to recapture the sort of hardcore playerbase of the past was a mistake.”

      Technically speaking, this entire discussion was establishing what “Blizzard already acknowledged,” which I believe I have done so to any reasonable standard. I enjoy these sort of discussions however, especially when the implication is that logically nothing can be known or communicated.

      It is always possible. I don’t see how it’s nihilistic to be aware that’s there’s always a chance someone is lying. If you’d rather talk about what’s likely and what there’s evidence for, then why are you even asking me what’s possible? Are you confused?

      Are you confused as to what nihilism means? I am using it in this way: “The belief that all values are baseless and that nothing can be known or communicated.” If you truly believe that it is impossible to know that someone is lying or telling the truth, then how can you NOT concede to nihilism? What “claim” could possibly be valid under your worldview? “Anything is possible” is explicit admission that nothing can be known or communicated. Nothing could be true; reality could be absurd, unintelligible nonsense.

      But, seriously, can any claim at all be proven under these conditions? Are we reduced to “the moon landing probably happened,” “Obama is probably a US citizen,” “the sun is likely to rise in the East tomorrow?”

      Anyway, you don’t have to defend your dance claim comments, I have followed Gevlon’s dance argument the entire way through. In fact, I agree that the dance is bad, and so has Blizzard, back in October.

      Then why write a 4 sentence reply in which you claim that anything Blizzard people say to a reporter is “established fact”? Isn’t that a way of shortcutting long debates? Unless I can get some inkling of some goal you’re driving at here, I’m not going to be able to motivate myself to reply again.

      See, I made no such claim that “anything Blizzard people say to a reporter is established fact.” That’s your strawman. Chilton’s comment, along with the year worth of documented statements combined with Blizzard’s actual deeds, is what constitutes established fact when it comes to what Blizzard believes the problem is. I could have linked more than just the NYT article, but given the seemingly flippant post I was responding to and that it was already a 3-deep nested comment, I figured it did not matter.

      What I am driving at is that I agree with Blizzard: it was the difficulty. But more than that, I find the contrary argument – that people left because Cataclysm endgame (or WoW in general) was too easy – completely ridiculous. Can a game be ruined by making it trivial? Sure. But for that argument to work, you must not only claim that people left because WoW was too easy, with no objective evidence that cannot be used to prove the opposite, but also implicitly claim that (presumably) rational people with access to the complete data trends have come to the 100% opposite conclusion.*

      In other words, what we know for sure is that people left. It makes sense to me that people leave when a game is made harder, and it matches my experience – my guild stopped raiding halfway through T11, getting burned out of having to be “on point” 100% of the time lest we wipe on Magmaw all night after having him “on farm.” It makes no sense to me that making the endgame easier leads to 2 million people leaving, when it appears less than 15% of players have killed 1 raid boss in Firelands.

      *Blizzard devs obviously make mistakes, else they would not have even tried to dial the difficulty back up to begin with. However, I find it perfectly reasonable that the data they have (usage stats, exit surveys, player engagement numbers, etc) does not work at predicting things, but rather explain what players are unhappy about. Kind of like, well… a baby.

  4. Irrespective of whether something is estabilished or not. That the reasons for WoW’s decline are that simple would really require a lot of proof on your side, in my opinion.

    I would agree that some starting areas are actually too difficult for some classes if you are a new player. I also would agree that the difficulty jump from leveling to heroics/raiding was (and sometimes still is) too much; mostly because the leveling game 20-85 is super-mega-über-trivial.

    But that’s not the whole explanation for it. In fact I am pretty sure that you agree that e.g. some players burned out after some 6 years or so.

    Then there’s Rift and SW:TOR. And of course the more contentious problems, like too much theme park, too much anonymity, not enough world, too many teleports and queues, …


    In any way: What Blizzard says about the reasons for the decline is interesting at best. To accept it as estabilished fact is a bit silly, in my opinion.

  5. What is fact? There is scientific fact and then there is legal fact. A person representing the company saying something is a fact in the legal word, but may not be a fact in the scientific word as it would be a theory only.

    But to claim they are lying or that they are wrong without other proff, even circumstantial, is even worse.

    The only facts we really know is that WOW has lost 2+ million subs since Cata came out. I’m sure there are hundreds of reasons but there might be one CORE or predominate reason. Chilton and Blizz have stated what they believe is the core reason. In a court that would qulify as direct testimony and a legal fact. To challenge it the other side has to find other direct testimony or other facts to show he is lying or wrong. Till then in a court of law he would win.

