It’s that time again. The time where I give a new MMO a spin and let you know why I’m not going to keep playing it.
The newest victim is Neverwinter, a game I’ve nursed a mild fascination with for several months now. This time, I had the opportunity to post my thoughts on WhatMMO, so head on over if you’re curious what kind of a game Neverwinter is. It’s essentially the same review I would have given here. The only difference is I got paid for it this time.
I would like to add a few thoughts to what I said over there.
One thing that surprised me is that I actually rather enjoy the PvP in Neverwinter. Normally, I loathe PvP regardless of the game. But there are a few things that make Neverwinter’s PvP a bit more interesting.
One is that the teams are mostly silent. I think this is due to how much more active the combat is; you can’t type and fight at the same time. But the end result is that you don’t need to deal with the nerd-raging and general asshat-ery that marks battleground chat in WoW.
The other is that — at least at low levels — the fights actually take a decent amount of time. You’re not constantly getting one-shot. It takes some effort and coordination to bring down a player, especially a hardy one like a guardian fighter.
Although it should be noted that I am playing a class that is, by all reports, insanely overpowered. That may have something to do with how much fun I’m having. I did note that it seems to take at least two or three players dog-piling me to put me at any risk of death.
But with all that being said, I am already feeling my eye wander to other games for the simple reason that its story is abysmal. I just can’t maintain my interest in a game if it doesn’t have a good story.
I may dip back in every now and again to check out the new Foundry missions, though. I’m already amazed by some of the stuff players have come up with.
World of Warcraft subscription numbers:
I had this post all ready to go, and then Blizzard goes and drops a bombshell in the quarterly conference call.
World of Warcraft lost 1.3 million subscribers in three months, and now sits at 8.3 million active subscribers. This is the lowest that number has been since around the time Burning Crusade launched and only two thirds of what it was at the game’s peak in Wrath of the Lich King.
Perhaps most telling is that Blizzard is predicting even more losses as the year continues — they’re not even trying to put a good spin on it.
But not so much, nor so quickly. Even the haters seem kind of shocked by this.
Yes, it remains the biggest subscription game on the market by a wide margin, but still…
I’m honestly not sure how to react to this news. I’m not terribly happy with this expansion, and I’m tempted to make like everyone else and use this to back up all my complaints about the state of the game.
They did mention that they’re having trouble keeping casual players engaged, so I might actually have a leg to stand on for once.
But ultimately, I can’t conclusively prove that the things that are driving me away from the game are also driving everyone else away.
All I can say is that it just takes too much time to get anything done for my taste right now. Alts are what gave WoW its longevity for me, and I can’t play alts when I’m already totally burnt out on the game by the time I’m done doing everything I need to do on my main.
I’m just tired of Blizzard’s belief that more time spent in-game is always better, period, no argument.
Couple that with a really lackluster patch in 5.2 and several other games distracting me, and WoW just isn’t as sexy as it once was.
As much as I want to use this as proof that all my complaints are justified, though, I do think a lot of the drop is just the inevitable result of time.
Let’s be honest: WoW is a good game, but it’s not head and shoulders above the rest of the MMO world. Even when I was most in love with the game, I never would have claimed that it deserved the massive lead over the rest of the genre it enjoys. I don’t know what mixture of luck, timing, and inertia has allowed WoW to stay so big for so long, but it couldn’t last forever.
I think the really interesting, and perhaps worrying, aspect of this story is how Blizzard will react. It seems obvious to me that much of Mists of Pandaria’s design was based on a direct attempt to counter the complaints from Cataclysm, and I think a lot of MoP’s problems are due to over-corrections.
I’m worried about how Blizzard will over-correct this time.
On the other hand, if Blizzard really gets desperate, it could lead to a revolution for the game. WoW hasn’t taken a lot of big chances lately — or ever, arguably — and a major redesign of the game or certain aspects thereof, if done well, could really breath new life into WoW.
Or they could break it completely.
It’s definitely not going to happen anytime soon, but I hope for a day when WoW goes free to play, or at least adopts some kind of more relaxed business model. I’ve had it with subscriptions and the game design they encourage.
I do think something dramatic needs to be done if they want to halt this slide, but even then, there’s a pretty strong chance nothing will stop it. As I said, it may just be the inevitable result of time.