    • I don’t see how legal facts are relevant here, we’re not in a court of law. If this discussion had started out being about legal facts, then I would never have replied, because I wouldn’t have cared about the discussion at all, and I can’t see how anyone else would have either.

      “But to claim they are lying or that they are wrong without other proff, even circumstantial, is even worse.”

      This is mainly why I responded to you. You say “even worse”, but even worse than what? There’s no clear antecedent to that comparison. Very amusing, and I hope you’ll let us know what it’s even worse than.

      Circumstantially, anyone in a very profitable business talking to the media has millions of reasons to lie. There’s a difference between claiming that person is lying, and simply realizing that anyone in that position has means, motive, and opportunity to lie to protect those millions of green rectangles and reading with a skeptical eye. Again, it’s amusing that anyone could think that companies spend millions of dollars on PR people and that all they say is “stand up straight and just tell the truth, boss”. Wake up and smell the artificial rose scent, son.

  6. “Very amusing, and I hope you’ll let us know what it’s even worse than.”

    Reminds me of a person saying that there are no degrees of wrong since wrong is an absolute. I counter that I can be a little wrong by saying there are 24 hours in a day (when in fact it is not EXACTLY 24 hours) or I can be very wrong by saying the Earth is flat. The even worse than was in comparrisson to Chilton’s comments.

    As you correctly stated a business will try to put spin, or misdirect people into believing certain things. My “even worse than” was in comparing you calling them a liar vs. their potential ommissions.

    Calling them a liar means you have proof that not only is their statement not factually correct, but that they had the intent and malice of thought to purposely mislead. Without this proof all you have done is libel them.

    Finally, circumstantial evidence is much more then the opportunity to lie. If that is the criteria then couldn’t I or anyone else conclude that everythign you say is a lie because you have the opportunity to lie? You must provide a link. For example proper circumstantial evidence would be citing a fact that Chilton told another group that he had to placate stockholders about the loss of subs in a way that they wouldn’t panic.

  7. Hi, same guy that made the comment you quoted in this post here. I followed up to your comment on Syncaine’s post but I’m not sure you’ve responded to it. Rather than hash through that, allow me to respond to the “accessibility” argument you make at the end of your post:

    I believe WoW’s fabled “accessibility” was a mixture of well-balanced challenge with barriers that mostly made sense. It’s when they got away from that balance that things started to go downhill.

    Accessibility doesn’t mean anything by itself. It’s only meaningful relative to something else. For example, if raiding in MMORPGs didn’t exist, then players unable to overcome the gap from regular groups to raid groups wouldn’t complain about the end-game not being “accessible,” despite the fact that the only thing that’s changed is the existence of something they now aren’t aware of.

    To solve the problem of conflict between the “haves” and the “have-nots,” you introduce equally challenging barriers for different types of players. Instead of giving players fewer choices of how to play, you give them more. Instead of making things “easier,” you make the work more fun (and sometimes the rewards better). A player shouldn’t have to dread doing something boring in order to do something fun. That’s a huge reason why WoW’s leveling worked so well and became so enormously popular: the quests and the combat were FUN “work” on the way to shiny rewards.

    Accessibility can be characterized as a sum of mechanics. For instance, a lot of people have pointed to the lack of real death penalty as one reason WoW succeeded, but a death penalty is only a problem if it’s not didactic–if you don’t learn something from it. Instead of giving players something to dread (the loss of effort) on failure, you give them MORE choices, and you’ve virtually solved your problem.

    Example: You die, the game says “You can resurrect at the graveyard and run back with no further penalty, or you can take an experience penalty but if you kill X of (monster that killed you) in Y minutes, you get a nice new sword.”

    Now look at what you’ve done for your player. You’ve respected his choice of play style, but you’ve also given him an opportunity to “right the wrong” of dying by convincing him to attempt to play the game better. You’ve taught him something. People LOVE this kind of thing. There are thousands of opportunities for this kind of self-instructive gameplay. It’s “accessible” not because it’s EASY, but because it’s FUN. Real super duper important difference.

    Let me now reiterate THE REAL REASON Cataclysm failed:

    Because Blizzard ignored the fact that synchronized square dancing around a boss is actually a really shitty way of entertaining your players. Period. It only worked in 2005 because the game was still new, the mechanics were novel for a vast majority and people were still testing the limits of what could be done. By the time 2010 rolled around, everyone knew what to expect, had seen it all, and Blizzard tried to shove an outdated game mechanic down the throats of people who were A) sick of it already and B) conditioned to expect freebies since before the previous expansion. It’s not hard to see why that idea completely sucked.

    People didn’t quit because raiding WAS TOO HARD. They quit because it WASN’T FUN. At least, not in relation to the difficulty for the exact same rewards as they received previously. See: comment I made about accessibility in the third paragraph.

    If you’re a game designer, I suggest you take what I’ve said above, put it in your game and thank me later.

  8. I want to give a tl;dr summary of my previous post. Why do we point to the difficulty of raiding as the problem but don’t notice the fact that all we’ve done is point out a fatal flaw in the design of the game?

    If people are complaining that questing is “too hard,” would you assume that to solve the problem you should nerf monster damage? No. You know what “too hard” translates as? “It isn’t fun.” Make it fun.

  9. I am amused by the assertion (backed by nothing but personal prejudice and desperate wishful thinking) that Morhaime was lying during an earnings conference call.

    Executives of a corporation can be sued for millions of dollars for lying in such venues. And asserting they are lying is libel that could land you in court for more than you will ever make.

  10. My current theory is that subscription drop is based on several interconnected reasons.

    New people don’t stay subscribed long enough to reach endgame even when they are converted into subscribers from free first 20 levels. That comes from leveling difficulty being too trivial to be fun long term. Speeded up leveling is still too slow to retain people who “just want to see endgame”. Those who do reach endgame get huge difficulty jump, which also costs subscribers. Again, not from current content being too difficult, but from leveling content being too trivial.

    Counterpoint might be that Blizzard considers difficulty a problem, not “triviality”, but all statements and changes so far downplay importance of leveling. It looks like Blizzard tries to get leveling into sweet spot where average churn time gets you to top-level (where you might get hooked by endgame) rather then improving leveling-time retention so that people reach endgame with old xp rates.

    Social connections are eroded by widespread LFD use and lack of group quests, making social motivation to “keep going” (~keeping up with peers) non-existent. Lack of “new blood” causes raiding guilds to collapse or downsize, further eroding remaining social connections. And LFR will be final nail into that coffin, effectively killing it by making raiding expirience independent from social connection – thus preventing many new people from wanting to join raiding guild to expirience raids.

    This part of theory can be tested by checking “raid conversion” ratio based on normal-raid achievements now and later. The idea is that LFR system will lower conversion ratio in noticeable way, so that more people not raiding now will not convert into normal raids at all, thus taking social part of raiding out of the picture, further eroding social ties and retention, and further collapse of raiding guilds.

  11. A lot of people keep wanting to come up with a fixable reason why WoW is dropping subs.

    It’s been 8 years since launch. It’s amazing for any title to sustain itself that long in the first place, and for me the easiest reason behind the declines is just that the game has run through its growth and stable phase, and is now in the decline. It’s got less to do with what has been released that just the structural issue of how long any single title can sustain itself in the top spot. (Yes, UO is still around, but it is hardly in the top spot population-wise any more.)

    It still remains the most successful PC title of all time and is still the most successful Western MMO in existence. But it was always going to start to decline at some point. 8 years at the top is a lot better than most.

    • Decline is relative. As Blizzard tries to find ways to reclaim it’s former audience, some decisions are “more wrong” then others, and increase speed of decline.

      • Indeed. What complicates things further is that the current audience could very well bear little resemblance to the ~8 million from vanilla. Should Blizzard try and recapture the past, or simply work with the people currently at the ticket booth?

  12. According to the pareto principle 20% of the people are responsible for 80% of the work(problem). Those people are described by Malcolm Gladwell as connectors, mavens (information specialists) and salesmen (persuaders) in his book about tipping points. Which is what this is. Then all you have to do is figure out what the influential 20% did.

  13. has anyone bothered to acknowledge the othe quote from Mr.Chilton?

    As Mr. Chilton said, “We hear from a lot people who used to play a lot that they’re just not at that point in their life anymore, and they want to play, and they want to see the content. But they can’t make the same time commitment they used to.”

    it seems clear to me just by reading Mr.chilton’s comments that “hardcore” = time spent in game. not level of difficulty.

  14. I think a lot of people have quit WoW so that they can spend time writing their replies to this post. It seems like a big time commitment.

    I agree with others above though, the reason that I quit playing was mainly because I got bored and I didn’t feel like paying to be bored.

  1. Pingback: Fact not opinion « Hardcore Casual

  2. Pingback: Sithspawn Meets Sithstain, or SW:TOR Faceroll « soresu

  3. Pingback: Azuriel is on fire | Game Ninja

  4. Pingback: Grains of Salt « In An Age

  5. Pingback: Specialization is Key « In An Age